Leave Broadway opposite the New York Hospital, and pass down Pearl street in an easterly direction. Five minutes walking will bring you to the abode of poverty and suffering, a locality which contrasts strangely with the elegant thoroughfare we have just left. Cross Centre street, and continue your eastward course, and a few minutes will bring you to Park street. Turn short to the left, follow the line of Park street, and in a few minutes you will see that blessed beacon light in this great sea of human misery and sin, the "Five Points Mission." You are now fairly in the heart of the Five Points district. It is a horrible place, and you shudder as you look at it. The streets are dark and narrow, the dwellings are foul and gloomy, and seem filled with mystery and crime. It is the worst quarter of the city, and from here, over to East River, you will scarcely find it any better.

Yet, bad as it is, it is infinitely better than the Five Points of fifteen or even ten years ago. Then the place was notorious for its crimes. Murders, robberies, outrages of all kinds, were of daily occurrence. The officers of the law dared not enter the district for the purpose of suppressing crime, and fugitives from justice found a safe refuge here. A man who entered the district carried his life in his hand, and unless he was either in secret or open league with the denizens of the quarter, was tolerably sure of losing it. Now there is vice and crime enough there, Heaven knows, but the neighborhood has vastly improved. The steady advance of business and trade up the island has broken up many of the vilest dens of the quarter, and has made travel through its streets more constant. Besides this, the new police system has made the neighborhood safe, except at certain hours of the night, by thoroughly patrolling it, and promptly punishing disorder and violence. The character of the inhabitants has also improved, and the district now contains thousands who are poor without being criminal. The disreputable classes have been scattered, too, and no longer herd together around the "Old Brewery," which was once the chosen headquarters of crime. The Mission now occupies that locality, and the work of the Lord is going on where the Devil once reigned supreme.

                     THE POPULATION.

Still, as we have said, crime and want are plentiful at the Five Points. The Fourth, and Sixth wards, which constitute this district, are known as the most wretched and criminal in the City. They are also the most densely populated - one of them containing more people than the entire State of Delaware.

The streets of this section of the city are generally narrow and crooked, and the intense squalor and filth which disfigure them, cause them to seem much darker than they really are. Every house is packed to its utmost capacity. In some of these houses are to be found merely the poor. In others the character of the inmates is such, that no policeman will enter them alone, and not even in parties unless well armed.

These buildings seem overflowing with human beings. Half a million of people are crowded into this and the adjacent quarters of the City. One block of this district is said to contain three hundred and eighty-two families. Dirt and filth of all kinds prevail.

Few of the people can read or write, and the only education the children receive is in crime. The houses are almost all entirely out of repair. The stairways are ricketty, and seem on the point of giving way beneath one's feet. The entries are dark and foul. As many as a dozen people are crowded into a single room. Morality and decency are never heard of. The cellars, so dark that one unaccustomed to them cannot see a foot before him, without a bright light, are filled with wretched inmates. Some of these have secret passages connecting them with other buildings, and are used for purposes of crime, or they have hiding places known only to the initiated, where the offender against the law may hide from the police, or where a ruffian may conceal or imprison his victim, without fear of detection. Rum, gin, whisky, and other liquors of the vilest kind, are used in profusion here. Some of these wretches never leave their dens, but remain in them "the year round," stupefied with liquor, to procure which their wives, children, or husbands, will beg or steal. Thousands of children are born in these foul places every year. They never see the light of day, until they are able to crawl into the streets. They die at a fearful, but happy rate, for they draw in with the air they breathe, disease of every description.

It is said that there are forty thousand vagrant and destitute children in this section of the great city. These are chiefly of foreign parentage. They do not attend the public schools, for they have not the clothes necessary to enable them to do so, and are too dirty and full of vermin to render them safe companions for the other children. The poor little wretches have no friends, but the pious and hard-working attachesof the Missions which have been located in their midst. In the morning those who have charge of them drive them out of their dreadful homes to pick rags, bones, cinders, or any thing that can be used or sold, or to beg, or steal, for they are carefully trained in dishonesty. They are disgustingly dirty, and all but the missionaries shrink from contact with them. Some of them have the fatal gift of beauty, but the majority are old looking and ugly. From the time they are capable of noticing any thing they are familiar with vice and crime, for they see them all around them. They grow up surely and steadily to acquire the ways of their elders. The boys recruit the ranks of the pick-pockets, thieves, murderers, and "thugs" of the City; the girls become waiters in the concert saloons, or street walkers, and sink thence down to the lowest depths of infamy. Water street alone can show a thousand proofs of this assertion.

                     THE LITTLE THIEF.

A few years ago, there lived in the great city a little girl, so small that no one would ever have thought her nine years old. Yet she had passed nine sad years on earth. She lived with a couple who had a cellar of their own at the Five Points. They were coarse, brutal people, and spent the greater part of their time in drinking and fighting. Little Nellie, for so we shall call her, went in rags, and was frequently beaten with severity by those who called themselves her parents, though no one knew whether she was their child or not. In the long winters she almost perished with the cold, and was nearly half famished with hunger. It was a wonder how she managed to live; for in the coldest weather she was sent back and forth, through the freezing streets, by her so-called parents, her only protection being a ragged shawl, which she wrapped tightly around her head. Her little feet and legs were bare and frost-bitten, and often left red tracks on the pure white snow. At night her bed was a piece of old carpeting in a dark corner of the cellar, where she cried herself to sleep, and wished she could die. Young as she was, death was not terrible to her, for she regarded it as a release from her sufferings. Had she known how to pray, she would have prayed for it; but, in her ignorance she merely wished to die.

