ESSAYS, Political, Economical and Philosophical. Volume 1.
by Benjamin Rumford
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These odd pieces are more frequently to be met with in the lots which are sold in the butchers' shops in Munich than in almost any other town; for the price of meat is fixed by authority, the butchers have a right to sell the whole carcase, the bad pieces with the good, so that with each good lot there is what in this country is called the zugewicht, that is to say, an indifferent scrap of offal meat, or piece of bone, to make up the weight;— and these refuse pieces were very often thrown into the poor's tub; and after being properly cleaned and boiled, served to make their soup much more savoury and nourishing.

In the collection of the daily donations of bread, as that article is more valuable, and more easily concealed and disposed of, more precautions were used to prevent frauds on the parts of the servants who were sent round to make the collection.

The cart which was employed for this purpose was furnished with a large wooden chest, firmly nailed down upon it, and provided with a good lock and key; and this chest, which was neatly painted, and embellished with a inscription, was so contrived, by means of an opening in the top of a large vertical wooden tube fixed in its lid, and made in the form of a mouse-trap, that when it was locked, (as it always was when it was sent round for the donations of bread,) a loaf of bread, or any thing of that size, could be put into it; but nothing could be taken out of it by the same opening. Upon the return of the cart, the bread-chest was opened by the steward, who keeps the key of it; and its contents, after being entered in a register kept for that purpose, were delivered over to the care of the store-keeper.

The bread collected was commonly such as not having been sold in time, had become too old, hard, and stale for the market; but which, being cut fine, a handful of it put into a basin of good pease-soup, was a great addition to it.

The amount of these charitable donations in kind, may be seen in the transactions of the original returns, which are annexed in the Appendix, No. III.

The collections of soup were not long continued, it being found to be in general of much too inferior a quality to be mixed with the soup made in the kitchen of the poor-house; but the collections of bread, and of meat, continue to this time, and are still very productive.

But the greatest resource in feeding the poor, is one which I am but just beginning to avail myself of,—the use of potatoes[10]. Of this subject, however, I shall treat more largely hereafter.

The above-mentioned precautions used in making collections in kind, may perhaps appear trifling, and superfluous; they were nevertheless very necessary. It was also found necessary to change all the poor's-boxes in the churches, to prevent their being robbed; for though in those which were first put up, the openings were not only small, but ended in a curved tube, so that it appeared almost impossible to get any of the money out of the box by the same opening by which it was put into it; yet means were found, by introducing into the opening thin pieces of elastic wood, covered with bird-lime, to rob the boxes. This was prevented in the new boxes, by causing the money to descend through a sort of bag, with a hold in the bottom of it, or rather a flexible tube, made of chain-work, with iron wire, suspended in the middle of the box.


Apology for the want of method in treating the subject under consideration. Of the various means used for encouraging industry among the poor. Of the internal arrangement and government of the house of industry. Why called the military work-house. Of the manner in which the business is carried on there. Of the various means used for preventing frauds in carrying on the business in the different manufactures. Of the flourishing state of those manufactures.

Though all the different parts of a well arranged establishment go on together, and harmonize, like the parts of a piece of music in full score, yet, in describing such an establishment, it is impossible to write like the musician, in score, and to make all the parts of the narrative advance together. Various movements, which exist together, and which have the most intimate connection and dependence upon each other, must nevertheless be described separately; and the greatest care and attention, and frequently no small share of address, are necessary in the management of such descriptions, to render the details intelligible; and to give the whole its full effect of order;—dependence;— connection;—and harmony. And in no case can these difficulties be greater, than in descriptions like those in which I am now engaged; where the number of the objects, and of the details, is so great, that it is difficult to determine which should be attended to first; and how far it may safely be pursued, without danger of the others being too far removed from their proper places;—or excluded;— or forgotten.

The various measures adopted, and precautions taken, in arresting the beggars,—in collecting and distributing alms,—in establishing order and police among them,—in feeding and clothing the poor,— and in establishing various manufactures for giving them employment, are all subjects which deserve, and require, the most particular explanation; yet those are not only operations which were begun at the same time; and carried on together; but they are so dependent upon each other, that it is almost impossible to have a complete idea of the one, without being acquainted with the others; or of treating of the one, without mentioning the others at the same time.—This, therefore, must be my excuse, if I am taxed with want of method, or of perspicuity in the descriptions; and this being premised, I shall proceed to give an account of the various objects and operations which yet remain to be described.

I have already observed how necessary it was to encourage, by every possible means, a spirit of industry and emulation among those, who, from leading a life of indolence and debauchery, were to be made useful members of society; and I have mentioned some of the measures which were adopted for that purpose. It remains for me to pursue this interesting subject, and to treat it, in all its details, with that care and attention which its importance so justly demands.

Though a very generous price was paid for labour, in the different manufactures in which the poor were employed, yet, that alone was not enough to interest them sufficiently in the occupations in which they were engaged. To excite their activity, and inspire them with a true spirit of persevering industry, it was necessary to fire them with emulation;—to awaken in them a dormant passion, whose influence they had never felt;—the love of honest fame;— and ardent desire to excel;—the love of glory;—or by what other more humble or pompous name this passion, the most noble, and most beneficent that warms the human heart, can be distinguished.

To excite emulation;—praise;—distinctions;—rewards are necessary; and these were all employed. Those who distinguished themselves by their application,—by their industry,—by their address,—were publicly praised and encouraged;—brought forward, and placed in the most conspicuous situations;—pointed out to strangers who visited the establishment; and particularly named and proposed as models for others to copy. A particular dress, a sort of uniform for the establishment, which, though very economical, as may be seen by the details which will be given of it in another place, was nevertheless elegant, was provided; and this dress, as it was given out gratis, and only bestowed upon those who particularly distinguished themselves, was soon looked upon as an honourable mark of approved merit; and served very powerfully to excite emulation among the competitors, I doubt whether vanity, in any instance, ever surveyed itself with more self-gratification, than did some of these poor people when they first put on their new dress.

How necessary is it to be acquainted with the secret springs of action in the human heart, to direct even the lowest and most unfeeling class of mankind!—The machine is intrinsically the same in all situations;—the great secret is, FIRST TO PUT IT IN TUNE, before an attempt is made to play upon it. The jarring sounds of former vibrations must first be stilled, otherwise no harmony can be produced; but when the instrument is in order, the notes CANNOT FAIL to answer to the touch of a skilful master.

Though every thing was done that could be devised to impress the minds of all those, old and young, who frequented this establishment, with such sentiments as were necessary in order to their becoming good and useful members of society; (and in these attempts I was certainly successful, much beyond my most sanguine expectations;) yet my hopes were chiefly placed on the rising generation.

The children, therefore, of the poor, were objects of my peculiar care and attention. To induce their parents to send them to the establishment, even before they were old enough to do any kind of work, when they attended at the regular hours, they not only received their dinner gratis, but each of them was paid THREE CREUTZERS a day for doing nothing, but merely being present where others worked.

I have already mentioned that these children, who were too young to work, were placed upon seats built round the halls where other children worked. This was done in order to inspire them with a desire to do that, which other children, apparently more favoured, —more caressed,—and more praised than themselves, were permitted to do; and of which they were obliged to be idle spectators; and this had the desired effect.

As nothing is so tedious to a child as being obliged to sit still in the same place for a considerable time, and as the work which the other more favoured children were engaged in, was light and easy, and appeared rather amusing than otherwise, being the spinning of hemp and flax, with small light wheels, turned with the foot, these children, who were obliged to be spectators of this busy and entertaining scene, became so uneasy in their situations, and so jealous of those who were permitted to be more active, that they frequently solicited with the greatest importunity to be permitted to work, and often cried most heartily if this favour was not instantly granted them.

How sweet these tears were to me, can easily be imagined!

The joy they showed upon being permitted to descend from their benches, and mix with the working children below, was equal to the solicitude with which they had demanded that favour.

They were at first merely furnished with a wheel, which they turned for several days with the foot, without being permitted to attempt any thing further. As soon as they were become dexterous in the simple operation, and habit had made it so easy and familiar to them that the foot could continue its motion mechanically, without the assistance of the head;—till they could go on with their work, even though their attention was employed upon something else;—till they could answer questions, and converse freely with those about them upon indifferent subjects, without interrupting or embarrassing the regular motion of the wheel, then,—and not till then,—they were furnished with hemp or flax, and were taught to spin.

When they had arrived at a certain degree of dexterity in spinning hemp and flax, they were put to spinning of wool; and this was always represented to them, and considered by them, as an honorable promotion. Upon this occasion they commonly received some public reward, a new shirt,—a pair of shoes,— or perhaps the uniform of the establishment, as an encouragement to them to persevere in their industrious habits.

