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The Churches have long ceased to label the Salva-
tion Army by any other name than that of a regiment
of the great Army in the forces of Christianity that
is making a way and a highway for the coming of the
King.

The prophet of science poured the vitriol of sarcasm
upon the sensationalism of the Salvation Army, and
emptied a tornado of sarcasm upon its titles, preten-
sions, and miracles. Huxley voiced the sentiment
of many of his cult when he described the religion of
William Booth as " Corybantic Christianity." But
somehow the Army does not seem as if it were to fulfil
the prediction of the wise men who then sat in the seat
of learning and called it by unholy names. William
Booth has since then been granted the Freedom of the
City of London, the honorary degree of D.C.L. in the
University of Oxford, has been received by the late
King Edward, and welcomed into the heart of the
philanthropic and political world as a benefactor of the
race. Even the Gamaliels of science sit now at his feet
and bid him God-speed in his schemes of social regenera-
tion. It was unwise of them to be so unscientific as
to declare the work of the Army "a mere flash of
veneered fanaticism "until they had allowed sufficient
time to elapse by which to put their theories to the
test.

Of late years other denouncers of the Salvation Army
have arisen. They do not greet the shouting enthu-
siasts of salvation with derision. They have no objec-



328 GENERAL BOOTH

tion to their proclaiming their views, wherever and
however they choose ; but they protest against the
Salvation Army interfering with the work that ought
to be done by the State, and that the aim of its founder
is not to organise a charity that will be synonymous
with mercy and Good Samaritanism, but to found
an institution that will become a menace to the State,
and will tend to perpetuate systems of servile labour
from which all the allied forces of reform should strive
to deliver the worker. They are at war with the
Salvation Army's Social Scheme and prophesy that
it is bound to fail. It deals, they aver, with effects
and does not do violence to the causes from which these
evils spring. They denounce the Hanbury Street
Joinery Works as a den of sweating, and the rag-
shops and paper-sorting works as nothing short of a
system that degrades the very men whom the Army
seeks to ameliorate. But the sign of the Army's
coming down as a social agency does not seem to rise
on the horizon, and General Booth goes on multiplying
workshops, shelters, and hotels for the sale of cheap
food. Each year finds the public unmoved by all these
attacks upon the wizards of this social salvation, as
attested by the Self-Denial Week Citadel Funds
and other evidences of public esteem. It is possible at
the same time that there may be more accuracy of
judgment in the predictions of these men, for they are
men who do not theorise in views they are the fruit
of much thought and knowledge of the needs and cir-
cumstances of the poor and the working classes and
General Booth might do worse than set apart a few



AN EARNEST ENDEAVOUR 329

of his officers to study the practical politics of men
who are exploring in their own way a " way out " for
the people who are imprisoned in poverty and social
darkness, not through any fault of theirs, but by the
fault of systems that have been in existence from time
immemorial. On the other hand, this class of critic
would be well advised to be careful lest their theories
receive from Father Time a verdict somewhat different
from what they expect. A few thousand years may
pass before humanity discovers that there is some-
thing more than a historical fact in the life and death
of the Man Christ Jesus, and that the inner meaning
of that cry, " My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me ? "
may have in it a message of healing and salvation for
the whole world. That gospel is not played out, and
while the Salvationist pins his faith to it it is well not
to be too dogmatic as to what his future will be.

General Booth has a right to be heard upon the future
of the Salvation Army. It is to his interest, his highest
interest, and to the honour of his name in the religious
history of the world, that the Salvation Army should
be, a hundred years hence, a power that makes for
righteousness. Has he not given his life to make it
permanent ? Has he not sacrificed the just emoluments
of his labours that its reputation for unselfishness
might remain untarnished ? He has travelled the
world again and again and seen the principles on which
it is founded put to the test. He has seen the triumph
and the apparent failure of these same principles under
varied conditions of social life.

What has he to say as to its future ? It is one of



330 GENERAL BOOTH

his favourite themes in public. When General Booth
speaks of the future of the Salvationist without his
uniform when he has not to stand before the world
as an apologist then he is entitled to a most respect-
ful hearing, and I have heard him speak in that fashion.
It was six } 7 ears ago. He was journeying to the other
end of the world. The good ship bearing him to the
hospitable shores of a favoured clime in the British
Empire had sighted land. Passengers were absorbed
in the small details of their packing up, discharging
bills, and passing farewell compliments to old and new
friends, when the news was unexpectedly handed round
the saloon that the vessel could not enter dock till next
morning. This rather demoralised the General's plans
he lives by system and so he betook himself into
a flight into the past, and talked of the days when he
had not a friend to whom he could go and with cer-
tainty receive a five-pound note to help him forward.
Next day he would be the recipient of a thousand tele-
graphic messages of welcome, from the Premier to the
converted bushranger. The old man put his travelling-
rug round his knees and ensconced himself in his deck-
chair, and speculated as to the future of the people who
were proud to call him their leader and their com-
mander.

" Whereunto will this thing grow ? " he asked, and
then made a cursory review of the forces under his
command in all parts of the world and dilated upon
the signs of the times.

\ " We are better understood. We are no longer
tolerated. We are respected and feared. The day has



GENERAL BOOTH ON THE FUTURE 331

arrived when she the Salvation Army must adhere
to its work with more tenacity than ever. We must
make Salvationists, we must make " with the em-
phasis on the " must " " Salvationists ; people who
do not know anything but the Salvation Army. They
say that persecution makes a people, but you cannot
always be persecuted, and persecution is not the best
method for raising our strength so far as it affects
numbers. We have had to contend in the past with
the spirit of the Church. The spirit of the Church is
not the spirit of the Salvation Army. I say nothing
against it ; it has its work to do, and I hope it will
wake up and do all the good it can in the world. But
the Salvation Army is a Red Cross. Let us keep to
that. That will carry us to our goal or whatever the
good Lord has for us in the future.

" And what will that future be ? My comrade, I
seldom think of what we are. I am bound to tell the
world what we have done. They demand to know.
But I am all the time thinking of what the Salvation
Army will be. I look upon the Army as I do the land
whose shores we shall touch to-morrow. That land is
in its infancy. It is suffering from the mistakes of
youth, and its leaders are not always wise. But
nothing can stop the clock of progress in this land.
For the moment a party may be in power that is
determined to make it the garden for only such as
they choose to take inside its borders, but that party
will pass away. The nation has the soil for sustaining
millions and millions. It has untold wealth in minerals,
and it has not entered into the heart of its present-day
statesmen to conceive what is laid up for their children
and their children's children.

" In a similar strain of thought I have been thinking
of the Salvation Army to-day, I have been looking



3S2 GENERAL BOOTH

into the coming years, and what do I see ? Bramwell
writes me about his Staff College. That is a further
development of a cradle of Empire. He is doing more
for the realisation of my dream for a University of
Humanity than he wots of. Our power to carry out
our mandate given to us by High Heaven, and our
power to make the most of the opportunities that
are rising in the United States, India, and on the
continent of Europe, depend upon training men and
women for the work of the Salvation Army in all
its branches.

" We must have a world's University : a great centre
to which Salvationists from all parts of the world will
come to be trained for all grades and sections of the
Army's Red Cross work. I see it coming. The nucleus
is with us already. If Carnegie could only see the
educational advantage of such a University he would,
I believe, give me the million pounds necessary to
make it a success. We should train experts for dealing
with criminals, harlots, paupers, tramps, hooligans,
and would-be suicides. We should train men and
women to become experts in finance, trade, languages,
arts, sciences, where they would be useful for our work,
and generally train a staff of experts in salvation
sociology whom the Governments of the world would
look to us to do their prison and similar work. A
Prime Minister told me that he would recommend his
Cabinet to hand over the prison department of his
State to the Salvation Army. That would shock some
people, I have no doubt. But that is what the Salva-
tion Army is coming to, and must come to if it is
faithful to itself. If it is not, then I hope God will wipe
it off the face of the earth and raise up some other
system that will carry out the Divine purpose that for
the present seems entrusted to us.



GENERAL BOOTH ON THE FUTURE 333

" The criticisms of the Salvation Army as to its
future are in vain. The people who indulge in them
are, as a rule, ignorant of the conditions under which
the Army has been created, and they are blinded by
prejudice. Are our principles sound ? Up to the
present I have not met with anyone who has dared to
assert that they are not suited for such a work as we
are engaged upon.

" The future of the Army is in the hands of God.
All the talk about what will happen when the General
is gone although he is not gone yet ! is so much
moonshine. The death of the General will make no
difference to the Salvation Army. The Army is now
going of its own momentum. You remember it used
to be said when we changed officers in command of
Corps that the Corps would fall to pieces if Captain
Mary Jane were taken away from the town, but in
course of time the town discovered that there were
more Mary Janes than one, and that the second had
qualities that the first did not possess. So it will be
with the second and the third General, I believe. The
people are pleased to see the old man wherever he goes.
It is but natural, and when they find out, as they will,
that the Salvation Army is going on, and that the old
flag is waving, that the old songs are being sung, and
that drunkards are being made sober and harlots are
made chaste, and that dishonest and idle men are being
turned into honest and industrious citizens, they will
say in the same spirit as they bless me, ' God bless the
Salvation Army.'

" I have made an Army that is independent of the
personality of one man, whether a General or a Chief
of the Staff, to keep it alive. It has a system that will
keep it alive, and one of the surprises of the future will
be I will not see it unless I do from the other world



334 GENERAL BOOTH

that the Salvation Army, while it will miss its first
General, is going ahead all the same without him."

And the old man, musing further in the same strain,
reclined in his chair, closed his eyes as if in prayer,
and rose and told his secretary that he had wasted too
much time in dreaming.

" We have hard work before us to-morrow ; let us
look at that brief again. I think we can improve upon
the part that relates to the staff officer in relation to
worldliness," and in that last sentence is disclosed the
spirit of the man who never forgets the aim of the
Army, which is to make a people after a certain
pattern.

Will the General's dream come true ?

The only answer to that question is supplied in the
language of the General himself : " // it is faithful to
itself." One thing is as clear as day to me, namely,
that it is folly and blindness to imagine that because
the income of the Salvation Army continues to in-
crease, that is any criterion of the Salvation Army being
true to itself. It is equally fallacious to assert that the
Army is true to itself because its discipline is enforced
with less friction than it was. The discipline of the
Salvation Army has become a habit with officers and
local officers and soldiers, and the material from which
the Corps are mainly recruiting its forces now is sup-
plied by junior work. The percentage of converts from
the " outside " gets smaller with age, and to that ex-
tent the evidence is against the idea that the Army is
true to itself. The organisation of the movement is
also more complete, and yet the Army may not be



IS THE ARMY TRUE TO ITSELF? 335

making that headway which is leading to the realisa-
tion of a future that the General dreamt of.

Personally I do not believe that the Army is as true
to itself as it was, and, painful as I feel having to say
so, I do not believe that the Salvation Army is con-
scious of the loss of its moral power. It is suffering
from a deep-seated spiritual decline, which the leaders
are unable to deal with, not because of any serious
reluctance to do so, but because they have no longer
the cohesiveness that brings to the top of the move-
ment with all the force of spontaneity the moral weight
of individual dissent with things as they are. Head-
quarters is departmentalised to such an extent that the
interest of the whole Army is lost sight of.

This phase of my study of the Salvation Army re-
quires plain speaking. I believe that, if a census of
opinion were taken on the issue from field officers
the only grade of officer whose opinion is worth listen-
ing to they would more than confirm what I have just
stated.

In order to put my own convictions to the test, I
visited a Corps in North London a few weeks ago
which stands in the first grade. I think it is next to
Congress Hall in respect of membership and Self-
Denial income. It has an excellent brass band, a
band of songsters, a well-organised Junior Corps, and
the hall in which the meetings are held is situated in the
heart of an industrial population on a site that is among
the best in the neighbourhood. It has an excellent
history and is respected by the people as a whole. Few
people can be found in the neighbourhood to say an un-



336 GENERAL BOOTH

kind word about it, although if the question was put to
them if they visit the Corps, the answer would be that
they " see the Corps pass by with its band, and some
years ago, when Captain So-and-so was in charge, I
occasionally looked in."

What did I see and hear ? A small audience, in-
cluding officials, of about a hundred people and this
Corps has a membership of some four or five hundred
a humdrum service without life hi the singing, or
originality of method or thought in the leadership,
such as would not do credit to an average mission-hall
meeting of twenty or thirty years ago. But for the
music of the band and the singing of a brigade of twenty
songsters the Corps would be defunct. The outside
world was conspicuous by its absence. The audience
was made up of regular attendants. When the pre-
liminaries were over, the Captain in a strident voice,
as if the heart had been beaten out of him and he had
to make up for the lack of natural feeling by the extent
of his vocal power, announced that the meeting would
be thrown open for testimony.

As no one seemed inclined to get up and testify the
surest sign that the Corps was no longer true to itself
he informed the audience that he would sing a hymn.
He gave out the number and the singing went flat.
A sergeant, observing two young men without hymn-
books, went to the platform and picked up two and
was about to hand the same to the strangers, when he
was ordered by the Captain to put them back.

" Let the young men buy books," he said.

I shall not forget the look upon that sergeant's face ;



IS THE ARMY TRUE TO ITSELF? 337

but being accustomed to the discipline of the Army,
and being in a registered place of worship, he did not
express what he evidently felt.

A song was next sung from the Social Gazette news-
paper, one of the Army's agency, and the Captain
stated as an incentive to buy that "last week I had
to pay five shillings loss on my newspaper account.
For pity's sake buy them up." The appeal did not
seem to me to strike a sympathetic chord in the
audience.

Testimonies followed. Two or three were so weakly
whispered that I could not catch the words another
sign of the loss of that enthusiasm without which an
Army meeting is worse to the spiritual taste than a
sour apple to the palate.

Among the testimonies was the following given by
a Salvationist of some standing :

" I thank God for His grace that enables me to con-
quer trials and temptations ; I feel the lack of en-
couragement in this Corps. My work is to lead the
youngsters. In that work I get no encouragement
whatever. The songsters take little interest in their
duties and it is impossible at times not to feel that they
have lost their hold of God. The Corps does not en-
courage me, and though our Adjutant will not care
to hear me say so, he does not encourage me."

A woman got up and screamed a testimony about the
lack of the Holy Ghost and the spirit of backbiting in
the Corps, during which the two young men referred
to walked out, and several soldiers in uniforms smiled,
whispered to each other, and the meeting degenerated



838 GENERAL BOOTH

into a cross between a school for ventilating scandal
and cadging for " a good collection." And I declare
that this spirit of the meeting is the spirit of the
Corps in the Salvation Army throughout England and
Scotland. It has ceased to be true to itself, and as a
consequence, no matter how the Army organises and
disciplines its forces, the future of the movement is

black indeed, and will become blacker unless But

that is not my business.



CHAPTER XVI

THUMBNAIL SKETCHES OF MODERN
SALVATIONISTS

Mrs. Bramweli Booth Miss Eva Booth Mrs. Booth-Hellberg Com-
mander Booth-Tucker Thomas McKie Adelaide Cox John A.
Carleton Elijah Cadman George Scott Railton John Lawley
David Lamb

MRS. BEAMWELL BOOTH, daughter of the late Dr.
Soper, Plymouth, was educated at a private college.
At nineteen, attracted by the addresses of Mrs. General
Booth, although brought up as a member of the Church
of England, she was convinced that she had not under-
gone a change of heart. Once " converted " she felt
that the lives of such women officers as the Marechale
(Mrs. Booth-Clibborn), Miss Emma Booth (later Mrs.
Booth-Tucker), and others were nearer her ideal of a
follower of Christ. To the disappointment of her
parents, she decided to join the Army and volunteer
for service in France.

The Army at this time had just begun its work
across the Channel, and was meeting with the ridicule
that the French are accustomed to spend upon a novel
religion. Miss Soper was accepted, but only remained
a few months on the Continent. The experience was
valuable to her.

