By Hugh Cunningham, Joanna Innes
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Extra info for Charity, Philanthropy and Reform: From the 1690s to 1850
Its prescribed role might be to oversee and regulate local activity; it might be a source of top-up funds (this particularly commonly seems to have been the case in German states); 36 increasingly, such bodies were also formally vested with responsibility for maintaining certain institutions judged most appropriately supplied for that extent of territory, such as lyingin hospitals, orphanages, workhouses and lunatic asylums. 37 England was unusual in making the move, in the 1830s, in its 'New Poor Law', to shift control over the granting of relief as much as possible from the parish to the district.
The Parisian Societe Philanthropique of 1780 was apparently primarily concerned with the promotion of charitable schemes, as was Amsterdam's 1784 Association for the Public Good, which spawned branch societies in other Dutch towns, as well as an imitative 'patriotic society' in post-war SchleswigHolstein. The same seems to have been true of the Russian Imperial Philanthropic Society, being cogitated in circles around Alexander I from the turn of the century, though not properly launched until 1818.
Such crises also sometimes helped to shape attitudes - at least, they were recurrently cited, if usually rather tendentiously, as having demonstrated the limits of one or another welfare strategy. 11 Although in a fully comprehensive account, crisis policies would demand attention, here I shall say little about them, except inasmuch as they helped to shape longer-term developments. The French Revolution, for example, will interest me chiefly inasmuch as it stimulated the development and diffusion of new structures and practices, and helped to define and crystallize a range of possible stances towards problems of poverty and popular welfare.