"one of the dark places of the earth"
William Booth
Public DomainWilliam Booth - Credit: Bain News Service

Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.

Psalm 74:20 (King James Bible)


The comparison between 'darkest Africa' and England had already been made by William Booth in his In Darkest England and The Way Out (1890), a response to Henry Morton Stanley’s In Darkest Africa (1890). Following Stanley’s portrayal of an Africa ‘where the rays of the sun never penetrate, where in the dark, dank air, filled with the steam of the heated morass, human beings dwarfed into pygmies and brutalised into cannibals live and die’, Booth asked:

As there is a darkest Africa is there not also a darkest England? Civilization, which can breed its own barbarians, does it not also breed its own pygmies? May we not find a parallel at our own doors, and discover within a stone’s throw of our cathedrals and palaces similar horrors to those which Stanley has found existing in the great Equatorial forest?