The Eliza Armstrong Case: Bow Street – 2nd Day

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The Eliza Armstrong Case: Being a Verbatim Report of the Proceedings at Bow Street

(Pall Mall Gazette Supplement, October 3, 1885)


Monday, September 7, 1885.

Mr. Poland appeared for the prosecution, instructed by Sir A. K. Stephenson, Solicitor to the Treasury ; Mr. Charles Russell, Q.C., M.P., was for Mrs. Jarrett; Mr. Vaughan Williams for Mr. Sampson Jacques; Mr. Waddy QC, MP, and Mr. Sutherst for Mr. Bramwell Booth and Mdme. Combe; and Mr. Overend for Mdme. Mourez. Mr. W. T. Stead- conducted his own defence.

Mr Vaughan came into court at five minutes to eleven, and the proceedings at once began. The accused were called in the following order:—Mr. W. T. Stead. Mr. Sampson Jacques, Mdme. Combe, Mr. Bramwell Booth, Louisa Mourez, and Rebecca Jarrett.

Counsel having stated for whom they appeared respectively, Mr. Lickford from the firm of Messrs. Lewis and Lewis, said that Mr. Stead had elected to defend himself, but at the same time, he had been requested to attend the court and advise Mr. Stead on certain legal points.

Mr. Vaughan, the presiding magistrate, said that under such circumstances all advice would have to be given privately.


Mr. Poland: Sir, it is now my duty, these defendants being now before you, to state the facts of this case, so that my learned friends who appear for the different defendants may know the nature of the case they have to answer, and that you may also know the facts which I propose on the part of the prosecution to present to you against these persons. Sir, I do not propose to refer in any detail to the various charges. The more convenient course will be at once to state to you fully the facts of the case. The child Eliza Armstrong, the subject of this inquiry, is the daughter of Charles Armstrong—

Mr. C. Russell: I am sorry to interrupt my learned friend, but is there any objection to these defendants being seated?

The magistrate: Certainly not.

Mr. Poland: I was saying that Eliza Armstrong was the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Armstrong. Charles Armstrong, the husband, is a sweep, and has lived with his wife and family for a very considerable period at Charles-street, Lisson-grove, in the parish of Marylebone. This girl was a little over thirteen had an elder sister of about seventeen, who was in respectable service at the time when this matter occurred. There were other members of the family. She had three little brothers, one aged eleven, another seven, another four, and a little sister of two years old—a baby—and she used to assist her mother in nursing that baby. Now, sir, these people seem to have done the best they could for their children and to have brought them up as well as their means would allow, notwithstanding their poor circumstances. The elder sister was in a good situation, and this girl Eliza appears to have been regularly sent to the Board school, and to have been reasonably well educated having regard to her class. At the time when this matter occurred—it commences with the 2nd of June, the day before the Derby day—there was living in the same street a married woman of the name of Mrs. Broughton. Mrs. Broughton and the Armstrong family were known to each other, and you will find beyond all controversy that in former years Rebecca Jarrett and Mrs. Broughton had been on very friendly terms. They had been servants at Claridge’s hotel together, and from time to time Mrs. Broughton had befriended Mrs. Jarrett, and undoubtedly Mrs. Jarrett was in her debt—whether pecuniarily or otherwise, you will know in the course of this inquiry—but I have a packet of letters which will show that Mrs. Jarrett and Mrs. Broughton had been on exceedingly friendly terms. It appears that, in consequence of the knowledge which Rebecca Jarrett had of Mrs. Broughton, she came and spoke to her on Tuesday, June 2, not having been to see her for some time. Mrs. Jarrett then stated to Mrs. Broughton that she had got a very nice little six-roomed house, that she was married, that she lived at Croydon, I think she said—I am not sure that she did not say Wimbledon—but a little way out of London, and that she wanted a girl to assist her in her little house, somebody to do the scrubbing, because she was not able to kneel and do that kind of household work. They chatted together, and Mrs. Broughton mentioned two or three little girls, one aged seventeen, and another sixteen, but these were said to be too old. Mrs. Jarrett said she wanted one of between thirteen and fourteen. I am not going unnecessarily into the details of this matter, but on the Tuesday in question this little girl, Eliza Armstrong, was nursing the baby in the street, and it was suggested whether she would not do to enter the service of this Mrs. Jarrett. On the Tuesday the mother declined to let her go into her service. Rebecca Jarrett left on the Tuesday, and came again on Wednesday, the 3rd June— Derby day. Now, sir, you will find that Mrs. Armstrong before she allowed her child to go into the service of Jarrett had received from Mrs. Broughton a good character of Mrs. Jarrett, and it was in consequence of the representations made by Mrs. Broughton that she allowed her daughter to go into the service of this woman, who was at the time a stranger to her.

Mr. C. Russell: May I suggest that the witnesses for the prosecution retire?

Mr. Vaughan directed the witnesses to retire.

Mr. Poland: Sir, it is right that it should be thoroughly well known that Mrs. Armstrong did not allow her daughter to go into the service of Jarrett until she had received an assurance from Mrs. Broughton that Jarrett was a respectable woman. The arrangement having been made, Mrs. Jarrett said that her husband was a very particular man, and that it would not do for the child to go as she was then dressed, and that she would buy her some clothes. Clothes were bought for the child. She was told to put them on, and somewhere about three o’clock in the afternoon the mother had stated that she would see her off by the omnibus. The mother went away to do an errand, and when she came back the child had been taken away. Mrs. Jarrett took the child away, and Mrs. Broughton saw Jarrett off by the omnibus from the end of the Euston-road towards the Marble Arch. Now, sir, the evidence will be most clear and precise that the child was allowed by her mother to go into the service of Jarrett as a servant for the purpose of earning a living, under the belief that this Jarrett was a married woman, having a husband, who she said was a commercial traveller, and having a little house of her own, where she required some one to do the work of scrubbing, she herself being unable to do it. The child, I believe, was to write once a week to her mother, and to see her once a month. I believe that at the time the child was taken away, Charles Armstrong, the husband, was not at home, but later in the afternoon he knew that his daughter had gone, as he believed, into respectable service. Well, the child was taken by Jarrett in an omnibus to the Marble Arch, where they changed into another omnibus, and Jarrett took this child to a private house in Albany-street, Regent’s Park. The girl has pointed out the house, and the number of it is known. In that house there were the defendant, Mr. Stead, the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, and a young lady whose name we do not know, or it might be that she would be a defendant before you. Mrs. Jarrett and Mr. Stead and this young lady had tea there, and then some further articles of dress were purchased in the neighbourhood—a chemise and drawers—and the child was told to put them on. There they remained for two or three hours.


There is no doubt that an arrangement was made that this child was to be taken for the purpose of being examined to see whether she was a pure girl; and in a hansom cab from Albany-street Jarrett took this girl to the house of Madame Louise Mourez, the defendant before you, at No. 3, Milton-street, Dorset-square, for the purpose of being examined. In the meantime the young lady and Rebecca Jarrett, for some reason or another, had changed hats, and Jarrett, in the hat of the young lady, carried the girl to that place. There was an interview between Jarrett and Mdme. Mourez, and after a little time the girl was left alone in a room with Mdme. Mourez, and was examined in the way which you will have described by the child. She screamed, and when she went back to Jarrett she told her that this French lady was a dirty woman, and complained of the treatment to which she had been subjected. At the time the examination was taking place in the house there were two men in Quebec-street, Oxford-street, one of whom I believe turned out to be the defendant Mr. Jacques. These two men, knowing what had taken place, sent a four-wheeled cab, telling the cabman not to draw up at the house of Mdme. Mourez, but to stop a short distance off, and wait there for a fare. Jarrett and the little girl came from the house and got into the cab together, and the cabman, who will be a witness before you, was told to drive them to Poland-street, Oxford-street. When the cab arrived there Jarrett obtained change at a shop, and the little child then saw the two men, one the defendant Jacques, and the other a tall, thin man, in the street. She was taken by Jarrett into a house, and there she saw the defendant Jacques and the other man, whom I think you will have no doubt was Mr. Stead, because he has described that this child was taken to this house, which he himself states was a brothel. The child was taken into a bedroom in the house. The child naturally thought that she was going into service, and said to Mrs. Jarrett— “What are you taking me about like this for?” To which Mrs. Jarrett replied, “Only just to get a lodging for the night, as I live out of town, and we shall go there to-morrow.” In that house this girl was made to undress and to go to bed; and in that house something in a bottle was put to the child’s nose by Jarrett, and she was told to give it a good sniff. Mr. Stead has himself said that the material was chloroform.

Mr. Russell: Said where?

Mr. Poland: I will prove that. After this had been done Mr. Stead went into the room, and the child, screaming, told Mrs. Jarrett that there was a man in the room. The curtain was drawn up, but the man had gone out, and Mrs. Jarrett told the child not to be frightened. This performance having been gone through, Mrs. Jarrett told the girl to get up and dress herself, as she was going somewhere else. She did so, came out with Jarrett, and the two men were waiting outside. The child was then taken to some house, of which we have not yet been able to find the address, though we no doubt shall, and, after having been kept waiting about an hour in the cab outside that house, she was taken by Jarrett into it late at night, or rather in the morning of the 4th of June. The child thinks it was somewhere about one in the morning when she was taken into this house and put to bed.


