Redes Sociais

10/4/1829 - 20/8/1912


Chapter 1



BEFORE proceeding to describe the violent opposition which set itself to destroy the Salvation Army in the 'eighties, it is well to bear in mind that William Booth was not only supported at this period by wealthy enthusiasts like Mr. Samuel Morley and Mr. T. A. Denny, but that he was encouraged by public men so eminent as Ruskin and Bright.

In May of 1882 John Bright replied from the House of Commons to a letter addressed to him by Mrs. Booth, in the following terms:

DEAR Madam--I gave your letter to Sir W. Harcourt. He had already given his opinion in the House of Commons, which will be to some extent satisfactory to you. I hope the language of Lord Coleridge and the Home Secretary will have some effect on the foolish and unjust magistrates to whom, in some districts, the administration of the law is, unfortunately, committed.

I suspect that your good work will not suffer materially from the ill-treatment you are meeting with. The people who mob you would doubtless have mobbed the Apostles. Your faith and patience will prevail.--I am, with great respect and sympathy, yours sincerely, JOHN BRIGHT.

Archbishop Tait and Lord Coleridge championed the Salvation Army in the House of Lords; Lord and Lady Cairns gave it their earnest support; Mr. W. T. Stead, who had come from editing The Northern Echo in Darlington to assist Mr. John Morley on the staff of The Pall Mall Gazette, seized every opportunity in his power to defend the crusade of the Army; Mrs. Josephine Butler was also a warm friend and a bold ally of the Salvationists--writing to Mrs. Booth, "there is not a day, scarcely an hour, in which I do not think of you and your fellow-workers"; Dr. Lightfoot, Bishop of Durham, nobly declared: "Whatever may be its faults, it has at least recalled us to this lost ideal of the work of the Church--the universal compulsion of the souls of men." And among people in society those at least were not actively antagonistic who had reflected upon Mrs. Booth's question as to whether it were better to face the masses with the Gospel or the sword.

At this time, then, the work of the Booths was beginning to be recognized by a few great and powerful people as a work that deserved well of the public. But the opinion of the country as a whole was apparently against the Army, and the opposition of the Churches, the publicans, and the mob only tended to increase with the rapid growth of the movement.

Perhaps the worst of the riots was that which occurred at Sheffield this year, when a procession led by General and Mrs. Booth was attacked by a numerous and savage multitude armed with sticks and stones. The procession arrived at its destination with bruised and bleeding faces, with torn and mud-bespattered garments, cheering the General who had passed unscathed through the rabble. "Now's the time," he said, regarding his ragged, wounded, and excited followers, "to get your photographs taken." A graphic account of this disturbance appeared in The Times.

Riots occurred at Bath, Guildford, Arbroath, Forfar, and many other places. In twelve months, it is recorded, 669 Salvationists, of whom 25x were women, were "knocked down, kicked, or brutally assaulted." Fifty-six buildings of the Army were stormed and partially wrecked. Eighty-six Salvationists, fifteen of them women, were thrown into prison. From one end of the Kingdom to the other, this effort to break up the Army was carried on in a most shameless fashion under the very eyes of the law, the mob attacking the Salvationists, the police arresting the Salvationists, the magistrates sentencing the Salvationists. But those persecutions failed to damp the courage of the Salvationists, and only tended to swell the ranks of the Army. As many as 30,000 people assembled to welcome one Salvationist's release from prison. Converts came in by hundreds, many of them the roughest of the rough, and many of the worst won by women who faced public-house mobs to effect their rescue. If the Salvationists suffered, the Salvation Army grew; and William Booth, watching the movement, came to think at last that he had evoked a spirit which would influence the world.

Some of the best friends of the Army were, however, disturbed from time to time by its excesses, or by some sign on its part of what they took to be narrowness and uncharitableness. Mr. W. T. Stead, for instance, addressed an interesting reproof to Commissioner Railton on the latter score, writing from the offices of The Pall Mall Gazette on February x5, 1882:

I am glad to hear from you. The Bolton affair I had noticed in the Manchester papers. They say you marched through the Catholic quarter in an aggressive fashion and got your heads broken. I fear Mr. Morley will not be inclined to protest in this case, for the question of Protestant versus Catholic comes in. I have read your account of your visit to the Russian Church with much interest not unmixed with some regret. I have so often had to defend the Salvation Army from precisely the charges you bring against the Russian Church, and that to Russians themselves, that I confess I had hoped you would have been more sympathetic, not to say charitable. My dear Mr. Railton, do remember that you do not understand Slavonic, that what to you was mummery is to a hundred millions of men, women, and children rich with all the associations of a faith cradled at Bethlehem and glorified at Calvary, and that an intelligent foreigner witnessing the excited services of the Army --say at an All-Night--might retort upon you with effect if he were unable to understand what was said ....

[One of the converts had been known as the "Tipton Devil": he had once sold a coffin of his dead child in order to get money for drink. When a Salvationist got him to the penitent-form and told him to pray, he said, "I can't pray"; I urged again, he cried out, "0 God, jump down my throat, and squeeze the Devil out." Another convert, a woman, told how she was rescued from a public-house on a bitter cold night, and how the Salvationist took off her own jacket and wrapped it round the shoulders of the poor drunkard, lest she should take cold.]

Public feeling at the same time was manifesting a rigorous disapproval. From all over the country protests were issued against the processions, the bands, and the too lively spirit of the Army.

A report in The War Cry of March 23, I882, shows how the question was brought before the House of Commons:

The other day a certain Member of Parliament . . . thought proper, we hope at the suggestion of others, to give notice--

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the performances of a so-called religious body, entitled the "Salvation Army."

And whether he will issue special instructions to the local magistrates to suppress the street processions of this body, processions which have caused, and are likely to cause, serious rioting, which tend also to create gross profanity; and which have been the means of greatly disturbing the peace and quiet of respectable citizens.

Doubtless, a good deal to his surprise, four other members immediately put on the order-list six questions looking all the other way, and of which the following were the most interesting:

Mr. Mason (Member for Ashton-under-Lyne).--To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will be so good as to devise some means of protection from mob-ruffianism and occasional magisterial weakness for the loyal and lawabiding people called the "Salvation Army," who are endeavouring to rescue from vice and crime the very dregs of the population not hitherto cared for by the greatest religious organisations of the country.

Mr. Caine (Member for Scarboro').--To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received a Memorial, accompanied by sworn information, from several of the leading tradesmen of Basingstoke, with regard to the riots which have taken place in that town recently, and at recurring intervals during the last twelve months, caused by the persistent efforts of an organized gang of roughs to suppress by violence and intimidation the processions and meetings of a religious body known as the "Salvation Army."

Whether he has instituted any inquiry, with a view of ascertaining the names or positions of those who are well known to be the ringleaders of this dangerous mob:

And, if he will take prompt and immediate steps to secure for the "Salvation Army" that protection from injury and outrage which the magistrates and police of Basingstoke do not afford them.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to a paragraph in The Daily News of yesterday, headed "Uproarious Meeting at Basingstoke," describing a meeting held by Mr. Arch in that town, in the Corn Exchange, to consider the question of the agricultural labourer. It states that "the room was occupied before the proceedings commenced by a gang of roughs. Mr. Arch attempted to speak, but was refused a hearing, and was pelted with rotten eggs and ochre. Mr. Mitchell shared the same fate. After an hour and a half had been vainly spent in endeavouring to obtain quietude, the meeting was brought to an end amid much uproar."

Whether the authorities of Basingstoke were aware that this meeting was broken up by the same organized gang whose violence towards the members of the Salvation Army has more than once been the subject of Parliamentary inquiry:

And, if the Home Office will take the matter into immediate consideration.

Mr. M'Laren (Member for Stafford).--To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that a young man is being prosecuted in the City of London for selling a religious periodical called The War Cry in the streets.

And, whether he is prepared to direct the prosecution also of the persons who habitually obstruct the streets of London by offering for sale the indecent periodicals, with offensive contents bills, which have been hawked in public for the last nine months without any interference on the part of the police.

Sir Wilfrid Lawson (Member for Carlisle).--To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it is true that, on September 21, I881, ten of the Basingstoke roughs were released from Winchester Gaol, where they had been suffering a fortnight's imprisonment for attacks on the Salvation Army.

Whether they were brought home to Basingstoke in a carriage-and-four, escorted by outriders in fancy costumes, and accompanied by their supporters--the brewers and publicans of Basingstoke.

Whether, in the evening, a banquet was given to the released prisoners in the Corn Exchange, which was granted for the purpose by the Corporation, the proceedings being wound up by a free fight, in which the police were powerless.

And, whether any communication has been made from the Home Office to the authorities of Basingstoke, with a view to a better preservation of order.

The reply of the Home Secretary, though lengthy, did not contain very much information. But two practical sentences should command universal attention:

"It is not in my power to compel the magistrates to do what they don't see fit to do. If they don't preserve the peace they are liable to a criminal information for not preserving the peace. (Hear, hear.) I cannot, as I am at present situated, issue any instructions to the magistrates. If I am asked for an opinion I am bound to give it. I may say that those people cannot be too strongly condemned who attack persons who are only meeting for a lawful, and I may say laudable, object."

The right honourable gentleman showed a lamentable want of information to exist at the Home Office when he said that the famous proclamation at Basingstoke had produced peace, and its withdrawal renewed rioting, whereas the said proclamation is posted up in Basingstoke to this very day, and the rioting was never affected by it in the least, nor peace in any degree restored to the town, till the magistrates, the other day, wisely decided to protect us in processioning as if there had been no such proclamation!

We notice, with pleasure, that Mr. Sclater Booth, Member for that part of the county, corrected with a "No" one misstatement as to Basingstoke. There was also a repetition of the old story as to Stamford, corrected at the time it first arose by so many papers. We have no Station at Stamford to this hour. No wonder that honourable gentlemen were not satisfied with the replies made, and gave notice to move again in the matter at a later date! We hope that all parties concerned will take timely warning by all this, and act as the Basingstoke bench has now done, seeing that we have now, thank God, got friends in high places, who are determined that we shall be no longer abandoned either to the "mob-ruffianism," or to the "magisterial weakness," as to which the Home Office has been left, it would seem, so much in the dark.

In the following month an absurd attack upon General Booth appeared in The Times. The writer was a Wesleyan minister. In a leading article, which was not unkind to General Booth, The Times administered an elegant chastisement to its correspondent:

Most interesting is it to notice how soon ivy, lichen, and moss can throw the honours of time on the congregations of yesterday. His complaint is that the Salvation Amy not only takes a line antagonistic to all the Churches, but has the audacity to act as a permanent institution, acquiring money, houses, and land, as well as a despotic organisation.

A month after this discussion in the House of Commons, General Booth received the following cordial and encouraging letter from the Archbishop of York (Dr. Thomson):

BISHOPTHORPE, YORK, April 18, 1882.

Sir--Some of my clergy have written to me to beg that I would ascertain how far it was possible for the Church to recognise the work of the Salvation Army as helping forward the cause of Christ consistently with our discipline. For this purpose they asked me to put myself into communication with your Leaders. I now, in compliance with their request, address you with this friendly object.

In two at least of the Churches of this diocese bodies of the Salvation Army have been admitted to Holy Communion at their request; and nothing has occurred on those occasions to hinder a compliance with like requests in future.

What I would ask of you, Sir, is that you would refer me to some document in which the principles of the Army are stated concisely and clearly, as the clergy would thus be enabled to judge for themselves. Any remarks which you are good enough to add will receive my best attention. Some of us think that you are able to reach cases, and to do so effectually, which we have great difficulty in touching. They believe that you are moved by zeal for God and not by a spirit of rivalry with the Church or any other agency for good, and they wish not to find themselves in needless antagonism with any in whom such principles and purposes prevail,--Wishing you every blessing, I am yours faithfully, W. EBOR. ....William Booth, Esq., General of the Salvation Army.

