"In Darkest England and The Way Out"
General William Booth
Part 3 out of 7
is now an Orderly at Whitechapel, and to all appearances a "true lad."
C. W. ("Frisco").--Born in San Francisco, 1862. Saved April 24th,
1889. Taken away from home at the age of eight years, and made his way
to Texas. Here he took up life amongst the Ranches as a Cowboy,
and varied it with occasional trips to sea, developing into a typical
brass and rowdy. He had 2 years for mutiny at sea, 4 years for mule
stealing, 5 years for cattle stealing and has altogether been in gaol
for thirteen years and eleven months. He came over to England,
got mixed up with thieves and casuals here, and did several short terms
of imprisonment. He was met on his release at Millbank by an old chum
(Buff) and the Shelter Captain; came to Shelter, got saved, and has
H. A.--Born at Deptford, 1850. Saved at Clerkenwell, January 12th,
1889. Lost mother in early life, step-mother difficulty supervening,
and a propensity to misappropriation of small things developed into
thieving. He followed the sea, became a hard drinker, a foul-mouthed
blasphemer, and a blatant spouter of infidelity. He drifted about for
years, ashore and afloat, and eventually reached the Shelter stranded.
Here he sought God, and has done well. This summer he had charge of a
gang of haymakers sent into the country, and stood the ordeal
satisfactorily. He seems honest in his profession, and strives
patiently to follow after God. He is at the workshops.
H. S.--Born at A---, in Scotland. Like most Scotch lads although
parents were in poor circumstances he managed to get a good education.
Early in life he took to newspaper work, and picked up the details of
the journalistic profession in several prominent papers in N.B.
Eventually he got a position on a provincial newspaper, and having put
in a course at Glasgow University, graduated B.A. there. After this
he was on the staff of a Welsh paper. He married a decent girl,
and had several little ones, but giving way to drink, lost position,
wife, family, and friends. At times he would struggle up and recover
himself, and appears generally to have been able to secure a position,
but again and again his besetment overcame him, and each time he would
drift lower and lower. For a time he was engaged in secretarial work
on a prominent London Charity, but fell repeatedly, and at length was
dismissed. He came to us an utter outcast, was sent to Shelter and
Workshop got saved, and is now in a good situation. He gives every
promise, and those best able to judge seem very sanguine that at last a
real good work has been accomplished in him.
F. D.--Was born in London, and brought up to the iron trade.
Held several good situations, losing one after another, from drink and
irregularity. On one occasion, with #20 in his pocket, he started for
Manchester, got drunk there, was locked up and fined five shillings,
and fifteen shillings costs; this he paid, and as he was leaving the
Court, a gentleman stopped him, saying that he knew his father,
and inviting him to his house; however, with #10 in his pocket, he was
too independent, and he declined; but the gentleman gave him his
address, and left him. A few days squandered his cash, and clothes
soon followed, all disappearing for drink, and then without a coin he
presented himself at the address given to him, at ten o'clock at night.
It turned out to be his uncle, who gave him #2 to go back to London,
but this too disappeared for liquor. He tramped back to London utterly
destitute. Several nights were passed on the Embankment, and on one
occasion a gentleman gave him a ticket for the Shelter; this, however,
he sold for 2d. and had a pint of beer, and stopped out all night.
But it set him thinking, and he determined next day to raise 4d. and
see what a Shelter was like. He came to Whitechapel, became a regular
customer, eight months ago got saved, and is now doing well.
F. H.--Was born at Birmingham, 1858. Saved at Whitechapel,
March 26th, 1890. Father died in his infancy, mother marrying again.
The stepfather was a drunken navvy, and used to knock the mother about,
and the lad was left to the streets. At 12 years of age he left home,
and tramped to Liverpool, begging his way, and sleeping on the
roadsides. In Liverpool he lived about the Docks for some days,
sleeping where he could. Police found him and returned him to
Birmingham; his reception being an unmerciful thrashing from the
drunken stepfather. He got several jobs as errand-boy, remarkable for
his secret pilferings, and two years later left with fifty shillings
stolen money, and reached Middlesbrough by road. Got work in a nail
factory stayed nine months, then stole nine shillings from
fellow-lodger, and again took the road. He reached Birmingham, and
finding a warrant out for him, joined the Navy. He was in the
Impregnable training-ship three years behaved himself, only getting
"one dozen," and was transferred with character marked "good" to the
Iron Duke in the China seas; soon got drinking, and was locked up and
imprisoned for riotous conduct in almost every port in the stations.
He broke ship, and deserted several times, and was a thorough specimen
of a bad British tar. He saw gaol in Signapore, Hong Kong, Yokohama,
Shanghai, Canton, and other places. In five years returned home, and,
after furlough, joined the Belle Isle in the Irish station. Whisky
here again got hold of him, and excess ruined his constitution.
On his leave he had married, and on his discharge joined his wife in
Birmingham. For some time he worked as sweeper in the market, but two
years ago deserted his wife and family, and came to London, settled
down to a loafer's life, lived on the streets with Casual Wards for his
home. Eventually came to Whitechapel Shelter, and got saved.
He is now a trustworthy, reliable lad; has become reconciled to wife,
who came to London to see him, and he bids fair to be a useful man.
J. W. S.--Born in Plymouth. His parents are respectable people.
He is clever at his business, and has held good situations. Two years
ago he came to London, fell into evil courses, and took to drink.
Lost situation after situation, and kept on drinking; lost everything,
and came to the streets. He found out Westminster Shelter,
and eventually got saved; his parents were communicated with, and help
and clothes forthcoming; with Salvation came hope and energy; he got a
situation at Lewisham (7d. per hour) at his trade. Four months
standing, and is a promising Soldier as well as a respectable mechanic.
J. T.--Born in Ireland; well educated (commercially); clerk and
accountant. Early in life joined the Queen's Army, and by good conduct
worked his way up. Was orderly-room clerk and paymaster's assistant in
his regiment. He led a steady life whilst in the service, and at the
expiration of his term passed into the Reserve with a "very good"
character. He was a long time unemployed, and this appears to have
reduced him to despair, and so to drink. He sank to the lowest ebb,
and came to Westminster in a deplorable condition; coatless, hatless,
shirtless, dirty altogether, a fearful specimen of what a man of good
parentage can be brought to. After being at Shelter some time, he got
saved, was passed to Workshops, and gave great satisfaction.
At present he is doing clerical work and gives satisfaction as a workman:
a good influence in the place.
J. S.--Born in London, of decent parentage. From a child he
exhibited thieving propensities; soon got into the hands of the police,
and was in and out of gaol continually. He led the life of a confirmed
tramp, and roved all over the United Kingdom. He has been in penal
servitude three times, and his last term was for seven years, with
police supervision. After his release he married a respectable girl,
and tried to reform, but circumstances were against him; character he
had none, a gaol career only to recommend him, and so he and his wife
eventually drifted to destitution. They came to the Shelter, and asked
advice; they were received, and he made application to the sitting
Magistrate at Clerkenwell as to a situation, and what he ought to do.
The Magistrate helped him, and thanked the Salvation Army for its
efforts in behalf of him and such as he, and asked us to look after the
applicant. A little work was given him, and after a time a good
situation procured. To-day they have a good time; he is steadily
employed, and both are serving God, holding the respect and confidence
of neighbours, etc.
E. G.--Came to England in the service of a family of position,
and afterwards was butler and upper servant in several houses of the
nobility. His health broke down, and for a long time he was altogether
unfit for work. He had saved a considerable sum of money, but the cost
of doctors and the necessaries of a sick man soon played havoc with his
little store, and he became reduced to penury and absolute want.
For some time he was in the Workhouse, and, being discharged,
he was advised to go to the Shelter. He was low in health as well as
in circumstances, and broken in spirit, almost despairing. He was
lovingly advised to cast his care upon God, and eventually he was
converted. After some time work was obtained as porter in a City
warehouse. Assiduity and faithfulness in a year raised him to the
position of traveller. Today he prospers in body and soul, retaining
the respect and confidence of all associated with him.
We might multiply these records, but those given show the kind of
There's no reason to think that influences which have been blessed of
God to the salvation of these poor fellows will not be equally
efficacious if applied on a wider scale and over a vaster area.
The thing to be noted in all these cases is that it was not the mere
feeding which effected the result; it was the combination of the
feeding with the personal labour for the individual soul. Still, if we
had not fed them, we should never have come near enough to gain any
hold upon their hearts. If we had merely fed them, they would have
gone away next day to resume, with increased energy, the predatory and
vagrant life which they had been leading. But when our feeding and
Shelter Depots brought them to close quarters, our officers were
literally able to put their arms round their necks and plead with them
as brethren who had gone astray. We told them that their sins and
sorrows had not shut them out from the love of the Everlasting Father,
who had sent us to them to help them with all the power of our strong
Organisation, of the Divine authority of which we never feel so sure as
when it is going forth to seek and to save the lost.
SECTION 2.--WORK FOR THE OUT-OF-WORKS.--THE FACTORY.
The foregoing, it will be said, is all very well for your outcast when
he has got fourpence in his pocket, but what if he has not got his
fourpence? What if you are confronted with a crowd of hungry desperate
wretches, without even a penny in their pouch, demanding food and
shelter? This objection is natural enough, and has been duly
considered from the first.
I propose to establish in connection with every Food and Shelter Depot
a Workshop or Labour Yard, in which any person who comes destitute and
starving will be supplied with sufficient work to enable him to earn
the fourpence needed for his bed and board. This is a fundamental
feature of the Scheme, and one which I think will commend it to all
those who are anxious to benefit the poor by enabling them to help
themselves without the demoralising intervention of charitable relief.
Let us take our stand for a moment at the door of one of our Shelters.
There comes along a grimy, ragged, footsore tramp, his feet bursting
out from the sides of his shoes, his clothes all rags, with filthy
shirt and towselled hair. He has been, he tells you, on the tramp for
the last three weeks, seeking work and finding none, slept last night
on the Embankment, and wants to know if you can give him a bite and a
sup, and shelter for the night. Has he any money? Not he; he probably
spent the last penny he begged or earned in a pipe of tobacco, with
which to dull the cravings of his hungry stomach. What are you to do
with this man?
Remember this is no fancy sketch--it is a typical case. There are
hundreds and thousands of such applicants. Any one who is at all
familiar with life in London and our other large towns, will recognise
that gaunt figure standing there asking for bread and shelter or for
work by which he can obtain both. What can we do with him? Before him
Society stands paralysed, quieting its conscience every now and then by
an occasional dole of bread and soup, varied with the semi-criminal
treatment of the Casual Ward, until the manhood is crushed out of the
man and you have in your hands a reckless, despairing, spirit-broken
creature, with not even an aspiration to rise above his miserable
circumstances, covered with vermin and filth, sinking ever lower and
lower, until at last he is hurried out of sight in the rough shell
which carries him to a pauper's grave.
