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Eastern, Western, Central, and Northern Africa ;
it is unrepresented in these great divisions of the great
continent. The " Blood and Fire" banner has not
been unfurled in Siam, China, the Philippines, Russia,
Poland, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Persia, Brazil, Mexico,
Palestine, and other parts of the world ; and in many
of the semi-heathen countries where the Army is
represented it has scarcely taken root. In a few



OFFICIALLY RECEIVED EVERYWHERE 151

it is only kept alive by the moral influence of social
agencies.

In the countries visited General Booth is invariably
officially received by the highest representatives of the
State. Kings, Queens, Presidents, Governor-Generals,
Premiers, and Cabinets have honoured him, especially
since he was received at Buckingham Palace by the late
King Edward and Queen Alexandra. His figure is
never mistaken for anyone else, and the common people
salute him wherever he is as one of themselves. I have
been on board a train in a prairie State when it was
held up by a gang of navvies " just to get a look at the
old man," and I have stood by his side while he has
addressed ten thousand people at a railway station,
while his train waited till he had finished. " You are
not an Englishman," a French philosopher told General
Booth in Paris " you belong to humanity " ; and the
General acts as if humanity belonged to him.



CHAPTER VII
THE BRAIN CENTRE OF THE ARMY

International Headquarters Trunk Departments The System of
Reporting, Councils, and Secretaryship Past Failures at Super-
vision Disagreements and the General's Veto Details of the
Daily Life

As a mere study in the creation of a modern business,
the Salvation Army Headquarters is worthy of an
important place in the commercial world. The late
Mr. Justice Rigby described it, in a speech at the
Mansion House when General Booth was first welcomed
there, as a useful commercial college for young men,
and it certainly provides the key that unlocks the
door to the organisation of the movement.

It is situated in the middle of the south side of Queen
Victoria Street, and therefore conveniently placed.
It is six-storied and embraces a frontage of three
hundred feet. Besides a book and uniform store, the
premises are occupied by the Salvation Army Reliance
Bank, the Salvation Army Assurance Society, the
Salvation Army Citadel Co., Cashier and Accountant's,
Subscribers', Finance, Foreign, Home, Property, Legal,
and Secretarial Departments, all of which are con-
nected by telephone and a sj^stem of special messengers
with other trunk departments in London, such as the
Men's Social Department in Whitechapel, the Head-

152



THE BRAIN CENTRE OF THE ARMY 153

quarters of the Women's Social Department in Mare
Street, Hackney, the International and Staff Colleges
at Clapton, the Trade Department at King's Cross,
the Printing and Lithographic Departments at St.
Albans, and the big Emigration Offices on the opposite
side of Headquarters.

It is the Brain Centre of the Salvation Army.

In 1881 the General resolved upon transferring the
Headquarters of the Army from Whitechapel to
101 Queen Victoria Street. Now the Army possesses
the lease of the premises stretching from 78 to 107.
Only occupying a portion of this extensive range of
City offices, the Army is able by letting to practically
sit rent free, the increased increment and the enhanced
rentals enabling the Army to do so. At the time of the
transfer there were employed eighty officers and
employees ; now there are 270. The numerical
difference is accounted for by the progress of the
Salvation Army and the steady centralisation of the
Army's administration.

When I entered the ranks, the United Kingdom was
divided into big divisions under officers who possessed
larger powers than are exercised by more responsible
officers to-day in other countries. A futile attempt was
made to manage the field affairs by Provincial Secre-
taries, representing the Home or National Head-
quarters, but that savoured too much of the " London
firm," and was so cumbersome that it had to be
hurriedly abandoned. Then the country was divided
and subdivided into provincial and divisional com-
mands, the former being subservient to the latter.



154 GENERAL BOOTH

There grew up under this system such an array of
secretaries and such a breakdown of the principle of
direct responsibility, that if it had continued there
would have been internal rebellion. It therefore
proved a failure, though affording at the same time
a striking illustration of the inherent attachment of the
leaders to a masterful supervision.

