On the matter of the complaints which have been made in Canada of the emigrant from London, Colonel Lamb said, ’The Londoner, it is alleged, is not wanted. The Canadian is full of self-assertiveness, and the Cockney has some of that too; he does not hesitate to express his views, and you have conflicting spirits at once. The Cockney will arrive at the conclusion in about twenty-four hours that he could run Canada better than it is now being run. The Scotchman will take a week to arrive at the same conclusion, and holds his tongue about it. The Cockney says what he thinks on the first day of arrival, and the result is—fireworks. He and the Canadians do not agree to begin with; but when they get over the first passage of arms they settle down amicably. The Cockney is finally appreciated, and, being industrious and amenable to law and order, if he has got a bit of humour he gets on all right, but not at first.’
Colonel Lamb informed me that in Australia the Labour Party is afraid of the Army because it believes ’we will send in people to bring down wages.’ Therefore, the Labour Party has sidetracked General Booth’s proposals. Now, however, it alleges that it is not opposed to emigration, if not on too large a scale. ’They don’t mind a few girls; but they say the condition that must precede emigration is the breaking up of the land.’
Colonel Lamb appeared to desire that an Emigration Board should be appointed in England, with power and funds to deal with the distribution of the population of the Empire and to systematize emigration. To this Imperial Board, individuals or Societies, such as the Salvation Army, should, he thought, be able to submit their schemes, which schemes would receive assistance according to their merits under such limitations as the Board might see fit to impose. To such a Board he would even give power to carry out land-settlement schemes in the British Isles.
This is a great proposal, but one wonders whence the money is to come. Also how long will it be before the Labour Parties in the various Colonies, including Canada, gain so much power that they will refuse to accept emigrants at all, except young women, or agriculturalists who bring capital with them?
But all these problems are for the future. Meanwhile it is evident that the Salvation Army manages its emigration work with extraordinary success and business skill. Those whom it sends from these shores for their own benefit are invariably accepted, at any rate in Canada, and provided with work on their arrival in the chosen Colony. That the selection is sound and careful is shown, also, by the fact that the Army recovers from those emigrants to whom it gives assistance a considerable percentage of the sums advanced to enable them to start life in a new land.
At the commencement of my investigation of this branch of the Salvation Army activities in England, I discussed its general aspects with Mrs. Bramwell Booth, who has it in her charge. She pointed out to me that this Women’s Social Work is a much larger business than it was believed to be even by those who had some acquaintance with the Salvation Army, and that it deals with many matters of great importance in their bearing on the complex problems of our civilization.