I do not say that the plan which I have suggested is the only plan or the best plan conceivable. All that I claim for it is that it is the only plan which I can conceive as practicable at the present moment, and that, as a matter of fact, it holds the field alone, for no one, so far as I have been able to discover, even proposes to reconstitute the connection between what I have called the gray matter of the brain of the municipal community and all the individual units which make up the body politic.
Carrying out the same idea I come to the problem of the waste commodities of the towns, and we will take this as an earnest of the working out of the general principle. In the villages there is very little waste. The sewage is applied directly to the land, and so becomes a source of wealth instead of being emptied into great subterranean reservoirs, to generate poisonous gases, which by a most ingenious arrangement, are then poured forth into the very heart of our dwellings, as is the case in the great cities. Neither is there any waste of broken victuals. The villager has his pig or his poultry, or if he has not a pig his neighbour has one, and the collection of broken victuals is conducted as regularly as the delivery of the post. And as it is with broken victuals, so it is with rags and bones, and old iron, and all the debris of a household. When I was a boy one of the most familiar figures in the streets of a country town was the man, who, with his small hand-barrow or donkey-cart, made a regular patrol through all the streets once a week, collecting rags, bones, and all other waste materials, buying the same from the juveniles who collected them in specie, not of Her Majesty's current coin, but of common sweetmeats, known as "claggum" or "taffy." When the tootling of his familiar horn was heard the children would bring out their stores, and trade as best they could with the itinerant merchant, with the result that the closets which in our towns to-day have become the receptacles of all kinds of, disused lumber were kept then swept and garnished. Now, what I want to know is why can we not establish on a scale commensurate with our extended needs the rag-and-bone industry in all our great towns? That there is sufficient to pay for the collection is, I think, indisputable. If it paid in a small North-country town or Midland village, why would it not pay much better in an area where the houses stand more closely together, and where luxurious living and thriftless habits have so increased that there must be proportionately far more breakage, more waste, and, therefore, more collectable matter than in the rural districts? In looking over the waste of London it has occurred to me that in the debris of our households there is sufficient food, it utilised, to feed many of the starving poor, and to employ some thousands of them in its collection, and, in addition, largely to assist the general scheme. What I propose would be to go to work on something like the following plan:-
London would be divided into districts, beginning with that portion of it most likely to furnish the largest supplies of what would be worth collection. Two men, or a man and a boy, would be told of for this purpose to this district.
Households would be requested to allow a receptacle to be placed in some convenient spot in which the servants could deposit the waste food, and a sack of some description would also be supplied for the paper, rags, &c.
The whole would be collected, say once or twice a week, or more frequently, according to the season and circumstances, and transferred to depots as central as possible to the different districts.
At present much of this waste is thrown into the dust-bin, there to fester and breed disease. Then there are old newspapers, ragged books, old bottles, tins, canisters, etc. We all know what a number of articles there are which are not quite bad enough to be thrown into the dust heap, and yet are no good to us. We put them on one side, hoping that something may turn up, and as that something very seldom does turn up, there they remain.
Crippled musical instruments, for instance, old toys, broken-down perambulators, old clothes, all the things, in short, for which we have no more need, and for which there is no market within our reach, but which we feel it would be a sin and a shame to destroy.
When I get my Household Salvage Brigade properly organised, beginning, as I said, in some district where we should be likely to meet with most material, our uniformed collectors would call every other day or twice a week with their hand barrow or pony cart. As these men would be under strict discipline, and numbered, the householder would have a security against any abuse of which such regular callers might otherwise be the occasion.
At present the rag and bone man who drives a more or less precarious livelihood by intermittent visits, is looked upon askance by prudent housewives. They fear in many cases he takes the refuse in order to have the opportunity of finding something which may be worth while "picking up," and should he be impudent or negligent there is no authority to whom they can appeal. Under our Brigade, each district would have its numbered officer, who would himself be subordinate to a superior officer, to whom any complaints could be made, and whose duty it would be to see that the officers under his command punctually performed their rounds and discharged their duties without offence.
Here let me disclaim any intention of interfering with the Little Sisters of the Poor, or any other persons, who collect the broken victuals of hotels and other establishments for charitable purposes. My object is not to poach on my neighbour's domains, nor shall I ever be a party to any contentious quarrels for the control of this or that source of supply. All that is already utilised I regard as outside my sphere. The unoccupied wilderness of waste is a wide enough area for the operations of our Brigade. But it will be found in practice that there are no competing agencies. While the broken victuals of certain large hotels are regularly collected, the things before enumerated, and a number of others, are untouched because not sought after.
Of the immense extent to which Food is wasted few people have any notion except those who have made actual experiments. Some years ago, Lady Wolseley established a system of collection from house to house in Mayfair, in order to secure materials for a charitable kitchen which, in concert with Baroness Burdett-Coutts, she had started at Westminster. The amount of the food which she gathered was enormous. Sometimes legs of mutton from which only one or two slices had been cut were thrown into the tub, where they waited for the arrival of the cart on its rounds. It is by no means an excessive estimate to assume that the waste of the kitchens of the West End would provide a sufficient sustenance for all the Out-of-Works who will be employed in our labour sheds at the industrial centres. All that it needs is collection, prompt, systematic, by disciplined men who can be relied upon to discharge their task with punctuality and civility, and whose failure in this duty can be directly brought to the attention of the controlling authority.
Of the utilisation of much of the food which is to be so collected I shall speak hereafter, when I come to describe the second great division of my scheme, namely the Farm Colony. Much of the food collected by the Household Salvage Brigade would not be available for human consumption. In this the greatest care would be exercised, and the remainder would be dispatched, if possible, by barges down the river to the Farm Colony, where we shall meet it hereafter.
