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welcomed the visit of the Salvation Army officers as
interesting and well-meaning people. The Army cannot
complain that the people have not attended their ser-
vices. In proportion to the size of the halls they have
engaged in their propaganda, and the towns in which
they have endeavoured to establish posts, the con-
ditions have been altogether favourable to the Army's
ideas of the main essentials to success. The Army,
in another respect, has had the advantage of not
entering upon the experiment as avowedly Protestant.
The Salvation Army is not, strictly speaking, a Protes-
tant society at all. It has no quarrel with the Church
of England or the Roman Catholic Church or the
Presbyterian Assemblies.

The nearest approach to a declaration of a line of
attack upon Latin or Roman Catholic communities
was once given by General Booth to a representative
of the Press in these words :

" The Salvation Army is neither French nor English,
Indian nor European. It is of mankind and for man-
kind. We are not Protestants. We are not sent into
the world to convert Catholics from their errors any
more than we are at work trying to turn Protestants



Sit GENERAL BOOTH

into Catholics. The only thing that we protest against
is sin, and we find that that is the deadliest enemy
of the human family. We are against sin and are
anxious to save men from it. That is why we are at
work in France and other Roman Catholic nations."

Twenty-five years ago the Marechale, the eldest
daughter of the General, started work of this class
of Protestantism in France. And what has the Army
to show for it ? In Paris the Army is not represented
by a hundred members. A rescue home and a shelter
are no test of the moral influence of the Army in that
great democratic and open-hearted city. The Army
has expended tens of thousands of pounds, and with
what result ? If it were tabulated it would sound
ridiculous. The effort is a failure in Bordeaux and
Marseilles, where one would naturally conclude that the
Army would find splendid opportunities of winning its
way into the confidence of the many who have lost
all faith in religion.

The Army has tried all kinds of methods to make an
impression on the minds of the people by colportage,
popular services, lectures, meetings in casinos and
other resorts. The General has tried to make for him-
self a platform in such places, and officers who thought
that France could be won for God and the Army by
striking out on lines similar to what obtained on the
other side of the Channel, have made conspicuous
names for themselves as prodigious impossibilities.
In one or two towns the Army has a pretence of a hold,
but the recruits have been largely drawn from the
children of Protestant parents, and it may be safely



FAILURE WITH LATIN RACES 313

asserted that so far as the Army in France is concerned
it is a sad and general failure.

There has been no failure on the part of the officers
in their devotion, courage, and continuity of faith in
the teeth of stern and incontestable failure. If the
General were content to accept it as a sign of success,
or as compensation for all that the Army has expended
upon France over the period in which it has been at
work, then he would have it in the fact that the Army
is better respected than is the average Protestant
society, and console himself with the common apology
that in Catholic countries Protestant effort is slow and
uphill. But, fortunately for his Army, General Booth
is not made of that material, though why he should hide
the facts about the Army's work in France, and leave
the religious public to conclude that because so many
officers are at work therefore the Army must be in-
valuable, is somewhat singular.

Italy affords a more striking illustration of the im-
potence of the Army to gather adherents than France.
Major Vint, a clever officer, endeavoured to organise
a Corps in Rome and was starved out. Then the
General sought the more congenial atmosphere of
the Waldensian valleys, but even here the Army that
began with a fair measure of hopefulness is as good as
defunct. I am unaware what the outcome of its in-
vasion of Genoa, Naples, Florence, and Turin is. It is
possible that these places have shown more religious
acceptance of the Army teaching, but it is certain
that if it has won any respect from the general mass
of the people, this has arisen from the impression



314 GENERAL BOOTH

that the Army is a charity. When Messina was laid
in ruins by the earthquake the General despatched
Commissioner Cosandey, a French Swiss, to administer
relief to the sufferers there. One would conclude that
the Army was represented in its regular work in that
city. Nothing of the kind, and uncharitable as it will
be called, I cannot refrain from forming the view that
behind the act of mercy was the hope that it might
break down some of the barriers that stand in the way
of turning the Italian into a Salvationist. The charity
of the Salvation Army has always a handle to it.

