Tuesday, 20 August 1889
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - Having only just seen last Thursday's issue of your valuable paper, which contains the coroner's summing up in the case of the last East-end murder, may I be allowed to make one or two remarks which in justice to some of my parishioners I feel ought not to be passed over?
A very sad and in many respects very true description is given of the state of things existing in the parish of Spitalfields; but it is hardly true or just to say, "There are 20,000 of the same character, not one of whom is capable of elevating the others."
Of the 20,000 in my parish there are not a few Gentile families living respectable, honest, God-fearing lives; becoming smaller, I must allow, owing to the recent terrible events; as also a large proportion of poor Jews, whose hardships are known only to a few, who, together with ourselves, not only fear but deplore what has happened at our very doors. A fortnight ago one of the local police stated he had never seen such a state of things anywhere else, and could only suppose that "God spared the place for the few righteous that dwelt therein." Still the few are there, and they are capable of elevating in some degree the others.
As to the remedy. Touching the moral aspect of the question, it is not more church accommodation that is wanted, but living agents; men and women with consecrated lives, content to work under regularly constituted organization, avoiding spasmodic effort on the one hand and overlapping on the other. Better dwellings will do something, but not everything; there must be the sympathy of warm and loving hearts, together with ready hands, to help wisely, promptly, cautiously.
There need be no case of starvation. Of the 48 lodging-houses finding their centre around Flower and Dean-street in this parish, containing a population of 6,000 souls, 46 are regularly visited and a religious service held in each every Sunday evening, and I believe no case can exist in the parish needing help which would not in the ordinary course of things come under the notice of one or other of our visitors within a given fortnight or so. Still we are greatly in need of helpers and help. I trust the coroner's appeal will not be made in vain, and I thank him in the name of my poor people for it.
What we need most of all at the present time is a house where our workers can reside in the parish, amongst the people whom they seek to elevate, and whom they are most likely to influence by their daily, constant, and self-denying example. I plead for £2,000 to purchase suitable freehold premises for this purpose; who will help to raise this sum? This would confer a real and lasting boon upon this parish, and is surely not too much to ask considering all the civilized world knows our circumstances only too well.
Most gladly will I supply further information.
Thanking you in anticipation, believe me to remain yours very truly,
J. HUBERT SCOTT, Rector.
The Rectory, Spitalfields, E., Aug. 17.