An event which marked an epoch in the history of the Salvation Army occurred in June of this year. There was a very notorious public-house in London called The Eagle, to which gardens and a theatre were attached, the tavern having its main entrance in the City Road, the gardens and the theatre facing a side-street known as Shepherdess Walk. This place was sufficiently notorious to inspire a comic song which became popular in the music-halls, the jaunty chorus of which was sung by many people wholly unaware of the true character of the tavern:

Up and down the City Road,
In and out the Eagle,
That's the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel.

[It is perhaps necessary to explain that "pop" is a colloquialism for pawn, and "weasel "a slang word for watch.]

In truth the tavern was a sink of iniquity. Drunkenness was perhaps the least of its vices. The gardens at night, with their rustic arbours, were a scene of the most flagrant immorality, and thither flocked some of the very worst characters of the town. This corner of Shepherdess Walk was indeed a meeting-place for all that was most base and shameless in the London of those days; and although the scandal of it had attracted attention, and although complaints about its challenging debauchery had been made again and again, nothing was done by authority either to end or to abate this abominable disgrace.


William Booth, on learning in 1882 that the premises were for sale, made up his mind that this scandal should be put a stop to, and he determined to stop it in a very characteristic way. He planned to purchase an assignment of the underlease from its holder, and to convert it into a religious meeting-place. Thus he would not only destroy a work of the devil, but out of that destruction build a temple to God. He saw the opportunity of publicly challenging the conscience of London, of forcing London to confront the degradation of sin; and with great zest he flung himself into this crusade--the beginning of a new offensive on the part of religious morality.

It was necessary, of course, to proceed with caution, and no hint was given in the negotiations that the purchaser was the Salvation Army. The purchase, price was agreed upon at £16,750, and it is interesting to know that out of some £9,000 subscribed towards this sum no fewer than £3 ,000 were given by the poor Soldiers of the Salvation Army, who only a few weeks before had subscribed handsomely towards the new Training Home at Clapton.

Queen Victoria gave her sympathy to this movement, the Archbishop of Canterbury subscribed the first £5 towards the purchasing fund, and among other of William Booth's well-known supporters was the Rector of St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate--"Hang-Theology" Rogers. The money was raised, the underlease of the tavern, with its gardens, its music-hall, and its Grecian theatre, was purchased, and William Booth took triumphant possession of the property. But no sooner had the conversion been made than such a storm broke upon him as we in these days can scarcely imagine. "Up with the Lark to capture the Eagle," the Salvationists marched in force on the first day, singing hymns of triumph. But their progress was disputed, something like a riot occurred, and the police had to intervene in great numbers.

The Daily Chronicle of that day gave a long description of these proceedings: "Reinforced from time to time during the day, there were upwards of 400 constables on the scene by night, and but for the skilful tactics of Mr. Superintendent Fidge, of the G Division .... it is not too much to say that--such was the murderous temper of the mob, who raged and howled in an appalling manner--blood would have been shed and Lives lost."

This contest was only the beginning of a stern fight. Howling mobs besieged the place by day and by night, the worst pimps and crimps of London stormed it, drunken and savage gangs armed with sticks and stones assailed it; for some months the place had to be guarded by police, on many occasions with drawn truncheons. William Booth was many times in grave danger of his life. Once he would have surely been torn to pieces by the savage mob but for one of his staff and a friendly workman who enabled him to escape over a garden wall--the workman remarking that he was not religious, but he believed in the work William Booth was doing for the poor.

Close on the heels of their mobbing came legal actions. William Booth had inspired the enmity of a very powerful trade, and the whole machinery of the law was set in motion to crush him. If such a man were allowed a free hand what would become of our liquor interests, of our British workman's right to get drunk as often as he pleased? Clearly such a fighter must be fought. The legal dispute turned on the question whether a man could hold licensed premises without offering alcoholic drink for sale, and a great deal was made of the meaning of the words, "inn," "tavern," and "public-house." It was first decided in the Court of Chancery that William Booth had taken an assignment of an underlease of a public-house, and must be restrained from any breach of its covenants which would imperil its existence as licensed premises. One of the judges said that by his letters to the newspapers he had given rise to the supposition that he intended to use the Eagle Tavern in a way which would be a breach of the covenant, "but his subsequent affidavit showed that this was not his intention." The action was decided therefore in favour of the Army. But the ground landlords, who were trustees of an East End parish, raised the question in another form by means of an action in the Court of Queen's Bench, and there the liquor interest won the day. For a time, in order to fight his case, the General had stood a pot of ale on the counter of The Eagle, but this was much against his will and was finally abandoned. [Mr. Justice Kay said of the Salvation Army in this judgment that "whatever individuals might think of the manner in which it was carried on . . . [it] must command the respect and sympathy of every sensible man, because no doubt the main intention of [William Booth] was the extension of morality and religious feeling among those amidst whom at present they were least to be found."]

The Salvation Army historian remarks of this final judgment: "Not content with condemning us to hand over the entire property, for which £20,000 had been paid, that it might become what it had been before, the judge, who had said, after hearing all the evidence, that 'he had seen nothing in the case as it came before the Court to lead him to think that Mr. Booth was wanting in good faith,' thought proper to make reflections upon the General's action which were so reported and commented upon as undoubtedly to make a very bad impression on many minds." Nothing was said of William Booth's effort to pluck this cancer out of London's life, but a great deal was said of the judge's remark that he had not been quite frank in making his purchase.

We shall see later on how Professor Huxley made use of this judicial stricture, tearing it from its context, to discredit William Booth in the public estimation, a course of conduct thoroughly unworthy of so honest a man and so able a controversialist. But what must strike most people at this distance of time is the fact that in a fight for public morality so gallant and so desperate William Booth should have been unsupported by the whole organised force of righteousness. The very fact, however, that it was to all intents and purposes a solitary fight, shows clearly the need of that day for the awakening challenge of the Salvation Army. This event, as we have said, was epoch-making; and we may claim for it that it did indeed mark a new offensive on the part of religion. Other men before William Booth had attacked public evils, but it was his particular merit that somehow or another he always roused the national conscience and gave fresh courage to the rather timid and passive forces of religion. The case of The Eagle was a step on the road to his tremendous challenge in the name of the submerged tenth.

Later in the same year, General Booth's work attracting more and more attention, a committee was appointed by the Upper House of Convocation to consider the possibility of an alliance with the Salvation Army. This committee consisted of Dr. Benson, then Bishop of Truro; Canon Westcott, Canon Wilkinson, and the Rev. Randall J. Davidson. A real desire was manifested on this occasion to bring the Army under the wing of the Anglican Church, but the difficulties of any such union, from the Salvation Army's point of view, were considered to be so great that the effort was eventually abandoned. General Booth made certain concessions. He was willing, says Mr. Booth-Tucker, "for the two organizations to run side by side like two rivers with bridges thrown across, over which the members could mutually pass and repass; nor did he object to the Corps marching at stated intervals to Church"; but the Army could not submit to the authority of the Church, nor could it abandon its central position concerning the primacy of conversion, nor give up its now firmly established conviction that the catholic sacraments were not necessary to salvation.

During this year, too, the Salvation Army had spread to Switzerland, Sweden, India, and Canada; it had already established itself in the United States of America, in Australasia, and in France. William Booth was now not merely the head of an unsectarian mission society in England, but the General of an Army which looked like spreading its influence to all parts of the world. He could not, it will readily be seen, attach this great and growing force to the national Church without in some measure paralysing its foreign legions. But his relations with Dr. Benson remained of a friendly character, and when the Bishop was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury he wrote to him in the following terms:

January 5, 1883.

MY LORD--I think you should know sufficient of me as well as of this Army to accept with the utmost assurance of its heartfelt sincerity this expression of the great satisfaction and thankfulness to God with which we have heard of your Lordship's appointment to the Primacy.

Although we are no more likely to admire all the plans adopted by others than to have our own generally admired, we cannot but look forward with pleasure to the prospect of that long career of determined spiritual activity to which we trust God will spare you. We shall prove the groundlessness of all the fears that have been expressed as to our becoming sectarian by the heartiness with which we shall hail every fresh advance against the common enemy by all true godly men.

We have held back our notes on the list of queries with regard to the Army sent to the Clergy, thinking it improbable that the Committee would endeavour to complete their report much before the reassembling of Convocation. Our Annual Report, of which we send a copy herewith, does in part reply, but of course every week's progress very materially affects our position. We have only this very week, for instance, heard of our first services attended by blessed success in Sweden and Switzerland. The multiplication of these foreign extensions will, we think, greatly widen the sphere of our usefulness in this country by delivering us from any narrow grooves of thought and by promoting amongst persons of education those ideas of world-wide aggression for Christ with which it is admitted that we have imbued so many thousands of poor.

It would be quite out of place for me to make any suggestions as to the future of the Church in its purely ecclesiastical capacity, though it might well be congratulated upon the prospect of a general extension of recent progress in Cornwall.

But we cannot but regard the elevation of your Lordship to the See of Canterbury at this time as an invaluable sign of the quickening of the nation's conscience and as an indication that the Church, in its larger national character, is about to enter upon an era of greater activity and more practical sympathy with all soul-saving efforts than it has ever yet known.

Should an opportunity arise for public demonstration on our side of heart-felt sympathy with your Grace in this grand purpose we shall be pleased to avail ourselves of it, but whether in public or in private be assured that our prayers on your behalf shall go up to God, and that we shall rejoice with you over every victory won for God.--I am, my Lord, yours most faithfully,


The Bishop of Truro.

Unhappily their friendly relations were not destined to continue without interruption. A few months after the writing of this letter a charge of a most serious character was brought against the Salvation Army by the Bishops of Oxford and Hereford.

Chapter 2



RUMOURS had been spread for some time that the Salvation Army encouraged a form of hysteria which led in many instances to sexual immorality. It was commonly stated that Salvationists held a meeting called "Creeping for Jesus," in which the lights were turned down, and men and women, getting upon their knees, proceeded to crawl upon the floor groping with their hands in the darkness.

These and other rumours, with accounts of blasphemous handbills supposed to be circulated by Salvation Army Officers, tended to inflame respectable opinion. There was a strong feeling among some of those who knew nothing of William Booth and nothing of the frightful condition existing in parts of the great cities, that the Salvation Army was a scandal and an outrage. People said that Salvationists deserved everything they received at the hands of the mob. Newspapers so eminent as The Times pronounced judgment against General Booth. Religious people and irreligious people uttered their disapproval of these noisy, irreverent, and now immoral Salvationists.

It was, on the whole, a good thing that these flying rumours should at last take shape in a more or less definite charge uttered by wholly responsible people. In the Upper House of the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, on the 10th of April, I883, the Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Mackarness) said:

The point I wish to raise is a very definite one. This Salvation Army professes to be an agency for promoting holiness, upon which it is said by persons whom I have reason to trust that it promotes not holiness, but distinct immorality to a great degree. What I would do is to institute inquiries from those who have seen the work, so as to enable us to say whether they are working with the contrary result to that which the leaders are desirous of obtaining, or whether they are doing a good work. It is not merely to examine tenets, but the results of those tenets in actual life, and what the people who receive their teaching are doing. It is to see what really is the ratio of illegitimate births, and the relation of the Salvation Army to that we would wish to know.

The Bishop of Hereford (Dr. Atlay) confirmed the statement with the remark:

. . . two . . . of my clergy, who are well disposed in the main towards the development of unusual methods even of arousing religious feeling among those who are commonly called the masses, have told me that from their own knowledge very disastrous consequences--I need not further explain what I mean--have followed the teaching of the Army.