But food is only one of the materials which we should handle. At our Whitechapel Factory there is one shoemaker whom we picked off the streets destitute and miserable. He is now saved, and happy, and cobbles away at the shoe leather of his mates. That shoemaker, I foresee, is but the pioneer of a whole army of shoemakers constantly at work in repairing the cast-off boots and shoes of London. Already in some provincial towns a great business is done by the conversion of old shoes into new. They call the men so employed translators. Boots and shoes, as every wearer of them knows, do not go to pieces all at once or in all parts at once. The sole often wears out utterly, while the upper leather is quite good, or the upper leather bursts while the sole remains practically in a salvable condition; but your individual pair of shoes and boots are no good to you when any section of them is hopelessly gone to the bad. But give our trained artist in leather and his army of assistants a couple of thousand pairs of boots and shoes, and it will go ill with him if out of the couple of thousand pairs of wrecks he cannot construct five hundred pairs, which, if not quite good, will be immeasurably better than the apologies for boots which cover the feet of many a poor tramp, to say nothing of the thousands of poor children who are at the present moment attending our public schools. In some towns they have already established a Boot and Shoe Fund in order to provide the little ones who come to school with shoes warranted not to let in water between the school house and home. When you remember the 43,000 children who are reported by the School Board to attend the schools of London alone unfed and starving, do you not think there are many thousands to whom we could easily dispose, with advantage, the resurrected shoes of our Boot Factory?
This, however, is only one branch of industry. Take old umbrellas. We all know the itinerant umbrella mender, whose appearance in the neighbourhood of the farmhouse leads the good wife to look after her poultry and to see well to it that the watchdog is on the premises. But that gentleman is almost the only agency by which old umbrellas can be rescued from the dust heap. Side by side with our Boot Factory we shall have a great umbrella works. The ironwork of one umbrella will be fitted to the stick of another, and even from those that are too hopelessly gone for any further use as umbrellas we shall find plenty of use for their steels and whalebone.
So I might go on. Bottles are a fertile source of minor domestic worry. When you buy a bottle you have to pay a penny for it; but when you have emptied it you cannot get a penny back; no, nor even a farthing. You throw your empty bottle either into the dust heap, or let it lie about. But if we could collect all the waste bottles of London every day, it would go hardly with us if we could not turn a very pretty penny by washing them, sorting them, and sending them out on a new lease of life. The washing of old bottles alone will keep a considerable number of people going.
I can imagine the objection which will be raised by some shortsighted people, that by giving the old, second-hand material a new lease of life it will be said that we shall diminish the demand for new material, and so curtail work and wages at one end while we are endeavouring to piece on something at the other. This objection reminds me of a remark of a North Country pilot who, when speaking of the dulness in the shipbuilding industry, said that nothing would do any good but a series of heavy storms, which would send a goodly number of ocean-going steamers to the bottom, to replace which, this political economist thought, the yards would once more be filled with orders. This, however, is not the way in which work is supplied. Economy is a great auxiliary to trade, inasmuch as the money saved is expended on other products of industry.
There is one material that is continually increasing in quantity, which is the despair of the life of the householder and of the Local Sanitary Authority. I refer to the tins in which provisions are supplied. Nowadays everything comes to us in tins. We have coffee tins, meat tins, salmon tins, and tins ad nauseam. Tin is becoming more and more the universal envelope of the rations of man. But when you have extracted the contents of the tin what can you do with it? Huge mountains of empty tins lie about every dustyard, for as yet no man has discovered a means of utilising them when in great masses. Their market price is about four or five shillings a ton, but they are so light that it would take half a dozen trucks to hold a ton. They formerly burnt them for the sake of the solder, but now, by a new process, they are jointed without solder. The problem of the utilisation of the tins is one to which we would have to address ourselves, and I am by no means desponding as to the result.
I see in the old tins of London at least one means of establishing an industry which is at present almost monopolised by our neighbours. Most of the toys which are sold in France on New Year's Day are almost entirely made of sardine tins collected in the French capital. The toy market of England is at present far from being overstocked, for there are multitudes of children who have no toys worth speaking of with which to amuse themselves. In these empty tins I see a means of employing a large number of people in turning out cheap toys which will add a new joy to the households of the poor—the poor to whom every farthing is important, not the rich the rich can always get toys—but the children of the poor, who live in one room and have nothing to look out upon but the slum or the street. These desolate little things need our toys, and if supplied cheap enough they will take them in sufficient quantities to make it worth while to manufacture them.
A whole book might be written concerning the utilisation of the waste of London. But I am not going to write one. I hope before long to do something much better than write a book, namely, to establish an organisation to utilise the waste, and then if I describe what is being done it will be much better than by now explaining what I propose to do. But there is one more waste material to which it is necessary to allude. I refer to old newspapers and magazines, and books. Newspapers accumulate in our houses until we sometimes burn them in sheer disgust. Magazines and old books lumber our shelves until we hardly know where to turn to put a new volume. My Brigade will relieve the householder from these difficulties, and thereby become a great distributing agency of cheap literature. After the magazine has done its duty in the middle class household it can be passed on to the reading-rooms, workhouses, and hospitals. Every publication issued from the Press that is of the slightest use to men and women will, by our Scheme, acquire a double share of usefulness. It will be read first by its owner, and then by many people who would never otherwise see it.
We shall establish an immense second-hand book shop. All the best books that come into our hands will be exposed for sale, not merely at our central depots, but on the barrows of our peripatetic colporteurs, who will go from street to street with literature which, I trust, will be somewhat superior to the ordinary pabulum supplied to the poor. After we have sold all we could, and given away all that is needed to public institutions, the remainder will be carried down to our great Paper Mill, of which we shall speak later, in connection with our Farm Colony.
The Household Salvage Brigade will constitute an agency capable of being utilised to any extent for the distribution of parcels newspapers, &c. When once you have your reliable man who will call at every house with the regularity of a postman, and go his beat with the punctuality of a policeman, you can do great things with him. I do not need to elaborate this point. It will be a universal Corps of Commissionaires, created for the service of the public and in the interests of the poor, which will bring us into direct relations with every family in London, and will therefore constitute an unequalled medium for the distribution of advertisements and the collection of information.
It does not require a very fertile imagination to see that when such a house-to-house visitation is regularly established, it will develop in all directions; and working, as it would, in connection with our Anti-sweating Shops and Industrial Colony, would probably soon become the medium for negotiating sundry household repairs, from a broken window to a damaged stocking. If a porter were wanted to move furniture, or a woman wanted to do charing, or some one to clean windows or any other odd job, the ubiquitous Servant of All who called for the waste, either verbally or by postcard, would receive the order, and whoever was wanted would appear at the time desired without any further trouble on the part of the householder.