As constant application to any occupation for too great a length of time is apt to produce disgust, and in children might even be detrimental to health, beside the hour of dinner, an hour of relaxation from work, (from eight o'clock till nine,) in the forenoon, and another hour, (from three o'clock till four,) in the afternoon, were allowed them, and these two hours were spent in a school; which, for want of room elsewhere in the house, was kept in the dining-hall, where they were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, by a school-master engaged and paid for that purpose[11]. Into this school other persons who worked in the house, of a more advanced age, were admitted, if they requested it; but few grown persons seemed desirous of availing themselves of this permission. As to the children, they had no choice in the matter; those who belonged to the establishment were obliged to attend the school regularly every day, morning and evening. The school books, paper, pens, and ink, were furnished at the expence of the establishment.

To distinguish those among the grown persons that worked in the house, who showed the greatest dexterity and industry in the different manufactures in which they were employed, the best workman were separated from the others, and formed distinct classes, and were even assigned separate rooms and apartments. This separation was productive of many advantages; for, beside the spirit of emulation which it excited, and kept alive, in every part of the establishment, if afforded an opportunity of carrying on the different manufactures in a very advantageous manner. The most dexterous among the wool-spinners, for instance, were naturally employed upon the finest wool, such as was used in the fabrication of the finest and most valuable goods; and it was very necessary that these spinners should be separated from the others, who worked upon coarser materials; otherwise, in the manipulations of the wool, as particles of it are unavoidably dispersed about in all directions when it is spun, the coarser particles thus mixing with the fine would greatly injure the manufacture. It was likewise necessary, for a similar reason, to separate the spinners who were employed in spinning wool of different colours. But as these, and many other like precautions are well known to all manufacturers, it is not necessary that I should insist upon them any farther in this place; nor indeed is it necessary that I should enter into all the details of any of the manufactures carried on in the establishment I am describing. It will be quite sufficient, if I merely enumerate them, and others, who were employed in carrying them on.

In treating this subject it will however be necessary to go back a little, and give a more particular account of the internal governments of this establishment; and first of all I must observe, that the government of the Military Work-house, as it is called, is quite distinct from the government of the institution for the poor; the Work-house being merely a manufactory, like any other manufactory, supported upon its own private capital; which capital has no connection whatever with any fund destined for the poor. It is under the sole direction of its own particular governors and overseers, and is carried on at the sole risk of the owner. The institution for the poor, on the other hand, is merely an institution of charity, joined to a general direction of the police, as far as it relates to paupers. The committee, or deputation, as it is called, which is at the head of this institution, has the sole direction of all funds destined for the relief of the poor in Munich, and the distribution of alms. This deputation has likewise the direction of the kitchen, and bake-house, which are established in the Military Work-house; and of the details relative to the feeding of the poor; for it is from the funds destined for the relief of the poor that these expences are defrayed: the deputation is also in connection with the Military Work-house relative to the clothing of the poor, and the distribution of rewards to those of them who particularly distinguished themselves by their good behaviour and their industry, but this is merely a mercantile correspondence. The deputation has no right to interfere in any way whatever in the internal management of this establishment, considered as a manufactory. In this respect it is to all intents and purposes a perfectly distinct and independent establishment. But notwithstanding this, the two establishments are so dependent on each other in many respects, that neither of them could well subsist alone.

The Military Work-house being principally designed as a manufactory for clothing the army, its capital, which at first consisted in about 150,000 florins, but which has since increased to above 250,000 florins, was advanced by the military chest, and hence it is, that it was called the Military Work-house, and put under the direction of the council of war.

For the internal management of the establishment, a special commission was named, consisting of, one counsellor of war, of the department of military economy, or of the clothing of the army,—one captain, which last is inspector of the house, and has apartments in it, where he lodges; —and the store-keeper of the magazine of military clothing.

These commissioners, who have the magazine of military clothing at the same time under their direction, have, under my immediate superintendence, the sole government and direction of this establishment;—of all the inferior officers;—servants;— manufacturers;—and workmen, belonging to it; and of all mercantile operations;—contracts;— purchases;—sales;, etc. And it is with these commissioners that the regiments correspond, in order to be furnished with clothing, and other necessaries; and into their hands they pay the amount of the different articles received.

The cash belonging to this establishment is placed in a chest furnished with three separate locks, of one of which each of the commissioners are jointly, and severally, answerable for the contents of the chest.

These commissioners hold their sessions regularly twice a week, or oftener if circumstances require it, in a room in the Military Work-house destined for that purpose, where the correspondence, and all accounts and documents belonging to the establishment, and other records, are kept; and where the secretary of the commission constantly attends.

When very large contracts are made for the purchase of raw materials, particularly when they are made with foreigners, the conditions are first submitted by the commissioners to the council of war for their approbation; but in all concerns of less moment, and particularly in all the current business of the establishment;—in the ordinary purchases,—sales,—and other mercantile transactions; the commissioners act by their own immediate authority: but all the transactions of the commissioners BEING ENTERED REGULARLY IN THEIR JOURNALS, and the most particular account of all sales, and purchases, and other receipts and expenditures being kept; and inventories being taken every year, of all raw materials;—manufactures upon hand;—and other effects, belonging to the establishment; and an annual account of profit and loss, regularly made out; all peculation, and other abuses, are most effectually prevented.

The steward, or store-keeper of raw materials, as he is called, has the care of all raw materials, and of all finished manufactures destined for private sale. The former are kept in magazines, or store-rooms, of which he alone has the keys,— the latter are kept in rooms set apart as a store,—or shop,— where they are exposed for public inspection, and sale. To prevent abuses in the sales of these manufactures, their prices, which are determined upon a calculation of what they cost, and a certain per cent. added for the profits of the house, are marked upon the goods, and are never altered; and a regular account is kept of all, even of the most inconsiderable articles sold, in which not only the commodity, with its quality, quantity, an price, is specified; but the name of the purchaser, and the day of the month when the purchase was made, are mentioned.

All articles of clothing destined for the army which are made up in the house; as well as all goods in the piece, destined for military clothing, are lodged in the Military Magazine; which is situated at some distance from the Military Work-house; and is under the care and inspection of the Military store-keeper.

From this Military Magazine, which may be considered as an appendix to the Military Work-house, and is in fact under the same direction, the regiments are supplied with every article of their clothing. But in order that the army accounts may be more simple, and more easily checked, and that the total annual expence of each regiment may be more readily ascertained, the regiments pay, at certain fixed prices, for all the articles they receive from the Military Magazine, and charge such expenditures in the annual account which they send in to the War Office.

The order observed with regard to the delivery of the raw materials by the store-keeper or steward of the Military Work-house to those employed in manufacturing them, is as follows:

In the manufactures of wool, for instance, he delivers to the master-clothier a certain quantity, commonly 100 pounds, of wool, of a certain quality and description; taken from a certain division, or bin, in the Magazine; bearing a certain number; in order to its being sorted. And as a register is kept of the wool that is put into these bins from time to time, and as the lots of wool are always kept separate, it is perfectly easy at any time to determine when,—and where,—and from whom, the wool delivered to the sorted was purchased; and what was paid for it; and consequently, to trace the wool from the stock where it was grown, to the cloth into which it was formed; and even to the person who wore it. And similar arrangements are adopted with regard to all other raw materials used in the various manufactures.

The advantages arising from this arrangement are too obvious to require being particularly mentioned. It not only prevents numberless abuses on the part of those employed in the various manufactures, but affords a ready method of detecting any frauds on the part of those from whom the raw materials are purchased.

The wool received by the master-clothier is by him delivered to the wool-sorters to be sorted. To prevent frauds on the part of the wool-sorters, not only all the wool-sorters work in the same room, under the immediate inspection of the master wool-sorter, but a certain quantity of each lot of wool being sorted in the presence of some one of the public officers belonging to the house, it is seen by the experiment how much per cent. is lost by separation of dirt and filth in sorting; and the quantity of sorted wool of the different qualities, which the sorter is obliged to deliver for each HUNDRED POUNDS weight of wool received from the magazine, is from hence determined.

The great secret of the woollen manufactory is in the sorting of the wool, and if this is not particularly attended to; that is to say, if the different kinds of wool of various qualities which each fleece naturally contains, are not carefully separated; and if each kind of wool is not employed for that purpose, and FOR THAT ALONE, for which it is best calculated, no woollen manufactory can possibly subsist with advantages.

