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ROBERT TREAT PAINE, JR.,
THE ASSOCIATED CHARITIES OF BOSTON.
Delivered at the Charity Building, Chardon Street, March 12, 1879,
had been adopted February 26, 1879.
I am unwilling to say a word in favor of the new plan until I have first expressed the feelings which I share with all the citizens of Boston, — the respect and admiration due so justly to the noble private charities of this city. They have long done, and never better than now, wise and faithful work among the poor, because they have been and are led, now as always, by men of sagacity and devotion. The work of the overseers of the poor deserves the respect of us all for its admirable system, thoroughness of visitation, completeness of records, and the wise rules by which relief is given. Meantime the population of the city has grown into great proportions. The numbers of the needy rise into the thousands. Pauperism proudly rears its head, and almost asks to be admitted, like a new State into the Union, with full rights. We learn that gratuitous relief, though enough in quantity, is not elevating; that unwise relief does harm; and that excessive relief pauperizes not only the recipient, but all his neighbors and neighbors' children. The problem, How to relieve the needy and to repress pauperism, grows too tremendous for any one society. So we see many societies at work, each in its own way: till at last the need is evident of joint effort by an associated combination of them all, to avoid conflict and overlapping, and to use more largely the energies of all the good people in the city. A few points at the outset should be made very plain :
First. Each society will remain, of course, as independent as ever. No limitation upon its independence is proposed or wished. It will work in the future precisely as in the past, - giving the same relief, by the same agents, and to the same needs, save only as in any case it
otherwise decide. Secondly. Each society will come into this new plan just so far — and so far only, and just in such manner and subject to such limitations as it may from time to time think wise. Of course, we