One word as to the cost. There are five hundred thousand houses in the Metropolitan Police district. To supply every house with a tub and a sack for the reception of waste would involve an initial expenditure which could not possibly be less than one shilling a house. So huge is London, and so enormous the numbers with which we shall have to deal, that this simple preliminary would require a cost of #25,000. Of course I do not propose to begin on anything like such a vast scale. That sum, which is only one of the many expenditures involved, will serve to illustrate the extent of the operations which the Household Salvage Brigade will necessitate. The enterprise is therefore beyond the reach of any but a great and powerful organisation, commanding capital and able to secure loyalty, discipline, and willing service.
CHAPTER 3. TO THE COUNTRY!—THE FARM COLONY.
A leave on one side for a moment various features of the operations which will be indispensable but subsidiary to the City Colony, such as the Rescue Homes for Lost Women, the Retreats for Inebriates, the Homes for Discharged Prisoners, the Enquiry Office for the Discovery of Lost Friends and Relatives, and the Advice Bureau, which will, in time, become an institution that will be invaluable as a poor man's Tribune. All these and other suggestions for saving the lost and helping the poor, although they form essential elements of the City Colony, will be better dealt with after I have explained the relation which the Farm Colony will occupy to the City Colony, and set forth the way in which the former will act as a feeder to the Colony Over sea.
I have already described how I propose to deal, in the first case, with the mass of surplus labour which will infallibly accumulate on our hands as soon as the Shelters are more extensively established and in good working order. But I fully recognise that when all has been done that can be done in the direction of disposing of the unhired men and women of the town, there will still remain many whom you can neither employ in the Household Salvage Brigade, nor for whom employers, be they registered never so carefully, can be found. What, then, must be done with them? The answer to that question seems to me obvious. They must go upon the land!
The land is the source of all food; only by the application of labour can the land be made fully productive. There is any amount of waste land in the world, not far away in distant Continents, next door to the North Pole, but here at our very doors. Have you ever calculated, for instance, the square miles of unused land which fringe the sides of all our railroads? No doubt some embankments are of material that would baffle the cultivating skill at a Chinese or the careful husbandry of a Swiss mountaineer; but these are exceptions. When other people talk of reclaiming Salisbury Plain, or of cultivating the bare moorlands of the bleak North, I think of the hundreds of square miles of land that lie in long ribbons on the side of each of our railways, upon which, without any cost for cartage, innumerable tons of City manure could be shot down, and the crops of which could be carried at once to the nearest market without any but the initial cost of heaping into convenient trucks. These railway embankments constitute a vast estate, capable of growing fruit enough to supply all the jam that Crosse and Blackwell ever boiled. In almost every county in England are vacant farms, and, in still greater numbers, farms but a quarter cultivated, which only need the application of an industrious population working with due incentive to produce twice, thrice, and four times as much as they yield to-day.
I am aware that there are few subjects upon which there are such fierce controversies as the possibilities of making a livelihood out of small holdings, but Irish cottiers do it, and in regions infinitely worse adapted for the purpose than our Essex corn lands, and possessing none of the advantages which civilization and co-operation place at the command of an intelligently directed body of husbandmen. Talk about the land not being worth cultivating! Go to the Swiss Valleys and examine for yourself the miserable patches of land, hewed out as it were from the heart of the granite mountains, where the cottager grows his crops and makes a livelihood. No doubt he has his Alp, where his cows pasture in summer-time, and his other occupations which enable him to supplement the scanty yield of his farm garden among the crags; but if it pays the Swiss mountaineer in the midst of the eternal snows, far removed from any market, to cultivate such miserable soil in the brief summer of the high Alps, it is impossible to believe that Englishmen, working on English soil, close to our markets and enjoying all the advantages of co-operation, cannot earn their daily bread by their daily toil. The soil of England is not unkindly, and although much is said against our climate, it is, as Mr. Russell Lowell observes, after a lengthened experience of many countries and many climes, "the best climate in the whole world for the labouring man." There are more days in the English year on which a man can work out of doors with a spade with comparative comfort than in any other country under heaven. I do not say that men will make a fortune out of the land, nor do I pretend that we can, under the grey English skies, hope ever to vie with the productiveness of the Jersey farms; but I am prepared to maintain against all comers that it is possible for an industrious man to grow his rations, provided he is given a spade with which to dig and land to dig in. Especially will this be the case with intelligent direction and the advantages of co-operation.
Is it not a reasonable supposition? It always seems to me a strange thing that men should insist that you must first transport your labourer thousands of miles to a desolate, bleak country in order to set him to work to extract a livelihood from the soil when hundreds of thousands of acres lie only half tilled at home or not tilled at all. Is it reasonable to think that you can only begin to make a living out of land when it lies several thousand miles from the nearest market, and thousands of miles from the place where the labourer has to buy his tools and procure all the necessaries of life which are not grown on the spot? If a man can make squatting pay on the prairies or in Australia, where every quarter of grain which he produces has to be dragged by locomotives across the railways of the continent, and then carried by steamers across the wide ocean, can he not equally make the operation at least sufficiently profitable to keep himself alive if you plant him with the same soil within an hour by rail of the greatest markets in the world?
The answer to this is, that you cannot give your man as much soil as he has on the prairies or in the Canadian lumber lands. This, no doubt, is true, but the squatter who settles in the Canadian backwoods does not clear his land all at once. He lives on a small portion of it, and goes on digging and delving little by little, until, after many years of Herculean labour, he hews out for himself, and his children after him, a freehold estate. Freehold estates, I admit, are not to be had for the picking up on English soil, but if a man will but work in England as they work in Canada or in Australia, he will find as little difficulty in making a livelihood here as there.
I may be wrong, but when I travel abroad and see the desperate struggle on the part of peasant proprietors and the small holders in mountainous districts for an additional patch of soil, the idea of cultivating which would make our agricultural labourers turn up their noses in speechless contempt, I cannot but think that our English soil could carry a far greater number of souls to the acre than that which it bears at present. Suppose, for instance, that Essex were suddenly to find itself unmoored from its English anchorage and towed across the Channel to Normandy, or, not to imagine miracles, suppose that an Armada of Chinese were to make a descent on the Isle of Thanet, as did the sea-kings, Hengist and Horsa, does anyone imagine for a moment that Kent, fertile and cultivated as it is, would not be regarded as a very Garden of Eden out of the odd corners of which our yellow-skinned invaders would contrive to extract sufficient to keep themselves in sturdy health? I only suggest the possibility in order to bring out clearly the fact that the difficulty is not in the soil nor in the climate, but in the lack of application of sufficient labour to sufficient land in the truly scientific way.
