Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

well as subsequently (in 1855) by the Belgian Government, in a separate Pamphlet of 60 pages, entitled " Amélioration des Habitations d'Ouvrières." We omit all the remarks under these several heads, excepting those on

The arrangement or disposition of the Houses.—Whether the question relate to detached houses, or to dwellings in stories, to small or to large houses, the first condition is to give the chief thought to ventilation and to light: the blind alleys, which obstruct a free circulation of air, should be carefully avoided.

Unquestionably, the system which ought to be chosen is that which would provide for each family a house, whether isolated, or whether in groups with others, under a common roof, and with a garden added to it: but it is impossible to adopt this plan in all localities, in the great centres of population, especially where land is of too great value. When financial considerations do not allow the adoption of arrangements which are so advantageous for the workmen, it remains to choose between large roomy buildings, or workmen's barracks, and the appropriation or reconstruction of existing houses. It is from the adoption of this last measure that, according to our opinion, the most fruitful and happy results may be expected. It does not crush the feeling of amour-propre,so active under the blouse of the workman, and which gives him an antipathy to all institutions which appear calculated to separate him in a distinct locality, or isolated quarter. Improve, then, the houses already constructed ; carefully renew such as are abandoned by those who remove to new quarters of the town; and if new tuildings are indispensable, let them be erected in all parts of the town, in conformity with the known laws of health, avoiding, as much as possible, all internal communication between the different apartments.

The mixture of classes, the contact of men of all grades of education and of different ranks, has a considerable influence on moral improvement.

When, in fine, special considerations lead to a choice of the caserne, or barrack system, notwithstanding the success of some large piles of buildings for workmen's families, arranged with internal staircases and corridors, as may be seen in England as well as in France, my honorable colleague thinks, in accordance with your Commission, that there is but one means of arranging them in a suitable manner, but one plan to be followed, that which, in principle, is embodied in the house built for fifty-four families, in Streatham-street, London. We speak of the system of external galleries and corridors. One part of the inconvenience disappears in reality in the adoption of this arrangement: the staircase is placed externally, the corridors are open and over each other, each apartment opens by a small lobby on to these galleries. The air circulates freely everywhere, and, leaving his abode, the tenant meets his neighbor as he meets him in the street.

In reference to the Width of Streets.—The authorities ought everywhere to fix the width of the streets. Very serious reasons exist for leading us to hope that decisive steps will be taken on this subject. Two cases suffice to show the importance of this measure. When cholera prevailed in Paris, in the narrow streets there were 33 deaths in 1000 inhabitants, whilst in the wide streets there were only 19 in 1000. At Genoa, during the last invasion of cholera, it made such dreadful ravages, that the municipality was put to the expense of 2,500,000 francs, chiefly for the relief of those inhabitants who occupy the part of the city consisting of narrow alleys.

eral Rules here referred to. The larger portion of the Plans annexed to the Report of the said Congress are those which have been published by the Society.

We have now to refer to the works which have been executed. Those in Great Britain are too well known and recorded in several publications to need being mentioned. We only observe that the capital employed in the construction of these establishments yields at least 4 per cent. after the deduction of all expenses. Of our efforts in France, * and of their results, you have already heard at a former meeting of the Congress. But it is my duty to say, that, with some slight exceptions, the generous intentions of the Government have been but badly seconded : the credit of ten millions open for the dwellings of the laboring classes is far from being exhausted.

But in no country have there been efforts made similar to those of the Commission permanente de secours mutuels in Belgium ; that is to say, that M. Ducpetiaux has been one of the first occupied in this question, and who has entered on the path in which we tread ; every thing has been weighed and studied. So many praise worthy efforts deserve success, and, ere long, we shall come to Brussels,t to find united in the dwellings about to be constructed every known improvement. The pledge of this is given in the memorandums, plans, designs, &c., collected together by M. Ducpetiaux and M. Dumont, the architect, in the Model House we have all visited with the interest excited by the remarkable exhibition of domestic economy, a happy result of the thought which has brought us together.

We have to observe, further, the Model House built by M. Pauwels (the large manufacturer of railway carriages) for his unmarried workmen, also his project for family dwelling-houses, to be immediately built. Finally, the dwellings and establishments of every description, calculated to promote the well-being of the work-people, which have been raised by the Vieille Montagne Company; and also by a great number of the principal industrial establishments in Belgium.

