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settled poor. This is the more remarkable, because the guardians of Bethnal Green have lived for many years in a perpetual state of controversy with the Local Government Board, by reason of the very inadequate equipment of their indoor establishments. If therefore the poor, of their own free will, enter the Bethnal Green Workhouse, which, though pular because of the general laxity of discipline, is still much below the average of comfort to be found in the London workhouses, it would follow that the same is done in unions where there are good infirmaries and clean accommodation, From enquiries made, we have no doubt that this is the case. Mr. Hunter's contention that in London it is the refusal of outdoor relief which drives the poor into the workhouse is obviously erroneous. As a matter of fact the comparatively high percentage of indoor to outdoor relief in London is due, not to the restrictive policy of the guardians, but to other causes. With the exception of one or two unions, the policy of the London guardians is not one in favour of the restriction of outdoor relief. The high rate of indoor pauperism is due to two causes: (1) the great improvement in the infirmaries and workhouse accommodation generally, in virtue of the provisions of the Metropolitan Poor Law Act of 1867; (2) the large number of homeless poor who avail themselves of shelters and casual wards while they are well, and who crowd into the infirmaries when they are ill, Mr. Loch discusses the first cause at considerable length: he shows that the change in the law and its administration followed Ol the revelations of an enquiry known as the Lancet Commission, which had exposed serious shortcomings in our Poor-law establishments. He proves conclusively that the greatly increased expenditure which followed the Act of 1867 was due, not to a desire to restrict relief, but to a wish to make relies, more particularly relief to the sick and infirm, more adequate and more humane. As we have seen in the case of Bethnal Green, the poor are not unwilling to avail themselves of the relief offered in a workhouse. Secondly, the great numbers of the vagrant class are often overlooked by our statistical enthusiasts. It is assumed that a man who enters a workhouse or infirmary is torn from his home and family. In the great majority of cases nothing can be further from the truth. The facts revealed by the following extract from a return prepared for the Stepney Board, showing the number of persons admitted into the workhouse of the union, is an interesting comment on this assumption. ADMISSION
Percentage of recent
Admissions from Shelters Arrivals in London on Resident Poor. or Homeless. Total Admissions from Shelters.
Ending Michaelmas, 1891.
Per cent. Per cent. Per cent.
The strict London unions,—Whitechapel, Stepney, and St. George-in-the-East,-in order to put aside the reproach of inflicting hardship, have expended much money and care on their infirmaries and workhouses; and on this very account, as well as owing to the character of the neighbourhood, these East-end unions collect more than their share of this vagrant population. In unions where outdoor relief is freely given, workhouse accommodation is still, to a section of paupers, more attractive than outdoor relief. Naturally in such places the rate of pauperism does not rapidly diminish. The author of ‘Plain Words’ devotes a section of his pamphlet to showing: “Why 1852–1853 should be taken for purposes of comparison with 1892–1893.” We need not trouble the reader with his reasons. The insuperable objection to this procedure is that previous to 1867 there was no attractive indoor accommodation. Now, the workhouse, the infirmary, and the schools have their attractions; and, except in one or two instances, the guardians are almost as
lavish of out-relief as ever they were.
