"In Darkest England and The Way Out"
General William Booth
Part 5 out of 7
The mode of operation is as follows: --
There is a Head Centre under the direction of a capable Officer and
assistants, to which particulars of lost husbands, sons, daughters,
and wives, as the case may be, are forwarded. These are advertised,
except when deemed inadvisable, in the English "War Cry," with its
300,000 circulation, and from it copied into the twenty-three other
"War Crys" published in different parts of the world. Specially
prepared information in each case is sent to the local Officers of the
Army when that is thought wise, or Special Enquiry Officers trained to
their work are immediately set to work to follow up any clue which has
been given by enquiring relations or friends.
Every one of its 10,000 Officers, nay, almost every soldier in its
ranks, scattered, as they are, through every quarter of the globe, may
be regarded as an Agent. A small charge for enquiries is made, and,
where persons are able, all the costs of the investigation will he
defrayed by them.
SECTION 8.--REFUGES FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE STREETS.
For the waifs and strays of the streets of London much commiseration is
expressed, and far more pity is deserved than is bestowed. We have no
direct purpose of entering on a crusade on their behalf, apart from our
attempt at changing the hearts and lives and improving the
circumstances of their parents.
Our main hope for these wild, youthful, outcasts lies in this
direction. If we can reach and benefit their guardians, morally and
materially, we shall take the most effectual road to benefit the
Still, a number of them will unavoidably be forced upon us; and we
shall be quite prepared to accept the responsibility of dealing with
them, calculating that our organisation will enable us to do so,
not only with facility and efficiency, but with trifling cost to the
To begin with, Children's Creches or Children's Day Homes would be
established in the centres of every poor population, where for a small
charge babies and young children can be taken care of in the day while
the mothers are at work, instead of being left to the dangers of the
thoroughfares or the almost greater peril of being burnt to death in
their own miserable homes.
By this plan we shall not only be able to benefit the poor children,
if in no other direction than that of soap and water and a little
wholesome food, but exercise some humanising influence upon the mothers
On the Farm Colony, we should be able to deal with the infants from the
Unions and other quarters. Our Cottage mothers, with two or three
children of their own, would readily take in an extra one on the usual
terms of boarding out children, and nothing would be more simple or
easy for us than to set apart some trustworthy experienced dame to make
a constant inspection as to whether the children placed out were
enjoying the necessary conditions of health and general well-being.
Here would be a Baby Farm carried on with the most favourable
SECTION 9.--INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS.
I also propose, at the earliest opportunity, to give the subject of the
industrial training of boys a fair trial; and, if successful, follow it
on with a similar one for girls. I am nearly satisfied in my own mind
that the children of the streets taken, say at eight years of age,
and kept till, say twenty-one, would, by judicious management and the
utilisation of their strength and capacity, amply supply all their own
wants, and would, I think, be likely to turn out thoroughly good and
capable members of the community.
Apart from the mere benevolent aspect of the question, the present
system of teaching is, to my mind, unnatural, and shamefully wasteful
of the energies of the children. Fully one-half the time that boys and
girls are compelled to sit in school is spent to little or no purpose
--nay, it is worse than wasted. The minds of the children are only
capable of useful application for so many consecutive minutes,
and hence the rational method must be to apportion the time of the
children; say, half the morning's work to be given to their books,
and the other half to some industrial employment; the garden would be
most natural and healthy in fair weather, while the workshop should be
fallen back upon when unfavourable.
By this method health would be promoted, school would be loved,
the cost of education would be cheapened, and the natural bent of the
child's capacities would be discovered and could be cultivated.
Instead of coming out of school, or going away from apprenticeship,
with the most precious part of life for ever gone so far as learning
is concerned, chained to some pursuit for which there is no
predilection, and which promises nothing higher than mediocrity if not
failure--the work for which the mind was peculiarly adapted and for
which, therefore, it would have a natural capacity, would not only have
been discovered, but the bent of the inclination cultivated, and the
life's work chosen accordingly.
It is not for me to attempt any reform of our School system on this
model. But I do think that I may be allowed to test the theory by its
practical working in an Industrial School in connection with the Farm
Colony. I should begin probably with children selected for their
goodness and capacity, with a view to imparting a superior education,
thus fitting them for the position of Officers in all parts of the
world, with the special object of raising up a body of men thoroughly
trained and educated, among other things, to carry out all the branches
of the Social work that are set forth in this book, and it may be to
instruct other nations in the same.
SECTION 10.--ASYLUMS FOR MORAL LUNATICS.
There will remain, after all has been said and done, one problem that
has yet to be faced. You may minimise the difficulty every way,
and it is your duty to do so, but no amount of hopefulness can make us
blink the fact that when all has been done and every chance has been
offered, when you have forgiven your brother not only seven times but
seventy times seven, when you have fished him up from the mire and put
him on firm ground only to see him relapse and again relapse until you
have no strength left to pull him out once more, there will still
remain a residuum of men and women who have, whether from heredity or
custom, or hopeless demoralisation, become reprobates. After a certain
time, some men of science hold that persistence in habits tends to
convert a man from a being with freedom of action and will into a mere
automaton. There are some cases within our knowledge which seem to
confirm the somewhat dreadful verdict by which a man appears to be a
lost soul on this side of the grave.
There are men so incorrigibly lazy that no inducement that you can
offer will tempt them to work; so eaten up by vice that virtue is
abhorrent to them, and so inveterately dishonest that theft is to them
a master passion. When a human being has reached that stage, there is
only one course that can be rationally pursued. Sorrowfully, but
remorselessly, it must be recognised that he has become lunatic,
morally demented, incapable of self-government, and that upon him,
therefore, must be passed the sentence of permanent seclusion from a
world in which he is not fit to be at large. The ultimate destiny of
these poor wretches should be a penal settlement where they could be
confined during Her Majesty's pleasure as are the criminal lunatics at
Broadmoor. It is a crime against the race to allow those who are so
inveterately depraved the freedom to wander abroad, infect their
fellows, prey upon Society, and to multiply their kind. Whatever else
Society may do, and suffer to be done, this thing it ought not to
allow, any more than it should allow the free perambulation of a mad
dog. But before we come to this I would have every possible means
tried to effect their reclamation. Let Justice punish them, and Mercy
put her arms around them; let them be appealed to by penalty and by
reason, and by every influence, human and Divine, that can possibly be
brought to bear upon them. Then, if all alike failed, their ability to
further curse their fellows and themselves should be stayed.
They will still remain objects worthy of infinite compassion.
They should lead as human a life as is possible to those who have
fallen under so terrible a judgment. They should have their own little
cottages in their own little gardens, under the blue sky, and, if
possible, amid the green fields. I would deny them none of the
advantages, moral, mental, and religious which might minister to their
diseased minds, and tend to restore them to a better state. Not until
the breath leaves their bodies should we cease to labour and wrestle
for their salvation. But when they have reached a certain point access
to their fellow men should be forbidden. Between them and the wide
world there should be reared an impassable barrier, which once passed
should be recrossed no more for ever. Such a course must be wiser than
allowing them to go in and out among their fellows, carrying with them
the contagion of moral leprosy, and multiplying a progeny doomed before
its birth to inherit the vices and diseased cravings of their unhappy
parents. To these proposals three leading objections will probably be
1. It may be said that to shut out men and women from that liberty
which is their universal birthright would be cruel.
To this it might be sufficient to reply that this is already done;
twenty years' immurement is a very common sentence passed upon
wrong-doers, and in some cases the law goes as far as to inflict penal
servitude for life. But we say further that it would be far more
merciful treatment than that which is dealt out to them at present,
and it would be far more likely to secure a pleasant existence.
Knowing their fate they would soon become resigned to it.
Habits of industry, sobriety, and kindness with them would create a
restfulness of spirit which goes far on in the direction of happiness,
and if religion were added it would make that happiness complete.
There might be set continually before them a large measure of freedom
and more frequent intercourse with the world in the shape of
correspondence, newspapers, and even occasional interviews with
relatives, as rewards for well-doing. And in sickness and old age
their latter days might be closed in comfort. In fact, so far as this
class of people were concerned, we can see that they would be far
better circumstanced for happiness in this life and in the life to come
than in their present liberty--if a life spent alternatively in
drunkenness, debauchery, and crime, on the one hand, or the prison on
the other, can be called liberty.
2. It may be said that the carrying out of such a suggestion would be
To this we reply that it would have to be very costly to exceed the
expense in which all such characters involve the nation under the
present regulations of vice and crime. But there is no need for any
great expense, seeing that after the first outlay the inmates of such
an institution, if it were fixed upon the land, would readily earn all
that would be required for their support.
3. But it may be said that this is impossible.
It would certainly be impossible other than as a State regulation.
But it would surely be a very simple matter to enact a law which should
decree that after an individual had suffered a certain number of
convictions for crime, drunkenness, or vagrancy, he should forfeit his
freedom to roam abroad and curse his fellows. When I include vagrancy
in this list, I do it on the supposition that the opportunity and
ability for work are present. Otherwise it seems to me most heartless
to punish a hungry man who begs for food because he can in no other way
obtain it. But with the opportunity and ability for work I would count
the solicitation of charity a crime, and punish it as such. Anyway, if
a man would not work of his own free will I would compel him.
CHAPTER 6. ASSISTANCE IN GENERAL.
There are many who are not lost, who need help. A little assistance
given to-day will perhaps prevent the need of having to save them
to-morrow. There are some, who, after they have been rescued,
will still need a friendly hand. The very service which we have
rendered them at starting makes it obligatory upon us to finish the
good work. Hitherto it may be objected that the Scheme has dealt
almost exclusively with those who are more or less disreputable and
desperate. This was inevitable. We obey our Divine Master and seek to
save those who are lost. But because, as I said at the beginning,
urgency is claimed rightly for those who have no helper, we do not,
therefore, forget the needs and the aspirations of the decent working
people who are poor indeed, but who keep their feet, who have not
fallen, and who help themselves and help each other. They constitute
the bulk of the nation. There is an uppercrust and a submerged tenth.
But the hardworking poor people, who earn a pound a week or less,
constitute in every land the majority of the population. We cannot
forget them, for we are at home with them. We belong to them and many
thousands of them belong to us. We are always studying how to help
them, and we think this can be done in many ways, some of which I
proceed to describe.
SECTION 1.--IMPROVED LODGINGS.
The necessity for a superior class of lodgings for the poor men rescued
at our Shelters has been forcing itself already upon our notice,
and demanding attention. One of the first things that happens when a
man, lifted out of the gutter, has obtained a situation, and is earning
a decent livelihood, is for him to want some better accommodation than
that afforded at the Shelters. We have some hundreds on our hands now
who can afford to pay for greater comfort and seclusion.
These are continually saying to us something like the following: --
The Shelters are all very well when a man is down in his luck.
They have been a good thing for us; in fact, had it not been for them,
we would still have been without a friend, sleeping on the Embankment,
getting our living dishonestly, or not getting a living at all.
We have now got work, and want a bed to sleep on, and a room to
ourselves, and a box, or something where we can stow away our bits of
things. Cannot you do something for us?" We have replied that there
were Lodging-houses elsewhere, which, now that they were in work,
they could afford to pay for, where they would obtain the comfort they
desired. To this they answer, "That is all very well. We know there
are these places, and that we could go to them. But then," they said,
"you see, here in the Shelters are our mates, who think as we do.
And there is the prayer, and the meeting, and kind influence every
night, that helps to keep us straight. We would like a better place,
but if you cannot find us one we would rather stop in the Shelter and
sleep on the floor, as we have been doing, than go to something more
complete, get into bad company, and so fall back again to where we were
But this, although natural, is not desirable; for, if the process went
on, in course of time the whole of the Shelter Depots would be taken up
by persons who had risen above the class for whom they were originally
destined. I propose, therefore, to draft those who get on, but wish to
continue in connection with the Army, into a superior lodging-house, a
sort of POOR MAN'S METROPOLE, managed on the same principles, but with
better accommodation in every way, which, I anticipate, would be
self-supporting from the first. In these homes there would be separate
dormitories, good sitting-rooms, cooking conveniences, baths, a hall
for meetings, and many other comforts, of which all would have the
benefit at as low a figure above cost price as will not only pay
interest on the original outlay, but secure us against any shrinkage of
Something superior in this direction will also be required for the
women. Having begun, we must go on. Hitherto I have proposed to deal
only with single men and single women, but one of the consequences of
getting hold of these men very soon makes itself felt. Your ragged,
hungry, destitute Out-of-Work in almost every case is married.
When he comes to us he comes as single and is dealt with as such,
but after you rouse in him aspirations for better things he remembers
the wife whom he has probably enough deserted, or left from sheer
inability to provide her anything to eat. As soon as such a man finds
himself under good influence and fairly employed his first thought is
to go and look after the "Missis." There is very little reality about
any change of heart in a married man who does not thus turn in sympathy
and longing towards his wife, and the more successful we are in dealing
with these people the more inevitable it is that we shall be confronted
with married couple's who in turn demand that we should provide for
them lodgings. This we propose to do also on a commercial footing.
I see greater developments in this direction, one of which will be
described in the chapter relating to Suburban Cottages.
The Model-lodging House for Married People is, however, one of
those things that must be provided as an adjunct of the Food and
SECTION 2.--MODEL SUBURBAN VILLAGES.
As I have repeatedly stated already, but will state once more, for it
is important enough to bear endless repetition, one of the first steps
which must inevitably be taken in the reformation of this class, is to
make for them decent, healthy, pleasant homes, or help them to make
them for themselves, which, if possible, is far better. I do not regard
the institution of any first, second, or third-class lodging-houses as
affording anything but palliatives of the existing distress.
To substitute life in a boarding-house for life in the streets is,
no doubt, an immense advance, but it is by no means the ultimatum.
Life in a boarding-house is better than the worst, but it is far from
being the best form of human existence. Hence, the object I constantly
keep in view is how to pilot those persons who have been set on their
feet again by means of the Food and Shelter Depots, and who have
obtained employment in the City, into the possession of homes of their
Neither can I regard the one, or at most two, rooms in which the large
majority of the inhabitants of our great cities are compelled to spend
their days, as a solution of the question. The overcrowding which fills
every separate room of a tenement with a human litter, and compels
family life from the cradle to the grave to be lived within the four
walls of a single apartment, must go on reproducing in endless
succession all the terrible evils which such a state of things must
Neither can I be satisfied with the vast, unsightly piles of
barrack-like buildings, which are only a slight advance upon the
Union Bastille--dubbed Model Industrial Dwellings--so much in
fashion at present, as being a satisfactory settlement of the burning
question of the housing of the poor. As a contribution to this
question, I propose the establishment of a series of Industrial
Settlements or Suburban Villages, lying out in the country, within a
reasonable distance of all our great cities, composed of cottages of
suitable size and construction, and with all needful comfort and
accommodation for the families of working-men, the rent of which,
together with the railway fare, and other economic conveniences,
should be within the reach of a family of moderate income.
This proposal lies slightly apart from the scope of this book,
otherwise I should be disposed to elaborate the project at greater
length. I may say, however, that what I here propose has been carefully
thought out, and is of a perfectly practical character.
In the planning of it I have received some valuable assistance from a
friend who has had considerable experience in the building trade,
and he stakes his professional reputation on its feasibility.
The following, however, may be taken as a rough outline: --
The Village should not be more than twelve miles from town; should be
in a dry and healthy situation, and on a line of railway. It is not
absolutely necessary that it should be near a station, seeing that the
company would, for their own interests, immediately erect one.
The Cottages should be built of the best material and workmanship.
This would be effected most satisfactorily by securing a contract for
the labour only, the projectors of the Scheme purchasing the materials
and supplying them direct from the manufacturers to the builders.
The cottages would consist of three or four rooms, with a scullery,
and out-building in the garden. The cottages should be built in
terraces, each having a good garden attached. Arrangements should be
made for the erection of from one thousand to two thousand houses at
the onset. In the Village a Co-operative Goods Store should be
established, supplying everything that was really necessary for the
villagers at the most economic prices. The sale of intoxicating drink
should be strictly forbidden on the Estate, and, if possible,
the landowner from whom the land is obtained should be tied off from
allowing any licences to be held on any other portion of the adjoining
land. It is thought that the Railway Company, in consideration of the
inconvenience and suffering they have inflicted on the poor,
and in their own interests, might be induced to make the following
advantageous arrangements: --
(1) The conveyance of each member actually living in the village to and
from London at the rate of sixpence per week. Each pass should
have on it the portrait of the owner, and be fastened to some
article of the dress, and be available only by Workmen's Trains
running early and late and during certain hours of the day, when
the trains are almost empty.
(2) The conveyance of goods and parcels should be at half the ordinary
rates. It is reasonable to suppose that large landowners would
gladly give one hundred acres of land in view of the immensely
advanced values of the surrounding property which would immediately
follow, seeing that the erection of one thousand or two thousand
cottages would constitute the nucleus of a much larger Settlement.
Lastly, the rent of a four-roomed cottage must not exceed 3s. per week.
Add to this the sixpenny ticket to and from London, and you have 3s. 6d.
and if the company should insist on 1s., it will make 4s., for which
there would be all the advantages of a comfortable cottage--of which
it would be possible for the tenant to become the owner--a good garden,
pleasant surroundings, and other influences promotive of the health
and happiness of the family. It is hardly necessary to remark that
in connection with this Village there will be perfect freedom of
opinion on all matters. A glance at the ordinary homes of the poor
people of this great City will at once assure us that such a village
would be a veritable Paradise to them, and that were four, five,
or six settlements provided at once they would not contain a tithe of
the people who would throng to occupy them.
SECTION 3.--THE POOR MAN'S BANK.
If the love of money is the root of all evil, the want of money is the
cause of an immensity of evil and trouble. The moment you begin
practically to alleviate the miseries of the people, you discover that
the eternal want of pence is one of their greatest difficulties.
In my most sanguine moments I have never dreamed of smoothing this
difficulty out of the lot of man, but it is surely no unattainable
ideal to establish a Poor Man's Bank, which will extend to the lower
middle class and the working population the advantages of the credit
system, which is the very foundation of our boasted commerce.
It might be better that there should be no such thing as credit,
that no one should lend money, and that everyone should be compelled to
rely solely upon whatever ready money he may possess from day to day.
But if so, let us apply the principle all round; do not let us glory in
our world-wide commerce and boast ourselves in our riches, obtained,
in so many cases, by the ignoring of this principle. If it is right
for a great merchant to have dealings with his banker, if it is
indispensable for the due carrying on of the business of the rich men
that they should have at their elbow a credit system which will from
time to time accommodate them with needful advances and enable them to
stand up against the pressure of sudden demands, which otherwise would
wreck them, then surely the case is still stronger for providing a
similar resource for the smaller men, the weaker men. At present
Society is organised far too much on the principle of giving to him who
hath so that he shall have more abundantly, and taking away from him
who hath not even that which he hath.
If we are to really benefit the poor, we can only do so by practical
measures. We have merely to look round and see the kind of advantages
which wealthy men find indispensable for the due management of their
business, and ask ourselves whether poor men cannot be supplied with
the same opportunities. The reason why they are not is obvious.
To supply the needs of the rich is a means of making yourself rich;
to supply the needs of the poor will involve you in trouble so out of
proportion to the profit that the game may not be worth the candle.
Men go into banking and other businesses for the sake of obtaining what
the American humourist said was the chief end of man in these modern
times, namely, "ten per cent." To obtain a ten per cent. what will not
men do? They will penetrate the bowels of the earth, explore the depths
of the sea, ascend the snow-capped mountain's highest peak, or navigate
the air, if they can be guaranteed a ten per cent. I do not venture to
suggest that the business of a Poor Man's Bank would yield ten per cent.,
or even five, but I think it might be made to pay its expenses,
and the resulting gain to the community would be enormous.
Ask any merchant in your acquaintance where his business would be if
he had no banker, and then, when you have his answer, ask yourself
whether it would not be an object worth taking some trouble to secure,
to furnish the great mass of our fellow countrymen, on sound business
principles with the advantages of the credit system, which is found to
work so beneficially for the "well-to-do" few.
Some day I hope the State may be sufficiently enlightened to take up
this business itself; at present it is left in the hands of the
pawnbroker and the loan agency, and a set of sharks, who cruelly prey
upon the interests of the poor. The establishment of land banks,
where the poor man is almost always a peasant, has been one of the
features of modern legislation in Russia, Germany, and elsewhere.
The institution of a Poor Man's Bank will be, I hope, before long,
one of the recognised objects of our own government.
Pending that I venture to throw out a suggestion, without in any way
pledging myself to add this branch of activity to the already gigantic
range of operations foreshadowed in this book--Would it not be
possible for some philanthropists with capital to establish on clearly
defined principles a Poor Man's Bank for the making of small loans on
good security, or making advances to those who are in danger of being
overwhelmed by sudden financial pressure--in fact, for doing for the
"little man" what all the banks do for the "big man"? Meanwhile,
should it enter into the heart of some benevolently disposed possessor
of wealth to give the price of a racehorse, or of an "old master,"
to form the nucleus of the necessary capital, I will certainly
experiment in this direction.
I can anticipate the sneer of the cynic who scoffs at what he calls my
glorified pawnshop. I am indifferent to his sneers. A Mont de Piete--
the very name (Mount of Piety) shows that the Poor Man's Bank is
regarded as anything but an objectionable institution across the
Channel--might be an excellent institution in England. Owing,
however, to the vested interests of the existing traders it might be
impossible for the State to establish it, excepting at a ruinous
expense. There would be no difficulty, however, of instituting a
private Mont de Piete, which would confer an incalculable boon upon the
Further, I am by no means indisposed to recognise the necessity of
dealing with this subject in connection with the Labour Bureau,
provided that one clearly recognised principle can be acted upon.
That principle is that a man shall be free to bind himself as security
for the repayment of a loan, that is to pledge himself to work for his
rations until such time as he has repaid capital and interest.
An illustration or two will explain what I mean. Here is a carpenter
who comes to our Labour shed; he is an honest, decent man, who has by
sickness or some other calamity been reduced to destitution. He has by
degrees pawned one article after another to keep body and soul
together, until at last he has been compelled to pawn his tools.
We register him, and an employer comes along who wants a carpenter whom
we can recommend. We at once suggest this man, but then arises this
difficulty. He has no tools; what are we to do? As things are at
present, the man loses the job and continues on our hands. Obviously
it is most desirable in the interest of the community that the man
should get his tools out of pawn; but who is to take the responsibility
of advancing the money to redeem them? This difficulty might be met,
I think, by the man entering into a legal undertaking to make over his
wages to us, or such proportion of them as would be convenient to his
circumstances, we in return undertaking to find him in food and shelter
until such time as he has repaid the advance made. That obligation it
would be the truest kindness to enforce with Rhadamantine severity.
Until the man is out of debt he is not his own master. All that he can
make over his actual rations and Shelter money should belong to his
creditor. Of course such an arrangement might be varied indefinitely
by private agreement; the repayment of instalments could be spread ever
a longer or shorter time, but the mainstay of the whole principle would
be the execution of a legal agreement by which the man makes over the
whole product of his labour to the Bank until he has repaid, his debt.
Take another instance. A clerk who has been many years in a situation
and has a large family, which he has brought up respectably and
educated. He has every prospect of retiring in a few years upon a
superannuating allowance, but is suddenly confronted by a claim often
through no fault of his own, of a sum of fifty or a hundred pounds,
which is quite beyond his means. He has been a careful saving man,
who has never borrowed a penny in his life, and does not know where to
turn in his emergency. If he can not raise this money he will be sold
up, his family will be scattered, his situation and his prospective
pension will be lost, and blank ruin will stare him in the face.
Now, were he in receipt of an income of ten times the amount, he would
probably have a banking account, and, in consequence, be able to secure
an advance of all he needed from his banker. Why should he not be able
to pledge his salary, or a portion of it, to an Institution which would
enable him to pay off his debt, on terms that, while sufficiently
remunerative to the bank, would not unduly embarrass him?
At present what does the poor wretch do? He consults his friends, who,
it is quite possible, are as hard up as himself, or he applies to some
loan agency, and as likely as not falls into the hands of sharpers,
who indeed, let him have the money, but at interest altogether out of
proportion to the risk which they run, and use the advantage which
their position gives them to extort every penny he has. A great black
book written within and without in letters of lamentation, mourning,
and woe might be written on the dealings of these usurers with their
victims in every land.
It is of little service denouncing these extortioners. They have always
existed, and probably always will; but what we can do is to
circumscribe the range of their operations and the number of their
victims. This can only be done by a legitimate and merciful provision
for these poor creatures in their hours of desperate need, so as to
prevent their falling into the hands of these remorseless wretches,
who have wrecked the fortunes of thousands, and driven many a decent
man to suicide or a premature grave.
There are endless ramifications of this principle, which do not need to
be described here, but before leaving the subject I may allude to an
evil which is a cruel reality, alas! to a multitude of unfortunate men
and women. I refer to the working of the Hire System. The decent poor
man or woman who is anxious to earn an honest penny by the use of,
it may be a mangle, or a sewing-machine, a lathe, or some other
indispensable instrument, and is without the few pounds necessary to
buy it, must take it on the Hire System--that is to say, for the
accommodation of being allowed to pay for the machine by instalments--
he is charged, in addition to the full market value of his purchase,
ten or twenty times the amount of what would be a fair rate of
interest, and more than this if he should at any time, through
misfortune, fail in his payment, the total amount already paid will be
confiscated, the machine seized, and the money lost.
Here again we fall back on our analogy of what goes on in a small
community where neighbours know each other. Take, for instance, when a
lad who is recognised as bright, promising, honest, and industrious,
who wants to make a start in life which requires some little outlay,
his better-to-do neighbour will often assist him by providing the
capital necessary to enable him to make a way for himself in the world.
The neighbour does this because he knows the lad, because the family is
at least related by ties of neighbourhood, and the honour of the lad's
family is a security upon which a man may safely advance a small sum.
All this would equally apply to a destitute widow, an artizan suddenly
thrown out of work, an orphan family, or the like. In the large City
all this kindly helpfulness disappears, and with it go all those small
acts of service which are, as it were, the buffers which save men from
being crushed to death against the iron walls of circumstances. We must
try to replace them in some way or other if we are to get back, not to
the Garden of Eden, but to the ordinary conditions of life, as they
exist in a healthy, small community. No institution, it is true,
can ever replace the magic bond of personal friendship, but if we have
the whole mass of Society permeated in every direction by brotherly
associations established for the purpose of mutual help and
sympathising counsel, it is not an impossible thing to believe that we
shall be able to do something to restore the missing element in modern
SECTION 4.--THE POOR MAN'S LAWYER.
The moment you set about dealing with the wants of the people,
you discover that many of their difficulties are not material,
but moral. There never was a greater mistake than to imagine that you
have only to fill a man's stomach, and clothe his back in order to
secure his happiness. Man is, much more than a digestive apparatus,
liable to get out of order. Hence, while it is important to remember
that man has a stomach, it is also necessary to bear in mind that he
has a heart, and a mind that is frequently sorely troubled by
difficulties which, if he lived in a friendly world, would often
disappear. A man, and still more a woman, stands often quite as much
in need of a trusted adviser as he or she does of a dinner or a dress.
Many a poor soul is miserable all the day long, and gets dragged down
deeper and deeper into the depths of sin and sorrow and despair for
want of a sympathising friend, who can give her advice, and make her
feel that somebody in the world cares for her, and will help her if
If we are to bring back the sense of brotherhood to the world,
we must confront this difficulty. God, it was said in old time,
setteth the desolate in families; but somehow, in our time,
the desolate wander alone in the midst of a careless and unsympathising
world. "There is no-one who cares for my soul. There is no creature
loves me, and if I die no one will pity me," is surely one of the
bitterest cries that can burst from a breaking heart. One of the
secrets of the success of the Salvation Army is, that the friendless of
the world find friends in it. There is not one sinner in the world--
no matter how degraded and dirty he may be--whom my people will not
rejoice to take by the hand and pray with, and labour for, if thereby
they can but snatch him as a brand from the burning. Now, we want to
make more use of this, to make the Salvation Army the nucleus of a
great agency for bringing comfort and counsel to those who are at their
wits' end, feeling as if in the whole world there was no one to whom
they could go.
What we want to do is to exemplify to the world the family idea.
"Our Father" is the keynote. One is Our Father, then all we are
brethren. But in a family, if anyone is troubled in mind or
conscience, there is no difficulty. The daughter goes to her father,
or the son to his mother, and pour out their soul's troubles, and are
relieved. If there is any serious difficulty a family council is held,
and all unite their will and their resources to get matters put
straight. This is what we mean to try to get done in the New
Organisation of Society for which we are labouring. We cannot know
better than God Almighty what will do good to man. We are content to
follow on His lines, and to mend the world we shall seek to restore
something of the family idea to the many hundreds of thousands--ay,
millions--who have no one wiser or more experienced than themselves,
to whom they can take their sorrows, or consult in their difficulties.
Of course we can do this but imperfectly. Only God can create a mother.
But Society needs a great deal of mothering, much more than it gets.
And as a child needs a mother to run to in its difficulties and troubles,
to whom it can let out its little heart in confidence, so men and
women, weary and worn in the battles of life, need someone to whom they
can go when pressed down with a sense of wrongs suffered or done,
knowing that their confidence will be preserved inviolate, and that
their statements will be received with sympathy. I propose to attempt
to meet this want. I shall establish a department, over which I shall
place the wisest, the pitifullest, and the most sagacious men and women
whom I can find on my staff, to whom all those in trouble and
perplexity shall be invited to address themselves. It is no use saying
that we love our fellow men unless we try to help them, and it is no
use pretending to sympathise with the heavy burdens which darken their
lives unless we try to ease them and to lighten their existence.
Insomuch as we have more practical experience of life than other men,
by so much are we bound to help their inexperience, and share our
talents with them. But if we believe they are our brothers, and that
One is our Father, even the God who will come to judge us hereafter for
all the deeds that we have done in the body, then must we constitute,
in some such imperfect way as is open to us, the parental office.
We must be willing to receive the outpourings of our struggling fellow
men, to listen to the long-buried secret that has troubled the human
heart, and to welcome instead of repelling those who would obey the
Apostolic precept: "To confess their sins one to another." Let not
that word confession scandalise any. Confession of the most open sort;
confession on the public platform before the presence of all the man's
former associates in sin has long been one of the most potent weapons
by which the Salvation Army has won its victories. That confession we
have long imposed on all our converts, and it is the only confession
which seems to us to be a condition of Salvation. But this suggestion
is of a different kind. It is not imposed as a means of grace.
It is not put forward as a preliminary to the absolution which no one
can pronounce but our Lord Himself. It is merely a response on our
part to one of the deepest needs and secret longings of the actual men
and women who are meeting us daily in our work. Why should they be
left to brood in misery over their secret sin, when a plain
straightforward talk with a man or woman selected for his or her
sympathetic common-sense and spiritual experience might take the weight
off their shoulders which is crushing them into dull despair?
Not for absolution, but for sympathy and direction, do I propose to
establish my Advice Bureau in definite form, for in practice it has
been in existence for some time, and wonderful things have been done
in the direction on which I contemplate it working. I have no pleasure
in inventing these departments. They all entail hard work and no end
of anxiety. But if we are to represent the love of God to men, we must
minister to all the wants and needs of the human heart. Nor is it only
in affairs of the heart that this Advice Bureau will be of service. It
will be quite as useful in affairs of the head. As I conceive it, the
Advice Bureau will be THE POOR MANS LAWYER AND THE POOR MANS TRIBUNE.
There are no means in London, so far as my knowledge goes, by which the
poor and needy can obtain any legal assistance in the varied
oppressions and difficulties from which they must, in consequence of
their poverty and associations, be continually suffering.
While the "well-to-do" classes can fall back upon skilful friends for
direction, or avail themselves of the learning and experience of the
legal profession, the poor man has literally no one qualified to
counsel him on such matters. In cases of sickness he can apply to the
parish doctor or the great hospital, and receive an odd word or two of
advice, with a bottle of physic which may or may not be of service.
But if his circumstances are sick, out of order, in danger of carrying
him to utter destitution, or to prison, or to the Union, he has no one
to appeal to who has the willingness or the ability to help him.
Now, we want to create a Court of Counsel or Appeal, to which anyone
suffering from imposition having to do with person, liberty, or
property, or anything else of sufficient importance, can apply,
and obtain not only advice, but practical assistance.
Among others for whom this Court would be devised is the
shamefully-neglected class of Widows, of whom in the East of London
there are 6,000, mostly in very destitute circumstances. In the whole
of London there cannot be less than 20,000, and in England and Wales it
is estimated there are 100,000, fifty thousand of whom are probably
poor and friendless.
The treatment these poor people by the nation is a crying scandal.
Take the case of the average widow, even when left in comfortable
circumstances. She will often be launched into a sea of perplexity,
although able to avail herself of the best advice. But think of the
multitudes of poor women, who, when they close their husbands' eyes,
lose the only friend who knows anything; about their circumstances.
There may be a trifle of money or a struggling business or a little
income connected with property or some other possession, all needing
immediate attention, and that of a skilful sort, in order to enable the
poor creature to weather the storm and avoid the vortex of utter
All we have said applies equally to orphans and friendless people
generally. Nothing, however, short of a national institution could
meet the necessities of all such cases. But we can do something, and
in matters already referred to, such as involve loss of property,
malicious prosecution, criminal and otherwise, we can render
In carrying out this purpose it will be no part of our plan to
encourage legal proceedings in others, or to have recourse to them
ourselves. All resort to law would be avoided either in counsel or
practice, unless absolutely necessary. But where manifest injustice
and wrong are perpetrated, and every other method of obtaining
reparation fails, we shall avail ourselves of the assistance the Law
Our great hope of usefulness, however, in this Department lies in
prevention, The knowledge that the oppressed poor have in us a friend
able to speak for them will often prevent the injustice which cowardly
and avaricious persons might otherwise inflict, and the same
considerations may induce them to accord without compulsion the right
of the weak and friendless.
I also calculate upon a wide sphere of usefulness in the direction of
friendly arbitration and intervention. There will be at least one
disinterested tribunal, however humble, to which business, domestic,
or any other questions of a contentious and litigious nature can be
referred without involving any serious costs.
The following incidents have been gathered from operations already
undertaken in this direction, and will explain and illustrate the kind
of work we contemplate, and some of the benefits that may be expected
to follow from it.
About four years ago a young and delicate girl, the daughter of a
pilot, came to us in great distress. Her story was that of thousands
of others. She had been betrayed by a man in a good position in the
West End, and was now the mother of an infant child.
Just before her confinement her seducer had taken her to his solicitors
and made her sign and swear an affidavit to the effect that he was not
the father of the then expected child. Upon this he gave her a few
pounds in settlement of all claims upon him. The poor thing was in
great poverty and distress. Through our solicitors, we immediately
opened communications with the man, and after negotiations, he, to
avoid further proceedings, was compelled to secure by a deed a proper
allowance to his unfortunate victim for the maintenance of her child.
SHADOWED AND CAUGHT.
A-- was induced to leave a comfortable home to become the governess of
the motherless children of Mr. G--, whom she found to be a kind and
considerate employer. After she had been in his service some little
time he proposed that she should take a trip to London. To this she
very gladly consented, all the more so when he offered to take her
himself to a good appointment he had secured for her. In London he
seduced her, and kept her as his mistress until, tired of her,
he told her to go and do as "other women did."
Instead of descending to this infamy, she procured work, and so
supported herself and child in some degree of comfort, when he sought
her out and again dragged her down. Another child was born, and a
second time he threw her up and left her to starve. It was then she
applied to our people. We hunted up the man, followed him to the
country, threatened him with public exposure, and forced from him the
payment to his victim of #60 down, an allowance of #1 a week, and an
Insurance Policy on his life for #450 in her favour.
#60 FROM ITALY.
C. was seduced by a young Italian of good position in society,
who promised to marry her, but a short time before the day fixed for
the ceremony he told her urgent business called him abroad. He assured
her he would return in two years and make her his wife. He wrote
occasionally, and at last broke her heart by sending the news of his
marriage to another, adding insult to injury by suggesting that she
should come and live with his wife as her maid, offering at the same
time to pay for the maintenance of the child till it was old enough to
be placed in charge of the captain of one of the vessels belonging to
None of these promises were fulfilled, and C., with her mother's
assistance, for a time managed to support herself and child; but the
mother, worn out by age and trouble, could help her no longer,
and the poor girl was driven to despair. Her case was brought before
us, and we at once set to work to assist her. The Consul of the town
where the seducer lived in style was communicated with. Approaches
were made to the young man's father, who, to save the dishonour that
would follow exposure, paid over #60. This helps to maintain the
child; and the girl is in domestic service and doing well.
THE HIRE SYSTEM.
The most cruel wrongs are frequently inflicted on the very poorest
persons, in connection with this method of obtaining Furniture, Sewing
Machines, Mangles, or other articles. Caught by the lure of misleading
advertisements, the poor are induced to purchase articles to be paid
for by weekly or monthly instalments. They struggle through half the
amount perhaps, at all manner of sacrifice, when some delay in the
payment is made the occasion not only for seizing the goods, which they
have come to regard as their own, and on which their very existence
depends, but by availing themselves of some technical clause in the
agreement, for robbing them in addition. In such circumstances the
poor things, being utterly friendless, have to submit to these infamous
extortions without remedy. Our Bureau will be open to all such.
TALLYMEN, MONEY LENDERS, AND BILLS-OF-SALEMONGERS.
Here again we have a class who prey upon the poverty of the people,
inducing them to purchase things for which they have often no immediate
use--anyway for which there is no real necessity--by all manner of
specious promises as to easy terms of repayment. And once having got
their dupes into their power they drag them down to misery, and very
often utter temporal ruin; once in their net escape is exceedingly
difficult, if not impossible. We propose to help the poor victims by
this Scheme, as far as possible.
Our Bureau, we expect will be of immense service to Clergymen Ministers
of all denominations, District Visitors, Missionaries, and others who
freely mix among the poor, seeing that they must be frequently appealed
to for legal advice, which they are quite unable to give, and equally
at a loss to obtain. We shall always be very glad to assist such.
THE DEFENCE OF UNDEFENDED PERSONS.
The conviction is gradually fixing itself upon the public mind that a
not inconsiderable number of innocent persons are from time to time
convicted of crimes and offences, the reason for which often is the
mere inability to secure an efficient defence. Although there are
several societies in London and the country dealing with the criminal
classes, and more particularly with discharged prisoners, yet there
does not appear to be one for the purpose of assisting unconvicted
prisoners. This work we propose boldly to take up.
By this and many other ways we shall help those charged with criminal
offences, who, on a most careful enquiry, might reasonably be supposed
to be innocent, but who, through want of means, are unable to obtain
the legal assistance, and produce the evidence necessary for an
We shall not pretend authoritatively to judge as to who is innocent or
who is guilty, but if after full explanation and enquiry the person
charged may reasonably be supposed to be innocent, and is not in a
position to defend himself, then we should feel free to advise such a
case, hoping thereby to save such person and his family and friends
from much misery, and possibly from utter ruin. Mr. Justice Field
recently remarked: --
"For a man to assist another man who was under a criminal charge was a
highly laudable and praiseworthy act. If a man was without friends,
and an Englishman came forward and legitimately, and for the purpose of
honestly assisting him with means to put before the Court his case,
that was a highly laudable and praiseworthy act, and he should be the
last man in the country to complain of any man for so doing."
These remarks are endorsed by most Judges and Magistrates, and our
Advice Bureau will give practical effect to them.
In every case an attempt will be made to secure, not only the outward
reformation, but the actual regeneration of all whom we assist.
Special attention, as has been described under the "Criminal Reform
Department," will be paid to first offenders.
We shall endeavour also to assist, as far as we have ability, the Wives
and Children of persons who are undergoing sentences, by endeavouring
to obtain for them employment, or otherwise rendering them help.
Hundreds of this class fall into the deepest distress and
demoralisation through want of friendly aid in the forlorn
circumstances in which they find themselves on the conviction of
relatives on whom they have been dependent for a livelihood,
or for protection and direction in the ordinary affairs of life.
This Department will also be responsible for gathering intelligence,
spreading information, and the general prosecution of such measures as
are likely to lead to the much-needed beneficial changes in our Prison
Management. In short, it will seek to become the true friend and
saviour of the Criminal Classes in general, and in doing so we shall
desire to act in harmony with the societies at present in existence,
who may be seeking for objects kindred to the Advice Bureau.
We pen the following list to give some idea of the topics on which the
Advice Bureau may be consulted: --
Accidents, Claim for
Administration of Estates
Adulteration of Food and Drugs
Agency, Questions of
Animals, Cruelty to
Bills of Exchange
Bills of Sale
Breach of Promise
Children, Cruelty to
Children, Custody of
Compensation for Injuries
Compensation for Accident
Compensation for Defamation
Compensation for Loss of Employment, &c., &c.
Confiscation by Landlords
Contracts, Breach of
Copyright, Infringement of
County Court Cases
Employers Liability Act
Executors, Duties of
Factory Act, Breach of
Goodwill, Sale of
Husbands and Wives, Disputes of
Infants, Custody of
Intestacy, Cases of
Landlord and Tenant Cases
Leases, Lapses and Renewals of
Marriage Law, Question of the
Masters' and Servants' Acts
Meeting, Right of Public
Next of Kill Wanted
Partnership, The Law of
Patents, Registration and Infringement of
Pawnbrokers and their Pledges
Rates and Taxes
Seduction, Cases of
Servants' Wrongful Dismissal
Trade Marks, Infringement of
Trespass, Cases of
Trustees and Trusts
Wages Kept Back
Wills, Disputed and Unproved
Women, Cruelty to
Workmen, Grievances of &c.,&c.
The Advice Bureau will therefore be, first of all, a place where men
and women in trouble can come when they please to communicate in
confidence the cause of their anxiety, with a certainty that they will
receive a sympathetic hearing and the best advice.
Secondly, it will be a Poor Man's Lawyer, giving the best legal counsel
as to the course to be pursued in the various circumstances with which
the poor find themselves confronted.
Thirdly, it will act as a Poor Man's Tribune, and will undertake the
defence of friendless prisoners supposed to be innocent, together with
the resistance of illegal extortions, and the prosecution of offenders
who refuse legal satisfaction for the wrongs they have committed.
Fourthly, it will act wherever it is called upon as a Court of
Arbitration between litigants, where the decision will be according to
equity, and the costs cut down to the lowest possible figure.
Such a Department cannot be improvised; but it is already in a fair way
of development, and it can hardly fail to do great good.
