The GOSPEL TRUTH
FOUNDER and FIRST GENERAL
of the SALVATION ARMY
In Two Volumes
THE OLD CAMPAIGNER VISITS THE HOLY LAND--RECEIVES THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY OF LONDON--IS HONOURED IN HIS NATIVE TOWN--AND SWEARS BY THE SPADE
CAMPAIGN by motor-car was now one of the General's established methods, and, startling though the innovation seemed, no doubt Wesley would have contracted the same habit. Both men loved a good horse, but Wesley was no less eager than Booth to cover the ground.
There were many people to inveigh against the idea; but, on the whole, it seems to have struck the imagination of the world with sympathy and approval that this very old man should adopt the latest device of science at the end of his life's work.
Writing to Bramwell on the motor-tour for 1905, he says:
We had a useful day yesterday. Dumfries was tremendous. It was wonderfully great. The whole town and country must have turned out, and the affectionate greeting of the people was as much as I could stand. One man pushed a £5 note on Lawley's car. We have had flowers, fruit, and kisses thrown at us; now comes the turn of the £5 notes ....
The reporting. What can you expect from ---- and ----? And what can you do if no better material turns up? Nobody seems to care about it. So we must hope and go forward. The work will speak for itself. If we are not making much impression on the Press and the parsons, we are on the heart of the masses of the people.
The following incident is recorded in January, 1905, during the General's motor-tour:
Canon Rogers, who entertained the General, went personally to Liverpool to purchase a particular blend of tea that he used for the General; he did this in order that there should be no mistake.
In conversation with one of the Lay Preachers of the Anglican Church, the Canon told him, with the tears running down his face, that he considered the greatest honour of his life had been conferred upon him in the presence of the General in his house as a guest.
Instances of such kindly feeling are innumerable. William Booth himself was greatly heartened by the affectionate greetings he received in every part of the country, and many of his letters to Bramwell were almost joyous with enthusiasm.. He wrote from Glasgow in January of this year:
These are nice people. Scotland is full of nice people--good wine--but we have only tasted it so far, and hardly that. We want to get it on the tap. The command of this country is worthy of a Hallelujah Napoleon.
Oh, for a Revival. There is something in what Hodder said to me on Monday morning--" He only believed in Revivals that broke out spontaneously." So far, I have had to work for all I have got, and that precious hard. Still I have got something worth having.
Wherever he went he encountered people who were glad to make his acquaintance and desired to discuss with him matters of national importance:
Left for London by the 9.30 Train. Sir Edward Clarke came into my compartment and spoke most kindly, complimenting me on many things, my vigour amongst others. I told him I wanted to have a talk with him, and he offered to ride up with me, but I declined, not feeling quite equal to it. I have regretted ever since I did not go into his compartment--Mr. Loder, M.P., for Brighton was with him--and have a good pow-wow with them both.
Afternoon tea with Mr. Herring. Magnificent House, Piccadilly, looking on to the Park. Received me most kindly. He has just given us £3,600 to fit up one shelter, and is pledged for £3,000 more to fit up two others. He gave £100,000 to the King's Hospital Fund some time ago.
I wanted to talk to him about a Maternity Hospital I want to build, or acquire in some form or another. But alas! for my confidential talk on the subject--he had invited five or six ladies and gentlemen to meet me, among the rest Mr. Sydney Holland, Treasurer of the London Hospital.
I talked to them; they seemed much interested, but I came away feeling that I had not advanced the work much, if any, for which I had planned the interview.
That he kept his eye on the affairs of the world and was deeply concerned by the sufferings of all nations, is proved by entries in his journal:
The news of the Russian Revolutionary Upheaval, with its scenes of bloodshed and disorder, has upset me terribly .... To what will it lead and where will it end? Oh, my God, my God, what an awful suffering state this world has come to, notwithstanding all that has been done for it during the 2,000 years that have passed since Jesus Christ shed His Blood on its behalf!
How feeble and powerless all our efforts have been. I was awfully depressed yesterday--but there is no alternative but to push on. If we cannot remove the mountains of misery we can move some of the little hills.
A popular newspaper published at this time the following declaration:
"If I were Czar."
What General Booth would do if he were "Little Father."
I should at once abolish martial law; confer with the most benevolent, the wisest, and the most practical, and most intelligent men of all parties I could call into conference, and if their counsel concurred with what appeared to my judgment to be for the honour of God and the highest well-being of the nation, I should act accordingly.
In March of this year he set out on his last visit to Australia, and to spend a few days in the Holy Land on the way. The journal he kept of this travel is disappointing. One gets no real sense of his feelings and no clear notion of his experiences. The letters are scarcely more illuminating. The chief interest for the student of his career lies in the pretty evident fact that he was more busied in meetings than sight-seeing, and that no meeting was too small for the intensity of his fervour.
He left England on March 2, and the journal opens in this fashion:
Left home in a rush without much more concern than is usual on going to an ordinary week-end engagement, and yet if all goes well forward as arranged it will be six months before I again see Hadley Wood.
A few Officers gathered at Victoria Station--several photos were taken standing on the platform or on the steps of the Railway Carriage, a few good-byes to Tucker, Motee, and some other comrades, and we were off.
Bramwell and Flo [Mrs. Bramwell Booth.] accompanied me to Dover, where, as usual on such occasions, we had calculated on a little prayer and a few heart-spoken words; but alas! from some cause or other no private cabin had been secured--the call "All on shore" came almost at once, there was a hurried embrace, a hasty goodbye, and as the sea looked threatening I was glad to stretch myself on a couch in the Saloon.
The voyage was employed in correspondence, the usual Saloon Meetings, and drawing up a Manifesto to be issued at Jerusalem, calling on all who name the name of Christ to follow His example, and make a desperate effort on behalf of the Salvation of a lost world. [This Manifesto was afterwards quoted in almost every part of the world.]
The party arrived at Jaffa on March 7:
Getting on shore was now the difficulty. There is practically no harbour, and a finger of rocks faces the town with openings here and there through which the boats that land passengers and goods have to pass--that is, unless they make a sort of flank movement and go round one end of the ridge.
