ESSAYS, Political, Economical and Philosophical. Volume 1.
by Benjamin Rumford
1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

ESSAYS, political, economical and philosophical

by Benjamin Count of Rumford

Knight of the orders of the white eagle, and St. Atanislaus; Chamberlain, Privy Counsellor of State, and Lieutenant-General in the Service of his Most Serene Highness the Elector Palatine, Reigning Duke of Bavaria; Colonel of his Regiment of Artillery, and Commander in Chief of the General Staff of his Army; F.R.S. Acad. R Hiber. Berol. Elec. Boicoe. Palat. et Amer. Soc.




First Essay An account of an Establishment for the Poor at Munich

Second Essay On the Fundamental Principles on which General Establishments for the Relief of the Poor may be formed in all Countries.

Third Essay Of Food and Particularly of Feeding the Poor.

Fourth Essay Of Chimney Fire-places with proposals for improving them to save Fuel; to render dwelling-houses more Comfortable and Salubrious, and effectually to prevent Chimnies from Smoking.

Fifth Essay A Short Account of several public institutions lately formed in Bavaria. together with the Appendix to the First Volume.


To his most serene highness THE ELECTOR PALATINE reigning duke of bavaria. etc. etc. etc.


In requesting permission to dedicate to you most Serene Electoral Highness these Essays, I had several important objects in view: I was desirous of showing to the world that I had not presumed to publish an account of public measures and institutions, planned and executed in your Electorial Highness's dominions,—by your orders,—and under your immediate authority and protection, without your leave and approbation. I was also desirous of availing myself of the illustrious name of a Sovereign eminently distinguished by his munificence in promoting useful knowledge, and by his solicitude for the happiness and prosperity of his subjects, to recommend the important objects I have undertaken to investigate, to the attention of the Great,—the Wise,—and the Benevolent. And lastly, I was anxious to have an opportunity of testifying, in a public manner, my gratitude to your most Serene Electoral Highness for all your kindness to me; and more especially for the distinguished honour you have done me by selecting and employing me as an instrument in your hands of doing good.

I have the honour to be, with the most profound respect, and with unalterable attachment,


Devoted Servant,



July, 1st, 1796.



together with

A Detail of various Public Measures, connected with that Institution, which have been adopted and carried into effect for putting an End to Mendicity, and introducing Order, and useful Industry, among the more Indigent of the Inhabitants of Bavaria.


CHAPTER. I. Of the prevalence of mendicity in Bavaria at the time when the measures for putting an end to it were adopted.

CHAPTER. II. Various preparations made for putting an end to mendicity in bavaria. Cantonment of the cavalry in the country towns and villages. Formation of the committee placed at the head of the institution for the poor at Munich. The funds of that institution.

CHAPTER. III. Preparations made for giving employment to the poor. Difficulties attending that undertaking. The measures adopted completely successful. The poor reclaimed to habits of useful industry. Description of the house of industry at Munich.

CHAPTER. IV. An account of the taking up of the beggars at Munich. The inhabitants are called upon for their assistance. General subscription for the relief and support of the poor. All other public and private collections for the poor abolished.

CHAPTER. V. The different kinds of employment given to the beggars upon their being assembled in the house of industry. Their great awkwardness at first. Their docility, and their progress in useful industry. The manner in which they were treated. The manner in which they were fed. The Precautions used to prevent Abuses in the Public Kitchen from which they were fed.

CHAPTER. VI. 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.

CHAPTER. VII. 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.

CHAPTER. VIII. 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.

CHAPTER. IX. 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.


[ IMAGE ] view of the Military Workhouse at Munich

Situation of the Author in the Service of His Most Serene Highness the ELECTOR PALATINE, Reigning Duke of BAVARIA. Reasons which induced him to undertake to form an Establishment for the Relief of the Poor.

Among the vicissitudes of a life chequered by a great variety of incidents, and in which I have been called upon to act in many interesting scenes, I have had an opportunity of employing my attention upon a subject of great importance; a subject intimately and inseparably connected with the happiness and well-being of all civil societies; and which, from its nature, cannot fail to interest every benevolent mind;—it is the providing for the wants of the Poor, and the securing their happiness and comfort by the introduction of order and industry among them.

The subject, though it is so highly interesting to mankind, has not yet been investigated with that success that could have been wished. This fact is apparent, not only from the prevalence of indolence, misery, and beggary, in almost all the countries of Europe; but also from the great variety of opinion among those who have taken the matter into serious consideration, and have proposed methods for remedying those evils; so generally, and so justly complained of.

What I have to offer upon the this subject being not merely speculative opinion, but the genuine result of actual experiments; of experiments made upon a very large scale, and under circumstances which render them peculiarly interesting; I cannot help flattering myself that my readers will find both amusement, and useful information, from the perusal of the following sheets.

As it may perhaps appear extraordinary that a military man should undertake a work so foreign to his profession, as that of forming and executing a plan for providing for the Poor, I have thought it not improper to preface the narrative of my operations, by a short account of the motives which induced me to engage in this undertaking. And in order to throw still more light upon the whole transaction, I shall begin with a few words of myself, of my situation in the country in which I reside, and of the different objects which were had in view in the various public measures in which I have been concerned. This information is necessary in order to form a clear idea of the circumstances under which the operations in question were undertaken, and the different public measures which were adopted at the same time.

Having in the year 1784, with His Majesty's gracious permission, engaged myself in the service of His Most Serene Highness the Elector Palatine, Reigning Duke of Bavaria, I have since been employed by His Electoral Highness in various public services, and particularly in arranging his military affairs, and introducing a new system of order, discipline, and economy among his troops.

In the execution of this commission, ever mindful of that great and important truth, that no political arrangement can be really good, except in so far as it contributes to the general good of society, I have endeavoured in all my operations to unite the interest of the soldier with the interest of civil society, and to render the military force, even in time of peace, subservient to the PUBLIC GOOD.

To facilitate and promote these important objects, to establish a respectable standing military force, which should do the least possible harm to the population, morals, manufactures, and agriculture of the country, it was necessary to make soldiers citizens, and citizens soldiers. To this end the situation of the soldier was made as easy, comfortable, and eligible as possible; his pay was increased, he was comfortably, and even elegantly clothed, and he was allowed every kind of liberty not inconsistent with good order and due subordination; his military exercises were simplified, his instruction rendered short and easy, and all obsolete and useless customs and usages were banished from the service. Great attention was paid to the external appearance of the buildings; and nothing was left undone, that could tend to make the men comfortable in their dwellings. Schools were established in all the regiments, for arithmetic; and into these schools, not only the soldiers and their children, but also the children of the neighbouring citizens and peasants, were admitted gratis, and even school-books, paper[1], pens, and ink, were furnished for them, at the expense of the Sovereign.

Besides these schools of instruction, others, called schools of industry, were established in the regiments, where the soldiers and their children were taught various kinds of work, and from whence they were supplied with raw materials, to work for their own emolument.

As nothing is so certain fatal to morals, and particularly to the morals of the lower class of mankind, as habitual idleness, every possible measure was adopted, that could be devised, to introduce a spirit of industry among the troops. Every encouragement was given to the soldiers to employ their leisure time, when they were off duty, in working for their own emolument; and among other encouragements, the most efficacious of all, that of allowing them full liberty to dispose of the money acquired by their labour in any way they should think proper, without being obliged to give any account of it to any body. They were even furnished with working dresses, (a canvas frock and trousers,) gratis, at their enlisting, and were afterwards permitted to retain their old uniforms for the same purpose; and care was taken, in all cases where they were employed, that they should be well paid.

They commonly received from sixteen to eighteen creutzers[2] a-day for their labour; and with this they had the advantage of being clothed and lodged, and, in many cases, of receiving their full pay of five creutzers, and a pound and a half (1 lb. 13 1/2; oz. Avoirdupois) of bread per day from the Sovereign. When they did their duty in their regiments, by mounting guard regularly according to their tour (which commonly was every fourth day,) and only worked those days they happened to be off guard, in that case, they received their full pay; but when they were excused from regimental duty, and permitted to work every day for their own emolument, their pay (at five creutzers per day,) was stopped, but they were still permitted to receive their bread, and to lodge in the barracks.