Now, sir, it was supposed that this was the address of a lady whose name I am very sorry that I mentioned to you on the last occasion. It clearly was not that house, and I am very sorry that I mentioned the name of Mrs. Combe, and gave the wrong address. But, sir, the child was there put to bed, and early on the following morning the same young lady who had been with Mr. Stead at Albany-street was there, and then there came upon the scene the other defendant and Combe.

Combe is connected with the Salvation Army, and Mdme. Combe told the child that she had got five little children of her own and two big sons in the Salvation Army. (Laughter.) She and the young lady and Mrs. Jarrett went with the child to a railway station in London – I do not know which – and about nine o’clock on the morning of Thursday, the 4th, there were on the platform at that railway station – Rebecca Jarrett, the young lady, Mdme. Combe, and Mr. Stead. Jarrett and Mdme. Combe then took charge of the child, and conveyed her either to Folkestone or Dover, and carried her out of the country, unknown to her father or mother, to the headquarters of the Salvation Army in Paris. Mr. Stead and the young lady on the platform saw them off.


The child arrived in Paris about six o’clock that night, and was detained at the Army headquarters, Quai de Volney. Of course at this time the mother had no reason to doubt that the child was in the respectable service of Jarrett, the friend of her neighbour Mrs. Broughton. Now, sir, the child being in Paris, and being sent there for the purpose of concealment, the mother, not hearing from her, naturally became anxious; and it appears that Jarrett, in order to calm the anxiety of the mother and prevent her making proper inquiries, wrote this letter to Mrs. Broughton. The envelope is not here, but I shall fix the date about the 10th of June. It is signed “Rebecca”. “Mrs. Sullivan” was also a name she went by. The letter is in these terms. “Hope Cottage, High Cliff, Winchester,” and I invite your special attention to the terms in this letter, “Dear Nancy,”— that is, Mrs. Broughton— “I dare say you are looking for this letter from me, but I am so happy to tell you Eliza is alright, and doing well with me.” That is at Winchester.

Jarrett, after leaving this child at the headquarters in Paris, had returned without her to Winchester, and is writing this letter to deceive the mother. “I am so happy to tell you I have bought her a lot more clothes; she looks quite happy. She sends her love to her mother and father and to you. I am on a visit” — this is to account for her not being at Croydon— “and she is with me, stopping for a week, but we go home next week. My love to you and Jack, and mother and father, and all at home. I shall soon come and see you again, if you will allow me.” She is deceiving the person to whom she writes by saying that she is coming home next week—the home in which she said she wanted a little girl to act as her servant. That letter is undoubtedly in the handwriting of Mrs. Jarrett, and for the time put the mother off her guard. Time went on, and the mother and the father heard nothing of their child.


On the 6th of July there appeared an article in the Pal! Mall Gazette, of which Mr. Stead is the editor, and for which article I shall show he is responsible, headed “A Child of Thirteen Bought for £5.” He gives in the article an account of what had taken place with this child, Eliza Armstrong, on Wednesday, the 3rd of June. Of course, it is obvious that the article refers to this child. It speaks of the whole thing that was done on that day—the taking of the child from the mother; the taking to A—— street—that is, Albany-street ; the going to P——, Poland-street; of the examining the child as to its purity. And it states in the article that this child had been bought from the mother for £3 down and £2 more after the certificate of virginity had been given. This part of the story is a vile fabrication from beginning to end. This mother, whatever her faults might be, had not sold her child, and to say that she received £3 down and £2 afterwards is a pure invention. She never set eyes on Mrs. Jarrett after the latter took the girl away from her on the afternoon of Wednesday, the 3rd of June, until she was in custody. And to show, if anything further were necessary, that this account by Mr. Stead relates to this girl, here is a fact which puts the matter beyond all possibility of a controversy. He says that “in a little letter of hers which I once saw, plentifully garlanded with kisses, there was the following ill-spelled childish verse:—

As I lay in bed
Some little thoughts came in my head:
I thought of one,
I thought of two
But first of all I thought of you.

Those lines are stated by Mr. Stead to be in a letter which “I once saw;” and he further says, “I can personally vouch for the absolute accuracy of every fact in the narrative.” Those lines, sir, were in a letter which this girl wrote when she was at the headquarters of the Salvation Army in Paris, and which letter was suppressed, for it never reached her mother. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the letter was stolen; because the child wrote the letter and sent it to her mother before she was in the hands of these people in Paris. It never reached the mother. It appears to have reached Mr. Stead through some of his confederates in Paris, because he says “I once saw” a letter of a child containing those lines. Sir, the other part of the article I cannot read in public. It is too filthy, almost, to be referred to, but it had alarmed the mother most terribly, because the description given would lead the mother to believe that something too terrible to think of had happened to the child. This performance with regard to this child was a was a got-up thing, I think there can be no doubt whatever. It was brought to the knowledge of the mother and father that this article had appeared, and that this was the child referred to, and there could be no doubt about the identity. The mother found that she and her family were vilely traduced. She was described as a drunken woman, and it was said that she and her husband had allowed their child to be sold for prostitution.


Sir, what did the mother do? She was poor, and the father of course was poor. They had a family to support. The child was in the hands of the Salvation Army in Paris. What could she do against such an organization? There are in this country some who interest themselves on behalf of poor people. I do not mention their names, but there were those who interfered on behalf of this woman. She went to Mr. Cooke, at the Marylebone police-court, and made an application with regard to her child, as to how she could trace what had become of her, for the purpose of ascertaining whether these terrible suggestions were true or not. The date was about the 9th or 10th of July, this article having appeared on the 6th, and the next thing you find is that I believe there was a notice in the papers that she had made this application. Mrs. Broughton was communicated with, and was asked, “How came you to allow the child to go to Mrs. Jarrett?” Mrs. Broughton then produced letters to show why she thought Jarrett a respectable woman. Broughton then wrote to Hope Cottage, Winchester, telling Mrs. Jarrett to send back this woman’s child. Now, sir, what does Jarrett then write? A post card: “Winchester, 11th July. Mrs. Broughton, 37, Charles-street, Lisson-grove, London. Saturday, 11th July.” Signed “Mrs. Sullivan.” “Dear Nancy,—I have been very poorly, but Eliza is all right, and doing well, but if any one wishes to see her I will send her up to London next week with a friend of mine.” Fraud upon fraud. There was no child with Jarrett on June 10, for the child was then in Paris. So as to deceive the mother at the same time she wrote a post card to the mother dated Winchester, July 11, 1885: “Your daughter is all right and doing well, but I. have been so poorly I have not been to my own home yet, but as you are anxious to see her she shall come next week.” Now, sir, I ask you, I ask anybody, whether the letter of June 10, those post cards concocted for the fraudulent purpose of making the mother believe that this child was down with this woman at Winchester when she was in Paris, do not these documents speak overwhelmingly for the purpose of showing that the mother’s story of this matter is the true story? This woman says, “I have not been to my own home yet.” What home? Why, where she had a six-roomed house, and a husband who was a commercial traveller, a very particular gentleman, and where Eliza was to do the scrubbing. When you come to read carefully the letter and those two post cards, it is clear beyond all possibility of doubt that the story of the mother was true, and that this was a fraudulent device on the part of this woman to calm the fear of the mother, and to make her believe that the child was with her down in Winchester. It was essential to the purposes of these people who had published this article in the Pall Mall Gazette on July 6 that the child should not be forthcoming to say how she had been kidnapped and imprisoned.


The moment they received these post cards the police went down to Winchester, and on the 15th Inspector Borner went to Hope Cottage, which was a home for fallen women, but could find no trace of the child. Jarrett was not to be found either, nor was she seen until she surrendered herself at Scotland-yard. The thing had now made a great stir. Mr. Bramwell Booth was seen by the police on the 16th of July. He said he did not know the child’s address, but would make inquiries and communicate with the Chief Commissioner, Mr. Monroe. He did not do that. The pursuit of this child now became, if I may use the expression, a little hot, and these people were fearful that even in Paris, in the headquarters of the Salvation. Army, the child might be traced. Then, through the instrumentality of Mdme. Combe, she was taken to the South of France, 396½ miles from Paris. Here is a letter in the handwriting of Mdme. Combe, written on the printed paper of the Salvation Army. It is dated 101, Queen Victoria-street, London, and is addressed to ” Dear Theodore.” There is no date on the letter, but I shall show that it was received by the person to whom it is addressed on Monday, the 13th of July. “Theodore” was M. Berard, the brother of Mdme. Combe. He was a highly respectable gentleman, living at L’Oriol, in the department of the Drome. The letter is written in these terms:—

Dear Theodore,—You will look for the arrival of Edouard, if that has not already taken place, with a little girl thirteen years old. I cannot, for prudence sake, give you at this moment an explanation of her circumstances, but she is a modest little girl, and if you don’t take her in at this critical moment she will be lost body and soul. Take care of her, then, until I release her. Put her to whatever work you like, for she is handy and active, and you can let her go where you like, telling her that I am informed of her behaviour. If you require it, you will be compensated; but if you give her food in return for her work and a little kindness in her desertion, God will lay it to your account. You are a shelter to her. Embrace my son for me, and send me news of him; say that she is a little servant, but not that it is the Army that has got her for you. Edouard, your nephew, is not known as an officer. Try and obtain the Pall Mall Gazette of the past week, and you will see something that will astonish you. Kisses and caresses to the dear ones.— Your affectionate Sister.

