The million-peopled city
Importance of Missionary Operations among this Class. (From the " Times.")
In what way are they to be taught what is right ? How are they most effectually to be rescued from ruin ?
The following is the suggestion of an able leading article which appeared in the "Times" newspaper some years since. After adverting to the fearful present condition of many parts of London, in which juvenile thieves are nur- tured and matured, the writer proceeds:-
" It is in these wretched districts that herds of men, but little removed from the savage state, are grouped. It is from these regions that the population of our gaols is supplied; and in these eddies of civilized society is gathered all the filth, the crime, the savage recklessness, which is subsequently carried to the Antipodes, and causes the sad and melancholy statement from New Zealand, that the white c
|CRIMINAL AND DESTITUTE settlers have more to fear from the white man, their country- man, a member once of a refined state of society, than they have to dread from the savage and the cannibal! But whence came this white savage? From this vast metro- polis, the seat of wealth, splendour, and refinement! It is in the purlieus of crime that the zealous should labour to disseminate the holy precepts of our religion, and man there dwelling should be taught the relative duties of society. This is the fountain-head of that dark stream of pollution, and it is at the source that the evil should be grappled. This is the plainest and most common-sense preventive. Home missionaries and well-directed philan- thropy would do more real service to the cause of humanity than at first might strike the imagination. It would be a check to crime, and it would be in these districts that the zealous missionary would meet the offender fresh from prison, before he has time to relapse into evil courses, and the observations made by him on the subsequent habits of offenders, would afford to the Legislature a greater insight into the workings of any system than any commissioners' reports. The greater difficulty in working out this plan ,would be the selection of persons of talent, who, while they ought to possess a thorough knowledge of mankind, should be careful not to allow their religious exhortations to dwindle into drawling cant; for the thief is no fool-if he was, he would not be fit for a thief. The object would fail in its effect if it became a laughing-stock in the eyes of these strangely-organized, or rather disorganized, members of society; who, though they might abhor the cannibal for eating a human being, yet have no objection themselves to prey upon their fellow-creatures. The home missionary would have great opportunity of observing the sincerity of men who, having undergone imprisonment, might wish to reform. His opportunities would be far greater, and likely|
|to be far more correct, than of any chaplain in a prison, who sees his man caged and cooped in a cell.|