SECTION 5.--OUR INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT.
An indispensable adjunct of this Scheme will be the institution of what
may be called an Intelligence Department at Headquarters. Power, it
has been said, belongs to the best informed, and if we are effectually
to deal with the forces of social evil, we must have ready at our
fingers' ends the accumulated experience and information of the whole
world on this subject. The collection of facts and the systematic
record of them would be invaluable, rendering the result of the
experiments of previous generations available for the information of
At the present there is no central institution, either governmental or
otherwise, in this country or any other, which charges itself with the
duty of collecting and collating the ideas and conclusions on Social
Economy, so far as they are likely to help the solution of the problem
we have in hand. The British Home Office has only begun to index its
own papers. The Local Government Board is in a similar condition, and,
although each particular Blue Book may be admirably indexed, there is
no classified index of the whole series. If this is the case with the
Government, it is not likely that the innumerable private organisations
which are pecking here and there at the social question should possess
any systematised method for the purpose of comparing notes and storing
information. This Intelligence Department, which I propose to found on
a small scale at first, will have in it the germ of vast extension
which will, if adequately supported become a kind of University,
in which the accumulated experiences of the human race will be massed,
digested, and rendered available to the humblest toiler in the great
work of social reform. At the present moment, who is there that can
produce in any of our museums and universities as much as a classified
index of publications relating to one of the many heads under which I
have dealt with this subject? Who is there among all our wise men and
social reformers that can send me a list of all the best tracts upon--
say, the establishment of agricultural colonies or the experiments that
have been made in dealing with inebriates; or the best plans for the
construction of a working man's cottage?
For the development of this Scheme I want an Office to begin with, in
which, under the head of the varied subjects treated of in this volume,
I may have arranged the condensed essence of all the best books that
have been written, and the names and addresses of those whose opinions
are worth having upon them, together with a note of what those opinions
are, and the results of experiments which have been made in relation to
them. I want to establish a system which will enable me to use,
not only the eyes and hands of Salvation Officers, but of sympathetic
friends in all parts of the world, for purposes of noticing and
reporting at once every social experiment of importance, any words of
wisdom on the social question, whether it may be the breeding of
rabbits, the organisation of an emigration service, the best method of
conducting a Cottage Farm, or the best way of cooking potatoes.
There is nothing in the whole range of our operations upon which we
should not be accumulating and recording the results of human
experience. What I want is to get the essence of wisdom which the
wisest have gathered from the widest experience, rendered instantly
available for the humblest worker in the Salvation Factory or Farm
Colony, and for any other toiler in similar fields of social progress.
It can be done, and in the service of the people it ought to be done.
I look for helpers in this department among those who hitherto may not
have cared for the Salvation Army, but who in the seclusion of their
studies and libraries will assist in the compiling of this great Index
of Sociological Experiments, and who would be willing, in this form,
to help in this Scheme, as Associates, for the ameliorating of the
condition of the people, if in nothing else than in using their eyes
and ears, and giving me the benefit of their brains as to where
knowledge lies, and how it can best be utilised. I propose to make a
beginning by putting two capable men and a boy in an office, with
instructions to cut out, preserve, and verify all contemporary records
in the daily and weekly press that have a bearing upon any branch of
our departments. Round these two men and a boy will grow up,
I confidently believe, a vast organisation of zealous unpaid workers,
who will co-operate in making our Intelligence Department a great
storehouse of information--a universal library where any man may
learn what is the sum of human knowledge upon any branch of the subject
which we have taken in hand.
SECTION 6.--CO-OPERATION IN GENERAL.
If anyone asked me to state in one word what seemed likely to be the
key of the solution of the Social Problem I should answer
unhesitatingly Co-operation. It being always understood that it is
Co-operation conducted on righteous principles, and for wise and
benevolent ends; otherwise Association cannot be expected to bear any
more profitable fruit than Individualism. Co-operation is applied
association--association for the purpose of production and
distribution. Co-operation implies the voluntary combination of
individuals to the attaining an object by mutual help, mutual counsel,
and mutual effort. There is a great deal of idle talk in the world
just now about capital, as if capital were the enemy of labour.
It is quite true that there are capitalists not a few who may be
regarded as the enemies, not only of labour, but of the human race;
but capital itself, so far from being a natural enemy of labour,
is the great object which the labourer has constantly in view.
However much an agitator may denounce capital, his one great grievance
is that he has not enough of it for himself. Capital, therefore, is
not an evil in itself; on the contrary, it is good--so good that one
of the great aims of the social reformer ought to be to facilitate its
widest possible distribution among his fellow-men. It is the
congestion of capital that is evil, and the labour question will never
be finally solved until every labourer is his own capitalist.
All this is trite enough, and has been said a thousand times already,
but, unfortunately, with the saying of it the matter ends.
Co-operation has been brought into practice in relation to distribution
with considerable success, but co-operation, as a means of production,
has not achieved anything like the success that was anticipated.
Again and again enterprises have been begun on co-operative principles
which bid fair, in the opinion of the promoters, to succeed; but after
one, two, three, or ten years, the enterprise which was started with
such high hopes has dwindled away into either total or partial failure.
At present, many co-operative undertakings are nothing more or less
than huge Joint Stock Limited Liability concerns, shares of which are
held largely by working people, but not necessarily, and sometimes not
at all by those who are actually employed in the so-called co-operative
business. Now, why is this? Why do co-operative firms, co-operative
factories, and co-operative Utopias so very often come to grief?
I believe the cause is an open secret, and can be discerned by anyone
who will look at the subject with an open eye.
The success of industrial concerns is largely a question of management.
Management signifies government, and government implies authority,
and authority is the last thing which co-operators of the Utopian order
are willing to recognise as an element essential to the success of
their Schemes. The co-operative institution which is governed on
Parliamentary principles, with unlimited right of debate and right of
obstruction, will never be able to compete successfully with
institutions which are directed by a single brain wielding the united
resources of a disciplined and obedient army of workers. Hence, to
make co-operation a success you must superadd to the principle of
consent the principle of authority; you must invest in those to whom
you entrust the management of your co-operative establishment the same
liberty of action that is possessed by the owner of works on the other
side of the repudiation of the rotten and effete regime of the
Bourbons, the French peasants and workmen imagined that they were
inaugurating the millennium when they scrawled Liberty, Equality, and
Fraternity across all the churches in every city of France.
They carried their principles of freedom and license to the logical
ultimate, and attempted to manage their army on Parliamentary
principles. It did not work; their undisciplined levies were driven
back; disorder reigned in the Republican camp; and the French
Revolution would have been stifled in its cradle had not the instinct
of the nation discerned in time the weak point in its armour.
Menaced by foreign wars and intestine revolt, the Republic established
an iron discipline in its army, and enforced obedience by the summary
process of military execution. The liberty and the enthusiasm
developed by the outburst of the long pent-up revolutionary forces
supplied the motive power, but it was the discipline of the
revolutionary armies, the stern, unbending obedience which was enforced
in all ranks from the highest to the lowest, which created for Napoleon
the admirable military instrument by which he shattered every throne in
Europe and swept in triumph from Paris to Moscow.
In industrial affairs we are very much like the French Republic before
it tempered its doctrine of the rights of man by the duty of obedience
on the part of the soldier. We have got to introduce discipline into
the industrial army, we have to superadd the principle of authority to
the principle of co-operation, and so to enable the worker to profit to
the full by the increased productiveness of the willing labour of men
who are employed in their own workshops and on their own property.
There is no need to clamour for great schemes of State Socialism.
The whole thing can be done simply, economically, and speedily if only
the workers will practice as much self-denial for the sake of
establishing themselves as capitalists, as the Soldiers of the
Salvation Army practice every year in Self Denial Week. What is the
sense of never making a levy except during a strike? Instead of calling
for a shilling, or two shillings, a week in order to maintain men who
are starving in idleness because of a dispute with their masters,
why should there not be a levy kept up for weeks or months, by the
workers, for the purpose of setting themselves up in business as
masters? There would then be no longer a capitalist owner face to face
with the masses of the proletariat, but all the means of production,
the plant, and all the accumulated resources of capital would really be
at the disposal of labour. This will never be done, however, as long
as co-operative experiments are carried on in the present archaic
Believing in co-operation as the ultimate solution, if to co-operation
you can add subordination, I am disposed to attempt something in this
direction in my new Social Scheme. I shall endeavour to start a
Co-operative Farm on the principles of Ralahine, and base the whole of
my Farm Colony on a Co-operative foundation.
In starting this little Co-operative Commonwealth, I am reminded by
those who are always at a man's elbow to fill him with forebodings of
ill, to look at the failures, which I have just referred to, which make
up the history of the attempt to realise ideal commonwealths in this
practical workaday world. Now, I have read the history of the many
attempts at co-operation that have been made to form communistic
settlements in the United States, and am perfectly familiar with the
sorrowful fate with which nearly all have been overtaken; but the story
of their failures does not deter me in the least, for I regard them as
nothing more than warnings to avoid certain mistakes, beacons to
illustrate the need of proceeding on a different tack.
Broadly speaking, your experimental communities fail because your
Utopias all start upon the system of equality and government by vote of
the majority, and, as a necessary and unavoidable consequence,
your Utopians get to loggerheads, and Utopia goes to smash, I shall
avoid that rock. The Farm Colony, like all the other departments of
the Scheme, will be governed, not on the principle of counting noses,
but on the exactly opposite principle of admitting no noses into the
concern that are not willing to be guided by the directing brain.
It will be managed on principles which assert that the fittest ought to
rule, and it will provide for the fittest being selected, and having
got them at the top, will insist on universal and unquestioning
obedience from those at the bottom. If anyone does not like to work
for his rations and submit to the orders of his superior Officers he
can leave. There is no compulsion on him to stay. The world is wide,
and outside the confines of our Colony and the operations of our Corps
my authority does not extend. But judging from our brief experience it
is not from revolt against authority that the Scheme is destined to
There cannot be a greater mistake in this world than to imagine that
men object to be governed. They like to be governed, provided that the
governor has his "head screwed on right" and that he is prompt to hear
and ready to see and recognise all that is vital to the interests of
the commonwealth. So far from there being an innate objection on the
part of mankind to being governed, the instinct to obey is so universal
that even when governments have gone blind, and deaf, and paralytic,
rotten with corruption, and hopelessly behind the times, they still
contrive to live on. Against a capable Government no people ever
rebel, only when stupidity and incapacity have taken possession of the
seat of power do insurrections break out.
SECTION 7.--A MATRIMONIAL BUREAU.
