The Whitewashing of the White Slave Traders

Last month I commented on the strike proceed­ing in that great port of the North-east coast, Hull. I pointed out the sweating and destitution prevailing there, and now I intend to show some of the effects upon another section of the population.

In February of this year—within three months of the White Slave Bill being passed—Hull was excited about the arrest of “a leading citizen,” named Edward Buckton Cargill. He was the Chairman of the Hull Steam Trawlers Owners Company, of the Hutnber Conservancy Board, was chosen by the shipowners of Hull as a representative of the fishing trade of the port, and was appointed by the Board of Trade on the North Sea Fisheries Committee, besides holding many other leading positions in the property owning world.

He was charged with offences against several girls under 16 years of age. He obtained the services of several noted K.C.s and other law­yers and detectives to help him, and they scoured the cities to try and get matter whereby the girls could be seen in the worst light—morally. Needless to state, the girls belonged to the working class.

When the case was heard at the York Assizes truly shocking evidence was given against this great ship-owner, who bribed his poor victims with gold—wrung out of the sweat and blood of his toilers. This shining light of capitalism and pronounced enemy of labour, confessed in the dock to being a married man with seven children, and said for the past ten years he had been in the habit of “going with unfortunates.” When the judge ordered him nine months hard labour the poor dupes of Liberalism and Tory­ism thought it showed the sincerity and wisdom of our governors. But—wait and see !

He was sentenced at the end of February. At the beginning of May, or shortly after two months had elapsed, the Hull Press announced the release of Cargill oa the ground of indispo­sition. He was removed to his home, prison life not agreeing with this tender plant. And a member of the town council ventured the opinion that if he had been a poor man he would have been in prison yet.

So once again the fraud and hypocrisy of our masters’ legislation is shown.

They were going to deal with “the great traffickers in human beings.” They were going to strike at “the international ring of procurers.” Ah, yes ! a story of going to do. When, owing to an oversight, no doubt, a sumptuous flat in Piccadilly was raided, the flat keeper, calling herself Queenie Gerald, was charged with pro­curing girls. In the course of the evidence at Marlboro’ Street, however, it transpired that prominent men were associated with the busi­ness—and the usual thing took place.

The case came on at the sessions watered down to one of “exercising influence over the movements of prostitutes for the purpose of gain.” At the police court she had pleaded not guilty, but now she answered : “Guilty !” the result being that no evidence was taken against her on the charges made, the jury were not sworn, all in spite of the fact that Mr. Travers Humphrey, the prosecuting counsel had at the Police Court stated that (vide “Daily Telegraph,” June 21st) “There were a large number of let­ters which made it quite clear that, apart from the prisoner’s earnings herself, and apart from what she received from the girls, she was carry­ing on the trade of a procuress.”

The public were excluded from the Court and the Press representatives were told they were only there as a privilege, and were to report no names and be careful not to let much leak out. They were ordered not to divulge the real name of Queenie Gerald—and all for what reason !


Conclusive evidence of procuring was given earlier at the Police Court proceedings, but that didn’t stop the charge being dropped at the Quarter Sessions. One of the letters written to “a gentleman at the Ritz Hotel” ran as follows :

“Your friend wishing to meet a few society ladies, I can arrange for three on Sunday. They are the real thing and frightfully expensive. Will you ask the Prince what he is prepared to give.”

A cadet at Sandhurst wrote ordering “a vir­gin,” and offering to pay £10. The books and papers in the case revealed prominent persons as customers, and the nice appointments, the enticing aromatic baths, and the hundreds of pounds found on the prisoner proved the pluto­cratic nature of the clientele. The whips, birches, and canes found on the premises upheld the case for procuring, and were grim but elo­quent testimony of the means that were resorted to in order to break down the resistance of the poor girls who were decoyed into that West End hell. Nevertheless, the names were suppressed, the money was returned to the prisoner, and a sentence of 3 months in the second division was passed upon her.

The poor victims of 17 and 18 years of age were the daughters of the working class, while the patrons were of the parasite, plundering class—that’s all.

Mr. McKenna, the Home Secretary, dodged, lied, and evaded for the purpose of hushing up the matter. Radical “Reynolds’s” threatened the Tories that if they did not stop their ques­tions the names of members of the House of Lords, dukes and the like, would be divulged. So the lying game of those who rape our daugh­ters and shed their crocodile’s tears over their victims, goes on. It is a case of “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours ; mum’s the word or we’ll blow the gaff !”