Under the plea of developing the Army on the
principle that every responsible officer should have an
understudy, inspection and super-inspection became an
intolerable burden, and the transaction of business
was often turned into a burlesque. I have known an
officer to wait three weeks for a decision upon an
ordinary request that would now take but three days
to obtain. A Field Officer had indeed at this period of
the Army's direction as many as five or six masters.
He had his divisional officer, and under him two other
officers connected with the 3 7 oung people's or junior
work, and his " P.O.," as the chief Field Staff Officer
was named. His mail-bag was always packed with
letters from Divisional Headquarters relating to most
trivial matters and written without any appreciation
of local circumstances. Here is a tiny illustration of the
red-tapeism that this triple system of supervision led
to:

" DEAR CAPTAIN, We are in receipt of your returns
and deeply regret to observe that you have, for the
second time since I was appointed, sent me the Ser-
geant's form improperly filled in. How is this ? God

bless y u! "...Ensign,

" Young People's Secretary."



RED TAPE 155

Yet the officer addressed was in charge of a village
with only seven soldiers and drawing a salary of 3s. 6d.
a week ! The British War Office could scarcely com-
pete with the Salvation Army at one time in its regard
for Saint Red-tape.

The Divisional Officer who had the direct super-
intendence of eighteen to twenty corps had to report
practically everything that took place in each corps to
the "P.C." or Provincial Commander, who generally
had the direction of four or five Divisional commands.
Then the Provincial Commander had to report ex-
tensively to the Commissioner in charge of the field
affairs in London, and the Commissioner had to
report to the Chief of the Staff, and the Chief of the
Staff to the General !

Let us suppose that an officer desired to become
engaged to be married to a soldier of his corps. What
took place ? The Field Officer had first to acquaint the
Divisional Officer, who in turn had to report to the
Provincial Commander. A delay would ensue in order
to give the Provincial Officer time to enquire into the
character and qualifications of both parties. Apart
from the wisdom of such a proceeding, this invariably
meant the delay of some weeks, it then being the rule
for Provincial Commanders to make such enquiries
personally.

If, for instance, he should discover that the young
woman was not likely to become a successful Field
Officer, he possessed the power to say so to the male
officer and advise him accordingly. Many a love
match has been broken off in this way, the underlying



156 GENERAL BOOTH

reason being that the interests of the Army are superior
to those of the individual.

If, on the other hand, the Provincial Officer was
satisfied that the engagement, viewed from the stand-
point of the probable success of the parties as officers,
and officers only, was likely to be suitable, the Pro-
vincial Officer would then report to the Home Depart-
ment. Think of it !

Here, again, months might transpire before London
agreed to the engagement. In the meantime, human
nature being what it is, what if the young man, eagerly
waiting to know his fate, broke the rule which forbids
his courting while in charge of a corps to which his
fiancee belonged ? Suppose he saw her somehow, it
could only be to explain that he must not kiss her, or
show any evidence of affection, till Headquarters in-
formed him of their good pleasure on the matter ! If
he went beyond that boundary and paid her a visit of
consolation, and were it repeated and considered too
frequent in the estimation of some busybody, and
the conclusion of that busybody were to get to the
ears of the Divisional Officer, that superior would
advise an immediate farewell of the Field Officer, for
the Divisional Officer is always on the side of pre-
serving the peace of the corps. Individual interests,
when they clash with the corps, are always over-
ridden.

But, as I have stated, this treble-barrelled system of
administration had to be modified. Mr. Bramwell
Booth saw that, if it served any good purpose at the
time it was introduced, it had outlived its usefulness,



SYSTEM HIGHLY CENTRALISED 157

and he threw it overboard. The Provincial Command
was dissolved, and the Commanders rewarded with
secretarial positions at the National Headquarters.
The divisions were enlarged and redistributed, and
younger men placed in charge of them with the titles
titles count for righteousness in the movement of
Divisional Commanders. They were also promised
increased powers of direction ; but as a matter of
fact their responsibilities have been largely curtailed.
They are now principally inspectors and reporters.

