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for in a maternity hospital and restored to friends,
some having been happily married and provided with
a fresh start in life in a new world across the seas. This
incident in his career redounds to his honour as a man
and as one of the guides in a great work of mercy.

But he might have taken fuller advantage of the
publicity which his place in the dock at Old Bailey pro-
vided. The department might have become a useful



SLUM WORK 295

vigilance agency. The General restrained his Chief,
however, insisting that the salvation not the dis-
covery and punishment of criminals was the supreme
concern of the Army, and from that day to this Mr.
Bramwell Booth has allowed his ardour for the reform
of the law in relation to this question to be regulated
wholly and solely by philanthropic, as distinguished
from legislative, considerations.

As an organiser of forlorn endeavours the second
in command of the Salvation Army is probably seen
at his best. The slum work of the Army was mainly
his creation. When much younger he frequently evan-
gelised in the slum quarters of Hackney, " Donkey
Row," East London, and other places. He has visited
and nursed the sick, tidied up rooms in rookeries, and
preached salvation and held prayer-meetings with the
neighbours. He formed the idea in those days of sub-
duing black patches of our city life by the sheer moral
and sweetening influences of clean, happy, self-denying
Christians who should voluntarily come out of their
ordinary homes and go down and actually live amongst
the poor and degraded.

In company with the writer he wandered about the
slums of South London night after night studying the
habits, customs, and character of the occupiers of
squalid and overcrowded tenements, dilapidated
rookeries, and blind, dismal alleys. An article followed
in the War Cry, giving a word- vision of this neglected
London, and calling for the consecration of the fol-
lowers of the Friend of sinners to save the people.

He dreamed of a nether London honeycombed with



296 GENERAL BOOTH

sanctified fathers and mothers, living the Christ life
among the hovels of the poor and the black localities
of vice by day, and preaching the Gospel at night. A
beautiful dream ! inspired by an idealism far, far
beyond the matter-of-fact Christianity of modern days
and even the predisposition of the Salvationist to suffer
for Christ's sake.

Two warm-hearted sergeants of a large and easy-
going Corps in Battersea, Mr. and Mrs. Webb, felt the
call of Heaven in their hearts to this work, and made
a heroic attempt to apply Mr. Booth's notion of Christ
in the slums ; but while they were undoubtedly the
pioneers of the slum work of the Army, the original
plan was found to be impracticable. Nevertheless, it
is interesting that at a period in the evolution of the
social idea of the Army and before the Darkest Eng-
land Scheme was as much as dreamt of Mr. Bramwell
Booth, the Chief of the Staff, was endeavouring to
grapple with that problem of all problems, how to
Christianise the heathen of England by the force of
moral example, and by holy and self-sacrificing men
and women living, not occasionally visiting, but actually
living in the slums.

Undaunted, this Salvation Stanley shall I say ?
rushed on through the dense forest of social
desolation, poverty, vice, and crime, till at length
he attained a working basis and founded what were
called " slum posts," from which happy, bright, and
devoted sister officers of the Army operated upon a
given neighbourhood, visiting the sick and degenerate
by day, and at night attracting many of their neigh-



HIS EARLY YEARS 297

bours into small halls, where salvation was proclaimed
with results that drew from the late Cardinal Manning
the high encomium, " They are God's angels of hope
and mercy." Since then the slum posts have been
superseded by district visitation and nursing, but
whether the latter is an improvement upon the former
I cannot say.

Here, then, is a man with the predilections of a
practical, social alchemist, and who, in the providence
of God, will be the next General of the Salvation Army.

There is the strain of the mystic in his temperament.
His library and books from which he most frequently
quotes testify to a strong preference for the dogmatic
theology of the low evangelical school, and the contem-
plative literature of the order of Lacordaire, Upham,
and Madame Guy on. He was given the Christian names
of William Bramwell by his parents as a mark of their
regard for the writings and reputation for holy living of
that old Methodist divine.

The association of his name influenced the boy at
school and at play. He was always "a good boy," so
good indeed that he had to endure much inconvenience
while a pupil of the City of London School. Refrain-
ing from vulgar language and many innocent games
because of the questionable character of some of his
schoolmates, he was speedily made the object of that
" pin-pricking " order of annoyance at which British
lads are such experts !

