Canon Barnett: A controversy:

On various questions of public policy, especially on Old Age Pension and the Municipalisation of Hospitals. Barnett: Distric Committees were composed of excellent people doing excellent work, but ... the Council was composed of persons out of touch with the lives of the poor and with current opinions, and bound by dogmas no longer applicable to the present state of society. "...his busy life had long prevented him from taking any active part in the work of the Society, and it became clear ... that he really knew very little of what was beeing thought and done within it"[by HB, SW 143]. The contoversy removed to the Westminster Gazette ("The Dogmatism of the Charity Organisation Society").

[M 127]:
A clash between Canon Barnett and C.S.Loch at a meeting of the Council of the COS on July 15, 1895, at which Barnett read a paper entitled 'A friendly criticism of the COS'. The Barnetts had originally been strong supporters of COS principles. 'Relief, if it is to be helpful, must strengthen and not weaken character' ... He was much opposed to the Mansion House Fund of 1885-86 and 'the irresponsible and indiscriminate provision of meals, lodging and other doles' ... As founder and first warden of Toynbee Hall in 1884 he was really applying COS ideas to social work...

[...] In 1888, when some COS people rejected a proposal of his for a training farm for unemployed men, he wrote 'they were just impossibe --- refusing to do anything except clothe themselves in the dirty rags of their own righteousness. They were based on the true principles ...' In 1894 he complained in an article 'Christianity and the Charity Organisation Society' that the Society [128] did not always enquire into the causes of a family's poverty in Christ's spirit of tenderness: human being were too often regaded as 'case'.

[In his 'A friendly criticism' he charged] that, ... the COS was out of sympathy with the forces shaping the time, and was no longer leading or helping to form opinion. Charity ... was as disorganised, poverty as prevalent, as when the Society was founded. Thousands were now receiving public aid, in the Board Schools and in Poor Law infirmaties, without being demoralised. Why should a State pension be more degrading than one provided by a neighbour (or by the Society)? ... 'The frugal home with possibly the hard unloving mother, and the scheming successful father, is ... placed above ... the home ruled by generous and hospitable instincts.' ... The trouble was that COS principles had degenerated into dogma, and members of the Council had become idolators, worshipping such idols as saving and independence from State relief. The Council 'has become the expounder of a certain way of charity and is not the voice of living growing charity of the time. It condemns more that it organises, it sometimes despises where it ought to woo ...[129] It has a sort of panic at the suggestion of socialism'.

In 1884, Henrietta Barnett, who had been a rent collector for Octavia Hill before her marriage to Samuel Barnett, charged the COS with lacking a large enough heart. An applicant might be ineligible for relief, but surely not for charitable effort [Barnett, H. 1884].