It will thus be gathered that the brain power of
the organisation is highly centralised, and when it is
added that Great Britain is no longer treated as a
separate command, as is Switzerland, and that instead
of a Commissioner being in charge of its affairs, Great
Britain is controlled by the Chief of the Staff, with the
aid of a Commissioner, it will be seen that that leader
must be a man who wields considerable influence, and
it is to him, Mr. Bramwell Booth, belongs the credit of
the development of the International Headquarters
along these lines.

There are eight trunk departments at the Inter-
national Headquarters, more or less independent of
each other, but all dominated and to a large extent
directed by Mr. Bramwell Booth in his capacity as
Chief of the Staff. These are : the Foreign Mission
Department ; the Home or National Department,
which superintends the affairs of the corps or spiritual
societies in the United Kingdom ; Finance and Sub-
scribers Department ; Property Department ; Assur-
ance Department ; Literary and Publicity Department ;



158 GENERAL BOOTH

Emigration Department; while other important depart-
ments embrace the Young People's League, Candidates
for Officership, Trade, and Training. Then there are
Expenditure Boards. These were instituted to scru-
tinise and check the expenditure of all the departments
and promote the general economy of Headquarters.

At one time the expenditure of International Head-
quarters was very indifferently supervised. The duties
of these Boards are defined by special minutes signed
by the Chief of the Staff.

The principal department at International Head-
quarters, usually presided over by one of the most
reliable officers in the Army, is of course the Foreign.
The First Foreign Secretary was Commissioner Railton,
who twenty-five years ago conducted all the corre-
spondence with the aid of a couple of clerks and a man
to see to the despatch and reception of officers from
foreign service. To-day the Foreign Office numbers
about fifty officers of various grades, including clerks
and travelling agents. The world is divided into sec-
tions to suit the working arrangements of this Office.
One Under-Secretary has the manipulation of the
business relating to the Army's operations in Europe ;
another America and Canada, and so forth ; and these
officers are responsible for carrying out all the routine
affairs connected with their departments. The heads
of these minor departments have at one time all been
on active foreign service and are familiar with several
languages. (It is a curious fact that, with all the
linguistic ability represented in this Missionary De-
partment of the Army, Mr. Bramwell Booth has not



THE FOREIGN OFFICE 159

opened a European and Oriental Translation Bureau.
There is money in it !)

It is not an uncommon sight to find men and women
from the uttermost parts of the world on the floor of this
Foreign Office, speaking or writing in various lan-
guages. The streets of Jerusalem at Pentecost wit-
nessed the first miracle under supernatural Christianity.
Here, in this heart of London, one may discover men
and women who when they entered the Salvation Army
could not parse a sentence in the English language,
talking perfect Hindustani, Javanese, Japanese, and
the leading tongues of the continent of Europe. It is
a school of languages, whose avowed object is, as we
have learned, the conquest of the nations of the earth
to the Cross of Christ.

The idealism of the Salvation Army permeates all
the departments, and it may be frankly acknowledged
that the Foreign Office of the Salvation Army reflects
the wisdom of the man who has been its chief organiser.
It is altogether a well-thought-out piece of mechanism,
and worth considering in view of the international
aims of the Army.

Let us see then how the international interests are
guarded. Attached to the Foreign Office is a body of
Travelling Commissioners who tour the world in the
spiritual interests of the Army. Their chief objects
are to fan the flame of the spirit of the one, world- wide,
undivided Salvation Army, teach the doctrine of
Holiness, hold spiritual councils with officers and
soldiers, address public gatherings upon the general
work of the Salvation Army, extolling, in particular,



160 GENERAL BOOTH

its social branches. Occasionally it all depends upon
the status of the Commissioner an International
Travelling Commissioner may be commissioned to
make an enquiry into the state of the Army in the
country visited, in which case he is afforded an oppor-
tunity of stating his views to the Chief Officer on the
spot, that is in the event of the Travelling Commis-
sioner's report being of an adverse character. But this
custom is djdng out. There is too much of the element
of the policeman about it, and it is resented not only
by the head men, but by the younger fraternity, who are
disposed to stand less and less interference on the part
of officers not ordinarily clothed with the garments of
administrative authority. These Travelling Commis-
sioners are overrated men. Their journeys are reported
in the War Cry as if they were making history, and
always with a big brushful of adjectives. Confined to
a spiritual sphere they are welcomed and do good.
Beyond that sphere they are incapable of doing any-
thing but mischief.