General Booth wrote next day both to the Bishop of Oxford and to the Archbishop of Canterbury. In his letter to the Archbishop he said:

I observe with great regret in this morning's Journals a report of proceedings in Convocation yesterday, in the course of which a number of serious accusations against the Army appear to have been made. It seems to me very hard that the outrageous statements constantly made with regard to us should be credited without our having an opportunity to reply to them.

There has been no change whatever in our Orders or methods during the last twelve months, and the only development I know of is in the increase, amounting to more than a doubling of the numbers of those who are doing the work and enduring the sufferings to which attention was called in your Lordship's house twelve months ago.

I am well aware that there have been of late a great many efforts made both in England and in Switzerland to misrepresent both our teachings and our plans; but we have never yet met with a charge that can be maintained against us when fairly examined in daylight.

I enclose a note to his Lordship, the Bishop of Oxford, and trust that some opportunity will at least be given to us to meet the very grave accusations he appears to have brought against us, and which we venture to say cannot be supported by one solitary fact. There can be no doubt that such an accusation made in such a quarter will be used in such a way in the Press as to greatly increase the ill-usage of our poor people in the streets.

Our earnest desire to maintain friendly relationships with the authorities of the Church has not in the least degree changed. We might point with satisfaction to the enormous growth, not merely in the numbers of those connected with us, but of those belonging to all denominations, who in spite of the efforts of our enemies have been won to sympathise with us during the last six months. And we might in presence of these facts resign ourselves with indifference to any hostile expression of opinion.

But what I regret and would fain avert, if not too late, is a growth of a conviction amongst all these, that the scandalous reports circulated against us find ready credence with the authorities of the Church, and that the multitudes of poor labourers whose zealous efforts to diffuse religion cannot at any rate be denied, are looked upon no longer with sympathy, but rather with contempt, by the clergy. I do not hesitate to say that the spread of such a conviction in these days when, as his Lordship the Bishop of Exeter has pointed out, the spiritual state of great masses of the population, especially in large towns, is so unsatisfactory, would be a national calamity.

Is it impossible for us to have an opportunity of meeting and refuting the groundless accusations made against us, which alone can account for the changed attitude of your Lordship's house towards us?--I am, my Lord, yours most respectfully,


The answer he received to this protest is not very easy to understand:


April 13, 1883.

MY DEAR SIR--I am directed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 11th inst. respecting the newspaper reports of the late discussion upon the Salvation Army in the Upper House of the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury.

His Grace understands you to ask for an opportunity of making a statement respecting your view of the present position and work of the persons under your control.

I am directed to remind you that when enquiry was first set on foot by a Committee of Bishops, nearly a year ago, you were so kind as to offer, for the information of the Committee, to send full answers to the circular of enquiry addressed to clergy and others who had had experience of the working of the Salvation Army.

These papers were placed in your hands on their first issue in order that you might be fully cognizant of the enquiries that were being made, but no answer whatever was received until a few days ago, when a request emanated from your Office for new copies of the questions, the former copies having been lost. New copies were at once sent, but the Archbishop has not, as yet, received from you any reply.

I am directed now to inform you that a Committee of both Houses of the Convocation of Canterbury was on Tuesday last appointed to consider the various methods which in different quarters are now being adopted and suggested for reaching the masses, and to assure you that this Committee hopes that it may be allowed to obtain from yourselves, as well as from other organisations, any such information as you may be kindly able to afford.--I remain, my dear Sir, yours faithfully,


Mr. W. Booth.

On the 12th of April General Booth addressed a letter of protest to the Bishop of Hereford, and received the following replies:


April 13, 1883.

SIR--Your letter of the 12th instant has come into my hands this morning.

For the remarks which I made in Convocation I believed that I had sufficient authority; but as you challenge this statement, I shall of course make further enquiries, and if I find that I am misinformed I will take an early opportunity of correcting the mistake.--I am, Sir, faithfully yours,


Gen. Booth.

April 16, 1883.

SIR--Having made the enquiries referred to in my letter of the 13th inst., I regret to say that I am compelled to abide by the language which I used in Convocation last week, as reported in The Guardian Newspaper of the 11th instant.--Faithfully yours,


Gen. Booth.

On the 19th, General Booth replied to the two Bishops. We give his letter to the still sceptical Bishop of Hereford:

April 19, 1883.

To The Right Hon. The Lord Bishop of Hereford.

MY LORD--I have read both your Lordship's letters, but find to my great regret that neither of them afford even the hope of our being confronted with the particular accusations which are made against us. I am astonished that your Lordship should not, apparently, perceive the unreasonableness of making a charge affecting the morality of 450 congregations of poor people without first giving any one of those congregations an opportunity of clearing themselves from the imputation. It is impossible for us to let the matter rest here; we must give the same opportunity to all which we have given to the two congregations existing in your Lordship's Diocese to meet the accusation, and we are confident of being able to show from every part of the country that whatever cases of immorality may have occurred the impression produced as to the general character of our services and of their moral effect is quite erroneous.--I am, my Lord, yours faithfully, (Signed) WILLIAM BOOTH.

The Bishop of Oxford was more reasonable, and after an interview with Commissioner Railton and two other Salvationists approved of the following statement, which was immediately made public:

He assured us that he had never had any intention of making an accusation against the Army, still less of exciting public hostility to it, and that his words used in the midst of a discussion in Convocation must have been ill-chosen to have conveyed such an impression.

All he had meant to convey was that he strongly disapproved of the gathering together of young people at late and exciting meetings, inasmuch as there was great danger that, however excellent might be the intentions of those who held such meetings, young men and women on leaving them without proper control might fall into immorality, as had doubtless been the case sometimes already. G.S.R.

Although the Salvation Army was able to clear itself of these charges, opposition against it grew rather than diminished with its advancement among the masses. There was nothing at all during the 'eighties of that wonderful popularity among men of all creeds and of no creeds which came in 1890. One may say generally that while the Army was making friends for itself among the saddest sections of democracy it was making enemies among the other classes. The aristocracy, the professional and commercial classes, the better-off working man, and the most degraded elements of the mob were hostile to the movement. William Booth, who had watched, from 1878 to 1883, the development of the extraordinary spirit which he himself had evoked, and who perhaps had wavered on some important matters, was driven more and more to take a definite line of action. He was forced into this position as much by the hostility of the world as by the devotion of his followers. It was a case in which a man must either surrender or fight. If he altered his methods or bowed in any way to popular clamour he not only acknowledged himself to be wrong, but violated his own conscience and surrendered his army into the hands of its enemies. To maintain his position and to lead his followers it was necessary to advance with greater boldness and with more unfaltering determination.

But it is interesting to observe that the conservative character of his disposition still held him back from any violent onslaught. He was not one of those who, in John Morley's phrase, "helped to state the problem, writing up in letters of flame at the brutal feast of kings and the rich that civilization is as yet only a mockery"; on the contrary, he was a monarchist, a constitutionalist, a conservative, and certainly not a lover of radicals and socialists; he kept his eyes averted from the political problem, he never once was temped to make himself the leader of revolution, the captain of an angry and avenging democracy; his whole emphasis was on religion, and the only war he understood, the only war for which he had the smallest inclination, was the war against sin. If he became a bolder leader and a greater general after 1883, it was still in the sphere of practical religion; he advanced more confidently as the head of an increasing international organization, but his whole attack was concentrated upon the forces of iniquity. He may have harboured critical thoughts about the Church, he may have entertained in his heart hard judgments for society, but his public life was entirely circumscribed to a consistent and an undeviating attack upon the moral causes of suffering and poverty.

Chapter 3



ONE Of the penalties of his sudden rise into the public attention was the necessity forced upon William Booth of adopting, or attempting to adopt, the part of a diplomatist.

Here was a very simple and downright man, whose whole being, since the dawn of his understanding, had been consumed by the single purpose of saving wretched and unhappy people from the consequences of sin, who had gone of his own will and choice into the most obscure and abandoned places of the world to fulfil this passionate hunger and thirst of his spirit, and who was so simple and primitive that he could trust himself to the most brutal mobs of industrial England with the ancient thunders of Sinai and the least qualified and uncompromising version of Christianity; here was this poor preacher, suddenly become a public character, suddenly in conflict with Churches and Governments, and suddenly called upon to deal with acute and vigilant intellects who regarded him, for the most part, either with an indignant hostility or a suspicious disapprobation.

It would probably have been wiser if William Booth had kept to his own rough path, stubbornly pursuing his original goal, and never expecting assistance or sympathy from those in smoother places who had the power to help him; but he was hungry for unselfish success, dreamed of evangelizing the Churches as well as the masses, and to this end was sometimes inclined to consider a working understanding with men in high places, who, reflection ought to have told him, could not possibly become his partners.

He would have been a grander figure, I think, if he had held solitary to his path of darkness and storm, poverty and suffering, neglect and contumely; it is with a feeling of regret that we find him, although the invitation came from the other side, entering the sphere of diplomacy, and desiring, however pure and unselfish the end, the sympathetic help of authority; but we must not forget, indeed it is a salient characteristic of the man, that with all his plainness and downright honesty there was an element of dexterity in his nature, a disposition to finesse, which kept him perpetually on the watch for opportunity, and moved him to clutch with both hands at every chance of advancing the cause which was dearer to him than his own life.

He was a man whose true nature did not always show itself in conversation except with those who entirely shared his opinions or were his intimate and affectionate friends. He endeavoured to adopt with those whom he felt to be inimical or critical the manner which we describe as easygoing--a practical common-sense manner, not very attractive perhaps, and somewhat foreign to his loving, impulsive, and affectionate nature. His extraordinary tenderness, his almost feminine sympathy with the suffering and the lost, were completely hidden on these occasions; he appeared only as the organizer, the business-man of religion, who wanted to get things done. It was as if he feared to show his heart to one or two, and could only unbosom himself before a multitude or to those who loved him. I can imagine that men who saw him only on business, though they saw him a score of times, formed no true opinion of the real man.

The impression he made in the early 'eighties on Archbishop Benson and Dr. Randall Davidson, the present Archbishop of Canterbury, was the impression of a good and straightforward man who had no intention in the world of setting up a new sect and who was not antipathetic to the idea of some form of alliance with the Church of England. He told them that he had small patience with the quarrelling chapels, and that he felt himself nearer to the Church of England than to any other body in Christendom. He was emphatic in all the conversations he had with them that the very last thing he desired to do was to found a fresh body of dissent. Again and again, Archbishop Davidson tells me, he laid emphasis on this assertion that he was founding an Army, not a Church.

A letter addressed in 1881 to the Archbishop of Canterbury by a clergyman in East London shows that this opinion formed in Lambeth Palace was at least an opinion shared by one who had carefully endeavoured to get the views of William Booth. After mentioning that he has had an interview with General Booth, this correspondent proceeds:

I have long felt that if he would consent to work with the Church, in the now vast movement he regulates, it would be for both his advantage and that of the Church of England. I went therefore to question him on the subject. I asked him if he was founding a Church, or only heading an evangelistic agency which could work alongside of the Church of England. He assured me the latter was the case. I asked him if his people had any ill-feeling towards the clergy, as I had heard reports of occasional attacks by Salvationists upon the ministers of the Church. He again assured me, that though individuals amongst the Army might have met occasional Church opposition with ill-advised retort, such attacks were wholly contrary to his wishes or to the general principles of the Army, who were earnest after unity and concord, especially with the Church of England.

I asked him whether they administered the Sacraments, and he told me that some of his people on their own responsibility had had a very simple "breaking of bread" together, but that this was no part of the "Army "--as an evangelistic agency. . . . Before I left he said he earnestly hoped one day there might be a service for the Army in St. Paul's Cathedral, and that the Clergy might learn to see that the Army was co-operating and not in any way in opposition.

Whether the General was more drawn to the Church of England than to any of the other Churches is a matter on which we should not care to express a definite opinion, but we think it is beyond all reasonable question that he was utterly unconscious of animosity towards any of the Churches, and that his procedure then and afterwards never veiled the least degree of real antagonism. It was not his business to quarrel with the Churches, and he had a natural detestation of controversy. He desired recognition for the Army to advance his gospel of salvation and to protect his followers from persecution; his immediate aim was certainly limited to this desire for recognition, and anything in the nature of definite alliance had probably not presented itself to his mind as a practical idea. In order to obtain recognition he was willing to say generous and even flattering things to those in authority; he wanted to smooth troubled waters, to remove suspicion and prejudice, to win the sympathy of those who could help him financially. But even while he was prepared to go a considerable distance to meet his critics in order that he might gain this authoritative recognition for his followers, there was always something to which he held openly and definitively, and this was his absolute headship of the Army. He was honest enough to make this fact absolutely and abundantly clear.

It must be remembered that in the negotiations with the Church of England, William Booth was approaching men the aim of whose diplomacy was naturally to gain control over the irregular organization which he had brought into existence. This diplomacy was not dictated by jealousy: some of those who pursued it were earnest admirers of the Salvation Army, and almost disciples of Mrs. Booth. It was dictated purely by the genuine and laudable desire to save the work of William Booth from becoming a menace, not to the Church, but, as those who followed it genuinely believed, to Christianity itself. I have seen something of the correspondence which reached Lambeth Palace at that time, touching this question of the Church's countenance of the Army, and so earnest, so solemn, and so indignant are the wild, absurd charges brought against the followers of William Booth, that it is a wonder to me the Archbishop went even as far as he did in these difficult negotiations. And these letters are not the whisperings of jealous clergymen, but the bold and plain-spoken charges of laymen, many of them belonging to the workingclass. One man quotes from The World newspaper that "Mr. Booth is accustomed to adapt sardonically a certain text of Scripture, and say, 'The last enemy that shall be destroyed is the parson.'" Another writes, "I cannot but think that a most awful responsibility is incurred by any who by their influence help on the propaganda of such sickening blasphemy .... " Another describes Salvation Army processions as "a lot of screaming, raving youths and girls, dancing and indulging in most unseemly contortions." "Their proceedings," we read in another letter, "can do no possible good, and merely afford an incessant subject for the scoffs and blasphemies of the publicans and their allies." "I hope," writes a working-man, "you will not imitate your late predecessor, to have your name blazoned in The War Cry, for supporting and encouraging those I call the Salvation Army." "Returning to England a week since," writes a correspondent from the suburbs, "... I heard that you had publicly expressed your approval of the proceedings of the Salvation Army. I trust my informant was mistaken in attributing such sentiments to your Grace, as I have no doubt that could you but hear the fearful blasphemies uttered publicly by that body you would never lend it countenance or support."

Dr. Davidson knew that in spite of exaggeration and excitement the Salvation Army was witnessing the miracle of conversion all over the country; he was honest enough not to shut his eyes to this important fact, even while he gave his ears to those who had nothing but abuse and condemnation for the Army; he, therefore, desired to curb with the instant hand of authority those things in the Army which offended the susceptibilities of the Church party, rather than allow them to be outgrown in the evolution of this new force in the religious world, and to leave unchecked only the devotion and earnestness which gained the Army its lasting victories.

Dr. Randall Davidson, who was then chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, gave considerable attention to this matter, taking, in fact, a leading part on the Church's side in the negotiation of which we are writing. He has expressed to me a very warm admiration for Catherine Booth, describing her as one of the most remarkable women he ever met, and telling me that his father, a singularly hard-headed and deep-thinking Scot, after hearing for the first time one of Catherine Booth's addresses at Exeter Hall, said to him, "If ever I am charged with a crime, don't bother to engage any of the great lawyers to defend me; get that woman." But the feelings of Dr. Davidson towards William Booth are not so clear and not so unmixed. He is ready to say that in some respects he misjudged the man, for he held the opinion in the early 'eighties that the work of the Army would not last, and that William Booth would outwear the patience of the world. He found William Booth, he says, on the whole, a simple and not very profound person, who was perfectly honest in his idea of religion, but not altogether unscrupulous in his methods for advancing that idea. "He did not give me the impression," he says, "of anything like so original and interesting a personality as Catherine Booth; and even now I think he owed something of his popularity, not all of course, to his wonderful, his almost magnificent appearance. But I felt very strongly during those months of our negotiations that Booth was determined to keep control, and an autocratic control, of the Army. I was opposed to that. I could see his reasons for desiring this autocratic control, but I could not possibly bring myself to support so dangerous a policy. He certainly gave me to understand, and very emphatically, that he did not seek to establish a new sect, and I felt, whether he was sincere or not in this particular, that the tide would be too strong for him. We could not get anything in the nature of control over the organization, and so we had to let it go."

In an article published in The Contemporary Review for August, 1882, Dr. Davidson criticized the Army with singular ability, and not unfairly, but he paid a generous tribute at the same time to the sincerity and devotion of its Soldiers:

Whatever be their errors in doctrine or in practice, I can only say that, after attending a large number of meetings of different kinds in various parts of London, I thank God from my heart that He has raised up to proclaim His message of Salvation the men and the women who are now guiding the Army's work, and whose power of appealing to the hearts of their hearers is a gift from the Lord Himself. I am sorry for the Christian teacher, be he cleric or layman, who has listened to such addresses as those given by "General" Booth, Mrs. Booth, and by some five or six at least of their "staff officers," who has not asked for help that he may speak his message with the like straightforward ability and earnest zeal.

Canon Farrar of Westminster, who was later on to become one of the Army's greatest champions, was at this time one of its severest critics. "Can they not see how fatal it must be to some natures," he asked in an Abbey sermon, "thus to wear their hearts upon their sleeves? thus to drag the course of their spiritual life out of the gracious shadows wherein God leaves them?" Whether he ever looked in the slums of uttermost brutality for these "gracious shadows," I do not know, but I am perfectly certain that he might have preached all his sermons to the broken wreckage of East London without changing a single heart, without restoring a single soul. He spoke of the Salvationist's "grotesque and irreverent phraseology, calculated quite needlessly to disgust and repel," not knowing that any other phraseology must have failed to rouse the sunken and degraded multitudes of great cities, even as his own somewhat too florid rhetoric failed to please the discriminating judges of literature.

Dr. Davidson, criticizing the Army as he did, quoted in The Contemporary Review with approval the following document signed by the Mayor and Sheriff of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, by four Members of Parliament, and by twelve resident magistrates:

We, the undersigned, while by no means willing to identify ourselves with, or to defend, all the means and measures used by the Salvation Army in the prosecution of their efforts for the restoration of the worst portion of the population to habits of morality, temperance, and religion, nevertheless feel bound to state that we know they have succeeded in this town and neighbourhood, not only in gathering together congregations of such as never previously artended religious services, but in effecting a marked and indisputable change in the lives of many of the worst characters. We are therefore strongly of opinion that their services ought not to be left to the mercy of riotous disturbers, but should have the fullest protection.

"One clergyman has told me," he wrote, "that two whole streets in his parish, which were once 'a very den of thieves,' have become quiet and comparatively respectable since the Salvation Army opened fire upon them." In spite of very strong and uncompromising criticism, this article shows that a section of the Church was watching the new movement with genuine admiration and sincere sympathy, although in the autocracy of William Booth she saw a sovran danger, and in some of the excesses and exuberances of the converts she saw matter for profound regret. But towards the end of the article, Dr. Davidson hinted at the main obstacle to any real alliance between the Church and the Army. He wrote:

In abstaining carefully from doctrinal questions, I have precluded myself from reference even to so vital a point as the Army's position with respect to the Sacraments of Christ. That question, about which there seems still to be much uncertainty in the Army's councils, must be dealt with soon and firmly, if the Church is to extend active sympathy to the Army as a whole.

Cardinal Manning, it is instructive to find, shared with Dr. Randall Davidson the impression that William Booth, protest as he might, was bound to set up a new Church.

Mr. Booth (he wrote) declares his firm resolve the Salvation Army shall never become a sect. He cites the failure of John Wesley in his attempt to maintain an unsectarian position. The meaning of this would seem to be that the aim of the Salvation Army is to promote general and personal religion apart from all bodies and, above all, apart from all controversies .... The head of the Salvation Army is resolved that it shall never become a sect .... He seems to wish that it may not be a sect but a spirit which, like the four winds, may blow upon all in the Valley of Dry Bones---men, women, children, sects, communions, and, as he perhaps would say, Churches, quickening and raising them to a higher life .... Nevertheless we have a conviction that the Salvation Army will either become a sect, or it will melt away. This world is not the abode of disembodied spirits.

Both Dr. Randall Davidson and Cardinal Manning complained of the language and practices of the Army, and it is quite certain that in expressing his disapprobation of the more fantastic of these things Dr. Davidson was uttering the mind of his Church as a whole. One must not forget that some adherents of the Army at this period of its existence not only did actually commit grievous offences against modesty and good taste, but that the Army was unfortunate enough to have attributed to its officials wholesale blasphemies, obscenities, and immoralities of a most repellent kind. Nothing was too bad or too grotesque to be said of this excited and elated body of converted sinners, and, alas! nothing too incredible to be believed by many good people.

What direction the diplomacy of William Booth would have taken but for the constant influence of Bramwell Booth and George Railton, it is impossible to say; it is fair to assume, however, that without this strong and enthusiastic influence that diplomacy would have been at least more anxious for a better understanding with the Church, more patient and adaptable in these fumbled negotiations. He was a great hater of controversy; he had few scruples where compromise might clear the field for action; he held with all the fire and resolution of his vehement character that nothing was so important as "getting men saved from their sins." Catherine Booth, too, although she permitted herself to utter on occasion certain caustic remarks concerning the opposition of the Churches, and although she was by nature and habit a controversialist, and from her youth up had been hotly opposed to what is called Clericalism, nevertheless felt that some understanding with the recognized forces of religion would have been valuable to the cause of the Army; she, too, we think, might have been brought to consider a compromise. But the influence of the young men who shared the inner counsels of General and Mrs. Booth was all on the side of no compromise, all in the direction of their own Salvation Army offensive against sin, all in the direction of utmost liberty. They had no sympathy of any kind with the Sacramentalists, they had no veneration for ecclesiastical tradition, and their one feeling as regards antiquity was to break utterly free from its somnolent sobriety, its paralysing dignity, its soul-destroying precedents and formulae, to break free from all that; not to attack and criticize the Church, but to live with all the vitality and courage of a present only valuable as it shaped the future. Influenced by those younger men, themselves urged on by the tide of success everywhere lifting the Salvation Army into the estimation of men, William Booth decided not to prosecute his negotiations with the Church of England, and allowed the matter to end without communicating to the Archbishop any definite decision.

We find an expression of his views, however, in an article which he wrote a few years later, on the occasion of Archbishop Benson's sudden death at Hawarden:

The little personal intercourse I was privileged to have with Archbishop Benson, a few years ago, has rendered his recent sudden decease--taking place as it did under such graphically impressive circumstances--of specially solemn interest to me ....

The Army had at that time [1882] with somewhat startling suddenness, sprung into public observation--I think I may say public estimation, considering the kindly sentiments expressed concerning us on every hand--and the question of Comprehension was being considered by more than one of the Religious Organizations. Some of the leading Dignitaries of the National Church were loudly controverting the wisdom of the course pursued by their forefathers in allowing Wesleyan Methodism to drift away from the Establishment, and wondering whether a little patient manœuvring might not have been successful, not only in retaining the Wesleys and the Coadjutors within its Fold, but of securing to the Episcopacy the influence and direction of the immense multitudes who have since grown up under the Methodist Banner--now far out-numbering those of the Parent Fold.

Here, it was argued, are another people very similar in object and character, only still more pronounced and practical, rising up with the promise of a coming success, which, if not equal to that of the great Methodist Community, still evidently has in it the germ of a future power and progress very much like it. Can we not avoid the mistake of the past? True, we have not the power to shut out from our Churches the leaders of the Salvation Army, as did the Bishops and Clergy the Methodist Leaders of 150 years ago, seeing that they are not numbered with us, nor do they seek the use of our Synagogues; still less have we any desire to persecute them. But can we not manage by a little kindly attention to take them in, so not only ensuring to them the benefits of our Episcopal supervision, but securing for ourselves the advantages growing out of their enthusiastic zeal.

With such feelings--highly honourable to the leaders of the Church of England, set forth at the time in their literature, at gatherings of the Clergy, and in other ways--the late Archbishop (then Bishop of Truro), with the Bishop of Durham (then Canon Westcolt), sought, by their own request, an interview with me, which took place at our Headquarters, Queen victoria Street.

The possibility of a union between the Salvation Army and the Church, or the attachment of the Army to the Church in some form which would mean the same thing, was the topic. And the patient, thoughtful, and I may say respectful, manner in which the subject was argued by my distinguished visitors made that conversation to me for ever a pleasant memory. The beautiful spirit of enquiry manifested on the part of Canon Westcolt especially impressed me.

The conditions of the Union desired, on the part of the Army as set forth, were simple as simplicity itself. Whatever might have been felt necessary on closer investigation to the maintenance of the Union, nothing was asked beyond an open recognition of our connection with the Church, and the regular attendance by each Corps at the Parish Church, or at an authorized service in some other consecrated building, say at regular intervals, wkly. or once a month, and that, to meet the requirements of our particular work, it was suggested, might be at an early hour, say eight o'clock. At such times it was remarked that it would be quite admissible for the Army to march up to the Church-doors with bands playing and banners flying, as was our custom to our own Barracks. Indeed, invited by friendly Clergymen in various parts of the country, our people were at that time actually attending different Churches in this fashion.

I don't recollect whether the partaking of what is known as the (ordinance of) Lord's Supper at this service was named, but I think it is probable that it would be. Anyway, I know there was the distinct understanding that we should be left at perfect liberty at all other times to carry on our own work in our own way. There was to be no interference with our Government or our Methods. We were to be the Salvation Army to all intents and purposes, as we were then, with this addition only--we were to be the Church Salvation Army.

Here the difficulties likely to be experienced by our Soldiers in Churches where a High Ritual form of service was in force occurred to my mind, and I suggested that the bulk of our people would be found either totally ignorant of the supposed benefits flowing out of the use of images, candles, crucifixes, vestments, or of almost any of the numerous forms and ceremonials practised in many Churches, or they would be found very strongly opposed to them.

On my mentioning this difficulty, and asking how it could be met, Doctor Benson suggested for our imitation his own custom under such circumstances. He said that when in the performance of his duty he came to a church where the manner of the service was not in harmony with his own views on such matters, he simply did the work for which he was present to the best of his ability, regarding the responsibility for the surrounding furniture and usages as resting upon the shoulders of those who were responsible for that particular church.

The Ordinance of the Lord's Supper and our attitude towards it was talked over in a thoughtful, though summary manner. On my remarking that I did not hold the partaking of the Ordinance to be essential to Salvation, and that I believe no thoughtful Christian would shut us out of the Pale of Salvation here, or close the Gates of Heaven against us hereafter, because we had not been regular partakers of that Ordinance, his Lordship, while appearing to assent to this statement, remarked that, apart from that bearing of the subject, he thought that the sincere Churchman derived a great blessing from joining in that particular service. To this I of course assented, but enquired whether this blessing was not consequent upon the exercise of faith in the sacrifice of the Cross which it set forth. "Yes!" the Archbishop answered, "but I think there is a blessing peculiar to this Ordinance; something above and beyond anything that is realized in any other religious service." To this I again enquired whether this peculiar blessing of which his Lordship spoke could not be traced to the fact that a peculiar measure of faith and devotion was called forth by that particular ceremonial. To which it was again answered, that apart from any such special exercises on the part of the worshipper, God, he thought, had connected a special impartation of His presence and blessing with this particular service. What appeared to be the natural answer to this observation at once came to my mind, but perceiving that to pursue the conversation on this line would be likely to carry us into the region of controversy, I did not continue it.

On other difficulties being mentioned, one of my Visitors--I forget which--made the obvious remark that it was all but impossible to conceive that there could be any insuperable difficulties in the way of the Church extending her recognition to the Salvation Army, when she was able to comprehend the High Church, with its extravagant ritual on the one hand, and the Broad Church, with its semi-scepticism on the other.

Much more passed--in which the spirit manifested by my Visitors was, I thought, very commendable--which I cannot call up at the moment, and I am sorry to be unable to lay my hand upon the record of the conversation which I must have made at the time; but I do recollect very well the conclusion to which I was compelled to arrive, and which I remember stating in something like the following words, at the close of the interview: That while appreciating the sympathy of my friends, for which I was deeply grateful, and their worthy wishes to avoid the establishment of another separate Religious Organization, with which I heartily concurred, I was afraid the Union we had been discussing was simply impossible at the present date. In the earlier history of the Army it was a thing that might have been. A few years back, I strove hard and long to connect the Army with some existing Organization, but utterly failed. Now it seemed that the Providence of God, the convictions and feelings of our people (which I was bound to regard), and the whole circumstances of the case, seemed to indicate that the spirit of union--which was the next best thing to actual Union itself--would be most effectually attained by the two Bodies continuing to live and work apart, their labours and influences flowing on side by side, like two distinct streams, with bridges connecting each at frequent intervals (my figure here became a little mixed, I fear, but the meaning was clear), over which the leading spirits of both Organizations might often pass and repass with mutual sympathy, prayer, and co-operation.

On an occasion of some interest, I had the pleasure ol meeting the Archbishop again. To that interview I will not refer now. On earth I shall meet him no more. The time, however, may not be very far distant when the Union he desired may be consummated in another world.

Dr. Benson impressed me as being before all else a Churchman. He believed in his own concern. Here, at least, we were on equal terms. I believed then, and more than ever I believe to-day, in mine.

It may be said, we think, that the Church of England missed an almost priceless opportunity when she let those negotiations fall to the ground. For, impossible as those negotiations were from the point of view of absorption or amalgamation, impossible too, as they were, from the point of view of an immediate alliance, they did undoubtedly present to the Church an opportunity for establishing a cordial understanding with the Salvation Army which might have developed with the evolution of time into a real alliance. Unhappily, the Church stood upon doctrinal and ceremonial ground, and praising here, admiring there, but criticizing as a whole, made no movement of opening her arms to embrace and bless these simple apostles of the poor. Much good might have flowed from one annual Salvation Army Service in St. Paul's Cathedral, from constant consultation with William Booth in matters of evangelical concern, and from frank and generous recognition of the Salvation Army as an essential branch of the Christian Brotherhood, even if it were necessary to proclaim the fundamental difference in doctrine. But the Army at that time was giving grave offence, judicious observers thought that it would not endure, and the Church herself was now sending out a rival army under ecclesiastical direction to cover the same field. In these circumstances, and as the General did not prosecute the negotiations, the Church allowed the matter to drop, and one more division was made in the suffering and dismembered body of Christendom.

That individual clergymen longed for some such recognition may be gathered from the following letter, which may be taken as an example of many others, to William Booth, written in 1885 by the Rev. D. B. Hankin, Vicar of St. Jude's, Mildmay Grove:

. . . I was at the Prince's Hall Meeting on Tuesday morning and could only bow my head and weep for very shame--tho' at the same time I rejoiced at the glorious wave of spiritual power now issuing from the S.A., which has carried to the front a subject which has so persistently been kept in the background until now.

. . . But oh! I do so wish that you were in communion with the Church of England!!! Your liberty of action perfectly free and untrammelled--but your people on special occasions meeting in their own Churches!

Canon Liddon, who disliked the excesses of the Army as much as any man, nevertheless lamented the failure of these negotiations. But the General had his growing Army to direct, and the Church had her thousand activities to pursue; the General had his autocracy to guard, and the Church had her dignity to preserve. Negotiations, hopeless for any immediate benefit, but full of hope for future blessing, slid out of hands too busy for the patient work of diplomacy, and William Booth, protesting that he was no sectarian, continued to organize on his own lines (and under his uncompromising government) the most world-wide of all evangelistic agencies.

In 1886 he wrote to his wife from Bristol: "Their great point with outsiders is the old one which every one knows, that I am Pope. But that will wear out, because the continued success makes people think and feel that for me it answers and cannot be much condemned."

He was not a diplomatist of the first order, and if he had been a diplomatist of any order at all it is perhaps doubtful whether he would have found men in almost every nation under heaven ready to give their lives for the message he commanded them to preach.

Chapter 4



ALTHOUGH Mrs. Booth had been greatly impressed in 1865, as the reader will remember, by the work of the Midnight Mission, she did not take any steps to make the rescue of fallen women a particular labour of the Salvation Army. Nor was there much enthusiasm on the part of William Booth when his son Bramwell, in 1884, almost forced the Salvation Army to take up this difficult work.

"For many weeks," says Mr. Bramwell Booth, describing his first inquiries into what we now call the White Slave Traffic," I was like one living in a dream of hell. The cries of outraged children and the smothered sobs of those imprisoned in living tombs, were continually in my ears. I could not sleep, I could not take my food. At times I could not pray."

He had seen women on the streets as he came from the East End late at night; touched by their forlorn position he had spoken to them; in cases where there was an expression of genuine disgust for the life he had effected rescues; but it was not until after a dramatic visit to his office from a poor girl who had escaped out of a brothel (she actually climbed down a rain-pipe from the room in which she was imprisoned) that he came to study the trade in women, the trade which swindles and tricks young girls into a life of debauchery, the trade which destroys the souls and bodies of quite young children. This trade, which few people in those days believed to exist, was, and still is, a highly organized business, with its ramifications in every country, and its curse over every nation. To Bramwell Booth the discoveries he made were so appalling that he felt he could consecrate his life "to stop these abominations."

Catherine Booth was sympathetic to his proposal. William Booth was also sympathetic, but sceptical on the question of procedure. We must remember that thirty years ago people spoke with extreme disgust of the fallen woman. No religious society cared to associate itself with a definite work of rescue. Religious people felt, and many still feel, an aversion almost like nausea at any mention of this subject. The unfortunate is most unfortunate in the universal disgust she inspires. Men of the world invent brutal and disdainful terms for her, religious people avert their faces as they pass her in the street, and shudder even to think of her. A fallen woman seems to carry with her into the pit of perdition all the horror of humanity for the desecration of the most sacred of its ideals.

It is owing, I think, largely to the quite heroic work of Mrs. Bramwell Booth that this attitude of the public has been modified. If this book were the life of Brainwell Booth, or a history of the Salvation Army, we should tell at length the moving and dramatic story of that work; but as our concern is the narrative of William Booth's history, we can but glance at the great Purity Campaign of 1884-85, and can tell only in brief the story of the famous prosecution which threatened at one time to end the crusade and to cripple the Salvation Army in a very serious manner.

Mr. Bramwell Booth had married, in 1882, Miss Florence Soper, the daughter of a physician practising in Wales. This lady had come under the influence of Catherine Booth, had joined the Army, and had been through some of the most stormful scenes in Paris which accompanied the Army's first efforts to establish itself on French soil. She was young, delicate, refined; her remarkable powers of grasp and administration had not been developed at this time; she was typical of the well-educated, rather shrinking and self-conscious girl of the English professional classes--perhaps the last person in the world to whom any one would have thought of committing so hazardous and dreadful a business as this rescuing of fallen women. But she was moved by her husband's appeal, and, in spite of some doubt on William Booth's part, was appointed to take charge of the Salvation Army's first Rescue Home.

The work was now launched--the work of rescuing repentant Magdalens and educating them in habits of industry and self-respect. But Bramwell Booth was not content. He had pity--because he suspected the devilries of the trade --for the unrepentant and the hardened woman who mocked at religion, who cursed God, and who went to her death drunken, scornful, and terribly diseased. It did not satisfy him to rescue a hundred weeping Magdalens; he set himself to attack the trade which annually ruins both in body and in soul thousands of quite innocent girls and children.

He chose for the man to help him in this work Mr. W. T. Stead, of The Pall Mall Gazette--perhaps the most enthusiastic journalist of his time. Matthew Arnold wrote to John Morley, in 1884, saying, "Under your friend Stead, the P.M.G., whatever may be its merits, is fast ceasing to be literature." This was a just censure, but Mr. Stead would have read it unmoved. He was first and last a journalist, a man whose imagination never strayed from the columns of the passing hour to the bookshelves of posterity. He had no literary ambitions for The Pall Mall Gazette; he sought rather to give it a spirit which would permeate the national conscience. He was a Puritan who loved his fellow-men. In those days he was narrower than he came to be, and yet more sensible. He boasted that he had never entered a theatre, but he had not fallen a victim to the most absurd delusions of spiritualism. His manner was eager, pleasant, and not without a touch of worldly humour. He made friends with men who shared none of his ideals. He sought rather to encourage those whom he met to go a step farther on their own road than to cross over and march at his side. He was fanatical, I think, in the depths of his soul, but a diplomatist on the surface. He believed passionately in conversion and prayer, but he kept this conviction for those who were already persuaded. He never intruded his religion, and he sometimes cloaked it. Perhaps it may be said, considering his work for the Royal Navy, that no journalist of his generation rendered greater services to the British Empire.

William Booth, in my opinion, was never greatly attracted by Mr. Stead. He was more or less suspicious about this thrusting, eager, and headlong journalist, who did much to help the Salvation Army and who was a brave champion from early days of its innovating General. William Booth used Mr. Stead, and was grateful for his assistance, but he never greatly warmed to him, never wholly trusted his judgment, and was sometimes disposed to regard him as one who shilly-shallied with the great decision of Christian life. Mr. Stead was perhaps aware of thls, for in The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon he speaks of the help he received from the Salvation Army--"from the Chief of the Staff"--that is, Bramwell Booth--"down to the humblest private." There is no mention of the General.

On the other hand, Bramwell Booth--at that time young and ardent--not only admired Mr. Stead as a journalist, but felt for him a generous affection. He thought first of all of Mr. Stead when the idea of publicly exposing the traffic in women occurred to his mind, and he never once questioned the wisdom of this inspiration.

Mr. Stead listened incredulously to the evidence presented to him. When he was persuaded of its truth he struck with his fist the table in Bramwell Booth's room and vowed himself to destroy this most damnable work of the Devil. A few weeks after that conversation the country was in a blaze. In the columns of The Pall Mall Gazette Stead exposed the hell of child-harlotry with a force and energy never before known in journalism. The nation was staggered. For weeks scarcely any other subject was discussed. These articles, full of heart-breaking narrations and disclosures which took away the breath of respectability, roused the whole country, but divided it into two very unequal camps. On one side were the few selfless people, like Mrs. Josephine Butler, who passionately longed to save women from the degradation of vice; on the other, a multitude who lived vicious lives, and a still greater multitude, composed of the religious and indifferent, who wanted society to exist without disturbance. But with Stead in the field, and Bramwell Booth using the organization of the Salvation Army to create a public opinion on this subject, apathy was broken, and the conscience of the world was profoundly stirred.

A monster petition, organized by the Salvation Army in seventeen days, and bearing no fewer than 393,000 signatures, was presented to the House of Commons on July 30, 1885, praying that the age of consent should be raised to sixteen. The General, always ready to do something, announced a scheme for Rescue Homes, costing £20,000. Meetings were held up and down the country. The Salvation Army, basing itself upon the revelations of Stead, sought to lead the nation in a campaign against flagrant iniquity.

Stead, foreseeing that the disclosures of The Pall Mall Gazette would be regarded as merely sensational journalism, either grossly exaggerated or entirely untrue, conceived the idea of himself buying a young girl, ostensibly for the purposes of seduction. It was his business to prove that a young girl could be bought from her parents for a few pounds--a possibility which many absolutely refused to believe. He went to Bramwell Booth for assistance. After considerable thought a plan was arranged. A woman who had once been a procuress, and who was then living under the care of the Salvation Army and later with Mrs. Josephine Butler, was pressed into service; a lady in France connected with the Army was linked up with the mechanism of this strategy; and Bramwell Booth stood ready to do his part.

The girl, Eliza Armstrong, an illegitimate, was purchased by the ex-procuress, Rebecca Jarrett. She was taken to a brothel, she was drugged, and Stead entered the room. She was then taken to a railway-station and sent under excellent protection to Madame Combe in France. Thus Stead's contention was proved, and a child who might have been ruined was saved to society.

Mrs. Josephine Butler gives us a moving account of Stead's condition of mind during the period of these disclosures.

Mr. Stead is publicly known only as a brave and enterprising reformer. But to my mind the memory is ever present of a dark night in which I entered his office, after a day of hand-to-hand wrestling with the powers of Hell. We stumbled up the narrow dark stairs; the lights were out, not a soul was there, it was midnight. I scarcely recognized the haggard face before me as that of Mr. Stead. He threw himself across his desk with a cry like that of a bereaved or outraged mother, rather than that of an indignant man, and sobbed out the words, "Oh, Mrs. Butler, let me weep, let me weep, or my heart will break." He then told me in broken sentences of the little tender girls he had seen that day sold in the fashionable West-end brothels, whom he (father-like) had taken on his knee, and to whom he had spoken of his own little girls. Well might he cry, "Oh, let me weep!"

But in his eagerness to prove his contention, in order to convert public opinion to his view, Stead had broken the criminal law. The purchase of Eliza Armstrong was a crime. That is to say, the reformer in his zeal for truth had technically broken the law of abduction. To the astonishment of a great many people a Government prosecution was set on foot and, with Stead and Rebecca Jarrett, Bramwell Booth was placed in the dock.

It is interesting to find that while Catherine Booth was immediately filled with an angry indignation and was ready to fight for her son's honour to the very last, William Booth--thinking of the Salvation Army--was chiefly concerned because the action of Stead, in dragging Bramwell Booth into this business of a prosecution, had dragged the Salvation Army into a questionable position.

On the eve of the trial he convened an "All Night of Prayer" at Clapton.

"When he spoke," says one present at this gathering, "it was evident that he was profoundly moved by the fact that his son was being put on his trial; and during the course of a long and moving speech he referred to the chief incidents in the Armstrong case and vindicated the Christ-like part 'his son Bramwell'--it was in these terms he referred to him again and again--had taken in the interests of womanhood. Then he referred to the forthcoming trial, which he regarded as a supreme attempt of the Arch Enemy of Souls, and the earthly enemies of the Army, to destroy our work and our fair name. Then with his whole frame quivering with holy passion he said--as well as I can remember, 'If they imprison my son Bramwell, I will go round this country and stir up the people from one end to another.' (I am not sure he did not say, 'I will move Heaven and Hell.') , Then he added, and the phrase I have never forgotten, 'But--if we win, we win, and if we lose, we win!' There was the most wonderful outburst of enthusiasm and cheering I ever witnessed in any Army Meeting when he uttered these, the last words of his fiery peroration."

The case itself, the whole question of white slavery, did not so much concern him as the honour of the Army, which he felt might be impugned by this incident in its career. The enemies of Stead were not so much allies of the prostitute as the foes of the Army--that is to say, foes of God and allies of Satan.

His letters at this period are of great value. They demonstrate quite clearly that however much he longed, and long he certainly did, to sweep away vice, the Purity Crusade of the 'eighties owed little to his initiative. They also prove, I think, that he foresaw nothing of the glory which has since come to the Army for its heroic lead in this matter--a narrative which should one day be told in full; and they help one to realize how exclusively and intensely his life was centred upon the work of spiritual religion. He was a man, as we shall see presently, who wanted to help the fallen woman, but not in the sensational manner which Stead felt was essential to a national awakening. It was a saying with him at this time that Stead must not carry the Army into sensationalism.

[The Government was compelled by the agitation to pass the Criminal Law Amendment Act. It was greatly strengthened by W. T. Stead's and Bramwell Booth's influence. It concerned boys as well as girls, but its chief provision was the raising of the "age of consent." It provided for the first time in English law for accused persons to give evidence in their own behalf, and Stead and Bramwell Booth were actually the first prisoners in England to go into the witness-box and speak on oath for themselves.]

That the Government should move against her son and against Mr. Stead, infuriated the heart of Catherine Booth. The wicked and the adulterous hated Stead for his disclosures, the worldly-minded and the hypocrites loathed the Salvation Army and longed for its injury; these might have joined forces and sought to ruin the apostles of purity without arousing the wrath and indignation of Catherine Booth. But that the Government of Christian England should take up the first stone, that the Ministers of Queen victoria should seek to shut the mouth of Stead and to cover the Salvation Army with infamy, this was more than that very logical good woman could suffer.

The following bold and significant passage in a Salvation Army Petition to the Queen shows that Mrs. Booth had excellent ground for her indignation:

Your Memorialists desire to call the attention of your Most Gracious Majesty to the fact that a noted procuress, a Mrs. Jeffries, resides in Church Street, Chelsea. This slave-dealer has kept twelve immoral houses, which houses, the evidence showed, were mainly frequented by noblemen and gentlemen in the upper classes. In May, 1885, this notorious woman was brought to trial; her complicity with the home and foreign traffic in girls and women was well known; twenty witnesses were ready to give their testimony, and yet because of her wealth and position the trial became a travesty of justice. Accommodated with a seat in Court, covered with sealskin robes, her brougham waiting outside to convey her to her sumptuously furnished villa, she was instructed to plead guilty, and fined £200. Your Memorialists believe that a more grave miscarriage of justice never took place. For more than twenty years this buyer, seller, and exporter of English girls and women has carried on her criminal traffic.

One can better understand the fiery indignation of Mrs. Booth than the calm and watchful annoyance of the General. But in reading the following letters the reader will bear in mind that William Booth had gone unwillingly into the side-issue of a Purity Crusade, that he had the Salvation Army to think about, that the Salvation Army was more to him than wife or child, that he never suffered the most precious of his personal affections to come between him and the interests of this Army, and that he was sharply conscious of enemies on every side watching for an opportunity to attack and destroy his Army.

It should be clearly borne in mind that he was not without sympathy for the harlot. He was not in the least self-righteous; he had no element of that detestation for the public woman which characterizes the attitude of so many very pure people to this whole question; but he did not feel that it was the business of the Salvation Army to lay an exceptional emphasis on this matter; he did not want the Army to be mixed up with a public scare; he held that the warning of the Salvation Army to repent must be addressed indiscriminately to the whole world.

To his Wife.


Sept. 13, '85.

MY DEAREST LOVE.--We have had an anxious day, altho' I should not be anxious myself, but that it is Bramwell who I fear may worry about things. Still I believe that if they are committed to-morrow, which we all expect, he will feel much better. Rebecca [Jarrett] is all right they say, and has consented to some evidence coming out which blacks her.

The cross-examination on Saturday showed up Mrs. Broughton as a very low bad woman. But Ranger and all think they are certain to commit whether the matter ever comes to a real trial or not, very doubtful in the estimation of Russell and others. They think that the Government has felt so bespattered with these Revelations that they have felt compelled to discredit them before the world, consequently they have fallen upon this case. Perhaps they may never push the thing to the extremity of a trial; if they do, nothing very much can possibly come of a conviction if any Jury can be gof together that will say "Guilty."

My opinion is that any way the Army cannot suffer very much. We shall have after the trial, whichever way it may go, a splendid text for an appeal to the Country. If they convict, we can show up the injustice of the thing--if they acquit, we can show the infamy and groundlessness of the prosecution.

If B. goes to prison they will make a martyr of him, and this alone will make him a heap of new friends and bind the Army and him more closely together and make thousands burn to go to prison too.

Only one thing can hurt us, our own fears and worries; in other words, our OWN UNBELIEF.

Have faith in God, Lucy has written across her breast. Oh let us have it written across our hearts, and act it out. Now. my darling, I do hope God will guide you to-morrow night. I hardly see how you can be wrong in a few words bearing upon what has led up to the Revelations, and on the wisdom of the Government prosecuting those who for the national weal made them. You should not say anything that links Bramwell with STEAD in ANYTHING--any day, some more unwise things may come out yet.

Bramwell believed this girl had been parted with by her parents in such a manner as convinced him that they had no concern to have her back under their care, and as such made Stead her natural guardian; he took her and believed he was doing her, the child, and God service in trying to keep her from going back to misery and perdition.

You must be careful--there's some sort of a threat to bring an action for libel and damages against all concerned for asserting that Mrs. Armstrong sold her child. Now there are a lot of scoundrels who would find money for anything to get at our throats, so we must be careful. I hate this litigation. The time it consumes is awful. I can't make out why it should be so. But it goes to the heart direct.

We must at once get up some sort of Counter-demonstration in the shape of a big influential defence Committee. You will see the card Railton has got out--I enclose a rough proof---I don't see much in it--he thinks it will attract attention and associate us with the prayers every time people read them at Church. It can't do any harm. We shall send them to the Queen, Cabinet Ministers, Bishops, etc., etc. Our People will buy them--this is a rough proof. An effort is to be made to get some down to Bradford.

My darling. If I could always be assured of your welfare and that you don't worry or care, I should be comparatively reckless about the other things. Let us cast our care on Him who cares for us--all our care--our care for those who are dearest and nearest and weakest in our circle.

All seem well here. Florrie [Mrs. Bramwell Booth] has done well to-day. I do think she helps Bramwell much. I am sure she will prove a great power for good and a helper of our joy and usefulness beyond what some have feared.

My heart's love to Herbert. His telegram cheered the Chief. Could you get a simple vote of sympathy with the Chief of Staff [Bramwell Booth] and Stead in this prosecution on Monday night and wire it in time for War Cry on Tuesday morning? Indeed, there must be a Press telegram if you have a good go.

Keep within the law, and we will have counsel's advice as to how far we can go when the Committal has taken place. Good-night. Jesus Christ is a Brother born for adversity. We suffer in the Name for His sake and through His Spirit in us. Let us bear it like the Saints; be strong; "we'll be Heroes." Now is the time. God bless and keep my beloved.--Your affectionate husband, W.B.

P.S.--Since writing the above I have had a talk with Railton about expressions of sympathy with the Chief in meetings, and about explanations of the matter altogether; and he argues with a good deal of force that anything like votes of sympathy of Soldiers or anybody else with Superior Officers is unwise and prejudicial to discipline. He thinks that explanations are beneath us; but would advocate the pushing forward of our Rescue Work, the showing up of what we are doing in this direction, bringing out the case, and then remarking that this is the sort of thing for which they are attacking our Chief of the Staff.

There is something in all this. Anyway it does not seem dignified for an Army meeting to sympathize with the Army. The proper thing to do is to get up a great Defence Committee outside of us and let them speak.

I am sure the best answer we can make to the whole affair is to go on with our own work, keep our heads up, and keep on with the song of victory.

The lasses went past here this morning from Tottenham, singing "Victory." They had had a quiet meeting, sold 200 War Crys, and had a collection of 15s. in the open air.

To be explaining yourself until the trial is over Railton thinks is humiliating.

Consider the matter carefully, and God give you wisdom.


We have always had safety and success in going on with our own work. If you and the friends make a spiritual impression on Bradford it will do more to answer the slanderous lies than any explanation that can be given at this stage of the affair.

The Holy Ghost is our Power and our Defence.


Nov. 9, '85.

MY DEAREST LOVE--I have yours proposing Meeting at Exeter Hall, but I must say that I am heartily sick of the whole affair. The enclosed is Stead's account of things, which appears in to-night's Pall Mall Gazette. It is such a throwing up of the sponge and leaving us all in the lurch that I cannot go any further on in the agitation. To soap anybody down in that fashion is to me disgusting. I understand all the way through that the Attorney-General was hard upon our people, and on Sat. all said that the Judge was quite a partisan. And here is Stead, abandons poor Rebecca, and said that the verdict is just, etc., etc., etc., according to the evidence, etc.

Let us go back to our own work. I could say much more, but I never feel sure that my letters will reach you or not, or be seen by others after I have sent them. If I could only be assured of this I should write much more freely.

However, I am moidered* up with a thousand things, and matters have been so neglected of late that I must go back to my own work and look after the Army. [*A term in general use throughout the north and midlands, also in other places. The English Dialect Dictionary gives many examples. "A wur that moithered a didn' know wheer a was to a wik." As a verb it means to confuse, perplex, bewilder.]

We shall see what is done to-morrow. Stead won't be put in prison, in my opinion, but will drop back into his old role of journalist, and leave us smeared with the tar of this affair to fight it out with blackguards and brothel-keepers all over the world.

I am sure the S.A. is the thing, and our lines are all right. We shall see tremendous things. We are deciding for our International Council in June next, and shall have Soldiers from all parts of the world and 2,000 Officers. This will wipe out the very memory of Eliza Armstrong.

Bramwell is not quite out of the wood yet. We will wire you to-morrow how things go.

ROOKWOOD ROAD, Nov. 9, I885.

MY DEAREST LOVE--I have yours this morning. I like the telegram to Her Majesty. They will have wired you the Queen's reply, which I think is very good. Of course the torpid people will say you should have waited until the trial was concluded. Altho' I have not heard any say so yet. I don't think so! You have let them see beforehand what they have to expect. It will no doubt have a salutary effect. I don't believe they intend to send Stead to prison. We shall see! Surely the next trial will not last long. Somebody said they thought it would be over in two or three hours. You will have seen something of the papers this morning, I suppose. The Daily News is bitterness itself, only a sentence or two against Bramwell; but of course we are implicated in its sweeping, scathing sarcasm. The Standard I hear is bad, and I fully expect they will all be alike. I have not a hope from any newspaper in the land except the religious ones, and only partially from them. However, this is just what we expected, and although I feel it at the moment, our turn will come by-and-by.

We are not doing any meetings until after the trial. God must help us, and He will!

It is no use anticipating evils. I shall not allow myself to do so. The matter will for the season drop out of sight in consequence of the election strife, and it is quite possible the verdict may be reversed on appeal, the thing will work round .... Do be restful and get some strength. We have a lot of fighting yet before we go to rest, I hope.


Nov. 10, 1885.

MY DARLING,--- . . . You will have got our wire with reference to the trial this morning. So far as we are concerned now the trial is at an end. I understand that the Judge remarked this morning that Mr. Bramwell Booth was justified in believing that Mrs. Armstrong sold her child. Why didn't he say so on Saturday? Perhaps he has had some new light.

The trial of Stead and Jarrett and she or their's for the indecent assault is now going on. Bramwell is in court---of course, wanting to be as near Stead as he can when the sentence is pronounced. But I don't believe that Stead will go to prison; and I don't think that very much will be done to Rebecca. If there is, I think we can get a remission of the sentence. We will try, but beyond that I don't see any way clear of fighting on those lines; I am sure our work has materially suffered by our attention being taken from it to give the other; we may have been paid back to a certain extent, and in the long run much good may be done, but I thoroughly believe in "Salvation" being a panacea for the world's sins and sorrows, and that while there are other medicines that look in the same direction, the largest amount of good can be accomplished, with the least expenditure of time and money, by simply getting the people's souls saved and keeping them saved.

I had a long talk with Mr. Railton's brother last night, and so far as I can see from what he says, and my own observation, the hope of the nations is really in the S.A. Let us spend our strength upon it.

I hope you won't strongly object to it, but I propose that we are content with Thanksgiving Meetings throughout the country on Monday next .... I have been writing a column for the Cry this morning, and have made a very decent flourish. Of course, with what the Judge said this morning, we come out of the thing with flying colours. And if (as I fully expect) some further evidence will be got in vindication of Rebecca the tables will be turned altogether yet.

Mrs. Butler is fast at Winchester with bronchitis, working on a pamphlet on Rebecca Jarrett. When the thing is quite over, the probability is that Stead will kick out again, and renew the fight. Anyhow, we can lend a hand, along with our other duties, to the good cause .... You rest--there's a darling. They will take care of Stead--of course it will make him.

Just got the sentences we have wired you:

Stead ........3 months

Jarrett .....6 months (not hard labour)

Jacques......1 month

Mourey.......6 months' hard labour

We must do something now. I am woke up again and in for fighting. Still I am sure it is not our business.


Nov. 11, '85.

MY DEAREST LOVE--I have your letter and Herbert has yours also. I am sorry the matter should so grieve you, although I expected you would be very much disappointed with Stead's article, as I was myself; but we can't expect people to go beyond themselves, although we are always doing it! After mature deliberation on the subject, I have come back to my impression formed before I heard the sentence, that we ought not to involve the Army in any great struggle on the subject.

To begin with, Stead has innumerable friends who worship him, and who will agitate the country, and do so far better without us mixed up in it, than with us. Indeed, it is a great relief to them, I have no doubt, for us to be out of it, so that they can ask for a favour to Stead, or justice, if you like to call it, without having to ask for us at the same time. We shall therefore embarrass them by mixing ourselves up with it, so that on his account it will be better for us to remain separate.

Again, there are things in the thing that are very discreditable to us, that is in the way the thing was done. The jury have absolved us from blame, and all the Judge could rake up to say was, "that we ought to have given up the child," which had we known what he knows now we would have done. If we could help Stead we ought to do so, and we will help him by petitioning or holding meetings on our own lines.

Then as to Jarrett, the sentence is not a heavy one; she has no hard labour, her disease will get her all manner of attention; it is possible that she will be treated as a first-class misdemeanant, and on the whole it may really be better for her to be in than out.

Then again, she has behaved badly in some respects, perhaps we could not expect anything else from her; still when we remember what she was, and the notice that has been taken of her, she was under very great obligation to us. It may do her soul good; she says it will, and that she will come out and spend the rest of her days working for God ....

I know what can be said with regard to a great deal of this, and will talk it over with you. You say there is nothing to be done. Well, the independent party will have a meeting in Exeter Hall and try and get a Bishop in the chair; but they won't want us there, and we can have our meetings, send up our petitions; and with regard to Jarrett, I think we may use some private influence. A letter from you to the Home Secy., for instance, might have weight; but I am hardly inclined to our troubling the Queen on the matter. I shall see you to-morrow.

The following letters from Mr. W. T. Stead, addressed from prison to his friend Bramwell Booth, reveal in a rather remarkable way the influence of religion upon his mind, and in particular the influence of the Salvation Army. William Booth never understood, perhaps, the ambition of Stead to work for the salvation of the State. He did not believe in saving humanity by machinery or in the lump; he was unfalteringly convinced that salvation is a single and individual transaction:


Nov. I9, '85.

DEAR BRAMWELL--You are down in the dumps. Don't be down in the dumps. I tell you my imprisonment is a great blessing and will be a greater. It would be a thousand pities to get me out. Don't be savage or indignant or contemptuous or anything, but joyful and grateful and willing to do God's will.

Poor 'Becca, I would offer to change places with her, but it would be no use and the people would think that the proposal was merely made for theatricality, so I must just hope and pray that God may be with her where she is.

It is no use you troubling to come up to Holloway. The rule is in cast-iron. Waugh, Mrs. Fawcett, George Russel, and Bunting have all been peremptorily refused. I see no one, only Wife, Talbot, and Stout.

I am very sorry to see that the Glasgow bailies have sent the Freethinker seller to gaol for six days for your caricature. It will do harm, and I wish I could get him out.--I am, yours truly,



Dec. 13, '85.

DEAR BRAMWELL--I more and more come to the conclusion that I am a very spoiled child of Divine Goodness; I have far more than my share. I am happier in prison than ever I have been out of it, and you poor people who are free are plagued with iil health and all kinds of afflictions.

I am in a little Heaven 15 feet square, wonderfully uplifted and jubilant. A wonder with all who come to see me for my exceeding high spirits and almost riotous joyfulness.

I am working like a slave, in first-rate health and full of themes and plans and hopes and faiths.

I wish you could come and see me for half an hour. It would do you good, only it might make you envious and sad that you were not in gaol.

I have never in all my life felt such a strong presentiment and conscious foreknowledge of coming power and influence all over the world. How it is to come to pass I don't know. But it is coming soon. Then I shall be glad to get to gaol again to be saved from a mob that will try to kill me, and then after a further period the mob will clutch me before I can get to such a safe shelter as this; my work being done, the mob will kill me and my memory and death will raise up far more workers than my life has done, so the good work will go on.

All this is very present to me. But altho' I am as ever strongly drawn to the Army and more than ever penetrated by the thought that I am not fit to tie the shoe-laces of the humblest of your cadets, I am not going to join the Army. My work lies otherwhere. A great idea and luminous has dawned upon me in the solitude here that my work, that is to say the work God wants me for, is to raise up a band of men and women who will labour to save England and collective humanity and the kingdom of this world with--say a tenth part of the same zeal and devotion that you Army people show in saving individuals. We want a revival of civic virtue, of patriotic religion, of the Salvation of the State and its political and collective action. You look after the individual. It is right, it is the root of all. But I look after the composite and collective individuals. I want to organize a Salvation Army of a secular sort with a religious spirit in it, and if God wants it done and He thinks that I am the man for the job "I'm game," as the saying is.

I have just read The Salvation War for 1884 through at a sitting. I think you had better send me all your "Wars." My chapter on you and your work must necessarily bear largely on the Woman side of it.

Pray for me--not in generalibus--there are lots doing that, but that in writing about the Army in the third Chapter of the Episode about the new Crusade I may say just the right thing to help you in the right way--I am, yours in great peace and joy, W.T. STEAD.

P.S.--Report how Leoni is getting on. Is she saved yet? Is there anybody you know who could do anything for Norral's daughter--that policeman, you know, who seduced his daughter? Was going to drown herself, and Mrs. Butler had her. The man has bolted and the woman is hanging aimlessly on P.M.G., threatening to go to Lloyds and tell them how the P.M.G. has exposed and ruined her husband, Gibbons, etc. She is thirty-two and very helplessly useless.

Chapter 5



MRs. BOOTH'S health, which had always been indifferent, "grew slowly worse after 1884. She enjoyed long spells of energy and was often free from distress; occasionally, too, enthusiasm for a new remedy or a fresh treatment deceived her as to the real character of her sufferings. But she was carrying about with her the seeds of inevitable death.

There is something extremely pathetic in this long, obstinate, and courageous struggle of Catherine Booth. No woman that ever lived, I suppose, believed more implicitly in the unlimited power of prayer and in the perpetual interposition of Divine Providence; she relied far more on heavenly control than did William Booth, who held that God manifests His mercy in the discoveries of science, and that doctor and surgeon may be the means whereby the Almighty answers the supplications of humanity. To Catherine Booth, on the other hand, not only was there something suspicious about the medical profession, but she even regarded the anodynes of science as cowardly. God sent the sickness; God could remove the sickness if He would; at any rate, to bear the sickness without murmur was the clear and bounden duty of His faithful children.

But, unknown to everybody, Catherine Booth was smitten with cancer--cancer, as it afterwards proved, of a most malignant and painful order; all her prayers, and all the force and rigidity of her faith, though it helped her to an extraordinary degree in the bearing of her suffering, could neither arrest the deadly march of the disease nor abate one of its agonies.

It was inevitable that she should suffer, and sometimes for long periods, from a general inquietude of mind, an irritability of her nerves, the very suppression of which by her splendid will not only tried her strength but left her nerves inflamed to a degree of susceptibility sometimes almost as painful for others as it must always have been for herself. Noise became a torture to her. She struggled with all the force of her heroic nature and with all the energy of her unquestioning faith, to suppress her irritability; and she did suppress it so far that it never once became irascibility; but her condition as the years advanced became more and more nervous, more and more trying.

Her struggle with disease was like the struggle of religion in that period of profound transition. She clung to an inherited notion of Providence which all the sternest facts of life belied. With the refutation of this idea burning and consuming her body, she still proclaimed that faith. Science might reveal the laws of creative evolution, history might prove the rise of man--apparently self-aided--from savagery to civilization, theology itself might discover in the doctrine of the Incarnation a larger and, as some thought, a truer interpretation of God's character and purpose; but to Catherine Booth, in whose wounded body and heroic soul science, history, and theology could have found convincing evidence for their resistless logic, the old faith was still the true faith, the old notion of an interposing Providence was still the only true notion, and she was ready to die in the pangs of excruciating torture to vindicate the truth of this traditional aspect of religion.

Men have now passed from the dark Deism of that generation to a Theism which, whether it be truer or not, at least commends itself to science and philosophy; mankind is more anxious and eager to discover the truth of things than to establish the theses or defend the creeds of its ancestry; but those most conscious now of the freedom of truth, most happy in the enlargement of spiritual vision, most certain of the ultimate triumph of the Christ Spirit, will be the first to admire the tenacity and heroic stubbornness with which the soul of Catherine Booth clung to that phase of religion with which, to so many noble souls --men, for example, like Lord Shaftesbury and Lord Radstock--appeared to be bound up the health and salvation of mankind.

To admire such heroism at a distance is not difficult; but to live side by side with it, day after day, year after year, is difficult to the point of torture. And when we remember that she who suffered so terribly and he who comforted and consoled so diligently, were engaged in proclaiming to the indifferent masses of the world God's longing to help, God's passionate desire to heal and restore, we may faintly realize the soul of their tragedy, so full of pathos, so shot with irony.

The more one studies this period of William Booth's life the more is our pity stirred, and our desire heightened and intensified to get at the heart and soul of the man. He was on the crest of the wave moving with speed to an almost world-wide victory of his cause; at the same time he was the mark of every suspicion and every calumny that sectarian and atheistical enmity could suggest; and in his home, hidden from the eyes of the world, there was this tragedy of the beloved of his soul suffering, in spite of his prayers, in spite of her prayers, suffering as the years advanced the very sharpest of pain, and refusing to believe that God would fail her.

A lady who remembers the family life of the Booths at this time, when I asked for a description of the home, replied with a smile, "It was like a railway-station." And she proceeded to tell me that one of the distresses of Catherine Booth in her later years was the sacrifice of her once orderly home to the insistent demands of the Salvation Army.

"Mrs. Booth," she said to me, "was an admirable manager, and while the family lived in Gore Road she controlled the household and kept things in wonderful order. But with the move from Clapton Common to Rookwood, another house in Clapton, in 1885, the character of the house gradually changed. Everything had to give way to the Army. Family life, I may say, vanished at one gulp into the mouth of the Army. At any rate, the games and fun which had enlivened the children's evenings vanished for ever. Occasionally a game of croquet was played in the garden, and the General, who never looked on at anything, would field the balls 'to help things along.' But there was very little play of any kind. The General, you see, was organizing from morning to night--with an immense correspondence; Mrs. Booth was preaching or giving addresses up and down the country; Bramwell, Bailington, and Catherine and Emma were all engaged in public work; the younger children were helping the Army at home and longing to be full-fledged Salvationists. To visit the Booths in those days was to find yourself in a vortex. But I really cannot liken the house to anything better than a railway-station. There was a ceaseless coming and going. Something was always happening; something was always going to happen. On every side there was a rush, a bustle, and a commotion. People called, telegrams arrived, messengers came and went. Meals were served when they could be served, and were bolted rather than eaten. Some one was starting on a journey; some one was arriving; and some one else was arriving only to start off immediately. You cannot imagine the agitation. And poor Mrs. Booth, to whom order and discipline had ever been essentials in life, looked on in despair at all this and grieved because to direct such a storm was now beyond her powers. There was little attention to meals; no mending of stockings; no care of furniture. It was bad for the rest of the family, and poor Mrs. Booth knew it, and grieved over it."

William Booth gave a description of these new houses on Clapton Common to Mr. Henry Reed, in breaking the news that he had purchased one of them for £1,260, because his wife "longed after" it:

They look on to the Common, and the tram-cars passing in the distance, the children at play, the cows grazing, dogs swimming about the pond, all together make the look-out quite lively, and this suits my dear wife's brain and helps her through many an otherwise sad hour.

It was first in this house on Clapton Common, and then at Rookwood, that the Booths fashioned the Salvation Army during the most critical years of its existence, struggling at the same time to live their family life. The girls, we are told, were not "domesticated"; and their bedrooms are likened to offices--used only for the business of life. It is at this period, too, that one catches glimpses of William Booth which reveal some of the most interesting aspects of his character. Outside the pages of Charles Dickens no such household, I am inclined to think, ever existed, nor in any suburb of London, we may confidently guess, has a more remarkable family ever been gathered under one roof.

William Booth was the central figure and the master of the household. He inspired one, a visitor to the home tells me, with awe. But if at one moment he was blazing away at some unfortunate follower for stupidity or disobedience in his half-testy and half-humorous way, at the next he was comforting one of his younger children, or tending his delicate wife, or encouraging in the privacy of his study a penitent backslider. Every report of that period shows him as the life and soul of the house--sometimes the stormful life and the tempestuous soul, sometimes the most tender and gentle soul--but always the visible head and authentic master. His departures put everything into agitation; his arrival home was like the coming of a whirlwind. In his bedroom, where he kept a desk, he held important conferences; at the breakfast-table he examined his private correspondence; in his study he gave interviews to newspaper reporters, composed hymns, wrote sermons, drafted regulations and manifestoes, edited proofs, and encouraged his disciples. The Army was spreading across the world, but it was attacked on every side. And while this extraordinary man, suffering in body and mind, was directing the fortunes of his Army, answering its enemies, and composing its internal troubles, he was also comforting his stricken wife and fighting, very often amid great spiritual tempests, for the strength and consolation of a whole faith.

It is part of his tragedy that he was occasionally visited during these difficult years by that eclipse of faith which neither mystic nor saint (so far as I know) has ever escaped, plunging out of unearthly light into darkness black as death, losing the sense of spiritual reality, and feeling himself not only forsaken of God but inhabiting a universe where God is not. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? is a cry which has been wrung from the souls of honest saints down all the ages. To the mystic this terrible experience is so well known that it has lost its terrors, and he waits with folded hands and quiet breast for the return of t