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    Britain’s fallen women not wanted here

    Sam Hughes—teacher, journalist, soldier and Conservative politician—blasts the plan of Salvation Army founder General William Booth to help Britain’s “fallen women” transform their lives and prospects by emigrating to Canada and the United States, in his newspaper, the Lindsay, Ontario, Victoria Warder, September 4, 1885.

    Booth, a Methodist preacher, began his work of social welfare, reform and religious salvation among London’s poorest, including alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. His Army offered food, housing, training and help in personal reformation founded on Christian ethics, along with salvation preaching. During his tenure as leader, from 1878 until his death in 1912, he expanded the Salvation Army to 58 countries. Today it is one of the world’s largest distributors of humanitarian aid.

    Booth’s hope, says the Warder, is that, “removed from the scenes of their shame and degradation” to North America, the fallen women “will thenceforth lead good and pure lives.”

    But the Warder is far from hopeful of that. It protests the plan as “a stain on the fair name of every honest British immigrant lass,” warns about a risk of venereal diseases to the chaste Canadian men whom the women might marry, and deplores the use of Canada as a dumping ground.

    The Warder notes the biblical injunction “that iniquities of parents are visited on the third and fourth generations.” Every medical student knows the terrible effects in children of diseased parents. Already that form of disease is becoming one of the most common in our hospitals. In those of Europe and other long settled lands, its evil effects are alarmingly on the increase.”

    “The United States and Canada have for some years been made the dumping ground for the dirt of Europe. So far the older colonists have assimilated the foreign element, but we fear the strain has been great. It is doubtful if such a dose as General Booth proposes to give us would not be too much.”

    Seven years after penning this blast, Hughes was first elected to Parliament, a strong supporter of John A. Macdonald’s National Policy. He was defence minister during the first three years of the First World War, but was fired because of controversy, a series of scandals, and administrative incompetence.


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    TAGS: Immigrants, Prostitutes, Personal reform, Humanitarianism, Religion, Salvation Army, General William Booth, Sam Hughes



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