The Foreign Office itself is the chief recording angel
of the organisation. Not a week passes but an officer
from another country visits London, and it is the duty
of the Foreign Office to see that that officer is met and
entertained. It keeps a paternal eye upon the visitor
during his stay, and acts toward him, if necessary, the
part of a benevolent inquisitor. The visitor's informa-
tion respecting the country from which he comes is
tapped and supplied to the Chief of the Staff, and if
it is considered of special importance to the General
himself, who if the lower powers think that in the



BUSINESS OF THE FOREIGN OFFICE 161

interests of the country concerned he is likely to make
a useful man in the future will invite him to tea at
his own house. A precis of these interviews is made
out and pigeon-holed, but woe be to the visitor if,
when he returns to his own battleground, he finds that
the Foreign Office has reported to his superior the
substance of what he said when in London ! On the
whole, however, this method adds strength to the
Army. The Foreign Office is also responsible for see-
ing that the most is made of the visits of foreign officers
for stimulating missionary zeal among the corps at
home. The Foreign Office directs the visits of the
General to countries outside Great Britain, and stimu-
lates enthusiasm for the movement and for the needs
of the mission field in regions beyond.

The purely business relations of this office with the
Chief of the Staff and the General illustrate the opera-
tion of the General's veto. A mass of departmental
matters are left to the decision of the various Boards
at the Foreign Office. Their functions are limited
to passing accounts and discussing questions of
transfers, reports, censoring the official newspapers
of the Society, and examining proposals of increas-
ing or decreasing the Staff abroad. A minute is
kept of all the decisions and recommendations arrived
at, and copies supplied to the Chief of the Staff. As
the Chief of the Staff is directly represented on all
these Boards by one of his secretaries, and as he is the
officer deputed to analyse the minutes from his (the
Chief's) standpoint, it follows that Mr. Bramwell Booth
is kept well posted up with the routine of the Foreign
M



162 GENERAL BOOTH

Office, and, if the vigilant secretary " spots " anything
that is not " just so " in the minutes, he draws the at-
tention of his master to it, and thus his place on the
Board is justified. In fact, such is the control of
the International Headquarters by the via media of
private secretaries, that the great executive Chief
knows what is going on in all departments day by day,
and often hour by hour. The channels for receiving
information are many, but for imparting information,
few.

The Chief of the Staff is the real head of the Foreign
Office. He also presides over its main deliberations
once or twice a week, and oftener should necessity
arise.

For these sittings elaborate reports are carefully
typed, and on each item on the agenda the depart-
mental view is set forth. The Chief can thus see at a
glance where his men are on any given subject. Much
time is wasted in trying to save time, a feature which
I have observed in other religious societies.

Again and again I have seen a shameful waste of
time and money upon these preparations. A week in
an up-to-date house of business in the City would
convince Mr. Booth great organiser as he undoubtedly
is that he overdoes the use of red tape, and sterilises
the independent thinking of subordinate officers.

The Commissioner of the Foreign Office and his
Assistant Commissioner take an active part in the
discussions at these councils, as well as the direct repre-
sentative of the country whose affairs may happen to
be under review.



THE GENERAL A PEACEMAKER 163

The subjects discussed are : financial and property,
discipline, large appointments, special developments,
inspection and auditorial reports, and from time to
time points of policy.

Matters of importance suggested at these Boards are
deferred for the judgment of the General, and, if there
is any difference of opinion upon a line of policy or
the standing of a first-class officer, it first manifests
itself at this particular council. These differences are,
of course, reported to the General always by the Chief ;
and when he calls his son and Foreign Commissioners
together, such is the commanding influence of the
General that he usually succeeds in carrying the Staff
with him, and his verdict is accepted and carried out
most loyally. The differences are no longer men-
tioned, even although strong feeling may have marked
the discussions at Headquarters.

For some years past, however, a habit has been
cultivated of avoiding the unpleasant as far as possible.
The General is now unable to endure long and harassing
conversations, so that matters of first importance have
practically been decided by the Chief of the Staff
himself.