"What is the scientific way?" I shall be asked impatiently. I am not an agriculturist; I do not dogmatize. I have read much from many pens, and have noted the experiences of many colonies, and I have learned the lesson that it is in the school of practical labour that the most valuable knowledge is to be obtained. Nevertheless, the bulk of my proposals are based upon the experience of many who have devoted their lives to the study of the subject, and have been endorsed by specialists whose experience gives them authority to speak with unquestioning confidence.
SECTION 1.—THE FARM PROPER.
My present idea is to take an estate from five hundred to a thousand acres within reasonable distance of London. It should be of such land as will be suitable for market gardening, while having some clay on it for brick-making and for crops requiring a heavier soil. If possible, it should not only be on a line of railway which is managed by intelligent and progressive directors, but it should have access to the sea and to the river. It should be freehold land, and it should lie at some considerable distance from any town or village. The reason for the latter desideratum is obvious. We must be near London for the sake of our market and for the transmission of the commodities collected by our Household Salvage Brigade, but it must be some little distance from any town or village in order that the Colony may be planted clear out in the open away from the public house, that upas tree of civilisation. A sine qua non of the new Farm Colony is that no intoxicating liquors will be permitted within its confines on any pretext whatever. The doctors will have to prescribe some other stimulant than alcohol for residents in this Colony. But it will be little use excluding alcohol with a strong hand and by cast-iron regulations if the Colonists have only to take a short walk in order to find themselves in the midst of the "Red Lions," and the "Blue Dragons," and the "George the Fourths," which abound in every country town.
Having obtained the land I should proceed to prepare it for the Colonists. This is an operation which is essentially the same in any country. You need water supply, provisions and shelter. All this would be done at first in the simplest possible style. Our pioneer brigade, carefully selected from the competent Out-of-Works in the City Colony, would be sent down to layout the estate and prepare it for those who would come after. And here let me say that it is a great delusion to imagine that in the riffraff and waste of the labour market there are no workmen to be had except those that are worthless. Worthless under the present conditions, exposed to constant temptations to intemperance no doubt they are, but some of the brightest men in London, with some of the smartest pairs of hands, and the cleverest brains, are at the present moment weltering helplessly in the sludge from which we propose to rescue them.
I am not speaking without book in this matter. Some of my best Officers to-day have been even such as they. There is an infinite potentiality of capacity lying latent in our Provincial Tap-rooms and the City Gin Palaces if you can but get them soundly saved, and even short of that, if you can place them in conditions where they would no longer be liable to be sucked back into their old disastrous habits, you may do great things with them.
I can well imagine the incredulous laughter which will greet my proposal. "What," it will be said, "do you think that you can create agricultural pioneers out of the scum of Cockneydom?" Let us look for a moment at the ingredients which make up what you call "the scum of Cockneydom." After careful examination and close cross-questioning of the Out-of-Works, whom we have already registered at our Labour Bureau, we find that at least sixty per cent. are country folk, men, women, boys, and girls, who have left their homes in the counties to come up to town in the hope of bettering themselves. They are in no sense of the word Cockneys, and they represent not the dregs of the country but rather its brighter and more adventurous spirits who have boldly tried to make their way in new and uncongenial spheres and have terribly come to grief. Of thirty cases, selected haphazard, in the various Shelters during the week ending July 5th, 1890, twenty-two were country-born, sixteen were men who had come up a long time ago, but did not ever seem to have settled to regular employ, and four were old military men. Of sixty cases examined into at the Bureau and Shelters during the fortnight ending August 2nd, forty-two were country people; twenty-six men who had been in London for various periods; ranging from six months to four years; nine were lads under eighteen, who had run away from home and come up to town; while four were ex-military. Of eighty-five cases of dossers who were spoken to at night when they slept in the streets, sixty-three were country people. A very small proportion of the genuine homeless Out-of-Works are Londoners bred and born.
There is another element in the matter, the existence of which will be news to most people, and that is the large proportion of ex-military men who are among the helpless, hopeless destitute. Mr. Arnold White, after spending many months in the streets of London interrogating more than four thousand men whom he found in the course of one bleak winter sleeping out of doors like animals returns it as his conviction that at least 20 per cent. are Army Reserve men. Twenty per cent! That is to say one man in every five with whom we shall have to deal has served Her Majesty the Queen under the colours. This is the resource to which these poor fellows come after they have given the prime of their lives to the service of their country. Although this may be largely brought about by their own thriftless and evil conduct, it is a scandal and disgrace which may well make the cheek of the patriot tingle. Still, I see in it a great resource. A man who has been in the Queen's Army is a man who has learnt to obey. He is further a man who has been taught in the roughest of rough schools to be handy and smart, to make the best of the roughest fare, and not to consider himself a martyr if he is sent on a forlorn hope. I often say if we could only get Christians to have one-half of the practical devotion and sense of duty that animates even the commonest Tommy Atkins what a change would be brought about in the world!
Look at poor Tommy! A country lad who gets himself into some scrape, runs away from home, finds himself sinking lower and lower, with no hope of employment, no friends to advise; him, and no one to give him a helping hand. In sheer despair he takes the Queen's shilling and enters the ranks. He is handed over to an inexorable drill sergeant, he is compelled to room in barracks where privacy is unknown, to mix with men, many of them vicious, few of them companions whom he would of his own choice select. He gets his rations, and although he is told he will get a shilling a day, there are so many stoppages that he often does not finger a shilling a week. He is drilled and worked and ordered hither and thither as if he were a machine, all of which he takes cheerfully, without even considering that there is any hardship in his lot, plodding on in a dull, stolid kind of way for his Queen and his country, doing his best, also, poor chap, to be proud of his red uniform, and to cultivate his self-respect by reflecting that he is one of the defenders of his native land, one of the heroes upon whose courage and endurance depends the safety of the British realm.
