W.T. Stead to Rev. C. F. Aked

Quoited in The War Cry (January 10, 1891) p. 7

I cannot write to you as you wish me to write to you, but I can tell you the exact facts, which you can make use of if you deem it advisable. The book "In Darkest England" is General Booth's book; the idea of the book was entirely his own. He conceived the title, and he set to work at writing it all by himself. He had accumulated a considerable mass of material when the illness of his wife, and the impossibility of getting the matter compressed within the requisite bounds led him to issue a cry of distress to me. He asked me if I would get him a literary hack who would lick his material into shape, and get the book out in time. I said, "I will do your hack-work myself", and I did. I was very proud to do it.

That is all. I was very sorry that he acknowledged my services as he did in the preface. The form of words which would have covered the situation exactly, that I suggested, he refused. I proposed that he should merely, after thanking those who were in The Army who had assisted him in collecting facts and cases, have added an acknowledgement to another not in The Army, who had acted as scribe temporarily under my (general) orders, doing some journeyman work in preparing the book for the press. I have no wish to be mentioned in connection with my share any more than the printer or the bookbinder is. It was amply sufficient reward to have a hand in getting so noble a deliverance into type. I feel this all the more strongly because I had been urging upon General Booth for years to go on this track.


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Owen Mulpetre, BA (Hons) MPhil