"In Darkest England and The Way Out"
General William Booth
Part 4 out of 7
even if we did not have one given to us, which I should think would be
All the emigrants would be under the charge of Army Officers, and
instead of the voyage being demoralising, it would be made instructive
and profitable. From leaving London to landing at their destination,
every colonist would be under watchful oversight, could receive
instruction in those particulars where they were still needing it,
and be subjected to influences that would be beneficial everyway.
Then we have seen that one of the great difficulties in the direction
of emigration is the cost of transport. The expense of conveying a man
from England to Australia, occupying as it does some seven or eight
weeks, arises not so much from the expense connected with the working
of the vessel which carries him, as the amount of provisions he
consumes during the passage. Now, with this plan I think that the
emigrants might be made to earn at least a portion of this outlay.
There is no reason why a man should not work on board ship any more
than on land. Of course, nothing much could be done when the weather
was very rough; but the average number of days during which it would be
impossible for passengers to employ themselves profitably in the time
spent between the Channel and Cape Town or Australia would be
When the ship was pitching or rolling, work would be difficult; but
even then, when the Colonists get their sea-legs, and are free from the
qualmishness which overtakes landsmen when first getting afloat,
I cannot see why they should not engage in some form of industrial work
far more profitable than yawning and lounging about the deck, to say
nothing of the fact that by so doing they would lighten the expense of
their transit. The sailors, firemen, engineers, and everybody else
connected with a vessel have to work, and there is no reason why our
Colonists should not work also.
Of course, this method would require special arrangements in the
fitting up of the vessel, which, if it were our own, it would not be
difficult to make. At first sight it may seem difficult to find
employments on board ship which could be engaged in to advantage,
and it might not be found possible to fix up every individual right
away; but I think there would be very few of the class and character of
people we should take out, with the prior instructions they would have
received, who would not have fitted themselves into some useful labour
before the voyage ended.
To begin with, there would be a large amount of the ordinary ship's
work that the Colonists could perform, such as the preparation of food,
serving it out, cleaning the decks and fittings of the ship generally,
together with the loading and unloading of cargo. All these operations
could be readily done under the direction of permanent hands.
Then shoemaking, knitting, sewing, tailoring, and other kindred
occupations could be engaged in. I should think sewing-machines could
be worked, and, one way or another, any amount of garments could be
manufactured, which would find ready and profitable sale on landing,
either among the Colonists themselves, or with the people round about.
Not only would the ship thus be a perfect hive of industry, it would
also be a floating temple. The Captain, Officers, and every member of
the crew would be Salvationists, and all, therefore, alike interested
in the enterprise. Moreover, the probabilities are that we should
obtain the service of the ship's officers and crew in the most
inexpensive manner, in harmony with the usages of the Army everywhere
else, men serving from love and not as a mere business. The effect
produced by our ship cruising slowly southwards testifying to the
reality of a Salvation for both worlds, calling at all convenient
ports, would constitute a new kind of mission work, and drawing out
everywhere a large amount of warm practical sympathy. At present the
influence of those who go down to the sea in ships is not always in
favour of raising the morals and religion of the dwellers in the places
where they come. Here, however, would be one ship at least whose
appearance foretold no disorder, gave rise to no debauchery, and from
whose capacious hull would stream forth an Army of men, who, instead of
thronging the grog-shops and other haunts of licentious indulgence,
would occupy themselves with explaining and proclaiming the religion of
the Love of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
CHAPTER 5. MORE CRUSADES.
I have now sketched out briefly the leading features of the threefold
Scheme by which I think a way can be opened out of "Darkest England,"
by which its forlorn denizens can escape into the light and freedom of
a new life. But it is not enough to make a clear broad road out of the
heart of this dense and matted jungle forest; its inhabitants are in
many cases so degraded, so hopeless, so utterly desperate that we shall
have to do something more than make roads. As we read in the parable,
it is often not enough that the feast be prepared, and the guests be
bidden; we must needs go into the highways and byways and compel them
to come in. So it is not enough to provide our City Colony and our
Farm Colony, and then rest on our oars as if we had done our work.
That kind of thing will not save the Lost.
It is necessary to organise rescue expeditions to free the miserable
wanderers from their captivity, and bring them out into the larger
liberty and the fuller life. Talk about Stanley and Emin! There is not
one of us but has an Emin somewhere or other in the heart of Darkest
England, whom he ought to sally forth to rescue. Our Emins have the
Devil for their Mahdi, and when we get to them we find that it is their
friends and neighbours who hold them back, and they are, oh,
so irresolute! It needs each of us to be as indomitable as Stanley,
to burst through all obstacles, to force our way right to the centre of
things, and then to labour with the poor prisoner of vice and crime
with all our might. But had not the Expeditionary Committee furnished
the financial means whereby a road was opened to the sea, both Stanley
and Emin would probably have been in the heart of Darkest Africa to
this day. This Scheme is our Stanley Expedition. The analogy is very
close. I propose to make a road clear down to the sea. But alas our
poor Emin! Even when the road is open, he halts and lingers and doubts.
First he will, and then he won't, and nothing less than the
irresistible pressure of a friendly and stronger purpose will constrain
him to take the road which has been opened for him at such a cost of
blood and treasure. I now, therefore, proceed to sketch some of the
methods by which we shall attempt to save the lost and to rescue those
who are perishing in the midst of "Darkest England."
SECTION 1.--A SLUM CRUSADE.--OUR SLUM SISTERS.
When Professor Huxley lived as a medical officer in the East of London
he acquired a knowledge of the actual condition of the life of many of
its populace which led him long afterwards to declare that the
surroundings of the savages of New Guinea were much more conducive to
the leading of a decent human existence than those in which many of the
East-Enders live. Alas, it is not only in London that such lairs exist
in which the savages of civilisation lurk and breed. All the great
towns in both the Old World and the New have their slums, in which
huddle together, in festering and verminous filth, men, women, and
children. They correspond to the lepers who thronged the lazar houses
of the Middle Ages.
As in those days St. Francis of Assissi and the heroic band of saints
who gathered under his orders were wont to go and lodge with the lepers
at the city gates, so the devoted souls who have enlisted in the
Salvation Army take up their quarters in the heart of the worst slums.
But whereas the Friars were men, our Slum Brigade is composed of women.
I have a hundred of them under my orders, young women for the most part,
quartered all of them in outposts in the heart of the Devil's country.
Most of them are the children of the poor who have known hardship from
their youth up. Some are ladies born and bred, who have not been
afraid to exchange the comfort of a West End drawing-room for service
among the vilest of the vile, and a residence in small and fetid rooms
whose walls were infested with vermin. They live the life of the
Crucified for the sake of the men and women for whom He lived and died.
They form one of the branches of the activity of the Army upon which I
dwell with deepest sympathy. They are at the front; they are at close
quarters with the enemy. To the dwellers in decent homes who occupy
cushioned pews in fashionable churches there is something strange and
quaint in the language they hear read from the Bible, language which
habitually refers to the Devil as an actual personality, and to the
struggle against sin and uncleanness as if it were a hand to hand death
wrestle with the legions of Hell. To our little sisters who dwell in
an atmosphere heavy with curses, among people sodden with drink,
in quarters where sin and uncleanness are universal, all these Biblical
sayings are as real as the quotations of yesterday's price of Consols
are to a City man. They dwell in the midst of Hell, and in their daily
warfare with a hundred devils it seems incredible to them that anyone
can doubt the existence of either one or the other.
The Slum Sister is what her name implies, the Sister of the Slum.
They go forth in Apostolic fashion, two-and-two living in a couple of
the same kind of dens or rooms as are occupied by the people
themselves, differing only in the cleanliness and order, and the few
articles of furniture which they contain. Here they live all the year
round, visiting the sick, looking after the children, showing the women
how to keep themselves and their homes decent, often discharging the
sick mother's duties themselves; cultivating peace, advocating
temperance, counselling in temporalities, and ceaselessly preaching the
religion of Jesus Christ to the Outcasts of Society.
I do not like to speak of their work. Words fail me, and what I say
is so unworthy the theme. I prefer to quote two descriptions by
Journalists who have seen these girls at work in the field.
The first is taken from a long article which Julia Hayes Percy
contributed to the New York World, describing a visit paid by her to
the slum quarters of the Salvation Army in Cherry Hill Alleys, in the
Whitechapel of New York.
Twenty-four hours in the slums--just a night and a day--
yet into them were crowded such revelations of misery, depravity,
and degradation as having once been gazed upon life can never be the
same afterwards. Around and above his blighted neighbourhood flows
the tide of active, prosperous life. Men and women travel past in
street cars by the Elevated Railroad and across the bridge,
and take no thought of its wretchedness, of the criminals bred there,
and of the disease engendered by its foulness. It is a fearful menace
to the public health, both moral and physical, yet the multitude is as
heedless of danger as the peasant who makes his house and plants green
vineyards and olives above Vesuvian fires. We are almost as careless
and quite as unknowing as we pass the bridge in the late afternoon.
Our immediate destination is the Salvation Army Barracks in Washington
Street, and we are going finally to the Salvation Officers--two young
women--who have been dwelling and doing a noble mission work for
months in one of the worst corners of New York's most wretched quarter.
These Officers are not living under the aegis of the Army, however.
The blue bordered flag is furled out of sight, the uniforms and poke
bonnets are laid away, and there are no drums or tambourines.
"The banner over them is love" of their fellow-creatures among whom
they dwell upon an equal plane of poverty, wearing no better clothes
than the rest, eating coarse and scanty food, and sleeping upon hard
cots or upon the floor. Their lives are consecrated to God's service
among the poor of the earth. One is a woman in the early prime of
vigorous life, the other a girl of eighteen. The elder of these
devoted women is awaiting us at the barracks to be our guide to
Slumdom. She is tall, slender, and clad in a coarse brown gown, mended
with patches. A big gingham apron, artistically rent in several
places, is tied about her waist. She wears on old plaid woollen shawl
and an ancient brown straw hat. Her dress indicates extreme poverty,
her face denotes perfect peace. "This is Em," says Mrs. Ballington
Booth, and after this introduction we sally forth.
More and more wretched grows the district as we penetrate further Em
pauses before a dirty, broken, smoke-dimmed window, through which in a
dingy room are seen a party of roughs, dark-looking men, drinking and
squabbling at a table. "They are our neighbours in the front."
We enter the hall-way and proceed to the rear room. It is tiny,
but clean and warm. A fire burns on the little cracked stove,
which stands up bravely on three legs, with a brick eking out its
support at the fourth corner. A tin lamp stands on the table,
half-a-dozen chairs, one of which has arms, but must have renounced its
rockers long ago, and a packing box, upon which we deposit our shawls,
constitute the furniture. Opening from this is a small dark bedroom,
with one cot made up and another folded against the wall. Against a
door, which must communicate with the front room, in which we saw the
disagreeable-looking men sitting, is a wooden table for the hand-basin.
A small trunk and a barrel of clothing complete the inventory.