To get into the boat the passengers have to abandon themselves to the arms of the boatmen, who drop them down in the boat, just as they do the bales and packages.
These boatmen are surprisingly clever at their business, and going and coming managed their boat surprisingly, singing and shouting to cheer each other up and keep time with their oars.
After this fashion we got to Jaffa--once home of Simon the Tanner, and the port from which Jonah embarked when running away from the post of duty.
He does not tell us that, as the boat approached the shore, he knelt down and prayed, the rowers, who were racing another boat, resting on their oars. One of his companions tells us that the scene in the morning sunlight was enchanting. An armed police escort awaited them, and they were further received by the Cinematograph. The journal continues:
We had a service at ten o'clock A.M. at a Girls' Mission School, conducted by Miss Arnott. The Hall was quite full and the attention all but perfect... the girls I saw appeared a most interesting company; I coveted them for the work of the S.A.
By one we were at the Station of the first Railway constructed in the Holy Land .... We jogged along till five, and feeling unutterably weary I landed in the Holy City.
A Railway Station with a crowd of Porters or Coolies or something, yelling and rushing and fighting for your luggage is not a favourable introduction to the City of which you have been dreaming for a lifetime! But that method fell to my lot. I cannot describe the sentiments aroused by the situation, beyond saying how thankful I was to get quietly to my billet.
I was entertained by a Dutch Officer [of the S.A.] who obtained leave of absence to devote herself to the desire of her heart, the conversion of the Jews at Jerusalem.
Two days were spent, more or less, in visiting some of the sacred places. It is recorded by one of the General's companions that he shook hands with the monk in charge of the Garden of Gethsemane, and received from him a book of sermons and a piece of the root of the Tree of Agony as a farewell gift. The journal proceeds:
When Lawley and ---- met me they had rather a disappointing announcement to make. The original plan of campaign in Jerusalem had been: To see the City and visit Bethlehem, etc., Thursday and Friday had been put apart. Saturday afternoon, a Select Meeting; and Sunday two Salvation Meetings. But when they came face to face with the difficulties of getting from the shore to the Steamer, which could only be done by the permission of the Governor of Jaffa, and frequently was prohibited altogether--and seeing further that I must (D.V.) be back at Port Said by Tuesday to catch my Steamer for Australia, they jointly and severally advised and insisted on my being back at Jaffa to have the choice of one of two days in case the weather continued unsettled.
So they recommended nothing more than the Saturday afternoon select meeting. That they were not very sure about, for they had discovered that the Sultan had telegraphed from Constantinople prohibiting all Moslems from attending my meetings.
After a little thought I decided that whatever might happen I would make an effort for Salvation in the "Holy City," and resolved on Salvation Meetings on each of the three evenings and a select meeting on Saturday as arranged, leaving the seeing of the City, which I regarded as a sacred duty, to the morning and afternoon of Thursday and Friday and the morning of Saturday.
The result proved the wisdom of the arrangement ....
At eight or soon after, the Hall, such as it was, holding about 250, was full. I explained the Army and then described and pushed Salvation upon the audience--finishing with an invitation to the penitent-form.
I felt myself that it was a bold stroke. The method was altogether unknown in those parts. I am afraid there was but little faith, but to my unspeakable satisfaction a young lady pushed her chair aside and came right out and knelt down and was soon joined by her companion. They were two American Tourists. They had heard me at Stuttgart last year and been deeply moved and now they settled the matter. The opinion of my comrades is that they were both properly saved.
I was very tired and had to sleep between the morning and afternoon, and the afternoon and evening meetings, to keep me on my feet. An irritating and painful itching of the skin on my left side which commenced some fortnight ago, gets worse every day. I cannot imagine what it can be--while night after night my throat ulcerates and swells, until it is difficult to swallow--I am evidently in rather a shaky condition. Night. We were crowded out, a large influx of visitors from the Hotels having found us out. Their presence does not help me with the Greeks and Jews, who are coming in considerable numbers.
In spite of the curiosity we had a good time, and nine came out. It was a great victory.
Morning. Visited the Hall of Justice, and looked at the spot on which it is reputed Pilate sat when he sentenced my Saviour to die, afterwards Bethany, etc.
Afternoon. Select Meeting in the Hotel. About 150 were present, including the British Consul, Mr. Dickson, who presided, the American Consul, the Russian Consul and his daughters, and a number of other leading residents in the City.
I talked for 50 minutes, which was all the time the Hotel people could allow me, dinner being at hand. A collection of some £10 was taken up, and everybody seemed much interested and perhaps some profited.
Night. A bad storm, rain in torrents--a mimic deluge. Nearly all the Hotel people were away--and some others as well. Still we had a powerful meeting and eleven at the P.F. I bade them good-bye with a full heart and a strong longing to see them again. Perhaps I may. I can truly say that Jerusalem, changed and strange as it may be, has won a first place in my heart ....
Arrived at Jaffa we discovered that the journey was next to useless, as no Steamer had arrived. So there was nothing for it but to wait till to-morrow.
I at once put on a Meeting at Miss Newton's Mission, although for various reasons failure was predicted. It was too late--it would interfere with the ordinary meeting--it would do or not do some other thing that was undesirable. I said we would have the service whatever might follow.
The night was dark and unpromising, but the Hall holding 150 or 200 people was full, and full of people not expected, including a number of Greek young men--that is, men of the Greek faith. To the front were the girls of Miss Arnott's School, who had so deeply interested me on the previous Wednesday morning.
I talked through --. His interpretation sounded stiff and cold, but I pushed the invitation to the P.F., and to the surprise of every one the first to walk out boldly was a young man who was known as a most bigoted Greek. So intense was his dislike to the Mission Doctrine that he would not allow any native Christian to talk about his faith in his house. He is educated, and they say one of the best, if not the very best, interpreters in Jaffa. Well, he went down like a little child and professed to have received forgiveness.
He was quickly followed by one of the Teachers in the School and all the elder girls followed. It was a wonderful sight. They all appeared to be in deep earnest, sobbing and wailing about their sins and praying for mercy.
