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Phei'ACE iii 


Dbstithtion as a Disease of Society [ 


How TO Prevent the Destitution that aeises feom Sickness - ■ 15 


Destitution and Eugenics 45 


How to Prevent the Destitution arising from Child Neglect fil 


Sweating and Unemployment as Causes op Destitution . . 8G 


How to Prevent Unemployment and Under-Employment - - • 110 


Insurance ...159 


The Enlarged Sphere of Voluntary Agencies in the Prevention ok 




The Need for a Common Register and a Registrar of Public Assistance 265 

The "Moral Factor" 



To OUR Fellow Members. 

We are glad to have been able, before starting for 
our holiday, to place in the hands of our fellow-members this 
new book, in part a reproduction of our recent lectures. 
It is essential that the propaganda for the Prevention of 
Destitution should be kept up to date. The Minority 
Report of the Poor Law Commission, though still quite 
accurate, is no longer " topical." Its first purpose was to 
describe, in elaborate detail, the Poor Law and its ad- 
ministration as it actually is, in order to convert public 
Opinion to the abohtion of the General Mixed Workhouse 
and the Board of Guardians (in Scotland, the Parish 
Council). This purpose has, to a satisfactory extent, been 
accomphshed. No instructed person outside Poor Law 
circles now upholds a continuance of the present adminis- 
tration ; and, so far as Great Britain is concerned, all 
three poHtical parties are definitely pledged to carry out 
the recommendation embodied in both Reports of the 
Poor Law Commission, and to " scrap " the existing 
Poor Law machinery by abolishing the present Boards of 
Guardians and the General Mixed Workhouse. What 
remains to be done, for the members of the National 
Committee for the Prevention of Destitution, is to " ham- 
mer in " this pledge at every available opportunity, so 




as both to keep alive public opinion on the subject and to 
insist that the Government shall lose no time in acting 
upon it. 

The second purpose of the Minority Report, and one 
peculiar to it, was to reveal the gradual supersession of 
the Poor Law by the various Preventive Authorities, 
which has been going on for the past half-century ; and 
to bring home to the public mind the need for completing 
this process of " breaking up the Poor Law," and for 
transferring the remnant of the services of Medical Treat- 
ment, Child Nurture, Control of the Mentally Defective 
and Provision for the Aged — still stigmatised as " parochial 
relief " — to the newer Pubhc Authorities already perform- 
ing these same services, without the stigma of pauperism, 
for the community at large ; whilst reserving the 
whole treatment of the able-bodied man or woman to a 
new National i^:uthority dealing with Unemployment. 
The supersession of the Poor Law, though by no means 
yet completed, is going on every year— we might ahnost 
say every month — with accelerating speed. Since the 
publication of the Minority Report, a quarter of a million 
aged paupers have been taken out of the Poor Law and 
transferred to the Pension Committees of the Town and 
County Councils. With regard to the sick, we watch 
not only the silent continuous growth of the hospital 
service of the Local Health Authorities, but also, in Scot- 
land and England alike, their gradual assumption of 
responsibility, under administrative orders, for the largest 
single class of destitute sick persons— namely, the sufferers 
from tuberculosis. In all the large towns, of Scotland as 
well as of England, the Local Education Authority is 
assuming more and more the position of being the organ 



of the community for all that concerns Child Destitution, 
whether the need be food or medical attendance, clothing 
or home care. With regard to the able-bodied, we have a 
great step forward in the establishment of a National 
Labour Exchange under the Board of Trade, at which 
all sorts and conditions of able-bodied persons in search 
of wages, whether or not they are destitate, are gratuitously 
placed in situations. 

Besides these achievements, we have, in the actual 
proposals to which the present Government is committed, 
considerable further instalments of this supersession of 
the Poor Law by Public Authorities dealing with the 
population at large. The Home Secretary has definitely 
informed the House of Commons that he has in pre- 
paration a Bill for taking the Feeble-minded (and with 
them the whole class of mentally defective) out of the 
Poor Law ; and for making the Local Lunacy Authorities 
wholly independent of the Boards of Guardians. And, 
to-day, we have before us the colossal scheme of Govern- 
ment Insurance agamst Sickness, Infirmity, and Unem- 
ployment, by which it is proposed to provide, to the extent 
of twenty or thirty millions annually, for the bulk of the 
sickness and much of the unemployment from which the 
wage-earners at present suffer— not, it is true, on the lines 
of Prevention, but ostentatiously in supersession of the 
Poor Law. Already more than twice as many people are 
being maintained, at the expense of the rates and taxes, 
outside the Poor Law as inside it. When the present 
administrative developments of the Local Health Authori- 
ties and the Local Education Authorities have matured, 
and when the present proposals of Mr. Lloyd George and 
Mr. Winston Churchill are carried out, the number of 



persons still remaining under the care of the Board of 
Guardians in England and the Parish Council in Scotland 
will have sunk to, perhaps, only a fourth of the number 
of paupers on the day that the Minority Report was 
published. We think that even the Local Government 
Board will then be convinced that it is extravagant to 
keep going, from one end of the kingdom- to another, a 
separate Poor Law Authority, separate local elections, 
separate offices, separate institutions and separate staffs 
of officers, in order that this dwindling remnant of women 
and children, and odds and ends of men, may be stigmatised 
as paupers ! 

The very rapidity of this movement for superseding 
section after section of the Poor Law brings with it new 
tasks and new responsibilities to those engaged in the 
Crusade for the Prevention of Destitution. It might 
easily come about that the Poor Law was superseded, 
without exchanging the Method of Relief for the Method 
of Prevention. In the great Insm^ance Bill of the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, we have an inchoate scheme which, 
according to the way in which it is reshaped in Parliament 
and administered by the officials, may turn out to be either 
a demoralising system of indiscriminate, inadequate, and 
unconditional " Outdoor Relief " outside the Poor Law, 
or a useful adjunct to the work of the Local Health 
Authority in preventing the occurrence or the contmuance 
of sickness, and to the work of the new National Authority 
in preventing the occurrence of unemployment. Whether 
or not the present Bill becomes law within the next few 
weeks, the Government scheme, with its universal and 
compulsory deductions from wages, its drastic scaven- 
gering away of voluntary organisations, and its creation 



of an extensive centralised Civil Service, will be the 
dominant interest of the near future. Every clerk, every 
mechanic, every labourer, every Friendly Society or Trade 
Union member or official — every intelligent taxpayer even 
— will " want to know," both as to the facts and as to the 
policy. This universal thirst for information and dis- 
cussion we must undertake to satisfy. Every speaker, 
every writer, even every member of the National Com- 
mittee, must form a clear conception, both of the social 
value of Insurance, voluntary and compulsory, and of the 
outlines of the Government scheme. We have, therefore, 
attempted, in a lengthy chapter on Insurance, to analyse 
its characteristics, to describe the disastrous results that 
any slovenly scheme might produce, and to set forth the 
conditions under which Social Insurance can become 
not an alternative but a useful complement, to the Policy 
of Prevention. And this brings us, face to face with the 
overwhehning importance, in any social movement, of 
the " Moral Factor," to which we have accordingly 
devoted our final chapter. 

Sidney and Beatrice Webb. 

37, Norfolk Street, Strand, London. 
June, 1911. 

[To avoid encumbering the pages with foot note references, there will be 
loand, immediately following each chapter, an appendix giving exact refer- 
ences for the facts and quotations mentioned in the text, with lists of 
books, etc.] 



Destitution as a Disease of Society 

The subject of this book is Destitution as it exists 
in the United Kingdom to-day ; and we have chosen 
the word deliberately in order to make clear, from the 
outset, that we are not referring to Poverty, Poverty is 
a rela tive term . Any person is poor who has fess spending 
power than is common in the circle in which he lives. 
" The poor ye have always with you " is merely a state- 
ment of the fact of inequality of wealth ; and it affords 
no evidence as to the chronic existence in Judea of any 
mass of what is now called destitution, still less of its 
mevitableness. By destitution we mean the condition 
of being without one or other of the necessaries of life, 
in such a way that health and strength, and even vitality, 
is so impaired as to eventually imperil life itself. Nor is it 
merely a physical state. It is indeed, a special feature of 
destitution in modern urban communities that it means not 
merely a lack of food, clothing, and shelter, but also a 
condition of mental degradation. Destitution in the 
desert may have been consistent with a high level of 




spiritual refinement. But destitution in a densely-crowded 
modern city means, as all experience shows, not only 
oncoming disease and premature death from continued 
privation, but also, in the great majority of cases, the 
degradation of the soul. Massed in mean streets, working 
in the sweating dens, or picking up a precarious livelihood 
by casual jobs ; living by day and by night in overcrowded 
one-room tenements, through months of chronic unem- 
ployment or persistent under-employment ; infants and 
children, boys and girls, men and women, together find 
themselves subjected — in an atmosphere of drinking, 
begging, cringing, and lying— to unspeakable tempta- 
tions to which it is practically inevitable that they should 
in different degrees succumb, and in which strength and 
purity of character are irretrievably lost. Anyone 
acquainted with the sights and sounds and smells of the 
quarters of great cities, in which destitution is widely 
prevalent— especially anyone conversant with the life- 
histories of families below the "Poverty Line" — learns 
to recognise a sort of moral malaria which undermines 
the spiritual vitality of those subjected to its baleful 
influence, and — whilst here and there a moral genius 
may survive, saddened but otherwise unscathed — gradually 
submerges the mass of each generation, as it grows up, 
in coarseness and bestiality, apathy and cynical scepticism 
of every kind. When considerable numbers of people 
in such a condition are found together — still more when 
they are practically segregated in "cities of the poor" — 
this means that the community of which they form part 
is, to that extent, diseased. It is in this sense that we are 
entitled to say that destitution is a disease of society 


Oui- country is suffering to-day from this disease to 
an extent which is seldom realised. Last year more 
than two millions of different persons found themselves 
so unmistakably destitute that they applied for parochial 
relief, and were granted it. But we know that, unfor- 
tunately, a great many other persons were destitute 
without coming within the circle of the Poor Law ; more 
than a hundred thousand children were at school without 
sufiScient food, and many hundreds of thousands suffering 
from lack of medical treatment ; a hundred thousand 
sick of different infectious diseases, among whom a 
majority were destitute, were dealt with in the hospitals 
of the Local Health Authorities ; those whose distress 
from Unemployment was acute enough to lead to their 
relief by the Distress Committees under the Unemployed 
Workmen Act numbered (with their wives and children) 
several hundred thousand ; whilst seven hundred thousand 
aged persons, all outside the ranks of pauperism, proved 
their inability to exist without the aid of the Old Age 
Pensions that the State accorded to them. It is, unfor- 
tunately, only too plain that the United Kmgdom contains, 
at all times, between three .and four millions of persons, 
of either sex and of all ages, who are (except in so far as 
the public provision or private charity may temporarily 
rescue them) demonstrably suffering in body and mind, in 
physique and in character, from a lack of the necessaries 
of life. 

We need not assert that this state of things is peculiar 
to the United Kingdom, or that it has become worse than 
it was fifty or a hundred years ago. The oft-quoted statis- 
tics as to a decline in the percentage of paupers to popu- 
lation (from 62 per thousand in 1850 to 16 per 


thousand in 1911) do not prove anything in this con- 
nection, because the numbers in receipt of relief can be 
(and have been) diminished by greater strictness of 
administration, without in any way diminishing the amount 
of destitution. Moreover, with the Local Health Authori- 
ties everywhere maintaining some of the sick, the Local 
Education Authorities feeding many of the children, 
the Local Lunacy Authorities providing for more and 
more of the mentally defective, the Local Unemplo}anent 
Authorities beginnmg to deal with the able-bodied m 
distress, and the Local Pensions Authorities all over the 
land providmg for those over 70, it would be strange 
indeed if the destitute left in the hands of the Poor Law 
Authorities did not diminish ! As a matter of fact, though 
the percentage of paupers to population has so greatly 
diminished in the past half century, the actual numbers 
reheved by the Poor Law Authorities have, in the aggregate, 
varied singularly little from decade to decade. The 
number actually relieved in the course of a year was over 
two millions in 1840, and it was over two millions m 
1910. The fact that, in the meantime, the more prosperous 
sections of the community have more than doubled m 
numbers, and more than quadrupled their income and 
their capital wealth, leaving this mass of two milHons of 
paupers-really between three and four milhons of 
destitute persons-undiminished on our hands, does not 
seem to us to lessen either the gravity of the problem or 
our own social responsibility. 

As a matter of fact, it is possible, by careful observa- 
tion of all the evidence, to draw the inference that the 
actual as well as the relative extent of the disease m om- 
society is less than it was one or two generations ago. 



The dept b_of_Jlieji£a.titiitiQri is^-iia-^eat as it was when 
Lord Shaftesbury began his work, but the area of the 
misery is apparently less_,(as, indeed, it ought to be with 
all the agencies that are at work), and the outlook for 
further improvement far more hopeful. The urgency of 
the question to-day arises, not from any sense that things 
are getting worse, but because our standards are, in all 
matters of social organisation, becoming steadily higher. 
First, we have no longer the excuse of ignorance of the 
facts or ignorance of how the evil can be remedied. A 
whole centmy of experience, and the teachings of science 
now at our disposal, make it plain that the disease of 
destitution from which our society is suffering is in no 
wise inevitable ; it continues merely because we do not 
choose to prevent it. At the same time the advance of 
knowledge enables all (except those who refuse to learn) 
to understand by what steps we can prevent it. The 
problem of destitution has, in fact, now become manage- 
able ; we have both the knowledge and the power to cope 
with it, as we have coped with cholera and typhus, highway 
robbery and the slave trade, if only we have the will. 
The second ground of urgency may help us to the will. 
For our growing consciousness of the stress of international 
competition is remmding us that, unless we do take the 
necessary steps to rid our society of this disease, we shall 
fall still more behind, and eventually succumb before 
younger and healthier and more energetic rivals. And 
there is a third ground of urgency. The destitute them- 
selves, and the manual working-classes next above 
them to whom destitution is on their relative comfort 
a black shadow into which they may any day pass, now 
possess votes, and are steadily acquking political power ; 


so tliat the governing classes find themselves more and 
more pressed to grapple with the problem, on pain of 
seeing the task taken out of then- hands, to fall, perhaps, 
into those of men who may be tempted to deal with it 
less in the real and highest mterests of the community 
as a whole and in the long run, than for the immediate 
material benefit of the sufferers themselves. 

To prevent the occurrence of destitution we must, 
it is clear, first ascertain its causes and then arrest their 
operation. Now, if we examine the two millio ns of sepa rate 
persons who got parochial relief in the course of^a&t 
y'ear,"or the one or two millions more who were in want 
"^ome of the necessaries of life without coming within 
the circle of the Poor Law, we shall find that theh desti- 
tution had no one antecedent ui common. We are all of us 
apt to think of the destitute as if they were all sturdy 
beggars, probably vagrants, pretending that they are 
unable to find work ! But if any Poor Law Guardian or 
Town Councillor will give hhnself the trouble of mentally 
surveymg the destitute in his own town— the group 
of widows applying for parochial relief, the patients on 
their way to the municipal hospital or the Poor Law 
Infirmary, the men or women of all ages who are being 
certified for admission to the County Asylum, the person 
found drunk or dying on the road and brought in by the 
Police, the school children reported as underfed or m 
need of medical treatment, the little crowd of weedy, 
unhealthy, and apathetic men loungmg idly outside the 
Labour Exchange, or clamorously applying to the 
Distress Committee-he will realise that at least the 
immediate causes of theii' condition are as diverse as 
their needs. As a matter of fact, we find five well-trodden 


paths along one or other of which the vast majority — 
we might almost say all — of the three or four millions 
have gone down into the morass of destitution. At least 
one-thii'd of them are sick or prematurely broken down 
in strength, and would not be destitute but for their 
sickness or infirmity. Then we have the army of widows 
with young children on their hands, who have been 
suddenly plunged into destitution by the premature 
death of the breadwinner. Of the total, indeed, one- 
third are infants and childxen, who are destitute not on 
account of any characteristic of their own, but merely 
because their parents are dead, or for one reason or other 
unable or unwilling to fulfil their parental obligations. 
A large contingent have fallen into destitution merely 
as the result of the in£rmities of old age ; whilst another 
large contingent are in the same condition plainly because 
[| of their imbecility, lunacy, or congenital feeble-mindedness. 
Finally, we have to recognise the able-bodied person whose 
destitution comes obviously from his prolonged inability 
—it may be incapacity or unwillingness — to find sufficient 
employment at a sufficient rate of pay to provide him and 
his dependents with the necessaries of life. All these roads 
run in and out of each other, creating what we may ac- 
curately describe as a vicious circle round about the 
morass of destitution— parents are led more and more to 
neglect their children's needs if they have neither work 
nor wages ; it is the neglected child which becomes the 
"Unemployable" man; the quite unnecessary, prevent- 
able sickness to which the wage-earners are now exposed 
withdraws even the skilled industrious worker from his 
job, or deprives the wife and children of their breadwinner; 
whilst mental defectiveness complicates the problem by a 


subtle deterioration of the population as a whole. And the 
four millions in the morass are not permanently the same 
individuals. Some, let us hope, escape and rise, to reach 
again the firm ground of adequate self-support. Many— 
possibly 4 or 5 per cent.— die in the course of a year. 
Yet the total remains at pretty nearly the same figure. 
It is plain, therefore, that there is a constant recruitment. 
Every year sees two or three hundred thousand separate^ 
individuals— perhaps more— pressed down into the morass 
"of destitution, along one or other of these roads, for the 
''first time7ThlB, it is clear, is what we have to prevent. 
This, it is clear, we cannot prevent completely, or even 
effectively at all, by dealing with any one only of the 
five demonstrable causes of destitution, unless we deal 

with the other four. 

To this conception of destitution as a diseased con- 
dition of part of the body politic, arismg directly from 
one or other well-defined cause, each of which can be 
accurately observed and treated, we have the objection 
that all these proximate antecedents of destitution are 
themselves only the varied symptoms of a single under- 
lying" cause. There are those who hold— along with 
Professor Bernard Bosanquet and the CouncU of the 
Charity Organisation Society of London— that destitution 
in all its forms is invariably associated with a defective 
" citizen-character," a " failure " in the person who is 
destitute. There are those who hold— along with Pro- 
fessor Devine, who is the Secretary of the Charity Organi- 
sation Society of New York— that practical experience 
among the poor demonstrates that the destitution of 
/great "cities is, in all its manifestations, essentiaUy the 
(result of the bad economic conditions to which the 



individual is subjected. And among those who attribute 
all forms of destitution to personal " failm^e " there are the 
Eugenists, who ascribe this deficiency of the individual 
to a descent from a bad stock ; and the Educationalists, 
who ascribe it, to defective nurtm^e. These abstract 
controversies, which dehghted the Early Victorians, are, 
we venture to thinlc, amid the concrete scientific methods 
of twentieth century administration, somewhat belated. 
No Medical Officer of Health, considering the destitute 
sick within his jurisdiction, troubles to dispute the general 
contention of any one of these controversialists. He 
accepts, as demonstrated, that sickness is the product 
alilie of bad constitution and bad environment, of heredity 
and defective nurture. The official of the Labour Exchange 
equally recognises that unemployment and under-employ- 
ment sometimes result from congenital feeble-mindedness, 
sometimes from shortcomings in physique, in training, 
or in character, and sometimes from dislocations, de- 
pressions, or fluctuations of trade. The problem before 
these practical administrators, as before the legislator, 
is not to determine the exact relative importance of these 
various generalised factors, either m the individual case 
or m the mass— which is impossible— but to discover 
some practical measures of reform which will reduce 
the sickness and prevent the unemployment. With this 
end they will keep in view at all times the need for 
stimulathag personal character, eliminating bad parentage, 
improving nurture and ameliorating the environment ; 
but their measm^es will deal with the sickness, the feeble- 
mmdedness, the child neglect, or the unemployment 

Objections more difficult to satisfy, because less 


philosophical in their attitude of mind, are the multitude 
of discordant but clamorous voices, each one urging that 
destitution (like all other social ills) is due, not merely to 
faulty environment in general, but to one particular 
dislocation of the modern state, which needs only to be 
put right for all to be well. Among these we find the 
fanatical Free Trader or Tariff Reformer, attributing 
all forms of destitution to the presence or absence of 
customs duties ; the teetotaller to the existence of alcoholic 
drink ; the " Single Taxer " to the lack of a tax on site 
values ; the Trade Unionist or Co-operator to the absence 
of combination among all workers, or of " co-partnership " 
between capital and labour ; whilst the member of the 
Social Democratic Party prides himself in taking the 
widest sweep of all, and on refusing to regard any form 
of destitution as anything but the product of the divorce 
of the worker from the ownership of the instruments of 
production. We fear that neither the Medical Officer of 
Health nor the official of the Labour Exchange can 
intellectually accept all these contentions together, as he 
quite well can those that we before mentioned ; but he 
may fairly beg his objectors to " wait and see." They 
may find, when they come to close quarters with the 
practical issues in each department of the prevention of 
destitution, that the measm-es to which science and 
experience alil^e point in each case, are not mconsistent 
with any of the particular social reconstructions of society 
in which they severally put theh trust. It may even be 
—assuming, with each in turn, that his particular social 
faith is justified— that they will all discover that the 
putting of it successfully into practice is dependent on 
its including the necessary machinery for preventmg 


sickness, controlling the precfeation of the mentally- 
defective, enforcing parental responsibility so as to pre- 
serve all children from neglect, and, finally, taking care 
that the supply of specific human services is in each 
locality, and at all times adjusted to the demand for 
them. * 


Notes and References 

Page 1. We are driven to use the word "destitution" for liick of any 
better equivalent. We may quote Professor Huxley upon its meaning: 
"When the price of labour sinks below a certain point, the worker infallibly 
falls into that condition which the French emphatically call la misere—a 
word for which I do not think there is any exact English equivalent. It is a 
condition in which food, warmth and clothing, v,'hich are nee-essaryfor the mere 
maintenance of the functions of the body in their normal state, cannot be 
obtained ; in which men, women and children are forced to crowd into dens 
where decency is abolished, and the most ordinary conditions of healthful 
existence are impossible of attainment ; in which the pleasures within reach 
are reduced to brutality and drunkenness; in which the pains accumulate 
at compound interest in the shape of starvation, disease, stunted develop- 
ment and moral degradation; in which the prospect of even steady and 
honest industry is a life of unsuccessful battling with hunger, rounded by 
a pauper's grave. I take it to be a mere plain truth that throughout 
industrial Europe there is not a single large mamifacturing city which is 
free from a large mass of people whose condition is exactly that described, 
and from a still greater mass, who, living just on the edge of this social 
swamp, are liable to be precipitated into it." 

The official Poor Law definition of "destitution" may conveniently be 
given here. " Destitution," deposed the Legal Adviser of the Local Govern- 
ment Board before the Poor Law Commission, " when used to describe the 
coadition of a person as a subject for relief, implies that he is for the time 
bein'- without material resources (i) directly available, and (u) appropriate 
for s°atisfying his physical needs whether (o) actually existing or (b) likely 
to arise immediately. By physical needs in this definition are meant such 
needs as must be satisfied (i) in order to maintain life or (u) m order to 
obviate mitigate, or remove causes endangering life, or likely to endanger 
life, or' impair health, or bodily fitness for self-support" (Evidence of Mr. 

Adrian, Q. 973). . . * j t. iqo- 

" Destitution," declared the Royal Commission on the Aged Poor, 189o, 
" mi-^ht be taken in practice to mean a want of the reasonable necessaries 
of life such as food, lodging, warmth, clothing, and medical attendance 
according to the normal standard of the times" (Report, p. xlvi). 

It may be worth while to compare, with these definitions, the actual 
economic requirements of the lowest grade of labour, as stated by our 
foremost authority : " The necessaries for the eflnciency of an ordinary 
agricultural or of an unskilled town labourer and his family in England m 
this generation, may be said to consist of a well-drained dwelling with 
several rooms, warm clothing, with some changes of underclothing pure 
water, a plentiful supply of cereal food, with a moderate allowance of meat 
and milk, and a little tea. etc., some education and some recreation, and 
lastly sufficient freedom for his wife from other work to perform properly 
her maternal and her houseliold duties. If in any district unskilled labour 



is deprived of any of these things its efficiency will suffer in the same way 
as that of a horse that is not properly tended or a steam engine that has 
an inadequate supply of coals. All consumi^tion i\p to this limit is strictly 
productive consumption, any stinting of this consumption is not economical, 
but wasteful " (Dr. Alfred Marshall, late Professor of Political Economy at 
Cambridge University, in Principles of Economics). 

Page 2. With regard to the condition of the most destitute stratum of 
the population, the student should consiilt not only the works of the Eight 
Hon. Charles Booth (Life and Labour of the People in London (3892-1903), 
etc.) and Mr. B. Seebohm Kowntree {Poverty), being a corresponding study 
of York (1901), but also General Booth's In Darkest England (1890); the 
Report on the Physical Condition of 1,400 School Children in Edinburgh 
(1907), the monographs that have been prepared on social conditions in 
Cambridge (by E. Jebb, now Mrs. Wilkins) ; West Ham (by. M. M. Howarth 
and Moua Wilson) ; Norvfich (by A. Hawkins) ; At the Works, by Lady Bell 
(1907), being a description of Middlesbrough; and for rural conditions. 
Life in an English Village, by Miss Maud Davies (1909). See also The 
Wastage of Cliild Life as exemplified by .conditions in Lancashire, by Dr. 
J. Johnson (Fifield, 1909); and Report on the Housing and Industrial Con- 
ditions and Medical Inspection of School Children in Dundee (Dundee Social 
Union, 1908). 

Page 2. The "Poverty Line" is the level of income necessary for the 
bare sustenance of the worker and a normal family, under existing urban 
conditions. For a description of the method of calculation, and a discussion 
of its value, see Poverty, by B. Seebohm Rowntree (Macmillan), the well- 
known statistical survey of the social conditions of the workers in York 
The relation of this line to that taken for London in Life and Labour of 
the People, by the Rt. Hon. Charles Booth is disucussed in Professor 
Macgregor's article, " Poverty Figures," in Economic Journal for December, 

Page 3. The best and most easily accessible statistics of pauperism are 
0 be found m the Majority Report of the Poor Law Commission. 1909 
(Part 11.. pp. 30-78 of official 8vo edition). These deal, however, only with 
England and Wales. For Scotland and Ireland, see the Annual Reports of 
the Local Government Boards for Scotland and Ireland respectively The 
Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission (the official 8vo edition) gives 
exact statistics for the whole United Kingdom under each head. 

Page 8. With regard to Professor Bernard Bosauquet's views, the 
reader may be referred to an able article on "The Majority Report fof the 
Poor Law Commission] " in the Sociological Revieiv for April, 1909 "The 
Majority he says " proceed upon the principle that where there is a 
failure of social self-maintenance in the sense above defined, there is a 
.1' fW ?r " ^liaracter. or at least a grave danger to its integrity; 

and that therefore every case of this kind raises a problem which is 
moral m the sense of affecting the whole capacity of self-management, 
to begin with m the person who has failed, and secondarily, in the whole 

'° i'^fl"«"ced by expectation and example" (pp 114-5) 

thl EuInfcTl ioMov^ir.^ statement by a Committee of 

the Eugenics Education Society :-" The experience of the Committee is 
quite clear that the paupers whom they have seen and examined individually 
are characterised by some obvious vice or defect such as drunkenness theft 
persisten laziness, a tubercular diathesis, mental deficiency, de berate 
moral obliquity, or general weakness of character, manifested by 2 
initiative, or energy, or stamina, and an inclination to attribute ^heir 


misfortune to their own too great generosity or too great goodness, and 
generally to bad luck" (Eugenics Review, Vol. IT., No. 3, pp. 187-8). 

It would scarcely be inferred from this statement that o ne-third of all the 
£aupers are sick, one-third children, and one-ciuarte FT either "wiaPTys 
encumbered by young families, or certified lunatics ! TheaauTE, "aT51e- 
' bodied, lieaKhy men, to whom alone the statement applies, number fewer 
than 2 per cent, of the total. The 98 per cent, are left out of sight! 

The whole argument of Professor Bosanquet, and of the school of thought 
which he represents, is subjected to analysis in The Minority Report for 
Scotland, which has been separately published by the Scottish National 
Committee for the Prevention of Destitution, 180, Hope Street, Glasgow 
(price 6d.). 

Page 8. The views of Professor E. T. Devine, of the New York Charity 
Organisation Society, will be found in his Misery and its Causes (Mac- 
millan : 1909), a remarkable book in which the outcome of the experience 
of the New" York C.O.S. is presented, with many illustrative cases. Professor 
Devine uses the word " misery " (the French la mis'ere) to signify what we 
term " destitution." " The question that I raise," he states, " is whether 
the wretched poor, the poor who suffer in their poverty, are poor because 
they are shiftless, because they are undisciplined, because they drink, 
because they steal, because they have superfluous children, because of 
personal depravity, personal inclination, and natural preference; or 
whether they are shiftless and undisciplined and drink and steal and are 
unable to care for their too numerous children because our social institu- 
tions and economic arrangements are at fault. I hold that personal 
depravity is as foreign to any sound theory of the hardships of our modern 
poor as witchcraft or demoniacal possession ; that these hardships are 
economic, social, transitional, measurable, manageable. Misery [destitution], 
as we say of tuberculosis, is communicable, curable, and preventable. It 
lies not in the unalterable nature of things, but in our particular human 
institutions, our social arrangements, our tenements and streets and sub- 
ways, our laws and courts and jails, our religion, our education, our 
philanthropy, our politics, our industry, and our business" (p. 11). 

Page 11. Besides the Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission 
(popular edition, 2 vols., 2s. ; Index, Is.), and the works already cited, the 
reader may be referred to the threepenny pamphlet, entitled Destitution : 
can we end it? by the Rev. Henry Carter (Wesleyan Methodist '^nion for 
Social Service; J. J. Stark, Ashmead, Orleans Road, Upper Norwood, S.E ), 
which affords a convenient summary of the present situation, aud of the 
proposals of the Minority Report, with references to statistical and other 




Hoiv to Prevent the Destitution that Arises from Sickness 

We are apt to forget that, in all countries, at all ages, 
it is siclmess to which the greatest bulk of destitution 
is immediately due. From "plague, pestilence, and 
famme " — and every famine is combined with illness — 
men have at all times specially prayed to be delivered. 
In past times whole provinces and kingdoms have been 
reduced to abject misery from want of the necessaries 
of life owmg to catastrophic waves of disease, of which 
the Black Death of the fourteenth century is only the 
most commonly remembered. Less dramatic, but perhaps 
even more insidiously devastatmg, must have been the 
gradual spread of malarial fever to which, as we now 
suppose, the sinkmg into chronic destitution of the once- 
prosperous populations of the Greek towns, the Roman 
Campagna and the Calabrian coast was mamly due. 
It is scarcely too much to say that three-fourths of the 
mhabitants of the modern state have been, ahnost within 
a single century, rescued from a very real liability to 
chronic ill-health by the advance of sanitary science, by 
medical and surgical discoveries, by improvements in 
personal hygiene, and by all the elaborate public ad- 
ministration which— though we usually forget the fact- 
alone makes it possible for even the rich to live healthily 


amid a crowded urban population. We take all this 
improvement for granted as perhaps the greatest triumph 
of the nineteenth century. What we forget is that some- 
thing like one-fourth of the whole population are still 
practically excluded from most of its benefits. It is a 
significant fact that the average duration of life of 
the whole class of casual labourers " throughout the 
kingdom is only about half that of the whole class of 
clergymen. The death-rate of the whole Borough of 
Hampstead, rich and poor together, is less than one- 
third of that prevailing throughout certain extensive 
slum quarters within a mile of it. There are, in fact, 
in every great urban aggregation, whole grades of the 
population — sometimes even whole quarters of the city 
— which are, as regards the prevalence of Hi-health 
and disease, if not also as regards the death-rate, 
still living in the Middle Ages. It is from this one-fourth 
of the population that the three or four millions of destitute 
persons in the United Kingdom, both inside the Poor 
Law and outside it, are almost entu:ely recruited. And 
with regard to at least one-third of these— we might 
almost say one-half— the recruiting sergeant who brings 
them in is Sickness, the sickness that, so far as concerns 
three-quarters of the population, we have proved to be 

This grim fact, mechanically revealed by the statistics, 
is read in terms of human suffering by every social worker 
among the urban poor. Anyone living or moving among 
the lower grades of the wage-earners— among, that is 
to say, that one-fourth of the whole population to which 
we have referred— becomes only too painfully aware of 
the perpetual lack of health, and frequent disabling 


sickness all around him. He sees infants and children, 
men and women, alike suffering from what seems to be 
an unending round of ailments of one sort or another. In 
every such family, now in one and now in another of its 
members, sores, indigestion, headaches, rheumatism, 
bronchitis, and bodily pains alternate ahnost unceasingly, 
to be periodically broken into by serious disease, and 
cut short by premature death. The excessive death-rate 
among the poorest strata of the population has its direct 
result in greatly increasing the destitution connected 
with widowhood and orphanage, besides helping to make 
funeral expenses so much heavier a tax on the poor than 
on the rich. Yet the great cause of destitution is not 
death itself, but sickness. Any doctor who stops to think 
can tell us that the actual loss of wages through ill-health 
in the wage-earning class must run into many millions 
sterling every year— certainly a hundred times as much 
as the loss by strikes and lock-outs. What is more serious 
IS that it is just among the poorest section of the wage- 
earners that this loss of earnings through ill-health is 
greatest, not only because the casual labourers and the 
sweated home-workers have most ill-health, but also 
because, in the absence of those more humane arrange- 
ments which are enjoyed by clerks, by domestic servants, 
and sometimes by workmen employed at weekly or 
monthly rates, it is just among the poorest section that 
a day's absence from work most invariably means the 
loss of a day's wages. To the ten or twelve miUions of 
thepopulation existing in the United Kingdom on earnings 
of less than a pound a week for the whole family, "the 
constant drain of sickness is a perpetual menace to their 
economic independence. Let the sickness rise above 


the normal, and down goes the family into the morass of 
destitution. , 

The indirect losses and expenses through sickness in 
the poorest strata of the population are probably as great 
as the mere shortages in their earnings. What the com- 
munity loses through sickness, in the mere cessation from 
production of all its members for so many days in each 
year, runs into many millions of pounds. Even one 
day's sickness suffered by every active member of the 
community, reducing us all in turn to incapacity for 
production, must mean a duninution of the aggregate 
annual product by some six million pounds. More serious 
than all the pecuniary loss by sickness is, however, its 
" moral and intellectual damage." The lowering of the 
standard of effort before and after siclmess, and the 
sluggish apathy that accompanies it, means, in the poorest 
class, that infants and children go untended, husbands 
and wives alike are neglected, the public-house offers 
increased temptations, the ability to resist all the insidious 
approaches to degradation is diminished, and the lapse 
into idleness, begging, and every kind of parasitism 
becomes, in many cases, virtually inevitable. 

The most obvious and the most effective way of 
preventmg the destitution that sickness causes, is 
to prevent the sickness itself. Now, without for a 
moment dreaming that all sickness can be prevented, 
it is demonstrable that a great deal of it can be. 
We no longer believe that disease is " the act of God," 
in the sense of being mevitable. We know, in fact, 
that, in the course of the past century, we have been 
able, by takmg thought, to prevent a large part of the 
sickness that used to prevail, and (as regards the more 


prosperous classes) actually to get rid of some diseases 
altogether. We have accomplished this by various con- 
verging methods. We have, to begin with, sought to 
remove from our environment all influences noxious to 
health ; we have constructed elaborate drainage systems, 
discarded overcrowded rooms and insanitary dwellings, 
and protected ourselves, by isolation and segregation, 
filtration and antiseptic purification, from the germs to 
which we now believe most diseases to be due. We have 
spread abroad a knowledge of what is and what is not 
conducive to health in the way of personal habits ; and, 
in spite of all our cynical sarcasm about each other, there 
can be no doubt that in personal hygiene we are mostly 
far in advance of our fathers. And we have taken to 
heart the lesson that, whether for phthisis or for cancer, 
for measles or for rheumatism, for enteric fever or for 
pneumonia, any aid that the surgeon or physician can 
afford will be enormously more effective, and will give 
by far the greatest chance of success in staving off in- 
validity, and in producing recovery, if it is brought to 
bear at the earliest moment, when the aihnent that 
we have recognised is in its most incipient stage. It 
is m this way that we have, so far as regards three- 
fourths of the population, practicaUy eliminated typhus, 
greatly diminished phthisis and enteric, and enormously 
reduced the mortality of those infants and children on 
whom personal care can be lavished. 

Unfortunately, we have, so far, only very imperfectly 
brought to bear on the sickness that prevafls among 
the one-fourth of the population from which the destitute 
are recruited, anything like the amount of preventive 
mfluences that we have brought to bear on the sickness 


that used to prevail among the more prosperous three- 
quarters of the population. Let us take, to begin with, 
the work of the Public Health Authorities, to which we 
owe so much. What they have so far given us, in the 
main, is a sanitary service common to rich and poor ; in 
fact, practically uniform throughout the city. But this 
means that the prosperous classes get all that they need, 
whilst the indigent quarter goes short. The wealthy house- 
holder needed a main drainage system, the paving, 
cleansing, and lighting of the streets, and a good water 
supply, almost as much as the slum dweller; but he 
needed in this department nothing more, and too often 
nothing more has been done. Even the parks, the 
libraries, the museums, the art galleries, or the tramways, 
that our progressive municipalities are providing at the 
cost of all alike, mainly profit those above the " Poverty 
Line." To the slum dweller, the condition of the house 
drainage, the character of the water-closet accommoda- 
tion, the laying-on of water to every tenement, the state 
of the cisterns, the arrangements for removal of garbage, 
the position of the ashpit, the paving of the backyard, 
the ventilation, dryness, and sunniness of each tenement, 
the extent to which it is aUowed to be overcrowded, its 
periodical cleansing and disinfection, the internal pro- 
vision for washing clothes, storing food, cookhig meals, 
and bathing the children, and a hundred other things 
of that sort, are as important in maintaining health as 
a street improvement or a main drainage system. Ex:cept 
in a few localities and with regard to one or other of these 
points, the Public Health Authority has so far not taken 
care that as much shall be done for the sanitary envuron- 
ment of the slum dweller as for that of the vHla resident, 


relatively to the particular needs of the well-to-do and of 
the poor. And in this respect the country is often as 
backward as the town, and even less conscious of the 
fact. In many a working-class village, inhabited only 
by coal mmers, fishermen, quarrymen or labourers, even 
the main drainage and the water supply are still lacking. 
Even in the Telatively well-administered towns there js 
stilTajtendency to do only those things that are universally 
required, by rich and poor alike, and to d-O.them uniformly 
all round. If we really want to prevent disease among 
the poor to the same extent as among the rich, we need, 
not an equal expenditure on the Public Health service 
throughout the whole city, but a much greater expendi- 
ture (for improved dwellings, the prevention of over- 
crowding and other nuisances, baths and wash-houses, 
recreation grounds, hospital accommodation, and so on) 
on the needs of the poorer classes than on services which 
add convenience or amenity to the life of the ordinary 
citizen. The first measure to be taken for the prevention 
of the destitution that arises from sickness is accordingly 
both a " levellmg-up " of existing Public Health ad- 
nunistration, so that the backward districts are brought 
into Ime with the most active, and a great stride onward, 
even of the most active, in the preventive sanitation of 
the tenement and the cottage. 

Passing from the environment to personal hygiene, 
we see the same disparity between what is done, from 
mfancy upwards, to produce a healthy habit of life among 
the comparatively comfortable classes and among those 
who are poor or destitute. The human bemg does not 
spontaneously, as of grace, lead a hygienic life. We all 
have to be taught how to live in such a way as to avoid 


disease. Many of those who are rich fail to learn this 
lesson ; but to those who are born in the poorest section 
of the population it is not even taught. Every Medical 
Officer of Health is keenly conscious that, without a much 
more highly organised system of hygienic instruction 
among the poor, in one way or another, the most improved 
model dwellings will have their windows kept shut and 
the ventilators stopped up, the baths will be filled with 
rags and refuse, the drains will be choked, the children 
will be kept up till midnight, the babies will be fed on tea 
and bread, and the whole family will dose itself with 
patent medicines. These acquired characteristics are not 
inherent in the poor. They amount in effect, to an evil 
heritage, that we allow to be handed on from parent to 
child, because we do not counteract it by any systematic 
instruction ; and that we accordingly permit, by its 
insidious influence on health and character, to produce 
the entirely preventable sickness that drags generation 
after generation down mto destitution. 

To prevent all this preventable ill-health we must, it 
is clear, take care, not merely that the envKonment is 
made decent, but also that the poorest are as effectively 
taught how to live as those who are pecuniarily better off. 
And, in order to begin with the infants, we must see to 
it that the mothers are no longer left in ignorance. Some- 
thing more may be achieved in the elementary school 
than is at present common, to teach the girl ; but with 
a school-leaving age of 13 or 14 this will not take us very 
far. The best time to bring the instruction to bear is 
when the young mother has her first baby. How much 
may be effected by systematically hnparting such in- 
struction has been demonstrated at Huddersfield and 


elsewhere. We now know, in fact, exactly how neglect 
among mothers and disease among infants may be pre- 
vented. To organise a system of Health Visiting, by a 
trained band of volimteers, so that each mother is seen 
and advised how to take care of her infant ; to provide 
a " Milk Dispensary," where pure milk, in clean bottles, 
is sold and the babies are periodically weighed and looked 
at ; to establish a " School for Mothers," where willing 
women learn how further to provide for their little ones ; 
to have every infant in this way, from birth to school 
age, under the watchful care of the Medical Officer of 
Health, is— without compulsion, without any but the 
smallest addition to the paid municipal staff, and without 
appreciable expense to the rates— to reduce the infantile 
death-rate by something like one-third; to check the 
ravages of the two most fatal of all diseases, measles and 
whooping cough ; to prevent the enfeebling or injuring 
of those babies who survive ; and to establish, in the 
town, a good and worthy standard and tradition of 
motherhood. Yet only in a few towns in the United 
Kingdom is anything of the kind even attempted. 

When the infant is enroUed at the public elementary 
school, at the age of 3 or 5, it passes into the supervision 
of the Local Education Authority, from which we may 
demand that, in theh- 8 or 10 years' stay, the boy and girl 
should be taught habits of personal cleanliness, accus- 
tomed to regular hours and good ventHation, and made 
conscious of the advantages of fresh air, careful diet, and 
physical exercise. But, for the most part, we must rely 
for the opportunity of effective hygienic instruction of 
the adolescent and the adult on getting him under super- 
vision and instruction whenever he begins to suffer from 


some ailment — ^from toothaclie to the cough of incipient 
phthisis. And this is why the earliest treatment of every 
case, and the fullest development of " after care " — 
desirable for cure and essential for prevention — are, 
from the standpoint of hygienic instruction, simply 

This brings us to the question of the medical treat- 
ment available for the sick poor, a question very fully 
discussed in the Minority Eeport of the Poor Law Com- 
mission, and in our book " The State and the Doctor." 
We may be as sceptical as we please as to the doctor's 
power to cure all diseases ; but the well-to-do, when they 
are ill, act on the assumption that the intervention of 
the medical man is of some avaU, with an apparently 
satisfactory effect on the sickness-rate and death-rate 
of this class. Among the very poor, " the number of 
cases of sickness — even of dangerous infective disease — 
that go entirely without medical attendance of any sort 
private or public, is," we are told, " demonstrably enor- • 
mous. The proportion of uncertified deaths, indicating 
a total lack of any sort of medical attendance, even in 
the most advanced stages of diseases, amounts," as the 
Registrar-General warns us, " in certain towns in England 
to 4 or 5 per cent. ; in certain counties in Scotland, to 
20 and even 30 per cent.; in some islands, to as many 
as 60 or 70 per cent. But to the community it is of less 
importance that people should die without medical atten- 
dance than that they should live without it. What is above 
all deplorable is the enormous amount of incipient disease 
that exists, undiscovered, untreated, and unchecked," 
among the whole manual working-class. " The married 
woman, left without medical or even midwifery attendance 


at her first childbirth, is not infrequently injured for 
life, both as mother and as industrial worker. The young 
artisan, with the seeds of tuberculosis in him, goes on, 
for lack of medical inspection and advice, in habits of life 
which presently bring him, too late to be cured — after, 
perhaps, he has infected a whole' family — ^to the sick 
ward of the workhouse." With regard to phthisis, indeed, 
"which in itself alone produces one-seventh of all our: 
pauperism, and the greatest of all the deductions fromv 
the adult working life of the people," we have the fact 
that, although it can very frequently be permanently 
cured, if taken in hand thoroughly at the earliest stage, 
it " is at the present time, among the whole wage-earnuig 
class, hardly ever properly treated until its ravages have 
advanced too far to be curable." "This neglect of early 
treatment is," remarks the Medical Investigator of the 
Poor Law Commission, " all the more grave in that, in 
tuberculosis, andy as we are beginning to suspect, in many 
other cases, it means neglect of precautions against the. 
spread of the disease to others." 

It is thus plain that a vast amount of sickness among 
the very poor could be prevented, and a great deal of it 
more quickly and effectively cured, if only we could ensure 
that medical treatment were brought to bear, in every 
case, at the earliest possible moment, in the most incipient 
stage of the disease ; and if the appropriate " after care " . 
were afforded to prevent a recurrence. Along with this 
treatment would naturally go hygienic mstruction and 
advice, on which we are beginning to rely more than on 
the bottle of medicine. Nor is this only an unsupported 
hypothesis. Exactly this plan of easily accessible medical 
treatment for every case, encouragement of the earliest 


possible application, so as to get at disease in its incipient 
stage, and the invariable use of every such opportunity 
for giving hygienic advice has now been tried for ten years 
in the British Army, with the results on the health and 
habits (and also on the moral character) of the soldiers 
that can only be described as extraordinary. Not only 
has the diminution in the sickness-rate and the invalidity- 
rate been most marked, but also the spread of hygienic 
personal habits (including the disuse of alcoholic drinks) 
has been so great as to have changed the whole character 
of the men. Unfortunately, we have so arranged matters 
outside the Army that the poorest section of the com- 
munity, from whom the destitute are mainly recruited, 
must very often go without either effective medical 
treatment or hygienic advice. Where they can pay 
for a medical attendant at all, they get only the " lightnmg 
diagnosis " and the " bottle of medicine " of the " six- 
penny doctor." It is true that, in London, and a few 
other towns (but not elsewhere), the working-classes 
resort to the out-patients' departments of the voluntary 
hospitals, in many cases, we fear, without getting anything 
much more effective. We should hardly presume to give 
this merely as our own opinion. "As a matter of well- 
known fact," testified a medical practitioner of experience 
to the Royal Commission on the Poor Law, " the out- 
patient department is so crowded that the work has to 
be done in a sHpshod fashion, and unless the case happens 
to be an ' interesting ' one the patient is put off with the 
stereotyped ' How are you to-day V 'Put out your 
tongue ' ; 'Go on with your medicine.' No one who 
knows the system can blame the Infirmary doctors, as 
they are notoriously overworked. Many people go there 


who could well afford to pay for outside advice, and whose 
complaints are of the most trivial character. The con- 
sequence is that cases which really require time and con- 
sideration frequently fail to get it from the overworked 
house-surgeon or physician." However profitable may 
be the out-patients' department in attracting the sub- 
scriptions of the benevolent ; however convenient it may 
be as a means by which the hospital can pick out 
interesting " cases which are wanted inside ; and however 
genuinely useful it may be as a preliminary diagnosis 
which promptly sifts out and admits the cases requiring 
institutional treatment, we are bound to conclude that, 
to a large proportion of the patients dealt with, it is, 
so far as any preventive or really curative effect is con- 
cerned, little better than a delusion. It is, indeed, 
dijB&cult to take seriously, in the twentieth century, as 
an organisation professing to treat disease, the typical 
arrangement under which an overworked and harassed 
house-surgeon gives a few minutes each to a continuous 
stream of the most varied patients ; without knowledge 
of their diet, habits, or diathesis ; without any but the 
most perfunctory examination of the most obvious bodily 
symptoms ; without even the slightest " interrogation of 
the functions " ; and without any attempt at domiciliary 
inspection and visitation. " At present," summed up 
one experienced medical practitioner, " the out-patient 
department of the voluntary hospital is to a great extent 
a shop for giving people large quantities of medicine." 

As an alternative to the out-patients' department, 
there is, for the absolutely destitute, the medical service 
of the Poor Law. We wish to say nothing in criticism 
of the four thousand Poor Law doctors, of whose services 


— underpaid, unappreciated, and actually discouraged as 
they are by the non-medical Authority to which they 
belong — we have elsewhere rendered ungrudging praise. 
But by the very nature of a Poor Law Medical Service, 
this medical attendance is practically never available 
at the incipient stage of the illness, when it would be of 
most use. The patient cannot claim from the Poor Law 
even medical aid until he can convince the Relieving 
Officer that he is technically destitute ; and this means, 
in practice, until the disease has progressed so far that the 
sufEerer has become too ill to go to his employment. Thus, 
the Poor Law doctor (as several of them told the Poor 
Law Commission) practically never sees a case of phthisis 
until it is too far gone to be curable— just as he must 
cease to attend, even for hygienic advice, as soon as the 
patient can get back to employment. He cannot inter- 
vene until destitution has set in, or after it has ceased. 
Yet, just at the crisis of destitution, preventive measures 
are almost always impossible, hygienic instruction is at 
a discount, " after-care " is out of the question, and even 
•any rapid or effective cure is far from hopeful. What the 
Poor Law Medical Service gives— what it was instituted 
iQ give— is, in fact, characteristically entitled "Medical 
Eelief." It "relieves" the chronic cases, but so long 
as it forms part of a necessarily " deterrent " Poor 
Law it is helpless to prevent the occurrence of sickness- 
it neither improves the environment nor gives hygienic 
instruction— whilst even its treatment of disease, belated 
as it must in practice be, necessarily involves what has 
been termed the " mortality of delay." 

We come back, therefore, to the network of public orga- 
nisation which we have abeady set up, in an experimental 


and, so to speak, half-hearted way, for the very pur- 
pose of preventing sickness. Eighty years ago, Edwin 
Chadwick, as Secretary to the Poor Law Commissioners, 
was so impressed by the failure of aU his schemes of a 
reformed and deterrent Poor Law, in any way to prevent 
the destitution caused by disease, that he practically 
insisted on the Government creating another body — now 
the Local Health Authority — to proceed upon diametrically 
opposite principles. What had struck Chadwick in the 
face when, full of his panacea of a deterrent work- 
house, he came to deal with Bethnal Green, was that 
by far the greatest single cause of urban destitution was, 
not any unwillingness to work or inability to employ, 
but " fever " — that fever which we now know as typhus, 
and which was then killing annually more men than 
perished at Waterloo, and reducing to destitution literally 
hundreds of thousands of enfeebled survivors. Under 
Chadwick's inspiration — reinforced, it is good to think, 
by that great opponent of any Poor Law, Dr. Chahners — 
the Public Health Authorities began their work of actually 
preventing the destitution of disease, by changing the 
environment, by searching out every case, by bringing 
medical aid to bear at the earliest possible moment, by 
insisting on getting in at the incipient stage whatever 
the means of the patient, and by promulgating the wisest 
hygienic gospel in the enforcement of a quite new personal 
responsibihty for preventing the spread of disease. We 
all know how the Public Health Authorities proved that 
they could succeed where the Poor Law had failed. Within 
a generation, so far as England and Wales were con- 
cerned, t5rphus, as well as cholera, even among the poorestj 
had practically ceased to be ; and all the incalculable 


mass of destitution that typhus and cholera used to 
cause, and which even the best regulated deterrent work- 
house failed to stop, was, absolutely and in the best possible 
way, prevented from occurring. 

Now, the Local Health Authorities have, of course, 
continued to exist, and to do good work in innumerable 
ways, lessening the ravages of enteric and scarlet fever, 
diminishing the prevalence of ague and consumption, 
and preserving in health countless infants who would 
otherwise have succumbed or survived only in an en- 
feebled state. But we have never, so to speak, given the 
Public Health Department its head. We have persisted 
in thinking that the duty of the Local Health Authority 
was really only to get good drainage and prevent nuisances ; 
and to this day we do not usually realise that it is, in 
England and Wales, already medically treating in its own 
municipal hospitals every year more patients than all 
the much-advertised voluntary hospitals put together ! 
We continue to think of the Medical Officer of Health 
as dealing only with infectious diseases, forgetting that 
the Public Health Acts empower and direct him to prevent 
all diseases whatsoever, and that the 700 municipal 
hospitals are in no way legally restricted as to the cases 
that they may admit. In fact, we have ourselves been so 
much more concerned about smallpox and scarlet fever 
that we have forgotten that it is not only, or even mainly, 
the infectious diseases that are the preventable diseases. 
" Almost every disease," Dr. McVail expressly told the 
Poor Law Commission, " can be dealt with from the 
standpoint of prevention ; and whilst phthisis is specially 
important, yet the early stages of disorders of all organs 
of the body — heart, lungs, kidneys, digestive system. 


brain, and the rest — often furnish indications for pre- 
ventive measures," which, if not applied in time, involve 
the community in the waste and expense of subsequent 
incapacity and destitution. 

Nevertheless, in spite of our habitual ignoring of the 
real function of the Local Health Authority, and of a 
sort of tacit conspiracy to confine it to " drains and 
diphtheria," it has, in the pourse of the past quarter of 
a century, so persistently grown as to have come, at 
last, into conscious rivalry with the Poor Law Medical 
Service. We have, in fact, at present the most comical 
overlapping of functions and duplication of work between 
the two rate-paid medical services. The 4,000 Poor Law 
doctors, with their 700 workhouse infirmaries and sick- 
wards, have to give " medical relief " to all the sick that 
the Relieving Officer deems to be destitute, whatever their 
diseases. The Local Health Authorities, with their 700 
municipal hospitals, their 1,500 medical officers, and their 
two or three thousand. Health Visitors and Sanitary 
Inspectors, deal with an ever-widening circle of cases, 
whether the patients are destitute or not. The one public 
medical service urges patients to come in, and does its 
best to search them out. The other, even when dealing 
with exactly the same class of patients, suffering from the 
same diseases, seeks to " deter " them from applying, 
and subjects them to social unpleasantness when they 
do apply. In some towns, a penurious Local Health 
Authority tries to shunt its responsibility for all Medical 
treatment, even of infectious diseases, to the Poor Law 
Authority ; and smallpox patients in the commom 
lodging-houses have to be removed to the General Mixed 
^9?khouse. In other towns, the Local Health Authority 


treats all sorts of diseases, runs a dispensary, through its 
Health Visitors acts virtually as general practitioner to a 
large proportion of the infants, maintains a "school 
clinic " for the boys and girls, and even (like Barry and 
Widnes) puts up a municipal hospital exclusively for non- 
infectious cases, or " for accidents only." Even with 
regard to any particular disease, there ls the greatest 
divergence of attitude. In one town the phthisical com- 
positor, not yet too far gone to be cured, will, by orders 
of the Local Government Board, be refused aU medical 
treatment at the public expense, because he is not yet 
destitute. In another town, under the same Local Govern- 
ment Board, that same phthisical compositor would be 
welcomed to the rate-provided sanatorium, and praised 
for being wise enough to come before destitution had set 
in ! And the multiplication of publicly-paid doctors does 
not stop at the duplicate medical services of the Poor 
Law and Public Health Departments. We have, also, 
actually in the same towns, and drawing pay from the 
same fund of rates and taxes, the School Doctor, the 
Police Doctor, and the Eire Brigade Doctor, not always 
included in the medical staff of the Borough Medical 
Officer ; the " Certifying Surgeon " imder the Factory 
Department of the Home Office, and another under the 
Coal Mines Regulation Act ; the doctor paid by the Post- 
master-General, and the one by the Marine Department 
of the Board of Trade ; the " medical referee " of the 
local County Court, and the local medical practitioner 
retained by the Inland Revenue Department. We may, 
if we take no thought, find ourselves saddled with yet 
another set of State-paid doctors, appointed in coimection 
with the Government Insurance schemes. It is a climax 


to the irony of the situation, that with all this unco- 
ordinated provision of " State doctoring," amid all the 
mass of sickness that goes unprevented and imtreated, 
the two diseases that are, in practice, the most contagious 
and the most disastrously transmissible from parent to 
child, even to the third and fourth generation — diseases 
which are, up and down England to-day, creating a vast 
mass of specially demoralised and demoralising destitu- 
tion—are, in effect, deliberately refused all medical 
treatment by public or charitable agencies, and thus 
permitted to avoid all hygienic instruction, and escape 
all disciplinary supervision. The man or woman suffering 
from gonorrhoea or syphilis— even if the innocent victim 
of another's guilt — is refused admission to the voluntary 
hospital ; deterred, and as often as possible, hustled out 
of the workhouse ; and, in spite of the extreme danger 
to the public health, wholly unprovided for by the Local 
Health Authority. 

If we are really in earnest in desiring to prevent the 
destitution that arises from sickness, there can hardly, 
we think, be a doubt in the mind of any candid persons 
as to how we should proceed. It does not require any- 
thing new, still less anything that is called " Socialism." 
What we have to do is merely, eighty years late, at last 
to put into operation the statesmanlike proposals of Dr. 
Chahners and Sir Edwin Chadwick. Instead of duplicating 
local governing bodies, everywhere dealing, on diametrically 
opposite principles, with different sections of the sick 
poor, we ought to make, in each district, the directly- 
elected Local Health Authority, uniting for this purpose 
the existing medical staffs of the Poor Law and the Public 
Health services, definitely responsible for the prevention 



of sickness of every Jdnd. In its crusade against all forms 
of preventable disease, the Local Health Authority would 
combine all its multifarious sanitary improvements of 
the material environment ; all its varied preventive 
devices and its " searching out " of every case of untreated 
disease, so as always to bring to bear, at the incipient 
stage, at any rate the offer of adequate treatment ; all 
its volunteer " health visiting " and " after care " com- 
mittees, its " Schools for Mothers " and " Milk Dis- 
pensaries," its school medical inspection and " School 
Clinics " ; all its municipal hospitals and dispensaries, 
its sanatoria, and its convalescent homes. And let us 
not imagine that this means any new and far-reaching in- 
quisitorial powers, or the creation of a local " bureaucracy." 
The fact is, few of us are at all adequately aware of the 
amount of Local Government machinery that abeady 
exists. It is literally true to say that the setting on foot 
of such a systematic crusade against sickness as has just 
been indicated does not mvolve the grant, to the proposed 
Lt)cal Health Authority of the future, of any powers that 
are not already possessed, with regard to one part of the 
field or another, by either the Board of Guardians or the 
Health Committee of the Town or District Council. At 
present we hamper both the Poor Law Authority and 
the Public Health Authority by their disjunction. We 
give each of them the widest possible and most far- 
reaching powers, but we arbitrarily lunit each authority 
to a fraction of the field in such a curious way that, 
at one and the same time, they are extravagantly 
overlapping and suicidally leavmg much undealt with. 
Nor does such a crusade involve the subjection of the 
ordinary citizen, or the individual family, to any new official 


" tyranny " or to any inspection or coercion from which 
we are at present free. The powers, the authorities, the 
institutions, the officers, are already in existence, abeady 
on the rates, already at work. What we do now is to pay 
for them, and suffer the inconvenience of their inspection, 
etc., without getting more than a small fraction of the 
benefit of their existence and functioning. By mere 
consolidation, co-ordination, and quite incidental extension 
of the existing statutory powers, without any novel 
additions, the Local Health Authority would find itself 
fully armed for the crusade. 

But will the Local Health Authorities, even if so 
unified and reinvigorated, put in force their powers ? 
How can the elected local councillors — parsimonious, 
apathetic, ignorant, or even personally interested in 
abuses — be everywhere induced to take their duties 
seriously, and become uniformly active in well-doing ? 
Here, too, experience teaches us the answer. The Local 
Health Authorities, much as they have already accom- 
plished,' have hitherto fallen far short of perfection even, 
in their sanitary work — some have done next to nothing, 
some have put in force only this or that power, few have 
attained anything like an all-round development of the 
whole range afforded by the Public Health Acts — possibly 
not one has done all that was legally open to it. It is 
to be remembered that the Local Health Authorities have 
not had cast on them the responsibility for the care of 
the sick poor. Since we got rid of Sir Edwin Chadwick 
they have never been guided and inspired by any definite 
instructions to carry out the whole range of their potential 
duties. When we, in England, have really wanted to 
get Local Authorities to work uniformly up to a high 


standard of efficiency we have known how to do it, by 
instituting steady and persistent pressure from a specialised 
Central Department and, especially, by backing up its 
insistence by a substantial Grant in Aid, made conditional 
on and varying according to the degree of efficiency 
attained. It was by these means that, from 1856 on- 
wards, the Home Office induced the Borough and County 
Councils to build up a uniformly efficient provincial 
constabulary. It was by the same expedients that the 
Education Department, from 1870 onwards, has accom- 
plished the far more difficult task of gettmg the Local 
Education Authorities to provide a school-place and a 
reasonably efficient elementary education for every child. 
But, because neither the governing classes nor pubHc opinion 
has ever seriously desired to prevent sickness, and never 
sincerely believed it to be practicable, there has (with a 
trifling and insignificant exception) never been any 
Grant in Aid of the work of the Local Health Authorities. 
There has — we may almost say consequently— never been 
any systematic survey or inspection of their work.' They 
are without the advantage of any central criticism or 
advice. So little is made Imown about them that they 
are not even afforded, to any great extent, the benefit of 
mutual emulation. Thirty-two years after the last Royal 
Commission that inquired into the Public Health recom- 
mended the creation of a Central Department, to stimulate 
and supervise the Local Authorities, we are still without 
that Central Department; and the odds and ends of 
Public Health work that are dealt with by the Local 
Government Board are dispersed among no fewer than 
five of its branches, and intermingled, in each case, with 
whoUy extraneous subjects. And to make matters worse 


the Local Government Board — the stepmother to which 
the nation unsuspectingly entrusted its nascent develop- 
ments of Public Health — is stiQ essentially the Poor Law 
Board, dominated by its " Poor Law Division," with 
its 1834 poHcy of "deterrence" and its growing jealousy 
of the newer authorities engaged in the work of preventing 
destitution. With the supersession of the Board of 
Guardians, and the creation of a really effective Local 
Health Authority, we must, it is clear, have a corre- 
sponding abolition of the "Poor Law Division," and 
a transformation of the President of the Local Government 
Board mto a Minister of Health. 

What might we expect from such a reorganisation 
of our existing governmental authorities, and the setting 
on foot of such a crusade against preventable sickness ? 
We measure our words when we say that, judged from 
the facts of the past and the present known to every 
medical man, the adoption of such a programme as we 
have sketched out would, within a very few years (i) 
effect a substantial reduction in the death-rate for the 
country as a whole ; (ii) still further reduce the mfantile 
mortahty by at least one-third of its present amount; I 
(iii) get rid of a very large proportion of our present ill- 
health, and bring down with a run the percentage of 
invaliding through phthisis, etc. ; (iv) diminish alcoholism 
and venereal disease; and (v) consequently prevent 
the recurrence of a yearly mcreasing proportion of the 
destitution and demoralisation that preventable sickness ! 
now causes. The substantial accuracy of this prophecy ^ 
we do not thmk anyone will really doubt. To what extent 
the unprovement could be carried it is plainly impossible 
to predict. It is, of course, true that any such crusade 


against siclmess (with its obvious gain in money to the 
individuals benefited) would mean a certain increase in 
collective expenditure, involving, however, with a quite 
moderate increase in the Grants in Aid, no necessary 
increase in the local rates. Presently, at any rate, it 
might be expected to bring about even a diminution in 
our local burdens, just as the erection of a smallpox 
hospital presently reduces the annual charges of the 
Public Health Department. And there is no necessity 
to make the medical treatment of the Local Health 
Authorities universally gratuitous. What is necessary, 
if we want to prevent sickness, is that, besides improving 
the environment and giving hygienic instruction, medical 
treatment, including the necessary subsistence dm-ing 
sickness, should be universally and immediately ob- 
tainable. Any arrangement for payment, that is con- 
sistent with this universality, will not be mcompatible 
with the proposed crusade. We ourselves suggested, m 
the Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission, a 
combination of the promptest treatment by the Local 
Health Authority with effective arrangements for Charge 
and Recovery in every case in which the patient was found 
able to pay. We still adhere to this proposal as the one 
best calculated to prevent the indispensable provision for 
every imtreated case from financially mjm'mg the private 
medical practitioner. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
has smce seen his way to a system of compulsory deductions 
from wages by which practically the whole of those em- 
ployed at less than £160 a year, together with many 
others, will contribute, in advance, the cost of theh own 
medical treatment, to be organised under the dhection 
of " approved " Friendly Societies. We shall discuss in 


a subsequent chapter the advantages and disadvantages 
of insurance as a method of provision, whether for sick- 
ness, or invaUdity, unemployment, or old age. But we 
may say at once that, assuming that efficient medical 
treatment on preventive lines is really 'provided for every case;, 
whether or not caught in the insurance net, such a scheme 
of compulsory sick benefit insurance is entirely consistent 
with — though the insurance alone would not, in itself, 
effect — the campaign of sickness prevention that we 
advocate. And in our chapter on Insurance we shall 
show that, without some such camp aign of preventi on, 
uniting a_^ progressive improvement of the sanitary e n- 
vironment with the promptest treatment..^d-.Jij£gie nid 
instruction of the individual patient, any scheme of\ 
Compulsory Insurance will work out, not only into financial 
disaster, but also, by the slowly spreading habits of 
malmgering, into an msidious deterioration of personal 
character ; whilst it will nevertheless fail to prevent or 
provide for the destitution caused by sickness among th? 
poorest and weakest sections of the community. 

Another objection to our proposal — one also based 
on a misapprehension — is that it would inevitably involve 
the " municipalisation " of the voluntary hospitals, and 
the supersession of all the various philanthropic agencies 
that at present do so much to alleviate the sufferings of 
the sick poor. In a subsequent chapter, on " The En- 
larged Sphere of Voluntary Agencies in the Prevention 
of Destitution," we shall describe how the recognition 
of the responsibility of the community for preventing 
all preventable sickness, and for seeing that every case 
is adequately dealt with, will mvolve not only the use 
of all the existing voluntary hospitals and philanthropic 


agencies, in whatever way they are willing to be used, 
but also an urgent call for more voluntary workers 
to co-operate with the oflEicers of the Local Health 
Authorities, and for additional specialised philanthropic 
institutions of old kinds and of new to supplement the 
necessarily " wholesale " provision of the rate-levying 

Finally, there is the objection that by deliberately 
taking the steps necessary to prevent aU preventable 
sickness we shall be, in soine way, undermining the personal 
independence and destroying the moral character of the 
people. In a subsequent chapter, on " The Moral Factor 
in Destitution," we shall show that it is, on the con- 
trary, only by the systematic carrying out, by duly 
co-ordinated public authorities and voluntary agencies, 
of the policy of prevention — that is, the enforcement on 
every citizen of his personal obligations whilst simul- 
taneously ensuring, with equal universality, that every 
citizen shall be enabled to fulfil them — that we can stimulate 
the maximum personal independence and develop to the 
utmost the individual capacity of the people at large. 


Notes and References 

Page 19. The history of the Public Health Movement may be conveniently 
read in English Sanitary Institutions, by Sir John Simon (Smith, Elder & 
Co.), or in The Public Health Agitation, 1833-48, by Miss B. L. Hutchins 
(Fifield). The work of the present day may be gathered from such books 
as Public Health Problems, by J. F. Sykes (Walter Scott); The Prevention 
of Tuberculosis, by A. Newsholme (Methuen); The Health of the State, by 
Sir George Newman (Headley) ; Hygiene and Public Health, by B. A. 
Whitelegge and Sir George Newman (Cassell) ; The Conquest of Consump- 
tion, by Arthur Latham and C. H. Garland (Unwin); or the Annual 
Keports of the National League for Physical Education and Improvement 
(4, Tavistock Square, London). 

Page 22. As to the remarkable success already achieved— all since 1905— 
in the campaign against Infantile Mortality, see the Eeports of the National 
Conferences on Infantile Mortality, 1906 and 1908 (P. S. King & Son) ; Infant 
Mortality, by Sir George Newman (Methuen : 1906) ; Infantile Mortality and 
Infants' Milk Depots, by G. E. McCleary (P. S. King & Son : 1905) ; Infancy, 
by T. N. Kelynack ; and the Report on Infant Mortality of the Chief Medical 
Officer of the Local Government Board (Dr. A. Newsholme). 

Page 23. As to "Schools for Mothers "—sometimes called "Babies' 
Welcome," " Infant Consultations," etc.— see The School for Mothers, with 
introduction by Sir Thomas Barlow; and the Annual Reports of those at 
St. Pancras, Sheffield, Bermondsey, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Wimble- 
don; and various descriptions in Progress (British Institute of Social 
Service, 4, Tavistock Square, London). The "Babies' Welcome" at Sheffield 
is a municipal institution, run by the Borough Medical Officer of Health, 
and dealing with over 200 babies per week. At Birmingham and Bermondsey 
the whole cost is borne by the rates, but the administration is left to a 
philanthropic committee. At Wimbledon and Nottingham only a grant in 
aid is given, whilst at St. Pancras and elsewhere, though the Medical 
Officer of Health assists by advice, the cost falls wholly on private funds. 

Page 23. The use of Health Visitors, sometimes salaried, but" often 
mainly volunteers, has spread to many towns— see The State and the Doctor, 
by S. and B. Webb (Longmans), pp. 166-85, 207, 235; and various notices in 
Progress (British Institute of Social Service) for 1910 and 1911. The Annual 
Reports of the Westminster Health Society, and of the Medical Officers of 
Health for Huddersfield, Glasgow, and Sheffield should be consulted. See 
also "The Work of the Health Visitor," by G. E. McCleary. in Albany 
Review, April, 1907; and the Reports of the Association of Health Workers 
(53, Berners Street, London, W.); Health Visiting, by the National League 
for Physical Education and Improvement ; The Health of Infants, and what 
is being done to advance it, by Canon Wilson; and Letters from Miss 
Florence Nightingale on Health Visiting in rural districts (P. S. King 
& Son, 1911). 

Page 24. The quotation is from the Minority Report of the Poor Law 

41 " 


Commission, 1909 (Part I., ch. V., sec. H; p. 227 of the ofiBcial 8vo edition; 
p. 28(5 of the popular edition). 

Page 2G. The cxuotations are from evidence before the Poor Law Com- 
mission, Q. 51859, par 4, and Q. 51896; compare also Q. 50873, Qs. 33240-5, and 
Q. 41888, par 10; see Minority Report, p. 203 of official 8vo. edition; p. 252 of 
popular edition. 

Page 27. The reader will find in The State and the Doctor (Longmans) 
not only a full description of the organisation and working of the Poor Law 
Medical Service and the Public Health Medical Service, but also all the 
available statistics ; and references to official and medical authorities. 

Page 29. For the intervention of Edwin (afterwards Sir Edwin) 
Chadwick, see the Pourtli and Fifth Annual Keports of the Poor Law 
Commission, 1838 and 1839; and the four great surveys that ensued, the 
General Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Populati<Mi,^f 
Great Britain, 1842; Local Reports on the Sanitary Condition of me 
Labouring Population of England and Wales, 1842; Local Reports on the 
Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Scotland, 1842; Report 
on the System of Interment in Large Towns, 1843. A brief account of this 
movement is given in The State and the Doctor, pp. 2-13; and a fuller one 
in The Public Health Aijitation, 1833-48, by Miss B. L. Hutchins. 