Em's sister in the slum work gives us a sweet shy welcome. She is a
Swedish girl, with the fair complexion and crisp, bright hair peculiar
to the Scandinavian blonde-type. Her head reminds me of a Grenze that
hangs in the Louvre, with its low knot of rippling hair, which fluffs
out from her brow and frames a dear little face with soft childish
outlines, a nez retrousse, a tiny mouth, like a crushed pink rose,
and wistful blue eyes. This girl has been a Salvationist for two
years. During that time she has learned to speak, read, and write
English, while she has constantly laboured among the poor and wretched.
The house where we find ourselves was formerly notorious as one of the
worst in the Cherry Hill district. It has been the scene of some
memorable crimes, and among them that of the Chinaman who slew his
Irish wife, after the manner of "Jack the Ripper," on the staircase
leading to the second floor. A notable change has taken place in the
tenement since Mattie and Em have lived there, and their gentle
influence is making itself felt in the neighbouring houses as well.
It is nearly eight o'clock when we sally forth. Each of us carries a
handful of printed slips bearing a text of Scripture and a few words of
warning to lead the better life.
"These furnish an excuse for entering places where otherwise we could
not go," explains Em.
After arranging a rendezvous, we separate. Mattie and Liz go off in
one direction, and Em and I in another. From this our progress seems
like a descent into Tartarus. Em pauses before a miserable-looking
saloon, pushes open the low, swinging door, and we go in.
It is a low-ceiled room, dingy with dirt, dim with the smoke,
nauseating with the fumes of sour beer and vile liquor. A sloppy bar
extends along one side, and opposite is a long table, with
indescribable viands littered over it, interspersed with empty glasses,
battered hats, and cigar stumps. A motley crowd of men and women
jostle in the narrow space. Em speaks to the soberest looking of the
lot. He listens to her words, others crowd about. Many accept the
slips we offer, and gradually as the throng separates to make way,
we gain the further end of the apartment. Em's serious, sweet,
saint-like face I follow like a star. All sense of fear slips from me,
and a great pity fills my soul as I look upon the various types of
As the night wears on, the whole apartment seems to wake up.
Every house is alight; the narrow sidewalks and filthy streets are full
of people. Miserable little children, with sin-stamped faces,
dart about like rats; little ones who ought to be in their cribs shift
for themselves, and sleep on cellar doors and areas, and under carts;
a few vendors are abroad with their wares, but the most of the traffic
going on is of a different description. Along Water Street are women
conspicuously dressed in gaudy colours. Their heavily-painted faces
are bloated or pinched; they shiver in the raw night air. Liz speaks
to one, who replies that she would like to talk, but dare not,
and as she says this an old hag comes to the door and cries:
"Get along; don't hinder her work! During the evening a man to whom Em
has been talking has told her: --"You ought to join the Salvation Army;
they are the only good women who, bother us down here. I don't want to
lead that sort of life; but I must go where it is light and warm and
clean after working all day, and there isn't any place but this to come
to" exclaimed the man. "You will appreciate the plea to-morrow when
you see how the people live," Em says, as we turn our steps toward the
tenement room, which seems like an oasis of peace and purity after the
howling desert we have been wandering in. Em and Mattie brew some
oatmeal gruel, and being chilled and faint we enjoyed a cup of it.
Liz and I share a cot in the outer room. We are just going to sleep
when agonised cries ring out through the night; then the tones of a
woman's voice pleading pitifully reach our ears. We are unable to
distinguish her words, but the sound is heart-rending. It comes from
one of those dreadful Water Street houses, and we all feel that a
tragedy is taking place. There is a sound of crashing blows and then
It is customary in the slums to leave the house door open perpetually,
which is convenient for tramps, who creep into the hall-ways to sleep
at night, thereby saving the few pence it costs to occupy a "spot" in
the cheap lodging houses. Em and Mat keep the corridor without their
room beautifully clean, and so it has become an especial favourite
stamping ground for these vagrants. We were told this when Mattie
locked and bolted the door and then tied the keys and the door-handle
together. So we understand why there are shuffling steps along the
corridor, bumping against the panels of the door, and heavily breathing
without during the long hours of the night.
All day Em and Mat have been toiling among their neighbours, and the
night before last they sat up with a dying woman. They are worn out
and sleep heavily. Liz and I lie awake and wait for the coming of the
morning; we are too oppressed by what we have seen and heard to talk.
In the morning Liz and I peep over into the rear houses where we
heard those dreadful shrieks in the night. There is no sign of life,
but we discover enough filth to breed diphtheria and typhoid throughout
a large section. In the area below our window there are several inches
of stagnant water, in which is heaped a mass of old shoes, cabbage
heads, garbage, rotten wood, bones, rags and refuse, and a few dead rats.
We understand now why Em keeps her room full of disinfectants.
She tells us that she dare not make any appeal to the sanitary
authorities, either on behalf of their own or any other dwelling,
for fear of antagonizing the people, who consider such officials as
their natural enemies.
The first visit we pay is up a number of eccentric little flights of
shaky steps interspersed with twists of passageway. The floor is full
of holes. The stairs have been patched here and there, but look
perilous and sway beneath the feet, A low door on the landing is opened
by a bundle of rags and filth, out of which issues a woman's voice in
husky tones, bidding us enter. She has La grippe. We have to stand
very close together, for the room is small, and already contains three
women, a man, a baby, a bedstead, a stove, and indescribable dirt.
The atmosphere is rank with impurity. The man is evidently dying.
Seven weeks ago he was "gripped." He is now in the last stages of
pneumonia. Em has tried to induce him to be removed to the hospital,
and he gasps out his desire "to die in comfort in my own bed." Comfort!
The "bed' is a rack heaped with rags. Sheets, pillow-cases, and
night-clothes are not in vogue in the slums. A woman lies asleep on
the dirty floor with her head under the table. Another woman, who has
been sharing the night watch with the invalid's wife, is finishing her
morning meal, in which roast oysters on the half shell are conspicuous.
A child that appears never to have been washed toddles about the floor
and tumbles over the sleeping woman's form. Em gives it some gruel,
and ascertains that its name is "Christine."
The dirt, crowding, and smells in the first place are characteristic of
half a dozen others we visited. We penetrate to garrets and descend
into cellars. The "rear houses" are particularly dreadful. Everywhere
there is decaying garbage lying about, and the dead cats and rats are
evidence that there are mighty hunters among the gamins of the Fourth
Ward. We find a number ill from the grip and consequent maladies.
None of the sufferers will entertain the thought of seeking a hospital.
One probably voices the opinion of the majority when he declares that
"they'll wash you to death there." For these people a bath possesses
more terror than the gallows or the grave.
In one room, with a wee window, lies a women dying of consumption;
wasted wan, and wretched, lying on rags and swarming with vermin.
Her little son, a boy of eight years, nestles beside her. His cheeks
are scarlet, his eyes feverishly bright, and he has a hard cough.
"It's the chills, mum," says the little chap. Six beds stand close
together in another room; one is empty. Three days ago a woman died
there and the body has just been taken away. It hasn't disturbed the
rest of the inmates to have death present there. A woman is lying on
the wrecks of a bedstead, slats and posts sticking out in every
direction from the rags on which she reposes.
"It broke under me in the night," she explains. A woman is sick and
wants Liz to say a prayer. We kneel on the filthy floor. Soon all my
faculties are absorbed in speculating which will arrive first, the
"Amen" or the "B flat" which is wending its way to wards me. This time
the bug does not get there, and I enjoy grinding him under the sole of
my Slum shoe when the prayer is ended.
In another room we find what looks like a corpse. It is a woman in an
opium stupor. Drunken men are brawling around her.
Returning to our tenement, Em and Liz meet us, and we return to our
experience. The minor details vary slightly, but the story is the same
piteous tale of woe everywhere, and crime abounding, conditions which
only change to a prison, a plunge in the river, or the Potter's field.
The Dark Continent can show no lower depth of degradation than that
sounded by the dwellers of the dark alleys in Cherry Hill. There isn't
a vice missing in that quarter. Every sin in the Decalogue flourishes
in that feeder of penitentiaries and prisons. And even as its moral
foulness permeates and poisons the veins of our social life so the
malarial filth with which the locality reeks must sooner or later
spread disease and death.
An awful picture, truly, but one which is to me irradiated with the
love-light which shone in the eyes of "Em's serious, sweet, saintlike
Here is my second. It was written by a Journalist who had just
witnessed the scene in Whitechapel. He writes: --
I had just passed Mr. Barnett's church when I was stopped by a small
crowd at a street corner. There were about thirty or forty men, women,
and children standing loosely together, some others were lounging on
the opposite side of the street round the door of a public-house.
In the centre of the crowd was a plain-looking little woman in
Salvation Army uniform, with her eyes closed, praying the "dear Lord
that he would bless these dear people, and save them, save them now!"
Moved by curiosity, I pressed through the outer fringe of the crowd,
and in doing so, I noticed a woman of another kind, also invoking
Heaven, but in an altogether different fashion. Two dirty tramp-like
men were listening to the prayer, standing the while smoking their
short cutty pipes. For some reason or other they had offended the
woman, and she was giving them a piece of her mind. They stood
stolidly silent while she went at them like a fiend. She had been
good-looking once, but was now horribly bloated with drink, and excited
by passion. I heard both voices at the same time. What a contrast!
The prayer was over now, and a pleading earnest address was being
"You are wrong," said the voice in the centre "you know you are; all
this misery and poverty is a proof of it. You are prodigals. You have
got away from your Father's house, and you are rebelling against Him
every day Can you wonder that there is so much hunger, and oppression,
and wretchedness allowed to come upon you? In the midst of it all your
Father loves you He wants you to return to Him; to turn your backs upon
your sins; abandon your evil doings; give up the drink and the service
of the devil. He has given His Son Jesus Christ to die for you.
He wants to save you. Come to His feet. He is waiting. His arms are
open. I know the devil has got fast hold of you; but Jesus will give
you grace to conquer him. He will help you to master your wicked
habits and your love of drink. But come to Him now. God is love.
He loves me. He loves you. He loves us all. He wants to save us all."
Clear and strong the voice, eloquent with the fervour of intense
feeling, rang through the little crowd, past which streamed the
ever-flowing tide of East End life. And at the same time that I heard
this pure and passionate invocation to love God and be true to man I
heard a voice on the outskirts, and it said this: "You ---- swine!
I'll knock the vitals out of yer. None of your ---- impudence to me.
---- your ---- eyes, what do you mean by telling me that? You know
what you ha' done, and now you are going to the Salvation Army.
I'll let them know you, you dirty rascal." The man shifted his pipe.
"What's the matter?" "Matter!" screamed the virago hoarsely." ----
yer life, don't you know what's the matter? I'll matter ye, you ----
hound. By God! I will, as sure as I'm alive. Matter! you know what's
the matter." And so she went on, the men standing silently smoking
until at last she took herself off her mouth full of oaths and cursing,
to the public-house. It seemed as though the presence, and spirit,
and words of the Officer, who still went on with the message of mercy,
had some strange effect upon them, which made these poor wretches
impervious to the taunting, bitter sarcasms of this brazen, blatant
"God is love." Was it not, then, the accents of God's voice that
sounded there above the din of the street and the swearing of the
slums? Yea, verily, and that voice ceases not and will not cease,
so long as the Slum Sisters fight under the banner of the Salvation
To form an idea of the immense amount of good, temporal and spiritual,
which the Slum Sister is doing; you need to follow them into the
kennels where they live, preaching the Gospel with the mop and the
scrubbing brush, and driving out the devil with soap and water.
