The experience of Scotland has been much dif ferent from that of England, particularly in its lack of continuity. The Scotch Parliament passed laws for poor relief as far back as 1575, but com pulsory taxes were not generally collected until the nineteenth century. In the earlier centuries the administration of relief was in the hands first of one body and then of another. Sometimes aid was secured by taxation, but more commonly by offerings of the church sessions and by volun tary contributions. The responsibility of relief was placed upon the parish, but little provision was ever made for the able-bodied poor. The ap pointment of a committee of inquiry resulted in the passing of an act in 1845 providing a system of poor relief which is still -operative.
On January 1, 1901, the paupers actually in receipt of aid, exclusive of vagrants, in England, were 752,182; in Wales, 49,165; in Ireland, 101, 090; and in May of the same year the number in Scotland was 99,016. in 1900 the total sum collected by the poor rates in England and Wales amounted to £23,046,814, as compared with £13,033,655 in 1880. But the poor' rates are an nually supplemented with grants in aid, which in 1000 amounted to £3,261,255. Considerably
over one-half is devoted to other purposes than poor relief, such as payments to school boards, rural district councils, county, borough, and police rates and other civic purposes; less than one-half is actually spent in relief of the poor, the amount in 1900 thus spent being £11,567,649, or 7s. :3(1. per head of the population, as com pared with £8,015,014, or 6s. 4d. per head,in 1880. The expenditure in Scotland in 1900 amounted to £1,056,964, and in Ireland to £1,125,110. Throughout Great Britain private charity is very active and is thoroughly organized. A very clear ly defined distinction is recognized between the function of the State and that of private char ities, and the two cooperate harmoniously. The State only extends its aid in order to alleviate actual distress, without regard to its cause or to the character of the individual, and it does not undertake to prevent poverty. The activities of private charities cover a much wider scope, giving attention to many questions of public wel fare, looking toward the prevention and the im provement of conditions that are not necessarily instigated by immediate distress.