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other more permanent employment. The society furnishes work for
The wood-yards are nearly self-supporting. Last year was an ex-
The foregoing pretty fairly and fully represents the system of relief in Chicago in ordinary times.
In times of depression or of special emergencies, as, for example, in 1874-75 or in 1893-94, when the country was passing through a grave financial and industrial crisis, the resources of all charitable societies were taxed to their utmost. It would not have been so difficult to meet all reasonable demands, had it not been for the unwarranted excitement created by certain alarmists and sensation-mongers who exaggerated the number and sufferings of the unemployed.
Early in September, 1893, several weeks before the World's Fair closed, a cry was raised that one hundred thousand men were out of employment in Chicago, and that the families of many of them were upon the verge of starvation. It was proposed to raise one million dollars for relief, A house to house canvass was made, and the real state of the case disclosed. It was found that no such distress existed. There were a great many idle men in Chicago, principally strangers and adventurers. A large number of resident mechanics and laborers had been thrown out of work by the completion of the World's Fair Buildings. But it was midsummer, and no unusual degree of suffering was apparent. The proposition to raise one million dollars for relief for the coming winter no doubt confirmed many in their purpose to remain, and brought many others t Chicago to share in the distribution.
This proposition to raise a large sum, and to inaugurate measur for relief on a gigantic scale, failed because the necessity for doing was not apparent. A few months later a Citizens' Relief sociation was organized, mainly for the purpose of furnishing v for unemployed men. When rooms were opened, under the aus,
of this association, to supply food and shelter, an enumeration was made, and the estimated 100,000 shrank to 20,000. As soon as it was clearly established that work was to be the condition of relief, the number was further reduced to about 4,000.
The Citizens' Association raised about $135,000. During the winter there was expended for the benefit of all who would work at cleaning the streets about $100,000. The balance raised by the Citizens' Association was distributed among the regular established charities of the city and in such other directions as seemed proper.
As usual, the Chicago Relief and Aid Society had the money and machinery to meet all demands upon it. With returning spring the transient population disappeared, and business resumed its usual channels; and the summer left no traces of the perils, real or imaginary, which threatened the city during the winter.
The experience of that winter had its advantages. It aroused public sentiment, and directed the thought and effort of many citizens toward sociological study and philanthropic enterprise.
The women of the city were important auxiliaries in inquiring into the wants of and providing work for women. 'The Woman's Club, comprising in its membership a large number of the leading women of Chicago, and several other existing women's clubs, together with some new ones organized by women for the express purpose of helping women and children, did much to allay excitement and to furnish support to thousands, many of them widows and deserted women with families,
Co-operation has always been practised by the county, or public relief, and the Chicago Relief and Aid Society; and the lines of division between them are clearly defined. Interment, at the charge of the county, is made on the county agent's order, by the county undertaker, in a potter's field, at contract price of something less than $1 per subject. The interments furnished by the Relief and Aid Society are made through a private undertaker, in quite a different manner, in any cemetery preferred by friends of the deceased, at an average cost of $20.
There is little danger of conflict or duplication between the county agent and the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, or between the society and any of the other charitable organizations in Chicago. A practical and free interchange of courtesies prevails among all these bodies.
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The system practised in Chicago has worked well there during my
When the law of gravitation shall be suspended, so that men will
THE GERMAN "INNER MISSION."
BY PROFESSOR C. R. HENDERSON,
The German “Inner Mission " is a social movement of great significance in our century. We cannot copy it in America because the social conditions are very different in the two countries, but we can learn from its methods and be stimulated by its spirit. The comparative method of study, which has already achieved such splendid results in biology and philology, gives promise of equal fruitfulness in the field of the social sciences and practical arts. The pecul iarities and one-sided eccentricities of the solitary worker are con rected by local, State, and national conferences, and still more t study of foreign movements. The temporary and accidental e ments are eliminated, and the broadly human elements and perp
nent principles are discovered. The comparative method puts firm ground under our feet. In a country like America, which has so large a foreign element, it is all the more desirable that we should consider the methods, customs, and sentiments of the nations whose poor are coming in such vast numbers to our shores. Happily, we seem to be approaching a time when sectarian differences are less likely to cloud the judgment, and when unbelief is willing to deal justly with the substantial social fact called "the church."
Whatever may be the ultimate issue, it is apparent that church charity is likely to be an important factor during the next generation. From the beginning works of charity have been an essential part of church life. Since the Reformation a system of State relief has grown up in all civilized nations, but without destroying ecclesiastical institutions. The exact boundaries of State and private relief, the special and peculiar functions of each, must vary in different countries, and must remain a matter for discussion and adjustment. But we have already reached some fairly definite principles for our conduct.
The socialistic criticism of all private and especially of church charity is not likely to make any radical change within a period which practical people can consider, Modifications of human nature and of social conditions are always in process of becoming, but they are slower than most socialists think. Even under a system as comfortable as they paint in their economic romances, there will be orphans, widows, insane, weak, crippled, and vicious persons, who will require not only physical support, but also the personal and organized assistance of some form of social sympathy. The socialist is right when he affirms that almsgiving can never cloak a criminal neglect of necessary economic and political change; but he is wrong in his wholesale condemnation of charity, and in his sometimes materialistic conception of human needs.
Looking directly at social life in the United States, we see powerful currents of benevolent purpose in the churches. Religious zeal is taking the form of humane endeavor. Interest in theological controversy is dying out. Denominational rivalry is manifested in social action rather than in polemics. Biblical and historical criticism has compelled Christian people to find the foundations of their faith in the actual life of love in the present rather than in the historical arguments for an ancient fact.
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The example of Catholic and Hebrew charities has stirred the
THE GERMAN INNER MISSION: ITS ACTIVITIES.
A full account of the activities of the German Inner Mission would require a volume, such as that of Pastor Schäfer's Leitfaden. The chief topics of his book will give a survey of the range of these church charities of the religious establishment. In connection with societies independent of each other, and of ecclesiastical authority, but bound together and to the State church by moral ties, we see a great number of ministries to the poor, the weak, the endangered. These are all supported by private contributions, secured by appeals to religion, conscience, sympathy, and, possibly, to denominational interests and fear of the Social Democrats. It is rare in any human enterprise to see a good work done from absolutely pure motives. But we may well believe that the best motives are dominant when we see the extent and the spirit of these institutions,
There is the group of arrangements for the education of children, as day nurseries, kindergartens, Sunday-schools, orphanages, societies, and schools for boys and for girls. The Inner Mission seeks to promote the education and protection of youth by means of schools in household economy, boarding-houses, and associations It organizes agencies for the rescue of the depraved, erring girls wanderers, drunkards. It offers friendly help to those who are i special moral peril, as sailors and emigrants.
It has institutions for the sick and the defective ---- the blind, de mutes, cripples, feeble children, the insane. It supplies interest and elevated reading by means of libraries, reading-rooms, and portage. It enters more and more into the life of existing ins tutions and social movements with the purpose of preventing