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Benevolent and Provident Pension Funds.

Benevolent and Provident Pension Funds.

The institutions classed under this title include all those established for the purpose of assisting persons who have occupied respectable positions in society, but who have been rendered necessitous by untoward circumstances. Each fund is chiefly supported by persons engaged in the various professions and trades, whose poorer members are sought to be benefited, and the sympathies of each class are thereby particularly appealed to and elicited. The church, art, law, medicine, the army and navy, agriculture, etc., each put forth their benevolent plans, and the result, when regarded as a whole, is truly an extraordinary one. It is come computed that (exclusive of the fund known as the Queen Anne's Bounty, herein reported) the sum total collected and expended in connexion with these institutions alone amounts annually to about a quarter of a million, which is distributed in greater or lesser proportions among about 12,000 persons, principally the aged. Of course the expenses incurred in collecting and distributing this large sum of money must be very considerable, but after rent, office dues, printing, advertising, and all the other heavy expenses have been deducted, we may estimate the average benefit to each recipient at about 7 per annum. Some of these institutions do not grant pensions, but only temporary assistance; others, again, provide handsome annuities, and it may be therefore rather misleading to name an average; but the actual sum thus spent stands in round numbers at about that named, and will fairly indicate the great importance of this class of institutions in London, practically representing the operations of what may be termed provident benevolence; and if in many instances they proceed little beyond the prudence and self benefit of life assurance, still the general tendency of the most exclusive evinces a right sympathy, often, we observe, even where the rules of these institutions restrict the benefit to members and their families. At the head of the Benevolent Pension Societies, the benefits of which are all general application, stands

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