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too critical an examination of their General Booth's chief advantage, as weapons.
it seems to us, consists in the fact While it is a striking proof of that his organisation is designed the liberality of the age that so solely for dealing with the poor. many of our most prominent re- As we understand General Booth's ligious leaders, from the Arch- explanation of his position, it is bishop of Canterbury and Cardinal for the poor and the vicious alone Manning downwards, have
that his organisation is worked. pressed sympathy with General The Churches
, on the other hand, Booth's aims,
readily have their energies directed to all understand that the Church and classes of the community, and even dissenting bodies feel com- could not devote themselves expelled to maintain certain clusively to one particular section amount of reserve. The Church without a chance of injury to the especially, naturally enough feels rest. Important as is the place that General Booth's position im- held by the poor in Christian plies a deficiency in its own exer- doctrine, they are not its only tions, and a consequent reproach. object. But General Booth's We do not so consider it. What- organisation has been specially ever blame attaches to the Church formed for labouring among social rests upon the past—upon the last outcasts, with a recognition of century especially, and upon a con- their special need of rescue, and siderable portion of this. Had the leaves the Churches to aid in the Church then done her duty, while work on their own lines, and destitution in our great cities according to their abilities. It could still be grappled with, she is as a special scheme to meet might have been able to do much a special and dangerous evil that to stem the tide of poverty and General Booth's proposals particuvice; but the time was allowed to larly recommend themselves to our
" Darkest London attention. had sprung up far beyond the We shall take as read General powers of either the Church or
Booth's exposition of the miseries the poor-laws to deal with. Dur- of metropolitan destitution, with ing the last forty years she has the sufferings of the various classes been making zealous efforts to who swell its ranks. With these amend her fault, and no reflec- the public are already painfully tions need rest upon the energies familiar. The slums have long which she is now putting out to been the happy hunting-ground of reclaim the masses in the slums. the writer in search of a sensation, Many other denominations —where squalor, vice, and misery pushing rescue work with equal supply all the elements of repulsive zeal, but both the workers and horror without effort of imaginathe means at their disposal are tion on the reporter's part. The insignificant compared with the daily papers have made us perwork that has to be done. fectly familiar with such painful
It might, however, be said, What scenes as General Booth describes special claim has General Booth to in his work, if indeed they have come forward and ask public assist- not made us case-hardened. If ance for a work which is quite às General Booth has done sedulously being carried on by other service, he has at least numerous other religious agencies touched the national conscience. in the slums of our great cities ? And compunction has been by no
pass until a
means quick in coming. We might a half to elapse without some dealmost put in parallel columns termined attempt to grapple with against General Booth's pages the the evil, heaven knows what profollowing description of the Lon- portion of the population may be don slums nearly a hundred and under the wave by the time that fifty years ago which Henry Field- General Booth's book comes to be ing drew, not from his imagination exhumed as an antiquarian curi. as a novelist, but from his experi- osity of social literature. ences as a police magistrate :
The figures which General Booth
puts forward as a basis of his “If we were to make a progress estimate that a tenth part of our through the outskirts of the metrop population are submerged by the olis, and look for the habitations of the poor, we should there behold such
wave of poverty, vice, and crime, pictures of human misery as must
are melancholy enough as regards move the compassion of every heart
London itself. The numbers are that deserves the name of human. based on actual enumeration in What, indeed, must be his composi- the East End, and an approximate tion who could see whole families in estimate for the rest of the mewant of every necessary of life, op
tropolis. There are paupers, in pressed with hunger, cold, nakedness, and filth, and with diseases the cer
asylums, workhouses, and hospitals, tain consequences of all these? The 51,000; homeless, loafers, casuals, sufferings, indeed, of the poor are less and some criminals, 33,000; starrknown than their misdeeds ; and ing, casual earnings between 18s. therefore we are less apt to pity a-week and chronic want, 300,000. them. They starve and freeze and We do not follow him into his rot among themselves, but they beg statistics of the very poor wageand steal and rob among their betters. There is not a parish in the liberty of earning classes whose earnings Westminster which doth not swarm
amount to more than 18s. a-week, all day with beggars, and all night for while they are still struggling, with thieves.” 1
it may be in very stormy waves,
we cannot regard them as subThis condition of the slums, merged. According to the Genlimited as it must seem to our eral's calculation, three millions or eyes to have been in Fielding's one-tenth come under the category days, and therefore the more easily of the "submerged," or 1,200,000 to be eflectually dealt with, has more than Mr Giffen's estimate been allowed to go on until in the based official returns. We present day we find ourselves face quote from the General's figures to face with a “submerged tenth.” for East London and the United If we allow another century and Kingdom at large :“ HOUSELESS
EAST LONDON. UNITED KINGDOM. Loafers, casuals, and some criminals,
165,500 STARVING Casual earnings and chronic want,
Total houseless and starving,
1 A Proposal for making an Effectual Provision for the Poor, for amending their Morals, and for rendering them useful Members of Society : 1755.