So you have, at the time when this inquiry is being made, Mdme. Combe, writing from the headquarters of the Salvation Army in London, to her brother to take charge of the child, and to conceal the fact that the child was sent by the Salvation Army, and the reason is that Edouard, who was to take the child to him, was not known as an officer of the organization. Now, Sir, preparations were being made for the receipt of this child by Berard. On the evening of Monday, the 13th of July, this child was given into the custody of the son of Mdme. Combe, a lieutenant in the Salvation Army, aged twenty-three, who, without any woman attending on them, took the child during the night a journey of 396 miles. I do not impute any misconduct to that young man, but it was an improper thing to do. It was not a prudent thing to do. The child was taken by Lieutenant Combe, and deposited with M. Berard at L’Oriol. I will remark in passing that Mdme. Combe had seen a good deal of this little child, and given her a character which I think she deserves—that she was a modest little girl, and would be an active, handy, and a good child in regard to her position in life. The child was then left with M. Berard, a gentleman of respectability, so far as my information goes, with a wife and children of his own, and an English governess in the house, where she was employed in household work. Being there the child was allowed to write to her mother. I say allowed, because at Paris she had been told by Mdme. Combe not to put any address on her letters. On the 22nd of July she wrote a letter in her own writing, and acting upon the instructions she had received she put no addresses on the letter. The letter begins: ” My dear mother.” I do not propose to read it, but you will see from the style that it is what you would expect a good little girl in her class of life to write. As soon as it was received and the post marks were examined, of course it was endeavoured to trace the whereabouts of the child. It appears that the letter was not posted until the 27th. Whether it had been submitted to head-quarters in the meantime I do not know. The post mark is at a place called Lecaigan, about 130 miles from the house where she was then living. This is of a piece with the rest of this story. The next matter is this. Mr. Bramwell Booth—

Mr. C. Russell here intimated that he would be glad if the letter could be read.

Mr. Poland: Oh! certainly. I shall be very happy to read it. It is:—

My dear mother, I dare say you are thinking of me very much. I should like to know how you are getting on. I is in a very good place in the country. I hope I shall come and see you very soon, and I hope I shall see my sisters and little ——. I love him very much. I is a very good girl, I hope you are not fretting about me, because I is all right. I is not with the lady who brought me. She left me at a place, and was a very long time fetching me again. Give Mrs. —— my love. I sure I did go to a meeting every night to hear them speak about God. They has got a little baby here. I nurse it every day. I has good food to eat, and all I want. Mother, you know I love you very much, and the little baby. I hope she can walk now, and I hope John is a very good boy. I have asked the Lord to bless you. Where I am the people talk French and I am learning to talk it. Good-bye, God bless you and my brothers and sisters, 100 kisses when we meet, from your Eliza.

Then came the lines before quoted. Of course this letter, written by this girl when in this situation, surrounded by the people who were with her—there is no address on it—was a satisfaction so far as the mother was concerned. That letter having arrived, the mother—for these people seemed to think nothing of the rights of the parents—of course was intensely anxious. Where was the child? They decided to go to Mr. Bramwell Booth at the headquarters of the Salvation Army, on the 31st of July, and an inspector went there with the mother.


They spoke to Mr. Bramwell Booth, and the officer reminded him that he had not sent the address of the girl to Mr. Monroe as he had promised to do. Mr. Booth then said that since the interview of July 16 circumstances had very much altered, because, he said, “The child is with some friends of mine in the south of France.” The officer told him that the mother was seeking for the recovery of this child, and Mr. Booth said: ” Oh, since you were here last my position as regards the child is very much altered. She is under my control with some friends on the Continent. She is in a very good situation, and it would be a shame for the mother to have her again.” The officer let Mr. Booth know that Mr. Cooke, the magistrate, had been spoken to on the subject, and Mr. Booth was good enough to say he was willing to make an application to make the child a ward in Chancery. Then he said, “Of course, if the mother really wants her, she had better come with you and I will see her tomorrow”


On the following day (Saturday, August 1) the officer took the mother to see Mr. Booth, who said to her, “Are you the mother?” and she said she was. He then said to her, “You cannot have your child back.” “Why not? ” asked the mother. Then said Mr. Booth, “Have you got £100?” She replied, “No, sir, I am a poor woman.” ” Well,” said he, “that is what it cost me to send her away, and you cannot have her.” The officer, of course, let Mr. Booth know that the mother had been to the magistrate, and wanted the child back, and Mr. Booth said, “Well, won’t you take her wages?” And then he offered to pay to the mother the wages which the child was supposed to have earned. The mother would not take them, and told Mr. Booth that she was alarmed at what she had seen in the Pall Mall Gazette, and that she wanted to show that the vile story about selling her daughter for £5 was a pure fiction. Mr. Booth said, “When I received the child she was pure, and I have a doctor’s certificate to prove that fact.” The mother expressed her joy that he was able to assure her that the child was safe, and had not been molested in the way referred to in the Pall Mull Gazette of July 6. The officer said, “You had better give the mother the address,” and Mr. Booth produced the address from a drawer. It was then given for the first time. Mr. Booth then said, “Well, now, go away and consult your husband; and if you really want the child back, you shall have her.” I may say that the officer, when he offered to produce the certificate, said, “Oh, we will take your word for it ; but if there is such a document we shall have to produce it.” The mother consulted with her husband, and then wrote to Mr. Booth a letter, of which she did not keep a copy, to the effect that she was broken-hearted about her child, and intimating of course that she desired her restoration. The letter was posted on Bank Holiday, August 13. It is not in the terms of a lawyer’s letter— “I and my husband hereby demand that you restore,” &c.—but it was written in terms which made pretty clear to Mr. Booth the real desire of the parents.

Mr. Bramwell Booth having professed to be ready to restore this child to the parents drew up a letter for the purpose of giving possession of the child, which is dated 5th of August. It is written to M. Berard in French. This is the letter:—

Headquarters Salvation Army, 101, Queen Victoria-street, London, 5th August, 1885. To Thomas Berard.—Dear Sir,—We [that is, Bramwell Booth, Mrs. Booth, and the rest of them] beg of you to send the little Eliza Armstrong by the bearer of this authority with a view to take her back to London. Saluting you, and with best thanks for your kindness.

WM. Bramwell Booth

It is clear that M. Berard would not give up the child without the authority of Mr. Bramwell Booth. Now her mother wrote to that address where the child was on the 4th of August. Mr. Booth sent that authority on the 5th of August, and the next thing is that Mr. Booth appears to have afterwards written a letter on the 7th of August to Inspector Borner, which was addressed “Inspector Bowen;” but this was found to be simply a mistake. The letter was as follows:—

101, Queen Victoria-street, London, B.C.. August 7, 1885. 

Dear Sir,— I hear from some friends in Winchester that Mrs. Armstrong went down there yesterday inquiring for her child. I am surprised at this, because you will remember that when she left me the other morning she was to consider with her husband whether they would agree to let the child remain where it is and accept our assurance of its well-being, and to communicate to me her decision through you: Have you heard anything further? From recent statements in the newspapers I cannot tell whether the woman is really anxious to have the child back or whether she is simply being made the tool of others. I rely upon you letting me know what is the fact. I only desire the child’s welfare, and I think it will be a great misfortune if it has to be sent back to its friends.— I am yours faithfully W. Bramwell Booth

Mr. Borner was away on his vacation at the time and the letter did not reach him until very much after the month of August. In the meantime the mother’s letter which she had written on the 4th of August, reached the child at L’Oriol, and on the 14th the child wrote to her mother. The letter was written for her by an English governess who was with M. Berard. In the letter the girl said she received her mothers nice letter, and got the English governess to write for her Then there came the letter written by the governess, in which she says: “You must not be broken-hearted about me (that is Eliza). I am very comfortable.” And then she adds: “Your loving child, Eliza Armstrong.” There is in the child’s handwriting, “Dear mother, God bless you and my father” The governess added a memorandum to say that the child was in a Christian family, and was being taken care of.


It was then determined that the father should go over to L ‘Oriol and claim the possession of his child. The girl’s letter having been received in London on August 17 no time was lost, and he started on the 19th. Of course before this date the matter had been in the hands of the Solicitor to the Treasury, and the moment the letter was brought under his attention and it was shown that the address given by Mr. Booth was the correct one, the officer Von Tornow, went with the father post haste to the address. They arrived at L’Oriol on the 20th and on the morning of the 21st August the officer called in the assistance of the French police and the municipal, authorities. When they got to L ‘Oriol, however the child was not there. M. Berard and his family had gone about thirty miles distant to a place called Plaines des Bex. Then the officer went to M. Berard and asked, “Where is this child?” M. Berard at once produced Mr. Booth’s letter, dated 5th August, gave it up to them, and said. ” That is my authority for not giving up the child, and the child is gone.” Before the arrival of the father the child had been taken possession of and two ladies were to take the girl away back to Paris. But here Captain Raby, of the Salvation Army, who had been connected with Jersey, came upon the scene and instead of the two ladies taking the child away — as she imagined—she found found Captain Raby and another officer, of not so high rank (Laughter.) The child, who cried when she found she had to go with the two men, was taken under the charge of Captain Raby and another man, shortly before the arrival of the father and the officer, to claim that she should be delivered up for nearly 400 miles in the night train back to Paris.