Page 29. It is sometimes forgotten that Dr. Chalmers, the great apostle 
of voluntary charity as a sufficient and preferable alternative to any Poor 
Law, never intended to abandon the sick to voluntary charity. What he 
objected to (and in this we hold him to have been thoroughly borne out 
by our subsequent experience) was a ny Poor L aat, .or public -orga nisation 
for the relief ofjdeSitltut_ion ("indjgence ") as such. But so far was he from 
deprecatlSg appropriate specialised provision, or CTOvernment action, that 
he repeatedly advocated and demanded complete public provision for the 
sick, complete public provision for the mentally^, defective, and a national 
system of educational provision for the chil3ren=H;liۤe forming at least 
two-thirds of alT^our^iSresen-t pauperism. " The distinction," he said, 
""^between ... a public charity for the relief of indigence and a public 
charity for the relief of disease must not have occurred to the civilised 
governments of Europe, else it would have more frequently been acted on; 
and yet on the moment of its being stated it is a distinction, abundantly 
obvious in itself, and alike obvious in the reasons for it. An ostensible 
provision for the relief of poverty creates more poverty. An ostensible 
provision for the relief of disease does not create mors diagase. The human 
will is enlisted on the side of poverty by the provision which is made for it. 
No such provision will ever enlist the human will on the side of disease. 
. . . Though poverty in itself be not pleasant, yet the path of indolence and 
dissipation which leads to it is abundantly pleasant and alluring; and so 
thousands are prepared to rush upon this descending path, on the moment 
that the consequent poverty is disarmed of its terrors, by the protection 
and promises of law. It is thus that under such a system men are tempted, 
and that in constantly increasing numbers, to become voluntarily poor; 
but no system, no multiplication of funds or of hospitals will (with a few- 
rare exceptions, far too rare to be practically of any weight in a general 
argument) tempt men to become voluntarily diseased. No man will break 
a limb for the sake of its skilled amputation in an infirmary; or put out 
his eyes for the beneiit of admittance to a blind asylum; or become wilfully 
dumb or deranged or leprous, that he might lay claim to any treatment or 
guardianship which may have been provided at the expense of the nation 
for these respective maladies. ... An indefinite provision for want is ever 



sure to .multiply its objects; and the evil recedes and enlarges, with every 
advaucs that is made upon it. A certain definite provision, on the other 
hand, for disease, will be as sure to overtake its objects. By every new 
contribution we approach the nearer to distinct and satisfactory fulfilment; 
nor does the benevolence, whether of the government or of associated 
philanthropists, need to stay its hand under the apprehension that one 
sufferer more will be added to the melancholy catalogue of disease because 
of all the care and tenderness which can possibly be bestowed upon it. 
This forms the great distinction between the two cases. The open proclama- 
ti on of a fre e entry into asylums of disease would make a clean abridgment 
of human misery, and bring no new or additional disease into existence. 

. The halt, and the blind, and the maimed, and the impotent, and flie 
dumb, and the lunatic stand before us, with a special mark impressed 
upon them by the hand of ProvidenceT and which at, once announces both 
their necessity and their claim, for the unqualified sympathy of their 
fellows. It would give rise to no ulterior demand on the benevolence of the 
country thoiigh receptacles were opened wide enough and frequent enough 
to harbour them all. A certain definite amount of suffering and distress 
would be cleared away from the territory of human wretchedness, without 
any baleful operation on the territory beyond it. . . . The argument against 
a public charity for indigence applies so little to the public charities for 
disease that, practically, while the former ought to be abolished, the latter, 
with a proper degree of regiilation and watchfulness, might be encouraged 
to the uttermost."— (/In Essay read before the Royal Institute of France, in 
Works, vol. 21, pp. 390-404.) 

Dr. Chalmers did not confine himself to advocacy of institutional treat- 
ment, but asked for " a cheap, if not rather a gratuitoiis supply of 
professional services for the general popiilation." And he greatly objected 
to the treatment of the sick being made part of the relief of the destitute. 
" A Bill," he wrote, " was lately in progress through Parliament, having 
for its single design the promotion of the public health, and especially 
among the lower classes of society— those, in particular, who are congre- 
gated together in the deep and dark and densely populated recesses of our 
larger towns. We trust that it will fully comprehend, at whatever expense, 
all the provisions which might contribute to the success of so beneficent a 
measure— as drainage, and ventilation, and the minimum size of houses, and 
the proper width of streets and alleys; and withal the establishment of a 
medical police for the removal of nuisances, and even a cheap if not rather 
a gratuitous supply of professional services for the general population. 
The object is triily admirable and free of all exception; and I therefore 
regretted all the more, when at first the proposed legislation was confined 
to Engl and and Wales — leaving out Scotland. . . . And what we apprehended 
as forthcoming for Scotland, was, instead of a measrrre for health singly, a 
general measure of assimilation, by which to bring both parts of the island 
under one and the same regimen— at least so far as to insinuate the 
principle of an assessment for mere poverty, along with an assessment for 
health which shall extend to all our parishes; and thus in company with 
or under the cover of what is excellent, expose our beloved people to an 
admixture of the vile with the precious, or the importation of a hurtful 
ingredient, that would prove the germ of an interminable and ever-growing 
mischief" (The Sufficiency of the Parochial System, in Works, vol. 21, 
pp. 170-81). 

Page 33. As to the very grave position with regard to venereal disease, 
the evidence before the Poor Law Commission should be consulted (notably 


Q. 52840, par. 15-16; Qs. 41231-346; Q. 37927. par. 10; Qs. 37928-30; Q. 21504; 
Q. 19462a. See also Report of Departmental Committee on Physical 
Degeneration, 1904, p. 77; and The State and the Doctor, pp. 77, 151-2, 
209, 213). 

Page 36. For a full description of our system of Grants in Aid, and how 
they work, the student is referred to Grants in Aid; a Criticism and a 
Proposal, by Sidney Webb (Longmans : 1911). 

Page 37. Even the Times editorially asks the nation to " regard the 
problem of sickness among the poor from a collective rather than from an 
individual standpoint"; and declares that the "transfer of the medical 
care of the absolutely or relatively destitute from authorities charged with 
the relief of distress to authorities of suflBcient weight and dignity who 
should be charged with the preservation of the public health, would, we 
entertain little doubt, be followed before long by a marked diminution in 
the amount of disease . . . and by a corresponding increase of safety for all 
classes of the community" (Times, April 15th, 1909, leading article). 
Compare The Dawn of the Health Age, by Professor Benjamin Moore 
(Churchill: 1911). 


Destitution and Eugenics 

We have reserved for a separate chapter the con- 
siderations raised of recent years in the name of Eugenics. 
So far as we understand the teachings and warnings of 
Sir Francis Galton, Professor Karl Pearson, and Dr. 
Saleeby, the discoveries and conclusions of Eugenics, or 
the " Science of good breeding," far from being in any 
way opposed to any such crusade against sickness, or 
any such prevention of destitution as we advocate, furnish 
in reahty the strongest of arguments in its favour. It 
is significant that many of the keenest supporters of 
Eugenics are, at the same time, the most zealous workers 
for this as for other social reforms. But it would be idle 
to ignore the existence, in the minds of many other ad- 
herents of the new science, of a more or less definitely 
formulated idea that Eugenics offers what is really an 
alternative poHcy. Some of these persons seem to feel, 
as believers in "evolution" and the "survival of the. 
fittest," that the community would be doing positive harm 
to the race by deliberately taking further steps to prevent 
the occurrence of disease or to reduce the death-rate. 
Others vaguely imagine that, as " acquired characteristics 
are not inherited," it is neither necessary nor of any public 
importance to prevent disease or bad habits, or any other 

45 " 


physical, mental, or moral injury to the individual. 
Others, again, are so much impressed by the extent to 
which certain specific evil strains of body and character 
are inherited that they would gladly see the whole energy 
and expenditure of the community concentrated on an 
attempt to breed only from the best stocks. These three 
phases of common " Eugenic " belief are apt to be com- 
bined into a practical indisposition to give assistance or 
encouragement, not to schemes for the Prevention of 
Destitution only, but to every social reform or ameliorative 
proposal of any kind. This is, in fact, just now the most 
fashionable kind of laissez faire ! 

Considering these objections one by one, we take 
first that of the crude biologist, who deprecates in the 
name of evolution any attempt to lower the death-rate, 
who objects to any proposals for preventing sickness, and 
who resents, especially, any effort to diminish the terrible 
holocaust of infantile mortality. What he wishes to 
avoid, he explains, is any interference with the struggle 
for existence. 

Now we venture to suggest that, on all the principles 
and discoveries of his own science, laissez faire is, necessarily 
to a Eugenist the worst of all policies because it implies 
the definite abandonment of that intelligently purposeful 
selection in which he puts his faith. Even if we were 
agreed that the rigorous " selection " of the " state of 
nature " were the sort of selection best suited to the needs 
of a modern highly-civilised community, it would not be 
practicable or possible to let that " natm-al " selection 
take its course. If, for a moment, we, as a nation, for- 
swore our humanitarian sentiments, and decided to abolish 
collective provision for the weak and the unfit, there 


would inevitably follow an outburst of the most senti- 
mental private charity. The fanatical Eugenist of the 
Individualist school is strangely oblivious of human nature 
if he imagines that he can persuade the ordinary Christian 
man and woman to see little children die of starvation 
without making spasmodic and even desperate attempts 
to prevent it. And it is characteristic of such indis- 
criminate and spasmodic charity that it not only neglects 
aU Eugenic principles, but that in so far as it has any 
discrimination, it usually discriminates the wrong way. 
That is to say, it tends to maintain without any possibility 
of segregation exactly the worst — i.e., the weakest, the 
most afflicted, and therefore the most appealing cases. 
Under such a system of private doles we know by ex- 
perience that it is the parents who beg, and cringe, and He, 
and sometimes even deform their offspring so as to excite 
compassion, who succeed in extracting a subsistence 
from the charitable. ^ 

But suppose that it were possible to suppress Christian 

• charity and all philanthropic care for children, as well 
1 as all public provision, could we then afford to leave the 
I desirable " elimination of the unfit " to the blind action 

• of an unchecked death-rate ? There is, in truth, absolutely 
: no evidence that the unchecked ravages of disease, or the 
: fatal efiects of a pernicious environment, ever result (any 
imore than a war or a famine) in an improvement in the 
1 human stock. Any such improvement, that we should 
(deem an improvement, is, under the supposed conditions 
(of absolutely unrestricted individual struggle for existence 
iand " natural " selection, actually improbable. " Nature " 
iis not intelligently purposeful, and knows nothing of the 
.'Standards of civilised man. If let alone, " Nature " 


neither breeds from the best stock — as we estimate it — 
nor selects the best individuals for survival. There is 
no reason why those who are elitniriated in the struggle 
of unrestricted competition should coincide with those 
whom we, as civilised men, would most wish to survive. 
To give one example among many, it is notorious that 
under a given stress of circumstances more male babies 
die than female ; but this does not prove that men are 
inferior to women, or that (in a community having a 
surplus of women) they are less " fit " to survive. In 
fact, as any biologist knows, there is positively no relation 
between " viability " and social fitness. The question 
who is to survive is determined by the conditions of the 
struggle, the rules of the ring. Where the rules of the ring 
favour a low t5^e, the low type will survive, and vice 
versa. The survivors of an unregulated epidemic of scarlet 
fever or t5rphus may owe their escape to constitutional 
peculiarities which are otherwise perfectly valueless, and 
which may even perhaps only be found amongst persons 
whom, from every other point of view, we should caU 
unfit. If, for example, it were possible for an epidemic 
of malarial fever to spread unchecked all over the United 
States of America, it is highly probable that the whites 
would be eliminated and the blacks would survive. There 
is, indeed, always a general presumption that the un- 
regulated unpurposeful struggle will distinctly favour 
the less individually developed and more prolific organisms 
as against the more highly developed and less fertile. 
In short, the " survival of the fittest " in an environment 
unfavourable to progress may— as every biologist knows 
— mean the survival of the lowest parasite. 

The second objection— that, however degraded and 


demoralised the poorest section of the population may 
become, tke matter is of comparatively little importance 
because these acquired characteristics are not inherited — 
surely overshoots the mark ! For it shows a strange 
callousness, or perhaps forgetfulness, not only with regard 
to the effect of adverse prenatal conditions, which ad- 
mittedly account for so much definite malformation of 
brain or body, and not a Httle " congenital " disease, 
but also with regard to the adverse effects on the germ- 
plasm of such " racial poisons " as syphilitic infection, 
lead, and, perhaps, alcoholism, which demonstrably 
effect the offsprmg by genuine inheritance. Moreover, 
there is such a thing as social inheritance, as well as 
biological. Even if each generation of babies inherited 
nothing of the physical degeneration of its parents, of which 
we can by no means feel confident, there is certainly a very 
potent family tradition and " class atmosphere " of 
slovenliness, physical self-indulgence, and irresponsibility 
— it may be actually of "parasitism" — which is quite un- 
mistakably transmitted from one generation to the next. 
To put the case more generally, we cannot afford to leave 
unchecked the influences that produce, not death alone, 
but even more widely slums and disease, physical starva- 
tion, mental perversion, demoralisation of character, and 
actual crime, however convinced we may be that the evil 
characters acquired in such an environment are not 
and will not be physically transmitted from parent to 
child. What does it profit us to be told that " acquired 
characteristics are not inherited" if we permit the 
existence and therefore the social transmission of an 
environment which injures or corrupts each generation 
before it is born, and after it is born ? This refusal to 


realise the effect of environment is, in fact, singularly 
out of place in those who believe in the Science of Good 
Breeding. The object of the Eugenist is not merely to 
produce fine babies, but to ensure the ultimate pro- 
duction of fine adults. No matter how perfect the stock 
from which an infant is born, if it be exposed to sufficiently 
adverse conditions it will grow up a stunted weakling. 
" By far the more serious matter affecting the common- 
wealth in every possible way at the present time," writes 
a great authority on children's diseases, referring to 
infantile mortality, " is the condition of babies who do 
not die, but who are reared in a condition of hopeless 
malnutrition. Let us consider, for instance, one disease 
— rickets. Its effects on the nervous system are of the 
most far-reaching character. Of the ' convulsions ' which 
cause the death of babies at about twelve months of age, 
rickets is practically the sole cause. At a later stage of 
life the manifestations of the injuries caused by this 
disease are seen in epilepsy and in insanity. The Lunatic 
Asylums are largely occupied at the present time by cases 
of insanity arising from injuries of the nervous system 
by rickets. Adenoid growths, one of the common 
troubles of childhood, are practically caused entirely by 
deformed structure due to rickets. If you go to the 
chest hospitals and select the patients who are under 
treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis, you will find 
the majority of them are suffering from deformities of 
the chest due to rickets. The pulmonary disease is simply 
a secondary result of the injuries to the chest and of the 
injuries to the tissues arising from rickets. All sorts of 
deformities which ^o to make up the number of cripples 
that we are acquainted with are caused by the same 


disease, and in addition to specific disease and deformities, 
rickets is responsible for a general and permanent en- 
feeblement of mind and body." And rickets is a disease 
which, though widespread enough, is practically confined 
to the children of the slums, and is caused definitely by 
neglect, fundamentally by malnutrition. It is the outcome 
not of bad stock but of bad environment ; and if we aim 
at the production of a fine adult race we cannot afford 
to leave that bad environment alone. That which kiUs 
off some, damages many more ; and even if we did not 
much want to lower the infantile death-rate, we should 
stiU need to do our utmost to diminish the damage-rate 
among the survivors, which (as Dr. Newsholme has once 
more conclusively demonstrated) varies in very close 
relation to the death-rate. 

The problem that the Eugenist has to face, in the 
deterioration of each successive generation by the evil 
environment of urban destitution, is becoming all the 
more important and urgent by reason of the volitional 
restriction of births, which is now rapidly spreading over 
the civilised world. This restriction is clearly differential. 
Within the wage-earning class, it takes place most among 
prudent, thrifty, responsible artisans, enjoying regular 
work under relatively good conditions. It takes place 
least among the casual and irregular labourers, who fill 
the one-room tenements of our slums. The absence of 
decent accommodation, the recklessness which comes 
from a precarious living, the idleness and liability to 
drink, which characterise the ''under-employed man," are 
some among many reasons which tend to this result. 
Anyone who has observed the change in character which 
is brought about by regular employment and decent 


accommodation realises that the restriction of the birth- 
rate, which is now characteristic of the regularly employed 
working-class, is largely due to the mere improvement 
in their circumstances. This differential birth-rate is 
certainly resulting in fewer births from our best stocks, 
or from those who are in better conditions for child 
nurture. That is to say, the unfit by inheritance or by 
environment are actually multiplying, and being multi- 
plied, as the direct result of the unorganised condition 
of the labour market and the bad housing, which their - 
very existence creates and perpetuates. We can alter 
the anti-Eugenic breeding only by changing the environ- 
ment which is responsible for it. To raise the condition 
of the dock-labourer even only to that of the railway 
porter is demonstrably to check the prolific multiplication 
of the lowest section. For the rest, what seems indis- 
pensable and urgent is to alter the economic incidence of 
child-bearing among the artisan and lower middle classes. 
Under present social conditions the birth of children in 
households maintained on less than £3 a week (and these 
form four-fifths of the nation), is attended by almost 
penal consequences. The central problem of all practical 
Eugenics is, as Professor Karl Pearson has suggested, to 

This is the ideal which we should all like to see carried 
out. At present we have no practical scheme to bring 
it about ; and, in the meantime, the best we can do, on 
this side of the problem of Eugenics, is, at any rate, to 
make the well-born child less of a burden to its parents. 

We now come to the thkd, and, as we venture to 
believe, the most valid of these Eugenist demurrers to 
the policy of prevention ; the quite reasonable desire to 


concentrate all possible public attention, and aU available 
effort and expenditure on the importance of " breeding 
from the best stocks " ; and especially on taking im- 
mediate steps to prevent tbe persistent multiplication 
of tiie congenitally feeble-minded. But this does not 
warrant any indifference to tbe prevention of destitution. 
It is, indeed, just because tlie nation does not at present 
" prevent " but merely " relieves " destitution, tbat 
this breeding from the congenitally feeble-minded stocks 
is permitted, and even encouraged and subsidised. The 
existing Poor Law operates almost exclusively as an 
anti-Eugenic influence ; notably in the laxity of its pro- 
vision for feeble-minded maternity, in the opportunities 
for undesirable acquaintanceship afforded by the General 
Mixed Workhouse, in its inability to search out defectives 
and wastrels who do not apply for relief, and in its failure 
to provide any practical alternative to the Outdoor Relief 
now afforded to tens of thousands of feeble-minded or 
physically defective parents. To deal with one aspect 
only of the present system, as things stand at present the 
Poor Law Authorities cannot even try to check the con- 
tmued procreation of known but uncertified mentally 
' defective persons. Indeed, such influence as they exercise 
in the granting of reHef to such persons is aU the other 
• way. It is not generally known that some fifteen thousand 
babies are born m the workhouse every year. To the feeble- 
immded woman, or to the woman who is mentally and 
1 morally degenerate without being actually imbecile, the 
Poor Law offers free and unconditional medical assistance 
.at the time of her confinement. Thousands of these 
unfit " mothers treat the local workhouse or Poor Law 
■ infirmary simply as a free maternity hospital. They 


come in year after year tliroughout their child-bearing 
period ; and having received, at the expense of the rates, 
the most slcilful care that modern medical science can 
provide, they go out again, taking their infants with them, 
only to return as a matter of course and of right when 
their next confinement draws near. 

This abuse of the system of public provision for the 
destitute not only is not but cannot be prevented under any 
Poor Law or system of relieving destitution as such. 
"Under any Poor Law, the Authorities are bound to provide 
the necessaries of life for all who are destitute, they are 
bound to relieve only those who are destitute — that is to 
say, only when they are destitute — and thus they are 
bound to discharge their patients as soon as these wish 
to leave. Their one weapon is " deterrence " — that is 
to say, they may (at the risk of leavmg cases wholly 
untreated) try to deter people from applying for rehef by 
making the conditions as disgraceful and unpleasant as 
possible. The treatment of a woman during her con- 
finement cannot, in the nature of the case, be made 
■actively distasteful to her, so that the disgrace of pauperism 
is the only deterrent infiuence available. Needless to say, 
the women to whom we refer are quite impervious to any 
such immaterial influence, and so the abuse goes on. 
Such, indeed, are our present arrangements that the only 
necessitous persons who are effectively deterred from 
accepting pubhc assistance at these crises are the very 
persons whom, as Eugenists, we should IH^e to encourage 
to increase and multiply. Pubhc subsidy without selection 
is bad enough, but here we have the Poor Law actually 
^selecting, in practice, the mferior stocks for its subsidies. 
To quote the Minority Report of the Poor Law 


Commission : "If the State liad desired to maximise both 
feeble-minded procreation and birth out of wedlock there 
could not have been suggested a more apt device than the 
provision, throughout the country, of General Mixed 
Workhouses, organised as they now are, to serve as 
unconditional Maternity Hospitals." 

But it is not our Poor Law only that is in this way 
at fault. Our whole penal system, harsh and cruel as 
it is in its dealings with these feeble-minded folk, who 
require treatment not punis-hment, actually subsidises, 
as "ins and outs," by its spasmodic provision of shelter 
and maintenance for them in its short sentences, a con- 
tinually multiplying class. Our gaol records reveal that 
a considerable proportion of the prison population are 
congenitally feeble-minded. " From the earliest age," 
report the Prison Commissioners, " when they appear 
before the Magistrates as children on remand or as juvenile 
offenders, until and throughout the adult period of their 
lives, the mentally defective, at first reprimanded and 
returned to their parents, then convicted and subjected 
to a short sentence and returned to their parents, and 
then later continually sentenced and re-sentenced and 
returned to their parents or friends till, for crimes of 
greater gravity, they pass to the convict prisons, are 
treated, as this reiterated evidence shows, without hope 
and without purpose, and in such a way as to allow them 
to become habitual delinquents of the worst type and to 
propagate a feeble-minded progeny which may become 
crinoinal like themselves." "Punishment," adds Dr. 
Scott, of the Brixton House of Detention, " has Httle 
effect upon them. Eeforming influences also fail with 
them usually. As they have very little self-respect, and 


home ties, if they have any, do not weigh much with 
them, they do not fear coming to prison. Indeed, to 
many of them, prison is rather a harbour of refuge, as 
they are spared the trouble of thinking how to get food 
and lodging." 

Thus, by Poor Law and Prison alike, we now keep 
the feeble-minded class alive and at large. And they do 
not succumb in the struggle. Indeed, it may almost be 
said to be a peculiarity of the congenitaUy feeble-minded 
that they will not die of starvation. The girls drop into 
prostitution and the boys into theft on the least pro- 
vocation. Thus, a policy of laisser faire on the one hand, 
or a policy of deterrent treatment on the other, is equally 
futile. By common consent, indeed, we may now say 
that both these policies, when faced with the problem of 
feeble-mindedness, are alike whoUy bankrupt. 

In view of this terrible indictment of each section 
of the present public provision for the congenitaUy feeble- 
minded, persons of all shades of opinion find themselves, 
after the convincing testimony of the Royal Commission 
on the Care and Control of the Feeble-minded, unanimously 
in agreement. Whether we approach the problem from 
the standpoint of Christian humanitarianism concerned 
to prevent the continuance of unwitting prostitution and 
crime, or from the standpoint of Eugenics intent on 
eliminating the inherently bad stock, or from the stand- 
point merely of preventing (instead of relieving) this 
like other manifestations of destitution, we all converge 
on an identical Line of reform. What we have to do is 
to search out and permanently segregate, under reasonably 
comfortable conditions and firm but kindly control, all 
the congenitaUy feeble-minded. This involves, as aU 


agree, tlie subtraction of these unfortunates from the Poor 
Law and the Prison Authorities, as from the ordinary 
school and the normal population. It involves their being 
dealt with, not as paupers or as criminals, but definitely 
as mental defectives by an Authority specialising on 
mental defectiveness. This means, as aU agree, the 
transfer of jurisdiction over and responsibility for the 
congenitally feeble-minded to the Central and Local Authori- 
ties already charged with the custody of other persons of 
unsound mind. 

The recommendations of the Royal Commission on 
the Feeble-m i nded, endorsed by both the Majority and the 
Minority Reports of the Poor Law Commission, represent 
the completion of a process of superseding the Poor Law 
by the Lunacy Authority which is abeady far advanced. 
A century ago there was only one authority which could 
deal with persons suffering from mental deficiency. If a 
lunatic was found wandering about in a state of destitution 
he was taken to the workhouse, there to be treated by 
the Board of Guardians as a destitute person of an ex- 
tremely unpleasant kmd. Presently, Parliament became 
aware of the inconvenience of wandering lunatics and of 
the disastrous mischief which they might inflict on them- 
selves and other people. Hence, the establishment of 
the Lunacy Authority— now the Asylums Committee of 
the County and County Borough Council. This authority 
was required to search out lunatics and to bring them 
under care and control, irrespective of the fact of whether 
they were destitute or had the necessary means of sub- 
sistence, with a view so to treat them that they could 
be cured of their lunacy or, if incurable, should be con- 
trolled in the interests of themselves and of the community. 


Now we perceive that there are forms of mental deficiency 
which are even more dangerous to the community than 
acute lunacy, because of the greater liability to be trans- 
mitted to offspring. Hence the proposal to give juris- 
diction over all mentally defective persons to an authority 
which can search them out and bring them under control 
and treatment, irrespective of whether they are destitute 
or not. 

We see, therefore, that the universally accepted 
'Conclusion, with regard to the feeble-minded, far from being 
in opposition to the other prospoals for the Prevention 
<of Destitution, runs upon exactly the same lines. We are, 
with regard to this section, to " break up " the Poor Law, 
and abandon, frankly and completely, all and any mere 
" relief " of destitution. We are, on the contrary, to place 
the responsibility for this particular section of the destitute 
'on the committee of the County or County Borough 
Council specialising on the larger class to which, by its 
characteristics, it belongs ; and to require that conmiittee 
to pursue the policy of " searching out " every case and 
of providing for it the most appropriate treatment. And 
it is interesting to notice that the application of this 
appropriate treatment to all the congenitally feeble-minded, 
at an early stage in life, before evil consequences have 
manifested themselves — the point on which Eugenists 
and humanitarians alike lay most stress — depends on the 
extent to which the other proposals for the Prevention 
of Destitution, described in this book, are actually put 
into force. Unless we have a Local Authority responsible 
for " searching out " and brmgmg under medical in- 
spection every child of school age, the Local Lunacy 
Authority will not hear of many of the congenitally 



feeble-minded girls until harm is done. Unless we have 
a Local Health Authority responsible for seeing that every 
sick person is under medical treatment, and an Unemploy- 
ment Authority, through its registers, cognisant of all 
men and women unable to get employment — and thus in 
a position to report all apparently feeble-minded cases for 
further inquiry with a view to segregation — the feeble- 
minded mother of illegitimate children, the feeble- 
minded vagrant wandering along the roads, and the 
feeble-minded parasite of urban soup-kitchens and free 
shelters, will, to our undoing as a nation, continue to 
perpetuate their deficiency. 


Notes and References 

Page 45. The reader will find in the pages of the Eugenics Review, the 
organ of the Eugenics Education Society, the best account of this movement. 
See, in particular. Parenthood and Race-Culture, by Dr. C. W. Saleeby 
(Cassell); The Family and the Nation, by W. C. D. and Mrs. AVhetham 
(Longmans: 1909); The Endowment of Motherhood, by H. D. Harben 
(Fabian Society : 1910) ; and National Life from the Standpoint of Science, 
by Professor Karl Pearson (Black). 

Page 47. In Chapter VIII. of the present book ("The Enlarged Sphere 
of Voluntary Agencies in a Preventive Campaign against Destitution ") the 
reader will find instances of the way in which private charity rushes in to 
defeat any attempt at restricting relief to the destitute. 

Page 48. Dr. Ray Lancaster, in his Parasitism, drew pointed attention to 
the fact that "evolution" and the "survival of the fittest" just as easily 
led to parasitic development as to any rise in the biological scale. See also 
Professor D. G. Ritchie's Darwinism and Politics. 

Page 50. The quotation is from Dr. Ralph Vincent, of the Hospital for 
Children. Vincent Square, Westminster, in The Infants' Hospital and its 
Work (London : 1908). See also Minority Report of the Poor Law Com- 
mission, 1909 (p. 78 of ofiicial 8vo edition). 

Page 51. As to the momentous changes in the number of children born, 
see The Decline of the Birth Rate, by Sidney Webb (Fabian Society, 
3, Clement's Inn, London, W.C.), in which references are given to all the 
statistical and other authorities. See also The Fertility of the Unfit, by 
W. A. Chappie (Whitcombe : 1904). 

Page 53. For the estimated number of births annually in the workhouses 
and poorhouses of the United Kingdom, see Minority Report of the Poor Law 
Commission, 1909 (p. 78 of official 8vo edition). The number in London is 
about 3,000; in the workhouses of Ireland over 2,000. 

Page 55. The quotation is from the Annual Report of the Prisons Com- 
missioners for England and Wales for 1909 (published in 1910). Compare 
Crime and Criminals, 1876-1910, by R. F. Quinton (Longmans : 1911). 

Page 56. The Report of the Royal Commission on the Care and Control 
of the Feeble-minded (Cd. 4202), 1908; with seven volumes of evidence, 
reports, appendices, etc. (Cd. 4215-21), has been reproduced in brief abstract 
as The Problem of the Feeble-minded, by Sir Edward Fry, Sir Francis 
Galton, Miss Mary Dendy, and others (London : 1909). 

The Reports of the National Association for the Feeble-minded, including 
those of its Conferences in 1906, 1908, 1909, and 1911, should be consulted 
(Denison House, Vauxhall Bridge Road, London) ; and the papers and 
proceedings of the section relating to the mentally defective of the First 
National Conference for the Prevention of Destitution (P. S. King & Son : 
1911). See also The Feeble-minded, by E. B. Sherlock (Macmillan : 1911) ; 
and Feeble-mindedness and Children of School Age, by C. P. Papage, with 
an Appendix by Miss Dendy on Treatment and Training (Manchester 
University Press : 1911). 




How to Prevent the Destitution arising from Child Neglect 

We all find ourselves in one and the same world ; but • 
it is amazing in how many different aspects that world 
may appear to us. To one set of people the world seems to 
be primarily a play-house in which they are to amuse 
themselves. We visualise this as a " Green World " — 
the green of the springtide, the green of the cover and the 
golf-course, the green of the race meeting, the green even 
of the billiard table in the low public-house of the slum 
quarter ! To another set the world presents itself as a 
place for " making money," growing rich beyond the 
dreams of avarice, and " founding a family," by securing, 
to all its members for ever, access without personal effort 
to the " Green World." To others again, who happen to 
comprise the bulk of the population of our own State, the 
world is the scene of unending daily toil, amid a chronic 
anxiety as to the morrow's means of subsistence. To the 
spiritual idealist the world may seem a place in which 
souls are to be saved, or knowledge to be advanced, or 
works of art to be created. To the modern statesmen, we 
suggest, the world has another aspect, not less important 
than any of these. It is the breeding ground and training 
ground of each successive generation, on the production 
of which the very existence of the nation depends. 

To the economist there comes the wholesome reminder 



that the most valuable, as it is the most costly, of the 
products of the nation, is not the wheat harvest or the 
lambing, the yield of our coal-mines, the cotton that we 
weave, or the ships that we launch, but our annual output 
of men and women. This million of young people that we 
add annually to our adult population, to replace thbse 
who have died, how much have they not cost to get born, 
to rear, to educate, in twenty-one long years of effort and 
care to bring to maturity ? We have no measure for their 
value, any more than for the unstinted parental love and 
travail that has been lavished on them. But m hard 
cash, in mere out-of-pocket expenses, each annual output 
of a million adults will have cost the community, in 
the twenty-one years' rearing, certainly not less than 
£150,000,000. And, immeasurably more important in 
this case than the cost is the quality of the product. Upon 
this " quality " of each generation — ^we may almost say 
upon this alone — depends that which we, any of us, care 
about — subsistence, wealth, happiness, art, knowledge, 
and spiritual salvation itself. 

In what condition are we now, in this country, 
delivering our annual quota of young men and young 
women at the end of their twenty-one years' rearing ? 
How would they appear if we could make them pass before 
us, as an Australian squatter rounds up his uncounted 
flocks and herds ? Suppose that it were possible for the 
King annually to review, in one great national parade, 
those each year entering upon adult citizenship. First of 
all we should notice that those who were mustered on 
parade would fall far short of the total that, twenty-one 
years ago, were born into the world. Death takes his 
toll continuously from the moment of birth, and involves 


us therefore in the enormous pecuniary loss and waste; 
implied in the bearing, nurturing, and training of children' 
who do not survive to maturity. The greater part of this, 
toll we know to be quite unnecessary. The premature- 
deaths need not take place. We have, already, by taking, 
thought, in the past twenty years, greatly diminished 
them ; and everybody knows that we can diminish their 
nimiber still further, as soon as we choose to take the 
necessary action. Meanwhile, all the premature deaths 
increase the cost per head of those who live to appear on 
parade at the age of twenty-one. 

First to go past the King would be the mass of reason- 
ably healthy yomig men and women, who would have 
gone through, with more or less distinction, their schooling, 
their preliminary vocational training, such preparation 
for parentage and citizenship as we now afford to them.. 
But then there would come, among the million, a great- 
army of more or less physically defective — the stunted,, 
the ansemic, the flat-chested, the round-shouldered, those; 
with undeveloped muscles and undeveloped brains. Such 
. as they are at 21, such they are apt to remain through 
life, except that, with many, their defect becomes in- 
• tensified. Then we should see the crippled, the blind, the. 
< deaf-mutes, the tuberculous, the syphilitic, the epileptics,, 
' the great army of the feeble-minded, and the contingent, 
t of the morally deficient. Among them all would be those. 
! individuals who had somehow escaped adequate in- 
■ struction and trainmg, comprismg, alas, no small section :: 
tthe uncivilised, the undisciplmed, the "hooligans." 
I Fmally, sad to say, there would be at the end of the column, 
i guarded, and in an ugly uniform, a quite substantial con- 
ttingent of actual crimmals, destined for the most part, 


to pass periodically in and out of prison garb for the rest 
of their lives. Eorty per cent, of all the crime of this 
country, the Chairman of the Prisons Commission informs 
us, is perpetrated by youths between 16 and 21, and it 
is for the most part perpetrated when they are temporarily 
out of a regular situation. 

We might at first be quieted by the reflection that 
the defects and shortcomings that we had with so much 
concern observed were due to evil inheritance ; that as 
the parents were, so the children must be ; and that, 
bad and regrettable as was the fact, practically nothing 
could be done to remedy it. This might blunt the edge 
of our social compunction for a moment ; but then we 
should awake to the discovery that this was a fallacy* 
We should learn that there was absolutely no warrant for 
supposing, with regard to the great majority of the defects 
that we had observed, that they were to be ascribed to 
physical inheritance ; that whatever might be thought 
of the congenitaUy feeble-minded and the deaf-mutes, 
the other deficiencies are not heritable ; that ordinary 
young criminals and " hooligans," the undisciplined young 
labourers with untrained brain and fingers, even the 
young men and women of stunted growth, anaemic, 
round-shouldered and tuberculous, were not born such; 
that, in fact, so strong is nature that 80 per cent, of 
babies are born healthy, whilst the others mostly die; 
and that it is undeniable that the great bulk of the failures 
at 21 had been made into failures by the circumstances 
to which they had been exposed. 

And if we were then to turn to the conditions under 
which large numbers of these young men and women had 
grown up — to the conditions under which to-day are 


growing up the corresponding output of young people to 
be delivered in future years — we should cease to be 
surprised that there was, at each annual parade, so great 
a loss by premature death to record, and so much lacking 
among the survivors. We compel all children to come to 
school from the age of 5, when we begin to spend upon 
their school trainmg, out of public money, a sum of some- 
thing like £50 per head. Yet we have so far taken almost 
the min im unI"^iFtrouble to ensure that the raw material 
thus presented to the teacher is not already spoilt. In a 
few towns, the Medical Officer of Health has been allowed 
to arrange for a visitation of all births, and a periodical 
and quite optional inspection of infants under 1 year 
by his volunteer Health Visitors ; a few towns have " milk 
clinics " and " schools for mothers " ; a few towns deign 
to admit to the care of the Local Health Authorities a 
small proportion of the innumerable cases of measles and 
whooping cough. And this is aU. " There is no doubt " 
states a recent official report, " that the absence of public 
provision for children under five, so far as the poorest 
classes are concerned, is a crying evil. The evils of slum 
life in relation to these children cannot be minimised. 
Probably the influences of the slums upon them affect their 
whole lives, and make the whole question of education 
right up to fourteen more difficult." By our curious 
oversight in not providmg any machinery, so far as 
children under five are concerned, either for enforcing the 
parental responsibility for decent home care or for securing 
in any way, as regards this all-important period of develop- 
ment, the " National Minunum " of Child Nurture, we 
inevitably incur the penalty of a certain proportion of 
wreckage, almost fi'om the start. 


When we get the child to school, knowledge of its 
condition becomes forced upon the community. The first 
results of systematic medical inspection are bringing home 
to our minds what every teacher knows, namely, that a 
large proportion of the children are not in a fit state to 
have the public money spent on teaching them, because they 
are suffering to such an extent from neglect as to be unable 
to obtain full advantage of the instruction. What emerges 
from the cautious summaries of the Chief Medical Officer 
of the Board of Education for England and Wales (Scotland 
and Ireland being at least as bad) is that out of all the 
six million children in the elementary schools about 10 
per cent, suffer from serious defect in vision ; from 3 to 
5 per cent, suffer from defective hearing ; 1 to 3 per cent, 
have suppurating ears ; 8 per cent, have adenoids or 
enlarged tonsils of sufficient degree to obstruct the nose or 
throat and to require surgical treatment ; 20 to 40 per 
cent, suffer from extensive and mjuxious decay of the 
teeth ; 40 per cent, have unclean heads ; about 1 per 
cent, suffer from ruigworm ; 1 per cent, are affected with 
tuberculosis of readily recognisable form ; and ^ to 2 per 
cent, are afflicted with heart disease. 

And the same official report of the Chief Medical 
Officer of the Board of Education may make us realise 
that, in more than a hundred thousand cases, day after 
day, these children are suffering to such an extent from 
actual lack of food that dinners at school have to be pro- 
vided for them. This contmued semi-starvation of the 
growing child between 5 and 13 is, to say the least of it, 
not the way to produce even a normally developed adult. 
" I do not laiow how many children I exammed among 
the poorer sort," reports the doctor who inspected the 


Liverpool scliools in 1907, " who were in a sort of dreamy 
condition, and would only respond to some very definite 
stimulus. They seemed to be in a condition of semi- 
torpor, unable to concentrate their attention on anything 
and taking no notice of their surroundings, if left alone. 
To give an example of what I mean, if I told one of these 
children to open its mouth, it would take no notice until 
the request became a command, which sometimes had to 
be accompanied by a slight shake to draw the child's 
attention. Then the mouth would be slowly opened 
widely ; but no effort would be made to close it again 
until the child was told to do so. As an experiment, I 
left one child with its mouth wide open the whole time I 
examined it, and never once shut it. Now that shows a 
condition something lil^e what one gets with a pigeon 
that has had its higher brain centres removed, and is a 
very sad thing to see in a human being. I believe both 
these types of children are suffering from what I would 
call starvation of the nervous system, in one case causing 
irritation and in the other torpor. And further, these 
cases were always associated with the clearest signs of 
bodily starvation, stunted growth, emaciation, rough and 
cold skin, and the mouth full of viscid saliva due to hunger. 
With such children I generally had to make them swallow 
two or three times before the mouth was clear enough 

to examine the throat I do not think I need say 

any more to show that the extent of the degeneration 
revealed by this investigation has reached a very alarming 
stage. . . . What is the use of educating children whose 
bodies and minds are absolutely unable to benefit by it ? 
In my opinion the children must first be taught how to 
live, and helped to get food to enable them to do it." 


To permit a large proportion of the future citizens of the 
Empire to get into this condition, even for a few years of 
their childhood, is, to put it mildly, not the way to turn 
them out at 21 as healthy, self-supporting adults. 

At 13 or 14 we let the boy or girl pass out of the 
educational discipline and supervision ; and go off, quite 
without any public control, into independent wage- 
earning. In some districts there is even a specially 
demoralising gap of a year or two, after the boy or girl 
has ceased to attend school, before he or she usually gets 
regularly into employment, or even into employment at 
all. When a situation is obtained, actually a majority 
of the young people find themselves employed in occupa- 
tions which teach them no skilled trade or specialised 
service by which they may count on ever earning more 
than unskilled labom^er's wages. Many of them, indeed, 
are so unfortunate as to find then only means of livelihood 
in occupations which have the further evil of subjecting 
them to irregular hours, demoralising spells of idleness or 
mere waiting, the temptations and distractions of the 
streets, the corruption of companionship with the idle 
and the profligate. It may be said that it is the duty of 
the parents to take care that then: sons are placed out 
in situations where they will receive proper industrial 
training. Unfortmiately, as is only too clear, the great 
majority of parents, even when they give sufiicient thought 
to the matter, find it impossible to give thek sons a proper 
start in life. " What stares m the face the exceptionally 
careful parent of the poorer class, who tries to start his 
son well, is, in London, the difficulty of discovering any 
situation in which his boy can become a skilled worker 
of any kind, or even enter the service of an employer who 


can offer him advancement. We have, on the one hand, 
a great development of employment for boys of a thoroughly 
bad type, yielding high wages and no training. We have, 
on the other hand, a positive shrinkage — almost a dis- 
appearance—of places for boys in which they are trained 
to be competent men." Nor can we hope, by any such 
philanthropic agencies as " Juvenile Employment 
Committees," and the use of the Labour Exchange, to 
avoid this result. All the boys and girls who leave school 
each year have got to fill all the places — good, bad, and 
indiSerent in their effect on the young people — that 
happen to be vacant. The well-meant advice of the 
teacher or the member of the Children's Care Committee, 
of a " Juvenile Employment Committee," or the Labour 
Exchange may save particular boys from the worst places, 
and steer particular favourites uito painfully selected 
apprenticeships. The good that may be done will be to 
get all the best boys mto the best situations. It 
will not diaiinish by one the numbers who are demoralised 
by the bad situations. 

Now, quite apart from other factors that may drag 
down to destitution the man or woman of normal growth, 
this appalling wreckage of body and mmd that we see 
produced even at the age of 21 is, in itself, an ahnost 
irresistible cause of subsequent destitution. The majority 
of physically defective men and women, whether blitid or 
crippled, are never able to earn their livelihood. The 
stunted and anaemic, the round-shouldered, and the 
phthisical have, for the most part, such msufficient 
physical strength, and succumb so easily to disease, that 
they almost inevitably fall into destitution sooner or 
later, owing, really, to the mjuries which they received 


before becoming adult. The boy or girl of slow intelligence, 
the " mouth-breather," chronically half -starved at school, 
becomes too often the victim also of the uneducational 
or positively demoralising occupation of adolescence, and 
graduates almost inevitably into unemployment", and 
frequently, at a quite early age, into " uneniployable- 
ness." It is from the unemployed youth, undisciplined, 
untrained, and already vitiated by evil habits, that is 
recruited the young criminal and, to a large extent, also 
the lower grades of women of immoral life. It is plain 
that we have, in the whole range of child neglect, from 
birth to manhood, a prolific cause of subsequent desti- 
tution and crime. Eighty per cent, of all the uimates of 
our prisons wiU be found, on inquiry, to have gone to 
gaol for the first time before they were 21. The vast 
majority of all the inmates of om^ workhouses can be 
shown, on any hivestigation, to have suffered, in theu 
childhood and adolescence, from one or other of the forms 
of neglected nurture that we have described. Do what 
we may as regards the subsequent life of the adult, it is 
clear that, so long as we permit the wreckage, before 
reaching manhood, of so large a proportion of our annual 
million of recruits, we cannot hope to avoid their smking 
into destitution. 

Now, with regard to this whole story of child desti- 
tution, we do not think that there can be, m the mind 
of anyone who sincerely desires to brmg it to an end, any 
doubt as to the policy that we ought, as a nation, to pursue. 
We have, in the first place, definitely and decidedly to 
set out to secure, at all ages, hi all places, fi-om one end 
of the kmgdom to the other, that " National Mmhnum " 
of child nurture which we have, m the Children Act of 


1908, akeady put on the statute book. Is it too muck too 
ask, at this tinie of day, that we should take care that no 
child is so insufficiently provided for as to be made to 
suffer seriously in health or character ? And when we 
consider how this can be done, the first general outline 
of the answer is equally clear. When, a generation ago, 
the nation tardily awoke to the danger of one form of 
child neglect, which manifested itself in illiteracy, Parlia- 
ment threw over altogether the policy of waiting until 
the parent would apply, and gave up all notion of " deter- 
rence." It took this part of the child's needs entirely out 
of the Poor Law. It entrusted the service to a separate 
authority, specially empowered and required to provide 
schools for all the children who were being m this way 
neglected. Whether or not the parents were themselves 
illiterate because they were pecuniarily destitute, the 
child was not allowed to be so. And concurrently with 
the new responsibility assumed by the community, and 
the new provision which it thereby made for the children's 
needs, an altogether new responsibility was imposed on 
the wage-earnmg parent. He had, for the first time in 
history, to forego his legal right to the use of so much of 
the child's time and energy in the household service, even 
his legal right to the child's earnings in supplement of 
the family income — to submit, m short, though we usually 
forget the fact, m the public mterest, to an act of " con- 
fiscation " of the family resources, compared with which 
any mere rise m the Income Tax oh the propertied classes 
is a fiea-bite. An entirely novel standard of parental 
care was set up. The parent was required, under penalty 
of fine and unprisonment, to get the child up and dressed 
and washed by an arbitrarily fixed hour every morning 


of the school year ; to see that the child attended con- 
tmuously and regularly at school ; even to take care 
that he or she attended in a fit state, a requirement which 
is being gradually (and quite arbitrarily) made to mean, 
cleansed and clothed, and booted, with body and garments 
and hair reasonably free from vermin. At various stages 
of this development, middle-class objectors to increased 
public expenditure on the poor tried to raise the cry of 
unjustifiable interference between parent and child, and 
even suggested that such an extension of parental res- 
ponsibility was an unwarrantable hardship to the poor. 
But working-class opinion resolutely upheld this endeavour 
to secure equahty of opportunity for all children in what- 
ever class they happen to be born, and cordially approved 
the twofold method of prevention of destitution that the 
Local Education Authorities adopted, public provision 
on the one hand, and the enforcement of the responsibilities 
of the individual on the other. . And so successful has been 
the Local Education Authority, with its universal pro- 
vision of school places for aU the children needing them, 
its searching out of all the children who were growing up 
illiterate, and its enforcement of parental responsibility 
by its School Attendance Officers, that the particular form 
of neglect which alone it was established and definitely 
instructed to prevent, is now, except for an infinitesimal 
fraction of exoeptional cases, from one end of the country 
to the other, prevented. 

What we propose is that, with regard to children of 
school age, the Local Education Authority should, definitely 
and obligatorily, in respect of all forms of Child Destitution, 
assume the same sort of responsibility, and proceed along 
the same lines, as it has in respect of illiteracy. Incidentally, 


we propose that aU children of school age now in receipt 
of any form of poor relief, should be, in the fullest sense, 
taken out of the Poor Law," relieved of all stigma of 
pauperism, and made, instead, the wards of the Local 
Education Authority. So far as regards the five-sixths 
of the population among which occur practically all the 
cases of neglect of the physical needs of childhood, the 
boys and girls come daily under the eyes of the o£ficers 
of the Local Education Authority, which is, therefore, 
unlike a Poor Law Authority, bound to become 
immediately cognisant of any falling away from a normal 
standard of child nurture. We propose that the existing 
social machinery of the teacher and the school nurse, 
the school medical inspection and the school " clinic," 
the friendly inquiries of the Children's Care Committee, 
and the house to house visitation of the School Attendance 
Officer, should be brought to bear on every manifestation 
of Child Destitution — taking no higher standard than 
that of the Children Act, which is anything causing the 
child to suffer, or to be likely to suffer, seriously in health, 
as they are now on failure or irregularity of school atten- 
dance. And whenever it is ascertained that a child is 
beginning to sufier, it will be for the Local Education 
Authorities, through their machinery of voluntary Chil- 
dren's Care Committees and their School Attendance 
Officers, to discover the cause of this suffering, to secure 
that it shall be brought promptly to an end, and to see 
that the necessary remedial measures are taken. In this 
way, the influences of aU available voluntary agencies that 
will assist the child can be to the fullest extent utilised ; 
but, failing these resources, the Local Education Authority — 
as it is already legally obligatory on the Scotch School Boards 


to do, for all children in attendance at their schools — will 
provide whatever is necessary for the well-being of the 
child out of the Education Rate. 

It may possibly seem, to those unacquainted with 
the actual facts, that the proposal to make the Local 
Education Authority responsible for supplymg, to the 
destitute child, when the means of the parents and the 
resources of the volmitary agencies are proved to have 
failed, not merely education but also maintenance, and 
where necessary, even home nurture, involves the adoption 
of some new and revolutionary principle, and means the 
entrusting to what is essentially a mere scholastic agency 
of an entirely novel service. But this is a mistake. The 
principle is actually embodied in our legislation, and 
Parliament has gone far, already, in transforming the 
Local Education Authority into the executive organ of 
the community for everything that concerns the child 
of school age. Upon the Local Education Authority has 
already been placed the duty of becoming acquainted with 
the state of the bodies, and, as regards certain standard 
requirements, even with the condition of the homes, of 
all the children in its schools. It is upon the Local Educa- 
" tion Authority that has been placed the statutory duty 
of systematically inspecting all these children, at repeated 
intervals, by its own doctors and nurses, so that it may 
keep itself aware of the physical condition of each one of 
them. But this is not all. Bemg thus aware, and being 
the only authority thus aware, of the physical condition of 
all the school children, the Local Education Authority 
is now authorised and directed to make whatever arrange- 
ments may be necessary to ensure that no smgle child 
goes without whatever medical or surgical attendance 


and treatment that its condition requires. Moreover, if 
any child is in attendance at school insufficiently nour- 
ished, it is the duty of the Local Education Authority, 
under the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act of 
1907, to take notice of the fact ; and if it finds that in 
its district children are not being adequately fed by their 
parents or by other agencies, it is authorised and directed, 
and, in Scotland statutorily required, under certain con- 
ditions, to supply, out of the Education Rate, whatever 
meals it thinks necessary. In a hundred different towns 
of England and Wales more than a hundred thousand 
children are already being thus fed. But food and medical 
attendance are not everything. In London, which is 
one-seventh of England and Wales, the Local Education 
Authority is now specifically empowered and directed to 
secure to every child in that vast area what may be called 
the national minimum of home nurture. Whenever any 
child is without " adequate " food, clothing, medical 
aid, or lodging, in such a way that its health is suffering, 
or is likely to suffer, it is the duty of the London County 
Council, under the Children Act, 1908 (a duty assigned 
to its Educational Committee), to proceed against the 
parents or guardians of such child, with power to get such 
child placed under other guardianship, or sent to a boarding 
school, or admitted to a day feeding school, or otherwise 
protected against future neglect. Throughout all England 
and Wales, moreover (as in Scotland), the Local Education 
Authority is empowered and directed by the Children 
Act to intervene whenever any child within its district is 
found living in a bad environment, or with parents of 
drunken or criminal habits, or is found in the streets 
begging or receiving alms, or is found wandering, and so 


on ; with a view, not necessarily to convicting the child 
of any offence, or even of committing it for a term of 
years to a reformatory school, but merely to admitting 
such child to a day feeding school, where it will be adequately 
fed, trained, and looked after, without being removed 
from parental custody. It is quite a mistake to suppose 
that this power and duty is confined to children committed 
by the magistrate. The Local Education Authority itself 
may make this provision, if the case requires it, for any 
child whose parents consent. Finally, there is the power 
and duty imposed on all Local Education Authorities to 
enforce on aU parents a certain mmimum standard of 
home nurture, by taking proceedings mider the Children 
Act against parents so drunken, so criminal, or so immoral 
as to be providing home conditions gravely injurious to 
the child ; the Local Education Authority then providing 
completely, in residential schools (due contribution being 
levied on the parents) for the children rescued from homes 
falling thus below the statutory minimum standard. It 
is interestmg to note that Local Education Authorities, 
though they have hardly yet begun to use this power of 
securing the national minimum of home nurture, are already 
maintaining out of the rates and taxes more than thirty 
boarding schools for children thus rescued from evil 
conditions, besides nearly a score more for blind or deaf 
children. The Education Committee of the London 
County Council actually " boards out " a number of special 
children, for whom it finds it better to provide main- 
tenance in suitable families than in residential schools. 

But though the Local Education Authority has been, 
by various statutory clauses, given, all these indiscriminate 
powers to prevent child destitution, it has not been 


required by Parliament to carry tiiem out, or even definitely 
instructed to do so by the Central Education Departments 
wliicli pay the Grants in Aid. These powers have, in fact, 
been regarded rather as emergency powers to fill up 
accidental gaps in the work of the charitable agencies and 
of the Poor Law, than as definite duties of every Local 
Education Authority. Moreover, these powers are ludic- 
rously restricted. At present, the Local Education 
Authority is only supposed to be cognisant of the needs 
of the child when it is attending school. It has no res- 
ponsibilities, and no powers to search out and provide 
for child destitution on Saturdays and Sundays, and 
• during the holidays, however much privation at these 
times may render the child incapable of doing its work 
iat school. In face of all the restrictions, it is wonderful 
Ihow much of tliis work of providing for the destitute 
(child the Local Education Authorities have already 
1 undertaken. 

This haphazard development of the Local Education 
.Authorities, into the sphere of providing for the children 
(of school age found to be destitute of one or other 
(of the necessaries of life, has, in fact, already gone far 
(enough to produce an mtolerable " overlap " with the 
IPoor Law Authorities. In every large town there are now 
ttwo separate authorities providing out of the rates and 
itaxes for the children's needs, each ignorant of the other's 
jproceedings. In London, for mstance, the thirty-one 
IBoards of Guardians are maintaining about 24,000 children 
(of school age. The Education Committee of the London 
(County Council is sunultaneously feeding 50,000. And in 
Ibetween one and two thousand cases, both authorities are 
^supplying food for the same children ! This demoralising 


duplication exists, to a lesser extent, in every other town. 
It has been going on now for five years, and no possibility 
of stopping it has been found. 

The scandal — though the Local Grovernment Board, 
unable to devise a remedy, persists in ignoring it — has 
become gross. The overlapping must be stopped. Yet 
it is plainly quite impracticable to reverse all the legislative 
tendencies of the past two decades — ^to put back into the 
Poor Law, and to brand as paupers, the children now being 
fed by the Education Authority, those now being clothed 
by the Education Authority, those now being medically 
inspected and treated by the Education Authority, those 
now being maintained in the residential schools of the 
Education Authority, and those being even " boarded 
out " by the Education Authority — their numbers, in 
the aggregate, already amounting to nearly as many as 
those of the children of school age dealt with by all the 
Poor Law Authorities put together ! The only practicable 
way to put an end to the existing wasteful duplication of 
authorities, and demoralising overlapping of service, is 
to have, as all would agree, in each locality, " one Public 
Authority and only one Authority " providing for the 
children whatever is provided out of the rates and taxes. 
That can now hardly be any other than the Local Educa- 
tion Authority. 

Nor would the duties to be transferred from the 
Poor Law Authorities constitute any serious addition, in 
England, to the work of the Town or County Council, and 
of its Education Committee, and in Scotland to that of 
the School Board. On this point there exists so much 
misapprehension, and so much ignorance of the relative 
figures, that we propose to examine, in some detail, the 


case of a fail* specimen of all the 327 Local Education 
Authorities of England and Wales. Let us visualise what 
the proposed enlargement of the sphere of the Local 
Education Authority would mean in a typical English 
county, such as Gloucestershire. In such a county the Local 
Education Authority is already maintaining and directing, 
with an elaborate organisation of teachers and inspectors, 
day schools all over the county for something like 50,000 
children between 3 and 14 ; it is, through its School 
Attendance Officers and local committees of managers, 
quite successfully getting practically all of them between 
5 and 13, and a large proportion of the others, on the school 
rolls, and therefore under constant observation ; it is, by 
its school doctors and nurses, getting all these under 
periodical medical inspection, and gradually making 
; arrangements for them to be, somehow, medically treated ; 
it is even finding boarding school accommodation, of 
I different sorts in different ways, for nearly a hundred 
boys and girls, some because they are specially good (the 
I County Scholars), some because they are specially bad 
I (at reformatory schools), some because they are blind or 
• deaf, or mentally defective (at special schools), some 
because they have had to be rescued from unsatisfactory 
Ihome surroundings, or were found destitute of parental 
(care (industrial schools). 

Meanwhile, in such a county, there are perhaps ten 
(or twelve Boards of Guardians, having among their paupers 
i about 1,000 children of school age. This is actually the 
I usual number in the Gloucestershire Unions. Not more 
tthan 100 of these are entirely under the Guardians' care 
J and management, a few placed out in residential institu- 
Itions, but most of them dispersed in little knots among the 


ten or a dozen workhouses from which, by common 
consent, it is vitally important to rescue them. These 
latter children the Education Committee would at once 
dispose of, like the similar number with which it is abeady 
dealing, by placing them in suitable residential schools, or 
by " boarding out." The other 900 child paupers will be 
found living at home, already, for the most part, attending 
the elementary day schools of the Education Committee, 
and known to the Boards of Guardians only as reasons 
for giving their widowed mothers or sick fathers so much 
more Outdoor Relief. The Education Committee would 
treat these Outdoor Relief children as being " boarded 
out " with their own parents, to whom, by the agency of 
its local sub-committees, it would pay the necessary 
weekly sum for their maintenance, and at the same time 
extend, to each chUd individually, that continuous friendly 
supervision and periodical medical inspection that every 
such " ward of the State " imperatively requires. Thus, 
the new work to be undertaken by the Gloucestershhe 
Education Coromittee, as an addition to its present care of 
50,000 children, including residential school acconmiodation 
for perhaps 100, would be no more than the finding of 
residential school accommodation for less than 100 more, 
and the " boarding out " of perhaps 900 children with their 

own mothers. 

We have so far left out of account the adolescent, the 
boy or girl exempt from school attendance, and entering, 
often at 13 or 14, upon independent wage-earnmg. At 
present the Local Education Authority has no power 
to requhe anything of anybody with regard to him. The 
Poor Law Authority, unless he actually throws himself 
upon the Relieving Officer as starving, wHl do nothmg 


for the able-bodied young person in healtb, even if he has 
been, up to the age of 14 brought up as a pauper, on the 
pittance of Outdoor Eelief that the Guardians allowed to 
his widowed mother. At present, we look on, apparently 
unconcerned, and without any public authority intervenmg, 
at such a youth going to the devil in his own way ; and 
no authority interferes to enforce, with regard to this 
potentially valuable young life, the fulfilment of any 
responsibility whatsoever, either on the boy, on the parent, 
or on the employer. We propose, in concert with practic- 
ally every person who has expressed an opinion on the 
subject, that this absurd irresponsibility, which de- 
monstrably leads to much crime and destitution, should 
be brought to an end. We suggest that, if we must let the 
boy or girl go to work as early as 13 or 14, or even 15, it 
is vital to the life of the community that it should keep, 
under effective guardianship of some sort, the all-important 
years of adolescence. We would place this duty on the 
Local Education Authority, which is abeady attracting a 
certain proportion of these young men and young women 
to its voluntary evening continuation schools. It would 
be quite easy to extend the School Attendance Officer's 
existing registration of children up to 14 into one of young 
persons up to 18. It ought to be possible to bring all these 
young people under educational control. It should be 
made a condition of any employer being permitted to make 
use of such immature young people in his industry that he 
should under no circumstances employ any particular 
individual among them for more than thirty hours per 
week (as is«ilready law for " partially exempted " children 
under 14), and should see that they were entered on the 
roll of one of the institutes of the Local Education 


Autliority. That Authority would then be responsible for 
providing, for practically the whole population between 
14 and 18, a " half-time " or " sandwich " curriculum — 
either by alternate sessions, alternate days, alternate weeks, 
or alternate seasons of the year, according to the circum- 
stances of the occupation or the locality — calculated to 
ensure to every boy or girl proper physical development, 
general training of hand and eye, and as much technological 
or domestic economy instruction as may be found practic- 
able. But, above all, the Local Education Authority 
would be able to keep the growing boys and girls under the 
necessary disciplmary supervision, to subject them to 
regular hours and persistent effort, and to bring to bear 
upon them a certain amount of civilising uifluence, in such 
a way as to ensure that none of them, when reaching adult 
life, would be, as is unfortunately too often the case at 
present, destitute of the very elements of a self-supporting 
citizen life. 

Even this amount of expansion of sphere of the Local 
Education Authority involves but little extension of 
principle. The Local Education Authorities are already 
empowered to provide classes and schools and institutes 
for pupils of any age ; and in all large towns, strenuous 
efforts are already made to induce the young people to 
attend. The great difficulty is the demand made upon 
their time and energy by their industrial employment, 
which leaves comparatively little opportunity even for the 
willing, and renders any universal compulsion to attend at 
evening classes both undesirable and impracticable. In 
Scotland, the law has already gone a step further, and now 
permits the School Boards to pass by-laws making 
attendance up to 17, at hours ensm'ing that the young 


^people will be relieved from some of tliek* industrial work^ 
Megally compulsory. But to get any such, law generally 
(■enacted and enforced will mean, it must be admitted, a 
iconsiderable addition to the work of the Local Education 
.'Authorities. To get on the roll the three millions of young 
[people between 14 and 18, to provide school places (even 
lihalf-time) for such a number ; to make all the necessary 
ladjustments in working hours or changing shifts, demanded 
hby particular trades in particular localities ; to work out 
aa suitable curriculum for aU these adolescents ; and finally, 
tto get them all in regular half-time attendance, means, we 
imust contemplate, a growth in our Local Education 
.Authorities equivalent to perhaps 25 per cent, of their 
ppresent business, an increase which is, roughly speaking, 
mo more than they have actually grown during the past ten 
\years. We cannot imagine any development of Local 
iCrovernment expenditure that the community as a whole 
would be more certain to find promptly and overwhelmingly 
[profitable. At each annual parade that we have imagined 
doi the new generation then arriving at adult citizenship, 
tthe spectators would see, on an average, a rising stature 
land a more perfectly healthy form, gentler manners, and 
m more virile energy ; an annual recruitment of the com- 
munity by men and women competent, in the mass, of 
ihigher ranges than heretofore of self-government and 
communal life, and producing a larger number than 
iheretofore of individuals capable of the advancement of 
^knowledge and of the development of higher and more 
•varied artistic and spiritual impulses. 


Notes and References 

Page 63. We are unable to adduce statistics as to the proportion or 
uiimbere of persons aged 21 who are, in the several ways referred to, so far 
defective as to be likelj^ to fall into destitution. "But nothing turns on the 
numbers, which are admittedly large. The figure of ^'150,000,000 as the 
amount spent annually on children and young people under 21, in excess of 
their prodiictiou (and therefore upon each year's quota, from birth to 
manhood), is a mere estimate. It may be added that the amount suggested 
is about 8 per cent, of the nation's income. 

Page G5. The quotation is from the Report of the Consultative Com- 
mittee of the Board of Education upon the School Attendance of Children 
below the age of 5 years, 1908 (Cd. 4259). 

Page 66. With regard to the physical condition, the medical inspection, 
and the medical treatment of children of school age, see The Annual 
Reports of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for England 
and Wales, and the Annual Reports now being issued by the Medical Officers 
of Health of the various Counties and County Boroiighs {e.g., Hampshire, 
by R. A. Lyster; Herts, by F. E. Fremantle; Croydon, by Meredith 
Richards, etc. 

The London County Council has issued some instructive reports as to 
school feeding; see Report of the Joint Committee on Underfed Children 
for the Season 1906-7 (L.C.C., No. 1074, 1907) ; Reports on the Home Circum- 
stances of "Necessitous" Children in twelve selected schools (L.C.C., No. 
1203, 1909); and the successive Annual Reports of the Medical Officer 
(Education) to the Council. 

Page 67. The Condition of the Liverpool School Children, by Dr. A. S. 
Arkle (Tinling & Co., Liverpool, 1907). 

Page 68. The quotation is from the Minority Report of the Poor Law 
Commission, 1909, Part II., ch. v., B (i) (p. 651 of official 8vo edition). 
See also Report to the Poor Law Commission on Boy Labour, by Cyril 
Jackson. The Town Child, by Reginald Bray, L.C.C. (XJnwin : 1907), should 
also be consulted. 

For the attempts now being made to adapt the organisation of the Labour 
Exchange to the problem of juvenile employment, see The Labour 
lixchange in Relation to Boy and Girl Labour, by F. Keeling (1910); 
Juvenile Labour Exchanges and After-Care, by Arthur Greenwood (P. S. 
King & Son: 1911); Memorandum by the Board of Trade and Board of 
Education with regard to co-operation between Local Exchanges and Local 
Education Authorities exercising their powers under the Education (Choice 
of Employment) Act, 1910 (Wyman & Son: 1911); the Memorandum of the 
Edinburgh School Board and co-operation between the Educational, Informa- 
tion and Employment Bureau and the Labour Exchange (Edinburgh School 
Board : 1911) ; and the papers and proceedings of the Education Section of the 
First National Conference on the Prevention of Destitution (P. S. King & 
Sou: 1911). 




Page 73. The extent to which the more energetic Local Education 
Authorities are now taking cognizance of the physical needs and home 
circumstances of their pupils is not commonly realised. The London 
County Council has a special " Children's Care Sub-Committee." The 
Edinburgh School Board has a " Health Committee." The great instru- 
ment for this purpose, apart from the School Doctor and the School Nurse, 
is the " Children's Care Committee," or " School Canteen Committee," 
appointed in pursuance of the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act 
of 1907. For these bodies see School Care Committees : a Guide to their 
Work, by Miss Maud F. Davies; and Children's Care Committees : how to 
work them in Public Elementary Schools, by Miss Margaret Frere. 

Page 73. For the obligatory nature of the Provisions of the Scotch 
Education Act, 1908, see the Memorandum on the Feeding of School 
Children in Edinburgh, by J. W. Peck, Clerk to the Edinburgh School 
Board, 1910. 

Page 77. For a precisely authenticated description of the ineptitudes of 
the Poor Law administration, whether in England or in Scotland, with 
regard to children, the reader must be referred to the Minority Eeport of 
the Poor Law Commission, 1909, Part I., chs. iv. and v. (pp. 71-170 of 
official 8vo edition); and the Minoritij Report for Scotland (Scottish 
National Committee, 180, Hope Street, Glasgow). 

Page 80. How easily the Local Education Authority could manage the 
duties proposed to be assigned to it, may be seen in the interesting Report 
to the Edinburgh School Board upon the proposals of the Poor Law 
Commission, so far as they affect the work of the Board, by J. W. Peck, 
Clerk to the Board (Edinburgh : 1911). 

Page 83. It is interesting to see the Times editorially approving of the 
proposal that "every public provision for the general care of children be 
placed under the control of the Education Authority " (Times, May 22nd, 
1909, in leading article). 


Sweating and Unemployment as Causes of Destitution 

We can imagine some readers being impatient at the 
elaborate proposals of the preceding chapters. To them 
it seems that the principal cause of destitution, out- 
weighing all others, is simply the deficiency of income of 
the wage-earning class. If you will but secure, such 
objectors are apt to say, to every willing worker regular 
employment at standard wages, there will be practically 
no destitution ; every head of a household will be able to 
pay his own way ; and there will be no need for all this 
elaborate and complicated social machinery dealing with 
sickness and children. There is reason in this protest. 
A large amount of the sickness in working-class households 
is due simply to the lack of food, to the over-crowding of 
the dwelling, to the inability to take either adequate rest 
or- precautions against exposure, all this arising directly 
from want of money. An enormous proportion of the 
child destitution that we have described comes, not from 
any carelessness or cruelty of the parents, but from sheer 
insufiiciency of income to permit those who are neither 
saints nor geniuses to obtain good nm'ture for their children. 
It is quite true that, so far as concerns all the sickness and 
child destitution arising solely from the parents' insuffici- 
ency of earnings, by far the best method of prevention is 



to ensure to every willing worker regular employment 
at an adequate wage. We believe that this can be done, 
and that both unemployment and sweating can be 
prevented, to a degree, and with an approach to uni- 
versality, far greater than has hitherto been supposed ; and 
in this and the following chapter we shall describe how 
it has been done, here and there, with regard to sweating, 
and how it can be done with regard to unemployment. 
But even with regular work at standard wages, diseases 
arise and spread unless they are deliberately prevented ; 
the whole sanitary organisation of the city has to be 
looked after ; and the range of preventive hygiene, for 
rich and poor alike, becomes every day greater. An 
efl&cient Public Health Department will be needed even 
by the best paid city. Moreover, even if we secured to 
every adult a substantial livelihood, he would find it 
neither economical nor convenient to do without his 
municipal government, and to be driven to arrange with 
private contractors for the pavement in front of his 
house or for a street lamp at the corner, or to depend 
solely on competitive enterprise for the school, the hospitals 
and perhaps the lunatic asylum that the different members 
of his family might require. We find, on the contrary, 
that the more secure and financially prosperous any 
conimunity of wage-earners becomes, the more disposed 
it is to develop the social machinery of co-operation, 
whether in their distributive stores, the enterprises of their 
municipal council, or the public services of the State. But 
be this as it may, we cannot afford to let sickness devastate 
our population, and child destitution enfeeble each 
successive generation, whilst we are waiting for the 
necessarily slow and difficult evolution of a perfectly 


organised industrial State. Moreover, any such better 
organisation is itself dependent on there being a better 
bred and better nurtured population, of a higher type than 
much that we at present produce. If it be true that 
unemployment and sweating cause much sickness and child 
destitution, it is equally true that so long as we let the 
feeble-minded increase and multiply, so long as we permit 
sickness to prey upon us, so long as we allow the children's 
lives to be wrecked through lack of nurture and training, 
we certainly cannot promise regular employment at good 
wages to everybody, for the simple and sufficient reason 
that a large proportion of us will not be fit for it. Thus 
we are bound to take the most energetic action poafeible 
to prevent each and every cause of destitution, whenever 
and wherever we find it in operation, even though we may 
believe that each successive victory, whether over one 
cause or the other, will, in itself, render unnecessary a 
great deal of the subsequent campaign. 

And first with regard to what is commonly known as 
" sweating," the grim fact that, among the sixteen millions 
of adult wage-earners there are a huge uncounted multitude 
whose condition, even when in constant employment, 
brings them within, the classic definition of the House of 
Lords Committee m 1890: "Earnings barely sufficient to 
sustain existence : hours of labour such as to make the 
lives of the workers periods of almost ceaseless toil : 
sanitary conditions injurious to the health of the persons 
employed and dangerous to the public." These sweated 
workers are, of course, not women only. The unskilled 
labourers of our great industrial centres, even some of the 
worst paid of the handicrafts of men, are in no better 
circumstances. Alike in London and in the provincial 


towns, and even in the rural districts, we find innumerable 
cases of the same adverse conditions, notably in all the 
nooks and crannies of the industrial world where the work 
is done in the worker's own home, or under " the little 
master " or otherwise than within the organisation of the 
factory system or " great enterprise," upon which better 
conditions can be enforced. The families of all these 
sweated workers are, it is clear, chronically destitute of 
one or other of the necessaries of life. No sweated worker, 
for instance, can afford to buy fresh milk for her child, stiU 
less pay for medical treatment either for herself or any 
member of the family, whilst the tenement of the low-paid 
operative is chronically overcrowded, frequently to the 
point of insanitary and indecent occupation below any 
civilised standard. 

Now, it requires only a little acquaintance with 
English industrial history to recognise that the evil of 
sweating is not only an old one, but also a diminishing 
one. A century ago the greater part of the manual 
working-class was in the position that the minority of 
sweated workers are to-day. The nation has succeeded in 
rescuing large sections of the wage-earners — notably the 
coal miners and the cotton operatives, who were once 
amongst the most " sweated " of all workers — from the 
morass of sweating and consequent destitution, in which, 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they were 
sunk. The means by which the area of . the morass has 
been lessened are known to us. We, as a community, 
know, by practical experience, exactly how sweating has 
been prevented, and how the rest of the morass can be 
drained, as soon as we, as a conamunity, choose to take the 
necessary action. 