In Germany, the undertakings known to us are

A Société Anonyme in Berlin, which has built twelve houses, each containing eight to twelve tenements, let at low rents.

A Society at Bremen which has built sixty cottages, let at such prices as are calculated to oppose and to compete with the large casernes.

The Shareholders receive 4 per cent., and the undertaking succeeds well.

Plans and much valuable information with reference to the citès ouvrière constructed in France will be found in M. Einile Muller's work, entitled “Habitations Ouvrières," &e, published by Dalmont, Quai des Augustins, 49. Paris, 1855 and 1856.

+ The establishment of a Society in Brussels for the erection of Workmen's Houses in that city was announced the last day of the Congress. The capital to be 250,000 francs in shares of 1000 francs each, with power of increase to 1,000,000 francs. Interest to be paid at 4 per cent., with a sinking fund for liquidating the capital. The rents are not to exceed s charge of 6 per cent, on the outlay, and to be so alljusted as to allow of the tenants becomIng owners of the houses on the system of annuities.

At Brandeburg there are six houses of eight tenements each : the Shareholders receive 4 per cent., and there is a Sinking Fund.

There is also a distinct establishment at Königsberg, and another to which the Czar contributed.

In Holland, at Amsterdam, there are three Societies, in each of which the capital varies in amount from 200,000 to 300,000 francs. These Societies have built ordinary houses of three stories, large houses like barracks, and have improved or repaired existing buildings purchased for that purpose. The Societies recently established are founded on the calculation of 4 per cent. interest. Each dwelling is supplied with water and gas. At the Hague, and at Rotterdam, there are special buildings, and municipal laws have been enacted, which forbid the occupation of unhealthy houses.

In Switzerland, at St. Croix, in the Canton de Vaud, at Locle, at Chauxdu-Fond, in the Canton de Neuchatel, and at Geneva, we find works already constructed. In the last-named city there is a Société Anonyme, called Association Immobilière : it dates from July 1855, and has for its object the facilitating the acquirement of houses by the working classes, and stimulates thriftiness by offering a solid investment for small savings: the deposits received are as low as 50 cents. or 5d. per week.

In Sweden, at Stockholm, thirteen houses, built in different quarters of the city, provide dwellings for about 1200 persons : the amount of rent is fixed by the general Council of the town, according to the situation and extent of the tenancy.

At Götenburg more than 100 families have taken up their abode in the new buildings, and this work progresses, thanks to the generosity of an individual, whose name we regret not to know.

In Denmark, the Government, with the concurrence of the Chamber, has promulgated a law in reference to buildings : this law contains well-devised regulations, which deserve imitation. It fixes the minimum number and dimensions of the rooms to be occupied, either by single workmen, or by families : it fixes the relative size of the court, in regard to the house and its superfice: it also fixes the date after which a house newly built may be occupied.

At Gronigen, amongst other places, there exists, already, houses constructed especially for the laboring classes.

At Turin, at Rome, at Genoa, there are likewise schemes, the accomplishment of which, we may hope, are at hand.

In Australia, and the United States of America, the same question is the order of the day. At New York and Boston there have lately been built more dwellings for the poor which combine all the substantial comforts of air, light, water, heat, seclusion, and accessibility.

The Society at Florence (wh has constructed houses for one hundred families) has set a good example, the imitation of which may be recom

A full description of these buildings, with statistical details, will be found in the Labor. er's Friend for March, 1854.

mended. The document which has been presented to your Commission is a triumphant answer to the objection too often renewed, that houses built for the working classes are not occupied by workmen.

Mr. HENRY ROBERTS (England)—said : The first day of the Congress I placed on your table a pamphlet which gives the results of our efforts in England for the improvement of the dwellings of the laboring classes, and there this important and striking fact is shown, that, in the Model Houses of the two Societies in London, the highest average of the annual mortality has not exceeded 13.6 per 1000, whilst the average general mortality in the districts in which the greater part of the Model Houses are situated is 27.5 per 1000. The occupants of these houses have not been the victims of cholera ; or, if any have been attacked, the cases are so rare that they can scarcely be spoken of, whilst neighboring houses have been ravaged by the disease.

