Part 2 out of 3
them. At the present moment scarcely a drop of that river reaches the
ocean. Its course has been diverted into a thousand channels, and so
fertilising are its waters that the rich alluvial deposits which they
bear render the use of manure unnecessary. And yet for centuries these
possibilities were unrecognised and suffered to go to waste.
Is not this a fitting picture of the huge river of labor that winds its
course through arid plains of want and poverty and starvation, which it
is capable of fertilising and converting into a modern Paradise? True
that on its banks and in its immediate neighbourhood are strips of
luxuriant vegetation. But those only show up in painful relief the utter
barrenness of the "region beyond." Why should the dwellers upon the
banks be allowed to monopolise and appropriate that which they cannot
even utilise, and that which is often a source of positive danger,
annoyance and loss to them? Why should not channels be devised for these
human waters, by means of which they should be distributed, so as to be
put to the utmost possible use?
This social problem is no doubt the "white elephant" of society. Cannot
we devise a "kheddah" for capturing the entire herd wholesale? Perhaps
after all we shall find it easier and quicker to catch and tame the
herd, than to set snares and pitfalls for individual ones and twos. Ah,
you say, many have tried and failed. That is because they have not
studied the habits of the animal. Besides it is by means of failure that
the grandest successes have ultimately been achieved. See how skilfully
that "mahaut" manages his huge yet obedient servant. And cannot we point
already in our own ranks to elephants more wonderful that have been
tamed and mastered by the goad of love?
It is the successes of the past that encourage General Booth to face the
problem in the spirit of hopefulness that breathes through every page of
"Darkest England." And if the genius of man has been able to tame the
strongest of animals, such as elephants,--the fiercest, such as
lions,--the swiftest, such as horses, and the dullest, such as the
ass,--why should we despair of reducing to order this chaotic mass of
labor, and of turning that which at present constitutes a danger that
threatens the very existence of society into a source of safety, of
wealth and power? At any rate this is the object that will be kept
steadily in view by our Labor Bureau.
All persons will be able to register names at our Bureau. If they are
destitute and willing to go to our yards, they will be sent there and
given work suitable to their caste, or profession. If on the other hand
they are not in need of such assistance, being supported by their
friends, we shall simply register their names and do our best to find
suitable work for them, though it would of course be distinctly
understood by them that we undertook no responsibility in regard to
this. A small fee will be charged, in proportion to the nature of the
case. This would serve to cover the expenses of the Bureau, which would
I am sure meet a long felt want.
Employers of labour would benefit almost more even than the men
employed, as we should always be able to supply them at a short notice
with any description and number of "hands" that they might require, and
they would be saved the expense, delay, and uncertainty of having to
For instance I know of millowners who complain that they cannot get
labourers who will stay, and that their work suffers from the flotsam,
jetsam character of those whom they employ working for a few weeks and
then leaving. This we should be able to remedy.
Indeed after a short time we might reasonably expect that in recognising
the great convenience thus afforded them, millowners and other great
employers of labour, including very possibly the Government and the
Railway Companies would refuse to employ any who had not registered
themselves at our Bureau.
Again it would doubtless be a great satisfaction to employers in cases
where a reduction of establishment became necessary, to feel that they
could hand over to us those with whose services they were dispensing,
knowing that every effort would be made to make suitable provision for
The labour register would contain columns in which would be entered the
various kinds of employment for which the applicant was willing or
suited, and the minimum pay which he was prepared to accept, so that we
should be able to ascertain exactly how many out-of-works there were of
each particular class. We should also enter in a separate register those
who had accepted an inferior position, in the hopes of being able to
better themselves subsequently.
In connection with our registers we should keep a character roll. Copies
of certificates would be filed, and notes made in regard to
unsatisfactory characters, so that in course of time we should be able
to give some sort of a guarantee in regard to those whom we sent out. In
the case of any one being reported to us as unsatisfactory, we should
still, however, give him another chance by redrafting him into our
Labour Yards, or by giving him some sort of inferior employment, more
immediately under our own surveillance, till he had regained his
Among other things we might undertake to supply servants to European
families. A register of such would be very useful both to masters and
servants. For instance in the case of lost "chits" we could supply
certified copies of the original.
There is another class to whom I should think the establishment of such
an agency will be particularly welcome. Our cities swarm with educated
young men unable to find employment. Although we cannot include them
among our destitute classes, we believe that without turning aside from
our main object, we could do a great deal to help them.
If our scheme grows to the proportions and with the rapidity which we
anticipate, this would in itself absorb large numbers of them. And where
we could do no more we could obtain a moral influence over them and they
would come within the scope of the Advice and Intelligence Bureaux which
are described elsewhere. Constituting as they do the cream of the youth
of India, full of ardent, though often misdirected, enthusiasm, we
should be able to help mould them into happy, independent, prosperous
and loyal citizens, who would be a bulwark to the State, instead of
leaving them to simmer in their present unfortunate circumstances. "To
dig" they don't know, and "to beg" they are ashamed.
They would in their turn I believe give an important impetus to our
scheme and might constitute themselves its fervent apostles helping it
to sweep from end to end of India in less time than it is possible for
us to conceive.
FOOD FOR ALL--THE FOOD DEPOTS.
In England, owing to the severity and uncertainty of the weather, the
food and shelter questions go hand in hand. This is not the case in
India, where the shelter is not so important as the food, and there is
no such urgency in dealing with the former as with the latter. For
instance during nine months out of twelve it is not such a very great
hardship to sleep in the open air in most parts of India. I have myself
done it frequently and so have many of our Officers. It is true that we
should not like it as a regular thing, and still less perhaps, if driven
to it by absolute want. Still I am perfectly prepared to admit that the
circumstances are totally different to that of England, and that the
question of shelter is of secondary importance as compared with food.
The time will come when we shall be obliged to face and deal with it. If
our scheme meets with the success that we anticipate, having first
satisfied the gnawings of these hunger-bitten stomachs, we shall
certainly turn round and think next what we can do to provide them with
decent homes for themselves and their families.
But we can safely afford to defer the consideration of this question for
the present, in order to throw all our time and energy into the solution
of the infinitely more urgent and important problem of a regular and
sufficient food supply for these destitutes.
At present as I have already pointed out, they are dependent solely on
the help of relations and friends and on the doles of the charitable;
or on the proceeds of vice and crime. The insufficiency of these to meet
the needs of the case I have also, I believe, proved to demonstration.
Therefore one of the first parts of our City programme will be the
establishment of cheap food depots, at which food of various kinds will
be supplied at the lowest possible cost price. These depots will be
dovetailed in with other parts of our scheme, which have yet to be
described, and the one will help to support the other.
It may be objected that if we undertake to sell food at lower than the
ordinary market rates, we shall interfere with the legitimate operations
of trade. But to this we would answer that the same objection would be
still more true in regard to charitable doles, which are given for
nothing. And further, we shall fix our prices with a view to covering
the actual cost of the food, so that there will not be any probability
of our interfering with ordinary market rates. Besides, should there be
any very serious difficulty of the kind, we could always make a rule
limiting the food sold at these depots to those who came under the
operation of the other branches of our social reform.
At the outset it would probably be wisest to avoid all caste
complications by confining ourselves entirely to uncooked food, leaving
the people to do their own cooking, but it is very probable that before
long we should be forced to undertake the preparation of cooked food. We
should of course pay due regard in this respect to the customs of the
various castes, religions and nationalities concerned. To a Hindoo for
instance it would be extremely disagreeable to eat out Of the same dish
as others, while Mahommedans, as one said to me the other day, only
enjoy the meal the more, when others are sitting round the platter.
These, however, are subordinate details which would largely settle
themselves as we went along. Food in some shape or form, the destitute
must have, good in quality and sufficient in quantity, and if they
prefer it uncooked this will save us trouble, whereas if cooking becomes
necessary we shall have another industry for the employment of many
hands. Meanwhile the fact that nearly every native of the poorer castes,
be it man, woman, or even child, knows how to cook their own food, is
likely to be of no little help in settling the question of the food
WORK FOR ALL, OR THE LABOUR YARD.
But it may next be asked, what we shall do in the case of those who have
no money with which to buy their food, even at the reduced rates we
would propose? To this we would reply that such will be expected to
perform a reasonable amount of work, in return for which they will be
given tickets entitling them to obtain food from the depots just
In order to do this we shall establish labour yards, where we shall
provide work of a suitable character for the destitute. This will
involve very little expense, as sheds of a cheap description will answer
our purpose, there being no necessity for providing against the
inclement weather which adds so greatly to the expense and difficulty of
carrying on such operations in England.
Whatever may be the produce of this cheap labour, we shall be careful to
sell it rather above than below the ordinary market rates, so as to
avoid competing with other labour. Moreover, we shall direct our
attention from the first to manufacturing chiefly those articles which
are likely to be of service to us in other branches of our scheme, so
that the labour of the destitute will go chiefly towards supplying their
own wants and those of the persons who are engaged in prosecuting the
For instance, supposing that a number of the destitute were employed in
making coarse cloth, baskets, mats, or cow-dung fuel, these could be
retailed at a nominal figure to those who presented our labour tickets
at our food depots.
The most encouraging feature in the establishment of labour yards is
that nearly every Indian has been brought up from childhood to some
trade. You can rarely meet the most ignorant and uneducated Native
without finding that he is thoroughly expert at some kind of handicraft.
In brigading the poor we should be careful to make the best use of this
knowledge by putting each as much as possible to the trade with which he
was most familiar.
The following industries, the majority of them directly connected with
various branches of our work, could be started at once and would need
scarcely any outlay to begin with.
1. _The Potters Brigade_--Would furnish us with the earthenware, for
which we should from the first have a very large demand. The
Household Salvage Brigade would require some thousands of pots to
start with and in connection with our food depots we should be able
to dispose of thousands more.