I propose to take that man, put a strong arm round him, and extricate
him from the mire in which he is all but suffocated. As a first step we
will say to him, "You are hungry, here is food; you are homeless, here
is a shelter for your head; but remember you must work for your
rations. This is not charity; it is work for the workless, help for
those who cannot help themselves. There is the labour shed, go and earn
your fourpence, and then come in out of the cold and the wet into the
warm shelter; here is your mug of coffee and your great chunk of bread,
and after you have finished these there is a meeting going on in full
swing with its joyful music and hearty human intercourse. There are
those who pray for you and with you, and will make you feel yourself a
brother among men. There is your shake-down on the floor, where you
will have your warm, quiet bed, undisturbed by the ribaldry and curses
with which you have been familiar too long. There is the wash-house,
where you can have a thorough wash-up at last, after all these days of
unwashedness. There is plenty of soap and warm water and clean towels;
there, too, you can wash your shirt and have it dried while you sleep.
In the morning when you get up there will be breakfast for you,
and your shirt will be dry and clean. Then when you are washed and
rested, and are no longer faint with hunger, you can go and seek a job,
or go back to the Labour shop until something better turns up."
But where and how?
Now let me introduce you to our Labour Yard. Here is no pretence
of charity beyond the charity which gives a man remunerative labour.
It is not our business to pay men wages. What we propose is to enable
those, male or female, who are destitute, to earn their rations and do
enough work to pay for their lodging until they are able to go out into
the world and earn wages for themselves. There is no compulsion upon
any one to resort to our shelter, but if a penniless man wants food he
must, as a rule, do work sufficient to pay for what he has of that and
of other accommodation. I say as a rule because, of course, our
Officers will be allowed to make exceptions in extreme cases, but the
rule will be first work then eat. And that amount of work will be
exacted rigorously. It is that which distinguishes this Scheme from
mere charitable relief.
I do not wish to have any hand in establishing a new centre of
demoralisation. I do not want my customers to be pauperised by being
treated to anything which they do not earn. To develop self-respect in
the man, to make him feel that at last he has go this foot planted on
the first rung of the ladder which leads upwards, is vitally important,
and this cannot be done unless the bargain between him and me is
strictly carried out. So much coffee, so much bread, so much shelter,
so much warmth and light from me, but so much labour in return from
What labour? it is asked. For answer to this question I would like to
take you down to our Industrial Workshops in Whitechapel. There you
will see the Scheme in experimental operation. What we are doing there
we propose to do everywhere up to the extent of the necessity, and
there is no reason why we should fail elsewhere if we can succeed
Our Industrial Factory at Whitechapel was established this Spring.
We opened it on a very small scale. It has developed until we have
nearly ninety men at work. Some of these are skilled workmen who are
engaged in carpentry. The particular job they have now in hand is the
making of benches for the Salvation Army. Others are engaged in
mat-making, some are cobblers, others painters, and so forth.
This trial effort has, so far, answered admirably. No one who is taken
on comes for a permanency. So long as he is willing to work for his
rations he is supplied with materials and provided with skilled
superintendents. The hours of work are eight per day. Here are the
rules and regulations under which the work is carried on at present:-
THE SALVATION ARMY SOCIAL REFORM WING.
36, UPPER THAMES STREET, LONDON, E.C,
CITY INDUSTRIAL WORKSHOPS.
OBJECTS.--These workshops are open for the relief of the unemployed
and destitute, the object being to make it unnecessary for the homeless
or workless to be compelled to go to the Workhouse or Casual Ward,
food and shelter being provided for them in exchange for work done by
them, until they can procure work for themselves, or it can be found
for them elsewhere.
PLAN OF OPERATION.--All those applying for assistance will be placed
in what is termed the first class. They must be willing to do any kind
of work allotted to them. While they remain in the first class,
they shall be entitled to three meals a day, and shelter for the night,
and will be expected in return to cheerfully perform the work allotted
Promotions will be made from this first-class to the second-class of
all those considered eligible by the Labour Directors. They will,
in addition to the food and shelter above mentioned, receive sums of
money up to 5s. at the end of the week, for the purpose of assisting
them to provide themselves with tools, to get work outside.
REGULATIONS.--No smoking, drinking, bad language, or conduct
calculated to demoralize will be permitted on the factory premises.
No one under the influence of drink will be admitted. Any one refusing
to work, or guilty of bad conduct, will be required to leave the
HOURS OF WORK.--7 a.m. to 8.30 a.m.; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.;
2 p.m. to 5.30 p.m, Doors will be closed 5 minutes after 7, 9,
and 2 p.m. Food Checks will be given to all as they pass out at each
meal time. Meals and Shelter provided at 272, Whitechapel Road.
Our practical experience shows that we can provide work by which a man
can earn his rations. We shall be careful not to sell the goods so
manufactured at less than the market prices. In firewood, for instance,
we have endeavoured to be rather above the average than below it.
As stated elsewhere, we are firmly opposed to injuring one class of
workmen while helping another.
Attempts on somewhat similar lines to those now being described have
hitherto excited the liveliest feelings of jealousy on the part of the
Trade Unions, and representatives of labour. They rightly consider it
unfair that labour partly paid for out of the Rates and Taxes, or by
Charitable Contributions, should be put upon the market at less than
market value, and so compete unjustly with the production of those who
have in the first instance to furnish an important quota of the funds
by which these Criminal or Pauper workers are supported. No such
jealousy can justly exist in relation to our Scheme, seeing that we are
endeavouring to raise the standard of labour and are pledged to a war
to the death against sweating in every shape and form.
But, it will be asked, how do these Out-of-Works conduct themselves
when you get them into the Factory? Upon this point I have a very
satisfactory report to render. Many, no doubt, are below par,
under-fed, and suffering from ill health, or the consequence of their
intemperance. Many also are old men, who have been crowded out of the
labour market by their younger generation. But, without making too
many allowances on these grounds, I may fairly say that these men have
shown themselves not only anxious and willing, but able to work.
Our Factory Superintendent reports:-
Of loss or time there has practically been none since the opening,
June 29th. Each man during his stay, with hardly an exception,
has presented himself punctually at opening time and worked more or
less assiduously the whole of the labour hours. The morals of the men
have been good, in not more than three instances has there been an
overt act of disobedience, insubordination, or mischief. The men, as a
whole, are uniformly civil, willing, and satisfied; they are all fairly
industrious, some, and that not a few, are assiduous and energetic.
The Foremen have had no serious complaints to make or delinquencies to
On the 15th of August I had a return made of the names and trades and
mode of employment of the men at work. Of the forty in the shops at
that moment, eight were carpenters, twelve labourers, two tailors,
two sailors, three clerks, two engineers, while among the rest was a
shoemaker, two grocers, a cooper, a sailmaker, a musician, a painter,
and a stonemason. Nineteen of these were employed in sawing, cutting
and tying up firewood, six were making mats, seven making sacks, and
the rest were employed in various odd jobs. Among them was a Russian
carpenter who could not speak a word of English. The whole place is a
hive of industry which fills the hearts of those who go to see it with
hope that something is about to be done to solve the difficulty of the
Although our Factories will be permanent institutions they will not be
anything more than temporary resting-places to those who avail
themselves of their advantages. They are harbours of refuge into which
the storm-tossed workman may run and re-fit, so that he may again push
out to the ordinary sea of labour and earn his living.
The establishment of these Industrial Factories seems to be one of the
most obvious duties of those who would effectually deal with the Social
Problem. They are as indispensable a link in the chain of deliverance
as the Shelters, but they are only a link and not a stopping-place.
And we do not propose that they should be regarded as anything but
stepping-stones to better things.
These Shops will also be of service for men and women temporarily
unemployed who have families, and who possess some sort of a home.
In numerous instances, if by any means these unfortunates could find
bread and rent for a few weeks, they would tide over their
difficulties, and an untold amount of misery would be averted, In such
cases Work would be supplied at their own homes where preferred,
especially for the women and children, and such remuneration would be
aimed at as would supply the immediate necessities of the hour.
To those who have rent to pay and families to support something beyond
rations would be indispensable.
The Labour Shops will enable us to work out our Anti-Sweating
experiments. For instance, we propose at once to commence manufacturing
match boxes, for which we shall aim at giving nearly treble the amount
at present paid to the poor starving creatures engaged in this work.
In all these workshops our success will depend upon the extent to which
we are able to establish and maintain in the minds of the workers sound
moral sentiments and to cultivate a spirit of hopefulness and
aspiration. We shall continually seek to impress upon them the fact
that while we desire to feed the hungry, and clothe the naked, and
provide shelter for the shelterless, we are still more anxious to bring
about that regeneration of heart and life which is essential to their
future happiness and well-being.
But no compulsion will for a moment be allowed with respect to religion.
The man who professes to love and serve God will be helped because of
such profession, and the man who does not will be helped in the hope
that he will, sooner or later, in gratitude to God, do the same; but
there will be no melancholy misery-making for any. There is no
sanctimonious long face in the Army. We talk freely about Salvation,
because it is to us the very light and joy of our existence.
We are happy, and we wish others to share our joy. We know by our own
experience that life is a very different thing when we have found the
peace of God, and are working together with Him for the salvation of
the world, instead of toiling for the realisation of worldly ambition
or the amassing of earthly gain.
SECTION 3.--THE REGIMENTATION OF THE UNEMPLOYED.
When we have got the homeless, penniless tramp washed, and housed,
and fed at the Shelter, and have secured him the means of earning his
fourpence by chopping firewood, or making mats or cobbling the shoes of
his fellow-labourers at the Factory, we have next to seriously address
ourselves to the problem of how to help him to get back into the
regular ranks of industry. The Shelter and the Factory are but
stepping-stones, which have this advantage, they give us time to look
round and to see what there is in a man and what we can make of him.
The first and most obvious thing to do is to ascertain whether there is
any demand in the regular market for the labour which is thus thrown
upon our hands. In order to ascertain this I have already established a
Labour Bureau, the operations of which I shall at once largely extend,
at which employers can register their needs, and workmen can register
their names and the kind of work they can do.
At present there is no labour exchange in existence in this country.
The columns of the daily newspaper are the only substitute for this
much needed register. It is one of the many painful consequences
arising from the overgrowth of cities. In a village where everybody
knows everybody else this necessity does not exist. If a farmer wants
a couple of extra men for mowing or some more women for binding at
harvest time, he runs over in his mind the names of every available
person in the parish. Even in a small town there is little difficulty
in knowing who wants employment. But in the cities this knowledge is
not available; hence we constantly hear of persons who would be very
glad to employ labour for odd jobs in an occasional stress of work
while at the same time hundreds of persons are starving for want of
work at another end of the town. To meet this evil the laws of Supply
and Demand have created the Sweating Middlemen, who farm out the
unfortunates and charge so heavy a commission for their share that the
poor wretches who do the work receive hardly enough to keep body and
soul together. I propose to change all this by establishing Registers
which will enable us to lay our hands at a moment's notice upon all the
unemployed men in a district in any particular trade. In this way we
should become the universal intermediary between those who have no
employment and those who want workmen.
In this we do not propose to supersede or interfere with the regular
Trade Unions. Where Unions exist we should place ourselves in every
case in communication with their officials. But the most helpless mass
of misery is to be found among the unorganised labourers who have no
Union, and who are, therefore, the natural prey of the middleman.