There is another direction in which something ought to be done to
restore the natural advantages enjoyed by every rural community which
have been destroyed by the increasing tendency of mankind to come
together in huge masses. I refer to that which is after all one of the
most important elements in every human life, that of marrying and
giving in marriage. In the natural life of a country village all the
lads and lasses grow up together, they meet together in religious
associations, in daily employments, and in their amusements on the
village green. They have learned their A, B, C and pothooks together,
and when the time comes for pairing off they have had excellent
opportunities of knowing the qualities and the defects of those whom
they select as their partners in life. Everything in such a community
lends itself naturally to the indispensable preliminaries of
love-making, and courtships, which, however much they may be laughed at,
contribute more than most things to the happiness or life. But in a
great city all this is destroyed. In London at the present moment how
many hundreds, nay thousands, of young men and young women, who are
living in lodgings, are practically without any opportunity of making
the acquaintance of each other, or of any one of the other sex!
The street is no doubt the city substitute for the village green,
and what a substitute it is!
It has been bitterly said by one who knew well what he was talking
about, "There are thousands of young men to-day who have no right to
call any woman by her Christian name, except the girls they meet plying
their dreadful trade in our public thoroughfares." As long as that is
the case, vice has an enormous advantage over virtue; such an abnormal
social arrangement interdicts morality and places a vast premium upon
prostitution. We must get back to nature if we have to cope with this
ghastly evil. There ought to be more opportunities afforded for
healthy human intercourse between young men and young women, nor can
Society rid itself of a great responsibility for all the wrecks of
manhood and womanhood with which our streets are strewn, unless it does
make some attempt to bridge this hideous chasm which yawns between the
two halves of humanity. The older I grow the more absolutely am I
opposed to anything that violates the fundamental law of the family.
Humanity is composed of two sexes, and woe be to those who attempt to
separate them into distinct bodies, making of each half one whole!
It has been tried in monasteries and convents with but poor success,
yet what our fervent Protestants do not seem to see is that we are
reconstructing a similar false system for our young people without the
safeguards and the restraints of convent walls or the sanctifying
influence of religious conviction. The conditions of City life,
the absence of the enforced companionship of the village and small
town, the difficulty of young people finding harmless opportunities of
friendly intercourse, all tends to create classes of celibates who are
not chaste, and whose irregular and lawless indulgence of a universal
instinct is one of the most melancholy features of the present state of
society. Nay, so generally is this recognised, that one of the terms
by which one of the consequences of this unnatural state of things is
popularly known is "the social evil," as if all other social evils were
comparatively unworthy of notice in comparison to this.
While I have been busily occupied in working out my Scheme for the
registration of labour, it has occurred to me more than once, why could
not something like the same plan be adopted in relation to men who want
wives and women who want husbands? Marriage is with most people largely
a matter or opportunity. Many a man and many a woman, who would,
if they had come together, have formed a happy household, are leading
at this moment miserable and solitary lives, suffering in body and in
soul, in consequence of their exclusion from the natural state of
matrimony. Of course, the registration of the unmarried who wish to
marry would be a matter of much greater delicacy than the registration
of the joiners and stone-masons who wish to obtain work. But the thing
is not impossible. I have repeatedly found in my experience that many
a man and many a woman would only be too glad to have a friendly hint
as to where they might prosecute their attentions or from which they
might receive proposals. In connection with such an agency, if it were
established--for I am mot engaging to undertake this task--
I am only throwing out a possible suggestion as to the development in
the direction of meeting a much needed want, there might be added
training homes for matrimony. My heart bleeds for many a young couple
whom I see launching out into the sea of matrimony with no housewifery
experience. The young girls who leave our public elementary schools
and go out into factories have never been trained to home duties, and
yet, when taken to wife, are unreasonably expected to fill worthily the
difficult positions of the head of a household and the mother of a
family. A month spent before marriage in a training home of
housewifery would conduce much more to the happiness of the married
life than the honeymoon which immediately follows it.
Especially is this the case with those who marry to go abroad and
settle in a distant country. I often marvel when I think of the utter
helplessness of the modern woman, compared with the handiness of her
grandmother. How many of our girls can even bake a loaf? The baker has
killed out one of our fundamental domestic arts. But if you are in the
Backwoods or in the Prairie or in the Bush, no baker's cart comes round
every morning with the new-made bread, and I have often thought with
sorrow of the kind of stuff which this poor wife must serve up to her
hungry husband. As it is with baking, so it is with washing, with
milking, with spinning, with all the arts and sciences of the
household, which were formerly taught, as a matter of course, to all
the daughters who were born in the world. Talk about woman's rights,
one of the first of woman's rights is to be trained to her trade, to be
queen of her household, and mother of her children.
Speaking of colonists leads me to the suggestion whether something
could not be done to supply, on a well-organised system, the thousands
of bachelor miners or the vast host of unmarried males who are
struggling with the wilderness on the outskirts of civilisation,
with capable wives from the overplus of marriageable females who abound
in our great towns. Woman supplied in adequate quantities is the great
moraliser of Society, but woman doled out as she is in the Far West and
the Australian bush, in the proportion of one woman to about a dozen
men, is a fertile source of vice and crime. Here again we must get
back to nature, whose fundamental laws our social arrangements have
rudely set on one side with consequences which as usual she does not
fail to exact with remorseless severity. There have always been born
into the world and continue to be born boys and girls in fairly equal
proportions, but with colonising and soldiering our men go away,
leaving behind them a continually growing surplus of marriageable but
unmarried spinsters, who cannot spin, and who are utterly unable to
find themselves husbands. This is a wide field on the discussion of
which I must not enter. I merely indicate it as one of those
departments in which an intelligent philanthropy might find a great
sphere for its endeavours; but it would be better not to touch it at
all than to deal with it with light-hearted precipitancy and without
due consideration of all the difficulties and dangers connected
therewith. Obstacles, however, exist to be overcome and converted into
victories. There is even a certain fascination about the difficult and
dangerous, which appeals very strongly to all who know that it is the
apparently insolvable difficulty which contains within its bosom the
key to the problem which you are seeking to solve.
In considering the various means by which some substantial improvement
can be made in the condition of the toiling masses, recreation cannot
be omitted. I have repeatedly had forced upon me the desirability of
making it possible for them to spend a few hours occasionally by the
seaside, or even at times three or four days. Notwithstanding the
cheapened rates and frequent excursions, there are multitudes of the
poor who, year in and out, never get beyond the crowded city, with the
exception of dragging themselves and their children now and then to the
parks on holidays or hot summer evenings. The majority, especially the
inhabitants of the East of London, never get away from the sunless
alleys and grimy streets in which they exist from year to year.
It is true that a few here and there of the adult population, and a
good many of the children, have a sort of annual charity excursion to
Epping Forest, Hampton Court, or perhaps to the sea. But it is only
the minority. The vast number, while possessed of a passionate love of
the sea, which only those who have mixed with them can conceive,
pass their whole lives without having once looked over its blue waters,
or watched its waves breaking at their feet.
Now I am not so foolish as to dream that it is possible to make any
such change in Society as will enable the poor man to take his wife and
children for a fortnight's sojourn, during the oppressive summer days,
to brace them up for their winter's task, although this might be as
desirable in their case as in that of their more highly favoured
fellow-creatures. But I would make it possible for every man;
woman and child, to get, now and then, a day's refreshing change by a
visit to that never-failing source of interest. In the carrying out of
this plan, we are met at the onset with a difficulty of some little
magnitude, and that is the necessity of a vastly reduced charge in the
cost of the journey. To do anything effective we must be able to get a
man from Whitechapel or Stratford to the sea-side and back for a
Unfortunately, London is sixty miles from the sea. Suppose we take it
at seventy miles. This would involve a journey of one hundred and
forty miles for the small sum of 1s. Can this be done? I think it can,
and done to pay the railway companies; otherwise there is no ground to
hope for this part of my Scheme ever being realised. But I think that
this great boon can be granted to the poor people without the dividends
being sensibly affected. I am told that the cost of haulage for an
ordinary passenger train, carrying from five hundred to a thousand
persons, is 2s. 7d. per mile; a railway company could take six
hundred passengers seventy miles there, and bring them seventy miles
back, at a cost of #18 1s. 8d. Six hundred passengers at a shilling is
#30, so that there would be a clear profit to the company of nearly #12
on the haulage, towards the payment of interest on the capital, wear
and tear of line, &c. But I reckon, at a very moderate computation,
that two hundred thousand persons would travel to and fro every season.
An addition of #10,000 to the exchequer of a railway company is not to
be despised and this would be a mere bagatelle to the indirect profits
which would follow the establishment of a settlement which must in due
course necessarily become very speedily a large and active community.
This it would be necessary to bring home to the railway companies, and
for the execution of this part of my Scheme I must wait till I get some
manager sufficiently public-spirited to try the experiment. When such a
man is found, I purpose to set at once about my Sea-Side Establishment.
This will present the following special advantages, which I am quite
certain will be duly appreciated by the very poorest of the London
An estate of some three hundred acres would be purchased on which
buildings would be erected, calculated to meet the wants of this class
Refreshments would be provided at rates very similar to those charged
at our London Food Depots. There would, of course, be greater
facilities in the way of rooms and accommodation generally.
Lodgings for invalids, children, and those requiring to make a short
stay in the place would be supplied at the lowest prices. Beds for
single men and single women could be charged at the low rate of
sixpence a night, and children in proportion, while accommodation of a
suitable character, on very moderate terms, could be arranged for
No public-houses would be allowed within the precincts of the
A park, playground, music, boats, covered conveniences for bathing,
without the expense of hiring a machine, and other arrangements for the
comfort and enjoyment of the people would be provided.
The estate would form one of the Colonies of the general enterprise,
and on it would be grown fruit, vegetables, flowers, and other produce
for the use of the visitors, and sold at the lowest remunerative rates.
One of the first provisions for the comfort of the excursionists would
be the erection of a large hall, affording ample shelter in case of
unfavourable weather, and in this and other parts of the place there
would be the fullest opportunity for ministers of all denominations to
hold religious services in connection with any excursionists they might
bring with them.
There would be shops for tradesmen, houses for residets, a museum with
a panorama and stuffed whale; boats would be let out at moderate
prices, and a steamer to carry people so many miles out to sea,
and so many miles back for a penny, with a possible bout of sickness,
for which no extra charge would be made.
In fact the railway fares and refreshment arrangements would be on such
a scale, that a husband and wife could have a 70-mile ride through the
green fields, the new-mown hay, the waving grain or fruit laden
orchards; could wander for hours on the seashore, have comforting and
nourishing refreshment, and be landed back at home sober, cheered and
invigorated for the small sum of 3s. A couple of children under 12
might be added at 1s. 6d.--nay, a whole family, husband, wife and
four children, supposing one is in arms, could have a day at the
seaside, without obligation or charity, for 5s.
The gaunt, hungry inhabitants of the Slums would save up their
halfpence, and come by thousands; clergymen would find it possible to
bring half the poor and needy occupants of their parishes; schools,
mothers' meetings, and philanthropic societies of all descriptions
would come down wholesale; in short, what Brighton is to the West End
and middle classes, this place would be to the East End poor, nay, to
the poor of the Metropolis generally, a Whitechapel-by-the-Sea.
