Why does Scrooge feel justified in turning down the visitors' request for a donation?

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In stave 1 of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is approached by a couple of gentleman out collecting for charity on Christmas Eve. As Scrooge is such a wealthy individual, they assume that he'll be more than able to donate a sizable sum. The gentleman are collecting money that will be used to provide assistance to the poor at such a difficult time of year. Life for the London poor at that time was hard enough at the best of times, but it was even worse at Christmas, when the weather was invariably so cold and unpleasant.

Scrooge is indeed able to make a contribution to the charity fund. But he's most certainly not willing. This miserly old skinflint thinks it a damned impertinence for these men to come into his office and attempt to get their hands on some of his hard-earned cash. Truth be told, he feels positively affronted by the presence of these two portly gentleman.

So Scrooge refuses to give the charity collectors so much as a brass farthing. He doesn't come right out and say that he couldn't care less about the poor; instead, he tries to justify his stinginess by saying that the basic needs of the poor are already catered for by prisons and workhouses. And if many would rather die than go to these dreadful places, then that's just too bad. At least that way, says Scrooge, they'll be reducing the surplus population.

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