Now, since the matter had been in the hands of the Treasury, the pursuit got still hotter, and so the child is is brought back to London and taken to the private house of Mr. Stead, who lived with his wife and had got children of his own, at Wimbledon. The child is safely deposited there on the 25th of August, and there was another gentleman brought upon the scene — Mr. Thicknesse, Secretary of the Minors’ Protection Association, and he appears to have thought it his duty as representing that society, the child being undoubtedly a minor, to interfere. He appears to have seen Mr. Stead, and then got from him this letter for Mrs. Armstrong, dated, “Pall Mall Gazette, Northumberland-street, Strand, August 22, 1885.” It is signed, “Yours truly, the Chief Director.” “The Chief Director” — I believe that means some commission— (Mr. Jacques: “Everybody knows”)—people associated with together for raking up matters which they had better have left alone. (Laughter.) Sir, you will hardly credit that “the chief director,” after the story I have told you, writes in these terms:—”I am informed to-day for the first time that you wished your daughter Eliza restored to you.” He had been rather late in arriving at that conclusion. He actually had to wait for the Secretary of the Minors’ Protection Society to satisfy him that the mother and father had been brokenhearted about the child and really wanted it back. The letter went on:—

She is well taken care of and very happy, but, of course, if you and Mr. Armstrong really wish to have her returned to you, I am, and always have been, perfectly ready to comply with your request. As yet, however, you have not informed any one with whom I have been in communication—whether the police or the Salvation Army people—that you desired her to he taken from a good situation in order to have her back at home. If, however, you should now inform me that you want to have her back, I shall deliver her over to you on receipt of your letter to that effect. I would suggest, however, that if you only wish to satisfy yourself that Eliza is all right and safe, that you and Mr. Armstrong should see for yourselves, and that then she should return to her situation, where she is giving satisfaction and doing well.


Well, sir, the Chief Director had written this letter and given it to Mr. Jacques, who is connected with the Pall Mall Gazette office, and who I may fairly describe as Mr. Stead’s fidus Achates. Mr. Jacques went with the secretary of the Minors’ Protection Society on Sunday, August 23, and saw Mrs. Armstrong, and when she read the letter she said, “Of course I want my child.” Of course she did. She would not take all that trouble unless she wanted her child back. It was arranged that on the following morning, the 24th of August, they would call, and she was told that she could go and see her child. She did not know where the child was. Mr. Jacques said to her. “Don’t say anything to the police about this: we will be here, and you will see your child. Don’t say anything to anybody until we call upon you.” She said. “Oh, very well,” but shortly after that, however, Inspector Borner came to see Mrs. Armstrong. The mother and the eldest sister of the child, about seventeen years of age, were to be taken at ten o’clock in the morning to see the child. When Mr. Jacques called he found Inspector Borner there, and they all went together to Mr. Stead’s house at Wimbledon. Mr. Stead was not there, but his wife was. You can understand, as the mother had not set eyes on the child since she was taken away on the 3rd of June, the kind of interview which took place in the presence of Mrs. Stead between the mother and child and her sister. Mrs. Stead—a lady who acted as a lady might be expected to act—said, “Don’t let us stay ion the room. Let the mother and the sister be with the child for half an hour and talk together.”


The mother then heard from the girl that she had been well treated since she was taken abroad, and that the terrible suspicion she entertained was not justified. Mr. Jacques asked the mother” Do you want to take the child away?” “Of course I do,” said the mother.” “Why not leave her?” he said; “it would be better for her. Here are her wages, £2 10s. The wages are doubled,” and he handed her over £2 10s. Mr. Jacques tried to induce her to allow the child under the control and in the custody of the Pall Mall Gazette people and the Salvation Army people. But the mother said, “No, my husband wants the child, and the child must be given up.” Mr. Jacques said, “I suppose you won’t mind signing a paper that the child is alright?” She consented, and so Mr. Thicknesse of the Minor’s Protection Society, produced a paper which was drawn up, and which was in fact a receipt for a child. I cannot say if it was stamped. (Laughter.) — It was as follows:—

August 24, 1885

I have received my daughter Eliza safe and sound, together with double the wages agreed upon for all the time she has been away. My daughter tells me that she has been very happy and comfortable, that the people with whom she has been have been very kind to her. I am quite satisfied that she has been subjected to no outrage or bad usage.— Elizabeth Armstrong (Witness)

Ralph Thicknesse, Hon. Se. to Minor’s Protection Committee. 1. Stne Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, W.C.

I do not say, continued Mr. Poland, that she had been outraged when she was taken out of this country to France on Thursday, the 4th of June; but she had been outraged in this way, when she was falsely and improperly detained and imprisoned, kept away from her mother and her family, and the feelings of the father and mother were outraged, as I will show that the law holds these people responsible.

You have in this case two different parts played by these people. You will have the evidence, of course, of the mother and the father of the child; and all those various matters which I have referred to I shall prove before you today, on the sworn testimony of these witnesses, and I do not know whether any attempt will be made now to blacken the character of the husband, who is said to be unfeeling and drunken, or of the mother, who is said to be drunken and brutal. You will see for yourself, sir, these witnesses in the box, and whether, for their class in life, they have not conducted themselves as well as respectable persons of that kind can be expected to do. They had lived in the same neighbourhood for years and years, and their children seemed respectable and well cared for, as the child Eliza was herself. I may just mention that Mr. Jacques after he left Wimbledon and came to the Treasury Office was then wearing a beard and moustache, and the girl recognized him. I see that since that day he has shaved, and has materially altered in appearance.


Now, sir, what does Mr. Stead himself say of this matter? I shall briefly call your attention to the account which Mr. Stead gave of this matter on the 21st August at St. James’s Hall. He made a speech on the subject. After he first had stated how benevolent he was, some one in the meeting called out “Armstrong,” and then he gave an account of his conduct in the Armstrong case. I have got a copy from the shorthand writer’s notes, but shall just read it from the printed report. Mr. Stead said: “I will tell you all about Armstrong”—

Mr. Russell: Read the early part.

Mr. Poland: Certainly.

The following is the report as read by Mr. Poland, with his comments:—

Mr. W. T. Stead, who was received with loud applause, said: Ladies and gentlemen, I have wanted for some time past an opportunity to speak to those who have read what I have had to say—to speak with them face to face quite frankly, quite candidly—to tell them what I thought to be the straight truth. I know I shall offend several people. I do not believe there is one person on this platform that agrees with me right through from beginning to end, and hence I feel so very much the kindness and charity and generosity of so many good men and good women who have backed me up and given me a certificate of character, although they knew that I was unsound on very many articles of faith. I am very much obliged to them all, but I have been rather sorry sometimes when I have thought how those good ladies, especially those who had said that I had done a right and good thing; might feel embarrassed when afterwards I did something that they thought was neither right nor good; and I am always doing that which people think is neither right nor good. Those who gave me a certificate for my right and good conduct in the past have said: “Oh, goodness! if we had only known what he was going to de next!” Now nobody ever does know what I am going to do next, not even I myself, and therefore I feel that those who have been so kind and good to me, speaking so warmly, far beyond anything I could deserve for what I have done, took a great risk upon themselves if they thought that by giving me a certificate upon one occasion they were rendered morally responsible for everything that I was going to do on any subsequent occasion. Now, here I stand, perhaps the most abused and the most bepraised person in all England dating the last eight weeks. The abuse I do not think that I deserve. (“Armstrong”) I will tell you about Armstrong. There is Mrs. Booth standing here as the representative of the Salvation Army, who has been abused about Lizzie Armstrong, and I say that Mrs. Booth and General Booth, and all the Salvation Army who have been abused about Lizzie Armstrong, are as innocent of everything concerning taking that girl away from her home as Mr. Stansfeld is. They had absolutely nothing to do with it. (Loud applause.) I take some shame to myself that I have not taken an early opportunity of clearing the Salvation Army absolutely from all responsibility in the matter, and I alone, standing before you now—I am solely responsible for taking Lizzie Armstrong away from her mother’s house. (Loud applause.)

Mr. Poland: I did not see what they should applaud that for.

And I say this, that those good men and philanthropic strangers and others who are so anxious to restore that child to her mother’s house are taking upon themselves a responsibility greater by far than anything that the Secret Commission of the Pall Mall Gazette ever took upon itself in the whole course of investigation. We took that child from a place that was steeped in vice [Mr. Poland: Still this libel on the father and mother]— from a mother who has admitted that she was going to a brothel as she thought, [Mr. Poland: If the mother’s statement is true this is a vile falsehood, and to have printed it is a foul libel] and instead of taking her to a brothel [Mr. Poland: Mark this] we placed her in good and Christian guardianship. (Great cheering ) [Mr. Poland: The benevolent Mdme. Combe and Mr. Booth.] I ought so make one explanation; we did take that girl to a brothel for about half an hour; she did not know it was a brothel, she simply knew she was going to an hotel, [Mr. Poland: An hotel at one o’clock in the morning, and to get up from the hotel and go to another hotel!] but no suspicion or shadow of a thought of anything wrong crossed that girl’s mind; we took her there, and we took her away from there, and placed her in the hands of the Salvation Army, who had absolutely nothing whatever to do with taking her from her mother’s house, and nothing whatever to do with taking her to the brothel afterwards, and yet they have had to bear contumely, reproach, and slander from people who knew, because I have told them myself, that I alone was responsible, and the Booths had nothing to do with it. (Cries of “Shame.”) . If they had only come and asked me, instead of raising all this hubbub [Mr. Poland: The mother and father trying to get back their child is called a hubbub] about people who had absolutely nothing to do with the taking away of the child, I could have put them straight in five minutes. But they never looked near at hand.