Another instance of the miserable hypocrisy connected with this question is the outcry raised against the employment of Jack Johnson at the Metropolitan Music Halls to give an exhibition of boxing. The music hall performers, com­prising within their ranks a very large number of regular devotees of the Divorce Court, are dismayed at the idea of a “wicked black man” going on “our boards.” The Press and the parsons, of course, are wrath at the suggestion, and the music halls are in a hurry to explain that they only put on what will draw the full houses—they are not concerned with moral questions.

Jack Johnson has offended against the White Slave laws of America by being a black man and taking a white girl from one state into an­other. He has appealed against his conviction, but the appeal has not yet been heard.

In the first place the white (or green) Bri­tishers don’t like the black man who dared to defeat a white—the best white they could put up against him—and thus destroyed for ever the axiom thaft one white man is worth Christ knows how many “niggers.” In the second place the Marie Lloyds and the Alec Hurleys object to competition from outside, especially from such an immoral quarter. Thirdly, the opportunity served excellently the purpose of reviving the old hatred of colour against [colout] , and thus checking in some measure the growing ideas of class against class.

As in South Africa, the old story of the dan­gers of white women from black men. But no word about the dangers of coloured women from white “men.” How often must we tell the story of the organisation of the traffic in Indian female children for the purpose of being con­fined in Government brothels for Army officers and others in the glorious British garrison in India. Talk of the colour line—what shall be said of the taking of Indian girls, mere children of 14 years of age, for the robust British sol­dier ? What shall be said of these young girls being confined in guarded compounds, licensed, priced, examined weekly and thrown on the scrap heap when disease makes its appearance (as, with such a clientele, it soon must) to make room for fresh captives ?

Those who seek the evidence may refer to the secret Circular Memorandum No. 197{of 1886 sent out to every quartermaster in India with the consent and in the name of the Commander-in-chief, Field Marshal Earl Roberts.

In that official document the commanding officers are thus instructed :

“In the regimental bazaars it is necessary to have a sufficient number of women, to take care they are sufficiently attractive, to provide them with proper houses, and above all to insist upon means of ablution being always available.
“If young soldiers are carefully advised in regard to the advantage of ablution and recog­nise that convenient arrangements exist in the regimental bazaar they may be expected to avoid the risks involved in association with women who are not recognised by the regimental authorities.”

The sequel to this order is graphically des­cribed in the work of the two investigators who so convincingly exposed Lord Robeits before the Royal Commission. In “The Queen’s Daughters in India,” by Elizabeth M. Andrew and Katherine C. Bushnell, we are told :

“The orders specified were faithfully carried out under the supervision of commanding offi­cers, and were to this effect. The commanding officer gave orders to his quartermaster to arrange with the regimental “official” to take two po­licemen (without uniform) and go into the vil­lages and take from the homes of these poor people their daughters from fourteen years and upward, about 12 or 15 girls at a time. They were to select the best looking. Next morning these were all put in front of the colonel and quartermaster. The former made his selection of the number required. They were then pre­sented with a pass or license and then made over to the old woman in charge of this house of vice under the Government. The women al­ready there who were found diseased had their passes taken away from them and were then removed by the police out of the cantonment and these fresh, innocent girls put in their places—to go the same way home.”

Twelve years after the Roberts circular was sent out, Sir Geo. White, bis successor, issued another private Army order (C9,025), in which he confessed some of the effects upon the soldiers, but no word about the devastated children of the ludian peasantry.

Speaking of the specific disease affecting 22,702 soldiers in 1895 he says : “During their short time of service a great part (in some cases more than half) of their time has been spent in hospital, . . Before reaching the age of 25 these youag men have come home presenting a shock­ing appearance ; some lay there having obviously but a short time to live ; others were unrecogni­sable by reason of the destruction of their fea­tures, or had lost their palates, their sight, or their sense of hearing. . . Not a few are time-expired, but cannot be discharged in their pre­sent condition . . So they remain at Netley (Hospital) in increasing numbers, which as mat­ters now are, seem likely to continue to increase.”

Thus does the capitalist system carry the glories of Christian civilisation to the poor pa­gans of the East. When the Revs. Meyers and the Non-conformist as well as the Conformist conscience cry out about the black peril, let them remember what goes on where the British flag flies over dark-skinned subjects. Let them understand that their snivelling hypocrisy is seen to be of a part with the shams and make-belief practised by the class that makes prosti­tution by its fearful exploitation, and then patronises it with its ill-gotten spoils.

A. K.

Leave a Reply