The great tribute The General received by the vast assemblies in every country at his Funeral and Memorial services, said far more than any words could have expressed of the extent to which he had become recognised everywhere as a true friend of all who were in need, and of the degree to which he had succeeded in prompting all his Officers and people to act up to that ideal.
The following, a small selection of the most prominent testimonies borne to his life by the Press of various countries, will give some idea of what was thought and felt by his contemporaries about him and his work:—
The Christian World, August 22, 1912
“No name is graven more deeply in the history of his time than that of William Booth, Founder and General of The Salvation Army, who passed to his rest on Tuesday night. At sixteen, the Nottingham builder’s son underwent an ‘old-fashioned conversion,’ and, as he told a representative of The Christian World, ’within six hours he was going in and out of the cottages in the back streets, preaching the Gospel that had saved himself.’ From that day he toiled terribly, and never more terribly than since his sixtieth year, after which the Social Scheme was launched, and The General undertook those evangelistic tours in which he traversed England again and again in every direction, and covered a great part of the Western world. How he kept up is a miracle, for he was a frail-looking figure, and he ate next to nothing—a slice or two of toast or bread and butter or rice pudding and a roasted apple, were his meals for many years past. It was his great heart, his invincible faith, his indomitable courage that kept him going.
“Plutarch would have put William Booth and John Wesley together in his ‘Parallel Lives.’ Each man ‘thought in continents.’ ’The world is my parish,’ said Wesley, and Methodism to-day covers the world. So General Booth believed in world conquest for Christ, because he believed in Christ’s all-conquering power, and he had the courage of his conviction. He learnt much from Wesley, for he began as a Methodist. He knew what can be done by thorough organisation, and what financial resources there are in the multiplication of small but cheerful givers. Like Wesley, too, he combined the genius for great conceptions with the genius for practical detail, without which great conceptions soon vanish into thin air. He was more masterful than Wesley. When he broke away from the Methodist New Connexion, and founded the Christian Mission of which The Salvation Army was the evolution, he found that committees wasted their time in talk and were distracted in opinion. He read lives of Napoleon, Wellington, and other great commanders, and came to the conclusion that a committee is an excellent thing to receive and carry out instructions from a masterful man who knows what he wants, but otherwise they are