At the age of thirteen W. Bramwell Booth gave his
heart to God, and at fifteen the exigencies of the
Christian Mission movement as well as ill-health some-



298 GENERAL BOOTH

what interfered with his education. Had he pur-
sued his studies and had his parents sent him to college,
he probably would have revised some of his crude
ideas of humanity and of New Testament teaching,
for inculcating which his parents were largely re-
sponsible. Mrs. Booth held " strong views " as to
education generally, and considered that the colleges
and universities were ruinous to real religion. Bram-
welPs education suffered in consequence, and at
seventeen he found himself assisting his father in
the " poky " offices adjoining the People's Market,
Whitechapel Road, then the Headquarters of the
movement. It was here he saw the world with the
eyes of his father. It was here, amidst squalor and
poverty, that he imbibed aggressive aspirations after
a more militant form of Christianity. It was here, too,
that he proclaimed a standard of holy living that at-
tracted to him thousands of Christians belonging to all
parts of London. Every Friday night he conducted
holiness meetings, at which he persistently, vigorously,
and with much scriptural reference tried to prove that
it is possible for men not only to have a conscious
sense of the pardon of their sins, but a definite assur-
ance of a clean heart. He believes it to be possible
for men in London to live without sinning, aye, with-
out sin. Here are his views on this subject expressed
in his own words :

" To restore men to the image of God means also to
bring men to will what He wills. Thus jestored, they
will do His will on earth, as it is done in heaven. Then,
instead of separation and contention between man



AN INVETERATE WORKER 299

and God, there will be submission and harmony and
union. And to be renewed again in His likeness means
to be made perfect in love to love supremely what He
loves, and to hate what He hates."

The aspiration of these gatherings is even better
defined in one of a few hymns that Mr. Bramwell Booth
has composed :

" Oh, when shall my soul find her rest,

My stragglings and wrestlings be o'er ?
My heart, by my Saviour possessed,
Be fearing and sinning no more ?

" Now search, and try me, O Lord,
Now, Jesus, give ear to my cry ;
See ! helpless I cling to Thy word,
My soul to my Saviour draws nigh.

" My idols I cast at Thy feet,

My all I return Thee, who gave ;
This moment the work is complete,
For Thou art almighty to save.

" O Saviour, I dare to believe

Thy blood for my cleansing I see,
And, asking in faith, I receive
Salvation, full, present and free.

" O Lord, I shall now comprehend

Thy mercy so high and so deep,

And long shall my praises ascend,

For Thou art almighty to keep."

Like all the Booths, the Chief of the Staff is an in-
veterate worker. Here is a page from my diary that
tells of the average day in his life :

"Breakfasted with the Chief of Staff at Hadley
Wood at 8. Busy all the way in train and cab to Head-
quarters. Chief severe on an officer for imparting in-



300 GENERAL BOOTH

formation to General about trouble in States. He
lectured Cadets at Clapton at 11 o'clock. Address
upon ' Faith ' in relation to works. Returned to
International Headquarters for conference with lawyers.
Had a bad quarter of an hour with Trade Department
over their debts. Caught 5.10 p.m. for Luton. He
conducted All Night of Prayer in Citadel. Not at all
in good form ; hammered the people too much. Denun-
ciation of sin in abstract too rackish. Results practi-
cally nil. Telegrams during meeting pestered him. He
went to bed at 1 a.m. wearied and tried about America."

It is no disparagement of the son that he does not
possess the human touch of the father. As a speaker
Mr. Bramwell Booth is serious, impressive, lucid, and
as we have described, melodramatic. But he lacks
what he fancies he possesses the dry humour of his
father. It is but right to remember, however, that
he has not been privileged with the opportunities of
keeping in practical contact with the people to the
extent that the General has. He does not understand
the inner, psychological meaning of the word Demo-
cracy. Observant as he is, the labour and social
movements of the hour are retrogressive in his judg-
ment. If I am correct and I think I am this is a
most unfortunate shortcoming in the coming General,
for there was a time when the working classes looked
on at the evolution of the Army in the hope that it
would result in the organisation of a movement that
would voice the bitter cry of the British toiler, and use
its unique influence in industrial centres for lifting
the working-man question on to a high platform.

