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their uncertainty. We adhere, therefore, to the specific dates.
It is not likely that we have been able to assume these changes without making some mistakes; but better incur the blame of that, than permit this magnificent work to be wholly obscured and hidden by inconsistencies so trivial.
ART. V. - JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN CHARITY.
London Pauperism amongst Jews and Christians. An Inquiry into
the Principles and Practice of Out-door Relief in the Metropolis, and the Results upon the Moral and Physical Condition of the Pauper Class. Bỳ J. H. STALLARD, M.B., London.
By London: Saunders, Otley, & Co., 1867. The Jewish system of public relief in London originated, it seems, from the removal, a few years ago, of the wealthier Hebrew families, for fashion's sake, to the West End. Before this removal, the rich and poor not only met together in their synagogues for common worship and mutual edification, but lived together in a common and close neighborhood, with natural relations between the two classes, and a simple, spontaneous dependence of each upon the other. Left to themselves, the poor were obliged to resort to new means of communication with their more favored fellows of Israel's name. “ All isolation,” says Matthew Browne, in his own italics, "all isolation is a making of little hells!” So it wrought with the Hebrews in the great metropolis. The poorer synagogues of the Continent forwarded their dependent members, for relief, to London, as their residence, or as a stage on their way, pilgrim-like, to our shores. Hundreds of poor foreigners, ignorant of the language, homeless and houseless, with no means of self-support, crowded the Jewish quarter in the heart of this centre of the world's wealth. The Hebrew population was estimated, last year, at 55,000, and has not, probably, ranged much below those figures during the brief
period of their new Relief Arrangement. The foreign element largely predominated. Some estimate of the proportion of widows and fatherless children may be drawn from the fact, that 10,000 of the former and 25,000 of the latter are already enrolled upon the books of their Guardians of the Poor.
The removal of the rich from their vicinity left the poor to avail themselves of begging pleas or begging letters. They planted themselves at the doors of warehouses, countingrooms, or banking-offices, with an importunity not to be denied; or they forwarded epistles of a most urgent and piteous tenor: and to both forms of appeal the pious and prosperous Jew promptly accorded a favorable reply. So the relationship was re-established, which his removal to the West End had disturbed. But effects soon followed which revealed a disastrous error. The more the rich yielded and gave, the more importunate and exacting the poor became. Beggars' cries and beggars' letters multiplied and swarmed, like the flies and frogs of Egypt. Pauperism increased. To prevent this, as well as to remember and relieve the poor, was the question which Hebrew charity had to meet.
The first step was the appointment of a Board of twentynine Guardians of the Poor, to represent the conference of the three synagogues of the city and the wealth of their communion. This Board was subdivided into general branches of inquiry and relief, with special departments for strangers, for widows and orphans, for the sick, the unemployed, &c. They provided also for a corps of additional volunteers, in case of epidemics or unusual calls for aid. Nor were the Guardians to be mere officials or hirelings. The wisest and best of their people volunteered, or were selected, for the sacred service. It was a religious trust; and its representatives and agents were called to it, or called for it, " in God." There was to be no longer isolation, separation, estrangement; but, rather, proximity, union, friendship.
Again, in opening their office, in receiving and visiting the applicants for relief, the same personal element of religion and humanity appears. The poor were invited, encouraged, urged to come, before they became beggars or paupers, and
lest they should become such. With all the respect shown for the home and the person of the poor brother or sister, the wholesome sanitary faith of the Hebrew Guardians never allowed an applicant to appear with unclean hands, face, or body, or to remain in an unclean tenement. Bath-tickets were ready for the first, and another house, or suite of rooms, for the last, at the expense of the Guardians; who insisted upon the use of these tickets, and removal to suitable apartments, before affording any other relief. The Guardians challenge the most jealous and vigilant scrutiny to discover a single instance of their overlooking, neglecting, or failing to relieve, a worthy poor individual or family. Not that they always give. But full records are kept in every case; and the Board can prove from their books, that, if they did not yield at times to the request of the poor, it was because a better course suggested itself, - a better method, at once, of removing want and of preventing pauperism. The best proof that this is well done we find in the report, so honorable to the Jewish Guardians, that, whenever the poor are thus denied their request, or, rather, are put in the way of helping themselves, they are as well pleased as if the alms had been bestowed. In other words, the treatment they receive is so straightforward and sincere, that they see, with the Guardians, how much better it is to look elsewhere, to resources of their own or of their friends and kindred, than to draw upon official charity-funds. If a journey or voyage should be proposed, the Guardians cheerfully give or loan the necessary means. Often they add enough to prevent anxiety or suffering when the poor arrive whither they recommend them to remove : this, we believe, is their rule in every worthy instance. And many a freshly-arrived and hardly-pressed foreigner- exile and wanderer on the earth — has found reason to rejoice in the prompt and provident, brotherly and paternal, kindness of his “co-religionists," as they style themselves so justly. But, when the Guardians find that the applicants must remain where they are, if their investigations reveal real merit and real want, aid to any needed amount is forthcoming at
VOL. LXXXIII. - NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. III.
