Charitable Relationships, January 31, 1902 (excerpts)



Speaks Interestingly on "Charitable Relationships."


Other Events at Temple of Learning -- Vesperian Society at Work on Play -- Day of Prayer Observed.

An interested and enthusiastic audience filled the college chapel last evening to hear Miss Jane Addams, who gave a lecture upon "Charitable Relationships." No words of praise are needed for Miss Addams, to whom Rockford people heartily give high honor and sincere admiration. Miss Addams spoke in part as follows:

"The subject, 'Charitable Relationships,' is such a vast one that it is absurd to attempt in one lecture to give even an outline of it. It is possible only to touch upon certain of the efforts which are being made to bring together in sympathy and kindness, the world's different classes.

"The thing that distinguishes the charity of the last twenty-five years is its enormous extension. The intelligence and best civilization of the day is hard at work in the attempt to straighten out the untoward things of the world, hence many enterprises not before known by this name are for the first time classed as charity.

"The forces which are working along these lines can be divided into three classes. There is first of all, the picturesque method, the method employed by artists who write and sing about the poor. This was the sort of thing which Dickens did, and it is exemplified in more modern times by Besant in England and Jacob Riis in America. These men take the poor and underfed and draw interest to them as human beings, letting us see things exactly as they are without sentimentality. [page 2]

"The second set of influences may be spoken of as economic. There are many able writers, in England [preeminently] and to a less degree in Germany, who are calling attention to the fact that if a nation has a large class who are poor and underfed, that nation suffers great loss. First, a direct loss in that it never receives money for taxes from such a class, and second, an indirect loss, because it is not benefitted by the work these people ought to perform. In England there is at present great agitation over the question of a minimum wage, to be established by the government, because the government can not afford to compete with other countries where such a wage is established. People are born into conditions where they have no chance to grow into useful men, hence there is a certain amount of preventable poverty. It is the business of the state to find out how much of this can be remedied and to legislate accordingly.

"The third line of influence is that which is directed by those who take a rationalistic point of view. This is the point of view of the man or woman who tried to look at life as a whole. These reformers say that if we allow people to be underfed and uncared for, we cut off from ourselves not only industrial labor but moral power. We can not lift the mass. All we can do is to free individual powers so that all can pull together toward the light. Any effort in this direction is only one which all good citizenship demands. Charitable efforts are consistently becoming more and more those of mutual endeavor. There is no saving power in charitable work as such."

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