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2-116 (Raw)

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author,male,Melville, Henry,36 addressee
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Teale, 1982
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On Saturday, the free females were landed from the Strathfieldsay. Of all the disgusting, abominable sights we ever witnessed, nothing ever equalled the scene which took place on that occasion. It is well known, that the females of the Strathfieldsay, are of a far superior order to those hitherto sent us by the Home Government - poverty being the greatest crime of the greatest part of them. It is true that a small portion of the number are not of that description, which ought to have been allowed to have associated with the innocent; but that indiscriminate mixture of virtue and vice, is not, at present the subject before us. [51] Early on Saturday morning, it was known all over the Town, that the free women were to be landed at mid day. The Strathfieldsay was bedecked with all the colours on board, and great was the preparation. About eleven o'clock, some of the women were stowed in one of the ship's boats, and then another boat went alongside, and was filled - and others followed in succession. Those who had first left the vessel, had to remain on the water upwards of an hour, before all the boats were stowed, when they were all towed together towards the New Jetty. At this time the mob waiting to witness the landing of the women, could not be less in number than a couple of thousand. As soon as the first boat reached the shore, there was a regular rush towards the spot, and the half dozen constables present, could scarcely open a passage, sufficient to allow the females to pass from the boats; and now the most unheard of, disgusting scenes ensued - the avenue opened through the crowd was of considerable length, and as each female passed on, she was jeered by the blackguards who stationed themselves, as it were, purposely to insult. The most vile and brutal language was addressed to every woman as she passed along - some brutes, more brutal than others, even took still further insulting liberties, and stopped the women by force, and addressed them, pointedly, in the most obscene manner. Any woman, with one spark of the feeling of modesty, must have felt this degradation of the most terrible kind, and the consequence was, that by far the greater portion could bear the insults no longer - scarcely a female was there, but who wept, and that most bitterly; but this, again, was made the subject of mirth, by the brutes that were present. One of the poor creatures was so overcome, that she absolutely fainted - but there was no hand to assist - no one present who appeared to have any power in preventing these disgraceful scenes. After the females had passed through the long passage, the ordeal was not over; for men singled out the girls they fancied, and went in pursuit of them, annoying them, till they arrived at the door of the house, wherein these friendless beings expected to find security. The greater portion of the most insulting of the men, were those, apparently prisoners; indeed, it appeared as if the whole town had been picked, to select the lowest ruffians, expressly for the purpose of insulting these helpless females.