Later in his speech Mr. Stead said:—

Supposing my little daughter, who is only four years old, was to be taken away and interrogated by some fiend in human shape, and I had no chance of finding her except by making a revelation, would you say I ought not to make that revelation? As long as these crimes can be committed in secret places of the world and can be done secrecy and quietly, they will go on being done. They are being done. Yes, and when Bishops write to me and say, “‘You have done your work.” Done it? I have hardly begun it. (Loud applause and “Bravo!”) I say that even now and every week since we published the first number of the “Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon,” when all London has been ringing with the cry of the newsboys, when I see the Pall Mail Gazette in every street and in every hand, I say that I know—not as a matter of hearsay, but of Absolute fact—that the deeds which we have exposed have been going on, and are going on to this very moment.

I shall now read a detailed account, because when this child had been given up to the mother on Monday, August 24, Mr. Stead wrote an article giving an account of his conduct from beginning to end, which appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette of the 25th. On that day Mr. Stead went away for a holiday to Switzerland, but put this in his paper before he went.


It is headed “The Case of Eliza Armstrong,” and is by “the Chief Director of the Secret Commission.” Mr. Poland read as follows:—

Before closing the Reports of the Secret Commission I take the opportunity of saying a final word about the case of Eliza Armstrong, who was yesterday handed over by my instructions to her mother.

Mr. Poland: So there is no doubt about the part of the Chief Director in this matter.

It was no part of our original intention to mention any names, and but for the intervention of fussy ignorance and unworthy jealousy, none of the persons of whose injured feelings so much has been heard would ever have suffered a single pang. That owing to such intervention even the humblest of the dwellers in Marylebone should have experienced even a moment’s uneasiness no one regrets more than myself. At the outset of our inquiry we were informed that children of twelve and thirteen were procured by brothel keepers and decoy girls, examined by midwives, taken to brothels, and there drugged or intoxicated, and violently outraged. One case in particular of a child just under thirteen who was ruined by force in a certain brothel—she shrieking in vain the while for her mother, and crying to be taken home—came before us, but it was a matter of evidence not of knowledge. In order to verify the possibility and the facility with which such crimes could be committed, I was at that early stage in the inquiry compelled to employ an agent in whose present integrity I firmly believe, but who had at one time kept a brothel in Marylebone—

Mr. Poland: I do not know if this is intended for Jarrett. We shall probably hear hereafter.

Mr. Russell: Certainly it is intended for Jarrett.

..But who had at one time kept a brothel in Marylebone, and was believed by her old friends still to be living a life of sin. If it were to be done again I should have no need to use an agent. I could tomorrow buy a child twelve years of age direct from her mother for £4, and get a written receipt certifying that she was sold for prostitution; but at that time I was a novice, and had to rely upon agents.

Mr. Poland: I should consider Mr. Stead a very credulous man indeed if he believes that there is an English mother in poor circumstances who would sell her child for prostitution, and give a receipt certifying what she had done. They might trick the mother, as they did in this case; but as to there being any mothers, either in the upper or middle classes, who are prepared to sell their children for that purpose, I would not believe it. I have some experience of vice in the metropolis, and I believe it is a foul libel to say and print that any English mother among people would sell her children for such a purpose. The statement continued:—

My agent, who had no monetary interest in the matter, and was pressed most unwillingly into the service, to make some atonement for the crimes she had committed in her past life by exposing the method of procuration and seduction, informed me, after making inquiries, that she knew where she could buy a girl of thirteen for £4.

Mr. Poland: He had a suspicion that she had got possession of the child by fraud. What she told Mr. Stead we shall see afterwards.

The bargain was £3 down and £2 after examination by a midwife had proved her to be all right. I was told that the bargain was not made direct with the mother, but through the intermediary of a neighbour. As I only wanted the child in order to enable me to verify the facts already reported to me, of the ease with which procuration, certification, drugging, and rape could be accomplished, and then to rescue her from what appeared to be most demoralizing surroundings, I consented. I paid £1 down on the day of delivery, and subsequently gave £2 for transmission to Charles-street.

Mr. Poland: The mother never saw the child after she was taken away that afternoon. The payment of the £3 was fiction, the £2 was fiction; in fact, the whole thing was fiction.

The girl was brought to me (Mr. Stead) as stated.

Mr. Poland: That is, to Albany-street, where he was with the young lady.

She knew nothing about it, believing, as all girls similarly procured do, that she was going to a situation. She was right in that belief; but before she went to her situation she was taken first to the midwife, and then to the identical brothel where the little girl had been outraged of whom I have spoken, and who so far as the outrage is concerned is the original of “Lily.”

Mr. Poland: If the story in the Pall Mall Gazette is all true as to this child not being Lily, but some other child, this is as devoid of reality and is as much fiction as the other story is:—

She smelt the chloroform bottle, and dozed off into a gentle slumber, from which unfortunately she woke with a start when I entered the room to see that she was really asleep.

Mr. Poland: He enters the girl’s room, and the girl cried, “There’s a man in the room,” and he went out again.

I instantly disappeared, and she said the other day that she thought it was all a dream.

Mr. Poland: She says it was not a dream. She has a very vivid recollection of everything that occurred.

After remaining there half an hour, she was taken to the house of a respectable lady—[Mr. Poland: We cannot get the address of that respectable lady, but we hope to find her]— where she slept, and next morning I sent her off to France, where she was placed in a situation by the Salvation Army. The girl was kept quite ignorant about everything and was much attached to my agent—”a very kind lady,” so she told me on Sunday, “whom I would like to see again.”

Mr. Poland: “The very kind lady was Jarrett, whom she had only seen two or three days in Paris.

Mr. Waddy: The very kind lady was Mdme. Combe.

Mr. Poland: I think you are wrong; the lady referred to was Jarrett.

Mr. Stead: Mr. Poland is right.

Excepting the momentary surprise (Mr. Poland remarked “Surprise! indecently assaulted”) of the midwife’s examination, which was necessary to prove that a little harlot had not been palmed off upon us, she experienced not the slightest inconvenience. It will be seen from the above that “Lily” was not Eliza Armstrong [Mr. Poland: Demonstrating she was. The quotation from the letter proves it], but that we took her all unwitting over the ground up to the very point at which another poor girl had actually been outraged before we picked her off the streets.

Mr. Poland: “Took her off the streets!” Defrauded the mother of her by fraud and false representations. That is what is called “picking her off the streets,” as if she was a little baby found.

In no other way could we have proved by our own personal knowledge that a midwife would certify for immoral purposes, would sell chloroform for drugging the victim, or that a brothel keeper would allow a child so young to be admitted to her premises for purposes of violation. I may say that I kept personal watch over the girl from the time she left the midwife until she was safely homed for the night, and that nothing could exceed the care which was taken to avoid suggesting any impure thought to the child’s mind, who has now been restored to her mother, safe, sound, and much improved both in appearance and condition.


Mr. Poland : Now, sir, here we have this Mr. Stead, assisted by Mr. Jacques, assisted by Mdme. Combe, assisted by Jarrett, assisted by Mdme. Mourez, assisted by Mr. Bramwell Booth, because he is speaking by the card when he says the Salvation Army people had nothing whatever to do with taking the girl away. Jarrett, whether she had joined it at the time or not, was now in the Salvation Army.

Mr. Russell: She has got nothing to do with the Salvation Army. She is in the service of Mrs. Josephine Butler.

Mr. Poland: Well, she surrendered in company of a Captain Jones of the Salvation Army. (Laughter.) Here you have, first, the obtaining of the possession of this child, the carrying off of this child, the submitting her to these various examinations. The next thing is that Mdme. Combe, who is connected with the Salvation Army, the very night the child was taken from her mother, taking her away out of the country. There is, therefore, the taking of the child from the parents’ possession, the harbouring the child, keeping her from the possession of the parents by those various devices against the expressed requirements of the mother and the father. I will not trouble you longer now. I have gone through the whole story from beginning to end, and I will ask any one to just picture to yourself, if you can, a young child just over thirteen, taken from her parents and then submitted to the treatment to which this child was subjected in on the night in question, and carried away among strange people abroad. Of these I will say nothing. No one imputes misconduct towards the child when she was sent away out of this country. They were very kind to the child. They sent her to Salvation Army meetings and made her do household work, because they suspected it was better for the child than to be with her father and mother.


But as to the conduct before, you will find that the law deals with such conduct in the way which the charge entered in the case of Rebecca Jarrett, and in the way the various summonses taken out against these people show. Mr. Stead says, “I am alone responsible.” I think, if he will take my advice, he will answer for himself. I think he will find that he has quite enough to answer for. (Slight laughter.) ” I am alone responsible.” According to the law of this country, a man cannot take upon himself the responsibility of criminal acts done by others. He must answer for himself. You will hear the evidence brought here on behalf of the public authorities. The Treasury has taken up this case because Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong could not do what persons in higher classes of life could have done, that is, take out a habeas corpus. I will ask you, sir when you have heard the evidence which I shall call, whether this is not a case in which you will think it your duty to send all these persons to the Central Criminal Court to take their trial upon the charges brought against them. I shall now proceed to take the evidence of the facts I have laid before you. (Applause, which was at once suppressed.)