Our first expedient, it is instructive to realise — the i 
one that seemed to the enlightened folk of the time 
inevitable and mere commonsense — was to deal with the 
sweated workers by the Poor Law. When a man or 
Woman could, by constant toil, earn less than enough to i 
maintain himself and his family, the remedy was Poor 
Relief — what was, in the South of England, afterwards 
called the " Rate in Aid of Wages." "SYhen the sweated i 
worker or his family fell ill, the Poor Law doctor visited < 
them and gave them bottles of medicine. When the 
sweated weaver or the agricultural labourer succumbed 
under his privations, it was the Poor Law Authority that \ 
buried him, and doled out the barest subsistence to his 
widow and orphaned children. And as all these activities 
of the Poor Law Authority in relieving the destitution of 
the sweated worker, did nothing to prevent sweating, th* 
sweating went on year after year creating more destitution 
to be relieved. In fact, things got worse. The Poor Law 
relief of the destitution caused by sweating acted as a sort 
of " bounty " to those trades and those employers not 
paying full subsistence wages, and led to a constant 
extension of the system. What was happening was ai 
ousting of the self-supporting by the parasitic industries. 
" Whole branches of manufacture," eloquently summed up 
the Poor Law Commissioners of 1834, " may thus follow 
the course, not of coal mines, or of streams, but of 
pauperism ; may flourish like the fungi that spring from 
corruption, in consequence of the abuses which are ruining 
all the other interests of the places in which they are 
established, and cease to exist in the better administered 
districts, in consequence of that better administration." 

Gradually we learnt a better way. In 1834, by the 


dramatic revolution recommended by the Poor Law Com- 
mission, we turned all these sweated workers out of the 
Poor Law, and pereniptorily stopped the " Rate in Aid of 
Wages." It must for ever remain as a blot on the memory 
of the Whig Government of that date that this harsh, and 
in some of its applications inexcusably cruel measure, was 
not accompanied either by any systematic prevention of 
sweating or by any new provision for those who were 
ousted by the method of reform employed. Fortunately, 
in the very same decade, on the inspiration of Lord 
Shaftesbury and another school of reformers, we were 
slowly and tentatively applying a new expedient in the 
legislative enactment of minimum conditions of employ- 
ment, below which no worker was allowed to fall. This 
expedient — the collectively prescribed " Common Rule " of 
minimum conditions — was what the organised workmen 
had long been striving for in their Trade Unions, and what 
they have since more and more elaborated in their formal 
agreements with the organised employers in each industry. 
Lord Shaftesbury and his successors got the same expedient 
embodied in the long succession of Factory and Workshop 
Acts, Mines Regulation Acts, Merchant Shipping Acts, 
Railways Regulation Acts, Shop Hours Acts and now the 
Trade Boards Act. Beginning at first with children, and 
-gradually extending to young persons and women, this 
labour code has only tardily and imperfectly come to include men. Starting only with textile factories, its range 
gradually widened so as to take in coal mines and paper 
mills and potteries ; all other factories ; then all sorts of 
workshops and ships and railways and industrial enterprises 
of all kinds. Dealing at first only with sanitary conditions 
.and hours of labour, the "National Minimum" is now 


coming to apply, in trade after trade, even to the rate of 
wages and the list of piece-work prices. In the United 
Kingdom, Avhilst this "Labour' Code" has already- 
prevented perhaps the greater part of the sweating that 
used to exist, we have as yet stopped short of any complete 
and consistent application of the remedy. Many classes of 
workers, and several of the conditions of emplo3rment yet 
remain untouched, and open to the " sweater." In New 
Zealand and Australia very nearly every wage-earner, in 
very nearly every industry, finds, under the Arbitration 
Courts and Wages Boards, this democratically prescribed 
" National Minimum " of wages, leisure and conditions 
of health and safety definitely guarding him against the 
possibility — not, it is true, of unemployment, but of being 
sweated — against having to submit to " earnings barely 
sufficient to sustain existence ; hours of labour such as to 
make the lives of the workers periods of almost ceaseless 
toil ; sanitary conditions injurious to the health of the 
persons employed and dangerous to the public." 

We do not propose here to discuss the argument under- 
lying this policy of the National Minimum, which has been 
demonstrably so successful in preventing sweatmg wherever 
it has been applied ; nor can we stay to elaborate the 
particular measures still required in the United Kingdom 
before we shall be giving, to every sweated worker, the 
same sort of legislative security that we actually accord, 
with so much financial gain to the industry, to the Lanca- 
shire textile operative. The reader will find all these 
points, and all the objections that can be urged, dealt with 
in both technical treatises and popular manuals. We 
must content ourselves on the present occasion with 
repeating our opinion — an opinion from which we do not 


think that any qualified economist will dissent — that if the 
" sweating system " is still with us, it is merely because we 
do not, as a community, choose to take the scientifically 
ascertained means of preventing it. 

But although a universal and thorough-going applica- 
tion of the policy of the Factory Acts can, without any 
insuperable difficulties, secure a standard wage and 
standard conditions to every person who is actually in 
employment, it leaves untouched the problem of unem- 
ployment. The best possible Factory Act, like the most 
effective Trade Union, does not prevent the dismissal of 
the wage-earners from their situations at every decline in 
the employer's trade. We have chosen to assume, when 
we have troubled to think about it at all, that any wage- 
earner thus turned off will be readily " absorbed " by " the 
Labour Market " ; and that he will at once find some other 
place. We realise now that this exposure of the workman's 
livelihood, and the whole conditions of existence of his 
family, to such extreme dependence on the ever changing 
volume of trade, is to subject him and them to an uncer- 
tainty which is both cruel and demoralising. Moreover, 
we cannot nowadays shut our eyes to the fact that many 
thousands of workmen are not able to find another place, 
without a delay which exposes them and their families to 
great hardship, and which is often so prolonged as to bring 
them, both financially and in personal character, to ruin. 
In a word, we have become acutely conscious of " the 

Unemployment is, of course, in the United Kingdom 
as elsewhere, no new thing ; and there is no reason to 
suppose even that it prevails to any greater extent, or in 
any more extreme form, than throughout the past hundred 


years. The number of workers unemployed in any one 
season, or in any particular year, fluctuates up and down ; 
and although no exact statistics are available, it is certain 
that the depressions of past times were quite comparable 
in severity, and that they produced quite as much distress 
as those of our own day. Our own impression, indeed, 
derived from wide and prolonged study of aU the facts, is 
that such years of acute crisis as those of 1816, 1841, and 
1879, witnessed a considerably larger proportion of men 
out of work, and certainly more widespread destitution and 
misery, than anything that this generation has suffered. 
But the evil is so great, and the amount of destitution that 
it causes is so enormous, that any gratifying comparison 
with the past seems to us, in the twentieth century, out of 

To the ordinary man of the middle or upper classes, 
" Unemployment " is apt to mean a condition in which, 
whilst the great bulk of the manual working wage-earners 
are in situations at wages — and here he may think vaguely 
of his coachman or his gardener — there are also the 
" unemployed " ; a group, a special section, or a more or 
less permanent class, who for reasons which he cannot help 
suspecting to be in some way personal to themselves, find 
it impossible to get situations at all. Quite naturally, he 
thinks that, somehow or other, there is " not enough work 
to go round " ; and his mind turns to schemes of getting 
" more employment," if not by " Relief Works," then by 
the results of a reformed tariff or by afforestation. Or, as 
a mark of enlightenment, he may prefer to concentrate 
attention on the possibility of regenerating, by means of 
" Detention Colonies " and perhaps emigration, the class 
whom he thinks of as " the unemployed," and he will 


sonietinies be charitable enough mdignantly to deny that 
they are all "unemployable." 

To the workman, " unemployment " is not the 
|, attribute of a special class, or indeed, of any particular 
period or place, but the invariable accompaniment of the 
wage-earner's life in the present organisation of industry. 
To him, " unemployment " means always the actual 
.dismissal of some workman from his means of livelihood. 
He knows that such dismissals are always occurring, in all 
trades, to men of all degrees of skill, all ages, and all 
characters, quite irrespective of any personal circumstances 
vor conduct. He sees that such dismissals take place from 
•all sorts of causes. He realises, perhaps more clearly than 
lany other class, how incessantly the volume of his particular 
:i3ervice that is demanded by the world, waxes and wanes — 
Ibhrough the cyclical fluctuations of national trade, the 
. yearly succession of the seasons, the unaccountable changes 
lia taste or habit or fashion, the invention of new machines, 
Ibhe discovery of new materials, the adoption of new 
vprocesses, the shifting of industry or population from one 
iiocality to another, the bankruptcy of this particular 
Bmployer, or the death of another. He is, therefore, 
:^eenly alive to the fact that the one thing certain about 
wery wage-earning employment is its perpetual insecurity, 
and the one assurance is that the number of the dismissals, 
at any one moment, at any particular season, or during 
any given year, can never be predicted in advance. This 
bhronic msecurity and this uicessant liability to change 
«eems to hun to be becoming more and more characteristic 
bf mdustrial life. And when the workman has lost his 
blace, the weary, heart-breaking search for another 
lutuation may extend over a longer or shorter period 


his life, according to luck or circumstances. Sometimes 
a man who has been dismissed gets taken on somewhere 
else, with no longer interval (and therefore no longer 
cessation and loss of the family income) than a few days ; 
sometimes he has to wait until the slack season has passed 
over ; sometimes, again, he will hunt in vain for an 
employer needing an additional hand for as long as twelve 
months, or even longer ; and occasionally, he may fail ever 
to get taken on at all at the trade which he had cherished 
as his possession, either because it is being superseded, or 
because he himself has gradually become so elderly as 
never to take the fancy of any foreman. This, in one 
degree or another, is the experience that falls to the lot — 
excepting only in a few specially continuous occupations, 
in which a certain proportion of the men get, in effect, 
virtually lifelong employment — of practically every one of 
the sixteen millions of manual working wage-earners of the 
United Kingdom. Moreover, quite apart from these 
perpetual, and more or less frequent, dismissals from 
employment, which to the workman constitute the problem 
of Unemployment, there is a further and distinct evil. He 
is conscious of the existence all around him of a large class 
of men, of all ages and, like those in his own trade, of all 
grades of conduct and character, who pass then- whole 
lives neither in employment nor out of employment — that 
is to say, they have never been fortunate enough to get 
any situation at weekly wages, and they have to subsist 
on a succession of brief casual jobs, of a few hours' duration, 
without assurance either of getting enough of such jobs in 
the week to enable them to live, or of getting so few of them 
as to make some other source of food indispensable. This 
large class of dock and wharf labourers, market and 


warehouse porters and innumerable other kinds of casual 
workers, are the chronically " Under-employed " who form 
actually the bulk of the workers in certain industries, and 
a fringe about many others. 

To those who have not actually experienced or not 
closely observed the life of the unemployed (and property- 
less) man, it is difficult, without " sensationalism," and 
harrowing details, to describe the effect of prolonged 
Unemployment or chronic " Under-employment " on the 
family life. Meaning as it does, the lack of food, clothing^ 
firing, and decent housing conditions, it punishes the 
women and children at least as much as it does the men. 
It punishes them not merely by physical hardship but also 
by the insidious moral degradation that, under the actual 
circumstances of destitution in an urban slum, almost 
inevitably accompanies it. For the able-bodied man him- 
self, nothing is more demoralising than the disheartening 
and disabling search for work, the consciousness that wife 
and child are suffering at home, the sickness of hope 
deferred, the long periods of absence, the weariness of 
continual walking from one place to another, the necessary 
waiting about at factory gates and street corners, the 
-inevitable temptation to accept the drink offered by more 
fortunate comrades. Yet this is the ordeal to which 
nearly every working-class family is exposed. At all 
times — even those that we of the propertied class call 
prosperous — many thousands of working-class families 
are simultaneously being subjected to this trial : at most 
times tens of thousands : and, every few years, hundreds 
of thousands. And bad as is the effect on family life and 
personal character of this spasmodic Unemployment, 
that of chronic Under-employment — the " casual " 



existence of the dock and wharf labourer, and of tens of 
thousands of others of which he is the type — is demons- 
trably even worse. 

If we contemplate that, even at the best of times, 
in the busiest of seasons, the number of men discharged 
from employment in the United Kingdom, certainly 
amounts to several millions in the course of a year ; that 
there are, at any moment, several hundred thousand 
men seeking work and unable to find it during the current 
week ; and that many tens of thousands of them, in one 
trade or another, are out of work for weeks and even 
months together — this at the best of times — it seems 
incomprehensible that a practical business community 
should permit such a state of things to continue. Even 
from the narrowest standpoint of wealth production, it is 
conceivably short-sighted. If at every temporary cessation 
of orders to a particular firm, the directors not only stopped 
the engine, but also turned all the machinery into the 
street to be rained upon, so that it was found rusty and 
unserviceable when new orders came in, the behaviour 
would not be more wasteful than the way the community 
treats its manual working wage-earners. And this analogy 
directs attention merely to the deterioration, under Un- 
employment, of the physical or mechanical powers of the 
man. It does not compel us to realise the deterioration 
of character which is the commonest result of a hopeless 
search for work. To the thoughtful workman, it is adding 
insult to injury when the propertied classes make it a 
ground for complaint and reproach that men who have 
been subjected by the community to the terrible experiences 
that we have indicated, suffer the ahnost inevitable con- 
sequences and become, in the end, " unemployable." 


The failure of the directors of industry, the statesmen 
and the propertied classes generally, to realise the social 
wreckage which they are creating, is due partly to their 
lack of realisation of what Unemployment and Under- 
employment actually means in a working-class household, 
but partly also to a real callousness as to the economic 
waste, a callousness arising from the assumption that 
there will perpetually be a new supply of labour-force 
leaving school and begging for situations, at rates 
covering no more than the current cost of subsistence. 
If new machinery were obtainable in a similar way, 
without payment of the capital cost, for no more 
than its running expenses, the directors who, on every 
temporary cessation of orders, turned all their mechanical 
appliances into the street, would be financially justified, 
because they could always begin again with new plant 
without cost to themselves. As things are, they cannot 
afford to let their machinery be spoilt, whenever it has 
to stop, because if they did they would have to bear the 
capital cost of replacing it. This capital cost is exactly 
what the community as a whole has to bear with regard 
to each successive generation of human beings. The " new 
hands " at the factory gate, the youths and maidens, by 
whom the employer is perpetually replacing those who 
have been rendered " unemployable," have cost a large 
sum to rear. But this is not the whole expense to the 
community of the "wrecking" process. The spofit 
machinery can be "scrapped," but damaged human 
beings cannot in this way be disposed of. The 
community necessarily finds itself bearing the expense 
of maintaining (whether in prison or in hospital, by 
invalidity or pensions in the workhouse) those whom 


the organisation or disorganisation of industry has 

How have our statesmen dealt with this problem ? 
Throughout the nineteenth century — in that Victorian 
era which thought itself so clever in its " Political 
Economy " — the short and easy way of dealing with 
Unemployment was to refer the man out of Employment 
to the tender mercies of the Poor Law. To the unemployed 
man who could find no situation, as to the chronically 
under-employed man who could not live on his few jobs, 
the Poor Law offered — alike to those who had exhausted 
the savings of painful thrift and to those who had never 
saved — prior to 1834, the extraordinarily demoralising 
Outdoor Relief of the " rate in aid of wages " ; and after 
1834, the deliberately deterrent conditions of confinement 
in the Workhouse. Eor the most part, the man who is 
chronically under-employed refuses (as it was desired and 
intended that he should) to accept Poor Law relief on 
the terms on which it is now offered, especially as it 
involves the breaking up of his home, and the entry of 
his wife and children into the Workhouse. Thus, so far 
as the decent, self-respecting, and respectable workman 
is concerned, the Poor Law effects nothing. But this is 
not the worst of it. As the penal relief that is offered, 
the deliberately deterrent conditions of the Workhouse 
for the able-bodied, cannot be made sufficiently deterrent 
on the side of the physical requirements of life — seeing 
that even the harshest Workhouse must afford enough 
food, clothing, warmth, and sleep — the deterrence has to 
be secured by offering mentally penal conditions — shame 
and disgrace, degrading toil and brutalising associations. 
Hence it is accepted, normally, only by the lowest and 


most demoralised men. And to just this section, tlie 
conditions of tlie Workhouse are not deterrent ! To the 
casual labourer of a certaia type, as to the habitual 
vagrant, the abundant coarse food, the warmth, the long 
hom's of sleep, even the promiscuous bad company, that 
he finds in the harshest Workhouse, are quite acceptable 
for a spell, whilst he is recovering from his last debauch, 
or waiting for the weather to get warmer. Thus the whole 
of the Poor Law provision for the able-bodied man — 
obviously futile in preventing Unemployment, and to 
the decent workman useless even as a means of succour 
— becomes actually a series of spasmodic subsidies, to the 
system of chronic " Under-employment," the evil con 
sequences of which it promotes and extends. It is, in 
effect, a modern form of " Kate in Aid of Wages," applied 
as a sort of bounty in the lowest and more demoralised 
grades, as if it had been desired to subsidise the particular 
way of engaging " hands " which has proved to be the 
most socially pernicious ! 

But there is no end to the injurious results of our 
barbarous way of dealing with the unemployed man under 
the Poor Law. An obvious reaction of the penal Casual 
Ward is the philanthropic Free Shelter. Wherever there 
are destitute people who will not, for good reasons or bad, 
go into the Workhouse, we see developed an array of 
spasmodic and unsystematic voluntary charities of one 
sort or another — shelters and soup-kitchens, the winter 
distribution of food on the Thames Embankment, and 
so on. These voluntary agencies give, as a rule, only 
the barest momentary relief, in food and lodging — they 
can afford no more — but they give it without the degrading 
conditions of the Workhouse, often, indeed, with the 


most praiseworthy love and devotion. This form of 
treatment of the unemployed man, whilst it gives us no 
solution, actually serves as a subsidy to the system of 
" casual " and under-employed labour, just as the Poor 
Law does. Whether its total efEects are better or worse 
than those of the Workhouse is a question that may be 
left to the reader's own judgment. 

Dissatisfied both with Poor Law relief, lax or strict, 
and with the spasmodic benevolence of the charitable 
and the religious, the community turned in despair towards 
the latter part of the nineteenth century to " Relief 
Works." The idea of " setting the poor to work," of 
" organising the imemployed " in mutually supplying 
each other's needs, of " bringing the landless man to the 
manless land," and so on, which has captured the imagina- 
tion of successive reformers for three centuries, came once 
more into vogue. But all sorts of experiments, voluntary 
and municipal, gave only the same invariable and dis- 
appointing result. The essential feature of all kinds of 
" ReUef Works," or plans for " finding employment for 
the imemployed," is that of waiting until men have been 
discharged from their situations, and are unable to find 
others ; and then of taking on, at wages, at the artificially 
invented enterprise, the men thus " unemployed." But 
these men, at any particular time and place, are of the 
most diverse kinds. There are casual labourers and 
" navvies," painters and carpenters, tailors and grooms, 
shop-assistants and cab-drivers. In order to employ 
them all, the enterprise must be something that they can 
all help at. Hence it is impossible, with any given group 
of " unemployed " men, even if the capital and directing 
ability were available, to undertake the supply of anything 


that tlie community might require, or to start any in- 
dustrial undertaking of any high type — the making of 
any commodity in a factory, the building of a ship, or 
even the erection of a house — because this involves having 
an exactly proportionate number of each of a series of 
different kinds of skill and labour. The heterogeneous 
crowd of men who happen to be simultaneously " un- 
employed " at any given place and time can practically 
be put to nothing but digging — that " ground work " which 
is the special craft of the nawy, and which all other men 
do badly ! The idea that the crowd of unemployed towns- 
men could be successfully put to agriculture — that they 
could, without training, grow food for each other — proved, 
it need hardly be said, as great a delusion as they could 
build an ocean liner or run a machine shop. In despair, 
they had to be put to road-making, or cleaning away a 
hill, or filling a swamp. And when such piece of " digging " 
is invented, in order to employ the unemployed, it is 
almost invariably found to cost so much in management 
and supervision, use of plant and tools, purchase of 
incidental stores, hire of horses and carts, etc., that it 
would have been as cheap to the community to have, 
given the men their wages in return for marching up and 
down the ground all day ! And such a course would be 
hardly less demoralising than the solemn pretence of 
" Belief Works," which inevitably produce a bad eSect 
■on the men employed. It is not in human nature con- 
tinuously to put forth one's full stroke, on a job which 
I one knows to have been invented for the sake of giving 
• employment, under a foreman who knows it also, with a 
'universal feeling that the longer the job takes the better 
' the purpose will be served for the sake oi which it was 


undertaken. And to get into a habit of " slacking " is, 
in foreman and labourer alike, subtly demoralising. Thus, 
to provide Relief Works for the unemployed, whatever form 
they take, is— without in any way preventing the occur- 
rence of unemployment — not only to subsidise the specially 
evil system of " casual " labour but actually to deteriorate 
the labourers themselves. 

There is, we think, an almost universal feeling that 
all these methods of dealing with the Unemployed — in- 
dispensable as they may be in an emergency — result in 
little but failure. Resembling each other, as they do, in 
a common failure, it is instructive to consider what other 
features they have in common. The Poor Law prior to 
1834, and the Workhouse of to-day, the philanthropic 
Free Shelter and the Municipal Relief Works, all have 
the feature that they wait until men are actually thrown 
out of work — until Unemployment has occurred — and 
then try to relieve the sufferers ; just as we used to wait 
until typhus had occurred, and then carried relief to the 
sufferers. All four methods agree, too, in a policy of 
delay, in asking the sufferers as long as possible to make 
shift for themselves, and only to present themselves for 
treatment when they can remain away no longer — just 
as the Poor Law does still, with regard to sick people 
generally, and just as the Parish Overseer did with regard 
to the sufferers from typhus. Finally, what these methods 
do for the sufferer from Unemployment, when they have 
got him under treatment, comes, in all four cases, to 
something very like that which the Poor Law did at 
last provide by way of relief for the t5rphus patient ; it 
never prevented the disease from spreading, it seldom 
effected a cure, and it always had incidental bad results 


on family life and personal character. Following the 
analogy, may we not say that we must discover some 
way of dealing with the social disease of Unemployment 
that shall be free from all these features, and that shall 
be comparable with the way in which the Public Health 
Authority has so successfully dealt with the equally fell 
disease of typhus ? We must aim, primarily, not so much 
at relieving the particular sufferers, but, by altering the 
environment, at preventing the occurrence of the disease — 
that is to say, at so changing the conditions that we may 
to a great extent render it unnecessary for employers 
to discharge men at all. We must aim, moreover, at 
limiting the disease where it does occur, to the narrowest 
possible area, and therefore at dealing at the earliest possible 
moment with every case — that is to say, we must give up 
all idea of " deterring " men who are out of work from 
making known their position and their needs, and we 
must, on the contrary, do our utmost to encourage them 
to come forward and have situations found for them. 
And, in order to do this, we must, as a community, accept 
the responsibility (as we do now, not only for typhus but 
for most infectious diseases) not only for scientifically 
treating " all cases of unemployment, but also for pro- 
viding, wherever necessary, as part of the treatment, 
the means of subsistence for the patient and his dependents. 
Only in this way (as with the hospital treatment of typhus) 
can we ensure that the treatment shall be effective for 
good, and shall, at any rate, not deteriorate the patient 
whom we subject to it. 

Now, we do not claim that we have discovered, or 
that any one has discovered, any instant panacea against 
Unemplojroient, or any quite easy and perfectly certain 


method of altogether preventing its occurrence. Social 
evils are not to be exorcised by any expeditious device. 
We may illustrate the position by an historical analogy. 
The framers of the great Report of the Health of Towns 
Commission in 1844 saw their way to the prevention of 
disease on a large scale, notably tj^hus. But this did 
not mean that they saw their way to prevent the occur- 
rence of all disease whatsoever, or even to abolish all typhus 
straightaway. It took a whole generation of further 
scientific research and additional administrative ex- 
perience to work out their policy and to put it into opera- 
tion ; to get anywhere near a satisfactory main drainage 
system and water supply, or adequate sanitary inspection 
and hospital isolation, even in the large towns ; and, 
whilst much was at once achieved, and more has since 
been accomplished, in actually preventing the occurrence 
of disease, we are still, by the incessant perfecting of the 
technique, developing our disease-preventing organisation, 
and thereby still further lowering both the death-rate 
and the " damage-rate." The idea of actually preventing 
the occurrence of Unemployment, as contrasted with 
relieving the men after they have been thrown out of 
work, is in much the same position as the idea of actually 
preventing the occurrence of typhus was before the 
passing of the Public Health Act. The new public service 
of preventing the occurrence of Unemployment, and of 
scientifically treating aU the cases that do occur, in such 
a way as to obviate the evil results, must necessarily 
take a long time to work out experimentally, and to 
bring into operation at all points of the industrial field. 
What we assert is that the economic discoveries of the 
past decade make clear, for the first time, not only the 


several causes of Unemployment, in its different mani- 
festations, but also the way in whicli the evil can be 
prevented. We can now see before us, as was never pre- 
viously the case, a national policy dealing with every 
aspect of the problem, which, if deliberately pursued and 
experimentaUy developed, will progressively operate so 
as more and more to prevent the very occurrence of in- 
voluntary Unemployment and " Under-employment " 
in the mass to an extent, and within an approach to 
completeness, that we can hardly yet foresee ; and which 
will enable us, at the same time, to apply such treatment 
to the sporadic cases that must necessarily continue to 
occur — cases that will be, for a long time to come, numer- 
dus enough — as will prevent deterioration of physique 
or character, either in the men thrown out of work or in 
their dependents. 

This national policy, explained with much detail 
in the Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission 
(especially Chapters IV. and V. of Part II.) will be 
1 sketched in outline in the following chapter. 


Notes and References 

Page 88. What is known as " Sweating," in industry, was the subj ect of 
elaborate inquiry by a Committee of the House of Lords in 1888-1890; and 
the Eeport of this Committee (1890), with its voluminous evidence, afiorde 
still the most useful information on the subject. 

A Short Bibliography of Sweating and . . . the Legal Minimum Wage 
(National Anti-Sweating League, 34, Mecklenburgh Square, London, 1906, 
price 3d.) gives a full survey of books and pamphlets on the subject. See, 
in particular. Sweated Industry and the Minimum Wage, by Miss 
Clementina Black (Duckworth : 1907) ; The Case for Wages Boards, by Miss 
Constance Smith (National Anti-Sweating League : 1908) ; and Makers of 
our Clothes, by Lady Meyer and Miss Clementina Black (Duckworth : 1909). 

Page 90. For the treatment of " sweating " by parochial relief, cul- 
minating in the so-called " Allowance System," of the " Speenhamland 
Act," see the Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission, 1909, Part II., 
ch. i. (pp. 437-8 of official 8vo edition), and the contemporary authorities 
therein cited. See also The State of the Poor, by Sir P. Eden, 1797, Vol. I., 
pp 575-7; The History of the English Poor Laiv, by Sir George NichoUs, 
Vol. II., p. 131; Pauperism and the Poor Law, by Eobert Pashley, p. 258; 
and Eeport of the Poor Law Commissioners, 1834 (pp. 121-7 of reprint of 

Page 91. See, for all this development. The History of Factory Legisla- 
tion (King : 1910), by Miss B. L. Hxxtchins and Miss Amy Harrison (Mrs. 
F. H. Spencer) ; and the chapter entitled " Social Movements " in the 
Cambridge Modern History (ch. xxii. of Vol. XII). The economic argument 
for these prescribed "Common Rules" is- given, with answers to objections, 
in our Industrial Democracy (pp. 715-806) ; and, more succinctly, in Socialism 
and National Minimum (Fifield). 

The student will find the very successful Compulsory Arbitration and 
Wages Boards legislation at the Antipodes well described in State Experi- 
ments in Australia and New Zealand, by the Hon. W. P. Reeves (2 vols., 
1902); Newest England, by H. D. LUoyd (New York: 1903); and New 
Zealand in Evolution, by Guy H. Scholefield (Unwin : 1909) ; or, more 
briefly, in the new Introductory Chapter to our Industrial Democracy. A 
more critical account will be found in State Regulation of Labour and 
Labour Disputes in New Zealand, by H. Broadhead (Whitcombe & Toombs : 
1908) ; and in the Eeport on Wages Boards and Industrial Conciliation and 
Arbitration Courts of Australia and New Zealand, by Ernest Aves (Cd. 4167, 

Page 93. On the subject of Unemployment and the Unemployed the 
literature is endless. An extensive classified list will be found in the 
Bibliography of Unemployment and the Unemployed, by Miss F. I. Taylor, 
1909 (P. S. King & Son). The Minority Report of the Poor Law Com- 
mission (Part II.) includes a compendious survey of the history of the 
subject for the past century, an account of the various experiments tried, 




a description of the different kinds of unemployment and unemployed, and 
detailed proposals for dealing with the problem. By far the weightiest and 
most scientific monograph is Unemployment, a Problem of Industry, by 
W. H. Beveridge (Longmans: 1909). See the papers and proceedings of the 
TJnemploymeut Section of the Tirst National Conference on the Prevention of 
Destitution (P. S. King & Son: 1911); and Unemployment, by Cyril Jackson, 
L.C.C. (Longmans: 1910). 

Page 102. As to the experience of "Relief Works" of every kind, and of 
other forms of provision for the unemployed, when we have let unemploy- 
ment occur, see the works already cited. But the Report to the Poor Law 
Commission by Mr. Cyril Jackson and the Rev. J. Pringle on the effect of 
employment and other forms of relief of the unemployed (Wyman : 1910) 
should be studied ; the Board of Trade Report on the Agencies and Methods 
of dealing with the Unemployed in certain foreign countries (Cd. 2304.., 
1905) ; and The Vagraney Problem, by W. H. Dawson (King : 1910). 


How to Prevent Unem'ployment and Under-employment 

It is so difficult for those who do not belong to the 
wage-earning class to realise the position of the household 
dependent on weekly wages that we must, at the risk of 
wearisome iteration, once more insist that the evil with 
which we are dealing is not any abstract " state of the 
labour market," but the dismissal of a workman from his 
situation, the breach of continuity in his employment 
involving, as this does, so serious a dislocation of his 
own life, and of all the conditions of his family existence. 
It is obviously far better to prevent a man from losing his 
situation, if this can be done, than to let him be thrown 
out of work, with all the delay, trouble, loss, and dis- 
location involved in getting him into a new situation. 
What we have to do, it is clear, is to deal one by one with 
the causes that lead to workmen being discharged, and 
see, in the first place, how far it is possible to arrest their 
operation. And in this survey the reader must have the 
patience to be content to consider one cause of Unemploy- 
ment at a time, and not to make it a ground of complaint, 
with regard to each specific proposal, that it does not 
deal with all the causes together. 


(a) The Cyclical Fluctuations of Trade 

Now, of all tlie causes leading to workmen being 
discliarged, one stands out conspicuously. Apart from 
the circumstances of individual employers, or the defects 
of particular workmen, we find, throughout practically 
all industries, a periodical " reduction of hands," or even 
temporary " shutting down " of works due to " bad 
trade." These waves of depression, affecting all trades 
in all countries, show themselves in a diminished volume 
of business and a lessening of production, involving, in 
the United Kingdom alone, the dismissal of hundreds of 
thousands of workmen, from absolutely no fault or short- 
coming of their own. And when, in such a time of depres- 
sion, a workman loses his place, the Trade Union records 
prove that, even the best of workmen, with the most 
unblemished of characters, may possibly be many months 
before he can regain employment. These " cyclical " 
and international depressions of trade, which are seen to 
operate quite irrespective of seasonal fluctuations, in- 
dustrial revolutions or personal shortcomings, obviously 
account for a great mass of Unemployment, though, of 
course, by no means the whole of it. 

Can this large proportion of quite undesired dis- 
missals and quite involuntary losses of situations be 
prevented ? The answer now is that, to a very large 
extent, at any rate, it is within the power of the Govern- 
ment to prevent them from happening, by rendering 
them unnecessary. We cannot prevent the cyclical de- 
pression itself, for its causes are beyond our grasp, even 
beyond our certain knowledge, any more than we can 
stop the East Wind. But because we cannot stop the 


East Wind tliere is no reason why it should be allowed I 
to give us all cold ! There is such a thing as an i 
overcoat. What is suggested is that it is within the power 
of the Government, and of the Government alone, to 
make such arrangements as will prevent the cyclical 
depressions of trade from causing the total demand for 
commodities in the country as a whole to fall off ; from 
lessening the amount of orders that reach the whole body 
of employers, and therefore from necessitating, in the 
aggregate, any reduction of staff or dismissal of workmen i 
owing to lack of business. - 

Let us consider how much the recurrent cyclical 
depression amounts to. The proportion of men in employ- 
ment among the three-quarters of a million Trade Unionists 
entitled to " Out of Work Benefit " varies from 98 per 
cent, in good years to 89 per cent, in the worst years. 
According to the best available statistics, as given in 
evidence to the Poor Law Commission, the amount spent 
in wages in the United Kingdom in the best year of the 
past decade may have reached £700,000,00*0, employing 
on an average, perhaps, sixteen million wage-earners of all 
ages and both sexes. The corresponding amount in the 
worst year of the decade can, we are assured, hardly have 
-been less than £680,000,000, employing, on an average, 
according to the same calculation, fifteen millions five 
hundred and fifty thousand operatives. And let no one 
<;avil at the figures, which do not profess to be more than 
the roughest of estimates, upon the accuracy of which 
the argument does not depend. What we have to realise 
is that, even in the blackest period of trade depression, 
something like fifteen-sixteenths of all the wage-earners 
still find employment, and something like 95 per cent, of 


tlie highest aggregate of good years is still being paid in 
wages. In fact, in the last decade, judging from all the 
available evidence, it was the falling short of little more 
than two or three per cent, of the total wage bill — of 
something like fifteen or twenty millions sterling — that 
made the difference between a year at the top of 
the " boom " and a year at the bottom of the " slump " 
the former with its overtime, its night and day shifts, 
its mad rush to open more mines, to build additional 
mills, to launch new ships, its feverish over-production ; 
the latter, with its bankruptcies of thousands of em- 
ployers and its harvest of semi-starvation, misery and 
degeneration to perhaps two or three hundred thousand 
workmen's homes. Meanwhile, during these same ten 
years, the Government, national and municipal, was 
spending, on an average, something like £150,000,000 a year 
— actually eight or ten times the amount of the difference 
in the total wages bill between one year and the other — in 
works and services, 'practically without heed to the contem- 
poraneous state of the Labour Market, blindly giving its 
orders just when each head of a department thought fit, 
and in the aggregate to an approximately equal amount 
each year. It is calculated by Dr. Bowley, the Reader 
in Statistics at the University of London, who is un- 
doubtedly the greatest living authority on the subject, 
that, if only 3 or 4 per cent, of the Government orders 
year by year were reserved, to be executed all together 
when trade began to fall off, this would counterpoise the 
cyclical fluctuation, so far as all the industries are con- 
cerned in which cycHcal depressions are at present met by 
dismissal of hands instead of going on short time. The 
re-arrangement in this way of no more than forty millions 


of expenditure during the whole of the decade 1897-1906 
would have smoothed out all the yearly fluctuations in 
the volume of business during this period, and would 
have made the national aggregate demand for labour 
in these industries approximately uniform one year with 

Here we have our overcoat against the East Wind ! 
Without securing an approximate uniformity, one year 
with another, in the aggregate demand for labour in the 
community as a whole, it is clear that Unemployment 
on a large scale cannot be prevented. The only possible 
way in which that uniformity can be secured is, so far as 
can be seen, the use of the Government orders as a counter- 
poise to the uncontrollable fluctuations in the other 
orders. If this involved stopping all the Government 
orders in the good years and doing all the Government 
work in the bad years, the proposal would be an impracti- 
cable one, because the Government business must go on 
continuously, whatever the state of the Labour Market. 
But if the desired end can be achieved by rearranging, 
within the decade, no more than three or four, or even six 
or eight per cent, of the work that would otherwise have 
been done evenly year by year — if it can be even partly 
achieved, and the loss and misery only to that extent prevented 
— it is impossible to believe that so relatively small a 
readjustment is not possible. 

We have sometimes been asked, in what way this 
proposed manipulation of the Government orders for 
works and services, so as to employ men in the lean years 
of the decade, who would otherwise not be then employed, 
differs in its nature and in its results from the policy of 
Relief Works which is now so universally condenmed. 


In reality, the two policies are poles asunder. It is not 
a matter, as is sometimes supposed, of doing work which 
is of genuine public utility and actually required by the 
community. Nor does anything turn on the rate of wages 
paid. What gives to Eelief Works their evil character, 
whether or not they are of real public utility, and whatever 
rate of wages is paid, is that the men employed upon them 
are taken on because they are unemployed. Accordingly, 
Relief Works are of the nature of relief, not prevention. 
They do not prevent the occurrence of Unemployment ; 
they do not prevent that breach of continuity in the 
workman's industrial life which is, in itself, so harmful 
to him. They merely come in, by way of succour, after 
the breach of continuity has occm-red. And by having 
to take on only those men who have already been thrown out 
of work, and taking them on because they have remained 
out of work, the managers of Relief Works necessarily 
find themselves saddled with a heterogeneous crowd of 
worlanen, who are not individually picked out for employ- 
ment because their specific services are required, in exactly 
due proportion one to another, and because these individual 
persons have proved themselves in competition among 
all the candidates, the best fitted, by character and skill, 
for the particular vacancy ; but are taken en bloc, whatever 
then- several qualifications and antecedents, just because 
they happen, at that particular time and place, to be 
together unemployed. Now, it is characteristic of any 
mdustrial enterprise of remunerative character in our 
own day, that it involves a high degree of organisation, 
division of labour, the employment of the various grades 
and kinds of workers required in a certain exact pro- 
portion one to another, and so on. The result of not 


being able, in anything of the nature of Relief Works, 
to pick exactly the men having the skill and antecedents 
that are required, and of having, instead, to take on a 
heterogeneous crowd, is that no industrial enterprise of 
any highly organised character can possibly be under- 
taken, and the work accordingly hardly ever can be re- 
munerative, or, indeed, of public utility, and can certainly 
never form part of normal productive- industry. But it 
is not so much in the extravagant cost, or in the waste- 
fulness, or in the lack of real utility that the evil of Relief 
Work lies. It is in their bad effect on the character of the 
men whom they are intended to succour. The taking on 
of the heterogeneous crowd, not to work each of them 
at his own trade, for his own Standard Rate, but to labour 
at some common occupation that can simultaneously 
find employment for them all ; which is known to have been 
undertaken merely in order to give them employment ; 
from which they cannot practically be dismissed, and 
where they receive wages at a rate arbitrarily fixed with 
a view to what they can live on rather than to the market 
rate for any particular kind of labour, inevitably has an 
adverse psychological reaction on the men themselves 
and on the foremen over them. 

Now, contrast this with the proposal to give out the 
Government orders for works and services unevenly, and 
more in the lean years, rather than evenly year by year. 
The mere fact that, on the Index Number of Unemploy- 
ment beginning to rise, the Government puts in hand 
slightly more building work than would otherwise have 
been the case, orders rather more printing, somewhat 
increases its usual shipbuilding, raises this year the 
amount of its orders for blankets and sail-cloth above 


the normal, and temporarily accelerates the rate at which 
the telegraph wires are being laid underground, and 
the telephone is being extended to every village, 
would not mean the taking on of any crowd of unemployed 
workmen anywhere. What it would mean, in the first 
place, would be that various building firms and printing 
establishments all over the country would find themselves 
relieved from the necessity of turning off men ; some 
shipbuilding yards would be able to abstain from reducing 
hands ; the mills producing blankets and sailcloth would 
not need to go on short time, and the contractors for the 
telegraph and telephone extensions would find themselves 
continuing in employment, and placing upon the Govern- 
ment work members of their staffs whom they would 
otherwise have had to dismiss. All this prevention of 
discontinuity in the employment and wages of tens of 
thousands of workmen all over the kingdom, and, for 
that matter, also in the profits of hundreds of employers, 
would, as we have already indicated, automatically result 
in preventing much other discontinuity elsewhere. Even 
the gramophone makers might find themselves continu- 
ously, instead of intermittently, employed ! And where 
employers, by reason of the enlarged Government orders, 
had actually to engage additional men they would do so, 
not with any view of " employing the unemployed " not 
€ven of confining themselves to the men who were at the 
moment actually out of situations, but deliberately in 
order to attract to their service, it might be from some 
ether employers' service, exactly the kinds and grades 
of workmen, individually selected on their merits, as being 
the most skilful and the most regular workmen who could 
then and there be found, in exactly the due proportion 


one to another that the expansion of the particular 
business required. There would in this way be no adverse 
psychological effect on the workmen, any more than on 
the foreman who selected them and supervised their efforts 
or on the employer who saw to it that the normal discipline 
of his establishment was maintained. Indeed, it would 
not even occur to any of them that there was anything 
" artificial " or abnormal in the Government order for 
sailcloth, for which they had successfully tendered, being 
this time 10 or 20 per cent, larger than it was the previous 

We cannot now go into details as to how this re- 
arrangement of Government works and orders could most 
easily be undertaken. We must content ourselves with 
a few explanations to avoid the most usual misunder- 
standings. It is not suggested that the orders for any 
works or commodities that are actually required in any 
particular year should be delayed. The Government 
will not be asked to forego adding Dreadnoughts to the 
fleet, or buying the soldiers necessary boots or buttons, 
just because trade is temporarily brisk. What could be 
relegated to a ten years' programme, and put in hand 
only when trade was showing signs of falling off, are such 
items as one-half of the yearly appropriation for rebuilding 
and multiplying new post-offices, barracks. Metropolitan 
Police Stations and " section houses," departmental offices 
and other Government buildings (the other half, in addition 
to mere tenancies, sufficing for particularly urgent require- 
ments) ; one-half of the normal annual provision for such 
stores as blankets, canvas, and Khaki cloth, of which there 
is always a large stock ; the whole (or one-half) of the sum 
allocated annually to the gradual placing of telegraph wires 


underground, and the gradual extension of tiie telephone 
into every little village ; the whole of such printing as the 
reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and the 
official history of the South African War ; at least one-half 
of the annual expenditure on developing the Government 
forests and improving the property of the Duchy of 
Lancaster ; a considerable proportion of the Board of 
Education grants for the building of new training colleges 
and secondary schools ; some part of the year's normal 
ship-building other than the urgently necessary Dread- 
noughts, such as the provision of cruisers, torpedo 
boats, etc., which can be built at one time as at another ; 
at least one-half of the annual appropriation for new rifle 
ranges and drill halls for the Territorial Force ; most of 
the capital expenditure of the Congested Districts Board 
in Ireland, and so on. And to this should be added the 
whole of the sums, amounting to more than a million a 
year, already placed at the disposal of the Development 
Commissioners and the Road Board. It is clear that 
there is, in the aggregate, a very large amount — out of 
which the total of four millions a year could easily be 
selected — and a very considerable variety of expenditure 
which could, without any appreciable inconvenience, be 
rearranged within the decade. This policy of using the 
Government expenditure to " regularise " the national 


aggregate demand for labour has, in fact, been expressly 
adopted in the Development and Roads Improvement 
Funds Act, 1910, in which Parliament laid it down that, 
in all proceedings under the Act, regard should be had to 
the state of the Labour Market. 

Is it necessary to guard against the misunderstanding 
that there is here a proposal that the Government should, 


in order to employ tlie unemployed, execute four millions 
worth a year (some k«" honest " critics said forty millions 
worth a year) of new work ? It is not proposed that any 
work should be undertaken, or any order given, that is not 
already decided on quite irrespective of Unemployment. 
As a matter of fact, the proposed rearrangement of works, 
on a ten years' programme, involves literally no cost to 
the Government, and only the efiort of " taking thought." 
There might even be economy in it, to be set off against 
possible incidental expenses (such as interest on temporary 
loans), because the expenses of production, even if standard 
rates of wages are maintained, are apt to be lower in bad 
years than in good ; capital can be had at cheaper rates, 
and contractors are eager for business. 

Nor is the proposal open to the criticism that any such 
rearrangement of Government work would create as much 
Unemployment in the good years as it would prevent in 
the bad years. What might be lessened in times of brisk 
trade, by the Government withholding and reserving a 
fraction of its orders, would be the lengthened hours of 
work, the night shifts, the " cribbing " time in defiance of 
the Factory and Workshops Acts, the overtime and the 
pressure, which are harmful in themselves. But to a large 
extent the regularisation of the national aggregate demand 
for labour, which the rearrangement of the Government 
works would produce, or at any rate tend towards pro- 
ducing, would mean a real addition to the productivity 
of the nation. It is not commonly remembered that, in 
our present industrial anarchy, capital is periodically 
unemployed as well as labour. At every depression of 
trade furnaces are blown out, ships are laid up, mines are 
shut down, works are closed, plant and machinery lies 


idle, mills run only half-time, warehouses and shops find 
their turnover reduced far below their capacity, capital 
in mobile form heaps up at the banks, the gold reserve 
swells at the Bank of England, and the rate of discount 
goes down to 2 per cent. If, by a regularisation of 
national demand, we prevent this recurrent idleness of 
capital, concurrently with the involuntary idleness of 
unemployed men, we make a real addition to the national 
product, increasing both profits and wages. 

We do not assert that it is practicable for the Govern- 
ment to " regularise " the demand for labour in any 
particular trade, but only the aggregate of demand in all 
industries together. To this extent, accordingly, the 
proposed regularisation of the aggregate might still leave 
periods of great pressure in some industries, and of 
unemployment in others. These would usually be greatly 
mitigated. But as the Government works and orders, 
though extending to nearly all trades, form only a tiny 
proportion of the business of some of them, we must 
contemplate that any possible rearrangement would 
directly affect such trades only to a very slight extent. 
Here, however, must be remembered what the economists 
know as the " reverberation " of Unemployment. There 
seems, for instance, at first sight, no way by which any 
redistribution of Government works and orders could 
prevent the falling off in the production of gramophones 
in a Surrey village. The Government does not buy 
gramophones. But consider how it happens. In good 
years, the shipbuildmg yards of Jarrow or Sunderland are 
humming with business. The shipwrights earning regular 
wages make busy all the little shops that supply their 
household needs. These little shops make busy the 


wholesale houses in London and Manchester and New- 
castle, and these again the manufacturers all over the 
kingdom, and even, at every port, the importing 
merchants, and the dock-labourers. And among all these 
people there are some who are ordering gramophones, and 
thereby unconsciously keeping in regular employment in 
some Surrey village the skilled artizans who make them. 
Let now the slump in shipbuilding come, and Jarrow and 
Sunderland be rendered desolate. If profits fall off, and 
men are unemployed all along the line, there are fewer 
gramophones ordered. It is easy to see how the mere 
'"reverberation" throws the gramophone maker out of 
work. Now, if the proposed rearrangement of Govern- 
ment orders kept the national aggregate demand for labour 
and therefore the national aggregate of wages, approxi- 
mately uniform year by year, there would— even if the 
Government itself did not buy a single gramophone — 
never be any gramophone makers thrown out of work 
merely by reason of a general depression of trade, though, 
of course, other causes might operate to make the demand 
for gramophones fall off. And the same would be true of 
innumerable other industries, and indeed, to some extent, 
of all industries. The very depression itself creates in 
every direction more depression. Prevent it in one 
industry and you, to a corresponding extent, prevent it 
in others. Regular isation of the aggregate would tend 
greatly to regularisation of every part of the aggregate. We 
put, therefore, as the indispensable preliminary to any 
effective prevention of Unemployment, the deliberate use 
of the Government orders for non-urgent works and 
services, as a means of regularismg the national aggregate 
demand for labour year by year, so that the aggregate 


volume of employment in the community as a whole may 
remain fairly constant. 

Finally, we have to meet the objection, often hastily 
put forward by someone priding himself on his knowledge 
of Economics, that the attempt of the Government to 
increase the volume of employment in the lean years must 
necessarily fail, because the Grovernment can only increase 
its spending power at the cost of diminishing the individual 
spending power of the ratepayers and taxpayers. We are, 
in fact, invited to believe that any increase in the Govern- 
ment orders for works and services causes, in this way, 
just as many coachmen and gardeners to be dismissed, or 
as many theatrical workers or waiters in holiday resorts 
to. suffer from a lessened expenditure on amusements, as 
it causes operatives to be employed upon Government 
orders. But this is a simple economic fallacy. It assumes, 
that what the Government spends the individual taxpayers 
will have to forego spending. It assumes, moreover, 
that the same amount of capital is employed year 
by year. Neither of these assumptions is true. There 
is, as we have already mentioned, as muth. Unemployment 
of capital as there is of labour ; and in the lean years there 
is always any amount of capital, in every conceivable 
form, from mines to machines, from excessive stocks of 
raw material to swollen current accounts and Bank of 
England gold reserve, which is only begging to be used. 
Nor does the Government, in order to rearrange the 3 
<or 4 per cent, of its orders, in such a way as to con- 
<centrate them m the lean years, need to dimmish the • 
I income or lessen the spending power of any taxpayer 
^whatever. All that it need do is to execute the works in 
tthe Ten Years' Programme, when the time comes, out of 


short loans ; borrowing, in fact, in the lean years, some 
of the capital then lying idle, and repaying the whole 
within the decade by a ten years' annuity. The fact that 
the owners of this capital find themselves earning interest 
on it, which they would otherwise not have received, does 
not, it may be suggested, lead them to dismiss any 
gardener, or spend less on their amusements. 

(6) The Seasonal Variations of Employment. 

We come now to the second great cause of terminations 
of engagements among the wage-earners, the " seasonal " 
fluctuations of business, which prevail, to some extent, in 
almost all trades, whilst in some they amount to devas- 
tating tidal waves. These seasonal fluctuations may arise 
from the annual succession of seed-time and harvest, or 
of winter and summer ; or they may be dependent on 
such social arrangements as the dictates of fashion, terms 
and vacations, city gaieties and seaside hohdays. To 
hundreds of thousands of workmen's homes they mean, at 
present, the cessation of employment and of means of 
subsistence for many weeks, and sometimes months, in ' 
every year. Here, again, it is impracticable to stop the 
fluctuations in demand. But here, also, it is not necessary 
that the fluctuations should be permitted to work havoc 
with the workers' lives. 

So long as we confine our attention to any one trade, 
the seasonal fluctuations in the demand for labour seem to 
be not only inevitable, but also without eflective remedy. 
But it, is one of the discoveries brought to light by the 
Poor Law Commission that there is practically no seasonal 
fluctuation in the demand for labour in the community as a 


whole. Though there is a slack season in nearly all trades, 
this occurs at different parts of the year. There is, as the 
Board of Trade, from accurate statistics of the past 
decade, is able positively to testify, no month in the year 
in which some great industry is not at its very slackest, and 
equally no month in the year in which some great industry 
is not at its very busiest. Thus, taking the actual facts 
of the last ten years, whilst January is the slackest month 
in iron-mining and the furnishing trades, it is actually the 
busiest at the docks of London and many other ports, and 
one of the busiest for coal-mining ; in February the 
plumbers have most unemployment, but the papermaking 
trade is at its briskest ; in March and April the coopers 
are at their slackest, but the steelsmelters, the textiles and 
the furnishing trades are busy ; May and June are the 
worst of all months for the great industry of coal-mining, 
as well as for the London dock-labourers, but they are the 
best of all months for the wide ramifications of the clothing 
trades, as well as for mill-sawyers ; July sees the iron and 
steel and tin-plate works at their lowest ebb, but the 
railway service and all the occupations of the holiday 
resorts are near their busiest ; in August and September 
the paper-makers, printers, book-binders, textile operatives, 
and tobacco-workers are more unemployed than at any 
other time, but (besides the holiday resorts) all forms of 
agriculture harvesting are at their height ; the clothing 
trades are at their very slackest in October, but the iron 
and steel works are then at their busiest ; November, on 
an average, sees the least shipbuilding in progress, but it 
is the best of all months for printing and book-biading, 
tobacco and tia-plate, and for most of the metal trades ; 
December is the worst of all months for carpenters and 


engineers, mill-sawyers, and coach-builders, leather-workers 
and brush-makers, but then it is the best of all months 
for coal-miners, the very extensive theatrical industry, 
the Post Office service and the producers of gas and electric 
light. In fact, when we come to think of it, we nearly all 
of us get our incomes week by week, or quarter by quarter, 
throughout the year ; and we nearly all of us spend our 
incomes as we get them. We do not spend them each 
week in the same way. Sometimes most of us are buying 
clothes, and sometimes, most of us, holiday amusements ; 
and this variation in demand causes the seasonal fluctua- 
tions in particular trades. But week by week we are all 
using or consuming much the same amount in the aggre- 
gate, and therefore setting to work, in the aggregate, the 
same amount of labour. Putting it definitely, we may say 
that if we could get accurate statistics of the total number 
of wage-earners in employment in the United Kingdom 
this week we should find it to be very nearly identical 
with the total number for any other week of the present 
year. This is almost certainly true with regard to the 
great mass of miskilled and only slightly specialised 
labour. The seasonal alternations of over-pressure and 
slackness to which so many workers are subjected, with 
such evil results, are due only to failures of adjustment. 

Now, it is not suggested that there is any way by 
which the local and temporary supply of each particular 
kind of labour can be precisely adjusted to the local and 
temporary demand for it. But it is clear that, if only we 
put a little more deliberate organisation into the matter, 
a great, deal could be done to avert the worst of the 
calamities. As a matter of fact, since the Minority 
Report was published, the National Labour Exchange 


wliicli the Board of Trade is now conducting, has proved, 
in case after case, that Seasonal Unemployment can often 
be prevented. It has often been found practicable to 
prevent any cessation of Wage-earning or loss of income 
in a temporary slaclmess, either by finding without any 
-delay, sometimes even before dismissal has taken place, 
the requisite situations in another town, or in another 
occupation, which is actually needmg more hands. What 
is needed to make this general is little more than a full and 
complete use of the Labour Exchange by masters as well 
as by men, hejore Unemployment actually occurs — every 
employer in the kingdom giving (as it now rarely occurs 
to him to do) as much previous notice as possible to the 
Exchange of his intention to reduce his staff ; everv 
labourer in the United Kingdom going straight to the 
Labour Exchange as soon as he becomes aware that he 
: is likely to be, or actually is, discharged ; and every 
• employer in the kingdom, individual or corporate, giving 
I to the Exchange the earliest possible previous notice of 
I every prospective increase of staff, as well as of every 
; actual vacancy. The national aggregate demand for 
'.unskilled and only slightly specialised labour remaining 
\week by week remarkably constant, telephonic inter- 
i communication and prompt advance of railway fares will, 
iin the vast majority of cases, achieve the desired result. 
We need not suggest that the skilled and specialised 
worker can always be so provided for ; or that it would 
be always desirable for the family to move. But when 
\we remember that one-half of all the wage-earners are 
ttechnically unskilled labourers, or workers of extremely 
^slight specialisation ; that many of them already habitu- 
ally pass from town to town and even from occupation to 


occupation as these alternate from slackness to briskness ; 
and that it is just in this class that we have ground for 
thinking the national aggregate demand (apart from the 
cyclical fluctuations of trade) to vary least from month 
to month, it is impossible not to believe that only organisa- 
tion is required to secure practical continuity of employ- 
ment throughout the year, in one occupation or another, 
in one locality or another, for the vast majority of such 
of these men as are in employment at all. With regard, 
at least, to the unskilled and unspecialised half of the 
wage-earning population, the existence of Unemployment 
through seasonal slackness means — in all but a few 
exceptional cases — merely that our National Labour 
Exchange is not yet completely at work, or is not every- 
where being directed with intelligence and purpose. 

With regard to the skilled and specialised worker, 
whilst something can be done to secure continuity of 
employment throughout a seasonal slackness by means 
of an intelligent organisation of the Labour Market, as the 
best Trade Unions and the most competent Labour Exchange 
managers have already proved, we need not suggest 
that temporary Unemployment can always be prevented. 
It is, in the skilled trades, usually impracticable to " dove- 
tail " employment at any other occupation. It often 
involves too much cost and disturbance of family life to 
take advantage of a temporary situation in another 
town. We suggest that this is a case in which it costs 
more to prevent Unemployment than to provide for it. 
In some great industries, such as coal-mining and the 
textile manufactories, seasonal slackness is met by the 
expedient of "short time," which ought to be supple- 
mented by insurance. Elsewhere we suggest that the 


skilled workers^ should be helped, by Government sub- 
vention, to provide by insurance for Out-of-Work pay 
sufficient to meet all seasonal slackness. But, for every 
class of society, the deliberate organisation of leisure is as 
necessary as the organisation of work. We may foresee 
a time when these skilled workmen will be advised and 
assisted to spend their " idle time," which they have paid 
for by their insm-ance, partly in holiday excursions, and 
organised games, and partly in the technical and literary 
and music classes that the Local Education Authority 
ought to be providing. 

(c) The Under-employment of Casual Labour. 

We have left to the last, of all the forms of Unemploy- 
ment, that which is most evil in its results, and has 
hitherto been the most intractable. The chronic " Under- 
employment " of the hundreds of thousands who, in all 
our great cities, live only by "casual labour," was 
discovered by the Poor Law Commission to be the cause 
of more pauperism than even phthisis itself, and to be far 
more destructive of family life and personal character. We 
all know the figure of the dock-labourer, fighting for the 
chance of a few hours' work at sixpence an hour; the 
subsistence of his household depending on his getting a 
job that day ; and jobs never proving to be enough to go 
round the whole crowd of applicants. We have never yet 
been able to remedy this perpetual evil congestion of the 
market for casual labour — the chronic presence of 24,000 
dock labourers in London to share among them the work 
that, on the busiest day that the port has known, could be 
done by 15,000; the similar competition at Liverpool 


among 15,000 men, for work which never employs more 
than 10,000— because it was not discovered, until the 
other day, to what this chronic and ubiquitous over-supply 
of casual labour was due. We owe the discovery — perhaps 
the most momentous of this generation in the realm of 
economic science — to Mr. W. H. Beveridge. We know 
now that the cause is simply and solely the particular 
method by which the employers choose to take on their 
men. Wherever this method is used, the chronic conges- 
tion is seen in all places, at all times, in good years and 
bad, in slack seasons and in brisk. Where it is not used,, 
the same inevitable chronic congestion does not exist. It 
is, in fact, the system of engaging men, not for regular 
weekly or monthly wages, but for casual jobs ; and the 
method of taking them on, there and then, at the dock or 
factory gate, that creates the peculiar evil of Under- 
employment. As the men never know at what hour, or 
in what numbers they may be required, there is always a 
little crowd round each such place at which extra men 
may be engaged. Each such crowd tends to be equal to 
the number of men required at that place or by that 
particular employer on the busiest day. It suits the 
employer or the foreman that this should be the case, 
because he wants to be sure of never having to go short of 
labour ; and the men are discouraged (or even forbidden) 
to go elsewhere in search of work. Thus, each employer 
keeps his own reserve of labour adequate , to supply his 
needs on the busiest day. But the busiest day of one 
employer is not that of another, and not necessarily 
coincident with that of the port as a whole. Hence the 
sum of all the separate reserves necessarily and at all times 
exceeds the number of men required by the port as a 


whole ; actually, it seems, in London and Liverpool, by 
about 50 per cent. As the casual jobs are divided, more 
or less unevenly, among all the men in attendance, the 
result is, not that a third of the men are wholly unemployed, 
m which case they would perforce abandon the occupation, 
but that all the men are chronically "under-employed," 
wasting, on an average, something like one-third of their 
working time, and many of them two- thirds. 

It is tempting, now that we have so clearly discovered 
the cause of the evil, to propose that it should be at once 
banned by Act of Parliament. The system of casual 
employment causes, indeed, such grave evils that we may 
one day be driven to prohibit it, just as we prohibited the 
Truck System. But it must be remembered that the 
system of casual hiring for the job is not confined to the 
docks and wharves. We find it in various forms, at every 
market and fair, almost, we may say, at every railway 
station. Moreover, in nearly all trades there is a fringe 
of " casual hands." To prohibit the taking on of a man 
for a temporary job, or to require that, every such man 
should be guaranteed a month's employment, would be, 
under any system of government, a practical impossibility. 
Nor is any such prohibition required. The evil of Under- 
employment springs directly, as we now see, not from the 
casual jobs themselves, but from the maintenance of all 
the separate " reserve " of labour. This, in itself, involves 
the perpetual waiting about of more than enough men to 
do all the jobs. The remedy is plauily to substitute, for 
all these separate reserves, for all these " stagnant pools " 
of labour, one conamon reserve in each place, on which all 
employers would draw and from which all the casual 
labour would be supplied, and supplied on the principle of 


dove-tailing the jobs, so that each man got, as nearly as 
possible, continuous employment ; and in which there 
would accordingly remain no more than enough men to 
supply all the needs of the busiest day. This would leave 
employers of casual labour as free as at present to take on 
men for the briefest casual jobs ; and to pick their men as 
they now do, or to give such preferences as they may 
choose. All that is required is that it should be imperative 
on them not to pick up their hands at their own gates, but 
to send, for such men as they require, whenever they 
require them, to the Labour Exchange, which would, in 
effect, maintain the common reserve for the whole town. 
The Labour Exchange, by dove- tailing the jobs, and thereby 
deliberately filling up as much as possible of the time of 
the men who were employed at all, would be able to 
secure, for these men, a regular five or six days of work in 
each week throughout the year. " Under-employment " 
would in that way be stopped, as, indeed, it has been largely 
stopped where the experiment has been tried, to the great 
advantage of both employers and employed. 

{d) The Ahsorftion of the Surplus. 

But though it is possible to " decasualise " the casual 
labourer ; and, without prohibiting casual jobs, to secure 
almost constant emplojmaent to those who are employed 
at all, this can only be done at the cost of something 
comparable to a surgical operation. We have, in fact, to 
cut away the existing surplus of casual labour. To 
substitute, for the many " stagnant pools " of chronically 
" under-employed " labour, a single reserve force m each 
w n, to all the members of which something approaching 


to continuous wage-earning can be ensured, involves the 
exclusion of a number of other men from the scrambling 
chance of casual employment on which they now attempt 
to subsist. This is naturally a grave operation. We may, 
indeed, make some beginnings at the task of decasualisation 
in times of expanding trade, relying on the probability 
that the excluded men will drift away and find employment 
on some new undertaking. But this is a cruel process, 
which falls very severely upon individual labourers and their 
families. It ought not, in our judgment, to be carried 
far ; and it is indeed, never likely to be allowed to go on 
long, without a great outcry arising from those who are 
being excluded. The adoption of a policy of deliberate 
decasualisation must, in our opinion, be accompanied by 
an undertaking to make substantial and definite provision 
for every man who is thereby excluded. And, as it would, 
for many reasons, not be practicable to offer the alternative 
of mahitenance to the whole mass of casual labourers whom 
we are going to exclude, decasualisation is practically 
dependent on there being found some means of absorbing 
into normal productive mdustry, at any rate, the great bulk 
of the men to be displaced by the improvement in industrial 

Can this absorption be secured ? The Mmority Report 
of the Poor Law Commission describes ui detail how it can 
be done, by the adoption of three social reforms, each of 
them urgently requ^ed and socially justified for its own 
sake ; and all of them together ensuring the absorption, 
into steady employment of at least as many persons as 
the process of decasualisation would set free. 

The first of these reforms — one to which the nation is 
aheady in principle conamitted— is the prevention of 


excessive hours of labour on railways, tramways, and 
omnibuses. We do not wish to dogmatise as to what are 
excessive hours of labour, nor need we hazard any assertion 
as to the exact number of men now subject to such 
excessive hours. But it is clear, alike from official returns, 
from the evidence given at the periodical inquiries into 
railway accidents, and from personal observation, that 
quite apart from any cases of emergency, or extreme 
instances, there are, under certain railway companies, and 
certain tramway and omnibus administrations, though not 
under all of them, many thousands of men habitually or 
frequently employed for twelve hours a day or more ; 
sometimes for eighty-four or even more hours in a week. 
Parliament has already prohibited such excessive hours, so 
far as railways are concerned ; and the Board of Trade has 
power to call upon the companies to adopt more humane 
time-tables for their men. The process of reduction of 
hours is, in fact, already going on, though very slowly. All 
that is necessary is that, concurrently with any measures 
of decasualisation, it should be pressed forward on all 
railway compaiiies, extended to tramway and omnibus 
administrations, and embodied m some reasonable definite 
maximum of permissible working time in any one day and 
in any one' week. Our whole policy of Factory legislation 
is based on the principle that no shareholders, any more 
than other capitalists, have any moral right to cause or 
to allow their wage-earners to work m any way that is 
demonstrably injurious to the community as a whole ; and 
excessive hours of labour, let the limit be fixed as may be 
thought fit, are now^ recognised as a grave social evil. If 
the necessary reductions were enforced concurrently with 
the measures of decasualisation, they would involve the 


taking on by the companies of some thousands of extra 
men — not necessarily the particular men who would be 
extruded from dock-labour, but the best men that the 
companies could attract to their service, whose places the 
Labour Exchanges would then have to fill. 

The second reform is of even greater urgency, and of 
wider scope. We have already mentioned the grave 
social evils resulting from the employment of boys and 
girls, from the time of leaving school until they reach 
manhood and womanhood, in occupations that teach them 
nothing, or nothing but evil, where they are subjected to 
irregular hours, and from which they gravitate almost 
mevitably into Unemployment. There is practically a 
consensus of opinion that, seeing that we cannot absolutely 
prohibit such uneducational employment of our adoles- 
cents, we must, at anyrate, retain them up to 18 for a 
portion of their time, under educational supervision and 
discipline. What, in short, is necessary is, as regards all 
employment under 18, the embodiment in our Factory 
Code and our Education Acts, of something in the nature 
of a " half time " or " sandwich " system, by which the 
youth will spend half the time at work and the other half at 
some continuation school or technical institute, in physical 
and technical training and organised recreation. Now, it 
is an incidental result of any such reform, on the necessity 
for which there is almost universal agreement, that it 
would, in effect, halve the supply of boy-labour and girl- 
labour ; and thus involve the substitution, in many occupa- 
tions (among them, we may hope, newspaper selling and 
carrying golf-clubs) of adults for adolescents, often of men 
and women too elderly for heavy work for boys and girls 
too immature to be properly put to it. Thus, here too, if 


put in force concurrently with decasualisation, an urgently- 
needed social reform would enable the Labour Exchanges 
to get into regular situations, indirectly through the 
creation of vacancies, if not directly in replacement of the 
boys, many thousands of those whom decasualisation 
would exclude. 

Finally, there is another reform, to the urgency of 
which on humanitarian as well as economic grounds, the 
Poor Law Commission drew attention. At the present 
time, something like 100,000 widows in the United 
Kingdom, burdened with the care of young children, are ia 
receipt of Poor Law Relief of entirely inadequate amount. 
In spite of repeated injunctions to make the relief adequate, 
the Boards of Guardians in England and Ireland, and the 
Parish Councils in Scotland, in all but half a dozen places, 
persist in allowing to such widows a sum altogether 
insufficient for the proper maintenance of the children and 
their mother. In England, for instance, a common rate 
of Outdoor Relief, even in London and other large towns, 
is eighteenpence per week for each child, whatever its age, 
and nothing for the mother. One result, gravely disastrous 
to the community, is that certainly more than a hundred 
thousand children, exposed to these conditions, are being 
brought up, actually at the public expense, in such a state 
of destitution that they almost inevitably, in adult Hfe, 
themselves become a burden on the nation. Another 
result is that their mothers are driven to go out to work 
(and are usually incited by the Poor Law Authorities to do 
so) to the neglect of their children. We ought at once to 
insist that, where young children have to be maintained 
at the public expense, and where the mother is not unfit 
to have them in her charge, they should be treated as 


" boarded out " witli their own motliers ; and a sum 
adequate for the full subsistence of the household provided. 
It would be an incidental consequence that the mothers 
would naturally then be required to devote themselves to 
the care of their young children, and not be allowed to 
neglect them by going out to work. Here, again, therefore, 
we have a social reform which, if carried out concurrently 
with decasualisation, would place a certain number of 
vacancies at the disposal of the Labour Exchange. 

We have now described a large part of the campaign 
for the Prevention of Unemployment which it has become 
possible for the nation to undertake. It is, we make bold 
to assert, now quite practicable, by means of such a 
campaign, for Unemployment in mass to be prevented ; 
for each of its three principal manifestations — the cyclical 
depressions of trade, the seasonal fluctuations and the 
chronic " Under-employment " of casual labour — to be suc- 
cessfully grappled with ; and for the involuntary idleness 
of any large numbers of workers to be, merely by deliberate 
forethought and social organisation, rendered unnecessary. 
But because it is claimed that it is now possible to deal 
with Unemployment on the lines of preventing its occur- 
rence, it is not suggested that all Unemployment can be 
thus prevented — that there can ever come a state of 
things in which no workman will find himself discharged 
from his situation. There are, in fact, some causes of 
Unemployment which it is undesirable to prevent. There 
must, for instance, under any organisation of society and 
any system of government, always be perpetual changes 
m industry — new inventions, new processes, new materials, 
revolutions of taste, alterations in habits and customs, and 
what not — changes which it is neither possible nor desirable 


to hinder, and which must necessarily, from time to time, 
destroy whole trades, and sometimes render valueless the 
skill and proficiency of thousands of blameless workers. 
There are, moreover, other causes of the dismissal of 
workmen from their situations which it is impossible to 
control. There will, we may assume, always be, in the 
realm of private enterprise, bankruptcies and deaths of 
employers, and, under any system of administration, the 
closing or shifting or merging of businesses, by which many 
operatives will^ lose their situations. We have, too, no 
ground for expecting that there will ever come a time 
when there will be no capricious dismissals by foremen, 
and no merited discharges on account of idleness, careless- 
ness, disobedience, or the irregularities of inebriety. More- 
over, whatever may be accomplished by the Government 
in the way of " regularising " the national aggregate 
demand for labour, and in the way of mitigating seasonal 
fluctuations, it would be vain to pretend that the adjust- 
ment, as regards any particular kind and grade of labour, 
at each particular time and place, can ever be quite 
perfect. At first, indeed, the very prevention of Unem- 
ployment must, as we have seen, necessarily result, in some 
cases, in half-employed workers being deprived of what 
little employment they had ! And whilst our preventive 
measures are being got to work, we have on our hands the 
results of the past disorganisation of the Labour Market, in 
the clamorous applicants for situations, who are, notwith- 
standing a relatively brisk state of trade, still besieging 
every Labour Exchange. We require, therefore, along with 
the measures for preventing the occurrence of Unemploy- 
ment, some plan for dealing with the cases that nevertheless 
occur— just as our campaign against typhus required, along 


with its preventive changes in the environment, also a 
hospital for typhus patients. 

We suggest that, in this as in other departments of 
the Prevention of Destitution, we must throw over, once 
for all, the attitude of deterrence. The position taken up 
by the Poor Law with regard to the able-bodied man who 
is unemployed, whether resident or vagrant — that of 
trying to induce him to stay away, and not present himself 
for treatment — is, we suggest, inept. Nor is this merely 
a question of humanity, or desire to relieve the individual 
sufferer. Every unemployed worker at large and unpro- 
vided for is a public danger, just as every unisolated 
scarlet fever patient is. The mere fact that the man is 
without occupation, and without mcome, even if he is not 
yet actually in want, means, in the great majority of cases, 
that he is suffering degeneration in skill, in health and in 
character, and that he is running grave risk of demoralisa- 
tion. In all probability, the weekly supplies on which his 
household depends, are not fully forthcoming, and the wife 
and children are beginning to go short. We ought, 
therefore, in the interests of the community as a whole, at 
once to go to the aid of every unemployed man. We 
ought to welcome him when he presents himself, even 
before he has left his former situation, and endeavour to 
secure that not a moment is lost before getting him another 
situation. This, rightly enough, is the attitude assumed 
by the new Government Department created to deal with 
Unemployment, which is, pending, we may hope, the 
appointment of a Minister of Labour, placed under the 
direction of the President of the Board of Trade. 