Do not be shocked, reader, when we say she never prayed. The truth is that, with the exception of the constant blasphemy of the people with whom she lived, and of this she heard too much, she rarely heard of God. Once she went into a church, and heard a man talk about Him in a way she could not understand. When she heard the organ it sounded so sweet that she thought God must be up there, and tried to see him; but a great rough man put her out of the church, and told her it was no place for such as her, (alas! God's house no place for the poor!) and that if she ever came there again he would hand her over to the police. She went away feeling shocked and hurt, and fully convinced that God did not like beggars. Then she remembered how nice and warm the church was, and how fine the people were dressed, and she began to wonder why she had been made so poor and helpless.

"Ah! me," she sighed, "I'm not God's child. He wouldn't notice me, I'm so poor, and dirty, and my feet are so frost-bitten."

She had no one to tell her how much God cares for the poor, how he watches over them, and notes every good and bad deed done to them. She thought he was careless of her; and when some one told her he could do every thing, she wondered why he did not make her more comfortable, and give her nice warm clothes to wear. Finally, little Nellie began to think him a cruel, harsh God, and at last she came to hate him. Terribly depraved, you will say, dear reader; but, alack, was she to blame? God help us! there are many more like her in the great city.

When Nellie was eight years old, the husband of the woman with whom she lived died, and the woman took to drinking harder than ever. This made Nellie's lot worse than before the man's death. Then she had had some brief respite from persecution; for, though the man had often beaten her, he had sometimes saved her from the fury of his drunken wife. Now there was no one to befriend her. The woman was rarely free from the influence of liquor, and blows were showered upon the child more frequently than ever. Poor little Nellie! her troubles increased every day, and her desire to die became more eager. Sometimes she would go down to the piers, and gaze on the dark waters that swept beneath them, and would wonder if she would be at peace if she drowned herself. But, though not afraid of death, the waters looked so fierce and angry that they frightened her, and she would go away shuddering with a dread that she could not understand. But for this, she would have sought in the cool waves the rest for which she longed.

Matters went on from bad to worse, but at last they came to an end, but not in the way Nellie wished. The woman with whom she lived began to think that the child was old enough to be of some use to her, for she was now nine years old. Alas! the use she made of her. There was nothing honest which so young a child could do, so she resolved to try her at dishonesty. It was a fearfully cold winter, and the woman's intemperate habits had prevented her from earning a living. To remedy this, she sent Nellie out with a basket, and told her to go to a certain street where she had seen a number of bales of cotton, partly opened, lying before a store. She bade the child watch her opportunity, and, when no one was looking, to fill the basket, and run away with it to her as rapidly as possible. Nellie did not like the undertaking, and begged that she might not be sent; but the woman brutally told her if she did not go and return in an hour, she would kill her.

Nellie started out with a heavy heart, for she had a vague foreboding that something terrible was about to happen to her. She reached the place, found the cotton, and, as no one was looking, soon filled her basket. She was turning away, when a heavy hand was laid upon her shoulder, and a rough voice exclaimed:

"You little thief! I've caught you, have I?"

Nellie glanced up in terror. A richly dressed man had hold of her, and was shaking her roughly.

"Please, sir, let me go, and I'll put the cotton back."

"No you will not," he said coldly. "I'll teach you a lesson."

As he spoke, he beckoned a policeman from across the street, and told him to arrest the child for stealing a dollar's worth of cotton. Nellie was taken before a magistrate, and, the theft being proved, was sent on for trial at the next term of the Court, and the merchant went away satisfied. There was no one to "go bail" for her, and she was remanded to the Tombs until the session of the court.

It made the jailer's heart ache to see that little child enter the cell in which his duty compelled him to place her. He wondered why she had not been sent to one of the numerous reformatory establishments, where she might be saved from a life of crime. But no, the child had been charged with theft, and the law required her to be tried for the crime, and if convicted, to be sent to prison, to share the company of felons, and sink, perhaps into infamy. God Help us, if this is always to be the character of New York justice.

Nellie's life in prison was both pleasant and terrible. It was pleasant, inasmuch as it freed her from the brutal woman with whom she had lived, and terrible, because it left her alone all night in a cold, dark cell.

At last, however, the end came. It was a terribly cold night, and the prisoners in their cells suffered intensely. Some heard low sobs in little Nellie's cell, but no attention was paid to them. The next morning the turnkey went to visit her on his morning rounds, and he found her lying stiff and cold. She had frozen to death during the night, and her wish had been granted. The little thief had gone to the bar of a judge who tempers justice with mercy, and who cares for those who are helpless and oppressed.

There are some in the great city who will remember this incident, as it has not been very long since its occurrence.

                     THE HOME MISSION.