Take, for instance, one of the most wretched classes of the community,
the poor fellows who perambulate the streets as Sandwich Men. These
are farmed out by certain firms. If you wish to send fifty or a
hundred men through London carrying boards announcing the excellence of
your goods, you go to an advertising firm who will undertake to supply
you with as many sandwich men as you want for two shillings or half a
crown a day. The men are forthcoming, your goods are advertised,
you pay your money, but how much of that goes to the men? About one
shilling, or one shilling and threepence; the rest goes to the
middleman. I propose to supersede this middleman by forming a
Co-operative Association of Sandwich Men. At every Shelter there would
be a Sandwich Brigade ready in any numbers when wanted. The cost of
registration and organisation, which the men would gladly pay, need not
certainly amount to more than a penny in the shilling.
All that is needed is to establish a trustworthy and disinterested
centre round which the unemployed can group themselves, and which will
form the nucleus of a great Co-operative Self-helping Association. The
advantages of such a Bureau are obvious. But in this, also, I do not
speak from theory. I have behind me the experience of seven months of
labour both in England and Australia. In London we have a registration
office in Upper Thames Street, where the unemployed come every morning
in droves to register their names and to see whether they can obtain
situations. In Australia, I see, it was stated in the House of
Assembly that our Officers had been instrumental in finding situations
for no less than one hundred and thirty-two "Out-of-Works" in a few
days. Here, in London, we have succeeded in obtaining employment for a
great number, although, of course, it is beyond our power to help all
those who apply. We have sent hay-makers down to the country and there
is every reason to believe that when our Organisation is better known,
and in more extended operation, we shall have a great labour exchange
between town and country, so that when there is scarcity in one place
and congestion in another, there will be information immediately sent,
so that the surplus labour can be drafted into those districts where
labour is wanted. For instance, in the harvest seasons,
with changeable weather, it is quite a common occurrence for the crops
to be seriously damaged for want of labourers, while at the same time
there will be thousands wandering about in the big towns and cities
seeking work, but finding no one to hire them. Extend this system all
over the world, and make it not only applicable to the transfer of
workers between the towns and the provinces, but between Country and
Country, and it is impossible to exaggerate the enormous advantages
which would result. The officer in charge of our experimental Labour
Bureau sends me the following notes as to what has already been done
through the agency of the Upper Thames Street office:
SALVATION ARMY SOCIAL REFORM WING.
Bureau opened June 16th, 1890. The following are particulars of
transactions up to September 26th, 1890: --
Applications for employment--Men .. .. 2462
Women .. 208
Applications from Employers for Men .. 128
Women .. 59
Sent to Work--Men .. .. .. .. .. 301
Women .. .. .. .. 68
Permanent Situations .. .. .. .. .. 146
viz: --Boardmen, Cleaners, &c., &c .. .. 223
Sent to Workshop in Hanbury Street .. .. 165
SECTION 4.--THE HOUSEHOLD SALVAGE BRIGADE.
It is obvious that the moment you begin to find work for the unemployed
labour of the community, no matter what you do by way of the
registration and bringing together of those who want work and those who
want workers, there will still remain a vast residuum of unemployed,
and it will be the duty of those who undertake to deal with the
question to devise means for securing them employment. Many things are
possible when there is a directing intelligence at headquarters and
discipline in the rank and file, which would be utterly impossible when
everyone is left to go where he pleases, when ten men are running for
one man's job, and when no one can be depended upon to be in the way at
the time he is wanted. When my Scheme is carried out, there will be in
every populous centre a Captain of Industry, an Officer specially
charged with the regimentation of unorganised labour, who would be
continually on the alert, thinking how best to utilise the waste human
material in his district. It is contrary to all previous experience to
suppose that the addition of so much trained intelligence will not
operate beneficially in securing the disposal of a commodity which is
at present a drug in the market.
Robertson, of Brighton, used frequently to remark that every truth was
built up of two apparent contradictory propositions. In the same way I
may say that the solution of every social difficulty is to be found in
the discovery of two corresponding difficulties. It is like the puzzle
maps of children. When you are putting one together, you suddenly come
upon some awkward piece that will not fit in anywhere, but you do not
in disgust and despair break your piece into fragments or throw it
away. On the contrary, you keep it by you, knowing that before long
you will discover a number of other pieces which it will be impossible
to fit in until you fix your unmanageable, unshapely piece in the
centre. Now, in the work of piecing together the fragments which lie
scattered around the base of our social system we must not despair
because we have in the unorganised, untrained labourers that which
seems hopelessly out of fit with everything around. There must be
something corresponding to it which is equally useless until he can be
brought to bear upon it. In other words, having got one difficulty in
the case of the Out-of-Works, we must cast about to find another
difficulty to pair off against it, and then out of two difficulties
will arise the solution of the problem.
We shall not have far to seek before we discover in every town and in
every country the corresponding element to our unemployed labourer.
We have waste labour on the one hand; we have waste commodities on the
other. About waste land I shall speak in the next chapter;
I am concerned now solely with waste commodities. Herein we have a
means of immediately employing a large number of men under conditions
which will enable us to permanently provide for many of those whose
hard lot we are now considering.
I propose to establish in every large town what I may call "A Household
Salvage Brigade," a civil force of organised collectors, who will
patrol the whole town as regularly as the policeman, who will have
their appointed beats, and each of whom will been trusted with the task
of collecting the waste of the houses in their circuit. In small towns
and villages this is already done, and it will be noticed that most of
the suggestions which I have put forth in this book are based upon the
central principle, which is that of restoring; to the over-grown, and,
therefore, uninformed masses of population in our towns the same
intelligence and co-operation as to the mutual wants of each and all,
that prevails in your small town or village. The latter is the
manageable unit, because its dimensions and its needs have not
out-grown the range of the individual intelligence and ability of those
who dwell therein. Our troubles in large towns arise chiefly from the
fact that the massing of population has caused the physical bulk of
Society to outgrow its intelligence. It is as if a human being had
suddenly developed fresh limbs which were not connected by any nervous
system with the gray matter of his brain. Such a thing is impossible
in the human being, but, unfortunately, it is only too possible in
human society. In the human body no member can suffer without an
instantaneous telegram being despatched, as it were, to the seat of
intelligence; the foot or the finger cries out when it suffers, and the
whole body suffers with it. So, in a small community, every one, rich
and poor, is more or less cognizant of the sufferings of the community.
In a large town, where people have ceased to be neighbourly, there is
only a congested mass of population settled down on a certain small
area without any human ties connecting them together. Here, it is
perfectly possible, and it frequently happens, that men actually die of
starvation within a few doors of those who, if they had been informed
of the actual condition of the sufferer that lay within earshot of
their comfortable drawing-rooms, would have been eager to minister the
needed relief. What we have to do, therefore, is to grow a new nervous
system for the body politic, to create a swift, almost automatic, means
of communication between the community as a whole and the meanest of
its members, so as to restore to the city what the village possesses.
I do not say that the plan which I have suggested is the only plan or
the best plan conceivable. All that I claim for it is that it is the
only plan which I can conceive as practicable at the present moment,
and that, as a matter of fact, it holds the field alone, for no one,
so far as I have been able to discover, even proposes to reconstitute
the connection between what I have called the gray matter of the brain
of the municipal community and all the individual units which make up
the body politic.
Carrying out the same idea I come to the problem of the waste
commodities of the towns, and we will take this as an earnest of the
working out of the general principle. In the villages there is very
little waste. The sewage is applied directly to the land, and so
becomes a source of wealth instead of being emptied into great
subterranean reservoirs, to generate poisonous gases, which by a most
ingenious arrangement, are then poured forth into the very heart of our
dwellings, as is the case in the great cities. Neither is there any
waste of broken victuals. The villager has his pig or his poultry, or
if he has not a pig his neighbour has one, and the collection of broken
victuals is conducted as regularly as the delivery of the post. And as
it is with broken victuals, so it is with rags and bones, and old iron,
and all the debris of a household. When I was a boy one of the most
familiar figures in the streets of a country town was the man, who,
with his small hand-barrow or donkey-cart, made a regular patrol
through all the streets once a week, collecting rags, bones, and all
other waste materials, buying the same from the juveniles who collected
them in specie, not of Her Majesty's current coin, but of common
sweetmeats, known as "claggum" or "taffy." When the tootling of his
familiar horn was heard the children would bring out their stores, and
trade as best they could with the itinerant merchant, with the result
that the closets which in our towns to-day have become the receptacles
of all kinds of, disused lumber were kept then swept and garnished.
Now, what I want to know is why can we not establish on a scale
commensurate with our extended needs the rag-and-bone industry in all
our great towns? That there is sufficient to pay for the collection is,
I think, indisputable. If it paid in a small North-country town or
Midland village, why would it not pay much better in an area where the
houses stand more closely together, and where luxurious living and
thriftless habits have so increased that there must be proportionately
far more breakage, more waste, and, therefore, more collectable matter
than in the rural districts? In looking over the waste of London it has
occurred to me that in the debris of our households there is sufficient
food, it utilised, to feed many of the starving poor, and to employ
some thousands of them in its collection, and, in addition, largely to
assist the general scheme. What I propose would be to go to work on
something like the following plan:-
London would be divided into districts, beginning with that portion of
it most likely to furnish the largest supplies of what would be worth
collection. Two men, or a man and a boy, would be told of for this
purpose to this district.
Households would be requested to allow a receptacle to be placed in
some convenient spot in which the servants could deposit the waste
food, and a sack of some description would also be supplied for the
paper, rags, &c.
The whole would be collected, say once or twice a week, or more
frequently, according to the season and circumstances, and transferred
to depots as central as possible to the different districts.
At present much of this waste is thrown into the dust-bin, there to
fester and breed disease. Then there are old newspapers, ragged books,
old bottles, tins, canisters, etc. We all know what a number of
articles there are which are not quite bad enough to be thrown into the
dust heap, and yet are no good to us. We put them on one side,
hoping that something may turn up, and as that something very seldom
does turn up, there they remain.
Crippled musical instruments, for instance, old toys, broken-down
perambulators, old clothes, all the things, in short, for which we have
no more need, and for which there is no market within our reach, but
which we feel it would be a sin and a shame to destroy.
When I get my Household Salvage Brigade properly organised, beginning,
as I said, in some district where we should be likely to meet with most
material, our uniformed collectors would call every other day or twice
a week with their hand barrow or pony cart. As these men would be
under strict discipline, and numbered, the householder would have a
security against any abuse of which such regular callers might
otherwise be the occasion.
At present the rag and bone man who drives a more or less precarious
livelihood by intermittent visits, is looked upon askance by prudent
housewives. They fear in many cases he takes the refuse in order to
have the opportunity of finding something which may be worth while
"picking up," and should he be impudent or negligent there is no
authority to whom they can appeal. Under our Brigade, each district
would have its numbered officer, who would himself be subordinate to a
superior officer, to whom any complaints could be made, and whose duty
it would be to see that the officers under his command punctually
performed their rounds and discharged their duties without offence.
Here let me disclaim any intention of interfering with the Little
Sisters of the Poor, or any other persons, who collect the broken
victuals of hotels and other establishments for charitable purposes.
My object is not to poach on my neighbour's domains, nor shall I ever
be a party to any contentious quarrels for the control of this or that
source of supply. All that is already utilised I regard as outside my
sphere. The unoccupied wilderness of waste is a wide enough area for
the operations of our Brigade. But it will be found in practice that
there are no competing agencies. While the broken victuals of certain
large hotels are regularly collected, the things before enumerated,
and a number of others, are untouched because not sought after.