In one of our Slum posts, where the Officer's rooms were on the ground
floor, about fourteen other families lived in the same house.
One little water-closet in the back yard had to do service for the
whole place. As for the dirt, one Officer writes, "It is impossible to
scrub the Homes; some of them are in such a filthy condition.
When they have a fire the ashes are left to accumulate for days.
The table is very seldom, if ever, properly cleaned, dirty cups and
saucers lie about it, together with bits of bread, and if they have
bloaters the bones and heads are left on the table, Sometimes there are
pieces of onions mixed up with the rest. The floors are in a very much
worse condition than the street pavements, and when they are supposed
to clean them they do it with about a pint of dirty water. When they
wash, which is rarely, for washing to them seems an unnecessary work,
they do it in a quart or two of water, and sometimes boil the things in
some old saucepan in which they cook their food. They do this simply
because they have no larger vessel to wash in. The vermin fall off the
walls and ceiling on you while you are standing in the rooms.
Some of the walls are covered with marks where they have killed them.
Many people in the summer sit on the door steps all night, the reason
for this being, that their rooms are so close from the heat and so
unendurable from the vermin that they prefer staying out in the cool
night air. But as they cannot stay anywhere long without drinking,
they send for beer from the neighbouring public--alas! never far away
--and pass it from one doorway to another, the result being singing,
shouting and fighting up till three and four o'clock in the morning."
I could fill volumes with stories of the war against vermin, which is
part of this campaign in the slums, but the subject is too revolting to
those who are often indifferent to the agonies their fellow creatures
suffer, so long as their sensitive ears are not shocked by the mention
of so painful a subject. Here, for instance, is a sample of the kind
of region in which the Slum Sisters spend themselves:
"In an apparently respectable street near Oxford street, the Officers
where visiting one day when they saw a very dark staircase leading into
a cellar, and thinking it possible that someone might be there they
attempted to go down, and yet the staircase was so dark they thought it
impossible for anyone to be there. However, they tried again and
groped their way along in the dark for some time until at last they
found the door and entered the room. At first they could not discern
anything because of the darkness. But after they got used to it they
saw a filthy room. There was no fire in the grate, but the fire-place
was heaped up with ashes, an accumulation of several weeks at least.
At one end of the room there was an old sack of rags and bones partly
emptied upon the floor, from which there came a most unpleasant odour.
At the other end lay an old man very ill. The apology for a bed on
which he lay was filthy and had neither sheets nor blankets.
His covering consisted of old rags. His poor wife, who attended on
him, appeared to be a stranger to soap and water. These Slum Sisters
nursed the old people, and on one occasion undertook to do their
washing, and they brought it home to their copper for this purpose,
but it was so infested with vermin that they did not know how to wash
it. Their landlady, who happened to see them, forbade them ever to
bring such stuff there any more. The old man, when well enough, worked
at his trade, which was tailoring. They had two shillings and sixpence
per week from the parish."
Here is a report from the headquarters of our Slum Brigade as to the
work which the Slum Sisters have done. It is almost four years since
the Slum Work was started in London. The principal work done by our
first Officers was that of visiting the sick, cleansing the homes of
the Slummers, and of feeding the hungry. The following are a few of
the cases of those who have gained temporally, as well as spiritually,
through our work: --
Mrs. W.--Of Haggerston Slum. Heavy drinker, wrecked home, husband a
drunkard, place dirty and filthy, terribly poor. Saved now over two
years, home A1., plenty of employment at cane-chair bottoming; husband
now saved also.
Mrs. R.--Drury Lane Slum. Husband and wife, drunkards; husband
very lazy, only worked when starved in to it. We found them both out
of work, home furnitureless, in debt. She got saved, and our lasses
prayed for him to get work. He did so, and went to it. He fell out
again a few weeks after, and beat his wife. She sought employment at
charing and office cleaning, got it, and has been regularly at work
since. He too got work. He is now a teetotaler. The home is very
comfortable now, and they are putting money in the bank.
A.M. in the Dials. Was a great drunkard, thriftless, did not go to
the trouble of seeking work. Was in a Slum meeting, heard the Captain
speak on "Seek first the Kingdom of God!" called out and said,
"Do you mean that if I ask God for work, He will give it me?"
Of course she said, "Yes." He was converted that night, found work,
and is now employed in the Gas Works, Old Kent Road.
Jimmy is a soldier in the Boro' Slum! Was starving when he got
converted through being out of work. Through joining the Army, he was
turned out of his home. He found work, and now owns a coffee-stall in
Billingsgate Market, and is doing well.
Sergeant R.--Of Marylebone Slum. Used to drink, lived in a wretched
place in the famous Charles Street, had work at two places, at one of
which he got 5s. a week and the other 10s., when he got saved;
this was starvation wages, on which to keep himself, his wife,
and four children. At the 10s. a week work he had to deliver drink for
a spirit merchant; feeling condemned over it, he gave it up, and was
out of work for weeks. The brokers were put in, but the Lord rescued
him just in time. The 5s. a week employer took him afterwards at 18s.,
and he is now earning 22s., and has left the ground-floor slum tenement
for a better house.
H.--Nine Elms Slum. Was saved on Easter Monday, out of work several
weeks before, is a labourer, seems very earnest, in terrible distress.
We allow his wife 2s. 6d. a week for cleaning the hall (to help them).
In addition to that, she gets another 2s. 6d. for nursing, and on that
husband, wife, and a couple of children pay the rent of 2s. a week and
drag out an existence. I have tried to get work for this man, but have
T.--Of Rotherhithe Slum. Was a great drunkard, is a carpenter;
saved about nine months ago, but, having to work in a public-house on a
Sunday, he gave it up; he has not been able to get another job, and has
nothing but what we have given him for making seats.
Emma Y.--Now a Soldier of the Marylebone Slum Post, was a wild young
Slummer when we opened in the Boro'; could be generally seen in the
streets, wretchedly clad, her sleeves turned up, idle, only worked
occasionally, got saved two years ago, had terrible persecution in her
home. We got her a situation, where she has been for nearly eighteen
months, and is now a good servant.
Lodging-House Frank.--At twenty-one came into the possession of
#750, but, through drink and gambling, lost it all in six or eight
months, and for over seven years he has tramped about from Portsmouth,
through the South of England, and South Wales, from one lodging-house
to another, often starving, drinking when he could get any money;
thriftless, idle, no heart for work. We found him in a lodging-house
six months ago, living with a fallen girl; got them both saved and
married; five weeks after he got work as a carpenter at 30s. a week.
He has a home of his own now, and promises well to make an officer.
The Officer who furnishes the above reports goes on to say: --
I can't call the wretched dwelling home, to which drink had brought
Brother and Sister X. From a life of luxury, they drifted down by
degrees to one room in a Slum tenement, surrounded by drunkards and the
vilest characters. Their lovely half-starved children were compelled
to listen to the foulest language, and hear fighting and quarrelling,
and alas, alas, not only to hear it in the adjoining rooms, but witness
it within their own. For over two years they have been delivered from
the power of the cursed drink. The old rookery is gone, and now they
have a comfortably-furnished home. Their children give evidence of
being truly converted, and have a lively gratitude for their father's
salvation. One boy of eight said, last Christmas Day, "I remember when
we had only dry bread for Christmas; but to-day we had a goose and two
plum-puddings." Brother X. was dismissed in disgrace from his
situation as commercial traveller before his conversion; to-day he is
chief man, next to his employer, in a large business house.
He says: --
I and perfectly satisfied that very few of the lowest strata of Society
are unwilling to work if they could get it. The wretched hand-to-mouth
existence many of them have to live disheartens them, and makes life
with them either a feast or a famine, and drives those who have brains
enough to crime.
The results of our work in the Slums may be put down as: --
1st. A marked improvement in the cleanliness of the homes and
children; disappearance of vermin, and a considerable lessening
2nd. A greater respect for true religion, and especially that of the
3rd. A much larger amount of work is being done now than before our
4th. The rescue of many fallen girls.
5th. The Shelter work seems to us a development of the Slum work.
In connection with our Scheme, we propose to immediately increase the
numbers of these Slum Sisters, and to add to their usefulness by
directly connecting their operations with the Colony, enabling them
thereby to help the poor people to conditions of life more favourable
to health, morals, and religion. This would be accomplished by getting
some of them employment in the City, which must necessarily result in
better homes and surroundings, or in the opening up for others of a
straight course from the Slums to the Farm Colony.
SECTION 2.--THE TRAVELLING HOSPITAL.
Of course, there is only one real remedy for this state of things,
and that is to take the people away from the wretched hovels in which
they sicken, suffer, and die, with less comfort and consideration than
the cattle in the stalls and styes of many a country Squire.
And this is certainly our ultimate ambition, but for the present
distress something might be done on the lines of district nursing,
which is only in very imperfect operation.
I have been thinking that if a little Van, drawn by a pony, could be
fitted up with what is ordinarily required by the sick and dying, and
trot round amongst these abodes of desolation, with a couple of nurses
trained for the business, it might be of immense service, without being
very costly. They could have a few simple instruments, so as to draw a
tooth or lance an abscess, and what was absolutely requisite for simple
surgical operations. A little oil-stove for hot water to prepare a
poultice, or a hot foment, or a soap wash, and a number of other
necessaries for nursing, could be carried with ease.
The need for this will only be appreciated by those who know how
utterly bereft of all the comforts and conveniences for attending to
the smallest matters in sickness which prevails in these abodes of
wretchedness. It may be suggested, why don't the people when they
are ill go to the hospital? To which we simply reply that they won't.
They cling to their own bits of rooms and to the companionship of
the members of their own families, brutal as they often are,
and would rather stay and suffer, and die in the midst of all the
filth and squalor that surrounds them in their own dens, than go to
the big house, which, to them, looks very like a prison.
The sufferings of the wretched occupants of the Slums that we have been
describing, when sick and unable to help themselves, makes the
organisation of some system of nursing them in their own homes a
Christian duty. Here are a handful of cases, gleaned almost at random
from the reports of our Slum Sisters, which will show the value of the
agency above described: --
Many of those who are sick have often only one room, and often several
children. The Officers come across many cases where, with no one to
look after them, they have to lie for hours without food or nourishment
of any kind. Sometimes the neighbours will take them in a cup of tea.
It is really a mystery how they live.
A poor woman in Drury Lane was paralyzed. She had no one to attend to
her; she lay on the floor, on a stuffed sack, and an old piece of cloth
to cover her. Although it was winter, she very seldom had any fire.
She had no garments to wear, and but very little to eat.
Another poor woman, who was very ill, was allowed a little money by her
daughter to pay her rent and get her food; but very frequently she had
not the strength to light a fire or to get herself food. She was
parted from her husband because of his cruelty. Often she lay for
hours without a soul to visit or help her.
