Finally we have the great advantage of a people already trained to husbandry from their youth, and accustomed to the very co-operative system of farming which General Booth advocates, where payments are mostly to be made in kind rather than in cash, and where the exchange of goods will largely supersede transactions in money, a strong but paternal government regulating all for the general good.
THE CITY COLONY.
The first portion of General Booth’s threefold scheme consists of the City Colony.
This may aptly be compared to a dredger, which, gathers up all the silt of a harbour, and carries it out to sea, leaves it there and then returns to repeat the operation. If such an operation is necessary in a harbour, and if without it the best anchorages in the world would often get choked with rubbish and become useless, how doubly important must it be in the case of the human wastage that abounds in every large Indian City.
Should a single ship strike on an unknown rock, we hasten to mark it down in our charts, or erect over the spot a lighthouse as a warning to others. Should it sink where it is likely to hinder the traffic, we set our engineers to work to remove it, even though it may be necessary to blow it to atoms.
And yet it is a notorious fact that our cities abound with rocks over which there is no lighthouse,—that every channel is obstructed with sunken vessels, and that there are not a few tribes of pirates who fatten on the human wreckage. But we fold our hands in despair, and allow bad to grow worse, till the problem daily becomes more enormous, desperate and difficult to deal with.
Now General Booth’s scheme proposes to establish a dredger for every harbour, a lighthouse for every rock, an engineer for keeping clear every channel. It may be too much to expect that there will be no wrecks, but they will be fewer, and that surely is something! We do not say that there will be no accidents, but there will be willing hands held out to deliver. We cannot hope to abolish failures, mistakes, shortcomings and weaknesses of various sorts, but we shall do our best to anticipate and provide for them? We are sure there will be difficulties and disappointments to encounter, but we shall meet them in the confidence that God is on our side, that He is intensely interested in the efforts which He Himself has inspired us to undertake and that ultimate victory is bound to crown our efforts.
And now I would give a brief description of this great City Dredger, explaining its component parts in the chapters that are to follow. We cannot promise that the entire machine will get into working order at once. We are anxious to start it immediately and to complete it as soon as possible. But on the public will largely depend the question as to how long it will take us to get it afloat and finished. Its simplicity, practicability, and universality are to me at the same time its chief charms, and its credentials to success. It is only part of a larger scheme with which it is entwined. But it is an important, perhaps the most important part and will continue to exercise over the entire effort the controlling head and the inspiring heart without which the whole apparatus will be as motionless as a machine without steam, or a body without life.