The million-peopled city

Garwood, John


The Training for Crime which they receive.


But some may ask, Have these youth never been taught? They have. But what? They have gone to school to learn -to thieve. This has been their education.

Regular schools for the training of boys in thieving have long existed in London. The discovery of such a school, in 1585, by Fleetwood, the Recorder, is thus related:

"Among the rest they found out one Wotton, a gentleman born, and some time a merchant of good credit, but fallen by time into decay. This man kept an alehouse at Smart's Key, near Billingsgate, and after for some misdemeanor put down, he reared up a new trade of life; and in the same house he procured all the cut-purses about the city to repair to his house. There was a school-house set up to learn young boys to cut purses. Two devices were hung up: one was a pocket, and another was a purse. The pocket had in it

certain counters, and was hung up with hawk's-bells, and over the top did hang a little scaring-bell; the purse had silver in it; and he that could take out a counter without any noise, was allowed to be a public foyster; and he that could take a piece of silver out of the purse, without noise of any of the bells, was adjudged a judicial nypper, according to their terms of art. A foyster was a pick-pocket; a nypper was a pick-purse or cut-purse."


Nearly 200 years afterwards, the "Annual Register" for 1756, under date of March 25, thus describes a similar school:


At an examination of four boys detected at picking pockets, before the

Lord Mayor

, one of them, admitted as evidence, gave the following account:-A man who kept a public-house near Fleet-market, had a club of boys, whom he instructed in picking pockets and other iniquitous practices. He began by teaching them to pick a handkerchief out of his own pocket, and next his watch, by which means the evidence at last became so great an adept that he got the publican's watch four times in one evening, when the master swore that his scholar was as perfect as one of 20 years' practice. The pilfering out of shops was the next art. In this his instructions to his pupils were, that at such chandler's or other shop as had hatches, one boy should knock for admittance for some trifle whilst another was lying on his belly close to the hatch, who, when the first boy came out, the hatch remaining on jar and the owner being withdrawn, was to crawl in on all-fours, and take the tills or anything else he could meet with, and to retire in the same manner. Breaking into shops by night was the third article; which was to be effected thus. As brick walls under shop windows are generally very thin, two of them were to lie under a shop-window as destitute beggars

asleep in appearance to passers by; but, when alone, were with pickers to pick the mortar out of the bricks, and so on, till they had opened a hole big enough to go in, when one was to lie, as if asleep, before the breach, till the other accomplished his purpose.


It is remarked in Knight's "London:"-

"Dexterous and accomplished as are the followers of the several varieties of illegal industry in London, perhaps above those of any other community in the world, their genius has not, at least in modern times, shone with any remarkable lustre in the inventive line. Their favourite modes of entrapping their prey seem to be nearly the same in the present day as they were two or three hundred years ago... pocket-picking in all its forms was practised as cleverly, and taught'as elaborately, in the London of the times of Elizabeth and James as by the ... hidden real life of our own day. But probably the reason of this is really the excellence of these old tricks and wiles-their perfect serviceableness for their purpose, and nice accordance with the principles of human nature, as proved by the wonderful success with which they continue to be employed, after having been in use for so long a series of years ; innovation is not to be heedlessly ventured upon in pocket-picking any more than in politics."


In illustration of the truth of these observations, one of the missionaries of the states:-


"Another mode of training for theft is still practised by a man who keeps several boys, and lives by their plunder. He trains them on his own pockets, or on the pocket of the female with whom he lives.


But the more common mode of training is in lodging- houses kept for this class. They practise on each other, the most expert always acting as teacher. This is the mode in which most of those who have been passed through my hands have been trained."

Nor is the disposal of stolen property very materially different now to what it was. A second missionary of the states:-


The following truly remarkable case, related by one of the missionaries of the , as having recently occurred to him, illustrates the fearful amount of iniquity which may arise from a single individual in the corrupting of youth. While walking down one of the new streets in the East of London, he was followed by two youths. Proceeding onwards, he came up to six men, standing at the end of a narrow street. He saw at once to what class they belonged, and addressed them. The two


