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Maiden Tribute

From Grace Eckley

Maiden Tribute

Book Informations

  • Released: 2007-03-08
  • Pages: 464
  • Language: en
  • ISBN-10:1462838111
  • ISBN-13:9781462838110

Beschreibung

Maiden Tribute: A Life of W. T. Stead This journalist who communicated with his Senior Partner instantaneously, whose ecumenical advance beyond his epoch still startles his readers, throughout his life retained his Whitmanesque individualism and rugged speech. W. T. Stead frequently scoffed at the Anglican Sunday prayers that instructed God how to direct the affairs of the world. If God did not comply, it was not for want of pious instruction. Anglicans were wanting, and most of his late Victorian-Edwardian world was Anglican. W. T. Stead (1849-1912) was a Nonconforrmist with and without the capital n. Had he been born with a wooden spoon in his mouth, it meant only that God needed his help to make the world silver. He never ceased to believe the world could be made silver, for mankind in general was anonymously, even though sluggishly, contributing to the infinite ascending spiral traced by the finger of God between the universe and the ideal. Clearly, the position of women in the 1870s was far from the ideal, remote from the privileges selfishly guarded by men. Taking a cue from his mother who campaigned against the Contagious Diseases Actswhich punished women but not men for transmitting syphilishe determined to bring women nearer the honors of Mary the Mother and Mary the Magdalen, for these two women stand out against the gloom of the past radiant as the angels of God, and yet the true ideals of the womanhood of the world. Such appeared implausible. Everywhere he saw in the streets wretched ruins of humanity, women stamped and crushed into devils by society . . . . And the children nursed in debauchery, suckled in crime, predestined to a life of misery and shame! Mrs. Josephine Butler already knew that Britains leadership would not assist: in the grandest house of the kind in Paris, are to be seen portraits of all the great men who had frequented themdiplomatists, generals, and English Lords . . . . The brothel-keeper put a cross underneath the portrait at each visit, to mark the number of visits made to the house by these great men! Before he visited London, the export of English girls for State-regulated prostitution in Brussels imposed upon Stead a sense that he was destined to write an Uncle Toms Cabin on The Slavery of Europe. The burden is greater than I can bear. But if it is ultimately to be laid on my back, God will strengthen me for it. If I have to write it I shall have to plunge into the depths of the social hell, and that is impossible outside a great city. Even high-minded seekers of justice found the social hell a place they could not venture into. Initiating research for The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, Stead took counsel with civic powers Lord Carnarvon, John Morley, Arthur Balfour, Henry Labouchere among others, and Sir Charles Russell, who declined an invitation to see for himself because as leader of the English Bar he could not play the rle of a detective in a house of ill-fame. As the shocking series of four daily exposes neared its close, why others had not done Steads work was explained by Benjamin Scott, the City Chamberlain who had prompted Stead to take up the cause: We had not the ability or the opportunity that Stead possessed, and lacked the courage. Stead had begun the Maiden Tribute with a complaint against British society, that chivalry was dead and Christianity effete. Benjamin Waugh praised him after the fact: The spirit of both survives in you to-day. Stead accomplished his goal: passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, still in force today. Why the British sent him to jail for passing the first child protection law is graced with the word technicality. Branded both a saint and a filthy ex-convict, Stead continued to use his journalistic strength to achieve justice for citizens; in the 1890s he turned to internationalism. Lobbying for arbitration for settling international disputes, he crafted a memorial calling for li

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