In all public works, such as making and repairing highways, —draining marshes,—repairing the banks of rivers, etc. soldiers were employed as labourers; and in all such cases, the greatest care was taken to provide for their comfortable subsistence, and even for their amusement. Good lodgings were prepared for them, and good and wholesome food, at a reasonable price; and the greatest care was taken of them when they happened to fall sick.

Frequently, when considerable numbers of them were at work together, a band of music was ordered to play to them while at work; and on holidays they were permitted, and even encouraged, to make merry, with dancing and other innocent sports and amusements.

To preserve good order and harmony among those who were detached upon these working parties, a certain proportion of officers and non-commissioned officers were always sent with them, and those commonly served as overseers of the works, and as such were paid.

Besides this permission to work for hire in the garrison towns, and upon detached working parties, which was readily granted to all those who desired it, or at least to as many as could possibly be spared from the necessary service of the garrison; every facility and encouragement was given to the soldier who was a native of the country, and who had a family of friends to go to, or private concerns to take care of, to go home on furlough, and to remain absent from his regiment from one annual exercise to the other, that is to say, ten months and a half each year. This arrangement was very advantageous to the agriculture and manufactures, and even to the population of the country, (for the soldiers were allowed to marry,) and served not a little to the establishment of harmony and a friendly intercourse between the soldiers and the peasantry, and to facilitate recruiting.

Another measure which tended much to render the situation of the soldier pleasant and agreeable, and to facilitate the recruiting service, was the rendering the garrisons of the regiments permanent. This measure might not be advisable in a despotic, or odious government; for where the authority of the Sovereign must be supported by the terror of arms, all habits of social intercourse and friendship between the soldiers and the subjects must be dangerous; but in all well-regulated governments, such friendly intercourse is attended with many advantages.

A peasant would more readily consent to his son's engaging himself to serve as a soldier in a regiment permanently stationed in his neighbourhood, than in one at a great distance, or whose destination was uncertain; and when the station of a regiment is permanent, and it receives its recruits from the district of country immediately surrounding its head-quarters, the men who go home on furlough have but a short journey to make, and are easily assembled in case of any emergency; and it was the more necessary to give every facility to the soldiers to go home on furlough in Bavaria, as labourers are so very scarce in that country that the husbandman would not be able without them to cultivate his ground.

The habits of industry and of order which the soldier acquired when in garrison, rendered him so much the more useful as a labourer when on furlough; but not contented with merely furnishing labours for the assistance of the husbandman, I was desirous of making use of the army, as a means of introducing useful improvements into the country.

Though agriculture is carried to the highest perfection in some parts of the Elector's dominions, yet in others, and particularly in Bavaria, it is still much behind-hand. Very few of the new improvements in that art, such as the introduction of new and useful plants—the cultivation of clover and of turnips—the regular succession of crops, etc. have yet found their way into general practice in that country; and even the potatoe, that most useful of all the products of the ground, is scarcely known there.

It was principally with a view to introduce the culture of potatoes in that country that the military gardens were formed. These gardens (of which there is one in every garrison belonging to the Elector's dominion, Dusseldorf and Amberg only excepted[3]) are pieces of ground, in, or adjoining to the garrison towns, which are regularly laid out, and exclusively appropriated to the use of the non-commissioned officers and private soldiers belonging to the regiments in garrison. The ground is regularly divided into districts of regiments, battalions, companies, and corporalities (corporalschafts,) of which last divisions there are four to each company; and the quantity of ground allotted to each corporality is such that each man belonging to it, whether non-commissioned officer or private, has a bed 365 square feet in superficies.

This piece of ground remains his sole property as long as he continues to serve in the regiment, and he is at full liberty to cultivate it in any way, and to dispose of the produce of it in any manner he may think proper. He must however cultivate it, and plant it, and keep it neat and free from weeds; otherwise, if he should be idle, and neglect it, it would be taken from him and given to one of his more industrious comrades.

The divisions of these military gardens are marked by broader and smaller alleys, covered with gravel, and neatly kept; and in order that every one who chooses it, may be a spectator of this interesting scene of industry, all the principal alleys, which are made large for that purpose, are always open as a public walk. The effect which this establishment has already produced in the short time (little more than five years) since it was begun, is very striking, and much greater and more important than I could have expected.

The soldiers, from being the most indolent of mortals, and from having very little knowledge of gardening, or of the produce of a garden, for use, are now becoming industrious and skilful cultivators, and they are grown so fond of vegetables, particularly of potatoes, which they raise in great quantities, that these useful and wholesome productions now constitutes a very essential part of their daily food. And these improvements are also spreading very fast among the farmers and peasants, throughout the whole country. There is hardly a soldier that goes on furlough, or that returns home at the expiration of his time of service, that does not carry with him a few potatoes for planting, and a little collection of garden-seeds; and I have no doubt but in a very few years we shall see potatoes as much cultivated in Bavaria as in other countries; and that the use of vegetables for food will be generally introduced among the common people. I have already had the satisfaction to see little gardens here and there making their appearance, in different parts of the country, and I hope that very soon no farmer's house will be found without one.

To assist the soldiers in the cultivation of their gardens, they are furnished with garden utensils gratis; they are likewise furnished from time to time with a certain quantity of manure, and with an assortment of garden-feeds; but they do not rely solely upon these supplies; those who are industrious collect materials in their barracks, and in the streets, for making manure, and even sometimes purchase it, and they raise in their own gardens most of the garden-seeds they stand in need of. To enable them to avail themselves of their gardens as early in the spring as possible, in supplying their tables with green vegetables, each company is furnished with a hot-bed for raising early plants.

To attach the soldiers more strongly to these their little possessions, by increasing their comfort and convenience in the cultivation and enjoyment of them, a number of little summer-houses, or rather huts, one to each company, have been erected for the purpose of shelter, where they can retire when it rains, or when they are fatigued.

All the officers of the regiments, from the highest to the lowest, are ordered to give the men every assistance in the cultivation of these their gardens; but they are forbidden, upon pain of the severest punishment, to appropriate to themselves any part of the produce of them, or even to receive any part of it in presents.


Of the prevalence of mendicity in Bavaria at the time when the measures for putting an end to it were adopted.

Among the various measures that occurred to me by which the military establishment of the country might be made subservient to the public good in time of peace, none appeared to be of so much importance as that of employing the army in clearing the country of beggers, thieves and other vagabonds; and in watching over the public tranquillity.

But in order to clear the country of beggers, (the number of whom in Bavaria had become quite intolerable,) it was necessary to adopt general and efficacious measures for maintaining and supporting the Poor. Laws were not wanting to oblige each community in the country to provide for its own Poor; but these laws had been so long neglected, and beggary had become so general, that extraordinary measures, and the most indefatigable exertions, were necessary to put a stop to this evil. The number of itinerant beggars, of both sexes, and all ages, as well foreigners as natives, who strolled about the country in all directions. levying contributions from the industrious inhabitants, stealing and robbing, and leading a life of indolence, and the most shameless debauchery, was quite incredible; and so numerous were the swarms of beggars in all the great towns, and particularly in the capital, so great their impudence, and so persevering their importunity, that it was almost impossible to cross the streets without being attacked, and absolutely forced to satisfy their clamorous demands. And these beggars were in general by no means such as from age or bodily infirmities were unable by their labour to earn their livelihood; but they were for the most part, stout, strong, healthy, sturdy beggars, who, lost to every sense of shame, had embraced the profession from choice, not necessity; and who, not unfrequently, added insolence and threats to their importunity, and extorted that from fear, which they could not procure by their arts of dissimulation.

These beggars not only infested all the streets, public walks, and public places, but they even made a practice of going into private houses, where they never failed to steal whatever fell in their way, if they found the doors open, and nobody at home; and the churches were so full of them that it was quite a nuisance, and a public scandal during the performance of divine service. People at their devotions were continually interrupted by them, and were frequently obliged to satisfy their demands in order to be permitted to finish their prayers in peace and quite.

In short, these detestable vermin swarmed every where, and not only their impudence and clamorous importunity were without any bounds, but they had recourse to the most diabolical arts, and most horrid crimes, in the prosecution of their infamous trade. Young children were stolen from their parents by these wretches, and their eyes put out, or their tender limbs broken and distorted, in order, by exposing them thus maimed, to excite the pity and commiseration of the public; and every species of artifice was made use of to agitate the sensibility, and to extort the contributions of the humane and charitable.