Each fleece is commonly separated into five or six different parcels of wool, of different qualities, by the sorters in the Military Work-house; and of these parcels, some are employed for warp;— others for wool;—others for combing;—and that which is very coarse and indifferent, for coarse mittens for the peasants;—for the lists of broad cloths, etc.

The wool, when sorted, is delivered back by the master-clothier to the steward, who now places it in the sorted-wool magazines, where it is kept in separate bins, according to its different qualities and destinations, till it is delivered out to be manufactured. As these bins are all numbered, and as the quality and destination of the wool which is lodged in each bin is always the same, it is sufficient in describing the wool afterwards as it passes through the hands of the different manufacturers, merely to mention ITS NUMBER; that is to say, the number of the bin the sorted-wool magazine from whence it was taken.

As a more particular account of these various manipulations, and the means used to prevent frauds, may not only be interesting to all who are curious in these matters, but may also be of real use to such as may engage in similar undertakings, I shall take the liberty to enlarge a little upon this subject.

From the magazine of sorted wool, the master-clothier receives this sorted wool again, in order to its being wolfed,—greased, —carded;—and spun, under his inspection, and then delivered into the store-room of woollen yarn. As woollen yarn he receives it again, and delivers it to the cloth-weaver. —The cloth-weaver returns it in cloth to the steward.—The steward delivers it to the fuller;—the fuller to the cloth-shearer;—the cloth-shearer to the cloth-presser;—and the cloth-presser to the steward;— and by this last it is delivered into the Military Magazine, if destined for the army; if not, it is placed in the shop for sale. The master-clothier is answerable for all the sorted wool he receives, till he delivers it to the clerk of the wool-spinners; and all his accounts are settled with the steward once a week.— The clerk of the spinners is answerable for the carded and combed wool he receives from the master-clothier, till it is delivered in yarn in the store-room; and his accounts are likewise settled with the master-clothier, and with the clerk of the store-room, (who is called the clerk of the control,) once a week. The spinners wages are paid by the clerk of the control, upon the spin-ticket, signed by the clerk of the spinners; in which ticket, the quantity, and quality of the yarn spun being specified, together with the name of the spinner, the weekly delivery of yarn by the clerk of the spinners into the store-room, must answer to the spin-tickets received and paid by the clerk of the control. More effectually to prevent frauds, each delivery of yarn to the clerk of the spinners is bound up in a separate bundle, to which is attached an abstract of the spin-ticket, in which abstract is specified, the name of the spinner;—the date of the delivery;—the number of the spin-ticket;—and the quantity and quality of the yarn. This arrangement not only facilitates the settlement of the weekly account between the clerk of the spinners and the clerk of the control, when the former makes his weekly delivery of yarn into the store-room, but renders it easy also to detect any frauds committed by the spinners.

The wages of the spinners are regulated by the fineness of the yarn; that is, by the number of skains, or rather knots, which they spin from the pound of wool. Each knot is composed of 100 threads, and each thread, or turn of the reel, is two Bavarian yards in length; and to prevent frauds in reeling, clock-reels, proved and sealed, are furnished by the establishment to all the spinners. It is possible, however, notwithstanding this precaution, for the spinners to commit frauds, by binding up knots containing a smaller number of threads than 100.—It is true they have little temptation to do so, for as their wages are in fact paid by the WEIGHT of the yarn delivered, and the number of knots serving merely to determine the price BY THE POUND which they have a right to receive, and advantages they can derive from frauds committed in reeling are very trifling indeed. But trifling as they are, such frauds would no doubt sometimes be committed, were it not known that it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for them to escape detection.

Not only the clerk of the spinners examines the yarn when he receives it, and counts the threads in any of the knots which appear to be too small, but the name of the spinner, with a note of the quantity of knots, accompanies the yarn into the store-room, as was before observed, and from thence to the spooler, by whom it is wound off; any frauds committed in reeling cannot fail to be brought home to the spinner.

The bundles of carded wool delivered to the spinners, though they are called pounds, are not exact pounds. They contain each as much more than a pound, as is necessary, allowing for wastage in spinning, in order that the yarn when spun may weigh a pound. If the yarn is found to be wanting in weight, a proportional deduction is made from the wages of the spinner; which deduction, to prevent frauds, amounts to a trifle more than the value of the yarn which is wanting.

Frauds in weaving are prevented by delivering the yarn to the weavers by weight, and receiving the cloth by weight from the loom. In the other operations of the manufactures, such as fulling, shearing, pressing, etc. no frauds are to be apprehended.

Similar precautions are taken to prevent frauds in the linen;— cotton;—and other manufactures carried on in the house; and so effectual are the means adopted, that during more than five years since the establishment was instituted, no one fraud of the least consequence has been discovered; the evident impossibility of escaping detection in those practices, having prevented the attempt.

Through the above-mentioned details may be sufficient to give some idea of the general order which reigns in every part of this extensive establishment; yet, as success in an undertaking of this kind depends essentially on carrying on the business in all its various branches in the most methodical manner, and rendering one operation a check upon the other, as well as in making the persons employed absolutely responsible for all frauds and neglects committed in their various departments, I shall either add in the Appendix, or publish separately, a full account of the internal details of the various trades and manufactures carried on in the Military Work-house, and copies of all the different tickets,—returns,—tables,—accounts, etc. made use of in carrying on the business of this establishment.

Though these accounts will render this work more voluminous than I could have wished, yet, as such details can hardly fail to be very useful to those, who, either upon a larger, or smaller scale, may engage in similar undertakings, I have determined to publish them.

To show that the regulations observed in carrying on the various trades and manufactures in the Military Work-house are good, it will, I flatter myself, be quite sufficient to refer to the flourishing state of the establishment;—to its growing reputation;—to its extensive connections, which reach even to foreign countries;—to the punctuality with which all its engagements are fulfilled;— to its unimpeached credit;—and to its growing wealth.

Notwithstanding all the disadvantages under which it laboured in its infant state, the net profits arising from it during the six years it has existed, amount to above 100,000 florins; after the expences of every kind,—salaries,—wages,—repairs, etc. have been deducted; in consequence of the augmentation of the amount of the orders received and executed the last year, did not fall much short of HALF A MILLION of florins.

It may be proper to observe, that, not the whole army of the Elector, but only the fifteen Bavarian regiments, are furnished with clothing from the Military Work-house at Munich. The troops of the Palatinate, and those of the Duchies of Juliers and Bergen, receive their clothing from a similar establishment at Manheim.

The Military Work-house at Manheim was indeed erected several months before that at Munich; but as it is not immediately connected with any institution for the poor,—as the poor are not fed in it,—and as it was my first attempt, or coup d'essai,— it is, in many respects, inferior in its internal arrangements to that at Munich. I have therefore chosen this last for the subject of my descriptions; and would propose it as a model for imitation, in preference to the other.

As both these establishments owe their existence to myself, and as they both remain under my immediate superintendence, it may very naturally be asked, why that at Manheim has not been put upon the same footing with that at Munich?—My answer to this question would be, that a variety of circumstances, too foreign to my present subject to be explained here, prevented the establishment of the Military Work-house at Manheim being carried to that perfection which I could have wished[12].

But it is time that I should return to the poor of Munich; for whose comfort and happiness I laboured with so much pleasure, and whose history will ever remain by far the most interesting part of this publication.


A further account of the poor who were brought together in the house of industry:—and of the interesting change which was produced in their manners and dispositions. Various proofs that the means used for making them industrious, comfortable, and happy, were successful.

The awkwardness of these poor creatures, when they were first taken from the streets as beggars, and put to work, may easily conceived; but the facility with which they acquired address in the various manufactures in which they were employed, was very remarkable, and much exceeded my expectation. But what was quite surprising, and at the same time interesting in the highest degree, was the apparent and rapid change which was produced in their manners,—in their general behaviour,—and even in the very air of their countenances, upon being a little accustomed to their new situations. The kind usage they met with, and the comforts they enjoyed, seemed to have softened their hearts, and awakened in them sentiments as new and surprising to themselves, as they were interesting to those about them.

The melancholy gloom of misery, and air of uneasiness and embarrassment, disappeared by little and little from their countenances, and were succeeded by a timid dawn of cheerfulness, rendered most exquisitely interesting by a certain mixture of silent gratitude, which no language can describe.

In the infancy of this establishment, when these poor creatures were first brought together, I used very frequently to visit them,—to speak kindly to them,—and to encourage them;—and I seldom passed through the halls where they were at work, without being a witness to the most moving scenes.