youths halted, and joined in with the party. They were evidently acquainted with each other. The men gave just such an answer as might be expected to the inquiry, whether they had no employment, viz., that they were out of work. The missionary gave them to understand that he was perfectly aware of their calling, and told them at once who he was, and that his object in addressing them was to benefit them. He then appealed to them, whether they were really happy? on which one of them replied, " Well, Sir, as you have been so plain with me, I will tell you that I am not happy; and that if I had the chance of getting an honest livelihood, I should be very glad." As he said this, he pulled from his pocket a religious tract much soiled. It was a tract which had been given him by another missionary of that Society. "That," said he, " is among the things that make me unhappy!" The missionary gave him his card, and told him that if he would call on him at he would see whether he could not do something for him. He came. The missionary promised to get him into a Reformatory Institution, which he had established for repentant thieves. He accepted the offer with great thank- fulness. During four months which he continued there, he gave satisfactory proof of his sincerity, and of the change produced in his mind. He has since emigrated for . This man had for 20 years been leading a criminal life, and had been in prison more than 20 times. He had resided in a low lodging-house, where he had lived by taking in boys, and training them to pick pockets. The best hands among them were sent into the streets, and brought home the plunder for their common support. " The mis- sionary asked him why he did not go out himself, instead of exposing these young lads to danger ? He said, the reason was, because he was himself too well known to the police, and they would follow him whenever they saw him. The missionary then asked him how many boys he had trained ? The per- fectly fearful answer which he gave was, that he could not exactly tell, but he should think he had not had fewer than five hundred!

What an amount of evil among the juvenile population had this one man effected! And what an amount of good has the small sum expended on his reclamation, by God's blessing, effected ! Who can fail to see how much better it is, financially as well as morally, to seek rather to reform than to punish, especially where there is a willingness to reform ?

And yet to how small an extent has this more economical, more merciful, and more Christian plan been pursued ! In one street only, in the south of London, there now exist 1,500 destitute and criminal juveniles, for whom there is not even a school provided; and in another single street, in the east of London, 1,000 children of a similar class were found last year without any other school than one conducted by Papists in a private dwelling-house. Is it to be wondered at that juvenile crime exists, and even increases, in the metropolis, when the class from which it springs is so often neglected? What else, under such circumstances, can be expected, but that it should be perpetuated and multi- plied ?

It ought also distinctly to be understood, that there are very many indeed of this class who are willing to be reformed, and brought under Christian instruction and training, and that the means only are requisite to enable


them to carry out their desires. One of the missionaries of the , met with fifty such cases recently in one night.


[1] Maitland's " London," i., 269, from Stow's "Survey."

[2] Vol. iv., pp. 225-6.