Some of these monsters were so void of all feeling as to expose even their own children, naked, and almost starved, in the streets, in order that, by their cries and unaffected expressions of distress, they might move those who passed by to pity and relieve them; and in order to make them act their part more naturally, they were unmercifully beaten when they came home, by their inhuman parents, if they did not bring with them a certain sum, which they were ordered to collect.

I have frequently seen a poor child of five or six years of age, late at night, in the most inclement season, sitting down almost naked at the corner of a street, and crying most bitterly; if he were asked what was the matter with him, he would answer, "I am cold and hungry, and afraid to go home; my mother told me to bring home twelve creutzers, and I have only been able to beg five. My mother will certainly beat me if I don't carry home twelve creutzers." Who could refuse so small a sum to relieve so much unaffected distress?—But what horrid arts are these, to work upon the feelings of the public, and levy involuntary contributions for the support of idleness and debauchery!

But the evils arising from the prevalence of mendicity did not stop here. The public, worn out and vanquished by the numbers and persevering importunity of the beggars; and frequently disappointed in their hopes of being relieved from their depredations, by the failure of the numberless schemes that were formed and set on foot for that purpose, began at last to consider the case as quite desperate; and to submit patiently to an evil for which they saw no remedy. The consequences of this submission are easy to be conceived; the beggars, encouraged by their success, were attached still more strongly to their infamous profession; and others, allured by their indolent lives, encouraged by their successful frauds, and emboldened by their impunity, joined them. The habit of submission on the part of the public, gave them a sort of right to pursue their depredations;— their growing numbers and their success gave a kind of eclat to their profession; and the habit of begging became so general, that it ceased to be considered as infamous; and was by degrees in a manner interwoven with the internal regulations of society. Herdsmen and shepherds, who attended their flocks by the road-side, were known to derive considerable advantage from the contributions which their situation enabled them to levy from passengers; and I have been assured, that the wages they received from their employers were often regulated accordingly. The children in every country village, and those even of the best farmers, made a constant practice of begging from all strangers who passed; and one hardly ever met a person on foot upon the road, particularly a woman, who did not hold out her hand and ask for charity.

In the great towns, besides the children of the poorer sort, who almost all made a custom of begging, the professional beggars formed a distinct class, or cast, among the inhabitants; and in general a very numerous one. There was even a kind of political connection between the members of this formidable body; and certain general maxims were adopted, and regulations observed, in the warfare they carried on against the public. Each beggar had his particular beat, or district, in the possession of which it was not thought lawful to disturb him; and certain rules were observed in disposing of the districts in case of vacancies by deaths or resignations, promotions or removals. A battle, it is true, frequently decided the contest between the candidates; but when the possession was once obtained, whether by force of arms, or by any other means, the right was ever after considered as indisputable. Alliances by marriage were by no means uncommon in this community; and, strange as it may appear, means were found to procure legal permission from the civil magistrates for the celebration of these nuptials! The children were of course trained up in the profession of their parents; and having the advantage of an early education, were commonly great proficients in their trade.

As there is no very essential difference between depriving a person of his property by stealth, and extorting it from him against his will, by dint of clamorous importunity, or under false pretence of feigned distress and misfortune; so the transition from begging to stealing is not only easy, but perfectly natural. That total insensibility to shame, and all those other qualifications which are necessary in the profession of a beggar, are likewise essential to form an accomplished thief; and both these professions derive very considerable advantages from their union. A beggar who goes about from house to house to ask for alms, has many opportunities to steal, which another would not so easily find; and his profession as a beggar gives him a great facility in disposing of what he steals; for he can always say it was given him in charity. No wonder then that thieving and robbing should be prevalent where beggars are numerous.

That this was the case in Bavaria will not be doubted by those who are informed that in the four years immediately succeeding the introduction of the measures adopted for putting an end to mendicity, and clearing the country of beggars, thieves, robbers, etc. above TEN THOUSAND of these vagabonds, foreigners and natives, were actually arrested and delivered over to the civil magistrates; and that in taking up the beggars in Munich, and providing for those who stood in need of public assistance, no less than 2600 of the one description and the other, were entered upon the lists in one week; though the whole number of the inhabitants of the city of Munich probably does not amount to more than 60,000, even including the suburbs.

These facts are so very extraordinary, that were they not notorious, I should hardly have ventured to mention them, for fear of being suspected of exaggeration; but they are perfectly known in the country, by every body; having been published by authority in the news-papers at the time, with all their various details and specifications, for the information of the public.

What has been said, will, I fancy, be thought quite sufficient to show the necessity of applying a remedy to the evils described; and of introducing order and a spirit of industry among the lower classes of the people. I shall therefore proceed, without any farther preface, to give an account of the measures which were adopted and carried into execution for that purpose.


Various preparations made for putting an end to mendicity in bavaria. Cantonment of the cavalry in the country towns and villages. Formation of the committee placed at the head of the institution for the poor at Munich. The funds of that institution.

As soon as it was determined to undertake this great and difficult work, and the plan of operations was finally settled, various preparations were made for its execution.

The first preliminary step taken, was to canton four regiments of cavalry in Bavaria and the adjoining provinces, in such a manner that not only every considerable town was furnished with a detachment, but most of the large villages were occupied; and in every part of the country small parties of threes, fours, and fives, were so stationed; at the distance of one, two, and three leagues from each other; that they could easily perform their daily patroles from one station to another in the course of the day, without ever being obliged to stop at a peasant's house, or even at an inn, or ever to demand forage for their horses, or victuals for themselves, or lodgings, from any person whatever. This arrangement of quarters prevented all disputes between the military and the people of the country. The head-quarters of each regiment, where the commanding officer of the regiment resided, was established in a central situation with respect to the extent of country occupied by the regiment;—each squadron had its commanding officer in the centre of its district,— and the subalterns and non-commissioned officers were so distributed in the different cantonments, that the privates were continually under the inspection of their superiors, who had orders to keep a watchful eye over them;—to visit them in their quarters very often;—and to preserve the strictest order and discipline among them.

To command these troops, a general officer was named, who, after visiting every cantonment in the whole country, took up his residence at Munich.

Printed instructions were given to the officer, or non-commissioned officer, who commanded a detached post, or patrole;—regular monthly returns were ordered to be made to the commanding officers of the regiment, by the officers commanding squadrons;— to the commanding general, by the officers commanding regiments;— and by the commanding general, to the council of war, and to the Sovereign.

To prevent disputes between the military and the civil authorities, and, as far as possible, to remove all grounds of jealousy and ill-will between them; as also to preserve peace and harmony between the soldiery and the inhabitants, these troops were strictly ordered and enjoined to behave on all occasions to magistrates and other persons in civil authority with the utmost respect and deference;—to conduct themselves towards the peasants and other inhabitants in the most peaceable and friendly manner;— to retire to their quarters very early in the evening;— and above all, cautiously to avoid disputes and quarrels with the people of the country. They were also ordered to be very diligent and alert in making their daily patroles from one station to another;— to apprehend all thieves and other vagabonds that infested the country, and deliver them over to the civil magistrates;— to apprehend deserters, and conduct them from station to station to their regiments;—to conduct all prisoners from one part of the country to another;—to assist the civil magistrate in the execution of the laws, and in preserving peace and order in the country, in all cases where they should be legally called upon for that purpose;—to perform the duty of messengers in carrying government dispatches and orders, civil as well as military, in cases of emergency;— and to bring accounts to the capital, by express, of every extraordinary event of importance that happens in the country;—to guard the frontiers, and assist the officers of the revenue in preventing smuggling;—to have a watchful eye over all soldiers on furlough in the country, and when guilty of excesses, to apprehend them and transport them to their regiments;—to assist the inhabitants in case of fire, and particularly to guard their effects, and prevent their being lost of stolen, in the confusion which commonly takes place on those occasions;—to pursue and apprehend all thieves, robbers, murderers, and other malefactors;—and in general, to lend their assistance on all occasions where they could be useful in maintaining peace, order, and tranquillity in the country.