Adjutant McClellan found a man lying on a straw mattress in a very bad
condition. The room was filthy; the smell made the Officer feel ill.
The man had been lying for days without having anything done for him.
A cup of water was by his side. The Officers vomited from the terrible
smells of this place. Frequently sick people are found who need the
continual application of hot poultices, but who are left with a cold
one for hours.
In Marylebone the Officers visited a poor old woman who was very ill.
She lived in an underground back kitchen, with hardly a ray of light
and never a ray of sunshine. Her bed was made up on some egg boxes.
She had no one to look after her, except a drunken daughter, who very
often, when drunk, used to knock the poor old woman about very badly.
The Officers frequently found that she had not eaten any food up to
twelve o'clock, not even a cup of tea to drink. The only furniture in
the room was a small table, an old fender, and a box. The vermin
seemed to be innumerable.
A poor woman was taken very ill, but, having a small family, she felt
she must get up and wash them. While she was washing the baby she fell
down and was unable to move. Fortunately a neighbour came in soon
after to ask some question, and saw her lying there. She at once ran
and fetched another neighbour. Thinking the poor woman was dead, they
got her into bed and sent for a doctor. He said she was in consumption
and required quiet and nourishment. This the poor woman could not get,
on account of her children. She got up a few hours afterwards. As she
was going downstairs she fell down again. The neighbour picked her up
and put her back to bed, where for a long time she lay thoroughly
prostrated. The Officers took her case in hand, fed, and nursed her,
cleaned her room and generally looked after her.
In another dark slum the Officers found a poor old woman in an
underground back kitchen. She was suffering with some complaint.
When they knocked at the door she was terrified for fear it was the
landlord. The room was in a most filthy condition, never having
been cleaned. She had a penny paraffin lamp which filled the room
with smoke. The old woman was at times totally unable to do anything
for herself. The Officers looked after her.
SECTION 3. REGENERATlON OF OUR CRIMINALS.--THE PRISON GATE BRIGADE
Our Prisons ought to be reforming institutions, which should turn men
out better than when they entered their doors. As a matter of fact
they are often quite the reverse. There are few persons in this world
more to be pitied than the poor fellow who has served his first term of
imprisonment or finds himself outside the gaol doors without a
character, and often without a friend in the world. Here, again,
the process of centralization, gone on apace of late years, however
desirable it maybe in the interests of administration, tells with
disastrous effects on the poor wretches who are its victims.
In the old times, when a man was sent to prison, the gaol stood within
a stone's throw of his home. When he came out he was at any rate close
to his old friends and relations, who would take him in and give him a
helping hand to start once more a new life. But what has happened
owing to the desire of the Government to do away with as many local
gaols as possible? The prisoners, when convicted, are sent long
distances by rail to the central prisons, and on coming out find
themselves cursed with the brand of the gaol bird, so far from home,
character gone, and with no one to fall back upon for counsel, or to
give them a helping hand. No wonder it is reported that vagrancy has
much increased in some large towns on account of discharged prisoners
taking to begging, having no other resource.
In the competition for work no employer is likely to take a man who is
fresh from gaol; nor are mistresses likely to engage a servant whose
last character was her discharge from one of Her Majesty's prisons.
It is incredible how much mischief is often done by well-meaning
persons, who, in struggling towards the attainment of an excellent end
--such, for instance, as that of economy and efficiency in prison
administration--forget entirely the bearing which their reforms may
have upon the prisoners themselves.
The Salvation Army has at least one great qualification for dealing
with this question I believe I am in the proud position of being at the
head of the only religious body which has always some of its members in
gaol for conscience' sake. We are also one of the few religious bodies
which can boast that many of those who are in our ranks have gone
through terms of penal servitude. We, therefore, know the prison at
both ends. Some men go to gaol because they are better than their
neighbours, most men because they are worse. Martyrs, patriots,
reformers of all kinds belong to the first category. No great cause
has ever achieved a triumph before it has furnished a certain quota to
the prison population. The repeal of an unjust law is seldom carried
until a certain number of those who are labouring for the reform have
experienced in their own persons the hardships of fine and imprisonment.
Christianity itself would never have triumphed over the Paganism of
ancient Rome had the early Christians not been enabled to testify from
the dungeon and the arena as to the sincerity and serenity of soul with
which they could confront their persecutors, and from that time down to
the successful struggles of our people for the right of public meeting
at Whitchurch and elsewhere, the Christian religion and the liberties
of men have never failed to demand their quota of martyrs for the
When a man has been to prison in the best of causes he learns to look
at the question of prison discipline with a much more sympathetic eye
for those who are sent there, even for the worst offences, than judges
and legislators who only look at the prison from the outside.
"A fellow-feeling makes one wondrous kind," and it is an immense
advantage to us in dealing with the criminal classes that many of our
best Officers have themselves been in a prison cell. Our people, thank
God, have never learnt to regard a prisoner as a mere convict--A 234.
He is ever a human being to them, who is to be cared for and looked
after as a mother looks after her ailing child. At present there seems
to be but little likelihood of any real reform in the interior of our
prisons. We have therefore to wait until the men come outside, in
order to see what, can be done. Our work begins when that of the
prison authorities ceases. We have already had a good deal of
experience in this work, both here and in Bombay, in Ceylon,
in South Africa, in Australia and elsewhere, and as the nett result of
our experience we proceed now to set forth the measures we intend to
adopt, some of which are already in successful operation.
1. We propose the opening of Homes for this class as near as possible
to the different gaols. One for men has just been taken at
King's Cross, and will be occupied as soon as it can be got ready.
One for women must follow immediately. Others will be required in
different parts of the Metropolis, and contiguous to each of its
great prisons. Connected with these Homes will be workshops in
which the inmates will be regularly employed until such time as we
can get them work elsewhere. For this class must also work,
not only as a discipline, but as the means for their own support.
2. In order to save, as far as possible, first offenders from the
contamination of prison life, and to prevent the formation of
further evil companionships, and the recklessness which follows the
loss of character entailed by imprisonment, we would offer, in the
Police and Criminal Courts, to take such offenders under our wing as
were anxious to come and willing to accept our regulations.
The confidence of both magistrates and prisoners would, we think,
soon be secured, the friends of the latter would be mostly on our
side, and the probability, therefore, is that we should soon have a
large number of cases placed under our care on what is known as
"suspended sentence," to be brought up for judgment when called
upon, the record of each sentence to be wiped out on report being
favourable of their conduct in the Salvation Army Home.
3. We should seek access to the prisons in order to gain such
acquaintance with the prisoners as would enable us the more
effectually to benefit them on their discharge. This privilege,
we think, would be accorded us by the prison authorities when they
became acquainted with the nature of our work and the remarkable
results which followed it. The right of entry into the gaols has
already been conceded to our people in Australia, where they have
free access to, and communion with, the inmates while under going
their sentences. Prisoners are recommended to come to us by the
gaol authorities, who also forward to our people information of the
date and hour when they leave, in order that they may be met on
4. We propose to meet the criminals at the prison gates with the offer
of immediate admission to our Homes. The general rule is for them
to be met by their friends or old associates, who ordinarily belong
to the same class. Any way, it would be an exception to the rule
were they not all alike believers in the comforting and cheering
power of the intoxicating cup. Hence the public-house is invariably
adjourned to, where plans for further crime are often decided upon
straight away, resulting frequently, before many weeks are past,
in the return of the liberated convict to the confinement from
which he has just escaped. Having been accustomed during confinement
to the implicit submission of themselves to the will of another, the
newly-discharged prisoner is easily influenced by whoever first gets
hold of him. Now, we propose to be beforehand with these old
companions by taking the gaol-bird under our wing and setting before
him an open door of hope the moment he crosses the threshold of the
prison, assuring him that if he is willing to work and comply with
our discipline, he never need know want any more.
5. We shall seek from the authorities the privilege of supervising
and reporting upon those who are discharged with tickets-of-leave,
so as to free them from the humiliating and harassing duty of having
to report themselves at the police stations.
6. We shall find suitable employment for each individual. If not in
possession of some useful trade or calling we will teach him one.
7. After a certain length of residence in these Homes, if consistent
evidence is given of a sincere purpose to live an honest life,
he will be transferred to the Farm Colony, unless in the meanwhile
friends or old employers take him off our hands, or some other form
of occupation is obtained, in which case he will still be the object
of watchful care.
We shall offer to all the ultimate possibility of being restored to
Society in this country, or transferred to commence life afresh in
With respect to results we can speak very positively, for although our
operations up to the present, except for a short time some three years
ago, have been limited, and unassisted by the important accessories
above described, yet the success that has at tended them has been most
remarkable. The following are a few instances which might be
J. W. was met at prison gate by the Captain of the Home and offered
help. He declined to come at once as he had friends in Scotland who he
thought would help him; but if they failed, he promised to come.
It was his first conviction, and he had six months for robbing his
employer. His trade was that of a baker. In a few days he presented
himself at the Home, and was received. In the course of a few weeks,
he professed conversion, and gave every evidence of the change.
For four months he was cook and baker in the kitchen, and at last a
situation as second hand was offered for him, with the [sic]
J. S. Sergeant-major of the Congress Hall Corps. That is three years
ago. He is there to-day, saved, and satisfactory; a thoroughly useful
and respectable man.
J. P. was an old offender. He was met at Millbank on the expiration
of his last term (five years), and brought to the Home, where he worked
at his trade a tailor. Eventually he got a situation, and has since
married. He has now a good home, the confidence of his neighbours,
is well saved, and a soldier of the Hackney Corps.
C. M. Old offender, and penal servitude case. Was induced to come to
the Home, got saved, was there for a long period, offered for the work,
and went into the Field, was Lieutenant for two years, and eventually
married. He is now a respectable mechanic and soldier of a Corps in
J. W. Was manager in a large West End millinery establishment.
He was sent out with two ten-pound packages of silver to change.
On his way he met a companion and was induced to take a drink.
In the tavern the companion made an excuse to go outside and did not
return, and W. found one of the packages had been abstracted from his
outside pocket. He was afraid to return, and decamped with the other
into the country. Whilst in a small town he strolled into a Mission
Hall; there happened to be a hitch in the proceedings, the organist was
absent, a volunteer was called for, and W., being a good musician,
offered to play. It seems the music took hold of him. In the middle
of the hymn he walked out and went to the police station and gave
himself up. He got six months. When he came out, he saw that Happy
George, an ex-gaol bird, was announced at the Congress Hall. He went
to the meeting and was induced to come to the Home. He eventually got
saved, and to-day he is at the head of a Mission work in the provinces.
"Old Dan" was a penal servitude case, and had had several long
sentences. He came into the Home and was saved. He managed the
bootmaking there for a long time. He has since gone into business at
Hackney, and is married. He is of four years' standing, a thorough
respectable tradesman, and a Salvationist.
Charles C. has done in the aggregate twenty-three years' penal
servitude. Was out on licence, and got saved at the Hull Barracks.
