A LIFE OF CRIME.
» .—. — A pathetic written appeal was handed to Mr Loveland-Lovcland at Clerkenwell Sessions .lately by Charles Stuart, aged twenty-one ™years, -who pleaded guilty to- piclring^pockets and assaulting tho police at on. East-ond fire. The document read as follows':" — "My Lord, — I shall 'be very gratefulto your lordship it you would, kindly spare "me a few moments of your valuable time to glance your eyes over this poor bit of pleading of mine. "At> the tender age of sir- my moth or and father, who could never agree together, mutually came to the conclusion that it would be better to part. My father went, taki-ig ms with him, -to a lodging-house in Dorset, Street, Spital-fielda—-a street described by -Mr 1 .Mc"Kenrie in an article which appeareddn the Daily Mail a few week.? back as the 'worst street in London, being the resort of- thieves, Jnurderers, and burglars, where the criminals of to-morrow ■re trained to-day, where children. Csix and eight years of age) gamble in the gutter's, and whero babes in armtf learn to sip gin at their mothers' breasts.' "Such was the street, -my lord, in which I was fated to pass my childhood daya, among all the evil "and corruption of v that Unholy neighbourhood, where neither the fear of God nor the law is felt. My life from the age of six years to thirteen was surrounded by all the evil that years of .wickedness and vice could bring to bear ou a mind" 'and character like mine, naturally _weak and ill fitted- to, bear the temptations to which it was hourly subjected. "At the age of .thirteen II 11I 1 was sent to the training-ship Sha&esbnry, where I spent .three of the happiest years of' my lite. On tho expiration' of my time I came home on my father's advice also on the doctor's on- account ' of being ■nbject to walking in. my- sleep ana newly losing my life .once by walking overboard in the English Channel. '1 arrived home about April, 1897, on a Satarday. My parents and my two sitters wer just sitting down at tea, and everything seemed to speak 'of peace and happiness. But how deceiving are appearances at times.. Instead of evarythmg being as it seemed', ,my father was up to his eyes in^debt, being 'in the? clutches; of money-lenders. The crash did- not comcat once. I'rained" employment >, with' the excellent, character from the ship. . . Now commenced the breaking -up of the home. My father went back to Dorset Street to live, I went along with him, »nd.TOy mother and sisters took a little room and furnished it with' what bits of^lhings the creditors had left them. "As a maltsr of courpe, I was recognised and snapped -up at once- by my eld companions, most of whom I soon found had had a taste of prison. I had no inclination whatever to join my old associates in wrongdoing, being as happy at £riy_ work as could be expected under the" circumstances. But all good intentions were destined to have«a fall, and 'to bring me to. what I am, and that through.no fault of my. own.- . On Sunday afternoons all the men were congregated outside one of. the lodging-houses gambling. Me and another little chap, neither of us having anything save ' our trousers and shirts, were eagerly watching the game when down came scfme policemen. . .... My friend and! were locked up and on Monday morning- the magistrate remanded us for a week. So I Tost my employment, and being flattered by my elders about having been in 'stir,' as, they called prison, I began to lose my head, and .thought what a grand thing it was to do as you like, to have no master, and get money without working for it. ... Although I have three previous convictions I have never made a practice of stealing for my living. It is only when out o£ work that I' strayed, and my sins have found me out. " ■ "If, my lord,' you only faintly know the life of temptation, misery, and wretchedness I .have passed through since I was six, having no home to go to, no kind mother at hand to speak loving and gentle words to me, nnd so by her winning 'looks and pleading voice counteract the evil which we all have, some in less degree than others. When. I had finished work for the night there was no bright fire ' and kindly looks to draw my mind from evil ways, but on the contrary a dirty lodginghouse kitchen, old men and women tmoJring dirty, black pipes, with its usual accompaniment — the curse of humanity — drink, and their language more foul than their pipes. . .
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