A futile struggle was planned and carried out for
establishing a Corps in Spain, but that came to an
ignominious end. General Booth has alwa}^ given the
Portuguese a wide berth, and Lisbon has been saved
a revolution engineered by a regiment of Salvation
invaders.

In the French-speaking areas of Belgium the success
of the Army, if Brussels and Liege are not mentioned,
has been a trifle more encouraging. The same applies
to the hold that the Army has gained in Catholic
towns in the Netherlands. But when the most favour-
able construction has been placed upon the fruit of
the Army's labours among the Latin populations of
Europe, the reflection is forced upon any practical
mind that if the same lesson were given to any other
enterprise it would have been accepted as notice to
quit, and to place the money spent in sustaining a
forlorn hope in some more successful undertaking. If
I am not mistaken, the General once thought of acting
in that way. Had he done so no one with any regard



A FIELD IN SCANDINAVIA 315

for the voice of experience would have raised a finger
of protest against him. But the Army believes that
somehow, sooner or later, a miracle will happen,
and that it will be recognised as the deliverer of the
country and the race.

If we study the Army in the French districts of
Canada as a converting agency we see naught but
failure. The French-Canadians have no use for the
Army. Neither have the Argentines ; in fact, away
down there the Army is only a sort of ambulance
waggon for indigent Englishmen, and those to whom
a profession of religion, whether Mahomedan or
Salvation Army, is measured by the amount of cash
that can be got out of it.

The Army, on the other hand, has discovered that
among the Scandinavians it has a people who answer
to the call that is made upon them. Some of the ablest
officers in the Army are Swedes or Finns or Nor-
wegians. The Governments of these nations at first
demurred to the Army's extravaganza in the name of
religion, and the Salvationist had to fight for the
liberty which he now enjoys. In the cities of Stock-
holm, Christiania, Gothenburg, Bergen, Copenhagen,
among the inhabitants of Lapland, and among the
Esquimaux, members of the Army will be found
acting on similar lines to their comrades in England,
only that they cannot storm the forts of darkness
by holding processions in the streets. In all other
respects the Army carries on rescue and shelter opera-
tions, and by slum posts, which are more analogous
to what Mr. Bramwell Booth first established in



316 GENERAL BOOTH

London, it has gained the good opinion of royalty
and local and national authorities. General Booth
has made a practice for the last twenty years of
carrying on Salvation campaigns in these northern
countries. He is invariably accorded a warm welcome.
He has been received by the present King of Denmark,
the King of Sweden, and the King of Norway. It is
said that in the royal circles of more than one Court
the War Cry is welcomed; at any rate the uniform
of the Army is respected, and when the hat is passed
round in proper form it is made heavier by the contri-
butions of several members of blood royal.

Among the Saxon communities the Army is on the
whole well received, though one must here again judge
of the Army, not by the toleration that is extended
to it by the force of public opinion, but by the recruits
it gains. In Holland the Army is a success. The
phlegmatic temperament of the Hollanders has not
at all resented the free-and-easy order of service of the
Salvation Army, and here the social agencies would
appear to have done some really excellent work.
The chief strongholds of the Army in Holland are
Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Haarlem, Gronin-
gen, and the Hague.

The people take a kindly interest in what the Army
is doing in the Dutch Colonies. The Government
find that among the natives of Java, as well as the
Dutch Colonists living there, the Army officers are
successful experts in handling the criminal and leper
populations.

In Germany the progress of the Army has been the



FAIRLY SUCCESSFUL IN GERMANY 817

most remarkable of any on the continent of Europe.
On Repentance Day the largest congregations that will
attend religious services will be those of the Heils
Armee, if the old General is in command. In the
Circus Busch he has addressed as many as twenty
thousand persons in the course of a day. In the big
cities of Germany the Army has small followings
in no place outside Berlin is there any really large
Corps and its social operations are commendable.
In one or two towns the Army attempted to keep going
all the year round a Drunkards' Brigade. This con-
sisted of a body of men patrolling the streets and
handling special cases of alcoholism. Many remarkable
results are said to have attended the efforts of this
method of taking drunkards out of danger, but whether
it is the success claimed for it I do not happen to have
sufficient data by my side to know. One thing is
certain, however the Army has not succeeded in
enlisting the mechanic as a recruit, and it is highly
creditable to the Army that they have been able to
sustain the work by the human material that has
formed the backbone of the movement. The Municipal
City of Berlin subsidises the social work of the Army.

If we leave the Army in Europe and examine it at
work among the semi-heathen populations of Asia
and Africa, we shall meet with some strange and com-
plex issues. India is at once the most inviting field of
foreign missions that the Army possesses. It is at
present under the able direction of Commander Booth-
Tucker and his wife. If one accepts the reports of the
Army's organs, it is destined to surprise the missionary



318 GENERAL BOOTH

world by the results of its operation among the criminal
classes and the hill tribes of India. Commander Booth-
Tucker would seem to be contributing his quota to the
making of a Salvation Empire by aiming at three
things :

1. The establishment of a network of social agencies
that will bring the native within the influence of the
Army officer day by day, such as banks, medical
dispensaries, hospitals, and industries.

2. The formation of brigades for reforming the very
lowest of the pariah classes, and transferring them
to colonies where they will become automatically
officers and soldiers of the Army.

3. Corps and schools for the education and salvation
of the people generally.

Has the Army succeeded in pointing to a new way
of Christian conquest in India ? The Army has main-
tained until late years that it has. The question is
somewhat difficult to answer. There is a reticence
on the part of Commander Tucker to acquaint his
European friends with the hard facts relating to
members and the character of the work. If the Army
cannot sustain its reputation in India it may as well
be closed as an authority on missionary work, inasmuch
as the larger portion of the money allotted from the
Self-Denial Funds has gone to the maintenance of
the cause in India. It is on the strength of what the
Army has accomplished among the heathen in India
that enthusiasm for the Self-Denial Week has been
kept so high. In some parts of India, and these the
easiest to work, the Army is not a success except at



NATIVE DRESS ADOPTED IN INDIA 319

catching the converts of other missions. Its converts
are unreliable, the Corps work is fluctuating, and the
officers un-Christian in their spirit and conduct. As
in Europe so in India the work has been stripped of
much of its spiritual power by the too frequent use
of the collecting-box, which India has to rely upon
European officers to carry out. So that, although
the methods adopted by the Army in evangelising the
heathen may at first sight seem likely to enlist and call
for the entire sympathy of the native, it is questionable
whether the Army has been as successful as the ordinary
British or American mission, whose methods do not
convey the impression that the missionaries intend to
eat and dress as do the heathen.

These ways are sentimentally attractive. The
officers, on being appointed to India, adopt an Indian
name, and from that time they are called, gazetted,
and corresponded with under an Indian name. The
European garb is also discarded, and a robe, yellow and
red, takes the place of the conventional trousers and
the cumbersome coat. Boots give way for the more
hygienic sandals. Such impedimenta as collars, ties,
cravats, rings, and other non-essentials to the happi-
ness of man are also completely put aside. The officer
must live, if not in the very thick of heathenism, at
any rate as far away from the padra as possible.
But the Army could not succeed in changing the colour
of the Britisher, his skin and his speech. The high
caste remained obdurate, and the low caste timorous
or carried to the other extreme of enthusiasm, and
became almost worshippers of men and women who,



820 GENERAL BOOTH

to gain their confidence, were prepared to throw off
the Western fashion for the Eastern.

In any case, the Army in India has shown that the
law of adaptation in itself is insufficient to capture
the Oriental for Christ. S. Francis Xavier, before
Booth-Tucker dreamt of Christianising India, had gone
further than he in adapting the ancient forms of the
Church to the legitimate customs of the Hindoo, but
he realised that without the spirit of God, and very
much of that spirit too, they only served to make the
task the more difficult. The missionaries of 350 years
ago knew what the missionary of to-day appears to
forget, that they had to speak with authority and not
as the scribes. They taught divinity with intelligence
and power. They were at pains to acquire not only
the language, but the spirit and inner thought of the
native mind. They undermined the superstition of
his faith by the mighty weapon of historical reference
and reason, while living the Christ life, knowing that
the Indian on matters of religion is essentially a thinker,
and that unless you can convince his understanding,
such is the power of custom, that even if he be swayed
by emotions to-day he will return to his gods to-
morrow. Even the Salvationist converts in Guzerat
evinced this truism. When the portrait of their great
white Sahib appeared in print for the first time, many
of the ignorant (and the majority are profoundly
ignorant) cut out the picture and had the same pasted
on to bricks and pieces of stone, and worshipped it
once or twice a day !