Objects, formerly the most miserable and wretched, whom I had seen for years as beggars in the streets;-young women,—perhaps the unhappy victims of seduction, who, having lost their reputation, and being turned adrift in the world, without a friend and without a home, were reduced to the necessity of begging, to sustain a miserable existence, now recognized me as their benefactor; and, with tears dropping fast from their cheeks, continued their work in the most expressive silence.

If they were asked, what the matter was with them? their answer was, ("nichts") "nothing;" accompanied by a look of affectionate regard and gratitude, so exquisitely touching as frequently to draw tears from the most insensible of the bystanders.

It was not possible to be mistaken with respect to the real state of the minds of these poor people; every thing about them showed that they were deeply affected with the kindness shown them;— and that their hearts were really softened, appeared, not only from their unaffected expressions of gratitude, but also from the effusions of their affectionate regard for those who were dear to them. In short, never did I witness such affecting scenes as passed between some of these poor people and their children.

It was mentioned above that the children were separated from the grown persons. This was the case at first; but as soon as order was thoroughly established in every part of the house, and the poor people had acquired a certain degree of address in their work, and evidently took pleasure in it, as many of those who had children expressed an earnest desire to have them near them, permission was granted for that purpose; and the spinning halls, by degrees, were filled with the most interesting little groups of industrious families, who vied with each other in diligence and address; and who displayed a scene, at once the most busy, and the most cheerful, that can be imagined.

An industrious family is ever a pleasing object; but there was something peculiarly interesting and affecting in the groups of these poor people. Whether it was, that those who saw them compared their present situation with the state of misery and wretchedness from which they had been taken; —or whether it was the joy and exultation which were expressed in the countenances of the poor parents in contemplating their children all busily employed about them;—or the air of self-satisfaction which these little urchins put on, at the consciousness of their own dexterity, while they pursued their work with redoubled diligence upon being observed, that rendered the scene so singularly interesting,— I know not; but certain it is, that few strangers who visited the establishment, came out of these halls without being much affected.

Many humane and well-disposed persons are often withheld from giving alms, on account of the bad character of beggars in general; but this circumstance, though it ought undoubtedly to be taken into consideration in determining the mode of administering our charitable assistance, should certainly not prevent our interesting ourselves in the fate of these unhappy beings. On the contrary, it ought to be an additional incitement to us to relieve them;—for nothing is more certain, than that their crimes are very often the EFFECTS, not the CAUSES of their misery; and when this is the case, by removing the cause, the effects will cease.

Nothing is more extraordinary and unaccountable, than the inconsistency of mankind in every thing; even in the practice of that divine virtue benevolence; and most of our mistakes arise more from indolence and from inattention, than from any thing else. The busy part of mankind are too intent upon their own private pursuits; and those who have leisure, are too averse from giving themselves trouble, to investigate a subject but too generally considered as tiresome and uninteresting. But if it be true, that we are really happy only in proportion as we ought to be so;— that is, in proportion as we are instrumental in promoting the happiness of others; no study surely can be so interesting, as that which teaches us how most effectually to contribute to the well-being of our fellow-creatures.

If LOVE be blind, SELF-LOVE is certainly very short-sighted; and without the assistance of reason and reflection, is but a bad guide in the pursuit of happiness.

Those who take pleasure in depreciating all the social virtues have represented pity as a mere selfish passion; and there are some circumstances which appear to justify this opinion. It is certain that the misfortunes of others affect us, not in proportion to their greatness, but in proportion to their nearness to ourselves; or to the chances that they may reach us in our turns. A rich man is infinitely more affected at the misfortune of his neighbour, who, by the failure of a banker with whom he had trusted the greater part of his fortune;—by an unlucky run at play,—or by other losses, is reduced to a state of affluence, to the necessity of laying down his carriage;— leaving the town;—and retiring into the country upon a few hundreds a-year;—than by the total ruin of the industrious tradesman over the way, who is dragged to prison, and his numerous family of young and helpless children left to starve.

But however selfish pity may be, BENEVOLENCE certainly springs from a more noble origin. It is a good-natured,—generous sentiment, which does not require being put to the torture in order to be stimulated to action. And it is this sentiment, not pity, or compassion, which I would wish to excite.

Pity is always attended with pain; and if our sufferings at being witnesses of the distresses of others, sometimes force us to relieve them, we can neither have much merit, nor any lasting satisfaction, from such involuntary acts of charity; but the enjoyments which result from acts of genuine benevolence are as lasting as they are exquisitely delightful; and the more they contribute to that inward peace of mind and self-approbation, which alone constitute real happiness. This is the "soul's calm sun-shine, and the heart-felt joy," which is virtue's prize.

To induce mankind to engage in any enterprise, it is necessary, first, to show that success will be attended with real advantage; and secondly, that is may be obtained without much difficulty. The rewards attendant upon acts of benevolence have so often been described and celebrated, in every country and in every language, that it would be presumption in me to suppose I could add any thing new upon a subject already discussed by the greatest masters of rhetoric, and embellished with all the irresistible charms of eloquence; but as EXAMPLE OF SUCCESS are sometimes more efficacious in stimulating mankind to action, than the most splendid reasonings and admonitions, it is upon my SUCCESS in the enterprise of which I have undertaken to give an account, that my hopes of engaging others to follow such an example are chiefly founded; and hence it is, that I so often return to that part of my subject, and insist with so much perseverance upon the pleasure which this success afforded me. I am aware that I expose myself to being suspected of ostentation, particularly by those who are not able to enter fully into my situation and feelings; but neither this, nor any other consideration, shall prevent me from treating the subject in such a manner as may appear best adapted to render my labours of public utility.

Why should I not mention even the marks of affectionate regard and respect which I received from the poor people for those happiness I interested myself, and the testimonies of the public esteem with which I was honored?—Will it be reckoned vanity, if I mention the concern which the Poor of Munich expressed in so affecting a manner when I was dangerously ill?—that they went publicly in a body in procession to the cathedral church, where they had divine service performed, and put up public prayers for my recovery?—that four years afterwards, on hearing that I was again dangerously ill at Naples. they, of their own accord, set apart an hour each evening, after they had finished their work in the Military Work-house, to pray for me?

Will it be thought improper to mention the affecting reception I met with from them, at my first visit to the Military Work-house upon my return to Munich last summer, after an absence of fifteen months; a scene which drew tears from all who were present?—and must I refute myself the satisfaction of describing the fete I gave them in return, in the English Garden, at which 1800 poor people of all ages, and above 30,000 of the inhabitants of Munich, assisted? and all this pleasure I must forego, merely that I may not be thought vain and ostentatious?—Be it so then;— but I would just beg leave to call the reader's attention to my feelings upon the occasion; and then let him ask himself, if any earthly reward can possibly be supposed greater;—any enjoyments more complete, than those I received. Let him figure to himself, if he can, my situation, sick in bed, worn out by intense application, and dying, as every body thought, a martyr in the cause to which I had devoted myself;—let him imagine, I say, my feelings, upon hearing the confused noise of the prayers of a multitude of people, who were passing by in the streets, upon being told, that it was the Poor of Munich, many hundreds in number, who were going in procession to the church to put up public prayers for me:—public prayers for me!—for a private person!—a stranger!—a protestant!—I believe it is the first instance of the kind that ever happened;—and I dare venture to affirm that no proof could well be stronger than this, that the measures adopted for making these poor people happy, were really successful;—and let it be remembered, that this fact is what I am most anxious to make appear, IN THE CLEAREST AND MOST SATISFACTORY MANNER.


Of the means used for the relief of those poor persons who were not beggars. Of the large sums of money distributed to the poor in alms. Of the means used for rendering those who received alms industrious. Of the general utility of the house of industry to the poor, and the distressed of all denominations. Of public kitchens for feeding the poor, united with establishments for giving them employment; and of the great advantages which would be derived from forming them in every parish. Of the manner in which the poor of Munich are lodged.

In giving an account of the Poor of Munich. I have hitherto confined myself chiefly to one class of them,—the beggars; but I shall now proceed to mention briefly the measures which were adopted to relieve others, who never were beggars, from those distresses and difficulties in which poverty and the inability to provide the necessaries of life had involved them.

An establishment for the Poor should not only provide for the relief and support of those who are most forward and clamorous in calling out for assistance;—humanity and justice require that peculiar attention should be paid to those who are bashful and silent.—To those, who, in addition to all the distresses arising from poverty and want, feel, that is still more insupportable to their unfortunate and hopeless situation.

All those who stood in need of assistance were invited and encouraged to make known their wants to the committee placed at the head of the institution; and in no case was the necessary assistance refused.—That this relief was generously bestowed, will not be doubted by those who are informed that the sums distributed in alms, IN READY MONEY to the Poor of Munich in FIVE YEARS, exclusive of the expences incurred in feeding and clothing them, amounted to above TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND FLORINS[13].