as it may appear, although the Salvation



THE ARMY AND THE WORKING MAN 301

Army is essentially a people's movement, it is only so
in a religious sense. The Booths, including the General
and especially Mr. Bramwell Booth, have failed to at-
tract the working class as a class to their standard.
The Army lacks the democratic atmosphere ; its
leaders have not " gone down " to them, or sought
admission to their clubs, or listened to the men's own
version of their social and industrial grievances, or
tried to grapple, in the spirit which they exhibited
toward the human submerged, with their peculiar
circumstances and aspirations.

They have opened shelters and soup-kitchens for the
out-of-works ; but through prejudice, or as employers
of labour, they have held aloof from the working man.
At any rate, for some reason or another, they have
done little to harness the working man as such to the
Blood and Fire Flag ; he stands off from the Army.
There is nothing in an Army hall that is socially at-
tractive to him week-night or Sunday. The meetings
are now largely composed of women, principally of the
shop-girl and servant class, and the fear that many
friends of the Army entertain about the next General
is that he will be too old to strike out on this matter
and enlist the sympathies of any important number
of the labouring and artisan classes to the Army, i

They respect the old General and speak>-fi!nec-
tionately about the ambulance operations of the Army
down among the poor we all do that but what has
the Salvation Army to offer a hardworking man at the
end of a day's nawying, or when he is being "bested "
in his attempts to better his circumstances, and thus



302 GENERAL BOOTH

prevent his children from falling into the ranks of the
submerged ?

It has a charter for the hooligan, but nothing for the
honest man. Will Mr. Booth has he the courage ?
take hold of this question ? Unless he does in a
statesmanlike fashion, the Army must eventually be
confronted with a serious dearth of men capable of
being trained into successful officers, For the Army
is drifting into a large charity organisation as a result
of this aloofness and ignorance of the modern working
man's mind toward Christianity.

For over twenty-five years Mr. Bramwell Booth has
reigned and ruled at Headquarters. While other officers
have been subject to the law of change of appoint-
ment he has, unfortunately for the movement, remained
at his desk. He has been a partner to sending his
brothers and sisters hither and thither throughout the
world, while he himself has not once visited the United
States, or allowed himself sufficient time to mingle with
the great democratic spirits of France or endeavour to
understand the German on his own ground. A huge
blunder has been committed with the Chief of the Staff,
which he has done much to make almost irreparable
by taking upon himself the oversight of the command
of Great Britain, that ought to have been given, by
every right of Salvation Army development, to men
who are well known to possess as sound qualifications
as himself for these positions. And while he remains
in it he is guilty, in the opinion of many of his officers,
who dare not say aloud what they think, of something
approaching an insult to long-service men.



THE POWER OF VETO 803

It is now too late. The Army has suffered, and un-
less Mr. Bramwell Booth does violence to himself and
at some risk puts more trust in his top men, the result
may be grave to the power of the organisation.
His executive skill is, no doubt, a source of admira-
tion, but it is marred by a form of priestliness which
blinds him to the morality of some of his actions. For
example, he exercises the veto upon all matters re-
lating to the development of the trading departments
of the Army. No special contract for Salvation
bicycles or extension of the Salvation tea department
one of the established hypocrisies of the movement
and no departure either in management or depart-
ments can be passed without his consent. He controls
the printing department. Except for the routine,
his is the brain that shapes the thought of the
Training Home. The War Cry is but a gramophone
for registering his judgment. He wields absolute
power over the policy and administration of the
Farm Colony.

What did Mr. Bramwell Booth know about dairying
and the care and stalling of milch cows when the General
decided to add that as a department to the Hadleigh
Farm Colony ? What did he know then about brick-
making, market-gardening, fruit-farming, and the
industries that have come to grief in the development
of the experiment of founding a Land Colony for the
submerged tenth ?