She was married in 1882 to Mr. William Bramweli
Booth, the General's eldest son, and Chief of the Staff

339



340 GENERAL BOOTH

of the Army. She took little prominent part in the
work of the Army in England for some time after her
marriage, and then only in the capacity of general
superintendent of a small Rescue Home.

Contact with the realities of poverty and the rami-
fications of vice in the metropolis (and no doubt
inspired by the constant toil of her husband in the
interests of the Army), and realising that in the flight
of time she might be called upon to fill a responsible
position in the movement, she gradually appeared on
Salvation Army platforms and proved an acceptable
speaker. The development of the social idea and the
launching of the " Darkest England Scheme " com-
pelled her, when freed from domestic duties, to devote
the larger part of her time to guiding a staff of women
officers in opening shelters, receiving and rescuing
homes, and other agencies that gradually followed
the evolution of the General's social programme.
This onerous work freed her entirely from a natural
reluctance for the platform, and as she grew in experi-
ence and ability to master difficult problems connected
with the care of the homeless and the regeneration of
the vicious, she was raised in status in the councils of
the Army and was given the rank of a Commissioner
and a department at the International Headquarters.

During the past twelve years she has had a large
share of responsibility in raising workers and money for
the movement, and has addressed meetings in all the
large cities of Great Britain. In all matters that con-
cern Women's Social Work in other countries she has a
voice. A special feature of her work is the exposition



THUMBNAIL SKETCHES 341

of the Army's chief doctrine of holiness. In propagating
this doctrine she has held drawing-room meetings and
spoken in the Portland Rooms, Steinway Hall, etc.

As a speaker she is not self-reliant, having to write
out and adhere, rather continuously for a Salvationist,
to her notes. Nevertheless, she is a winsome, unique,
convincing talker. Her personality is attractive, and
unspoiled by any attempt at pose.

She contributes largely to the Army's literature,
and edits a rather self-advertising magazine for the
promotion of the Army's principles in the reclamation
of homeless and vicious women.

In her home Mrs. Bramwell Booth is one of the most
remarkable women of the age. The mother of seven
children four daughters and three sons she has
trained and educated them at home, personally aiding
in their instruction in French and mathematics. All
the seven can talk and sing in French and German.
They possess gifts for music, and one has the touch of
genius as a sculptor. They have been brought up on
vegetarian principles and accustomed to live in the
open as much as possible. Two of her daughters are
already commissioned officers, the eldest, Catherine,
being attached to the Staff of the International
Training College at Clapton. Mrs. Booth has given
evidence before State Committees upon subjects con-
nected with her work. She is a diligent reader of
high-class religious works and a warm lover of animals.

Miss EVA BOOTH. Commander Evangeline Booth
(United States). Third daughter of the General. She
is the most dramatic speaker, one might almost say



342 GENERAL BOOTH

actor, of the Booth family. At the age of seventeen
she was placed in charge of a branch of work in the
training of officers. This was resented by older
officers, but before she was twenty she had shown
extraordinary powers of command and oratory. She
was then placed in charge of a Corps in the district
of Lisson Grove, London, where, disguised as a flower-
girl, she visited the haunts of shame and homes of
poverty, and finally disclosing her identity, made in-
roads into the affection of the people, and won a few,
professedly at least, to the Army's roll. She was soon
afterwards placed in actual command of the entire
training of officers, with the general oversight of the
Corps work in London. She made a dashing Com-
mander, and one of the greatest mistakes the General
ever made was in transferring her to Canada, where her
gifts as a people's leader were wasted. The London Sal-
vation Army has never quite regained the position that
the Army reached under the leadership of this woman.
She has imagination, daring, and the gift of infusing
others with her spirit. Her first command outside
England was in Canada, where she succeeded in
raising the prestige of the movement among Govern-
ment circles. For the last five years she has been
Chief Commander of the Army's operations in the
United States. Though somewhat hampered in her
work by uncertain health, she has succeeded in
consolidating the Army's position, winning back
many of the friends that the Army lost when Mr.


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Online LibraryA M NicolGeneral Booth and the Salvation Army → online text (page 22 of 25)