Imatges de pÓgina


This figure must, however, be greatly reduced before the comparison is just. The hospitals receive about 100,000 patients a year, and these being subtracted, together with 11,000 children, who, being apprenticed, are still under the charge of the Assistance,' but are no cost to it, 240,000 assisted persons, including mendicants, remain. Of these 205,000 receive out-relief, the balance being made up of children, insane persons, and the inmates of the hospices. This gives a percentage of 1 pauper in nearly 8 persons in Paris, against 1 in 12 in London. It must be remembered, however, that a large part of the French assistance consists of small sums given in outdoor relief. It is impossible accurately to estimate the amount expended on hospitals in Paris, as the Assistance Publique cannot keep the accounts of those establishments separate from those of the hospices and asylums for the insane. The total of the budget for 1878 was 1,350,000l., which included the management of property and the whole cost of the Assistance Publique. Outdoor relief and the Bureaux de Bienfaisance cost no more than 220,000l. The total number of beds available in all the institutions of Paris is 19,636, of which 8,430 are in hospitals, leaving 11,206 in hospices, asylums, &c. Assuming that the average cost of beds is the same throughout— although it might be taken that those of hospitals are more costly— the indoor establishments of Paris, exclusive of hospitals, would not cost more than 640,000l. Adding to this the amount expended by the bureaux, we have a total of 860,000l. This gives a result as nearly as possible equivalent to what is spent in London, where the actual expenditure and population are both double those of Paris. The number and activity of private benevolent societies are certainly greater in London than in Paris, where, however, there are many in existence. The Société Philanthropique and that of St. Vincent de Paul are the most important.

It has been estimated that the private charities of London distribute the sum of 4,000,000l. annually among the poor. Such an estimate must be almost a pure guess, but it is not difficult to believe the amount actually given away is fabulously large. A peculiarity of much British charity may be described as its animosity. It is given in many cases in defiance of the opinions of others. Organisations which are distinctly hostile to one another are at work on the same ground, as may be seen to-day in the East End of London, where bread and cocoa are being distributed in enormous quantities to poor persons for whose assistance there already exist an elaborate Poor Law and an equally elaborate system of organised charity. There are no means of estimating the amounts distributed by the purely private benevolent societies of Paris, but they are, I am convinced, infinitely less in proportion than those of London. The Assistance Publique affords an outlet for eager charity on the one hand, VOL. V.-No. 24. Ꮓ

and gives an assurance that none will be neglected on the other. There is no room or excuse for the impulsive charity of which we see so much in England. To make the comparison which has been attempted above complete, it would be necessary to add to the list of English paupers a large number of persons who receive great help from charity, but whose names are not included in the list of paupers. Or we should subtract from the list of French paupers a very large number of persons who, though their names are recorded on the lists of the bureaux, have yet only received a small amount of help from a source which would, in England, be regarded as private charity. When such a deduction has been made, it will be found that there is in reality far less actual pauperism in France than in England. If the figures appear for a moment to favour a contrary idea, this arises from the fact that many more acts of charity are recorded in France than in England, and are thus reproduced in published statistics.

Possibly, however, some may not be inclined to allow that the expenditure on the indigent is less in France than it is in England.

It may be observed that under these circumstances the French system is in no respect superior to the English. If it were a mere question of expenditure, this might be the case. But it is not so. The amount spent on the poor in Great Britain is but small in comparison with the national wealth, and is no more than would probably have to be expended under another system. But the right which it gives to the poor to claim relief is a right which is most injurious to the moral fibre of the nation. The evil of want of thrift is only too apparent in this country. In France, where there is much charity, but no obligatory poor law, the forethought of the working classes is the admiration of all. The scorn-for no other word is sufficiently strong-with which such writers as M. de Fontpertuis in the Journal des Economistes speak of the obligatory systems of England and Germany, is a measure of the conviction felt by them that their own system is sound in theory and effectual in practice.

I will venture to sum up what appear to me to be the advantages of the French over the English system of poor relief under three heads:

1. Individual, and ultimately national character is not weakened by a law which teaches men to rely upon extraneous help and not upon their own exertions.

2. There is no waste of money or effort in the relief of the poor. 3. An admirable organisation is always in operation. The Bureaux de Bienfaisance are elastic, and can meet the ordinary distress of everyday life, or the misery produced by a fire, an inundation, or a siege. It is not necessary to create machinery, as is being done this winter in a hundred towns in England and Scotland, when a sudden

emergency arises. The bureaux are moreover able to decide, from information which is always within their reach, whether distress is real or only alleged."


