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Author Topic: The Medway Moral Crusade 1906  (Read 173 times)
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Pete
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« on: March 09, 2017, 14:29:08 PM »

BATTLE WITH VICE - CHATHAM UP IN ARMS.
Soldier's Terrible Temptations.
The battle with vice at Chatham has begun in earnest. Religious workers yesterday canvassed many of the principal residents with the object of obtaining their support in the campaign, with most encouraging results. All sections of the community will be represented at the conference to be held on Tuesday next. It has now been decided that this meeting shall not be public, but delegates of all shades of thought and opinion will be invited to attend and draw up a plan of action for the future. "We must not imagine that we shall not find each step towards a better condition of things hampered by determined opposition," said a prominent member of the purity party to a "Daily Express" representative last night. "Already those whose interests would be injured by cleansing the plague- spot of the Medway' are banding themselves  together. It will be a bitter fight, and we must take the greatest care to guard against precipitate and ill-considered action. We must avoid the pitfalls which caused an untimely end to the last moral crusade started at Chatham.
 
Crusade That Failed
This was live years ago, when a great public meeting was held and a vigilance committee appointed. It seemed as if the pall of vice which hung over the town would once and for all be cleared away. Then came a reaction. A cry was raised that the good name of the town was being injured, and that it was being held up to the execration of the country. The result of this mistaken feeling was that the committee found itself utterly powerless, and soon ceased to exist. Thus victory rested with the powers of evil. There has been in some circles a recrudescence of this idea, and many even among those who empathise with us shudder at the idea of besmirching the fair fame of Chatham. They fail to see that only by the widest publicity can the authorities be forced to take action. The number of cases in our police-courts is out of all proportion to the population. The stipendiary magistrate has again and again denounced from the bench the degraded condition of the town. Nothing has been done, and the pulpit and press are now the only means by which improvement can be brought about. "Remember that it is not Chatham alone which is concerned. All that is bad in Rochester, Gillingham and Strood flows down to the neighbourhood of High-street and the Brook

Soldiers' Temptations
A sergeant in a regiment. stationed at Chatham described the terrible temptations which beset the soldiers stationed there. "We all agree with Kipling," he said, "that single men in barracks do not turn into plaster saints, but it is quite possible for men in barracks to live as sober and upright lives as if they were civilians. At Chatham, however, it takes the strongest minded of men to avoid the traps of drink and immorality set for them at every step. "I say without hesitation that more men lose their good conduct stripes at Chatham than at any other garrison town in the kingdom. "Only last week a friend of mine who had nearly completed his term, without a black mark against his name, exceeded his leave, came back to barracks drunk, and struck the officer of the guard. He is now a. disgraced; and ruined man. "Perhaps the saddest cases are those of young soldiers, without much experience of the world, who come from country villages.  They go away from the old folks with thoughts of the high position to be won, and they return ruined in body and  soul, disgraced from the Army."

Evening Express 9/2/1906
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