Charity in the Age of Free Trade 1835–70
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Charity in the Age of Free Trade 1835–70 book
The touchstone of judgement when selecting the proper objects of charity was always the operation of the capitalist economy and the social relationships it generated, modified perhaps by some elements of humanitarianism. For the rest, the story is one of geographic expansion, expedience, overcrowding, and minimal standards of health, diet, hygiene, clothing, and generally poor life prospects. Selective charity for the deserving poor remained the norm. Charity would always be conditioned in Australia by government support and participation, even domination. The operations of this society are worth following through in some detail because it was thoroughly representative, both of a successful mid-nineteenth-century charity, and of an institutional solution ultimately left stranded by the changes in public attitudes in the 1880s. The promotion of the Destitute Children's Society in 1851, amidst the first tremor of the gold rushes, had the support of the official and charitable establishment of Sydney.