But the sums of money distributed among the Poor in alms was not the only, and perhaps not the most important assistance that was given them.—THEY WERE TAUGHT AND ENCOURAGED TO BE INDUSTRIOUS; and they probably derived more essential advantages from the fruits of their industry, than from all the charitable donations they received.

All who were able to earn any thing by their labour, were furnished with work, and effectual measures taken to excite them to be industrious.—In fixing the amount of the sums in money, which they receive weekly upon stated days, care was always taken to find out how much the person applying for relief was in a condition to earn, and only just so much was granted, as, when added to these earnings, would be sufficient to provide the necessaries of life, or such of them as were not otherwise furnished by the institution. —But even this precaution would not alone have been sufficient to have obliged those who were disposed to be idle, to become industrious; for, with the assistance of the small allowances which were granted, they might have found means, by stealing, or other fraudulent practices, to have subsisted without working, and the sums allowed them would have only served as an encouragement to idleness.—This evil, which is always much to be apprehended in establishments for the Poor, and which is always most fatal in its consequences, is effectually prevented at Munich by the following simple arrangement:—A long and narrow slip of paper, upon which is printed, between parallel lines, in two or more columns, all the weeks in the year, or rather the month, and the day of the month, when each week begins, is, in the beginning of every year, given to each poor perform entitled to receive alms; and the name of the person,—with the number his name bears in the general list of the Poor;—the weekly sum granted to him,—and the sum he is able to earn weekly by labour, are entered in writing at the head of this list of the weeks.—This paper, which must always be produced by the poor person as often as he applies for his weekly allowance of alms, serves to show whether he has, or has not fulfilled the conditions upon which the allowance was granted him;— that is to say, whether he has been industrious, and has earned by his labour, and received, the sum he ought to earn weekly.— This fact is ascertained in the following manner: when the poor person frequents the house of industry regularly, or when he works at home, and delivers regularly at the end of every week, the produce of the labour he is expected to perform; when he has thus fulfilled the conditions imposed on him, the column, or rather parallel, in his paper, (which may be called his certificate of industry,) answering to the week in question, is marked with a stamp, kept for that purpose at the Military Work-house; or, if he should be prevented by illness, or any other accident, from fulfilling those conditions, in that case, instead of the stamp, the week must be marked by the signature of the commissary of the district to which the poor person belongs.— But, if the certificate be not marked, either by the stamp of the house of industry, or by the signature of the commissary of the district, the allowance for the week in question is not issued.

It is easy to be imagined how effectually this arrangement must operate as a check to idleness.— But, not satisfied with discouraging and punishing idleness, we have endeavoured, by all the means in our power, and more especially by rewards and honorable distinctions of every kind, to encourage extraordinary exertions of industry. Such of the Poor who earn more in the week than the sum imposed on them, are rewarded by extraordinary presents, in money, or in some useful and valuable article of clothing; or they are particularly remembered at the next public distribution of money, which is made twice a year to the Poor, to assist them in paying their house-rent: and so far is this from being made a pretext for diminishing their weekly allowance of alms, that it is rather considered as a reason for augmenting them.

There are great numbers of persons, of various descriptions, in all places, and particularly in great towns, who, though they find means just to support life, and have too much feeling ever to submit to the disgrace of becoming a burthen upon the public, are yet very unhappy, and consequently objects highly deserving of the commiseration and friendly aid of the humane and generous.— it is hardly possible to imagine a situation more truly deplorable than that of a person born to better prospects, reduced by unmerited misfortunes to poverty, and doomed to pass his whole life in one continued and hopeless struggle with want, shame, and despair.

Any relief which it is possible to afford to distress that appears under this respectable and most interesting form, ought surely never to be withheld.—But the greatest care and precaution are necessary in giving assistance to those who have been rendered irritable and suspicious by misfortunes, and who have too much honest pride not to feel themselves degraded by accepting an obligation they never can hope to repay.

The establishment of the house of industry at Munich has been a means of affording very essential relief to many distressed families, and single persons in indigent circumstances, who, otherwise, most probably never would have received any assistance. —Many persons of distinguished birth, and particularly widows and unmarried ladies with very small fortunes, frequently send privately to this house for raw materials,—flax or wool, — which they spin, and return in yarn,—linen for soldiers shirts, which they make up, etc. and receive in money, (commonly through the hands of a maid-servant, who is employed as a messenger upon these occasions,) the amount of the wages at the ordinary price paid by the manufactory, for the labour performed.

Many a common soldier in the Elector's service wears shirts made up privately by the delicate hands of persons who were never seen publicly to be employed in such coarse work;—and many a comfortable meal has been made in the town of Munich, in private, by persons accustomed to more sumptuous fare, upon the soup destined for the Poor, and furnished gratis from the public kitchen of the house of industry. Many others who stand in need of assistance, will, in time, I hope, get the better of their pride, and avail themselves of these advantages.

To render this establishment for the Poor at Munich perfect, something is still wanting.—The house of industry is too remote from the center of the town, and many of the Poor live at such a distance from it, that much time is lost in going and returning. —It is situated, it is true, nearly in the center of the district in which most of the Poor inhabit, but still there are many who do not derive all the advantages from it they otherwise would do were it adjacent to their dwellings. The only way to remedy this imperfection would be, to establish several smaller public kitchens in different parts of the town, with two or three rooms adjoining to each, where the Poor might work.—They might then either fetch the raw materials from the principal house of industry, or be furnished with them by the persons who superintend those subordinate kitchens; and who might serve at the same time as stewards and inspectors of the working rooms, under the direction and control of the officers who are placed at the head of the general establishment. This arrangement is in contemplation, and will be put in execution as soon as convenient houses can be procured and fitted up for the purpose.

In large cities, these public kitchens, and rooms adjoining to them for working, should be established in every parish; and, it is scarcely to be conceived how much this arrangement would contribute to the comfort and contentment of the Poor, and to the improvement of their morals. These working rooms might be fitted up with neatness; and even with elegance; and made perfectly warm, clean, and comfortable, at a very small expence; and, if nothing were done to disgust the Poor, either by treating them harshly, or using FORCE to oblige them to frequent these establishments, they would soon avail themselves of the advantages held out to them; and the tranquillity they would enjoy in these peaceful retreats, would, by degrees, calm the agitation of their minds,—remove their suspicions,—and render them happy,—grateful, and docile.

Though it might not be possible to provide any other lodgings for them than the miserable barracks they now occupy, yet, as they might spend the whole of the day, from morning till late at night, in these public rooms, and have no occasion to return to their homes till bed-time, they would not experience much inconvenience from the badness of the accommodation at their own dwellings.

Should any be attached with sickness, they might be sent to some hospital, or rooms be provided for them, as well as for the old and infirm, adjacent to the public working rooms. Certain hours might also be set apart for instructing the children, daily, in reading and writing, in the dining-hall, or in some other room convenient for that purpose.

The expence of forming such an establishment in every parish would not be great, in the first outset, and the advantages derived from it would very soon repay that expence, with interest. —The Poor might be fed from a public kitchen for LESS THAN HALF what it would cost them to feed themselves;—they would turn their industry to better account, by working in a public establishment, and under proper direction, than by working at home;—a spirit of emulation would be excited among them, and they would pass their time more agreeably and cheerfully.— They would be entirely relieved from the heavy expense of fuel for cooking; and, in a great measure, from that for heating their dwellings; and, being seldom at home in the day-time, would want little more than a place to sleep in; so that the expence of lodging might be greatly diminished.—It is evident, that all these saving together would operate very powerfully to lessen the public expence for the maintenance of the Poor; and, were proper measures adopted, and pursued with care and perseverance, I am persuaded the expence would at last be reduced to little or nothing.

With regard to the lodgings for the Poor, I am clearly of opinion that it is in general best, particularly in great towns, that these should be left for themselves to provide. This they certainly would like better than being crowded together, and confined like prisoners in poor-houses and hospitals; and I really think the difference in the expence would be inconsiderable; and though they might be less comfortably accommodated, yet the inconvenience would be amply compensated BY THE CHARMS WHICH LIBERTY DISPENSES.

In Munich, almost all the Poor provide their own lodgings; and twice a year have certain allowances in money, to assist them in paying their rent.—Many among them who are single, have indeed, no lodgings they can call their own. They go to certain public-houses to sleep, where they are furnished with what is called a bed, in a garret, for one creutzer, (equal to about one-third of a penny,) a-night; and for two creutzers a-night they get a place in a tolerably good bed in a decent room in a public-house of more repute.

