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HAT in the present disordered ftate of things, there will always be brothels
and prostitutes, is a fact but too indisputable, however unpleasing. Any attempt to prevent this evil, would be no less impoßible than impolitic, in the opinion of many; absurd in itself, and productive of the worst confequences. Now, though we fhould subscribe to this reasoning, and allow this neceffity ; yet surely there is no necesity, that the wretched instruments of passion, the unhappy women assigned to this base service, should endure all the extremities of misery, and perish in troops, unpitied, and unregarded, as if they were not fellow-creatures; and fellow-heirs of eternity. This hath long B
been the voice of humanity. And as the exquisite distresses of deluded young women, have not, could not escape observation, many benevolent wishes have been vented both from the lips and from the pens of different persons *, that some' method might be thought of, some humane scheme devised, for the relief of these pitiable sufferers; for their rescue from calamities, of all others most severe, because, then, without remedy.
But, from whatever cause, the good design rested only in wishes : and no man had either magnanimity, virtue, influence or address enough to carry it into execution : till Mr. DINGLEY rose superior to mean and popular prejudices ; and depending on the goodness of his cause, and the integrity of his intentions, offered to the public in the year MDCCLVII, an excellent plan, peculiarly his own ; to which the following Introduction was prefixed, which does great hosjour to that gentleman, and well deserves the reader's attention.
5. Noble and extensive are the charities already established in this Metropolis ; unfortunate Females seem the only objects who have not yet catched the attention of public benevolence: but we doubt not, it will appear on re
* Among the reft, see the Gentleman's Magazine for April 7754; and the Rambler, No 107.
fection, a task of as great compassion and consequence, necessity and advantage, to provide a place of reception for them, as for any under the protection of the public.
“ Humanity, with its utmost efforts, pleads their cause more powerfully than any thing which can be offered on the subject; and it is obvious to every mind, from its own experience, that there cannot be greater objects of compassion, than poor, young, thoughtless Females, plunged into ruin by those temptations, to which their very youth and personal advantages expose them, no less than those passions implanted in our nature for wise and good ends. Surrounded: by snares, the most artfully
, and industriously laid ; snares, laid by those endowed with superior faculties, and all the advantages of education and fortune ; what virtue can be proof against fuch formidable feducers, who offer too commonly, and too profusely promise, to transport the thoughtless girls from want, confinement, and restraint of passions, to luxury, liberty, gaiety, and joy? And when once seduced, how foon their golden dreams vanish ! abandoned by the seducer, deserted by their friends, contemned by the world, they are left to struggle with want, despair, and scorn; and even in their own defence to plunge deeper and deeper in fin, till disease and death conclude a miserable being.
" It is too well known, that this is the case with most of the Prostitutes in their several degrees, sooner or later, from those pampered in private stews, to the common dregs infesting our streets : and that far the greatest part of those who have taken to this dreadful life, are thus seeking disease, death, and eternal destruction, not through choice, but necessity. The seeds of virtue would exert themselves; but, alas! the possibility is removed. The same necefsity obliging them to prey on the unwary, diffuses the contagion ; propagating profligacy, and spreading ruin, disease, and death, almost through the whole human species.
" What act of benevolence, then, can be greater than to give these real objects of compassion, an opportunity to reclaim and recover themselves from their otherwise loft ftate ; an opportunity to become, of pests, useful members of society, as it is not doubted many of them may and will ?
“ Numbers, it is hoped, amongst our countrymen, famed through every nation for their humanity, will readily and gladly bear a part in so benevolent a design, and rejoice to promote an undertaking, which will at once be a blessing to the community, and an honour to human nature,”
Happy in the approbation of the public, Mr. DINGLEY, with the concurrence of seven worthy friends *, (whose names deserve to be had in remembrarice, and whose characters would do honour to any undertaking, began the generous subscription. These gentlemen made themselves accountable for whatever money should be fubscribed ; which very soon amounted to three thousand pounds and upwards :-sufficient proof of the good dispositions of mankind to so humane an undertaking, and a success, we believe, unparallelled by any charitable proposal. A commodious place in Prescott-Street was immediately engaged for the charity; and, after several previous meetings of the Subscribers, to consider the plan, to choose proper officers, and to settle all requisite preliminaries, The House was opened on the roth of August 1758; when eight unhappy objects were admitted I.
* ROBERT NETTLETON,
# For the Method of Admission, see the Rules Admiffion."