But, gentlemen, in England we have found the necessity of instructing the laboring classes in regard to their health, and the keeping their houses in good order, and much advantage has been derived from these lessons. At the Congrès d' Hygiène, in 1852, I had the honor of submitting a proposition to this effect: “I propose to the Congress to declare the utility of establishing in each country, and also in the principal centres of the population, a collection as complete as possible, a kind of museum, where shall be gathered together models, plans, specimens of materials, &c., relating to hygienique amelioration and progress." This proposition, which was adopted unanimously, has produced good results. To-day I take the liberty of submitting a resolution, which is thus expressed :

“The Congress declares that it is of public utility that the working classes be enlightened by all possible means in regard to the improvement and the keeping of their houses in good order."

It declares that the instruction of the young, in the laboring classes, ought to comprise all which relates to the cleanliness of their persons and of their dwellings, to the benefits resulting from good ventilation, and the evils arising from humidity.

“It thinks, enfin, that the study of the science of preserving health is one which ought to be rendered accessible to all."

As a specimen of what has been done in England with this view, I present to the Congress a pamphlett which has been translated into French, and circulated in Switzerland and in the north of Italy.

Gentlemen, we scatter the seed on the earth : some fruits from the labors of the last Congress have been already gathered, and permit me to add, that it is with the blessing of God we may hope for a rich harvest in the future.

* A French translation (2d edition) of " The Physical Condition of the Laboring Classes, &c.," published at 21 Exeter llall.

of 150 copies of this pamphlet we distributed to members of the Congress.

+ " Home Reform, or Advice to the Laboring Classes on the Improvement of their DwellÎngs and the keeping them in good condition," published at 24 Exeter Hall. Extracts from this pamphlet have been published in works circulating extensively in France, Switzerland, Sweden, &c.

SCOTLAND. The Press and the Lecture are both made available by the friends of educational progress in urging on the people of Scotland the necessity of incorporating improvements on their system of parochial and university education.

EARL OF ELGIN BEFORE THE EDINBURGH PAILOSOPHICAL INSTITUTION.-In the introductory lecture, the Earl of Elgin suggests as the cure of superficial knowledge among the professedly educated, is “to raise the standard of general knowledge and cultivation so high that smatterers will be little likely to mistake their own shallowness for profundity.” Our inference from this address is, that he recommends for Scotland a system of public schools, open to all, good enough for all, rich and poor, and objectionable to no one religious denomination. The following references show his estimate of the American school system.

General Education in the United States. — The passengers by the Mayflower were, in birth, education, fortune, and zeal, coequal ; and on this dead level of social equality, it was soon discovered that no institutions, except such as conferred equal rights and privileges on all, could be made to stand. There was absolutely nothing for it, therefore, except to endeavor, by extending to the utmost the benefit of intellectual culture, to limit as much as possible the number of those who, if left to themselves, would be likely, through adverse circumstances or lack of opportunity, to swell the list of dupes. The earnest and patriotic men to whom the rising fortunes of these young communities were intrusted, descried this truth from afar, and hailing it with joy, set diligently and from the first to work to secure, against all risks and casualties, those interests of popular education which, in their peculiar circumstances, they had justly brought themselves to consider the palladium of the State. (Cheers.)

An intelligent traveller, writing a short time ago from New York, observes that the willingness of the people to tax themselves for educational purposes seems almost to run to excess in that country ; and, he adds, the wealthier classes on whom this burden falls, in proportion to their fortunes, bear it without grudging, because experience has taught them that, with the extension of education, the value of property rises. (Cheers.) “Wherever,” says another, “ the sons and daughters of the pilgrims find their way, there are established homes, schools, and churches, shops, and legislative assemblies, the free press, hotels for strangers, and asylums for the unfortunate and the orphan.” Mr. Whitworth, commissioner from Great Britain to the New York Exhibition in 1853, writes :-“In every State in the Union, and particularly in the North, education is, by means of common schools, placed within the reach of each individual, and all classes avail themselves of the opportunities afforded. The desire of knowledge so early imparted is greatly increased, while the facilities for diffusing it are amply provided through the instrumentality of a free press. The benefits which result to the public can hardly be over-estimated in a national point

a

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »