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|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|MEN’S SOCIAL WORK, LONDON||6|
|THE SPA ROAD ELEVATOR||9|
|THE GREAT PETER STREET SHELTER||12|
|THE FREE BREAKFAST SERVICE||15|
|THE MEN’S WORKSHOP||24|
|STURGE HOUSE, BOW ROAD||27|
|THE CENTRAL LABOUR BUREAU||28|
|THE INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT||29|
|THE EMIGRATION DEPARTMENT||30|
|THE WOMEN’S SOCIAL WORK IN LONDON||33|
|THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE WOMEN’S SOCIAL WORK||37|
|HILLSBOROUGH HOUSE INEBRIATES’ HOME||38|
|THE MATERNITY NURSING HOME||39|
|THE MATERNITY RECEIVING HOME||40|
|THE MATERNITY HOSPITAL||41|
|THE TRAINING INSTITUTE FOR WOMEN SOCIAL WORKERS||44|
|THE WOMEN’S INDUSTRIAL HOME||45|
|THE INEBRIATES’ HOME||46|
|THE WOMEN’S INDUSTRIAL HOME||48|
|THE WOMEN’S SHELTER||49|
|THE SLUM SETTLEMENT||50|
|THE PICCADILLY MIDNIGHT WORK||54|
|THE ANTI-SUICIDE BUREAU||58|
|WORK IN THE PROVINCES||64|
|THE MEN’S SOCIAL WORK||67|
|THE MEN’S SOCIAL WORK||69|
|THE ARDENSHAW WOMEN’S HOME||73|
|THE WOMEN’S LODGING-HOUSE||74|
|THE LAND AND INDUSTRIAL COLONY||75|
|THE SMALL-HOLDINGS SETTLEMENT||78|
|IMPRESSIONS OF GENERAL BOOTH||81|
|THE CHIEF OF THE STAFF||85|
|NOTE ON THE RELIGION OF THE SALVATION ARMY||90|
|THE NEED IS GREAT!||92|
|DIRECTIONS FOR EXECUTION OF WILL||93|
|BY BRAMWELL BOOTH||94|
WHAT IS THE SALVATION ARMY?
If this question were put to the ordinary person of fashion or leisure, how would it be answered?
In many cases thus: ’The Salvation Army is a body of people dressed up in a semi-military uniform, or those of them who are women, in unbecoming poke bonnets, who go about the streets making a noise in the name of God and frightening horses with brass bands. It is under the rule of an arbitrary old gentleman named Booth, who calls himself a General, and whose principal trade assets consist in a handsome and unusual face, and an inexhaustible flow of language, which he generally delivers from a white motor-car wherever he finds that he can attract the most attention. He is a clever actor in his way, who has got a great number of people under his thumb, and I am told that he has made a large fortune out of the business, like the late prophet Dowie, and others of the same sort. The newspapers are always exposing him; but he knows which side his bread is buttered and does not care. When he is gone no doubt his family will divide up the cash, and we shall hear no more of the Salvation Army!’
Such are still the honest beliefs of thousands of our instructed fellow-countrymen, and of hundreds of thousands of others of less degree belonging to the classes which are generally typified under the synonym of ‘the man in the street,’ by which most people understand one who knows little, and of that little nothing accurately, but who decides the fate of political elections.
Let us suppose, however, that the questioner should succeed in interesting an intelligent and fair-minded individual holder of these views sufficiently to induce him to make inquiry into the facts concerning this Salvation Army. What would he then discover?
He would discover that about five and forty years ago some impulse, wherever it may have come from, moved a Dissenting minister, gifted with a mind of power and originality, and a body of great strength and endurance, gifted, also, with an able wife who shared his views, to try, if not to cure, at least to ameliorate the lot of the fallen or distressed millions that are one of the natural products of high civilization, by ministering to their creature wants and regenerating their spirits upon the plain and simple lines laid down in the New Testament. He would find, also, that this humble effort, at first quite unaided, has been so successful that the results seem to partake of the nature of the miraculous.
Thus he would learn that the religious Organization founded by this man and his wife is now established and, in most instances, firmly rooted in 56 Countries and Colonies, where it preaches the Gospel in 33 separate languages: that it has over 16,000 Officers wholly employed in its service, and publishes 74 periodicals in 20 tongues, with a total circulation of nearly 1,000,000 copies per issue: that it accommodates over 28,000 poor people nightly in its Institutions, maintaining 229 Food Depots and Shelters for men, women, and children, and 157 Labour Factories where destitute or characterless people are employed: that it has 17 Homes for ex-criminals, 37 Homes for children, 116 Industrial Homes for the rescue of women, 16 Land Colonies, 149 Slum Stations for the visitation and assistance of the poor, 60 Labour Bureaux for helping the unemployed, and 521 Day Schools for children: that, in addition to all these, it has Criminal and General Investigation Departments, Inebriate Homes for men and women, Inquiry Offices for tracing lost and missing people, Maternity Hospitals, 37 Homes for training Officers, Prison-visitation Staffs, and so on almost ad infinitum.
He would find, also, that it collects and dispenses an enormous revenue, mostly from among the poorer classes, and that its system is run with remarkable business ability: that General Booth, often supposed to be so opulent, lives upon a pittance which most country clergymen would refuse, taking nothing, and never having taken anything, from the funds of the Army. And lastly, not to weary the reader, that whatever may be thought of its methods and of the noise made by the 23,000 or so of voluntary bandsmen who belong to it, it is undoubtedly for good or evil one of the world forces of our age.
Before going further, it may, perhaps, be well that I should explain how it is that I come to write these pages. First, I ought to state that my personal acquaintance with the Salvation Army dates back a good many years, from the time, indeed, when I was writing ’Rural England,’ in connexion with which work I had a long and interesting interview with General Booth that is already published. Subsequently I was appointed by the British Government as a Commissioner to investigate and report upon the Land Colonies of the Salvation Army in the United States, in the course of which inquiry I came into contact with many of its Officers, and learned much of its system and methods, especially with reference to emigration. Also I have had other opportunities of keeping in touch with the Army and its developments.
In the spring of 1910 I was asked, on behalf of General Booth, whether I would undertake to write for publication an account of the Social Work of the Army in this country. After some hesitation, for the lack of time was a formidable obstacle to a very busy man, I assented to this request, the plan agreed upon being that I should visit the various Institutions, or a number of them, etc., and record what I actually saw, neither more nor less, together with my resulting impressions. This I have done, and it only remains for me to assure the reader that the record is true, and, to the best of his belief and ability, set down without fear, favour, or prejudice, by one not unaccustomed to such tasks.
Almost at the commencement of my labours I sought an interview with General Booth, thinking, as I told him and his Officers (the Salvation Army is not mealy-mouthed about such matters) that at his age it would be well to set down his views in black and white. On the whole, I found him well and vigorous. He complained, however, of the difficulty he was experiencing, owing to the complete loss of sight in one eye, occasioned by an accident during a motor journey, and the possible deprivation of the sight of the other through cataract.
Of the attacks that have been and are continually made upon the Salvation Army, some of them extremely bitter, General Booth would say little. He pointed out that he had not been in the habit of defending himself and his Organization in public, and was quite content that the work should speak for itself. Their affairs and finances had been investigated by eminent men, who ’could not find a sixpence out of place’; and for the rest, a balance-sheet was published annually. This balance-sheet for the year ending September 30, 1909, I reprint in an appendix.
With regard to the Social Work of the Army, which in its beginning was a purely religious body, General Booth said that they had been driven into it because of their sympathy with suffering. They found it impossible to look upon people undergoing starvation or weighed down by sorrows and miseries that came upon them through poverty, without stretching out a hand to help them on to their feet again. In the same way they could not study wrongdoers and criminals and learn their secret histories, which show how closely a great proportion of human sin is connected with wretched surroundings, without trying to help and reform them to the best of their abilities. Thus it was that their Social operations began, increased, and multiplied. They contemplated not only the regeneration of the individual, but also of his circumstances, and were continually finding out new methods by which this might be done.
The Army looked forward to the development of its Social Work on the lines of self-help, self-management and self-support. Whenever a new development came under consideration, the question arose—How is it to be financed? The work they had in hand at present took all their funds. One of their great underlying principles was that of the necessity of self-support, without which no business or undertaking could stand for long. The individual must co-operate in his own moral and physical redemption. At the same time this system of theirs was, in practice, one of the difficulties with which they had to contend, since it caused the benevolent to believe that the Army did not need financial assistance. His own view was that they ought to receive support in their work from the Government, as they actually did in some other countries. Especially did he desire to receive State aid in dealing with ascertained criminals, such as was extended to them in certain parts of the world.
Thus only a few weeks before, in Holland, the Parliament had asked the Salvation Army to co-operate in the care of discharged prisoners and gave a grant of money for their support. In Java the tale was the same. There they were preparing estates as homes for lepers, and soon a large portion of the leper population of that land would be in their charge.
General Booth told me the story of a celebrated Danish doctor, an optician, who became attracted to the Army, and, giving up his practice and position, entered its service with his wife. They said they wished to lead a life of real sacrifice and self-denial, and so, after going through a training like any other Cadets, were sent out to take charge of the medical work in Java. A recent report stated that this Officer had attended 16,000 patients in nine months, and performed 516 operations.
In Australia, the Government had handed over the work amongst the Reformatory boys to the Army. In New Zealand, the Government had requested it to take over inebriates, and was now paying a contribution to that work of 10s. per head a week. There the Army had purchased two islands to accommodate these inebriates, one on which the men followed the pursuits of agriculture, fishing, and so forth, and the other for the women. In Canada there was an idea that a large prison should be erected, of which the Salvation Army would take charge. He hoped that in course of time they would be allowed greatly to extend their work in the English prisons.
General Booth pointed out to me with reference to their Social Work, that it was necessary to spend large sums of money in finding employment for men whom they had rescued. Here, one of their greatest difficulties was the vehement opposition of members of the Labour Party in different countries.
This party said, for example, that the Army ought to pay the Trade Union rate of wage to any poor fellow whom they had picked up and set to such labour as paper-sorting or carpentry. Thus in Western Australia they had an estate of 20,000 acres lying idle. When he was there a while ago, he asked the Officer in charge why he did not cultivate this land and make it productive. The man replied he had no labour; whereon the General said that he could send him plenty from England.
‘Yes,’ commented the Officer, ’but the moment they begin to work here, however inefficient or broken down they may be, we shall have to pay them 7s. a day!’
This regulation, of course, makes it impossible to cultivate that estate except at a heavy loss.
He himself had been denounced as the ‘prince of sweaters,’ because he took in derelict carpenters at their Institution in Hanbury Street (which I shall describe later), to whom he did not pay the Trade Union wage, although that Institution had from the first been worked at a loss. In this case he had made peace with the Parliamentary Committee by promising not to make anything there which was used outside the Army establishments. But still the attacks went on.
Passing from this subject, I asked General Booth if he had formed any forecast of the future of the Salvation Army after his own death. He replied that there were certain factors in the present position of the Army which seemed to him to indicate its future growth and continuity. Speaking impersonally, he said that the present General had become an important man not by his own choice or through the workings of ambition, but by the will of Providence. He had acquired a certain standing, a great hold over his community, and an influence which helped to concentrate and keep together forces that had grown to be worldwide in their character. It was natural, therefore, that people should wonder what would happen when he ceased to be.
His answer to these queries was that legal arrangements had been made to provide for this obvious contingency. Under the provisions of the constitution of the Army he had selected his successor, although he had never told anybody the name of that successor, which he felt sure, when announced, was one that would command the fullest confidence and respect. The first duty of the General of the Army on taking up his office was to choose a man to succeed him, reserving to himself the power to change that man for another, should he see good reason for such a course. In short, his choice is secret, and being unhampered by any law of heredity or other considerations except those that appeal to his own reason and judgment, not final. He nominates whom he will.
I asked him what would happen if this nominated General misconducted himself in any way, or proved unsuitable, or lost his reason. He replied that in such circumstances arrangements had been made under which the heads of the Army could elect another General, and that what they decided would be law. The organization of the Army was such that any Department of it remained independent of the ability of one individual. If a man proved incompetent, or did not succeed, his office was changed; the square man was never left in the round hole. Each Department had laws for its direction and guidance, and those in authority were responsible for the execution of those laws. If for any reason whatsoever, one commander fell out of the line of action, another was always waiting to take his place. In short, he had no fear that the removal of his own person and name would affect the Organization. It was true, he remarked, that leaders cannot be manufactured to order, and also that the Army had made, and would continue to make, mistakes up and down the world. But those mistakes showed them how to avoid similar errors, and how and where to improve.
As regarded a change of headship, a fresh individuality always has charms, and a new force would always strike out in some new direction. The man needed was one who would do something. General Booth did not fear but that he would be always forthcoming, and said that for his part he was quite happy as to the future, in which he anticipated an enlargement of their work. The Organization existed, and with it the arrangements for filling every niche. The discipline of to-day would continue to-morrow, and that spirit would always be ready to burst into flame when it was needed.
In his view it was inextinguishable.
THE MIDDLESEX STREET SHELTER
The first of the London Institutions of the Salvation Army which I visited was that known as the Middlesex Street Shelter and Working Men’s Home, which is at present under the supervision of Commissioner Sturgess. This building consists of six floors, and contains sleeping accommodation for 462 men. It has been at work since the year 1906, when it was acquired by the Army with the help of that well-known philanthropist, the late Mr. George Herring.
Of the 462 men accommodated daily, 311 pay 3d. for their night’s lodging, and the remainder 5d. The threepenny charge entitles the tenant to the use of a bunk bedstead with sheets and an American cloth cover. If the extra 2d. is forthcoming the wanderer is provided with a proper bed, fitted with a wire spring hospital frame and provided with a mattress, sheets, pillow, and blankets. I may state here that as in the case of this Shelter the building, furniture and other equipment have been provided by charity, the nightly fees collected almost suffice to pay the running expenses of the establishment. Under less favourable circumstances, however, where the building and equipment are a charge on the capital funds of the Salvation Army, the experience is that these fees do not suffice to meet the cost of interest and maintenance.
The object of this and similar Shelters is to afford to men upon the verge of destitution the choice between such accommodation as is here provided and the common lodging-house, known as a ‘kip house,’ or the casual ward of a workhouse. Those who avail themselves of these Shelters belong, speaking generally, to the destitute or nearly destitute classes. They are harbours of refuge for the unfortunates who find themselves on the streets of London at nightfall with a few coppers or some other small sum in their pockets. Many of these social wrecks have sunk through drink, but many others owe their sad position to lack or loss of employment, or to some other misfortune.
For an extra charge of 1d. the inmates are provided with a good supper, consisting of a pint of soup and a large piece of bread, or of bread and jam and tea, or of potato-pie. A second penny supplies them with breakfast on the following morning, consisting of bread and porridge or of bread and fish, with tea or coffee.
The dormitories, both of the fivepenny class on the ground floor and of the threepenny class upstairs, are kept scrupulously sweet and clean, and attached to them are lavatories and baths. These lavatories contain a great number of brown earthenware basins fitted with taps. Receptacles are provided, also, where the inmates can wash their clothes and have them dried by means of an ingenious electrical contrivance and hot air, capable of thoroughly drying any ordinary garment in twenty minutes while its owner takes a bath.
The man in charge of this apparatus and of the baths was one who had been picked up on the Embankment during the past winter. In return for his services he received food, lodging, clothes and pocket-money to the amount of 3s. a week. He told me that he was formerly a commercial traveller, and was trying to re-enter that profession or to become a ship’s steward. Sickness had been the cause of his fall in the world.
Adjoining the downstairs dormitory is a dining and sitting-room for the use of those who have taken bed tickets. In this room, when I visited it, several men were engaged in various occupations. One of them was painting flowers. Another, a watch repairer, was apparently making up his accounts, which, perhaps, were of an imaginary nature. A third was eating a dinner which he had purchased at the food bar. A fourth smoked a cigarette and watched the flower artist at his work. A fifth was a Cingalese who had come from Ceylon to lay some grievance before the late King. The authorities at Whitehall having investigated his case, he had been recommended to return to Ceylon and consult a lawyer there. Now he was waiting tor the arrival of remittances to enable him to pay his passage back to Ceylon. I wondered whether the remittances would ever be forthcoming. Meanwhile he lived here on 7-1/2d. a day, 5d. for his bed and 2-1/2d. for his food. Of these and other men similarly situated I will give some account presently.
Having inspected the upper floors I descended to the basement, where what are called the ‘Shelter men’ are received at a separate entrance at 5.30 in the afternoon, and buying their penny or halfpennyworth of food, seat themselves on benches to eat. Here, too, they can sit and smoke or mend their clothes, or if they are wet, dry themselves in the annexe, until they retire to rest. During the past winter of 1909 400 men taken from the Embankment were sheltered here gratis every night, and were provided with soup and bread. When not otherwise occupied this hall is often used for the purpose of religious services.
I spoke at hazard with some of those who were sitting about in the Shelter. A few specimen cases may be interesting. An old man told me that he had travelled all over the world for fifty years, especially in the islands of the South Pacific, until sickness broke him down. He came last from Shanghai, where he had been an overseer on railway work, and before that from Manila. Being incapacitated by fever and rheumatism, and possessing 1,500 dollars, he travelled home, apparently via India and Burma, stopping a while in each country. Eventually he drifted to a lodging-house, and, falling ill there, was sent to the Highgate Infirmary, where, he said, he was so cold that he could not stop. Ultimately he found himself upon the streets in winter. For the past twelve months he had been living in this Shelter upon some help that a friend gave him, for all his own money was gone. Now he was trying to write books, one of which was in the hands of a well-known firm. He remarked, pathetically, that they ’have had it a long time.’ He was also waiting ‘every day’ for a pension from America, which he considered was due to him because he fought in the Civil War.
Most of these poor people are waiting for something.
This man added that he could not find his relatives, and that he intended to stop in the Shelter until his book was published, or he could ‘help himself out.’
The next man I spoke to was the flower artist, whom I have already mentioned, whose work, by the way, if a little striking in colour, was by no means bad, especially as he had no real flowers to draw from. By trade he was a lawyer’s clerk; but he stated that, unfortunately for him, the head partner of his firm went bankrupt six years before, and the bad times, together with the competition of female labour in the clerical department, prevented him from obtaining another situation, so he had been obliged to fall back upon flower painting. He was a married man, but he said, ’While I could make a fair week’s money, things were comfortable, but when orders fell slack I was requested to go, as my room was preferable to my company, and being a man of nervous temperament I could not stand it, and have been here ever since’—that was for about ten weeks. He managed to make enough for his board and lodging by the sale of his flower-pictures.
A third man informed me that he had opened twenty-seven shops for a large firm of tobacconists, and then left to start in business for himself; also he used to go out window-dressing, in which he was skilled. Then, about nine years ago, his wife began to drink, and while he was absent in hospital, neglected his business so that it became worthless. Finally she deserted him, and he had heard nothing of her since. After that he took to drink himself. He came to this Shelter intermittently, and supported himself by an occasional job of window-dressing. The Salvation Army was trying to cure this man of his drinking habits.
A fourth man, a Eurasian, was a schoolmaster in India, who drifted to this country, and had been for four years in the Colney Hatch Asylum. He was sent to the Salvation Army by the After Care Society. He had been two years in the Shelter, and was engaged in saving up money to go to America. He was employed in the Shelter as a scrubber, and also as a seller of food tickets, by which means he had saved some money. Also he had a L5 note, which his sister sent to him. This note he was keeping to return to her as a present on her birthday! His story was long and miserable, and his case a sad one. Still, he was capable of doing work of a sort.
Another very smart and useful man had been a nurse in the Army Medical Corps, which he left some years ago with a good character. Occasionally he found a job at nursing, and stayed at the Shelter, where he was given employment between engagements.
Yet another, quite a young person, was a carman who had been discharged through slackness of work in the firm of which he was a servant. He had been ten weeks in the Institution, to which he came from the workhouse, and hoped to find employment at his trade.
In passing through this building, I observed a young man of foreign appearance seated in a window-place reading a book, and asked his history. I was told that he was a German of education, whose ambition it is to become a librarian in his native country. He had come to England in order to learn our language, and being practically without means, drifted into this place, where he was employed in cleaning the windows and pursued his studies in the intervals of that humble work. Let us hope that in due course his painstaking industry will be rewarded, and his ambition fulfilled.
All these cases, and others that I have no space to mention, belonged to the class of what I may call the regular ‘hangers-on’ of this particular Shelter. As I visited it in the middle of the day, I did not see its multitude of normal nightly occupants. Of such men, however, I shall be able to speak elsewhere.
The next Institution that I inspected was that of a paper-sorting works at Spa Road, Bermondsey, where all sorts of waste paper are dealt with in enormous quantities. Of this stuff some is given and some is bought. Upon delivery it goes to the sorters, who separate it out according to the different classes of the material, after which it is pressed into bales by hydraulic machinery and sold to merchants to be re-made.
These works stand upon two acres of land. Parts of the existing buildings were once a preserve factory, but some of them have been erected by the Army. There remain upon the site certain dwelling-houses, which are still let to tenants. These are destined to be pulled down whenever money is forthcoming to extend the factory.
The object of the Institution is to find work for distressed or fallen persons, and restore them to society. The Manager of this ‘Elevator,’ as it is called, informed me that it employs about 480 men, all of whom are picked up upon the streets. As a rule, these men are given their board and lodging in return for work during the first week, but no money, as their labour is worth little. In the second week, 6d. is paid to them in cash; and, subsequently, this remuneration is added to in proportion to the value of the labour, till in the end some of them earn 8s. or 9s. a week in addition to their board and lodging.
I asked the Officer in charge what he had to say as to the charges of sweating and underselling which have been brought against the Salvation Army in connexion with this and its other productive Institutions.
He replied that they neither sweated nor undersold. The men whom they picked up had no value in the labour market, and could get nothing to do because no one would employ them, many of them being the victims of drink or entirely unskilled. Such people they overlooked, housed, fed, and instructed, whether they did or did not earn their food and lodging, and after the first week paid them upon a rising scale. The results were eminently satisfactory, as even allowing for the drunkards they found that but few cases, not more than 10 per cent, were hopeless. Did they not rescue these men most of them would sink utterly; indeed, according to their own testimony many of such wastrels were snatched from suicide. As a matter of fact, also, they employed more men per ton of paper than any other dealers in the trade.
With reference to the commercial results, after allowing for interest on the capital invested, the place did not pay its way. He said that a sum of L15,000 was urgently required for the erection of a new building on this site, some of those that exist being of a rough-and-ready character. They were trying to raise subscriptions towards this object, but found the response very slow.
He added that they collected their raw material from warehouses, most of it being given to them, but some they bought, as it was necessary to keep the works supplied, which could not be done with the gratis stuff alone. Also they found that the paper they purchased was the most profitable.
These works presented a busy spectacle of useful industry. There was the sorting-room, where great masses of waste-paper of every kind was being picked over by about 100 men and separated into its various classes. The resulting heaps are thrown through hoppers into bins. From the bins this sorted stuff passes into hydraulic presses which crush it into bales that, after being wired, are ready for sale.
It occurred to me that the dealing with this mass of refuse paper must be an unhealthy occupation; but I was informed that this is not the case, and certainly the appearance of the workers bore out the statement.
After completing a tour of the works I visited one of the bedrooms containing seventy beds, where everything seemed very tidy and fresh. Clean sheets are provided every week, as are baths for the inmates. In the kitchen were great cooking boilers, ovens, etc., all of which are worked by steam produced by the burning of the refuse of the sorted paper. Then I saw the household salvage store, which contained enormous quantities of old clothes and boots; also a great collection of furniture, including a Turkish bath cabinet, all of which articles had been given to the Army by charitable folk. These are either given away or sold to the employes of the factory or to the poor of the neighbourhood at a very cheap rate.
The man in charge of this store was an extremely good-looking and gentlemanly young follow of University education, who had been a writer of fiction, and once acted as secretary to a gentleman who travelled on the Continent and in the East. Losing his employment, he took to a life of dissipation, became ill, and sank to the very bottom. He informed me that his ideals and outlook on life were now totally changed. I have every hope that he will do well in the future, as his abilities are evidently considerable, and Nature has favoured him in many ways.
I interviewed a number of the men employed in these works, most of whom had come down through drink, some of them from very good situations. One had been the superintendent of a sewing-machine company. He took to liquor, left his wife, and found himself upon the streets. Now he was a traveller for the Salvation Army, in the interests of the Waste-Paper Department, had regained his position in life, and was living with his wife and family in a comfortable house.
Another was a grocer by profession, all of whose savings were stolen, after which he took to drink. He had been three months in the works, and at the time of my visit was earning 6s. a week with food and lodging.
Another had been a Barnardo boy, who came from Canada as a ship’s steward, and could find nothing to do in England. Another was a gentleman’s servant, who was dismissed because the family left London.
Another was an auctioneer, who failed from want of capital, took to drink, and emigrated to Canada. Two years later he fell ill with pleurisy, and was sent home because the authorities were afraid that his ailment might turn to consumption. He stated that at this time he had given up drink, but could obtain no employment, so came upon the streets. As he was starving and without hope, not having slept in a bed for ten nights, he was about to commit suicide when the Salvation Army picked him up. He had seen his wife for the first time in four years on the previous Whit Monday, and they proposed to live together again so soon as he secured permanent employment.
Another had been a soldier in the Seaforth Highlanders, and served in the Egyptian Campaign of 1881, and also in the American Army. Subsequently he was employed as a porter at a lodging-house at a salary of 25s. a week, but left because of trouble about a woman. He came upon the streets, and, being unable to find employment, was contemplating suicide, when he fell under the influence of the Army at the Blackfriars Shelter.
All these men, and others whom I spoke to at random but have no space to write of, assured me that they were quite satisfied with their treatment at the works, and repudiated—some of them with indignation—the suggestion that I put to them tentatively that they suffered from a system of sweating. For the most part, indeed, their gratitude for the help they were receiving in the hour of need was very evident and touching.
This fine building is the most up-to-date Men’s Shelter that the Salvation Army possesses in London. It was once the billiard works of Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, and is situated in Westminster, quite near to the Houses of Parliament. I visited it about eight o’clock in the evening, and at its entrance was confronted with the word ‘Full,’ inscribed in chalk upon its portals, at which poor tramps, deprived of their hope of a night’s lodging, were staring disconsolately. It reminded me of a playhouse upon a first-night of importance, but, alas! the actors here play in a tragedy more dreadful in its cumulative effect than any that was ever put upon the stage.
This Shelter is wonderfully equipped and organized. It contains sitting or resting-rooms, smoking-rooms, huge dormitories capable of accommodating about 600 sleepers; bathrooms, lavatories, extensive hot-water and warming apparatus, great kitchens, and butteries, and so forth. In the sitting and smoking-rooms, numbers of derelict men were seated. Some did nothing except stare before them vacantly. Some evidently were suffering from the effects of drink or fatigue; some were reading newspapers which they had picked up in the course of their day’s tramp. One, I remember, was engaged in sorting out and crumpling up a number of cigar and cigarette ends which he had collected from the pavements, carefully grading the results in different heaps, according to the class of the tobacco (how strong it must be!) either for his own consumption or for sale to other unfortunates. In another place, men were eating the 1d. or 1/2d. suppers that they had purchased.
Early as it was, however, the great dormitories were crowded with hundreds of the lodgers, either in bed or in process of getting there. I noticed that they all undressed themselves, wrapping up their rags in bundles, and, for the most part slept quite naked. Many of them struck me as very fine fellows physically, and the reflection crossed my mind, seeing them thus in puris naturalibus, that there was little indeed to distinguish them from a crowd of males of the upper class engaged, let us say, in bathing. It is the clothes that make the difference to the eye.
In this Shelter I was told, by the way, that there exists a code of rough honour among these people, who very rarely attempt to steal anything from each other. Having so little property, they sternly respect its rights. I should add that the charge made for accommodation and food is 3d. per night for sleeping, and 1d. or 1/2d. per portion of food.
The sight of this Institution crowded with human derelicts struck me as most sad, more so indeed than many others that I have seen, though, perhaps, this may have been because I was myself tired out with a long day of inspection.
The Staff-Captain in charge here told me his history, which is so typical and interesting that I will repeat it briefly. Many years ago (he is now an elderly man) he was a steward on board a P. and O. liner, and doing well. Then a terrible misfortune overwhelmed him. Suddenly his wife and child died, and, as a result of the shock, he took to drink. He attempted to cut his throat (the scar remains to him), and was put upon his trial for the offence. Subsequently he drifted on to the streets, where he spent eight years. During all this time his object was to be rid of life, the methods he adopted being to make himself drunk with methylated spirits, or any other villainous and fiery liquor, and when that failed, to sleep at night in wet grass or ditches. Once he was picked up suffering from inflammation of the lungs and carried to an infirmary, where he lay senseless for three days. The end of it was that a Salvation Army Officer found him in Oxford Street, and took him to a Shelter in Burne Street, where he was bathed and put to bed.
That was many years ago, and now he is to a great extent responsible for the management of this Westminster Refuge. Commissioner Sturgess, one of the head Officers of the Army, told me that their great difficulty was to prevent him from overdoing himself at this charitable task. I think the Commissioner said that sometimes he would work eighteen or twenty hours out of the twenty-four.
One day this Staff-Captain played a grim little trick upon me. I was seated at luncheon in a Salvation Army building, when the door opened, and there entered as dreadful a human object as I have ever seen. The man was clad in tatters, his bleeding feet were bound up with filthy rags; he wore a dingy newspaper for a shirt. His face was cut and plastered over roughly; he was a disgusting sight. He told me, in husky accents, that drink had brought him down, and that he wanted help. I made a few appropriate remarks, presented him with a small coin, and sent him to the Officers downstairs.
A quarter of an hour later the Staff-Captain appeared in his uniform and explained that he and the ‘object’ were the same person. Again it was the clothes that made the difference. Those which he had worn when he appeared at the luncheon-table were the same in which he had been picked up on the streets of London. Also he thanked me for my good advice which he said he hoped to follow, and for the sixpence that he announced his intention of wearing on his watch-chain. For my part I felt that the laugh was against me. Perhaps if I had thought the Salvation Army capable of perpetrating a joke, I should not have been so easily deceived.
This Staff-Captain gave me much information as to the class of wanderers who frequent these Shelters, He estimated that about 50 per cent of them sink to that level through the effects of drink. That is to say, if by the waving of some magic wand intoxicants and harmful drugs should cease to be obtainable in this country, the bulk of extreme misery which needs such succour, and it may be added of crime at large, would be lessened by one-half. This is a terrible statement, and one that seems to excuse a great deal of what is called ’teetotal fanaticism.’ The rest, in his view, owe their fall to misfortune of various kinds, which often in its turn leads to flight to the delusive and destroying solace of drink. Thus about 25 per cent of the total have been afflicted with sickness or acute domestic troubles. Or perhaps they are ‘knocked out’ by shock, such as is brought on by the loss of a dearly-loved wife or child, and have never been able to recover from that crushing blow. The remainder are the victims of advancing age and of the cruel commercial competition of our day. Thus he said that the large business firms destroy and devour the small shopkeepers, as a hawk devours sparrows; and these little people or their employes, if they are past middle age, can find no other work. Especially is this the case since the Employers’ Liability Acts came into operation, for now few will take on hands who are not young and very strong, as older folk must naturally be more liable to sickness and accident.
