Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/90

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78
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY OF CHARITY.

a grant of a few pounds to help a family to migrate, is more than the money-equivalent of many a random shilling. But if, on reflection, we decide to withhold gifts of any kind whatsoever, it is only to be done for the sake of the people themselves. If doles, or bread-tickets, or coal-tickets, are proved to help the people, we are bound to give them to the extent of our power. If they are proved to injure them, we are bound not to give them, however pleasant it may be, however easy, however it may seem to pave the way for other influences. Do we want to make the poor depend on relief, which is ready at a moment's notice, instead of having the fortitude to save a little to meet a sudden emergency? If so, we shall be always treating cases as urgent, and relieving pending investigation, and assuming that discretionary power of granting instant help must be vested somewhere besides in the relieving-officer. I know parishes where benevolent people plead