There are, however, among the Poor, many who are infirm, and not able to shift for themselves in the public-houses, and have not families, or near relations, to take care of them. For these, a particular arrangement has lately been made at Munich. Such of them as have friends or acquaintances in town with whom they can lodge, are permitted to do so; but if they cannot find out lodgings themselves, they have the option, either to be placed in some private family to be taken care of, or go to a home which has lately been purchased and fitted up as an hospital for lodging them[14].

This house is situated in a fine airy situation, on a small eminence upon the banks of the Isar, and overlooks the whole of the town;—the plain in which it is situated;—and the river.— It is neatly built, and has a spacious garden belonging to it. There are seventeen good rooms in the house; in which it is supposed about eighty persons may be lodged. These will all be fed from one kitchen; and such of them who are very infirm, will have others less infirm placed in the same room with them, to assist them, and wait upon them.—The cultivation of the garden will be their amusement, and the produce of it their property. —They will be furnished with work suitable to their strength; and for all the labour they perform, will be paid in money, which will be left at their own disposal.—They will be furnished with food, medicine, and clothing, gratis; and to those who are not able to earn any thing by labour, a small sum of money will be given weekly, to enable them to purchase tobacco, snuff, or any other article of humble luxury to which they may have been accustomed.

I could have wished that this asylum had been nearer to the house of industry. It is indeed not very far from it, perhaps not more than 400 yards; but still that is too far.—Had it been under the same roof, or adjoining to it, those who are lodged in it might have been fed from the public kitchen of the general establishment, and have been under the immediate inspection of the principal officers of the house of industry. It would likewise have rendered the establishment very interesting to those who visit it; which is an object of more real importance than can well be imagined by those who have not had occasion to know how much the approbation and applause of the public facilitate difficult enterprizes.

The means of uniting the rational amusement of society, with the furtherance of schemes calculated for the promotion of public good, is a subject highly deserving the attention of all who are engaged in public affairs.


Of the means used for extending the influence of the institution for the poor at Munich, to other parts of Bavaria. Of the progress which some of the improvements introduced at Munich are making in other countries.

Though the institution of which I have undertaken to give an account, was confined to the city of Munich and its suburbs, yet measures were taken to extend its influence to all parts of the country. The attempt to put an end to mendicity in the capital, and to give employment to the Poor, having been completely successful, this event was formally announced to the public, in the news-papers; and other towns were called upon to follow the example. Not only a narrative in detail, was given of all the different measures pursued in this important undertaking, but every kind of information and assistance was afforded on the part of the institution at Munich, to all who might be disposed to engage in forming similar establishments in other parts of the country.

Copies of all the different lists, returns, certificates, etc. used in the management of the Poor, were given gratis to all, strangers as well as inhabitants of the country, who applied for them; and no information relative to the establishment, or to any of its details, was ever refused. The house of industry was open every day from morning till night to all visitors; and persons were appointed to accompany strangers in their tour through the different apartments, and to give the fullest information relative to the details, and even to all the secrets of the various manufactures carried on; and printed copies of the different tables, tickets, checks, etc. made use of in carrying on the current business of the house, were furnished to every one who asked for them; together with an account of the manner in which these were used, and of the other measures adopted to prevent frauds and peculation in the various branches of this extensive establishment.

As few manufactures in Bavaria are carried on to any extent; the more indigent of the inhabitants are, in general, so totally unacquainted with every kind of work in which the Poor could be most usefully employed, that that circumstance alone is a great obstacle to the general introduction throughout the country of the measures adopted in Munich for employing the Poor. To remove this difficulty, the different towns and communities who are desirous of forming establishments for giving employment to the Poor, are invited to send persons properly qualified to the house of industry at Munich, where they may be taught, gratis, spinning, in its various branches; knitting; sewing, etc. in order to qualify them to become instructors to the Poor on their return home. And even instructors already formed, and possessing all the requisite qualifications for such an office, are offered to be furnished by the house of industry in Munich to such communities as shall apply for them.

Another difficulty, apparently not less weighty than that just mentioned, but which is more easily and more effectually removed, is the embarrassment many of the smaller communities are likely to be under in procuring raw materials, and in selling to advantage the goods manufactured, or, (as is commonly the case,) IN PART ONLY MANUFACTURED, by the Poor. The yarn, for instance, which is spun by them in a country-town or village, far removed from any manufacture of cloth, may lie on hand a long time before it can be sold to advantage. To remedy this, the house of industry at Munich is ordered to furnish raw materials to such communities as shall apply for them, and receive in return the goods manufactured, at the full prices paid for the same articles in Munich. Not only these measures, and many others of a similar nature, are taken, to facilitate the introduction of industry among the Poor throughout the country; but every encouragement is held out to induce individuals to exert themselves in this laudable undertaking. Those communities which are the first to follow the example of the capital, are honourably mentioned in the news-papers; and such individuals as distinguished themselves by their zeal and activity upon those occasions, are praised and rewarded.

A worthy curate, (Mr. Lechner,) preacher in one of the churches in Munich, who, of his own accord, had taken upon himself to defend the measures adopted with regard to the Poor, and to recommend them in the most earnest manner from the pulpit, was sent for by the Elector, into his closet, and thanked for his exertions.

This transaction being immediately made known, (an account of it having been published in the news-papers,) tended not a little to engage the clergy in all parts of the country to exert themselves in support of the institution.

It is not my intention to insinuate that the clergy in Bavaria stood in need of any such motive to stimulate them to action in a cause so important to the happiness and well-being of mankind, and consequently so nearly connected with the sacred duties of their office;—on the contrary, I should be wanting in candour, as well as gratitude, were I not to embrace this opportunity of expressing publicity, the obligations I feel myself under to them for their support and assistance.

The number of excellent sermons which have been preached, in order to recommend the measures adopted by the government for making provision for the Poor, show how much this useful and respectable body of men have had it at heart to contribute to the success of this important measure; and their readiness to co-operate with me, (a Protestant,) upon all occasions where their assistance has been asked, not only does honour to the liberality of their sentiments, but calls for my personal acknowledgments, and particular thanks.

I shall conclude this Essay with an account of the progress which some of the improvements introduced at Munich are now making in other countries. During my late journey in Italy for the recovery of my health, I visited Verona; and becoming acquainted with the principal directors of two large and noble hospitals, la Pieta, and la Misericorde, in that city, the former containing about 350, and the latter near 500 Poor, I had frequent occasions to converse with them upon the subject of those establishments, and to give them an account of the arrangements that had been made in Munich. I likewise took the liberty of proposing some improvements, and particularly in regard to the arrangements for feeding these Poor; and in the management of the fires employed for cooking. Fire-wood, the only fuel used in that country, is extremely scarce and dear, and made a very heavy article in the expences of those institutions.

Though this scarcity of fuel, which had prevailed for ages in that part of Italy, had rendered it necessary to pay attention to the economy of fuel, and had occasioned some improvements to be made in the management of heat; yet I found, upon examining the kitchens of these two hospitals, and comparing the quantities of fuel consumed with the quantities of victuals cooked, that SEVERN-EIGHTHS of the fire-wood they were then consuming might be saved[15]. Having communicated the result of those enquiries to the directors of these two hospitals, and offered my service to alter the kitchens, and arrange them upon the principles of that in the house of industry at Munich, (which I described to them,) they accepted my offer, and the kitchens were rebuilt under my immediate direction; and have both succeeded, even beyond my most sanguine expectations. That of the hospital of la Pieta is the most complete kitchen I have ever built; and I would recommend it as a model, in preference to any I have ever seen. I shall give a more particular description of it, with plans and estimates, in my Essay on the Management of Heat.

During the time I was employed in building the new kitchen in the hospital of la Pieta, I had an opportunity of making myself acquainted with all the details of the clothing of the Poor belonging to that establishment; and I found that very great savings might be made in that article of expence. I made a proposal to the directors of that hospital, to furnish them with clothing for their Poor, ready made up, from the house of industry at Munich; and upon my return to Munich I sent them TWELVE complete suits of clothing of different sizes as a sample, and accompanied them with an estimate of the prices at which we could afford to deliver them at Verona.

The success of this little adventure has been very flattering, and has opened a very interesting channel for commerce, and for the encouragement of industry in Bavaria. This sample of clothing being approved, and, with all the expences of carriage added, being found to be near TWENTY PER CENT. cheaper than that formerly used, orders have been received from Italy by the house of industry at Munich, to a considerable amount, for clothing the Poor. In the beginning of September last, a few days before I left Munich to come to England, I had the pleasure to assist in packing up and sending off, over the Alps, by the Tyrol, SIX HUNDRED articles of clothing of different kinds for the Poor of Verona; and hope soon to see the Poor of Bavaria growing rich, by manufacturing clothing for the Poor of Italy.