Seventeen years ago the "Old Brewery," on Park street, was the centre of crime in New York. The attention of the humane had been frequently called to the amount of suffering and vice surrounding it, but all seemed agreed that nothing could be done with the Five Points. Few had the courage to venture there, and those who knew the place smiled incredulously at the idea of reforming it. The "Old Brewery" was used as a tenement house, and contained one thousand inmates, and a viler, and more wretched set of people was not to be found in the great city.

A number of Christian women of position and means, who knew the locality only by reputation, determined, with a courage peculiar to their sex, to break up this den, and make it a stronghold of religion and virtue. Their plan was regarded as chimerical; but undismayed by the difficulties against them, they went to work, trusting in the help of Him in whose cause they were laboring. A school was opened in Park street, immediately facing the "Old Brewery," and placed in charge of the Rev. Mr. L. M. Pease, of the Methodist Church. This school at once gathered in the ragged, dirty children of the neighborhood, and at first it seemed up-hill work to do any thing with them. Patience and energy triumphed at last, however. The school became a success. Then the ladies who had projected it, resolved to enlarge it. They purchased the "Old Brewery," pulled it down, and built the present "Mission," which is now in charge of the Rev. Mr. Shaffer.

The Mission is dependent upon voluntary contributions for its support. Food, clothing, money, and every thing that can be useful in such an establishment, are given to it. They come in from all parts of the country, for the Mission is widely known, and thousands of Christians are working for it. The railroad and express companies send all packages for it over their lines without charge.

Children are the chief care of the Mission. Those in charge of it believe that first impressions are the strongest and most lasting. They take young children away from the haunts of vice and crime, and clothe and care for them. They are regularly and carefully instructed in the rudiments of an English education, and are trained to serve the Lord, who has raised up such kind friends to them. At a proper age they are provided, with homes, or respectable employment, and placed in the way to become Christian men and women. Hundreds, nay, thousands of good and useful men and women have been reared by the institution since its establishment. They were snatched from the haunts of crime when children, and owe their present positions to the Mission. Year after year the work goes on. Children are taken in every day as far as the accommodations will permit, and are carefully trained in virtue and intelligence, and every year the "Home," as its inmates love to call it, sends out a band of bright, brave, useful young hearts into the world, which but for its blessed aid would have been so many more wretches added to the criminal class of the country.

Reader, if you can do any thing for this noble institution, do not hold back your hand, but do it. Your help is needed.

                     OTHER MISSIONS.

Besides the "Home" to which we have referred, the "City Mission Home for Little Wanderers," and the "Five Points House of Industry," are all working hard for the purpose of bettering the condition of the poor and wretched of the City. They are employing a band of energetic, hard-working Christian men and women, and are doing good daily. There is no doubt, however, that they succeed best with children. After the devil has set his mark on men and women, it is very difficult to efface it; but with children the case is different. They are too young to be utterly abandoned or depraved, and they can, by care and patience, in nine cases out of ten, be won over to the side of right.

Not only are persons drawn away from crime and vice by the active efforts of the missionaries, but the Missions themselves do good. They are well known, and they are constant reminders to the fallen that they have a chance to rise. Some few avail themselves of the chance. Men and women, especially young ones, frequently come in and appeal to the missionaries to help them to reform. They want advice, assistance, or protection. Whatever is needed is given, if it be within the means of the institution. If it is not, the missionary seeks it elsewhere, and rarely fails to find it. Few who are ignorant of the workings of these institutions, can rightly estimate the amount of good done by them. They are indeed "Cities of Refuge," to which no one ever goes in vain.

A part of the work of the "City Mission" is to distribute tracts and simple religious instruction. These are simple little documents, but they do a deal of good. They have reformed drunkards, converted the irreligious, shut the mouth of the swearer, and have brought peace to more than one heart. The work is done so silently and unpretendingly that few but those engaged in it know how great are its effects. They are encouraged by the evidences which they have, and continue their work gladly.

Again, these Missionaries are constantly going into sections of the City, from which the "popular preachers" shrink in dismay, and but for their devotion there are thousands of our poor who would never have the Gospel preached to them. They watch beside the bedside of the sick and dying, administer the last rites of religion to the repentant pauper, and offer to the Great Judge the only appeal for mercy that is ever made in behalf of many a soul that departs in its sins. They shrink from no trouble, no sacrifice. They are a hard-working, self-denying, noble band.

                     THE HOME FOR LITTLE WANDERERS.

This institution is situated on the Bowery, near Pearl street, and is in charge of the Rev. Mr. Van Meter. It is also called the "Howard Mission." While striving to relieve all who call upon it for aid, its care is chiefly given to children. Its object is to rescue the little ones from want and suffering, and make them comfortable. They are educated, and taught their duty as children of the Lord, and at a certain age are provided with homes or trades. Little ones, starving or freezing in the streets, are picked up constantly and brought in here. The police often bring in such guests. All are welcomed and made as comfortable as possible. You may see them warmly and neatly clad, or tucked away in a snug bed, little children, even babies, who but the night before were almost dying with cold in the streets.

Like the "Ladies' Home," the "Little Wanderers' Home" is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions for its support.