THE LONDON PAROCHIAL CHARITIES BILL.
LTO THE EDITOR or THE " SFECTATOR.'l Sia,—The passing of Mr. Bryce's London Parochial Charities Bill has reminded me of a circumstance that came under my notice a few months ago, that is of so special a character as to induce me to submit it to you for publication. I strolled into a, City church one week-day, and on satisfying my curiosity by a, general inspection of the interior, I was about to retire, but observing some needy and elderly people dropping in by ones and twos, I remained, to see the meaning of these strange arrivals. In a short time about thirty men and women.
had assembled, when presently an official emerged from the vestry, whom I accosted, and politely asked of him the reason of the presence of these poor people there at mid- day. The reply I looked for was that they had come to receive doles of bread from a parochial charity. To my surprise, how- ever, the response was of a very different character, one which caused me great astonishment. The official replied, "These people have come for their half-yearly allowance, which, accord- ing to the terms of a parochial benefaction, they have merited, because of their having come to Holy Communion the pre- scribed number of times." In a few supplementary words, he had the commendable sense to condemn so vicious and odious a charity.
This and other forms of Church benefactions in the City no doubt explain the existence of so many colonies of the very poor, who herd in dens and alleys for the purpose of qualifying for a share of these pauperising and mischievous doles.—I am,