At that time he had neglected to report himself, and had destroyed his
licence, taking an assumed name. When he got saved he gave himself up,
and was taken before the magistrate, who, instead of sending him back
to fulfil his sentence, gave him up to the Army. He was sent to us
from Hull by our representative, is now in our factory and doing well.
He is still under police supervision for five years.
H. Kelso. Also a licence man. He had neglected to report himself,
and was arrested. While before the magistrate he said he was tired of
dishonesty, and would go to the Salvation Army if they would discharge
him. He was sent back to penal servitude. Application was made by us
to the Home Secretary on his behalf, and Mr. Matthews granted his
release. He was handed over to our Officers at Bristol, brought to
London, and is now in the Factory, saved and doing well.
E. W. belongs to Birmingham, is in his forty-ninth year, and has been
in and out of prison all his life. He was at Redhill Reformatory five
years, and his last term was five years' penal servitude. The Chaplain
at Pentonville advised him it he really meant reformation to seek the
Salvation Army on his release. He came to Thames Street, was sent to
the Workshop and professed salvation the following Sunday at the
Shelter. This is three months ago. He is quite satisfactory,
industrious, contented and seemingly godly.
A. B., Gentleman loafer, good prospects, drink and idleness broke up
his home, killed his wife, and got him into gaol. Presbyterian
minister, friend of his family, tried to reclaim him, but
unsuccessfully. He entered the Prison Gate Home, became thoroughly
saved, distributed handbills for the Home, and ultimately got work in a
large printing and publishing works, where, after three years' service,
he now occupies a most responsible position. Is an elder in the
Presbyterian Church, restored to his family, and the possessor of a
W. C., a native of London, a good-for-nothing lad, idle and dissolute.
When leaving England his father warned him that if he didn't alter he'd
end his days on the gallows. Served various sentences on all sorts of
charges. Over six years ago we took him in hand, admitted him into
Prison Gate Brigade Home, where he became truly saved; he got a job of
painting, which he had learnt in gaol, and has married a woman who had
formerly been a procuress, but had passed through our Rescued Sinners'
Home, and there became thoroughly converted. Together they have braved
the storms of life, both working diligently for their living.
They have now a happy little home of their own, and are doing very well.
F. X., the son of a Government officer, a drunkard, gambler, forger,
and all-round blackguard; served numerous sentences for forgery.
On his last discharge was admitted into Prison Gate Brigade Home, where
he stayed about five months and became truly saved. Although his
health was completely shattered from the effects of his sinful life,
he steadfastly resisted all temptations to drink, and kept true to God.
Through advertising in the War Cry, he found his lost son and daughter,
who are delighted with the wonderful change in their father. They have
become regular attendants at our meetings in the Temperance Hall.
He now keeps a coffee-stall, is doing well, and properly saved.
G. A., 72, spent 23 years in gaol, last sentence two years for
burglary; was a drunkard, gambler, and swearer. Met on his discharge
by the Prison Gate Brigade, admitted into Home, where he remained four
months, and became truly saved. He is living a consistent, godly life,
and is in employment.
C. D., aged 64, opium-smoker, gambler, blackguard, separated from wife
and family, and eventually landed in gaol, was met on his discharge and
admitted into Prison Gate Brigade Home, was saved, and is now restored
to his wife and family, and giving satisfaction in his employment.
S. T. was an idle, loafing, thieving, swearing, disreputable young man,
who lived, when out of gaol, with the low prostitutes of Little Bourke
Street. Was taken in hand by our Prison Gate Brigade Officers,
who got him saved, then found him work. After a few months he
expressed a desire to work for God, and although a cripple, and having
to use a crutch, such was his earnestness that he was accepted and has
done good service as an Army officer. His testimony is good and his
life consistent. He is, indeed, a marvel of Divine grace.
M. J., a young man holding a high position in England, got into a fast
set; thought a change to the Colonies would be to his advantage.
Started for Australia with #200 odd, of which he spent a good portion
on board ship in drink, soon dissipated the balance on landing,
and woke up one morning to find himself in gaol, with delirium tremens
on him, no money, his luggage lost, and without a friend on the whole
continent. On his discharge he entered our Prison Gate Home,
became converted, and is now occupying a responsible position in a
B. C., a man of good birth, education, and position; drank himself out
of home and friends and into gaol on leaving which he came to our Home;
was saved, exhibiting by an earnest and truly consistent life the depth
of his conversion, being made instrumental while with us in the
salvation of many who, like himself, had come to utter destitution and
crime through drink. He is now in a first-class situation, getting
#300 a year, wife and family restored, the possessor of a happy home,
and the love of God shed abroad in it.
I do not produce these samples, which are but a few, taken at random
from the many, for the purpose of boasting. The power which has
wrought these miracles is not in me nor in my Officers; it is power
which comes down from above. But I think I may fairly point to these
cases, in which our instrumentality has been blessed, to the plucking
of these brands from the burning, as affording some justification for
the plea to be enabled to go on with this work on a much more extended
scale. If any other organisation, religious or secular, can show
similar trophies as the result of such limited operations as ours have
hitherto been among the criminal population, I am willing to give place
to them. All that I want is to have the work done.
SECTION 4.--EFFECTUAL DELIVERANCE FOR THE DRUNKARD.
The number, misery, and hopeless condition of the slaves of strong
drink, of both sexes, have been already dealt with at considerable
We have seen that there are in Great Britain one million of men and
women, or thereabouts, completely under the domination of this cruel
appetite. The utter helplessness of Society to deal with the drunkard
has been proved again and again, and confessed on all hands by those
who have had experience on the subject. As we have before said, the
general feeling of all those who have tried their hands at this kind of
business is one of despair. They think the present race of drunkards
must be left to perish, that every species of effort having proved
vain, the energies expended in the endeavour to rescue the parents will
be laid out to greater advantages upon the children.
There is a great deal of truth in all this. Our own efforts have been
successful in a very remarkable degree. Some of the bravest, most
devoted, and successful workers in our ranks are men and women who were
once the most abject slaves of the intoxicating cup. Instances of this
have been given already. We might multiply them by thousands.
Still, when compared with the ghastly array which the drunken army
presents to-day, those rescued are comparatively few. The great reason
for this is the simple fact that the vast majority of those addicted to
the cup are its veritable slaves. No amount of reasoning, or earthly
or religious considerations, can have any effect upon a man who is so
completely under the mastery of this passion that he cannot break away
from it, although he sees the most terrible consequences staring him in
The drunkard promises and vows, but promises and vows in vain.
Occasionally he will put forth frantic efforts to deliver himself,
but only to fall again in the presence of the opportunity.
The insatiable crave controls him. He cannot get away from it.
It compels him to drink, whether he will or not, and, unless delivered
by an Almighty hand, he will drink himself into a drunkard's grave and
a drunkard's hell.
Our annals team with successful rescues effected from the ranks of
the drunken army. The following will not only be examples of this,
but will tend to illustrate the strength and madness of the passion
which masters the slave to strong drink.
Barbara.--She had sunk about as low as any woman could when we found
her. From the age of eighteen, when her parents had forced her to
throw over her sailor sweetheart and marry a man with "good prospects,"
she had been going steadily down.
She did not love her husband, and soon sought comfort from the little
public-house only a few steps from her own door. Quarrels in her home
quickly gave place to fighting, angry curses, and oaths, and soon her
life became one of the most wretched in the place. Her husband made no
pretence of caring for her, and when she was ill and unable to earn
money by selling fish in the streets, he would go off for a few months,
leaving her to keep the house and support herself and babies as best
she could. Out of her twenty years of married life, ten were spent in
these on-and-off separations. And so she got to live for only one
thing--drink. It was life to her; and the mad craving grew to be
irresistible. The woman who looked after her at the birth of her child
refused to fetch her whisky, so when she had done all she could and
left the mother to rest, Barbara crept out of bed and crawled slowly
down the stairs over the way to the tap-room, where she sat drinking
with the baby, not yet an hour old, in her arms. So things went on,
until her life got so unbearable that she determined to have done with
it. Taking her two eldest children with her, she went down to the bay,
and deliberately threw them both into the water, jumping in herself
after them. "Oh, mither, mither, dinna droon me!" wailed her little
three-year-old Sarah, but she was determined and held them under the
water, till, seeing a boat put out to the rescue she knew that she was
discovered. Too late to do it now, she thought, and, holding both
children, swam quickly back to the shore. A made-up story about having
fallen into the water satisfied the boatman, and Barbara returned home
dripping and baffled. But little Sarah did not recover from the shock,
and after a few weeks her short life ended, and she was laid in the
Yet another time, goaded to desperation, she tried to take her life
by hanging herself, but a neighbour came in and cut her down
unconscious, but still living. She became a terror to all the
neighbourhood, and her name was the bye-word for daring and desperate
actions. But our Open-Air Meetings attracted her, she came to the
Barracks, got saved, and was delivered from her love of drink and sin.
From being a dread her home became a sort of house of refuge in the
little low street where she lived; other wives as unhappy as herself
would come in for advice and help. Anyone knew that Barbie was
changed, and loved to do all she could for her neighbours.
A few months ago she came up to the Captain's in great distress over a
woman who lived just opposite. She had been cruelly kicked and cursed
by her husband, who had finally bolted the door against her, and she
had turned to Barbie as the only hope. And of course Barbie took her
in, with her rough-and-ready kindness got her to bed, kept out the
other women who crowded round to sympathise and declaim against the
husband's brutality, was both nurse and doctor for the poor woman till
her child was born and laid in the mother's arms. And then, to
Barbie's distress, she could do no more, for the woman, not daring to
be absent longer, got up as best she could, and crawled on hands and
knees down the little steep steps, across the street, and back to her
own door. "But, Barbie!" exclaimed the Captain, horrified,
"you should have nursed her, and kept her until she was strong enough."
But Barbie answered by reminding the Captain of "John's" fearful
temper, and how it might cost the woman her life to be absent from her
home more than a couple of hours.
The second is the case of--
Maggie.--She had a home, but seldom was sober enough to reach it at
nights. She would fall down on the doorsteps until found by some
passer-by or a policeman.
In one of her mad freaks a boon-companion happened to offend her.
He was a little hunch-back, and a fellow-drunkard; but without a
moment's hesitation, Maggie seized him and pushed him head-foremost
down the old-fashioned wide sewer of the Scotch town. Had not some one
seen his heel's kicking out and rescued him, he would surley have been
One winter's night Maggie had been drinking heavily, fighting, too,
as usual, and she staggered only as far, on her way home, as the narrow
chain-pier. Here she stumbled and fell, and lay along on the snow, the
blood oozing from her cuts, and her hair spread out in a tangled mass.
At 5 in the morning, some factory girls, crossing the bridge to their
work, came upon her, lying stiff and stark amidst the snow and
To rouse her from her drunken sleep was hard, but to raise her from the
ground was still harder. The matted hair and blood had frozen fast to
the earth, and Maggie was a prisoner. After trying to free her in
different ways, and receiving as a reward volleys of abuse and bad
language, one of the girl's ran for a kettle of boiling water, and by
pouring it all around her, they succeeded by degrees in melting her on
to her feet again! But she came to our Barracks, and got soundly
converted, and the Captain was rewarded for nights and days of toil by
seeing her a saved and sober woman.