Of the immense extent to which Food is wasted few people have any
notion except those who have made actual experiments. Some years ago,
Lady Wolseley established a system of collection from house to house in
Mayfair, in order to secure materials for a charitable kitchen which,
in concert with Baroness Burdett-Coutts, she had started at
Westminster. The amount of the food which she gathered was enormous.
Sometimes legs of mutton from which only one or two slices had been cut
were thrown into the tub, where they waited for the arrival of the cart
on its rounds. It is by no means an excessive estimate to assume that
the waste of the kitchens of the West End would provide a sufficient
sustenance for all the Out-of-Works who will be employed in our labour
sheds at the industrial centres. All that it needs is collection,
prompt, systematic, by disciplined men who can be relied upon to
discharge their task with punctuality and civility, and whose failure
in this duty can be directly brought to the attention of the
Of the utilisation of much of the food which is to be so collected I
shall speak hereafter, when I come to describe the second great
division of my scheme, namely the Farm Colony. Much of the food
collected by the Household Salvage Brigade would not be available for
human consumption. In this the greatest care would be exercised,
and the remainder would be dispatched, if possible, by barges down the
river to the Farm Colony, where we shall meet it hereafter.
But food is only one of the materials which we should handle. At our
Whitechapel Factory there is one shoemaker whom we picked off the
streets destitute and miserable. He is now saved, and happy, and
cobbles away at the shoe leather of his mates. That shoemaker, I
foresee, is but the pioneer of a whole army of shoemakers constantly at
work in repairing the cast-off boots and shoes of London. Already in
some provincial towns a great business is done by the conversion of old
shoes into new. They call the men so employed translators. Boots and
shoes, as every wearer of them knows, do not go to pieces all at once
or in all parts at once. The sole often wears out utterly, while the
upper leather is quite good, or the upper leather bursts while the sole
remains practically in a salvable condition; but your individual pair
of shoes and boots are no good to you when any section of them is
hopelessly gone to the bad. But give our trained artist in leather and
his army of assistants a couple of thousand pairs of boots and shoes,
and it will go ill with him if out of the couple of thousand pairs of
wrecks he cannot construct five hundred pairs, which, if not quite
good, will be immeasurably better than the apologies for boots which
cover the feet of many a poor tramp, to say nothing of the thousands of
poor children who are at the present moment attending our public
schools. In some towns they have already established a Boot and Shoe
Fund in order to provide the little ones who come to school with shoes
warranted not to let in water between the school house and home. When
you remember the 43,000 children who are reported by the School Board
to attend the schools of London alone unfed and starving, do you not
think there are many thousands to whom we could easily dispose, with
advantage, the resurrected shoes of our Boot Factory?
This, however, is only one branch of industry. Take old umbrellas.
We all know the itinerant umbrella mender, whose appearance in the
neighbourhood of the farmhouse leads the good wife to look after her
poultry and to see well to it that the watchdog is on the premises.
But that gentleman is almost the only agency by which old umbrellas can
be rescued from the dust heap. Side by side with our Boot Factory we
shall have a great umbrella works. The ironwork of one umbrella will
be fitted to the stick of another, and even from those that are too
hopelessly gone for any further use as umbrellas we shall find plenty
of use for their steels and whalebone.
So I might go on. Bottles are a fertile source of minor domestic
worry. When you buy a bottle you have to pay a penny for it; but when
you have emptied it you cannot get a penny back; no, nor even a
farthing. You throw your empty bottle either into the dust heap,
or let it lie about. But if we could collect all the waste bottles of
London every day, it would go hardly with us if we could not turn a
very pretty penny by washing them, sorting them, and sending them out
on a new lease of life. The washing of old bottles alone will keep a
considerable number of people going.
I can imagine the objection which will be raised by some shortsighted
people, that by giving the old, second-hand material a new lease of
life it will be said that we shall diminish the demand for new
material, and so curtail work and wages at one end while we are
endeavouring to piece on something at the other. This objection reminds
me of a remark of a North Country pilot who, when speaking of the
dulness in the shipbuilding industry, said that nothing would do any
good but a series of heavy storms, which would send a goodly number of
ocean-going steamers to the bottom, to replace which, this political
economist thought, the yards would once more be filled with orders.
This, however, is not the way in which work is supplied. Economy is a
great auxiliary to trade, inasmuch as the money saved is expended on
other products of industry.
There is one material that is continually increasing in quantity, which
is the despair of the life of the householder and of the Local Sanitary
Authority. I refer to the tins in which provisions are supplied.
Nowadays everything comes to us in tins. We have coffee tins,
meat tins, salmon tins, and tins ad nauseam. Tin is becoming more and
more the universal envelope of the rations of man. But when you have
extracted the contents of the tin what can you do with it?
Huge mountains of empty tins lie about every dustyard, for as yet no
man has discovered a means of utilising them when in great masses.
Their market price is about four or five shillings a ton, but they are
so light that it would take half a dozen trucks to hold a ton.
They formerly burnt them for the sake of the solder, but now, by a new
process, they are jointed without solder. The problem of the
utilisation of the tins is one to which we would have to address
ourselves, and I am by no means desponding as to the result.
I see in the old tins of London at least one means of establishing an
industry which is at present almost monopolised by our neighbours.
Most of the toys which are sold in France on New Year's Day are almost
entirely made of sardine tins collected in the French capital. The toy
market of England is at present far from being overstocked, for there
are multitudes of children who have no toys worth speaking of with
which to amuse themselves. In these empty tins I see a means of
employing a large number of people in turning out cheap toys which will
add a new joy to the households of the poor--the poor to whom every
farthing is important, not the rich the rich can always get toys--but
the children of the poor, who live in one room and have nothing to look
out upon but the slum or the street. These desolate little things need
our toys, and if supplied cheap enough they will take them in
sufficient quantities to make it worth while to manufacture them.
A whole book might be written concerning the utilisation of the waste
of London. But I am not going to write one. I hope before long to do
something much better than write a book, namely, to establish an
organisation to utilise the waste, and then if I describe what is being
done it will be much better than by now explaining what I propose to do.
But there is one more waste material to which it is necessary to allude.
I refer to old newspapers and magazines, and books.
Newspapers accumulate in our houses until we sometimes burn them in
sheer disgust. Magazines and old books lumber our shelves until we
hardly know where to turn to put a new volume. My Brigade will relieve
the householder from these difficulties, and thereby become a great
distributing agency of cheap literature. After the magazine has done
its duty in the middle class household it can be passed on to the
reading-rooms, workhouses, and hospitals. Every publication issued
from the Press that is of the slightest use to men and women will,
by our Scheme, acquire a double share of usefulness. It will be read
first by its owner, and then by many people who would never otherwise
We shall establish an immense second-hand book shop. All the best
books that come into our hands will be exposed for sale, not merely at
our central depots, but on the barrows of our peripatetic colporteurs,
who will go from street to street with literature which, I trust, will
be somewhat superior to the ordinary pabulum supplied to the poor.
After we have sold all we could, and given away all that is needed to
public institutions, the remainder will be carried down to our great
Paper Mill, of which we shall speak later, in connection with our Farm
The Household Salvage Brigade will constitute an agency capable of
being utilised to any extent for the distribution of parcels
newspapers, &c. When once you have your reliable man who will call at
every house with the regularity of a postman, and go his beat with the
punctuality of a policeman, you can do great things with him. I do not
need to elaborate this point. It will be a universal Corps of
Commissionaires, created for the service of the public and in the
interests of the poor, which will bring us into direct relations with
every family in London, and will therefore constitute an unequalled
medium for the distribution of advertisements and the collection of
It does not require a very fertile imagination to see that when such a
house-to-house visitation is regularly established, it will develop in
all directions; and working, as it would, in connection with our
Anti-sweating Shops and Industrial Colony, would probably soon become
the medium for negotiating sundry household repairs, from a broken
window to a damaged stocking. If a porter were wanted to move
furniture, or a woman wanted to do charing, or some one to clean
windows or any other odd job, the ubiquitous Servant of All who called
for the waste, either verbally or by postcard, would receive the order,
and whoever was wanted would appear at the time desired without any
further trouble on the part of the householder.
One word as to the cost. There are five hundred thousand houses in the
Metropolitan Police district. To supply every house with a tub and a
sack for the reception of waste would involve an initial expenditure
which could not possibly be less than one shilling a house. So huge is
London, and so enormous the numbers with which we shall have to deal,
that this simple preliminary would require a cost of #25,000.
Of course I do not propose to begin on anything like such a vast scale.
That sum, which is only one of the many expenditures involved, will
serve to illustrate the extent of the operations which the Household
Salvage Brigade will necessitate. The enterprise is therefore beyond
the reach of any but a great and powerful organisation, commanding
capital and able to secure loyalty, discipline, and willing service.
CHAPTER 3. TO THE COUNTRY!--THE FARM COLONY.
A leave on one side for a moment various features of the operations
which will be indispensable but subsidiary to the City Colony, such as
the Rescue Homes for Lost Women, the Retreats for Inebriates, the Homes
for Discharged Prisoners, the Enquiry Office for the Discovery of Lost
Friends and Relatives, and the Advice Bureau, which will, in time,
become an institution that will be invaluable as a poor man's Tribune.
All these and other suggestions for saving the lost and helping the
poor, although they form essential elements of the City Colony, will be
better dealt with after I have explained the relation which the Farm
Colony will occupy to the City Colony, and set forth the way in which
the former will act as a feeder to the Colony Over sea.
I have already described how I propose to deal, in the first case, with
the mass of surplus labour which will infallibly accumulate on our
hands as soon as the Shelters are more extensively established and in
good working order. But I fully recognise that when all has been done
that can be done in the direction of disposing of the unhired men and
women of the town, there will still remain many whom you can neither
employ in the Household Salvage Brigade, nor for whom employers,
be they registered never so carefully, can be found. What, then, must
be done with them? The answer to that question seems to me obvious.
They must go upon the land!
The land is the source of all food; only by the application of labour
can the land be made fully productive. There is any amount of waste
land in the world, not far away in distant Continents, next door to the
North Pole, but here at our very doors. Have you ever calculated,
for instance, the square miles of unused land which fringe the sides of
all our railroads? No doubt some embankments are of material that
would baffle the cultivating skill at a Chinese or the careful
husbandry of a Swiss mountaineer; but these are exceptions. When other
people talk of reclaiming Salisbury Plain, or of cultivating the bare
moorlands of the bleak North, I think of the hundreds of square miles
of land that lie in long ribbons on the side of each of our railways,
upon which, without any cost for cartage, innumerable tons of City
manure could be shot down, and the crops of which could be carried at
once to the nearest market without any but the initial cost of heaping
into convenient trucks. These railway embankments constitute a vast
estate, capable of growing fruit enough to supply all the jam that
Crosse and Blackwell ever boiled. In almost every county in England
are vacant farms, and, in still greater numbers, farms but a quarter
cultivated, which only need the application of an industrious
population working with due incentive to produce twice, thrice,
and four times as much as they yield to-day.