2. _The Weavers Brigade_--This would give employment for a large
number of skilled hands. Their first object would be to supply the
kinds of clothes, blankets, &c., which would be most suitable for
the use of the submerged tenth. In catering for their wants we
should avoid, however, anything _prisony_, or _workhousey_, or
charity-institutiony in appearance. As our numbers increased we
should find plenty of work for our weavers, at any rate for many
years to come without entering into any sort of competition either
with the market or the mills.
3. _The Basket Brigade_--Would supply us with all sorts of cheap
baskets, for which we should have a constant demand.
4. _The Mat Making Brigade_--Would find employment for many more
hands in supplying us with mats for sleeping and household purposes.
5. _The Fuel Brigade_--Here we have an industry which requires no
skill. There would be two branches of it--the woodchoppers and the
Oopala makers. For the latter women and children could be largely
employed both in the collection of the cow-dung and in the
preparation of it for use as fuel.
6. _The Tinners Brigade_--Will be kept busy making receptables and
badges for the Salvage Brigade, and also probably emblems for the
7. _The Ropemakers Brigade_--Will furnish employment to a number
more and the results of their labour will find an ample market in
our various colonies.
8. _The Tanners Brigade_--Will supply all our departments with such
leather as may be required for various purposes, and among other
things will be attached to.
9. _The Shoemakers Brigade_--Who will be employed in patching up the
old shoes collected by our Household Salvage Brigade and in making
new ones for our consumption.
10. _The Tailors Brigade_--Will supply uniform and clothing of all
kinds. For these we have already a very considerable demand, which
would increase year by year.
11. _The Carpenters Brigade_--Would have plenty to do in providing
seats for our Barracks, office essentials, boxes, and household
furniture for our colonies. They would be linked with
12. _The Building Brigade_--For whom we shall find ample employment
in the erection of our Labour Sheds, Shelters and Farms.
13. _The Masons Brigade_--Would also be attached to the previous
one, and would become an important feature in our Labour Department.
14. _The Brick Makers Brigade_--Would supply us with all the bricks
and tiles that we might require. Here again it is easy to see that,
without trenching in the least on the outside public, we should
create and support an important industry which would soon absorb
hundreds if not thousands of hands.
15. _The Painters Brigade_--Would undertake the painting and
whitewashing of our buildings, carts, tinware, &c.
16. _The Dyers Brigade_--Would find employment in dyeing our cloth,
or the various sorts of thread we might require for the use of our
17. _The Dhobees Brigade_--Although among our community we should
encourage every one to be his own dhobee, yet from the first we
should have plenty of washing to employ a considerable number of
18. _The Umbrella Makers Brigade_--Would find considerable scope in
repairing the old frames collected by our Household Salvage Brigade;
while the Sewing Brigade would work the covers.
19. _The Paper-makers Brigade_--Would also be supplied with plenty
of material by the Household Salvage Brigade, and would keep our
printing establishment supplied with whatever paper they might
require. Already we consume a considerable quantity, and this would
be enormously increased by the development of our scheme.
20. _The Book-binders Brigade_--Would furnish us with our registers
for the Regimentation Bureau, besides doing our other miscellaneous
work of a similar description.
21. _The Brass Brigade_--Would supply Our colonies with the various
kinds of brazen vessels we should be likely to require. For these in
process of time there would be a large demand.
22. _The Net-making Brigade_--Would make nets for fishing purposes.
33. _The Hawkers Brigade_--There could be no possible objection to
our disposing of our goods in this way at the ordinary market rates
supposing that we were in a position to manufacture more than we
required for our own consumption.
24. _The Barbers Brigade_--Would also be a necessary addition to our
forces, and would find plenty of scope for their skill among the
unwashed multitudes who would compose our labour legions.
Such are some of the occupations which might at once be set on foot. To
these would no doubt be added many other sorts of handicraft, as our
numbers and experience increased, and fresh opportunities opened up
SHELTER FOR ALL, OR THE HOUSING OF THE DESTITUTE.
A considerable portion of General Booth's book is devoted to the
description of shelters, improved lodgings and suburban villages for the
poor. As elsewhere remarked this question is not of such vital
importance for India as for England, though the dealing with it is
simply a question of time.
We would therefore simply refer our readers to the admirable proposals
embodied in General Booth's book. It is possible that there may be some
who will desire that immediate steps should be taken for the preparation
of similar quarters for the poor in our terribly over-crowded Indian
cities. It is in any case extremely likely that the question will be
forced upon us at an early date by the people themselves.
But I have thought it best to narrow down the scheme as much as possible
to those things which seem of the most absolute and immediate urgency,
and I have therefore divested it as much as possible of all that could
reasonably be dispensed with.
Still I see no reason why each city should not have its "Poor Man's
Metropole," as well as its model dwellings and suburban villages, for
the working classes. I would have these, moreover, as purely oriental as
possible with a careful avoidance of anything that might be European in
their appearance and arrangements. There should be tanks for bathing,
and washing purposes, gardens, recreation grounds for the children,
proper conveniences for cooking, and quarters in which they would not be
herded together like cattle, but given the decencies of life, so
necessary and helpful to the encouragement of cleanliness and morality.
Another point would be the absolute absence of anything in the shape of
mere "charity" about any of the buildings. Everybody would be made to
feel happy and at home, and their self-respect would be cultivated by
arranging for suitable charges to be made, payment being taken either in
cash or labour.
However, these are only hints that are thrown out, to show that we are
fully awake to the importance of this subject, and in order that friends
who are interested in the question may feel free to communicate their
wishes and give us their advice.
THE BEGGARS BRIGADE.
I now come to a special element of both hope and difficulty in the
solution of our Indian Social problem,--The Beggars. Here we have the
lowest stratum of the submerged tenth, excluding from them the religious
mendicants with whom we are not now concerned. I have classified them as
1. The blind and infirm.
2. Those who help them and share the proceeds of their begging.
3. Able-bodied out of works.
Now I propose to deal with them in a way which will not call for
Legislation. In the first place it is most improbable that Government
would interfere with beggary, even if asked to do so. Certainly no such
interference would be possible without assuming the responsibility of
the entire pauper population, involving an expenditure of many million
pounds. In the second place any such interference would in all
likelihood be extremely distasteful to the native public. In the third
place I believe the question can be better dealt with in another way.
I propose to cut diamond with diamond, to set a thief to catch a thief,
to make a beggar mend a beggar. In other words my plan is to _reform_
the system rather than _abolish_ it. To the radical reformer who would
sweep out the whole "nuisance" at one stroke, this may be a
disappointment. But I believe that this feeling will be diminished, if
not entirely removed, when he has made himself familiar with the
Of course if the Upas tree could be uprooted and banished from our
midst,--if with a wave of his magic wand some sorcerer could make it
disappear, so much the better. But this is impossible. We should require
an axe of gold to cut down the tree; and this we do not possess. If a
rich and powerful Government shrinks from the expense of such an
undertaking, we may well be excused for doing the same.
But after all supposing that you can transform your Upas tree into a
fruit-bearing one, will not this be even better than to cut it down?
Such things are done every day before our very eyes in nature. The stock
of the crab-apple can be made to bear quinces, and a mango tree that is
scarcely worth the ground it occupies, can be made to yield fruit which
will fetch four annas a piece!
What is done in the garden is possible in human nature. And God will yet
enable us to graft into this wretched and apparently worthless Upas
stock, a bud which in coming years shall be loaded with fruit that shall
be the marvel of the world. This human desert shall yet blossom as the
rose, this wilderness shall become a fruitful garden, and the waste
places be inhabited.
Surely then, better even than the _annihilation_ of beggary will be its
_reformation_, should this be possible. At least the suggestion is well
worthy of consideration, and in examining, the matter, there will be
several important advantages to which I shall afterwards refer.
(1.) The first step that we would take in reforming the-beggars would be
to _regiment them._ The task would be undertaken by our Labor Bureau. In
this I do not think there would be serious difficulty encountered, if
the scheme commended itself to the native public. They would only have
to stop their supplies and send the beggars to us.
(2.) Our next step would be to _sort out_ the beggars. They would be
divided into three classes:--
(a) _The physically unfit_, who could be furnished with light work
at our labor yards, or otherwise cared for. At present there are
hundreds of beggars who are physically unfit for the exertion that
begging involves, and who are driven to it by the desperate pangs
(b) _Those who like_ it, and are physically well fitted for it,
besides being accustomed to the life, and not being fitted much for
(c) Those who dislike the life, and would prefer, or are suited for
other occupations. Some of these we would draft off to other
departments of our labour yards, while some would for the present
be kept on as beggars, with the hope of early promotion to other
(3.) We should _brigade the beggars_ under the name of the Household
Salvage Brigade, or some similar title, dividing them into small
companies and appointing over them Sergeants from among themselves, and
providing each with a badge or number.
(4.) We should with the advice and consent of the leading members of the
native community, _map out the city into wards_, and assign each company
their respective streets, allotting as far as possible the Mahommedan
beggars to the Mahommedan quarters, and the Hindoos to the Hindoo. In
this we should also take the advice of experienced beggars, from whom we
should expect to learn many useful hints.
(5,) Each house that was willing to receive them would _be supplied with
three receptacles_, one for waste cooked food, another for gifts of
uncooked food, and a third for old clothes, waste paper, shoes, tins,
bottles, and other similar articles.
(6.) At an appointed hour the Brigade would proceed to their posts,
would patrol their wards, and bring or send the various articles
collected to the labor yards, where all would be sorted and dealt with
as necessary the cooked food being distributed among those who were
willing to eat it, or sent to the surburban farm for our buffaloes. The
raw grain would be handed over to our food depots, and credited by them
to the Beggars Fund for the special benefit of the destitute.
(7.) At the end of each day every member of the Brigade would receive a
food ticket in payment of his services. The amount could be regulated
hereafter. This ticket he would present at our food depot, where he
would be supplied with whatever articles he might require. There would
be a regular system of rewards and encouragements for good conduct. But
all such details will be settled hereafter.
(8.) A special feature in the system would be the introduction of the
ancient _Buddhist_ custom of "_meetihal_," or "the consecrated handful
of rice." This is as follows. A pot is kept in each home and a handful
of grain is put into it every time the family meal is cooked. We think
that there would be no difficulty in getting this custom universally
adopted, when it was understood that the proceeds would be devoted
entirely to feeding the destitute. I believe that the income derived
from this alone would in course of time be sufficient to meet the needs
of the destitute in any city in India, at the same time that it would
serve to equalise and therefore minimise the burden which now rests
chiefly on a comparative few.
(9.) In case the food supply thus obtained should be insufficient, we
have little doubt that we could persuade leading merchants in the city
to club together and make up the difference, when they saw the good work
that was going on.
Such in brief is a skeleton of the scheme for elevating and renovating
the Beggar population of India. It is no doubt open to criticism on some
points, but it has special advantages which I will proceed to point out,
apologising for the extra space I am obliged to occupy, in dealing with
this subject, on account of its novelty and importance, and in order
that I may be thoroughly understood.
1. _It is conservative._ Here you have a reformation without a
revolution, or rather a revolution by means of a reformation. And yet
there is no attempted upheaval of society.
2. It is thoroughly _Indian_, and suited to the national taste.
3. It _costs nothing_ and may even prove in time a source of income to
the Social Scheme.
4. It is _doubly economical_ since it uses the human waste in collecting
what would be the natural wastage of the city, and devotes each to the
service of the other.
5. It is _systematic_ and therefore bound to be as immensely superior to
the present haphazard mode, as a regular Army is to an undisciplined
6. It unites the advantages of _moral suasion_, with those of the most
perfect _religious equality_ and _toleration._
7. _It saves the State an enormous expenditure_ and avoids the necessity
for harsh, repressive, unpopular legislation, and increased taxation.
8. _It benefits the public._
(a) It removes a public nuisance.
(b) And yet it satisfies the public conscience.
(c) It stimulates private charity, and directs its generosity into
wise and beneficial channels.
9. _It benefits the beggars._
(a) It protects the weak from the painful and often unsuccessful
struggle for existence.
(b) It ensures everybody their daily food and a sufficiency of it.
(c) It restores their self respect.
(d) It teaches them habits of honesty, industry and thrift.
(e) It opens up to them a pathway of promotion.
10. Finally it will furnish honest and honorable employment right away
for hundreds of thousands all over the land, and create an entirely
_novel_ industry out of what is at present an absolute _wreckage._
But I am well aware that certain objections are likely to be raised.
These I would seek to remove, though if we are to wait for a plan which
is free from all liability to criticism, we may wait for ever, and wait
in vain. There is a famous answer given by John Wesley to a lady who was
objecting to something about his work,--"Madam, if there were a perfect
organization in the world, it would cease to be so the day that you and
I entered into it." Hence it is not simply a question as to whether
there are difficulties in the present proposals, but can anything better
be suggested. However, I am anxious to meet in the fairest possible
manner all conceivable objections, and am perfectly prepared to make any
such modifications as may appear advisable.
(1.) Some will perhaps say that the beggars are already too well off to
desire to come,--that they are making a good thing of it and will prefer
to prosecute their calling under the present arrangements. Of course if
it be true that they are able to do better for themselves than we are
proposing to do for them, then they have no right to be included in the
submerged tenth. I would congratulate them on their success and turn my
attention to those who are more in need of our services. But could any
one seriously defend such a supposition? And if they are likely to be
bettered by the new arrangements, why should we suppose that they should
be so blind to their own interests as to refuse to profit by the new
chance? Besides, this is contradicted by all experience. Let there be a
prospect of a feast, or a supply of rice or food, and who does not know
that beggars will flock eagerly to the point, though it be only for a
single meal, and we propose to provide a _permanent livelihood._
(2.) But says some one else _they are bone-idle and will not work_, and
you propose to give them no food save in exchange for their work. This
is a real and serious difficulty. We fully recognise it. Yet we do not
think it is un-get-over-able, for the following reasons:--
(a) We do not intend to be hard-taskmasters. The work given will be
of a light character, and suited to the strength of each. We are
not going in for oakum picking and stone breaking. We shall do our
utmost to make everything bright, cheerful and easy. We have no
idea of treating them as criminals.
(b) It ought not to be difficult to get each one to do two annas
worth of work, and this will be more than sufficient to cover their
expenses. We have no desire to become _sweaters._
(c) _Begging is hard work._ If you don't believe it, come and try
it! I and many of my officers have begged our food as religious
mendicants, so that we, are able to speak from _experience_!
It is at best a life of sacrifice, hardship and suffering. And yet
we have practised it under _specially favorable circumstances_,
particularly those of us who are Europeans. But that there can be
any sort of rest, or ease, or enjoyment in it to those who are
driven to it by the pangs of hunger, unsupported by any spiritual
consolations, I cannot conceive. On the contrary I should say that
the task of the beggar is so hard, and disagreeable not to say
_shameful_, that the majority of them would leap to do the
most menial tasks that would deliver them from a bondage so
Have you ever solicited help and been refused? Have you known what
it is to feel the awful sickenings of heart at hope deferred? Have
you known what it is to be regarded with suspicion, with contempt,
with dislike, with scorn, or even with _pity_ by your fellow men?
If so, you may be able to realise the experiences that every beggar
has to go through a hundred times a day, many of them with feelings
every bit as sensitive as your own. Will he demean himself and work
hard at so miserable a calling and yet be unwilling to do some
light work, with which he can earn an honest living? I for one
cannot believe it, till I see it.
(d) Our experience further contradicts it in dealing with the more
depraved, hardened and supposed-to-be-idle criminals and
prostitutes, whom we receive into our Prison Gate and Rescue Homes.
When Sir E. Noel Walker was visiting our Prisoners' Home in
Colombo he was astonished at the _alacrity_ with which the men
obeyed orders, and the _eagerness_ with which they worked at their
allotted tasks. He asked the Officer in Charge whether he ever
_"hammered"_ them, and was surprised at finding that the only
hammer he ever required was the _allsufficient_ hammer of _love._
And yet the gates were always open and they were free to walk out
whenever they liked. Moreover, beyond getting their food and a very
humble sort of shelter, their labour was entirely unpaid.
(e) Finally by means of a judicious system of rewards and promotions
we should educate and encourage them into working, besides teaching
them industries which would be useful after they had left us.
(3.) But some one else will say "They are thievish and will rob you.
They are roguish and will decieve you. You don't know whom you have to
deal with." Well, if we don't know them, we should think nobody does! I
(a) Granted that some of them cheat us. All will not. And why should
the honest suffer with the rogues?
(b) What if we do lose something in this way? It would be little in
comparison with the enormous gain. I feel sure it would in no case
exceed ten or twenty per cent, on the collections made, and that
would be a mere trifle.
(c) Our system of regimentation would largely guard against any such
danger and would be an encouragement to honesty.
(d) It is notorious that there is "honour among thieves." They would
watch over one another. Among them "_nimak-harami_" or
"faithlessness to their salt" would soon come to be regarded as a
crime of the first water.
(e) The inducement for thieving would be largely gone. Very few
steal _for the sake of stealing._ A man usually steals to fill his
own stomach, or some one else's, whom he loves. But here all would
be provided for.
(f) Besides he would feel that all he could earn was for the _common
good_ and was not going to make any individual rich at his expense.
(g) Our experience in the Prison Gate Homes contradicts it. True, we
have had some thefts especially at the beginning, but when I was
last visiting our Colombo Home, the Officers in charge assured me
that they were now of the rarest occurrence, while the gentleman
who owned the tempting cocoanuts that were hanging overhead told
me that he had never had such good crops from his trees, as since
our colony of thieves and criminals had been settled there!
(4.) Some one else may perhaps object that we shall have thrown upon our
hands a swarm of helpless, useless, cripples and infirm. Well, and what
if we do? Are they not our fellow human beings, and ought not some one
to care for them? We shall look upon it as a precious responsibility,
and I speak fearlessly on behalf of our devoted officers when I say,
that they would rather spend and be spent for such than for the richest
in the land. If, as I have already shown, the effort can be made
_self-supporting_ and _self-propagating_, the mere fact of their misery
or poverty only impels us to love them the more and to strive the more
earnestly for their emancipation.
THE PRISON GATE BRIGADE.
This has already been in operation for two years in the cities of Bombay
and Colombo and a branch has been recently established in Madras. Now
that it will be connected with other branches of our Social Reform, we
may look for a rapid increase of this useful though difficult work.
The establishment of our Labor Yards will greatly help us in finding
work for this class, without branding them with the perpetual stigma of
their crime. The chief difficulty in the working of these Homes consists
in the almost insuperable objection of the men to be _known as
criminals_ after their release from jail. This is of course perfectly
natural. Besides, it is important that we should hold out before them
hopes of bettering themselves by their good conduct, and earning an
independent and honest livelihood at no distant date. When once our
Labor Yards and Farm Colonies are in active operation, we shall be able
to do this for our rescued criminals, continuing at the same time the
fatherly supervision and help which they so very much need.
The following quotations from our last annual report will serve to
explain this branch of our work, and to give a glimpse of the
encouraging success with which we have already met in our efforts to
reach and reform the criminal classes.
COLOMBO PRISON GATE HOME.