Some fine day at the other end of the world some prancing pro-consul finds it necessary to smash one of the man-slaying machines that loom ominous on his borders, or some savage potentate makes an incursion into territory of a British colony, or some fierce outburst of Mahommedan fanaticism raises up a Mahdi in mid-Africa. In a moment Tommy Atkins is marched off to the troop-ship, and swept across the seas, heart-sick and sea-sick, and miserable exceedingly, to tight the Queen's enemies in foreign parts. When he arrives there he is bundled ashore, brigaded with other troops, marched to the front through the blistering glare of a tropical sun over poisonous marshes in which his comrades sicken and die, until at last he is drawn up in square to receive the charge of tens of thousands of ferocious savages. Far away from all who love him or care for him, foot-sore and travel weary, having eaten perhaps but a piece of dry bread in the last twenty-four hours, he must stand up and kill or be killed. Often he falls beneath the thrust of an assegai or the slashing broadsword of the charging enemy. Then, after the fight is over his comrades turn up the sod where he lies, bundle his poor bones into the shallow pit, and leave him without even a cross to mark his solitary grave. Perhaps he is fortunate and escapes. Yet Tommy goes uncomplainingly through all these hardships and privations, does not think himself a martyr, takes no fine airs about what he has done and suffered, and shrinks uncomplainingly into our Shelters and our Factories, only asking as a benediction from heaven that someone will give him an honest job of work to do. That is the fate of Tommy Atkins. If in our churches and chapels as much as one single individual were to bear and dare, for the benefit of his kind and the salvation of men, what a hundred thousand Tommy Atkins' bear uncomplainingly, taking it all as if it were in the day's work, for their rations and their shilling a day (with stoppages), think you we should not transform the whole face of the world? Yea, verily. We find but very little of such devotion; no, not in Israel.
I look forward to making great use of these Army Reserve men. There are engineers amongst them; there are artillery men and infantry; there are cavalry men, who know what a horse needs to keep him in good health, and men of the transport department, for whom I shall find work enough to do in the transference of the multitudinous waste of London from our town Depots to the outlying Farm. This, however, is a digression, by the way.
After having got the Farm into some kind of ship-shape, we should select from the City Colonies all those who were likely to be successful as our first settlers. These would consist of men who had been working so many weeks or days in the Labour Factory, or had been under observation for a reasonable time at the Shelters or in the Slums, and who had given evidence of their willingness to work, their amenity to discipline, and their ambition to improve themselves. On arrival at the Farm they would be installed in a barracks, and at once told off to work. In winter time there would be draining, and road-making, and fencing, and many other forms of industry which could go on when the days are short and the nights are long. In Spring, Summertime and Autumn, some would be employed on the land, chiefly in spade husbandry, upon what is called the system of "intensive" agriculture, such as prevails in the suburbs of Paris, where the market gardeners literally create the soil, and which yields much greater results than when you merely scratch the surface with a plough.
Our Farm, I hope, would be as productive as a great market garden. There would be a Superintendent on the Colony, who would be a practical gardener, familiar with the best methods of small agriculture, and everything that science and experience shows to be needful for the profitable treatment of the land. Then there would be various other forms of industry continually in progress, so that employment could be furnished, adapted to the capacity and skill of every Colonist. Where farm buildings are wanted, the Colonists must erect them themselves. If they want glass houses, they must put them up. Everything on the Estate must be the production of the Colonists. Take, for instance, the building of cottages. After the first detachment has settled down into its quarters and brought the fields somewhat into cultivation, there will arise a demand for houses. These houses must be built, and the bricks made; by the Colonists themselves. All the carpentering and the joinery will be done on the premises, and by this means a sustained demand for work will be created. Then there would be furniture, clothing, and a great many other wants, the supply of the whole of which would create labour which the Colonists must perform.
For a long time to come the Salvation Army will be able to consume all the vegetables and crops which the Colonies will produce. That is one advantage of being connected with so great and growing a concern; the right hand will help the left, and we shall be able to do many things which those who devote themselves exclusively to colonisation would find it impossible to accomplish. We have seen the large quantities of provisions which are required to supply the Food Depots in their present dimensions, and with the coming extensions the consumption will be enormously augmented. On this Farm I propose to carry on every description of "little agriculture."
I have not yet referred to the female side of our operations, but have reserved them for another chapter. It is necessary, however, to bring them in here in order to explain that employment will be created for women as well as men. Fruit farming affords a great opening for female labour, and it will indeed be a change as from Tophet to the Garden of Eden when the poor lost girls on the streets of London exchange the pavements of Piccadilly for the strawberry Beds of Essex or Kent.
Not only will vegetables and fruit of every description be raised, but I think that a great deal might be done in the smaller adjuncts of the Farm.
It is quite certain that amongst the mass of people with whom we have to deal there will be a residual remnant of persons to some extent mentally infirm or physically incapacitated from engaging in the harder toils. For these people it is necessary to find work, and I think there would be a good field for their benumbed energies in looking after rabbits, feeding poultry, minding bees, and, in short doing all those little odd jobs about a place which must be attended to, but which will not repay the labour of able-bodied men.
One advantage of the cosmopolitan nature of the Army is that we have Officers in almost every country in the world. When this Scheme is well on the way every Salvation Officer in every I and will have it imposed upon him as one of the duties of his calling to keep his eyes open for every useful notion and every conceivable contrivance for increasing the yield of the soil and utilising the employment of waste labour. By this means I hope that there will not be an idea in the world which will not be made available for our Scheme. If an Officer in Sweden can give us practical hints as to how they manage food kitchens for the people, or an Officer in the South of France can explain how the peasants are able to rear eggs and poultry not only for their own use, but so as to be able to export them by the million to England; if a Sergeant in Belgium understands how it is that the rabbit farmers there can feed and fatten and supply our market with millions of rabbits we shall have him over, tap his brains, and set him to work to benefit our people.
By the establishment of this Farm Colony we should create a great school of technical agricultural education. It would be a Working Men's Agricultural University, training people for the life which they would have to lead in the new countries they will go forth to colonise and possess.
Every man who goes to our Farm Colony does so, not to acquire his fortune, but to obtain a knowledge of an occupation and that mastery of his tools which will enable him to play his part in the battle of life. He will be provided with a cheap uniform, which we shall find no difficulty in rigging up from the old clothes of London, and it will go hardly with us, and we shall have worse luck than the ordinary market gardener, if we do not succeed in making sufficient profit to pay all the expenses of the concern, and leave something over for the maintenance of the hopelessly incompetent, and those who, to put it roughly, are not worth their keep.