I am aware that there are few subjects upon which there are such fierce
controversies as the possibilities of making a livelihood out of small
holdings, but Irish cottiers do it, and in regions infinitely worse
adapted for the purpose than our Essex corn lands, and possessing none
of the advantages which civilization and co-operation place at the
command of an intelligently directed body of husbandmen. Talk about
the land not being worth cultivating! Go to the Swiss Valleys and
examine for yourself the miserable patches of land, hewed out as it
were from the heart of the granite mountains, where the cottager grows
his crops and makes a livelihood. No doubt he has his Alp, where his
cows pasture in summer-time, and his other occupations which enable him
to supplement the scanty yield of his farm garden among the crags;
but if it pays the Swiss mountaineer in the midst of the eternal snows,
far removed from any market, to cultivate such miserable soil in the
brief summer of the high Alps, it is impossible to believe that
Englishmen, working on English soil, close to our markets and enjoying
all the advantages of co-operation, cannot earn their daily bread by
their daily toil. The soil of England is not unkindly, and although
much is said against our climate, it is, as Mr. Russell Lowell
observes, after a lengthened experience of many countries and many
climes, "the best climate in the whole world for the labouring man."
There are more days in the English year on which a man can work out of
doors with a spade with comparative comfort than in any other country
under heaven. I do not say that men will make a fortune out of the
land, nor do I pretend that we can, under the grey English skies,
hope ever to vie with the productiveness of the Jersey farms; but I am
prepared to maintain against all comers that it is possible for an
industrious man to grow his rations, provided he is given a spade with
which to dig and land to dig in. Especially will this be the case with
intelligent direction and the advantages of co-operation.
Is it not a reasonable supposition? It always seems to me a strange
thing that men should insist that you must first transport your
labourer thousands of miles to a desolate, bleak country in order to
set him to work to extract a livelihood from the soil when hundreds of
thousands of acres lie only half tilled at home or not tilled at all.
Is it reasonable to think that you can only begin to make a living out
of land when it lies several thousand miles from the nearest market,
and thousands of miles from the place where the labourer has to buy his
tools and procure all the necessaries of life which are not grown on
the spot? If a man can make squatting pay on the prairies or in
Australia, where every quarter of grain which he produces has to be
dragged by locomotives across the railways of the continent, and then
carried by steamers across the wide ocean, can he not equally make the
operation at least sufficiently profitable to keep himself alive if you
plant him with the same soil within an hour by rail of the greatest
markets in the world?
The answer to this is, that you cannot give your man as much soil as he
has on the prairies or in the Canadian lumber lands. This, no doubt,
is true, but the squatter who settles in the Canadian backwoods does
not clear his land all at once. He lives on a small portion of it,
and goes on digging and delving little by little, until, after many
years of Herculean labour, he hews out for himself, and his children
after him, a freehold estate. Freehold estates, I admit, are not to be
had for the picking up on English soil, but if a man will but work in
England as they work in Canada or in Australia, he will find as little
difficulty in making a livelihood here as there.
I may be wrong, but when I travel abroad and see the desperate struggle
on the part of peasant proprietors and the small holders in mountainous
districts for an additional patch of soil, the idea of cultivating
which would make our agricultural labourers turn up their noses in
speechless contempt, I cannot but think that our English soil could
carry a far greater number of souls to the acre than that which it
bears at present. Suppose, for instance, that Essex were suddenly to
find itself unmoored from its English anchorage and towed across the
Channel to Normandy, or, not to imagine miracles, suppose that an
Armada of Chinese were to make a descent on the Isle of Thanet, as did
the sea-kings, Hengist and Horsa, does anyone imagine for a moment that
Kent, fertile and cultivated as it is, would not be regarded as a very
Garden of Eden out of the odd corners of which our yellow-skinned
invaders would contrive to extract sufficient to keep themselves in
sturdy health? I only suggest the possibility in order to bring out
clearly the fact that the difficulty is not in the soil nor in the
climate, but in the lack of application of sufficient labour to
sufficient land in the truly scientific way.
"What is the scientific way?" I shall be asked impatiently. I am not
an agriculturist; I do not dogmatize. I have read much from many pens,
and have noted the experiences of many colonies, and I have learned the
lesson that it is in the school of practical labour that the most
valuable knowledge is to be obtained. Nevertheless, the bulk of my
proposals are based upon the experience of many who have devoted their
lives to the study of the subject, and have been endorsed by
specialists whose experience gives them authority to speak with
SECTION 1.--THE FARM PROPER.
My present idea is to take an estate from five hundred to a thousand
acres within reasonable distance of London. It should be of such land
as will be suitable for market gardening, while having some clay on it
for brick-making and for crops requiring a heavier soil. If possible,
it should not only be on a line of railway which is managed by
intelligent and progressive directors, but it should have access to the
sea and to the river. It should be freehold land, and it should lie at
some considerable distance from any town or village. The reason for
the latter desideratum is obvious. We must be near London for the sake
of our market and for the transmission of the commodities collected by
our Household Salvage Brigade, but it must be some little distance from
any town or village in order that the Colony may be planted clear out
in the open away from the public house, that upas tree of civilisation.
A sine qua non of the new Farm Colony is that no intoxicating liquors
will be permitted within its confines on any pretext whatever.
The doctors will have to prescribe some other stimulant than alcohol
for residents in this Colony. But it will be little use excluding
alcohol with a strong hand and by cast-iron regulations if the
Colonists have only to take a short walk in order to find themselves in
the midst of the "Red Lions," and the "Blue Dragons," and the
"George the Fourths," which abound in every country town.
Having obtained the land I should proceed to prepare it for the
Colonists. This is an operation which is essentially the same in any
country. You need water supply, provisions and shelter. All this
would be done at first in the simplest possible style. Our pioneer
brigade, carefully selected from the competent Out-of-Works in the City
Colony, would be sent down to layout the estate and prepare it for
those who would come after. And here let me say that it is a great
delusion to imagine that in the riffraff and waste of the labour market
there are no workmen to be had except those that are worthless.
Worthless under the present conditions, exposed to constant temptations
to intemperance no doubt they are, but some of the brightest men in
London, with some of the smartest pairs of hands, and the cleverest
brains, are at the present moment weltering helplessly in the sludge
from which we propose to rescue them.
I am not speaking without book in this matter. Some of my best
Officers to-day have been even such as they. There is an infinite
potentiality of capacity lying latent in our Provincial Tap-rooms and
the City Gin Palaces if you can but get them soundly saved, and even
short of that, if you can place them in conditions where they would no
longer be liable to be sucked back into their old disastrous habits,
you may do great things with them.
I can well imagine the incredulous laughter which will greet my proposal.
"What," it will be said, "do you think that you can create agricultural
pioneers out of the scum of Cockneydom?" Let us look for a moment at
the ingredients which make up what you call "the scum of Cockneydom."
After careful examination and close cross-questioning of the
Out-of-Works, whom we have already registered at our Labour Bureau,
we find that at least sixty per cent. are country folk, men, women,
boys, and girls, who have left their homes in the counties to come up
to town in the hope of bettering themselves. They are in no sense of
the word Cockneys, and they represent not the dregs of the country but
rather its brighter and more adventurous spirits who have boldly tried
to make their way in new and uncongenial spheres and have terribly come
to grief. Of thirty cases, selected haphazard, in the various Shelters
during the week ending July 5th, 1890, twenty-two were country-born,
sixteen were men who had come up a long time ago, but did not ever seem
to have settled to regular employ, and four were old military men.
Of sixty cases examined into at the Bureau and Shelters during the
fortnight ending August 2nd, forty-two were country people; twenty-six
men who had been in London for various periods; ranging from six months
to four years; nine were lads under eighteen, who had run away from
home and come up to town; while four were ex-military. Of eighty-five
cases of dossers who were spoken to at night when they slept in the
streets, sixty-three were country people. A very small proportion of
the genuine homeless Out-of-Works are Londoners bred and born.
There is another element in the matter, the existence of which will be
news to most people, and that is the large proportion of ex-military
men who are among the helpless, hopeless destitute. Mr. Arnold White,
after spending many months in the streets of London interrogating more
than four thousand men whom he found in the course of one bleak winter
sleeping out of doors like animals returns it as his conviction that at
least 20 per cent. are Army Reserve men. Twenty per cent! That is to
say one man in every five with whom we shall have to deal has served
Her Majesty the Queen under the colours. This is the resource to which
these poor fellows come after they have given the prime of their lives
to the service of their country. Although this may be largely brought
about by their own thriftless and evil conduct, it is a scandal and
disgrace which may well make the cheek of the patriot tingle.
Still, I see in it a great resource. A man who has been in the Queen's
Army is a man who has learnt to obey. He is further a man who has been
taught in the roughest of rough schools to be handy and smart, to make
the best of the roughest fare, and not to consider himself a martyr if
he is sent on a forlorn hope. I often say if we could only get
Christians to have one-half of the practical devotion and sense of duty
that animates even the commonest Tommy Atkins what a change would be
brought about in the world!
Look at poor Tommy! A country lad who gets himself into some scrape,
runs away from home, finds himself sinking lower and lower, with no
hope of employment, no friends to advise; him, and no one to give him a
helping hand. In sheer despair he takes the Queen's shilling and
enters the ranks. He is handed over to an inexorable drill sergeant,
he is compelled to room in barracks where privacy is unknown, to mix
with men, many of them vicious, few of them companions whom he would of
his own choice select. He gets his rations, and although he is told he
will get a shilling a day, there are so many stoppages that he often
does not finger a shilling a week. He is drilled and worked and
ordered hither and thither as if he were a machine, all of which he
takes cheerfully, without even considering that there is any hardship
in his lot, plodding on in a dull, stolid kind of way for his Queen and
his country, doing his best, also, poor chap, to be proud of his red
uniform, and to cultivate his self-respect by reflecting that he is one
of the defenders of his native land, one of the heroes upon whose
courage and endurance depends the safety of the British realm.
Some fine day at the other end of the world some prancing pro-consul
finds it necessary to smash one of the man-slaying machines that loom
ominous on his borders, or some savage potentate makes an incursion
into territory of a British colony, or some fierce outburst of
Mahommedan fanaticism raises up a Mahdi in mid-Africa. In a moment
Tommy Atkins is marched off to the troop-ship, and swept across the
seas, heart-sick and sea-sick, and miserable exceedingly, to tight the
Queen's enemies in foreign parts. When he arrives there he is bundled
ashore, brigaded with other troops, marched to the front through the
blistering glare of a tropical sun over poisonous marshes in which his
comrades sicken and die, until at last he is drawn up in square to
receive the charge of tens of thousands of ferocious savages.
Far away from all who love him or care for him, foot-sore and travel
weary, having eaten perhaps but a piece of dry bread in the last
twenty-four hours, he must stand up and kill or be killed. Often he
falls beneath the thrust of an assegai or the slashing broadsword of
the charging enemy. Then, after the fight is over his comrades turn up
the sod where he lies, bundle his poor bones into the shallow pit,
and leave him without even a cross to mark his solitary grave.
Perhaps he is fortunate and escapes. Yet Tommy goes uncomplainingly
through all these hardships and privations, does not think himself
a martyr, takes no fine airs about what he has done and suffered,
and shrinks uncomplainingly into our Shelters and our Factories, only
asking as a benediction from heaven that someone will give him an
honest job of work to do. That is the fate of Tommy Atkins. If in our
churches and chapels as much as one single individual were to bear and
dare, for the benefit of his kind and the salvation of men, what a
hundred thousand Tommy Atkins' bear uncomplainingly, taking it all as
if it were in the day's work, for their rations and their shilling a
day (with stoppages), think you we should not transform the whole face
of the world? Yea, verily. We find but very little of such devotion;
no, not in Israel.
I look forward to making great use of these Army Reserve men.
There are engineers amongst them; there are artillery men and infantry;
there are cavalry men, who know what a horse needs to keep him in good
health, and men of the transport department, for whom I shall find work
enough to do in the transference of the multitudinous waste of London
from our town Depots to the outlying Farm. This, however, is a
digression, by the way.
After having got the Farm into some kind of ship-shape, we should
select from the City Colonies all those who were likely to be
successful as our first settlers. These would consist of men who had
been working so many weeks or days in the Labour Factory, or had been
under observation for a reasonable time at the Shelters or in the
Slums, and who had given evidence of their willingness to work, their
amenity to discipline, and their ambition to improve themselves.
On arrival at the Farm they would be installed in a barracks, and at
once told off to work. In winter time there would be draining,
and road-making, and fencing, and many other forms of industry which
could go on when the days are short and the nights are long.
In Spring, Summertime and Autumn, some would be employed on the land,
chiefly in spade husbandry, upon what is called the system of
"intensive" agriculture, such as prevails in the suburbs of Paris,
where the market gardeners literally create the soil, and which yields
much greater results than when you merely scratch the surface with a
Our Farm, I hope, would be as productive as a great market garden.
There would be a Superintendent on the Colony, who would be a practical
gardener, familiar with the best methods of small agriculture,
and everything that science and experience shows to be needful for the
profitable treatment of the land. Then there would be various other
forms of industry continually in progress, so that employment could be
furnished, adapted to the capacity and skill of every Colonist.
Where farm buildings are wanted, the Colonists must erect them
themselves. If they want glass houses, they must put them up.
Everything on the Estate must be the production of the Colonists.
Take, for instance, the building of cottages. After the first
detachment has settled down into its quarters and brought the fields
somewhat into cultivation, there will arise a demand for houses.
These houses must be built, and the bricks made; by the Colonists
themselves. All the carpentering and the joinery will be done on the
premises, and by this means a sustained demand for work will be
created. Then there would be furniture, clothing, and a great many
other wants, the supply of the whole of which would create labour which
the Colonists must perform.
For a long time to come the Salvation Army will be able to consume all
the vegetables and crops which the Colonies will produce. That is one
advantage of being connected with so great and growing a concern;
the right hand will help the left, and we shall be able to do many
things which those who devote themselves exclusively to colonisation
would find it impossible to accomplish. We have seen the large
quantities of provisions which are required to supply the Food Depots
in their present dimensions, and with the coming extensions the
consumption will be enormously augmented. On this Farm I propose to
carry on every description of "little agriculture."
I have not yet referred to the female side of our operations,
but have reserved them for another chapter. It is necessary, however,
to bring them in here in order to explain that employment will be
created for women as well as men. Fruit farming affords a great
opening for female labour, and it will indeed be a change as from
Tophet to the Garden of Eden when the poor lost girls on the
streets of London exchange the pavements of Piccadilly for the
strawberry Beds of Essex or Kent.
Not only will vegetables and fruit of every description be raised,
but I think that a great deal might be done in the smaller adjuncts of
It is quite certain that amongst the mass of people with whom we have
to deal there will be a residual remnant of persons to some extent
mentally infirm or physically incapacitated from engaging in the harder
toils. For these people it is necessary to find work, and I think
there would be a good field for their benumbed energies in looking
after rabbits, feeding poultry, minding bees, and, in short doing all
those little odd jobs about a place which must be attended to,
but which will not repay the labour of able-bodied men.
One advantage of the cosmopolitan nature of the Army is that we have
Officers in almost every country in the world. When this Scheme is
well on the way every Salvation Officer in every I and will have it
imposed upon him as one of the duties of his calling to keep his eyes
open for every useful notion and every conceivable contrivance for
increasing the yield of the soil and utilising the employment of waste
labour. By this means I hope that there will not be an idea in the
world which will not be made available for our Scheme. If an Officer
in Sweden can give us practical hints as to how they manage food
kitchens for the people, or an Officer in the South of France can
explain how the peasants are able to rear eggs and poultry not only for
their own use, but so as to be able to export them by the million to
England; if a Sergeant in Belgium understands how it is that the rabbit
farmers there can feed and fatten and supply our market with millions
of rabbits we shall have him over, tap his brains, and set him to work
to benefit our people.
By the establishment of this Farm Colony we should create a great
school of technical agricultural education. It would be a Working
Men's Agricultural University, training people for the life which they
would have to lead in the new countries they will go forth to colonise
Every man who goes to our Farm Colony does so, not to acquire his
fortune, but to obtain a knowledge of an occupation and that mastery of
his tools which will enable him to play his part in the battle of life.
He will be provided with a cheap uniform, which we shall find no
difficulty in rigging up from the old clothes of London, and it will go
hardly with us, and we shall have worse luck than the ordinary market
gardener, if we do not succeed in making sufficient profit to pay all
the expenses of the concern, and leave something over for the
maintenance of the hopelessly incompetent, and those who, to put it
roughly, are not worth their keep.
Every person in the Farm Colony will be taught the elementary lesson of
obedience, and will be instructed in the needful arts of husbandry,
or some other method of earning his bread. The Agricultural Section
will learn the lesson of the seasons and of the best kind of seeds and
plants. Those belonging to this Section will learn how to hedge and
ditch, how to make roads and build bridges, and generally to subdue the
earth and make it yield to him the riches which it never withholds from
the industrious and skilful workman. But the Farm Colony, any more
than the City Colony, although an abiding institution, will not provide
permanently for those with whom we have to deal. It is a Training
School for Emigrants, a place where those indispensably practical
lessons are given which will enable the Colonists to know their way
about and to feel themselves at home wherever there is land to till,
stock to rear, and harvests to reap. We shall rely greatly for the
peace and prosperity of the Colony upon the sense of brotherhood which
will be universal in it from the highest to the lowest. While there
will be no systematic wage-paying there will be some sort of rewards
and remuneration for honest industry, which will be stored up, for his
benefit, as afterwards explained. They will in the main work each for
all, and, therefore, the needs of all will be supplied, and any
overplus will go to make the bridge over which any poor fellow may
escape from the horrible pit and the miry clay from which they
themselves have been rescued.
The dulness and deadness of country life, especially in the Colonies,
leads many men to prefer a life of hardship and privation in a City
slum. But in our Colony they would be near to each other, and would
enjoy the advantages of country life and the association and
companionship of life in town.
SECTION 2.--THE INDUSTRIAL VILLAGE.
In describing the operations of the Household Salvage Brigade I have
referred to the enormous quantities of good sound food which would be
collected from door to door every day of the year. Much of this food
would be suitable for human consumption, its waste being next door to
sinful. Imagine, for instance, the quantities of soup which might be
made from boiling the good fresh meaty bones of the great City!
Think of the dainty dishes which a French cook would be able to serve
up from the scraps and odds and ends of a single West End kitchen.
Good cookery is not an extravagance but an economy, and many a tasty
dish is made by our Continental friends out of materials which would be
discarded indignantly by the poorest tramp in Whitechapel.
But after all that is done there will remain a mass of food which
cannot be eaten by man, but can be converted into food for him by the
simple process of passing it through another digestive apparatus.
The old bread of London, the soiled, stale crusts can be used in
foddering the horses which are employed in collecting the waste.
It will help to feed the rabbits, whose hutches will be close by every
cottage on the estate, and the hens of the Colony will flourish on the
crumbs which fall from the table of Dives. But after the horses and
the rabbits and poultry have been served, there will remain a residuum
of eatable matter, which can only be profitably disposed of to the
voracious and necessary pig. I foresee the rise of a piggery in
connection with the new Social Scheme, which will dwarf into
insignificance all that exist in Great Britain and Ireland. We have
the advantage of the experience of the whole world as to the choice of
breeds, the construction of sties, and the rearing of stock. We shall
have the major part of our food practically for the cost of collection,
and be able to adopt all the latest methods of Chicago for the killing,
curing, and disposing of our pork, ham, and bacon.
There are few animals more useful than the pig. He will eat anything,
live anywhere, and almost every particle of him, from the tip of his
nose to the end of his tail, is capable of being converted into a
saleable commodity. Your pig also is a great producer of manure,
and agriculture is after all largely a matter of manure. Treat the
land well and it will treat you well. With our piggery in connection
with our Farm Colony there would be no lack of manure.
With the piggery there would grow up a great bacon factory for curing,
and that again would make more work. Then as for sausages they would
be produced literally by the mile, and all made of the best meat
instead of being manufactured out of the very objectionable ingredients
too often stowed away in that poor man's favourite ration.
Food, however, is only one of the materials which will be collected
by the Household Salvage Brigade. The barges which float down the
river with the tide, laden to the brim with the cast-off waste of
half a million homes, will bring down an enormous quantity of material
which cannot be eaten even by pigs. There will be, for instance, the
old bones. At present it pays speculators to go to the prairies of
America and gather up the bleached bones of the dead buffaloes,
in order to make manure. It pays manufacturers to bring bones from the
end of the earth in order to grind them up for use on our fields.
But the waste bones of London; who collects them? I see, as in a
vision, barge loads upon barge loads of bones floating down the Thames
to the great Bone Factory. Some of the best will yield material for
knife handles and buttons, and the numberless articles which will
afford ample opportunity in the long winter evenings for the
acquisition of skill on the part of our Colonist carvers, while the
rest will go straight to the Manure Mill. There will be a constant
demand for manure on the part of our ever-increasing nests of new
Colonies and our Co-operative Farm, every man in which will be educated
in the great doctrine that there is no good agriculture without liberal
manuring. And here will be an unfailing source of supply.
Among the material which comes down will be an immense quantity of
greasy matter, bits of fat, suet and lard, tallow, strong butter,
and all the rancid fat of a great city. For all that we shall have to
find use. The best of it will make waggon grease, the rest, after due
boiling and straining, will form the nucleus of the raw material which
will make our Social Soap a household word throughout the kingdom.
After the Manure Works, the Soap Factory will be the natural adjunct of
The fourth great output of the daily waste of London will be waste
paper and rags, which, after being chemically treated, and duly
manipulated by machinery, will be re-issued to the world in the shape
of paper. The Salvation Army consumes no less than thirty tons of
paper every week. Here, therefore, would be one customer for as much
paper as the new mill would be able to turn out at the onset; paper on
which we could print the glad tidings of great joy, and tell the poor
of all nations the news of salvation for earth and Heaven, full,
present, and free to all the children of men.
Then comes the tin. It will go hard with us if we cannot find some way
of utilizing these tins, whether we make them into flowerpots with a
coat of enamel, or convert them into ornaments, or cut them up for toys
or some other purpose. My officers have been instructed to make an
exhaustive report on the way the refuse collectors of Paris deal with
the sardine tins. The industry of making tin toys will be one which
can be practised better in the Farm Colony than in the City.
