« НазадПродовжити »
In conclusion, I would make a few remarks on the Appendix to this volume.
I have considered that it would be best to
leave the article as it was originally written, or nearly so, and to add to it, in a separate form, some other matter which might increase its interest, giving some details of the actual work from my own Diary, which would serve to show what was the real state of things twenty-five years ago, and also the character of some of those inmates through whose individual welfare and sorrows I was first led to take an
interest in the work. The same motive has led
to my reprinting in the Appendix the paper upon “Workhouses and Woman's Work,” long since out of print. I am as anxious now as I
was twenty years ago to enforce the truths and
principles which I there endeavoured to set forth, and which I now repeat, with all the added convictions of subsequent experience. On all points there brought forward, my opinions remain unaltered, and I am glad of the opportunity of reproducing them; and with regard to the facts, if some now indeed belong only to the past, they will serve to show-what is another object of this book—the state of things which first aroused my pity and indignation, and from which we have now been in a great measure delivered by the progress of twenty
years of social reform.
Lastly, I would commend, as the moral of my story, the exercise of faith, patience, and perseverance in work. The motto of my Workhouse Diary was chosen twenty-five years ago, and I believe in it still : "Commit thy way unto the Lord, and He shall bring it to pass."
LENSIS CLUB 180, KINGS ROAD CHELSE AS.WY
WHEN the first steps were taken, nearly twentyfive years ago, in order to direct public attention to the management of institutions under the control of the Poor Law, but little was known or thought about them, and consequently the task of awakening a real interest in the matter seemed a well-nigh hopeless undertaking. But the history of all similar work, resulting in reform and amelioration, shows that its rise and progress has been very similar, taking its origin from the convictions of a few individuals who
have felt compelled to give publicity and to draw
attention to the facts they have themselves perceived
So vast has been the progress and the change that has taken place during the period I have named, that those who see only the present state of things cannot realize it, and are little aware of what once existed. That, however, would be of little importance, were it the only result of the present time and conditions ; but those who are interested in the cause have long been aware of a considerable danger which may attend our satisfaction and acquiescence in the state of improvement at which we have now arrived. I believe there is an impression abroad that the agitation which has been going on for so many years has been entirely successful and satisfactory, and that all has been done and carried out that was needed
for the amelioration of the many evils which formed the standpoint of the first "reformers."
It is not from ingratitude, or ignorance of the good work accomplished during the last few years, that I feel compelled to say that this is far from being the case, and it is chiefly with the endeavour to counteract this impression that these remarks are written. It is certainly a very general belief that all has been done that is needed; that all the evils of the system have been duly exposed ; and that the subject may now be set aside—shelved, in fact—with something of satisfaction that disagreeable investigations are ended and have fulfilled their task.
With this object in view, I venture to think
that a brief review of what has been done in the
past, and what still remains to be carried out in the future, may not be without interest, and may, besides, benefit the cause I have at heart.
I am far from asserting that individual cases of interest in workhouses and their inmates
had not been shown by benevolent persons
(especially in the country, where the poor can be better known individually) long before the