All went right till a friend asked her to his house, to drink his
health, and that of his newly-married wife. "I wouldn't ask you to
take anything strong," he said. "Drink to me with this lemonade."
And Maggie, nothing suspecting, drank, and as she drank tasted in the
glass her old enemy, whisky! The man laughed at her dismay, but a
friend rushed off to tell the Captain. "I may be in time, she has not
really gone back"; and the Captain ran to the house, tying her bonnet
strings as she ran. "It's no good--keep awa'--I don't want to
see'er, Captain," wailed Maggie "let me have some more--oh, I'm on
fire inside." But the Captain was firm, and taking her to her home,
she locked herself in with the woman, and sat with the key in her
pocket, while Maggie, half mad with craving, paced the floor like a
caged animal, threatening and entreating by terms. "Never while I live,"
was all the answer she could get; so she turned to the door, and busied
herself there a moment or two. A clinking noise. The Captain started
up--to see the door open and Maggie rush through it! Accustomed to
stealing and all its "dodges," she had taken the lock off the door,
and was away to the nearest public-house.
Down the stairs, Captain after her, into the gin palace; but before the
astonished publican could give her the drink she was clamouring for,
the "bonnet" was by her side, "If you dare to serve her, I'll break the
glass before it reaches her lips. She shall not have any!" and so
Maggie was coaxed away, and shielded till the passion was over, and she
was Herself once more.
But the man who gave her the whisky durst not leave his house for
weeks. The roughs got to know of the trap he had laid for her,
and would have lynched him could they have got hold of him.
The third is the case of Rose.
Rose was ruined, deserted, and left to the streets when only a girl of
thirteen, by a once well-to-do man, who is now, we believe, closing his
days in a workhouse in the North of England.
Fatherless, motherless, and you might almost say friendless, Rose trod
the broad way to destruction, with all its misery and shame, for twelve
long years. Her wild, passionate nature, writhing under the wrong
suffered, sought forgetfulness in the intoxicating cup, and she soon
became a notorious drunkard. Seventy-four times during her career she
was dragged before the magistrates, and seventy-four times, with one
exception, she was punished, but the seventy-fourth time she was
as far off reformation as ever. The one exception happened on the
Queen's Jubilee Day. On seeing her well-known face again before him, the
magistrate enquired, "How many times has this woman been here before?"
The Police Superintendent answered, "Fifty times." The magistrate
remarked, in somewhat grim humour, "Then this is her Jubilee," and,
moved by the coincidence, he let her go free. So Rose spent her
jubilee out of prison.
It is a wonder that the dreadful, drunken, reckless, dissipated life
she lived did not hurry her to an early grave; it did affect her
reason, and for three weeks she was locked up in Lancaster Lunatic
Asylum, having really gone mad through drink and sin.
In evidence of her reckless nature, it is said that after her second
imprisonment she vowed she would never again walk to the police
station; consequently, when in her wild orgies the police found it
necessary to arrest her, they had to get her to the police station as
best they could, sometimes by requisitioning a wheelbarrow or a cart,
or the use of a stretcher, and sometimes they had to carry her right
out. On one occasion, towards the close of her career, when driven to
the last-named method, four policemen were carrying her to the station,
and she was extra violent, screaming, plunging and biting, when, either
by accident or design, one of the policemen let go of her head, and it
came in contact with the curbstone, causing the blood to pour forth in
a stream. As soon as they placed her in the cell the poor creature
caught the blood in her hands, and literally washed her face with it.
On the following morning she presented a pitiable sight, and before
taking her into the court the police wanted to wash her, but she
declared she would draw any man's blood who attempted to put a finger
upon her; they had spilt her blood, and she would carry it into the
court as a witness against them. On coming out of gaol for the last
time, she met with a few Salvationists beating the drum and singing
"Oh! the Lamb, the bleeding Lamb; He was found worthy." Rose, struck
with the song, and impressed with the very faces of the people,
followed them, saying to herself, "I never before heard anything like
that, or seen such happy looking people." She came into the Barracks;
her heart was broken; she found her way to the Penitent Form, and
Christ, with His own precious blood, washed her sins away. She arose
from her knees and said to the Captain, "It is all right now."
Three months after her conversion a great meeting was held in the
largest hall in the town, where she was known to almost every inhabitant.
There were about three thousand people present. Rose was called upon
to give her testimony to the power of God to save. A more enthusiastic
wave of sympathy never greeted any speaker than that which met her from
that crowd, every one of whom was familiar with her past history.
After a few broken words, in which she spoke of the wonderful change
that had taken place, a cousin, who, like herself, had lived a
notoriously evil life, came to the Cross.
Rose is now War Cry sergeant. She goes into the brothels and
gin palaces and other haunts of vice, from which she was rescued,
and sells more papers than any other Soldier.
The Superintendent of Police, soon after her conversion, told the
Captain at the Corps that in rescuing Rose a more wonderful work had
been done than he had seen in all the years gone by.
S. was a native of Lancashire, the son of poor, but pious, parents.
He was saved when sixteen years of age. He was first an Evangelist,
then a City Missionary for five or six years, and afterwards a Baptist
Minister. He then fell under the influence of drink, resigned,
and became a commercial traveller, but lost his berth through drink.
He was then an insurance agent, and rose to be superintendent, but was
again dismissed through drink. During his drunken career he had
delirium tremens four times, attempted suicide three times, sold up six
homes, was in the workhouse with his wife and family three times.
His last contrivance for getting drink was to preach mock sermons,
and offer mock prayers in the tap-rooms.
After one of these blasphemous performances in a public-house, on the
words, "Are you Saved?" he was challenged to go to the Salvation
Barracks. He went, and the Captain, who knew him well, at once made
for him, to plead for his soul, but S. knocked him down, and rushed
back to the public-house for more drink. He was, however, so moved by
what he had heard that he was unable to raise the liquor to his mouth,
although he made three attempts. He again returned to the meeting,
and again quitted it for the public-house. He could not rest, and for
the third time he returned to the Barracks. As he entered the last
time the Soldiers were singing: --
"Depth of mercy, can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God his wrath forbear?
Me, the chief of Sinners, spare?
This song impressed him still further; he wept, and remained in the
Barracks under deep conviction until midnight. He was drunk all the
next day, vainly trying to drown his convictions. The Captain visited
him at night, but was quickly thrust out of the house. He was there
again next morning, and prayed and talked with S. for nearly two hours.
Poor S. was in despair. He persisted that there was no mercy for him.
After a long struggle, however, hope sprung up, he fell upon his knees,
confessed his sins, and obtained forgiveness.
When this happened, his furniture consisted of a soap-box for a table,
and starch boxes for chairs. His wife, himself, and three children,
had not slept in a bed for three years. He has now a happy family,
a comfortable home, and has been the means of leading numbers of other
slaves of sin to the Saviour, and to a truly happy life.
Similar cases, describing the deliverance of drunkards from the bondage
of strong drink, could be produced indefinitely. There are Officers
marching in our ranks to-day, who where once gripped by this fiendish
fascination, who have had their fetters broken, and are now free men in
the Army. Still the mighty torrent of Alcohol, fed by ten thousand
manufactories, sweeps on, bearing with it, I have no hesitation in
saying, the foulest, bloodiest tide that ever flowed from earth to
eternity. The Church of the living God ought not--and to say nothing
about religion, the people who have any humanity ought not, to rest
without doing something desperate to rescue this half of a million who
are in the eddying maelstrom. We purpose, therefore, the taking away
of the people from the temptation which they cannot resist. We would
to God that the temptation could be taken away from them, that every
house licensed to send forth the black streams of bitter death were
closed, and closed for ever. But this will not be, we fear, for the
present at least.
While in one case drunkenness may be resolved into a habit, in another
it must be accounted a disease. What is wanted in the one case,
therefore, is some method of removing the man out of the sphere of the
temptation, and in the other for treating the passion as a disease,
as we should any other physical affection, bringing to bear upon it
every agency, hygienic and otherwise, calculated to effect a cure.
The Dalrymple Homes, in which, on the order of a magistrate and by
their own consent, Inebriates can be confined for a time, have been a
partial success in dealing with this class in both these respects;
but they are admittedly too expensive to be of any service to the poor.
It could never be hoped that working people of themselves, or with the
assistance of their friends, would be able to pay two pounds a week for
the privilege of being removed away from the licensed temptations to
drink which surround them at every step. Moreover, could they obtain
admission they would feel themselves anything but at ease amongst the
class who avail themselves of these institutions. We propose to
establish Homes which will contemplate the deliverance, not of ones and
twos, but of multitudes, and which will be accessible to the poor,
or to persons of any class choosing to use them. This is our national
vice, and it demands nothing short of a national remedy--anyway,
one of proportions large enough to be counted national.
1. To begin with, there will be City Homes, into which a man can be
taken, watched over, kept out of the way of temptation, and if
possible delivered from the power of this dreadful habit.
In some cases persons would be taken in who are engaged in business in
the City in the day, being accompanied by an attendant to and from the
Home. In this case, of course, adequate remuneration for this extra
care would be required.
2. Country Homes, which we shall conduct on the Dalrymple principle;
that is, taking persons for compulsory confinement, they binding
themselves by a bond confirmed by a magistrate that they would
remain for a certain period. The general regulations for both
establishments would be something as follows: --
(1). There would be only one class in each establishment. If it was
found that the rich and the poor did not work comfortably
together, separate institutions must be provided.
(2). All would alike have to engage in some remunerative form of
employment. Outdoor work would be preferred, but indoor
employment would be arranged for those for whom it was most
suitable, and in such weather and at such times of the year when
garden work was impracticable.
(3). A charge of 10s. per week would be made. This could be
remitted when there was no ability to pay it.
The usefulness of such Homes is too evident to need any discussion.
There is one class of unfortunate creatures who must be objects of pity
to all who have any knowledge of their existence, and that is, those
men and women who are being continually dragged before the magistrates,
of whom we are constantly reading in the police reports, whose lives
are spent in and out of prison, at an enormous cost to the country,
and without any benefit to themselves.
We should then be able to deal with this class. It would be possible
for a magistrate, instead of sentencing the poor wrecks of humanity to
the sixty-fourth and one hundred and twentieth term of imprisonment,
to send them to this Institution, by simply remanding them to come up
for sentence when called for. How much cheaper such an arrangement
would be for the country!
SECTION 5.--A NEW WAY OF ESCAPE FOR LOST WOMEN. THE RESCUE HOMES.
Perhaps there is no evil more destructive of the best interests of
Society, or confessedly more difficult to deal with remedially,
than that which is known as the Social Evil. We have already seen
something of the extent to which this terrible scourge has grown,
and the alarming manner in which it affects our modern civilisation.
We have already made an attempt at grappling with this evil, having
about thirteen Homes in Great Britain, accommodating 307 girls under
the charge of 132 Officers, together with seventeen Homes abroad,
open for the same purpose. The whole, although a small affair compared
with the vastness of the necessity, nevertheless constitutes perhaps
the largest and most efficient effort of its character in the world.
