Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteMiss Rye


Link back to main ROSSBRET websiteMiss Rye


A Scheme of Juvenile Emigration - Miss Rye 

Miss Rye is going to try the experiment of deporting the street Arabs of London and other large towns to Canada and the Western States. She is encouraged to make the experiment, according to the Pall Mall Gazette, by the success which has attended the labours of Mr Van Meter, who claims to have rescued 2,000 children from the slums of New York and to have given them a fair start in the West. 

Miss Rye is prepared, she says, to start with a party of children for the West about August. The matter was pressed upon her attention by both press and people in America. "I propose" she says "taking only female children, and they are to be- 

1 - Orphans 
2 - Children who have been deserted 5 years. 
3 - Foundlings, also deserted. And all to be of the age from 5 to 10 years. 

To start this work properly I shall want 1,000 at least. Should I be able to raise this sum, I shall take some small place in or near London as a sheltering home, until the children are ready to start, and another and similar place in Canada to receive them upon our arrival in that country, and from which the children would be draughted as fit and suitable opportunities occurred. I am in treaty for a little property in the village of Niagara, and if it be arranged ultimately that our `Western Wanderers' Home' should be in this locality, I have received many promises of help in `kind' to keep the children on our first arrival, and an assurance from the people of that one district that they will adopt, either for life, or to being up with a view to ultimate service, 25 of the children when I bring them. 

The Builder 1869 Vol XXVII pp293, 10th April 1869 
Submitted by Alan Longbottom. 

Gutter Children and Drunken Parents - Miss Rye

The benevolent scheme of Miss Rye and others for the exportation of neglected female children to America forms the subject of a humorous and sarcastic brochure from the pen and pencil of good George Cruikshank, the champion of the total abstinence movement. He depicts Miss Rye as the driver of a dirt-cart, into which her assistants in the emigration movement are sweeping and shovelling the poor little "female" vermin, by wholesale off the street, before the Angel public house. "My own opinion of the matter" says Mr. Cruikshank, may be seen in the sketch at the head of this paper, for the proposition appears to me like sweeping up the little girls, as so much mud out of our gutters, and pitching them into a mud-cart, to be shipped aboard of a ship, - like so much guano, or like so many cattle, for a foreign market. And if such a transportation of innocent children, of that tender age, either girls or boys, should take place, it will not only be a degradation and a disgrace to this nation, but also a disgrace to the Christian world: for I consider such a proceeding would be contrary to the laws of nature, and also Christian civilisation...Has "Glorious Old England" come at last to such a state as this ?!!!

The cause of nearly if not all this misery, crime, lunacy, neglect, and desertion of our "Gutter Children" and disorganisation, is, because the Christians and the Jews use intoxicating liquor as a beverage. It has been stated over and over again, by many of the leading men of the day, that - Drunkenness is the curse of the country - : but this is a very great mistake. Drunkenness is a terrible thing, no doubt, but it is the drink, the intoxicating liquor, that is the curse of this country, and of many others. Most persons take these intoxicating liquors with a relish, and in many cases for many years, without any apparent harm or injury; but they, nevertheless, produce disease, and shorten life, except in a few solitary cases, and are the cause of all sorts of evils, from small offences up to the most diabolical deeds. He proposes, as an aid to its suppression, the formation of a "society for the prevention of cruelty to human beings and of the murder of children." It is in all probability the cursed drink, he remarks, that has shortened the lives of the parents of these gutter children, and in cases of neglect or desertion, the drink has been the cause of the father and mother losing all paternal feeling, and unnaturally leaving their offspring, without caring what becomes of them. And I must impress upon my readers the fact he adds, that there is not one neglected or deserted child amongst the millions of teetotallers, even of the most humble classes; and should there unfortunately be any orphans, they are also taken care of, and properly trained.... Let us try to support these neglected children in their native land. And let every woman ask each other if she is a member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Human Beings and for the Prevention of the Murder of Children. We may here add on to Mr.Cruikshank's brochure brief notice of a pamphlet titled, "An Inquiry into the Causes of the Present Long-continued Depression in the Cotton Trade, with Suggestions for its Improvement" by "A Cotton Manufacturer" Publ Manchester by Heywood. 

This like the preceding, has the excellent object of reducing the dreadful evil of intemperance in view, but it is also a little Quixotic. The author urges indirectly, that if the 300 and odd millions sterling expended within the last 3 years in drink had been expended in the purchase of cotton and other manufactured goods, the building of houses, and so on, how much better it would have been both for trade and for the morals of the people; and no doubt it would. It is strange, he thinks that men of intelligence cannot see this. We should rather think they can and do, although they may differ as to the best or most practical, and speediest and most effectual way of remedying the admittedly enormous evil. Dreadful as the effects of drink are, we are persuaded that a vast proportion of the - nine-tenths of all crime brought before the magistrates - attributed to drink are more particularly ascribable to the abominable and infuriating adulterations of the drink, to give intoxicating effects without the alcoholic intoxicant. `Toxicology' means the science of poisons, and brewers and distillers, as well as other drink-sellers, are highly skilled in this science. Are not they responsible for much of the crime which drink produces ?

The writer of this has a painful recollection of the loathsome prevalence of drunkenness in some Scottish towns previously to the last quarter of a century, and for nearly a quarter of a century in all, but it never was accompanied by anything like the fearful crime with which it is now continually associated; and this difference he is convinced is attributable mainly to the increased skill and rascality displayed in the adulteration of all sorts of alcoholic liquors. The total suppression of liquor traffic is simply out of the question; but we should not regret to see it so heavily taxed that the drinking of it in relatively large quantities in any shape by the masses would be rendered totally - though not quite tee-totally - impracticable, from sheer want of means. A puzzling problem has just been put before the Home Secretary by Mr. Darrah, a resident of Manchester. Mr.Darrah, it seems, is acquainted with a drunkard who suffers from frequent attacks of delirium tremens, during the existence of which he is obliged to be places in a lunatic asylum. His wife is willing to pay for his retention in safe custody, but the officials declare that they have no power to detain this confirmed drunkard after recovering from the rabid symptoms of the disease. Mr.Darrah asks the Home Secretary, "What can be done to protect the wife and save the man from his own folly ? Mr. Bruce replies as follows. "The Government has announced its intention of introducing a measure for the better regulation of the trade in intoxicating liquors, which it may be hoped will have some effect in diminishing drunkenness and its attendant evils. The method, however, of dealing with persons in the and Mr.Bruce, is not at present prepared to recommend any change in the law with respect to such cases."

The Americans have taken the subject of the disposal of drunkards in hand, and are erecting homes for drunkards, or - Inebriate Homes - as they call them. A site comprising fifteen acres of land, in a pleasant locality, having a fine view of Staten Island and New Jersey, has just been set apart for the erection of what, on such a scale is a novel institution - An Inebriate Home for King's County, New York. A charter has been obtained for the home, and about 30,000 have been appropriated for the purchase of land, and the erection of the buildings. An Act of the Legislature of New York has also been passed, granting it about 1,500 a year from the excise licence fees, and from fines levied in King's County for violation of the excise laws.

The Builder 1869 Vol XXVII 25th September 1869 p.764
Submitted by Alan Longbottom.

Page updated March 12, 2008

Copyright Rossbret 1999-2005. All rights reserved.

If you have any information or photographs that you can add to this site, please email