Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/93

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81
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY OF CHARITY.

starvation cases are more likely to arise where we have trained our poor to look for instantaneous help, than where they rely on their own forethought at least to the extent I have mentioned; for if they trust to sudden aid, and any accident prevents their receiving it, then they have no money, and are in need indeed. Depend on it, the poor-law, which the poor do not turn to readily, which has, moreover, a strong permanent machinery in every parish in England, is the only right source of relief for urgent cases. No respectable family but has friends, neighbours, or savings to fall back on just while you look well into their cases. Those who are not respectable want, and, in my estimation, should have, help; but they cannot be helped easily with grants in urgent haste; they need thought, and influence, and much power. If, then, we decide that urgent cases can be left to the poor-law, your committees will have those only left to deal with whose circumstances they can