As the Sovereign had an undoubted right to quarter his troops upon the inhabitants when they were employed for the police and defence of the country, they were on this occasion called upon to provide quarters for the men distributed in these cantonments; but in order to make this burden as light as possible to the inhabitants, they were only called upon to provide quarters for the non-commissioned officers and privates; and instead of being obliged to take THESE into their houses, and to furnish them with victuals and lodgings, as had formerly been the practice, (and which was certainly a great hardship,) a small house or barrack for the men, with stabling adjoining to it for the horses, was built, or proper lodgings were hired by the civil magistrate, in each of these military stations, and the expense was levied upon the inhabitants at large. The forage for the horses was provided by the regiments, or by contractors employed for that purpose; and the men, being furnished with a certain allowance of fire-wood, and the necessary articles of kitchen furniture, were made to provide for their own subsistence, by purchasing their provisions at the markets, and cooking their victuals in their own quarters.

The officers provided their own lodgings and stabling, being allowed a certain sum for that purpose in addition to their ordinary pay.

The whole of the additional expence to the military chest, for the establishment and support of these cantonments, amounted to a mere trifle; and the burden upon the people, which attended the furnishing of quarters for the non-commissioned officers and privates, was very inconsiderable, and bore no proportion to the advantages derived from the protection and security to their persons and properties afforded by these troops[4].

Not only this cantonment of the cavalry was carried into execution as a preliminary measure to the taking up of the beggars in the capital, but many other preparatives were also made for that undertaking.

As considerable sums were necessary for the support of such of the poor as, from age or other bodily infirmities, were unable by their industry to provide for their own subsistence; and as there were no public funds any way adequate to such an expence, which could be applied to this use, the success of the measure depended entirely upon the voluntary subscriptions of the inhabitants; and in order to induce these to subscribe liberally, it was necessary to secure their approbation of the plan, and their confidence in those who were chosen to carry it into execution. And as the number of beggars was so great in Munich, and their importunity so very troublesome, there could have been no doubt but any sensible plan for remedying this evil would have been gladly received by the public; but they had been so often disappointed by fruitless attempts from time to time made for that purpose, that they began to think the enterprize quite impossible, and to consider every proposal for providing for the poor, and preventing mendicity, as a mere job.

Aware of this, I took my measures accordingly. To convince the public that the scheme was feasible, I determined first, by a great exertion, to carry it into complete execution, and THEN to ask them to support it. And to secure their confidence in those employed in the management of it, persons of the highest rank, and most respected character were chosen to superintend and direct the affairs of the institution; and every measure was taken that could be devised to prevent abuses.

Two principle objects were to be attended to, in making these arrangements; the first was to furnish suitable employment to such of the poor as were able to work; and the second, to provide the necessary assistance for those who, from age, sickness, or other bodily infirmities, were unable by their industry to provide for themselves. A general system of police was likewise necessary among this class of miserable beings; as well as measures for reclaiming them, and making them useful subjects. The police of the poor, as also the distribution of alms, and all the economical details of the institution, were put under the direction of a committee, composed of the president of the council of war,—the president of the council of supreme regency,—the president of the ecclesiastical council,—and the president of the chamber of finances; and to assist them in this work, each of the above-mentioned presidents was accompanied by one counsellor of his respective department, at his own choice; who was present at all the meetings of the committee, and who performed the more laborious parts of the business. This committee, which was called The Armen Instituts Deputation, had convenient apartments fitted up for its meetings; a secretary, clerk, and accountant, were appointed to it; and the ordinary guards of the police were put under its immediate direction.

Neither the presidents nor the counsellors belonging to this committee received any pay or emolument whatever for this service, but took upon themselves this trouble merely from motives of humanity, and a generous desire to promote the public good; and even the secretary, and other inferior officers employed in this business, received their pay immediately from the Treasury; or from some other department; and not from the funds destined for the relief of the poor: and in order most effectually remove all suspicion with respect to the management of this business, and the faithful application of the money destined for the poor, instead of appointing a Treasurer to the committee, a public banker of the town, a most respectable citizen[5], was named to receive and pay all monies belonging to the institution, upon the written orders of the committee; and exact and detailed accounts of all monies received and expended were ordered to be printed every three months, and distributed gratis among the inhabitants.

In order that every citizen might have it in his power to assure himself that the accounts were exact, and that the sums expended were bona fide given to the poor in alms, the money was publicly distributed every Saturday in the town-hall, in the presence of a number of deputies chosen from among the citizens themselves; and an alphabetical list of the poor who received alms;—in which was mentioned the weekly sum each person received;—and the place of his or her abode, was hung up in the hall for public inspection.

But this was not all. In order to fix the confidence of the public upon the most firm and immoveable basis, and to engage their good will and cheerful assistance in support of the measures adopted, the citizens were invited to take an active and honourable part in the execution of the plan, and in the direction of its most interesting details.

The town of Munich, which contains about 60,000 inhabitants, had been formerly divided into four quarters. Each of these was now subdivided into four districts, making in all sixteen districts; and all the dwelling-houses, from the palace of the sovereign to the meanest hovel, were regularly numbered, and inscribed in printed lists provided for that purpose. For the inspection of the poor in each district, a respectable citizen was chosen, who was called the commissary of the district, (abtheilungs commissaire,) and for his assistance, a priest; a physician; a surgeon; and an apothecary; all of whom, including the commissary, undertook this service without fee or reward, from mere motives of humanity and true patriotism. The apothecary was simply reimbursed the original cost of the medicines he furnished.

To give more weight and dignity to the office of commissary of a district, one of these commissaries, in rotation, was called to assist at the meetings of the supreme committee; and all applications for alms were submitted to the commissaries for their opinion; or, more properly, all such applications went through them to the committee. They were likewise particularly charged with the inspection and police of the poor in their several districts.

When a person already upon the poor list, or any other, in distress, stood in need of assistance, he applied to the commissary of his district, who, after visiting him, and enquiring into such the circumstances of his case, afforded him such immediate assistance as was absolutely necessary; or otherwise, if the case was such as to admit of the delay, he recommended him to the attention of the committee, and waited for their orders. If the poor person was sick, or wounded, he was carried to some hospital; or the physician, or surgeon of the district was sent for, and a nurse provided to take care of him in his lodgings, If he grew worse, and appeared to draw near his end, the priest was sent for, to afford him such spiritual assistance as he might require; and if he died, he was decently buried. After his death, the commissary assisted at the inventory which was taken of his effects, a copy of which inventory was delivered over to the committee. These effects were afterwards sold;—and after deducting the amount of the different sums received in alms from the institution by the deceased during his lifetime, and the amount of the expenses of his illness and funeral, the remainder, if any, was delivered over to his lawful heirs; but when these effects were insufficient for those purposes; or when no effects were to be found, the surplus in the one case, and the whole of these expences in the other, was borne by the funds of the institution.

These funds were derived from the following sources, viz.

First, from stated monthly allowances, from the sovereign out of his private purse,—from the states,—and from the treasury, or chamber of finances.

Secondly, and principally, from the voluntary subscription of the inhabitants.

Thirdly, from legacies left to the institution, and

Fourthly, from several small revenues arising from certain tolls, fines, etc. which were appropriated to that use[6].

Several other, and some of them very considerable public funds, originally designed by their founders for the relief of the poor, might have been taken and appropriated to this purpose; but, as some of these foundations had been misapplied, and others nearly ruined by bad management, it would have been a very disagreeable task to wrest them out of the hands of those who had the administration of them; and I therefore judged it most prudent not to meddle with them, avoiding, by that means, a great deal of opposition to the execution of my plan.


Preparations made for giving employment to the poor. Difficulties attending that undertaking. The measures adopted completely successful. The poor reclaimed to habits of useful industry. Description of the house of industry at Munich.