Again, he told me that it has become the custom in large businesses of which the dividends are falling, to put in a man called an ‘Organizer,’ who is often an American.
This Organizer goes through the whole staff and mercilessly dismisses the elderly or the least efficient, dividing up their work among those who remain. So these discarded men fall to rise no more and drift to the poorhouse or the Shelters or the jails, and finally into the river or a pauper’s grave. First, however, many spend what may be called a period of probation on the streets, where they sleep at night under arches or on stairways, or on the inhospitable flagstones and benches of the Embankment, even in winter.
The Staff-Captain informed me that on one night during the previous November he counted no less than 120 men, women, and children sleeping in the wet on or in the neighbourhood of the Embankment. Think of it—in this one place! Think of it, you whose women and children, to say nothing of yourselves, do not sleep on the Embankment in the wet in November. It may be answered that they might have gone to the casual ward, where there are generally vacancies. I suppose that they might, but so perverse are many of them that they do not. Indeed, often they declare bluntly that they would rather go to prison than to the casual ward, as in prison they are more kindly treated.
The reader may have noted as he drove along the Embankment or other London thoroughfares at night in winter, long queues of people waiting their turn to get something. What they are waiting for is a cup of soup and, perhaps, an opportunity of sheltering till the dawn, which soup and shelter are supplied by the Salvation Army, and sometimes by other charitable Organizations. I asked whether this provision of gratis food did in fact pauperize the population, as has been alleged. The Staff-Captain answered that men do not as a rule stop out in the middle of the winter till past midnight to get a pint of soup and a piece of bread. Of course, there might be exceptions; but for the most part those who take this charity, do so because if is sorely needed.
The cost of these midnight meals is reckoned by the Salvation Army at about L8 per 1,000, including the labour involved in cooking and distribution. This money is paid from the Army’s Central Fund, which collects subscriptions for that special purpose.
‘Of course, our midnight soup has its critics,’ said one of the Officers who has charge of its distribution; ’but all I know is that it saves many from jumping into the river.’
During the past winter, that is from November 3, 1909, to March 24, 1910, 163,101 persons received free accommodation and food at the hands of the Salvation Army in connexion with its Embankment Soup Distribution Charity.
On a Sunday in June I attended the Free Breakfast service at the Blackfriars Shelter. The lease of this building was acquired by the Salvation Army from a Temperance Company. Behind it lay contractors’ stables, which were also bought; after which the premises were rebuilt and altered to suit the purposes to which they are now put, the stabling being for the most part converted into sleeping-rooms.
The Officer who accompanied me, Lieut.-Colonel Jolliffe, explained that this Blackfriars Shelter is, as it were, the dredger for and the feeder of all the Salvation Army’s Social Institutions for men in London. Indeed, it may be likened to a dragnet set to catch male unfortunates in this part of the Metropolis. Here, as in the other Army Shelters, are great numbers of bunks that are hired out at 3d. a night, and the usual food-kitchens and appliances.
I visited one or two of these, well-ventilated places that in cold weather are warmed by means of hot-water pipes to a heat of about 70 deg., as the clothing on the bunks is light.
I observed that although the rooms had only been vacated for a few hours, they were perfectly inoffensive, and even sweet; a result that is obtained by a very strict attention to cleanliness and ample ventilation. The floors of these places are constantly scrubbed, and the bunks undergo a process of disinfection about once a week. As a consequence, in all the Army Shelters the vermin which sometimes trouble common lodging-houses are almost unknown.
I may add that the closest supervision is exercised in these places when they are occupied. Night watchmen are always on duty, and an Officer sleeps in a little apartment attached to each dormitory. The result is that there are practically no troubles of any kind. Sometimes, however, a poor wanderer is found dead in the morning, in which case the body is quietly conveyed away to await inquest.
I asked what happened when men who could not produce the necessary coppers to pay for their lodging, applied for admission. The answer was that the matter was left to the discretion of the Officer in charge. In fact, in cases of absolute and piteous want, men are admitted free, although, naturally enough, the Army does not advertise that this happens. If it did, its hospitality would be considerably overtaxed.
Leaving the dormitories, I entered the great hall, in which were gathered nearly 600 men seated upon benches, every one of which was filled. The faces and general aspect of these men were eloquent of want and sorrow. Some of them appeared to be intent upon the religious service that was going on, attendance at this service being the condition on which the free breakfast is given to all who need food and have passed the previous night in the street. Others were gazing about them vacantly, and others, sufferers from the effects of drink, debauchery, or fatigue, seemed to be half comatose or asleep.
This congregation, the strangest that I have ever seen, comprised men of all classes. Some might once have belonged to the learned professions, while others had fallen so low that they looked scarcely human. Every grade of rag-clad misery was represented here, and every stage of life from the lad of sixteen up to the aged man whose allotted span was almost at an end. Rank upon rank of them, there they sat in their infinite variety, linked only by the common bond of utter wretchedness, the most melancholy sight, I think, that ever my eyes beheld. All of them, however, were fairly clean, for this matter had been seen to by the Officers who attend upon them. The Salvation Army does not only wash the feet of its guests, but the whole body. Also, it dries and purifies their tattered garments.
When I entered the hall, an Officer on the platform was engaged in offering up an extempore prayer.
’We pray that the Holy Spirit may be poured out upon these men. We pray, O God, that Thou wilt help them to take fresh courage, to find fresh hope, and that they may rise once again to fight the battle of life. We pray that Thou mayst bring to Thy feet, this morning, such as shall be saved eternally.’
Then another Officer, styled the Chaplain, addressed the audience. He told them that there was a way out of their troubles, and that hundreds who had sat in that hall as they did, now blessed the day which brought them there. He said: ’You came here this morning, you scarcely knew how or why. You did not know the hand of God was leading you, and that He will bless you if you will listen to His Voice. You think you cannot escape from this wretched life; you think of the past with all its failures. But do not trouble about the years that are gone. Seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you. Then there will be no more wandering about without a friend, for I say to you that God lives, and this morning you will hear from others, who once were in a similar condition to yourself, what He has done for them.’
Next a man with a fine tenor voice, who, it seems, is nicknamed ’the Yorkshire Canary,’ sang the hymn beginning, ’God moves in a mysterious way.’ After this in plain, forcible language he told his own story. He said that he was well brought up by a good father and mother, and lost everything through his own sin. His voice was in a sense his ruin, since he used to sing in public-houses and saloons and there learnt to drink. At length he found himself upon the streets in London, and tramped thence to Yorkshire to throw himself upon the mercy of his parents. When he was quite close to his home, however, his courage failed him, and he tramped back to London, where he was picked up by the Salvation Army.
This man, a most respectable-looking person, is now a clerk in a well-known business house. In his own words, ’I knelt down and gave my heart to God, and am to-day in a good situation.’
Next a Salvation Army soldier spoke. Four years before he had attended the Sunday morning meeting in this hall and ’found the friendship of God. He has helped me to regain the manhood I had lost and to do my duty. For two years now I have helped to support an invalid sister instead of being a burden to every one I knew, as once I was.’
After the singing of the hymn, ‘Rock of Ages,’ another man addressed the meeting. He had been a drunkard, a homeless wanderer, who slept night after night on the Embankment till fortune brought him to this service and to the Penitent-Form. Since that time, two and a half years before, no drink had passed his lips, and once again, as he declared, he had become ‘a self-respecting, respectable citizen.’
Then a dwarf whom I had seen at work in the Spa Road Elevator, and who once was taken about the country to be exhibited as a side show at fairs and there fell a victim to drink, gave his testimony.
Another verse, ‘Could my tears for ever flow,’ and after it, in rapid succession, spoke a man who had been a schoolmaster and fallen through drink and gambling; a man who, or whose brother, I am not sure which, had been a Wesleyan preacher, and who is now employed in a Life Assurance Company; a man who had been a prisoner; a man who had been a confirmed drunkard, and others.
Always it was the same earnest, simple tale of drink and degradation, passed now for ever; of the Penitent-Form; of the building up of a new self, and of position regained.
More singing and an eloquent prayer which seemed to move the audience very much, some of them to tears; an address from a woman Salvation Army Officer, who pleaded with the people in the name of their mothers, and a brief but excellent sermon from Commissioner Sturgess, based upon the parable of the Marriage of the King’s Son as recorded in the 22nd chapter of St. Matthew, and of the guests who were collected from the highways and byways to attend the feast whence the rich and worldly had excused themselves.
Then the great and final invocation to Heaven to move the hearts of these men, and the invitation to them to present themselves at the Penitent-Form. Lastly a mighty, thundering hymn, ’Jesu, Lover of my soul,’ and the ending of the long drama.
It was a wonderful thing to see the spiritually-faced man on the platform pleading with his sordid audience, and to watch them stirring beneath his words. To see, also, a uniformed woman flitting to and fro among that audience, whispering, exhorting, invoking—a temptress to Salvation, then to note the response and its manner that were stranger still. Some poor wretch would seem to awaken, only to relapse into a state of sullen, almost defiant torpor. A little while and the leaven begins to work in him. He flushes, mutters something, half rises from his seat, sits down again, rises once more and with a peculiar, unwilling gait staggers to the Penitent-Form, and in an abandonment of grief and repentance throws himself upon his knees and there begins to sob. A watching Officer comes to him, kneels at his side and, I suppose, confesses him. The tremendous hymn bursts out like a paean of triumph—
Just as I am, without one plea,
it begins, the rest I forget or did not catch.
Now the ice is broken. Another comes and another, and another, till there is no more room at the Penitent-Bench. They swarm on to the platform which is cleared for them, and there kneel down, and I observed the naked feet of some of them showing through the worn-out boots.
So it goes on. At length the great audience rises and begins to depart, filing one by one through a certain doorway. As they pass, Officers who have appeared from somewhere wait for them with outstretched arms. The most of them brush past shaking their heads and muttering. Here and there one pauses, is lost—or rather won. The Salvation Army has him in its net and he joins the crowd upon the platform. Still the hymn swells and falls till all have departed save those who remain for good—about 10 per cent of that sad company.
[Illustration: Seeking the homeless at midnight.]
It is done and the catcher feels that he has witnessed the very uttermost of tragedies, human and spiritual.
* * * * *
Mere common ‘revivalism’! the critic will say, and it may be so. Still such revivalism, if that is the term for it, must be judged by its fruits. I am informed that of those who kneel here experience shows that but a small percentage relapse. The most of them become what in the Salvation Army cant—if one chooses so to name it—is known as ‘saved.’
This means that from drunkards and wastrels stained with every sort of human fault, or even crime, they are turned into God-fearing and respectable men who henceforward, instead of being a pest to society and a terror to all those who have the misfortune to be connected with them, become props of society and a comfort and a support to their relatives and friends.
Thus is the mesh of mercy spread, and such is its harvest.
The age of miracles is past, we are told; but I confess that while watching this strange sight I wondered more than once that if this were so, what that age of miracles had been like. Of one thing I was sure, that it must have been to such as these that He who is acknowledged even by sceptics to have been the very Master of mankind, would have chosen to preach, had this been the age of His appearance, He who came to call sinners to repentance. Probably, too, it was to such as these that He did preach, for folk of this character are common to the generations. Doubtless, Judea had its knaves and drunkards, as we know it had its victims of sickness and misfortune. The devils that were cast out in Jerusalem did not die; they reappear in London and elsewhere to-day, and, it would seem, can still be cast out.
I confess another thing, also; namely, that I found all this drama curiously exciting. Most of us who have passed middle age and led a full and varied life will be familiar with the great human emotions. Yet I discovered here a new emotion, one quite foreign to a somewhat extended experience, one that I cannot even attempt to define. The contagion of revivalism! again it will be said. This may be so, or it may not. But at least, so far as this branch of the Salvation Army work is concerned, those engaged in it may fairly claim that the tree should be judged by its fruits. Without doubt, in the main these fruits are good and wholesome.
I have only to add to my description of this remarkable service, that the number netted, namely, about 10 per cent of those present, was, I am told, just normal, neither more nor less than the average. Some of these doubtless will relapse; but if only one of them remains really reformed, surely the Salvation Army has vindicated its arguments and all is proved to be well worth while. But to that one very many ciphers must be added as the clear and proved result of the forty years or so of its activity. Whatever may be doubtful, this is true beyond all controversy, for it numbers its converts by the thousand.
* * * * *
The congregation which I saw on this particular occasion seemed to me to consist for the most part of elderly men; in fact, some of them were very old, and the average age of those who attended the Penitent-Form I estimated at about thirty-five years. This, however, varies. I am informed that at times they are mostly young persons. It must be remembered—and the statement throws a lurid light upon the conditions prevailing in London, as in other of our great cities—that the population which week by week attends these Sunday morning services is of an ever-shifting character. Doubtless, there are some habitues and others who reappear from time to time. But the most of the audience is new. Every Saturday night the highways and the hedges, or rather the streets and the railway arches yield a new crop of homeless and quite destitute wanderers. These are gathered into the Blackfriars Shelter, and go their bitter road again after the rest, the breakfast, and the service. But as we have seen here a substantial proportion, about 10 per cent, remain behind. These are all interviewed separately and fed, and on the following morning as many of them as vacancies can be found for in the Paper Works Elevator or elsewhere are sent thither.
I saw plenty of these men, and with them others who had been rescued previously; so many, indeed, that it is impossible to set out their separate cases. Looking through my notes made at the time, I find among them a schoolmaster, an Australian who fought in South Africa, a publican who had lost L2,000 in speculation and been twelve months on the streets, a sailor and two soldiers who between them had seen much service abroad, and a University man who had tried to commit suicide from London Bridge.
Also there was a person who was recently described in the newspapers as the ‘dirtiest man in London.’ He was found sitting on the steps of a large building in Queen Victoria Street, partly paralysed from exposure. So filthy and verminous was he, that it was necessary to scrape his body, which mere washing would not touch. When he was picked up, a crowd of several hundred people followed him down the street, attracted by his dreadful appearance. His pockets were full of filth, amongst which were found 5s. in coppers. He had then been a month in the Shelter, where he peels or peeled potatoes, etc., and looked quite bright and clean.
Most of these people had been brought down by the accursed drink, which is the bane of our nation, and some few by sheer misfortune.
Neither at the service, nor afterwards, did I see a single Jew, for the fallen of that race seem to be looked after by their fellow religionists. Moreover, the Jews do not drink to excess. Foreigners, also, are comparatively scarce at Blackfriars and in the other Shelters.
On the afternoon of the Sunday on which I visited the Blackfriars Shelter, I attended another service, conducted by Commissioner Sturgess, at Quaker Street.
Here the room was filled by about 150 men, all of whom had been rescued, and were then working in the various Shelters or elsewhere. I may say that I have seldom seen a congregation of more respectable appearance, and never one that joined with greater earnestness in a religious service.
I will take this opportunity to observe that the Salvation Army enforces no religious test upon those to whom it extends its assistance. If a man is a member of the Church of England or a Roman Catholic, for instance, and wishes to remain so, all that it tries to do is to make him a good member of his Church. Its only sine qua non is that the individual should show himself ready to work zealously at any task which it may be able to find for him.
The rest of that afternoon I spent in interviewing ex-criminals who were then in the charge of the Salvation Army. To give details of their cases in this book is impossible. Here I will only say, therefore, that some of these had been most desperate characters, who had served as much as thirty or forty years in various prisons, or even been condemned to death for murder. Indeed, the nineteen men whom I interviewed had, between them, done 371 years of what is known as ‘time.’
I cannot honestly report that I liked the looks of all these gentry, or believed everything that they told me. For instance, when such people swear that they have been wrongly convicted, an old lawyer and magistrate like myself, who knows what pains are taken by every English Court to safeguard the innocent, is apt to be sceptical. Still, it should be added that many of these jailbirds are now to all appearance quite reformed, while some of them are doing well in more or less responsible positions, under the supervision of the Army.
The Salvation Army Officers have authority from the Home Office to visit the various prisons, where the inmates are informed that those who are desirous of seeing them must give in their names. Then on a certain day, the Officer, who, under Commissioner Sturgess, is responsible for the Prison work of the Army in England, appears at the Wandsworth or the Pentonville Prison, or wherever it may be. There he finds, perhaps, as many as 150 men waiting to see him, the total number of ex-prisoners who pass through the hands of the Army in England averaging at present about 1,000 per annum. He interviews these men in their cells privately, the prison officials remaining outside, and stops as long with each of them as he deems to be needful, for the Governors of the prisons give him every opportunity of attaining the object of his work. This Officer informed me that his conversation with the prisoners is not restricted in any way. It may be about their future or of spiritual matters, or it may have to do with their family affairs.
The details of each case are carefully recorded in a book which I saw, and when a convict is discharged and given over to the care of the Army, a photograph and an official statement of his record is furnished with him. This statement the Army finds a great help, as in dealing with such people it is necessary to know their past in order to be able to guard against their weak points.
The Government authorities have now begun to seek the aid of the Army in certain special cases. If they feel that it is unnecessary to retain a man any longer, they will sometimes hand him over, should the Salvation Army Officers be willing to take him in and be responsible for him. General Booth and his subordinates think that if this system were enlarged and followed up, it would result in the mitigation or the abbreviation of many sentences, without exposing the public to danger.
In discussing this matter with them, I ventured to point out that it would be a bad thing if the Army became in any way identified with the prison Authorities, and began, at any rate in the mind of the criminal classes, to wear the initials G.R. instead of those of the Army upon their collars. This was not disputed by Commissioner Sturgess, with whom I debated the question.
What the Army desires, however, is that the Government should subsidize this work in order to enable it to support the ex-convicts until it can find opportunity to place them in positions where they can earn their own bread. The trouble with such folk is that, naturally enough, few desire to employ them, and until they are employed, which in the case of aged persons or of those with a very bad record may be never, they must be fed, clothed, and housed.
After going into the whole subject at considerable length and in much detail, the conclusion which I came to was that this work of the visitation of prisoners by Salvation Army Officers, and the care of them when released either on or before the completion of their sentences, is one that might be usefully extended, should the Home Office Authorities see fit so to do. There is no doubt, although it cannot guarantee success in every case, that the Salvation Army is peculiarly successful in its dealings with hardened criminals.
Why this is so is not easy to explain. I think, however, that there are two main reasons for its success. The first is that the Army takes great care never to break a promise which it may make through any of its Officers. Thus, if a man in jail is told that his relatives will be hunted up and communicated with, or that an application will be made to the Authorities to have him committed to the care of the Army, or that work will be found for him on his release, and the like, that undertaking, whatever it may be, is noted in the book which I have mentioned, and although years may pass before it can be fulfilled, is in due course carried out to the letter. Now, convicts are shy birds, who put little faith in promises. But when they find that these are always kept they gain confidence in the makers of them, and often learn to trust them entirely.
The second and more potent reason is to be found in the power of that loving sympathy which the Army extends even to the vilest, to those from whom the least puritanical of us would shrink. It shows such men that they are not utterly lost, as these believe; that it, at any rate, does not mark them with a figurative broad arrow and consign them to a separate division of society; that it is able to give them back the self-respect without which mankind is lower than the beast, and to place them, regenerated, upon a path that, if it be steep and thorny, still leads to those heights of peace and honour which they never thought to tread again.
This is done not by physical care and comfort, though, of course, these help towards the desired end, but by its own spiritual means, or so it would appear. Its Officers pray with the man; they awake his conscience, which is never dead in any of us; they pour the blessed light of hope into the dark places of his soul; they cause him to hate the past, and to desire to lead a new life. Once this desire is established, the rest is comparatively simple, for where the heart leads the feet will follow; but without it little or nothing can be done. Such is the explanation I have to offer. At any rate, I believe it remains a fact that among the worst criminals the Salvation Army often succeeds where others have failed.
Another point that should not be overlooked in this connexion is that it must be a great comfort to the sinner and an encouragement of the most practical sort to find, as he sometimes will, that the hands which are dragging him and his kind from the mire, had once been as filthy as his own. When the worker can say to him, ’Look at me; in bygone days I was as bad as or worse than you’; when he can point to many others whose vices were formerly notorious, but who now fill positions of trust in the Army or outside of it, and are honoured of all men; then the lost one, emerging, perhaps, for the fifth or sixth time from the darkness of his prison, sees by the light of these concrete examples that the future has promise for us all. If they have succeeded why should he fail? That is the argument which comes home to him.
There remains a matter to be considered. Let us suppose that as time goes by the Authorities become more and more convinced of the value of the Army’s prison work, and pass over to its care criminals in ever-increasing numbers, as they are doing in some other countries and in the great Colonies, what will be the effect upon the Army itself? Will not this mass of comparatively useless material clog the wheels of the great machine by overlading it with a vast number of ex-prisoners, some of whom, owing to their age or other circumstances, are quite incapable of earning their livelihood, and therefore must be carried till their deaths? When I put the query to those in command, the answer given was that they did not think so, as they believed that the Army would be able to turn the great majority of these men into respectable, wage-earning members of society.
Thus of those who have been sent to it lately from the prisons, it has, I understand, been forced to return only two, because these men would not behave themselves, and proved to be a source of danger and contamination to others. As regards the residuum who are incapacitated by age or weakness of mind or body, General Booth and his Officers are of opinion that the Government should contribute to their support in such places as the Army may be able to find for them to dwell in under its care.
I hope that these forecasts, which after all are made by men of great experience who should know, may not prove to be over-sanguine. Still it must be remembered that in England alone there are, I am told, some 30,000 confirmed criminals in the jails, not reckoning the 5,000 who are classed as convicts. If even 20 per cent of these were passed over to the care of the Army, with or without State grants in aid of their support, this must in the nature of things prove a heavy burden upon its resources. When all is said and done it is harder to find employment for a jailbird, even if reformed, than for any other class of man, because so damaged a human article has but little commercial value in the Labour market.
If, however, the Salvation Army is prepared to face this gigantic task, it may be hoped that it will be given an opportunity of showing what it can do on a large scale, as it has already shown upon one more restricted. Prison reform is in the air. The present system is admitted more or less to have broken down. It has been shown to be incompetent to attain the real end for which it is established; that is, not punishment, as many still believe, for this hereditary idea is hard to eradicate, but prevention and, still more, reformation.
The ‘Vengeance of the Law’ is a phrase not easy to forget; but among humane and highly-civilized peoples the word Vengeance should be replaced by another, the best that I can think of is—Regeneration. The Law should not seek to avenge—that may be left to the savage codes, civil and religious, of the dark ages. Except in the case of the death sentence, which is not everywhere in favour, it should seek to regenerate.
If, then, among other agencies, the Salvation Army is able to prove beyond cavil that it can assist our criminal system to attain this noble end, ought not opportunity to be given it in full measure? Is it too much to hope that when the new Prison Act, of which the substance has recently been outlined by the Home Secretary, comes to be discussed, this object may be kept in view and the offer of the Salvation Army to co-operate in the great endeavour may not be lightly thrust aside? If its help is found so valuable in the solution of this particular problem in other lands, why should it be rejected here, or, rather, why should it not be more largely utilized, as I know from their own lips, General Booth and his Officers hope and desire?
HANBURY STREET, WHITECHAPEL
This Salvation Army carpentering and joinery shop has been in existence for about fifteen years, but it does not even now pay its way. It was started by the Army in order to assist fallen mechanics by giving them temporary work until they could find other situations.
The manager informed me that at the beginning they found work for about thirty men. When I visited the place some fifty hands were employed—bricklayers, painters, joiners, etc., none of whom need stop an hour longer than they choose. From 100 to 150 men pass through this Workshop in a year, but many of them being elderly and therefore unable to obtain work elsewhere, stop for a long while, as the Army cannot well get rid of them. All of these folk arrive in a state of absolute destitution, having even sold their tools, the last possessions with which a competent workman parts.
The Parliamentary Committee of the Labour Party and the Trade Unions have recently stirred up a great agitation, which has been widely reported in the Press, against the Hanbury Street Workshop, because the Army does not pay the Union rate of wages. As a result the Army now declines all outside contracts, and confines its operations to the work of erecting, repairing, or furnishing its own buildings.
Here it may be stated that these complaints seem to be unreasonable. The men employed have almost without exception been taken off the streets to save them from starvation or the poorhouse. Often enough they are by no means competent at their work, while some of them have for the time being been rendered practically useless through the effects of drink or other debaucheries. Yet it is argued with violence that to such people, whom no business firm would employ upon any terms, the Army ought to pay the full Trade Union rate of wages. When every allowance is made for the great and urgent problems connected with the cruel practice of ‘sweating,’ surely this attitude throws a strange light upon some of the methods of the Trade Unions?
The inference seems to be that they would prefer that these derelicts should come on the rates or starve rather than that the Army should house and feed them, giving them, in addition, such wage as their labour may be worth. Further comment seems to be needless, especially when I repeat that, as I am assured, this Hanbury Street Institution never has earned, and does not now earn, the cost of its upkeep.
It is situated in the heart of a very poor district, and is rather a ramshackle place to look at, but still quite suitable to its purposes. I have observed that one of the characteristics of the Salvation Army is that it never spends unnecessary money upon buildings. If it can buy a good house or other suitable structure cheap it does so. If it cannot, it makes use of what it can get at a price within its means, provided that the place will satisfy the requirements of the sanitary and other Authorities.
All the machines at Hanbury Street are driven by electric power that is supplied by the Stepney Council at a cost of 1_d_. per unit for power and 3_d_. per unit for lighting.
An elderly man whom I saw there attending to this machinery, was dismissed by one of the great railway companies when they were reducing their hands. He had been in the employ of the Salvation Army for seven years and received the use of a house rent free and a wage of 30_s_. a week, which probably he would find it quite impossible to earn anywhere else.
The hours of employment are from 6.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. if the man is engaged on outside work, or to 6 p.m. if he labours in the workshop, and the men are paid at various rates according to the value of their work, and whether they are boarded and lodged, or live outside. Thus one to whom I spoke, who was the son of a former mayor of an important town, was allowed 3_s._ a week plus food and lodging, while another received 9_s._ a week, 5_s._ of which was sent to his wife, from whom he was separated. Another man, after living on the Army for about two years, made charges against it to the Carpenters’ and Joiners’ Union. He returned and apologized, but had practically to be kept under restraint on account of his drinking habits.
Another man spent twenty years in jail and then walked the streets. He is now a very respectable person, earns 27_s._ 6_d._ a week, and lives outside with his wife and family. Another was once convicted of cruelty to his children, whom he placed under the boards of the flooring while he went out to drink. These children are now restored to him, and he lives with them. Another among those with whom I happened to speak, was robbed by a relative of L4,000 which his father left to him. He was taken on by the Army in a state of destitution, but I forget what he earned. Another, the youngest man in the Works, came to them without any trade at all and in a destitute condition, but when I saw him was in charge of a morticing machine. He had married, lived out, and had been in the employ of the Army for five years. His wage was 27_s._ 6_d._ a week. Two others drew as much as L2 5_s._ 11_d._ each, living out; but, on the other hand, some received as little as 3_s._ a week with board and lodging.
Amongst this latter class was a young Mormon from Salt Lake City, who earned 4_s._ 6_d._ a week and his board and lodging. He had been in the Elevator about three months, having got drunk in London and missed his ship. Although he attended the Salvation Army meetings, he remained a Mormon.
In these Works all sorts of articles are manufactured to be used by other branches of the Salvation Army. Thus I saw poultry-houses being made for the Boxted Small Holdings; these cost from L4 5_s._ to L4 10_s._ net, and were excellent structures designed to hold about two dozen fowls. Further on large numbers of seats of different patterns were in process of manufacture, some of them for children, and other longer ones, with reversible backs, to be used in the numerous Army halls. Next I visited a room in which mattresses and mattress covers are made for the various Shelters, also the waterproof bunk bedding, which costs 7_s._ 9_d._ per cover. Further on, in a separate compartment, was a flock-tearing machine, at which the Mormon I have mentioned was employed. This is a very dusty job whereat a man does not work for more than one day in ten.
Then there were the painting and polishing-room, the joinery room, and the room where doors, window frames, and articles of furniture are constructed; also special garden benches, cleverly planned so that the seat can be protected from rain. These were designed by a young lady whom I chance to know in private life, and who, as I now discovered for the first time, is also a member of the Salvation Army.
Such is the Hanbury Street Workshop, where the Army makes the best use it can of rather indifferent human materials, and, as I have said, loses money at the business.
This branch of the Men’s Social Work of the Salvation Army is a home for poor and destitute boys. The house, which once belonged to the late Dr. Barnardo, has been recently hired on a short lease. One of the features of the Army work is the reclamation of lads, of whom about 2,400 have passed through its hands in London during the course of the last eight years.
Sturge House has been fitted up for this special purpose, and accommodates about fifty boys. The Officer in charge informed me that some boys apply to them for assistance when they are out of work, while others come from bad homes, and yet others through the Shelters, which pass on suitable lads. Each case is strictly investigated when it arrives, with the result that about one-third of their number are restored to their parents, from whom often enough they have run away, sometimes upon the most flimsy pretexts.
Not unfrequently these boys are bad characters, who tell false tales of their past. Thus, recently, two who arrived at the Headquarters at Whitechapel, alleged that they were farm-labourers from Norfolk. As they did not in the least look the part, inquiries were made, when it was found that they had never been nearer to Norfolk than Hampstead, where both of them had been concerned in the stealing of L10 from a business firm. The matter was patched up with the intervention of the Army, and the boys were restored to their parents.
Occasionally, too, lads are brought here by kind folk, who find them starving. They are taken in, kept for a while, taught and fed, and when their characters are re-established—for many of them have none left—put out into the world. Some of them, indeed, work daily at various employments in London, and pay 5s. a week for their board and lodging at the Home. A good proportion of these lads also are sent to the collieries in Wales, where, after a few years, they earn good wages.
In these collieries a man and a boy generally work together. A while ago such a man applied to the Army for a boy, and the applicant, proving respectable, the boy was sent, and turned out extremely well. In due course he became a collier himself, and, in his turn, sent for a boy. So the thing spread, till up to the present time the Army has supplied fifty or sixty lads to colliers in South Wales, all of whom seem to be satisfactory and prosperous.
As the Manager explained, it is not difficult to place out a lad as soon as his character can be more or less guaranteed. The difficulty comes with a man who is middle-aged or old. He added that this Home does not in any sense compete with those of Dr. Barnardo; in fact, in certain ways they work hand in hand. The Barnardo Homes will not receive lads who are over sixteen, whereas the Army takes them up to eighteen. So it comes about that Barnardo’s sometimes send on cases which are over their age limit to Sturge House.
I saw the boys at their dinner, and although many of them had a bad record, certainly they looked very respectable, and likely to make good and useful men. The experience of the Army is that most of them are quite capable of reformation, and that, when once their hearts have been changed, they seldom fall back into the ways of dishonesty.
This Home, like all those managed by the Salvation Army, is spotlessly clean, and the dormitories are very pleasant rooms. Also, there is a garden, and in it I saw a number of pots of flowers, which had just been sent as a present by a boy whom the Army helped three years ago, and who is now, I understand, a gardener.
Sturge House struck me as a most useful Institution; and as there is about it none of the depressing air of the adult Shelters, my visit here was a pleasant change. The reclamation or the helping of a lad is a very different business from that of restoring the adult or the old man to a station in life which he seems to have lost for ever.
This Bureau is established in the Social Headquarters at Whitechapel, a large building acquired as long ago as 1878. Here is to be seen the room in which General Booth used to hold some of his first prayer meetings, and a little chamber where he took counsel with those Officers who were the fathers of the Army. Also there is a place where he could sit unseen and listen to the preaching of his subordinates, so that he might judge of their ability.
The large hall is now part of yet another Shelter, which contains 232 beds and bunks. I inspected this place, but as it differs in no important detail from others, I will not describe it.
The Officer who is in charge of the Labour Bureau informed me that hundreds of men apply there for work every week, of whom a great many are sent into the various Elevators and Shelters. The Army finds it extremely difficult to procure outside employment for these men, for the simple reason that there is very little available. Moreover, now that the Government Labour Bureaux are open, this trouble is not lessened. Of these Bureaux, the Manager said that they are most useful, but fail to find employment for many who apply to them. Indeed, numbers of men come on from them to the Salvation Army.
The hard fact is that there are more idle hands than there is work for them to do, even where honest and capable folk are concerned. Thus, in the majority of instances, the Army is obliged to rely upon its own Institutions and the Hadleigh Land Colony to provide some sort of job for out-of-works. Of course, of such jobs there are not enough to go round, so many poor folk must be sent empty away or supported by charity.
I suggested that it might be worth while to establish a school of chauffeurs, and the Officers present said that they would consider the matter. Unfortunately, however, such an experiment must be costly at the present price of motor-vehicles.
I annex the Labour Bureau Statistics for May, 1910:—
Applicants for temporary employment 479 Sent to temporary employment 183 Applicants for Elevators 864 Sent to Elevators 260 Sent to Shelters 32
Applicants for temporary employment 461 Sent to temporary employment 160 Applicants for Elevators 417 Sent to Elevators 202 Sent to Shelters 20 Sent to permanent situations 35
This is a curious and interesting branch of the work of the Salvation Army. About two thousand times a year it receives letters or personal applications, asking it to find some missing relative or friend of the writer or applicant. In reply, a form is posted or given, which must be filled up with the necessary particulars. Then, if it be a London case, the Officer in charge sends out a skilled man to work up clues. If, on the other hand, it be a country case, the Officer in charge of the Corps nearest to where it has occurred, is instructed to initiate the inquiry. Also, advertisements are inserted in the Army papers, known as ‘The War Cry’ and ‘The Social Gazette,’ both in Great Britain and other countries, if the lost person is supposed to be on the Continent or in some distant part of the world.
The result is that a large percentage of the individuals sought for are discovered, alive or dead, for in such work the Salvation Army has advantages denied to any other body, scarcely excepting the Police. Its representatives are everywhere, and to whatever land they may belong or whatever tongue they may speak, all of them obey an order sent out from Headquarters wholeheartedly and uninfluenced by the question of regard. The usual fee charged for this work is 10_s_. 6_d_.; but when this cannot be paid, a large number of cases are undertaken free. The Army goes to as much trouble in these unpaid cases as in any others, only then it is not able to flood the country with printed bills. Of course, where well-to-do people are concerned, it expects that its out-of-pocket costs will be met.
The cases with which it has to deal are of all kinds. Often those who have disappeared are found to have done so purposely, perhaps leaving behind them manufactured evidence, such as coats or letters on a river-bank, suggesting that they have committed suicide. Generally, these people are involved in some fraud or other trouble. Again, husbands desert their wives, or wives their husbands, and vanish, in which instances they are probably living with somebody else under another name. Or children are kidnapped, or girls are lured away, or individuals emigrate to far lands and neglect to write. Or, perhaps, they simply sink out of all knowledge, and vanish effectually enough into a paupers grave.
But the oddest cases of all are those of a complete loss of memory, a thing that is by no means so infrequent as is generally supposed. The experience of the Army is that the majority of these cases happen among those who lead a studious life. The victim goes out in his usual health and suddenly forgets everything. His mind becomes a total blank. Yet certain instincts remain, such as that of earning a living.
Thus, to take a single recent example, the son of a large bookseller in a country town left the house one day, saying that he would not be away for long, and disappeared. At the invitation of his father, the Army took up the case, and ultimately found that the man had been working in its Spa Road Elevator under another name. Afterwards he went away, became destitute, and sold matches in the streets. Ultimately he was found in a Church Army Home. He recovered his memory, and subsequently lost it again to the extent that he could recall nothing which happened to him during the period of its first lapse. All that time vanished into total darkness.
This business of the hunting out of the missing through the agency of the Salvation Army is one which increases every day. It is not unusual for the Army to discover individuals who have been missing for thirty years and upwards.
Some years ago I was present one night in the Board-room at Euston Station and addressed a shipload of emigrants who were departing to Canada under the auspices of the Salvation Army. I forget their exact number, but I think it was not less than 500. What I do not forget, however, is the sorrow that I felt at seeing so many men in the prime of life leaving the shores of their country for ever, especially as most of them were not married. This meant, amongst other things, that an equal number of women who remained behind were deprived of the possibility of obtaining a husband in a country in which the females already outnumber the males by more than a million. I said as much in the little speech I made on this occasion, and I think that some one answered me with the pertinent remark that if there was no work at home, it must be sought abroad.
[Illustration: Inmates of A men’s Industrial home.]
There lies the whole problem in a nutshell—men must live. As for the aged and the incompetent and the sick and the unattached women, these are left behind for the community to support, while young and active men of energy move off to endow new lands with their capacities and strength. The results of this movement, carried out upon a great scale, can be seen in the remoter parts of Ireland, which, as the visitor will observe, appear to be largely populated by very young children and by persons getting on in years. Whether or no this is a satisfactory state of affairs is not for me to say, although the matter, too large to discuss here, is one upon which I may have my own opinion.
Colonel Lamb, the head of the Salvation Army Emigration Department, informed me that during the past seven years the Army has emigrated about 50,000 souls, of whom 10,000 were assisted out of its funds, the rest paying their own way or being paid for from one source or another. From 8,000 to 10,000 people have been sent during the present year, 1910, most of them to Canada, which is the Mecca of the Salvation Army Emigration policy. So carefully have all these people been selected, that not 1 per cent have ever been returned to this country by the Canadian Authorities as undesirable. The truth is that those Authorities have the greatest confidence in the discretion of the Army, and in its ability to handle this matter to the advantage of all concerned.
That this is true I know from personal experience, since when, some years ago, I was a Commissioner from the British Government and had authority to formulate a scheme of Colonial land-settlement, the Prime Minister of Canada, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, told me so himself in the plainest language. Indeed, he did more, formally offering a huge block of territory to be selected anywhere I might choose in the Dominion, with the aid of its Officers, for the purposes of settlement by poor folk and their children under the auspices of the Salvation Army. Also, he added the promise of as much more land as might be required in the future for the same purpose.
Most unhappily, as I hold, that offer was not accepted by the British Government. If this had been done, by now hundreds of English families would have been transferred from conditions of want at home in the English towns, into those of peace and plenty upon the land abroad. Moreover, the recent rise in the value of Canadian land has been so great that the scheme would not have cost the British taxpayer a halfpenny, or so I most firmly believe.
Unfortunately, however, my scheme was too novel in its character to appeal to the official mind, especially as its working would have involved a loan repayable by instalments, the administration of which must have been entrusted to the Salvation Army or to other charitable Organizations. So this priceless opportunity was lost, probably for ever, as the new and stricter emigration regulations adopted by Canada, as I understand, would make it extremely difficult to emigrate the class I hoped to help, namely, indigent people of good character, resident in English cities, with growing families of children.
Young men, especially if they have been bred on the land, and young marriageable women are eagerly desired in the Colonies, including Australia; but at families, as we have read in recent correspondence in the newspapers, they look askance.
’Why do they not want families in Australia? I asked Colonel Lamb.
’Because the trouble of housing comes in. It is the same thing in Canada, it is the same thing all through the Colonies. They do not want too much trouble,’ he answered.
These words define the position very accurately. ‘Give us your best,’ say the Colonies. ’Give us your adult, healthy men and women whom you have paid to rear and educate, but don’t bother us with families of children whom we have to house. Above all send us no damaged articles. You are welcome to keep those at home.’
To my mind this attitude, natural as it may be, creates a serious problem so far as Great Britain and Ireland are concerned, for the question will arise, Can we afford to go on parting with the good and retaining the less desirable?
On this subject I had a long argument with Colonel Lamb, and his answer to the question was in the affirmative, although I must admit that his reasons did not at all convince me. He seemed to believe that we could send out 250,000 people, chosen people, per annum for the next ten years without harm to ourselves. Well, it may be so, and, as he added, ‘we are in their (that is, the Colonies’) hands, and have to do what they choose to allow.’
Also his opinion was that ’the best thing possible for this country is wholesale emigration,’ of course of those whom the Colonies will accept. He said, ’People here are dissatisfied with their present condition and want a change. If we had money to assist them, there is practically no limit to the number who want to go. There are tens of thousands who would conform to the Canadian regulations. One of the things we advise the man who has been forced out of the country is that rather than come into the town he should go to the Colonies.’
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.
Among them, to take some that she mentioned, which recur to my mind, are the questions of illegitimacy and prostitution, of maternity homes for poor girls who have fallen into trouble, of women thieves, of what is known as the White Slave traffic, of female children who have been exposed to awful treatment, of women who are drunkards or drug-takers, of aged and destitute women, of intractable or vicious-minded girls, and, lastly, of the training of young persons to enable them to deal scientifically with all these evils, or under the name of Slum Sisters, to wait upon the poor in their homes, and nurse them through the trials of maternity.
How practical and efficient this training is, no one can know who has not, like myself, visited and inquired into the various Institutions and Refuges of the Army in different cities of the land. It is a wonderful thing, as has happened to me again and again, to see some quiet, middle-aged lady, often so shy that it is difficult to extract from her the information required, ruling with the most perfect success a number of young women, who, a few weeks or months before, were the vilest of the vile, and what is stranger still, reforming as she rules. These ladies exercise no severity; the punishment, which, perhaps necessarily, is a leading feature in some of our Government Institutions, is unknown to their system. I am told that no one is ever struck, no one is imprisoned, no one is restricted in diet for any offence. As an Officer said to me:—
’If we cannot manage a girl by love, we recognize that the case is beyond us, and ask her to go away. This, however, very seldom happens.’
As a matter of fact, that case which is beyond the regenerating powers of the Army must be very bad indeed, at any rate where young people are concerned. In the vast majority of instances a cure is effected, and apparently a permanent cure. In every one of these Homes there is a room reserved for the accommodation of those who have passed through it and gone out into the world again, should they care to return there in their holidays or other intervals of leisure. That room is always in great demand, and I can imagine no more eloquent testimony to the manner of the treatment of its occupants while they dwelt in these Homes as ‘cases.’
In truth, a study of the female Officers of the Salvation Army is calculated to convert the observer not only to a belief in the right of women to the suffrage, but also to that of their fitness to rule among, or even over men. Only I never heard that any of these ladies ever sought such privileges; moreover, few of the sex would care to win them at the price of the training, self-denial, and stern experience which it is their lot to undergo.
Mrs. Bramwell Booth pointed out to me that although the actual work of the Army on these women’s questions is ‘more than just a little,’ it had, as it were, only touched their fringe. Yet even this ‘fringe’ has many threads, seeing that over 44,000 of these women’s cases have been helped in one way or another since this branch of the home work began about twenty years ago.
She added that scarcely a month goes by in which the Army does not break out in a new direction, open a new Institution, or attempt to attack a new problem; and this, be it remembered, not only in these islands but over the face of half the earth. At present its sphere of influence is limited by the lack of funds. Give it enough money, she said, and there is little that it would not dare to try. Everywhere the harvest is plentiful, and if the workers remain comparatively few, it is because material means are lacking for their support. Given the money and the workers would be found. Nor will they ask much for maintenance or salary, enough to provide the necessary buildings, and to keep body and soul together, that is all.
What are these women doing? In London they run more than a score of Homes and Agencies, including a Maternity Hospital, which I will describe later, where hundreds of poor deceived girls are taken in during their trouble. I believe it is almost the only one of the sort, at any rate on the same scale, in that great city.
Also they manage various Homes for drunken women. It has always been supposed to be a practical impossibility to effect a cure in such cases, but the lady Officers of the Salvation Army succeed in turning about 50 per cent of their patients into perfectly sober persons. At least they remain sober for three years from the date of their discharge, after which they are often followed no further.
Another of their objects is to find out the fathers of illegitimate children, and persuade them to sign a form of agreement which has been carefully drawn by Counsel, binding themselves to contribute towards the cost of the maintenance of the child. Or failing this, should the evidence be sufficient, they try to obtain affiliation orders against such fathers in a Magistrates’ Court. Here I may state that the amount of affiliation money collected in England by the Army in 1909 was L1,217, of which L208 was for new cases. Further, L671 was collected and paid over for maintenance to deserted wives. Little or none of this money would have been forthcoming but for its exertions.
Mrs. Bramwell Booth informed me that there exists a class of young men, most of them in the employ of tradesfolk, who habitually amuse themselves by getting servant girls into trouble, often under a promise of marriage. Then, if the usual results follow, it is common for these men to move away to another town, taking their references with them and, sometimes under a new name, to repeat the process there. She was of opinion that the age of consent ought to be raised to eighteen at least, a course for which there is much to be said. Also she thought, and this is more controversial, that when any young girl has been seduced under promise of marriage, the seducer should be liable to punishment under the criminal law. Of course, one of the difficulties here would be to prove the promise of marriage beyond all reasonable doubt.
Also to bring such matters within the cognizance of the criminal law would be a new and, indeed, a dangerous departure not altogether easy to justify, especially as old magistrates like myself, who have considerable experience of such cases must know, it is not always the man who is to blame. Personally, I incline to the view that if the age of consent were raised, and the contribution exacted from the putative father of an illegitimate child made proportionate to his means, and not limited, as it is now, to a maximum of 5s. a week, the criminal law might well be left out of the question. It must be remembered further, as Mrs. Booth pointed out herself, that there is another remedy, namely, that of a better home-training of girls who should be prepared by their mothers or friends to face the dangers of the world, a duty which these too often neglect. The result is that many young women who feel lonely and desire to get married, overstep the limits of prudence on receipt of a promise that thus they may attain their end, with the result that generally they find themselves ruined and deserted.
Mrs. Bramwell Booth said that the Army is doing its utmost to mitigate the horrors of what is known as the White Slave traffic, both here and in many other countries. With this object it has a Bill before Parliament at the present time, of which one of the aims is to prevent children from being sent out of this country to France under circumstances that practically ensure their moral destruction. It seems that the state of things in Paris in this connexion is, in her own words, ‘most abominable, too horrible for words.’ Children are procured from certain theatre dancing schools, and their birth certificates sometimes falsified to make it appear that they are over fourteen, although often they may be as young as twelve or even ten. Then they are conveyed to vile places in Paris where their doom is sure.
Let us hope that in due course this Bill will become law, for if girls are protected up to sixteen in this country, surely they should not be sent out of it in doubtful circumstances under that age.
Needless to say abominations of this nature are not unknown in London. Thus a while ago the Army received a telegram from a German girl asking, ‘Can you help?’ Two of its people went at once to the address given, and, contriving to get into the house, discovered there a young woman who, imagining that she had been engaged in Germany as a servant in an English family, found herself in a London brothel. Fortunately, being a girl of some character and resource, she held her own, and, having heard of the Salvation Army in her own land, persuaded a milkman to take the telegram that brought about her delivery from this den of wickedness.
Unfortunately it proved impossible to discover the woman who had hired her abroad, as the victim of the plot really knew nothing about that procuress. This girl was restored to her home in Germany none the worse for her terrific adventure, and a few weeks later refunded her travelling expenses. But how many must there be who have never heard of the Salvation Army, and can find no milkman to help them out of their vile prisons, for such places are no less.
Another branch of the Army women’s work is that of the rescue of prostitutes from the streets, which is known as the ‘Midnight Work.’ For the purpose of this endeavour it hires a flat in Great Titchfield Street, of which, and of the mission that centres round it, I will speak later in this book.
The Women’s Social Work of the Salvation Army began in London, in the year 1884, at the cottage of a woman-soldier of the Army who lived in Whitechapel. This lady, who was interested in girls without character, took some of them into her home. Eventually she left the place which came into the hands of the Army, whereon Mrs. Bramwell Booth was sent to take charge of the twelve inmates whom it would accommodate. The seed that was thus sown in 1884 has now multiplied itself into fifty-nine Homes and Agencies for women in Great Britain alone, to say nothing of others abroad and in the Colonies. But this is only a beginning.
‘We look forward,’ said Mrs. Bramwell Booth to me, ’to a great increase of this side of our work at home. No year has passed without the opening of a new Women’s Home of some kind, and we hope that this will continue. Thus I want to build a very big Maternity Hospital if I can get the money. We have about L20,000 in hand for this purpose; but the lesser of the two schemes before us will cost L35,000.’
Will not some rich and charitable person provide the L15,000 that are lacking?
LOWER CLAPTON ROAD
The Women’s Social Headquarters of the Salvation Army in England is situated at Clapton. It is a property of nearly three acres, on which stand four houses that will be rebuilt whenever funds are forthcoming for the erection of the Maternity Hospital and Training Institution for nurses and midwives which I have already mentioned. At present about forty Officers are employed here, most of whom are women, under the command of Commissioner Cox, one of the foremost of the 600 women-Officers of the Salvation Army in the United Kingdom who give their services to the women’s social work.
It is almost needless for me to add that Commissioner Cox is a lady of very great ability, who is entirely devoted to the cause to which she has dedicated her life. One of the reasons of the great success of the Salvation Army is that only able people exactly suited to the particular work in view are put in authority over that work. Here there are no sinecures, no bought advowsons, and no freehold livings. Moreover, the policy of the Army, as a general rule, is not to allow any one to remain too long in any one office, lest he or she should become fossilized or subject to local influences.
I remember when I was in America hearing of a case in which a very leading Officer of the Army, who chanced to be a near relative of General Booth, declined to obey an order to change his command for another in a totally different part of the world. The order was repeated once or twice, and as often disobeyed. Resignation followed and an attempt to found a rival Organization. I only mention this matter to show that discipline is enforced in this Society without fear, favour, or prejudice, which is, perhaps, a principal reason of its efficiency.
Under the guidance of Commissioner Cox I inspected a number of the London Women’s Institutions of the Army, first visiting the Hillsborough House Inebriates’ Home. This Home, a beautifully clean and well-kept place, has accommodation for thirty patients, twenty-nine beds being occupied on the day of my visit. The lady in charge informed me that these patients are expected to contribute 10s. per week towards the cost of their maintenance; but that, as a matter of fact, they seldom pay so much. Generally the sum recovered varies from 7s. to 3s. per week, while a good many give nothing at all.
The work the patients do in this Home is sold and produces something towards the cost of upkeep. The actual expense of the maintenance of the inmates averages about 12s. 6d. a week per head, which sum includes an allowance for rent. Most of the cases stay in the Home for twelve months, although some remain for a shorter period. When the cure is completed, if they are married, the patients return to their husbands. The unmarried are sent out to positions as governesses, nurses, or servants, that is, if the authorities of the Home are able to give them satisfactory characters.
As the reader who knows anything of such matters will be aware, it is generally supposed to be rather more easy to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than to reclaim a confirmed female drunkard. Yet, as I have already said, the Salvation Army, on a three years’ test in each case, has shown that it deals successfully with about 50 per cent of those women who come into its hands for treatment as inebriates or drug-takers. How is this done? Largely, of course, by effecting through religious means a change of heart and nature, as the Army often seems to have the power to do, and by the exercise of gentle personal influences.
But there remains another aid which is physical.
With the shrewdness that distinguishes them, the Officers of the Army have discovered that the practice of vegetarianism is a wonderful enemy to the practice of alcoholism. The vegetarian, it seems, conceives a bodily distaste to spirituous liquors. If they can persuade a patient to become a vegetarian, then the chances of her cure are enormously increased. Therefore, in this and in the other female Inebriate Homes no meat is served. The breakfast, which is eaten at 7.30, consists of tea, brown and white bread and butter, porridge and fresh milk, or stewed fruit. A sample dinner at one o’clock includes macaroni cheese, greens, potatoes, fruit pudding or plain boiled puddings with stewed figs. On one day a week, however, baked or boiled fish is served with pease pudding, potatoes, and boiled currant pudding, and on another, brown gravy is given with onions in batter. Tea, which is served at six o’clock, consists—to take a couple of samples—of tea, white and brown bread and butter, and cheese sandwiches with salad; or of tea, white and brown bread and butter, savoury rolls, and apples or oranges.
It will be observed that this diet is as simple as it well can be; but I think it right to add, after personal inspection, that the inmates appear to thrive on it extremely well. Certainly all whom I saw looked well nourished and healthy.
A book is kept in the Home in which the details of each case are carefully entered, together with its record for two years after discharge. Here are the particulars of three cases taken by me at hazard from this book which will serve to indicate the class of patient that is treated at this Home. Of course, I omit the names:—
A.B. Aged thirty-one. Her mother, who was a drunkard and gave A.B. drink in her childhood, died some time ago. A.B. drove her father, who was in good circumstances, having a large business, to madness by her inebriety. Indeed, he tried to commit suicide by hanging himself, but, oddly enough, it was A.B. who cut him down, and he was sent to an asylum. A.B. had fallen very low since her mother’s death; but I do not give these details. All the members of her family drank, except, strange to say, the father, who at the date of my visit was in the asylum. A.B. had been in the Home some time, and was giving every satisfaction. It was hoped that she will be quite cured.
C.D. Aged thirty. C.D.’s father, a farmer, was a moderate drinker, her mother was a temperance woman. Her parents discovered her craving for drink about ten years ago. She was unable to keep any situation on account of this failing. Four years ago C.D. was sent to an Inebriate Home for twelve months, but no cure was effected. Afterwards she disappeared, having been dismissed from her place, and was found again for the mother by the Salvation Army. At the time of my visit she had been six months in the Home, and was doing well.
E.F. Aged forty-eight; was the widow of a professional man, whom she married as his second wife, and by whom she had two children, one of whom survives. She began to drink before her husband’s death, and this tendency was increased by family troubles that arose over his will. She mismanaged his business and lost everything, drank heavily and despaired. She tried to keep a boarding house, but her furniture was seized and she came absolutely to the end of her resources, her own daughter being sent away to her relatives. E.F. was nine months in the Hillsborough Home, and had gone as cook and housekeeper to a situation, where she also was giving every satisfaction.
LORNE HOUSE, STOKE NEWINGTON
Her Royal Highness Princes Louise, the Duchess of Argyll, defrayed the cost of the purchase of the leasehold of this charming Home. The lady-Officer in charge informed me that the object of the establishment is to take in women who have or are about to have illegitimate children. It is not, however, a lying-in Home, the mothers being sent to the Ivy House Hospital for their confinements. After these are over they are kept for four or sometimes for six months at Lorne House. At the expiration of this period situations are found for most of them, and the babies are put out to nurse in the houses of carefully selected women with whom the mothers can keep in touch. These women are visited from time to time by Salvation Army Officers who make sure that the infants are well treated in every way.
All the cases in this Home are those of girls who have fallen into trouble for the first time. They belong to a better class than do those who are received in many of the Army Homes. The charge for their maintenance is supposed to be L1 a week, but some pay only 5s., and some nothing at all. As a matter of fact, out of the twelve cases which the Home will hold, at the time of my visit half were making no payment. If the Army averages a contribution of 7s. a week from them, it thinks itself fortunate.
I saw a number of the babies in cradles placed in an old greenhouse in the garden to protect them from the rain that was falling at the time. When it is at all fine they are kept as much as possible in the open air, and the results seem to justify this treatment, for it would be difficult to find healthier infants.
Five or six of the inmates sleep together in a room; for those with children a cot is provided beside each bed. I saw several of these young women, who all seemed to be as happy and contented as was possible under their somewhat depressing circumstances.
BRENT HOUSE, HACKNEY
This Home serves a somewhat similar purpose as that at Lorne House, but the young women taken in here while awaiting their confinement are not, as a rule, of so high a class.
In the garden at the back of the house about forty girls were seated in a kind of shelter which protected them from the rain, some of them working and some talking together, while others remained apart depressed and silent. Most of these young women were shortly expecting to become mothers. Certain of them, however, already had their infants, as there were seventeen babies in the Home who had been crowded out of the Central Maternity Hospital. Among these were some very sad cases, several of them being girls of gentle birth, taken in here because they could pay nothing. One, I remember, was a foreign young lady, whose sad history I will not relate. She was found running about the streets of a seaport town in a half-crazed condition and brought to this place by the Officers of the Salvation Army.
In this house there is a room where ex-patients who are in service can bring their infants upon their holidays. Two or three of these women were here upon the occasion of my visit, and it was a pathetic sight to see them dandling the babies from whom they had been separated and giving them their food.
It is the custom in this and other Salvation Army Maternity Homes to set apart a night in every month for what is called a Social Evening. On these occasions fifty or more of the former inmates will arrive with their children, whom they have brought from the various places where they are at nurse, and for a few hours enjoy their society, after which they take them back to the nurses and return to their work, whatever it may be. By means of this kindly arrangement these poor mothers are enabled from time to time to see something of their offspring, which, needless to say, is a boon they greatly prize.
IVY HOUSE, HACKNEY
This Hospital is one for the accommodation of young mothers on the occasion of the birth of their illegitimate children. It is a humble building, containing twenty-five beds, although I think a few more can be arranged. That it serves its purpose well, until the large Maternity Hospital of which I have already spoken can be built, is shown by the fact that 286 babies (of whom only twenty-five were not illegitimate) were born here in 1900 without the loss of a single mother. Thirty babies died, however, which the lady-Officer in charge thought rather a high proportion, but one accounted for by the fact that during this particular year a large number of the births were premature. In 1908, 270 children were born, of whom twelve died, six of these being premature.
The cases are drawn from London and other towns where the Salvation Army is at work. Generally they, or their relatives and friends, or perhaps the father of the child, apply to the Army to help them in their trouble, thereby, no doubt, preventing many child-murders and some suicides. The charge made by the Institution for these lying-in cases is in proportion to the ability of the patient to pay. Many contribute nothing at all. From those who do pay, the average sum received is 10_s_. a week, in return for which they are furnished with medical attendance, food, nursing, and all other things needful to their state.
I went over the Hospital, and saw these unfortunate mothers lying in bed, each of them with her infant in a cot beside her. Although their immediate trial was over, these poor girls looked very sad.
‘They know that their lives are spoiled,’ said the lady in charge.
Most of them were quite young, some being only fifteen, and the majority under twenty. This, it was explained to me, is generally due to the ignorance of the facts of life in which girls are kept by their parents or others responsible for their training. Last year there was a mother aged thirteen in this Hospital.
One girl, who seemed particularly sad, had twins lying beside her. Hoping to cheer her up, I remarked that they were beautiful babies, whereon she hid her face beneath the bedclothes.
‘Don’t talk about them,’ said the Officer, drawing me away, ’that child nearly cried her eyes out when she was told that there were two. You see, it is hard enough for these poor mothers to keep one, but when it comes to two—!’
I asked whether the majority of these unfortunate young women really tried to support their children. The answer was that most of them try very hard indeed, and will use all their money for this purpose, even stinting themselves of absolute necessaries. Few of them go wrong again after their first slip, as they have learned their lesson. Moreover, during their stay in hospital and afterwards, the Salvation Army does its best to impress on them certain moral teachings, and thus to make its work preventive as well as remedial.
Places in service are found for a great number of these girls, generally where only one servant is kept, so that they may not be taunted by the others if these should find out their secret. This as a rule, however, is confided to the mistress. The average wage they receive is about L18 a year. As it costs them L13, or 5_s_. a week, to support an infant (not allowing for its clothes), the struggle is very hard unless the Army can discover the father, and make him contribute towards the support of his child, either voluntarily or through a bastardy order.
I was informed that many of these fathers are supposed to be gentlemen, but when it comes to this matter of payment, they show that they have little title to that description. Of course, in the case of men of humbler degree, money is even harder to recover. I may add, that my own long experience as a magistrate goes to confirm this statement. It is extraordinary to what meanness, subterfuge, and even perjury, a man will sometimes resort, in order to avoid paying so little as 1_s_. 6_d_. a week towards the keep of his own child. Often the line of defence is a cruel attempt to blacken the character of the mother, even when the accuser well knows that there is not the slightest ground for the charge, and that he alone is responsible for the woman’s fall. Also, if the case is proved, and the order made, many such men will run away and hide themselves in another part of the country to escape the fulfilment of their just obligations.
In connexion with this Maternity Hospital, the Salvation Army has a Training School for midwives and nurses, all of whom must pass the Central Midwives Board examination before they are allowed to practise. Some of the students, after qualifying, continue to work for the Army in its Hospital Department, and others in the Slum Department, while some go abroad in the service of other Societies. The scale of fees for this four months’ course in midwifery varies according to circumstances. The Army asks the full charge of eighteen guineas from those students who belong to, or propose to serve other Societies. Those who intend to go abroad to work with medical missionaries, have to pay fifteen guineas, and those who are members of the Salvation Army, or who intend to serve the Army in this Department, pay nothing, unless, at the conclusion of their course, they decide to leave the Army’s service.
At the last examination, out of fourteen students sent up from this Institution, thirteen passed the necessary test.
When I began to write this book, I determined to set down all things exactly as I saw or heard them. But, although somewhat hardened in such matters by long experience of a very ugly world, I find that there are limits to what can be told of such a place as ‘The Nest’ in pages which are meant for perusal by the general public. The house itself is charming, with a good garden adorned by beautiful trees. It has every arrangement and comfort possible for the welfare of its child inmates, including an open-air bedroom, cleverly contrived from an old greenhouse for the use of those among them whose lungs are weakly.
But these inmates, these sixty-two children whose ages varied from about four to about sixteen! What can I say of their histories? Only in general language, that more than one half of them have been subject to outrages too terrible to repeat, often enough at the hands of their own fathers! If the reader wishes to learn more, he can apply confidentially to Commissioner Cox, or to Mrs. Bramwell Booth.
[Illustration: SOME OF THE CHILDREN AT ’THE NEST’.]
Here, however, is a case that I can mention, as although it is dreadful enough, it belongs to a different class. Seeing a child of ten, whose name was Betty, playing about quite happily with the others, I spoke to her, and afterwards asked for the particulars of her story. They were brief. It appears that this poor little thing had actually seen her father murder her mother. I am glad to be able to add that to all appearance she has recovered from the shock of this awful experience.
Indeed, all these little girls, notwithstanding their hideous pasts, seemed, so far as I could judge, to be extremely happy at their childish games in the garden. Except that some were of stunted growth, I noted nothing abnormal about any of them. I was told, however, by the Officer in charge, that occasionally, when they grow older, propensities originally induced in them through no fault of their own will assert themselves.
To lessen this danger, as in the case of the women inebriates, all these children are brought up as vegetarians. Before me, as I write, is the bill of fare for the week, which I tore off a notice board in the house. The breakfast on three days, to take examples, consists of porridge, with boiling milk and sugar, cocoa, brown and white bread and butter. On the other mornings either stewed figs, prunes, or marmalade are added. A sample dinner consists of lentil savoury, baked potatoes, brown gravy and bread; boiled rice with milk and sugar. For tea, bananas, apples, oranges, nuts, jam, brown and white bread and butter and cocoa are supplied, but tea itself as a beverage is only given on Sundays. A footnote to the bill of fare states that all children over twelve years of age who wish for it, can have bread and butter before going to bed.
Certainly the inmates of ‘The Nest,’ if any judgment may be formed from their personal appearance, afford a good argument to the advocates of vegetarianism.
It costs L13 a year to endow a bed in this Institution. Amongst others, I saw one which was labelled ‘The Band of Helpers’ Bed. This is maintained by girls who have passed through the Institution, and are now earning their livelihood in the world, as I thought, a touching and significant testimony. I should add that the children in this Home are educated under the direction of a certificated governess.
My visit to this Refuge made a deep impression on my mind. No person of sense and experience, remembering the nameless outrages to which many of these poor children have been exposed, could witness their present health and happiness without realizing the blessed nature of this work.
Colonel Lambert, the lady-Officer in charge of this Institution, informed me that it can accommodate sixty young women. At the time of my visit forty-seven pupils were being prepared for service in the Women’s Department of what is called ‘Salvation Army Warfare.’ These Cadets come from all sources and in various ways. Most of them have first been members of the Army and made application to be trained, feeling themselves attracted to this particular branch of its work.
The basis of their instruction is religious and theological. It includes the study of the Bible, of the doctrine and discipline of the Salvation Army and the rules and regulations governing the labours of its Social Officers. In addition, these Cadets attend practical classes where they learn needlework, the scientific cutting out of garments, knitting, laundry work, first medical aid, nursing, and so forth. The course at this Institution takes ten months to complete, after which those Cadets who have passed the examinations are appointed to various centres of the Army’s Social activities.
When these young women have passed out and enter on active Social work they are allowed their board and lodging and a small salary to pay for their clothing. This salary at the commencement of a worker’s career amounts to the magnificent sum of 4s. a week, if she ‘lives in’ (about the pay of a country kitchen maid); out of which she is expected to defray the cost of her uniform and other clothes, postage stamps, etc. Ultimately, after many years of service, it may rise to as much as 10s. in the case of senior Officers, or, if the Officer finds her own board and lodging, to a limit of L1 a week.
Of these ladies who are trained in the Home few leave the Army. Should they do so, however, I am informed that they can generally obtain from other Organizations double or treble the pay which the Army is able to afford.
This Training Institution is a building admirably suited to the purpose to which it is put. Originally it was a ladies’ school, which was purchased by the Salvation Army. The dining-room of the Cadets was very well arranged and charmingly decorated with flowers, as was that of the Officers beyond. There was also a Cadets’ retiring-room, where I saw some of them reading or otherwise amusing themselves on their Saturday half-holiday. The Army would be glad to find and train more of these self-sacrificing workers; but the conditions of the pay which they can offer and the arduous nature of the lifelong service involved, are such that those of a satisfactory class are not too readily forthcoming.
Attached to this Training Institution is a Home for girls of doubtful or bad antecedents, which I also visited. This Rescue Home is linked up with the Training School, so that the Cadets may have the opportunity of acquiring a practical knowledge of the class of work upon which they are to be engaged in after-life. Most of the girls in the Rescue Home have passed through the Police-courts, and been handed over to the care of the Army by magistrates. The object of the Army is to reform them and instruct them in useful work which will enable them to earn an honest living.
Many of these girls have been in the habit of thieving from their mistresses or others, generally in order to enable them to make presents to their lovers. Indeed, it would seem that this mania for making presents is a frequent cause of the fall of young persons with a natural leaning to dishonesty and a desire to appear rich and liberal. The Army succeeds in reclaiming a great number of them; but the thieving instinct is one not easy to eradicate.
All these girls seemed fairly happy. A great deal of knitting is done by them, and I saw a room furnished with a number of knitting machines, where work is turned out to the value of nearly L25 a week. Also I was shown piles of women’s and children’s underclothing and other articles, the produce of the girls’ needles, which are sold to help to defray the expenses of the Home. In the workroom on this Saturday afternoon a number of the young women were engaged in mending their own garments. After their period of probation many of these girls are sent out to situations found for them by the Army.
This Home is one of much the same class as that which I have just described. It has accommodation for forty-eight girls, of whom over 1,000 have passed through the Institution, where they are generally kept for a period of six months. Most of the young women in the Home when I visited it had been thieves. One, who was twenty-seven years of age, had stolen ever since she was twelve, and the lady in charge told me that when she came to them everything she had on her, and almost all the articles in her trunk were the property of former mistresses.
In answer to my questions, Commissioner Cox informed me that the result of their work in this Home was so satisfactory that they scarcely liked to announce it. They computed, however, that taken on a three years’ test—for the subsequent career of each inmate is followed for that period—90 per cent of the cases prove to be permanent moral cures. This, when the previous history of these young women is considered, may, I think, be accounted a great triumph. No money contribution is asked or expected in this particular Home. Indeed, it would not be forthcoming from the class of girls who are sent or come here to be reformed, many of whom, on entering, are destitute of underclothing and other necessaries, The needlework which they do, however, is sold, and helps to pay for the upkeep of the place.
I asked what was done if any of them refused to work. The answer was that this very rarely happened, as the women-Officers shared in their labours, and the girls could not for shame’s sake sit idle while their Officers worked. I visited the room where this sewing was in progress, and observed that Commissioner Cox, who conducted me, was received with hearty, and to all appearance, spontaneous clapping of hands, which seemed to indicate that these poor young women are happy and contented. The hours of labour kept in the Home are those laid down in the Factory Acts.
While looking at the work produced by the inmates, I asked Commissioner Cox if she had anything to say as to the charges of sweating which are sometimes brought against the Army, and of underselling in the markets. Her answer was:—
’We do not compete in the markets at all, as we do not make sufficient articles, and never work for the trade or supply wholesale; we sell the garments we make one by one by means of our pedlars. It is necessary that we should do this in order to support our girls. Either we must manufacture and sell the work, or they must starve.’
Here we have the whole charge of sweating by the Army in a nutshell, and the answer to it.
In this Home a system has been devised for providing each girl with an outfit when she leaves. It is managed by means of a kind of deferred pay, which is increased if she keeps up to the standard of work required. Thus, gradually, she earns her outfit, and leaves the place with a box of good clothes. The first thing provided is a pair of boots, then a suitable box, and lastly, the materials which they make into clothes.
This house, like all the others, I found to be extremely well arranged, with properly-ventilated dormitories, and well suited to its purposes.
SPRINGFIELD LODGE, DENMARK HILL.
This house, which has a fine garden attached, was a gentleman’s residence purchased by the Salvation Army, to serve as an Inebriates’ Home for the better class of patients. With the exception of a few who give their services in connexion with the work of the place as a return for their treatment, it is really a Home for gentlefolk. When I visited it, some of the inmates, of whom there are usually from twenty-five to thirty, were talented ladies who could speak several languages, or paint, or play very well. All these came here to be cured of the drink or drug habit. The fee for the course ranges from a guinea to 10_s_. per week, according to the ability of the patient to pay, but some who lack this ability pay nothing at all.
The lady in charge remarked drily on this point, that many people seemed to think that as the place belonged to the Salvation Army it did not matter if they paid or not. As is the practice at Hillsborough House, a vegetarian diet is insisted upon as a condition of the patient receiving treatment at the Home. Often this is a cause of much remonstrance, as the inmates, who are mostly persons in middle or advanced life, think that it will kill them. The actual results, however, are found to be most satisfactory, as the percentage of successes is found to be 50 per cent, after a year in the Home and three years’ subsequent supervision. I was told that a while ago, Sir Thomas Barlow, the well-known physician, challenged this statement. He was asked to see for himself, he examined a number of the patients, inspected the books and records, and finally satisfied himself that it was absolutely correct.
The Army attaches much importance to what may be called the after-care of the cases, for the lack of which so many people who pass through Homes and then return to ordinary life, break down, and become, perhaps, worse than they were before. The seven devils of Scripture are always ready to re-occupy the swept and garnished soul, especially if they be the devils of drink.
Moreover, the experience of the Army is that relatives and friends are extraordinarily thoughtless in this matter. Often enough they will, as it were, thrust spirituous liquors down the throat of the newly-reformed drunkard, or at the least will pass them before their eyes and drink them in their presence as usual, with results that may be imagined. One taste and in four cases out of six the thing is done. The old longings awake again and must be satisfied.
For these reasons the highly-skilled Officers of the Salvation Army hold that reclaimed inebriates should be safeguarded, watched, and, so far as the circumstances may allow, kept under the influences that have brought about their partial recovery. They say that they owe much of their remarkable success in those cases to a strict observance of such preventive methods for a period of three years. After that time patients must stand upon their own feet. These remarks apply also to the victims of the drug habit, who are even more difficult to deal with than common drunkards.
At this Home I had a conversation with a fine young woman, an ex-hospital nurse, who gave me a very interesting account of her experiences of laudanum drinking. She said that in an illness she had gone through while she was a nurse a doctor dosed her with laudanum to deaden her pain and induce sleep. The upshot was that she could not sleep without the help of laudanum or other opiates, and thus the fatal habit was formed. She described the effects of the drug upon her, which appeared to be temporary exhilaration and freedom from all care, coupled with sensations of great vigour. She spoke also of delightful visions; but when I asked her to describe the visions, she went back upon that statement, perhaps because their nature was such as she did not care to set out. She added, however, that the sleep which followed was haunted by terrible dreams.
Another effect of the habit, according to this lady, is forgetfulness, which showed itself in all kinds of mistakes, and in the loss of power of accurate expression, which caused her to say things she did not mean and could not remember when she had said them. She told me that the process of weaning herself from the drug was extremely painful and difficult; but that she now slept well and desired it no more.
To be plain, I was not satisfied with the truth of this last statement, for there was a strange look in her eyes which suggested that she still desired it very much; also she seemed to me to prevaricate upon certain points. Further, those in charge of her allowed that this diagnosis was probably correct, especially as she is now in the Home for the second time, although her first visit there was a very short one. Still they thought that she would be cured in the end. Let us hope that they were right.
The Army has also another Home in this neighbourhood, run on similar lines, for the treatment of middle-class and poor people.
SOUTHWOOD, SYDENHAM HILL
This is another of the Salvation Army Homes for Women. When I visited Southwood, which is an extremely good house, having been a gentleman’s residence, with a garden and commanding a beautiful view, there were about forty inmates, some of whom were persons of gentle birth. For such ladies single sleeping places are provided, with special dining and sitting-rooms. These are supposed to pay a guinea a week for their board and accommodation, though I gathered that this sum was not always forthcoming. The majority of the other inmates, most of whom have gone astray in one way or another, pay nothing.
A good many of the cases here are what are called preventive; that is to say, that their parents or guardians being able to do nothing with them, and fearing lest they should come to ruin, send them to this place as a last resource, hoping that they may be cured of their evil tendencies.
Thus one girl whom I think I saw, could not be prevented from gadding on the streets, and therefore had been placed here. Another young woman was a schoolmistress who would not get out of bed and refused to work. When she came to the Home she was very insolent and bad-tempered, and would do nothing. Now, I was informed, she rises with the lark, at 6.30 indeed, and works like a Trojan. I could not help wondering whether these excellent habits would survive her departure from the Home. Another lady, who had been sentenced for thefts, was the daughter of a minister. She horrified the Officers by regretting that she had gone to jail for so little, when others who had taken and enjoyed large sums received practically the same sentence. She was reported to be doing well.
Another, also a lady, was the victim of an infatuation which caused her to possess herself of money to send to some man who had followed her about from the time she was in a boarding school. Another was a foreigner, who had been sent to an American doctor in the East to be trained as a nurse. This poor girl underwent an awful experience, and was in the care of the Salvation Army recovering from shock; but, of course, hers is a different class of case from those which I have mentioned above. Another was an English girl who had been turned out of Canada because of her bad behaviour with men. And so on.
It only remains to say that most of these people appeared to be doing well, while many of those in the humbler classes of life were being taught to earn their own living in the laundry that is attached to the Institution.
This is a place where women, most of them old, so far as my observation went, are taken in to sleep at a charge of 3_d._ a night. It used to be 2_d_. until the London County Council made the provision of sheets, etc., compulsory, when the Army was obliged to raise the payment. This Shelter, which is almost always so full that people have to be turned away, holds 261 women. It contains a separate room, where children are admitted with their mothers, half price, namely 1-1/2_d._, being charged per child. There is a kitchen attached where the inmates can buy a large mug of tea for a 1/2_d._, and a huge chunk of bread for a second 1/2_d._; also, if I remember right, other articles of food, if they can afford such luxuries.
The great dormitory in this Shelter, it may be mentioned, was once a swimming-bath. Some of the women who come to this place have slept in it almost every night for eighteen or twenty years. Others make use of it for a few months, and then vanish for a period, especially in the summer, when they go hop or strawberry picking, and return in the winter. Every day, however, fresh people appear, possibly to depart on the morrow and be seen no more.
I asked whether the aged folk had not been benefited by the Old Age Pensions Act. The lady Officer in charge replied that it had been a blessing to some of them. One old woman, however, would not apply for her pension, although she was urged to take a room for herself somewhere. She said that she was afraid if she did so, she might be turned out and be lonely.
I visited this Shelter in the late afternoon, before it was filled up. A number of dilapidated and antique females were sitting about in the rooms, talking or sewing. One old lady was doing crochet work. She told me that she made her living by it, and by flower-selling. Another informed me that it was years since she had slept anywhere else, and that she did not know what poor women like her would do without this place. Another was cooking the broth. Her husband was a sea captain, and when he died, her father had allowed her L1 a week until he died. Afterwards she took to drink, and drifted here, where, I was informed, she is doing well. And so on, and so on, ad infinitum. The Hanbury Street Women’s Shelter is not a cheerful spot to visit on a dull and rainy evening.
Slum work is an important branch of the Social labours of the Salvation Army, Thus last year the Slum Sisters visited over 105,000 families, over 20,000 sick, and over 32,000 public-houses, in which work they spent more than 90,000 hours of time. Also they attended 482 births, and paid nearly 9,000 visits in connexion with them.
There are nine Slum Settlements and Posts in London, and nineteen others in England, Scotland, and Ireland. The old system used to be for the Sisters and Nurses to live among the lowest class of the poor, lodging in the actual tenements in which their work was carried out. This, however, was abandoned as far as possible, because it was found that after the arduous toil of the day these ladies could get little rest at night, owing to the noise that went on about them, a circumstance that caused their health to suffer and made them inefficient. Now out of the 117 Officers engaged in Slum work in Great Britain, about one-half who labour in London live in five houses set apart for them in different quarters of the city; fifteen Officers being the usual complement to each house.
The particular dwelling of which I write is a good specimen of them all, and from it the Sisters and Nurses who live there work Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, and the Hoxton and Hackney Road districts. It is decently furnished and a comfortable place in its way, although, of course, it stands in a poor neighbourhood. I remember that there was even the finishing touch of a canary in the window. I should add that no cases are attended in the house itself, which is purely a residence.
To this particular Settlement two qualified midwives and a nurse are attached. While I was there one of the midwives came in, very tired, at about half-past eleven in the morning. Since three o’clock on that same morning she had attended three confinements, so no wonder she was tired. She said that one of her cases was utterly unprovided with anything needful as the father was out of work, although on the occasion of a previous confinement they had all
The people with whom they deal are for the most part those who have a rooted objection to infirmaries, although the hospitals are much more used than was formerly the case. The system of the Army is to make a charge of 6_s_. 6_d_. for attending a confinement, which, if paid, is generally collected in instalments of 3_d_. or 6_d_. a week. Often, however, it is not paid, and the charge remains a mere formality. She added that many of these poor people are most improvident, and make no provision whatsoever for these events, even if they can afford to do so. The result is that the Army has to lend them baby garments and other things.
The Sister said in answer to my questions that there was a great deal of poverty in their district where many men were out of work, a number of them because they could find nothing to do. She thought that things were certainly no better in this respect; indeed, the state of depression was chronic. Owing to the bad summer of 1909, which affected the hop-picking and other businesses, the destitution that year was as great during the warm months as it usually is in the winter.
The poor of this district, she said, ’generally live upon fried fish and chips. You know they cannot cook, anyway they don’t, and what they do cook is all done in the frying-pan, which is also a very convenient article to pawn. They don’t understand economy, for when they have a bit of money they will buy in food and have a big feast, not thinking of the days when there will be little or nothing. Then, again, they buy their goods in small portions; for instance, their coal by the ha’p’orth or their wood by the farthing’s-worth, which, in fact, works out at a great profit to the dealers. Or they buy a farthing’s-worth of tea, which is boiled up again and again till it is awful-looking stuff.’
I asked her what she considered to be the main underlying cause of this misery. She answered that she thought it was due ’to the people flocking from the country to the city,’ thereby confirming an opinion that I have long held and advanced. She added that the overcrowding in the district was terrible, the regulations of the Public Health Authorities designed to check it being ‘a dead letter.’ In one case with which she had to do, a father, mother, and nine children lived in a room that measured 9 ft. by 9 ft., and the baby came into the world with the children looking on!
The general weekly rent for a room containing a family is 5_s_., or if it is furnished, 7_s_. 6_d_. The Sister described to me the furniture of one for the use of which this extra half-crown is charged. It consisted of a rickety bed, two chairs, one without a back and one without a seat, and a little shaky table. The floor was bare, and she estimated the total value of these articles at about their weekly rent of 2_s_. 6_d_., if, indeed, they were worth carrying away. In this chamber dwelt a coachman who was out of place, his wife, and three or four children, I wonder what arrangement these poor folk make as to the use of the one chair that has a bottom. To occupy the other must be an empty honour. With reference to this man the Sister remarked that as a result of the introduction of motor vehicles, busmen, cabmen, and blacksmiths were joining the ranks of her melancholy clientele in numbers.
This and some similar stories caused me to reflect on the remarkable contrast between rents in the country and in town. For instance, I own about a dozen cottages in this village in which I write, and the highest rent that I receive is 2_s_. 5_d_. a week. This is paid for a large double dwelling, on which I had to spend over L100 quite recently to convert two cottages into one. Also, there is a large double garden thrown in, so large that a man can scarcely manage it in his spare time, a pigsty, fruit trees, etc. All this for 1_d_. a week less than is charged for the two broken chairs, the rickety bed, and the shaky table! Again, for L10 a year, I let a comfortable farmhouse; that is, L3 a year less than the out-of-work coachman pays for his single room without the furniture. And yet, as the Sister said, people continue to rush from the country to the towns!
Nor, it seems, do they always make the best of things when they get there. Thus the Sister mentioned that the education which the girls receive in the schools causes them to desire a more exalted lot in life than that of a servant. So they try to find places in shops, or jam factories, etc. Some get them, but many fail; and of those who fail, a large proportion go to swell the mass of the unemployed, or to recruit the ranks of an undesirable profession. She went so far as to say that most of the domestic servants in London are not Cockneys at all, but come from the country; adding, that the sad part of it was that thousands of these poor girls, after proper training, could find comfortable and remunerative employment without displacing others, as the demand for domestic servants is much greater than the supply. These are cold facts which seem to suggest that our system of free education is capable of improvement.
It appears that all this district is a great centre of what is known as ‘sweating.’ Thus artificial flowers, of which I was shown a fine specimen, a marguerite, are made at a price of 1_s_. per gross, the workers supplying their own glue. An expert hand, beginning at eight in the morning and continuing till ten at night, can produce a gross and a half of these flowers, and thus net 1_s_. 6_d_., minus the cost of the glue, scissors, and sundries. The Officers of the Army find it extremely difficult to talk to these poor people, who are invariably too busy to listen. Therefore, some of them have learnt how to make artificial flowers themselves, so that when they call they can join in the family manufacture, and, while doing so, carry on their conversation.
For the making of match-boxes and the sticking on of the labels the pay is 2-1/2_d_. per gross. Few of us, I think, would care to manufacture 144 matchboxes for 2-1/2_d_. I learned that it is not unusual to find little children of four years of age helping their mothers to make these boxes.
The Slum Sisters attached to the Settlement, who are distinct from the Maternity Nurses, visit the very poorest and worst neighbourhoods, for the purpose of helping the sick and afflicted, and incidentally of cleaning their homes. Also, they find out persons who are about sixty-nine years of age, and contribute to their maintenance, so as to save them from being forced to receive poor-law relief, which would prevent them from obtaining their old-age pensions when they come to seventy.
Here is an illustration of the sort of case with which these Slum Sisters have to deal; perhaps, I should say, the easiest sort of case. An old man and his wife whom they visited, lived in a clean room. The old woman fell sick, and before she died the Slum Sisters gave her a bath, which, as these poor people much object to washing, caused all the neighbours to say that they had killed her. After his wife’s death, the husband, who earned his living by selling laces on London Bridge, went down in the world, and his room became filthy. The Slum Sisters told him that they would clean up the place, but he forbade them to touch the bed, which, he said, was full of mice and beetles. As he knew that women dread mice and beetles, he thought that this statement would frighten them. When he was out selling his laces, they descended upon his room, where the first thing that they did was to remove the said bed into the yard and burn it, replacing it with another. On his return, the old man exclaimed: ’Oh, my darlings, whatever have you been doing?’
They still clean this room once a week.
The general impression left upon my mind, after visiting this place at Hackney Road and conversing with its guardian angels, is, that in some of its aspects, if not in all, civilization is a failure. Probably thoughtful people made the same remark in ancient Rome, and in every other city since cities were. The truth is, that so soon as its children desert the land which bore them for the towns, these horrors follow as surely as the night follows the day.
GREAT TICHFIELD STREET
I visited this place a little before twelve o’clock on a summer night. It is a small flat near Oxford Street, in which live two women-Officers of the Army, who are engaged in the work of reclaiming prostitutes. I may mention that for the last fourteen years the Major in charge, night by night, has tramped the streets with this object. The Titchfield Street flat is not in any sense a Home, but I saw a small room in it, with two beds, where cases who may be rescued from the streets, or come here in a time of trouble, can sleep until arrangements are made for them to proceed to one of the Rescue Institutions of the Army.
This work is one of the most difficult and comparatively unproductive of any that the Army undertakes. The careers of these unfortunate street women, who are nearly all of them very fine specimens of female humanity, for the most part follow a rocket-like curve. The majority of them begin by getting into trouble, at the end of which, perhaps, they find themselves with a child upon their hands. Or they may have been turned out of their homes, or some sudden misfortune may have reduced them to destitution. At any rate, the result is that they take to a loose life, and mayhap, after living under the protection of one or two men, find themselves upon the streets. Sometimes, it may be said to their credit, if that word can be used in this connexion, they adopt this mode of life in order to support their child or children.
The Major informed me that if they are handsome they generally begin with a period of great prosperity. One whom she knew earned about L30 a week, and a good many of them make as much as L1,000 a year, and pay perhaps L6 weekly in rent.
A certain proportion of them are careful, open a bank account, save money, retire, and get married. Generally, these keep their bank-books in their stockings, which, in their peculiar mode of life, they find to be the safest place, as they are very suspicious of each other, and much afraid of being robbed. The majority of them, however, are not so provident. They live in and for the moment, and spend their ill-gotten gains as fast as they receive them.
Gradually they drift downwards. They begin in Piccadilly, and progress, or rather retrogress, through Leicester Square on to Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, and thence to the Euston Road, ending their sad careers in Bishopsgate and Whitechapel. The Major informed me that there are but very few in the Piccadilly neighbourhood whom she knew when she took up this work, and that, as a rule, they cannot stand the life for long. The irregular hours, the exposure, the excitement, and above all the drink in which most of them indulge, kill them out or send them to a poorhouse or the hospital.
She said, however, that as a class they have many virtues. For instance, they are very kind-hearted, and will always help each other in trouble. Also, most of them have affection for their children, being careful to keep them, if possible, from any knowledge of their mode of life. Further, they are charitable to the poor, and, in a way, religious; or, perhaps, superstitious would be a better term. Thus, they often go to church on Sundays, and do not follow their avocation on Sunday nights. On New Year’s Eve, their practice is to attend the Watch Night services, where, doubtless, poor people, they make those good resolutions that form the proverbial pavement of the road to Hell. Nearly all of them drink more or less, as they say that they could not live their life without stimulant. Moreover, their profession necessitates their walking some miles every night.
For the most part these women lodge in pairs in their own flats, where they pay about 35_s_. a week for three unfurnished rooms. The Officer told me that often some despicable man, who is called a ‘bully,’ lives on them, following them round the streets, and watching them. Even the smartest girls are not infrequently the victims of such a man, who knocks them about and takes money from them. Occasionally he may be a husband or a relative. She added that as a class they are much better behaved and less noisy than they used to be. This improvement, however, is largely due to the increased strictness of the police. These women do not decrease in number. In the Major’s opinion, there are as many or more of them on the streets as there were fourteen years ago, although the brothels and the procuresses are less numerous, and their quarters have shifted from Piccadilly to other neighbourhoods.
The Army methods of dealing, or rather of attempting to deal with this utterly insoluble problem are simple enough. The Officers walk the streets every night from about twelve to two and distribute cards in three languages according to the nationality of the girl to whom these are offered. Here they are in English, French, and German:—
Mrs. Booth will gladly help any Girl or Woman in need of a friend. APPLY AT 79 Great Titchfield Street, or 259 Mare Street, Hackney, N.E.
[Illustration: BONNES NOUVELLS.]
Vous avez une amie
qui est disposee a
(S addresser) Madame Booth 79 Great Titchfield Street, Oxford Street, Londres, W.
MADAM BOOTH will herzlich
Maedchen oder Jeder Frau helfen, die sich
in Noth auf eine Freundin befinden.
259 Mare Street, Hackney,
70 Great Titchfield Street, W.
Most of the girls to whom they are offered will not take them, but a good number do and, occasionally, the seed thus sown bears fruit. Thus the woman who takes the card may come to Great Titchfield Street and be rescued in due course. More frequently, however, she will give a false address, or make an appointment which she does not keep, or will say that it is too late for her to change her life. But this fact does not always prevent such a woman from trying to help others by sending young girls who have recently taken to the trade to the Titchfield Street Refuge in the hope that they may be induced to abandon their evil courses.
Occasionally the Army has midnight suppers in its Regent Hall for these women, who attend in large numbers, perhaps out of curiosity. At the last supper nearly 300 ‘swell girls’ were present and listened to the prayers and the exhortations to amend their lives. Sometimes, too, the Officers attend them when they are sick or dying. Once they buried one of the women, who died whilst under their care, holding a midnight funeral over her at their hall in Oxford Street.
It was attended by hundreds of the sisterhood, and the Major described the scene as terrible. The women were seized with hysterics, and burst into shrieks and sobs. They even tried to open the coffin in order to kiss the dead girl who lay within.
Amongst many other cases, I was informed of a black girl called Diamond, so named because she wore real diamonds on her dresses, which dresses cost over L100 apiece. The Army tried to help her in vain, and wrote her many letters. In the end she died in an Infirmary, when all the letters were found carefully hidden away among her belongings and returned to the Major.
The average number of rescues compassed, directly or indirectly, by the Piccadilly Midnight work is about fifty a year. This is not a very great result; but after all the taking of even a few people from this hellish life and their restoration to decency and self-respect is well worth the cost and labour of the mission. The Officers told me that they meet with but little success in the case of those women who are in their bloom and earning great incomes. It can scarcely be otherwise, for what has the Army to offer them in place of their gaudy, glittering life of luxury and excitement?
The way of transgressors is hard, but the way of repentance is harder; at any rate, while the transgressor is doing well. On the one hand jewels and champagne, furs and motors, and on the other prayers that talk of death and judgment, plain garments made by the wearer’s labour, and at the end the drudgery of earning an honest livelihood, perhaps as a servant. Human nature being what it is, it seems scarcely wonderful that these children of pleasure cling to the path of ‘roses’ and turn from that of ‘thorns.’
With those that are growing old and find themselves broken in body and in spirit, who are thrust aside in the fierce competition of their trade in favour of younger rivals; those who find the wine in their tinsel cup turning, or turned, to gall, the case is different. They are sometimes, not always, glad to creep to such shelter from the storms of life as the Army can offer, and there work out their moral and physical salvation. For what bitterness is there like to that which must be endured by the poor, broken woman of the streets, as scorned, spat on, thrust aside, she sinks from depth to depth into the last depth of all, striving to drown her miseries with drugs or drink, if so she may win forgetfulness even for an hour?
Sometimes, too, these patient toilers in the deep of midnight sin succeed in dragging from the brink those that have but dipped their feet in its dark waters. Nemo repente fuit turpissimus—no one becomes altogether filthy in an hour—runs the old Roman saying, which is as true to-day as it was 2,000 years ago, and whether it be spoken of body or of soul, it is easier to wash the feet than the whole being. When they understand what lies before them certain of the young shrink back and grasp Mercy’s outstretched arms.
One night about twelve o’clock, together with Lieut.-Colonel Jolliffe, an Officer of the Army who was dressed in plain clothes, I accompanied the Major and the lady who is her colleague, to Leicester Square and its neighbourhood, and there watched their methods of work, following them at a little distance. Dressed in their uniform they mingled with the women who marched the pavements, and now and again, with curiously swift and decisive steps glided up to one of them, whispered a few earnest words into her ear, and proffered a printed ticket. Most of those spoken to walked on stonily as people do when they meet an undesirable acquaintance whom they do not wish to recognize. Some thrust past them rudely; some hesitated and with a hard laugh went their way; but a few took the tickets and hid them among their laces.
So far as the work was concerned that was all there was to see. Nothing dramatic happened; no girl fled to them imploring help or asking to be saved from the persecutions of a man; no girl even insulted them—for these Officers to be insulted is a thing unknown. All I saw was the sowing of the seed in very stony ground, where not one kern out of a thousand is like to germinate and much less to grow. Yet as experience proves, occasionally it does both germinate and grow, yes, and bloom and come to the harvest of repentance and redemption. It is for this that these unwearying labourers scatter their grain from night to night, that at length they may garner into their bosoms a scanty but a priceless harvest.
It was a strange scene. The air was hot and heavy, the sky was filled with black and lowering clouds already laced with lightnings. The music-halls and restaurants had given out their crowds, the midnight mart was open. Everywhere were women, all finely dressed, most of them painted, as could be seen in the glare of the electric lights, some of them more or less excited with drink, but none turbulent or noisy. Mixed up with these were the bargainers, men of every degree, the most of them with faces unpleasant to consider.
Some had made their pact and were departing. I noticed one young girl whose looks would have drawn attention anywhere, whispering an address from beneath an enormous feathered hat to the driver of a taxicab, while her companion, a pleasant-looking, fresh-coloured boy, for he was scarcely more, entered the vehicle, a self-satisfied air upon his face. She sprang in also, and the cab with its occupants glided away out of my ken for ever.
Here and there stalwart, quiet policemen requested loiterers to move on, and the loiterers obeyed and re-formed in groups behind them; here and there a respectable woman pushed her way through the throng, gathering up her skirts as she did so and glancing covertly at this unaccustomed company out of the corners of her eyes.
While watching all these sights we lost touch of the Salvation Army ladies, who wormed their way through the crowd as easily and quickly as a snake does through undergrowth, and set out to find them. Big drops began to fall, the thunder growled, and in a moment the concourse commenced to melt. Five minutes later the rain was falling fast and the streets had emptied. That night’s market was at an end.
No farmer watches the weather more anxiously than do these painted women in their muslins and gold-laced shoes.
Meanwhile, their night’s work done, the Salvation Army ladies were tramping through the wet back to Titchfield Street, for they do not spend money on cabs, and the buses had ceased to run.
This is a branch of the Army’s work with which I have been more or less acquainted for some years.
The idea of an Anti-Suicide Bureau arose in the Army four or five years ago; but every one seems to have forgotten with whom it actually originated. I suppose that it grew, like Topsy, or was discovered simultaneously by several Officers, like a new planet by different astronomers studying the heavens in faith and hope. At any rate, the results of the idea are remarkable. Thus in London alone 1,064 cases were dealt with in the year 1909, and of those cases it is estimated that all but about a dozen were turned from their fatal purpose. Let us halve these figures, and say that 500 lives were actually saved, that 500 men live to-day in and about London who otherwise would be dead by their own hands and buried in dishonoured graves. Or let us even quarter them, and surely this remains a wonderful work, especially when we remember that London is by no means the only place in which it is being carried on.
How is it done? the reader may ask. I answer by knowledge of human nature, by the power of sympathy, by gentle kindness. A poor wretch staggers into a humble little room at the Salvation Army Headquarters in Queen Victoria Street. He unfolds an incoherent tale. He is an unpleasant and disturbing person whom any lawyer or business man would get rid of as soon as possible. He vapours about self-destruction, he hints at dark troubles with his wife. He produces drugs or weapons—a point at which most people would certainly show him out. But the Officers in charge do nothing of the sort. They laugh at him or give him a cup of tea. They bid him brace himself together, and tell them the truth and nothing but the truth. Then out pours the awful tale, which, however bad it may be, they listen to quite unmoved though not unconcerned, for they hear such every day. When it is finished, they ask coolly enough why, in the name of all that their visitor reverences or holds dear, he considers it necessary to commit suicide for a trifling job like that. A new light dawns upon the desperate man. He answers, because he can see no other way out.
Why, exclaims the Officer, there are a dozen ways out. Let us find one of them. You, A., have been faithless to your wife. Well, when the matter is explained to her, I daresay she will forgive you. You, B., have defrauded your employer. Well, employers are not always relentless. I’ll call on him this evening and talk the matter over. You, C., are hopelessly in debt through horse-racing or speculation. Well, at the worst you can go through the Court and start afresh. You, D., have committed a crime. Go and own up to it like a man, stand your trial, and work out your sentence. I daresay it won’t be so very heavy if you take that course, and we will look after you when it is over. You, E., have been brought into this state through your miserable vices, drink, or whatever they may be. Cure yourself of the vices—we’ll show you how—don’t crown them by cutting your throat like a cur. You, F., have been afflicted with great sorrows. Well, those sorrows have some purpose and some meaning. There’s always a dawn beyond the night; wait for that dawn; it will come here or hereafter.
And so on, and on, through all the gamut of human sin and misery.
Of course, there are cases in which the Army fails. As I have said, there were about a dozen of these last year, six of which, if I remember right, occurred with startling rapidity one after the other. The Suicide Officers of the Army always take up the daily paper with fear and trembling, and not infrequently find that the man whom they thought they had consoled and set upon a different path, has been discovered dead by drowning in the river, or by poison in the streets, or by whatever it may be. But everything has its proportion of failures, and where intending suicides are concerned 1 or 2 per cent, or on the quarter basis that I have adopted as beyond question of sincerity of intent, 4 or 8 per cent is not a large average. Indeed, 20 per cent would not be large, or even 50 per cent. But these figures do not occur.
Of course, it is suggested that many of those who drift into the Anti-Suicide Bureau have no real intention of making away with themselves, but that they come there only to see what they can get in the way of money or other comfort. As regards money, the answer is that, except very occasionally, the Army gives none, for the simple reason that it has none to give. For the rest the fatal cases which happen show that there is a grim purpose at work in the minds of many of the applicants. But I repeat, let us halve the figures, let us even quarter them, which, as Euclid remarked, is absurd, and even then what are we to conclude?
Before proceeding with my comments upon this work I ought to state, perhaps, that the Army has various branches of this Anti-Suicide Crusade. Thus, it is at work in almost all our big cities, and also in America, in Australia, and in Japan. The Japanese Bureau was opened last year with very good results. This is the more remarkable in a country where ancient tradition and immemorial custom hallow the system of hara-kiri in any case of trouble or disgrace.
Moreover, the idea is spreading, Count Tolstoy is said to have been interested in it. Applications have been received from the Hague for particulars of the Army methods in the matter. Similar work is being carried out in Vienna, not by the Army, but on its lines. The Army has been informed that if it will open an Anti-Suicide Bureau in Budapest, office accommodation, etc., will be found for it. And so forth.
Colonel Unsworth who, until recently had charge of the Anti-Suicide Bureau from its commencement, is of opinion that suicide is very much on the increase, a statement that it would be difficult to dispute in view of the number of cases recorded daily in the local Press. For instance, I read one on this morning of writing, in a Norfolk paper, where a farmer had blown out his brains, to all appearance because he had a difference of opinion with his wife as to whether he should, or should not, take on another farm.
Colonel Unsworth attributed this sad state of affairs to sundry causes. The first of these was the intense and ever-increasing nervous pressure of our time. The second, the spread of fatalism, The third, the advance of materialistic ideas, and of the general disbelief in the doctrine of future retribution. The fourth, a certain noticeable return in such matters to the standard of Pagan nations, especially of ancient Rome, where it was held that if things went wrong and life became valueless, or even uninteresting, to bring it to an end was in no sense shameful but praiseworthy. In illustration of this point, he quoted a remark said to have been made by a magistrate not long ago, to the effect that in certain conditions a man was not to be blamed for taking his own life.
His fifth reason was that circumstances arise in which some people convince themselves that their deaths would benefit their families. Thus, insurances may fall in, for, after one or two premiums have been paid, many offices take the risk of suicide. Or they may know that when they are gone, wealthy relatives will take care of their children, who will thus be happier and better off than these are while they, the fathers, live. Wrong as it may be, this, indeed, is an attitude with which it is difficult not to feel a certain sympathy. After all, we are told that there is no greater love than that of a man who lays down his life for his friend, though there ran be no doubt that the saying was not intended to include this kind of laying down of life.
Colonel Unsworth’s sixth cause was the increasing atrophy of the public conscience. He stated that suicide is rarely preached against from the pulpit, as drunkenness is for instance. Further, a jury can seldom be induced to bring in a verdict of felo-de-se. Even where the victim was obviously and, perhaps painfully sane, his act is put down to temporary insanity.
Other causes are drink, hereditary disposition, madness in all its protean shapes; incurable disease, unwillingness to face the consequences of sin or folly; the passion of sexual love, which is sometimes so mighty as to amount to madness; the effects of utter grief such as result from the loss of those far more beloved than self, of which an instance is at hand in the case of the Officer in charge of the Shelter at Great Peter Street, Westminster, mentioned earlier in this book, who, it may be remembered, tried to kill himself after the death of his wife and child; and lastly, where women are concerned, terror and shame at the prospect of giving birth to a child, whose appearance in the world is not sanctioned by law or custom.
Suicide among women is, however, comparatively rare, a fact which suggests either that the causes which produce it press on or affect them less, or that in this particular, their minds are better balanced than are those of men. I was told, at any rate, that but few women apply to the Suicide Bureau of the Army for help in this temptation; though, perhaps, that may be due to the greater secretiveness of the sex.
Speaking generally, this magnitude of the evil to be attacked may be gauged from the fact that about 3,800 people die by their own hands in England and Wales every year, a somewhat appalling total.
Intending suicides come into the hands of the Army Bureau in various ways. Some of them see notices in the Press descriptive of this branch of the Social Work. Some of them are found by policemen in desperate circumstances and brought to the Bureau, and some are sent there from different localities by Salvation Army Officers.
I have looked through the records of numbers of these cases, but, for obvious reasons, it is difficult to give a full and accurate description of any of them. The reader, therefore, must be content to accept my assurance of their genuine nature. One or two, however, may be alluded to with becoming vagueness. Here is an example of a not infrequent kind, when a person arrives at the office having already attempted the deed.
A business man who had recently made a study of agnostic literature, had become involved in certain complications, which resulted in a quarrel with his wife. His means not being sufficient to the support of a double establishment, he took the train to London with a bottle of sulphonal in his pocket (not a drug to be recommended for his purpose) and swallowed tabloids all the way to town. When he had taken seventy-five grains, and the bottle, as I saw, was two-thirds empty, he found that the drug worked in a way he did not expect. Instead of killing him, it awoke his religious susceptibilities, which the course of agnostic literature had scotched but not killed, and he began to wonder with some earnestness whether, after all, there might not be a Hereafter which, in the circumstances, he did not care to face.
In this acute perplexity he bethought him of the Salvation Army, and arrived at the Bureau in a state of considerable excitement, as quickly as a taxicab could bring him. A doctor and a fortnight in hospital did the rest. The Army found him another situation in place of the one which he had lost, and composed his differences with his wife. They are now both Salvationists and very happy. So, in this instance, all’s well that ends well.
Case Two.—A man, in a responsible position, and of rather extravagant habits, married a wife of more extravagant habits, and found that, whatever the proverb may say, it costs more to keep two than one. His money matters became desperately involved, but, being afraid to confide in his wife, he spent a Sunday afternoon in trying to make up his mind whether he would shoot or drown himself. While he was thus engaged, a Salvation Army band happened to pass his door, and reminded him of what he had read about the Anti-Suicide Bureau. Postponing decision as to the exact method of his departure from this earth, he called there, and was persuaded to make a clean breast of the matter to his wife.
Afterwards the Army took up his extremely complicated affairs. I saw a pile of documents relating to them that must have been at least 4 ins. thick. The various money-lenders were interviewed, and persuaded to accept payment in weekly or monthly instalments. The account was almost square when I saw it, and the person concerned extremely happy and grateful. I should say that, in this case, a lawyer’s bill for the work which was done for nothing would have amounted to quite L50.
In another somewhat similar case, that of an official who had tampered with moneys in his charge, though this was not discovered, some of the creditors had placed the business in the hands of debt-collecting-agencies, than whom, said Colonel Unsworth, ’there are no harder or more cruel creditors.’ At any rate, they drove this poor man almost to madness, with the usual result. A friend brought him to the Army, who shouldered his affairs, dealt with the debt-collecting agencies, obtained help from his connexions, and paid off what was owing by instalments. He and his family are now again quite comfortable.
[Illustration: AT ONE OF THE ARMY FOOD DEPOTS.]
Case Three.—A man was cursed with such a fearful temper that he could keep no situation. He came to London in a state of fury, with a razor in his pocket. Happening to see the words ’Salvation Army Shelter’ on a building, it occurred to him to hear what the Suicide Officers had to say before he cut his throat. They dealt with the matter, and showed him the error of his way. He is now in a very good single-handed situation abroad where, as he cannot talk the language, he finds it difficult to quarrel with those about him.
Case Four.—Telephone operator, who was driven mad by that dreadful instrument and by domestic worries. The Army Officers saved the man and smoothed over the domestic worries; but how he gets on with the telephone instruments is not recorded.
Case Five.—Unsuitable marriage and bad temper. The wife had become involved in some trouble in early life, and unwisely, as it proved, confessed to the husband, who brought it up against her every time there was a quarrel between them. In this instance, also, suicide was averted and the domestic differences were arranged.
Case Six—A man in a business firm, married, with children, was through no fault of his own thrown out of work, owing to the appointment of a new manager. He came at last to the Embankment, and afterwards applied for a job in answer to an advertisement. The advertiser told him it was a pity that as he had been so near the river he did not go into it. The man determined to commit suicide; but the Officers dissuaded him from this course and helped him. He returned a year later in a condition of considerable prosperity, having worked his way to a Colony where he is now doing extremely well, his visit to England being in connexion with the business in which he had become a partner.
And so on ad infinitum. I might tell many such stories, some of them of a much more tragic character than those I have instanced, but refrain from doing so lest by chance they should be identified, especially where the individuals concerned belonged to the upper strata of society. Perhaps enough has been said, however, to show what a great work is being done by the Army in this Department, where in London alone it deals with several would-be suicides every day.
Of course, some of these people are frauds. For instance, one of the Officers told me that not long ago a medical man, who was evidently a drunkard, called on him and said that he would commit suicide unless money were given to him. He was informed that this was against the rules; whereon the man produced a bottle and said that if the money were not forthcoming, he would drink its contents and make an end of himself in the office. As may be imagined the Officer went through an anxious moment, not quite knowing what to do. However, he looked the man over, summed him up to the best of his judgment and ability,
As I have mentioned, however, a proportion of the cases are quite irreclaimable. They come and consult the Army, then depart and do the deed. Six that can be traced have been lost in this way during the last few months.
Colonel Unsworth explained to me what I had already guessed, that this business of dealing with scores and hundreds of despairing beings standing on the very edge of the grave, is a terrible strain upon any man. The responsibility becomes too great, and he who has to bear it is apt to be crushed beneath its weight. Every morning he reads his paper with a sensation of nervous dread, fearing lest among the police news he should find a brief account of the discovery of some corpse which he can identify as that of an individual with whom he had pleaded at his office on the yesterday and in vain.
On former occasions when I visited him, Colonel Unsworth used to show me a small museum of poisons, knives, revolvers, etc., which he had taken from those who proposed to use them to cut the Gordian knot of life.
Now, however, he has but few of these dreadful relics. I asked him what he had done with the rest. He answered that he had destroyed them.
‘The truth is,’ he added, ’that after some years of this business I can no longer bear to look at the horrid things; they get upon my nerves.’
If I may venture to offer a word of advice to the Chiefs of the Salvation Army, I would suggest that the very responsible position of first Anti-Suicide Officer in London is not one that any man should be asked to fill in perpetuity.
When planning this little book I had it in my mind to deal at some length with the Provincial Social Work of the Army, Now I find, however, that considerations of space must be taken into account; also that it is not needful to set out all the details of that work, seeing that to do so would involve a great deal of repetition.
The Salvation Army machines for the regeneration of fallen men and women, if I may so describe them, are, after all, of much the same design, and vary for the most part only in the matter of size. The material that goes through those machines is, it is true, different, yet even its infinite variety, if considered in the mass, has a certain similitude. For these reasons, therefore, I will only speak of what is done by the Army in three of the great Midland and Northern cities that I have visited, namely, Manchester, Liverpool, and Glasgow, and of that but briefly, although my notes concerning it run to over 100 typed pages.
The lady in charge of the Slum Settlement in Liverpool informed me that the poverty in that city is very great, and during the past winter of 1919 was really terrible owing to the scarceness of work in the docks. The poor, however, are not so overcrowded, and rents are cheaper than in London, the cost of two dwelling-cellars being about 2_s_. 6_d_., and of a room about 3_s_. a week. The sisterhood of fallen women is, she added, very large in Liverpool; but most of these belong to a low class.
In this city the Army has one Institution for women called the ’Ann Fowler’ Memorial Home, which differs a good deal from the majority of those that I have seen. It is a Lodging-Home for Women, and is designed for the accommodation of persons of a better class than those who generally frequent such places. This building, which was provided in memory of her mother by Miss Fowler, a local philanthropist, at a cost of about L6,000, was originally a Welsh Congregational chapel, that has been altered to suit the purpose to which it is now put. It is extremely well fitted-up with separate cubicles made of oak panelling, good lavatory accommodation, and kitchens in which is made some of the most excellent soup that I ever tasted.
Yet strange to say this place is not as much appreciated as it might be, as may be judged from the fact that although it is designed to hold 113 lodgers, when I visited it there were not more than between forty and fifty. This is remarkable, as the charge made is only 4_d_. per night, or 2_s_. a week, even for a cubicle, and an excellent breakfast of bread and butter, fish, and tea can be had for 2_d_. Other meals are supplied on a like scale, with the result that a woman employed in outside work can live in considerable comfort in a room or cubicle of her own for about 8_s_. a week.
The lady in charge told me, however, that there are reasons for this state of affairs. One is that it provides for people of a rather higher class than usual, who, of course, are not so numerous as those lower in the social scale.
The principal reason, however, is prejudice. It is known that most of the women accommodated in the Army Shelters are what are known as ‘fallen’ or ‘drunks.’ Therefore, occupants of a Home devoted to a higher section of society fear lest they should be tarred with the same brush in the eyes of their associates.
Here is a story which illustrates this point which I remember hearing in the United States. A woman, whose inebriety was well known, was picked up absolutely dead drunk in an American city and taken by an Officer of the Army to one of its Homes and put to bed. In the morning she awoke and, guessing where she was lodged from various signs and tokens, such as texts upon the wall, began to scream for her clothes. An attendant, who thought that she had developed delirium tremens, ran up and asked what was the matter.
‘Matter?’ ejaculated the sot, ’the matter is that if I don’t get out of this —— place in double quick time, I shall lose my character!’
The women who avail themselves of this ‘Ann Fowler’ Home are of all ages and in various employments. One, I was told, was a lady separated from her husband, whose father, now dead, had been the mayor of a large city.
A Liverpool Institution of another class, known as ‘The Hollies,’ is an Industrial Home for fallen women, drunkards, thieves, and incorrigible girls. It holds thirty-eight inmates and is always full, a good many of these being sent to the place from Police-courts whence they are discharged under the First Offenders Acts.
I saw these women at their evening prayers. The singing was hearty and spontaneous, and they all seemed happy enough. Still, the faces of most of them (they varied in age from forty-six to sixteen) showed traces of life’s troubles, but one or two were evidently persons of some refinement. Their histories, which would fill volumes, must be omitted. Suffice it to say that this Home, like all the others, is extremely well-arranged and managed, and is doing a most excellent and successful work.
When the women are believed to be cured of their evil habits, whatever they may be, they are for the most part sent out to service. There are two rooms in the place to which they can return during their holidays, or when they are changing situations, at a charge of 5s. a week. This many of them like to do.
Next door to ‘The Hollies’ is another Home where young girls with their illegitimate babies, and also a few children, are accommodated. It is arranged to hold twenty-four mothers, and is generally full. A charge of 5s. a week is supposed to be made, but unless the cases are sent from the workhouse, when the Guardians pay, in practice little is recovered from the patients. When they are well again, their babies are put out to nurse, as at the London Maternity Home, and the girls are sent to service, no difficulty being experienced in finding them places. During the two years that this Home had been open eighty-two girls had passed through it, and of these, the Matron informed me, there were but ten who were not doing so well as they might. The rest were in employment of one sort or another, and seemed to be in the way of completely regaining their characters.
I visited this place late at night, and in the room devoted to children, as distinct from infants, saw one girl of nine with a curious history. This child had been twelve times in the hands of the police before her father brought her to the Army on their suggestion. Her mania was to run away from home, where it does not appear that she was ill-treated, and to sleep in the streets, on one occasion for as long as five nights. This child had a very curious face, and even in her sleep, as I saw her, there was about it something wild and defiant. When the Matron turned her over she did not yawn or cry, but uttered a kind of snarl. I suppose that here is an instance of atavism, that the child throw back for thousands or tens of thousands of years, to when her progenitors were savages, and that their primitive instincts have reasserted themselves in her, although she was born in the twentieth century. She had been ten months in the Home and was doing well. Indeed, the Matron told me that they had taken her out and given her opportunities of running away, but that she had never attempted to avail herself of them.
The Officer in charge informed me that there is much need for a Maternity Hospital in Liverpool.
There are also Institutions for men in Liverpool, but these I must pass over.
The Officer in charge of the Men’s Social Work in Manchester told me the same story that I had heard in Liverpool as to the prevailing distress. He said, ’It has been terrible the last few winters. I have never seen anything like it. We know because they come to us, and the trouble is more in a fixed point than in London. Numbers and numbers come, destitute of shelter or food or anything. The cause is want of employment. There is no work. Many cases, of course, go down through drink, but the most cannot get work. The fact is that there are more men than there is work for them to do, and this I may say is a regular thing, winter and summer.’
A sad statement surely, and one that excites thought.
I asked what became of this residue who could not find work. His answer was, ‘They wander about, die off, and so on.’
A still sadder statement, I think.
The Major in charge is a man of great organising ability, force of character, and abounding human sympathy. Yet he was once one of the melancholy army of wasters. Some seventeen years ago he came into the Army through one of its Shelters, a drunken, out-of-place cabinet-maker, who had been tramping the streets. They gave him work and he ‘got converted.’ Now he is the head of the Manchester Social Institutions, engaged in finding work for or converting thousands of others.
At first the Army had only one establishment in Manchester, which used to be a cotton mill. Now it is a Shelter for 200 men. Then it took others, some of which are owned and some hired, among them a great ‘Elevator’ on the London plan, where waste paper is sorted and sold. The turn-over here was over L8,000 in 1909, and may rise to L12,000. I forget how many men it finds work for, but every week some twenty-five new hands come in, and about the same number pass out.
This is a wonderful place, filled with what appears to be rubbish, but which is really valuable material. Among this rubbish all sorts of strange things are to be found. Thus I picked out of it, and kept as a souvenir, a beautifully-bound copy of Wesley’s Hymns, published about a hundred years ago. Lying near it was an early edition of Scott’s ‘Marmion.’ This Elevator more than pays its way; indeed the Army is saving money out of it, which is put by to purchase other buildings.
Then there are houses where the people employed in the paper-works lodge, a recently-acquired home for the better class of men, which was once a mansion of the De Clifford family, and afterwards a hospital, and a store where every kind of oddment is sold by Dutch auction. These articles are given to the Army, and among the week’s collection I saw clocks, furniture, bicycles, a parrot cage, and a crutch. Not long ago the managers of this store had a goat presented to them, which nearly ate them out of house and home, as no one would buy it, and they did not like to send the poor beast to the butcher.
In these various Shelters and Institutions I saw some strange characters. One had been an electrical engineer, educated under Professor Owen, at Cardiff College. He came into money, and gambled away L13,000 on horse-racing, although he told me that he won as much as L8,000 on one Ascot meeting. His subsequent history is a story in itself, one too long to set out; but the end of it, in his own words, was ’Four years ago I came here, and, thank God! I am going on all right.’
Why do not the writers of naturalistic novels study Salvation Army Shelters? In any one of them they would find more material than could be used up in ten lifetimes; though, personally, I confess I am content to read such stories in the secret annals of the various Institutions.
Another man, a very pleasant and humorous person, who was once a Church worker and a singer in the choir, etc., when, in his own words, he used ’to put on religion with his Sunday clothes and take it off again with them,’ came to grief through sheer love of amusement, such as that which is to be found in music-halls and theatres. His habit was to spend the money of an insurance company by which he was employed, in taking out the young lady to whom he was engaged, to such entertainments. Ultimately, of course, he was found out, and, when starving on the road, determined to commit suicide. The Salvationists found him in the nick of time, and now he is foreman of their paper-collecting yard.
Another, at the ripe age of twenty-four, had been twenty-seven times in prison. His father was in prison, his eldest brother committed suicide in prison by throwing himself over the banisters. Also, he had two brothers at present undergoing penal servitude, who, when he was a little fellow, used to pass him through windows to open doors in houses which they were burgling.
I suggested that it was a poor game and that he had better give it up. He answered:—’I shall never do it again, sir, God helping me.’ Really I think he meant what he said.
Another, in the Chepstow Street Shelter, where he acted as night-watchman, was discharged from Portland, after serving a fifteen years’ sentence for manslaughter. His trouble was that he killed a man in a fight, and as he had fought him before and had a grudge against him, was very nearly hanged for his pains. This man earned L9 in some way or other during his sentence, which he sent to his wife. Afterwards, he discovered that she had been living with another man, who died and left her well off. But she has never refunded the L9, nor will she have anything to do with her husband.
Oakhill House is a Rescue Home for women, which was given to the Army by Mrs. Crossley, a well-known local lady. It deals with prison, fallen, inebriate, and preventive cases. At the time of my visit there were sixty-three inmates, but when a new adjacent building is completed there will be room for more. There is a wonderful laundry in this Home, where the most beautiful washing is done at extremely moderate prices. The ironing and starching room was a busy sight, but what I chiefly remember about it was the spectacle of one melancholy old man, the only male among that crowd of women, seated by a steam-boiler that drove the machinery, to which it was his business to attend. (No woman can be persuaded to look after a boiler.) In the midst of all those females he had the appearance of a superannuated and disillusioned Turk contemplating his too extensive establishment and reflecting on its monthly bills.
The matron in charge informed me that even for these rough women there is no system of punishment whatsoever. No girl is ever restricted in her food, or put on bread and water, or struck, or shut away by herself. The Army maxim is that it is its mission not to punish but to try to reform. If in any particular case its methods of gentleness fail, which they rarely do, it is considered best that the case should depart, very possibly to return again later on.
She added that although many of these women had committed assaults, and even fought the Police, not one of them attacks another in the Home once in a year, and that during her twenty years of work, although she had lived among some of the worst women in England, she had never received a single blow. As an illustration of what the Salvation Army understands by this word ‘work’ I may state that throughout these twenty years, except for the allotted annual fortnight, this lady has had no furlough.
I saw the Brigadier in charge of the Men’s Social Work in Glasgow at a great central Institution where hundreds of poor people sleep every night. The inscriptions painted on the windows give a good idea of its character. Here are some of them: ‘Cheap beds.’ ‘Cheap food.’ ’Waste paper collected.’ ‘Missing friends found.’ ‘Salvation for all.’
In addition to this Refuge there is an ‘Elevator’ of the usual type, in which about eighty men were at work, and an establishment called the Dale House Home, a very beautiful Adams’ house, let to the Army at a small rent by an Eye Hospital that no longer requires it. This house accommodates ninety-seven of the men who work in the Elevator.
The Brigadier informed me that the distress at Glasgow was very great last year. Indeed, during that year of 1909 the Army fed about 35,000 men at the docks, and 65,000 at the Refuge, a charity which caused them to be officially recognized for the first time by the Corporation, that sent them a cheque in aid of their work. Now, however, things have much improved, owing to the building of men-of-war and the forging of great guns for the Navy. At Parkhead Forge alone 8,000 men are being employed upon a vessel of the Dreadnought class, which will occupy them for a year and a half. So it would seem that these monsters of destruction have their peaceful uses.
Glasgow, he said, ’is a terrible place for drink, especially of methylated spirits and whisky.’ Drink at the beginning, I need hardly remark, means destitution at the end, so doubtless this failing accounts for a large proportion of its poverty.
The Men’s Social Work of the Army in Glasgow, which is its Headquarters in Scotland, is spreading in every direction, not only in that city itself, but beyond it to Paisley, Greenock, and Edinburgh. Indeed, the Brigadier has orders ’to get into Dundee and Aberdeen as soon as possible.’ I asked him how he would provide the money. He answered, ‘Well, by trusting in God and keeping our powder dry.’
As regards the Army’s local finance the trouble is that owing to the national thriftiness it is harder to make commercial ventures pay in Scotland than in England. Thus I was informed that in Glasgow the Corporation collects and sells its own waste paper, which means that there is less of that material left for the Salvation Army to deal with. In England, so far as I am aware, the waste-paper business is not a form of municipal trading that the Corporations of great cities undertake.
Another leading branch of the Salvation Army effort in Scotland is its Prison work. It is registered in that country as a Prisoners’ Aid Society, and the doors of every jail in the land are open to its Officers. I saw the Army’s prison book, in which are entered the details of each prison case with which it is dealing. Awful enough some of them were.
I remember two that caught my eye as I turned its pages. The first was that of a man who had gone for a walk with his wife, from whom he was separated, cut her head off, and thrown it into a field. The second was that of another man, or brute beast, who had taken his child by the heels and dashed out its brains against the fireplace. It may be wondered why these gentle creatures still adorn the world. The explanation seems to be that in Scotland there is a great horror of capital punishment, which is but rarely inflicted.
My recollection is that the Officer who visited them had hopes of the permanent reformation of both these men; or, at any rate, that there were notes in his book to this effect.
I saw many extraordinary cases in this Glasgow Refuge, some of whom had come there through sheer misfortune. One had been a medical man who, unfortunately, was left money and took to speculating on the Stock Exchange. He was a very large holder of shares in a South African mine, which he bought at 1s. 6d. These shares now stand at L7; but, unhappily for him, his brokers dissolved partnership, and neither of them would carry over his account. So it was closed down just at the wrong time, with the result that he lost everything, and finally came to the streets. He never drank or did anything wrong; it was, as he said, ‘simply a matter of sheer bad luck.’
Another was a Glasgow silk merchant, who made a bad debt of L3,000 that swamped him. Afterwards he became paralysed, but recovered. He had been three years cashier of this Shelter.
Another arrived at the Shelter in such a state that the Officer in charge told me he was obliged to throw his macintosh round him to hide his nakedness. He was an engineer who took a public-house, and helped himself freely to his stock-in-trade, with the result that he became a frightful drunkard, and lost L1,700. He informed me that he used to consume no less than four bottles of whisky a day, and suffered from delirium tremens several times. In the Shelter—I quote his own words—’I gave my heart to God, and after that all desire for drink and wrongdoing’ (he had not been immaculate in other ways) ’gradually left me. From 1892 I had been a drunkard. After my conversion, in less than three weeks I ceased to have any desire for drink.’
This man became night-watchman in the Shelter, a position which he held for twelve months. He said: ’I was promoted to be Sergeant; when I put on my uniform and stripes, I reckoned myself a man again. Then I was made foreman of the works at Greendyke Street. Then I was sent to pioneer our work in Paisley, and when that was nicely started, I was sent on to Greenock, where I am now trying to work up a (Salvation Army) business.’
Here, for a reason to be explained presently, I will quote a very similar case which I saw at the Army Colony at Hadleigh, in Essex. This man, also a Scotsman (no Englishman, I think, could have survived such experiences), is a person of fine and imposing appearance, great bodily strength, and good address. He is about fifty years of age, and has been a soldier, and after leaving the Service, a gardener. Indeed, he is now, or was recently, foreman market-gardener at Hadleigh. He married a hospital nurse, and found out some years after marriage that she was in the habit of using drugs. This habit he contracted also, either during her life or after her death, and with it that of drink.
His custom was to drink till he was a wreck, and then take drugs, either by the mouth or subcutaneously, to steady himself. Chloroform and ether he mixed together and drank, strychnine he injected. At the beginning of this course, threepennyworth of laudanum would suffice him for three doses. At the end, three years later (not to mention ether, chloroform, and strychnine), he took of laudanum alone nearly a tablespoonful ten or twelve times a day, a quantity, I understand, which is enough to kill five or six horses. One of the results was that when he had to be operated on for some malady, it was found impossible to bring him under the influence of the anaesthetic. All that could be done was to deprive him of his power of movement, in which state he had to bear the dreadful pain of the operation. Afterwards the surgeon asked him if he were a drug-taker, and he told me that he answered:—
’Why, sir, I could have drunk all the lot you have been trying to give me, without ever knowing the difference.’
In this condition, when he was such a wreck that he trembled from head to foot and was contemplating suicide, he came into the hands of the Army, and was sent down to the Hadleigh Farm.
Now comes the point of the story. At Hadleigh he ‘got converted,’ and from that hour has never touched either drink or drugs. Moreover, he assured me solemnly that he could go into a chemist’s shop or a bar with money in his pocket without feeling the slightest desire to indulge in such stimulants. He said that after his conversion, he had a ‘terrible fight’ with his old habits, the physical results of their discontinuance being most painful. Subsequently, however, and by degrees, the craving left him entirely, I asked him to what he attributed this extraordinary cure. He replied:—
’To the power of God. If I trusted in my own strength I should certainly fail, but the power of God keeps me from being overcome.’
Now these are only two out of a number of cases that I have seen myself, in which a similar explanation of his cure has been given to me by the person cured, and I would like to ask the unprejudiced and open-minded reader how he explains them. Personally I cannot explain them except upon an hypothesis which, as a practical person, I confess I hesitate to adopt. I mean that of a direct interposition from above, or of the working of something so unrecognized or so undefined in the nature of man (which it will be remembered the old Egyptians, a very wise people, divided into many component parts, whereof we have now lost count), that it may be designated an innate superior power or principle, brought into action by faith or ‘suggestion.’
That these people who have been the slaves of, or possessed by certain gross and palpable vices, of which drink is only one, are truly and totally changed, there can be no question. To that I am able to bear witness. The demoniacs of New Testament history cannot have been more transformed; and I know of no stranger experience than to listen to such men, as I have times and again, speaking of their past selves as entities cast off and gone, and of their present selves as new creatures. It is, indeed, one that throws a fresh light upon certain difficult passages in the Epistles of St. Paul, and even upon the darker sayings of the Master of mankind Himself. They do, in truth, seem to have been ‘born again.’ But this is a line of thought that I will not attempt to follow; it lies outside my sphere and the scope of these pages.
After the Officer who used to consume four bottles of whisky a day, and is now in charge of the Salvation Army work in Greenock, had left the room, I propounded these problems to Lieut.-Colonel Jolliffe and the Brigadier, as I had done previously to Commissioner Sturgess. I pointed out that religious conversion seemed to me to be a spiritual process, whereas the craving for drink or any other carnal satisfaction was, or appeared to be, a physical weakness of the body. Therefore, I did not understand how the spiritual conversion could suddenly and permanently affect or remove the physical desire, unless it were by the action of the phenomenon called miracle, which mankind admits doubtfully to have been possible in the dim period of the birth of a religion, but for the most part denies to be possible in these latter days.
‘Quite so,’ answered the Colonel, calmly, in almost the same words that Commissioner Sturgess had used, ’it is miracle; that is our belief. These men cannot change and purify themselves, their vices are instantaneously, permanently, and miraculously removed by the power and the Grace of God. This is the truth, and nothing more wonderful can be conceived.’
Here, without further comment, I leave this deeply interesting matter to the consideration of abler and better instructed persons than myself.
To come to something more mundane, which also deserves consideration, I was informed that in Glasgow, with a population of about 900,000, there exists a floating class of 80,000 people, who live in lodging-houses of the same sort as, and mostly inferior to the Salvation Army Shelter of which I am now writing. In other words, out of every twelve inhabitants of this great city, one is driven to that method of obtaining a place to sleep in at night.
In this particular Refuge there is what is called a free shelter room, where people are accommodated in winter who have not even the few coppers necessary to pay for a bed. During the month before my visit, which took place in the summer-time, the Brigadier had allotted free beds in this room to destitute persons to the value of L13. I may add that twice a week this particular place is washed with a carbolic mixture!
I visited two of the Salvation Army’s Women’s Institutions in Glasgow. The first of these was a Women’s Rescue Home known as Ardenshaw. This is a very good house, substantially built and well fitted up, that before it was bought by the Army was the residence of a Glasgow merchant. It has accommodation for thirty-six, and is always full. The inmates are of all kinds, prison cases, preventive cases, fallen cases, drink cases. The very worst of all these classes, however, are not taken in here, but sent to the Refuge in High Street. Ardenshaw resembles other Homes of the same sort that I have already dealt with in various cities, so I need not describe it here.
Its Officers visit the prisons at Duke Street, Glasgow, Ayr, and Greenock, and I saw a letter which had just arrived from the chaplain of one of these jails, asking the Matron to interest herself in the case of a girl coming up for trial, and to take her into a Home if she were discharged as a first offender.
While I was eating some lunch in this house I noticed a young woman in Salvation Army dress coming up the steps with a child of particularly charming appearance. At my request she was brought into the room, where I extracted from her a story which seems to be worth repeating as an illustration of the spirit which animates so many members of the Army.
The young woman herself had once been an invalid who was taken into the Home and nursed till she recovered, after which she was sent to a situation in a large town. Here she came in contact with a poor family in which the mother is a drunkard and the father a respectable, hardworking man, and took a great fancy to one of the children, the little girl I have mentioned. This child, who is about five years of age, it is her habit to supply with clothes and more or less to feed. Unfortunately, however, when the mother is on the drink she pawns the clothes which my Salvation Army friend is obliged to redeem, since if she does not, little Bessie is left almost naked. Indeed, before Bessie was brought away upon this particular visit her protectress had to pay 14_s_. to recover her garments from the pawnshop, a considerable sum out of a wage of about L18 a year.
I asked her why she did not take away this very fascinating child altogether, and arrange for her to enter one of the Army Homes. She answered because, although the mother would be glad enough to let her go, the father, who is naturally fond of his children, objected.
‘Of which the result may be,’ remarked Lieut.-Colonel Jolliffe grimly, ’that about a dozen years hence that sweet little girl will become a street-walking drunkard.’
‘Not while I live,’ broke in her foster-mother, indignantly.
This kind-hearted little woman told me she had been six years in service as sole maid-of-all-work in a large house. I inquired whether it was a hard place. She replied that it would be easier if her four mistresses, who are sisters and old maiden ladies, did not all take their meals at four different times, have four different teapots, insist upon their washing being sent to four different laundries, employ four different doctors, and sleep in four different rooms. ‘However,’ she added, ’it is not so difficult as it was as there used to be five, but one has died. Also, they are kind to me in other ways and about Bessie. They like me to come here for my holiday, as then they know I shall return on the right day and at the right hour.’
When she had left the room, having in mind the capacities of the average servant, and the outcry she is apt to make about her particular ‘work,’ I said that it seemed strange that one young woman could fulfil all these multifarious duties satisfactorily.
‘Oh,’ said the matter-of-fact Colonel, ’you see, she belongs to the Salvation Army, and looks at things from the point of view of her duty, and not from that of her comfort.’
It is curious at what a tender age children learn to note the habits of those about them. When this little Bessie was given 2d. she lisped out in her pretty Scotch accent, ’Mother winna have this for beer!’
The last place that I visited in Glasgow was the Shelter for women, an Institution of the same sort as the Shelter for men. It is a Lodging-house in which women can have a bed at the price of 4_d_. per night; but if that sum is not forthcoming, they are not, as a rule, turned away if they are known to be destitute.
The class of people who frequent this Home is a very low one; for the most part they are drunkards. They must leave the Shelter before ten o’clock in the morning, when the majority of them go out hawking, selling laces, or other odds and ends. Some of them earn as much as 2_s_. a day; but, as a rule, they spend a good deal of what they earn, only saving enough to pay for their night’s lodging. This place has been open for sixteen years, and contains 133 beds, which are almost always full.
The women whom I saw at this Shelter were a very rough-looking set, nearly all elderly, and, as their filthy garments and marred countenances showed, often the victims of drink. Still, they have good in them, for the lady in charge assured me that they are generous to each other. If one of the company has nothing they will collect the price of her bed or her food between them, and even pay her debts, if these are not too large. There were several children in the place, for each woman is allowed to bring in one. When I was there many of the inmates were cooking their meals on the common stove, and very curious and unappetizing these were.
Among them I noted a dark-eyed lassie of about sixteen who was crying. Drawing her aside, I questioned her. It seemed that her father, a drunken fellow, had turned her out of her home that afternoon because she had forgotten to give him a message. Having nowhere to go she wandered about the streets until she met a woman who told her of this Lodging-house. She added, touchingly enough, that it was not her mother’s fault.
Imagine a girl of sixteen thrown out to spend the night upon the streets of Glasgow!
On the walls of one of the rooms I saw a notice that read oddly in a Shelter for women. It ran:—
Smoking is strictly prohibited after retiring.
The Hadleigh Colony, of which Lieut.-Colonel Laurie is the Officer in charge, is an estate of about 3,000 acres which was purchased by the Salvation Army in the year 1891 at a cost of about L20 the acre, the land being stiff clay of the usual Essex type. As it has chanced, owing to the amount of building which is going on in the neighbourhood of Southend, and to its proximity to London, that is within forty miles, the investment has proved a very good one. I imagine that if ever it should come to the hammer the Hadleigh Colony would fetch a great deal more than L20 the acre, independently of its cultural improvements. These, of course, are very great. For instance, more than 100 acres are now planted with fruit-trees in full bearing. Also, there are brickfields which are furnished with the best machinery and plant, ranges of tomato and salad houses, and a large French garden where early vegetables are grown for market. A portion of the land, however, still remains in the hands of tenants, with whom the Army does not like to interfere.
The total turn-over of the land ‘in hand’ amounts to the large sum of over L30,000 per annum, and the total capital invested is in the neighbourhood of L110,000. Of this great sum about L78,000 is the cost of the land and the buildings; the brickworks and other industries account for L12,000, while the remaining L20,000 represents the value of the live and dead stock. I believe that the mortgage remaining on the place, which the Army had not funds to pay for outright, is now less than L50,000, borrowed at about 4 per cent, and, needless to say, it is well secured.
Lieut.-Colonel Laurie informed me on the occasion of my last visit to Hadleigh, in July, 1910, that taken as a whole even now the farm does not pay its way. This result is entirely owing to the character of the labour employed. At first sight, as the men are paid but a trifling sum in cash, it would appear that this labour must be extremely cheap. Investigation, however, gives the story another colour.
It costs the Army 10_s_. a week to keep a man at Hadleigh in food and lodgings, and in addition he receives a cash grant of from 6_d_ to 5_s_. a week.
Careful observation shows that the labour of three of these men, of whom 92 per cent, be it remembered, come to the Colony through their drinking habits, is about equal to that of one good agricultural hand who, in Norfolk, reckoning in his harvest and sundries, would earn—let us say, 18s. a week. Therefore, in practice where I, as a farmer, pay about 18s., or in the case of carters and milkmen nearly L1, the Army pays L2, circumstances under which it is indeed difficult to farm remuneratively in England.
The object of the Hadleigh Colony is to supply a place where broken men of bad habits, who chance in most cases to have had some connexion with or liking for the land, can be reformed, and ultimately sent out to situations, or as emigrants to Canada. About 400 of such men pass through the Colony each year. Of these men, Lieut.-Colonel Laurie estimates that 7-1/2 per cent prove absolute failures, although, he added that, ’it is very, very difficult to determine as to when a man should be labelled an absolute failure. He may leave us an apparent failure, and still come all right in the end.’
The rest, namely 91 per cent or so, regain their place as decent and useful members of society, a wonderful result which is brought about by the pressure of discipline, tempered with kindness, and the influence of steady and healthful work.
Persons of every class drift to this Colony. Thus, among the 230 Colonists who were training there when I visited it in July, 1910, were two chemists and a journalist, while a Church of England clergyman had just left it for Canada.
As a specimen of the ruck, however, I will mention the first individual to whom I happened to speak—a strong young man, who was weeding a bed of onions. He told me that he had been a farm labourer in early life, and, subsequently, for six years a coachman in a private livery stables in London. He lost his place through drink, became a wanderer on the Embankment, was picked up by the Salvation Army and sent to one of its Elevator paper-works. Afterwards, he volunteered to work on the land at Hadleigh, where he had then been employed for nine months. His ambition was to emigrate to Canada, which, doubtless, he has now done, or is about to do. Such cases might be duplicated by the dozen, but for this there is no need. Ex uno disce omnes.
All the labour employed, however, is not of this class. For instance, the next man to whom I spoke, who was engaged in ploughing up old cabbage land with a pair of very useful four-year-olds, bred on the farm, was not a Colonist but an agricultural hand, paid at the rate of wages usual in the district. Another, who managed the tomato-houses, was a skilled professional tomato-grower from the Channel Islands. The experience of the managers of the Colony is that it is necessary to employ a certain number of expert agriculturalists on the place, in order that they may train the raw hands who come from London and elsewhere.
To a farmer, such as the present writer, a visit to Hadleigh is an extremely interesting event, showing him, as it does, what can be done upon cold and unkindly land by the aid of capital, intelligence, and labour. Still I doubt whether a detailed description of all these agricultural operations falls within the scope of a book such as that upon which I am engaged.
Therefore, I will content myself with saying that this business, like everything else that the Army undertakes, is carried out with great thoroughness and considerable success. The extensive orchards are admirably managed, and were fruitful even in the bad season of 1910. The tomato-houses, which have recently been increased at a capital cost of about L1,000, produce many tons of tomatoes, and the French garden is excellent of its kind. The breed of Middle-white pigs is to be commended; so much so in my judgment, and I can give no better testimonial, that at the moment of writing I am trying to obtain from it a pedigree boar for my own use. The Hadleigh poultry farm, too, is famous all over the world, and the Officer who manages it was the President for 1910 of the Wyandotte Society, fowls for which Hadleigh is famous, having taken the championship prizes for this breed and others all over the kingdom. The cattle and horses are also good of their class, and the crops in a trying year looked extremely well.
All these things, however, are but a means to an end, which end is the redemption of our fallen fellow-creatures, or such of them as come within the reach of the work of the Salvation Army at this particular place.
I should add, perhaps, that there is a Citadel or gathering hall, which will seat 400, where religious services are held and concerts are given on Saturday nights for the amusement of the Colonists. I may mention that no pressure is brought to bear to force any man in its charge to conform to the religious principles of the Army. Indeed, many of these attend the services at the neighbouring parish church. Notwithstanding the past characters of those who live there, disturbances of any sort are unknown at Hadleigh. Indeed, it is extremely rare for a case originating on the Colony to come before the local magistrates.
General Booth and his Officers are, as I know from various conversations with them, firmly convinced that many of the great and patent evils of our civilization result from the desertion of the land by its inhabitants, and that crowding into cities which is one of the most marked phenomena of our time. Indeed, it was an identity of view upon this point, which is one that I have advanced for years, that first brought me into contact with the Salvation Army. But to preach the advantages of bringing people back to the land is one thing, and to get them there quite another. Many obstacles stand in the way. I need only mention two of these: the necessity for large capital and the still more important necessity of enabling those who are settled on it to earn out of Mother Earth a sufficient living for themselves and their families.
That well-known philanthropist, the late Mr. Herring, was another person much impressed with the importance of this matter, and I remember about five years ago dining with him, with General Booth as my fellow-guest, on an occasion when all this subject was gone into in detail. So lively, indeed, was Mr. Herring’s interest that he offered to advance a sum of L100,000 to the Army, to be used in an experiment of land-settlement, carried out under its auspices. Should that experiment prove successful, the capital repaid by the tenants was to go to King Edward’s Hospital Fund, and should it fail, that capital was to be written off. Of this L100,000, L40,000 has now been invested in the Boxted venture, and if this succeeds, I understand that the balance will become available for other ventures under the provisions of Mr. Herring’s will. A long while must elapse, however, before the result of the experiment can be definitely ascertained.
The Boxted Settlement is situated In North Essex, about three miles from Colchester, and covers an area of 400 acres. It is a flat place, that before the Enclosures Acts was a heath, with good road frontages throughout, an important point where small-holdings are concerned. The soil is a medium loam over gravel, neither very good nor very bad, so far as my judgment goes, and of course capable of great improvement under intensive culture.
This estate, which altogether cost about L20 per acre to buy, has been divided into sixty-seven holdings, varying in size from 4-1/2 acres to 7 acres. The cottages which stand upon the holdings have been built in pairs, at a cost of about L380 per pair, which price includes drainage, a drinking well, and, I think, a soft-water cistern. These are extremely good dwellings, and I was much struck with their substantial and practical character. They comprise three bedrooms, a large living-room, a parlour, and a scullery, containing a sink and a bath. Also there is a tool-house, a pigstye, and a movable fowl-house on wheels.
On each holding an orchard of fruit trees has been planted in readiness for the tenant, also strawberries, currants, gooseberries, and raspberries, which in all occupy about three-quarters of an acre. The plan is that the rest of the holding should be cultivated intensively upon a system that is estimated to return L20 per acre.
The arrangement between the Army and its settlers is briefly as follows: In every case the tenant begins without any capital, and is provided with seeds and manures to carry him through the first two years, also with a living allowance at the rate of 10_s_. a week for the man and his wife, and 1_s_. a week for each child, which allowance is to cease after he has marketed his first crops.
The tenancy terms are, that for two years the settler is a tenant at will, the agreement being terminable by either party at any time without compensation. At the end of these two years, subject to the approval of the Director of the Settlement, the settler can take a 999 years’ lease of his holding, the Army for obvious reasons retaining the freehold. After the first year of this lease, the rental payable for forty years is to be 5 per cent per annum upon the capital invested in the settlement of the man and his family upon the holding, which rent is to include the cost of the house, land, and improvements, and all moneys advanced to him during his period of probation.
It is estimated that this capital sum will average L520 per holding, so that the tenant’s annual rent for forty years will be L26, after which he will have nothing more to pay save a nominal rent, and the remainder of the lease will be the property of himself, or rather, of his descendants. This property, I presume, will be saleable.
So, putting aside all legal technicalities and complications, it comes to this: the tenant is started for two years after which he pays about L4 a year rent per acre for the next forty years, and thereby virtually purchases his holding. The whole question, which time alone can answer, is whether a man can earn L4 per acre rent per annum, and, in addition, provide a living for himself and family out of a five-acre holding on medium land near Colchester.
The problem is one upon which I cannot venture to express any decisive opinion, even after many years of experience of such matters. I trust, however, that the answer may prove to be in the affirmative, and I am quite sure that if any Organization is able to cause it to work out this way, that Organization is the Salvation Army, whose brilliant business capacity can, as I know, make a commercial success of the most unpromising materials.
I should like to point out that this venture is one of great and almost of national importance, because if it fails then it will be practically proved that it is impossible to establish small holders on the land by artificial means, at any rate, in England, and at the present prices of agricultural produce. It is not often that a sum of L40,000 will be available for such a purpose, and with it the direction of a charitable Organization that seeks no profit, the oversight of an Officer as skilled and experienced as Lieut.-Colonel Hiffe, and, in addition, a trained Superintendent who will afford advice as to all agricultural matters, a co-operative society ready to hire out implements, horses and carts at cost price, and, if so desired, to undertake the distribution or marketing of produce. Still, notwithstanding all these advantages, I have my misgivings as to the ultimate result.
The men chosen to occupy these holdings by a Selection Committee of Salvation Army Officers, are for the most part married people who were born in the country, but had migrated to the towns. Most of them have more or less kept themselves in touch with country life by cultivating allotments during their period of urban residence, and precedence has been given to those who have shown a real desire to return to the land. Other essentials are a good character, both personal and as a worker, bodily and mental health, and total abstention from any form of alcohol. No creed test is required, and there are men of various religious faiths upon the Settlement, only a proportion of them being Salvationists.
I interviewed two of these settlers at hazard upon their holdings, and, although the year had been adverse, found them happy and hopeful. No. 1, who had been a mechanic, proposed to increase his earnings by mending bicycles. No. 2 was an agriculturist pure and simple, and showed me his fowls and pigs with pride. Here, however, I found a little rift within the rural lute, for on asking him how his wife liked the life he replied after a little hesitation, ’Not very well, sir: you see, she has been accustomed to a town.’
If she continues not to like it ‘very well,’ there will, I think, be an end to that man’s prospects as a small holder.
I had the pleasure of bring present in July, 1910, at the formal opening of the Boxted Settlement, when the Salvation Army entertained several hundred guests to luncheon, many of them very well-known people. The day for a wonder was fine, General Booth spoke for over an hour in his most characteristic and interesting way; the Chairman, Earl Carrington, President of the Board of Agriculture, blessed the undertaking officially and privately; everybody seemed pleased with the holdings, and, in short, all went merrily as a marriage bell.
As I sat and listened, however, the query that arose in my mind was—What would be the state of these holdings and of the tenants or of their descendants on, say, that day thirty years? I trust and hope that it will be a good state in both instances; but I must confess to certain doubts and fears.
In this parish of Ditchingham, where I live, there is a man with a few acres of land, an orchard, a greenhouse, etc. That man works his little tenancy, deals in the surplus produce of large gardens, which he peddles out in the neighbouring town, and, on an average, takes piecework on my farm (at the moment of writing he and his son are hoeing mangolds) for two or three days a week; at any rate, for a great part of the year. He is a type of what I may call the natural small holder, and I believe does fairly well. The question is, can the artificially created small holder, who must pay a rent of L4 the acre, attain to a like result?
Again, I say I hope so most sincerely, for if not in England ’back to the land’ will prove but an empty catchword. At any rate, the country should be most grateful to the late Mr. Herring, who provided the funds for this intensely interesting experiment, and to the Salvation Army which is carrying it out in the interests of the landless poor.
It has occurred to the writer that a few words descriptive of William Booth, the creator and first General of the Salvation Army, set down by a contemporary who has enjoyed a good many opportunities of observing him during the past ten years, may possibly have a future if not a present value.
Of the greatness of this man, to my mind, there can be no doubt. When the point of time whereon we stand and play our separate parts has receded, and those who follow us look back into the grey mist which veils the past; when that mist has hidden the glitter of the decorations and deadened the echoes of the high-sounding titles of to-day; when our political tumults, our town-bred excitements, and many of the very names that are household words to us, are forgotten, or discoverable only in the pages of history; when, perhaps, the Salvation Army itself has fulfilled its mission and gone its road, I am certain that the figure of William Booth will abide clearly visible in those shadows, and that the influences of his work will remain, if not still felt, at least remembered and honoured. He will be one of the few, of the very few enduring figures of our day; and even if our civilization should be destined to undergo eclipse for a period, as seems possible, when the light returns, by it he will still be seen.
For truly this work of his is fine, and one that appeals to the imagination, although we are so near to it that few of us appreciate its real proportions. Also, in fact, it is the work that should be admired rather than the man, who, after all, is nothing but the instrument appointed to shape it from the clay of circumstance. The clay lay ready to be shaped, then appeared the moulder animated with will and purpose, and working for the work’s sake to an end which he could not foresee.
I have no information on the point, but I should be surprised to learn that General Booth, when Providence moved him to begin his labours among the poor, had even an inkling of their future growth within the short period of his own life. He sowed a seed in faith and hope, and, in spite of opposition and poverty, in spite of ridicule and of slander, he has lived to see that seed ripen into a marvellous harvest. Directly, or indirectly, hundreds of thousands of men and women throughout the world have benefited by his efforts. He has been a tool of destiny, like Mahomet or Napoleon, only in this case one fated to help and not to harm mankind. Such, at least, is my estimate of him.
A little less of the spirit of self-sacrifice, a different sense of responsibility, and the same strength of imagination and power of purpose devoted to purely material objects, might have raised up another multi-millionaire, or a mob-leader, or a self-seeking despot. But, as it happened, some grace was given to him, and the river has run another way.
Opportunity, too, has played into his hands. He saw that the recognized and established Creeds scarcely touched the great, sordid, lustful, drink-sodden, poverty-steeped masses of the city populations of the world: that they were waiting for a teacher who could speak to them in a tongue they understood. He spoke, and some of them have listened: only a fraction it is true, but still some. More, as it chanced, he married a wife who entered into his thoughts, and was able to help to fulfil his aspirations, and from that union were born descendants who, for the most part, are fitted to carry on his labours.
Further, like Loyola, and others, he has the power of rule, being a born leader of men, so that thousands obey his word without question in every corner of the earth, although some of these have never seen his face. Lastly, Nature endowed him with a striking presence that appeals to the popular mind, with a considerable gift of speech, with great physical strength and abounding energy, qualities which have enabled him to toil without ceasing and to travel far and wide. Thus it comes about that as truly as any man of our generation, when his hour is ended, he, too, I believe, should be able to say with a clear conscience, ‘I have finished the work that Thou gavest me to do’: although his heart may add, ’I have not finished it as well as I could wish.’
Now let me try to convey my personal impressions of this man. I see him in various conversations with myself, when he has thought that he could make use of me to serve his ever-present and impersonal ends, trying to add me up, wondering how far I was sincere, and to what extent I might be influenced by private objects; then, at last, concluding that I was honest in my own fashion, opening his heart little by little, and finally appealing to me to aid him in his labours.
‘I like that man; he understands me!’ I once heard him say, mentioning my name, and believing that he was thinking, not speaking.
I tell this story merely to illustrate his habit of reflecting aloud, for as he spoke these words I was standing beside him. When I repeated it to his Officers, one of them remarked horrified:—
’Good gracious! it might just as well have been something much less complimentary. One never knows what he will say.’
He is an autocrat, whose word is law to thousands. Had he not been an autocrat indeed, the Salvation Army would not exist to-day, for it sprang from his brain like Minerva from the head of Jove, and has been driven to success by his single, forceful will.
Yet this quality of masterfulness is tempered and illuminated by an unfailing sense of humour, which he is quite ready to exercise at his own expense. Thus, a few years ago he and I dined with the late Mr. Herring, and, as a matter of fact, although I had certain things to say on the matters under discussion, his flow of most interesting conversation did not allow me over much opportunity of saying them. It is hard to compete in words with one who has preached continually for fifty years!
When General Booth departed to catch a midnight train, for the Continent I think, Mr. Herring went to see him to the door. Returning presently, much amused, he repeated their parting words, which were as follows:—
GENERAL BOOTH: ’A very good fellow Haggard; but a talker, you know, Herring, a talker!’
MR. HERRING (looking at him): ‘Indeed!’
GENERAL BOOTH (laughing): ’Ah! Herring, you mean that it was I who did the talking, not Haggard. Well, perhaps I did.’
Some people think that General Booth is conceited.
‘It is a pity that the old gentleman is so vain,’ a highly-placed person once said to me.
I answered that if he or I had done all that General Booth has done, we might be pardoned a little vanity.
In truth, however, the charge is mistaken, for at bottom I believe him to be a very humble-minded man, and one who does not in the least overrate himself. This may be gathered, indeed, from the tenor of his remarks on the subject of his personal value to the Army, that I have recorded at the beginning of this book.
What people of slower mind and narrower views may mistake for pride, in his case, I am sure, is but the impatient and unconscious assertiveness of superior power, based upon vision and accumulated knowledge. Also, as a general proposition, I believe vanity to be almost impossible to such a man. So far as my experience of life goes, that scarce creature, the innately, as distinguished from the accidentally eminent man, he who is fashioned from Nature’s gold, not merely gilded by circumstance, is never vain.
Such a man knows but too well how poor is the fruit of his supremest effort, how marred by secret weakness is what the world calls his strength, and when his gifts are in the balance, how hard it would be for any seeing judge to distinguish his success from common failure. It is the little pinchbeck man, whom wealth, accident, or cheap cleverness has thrust forward, who grows vain over triumphs that are not worth having, not the great doer of deeds, or the seer whose imagination is wide enough to enable him to understand his own utter insignificance in the scale of things.
But to return to General Booth. Again I hear him explaining to me vast schemes, as yet unrealized, that lurk at the back of his vivid, practical, organizing brain. Schemes for settling tens of thousands of the city poor upon unoccupied lands in sundry portions of the earth. Schemes for great universities or training colleges, in which men and women might be educated to deal with the social problems of our age on a scientific basis. Schemes for obtaining Government assistance to enable the Army to raise up the countless mass of criminals in many lands, taking charge of them as they leave the jail, and by regenerating their fallen natures, saving them soul and body.
In the last interview I had with him, I read to him a note I had made of a conversation which had taken place a few days before between Mr. Roosevelt and myself on the subject of the Salvation Army. Here is the note, or part of it.
MR. ROOSEVELT: ’Why not make use of all this charitable energy, now often misdirected, for national ends?’
MYSELF: ’What I have called “the waste forces of Benevolence.” It is odd, Mr. Roosevelt, that we should both have come to that conclusion.’
MR. ROOSEVELT: ’Yes, that’s the term. You see the reason is that we are both sensible men who understand.’
‘That is very important,’ said General Booth, when he had heard this extract. ’"Make use of all this charitable energy, now often misdirected for national ends!” Why not, indeed? Heaven knows it is often misdirected. The Salvation Army has made mistakes enough. If only that could be done it would be a great thing. But first we have got to make other people “understand” besides Roosevelt and yourself.’
That, at least, was the sense of his words.
Once more I see him addressing a crowded meeting of City men in London, on a murky winter afternoon. In five minutes he has gripped his audience with his tale of things that are new to most of them, quite outside of their experience. He lifts a curtain as it were, and shows them the awful misery that lies often at their very office doors, and the duty which is theirs to aid the fallen and the suffering. It is a long address, very long, but none of the hearers are wearied.
At the end of it I had cause to meet him in his office about a certain matter. He had stripped off his coat, and stood in the red jersey of his uniform, the perspiration still streaming from him after the exertion of his prolonged effort in that packed hall. As he spoke he ate his simple meal of vegetables (mushrooms they were, I remember), and tea, for, like most of his family, he never touches meat. Either he must see me while he ate or not at all; and when there is work to be done, General Booth does not think of convenience or of rest; moreover, as usual, there was a train to catch. One of his peculiarities is that he seems always to be starting for somewhere, often at the other side of the world.
