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Provident and Benevolent Institutions for
aiding the Resources of the Industrious.

[Loan Societies, Savings Banks]

Since the publication of our last edition, few changes have taken place of greater extent or importance than such as affect the institutions and social arrangements comprised in this present chapter. To commence with the Loan Societies, which require some notice here, not because their general scope and working have any strong affinity with charity; but because they constitute an instrumentality about which the friends of the industrious poor are repeatedly consulted. On this account our first inclination was to insert, as in our last edition, a list of all enrolled societies in the metropolitan districts, with their respective number of borrowers, amount of loans, profits, etc., but the then modest number of 34 has increased to 262, and would occupy sixteen entire pages of our work; consequently, we deem it better to refer our readers to the Parliamentary Returns for the whole of England, printed by order of the House of Commons, May 30, 1861, which may be purchased for 4d. From this we have computed the numbers relating to the metropolis, and find that in 1850 there was a total of

Years Loan
of Loans
Gross Profits
by Interest
and Fees
Expense of
And in 1860

we of course express no opinion here upon the bona fide or permanent character of these 262 Metropolitan Loan Societies; they are all enrolled in the Parliamentary Returns; but the friends of the poor would do well to use caution in resorting to them.

Loans are occasionally granted by many of the metropolitan parochial visiting societies, but on an exceedingly small scale; and several old bequests in the gift of the corporation and city companies, parochial trustees, etc., are available to freemen and parishioners "beginning business," or "poor occupiers or traders needing aid." These, of course, are only of local benefit, and are well known in their neighbourhoods where the same are available.

There is no benevolent loan society of an established character; it has been attempted several times unsuccessfully. The amount required, with the unceasing diligence and judgement to guard against loss on the one hand, and yet afford real assistance on the other, have proved more than can be secured to the object. It is, however, desirable that such a society should exist, where the poor but industrious mechanic or labourer might, under certain conditions, be able to obtain a reasonable loan. Often may independence be thus sustained, and the ruin of a deserving family averted, whilst far greater and more lasting benefit is conferred than by mere pecuniary gift; the difficulties in the way are, perhaps, only proportionate to the benefits to be afforded, if but wisely and permanently established. The following is the most recent attempt to organise an institution such as we referred to, and maybe worthy the attention of the benevolent:—

SOURCE: The Charities of London, by Samuel Low, Jun., London: Sampson Low, Son,
and Marston, Milton House, Ludgate Hill. 1861.