But before I proceed to give a more particular account of the funds of this institution, and of the application of them, it will be necessary to mention the preparations which where made for furnishing employment to the poor, and the means which were used for reclaiming them from their vicious habits, and rendering them industrious and useful subjects. And this was certainly the most difficult, as well as the most curious and interesting part of the undertaking. To trust raw materials in the hands of common beggars, certainly required great caution and management; —but to produce so total and radical a change in the morals, manners, and customs of this debauched and abandoned race, as was necessary to render them orderly and useful members of society, will naturally be considered as an arduous, if not impossible, enterprize. In this I succeeded; —for the proof of this fact I appeal to the flourishing state of the different manufactories in which these poor people are now employed,—to their orderly and peaceable demeanour—to their cheerfulness—to their industry,— to the desire to excel, which manifests itself among them upon all occasions,—and to the very air of their countenances. Strangers, who go to see this institution, (and there are very few who pass through Munich who do not take that trouble,) cannot sufficiently express their surprise at the air of happiness and contentment which reigns throughout every part of this extensive establishment, and can hardly be persuaded, that among those they see so cheerfully engaged in that interesting scene of industry, by far the greater part were, five years ago, the most miserable and most worthless of beings,—common beggars in the streets.

An account of the means employed in bringing about this change cannot fail to be interesting to every benevolent mind; and this is what has encouraged me to lay these details before the public.

By far the greater number of the poor people to be taken care of were not only common beggars, but had been up from their very infancy in that profession; and were so attached to their indolent and dissolute way of living, as to prefer it to all other situations. They were not only unacquainted with all kinds of work, but had the most insuperable aversion to honest labour; and had been so long familiarized with every crime, that they had become perfectly callous to all sense of shame and remorse.

With persons of this description, it is easy to be conceived that precepts;—admonitions;—and punishments, would be of little or no avail. But where precepts fail, HABITS may sometimes be successful.

To make vicious and abandoned people happy, it has generally been supposed necessary, FIRST to make them virtuous. But why not reverse this order? Why not make them first HAPPY, and then virtuous? If happiness and virtue be INSEPARABLE the end will be as certainly obtained by the one method as by the other; and it is most undoubtedly much easier to contribute to the happiness and comfort of persons in a state of poverty and misery, than, by admonitions and punishments, to reform their morals.

Deeply struck with the importance of this truth, all my measures were taken accordingly. Every thing was done that could be devised to make the poor people I had to deal with comfortable and happy in their new situation; and my hopes, that a habit of enjoying the real comforts and conveniences which were provided for them, would in time, soften their hearts;—open their eyes;—and render them grateful and docile, were not disappointed.

The pleasure I have had in the success of this experiment is much easier to be conceived than described. Would God that my success might encourage others to follow my example! If it were generally known how little trouble, and how little expence, are required to do much good, the heart-felt satisfaction which arises from relieving the wants, and promoting the happiness of our fellow-creatures, is so great, that I am persuaded, acts of the most essential charity would be much more frequent, and the mass of misery among mankind would consequently be much lessened.

Having taken my resolution to make the COMFORT of the poor people, who were to be provided for, the primary object of my attention, I considered what circumstance in life, after the necessaries, food and raiment, contributes most to comfort, and I found it to be CLEANLINESS. And so very extensive is the influence of cleanliness, that it reaches even to the brute creation.

With what care and attention do the feathered race wash themselves and put their plumage in order; and how perfectly neat, clean and elegant do they ever appear! Among the beasts of the field we find that those which are the most cleanly are generally the most gay and cheerful; or are distinguished by a certain air of tranquillity and contentment; and singing birds are always remarkable for the neatness of their plumage. And so great is the effect of cleanliness upon man, that it extends even to his moral character. Virtue never dwelt long with filth and nastiness; nor do I believe there ever was a person SCRUPULOUSLY ATTENTIVE TO CLEANLINESS who was a consummate villain[7].

Order and disorder—peace and war—health and sickness, cannot exist together; but COMFORT and CONTENTMENT the inseparable companions of HAPPINESS and VIRTUE, can only arise from order, peace, and health.

Brute animals are evidently taught cleanliness by instinct; and can there be a stronger proof of its being essentially necessary to their well-being and happiness?—But if cleanliness is necessary to the happiness of brutes, how much more so must it be to the happiness of the human race?

The good effects of cleanliness, or rather the bad effects of filth and nastiness, may, I think, be very satisfactorily accounted for. Our bodies are continually at war with whatever offends them, and every thing offends them that adheres to them, and irritates them,—and through by long habit we may be so accustomed to support a physical ill, as to become almost insensible to it, yet it never leaves the mind perfectly at peace. There always remains a certain uneasiness, and discontent;— an indecision, and an aversion from all serious application, which shows evidently that the mind is not at rest.

Those who from being afflicted with long and painful disease, suddenly acquire health, are best able to judge of the force of this reasoning. It is by the delightful sensation they feel, at being relieved from pain and uneasiness, that they learn to know the full extent of their former misery; and the human heart is never so effectually softened, and so well prepared and disposed to receive virtuous impressions, as upon such occasions.

It was with a view to bring the minds of the poor and unfortunate people I had to deal with to this state, that I took so much pains to make them comfortable in their new situation. The state in which they had been used to live was certainly most wretched and deplorable; but they had been so long accustomed to it, that they were grown insensible to their own misery. It was therefore necessary, in order to awaken their attention, to make the contrast between their former situation, and that which was prepared for them, as striking as possible. To this end, every thing was done that could be devised to make them REALLY COMFORTABLE.

Most of them had been used to living in the most miserable hovels, in the midst of vermin, and every kind of filthiness; or to sleep in the streets, and under the hedges, half naked, and exposed to all the inclemencies of the seasons. A large and commodious building, fitted up in the neatest and most comfortable manner, was now provided for their reception. In this agreeable retreat they found spacious and elegant apartments, kept with the most scrupulous neatness; well warmed in winter; well lighted; a good warm dinner every day, gratis; cooked and served up with all possible attention to order and cleanliness;— materials and utensils for those who required instruction;—the most generous pay, IN MONEY, for all the labour performed; and the kindest usage from every person, from the highest to the lowest, belonging to the establishment. Here, in this asylum for the indigent and unfortunate, no ill usage;— no harsh language, is permitted. During five years that the establishment has existed, not a blow has been given to any one; not even to a child by his instructor.

As the rules and regulations for the preservation of order are few, and easy to be observed, the instances of their being transgressed are rare; and as all the labour performed, is paid for by the piece; and not by the day; and is well paid; and as those who gain the most by their work in the course of the week, receive proportional rewards on the Saturday evening; these are most effectual encouragements to industry.

But before I proceed to give an account of the internal economy of this establishment, it will be necessary to describe the building which was appropriated to this use; and the other local circumstances, necessary to be known, in order to have a clear idea of the subject.

This building, which is very extensive, is pleasantly situated in the Au, one of the suburbs of the city of Munich. It had formerly been a manufactory, but for many years had been deserted and falling to ruins. It was now completely repaired, and in part rebuilt. A large kitchen, with a large eating-room adjoining it, and a commodious bake-house, were added to the buildings; and such other mechanics as were constantly wanted in the manufactory for making and repairing the machinery were established, and furnished with tools. Large halls were fitted up for spinners of hemp;—for spinners of flax;—for spinners of cotton;—for spinners of wool;—and for spinners of worsted; and adjoining to each hall a small room was fitted up for a clerk or inspector of the hall, (spin-schreiber). This room, which was at the same time a store-room, and counting-house, and a large window opening into the hall, from whence the spinners were supplied with raw materials;—where they delivered their yarn when spun;—and from whence they received an order upon the cashier, signed by the clerk, for the amount of their labour.

Halls were likewise fitted up for weavers of woollens;— for weavers of serges and shalloons;—for linen weavers;— for weavers of cotton goods, and for stocking weavers;— cloth shearers;—dryers;—sadlers;—wool-combers;—knitters;— sempstresses, etc. Magazines were fitted up as well for finished manufactures, as for raw materials, and rooms for counting-houses, —store-rooms for the kitchen and bake-house,—and dwelling-rooms for the inspectors and other officers who were lodged in the house.

A very spacious hall, 110 feet long, 37 feet wide, and 22 feet high, with many windows on both sides, was fitted up as a drying-room; and in this hall tenters were placed for stretching out and drying eight pieces of cloth at once. The hall was so contrived as to serve for the dyer and for the clothier at the same time.

A fulling-mill was established upon a stream of water which runs by one side of the court round which the building is erected; and adjoining to the fulling-mill, is the dyers-shop; and the wash-house.