Lastly, I see him on one of his tours. He is due to speak in a small country town. His Officers have arrived to make arrangements, and are waiting with the audience. It pours with rain, and he is late. At length the motors dash up through the mud and wet, and out of the first of them he appears, a tall, cloaked figure. Already that day he has addressed two such meetings besides several roadside gatherings, and at night he must speak to a great audience in a city fourteen miles away; also stop at this place and at that before he gets there, for a like purpose. He is to appear in the big city at eight, and already it is half-past three.
Five minutes later he has been assisted on to the platform (for this was before his operation and he was almost blind), and for nearly an hour pours out a ceaseless flood of eloquence, telling the history of his Organization, telling of his life’s work and of his heart’s aims, asking for their prayers and help. He looks a very old man now, much older than when first I knew him, and with his handsome, somewhat Jewish face and long, white beard, a very type of some prophet of Israel. So Abraham must have looked, one thinks, or Jeremiah, or Elijah. But there is no weariness in his voice or his gestures; and, as he exhorts and prays, his darkening eyes seem to flash.
It is over. He bids farewell to the audience that he has never seen before, and will never see again, invokes a fervent blessing on them, and presently the motors are rushing away into the wet night, bearing with them this burning fire of a man.
Such are some of my impressions of William Booth, General of the Salvation Army.
No account of the Salvation Army would be complete without some words about Mr. Bramwell Booth, General Booth’s eldest son and right-hand man, who in the Army is known as the Chief of the Staff. Being convinced of this, I sought an interview with him—the last of the many that I have had in connexion with the present work.
In the Army Mr. Bramwell Booth is generally recognized as ’the power behind the throne.’ He it is who, seated in his office in London, directs the affairs and administers the policy of this vast Organization in all lands; the care of the countless Salvation Army churches is on his shoulders, and has been for these many years. He does not travel outside Europe; his work lies chiefly at home. I understand, however, that he takes his share in the evangelical labours of the Army, and is a powerful and convincing speaker, although I have never chanced to hear any of his addresses.
[Illustration: MR. BRAMWELL BOOTH, Chief of the Staff.]
In appearance at his present age of something over fifty, he is tall and not robust, with an extremely sympathetic face that has about it little of his father’s rugged cast and sternness. Perhaps it is this evident sympathy that commands the affection of so many, for I have been told more than once that he is the best beloved man in the Army, and one who never uses a stern word.
I found him busy and pressed for time, even more so, if possible, than I was myself; he had but just arrived by an early train from some provincial city. In fact, he was then engaged upon his annual visitation to all the Field Officers in the country, which, as he explained, takes him away from London for three days a week for a period of six weeks, and throws upon him a considerable extra strain of mind and body. The diocese of the Salvation Army is very extensive!
I said to Mr. Bramwell Booth that I desired from him his views of the Army as a religious and a social force throughout the wide world, in every land where it sets its foot. I wished to hear of the work considered as a whole, likewise of that work in its various aspects, and of the different races of mankind among which it is carried on. Also, amongst others, I put to him the following specific questions:—
In what way and by what
means does the Army adapt itself to
the needs and customs of the various peoples among whom it
What is its comparative
measure of success with each of
these peoples, and what future is anticipated for it among
Where is the work advancing,
where does it hang in the
balance, and where is it being driven backwards?
What are your views
upon the future of the Army as a
religious and social power throughout the world, bearing in
mind the undoubted difficulties with which it is confronted?
Do you consider that
now, after forty-five years of
existence, it is, speaking generally, on the downward or on
the upward grade?
What information can
you give me as to the position of the
Army in its relations with other religious bodies?
At this point Mr. Bramwell Booth inquired mildly how much time I had to spare. The result of my answer was that we agreed together that it was clearly impossible to deal with all these great matters in an interview. So it was decided that he should take time to think them over, and should furnish his replies in the form of a written memorandum. This he has done, and I may say without flattery that the paper which he has drawn up is one of the most clear and broad-minded that I have had the pleasure of reading for a long while. Since it is too long to be used as a quotation, I print it in an appendix, trusting sincerely that all who are interested in the Salvation Army in its various aspects will not neglect its perusal. Indeed, it is a valuable and an authoritative document, composed by perhaps the only person in the world who, from his place and information, is equal to the task.
Personally I venture upon neither criticism nor comment, whose role throughout all these pages is but that of a showman, although I trust one not altogether devoid of insight into the matter in hand.
To only one point will I call attention—that of the general note of confidence which runs through Mr. Bramwell Booth’s remarks. Clearly he at least does not believe that the Salvation Army is in danger of dissolution. Like his father, he believes that it will go on from good to good and from strength to strength.
There remain, however, one or two other points that we discussed together to which I will allude. Thus I asked him if he had anything to say as to the attacks which from time to time were made upon the Army. He replied as his father had done: ’Nothing, except that they were best left to answer themselves.’
Then our conversation turned to the matter of the resignation of certain Officers of the Army which had caused some passing public remark.
‘We have an old saying here,’ he said, with some humour, ’that we do not often lose any one whom we very much desire to keep.’
I pointed out that I had heard allegations made to the effect that the Army Officers were badly paid, hardly treated, and, when they proved of no more use, let go to find a living as best they could.
He replied that, as to the matter of money, the Army had established a Pension fund in all the Western countries, which now amounts to a large total. In this country the sum was about L44,000, and during 1909 about L1,800 had been paid here in pensions. This, however, was only a beginning, but he thought that the effort was being made on the right lines, and that, notwithstanding their poverty, a really adequate Pension fund would be built up in due course.
Then of a sudden he became eloquent. He said he admitted that the Army had little to offer. Those who came into its service knew that this was so; that they had no hope of temporal reward; that thenceforth the great feature of their life and work was that it must be filled with labour and self-denial. The whole business of helping and saving our fellow-creatures was one of struggle and suffering. Sacrifice was the key-note of Christianity as laid down by its Founder. Those who sought money and temporal honour must look elsewhere than to the Salvation Army. Its pride and glory was that thousands were willing to suffer and deny themselves from year to year, and to find their joy and their recompense in the consciousness that they were doing something, however little, to lighten the darkness and relieve the misery of the world.
Here are some of his actual words upon this matter that I will quote, as I cannot better them:—
’The two facts of real consequence about our Officers are these: First, that their numbers go on increasing year by year, and second, that they remain devoted to their work, very poor, and absolutely bent on obtaining a reward in Heaven. But let me quote here from General Booth on this matter:—
’"I resolved that no disadvantage as to birth, or education, or social condition should debar any one from entering the list of combatants so long as he was one with me in love for God, in faith for the salvation of men, and in willingness to obey the orders he should receive from me and from those I authorized to direct him. I have, of course, had many disappointments—not a few of them very hard to bear at the time—but from the early days of 1868, when I engaged my first recognized helper, to 1878, when the number had increased by slow degrees to about 100, and on to the present day, when their number is rapidly approaching 20,000, there has not been a single year without its increase, not only in quantity, but in quality.
’"I am sometimes asked, What about those who have left me? Well, I am thankful to say that we remain in sympathetic and friendly relations with the great bulk of them. It was to be expected that in work such as ours, demanding, as it does, not only arduous toil and constant self-denial and often real hardships of one kind or another, some should prove unworthy, some should grow weary, and others should faint by the way, whilst others again, though very excellent souls, should prove unsuitable. It could not be otherwise, for we are engaged in real warfare, and whoever heard of war without wounds and losses? But even of those who do thus step aside from the position of Officers, a large proportion—in this country nine out of ten—remain with us, engaged in some voluntary effort in our ranks."’
‘But,’ continued Mr. Bramwell Booth, ’I would be the last person to minimize our losses. They may be accounted for in the most natural way, and yet we cannot but feel them and suffer from them. And yet it is all just a repetition of the Bible stories of all ages; nay, of all stories of genuine fighting in any great cause. The great feature of our present experience in this matter is that the number who go out from us grows every year smaller in proportion to the whole, and that, as the General says in the above extract, a very large proportion of those continue in friendly relations with us.
’The triumph of these splendid men and women, in the face of every kind of difficulty in every part of the world is, however, really a triumph of their faith. It is not the Army, it is not their leaders, it is not even the wonderful devotion which many of them manifest, which is the secret of their continued life and continued success, nor is it any confidence in their own abilities. No! The true representative of the Army is relying at every turn upon the presence, guidance, and help of God in trying to carry out the Father’s purpose with respect to every lost and suffering child of man. By that test, alike in the present and future, we must ever stand or fall. The Army is either a work of faith or it is nothing at all.
’Everything throughout all our ranks can really be brought to that test, and I regard with composure every loss and attack, every puzzle and danger, chiefly because I rely upon my comrades’ trust in God being responded to by Him according to their need.’
Perhaps I may be allowed to add a few remarks upon this subject. A great deal is made of the resignation of a few Salvation Army Officers in order that they may accept excellent posts in other walks of life; indeed, it is not uncommon to see it stated that such resignations herald the dissolution of the Society. Inasmuch as the number of the Army’s Officers is nearing 20,000 it would seem that it can very well spare a few of them. What fills me with wonder is not that some go, but that so many remain. This is one of the facts which, amongst much that is discouraging, convinces me of the innate nobility of man. An old friend of mine of pious disposition once remarked to me that he could never have been a Christian martyr. At the first twist of the cord, or the first nip of the red-hot pincers, he was sure that he would have thrown incense by the handful upon the altar of any heathen god or goddess that was fashionable at the moment. His spirit might have been willing, but his flesh would certainly have proved weak.
I sympathized with the honesty of this confession, and in the same way I sympathize with those Officers of the Salvation Army who, in racing slang, cannot ‘stay the course.’
Let us consider the lot of these men. Any who have entered on even a secular crusade, something that takes them off the beaten, official paths, that leads them through the thorns and wildernesses of a new, untravelled country, towards some distant goal seen dimly, or not seen at all except in dreams, will know what such an undertaking means. It means snakes in the grass; it means savages, or in other words veiled and poisonous hatreds and bitter foes, or, still worse, treacherous friends. The crusader may get through, in which case no one will thank him except, perhaps, after he is dead. Or he may fail and perish, in which case every one will mock at him. Or he may retreat discouraged and return to the official road, in which case his friends will remark that they are glad to see that his insanity was only of the intermittent order, and that at length he has learned his place in the world and to whom he ought to touch his cap.
Well, these are official roads to Heaven as well as to the House of Lords and other mundane goals, a fact which the Salvation Army Officer and others of his kind have probably found out. On the official road, if he has interest and ability—the first is to be preferred—he might have become anything, and with ordinary fortune would certainly have become something.
But on the path that he has chosen what is there for him to gain? An inheritance of dim glory beyond the stars, obscured doubtless from time to time, if he is like other men, by sudden and sickening eclipses of his faith. And meanwhile the daily round, the insolent gibe, and the bitter ingratitude of men that leaves him grieving. Also not enough money to pay for a cab when it is wet, and considerable uncertainty
In such a case and in a world which we must admit to be selfish and imperfect, the wonder is not that certain Salvation Army Officers, being trained men of high ability, yield to tempting offers and go, but that so many of them remain.
‘Look at my case,’ said one of them to me. ’With my experience and organizing ability I am worth L2,000 a year as the manager of any big business, and I could have it if I liked. Here I get about L200!’
This was one of those who remain. I say all honour to such noble souls, for surely they are of the salt of the earth.
The religious faith of the Salvation Army, as I have observed and understand it (for little has been said to me on this matter), is extremely simple. It believes in an eternal Heaven for the righteous and—a sad doctrine this, some of us may think—in a Hell, equally eternal, for the wicked. Its bedrock is the Bible, especially the New Testament, which it accepts as true without qualification, from the first word to the last, troubling itself with no doubts or criticisms. Especially does it believe in the dual nature of the Saviour, in Christ as God, and in Christ as man, and in the possibility of forgiveness and redemption for even the most degraded and defiled of human beings. Love is its watchword, the spirit of love is its spirit, love arrayed in the garments of charity.
In essentials, with one exception, its doctrines much resemble those of the Church of England, and of various dissenting Protestant bodies. The exception is, that it does not make use of the Sacraments, even of that of Communion, although, on the other hand, it does not deny the efficacy of those Sacraments, or object to others, even if they be members of the Army, availing themselves of them. Thus, I have known an Army Officer to join in the Communion Service. The reason for this exception is, I believe, that in the view of General Booth, the Sacraments complicate matters, are open to argument and attack, and are not understood by the majority of the classes with which the Army deals. How their omission is reconciled with certain prominent passages and directions laid down in the New Testament I do not know. To me, I confess, this disregard of them seems illogical.
The motto of the Army is ‘Salvation for all,’ and, as I have hinted in these pages, it has a sure conviction of the essential persistence of miracle in these modern days. It holds that when a man kneels at the Penitent-Form and ‘gets converted,’ a miracle takes place within him, if his repentance is true, and that thenceforward some Grace from on High will give him the power to overcome the evil in his heart and blood.
It believes, too, in the instant efficacy of earnest prayer, and in the possibility of direct communication by this means between man and his Maker.
Here is an instance of this statement. While inspecting the Shelters in one of the provincial cities, I was shown a certain building which had recently passed into the possession of the Army. The Officer who was conducting me said that the negotiations preliminary to the acquisition of the lease of this building had been long and difficult. I remarked that these must have caused him anxiety. ‘Oh, no,’ he answered, simply. ’You see I had talked with the Lord about it, and I knew that we should get the place in the end.’
This reply may cause some to smile, but I confess I find such childlike faith touching and even beautiful.
There is small doubt that consciously or unconsciously, the Salvation Army has followed St. Paul’s example of being all things to all men, if ‘by all means’ it may save some. This is the reason of its methods which to many seem so vulgar and offensive. Once I spoke to an Officer high up in the Army of this matter, instancing, amongst other things, its brass bands and loud-voiced preaching at street corners.
‘My dear sir,’ he replied, ’if we came to convert you, we should not bring a brass band or send a missionary who shouted out sacred names every minute. Possibly, if we thought that you were open to the influences of music, we might send a first-rate violinist to play pieces from the classical masters, and we should certainly send a man whom we knew to be your intellectual equal, and who could therefore appeal to your reason. But our mission at present is not so much to you and your class, as to the dregs of humanity. The folk we deal with live in a state of noise of which you have no conception, and if we want to force them to listen to us, we must begin by making a greater noise in order to attract their attention at all. In the same way it is of no use wasting subtleties on them; we have to go straight to the main points, which are clear and sharp enough to pierce their drink-besotted intelligences, or to reach any fragment of conscience they may have remaining in them.’
I thought the argument sound and well put, and results have proved its force, since the Salvation Army undoubtedly gets a hold of people that few other forms of religious effort seem able to grasp, at least to any considerable extent.
I wish to make it clear, however, that I hold no particular brief for the Army, its theology, and its methods. I recognize fully, as I know it does, the splendid work that is being done in the religious and social fields by other Organizations of the same class, especially by Dr. Barnardo’s Homes, by the Waifs and Strays Society, by the Church Army, and, above all, perhaps, by another Society, with which I have had the honour to be connected in a humble capacity for many years, that for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Still it remains true that the Salvation Army is unique, if only on account of the colossal scale of its operations. Its fertilizing stream flows on steadily from land to land, till it bids fair to irrigate the whole earth. What I have written about is but one little segment of a work which flourishes everywhere, and even lifts its head in Roman Catholic countries, although in these, as yet, it makes no very great progress.
How potent then, and how generally suited to the needs of stained and suffering mankind, must be that religion which appeals both to the West and to the East, which is as much at home in Java and Korea as it is in Copenhagen or Glasgow. For it should be borne in mind that the basis of the Salvation Army is religious, that it aims, above everything, at the conversion of men to an active and lively faith in the plain, uncomplicated tenets of Christianity to the benefit of their souls in some future state of existence and, incidentally, to the Reformation of their characters while on earth.
The social work of which I have been treating is a mere by-product or consequence of its main idea. Experience has shown, that it is of little use to talk about his soul to a man with an empty stomach. First, he must be fed and cleansed and given some other habitation than the street. Also the Army has learned that Christ still walks the earth in the shape of Charity; and that religion, after all, is best preached by putting its maxims into practice; that the poor are always with us; and that the first duty of the Christian is to bind their wounds and soothe their sorrows. Afterwards, he may hope to cure them of their sins, for he knows that unless such a cure is effected, temporal assistance avails but little. Except in cases of pure misfortune which stand upon another, and, so far as the Army work is concerned, upon an outside footing, the causes of the fall must be removed, or that fall will be repeated. The man or woman must be born again, must be regenerated. Such, as I understand it, is at once the belief of the Salvation Army and the object of all its efforts. Therefore, I give to this book its title of ‘Regeneration.’
* * * * *
The principal items of the Salvation Army’s expenditure for Social Work during the financial year ending September 30, 1911, are as follows, and help is earnestly asked to meet these, the work being entirely dependent upon Voluntary Gifts.
For Maintenance of Work amongst the Destitute
and Outcast Men and Women, including Shelters
for Homeless Men and Women, Homes for Children,
Rescue Homes, etc..................................... L15,000
For Maintenance of the Slum Sisterhood and Nurses for the Sick Poor..................................... L3,000
For Prison Visitation Staff and Prison-Gate Work........ L5,000
For Work among Youths and Boys.......................... L2,000
For Special Relief and Distress Agencies................ L5,000
For Development of the Work and Agricultural Departments of the Hadleigh Colony.................... L3,000
For Assistance and Partial Maintenance of the Unemployed and Inefficient............................ L5,000
For Assisting suitable Men and Women to Emigrate........ L3,000
Towards the provision of New Institutions for Men and Boys in London and various provincial Cities...... L10,000
For the General Management and Supervision of all the above Operations.................................. L2,000 ------- L53,000
Cheques and Postal Orders should be made payable to WILLIAM BOOTH, crossed ‘Bank of England, Law Courts Branch,’ and sent to MRS. BOOTH, 101 Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C. Clothes for the poor and articles for sale are always needed.
* * * * *
Ladies and Gentlemen are earnestly asked to remember the needs of the Salvation Army’s Social Work (the ‘Darkest England’ Social Scheme), in connexion with the preparation of their wills.
* * * * *
All kinds of property can now be legally bequeathed for charitable purposes, and the following form of legacy is recommended. Where a legacy does not consist of a certain amount of money, care should be taken to identify clearly the property, shares, stock, or whatever it may be intended to be bequeathed.
’I GIVE AND BEQUEATH TO WILLIAM BOOTH, or other the General for the time being of the Salvation Army, and Director of the “Darkest England” Social Scheme, the sum of L............ (or) MY TWO freehold houses known as Nos.......... in the county of................ (or) my L............ ordinary stock of the London and North-Western Railway Company (or) my shares in............Limited (or as the case may be) to be used or applied by him, at his discretion, for the general purposes of the “Darkest England” Social Scheme. And I direct the said last-mentioned Legacy to be paid within twelve months after my decease.’
* * * * *
* * * * *
The Will must be executed by the Testator in the presence of two witnesses, who must sign their names, addresses, and occupations at the end of the Will in the presence of the Testator. The best method to adopt for a Testator to be quite sure that his Will is executed properly, is for him to take the Will and his two witnesses into a room, lock the door, and tell the witnesses that he wishes them to attest his Will. All three must sign in the room and nobody must go out until all have signed.
GENERAL BOOTH will always be pleased to procure further advice for any friends desiring to benefit the Salvation Army’s work in any of its departments, by Will or otherwise, and will treat any communications made to him on the subject as strictly private and confidential. Letters dealing with the matter should be marked Private, and addressed to GENERAL BOOTH, 101 QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, LONDON, E.C.
NOTES ON THE ARMY’S FUTURE
(Following My Conversation with Mr. Rider Haggard)
When asked to give my own view of the present and probable future influence of the Salvation Army upon the world, I feel in no danger of exaggeration. If any one could imagine what it has been for me to sit at its centre almost without intermission for more than thirty-five years, receiving continual reports of its development and progress in one nation after another, studying from within not only its strength and vitality, but its weaknesses and failures, and labouring to devise remedies and preventatives, until what was a little unknown Mission in the East End of London has become the widely, I might almost say, the universally recognized Army of to-day, he could perhaps understand something of my great confidence.
Curious indeed seem to be the thoughts of many people about us!—people, I mean, who have only had a glance at one of our open-air meetings, or have only heard some wild challenge of General Booth’s good faith, and have then more or less carefully avoided any closer acquaintance with us. They often appear to be under the impression that you have only to persuade a few people to march through any crowded thoroughfare with a band, to gather a congregation, and, if you please, to form out of it an Army, and from that again to secure a vast revenue! I often wish that such people could know the struggles of almost every individual, even amongst the very poorest, between the moment of first contact with us and that of resolving to enlist in our ranks. How few, even now, seem aware of the fact that so far from paying or rewarding any one for joining in our efforts, all who do so are from the first called upon daily not only to give to our funds, but by sacrifice of time, labour, money, and often of health as well, to constitute themselves efficient soldiers of their Corps, and assist in providing it with every necessity.
Every one of the 3,000,000 meetings held annually, even in this country, depends upon the voluntary giving up of the time and effort of working-men and women who have in most cases to hurry from work to home, and from home to meeting-place, after a hard day’s labour. Much the same may be said of the 450,000 meetings held annually on the Continent of Europe; with this difference, that our people there have mostly to begin work earlier in the day, and to conclude much later than is the case here. Their evening meetings, in conformity with the habits of the country concerned, must needs be begun, therefore, later, and conclude much later than similar gatherings in the United Kingdom.
A cursory glance through the seventy-four newspapers and periodicals published by the Army—generally weekly—in twenty-one languages, would show any one how variously our people everywhere are seeking to meet the different habits of life in each country, and how constantly new plans are being tried to attain the supreme object of all our multitudinous agencies—the arousing of men’s attention to the claims of God and their ingathering to His Kingdom.
The original plan adopted in this country of going to the people by means of meetings and marches in the streets, is in many lands not legally permissible, while in others it is almost useless. Our leaders, therefore, have always to be finding out other means of attaining the same end. This has resulted in very great gains of liberty in several ways. On the Continent, for example, though it is not possible to get a general permission to hold open-air meetings in the streets, it is becoming more and more usual to let our people hold such gatherings in the large pleasure-grounds, provided within or on the outskirts both of the great cities and the lesser towns. In some cases the announcements of further meetings, made somewhat after the style of the public crier, develops into a series of short open-air addresses. In other cases, conspicuously in Italy, where our work is only as yet in its infancy—the sale of our paper, both by individual hawkers and by groups of comrades singing the songs it contains in marketplaces, largely makes up for the want of the more regularized open-air work.
And in the courts of the great blocks of buildings which abound in cities like Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and elsewhere, meetings are held which are really often more effective in impressing whole families of various classes than any of our open-air proceedings in countries like England and the United States.
But everywhere the Army seeks especially, though not by any means exclusively, for those who are to be found frequenting the public-houses, cafes, beer gardens, dives, saloons, and other drinking-places of the world. In all countries our people sell our papers amidst these crowds, as well as at the doors of the theatres and other places of amusement, and the mere offer of these papers, now that their unflinching character as to God and goodness is well known, constitutes an act of war, a submission to which in so many million cases is no slight evidence of confidence among the masses of the people in our sincerity, and, so far, a sign of our success.
But ‘The War Cry’ seller is in the countries of more scattered population, such as Switzerland, some of the colonies, and large parts of India, much more than is the case in the big cities, the representative of every form of helpfulness. He, or she, not merely offers the paper for sale to those who have neither opportunity nor inclination to attend religious services of any kind, but enters himself where no paper ever comes, holds little meetings with groups of those who have never prayed, heartens those who are sinking down under pressure of calamity, visits the sick-room of the friendless, and often becomes the intermediary of the suffering and destitute and those who can help them in their dismal necessities.
Of the persistent hopefulness with which our people everywhere go to the apparently abandoned, I will only say that it constitutes a store of moral and material help, not only for those people themselves, but for all who become acquainted with it, the value of which in the present it is difficult to exaggerate, and the influence of which on the future it is equally difficult to over-estimate.
While leaving the utmost possible freedom for initiative to our leaders, we are seeking everywhere to solidify and regularize every effort that has once been shown to be of any practical use. Any one amongst us, down to the youngest and poorest in any part of the world, may do a new thing next week which will prove a blessing to his fellows, and some one will be on the watch to see that that good thing, once done, be repeated, and, so far as may be, kept up in perpetuity.
Where special classes of needs exist, we must of course employ special agencies. The vitality and adaptability of the Army in the presence of new opportunities is one of the happy auguries for the future. While all that is virile and forceful in it increases, there is less and less of the rigid and formal.
Fourteen or fifteen years ago some Officers were set apart to visit the Lapps who range over all the Territories to the north of Scandinavia. This meant at first only months of solitary travelling during the summer, and no little suffering in the winter, with little apparent result. But gradually a system of meetings was established, the people’s confidence was gained, and at length it has been found possible to group together various centres of regular activity amongst these interesting but little-known people, and now experienced leaders will see both to the permanence of all that has already been begun, and to the further extension of the work.
In Holland, where our work has assumed the proportions of a national movement, the beneficent effects of which are recognized by all classes, the canal population is helped by means of a small sailing ship, on which are held regular meetings for them. Our Norwegian people also have a life-boat called the Catherine Booth stationed upon a stormy and difficult part of the coast, which not only goes out to help into safety boats and boats’ crews, but whose crew also holds meetings on islands in remote fisher hamlets where no other religious visitors come.
The same principle of adaptation to local conditions and requirements will, I doubt not, quickly ensure success for the small detachment of Officers we have just sent to commence operations in Russia.
In Dutch India we have not only a growing Missionary work amongst both Javanese and Chinese, but Government Institutions have been placed under our care, where lepers, the blind, and other infirm natives, as well as neglected children, are medically cared for and helped in other ways.
In South Africa, both English and Dutch-speaking peoples are united under one Flag, and give themselves up to work amongst the native races round them—races which constitute so grave a problem in the eyes of all thoughtful men who know anything of the true position in South Africa. One of the latest items of news is that an Angoni has accepted salvation at one of our settlements in Mashonaland, and on return to his own home and work—lying away between Lake Nyassa and the Zambezi—has begun to hold meetings and to exercise an influence upon his people which cannot but end in the establishment of our work amongst them.
But, to my mind, one of the most important features of our work in all Eastern and African lands is our development of the native power under experienced guidance to purely Salvationist and therefore non-political purposes. Surely the most potent possible corrective for the sort of half rebel influence that has grown or is growing up in Africa under the name of Ethiopianism, as well as for much of the strange uneasiness among the dumb masses of India, is the complete organization of native races under leaders who, whilst of their own people, are devoted to the highest ethical aims, and stand in happy subjection to men of other lands who have given them a training in discipline and unity which does not contemplate bloodshed.
We are now beginning both in India and Africa, as well as in the West Indies, to find experienced native Officers capable of taking Staff positions; that is, of becoming reliable leaders in large districts where we are at work. These men have not merely all the advantages of language and of fitness for the varieties of climate which are so trying to Westerners, but they show a courage and tenacity and tact—in short, a capacity for leadership and administration such as no one—at any rate, no one that I know of—expected to find in them. Here is opened a prospect of the highest significance.
More than can be easily estimated has been done in spreading information about us for some years past by Salvationists belonging to various national armies and navies. We encourage all such men to group themselves into brigades, so far as may be allowed, in their various barracks and ships. Thus united, they work for their mutual encouragement, and for the spreading of good influences among others. It was such a little handful that really began our work in the West Indies, and we have now a Corps in Sierra Leone, on the west coast of Africa, formed by men of a West Indian regiment temporarily quartered there. The same thing has happened in Sumatra by means of Dutch and Javanese soldiers.
For British India we naturally felt ourselves first of all, as to the heathen world, under obligation to do something. And no inconsiderable results have followed the efforts which were first commenced there twenty-eight years ago. Our pioneers, though they greatly disturbed the official white world, won the hearts of the people at a stroke, by wearing Indian dress, living amongst and in the style of the poorer villages. Soon Indian converts offered themselves for service, and after training; were commissioned as Officers, and it was at once seen that they would be far more influential than any foreigners. From the point at which that discovery was really made, the work assumed important proportions, passing at once in large measure from the position of a foreign mission to being a movement of the people themselves.
The vastness of the country and the difference of language have led to our treating it as five separate commands, now under the general lead of one headquarters. Incidentally, this has helped us in dealing with some of the difficulties connected with caste, as it has been possible to remove Indian Officers from one part of India to another, and we have made some efforts which have, I admit, proved less successful in some districts than in others, to deal with castes which, within their own lines, are often little more than Trade Unions with a mixture of superstition.
Meanwhile, the practical character of our work has shown itself in efforts to help in various ways the lowest of the people to improve their circumstances. The need for this is instantly apparent when one reflects that some 40,000,000 of the inhabitants of India are always hungry. A system of loan banks, which has now been adopted in part by the Government, has been of great service to the small agriculturalists. The invention of an extremely simple and yet greatly improved hand loom has proved, and will prove, very valuable to the weavers. New plans of relief in times of scarcity and famine have also greatly helped in some districts to win the confidence of the people. Industrial schools, chiefly for orphan children, have also been a feature of the work in some districts.
Recently the Government, having seen with what success our people have laboured for the salvation of the lower castes, have decided to hand over to us the special care of several of the criminal tribes, who are really the remnants of the Aborigines. Although this work is at present only in its experimental stage, all who have examined the results so far have been delighted at the rapidity with which we have brought many into habits of self-supporting industry, who, with their fathers before them, had been accustomed to live entirely by plunder. About 2,000 persons of this class are already under our care.
There are some 3,000,000 of these robbers in different parts of India. They are only kept under anything like control at great cost for police and military supervision; but we are satisfied that, if reasonable support be given, a great proportion of them can be reclaimed from their present courses of idleness and crime, and in any case their children can be saved.
We have been able in India, perhaps more than in any other part of the world, to realize the international character of our work by linking together Officers from England, Germany, Holland, and the Scandinavian countries, as well as from America, in the one great object of helping the heathen peoples. But most of all we have rejoiced in being able to blend East and West, European Officers having often been placed under more experienced Indian comrades, as well as vice versa. The great common purpose dominating all sections of the Army, and the influences of the Spirit of God, have united men of different levels of intelligence, and knit them together in the same fellowship, without any unwise mingling of races. We have now 2,000 Officers in India, and that alone is a testimony of the highest significance to the success of our efforts, and to the possibilities which lie before us. But even more important in its bearing upon the future, in my estimation, is the wonderful ambition dominating our people there to reach every class, but most of all to deal with the low caste, or outcast, as they are sometimes called. Many of our Indian Officers have followed in the steps of our pioneers in the country, and, consumed by an enthusiasm amounting to a passion for their fellows, have literally sacrificed their lives in the ceaseless pressing forward of their work.
