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WHITE SLAVES

OR

THE OPPRESSIONS OF THE WORTHY POOR

BY REV. LOUIS ALBERT BANKS, D.D.

To My Father and Mother,

Who instilled into my mind and heart, in the days of a happy boyhood, their own love for liberty and hatred of oppression, this volume is gratefully dedicated.

TO THE MERCY AND HELP DEPARTMENT OF THE EPWORTH LEAGUE

Mr. Edison tells us that ninety per cent of the energy that there is in coal is lost in the present method of converting it into a usable force. May I, without being considered a croaker, say that almost the same amount of spiritual power goes to waste in our average church life? One is startled at times as he notes the manifestations of fervor and warmth in the devotional meetings of the present day, and the meagre results that follow in the transformation of society into the likeness of the kingdom of heaven. Exactly what we have to do, however, is to help hasten the answer to the prayer our Lord taught us, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," and not to be forever seeking to build tabernacles on some Mount of Transfiguration.

This book of Dr. Banks's is a positive stimulus to this work of social transformation. The young men and women of our Epworth League could not do better than to carefully and thoughtfully study its vivid pictures of every-day scenes in our great, and even in our lesser, cities.

Such study will open their eyes to sad deformities in their own communities, to which too many have become strangely indifferent through custom and wont. True, it is not pleasant to consider these distressing matters; but is it the business of the Christian to avoid that which is unpleasant? Consideration leads to sympathy, and sympathy wonderfully quickens the inventive faculties; and the aroused intellect and active affection are leavening forces that alter social conditions always for the better.

I take great pleasure, therefore, in commending this work, because it stirs all who read it. It may make you indignant. What of it? Would that more were alive enough to be indignant with the indignation of our Lord at the forces of unbrotherliness at work in our midst! It will do more than rouse your indignation; it will help you to utter the prayer that gave the accent to the life of Paul: "Lord, what wilt thou have _me_ to do?" When in works of Mercy and Help our tens of thousands of Epworth Leaguers are loyally living this prayer, the problem of Edison, as applied to spiritual dynamics, will be solved, and the latent forces of spiritual energy used to their utmost. Then, as slavery has passed away, war and tyranny and idleness and poverty will be no more, and the end to which Christ leads us, and for which He died, will be attained.

WILLIAM INGRAHAM HAVEN,

_Vice-President for Mercy and Help Department_.

INWOOD LODGE, PINE ISLAND N.H. _August_ 1893

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

This volume had its origin in experiences which came to me in the daily duties of a city pastorate. The inadequate wages received by some of the members of my own congregation, and the impoverished and unhealthy surroundings of many of the poor people who came for me to christen their children, pray with their sick, or bury their dead, so aroused my sympathy for the victims, and my indignation against the cruel or indifferent causes of their misery, that I determined upon a thorough and systematic investigation of the conditions of life among the worthy Boston poor. By the word "worthy" I do not mean to indicate a class of saints, but the poor people of the city who are willing and anxious to exchange honest hard work for their support. I have not, in the series of studies here presented, entered into a discussion of the vicious and criminal classes. I have tried to perform, as it seemed to me, a far more important task--to make a plea for justice on behalf of the crushed, and often forgotten, victims of greed, who work and starve in their cellars and garrets rather than beg or steal.

The larger part of the matter contained in these pages was originally delivered in a series of discourses from the pulpit of St. John's Methodist Episcopal Church, South Boston, and retains here the direct form of the spoken address.

I desire to make a personal acknowledgment to some who have given me great assistance in making the investigations, the results of which are here recorded. I am greatly indebted to Mr. B. O. Flower, Editor of _The Arena_, for many kindnesses, and especially for the use of several interesting illustrations originally prepared for the magazine over which he so ably and gracefully presides. The Rev. Walter J. Swaffield, of the Boston Baptist Bethel, the Rev. C. L. D. Younkin, of the North End Mission, the Rev. Geo. L. Small, of the Mariners' House, the Rev. John G. May, of the Italian Mission, and that indefatigable reformer, Mrs. Alice N. Lincoln, have each put me under great obligations by their unwearying kindness and willing assistance. I am also greatly indebted to Mr. Sears Gallagher, the brilliant young South Boston artist, and to the veteran photographer of Boston Highlands, Mr. W. H. Partridge, for many courtesies in connection with the illustrations which illumine these chapters.

LOUIS ALBERT BANKS. BOSTON, _September_ 15, 1891.

CONTENTS

I. THE WHITE SLAVES OF THE BOSTON "SWEATERS"

II. LETTER OF CRITICISM

III. REPLY TO A CRITICISM ON "THE WHITE SLAVES OF THE BOSTON SWEATERS"

IV. THE PLAGUE OF THE SWEAT-SHOP

V. THE RELATION OF WAGES TO MORALS

VI. THE WAGES AND TEMPTATIONS OF WORKING-PEOPLE

VII. BOSTON'S UNCLE TOM'S CABIN

VIII. SOCIAL MICROBES IN BOSTON TENEMENT HOUSES, AND HOW TO DESTROY THEM

IX. OLD WORLD TIDES IN BOSTON

X. OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THE BOSTON PAUPERS

XI. COMMENT ON "OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THE BOSTON PAUPERS"

XII. THE GOLD GOD OF MODERN SOCIETY

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PORTRAIT OF AUTHOR PORTUGUESE WIDOW IN ATTIC PORTUGUESE WIDOW AND CHILDREN LITTLE CHILDREN FINISHING PANTS INVALID IN CHAIR POSTAL UNIFORMS A TENEMENT-HOUSE COURT SUNDAY ON NORTH STREET CLARK'S MISSION NORTH END JUNK SHOP HOME OF THE MATHERS THE PEANUTTER INSIDE A SWEAT-SHOP PAUL REVERE HOUSE, NORTH SQUARE REAR OF NORTH END TENEMENT HOUSE COMMONWEALTH AVENUE DRYING "THE FIND" THE NORTH END MISSION A BOSTON "BRIDGE OF SIGHS" COURT OFF NORTH STREET CELLARWAY LEADING TO UNDERGROUND APARTMENTS SICK MAN IN UNDERGROUND APARTMENT AN ANCIENT TENEMENT ITALIAN FRUIT-VENDERS AT HOME COCKROACHES BY FLASH-LIGHT BANANA SELLER UNDERGROUND TENEMENT WITH TWO BEDS TWO O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING EXTERIOR OF A NORTH END TENEMENT HOUSE WIDOW AND TWO CHILDREN IN UNDERGROUND TENEMENT THE BANK OF THE UNFORTUNATE OUT OF WORK A CHEAP LODGING-HOUSE THE "GOOD LUCK" TENEMENT HOUSE THE SAND GARDEN CHRIST CHURCH TOWER ON THE CUNARDER ON THE WAY TO THE RABBI PASSING THE QUARANTINE DOCTOR SURGICAL THEOLOGY BUILDING USED BY THE BRITISH AS A HOSPITAL VICTORIA SQUARE OAK DOOR AT ENTRANCE READING-ROOM AT FACTORY FERRIS BROTHERS' CORSET FACTORY QUARTER SECTION OF ONE OF THE WORK ROOMS THE QUEEN OF THE DUMP TRAMPS WOMEN'S HOSPITAL WARD AT LONG ISLAND


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