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Sib,—l have read a letter in the Guardian of the 12th inst. under the above heading. This letter is written by Mrs Hetene Friedlander, President of the Ashburton Dorcas Society, for the express purpose of showing that there is poverty in Ashburton. Now, sir, I draw the line between poverty and distress. Poverty there has been and will be to the end, and do what we will, we cannot prevent it. " The poor ye have always with you." Sir, this lady's own letter proves to me that there is no real distress prevailing in Ashburton at the present moment, as there is neither food nor fire asked for during the last 12 months, except one bag of coal. She further says that during the months of May, June, and July they had more applicants than they had garments for. Now, sir, I submit that this is no criterion or true test of real want, because I think it is a well known fact that the majority of wovnen from the middle clas3 downwards will take all the clothing they can get simply for the asking both for»themselves and their children. Even some will do so I who can live comfortable without any assistance of any kind from outside. She also says, referring to the local clergy, that if only some of those gentlemen would move about more amongst the poorer classes, they would soon find many indeed who need assistance. Sir, another of your correspondents, Mr Frizzelle, seems to be possessed of the same erroneous fad, viz., that it is the duty q( the Ministers of the Gospel to go about the town hunting up poverty, and relieving it, I presume. Now, i sir, I contend it is no part of the duty of a clergymMi to go about hunting up poverty —at least outside the members of his own particular congregation. Did ha dare to do so, he would soon get a slap in th 9 face for his pains. Therefore I consider these remarks reflecting on the clergy are both gratuitous and uncalled for. I myself do not believe that there is any extreme t poverty existing in Ashburton at present, amounting to what would be called distress ; and I protest in the strongest manner against certain parties trying to make it appear our town is a poverty stricken place, when everyone knows that it is one of the most prosperous and flourishing little towns in the colony, with work for all that will work at the highest wages current \. I also wish to enter my protest against the action of those parties which tends to lower the status of the inhabitants of the town by forcing them into a position that I am sure none of them desire to occupy, namely, paupers and dependents on public charity. But worst of all, a Charity Concert—l really cannot conceive of anything more likely to demoralise and dull the energies and take away every vestige of self respect and independence. I would suggest that the Mayor and Borough Council take this matter up and find out at once if there is any distress outside of those who are not already receiving charitable or Government aid. Should they find ten in the town, the writer of this will willingly relieve one or more of them.—l am, etc.. Ratepayer.

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Bibliographic details

IS THERE POVERTY IN ASHBURTON ?, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6622, 15 July 1905

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IS THERE POVERTY IN ASHBURTON ? Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6622, 15 July 1905

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