Now this ought to be done apart from my Scheme altogether. The rich
corporations which have the charge of the affairs of this great City,
and the millionaires, who would never have amassed their fortunes but
by the assistance of the masses, ought to say it shall be done.
Suppose the Railway Companies refused to lend the great highways of
which they have become the monopolists for such an undertaking without
a subvention, then the necessary subvention should be forthcoming.
If it could be made possible for the joyless toilers to come out of the
sweater's den, or the stifling factory; if the seamstress could leave
her needle, and the mother get away from the weary round of babydom and
household drudgery for a day now and then, to the cooling,
invigorating, heart-stirring influences of the sea, it should be done,
even if it did cost a few paltry thousands. Let the men and women who
spend a little fortune every year in Continental tours, Alpine
climbings, yacht excursions, and many another form of luxurious
wanderings, come forward and say that it shall be possible for these
crowds of their less fortunate brethren to have the opportunity of
spending one day at least in the year by the sea.
CAN IT BE DONE, AND HOW?
SECTION 1.--THE CREDENTIALS OF THE SALVATION ARMY.
Can this great work be done? I believe it can. And I believe that it
can be done by the Salvation Army, because it has ready to hand an
organisation of men and women, numerous enough and zealous enough to
grapple with the enormous undertaking. The work may prove beyond our
powers. But this is not so manifest as to preclude us from wishing to
make the attempt. That in itself is a qualification which is shared by
no other organisation--at present. If we can do it we have the field
entirely to ourselves. The wealthy churches show no inclination to
compete for the onerous privilege of making the experiment in this
definite and practical form. Whether we have the power or not,
we have, at least, the will, the ambition to do this great thing for
the sake of our brethren, and therein lies our first credential for
being entrusted with the enterprise.
The second credential is the fact that, while using all material means,
our reliance is on the co-working power of God. We keep our powder
dry, but we trust in Jehovah. We go not forth in our own strength to
this battle, our dependence is upon Him who can influence the heart of
man. There is no doubt that the most satisfactory method of raising a
man must be to effect such a change in his views and feelings that he
shall voluntarily abandon his evil ways, give himself to industry and
goodness in the midst of the very temptations and companionships that
before led him astray, and live a Christian life, an example in himself
of what can be done by the power of God in the very face of the most
But herein lies the great difficulty again and again referred to,
men have not that force of character which will constrain them to avail
themselves of the methods of deliverance. Now our Scheme is based on
the necessity of helping such.
Our third credential is the fact that we have already out of
practically nothing achieved so great a measure of success that we
think we may reasonably be entrusted with this further duty.
The ordinary operations of the Army have already effected most
wonderful changes in the conditions of the poorest and worst.
Multitudes of slaves of vice in every form have been delivered not only
from these habits, but from the destitution and misery which they even
produce. Instances have been given. Any number more can be produced.
Our experience, which has been almost world-wide, has ever shown that
not only does the criminal become honest, the drunkard sober,
the harlot chaste, but that poverty of the most abject and helpless
type vanishes away. Our fourth credential is that our Organisation
alone of England's religious bodies is founded upon the principle of
For Discipline I can answer. The Salvation Army, largely recruited
from among the poorest of the poor, is often reproached by its enemies
on account of the severity of its rule. It is the only religious body
founded in our time that is based upon the principle of voluntary
subjection to an absolute authority. No one is bound to remain in the
Army a day longer than he pleases. While he remains there he is bound
by the conditions of the Service. The first condition of that Service
is implicit, unquestioning obedience. The Salvationist is taught to
obey as is the soldier on the field of battle.
From the time when the Salvation Army began to acquire strength and to
grow from the grain of mustard seed until now, when its branches
overshadow the whole earth, we have been constantly warned against the
evils which this autocratic system would entail. Especially were we
told that in a democratic age the people would never stand the
establishment of what was described as a spiritual despotism.
It was contrary to the spirit of the times, it would be a stone of
stumbling and a rock of offence to the masses to whom we appeal,
and so forth and so forth.
But what has been the answer of accomplished facts to these predictions
of theorists? Despite the alleged unpopularity of our discipline,
perhaps because of the rigour of military authority upon which we have
insisted, the Salvation Army has grown from year to year with a
rapidity to which nothing in modern Christendom affords any parallel.
It is only twenty-five years since it was born. It is now the largest
Home and Foreign Missionary Society in the Protestant world. We have
nearly 10,000 officers under our orders, a number increasing every day,
every one of whom has taken service on the express condition that he or
she will obey without questioning or gainsaying the orders from
Headquarters. Of these, 4,600 are in Great Britain. The greatest
number outside these islands, in any one country, are in the American
Republic, where we have 1,018 officers, and democratic Australia,
where we have 800.
Nor is the submission to our discipline a mere paper loyalty.
These officers are in the field, constantly exposed to privation
and ill-treatment of all kinds. A telegram from me will send any of
them to the uttermost parts of the earth, will transfer them from the
Slums of London to San Francisco, or despatch them to assist in opening
missions in Holland, Zululand, Sweden, or South America. So far from
resenting the exercise of authority, the Salvation Army rejoices to
recognise it as one great secret of its success, a pillar of strength
upon which all its soldiers can rely, a principle which stamps it as
being different from all other religious organisations founded in our
With ten thousand officers, trained to obey, and trained equally to
command, I do not feel that the organisation even of the disorganised,
sweated, hopeless, drink-sodden denizens of darkest England is
impossible. It is possible, because it has already been accomplished
in the case of thousands who, before they were saved, were even such as
those whose evil lot we are now attempting to deal with.
Our fifth credential is the extent and universality of the Army.
What a mighty agency for working out the Scheme is found in the Army in
this respect! This will be apparent when we consider that it has
already stretched itself through over thirty different Countries and
Colonies, with a permanent location in something like 4,000 different
places, that it has either soldiers or friends sufficiently in sympathy
with it to render assistance in almost every considerable population in
the civilised world, and in much of the uncivilised, that it has nearly
10,000 separated officers whose training, and leisure, and history
qualify them to become its enthusiastic and earnest co-workers.
In fact, our whole people will hail it as the missing link in the great
Scheme for the regeneration of mankind, enabling them to act out those
impulses of their hearts which are ever prompting them to do good to
the bodies as well as to the souls of men.
Take the meetings. With few exceptions, every one of these four
thousand centres has a Hall in which, on every evening in the week and
from early morning until nearly midnight on every Sabbath, services are
being held; that nearly every service held indoors is preceded by one
out of doors, the special purport of every one being the saving of
these wretched crowds. Indeed, when this Scheme is perfected and
fairly at work, every meeting and every procession will be looked upon
as an advertisement of the earthly as well as the heavenly conditions
of happiness. And every Barracks and Officer's quarters will become a
centre where poor sinful suffering men and women may find sympathy,
counsel, and practical assistance in every sorrow that can possibly
come upon them, and every Officer throughout our ranks in every quarter
of the globe will become a co-worker.
See how useful our people will be in the gathering in of this class.
They are in touch with them. They live in the same street, work in the
same shops and factories, and come in contact with them at every turn
and corner of life. If they don't live amongst them, they formerly did.
They know where to find them; they are their old chums, pot-house
companions, and pals in crime and mischief. This class is the
perpetual difficulty of a Salvationist's life. He feels that there is
no help for them in the conditions in which they are at present found.
They are so hopelessly weak, and their temptations are so terribly
strong, that they go down before them. The Salvationist feels this
when he attacks them in the tap-rooms, in the low lodging houses, or in
their own desolate homes. Hence, with many, the Crusader has lost all
heart. He has tried them so often. But this Scheme of taking them
right away from their old haunts and temptations will put new life into
him and he will gather up the poor social wrecks wholesale, pass them
along, and then go and hunt for more.
Then see how useful this army of Officers and Soldiers will be for the
regeneration of this festering mass of vice and crime when it is, so to
speak, in our possession. All the thousands of drunkards, and harlots,
and blasphemers, and idlers have to be made over again, to be renewed
in the spirit of their minds, that is--made good. What a host of
moral workers will be required to accomplish such a gigantic
transformation. In the Army we have a few thousands ready, anyway we
have as many as can be used at the outset, and the Scheme itself will
go on manufacturing more. Look at the qualifications of these warriors
for the work!
They have been trained themselves, brought into line and are examples
of the characters we want to produce.
They understand their pupils--having been dug out of the same pit.
Set a rogue to catch a rogue, they say, that is, we suppose, are formed
rogue. Anyway, it is so with us. These rough-and-ready warriors will
work shoulder to shoulder with them in the same manual employment.
They will engage in the task for love. This is a substantial part of
their religion, the moving instinct of the new heavenly nature that has
come upon them. They want to spend their lives in doing good.
Here will be an opportunity.
Then see how useful these Soldiers will be for distribution!
Every Salvation Officer and Soldier in every one of these 4,000
centres, scattered through these thirty odd countries and colonies,
with all their correspondents and friends and comrades living
elsewhere, will be ever on the watch-tower looking out for homes and
employments where these rescued men and women can be fixed up to
advantage, nursed into moral vigour, picked up again on stumbling,
and watched over generally until able to travel the rough and slippery
paths of life alone.
I am, therefore, not without warrant for my confidence in the
possibility of doing great things, if the problem so long deemed
hopeless be approached with intelligence and determination on a scale
corresponding to the magnitude of the evil with which we have to cope.
SECTION 2.--HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
A considerable amount of money will be required to fairly launch this
Scheme, and some income may be necessary to sustain it for a season,
but, once fairly afloat, we think there is good reason to believe that
in all its branches it will be self-supporting, unless its area of
operation is largely extended, on which we fully rely. Of course,
the cost of the effort must depend very much upon its magnitude.
If anything is to be done commensurate with the extent of the evil,
it will necessarily require a proportionate outlay. If it is only the
drainage of a garden that is undertaken, a few pounds will meet the
cost, but if it is a great dismal swamp of many miles in area,
harbouring all manner of vermin, and breeding all kinds of deadly
malaria, that has to be reclaimed and cultivated, a very different sum
will not only be found necessary, but be deemed an economic investment.
