Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/178

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166
EFFECTUAL CHARITY.

A marked advantage of district committees is that, while doing nothing to weaken local action, they present a larger area to the sympathy of their members. When parishes were first constituted, each parish must in general have had its own rich and poor. But this has ceased to be so in many cases, owing to the large population dwelling in a small area. The tendency of late has been to subdivide ecclesiastical districts. The rich are not anxious to have the poor living in very close proximity to them, and every class is more and more driven into quarters appropriated exclusively to itself. The consequence of this is—and increasingly—that if a rich man says, "I will help in my own parish," there are vast numbers of poor living perhaps near to him, probably within what in the country would be considered easy walking distance, and certainly in the same town, whose lives he does not touch. I cannot tell you how terrible to me appear these