It is difficult to estimate the results that have been already
realised. By our varied operations, apart from these Homes, probably
hundreds, if not thousands, have been delivered from lives of shame and
misery. We have no exact return of the number who have gone through
the Homes abroad, but in connection with the work in this country,
about 3,000 have been rescued, and are living lives of virtue.
This success has not only been gratifying on account of the blessing it
has brought these young women, the gladness it has introduced to the
homes to which they have been restored, and the benefit it has bestowed
upon Society, but because it has assured us that much greater results
of the same character may be realised by operations conducted on a
larger scale, and under more favourable circumstances.
With this view we propose to remodel and greatly increase the number of
our Homes both in London and the provinces, establishing one in every
great centre of this infamous traffic.
To make them very largely Receiving Houses, where the girls will be
initiated into the system of reformation, tested as to the reality of
their desires for deliverance, and started forward on the highway of
truth, virtue, and religion.
From these Homes large numbers, as at present, would be restored to
their friends and relatives, while some would be detained in training
for domestic service, and others passed on to the Farm Colony.
On the Farm they would be engaged in various occupations.
In the Factory, at Bookbinding and Weaving; in the Garden and
Glasshouses amongst fruit and flowers; in the Dairy, making butter;
in all cases going through a course of House-work which will fit them
for domestic service.
At every stage the same process of moral and religious training,
on which we specially rely, will be carried forward.
There would probably be a considerable amount of inter-marriage amongst
the Colonists, and in this way a number of these girl's would be
absorbed into Society.
A large number would be sent abroad as domestic servants. In Canada,
the girls are taken out of the Rescue Homes as servants, with no other
reference than is gained by a few weeks' residence there, and are paid
as much as #3 a month wages. The scarcity of domestic servants in the
Australian Colonies, Western States of America, Africa, and elsewhere
is well known. And we have no doubt that on all hands our girls with
12 months' character will be welcomed, the question of outfit and
passage-money being easily arranged for by the persons requiring their
services advancing the amount, with an understanding that it is to be
deducted out of their first earnings.
Then we have the Colony Over-Sea, which will require the service of a
large number. Very few families will go out who will not be very glad
to take a young woman with them, not as a menial servant, but as a
companion and friend.
By this method we should be able to carry out Rescue work on a much
larger scale. At present two difficulties very largely block our way.
One is the costliness of the work. The expense of rescuing a girl on
the present plan cannot be much less than #7; that is, if we include
the cost of those with whom we fail, and on whom the money is largely
thrown away. Seven pounds is certainly not a very large sum for the
measure of benefit bestowed upon the girl by bringing her off the
streets, and that which is bestowed on Society by removing her from her
evil course. Still, when the work runs into thousands of individuals,
the amount required becomes considerable. On the plan proposed we
calculate that from the date of their reaching the Farm Colony they
will earn nearly all that is required for their support.
The next difficulty which hinders our expansion in this department is
the want of suitable and permanent situations, Although we have been
marvellously successful so far, having at this hour probably 1,200
girls in domestic service alone, still the difficulty in this respect
is great. Families are naturally shy at receiving these poor
unfortunates when they can secure the help they need combined with
unblemished character; and we cannot blame them.
Then, again, it can easily be understood that the monotony of domestic
service in this country is not altogether congenial to the tastes of
many of these girls, who have been accustomed to a life of excitement
and freedom. This can be easily understood. To be shut up seven days
a week with little or no intercourse, either with friends or with the
outside world, beyond that which comes of the weekly Church service or
"night out" with nowhere to go, as many of them are tied off from the
Salvation Army Meetings, becomes very monotonous, and in hours of
depression it is not to be wondered at if a few break down in their
resolutions, and fall back into their old ways.
On the plan we propose there is something to cheer these girls forward.
Life on the farm will be attractive. From there they can go to a new
country and begin the world afresh, with the possibility of being
married and having a little home of their own some day. With such
prospects, we think, they will be much more likely to fight their way
through seasons of darkness and temptation than as at present.
This plan will also make the task of rescuing the girls much more
agreeable to the Officers engaged in it. They will have this future to
dwell upon as an encouragement to persevere with the girls, and will be
spared one element at least in the regret they experience, when a girl
falls back into old habits, namely, that she earned the principal part
of the money that has been expended upon her.
That girls can be rescued and blessedly saved even now, despite all
their surroundings, we have many remarkable proofs. Of these take one
or two as examples: --
J. W. was brought by our Officers from a neighbourhood which has,
by reason of the atrocities perpetrated in it, obtained an unenviable
renown, even among similar districts of equally bad character.
She was only nineteen. A country girl. She had begun the struggle for
life early as a worker in a large laundry, and at thirteen years of age
was led away by an inhuman brute. The first false step taken,
her course on the downward road was rapid, and growing restless and
anxious for more scope than that afforded in a country town, she came
up to London.
For some time she lived the life of extravagance and show, known to
many of this class for a short time--having plenty of money,
fine clothes, and luxurious surroundings until the terrible disease
seized her poor body, and she soon found herself deserted, homeless and
friendless, an outcast of Society.
When we found her she was hard and impenitent, difficult to reach even
with the hand of love; but love won, and since that time she has been
in two or three situations, a consistent Soldier of an Army corps,
and a champion War Cry seller.
A TICKET-OF-LEAVE WOMAN.
A. B. was the child of respectable working people--Roman Catholics--
but was early left an orphan. She fell in with bad companions,
and became addicted to drink, going from bad to worse until
drunkenness, robbery, and harlotry brought her to the lowest depths.
She passed seven years in prison, and after the last offence was
discharged with seven years' police supervision. Failing to report
herself, she was brought before the bench.
The magistrate inquired whether she had ever had a chance in a Home of
any kind. "She is too old, no one will take her," was the reply,
but a Detective present, knowing a little about the Salvation Army,
stepped forward and explained to the magistrate th at he did not think
the Salvation Army refused any who applied. She was formally handed
over to us in a deplorable condition, her clothing the scantiest and
dirtiest. For over three years she has given evidence of a genuine
reformation, during which time she has industriously earned her own
A WILD WOMAN.
In visiting a slum in a town in the North of England, our Officers
entered a hole, unfit to be called a human habitation--more like the
den of some wild animal--almost the only furniture of which was a
filthy iron bedstead, a wooden box to serve for table and chair,
while an old tin did duty as a dustbin.
The inhabitant of this wretched den was a poor woman, who fled into the
darkest corner of the place as our Officer entered. This poor wretch
was the victim of a brutal man, who never allowed her to venture
outside the door, keeping her alive by the scantiest allowance of food.
Her only clothing consisted of a sack tied round her body. Her feet
were bare, her hair matted and foul, presenting on the whole such an
object as one could scarcely imagine living in a civilised country.
She had left a respectable home, forsaken her husband and family,
and sunk so low that the man who then claimed her boasted to the
Officer that he had bettered her condition by taking her off the
We took the poor creature away, washed and clothed her; and, changed in
heart and life, she is one more added to the number of those who rise
up to bless the Salvation Army workers.
SECTION 6.--A PREVENTIVE HOME FOR UNFALLEN GIRLS WHEN IN DANGER.
There is a story told likely enough to be true about a young girl who
applied one evening for admission to some home established for the
purpose of rescuing fallen women. The matron naturally inquired
whether she had forfeited her virtue; the girl replied in the negative.
She had been kept from that infamy, but she was poor and friendless,
and wanted somewhere to lay her head until she could secure work,
and obtain a home. The matron must have pitied her, but she could not
help her as she did not belong to the class for whose benefit the
Institution was intended. The girl pleaded, but the matron could not
alter the rule, and dare not break it, they were so pressed to find
room for their own poor unfortunates, and she could not receive her.
The poor girl left the door reluctantly but returned in a very short
time, and said, "I am fallen now, will you take me in?"
I am somewhat slow to credit this incident; anyway it is true in
spirit, and illustrates the fact that while there are homes to which
any poor, ruined, degraded harlot can run for shelter, there is only
here and there a corner to which a poor friendless, moneyless,
homeless, but unfallen girl can fly for shelter from the storm which
bids fair to sweep her away whether she will or no into the deadly
vortex of ruin which gapes beneath her.
In London and all our large towns there must be a considerable number
of poor girls who from various causes are suddenly plunged into this
forlorn condition; a quarrel with the mistress and sudden discharge,
a long bout of disease and dismissal penniless from the hospital,
a robbery of a purse, having to wait for a situation until the last
penny is spent, and many other causes will leave a girl an almost
hopeless prey to the linx-eyed villains who are ever watching to take
advantage of innocence when in danger. Then, again, what a number
there must be in a great city like London who are ever faced with the
alternative of being turned out of doors if they refuse to submit
themselves to the infamous overtures of those around them.
I understand that the Society for the Protection of Children prosecuted
last year a fabulous number of fathers for unnatural sins with their
children. If so many were brought to justice, how many were there of
whom the world never heard in any shape or form? We have only to
imagine how many a poor girl is, faced with the terrible alternative of
being driven literally into the streets by employers or relatives or
others in whose power she is unfortunately placed.
Now, we want a real home for such--a house to which any girl can fly
at any hour of the day or night, and be taken in, cared for, shielded
from the enemy, and helped into circumstances of safety.
The Refuge we propose will be very much on the same principle as the
Homes for the Destitute already described. We should accept any girls,
say from fourteen years of age, who were without visible means of
support, but who were willing to work, and to conform to discipline.
There would be various forms of labour provided, such as laundry work,
sewing, knitting by machines, &c. Every beneficial influence within
our power would be brought to bear on the rectification and formation
of character. Continued efforts would be made to secure situations
according to the adaptation of the girls, to restore wanderers to their
homes, and otherwise provide for all. From this, as with the other
Homes, there will be a way made to the Farm and to the Colony over the
sea. The institutions would be multiplied as we had means and found
them to be necessary, and made self-supporting as far as possible.
SECTION 7.--ENQUIRY OFFICE FOR LOST PEOPLE.
Perhaps nothing more vividly suggests the varied forms of
broken-hearted misery in the great City than the statement that 18,000
people are lost in it every year, of whom 9,000 are never heard of any
more, anyway in this world. What is true about London is, we suppose,
true in about the same proportion of the rest of the country.
Husbands, sons, daughters, and mothers are continually disappearing,
and leaving no trace behind.
In such cases, where the relations are of some importance in the world,
they may interest the police authorities sufficiently to make some
enquiries in this country, which, however, are not often successful;
or where they can afford to spend large sums of money, they can fall
back upon the private detective, who will continue these enquiries,
not only at home but abroad.
But where the relations of the missing individual are in humble
circumstances, they are absolutely powerless, in nine cases out of ten,
to effectually prosecute any search at all that is likely to be
Take, for instance, a cottager in a village, whose daughter leaves for
service in a big town or city. Shortly afterwards a letter arrives
informing her parents of the satisfactory character of her place.
The mistress is kind, the work easy, and she likes her fellow servants.
