The question whether or not a pauper or his estate assumes an obligation to reimburse the donor of charitable relief has been subject to many varied and inconsistent answers. Most of the cases in this field are not distinguishable on their facts, and hence the inability to reconcile them must be laid to the differences in the reasoning of the courts in their attempts to handle these cases more from a sociological approach than from a legal point of view. In discussing this problem it is desirable to place these cases in three principal classes: (1) where relief is given to one who in fact is unable to support himself; (2) where relief is given to a person who in fact is able to support himself but who is guilty of no fraud or misrepresentation in applying for and receiving the assistance; (3) where relief is given under statutory authorization and conditions.

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