Forty-three professed Salvation, and I have learned since that others knelt and sought God in other parts of the room. have seldom been as deeply moved as I was that night.
Among his papers we find a fragment headed "Jerusalem, page two," which we take to be notes for the Manifesto mentioned in the journal during the voyage out:What does it mean?--for what did He come?
The answer has come back, to seek and to save the lost.
That was the purpose. To save a world of Sinners from sin and Hell.
My heart impelled to call upon His followers throughout the world.
Let us afresh give ourselves to the same task.
2,000 years have passed away--still the millions are there--lost.
Look at them.
Let us make a truce as to differences, I don't ask you to think alike or worship alike or fight alike, but I do ask you in your own way ....
He writes to Bramwell from Jerusalem on March 8:
. . . yesterday it was a heavy drag to get up Mount Calvary in the burning sun. Oh how I thought of the Master's journey, and how ashamed that and other incidents in His history make me feel of the trials of my own ....
I cannot tell you anything of what we see. I have been to Bethlehem. I go as a sheer matter of duty. I am going this afternoon to one of the few places I feel any very curious desire to see, and that I have felt ever since, in a Parsonage many years ago, I saw a plan of it set forth--the "Jewish place of wailing."
The hills and the vales and the most ancient ruins I must say interest me most, but I cannot stop to talk about them now. Later. Just come back from the afternoon round. I ride from place to place in an open carriage, and the springs are not bad and the horses are good and the driving is downright skilful, but the roads are simply execrable and shake me mercilessly.
We have seen the Jews wailing on what remains of the foundations of the walls of the City. It is one of the most pathetic scenes I have ever witnessed. It is like one long penitent-form with the people standing, instead of kneeling, with broken hearts and overflowing eyes. Oh to see the tears running down their poor wan faces and hear their cries, irrespective of the curious crowds of unmoved Tourists gazing at them, is a sight to move the angels, I should think. Oh if they were but weeping over their own sins and the desolation which they must ultimately bring on them, how still more pathetic it would be.
I am afraid the fact does not very much enter their minds that it was the rejection of mercy in Jesus that brought their destruction. It is the old and oft-repeated story, grieving for the consequences of their sin rather than the sin itself.
I knelt down and my party knelt with me and prayed aloud for light and salvation on the crowd and on the people whose wailings mingled with my prayers.
I am afraid my place of meeting will be much too small to-night. They say that never in the history of Jerusalem was there such a gathering of Christians before last night. They are coming from the hotels in force, so our little 300 hall will be simply gorged--which will defeat my purpose, I am afraid ....
I need not say that I have missed you at every turn. You would have doubled the gratification and interest of everything we have seen. I feel sometimes as though you were there--but turning round discover my mistake. God bless and keep you. Everything here of interest is associated with some individual or other--it is Abraham or Rachel or Moses or Elijah or Mahomet or Herod or Pilate or the Blessed Saviour or some one.
Ah, departing, may we be privileged, you and I, to leave behind us footsteps on the sands of time that will interest and guide and inspire some who follow after in the direction of holiness and service and sacrifice.
On leaving Palestine the party journeyed to Port Said and shipped for Australia. This journey was a great trial to the General. He was suffering from a mild attack of Herpes, his cabin was uncomfortable, and for many days the ship encountered foul weather. We are told that when a change of cabins was effected the General sent a letter of thanks and an autographed photograph to the captain, who was exceedingly courteous. Service in the saloon, when the captain read the prayers, is described as "a poor affair." The General worked as hard with his pen as the weather and his sickness would allow.
Very little trace of weariness or sickness appears in the journal when Australia is reached. He writes at Coilingwood on June 10th:
. . . Mr. Deakin, one of the most prominent Politicians of the Country, came in just as I was finishing tea. He is a very excitable person, and I am very partial to him; he only came in to assure himself that the arrangements for my luncheon with him on Tuesday were all right, but he got into an argument re Emigration and some kindred matters which, as I say, he being an excitable person, did not help me ....
By invitation called at Government House to receive the welcome of His Excellency Sir Frederick Bedford, a retired Admiral, with his Lady and daughter, who received me most kindly. We had a nice little conversation about many things, they appeared very sympathetic, and no little anxious about Sunday's lecture, at which he promised to preside.
In remarkable contrast to the very simple and modest meetings in Palestine, with their audiences of two or three hundred, were the "mammoth" and "monster" meetings held in Australia. He gives an account of a particular gathering in Boulder City:
8 p.m. The meeting of the day. This was held in a great Shed, used to shelter Electric Cars at night. The Company had emptied the place, helped our people to seat it, and when I entered it it was one of the sights of my life. There must have been over three thousand on the ground floor, a large number seated, and many standing, while men and boys clung to girders and filled up every niche and cranny of the walls, or hung spider fashion to the girders, where they remained clinging and listening till I had done. Some of them, with a measure of common sense, seated themselves in the Cars at the extreme end of the building, while the Cars outside, which had been ejected for our convenience, and every single spot both outside and in, both within and without of hearing distance was packed with another enormous crowd, waiting a chance of getting a single word, and remaining to the finish to get a single look.
There was a little confusion at the start, and I was rather fearful that my voice would not carry, but the eager attention which followed the utterance of the first sentence, as I rose to my feet, promised all to be well, and I went on for an hour and twenty minutes with scarce a soul moving. So far as the little power I possess to capture and hold the attention of a mass of people of every conceivable phase of thought, feeling, and character goes, the "Car-Barn" Speech was one of the triumphs of my life.
The last sentence of the following entry is characteristic:
The work of the last two days or so had tried my voice considerably, and the prospect of being turned out at 10 o'clock for another Civic Welcome at a place called Southern Cross was not too welcome.
However, there was no help for it, the Corps had erected a platform, ornamented it with flags, illuminated it with lanterns and torches, and a nice little crowd had assembled. To this people for the first and last time I spoke on questions of Life, Death, Judgment, and Eternity, and then settling myself in the [Railway] Car, I passed on.
Another Welcome. This time in the open air. Another Greeting, another platform, another Mayor, another Band. Crowds of people met us at the Station. I gave a short speech and then made for my billet.
1.30. Reception by the Cabinet. This being a Labour Government, as they call it, made the function a little more interesting than was the case with some other similar functions. I had met Mr. Daglish, the Premier, the day before at the Civic Reception.
The function passed off without anything very extraordinary occurring, the talk was very friendly, and I tried to urge upon the gentlemen present the importance of our efforts for the reclamation of the criminal and other classes, for whom the Authorities were responsible, and that it must be equally their duty to pay for the reclamation of the people as it was for the punishment of the wrong-doer, to this all seemed to assent.
Mr. Daglish informing me that they had decided to present the Army with land near the City for the use of the Prison Gate Brigade, and at the same time hinting at the possibility that when the scheme was got in working order a grant still larger might be made ....
The Premier was very agreeable, and very respectful. It appears that he met me 14 years ago in my Exhibition Meetings at Melbourne, he was then acting as Police Inspector. He now received me at a costly Luncheon as the head of a State.
On going on deck [for Melbourne] I was surprised to find so large a crowd assembled on the Wharf. I had very little voice left, still less strength, but I managed to talk for ten minutes at a considerable elevation from my audience. Still, as an American Jew on board stated to Colonel Lawley, "I made a wonderful amount of religion in the time."
During all this time, as indeed on all his journeys, William Booth was receiving long letters from his Chief of Staff in London on subjects of great importance. We will quote from a few of these letters, not only to escape from the monotony of successful meetings, but to place the reader in a position to judge of some of the administrative affairs which occupied every spare hour of the General's time during a campaign.
As a rule, Bramwell endeavours to send cheerful news, and when ill tidings have to be transmitted--for the General was autocratic on the matter of being kept well posted in Army statesmanship--he strives to put as good a face on the business as possible. The following extracts from his correspondence will perhaps suffice for our purpose, though they only give a bare idea of the immense activities which occupied his attention in London. First we have a piece of good news:
I am quite convinced we are making a great impression on the country. Flo has just been telling me about her Meeting last night at Hereford, with the Bishop in the chair. He made a slashing speech for us which ought to do good, and the general impression he gave Flo was that we are exercising a great influence for good on the Church of England.
Then there is a reference to the great question of union with the Church of England:
This [a telegram from one of the Colonies referring to the matter] has created something of a stir here. There are the usual group of contradictory statements. I enclose you a cutting from The Standard on the matter. There have been two or three disagreeable allusions to it, and I said what I said in The War Cry on that account. Practically the same thing appears in The Daily News.
Any idea of the Salvation Army uniting itself with the Church of England, or indeed with any other religious concern at present in existence, is naturally very repugnant to a great many both of our people and our friends, and questions arise--in fact, I have been asked plump and plain this week whether you could organize such a union even if you could. I said frankly, "I do not think so, without an Act of Parliament, at any rate so far as this country is concerned and probably as regards others." This view of things has to be kept in mind in these matters. I received your telegram--"Do nothing until you hear further from me"--but I was obliged to say something to prevent misunderstanding. For my own part, you know I sympathize very much with the Church of England view and position, but I am quite satisfied that the great bulk of our friends, and certainly 90% of our own people, would resent any serious forgathering ....
The subject of emigration, particularly dear to the General's heart, occupies a considerable space in this correspondence:
The Emigrants for Canada. This party has turned out a great success. Fine people. We made quite a stir in London and again at Liverpool--a wonderful scene. We had a short meeting in the Board-room at Euston, holding 500, before the train started, and a wonderful sight on the platforms. Amongst others who were present was the Agent-General for Western Australia, James, a great, big, fine fellow: he wept like a child as the train went out. The singing and cheering and shouting and the playing of the Band, "God be with you till we meet again," made really a very remarkable affair. Then again at Liverpool was a repetition--most moving scenes. We have another thousand people to send--so that will make three thousand souls for Canada this year. A Minister concerned in Ottawa told Tucker, privately of course, that the emigrants we have sent out so far were in every way the very best people they had ever received in Canada under the auspices of any Society or Fund, and he intends to say so at the first suitable opportunity in Parliament.
For myself I must say I felt rather bad. I said on leaving Euston on Wednesday morning, after looking at those splendid young families, fibre, pith, vim marked in every feature, "what a melancholy thing it is that Old England has nothing better for such people than to show them the door!" Still, they are going under the British Flag, and, after all, that is something. The whole thing has made a great impression on the country. shall do better yet.
Tucker had a very warm reception from Earl Grey. [At this time the Governor-General of Canada.]
He was most kind and showed himself to have been immensely impressed by what he saw of the Army here, and I think by any of us whom he met, by you, of course, beyond all else, and to have been almost equally taken hold of by what he has seen, especially of the Social Arrangements and Emigration in Canada since his arrival. Indeed, we may take it that Earl Grey is a convinced and determined friend who, in every way he properly can, means to see that we get a fair chance of doing all the good we can in the world, and although he is not rich (he says he is poor at present), will influence and help so far as is in his power.
The Canadian Government people whom Tucker saw were all most respectable and proper, and it was after a Meeting of the Cabinet that they intimated that a proposal would be made, as soon as the way is clear, to give us without conditions the fee simple of 25,000 acres of land in Canada, which we are to select for the purpose of Colonization. This assumes, of course, that the English Government will favour something of the kind, which we are working at, and they hope will find money as far as may be necessary.
We have been in communication with the Colonial Office as to whether the thing could be helped forward by calling a small Conference of important people interested in the matter. But they say "No, not at this moment." So, in order to keep the pot boiling we have arranged to have a question asked in the House of Commons to-day by Sir John Gorst, as to whether the Government will do anything, etc. Mr. Bernard Holland, who is Secretary to the Colonial Secretary, is most friendly, and says candidly, that he is most anxious the thing should be kept so that we shall have the first chance and the best chance of seeing what can be done.
Haggard's interview with Rosebery was very important. Two or three things transpired which are significant. After Rosebery had talked the Report over, he said to Haggard, "Well now, what are you going to do? We must do something." And added, "The first question is, to whom can we entrust it?" and then, without waiting for a reply, said, "The fact is, there is only one people who can do it, and that is the Salvation Army--stick to them." Haggard's interview with Rosebery was brought about partly that we might prepare his mind so that if you decide to put anything forward, we might hope to get him to say for the incoming Government that they will help us.
I have told Haggard I do not favour any suggestion of his seeing the King just at present. I think that would be premature.
We got Gorst to ask certain questions in the House, the result being that Mr. Lyttelton replied that a Departmental Committee would be formed to investigate the whole matter.
Tucker saw Lyttelton on Wednesday and lunched with him and Mrs. L. They were very warm, but it is evident that the Departmental people at the Colonial Office have frightened Lyttelton somewhat. . . We sent an early copy of the Blue Book to Roosevelt. He replied thanking us, and writing to Haggard congratulating him on the Report, and saying that he meant to do something.
Difficulties at Headquarters are mentioned in as cheerful a spirit as possible: I am more than ever impressed by the idea that we must do more for the Staff, and I can see at present no better way of helping them than to go about amongst them and show them how to meet their difficulties one by one. It is experience they lack more than anything, and perhaps experience is the only true way of teaching them anything. I am spending every hour I can get out of other work in this.
National Headquarters. The changes I have made are working out fairly well, but there will have to be others. There is a strange conservatism prevalent in the minds of some of the very best people. Because a thing has not been done before, or because it was attempted 15 years ago and failed, the whole stream of influence sets against it, and the action of one Division and one Province is greatly influenced by another.
The inevitable Mr. Stead also figures in the correspondence:
I am glad you saw the Editor of the Australian Review of Reviews. I believe he is a capital fellow. Stead has drawn off the last few months. I had a little difficulty with him just before you sailed, and walked into him very hot, and although he climbed down and did what I asked him to do, I have felt more restrained with regard to him than for many years. He is a delightful and wonderful fellow, and yet there is a sense after all in which, alas! all men seek their own--not necessarily selfishly or wickedly, but still their own. I suppose he would say the same thing of me!
Then comes a serious matter, the facts of which must not be hidden from the absent General. It will be seen, however, that Bramwell writes with freedom and fulness on this subject only when the difficulty has been solved:
Sweden. Affairs here are still exceedingly uncertain and tempestuous, but out of the confusion two or three facts are emerging, good and bad.
1. It is evident that there will be established a Swedish Salvation Army. It will be led by---- and ----. Certain classes of the religious people will be favourable to it, but in the main they will be unfriendly to the introduction of another Society. A few of our people will undoubtedly join it; one or two of the Corps will probably go over, and there will be a great deal of trouble as between what will be called "The Swedish S.A." and "The English S.A.!" A great deal will depend on how far they are able to raise money; at present the greatest obscurity exists as to how they are being supported.
2. The Property position is a difficult one to justify or make plain to the country. I cannot go into details, but the fact that the law of Sweden does not recognize a Trusteeship,-- makes it exceedingly difficult to impress upon the ordinary Swede that you are a Trustee. As a matter of fact, you are a Trustee, no matter whether there is law to make you so or not, and any misappropriation of Property in one country will utterly destroy you in all others. We are doing what we can. We may have to modify the position slightly in order to meet what seems to be a measure of real apprehension on the part of some of our own people as to the safety and titles of the S.A. in the event of serious troubles. [Sweden has now, in its law establishing and controlling Pious Foundations, provisions which largely remove this disability.]
3. On the other side, there are several points which are equally important. To begin with, the commotion and confusion has not yet, so far as I know, lost us an Officer except two or three who have been dismissed, say half a dozen altogether. One or two Corps are still restive, but even those two Corps which went off in a body are now divided and some are returned.
4. It is pretty clear that the safety of the Property under the present system is secure; in fact, they have already given up the Sundsval Barracks, saying that they see they cannot lawfully keep it, and they will probably do something of the sort at the other place. The above gives you a general idea of the position. I cannot usefully trouble you now with details. My own impression is that the thing will dribble down to a "split."
5. The papers are to a man against us. That is one of the graver features of the whole thing. The Mission Houses are being opened to the new affair, but we are trying to put a check on this through their top people, and D---- thinks we shall succeed, although I must confess that, with my usual scepticism about any friendly act from any religious body, I very much doubt it. Still, they do not want to see another denomination, and much as they hate the S.A. they are averse to another Mission being established by the side of their own, especially as this would probably be a very much more democratic and "liberal" affair than theirs! ---- and ----, leading spirits of the "split," publish the story of their dismissal and wrongs in a pamphlet by the former. It is too technically Salvation Armyish for the outsider, too old for the S.A. Soldiers, who have heard it all over and over again for three years. It fails therefore.
6. The King sent one of his Chamberlains to see Lagercrantz and to get to know the truth, and to say that if the statements made were true he hoped Lagercrantz would withdraw from the Army. This gave L.---- a splendid opportunity of putting the whole thing to the King, which was done with great effect, Lagercrantz concluding a two hours' interview by sending his duty to the King, and saying that he was willing to place his honour, his children, and his purse at the service of the Army; that he was more thoroughly satisfied of its principles, etc., etc., than ever.
7. We have certainly lost almost entirely six Corps, and there are others that are very much shaken. Still, the pleasing features are (1) that there is no combined effort; (2) that there is no serious complaint except upon little detailed matters; and (3) that there has now been a great revulsion of feeling owing to the slander of us, of you in particular ....
There is also a falling off in the sale of The War Cry, and what is much more serious, a decline in the public collections in many of the Corps, especially in the larger cities. The general impression seems to be that "This is a foreign affair; we can now have a Swedish Army. Why should we tolerate these foreigners?" Then there is a great deal of scandal. "All the profits of The war Cry are sent to General Booth! Enormous sums are sent out of Sweden to help the work in England! Many of the English Officers are rogues and thieves!"
Over against this, the persecution is doing a great deal of good in many Towns. In some places there are wonderful revivals in full swing where nothing has been done for years. The position is distinctly improved ....
D. has had a very kind interview with the Queen of Sweden. I had a long talk with Mrs. P., who has returned. She says that the whole thing will prove a great blessing to the Army in Sweden, a bit of persecution will do them all good. They have been too popular and too conceited and set up in their own notions that they know best about everything. This has given them a rude awakening. In her opinion we have only lost one Officer who was of any real value to us ....
We take up the General's journal in September of this year, with a confession of blank pages for the months preceding:
Not written anything in the shape of journal so far as I can remember for nine or ten months gone by. Since then visited Australia and done the Motor-Tour of this year and had many other remarkable experiences. Amidst all have been preserved in remarkably good degree of health by the good hand of my Lord to His praise and glory.
I finished the Motor-Journey on Saturday, the 9th of this month, and have been occupied with business of all kinds and characters almost from the hour I landed at Hadley Wood. I reached home between 11 and 12 on the Saturday night and by 9 the next morning was deep in Council on questions of great significance closely affecting the welfare of the Army. Day after day since then for now 16 days those Councils have continued with only such intermissions as have been called for by other pressing duties.
Yesterday and to-day have been taken up with the preparation of an appeal to the Country on behalf of the Emigration of the Unemployed. I am much exercised on the subject of having to give so much time to these Social Matters. I am hoping, praying, and believing for divine guidance. There must be some great and beneficial end in it all.
Closed the day working at my Albert Hall Address for the meeting "In memory of the Dead." This is a novel service for us, anyway for me, although something on the same pattern was done at the International Congress. I was far from satisfied with that, and I am not very clear as to whether this is going to be an improvement ....
---- came back to-day from his fortnight's furlough. When will my turn come round? No answer to the question, except it be the old injunction to wait.
Interview with the Hon. Walter James, Agent General for Western Australia, and the Emigration Agent for the same Colony, re our Emigration projects. Found them most interested in the question and anxious to secure a portion of the streams now being directed to Canada--but they are hampered by laws made to prevent the abuses of former days.
However, Australia rouses herself up, and we will use her awakening to the advantage of our poor people.
The City of London Corporation decided on Tuesday to present me with the Freedom of the City of London, together with a subscription of 100 guineas to our funds.
This is thought much of by the Press and by the people generally ....
A great honour which now fell to him was presented on November 2nd:
Received Freedom of the City of London at the Guildhall. It was very imposing to me. But I was so overcome by the sense of my own unworthiness of the honour and the kind things said by the City Chamberlain as to be scarcely able to speak. Indeed, before I rose up to discharge the task I felt as though I should not be able to utter a sentence.
However, I had the duty to perform, and I went for it as is my custom and stammered through a speech which appeared to sound well to the crowded hall and certainly read very well in the Press the day after.
Lunched afterwards with the Lord Mayor and Select company at the Mansion House--all present appeared most interested and friendly.
The speech delivered by William Booth on this, a great occasion of his life, is very well worth reproduction, for it is characteristic of his modesty, his courage, and his loyalty, and seems to us in many ways one of his most affecting utterances. He said:
My Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Gentlemen of the City Council--I must confess to feeling at a loss, when I look the task in the face, to make any fitting response to the generous and gracious sentiments that have just been spoken by the City Chamberlain, or to adequately testify to the gratitude I feel for the gift of the Freedom of this great City.
I have all my lifetime, my Lord Mayor, faced audiences of varying descriptions. I have faced the howling mobs of Whitechapel and other places in the Empire; I have talked, with boulders flying through the windows of the buildings, on the Continent; I have spoken to thousands and tens of thousands gathered in mighty conclaves in our Indian Empire; I have talked to the scattered populations of our Colonies up and down the world; but I have never faced an audience in which I have found so great a difficulty to construct my ideas or give expression to them.
And yet, my Lord Mayor, difficult as my task may appear, and very imperfectly as I may be able to discharge it, I must attempt something in the direction of expressing my personal thanks for the great honour which has been conferred upon me on this occasion.
My life has been a continual fight. Ever since, some sixty years ago, I turned my back upon a world of ease and pleasure and show, and entered on this battlefield to fight for the honour of my Heavenly King and for the Salvation of the lost, there has seldom been a day in which some bewildering perplexity has not come to my mind, and some heavy burden has not been laid upon my heart. But still the arms of Jehovah have sustained me, and the prayers of a multitude of the best and choicest spirits that the world contains have ascended continually to Heaven on my behalf. And now there comes along the sympathy--openly, beautifully, eloquently expressed---of the governing powers of this great City to urge me forward in the fight in which I am engaged.
It is quite true that there have been, and I suppose will continue to be, times of darkness and depression stealing over me, when the clouds seem to hang heavy and the way seems to be very difficult to perceive, and still more difficult to travel. But in these hours I shall remember this magnificent reception, and recollect the kind words that have been so freely spoken to me. They will walk into my memory not only in the dark days, but in the bright days, and they will help me forward till the call comes that takes me to another City, where sorrow and trial will be no more.
I shall hand this casket to my children, and my children's children; nay, it will be bequeathed to my own people, and I am quite sure they will guard it among their most precious records as showing the feelings with which the City of London regarded the Army's first General and Founder.
The Salvation Army, as has been mentioned in the Chamberlain's eloquent address, is certainly a very great undertaking. It is a large business. It has stretched out its arms to different parts of the world, and has been received in all directions as a great blessing. I can very well understand the feelings (and some friends here will understand them too) with which a General in the French Army approached me at the close of an address delivered in Paris. Reaching out his hand, he said, "General Booth, you are not an Englishman, you belong to no nation--you belong to humanity."
I am quite sure, my Lord Mayor, that it is true of the Organization with which I am so closely identified. But this great work could not have been done without the co-operation of the thousands and tens of thousands of other hands and hearts. It is quite true that from the very beginning my hand has been upon it, and I suppose is likely to be to the very end of my life; but there are hearts equal to my own in devotion to its interests, or it would not be what it is.
There has also been, my Lord Mayor, the co-operation, the partnership, in this undertaking which has been referred to by the City Chamberlain--that of my late beloved wife. Her inflexible will, her sanctified intellect, her indomitable courage, her (I was almost going to say) matchless eloquence, the echoes of which are sounding round the world to-day--for I very seldom put my foot upon a shore or enter any considerable city in which some hand is not placed in mine with expressed recollections of blessings received through the ministry of my now glorified wife --were all placed at the service of this great Organization.
And I have had the co-operation of my own family. I have been greatly favoured in this respect. There is my eldest son, who is at present my Chief of the Staff. He has worked by my side for something like thirty years, and he is likely to be by my side until I cross the River. He has never failed me in any hour of difficulty, and he never will. His value and work are, perhaps, not so widely known as they ought to be, and as they will be, but nevertheless they are well known to his General.
Then there are thousands of men and women Officers, and thousands of Soldiers--men, women, and children--not only in this country, but throughout the world, who will read with the deepest interest the story of the transactions of this day, and who will be greatly cheered by the recognition of this greatest city in the world.
My Lord Mayor, it will be known to you--it is known to most men--that a great change has come over the opinion of the world with respect to the Salvation Army. It might be said that it has just been discovered, as America was discovered by Columbus and Australia by Captain Cook.
So the Salvation Army has just been found out and perceived to be a really valuable and important Organization. The Government of this country has discovered it, and sent it to a Departmental Committee. The Church has discovered it, the municipal authorities up and down the world have discovered it; and last, but not least, the City of London has discovered it. In fact, the Salvation Army is coming to be known as, and to be seen to be what it professes to be, the friend of the hopeless. Forty years ago, when it commenced in the old burial-ground, to which reference has been made, it was then that I consecrated myself, and my wife and children, and all I possessed to labour for the benefit of the poor and outcast. I resolved that their God should be my God, and their people should be my people. I have travelled in this line until now, when the light and the kindness of the Lord Mayor and City Council beam so beneficently upon me.
The Salvation Army has followed the injunctions of our Lord, who said when we made our feast we were not to invite those who could invite us back again. In that sense the City Corporation has acted upon that principle in inviting the Salvation Army here to-day. And yet, my Lord Mayor, they may have an invitation, before many days are gone by, to subscribe to the funds for the service of the people.
But the Army has invited the drunkard, the harlot, the criminal, the pauper, the friendless, the giddy, dancing, frivolous throngs to come and seek God. It has gone to those classes who are not found in the Churches, who are without hope and help, who are friendless. A little time ago I heard of an incident which has relation to the late Boer war, and that will serve to illustrate our position. In one of the besieged cities the people were on the point of starvation, and the rich men met together and resolved to do something to keep them from starving. Money, food, and other things were got together, but difficulty was experienced in distributing them satisfactorily. At last the Episcopalian clergyman got up and said, "All who belong to my communion, follow me." The Methodist, Baptist, and Congregationalist said, "All who come to my chapel, follow me." And I have no doubt the Minister of the Society of Friends, if there was one, said the same.
Then the Salvation Army Captain's turn came. He said, "All you chaps who belong to nobody, follow me."
The Salvation Army is acting on that principle to-day, and I would say here this morning, If there are any chaps here, on the platform or off, who belong to nobody, I shall be very happy if they will follow me.
My Lord Mayor, you will be aware that round about this great City there is a sea of misery, vice, and crime. But the more I travel about the world, the more insight I have into the miseries of human kind, the more satisfied I am that a very large measure of it is never known even to the religious and benevolent classes. There the poor wretches are. A great many of them, I can truly say, are in hell already. They are a disgrace to our civilization--and I am bound to say they are a disgrace to this very centre, this very hub of civilization. They are the despair of our Churches.
To these classes the Salvation Army sends out invitations every now and then, "Come, drunk or sober." Sometimes, when they are drunk, we are able to sober them and get them saved. In fact, not infrequently, we have no chance with them unless they are in a state of intoxication, for there are some people who never get religious except when they are intoxicated.
I am not going to say that we always succeed, or that our warfare means unvarying success. That would be impossible; but ours is a real warfare. We are fighting for men worthy of our steel--the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
The religion of the Salvation Army is very simple; any one can understand it. It says to a man, "You must worship God, consecrate yourself to His service, and do what you can for the benefit of those who are round you. You must be good and true and honest and kind, and do all you can for the benefit of your family and friends. You must persevere as the days go by, and so shall you have a peaceful dying-bed and a blissful immortality."
We have done something, my Lord Mayor, to preach that religion up and down the earth, and to reach the godless, Christless crowds with it. We have also done something for the starving poor; for the rescue of women, and to prevent them sinking down to vice and crime; for the inebriate classes, concerning whom I find there is a cloud of hopelessness resting upon magistrates and civil authorities, but with whom the Salvation Army has to a certain extent succeeded. Indeed, I say sometimes that if the Government would find the means we would undertake to deal with all the drunkards in the British nation. We have done something in many other directions, and hope to be able to do something further still.
The business men of this great City say there can be no question that a great work has been accomplished; that the present General has pioneered this movement effectively and successfully for many years; but in time he will pass away. The time, however, has not arrived for that translation. One of the London daily papers, a little time ago, commenting on the honour to be conferred upon me by the City, said the ceremony would be a suitable crowning-stone to my career. I hope, my Lord Mayor, you won't think me ungrateful in saying so, but I trust it will not be so. I cherish the hope that the years still left to me will be years of harder and more successful work than any that have gone before.
But though the General of the Salvation Army will have to pass away--and I hope I will be ready for that event--(we shall all have to pass away, my Lord Mayor, and I trust we shall all be ready)--the Salvation Army, I believe, has come to stay.
I believe that so long as the sun and the moon endure this Movement will be found to the front in the direction in which it commenced, and has been going ever since. And I trust that so long as this great City shall last, as long as that high magisterial chair, which is at present so ably filled by your Lordship, is occupied, the Salvation Army will be at work. And in those far-distant times, when the story of this day's ceremony is rehearsed, I trust the Army will be a greater power for usefulness than ever before.
Then men will say, when they look back upon this occasion, the London City Council and the Lord Mayor and Aldermen were justified in the recognition they made of the work, and the honour they bestowed upon the General of the Salvation Army.
After the ceremony there was a luncheon at the Mansion House, and then a tour was made through the streets of the City:
Started to visit the different refuges, with shelters and the like, where 5,000 of our submerged fraternity are being regaled with a substantial meal.
We had several carriages. I was in the leading one .... Suddenly one of the pair of homes in our conveyance fell, and one of the pair behind, on being pulled up so short, fell also, and there we were with two horses struggling on the ground. We were soon out and the horses up, and as neither were in any way disabled we were soon off again.
The sight of so many men and women down so low affected me greatly.
A few days later William Booth went to his native City of Nottingham:
The Ceremony of presenting the Freedom of the City followed. The crowds in the street were very great--the Mechanics' Hall was full to its utmost capacity and dreadfully hot. I was much fettered in speaking.
Tea with the Mayor and a select Company afterwards, leaving at 7 something for London, arrived home about 10 P.M.
He is not very happy as one of many preachers:
Bible Society Centenary meeting at the Albert Hall. It was a highly fashionable audience. There were five or six bishops on the platform, and I know not how many peers and other high-placed people.
I was much disappointed at the powerlessness of the exercises --the talking, singing, and praying appeared to me to be very insipid. I spoke for 14 minutes--the utmost limit of each speaker being 12. It was not pleasant to be rung down just as I had got hold--but I had to conform to rule. I hope my performance was of some use, but I must say I left the building without any definite assurance in my own mind that it had been so.
Lord Northampton, it may be stated, had written, as President of the Bible Society, to William Booth in April of this year, charged "with the very agreeable duty of asking him to be a Vice-President of the Society."
Of a triumphant visit to Germany and Switzerland in November of 1905, he says:
. . . A wonderful journey it has been. Such a journey as I never expected to travel .... We have had crowds and enthusiasm and souls and £1,000 in collections and gate-money, which, considering the prejudice and direct opposition of only a year or two ago, is really a wonderful thing. [These, and all such collections and receipts, were for the work in the country in which they were taken.]
I am thankful for all. My health has kept up wonderfully. I have not missed an appointment nor has a meeting missed fire.
One of those who were with him on this tour, and who wrote descriptions of it in a London newspaper, tells me that he never saw William Booth so moved and impressed by public acclaim as he was on this occasion. The Germans were extraordinarily fervorous. Everywhere the General was greeted as a veritable hero. And in the midst of all this turbulence of welcome there was a deep and earnest spirit of real affection.
Writing to Bramwell from Cologne, where twenty years before the Army uniform was hardly tolerated, and where a crimson carpet was now spread for him along the Kaiser's private subway at the railway-station, he speaks briefly of all these experiences, and then proceeds to a question much nearer to his heart, the question of the "Unemployed":
The Spade is the solution. I maintained it 16 years ago. I am stronger for it than ever. Think of the stuff 3 acres of decent land would produce cultivated to the uttermost by the sweat of a man's--not a horse's--or a hired labourer's--but his own brow.
I must wind up--I have said nothing. I shall go in here--and if I can keep off the Catholics' and the Socialists' and the Kaiser's toes I may do some good.
In a letter of condolence, written from Essen to one of his Colonels, he comes back to this question of emigration, and speaks his mind with no little vigour on Australian procrastination. There is no doubt that next to his spiritual work, the idea of emigration occupied the chief place in his mind at this time. It was a part of his dream of converting the world:
MY DEAR COLONEL--What Can I say to you that will in any way comfort your troubled heart in the terrible loss that has so unexpectedly fallen upon you? I really know not.
Words are such poor things, specially written ones, to express the deeper feelings of the soul, and yet they are the best media for making known the sympathies of our hearts.
The tidings of your bereavement came so suddenly that I was dumb, and my cable which said unspeakable sympathy truly expresses the experience of the hour.
Well, I have passed through this dark valley before you and know something of its agony, and can testify to the comforting power of the Blessed Spirit of the Living God.
Cast yourself on Him. However mysterious His dealings with us may be, one thing is certain, "He doeth all things well."
My life has been altogether a different thing since my beloved went to Heaven . The days have been difficult and the nights very often inconsolable, but still I would not have my lot different if I had the ordering of it for myself and could have it even as I wished. God be with you and the dear children. Two words will signify the chief source of your consolation in the future: one will be faith, and the other work. What those words signify has been my help, indeed has saved me from desolation, if not actual despair. Thanks for your letter on the "Emigration Question." I promised Mr. Deakin an Official Communication in my last note to him, but I have been so busy with one thing or another that I really have not had time to write. Moreover, I am puzzled to know what to say. I cannot understand the attitude of Australia. Its Authorities pretend to want an increase of population, and when the opportunity is offered raise all sorts of difficulties, appearing to be unwilling to put forth any effort in return for the advantages to be reaped.
In our case we must select the people, pilot them to the ports, pay the passage-money, land them with £100 in their pockets, fix them in a position to earn their livelihood, and look after them afterwards, and all Australia has as yet offered is to receive from them the revenue they will furnish.
It is true that West Australia has offered certain advantages, but they are little more than those within reach of every individual emigrant.
However, so far as Australia is concerned in the effort I am making, she must wait. I love her so much that I am sorry to find that she is missing the best opportunity she has had for many a day for bringing herself to the front--doing a good turn to the Old Country while benefiting herself to a remarkable degree.
Good-bye, my dear Friend and Comrade. Kiss the precious children for their General. I shall bear in mind the request contained in yours of a month ago. All will be well. God lives, and His presence will go with you.--Your affectionate General, WILLIAM BOOTH.
In an undated scrap of this year--evidently part of a letter to Bramwell, he wrote:
Good-bye. Cheer up, General! All the storms will soon be over with you--but what about the poor world you leave behind?
Well, we must not only live by faith, but die in faith. God will abide. W.B.
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