But the General is still par excellence the master
diplomatist and peacemaker. I have known the
keenest difference of opinion on important subjects
to exist between father and son, more particularly
where members of the family have been concerned, a
subject on which the General is naturally sensitive.

It is well known that at one time deep feeling pre-
vailed as regards the policy pursued by Commander



164 GENERAL BOOTH

Booth-Tucker, when that officer first had charge of the
Army's missionary work in India. He adopted ex-
treme " native lines " of propaganda, requiring English
men and women to live in native quarters, dress and eat
as natives, and even wear caste-marks on their fore-
heads and fakir-coloured uniform while begging from
Europeans at their homes or among the ships in the
various harbours.

In the name of self-sacrifice and a death-consecration
for the salvation of India, delicate European ladies were
subjected to degrading conditions of life. Not a few
suffered martyrdom or became incapacitated for con-
tinuous labours among the lower castes where the
great bulk of the Army's work is carried on ; some
died from enteric, cholera, and other Oriental diseases.
Commissioner Eailton denounced these methods at the
councils named, and his views were shared by the
majority of officers in India and others at home.

To all appearances the General upheld the policy
adopted by his son-in-law, and passed some severe
strictures upon Church missionaries who ventilated in
English newspapers their views on the use of these ex-
treme methods. The General's daughter, Mrs. Booth-
Tucker, adopted the attitude that her husband, having
spent most of his days in India, knew more about the
essentials of a successful campaign than any other
officer in the Army.

But as week after week and month after month
passed on, and telegrams flashed the news to England
that some zealous officer had succumbed to disease,
though in reality the deaths were believed to have been




Copyright, Bolak.



COMMANDER BOOTH TUCKER.



INDIAN AFFAIRS 165

caused by the semi-fanatical adherence to habits of
living afterwards proved to be too arduous for the
very natives, the feeling on the subject deepened.

Commander Booth-Tucker published figures he is
an adept at percentages to show that the Army's
death-rate among its officers was no higher than that
of other missionary societies. Thus he widened the
breach between the two parties at home. I confess
to having defended the policy simply because it ap-
peared to be endorsed by the General, and in those
days that was my be-all and end-all. Once I tried
to place the alternative view before him, and for my
daring was denounced as a disturber of peace at the
International Headquarters. Officers who resigned in
India rather than submit to the degradation of these
lines were called traitors, and men like Colonel Musa
Bhai, a native officer, who proclaimed that the way
to the heart of India was along this new and more
excellent way, were exalted as saints ; and to this day
a Colonel Weresoyria a brave, spiritual soul is held
in sacred remembrance for his devotion to the very
methods that partially led to his untimely death.

It was a critical period in the Army's history. The
outside world was unaware of what was going on ; but
if this system had been persisted in, it is no exaggeration
to assert that there would have been no Salvation Army
in India to-day, and that the forces of the Army in Aus-
tralia, Sweden, America, and Canada would have been
dispersed. For from all these countries officers had
gone forth to the Army's mission field in India, and
comrades at home were receiving private correspond-



166 GENERAL BOOTH

ence from them testifying to the dissatisfaction that
was felt throughout India.

In this crisis the General acted with great astuteness.
He dealt a death-blow at the whole system, but not till
the right moment was reached for doing so. He de-
bated the question with his advisers, temporised, mini-
mised and immortalised the losses of officers, and
exalted the gains to the Army arising out of the
undoubted fact that a certain entrance to native
thought had been obtained by the tribute the Army
paid to India in discarding the names and dress and
food of the mighty Sahib. And then he promised that
he would go out to India and study the subject for him-
self on the spot. This proved a master move. From
that very moment all dissatisfaction in England came
to an end, for officers respect the General's judgment,
when he really sets to work to understand a question.
They felt sure that when he got to India he would
denounce the begging of rice from natives, living in
huts, and the adoption of social practices that were
both insulting and degrading to the tastes of white


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Online LibraryA M NicolGeneral Booth and the Salvation Army → online text (page 11 of 25)