She is going to chapel or church, and the family are pleased. Letters
continue to arrive of the same purport, but, at length, they suddenly
cease. Full of concern, the mother writes to know the reason, but no
answer comes back, and after a time the letters are returned with
"gone, no address," written on the envelope. The mother writes to the
mistress, or the father journeys to the city, but no further
information can be obtained beyond the fact that "the girl has
conducted herself somewhat mysteriously of late; had ceased to be as
careful at her work; had been noticed to be keeping company with some
young man; had given notice and disappeared altogether."
Now, what can these poor people do? They apply to the police, but they
can do nothing. Perhaps they ask the clergyman of the parish, who is
equally helpless, and there is nothing for them but for the father to
hang his head and the mother to cry her self to sleep--to long,
and wait, and pray for information that perhaps never comes, and to
fear the worst.
Now, our Enquiry Department supplies a remedy for this state of things.
In such a case application would simply have to be made to the nearest
Salvation Army Officer--probably in her own village, any way, in the
nearest town--who would instruct the parents to write to the Chief
Office in London, sending portraits and all particulars. Enquiries
would at once be set on foot, which would very possibly end in the
restoration of the girl.
The achievements of this Department, which has only been in operation
for a short time, and that on a limited scale, as a branch of Rescue
Work, have been marvellous. No more romantic stories can be found in
the pages of our most imaginative writers than those it records.
We give three or four illustrative cases of recent date.
A LOST HUSBAND.
Mrs. S., of New Town, Leeds, wrote to say that ROBERT R. left England
in July 1889, for Canada to improve his position. He left a wife and
four little children behind, and on leaving said that if he were
successful out there he should send for them, but if not he should
As he was unsuccessful, he left Montreal in the Dominion Liner
"Oregon," on October 30th, but except receiving a card from him ere he
started, the wife and friends had heard no more of him from that day
till the date they wrote us.
They had written to the "Dominion" Company, who replied that "he landed
at Liverpool all right," so, thinking he had disappeared upon his
arrival, they put the matter in the hands of the Liverpool Police, who,
after having the case in hand for several weeks made the usual report
--"Cannot be traced."
We at once commenced looking for some passenger who had come over by
the same steamer, and after the lapse of a little time we succeeded in
getting hold of one.
In our first interview with him we learned that Robert R. did not land
at Liverpool, but when suffering from depression threw himself
overboard three days after leaving America, and was drowned.
We further elicited that upon his death the sailors rifled his clothes
and boxes, and partitioned them.
We wrote the Company reporting this, and they promised to make
enquiries and amends, but as too often happens, upon making report of
the same to the family they took the matter into their own hands,
dealt with the Company direct, and in all probability thereby lost a
good sum in compensation which we should probably have obtained for
A LOST WIFE.
F. J. L. asked us to seek for his wife, who left him on November 4th,
1888. He feared she had gone to live an immoral life; gave us two
addresses at which she might possibly be heard of, and a description.
They had three children.
Enquiries at the addresses given elicited no information, but from
observation in the neighbourhood the woman's whereabouts was
After some difficulty our Officer obtained an interview with the woman,
who was greatly astonished at our having discovered her. She was dealt
with faithfully and firmly: the plain truth of God set before her,
and was covered with shame and remorse, and promised to return.
We communicated with Mr. L. A few days after he wrote that he had
been telegraphed for, had forgiven his wife, and that they were
Soon afterwards she wrote expressing her deep gratitude to
Mrs. Bramwell Booth for the trouble taken in her case.
A LOST CHILD.
ALICE P. was stolen away from home by Gypsies ten years ago, and now
longs to find her parents to be restored to them. She believes her
home to be in Yorkshire. The Police had this case in hand for some
time, but failed entirely.
With these particulars we advertised in the "War Cry." Captain Green,
seeing the advertisement, wrote, April 3rd, from 3, C. S., M. H.,
that her Lieutenant knew a family of the name advertised for, living at
We, on the 4th, wrote to this address for confirmation.
April 6th, we heard from Mr. P---, that this lass is his child, and he
writes full of gratitude and joy, saying he will send money for her to
go home We, meanwhile, get from the Police, who had long sought this
girl, a full description and photo, which we sent to Captain Cutmore;
and on April 9th, she wrote us to the effect that the girl exactly
answered the description. We got from the parents 15/- for the fare,
and Alice was once more restored to her parents. Praise God.
A LOST DAUGHTER.
E. W. Age 17. Application from this girl's mother and brother, who
had lost all trace of her since July, 1885, when she left for Canada.
Letters had been once or twice received, dated from Montreal, but they
stopped. A photo., full description, and handwriting were supplied.
We discovered that some kind Church people here had helped E. W. to
emigrate, but they had no information as to her movements after
Full particulars, with photo., were sent to our Officers in Canada.
The girl was not found in Montreal. The information was then sent to
Officers in other towns in that part of the Colony.
The enquiry was continued through some months; and, finally, through
our Major of Division, the girl was reported to us as having been
recognised in one of our Barracks and identified. When suddenly called
by her own name, she nearly fainted with agitation.
She was in a condition of terrible poverty and shame, but at once
consented, on hearing of her mother's enquiries, to go into one of our
Canadian Rescue Homes. She is now doing well. Her mother's joy may be
A LOST SERVANT.
Mrs. M., Clevedon, one of Harriett P.'s old mistresses, wrote us, in
deep concern, about this girl. She said she was a good servant, but
was ruined by the young man who courted her, and had since had three
children. Occasionally, she would have a few bright and happy weeks,
but would again lapse into the "vile path."
Mrs. M. tells us that Harriett had good parents, who are dead, but
she still has a respectable brother in Hampshire. The last she heard
of her was that some weeks ago she was staying at a Girl's Shelter at
Bristol, but had since left, and nothing more had been heard of her.
The enquirer requested us to find her, and in much faith added,
"I believe you are the only people who, if successful in tracing her,
can rescue and do her a permanent good."
We at once set enquiries on foot, and in the space of a few days found
that she had started from Bristol on the road for Bath. Following her
up we found that at a little place called Bridlington, on the way to
Bath, she had met a man, of whom she enquired her way. He hearing a
bit of her story, after taking her to a public-house, prevailed upon
her to go home and live with him, as he had lost his wife.
It was at this stage that we came upon the scene, and having dealt with
them both upon the matter, got her to consent to come away if the man
would not marry her, giving him two days to make up his mind.
The two days' respite having expired and, he being unwilling to
undertake matrimony, we brought her away, and sent her to one of our
Homes, where she is enjoying peace and penitence.
When we informed the mistress and brother of the success, they were
greatly rejoiced and overwhelmed us with thanks.
A LOST HUSBAND.
In a seaside home last Christmas there was a sorrowing wife, who
mourned over the basest desertion of her husband. Wandering from place
to place drinking, he had left her to struggle alone with four little
ones dependent upon her exertions.
Knowing her distress, the captain of the corps wrote begging us to
advertise for the man in the Cry. We did this, but for some time heard
nothing of the result.
Several weeks later a Salvationist entered a beer-house, where a group
of men were drinking, and began to distribute War Crys amongst them,
speaking here and there upon the eternity which faced everyone.
At the counter stood a man with a pint pot in hand, who took one of the
papers passed to him, and glancing carelessly down its columns caught
sight of his own name, and was so startled that the pot fell from his
grasp to the floor. "Come home," the paragraph ran, "and all will be
His sin faced him; the thought of a broken-hearted wife and starving
children conquered him completely, and there and then he left the
public-house, and started to walk home--a distance of many mile--
arriving there about midnight the same night, after an absence of
The letter from his wife telling the good news of his return, spoke
also of his determination by God's help to be a different man, and they
are both attendants at the Salvation Army barracks.
A SEDUCER COMPELLED TO PAY.
Amongst the letters that came to the Inquiry Office one morning was one
from a girl who asked us to help her to trace the father of her child
who had for some time ceased to pay anything towards its support.
The case had been brought into the Police Court, and judgment given in
her favour, but the guilty one had hidden, and his father refused to
reveal his whereabouts.
We called upon the elder man and laid the matter before him, but failed
to prevail upon him either to pay his son's liabilities or to put us
into communication with him. The answers to an advertisement in the
War Cry, however, had brought the required in formation as to his son's
whereabouts, and the same morning that our Inquiry Officer communicated
with the police, and served a summons for the overdue money, the young
man had also received a letter from his father advising him to leave
the country at once. He had given notice to his employers; and the #16
salary he received, with some help his father had sent him towards the
journey, he was compelled to hand over to the mother of his child.
FOUND IN THE BUSH.
A year or two ago a respectable-looking Dutch girl might have been seem
making her way quickly and stealthily across a stretch of long rank
grass towards the shelter of some woods on the banks of a distant
river. Behind her lay the South African town from which she had come,
betrayed, disgraced, ejected from her home with words of bitter scorn,
having no longer a friend in the wide world who would hold out to her a
hand of help. What could there be better for her than to plunge into
that river yonder, and end this life--no matter what should come
after the plunge? But Greetah feared the "future," and turned aside to
spend the night in darkness, wretched and alone.
Seven years had passed. An English traveller making his way through
Southern Africa halted for the Sabbath at a little village on his
route. A ramble through the woods brought him unexpectedly in front of
a kraal, at the door of which squatted all old Hottentot, with a fair
white-faced Child playing on the ground near by. Glad to accept the
proffered shelter of the hut from the burning sun, the traveller
entered, and was greatly astonished to find within a young white girl,
evidently the mother of the frolicsome child. Full of pity for the
strange pair, and especially for the girl, who wore an air of
refinement little to be expected in this out-of-the-world spot, he sat
down on the earthen floor, and told them of the wonderful Salvation of
God. This was Greetah, and the Englishman would have given a great
deal if he could have rescued her from this miserable lot. But this
was impossible, and with reluctance he bid her farewell.
It was an English home. By a glowing fire one night a man sat alone,
and in his imaginings there came up the vision of the girl he had met
in the Hottentot's Kraal, and wondering whether any way of rescue was
possible. Then he remembered reading, since his return, the following
paragraph in the War Cry: --
"TO THE DISTRESSED. The Salvation Army invite parents, relations,
and friends in any part of the world interested in any woman or girl
who is known, or feared to be, living in immorality, or is in danger
of coming under the control of immoral persons, to write, stating full
particulars, with names, dates, and address of all concerned, and,
if possible, a photograph of the person in who the interest is taken.
"All letters, whether from these persons or from such women or girls
themselves, will be regarded as strictly confidential. They maybe
written in any language, and should be addressed to Mrs. Bramwell
Booth, 101, Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C." "It will do no harm to
try, anyhow," exclaimed he, "the thing haunts me as it is," and without
further delay he penned an account of his African adventure, as full as
possible. The next African mail carried instructions to the Officer in
Command of our South African work.
Shortly after, one of our Salvation Riders was exploring the bush, and
after some difficulty the kraal was discovered the girl was rescued and
saved. The Hottentot was converted afterwards, and both are now
Apart from the independent agencies employed to prosecute this class of
enquiries, which it is proposed to very largely increase, the Army
possesses in itself peculiar advantages for this kind of investigation.
Back to Full Books