Mr. Hunter argues that unions where the cost per pauper is low, have an advantage over unions where it is higher. The above instance clearly shows the worthlessness of the test. A large number of paupers inadequately relieved would by this method of judgment be preferred to a small number adequately relieved. The author of ‘Plain Words' ingeniously goes out of his way to complain that the official statement of the cost of indoor and outdoor maintenance takes no account of sums spent on “Workhouse and other loans repaid and interest thereon, on salaries, rations, and of officers, assistants, and servants, and on “other expenses of or immediately connected with relief.' This he thinks, should be added to the cost of indoor maintenance as officially stated. . But we have seen that the policy of improved and more costly indoor management has no necessary out. W1t
with the policy of restricting outdoor relief, and in many instances it has been adopted without any departure from the old plan of giving outdoor relief to all who press for it. We now return to Mr. Booth's latest volume, “The Aged Poor: Condition.” In the first pages he explains that the demand for ‘trustworthy official statistics’ has been satisfied by the production of Mr. Ritchie's return, No. 265. This shows, classified according to age, the number of paupers relieved on January 1, 1892, and the total number relieved during the year ended at Lady-day, 1892. This return, Mr. Booth contends, confirms his own calculations; and Canon Blackley, who also deals largely in estimates, wrote to ‘The Times’ of May 22, 1894, to claim a like confirmation of his own figures. He specially bases his reputation for correctness on the return furnished by St. Saviour's, Southwark, where the rate of pauperism among the population of those over sixty-five years of age is alleged to be 84 per cent. Now, it is not often that an answer in figures bears its own refutation on the face of it. This return of Mr. Ritchie's, however, seems to be one of these few exceptions. In the preliminary memorandum we are informed of some of the difficulties that stood in the way of getting a correct yearly census of pauperism. In one London union the calculation took six weeks of continuous work. First, there were the duplicates for the two half-years to be eliminated, then the duplicate entries in each separate establishment, then the duplicates arising from paupers who have been in more than one part of the workhouse, It has been frankly admitted by not a few clerks to the unions, that the yearly census portion of the return is altogether untrustworthy. Among others, the clerk to St. Saviour's Board has admitted in a letter, quoted publicly by Mr. Loch, that the duplicates were not rigorously excluded in his union. One difficulty, it may be pointed out, is quite insuperable. We have it on the authority of one union clerk that a certain pauper, who at the time of the return was in the infirmary of a London union, declared that he had left Darlington fourteen weeks earlier in the year, and during the interval he had been in the following workhouses (not casual wards): Northallerton, Knaresborough, Birmingham, Burton-on-Trent, Market Harborough, Leicester, Bedford, Luton, Barnet, Holborn, Strand, and several others on the road which he had forgotten; say, roughly, fourteen different workhouses in as many weeks, or fifty in a year. Such a man is in himself a perfect stage army of paupers. The absurdity of the affair reaches a climax when we take the figures recorded of St. George-in-the-East. Here the number of paupers over Vol. 179.-No. 358. 2 I sixty-five sixty-five years of age during the year is alleged to be 2,863; but as the estimated population of that age is only 1600, these figures proved too much even for the most omnivorous statis. tician. On p. 96, Mr. Booth puts down the percentage of oldage pauperism in this union at 66 per cent. of the population of that age. He has evidently used a different set of figures, which we understand have been supplied privately to the Royal Commission on the Aged Poor by the authorities of St. George-inthe East. One glaring error has thus been detected and admitted, but there is no evidence that the remainder of the figures are more accurate, and we have positive evidence with regard to Southwark that they are quite untrustworthy. Surely in this
affair the statisticians are hoist with their own petard. On p. 100, Mr. Booth remarks that “the results attained are chiefly negative.” Yet, on the next page, certainly in very obscure language, he suggests a solution of a controversy which, as we have already shown, is probably the most important in all this matter. He sums it up again on p. 423, in these words: “Remarkable instances of successful administration are to be found with any proportion of out-relief from over 80 to under 7 per cent.' The statement and the argument are full of ambiguities and of unwarranted assumptions, such as could only be made by one who is stubbornly blind to the heterogeneous nature of the figures which he manipulates. ‘Successful administration’ is assumed to mean an administration which yields a low rate of pauperism irrespective of the population with which it deals. He therefore compares without flinching Wharfedale with Bradfield, Oxford with Bridlington, Manchester with Dunmow. It would be instructive to analyse the different character of the pauperism and of the population in all these unions, but space obliges us to confine ourselves briefly to one instance. Let us take at random Fylde and Bradfield, the first and last names of the list on p. 101. Fylde, according to Mr. Booth, gives 65 per cent of its relief out of doors, and has 2.2 per cent. of pauperism. Bradfield gives 18 per cent out of doors, and has 1.7 per cent, of palperism. Here Mr. Booth has struck out a new line of error for himself. Contrary to the usual custom, he has, in reckoning the percentage of outdoor to total pauperism, taken the cost and not the numbers of outdoor pauperism,_a method which, as already shown, must in the case of inadequate outdoor relief prove quite untrustworthy as a true test of policy. Thus Bradfield gives 18 per cent. of its relief to 22 old persons, or an average of 3s., 1d. per person per week. Fylde gives 65 per cent. of its relief to 374 persons of whom 170 were children, i.e. about