Replying to questions by Mr. Poland, she said: I was thirteen years of age last April. Up to June last I had been living at 32, Charles-street, Lisson-grove, with my father, Charles, and my mother, Elizabeth Armstrong My eldest sister, Elizabeth, seventeen years of age, was out at service, while my three young brothers, aged eleven, seven, and four years, were at home. There was also the baby, whom I used to mind. I used to go to the Board school. We have been living in Charles-street for some years. There was also living, at No. 37 in the street, a Mrs. Broughton. On Tuesday, the 2nd of June, I went to the house of Mrs. Broughton, who had sent for me. There was there another woman— the prisoner Jarrett. I had never seen her before.

What took place in her presence? — She asked me if I wanted to go to service.

What did you say?— I said I would go and ask my mother.

Did she say what the service was?—No, she did not say the lady’s service.

You then went and spoke to your mother?—Yes.

It is no use saying what passed between you and your mother; but you spoke to your mother and then returned to Mrs. Broughton’s?—Yes, I then went back along with my mother to Mrs. Broughton’s.

What took place?—Jarrett asked mother if I might go to service?- Mother said, “No.”

Did your mother say anything else” — She asked Jarrett if she could not get another servant at the place where she lived! Jarrett said she could do so, but she thought the girl (witness) would like to go to a good home. Then mother went away.

What did Jarrett say there was to do?—Jarrett said I would have to scrub, because she could not kneel, while she would do the dusting. Jarrett said she had a French girl, but she wanted to go home to her parents.

Did your mother say whether you were to go?— Mother said “No” —she would not let me go. I then left with my mother, leaving Jarrett and Broughton together. On the 3rd June, the Derby day, in the morning, mother spoke to Mrs. Broughton about Jarrett. Afterwards—about eleven o’clock—mother and I saw Jarrett and Broughton in Mrs. Broughton’s room. Mother told Jarrett that I must have some good clothes to go in; and Jarrett said she would buy me some, because, she said, her husband was a particular man.

It was arranged that you should go into her service. —No answer.

Up to that time you had heard the prisoner’s name as Mrs. Sullivan?—Yes.

And had you heard where “the good home” was situated?—At Wimbledon, I think.

Jarrett afterwards took me out to buy me clothes. We were alone. She first bought me a pair of boots at Chandler’s, in Marylebone. The boots were taken back to Mrs. Broughton’s, where I put them on. I afterwards took Mrs. Jarrett to a clothes shop (Davis’s) in Edgware-road, where she bought me a new frock, and she bought a hat at Thompson’s, also a necktie and scarf. We then went back to Broughton’s, where I put off my old things and put on the new things. I then went home, when I had dinner with my father and mother, Mrs. Sullivan remaining at Broughton’s. This was about half-past two o’clock. We started at three o’clock. When I left home mother was against the door, and she said she would come and see me before I went off. She went round to the school to give my brother the key of the house to hold while she went to see me off.

While your mother was round at the school what did Jarrett say?—She said it was time to go, and Mrs. Jarrett, Mrs. Broughton, who was there, and myself went to the omnibus. Mrs. Broughton and Mrs. Sullivan went into a public-house. On coming out, they joined me, and took me to the omnibus, where Mrs. Broughton left us.

How long after your mother was gone to the school did they take you to the omnibus?—Mother was a long time gone.

Your mother bid you “Goodbye”?—She kissed me beside the door before I went.

You went along the Edgware-road to the Marble Arch? —Yes.

Then did you go into another omnibus?—I cannot remember.

You then went into a house to have tea?—Yes.

Do you know that house now?—Yes, it is in Albany-street.

Have you pointed it out to Inspector Borner?—Yes.

Who was in at first?—Mrs. Sullivan and a lady.

Who came afterwards?—Mr. Stead.

Mr. Poland (to Mr. Stead): Stand up.

Mr. Stead complied with the request.

Is that the gentleman?—Yes.

You had tea together?—Yes, along with Mr. Stead, Mrs. Sullivan, and the middle-aged lady who was there at first. Was anything said as to the people where you had tea? —No.

You went out to buy some clothes?—Mrs. Sullivan took me out to buy a chemise, a pair of drawers, and a frock. We then returned to Albany-street. Mr. Stead had gone home before we left the house.

At that time you had not heard what his name was nor what he was doing there?— No, sir.

He had tea with you?— Yes.

Had you heard the name of the other lady?—Yes, sir—oh, no sir.

After putting on the things which had been purchased, what did the woman Jarrett say to you. —She was looking at some letters on the table first.

When you changed your things, did she do anything to your hair?— The other lady said she ought to cut my hair and frizz it up. I said, “Mother won’t allow it,” and she did not cut it. We left the house shortly afterwards. But before that the women changed hats, Mrs. Sullivan putting on the lady’s hat.

When you got out there, was a hansom cab at the door?— Yes.

(The court at this stage (1.15) adjourned for luncheon)


(The court resumed at 2.15)

Mr. Poland said it would be a great public convenience if the magistrate announced the days on which the examination would be taken

Mr. Vaughan said he proposed to sit tomorrow (Tuesday) all day, also on Saturday, and on Monday in next week, and then they would adjourn according to arrangement.


Eliza Armstrong resuming, said in continued examination-in-chief by Mr. Poland: Jarrett and I got into a hansom cab at the door. She did not tell me where we were going, but I heard her give the direction to the cabman—Milton-street, Dorset-square. The other lady said she would walk up and meet us at the place. Jarrett and I went into a house at which the cab stopped.

Did you see any one outside of the house?— Yes, some gentleman.

Could you tell whether he was an Englishman or a foreigner?—He was French.

Did Jarrett say anything to him?—No, sir.

Jarrett and I went into the house, a servant opening the door for us. Jarrett asked for “madam.” That is “Madame” (the prisoner Mourez stood up). “Madame” came into the room.

Did you know whether she was a Frenchwoman?—She could only speak English a little bit.

When “Madame” came in what did Jarrett say?— No answer.

Then what took place?-They took me into another little room.

Before they took you away, what was said? —The were talking, but I could not tell what they were talking about.

Had Jarrett and “Madame” been away at all ?-No, Sir.

Then “Madame” took you away into another room? -Yes Jarrett remaining in the other room.

When you got into the other room, what took place?— “Madame” lifted my clothes and touched me with her hand.

Where were you when this took place?—I was standing up by the side of her.

What were you doing when she did this?— I was trying to get away.

Did you say anything?— No, sir.

What did she do when you tried to get away ?—Then she let go of me.

Did she say anything to you before she did this ?— No, sir.

Was the door of the room open or shut?—Open

Did you call out at all?—No, sir.

Did she hurt you?—No, sir.

Then your clothes were let down?—Yes.

Then what did she do? — She took me out of the room.

Where to ? — To the next room.

Was that where Jarrett was? — Yes.

What did “Madame” do?— She said, “Stay there till a gentleman comes in.”

Did you say anything to Jarrett as to what had happened?—I said ” Madame” was a “dirty” woman.

Did Jarrett say anything to that?— No, sir.

Did Jarrett say anything about you?—They both went out of the room then.

Did “Madame” say anything about you before they left the room?—No. Jarrett and “Madame” were away about a quarter of an hour. Then they called me to go to a cab, and Jarrett and I left the house.

Did you see any money paid or paper given?—No. Outside there was a four-wheel cab waiting. I was carrying a parcel of the things I had changed at Albany-street. I cannot tell you at what time this happened—it was very late, I know.

Had you seen at this time by the house or near it the lady you had seen in Albany-street or Mr. Stead— No.


I did not hear where Jarrett told the cabman to drive to, but we were driven to Poland-street, where we stopped opposite a ham-and-beef shop, where Jarrett got change, in order to pay the cabman.

At that time did you see some men?—Yes, two. Me and Mrs. Sullivan walked up the street, and these two men followed us. We went into a house next door to the ham and beef shop, and the two men did so too. The two gentlemen went in first—into a back room upstairs, on the first floor. Jarrett and I then went upstairs into the front room on the same floor, which was a bedroom.

One of the gentlemen have you seen since?—I know Mr. Jacques.

Was he one of the two gentlemen ?—Yes.

Was one of the gentlemen a man you afterwards saw at Mr. Stead’s house on the 24th of August, and subsequently at the Treasury ?—Yes.

The other man—what sort of a man was he ?—I did not look at him, sir.

You were in the front bedroom, with Mrs. Jarrett with you; and the two men were in the back room?—Yes.

While you were there, did the two men come into the room?—Yes.

Before you undressed?—Yes.

Did you see the lady of the house?—Yes; she came into the room.

Was there something brought to drink?—Yes; some whisky, I think.

Did you have some lemonade?—Yes. Did the two men and Mrs. Jarrett drink the liquor?— The men took their drink into the other room.

Then did you speak to Mrs. Jarrett?—She told me to look at a book.

Did you say anything to her—did you say “What does all this mean?”—No, sir.

What did you say to her?—I never said anything.

A little while afterwards Jarrett told you to go to bed? —Yes.

Did she say why you were to go to bed there?—No, sir.

Did she say to you, we live at Wimbledon, but this is not Wimbledon?—She said we were to stay there for the night and go to Wimbledon tomorrow morning.

Did you look at the pictures? [Mr. Waddy: She only said she was asked to look at a book.]—There were some pictures in it.

