cHOW TO BREAK UP A HOME AND STARVE AN OLD
WOMAN INTO THE POOR HOUSE
There lived in a very humble home in Xew York city Mrs.
Sarah Nary, 80 year old. and her grandson. Joseph McPartland,
aged 12. The boy sold newspapers, and his earnings were the main
support of himself and his grandmother.
A church relief society gave the couple a small amount of gro
ceries each week, and they were also aided by an organization called
the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor. This as
sociation, after considerable effort, and by overcoming some op
position, had Joseph McPartland taken into court and committed
to an institution, alleging that his grandmother was too old to be a
proper guardian for him.
Having thus deprived the old woman of her principal means
of support, the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor
withdrew also the aid it had been giving, and for two weeks Mrs.
Nary had no money or. food except what neighbors and church
workers brought her.
A newspaper discovered this singular state of affairs, and sent
a reporter to the general agent of the Association for Improving
the Condition of the Poor. After much questioning, the general
agent finally divulged that the association thought Mrs. Nary would
be better off in the poorhouse on Blackwell's island than she was
in her home with her grandson. Mrs. Nary did not agree with the
In order to bring her to a proper frame of mind the association
had, after taking away her grandson, withdrawn also its contribu
tions toward her support. To put the matter quite bluntly, the as
sociation proposed to starve the old woman into going to the poor
house. The reporter asked the general agent of the Association for
Improving the Condition of the Poor: "Is this starvation method
of persuasion for those who shun the almshouse a new one or an
To which the general agent replied: "I believe it is employed
by every organized charity in the country."
His statement would seem to bar out the view entertained by
' many persons for many years past that organized charity is gen
erally 99 per cent organization and 1 per cent sympathy.
A shock-headed boy of seven
knocked at the door of a house
where he had frequently called
with his mother when on her beg
ging missions. ".Well, my little
mau, what do you want?" said
the lady who opened the door.
"Please, ma'am," said he, "can
you help me? I have a blind hus
band and three children at home."
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