ECONOMY: DOMESTIC AND POLITICAL--II
Here's a pair of razors that'll shave you closer than the Board of Guardians.
THE growth of Charitable Institutions in the Dickens period in admirably shown in the tabulated figures of London Charities in 1862, given by Sampson Low and reprinted by Mr. E. C. P. Lascelles.1 Out of a total of 640 institutions 279 were founded between 1800 and 1850, and 144 between 1850 and 1860. And other charities, founded since the beginning of the century, had died before the year to which these figures apply. A charitable institution may, broadly speaking, be founded with one of two main aims in view. It may be to supply services which nothing but an institution can supply--as hospitals, orphanages, and schools, which require buildings, a trained staff, and some assured income before they can do their work at all; or it may be to provide a channel of benevolence towards the poor in general, benevolence which might otherwise be shown to 'undeserving' people who would throw money away or spend it at the nearest pub. The distinction between these two objects cannot be rigidly maintained; but it is useful in considering Dickens's view of organized charity.
For his attitude, if we take 'organized charity' to be all of a piece, cannot possibly be called consistent. Mr. Bernard Darwin in his Introduction to a recent reprint of Dickens's speeches, praising the bold justice of his attack on the administration of the Royal Literary Fund, adds in a parenthesis, 'how he did hate organized____________________