It is true that expert advice on these undertakings
was put on the tables of the councils of the Army and
paid for. But Mr. Bramwell Booth had the veto of



304 GENERAL BOOTH

deciding what should be done with that advice, and
what is more serious, his was the responsibility of
appointing Salvation Army men to carry out the
recommendations of experts. Mr. Bramwell Booth
applied himself with amazing assiduity to master the
principles of all these industries and paid personal
visits to farms and other places where they were deemed
successful, and now Mr. Bramwell Booth can give his
officers an occasional wrinkle on how to make a depart-
ment a success where it may be a failure. And I repeat
that but for the abuse of the sacred name of religion
with which he clothes his reference to all these secular
arms of the Army, he would be considered a commend-
able man of the world. But when he talks of the
piggery at Hadleigh as part of the Kingdom of God,
and the tea-selling agents of the Army as the servants
of the Most High God, he adopts the language of ex-
aggeration. He is the initiator of the company that
sells tea under a name that veils its connection with
the Salvation Army, and is responsible for allowing
that company, the profits of which go into the coffers
of the Salvation Army, to be promoted by officers of
the Salvation Army who go about the country dis-
guised as ordinary civilians, and who make publicans
agents of the company while at the same time the
Army denounces a glass of beer as distilled damnation !
He is no doubt satisfied as to the purity of his
motives and the righteousness of this unsalvation
Salvation Army Tea Company, and I certainly give
him credit for being actuated by motives that he thinks
are the essence of unselfishness. I am not impugning



INCONGRUITIES 305

his motives. It is the policy he has adopted and the
position in which he stands that are objectionable.

One hour he is studying the profit and loss
account of a tea company that is ashamed to show
its connection with the Salvation Army, and the next
hour he is standing on the platform of the Congress
Hall and grandiloquently declaiming to cadets the
rottenness of the business world and the sanctity of
their Israel. With all his reputation and undoubted
ability, can Mr. Bramwell Booth sustain the general-
ship of the Salvation Army when the commercial
immorality of this amalgamation of the World and
Religion is better understood ?

Mr. Bramwell Booth is the most complete paradox
that the Army has evolved. He is as exacting as
Shylock when a stake belonging to the Salvation Army
is in danger, and generous to foolishness when raising
some fallen brother. He and his agents can be guilty
of exceeding in zeal for their Zion that of the Spanish
Inquisitionists, and yet weep over a wretched back-
slider who kneels at the penitent form and confesses
his sin, while the man who disgraces the Flag is cast
outside the camp and damned for all time.

But all this is the natural result of the long
practice of the doctrine exposed in the chapter "Is
General Booth Infallible ? " Infallibility after the
order of the Salvation Army is synonymous with
an authority that must not be questioned. Mr.
Bramwell Booth has developed, as a consequence,
the vanity of a Wolsey and the unctuous manner of
a Puritan, the skill of a dealer in stocks and shares,



306 GENERAL BOOTH

with the compassion of a Samaritan, minus his anony-
mity, for no leader of the Salvation Army now acts the
part of the man with the balm for the broken body
of a Lazarus or the wounded heart of a forlorn soul
without acquainting his publicity department. There
is no such thing as a good deed speaking for itself in
the twentieth century in the philosophy of the latter-
day head of a Salvation Army department.

Mr. Bramwell Booth will, of course, be shocked at
one of his old lieutenants writing in this terribly
true manner. I shall not blame him, because in
the complex mechanism of his moral constitution the
interests of the Salvation Army have blinded him
to the truth about himself and others, including the
officers who have gone under. He could no more arrive
at a just equation concerning the true character of a
man outside the Salvation Army who was once within
its ranks, than he could measure a cubic inch of
compressed oxygen with an eyeglass. How can it be
otherwise ? He has to study from day to day, from
January to December, one interest and one only,
namely, the Salvation Army, and it is not to be
wondered at that he is a paradox : a good fellow, and
an understudy to the Czar of all the Salvationists.

Fortunately, Mrs. Bramwell Booth may save the
Chief of the Staff when he ascends the throne of the
Salvation Army, and thereby avert the possibility of
a calamity. She has a freer mind on many subjects
than her husband, and is not cursed by such a fetish
worship of the Salvation Army as such. She is
essentially pious. But for her influence and a brave



MR. B. BOOTH INDISPENSABLE 307

conquest of a natural aversion to public work, the
Army's religious horizon would have been consider-
ably lower than it is to-day. She has been a distinct
success as the mother of seven boys and girls. Train-
ing her family to embrace the principles of a simple
life, she has set an example to the world as a mother,
a Christian, a practical philanthropist, and a wise,
careful, painstaking, trustful administrator. The
Women's Social Work under her guidance has become
one of the greatest if not the very greatest marvels
in religious and social redemption. Her influence must
have been invaluable to her husband in times of doubt
and perplexity.