The greatest authorities upon Indian missions



A FAILURE IN JAPAN 321

to-day declare that Christianity is making progress
in India in proportion as its exponents are felt to be
reliable in their knowledge, character, and in their
deeds. Is that the dominating note in the religion of
the Salvation Army in India ?

Looked at farther east, the Salvation Army is,
what Count Okuma, of Japan, described it, " very
young in its faith." In Java, as I have hinted, it is
a fair success. It has not attempted to hoist its flag
in China. In Japan it has completely failed to find
a way into the heart of the young Japanese. Its
converts come from the Christianised section of the
towns, very unreliable indeed. Japan has one religion
which will probably serve its highest interests for some
generations to come, and it is not Shintoism or Bud-
dhism, but education. The colleges and schools are
the centres of the nation's zeal. The youth have but
one ambition to learn. They have the craze of the
German for knowledge with twice as much plod in their
composition.

The General was well received in all the big cities,
and if one were to judge by the hospitality of its sons,
and the eulogies of its ministers of State and merchant
princes, General Booth might have been considered
as a modern Buddha. But that is the Japanese way.
It is questionable if the General's meetings added a
hundred new soldiers to the roll-call of the Army.

In Osaka, for instance, at the conclusion of the Gen-
eral's address Colonel Lawley made an appeal for the
audience to decide to seek Christ. The response to
that appeal was a wholesale flight from the benches



822 GENERAL BOOTH

on which the people sat to the penitent form, some
even kneeling in tears. I was carried away by the
sight. One would conclude that if this manifestation
of repentance was sincere, and was indeed what it
appeared to be, the capture of the nation for Christi-
anity could only be a matter of months. We were
informed that the crowd were typically Japanese.
But within a few months not a dozen out of the
hundreds who professed in this fashion to have thrown
what they had of another religion to the winds were
found saved or connected with other denominations.

The Army in Japan tried to adapt itself to the Japa-
nese style, but it was a lamentable exhibition of con-
forming to the letter and losing sight of the fact that
only the spirit can quicken the dead soul of man. The
one thing that the Salvation Army has done to make
a mark upon the thought of the nation is not what
the General is never tired of telling the world about,
namely, the passing of an Act by which twelve thousand
girls were freed from the horrors of the Yoshiwara
a measure that was framed by one of the most success-
ful missionaries in Japan but the translation of the
Gospels into the language of the common people
by Brigadier Yamamura. He received little counte-
nance at the time for doing so, and was considered to
be scarcely orthodox. He has proved how uncharitable
were the home authorities by refusing again and
again the finest offers that any young Japanese could
wish for in his walk of life, and the result is that the
Army leaders let the lesson of the success of this book
pass into the hands of others. In the Far East, as in



SMALL RESULTS 323

the West, knowledge is power. The General and his
coming successor will prove it. Neither Japan nor
Korea is to be won by enthusiasm. If they are to
be Christianised it will be by the overwhelming evi-
dence of the reality of the Christian teaching, backed
up by the superb testimony of unselfishness and bra-
very. Are the officers whom the General has sent out
to Japan and Korea equal to the task ? Up to the
present the Army, in the former country at least,
has been mainly characterised by " kow-towing "
to the powers that be, and by the employment of what
influence could obtain through the missionaries. The
Army in Japan is well-nigh a mistake.