You undressed and went to bed?—Yes. I asked Jarrett if she were going to bed too. She said she was waiting for the young lady to come.

What was she doing when you undressed and went to bed?—She was looking at a book.

Can you tell what time it was then?—No.

Did Mrs. Jarrett then come to bed?—Yes; but she did not undress—she only laid down alongside of me on the bed.

Did she do anything to you?—She put something on a handkerchief—I could not see what it was.

What did she do with the handkerchief?—Put it up to my nose.

Did you smell anything?—Yes, a funny smell. Did she say anything when she gave you this?—She said it was scent.

Did she say what you were to do?—She said, “Give it a good sniff up.”

What did you do after the handkerchief was put to your nose?—I threw the handkerchief by the side of the bed.

Where had she put the handkerchief?—Upon my nose.

Did you sniff it or not?—Yes. Mrs. Jarrett then got up, and I then heard somebody at the door, which was open.

Did anybody come in?—Yes, sir.

Did you see who came in?—There were curtains all around the bed, and I could not see.

You were undressed in bed at this time?—Yes.

What did you do?—I could hear a voice, and I could tell it was a man’s voice.

What did you do?—I screamed out; I said, “There is a man in the room.” Jarrett said, “What is the matter?” I heard a man go out.

Then she said to you, “What is the matter?”—Yes.

What did you say?—I said, “There is a man in the room.”

And she put the curtain up, and said, “Why, there is no man in the room.” I said, “No, because he was gone out of the room.” She then left the room. She was not away long.


When she came back she said, “Get up and dress yourself, because there are too many men in the house.” We then dressed ourselves—Jarrett putting on her hat and jacket—and we went out, going away in a four-wheel cab, which was at the door. A man got on the box—it was the other man, not Jacques. I cannot describe that man. I heard no directions given to the cabman. It was very late, but I cannot tell the hour when we left the house in Poland-street. We drove a long way, but I cannot tell the direction in which the cab went. We stopped at a large house, but we did not get out. The man on the box went into the house. We were kept waiting there about an hour, when the man came out at last saying it was “all right, we could go in there for the night.” Mrs. Jarrett had not said anything to me while we were waiting. Jarrett and I went in, while the man went away. We went into a bedroom, and we went to bed. This was some time after midnight, I think. She told me I would go to her house the next morning.

The next morning, while you were at breakfast, did some ladies come?—Yes, Mdme. Combe, and the lady who had had tea with us in Albany-street.

Is that Mdme. Combe (Mdme. Combe rising)?—Yes.

Was that the first time you had seen Mdme. Combe?—Yes.

Who told you who Mdme. Combe was?—The young lady whom I had seen before said, “This is Mdme. Combe.”

Did Mdme. Combe say anything to you?—She asked me if I would like to go to service. I said “No” at first. Mdme. Combe and Mrs. Sullivan then went into a room by themselves. I was at this time sitting crying. After some time they came back and sat down without saying anything. Then Mr. Stead came in and told us to come down, the cab was ready. Mdme. Combe had told her that she had some little children of her own, and two sons in the Salvation Army. I was taken out to the cab, Mdme. Combe, Mrs. Sullivan, Mr. Stead, and myself getting into the cab.

Had any of them told you where they were going to take you to?—No, sir. The young lady suggested that I should have a cloak to go in, as I was going to a better place, and the cloak was purchased for me.

Then you were taken to a railway station in London?—Yes.

But you don’t know what station it was ?—No, sir.

Then you were taken away by the train by Mdme. Combe and Jarrett?—Yes.

Who saw you off?—Mr. Stead, and the lady.

You are wearing the cloak that was purchased?—Yes.

Were you told where you were going?—I did not know where I was going till I got to Paris. We went by train, then crossed the water in a steamer, and then took rail again, getting to Paris at six o’clock in the afternoon. I was then taken to the headquarters of the Salvation Army there. Mdme. Combe and Jarrett stayed there that night. I knew it was the headquarters of the Salvation Army, because of the presence of the girls, the sisters. I was there for weeks, and sold the War Cry in the streets. On the day following my arrival, Friday, June 5, Jarrett spoke to me about going away. She said, “I am going home today, to get the place ready for you to come in,” and she sent out Mdme. Combe to buy me some more clothes.

Mdme. Combe was there then. Mrs. Jarrett went away. I remained there for some time. I saw Miss Booth there. She was known as the Maréhal. There were other women and girls there. A Miss Green was also there. She was the cook.

After you had been there some time did you write a letter to your mother?—Yes.

How long had you been there then?—I can’t say.

Did you put any address on that letter?—No, sir.

Had any one said anything to you about the address?— Yes

Who was that?—Mdme. Combe.

What did she say?—Not to put the address where I was, for of course mother would go and tell Mrs. Jarrett.

Did you direct this letter yourself?—Yes.

How did you address it?—”Mrs. Armstrong, 32, Charles-street, Lisson-grove, Marylebone.”

Did you give it to any one to post?—Yes, the captain. Another young girl gave me the paper and envelope and a stamp, which I put on it.

You know some little verses?—Yes. In that letter to your mother did you write your verse?—I can’t remember.

You knew the verses before you went to Paris?—Yes. Did you receive any answer to that letter?—No.

After being in Paris some weeks something was said about going away?—Yes. Mdme. Combe’s son spoke to me. He is called Lieutenant Combe. He is about twenty, and wears glasses. He is French, but speaks English. I was told to get ready to leave Paris. About what date was that?—I can’t say.

Mr. Poland: I can fix it about the 12th of July.

You left Paris?—Yes.

Who took you?—Lieutenant Combe. We started at night, about half-past eight.

Were you taken by night by him a long railway journey?—Yes

Did you arrive on the evening of the following day?— In the afternoon.

Had you been travelling without sleeping all that time?—Yes.

Then were you taken to a place you now know as L’Oriol, in the south of France?—Yes.

Were you taken to the house of M. Berard?—Yes.

He was living with his wife there and an English governess, Miss Fielder?—Yes. Lieutenant Combe stayed there that night, and left on the following day. I remained in M. Berard’s service, helping in the house and nursing the baby.

A few days after you had gone there, did you receive a letter from Lieutenant Combe?—Yes—that is dated 19th July, from the headquarters of the Salvation Army.

Counsel for the defence asked that this letter should be put in evidence, but Mr. Poland objected. He said he only wanted to prove the date. The letter was a very proper one. It was religious.

Did you write to your mother on July 22?—Yes.

Who addressed it?—Miss Fielder. I wrote two letters, one to Mdme. Cornbe and one to mother, and put them into the same envelope. I put no address on the letter, having been told not to do so. At the end of that letter I put those verses in. Some time afterwards I received a letter from my mother. It is dated August 4. I received it about three days after. It was opened when I got it. Miss Fielder gave it to me open. M, Berard and family later on in August left L’Oriol for Plaines Des Bex. I remained at L’Oriol to clean the house. Two gentlemen arrived when I was there, one of whom I now know as Captain Raby. I was told to get ready to leave. We had dinner. When I knew they were going to take me away I began to cry. One of them took charge of me, Captain Raby. They took me to Valence first. We went to the Salvation Army home there. Captain Raby took me from there to the headquarters at Paris.

Before leaving L’Oriol had you written another letter to your mother ?—Yes.

Mr. Poland: That has the French postmark of August 14, and London, August 17.

You wrote a piece of that yourself?—Yes.

And Miss Fielder the rest?—Yes.

And you signed it?—Yes. Miss Fielder wrote the envelope. The day after I wrote I was taken away to Paris.

You saw Miss Booth there?—Yes. I stayed there two days, and then Miss Green took me over to England.

You arrived on Sunday, 23rd August?—Yes.

And then you were taken to Mr. Stead’s house at Wimbledon?—Yes.

Did you there see Mr. and Mrs. Stead?—Yes.

You did not know Mrs. Stead before?—No.

Did Mr. Stead say anything to you on the Sunday? —Yes. He took me into the garden, and he asked me if it would not be better for me to get a place. I said I will see what my mother says. He asked me if I was sick crossing the water, and I said No. He said nothing further. I slept in Mr. Stead’s house that night with Miss Green.

On the following day, Monday, 24th, did your mother come down to see you?—Yes.

Your mother and your elder sister?—Yes, I was in the garden with Mrs. Stead and Miss Green. Mr. Jacques came to see me in the garden.

What did he say?—He said it would be better for me if I got a place, and he would give me one. He said that is better than going home to a drunken house.

What did you say to that?—I said I would see what mother said. Then he asked if I would like to see my mother; I said,” Yes, very much.”

The what did you say ?—He said, ” Come on, then,” and I then saw my mother and sister.

Was it at Mrs. Stead’s suggestion that you saw your mother and sister alone?—Yes.

Then you were left in a room together for half-an-hour?—Yes.

And from the time you left your home on 3rd June, that was the first time you had seen your mother or sister?—Yes.

Your mother asked you about yourself?—Yes.

It was arranged you should go back home with her?— Yes.

When you came out of the room did you see your mother go upstairs to see the gentlemen there?—Yes.

And then on that afternoon did Jacques go with you and your mother and sister and another gentleman to the station?— Yes. We came up to London and we went to the solicitor’s office at the Treasury. I made a statement there, and then went away, with my mother and sister. For a day or two afterwards I went again to the Treasury to make statements.