If the Grovernment Department dealing with Un- 
employment, whilst preventing as much as possible its 


very occurrence, can promptly discover any suitable 
situations, in any part of the Kingdom, for those who 
find themselves unemployed, this— together with any 
necessary advance of railway fares and some arrangement 
by which, ui necessitous cases, emergency relief could be 
granted— is all that is required. As a matter of fact, 
however, whilst every Labour Exchange has, on its 
books, some actual vacancies which it cannot fill, it also 
finds on its hands, even at the best of times, a consider- 
able number of odds and ends of workers, for whom it 
can find no situations. There are, in some cases, men of 
exemplary character and long service, thrown out of some 
narrow groove by the death of their lifelong employer ; 
they may (like grooms and cab-drivers) be men of skill in 
a trade or of a kind which is beiug superseded by a new 
machine or a new process ; they may be men of all sorts 
of occupations and all grades of proficiency, who suffer 
from some defect of body or mitid, or some shortcoming 
in. personal character ; they may be seasonal workers or 
workers necessarily subjected to discontinuity of em- 
ployment (like the building operatives) for whom the 
desirable " regularisation " or " dove-tailuig " has not 
been completely accomplished ; they may form part of 
the great army of unskilled or casual labourers whom 
" decasualisation " or the introduction of labour-saving 
appliances is beginning to afiect. In many cases they will 
soon be without resources, their families suffering, their 
wives driven to go out to work, their children needing 
to be fed at school. What must the community do with 

The Mmority Report answers confidently that the 
community, when itjs prepared to carry on to the utmost 


its campaign for the actual Prevention of Unemplo5niient, 
and when it is thereby enormously reducing the numbers 
who find themselves out of work, must, for its own sake, 
as a mere matter of economy, boldly accept the res- 
ponsibility of temporarily maintaining, in full health and 
vigour, all those for whom the Labour Exchanges can 
find no situation, for so long a time as none can be found. 
But seeing that these persons are demonstrably not 
capable of rendering any service that the community 
requires, at any rate for the moment, the maintenance 
should be conditional on their submitting themselves 
to such training — physical and mental, general and 
technological — as may be found appropriate to their 

If there are really no vacancies for such men any- 
where in the Kingdom it positively makes matters worse 
to let them even go on short rations — ^partly because 
this means injury to their families, if not to themselves, 
and partly because their consequent diminution of 
demand becomes itself a cause of further Unemployment 
somewhere else. And seeing that such men (like the 
rest of us) are always physically " out of condition " ; 
that, although sometimes possessed of a skill which has 
becomes valueless, they are usually quite inadequately 
educated and trained ; that many of them are suffering 
from hardship and exposure, if not from bad habits ; 
^ and that they are, at best (as we all are !), far short of 
perfection in technical skill and personal character, the 
most valuable use to which the community can put their 
necessarily unemployed time is to make it in the highest 
sense productive hy sf ending it in their own training. 
And it is remarkable that just this part of the Minority 


Report proposals that seemed, to many people, rather 
fantastic and even uncalled for — for why, it was said, 
should we ask adults to go to school again ? — has, in the 
few years that have elapsed, already been proved, by 
experience, to be the one of all others most clearly sup- 
ported by the facts. The couple of hundred Labour 
Exchanges that have been opened throughout the country 
have had brought home to them the paramount and 
pressing need for supplying training to the Unemployed. 
Every manager of a Labour Exchange has had repeated 
experience of having opportunities for getting men and 
women into good and steady wage-earning employment 
which he cannot embrace — actually vacancies which he 
is not able to fill because he can find no qualified person 
disengaged. On the other hand, every manager also has 
the melancholy experience of seeing a crowd of men on 
his books, often men of good conduct and unimpeached 
character, who, because of their inability to do any work 
for which there is a demand, remain, in a time of good 
trade, month after month unemployed — too many of 
them degenerating steadily under his eyes, from idleness, 
hopelessness, and insufficient food, for sheer lack of the 
discipline and regular life that training would afi'ord. 

What is proposed is that there should gradually be 
opened, under the Minister for Labom*, and in close 
association with the Labour Exchanges — in substitution 
alike for the Workhouse and for the spasmodic Relief 
Works of the Distress Committees, — a number of small 
Training Establishments, under carefully chosen instruc- 
tors, at one or other of which any man or woman, for 
whom the Labour Exchange could find no situation, 
should willingly (but entirely optionally) be enrolled, for 


as long or as short a period as he required maintenance 
for, and m those cases in which the men had provided for 
themselves by Trade Union or other insurance so long 
as they might desire. These Training Establishments, 
which might be quite experimentally set up one at a time, 
should be both town and country. Some of them would 
probably be on the outskirts of the town, and would be 
used only in the day time. Others, of the nature of 
Farm Colonies, would be residential. But whether day 
or residential, town or country, it is of the essence of 
the proposal that, unlike the HoUesley Bay or any other 
Farm Colony yet established and unlike all the German 
and Swiss Labour Colonies of one type or another, they 
should be run exclusively as places of training, with a 
single eye to the improvement of their inmates, without 
the least pretence of making their labour productive ; 
and without, indeed, producing anything for sale or use 
outside the institution itself. We make no pretence of 
submitting any curriculum or course of training at these 
establishments, which should, indeed, in order to meet 
as many different needs as possible, all differ one from 
another, and which would have to discover by experiment 
how best they can perform their educational task. But 
it is clear that every person enrolled would have to be 
carefully examined at the outset, to discover both in what 
respects, if any, he fell short of the average standard in 
physique, general capacity and particular skill, and 
exactly in which directions he could be most appropriately 
educated, trained or improved in body and mind. He 
would, whilst in training, receive no wages but would be 
given enough plain and nourishing food for perfect health ; 
whilst (as with the men now sent to the Hollesley Bay 


Colony) an allowance would be paid to his wife for the sup- 
port of herself and her children. It is clear that regular and 
continuous occupation would be part of the treatment, and 
it is essential that, in the day estabhshments, the men 
should be required to attend every morning at 6 a.m., and 
to remain for at least the full working day, with suitable 
intervals for rest and meals ; whilst it would be desirable, 
as part of the treatment, to get them to remain even later, 
perhaps by supplying an evening meal at seven o'clock. 
The men under training would find their whole time 
mapped out in a continuous and properly varied programme 
of physical and mental work, all of it being made of the 
utmost educational value. It is clear that well-devised 
physical exercises, with suitable "remedial drill" for 
particular defects, would play a large part, until every 
man had been brought up to the best possible condition. 
Those who had trades would presumably be exercised in 
their more difficult branches, under suitable instructors, 
in such a way as to turn the usually very imperfect painters, 
carpenters, bricklayers, or compositors, who are the first 
to be thrown out of work and the last to get taken on 
again, into more competent craftsmen than they were 
before. Those who belonged to displaced or decaying 
trades would be helped to acquire proficiency in some 
craft for which there was, as the Labour Exchange would 
report, an increasing demand. But the bulk of the men 
would be found to be merely general labourers, many of 
whom (as the Labour Exchanges declare) are without a 
vestige of industrial capacity other than their brute 
strength. To these there could at any rate be taught the 
use of all the ordinary tools, and some accuracy of hand 
and eye. All men can usefully be taught to draw, to read 


a map or plan, to work to scale, to keep accounts and 
understand the simple book-keeping of daily life, to cut a 
piece of work to the thirty-second of an inch, to understand 
the practical arithmetic and geometry of the workshop. 
There is no reason, moreover, why every man should not 
be taught to swim ; or why every man should not be given 
the sailor's common proficiency in sewing and cooking. 
There would also be the necessary work of the establish- 
ment to be performed, in which all would naturally share 
in turn ; the meals to be prepared, the clothes to be washed, 
the accounts to be kept, minor repairs to be executed, the 
boots to be mended, the horses or cattle to be attended to, 
the garden to be kept in order — all these services to be 
utilised as opportunities for education. It is clear that 
there would be no lack of useful training to be given, even 
without falling back on the elementary schooling or 
University Extension lectures, to which some of the 
unemployed Lancashire operatives were put during the 
Cotton Famine. 

We may conveniently forestall some common mis- 
understandings. Thus, there are critics who assert that 
it is quite a mistake to suppose that even the best of training 
will prevent men from being thrown out of work, and that 
it is accordingly futile to teach the Unemployed anything — 
it will not, it is said, prevent their future unemployment. 
But the object of the training is not in the least to prevent 
the future unemployment, of these or any other workers. 
Unemployment can, as we have already shown, to a large 
extent, be prevented, but only by taking the appropriate 
means of prevention, and without such means, it is true, 
no amount of technical training will avail. When unem- 
ployment has, however, occurred, with regard to any 



particular man, what the nation gains by utilising his 
idle time in improving his physique and capacity, is not 
necessarily any security against his future unemployment, 
but the improvement itself ! It is demonstrably better 
for the community to have, as its citizens, strong, 
disciplined and trained men than half-starved and physic- 
ally incompetent weaklings, unable to use either hands 
or brain to any practical advantage, with irregular habits 
and uncontrolled will — and all the more so if they are liable 
to he periodically unemployed. And the special advantage 
of this way of filling up the time of the Unemployed men, 
as compared with any other way, is that it has a good 
pyschological effect on them. Idleness is demoralising ; 
freedom to loaf, whether in fretting or in gossiping, is 
demoralising ; the pretence employment of Relief Works 
is demoralising. But physical and mental training in com- 
panionship is invigorating and hopeful ; the regular hours 
and continuous occupation under discipline are exactly 
what is required ; and the obvious improvement in 
physical efficiency has, in itself, a bracing efiect on 
character. The work is, in fact, productive in the economic 
sense in exactly the right way, namely, in increasing the 
capacity of the human factor ; and it therefore represents 
actually a national investment of lasting value. 

Another objection which is really based on a mis- 
conception, is that the proposal is one of too harsh a 
nature to be ever accepted by working-class opinion, 
seeing that it amounts to " herding " of the Unemployed 
in " Detention Colonies," to " shutting them up in com- 
pounds," and so on. But this is, either carelessly or 
wilfully, to misconceive the whole scheme. What our 
proposals offer, to the great mass of those who now find 


themselves periodically unemployed, is the prevention of 
that evil, and therefore an unbroken continuance of their 
ordinary work in the ordinary way. Some Unemployed 
there must be, and the question is as to the provision to 
be made for this remnant. And here the objector 
frequently confuses — sometimes, we fear, with wilful 
perversity — the provision to be offered to the man who 
remains unemployed merely because there is no situation 
available for him, and the compulsory segregation to be 
imposed on those who have been convicted by a Court of 
Justice for wilfully neglecting to provide for themselves 
or their families. To the former — the Unemployed for 
whom the National Labour Exchange can find no situation, 
. and who have failed to provide for themselves by State- 
aided Insui-ance — the offer is one of all the food that they 
need for perfect health; with an adequate money allow- 
; ance to their wives for the maintenance of the home ; 
• conditionally only on their putting in the same regular 
; attendance at the Training Establishment as they would 
if it were a factory in which they were employed at wages. 
And the arrangement is quite optional. The unemployed 
iman need not accept the offer if he can manage to Hve 
^without sponging on the public. Those critics who reject 
ithis plan of maintaining the Unemployed as being too 
1 harsh are invited to find some other that is preferable. We 
lhave ourselves failed to do so. 

Another objection, in diametrical opposition to the 
i foregoing, is that the scheme is too " soft " ; that tq 
I provide maintenance for the man and his family, even 
I under the condition that he attends for training, will be 
^so fatally attractive as to tempt thousands to let themselves 
1 become unemployed in order to drop into so comfortable 


a position. This objection comes, one finds, always from 
" Armchair " critics, of no practical experience either of ' 
Labour Colonies or of Technical Institutes. The Labour 
Exchange, which is already filling fifteen hundred situations 
per day, can always test the man's willingness to work by 
ofJering him employment. As a matter of fact, the adult 
workman is not so fond of education as to prefer a whole 
long day of continuous instruction and drill, even if varied 
and duly graduated to his strength, with wholesome plain 
meals, but without alcohol, tobacco or pocket money, to 
normal industrial emplojTtnent at his own trade at regular 
wages. The very regularity and continuity of the life in 
the Training Establishments will make the men glad to 
resume their normal occupations as soon as they can ; and 
such experience as has been gained indicates that there 
will be an eager scrambling to hear the daily messages 
from the Labour Exchange as to the situations that can 
that day be offered. What is true is, not that the men will 
prefer the training to normal employment at wages, but 
that they will prefer it to the weary waiting and hunting 
for work, without either adequate food for themselves or 
maintenance for their households, which is characteristic 
of Unemployment. And this is desirable in order that 
the latter condition— which is the lot of so many of the 
unemployed to-day — may, as being ruinously costly to the 
nation, always be avoided. Far from wishing to deter 
such of the Unemployed as are not fully provided for by 
savings or insurance from coming into training, we wish, 
so far as is possible, to tempt them to come in ! So long 
as they are out of a situation, it is in every way less 
expensive to the community to have them under training 
than to have them degenerating at large. 


But there will, we must expect, be difficult cases — the 
quiet docile man of weak will and nerve who asks nothing 
better than to remain ; the man of slight defectiveness of 
mind or body whom the Labour Exchange simply cannot 
get into regular employment ; the man of irregular habits 
who " breaks out " periodically ; the man mentally so far 
below par that he cannot respond to any sort of traming, 
and so on. We must visualize these men as being given a 
succession of trials, both in different industrial situations 
or offers of situations fomid for them by the Labour 
Exchange, and by transfer to different Training Establish- 
ments, in town and country. No man, experienced 
managers advise, ought ever to be allowed to remain for 
more than three months in one establishment. So long 
as there was any hope of eventually getting the patient 
into regular wage-earning employment, the attempt at his 
improvement and training, in one direction or another, 
should go on. But, after endless trials, some would have 
to be medically certified as being below the minimum 
standard — as actually unable to earn their livelihood — 
either because of " feeble-mindedness " or other mental 
deficiency (when they would be transferred to the care of 
the Local Lunacy Authority) ; or because of some physical 
defect or invalidity (when they would get their " Invalidity 
Pension," if such a pension is established, or else be 
transferred to the care of the Local Health Authority) ; or, 
it might be, because of moral obliquity, an obstinate 
refusal to work for a living, or determined recalcitrancy. 
And with this last class we come to the final proposal of 
the scheme. 

It was a criticism of the late Sir Charles Dilke, on both 
the Majority and Minority Reports of the Poor Law 


Commission, that they were alike spoilt, as politically prac- 
ticable proposals, by their " Bridewell clauses I " By this ,j 
he meant that both Reports recognised the need, at the i 
base of the system of public provision, of some institution 
to which persons should be penally relegated, and com- 
pulsorily detained. It is, indeed, impossible, for any 
honest person, to avoid a recognition of this need ; and if 
the House of Commons, in its sentimentality, cannot bring 
itself to face the fact, the Trade Unions and the workmg- 
class electorate, which have no such illusion, will have to 
make their influence felt. As a matter of fact, at the 
present time, we put the person who refuses to work for 
his living and prefers to haunt the Casual Ward ; who is 
recalcitrant in the Workhouse ; or who leaves his wife and 
children unprovided for rather than accept a situation 
offered to him, spasmodically into gaol. Probably om- . 
legislators would be shocked if they knew how many 
thousands of such men axe annually sentenced — many of 
them repeatedly — to short terms of imprisonment for no 
other offence. This system, whatever else may be 
thought of it, is costly and futile to the last degree. The 
prisons get filled with short-sentence vagrants, or men who 
have preferred the gaol to the workhouse, and who are the 
very reverse of improved by their brief stay. By common 
consent of all who have looked into the question, we must 
find some alternative. The Minority Report finds it in 
the proposal to establish two or three Reformatory 
Detention Colonies of a new type, not under the Prison 
Commissioners, nor in any way connected with the prison 
system, but under the Minister for Labour. These Refor- 
matory Detention Colonies would be entered only upon 
actual judicial conviction of some offence agamst the 


existing law. What is proposed is that when a man is 
convicted of wilfully refusing to maintain his wife and 
children, or of any offence under the Vagrancy Act, or of 
definite recalcitrancy in any public institution, he should 
not, in future, necessarily be sentenced to imprisonment, 
but should usually be committed instead, for a term of 
months, to one of the Reformatory Detention Colonies, 
where he would be put to agricultural and other work, 
and subjected to the best influences that can be discovered 
with a view to effecting a reformation of character. How 
far the experiment may be successful — ^in what proportion 
of cases the desired improvement of character can be 
effected — no man can foretell. We may be sceptical or 
we may be hopeful, according to our temperament and our 
knowledge. But it would be, in any case, a gain to keep 
this class of men out of the prisons, where they are at 
present doing absolutely no good. It would be an 
enormous gain to the ordinary unemployed workman to 
get this class of men removed from his midst. It may be 
that we shall find, in such a Reformatory Detention Colony 
as is here proposed, the means of rescuing other classes of 
minor offenders from our gaols. But be this as it may, we 
cannot escape the conclusion that some such experiment 
in Prison Reform is absolutely essential to any effective 
plan of dealing with Unemployment. 

We have now surveyed the whole field of the campaign 
against Unemployment to which the Minority Report 
invites the nation — the regularisation of the national 
aggregate demand for labour, the systematic dovetailing 
of seasonal occupations and the decasualisation of casual 
labour, in such a way as actually to prevent the occurrence 
of the great mass of the Unemployment from which so 


large a proportion of the wage-earners now suffer ; 
and, concurrently with these preventive measures, the 
systematic provision of the best possible treatment for 
every case in which the disease has not been prevented — 
treatment by maintenance and physical and mental 
training in town and country — and the substitution, for 
those who won't work and are at present periodically 
sentenced to imprisonment, of Reformatory Detention 
Colonies for the common gaol. 

It is interesting to notice how little reference this cam- 
paign, or any portion of it, has, either to any particular fiscal 
policy, or to the controversy between Individualism and 
Socialism as a method of ownership and administration of 
land and capital. It is not suggested, either by the most 
fanatical Free Trader, or by the most enthusiastic Tariff 
Reformer, that any arrangement with regard to customs 
duties will in any way affect the great international 
cyclical ups and downs of trade. If it is desired to prevent, 
on each recurrent period of depression of trade, the falling 
off in business, the shutting down of furnaces and mills, 
and the discharge of hundreds of thousands of operatives, 
it is plain that some action must be taken other than a 
reform of the customs tariff. We see no ground for expect- 
ing that the great cyclical fluctuations of international 
trade can be prevented, either by the Free Trader, or by 
the Tariff Reformer, from working out into corresponding 
fluctuations in the aggregate volume of employment, 
otherwise than by some such use of the Government 
orders as a counterpoise, as the Minority Report suggests. 
Equally with regard to the seasonal fluctuations, which 
now account for so many breaches of continuity in the 
workman's industrial life, it is, we suggest, obvious that 


neither the presence nor the absence of a Customs Tariff 
can possibly affect their operation, nor render unnecessary 
the systematic and deliberate " dovetailing " of occupa- 
tions that we propose. Finally, the chronic Under- 
employment of the dock-labourer, as of other forms of 
casual labour, is equally unaffected by fiscal changes, and 
must, we suggest, be dealt with on the lines of " decasualis- 
ation " by Free Trader and Tariff Reformer alike. And 
if for a moment we confine ourselves to the proposal to 
protect British home industries by a " scientific " Tariff, 
, we may concede to its advocates, for the sake of argument, 
every advantage for it that the most enthusiastic among 
them can claim, and nevertheless see an equal need for the 
remedies for Unemployment that we propose. Indeed, let 
it be granted that such a tariff may, by increasing the 
consciousness of security, and by ensuring to the British 
manufacturer all the home market, greatly stimulate the 
investment of capital in British industries, and lead to a 
much greater use of inventions and machinery and the 
employment of the additional chemists and inventors, in 
which the great German and American firms now excel 
our own, the result" must necessarily be — even if profits 
are enormously augmented and wages raised — to make it 
more than ever necessary to cope with the Unemployment 
that would be produced. For the very object of the 
Tariff Reformers is to create, on a large scale, a diversion 
of trade from its existing channels to the advantage. of the 
English manufacturers and farmers. However profitable 
may be such a diversion to these classes— however 
advantageous it may be deemed to the community as a 
whole — it is clear that it involves a great loss of business to 
the present importing merchants, the warehousemen and 


dealers who dispose of the imported products, the whole 
carrying organisation by which they are conveyed to theii- 
destinations, and the other distributing agencies concerned. 
This means — though it is not always sufficiently borne in 
mind — a wholesale reduction of establishments and the 
dismissal of hundreds of thousands of wage-earners by the 
firms whose business will be injuriously affected, to recruit 
the ranks of the Unemployed. The social problem of 
" Under-employment," in particular, would at once become 
acute. The dock and wharf labourers at every port, who 
even with the handling of the enormous imports that we 
have hitherto, perhaps mistakenly, fostered, find them- 
selves existing on an average of only three or four days 
work a week, would — in such a diversion of trade from 
imports to home production as we are now contem- 
plating — find their chronic Under-employment far worse 
than before. We may, in fact, confidently predict — even 
assuming all the asserted advantages of a " scientific " 
tariff — that if its advent is not to be accompanied by such 
a spasm of Unemployment as will lead to actual riots ; 
and if its subsequent operation is to be guarded by some- 
how preventing the recurring cyclical depressions and 
seasonal fluctuations from working out into the periodical 
dismissals of hundreds of thousands of workers, the new 
tariff will have to be accompanied by exactly the sort of 
measures for the Prevention of Unemployment that we 
have expounded. 

It is not difficult to see that the same argument applies, 
with equal force, to any such " nationalisation of the 
means of production, distribution and exchange " as we 
call Socialism. The Socialist Government, ownmg all the 
land and industrial capital, and employing all the workers 


as national or municipal civil servants, would find its 
imports and exports affected at every calamitous flood or 
famine in China, at every desolating drought in India or 
Australia, by the same recurrent cyclical fluctuations that 
now impinge on our shores ; would find prevailing exactly 
the same seasonal fluctuations as at present, needing the 
presence of more workers here and fewer there, of greatly 
increased staffs temporarily in one occupation and then 
in another ; would find the same results of chronic Under- 
employment flowing from the practice of allowing the head 
of each department in each place to keep his own separate 
reserve of labour, and to take on casually, for short spells, 
the extra labour force that he required at every recurring 
spurt of trafiic. It is, we hasten to admit, inconceivable 
to any Socialist, that a Government formed as he would 
desire could possibly permit such results, and we may 
easily agree with him. But the point is that the mere 
transfer of the ownership and direction of industry from 
individual proprietors to the collective organisation of 
community at large would not, in itself, prevent any of 
the evil results that we have described. The Socialist 
Government, like the Tariff Reform Government, and 
equally with a Free Trade Government, would, if it 
desired actually to prevent Unemployment and Under- 
employment, find itself regularising the national aggre- 
gate demand for labour, dovetailing seasonal occupations, 
transferring workers from town to town according to the 
changing volume of business, setting up in each place a 
common reserve from which to supply the needs of each 
department for casual hands, maintaining Training Es- 
tablishments in which the workers displaced by new 
machines or new processes (for we may hope that 


inventions will not cease to be made, nor changes of taste 
be prohibited, in a Socialist State !) will be taught new 
trades whilst they are waiting to be again absorbed in 
normal industry ; and, finally, as we may venture to 
predict, superseding an obsolete and discredited prison 
system, by Reformatory Detention Colonies on the latest 
and most approved plan. Great as we may believe to 
be the advantages of a Socialist State, these advantages 
do not mean that such a State could dispense with the best 
possible social organisation, whether in the prevention 
of unemployment, the prevention of disease, the prevention 
of child neglect, the prevention of an uncontrolled multipli-" 
cation of the feeble-minded, or the prevention of any other 
social evil ; they mean, on the contrary, that the adoption 
of the best possible organisation for each and all of these 
purposes will become obvious and inevitable, and, as it 
may well be contended, all the more easy of achievement. 


Notes and References 

Page 110. For other expositions of the plan of preventing unepiployment, 
see the Minority Eeport of the Poor Law Commission, Part II., chs. iv. 
and V. (1909); the Introduction to the Bibliography of Unemployment and 
the Unemployed, by Miss F. I. Taylor (King : 1909) ; and, in brief and 
popular form. How the Minority Report deals with Unemployment 
(National Committee for the Prevention of Destitution : 1909). 

Page 111. The cyclical depressions are well described in Unemployment, 
a Problem of Industry, by W. H. Beveridge (Longmans : 1909). For 
suggestions as to their causes, see Lombard Street, by Walter Bagehot 
(Paul : 1908) ; Commercial Crises of the Nineteenth Century, by H. M. 
Hyndman (Sonnenschein, now Allen : 1892) ; Economic Crises (with biblio- 
graphy by E. D. Jones (Macmillau : 1900); Financial Crises and Periods 
of Industrial and Commercial Depression, by T. E. Burton (1902) ; and 
Investigations in Currency and Finance, by W. Stanley Jevons (new edition, 
Macmillan : 1909). 

Page 112. As to the statistical extent of the cyclical fluctuations (which is 
usually much over-estimated, owing to insufficient account being taken of 
the great mass of relatively stable employment— probably more than half 
the whole— only slightly affected by these particular fluctuations), see the 
instructive evidence before the Poor Law Commission of Dr. A. L. Bowley, 
Reader in Statistics at the London School of Economics (University of 
London); under Q. 88192; and compare his article in Westminster Gazette, 
March 27th, 1907. 

Page 124. The " seasonal " fluctuations of employment have hitherto 
received little attention from the economists. Most information is to be 
found in the Board of Trade Memorandum on Statistics of Seasonal 
Industries and Industries carried on by Casual Labour (Poor Law Com- 
mission, Vol. IX. of evidence, see Appendix XXI. D). See also Unemploy- 
ment in the Building Trades, by Norman Dearie (Dent : 1909), and Eeport 
of Inquiry by Charity Organisation Society into Casual Labour, by C. J. 
Hamilton (C.O.S. : 1908) ; and the Annual Eeports of the Irish Government 
relating to Irish Migratory Labourers. 

Page 129. During the past twenty years much has been published on 
Casual Labour, most of which will be found summed up or referred to in 
the works already mentioned. To these may be added the various Eeports 
to the Poor Law Commission on the Eelation of Industrial and Sanitary 
Conditions to Pauperism, by Mr. A. B. Steel-Maitland, M.P., and Miss 
Squire (Wyman : 1907-9). 

^For the dock labourer in London see Life and Labour of the People, by 
the Rt. Hon. Charles Booth; The Story of the Dockers' Strike, by Sir H. 
Llewellyn Smith, K.C.B., and Vaughan Nash, C.B. (Unwin : 1890); Final 
Eeport of Eoyal Commission on Labour (Cd. 7421, 1894); Third Eeport of 
House of Commons Committee on Distress from Want of Employment, 1895 ; 
Report on Dock Labour and Poor Law Relief, by Hon. G. Walsh, 1906; and 



the Reports of Mr. A. D. Steel-Maitland and Miss Squire, and of the Com- 
mittee of the Charity Organisation Society already cited. 

Foi- the dock labourer at Liverpool, see Report on the iTnemployed 
Problem in Liverpool, by Mr. Charles Rouse (Liverpool Labour Conference, 
1893) ; Full Report to the City Council of the Commission of Inquiry into 
the subject of the Unemployed (Liverpool Town Council: 1894); The Port 
of Liverpool, by Mr. William Grisewood (Liverpool Central Relief and 
C.O.S. : 1897); iteport of Dock Labour Conference, 190G; and the very valu- 
able Report of an Inquiry into the Conditions of Labour at the Liverpool 
Docks, by Miss E. F. Rathbone and Mr. G. H. Wood. 

Page 134. See as to the hours of labour of railway servants, the periodical 
returns issued by the Board of Trade under the Regulation of Railway Acts, 
1889 and 1893. 

Page 135. The evils of the uneducational employment of boys and girls, 
between leaving school and reaching adult life, have been much written 
about during the past ten years. The student will find this summarised in 
the Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission, 1909 (pp. 650-4 of official 
8vo edition; cf. The Town Child, by Reginald Bray, L.C.C. (Unwin : 1907); 
Contitiuatioii Schools in England and Elsewhere, by Professor M. E. Sadler 
(Sherratt : 1908) ; The Children of the Nation, by Sir John Gorst (Methuen : 
1906) ; Labour and Childhood, by Miss Macmillan (Sonnenschein : 1907) ; 
Child Life and Labour, by Mrs. Alden, M.D. (Headley : 1908); Studies of 
Boy Life in our Cities, by E. J. Urwick (Dent : 1908); The Labour Exchange 
in relation to Boy and Girl Labour, by F. Keeling (King: 1909); Van-Boy 
Labour, by K. I. M. Medley (Apprenticeship and Skilled Employment 
Association: 1911); Child Problems, by Dr. George Mangold (Macmillan: 
1911); Juvenile Labour Exchanges and Aftcr-Carc, by Arthur Greenwood 
(King: 1911). 



The various improvements iii our industrial organisation 
described in the last chapter, by which it is proposed, 
on a large scale actually to prevent the occurrence of un- 
employment, seem to some people, to involve too much 
deliberately taking in hand of the conditions of social life, to 
be politically practicable. We have become so accustomed 
to a state of society in which the great mass of the popula- 
tion have no sort of assurance of an uninterrupted con- 
tinuance of the little incomes on which their households 
depend, that we cannot believe that this perpetual econo- 
mic insecurity is as unnecessary as the rattling of a motor 
car — is, in fact, merely the result of our omission to make 
the necessary social adjustments, and to employ the 
various practical devices, without which, as we now know, 
under any system of society, Individualist or Socialist, 
the machinery will not run smoothly. Similarly, the cam- 
paign for the actual prevention of sickness, and thereby 
of all the destitution caused by preventable sickness, 
seems, to many a worthy citizen, little more than a fad. 
He does not really beheve (because he will not take the 
trouble to become aware of the facts) that any large 
proportion of disease can be got rid of, any more than 
death itself. Our scepticism is strengthened by our 



personal contentment. We are, usually, so far removed 
from the terrible evils tliat spring from tke economic 
insecurity of the wage-earner's life that the prospect of 
having, as the price of getting rid of them, to put in more 
thought and deliberation, or to incur some trouble and 
expense, is enough to make our statesmen reluctant to 
grapple with the problem. Is there not some easier solu- 
tion ? We might, it is said, at any rate provide for the 
systematic relief of the destitution caused by sickness and 
unemployment, and provide for it, in the main, at the 
expense of the wage-earners themselves, by a system 
of insurance. 

Now, insurance is a social device of proved value, 
and we count on its being made use of in the campaign 
against destitution. It has, however, one fundamental 
drawback which stands in the way of its being any real 
alternative to the proposals of this book. Insurance does 
not prevent. Fire insurance, for instance, does not prevent 
fires, or make them any less dangerous to life or destructive 
to property. Death insurance (which we euphemistically 
call life insurance) does not prevent death, even pre- 
mature and obviously preventable death. Accident 
insurance does not prevent accidents from occurring. 
Marine insurance saves no vessel from shipwreck. The 
insurance of crops against hail-storms does not protect 
the crops. Whatever economic loss is caused to the 
community by shipwrecks and conflagrations, by the maim- 
ing or premature death of productive citizens, or by 
destructive hailstorms, is not obviated, or, in the long run, 
even lessened in amount, by being spread over different 
people, or different periods. Whatever of human pam and 
grief is due to the physical suff ermg or premature death is 



not got rid of by ingenious devices for shifting money pay- 
ments from one pocket to another. Insui'ance, accord- 
ingly, m no way weakens the case for actually preventive 
measures agamst the occurrence of sickness, or against 
the occm-rence of unemployment, any more than it does 
the case against leaving feeble-mindedness uncontrolled, or 
against the neglect to provide infants, children, and 
adolescents with the requisites for healthy development. 
No one ever suggests, for mstance, in London, where 
practically every house is covered by a fire insurance policy, 
that this is any reason for disbanding the Fire Brigade, and 
for lettmg all the fire-preventive buildmg regulations fall 
mto abeyance. The universal prevalence of marine 
insurance is considered no ground for dispensing with 
lighthouses or fog-signals, or with the " Rule of the road " 
at sea. 

We shall realise this limitation of the practical value 
of sickness insurance, if mstead of sickness generally, we 
consider some particular disease. At the present moment 
East Anglia, and England at large, stands in some 
danger of an outbreak of bubonic plague. Shall we 
" insure " agamst the plague ? " Lloyds " would quote 
low premium. Or shall we set on foot a campaign against 
rats and fleas and overcrowding and dirt, and see to it 
that every suspicious case is at once isolated ? There can 
be no doubt as to the answer. 

Or, to go back to the past, suppose that, three-quarters 
of a century ago, when typhus was desolating thousands 
of homes, the Government had shrunk from drafting the 
long and troublesome Public Health Act that Edwin 
Chadwick was recommending, and had proposed instead 
a universal and compulsory system of insurance against 


typhus. Quite a low premium on all the wage-earners 
would have sufiS.ced to give every sufferer from typhus 
ten shillings a week and as many bottles of medicine as 
he could swallow ! But, as we now see, it would have been 
scarcely a statesmanlike way of dealing with typhus. 
It was actually cheaper to the community in the end, 
as well as in other respects more advantageous, to prevent 
the occurrence of typhus, than to let it occur, and then 
pay for the maintenance and treatment of the sufferer, 
even by means of insurance. 

To-day we stand, with regard to tuberculosis, very 
much as our grandfathers did with regard to typhus. 
Sixty thousand deaths a year (one- third of them actually 
in the Workhouse) ; one-seventh of aU the pauperism ; 
and an untold proportion of all the destitution are caused 
by the " Great White Plague " which we know how to 
'prevent. Now, say various kindly people, let us, instead 
of preventing tuberculosis at the expense of the Pubhc 
Health Act, arrange that all the poor shall " insure " 
against it, by paying 2d. a week so that when they 
are stricken down they may get 10s. a week and some 
medicine, or even the chance of a few weeks in a 
Sanatorium ! 

It is, moreover, not unimportant to remember that, 
whilst insurance does not prevent, it mB2:_3iiite.^2£obably 
(unless very carefully safeguarded) actual ly increase the 
evil for which it purports to provide. Fke insurance has 
been known to lead to arson, and a great many conditions 
and precautions have been found to be indispensable, 
to say nothing of the criminal law, if we are to prevent 
fire policies from actual multiplying conflagrations. Marine 
insurance has been reported to lead to more wrecks : Mr. 



Plimsoll said tliat it was a direct cause of the deliberate 
sacrifice of notoriously unseaworthy ships, and of a 
positively criminal waste of life. Let us hope that sub- 
sequent legislation has quite put an end to anything so 
wicked. But every experienced worker among the poor 
realises the criminal tragedies for which infantile life 
insurance is responsible. The inner records of Friendly 
Societies and Trade Unions contain many cases in which 
the provision of sick pay and unemployment benefit 
has led to sickness and miemployment being made to 
last longer than would otherwise have been the case. 

Once we have clearly realised that insurance is not 
an alternative to prevention; that its, adoption affords 
no excuse for not embarking on the campaign against 
the occurrence of the social evils that we have described ; 
and that, on the contrary, in order to prevent an actual 
multiplication of the evil, any system of insurance will 
make even more necessary than before the starting of 
such a campaign, we can proceed with an open mind to 
consider how far a system of insurance can advantageously 
help us to provide for those sufferers whom we have failed 
to protect. And in this examination of insurance, we may 
discover how it may be rendered, not merely not hostile 
to a poHcy of prevention, but actually a useful adjunct 
of such a policy. We shall limit this analysis to the in- 
surance of the wage-earning class against sickness, 
accident invalidity, old age, and unemployment. 

We have, as examples of social insurance of this 
kind, first the greatlriendlySocieties, in which we see 
how successfully some five _or si^^illions_of workmen 
and others have provided for themselves, by paying 
regular premiums throughout their lives, both medical 


attendance and a weekly allowance whenever they are 
ill. Then there are the great Trade Unions, in which 
three-quarters of a million of workmen, in certain highly 
organised industries, have provided for themselves definite 
weekly allowances in both unemployment and sickness. 
Finally, we have the example of the Ger man Emp ire, 
now followed by some other countries, in which this 
individual and voluntary insurance has been generalised 
into a national and compulsory system of provision of 
both medical attendance and sick pay, in return for 
universal and obligatory deductions from wages. Why 
should not we, it is said, adopt a similar national system, 
as regards both unemployment and siclmess, and arrange, 
by compulsory deductions from everybody's wages, to 
provide for everybody, both medical treatment when sick 
and a weekly payment, whenever, through sickness or 
involuntary unemployment, he finds himself unable to 
bring home the wages on which his household depends ? 

We ought first to notice the very marked distinction 
between the two sides of any system of insurance, whether 
voluntary or compulsory — between its revenue side and its 
expenditure side — between the incidence of the cost as 
borne by the contributories and the character of the 
provision as enjoyed by the beneficiaries. What stands 
out most prominently, to the English mind, in the sick- 
ness and unemployment insurance that we know, is the 
revenue s^de. What an admirable thing it is, exclaim 
the historians of our Friendly Society movement, that 
the whole cost of this great national service should be 
provided at the expense of the persons who themselves 
benefited by it. This " independence," which has made 
such co-operative insurance against the special risks of 



working-class life extraordinarily attractive to the success- 
ful Engiisli artisan, has earned it great praise and approval 
from the propertied class. Insurance, in this sense, has 
come, in England, to be indissolubly connected in thought 
with doing without Poor Relief and requiring none of the 
charitable alms of the rich and middle classes. And this 
method of bearing the cost has undoubtedly had the 
incidental advantages of developing foresight and thrift, 
ability to manage affairs and willingness to subordinate 
present enjoyments to future needs. All this, we feel, is 
magnificent. No institution appertaining to one class of 
society has ever produced such a feeling of legitimate 
self-righteousness amongst those who have originated it 
and benefited by it, and such a glow of satisfaction on the 
part of other social classes, as the Friendly Society move- 
ment, and the " friendly benefit " side of Trade Unionism. 
The veryjyord^^^jnsuraacej^ has, in consequence, come, 
in Englancl, tobe, as it were, enpircled with a halo of 
consecration ! ^ 

The other side of the account — the expenditure of 
these great working-class organisations, and the nature 
of the provision that they are able to make— has hitherto 
attracted less attention. To those who have studied its 
workmg, the results of what is actually the largest national 
organisation of provision in calamity are not quite so 
satisfactory. It seemed, in the middle of the nineteenth 
century, an unmense boon to secure to the sick man, or 
to the operative thrown out of employment, even as much 
as 7s. or 10s. per week, for a limited period, in lieu of the 
20s. or 30s. that normally maintained his household. But 
household requirements are_.nglLe.ssen ed by the^kness, 
or even by the unemplojnuent, of the bread-winner. It 


is a grave indictment of this method of provision that, by- 
its inevitable insufficiency, it half-starves the overworked 
wife, makes the children go short of food, accelerates the 
physical degeneration which unemployment in itself 
causes, and actually interferes with the quick and satis- 
factory recovery of the sick man. Moreover, even this 
insufficient provision is always definitely limited in duration. 
The sick pay or out-of-work benefit of the Friendly 
Society or Trade Union may be drawn only for a limited 
number of weeks, at the end of which the unfortunate 
member, even if he has not yet become able to resume 
wage-earning, becomes " out of benefit." And experience 
shows that it is very far from being an advantage that this 
inadequate and limited weekly payment should also be 
practically unconditional. Apart from certain minor rules 
as to sick men not working and not being out at night, and 
as to unemployed men " signing the book " daily, the 
member drawing sick pay is not required to subject 
himself to any hygienic regimen, to go into hospital, or 
practically to " co-operate in his own cure " ; and the man 
drawing out-of-work pay is under no restrictions as to 
conduct and under no necessity to be so very energetic in 
discovering a new situation. Finally, so far as regards 
some, at least, of the contributors, we have the curiously 
dubious result upon the mind of having paid an insurance 
premium — the half-conscious determination^to get value 
for their money by drawing out in benefits the full measure 
of their own contributions ; a psychological effect due, we 
suggest, partly to the personal character impressed on 
the contribution, but partly also to the unconditional 
nature of the right to benefit. It does not occur- to the 
ordinary ratepayer that, in order to get value for the rates 



he has paid, he must go every year into the Municipal 
Hospital, or borrow books that he does not need from the 
Public Library, up to the exact amount that he has paid. 
But, as every Friendly Society official knows, there is a 
very real tendency in the mind of his members, powerful 
enough to affect the statistics of the society as a whole, to 
feel that they are, each year, morally entitled to draw, at 
any rate, as much as they have paid in ; and therefore a 
tendency not perhaps to strive quite so much against the 
minor ailment or the danger of unemployment to which 
they succumb. It is an ominous feature that, in spite of 
all the general improvement in health, the Friendly 
Society members are, judging from the statistics of sick 
pay, not themselves getting healthier. The sickness-rates 
of the Friendly Societies go steadily up, notwithstanding 
that the death-rate, which usually measures the amount 
of real disease, is falling among the Friendly Society 
membership as among the population at large. It is more 
ominous still to notice that the si ckness-ra te, and therefore 
the average amount of sick pay drawn, is great est in the 
ce ntralised^ national societies, where the members feel they 
are aU drawmg on a common purse ; less in the one national 
society which obscures that fact by a nominal allocation 
of funds among its branches ; and least of all in the 
local lodges and branches of the great Orders, hi which 
the local members know that they have jointly to 
bear the burden of their own ill-health. But it is 
found even there. It is not a good thing that there 
should come to be recognised, in certain Trade Unions, a 
set of men who regularly draw, year after year, practically 
all the unemployed benefit to which the rules entitle 
them. Both the Trade Unions and the Friendly Societies 


have failed, in fact, to prevent a quite extensive growth of 
malingering. In these depressing jgsychological reactions 
— inherent, we think, in the provision made by insurance 
in the ordinary sense — we have a grave set-off against the 
encouragement of thrift, the independent exercise of self- 
goverimient, and the satisfaction of providing for one's 
own needs, which have been universally placed to the 
credit of the system of raising the means of providing 
against calamities by the personal and voluntary contribu- 
tions of the beneficiaries. 

Let us now consider how all these advantages and 
disadvantages of a system of voluntary insurance against 
the contingencies of the wage-earner's life are affected by 
the intr oduction of the element of compulsi on. It is not 
difficult to see why this element of compulsion is desired. 
From the statesman's point of view the voluntary insurance 
of the Friendly Societies and the Trade Unions has the 
grave drawback that it necessarily provides only for a 
section of the community ; leaving outside its scope those 
who are too poor, too ill, too improvident, too seriously 
depressed by chronic mider-employment, or too much 
liable to unemployment, to be able to make provision 
against future calamity. As it is exactly this class which 
principally recruits the great army of the destitute, 
voluntary insurance fails as a method of defence just 
where it is most needed. Hence the temptation to extend 
the defence to the whole community by making insurance 
universally obligatory. 

But coropulsory insurance is almost a misnomer. The 
special features of thrift and foresight, the independence 
in self-govermnent and the willingness to subordinate the 
present to the future, which are, as we have seen, 



characteristic of the insurance which is an optional and 
voluntary act of individual prudence, disappear altogether 
in a national and compulsory and universal system. 
Compulsory insurance, as we see it in the German Empire, 
and as it is embodied in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's 
scheme of 1911, with its automatic and obligatory deduc- 
tions from wages, entails on the contributor no act of 
thrift, involves no exercise of the quality of foresight, 
demands no responsibility for administration, and implies 
no subordination of present impulses to future needs. The 
contribution arbitrarily levied on every wage-earner 
amounts to nothing more nor less than a tax — the poll-tax 
that we got rid of in 1381 — Shaving no connection with the 
idiosyncrasy of the contributory, and no more ji]dumss 
on hi^ moral character than any other tax. Moreover, 
the beneficiaries have to recognise that, as in the case of 
any other Government service, they are reaping what 
they have not themselves sown. For it must be re- 
membered that in the Governmental system of sickness 
insurance, and, indeed, in practically every universal 
and compulsory scheme, the beneficiaries can no longer 
pride themselves on paying for their own benefits. A 
considerable proportion of the funds are contributed 
from other sources ;~'frQ|n the employers who are not 
entitled to benefits, and from the Government, involving 
taxation upon all the persons, rich and poor, who are 
outside the scope of. the scheme. And when we con- 
sider the question of self-government, we can hardly 
recognise as independence the condition of the " Approved 
Friendly Societies" under the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer's scheme of 1911— a condition in which the 
hitherto autonomous society has to accept a Government 


scheme of benefits in lieu of its own, performs none of the 
work of collection, exercises no control over the accumu- 
lating^ funds, has no responsibility for their investment, 
is compelled every three years to vary its benefits as it 
may, on valuation, peremptorily be required to do, and 
is even to be subject to governmental regulation and 
control in respect of the formation of branches, and the 
appointment and payment of the medical men on whose 
skiU and honourable dealing the whole efficiency, and, 
indeed, the actuarial solvency of the organisation depends. 
In fact, the " Approved Friendly Societies " under this 
scheme become merely canvassing agents and benefit- 
paying cashiers to the great new Government Department, 
which will control the taxation on employers and wage- 
earners of some five and twenty million pounds amiually, 
and which will manage the investment of a fund presently 
running into a hundred millions. 

Hence, we are obliged to test the value of the revenue 
side of Compulsory Insurance, not, as in the case of the 
voluntary contribution to a Friendly Society, by its 
incidental advantages in promotmg thrift and independent 
self-government, but, in the mam, by the ordmary canons 
of taxation. Now, regarded as a method of raising revenue, 
compulsory insurance of all the wage-earnmg population, 
with its elaborate paraphernalia of weekly deductions, its 
array of cards and stamps, its gigantic membership cata- 
logue, its inevitable machinery of identification and pro- 
tection against fraud — involving not only a vast and 
perpetual trouble to every employer, but also the appomt- 
ment of an extraordinarily extensive Civil Service staff — 
is, compared with all our other taxes, ahnost ludicrously 
ll costly ancfcumbersome to all conce rned^ And if we add 


to tlie cost of the new Department of Government, the 
outlay of the " Approved Friendly Societies " in armies 
of canvassers perpetually seeking out new recruits with 
good lives, from among a population all of whom must 
in any case find themselves automatically insured, we 
believe that the nation will presently wake up to the 
fact that it will be spending from 20 to 25 per cent, of 
the whole insurance revenue in the cost of its collection, 
as compared with the 2 or 3 per cent, for which the Inland 
Revenue or Customs Departments would actually raise 
these aMitional_jthirty^ jailli through one of the re- 
cognised channels of direct or indirect taxation. We 
shall be wasting from two to five milhons a year ! 

From the standpoint of a prudent Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, there is an even graver indictment of any 
scheme of Compulsory Insurance that includes within its 
scope the whole of the artisan and lower middle classes. 
The financial obligation of the Exchequer is quite un- 
necessarily enlarged. What is, in the public mterest, 
required is merely to ensure medical treatment and main- 
tenance for those in whose cases it is at present lacking. 
What any miiversal scheme involves is a similar grant 
to innumerable others who do not need it. Among the 
sixteen millions who would find themselves compulsorily 
insured under Mr. Lloyd George's scheme, there are millions 
who do, at present, without help from the State or from 
the employers, provide at least as adequately for the 
sickness of themselves and their families as is now pro- 
posed. In future, it is suggested, these millions of inde- 
pendent citizens, shall have, at the expense of the Exchequer 
and of the employers, considerably more than half of this 
expenditure found for them. This it is that makes a scheme 


of Compulsory Insurance so extravagantly costly com- 
pared with the practical alternative of doing, at the 
public expense, only what is necessary to maintain and 
enforce the prescribed standard of civilised life through 
the kingdom. In its campaign against smallpox or scarlet 
fever, the Public Health Department " searches out " 
every case, and ensures that every case receives the 
promptest and fullest treatment to the end of the con- 
valescence. But this does not mean that all persons 
suffering from infectious diseases — ^not even all such 
persons under £160 a year mcome — are maintained and 
treated at the public expense. Many families, even of 
moderate means, willingly themselves provide the medical 
attendance, nursing, and isolation that the Medical Officer 
of Health requires. Moreover, even where it is con- 
venient and desirable that accommodation should be 
sought in the Isolation Hospital, it is quite practicable, 
if Parliament so decides, to obtain payment from such 
individuals benefited as are in a position to contribute 
to the cost. In fact, many Local Health Authorities do 
levy considerable sums in this way, in towns, or as regards 
particular classes, in which this policy commends itself. 
The Secondary Schools of Eastbourne, for instance, 
jointly pay £180 a year on behalf of their resident pupils 
for this municipal hospital accommodation. Similarly, 
in the field of lunacy, where the public provision is prac- 
tically universal, the State does not find it necessary to 
bear the charge for any but those patients whose families 
are not in a position to contribute. The Local Lunacy 
Authorities in England and Wales find no difficulty in 
recovering an average of two or three pounds per annum 
on all the patients with whom they deal. When Parliament 



decides that medical treatment and maintenance in sickness 
shall be as universally enforced in all cases, as it is now in 
smallpox or lunacy, it will be unnecessary for the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer to do more than find the cost for those 
whose means do not enable them to come up to the pre- 
scribed standard. 

It is interesting to notice that it is exactly the 
unnecessary public provision and unnecessary public 
expenditure, involved in any Compulsory Insurance of the 
entire artisan and lower middle class, which has stirred 
to rebellion the whole medical profession. Sojar as regards 
five-sixths of the heads of households throughout the 
kingdom, individual private practice is thereby com- 
pulsorily and peremptorily destroyed, without compensa- 
tion ; in order to be merged in a gigantic extension of 
" club practice," under Friendly Society Committees, at 
capitation fees. But any such wholesale revolution in 
medical practice is unnecessary. The required object of 
ensuring medical attendance and maintenance for every 
person in the kingdom can be achieved without depriving 
any doctor of any paying patient. To place upon the Local 
Health Authority the same responsibility for " searching 
out " diseases in general, which it now exercises with 
regard to scarlet fever ; to insist on its providing prompt 
and adequate medical attendance (and, wherever necessary, 
maintenance) in those cases in which this is not otherwise 
being provided ; and to safeguard this by rigid arrange- 
ments for Charge and Recovery in every instance in which 
it is ascertained by inquiry that the family could have 
. afforded a doctor's fee — say, all cases in which the avail- 
able income exceeds sixpence per head per day, — would 
leave untouched every penny of the private practitioner's 


present earnings, whilst involving the addition, to the 
medical profession as a whole, at per case or by salary, 
no inconsiderable subvention from public funds. 

But, to the Statesman, waste of money in an un- 
necessary public provision is of small importance compared 
with waste of " character." It is when we consider the 
effect of Compulsory Insurance on personal conduct and 
individual character that the instructed critic finds most 
reason for hesitation. It is no mere matter of theory 
that in a national system of compulsory insurance, obli- 
gatory on the whole wage- earning class, with substantial 
contributions from the employers, and a subvention from 
the Government, the dangers of malingering are greatly 
increased. Even in the select membership of voluntary 
s'ocieties, under the most complete self-government, it is 
found difficult to prevent an individual from " getting the 
better " of his fellow-members, if not by actual false 
pretences, at any rate by making a practice of drawing 
aU the possible benefits, whenever the happening of the 
contingency insured against gives him a chance — a course 
which, if generally pursued, would promptly bankrupt the 
society. And when any large part of the funds is derived 
from other sources than the contributions of the 
beneficiaries themselves, it may well be to the 
pecuniary advantage of the whole body to make 
a practice of claiming the utmost possible benefits, 
as they would, on an average, each be getting, 
in addition to what they had themselves paid in, 
their proportionate shares of the funds derived from other 
classes of the community. Public opinion against such a 
course, at any rate within the utmost limits of the rules, 
could hardly fail to be weakened. Hence, in any national 



system of universally compulsory insurance, with, funds 
derived partly from other than the beneficiaries themselves, 
we have, as the combined result of the personal nature of 
the contribution, the unconditional " right " which it gives 
to benefit, and the award of the benefit in the shape of a 
money payment, the utmost possible temptation, and, as 
the experience of the German Empire demonstrates, an 
inevitable tendency, to a great deal of malingering. 

Finally, we must note that one of the essential 
characteristics of voluntary insurance, the fact that there 
is no guarantee that its benefits shall last as long as the 
wage-earner's disability, and that they are, on the contrary, 
always definitely limited in duration, irrespective of the 
continuance of the disability, is characteristic also of 
compulsory insurance. Apart from such a disability as 
can be definitely certified as permanent and irremediable, 
no insurance scheme can provide sick pay or unem- 
ployed benefit for more than a specified number of weeks 
at a time, however prolonged may be the sickness 
or the involuntary unemployment. This definit ejimita- 
tion of liability is, indeed, one of the attractions of insurance 
schemes to the class which contributes to the cost without 
participating in the benefits. But from the standpoint of 
the statesman concerned to find some really effective 
gjovision against destitution, this arbitrary limitation, 
irrespective of the duration of the disability for wage- 
earning, is a serious def_ect. We see, at once, as regards 
the public provision for the needs of children, that it would 
never do for the Local Education Authority to limit its 
work to any arbitrarily defined number of weeks or months : 
it provides schooling for the whole period dm^ing which 
'the child requires schooling. The Local Health Authority 


does not limit its care of the scarlet-fever patient to any 
fixed nmnber of days : it provides for the whole duration 
of the illness, however prolonged this may be. The Local 
Lunacy Authority does not offer the lunatic only so many 
months' custody and control : it undertakes his treatment, 
in the " mental hospitals " into which our lunatic asylums 
are now being transformed, for the entire period of aliena- 
tion, until the patient can be restored to sanity. In all 
these instances, the collective provision is, deliberately, in 
the public interest, made to last for so long as the case 
requires. We can see, indeed, that in schemes of sickness 
and unemployment insurance, the community makes a 
bad bargain, even from a pecuniary standpoiut, in 
commuting, for an unconditional weekly payment which 
the beneficiary may expend as he pleases, its inevitable 
liability for preventing the wage-earner and his family 
from dying of starvation. The limitation of the pecuniary 
responsibility to a definite number of weeks is, in the end, 
largely fictitious. The sick man who " runs out of 
benefit," or the unemployed man who can no longer draw 
out-of-work benefit, has still to be maiutauied somehow. 
After exhausting his savings, and even the wide generosity 
of his own class, such a workman, dragging his wife and 
children down with him, too often ends up in parasitic 
dependence on Poor Relief, or on the spasmodic and 
unorganised charity of the wealthy. 

Unfortunately, we have, in the Enghsh Government 
scheme of 1911, an extraordinary aggravation of this 
inherent defect of Insurance in the provision that is 
offered to the poorest and weakest of the beneficiaries. 
Under Mr. Lloyd George's proposals the " Approved 
Friendly Societies " are to retain their present power to 



select their own members out of the whole population of 
contributories^ — a notable departure from the German 
model, m which each Sickness Association has to accept 
all lives, good, bad, or indifferent, within the territorial 
or trade sphere assigned to it. Hence, under the English 
Government scheme of 1911, there will be a steady tendency 
towards the segregation of good lives in the strongest 
societies, leaving the descending scale of indifferent and 
bad lives to fall into the other societies, in more or less 
proportion to their strength and efficient management. 
We shall have the curious spectacle of those Friendly 
Societies which prove to contain the wealthiest and the 
healthiest persons, who are quite capable of providmg 
for their own sickness without help from others, voting 
themselves triennially larger and more varied benefits 
out of the unnecessarily liberal Government subvention 
and employers' contribution; whilst other Societies, 
reduced to accepting the indifferent lives of the very poor, 
will find themselves, at each valuation, struggling to 
maintain the prescribed minunum of solvency ; unable, 
in many instances, to avoid an actual reduction of bene- 
fits ; and, in the worst cases, breakmg up in insolvency, 
leaving the last lot of members saddled with a " Crown 
debt," in the shape of heavy levies ui order to keep up 
the benefits to those to whom they have already been 
awarded. And at the bottom of the scale w@^ shall find 
a heterogeneous crowd of so-called "Post Office con- 
tributors," literally millions in numbers, of all ages and 
both sexes, men and women who have been rejected by 
all Societies, or who have fallen out of benefit and have 
been refused re-admission, or who are the victims of a 
Friendly Society insolvency, which they will have had no 



practical power to prevent. For these persons, necessarily 
the poorest and most liable to sickness among the whole 
population, yet often without any moral fault or personal 
shortcoming of their own, the English Government scheme 
of 1911 affords no protection and no adequate provision. 
They are to be admitted to what is euphemistically called 
" Deposit Insurance." But they will have the beneJ&ts 
neither of insurance nor of a savings bank deposit. Their 
scanty earnings will have been taxed with the same rigour 
as those of the healthy and best paid workers, and usually 
at a greater proportionate rate. But all they will get 
in return will be, according to the 1911 Bill, permission 
gradually to draw out the deposits made in their names, 
under elaborately restrictive conditions — only after a 
whole year's accumulation — then only when sick as dis- 
tinguished from any other need ; only in the case of their 
own sickness, irrespective of that of another member of 
the family ; only at a prescribed rate ; and only after 
the Government has levied a toll for expenses. When 
the deposit is exhausted, they will get nothing more, not 
even the possibility of admission after the current year 
to the new Sanatorium provided out of general taxation, 
and they are left — in spite of the Compulsory Insurance 
tax levied on them in past years — to fall into the Poor 
Law, to which they can now resort without being sub- 
jected to the new weekly poll-tax. And if they have not 
been ill, and have resisted the temptation to malinger, 
so that they have not been permitted to draw out the 
deposit, not even that portion of it which represents what 
the Government has arbitrarily and compulsorily stopped 
from their scanty earmngs, when they die, the whole sum 
is to be confiscated ! However poor may be the widow, 



the children, or the next of km, the unfortunate " Post 
Office contributor," whom the Grovernment has thus taxed 
to his or her hurt, is actually, at his death, to be buried 
by the parish as a pauper. 

Thus, it is a general characteristic of the English 
Government's scheme of 1911 that, with a compulsory 
expenditure of five and twenty or thirty millions a year 
under Government control, of which only a third will 
come from the class of beneficiaries themselves, the pros- 
perous and healthy lower middle class and well-paid 
artisans will get most ; the struggling workman of en- 
feebled frame, the labourer and the woman worker much 
less ; and the phthisical men and women, and the poorest 
casual labourers the least. To the statesman, surveyuig 
the whole field of national sickness, there is even a further 
anomaly. At the present moment, the section of the 
community in which there is most untreated sickness 
and in which the deficiency has been most authoritatively 
revealed and enumerated, is that of the children at school. 
It is just among these seven millions of school children 
—along with the additional millions of infants below 
school age ui which the lack of medical attendance is known 
to be responsible for an excessive death-rate, and a still 
more calamitous "damage-rate" from the sequelce of 
untended measles, etc—that the community, as a whole, 
has the greatest interest, and has the most to gain, in 
preventing ill-health and premature enfeeblement. It is 
a special featm^e of the sickness among this not-unim- 
portant class, comprising one.-quarter of the whole popu- 
lation, that they can hardly be supposed to have brought 
their little diseases and ailments on themselves, by any 
moral fault or personal shortcoming ; and they are not 


likely to be able to defraud us by malingering ! We kave, 
as a community, already admitted our public responsi- 
bility for ensuring, to every one of these little ones, the 
necessary medical attendance without which they cannot 
grow up to effective citizenship ; and by the Children Act 
of 1908, and the provision for universal medical inspection 
at school, we have practically shouldered the burden of 
seeing to it that this imperative need is supplied. For the 
last three years. Local Education Authorities, aU over 
the country, have been drafting schemes and building up 
organisations for getting all this medical attendance pro- 
vided, without a single penny of aid from the Exchequer ; 
and for lack of this indispensable help and stimulus, only 
an infinitesimal portion of the work is yet undertaken. 
Every voluntary hospital dealing with children has had 
an intolerable burden thrown upon its resources, and 
upon the mainly gratuitous services of its medical staff, 
because the Local Education Authorities have been 
refused any pecuniary assistance for this novel addition 
to their duties ; and the Government has turned a deaf 
ear. The President of the Board of Education for England 
and Wales, and the Secretary for Scotland as head of the 
Scotch Education Department, reveal themselves to the 
nation as men struggling with adversity, and unable, for 
lack of a million or so of additional Grant in Aid, to put 
the Local Education Authorities in a position to discharge 
the new duties which, at the instance of the Government, 
Parliament has imposed upon them. And now, when it 
appears that the nation can afford twenty-five or thirty 
millions a year for the better succour in sickness of its 
adult wage-earning population— three-fourths of them 
adult males — not a penny is appropriated for the far 



more pressing necessities of tKe children and the infants, 
because the Government refuses to pay what remains 
out of the worker's own money ! 

If the reader desires to observe, within our own 
country, some of the drawbacks of insurance as a method 
of provision against the contingencies of the wage-earner's 
life, let him study the experience afforded by the Work- 
men's Compensation Act of 1896, Here, Parliament, by 
imposing upon employers the obligation of paying com- 
pensation for all industrial accidents, indirectly (and 
perhaps unmtentionally) set up a vast and almost universal 
scheme of insurance. In this case the contributions come 
exclusively from the employers, who are not themselves 
beneficiaries, and they take the form of insurance 
premiums, automatically and ahnost universally paid to 
great financial corporations, in return for being relieved 
of all risks. We must note, ui the first place that accidents 
have not been prevented. It is commonly asserted that 
the fact of being virtually com,pelled to pay these insurance 
premiums has not made employers more careful to prevent 
what occasions them no pecuniary loss, whilst it may 
possibly have made workmen somewhat less careful. At 
any rate, the number of accidents does not appear to have 
dunmished, and there is grave reason to fear that the 
steady increase m the number reported means the total 
number happening has been actually increased. The 
asserted mdifference of the employers to the occurrence of 
accidents may be due partly to the fact that there is no 
connection between their liabiHty and their conduct: 
their nommal responsibiHty, which they pay the msurance 
companies to assume, being the same whether an accident 
is caused by the " Act of God " or by some personal 


default. On tlie other hand, the workmen naturally feel 
that as neither they nor their mates are bearing the cost, 
there is no reason why they should not take the maximum 
possible advantage of their right to exact money benefits. 
And when we turn to the expenditure side of the account, 
and examine the nature of the provision made for the 
sufferers, we see that this is practically an unconditional 
money payment — it may be a temporary weekly allowance, 
it may be (and in fact usually is) a lump sum to the totally 
incapacitated workman, or to the widow and orphans of 
the man who is killed. Here the community, which 
ultimately, in their enhanced prices of commodities, bears 
the whole cost — estimated at three or four million pounds 
a year — gets neither prevention, nor any assm*ance that 
the sufferers are properly provided for. There is nothing 
to ensm*e that the incapacitated workman, or the widow, 
does not lose or squander the sum handed over by the 
insurance company as " compensation " for the accident, 
and eventually become as dependent on Poor Law reUef 
as if the community had provided nothing at all. As a 
matter of fact, there are already, among the paupers in 
the industrial districts, thousands of such cases, and their 
number increases annually. And when the incapacity is 
only temporary, the unconditional right to a weekly 
money payment affords the utmost possible temptation to 
"make the most" of every industrial mishap, and 
■encourages the beneficiaries to postpone as long as they 
can, their complete recovery and the resumption which it 
entails. We do not under-rate the enormous advantage 
to the community, or the act of justice to the sufferers, of 
having secured some provision for those who are injured, 
■or who are bereft of the bread- wmner, by industrial 



accidents. If we had. to choose between the former state 
of thmgs, when such provision was only occasionally and 
partially made, as an act of grace, and the Workmen's 
Compensation Act with all its defects, we should unhesitat- 
ingly prefer the latter. But seeing that the community 
had come, in 1896, to recognise the magnitude of the 
loss involved m our annual holocaust of wounds, diseases, 
and deaths from industrial accidents, and showed itself 
prepared to pay three or four millions a year to relieve the 
sufferers, it is annoymg to think that so little thought was 
put into makuig the scheme really preventive in its 
operation, and really effective in providing for those whom 
we failed to protect. 

We regard it, accordingly, as established— and already 
strikingly borne out by the experience of the German 
Empire — that any Government which embarks on a 
system of universal and compulsory social insurance 
(especially if this involves substantial contributions from 
other than the beneficiaries), unless it concurrently sets to 
work at least as elaborate social machinery for actually 
preventing the occurrence of the contingencies insured 
against, and for bringing them, in each case, as quickly 

. as possible to an end, will do, on the one hand, no 
small amount of psychological damage to its beneficiaries, 
and will almost certainly discover, on the other, an 
ever-mcreasmg drain on its insurance fund, involving 

;a progressive rise either of the premiums or of the 

.'subventions, and, in any case, of the total burden on the 

I conmiunity. 

It becomes, therefore, of importance to consider in 
further detail, the safeguarding conditions which any 
i scheme of social insurance ought to involve. These 


conditions naturally differ according to the contingency 
insured against. 

The minimum of safeguarding conditions is required 
by insurance against old age. The beneficiary cannot, 
by any effort of will or laxness of moral character, bring 
himself prematurely into eligibility. AU that is required 
is accurate registration of birth and reasonable certainty 
of identification, both of which present no great difficulties. 
Even a limitation of the Old Age Pensions to persons 
without more than a defined small income, though present- 
ing additional temptations to evasion and fraud, is found 
not seriously to hamper the working of the scheme. Thus, 
a system of Old Age Pensions, heavily subsidised by the 
State, or, indeed, wholly provided out of the taxes, offers 
hardly any difficulties or dangers. Whether or not any 
direct and obvious personal contribution to the pension 
should be compulsorily exacted from each person in 
advance, in addition to his taxes, becomes merely a question 
of the incidence of taxation generally. If it is thought 
that the taxation of the country is so arranged that it is 
both equitable and convenient to raise an additional sum 
by what is virtually a poll-tax, and a poll-tax from which 
even the poorest are not exempt, we may insist on a 
universal deduction from wages. How far such a universal 
deduction from the earnings of the lowest stratum may 
prove to encroach injuriously on the necessary means of 
subsistence of the labourer's family, and how far this " tax 
on wages " will be a burden on industry, we may leave 
the economists to decide. If, on the other hand, the 
grant of Old Age Pensions is regarded as an entirely safe 
and harmless way of effecting, to some slight degree, that 
more equal distribution of national income that we all 



profess to desire, we shall prefer to let the whole cost be 
borne by the propertied class. 

The question has been settled, for the United 
Kingdom, so far as Old Age Pensions after 70 are concerned, 
by the decision embodied in the Old Age Pensions Act of 
1908, to make them entirely non-contributory. No 
administration will attempt to withdraw that boon. But 
it is important to notice that there is no insuperable 
di£6LCulty in grafting on the non-contributory Old Age 
Pension Act, a contributory scheme of pensions beginning 
before 70, or even beginning whenever permanent invalidity 
sets in. In the latter case we get the new element of 
danger that invalidity can be produced at will, and can, 
to some extent, even be simulated. What we are warned 
by the experience of Germany on this point is as to the 
importance of the State insisting, from the outset, on the 
patient having, not necessarily the medical treatment that 
he might choose or prefer, or any limited amount of it, but 
the very best preventive hygienic advice and surgical aid 
and the kind of treatment that, according to the highest 
available authority, is most calculated to postpone his 
invalidity. It is plain that if the payment of an Invalidity 
Pension is to depend on a medical certificate, we cannot 
afiord to allow the claimant a " Free Choice of Doctors " ! 
Coupled with some readily accessible public provision for 
good medical and surgical treatment, both domiciliary 
and institutional, in order, as long as possible, to avert 
disability ; and safeguarded by very precise and annually 
renewed certification by expert officers acting for the 
pubHc, universal and compulsory insurance against clearly 
ascertained permanent invalidity becomes nearly as safe 
as insurance for pensions dependent on age alone. ■ On 


the other hand, 'as with Old Age Pensions, the question 
of whether or not we should exact, in addition to all the 
other taxes, a specially ear-marked contribution from each 
beneficiary in advance, by means of a universal and 
compulsory deduction from wages — being, in effect, a 
universal poll-tax — is, in reality, one as to what is the 
most equitable and most convenient incidence of 

It is when we come to sickness, much of which is 
plainly preventable, and most of which may be assumed 
to be only temporary, of no fixed duration, that we are 
brought face to face with the difficulties and dangers of 
provision by means of insurance, especially when the 
insurance is universal and compulsory, and largely 
subsidised by other than the beneficiaries, and even by 
the State. Be the intention what it may, the Government 
will actually be " paying the people to be ill " ! Hence, 
the problem is, not only how to prevent the multiplication 
of quite unnecessary illnesses caused by flagrant neglect 
of hygienic precautions, and how, when illness does occur, 
to insist on the patient co-operating in his own cure, but 
also how to protect the funds against malingering in aU 
its conscious and sub-conscious forms. To rely, as it is 
sometimes fondly imagined that we may, on the safeguard 
of paying as sick benefit only one-half or one-third of 
the usual earnings of the beneficiary, is, as regards a quite 
enormous proportion of human beings, to depend on a 
broken reed. Not only are there innumerable people who 
would at any time prefer one-half of their income m 
idleness, rather than the whole of it in return for work, 
but it is scarcely too much to say that, at one time or 
another, we are all of us sorely tempted to do so. And 



when we remember, how exceptionally liable (!) to illness 
the Trade Union giving sick benefit finds its unemployed 
members, especially when they have exhausted their right 
to out-of-work pay ; when we see to what an extent a 
weakly man or a lazy man will " live on his wife " ; when 
we remember that even the worthy man may sometimes 
be willing to eke out his sick pay by his savings or even 
by the proceeds of a second insurance, so as to be able to 
be idle without having to go on short commons at all, we 
may realise how vain is the assumption that no man will 

' ever wish to draw sick pay when he might, by " maldng 

ian effort," be earning full wages. 

Thus, the protection of the insurance fund against 
malingering comes to depend exclusively on the nature of 
the arrangements as to medical treatment. To give sick 
pay whenever a member chooses to declare himself sick, 
even if coupled with abstention from wage-earning, is 
plainly impossible. To require only the production of a 
medical certificate from the patient's own doctor is a 

' direct inducement to the patient to go to the doctor who 
will grant such certificates most easily, and a standing 
temptation to the doctors to emulate each other in this 
laxness. Moreover, certification does not necessarily 
involve treatment, certainly not continued treatment, and 
least of all, any of that co-operation of the patient in his 

I own cure which is shown by obeying the doctor's instruc- 
tions. It is found, in practice, alike in our own voluntary 

: societies and in foreign government schemes, that the 

isick man havmg a " Free Choice of Doctors " is seldom 
well-informed enough to select the doctor or adopt the 
treatment^still less lead the life — that will promote 
his quickest and most effectual recovery. We do not 


necessarily mean that the patient wishes to defraud the 
insurance fund, or that he deliberately wishes to remain 
ill — though such cases not infrequently occur — but merely 
that the sick man naturally prefers the doctor who is 
" kindest " in giving hun the necessary certificate ; most 
ingratiating in prescribing only what the patient likes ; 
least censorious about personal weaknesses, and most 
indulgent in dragging out the convalescence. If the 
person drawing sick benefit fails to get early and 
continuous medical treatment ; if he is able to go to any 
doctor that he chooses and to act on his advice or to 
disregard it ; if he is free to live as he pleases, with whatever 
diet, personal indulgences, home sanitation and " going 
out at night " he persists in, then we know from abundant 
experience that there will be a great, and even an increasing 
amount of sickness ; that illnesses will be long drawn out ; 
and that all sorts of malingering will take place. Hence, 
it is clear, as the experience of continental systems has 
abundantly demonstrated, that any attempt to combine 
a system of Compulsory Insurance against sickness, with 
a " Free Choice of Doctors " by the beneficiaries, means, 
inevitably, a steady rise in the amount of sickness, and an 
even greater rise in the amount that will be drawn in Sick 
Pay ! Whilst the Government, in one of its departments — 
that of Public Health — will be expending much money and 
energy in diminishing sickness, in. its other department — 
that of the Sickness Insurance Fund — the Government 
will be simultaneously spending no less money and energy 
in actually increasing its amount. 

We are bound, it is clear, to take care that the State 
does not set up a new department to counteract the pre- 
ventive operations of its own Public Health Department- 



We may even ask that any Government Insurance 
scheme shall be so framed as to operate, in conjunction 
with the efforts of the Public Health Department, actually 
for the prevention of sickness. This requirement, it is 
sometimes urged, is surely satisfied by the manner in 
which insurance schemes inevitably lead to preventive 
measures. We cannot say that we are impressed with 
the e£6.cacy of our own voluntary insurance against sickness 
in developing any such measures. The managing com- 
mittees of our Friendly Societies seem to take sickness for 
granted, as an inevitable visitation of Providence, just as 
their fathers and grandfathers did. They do not even 
ask that obviously preventable sickness should be pre- 
vented. We do not fimd the Friendly Society members 
using their almost irresistible electoral force to make the 
Local Health Authorities maintain a high standard of 
sanitation, or develop the municipal hospital service ; we 
do not see the Societies insisting on every city having its 
' Tuberculin Dispensary and its Phthisis Sanatorium ; we 
'do not find the insured members particularly eager 
I supporters of a system of Health Visiting, or enthusiastic- 
;aUy demanding School Clinics. Beyond the establishment 
I or support of a few Convalescent Homes, and a few 
i subscriptions to hospitals used by their members, we are 
not aware of any help given by the powerful Friendly 
: Society movement to the cause of Public Health. 