If necessary, we shall bring an accomplished workman from France,
who will teach our people the way of dealing with the tin.
In connection with all this it is obvious there would be a constant
demand for packing cases, for twine, rope, and for boxes of all kinds;
for carts and cars; and, in short, we should before long have a
complete community practising almost all the trades that are to be
found in London, except the keeping of grog shops, the whole being
worked upon co-operative principles, but co-operation not for the
benefit of the individual co-operator, but for the benefit of the
sunken mass that lies behind it.
RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF COLONISTS.
A document containing the Orders and Regulations for the Government of
the Colony must be approved and signed by every Colonist before
admission. Amongst other things there will be the following: --
1. All Officers must be treated respectfully and implicitly obeyed.
2. The use of intoxicants strictly prohibited, none being allowed
within its borders. Any Colonist guilty of violating this Order to
be expelled, and that on the first offence.
3. Expulsion for drunkenness, dishonesty, or falsehood will follow the
4. Profane language strictly forbidden.
5. No cruelty to be practised on man, woman, child, or animal.
6. Serious offenders against the virtue of women, or of children of
either sex, to incur immediate expulsion.
7. After a certain period of probation, and a considerable amount of
patience, all who will not work to be expelled.
8. The decision of the Governor of the Colony, whether in the City,
or the Farm, or Over the Sea, to be binding in all cases.
9. With respect to penalties, the following rules will be acted upon.
The chief reliance for the maintenance of order, as has been
observed before, will be placed upon the spirit of love which will
prevail throughout the community. But as it cannot be expected to
be universally successful, certain penalties will have to be
(a) First offences, except in flagrant cases, will be recorded.
(b) The second offence will be published.
(c) The third offence will incur expulsion or being handed over to the
Other regulations will be necessary as the Scheme develops.
There will be no attempt to enforce upon the Colonists the rules and
regulations to which Salvation Soldiers are subjected. Those who are
soundly saved and who of their own free will desire to become
Salvationists will, of course, be subjected to the rules of the
Service. But Colonists who are willing to work and obey the orders of
the Commanding Officer will only be subject to the foregoing and
similar regulations; in all other things they will be left free.
For instance, there will be no objection to field recreations or any
outdoor exercises which conduce to the maintenance of health and
spirits. A reading room and a library will be provided, together with
a hall, in which they can amuse themselves in the long winter nights
and in unfavourable weather. These things are not for the Salvation
Army Soldiers, who have other work in the world, but for those who are
not in the Army these recreations will be permissible. Gambling and
anything of an immoral tendency will be repressed like stealing.
There will probably be an Annual Exhibition of fruit and flowers,
at which all the Colonists who have a plot of garden of their own will
take part. They will exhibit their fruit and vegetables as well as
their rabbits, their poultry and all the other live-stock of the farm.
Every effort will be made to establish village industries, and I am not
without hope but that we may be able to restore some of the domestic
occupations which steam has compelled us to confine to the great
factories. The more the Colony can be made self-supporting the better.
And although the hand loom can never compete with Manchester mills,
still an occupation which kept the hands of the goodwife busy in the
long winter nights, is not to be despised as an element in the
economics of the Settlement. While Manchester and Leeds may be able to
manufacture common goods much more cheaply than they can be spun at
home, even these emporiums, with all their grand improvements in
machinery, would be sorely pressed to-day to compete with the hand-loom
in many superior classes of work. For instance, we all know the
hand-sewn boot still holds its own against the most perfect article
that machinery can turn out.
There would be, in the centre of the Colony, a Public Elementary School
at which the children would receive training, and side by side with
that an Agricultural Industrial School, as elsewhere described.
The religious welfare of the Colony would be looked after by the
Salvation Army, but there will be no compulsion to take part in
its services. The Sabbath will be strictly observed; no unnecessary
work will be done in the Colony on that day, but beyond interdicted
labour, the Colonists will be allowed to spend Sunday as they please.
It will be the fault of the Salvation Army if they do not find our
Sunday Services sufficiently attractive to command their attendance.
SECTION 3.--AGRICULTURAL VILLAGES.
This brings me to the next feature of the Scheme, the creation of
agricultural settlements in the neighbourhood of the Farm, around the
original Estate. I hope to obtain land for the purpose of allotments
which can be taken up to the extent of so many acres by the more
competent Colonists who wish to remain at home instead of going abroad.
There will be allotments from three to five acres with a cottage,
a cow, and the necessary tools and seed for making the allotment
self-supporting. A weekly charge will be imposed for the he repayment
of the cost of the fixing and stock. The tenant will of course,
be entitled to his tenant-right, but adequate precautions will be taken
against underletting and other forms by which sweating makes its way
into agricultural communities. On entering into possession, the tenant
will become responsible for his own and his family's maintenance.
I shall stand no longer in the relation of father of the household to
him, as I do to the other members of the Colony; his obligations will
cease to me, except in the payment of his rent.
The creation of a large number of Allotment Farms would make the
establishment of a creamery necessary, where the milk could be brought
in every day and converted into butter by the most modern methods,
with the least possible delay. Dairying, which has in some places on
the Continent almost developed to a fine art, is in a very backward
condition in this country. But by co-operation among the cottiers and
an intelligent Headquarter staff much could be done which at present
The tenant will be allowed permanent tenancy on payment of an annual
rent or land tax, subject, of course, to such necessary regulations
which may be made for the prevention of intemperance and immorality and
the preservation of the fundamental features of the Colony. In this
way our Farm Colony will throw off small Colonies all round it until
the original site is but the centre of a whole series of small farms,
where those whom we have rescued and trained will live, if not under
their own vine and fig tree, at least in the midst of their own little
fruit farm, and surrounded by their small flocks and herds.
The cottages will be so many detached residences, each standing in its
own ground, not so far away from its neighbours as to deprive its
occupants of the benefit of human intercourse.
SECTION 4.--CO-OPERATIVE FARM.
Side by side with the Farm Colony proper I should propose to renew the
experiment of Mr. E. T. Craig, which he found work so successfully at
Ralahine. When any members of the original Colony had pulled
themselves sufficiently together to desire to begin again on their own
account, I should group some of them as partners in a Co-operative
Farm, and see whether or no the success achieved in County Clare could
not be repeated in Essex or in Kent. I cannot have more unpromising
material to deal with than the wild Irishmen on Colonel Vandeleur's
estate, and I would certainly take care to be safeguarded against any
such mishap as destroyed the early promise of Ralahine.
I shall look upon this as one of the most important experiments of the
entire series, and if, as I anticipate, it can be worked successfully,
that is, if the results of Ralahine can be secured on a larger scale,
I shall consider that the problem of the employment of the people,
and the use of the land, and the food supply for the globe,
is unquestionably solved, were its inhabitants many times greater in
number than they are.
Without saying more, some idea will be obtained as to what I propose
from the story of Ralahine related briefly at the close of this volume.
CHAPTER 4. NEW BRITAIN--THE COLONY OVER-SEA.
We now come to the third and final stage of the regenerative process.
The Colony Over-Sea. To mention Over-Sea is sufficient with some
people to damn the Scheme. A prejudice against emigration has been
diligently fostered in certain quarters by those who have openly
admitted that they did not wish to deplete the ranks of the Army of
Discontent at home, for the more discontented people you have here the
more trouble you can give the Government, and the more power you have
to bring about the general overturn, which is the only thing in which
they see any hope for the future. Some again object to emigration on
the ground that it is transportation. I confess that I have great
sympathy with those who object to emigration as carried on hitherto,
and if it be a consolation to any of my critics I may say at once that
so far from compulsorily expatriating any Englishman I shall refuse to
have any part or lot in emigrating any man or woman who does not
voluntarily wish to be sent out.
A journey over sea is a very different thing now to what it was when
a voyage to Australia consumed more than six months, when emigrants
were crowded by hundreds into sailing ships, and scenes of abominable
sin and brutality were the normal incidents of the passage. The world
has grown much smaller since the electric telegraph was discovered and
side by side with the shrinkage of this planet under the influence of
steam and electricity there has come a sense of brotherhood and a
consciousness of community of interest and of nationality on the part
of the English-speaking people throughout the world. To change from
Devon to Australia is not such a change in many respects as merely to
cross over from Devon to Normandy. In Australia the Emigrant finds him
self among men and women of the same habits, the same language, and in
fact the same people, excepting that they live under the southern cross
instead of in the northern latitudes. The reduction of the postage
between England and the Colonies, a reduction which I hope will soon be
followed by the establishment of the Universal Penny Post between the
English speaking lands, will further tend to lessen the sense of
The constant travelling of the Colonists backwards and forwards to
England makes it absurd to speak of the Colonies as if they were a
foreign land. They are simply pieces of Britain distributed about the
world, enabling the Britisher to have access to the richest parts of
Another objection which will be taken to this Scheme is that colonists
already over sea will see with infinite alarm the prospect of the
transfer of our waste labour to their country. It is easy to
understand how this misconception will arise, but there is not much
danger of opposition on this score. The working-men who rule the roost
at Melbourne object to the introduction of fresh workmen into their
labour market, for the same reason that the new Dockers' Union objects
to the appearance of new hands at the dock gates, that is for fear the
newcomers will enter into unfriendly competition with them. But no
Colony, not even the Protectionist and Trade Unionists who govern
Victoria, could rationally object to the introduction of trained
Colonists planted out upon the land. They would see that these men
would become a source of wealth, simply because they would at once
become producers as well as consumers, and instead of cutting down
wages they would tend directly to improve trade and so increase the
employment of the workmen now in the Colony. Emigration as hitherto
conducted has been carried out on directly opposite principles to
these. Men and women have simply been shot down into countries without
any regard to their possession of ability to earn a livelihood,
and have consequently become an incubus upon the energies of the
community, and a discredit, expense, and burden. The result is that
they gravitate to the towns and compete with the colonial workmen,
and thereby drive down wages. We shall avoid that mistake. We need
not wonder that Australians and other Colonists should object to their
countries being converted into a sort of dumping ground, on which to
deposit men and women totally unsuited for the new circumstances in
which they find themselves.
Moreover, looking at it from the aspect of the class itself, would such
emigration be of any enduring value? It is not merely more favourable
circumstances that are required by these crowds, but those habits of
industry, truthfulness, and self-restraint, which will enable them to
profit by better conditions if they could only come to possess them.
According to the most reliable information there are already sadly too
many of the same classes we want to help in countries supposed to be
the paradise of the working-man.
What could be done with a people whose first enquiry on reaching
a foreign land would be for a whisky shop, and who were utterly
ignorant of those forms of labour and habits of industry absolutely
indispensable to the earning of a subsistence amid the hardships of an
Emigrant's life? Such would naturally shrink from the self-denial the
new circumstances inevitably called for, and rather than suffer the
inconveniences connected with a settler's life, would probably sink
down into helpless despair, or settle in the slums of the first city
they came to.
These difficulties, in my estimation, bar the way to the emigration on
any considerable scale of the "submerged tenth," and yet I am strongly
of opinion, with the majority of those who have thought and written on
political economy, that emigration is the only remedy for this
mighty evil. Now, the Over-Sea Colony plan, I think, meets these
(1) In the preparation of the Colony for the people.
(2) In the preparation of the people for the Colony.