Footnotes to Essay I.

[1] This paper, as it could afterwards be made use of for making cartridges, in fact cost nothing.

[2] A creutzer is 11/33 of an English penny.

[3] Particular local reasons, which it is not necessary here to explain, have hitherto prevented the establishment of military gardens in these two garrison towns.

[4] The whole amount of this burden was not more than 30,000 florins, or about 2721L. sterling a year.

[5] Mons. Dallarmi.

[6] The annual amount of these various receipts may be seen in the accounts published in the Appendix.

[7] Almost all the great law-givers, and founders of religions, from the remotest antiquity, seem to have been aware of the influence of cleanliness upon the moral character of man; and have strongly inculcated it. In many cases it has been interwoven with the most solemn rites of public and private worship, and is so still in many countries. The idea that the soul is defiled and depraved by every thing UNCLEAN, or which defies the body, has certainly prevailed in all ages; and has been particularly attended to by those great benefactors of mankind, who, by the introduction of PEACE and ORDER in society, have laboured successfully to promote the happiness of their fellow-creatures. Order and disorder—peace and war—health and sickness, cannot exist together; but COMFORT and CONTENTMENT, and the inseparable companions of HAPPINESS and VIRTUE, can only arise from order, peace, and health.

[8] Upon this occasion I must not forget to mention a curious circumstance, which contributed very much towards clearing the town effectually of beggars. It being found that some of the most hardened of these vagabonds were attempting to return to their old practices, and that they found means to escape the patroles, by keeping a sharp look-out, and avoiding them, to hold them more effectually in check, the patroles sent out upon this service were ordered to go without arms. In consequence of this arrangement, the beggars being no longer able to distinguish who were in search of them, and who were not, saw a patrole in every soldier they met with in the streets, (and of these there were great numbers, Munich being a garrison town,) and from thenceforward they were kept in awe.

[9] Upon a new division of the town, when the suburbs were included, the number of subdivisions (abtheilungs) were augmented to twenty three.

[10] This was written in the summer of the year 1795.

[11] As these children were not shut up and confined like prisoners in the house of industry, but all lodged in the town, with their parents or friends, they had many opportunities to recreate themselves, and take exercise in the open air; not only on holidays, of which there are a very large number indeed kept in Bavaria; but also on working-days, in coming and going to and from the house of industry. Had not this been the case, a reasonable time would certainly have been allowed them for play and recreation. The cadets belonging to the Military Academy at Munich are allowed no less than THREE HOURS a day for exercise and relaxation, viz ONE HOUR immediately after dinner, which is devoted to music, and TWO HOURS, later in the afternoon, for walking in the country, or playing in the open fields near the town.

[12] Since the publication of the first edition of the Essay, the Author has received an account of the total destruction of the Military Work-house at Manheim. It was set on fire, and burnt to the ground, during the last siege of that city by the Austrian troops.

[13] Above 18,000 pounds sterling.

[14] The committee, at the head of the establishment, has been enabled to make this purchase, by legacies made to the institution. These legacies have been numerous, and are increasing every day; which clearly shows, that the measures adopted with regard to the Poor have met with the approbation of the public.

[15] I found upon examining the famous kitchen of the great hospital at Florence, that the waste of fuel there is still greater.


of the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES on which GENERAL ESTABLISHMENTS for the RELIEF of the POOR may be formed in all Countries.

CHAPTER. I. General View of the Subject. Deplorable State of those who are reduced to Poverty. No Body of Laws can be so framed as to provide effectually for their Wants. Only adequate Relief that can be afforded them must be derived from the voluntary Assistance of the Humane and Benevolent, How that Assistance is to be secured. Objections to the Expense of taking care of the Poor answered. Of the Means of introducing a Scheme for the Relief of the Poor.

CHAPTER. II. Of the Extent of an Establishment for the Poor. Of the Division of a Town or City into Districts. Of the Manner of carrying on the Business of a public Establishment for the Poor. Of the Necessity of numbering all the Houses in a Town where an Establishment for the Poor is formed.

CHAPTER. III. General Direction of the Affairs of an Institution for the Poor attended with no great Trouble. Of the best Method of carrying on the current Business, and of the great Use of printed Forms, or Blanks. Of the necessary Qualifications of those who are placed at the Head of an Establishment for the Relief of the Poor. Great Importance of this Subject. Cruelty and Impolicy of putting the Poor into the Hands of Persons they cannot respect and love. The Persons pointed out who are more immediately called upon to come forward with Schemes for the Relief of the Poor, and to give their active Assistance in carrying them into Effect.

CHAPTER. IV. Of the Necessity of effectual Measures for introducing a Spirit of Industry among the Poor in forming an Establishment for their Relief and Support. Of the Means which may be used for that Purpose; and for setting on foot a Scheme for forming an Establishment for feeding the Poor.

CHAPTER. V. Of the Means which may be used by Individuals in affluent Circumstances for the Relief of the Poor in their Neighbourhood.



General View of the Subject. Deplorable State of those who are reduced to Poverty. No Body of Laws can be so framed as to provide efficaciously for their Wants. Only adequate Relief that can be afforded them must be derived from the voluntary Assistance of the Humane and Benevolent. How that Assistance is to be secured. Objections to the Expence of taking care of the Poor answered Of the Means of introducing a Scheme for the Relief of the Poor.

Though the fundamental principles upon which the Establishment for the Poor at Munich is founded, are such as I can venture to recommend; and notwithstanding the fullest information relative to every part of that Establishment may, I believe, be collected from the account of it which is given in the foregoing Essay; yet, as this information is so dispersed in different parts of the work, and so blended with a variety of other particulars, that the reader would find some difficulty in bringing the whole into one view, and arranging it systematically in a complete whole; I shall endeavour briefly to resume the subject, and give the result of all my enquiries relative to it, in a more concise, methodical, and useful form: and as from the experience, I have had in providing for the wants of the Poor, and reclaiming the indolent and vicious to habits of useful industry, I may venture to consider myself authorised to speak with some degree of confidence upon the subject; instead of merely recapitulating what has been said of the Establishment for the Poor at Munich, (which would be at best but a tiresome repetition,) I shall now allow myself a greater range in these investigations, and shall give my opinions without restraint which may come under consideration. And though the system I shall propose, is founded upon the successful experiments made at Munich, as may be seen by comparing it with the details of that Establishment; yet, as a difference in the local circumstances under which an operation is performed, must necessarily require certain modifications of the plan, I shall endeavour to take due notice of every modification which may appear to me to be necessary[1].

Before I enter upon those details, it may be proper to take a more extensive survey of the subject, and investigate the general and fundamental Principles on which an Establishment for the Relief of the Poor, in every country, ought to be founded. At the same time I shall consider the difficulties which are generally understood to be inseparable from such an undertaking, and endeavour to show that they are by no means insurmountable.

That degree of poverty which involves in it the inability to procure the necessaries of life without the charitable assistance of the Public, is, doubtless, the heaviest of all misfortunes; as it not only brings along with it the greatest physical evils, pain,—and disease, but is attended by the most mortifying humiliation, and hopeless despondency. It is, moreover, an incurable evil; and is rather irritated than alleviated by the remedies commonly applied to remove it. The only alleviation, of which it is capable, must be derived from the kind and soothing attentions of the truly benevolent. This is the only balm which can sooth the anguish of a wounded heart, or allay the agitations of a mind irritated by disappointment, and rendered ferocious by despair.

And hence it evidently appears that no body of laws, however wisely framed, can, in any country, effectually provide for the relief of the Poor, without the voluntary assistance of individuals; for though taxes may be levied by authority of the laws for the support of the Poor, yet, those kind attentions which are so necessary in the management of the Poor, as well to reclaim the vicious, as to comfort and encourage the despondent—those demonstrations of concern which are always so great a consolation to persons in distress—cannot be COMMANDED BY FORCE. On the contrary, every attempt to use FORCE in such cases, seldom fails to produce consequences directly contrary to those intended[2].

But if the only effectual relief for the distress of the Poor, and the sovereign remedy for the numerous evils to society which arise from the prevalence of mendicity, indolence, poverty, and misery, among the lower classes of society, must be derived from the charitable and voluntary exertions of individuals;— as the assistance of the Public cannot be expected, unless the most unlimited confidence can be placed, not only in the wisdom of the measures proposed, but also, and MORE ESPECIALLY, in the UPRIGHTNESS, ZEAL, and PERFECT DISINTERESTEDNESS of the persons appointed to carry them into execution; it is evident that the first object to be attended to, in forming a plan of providing for the Poor, is to make such arrangements as will COMMAND THE CONFIDENCE OF THE PUBLIC, and fix it upon the most solid and durable foundation.