It must be recorded to the credit of compulsory 
.Insurance that something has been done in this direction 
J in Germany. The authorities managing the different 
Insurance Funds have been so impressed with the need 
ifor protecting their finances agauist the rising Sick Pay 
tthat they have spontaneously established phthisis sanatoria 


for the benefit of their members. It is, perhaps, an 
mdication of how little connection there seems to be 
between Sickness Insm?ance and Sickness Prevention that 
so much has been made of these Sanatoria, which number, 
it appears, after more than twenty years of insurance, only 
71, nearly all of them quite small mstitutions, for a 
population of nearly sixty-five millions, with more than a 
hundred thousand deaths from tuberculosis annually. The 
managing committees of the German Insurance Funds 
deserve full credit for having made even this tiny amount 
of provision of a preventive character. But when we 
remember that, in England and Wales, alone, with a little 
more than half the population of Germany, the Local 
Health Authorities have found it necessary to provide, not 
71 but 700 municipal hospitals, in order to cope only with 
zymotic diseases far less extensive than phthisis, and that 
these hospitals treat a hundred thousand patients a year, 
and that it is just by means of these isolation hospitals 
that we have succeeded in preventing so much zymotic 
disease, we shall realise how relatively minute is the 
contribution of the German Insurance Funds towards 
what is required in any worthy campaign of prevention. 
It is scarcely too much too say that although the Local 
Health Authorities in Great Britain have only just begun 
to provide for phthisis patients, that there is akeady, ui 
proportion to population, nearly as much municipal 
sanatorium accommodation for these patients in this 
country, as has been built up in all the twenty years' 
achievement of the German Insurance Funds. This tenta- 
tive work of the Local Health Authorities in the preventive 
treatment of phthisis, which it has been understood to 
be the policy of the Local Government Board to encourage, 



will not be promoted, and may easily be ckecked, by the 
setting-up, in every county and county borough, of a 
rival " Health Committee," definitely responsible for the 
treatment of phthisis out of public funds. 

We attribute the failure of both the voluntary sickness 
insurance of England, and the compulsory sickness 
insurance of Germany, to instigate and promote any 
really effective campaign for the prevention of sickness, to 
their common divorce from the Public Health administra- 
tion of their respective countries. Owing to their organisa- 
tion on an entirely different basis of membership than 
that of the Public Health area, the Sickness Insurance 
Funds of Germany are, in fact, as little connected with 
what we should term the Public Health Service as are the 
Friendly Societies of om- own country. The managing 
committees, in both cases, have their minds set on relief, 
not prevention ; in both cases they are powerless them- 
selves to undertake the campaign necessary to do for 
phthisis what has been so successfully done for typhus ; 
in both cases the cost of such a campaign would fall upon 
one set of shoulders, whilst the direct pecuniary benefits 
would fall upon a different set. So far as our own country 
is concerned, we suggest that the only practical chance of 
turning to account, as an incentive and a help to the 
actual prevention of sickness, the vast expenditm-e and 
extensive organisation involved in universal and compul- 
sory sickness msurance, would be to associate it very 
closely with the existing Public Health Service. We see 
no way in which the community can effectually prevent 
malingeruig, except by bringing to bear the resources of 
the Public Health administration. The Local Health 
Authority is already definitely charged with the prevention 


of disease, and it has, in its medical and sanitary staff, 
its 700 municipal hospitals, and its organisation of Health 
Visiting and sanitary inspection, the nucleus of a service 
concentrated entirely on preventive methods, and already 
treating successfully more than a hundred thousand 
patients a year. The Medical Officers of Health have been 
taught by long experience in their work in preventmg 
epidemics, to search out disease in its incipient stage ; to 
offer hospital treatment where the conditions of the home 
do not admit of quick recovery ; by changes in the 
environment, to alter, where necessary, the permanent 
conditions of the patient's life, and to insist on hygienic 
conduct so as to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of 
the disease. If the administration of Sick Benefit were 
intimately associated with this work of prevention, a 
National Insurance Scheme might not merely be safe- 
guarded from fraudulent claims, but might become a 
potent instrument for diminishing the sickness-rate. 

The problem of how to prevent what may be called 
malingering with regard to Unemployment is more 
complicated, if not actually more difficult than with 
regard to sickness. If a man is suffering from any specific 
disease, the fact can now, in the great majority of cases, 
be ascertained with scientific certainty. Assuming that 
sensible arrangements with regard to medical diagnosis 
and treatment were made in each case, by an expert officer 
acting in the public interest, there would be comparatively 
little temptation to remain fraudulently on the sick list. 
But to be, whilst in health, unemployed, and idle, with 
maintenance nevertheless coming in, is a state not 
painful to any of us, whilst, to some temperaments, it is 
of all conditions in life the most agreeable. And the 



insurance organisation has here, not merely to discover 
the ascertainable fact of Unemployment, but also to 
satisfy itself that the workman is and remains unemployed 
not because he likes it, but because there is no possible 
situation for him to be found. Hence, it is vitally necessary 
that the Insurance organisation should be bound up with 
an organisation having the power and opportunity to 
discover whether the unemployment is involuntary, and 
the necessity of connecting the proposed Government 
scheme of Unemplojrment Insurance with the National 
Labour Exchange, which alone knows all the chances of 
employment, becomes apparent. But this comiection 
brings with it problems of its own. 

It will, we see, be of the utmost importance to the 
administration of the Government Unemployment Insur- 
ance that it should become aware, automatically and 
immediately, of every vacant situation in the trades 
within its scope, in order that it may be able to satisfy 
itself that the men drawing Unemployment Benefit take 
instant advantage of every vacancy. It will accordingly 
be necessary for the National Labour Exchange to be 
resorted to, either voluntarily or under compulsion, by 
every employer in the insured trades, whenever he requires 
a workman. It may prove to be the case that all the 
employers, recognising that they are themselves paying a 
quarter or three-eighths of the cost of the Unemployment 
Benefit, will realise that it will be ultimately to their own 
interest to make the National Labour Exchange the only 
means of filling the situations that they have to offer, in 
order to give the Government the utmost assistance in 
testing the involuntary nature of the Unemployment that 

it is paying for. But as any particular employer will find 



himself paying only a fixed and uniform contribution, 
common to all the employers and even to all the insured 
trades, and as the chance of his ever having this contribu- 
tion either raised or lowered will appear to him very 
remote, and only to an infinitesimal extent, if at all, 
affected by any action of his own in any particular case, 
the inducement to make exclusive use of the National 
Labour Exchange does not seem a very potent one. 
Compulsory Insurance will, therefore, we suggest, so far 
as the insured trades are concerned, necessarily bring in 
its train a legally compulsory use of the Labour Exchange — 
just as the need for supervising the sailor's condition has 
involved, for half a century, the legally compulsory use of 
the Mercantile Marine Office. This we regard as no 
disadvantage, and though many employers in the msured 
trades will at first resent it, they may be expected to find 
the arrangement not really more objectionable than the 

shipowners do. 

But if the Government Insurance Fund is to pay the 
umemployed workman so much a week until a situation 
can be discovered for him, the question necessarily arises, 
what situation ? What sort of situation is it that the 
unemployed workman will be required to accept, under 
penalty of haying the Unemployment Benefit— for which 
he has been made to pay in advance— withheld fi'om 
him ? It must clearly be a situation in his own trade : 
an engineer cannot be told that he must go labourmg. 
Some difficulties may arise here in connection with the 
disputes as to the lines of demarcation between trades, but 
these ought not to be insuperable. If the vacancy is not 
in the place where the unemployed man is residmg, 
difficulties may arise as to the inconvenience and expense 



of moving his houseliold ; but these, too, can be overcome. 
Much more thorny is the question of the rate of wages. Is 
the unemployed workman to be required to accept any 
situation that is vacant in his own town at his own trade, 
irrespective of the rate of wages offered ? The maintenance 
of a definite Standard Rate, below which no man shall 
work, is the most universal, the most persistent, the most 
passionately upheld principle of Trade Unionism. It has 
been, after a whole generation of argument, endorsed by 
the economists; as applying to Government employment 
and Government contracts, it has been adopted, in 
principle, by all political parties in the House of Commons ; 
and with regard to certain industries, it was, in 1908, 
actually embodied in the Trade Boards Act. It is, in 
most trades, now willingly accepted by the majority of 
employers. But there are, m all trades and in most towns, 
a few firms who stand out ; who insist on paying less than 
the Standard Rate, and who, in consequence, employ no 
Trade Unionists. It is a corollary that the members of 
Trade Unions are forbidden, on pain of forfeiting their 
membership, to accept situations at such establishments — 
technically " unfair shops " — even if the employers would 
engage them. Now, with a Government Insurance Fund, 
it will either be necessary to compel the unemployed 
workman, under penalty of having his Unemployed 
Benefit stopped, to accept the vacancy reported in the 
"unfair shop," below the Standard Rate — in which case 
the scheme deals a staggering blow at Trade Unionism, and 
flies in the face of the now orthodox conception of the 
importance of maintaining a Standard Rate ; or else the 
Government admits, as a valid excuse for not taking a 
vacant situation, that the wages offered were below the 


Trade Union Rate — in which case, though it might have 
on its side the economists and all the " good " employers, 
it would find itself taking the momentous step of virtually 
making the local Standard Rate compulsory on aU the 
firms in the town. We should not, ourselves, regard the 
latter alternative, properly safeguarded, with any dis- 
favour ; but we doubt whether the present House of 
Commons will agree with us ! It implies the assumption 
of a very real responsibility, not merely for enforcing what 
might be termed a general " moral " minimum for industry 
as a whole, but for determining what shall be regarded 
as the proper rates of wages, hours of work, conditions 
of engagement, precautions against accidents and sanitary 
arrangements for every worker in every trade — at least, to 
the extent that the Government Insurance Fund will 
avowedly and notoriously be prepared to pay Unemploy- 
ment Benefit to persons refusing to accept situations 
under conditions deemed to be, in the public interest, 

It has been suggested that these difficulties might be 
got over by constituting, in each town, a joint committee 
of representative employers and workmen belonging to 
the insured trades, who should determine, in any case of 
doubt, whether or not an unemployed workman was 
justified in refusing to accept a situation which the Labour 
Exchange had found for him. Such a committee would, 
however, need to proceed on one assumption or another ; 
and it is hardly likely that an issue so important to the 
whole Trade Union Movement would be left open in the 
House of Commons. It has accordingly been suggested 
that it might be laid down in principle, that no workman 
should be expected or pressed to take a situation at any 



lower rate of pay than he had previously been receiving. 
This, it is said, would secure tlie Trade Unionist or other 
j&rst-class workman, who had actually been earning the 
Standard Bate, from ever being required to derogate ; 
whilst it would leave open to engagement by the employer 
paying below the Standard Rate all those workmen, 
whether " second-rate " or merely non-unionist, whom 
he would anyhow have been able to engage. This is an 
ingenious solution, because a workman who is unfortunate 
enough to be unemployed can hardly expect to use that 
particular moment actually to better his industrial position 
by raising himself from the " improver " or " below rate " 
stage to that of the Standard Rate. Bat it fails to meet 
the case of conditions other than the rate of wages — the 
hours of labour, the method of remuneration, etc. — m 
which a given situation may be below the standard. It 
fails also to meet the case of the employer who refuses 
to employ Trade Unionists at all, and whose offer of a 
situation is therefore virtually coupled with the condition 
that the workman must resign his Trade Union member- 
ship. And, what is perhaps most conclusive, it fails to 
meet the difficulty presented by the great differences in 
Standard Rates between town and town. Let us take, 
as an example, the engineering trade in Manchester and 
Keighley respectively, or in Leeds and Gainsborough. 
If a Trade Unionist fitter, or any first-rate fitter, is un- 
employed m Manchester, he will expect the local Standard 
Rate of 37s. for a week of 53 hours. The Trade Unionist 
or other first-rate man in Keighley gets only 30s. for a 
week of 54 hours. The fitter at Leeds will expect 34s. for 
a week of 53 hours. At Gainsborough he gets only 28s. 
for a week of 54 hours. Suppose that a Keighley or 


Gainsborough fitter, previously earning the local Standard 
Rate of 28s. or 30s., finding himself unemployed, walks to 
Manchester or Leeds and registers himself at the Labour 
Exchange. Is he, just because he had previously earned 
only 28s. or 30s. a week in his former town, to be required, 
under penalty of having his UnemplojTnent Benefit stopped, 
to accept a situation at Manchester or Leeds, with their 
higher cost of living, at the Keighley or Gainsborough 
rate ? Any such action, which would inevitably undermine 
the Standard Rate in the higher paid towns, would in- 
cidentally confer an actual benefit on the " unfair shops " 
in those towns. At present they can only engage in their 
service the workmen who are unable to get into situations 
at the Standard Rate, and are therefore presumably inferior 
men. The Keighley or Gainsborough man was, in his 
own town, of the first class, and is not necessarily or even 
presumptively inferior to those who, in Manchester or 
Leeds, are earning the higher Standard Rate. In fact, the 
ambitious young immigrant from the low-paid district 
quickly gets the higher rate of his new town. Will he, 
under a Compulsory Insurance scheme, be forbidden to 
migrate in search of work to any town havmg a higher 
Standard Rate than that which he has been enjoying ? 
Questions of this kind will, we suggest, render irresistible, 
in the House of Commons, the amendment which those 
who believe in the principle of a Standard Rate — and they 
are to be found in all four poHtical parties — may be ex- 
pected to move to any Compulsory Unemployment 
Insurance scheme. Such an amendment may properly 
take the following form : — 

Provided that no workman shall, in comiection 
wit,h the Insurance Fund, be in any way penalised 



or placed at any disadvantage by reason either of 
belonging to a Trade Union, or of refusing to accept 
a situation (i) at wages below the currently accepted 
standard rate in his own trade for the locality in 
which the situation would have been held ; or (ii) 
below the cuiTently accepted standard rate in his 
own trade for the locality in which he is actually 
residing ; or (iii) upon conditions with regard to 
hours of labour, method of remuneration, arrange- 
ments for sanitation or safety or other circumstances 
of employment, less advantageous to him than those 
specified in any Award or Determination imder 
the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, or in the 
currently accepted Working Rules or other collective 
agreement made by representatives of the employers 
and of the employed, and actually in force m the 
trade and for the place in which the situation would 
have been held. 

It is, we think, clear that a scheme of universal and 
compulsory insurance against Unemployment, like the 
corresponding scheme of insurance against sickness, does 
not offer such an easy alternative to complicated measures 
of prevention as may at first sight appear. The Trade 
Unions will find themselves steadily more and more 
transformed, from associations depending in the main 
on the methods of Mutual Insurance and Collective 
Bargaining, into associations absorbed in perfecting, by 
persistent political pressure, the more drastic Method of 
Legal Enactment. The necessary conditions of a uni- 
versal and compulsory Unemployment Insurance 
Fund cannot fail to exercise a far-reaching influence 


on the organisation of industry and the terms 
of the wage-contract — an influence which, exercised under 
the control of the House of Commons, we are ourselves 
disposed to regard as beneficial, but which bids fair to 
develop into a collective control more drastic than any- 
thing that we have ventured to propose. We wish, in 
particular, to give credit to the idea of Unemployment 
Insurance for its potentialities in promoting the " decasu- 
alisation " of casual labour — a reform so urgently needed, 
so far-reaching in its beneficial effects, and, withal, so 
difficult of achievement that every possible ally in the task 
must be warmly welcomed. It has been suggested that 
such casual labourers as those employed at the London 
and Liverpool docks and wharves, the Manchester Ship 
Canal, and about the warehouses of great cities, might 
be so brought into the Insurance Fund as to give to their 
employers an almost irresistible inducement to " de- 
casualise." If the ordinary compulsory deduction from 
wages — say, 2|d. — had, in the case of casual labourers, 
to be made from each separate man employed dm-ing the 
current week — the employer having to add thereto, say 
another 2|d. — each employer would find it distinctly 
cheaper to employ the same man throughout the week. 
If he preferred to continue to take on men indiscriminately 
and casually, as at present, an alternative inducement 
could be offered to him to take them all from the Labour 
Exchange (which would then be able to "dove-tail" their 
jobs), by allowmg him, on this condition, a substantial 
rebate on his contributions, which could be commuted for 
a periodical lump sum payment. A still further rebate 
might be allowed to him in return for an agreement to 
take from the Labour Exchange during the year a definite 


quantum of labour force, with a certain average distri- 
bution week by week. It is obvious tbat sucb a scheme 
might enable various substantial inducements to be 
offered for what, in effect, would be a valuable improve- 
ment in the methods of employing casual hands. 

But here again we are compelled to ask, what is to 
be the fate of the Casual labourer or the artisan who falls 
out of benefit through long periods of unemplojrment ; still 
more of those who find themselves ousted from their 
previous occupations by this ingenious device for de- 
casualising labour ? " Decasualisation," as we are apt 
to forget, means so altering the conditions of employment 
as to give some men more continuous work, at the cost of 
depriving other men of what little employment they had. 
These persons have committed no crime ; they have 
refused no situation, and they will be, in many cases, 
innocent victims of a new industrial organisation imposed 
by the strong arm of the State. What provision is to be 
made for them and their families ? Are they to be referred 
to the Casual Ward and the Able-bodied Test Workhouse, 
which is what the policy of the Local Government Board 
allows to them under the Poor Law ; or are they to go 
" on the road " and still further swell the growing horde 
of vagrants, with the option of the alternative of com- 
mitting some petty crime in order to secure the hospi- 
tahty of His Majesty's prisons ? 

Our conclusion is, therefore, that any scheme of 
universal and compulsory insurance against sickness or 
unemployment, largely subsidised by persons who are 
not beneficiaries, or by the State, will necessarily have 
to be bound up with an organisation which can prevent 
the occurrence of sickness or unemployment, and bring 


to an end as quickly as possible such sickness or unemploy- 
ment as has not been prevented ; and which can also 
prevent those fraudulent or semi-fraudulent cases of 
sickness and unemployment which may fairly be described 
as malingering. This involves, in the case of sickness, 
certification, not by the patient's own doctor, but by an 
accredited representative of the community ; and the 
provision, in the public interest, of the promptest and 
best treatment, coupled with power to insist on a reason- 
ably hygienic conduct of life, and to offer treatment in 
hospital (along with the maintenance allowance for the 
family) whenever malingering is suspected, or even when 
the cause of ill -health cannot be certainly diagnosed, or 
when the proper treatment cannot otherwise be secured. 
The amount of collective responsibility for, and of authori- 
tative interference with, the patient's own life that will 
be required if there is not to be, under the influence of 
compulsory insurance an actual increase of siclmess, and 
a gravely demoralising malingering, is more than is 
usually contemplated. With regard to any universal and 
compulsory insurance, against Unemployment, even more 
is involved. Not merely must the insurance organisation 
be bound up with the organisation for the prevention of 
Unemployment, but it must also be given powers over the 
conditions of wage-earning life which, however desirable 
in the public interest, are likely to be resented both by 
employers and workmen. It was because of -these impli- 
cations of universal and compulsory insm^ance, as well 
as because insurance does not in itself prevent, and fails 
to provide for the poorest and the weakest — who have 
surely the first claim on the community, — that we refused 
to recomnaend it in the Minority Report. 



We have examined, in some detail, tlie advantages 
and disadvantages of voluntary insm:ance on tlie one 
hand, and, on the other, of the compulsory and universal 
schemes that are, at this moment, so much in the public 
eye. ^But these alternatives do not exhaust the possi- 
bilities of insurance. Apart from the entirely voluntary 
and self-supporting insurance of the Friendly Societies 
and the Trade Unions, and from the compulsory and 
subsidised schemes of the German Government, and of 
the present Cabinet of the United Kingdom, to which 
practically the whole wage-earning population can be 
subjected, there is an intermediate form which, whilst 
not achieving so much as may be promised by the universal 
schemes, greatly extends the benefits of the voluntary 
system, and appears to us to offer many advantages over 
any compulsory system. We could, in this country, accom- 
plish very considerable results, with few of the drawbacks 
that we have mentioned, by the use, in the department 
of social insurance, of that characteristic instrument of 
English Government, the Grant in Aid. Nor is this mere 
theorising. W^e actually have this successfully at work 
on the Contment m what is known as the " Ghent " 
system of insurance against Unemployment. It is not 
usually remembered that compulsory insurance against 
Unemployment is nowhere in force. Even the German 
Government, which has made so much use of universal 
and compulsory insurance, and which is contemplating 
still further extensions of it, has never thought it practicable 
to apply the system to Unemployment. But the " Ghent " 
system, introduced originally " at Ghent, has spread to 
nearly all the Belgian towns, to Holland, to Denmark, to 
Norway, and to some cities of Germany and France. This 


is a system of subsidies from public funds to societies 
affording voluntary insurance against Unemployment. 
The Trade Unions, or other organisations affording Out- 
of-Work Benefit, assume the whole responsibility for the 
maintenance, during involuntary Unemployment, of all 
their members, and retain therefore all the freedom to 
decide whether or not a given situation ought to be ac- 
cepted, and to make such precaution^ as they choose 
against malingering. These voluntary organisations giving 
Out-of-work Pay continue to undertake the whole business 
of enrolling recruits, collecting contributions, awarding 
benefit and paying it to the beneficiaries without official 
interference. After the expiration of each year, the 
Government (local or national) makes a grant to the 
society, based either on the membership or on the amount 
actually paid in Unemployment benefit during the year, 
but never amounting to more than a portion of what has 
been expended, so as to leave unimpaired the pecuniary 
inducement to prevent malingering, to diminish Unem- 
ployment, and generally to exercise economy in the 
administration. This Government Grant, paid after the 
year has expired, may be deemed a commuted payment 
from public funds in return for a definite service which 
has actually been performed by the Trade Union or other 
society, in having, throughout that year, held the public 
funds harmless, in respect of all its members, so far as 
regards Unemployment and the destitution which it 
causes. The result has been to make it possible for many 
Trade Unions to insure their members against Unemploy- 
ment in industries where this had previously been beyond 
their means ; and in this way greatly to increase the 
number of workmen who have, with all the advantages 



of voluntary insurance tliat we have described — the 
fostering of foresight and thrift, the training in self- 
government, the deliberate subordination of present 
indulgence to future needs— been protected against the 
worst evils of Unemployment. It will be regarded as a 
special advantage that the Government avoids, in this 
way, any obligation to decide whether or not a workman 
ought to accept a given situation ; escapes all responsi- 
bility for maintaining or not maintaining the Standard 
Rate ; places no special bm^den upon the employers ; 
and is under no necessity to establish itg own network 
of organisation to enable it to prevent malingering, and 
to enter into direct personal relations with every in- 
dividual workman. 

Apart from certain Government subventions to 
Friendly Societies, in France and elsewhere, we do not 
know that this " Ghent " system has been applied to 
insurance against sickness, but we see no reason 
why this should not be done. In view of the great and 
patent advantages of the voluntary insurance of the 
Friendly Societies, and of the Trade Unions giving Sick 
Pay, we see nothing but good in their all being offered a 
Grant in Aid from pubHc funds to enable them to extend 
their beneficent work. This payment should be made 
year by year in arrear, not in any way as guaranteeing 
the soundness or the future solvency of such societies, 
but merely in recognition of a definite service actually 
rendered to the State during the past year, in having 
held it harmless, in respect of the entire membership, so 
far as regards sickness and the destitution caused thereby. 
It would be easy for each society to make a claim, year 
by year, in respect of its membership in the past year. 


giving the age of each member. The value of the service 
. thus rendered, dependent on the average age of the 
\ membership, could then be actuarialy determined ; and a 
I certain definite proportion would thereupon be paid 
j simply for " work done." The State need enter into no 
' partnership with any society ; need give no guarantee, 
formal or " moral," as to its future solvency ; need not 
concern itself about its management ; and need impose 
no restrictions on its freedom. The Govermnent could 
pay for the work thus done by any society whatsoever, 
and would be absolved from the invidious and difficult 
task of deciding which societies were, and which were not, 
on a proper basis, honestly and economically managed, 
and actuarialy solvent. If the society went bankrupt, 
or broke up at any time, it would simply be unable to 
make its claim in the ensuing year, and would receive no 

Such a system of insurance against sickness, com- 
bining all the advantages of volmitary insurance, with 
the possibilities of extension offered by a subvention from 
the Exchequer, would have, for the prudent statesman, 
the attraction over a universal and compulsory system 
that the persons who would receive, when sick, an un- 
conditional money income, and the right to choose their 
own medical treatment, would be persons who had selected 
themselves because of their superior foresight or thrift 
or capacity for self-government. And though they would 
be getting the contribution from the community without 
the onerous conditions which in other circumstances 
might be deemed advisable, either to prevent malingering 
or to secure the quickest possible termination of the 
illness, they would, on the other hand, not be getting 



the whole of their maintenance from the community, nor 
even so large a part of their mamtenance as persons who 
had not chosen voluntarily to insure, and whom the 
community has necessarily to maintain when sickness 
overtakes them. In short, to use the phraseology of the 
Poor Law, to every citizen who voluntarily insured himself 
agamst sickness, by joining a Friendly Society or Trade 
Union giving Sick Pay, the State would offer to contribute 
towards " unconditional relief " ui sickness, in his own 
home, with a doctor of his own choice, under whatever 
arrangements he and his fellow-members chose, to make 
among themselves. On the other hand, for those who did 
not voluntarily insure themselves — including those who 
had been excluded from Friendly Societies, and those who 
had " run out of benefit " — whom the State must, in the 
public interest, perforce maintain ui sickness, there would 
be provided efficient medical treatment, including main- 
tenance, and, where required, even maintenance of the 
family ; because we cannot afford, as a nation, to let people 
: remain ill and unproductive a day longer than is in- 
' evitable, whether or not they are without means of their 
I own, and we can still less afford to let their wives and 
• children degenerate m body and mind whether or not the 
breadwumer is ill. But we are not necessarily called upon 
ito give them either medical treatment or maintenance in 
ithe form, or under the conditions that would be most 
iagreeable to them. The community can, in their case, 
iproperly and advantageously do what is best in the public 
linterest. Thus, with regard to these uninsured masses, 
we have every reason to take precautions against the 
(creation of unnecessary illness and against malingering ; 
we need not invariably, or as a matter of course, assume 


that the treatment must be domiciliary because they like 
it so, or that the patient himself must have the spending 
of a money income ; or that what would be accorded to 
him, in the interest and at the expense of the cormnunity 
as a whole, would be accorded to him without those 
disciplinary conditions, hygienic in their nature and intent, 
which to the average sensual man are less agreeable than 
merely spending his Sick Pay as he chooses, but which 
are really conducive to his recovery. And the same argu- 
ments apply, it is plain, to the case of insurance against 
Unemployment. To the workman who had voluntarily 
insured himself, the State could offer its contribution to 
enable him to spend his undesired hoHday time as he 
pleased, subject only to such regulations as his Trade 
Union, which would be bearing half or more of the cost, 
might choose to make for its own protection. On the 
other hand, to the workman who had refused or neglected 
to insure against Unemployment, or who had " run out 
of benefit " or who belonged to an industrial grade in 
which the workers were miable, in spite of the offer of 
a Government subvention, to form the necessary voluntary 
organisation for the purpose, the Government Department 
dealing with Unemployment would offer the indispensable 
maintenance under conditions of training calculated to 
check malingering and to secure to the community, in 
return for the public expenditure, at anyrate an enhance- 
ment in the vigour, skill, and regularity of habit of those 
who were unemployed. 

We throw out, for consideration, another possible 
modification of the famous "Ghent" system, which, 
though we should not ourselves recommend it, is certainly 
preferable to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's scheme 



of 1911. The present popularity of insurance, as a 
method of provision against the contingencies of 
the wage-earner's life, is due rather to the nature 
of its revenue side than to any special excellency 
in its expenditure side. The very grave social 
and industrial difficulties to which, in the case of unem- 
plojnnent and sickness, any system of compulsory and 
universal Insurance necessarily leads, are, as we have 
seen, all connected with the expenditure side. Why, 
then, should we not distinguish between the two sides of 
any insurance scheme — the contribution and the provision, 
— making the contribution universal, and compulsory and 
uniform, whilst the provision is differentiated according 
to the circumstances of the persons to be dealt with ? If 
public opinion among the propertied classes clings to the 
levy of a special and obvious personal contribution, week 
by week, on every wage-earner, even if his earnings are 
insufficient for maintenance, and makes this method of 
meeting the cost an indispensable condition of providing, 
for the sick and the unemployed, that which is now seen to 
be socially necessary, this type of public opinion will 
probably have its way. It is quite possible to add to our 
fiscal system what would be, in effect, a poll-tax, of 10s. 
or 20s. per annum, on all persons having less than a 
prescribed income, though there might be difficulties in 
enforcing its collection from those (such as the coster- 
mongers, the home workers, the little jobbing craftsmen, 
the small shop-keepers, and the casual labourers) who 
are not actually in receipt of wages or salaries from specific 
employers. But once that we have decided to extract from 
the wage-earners the weekly contribution that we think 
it is for their spiritual welfare that they should pay, we 


need not wantonly encounter all the difficulties tkat lurk 
in tlie universal distribution by the Government of weekly 
money doles to all who are sick or unemployed. To " pay 
people to be ill " or to " pay people to be unemployed," 
is a difficult operation to perform with national safety, 
and one which it is somewhat surprising to find advocated 
in quarters where it is most warmly supported. It be- 
comes more practicable if it is not extended to the whole 
population. Why should we aim at subjecting aU the 
wage-earners, merely because they have been subjected 
to a uniform Government tax, also to a uniform method 
of Government provision ? To those among them who 
have, by voluntary insurance, over and above the com- 
pulsory Government premium or tax, marked themselves 
out as possessing the qualities of foresight and thrift, 
the faculty of self-government, and the capacity to sub- 
ordinate present indulgencies to future needs, we may 
safely and justly accord — not, indeed, more money than 
the rest, out of the common fund to which aU will have 
equally contributed, but what they will value even higher, 
the privilege of receiving their share through their own 
Friendly Society or Trade Union in the form of a freely 
disposable money income, to spend as they choose, and 
the boon of using their periods of unemployment exactly 
as they please. But those who have refused or neglected 
voluntarily to insure themselves, or who have run out 
of benefit, and are therefore unable to give to the State 
the indispensable assistance which the Friendly Society 
or Trade Union machinery would afiord, cannot, we 
suggest — if they are to be found maintenance out 
of the common fund whenever they are sick or un- 
employed—safely be accorded the same free spending 



money and the same free idle time as those for 
whom the social machinery of the voluntarily formed 
Friendly Society or Trade Union is available. All such 
persons must, m the public interest, be provided for 
during the whole period of sickness and unemployment, 
and provided for in the best practicable way ; and we do 
not suggest that any less should be spent upon them, out 
of the common fund, than on the members of Friendly 
Societies and Trade Unions. As a matter of fact, as a 
large proportion of these persons will have, for one reason 
or another, " bad lives," they will, under any wise 
administration, or, indeed, under any administration what- 
ever, necessarily cost the community, in one form or 
another, actually more per head for maintenance and treat- 
ment than those citizens who are capable of voluntarily 
joining and continuing in self-governmg Friendly Societies. 
But those who remain outside the organisation of the 
Friendly Societies and the Trade Unions must necessarily be 
dealt with by the public departments ; and it is vital to any 
prudent administration that they should be dealt by those 
public departments which have for their function the 
actual prevention of the contingency to be provided for 
—in the case of sickness the Local Health Authority, and 
in the case of Unemployment the new National Authority 
of which we have the nucleus in the Labour Exchange. 
Only by the use of the preventive machinery of these 
authorities can we secure even the measure of prevention 
of malingering that the Friendly Society and the Trade 
Union provide for their own members. And we suggest 
that whilst the sick or unemployed persons for whom 
the Pubhc Authorities have in this way to provide should 
have a definite right to the best treatment that can be 


afforded to them, they should, in contrast with the Friendly- 
Society or Trade Union members, have no right to any 
money payment for their own spending. What they 
would get would be the treatment, domiciliary or institu- 
tional, best suited to their condition, with a view to 
returning them to the ranks of productive citizens, whether 
or not this involved a money payment. It would be only 
when it was ascertained that they were permanently 
invalidated and could not be cured, and yet were not 
guilty of criminal malingering, that they would be raised 
to the rank of pensioners, free to spend their little 
weekly sum in the way they thought fit. If they were 
discovered to be wilfully malingering, either in the way 
of sickness or the way of unemployment, they would have 
to be handed over (but only on judicial conviction) to 
some hospital or Reformatory Detention Colony where 
then' state of mind might be properly attended to. 

In conclusion, we wish to make our own position clear. 
We repeat, with regard to the various proposed schemes of 
Sickness and Unemployment Insurance, what we said 
a few pages back about the Workmen's Compensation 
Act : The necessity and the urgency of making some 
provision out of public funds for the sickness and un- 
employment of the wage-earners is so great that we should 
regard the final rejection of even a defective scheme as a 
net loss. We owe to Mr. Lloyd George, with his broad- 
minded humanitarian zeal, the teaching of Parhament to 
" think in millions " when approaching the pressing 
problems of unemployment and sickness ; and the 
persuading of the whole nation to contemplate with equa- 
nimity the undertaking of new and far-reaching obligations 
in respect of the mamtenance in health of the entire 



wage-earning class. We ourselves look upon a weekly poll- 
tax on the manual worker, and a " tax on wages " levied on 
the employer, as an inequitable and extravagantly costly 
method of raising public revenue. We consider that the 
payment, to all persons who are ill or unemployed, of an 
inadequate and practically unconditional income in cash 
will not ensure either the medical treatment or the personal 
conduct likely to lead to the earliest possible restoration 
to productivity, or even to the adequate maintenance of 
the patient, his wife or his child, in which the community 
has the greatest interest. We doubt whether the nation 
makes a good bargain for itself when it seeks to limit 
its liability to a definite number of weekly payments, 
irrespective of whether or not the patient has been restored 
to wage-earning, and gives up, for this illusory limitation, 
the right to require anything from the patient in the way 
of co-operation in his own cure. But we are, at this moment, 
face to face with an obsession of the public mind in favour 
of insurance. This obsession is not likely to be removed 
by any demonstration that it depends on a confusion 
between voluntary and compulsory insurance, which have 
entirely different attributes, and lead to entirely different 
results ; or that it involves an extravagant expenditure 
of public funds on persons who would in any event have 
mamtained themselves at the prescribed standard of civil- 
ised life. Those who desire to improve the present 
deplorable state of things have to accept popular obsessions 
and misunderstandings as part of the situation with 
which they have to deal. Hence, the philosophic on- 
looker will be prepared to accept both an unintelligent 
method of taxation and an equally unintelligent method of 
provision as a necessary preliminary to persuading the 


Gommimity to adopt a policy of preventing sickness 
and preventing unemployment. Whatever scheme of 
insurance is adopted — especially a bad scheme — 
will plainly not be final. We shall have to learn 
from our own experience, if we are too foolish to 
learn by the experience of others ; and we shall find, as 
the German Government has found, that insurance 
schemes are always in the melting pot. And it is an 
interesting corollary that the more universal and the 
more compulsory the scheme — the more heavily it involves 
the pecuniary interests of the community as a whole — 
the more quickly and the more certainly will the nation 
become alive to the necessity of a Policy of Prevention. 


Notes and References 

Page 160. We know of no adequate study of Social Insurance as such, 
though we give particulars below of the principal literature relating to 
Friendly Societies and Government Insurance on the Continent of Europe. 
But see State Insurance : a Social and Industrial Need, by F. W. Lewis 
(Constable : 1909) ; and Workingmen's Insurance, by W. F. Willoughby 

Page 163. The Friendly Societies of the United Kingdom have been 
elaborately described in English Associations of Wo7-king Men, by J. M. 
Baernreither (Sonnenschein : 1891) ; The Friendly Societies Movement (1885) 
and Mutual Thrift (Methuen : 1892), both by Eev. J. Frome Wilkinson; 
and Provident Societies and Industrial Welfare, by Sir E. Brabrook 
(Blackie : 1898)— all these being, now somewhat belated ; and, it is under- 
stood, out of print. Later statistical information will be foimd in the 
Annual Report of the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies, published as a 
Parliamentary Paper. 

The Friendly Societies have an internal literature of their own which is 
well worth study. See, for instance, the Friendly Societies' Guide Book 
(King : ,1900) ; the Oddfellows' Magazine, the Foresters' Monthly Magazine, 
and similar periodicals; the Annual Reports of the various societies; the 
quinquennial reports of their actuarial valuations; the proceedings at their 
various annual conferences; and various works by their actuaries (such as 
An Inquiry into the Methods, etc., of a Friendly Society, by E. P. Hardy, 
1894; An Account of an Investigation of the Sickness and Mortality Experi- 
ence of the Independent Order of Oddfellows {Manchester Unity) during 
the years 1893-7, by A. W. Watson). 

The " friendly benefit " side of Trade Unionism is described in our 
Industrial Democracy ("The Method of Mutual Insurance," pp. 152-72; 

■ " Trade Unionism and Democracy," pp. 826-9) ; see also Trade Unionism, 
old and new, by George Howell (Methuen: 1907); and the Reports of the 
Labour Department of the Board of Trade on Trade Union Statistics. 

The various Governmental systems of Social Insurance, started by 
Bismarck in the German Empire in 1881, and now adopted, in various 
incomplete forms, in Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Norway, and 

1 France, will be found in Workingmen's Insurance and Compensation Systems 

I in Europe (U.S. Commissioner of Labour: 1911). 

The principal German works, apart from an extensive pamphlet literature, 

1 are as follows : — 

Die Arbeiterversicherung, by Dr. Zacher, 5 volumes, describing elaborately 
I both the German systems and those of alj other countries. 

Forderungen und Vorschlage der Aerzten zur Ahdnderung der Deutschen 
, Arbeiterversicherungsgesetze. 

Die Krankenkontrolle, by Fiebig and Hananer. 

Die Mission der deutschen Krankenkasscn, by Kampffmeyer. 



Stellung und Aufyabe dcs Arztes aufdem Gebiete der Krankenversicherung, 
by Jaffe (1903). 
Die Wirtschaftliche Jtuin des Acrztesstandes. 

Buch der Arbeiterversicherung, by Fuuke and Hering (Berlin : 1905). 

Stdtistik der Arbeiterversicherung des Deutschen Reichs, 1885-1906, by 
G. A. Klein (Berlin : 1908). 

As to the steady rise in the rate of sickness, at all ages, coincident with a 
steady fall in the death-rate, at all ages, see the appended inscriptive diagram 
of the greatest of all Friendly Societies, the " Manchester Unity " of 
Oddfellows, which has over a million members, and an admirable reputation 
for honesty and solvency. 

Compiled from data given in " An Account of an Investigation of the 
Sickness and Mortality Experiences of the I.O.O.F., Manchester Unity, 
during the years 1893-7," by A. W. Watson, F.I.A., etc. (pp. 18-19). 

With regard to the cause of this rise in the rate at which Sick Pay is 
drawn, we content ourselves with reprinting a footnote to our Industrial 
Democracy (Longmans : 1897), referring to the function of the Branch in 
Trade Union organisation. "The utility of this jury system, if we may so 
describe the branch function, may be gathered from the experience of other 
benefit organisations. It is, to begin with, significant that . the great 
industrial insurance companies and collecting societies, with their millions 
of working-class customers, and their ubiquitous network of paid officials, 
but without a jury system, find it financially impossible to undertake to 
give even Sick Pay, let alone Out of Work Benefit. The Prudential Assur- 
ance Company, the largest and best managed of them all, began to do so, 
but had to abandon it because, as the secretary told the Royal Commission 
on Friendly Societies in 1873, ' after five years' experience we found we 
were unable to cope with the fraud that was practised.' Among friendly 
societies proper, in which sick benefit is the main feature, it is instructive 
to find that it is among the Foresters and Oddfellows, where each court or 
lodge is financially autonomous, that the rate of sickness is lowest. One 
interesting society, the Piational Sick and Burial Association (established 
in 1837 by Robert Owen and his ' Rational Religionists '), is organised 
exactly like a national amalgamated Trade Union, with branches adminis- 
tering benefits payable from a common fund. In this society, as we gather, 
the rate of sickness is slightly greater than in the Affiliated Orders, where 
each lodge not only decides on whether benefit shall be given, but also has 
itself to find the money. Finally, when we come to the Hearts of Oak 
Benefit Society, the largest and most efficient of the centralised friendly 
societies having no branches at all, and dispensing all benefits from the head 
office, we find the rate of sickness habitu^J^y far in excess of the experience 
of the Foresters or the OdHfellows, or even of the Ralionals, an excess due, 
according to the repeated declarations of the actuary, to nothing but 
inadequate provision against fraud and malingering. During the eight years 
1884-91, for instance, the "expected sickness," according to the 1866-70 
experience of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows (all districts), was 
1,111,553 weeks ; the actual weeks for which benefit was drawn numbered no 
fewer than 1,452,106, an excess of over 30 per cent." (An Enquiry into the 
Methods, etc., of a Friendly Society, by R. P. Hardy, 1894, p. 36). 

Page 181. On the problem of compensation for industrial accidents, see 
Industrial Insurance in the United States, by C. R. Henderson (Unwin : 
1909); The Practice of Insurance against Accidents and Employers' Lmhihty, 
by Alfred Foot (1907); Handbuch der UttfaUvcrsirhcrinui (Leipzig: 1909-10: 
3 vols.). 



Rate of Sickness per Member 
per annum (Weeks>. 

Rate of Mortality per ICl Mem 
bets per annum. 



It may be convenient to nppend a statistical STimmarv of the operations o\ 
the German Govorunient's Social Insurance schenjes for lUtiS. The total 
population of the Empire was estimated at 31,084,1100 males and 31,898,000 
females, making a total of 62,1)82,000. 






iNVAl IDl rv ANU 

Old Act. 

No. of persons covered by in- 

surance ( membership 1 













No. of separate associations 

administering the bcnetits.. 




Amount contributed by wage- 

fl 1.81 1. 009 




Amount contributed by em- 





Amount contributed or expended 

by Government 




Interest, etc. 




Total receipts 




Amount distributed in cash to 

beneficiaries ... 




No. of beneficiaries within the 

/ 958.844 • 
I 127,873 t 




Administrative expenses 








• lunlidiiy PcniioDi. 

t Old A{c PcBsicBt. 

Details op Espenditukb 
Sick Insurance 

Medical Treatment 
Medicine and Appliances 
Sick Pay to Members... 
Sick Pay to Relatives... 
Child Birth Pay 
Hoopital Treatment 
Bnrial Money ... 

Total* ... 







Accident Insurance 

Treatment ... 180,307 

Sick Pay during Waiting Time 41,092 

Hospital Treatment 251,321 

Allowance to Relatives 68,663 

Allowance to Injured ' ... 5,763,541 

Lump Sums 82,446 

Burial Money ... - ... ... 37,054 

Annuities to Relatives of Deceased 1,410,061 

Lump Payments to Widows... 47,060 

Lump Payments to Foreigners 12,086 

Total* ^67,894,231 

Invalidity and Old Age 


Treatment 894,722 

Augmented Allowances to Relatives 55,261 

Treatment of Invalids in Homes 27,429 

Invalidity Annuities 6,646,618 

Sickness Allowances 170,292 

Old Age Pensions 817,662 

Money Returned— 

(a) At Marriage ... 293,454 

(b) On Injured being Compensated under Acci- 

dent Insurance 2,599 

(c) At Death 165,798 

Total* c£9,073,835 

Page 194. It is not commonly realised that, under the Merchant Shipping 
Acts, the Government has, for the past fifty years, maintained a compulsory 
Labour Exchange for all persons employed on board ship, as sailors or 
otherwise. No engagement of any such person may be concluded except at 
the Mercantile Marine Office, one of which exists at each port, and in the 
presence of the Superintendent. Thus, every unemployed sailor or fireman 
knows that there is only one place in each port at which he can find a job; 
and that all vacancies will be reported there. More than half a million 
situations a year are thus filled. See the description of the working of the 
organisation in Minority Report of the Poor Law Commission, Part II., 
ch. iv. (p. 640 of official 8vo edition). 

Page 194. As to the difficulties arising from disputes about the demarca- 
tion between trades, particularly prevalent in the shipbuilding industry, 
see our Industrial Democracy (ch. si., "The Right to a Trade." pp. 508-27). 

• The slight discrepancies between these totals and those in Table I. are due to fractions of 
pounds being omitted from the items of expenditure in Table II. 


Page 197. The rates and hours quoted iu the text for fitters at Manchester, 
Leeds, Keighley, and Gainsborough respectively are those (1911) now recog- 
nised by the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. More extreme diversities 
can be found in the lists of recognised rates in the Annual Reports of the 
Amalgamated Society of Engineers or the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters 
and Joiners. As to these local differences in wages, see our Industrial 
Democracy, pp. 320-1, or Local Variations in Wages, by F. W. Lawrence 
(Longmans : 1899). 

Page 203. For the achievements and potentialities of the Grant in Aid, 
see Grants in Aid : a Criticism and a Proposal, by Sidney Webb (Longmans : 

The " Ghent System " of Unemployment Insurance is described in 
Insurance against V nemployment, by D. P. Schloss (King : 1909), and 
Unemployment Insurance, by 1. Gibbon, with preface by Prof. L. T. 
Hobhouse (King: 1911). 


The Enlarged Sphere of Voluntary Agencies in the 
Prevention of Destitution 

It is sometimes claimed for the United Kingdom that 
it is, of all countries, the one in which private charity 
and philanthropy have the largest scope. The continental 
observer in London has remarked, with surprise, the 
frequency with which he meets the mystic formula " Sup- 
ported by Voluntary Contributions." It is, however, an 
insular delusion to suppose that, in the field of provision 
for the needy. Voluntary Charity plays a proportionately 
larger part with us than in other countries. In most 
Roman Catholic nations, in Russia, in Turkey, in India, 
and throughout the Far East, there is proportionately 
more almsgiving, and the State plays a smaller part 
in the provision for the poor, than in the England of the 
past half century. What is really distinctive of the Britain 
of the present day is, on the one hand, the extensive 
substitution for the personal distribution of alms, of 
independent corporations and societies administering, 
through salaried officials, funds voluntarily subscribed 
for the purpose ; and, on the other, the use that is made, 
as part of the governmental machinery, central or local, 
of the unpaid and voluntarily serving amateur. We see, 
in fact, the paradox that a large and growing part of the 
activities of the Voluntary Agencies in all our great cities 


are exercised, not by volunteers, but by a paid bu3;eaucra cy; 
whilst over an extensive and steadily increasing field the 
operations of the local or central Government are carried 
on, not by officials, but by unprofessional volunteers. 
We have been groping our way to a clear and rational 
theory as to the proper relationship between the Govern- 
ment, on the one hand, whether national or municipal, 
and the Voluntary Agency on the other. An examination 
of this relationship, and of the theories by which it has 
successively been directed, will make plain the very 
great enlargement of the scope of private philanthropy 
that the proposed campaign for the Prevention of Desti- 
tution involves. 

The idea that there ought to be any deliberate or- 
ganisation of our charitable feelings, or that there can 
be any systematic relation between individual philan- 
thropy and the action of the State, is a cornpaia trvely 
modern one. There are still many good people among us 
who instinctively resent any discouragement of the 
personal impulse to give alms or to perform " good 
works " as a rehgious duty by which we " acquire merit " 
or do glory unto God, quite irrespective of the effect 
really produced upon the recipients and beneficiaries. 
To them, at least in theory, personal charity is every- 
thing. On the other hand, there are still amongst us 
representatives of the unspoken views of the " Early 
Victorian " economists, who regard, every kind of philan- 
thropic action as a hideous mistake, calculated to under- 
mine the independence and lessen the energy of the poor, 
and even to promote the survival of the unfit. To them, 
personal charity and Government provision are, at least 
in theory, alike anathema. 



We may trace a certain succession in tke abstract 
tkeories of relationship between the philanthropic efforts 
of voluntary agencies and the provision made by the 
State ; or rather in the modifications of these theories 
under the stress of practical application. The Poor Law 
Commissioners of 1834 left, in their theory, little standing 
ground for private philanthropy. They allowed it clearly 
to be seen in their classic Report that they regarded all 
charity, whether public or private, as objectionable in 
principle, as interfering with the beneficent effects of the 
competitive struggle. They felt obliged to sanction the 
bare relief of actual destitution in a " well-regulated " 
workhouse, lest the desperation of starvation should lead 
to riot and crime. But the assumption implicit throughout 
this school of thought was that, if all were unflinchingly 
left to suffer the consequences of their own actions, the 
constantly acting pressure of the fear of want would compel 
everyone to be self-supporting — that the able-bodied 
unemployed would be automatically absorbed by an 
entirely free and unorganised Labour Market, or else 
driven to emigrate to new lands ; and that even the chil- 
dren, the sick, and the aged would, if no other means were 
forthcoming, be maintained by their able-bodied relations. 
The suppressed alternative was that, in so far as this did 
not happen, the weaker ones would die, and, by relieving 
the pressure of population, leave the survivors better off ! 

But even in 1834 human nature was too weakly 
indulgent for a consistent theory of this kind ; and as the 
Poor Law Commissioners realised that what they were 
proposing was a revolution -in policy that would be 
condemned as inhuman and unchristian, they thought it 
expedient to leave a loophole for charity. Whilst laying 


down as an axiom of universal application that the able- 
bodied person (and his dependents) should be refused all 
public relief otherwise than in a deterrent workhouse, they 
suggested that, in really deserving cases, which they 
evidently regarded as exceptional, private charity might 
intervene and " prevent " the sufferer fromjbecomng"^ 
pSuperT This peculiar use of the word " prevent " became, 
so to speak, classical among those who wrote and spoke 
about the treatment of the poor. A " preventive policy " 
meant always a policy preventive of pauperism — that is, 
preventive of dependence on the Poor Rate — ^not in the 
least a policy that prevented the occurrence of destitution. 
It was, for instance, a " preventive " treatment of the case 
if, after destitution had come, some charitable person or 
philanthropic agency supplied a pension or even gave 
temporary relief to tide over a period of unemployment, 
because it prevented the destitute person from applying 
for parochial relief. This we may term the fender or 
" Cowcatcher " theory of the relationship between 
voluntary agencies and public provision. Of prevention 
in the other sense, the arresting or counteracting of the 
causes of destitution, so that it should not occur, we hear, 
in this connection, nothing. When the causes had 
operated, and the destitution had occurred, or was at any 
rate obviously near at hand, it was hoped that, if the case 
were a " deserving " one, private charity would intervene 
to catch the sufferer and ward off his falling upon the 
Poor Rate. 

A more elaborate and precise formulation of the 
relationship between voluntary agencies and the Poor Law 
was attempted in Mr. Goschen's Memorandum of; 1869. 
This arose out of the great and widespread distress of the 


preceding years, especially in tlie East End of London ; 
and out of a recognition of the demoralisation produced 
by an indiscriminate distribution of " Relief Funds " and 
other doles. Mr. Goschen saw that between those for 
whom the " deterrent " treatment of a strict Poor Law 
could be justified and maintained, and those who needed 
only to be temporarily warded off from falling into its 
demoralising clutches, there existed an extensive class for 
whom permanent provision had somehow to be made. As 
President of the Poor Law Board, he had no desire to 
extend the sphere of the Poor Law Authorities. He 
therefore not only recognised the necessity for the per- 
manent and ubiquitous existence of voluntary agencies 
alongside the Poor Law, but he also left to them the 
permanent care of this large class of cases. The Poor Law 
was to be confined exclusively to the relief of the destitution 
of those who were wholly destitute in the strictest sense 
of the term, and without any income whatsoever, whilst 
those who were only so far as necessitous as to be partly 
without the means of subsistence were to be relegated 
entirely to voluntary agencies. What Mr. Goschen set up 
may be called the " parallel bars " theory of the relation- 
ship between State action and voluntary agencies, each 
h aving its own appropriate c lientele of beneficiaries. 
" The principle that he laid down," says the Majority 
Report of the Poor Law Commission, " was that there 
should be co-operation between Poor Law and charitable 
societies, but not ov erlapping ; that is, that each case 
should be fully dealt with by either one or the other agency, 
and that, neither unwittingly nor of set purpose, should 
there be a supplementation of the allowances of one agency 
by the relief granted by others." 



In this Memorandum by Mr. Grosclien, promulgating 
wliat we have called the "Parallel Bars" theory, we see 
the origin of the conception ever since entertained by the 
Charity Organisation Society of the relative spheres of 
Voluntary Agencies and State action, with regard to the 
provision for the necessitous. It is interesting to notice 
that the only State action contemplated either in 
Mr. Goschen's Memorandum of 1869, or in the conception 
to which we have referred, i s the reli ef of destitution by 
the Poor Law Authorities. This curiousT limitation of' 
view'has clung to this theory throughout its subsequent 
development. In no analysis with which we are 
acquainted, of the actual or desirable relationship between 
the public and the private treatment of the poor, have we 
found any notice taken of the very extensive provision, of 
one sort or another, made by the Local Health Authorities, 
the Local Education Authorities, the Local Lunacy 
Authorities, the Local Pension Authorities or the Unem- 
ployment Authorities, which are together providing to-day, 
actual maintenance out of the rates and taxes for more 
than twice as many persons as are being maintained by 
the Poor Law Authorities. The very lengthy chapter on 
Charity, in the Majority Report of the Poor Law Commission 
of 1909, ignores all these developments of State action as 
completely as did Mr. Goschen forty years previously. 

The first interpretation of the " parallel bars " theory 
—the separation of the wholly destitute (to be dealt with 
exclusively by the Poor Law) from the insufficiently 
maintained (to be provided for entirely by the Volmitary 
Agencies)— proved, in practice, quite impossible. No such 
sharp line of division was found to exist; and in the 
majority of cases the division, however made, was transient 



only. Any family suffering from insufficiency of income 
is, in fact, removed from destitution by such a short stage 
that the distinction soon becomes obliterated. Wherever 
Voluntary Agencies did not exist, or were not very prompt 
and not very ubiquitous in their action, the Poor Law 
Authorities had necessarily to come to the help of the 
families whose exiguous resources were insufficient for full 
maintenance, under penalty of seeing these families very 
promptly drop into complete and often irreparable 
destitution. This silent and gradual expansion of the 
action of the Poor Law Authorities — notably with regard 
to the sick, the children, the widows, the physically or 
mentally defective and the aged — with the consequent 
enlargement of the official definition of " the destitute " 
so as to make it (as the Local Government Board informed 
the Poor Law Commission) practically synonyruous with 
" the necessitous," bade fair to leave no independent 
spliere for private charity. On the other hand, if 
Voluntary Agencies were to be expected to succour all the 
cases in the state of insufficiency of income, as Mr. Goschen 
had suggested, there was, on the one hand, the obstacle 
that charitable funds and private agencies were hopelessly 
inadequate to the task ; and, on the other, wherever and 
in so far as they were adequate, there was the danger of a 
wholesale supplementing of inadequate wages which would 
have undermined the obligation for self -maintenance. It 
mattered little in the Roman Empire whetTier the great 
distributions of food to all and sundry in relief of destitu- 
tion were given by the Emperor or by some great patriot 
eager to curry favour with the people. It became obvious 
that Mr, Goschen's Memorandum, with its " parallel bars " 
theory of a division of spheres between Voluntary Agencies 


and State action, had to be interpreted by some other 
method of discrimination than the enquiry whether a 
person was wholly or only partially destitute. 

A great step forward was made in the coming into 
action of the Charity Organisation Society. We do not, 
in this generation, adequately realise how great an advance 
in thought was expressed in the very name of the society ; 
and in its constant lesson that c harity, like eve rything 
else, must be judged by its total results upon the^com^ 
munity in the long run, and that it accordingly needed, 
if it were not to become a positive evil, to be deliberate and 
well-informed, and in the best sense highly orgamsedr'The 
able and zealous leaders of this society set themselves, 
among other things, to devise a good working hypothesis 
as to the relative spheres of private charity and State 
action, to be exemplified in their own practice as to the 
relation to be set up between Voluntary Agencies and the 
Poor Law. They started with a ready acceptance of the 
new departure made by the energetic Inspectorate of the 
Local Government Board in 1871-5, in endeavouring to 
suppress Outdoor Relief, and to apply the " Workhouse 
Test," not as the 1834 Report had proposed, to the able- 
bodied and their dependents alone, but to all applicants 
for Poor Relief. It was, in fact, " now argued," says 
Mr. T. Mackay, " that just as in the Act of 1834 the fear 
of the Workhouse had obliged the able-bodied to assume 
responsibility 'for the able-bodied period of life . . . the 
application of the same principle to the other responsi- 
bilities of life would produce equally advantageous 
results." In accordance with this policy, the " strict " 
Boards of Guardians refused Outdoor Relief, and offered 
only admission to the General Mixed Workhouse, to the 


aged and the infirm, the chronically sick, and the widow 
encumbered with young children, as a means (i) of 
persuading other men and women, in their able-bodied 
years, to save up enough to provide for themselves and 
their dependents in sickness, widowhood, orphanage and 
old age ; and (ii) of putting pressure on the relations of 
the applicants, including those not legally liable for their 
support, to make them pay up rather than see their 
relations suffer the disgrace and the hardships of workhouse 
pauperism. This momentous " extension " of the prin- 
ciples of 1834 enormously increased the number of cases 
in which there seemed ground for the intervention of 
Voluntary Agencies to ward off the necessity of going into 
the workhouse. The need for charity, which had appeared 
to the Poor Law Commissioners of 1834 to be sporadic 
and occasional, was now, as Mr. Goschen had indicated, 
recognised to be ubiquitous and permanent ; but its 
appropriate sphere was taken to be, not so much that of 
supplementing the resources of those who were not 
destitute, as that of preventing the " deserving " person 
who was qualified to receive Poor Law relief from having 
to apply for it. The " Cowcatcher " theory was accepted 
as defining the principal purpose to be fulfilled by Voluntary 
Agencies, whilst the "Parallel Bars" theory governed 
their form and then- methods of action. 

But this view of the relation of Voluntary Agencies 
to State action proved, in practice, to be as inapplicable 
as its predecessors. The funds of the charitable and the 
personal services of the voluntary helpers were soon 
discovered to be as inadequate to provide for all the 
" deserving " destitute, who needed to be fended off the 
Poor Law, as they were to supplement the insufficient 


incomes of the merely necessitous, who were not to be 
quaMed for Poor Law relief. And this proved to be true 
of town and country alike. It was soon realised, though 
not quite so soon explicitly avowed, that there were, 
among those to whom the Boards of Guardians were being 
told to offer nothing but the Workhouse, large numbers 
of most " respectable " and " deserving " people, who had 
no relations from whom any adequate support could 
possibly be obtained — aged widows whose blameless lives 
of incessant toil had outlasted those of all their relations ; 
sufferers from chronic and incurable disabling illnesses, 
whose relations were quite unable to maintain them ; the 
host of blind, deaf and dumb, crippled, epileptic, and 
feeble-minded ; the pathetic contingent of the orphans and 
foundlings ; the tragic army of the phthisical, sinking 
gradually into premature death, and dragging down with 
them, by slow contagion, the wives and children with 
whom, in the absence of other provision than the work- 
house, they had perforce to live. In many instances, 
indeed, what was required for these most eminently 
" respectable " and " deserving " cases was something 
which it was beyond the capacity of personal service or 
private charity to give — sometimes an alteration in the 
conditions of industry, sometimes a change in the environ- 
ment of the home, sometimes the permanent relegation 
to a specialised institution. 

Meanwhile the other aspect of the theory — the 
restriction of Poor Law Relief to those who were undeserv- 
ing — coupled with the contemporary belief in the efficacy 
of a deterrent regimen, made the workhouse a quite unfit 
place into which to thrust the blameless aged, the 
chronically infirm, the sick or the children ; and, indeed, 



any " respectable " or " deserving " person whatsoever. 
If the Poor Law relieved all the destitute, sheep as well as 
goats, there might conceivably be some chance of decent 
company and decent treatment for the good. But when it 
became the accepted doctrine that Voluntary Agencies 
\\ would prevent all the deserving from smkmg into Poor 
I Relief, it followed that the Workhouse had to be run 
\as an institution to which only the reprobates resorted. 
At the same time, just when it has become of vital 
importance to classify correctly the " deserving " and the 
" undeserving " — the treatment to be meted out to the 
sheep and goats being so immensely different— kindly men 
and women realised that this classification was beyond 
human power. The most vigilant scrutiny of the past — a 
scrutiny which was bitterly resented even by the most 
" respectable " — failed to afford sufficient material on 
which to estimate personal desert. " What's done we 
partly may compute ; but never what's resisted." It was 
impossible to allow for aU the adverse circumstances of 
heredity and early nurture, and all the complex environ- 
ment of any particular life. It was impossible to separate 
the helpless innocent wife and child from the man whom 
we could convict of lack of strenuousness, inability to 
resist the jovial glass or failure to save something of his 
scanty income. Moreover, with regard to the important 
point of reformation or improvement, anythmg like 
personal desert, as shown by a blameless record, turned 
out to be curiously irrelevant. Some of the most " unde- 
serving " cases, judged by past conduct, were found to 
yield, when placed under a wisely humane treatment, the 
most valuable results. Young girls who had fallen into 
sexual itnmoraiity ; men and women who had, under stress 


of worry or grief, or in the agony of prolonged unemploy- 
ment, succumbed to intemperance ; persons of either sex 
and of aU ages who had suddenly yielded to outbursts of 
passion or temptations to theft or embezzlement, were 
often more quickly reformed and could be more thoroughly 
set on their feet, in complete economic independence, than 
the most " worthy " characters or the most " blameless " 
lives, who had never fallen into sin or self-indulgence, but 
who were always and irremediably below a sufiicient level 
of physical vigour or mental efficiency. 

The outcome was a gradual refinement of doctrine by 
the Charity Organisation Society. Henceforth the cleavage 
was to be made, not by any estimate of moral desert, but 
by a decision as to whet her th e^se could or could not be 
effectively " helped," by the kindly buFamateur personal 
service and somewhat restricted means at the disposal of 
any Voluntary Agency. The vast mass of cases which 
could not be so helped, which required a greater or more 
lasting expenditure than could be afforded, or which 
involved interferences beyond the capacity of any private 
philanthropy — however " blameless " the record, however 
" deserving " the personality — were perforce relegated, 
along with the flagrantly undeserving, the scallywags and the 
drunkards, to the tender mercies of the Poor Law. But 
this necessary refinement of doctrine, which has led the 
Charity Organisation Society to subst itute, as its be ne- 
ficiaries, the " helpable^ Mor the " deserving," deprived 
what we have called the "^Paraliel Bars'' theory as to 
the relationship between Voluntary Agencies and State 
action, of all its ethical justification. If the most deserving 
aged, the most blameless incurable sick, the chronically 
infirm who have led beautiful lives of patient endurance, 



tlie innocent wives and children of thriftless unemployed 
men, the man or woman broken down by a hard life of 
excessive toil, and every person who, from whatever 
misfortmie or affliction, requires continuous and permanent 
treatment, are to be abandoned by the Voluntary Agency, 
as not within, its resources " helpable " ; and are therefore 
to be required to enter the Workhouse, there to be mixed 
up with the " workshys," the drunkards and the wastrels, 
the position becomes untenable. The Board of Guardians 
finds it impossible, on the one hand, to subject such 
guiltless and respectable persons uniformly to the horrors 
and indignities of the workhouse ; and, on the other, to 
maintain, in the Workhouse that inevitably becomes 
" mixed," anything like the regimen desirable for the 
healthy able-bodied men of bad conduct. The enforced 
abandonment by the Voluntary Agency, of the function 
of providing for the deserving, makes, in fact, impossible 
the restriction of State action to the maintenance of a 
deterrent Poor Law. 

This breakdown of the " Parallel Bars " theory of the 
relationship between Voluntary Agencies and State action 
has had the result of preventing the Charity Organisation 
Society from accomplishing the task for which it was 
established. It has failed to " organise " charity. It has 
not even succeeded in stopping, and (as may be estimated) 
not even in reducing in amount, the perennial flow of 
, unconditional and iadiscriminate doles all over the country, 
which most observers believe to do so much harm. Indeed, 
within little more than twenty years of the foundation of 
the Charity Organisation Society, there came into play an 
organised and indomitable attempt to deny and oppose 
the whole doctrine embodied in its principles and practice. 


As tlie Charity Organisation Society, and those charitable 
agencies which it could influence, refused all help to many 
a destitute person, on one plea or another, and as the Poor 
Law refused help except on terms which both the best and 
the worst of the destitute refused to accept — as both alike 
were demonstrably failing to prevent the creation of fresh 
destitution — the more fervent Christian Churches found 
it impracticable to refuse food and shelter to those who 
were palpably in need of them. The alliance between a 
discriminating philanthropy and a deterrent Poor Law, 
which had seemed at first so plausible, found its determined 
opponent in Greneral Booth and the Salvation Army. 
Revealing to an astonished world, m 1890, the extent of 
the mass of chronic destitution in all our large towns — the 
putrefying and soul-destroying social misery ui which 
one-tenth of the entire population, deserving and undeserv- 
ing, was plunged — General Booth exposed the futility of 
the assumptions and doctrines on which most " organised " 
charity was founded, with a thoroughness and a popular 
advertisement that had never before been witnessed. He 
convinced public opinion that the " deterrent " regimen 
of the Poor Law had so far succeeded, or so far failed — 
whichever view might be preferred — as to leave outside 
its scope, at all times, hundreds of thousands of persons 
whose destitution was real enough to be a social danger. It 
became beyond the possibility of doubt that a great mass 
of persons who had become thriftless, vagrant, mendicant, 
dishonest, " workshy " or criminal, would not accept the 
penal relief offered to them in the workhouse ; except, 
perhaps, for a few days when it suited their convenience. 
They even shewed a slight preference for the hospitality 
of His Majesty's prisons ; and found the commission of 



some little theft, whicli might possibly not be discovered, 
a more agreeable gate to maintenance in extremity than 
application to the Relieving Officer. Whether " deserv- 
ing " or " undeserving," these unfortunates had, for 
General Booth, souls to be saved. In their existing state, 
it was practically impossible to approach them with the 
means of Grace. Mixed up with this putrefying mass, and 
steadily dragged down by its pressure, were individuals 
more sinned against than smning, men and women who 
had succumbed to unmerited misfortune, people with 
characters good, bad and mdifferent, dependent women, 
innocent children, all submerged in the same morass- 
" Darkest England " showed, in fact, that both the Poor 
Law and charity had failed to prevent or.-eveii to relieve 
destitution. But General Booth carried the war into the 
enemy's camp. He announced his intention of offering 
the necessaries of life to all and sundry who were in want, 
however " undeserving " they might be, in the hope of 
saving their souls. He appealed for funds, he opened Free 
Shelters, he distributed free food, he gave clothes, he 
lavished help on everyone who was, or who might become, 
a penitent. His example was quickly followed by the 
Church' Army and by other religious denominations. 
Opposite the strictly administered workhouse, in nearly 
every great town, there arose a Free Shelter with its free 
meal, open to everyone who refused the penal discipline 
of the workhouse, or who had been rejected, or had never 
been discovered, by the zealous workers of the Charity 
Organisation Society and similar bodies. And this general 
public provision for the " Submerged Tenth," administered 
by the apostolic zeal of the different religious organisations, 
has never since slackened. 


There is a curious pathetic irony in the attempt made 
by the Charity Organisation Society, and the strict 
administrators of the Poor Law, to hide their heads in the 
sand and to refuse to recognise the complete breakdown 
of their theory of the relationship of Voluntary Agencies 
and the Poor Law. Thus, Mr. Crowder— who has for 
30 years devoted himself to the strictest possible admin- 
istration of Poor Relief on the St. George's in the East 
Board of Guardians, and to a wonderfully zealous direction 
of the Charity Organisation in the same parish — came 
before the Poor Law Commission to testify to the complete 
.success of the relationship between the Poor Law and 
charitable agencies that we have described. He was all 
for " the rigour of the game." " The business of the Poor 
Law " he said, " is the relief of destitution as distinguished 
from poverty. The fundamental principle with respect to 
legal relief is that the condition of the pauper ought to be, 
on the whole, less eligible than that of the poorest class of 
independent labourer. Where cases of real hardship occur, 
the remedy must be applied by individual charity, a 
virtue for which no system of relief derived from a com- 
pulsory tax can or ought to be a substitute." And he 
claimed that the invariable " offer of the House," with the 
Charity Organisation Society outside, had been proved 
entirely successful. " I think," he continued, " the proof 
of the pudding is in the eating. We can point to the fact 
that there are all these very poor people in St. George's 
getting their own living ivithout out-relief. We conclude 
that their energy and industry have increased, and their 
thrift, and so forth." " In St. George's the people have 
been systematically taught, for many years . . . not to 
look to the parish, but to provide for themselves ; hence. 


in ordinary tunes, applications for Outdoor Relief are 
rarely made." Happy and prosperous and virtuous 
St. George's in the East, after thirty years of this stern 
and unbending schooling ! 

What Mr. Crowder did not tell the Poor Law Com- 
mission, and what, in fact, he refuses to see, is that, 
during these very years the Salvation Army and the 
Church Army, and various charitable agencies acting on 
similar impulses, have been freely and indiscriminately 
giving the relief that Mr. Crowder 's Board of Guardians 
and Mr. Crowder's Charity Organisation Society were 
refusing ; and that, accordingly, any such inference as he 
drew from the diminution in the number of paupers or of 
Charity Organisation Society cases, is entirely unwarranted. 
Here is an extract from the appeal for funds that is 
perpetually being issued by one of these rival religious 
agencies, established twenty-five years ago in Mr. Crowder's 
own parish, where he fondly beheves that, by refusing 
Outdoor Rehef, he has been schooling the people into 
" getting their own living," and that, by this policy, as 
they do not now apply to him, we may conclude that 
" their energy and industry have increased," so that they 
now " provide for themselves ! " " This Soup Kitchen," 
we read, " is carried on for the benefit of the Dock 
Labourers out of Work, and poor women and children, who 
abound in this squalid and impoverished district. . . The 
hundreds one sees starving in the East End of London . . 
make one's heart bleed. ' Death through starvation ' is 
the verdict of the Coroner's Jury every other day. I 
therefore most earnestly and urgently appeal to those who 
can afford it to come to our assistance. 2s. 6d. provides 
15 meals, 5s. feeds 30 hungry people, £l feeds 120 hungry 


people, £5 gives food to 600 persons." " What has been 
done with our funds in one year : — 

24,000 Meals to the starving, at the time of their 

5,880 Breakfasts, Sunday Teas, Christmas Dinners. 
4,000 Garments, Boots, Blankets, etc., given away. 
5,400 Children maintained in the day Nursery. 
4,530 Surgical and Hospital Letters given away. 
18,000 Bibles, Tracts, etc., distributed." 
" We have many letters of thanks from men who 
have received help and employment through this 

The Minority Report gives other instances in which the 
efficacy of a stern and unbending administration of the 
Poor Law, and a rigidly discriminating distribution of help 
by the Charity Organisation Society, have been rendered 
entirely nugatory by the mevitable reaction which they 
have set up, in the form of an undiscriminating provision 
of meals for the hungry and shelter for the homeless, good, 
bad, and indifferent, by those who take their Christianity 

The practical abandonment, by the most extensive 
philanthropic agencies of what we have called the " Cow- 
catcher " version of the " Parallel Bars " theory of the 
relative spheres of Voluntary Agencies and the Poor Law — 
of the notion that Voluntary Charities should confine their 
help to those cases which can be warded off from any 
dependence on Poor Relief, and helped so as to be put in 
a position of economic independence — has not only Imocked 
the bottom out of the Poor Law application of the theory, 
but has also brought about, in all our great cities, a most 
serious condition of affairs. Unrelieved destitution and 


social misery is, in any Christian or in any civilised com- 
munity, an infamy. But an indiscriminate relief of destitu- 
tion, wliick tempts all those of weak will and idle disposition 
to become destitute, is not only infamous but also directly 
dangerous to the State. We are amazed that those who 
think themselves specially concerned for the main- 
tenance of the obligation of self-maintenance and of 
parental responsibility, do not see, or will not recognise, 
that the state of thmgs to which their theory has led' 
undermines these vitally important elements of personal 
character, and renders nugatory all their aspirations. A 
Poor Law administration so deterrent that it prevents the 
destitute from coming to be treated, along with an 
organisation of charity so " discriminating " that it 
admittedly fails to save many even of the most virtuous 
cases from the deterrent workhouse because they are " not 
helpable," not only leaves the problem unsolved, but 
actually makes matters worse by the inevitable reaction 
that it sets up. Human nature being what it is, and the 
Christian religion, the present lavish and indiscriminate 
distribution, in St. George's in the East, of unconditional 
doles to the mideserving and the deserving, to the 
temporarily distressed and the chronically destitute, to 
the curable and the incurable, with all the demoraHsation 
that they create, is as certainly the outcome and result of 
Mr. Crowder's thirty years of stern policy and illogical 
theory in that parish — to which he has, from the noblest 
of motives, devoted so much unstinted personal service — 
as is the " reduction of pauperism " to which he so 
complacently alludes. 