They meet the applicant at first with a welcome. They believe every story which is at all probable, till facts oblige them to set it aside; and, in all instances, when no other alternative is left, their charity flows towards the worthy poor in swift, sure, and swelling streams. No further time is to be lost; and the only rule or measure to be applied is that of the necessity of the case. They do not ask, How little can you get along with? They do not adopt a fixed rate for every recipient; nor are they guilty of the folly of setting some narrow bound, within which the poor must content themselves, or go to the almshouse. They know nothing of the miserable policy which views the poor with suspicion and aversion, doles out scanty alms to those who beg the loudest or deceive the most, and too often overlooks the honest and humble sufferers, who had rather perish than mix with beggars and rank with paupers.
“I dread giving the first half-dollar," said an overseer, once, in Baltimore. “ Make it five or ten dollars; and tell the poor creature, to whom it yields substantial relief, to look to you, and to you alone, under God, when it is gone, if the occasion for it remains," would be the Hebrew reply, “and you will have nothing to fear.” А widow cries, “I must break up my family: I cannot keep my children together. My husband is gone : our little ones are so many,
I must send them to the asylum, or let strangers adopt them.” — “No,” say the Guardians: “God is your husband; your offspring are our wards; their mother's side is the best asylum; no home is so good as yours for them.” “But,” she pleads, “ how can I afford it?” -“What will it cost ?”—“A pound sterling, it may be, a week.” _“We will gladly find that for you,” is their reply. This condition, however, is always insisted upon, — “Your children must attend school.” The mother cheerfully consents and faithfully complies. The schools are free, and, when school-going days are over, the best of places are found for their “wards ;” and the Guardians continue to watch over them with parental solicitude and affection, till, at a suitable age, they are received into the synagogue. Many a fatherless child rises, in this way, to eminence and usefulness in the future adminis
tration of the faith and humanity of his fathers, or takes her honored and happy place among the daughters of Israel.
Not merely children, but every young man and young woman, is made to partake of this all-embracing guardianship of the Hebrew system. An important additional means of relief comes in the form of loans under five pounds (twenty-five or thirty dollars), without interest, and of larger loans at fair rates. The loan-offices are governed by the rules in Deuteronomy, and resemble our pawners' bank, and the monts de piété of Europe. Marriage portions, gratuities to the poor for festive occasions, and burial grants, are common everywhere with "the chosen people.” One touching feature they can proudly claim as their own: when a woman is about to become a mother, no matter how humble or little known she may be, her neighbors congratulate her on God's great goodness, assure her of their sympathy, and pledge, with words never known to be broken, whatever cheer or succor she may require. The consequence is, more children are favorably ushered into the world, and, from this and kindred care afterwards, a larger proportion of infants reach the age of five in health and strength, with this “ peculiar people," than with any others upon the globe. Similar pains produce equal advantages upon the general duration of mature life with the Hebrews.
One person weekly, Dr. Stallard estimates, dies of starvation in London! Such a thing is wholly unknown under the Jewish administration; while imposture, beggary, crime from the pressure of want, and pauperism in all its forms, are effectually prevented. Sub-committees have special charge of the sick, infirm, aged, and “casual” poor. They forbid and prevent all resort to almshouses, workhouses, or the like ; and, though their own charities are extended to all the dispensaries, hospitals, and benevolent institutions of Christian London, yet they prefer their own provisions for their own dependents. Old age is held in especial esteem. None of the natural shocks that flesh is heir to, appear to be uncared for.
Especially grateful are their arrangements for the sick.