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 Title Page
Chapter I: Criminal and Destitute London Juveniles, or the Ragged School Class
Criminal and Destitute London Juveniles, or the Ragged School Class
A distinct Class from Adult Thieves
Their extreme Youth, and sometimes Childhood
Great Severity of British, as compared with French, Law on Juvenile Offenders
Their especial Claim, when resident in London
Their supposed Numbers
The Classes from which they are drawn
The Training for Crime which they receive
Their Gradations in Proficiency
Importance of Missionary Operations among this Class
The Ragged School Movement
The Connexion of the Ragged schools with the Operations of the London City Mission
Ragged Schools in an especial manner free from the Difficulties of Difference of Creed and Interference with the Duties of Parents
Early Approaches to the Ragged School System
The first Ragged School in Lonon, as established in 'the Old Stable' at Westminster
The Report of this School, as printed by Order of the House of Commons
Mr. Charles Dicken's Account of the Plot of Ground on which this School stood, called 'The Devil's Acre'
Letter of the Children of this School to the City Missionary
New Pye-street Girls' School, April 10, 1843
Dickens's narrative of Emigrants from this School
The Field-lane ragged School described, as a second Illustration of these Institutions
Description of the adjacent notorious 'Thieves' Houses'
Formation of the School
Dickens's Narrative of different Visits to this School, and of the Improvements effected in the interim
Narrative of a Visit to this School, from 'Chambers's Edinburgh Journal'
This School first interested Lord Shaftesbury in the 'Movement'
Erection of a New Schoolroom with a large Dormitory
Review of the subsequent Progress of London Ragged Schools to the present Time
Industrial Schools
Sergeant Adams's Eulogy of the Efforts of Ragged School Teachers
Three Cases of Usefulness from the Ragged School Union Magazine
Case of Usefulness reported to the Author by a Clergyman
Two other Cases of Usefulness from the 'London City Mission Magazine'
The Shoe-blacks a most remarkable Illustration of the Success of the Efforts made to benefit this Class
Broomers, and how they might be made to cleanse London
Steppers and Ragged Nursery
Comparison of the Expenses of Schools and Prisons
The especial Claims of Girls
Voluntary Effort, and that by the Masses, rather than Government Aid, to be especially rested on
Appointment of a Missionary by the London City Mission
Importance of Increased Exertions, in order to bring the whole of this Class under Ragged School Instrution
Concluding Remarks
Chapter II: Greenwich and Chelsea Pensioners
Greenwich and Chelsea Pensioners
Greenwich and Chelsea Hospitals fit Adornments to the two Shores of England's Metropolis
Greenwich Hospital
The Pensioners
Their Ages
Their Present Number
The Yearly Deaths
The Infirmary for the Sick and Dying
Religious and moral Character of the Pensioners, and Providsion made for their Instruction
The Pensioners not allowed to marry, and the bad Effects of this Rule
The Royal Hospital Schools
Law Agency in a peculiar manner important with these Men
The London City Mission, the only Agency of this Character in the Hospital
Need of a Second Paid Lay Visitor
Description of the Meeting of Pensioners held daily by the Missionary
Striking Cases of Usefulness among the Pensioners by this Agency
In A.D. 1851
In A.D. 1852
In A.D. 1853
Case of Usefulness among Out-pensioners, from the Scripture Readers' Association 'Occasional paper'
Chelsea Hospital
Its Origin
Nell Gwynne's Grant of the Building
Number of In-pensioners admitted
Their Character
The Pensioners' Opinions of the late Duke of Wellington, and of Lying-in-State
The Crowds of the Public who assembled to see the Spectacle
Number of Out-pensioners in different Years, according to the Prevalence of Peace or War
The immense Cost of the Pensioners to the nation, even at the Present Day
The Hotel des Invalides in Paris, established before Chelsea Hospital in London, and a Standing Army established in France before its Establishment in Enbland
How the Disabled and Aged Soldier was previously supported in this Country
The College was not completed till the Revolution
The Interest of William the Third and Fourth in the College
The College is for Invalids also
Ages of the Pensioners
Number of Deaths annually
The Burial-ground of Chelsea Hospital, and its Remarkable Epitaphs
Burial Registers
The Funeral of a Pensioner described
Flags and Trophies recently removed from St. Paul's Cathedral to Chelsea Hospital
Specimens of Certificates of Service given to Pensioners on their Admission to the College by their Commanding Officers
The Clasps worn by Pensioners to denote the Number of Battles in which they have engaged
Guard kept at the College in Military Style
Foreigners and different Creeds among the Pensioners
The heavy Manner in which Time hangs on their Hands
Cards, &c. introduced by the Authorities of the College to remedy this
Library, and its Defects
Gardening introduced by Lord John Russell
These Gardens were the former famed Ranelagh
Great Abuses in the Management of Chelsea Hospital abolished by Lord John Russell
Regulations as to Marriage more favourable to Morals at Chelsea than at Greenwich
The Royal Military Asylum for Boys
The Wellington Fund now raising for the Children of Officers
Gratitude of the Pensioners for Religious Instruction, and their Visit to City Missionaries, when the latter had been ill
Their Interest in Religious Tracts
Their Desire of Further Instruction
Number of Out-pensioners resident in the Metropolis
Facilities for, and Importance of, Benefitting these Men
Extracts from the Reports of a Missionary of the London City Mission
The especial Claims which Pensioners present on the Christian Benevolence of the Nation, and not of the Inhabitants of London only
Thankfulness for Peace
Immense Cost of War as compared with the Insignificant Amount which would now add greatly to their Comfort, and promote their Best Interests
Danger of Delay with Men so Aged
Chapter III: The London Cab-Driver
The London Cab-Driver
The Introduction of Coaches into London in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth
The riding Horses in previous Use
Coaches when introduced only by the very Highest Class of Society, and regarded as an effeminacy
On other Classes beginning the use of Coaches, the higher Classes continued to add to the Number of the Horses by which their Coaches were drawn, in order to retain a Superiority