What, then, do we suggest as the proper theory of 
relationship between Voluntary Agencies and State action ? 


To determine this, we must first have clearly in our minds 
the specific advantages and actual potentialities of each of 
these instrmnents. In the United Kingdom of to-day, 
Voluntary Agencies are superior to the public authorities 
m three main features ; in invention and initiative, in 
their ability to lavish unstinted care on particular cases, 
and in the mtensity and variety of the religious influences 
that they can bring to bear on personal character. 

In the domain of Social Pathology^},; we are, as yet, 
only groping in the dark, and experimentmg. The 
opportunity and capacity for originating new developments 
in the treatment of individuals lie principally with the 
Voluntary Agency. The public authority is bound down 
by Statute and by authoritative Orders of the Central 
Executive Department, as well as limited by the dis- 
inclination of the local Ratepayers to expend money in 
unfamiliar ways. " We must not experiment with the 
Ratepayers' money " is perpetually an effective plea. All 
sorts of prejudices and dislikes amongst the elected 
members of a committee or of a council have to be con- 
sidered. In a Voluntary Agency, a person with new ideas, 
or a group of enthusiasts for new methods of treatment 
of particular cases, can put new devices to the test of 
experiment. Looking back on the social history of the 
last hundred and fifty years, we must recognise that nearly 
all our_successful developments, in the way of collective 
provision for any class, have been preceded and rendered 
practicable by private experiments. This is true of 
practically our whole educational organisation, from the 
Kindergarten to the University College, from the 
elementary school to the reformatory training ship, from 
cookery instruction and manual training and special 


schools for the defective up to University Extension 
Courses, and " Vacation Schools." The same sort of 
philanthropic experimenting with voluntary organisation 
and private funds has preceded, and is still preceding, the 
official organisation of our Public Health service, from 
paving and cleansing and" lighting the streets to the 
provision of a constant water supply, from isolation 
hospitals to tuberculin dispensaries, from " Health Visit- 
ing " and " Schools for Mothers," right up to School Clinics 
and Convalescent Homes. And there is still much to 
discover and to learn. The future hides within it, we may 
hope and assume, as much as we have found in the past. 
It is the first, the highest, and in many ways the most 
useful duty of Voluntary Agencies to perform this indis- 
pensable service of invention and initiative and perpetual 
experimenting in the unknown. 

The second specific feature of the Voluntary Agency, 
and one which gives it an enormous advantage in its 
appropriate sphere, is that the volunteer worker or the 
voluntary institution can, if desired, lavish a wholly 
disproportionate amount of care on a difficult case or a 
difficult class of cases. The salaried teachers or inspectors 
of a public authority must " do equal justice to all their 
clients " ; the unpaid volunteer can spend days and months 
on one particular person or family that may seem to call 
for more concentration and thought and feeling than the 
orduiary run of cases. A beneficent patron may spend 
his whole capital on establishing one particular institution 
' of a special type, perhaps for a class of persons statistically 
' of no great importance to the community. And as m the 
' case, of experiment and invention, though volunteers and 
voluntary agencies may fail in 99 cases, the hundredth 



case which turns out to be a success, may be of untold 
importance to the community. 

Finally, we have the significant fact that it is only 
through volunteers and Voluntary Agencies that, in the 
England of to-day, we can bring to bear, in the treatment 
of any individual or class of individuals, the specific 
religious atmosphere. It may be that this is not an 
inherent distinction between Voluntary Agencies and 
State action. It may be that in some communities, in 
some phases of public opinion, we might have the public 
authority providing an intensely religious atmosphere for 
those whom it succours or treats. But, given the strong 
feeling against any preference by the State for one denom- 
ination over another, and the strong objection to submitting 
any person to the influence of a creed with which he may 
not agree, or with which his parents may not agree, or 
with which the Ratepayers who pay the cost may not 
agree, it is practically impossible to bring to bear on the 
individual treated in a public institution those potent 
reformatory mfluences which are evoked chiefly, and 
perhaps exclusively, in an atmosphere of fervent spiritual 

There will always remain, in the mmd of one of the 
writers of these pages, a . vivid impression of a brief 
residence at the Salvation Army Settlement at Hadleigh 
in Essex, the well-known " Labour Colony " which arose 
out of General Booth's "Darkest England" campaign, 
where some 300 able-bodied men of all sorts and conditions 
— discharged prisoners, workhouse habitues, Embankment 
sleepers, tramps picked out of the Casual Ward, and 
trustworthy men traming for emigration, are to be found 
working under a single scheme of management. The 



Salvation Army has developed, iii this experiment, a most 
interesting technique of Labom: Colony administration, 
which makes the Settlement a little world in itself, in 
which every individual is encouraged to rise, by his own 
exertions, to better things. But the special feature of the 
Settlement is the intensely religious atmosphere : an 
atmosphere created by and in the relations between the 
unusually large number of " officers " and the Colonists. 
The Salvation Army " oJfficer " is, m effect, a member of 
a Religious Order who receives bare maintenance in return 
for his devoted services ; who works side by side with his 
men ; and in whose expression and manners, in every 
•little act of courtesy and kindness, one sees the workmg 
of a fervent spnit of religion. This day to day close 
comradeship, and actual sharing of work, with the 
deliberate " choosing equality " of the officers, and the 
consciousness of brotherhood which it arouses in the men, 
with all its charm of manner and bearmg — the whole being 
in striking contrast with the attitude and methods of the 
Grovernor and Wardens even of such an improved State 
reformatory institution as that of Borstal — would hardly 
be possible among the ordinary paid officials of a secular 
institution. Moreover, all the Colonists are expected to 
attend the wonderfully dramatic and stimulating services 
conducted by the " artists " of the Salvation Army, with 
their highly trained rhetoric, their well-chosen music, their 
emotional personal appeals, and, in some cases, then: 
extraordinary " magnetic " and compelling influence. In 
these services, which absorb the attention even of the 
educated and sceptical critic, one may see a real " spiritual 
revival " passing over the audience — a revival which may 
well not be permanent, and the ethical value of which is 


certainly open to discussion. No institution, administered 
by a publicly elected council, could deliberately subject its 
inmates to this intense and specific mental treatment. The 
convinced secularist would feel tbat the intellectual 
integrity and common-sense, and perhaps even the 
permanent mental stability, of the Colonists were being 
miwarrantably strained ; the pious Roman Catholic would 
object to such appeals to religious emotion without the 
sanctification of the Sacraments, the discipline of penance, 
and the careful supervision of an experienced ecclesiastical 
system ; whilst the Moderate Churchman might weU feel 
that this revival was perilously near religious hysteria, and 
belonged to that type of feeling which the eighteenth 
century Church of England used to condemn as " enthus- 
iasm." And no less hostility would be manifested to the 
atmosphere of a Roman Catholic Religious Order. By 
far the most satisfactory and humane Poor Law institution 
in Ireland that came under the notice of the Poor Law 
Commission was a workhouse which had been placed 
under the charge of eight Sisters of the Order of St. Vincent 
de Paul. Here again, the Sisters were giving their devoted 
services free of charge to the community, and the extra- 
ordinarily refining influence that they exercised in aU the 
sordid details of Workhouse administration was something 
added to the paid service afforded out of the Rates. Every 
corner of the establishment manifested their love of 
beauty and order : every inmate shewed by expression 
and manner that he felt himself to be personally cared for, 
as a soul worthy of salvation. In England, it is to-day 
inconceivable that Ratepayers and Taxpayers, with their 
multitudinous opinions, and absence of opinions, should 
themselves pay for the perpetual inculcation of a specific 


Creed, which is the necessary accompaniment of the 
ministration of a Religious Order. 

Opinions will differ as to the real efficacy of these 
spiritual influences. We may recognise that they are not 
appropriate for all cases, nor for all kinds of treatment. 
But it would be both blind and intolerant to deny their 
value, and even their extraordinary potency, in some of 
the cases, and along with some of the kmds of treatment 
to which they are appropriate. None but fanatics would 
object to making use, under all due safeguards, of 
Voluntary Agencies which offer to provide an apparently 
efiicacious treatment, with a definitely religious atmo- 
sphere, at less cost than that at which the State can itself 
do the work, for those sufferers who abeady belong to the 
particular denomination in question, or who, being adult, 
deliberately prefer such an institution to that which the 
State provides. There is, indeed, every reason to believe 
that without some such arrangement, we cannot, in fact, 
do what is best for the fallen woman or the inchoately 
criminal child — perhaps also for some types of the con- 
genitally feeble-mirided, the habitual inebriate, and the 
" workshy." 

The three specific advantages of Voluntary Agencies 
are accompanied by equally specific defects from which 
Public Authorities are free. 

The first of these drawbacks is the unfan incidence 
of the cost of Voluntary philanthropy."^ It must be 
stigmatised as a distinct disadvantage that those who 
actually bear the cost of these agencies are few and far 
between, and the bulk of citizens are excluded from a 
charge to which all should contribute according to their 
ability. This characteristic incidence of the cost of all 


private philanthropy amounts, in effect, to a penalty on 
the good and conscientious ; and is, at the same time, 
equivalent to a bounty on those who are selfish and without 
public spirit. Moreover, the financial basis of voluntary 
institutions is not only inequitable, but the revenue thus 
obtained is extraordinarily fitful, and its collection absorbs 
the time and energy of the organisers to an altogether 
extravagant extent. Half the time of the promoters and 
managers of the best and most approved volimtary 
institutions is absorbed in raising subscriptions to support 
them. It is this which makes our voluntary hospitals the 
most extravagantly wasteful of funds and energy of aU the 
departments of our common life. 

The second great drawback of Voluntary Agencies 
springs partly from this financial uncertainty, but partly 
also from their sporadic and, so to speak, accidental 
growth ; it is practically impossible for Voluntary Agencies 
to perform any task, or execute any service, completely 
and continuously. The most picturesque example of this 
lack of completeness and continuity would have been 
discovered by a citizen of London in the middle of the 
.eighteenth century. In those days it was left practically 
to each individual, or to voluntary associations of in- 
dividuals, to pave, and light, and cleanse the streets. 
The service was naturally very discontinuous. Here 
would be a patch of stone cobbles, then a heap of mud, 
following that a deep hole, and possibly a plank or some 
cinders as an agreeable alternative. One house would have 
a lantern, and the next ten would be without them. The 
watchmen were long limited practically to such " select " 
quarters as St. James's Square, where the inhabitants 
decided that they had valuable property to protect. It 


was, in fact, the impracticability of getting any complete 
and continuous action from Voluntary Agencies that led 
to the first great municipal enterprise of paving, lighting 
and watching the streets. The provision of schools for 
poor children was long the favourite service of private 
philanthropy. But such schools failed altogether to 
cover the whole ground ; and it was only the desire to 
give complete and continuous education to all children 
that led to the establishment of the Local Education 
Authority, with its compulsory rate and its compulsory 
attendance. The Local Health Authority had to be 
called in to supply the deficiency m hospitals, as soon as 
it was considered necessary to have the means of isolating 
all infectious cases everjrwhere. As soon as it is considered 
necessary, with regard to any particular service, any 
particular class of patients, or any particular treatment, 
that it should be extended to every case, or to every part 
of the Kingdom, or for the whole period of the contingency, 
the community finds it impossible to depend on Voluntary 
Agencies. The Public Authority alone can ensure a pro- 
vision that is universal, ubiquitous, complete, or con- 

Closely connected with the inability of the Voluntary 
Agencies to give complete and ■ contmuous treatment to 
the cases that it purports to undertake, is its inability to 
" compel them to come in " ; its powerlessness to enforce 
submission to treatment or to the conditions of efficacious 
treatment ; and, withal, its helplessness in the way of 
prevention. This lack of power in the Voluntary^Ageiiby, 
as contrasted with the Public Authority, the inability 
to alter the social environment, to change the industrial 
conditions, to arrest the course of evil influences, to ward 


off physical calamities, at once disqualifies the Voluntary 
Agency for the supremely important task of preventing 
the occurrence of the destitution that springs from adverse 
environment. But the same disability cripples the 
Voluntary Agency in its action on the individual. The 
most disastrous effect, from the standpoint of personal 
character of the volunteer and the Voluntary Agency, is 
that treatment is not and cannot be accompanied with any 
enforcement of obligation. The Voluntary Agency stands 
open to those who choose to accept it, and equally open 
to those who choose to leave it. It is perpetually drifting, 
whatever the intention of its promoters, into a curious 
kind of subsidy to the wajrward impulses of those who 
are in need. A sick person may go from dispensary to 
dispensary, from hospital to hospital, taking the advice, 
or swallowing the medicine that he gets, with or without 
a,ny proper maintenance, with or without any hygienic 
lodging, even pursuing a course of life bound to result 
in an aggravation of the disease which he professes to 
wish to get rid of. All the charities for children, however 
good their effect may be on the child, are necessarily 
uncoimected with any enforcement of parental responsi- 
bility ; sometimes, even, a demoralising system of bribes 
has to be adopted to induce the parents of the children 
to let them enter in. It is extraordinary that persons 
who are really concerned about the maintenance of parental 
responsibility should prefer to see an organised system 
of providing school dinners for the hungry at the expense 
of private philanthropy — which camiot by any possibility 
be connected with the enforcement of parental responsi- 
bility on merely negligent or drunken parents, — instead 
of the provision being entrusted to the Local Education 



Authority, which can and might make it an effective 
instrument for raising the standard of child nurture and 
compelling all parents who could afford it to keep their 
children up to the higher standard. And when we leave 
the ordinary normal citizen and his family, and pass to 
a consideration of the mentally defective, it becomes clear 
that all treatment, however benevolent, if it is to attain 
its ends, must necessarily be accompanied by a certain 
disciplinary supervision and enforced control, involving 
powers which are not easily granted to Voluntary Agencies. 
Wherever the case requires compulsory removal, segre- 
gation, detention or control, the Public Authority must 
intervene as responsible for safeguarding the liberty of 
the subject. 

Once we have realised the characteristic qualities 
and defects of Voluntary Agencies, on the one hand, 
and Public Authorities on the other, we are in a better 
position to determine what should be their mutual rela- 

We see, to begin with, that it is vital, in the public 
.interest, that no case sho uld go undealt with ; and that 
no treatment should be left unfinished. Thus, however, 
good and however effective may be the Voluntary Agencies 
at work, the Local Health Authority, as the only organisa- 
tion covering all the field, has necessarily to look after 
births, and " search out " all dangerous diseases. However 
excellent may be the. Voluntary Agencies in education, 
it is the Local Education Authority that must see to it 
that no child grows up below the prescribed standard. 
* However benevolent may be the Voluntary Agencies 
dealing with the mentally • defective, it is on the Local 
Lunacy Authority that we put the responsibility for 


getting all lunatics and idiots under proper control. Thus, 
in all the great departments of the work, we see that the 
Public Authority cannot content itself with dealing with 
some, only, of the cases. Wherever there is a reason for 
its intervention it must have all the cases on its books. 
The prescribed National Minimum has to be ensured and 
enforced, at all times, as regards every case. And whilst 
on the one hand this indispensable minimum is secured 
to everyone — as we cannot, for our own sake, allow 
anyone to fall below it, — it is indispensable that personal 
obligations and parental responsibilities should be enforced 
with equal universality ; and that there should always 
be, along with the treatment, the due measure of dLsciplin- 
ary supervision and control, according to the nature of 
the case, to ensure that the individual co-operates in his 
own cure. For all these purposes the Voluntary Agency 
is disqualified and inappropriate. 

On the other hand, though the Public Authority 
concerned must be responsible for the adequate treatment 
of all the cases needing attention, this does not mean that 
it need do, for all cases, everything that needs to be done. 
There is, as we shall see, an enormous part of the work 
which Voluntary Agencies can do better than the Public 
Authorities, in which they can bring to bear their specific 
advantages on particular cases or classes of cases, or in 
particular parts of the treatment of all cases. In every 
branch of social work, with regard to every conceivable 
class of case, there is the utmost need for the initiative, 
the inventiveness, and the practical experimentmg which 
Voluntary Agencies have so much at their command. 
Moreover, there is practically 'no part of the field in which 
we do not find particular kinds of need, which require 



and which would repay the devotion to their service of 
an amount of individual care and thought and money, 
altogether disproportionate to their statistical importance, 
which it is seldom within the power of any Public Authority 
to bestow. And we shall most of us consider that, alike for 
children, for the feeble-minded, for certaui classes of 
sick persons, for various types of able-bodied men and 
women who have fallen out of regular productive work, 
and possibly for others, there is room for institutions and 
personal ministrations of more distmctively religious 
character than the English Grovernment of to-day will 
be permitted to organise. Thus, it is quite impossible to 
dispense with or to exclude Voluntary Agencies ; and it 
is clear that their part in any effective national campaign 
against destitution must be a large and important one. 
Nor is there any ground for restricting their co-operation 
to the " deserving " case. As General Booth has rightly 
insisted, it is just those whom we call the " undeserving " 
who present the greatest difficulties to State action, and 
for whom the special services of Voluntary Agencies are 
often most applicable. This is equally true of the later 
form of discrimination adopted by the Charity Organisa- 
tion Society. It is not alone for the cases that are classified 
as " helpable " that the State needs the co-operation of 
the Voluntary Agencies. Many of those whom the Charity 
Organisation Society now rejects as " unhelpable " are 
admittedly very deserving ; and there is no reason why 
these should be excluded from the ministrations of the 
charitable. As a matter of fact, it is just among the 
so-called " unhelpable " cases that the generous lavishing 
of love and personal care, which the State cannot bestow, 
has often achieved its greatest triumphs. 


We must therefore reject, once for all, what we have 
called the "Parallel Bars" theory of the relationship 
between the two which has, indeed, as we have described, 
so egregiously broken down in practice. It is indispensable 
that the Public Authority should be and remain responsible 
for seeing that every case, without exception, receives the 
necessary and appropriate treatment ; that every indi- 
vidual born into the community is given the opportunity 
to maintain the prescribed " National Minimum " of 
civilised life ; and that his obhgation to come up to that 
standard is uniformly and invariably enforced. Instead 
of a division of cases, we get, therefore, a division of 
functions. Under this theory, the voluntary agencies, 
with their perpetual seeking after new methods of treat- 
ment, with their loving care of difficult cases, with then- 
varied religious influences, must be deliberately made use 
pf in the public service to be constantly raising the standard 
of civilised conduct and physical health above the com- 
paratively low standard which alone can be enforced by 
the Public Authority. Here we have a conception, not 
of " parallel bars " wholly separate and distinct from each 
other, with a large intervening space of " missed cases " ; 
but of an " extension ladder " placed firmly on the founda- 
tion of an enforced minimum standard of life, but carrying 
onward the work of the Public Authorities to far finer 
shades of physical, moral, and spiritual perfection. 

We may adduce, as an instance of the co-ordmation 
of Voluntary Agency and State action, upon this the 
" Extension Ladder " theory of their relationship, the 
widespread organisation of Poor Relief in Germany that 
we call the Elberfeld system. The Local Authorities, 
officially responsible for providing for the poor, make 



use of an extensive staff of unpaid and unprofessional 
volunteer workers, wlio visit the homes and make them- 
selves acquainted with the cncumstances of every family. 
This voluntary service is nominally obligatory upon all 
citizens, much as were, m our own country, the ancient 
offices of the Manor and the Parish surviving in the 
Constable and the Overseer. But the really distinctive 
feature of the Elberfeld system, and the one to which its 
excellence is due, is not this obligation of service, which 
is seldom enforced, but the organic relationship in which 
the voluntary helper stands with regard to the Public 
Authority. To the necessitous family he comes as a friend, 
a neighbour and a fellow-citizen, concerned to get them 
over their trouble in the best possible way. But on his 
other side, the voluntary helper is the agent of the Public 
Authority, registering his cases in the official records, 
reporting what he has seen, carrying out in his ministra- 
tions the official instructions which he has received, pro- ^ 
curing admission for his families to the several public 
institutions, dispensing as Outdoor Relief the funds pro- 
vided by the Local Authority out of rates and taxes, and 
acting throughout under the constant supervision and 
direction of the expert municipal officials in each depart- 
ment. He is thus, to our eyes, a combination of the 
" Friend of the Street " of the Guild of Help, and the • 
Poor Law Relieving Officer ; of the member of a Children's 
Care Committee and the salaried Health Visitor sent by 
the Medical Officer of Health ; of the volunteer collector 
of the Country Children's Holiday Fund and the School 
Attendance Officer. He is, in short, not a charitable 
worker, but a volimteer official ! The great advantages 
of the Elberfeld system are that (i.) no case escapes notice. 


or is prematiu-ely dropped ; (ii.) there is no restriction 
of funds or opportunities to those which private philan- 
thropy can afford ; and (iii.) the volunteer, having a very 
few cases to deal with and being able to take his own time 
over them, can give any amount of personal care and 
personal friendship in the discharge of his duties. As a 
matter of fact, also, he is allowed to use free discretion 
within certain regulations. 

But although the so-called Elberfeld system of German 
Poor Relief has this excellence of form, it has the radical 
defect, as we can now see, of concerning itself only with 
the relief of the families after destitution has occurred ; 
it does not deal with the more important part of the pro- 
blem^ — namely, preventing the occurrence of destitution. 
It is, in fact, only with regard to the domiciliary treatment 
of the destitute that the German Empire has developed 
any separate Poor Law administration. Practically all 
the institutions are unconnected with Poor ReUef as such, 
and (as advocated in the Minority Report) form part 
of the specialised local admmistrations dealing with 
Public Health, Education, Lunacy, or the maintenance 
of the ablebodied unemployed. In these departments of 
the work, however, we do not need to go to Germany for 
the best examples of what we have called the " Extension 
Ladder " relationship between State action and Voluntary 
Agencies. In most of our large towns we see developing, 
in all branches of the really preventive work, a most 
promising system of co-operation between the several 
municipal departments and appropriately specialised 
volunteers. Working under the Local Health Authority, 
in strict co-ordination with the efforts of the Health 
Committee, and actually under the direction of the Medical 



Officer of Health, we have the growing staffs of volunteer 
Health Visitors, the rapidly multiplying " Schools for 
Mothers," the philanthropic Sanatoria and Convalescent 
Homes, even here and there a voluntary hospital, all 
dependent on private zeal and charitable benevolence 
for personal service and frmds. Working under the Local 
Education Authority, with the supervision and direction 
of the Education Committee and its chief officers, we have 
all the varieties of Children's Care Committees or School 
Canteen Committees, Country Holiday Fund Committees 
and "Spectacle Committees," the Play Centres and the Vaca- 
tion Schools, and here and there even a privately subsidised 
Dental Clinic or general "School Clinic," all illustrating 
the initiative and inventiveness, and the devoted personal 
zeal of the voluntary and the philanthropic institution. 
Working in connection with the Local Lunacy Authority, 
we have already a few "After-care" Committees and various 
philanthropic institutions. It needs only the carrying 
into law of the recommendations of the Eoyal Commission 
on the Care and Control of the Feeble-minded, for the 
enlarged Local Authorities for the Mentally Defective, 
who will have under their charge the imbeciles and feeble- 
minded now dealt with by the Poor Law Gruardians, to 
find ready to their hands not only a number of trained 
volunteer workers but also a host of voluntary experi- 
ments in Rescue Homes and Epileptic Colonies, in 
" boarding-out " the feeble-minded children and the 
industrial employment of the feeble-minded adult. Here 
and there the Local Pension Authorities, new as they 
are, have already begun to develop a system of voluntary 
" Pension Visitors," and to look out for donors of alms- 
houses in which to lodge the most deserving and the 


most helpless of their pensioners. The Labour Exchanges, 
which have only been started for two years, have already 
Advisory Committees, " After-care " Committees, and 
Juvenile Labour Committees, and may find themselves 
presently in organic connection with a" series of Labour 
Colonies, managed by the devoted zeal of the great 
religious denominations. Judged by events, it is abundantly 
proved that the newer preventive authorities will call 
for, and will obtain, the help of a multitude of voluntary 
workers and the co-operation of a whole series of voluntary 
institutions— a notable fact when we consider how little 
use the Boards of Guardians, in their three-quarters of a 
century of administration, have made of the goodwill of 
the volunteer and the beneficence of the charitable rich. 

We suggest that this " Extension Ladder " theory of 
the relationship between State action and Voluntary 
Agencies, and the organic connection which it establishes 
between the specialised municipal departments and the 
similarly specialised voluntary workers and philanthropic 
institutions, affords, for the first time, a most promising 
basis for that real organisation of charity which is so 
badly required. After forty years of incessant and devoted 
efforts, the Charity Organisation Society has, everyw^here 
and completely, failed in any sense to " organise " even 
the corporate charitable agencies. The explanation seems 
to us clear. The theory on which they have been working 
— the attempt to segregate the beneficiaries into two 
absolutely distinct camps, so that the Public Authority 
alone deals with one set of poor people, and the Voluntary 
Agencies alone with quite another set, virtually excludes 
the Public Authority from the work of charity organisa- 
tion, whereas it is the Public Authority alone that can 



accomplish it. No one charitable agency will be allowed 
by the others to control them. The Charity Organisation 
Society is a charitable agency like any other ; and every 
corporate charitable agency, feeling itself in rivalry with 
the rest, is intensely jealous of every other one. But 
once it is accepted that the Public Authority and the 
Voluntary Agencies have both to deal with the same 
persons, and to undertake distinct functions with regard 
to these persons there is not the same rivalry with the 
Public Authority. Moreover, all charitable agencies are, 
so to speak, on the same plane. One charitable agency 
can seldom do anything to complete and supplement the 
work of another charitable agency, because both alike 
suffer from the defects of their qualities — they cannot give 
continuous treatment, and they cannot exercise disciplin- 
ary powers. But, in the Public Authority, the Voluntary 
Agency discovers a partner who is willing to remain in 
the background, but who has the necessary resources and 
the necessary powers to make good the position of the 
Voluntary Agency as regards its effect on the character 
of the persons whom it treats. The Farm Colony or the 
Voluntary Hospital, the Orphanage or the Play Centre, 
however excellent may be the treatment which it affords, 
can do nothing to prevent the " abuse " of its hospitality ; 
it cannot make conditions or exercise supervision as to 
the conduct of the person before and after treatment, 
though this may be essential to its success. The unlimited i 
free medical treatment afforded by the voluntary hospitals 1 
is so unconnected with any disciplinary supervision over' 
the person who takes advantage of it, that it frequentljTj 
acts as a subsidy to unhygienic if not to immoral living. 
Moreover, patients have to be turned out with the practical 


certainty that there is nowhere to which they can go to 
be saved from dropping back into the disease from which 
they have recently emerged. The Farm Colony is hampered 
by having no such outlet for the good man as a universal 
Exchange and Government responsibility for finding 
either work or training would afford ; and at the same 
time it can inspire no fear of relegation to a Reformatory 
Detention Colony in the man who is hopelessly recalcitrant. 
We shaU never get the full advantage of all the brilHant 
invention and the devoted zeal and work existing among 
our volunteers and our voluntary institution until we can 
place them on the sure foundation of pubUc responsibihty 
for the maintenance and enforcement of a Minimum 
Standard of Life. When we have once secured this soHd 
foundation, our Voluntary Agencies will become what 
they ought essentially to be — pioneer endeavours to raise 
ever higher and higher the standard of what human conduct 
can be made to be ; by showmg, in this direction and in 
that, how and where it is possible actually to raise the 
" National Minimum " ; in this way pushing ever upward 
the conception of the order, the freedom and the beauty 
that it is possible to secure to and for every individual 
in the community. 

Thus, far from degrading the volunteer and the 
Voluntary Agency to be nothing but a servant and a 
subordinate to the Public Authority, this "Extension 
Ladder" theory of their mutual relationship gives, in 
reahty, to the Voluntary Agency the highest duty and the 
most important function. It is in serving' that it will 
rule. The Public Authority must always be dealing, in 
the main, on normal and regular lines, with the ordinary 
and common case, or with the universal requirements. 


Its special danger is the apathy and duhiess and rigidity 
of official machinery and routine. The volunteer workers 
in each specialised municipal department, and the manag- 
ing committees of the Voluntary institutions associated 
with it, are, of all people, the best qualified and the most 
competent to supply criticism and suggestiveness, to 
furnish new ideas and invent fresh administrative devices, 
to the municipal work. We want, in fact, in every town, 
something of the nature of Vigilance Committees to see 
to it that Public Authorities are always pushing forward. 
Hence it is desirable that all our Voluntary Agencies 
should not only be dovetailed into the framework of the 
speciaHsed Public Authorities, but that they should also 
be federated into an organisation of their own, to which 
they could appeal and in which they could participate, 
independently of their relationship to the public authorities. 
And here we see the sphere and function, and the real 
value, of the Guild of Help, or Civic League, or Council 
of Social Welfare, which is springing up so generally 
throughout our great towns. Just as the Municipality, 
in the Town Council, represents a synthesis of the work 
of — in a sense, is even a federation of — the Local Health 
Authority, the Local Education Authority, the Local 
Lunacy Authority, the Local Pension Authority, and the 
Local Police Authority, so the Guild of Help should 
represent a synthesis or federation of all the volunteer 
work and Voluntary Agencies associated with these 
several departments. The Guild would not be, as it 
sometimes now is, a rival of any of these separate agencies, 
any more than the Town Council is a rival of its own 
Health Committee ; the Guild would be made up of the 
Voluntary Agencies themselves, and would have, for its 


function, not any separate philanthropy of its own, but 
the co-ordination and promotion of the work of each of its 
parts. The ideal secretary of such a Guild of Help would 
be perpetually inquiring from the Public Authorities what 
volunteers they required, and what additional voluntary 
institutions could best supplement their work. Such a 
Guild secretary could offer to any willing worker the task 
to which he or she was best suited, and not, as is too often 
the case at present, nothing but the one task of District 
Visiting. Under this relationship, the Guild secretary 
could offer work with the sick, work with the infants, 
work with the children, work with the feeble-minded, 
work with the unemployed — in each case, work which 
was not merely the saddening Relief of Destitution, but 
which had in it the element of hope, the provision of one 
or another kind of treatment, or education, or even of 
harmless pleasure. At the same time, the Council of the 
Guild, formed out of the general body of volunteers, 
would be continually trying to stimulate the activities 
of the Public Authorities ; perpetually gathering up for 
this purpose the suggestions of the volunteer who some- 
times becomes more expert than the hard-worked ojfficial. 
The Council of the Guild of Help would, in fact, be the 
channel through which all the suggestiveness and in- 
ventiveness and devotion of. the outside pubUc would be 
brought to bear on the municipality, in such a way as to 
raise the standard of thought and feeling among the 
elected representatives and officials to whom the community 
committed its work. 


Notes and References 

Page 223. The subject of the relation of Voluntary Agencies to the 
organised action of the State in dealing with destitution (visualised 
invariably as Poor Law relief) has been endlessly discussed, almost entirely 
from one standpoint, in many publications of the Charity Organisation 
Society (of London). The files of the Charity Organisation Review, and of 
its predecessors, will yield many references. See also the various works of 
Dr. C. S. Loch {e.g.. Charity and Social Life, 1910), Mrs. Bernard Bosanquet 
(formerly Miss Helen Dendy)— notably Rich and Poor (Macmillan : 1898), 
and The Family (Macmillan: 1906); Miss M. Loane {e.g., Common Growth, 
Arnold: 1911); and Sir ^^'illiam Chance, Bart, {e.g.. The Better Administra- 
tion oj the Poor Law, Sonnenschein, now Allen : 1895), and Our Ti-eatment 
of the Poor (King : 1899). The position has been carefully re-stated on this 
side by Professor Bernard Bosanciuet, "The Majority Report," in Sociological 
Review for April, 1909. 

Another view is taken by the Secretary of the Charity Organisation 
Society of New York, Professor Edward T. Deviue, in Misery and its 
Causes (Macmillan: 1909), and The Principles of Relief (Macmillan: 1904); 
by Miss Jane Addams, of Hull House, Chicago, see Twenty Years at Hull 
House (Macmillan: 1911); The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (Mac- 
millan: 1909); Newer Ideals of Peace (Macmillan : 1907); and Democracy and 
Social Ethics (Macmillan: 1902); by the late B. Kirkman Gray, whose 
History of English Philanthropy (King : 1906) and Philanthropy and the 
State (King: 1908) deserve more notice than they have received; by Mr. 
Hobson in The Crisis of Liberalism, and our English Poor Law Policy 
(Longmans : 1910). The contentions of Professor Bosanquet are dealt with, 
point by point, in The Minority Report for Scotland (Scottish National 
Committee for the Prevention of Destitution, 180, Hope Street, Glasgow, 1909). 

Page 224. We see this " Cowcatcher " theory of the relation of Voluntary 
Agencies to State Action in many representatives of the Local Government 
Board. Thus, Mr. Preston-Thomas, a very experienced Poor Law Inspector, 
expressed himself to the Poor Law Commissioners as follows, in terms 
which the Majority Report adopted with appreciation. 

" It always seems to me that the one complement that you want to the 
Poor Law is, in every place, some organisation to deal with what ought not 
to be Poor Law cases. There are lots of people who are ready to subscribe 
money if they can be certain that the money is not wasted, and you want 
some organisation in every union, in every district, to take off the rates 
people who ought not to go to workhouses, and it would be kindness to 
prevent from going to workhouses, or indeed from being pauperised other- 
wise, and who would not come within hard and fast regialations. I should 
like to see that very much. Of course, in London, you have got various 
societies which help in that way." (Majority Report, Vol. II., p. 84. Mr. 
Preston-Thomas's Evidence, 12318, 12427.") 

Page 225. We suspect that, as with many "classic" documents, "Mr. 
Goschen's Minute" is more often cited than read. It does not bear out all 



that is attributed to it. It will be found in the Twenty-second Annual 
lieport of the Poor Law Board, 18G9-70, p. y. We append some of its 
salient passages. 

" Under these circumstances the Board consider it equally important 
to guard on the one hand against any alarm which might arise on the part 
of the public, and result in an indiscriminate distribution of charitable 
funds, and on the other hand to take such precautions and make such 
preparations as may enable Boards of Guardians and charitable agencies to 
work with effect and rapidity if any emergency should arise. . . . And, indeed, 
without considering the question of an increase in the numbers of the out- 
door poor, and looking simply to the present expenditure on poor relief, it 
appears to be a matter of essential importance that an attempt should be 
made to bring the authorities administering the Poor Law and those who 
administer charitable funds to as clear an understanding as possible, so as 
to avoid the double distribution of relief to the same persons, and at the 
same time to secure that the most effective use should be made of the large 
sums habitually contributed by the public towards relieving such cases as 
the Poor Law cau scarcely reach. . . . One of the most recognised principles 
in our Poor LaAv is, that relief should be given only to the actually 
destitute, and not in aid of wages. In the case of widows with families, 
where it is often manifestly impossible that the earnings of the woman can 
support the family, the rule is frequently departed from, but, as a general 
principle, it lies at the root of the present system of relief. In innumerable 
cases its application appears to be harsh for the moment, and it might 
also be held to be an aggravation of an existing difficulty to insist that, so 
long as a person is in employment, and wages are earned, though such wages 
may be insufficient, the Poor Law authorities ought to hold aloof and refuse 
to supplement the receipts of the family, actually ofiering in preference to 
take upon themselves the entire cost of their maintenance. Still it is 
certain that no system could be more dangerous, both to the working classes 
and to the ratepayers, than to supplement insufficiency of wages by the 
expenditure of public money. . . . The fundamental doctrine of the English 
Poor Laws, in which they differ from those of most other countries, is that 
relief is given, not as a matter of charity, but a legal obligation; and to 
extend this legal obligation beyond the class to which it now applies, 
namely, the actually destitute, to a further and miich larger class, namely, 
those in receipt of insufficient wages, would be not only to increase to an 
unlimited extent the present enormous expenditure, but to allow the belief 
in a legal claim to public money iu every emergency to supplant, in a 
further portion of the population, the full recognition of the necessity for 
self-reliance and thrift." 

" It is clear, therefore, that the Poor Law authorities could not be allowed, 
without public danger, to extend their operations beyond those persons 
who are actually destitute, and for whom they are at present legally bound 
to provide. It would seem to follow that charitable organisations, whost 
alms could in no case be claimed as a right, would find their most appro- 
priate sphere in assisting those who have some, but insufficient means, and 
who, though on the verge of pauperism, are not actual paupers, leaving 
to the operation of the general law the provision for the totally destitute." 

Page 225. The quotation is from the Majority Heport of the Poor Law 
Commission (Part VII., Sec. XXVII., p. 83 of official Svo edition). 

Page 227. The Ilolborn Board of Guardians, in their reply <o Jii. 
Goschen's Circular, pointed out at once that the proposed division n: 
cases was quite impossible. Were they to give no outdoor relief (o v idov. , 



thev asked, if this supplemented the widow's insufficient mcome? Mr. 
Goschen and the Poor Law Board made no reply (see our EngUsh Poor 
Law Policy, 1910). 

Page 227. This " enlargement of the official definition of the destitute - 
already quoted in the Appendix to Chapter I.-wiU be found m the evidence 
gt n to the Poor Law Commission by the Law Officer of the Local Govern- 
Lent Board (see Q. 973; compare Minority Eeport. p. iU of official 8vo 

^*Pag?228 For the origin and history of the Charity Organisation Society, 
see the files of the monthly organ, now the Charity Or gamsation Review 
which it has maintained for over forty years (Denison House, Jauxhall 
Bridge Road. London); especially CO. Review. 1892. p 3G3; Chapter VIIL 
on " Charity Organisation." in B. Kirkman Gray's Philanthropy and the 
State, pp. 111-120; or Charity Organisation, by C. S. Loch (Sonnenschein. 
now Allen: 1890). 

Page 228. The quotation is from the third volume of The History of the 
English Poor Law, by Mr. T. Mackay, in continuation of Sir George 
Nicholls (King : 1899). See, for the episode of 1871-5, our English Poor Law 
Policy (Longmans : 1910). , , i 

Page 234. As to the publication and results of In Darkest England by 
W. Booth (Salvation Army: 1890), see Minority Report, pp. 522-4 of official 
Bvo edition. It is instructive to notice, in the light of subsequent develop- 
ments, the criticism with which this epoch-making work was received by 
the COS. and the economists ; see In Darkest England : on the Wrong 
Track by Bernard Bosanquet (1890); Examination of General Booth s 
Social Scheme, by C. S. Loch (Charity Organisation Society : 1890) ; 
"General Booth's Panacea," by Prof. W. S. Ashley {Political Saienc, 
Quarterly, September, 1890) and "In Darkest England," by Rev. L It. 
Phelps {Economic Review, January, 1891). For the work of the Salvation 
Army to-day, see Regeneration, by H. Rider Haggard (1911). 

For the work of the Church Army, under Rev. W. Wilson Carlile, which 
began about the same time, see Wilson Carlile and the Church Army, by 
Edgar Rowan (1907). ... 

Page 236 Mr. Crowder's evidence before the Poor Law Commission, m 
which he supported the total abolition of Outdoor Relief, will be found 
under Qs. 17387-1S037; see, hereon, Minority Report, pp. 59-63 of official 

8vo edition. . 

Page 238. For other indiscriminate charities, see Minority Report, 
pp. 63-7, 521-4, of official 8vo edition. We may give another instance of the 
development, alongside a deterrent Poor Law administration, of in- 
discriminate voluntary charity. The Mayor of Bethnal Green writes to 
The Times in November, 1910 : "I am desired to ask you to give publicity 
to this fund, which has for its objects the relief of cases of urgent need, 
specially affecting children. In this borough, in numerous homes, there is 
extreme poverty, and unfortunately the distress and suffering which is the 
outcome of want is now very marked amongst the dense population of the 
borough, almost exclusively composed of persons of the working classes. 
There are hundreds of families existing day by day under the most pre- 
carious conditions. The records of the Board of Guardian.s show that 
although the estimated population of the borough is 131,000, the outdoor 
poor relief afforded is comparatively little. Probably that is mainly due 
to the independent character of the parents, whose natural aversion to 
Poor Law assistance leads to marked endurance on their part in subsisliiig 


during lengthy periods in almost starving conditions. Useful work is being 
done among children attending schools by the distribution of food and 
occasional gifts of clothiugi but poverty is so widespread that existing 
agencies for affording assistance are absolutely inadequate to deal with all 
cases. At this period of the year there is real need for help. . . . Further 
particulars M'ill readily be furnished on application being made, and I will 
gladly acknowledge remittances sent to me at the Town Hall Bethnal 
Green, E." 

Page 240. See, for the evolution of method in all branches of treatment, 
History of Philanthropy (1906) and Philanthropy and the State (1908), both 
by B. Kirkman Gray. 

Page 212. See Hadleigh : the Story of a Great Endeavour (Salvation 
Army : 1893); or the article by Catharine Carson, "How the Salvation Army 
raises the Fallen," in Temple Magazine, 1901; or Regeneration, by H. Rider 
Haggard (1911). 

Page 259. The movement for the formation of Guilds of Help, Civic 
Leagues or Councils of Social Welfare— in substitution for the Charity 
Organisation Society— dates only from the twentieth century, but has 
already made much progress in the large towns of Great Britain. Most 
information as to it may be gained from the pages of Progress, the quarterly 
journal of the British Institute of Social Service (4, Tavistock Square, 
London); the proceedings of the Annual Conferences of the Guilds of Help; 
and the Annual Reports of those of Bradford, Halifax, Manchester, etc.; 
and the Local Government Board Report on Guilds of Help (1911). See 
The Sphere of Voluntary Agencies under the Minority Report, by the 
Dean of Norwich (National Committee fOr the Prevention of Destitution. 
37, Norfolk Street, London, W.C.) 


The Need for a Common Register and a Registrar of 

Public Assistance 

The morass of destitution in which, in the midst of 
all our wealth, between three and four millions of our 
fellow-citizens are sunk is, as we venture to think, the 
most appalling feature of our civilisation. But this feature 
is made even more ugly and even more disastrous than it 
need be by the anarchic chaos of our multifarious attempts 
to deal with these destitute people, and the " overlap " 
in our efforts for their relief. The failure of voluntary 
charity to cope with the task led to the institution every- 
where of the Poor Law Authority ; and the failm-e of the 
Poor Law to prevent the various forms of destitution has 
led, in the course of the past century, to the establishment 
of other Local Authorities dealing with the sick, the 
children, the mentally defective, the aged, and the un- 
employed. It is one of the penalties of our piecemeal 
and half-conscious reforms that, whilst multiplymg all 
this social machinery, we have failed to provide the means 
of co-ordination of its several parts. 

The overlap is naturally greatest in the towns. In 
every large urban district in Great Britain there are now, 
in addition to countless charitable agencies of different 
kinds, secular and religious, at least four or five public 



authorities — occasionally six or seven — which are, out of 
one and the same fund of rates and taxes, dispensing the 
mere necessaries of life, food, clothing, shelter, or medical 
attendance to persons who are destitute of them. Most 
of these public authorities make no attempt to become 
aware of what may be the total family resources of their 
beneficiaries ; and even the one that makes this inquiry 
most completely, the Poor Law Authority, fails in practice, 
in many cases, to discover everything that is being done 
for the same families by its public rivals, let alone by 
private charity. AVTienever, by some accident, an oppor- 
tunity is afforded for a partial comparison of the lists of 
beneficiaries by the Outdoor Relief of the Board of 
Guardians, by the doles of endowed and subscription 
charities, by the provision for the unemployed, by the 
old-age pensions, and by the school diimers, quite un- 
expected coincidences of names — unsuspected even by the 
Relieving Officer — are always revealed. The members of 
the Poor Law Commission themselves came across families 
which were receiving food for children from the Local 
Education Authority, milk and medical aid from the 
Local Health Authority, periodical doles of relief work 
from the Local Unemployment Authority, and spasmodic 
Outdoor Relief from the Board of Guardians. In another 
family, some of the children were being maintamed in 
the Poor Law schools, another child in the residential 
Industrial School of the Local Education Authority, 
whilst yet another had been sent to a Reformatory School 
at the charge of the Local Police Authority ; the parents 
being at the same time spasmodically aided by the Board 
of Guardians, the Local Health Authority, and the Local 
Distress Committee; whilst a grandparent, when he was 


not actually in the Poor Law Infirmary, was on tlie books 
of the Local Pension Authority until he entered the asylum 
of the Local Lunacy Authority. In more than a hundred 
of our large towns, between one and two hundred thousand 
children are systematically fed at school each year by 
the Local Education Authority ; whilst, in the same 
towns, something like an equal number of children in the 
aggregate are being supported by the Board of Guardians 
on Outdoor Relief. In London, there is reason to believe 
that, in between one and two thousand cases, being 2 or 
3 per cent, of the whole, both Public Authorities are 
simultaneously feeding the same children — other members 
of the families being also, at the same time, getting help 
from other Authorities, — without any of them being 
aware of what the others are doing. In every large town 
there is a similar overlap. When we have put up, along- 
side of these existing Authorities, the elaborate organisa- 
tion of a Government Insurance scheme, dispensing sick 
and invalidity and Unemployment benefits to millions of 
persons all over the country, we shall surely have raised the 
disorder to a culminating point ! If we add to this chaotic 
dupHcation of assistance by Public Authorities, the still 
more anarchic dispensation of charity in connection with 
the churches and chapels, and by Voluntary Agencies of 
all kinds, as well as by individuals, it is easy to realise 
that it is often distinctly easier, by ingenuity and a gift 
for discreet silence, to live as a parasite upon public and 
private philanthropy than to get a living by productive 
work. This is equivalent to our keeping up a perpetual 
attack upon the independence of character and the self- 
respect of the poor, assailing them, it may be, at their 
weakest point. It is impossible to compute the number 


of individuals, of frail character, inadequately fortified by 
training, who, without any strenuous resistance, are 
perpetually slipping into the morass of destitution in 
order to get the dribbling subsistence coming from all 
these sources ; whilst the records of the Charity Or- 
ganisation Society, and of the different mendicity societies, 
yield not a few cases of persons who, while claiming relief 
as destitute, have been found to be actually accumulating 
money and living at a high standard of expenditure 
on the profits of their profession of " askers." ^Vhen we 
recollect the terribly real necessity in which the great 
mass of the poor live, and the absence of any adequate 
care for their condition, this anarchy and chaos in the 
expenditure of public and private funds, amounting 
probably to something like a hundred million pounds a 
year, comes near to being not only a culpable waste of 
the national income, but also a criminal deterioration of 
personal character. 

It is, we think, strange that whilst the evil of this 
demoralising and extravagant system, or lack of system, 
has been over and over again laid bare by the Charity 
Organisation Society and other persons absorbed in 
devoted work amongst the poor, no effective steps have 
yet been taken to remedy it. What is clearly required, 
to begin with, is an accurate Register of every person in 
the locality who is getting any kind of public assistance, 
with the exact character of that assistance, and the reason 
why it is given. If we could add to this registration of 
public assistance, an equally accurate registration of the 
assistance given by all organised or corporate Voluntary 
Agencies — even if we had to give up the hope of inducing 
the charitable individual to follow suit, — we should have 


laid the necessary foundation for the prevention of what 
we may call voluntary destitution, as well as for the 
more effective treatment of those who are involuntarily 

We attribute the slowness, and even the reluctance, 
to propose the institution of such a Common Register for 
each locality, partly to a real inability to credit the extent 
of the evil and partly to a disinclination to recognise the 
existence of any Public Authority dispensing material 
aid except the Board of Guardians. To this day it is 
difiB.cult to make even the member of a Charity Organisa- 
tion Society aware of the fact that, taking the kingdom 
through, there are twice as many people being actually 
feda__at_^e expense of the rates and taxes^^^mitside^^e 
Poor Law as inside it. It is to this failure to realise the 
extent and the diversity of the public provision that has 
gTOwn up alongside the Poor Law, that we attribute the 
fact that such proposals for a Register as have been put 
forward, have nearly always taken the form of registration 
by some Voluntary Agency, the Charity Organisation 
Society or " Council of Social Welfare " ; and have aimed 
principally to preventing the overlapping among rival 
Voluntary Agencies, or of any of them with the Poor Law. 
At intervals during the past thirty years such a voluntary 
: register has been started at different places — always with 
the same result of enlisting, at first, the co-operation of 
many Voluntary Agencies ; being rejected by others ; 
becoming nevertheless of distinct utility ; discovering 
various cases of overlapping ; then finding it difficult to 
keep up the enthusiasm of the volunteer workers ; and 
gradually becoming disused and dropping silently into 
suspended animation. Just now, as a consequence of 


the revelations of the Poor Law Commission, and of the 
tendency to form Guilds of Help and Councils of Social 
Welfare, we have half a dozen such voluntary registers 
in different localities, temporarily in more or less effective 
existence, but already exhibiting signs of decay. 

These, like other experimental efforts, have demon- 
strated both the utility of a Common Register and the 
conditions of its efficiency. Such a register, if it is to 
command respect, must be authoritative and impartial. 
It is of comparatively little use for registration to be 
confined to a single parish, as the ingenious parasites, 
who make a living by their wits, soon learn how to make 
use of the existence of boundaries to the registration. 
It is of little use to register only the outdoor relief of 
the Board of G-uardians, without the ministrations of the 
Milk Clinic, and other departments of the work of the 
Medical Ofi&cer of Health ; the gifts of the Local Charity 
Organisation Society, but not the school dinners or the 
old-age pensions of the Town or County Council. To be 
effective, the Common Register must be universal, com- 
plete, and continuous. Moreover, experience shows that 
it is not enough to institute a register, and to allow the 
different relieving agencies access to it. Many of them 
simply will not trouble to consult it. Neither the Local 
Health Authority nor the Local Education Authority — 
these being now often the two principal relieving agencies 
of the locality — can always stop to send to another office 
to hunt through, a register. Experience shows that we 
shall not prevent overlapping unless the Register is more 
than a passive instrument. We must arrange, not merely 
for a universal registration of every grant of assistance in 
any form whatsoever, but also for making the Register 


itself " talk " — for bringing to the notice of every relieving 
person or committee automatically and invariably, with 
regard to every case, what is the record of the family on 
the new Domesday Book, 

This points, we suggest, to the absolute necessity of 
having the Common Register in each locality kept by some 
Public Authority ; and of the duty being imposed by law 
upon all places alike. Nor need anyone object to this 
extension of municipal functions. If there is one piece 
of work for which the Voluntary Agency is not fitted, and 
for which the Public Authority is admirably constituted, 
it is the keeping of such a register. In this task we no 
longer need the initiator and the pioneer ; nor is it desirable 
that religious influence, nor even personal sympathy, 
should come in to disturb the mechanical accuracy and 
automatonism of the record. Moreover, voluntary action 
in instituting a register can never be universal all over 
the Kingdom ; it cannot even be complete in any one 
locality ; and it will often not be continuous. On the 
other hand, what is most required to make such a register 
effective is exactly what can be best provided, and perhaps 
only provided, by a Public Authority. It is only a Public 
Authority that can secure the legal power to compel, 
both its own members and officials, and the members and 
officials of other public authorities, to use the Register, 
whether in providing the necessary information or in 
referring to it before action. And it is clearly only a 
Public Authority, able to hold out the promise of a Common 
Register alike impartial and authoritative, that is likely 
to induce competing Voluntary Agencies, and the organised 
charities of rival religious denominations, to make full 
and lastmg use of such an instrument ; or that could 


possibly be given powers to require registration, if — as, 
for instance, in the case of charitable trusts or philan- 
thropic agencies receiving public aid — compulsory regis- 
tration beyond the Public Authorities themselves were 
thought desirable. It is only a Public Authority that 
will, in practice, provide the salaries for the continuous, 
accurate clerical labour that the mere keeping of such a 
Register — a Register that must, in the aggregate, com- 
prise hundreds of thousands of separate families — ^wiU 
necessarily entail ; still less, the cost of reporting, in every 
case, to every Local Dispensing Authority, what was then 
the position of the family on the Register. And it is only 
a Public Authority that could lay down authoritatively, 
for a whole district, and secure continuous adhesion to, 
uniform methods of ascertainment, tabulation, and report. 
How could we have ever got any accurate and complete 
registration of births and deaths if this had been left to 
Voluntary Agencies ? The ascertainment, record, and 
distribution of information has, accordingly, always been 
considered, even by such fanatical individualists as 
Herbert Spencer, the peculiarly legitimate function of 

We suggest, therefore, that the time has come for 
legislation, making it incumbent on the Town and County 
Councils to maintain a Common Register of aU persons 
residing within their areas who are receiving any form of 
public assistance. We hardly need argue that the proper 
place for such a Common Register is at the municipal 
or county offices, rather than at the Workhouse or the 
oflfice of the Clerk to the Poor Law Guardians. Akeady 
the Town Council — ^which is, in all the County Boroughs 
of England, the Local Health. Authority, the Local 


Education Authority, the Local Lunacy Authority, the 
Local Pensions Authority, the Local Police Authority, and, 
through its Distress Conunittee, the Local Unemployment 
Authority — is distributing public assistance to far more 
people than the Poor Law Authority has on its books ; 
and whether or not the recommendations of the Poor Law 
Commission are adopted, the work of the municipality is 
clearly destined to grow, and that of the Board of Guardians 
to dwindle. Moreover, if we are to register all forms of 
public assistance, and to secure the willing co-operation 
of Voluntary Agencies, we must keep the Common 
Register as carefully dissociated from the workhouse as 
from the gaol. 

So far as the institution of a Common Register is 
concerned, and its management by the Borough or County 
Council, it might be thought that we were, m reality, 
pressing at an open door. The evil is so gross, the need so 
glaring, and the remedy so plain and unobjectionable 
that it seems unnecessary to argue about it. Unfortunately, 
neither the Local Government Board nor the Charity 
Organisation Society— not even the majority of the late 
Poor Law Commission — are takmg any steps to get the 
necessary legislation passed. There is no real demand 
even for a Common Register. And when we come to the 
proposal that the keeping of the Common Register should 
be entrusted to an of&cer appointed for the purpose, and, 
combined with other duties, we are met by an outburst 
of opposition that it is difficult to understand. There have 
been, we fear, so many malicious perversions, and with 
them so many honest misunderstandings, of what the 
Minority Report proposed under this head, that we may 
as well take the opportunity of explaining clearly what we, 


at anyrate, desire the Registrar of Public Assistance to 
be, and to do. 

First let it be stated that, for the comfort of those 
who dislike a new name, there is no absolute necessity, 
so far as the Minority Report proposals- are concerned, or 
our own proposals, for the establishment of any new 
department, or the invention of any new designation, or, 
for that matter, the creation of any new oflS.ce at all. If 
the new duty of maintaining a Register of Public Assistance 
is imposed upon Town and County Councils, these Councils 
may, if desired, be left to make their own arrangements 
for' the execution of their work. They may then, as with 
many another additional function, assign the duty to 
the Town or County Clerk, with just the same powers as 
he now has with regard to the other work of the Council, 
with the result that nothmg more alarming than the 
necessary addition to the clerical staff of his department 
will be made. And the fact that the proposal comes, in 
reality, to no more than this, may, in itself, suffice to 
remove the misapprehensions — put about, we cannot help 
suspecting, sometimes by those who know better — that 
the Minority Report intended to set up a " local tyrant " 
in each borough or county ; an irresponsible bureaucrat 
over-riding the decisions of the Council itself ; a permanent 
ofi&cial who would be made the judge in every case of 
whether or not Outdoor Relief should be granted, and so 
on and so forth. The whole proposal can quite well be 
carried out by the existing Town Clerk, with Standing 
Orders on the existing model, with no more power than 
he at present exercises, and with far less independence 
of the elected representatives than is at present enjoyed 
by every Clerk to a Board of Guardians. 


But we think that it would be advisable, without 
in any way increasing the powers or the independence of 
the officer who must keep the Common Register, to give 
him a distinct title — the Registrar of Public Assistance — 
and (as stated in the Minority Report) with a view to more 
effective popular control, to place him directly under the 
supervision and control of a committee of the Council. 
The Minority Report suggested that the Registrar should 
be placed under the General Purposes Sub-committee. 
But it appears that such a committee does not exist in 
all cases, and may sometimes not be a convenient body 
for the purpose. It may well be that there should be a 
separate committee dealmg with the business that we 
assign to the Registrar's department ; and such a committee 
might well be called the Public Assistance Committee. 
We suggest, in fact, that some of the work now usually 
scattered among several departments of the Town or 
County Council should, for the sake of economy of officials 
and of effort, as well as that of lessening the present multi- 
plicity of inspectors and inquiry officers, be concentrated 
in the Registrar's office, and combmed with that of keepmg 
the Common Register. Let us now endeavour to visualise 
what, in such a city as Manchester, or Birmmgham, such 
a municipal department would have to do, and how it 
would work. 

We must assume, for the purpose of the argument, 
that the Board of Guardians has been abolished, and that 
the County Borough Council, acting through its various 
committees— the Education Committee, the Public Health 
Committee, the Lunacy or Asylums Committee, and the 
Pension Committee— is responsible, in each large town, 
for discovering and treating all destitute persons other 


than those who are able-bodied. We must assume also 
that there has been set up a National Authority for pre- 
venting Unemployment and for training the Unemployed, 
including all able-bodied persons not otherwise dealt 
with. We must assume, further, that it shall be obligatory 
upon all authorities granting, or proposing to grant, to any 
person any form of public assistance, otherwise than in 
sudden or urgent necessity, to report at once, for insertion 
in the Common Register, aU the prescribed particulars of 
the case. 

Then there would come in to the office of the Registrar, 
week by week, and in populous centres even day by day, 
a stream of reports or case-papers, in the form prescribed 
by the Council. There would be reports from the Educa- 
tion Committee, or its Children's Care Committees, or its 
officers, of cases in which children were about to be or were 
being fed at school, or in which it was proposed to board 
them out, or to send them to day or residential industrial 
school ; or to provide them with spectacles, or medical 
treatment, or to award them mamtenance scholarships, or 
in short, do anything for them beyond schooling. There 
would be reports from the Health Committee, or its 
Sub-Committees, or its officers, of persons admitted or 
proposed to be admitted to the public hospitals, or sent 
to the county sanatoria or convalescent homes ; of persons 
to be maintained as " contacts," or of wives and children 
of persons to be granted Home Aliment whilst the bread- 
winner was in hospital ; of persons for whom domiciliary 
treatment was being prescribed, including Home Aliment ; 
of maternity cases ordered midwifery attendance, and 
perhaps milk ; of infants under school age whom the 
Committee proposed to board out, and so on. There 


would be reports from the Asylums Committee as to 

persons of unsound mind ; and reports from tlie Pensions 

Committees as to tlie Old Age Pensioners. Finally, there 

would be reports from the local offices of the Minister for 

Labour (or other National Authority for Unemployment), 

as to the men admitted or proposed to be admitted for 

maintenance in any Training Estabhshment, and as to the 

cases in which their wives and children were to be or had 

been awarded allowances for the maintenance of the home 

whilst the man was in training. All these items— which 

are, we need hardly say, with the exception of the last 

named, actually in existence to-day, in even greater 

variety and complexity than we have described — would 

need to be entered in the Common Register, under the 

actual addresses or residences of the individuals, in such 

a way as to reveal automatically all that is being given to 

or for the different members of each family. Of course, I 

in a small town, or in a rural district, the number, and 

even the variety, of the cases would be much smaller ; and 

a smaller staff would be required. But it is interesting to 

notice that the County Councils Association, representing 

the rural County Councils of England and Wales, in its 

widely accepted practical proposals for dealing with the 

Poor Law, emphatically endorsed the need for the appomt- 

ment, not only of a Registrar of Public Assistance for each 

County, but also of local Registrars for each of the separate 

districts into which the County was, for administration, to 

be divided. 

It would be the first duty of the Registrar of Public 
Assistance and his officers to see that these reports or 
case-papers were instantly dealt with and the necessary 
particulars entered in the Conamon Register. But his 



work would not stop at mere registration. There would 
be, at any rate as regards any money grants, regulations 
with regard to each case which the Council would have 
instructed him to see complied with. Some of these 
regulations would be, as at present, of statutory origin. 
Others, as at present, would be authoritatively laid down 
by Order of the Local Government Board or other central 
department. Others, again, would exist only in the form 
of Standing Orders or general rules made by the Borough 
or Comity Council itself, to be observed in all cases by its 
own conmiittees. We may assume that the Council has 
a general rule that all statutory and other authoritative 
regulations must be complied with, in order to avoid 
surcharge. We may assume, moreover, that the Council 
will, in its own discretion, have laid down certain conditions 
as to the maximum of Outdoor Relief or Home Aliment 
to be granted to any one family, or per person in a family. 
The Council wiU probably, like some Boards of Guardians, 
have fixed a minimum per person, as well as a maximum. 
The Council may well prescribe a maximum family income, 
within which alone there shall be eligibility for help from 
public funds, or different maxima for different kinds of 
help (as with scholarships to children). The Council may 
have made rules as to sanitary requirements, as to the 
emolment of the children on the registers of elementary 
or continuation schools, and so on. In many cases it will 
not have been within the power of the Committee deciding 
on the treatment to see to it, then and there, that all these 
conditions have been complied with ; and in others it will 
not be convenient for the particular conamittee to do so. 
This difficulty becomes all the greater when other 
authorities are concerned, such as the National Authority 


for Unemployment, or an endowed charity, or a philan- 
thropic body receiving aid from public funds. We suggest 
that it should be the duty of the Registrar, as an officer of 
the Council, and responsible to it, to satisfy himself in each 
case in- which any grant of money to the home was proposed, 
that the Standing Orders or general regulations of the 
Council have been complied with, so far as these require 
definite things, the presence or absence of which is an 
ascertainable matter of fact. This is the hind of duty 
already discharged, under every Borough or County Council 
by the Town or County Clerk. Directly any failure to 
comply with, or any direct breach of, these Standing 
Orders or general regulations is detected by the Clerk, or 
by his representative attending the Committee or Sub- 
committee, he bruags it to the notice of the Committee or 
Sub-Committee ; and the action is not taken unless and 
until it is specifically brought to the notice of the Council, 
and a suspension of the Standuig Orders obtained. 

We propose that the Registrar of Public Assistance 
should act in the same way. When a committee sent the 
information with regard to the assistance proposed to be 
given to any mdividual, the Registrar would not merely 
see that the information was duly entered in the Register, 
but would immediately forward to the committee con- 
cerned all the information which he possessed about that 
particular person, or the family to which he belonged. If 
the case is " clear " on the Register— if, that is to say, no 
other member of the family is being aided ; or the total 
amount of assistance does not exceed the prescribed 
maximum ; if the family income is within the prescribed 
limits ; if any necessary medical or sanitary certificates 
of attendance that the Standing Orders require are duly 


provided — the Eegistrar will return the papers with a 
" Certificate of Non-Overlap," or sanction, either in. his 
own name, or in that of his committee, as beiag within the 
Council's rules and orders. But if the information at his 
disposal, from the Register or otherwise, indicates that 
the proposed grant of domiciliary assistance would not be 
in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Council, the 
Registrar and his Committee would have no alternative 
but to refuse his " Certificate of Non- Overlap," or sanction ; 
and he would immediately return the papers to the Com- 
mittee or Sub-Committee or officer concerned, pointing 
out in what respect the proposal contravened or failed 
to comply with the instructions actually given by the 
Council itself. In this way, without giving the Registrar 
any authority over the Council whatsoever, whose officer 
he would be, and without giving to him or any other officer, 
any power to revise the decision even of a Committee, 
there would, on the one hand, be scarcely any possibility 
of " overlapping " or " duplication " of assistance ; whilst 
on the other, the Council, as the elected representative 
body, directly responsible to the ratepayers, would obtain 
the best possible security that its regulations and decisions 
were being carried out. Thus, the Registrar and his 
Committee would have nothing to do with the question 
of the treatment that each case ought to receive. He 
would have no authority to over-ride the decision of any 
Committee, or even to criticise its action. He would be 
exercising no discretion, and would, in this part of his 
work, require no judgment. His business would be 
automatically and invariably to supply the information 
which he (and he alone) possessed ; and to point out, in 
the name of his Committee, any failure to comply with 


tlie Council's own Standing Orders. If there was any 
conflict of opinion on the point, and the Committee 
concerned considered that its proposal, notwithstanding 
the additional information supplied by the Registrar, did 
comply with the Council's Standing Orders, it would be, 
as at f resent, for the Town Clerk or County Clerk, as head 
of the staff, to decide whether the Conomittee's decision 
should be immediately acted upon, or brought before the 
Council at its next meeting. The Registrar would have 
done his duty. If the Conamittee concerned thought that 
the case, though clearly contravening the Standing Orders, 
was " exceptional," it would appeal to the Council at its 
next meeting to allow it (by suspension of Standing Orders 
or otherwise) to be treated in any way desired. 

We propose, however, to go a step further. We think 
that there would be great advantage in separating 
altogether the enquiry as to what is best to be done for 
the case — which is the work of the Committee concerned, 
coming to a decision after hearing the advice of its trained 
of&cers — and the enquiry into the pecuniary resources of 
the family, which ought to be the function of a separate 
staff under a different Committee. The Education Com- 
mittee, for instance, ought to be thinking exclusively of 
what is best for the child, the Asylums Committee about 
what is best for the mentally defective person, the Health 
Committee about what is best for the sick patient — not 
investigating what wages the father has been receiving, or 
whether there is a lodger who pays part of the rent ! 
Nothing has contributed so much to make the visits of the 
Poor Law Relieving Officer odious to the poor as the 
mixture of his enquiries — as to the sickness of the person 
who is ill, or the lunacy of the person of unsound mind, and 


at tlie same time, as to the means of the family and as to 
which relations could be made to contribute. And as 
things are, these odious pecuniary enquiries (sometimes 
extending to questions to the employer as to the rate of 
wages) are not made by the Poor LawReheving Officer 
alone, but have to be repeated by the officers of each 
Authority ; by the Education Committee which has to 
provide the children with school dinners or medical treat- 
ment ; by the Health Committee with regard to its 
hospitals or " milk clinic " ; by the Distress Committee, 
when the man applies for relief work ; by the Pensions 
Committee if there is any member of the family over 70 ; 
even by the Asylums Committee, if there is any question 
as to the settlement of a mentally defective member of 
the family, or as to whether or not he should be a " paying " 
or a " pauper " patient. Those who exclaitn in horror at 
the multiplicity of inspectors and investigators to which, 
as they suppose, it is desired to subject the poor man's 
home, have probably no idea of the number and variety 
of inspections and investigations by the half a dozen 
different Local Authorities who at present spy out the 
family resources, and to the domiciliary visits of which it 
is now subjected — often, as we think, unnecessarily. We 
suggest that it should be a distinct advantage, resulting 
in a positive saving of officers, as well as in greatly lighten- 
ing the burden on the poor, if all the work of investigation 
into 'pecuniary resources, with regard to the cases dealt with 
by aU the Conmiittees for all purposes, were concentrated 
in a single Committee acting by its own specialised 
staff of officers, whose business would be exclusively 
with the pecuniary resources of the family, and who would 
have nothing to do with the treatment of the case, whether 


with regard to health, education, subsistence, control or 
institutional or domiciliary treatment. We appeal to 
anyone who knows anything about the work of the District 
Medical Officer under the Board of Guardians, or that of 
the Medical Officer of Health under the Health Committee, 
whether the work of restoring the sick to health would 
not be greatly promoted if the officers concerned were 
relieved from all the odious enquiry into the means of 
their patientff and were free to consider exclusively the 
medical requirements of the case. We are convinced that 
every one who has anything to do with the existing work 
of the Education Committee, with regard either to school- 
dinners or medical treatment, must recognise how 
advantageous it would be if that committee were relieved 
of all its present enquiries into the means of the families 
to which the suffering children belong ; and if these 
investigations, necessary as they are, were in the hands 
of a distinct staff, specially trained for the work, by whom 
the results would be reported. The various committee 
and departments which deal with the particular services 
of Education, Public Health, Lunacy, Pensions,, and the 
Unemployment cannot each of them have a properly 
organised staff of persons engaged in discovering the 
pecuniary resources of the families with which they must 
be dealing. It is both extravagant for the ratepayers, and 
unfair on the poor to be makmg, as is at present the case, 
the same enquiries three or four times over. It is, we 
suggest, far better that the officers and committees 
concerned with the several services should confine their 
attention to the character of the treatment required to 
bring about the best results, and that it should be left to 
one department, and one department only, in each area, 


to discover how far the cost of that treatment ought, in 
accordance with the law of the land, and the Standmg 
Orders of the Council concerned, to be borne by public 
funds. We propose, therefore, that the whole work of 
enquiry into pecuniary resources should- be concentrated, 
for all departments, in the Registrar of Public Assistance, 
and his Enquiry Officers under their own Committee. 
Whenever any child was found hungry at school, or in 
need of proper home nurture ; whenever any person was 
found in need of medical treatment ; or whenever any 
mentally defective person required custody and control, 
it would be the business of the Education Conunittee, the 
Health Committee, or the Asylums Committee, on the 
information and advice of their trained officers, to decide 
what treatment ought to be given ; but they would at the 
same time send particulars to the Committee responsible 
for the Registrar of Public Assistance, whose business it 
would be, by means of his trained Enquiry Officers, to 
discover and report, for the information of aU the Com- 
mittees concerned, what were the pecuniary resources of 
the family. 

We can anticipate at once the objection to this 
complete divorce of the decision as to the treatment from 
the enquiry into means, which will be raised by those who 
are still governed, consciously or unconsciously, by the 
dominant conception of a Poor Law. The Poor Law 
proceeds on the principle that, however much the treatment 
may, in fact, be required, the State ought not to provide 
it unless there is ^pecuniary destitution. This, too, is the 
principle on which the Charity Organisation Society 
proceeds ; and a similar policy is supposed to be adopted 
by the " almoners " of those hospitals which are influenced 


by the Charity Organisation Society. In all these cases, 
if treatment is really to be withheld from those who could 
afford to pay for it — if the treating Authority is (save in 
cases of m-gency) to stay its hand, and refer such patients 
to their own resources — inquiry must f recede treatment ; 
and it may weU avoid delays and misunderstandings for 
the treating Authority to maintain, as the Poor Law 
Authority now does, its own staff of enquiry of&cers. 
Moreover, when what was given was wholly or principally 
" relief " in the form of money, the enquiry into the need 
was itself an enquiry into pecuniary resources — just as it 
is, to this day, commonly understood by Relieving Officers 
and Poor Law Guardians to be. But it is the very essence 
of the Policy of Prevention that what has to be supplied, 
in every case, is not relief, but always treatment and the 
treatment appropriate to the need. Wherever the need 
is proved to exist, it is of importance to the community, 
quite apart from our compassion for the sufferer, that the 
appropriate treatment should be instantly supplied, what- 
ever may be the pecuniary resources that might 
subsequently be made available to meet the cost. This 
is the policy pursued by the Local Health Authority, with 
regard to cases of infectious disease in need of isolation and 
medical treatment ; and in the best organised towns, also 
with regard to infants under twelve months old suffering 
from lack of milk. This is the policy of the Local Educa- 
tion Authority, with regard to children of school age 
found not to be under proper instruction, or found at 
school suffering from lack of food ; and now, in the best 
organised districts, with regard to children discovered to 
be in need of spectacles or of medical or surgical treatment, 
or requiring " open air schools," or the special provision 


that is made for the physically defective. This, too, ls the 
policy of the Local Lunacy Authority, with regard to 
lunatics not under proper control. In all these instances, 
where the Policy of Prevention is adopted, the need is met 
as soon as ascertained. In all these -instances, where 
what is supplied is the appropriate treatment, and not a 
dole of money, the rule is, Treat first, and enquire (as to 
means) afterwards ! And it is highly significant that 
when the Majority of the Poor Law Commission were 
considering upon what principle their proposed new Poor 
Law or Public Assistance Authority should proceed, in 
dealing with the paupers who are sick — these forming, as 
has been mentioned, from one-third to one-half of the 
whole number — the same conclusion was arrived at, for 
the ordinary normal cases, as well as for those of urgency. 
" In other words," they sum up their proposals, " investi- 
gation should follow upon treatment." 