There is no other officer to succeed the General but
the son. After all that I have said which I submit
is conceived in a spirit of genuine concern for the
future of the Army he remains the indispensable. His
health is precarious and he carries more on his shoulders
than he has any moral right to do. He ought to be re-
lieved of a considerable amount of detail, and be per-
mitted to study the Army for, say, twelve months
without having to do a day's work in its ranks, and
in the light of new light such as he can only obtain
away from the atmosphere of Queen Victoria Street.
The Army now belongs to mankind. Should it fail as
its enemies desire, the cause behind it will suffer. It
should be made a success, and delivered before it is too
late from the spirit of bigotry, the worst form of autoc-
racy because religious, and a system of government
that is out of harmony with the science of democracy.
Otherwise it may eventually become submerged in the



308 GENERAL BOOTH

sea of exclusiveness and rank sectarianism which now
threatens to destroy it. The opportunity is no longer
with the good man at the head of the movement. His
work is nearing its completion, and a noble work it is.
The opportunity is with the son. Will he grip it ?



CHAPTER XIV

THE SALVATION ARMY EMPIRE

General Booth's Imperial Views Centralisation Failure with the
Latin Races Some Measure of Success in Scandinavia and
Protestant Countries Among the Hindoos in India Failure in
Japan and Korea His World-wide Empire

THE avowed intention of the General of the Salvation
Army to found an Empire, composed of States through-
out the world, conforming to the laws and customs of
the country in which they are formed, paying homage,
obedience, and tithe to a central power, is not an idle
dream. The Empire, though comparatively insig-
nificant in numbers and in influence as a political
power, is nevertheless an organic unity. Each State
is co-related to each and all are amenable to one law,
one oath of allegiance, and the command of one General.
Sweden cannot enter into communication with France
except through the recognised channel at the centre.
India cannot so much as plead independently for men
or money direct from America except through the
medium of Queen Victoria Street. The Salvation
Army World Empire is founded on the principle of a
Federated Autocracy, and the dream of the General
is to leave behind him such a force, dependent upon
the resources of the International Headquarters for

309



810 GENERAL BOOTH

leadership, that without it the particular State would
crumble to pieces. We must leave any comment
upon the wisdom and possibility of realising such a
dream to the next generation of Salvationists. The
hour has not arrived when the verdict of those con-
cerned can be ascertained, and present experience is
too limited and the information too one-sided to be
of any value to the student of this movement. It
is enough to know that the General has passed beyond
the stage of intention in regard to his Empire : he has
settled the principle and made legal provision, as we
have already noted, for the succession, and in every
country where the Army is at work the property is
held in such a way that it cannot be used, sold, or
mortgaged except for and in behalf of the Salvation
Army.

What the public, I take it, is most interested in,
so far as the Army in other lands is concerned, is not
the ideal behind the operations, but the actual position
of the Army itself. What is it abroad as well as at
home ?

Perhaps the most characteristic attempt that the
Army has made up to the present, in forming this
Empire, is among the Latin races. I have made
several efforts to reduce to three or four simple pro-
positions the policy of the Salvation Army among the
Latins and have failed, and I am inclined to imagine
that the General himself is still groping in the dark
for a policy, despite the thirty years during which
his battalions have been at work among them.

The movement has stations in France, French



A WORLD-WIDE INSTITUTION 311

Switzerland, Italy, French-speaking towns in Belgium,
and in French Canada, while it has a few posts in the
Argentine Republic and one or two other countries
in South America.

No serious opposition has been meted out to the
Army in these countries, either by the authorities
or by the people. In contrast to the general disposition
of Protestant nations, the Latin peoples have rather


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Online LibraryA M NicolGeneral Booth and the Salvation Army → online text (page 20 of 25)