Every person in the Farm Colony will be taught the elementary lesson of obedience, and will be instructed in the needful arts of husbandry, or some other method of earning his bread. The Agricultural Section will learn the lesson of the seasons and of the best kind of seeds and plants. Those belonging to this Section will learn how to hedge and ditch, how to make roads and build bridges, and generally to subdue the earth and make it yield to him the riches which it never withholds from the industrious and skilful workman. But the Farm Colony, any more than the City Colony, although an abiding institution, will not provide permanently for those with whom we have to deal. It is a Training School for Emigrants, a place where those indispensably practical lessons are given which will enable the Colonists to know their way about and to feel themselves at home wherever there is land to till, stock to rear, and harvests to reap. We shall rely greatly for the peace and prosperity of the Colony upon the sense of brotherhood which will be universal in it from the highest to the lowest. While there will be no systematic wage-paying there will be some sort of rewards and remuneration for honest industry, which will be stored up, for his benefit, as afterwards explained. They will in the main work each for all, and, therefore, the needs of all will be supplied, and any overplus will go to make the bridge over which any poor fellow may escape from the horrible pit and the miry clay from which they themselves have been rescued.
The dulness and deadness of country life, especially in the Colonies, leads many men to prefer a life of hardship and privation in a City slum. But in our Colony they would be near to each other, and would enjoy the advantages of country life and the association and companionship of life in town.
SECTION 2.—THE INDUSTRIAL VILLAGE.
In describing the operations of the Household Salvage Brigade I have referred to the enormous quantities of good sound food which would be collected from door to door every day of the year. Much of this food would be suitable for human consumption, its waste being next door to sinful. Imagine, for instance, the quantities of soup which might be made from boiling the good fresh meaty bones of the great City! Think of the dainty dishes which a French cook would be able to serve up from the scraps and odds and ends of a single West End kitchen. Good cookery is not an extravagance but an economy, and many a tasty dish is made by our Continental friends out of materials which would be discarded indignantly by the poorest tramp in Whitechapel.
But after all that is done there will remain a mass of food which cannot be eaten by man, but can be converted into food for him by the simple process of passing it through another digestive apparatus. The old bread of London, the soiled, stale crusts can be used in foddering the horses which are employed in collecting the waste. It will help to feed the rabbits, whose hutches will be close by every cottage on the estate, and the hens of the Colony will flourish on the crumbs which fall from the table of Dives. But after the horses and the rabbits and poultry have been served, there will remain a residuum of eatable matter, which can only be profitably disposed of to the voracious and necessary pig. I foresee the rise of a piggery in connection with the new Social Scheme, which will dwarf into insignificance all that exist in Great Britain and Ireland. We have the advantage of the experience of the whole world as to the choice of breeds, the construction of sties, and the rearing of stock. We shall have the major part of our food practically for the cost of collection, and be able to adopt all the latest methods of Chicago for the killing, curing, and disposing of our pork, ham, and bacon.
There are few animals more useful than the pig. He will eat anything, live anywhere, and almost every particle of him, from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, is capable of being converted into a saleable commodity. Your pig also is a great producer of manure, and agriculture is after all largely a matter of manure. Treat the land well and it will treat you well. With our piggery in connection with our Farm Colony there would be no lack of manure.
With the piggery there would grow up a great bacon factory for curing, and that again would make more work. Then as for sausages they would be produced literally by the mile, and all made of the best meat instead of being manufactured out of the very objectionable ingredients too often stowed away in that poor man's favourite ration.
Food, however, is only one of the materials which will be collected by the Household Salvage Brigade. The barges which float down the river with the tide, laden to the brim with the cast-off waste of half a million homes, will bring down an enormous quantity of material which cannot be eaten even by pigs. There will be, for instance, the old bones. At present it pays speculators to go to the prairies of America and gather up the bleached bones of the dead buffaloes, in order to make manure. It pays manufacturers to bring bones from the end of the earth in order to grind them up for use on our fields. But the waste bones of London; who collects them? I see, as in a vision, barge loads upon barge loads of bones floating down the Thames to the great Bone Factory. Some of the best will yield material for knife handles and buttons, and the numberless articles which will afford ample opportunity in the long winter evenings for the acquisition of skill on the part of our Colonist carvers, while the rest will go straight to the Manure Mill. There will be a constant demand for manure on the part of our ever-increasing nests of new Colonies and our Co-operative Farm, every man in which will be educated in the great doctrine that there is no good agriculture without liberal manuring. And here will be an unfailing source of supply.
Among the material which comes down will be an immense quantity of greasy matter, bits of fat, suet and lard, tallow, strong butter, and all the rancid fat of a great city. For all that we shall have to find use. The best of it will make waggon grease, the rest, after due boiling and straining, will form the nucleus of the raw material which will make our Social Soap a household word throughout the kingdom. After the Manure Works, the Soap Factory will be the natural adjunct of our operations.
The fourth great output of the daily waste of London will be waste paper and rags, which, after being chemically treated, and duly manipulated by machinery, will be re-issued to the world in the shape of paper. The Salvation Army consumes no less than thirty tons of paper every week. Here, therefore, would be one customer for as much paper as the new mill would be able to turn out at the onset; paper on which we could print the glad tidings of great joy, and tell the poor of all nations the news of salvation for earth and Heaven, full, present, and free to all the children of men.
Then comes the tin. It will go hard with us if we cannot find some way of utilizing these tins, whether we make them into flowerpots with a coat of enamel, or convert them into ornaments, or cut them up for toys or some other purpose. My officers have been instructed to make an exhaustive report on the way the refuse collectors of Paris deal with the sardine tins. The industry of making tin toys will be one which can be practised better in the Farm Colony than in the City. If necessary, we shall bring an accomplished workman from France, who will teach our people the way of dealing with the tin.
In connection with all this it is obvious there would be a constant demand for packing cases, for twine, rope, and for boxes of all kinds; for carts and cars; and, in short, we should before long have a complete community practising almost all the trades that are to be found in London, except the keeping of grog shops, the whole being worked upon co-operative principles, but co-operation not for the benefit of the individual co-operator, but for the benefit of the sunken mass that lies behind it.
RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF COLONISTS.
A document containing the Orders and Regulations for the Government of the Colony must be approved and signed by every Colonist before admission. Amongst other things there will be the following: —
1. All Officers must be treated respectfully and implicitly obeyed.
2. The use of intoxicants strictly prohibited, none being allowed within its borders. Any Colonist guilty of violating this Order to be expelled, and that on the first offence.