We extend this principle of treatment first, enquuy 
into means afterwards, to all provision by the Public 
Authority, which never ought to do anything else than 
give the treatment that is appropriate to the case, even 
though, as fart of the prescribed treatment, a money grant 
has to be made to supply the necessities of the home. And, 
paradoxical as it may appear, it is only by this policy that 
the community can hope, not merely to prevent rather 
than perpetuate destitution, but also enforce on fathers 
and mothers a fulfilment of their parental responsibihties. 
It is, in fact, the existence of the Poor Law Authority, 
pursuing the opposite policy of confining its provision 
to the pecuniarily destitute, that is responsible for the 
continuance of the present fearful amount of failure to 
fulfil these responsibilities. This, however, will be dealt 


with in the next chapter. Meanwhile, it must suf&ce to 
add that, although wherever there is ascertained need of 
treatment, the Public Authority must instantly supply 
that treatment, it does not follow that this is to be done 
gratuitously ; or that someone may not have to be made 
liable for reimbursement of its cost. 

This brings us to the last of the functions of municipal 
government with which we are here concerned. At the 
present time nearly every public authority has the power 
to charge and recover the cost of its service, and especially 
of the maintenance given to a poor person, either on the 
person benefited or on those who are legally liable for 
his maintenance. But the conditions and the practices 
differ from service to service. In the chapter on " Charge 
and Recovery " in the Minority Report, there is a detailed 
description of the unutterable confusion, loss and waste 
which at present exists in this whole sphere. We propose 
there that some kind of order and system should be 
introduced into the law, and that Parliament should 
definitely lay down, once for all, which services shaU be 
charged for, what shall constitute ability to pay, and who 
shall be liable in each case. Once the whole law with 
regard to Charge and Recovery is consolidated and made 
consistent, it is desirable that it should be administered 
in each town by one authority only. It is ludicrous that 
the Education Authority should be proceeding with one set 
of officials, according to one particular law or policy ; the 
Public Health Committee with another set of officials and 
another law or policy ; the Lunacy Authority with yet 
another ; whilst the Board of Guardians with its own set 
of officials, and its own particular law and poHcy, is also 
in the field, and may be considered, at the present time, 


the most expert at this particular kind of work — if by 
expert is meant the power of extracting money out of 
people who are, according to the law, " destitute " of it ! 
It is absurd that these different Authorities and officials 
should be simultaneously taking action, against one poor 
family. It is cruel when, as we have ourselves witnessed, 
one of these authorities gets a man committed to prison 
for not paying its charge, at the very moment when 
another of them is granting him Outdoor Relief on the 
ground that he is destitute. In some large municipal 
bodies, all such work is already concentrated in a 
" Solicitor's Department." We propose that the whole 
work of charging and recovering the cost of treatment, 
where Parliament declares that it shall be charged and 
recovered, should fall, along with the whole work of 
ascertaining the pecuniary circumstances, in each County 
Borough, to the department of the Registrar of Public 
Assistance, acting, of course, under its appropriate Com- 
mittee of the Town Council, and in accordance with the 
Standing Orders, or other rules laid down by the Council. 

It would be the business of this Committee, and of the 
Registrar as its chief officer, to see that the Standing 
Orders and decisions of the Council were carried on in 
each case, without partiality or favour. The cases in 
which any charge was to be made would be determined 
according to law and general rules. The particular 
amounts to be recovered would have to be decided in each 
case, after the necessary enquiry into the persons liable 
and their pecuniary means — not only in exact accordance 
with law, but also with due regard to the actual ability 
to pay. And, as experience has abmidantly demonstrated, 
charges assessed in this way, case by case, after skilled 


enquiry, lead, not only to the exclusion of those who are 
able to afford the whole cost— as these, finding that they 
are most rigorously compelled to pay the whole cost, 
prefer in future to provide the treatment for themselves — 
but also to the quite successful recovery, from those who 
can properly bear only a part of the cost, of a substantial 
contribution to the resources of the Local Authority. It 
is mere ignorance of the actual facts of the Local Grovern- 
ment around us that leads to the constant repetition of 
the statement that where provision is made for all who 
need treatment recovery is found to be practically 
impossible. It is where the charges are made without 
regard to ability to pay, or (as in the case of school dimiers) 
in a service confined to those who are without means, that 
there is, at present, a complete failure to recover ; as, 
indeed, there ought to be. Where the service is performed 
for all who need it (as in the case of the care of lunatics), 
and where the charges are levied, not uniformly, but after 
careful ascertainment of what the income can bear (as in 
the case of children in Reformatory Schools), the proportion 
of the charges that are recovered is quite surprisingly 
large. More than_half ^a m illion pounds a year is, in fact, 
recovered. iii_this way in England and Wales, in spTte 6i 
the lack of a Registrar of Public Assistance. We anticipate 
that, with the organisation that we propose, the amount 
would — assuming that Parliament maintained anything 
like the existing liabilities — be largely increased. 



Notes and References 

Page 265. The following is by no means an exhaustive survey of the 
different Authorities, and of the different kinds of Public Assistance, 
simultaneously existing in Great Britain :— 

(i) The Local Health Authority; dispensing medical assistance and 
material aid in connection with (a) 700 Municipal Hospitals, mostly for 
particular diseases regarded as exceptionally infectious, but now more 
and more dealing also with phthisis, measles, accidents, etc.; and at 
Barry and Widnes exclusively for njan-infectious cases; (b) municipal 
dispensaries or out-patient departments, especially for phthisis, ring- 
worm, etc.; (c) municipal "milk clinics," or milk dispensaries, for 
mothers and infants; (d) provision of board and lodging for, and occa- 
sionally payments in lieu of wages to, "contacts" segregated by way 
of precaution; (e) distribution of diarrhoea mixture, anti-toxin serum, 
etc.; (/) provision of nurses in the homes; (g) "health visiting." 

(ii) The Local Education Authority; dispensing (a) school dinners, 
breakfasts, etc.; (b) residential schools for truant children, blind 
children, deaf and dumb children, mentally defective children, etc. ; 
(c) Industrial (boarding) Schools under the Children Act ; (d) " Day 
Feeding Schools," or Day Industrial Schools, for children of parents 
unable to attend to them during the day ; (e) "boarding out" of children 
to enable them to attend special schools; (/) work of school nurses; 

(g) "school clinics" for dentistry, ringworm, or ailments generally; 

(h) other forms of provision of medical and surgical treatment; (i) pro- 
vision of spectacles ; (j) " Open-air Schools " and " Vacation Schools," 
including meals, etc. ; (/c) in Scotland, provision of boots, clothes, etc., 
under Scotch Education Act, 1908; (Z) maintenance scholarships; 
(m) school baths. 

(iii) The Local Lunacy Authority dispensing (a) board and residence 
in asylums; (b) "boarding out" of mentally defective persons in 

(iv) The Local Pensions Authority awarding Old Age Pensions to 
persons having not more than ,£31 10s. per annum. 

(v) The Local Unemployment Authority, under the Unemployed 
Workmen Act, dispensing (a) doles of relief work ; (b) board and residence 
at Farm Colonies; (c) home aliment to families of men in these colonies; 
(/) payment of railway fares and migration expenses ; (g) cost of 
emigration ; (h) employment of women in workrooms at sewing, etc. 

(vi) The Local Police Authority dispensing (a) admission of children 
to Reformatory Schools; (b) gifts of clothing out of the "Police Aided 
Clothing Fund"; (c) in Scotland, night's lodging to vagrants. 

To these must be added the Local Poor Law Authority dispensing (a) 
admission to Workhouse or Poor House or Casual Ward; (b) admission to 
the Poor Law Infirmary; (c) admission to the Poor Law School; (d) 
" boarding out " of children, frequently with their own relations ; (e) 




medical attendance and "medical extras"; (/) nursing; (g) Outdoor Relief. 
And now we have also the National Employment Authority, with its Labour 
Exchanges, dispensing railway fares to other places. 

Presently there will be a ninth authority at work, still dealing with the 
same fund of rates and taxes, in the Insurance bodies or officers to be set 
up imder the State Insurance Bill of 1911. 

Page 266. For cases of hitherto unsuspected overlapping, revealed, even to 
the Relieving Officers, by an exceptional comparison of lists, see the Minority 
■Report of the Poor Law Commission, 1909, Part I., pp. 63-7 of official 8vo 
■edition : Report ... on Endowed and Voluntary Charities . . . and the 
Administrative Relations of Charity and the Poor Law, by A. C. Kay and 
H. V. Toynbee, especially pp. 61-62, 96, 118, 127; such evidence before the 
Commission as Qs. 35, 693, 93, 392, etc. 

Page 267. As to the overlap in the provision of School Meals, see the London 
County Council Report on the Home Circumstances of Necessitous Children 
in twelve selected schools (L.C.C. No. 1,203 of 1909); and subsequent negotia- 
tions between the Council and the Metropolitan Boards of Guardians on the 
matter, 1909-11 ; Report on the Condition of the Children in receipt of Out- 
relief, by Dr. Ethel Williams, 1908, p. 155; Minority Report of Poor Law 
Commission, pp. 165-7 of official 8vo edition. 

Page 269. Such efforts at voluntary registration have, within the past few 
years, been started at Hampstead and Stepney (Cotincils of Social Welfare), 
and at Chelsea (Charity Organisation Society), among other places. The 
most interesting case is that of Derby, where a salaried " Registrar of 
Public Assistance" was appointed, early in 1910, by a Joint Committee 
representing the Town Council, the Education Committee, the Distress 
Committee, the Board of Guardians, the Guild of Help, and the Charity 
Organisation Society. Five-sixths of the cost is borne by the Board of 
Guardians, with the sanction of the Local Government Board. In the first 
nine months' working, out of 2,470 cases reported by the participating 
authorities as relieved, no fewer than 438 were found to be getting duplicate 
assistance. Nevertheless, we learn, it was proposed to abandon the experi- 
ment; and it was only tentatively and conditionally decided to continue it — 
largely because the different relieving bodies disliked the criticism of their 
action implied in the discovery of the overlapping ! See, for other instances, 
the Local Government Board Report on Guilds of Help (1911). 

Page 286. The Majority Report proposal was that any applicant, being in 
need of medical aid, " should be allowed to apply directly to a medical 
officer for treatment, and that his application should be dealt with as soon 
as possible afterwards by a Committee of the Public Assistance Authority. 
In other words, investigation should follow upon treatment." (Majority 
Report of the Poor Law Commission, Part V., ch. 3 (v.), p. 384 of official 8vo 
edition.) The Majority Report relied, as the Minority Report did, on (o) 
power to recover cost, where ability to pay was found; (b) systematic 
inquiry after each case had begun to be treated (ibid., p. 384). This did not 
refer merely to " urgent " cases, but to all ; for " in the interests of the 
community it is of utmost importance that the applicant should first be 
treated, and the question of his economic position and his capacity to pay 
determined afterwards. Accordingly, we think that this is the principle 
upon which the Medical Assistance Authority of the future should proceed " 
(ibid., p. 383). 

We think that the subsequent inquiry into means can best be done by the 
Registrar and his staff. 

1 cna 


Page 287. See the chapter entitled " Charge and Uecovery by Local 
Authorities" ii the Minority Report (Part 1., ch. viii., pp. 286-312 of 
official 8vo edition). 

Page 289. The question has been raised as to an " appeal " from the deci- 
sions of the Registrar ; and such an " appeal " by the local authority con- 
cerned to a Central Department was mentioned in the Minority Report 
(Part I., pp. 407-9 of official 8vo edition). This has been misunderstood. 

So far as the rules or regulations or Standing Orders, which any proposal 
might infringe, are those of the Council itself, the Committee wishing to 
treat a case in any way forbidden thereby, would naturally have to bring 
the matter specially before the Council itself, in order to get the Standing 
Orders suspended, or special sanction given by the Council for a departure 
from its own rules. It would not be the Registrar's decision which stood in 
the way, but the Council's own* orders ; and hence the request to the Council 
to allow a departure from them would not be an "appeal" against the 
Registrar, who is only an officer of the Council, carrying out the Council's 

But the provision contravened by a proposed grant might be imposed by 
statute or by authoritative order of the Central Department. In this case, 
the Council would not have any power to sanction a departure from the 
rule. The Minority Report contemplated, in that case, a representation by 
the Council to the Central Authority, requesting its sanction, so far as the 
statutes might permit, for a departure from its own orders. This has been 
wrongly described as an appeal from the decision of the Registrar. It 
corresponds to the innumerable requests now made to the Local Govern- 
ment Board or the Board of Edvication for special sanction. 

Page 289. We have, we find, omitted to mention in the text, the proposal 
made in the Minority Report (Part I., pp. 409-410 of the official Svo edition), 
that to the Registrar of Public Assistance should be committed the manage- 
ment of the receiving House, which was thought to be necessary for the 
strictly temporary accommodation, for a day or two, of accidental odds and 
ends of cases in which food and shelter may be urgently required, and for 
whom it may not always be possible to gain admission to the appropriate 
institution ; such cases as the man found dying on the road, the lunatic 
awaiting conveyance to asylum, the foundling discovered too late for relega- 
tion that day to the Children's Home, etc. We think that the Committee 
dealing with the Registrar and his staff might well deal also with this tiny 
institution; which would, we suspect, turn out to be nothing more than a 
couple of rooms, almost invariably empty ! But to which of its Committees 
and wliich of the officers the Cotxncil entrusts it seems to us unimportant. 


The " Moral Factor " 

In this final chapter we come down, in the problem of 

Destitution, to what, in many senses, is " bedrock " — the 

question of human character and personality. And it is 

in the fullest sense true that the " moral factor " is the 

supreme issue. Emphatically and distinctly are we 

warned off " short cuts " and easy solutions. However 

much we may better the material circumstances of a 

family, a class or a generation, if in so doing we have 

lessened the energy, lowered the intellectual standard or 

degraded the motives of those concerned, or of the 

community as a whole, we shall have achieved naught and 

less than naught. For as all experience tells us, and all 

philosophy teaches, we shall, in this " debasing of the 

moral currency," but have laid the foundation for more 

extended and more intense destitution and misery. But 

to make this indubitable fact a reason or an excuse for 

doing nothing at all — as is too often done — is either 

intellectual sloth or sheer hypocrisy. It is exactly this 

connection between destitution and the " moral factor," 

which gives irresistible force to the demand for a Policy 

of Prevention, based on the definitely ascertained facts 

and the highest available scientific knowledge. We see 

that, just because of the results on human character and 



personality, the nation cannot afford to go on, as it is now 
doing, continually creating destitution and relieving it, for 
in this way it is insidiously lowering the character of the 
community, if not of the race. We who here write have 
always based our appeal for a National. Campaign against 
Destitution — our call to a New Crusade — not on any plea 
of material privation, or even of physical suffering ; but 
on the argument that Destitution, in modern urban 
conditions, is found, in fact, just as chattel slavery was, 
to be accompanied by a sort of moral malaria and spiritual 
degradation among the destitute themselves, and by a 
distinct lowering of the moral purpose of the whole 
community, rich as well as poor. 

We believe that this " moral " effect is the result of 
a " moral " cause ; a cause that may be traced in all the 
immediate and, in a sense, material antecedents of Destitu- 
tion that we have described in the first seven chapters 
of this book. If our social order suffers from the Disease 
of Destitution, we attribute it — we may almost say in aU 
cases- — to a definite " moral " failm'e ; either to an obtuse- 
ness, if not a lack, of moral consciousness, or to a refusal 
to act on its dictates. But the " moral " failure may 
not be in those who are destitute. Sometimes, it is true, 
the moral failure is definitely that of the individual 
destitute man himself ; and the consequent tragedy, in 
spite of all human effort to avert it, might happen, so far 
as we can foresee, in any social order. Sometimes, on the 
other hand, the failure is that of other individuals, or of 
the community itself ; and the consequent wrecking of 
individual lives is all the more tragic in that, like the fall 
of the Tower of Siloam, it overwhelms, so far as we can 
compute, good and bad alike. 



We see this rooting of the causes of destitution in a 
moral failure, and at the same time, the frequent dis- 
junction between " moral " failm-e in the community 
itself, or in some individuals, and the wrecking of the lives 
of others, very strikingly in the case of much preventable 
sickness. There is a vast amount of ill-health, and all 
its consequent destitution, demonstrably produced, among 
quite innocent people, often children and other helpless 
dependents, by the culpable neglect of owner or 
occupier or employer to keep the premises for which they 
are responsible in a weather-proof and sanitary state, free 
from over-crowding, dirt or disorder injurious to health. 
The obligation of the community to prevent such evils, 
admitted in our manorial and common law proceedings 
against nuisances, is still, as we are all of us quite aware, 
very imperfectly fulfilled. The spread of infectious disease 
is often a result of the definite failure of individuals so to 
act as not to injure their neighbours ; and, at the same 
time, of the failure of the community to perform its 
recognised duty in affording facilities for isolation. Where 
we trace back adult destitution to Child Neglect, we have 
a clear failure on the part of father or mother to fulfil 
parental obligations ; though this is often accompanied by 
an equally obvious failure on the part of the community 
to give to the able-bodied breadwinner any opportunity 
of discharging his duty. The whole area of " sweating " 
has been well said to be characterised by " the absence of 
a responsible employer " — that is, one who is constrained 
by the community, whether through law or public opinion, 
to give the wages, the leisure and the sanitary conditions, 
without which his workers cannot continue in health. And 
when we come to Unemployment and Under-employment, 


we find ourselves amid a crowd of instances in which the 
evil effects on both innocent and culpable are due either 
to vicious methods of taking on workers (failure of obliga- 
tion on the part of the employing class, and of the 
community which permits it), or to failures of workmen 
to execute their work honestly and efficiently when they 
have got it, or to seek or accept the available opportunities 
for work when they have not got it. In the destitution 
brought about by Unemployment, we have, it is true, in 
the great cyclical depressions of trade, or in the recurrent 
seasonal fluctuations, causes which seem, at first sight, 
purely " economic," and unattributable to any " moral " 
failure of individuals or communities. In the Unemploy- 
ment and consequent destitution brought about by new 
machines, new processes or new groupings of industrial 
organisation, we have another purely " economic " cause — 
a cause which in some states of society it was felt as a 
national obligation to inhibit because of the dislocation 
that it wrought, but which, in modern society, we have 
deliberately elected to allow freely to operate, because of 
the increase in national wealth that, notwithstanding aU 
the accompanying losses, we believe it to produce. But 
we see now that, whilst these " economic " fluctuations and 
changes cannot or ought not to be arrested, it is mere lack 
of forethought or lack of goodwill on the part of the 
community as a whole that permits them, quite 
unnecessarily, to work out into the Unemployment of 
hundreds of thousands of workmen, and the reduction to 
destitution of innumerable guiltless families. And with 
our ever-growing social consciousness that we are not 
justified, as a nation, in heaping up riches, so long as we 
fail to prevent what is preventable and to remedy what 


is remediable in these industrial dislocations, we may 
count it as a moral failure on the part of the community 
as a whole that it has not yet begun to prevent the occurrence 
of the preventable Unemployment thus occasioned. The 
maintenance of a definite standard of civilised life is 
certainly a universal obligation ; but to secure its fulfil- 
ment is not within the power, and therefore not within 
the moral duty, of the individual alone. It is the joint 
responsibility of an indissoluble partnership between the 
individual and the community, in which neither must fail 
in duty. They are accordingly — though possibly in a 
larger sense than they intend — fundamentally ""right who 
say that there is no destitution which has not, at root, a 
moral factor ; and that it is always to the moral failure — 
which is, of course, often a moral failure of the community as 
a whole — that remedial action must be directed. 

Such being the position, our duty as a community 
depends, it is clear, on the state of our knowledge. Two 
hundred years ago, as in the Middle Ages, we knew neither 
how to prevent the occurrence of destitution, nor how to. 
treat it in any curative or reformatory way. Whether it 
came as the accompaniment of Sickness, or as the result of 
Child Neglect, or as a consequence of Unemployment, the 
only thing that we could do, either as individuals or as a 
community, was to " relieve " it. To give alms was 
accordingly one of the highest moral duties ; and the 
EHzabethan Poor Law, with all its shortcomings, was 
admirable statecraft. Then came advance of knowledge. 
From Daniel De Foe's " Giving Alms no Charity," down 
to the latest number of the Charity Organisation Review, 
we have been refining our methods of relief ; gradually 
learning, in these two centuries, that some acts of so-called 


charity and some methods of State ReUef are so harmful 
in their results as to be positively immoral. But even 
those who have discovered this new knowledge, and who 
have done most to drive it home to the public mind, still 
assume that we must base our State policy, like our 
personal philanthropy, on the provision of " relief." The 
thesis of the present volume is that a further advance of 
knowledge has made this conception as obsolete as its 
predecessor. We know now, as a community, how to 
prevent the occurrence of destitution, so far as the great 
mass of it is concerned ; and we Imow also, to a great and 
steadily increasing extent, how to treat such cases as we 
have been unable to prevent in such a way as, in many 
instances, to effect a cure. And these methods of preven- 
tion and treatment, whilst incidentally including all 
necessary provision, are proved by actual experience to 
be free from the adverse psychological reactions on personal 
character which it has been found so difficult to dissociate 
from even the wisest form of " relief." Accordingly, the 
time has come when the community is failing in its moral 
duty if it does not base its policy on Prevention and 

We must therefore, in the present state of knowledge, 
condemn any indulgence in the mere rehef of destitution " 
whether by a Poor Law Authority or by Voluntary 
Agencies, as unjustified by religion or humanitarianism, 
because we now know a more excellent way ; and as 
positively injurious to the community. Such rehef of 
destitution, however " wisely " and " discriminately " it 
is administered, cannot avoid subsidismg, and therefore 
perpetuating, extending, and intensifying, all the different 
forms of " moral " failure that we have referred to. A 


whole century of experience has now taught every educated 
person that " relief " of the sweated or under-employed 
worker — whether from the Poor Law Authority or private 
philanthropy — is responsible for enabling the evil system 
to continue ; even for developing the demoralising industry 
at the expense of competing trades ; and for serving 
actually as a bounty to the careless, inej6B.cient or positively 
oppressive employer, in his continuous struggle with 
worthier rivals. Again, the " medical relief " and " medical 
extras " afforded by a Poor Law Medical Service (or for 
that matter, by the ordinary " club practice " of the 
Friendly Society), to the victim of workshop insanita- 
tion or domestic overcrowding, make it easier for these 
defaults to continue, and actually help the slum landlord 
or " sweatmg den " employer to compete with those who 
feel constrained to behave more conscientiously to their 
tenants and workpeople. Equally disastrous is any form 
of relief in affecting the conduct and character of the 
prostitute and the drunkard. It is not too much to say 
that under our present system the Workhouse and the 
Poor Law Infirmary, even apart from the doles of the 
charitable and the chances of Outdoor Relief, act, just 
because their doors must stand always open, and because 
they can give nothing but reHef , as a perpetual subvention 
to the misconduct of the drunkards, whom they succour 
in their delirium tremens, and to that of the prostitutes 
and the men of unmoral sexual life, who are relieved in 
the extremities of disease. In the same way the Poor 
Law subsidises the careless, irresponsible, and even cruel 
parent. At the gate of every large workhouse the observer 
may see, at frequent intervals, the tragic spectacle of a 
worthless man and woman taking their discharge ; and 


being presented by the officials with their children — fetched 
from the Poor Law School or Children's Home, clean, 
well-fed, and under proper discipline and training — 
condemned, at the caprice of their worthless parents, to 
be dragged back into the indescribable conditions of dirt, 
misery and cruel neglect which are characteristic of the 
" In and Out " pauper. For in and out of the morass of 
destitution these children are allowed to go, as 
Miss Florence Davenport Hill pointed out, " like buckets 
on a dredging machine." For fifty years the Poor Law, 
because it restricts itself to the relief of destitution, has stood 
helpless before this problem. It cannot follow these 
children into their homes or into the streets which serve 
instead of a home, because the parents choose to say they 
are not, for the moment, destitute. For it is of the essence 
of any mere relief of destitution, confined as it is to those 
who are destitute, at the period of their destitution, that 
it is necessarily precluded from bringing to bear upon those 
whom it relieves, either moral suasion and preventive 
influences prior to the crisis of their destitution, when 
alone they can be of real avail, or the indispensable 
disciplinary supervision after the crisis has passed. Thus, 
the more definitely we accept the view that destitution 
has always a " moral " factor, the more clearly it comes 
out that the mere Relief of Destitution can do nothing 
but help the individual over the bad time brought about 
by the misconduct of himself, of other individuals, or of 
the community as a whole — misconduct which it accord- 
ingly palliates and promotes. It is, in fact, this very 
subsidy to misconduct, inherent in any Poor Law, and in 
all mere relief by Voluntary Agencies, which seemed, to 
some thinkers, to warrant the abolition of all such relief. 


whether public or private, in order that the destitute 
might be left to suffer the consequences of a misconduct 
which was assumed to be generally their own ! 

It is the claim of this book that the nation can now 
escape from the dilemma thus presented to it. We assert 
that the mere relief of destitution, whether by State action 
or Voluntary Agencies, with all its demoralising effect on 
personal character, and its inevitable palliation and 
encouragement of " moral failure " — however necessary to 
our conscience such relief may have been in the seventeenth, 
the eighteenth, or the nineteenth century — can now be 
dispensed with, without suffering and without inhumanity. 
The advance of knowledge, and, in the United Kingdom, 
the growth in national and municipal organisation, now 
for the first time permit us to substitute, for all kinds of 
mere " relief," measures of prevention of the several 
causes of destitution, and measures of treatment of every 
case not prevented, which, whilst ensuring that no person 
whatever goes unprovided for, can be demonstrated to 
be without injurious effect on personal character or 
national energy. The whole " moral " effect of the work 
of the preventive Authorities is, in fact, in the opposite 
direction, tending always to mcrease the consciousness 
of obligation, and to promote a more extensive fulfilment 
of it. If we take, for instance, the work of the Local 
Health Authorities, we see that this actually arose out of 
the old manorial system of " presenting " citizens who 
were found failing in their public obligations, with a view 
to bringing home to their consciousness the existence of 
these obligations, and of bringing to bear on their will the 
suasion of public opinion and the penalty of a fine, in 
order to stimulate them to fulfilment. To-day if we study 


the whole range of Public Health administration, whether 
with regard to housing or sanitation, the treatment of 
infectious disease or the " standardising " of the conditions 
of employment, we cannot but observe the steady growth 
in the amount and in the range, both of the consciousness 
of what is required, and of deliberately concerted 
action by owners, employers and occupiers in fulfilment 
ot hygienic obligations. The extensive work of the Local 
Health Authorities with regard to infantile mortality, the 
conmionly recognised infectious diseases, and now, more 
and more, the various forms of tuberculosis — far from 
making people less conscious of their obligations, more 
disposed to be ill, and increasingly lax in their moral 
character — has meant a steadily growing subordination of 
\ personal impulse to the general will, the recognition of 
ever-increasing obligations towards one's neighbours and 
the community ; and more and more the deliberate 
ordering of life so as to promote the health of one's self 
and one's family. 

The same tendency to extend the range of the 
obligations that are recognised as morally obligatory, 
and the same steady increase in the actual fulfibnent of 
these obligations, is seen in the work of the Local Education 
Authority. Few persons realise the enormous increase 
in personal obligation in the households of five-sixths of 
the population that was involved in the Education Acts. 
There are, we believe, still some who fondly imagine that 
these Acts relieved parents of responsibility ! Such 
persons can never have known what it has meant to the 
father, and still more to the mother, in many hundreds 
of thousands of poor households, to have to do without 
the elder children's help ; to adjust the exiguous family 



budget without their little earnings ; to get them up and 
dressed and sent off regularly and punctually to school ; 
to conform, with many a painful struggle, unsuspected by 
those more fortunately situated, with the ever-rising 
school standard of personal cleanliness, hygiene and 
clothing ; often to prepare the separate meals necessitated 
by the lack of correspondence between the school and 
workshop hours, or by the distance of the school from 
home. It is, in fact, impossible to measure the vast, far- 
reaching and ubiquitous influence on the parents, in this 
teaching of regularity, self-subordination and self-control, 
which the elementary school has exercised. The quite 
new requirement, now being more and more made, that 
the children's heads and bodies and clothes shall be reason- 
ably free from the once universal vermin, is only one 
among many successive rises in the " National Minimum 
of Child Nurture " which it is the real function of the 
Local Education Authority to enforce. In the universal 
medical inspection of the children, and the insistence on 
proper medical and surgical treatment of hitherto dis- 
regarded ailments, we recognise a further elevation of this 
National^ Minimum. Up and down the country we see 
the parents, on the children's need bemg brought home 
to their consciousness, gladly taking the not inconsiderable 
personal trouble, submitting to the very real tax of loss 
of working tune, and, in the vast majority of cases, even 
paying part of the cost, required to get these ailments 
properly treated. In the background, as with the greater 
part of all our moral obligations, there is the liability to 
prosecution and punishment, on conviction of glaring 
failure to fulfil this new parental responsibility ; but it 
is remarkable (as now with the duty of school attendance) 


how rarely the law has to be called ui. It is only when the 
Local Education Authority — its hands forced by the defects 
in the rest of our administrative system — descends to 
the mere "relief of destitution," as in the case of spas- 
modic doles of dinners to half-starved children, that we 
find a danger of undermining parental responsibihty. 
If, instead of being empowered merely to give food to the 
starving child, the Local Education Authority had been 
made defi^nitely responsible for searching out all forms of 
child neglect ; if it had been expressly charged to insist 
on the parents themselves remedying that neglect to the 
extent that they had power to do so ; and if steps had 
been at the same time taken to ensure that every willing 
worker had been guaranteed a real opportunity of fulfilling 
his parental obligations, the universal ensuring of food 
for the children would have achieved as great a rise in 
parental responsibility as the universal ensuring of educa- 
tion has already done, and as the miiversal ensuring of 
cleanliness and personal hygiene is already visibly beginning 
to effect. 

When we come to the problem of Unemployment 
we reach the keystone of the arch of the enforcement of 
moral obligation. By the activity of the Local Health 
Authority and the Local Education Authority, in searching 
out neglected infants and neglected children, we are steadily 
increasing our demands on the personal care, and even on 
the pecuniary sacri&ce, of all such persons as Jiave the 
means of maintaining their offs'pring in a fit state. But 
there is no way of bringuig home to those parents, who 
are without the means of subsistence, this progressive 
enlargement of the obligation to maintain themselves 
and their families, unless there is some organisation such 


as the National Labour Exchange, where their willingness 
to work can be tested, and some such policy of preventing 
Unemployment and of providing for the Unemployed as has 
already been outlined. It is impossible to enforce the ful- 
filment of parental obligations on fathers and mothers 
whom we permit to remain actually unable to fulfil them. 
What is in this connection even more significant is that 
it is found in practice impossible to enforce any such 
obligations even on negligent or recalcitrant persons, so 
long as there is no way of ensuring, to all who are willing, 
an opportunity of doing their parental duty. If, however, 
any such Policy of Prevention and Treatment, as we have 
in our sixth chapter described, were systematically 
carried out — if every able-bodied parent were guaranteed 
either the opportunity of continuous employment at 
wages or the opportunity of mamtenance under training 
— it would become as practicable to insist on the universal 
fufihnent of parental responsibility with regard to food 
and clothing, as it has proved to be with regard to educa- 
tion, and as it is proving to be with regard to cleanliness. 

We pass now to the " Moral Factor " in the problem 
of destitution, as affecting the all-important life of the 
home, and what is called the integrity of the family. 
It is a curious delusion to imagine that concern on this 
point is the monopoly of any one school of thought. 
It is common to practically all reformers — as it certainly 
is to all serious social students — to regard the preservation 
of the family group as essential to the progress, if not to 
the very continuance of our race. What is not so universal 
is the realisation that our present industrial system, with 
its palliating "relief of destitution," is actually destroying 
the family and the home. Let anyone who doubts watch 



the wholesale desecration of home life and disintegration 
of the family among the dwellers in the slums of om: 
great centres of population ; among, in fact, the greater 
part of the three or four millions who were destitute last 
year. There is one black accompaniment of destitution 
— an accompaniment which has incalculable evil efEects 
on home life, and yet which is an inevitable corollary of 
insufficient earnings in a crowded city — the indecent 
occupation of the overcrowded, insanitary tenement. 
The herding together, by day and by night, of men and 
women, of young and old, of boys and girls, of all degrees 
of relationship or no relationship, not only destroys 
health, but makes, to the ordinary human being, the parti- 
cular virtue upon which the integrity of the family depends, 
wholly impracticable. Can anyone who has lived in a slum, 
and has observed the day by day and night by night 
circumstances of a one-roomed tenement, lay the flattering 
unction to his soul that if he and his family had been 
subject, from infancy upwards, to this inevitable corollary 
of urban destitution, they would have maintained any 
decent standard of family life ? Any person who, like the 
present writers, has lived the life of the London streets, or 
dwelt among the denizens of the slums in a capacity that 
compelled a personal acquaintance with the inside of every 
tenement, or worked for wages in the " sweat-shops " or 
" sweating dens," cannot fail to have had brought home 
to him the existence of a stratum of society, of no in- 
considerable magnitude, in which children part with their 
innocence long before puberty, in which personal chastity 
is virtually unknown, and in which " to have a baby by 
your father " is laughed at as a comic mishap. We have 
here perhaps the biggest " moral failure " of all — and, 



as responsible citizens of a nation which knowingly and 
deliberately permits such a state of things to continue, 
this moral failure is our own. What we do not think too 
bad to allow to exist, we ought not to think too bad to 
have brought home to our consciousness. We should like 
every legislator, every member of a Local Authority, and 
every national or municipal official, from one end of the 
kingdom to another, to be forced to gaze every day on 
a series of photographs of the " going to bed " of literally 
hundreds of thousands of families — comprising a larger 
proportion of our fellow citizens than all the payers of 
unabated Income Tax put together — with fathers, mothers, 
sons and daughters, children and infants, lying in the same 
bed, often with male and female lodgers occupying corners 
of the same room. With these facts constantly before 
their eyes, the propertied class and the official class, who 
are at the present time really responsible for the govern- 
ment of the country, might at last realise the true meaning, 
of the " Moral Factor " in destitution. 

All this desecration of the home, this disintegration 
of the family, this failure to maintain the conditions of 
nurture necessary to the race, is what we get from our 
present policy of leaving each family to suffer the con- 
sequences of its own (!) conduct and confining our collective 
action to the relief of destitution. And what the Poor Law 
does not prevent is not prevented by the alms of the 
charitable. Experience tells us that the distribution of 
doles, or even charitable help of a wiser kind, does little 
or nothing to diminish the indecent occupancy of single- 
room tenements, or even the overcrowding of others; 
whilst it tends to subsidise the slum landlord and the 
grinding employer, and to palliate and perpetuate the 


failure of the Local Authority to exercise its powers under 
the Housing Acts. Moreover, the fathers and mothers, 
demoralised by these conditions, and snatching their 
livelihood from the pity of the charitable, are frequently 
tempted to excite this pity by making the condition of 
their children, by gross neglect and sometimes even by 
bodily cruelty and mutilation, more pitiable than need 
be. Here, as elsewhere, the " moral failure " which is 
at the root of the destitution, whether it be that of the 
community as a whole, in permitting such conditions, 
or that of the individual in submitting to them, is actually 
subsidised and encouraged, permitted and perpetuated* 
by the policy of relieving destitution. The withdrawal 
of the alms of the charitable from every person living 
below whatever might be deemed the essential minimum 
of family accommodation and home nurture, indispensable 
to the proper rearing of the race, might lead to more deaths 
from starvation than at present occur, and perhaps to 
more " sedition," but it would probably actually decrease 
the amount of deliberate neglect and cruelty by parents. 
Exactly the same effect is produced by the Poor Law, 
with its usually indiscriminate and invariably inadequate 
and unconditional Outdoor Relief. Here, at any rate, 
the findings of the Royal Commission of 1834 are repeated 
almost word for word in the Majority and Minority 
Reports of the Commission of 1905-9. 

It is in this inability of the alms of the charitable 
or the Outdoor Relief of the Poor Law to cope with the 
supreme " Moral Factor " in the problem of destitution, 
that we find the explanation of the adoption by the Poor 
Law Commissioners of 1834 of the drastic policy of 
" breaking up the family " with regard to all those who 



were really destitute, and of dispersing its different 
members in tlie separate workhouses that the Report of 
1834 recommended, or in the separate departments of 
the " well-regulated " workhouse that was presently 
adopted. As it was naturally found that no policy of 
merely " relieving " destitution could prevent the cor- 
ruption of the home and the desecration of the family 
which the destitution itself caused, and that, as a matter 
of fact, any such relief to the family in the slums served 
usually to perpetuate, if not even to extend the area of 
corruption, the only alternative that seemed open to the 
Poor Law administrator was to abolish the home and 
disperse the family ! This policy of " breaking up the 
family " as a condition of relief was carried to an extreme 
point by Mr. Goschen and Mr. Stansfeld, and the zealous 
inspectorate of 1871-5 ; it is, be it remembered, still that 
of the Local Government Board, and of its imperative 
Poor Law "Orders" (including the latest draft revision 
of 1911) ; and it is, in fact, to this day, that of so-called 
Poor Law " orthodoxy." These authoritative Orders 
relating to Poor Relief, which have governed the work 
of the Boards of Guardians for the last three-quarters of 
a century, have been, with regard to the normal household 
group, elaborate codes for " smashing up the family " 
among such of the destitute as have had to submit to them. 
Apart from cases of actual sickness, it has been made a 
condition of affording any relief to a destitute father of a 
family in the great majority of the Unions of England 
and Wales (save only temporarily, in sudden and urgent 
necessity), that the family should give up its home and 
its home life ; that all its members should enter the 
Workhouse, there to be absorbed into institutional life ; 


the husband to be herded with other men of all ages and 
characters in the men's day ward and night dormitory ; 
the wife with other women in the women's day ward and 
night dormitory ; the infants, day and night, in the 
workhouse nursery ; the other children in the workhouse 
•itself, or, m the best cases, in the distant " barrack " 
schools— there to remain separated from each other, with 
only occasional brief interviews in the presence of other 
people, so long as they are receiving any relief at all. The 
stricter school of Poor Law administrators — the school 
which has always received the blessing of the Local 
Government Board — has gone a step further. Even where 
the only parent is a widow, who admittedly cannot be 
expected to earn both her own livelihood and that of her 
children^ — where, in fact, it is known that unless she has 
quite extraordinary skUl, and is prepared seriously to 
neglect her domestic duties, it is impossible for her to 
do so, — she has been refused all relief, except the reUef 
of having some of her children taken away from her ! 
This policy of depriving the children of widows even of 
such home life as their mothers could afford, and of herding 
the children thus artificially orphaned with a crowd of 
other pauper children, either in a Poor Law School, or 
actually in the Workhouse (where 20,000 children are still 
to be found residing, in England and Wales alone), has 
been pursued, and is to-day being pursued, not merely 
with regard to homes which are undesirable, or mothers 
who are " undeserving," but as a matter of principle, to 
mothers of the highest character, with homes without 
reproach. In fact, from " breaking up the family " where 
the home may have been undesirable, the so-called 
" orthodox " school of Poor Law administrators, with the 


eager support of the Charity Organisation Society, have 
gone on to " break up," as a matter of principle, the home 
even of the irreproachable and the deserving. And seeing 
that this " abolition of the home " and " breaking up of 
the family " is still going on to-day, upon a large scale, 
with full official and charitable approval ; that, in the 
United Kingdom, something like ten or twenty thousand \ 
families were thus " broken wp " last year, and dispersed ij 
in Poor Law institutions ; and that the Minority Report |f 
was one long protest against such a policy, it must be 
ranked as one of the strangest ironies of controversy that 
the defenders of the existing Poor Law and the advocates 
of this very pohcy of deliberately and intentionally des- 
troying the home and destroying every vestige of family 
life, even where the family life is exceptionally good, 
should accuse the promoters of the Policy of Prevention 
of " breaking up the family " ! 

This extraordinary accusation has so frequently been 
made, and has been repeated in good faith by so many 
uninformed people, that it is desirable to answer it fully 
and explicitly. The Policy of Prevention put forth in 
the Minority Report, and in the present work, involves 
placing the full responsibility for preventing the occurrence 
of destitution, and for scientifically treating such cases 
as do nevertheless occur, with regard to each natural 
class of persons — infants, children of school age, sick, 
mentally defective, aged and able-bodied unemployed — 
on the specialised Authority dealing with that class. 
This means that the Local Health Authority will deal 
with sickness and infirmity (including maternity and in- 
fancy) ; the Local Lunacy Authority with mental 
deficiency ; the Local Education Authority with the 


nurture of children of school age; the Local Pensions 
Authority with the aged unable to manage on their 
pensions ; and the proposed new National Authority for 
Unemployment, of which we have the nucleus in the 
National Labour Exchange, with the needs of the able- 
bodied unemployed. Hence it is asserted that one and the 
same family will fall into the hands of five separate 
Authorities, which may, any or all of them, intervene to 
deal separately with each of the members ; and that this 
necessarily implies that the family will be " broken up " ! 
The accusation seems to be based, in the first place, on 
a quite ludicrous misunderstanding of the common 
official term "Authority." As a matter of fact, apart 
from the proposed National Authority for the Able-bodied 
Unemployed, in nearly every place of ten or twenty thous- 
and inhabitants, all but one of these " Authorities " ; 
and in the County Boroughs of England and Wales, 
comprising half the population, literally all these " Authori- 
ties," are one and the same body ; the Town (or Urban 
District) Council, acting through its various committees. 
Why it should any more " break up " the family, for the 
Manchester Town Council, with its several committees, to 
deal with the several members of the family, than for 
the Manchester Board of Guardians to do so, also by a 
series of committees, is not at first apparent. But the 
accusation seems to be based, among those who are aware 
that the Local Education Authority, the Local Health 
Authority, the Local Lunacy Authority, and the Local 
Pensions Authority, are only different legal terms for the 
Town Council, on the entirely groundless assumption that 
each of these several " Authorities " will adopt and take 
over the policy of the Poor Law of trying to restrict itg 



work as far as possible to tlie management of institutions. 
But this policy of " offering the Workhouse " is part of 
the attitude of " deterrence " which has characterised, 
perhaps necessarily, the mere relief of destitution ; and 
it is quite opposed to the habits of the various Authorities 
pursuing the diametrically opposite Policy of Prevention. 
We do not find that the Local Health Authority, in those 
towns in which it is actively pursuing a Policy of Pre- 
vention with regard to Infantile Mortality, has any idea 
of separating the infant from its mother ! On the contrary, 
the whole of its work — the supervision of midwifery, the 
universal notification of births, the Health Visiting, the 
Municipal Milk Clmic, the "School for Mothers "—is 
based on the principle of maintaining the home, however 
humble it may be, and of teaching every mother how to 
make it really a place of the best nurture for her infant. 
Is it suggested that, when the Local Health Authority is 
made definitely responsible for " searching out " all 
neglect of infancy, and for maintaining the " National 
Minimum " of infant nurture, that it will pursue a policy 
of tearing the infants from their mother's breasts and 
bringing them up in a converted workhouse nursery ? 
In those towns in which the Local Education Authority 
is going actively to work to prevent child neglect, we see 
it multiplying effort after effort to maintain the home — 
the domiciliary visiting not only of the School Attendance 
Ofl&cer but also of the Children's Care Committee, the 
repeated messages of the teachers to the parents as to 
what the child lacks, the expository visits of the School 
Nurse, the invited presence of the mothers at the medical 
inspection, the explanations to the parents of the medical 
treatment that the child requires, the maintenance 


allowances made to the scholarship winners, even the 
"Day Feeding School" for the children of parents unable 
to attend to them dm-ing the day — and only in the last 
resort, when it is clear that the parents either cannot or 
will not give the child even the prescribed low minimum 
of nurture and control, do we find the Education Authority 
summoning parent and child before the magistrate, and 
getting the child committed to a residential Industrial 
School. Is it imagined that when the Local Education 
Authority is made definitely responsible for " searching 
out " all neglect of children of school age, and ensuring 
for all of them the prescribed " National Minimum " of 
child nurture, that this Authority will reverse aU its 
action, close all its day schools, and put all the children 
into " Barrack Schools " ? The services of the present 
National Labour Exchange in finding situations for the 
men out of work, and the " Ghent " system of Unem- 
ployment Insurance that we recommend as a useful 
adjunct for the seasonal trades, do not seem to point 
to any other intention than that of " keeping the home 
together." The proposed Training Establishments, 
for the maintenance under training of such able-bodied 
men as cannot be found situations, where the unoccupied 
man will be kept all day from the street-corner and the 
public-house, and sent home at night, disciplined and 
refreshed, to his wife and family, who will have their own 
maintenance allowance, indicate at any rate more desire 
to " maintain the home " and preserve the " integrity of 
the family," than the universal reception of the able- 
bodied in the workhouse which is recommended by the 
Poor Law Division of the Local Government Board. But 
some institutional treatment there must be, and when we 



consider what is actually done in this way by the Local 
Health Authority, the Local Lunacy Authority, or the 
Local Education Authority, we see that (unlike the Poor 
Law workhouse) the institutions of the preventive Authori- 
ties do not " break up the home," but actually tend to 
maintain it. What is done with regard to the fever 
patient, the lunatic, or the truant child, is to remove from 
the home circle that member of the family only whose 
infirmity is dangerous to itself or to the home, with the 
object, whilst the home is preserved and the family 
integrity maintained, of curing him or her and restoring 
him or her to family life. There seems to be an extra- 
ordinary notion that, unless the Local Authority takes 
over the whole family, it is not " dealing with the family 
as a whole." We can imagine what an outcry there would 
be if it was the practice to commit the whole family to 
the hospital of the Local Health Authority, the asylum 
of the Local Lunacy Authority, or the residential school 
of the Local Education Authority, merely because one 
member of the family needed such treatment. Why 
supply institutional treatment to the whole family when 
only one member is in need of it ? No self-supporting 
citizen goes to one department of the municipality, or to 
one " Authority," or to one institution, any more than 
to a single shop, for all that the different members of his 
family require. Surely, the only sensible policy is to let 
each responsible Local Authority see to it that every 
person requiring its specialised assistance, gets that 
specialised assistance at the moment, and in the form, 
in which it will be most effective, leaving the rest of the 
family and the home to go on, as nearly as possible, in a 
normal way. 


We cannot help suspecting that this curious mis- 
understanding as to the treatment of the different members 
of one and the same family is rooted in another mis- 
understanding as to the nature of what will be given. 
To the Reheving Officer, as to the Poor Law Guardian, 
to the ordinary philanthropist as to the Charity Organisa- 
tion Society worker, what seems in question is always a 
gift of money. This, it is true, is nearly always the form 
that (apart from the workhouse) is taken by " relief " ; 
and this undifferentiated succour must naturally be given 
to the head of the family, and might well be best doled out 
by a single Authority. But this conception is already 
obsolete. The greater part of what is now done by the 
community for those whom it collectively succours is 
not " relief," and much of it is not given in money at all. 
Under the Policy of Prevention that we advocate, with 
the Poor Law abolished, there will be no giving of " relief." 
What will be provided for each individual is first, whatever 
specialised alteration in the environment may be necessary 
for the prevention of the cause of his need ; and secondly, 
as incidental to these alterations, the specialised treatment 
that the suffering individual proves to require. Thus, in 
many cases, perhaps in the majority of cases, there wiU 
be no question of a dole of money, And if money has 
to be given, it will be given, not as " relief " but as a 
necessary incident of the treatment — as part of the 
medical treatment in sickness, as the payment for " board- 
ing out " the children with their own widowed mothers, 
as the pension due as of right to the aged and the per- 
manently incapacitated, as the wife's rightful Home 
Aliment whenever the breadwinner is withdrawn to 
hospital, asylum or training establishment. It is the 


conception of " relief," and relief in money, that makes 
the " treatment of the family as a whole " loom so large 
to those who criticise the policy of the Minority Report. 
But there will, under the Minority Report scheme, be no 
" relief," least of all " relief by a money dole." 

We think that we have now made good our point that 
the Policy of Prevention sketched in this volume, and the 
substitution of scientific treatment for relief, far from 
implying a demoralising laxness, or any decay of parental 
responsibility, or any disintegration of the family, would, 
as a matter of fact, produce a tightening up all along the 
line. This all-round increase in the extent and the 
intensity of the moral obligations, which we regard as an 
incidental advantage of the Policy of Prevention, has, of 
•course, roused some objectors. An eminent statistician. 
Professor Karl Pearson, recently asserted that the increase 
in parental responsibility entailed by the Factory and 
Education Acts, has promoted, if it has not caused, a 
disastrous restriction of the birth-rate, and that any 
further enforcement of parental responsibility, if persisted 
in, may gradually extinguish the race ! We are glad to 
record the conclusion that the Education Acts and the 
Factory Acts have raised the standard of parental responsi- 
bility, and we are undismayed by the statistical inference. 
When we remember that, until the other day, all proposals 
for improving the position of the wage-earning class, 
whether by Trade Unionism or Factory Acts, Free Schools 
or Free Maternity Hospitals, were denounced on the 
exactly opposite ground, that these subsidies to the 
manual workers would lead to a reckless child-bearing on 
-the part of the "lower classes," so that we should be 
suffering from a " devastating torrent of babies "—when 


we remember the potent argument of a whole race pressing 
on the means of subsistence — it is difficult to resist a smile 
at the magnificent attempt to turn topsy-turvy the whole 
Malthusian argument against Social Reform. Though we 
disagree with the positive assertions of Professor Karl 
Pearson, and especially with the data oh which he has 
based his argument, we have already stated that, assuming 
that the restriction of the birth-rate to be volitional, any 
such rise in the position of the three or four millions of 
people who are now destitute, as we believe it possible for 
our Policy of Prevention to bring about, would unquestion- 
ably lead to a slackening of the present rate of multiplica- 
tion of this lowest stratum. Such a slackening in the 
rate of multiplication of the destitute — which Professor 
Karl Pearson himself would desire — would be an unmixed 
advantage. And even if the rising Standard of Life of 
the whole manual working-class should, with the growing 
enlargement of parental responsibilities, lead to an 
exceptional restriction of the birth-rate among the prudent 
and the conscientious, the remedy is an easy one. If the 
community should come to wish to have a larger number 
of babies born to the best of the working-classes, the 
community can get as many as it likes if it is prepared to 
pay even a small part of the cost of production. At 
present, it is not too much to say, motherhood in four- 
fifths of the homes in the land, is penahsed. We have 
chosen so to arrange our society that the working-class 
mother has frequently to work immediately before and 
after child-birth to get bread ; she has, in any case, to 
incur no light illness without the community yet making 
any adequate provision for her needs ; repeated confine- 
ments mean a very serious loss of service, loss of health. 



and loss of money ; we give tlie wife no power of compelling 
her husband to make proper provision for her, even if he 
is in a position to do so ; and all that we offer her by way 
of pubhc help, for a service that we are appealing to her 
to perform, is the shame and disgrace of pauper relief, in 
the company of the wanton and prostitute. If the nation 
is alarmed lest any proper enforcement of parental 
responsibility should unduly restrict the birth-rate among 
the prudent and the self-respecting, the nation has the 
remedy in its own hands. By merely providing free 
medical treatment and any necessary attendance at child- 
birth, and milk for the mother and child, without any 
stigma of pauperism, the community can secure a higher 
birth-rate whenever it chooses and can make this provision 
a lever to secure for the child a good home. And if any 
further measures were needed to maintain the desirable 
increase of population, a small endowment of the mother 
before and after the birth of the child — still more an 
endowment of the child during infancy and school age — 
would not only provide as many babies as the community 
desired, but would enable the community to choose, by 
its preference, both such parents and such homes for the 
up-bringing of the future generation as were deemed 
likely to produce the finest citizens. Child-bearing, we 
venture to assert, is an occupation that the bulk of women 
would prefer to any other, if any proper provision were 
made for it. We do not, ourselves, think that such drastic 
steps will be required to prevent such a slackening of the 
birth-rate as would be injurious to the race. At present, 
owing to the steadily decreasing death-rate, thefe is still 
an adequate increase of population. But we are glad to 
welcome this testimony to the way in which the preventive 


policy of the Local Healtk and Local Education Authorities 
have actually so much increased parental obligation, that 
they have relieved us from the Malthusian bugbear which 
still, in the minds of some people, affords an unanswerable 
argument to any practical proposals for social improve- 

A more general objection to this all-round increase 
in the consciousness and fulfilment of moral obligations is 
the fear that we are thereby threatened with what has been 
picturesquely termed " the servile state." If men and 
women who are inclined to neglect their children ; if able- 
bodied people who lilie begging, or otherwise imposing on 
the public ; if families which prefer dirt, disorder and 
disease, are to be forced by persistent pressure, and, in the 
last resort, even by legal process, to mend their ways, 
what a terrible restriction on the liberty of the individual ! 
This objection is always ostensibly urged on behalf of the 
manual worker, the wage-earner or other poor person who, 
being in a state of destitution or partial destitution, is 
likely to fall under the supervision of the preventive 
authorities. It is insinuated that the person with property, 
being able to fulfil these primeval obligations of family 
maintenance without personal effort, escapes any kind of 
supervision. We have, accordingly, an appeal made to 
the democratic sentiments of the people to resist this 
attempt at " class legislation," But it is interesting to 
observe that these objections never come from persons of 
the manual working or wage-earning class. In fact, the 
arguments to which Mr. Harold Cox, on the one hand, and 
Mr. Hilaire Belloc on the other, have urged, are already 
familiar in the fulminations of the Liberty and Property 
Defence League ; and they have been repeatedly employed 



during tlie past three-quarters of a century, on behalf of 
the landlords and capitalists, as a means of obstructing 
every proposal to raise the Standard of Life of the wage- 
earning class. We do not find that either the wage-earners 
or then chosen representatives in the Trade Unions, 
Co-operative Societies, or the Labour Party, have ever 
advanced this objection to the successive Public Health, 
Factory, or Education Acts, which have embodied the 
enforcement of new obligations. The explanation is 
simple. In so far as this legislation and administration 
has directly or indirectly led to a higher standard of 
personal obligation, and a more general fulfilment of 
parental responsibility, it has presented a different aspect 
to the salaried brainworker and the man of property, than 
that which it presents to the propertyless class. To the 
employer and to the landlord, all this enactment of 
" common rules," and all this enforcement of a " National 
Minimum," low as it might be, loomed as a limitation of his 
personal freedom. It limited the range of his power over 
the lives of others, and therefore, as it seemed to him, was 
likely to reduce his opportunities for extracting the 
swoUen profits and rents of sweated labour and slum 
tenements. It meant, to him, in any case, increased 
efforts and greater thought, sometimes even a larger 
expenditure, without any corresponding mcrease in the 
amenity of his own life. But the other side of the shield, 
seen by the wage-earner as the outcome of this same 
legislation, is an enormous growth in practical freedom of 
action, a liberty positively enlarged by law, increased 
leisure, better health, greater Amenity of life, further 
opportunities of advancement for his children, and some- 
times even higher money vv^ages. So long as we offer to 


every wage-earner at all times the opportunity to earn a 
full livelihood for himself and his family, or if this 
opportunity cannot, through industrial dislocations, be 
provided, an honourable maintenance under training, while 
a new situation is being found for him — though he may 
have aspirations after a "Co-operative "Commonwealth" 
of which he does not recognise the approach — he will have 
no objection to a rigorous insistence, by the community, 
that he shall accept work when it is there for him to do. 
The great bulk of wage-earners have no sympathy with 
the " work-shy " and the wastrel. It is the same with 
the enforcement of other obligations. The ordinary work- 
man would consider it an extravagant phantasy that any 
one should object to send his child to school, or to permit 
his child to be medically inspected and treated, if the 
community provides the school and the medical treatment. 
He will even, for the sake of the child, willingly pay part 
of the cost. And assuming that any member of his family 
is so feeble-minded as to be beyond control, or is suffering 
from an infectious complaint he is glad to be permitted, 
still more to be invited, to accept at the earliest possible 
moment the treatment which may cure the sickness or 
bring the lunatic or feeble-minded person under control. 
And, it is the same with regard to the conditions of employ- 
ment. The wage-earners have never yet objected to a 
general limitation of the hom-s of labour, or to the 
enforcement of a standard rate, so long as it did not entail 
ousting them from their means of subsistence. In fact, 
this whole conception of a joint responsibility of the 
individual and the community for the universal main- 
tenance of a prescribed standard of civilised life, is 
extraordinarily sympathetic to the English manual 



working-class, for the simple reason that the evil with 
which they are confronted in practical life, is not any over- 
regulation of their conduct and impulses, but the disaster 
of periodically being deprived of the opportunity of 
maintaining themselves and their children at any standard 
at all. And if we pass from this extreme of economic 
insecurity and survey the people at work on any one day, 
we shall realise that it is not the highly-organised Trade 
Unionist enforcing the Common Rules of his craft, or the 
healthy citizens of a " progressive " municipality with 
its elaborate code of sanitary and other by-laws, who 
exhibit "serviHty" of spirit ; who submit uncomplainingly 
to the oppression of the landlord or the exactions of the 
capitalist ; who suffer meekly the consequences of a 
badly-organised social system, or who sell their votes to 
reactionary representatives of the governing class. It is, 
on the contrary, just those sections from whom the pro- 
tective organisation of the State has been so far with- 
held ; the umegulated laundresses ; the sweated workers 
to whom the Factory Acts do not apply ; the labom-ers 
in the country villages where collective action is at a 
minimum ; the slum dwellers of enfeebled health and 
demoralised will, who succumb to the temptations of 
servility and add a degradation of soul to their unfor- 
tunate material surroundings. In the past three-quarters 
of a century, every step in Trade Unionism, every advance 
in Factory Legislation, every development of municipal 
activity — far from increasing servility — has, in fact, 
diminished the area of " the servile state." 

But, in any wide programme of Social Reform, it is 
not sufficient to prove a case and refute objections. It is 
even not enough to carry conviction to the minds of the 


electorate and to watch the gradual dying away of 
opponents into silence. We fully recognise that, even 
assuming the whole community to be agi-eed on a 
substitution of universal Prevention and Treatment for 
relief, it would find its progress checked by two practical 
considerations — the need for funds and the need for 

What would such a policy cost, and how is the money 
to be found ? Any pretence at a detailed estimate, based 
as this must necessarily be on purely hypothetical con- 
jections, would be absurd. We know that it is almost 
always cheaper to prevent the occurrence of an evil than 
to pay for its disastrous effects. We know^ too, that, 
although it may suit particular individuals, and even 
particular classes, to postpone measures of prevention, 
because they thereby escape taxation, the nation itself 
has, in the end, to pay the bill in full, in the extravagantly 
costly destitution and crime, inefficiency and degeneration, 
that have not been prevented. Moreover, it is obvious 
that the cost of the whole policy, or of any part of it, will 
necessarily depend, not merely on the rapidity and com- 
pleteness with which the several hundred Local Authorities 
of the United Kingdom choose to put it into operation — a 
point on which prediction is impossible — but also on the 
standard that we choose to set up. Let us take, for 
instance, the part of the policy which is most generally 
accepted — the part, by the way, which is the most costly — 
namely, the segregation of the congenitally feeble-minded. 
Up to what point is this to be carried ? We might, 
perhaps, without any serious increase in the total public 
expenditure, at once segregate in suitable institutions for 
their whole lives, the distinctly feeble-minded gu:ls who 



now come in and out of our Poor Law Infirmaries on their 
melancholy progress of bearing feeble-minded infants ; for 
what we should spend on the potential mothers, we should 
save in the cost of the present annual crop of degenerate 
children. A small additional expenditure would enable 
us to take permanent hold of the young cruninals, mostly 
boys, who now pass in and out of prison throughout their , 
lives, by reason only of their congenital feeble-mindedness. 
But, before we can feel that we have dealt with the whole 
evil of Feeble-mmdedness, we must accept responsibility 
for all such children in the Mentally Defective Schools, as 
can, at the end of school age, be definitely certified as 
congenitally feeble-minded ; and we shall have to deal 
with a good many similarly certifiable persons who do not 
now come before a Public Authority, but who would 
easily be discovered by offering free maintenance m the 
Public Asylum. If we were suddenly to adopt this drastic 
policy, up to a high standard, from one end of the kingdom 
to another, we might be let in for an expenditure of several 
millions a year. Our own impression is that the ratepayer 
and the professional advocate for the freedom of the 
individual will intervene long before we have reached the 
standard of normal mentality which it is desirable, ui the 
interests of the race, that we should enforce ! On the 
other hand, the more of this action in segregating the 
feeble-minded that we now take, the lighter will be the 
burden and the problem for the next generation. In 
practice we shall doubtless begin only with the really bad 
cases ; and without much additional expenditure in any 
one year, we should be able to rise, decade by decade, to 
a higher standard of certification. 

Much the same may be said with regard to the 


prevention of sickness. Those Local Health Authorities 
which have chosen to spend money on effectively combating 
the notifiable infectious diseases, now find their Isolation 
Hospitals nearly empty, and are beguming to use them 
for preventing phthisis. In other districts the ratepayer 
is apt to intervene, and to prescribe • an economy in 
, sanatorium accommodation which ends in his successors 
having to bear the cost of disease which might have been 
prevented. With the varying standards of many hundreds 
of separate Local Health Authorities it is plainly impossible 
to estimate what will be the additional expenditure on 
tuberculosis, when tuberculosis is ranged amongst the 
infectious diseases to be prevented by the Local Health 
Authority, instead of amongst those to be " relieved " by 
the Poor Law Authority, after a whole family has been 
infected ! All that we can predicate is that the more we, 
in this way, spend in the present, the less we shall need 
to spend in the future. And it is the same with the Local 
Education Authorities. Even supposing that they were 
to be made as definitely responsible for preventing all 
forms of Child Neglect, as they have been for preventing 
the lack of schooling, experience tells us that the ratepayers 
will inevitably resist the sudden or complete fulfilment of 
their obligations. It took no less than twenty years fi'om 
the passing of the Education Act of 1870 to get all the 
children into school ; it may perhaps take another twenty 
years to get all the children in Great Britain provided with 
proper medical and surgical treatment for theii* little 
ailments, and universally so fed that they can profit by 
the instruction that we pay for. The universal provision 
of training on the half-time or " sandwich " system for 
aU boys and girls up to eighteen years of age, would cost 



some millions a year, but we should be thereby preventing 
the creation of a great many future paupers and criminals, 
as well as making room for many unemployed men squeezed 
out by " decasualisation," all of whom would otherwise 
have to be maintained. Finally, we come to the problems 
of Sweatmg and "Unemployment. If we were suddenly, 
without due preparation, to raise the wages of all the 
sweated workers to something permitting even a minimum 
standard of civilised life, we should not, it is true, thereby 
put any new charge upon the taxpayer, but we might, m 
the case of many articles, raise the cost of production to 
the employer and the price to the consumer. But all 
the experience of the past, as every contractor knows, 
proves that a gradual and moderate increase in wages, step 
by step, up to the point of full subsistence, creates such a 
rise in productive efhciency that it actually decreases the 
cost of production and lowers prices. With regard to 
" decasualisation " and the regularisation of the aggregate 
national demand for labour, we might even find ourselves 
making a distinct economy by the better organisation of 
industry that such regularisation would promote, alike in 
the cost of labour to the employer and in the public 
provision for the Unemployed. On the other hand, the 
cost of the establishment of our National Labour Exchange, 
of the provision of Training for those for whom no situations 
can be found, and still more, of any general subsidising 
of Insurance, will have, in effect, to come out of the 
pocket of the taxpayer, though the cost of this new 
pubhc Department of Unemployment would be balanced 
by the saving of our present expenditure on charity, 
under the Poor Law, and in prison administration, in 
respect of the present large class of vagrants, wastrels, 


and petty criminals. Any net increase thus occasioned 
in our total collective expenditure on the poor will, we 
believe, be more than made good by the all-round increase 
in the productivity of the manual working-class that 
would accompany their better health, their more regular 
conduct, their greater technical skill and "the prolongation 
of their average working life. This is, at any rate, the 
counsel of the Political Economist as it is that of those 
practical men of affairs who have watched the results of 
good food, discipline, and education in different countries, 
at different periods, on different classes and races. Hence 
the not infrequent abuse of a Policy of Prevention by the 
more fanatical of the Socialists on the ground that all the 
improvements in sanitation, education, hours of labour 
and habits of life, of the past half century, whatever may 
have been their beneficial effect on the wage-earners 
themselves, have meant also a great increase in the rents 
and profits of" the propertied class as a whole, which 
accordingly finds itself, after fifty years of rising public 
taxation, more wealthy than ever ! Exactly the same 
objection might have been made to the abolition of chattel 
slavery, a revolution which can be proved, in theory and 
practice, to have increased the productivity of labour 
and therefore the amount drawn in rent and interest. 
No student of working-class history in Great Britain can 
doubt that the political enfranchisement of the workers, 
with the growth of Trade Unions and Co-operative Societies, 
and the general development of personal dignity and 
intellectual capacity of the operative, have greatly in- 
creased the wealth-production, and, with it, the " sm-plus 
value " of the nation. We are, in fact, members one of 
another ; and no improvement can come to any one 



section of the community without other sections also 
benefiting. How much of the material wealth-production 
continues to flow to the propertied classes will depend on 
the way we choose to organise our society. It is clear, 
though the Socialist does not always remember it, that 
any such reconstruction as he desires involves, as a con- 
dition, that we should first have put to an end to the 
degradation and demoralisation in which so large a pro- 
portion of the wage-earners are, by their destitution, 
enslaved ; and that the best hope lies in securing, for 
the children of the whole population, such a standard of 
health, intelligence, and education as will enable them to 
take their part in the Co-operative Commonwealth. 

With regard to the money, there is, indeed, little to be 
said. If we tackle the problem, bit by bit, in our 
practical British way ; working usually through the Local 
Authorities ; leaving to their initiative the pushing onward 
of the experiments ; and stimulating their efforts both by 
the counsel of the Central Departments and by progres- 
sively increasing Grants m Aid, we suggest that there will 
be no real difficulty in raising, year by year, the very small 
increase of taxation that the year's progress requires. 
As a matter of fact, the sums in question are far less than 
those to which recent Budgets have accustomed the 
taxpayer. A nation which can shoulder a burden of 
thirteen millions a year merely to maintain its old people 
after 70, or thnty millions a year to afford its adult sick 
medicine and sick pay, cannot pretend to be unable to 
spend a million or two on the economy of prevention ! 
In a- political Democracy, growing ever more conscious of 
itself, the growth of collective provision for common needs 
— which the economist advises as actually promoting 


increased production— may be regarded as inevitable. We 
have all of us, for a whole generation, been deploring the 
unequal manner in which the national income is distri- 
buted — how too much falls to the wealthy, and too little 
to the industrious poor. The workmen themselves are 
now learning what it amounts to. Up and down the 
country they are realising that, out of a total annual 
income of two thousand million pounds a year, their class, 
constituting four-fifths of the whole population, gets 
barely one-third ; that the greater part of the other two- 
thirds is monopolised by a small section of the community 
and either accumulated in privately owned wealth or 
spent in personal luxury. Twenty years ago, Professor 
Marshall put the amount annually wasted by the wealthy 
classes at four hundred million pounds a year. Last 
year more money was spent on motor-cars alone than 
would have sufficed to carry out the whole Minority 
Report ! 

Paradoxical as it may appear to the majority of our 
readers, the most formidable obstacle to the adoption of 
the Policy of Prevention and Treatment is, not resistance 
to the necessary public expenditure, still less inability to 
raise the money, but the lack of administrative science 
and the shortcomings of om* administrative machmery. 
Merely to relieve destitution has been nearly as easy as 
doing nothing. But successfully to intervene in order to 
prevent — whether to prevent sickness, to prevent the 
neglect of children, to prevent the multiplication of the 
mentally unfit, or to prevent Unemployment — involves 
the discovery of causes, the formulation of large schemes 
of policy, the purposeful planning of collective action m 
modifying the environment of the poorer classes, together 



with scientifically diversified treatment of those individuals 
who fall below the recognised standard of civilised life. 
Unless we have a very determined effort to clear up all 
these problems by continuous observation and verification, 
we may still see large sums of public money spent on what 
is virtually a slovenly relief of destitution and not its 
prevention. In some of the legislation that has been 
passed during the last two decades, and in a good many 
of the projects put forward by each political party in turn, 
we see the fatal attraction of the easy policy of " relief," 
in contrast with the arduous mental labour involved in 
mastering the technique of prevention. Great Britain, in 
fact, finds it difficult to break out of a vicious circle. Our 
governing class — ^Ministers, Members of Parliament, Judges, 
Civil Servants — do not seem yet to have realised that 
social reconstructions require as much specialised training 
and sustained study as the building of bridges and rail- 
ways, the interpretation of the law, or technical improve- 
ments in machinery and mechanical processes. The result 
is that the amount of knowledge available, 6ven of 
knowledge of facts, when a Minister is faced by a problem, 
is always ludicrously insufficient, whilst adequately trained 
expert students of the subject are seldom to be found. 
Meanwhile, the bulk of the electorate, the organised 
working-class, can hardly be expected to have time to 
.think out for themselves, the necessary changes in environ- 
ment or to develop any new social technique ; and in 
default of intellectual leadership, they are apt to alternate 
between a somewhat cynical apathy and an impartial 
acceptance of the first easy-looking device for improving 
their condition that is presented to them. 

The first condition of effective social progress in this 


country is that we should get out of this vicious circle. 
We must grow, alike among the few who can draft, pass 
and administer Acts of Parliament, and among the many 
who can, if they choose, dictate policy, a vigorous public 
opinion in favour of a more deliberate choice of purpose 
and a more scientific selection of the means by which this 
purpose can be best attained. And though our progress 
may be slow, experience indicates that only in this way 
can it be sure. Any student of the long and gradual 
development of Public Health administration, of Public 
Education, or the public treatment of the mentally 
deficient, necessarily comes to realise the alternate failure 
and success in every progressive development of the work, 
and the gradual emerging, from all the experiments, of 
the realised knowledge by means of which we are now 
able, with some approach to accuracy, to attain our ends. 
And exactly as the momitain climber finds, when he has 
reached what seemed to be the summit, another summit 
beyond him, so the administrator discovers, when he has 
fulfilled' one purpose, another and a higher purpose opening 
out before his powers of attainment. And this involves 
not only the gradual working out of technique, but also the 
steady and careful elaboration of our social machinery. 
This is, of com'se, particularly clear with regard to an 
entirely new public service such as the Prevention of 
Unemployment and the training of the Unemployed. 
Here we have as yet only the rudiments of the machinery 
for the simplest operations. We have, as yet, no class of 
representatives or officials accustomed to transacting even 
these simple operations, and only a few officials and 
amateurs who are trying to understand the new develop- 
ments that are required to bring the whole policy into 



action. But in practically all departments of the work 
of Prevention — in the campaign against infantile mortality, 
child neglect and preventable disease ; in the campaign 
against mental degeneration and in favour of promotion 
of better breeding ; in the campaign against the ruin of 
adolescence, the creation of Unemployment and the demora- 
lisation of the Unemployed — we are always being stopped 
by the need for further experimenting and additional 
research. We know enough now to know how supremely 
important it is to extend our knowledge. But research 
and experiment in social subjects cost as much as research 
and experiment in chemistry, or electricity ; and the 
public does not yet realise this fact ! Here, indeed, is a 
magnificent field for the volunteer worker and for the 
munificence of many a millionaire. Whether in practical 
experiment or in pure research, there is no range of work 
that is more likely to bring about immediate social better- 
ment than this of the various means of preventing 
destitution, and of scientifically treating the cases that 

And here, as elsewhere, the researcher and experi- 
menter will have to remember that the worst of the evils 
which he is seeking to overcome is not the material 
privation or physical suffering which destitution connotes, 
but the moral degradation with which it is, in modern 
communities, almost always accompanied. And just as 
it is our horror of this moral degradation that inspires our 
work and steels our will, so in our choice of means and 
choice of ends, we must, of course, weigh not merely the 
material results that ensue, but also the inevitable psycho- 
logical reactions in human motive and human character. 
It is, indeed, after all, the " Moral Factor " in the problem. 


wLether manifested in the fuller development of individual 
faculty, the finer tone of family life, or the widening grasp 
of public spirit, that is and must remain the dominant 
consideration in every attempt at Social Reconstruction. 
But noble purpose will not alone suffice. In the latest 
of the sciences to be developed, we shall require not 
only a perpetual enlargement in the social purpose of 
the whole community, but also a larger and larger 
measure of foresight, invention, and technical efficiency 
on the part of specialised groups of brain-workers 
on whom, for the most part, the execution of this social 
purpose will necessarily devolve. And it is in the closer 
communion for the future, of these two great social forces — 
the public-spirited citizen exercising his influence and 
manifesting his will in public opinion, and the specialised 
social investigator and trained official, supplying the 
organised knowledge and carrying out the social purpose — 
that our progress in the Prevention of Destitution, as in 
aU other branches of Social Reform, wiU, in the main, 


Notes and Eeferences. 

