“These are the conditions by which I ask you to test the scheme I am about to unfold. They are not of my making. They are the laws which govern the work of the philanthropic reformer just as the laws of gravitation, of wind and of weather govern the operation of the engineer. It is no use saying we could build a bridge across the Tay, if the wind did not blow. The engineer has to take into account the difficulties, and make them his starting point. The wind will blow, therefore the bridge must be made strong enough to resist it. So it is with the social difficulties, which confront us. If we act in harmony with these laws we shall triumph. But if we ignore them, they will overwhelm us with destruction, and cover us with disgrace.”
WHAT IS GENERAL BOOTH’S SCHEME?
His object is to supply the destitute with food, shelter and clothing, to provide them with work and to set them on their feet for making a fresh start in life.
With a view to this he proposes to call into existence, a threefold organisation, consisting of self-helping and self-sustaining communities, governed and disciplined on the principles of the Salvation Army. These he calls “Colonies”, and divides into
(1) The City Colony,
(2) The Country Colony, and
(3) The Over-sea Colony.
All these are to be linked together and to be interwoven with and dependent on each other. In the City Colony a series of agencies will be established for gathering up and sifting the destitute. Thence they will be passed on to the Country Colony and subsequently many of them will be sent to Colonies across the sea.
Now this triple organisation can be brought into existence, on the largest possible scale in India under circumstances peculiarly favorable to the success of the scheme.
Our country is not of limited extent like England. It covers an immense area and includes a conglomeration of nationalities, such as we find in Europe, with the special advantage of being united under a single, and that a friendly Government.
Then again there is the fact that, though the influx from the country to the cities has commenced, yet it has not at present got beyond manageable proportions, so that it is possible for us, if awake to the emergency, to rise up and divert the stream into more desirable channels.
If instead of waiting for a further irruption of village Goths and Vandals, (which is only a matter of time, and which will soon overwhelm our City labour market and compel the attention of our civil authorities,) we anticipate the event and meet them half way by opening up fresh channels for them, more in harmony with their own taste and preference, we shall not only confer an inestimable boon upon them, but shall turn them into a source of strength and revenue for the country, and shall with them people tracts which are at present barren and fruitless, but which are only waiting to be occupied and which in many cases have only to be restored to the prosperity that they formerly enjoyed.