Of those returned as homeless and sources. Independence is one of starving, 870,000 were in receipt of the General's creditable failings; outdoor relief. “To these must be added the in-. would have all the more chance of
but it strikes us that his scheme mates of our prisons. In 1889, 174,779 persons were received in our prisons, success, the wider he can dig its but the average number in prison at
among the roots of any one time did not exceed 60,000. law and society, and the The figures, as given in the prison he can make his plans fit into returns, are as follows:-
the institutions of the State and In convict prisons, 11,660 the operations of other Christian In local prisons,
20,883 and benevolent bodies. In reformatories,
If we take, at the very outset, In industrial schools, 21,413
General Booth's own division of Criminal lunatics,
the denizens of Darkest England, 56,136
we shall find that one class might Add to this the number of indoor very justly be set aside, leaving paupers and lunatics (excluding crim- room for greater exertions among inals)—78,966—and we have an army
the more necessitous and desperate of nearly two millions belonging to classes. We give the General's the submerged classes. To this there
own words :must be added, at the very least, another million representing those “The denizens in Darkest England dependent upon the criminal, lunatic, for whom I appeal are- —(1) those who, and other classes, not enumerated having no capital or income of their here, and the more or less helpless of own, would in a month be dead from the classes immediately above the sheer starvation were they exclushouseless and starving. This brings ively dependent upon the money my total to three millions, or, to put earned by their own work; and (2) it roughly, to one-tenth of the popu- those who, by their utmost exertions, lation."
are unable to attain the regulation
allowance of food which the law preIt is obvious, however, that only
scribes as indispensable, even for the sections of the classes mentioned worst criminals in our jails.” above can fall within the range of General Booth's scheme, and This will at once strike the reader even then the residue which pro- as being a very incomplete classiperly claims his ministrations is. fication, and he will not be surghastly in its dimensions.
prised to find that the greater Let us now examine the various part of the General's book is demethods by which General Booth voted to cases which do not propproposes to make an impression erly come under one or the other upon the pauper - stricken and of these categories, as they leave vicious masses which go to make out, or ought to leave out, those up the population of “Darkest whose destitution is the result of England,” and consider how far id
ss, intemperance, or crime. experience and common-sense can But to revert to General Booth's be made to guarantee their suc- own division, his first class, those
And in this investigation in danger of starvation from want
shall not confine ourselves of capital or work, have a special merely to General Booth's plans, claim to our attention. Among but shall endeavour to see where them must be many—let us hope other responsibilities come in, and the greater number—who have not inquire whether the work could get got the franchise of Darkest not indirectly be aided from other England. Either by poverty or
by misfortune they stand on its experiences. We have already brink, and it ought to be the object quoted his statement that 870,000 of all benevolent efforts of all the persons in receipt of outdoor reChurches, of the charities, of the lief were practically homeless and thousands of zealous workers starving-a charge so serious that among
to save this class we trust it will receive the special from being submerged. Even if attention of the Local Government these were unequal to the task, Board. there is the poor - law, which The first descent into Darkest ought to relieve General Booth of London is through the Casual
They cannot earn a Ward, to which sensational jourlivelihood by work if they had it; nalists have vied with each other therefore they are, failing charity, in giving an evil reputation. the proper care of the State. That it is unpopular with the Roughly we may say the same of poor, the numbers who prefer the General Booth's second class; but streets to its shelter is sufficient his definition is so loose that it is proof. The “casual,” in return difficult to say precisely the par- for his shelter for the night, ticular treatment that would be his supper and breakfast, has a most applicable to it. It is only certain amount of work to do, when he comes to deal with partic- which involves his remaining one ular divisions and particular cases whole day and two nights. This that General Booth makes clear the work is complained of as excessections of Darker England which sive, the food is merely a starvahe proposes to deal with.
tion regimen, and, what is perhaps Exclusiveness rather than com- worst of all, the man being shut prehensiveness should be the aim up all day has no chance of lookof General Booth in fixing the ing for work. We can scarcely limits of his relief scheme - we combine a benevolent philanthropy are speaking of practical relief, with that strict administration of not of religious rescue- -but his the law which is due to the rateplans will be subjected to a very payers. But as the casual ward severe strain at the outset by the is the first entrance in many cases wideness of the scope which he into the “city dolent,” it is a foproposes to give them. A large cus round which many benevolent proportion of the sections which efforts should be concentrated to he proposes to bring within his
save unfortunates from going farplans might be left with safety ther, and if possible to turn them to charity and to the poor - laws, into the ways of honest livelihood. 'provided that both were properly If the work described is excesadministered. But General Booth sive-if the rules throw undue obignores other charitable operations stacles in the way of the relieved than his own, and denounces the getting work we may justly poor - laws, which is very much call for amendment. We might to be regretted, as he would find go a step farther, and urge that most valuable auxiliaries in both. an effort should be made to disThat the poor - laws are not of criminate between worthless and themselves sufficient to relieve the hopelessly chronic “casuals” and misery of the London slums, we “ casuals” who had some chance know; that they might be ad- of doing well, and treating them vantageously amended, we can accordingly. As the casual ward easily gather from General Booth's is the first gate into Darkest Lon
don, so General Booth's “shelter” with them. We hold a rousing salvais the first exit from it in his tion meeting. The officer in charge plan.
of the depot, assisted by detachments
from the training homes, conducts a “Suppose that you are a casual jovial free-and-easy social evening. in the streets of London, homeless, The girls have their banjos and their friendless, weary with looking for tambourines, and for a couple of work all day and finding none. hours you have as lively a meeting Night comes on. Where are you to as you will find in London. There go? You have perhaps only a few is prayer, short and to the point; coppers, or it may be a few shillings, there are addresses, some delivered left of the rapidly dwindling store of by the leaders of the meeting, but your little capital. You shrink from the most of them the testimonies of sleeping in the open air ; you equally those who have been saved at preshrink from going to the fourpenny vious meetings, and who, rising in doss - house, where, in the midst of their seats, tell their companions strange and ribald company, you their experiences. Strange experimay be robbed of the remnant of
ences they often are, of those who the money still in your possession. have been down in the very bottomWhile at a loss as to what to do, less depths of sin and vice and misery, some one who sees you suggests that but who have found at last firm footyou should go to our shelter. You ing on which to stand, and who are, cannot, of course, go to the casual as they say in all sincerity, as happy ward of the workhouse as long as as the day is long. There is a joviyou have any money in your posses- ality and a genuine good feeling at sion. You come along to one of our some of these meetings which is reshelters. On entering, you pay four freshing to the soul. There are all pence, and are free of the establish- sorts and conditions of men-casuals, ment for the night. You can come jail-birds, out-of-works-who have in early or late. The company begins come there for the first time, and who to assemble about five o'clock in the find men who last week or last month afternoon. In the women's shelter, were even as they themselves are now you find that many come much ear- ---still poor, but rejoicing in a sense lier, and sit sewing, reading, and of brotherhood and a consciousness of chatting in the sparely furnished but their being no longer outcasts and forwell - warmed room from the early lorn in this wide world. There are men hours of the afternoon until bed- who have at last seen revived before time. You come in, and you get a them a hope of escaping from that large pot of coffee, tea, or cocoa, and dreadful vortex into which their sins a hunk of bread. You can go into and misfortunes have drawn them, the wash-house, where you can have and being restored to those comforts a wash with plenty of warm water, which they had feared so long were and soap and towels free. Then, after gone for ever-nay, of rising to live a having washed and eaten, you can true and godly life. These tell their make yourself comfortable. You can mates how this has come about, and write letters to your friends, if you urge all who hear them to try for have any friends to write to, or you themselves and see whether it is not can read, or you can sit quietly and a good and a happy thing to be do nothing. At eight o'clock the shel- soundly saved. In the intervals of ter is tolerably full, and then begins testimonies—and these testimonies, as what we consider to be the indispen- every one will bear me witness who sable feature of the whole concern. has ever attended any of our meetTwo or three hundred men in the ings, are not long, sanctimonious, men's shelter, or as many women in lackadaisical speeches, but simple the women's shelter, are collected to confessions of individual experience gether, most of them strange to each —there are bursts of hearty melody. other, in a large room. They are all The conductor of the meeting will wretchedly poor—what are you going start up a verse or two of a hymn to do with them? This is what we do illustrative of the experiences men
VOL. CXLIX. —NO. DCCCCIII.