20 December 1888
Sarah Delliar, a middle aged woman of apparently good education, and who had a severely bruised face was charged before Mr. Horace Smith with drunken and disorderly conduct. Police Constable 434 N deposed that at one o'clock that morning he heard some piercing screams from some mews at Dunn street, Shacklewell lane, and on going there he saw the prisoner in a state of nudity in a costermonger's barrow. He got some women who had been attracted by her screams to clothe her, and then, as he found that she was drunk, he took her to the police station. A lady, whose back premises abut on the stable yard, said her husband was from home, and she was awakened by screams. She thought it was another "Jack the Ripper" matter, and was afraid to move. The cries continued for some time, and witness then called up another lady in the house, exclaiming that a woman was being murdered in the yard, and they must help. She then looked out of the window and saw two men with the woman. Witness cried out that her husband was coming round, and the men made off. Just then the policeman came, and witness and her friend put some clothes upon her. It was a frequent occurrence for the men in the stables to get women down there and cause disturbances. In reply to the magistrate, prisoner admitted having had some drink, and did not know how she got where she was. She was badly knocked about by the men, and two rings she had on her hands were torn off. She had also lost one of her shoes. When her husband was alive she was a respectable woman, and had resided in one house in Bedford street for seven years. Now she was homeless and friendless, but it was cruel to outrage her as she had been. Mr. Horace Smith: Why don't you go into the workhouse? The Prisoner: I have been in Shoreditch Workhouse, but did not like it. Mr. Horace Smith: I must know some more about this. You will be put back for a little while. Later in the day the woman was again put in the dock, and Mr. Horace Smith asked: Will you go to the workhouse if I let you go? The Prisoner: Yes, and very glad to get there. Mr. Horace Smith: Then you had better go. I don't want to punish you; I only want to take care of you. You know the danger in which you were last night. Prisoner was discharged.
One is reluctant to seem to put obstacles in the way of well meant efforts to diminish misery and vice; but experience has shown that even benevolent schemes require to be closely scrutinised, lest they should prove to be unsound in principle, or likely to be mischievous, and the latest proposal of the head of the Salvation Army appears to me to be both. He asks the Government to give him £15,000, or to lend him that sum without interest, that he may establish rescue homes and food and shelter depots. But it will occur to most people, if it has not occurred to Mr. Booth himself, that this quasi endowment of the body which he has founded, even though it be for exclusively secular purposes, will deprive it of one of its chief recommendations, viz., its voluntariness. It will also be likely to check real religious work, by attracting crowds of the undeserving, as well as the deserving poor, who will associate themselves with the army simply for what they can get out of it in the shape of merely temporal benefit. Then does Mr. Booth expect that he can have a monopoly of Government system? The Rev. Messrs. Brown, Hurndall, and Atkinson, and other East end ministers who are appealing to the public to enable them to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, could probably make out quite as good a case for a subvention as Mr. Booth has done - to say nothing of Mr. Mearn's "Bitter Cry" movement, and of the large number of religious and benevolent societies which happily exist in London and other large towns, and do much to help the helpless, not in winter time only, but all the year round. I should not envy the Government after it had weakly yielded to such an appeal as that just addressed to the Home Secretary, since it would be overwhelmed with applications for similar aid from other quarters. I suspect, however, that Mr. Booth has no expectation that it will yield, and that his appeal is a shrewd advertisement intended to have effect, and which probably will have effect, elsewhere than in Downing street.