Count Rumford

The entire management of the poor of Munich was put into the hands of a committee, consisting of four of the principal Bavarian ministers of state - namely, the president of the council of war, the president of the council of regency, the president of the ecclesiastical council, and the president of the chamber of finances; and these four were to choose each a counselor of his own department to assist him. Neither the presidents nor the counselors were to be paid for their labors in this committee; and the secretary, clerks, and inferior officers required, were to be paid, not out of the fund for the poor, but immediately from the treasury. The mode of reaching the poor was as follows: - The whole town, containing about 60,000 inhabitants, was divided into sixteen districts, the houses being all regularly numbered. In each district, a respectable citizen was chosen to be inspector of the poor within its limits. This inspector, whose services were to be purely voluntary, and unpaid, was to have for his assistants a priest, a physician, a surgeon, and an apothecary. The business of the inspector was to receive applications for relief, to inquire into the circumstances of the applicants, to furnish immediate assistance if it was required, and, where assistance might be delayed, to refer to the committee. Relief was granted, as might be required, in clothing, in medical aid, or in weekly sums of money; but in making the allowance, care was taken to find out how much the applicant was in a condition to earn. If he was able to work, work was provided for him, either at the Military Workhouse, or at home, to be delivered at the workhouse. The fact of his having been industrious, was certified by a government stamp affixed by the overseers of the workhouse every week to a slip of paper, on which also was marked the sum he had earned, and whatever was necessary for his support over and above this sum was granted. Those who could not work, were of course provided for. The funds out of which all the provisions were made consisted, as we have already said, of the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants. There were a few legacies for the poor; certain fines, also, went into the poor's fund; but the great mass of the money required was collected statedly from the citizens in the manner described in a previous page, not by assessment, but by purely voluntary subscription. Besides donations in food and clothing, the sum collected in ready money during five years from the inhabitants of Munich was 200,000 florins, which was found amply sufficient for all purposes. It must be remembered, however, that the peculiar circumstances of the people of Munich, in having just been relieved from the scourge of men dicancy, made them more apt to fall into the habit of voluntary subscriptions than probably might be the case with the inhabitants of other towns not so circumstanced. Indeed the citizens of Munich effected a clear pecuniary saving by the change - a saving amounting in all to more than two-thirds. This saving consisted of two items: - First, an actual diminution of the mass of pauperism, numbers of those who formerly subsisted by charity being now able to support themselves either in whole or in part; and secondly, a retrenchment of all that waste which accompanies a private dispensation of charity, as compared with a system of general management, where, in consequence of the wholesale scale of operations, economy can be studied. The value of this second consideration will appear when we come to speak of Count Rumford's devices for economising food and fuel.

It will now be seen how the Military Workhouse, and the system of management for the poor, worked into each other's hands, although in principle totally independent of each other. No part of the Military Workhouse was under the control of the committee for the poor, except only the kitchen and bakehouse, which, as being supported out of the funds for the poor, were placed under their management.

Having thus described, at considerable length, Count Rumford's measures for the suppression of mendicancy in Munich, it only remains to be added that our description is to be taken rather as a historical account of an interesting and apparently successful experiment, than as a thorough appreciation of its merits as a social scheme. To criticise all the details of Count Rumford's plan, especially as a plan of universal application, would require much space, and would lead to controversy. It may be safely said, however, that while some parts of the scheme may be theoretically objectionable, and others may not be adapted for circumstances different from those in which they had their origin, the general features of the scheme are as sound as the spirit which prompted it was philanthropic.