3. Expulsion for drunkenness, dishonesty, or falsehood will follow the third offence.
4. Profane language strictly forbidden.
5. No cruelty to be practised on man, woman, child, or animal.
6. Serious offenders against the virtue of women, or of children of either sex, to incur immediate expulsion.
7. After a certain period of probation, and a considerable amount of patience, all who will not work to be expelled.
8. The decision of the Governor of the Colony, whether in the City, or the Farm, or Over the Sea, to be binding in all cases.
9. With respect to penalties, the following rules will be acted upon. The chief reliance for the maintenance of order, as has been observed before, will be placed upon the spirit of love which will prevail throughout the community. But as it cannot be expected to be universally successful, certain penalties will have to be provided: —
(a) First offences, except in flagrant cases, will be recorded. (b) The second offence will be published. (c) The third offence will incur expulsion or being handed over to the authorities.
Other regulations will be necessary as the Scheme develops.
There will be no attempt to enforce upon the Colonists the rules and regulations to which Salvation Soldiers are subjected. Those who are soundly saved and who of their own free will desire to become Salvationists will, of course, be subjected to the rules of the Service. But Colonists who are willing to work and obey the orders of the Commanding Officer will only be subject to the foregoing and similar regulations; in all other things they will be left free.
For instance, there will be no objection to field recreations or any outdoor exercises which conduce to the maintenance of health and spirits. A reading room and a library will be provided, together with a hall, in which they can amuse themselves in the long winter nights and in unfavourable weather. These things are not for the Salvation Army Soldiers, who have other work in the world, but for those who are not in the Army these recreations will be permissible. Gambling and anything of an immoral tendency will be repressed like stealing.
There will probably be an Annual Exhibition of fruit and flowers, at which all the Colonists who have a plot of garden of their own will take part. They will exhibit their fruit and vegetables as well as their rabbits, their poultry and all the other live-stock of the farm. Every effort will be made to establish village industries, and I am not without hope but that we may be able to restore some of the domestic occupations which steam has compelled us to confine to the great factories. The more the Colony can be made self-supporting the better. And although the hand loom can never compete with Manchester mills, still an occupation which kept the hands of the goodwife busy in the long winter nights, is not to be despised as an element in the economics of the Settlement. While Manchester and Leeds may be able to manufacture common goods much more cheaply than they can be spun at home, even these emporiums, with all their grand improvements in machinery, would be sorely pressed to-day to compete with the hand-loom in many superior classes of work. For instance, we all know the hand-sewn boot still holds its own against the most perfect article that machinery can turn out.
There would be, in the centre of the Colony, a Public Elementary School at which the children would receive training, and side by side with that an Agricultural Industrial School, as elsewhere described.
The religious welfare of the Colony would be looked after by the Salvation Army, but there will be no compulsion to take part in its services. The Sabbath will be strictly observed; no unnecessary work will be done in the Colony on that day, but beyond interdicted labour, the Colonists will be allowed to spend Sunday as they please. It will be the fault of the Salvation Army if they do not find our Sunday Services sufficiently attractive to command their attendance.
SECTION 3.—AGRICULTURAL VILLAGES.
This brings me to the next feature of the Scheme, the creation of agricultural settlements in the neighbourhood of the Farm, around the original Estate. I hope to obtain land for the purpose of allotments which can be taken up to the extent of so many acres by the more competent Colonists who wish to remain at home instead of going abroad. There will be allotments from three to five acres with a cottage, a cow, and the necessary tools and seed for making the allotment self-supporting. A weekly charge will be imposed for the he repayment of the cost of the fixing and stock. The tenant will of course, be entitled to his tenant-right, but adequate precautions will be taken against underletting and other forms by which sweating makes its way into agricultural communities. On entering into possession, the tenant will become responsible for his own and his family's maintenance. I shall stand no longer in the relation of father of the household to him, as I do to the other members of the Colony; his obligations will cease to me, except in the payment of his rent.
The creation of a large number of Allotment Farms would make the establishment of a creamery necessary, where the milk could be brought in every day and converted into butter by the most modern methods, with the least possible delay. Dairying, which has in some places on the Continent almost developed to a fine art, is in a very backward condition in this country. But by co-operation among the cottiers and an intelligent Headquarter staff much could be done which at present appears impossible.
The tenant will be allowed permanent tenancy on payment of an annual rent or land tax, subject, of course, to such necessary regulations which may be made for the prevention of intemperance and immorality and the preservation of the fundamental features of the Colony. In this way our Farm Colony will throw off small Colonies all round it until the original site is but the centre of a whole series of small farms, where those whom we have rescued and trained will live, if not under their own vine and fig tree, at least in the midst of their own little fruit farm, and surrounded by their small flocks and herds. The cottages will be so many detached residences, each standing in its own ground, not so far away from its neighbours as to deprive its occupants of the benefit of human intercourse.
SECTION 4.—CO-OPERATIVE FARM.
Side by side with the Farm Colony proper I should propose to renew the experiment of Mr. E. T. Craig, which he found work so successfully at Ralahine. When any members of the original Colony had pulled themselves sufficiently together to desire to begin again on their own account, I should group some of them as partners in a Co-operative Farm, and see whether or no the success achieved in County Clare could not be repeated in Essex or in Kent. I cannot have more unpromising material to deal with than the wild Irishmen on Colonel Vandeleur's estate, and I would certainly take care to be safeguarded against any such mishap as destroyed the early promise of Ralahine.
I shall look upon this as one of the most important experiments of the entire series, and if, as I anticipate, it can be worked successfully, that is, if the results of Ralahine can be secured on a larger scale, I shall consider that the problem of the employment of the people, and the use of the land, and the food supply for the globe, is unquestionably solved, were its inhabitants many times greater in number than they are.
Without saying more, some idea will be obtained as to what I propose from the story of Ralahine related briefly at the close of this volume.
CHAPTER 4. NEW BRITAIN—THE COLONY OVER-SEA.
We now come to the third and final stage of the regenerative process. The Colony Over-Sea. To mention Over-Sea is sufficient with some people to damn the Scheme. A prejudice against emigration has been diligently fostered in certain quarters by those who have openly admitted that they did not wish to deplete the ranks of the Army of Discontent at home, for the more discontented people you have here the more trouble you can give the Government, and the more power you have to bring about the general overturn, which is the only thing in which they see any hope for the future. Some again object to emigration on the ground that it is transportation. I confess that I have great sympathy with those who object to emigration as carried on hitherto, and if it be a consolation to any of my critics I may say at once that so far from compulsorily expatriating any Englishman I shall refuse to have any part or lot in emigrating any man or woman who does not voluntarily wish to be sent out.