This whole edifice, which is very extensive, was fitted up, as has already been observed, in the neatest manner possible. In doing this, even the external appearance of the building was attended to. It was handsomely painted; without, as well as within; and pains were taken to give it an air of ELEGANCE, as well as of neatness and cleanliness. A large court in the middle of the building was levelled, and covered with gravel; and the approach to it from every side was made easy and commodious. Over the principal door, or rather gate, which fronts the street, is an inscription, denoting the use to which the building is appropriated; and the passage leading into the court, there is written in large letters of gold upon a black ground— "NO ALMS WILL BE RECEIVED HERE."

Upon coming into the court you see inscriptions over all the doors upon the ground floor, leading to the different parts of the building. These inscriptions, which are all in letters of gold upon a black ground, denote the particular uses to which the different apartments are destined.

This building having been got ready, and a sufficient number of spinning-wheels, looms, and other utensils made use of in the most common manufactures being provided; together with a sufficient stock of raw materials, I proceeded to carry my plan into execution in the manner which will be related in the following Chapter.


An account of the taking up of the beggars at Munich. The inhabitants are called upon for their assistance. General subscription for the relief and support of the poor. All other public and private collections for the poor abolished.

New-Year's-Day having, from time immemorial, been considered in Bavaria as a day peculiarly set apart for giving alms; and the beggars never failing to be all out upon that occasion; I chose that moment as being the most favourable for beginning my operations. Early in the morning of the first of January 1790, the officers and non-commissioned officers of the three regiments of infantry in garrison, were stationed in the different streets, where they were directed to wait for further orders.

Having, in the mean time, assembled, at my lodgings, the field-officers, and all the chief magistrates of the town, I made them acquainted with my intention to proceed that very morning to the execution of a plan I had formed for taking up the beggars, and providing for the poor; and asked their immediate assistance.

To show the public that it was not my wish to carry this measure into execution by military force alone, (which might have rendered the measure odious,) but that I was disposed to show all becoming deference to the civil authority, I begged the magistrates to accompany me, and the field-officers of the garrison, in the execution of the first and most difficult part of the undertaking, that of arresting the beggars. This they most readily consented to, and we immediately sallied out into the street, myself accompanied by the chief magistrate of the town, and each of the field-officers by an inferior magistrate.

We were hardly got into the street when we were accosted by a beggar, who asked us for alms. I went up to him, and laying my hand gently upon his shoulder, told him, that from thenceforwards begging would not be permitted in Munich;—that if he really stood in need of assistance, (which would immediately be enquired into,) the necessary assistance should certainly be given him, but that begging was forbidden; and if he was detected in it again he would be severely punished. I then delivered him over to an orderly serjeant who was following me, with directions to conduct him to the Town-hall, and deliver him into the hands of those he should find there to receive him; and then turning to the officers and magistrates who accompanied me, I begged they would take notice, that I had myself, WITH MY OWN HANDS, arrested the first beggar we had met; and I requested them not only to follow my example themselves, by arresting all the beggars they should meet with, but that they would also endeavour to persuade others, and particularly the officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers of the garrison, that it was by no means derogatory to their character as soldiers, or in anywise disgraceful to them, to assist in so USEFUL and LAUDABLE an undertaking. These gentlemen having cheerfully and unanimously promised to do their utmost to second me in this business, dispersed into the different parts of the town, and with the assistance of the military, which they found every where waiting for orders, the town was so thoroughly cleared of beggars IN LESS THAN AN HOUR, that not one was to be found in the streets.

Those who were arrested were conducted to the Town-hall, where their names were inscribed in printed lists provided for that purpose, and they were then dismissed to their own lodgings, with directions to repair the next day to the newly erected "Military Work-house" in the Au; where they would find comfortable warm rooms;—a good warm dinner every day; and work for all those who were in a condition to labour. They were likewise told that a commission should immediately be appointed to enquire into their circumstances, and to grant them such regular weekly allowances of money, in alms, as they should stand in need of; which was accordingly done.

Orders were then issued to all the military guards in the different parts of the town, to send out patroles frequently into the streets in their neighbourhood, to arrest all the beggars they should meet with, and a reward was offered for each beggar they should arrest and deliver over to the civil magistrate. The guard of the police was likewise directed to be vigilant; and the inhabitants at large, of all ranks and denominations, were earnestly called upon to assist in completing a work of so much public utility, and which had been so happily begun[8]. In an address to the public, which was printed and distributed gratis among the inhabitants, the fatal consequences arising from the prevalence of mendicity were described in the most lively and affecting colours,—and the manner pointed out in which they could most effectually assist in putting an end to an evil equally disgraceful and prejudicial to society.

As this address, (which was written with great sprit, by a man well known in the literary world, Professor Babo,) gives a very striking and a very just picture of the character, manners, and customs, of the hords of idle and dissolute vagabonds which infested Munich at the time the measure in question was adopted, and of the various artifices they made use of in carrying on their depredations; I have thought it might not be improper to annex it, at full length, in the Appendix, No. I.

This address, which was presented to all the heads of families in the city, and to many by myself, having gone round to the doors of most of the principal citizens for that purpose, was accompanied by printed lists, in which the inhabitants were requested to set down their names;—places of abode;—and the sums they chose to contribute monthly, for the support of the establishment. These lists, (translations of which are also inserted in the Appendix, No. II.) were delivered to the heads of families, with duplicates, to the end that one copy being sent in to the committee, the other might remain with the master of the family.

These subscriptions being PERFECTLY VOLUNTARY, might be augmented or diminished at pleasure. When any person chose to alter his subscription, he sent to the public office for two blank subscription lists, and filling them up anew, with such alterations as he thought proper to make, he took up his old list at the office, and deposited the new one in its stead.

The subscription lists being all collected, they were sorted, and regularly entered according to the numbers of the houses of the subscribers, in sixteen general lists[9], answering to the sixteen subdivisions or districts of the city; and a copy of the general list of each district was given to the commissary of the district.

These copies, which were properly authenticated, served for the direction of the commissary in collecting the subscriptions in his district, which was done regularly the last Sunday morning of every month.

The amount of the collection was immediately delivered by the commissary into the hands of the banker of the institution, for which he received two receipts from the banker; one of which he transmitted to the committee, with his report of the collection, which he was directed to send in as soon as the collection was made.

As there were some persons who, from modesty, or other motives, did not choose to have it known publicly how much they gave in alms to the poor, and on that account were not willing to have put down to their names upon the list of the subscribers, the whole sum they were desirous of appropriating to that purpose; to accommodate matters to the peculiar delicacy of their feelings, the following arrangement was made, and carried into execution with great success.

Those who were desirous of contributing privately to the relief of the poor, were notified by an advertisement published in the news-papers, that they might send to the banker of the institution any sums for that purpose they might think proper, under any feigned name, or under any motto or other device; and that not only a receipt would be given to the bearer, for the amount, without and questions being asked him, but, for greater security, a public acknowledgement of the receipt of the sum would be published by the banker, with a mention of the feigned name of device under which it came, IN THE NEXT MUNICH GAZETTE.

To accommodate those who might be disposed to give trifling sums occasionally, for the relief of the poor, and who did not choose to go, or to send to the banker, fixed poor-boxes were placed in all the churches, and most of the inns; coffee-houses; and other places of public resort; but nobody was ever called upon to put any thing into these boxes, nor was any poor's-box carried round, or any private collection or alms-gathering permitted to be made upon any occasion, or under any pretence whatever.

When the inhabitants had subscribed liberally to the support of the institution, it was but just to secure them from all further importunity in behalf of the poor. This was promised, and it was most effectually done; though not without some difficulty, and a very considerable expence to the establishment.

The poor students in the Latin German schools;—the sisters of the religious order of charity;—the directors of the hospital of lepers;—and some other public establishments, had been so long in the habit of making collections, by going round among the inhabitants from house to house at stated periods, asking alms, that they had acquired a sort of right to levy those periodical contributions, of which it was not thought prudent to dispossess them without giving them an equivalent. And in order that this equivalent might not appear to be taken from the sums subscribed by the inhabitants for the support of the poor, it was paid out of the monthly allowance which the institution received from the chamber of finances, or public treasury of the state.