This can most certainly, and most effectually be done; first by engaging persons of high rank and the most respectable character to place themselves at the head of the Establishment: secondly, by joining, in the general administration of the affairs of the Establishment, a certain number of persons chosen from the middling class of society; reputable tradesmen, in easy circumstances;—heads of families;—and others of known integrity and of humane dispositions[3]: thirdly, by engaging all those who are employed in the administration of the affairs of the Poor, to serve without fee or reward: fourthly, by publishing, at stated periods, such particular and authentic accounts of all receipts and expenditures, that no doubt can possibly be entertained by the Public respecting the proper application of the monies destined for the relief of the Poor: fifthly, by publishing an alphabetical list of all who receive alms; in which list should be inserted, not only the name of the person, his age; condition; and place of abode; but also the amount of the weekly assistance granted to him; in order that those who entertain any doubts respecting the manner in which the Poor are provided for, may have the opportunity of visiting them at their habitations, and making enquiry into their real situations: and lastly, the confidence of the Public, and the continuance of their support, will most effectually be secured by a prompt and successful execution of the plan adopted.

There is scarcely a greater plague that can infest society, than swarms of beggars; and the inconveniencies to individuals arising from them are so generally, and so severely felt, that relief from so great an evil cannot fail to produce a powerful and lasting effect upon the minds of the Public, and to engage all ranks to unite in the support of measures as conducive to the comfort of individuals, as they are essential to the national honor and reputation. And even in countries where the Poor do not make a practice of begging, the knowledge of their sufferings must be painful to every benevolent mind; and there is no person, I would hope, so callous to the feelings of humanity, as not to rejoice most sincerely when effectual relief is afforded.

The greatest difficulty attending the introduction of any measure founded upon the voluntary support of the Public, for maintaining the Poor, and putting an end to mendicity, is an opinion generally entertained, that a very heavy expence would be indispensably necessary to carry into execution such an undertaking. But this difficulty may be speedily removed by showing, (which may easily be done,) that the execution of a well-arranged plan for providing for the Poor, and giving useful employment to the idle and indolent, so far from being expensive, must, in the end, be attended with a very considerable saving, not only to the Public collectively, but also to individuals.

Those who now extort their subsistence by begging and stealing, are, in fact, already maintained by the Public. But this is not all; they are maintained in a manner the most expensive and troublesome, to themselves and the Public, that can be conceived; and this may be said of all the Poor in general.

A poor person, who lives in poverty and misery, and merely from hand to mouth, has not the power of availing himself of any of those economical arrangements, in procuring the necessaries of life, which other, in more affluent circumstances, may employ; and which may be employed with peculiar advantage in a public Establishment.—Added to this, the greater part of the Poor, as well those who make a profession of begging, as other who do not, might be usefully employed in various kinds of labour; and supposing them, one with another, to be capable of earning ONLY HALF as much as is necessary to their subsistence, this would reduce the present expence to the Public for their maintenance at least one half; and this half might be reduced still much lower, by a proper attention to order and economy in providing for their subsistence.

Were the inhabitants of a large town where mendicity is prevalent, to subscribe only half the sums annually, which are extorted from them by beggars, I am confident it would be quite sufficient, with a proper arrangement, for the comfortable support of the Poor of all denominations.

Not only those who were formerly common street-beggars, but all others, without exception, who receive alms, in the city of Munich and its suburbs, amounting at this time to more than 1800 persons, are supported almost entirely by voluntary subscriptions from the inhabitants; and I have been assured by numbers of the most opulent and respectable citizens, that the sums annually extorted from them formerly by beggars alone, exclusive of private charities, amounted to more than three times the sums now given by them to the support of the new institution. I insist the more upon this point, as I know that the great expence which has been supposed to be indispensably necessary to carry into execution any scheme for effectually providing for the Poor, and putting an end to mendicity, has deterred many well-disposed persons from engaging in so useful an enterprise. I have only to add my most earnest wishes, that what I have said and done, may remove every doubt, and re-animate the zeal of the Public, in a cause in which the dearest interests of humanity are so nearly concerned.

In almost every public undertaking, which is to be carried into effect by the united voluntary exertions of individuals, without the interference of government, there is a degree of awkwardness in bringing forward the business, which it is difficult to avoid, and which is frequently not a little embarrassing. This will doubtless be felt by those who engage in forming and executing schemes for providing for the Poor by private subscription; they should not, however, suffer themselves to be discouraged by a difficulty which may so easily be surmounted.

In the introduction of every scheme for forming an Establishment for the Poor, whether it be proposed to defray the expense by voluntary subscriptions, or by a tax levied for the purpose, it will be proper for the authors or promoters of the measure to address the Public upon the subject; to inform them of the nature of the measures proposed;— of their tendency to promote the public welfare, and to point out the various ways in which individuals may give their assistance to render the scheme successful.

There are few cities in Europe, I believe, in which the state of the Poor would justify such an address as that which was published at Munich upon taking up the beggars in that town; but something of the kind; with such alterations as local circumstances may require, I am persuaded, would in most cases produce good effects. With regard to the assistance that might be be given by individuals to carry into effect a scheme for providing for the Poor, though measures for that purpose may, and ought to be so taken, that the Public would have little or no trouble in their execution, yet there are many things which individuals must be instructed cautiously to avoid; otherwise the enterprise will be extremely difficult, it not impracticable; and, above all things, they must be warned against giving alms to beggars.

Though nothing would be more unjust and tyrannical, than to prevent the generous and humane from contributing to the relief of the Poor and necessitous, yet, as giving alms to beggars tends so directly and so powerfully to encourage idleness and immorality, to discourage the industrious Poor, and perpetuate mendicity, with all its attendant evils, too much pains cannot be taken to guard the Public against a practice so fatal in its consequences to society.

All who are desirous of contributing to the relief of the Poor, should be invited to send their charitable donations to be distributed by those who, being at the head of a public Institution established for taking care of the Poor, must be supposed best acquainted with their wants. Or, if individuals should prefer distributing their own charities, they ought at least to take the trouble to enquire after fit objects; and to apply their donations in such a manner as not to counteract the measures of a public and useful Establishment.

But, before I enter farther into these details, it will be necessary to determine the proper extent and limits of an Establishment for the Poor; and show how a town or city ought to be divided in districts, in order to facilitate the purposes of such an institution.

CHAPTER. II. Of the Extent of an Establishment for the Poor. Of the Division of a Town or City into Districts. Of the Manner of carrying on the Business of a public Establishment for the Poor. Of the Necessity of numbering all the Houses in a Town where an Establishment for the Poor is formed.

However large a city may be, in which an Establishment for the Poor is to be formed, I am clearly of opinion, that there should be but ONE ESTABLISHMENT;—with ONE committee for the general management of all its affairs;—and ONE treasurer. This unity appears essentially necessary, not only because, when all the parts tend to one common centre, and act in union to the same end, under one direction, they are less liable to be impeded in their operations, or disordered by collision;—but also on account of THE VERY UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH, as well as of misery and poverty, in the different districts of the same town. Some parishes in great cities have comparatively few Poor, while others, perhaps less opulent, are overburthened with them; and there seems to be no good reason why a house-keeper in any town should be called upon to pay more or less for the support of the Poor, because he happens to live on one side of a street or the other. Added to this, there are certain districts in most great towns where poverty and misery seem to have fixed their head-quarters, and where it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the inhabitants to support the expence of maintaining their Poor. Where that is the case, as measures for preventing mendicity in every town must be general, in order to their being successful, the enterprise, FROM THAT CIRCUMSTANCE ALONE, would be rendered impracticable, were the assistance of the more opulent districts to be refused.

There is a district, for instance, belonging to Munich, (the Au,) a very large parish, which may be called the St. Giles's of that city, where the alms annually received are TWENTY TIMES as much as the whole district contributes to the funds of the public Institution for the Poor.—The inhabitants of the other parishes, however, have never considered it a hardship to them, that the Poor of the Au should be admitted to share the public bounty, in common with the Poor of the other parishes.

Every town must be divided, according to its extent, into a greater or less number of districts, or subdivisions; and each of these must have a committee of inspection, or rather a commissary, with assistants, who must be entrusted with the superintendance and management of all affairs relative to the relief and support of the Poor within its limits.

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