(3) In the arrangements that are rendered possible for the transport
of the people when prepared.
It is proposed to secure a large tract of land in some country suitable
to our purpose. We have thought of South Africa, to begin with.
We are in no way pledged to this part of the world, or to it alone.
There is nothing to prevent our establishing similar settlements in
Canada, Australia, or some other land. British Columbia has been
strongly urged upon our notice. Indeed, it is certain if this Scheme
proves the success we anticipate, the first Colony will be the
forerunner of similar communities elsewhere. Africa, however, presents
to us great advantages for the moment. There is any amount of land
suitable for our purpose which can be obtained, we think, without
difficulty. The climate is healthy. Labour is in great demand,
so that if by any means work failed on the Colony, there would be
abundant opportunities for securing good wages from the neighbouring
SECTION 1.--THE COLONY AND THE COLONISTS.
Before any decision is arrived at, however, information will be
obtained as to the position and character of the land;
the accessibility of markets for commodities; communication with
Europe, and other necessary particulars.
The next business would be to obtain on grant, or otherwise,
a sufficient tract of suitable country for the purpose of a Colony,
on conditions that would meet its present and future character.
After obtaining a title to the country, the next business will be to
effect a settlement in it. This, I suppose, will be accomplished by
sending a competent body of men under skilled supervision to fix on a
suitable location for the first settlement, erecting such buildings as
would be required, enclosing and breaking up the land, putting in first
crops, and so storing sufficient supplies of food for the future.
Then a supply of Colonists would be sent out to join them, and from
time to time other detachments, as the Colony was prepared to receive
them. Further locations could then be chosen, and more country broken
up, and before a very long period has passed the Colony would be
capable of receiving and absorbing a continuous stream of emigration of
The next work would be the establishment of a strong and efficient
government, prepared to carry out and enforce the same laws and
discipline to which the Colonists had been accustomed in England,
together with such alterations and additions as the new circumstances
would render necessary.
The Colonists would become responsible for all that concerned their own
support; that is to say, they would buy and sell, engage in trade,
hire servants, and transact all the ordinary business affairs of
Our Headquarters in England would represent the Colony in this country
on their behalf, and with money supplied by them, when once fairly
established, would buy for their agents what they were at the outset
unable to produce themselves, such as machinery and the like,
also selling their produce to the best advantage.
All land, timber, minerals, and the like, would be rented to the
Colonists, all unearned increments, and improvements on the land,
would be held on behalf of the entire community, and utilised for its
general advantages, a certain percentage being set apart for the
extension of its borders, and the continued transmission of Colonists
from England in increasing numbers.
Arrangements would be made for the temporary accommodation of new
arrivals, Officers being maintained for the purpose of taking them
in hand on landing and directing and controlling them generally.
So far as possible, they would be introduced to work without any waste
of time, situations being ready for them to enter upon; and any way,
their wants would be supplied till this was the case.
There would be friends who would welcome and care for them, not merely
on the principle of profit and loss, but on the ground of friendship
and religion, many of whom the emigrants would probably have known
before in the old country, together with all the social influences,
restraints, and religious enjoyments to which the Colonists have
been accustomed. After dealing with the preparation of the Colony
for the Colonists, we now come to the preparation of the
COLONISTS FOR THE COLONY OVER-SEA.
They would be prepared by an education in honesty, truth, and industry,
without which we could not indulge in any hope of their succeeding.
While men and women would be received into the City Colony without
character, none would be sent over the sea who had not been proved
worthy of this trust.
They would be inspired with an ambition to do well for themselves
and their fellow Colonists.
They would be instructed in all that concerned their future career.
They would be taught those industries in which they would be most
They would be inured to the hardships they would have to endure.
They would be accustomed to the economies they would have to practise.
They would be made acquainted with the comrades with whom they would
have to live and labour.
They would be accustomed to the Government, Orders, and Regulations
which they would have to obey.
They would be educated, so far as the opportunity served, in those
habits of patience, forbearance, and affection which would so largely
tend to their own welfare, and to the successful carrying out of this
part of our Scheme.
TRANSPORT TO THE COLONY OVER-SEA.
We now come to the question of transport. This certainly has an
element of difficulty in it, if the remedy is to be applied on a very
large scale. But this will appear of less importance if we consider: --
That the largeness of the number will reduce the individual cost.
Emigrants can be conveyed to such a location in South Africa, as we
have in view, by ones and twos at #8 per head, including land journey;
and, no doubt, were a large number carried, this figure would be
Many of the Colonists would have friends who would assist them with the
cost of passage money and outfit.
All the unmarried will have earned something on the City and Farm
Colonies, which will go towards meeting their passage money. In the
course of time relatives, who are comfortably settled in the Colony,
will save money, and assist their kindred in getting out to them.
We have the examples before our eyes in Australia and the United States
of how those countries have in this form absorbed from Europe millions
of poor struggling people.
All Colonists and emigrants generally will bind themselves in a legal
instrument to repay all monies, expenses of passage, outfit,
or otherwise, which would in turn be utilised in sending out further
On the plan named, if prudently carried out, and generously assisted,
the transfer of the entire surplus population of this country is not
only possible, but would, we think, in process of time, be effected
with enormous advantage to the people themselves, to this country,
and the country of their adoption. The history of Australia and the
United States evidences this. It is quite true the first settlers in
the latter were people superior in every way for such an enterprise to
the bulk of those we propose to send out. But it is equally true that
large numbers of the most ignorant and vicious of our European
populations have been pouring into that country ever since without
affecting its prosperity, and this Colony Over-Sea would have the
immense advantage at the outset which would come from a government and
discipline carefully adapted to its peculiar circumstances, and rigidly
enforced in every particular.
I would guard against misconception in relation to this Colony Over-Sea
by pointing out that all my proposals here are necessarily tentative
and experimental. There is no intention on my part to stick to any of
these suggestions if, on maturer consideration and consultation with
practical men, they can be improved upon. Mr. Arnold White, who has
already conducted two parties of Colonists to South Africa, is one of
the few men in this country who has had practical experience of the
actual difficulties of colonisation. I have, through a mutual friend,
had the advantage of comparing notes with him very fully, and I venture
to believe that there is nothing in this Scheme that is not in harmony
with the result of his experience. In a couple of months this book will
be read all over the world. It will bring me a plentiful crop of
suggestions, and, I hope, offers of service from many valuable and
experienced Colonists in every country. In the due order of things the
Colony Over-Sea is the last to be started. Long before our first batch
of Colonists is ready to cross the ocean I shall be in a position to
correct and revise the proposals of this chapter by the best wisdom and
matured experience of the practical men of every Colony in the Empire.
SECTION 2.--UNIVERSAL EMIGRATION.
We have in our remarks on the Over-Sea Colony referred to the general
concensus of opinion on the part of those who have studied the Social
Question as to Emigration being the only remedy for the overcrowded
population of this country, at the same time showing some of the
difficulties which lie in the way of the adoption of the remedy; the
dislike of the people to so great a change as is involved in going from
one country to another; the cost of their transfer, and their general
unfitness for an emigrant's life. These difficulties, as I think we
have seen, are fully met by the Over-Sea Colony Scheme. But, apart
from those who, driven by their abject poverty, will avail themselves
of our Scheme, there are multitudes of people all over the country who
would be likely to emigrate could they be assisted in so doing.
Those we propose to help in the following manner: --
1. By opening a Bureau in London, and appointing Officers whose
business it will be to acquire every kind of information as to
suitable countries, their adaptation to, and the openings they
present for different trades and callings, the possibility of
obtaining land and employment, the rates of remuneration, and the
like. These enquiries will include the cost of passage-money,
railway fares, outfit, together with every kind of information
required by an emigrant.
2. From this Bureau any one may obtain all necessary information.
3. Special terms will be arranged with steamships, railway companies,
and land agents, of which emigrants using the Bureau will have the
4. Introductions will be supplied, as far as possible, to agents and
friends in the localities to which the emigrant may be proceeding.
5. Intending emigrants, desirous of saving money, can deposit it
through this Bureau in the Army Bank for that purpose.
6. It is expected that government contractors and other employers of
labour requiring Colonists of reliable character will apply to this
Bureau for such, offering favourable terms with respect to
passage-money, employment, and other advantages.
7. No emigrant will be sent out in response to any application from
abroad where the emigrant's expenses are defrayed, without
references as to character, industry, and fitness.
This Bureau, we think, will be especially useful to women and young
girls. There must be a large number of such in this country living in
semi-starvation, anyway, with very poor prospects, who would be very
welcome abroad, the expense of whose transfer governments, and masters
and mistresses alike would be very glad to defray, or assist in
defraying, if they could only be assured on both sides of the
beneficial character of the arrangements when made.
So widespread now are the operations of the Army, and so extensively
will this Bureau multiply its agencies that it will speedily be able to
make personal enquiries on both sides, that is in the interest alike of
the emigrant and the intended employer in any part of the world.
SECTION 3.--THE SALVATION SHIP.
When we have selected a party of emigrants whom we believe to be
sufficiently prepared to settle on the land which has been got ready
for them in the Colony over Sea, it will be no dismal expatriation
which will await them. No one who has ever been on the West Coast of
Ireland when the emigrants were departing, and has heard the dismal
wails which arise from those who are taking leave of each other for the
last time on earth, can fail to sympathise with the horror excited in
many minds by the very word emigration. But when our party sets out,
there will be no violent wrenching of home ties. In our ship we shall
export them all--father, mother, and children. The individuals will
be grouped in families, and the families will, on the Farm Colony, have
been for some months past more or less near neighbours, meeting each
other in the field, in the workshops, and in the Religious Services.
It will resemble nothing so much as the unmooring of a little piece of
England, and towing it across the sea to find a safe anchorage in a
sunnier clime. The ship which takes out emigrants will bring back the
produce of the farms, and constant travelling to and fro will lead more
than ever to the feeling that we and our ocean-sundered brethren are
members of one family.
No one who has ever crossed the ocean can have failed to be impressed
with the mischief that comes to emigrants when they are on their way to
their destination. Many and many a girl has dated her downfall from
the temptations which beset her while journeying to a land where she
had hoped to find a happier future
"Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do," and he must
have his hands full on board an emigrant ship. Look into the steerage
at any time, and you will find boredom inexpressible on every face.
The men have nothing to do, and an incident of no more importance than
the appearance of a sail upon the distant horizon is an event which
makes the whole ship talk. I do not see why this should be so.
Of course, in the case of conveying passengers and freight, with the
utmost possible expedition, for short distances, it would be idle to
expect that either time or energies could be spared for the employment
or instruction of the passengers. But the case is different when,
instead of going to America, the emigrant turns his face to South
Africa or remote Australia. Then, even with the fastest steamers,
they must remain some weeks or months upon the high seas. The result
is that habits of idleness are contracted, bad acquaintances are
formed, and very often the moral and religious work of a lifetime is
To avoid these evil consequences, I think we should be compelled to
have a ship of our own as soon as possible. A sailing vessel might be
found the best adapted for the work. Leaving out the question of time,
which would be of very secondary importance with us, the construction
of a sailing ship would afford more space for the accommodation of
emigrants and for industrial occupation, and would involve considerably
less working expenses, besides costing very much less at the onset,
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