With the exception of what took place at the French lady’s house, was anything of the kind you described done to you? — No.

No doctor examined you in any way? — No.

Only the Frenchwoman?— Yes.

You are quite sure of that? — Yes.

(This ended the examination-in-chief of this witness)

Mr. Russell: It might be convenient for me to say that I wish to see a number of letters referred to by my learned friend. I should like to be furnished with them this evening, and I would cross-examine this witness tomorrow morning.

Mr. Vaughan: Could you not go on this afternoon?

Mr. Russell: It would not be much waste of time if Mr. Poland went on with another witness. I have not much in the way of cross-examination — nothing in the sense of a hostile cross-examination.

Mr. Waddy: I am in the same position, and would like the letters, and I understand the Treasury will be good enough to give copies of the letters referred to.

Mr. Vaughan: Copies of all those put in.

Mr. Poland: I may tell my learned friends at once that all the letters referred to, whether in evidence or not, are at their disposal, those written by Lieutenant Combe, the mother and daughter, the whole of them are at their service.

The evidence was then read over and the depositions signed.


Mrs. Armstrong was the next witness.

Is your name Elizabeth or Eliza? — Elizabeth

Are you the wife of Charles Armstrong? — Yes.

You live at 32, Charles-street, Lisson-grove? — Yes.

And your husband is a chimney-sweeper? — Yes.

We have heard that you have six children, three boys and three girls? — Yes.

Was Eliza thirteen on April 18 of this year? — Yes.

Were you at home on Tuesday, June 2? — Yes.

Was your little girl Eliza in the street nursing the baby? — Yes.

Did she come in and speak to you, and in consequence of that go round to Mrs. Broughton? — Yes.

Mrs. Broughton lives at No. 37? — Yes.

You had known her for some time as a neighbour? — Yes.

When you got round to Mrs. Broughton, did you find Jarrett there? — Yes.

You had never seen her before? — No.

Did your little girl go with you? — Yes.

When you went in what did you say? — Jarrett told me she wanted a servant girl[.] I asked her where she lived, and she said at Croydon. I said, “Could you not get a servant girl at Croydon from the registry office there?” She said, ” Oh, yes, I can get plenty there, but I thought a poor person in the street would like to part with one of her children for such a good place where she would be well cared for.”

What did you say? — I said you can’t have my child, and you won’t have her.

Then you went away? — Yes, and saw nothing more of her that day.

On the next day, Derby day, did Mrs. Broughton come to you ? — Yes.

She spoke to you as you were looking out of your window?—Yes.

Did she speak to you about the woman who came the previous day?—Yes. She asked me if Alice was in, a girl who lived in the house. I said “No.” She asked me if Alice’s aunt was in. I said “No.” I came down stairs, and she said, “Becca is come again,” meaning Mrs. Jarrett, ” I should like to get her a girl before she went.”

What did she say then?—I said, “What sort of a woman is she, Nance? Do you think it would be right if I was to let Eliza go? Do you think she is a genuine woman?” She said, “Oh, yes; do you think I would recommend any child to her if I didn’t think she was a genuine sort of a woman? I lived as a fellow-servant with her, and I know what she is.” She then said, “Come in and see her.” I went into Mrs. Broughton’s parlour and saw Jarrett.

What took place there?—Jarrett said, “Are you willing to let Eliza go?” She said, “I will tell you what I want a servant girl for. You see I am a cripple, and I can only get about with a stick. I want a girl to kneel and clean about.” She also said, “I know what it is to be bad off, but I am better off now, because I am married to a commercial traveller.”

Mrs. Jarrett: Oh!

What more did she say?—She said she did not always stay in one place, she travelled about, and Eliza could go with them. I said, “She can go on conditions”—that is, that she should write to me once a week, and I should see her once a month. She turned to Eliza and said, “Eliza, you can write to your mother as often as you like.” Then she said, “How is she off for clothes?” I said, ” She ain’t very well off for clothes, but what she has on is tidy, and nearly new, and they can do to work in.” I said, “Suppose you try her for a week, and if she suits I will buy her some clothes.” She said. ” Suppose I buy her some?” I said, “If you do you will have to advance her a month’s wages.”

Was there anything said about wages?—No.

She then took the child out to buy her some clothes?— Yes.

And what took place then?—I washed the child and she had her dinner. She then went into Mrs. Broughton’s and was dressed in her new clothes. Mrs. Jarrett trimmed her hat.

Had she told you at the time what her name was?—She said her name was Sullivan.

Did she tell you where she lived?—No; only at Croydon.

Did she say what sort of a house at Crosdon?—No.

What more passed?—The child was dressed, and came to wish me goodbye I asked the child at what time she was going. I went round to the school with the key of the room door to my boy in case my husband came in.

How long were you away?—I think about a quarter of an hour.

When you came back did you find Mrs. Jarrett and the child away?—I saw Mrs. Broughton coming down the street, and she said she had been to see Mrs. Jarrett and the child away by bus.

Had you consulted your husband before you let the child go into service?—No, I had not.

At night time, I think, he was angry with you when he found the child had gone?—Yes, very angry.

Did Mrs. Jarrett give you any money?—She give me a shilling as a present to the baby that I had in my arms.

Is that all the money you received from her?—Every farthing.

Did you ever see the woman Jarrett again until she was in custody on this charge?—No.

When you allowed your child to go did you believe these statements that Mrs. Jarrett had made to you and Mrs. Broughton?—Yes.

You did not hear from your daughter and did not know what had become of her?—No.

Did you speak to Mrs. Broughton about her?— Yes.

Some few days after this did Mrs. Broughton show you a letter?—Yes.

Mr. Poland: That is the letter of the 10th of June from Mrs. Jarrett, at Winchester, to “Dear Nance,” speaking of the child.

When you read that letter you thought your child was in Winchester?—No; I made a mistake, and wrote to Manchester. I got no answer, and had my letter returned.

Do you remember seeing an account in the Pall Mall Gazette?—Yes, I did.

Who called your attention to that?—The neighbours in the street.

That was about a child being bought for £5?— Yes.

Can you say the date when you saw the Pall Mall Gazette?—No.

Was it after that you went to the magistrate at the Marylebone police-court?—Yes. You spoke about your child being missing?—Yes.

Mr. Russell: The day when she was before the magistrate was the 10th of July.

Mr. Poland: Yes; and the date of the Pall Mall Gazette article is the 6th.

Did you receive this post-card addressed “to Eliza’s mother?”—Yes

Was that on the Monday?—Either on Monday or Tuesday, July 13 or 14.

Mr. Poland read the postcard, which bore the postmark Winchester, July 11. It stated that the girl was all right and doing well, and that as the mother was anxious to see the child she would do so next week. The card was signed by Mrs. Sullivan.

What did you do with this postcard?—I took it down to the police-court.

After that were you put in communication with Inspector Borner?—Yes.

At what time?—I could not fix the date, but it was about this time.

Did the inspector towards the end of the month speak about Bramwell Booth?—Yes. He gave me his address and said he knew where the child was.

On August 1 did you go with Inspectors Borner and Conquest to the headquarters of the Salvation Army?— Yes.

At this stage the further hearing of the evidence was adjourned, Mr. Poland remarking that it would take some time to deal with the interview.


Mr. Russell: I have to make an application to you which you may probably anticipate—namely, that Mrs. Jarrett be admitted to bail. The only object which could justify a refusal is the improbability of the accused being present to answer the charge. Now, I am in a position to prove that at the moment that the address of Mrs. Jarrett was required it was given, and I am informed that no communication was made to Mrs. Jarrett or her friends that there was a warrant out against her. As soon as the communication was made that a warrant was out, she surrendered herself on the advice of her solicitor. This lady is, I am informed, not connected with the Salvation Army, and some time ago entered the service of Mrs. Josephine Butler, the wife of Canon Butler, of Winchester, and was in charge of a refuge or rescue home there when this story began. I am instructed that persons of position and credit are willing to become bail for any reasonable amount that your worship may think fit to fix. I do not suppose Mr. Poland will oppose the application. It would be a positive miscarriage of justice, moreover, if she is not allowed to go out, for one material portion of the statement she made to Mr. Stead can only be substantiated by her own personal inquiry with respect to persons she met.

Mr. Vaughan: Does the prosecution offer objection?

Mr. Poland: The facts are before you, and I ought not to interfere in any way. The matter is in your worship’s hands.

Mr. Vaughan: If there is no reason to apprehend that she will not surrender, bail ought to be accepted. I will require two sureties in £250 each.

Mr. Waddy: I have to ask you what you propose to do with Mr. Booth and Mdme. Combe?

Mr. Vaughan: My opinion is that all the defendants ought to enter into the same sureties, two sureties of £250 each.

Mr. Overend: I appear for Mdme. Mourez. She stands in a different position from that of the other defendants. As yet there is only the evidence on the part of the little girl herself that an indecent assault was committed upon her. There is no evidence against her with respect to the grave charge of conspiracy and abduction. If such an amount of bail is fixed in her case as in the case of the other defendants it would be prohibitory.

Mr. Poland: If any reasonable bail is fixed I will not object.

Mr. Vaughan: In her case the bail will be two sureties in £50 and herself in £100.

The bail was forthcoming in each case, and the defendants shortly afterwards left the court. The large crowd which had been congregated round the doors of the court during the day awaited with great interest the departure of the parties in the case.