I might dwell upon the Empire that the General is
drawing together by further references to the opera-
tions of the Army in America, Australia, and Canada,
and among the Crown Colonies of the British Empire
where it is at work. Something might be said about
the possibilities of the Army in Africa, but as a matter
of fact in all the countries named, with the exception
of Canada and Australia, the Army is still in an experi-
mental stage. And I say so, fearless of contradiction.
In America the position of the Army is nugatory.
It has no numerical following worth naming, and yet
the other day President Taft and Mrs. Taft honoured
the movement by attending a meeting addressed by
the eloquent Miss Booth, and the General signified
his sense of the importance of the event by sending
a special cablegram of thanks. If the fact were appre-
ciated that the Army in America is but an organised
charity, and not a religion that has recruited its forces



324 GENERAL BOOTH

from the outside world or the world outside the
Church, there would be a different phase of feeling in
America towards the organisation.

The moral of all this interesting endeavour must be
clear to the dullest mind. General Booth is attempt-
ing to run his Army throughout the world on the same
principle as he did the Christian Mission in its first
or second year. He has his hand on it for a given
purpose. Then it was that he might be saved from the
bondage of government by committee. Now it is that
he may establish a Hierarchy that shall use its power,
whether secular or spiritual, to foster the organisation
called the Salvation Army. His Empire stretches
from the warm flat land of South America to the
volcanic coast-line of far Japan, from the region of the
everlasting snows to the deserts and forests of Africa.
His iron will moulds the thought and activities of his
followers everywhere. But is he not forgetting one
thing, that whether they succeed or fail, these same
States will fall away simply because they have not the
power to carry on their work according to their own
ideas ?



CHAPTER XV
AND WHAT OF THE FUTURE?

The Growth of Toleration The Array Respected General Booth on
the Future of the Array Is the Army Faithful to Itself ? An
Example

THE prophet has not arisen who can be relied upon to
predict what the future of the Salvation Army will be.
The business of prophet has, moreover, gone of late
into bankruptcy, and when one recalls his failure in the
past as it concerns this organisation, it behoves one,
especially if he has convictions, to tread carefully while
venturing to suggest what may transpire in the fortunes
of the Army should this or that occur.

Let us see how far some of the prophets of days gone
by have been justified by the logic of events in their
prognostications of the place that the Army would
occupy in the public estimation. The British
journalist, in his capacity as a seer, reckoned that it
would have a meteor-like existence, a sensation that
would last so long as the novelty could be sustained.
Well, the novelty has ceased to " draw," and yet the
Army is with us and means to stay. Granted that the
mob no longer follows it to its barracks, and that
skilled players on divers instruments do not charm
many of the baser sort to its citadels more's the pity
- the contingent of faithful witnesses to the Flag may

325



326 GENERAL BOOTH

be seen to-night in fifteen hundred cities, towns, and
villages of this country alone. It has its own following,
and the respect and goodwill of a modicum of the
community wherever it is represented. The prophecy
of the scribe, with his readiness to measure new move-
ments by the rule of precedent, proves how dangerous
it is for anyone who has a leaning to this class of
dogmatism to assume the role of the prophet.

Then the Church treated the movement with dis-
dain and unctuous pity, though founders of those
Churches went about " turning the world upside
down." Exceptions there were, of course, and they
were principally among the Bishops and Archbishops
of the Church of England, and it is to their credit that
they perceived the moral significance of the big drum
and the tambourine. Other cures of souls saw no
beauty in the red-vested brigades of General Booth
and said he was dragging religion in the gutter he
made answer that they had kept it too long in the
clouds and that he was assuming to himself and his
followers prerogatives for which they had no warrant.
Again he made answer, " Do not judge us by our
creeds, or our mistakes, or by the critics who have
nothing to show that they are lifting the people out of
their slough of despond, but by results."

Then came Darkest England and the Way Out.
The false prophets were discomfited and rejected by
their flocks. The tide of Christian charity swept away
bigotry and prejudice, and many who before were
against General Booth became his friends. They
opened the gates of their sanctuaries to him and to his



A CHANGE IN PUBLIC OPINION

sergeants, and tried to make, and in many ways suc-
ceeded in making, the amende honorable.


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Online LibraryA M NicolGeneral Booth and the Salvation Army → online text (page 21 of 25)