Besides these periodical collections, there were others, still more troublesome to the inhabitants, from which it was necessary to free them; and some of these last were even sanctioned by legal authority. It is the custom in Germany for apprentices in most of the mechanical trades, as soon as they have finished their apprenticeships with their masters, to travel, during three or four years, in the neighbouring countries and provinces, to perfect themselves in their professions by working as journeymen wherever they can find employment. When one of those itinerant journeymen-tradesmen comes into a town, and cannot find employment in it, he is considered AS HAVING A RIGHT to beg the assistance of the inhabitants, and particularly of those of the trade he professes, to enable him to go to the next town; and this assistance it was not thought just to refuse. This custom was not only very troublesome to the inhabitants, but gave rife to innumerable abuses. Great numbers of idle vagabonds were continually strolling about the country under the name of travelling journeymen-tradesmen; and though any person, who presented himself as such in any strange place was obliged to produce (for his legitimation) a certificate from his last master, in whose service he had been employed, yet such certificates were so easily counterfeited, or obtained by fraud, that little reliance could be placed in them.

To remedy all these evils, the following arrangement was made: those travelling journeymen-tradesmen who arrive at Munich, and do not find employment, are obliged to quit the town immediately, or to repair to the military work-house, where they are either furnished with work, or a small sum is given them to enable them to pursue their journey farther.

Another arrangement by which the inhabitants have been relieved from much importunity, and by which a stop has been put to many abuses, is the new regulation respecting those who suffer by fire; such sufferers commonly obtain from government special permission to make collections of charitable donations among the inhabitants in certain districts, during a limited time. Instead of the permission to make collections in the city of Munich, the sufferers now receive certain sums from the funds of the institution for the poor. By this arrangement, not only the inhabitants are relieved from the importunity which always attends public collections of alms, but the sufferers save a great deal of time, which they formerly spent in going about from house to house; and the sale of these permissions to undertakers, and many other abuses, but too frequent before this arrangement took place, are now prevented.

The detailed account published in the Appendix, No. III. of the receipts and expenditures of the institution during five years, will show the amount of the expense incurred in relieving the inhabitants from the various periodical and other collections before mentioned.

But not to lose sight too long of the most interesting object of this establishment, we must follow the people who were arrested in the streets, to the asylum which was prepared for them, but which no doubt appeared to them at first a most odious prison.


The different kinds of employment given to the beggars upon their being assembled in the house of industry. Their great awkwardness at first. Their docility, and their progress in useful industry. The manner in which they were treated. The manner in which they were fed. The Precautions used to prevent Abuses in the Public Kitchen from which they were fed.

As by far the greater part of these poor creatures were totally unacquainted with every kind of useful labour, it was necessary to give them such work, at first, as was very easy to be performed, and in which the raw materials were of little value; and then, by degrees, as they became more adroit, to employ them in manufacturing more valuable articles.

As hemp is a very cheap commodity, and as the spinning of hemp is easily learned, particularly when it is designed for very coarse and ordinary manufactures, 15,000 pounds of that article were purchased in the palatinate, and transported to Munich; and several hundred spinning wheels, proper for spinning it, were provided; and several good spinners, as instructors, were engaged, and in readiness, when this house of industry was opened for the reception of the poor.

Flax and wool were likewise provided, and some few good spinners of those articles were engaged as instructors; but by far the greater number of the poor began with spinning of hemp; and so great was their awkwardness at first, that they absolutely ruined almost all the raw materials that were put into their hands. By an exact calculation of profit and loss, it was found that the manufactory actually lost more than 3000 florins upon the articles of hemp and flax, during the first three months; but we were not discouraged by these unfavourable beginnings; they were indeed easy to be foreseen, considering the sort of people we had to deal with, and how necessary it was to pay them at a very high rate for the little work they were able to perform, in order to persevere with cheerfulness in acquiring more skill and address in their labour. If the establishment was supported at some little expence in the beginning, it afterwards richly repaid these advances, as will be seen in the sequel of this account.

As the clothing of the army was the market upon which I principally depended, in disposing of the manufactures which should be made in the house, the woollen manufactory was an object most necessary to be attended to, and from which I expected to derive most advantage to the establishment; but still it was necessary to begin with the manufacture of hemp and flax, not only because those articles are less valuable than wool, and the loss arising from their being spoiled by the awkwardness of beginners is of less consequence, but also for another reason, which appears to me to be of so much more importance as to require a particular explanation.

It was hinted above that it was found necessary, in order to encourage beginners in these industrious pursuits, to pay them at a very high rate for the little work they were able to perform; but every body knows that no manufacture can possibly subsist long, where exorbitant prices are paid for labour; and it is easy to conceive what discontent and disgust would be occasioned among the workmen upon lowering the prices which had for a length of time been given for labour, By employing the poor people in question at first in the manufactures of hemp and flax, manufactures which were not intended to be carried on to any extent, it was easy afterwards, when they had acquired a certain degree of address in their work, to take them from these manufactures, and put them to spinning of wool, worsted, or cotton; care having been taken to fix the price of labour in these last-mentioned manufactures at a reasonable rate.

The dropping the manufacture of any particular article altogether, or pursuing it less extensively, could produce no bad effect upon the general establishment; but the lowering of the price of labour, in any instance, could not fail to produce many.

It is necessary, in an undertaking like this, cautiously to avoid every thing that could produce discouragement and discontent among those upon whose industry alone success must depend.

It is easy to conceive that so great a number of unfortunate beings, of all ages and sexes, taken as it were out of their very element, and placed in a situation so perfectly new to them, could not fail to be productive of very interesting situations. Would to God I were able to do justice to this subject! but no language can describe the affecting scenes to which I was a witness upon this occasion.

The exquisite delight which a sensible mind must feel, upon seeing many hundreds of wretched being awaking from a state of misery and inactivity, as from a dream; and applying themselves with cheerfulness to the employments of useful industry;—upon seeing the first dawn of placid content break upon a countenance covered with habitual gloom, and furrowed and distorted by misery;— this is easier to be conceived than described.

During the first three or four days that these poor people were assembled, it was not possible entirely to prevent confusion: there was nothing like mutinous resistance among them; but their situation was so new to them, and they were so very awkward in it, that it was difficult to bring them into any tolerable order. At length, however, by distributing them in the different halls, and assigning to each his particular place, (the places being all distinguished by numbers,) they were brought into such order as to enable the inspectors, and instructors, to begin their operations.

Those who understood any kind of work, were placed in the apartments where the work they understood was carried on; and the others, being classed according to their sexes, and as much as possible according to their ages, were placed under the immediate care of the different instructors. By much the larger number were put to spinning of hemp;—others, and particularly the young children from four to seven years of age, were taught to knit, and to sew; and the most awkward among the men, and particularly the old, the lame, and the infirm, were put to the carding of wool. Old women, whose sight was too weak to spin, or whose hands trembled with palsy, were made to spool yarn for the weavers; and young children, who were too weak to labour, were placed upon seats erected for that purpose round the rooms where other children worked.

As it was winter, fires were kept in every part of the building, from morning till night; and all the rooms were lighted up till nine o'clock in the evening. Every room and every stair-case was neatly swept and cleaned twice a day; one early in the morning, before the people were assembled, and once while they were at dinner.—Care was taken, by placing ventilators, and occasionally opening the windows, to keep the air of the rooms perfectly sweet, and free from all disagreeable smells; and the rooms themselves were not only neatly white-washed and fitted up, and arranged in every respect with elegance, but care was taken to clean the windows very often;—to clean the courtyard every day;— and even to clear away the rubbish from the street in front of the building, to a considerable distance on every side.

Those who frequented this establishment were expected to arrive at the fixed hour in the morning, which hour varied according to the season of the year; if they came too late, they were gently reprimanded; and if they persisted in being tardy, without being able to give a sufficient excuse for not coming sooner, they were punished by being deprived of their dinner, which otherwise they received every day gratis.

At the hour of dinner, a large bell was rung in the court, when those at work in the different parts of the building repaired to the dining-hall; where they found a wholesome and nourishing repast; consisting of about A POUND AND A QUARTER, Avoirdupois weight, of a very rich soup of peas and barley, mixed with cuttings of fine white bread; and a piece of excellent rye bread, weighing SEVERN OUNCES; which last they commonly put in their pockets, and carried home for their supper. Children were allowed the same portion as grown persons; and a mother, who had one or more young children, was allowed a portion for each of them.