In America we have had to deal, perhaps, with the other extreme of human needs. Throughout Canada there is very little to be seen of poverty and wretchedness. In the United States the great cities begin indeed to have areas of vice and misery not to be surpassed in any of the older cities of the world. But everywhere we have found people who have become forgetful of God, neglectful of every higher duty, and abandoned to one or other form of selfishness. Our work in the United States especially has been confronted with difficulties peculiar to the country, its widespread populations and their cosmopolitan character being not the least of these. Nevertheless, we have now in the States and Canada nearly 4,000 Officers leading the work in 1,380 Corps and Societies, and 350 Social Institutions. I ought to say that it has not been found easy to raise large numbers in many places, but of the generosity and devotion of those who have united themselves with us, and the immense amount of work which they accomplish for their fellows, it is impossible to speak too highly.
I look with confidence to the future in both these great countries. Governments and local Authorities are beginning to grant us the facilities and help we need to deal effectually with their abandoned classes, as well as to attack some other problems of a difficult nature. Within the last few years, we have placed in Canada more than 50,000 emigrants, chiefly from this country. Their characteristics, and their success in their new surroundings, have won for us the highest commendation of the Authorities concerned.
In the vast fields of South America, we have as yet only small forces, but we have established a good footing with the various populations, and have already received no inconsiderable help for our purely philanthropic work from several of the Governments. Our latest new extensions, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru, and Panama, seem to offer prospects of success, even greater than we have been able to record in the Argentine or Uruguay. Before your book is published, we shall probably have made a beginning also in both Bolivia and Brazil.
The South American Republics—chiefly populated by the descendants of the poorest classes of Southern Europe—are professedly Roman Catholic. The influence of the priesthood, however, owing to various causes, seems to be on the wane, and a habit of abandoning all religious thought is much on the increase. But the realization that our people never attack any Church, or quibble about details of creed and ceremonial, has won their way to the hearts of many, and there can be no doubt that we have a great future amongst these peoples. In Peru the law does not allow any persons not of the Romish Church to offer prayer in public places, but when it was found that our Officers made no trouble of this, but managed all the same to hold open-air and theatre services very much in our usual style, great numbers of the people were astonished at the ‘new religion,’ and so many had soon begun to pray ‘in private’ that we have little doubt about the future of our work there.
In thinking of the future, I cannot overlook our plans of organization which have, I am persuaded, much to do with the proper maintenance and continuance of the work we have taken in hand.
While striving as much as possible to avoid red tape, or indeed any methods likely to hinder initiative and enterprise, we are careful to apply a systemization comprehensible to the most untrained minds, so that we may make every one feel a proper degree of responsibility, as well as guard them from mere emotionalism and spasmodic activity, accompanied as that kind of thing often is, by general neglect.
Thus no one can join the Army until after satisfying the local Officer and some resident of the place during a period of trial of the sincerity of his profession. He must then sign our Articles of War. These Articles describe precisely our doctrines, our promise to abstain from intoxicants, worldly pleasures, and fashions, bad or unworthy language, or conduct, and unfairness to either employer or employe, as well as our purpose to help and benefit those around us. (See Appendix B.)
Some local voluntary worker becomes responsible for setting each recruit a definite task in connexion with our efforts, and all are placed under the general oversight of their Captain. A Corps, which is the unit of our Organization, is organized under a Captain and Lieutenant who have been trained in the work they have to do as leaders. Corps are linked together into divisions under Officers, who, in addition to seeing that they regularly carry out their work, have the oversight of a considerable tract of country, with the duty of extending our operations within that area. In some countries a number of divisions are sometimes grouped into provinces with an Officer in charge of the whole province, and each country has its national headquarters under a Territorial Commissioner, all being under the lead of the International Headquarters in London.
No time is wasted in committee-ing or debating amongst us, and yet in all matters of finance and property there is such arrangement that several individuals are cognizant of every detail, and that no one person’s fault or neglect shall necessarily involve permanent injury or loss. The central accounts in each country, including those in London, are under the care of public auditors; but we have also our own International Audit Department, whose representatives visit every headquarters from time to time, so as to make sure, not only that the accounts are kept on our approved system, but that all expenditure is rigidly criticized. All who really look into our financial methods are impressed by their economy and precision. The fact is that almost all our people have been well schooled in poverty. They have learned the value of pence.
All this seems to me to have great importance in connexion with estimates of our future. On the one hand we are ever seeking to impress on all our people the supreme need of God’s spirit of love and life and freedom, without whose presence the most carefully managed system could not but speedily grow cold and useless. But at the same time, we insist that the service of God, however full of love and gladness, ought to be more precise, more regular, nay, more exacting than that of any inferior master.
As to your question whether we are generally making progress, I think I can say that, viewing the whole field of activity, and taking into account every aspect of the work, the Army is undoubtedly on the up-grade. Naturally progress is not so rapid in one country as another, nor is it always so marked in one period as in another in particular countries, nor is it always so evident in some departments of effort as in others; but speaking of the whole, there is, as indeed there has been from the very beginnings, steady advance.
In some countries, of course, there is more rapid development of our purely evangelistic propaganda, while in others our philanthropic agencies are more active. Progress in human affairs is generally tidal. It has been so with us. A period of great outward activity is sometimes followed by one of comparative rest, and in the same way the spirit of advance in one department sometimes passes from that for a time to others. A period of great progress in all kinds of pioneer work, for example in Germany, is just now being followed there by one of consolidation and organization. A time of enormous advance in all our departments of charitable effort in the United States is now being succeeded by a wonderful manifestation of purely spiritual fervour and awakening.
In this, the old country, our very success has in some ways militated against our continued advance at the old rate of progress. Not only has much ground already been occupied, but innumerable agencies, modelled outwardly, at least, after those we first established, have sprung into existence, and are working on a field of effort which was at one time largely left to us. And yet during the last five years the Army has enormously strengthened its hold on the confidence of all classes of the people here, increased its numbers, developed in a remarkable degree its internal organization, greatly added to its material resources, as well as maintained and extended its offering of men and money for the support of the work in heathen countries.
But even in places where we have appeared to be stagnant, in the sense of not undertaking any new aggressive activities, we are constantly making as a part of our regular warfare new captures from the enemy of souls, maintaining the care of congregations and people linked with us, working at full pressure our social machinery, training the children for future labour, raising up men and women to go out into the world as missionaries of one kind or another, and doing it all while carrying on vigorous efforts to bring to those who are most needy in every locality both material and spiritual support.
Like all aggressive movements, the Army is, of course, peculiarly subject to loss of one kind or another. That arising from the removals of its people alone constitutes a serious item. Any one who knows anything of religious work amongst the working-classes will understand how great a loss may be caused—even where the population is, generally speaking, increasing—by the removal of one or two zealous local leaders. But such losses are trifling compared with those which follow from some stoppage of employment when large numbers of workmen must either migrate or starve.
Similar results often occur from the change of leadership. The removal of our Officers from point to point, and even from country to country, is one of our most indispensable needs; but, of course, we have to pay for it, chiefly in the dislocation and discouragements and losses which it often necessarily entails.
So far from such variations being in any way discreditable to us, we think them one of the most valuable tests of the vitality and courage of our people, both Officers and Soldiers, that they fight on unflinchingly under such circumstances—fight on happily, to prove that while fluctuations of this character are very trying, they often also open the way both to the wider diffusion of our work elsewhere and to the breaking up of entirely new ground in the old centres.
In brief, it is with us at all times a real warfare wherein triumphs can only be secured at the cost of struggles that are very often painful and unpleasant. You cannot have the aggression, the advance, the captures of war without the change, the alarms, the cost, the wounds, the losses, which are inseparable from it.
A very striking and thoughtful description of some of the work done at one of our London Corps has recently been issued by a well-known writer. I refer to ‘Broken Earthenware,’ by Mr. Harold Begbie. No one can read the book without being impressed by the sense of personal insight which it reveals. But how few take in its main lesson, that the Army is in every place going on, not only with the recovery but with the development of broken men and women into more and more capable and efficient servants and rescuers of their fellows.
That this should be so is remarkable enough as applied to Westerners, broken by evil habits and more or less surrounded by wreckage, but how much more valuable when applied to the teeming populations of the East! There in so many cases there is no past of criminality or even of vice as we understand it to forget, but only an infancy of darkness and ignorance as to Christ and the liberty He brings.
Many of our best Indian Officers have been snatched from one form or other of outrageous selfishness, but thousands of our people there are gradually emerging from what is really the prolonged childhood of a race to see and know how influential the light of God can make even them amongst their fellows. Ten years ago in Japan a Salvationist Officer was a strange if not an unknown phenomenon, but with every increase of the Christian and Western influences in that country, every capable witness to Christ becomes, quite apart from any effort of his own, a much more noticed, consulted, and imitated example than he was before. In Korea, after a couple of years’ effort, we have seen most striking results of our work, and have just sent, to work among their own people, our first twenty married Koreans, after a preliminary period of training for Officership. It is most difficult to realize the revolution involved in the whole outlook on life to men who have been looked upon as little more than serfs, without any prospect of influence in their country.
The same processes of inner and outer development which have made of the unknown English workman or workwoman of twenty years ago, the recognized servants of the community, welcomed everywhere by mayors and magistrates to help in the service of the poor, will, out of the clever Oriental, I believe, far more rapidly develop leaders in the new line of Christian improvement in every sphere of life. It is considerations such as these which make me say sometimes that the danger in the Army is not in the direction of magnifying, but rather of minimizing the influences that are carrying us upward and outward in every part of the world.
But in our own estimation there is another reason which perhaps equals all these for calculating upon a wider development of the Army’s future influence. During the last twenty years we have been pressing forward amongst a very large number of Church and missionary efforts. Our speakers have notoriously been amongst the most unlearned and ungrammatical, and therefore often despised, while so many thousands of university men were preaching and writing of Christ. But no one now disputes the fact that the old-fashioned proclamation of the doctrine of Jesus Christ as a Divine Saviour of the lost has largely gone out of fashion. The influence of the priest, of the clerk in holy orders, of the minister, has been so largely undermined that candidates for the ministry are becoming scarce in many Churches, just while we are seeing them arise in steadily increasing numbers from among the very people who know the Army and its work best, and who have most carefully observed the demands of sacrifice and labour it makes upon its leaders.
One cannot but rejoice when one hears ever and anon of some conference or congress at which various efforts are made to recover, at any rate, the appearance of a forward movement in the Churches. But the most serious fact of all, perhaps, is the mixture amongst these Christianizing plans, whether in one country or another, of the unbelieving leaven, so that it is possible for men to go forth as the emissaries of Christianity who have ceased to believe in the Divine nature of its Founder, and who look for success rather to schemes of education and of social and temporal improvement than to that new creation of man by God’s power, wherein lies all our hope, as indeed it must be the hope of every true servant of Christ.
But I call attention to these facts not to reproach any Church. Far from it. I simply desire to point out one reason for thinking ourselves justified in anticipating for the Army a future influence far beyond anything we have yet experienced.
Recent ‘defences’ of Christian revelation have, in our view, been far more seriously damaging than any attacks that have ever been made from the hostile camp. In the hope—a vain hope—of conciliating opposition, there has too often been a timid surrender of much that can alone give authority to Christian testimony. If Jesus Christ was not competent to decide the truth or untruth of the Divine revelation, which He fully and constantly endorsed as such, how absurd it is to suppose that any eulogies of His character can save Him from the just contempt of all fearless thinkers, no matter to what nationality they belong.
The Army finds itself already, and every year seems more and more likely to find itself, the only firm and unalterable witness to the truth of Christ and of His redeeming work in many neighbourhoods and districts, among them even some wide stretches of Christian territory. And the times can only bring upon us, it seems to me, more and more the scrutiny of all who wish to know whether the declarations of the Scriptures as to God’s work in men are or are not reliable. This, then, however melancholy the reflection may be—and to me it is in some aspects melancholy indeed—assures to us a future of far wider importance and influence than any we have dreamed of in the past.
Our strength, as your book eloquently shows, in dealing with the deepest sunken, the forgotten, the outcasts of society, the pariahs and lepers of modern life; has ever been our absolute certainty with regard to Christ’s love and power to help them. How much greater must of necessity be the value and influence of our testimony where the very existence of Christ and His salvation becomes a matter of doubt and dispute! Here, at any rate, is one reason which leads me to believe that the Salvation Army has before it a future of the highest moment to the world.
In relation to other religious bodies, our position is marvellously altered from the time when they nearly all, if not quite all, denounced us.
I do not think that any of the Churches in any part of the world do this now, although no doubt individuals here and there are still bitterly hostile to us. In the United States and in many of the British Colonies the Churches welcome our help, and generally speak well of our work; and even many Roman Catholic leaders, as well as authorities of the Jewish faith, may be included in this statement. On the Continent there are signs that they are slowly turning the same way.
Now, I confidently expect a steady extension of this feeling towards us as the Churches come more and more to recognize that we not only do not attack them, but that we are actually auxiliaries to their forces, not only gaining our audiences and recruits from those who are outside their ministrations, but even serving them by doing work for their adherents which for a variety of reasons they find it very difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish themselves.
At the same time it would be a mistake to think that we have any desire to adopt any of their methods or ceremonials. We keep everywhere to our simple and non-ecclesiastical habits, and while we certainly have some very significant and impressive ceremonials of our own, the way our buildings are fitted, the style of our songs and music, and the character of our prayers and public talking are everywhere entirely distinctive, and are nowhere in any danger of coming into serious competition with the worship adopted by the Churches.
Some of our leading Officers think that in one respect our relations to the Churches, their pastors, and people are unsatisfactory. In the United States it is customary for the clergy and leaders of every Church to treat our leaders with the most manifest sympathy and respect. But there is far too marked a contrast between that treatment and that which we receive in many other countries. There are, of course, splendid exceptions. Still few members of any Church are willing to be seen in active association with us.
I daresay this is very largely a question of class or caste, and I am very far from making it a matter of complaint. We would, in fact, far rather that our people should be regarded as outcasts, than that they should be tempted to tone down the directness of their witness, or that they should come under the influence of those uncertainties and misgivings to which I have already made reference. Nevertheless, it is certainly no wish of ours that there should remain any distance between us and any true followers of Christ by whatever name they may be called. And so we keep firmly, even where it may seem difficult or impolitic to do so, to our original attitude of entire friendliness with all those who name the Name of Christ.
I give a few figures bearing upon the present extent of our operations:—
Number of Countries and Colonies occupied
the Salvation Army 56
Languages in which the Work is carried on 33
Corps, Circles, and Societies of Salvationists 8,768
Number of persons wholly supported by and employed
in Salvation Army Work 21,390
Of those, with Rank 16,220
Without Rank 5,170
Number of Training Colleges for Officers and
Providing accommodation for 1,866
Number of Institutions 954
Number of Officers and Cadets employed 2,573
Number of Local Officers, voluntary and unpaid 60,260
NUMBER OF PERIODICALS 74
These Periodicals are published in twenty-one languages,
and have a total circulation per issue of about one million
THE SALVATION ARMY’S ARTICLES OF WAR
HAVING received with all my heart the salvation offered to me by the tender mercy of Jehovah, I do here and now publicly acknowledge God to be my Father and King, Jesus Christ to be my Saviour, and the Holy Spirit to be my Guide, Comforter, and Strength; and that I will, by His help, love, serve, worship, and obey this glorious God through time and through eternity,
BELIEVING solemnly that the Salvation Army has been raised up by God, and is sustained and directed by Him, I do here declare my full determination, by God’s help, to be a true Soldier of the Army till I die.
I am thoroughly convinced
of the truth of the Army’s
I believe that repentance
towards God, faith in our Lord
Jesus Christ, and conversion by the Holy Spirit are
necessary to salvation, and that all men may be saved.
I believe that we are
saved by grace, through faith in our
Lord Jesus Christ, and he that believeth hath the witness of
it in himself. I have got it. Thank God!
I believe that the Scriptures were given by inspiration of God, and that they teach that not only does continuance in the favour of God depend upon continued faith in and obedience to Christ, but that it is possible for those who have been truly converted to fall away and be eternally lost.
I believe that it is the privilege of all God’s people to be wholly sanctified, and that ’their whole spirit and soul and body’ may ’be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ That is to say, I believe that after conversion there remain in the heart of the believer inclinations to evil, or roots of bitterness, which, unless overpowered by divine grace, produce actual sin; but these evil tendencies can be entirely taken away by the Spirit of God, and the whole heart, thus cleansed from anything contrary to the will of God, or entirely sanctified, will then produce the fruit of the Spirit only. And I believe that persons thus entirely sanctified may, by the power of God, be kept unblameable and unreprovable before Him.
I believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the everlasting punishment of the wicked.
I do here and now, and for ever, renounce the world with all its sinful pleasures, companionships, treasures, and objects, and declare my full determination boldly to show myself a soldier of Jesus Christ in all places and companies, no matter what I may have to suffer, do, or lose, by so doing.
I do here and now declare that I will abstain from the use of all intoxicating liquors, and from the habitual use of opium, laudanum, morphia, and all other baneful drugs, except when in illness such drugs shall be ordered for me by a doctor.
I do here and now declare that I will abstain from the use of all low or profane language; from the taking of the name of God in vain; and from all impurity, or from taking part in any unclean conversation, or the reading of any obscene book or paper at any time, in any company, or in any place.
I do here declare that I will not allow
Page 108myself in any falsehood, deceit, misrepresentation, or dishonesty; neither will I practise any fraudulent conduct in my business, my home, nor in any other relation in which I may stand to my fellow-men, but that I will deal truthfully, fairly, honourably, and kindly with all those who may employ me, or whom I may myself employ,
I do here declare that I will never treat any woman, child, or other person, whose life, comfort, or happiness may be placed within my power, in an oppressive, cruel or cowardly manner, but that I will protect such from evil and danger so far as I can, and promote to the utmost of my ability their present welfare and eternal salvation.
I do here declare that I will spend all the time, strength, money, and influence I can in supporting and carrying on this war, and that I will endeavour to lead my family, friends, neighbours, and all others whom I can influence, to do the same, believing that the sure and only way to remedy all the evils in the world is by bringing men to submit themselves to the Government of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I do here declare that I will always obey the lawful orders of my Officers, and that I will carry out to the utmost of my powers all the orders and regulations of the Army; and further that I will be an example of faithfulness to its principles, advance to the utmost of my ability its operations, and never allow, where I can prevent it, any injury to its interests, or hindrance to its success.
I do here and now call upon all present to witness that I enter into this undertaking, and sign these Articles of War of my own free will, feeling that the love of Christ, who died to save me, requires from me this devotion of my life to His service for the salvation of the whole world, and therefore wish now to be enrolled as a Soldier of the Salvation Army.
Image (full Christian and Surname)
COPY OF THE SALVATION ARMY BALANCE SHEET, EXTRACTED FROM THE FORTY-THIRD ANNUAL STATEMENTS OF ACCOUNT FOR THE YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 1909.
Copies of this Balance Sheet with Statements of Account can be had upon application. The Balance Sheet and Statements of Account for the year ending September 30, 1910, will be posted from the press early next year. The Balance Sheet of The Army’s Social Fund can be obtained from the Secretary.
L s. d.
TO LOANS UPON MORTGAGE,
including accrued Interest 540,277 3 11
" LOANS FOR FIXED PERIODS,
including accrued Interest 121,958 8 1
" RESERVE FUNDS, including
General and Special Reserves 176,143 15 1/2
" SUNDRY CREDITORS 10,359 3 2
" COLONIAL AND FOREIGN
TERRITORIES FUND 55,219 10 7
" SELF-DENIAL FUND
(Balance) 3,463 12 3---------------- Carried Forward L907,621 13 1/2
L s. d. L s. d.
BY FREEHOLD and LEASEHOLD
PROPERTY (at or below
cost) in the United
Kingdom, as on September
30, 1908 1,066,923 16 2-1/2
" Additions during the year 23,271 4 6
1,090,195 2 8-1/2
" Freehold Estate in
Australia 10,375 3 6
----------------- 1,100,571 6 4-1/2
" INVESTMENTS, including
Investment of Reserve
and Sinking Funds 196,412 9 2
" FURNITURE and FITTINGS
at Headquarters, Officers’
Training College, as on
September 30, 1908 5,412 16 1
" Additions during the year 2,768 9 5-1/2
8,181 5 6-1/2
Less Depreciation 2,433 19 9
--------------- 5,748 5 9-1/2
Carried forward L1,802,732 1 4
Brought forward 907,621 13 0-1/2
To The Salvation Army Fund,
as per last Balance Sheet 411,701 0 6-1/4
" Donations and Subscriptions
For Capital Purposes
L20,044 0s. 2d.) 37,044 6 2
" General Income and Expenditure
(Balance) 1,309 17 8-1/2-------------------------------------------------------
---------------450,064 18 4-1/2 -----------------
L1,357,706 11 5
Brought forward 1,302,732 1 4
" Trade Headquarters Fund 27,902 16 5
" Sundry Colonial and
Foreign Territories 8,606 16 0
34,506 12 5
" Sundry Debtors 18,360 10 4
" Cash at Bank 2,107 7 4--------------- L1,357,706 11 5
We have examined the above Statement with the Books, Accounts, and Vouchers relating thereto, and certify the same to be correct. We have also verified the Bank balances and Investments.
KNOX, CROPPER & CO.,
16 FINSBURY CIRCUS, E.C.
December 31, 1909.
A FEW FIGURES SHOWING SOME OF THE WORK OF THE DARKEST ENGLAND SCHEME
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
TO SEPTEMBER 30, 1909 DURING TOTAL TO
1910 SEPT. 30, 1910
Number of Meals supplied at
Cheap Food Depots 69,784,480 6,869,897 76,654,377
Number of Cheap Lodgings for
the Homeless 27,850,674 2,445,300 30,295,974
Number of Meetings held in
Shelters 140,747 8,660 149,407
Number of Applications from
Unemployed registered at
Labour Bureaux 302,538 13,009 315,547
Number received into Factories 63,694 6,754 70,448 Number for whom Employment
(temporary or permanent) has
been found 249,453 20,210 269,663
Number of Ex-Criminals received
into Homes 8,840 416 9,256
Number of Ex-Criminals assisted,
restored to Friends,
sent to situations, etc. 7,886 1,166 9,052
Number of Applications for Lost
Persons 44,001 2,120 46,121
Number of Lost Persons found 13,710 398 14,108 Number of Women and Girls
received into Rescue Homes 44,417 3,679 48,096
Number of Women and Girls
received into Rescue Homes
who were sent to Situations,
restored to Friends, etc. 37,168 3,346 40,514
Number of Families visited in
Slums 998,079 109,750 1,107,829
Number of Families prayed with 577,550 64,141 641,691 Number of Public-houses visited 630,021 33,188 663,209 Number of Lodging-houses
visited 17,330 3,457 20,787
Number of Lodging-house Meetings
held 7,319 1,792 9,111
Number of Sick People visited
and nursed 93,233 21,912 115,145
[1: See Appendix C]
[2: The following extract from the recently issued ’Report of the Commissioners of Prisons and the Directors of Convict Prisons,’ for the year ended March 31, 1910, Part I [Cd. 5360], published since the above was written, sets out the present views of the Authorities on this important matter:—
Page 111’Out of the present inmates of convict prisons over 40 per cent have been previously in penal servitude, viz. out of 3,046 male convicts in convict prisons, 1,253 had been previously sentenced to penal servitude, 672 once, 271 twice, 196 three times, and 114 four times or more. Mr. Secretary Churchill has referred to us the question whether, and in what way, it would be possible to make any impression on this roll of recidivism—this unyielding corpus of habitual crime. The problem is never absent from the minds of those responsible for the administration of prisons and the treatment of crime, and during recent years great efforts have been made to improve the machinery of assistance on discharge, fully impressed as we are with the truth of the old French saying, “Le difficile ce n’est pas emprisoner un homme, c’est de le relacher.” We have tried to avail ourselves fully of the resources offered by such powerful agencies as the Church Army, Salvation Army, as well as other societies who have for years operated in this particular field of charitable effort. We recognize the ready help given by all these agencies. No doubt by their efforts many difficult and unpromising cases have been rehabilitated; but after full consideration we have come to the opinion that the task of rehabilitation in the case of men returning to freedom after a sentence of penal servitude is too difficult and too costly to be left entirely to voluntary societies, unaided by any grant of public funds, and working independently of each other at a problem where unity of method and direction is above all things required. Mr. Secretary Churchill, to whom these views have been represented, at once agreed that the difficulty lay in this question of discharge, and that the official authority, acting in close and friendly co-operation with the voluntary societies must take a more active part than hitherto in controlling the passage into free life of a man emerging from penal servitude. ... A plan is now under consideration for establishing a Central Agency of Control for Discharged Convicts, on which both the official and unofficial element will be represented, with a subsidy from public funds, the purpose of which will be to take in hand the guidance and direction of every convict on the day of discharge’ (pp. 15, 16).]
[3: See Parliamentary Blue Book [Cd. 2562].]
[4: The scale of pay in the Salvation Array for Officers in charge of Corps (or Stations) is as follows:—For Single Men: Lieutenants, 16s. weekly; Captains, 18s. weekly. For Single Women: Lieutenants, 12s. weekly; Captains, 15s. weekly. For Married Men, 27s. per week and 1s. per week for each child under 7 years of age, and 2s. per week for each child between the ages of 7 and 14. Furnished lodgings are provided in addition.]
[5: But the day before this proof came into my hands it was my duty to help to try a case illustrative of these remarks. In that case a girl when only just over the age of sixteen had been seduced by a young man and borne a son. First the father admitted parentage and promised marriage. Then he denied parentage, and, apparently without a shadow of evidence, alleged that the child was the result of an incestuous intercourse between its mother and a relative. At the trial, having, it seemed, come to the conclusion that this wicked slander would not enable him to escape an affiliation order, he again frankly admitted his parentage. In the country districts, at any rate, such examples are common.—H. R. H.]
[6: The loss is being reduced annually, that for the financial year which has just closed being the lowest on record.]
[7: See Appendix A]
[8: On this and other points see the Salvation Army’s ’Articles of War,’ Appendix B.]
Affiliation Orders, 91, 109-110.
‘Ann Fowler’ Home, 166, 168.
Anti-Suicide Bureau, 151-164.
Ardenshaw Women’s Home, Glasgow, 188.
Argyll, Duchess of, 103.
‘Articles of War,’ 257.
Australia, 14, 83.
Balance-sheet for 1909, 260-261.
Barlow, Sir Thomas, 123.
Barnardo, The late Dr., 71, 73, 233.
Blackfriars Shelter, 41.
Booth, General, 7, 10-12, 14-18, 57, 61, 63, 85, 97, 200-201, 206,
Booth, Mr. Bramwell, 218-225.
Booth, Mrs. Bramwell, 87, 89, 91-93, 95, 144.
Boxted Small Holdings, 69, 200-207.
British Government, The, and Colonial Land Scheme, 82.
Canada, 14, 82-86.
Carrington, Earl, 206.
Central Labour Bureau, 75.
Chief of the Staff, The: see Mr. Bramwell Booth.
Cox, Commissioner, 96, 98, 119, 120.
Criminals in England, 61.
Crossley, Mrs., 176.
Duke Street, Glasgow, 188.
Embankment Soup Distribution, 22, 39, 40.
Emigration Department, 80;
Emigration Board, 85.
Employers’ Liability Act, 38.
First Offenders Act, 168.
Free Breakfast Service, 41.
Future of the Salvation Army, Notes on, 237.
Glasgow, 165, 178-182, 192.
Government Labour Bureaux, 75-76.
Government Subsidy, 57.
Great Peter St. Shelter, 33, 157.
Great Titchfield St., 94, 140, 150.
Hadleigh Land Colony, 76, 182, 184, 194, 198, 199.
Hanbury St. Workshop, 65-70.
Herring, The late Mr. George, 19, 200, 201, 207, 212.
Hillsborough House Inebriates’ Home, 98, 102, 122.
Hollies,’ ’The, 168, 169.
Home Office, The, 55.
Iliffe, Lieut.-Colonel, 204.
Impressions of General Booth, 208.
Inebriates’ Home, The, Springfield Lodge, 122.
International Investigation Department, 77.
Ivy House Maternity Hospital, 107.
Jolliffe, Lieut.-Colonel, 41, 148, 185-186, 190-191.
King Edward Hospital Fund, 201.
Labour Bureau, Central, Whitechapel, 75;
Labour Party and Trade.
Unions, 65, 85-86.
Lamb, Colonel, 81, 83-85.
Lambert, Colonel, 115.
Land Colony, Hadleigh, 194.
Laudanum-drinking, 124, 183.
Laurie, Lieut.-Colonel, 194-196.
Laurier, Sir Wilfrid, 82.
London County Council, 129.
London Maternity Home, 169.
Lorne House, 103, 105.
Social Institutions, 172.
Maternity Home, Lorne House, Stoke Newington, 103.
Maternity Home, Brent House, Hackney, 105-106.
Hackney, 105, 107;
Maternity Hospital, New, required, 170.
Men’s Social Work,
London, 19, 65;
Middlesex Street Shelter, 19.
Midnight Work, Social, 94.
Needs, Our, 235.
Nest,’ ’The, Clapton, 112.
Oakhill House, Manchester, 176.
Old-Age Pensions Act, 130.
Parliamentary Committee of the Trade Unions, 65.
Penitent Form, The, 46-48, 51, 230.
Pentonville Prison, 56.
Piccadilly Midnight Work, 140.
Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Society for the, 233.
Princess Louise, H.R.H., 103.
Prison Act, The New, 63.
Prison Reform, 62, 63 (note).
Prison Visitation, 55, 188.
Prisoners’ Aid Society, 180.
Quaker Street, 54.
Religion of the Salvation Army, Note on the, 229.
Rescue Home, The, 117.
Roosevelt, Mr. 214-215.
‘Rural England,’ 10.
Sacraments, The, 230.
Salvation Army, Some Statistics of the, 9-10.
Scale of pay, Officers’, 90 (note).
Scotland, 131, 179.
Slum Settlement, The Hackney Road, 131.
Slum Sisters, 88;
Some Statistics of their work, 131.
Small Holdings, 200-207.
Southwood, Sydenham, 126.
Spa Road Elevator, 27, 46, 79.
Sturge House, 71-74.
Sturgess, Commissioner, 19, 36, 47, 54, 55, 57, 186.
Sweating, Charges of, refuted, 28, 66, 120-121.
Titchfield Street Home, The, 140, 145, 150.
Trade Unions and rate of Wages, 15-16.
Training Institute for Women Social Workers, The, 115.
Unsworth, Colonel, 155, 157, 160, 164.
Vegetarianism, 99, 113-114.
Visitation of prisoners by Salvation Army Officers, 55-56.
Wandsworth Prison, 56.
Waste Paper Department,
Spa Road, 27, 31, 52;
White Slave Traffic, 87, 93.
Whitechapel, 72, 75, 95, 132, 142.
Women’s Industrial Home, Hackney, 119;
Women’s Shelter, 129.
Women’s Social Work, London, 87;