Picturesquely situated among palm trees in one of the most beautiful
suburbs of Colombo, within easy reach of the principal city jail, is our
Sinhalese Prisoners' Home. Cinnamon Gardens, as the district is called,
forms one of the attractions of Colombo, which every passing visitor is
bound to go and see. The beauty of the surroundings must be a pleasant
contrast to those dull prison walls from which the inmates have just
escaped. Still more blessed and cheering must be the change from the
Warder's stern commands to the affectionate welcome and kindly
attentions of the red-jacketed Salvationists, who have the management of
A bright lad who is on duty in the guard-room opens the gates and
introduces you to the grounds in which the quarters are situated. There
are groups of huts with mud walls and palm-leaf thatching, which have a
thoroughly Indian and yet home like appearance. The first few of these
are occupied as workshops or carpentry for the manufacture of tea boxes,
and here from early to late the men may be seen busily employed, sawing,
planing, measuring, bevelling, hammering and working with such a will
that you might imagine their very lives depended on it, or at least that
they must be making their fortunes out of it, whereas they are not being
paid at all, and all the profits of the manufactory go towards the
support of the Home!
"What I admire about your work," observed Sir Athur Gordon, the late
Governor of Ceylon, "is the way in which your Officers identify
themselves with these convicts, and live among them on terms of perfect
But I was describing the little colony. On the left of this group of
workshops is a neat little hut where Captain Dev Kumar and his young
bride, Captain Deva Priti, reside. What a change for them form the
English Homes to which they have been accustomed, to this little jungle
hut, surrounded as they are continually by a band of ex-convicts, and
criminals. Yet it would be hard to find a happier couple in the
island,--in fact, quite impossible outside the Salvation Army.
"It is all our own work," explains the Captain. "Our men built the hut,
and the materials only cost about Rs. 25!" Certainly this is the
perfection of cheapness in the way of house building! A little further
inside the enclosure you come to more huts, in some of which the men
live, while others serve for quarters for the native officers who assist
in the superintendence of the Home, and to whose noble efforts so much
of its success is due. Then there is the kitchen, and a dining-room, and
a stable for the bullock trap, in which the released prisoners are
brought to the Home, to avoid the risk of a foot journey when their old
associates might hinder them on the way.
The spare bits of ground are all laid out in little plots of garden,
where plantains and vegetables are grown, and in front of the Captain's
quarters is a dainty little scrap of a flower garden. The entire
enclosure forms really a portion of the garden of a neighbouring house,
the property of the late Mr. Ginger, who took a warm interest in our
work, and leased the grounds to us at a nominal rent.
The following are the statistics of the work during the past year:--
Total number of admissions, .......................... 230
Found Situations, ................................... 115
Left, the Home and lost sight, of, .................. 103
Total number of sentences of imprisonment,............ 459
Number of juvenile convicts under 16 years of age, ... 40
Number of meals given,.............................. 15,774
Number of tea-boxes made, .......................... 2,880
Profits on same,................................. Rs. 350
The accompanying is the official report form sent in by us to
Government every month showing the results of the work--
JAIL GATE BRIGADE--COLOMBO--ITS RESULTS.
A.--This Return for the preceding month shall be forwarded on 1st or 2nd
of each month, by the Officer Commanding Salvation Army, through the
Superintendent of the Convict Establishment to the Inspector General of
Prisons, with columns 1, 6, 7, and 8, duly filled in.
B.--The Superintendent Convict Establishment shall fill in columns 2, 3,
4, and 5, and send on the Return to the Inspector General.
1. Name and age of Prisoner.
2. Nationality and religion.
3. Name of Offence.
4. Length of imprisonment in months.
5. General character in Jail.
6. Number of days maintained by the Salvation Army
7. How employed now, or going to be employed.
8. Result of action of salvation Army on prisoner, roughly estimated.
_Superintendent Convict Establishment._
_Commdt. Salvation Army, Colombo._
That the work of the Colombo Prisoners' Home is highly appreciated in
Colombo is further proved by the fact that most of the leading
Government officials subscribe to its funds, including the Colonial
Secretary, Sir E. Noel Walker, the Chief Justice Sir Bruce Burnside,
and many others. Again, it is not an uncommon thing for us to receive
such letters as the following from the Magistrate:--
From the POLICE MAGISTRATE, Colombo,
To the CAPTAIN OF THE PRISON GATE BRIGADE.
_Dated, Colombo, October 30th, 1889._
_Subject--Habitual Offender, Dana._
I have the honour to inform you that a man named Dana, produced
before me this day, charged with being a habitual thief, has
expressed a wish to be admitted into the Prison Brigade Home.
I shall be glad if you afford him an opportunity to redeem his
I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
The past year was suitably finished up by providing a special feast to
which only ex-convicts were admitted. No less than 150 accepted the
About this branch of our work a leading daily paper, the Ceylon
_Independent_, writes as follows.--
Most of our readers have read in our columns of the good work the
Army is doing at the Prison Gate, in reclaiming from criminal
courses the discharged prisoners who have served their time of
confinement. In that critical moment, when the wide world is once
more before the newly discharged culprit, when he emerges from
confinement to overwhelming temptation, big it may be with fresh
schemes of crime, armed with enlarged experiences to aid in its
accomplishment, to be met, taken kindly by the hand, and led gently
to the pleasanter and more peaceful path of honesty, industry, and
virtue, is a surprise that is calculated to disarm temptation at
least for a moment, and thus virtue gains time for thought.
The success of the Prison Gate Brigade has hitherto been surprising, and
quite beyond its founders' anticipation. It has been especially useful
in reclaiming juvenile offenders, of whom a large number have been
induced to take to the honest means of livelihood, chiefly carpentry,
which the Home provides.
OUR BOMBAY PRISON GATE BRIGADE.
This work in Bombay was commenced some two years ago at the instance of
a leading Parsee gentleman, with a generous subscription of Rs. 1,200.
Owing partly to the fact that we have been hitherto unable to secure
suitable premises and partly to the entire absence of any assistance on
the part of Government, the work in Bombay has been much more uphill and
discouraging than in Ceylon. Nevertheless we have persevered in the
teeth of all sorts of difficulties, and the results have been very
encouraging. Recently in one week no less than three of the inmates of
our Bombay Home were accepted as cadets, to be trained up as future
officers. Previously to this nine others had been similarly accepted.
One of these, Lieut. Hira Singh, is now himself taking an active part in
the rescue of other convicts, while another is sucessfully working in
Gujarat. Accounts of their lives are given further on.
Indeed Bombay has proved itself to be an even richer field than Colombo
itself; and now that some of the peculiar difficulties that have
hitherto hindered the work, are one by one being removed, there is every
reason to believe that this work will soon make rapid progress.
The returns for the past year show that the prison gates have been
visited 235 times, for the purpose of meeting the convicts on their
release. Since the commencement of the Home about 134 men have been
admitted. Of these 74 have professed conversion, about 12 having been
accepted as officers by ourselves and the remainder having mostly found
employment elsewhere. The number of meals given during the past year has
been about 7,800.
One of the special features of the work here consists in the constant
visitation of the liquor dens, with a view to persuading those who were
frequenting them to give up their evil ways. No less than 430 such were
in this way visited and a large number of papers distributed. While the
opposition was in some instances severe, as a rule our officers were
well treated even by the grogshop-keepers, who while admitting that
their trade was evil, pleaded that they had the Government's approval,
and that they must somehow support themselves and their families.
Besides the regular inmates, a large number of casuals have been
relieved and assisted, but of these we have no exact figures.
The following are some specimens of the work done by us among the
criminal classes in Bombay and Ceylon:--
LIEUTENANT HIRA SINGH
Is a Hindu of the Kshatraya caste. He comes of a soldier race and
family, his father having served in the East India Company's army before
him, and he having from his youth followed the same profession for the
past eighteen years, serving successively as Private, Lance-Corporal,
Corporal, and Sergeant in a native Regiment. He went through the last
Afghan campaign, having been to Cabul, Quetta, and other places.
For many years his conduct was excellent, but latterly he took to
drinking, got into serious trouble with the police, and was sent to
prison for forty days, thus losing his post as well as his claim to
pension. He was met by our officers on his release, accompanied them to
the Home, gave his heart to God, and has now been an officer in our
ranks for more than a year. During most of this time he has been
connected with our Bombay Prison Gate work, and has in turn helped to
rescue many others. But for the help he then received, a life of
drunkenness and crime would probably have been, almost forced upon him.
He is a good specimen of numbers who would _like_ to reform, but with
ruined reputation have no choice, save between starvation and crime.
"I am a native (Singhalese) of Kalutara in Ceylon. My father was a
toddy-drawer. We were very poor. Sometimes my uncles would give me a
cent or two for mounting guard to give them warning about anybody's
approach while they were slaughtering stolen cattle in the jungles.
Once, being very hungry, I climbed up a palm tree to steal cocoanuts,
but was caught by the owner and handed over to the police. The
magistrate sent me to jail for three weeks. After my release I came to
Colombo, and falling in with the Salvation Army, I went to their Home
for prisoners, and now thank God I am saved."
This is only one of the many aliases by which he is known. He has been
one of the worst thieves and bad characters to be met with even in
Colombo, where there is a pretty good assortment of the scum of slumdom.
Adopted as an infant by a pious Mahomedan, he was trained up in that
religion. But in spite of every effort that was made for his
reformation, he rapidly went from bad to worse, till at length he found
himself in the hands of the police.
His first sentence was twelve months for throwing sand in a Singhalese
man's eyes and then robbing him of his comb. When released he fell in
with other criminals, from whom he learnt many new tricks of the trade.
Once he was stealing some clothes from a line when the lady of the house
saw him. A hue and cry was raised, and he soon found himself surrounded
with coolies and dogs. Seeing that there was no chance of escape, he
began to jump and scream and go through all sorts of antics. The lady,
thinking he was mad, and having pity on him, let him go.
He has seen the inside of nearly all the Colombo jails, but without
being made any better. Finally, he was received into our Home. At first
he was rather troublesome, but after a short time he gave his heart to
God, and has been doing well. "He cannot read or write," says the
Captain in charge, "but he prays like a divine, and I am believing to
see him become an Officer some day."
Was brought from his village by a Singhalese gentleman when quite a
little boy, but, leaving his master, thought he would start life on his
own account. He soon became a practised thief. "I always managed to
escape," he says, "till one day with some of my companions I robbed a
Buddhist temple. I managed to get a silver 'patara' (plate), which we
sold for Rs. 24, but was caught and sent to jail." "But you were
yourself a Buddhist," said the Captain. "How came you to rob your own
temple?" "What of that? I thought nothing of sin in those days. But it
is all so different now. I am saved, and mean to spend all my life in
saving others. I am just now practising a song to sing in the meeting
The Captain asked him whether he did not think it a great disgrace to go
to jail. "Oh, no! I thought everybody in Colombo had been there some
time or other. All the people with whom I mixed had been." "Well, how
did you like it?" "Oh, it was not such a bad place! The food was fairly
good, and I had not to work very hard but I wish I had known about
salvation sooner. Even then I used to wish that I could find something
which would _make_ me good, but all my efforts were in vain till I came
to the Home, and got saved."
In conclusion, I feel sure that a few brief particulars regarding this
branch of our work in Australia will be read with interest, and will
serve to prove the usefulness of this portion of our social reform
Some six or seven, Prisoners' Homes have been established in
Australasia. The Victorian Government give an annual grant of L1,000, to
assist us in this branch of our work. Special facilities are afforded to
our Officers in visiting the prisoners, and in some of the jails printed
notices are posted up by the authorities to the effect that any
prisoner, previous to discharge, may communicate with the officers in
charge of our Home, with a view to making a fresh start in life.
The testimony of Sir Graham Berry, Agent General, the Chief Secretary,
the Inspector General of Penal Establishments, and the Chief
Commissioner of Police, proves conclusively how much good has thus been
done. The following extracts from their letters are copied from our
Australasian Prison Gate report:--
H.E. SIR H.B. LOCH, K.C.B., G.C.M.G., writes through his Private
Secretary to express "his approval and appreciation of the work done by
the Salvation Army in connection with the Prison Gate Brigades and
Rescued Sisters' Homes, and has great pleasure in expressing his belief
in the good which has resulted from the philanthrophic endeavours of the
Salvation Army to rescue and afford material assistance to those in
whose interests these organisations have been formed."
SIR GRAHAM BERRY, Agent General for Victoria, writes:--"I have
confidence in the permanent results of your labours, because you, treat
these unfortunates as if they were human beings and capable of better
things. I believe your organisation is a very powerful agency for good
among that class which is practically neglected by others."
CHIEF JUSTICE HIGGINBOTHAM says that "it is only proper to mention that
there is no better nor more useful work done in rescuing discharged
prisoners from relapsing into crime, than that effected by the Prison
Gate Brigade of the Salvation Army."
Similar letters have also been received from the following gentlemen:--
The Hon. ALFRED DEAKIN, M.L.A., Chief Secretary.
The Hon. JAMES BALFOUR, M.L.C.
The Hon. M.H. DAVIES, M.L.A. (Speaker of the Legislative Assembly).
The Hon. F.F. DERHAM, M.L.A., Postmaster General.
The Hon. H.T. WRIXON, M.L.A., Attorney General.
The Hon. W.F. WALKER, M.L.A., Commissioner of Customs.
Mr. JUSTICE KERFERD.
The Bishop of MELBOURNE.
W.G. BRETT, Esq., Inspector General, Penal Department.
H.M. CHOMLEY, Esq., Chief Commissioner of Police.
A. SHIELDS, Esq., M.P., Medical Officer, Melbourne Jail.
THE DRUNKARD'S BRIGADE.
Hundreds of habitual drunkards have been soundly converted and reformed
in connection with our ordinary spiritual work in India. Probably there
are not less than 500 such enrolled in our ranks in this country, and
turned into staunch and perpetual abstainers.
The terrible nature of the drinks and drugs consumed by the Natives, I
have already had occasion to describe, as also the increasingly large
number of those who are becoming enchained by the habit.
In connection with our present Social Reform, special efforts will be
made to reach this class. They will be personally dealt with, and placed
as far as possible in circumstances that shall put them beyond the reach
of their besetting temptation.
For some time past our Officers, more especially those in charge of the
Prison Gate work, have visited liquor-shops and opium and ganja dens,
speaking personally to the frequenters, and in some cases distributing
among them suitable appeals and warnings in regard to the fatal
consequences of the habit.
Untimately it is intended to establish homes for the most hopeless class
of inebriates, both for those habituated to liquor and for those who are
the slaves of the still more fatal drugs, such as opium and bhang.
THE RESCUE HOMES FOR THE FALLEN.
Here again we have made a beginning. It is now a year since the opening
of our Home in Colombo, and during that time 52 girls have been received
into our Home. Of these
2 have been restored to their friends,
4 are with others--doing well,
23 have turned out unsatisfactory, and
23 are with us in the Home, almost without exception giving evidence of
being truly reformed.
Heart-rending are the tales which have reached our ears as to the way in
which many of them have been decoyed from their homes, and as to the
miserable existence which they have since been dragging out.
Every Indian city teems with a too fast increasing number of similar
unfortunates, for whom at present nothing has been attempted. We
propose, therefore, very largely to extend our Homes at all the large
centres of population.
Connected as will be this department with the network of other agencies
that we have already established, and increased as will be our
facilities for reaching this class, we are confident that we shall be
able to carry out this much-needed reform on a scale commensurate with
the evil, besides warning the youths of our cities against the terrible
contamination to which they are at present exposed. All the weight of
our increasing influence will be thrown into the scale for cutting off
both the supply and demand of this infamous traffic in human souls.
"THE COUNTRY COLONY"--"WASTEWARD HO!"
As has been already explained in the first part of this book, the
congested state of the labor market in the agricultural districts is
leading to an enormous and increasing immigration of the country
population towards the towns, not as a matter of preference, or of
choice, but of dire necessity. The object of the Country Colony, as
applied to India, will be twofold:
1. It will seek to divert into more profitable channels the steadily
increasing torrent of immigration from the villages to the towns.
2. It will re-direct and re-distribute the masses of the Submerged Tenth
who already exist in every large city.
Like his English representative, the Indian village bumpkin has a
natural aversion to town life. Peculiarities in his dialect, dress, and
manners make him the laughing-stock of the clever Cockney townsman. His
simplicity and ignorance of the world cause him to be easily victimised
by the city sharper, for whom he is no match in the struggle of life. He
sighs for his green fields, and longs to get away from the bustle that
everywhere surrounds and bewilders him. He surrenders these preferences
only, because starvation is staring him in the face, and he has better
chances of working, begging, or stealing in the city than in his
And yet within a few miles of his birthplace there are frequently tracts
of waste land amply sufficient to support him and thousands more. He
could reduce it to cultivation if he had the chance. He would infinitely
prefer eking out the scantiest existence in this manner to flinging
himself into the turbulent whirlpool of town life. Strangely enough the
"Sirkar" (Government), to whom these tracts belong, is equally anxious
that the land in question should be cultivated. It would yield in the
course of a few years as rich a revenue as the acres of exactly similar
soil that have been brought under cultivation in the neighbourhood. But
the difficulties in the way are well nigh insuperable:
1. The congested labor consists almost entirely of those castes which
are looked upon as inferior. The very idea of their emancipation is
distasteful to the higher castes, who enjoy in most parts of India an
almost exclusive monopoly of the land. Hence any effort to obtain a
grant of waste land is met with strong and often bitter opposition, and
it is next door to impossible for any one in the position of the
Submerged Tenth to fight the battle through.
2. Of course, under the British Government these caste distinctions are
not officially recognised. But as a matter of fact they still carry
great weight. Anybody can, it is true, petition the Government for a
grant of this land, but to secure favourable consideration is almost
impossible. During the last four or five years I have personally
interested myself in several petitions, with a view to assisting the
petitioners, whom I knew to be thoroughly deserving of success. And yet
after going through a weary tissue of formalities, seldom lasting less
than a year, I have not known of a single favourable answer, nor have
these advances met with the least sort of encouragement. The Government
officials to whom these vast estates are entrusted are mostly so
preoccupied with other work that it is impossible for them to give to
the subject the personal attention that it requires, and they are guided
by the reports of interested and sometimes bribed subordinates. The very
fact that they are entitled to draw exactly the same salary whether the
public estate improves or not, removes the incentive that would
otherwise exist, even if they were the absentee landlords of the
property, while the constant liability to be transferred from one
district to another aggravates the difficulty of the situation.
3. Again, there is a lack of the capital necessary for the initial
expenses of the cultivator in sinking wells, building houses, supplying
cattle and obtaining both seed and food till the harvest has been
4. The lack of combination among the congested mass of labourers is
another serious evil. They are as sheep without a shepherd. Individually
they have no influence. Collectively they are capable of becoming a
mighty power. What is needed at the present moment is a directing head
and an enfolding organisation that shall gather them together, bind them
in one harmonious whole, and with the help of a friendly Government lead
them on to occupy and cultivate these waste lands, converting them into
districts inhabited by a sober, thrifty and enterprising population.
Without such a combination the efforts that are made by private
enterprise will continue to be carried out on such a petty scale as will
utterly fail to cope with or remove the existing evil, and will merely
serve to give relief in a few isolated cases. For instance I have in
mind one district where to my personal knowledge the amount of congested
labor cannot amount on the most moderate calculation to less than half a
million people. There is in their immediate neighbourhood abundance of
waste land capable of supporting them. The Government is anxious for
that land to be occupied. The people are eager to obtain and capable of
cultivating every piece of waste that can be placed at their disposal.
If, instead of leaving it to individual caprice and effort to carry on
in the present haphazard and redtape fashion, we are able on the one
hand to combine this mass of labor, and to obtain on the other hand from
Government the particulars of the land they are desirous of having
cultivated, and the most favorable terms on which it can be granted to
us, we shall be in a position with, but a very moderate amount of
capital at our command, to solve the double problem of the waste land
and waste labor, and that within a very short period.
5. The religious influences which we should bring to bear on the
colonists would be invaluable, especially in the early days of these
colonies. The example of our Officers, their self-sacrificing devotion
to the interests of the people, the knowledge that they would gain
nothing by the success of the enterprise and that they were actuated
solely by the highest motives, the facts that they were sharing the
homes of the people, enduring the same hardships and eating the same
food, all this would act as an inspiration to the colonists when the
early days of trial and difficulty came upon them. No less an authority
than Mr. John Morley, M.P., remarked when he first heard of General
Booth's scheme, that he considered that its combination of religion with
the other details of the plan of campaign was its most hopeful feature,
and would be most likely to ensure its success. This seems to apply
especially to that portion of the scheme now under consideration.
Indeed, were such an enterprise directed solely by an agency destitute
of this powerful lever, we should anticipate failure in nine cases out
of ten, no matter how great the ability that directed and how abundant
the capital that could be commanded. Individual rapacity and selfishness
would spoil everything, and instead of a beautiful spirit of harmony and
self-sacrifice, we should find a lucky few gaining the prizes and the
masses left no better, perhaps worse, off than before.
With these preliminary remarks I would introduce the Country Colony, as
suggested by General Booth. It will consist of the following branches,
to which no doubt others will be added as we advance:--
1. The Suburban Farm in the vicinity of large cities, including
(a) A dairy for the supply of milk, ghee, cream and butter.
(b) A market garden for fruit and vegetables.
2. The Industrial Village.
3. The Social Territory or Poor Man's Paradise.
4. The City of Refuge.
(a) Gangs for public works, such as tanks, railways, roads, &c.
(b) Gangs for tea gardens.
(c) Land along the railways.
THE SUBURBAN FARM.
The connecting link between the City Colony and the Country Colony will
be the Suburban Farm. Situated conveniently near to the largest cities,
it will serve many important purposes.
1. It will form the channel, or outlet, by which the agricultural
portion of the labor overflow in the cities will make its way back to
the country. In fact, it will constitute a sort of sluice which will in
time act with the same regularity and ease as those which are attached
to any reservoir of water, directing to the most needy places, and
distributing without waste, those very waters which if uncontrolled
would sweep everything before them as a devastating flood.
2. It will at the same time find a ready market in the city, not only
for its own produce, but for that of the other branches of the country
colony, with which it would be in constant and close communication.
3. It will supply the city with wholesome and unadulterated dairy
produce, together with the best fruits and vegetables, at the ordinary
market rates. These could be disposed of either wholesale to city
merchants, or by moans of stalls in the various markets, or we could
undertake to retail them in connection with our Household Salvage
Brigade. The Suburban Farm would consist of, say, from fifty to five
hundred acres of land in the immediate neighbourhood of a city. It would
combine three or more separate departments.
1. _The Dairy._ Buffaloes and cows would be given us by friends,
besides being purchased and reared by us, in large numbers. To tend
them, milk them, prepare the ghee, cream and butter, and to convey it
all to town, would find employment for a large number of the Submerged
2. The _Market Garden_ would employ a still larger number. Bananas grow
quickly in all parts of India, and with them we could make an immediate
beginning, introducing from different districts the best species.
Sugar-cane and other popular native products would receive special
attention, and where the European population in the neighbourhood was
sufficiently numerous we could include the cultivation of such fruits
and vegetables as would be liked by them. In the case of seaport towns
we should no doubt do a large business with the steamers in the harbour,
as for instance, in Bombay, Colombo, or Calcutta.
3. We should probably at an early period transfer some of the industrial
brigades enumerated in Chapter VI to our Suburban Farm. In doing this
there would be several obvious advantages:
(a) We should have more elbow room for them on the Farm, than in the
Labor Yards, where land would be so expensive that we should be
obliged to crowd everything into the smallest possible compass,
both in regard to work sheds and sleeping accommodation.
(b) In removing them from the contaminating influences of city life,
we should be able to exercise a more personal and powerful influence
upon these members of the Submerged Tenth and should stand a far
better chance of effectively carrying out that spiritual and moral
regeneration, without which we reckon that any mere temporal
reformation would be ineffective and evanescent.
(c) We should prevent our labor yards from getting gorged, and would
keep them within manageable dimensions. At the same time that we
should cope more effectively with all existing distress.
(d) The Suburban Farm being closely connected with other portions of
our Country Colony, we should be able to use the latter to relieve
it in case of its becoming in turn overcrowded by the influx from
(e) It would thus form a natural stepping-stone to the Industrial
Village, which we have next to describe.
THE INDUSTRIAL VILLAGE.
For the Industrial Village we have already before our very eyes an
admirable object lesson in the existing organisation and subdivision of
an ordinary Indian village. Indeed it is singular how precisely India
has anticipated just what General Booth now proposes to introduce in
The village community so familiar to all who have resided in India
consists of an independent or rather interdependent, co-operative
association which constitutes a miniature world of its own, producing
its own food and manufacturing its own clothes, shoes, earthenware,
pots, &c, with its own petty government to decide all matters affecting
the general welfare of the little commonwealth. Very wisely the British
rulers of India have left this interesting relic of ancient times
untouched, so that the institution can be seen in complete working order
at the present day all over India. The onward march of civilisation has
somewhat shaken the fabric and has threatened the existence of several
of the village industries. But at present there has not been any radical
alteration. The village may still be seen divided up into its various
Take for instance a village in Gujarat. Those substantial houses in the
centre belong to the well-to-do landowners. The cultivators or tenants
have their quarters close alongside. The group of huts belonging to the
weavers is easily distinguishable by the rude looms and apparatus for
the manufacture of the common country cloth. The tanners' quarter is
equally well marked, and yonder the groups at work with mud and wheel
and surrounded with earthenware vessels of various shapes and sizes,
remind you that you are among the Potters.
On inquiring into the interior economy of the village a system of
payment in kind and exchange of goods for labour and grain is found to
prevail exactly similar to that suggested by General Booth. Only here we
have the immense advantage that instead of having to explain and
institute a radical reform in the existing system, we have to deal with
millions of people who are thoroughly imbued with these principles from
For instance one of the staple articles of food in the village consists
of buttermilk, which is distributed by the high caste among the low
caste from year's end to year's end in return for petty services. One of
the usual ways in which the high caste will punish the low, for any
course of conduct to which they object is by the terrible threat of
stopping their supply of "chas," which means usually nothing short of
Here then is our model in good working order and in exact accordance
with the ideal sketched out by General Booth. We cannot do better than
adhere to it as closely as possible.
Probably the first industrial settlement which we shall establish, in
addition to the labor yards and suburban farms already referred to, will
consist of a colony of Weavers in Gujarat.
For this we shall have special facilities, as we have now 150 Officers
at work in that part of the country, as well as more than 2,000 enrolled
adults, a large proportion of whom have been in our ranks for several
years. From amongst these we shall be able to select thoroughly reliable
superintendents (both European and Native), and shall be able to take
full advantage of their local experience.
But how far we shall consider it wise to confine our first settlement
to one particular caste or to include within it from the outset some
other useful village industries such as have been above referred to, I
am not as yet prepared to say. Much will necessarily depend on the
course that events may hereafter take. For the present I can only say
that we will adhere as closely as possible to our Indian model.
The one weak point about the Indian system, as it at present exists, is,
that there is no means of regulating the proportion of labour in each
section of the community. The rules of caste prevent any transfer from
one trade to another, while there is no system of intercommunication
between the villages to enable them to readily transfer their surplus
population to the places where they would be most needed. In a case
where some village industry is threatened with annihilation, as for
instance the weavers, there is absolutely no provision for the transfer
of the unfortunate victims of civilisation either to some more favored
locality or to some other sphere of labour.
Now this is just where our combined plan of campaign with its union of
City, Country, and Over-sea Colonies would step in and supply the
missing link. We should be able to direct the glut of labor into just
those channels where it would be the most useful.
And why should this be thought impracticable? Everybody is acquainted
with the power of wind, water and steam, where properly directed, to
move the most gigantic machinery and yet for centuries those powers were
suffered to go to waste. It is only of late that we have learnt for
instance to put chains upon the genii of the tea-kettle, to put them as
it were into harness, to bridle them and to compel them to drag our huge
leviathans across thousands of miles of ocean. May not the enormous
mass of waste labor that has accumulated in our cities and rural
districts be fitly compared to the former waste of steam. The best that
we have been able to do for it so far has been to provide for it the
safety valves of beggary, destitution, famine, pestilence, crime,
imprisonment and the gallows.
Is it too much to suppose that this enormous waste of human steam, the
most valuable sort of steam that the world contains, can be properly
controlled and guided so that it will make for itself railways and
steamers that shall carry its human cargoes by millions across lands
that are at present mere wastes, and to populate countries which are as
yet wildernesses? In doing so, we shall but fulfil the words of prophecy
uttered 26,000 years ago. "The wilderness and the solitary place shall
be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.
It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing.* *
For in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert.
And the parched ground shall become a pool and the thirsty land springs
of water.* * * And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be
called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it, but it
shall be for those. The way-faring men, though fools shall not err
therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up
thereon; it shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there,
and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Sion with songs
and everlasting joy upon their heads. They shall obtain joy and
gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
THE SOCIAL TERRITORY, OR, POOR MAN'S PARADISE.
Probably the biggest wholesale emigration scheme ever undertaken was
that of Israel out of Egypt into Canaan, under the leadership of Moses.
The circumstances were so very similar to those with which we are
dealing, that I may be excused for referring to them, as they have a
direct bearing on the present problem, and may help largely towards its
solution. It is said that "History repeats itself" and certainly this is
true in regard to the evils that then existed, and we do not see why the
remedy should not in some respect correspond.
Looking back then, we find that there was in Egypt in the year 1,500
B.C. a submerged tenth, consisting of 600,000 able-bodied men with their
wives and families and numbering therefore at least two and a half
million souls. They constituted a distinct caste, or nation, which had
been grafted into the original Egyptian stock 430 years previously.
Owing to hereditary customs, race distinctions and religious differences
they had preserved their identity and had never become assimulated with
the Egyptians. It was a famine that had driven them to take refuge in
Egypt at a time when their numbers were so few that their presence
caused no particular inconvenience to the original inhabitants, while
the services of the King's Vazir, to whose caste they belonged secured
them a suitable reception.
At the time however when we take up their history a change had taken
place. Their numbers had immensely increased. The labor market was
deluged with them. The rulers, capitalists and landowners began to
tremble for their very existence. Enormous public works were planned and
the enslaved caste were compelled to carry out their allotted labour
under rigorous taskmasters, who made their lives a burden to them. Still
their numbers continued to increase. Alarmed at the prospect of an
impending revolution, the King gave orders that every male child of the
Hebrews should be drowned, thinking thus to stamp out the nation. It is
easy to imagine therefore that affairs must have come to a desperate
pass, when from the palace of Pharaoh and yet from among their own caste
a deliverer was raised up to organise and carry out the wholesale
emigration of the entire nation.
Looked at in this light it was certainly the boldest venture and
greatest scheme of the kind that had ever been conceived, and without
the aid of remarkable miraculous displays of Divine power Moses could
never have carried out so magnificent a project.
Everything appeared to be against him. The people whom he had come to
deliver were an undisciplined mob of cowardly slaves, whose spirit had
been crushed by years of cruel tyranny. They were unarmed and
unaccustomed to war. They were the subjects of the most powerful
military monarchy of those times. For them to dream of emigrating must
have seemed the wildest folly. On the one hand the Egyptians would not
hear of it, and their way would be barred by legions of the best
soldiers the world could produce. On the other hand the country to which
they were to emigrate was already occupied by numerous and warlike
tribes, who would contest every inch of territory. Added to this there
was a "great and howling wilderness" which separated the one country
from the other.
Hence it will be seen that this vast national emigration scheme was
carried out by Moses under circumstances of peculiar difficulty which do
not exist in the problem at present under consideration.
There are the same destitute hunger-bitten multitudes, it is true, and
the same difficulty arises before us as to what to do with these
steadily increasing hordes. The same Egyptian remedy, the construction
of vast public works, has been resorted to over and over again, with the
effect of giving temporary, but not permanent relief. In some respects
the position of the Hebrews in Egypt was preferable to that of the
destitute masses in India. They seem at least to have had no lack of
food and shelter, and if they had to work hard, and were cruelly treated
by their taskmasters, we have become familiar in the Indian villages
with many instances of cruelty in the treatment of the low caste by the
high such as could not well have been surpassed in Egypt itself, to say
nothing of the extortions of the money-lender and the ravages of famine
and pestilence referred to elsewhere.
But in many respects the situation is far more hopeful. Our Pharaoh is a
Christian Queen, under whom we have, not one, but many Josephs, who are
really anxious for the highest welfare of the submerged masses, and who
are likely to hail with gladness (as has been already the case in
England) any project which bids fair to alleviate permanently the
existing misery. The wealth and power of the British Government and
Nation, instead of being used to hinder such a scheme, is likely to be
thrown bodily into the scale in favour of all reasonable reform that
will help congested labour to redistribute itself and recover its normal
Again the progress of science and civilization has removed immense
barriers that previously existed, and railways, steamers, post and
telegraph have rendered possible for us, if not comparatively easy, what
was before only within the reach of miraculous manifestations of Divine
Furthermore, _the land is there, plenty of it, for centuries to come_,
some of it across the seas, within easy reach of our steamers, but a
great deal of it quite close at hand. Nor will it be necessary to
dispossess others to occupy it. The only enemies that will have to be
faced are the wild beasts, always ready to beat a retreat when man
appears. It does not even belong to some different nationality or
Government, jealous of our encroachments, but is the property of the
same Power to whom these destitute multitudes are looking for their
Hence it is impossible to imagine circumstances more favorable than
those which already exist in India at the moment that General Booth's
scheme is placed before the public, towards the carrying out on an
enormous scale, hitherto never dreamt of, the portion of his projects
referred to in the present chapter.
What I would propose is that a considerable section of waste Territory
should be assigned to us and placed at our disposal in some suitable
part of India, upon which we could plant colonies of the destitute,
similar in many respects to those already described, save that we should
here carry out on a wholesale scale what elsewhere we should be doing by
retail. Into this central lake or reservoir all our scattered streams
would empty themselves, till it was so far full that we should require
to repeat the process elsewhere. Beginning with a single social
reservation in some specially selected district, we should easily be
able to repeat the experiment elsewhere on an even larger scale
profiting as we went along by our accumulated experience.
From the first, however, I should suppose that it would be preferable to
carry out the manoeuvre on as large a scale as possible, for the reason
that this is just one of those things which will be found easier to do
wholesale than retail.
We have many illustrations of this in business. The merchant who amasses
a colossal fortune will perhaps scarcely spend an hour a day in
superintending the working of an establishment that covers half an acre,
while the poor retail shopkeeper over the way toils from early morning
to late at night and is scarcely able then to earn a bare subsistence
for the support of his family.
Compare again the labour and profits of a boatman in Bombay Harbour,
with those of the owner of an ocean going steamer. The former toils day
and night at the peril of his life and earns but little, while the
latter rests comfortably at home and enjoys a handsome income.
Or again let the village hand-loom weaver be pitted against the Bombay
Mill-owner, and we see at a glance that under certain circumstances it
_pays_ infinitely better to do things on a large than on a small scale,
and that in so doing the amount of labour and risk are also economised.
Now this applies to the proposal contained in this chapter. Given a
people who are well acquainted with Indian agriculture and who are
willing to be moved;--given a leader and an organisation in which they
have confidence;--given those religious and moral influences which will
so help them in overcoming the initial difficulties of the enterprise;
and given a suitable tract of country which (without displacing existing
population) they can occupy, and I would say with confidence that it
will be found easier to accomplish the transfer on a large than on a
small scale, by wholesale rather than by retail.
In the present case all the above conditions are satisfied. The entire
congested labor of the rural districts is thoroughly versed from
childhood in the arts of Indian agriculture. They are willing in many
parts of the country to emigrate by thousands even across the "kala
pani," to which they have such an intense and religious aversion, or to
enlist by thousands in our merchant marine and military forces. Much
more then will they be willing to emigrate in far larger numbers to
districts close at hand. A leader to inspire, an organisation to enfold,
and a plan of campaign to guide, have in the most marvellous manner
almost dropped from the skies since the publication of General Booth's
book. The religious and moral restraints and incentives, so important
for guarding against the abuses of selfishness and for inspiring with a
spirit of cheerful self-sacrifice, are provided, and that in a purely
_Native garb_, and yet with all the advantages of European leadership
and enthusiasm. And finally there is land in abundance which Government
desires to see colonised, and which is being slowly retailed out bit by
bit in a manner altogether unworthy of the urgent necessities of the
What then is there to hinder a big bold experiment? General Booth will
have in England largely to _make_ his agriculturists before he can put
them upon the land. Here in India we have _millions_ of skilled
destitutes ready to hand, and it will be possible within a very short
period with a few bold strokes to relieve the congested labor market
from one end of India to the other in a manner that can hardly now be
Is not this plan infinitely superior to the spasmodic Egyptian
expedient of occasional public works, which cost the State enormous sums
and only increase the local difficulty as soon as they are completed?
Should we not here be erecting a satisfactory and permanent bulwark
against the future inroads of famine? Shall we not rather be increasing
the public revenue for future years by millions of pounds and that
without adding a single new tax, or relying upon sources so uncertain
and detrimental to the public welfare as those founded upon the
consumption of drugs and liquors that destroy the health of the people?
Shall we not again be increasing the stability and glory of the Empire
in caring for its destitute masses and in turning what is now a danger
to the State into a peaceful, prosperous and contented community? And
finally will not our Poor Man's Paradise be infinitely superior from
every point of view to the miserable regulation _workhouse_, that is in
other countries offered by the State, or again to the system of
charitable doles and wholesale beggary that at present exists? To me it
seems that there is indeed no comparison between the two, and General
Booth's book has opened out a vista of happiness to the poor, such as we
should hardly have conceived possible save in connection with a
Christian millennium or a Hindoo "_Kal Yug._"
But it may be objected by some that in providing those outlets for the
destitute, we should in the end only aggravate the difficulty by
enormously increasing the population. This reminds one of the gigantic
folly of the miser with his hoards of gold. An amusing eastern anecdote
is told of one who having gone two or three miles to say his prayers to
a mosque suddenly remembered that he had forgotten to put out an oil
lamp before leaving home. He at once retraced his steps and on reaching
his house called out to the servant girl to be sure and put out the
light. She replied that she had already done so, and that it was a pity
he had wasted his shoe leather in walking back so far to remind her. To
this he answered that he had already thought of this and had therefore
taken off his shoes and carried them under his arm so as not to wear
And here you have a wretched class of miserly so-called "_economists_"
who are afraid to light their lamp, lest they should burn the oil, and
who would rather sleep in the darkness, doing nothing, or break their
necks fumbling about in their vain efforts to do little, when for a
farthing dip they may put in hours of profitable toil! And when a shoe
is provided for the swollen foot of a nation they are so afraid of
wasting their shoe leather, that they would rather hobble about belamed
with thorns, stones, heat, or cold, than lay out the little that is
necessary to bring them so ample a return!
Each labourer represents to the state what the piece of gold is to the
miser. He is the human capital of the nation and is capable of producing
annual interest at the rate of at least a hundred per cent, if placed in
sufficiently favourable circumstances. What folly is it then, nay what
culpable negligence, nay what nothing short of criminality to sink this
human gold in the bogs of beggary and destitution! Man is the most
wonderful piece of machinery that exists in the world! The cleverest
inventions of human science sink into insignificance in comparison with
him! The whole universe is so planned that his services _cannot_ be
dispensed with and indeed he is at the same time the most beautiful
ornament and the essential keystone of the entire fabric! The utmost
that science itself can do is to increase his productive powers.
But the idea of dispensing with the service of a single human being, or
of consigning him hopelessly to the perdition of beggary, destitution,
famine and pestilence is the most stupendous act of folly conceivable.
What should we think of a railway company that would shunt half its
engines on to a siding and leave them to the destructive influence of
rain and dust? And how shall we characterise the stupidity that shall
shunt millions of serviceable human beings into circumstances of misery
so appalling as well as of uselessness so entire, as those which we have
endeavoured to picture? Why, here we have not even the decency of a
siding! These wonderfully made semi-Divine human engines are suffered to
obstruct the very main lines on which our expresses run, not only
wrecked themselves, but the fruitful cause of wreckage to millions more!
But I have said enough I trust to show that the problem is not a
hopeless one, and that the portion of General Booth's scheme to which
this chapter refers is particularly applicable to India and capable of
being successfully put into operation on a scale commensurate with the
necessities of the hour.
Having obtained our territory we should proceed to mark it out, and to
direct into the most advantageous channels, the inflowing tide of
immigration. There would be a threefold division into agricultural
districts which would furnish food for the incoming population, a
pastoral district for the cattle, and a central market, which would
furnish the pivot on which all the rest would work. Our agricultural and
dairy farm proposal I have already fully discussed and will now proceed
to describe the social City of Refuge which will act as a sort of solar
system round which all the minor constellations would revolve.
THE SOCIAL CITY OF REFUGE.
I am tempted again to turn to Hebrew history to find a parallel for what
would I believe be easily accomplished at an early period in connection
with our "Poor Man's Paradise." I refer to what was styled the "City of
Refuge." The object of this institution was to provide a temporary
shelter for those who had unintentionally killed any one, so that they
might escape from "the avenger of blood." If on inquiry it could be
proved that the death was purely accidental, the fugitive was entitled
to claim protection until by the death of the high priest, the blood
should have been expiated when he would be free to return to his home
and people. If, on the other hand, it were a case of premeditated
murder, the city authorities were bound to hand over the fugitive to
The careful provision made by the Hebrew law for the occasional
manslayer surely casts a severe reflection on the millions who, many of
them through no fault of their own, represent the submerged tenth! Let
us leave for the time being the wilful criminals who are the open
enemies of society to be dealt with as severely as you like by the arm
of the law. Turn for a moment a pitying gaze towards those hungry
destitute multitudes, who cannot it may be, plead their own cause, but
whose woes surely speak with an eloquence that no mere words could ever
match! Why should we not provide them with a City of Refuge, where they
will have a chance of regaining their feet? If it be urged that their
numbers preclude such a possibility, we would reply that it has already
been proved in the previous chapter, that this will in really make
our task the more easy. The impetus and enthusiasm created by a movement
in mass tends largely to ensure its success.
If on the other hand it be urged that our object is to divert the flow
of population from cities to villages, it must be remembered that this
does not preclude the creation of new towns and cities, which shall
furnish convenient centres and markets for the surrounding villages. It
is not a part of General Booth's scheme to abolish cities, but rather to
dispose suitably of their superfluous population. And no doubt in course
of time the world will be covered not only with suburban farms and
industrial villages, but with cities which for commercial importance and
in other respects will rival any that now exist.
I am the more encouraged to believe that this will be particularly
practicable in India for the following reasons.
1. We have an enormous population close at hand. If at a distance of
12,000 to 14,000 miles, England can build its Melbournes, Sydneys and
Adelaides, surely it does not require a very great stretch of
imagination to suppose that here in our very midst with millions upon
millions of people at disposal we shall be able to repeat what has
already been elsewhere accomplished under circumstances so specially
2. Again let it be remembered that in this case we should have the
special advantage of carrying out the work on a carefully organised plan
and in connection with a scheme possessing immense ramifications all
over India and the world.
3. Once more, India supplies labor at the cheapest conceivable rate, so
that the cost would be infinitesimal as compared with the other
countries just mentioned.
4. Another important fact is that the laborers are accustomed to be
paid in kind, and to carry on a system of exchange of goods which will
further minimise the cost of the undertaking.
5. A still more encouraging element in the solving of our Indian problem
is the fact that nearly every native is a skilled artizan and you can
hardly meet with one who has not from childhood been taught some
handicrafts. Indeed the majority both of men and women are acquainted
with two or three different trades, besides being accustomed from
childhood to draw their own water, wash their clothes and do their
cooking. Hence it is impossible to find a more self-helpful race in the
6. Again this very thing has been already done in India itself,
especially by its great Mahommedan rulers, hundreds of years ago, and
that under circumstances, which made the undertaking infinitely more
difficult than would now be the case. What was possible to them then, is
equally possible to us now.
7. Finally in the midst of some of the very waste tracts of which we
have spoken may be found cities which were once the flourishing centres
of as large and enterprising a population as can anywhere be seen. Why
should not such places be restored to their former prosperity instead of
being handed over to become "the habitation of owls and dragons."
The selection of the site of the future city would of course be made
with due reference to advantages of climate, water, and communication
and it would be planned out previous to occupation with every
consideration of convenience, health, and economy. Gangs of workmen
would precede the arrival of the regular inhabitants, though we should
largely rely upon the latter to build for themselves such simple yet
sufficiently substantial dwellings as would meet the necessities of the
case. We might reasonably anticipate, moreover, that the influx of
population would attract of its own accord a certain proportion of
well-to-do capitalists, for whom a special quarter of the town could be
reserved and to whom special facilities could be granted for their
encouragement, consistent with the general well-being of the community.
It would be easy to fill many pages with a description of the internal
colony, the business routine, the simple recreations, the practical
system of education for the children and the lively religious services
that would constitute the daily life of the City of Refuge. Suffice it
to say that we should spare no pains to promote in every way the
temporal and spiritual welfare of its inhabitants, to banish drunkenness
and immorality, to guard against destitution and to establish a happy
holy Godfearing community, that would constitute a beacon of light and
hope not only for its own immediate surroundings but far and wide for
all India and the East.
SUPPLEMENTARY BRANCHES OF THE COUNTRY COLONY.
(1.) _Public Works_--
While the central idea of the entire system will be that of providing
permanent, as contrasted with temporary work for the destitute, there is
no reason why the former should not be supplemented by the latter. The
great public works which at present afford occasional relief for
thousands would still be possible, only provision would be made for the
redistribution of the masses of labour thus withdrawn from the ordinary
channels as soon as the public work in question was completed.
For this again we possess a scriptural parallel in the "levy out of all
Israel" raised by King Solomon, consisting of thirty thousand men who
were sent "to Lebanon ten thousand a month by courses; a month they were
in Lebanon and two months at home." In addition to the above we find
that he employed seventy thousand "that bare burdens" and eighty
thousand "hewers in the mountains, beside the officers which were over
the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people
that wrought in the work." It was the elaborate organisation of these
laborers, and the provision for their spending a certain proportion of
their time at home, which enabled Solomon to carry out his great public
works without seriously deranging the labor market, or hindering the
prosperity of the nation. I have selected this instance because it is
from well authenticated sources, goes fully into details and refers to a
nation and country very much resembling India. Indeed it is almost
identical with the familiar Indian institution known as "begar" or
The weak point of such special efforts is that they tend to leave
things in a worse position than ever when they are concluded. Nobody
sits down to calculate what is to become of the thousands who have been
drawn together, often hundreds of miles from their homes, when the time
comes for them to be paid off. They are thrown bodily upon the labor
market and left to shift for themselves as best they can, without any
means of informing themselves where they ought to go, or into what other
channels they can most profitably direct their labor.
This evil we hope to obviate by means of our Labor Bureaux, which will
be planted in every city and district, and will keep such elaborate
returns as will enable to watch all the fluctuations of the labor
For instance let us be informed of the fact that a railway is to be
opened, a canal dug, or some other public work constructed in a
particular district, we should be able to calculate from our returns the
amount of labor that could conveniently be withdrawn from existing
channels, and the amount that would have to be imported.
We should be able to constitute a Solomon's levy (voluntary of course),
and the laborers would have the assurance that when the work on which
they were engaged was concluded, sufficient provision would be made for
their reemployment elsewhere, or for their restoration to their ordinary
occupation. Our Labor Bureau would thus do for the laborer what is at
present impossible for him to do for himself, and would economise his
time to the utmost.
(2.) _Off to the Tea Gardens_--
We should be able again to supply the Tea and Coffee Districts with
gangs of laborers, and should guard the interests of both employer and
employed. The former would be supplied with picked laborers at the
ordinary market rate, without the worry, delay and expense of having to
procure them for themselves. The latter would be kept in communication
with their families, and could be worked in "courses" on Solomon's plan.
(3.) _Land along the Railways_--
Among other proposals General Booth suggests that the land along the
Railway lines might well be utilised for the purpose of spade husbandry.
There seems no reason why these extensive strips of often fertile soil
should be left to go to waste, conveniently situated as they are on
borders of the main arteries of commerce and in close vicinity to
(4.) _Improved methods of Agriculture_--
This is a subject which deserves a chapter to itself in a country like
India. If it be true that there are millions of acres of waste land that