Seeing that the country pays out something like Ten Millions per annum
in Poor Law and Charitable Relief without securing any real abatement
of the evil, I cannot doubt that the public will hasten to supply
one-tenth of that sum. If you reckon that of the submerged tenth we
have one million to deal with, this will only be one pound per head for
each of those whom it is sought to benefit, or say ONE MILLION STERLING
to give the present Scheme a fair chance of getting into practical
According to the amount furnished, must necessarily be the extent of
our operations. We have carefully calculated that with one hundred
thousand pounds the scheme can be successfully set in motion,
and that it can be kept going on an annual income of #30,000
which is about three and a-quarter per cent. on the balance of the
million sterling, for which I ask as an earnest that the public intend
to put its hand to this business with serious resolution; and our
judgment is based, not on any mere imaginings, but upon the actual
result of the experiments already made. Still it must be remembered
that so vast and desirable an end cannot be even practically
contemplated without a proportionate financial outlay. Supposing,
however, by the subscription of this amount the undertaking is fairly
set afloat. The question may be asked, "What further funds will be
required for its efficient maintenance?" This question we proceed to
answer. Let us look at the three Colonies apart, and then at some of
the circumstances which apply to the whole. To begin with, there is
THE FINANCIAL ASPECT OF THE CITY COLONY.
Here there will be, of course, a considerable outlay required for the
purchasing and fitting up of property, the acquisition of machinery,
furniture, tools, and the necessary plant for carrying forward all
these varied operations. These once acquired, no further outlay will
be needed except for the necessary reparations.
The Homes for the Destitute will be nearly, if not quite, self-sustaining.
The Superior Homes for both Single and Married people will not only pay
for themselves, but return some interest on the amount invested, which
would be devoted to the futherance of other parts of the Scheme.
The Refuges for Fallen Girls would require considerable funds to keep
them going. But the public has never been slow to practically express
its sympathy with this class of work.
The Criminal Homes and Prison Gate Operations would require continued
help, but not a very great deal. Then, the work in the Slums is
somewhat expensive. The eighty young women at present engaged in it
cost on an average 12s. per week each for personal maintenance,
inclusive of clothes and other little matters, and there are expenses
for Halls and some little relief which cannot in anyway be avoided,
bringing our present annual Slum outlay to over #4,000. But the poor
people amongst whom they work notwithstanding their extreme poverty,
are already contributing over #1,000 per annum towards this amount,
which income will increase. Still as by this Scheme we propose to add
at once a hundred to the number already engaged, money will be required
to keep th is department going.
The Inebriate Home, I calculate, will maintain itself. All its inmates
will have to engage in some kind of remunerative labour, and we
calculate, in addition, upon receiving money with a considerable number
of those availing themselves of its benefits. But to practically
assist the half-million slaves of the cup we must have money not only
to launch out but to keep our operations going.
The Food Depots, once fitted up, pay their own working expenses.
The Emigration, Advice, and Inquiry Bureaux must maintain themselves or
nearly so. The Labour Shops, Anti-Sweating, and other similar
operations will without question require money to make ends meet.
But on the whole, a very small sum of money, in proportion to the
immense amount of work done, will enable us to accomplish a vast deal
THE FARM COLONY FROM A FINANCIAL POINT OF VIEW.
Let us now turn to the Farm Colony, and consider it from a monetary
standpoint. Here also a certain amount of money will have to be
expended at the outset; some of the chief items of which will be the
purchase of land, the erection of buildings, the supply of stock, and
the production of first crops. There is an abundance of land in the
market, at the present time, at very low prices. It is rather
important for the initial experiment that an estate should be obtained
not too far from London, with land suitable for immediate cultivation.
Such an estate would beyond question be expensive. After a time,
I have no doubt, we shall be able to deal with land of almost any
quality (and that in almost any part of the country), in consequence of
the superabundance of labour we shall possess. There is no question if
the scheme goes forward, but that estates will be required in
connection with all our large towns and cities. I am not without hope
that a sufficient quantity of land will be given, or, in any way,
sold to us on very favourable terms.
When acquired and stocked, it is calculated that this land,
if cultivated by spade husbandry, will support at least two persons
per acre. The ordinary reckoning of those who have had experience
with allotments gives five persons to three acres.
But, even supposing that this calculation is a little too sanguine,
we can still reckon a farm of 500 acres supporting, without any
outside assistance, say, 750 persons. But, in this Scheme, we should
have many advantages not possessed by the simple peasant, such as
those resulting from combination, market gardening, and the other
forms of cultivation already referred to, and thus we should want to
place two or three times this number on that quantity of land.
By a combination of City and Town Colonies, there will be a market for
at least a large portion of the products. At the rate of our present
consumption in the London Food Depots and Homes for the Destitute
alone, at least 50 acres would be required for potatoes alone,
and every additional Colonist would be an additional consumer.
There will be no rent to pay, as it is proposed to buy the land right
out. In the event of a great rush being made for the allotment's
spoken of, further land might be rented, with option of purchase.
Of course, the continuous change of labourers would tell against the
profitableness of the undertaking. But this would be proportionally
beneficial to the country, seeing that everyone who passes through the
institution with credit makes one less in the helpless crowd.
The rent of Cottages and Allotments would constitute a small return,
and at least pay interest on the money invested in them.
The labour spent upon the Colony would be constantly increasing its
money value. Cottages would be built, orchards planted, land enriched,
factories run up, warehouses erected, while other improvements would be
continually going forward. All the labour and a large part of the
material would be provided by the Colonists themselves.
It may be suggested that the worker would nave to be maintained during
the progress of these erections and manufactures, the cost of which
would in itself amount to a considerable sum. Truer and for this the
first outlay would be required. But after this every cottage erected,
every road made, in short every structure and improvement, would be a
means of carrying forward the regenerating process, and in many cases
it is expected will become a source of income.
As the Scheme progresses, it is not irrational to expect that
Government, or some of the varied Local Authorities, will assist in the
working out of a plan which, in so marked a manner, will relieve the
rates and taxes or the country.
The salaries of Officers would be in keeping with those given in the
Salvation Army, which are very low.
No wages would be paid to Colonists, as has been described, beyond
pocket money and a trifle for extra service.
Although no permanent invalid would be knowingly taken into the
Colonies, it is fair to assume that there will be a certain number,
and also a considerable residuum of naturally indolent, half-witted
people, incapable of improvement, left upon our hands. Still, it is
thought that with reformed habits, variety of employment, and careful
oversight, such may be made to earn their own maintenance, at least,
especially when it is borne in mind that unless they work, so far as
they have ability, they cannot remain in the Colony.
If the Household Salvage Scheme which has been explained in Chapter II.
proves the success we anticipate, there can be no question that great
financial assistance will be rendered by it to the entire scheme when
once the whole thing has been brought into working order.
THE FINANCIAL ASPECT OF THE COLONY OVER-SEA.
Let us now turn to the Colony Over-Sea, and regard it also from the
financial standpoint. Here we must occupy ourselves chiefly with the
preliminary outlay, as we could not for a moment contemplate having to
find money to assist it when once fairly established. The initial
expense will, no doubt, be somewhat heavy, but not beyond a reasonable
The land required would probably be given, whether we go to Africa,
Canada, or elsewhere; anyway, it would be acquired on such easy terms
as would be a near approach to a gift.
A considerable sum would certainly be necessary for effecting the first
settlements. There would be temporary buildings to erect, land to
break up and crop; stock, farm implements, and furniture to purchase,
and other similar expenses. But this would not be undertaken on a
large scale, as we should rely, to some extent, on the successive
batches of Colonists more or less providing for themselves, and in this
respect working out their own salvation.
The amount advanced for passages, outfit money, and settlement would be
repaid by instalments by the Colonists, which would in turn serve to
pay the cost of conveying others to the same destination.
Passage and outfit money would, no doubt, continue to be some
difficulty. #8 per head, say to Africa--#5 passage money, and #3 for
the journey across the country--is a large sum when a considerable
number are involved; and I am afraid no Colony would be reached at a
much lower rate. But I am not without hope that the Government might
assist us in this direction.
Taking up the entire question, that is of the three Colonies, we are
satisfied that the sum named will suffice to set to work an agency
which will probably rescue from lives of degradation and immorality an
immense number of people, and that an income of something like #30,000
will keep it afloat. But supposing that a much larger amount should be
required, by operations greatly in advance of those here spoken of,
which we think exceedingly probable, it is not unreasonable to expect
that it will be forthcoming, seeing that caring for the poor is not
only a duty of universal obligation, a root principle of all religion,
but an instinct of humanity not likely to be abolished in our time.
We are not opposed to charity as such, but to the mode of its
administration, which, instead of permanently relieving, only
demoralises and plunges the recipients lower in the mire, and so
defeats its own purpose.
"What!" I think I hear some say, "a million sterling! how can any man
out of Bedlam dream of raising such a sum?" Stop a little! A million
may be a great deal to pay for a diamond or a palace, but it is a mere
trifle compared with the sums which Britain lavishes whenever Britons
are in need of deliverance if they happen to be imprisoned abroad.
The King of Ashantee had captive some British subjects--not even of
English birth--in 1869. John Bull despatched General Wolseley with
the pick of the British army, who smashed Koffee Kalkallee, liberated
the captives, and burnt Coomassie, and never winced when the bill came
in for #750,000. But that was a mere trifle. When King Theodore,
of Abyssinia, made captives of a couple of British representatives,
Lord Napier was despatched to rescue. He marched his army to Magdala,
brought back the prisoners, and left King Theodore dead.
The cost of that expedition was over nine millions sterling.
The Egyptian Campaign, that smashed Arabi, cost nearly five millions.
The rush to Khartoum, that arrived too late to rescue General Gordon,
cost at least as much. The Afghan war cost twenty-one millions
sterling. Who dares then to say that Britain cannot provide a million
sterling to rescue, not one or two captives, but a million, whose lot
is quite as doleful as that of the prisoners of savage kings, but who
are to be found, not in the land of the Soudan, or in the swamps of
Ashantee, or in the Mountains of the Moon, but here at our very doors?
Don't talk to me about the impossibility of raising the million.
Nothing is impossible when Britain is in earnest. All talk of
impossibility only means that you don't believe that the nation cares
to enter upon a serious campaign against the enemy at our gates.
When John Bull goes to the wars he does not count the cost. And who
dare deny that the time has fully come for a declaration of war against
the Social Evils which seem to shut out God from this our world?
SECTION 3.--SOME ADVANTAGES STATED.
This Scheme takes into its embrace all kinds and classes of men who may
be in destitute circumstances, irrespective of their character or
conduct, and charges itself with supplying at once their temporal
needs; and then aims at placing them in a permanent position of
comparative comfort, the only stipulation made being a willingness to
work and to conform to discipline on the part of those receiving its
While at the commencement, we must impose some limits with respect to
age and sickness, we hope, when fairly at work, to be able to dispense
with even these restrictions, and to receive any unfortunate individual
who has only his misery to recommend him and an honest desire to get
out of it.
It will be seen that, in this respect, the Scheme stands head and
shoulders above any plan that has ever been mooted before, seeing that
nearly all the other charitable and remedial proposals more or less
confess their utter inability to benefit any but what they term the
"decent" working man.
This Scheme seeks out by all manner of agencies, marvellously adapted
for the task, the classes whose welfare it contemplates, and, by varied
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