5 AUTHORITIES.-1. Dictionnaire de l'Administration Française. Par M. Maurice Block. Paris, 1878.-2. Projet de Budget de l'Exercice, 1878. Administration Générale de l'Assistance Publique de Paris. Paul Dupont, Paris, 1877.-3. Rapport sur le traitement des Malades à domicile. Idem. Paul Dupont, Paris, 1878.-4. Rensignements statistiques sur la population indigente de Paris. Idem. Grandremy, Paris, 1878.-5. Service des Secours à domicile. Idem. Paul Dupont, Paris, 1877.— 6. Règlement administratif sur les Secours à domicile dans la ville de Paris. Idem. Paul Dupont, Paris, 1877.-7. Enquête sur les Bureaux de Bienfaisance. Ministère de l'Intérieur. Rapport au Ministre par M. Paul Bucquet. Imprimerie Nationale, Paris, 1874.-8. Report on the Public Relief of the Poor in France. By E. Lee Hamilton. Blue Book, 'Poor Laws in Foreign Countries.' London, 1875.-9. Le Journal des Economistes, January 1878, Paris. Article by M. Ad. F. de Font pertuis, on La Charité Légale et la Législation Charitable en Angleterre.'


I HAVE no reason to complain of Mr. Kebbel's reply to my article on the 'Progress of Personal Rule.' On the contrary, I have every reason to be well content. A man does not like to be argumentatively demolished, and an apprehension that the attempt may succeed is enough to spoil the literary enjoyment which it would otherwise inspire. But when either a salutary grain of self-confidence or a reasonable persuasion of the goodness of his cause suffices to ward off any such dread, he is at leisure to admire the tactics of his assailant. In this respect I should be ungrateful if I did not tender my warmest acknowledgments to Mr. Kebbel. He has given me an hour's suggestive reading, and after following him without any sense of mortal hurt through the ratiocinative part of his essay, I have had the supreme gratification, not unmixed with wonder, of finding towards the close that he makes me a present of nearly all for which I had contended. His estimate of the political aims of the Premier is much the same as mine, the principal difference between us being that whereas he approves of them, I do not; and that while he sees in them a probable remedy for what he chooses to regard as the besetting ills of the commonwealth, I, on the other hand, view them with detestation as a quack's nostrums for imaginary evils, and as fraught with peril to the liberties of England.

A sensation of curiosity is natural on meeting for the first time. with an opponent whom by some mischance one has not the honour of knowing. One watches his words and seizes with eagerness upon every bit of self-revelation in order, if possible, to pick up some acquaintance with the strange personality whom it is your fortune to confront in arms. Reading Mr. Kebbel's essay with such feelings, I could not help being charmed with my opponent. He seemed to wear such an air of obviously unstudied simplicity, and to be so clearly a stranger to the devious ways of political life. I accepted him at once as the 'simple outsider' he professed to be, without a brief, without any overpowering partialities, and unacquainted with the statesman he undertook to defend, save through the force of his literary intuitions. The fact that after his attention had been attracted by the growing outcry against personal rule, which, if it

meant anything, meant much, he should have thought very little further about the matter till he discovered, one day, that Mr. Goldwin Smith took it seriously, wrought in me the highest respect for a nature so ingenuous and calm. When I also learned that, in his eagerness to be enlightened, he ran to my essay for information, nothing else could well be wanting to fix him in my admiring esteem. I was even, for the moment, led to reckon it among the good results of my adventure in the Nineteenth Century, that it had induced such a man to abandon a life of contemplation, with its attendant temptations to indolence and cynicism, and had led him to devote his genius to the improvement of his countrymen.

It will be understood that these were my first impressions. A little reflection made me doubt whether Mr. Kebbel was quite the novice he seemed to be. I even began to suspect that his ignorance was a graceful affectation, and that a certain easy perfunctoriness discernible in his treatment of the question might conceal a purpose which went much further than the confutation of my arguments. It certainly seemed rather odd that he should so quickly have exchanged the character of a sceptical observer for that of a zealous advocate, and should have felt himself, above all other men, called to prove that the charge I brought against Lord Beaconsfield had broken down, when he tells us that he has never yet been able to understand what the charge meant. The paper to which Mr. Kebbel replies dealt quite as freely with Baron Stockmar and the Prince Consort as with Lord Beaconsfield. But Mr. Kebbel declines to throw his shield over the reputation of the dead. His sole care is to establish the political blamelessness of the living statesman. As I read on, these incongruities seemed to receive an explanation in the scope of his argument, which is in favour of personal rule, and, so far as Lord Beaconsfield is concerned, simply goes for a verdict of 'not proven on the charge of attempting its revival. It may well be held desirable that public opinion should not be needlessly alarmed nor be defied too soon. Why should a promising development be spoiled by indiscretion? But if, in spite of every precaution, an outcry should be raised, it may then be prudent to insist upon the strictest proof and pin the accuser to the very letter of the law. In this way at least a plausible case may be made out for the defence, the rising storm of popular indignation may be appeased, and time won for carrying the process a little further.

The conditions of political life in England afford one argumentwhich is always at hand for discrediting an opponent, and for throwing odium on an unpalatable truth. Say that a cry is inspired by party zeal, and you have done your best to close against it the ears of half the nation. Mr. Kebbel says that the cry against personal rule is a party cry, and in one sense the assertion is true. inasmuch as it is raised mainly, though not exclusively, by the Liberal

It is a party cry,

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