The Introduction of Hackney Coaches kept at Inns, in the Reign of James I
Hackney Coach-stands in the Public Streets established
These Prohibited by the Proclamations of succeeding Kings, but in vain
The Two Centuries of Hackney-coach continuance
The Last Days of London Hackney-coaches
The Cabriolets of Paris
Their subsequent Introduction in London
The immense Increase in their Number during the Twenty Years of their Existence
Their present Number
The Cab-driver
The extensive Use of London Cabs on Sundays, and its injurious Effects on the Drivers
The Extortion complained of in Cabmen
The unlicensed Driver, and the extreme Depravity of this Class
Cab-drivers as a Body exposed to unjust Odium
Recent Alteration in the System of Licensing, and its Effects
Great Difference in the Character of London Cab-stands
The Waterman
First Efforts for the Religious Welfare of Cabmen as a Body, as made by the London City Mission
A Missionary appointed by that Society to visit them, and his Great Success
A Second Missionary appointed, but soon discontinued, through want of Funds for his Support
Cases recorded of his Usefulness
The Emigration of the First Missionary, and the Appointment of his Successor, with Review of his Efforts and Success
Cases of Usefulness recorded by the Cab Missionary of the London City Mission, last Year
Chapter IV: The London Omnibus Man
The London Omnibus Man
The Introduction of Omnibuses into London, and their previous Establishment in Paris
The Enterprise of Mr. Shillibeer, in starting Omnibuses in the English Metropolis, the Difficulties he encountered, and his subsequent Ruin
The Paris and London Omnibuses of the present day compared
The constant Litigation between the Proprietors of London Omnibuses after Mr. Shillibeer's Failure, and the consequent Establishment of large Omnibus Companies for the sake of Mutual Protection
The Immense Amount of the Capital and Annual Expenditure of the London Omnibus Trade
The vast Sums of Money spent by the London Population in Omnibus Riding
The Large Amount of Revenue which London Omnibuses produce to the Government
The very small Number of Omnibuses in the remainder of England, as compared with the Number in London
The almost incredible Length of Distance traversed periodically by the London Omnibuses
The constant Increase in the Number of London Omnibuses
The Metropolitan Omnibus Traffic greater in the Number of Passengers than the Metropolitan Railway Traffic
The Condition of the London Omnibus Men, and their present Numbers
Their Sunday Occupation in the Metropolis of a professedly Christian Country scarcely less than on Week-days, and sometimes greater, while an Extreme Amount of Toil is imposed on them during the Week
Lord Shaftesbury's Testimony of the Success of an Omnibus Proprietor who Discontinued Sunday Work
Testimonies as to the Toil of Omnibus-men from the Early Closed Association
From an Occasional paper of the Church Pastoral-Aid Society
From the Rev. J. T. Baylee's 'Statistics and Facts in reference to the Lord's-day'
Extract from 'Silverpen' as to the Wives and Families of Omnibus Servants
Medical Testimony as to the Injury of Labour so hard on the Constitution of the Men
Testimonies given to Mr. Mayhew as to the Severity of the Labour, by a Driver, a Conductor, and a Time-keeper
Their Wages
Their Temptations to Drink
Their Temptations to Embezzlement
Urgent Appeal as to the Heathenism of so Large a Body of Men
Reference to the Efforts of the London City Mission, in a Pamphlet entitled 'The Omnibus Men of London'
Recent Efforts of Omnibus Servants themselves to Improve their Condition
The Grand Junction Omnibus Comopany
The Introduction of Omnibuses has brought more together the different Parts of London
Concluding Appeal
Chapter V: The Irish of London
The Irish of London
Their Numbers
Their Country and their Race
St. Patrick
Subsequent Wars
Conquest of Ireland by Henry II, and its subsequent Oppression by the English
The Reformation in Ireland
The Protestant Colony of Ulster Established
The Battle of the Boyne, and its Consequences
The Union
Remarkable Increase of Population in Ireland during the close of the 18th and the commencement of the 19th Centuries
The pleasing Peculiarities in the irish Character
Their Hospitality
Their strong Natural Affection
The Native irish Poor more virtuous than the English Poor
Even the Good Qualities of the Irish cause them especially to need Faithful and Judicious Counsel and Visitation
Their Claim as Immigrants into, to them, a Strange Land
The Excellences of the Irish Character are beheld in London in their rudest form
How Popery has Marred and Debased the Irish Character
The Irish have been made thereby Idle
They have no Proper Feeling of Independence
Their Disloyalty
Their Spirit of Persecution and Hatred to Protestants
The Irish of London require 100 Missionaries or Scripture-readers, in order that the Gospel may be brought to their Abodes
The same Agency, for the effecting the same Results, is what is especially required for the Irish of London
Cardinal Wiseman's recent Denunciation of this Agency in London
Soundness of Protestant Feeling among the English working-classes
'The testimony of no single missionary is materially different'
The Persecution which the recent London Converts have had to endure
General Expectations of Irish Romanists that Ireland will soon become a Protestant, and England a Popish Country
The Causes of the Extensive Immigration of Irish to London in Recent Years
The better Class of Poor emigrate from Ireland to America, and the worst Class to London
The Divisions of the Irish of London into Cockneys and Grecians
The Irish of London, as divided into Connaught and Munster Men
Immigration of Immoral Irish Women
The Numbers of the Irish of London who can read English and Irish respectively estimated
Irish Protestants possess more Scriptual Knowledge than English Protestants
Extreme Ignorance on Scriptural Subjects of Irish Romanists, illustrated by Examples
The Irish, on arriving in London, rapidly lose their previous Religious Habits
London considered by the Irish as an Infidel City, in which, without Loss of Character, they may live in the Neglect of all Religious Observances
The Prevalence of Drunkness among the Irish and English compared
The Rookeries are the Parts of London in which the Irish Chiefly dwell
The Occupations of the Irish of London
Especial Suitableness of Irish Scripture-readers and Misisonaries for Irish Districts and the more Especial Facilities with which they may be obtained
Future Hopes
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