Those who, from sickness, or other bodily infirmities, were not able to come to the work-house;—as also those who, on account of young children they had to nurse, or sick persons to take care of, found it more convenient to work at their own lodgings, (and of these there were many,) were not on that account deprived of their dinners. Upon representing their cases to the committee, tickets were granted them, upon which they were authorized to receive from the public kitchen, daily, the number of portions specified in the ticket; and these they might send for by a child, or by any other person they thought proper to employ; it was necessary, however that the ticket should always be produced, otherwise the portions were not delivered. This precaution was necessary, to prevent abuses on the part of the poor.

Many other precautions were taken to prevent frauds on the part of those employed in the kitchen, and in the various other offices and departments concerned in feeding the poor.

The bread-corn, peas, barley, etc. were purchased in the public market in large quantities, and at times when those articles were to be had at reasonable prices, and were laid up in store-rooms provided for that purpose, under the care of the store-keeper of the Military Work-house.

The baker received his flour by weight from the store-keeper, and in return delivered a certain fixed quantity of bread. Each loaf, when well baked, and afterwards dried, during four days, in a bread-room through which the air had a free passage, weighed two pounds ten ounces Avoirdupois. Such a loaf was divided into six portions; and large baskets filled with these pieces being placed in the passage leading to the dining-hall, the portions were delivered out to the poor as they passed to go into the hall, each person who passed giving a medal of tin to the person who gave him the bread, in return for each portion received. These medals, which were given out to the poor each day in the halls where they worked, by the steward, or by the inspectors of the hall, served to prevent frauds in the distribution of the bread; the person who distributed it being obliged to produce them as vouchers of the quantity given out each day.

Those who had received these portions of bread, held them up in their hands upon their coming into the dining-hall, as a sign that they had a right to seat themselves at the tables; and as many portions of bread as they produced, so many portions of soup they were entitled to receive; and those portions which they did not eat they were allowed to carry away; so that the delivery of bread was a check upon the delivery of soup, and VICE VERSA.

The kitchen was fitted up with all possible attention, as well to conveniences, as to the economy of fuel. This will readily be believed by those who are informed, that the whole work of the kitchen is performed, with great ease, by three cook-maids; and that the daily expence for fire-wood amounts to no more than twelve creutzers, or FOUR-PENCE HALFPENNY sterling, when dinner is provided for 1000 people. The number of persons who are fed DAILY from this kitchen is, at a medium, in summer, about ONE THOUSAND, (rather more than less,) and in winter, about 1200. Frequently, however, there have been more than 1500 at table. As a particular account of this kitchen, with drawings; together with an account of a number of new and very interesting experiments relative to the economy of fuel, will be annexed to this work, I shall add nothing more now upon the subject; except it be the certificate, which may be seen in the Appendix, No. IV; which I have thought prudent to publish, in order to prevent my being suspected of exaggeration in displaying the advantages of my economical arrangements.

The assertion, that a warm dinner may be cooked for 1000 persons, at the trifling expence of four-pence halfpenny for fuel; and that, too, where the cord, five feet eight inches and nine-tenths long, five feet eight inches and nine-tenths high, and five feet three inches and two-tenths wide, English measure, of pine-wood, of the most indifferent quality, costs above seven shillings; and where the cord of hard wood, such as beech and oak, of equal dimensions, costs more than twice that sum, may appear incredible; yet I will venture to assert, and I hereby pledge myself with the public to prove, that in the kitchen of the Military Academy at Munich, and especially in a kitchen lately built under my direction at Verona, in the Hospital of la Pieta, I have carried the economy of fuel still further.

To prevent frauds in the kitchen of the institution for the poor at Munich, the ingredients are delivered each day by the store-keeper, to the chief cook; and a person of confidence, not belonging to the kitchen, attends at the proper hour to see that they are actually used. Some one of the inspectors, or other chief officer of the establishment, also attends at the hour of dinner, to see that the victuals furnished to the poor are good; well dressed; and properly served up.

As the dining-hall is not large enough to accommodate all the poor at once, they dine in companies of as many as can be seated together, (about 150); those who work in the house being served first, and then those who come from the town.

Though most of those who work in their own lodgings send for their dinners, yet there are many others, and particularly such as from great age or other bodily infirmities are not able to work, who come from the town every day to the public hall to dine; and as these are frequently obliged to wait some time at the door, before they can be admitted into the dining-hall;—that is to say, till all the poor who work in the house have finished their dinners;—for their more comfortable accommodation, a large room, provided with a stove for heating it in winter, has been constructed, adjoining to the building of the institution, but not within the court, where these poor people assemble, and are sheltered from the inclemency of the weather while they wait for admittance into the dining-hall.

To preserve order and decorum at these public dinners, and to prevent crowding and jostling at the door of the dining-hall, the steward, or some other officer of the house of some authority, is always present in the hall during dinner; and two privates of the police guards, who know most of the poor personally, take post at the door of the hall, one on each side of it; and between them the poor are obliged to pass singly into the hall.

As soon as a company have taken places at the table, (the soup being always served out and placed upon the tables before they are admitted,) upon a signal given by the officer who presides at the dinner, they all repeat a short prayer. Perhaps I ought to ask pardon for mentioning so old-fashioned a custom; but I own I am old-fashioned enough myself to like such things.

As an account in detail will be given in another place, of the expence of feeding these poor people, I shall only observe here, that this expense was considerably lessened by the voluntary donations of bread, and offal meat, which were made by the bakers and butchers of the town and suburbs. The beggars, not satisfied with the money which they extorted from all ranks of people by their unceasing importunity, had contrived to lay certain classes of the inhabitants under regular periodical contributions of certain commodities; and especially eatables; which they collected in kind. Of this nature were the contributions which were levied by them upon the bakers, butchers, keepers of eating-houses, ale-house keepers, brewers, etc. all of whom were obliged, at stated periods;—once a-week at least;—or oftener;— to deliver to such of the beggars as presented themselves at the hour appointed, very considerable quantities of bread, meat, soup, and other eatables; and to such a length were these shameful impositions carried, that a considerable traffic was actually carried on with the articles so collected, between the beggars, and a number of petty shop-keepers, or hucksters, who purchased them of the beggars, and made a business of selling them by retail to the indigent and industrious inhabitants. And though these abuses were well known to the public, yet this custom had so long existed, and so formidable were the beggars became to the inhabitants, that it was no means safe, or advisable, to refuse their demands.

Upon the town being cleared of beggars, these impositions ceased of course; and the worthy citizens, who were relieved from this burthen, felt so sensibly the service that was rendered them, that, to show their gratitude, and their desire to assist in supporting so useful an establishment, they voluntarily offered, in addition to their monthly subscriptions in money, to contribute every day a certain quantity of bread, meat, soup, etc. towards feeding the poor in the Military Work-house. And these articles were collected every day by the servants of the establishment; who went round the town with small carts, neatly fitted up, and elegantly painted, and drawn by single small horses, neatly harnessed.

As in these, as well as in all other collections of public charity, it was necessary to arrange matters so that the public might safely place the most perfect confidence in those who were charged with these details; the collections were made in a manner in which it was EVIDENTLY IMPOSSIBLE for those employed in making them to defraud the poor of any part of that which their charitable and more opulent fellow-citizens designed for their relief.—And to this circumstance principally it may, I believe, be attributed, that these donations have for such a length of time (more than five years,) continued to be so considerable.

In the collection of the soup, and the offal meat at the butchers' shops, as those articles were not very valuable and not easily concealed or disposed of, no particular precautions were necessary, other than sending round PUBLICLY and at a CERTAIN HOUR the carts destined for those purposes. Upon that for collecting the soup, which was upon four wheels, was a large cask neatly painted with an inscription on each side in large letters, "for the "Poor." That for the meat held a large tub with a cover, painted with the same colours, and marked on both sides with the same inscription.

Beside this tub, other smaller tubs, painted in like manner, and bearing the same inscription, "for the Poor," were provided and hung up in conspicuous situations in all the butchers' shops in the town. In doing this, two objects were had in view, first the convenience of the butchers; that in cutting up their meat they might have a convenient place to lay by that which they should destine for the poor till it should be called for; and secondly, to give an opportunity to those who bought meat in their shops to throw in any odd scraps, or bones, they might receive, and which they might not think worth the trouble of carrying home.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse