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“ This den of infamy was situated in WH--C-T--- Street. It consisted of one small room on the ground floor, and parties might well be excused for remaining dubious, as to whether so small an area could have been so replete with pestiferous moral influence to the neighbourhood, as this place has unequivocally been.
“On commencing my labours upon the district, I found the place becoming worse and worse. Additional bad women and thieves were resorting to it, and it was much connected with other thieveries.
“I was in the habit of visiting this place morning, noon, and night, accompanied, when I could obtain his company, by an aged friend, bursting in upon them in the midst of their criminality, at other times visiting them whilst labouring under the depressing effects of their previous night's districts--my late district, for example--upon which the Missionary is, and has for many years been, kindly supported by a single contribution from a Christian gentleman, Osman Ricardo, Esq., M.P. The Annual Reports are frequently quite volumes. The writer's last Annual Report consisted of sixty. four large quarto double columns. The Journals and Reports of the Missionaries are carefully read by the Secretaries, and submitted, as a rule, weekly, by the Missionaries to their local Superintendents, who are noblemen, members of parliament, private gentlemen, and clergymen and ministers, who interest themselves sufficiently in the Mission to encourage the Society by undertaking this office.
I have found much facility in writing this work from the fact, that the principal details furnished, and very many besides, have been written by me previously seven times, exclusive of writing this work. First, there was my own private journal ; secondly, a copy for the Society; thirdly, a
debauch. It may be inquired, perhaps, how it happened such a course was practicable. The fact is, I appeared to have a great influence given me over the proprietor of this wretched place and others, in consequence, perhaps, of attentions I had paid to one of their companions, who died in a very dreadful manner. They appeared to retain so grateful a sense of these attentions, that they could not insult me. It constituted one of the strangest sights in the wide world, to see me enter this place at night, sometimes alone-on one occasion my companion was ordered away; it was said to him, 'You go, else perhaps you'll have a knife put into you. He (me) may stop'-disturbing all kinds of wickedness, and merely saying, 'I've come to read to you.' Standing in the midst of ferocious and horrible characters, reading the Scriptures, and explaining portions concerning our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, heaven and hell, and a prostitute holding the candle to me. condensation of the month's labours ; fourthly, the Society's copy of the same ; fifthly, my kind supporter's copy; sixthly, an annual condensation of the year's labour, and seventhly, the Society's copy of the same. My own private copies form large and handsome volumes in my library upon which I should be sorry to set a price.
The success of the Mission, under Providence, is in no small measure to be attributed to the excellent arrangements referred to. Without fixed rules such an institution would, of course, speedily become a mass of confusion, and as uncomfortable to spiritual agents as unsatisfactory to the officers and supporters. The executive of the Mission are nearly all men of business, and the benefits of method and order, which are found so indispensable in secular affairs, have been conveyed by them to the Society in he carrying out the arrangements named, and other arrangements.
This young woman has since abandoned her evil course of life. Then would follow some discussion; one would say, 'I don't believe there's no hell--it's in your heart, mister.' Then some prostitute would burst out into indecent profanity, who would be sworn at until she was quiet. Then I would go down on my knees in the midst of them and pray, waiting to see if the Spirit of God would act, (and the Spirit of God did act.) On one occasion whilst so engaged, with my hand over my face, I left a small space between my fingers for the purpose of making an observation, and perceived small articles (stolen, I suppose) being passed from one to another. They had no idea I was observing them.
6 Two of the bad women who resided here were at last so much affected by religious instruction, as to be prevailed upon to enter penitentiaries.
“The proprietor of the place, who was a common thief, and the prostitute with whom he lived, next became affected. M--- related to me a conversation which took place between himself and G-M a housebreaker, whilst detailing to me his mental feelings. G., who goes by the name of Snob,' has related to me particulars of several burglaries in which he has been engaged.
“G. said, ' Come M., let's go out and look for something.' M. paused, and said, 'I don't know, Bill, I don't think I shall go. Why not?' said G., you can't starve.' 'I tell you what, Bill,' said the other thief, 'I find out God Almighty can pay debts without money.'
'* *Oh!' said the other,
* This is a phrase used among the lower orders to denote that the Lord can punish in a mysterious and overruling
'you're becoming religious, then, are you? you're no good;' and he then went out by himself to attempt plunder.
“From this time an alteration took place in M. He was also much impressed about this time by being taken into custody under the following circumstances. 'I was walking along,' said he, and a policeman come up to me, he know'd nothing on me, nor I on him; says he, and he lays hold on me, says he,“ You must come with me." “ What for ?" says I, and in course I says, “I'm a 'spectable young man."
" That's no odds," says he, “you must come on suspicion.” So he took me to the Mansion House, and I was locked up till Monday morning. Well, then he took me up afore the Lord Mayor. He said he took me up on suspicion. The Lord Mayor asked if anybody know'd I was a thief. Nobody know'd me there, * so they let me go directly. In course,' said he,
he'd no business to take me, as he know'd nothing agin me.' ‘But was you abroad for a dishonest purpose,' said I. “Yes,' said he, but he couldn't know that, as I was walking on quietly,' and he expressed his opinion that there was a mark on him by God Almighty.'
“One morning previous to leaving home, I had felt particularly impressed respecting these evil characters, and much drawn out in prayer on their behalf. The first morning visit I paid was to this court, and was informed by one of the neighbours, the mother t of the prostitute with whom M.
* Had he been taken to Clerkenwell Police Court, the case would have resulted very differently.
+ This unhappy being was a great drunkard, and when intoxicated extremely furious, but she was always respectful lived, that they had been inquiring particularly for me.
"On visiting them I was informed they had made up their minds to relinquish their evil courses, and be married, as they felt miserable.
They were accordingly married, and left the place, renting an upper room opposite. This evil resort, which had formerly prevented the neighbours from resting in their beds throughout the night, in consequence of the drunkenness and riotous conduct of the very numerous bad characters who frequented it, I had the satisfaction of seeing padlocked, empty, and to let.'
“M. commenced obtaining a livelihood in an honest manner by selling articles in the streets, and when at home I have knocked at his door unawares, and been much pleased to find him with
to me. During the prevalence of the awful cholera, in 1849, I was walking round my district, after service, on a Sabbath morning, and was called in to see her. At midnight on the Saturday she had, whilst in a drunken condition, been calling upon the Almighty to strike her dead. Scarcely twelve hours had elapsed, and now she was dying with the dreaded cholera. Her speech was already gone. “Mrs. P
-,” said I,“ you have been a great sinner, you have utterly neglected God, do you feel this now?” She nodded her head. “Now," said I, “ Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ! I have so often instructed you about, died for sinners—will cast out none---pray to be forgiven--pray to be forgiven-or your soul will be lostwill you pray?" She nodded her head so animatedly, that those who were with her were surprised she was capable of taking so much notice. “I am not afraid of the cholera," said I, “but I am afraid of your soul being lost.” I prayed, and I hope the poor creature prayed too. I continued exhort. ing and praying as long as I well could; she was too weak to be remained with long. Two hours afterwards she died.