Page 297. The gradiial evolution of knowledge as to the effects of charity 
may be traced in Kirkman Gray's History of English Philanthropy, and 
his Philanthropy and the State. Daniel Defoe's Giving Alms no Charity 
and employing the Poor a Grievance to the Nation, appeared in 1704. 

Page 300. Miss Florence Davenport Hill's book. The Children of the State 
(1861), is still worth reading; see also her evidence to the Departmental 
Committee on Poor Law Schools, vol. i., p. 72, vol. ii., Q. 3,081. For the 
present position of these children, see Minority Eeport of the Poor LaAv 
Commission, Part I., ch. IV., sec. Vll. (a), pp. 136-ld3 of official 8vo 

Page 308. The actual recommendations of the Poor Law Eeport of 1834— 
very commonly mis-stated and misunderstood — will be found accurately 
analysed in English Poor Law Policy, by S. and B.Webb (Longmans : 1909) ; 
which also describes and explains how it was that the abolition of the General 
Mixed Workhouse, recommended in that Eeport, was never carried into 
effect. See, on this point, the Majority Eeport of the Poor Law Commission, 
1909, Part IV., ch. IV. (pp. 1G3-1G5 of official 8vo edition); and Minority 
Eeport, Part I., ch. I. (pp. 7, 17-21 of official 8vo edition); and the Eeturn to 
the House of Commons, No. 108 of 1838. 

Page 309. The great lengths to which between 1871 and 1875 the Inspectors 
of the Local Government Board carried their campaign of " breaking up 
the family," and destroying the home among the destitute— apparently as a 
means of rooting out destitution— are described in our English Poor Law 
Policy (1909). 

Page 310. How best to deal with the widow suddenly left helpless with a 
young family is the standing problem of the Poor Law Guardians and the 
C.O.S. worker. For some discussion of the problem, see various papers by 
the C.O.S. on "How to Help Widows," "The Migration of Widows"; the 
chapter on "Widow and Orphan" in Kirkman Gray's Philanthropy and 
the State (pp. 274-288); the Eeport on the Condition of the Children under 
the Poor Law, by Dr. Ethel Williams, 1909; Majority Eeport of the Poor Law 
Commission, 1909, Part IV., ch. VIII. (pp. 246-252 of official 8vo edition); 
Minority Eeport, Part I., ch. II., pp. 36-45; ch IV., pp. Ill, 164-7. 

The solution of the difficulty, we believe, will be found when the Local 
Health Authority and the Local Education Authoriti>s are definitely made 
responsible for universally enforcing a National Minimum of Child Nurture, 
in usually " boarding out the children with their own mothers "—giving, 
not " relief " to the mother, but payment for maintaining the child— and, 
where the mother is unable or unwilling to provide decently for the child, 
its admission to a " Day Feeding School," where it is provided for from early 
morning, but returns to its home in the evening. Where the home, through 
drunkenness, immorality, or cruelty, is proved to be absolutely unfit for 
child nurture, the child must be " adopted " by the Local Education 
Authority, and brought up as an orphan. 



Paqk 310. As to tho children in workhouses, see the authorities cited in 
the Minority Ix'eport, ]'J09, Part I., ch. IV. (pp. Ill-IH of official 8vo edition); 
and Minority Report for Scotland, 1909, Down to 1911 the number of children 
artnalhj residing in the General Mixed Workhouses nj the United Kingdom 
had not been diminished. We see no sign of any official intention to take 
the steps necessary for compelling the removal of these children from the 
Workhouse. The optimistic figures quoted always refer to something else. 

Page 317. See The Decline of the Birth Rate. (Fabian Society, 3, Clement's 
Inn, London). 

Page 320. The question is always cropping up, whether this or that develop- 
ment of Democracy is inimical to Personal Liberty. We suggest that the 
answer depends on what is meant by the term. On this point we venture to 
append an extract from our Industrial Bemocractj (1897) : — 

" If, then, we are asked whether democracy, as shown by an analysis of 
trade iinionism, is consistent with Individual Liberty, we are compelled to 
answer by asking, What is Liberty? If Liberty means every man being his 
own master, and following his own impulses, then it is clearly inconsistent, 
not so much with democracy or any other particular form of government, as 
with the crowding together of population in dense masses, division of labour, 
and, as we think, civilisation itself. What particular individuals, sections, 
or classes usually mean by ' freedom of contract,' ' freedom of association,' 
or ' freedom of enterprise ' is freedom of opportunity to use the power that 
they happen to possess; that is to say, to compel other less powerful people 
to accept their terms. This sort of personal freedom in a community com- 
posed of unequal units is not distinguishable from compulsion. It is, 
therefore, necessary to define Liberty before talking about it, a definition 
which every man will frame according to his own view of what is socially 
desirable. We ourselves understand by the words ' Liberty ' or ' Freedom,' 
not any quantum of natural or inalienable rights, but such conditions of 
existence in the community as do, in practice, residt in the iitmost possible 
development of faculty in the individital hmnan being. Isow, in this sense 
democracy is not only consistent with Liberty, hut is, as it seems to us, the 
only way of securing the largest amount of it. It is open to argument 
whether other forms of government may not achieve a fuller development 
of the faculties of particular individuals or classes. To an autocrat, 
untrammelled rule over a whole kingdom may mean an exercise of his indi- 
vidual faculties, and a development of his individual personality, such as 
no other situation in life would afford. An aristocracy, or government by 
one class in the interests of one class, may conceivably enable that class to 
develop a perfection in physical grace or intellectual charm attainable by no 
other system of society. Similarly, it might be argued that, where the 
ownership of the means of production and the administration of indxxstry are 
unreservedly left to the capitalist class, this ' freedom of enterprise ' woiild 
result in a development of faculty among the captains of industry which 
could not otherwise be reached. We dissent from all these propositions, if 
only on the ground that the fullest development of personal character 
requires the pressure of discipline as well as the stimulus of opportunity. 
But, however untrammelled power may affect the character of those who 
possess it, autocracy, aristocracy, and plutocracy have all, from the point of 
view of the lover of liberty, one fatal defect. They necessarily involve a 
restriction in the opportunity for development of faculty among the great 
mass of the population. It is only when the resources of the nation are 
deliberately organised and dealt with for the benefit, not of particular 



individuals or classes, but of tlie entire community; when (he administration 
of industry, as of every other branch of human affairs, becomes the function 
of specialised experts, working through deliberately adjusted Common Rules; 
and when the ultimate decision on policy rests in no other han is than those 
of the citizens themselves, that the maximum aggregate development of 
individual intellect and individual character in the commiinity as a whole 
can be attained. 

" For our analysis helps us to disentangle, from the complex influences on 
individual development, those caused by democracy itself. The universal 
specialisation and delegation which, as we suggest, democratic institutions 
involve, necessarily imply a great increase in capacity and efficiency, if only 
because specialisation in service means expertness, and delegation compels 
selection. This deepening and narrowing of professional skill may be 
expected in the fully-developed democratic state, fo be accompanied by a 
growth in culture of which our present imperfect organisation gives us no 
adequate idea. So long as life is one long scramble for personal gain— still 
more, when it is one long struggle against destitution— there is no free time 
or strength for much devolpment of the sympathetic, intellectual, artistic, 
or religious faculties. When the conditions of employment are deliberately 
regulated so as to secure adequate food, education, and leisure to every 
capable citizen, the great mass of the population will, for the first time, 
have any real chance of expanding in friendship and family affection, and 
of satisfying the instinct for knowledge or beauty. It is an even more 
unique attribute of democracy that it is always taking the mind of the indi- 
vidual off his own narrow interests and immediate concerns, and forcing him 
to give his thought and leisure, not to satisfying his own desires, but to 
considering the needs and desires of his fellows. As an Elector— still more 
as a chosen Eepresentative— in his parish, in his professional association, 
in his co-operative society, or in the wider political institxitions of his state, 
the ' average sensual man ' is perpetually impelled to appreciate and to 
decide issues of public policy. The working of democratic institutions 
means, therefore, one long training in enlightened altruism, one contimial 
weighing, not of the advantage of the particular act to the particular 
individual at the particular moment, but of those " larger expediencies " on 
which all successful conduct of social life depends. 

" If now, at the end of this long analysis, we try to formulate our dominant 
impression, it is a sense of the vastness and complexity of democracy itself. 
Modern civilised states are driven to this complication by the dense massing 
of their populations, and the course of industrial development. The very 
desire to secure mobility in the crowd compels the adoption of one regulation 
after another, which limit the right of every man to rrse the air, the water, 
the land, and even the artificially produced instruments of production, in 
the way that he may think best. The very discovery of improved industrial 
methods, by leading to specialisation, makes manual labourer and brain- 
worker alike dependent on the rest of the community for the means of 
subsistence, and subordinates them, even in their own crafts, to the action 
of others. In the world of civilisation and progress, no man can be his own 
master. But the very fact that, in modern society, the individual thus 
necessarily loses control over his own life, makes him desire to regain 
collectively what has become individually impossible. Hence the irresistible 
tendency to popular government, in spite of all its difficulties and dangers. 
But democracy is still the Great Unknown. Of its full scope and import we 
can yet catch only glimpses. As one department of social life after another, 


bocoines the subject of careful examination, we shall gradually attain lo a 
more complete vision. Our own tentative conclusions, derived from <lie 
study of one manifestation of the democratic spirit, may, we hope, not only 
suggest hypotheses for future verification, but also stimulate othor students 
to carry out original investigations into the larger and perhaps more 
significant types of democratic organisation " (pp. 847-50). 

Page 334. AVe gladly recognise that some progress has been made in 
organising social and economic research. The foundation in 189.5 of the 
London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London) 
supplied the need for a centre of study and researcli; and the great and 
continued success of this institution, with its extensive professoriate, its 
post-graduate students and "seminars," its undergraduate classes with their 
1,500 men and women in attendance, and its uniciue " sociological museum " 
in the form of a collection of 200,000 documents, etc., affords a most promising 
opening for further developments of the work. Unfortunately, it is still 
without endowment, and is now quite intolerably cramped for space; and 
nothing would be likely to do more to further economic and social research 
in this country than the provision for this institution of a new building in 
which the work could be expanded and of a series of endowed Research 
Scholarships or Fellowships, to enable work to be done by those who are not 
themselves rich. 

Just as we write, we have to welcome the organisation of a great " National 
Conference on the Prevention of Destitution," in London, at Whitsuntide, 
1911, when something like a thousand delegates from local governing bodies 
and voluntary agencies, from one end of Great Britain to the other, will 
meet for a ioxiv days' conference to consider— leaving entirely aside the Poor 
Law and the Poor Law Aiithority as dealing only with relief— how best the 
Local Health Aiithorities, the Local Education Authorities, the Local 
Lunacy Authorities, and the National and Local Unemployment Authorities 
can take up the campaign for actually preventing the occurrence of destitu- 
tion, and for scientifically treating such cases as they do occur. The 
Conference will apparently devote Itself to the working out of the technique 
of prevention in such subjects as Tuberculosis and other preventable 
disease; the needs of the infant, the child, agd the adolescent; and the 
prevention of cyclical and seasonal iTnemployment and underemployment, 
together with the method of meeting the cost and charging the individual. 
More than a hundred papers will be contributed, in the five sections into 
which the Conference is divided, by practical experts in the several 
subjects; and the volume containing these papers and reports of the 
discussion (to be published by P. S. King & Son at half a guinea net) will 
evidently prove a mine of information. 

We venture to hope that this Conference will become a permanent organi- 
sation, on non-partisan lines; committed neither to the Majority nor to the 
Minority Report, nor to any other programme or scheme; but organising 
both annual Conferences on a national scale, and quarterly Conferences for 
particular provinces of Great Britain, in which the members and oflScials of 
the different preventive Authorities, with representatives of the Voluntary 
Agencies co-operating with them, could meet and discuss the most practical 
methods of carrying otit their work. We may perhaps look to these Confer- 
ences for a " new synthesis " of municipal activity, as in its several depart- 
ments the corporate agency for actually preventing destitution— a synthesis 
in which the Town or District Councillor will find something more inspiring 
than the care of the drains and the rates ! 


" Absorption " by the " Labour Mar- 
ket," 93; of "Surplus," 132-6. 

Accidents not prevented by Insurance, 
160; not diminished under Work- 
men's Compensation Act, 181. 

Acquired characteristics, non-herita- 
bility of, no argument against- Pre- 
vention, 49. 

Addams, Miss Jane, 261. 

Adenoid growths due to rickets, 50 ; 
prevalence of, 66. 

Adolescents, lack of supervision of, G8, 
70, 80-1; should be under Local Edti- 
cation Aiithority, 80-3; "half-time" 
"for, 135; cost of, 326. 

Adoption of children by Local Educa- 
tion Authority, 335. 

Adrian, Mr., 12. 

Advance of railway fares, 140. 

Afforestation, 94. 

"After-care," 25, 255. 

Aged Poor, Eoyal Commission on, 12. 

Ague, 30. 

Alcohol, , see Drink. 
Alden, Mrs., 158. 
"Allowance System," the, 108. 
Amalgamated Society of Carpenters 

and Joiners, 220. 
Amalgamated Societv of Engineers, 


" Appeal " from Registrar, 291. 

Apprenticeship and Skilled Employ- 
ment Association, 158. 

Army, improved health in the British, 

Arson, resiilting from fire insurance, 
- 102. 
Ashley, Prof. W. J., 263. 
Association of Health Workers, 41. 
Australia, legislation against sweating 
in, 92. 

" Authority," meaning of, 312. 
Aves, Ernest, 108. 

Babies, mostly born healthy, 64. 
" Babies Welcome," the, 4l'. 
Barlow, Sir Thomas, 41. 

Baernreither, J. M., 215. 

Bagehot, Walter, 157. 

Barry, municipal hospital at, 32. 

Belgium, insurance in, 203. 

Bell, Ladj^ 13. 

Belloc, Mr. Hilaire, 320. 

Bermoudsey School for Mothers, 41. 

Bestiality, production of, 2. 

Bethnal Green, fever in, 29; indis- 
criminate charity in, 263. 

Beveridge, W. H., 109, 130, 157. 

Birmingham School for Mothers, 41. 

Birth-rate, restriction of, 51; least in 
lowest stratum, 51 ; increased by rise 
in standard of life, 52; statistics of, 
60 ; slackening of the, 317-20, 336. 

Black, Miss Clementina, 108. 

Black Death, the, 15. 

" Blind alley occiipations," 68. 

Board of Education, Annual Eeport of 
Chief Medical Officer to, 66. 

Board of Trade and Hours of Work on 
Eailways, 134, 158: and Railways 
Eegulation Acts, 158; memorandum 
on co-operation with Education 
Authorities, 84 ; ditto on seasonal 
trades, 157. 

Boarding Schools of the Local Educa- 
tion Authorities, 75-G, 78. 

" Boarding Out " by Local Education 
Authority, 76, 80; of children with 
their own mothers, 136, 316, 335. 

Booth, Rt. Hon. Charles, 13, 157. 

Booth, General William, 13, 234, 251, 

Borstal, 243. 

Bosanquet, Mrs. Bernard, 261. 

Bosanquet, Prof. Bernard, 8, 13, 14, 
261, 263. 

Bowley, A. L., 113, 157. 

Boys, excessive death-rate among, 48 ; 
difficulty of apprenticing, 68-9. 

Boy Labour, Eeport to Poor Law Com- 
mission on, 84; how to deal with, 

. Brabrook, Sir E., 215. 
Bray, Mr. Reginald, 158. 




" Breaking up the Family " the Poor 
Law Policy, 309-11 ; pursued by 
L.G.B. Iiispectornte, ; still the 
policy of L.G.B., 30'); in the case of 
the able-bodied man, 309-10; in the 
case of the deserving widow, 310-11; 
how many families thus broken up 
last year, 311 ; denounced in Minority 
Keport, 311. 

"Bridewell clauses," 150. 

British Institute of Social Service, 41, 

Broadhead, H., 108. 
Burton, T. B., 157. 
Building Trades, 125, 157. 
Bureaucracy of Voluntary Agencies, 
the, 221. 

Cambridge, social conditions in, 13. 
Cancer, 19. 

Capital, unemployment of, 120-1, 123-4. 
Carlile, Eev. W. Wilson, 263. 
Carson, Catherine, 264. 
Carter, Rev. Henry, 14. 
Case-papers to be prescribed by Coun- 
cil, 276. 

Casual Labour, 129-36; evil results of, 
129; cause of chronic iTnderemploy- 
ment of, 130-1; method of dealing 
with, 131-6, 157; need of provision 
for, 201. 

Causes of Destitution, 7. 

Certifying Surgeon, the, 32. 

" Certificate of Non-Overlap," 279-81. 

Chadwick, Sir Edwin, 29, 33, 35, 42. 

Chalmers. Eev. Dr., 29, 33, 42, 43. 

Chance, Sir William, 261. 

Chappie, W. A., 60. 

Character destroyed by destitution, 2; 
as cause of destitution, 13; effect of 
compiilaory insiirance on, 174; discus- 
sion of effects on, 293-338; evil effect 
of any "relief" on, 298-9; bracing 
effect of prevention on, 301-2. 

" Charge and recovery " for medical 
treatment, 38; to be concentrated in 
■Registrar's Department, 287-8; to be 
settled by law and Standing Orders, 
288-9 ; ease of recovery at present, 289. 

Charity, prevalence of in other coun- 
tries, 221; disliked by early econom- 
ist, 222; less in Great Britain than 
elsewhere, 221. 

Charitv Organisation Society of New 
York, 8, 14, 261. 

Charity Organisation Society of Lon- 
don, 8, 157, 226-38, 251, 256-7, 261-3, 
268-70; origin of, 228; early theories 
of, 228-32; refinement of theory by, 
232 ; on the " deserving " and the 
"helpable," 229-35; effect on the "de- 

terrent" Poor Law, 233; as to sphere 
of Voluntary A gencie.s, 220-38; always 
ignores the newer Preventive Au- 
thorities, 226; futility of estimate of 
past character, 231-2; failure to 
organise charity, 233-5; reason of Ibis 
failure, 2.56-7; in St. George's in the 
East, 236-9 ; as to the " undeserving " 
and the " unhelpable," 251; as to 
"overlapping," 268-70; history and 
literature of, 261, 2G3. 

Child destitution as due simply to 
poverty of parents, 86-7; to their neg- 
lect, 61-85. 

Child neglect as cause of adult desti- 
tution, 61-85; cost of preventing, 326. 

Children under five, report of Consul- 
tative Committee on School Attend- 
ance of, 84; condition of, 65; failure 
to provide medical attendance for, 

Children Act, 1908, 70, 73, 75, 180. 
Children at School, proportion found 

defective, 66; failure to provide 

medical attendance for, 179-80. 
Children's Care Committees, 69, 73, 85, 

255, 313. 
Cholera, 29, 30. 
Church Army, the, 235, 263. 
Civic League, the, 259. 
" Cities of the Poor," 2. 
Clerks usual Iv paid during sickness, 


"Club practice," 173. 

Collective Bargaining, abandonment 
of, by Trade Unions, 199. 

"Common Rule," the, as preventing 
Sweating, 91. 

Commimity, the " moral " failure of 
the, in preventable sickness, 295; in 
child neglect, 295 ; in Unemployment, 
296; in indecent housing, 307. 

Compulsion, attraction of in insur- 
ance, 168. 

Compulsory Continuation School By- 
laws in Scotland, 82. 

" Compulsory Insiirance " a mis- 
nomer, 168-9; essentially wasteful 
nature of, 170-5. 

Consumption, see Phthisis. 

Convulsions due to rickets, 50. 

Co-operation, 10, 321. 

Cost of Policy of Prevention, 324-30 ; of 
dealing with the Feeble-minded, 

324- 5; of prevention of sickness, 

325- 6; of preventing child neglect, 
326; of providing for adolescents, 

326- 7; of preventing Sweating, 327; 
of preventing Unemployment and 
Under-employment, 327-8. 

Country Holiday Fund Committee, 255. 



County Court, Medical Keferee of, 32. 
Coiinty Council to keep the Common 

Eegister, 272. 
" Cowcatcher " theory of Voluntary 

Agencies. 22^-31, 261. 
Cox, Mr. Harold, 320. 
Crime bv youug people, 64, 70. 
Crowder, Mr., 236-9, 263. 
Croydon, condition of school children 

in, 84. 

Cyclical fluctiiations of trade, 111-24. 

" Damage-rate," the, 51, 106, 119. 

Davies, Miss Maud, 13. 

Dawson, W. H., 109. 

'• Day Feeding School," 75-6, 314, 335. 

Day Industrial Schools, use of, 75-6, 
314, 335. 

Dearie, Norman, 157. 

"Debasing the moral currency," 293. 

" Dealing with the Family as a 
Whole," 305-17. 

" Decasualisation," 132-6, 140 ; as possi- 
ble result of insurance, 200. 

Decline in percentage of pauperism, 
3, 4. 

Deductions for medical treatment, 
38 ; as basis of scheme of insurance, 

Defoe, Daniel, 297, 335. 

Degradation accompanying modern 

destitution, 2; resulting on indecent 

occupation, 305-7. 
" Demarcation " dispxites, 219. 
Dendy, Miss Mary, 60. 
Denmark, insurance in, 203. 
Dental clinic, 255. 

Departmental Committee on Physical 
Degeneration, Report of, 44. 

" Deposit Insurance," 178. 

Depression of trade, the waves of, 

Derby, Registrar of Public Assistance 
established at, 291. 

Destitution, definitions of, 1, 12; a 
disease of society, 2; extent of, 3; 
gradual decrease of, 4, 5; specific 
causes of, 6; due to defective growth 
and nurture, 09, 70; the moral fac- 
tor in, 293-338. 

Detention Colonies, 146, 149-50. 

Deterrence, complete alDandonment of 
policy of, 139. 

Development and Road Improvement 
Funds Act, 1910, 119. 

Devine, Prof. E. T., 8, 14, 261. 

Dilke, Sir Charles, 149. 

"Disablement Benefit," 185-6. 

Disease, destitiition as a social, 2; as • 
fruitful cause of destitution, 15-44; 
not prevented by Insurance, 159-61. 

Distress Committees, extent of work 
of, 3. 

Distress from Want of Employment, 
House of Commons Committee on, 

Dock Labour and Poor Law Relief, 
Report on, 157. 

" Docker," the London, 129-31, 157, 200. 

Domestic servants, paid during sick- 
ness, 17. 

"Dovetailing" of seasonal occupa- 
tions, 126-9; of casiial jobs, 132-0. 

Drink, 2, 10, 13, 26, 37, 49, 138, 232; 
accompanying destitution, 2 ; as cause 
of destitution, 10; as cause of unem- 
ployment, 138; as racial poison, 49; 
in British Army, 26; how we could 
diminish the evils of, 26, 37; re- 
clamation of the victims of, 232. 

Dundee, social conditions in, 13. 

Eastbourne, payment by Secondary 

Schools at, 172. 
Eden, Sir F., 108. 

Edinburgh, report on school children 
in, 13. 

Edinburgh School Board, Memo on 
Labour Exchange, 84; Health Com- 
mittee of, 85; reports to, on School 
feeding, 85 ; on Poor Law Commission 
Report, 85. 

Educationalists, the, and the cause of 
destitution, 9. 

Education (Administrative Provisions) 
Act, 1907, 75, 85. 

Education Acts, increase in parental 
responsibility caused by, 302-3; vir- 
tually tax on parents, 71. 

Education Anthoritj', extent of 
"relief" work done by, 290; not 
aided to supply medical attendance, 
180; great development due to Grants 
in Aid, 36. 

"Elberfeld System," the, 252-4. 

" Elimination of the Unfit " not neces- 
sarily making for progress, 48. 

Embankment, food distribution on the 
Thames, 101. 

Emigration, 94. 

Endowment of Motherhood, the, 52, 60. 
Enquiry into means to be separated 

from treatment, 281-7. 
Enteric fever, 19. 

Eugenics and Destitution, 45-59; as a 
ground of laisscr fairo, 46; real 
lesson of, 58-9. 

Eugenics Education Society, 13, 14, 60. 

Eugenists. the, and the cause of Desti- 
tution, 9. 

Evolution and Destitution, 45-52. 



" Extension Ladder " theory oi rela- 
tion of Voluntai-y Agencies to State 
action, 252-60. 

Factory Acts as preventing Sweating, 

Family, integrity of the, 305; under- 
mined by slum life, 306-8; destroyed 
by Poor Law, 308-10; maintained by 
Policy of Prevention, 311-5 ; the Poor 
Law policy of " breaking up," 303-11; 
in the case of the able-bodied man, 
309-10; in the case of the deserving 
widow, 310-11. 

Farm Colonies, 143. 

Feeble-minded, the congenital, 53; 
encouraged by Poor Law, 53; as 
prisoners, 55; segregation of, 56; cost 
of dealing with, 324-5. 

Feeble-minded, Royal Commission on 
the Care and Control of, 56, 60, 255. 

Fiebig und Hanauer, 215. 

Fire Brigade doctor, the, 32. 

Fishing villages, insanitation of, 21. 

Foresters, Independent Order of, 215, 

France, "Ghent System" in, 203; sub- 
sidies to Friendly Societies in, 205. 

"Free Choice of Doctors," 185, 187, 
188. • 

Freedom, definition of, 337-7; how far 
Democracy inconsistent with, 336-7. 

Free Shelter, the, 101, 235-8. 

Free Trade as cause of Destitution, 10; 
need for preventive measures under, 

Fremantle, Mr. F. E., 84. 

Friendly Societies, Annual Report of 

Chief Registrar of, 215. 
Friendly Societies, 38, 163-220, 3; not 

interested in prevention, 189 ; sxibsi- 

dies to, 205. 
Fry, Sir Edward, 60. 
Funeral expenses, heavy tax on poor, 


Funke and Hering, 216. 

Gainsborough, rate of wages at, 197. 

Galton, Sir Francis, 45, 60. 

Garland, Dr. C. H., 41. 

George, Rt. Hon. D. Llovd, 169, 171, 
173, 176, 212. 

Germany, insurance in, 164, 169, 175, 
177, 183, 185, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 
203, 215, 216-9; Poor Relief in, 251-4; 
Labour Colonies, 143; statistics of 
insurance in , 218-9; "Ghent System" 
in, 203. 

" Ghent System " of insurance, 203-12, 

220, 314. 
Gibbon, Mr. J. G., 220. 

GFasgow, Health Visiting at, 41. 

Gloucestershire, work of Local Educa- 
tion Authority in, 79; child statietics 
of, 79-80. 

Gonorrhosa, 33. 

Gorst, the Rt. Hon. Sir John, 158. 

Goschen, Viscount, 224-9, 261-2. 

Government orders, use of as counter- 
poise, 113-24. 

Gramophone jnakers, how affected Ir 
bad trade, 121-2. 

Grant in Aid to Local Health 
Authorities, 30; possible use of for 
insurance, 203. 

Gratuitous supply of labour, 99; of 
medical treatment not univer.sally 
necessary, 38. 

Gray, B. Kirkmau, 261, 263, 264, 335. 

" Green World," the, 61. 

Greenwood, ^Iv. A., 84, 158. 

Grisewood, Mr. William, 158. 

Guild of Help, 253, 259. 

Hadleigh, 242-4, 264. 

Haggard, Mr. H. Eider, 263, 264. 

"Half-time" for adolescents, 81, 135; 
cost of, 335-6. 

Hamilton, Mr. C. J., 157. 

Hampshire, condition of school chil- 
dren in, 84. 

Hampstead, low death-rate at, 16; 
voluntary register started at, by 
Council of Social Welfare, 291. 

Harben, Mr. H. D., 60. 

Hardy, Mr. R. P.. 215. 

Harrison, Miss Amy, 108. 

Hawkins, Mr., 13. 

Health, Minister of, wanted, 36, 37. 

Health Authorities, work of in reliev- 
ing destitiition, 4; e.^tent and variety 
of such work of, 290. 

Health of Towns Commission, 1844, 

Health Visiting, 23, 31, 32, 41, 65, 189, 
255, 313. 

Heart disease among school children, 

Hearts of Oak Benefit Society, 216. 

Hertfordshire, condition of school chil- 
dren in, 84. 

Hill, Miss Florence Davenport, 300, 

Hobhouse, Prof. L. T., 220. 
Holidays, Local Education Auilicrity 

not permitted to protect children in. 


Hobsou, Mr. J. A., 261. 
Holborn Board of Guardians. 2(;2. 
Holland, insurance in, 203. 
Hollesley Bay Farm Colony, IW. 



Home Circumstances of Necessitiiis 
Children, L.C.C. Eeport on, 81. 

Hospitals, excessive work of, 26 ; evil 
of out-patients' departments of, 27; 
enlarged sphere for, 39, iO, 255. 

Honrs, reduction of, 134-5. 

House of Lords Select Committee on 
Sweating, 1890, 88, 108. 

Howarth, M. M., 13. 

Howell, George, 215. 

Huddersfield, Health Visitiug nt, 41. 

Humanity as forbidding the abandon- 
ment of the weak, 47. 

Hutchins, Miss B. L., 41, 42, ICS.' 

H:uxley, Prof. H., 12. 

Hygienic instruction, not given to the 
poor, 22. 

Hyndman, Mr. H. M., 157. 

Illiteracy as Child Neglect, 71; how it 
has been prevented, 71, 72. 

Indecent occupation, horrors cf, 30G-7. 
Individualism as cause of destitution, 

Industrial Schools, use of, 75-G, El 4. 
Infants, instruction as to, 22; how to 

prevent mortality among, 23, 37; 

books on, 41; lack of piiblic care for, 


Inheritance, physical, 47; of acquired 
characteristics, 49; social, 49. 

" Inqiiisitorial " inquiries, proposed 
diminution of, 282-3. 

" Ins and Outs," 300. 

Insanitary living of the poor, 22. 

Insecurity of the workman's life, 95. 

Insurance, 32, 39, 159-220; does not 
itself prevent, 160; not incompatible 
with campaign of prevention, 39 ; 
against fire, 161; against death, 161; 
against accident, 121; marine, 161; 
hailstorms, 161; plague, 161; typhus, 
161-2; tuberculosis, 162; sickness, 
163-4; unemployment, 164; in Ger- 
many, 164; special staff of doctors 
for, 32. 

Invalidity, pensions on, 185-6. 

"Integrity of the Family," 305; 
destroyed by Poor Law, 308-9; main- 
tained by Policy of "Prevention, 

Ireland, migratory labourers from, 
157 ; statistics as to, 13. 

Jackson, Mr. Cyril, 84, 109. 
.Taffe, 216. 
Jebb, Miss E., 13. 
.Tevon.s, W. Stanley, 157. 
.Fohnson, Dr. J., 13. 
Jones, Mr. E. D., 157. 

Juvenile Employment or Labour Com- 
mittees, 69, 256. 

Karapffmeyer, 215. 

Kay, A. C, 291. 

Keeling, Mr. P., 84. 

Keighley, rate of wages at, 197. 

Kelvnack, Dr. T. N., 41. 

Klein, G. A., 21G. 

Labour, Eoyal Commission on, 157. 
Labour Colonies, 143, 256, 257. 
Labour Exchange for boys and girls, 

Lancashire, social conditions in, 13. 
Lancaster, Sir Eay, 60. 
Latham, Dr. A., 41. 
Lawrence, Mr. F. W., 220. 
Lead poisoning, 49. 
Leeds, rate of wages at, 197. 
Leisure, organisation of, 129. 
Lewis, Mr. F. W., 215. 
Liberty and Property Defence League, 

Libertj', definition of, 336-7 ; how far 
Democracy inconsistent with, 33G-7. 

Liverpool, undei-fed children at, 67; 
chronic surplus of labourers at, 129- 
30; dock labour in, 158; possible de- 
casual isatiou at, 200. 

Lloyd, H. D., 108. 

Loane, Miss M., 26L 

Local Government Board not a Central 
Health Department, 30; defines desti- 
tution, 12^ 

Local HealFh Authorities, how to in- 
vigorate, 35. 

Loch, Dr. C. S., 2G1, 263. 

London, chronic surplus of labourers 
at docks of, 129; lack of good open- 
ings for boys in, 68. 

London County Council Education 
Committee as the authority for en- 
forcing National Minimum of Child 
Nurture, 75; children fed by, 77, 84. 

London School of Economics and 
Political Science, 339. 

liunacy, charge and recovery in, 172. 

Liinacy Authority, origin of, 57; pro- 
posed enlargement of sphere of, 58; 
work of in relieving destitution, 4. 

Lyster, Dr. E. A., 84. 

Machinery turued oat to rust and 

decay, 98, 99. 
Macgregor, Prof., 13. 
Mackay, Mr. T.. 228, 263. 
McCleary, Dr. G. F., 41. 
Macmillan, Miss M., 158. 
McVail, Dr., 30. 



Maiutenance tor Uuemployed, need of, 

Majoi"ity Keport of Poor Law Commis- 
sion, 13, 149, 22.-J, 22G, 262, 291, 308, 335. 

Malarial fever as destructive of Greek 
cities, 15; may lead to preservation 
of lower type, 4.8. 

Malingering in Friendly Societies and 
Trade Unions, 1G3, 166, 167, 186-8, 
192, 204-5, 216. 

MalthiTsian Theory, reversal of the, 

Manchester Ship Canal, 200. 
Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, 215-7. 
Manchester, rate of wages at, 197. 
Mangold, Dr. George, 158. 
Marshall, Dr. Alfred, 12, 13, 330. 
Maternity, encouragement of, 318-320. 
Measles, neglect of, 19, 65, 179. 
Medical Inspection of School Children, 

Medical Officer of Health, 9, 10, 22, 23, 
30, 31, 32, 40, 42, 65, 66, 84, 254-5, 270, 

'^Medical Relief," 28, 31. 

Medical services, miiltiplicity of State- 
paid, 32. 

Medley, K. I. M., 158. 

Mental defectiveness as cause of desti- 
tution, 7. 

Mercantile Marine Office, 194, 219. 

Merchant Shipping Acts, 91, 219. 

Methods and agencies of dealing with 
the Unemployed, Board of Trade 
Report on, 109. 

Meyer, Lady, 108. 

Middlesborongh, social conditions in, 

Midwifery, lack of, 24, 25. 
Milk Clinic (or Dispensary), 23, 34, 65, 

Milk,' fresh, unknown to sweated 
workers, 89. 

Mines Regulation Acts as preventing 
sweating, 91. 

Mining villages, insanitatiou of, 21. 

Minister for Labour, 139. 

Minority Report of Poor Law Commis- 
sion, 13, 14, 24, 38, 39, 42, 54, 60, 84, 
85, 107, 108, 133, 140, 149, 150, 151, 
157, 158, 202, 219, 238, 261, 263, 273, 
274, 275, 287, 291, 292, 308, 311, 330, 
335, 336. 

Minority Report for Scotland, 14, 85, 

261, 336. 
Misere, la, 12. 
" Missed Cases," 252. 
" Mr. Goschen's Memorandum," 224-9, 


Money doles to be avoided, 284-6, 316. 
Moore, Prof. Benjamin, 44. 

'• Moral Factor," the, 293-338. 

"Mortality of Delay," the, 28. 

Motor-cars cost more than Minority 
Report, 330. 

Municipal hospitals, extent of, 30, 31. 

Muuicipalisation of hospitals, not in- 
volved, 39. 

Mutual Insurance, abandonment of by 
Trade Unions, 199. 

Nash, Mr. Vaughan, 157. 

National Anti-Sweating League, 108. 

National Association for the Feeble- 
minded, 60. 

National Committee for the Preven- 
tion of Destitution, 157, 264. 

National Conference on the Preven- 
tion of Destitution, 60, 85, 109, 338. 

National League for Physical Educa- 
tion and Improvement, 41. 

" National Minimum," the, as en- 
forced by Factory, etc.. Acts, 91; by 
Conciliation and Arbitration Boards, 
92; of Child Nurture, 65, 70; means 
enlarged freedom, 321; progressive 
enforcement of, 258. 

"Natural Selection" not necessarily 
making for Progress, 48. 

Need should not be "pecuniary," 

Neglect of children by widowed mothers 
driven out to work, 136. 

Newman, Sir George, 41. 

Newsholme, Dr. A., 41, 51. 

New York C.O.S., 8, 14. 

New Zealand, legislation against sweat- 
ing, 92. 

Nicholls, Sir George, 108, 263. 
Nightingale, Florence, 41. 
Norway, Insurance in, 203. 
Norwich, social conditions in, 13. 
Norwich, the Dean of, 264. 
Nottingham School for Mothers, 41. 

Oddfellows, Independent Order of 
(Manchester Unity), 215, 216, 217. 

Old Age as cause of destitution, 7; in- 
surance against, 181-5 ; pensions, 184-5 

Old Age Pensions Act, 1908, 3, 4, 185. 

Omnibus service, excessive hours of 
laboiir in, 134. 

Orphanage as cause of destitution, 7. 

Outdoor Relief, campaign against, 
228-9; to widows. 136. 

Out-patients' departments, unsatis- 
factory character of, 26, 27. 

Output of young people, cost of 
annual, 63. 

Overcrowding, indecencies of, 306-7; 
not abated by alms, 307. 



Overlap in feeding children, 77-8, 291; 
greatest in the towns, 265 ; variety of, 
290-1; with charities, 291; method of 
preventing, 265-92. 

Papage, C. P., 60. 

Parasitism as a possible result of evo- 
lution, 48, 60. 

"Parallel Bars" theory of relation- 
ship of Voluntary Agencies to State 
action, 225-52. 

Pauperism not coincident with desti- 
tution, 3; decline in rate of, 3, 4; as 
remedy for sweating, 90-1. 

Parental responsibility decreased by 
Poor Law, 300; increased by Educa- 
tion Acts, 303. 

Parents' inability to place boy in a 
good place, 68. 

Pashley, Eobert, 108. 

Paul, St. Vincent de, 244. 

Pearson, Prof. Karl, 45, 50, 60, 317, 

" Pension Visitors," 255. 

Phelps, Rev. L. E., 263. 

Phthisis, 19, 24, 25, 28, 32, 37, 41, 50, 
63, 66, 162, 189; incipient cases not 
found by Poor Law, 28; caused by 
rickets, 50. 

" Play Centres," 255, 256. 

Plimsoll, Samuel, on Marine Insur- 
ance, 163. 

Pneumonia, 19. 

Police Authority, extent of " relief " 

work done by, 290. 
Police Doctor, the, 32. 
Police Force, built up by Grants in 

Aid, 36. 

Poll-tax, compulsory insurance as, 

169, 209, 213. 
Poor Law and the Unemployed, 100; 

and sweating, 90-1; and children, 


Poor Law children in London, 77; in 
Gloucestershire, 79-80; shortcomings 
of Poor Law administration as to, 85. 

Poor Law Medical Service, 27, 28. 

Poor Law Report of 1834, 90-1, 108, 

' 223, 228, 308-9, 335. 

Poor Law, Royal Commission on, 12, 
13, 24, 25": 26, 28, 38, 39, 42, 54, 60, 84, 
85, 107, 108, 133, 140, 149, 150, 151, 
157, 158, 202, 219, 225, 226, 238, 262, 
263, 273, 274, 275, 287, 291, 292, 308, 
311, 330, 335, 336. 

Poor Law Schools, Report of Depart- 
mental Committee on, 335. 

"Population Theory," reversal of,. 

" Post Office c ontributors," 177-9. 

" Poverty Line," the, 13. 

Preston-Thomas, Mr., 261. 

Prevention, of Destitution, why now 
urgent, 5; of sickness now possible, 
19; of sweating, 91-3; of unemploy- 
ment, 110-58; not effected by insur- 
ance, 160-3. 

" Preventive work " in charity, 224. 

Pringle, Rev. J., 109. 

Prisons, futility of short sentences in 
the, 150; reform of, by Detention 
Colonies, 151. 

Prisons Commissioners, Annual Re- 
port of, 60. 

Protection, need for preventive mea- 
sures under, 152-4. 

Prudential Assurance Company, 216. 

Psychological effects of insurance, 
166-7; of Policy of Prevention, 301-5. 

Public Health Acts, 29, 35, 106, 161-2. 

Public Health Authority, origin of, 29 ; 
extent and variety of work of, 31; 
imperfect development of, 35; not 
yet effective for needs of poor, 20; 
sickness insurance unconnected with, 

Quarry villages, insanitation of, 21. 
Quinton, E. F., 60. 

Racial poisons, 49. 

Railways, excessive hours of labour 
on, 134. 

Railways Regulation Acts, as prevent- 
ing sweating, 91, 158. 

"Rate in Aid of Wages," the, 90-1, 
101, 108. 

Rathbone, Miss E. F., 158. 

Rational Sick and Burial Association, 

Receiving house, under Registrar, 292. 

Recruitment of the destitute, 8. 

Reeves, the Hon. W. P., 108. 

Reformatory Detention Colonies, 149- 
50, 258. 

Register, Common, 265-92. 

Registrar of Public Assistance, un- 
necessary as new olBcer, 274; already 
in existence at Derby, 291; Town 
Clerk might well be, 274; no new 
powers required, 274-5; must be 
under a committee of Council, 275; 
how his department would work, 
275-92; recommended by County 
Councils Association, 277; as to 
"appeals" from, 292. 

Registration, by Voluntary Agencies a 
failure, 269; advantages of Public 
Author it V foi-, 270-2. 



Eegularisatiou of uatioual aggregate 

demand for labour, 113-24. 
Relief, guilt of any policy of mere, 


Eelief Works, 102-4, 114-16; nature of 
114-16; do not prevent unemployment, 
115; can never bo productive, 116. 

Religious influences, 242-5. 

"Remedial Drill," 144. 

Rheumatism, 19. 

Ritchie, Prof. D. G., 60. 

"Reverberation" of Unemiiloyment, 

Richards, Dr. Meredith, 84. 
Rickets, evil results of, 50. 
Ringworm, 66. 
Rowan, Edgar, 263. 
Roman Catholic Charity, 221 ; manage- 
ment of workhouse, 244. 
Rouse, Mr. Charles, 158. 
flowntree, Mr. B. Seebohm, 13. 

Sadler, Prof. M. E., 158. 

Sailors' Labour Exchange, 219. 

St. Georges in the East, 236-9. 

St. Pancras School for Mothers, 41. 

Saleeby, Dr. C. W., 45, 60. 

Salvation Armv, work of the, 234, 

242-5, 263-4. 
Sanatoria, 189; in Germany, 189-91; in 

Great Britain, 191. 
" Sandwich System " for adolescents, 

81-2, 135, 326-7. 
Sanitary triumphs, limitation of, 16. 
Sanitary inspectors, 31. 
Scarlet fever, 30. 
Schloss, Mr. D. F., 220. 
Scholefield, Mr. Guy H., 108. 
School, hygienic instruction at, 22, 23; 

medical inspection at, 34. 
School Attendance Officers as agents 

for enforcing National Minimum, 73; 

registering adolescents, 81 ; enforc- 
ing standard, 313. 
School Boards in Scotland required to 

feed, 73-4. 
School Canteen Committee, 85, 255. 
School children, most urgent need of 

medical attendance for, 179. 
School clinic, the, 32, 34, 189, 255. 
School doctor, the, 32. 
School feeding, overlapping in, 2G7; 

obligatory in Scotland, 73-4. 
School for mothers, 23, 34, 41, 65, 255, 


School nurse, the, 313. 
Science, need for political, 330-4. 
Scotch Education Act, 1908, 85. 
Scotch Education Department, 180. 

Scotland, statistics for, 13; Minority 
Report on, 14; uncertified deaths in, 

" Searching Out," 34. 

Seasonal fluctuations of employment, 
124-9; in various trades, 125-6; why 
absent from the community as a 
whole, 126; how the Labour Exchange 
deals with, 127; insurance suitable 
for skilled workers subject to, 128-9. 

Seasonal Trades, statistics of, 157. 

"Servile State," the, 320-3; declining 
area of, 323. 

Servility diminished by collective 
action, 323. 

Shaftesbury, Earl of, 5, 91. 

Sheffield, School for Mothers at, 41; 
Health visiting at, 41. 

Shelter, the Free. 101. 

Sherlock, E. B., 60. 

Shop Hours Acts, as preventing Sweat- 
ing, 91. 

Sickness as cause of destitution, 7, 16; 
prevalence of among poor, 17; in- 
direct losses by, 18; economy of pre- 
vention, 18 ; practicability of preven- 
tion, 19; dangers of insurance 
against, 186-7; "Free Choice of Doc- 
tors" in, 187-8; increase of among 
Friendly Society members, 167, 

Siloam, the Tower of, 294. 

Simon, Sir John, 41. 

" Sixpenny Doctor," the, 26. 

Slums, sanitary needs of the, 20; life 
in the, 2; production of rickets in, 
51 ; the family in the, 305-8 ; influence 
on character of, 65. 

Small-pox, 30, 31. 

Smith, Miss Constance, 108. 

Smith, Sir H. Llewellyn, 157. 

Social Democratic Party, 10. 

Social inheritance, 49. 

Socialists' object that we shall in- 
crease wealth, 328-9; will still have to 
prevent unemployment, 154-6. 

" Spectacle Committees," 255. 

" Speenhamlaud Act of Parliament," 
the, 108. 

Spencer, Mrs. F. H., 108. 

Squire; Miss R., 157, 158. 

" Stagnant pools " of labour, 130-1. 

Standard Rate of \Vages, 195-9. 

Starvation among school children, 66; 
effects of, 67. 

"State doctoring," extent of, 32. 

Steel-Maitland, Mr. A. D., 157, 158. 

Stepnej', Council of Social Welfare at, 

Struggle Tor l']xistciicc, not necessarily 
making for Progress, 48. 



"Submerged Tenth" the, 235. 

" Survival of the Fittest " and Desti- 
tution, 47-52; not necessarily leading 
to progress, 48; may produce para- 
sitisms, '18. 

Sweating as cause of destitution, 8G- 
107; diminishing area of, 89; Poor 
Law treatment of, 90; Lord Shaftes- 
bury's successful remedy for, 91-3. 

Switzerland, Labour Colonies in, 143. 

Svkes, Dr. S. P., 41. 

Syphilis, 33, 37, 43, 44, 49. 

Tariff as cause of destitution, 10. 
Tariff Reform, need for preventing 

Unemployment under, 152-4. 
Taylor, Miss F. I., 108, 157. 
Teeth, prevalence of decayed, G6. 
Town Council to keep the Common 

Eegister, 272. 
Toothache, 24. 
Toynbee, Mr. H. V., 291. 
Trade Boards Act, as preventing 

Sweating, 91. 
Trade Unions, effect of Insurance on, 

199; subsidies to, 204; insurance by, 

1G3-220; statistics of on Unemploy-- 

ment, 112. 
Training Establishments, 142-50, 314. 
Training for the Unemployed, 141-50. 
Tramways, excessive hours of labour 

on, 134. 
Treatment, not relief, 284-G. 
Tuberculosis, see Phthisis. 
Tuberculin Dispensary, 189. 
Typhus, 19, 29, 30, 104-6, 138-9, lGl-2. 

Uncertified deaths, 24. 
"Under-employed," the, 9G. 
Under-employment among casual 

labourers, 129-3G; evil results of, 

129 ; cause of chronic state of, 130-1 ; 

method of dealing with, 131-6. 
Unemploved Workmen Act, 1905, 3, 4, 

104-5, 290. 

Unemployment as cause of destitu- 
tion, 7, 8G-107 ; usual misunderstand- 
ing of, 94; real nature of, 95-6, 110; 
comparative prevalence of, 93-4; ex- 
tremes of in 181G, 1841, and 1879, 94 ; 
as dismissal of a workman, 110; 
causes of, 110-38; inevitability of 
some causes of, 137-8; how to pre- 
vent, 110-58; effect of, cn workman's 
family, 97 ; on character, 97 ; extent 
of evil, 97-8; insurance against, 192- 
200; failure of provision for, 101-5. 

Unemployment Aiithorities, work of, 
in l elicviug destitution, 4, 104-5, 290. 

Unemployment Insurance, danger of, 
192; malingering in, 193; connection 
with Labour Exchange, 193-5; lead- 
ing to compulsory Labour Exchange, 
193-4; to enforcement of Standard 
Kate and Conditions, 194-9; to trans- 
formation of Trade Unionism, 199- 

" Unified Medical Service," 33, 34. 
Urwick, Mr. E. J., 158. 

" Vacation Schools," 255. 

Vagrancy, 109, 139, 150-1, 201. 

Venereal disease, 33, 37, 43, 44, 49. 

Viability, not necessarily connected 
with quality, 48. 

Vincent, Dr. Ealph, 60. 

Vision, children of defective, 66. 

Voluntary Agencies, sphere of, 221-264; 
theories as to relationship of, to State 
action, 223-GO; inventiveness and 
initiative of, 240-1; lavish devotion 
of, 241-2; religious influences of, 
242-5; costliness and unfair incidence 
of, 245-6; incompleteness and discon- 
tinxiity of, 24G-7; lack of disciplinary 
powers of, 247-9. 

Voluntary Contributions, 221 ; inade- 
quate to designed task, 227, 229; 
costly and wasteful to obtain, 245. 

Wages, lost through ill-health, 17; tax 
on, 213; amount of national aggre- 
gate of, 112; even good and regular, 
no remedy, 87. 

Walsh, Hon. G., 157. 

Watsou, Mr. A. W., 215, 216. 

Wealth-production affected by ill- 
health, 17; increased by Policy of 
Prevention, 328. 

Welfare, Council of Social, 259. 

West Ham, social conditions in, 13. 

Westminster Health Society, 41. 

Whetham, W. C. D. and Mrs., 60. 

Whitelegge, Dr. B. A., 41. 

Whooping cough, 65. 

Widnes, municipal hospital* at, 32. 

Widowhood as cause of destitution, 7 ; 
methods of dealing with, 136, 2G2-3, 

Widows, driven to go i.ut to work, 
136; difficulty of relieving, 262-3; how 
to deal with, 335. 

Wilkins, Mrs., 13. 

Wilson, Miss Mona, 13. 

AVilkinson, Eev. .T. Frome, 215. 

Williams, Dr. Ethel, 291, 335. 

AVilloughby, W. F., 215. 

Wilson, Eev. Canon, 41. 



Wimbledon School for Mothers, 41. 

Wood, Mr. G. H., 158. 

Workhouses, births in, 53-4; in Lou- 
don, GO ; in Ireland, 60 ; children 
residing in, 33G; numbers not dimin- 
ishing, 336; and the unemployed, 100; 
the reaction in the Free Shelter and 
the Soup Kitchen, 101. 

" Workhouse Test," the, 228. 

Workmen's Compensation Act, 1896, 
181; increase of accidents under', 
181-2; malingering under, 182-3. 

York, social conditions in, 13. 

Zacher, Dr.', 215. 


Works by Sidney and Beatrice JVebb 

Grants in Aid: 



Demy 8w, i^SPP- (i9iO' ■^^^'-^ S^- 

This is the first volume dealing with Grants in Aid as an 
instrument of government. In the United Kingdom, at the 
present time, a sum of about thirty millions sterling is annu- 
ally paid by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the various 
Local Governing Authorities of the Kingdom. This large 
subvention has important effects on Local Government 
which have never before been critically examined. The 
author's thesis is that in the Grant in Aid we have un- 
consciously devised an instrument of administration of 
extraordinary potency ; and that its gradual adoption 
during the past three-quarters of a century has created a 
hierarchy of local government, far superior to that of 
France and Germany on the one hand (termed by the 
author "The Bureaucratic System") ; and to that of the 
United States on the other (which the author describes as 
" The Anarchy of Local Autonomy "). But the efficiency 
of our English system depends on the particular conditions 
upon which the Grants in Aid are made ; and the book 
concludes with a detailed proposal for the complete 
revision, on novel principles, of all the existing subventions, 
and for their extension to other services. An elaborate 
bibliography is appended. 



W orks by Sid7tey a72d Beatrice Webb 

Poor Law Policy 

i^mj %vo, xiii and 379 pp. (19 10). Price 7/6 net 

In this volume the authors of Industrial Democracy and 
English Local Qovemment TpvQs&nt what is practically a history 
of the English Poor Law, from the Report of the Royal 
Commission of 1832-4 down to that of the Royal Com- 
mission of 1905-9. For this work they have analysed, not 
only the statutes, but also the bewildering array of General 
and Special Orders, Circulars, Minutes, Inspectors' exhorta- 
tions, and unpublished letters, by means of which the Poor 
Law Commissioners, the Poor Law Board, and the Local 
Government Board have sought to direct the policy of the 
Boards of Guardians. No such history has before been 
attempted. For the first time the gradual development of 
policy can be traced, with regard to children, to the sick, to 
the aged and infirm, to vagrants, to the able-bodied, etc. 
The reader is enabled to watch the gradual and almost 
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the recent Royal Commission overhauled the subject. Two 
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the Majority and the Minority Reports. 



Works by Sid7tey and Beatrice Webb 


Demy 8>o, xiii and I'jGpp' (19 lo) 
Trice 6/- net. 

We do a great deal of State Doctoring in England — more 
than is commonly realised — and our arrangements have got 
into a tangle, which urgently needs straightening out. 
Everywhere there is a duplication of authorities and more 
or less overlapping of work. We are spending out of the 
rates and taxes, in one way or another, directly on sickness 
and Public Health, a vast sum of money annually — no man 
knows how much, but it certainly amounts to six or seven 
millions sterling. 

There is no popular description of our existing State 
Doctoring. Many worthy people, thinking themselves 
educated, don't even know of its existence. This sketch of 
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Works by Sidney aitd Beatrice JVebh 



Edited, with Introduction, by Sidney and Beatrice Webb 

I)e7ny 8>o, xx and 604 pp. 7/6 net. Uniform with 
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Bluebooks, it has been said, are places of burial. The Report of the Royal 
Commission on the Poor Law and the Agencies dealing with the Unem- 
ployed is a ponderous tome of seven pounds weight, crowded with refer- 
ences, footnotes, and appendices, impossible either to handle or to read. 
Mr. and Mrs. Webb have, therefore, rescued from this tomb the Minority 
Report signed by the Dean of Norwich, Messrs. Chandler and Lansbury, 
and Mrs. Webb herself By omitting all the notes and references, and 
printing the text in clear type on a convenient octavo page, they present 
the reader with something which he can hold with comfort by his fireside. 

This Minority Report is a new departure in such documents. It is 
readable and interesting. It is complete in itself It presents, in ordered 
sequence, page by page, a masterly survey of what is actually going on in 
our workhouses and in the homes of those maintained on Outdoor Relief 
It describes in precise detail from carefully authenticated evidence what is 
happening to the infants, to the children of school age, to the sick, to the 
mentally defective, to the widows with children struggling on their pittances 
of Outdoor Relief, to the aged and infirm inside the workhouse and out- 
side. It sets forth the overlapping of the Poor Law with the newer work 
of the Education and Public Health Authorities, and the consequent waste 
and confusion. It gives a graphic vision of the working of the whole Poor 
Law machinery in all parts of the United Kingdom, which is costing us 
nearly twenty millions sterling per annum. 

The volume concludes with a Scheme of Reform, of novel and far- 
reaching character, which is elaborately worked out in detail, involving 
the abolition of the workhouse, the complete disappearance of the Poor 
Law, and the transfer of the care of the children, the sick, the mentally 
defective, and the aged to the several committees of the County Borough 
Councils and County Councils already administering analogous services. 



Works by Sici7tey and Beatrice W^ebb 



Edited, with Introduction, by Sidney and Beatrice Webb 

Demy Sw, x))i and 332//). 5/- net. Uniform with 
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The Problem of the Unemployed, which the Royal Commission on 
the Poor Law was incidentally set to solve, is the question of the 
day. Part II. of the Minority Report deals with it in a manner at 
once comprehensive and complete. The whole of the experience 
of the Poor Law Authorities, and their bankruptcy as regards the 
destitute able-bodied, is surveyed in vivid and picturesque detail. 
There is a brief account of the work of Voluntary Agencies. 
A lucid description is then given, with much new information, of 
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told of the various experiments and devices that have been tried 
during the past twenty years, the Relief Works and the Farm 
Calonies, e^tc. This leads up to an altogether novel descriptive 
analysis of the Unemployed of to-day, who they actually are, and 
what they really need. The final chapter on Proposals for Reform 
gives, in elaborate detail, the Minority's plan for solving the whole 
problem of Unemployment — not by any vague and chimerical 
panacea, but by a series of administratively practicable reforms, based 
on the actual experience of this and other countries, which are 
within the compass of the Cabinet, and could, if desired, be carried 
in a single session of Parliament. 



JVorks by Sidney and Beatrice Webb 




Demy 8>o, xx^i and 66^ pp. (1907). Price 16/- net 

This work, the result of eight years' research into the manuscript 
records of the Parish and the County all over England and Wales — 
from Northumberland to Cornwall, from Cardigan to Kent — 
combines history and description in a continuous narrative of extra- 
ordinary interest. Avoiding the questions of the origin of English 
local institutions, and even of their mediaeval development, the 
authors plunge at once into a vivid description of the Parish Officers 
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Lord-Lieutenant and the High Sheriff, together with all the other 
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Demy %1io^ viit and 858 in 2 'Voliwies (1908). Price 25/- net. 

In this second instalment of their English Local Government the authors 
apply their method of combined history and analysis to the fascinating 
story of the towns and the manorial communities of England and Wales. 
An interesting new account is given, from unpublished materials, of the 
organisation and development in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
of the Manor and its several Courts, with picturesque glimpses of the 
hitherto undescribed part played by the Jury in the common-field agri- 
culture. But the Manor is shown to be also the starting-point for a 
whole series of constitutional developments, passing through grade after 
grade of Manorial Borough, hitherto undescribed, into the complete 
Municipal Corporation. Their extensive study of the manuscript records 
enables the authors to set forth the inner working of the "Municipal 
Democracies" that existed alongside the chartered oligarchies, with their 
many analogies to modern American cities ; and to bring vividly to notice 
the conditions and limitations of successful Democratic government. 
There is an interesting sketch of English hierarchies of town government, 
chief among them being the Cinque Ports, the constitutional position of 
which is presented in a new light. The anomalous history of the City of 
Westminster is explored by the light of the unpublished archives of its 
peculiar municipal organisation. An altogether novel view is presented 
of the constitutional development of the greatest municipality of all, the 
Corporation of the City of London, to which no fewer than 124 pages 
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"Municipal Revolution" of 1835, ^nd the Homeric combat of Brougham 
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A A i 

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English Local Government 

"A book of the deepest, even of fascinating interest. Here for the first 
time we have a real study of local life in England, in village and town and 
country. . . . Everywhere we follow the gallant fights of humane and just 
men whose stories are scattered through these pages, along with the sharp 
dealings of the astute. Familiar names meet us— a great-uncle of Cecil 
Rhodes making his ' Empire ' in St. Pancras ; the novelist Fielding cutting 
down the gains of the magistrate who preyed on the poor. . . . Noble 
figures stand out among the ignoble. As in the parish, the rulers of the 
county . . . found themselves left free ... to administer as they thought fit. 
They used the power fully ; governed, legislated, silently transformed their 
constitution, and showed themselves capable of the same extremes as the men 
of the parish, except that they never surrendered to the ' boss.' . . . We 
have only touched here on the tale the authors give, so absorbing in interest 
to any Englishman. . . . The best tribute to the writers of this most 
valuable work is the difficulty of turning away for comment or criticism 
from the subjects they present in such a vigorous and human form. . . . 
They have opened a new chapter in English history." — Mrs. J. R. Green, 
in Westminster Gazette. 

" Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb's monumental work on our local 
institutions must be a source at once of pride and of something a little like 
shame. Here at last we have a book which is more than worthy to be placed 
beside those of the great continental writers on the subject. . . . Mr. and 
Mrs. Sidney Webb are as learned as the Prussian, as lucid as the Frenchman, 
and as scholarly and careful as the Austrian. ... If it is literature to present 
a singularly vivid picture of a past stage of society, to render it real and 
lifelike by a careful selection and skilful grouping of illustrative details, and 
to explain its meaning with clearness, sound judgment, and not infrequent 
touches of quiet humour, then assuredly is this volume literary as well as 
learned. . . . Packed as it is with quotations and references, it is full of 
transcripts from life which one reader at least has found more fascinating 
than many of the efforts made to revivify the past through the medium of 
historical romance or romantic history. The story of the rise, the decline, 
and the fall of the parish autonomy and the old county oligarchy is in itself 

English Local Government — contd. 

a sort of epic not wanting in the elements of adventure, and even of tragedy. 
. . . Here and there a remarkable personality emerges." — Mr. Sidney Low, 
in Standard. 

" Without exaggeration it may be said that this work will necessitate 
the rewriting of English history. ... We are ushered into a new world, 
full of eager and heated interest. . . . The authors have contrived to 
make these dead bones live. Everywhere are peepholes into the lives of the 
people, and occasionally a connected story . . . throws a flood of light on 
English society. There is not a chapter which is not full of facts of general 
interest, while the whole volume . . . will be altogether indispensable to 
the serious student. . . . There is a fascinating tale of the ' boss ' of 
Bethnal Green. ... A history of the English people, richer in local 
colour, more comprehensive in its survey of social aifairs, and more truly 

human in its sympathies than any treatise hitherto given to the public." 

Mr. R. A. Bray, in Daily News. 

" Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb continue their laborious and luminous 
studies of English local institutions. In the last two volumes we find the 
same characteristics as those already published respecting the parish and the 
county — a minute investigation conducted not in the spirit of the antiquary, 
but with an eye to realities which are of interest to the politician, the 
historian, and the economist ; an examination of the vast mass of printed 
matter on the subject, much of it practically inaccessible ; and exhaustive 
enquiry among unedited manuscript records, some of them probably never 
before read. A few lines in the text or in a footnote are the results of 
prolonged local investigation ; a few unobtrusive words at the close of a 
sentence, or qualifying some general statement, are the fruits of a careful 
search among the muniments of some corporation. We cannot speak too 
highly of the industry and patience which these volumes attest. They 
possess even rarer merits. The whole subject is set in a new light. We get 
away from traditional formula and conceptions. We see the local institutions 
at work, and they appear very different from what they are represented by 
hwyexs to be." — Times. 

" If it be true, as many deep thinkers maintain, that history affords the 
only sure key to a thorough knowledge of political institutions, then the 
work of which these two learned and elaborate volumes form a part is 
indispensable to every serious student of English Local Government, for the 
history of that subject has never yet been expounded with such completeness 
and so scientific an impartiality. ... A pioneer in a new way of writing 
the history of institutions. ... By the skill with which they present the 

English Local Government — contd. 

general movement of institutional developments as the outgrowth of natural 
forces, and constantly.illustrate it by particular points of actuality and human 
interest, these writers have given new life to a study too long neglected."— 

" Closely packed tomes, crowded with detail, and exhibiting the result 
of a sum of research and investigation which leaves the indolent, irresponsible 
reviewer almost wordless with respectful admiration. . . Such a collection 
of original material has been weighed and sifted as might move the envy of 
any German professor." — Evening Standard. 

" For years to come they will still be sifting, amassing, arranging, but 
their reputation as the foremost investigators of fact now amongst us is 
likely to be confirmed rather than shaken. Their work is as minute in 
detail as it is imposing in mass. In their patience they possess their 
intellect, and they remind us of the scholar with a magnifying glass in a 
picture by Jan van Eyck." — Observer. 

Works by Sid7tey and Beatrice Webb 



Demy Svo ; Tenth Thousand ; New Edition^ with 
New Introductory Chapter ( 1 9 1 1 ) ; />m and pp. 

Price 7/6 net. 

This work describes, not only the growth and development of the Trade 
Union Movement in the United Kingdom from 1700 down to the present 
day, but also the structure and working of • the present Trade Union 
organisation in the United Kingdom. Founded almost entirely on 
material hitherto unpublished, it is not a mere chronicle of Trade Union 
organisation or record of strikes, but gives, in effect, the political history 
of the English working class during the last one hundred and fifty years. 
The opening chapter describes the handicraftsman in the toils of the 
industrial revolution, striving vainly to retain the medieval regulation of 
his Standard of Life. In subsequent chapters the Place Manuscripts and 
the archives of the Privy Council and the Home Office enable the authors 
to picture the struggles of the early Trade Unionists against the 
Combination Laws, and the remarkable Parliamentary manipulation which 
led to their repeal. The private records of the various Societies, together 
with contemporary pamphlets and working-class newspapers, furnish a 
graphic account of the hitherto undescribed outburst of "New Unionism" 
of 1830-34, with its revolutionary aims and subsequent Chartist entangle- 
ments. The hidden influence of Trade Unionism on English politics is 
traced from point to point, new light being incidentally thrown upon the 
defeat of Mr. Gladstone's Government in 1874. A detailed analysis is 
given of the economic and political causes which have, since 1880, tended 
to divorce the Trade Union Movement from its alliance with "official 
Liberalism." A new introductory chapter brings the story down to the 
last few years. The final chapter describes the Trade Union world of to- 
day in all its varied features, including a realistic sketch of actual Trade 
Union Life by a Trade Union Secretary. 



Works by Sidney and Beatrice Webb 


Demy '^vo ; Tenth Thousand; New Edition in i yo/., Vith Nev 
Introductory Chapter {igoi) ; Ixi and 929 ^ith Tyto Diagrams 

Price 12/- net. 

In this work the authors of T/ie History of Trade Unionism describe, with 
the systematic detail of the scientific observer, and in the same objective 
spirit, all the forms of Trade Unionism, Factory Legislation, and other 
regulation of industry to be found within the British Isles. The employer 
in difficulties with his woi-kmen, the Trade Unionist confronted with a 
new assault upon his Standard Rate, the politician troubled about a new 
project for Factory Legislation, the public-spirited citizen concerned as to 
the real issues of a labour dispute, will find elucidated in this work the 
very problems about which they are thinking. It is a storehouse of 
authenticated facts about every branch of " the Labour Question," 
gathered from six years' personal investigation into every industry in all 
parts of the Kingdom; systematically classified; and made accessible by an 
unusually elaborate Index. But the book is more than an Encyclopedia 
on the Labour Question. The century-long experience of these working- 
class organisations aflbrds unique evidence as to the actual working of such 
expedients as the Referendum, the Initiative, Government by Mass 
Meetings, Annual Elections, Proportional Representation, Payment of 
Members, and, generally, the relation between the citizen-elector, the 
chosen representative, and the executive officer. Those who regard the 
participation of a working-class electorate in the affairs of government as 
the distinctive, if not the dangerous feature in modern politics, will here 
find the phenomenon isolated, and may learn how the British workman 
actually deals with similar issues in his own sphere. The intricate consti- 
tutions and interesting political experiments of the thousand self-governing 
Trade Union republics are dissected and criticised by the authors in such 
a way as to make the work a contribution to Political Science, as to the 
scope and method of which the authors, in describing their investigations, 
propound a new view. 

A new Introductory Chapter deals at length with Compulsory Courts of 
Arbitration and Wage-Boards in New Zealand and Australia. 



Works by Sidney aitd Beatrice Webb 


Tost 8>o ; Fourth Thousand ; New Edition^ with New Intro- 
ductory Chapter (1902) ; xx and 2%6 pp. 

Trice 5/- net. 


Small Svo ; Seventh Thousand ; viii and 162 pp. 
Trice 2/6 net. 


Small 8>o ; viii and 2ig pp. 
Trice 2/6 net. 

A Description of the Educational Organisation of 
London, with a Survey of some of its Administrative 
Problems — avoiding both politics and religion. 



Published by George Alle7t Co. Ltd. 


Co-operative Movement in 
Great Britain 

By BEATRICE POTTER (Mrs. Sidney Webb) 

Crown %vo; Second Edition (1893); Fifth Thousand; xii and 
260 pp.^ with Coloured Map, Appendices, and Index. Price 2/6 

Socialism in England 


Crovpn Svo ; Second Edition (1894), with New Introductory 
Chapter; x xii and ii^G pp. Price 2\Kf 

The London Programme 


Crown 8>(? ; Second Edition (1894), with New Introductory 
Qhapter ; l>ii and 21^ pp. P?~ice 2/6 


The Eight Hours' Day 


Qrown 8>o ; i%Qpp., with bibliography. Price jj- 


Der Socialismus in England 

Herausgegeben von SIDNEY WEBB 



has issued the following publications^ which may be obtained 
at 37, ISlorfolI^ Street, or from P. S. KJNG & SON, 
2, Great Stnith Street, J-Vestminster, London, S.JV. 


Monthly, one penn)' ; with illustrated supplement supplying up-to- 
date information with regard to one branch of the problem. 

Cheap edition in two volumes. Part I. — The Brf.ak-up of the Poor 
Law. Price is. (postage 4d.) Part II. — The Unemployed. Price is. 
(postage 3d.) Full Index. 90 pp. Price is. (postage 2d.) 


Cloth covers, 88 pp., 6d. (Scottish National Committee for the 
Prevention of Destitution, 180, Hope Street, Glasgow.) From all 
Booksellers (or by post i^d. extra.) 


Consisting of reprinted chapters of the Minority Report, bound separately in 
paper coders. Trice ^d. each, post free. 






6. THE SCHEME OF REFORM. Part I.— The Poor Law. 





Explaining briefly the general outline and the ')>arious parts of the Scheme. 

Price id. each, post free. 

1. An Outline of the Proposal to Break-up the Poor Law. i6 pp. 

2. The Failure of the Poor Law. 8 pp. 

3. How the Minority Report deals with Unemployment. 16 pp. 

4. How THE Minority Report deals with the Sick. 20 pp. 

5. How the Minority Report deals with the Children. 16 pp. 

7. The Poor Law Medical Officer and his Future. By [Mrs. Sidney 

Webb. 8 pp. 

8. The Reports on the Poor Law. By the Right Hon. Sir John Gorst, 

I^C. 1 6 pp. 

9. The New Charter of the Poor : What is Meant by the Break-up 

OF THE Poor Law. 8 pp. 

10. Seven Reasons for Supporting the Minority Report of the Poor 

Law Commission. 'By J. W. Willis Bund, Chairman of the 
Worcestershire County Council. 4 pp. (Two copies for id.) 

11. The Sphere of Voluntary Agencies under the Minority Report. 

By the Very Rev. The Dean of 'Norwich. 24 pp. 

12. The Majority Report and Why we should Reject it. B'^ J. 

Theodore Dodd, M.A. 1 6 pp. 

13. The Minority Report in its Relation to Public Health and the 

Medical Profession. By (Mrs. Sidney Webb. 24 pp. 

14. The Problem of Poor Law Reform. By the Right Rev. [Mgr. 

Parkinson, D.D. 


Issued originally as supplements to '■'^ Crusade.''' Trice id. (by post, i\d.) 



Non-subscribing members are cordially welcomed, but in general the Committee's 
literature can only be sent to subscribers, as follows : 

53. a year and upwards covers a copy of the Minority Report, The Crusade, and 

all the Committee's literature as published. 
2S. 6d. a year covers the smaller literature and The Ckusadk. 
13. 6d. a year covers The Crusade alone. 

J II sympathisers are earnestly incited to communicate with the Honorary 
Secretary, 37, tKorfolk Street, Strand, London.