A journey over sea is a very different thing now to what it was when a voyage to Australia consumed more than six months, when emigrants were crowded by hundreds into sailing ships, and scenes of abominable sin and brutality were the normal incidents of the passage. The world has grown much smaller since the electric telegraph was discovered and side by side with the shrinkage of this planet under the influence of steam and electricity there has come a sense of brotherhood and a consciousness of community of interest and of nationality on the part of the English-speaking people throughout the world. To change from Devon to Australia is not such a change in many respects as merely to cross over from Devon to Normandy. In Australia the Emigrant finds him self among men and women of the same habits, the same language, and in fact the same people, excepting that they live under the southern cross instead of in the northern latitudes. The reduction of the postage between England and the Colonies, a reduction which I hope will soon be followed by the establishment of the Universal Penny Post between the English speaking lands, will further tend to lessen the sense of distance.
The constant travelling of the Colonists backwards and forwards to England makes it absurd to speak of the Colonies as if they were a foreign land. They are simply pieces of Britain distributed about the world, enabling the Britisher to have access to the richest parts of the earth.
Another objection which will be taken to this Scheme is that colonists already over sea will see with infinite alarm the prospect of the transfer of our waste labour to their country. It is easy to understand how this misconception will arise, but there is not much danger of opposition on this score. The working-men who rule the roost at Melbourne object to the introduction of fresh workmen into their labour market, for the same reason that the new Dockers' Union objects to the appearance of new hands at the dock gates, that is for fear the newcomers will enter into unfriendly competition with them. But no Colony, not even the Protectionist and Trade Unionists who govern Victoria, could rationally object to the introduction of trained Colonists planted out upon the land. They would see that these men would become a source of wealth, simply because they would at once become producers as well as consumers, and instead of cutting down wages they would tend directly to improve trade and so increase the employment of the workmen now in the Colony. Emigration as hitherto conducted has been carried out on directly opposite principles to these. Men and women have simply been shot down into countries without any regard to their possession of ability to earn a livelihood, and have consequently become an incubus upon the energies of the community, and a discredit, expense, and burden. The result is that they gravitate to the towns and compete with the colonial workmen, and thereby drive down wages. We shall avoid that mistake. We need not wonder that Australians and other Colonists should object to their countries being converted into a sort of dumping ground, on which to deposit men and women totally unsuited for the new circumstances in which they find themselves.
Moreover, looking at it from the aspect of the class itself, would such emigration be of any enduring value? It is not merely more favourable circumstances that are required by these crowds, but those habits of industry, truthfulness, and self-restraint, which will enable them to profit by better conditions if they could only come to possess them. According to the most reliable information there are already sadly too many of the same classes we want to help in countries supposed to be the paradise of the working-man.
What could be done with a people whose first enquiry on reaching a foreign land would be for a whisky shop, and who were utterly ignorant of those forms of labour and habits of industry absolutely indispensable to the earning of a subsistence amid the hardships of an Emigrant's life? Such would naturally shrink from the self-denial the new circumstances inevitably called for, and rather than suffer the inconveniences connected with a settler's life, would probably sink down into helpless despair, or settle in the slums of the first city they came to.
These difficulties, in my estimation, bar the way to the emigration on any considerable scale of the "submerged tenth," and yet I am strongly of opinion, with the majority of those who have thought and written on political economy, that emigration is the only remedy for this mighty evil. Now, the Over-Sea Colony plan, I think, meets these difficulties: —
(1) In the preparation of the Colony for the people. (2) In the preparation of the people for the Colony. (3) In the arrangements that are rendered possible for the transport of the people when prepared.
It is proposed to secure a large tract of land in some country suitable to our purpose. We have thought of South Africa, to begin with. We are in no way pledged to this part of the world, or to it alone. There is nothing to prevent our establishing similar settlements in Canada, Australia, or some other land. British Columbia has been strongly urged upon our notice. Indeed, it is certain if this Scheme proves the success we anticipate, the first Colony will be the forerunner of similar communities elsewhere. Africa, however, presents to us great advantages for the moment. There is any amount of land suitable for our purpose which can be obtained, we think, without difficulty. The climate is healthy. Labour is in great demand, so that if by any means work failed on the Colony, there would be abundant opportunities for securing good wages from the neighbouring Companies.
SECTION 1.—THE COLONY AND THE COLONISTS.
Before any decision is arrived at, however, information will be obtained as to the position and character of the land; the accessibility of markets for commodities; communication with Europe, and other necessary particulars.
The next business would be to obtain on grant, or otherwise, a sufficient tract of suitable country for the purpose of a Colony, on conditions that would meet its present and future character.
After obtaining a title to the country, the next business will be to effect a settlement in it. This, I suppose, will be accomplished by sending a competent body of men under skilled supervision to fix on a suitable location for the first settlement, erecting such buildings as would be required, enclosing and breaking up the land, putting in first crops, and so storing sufficient supplies of food for the future.
Then a supply of Colonists would be sent out to join them, and from time to time other detachments, as the Colony was prepared to receive them. Further locations could then be chosen, and more country broken up, and before a very long period has passed the Colony would be capable of receiving and absorbing a continuous stream of emigration of considerable proportions.
The next work would be the establishment of a strong and efficient government, prepared to carry out and enforce the same laws and discipline to which the Colonists had been accustomed in England, together with such alterations and additions as the new circumstances would render necessary.
The Colonists would become responsible for all that concerned their own support; that is to say, they would buy and sell, engage in trade, hire servants, and transact all the ordinary business affairs of every-day life.
Our Headquarters in England would represent the Colony in this country on their behalf, and with money supplied by them, when once fairly established, would buy for their agents what they were at the outset unable to produce themselves, such as machinery and the like, also selling their produce to the best advantage.
All land, timber, minerals, and the like, would be rented to the Colonists, all unearned increments, and improvements on the land, would be held on behalf of the entire community, and utilised for its general advantages, a certain percentage being set apart for the extension of its borders, and the continued transmission of Colonists from England in increasing numbers.
Arrangements would be made for the temporary accommodation of new arrivals, Officers being maintained for the purpose of taking them in hand on landing and directing and controlling them generally. So far as possible, they would be introduced to work without any waste of time, situations being ready for them to enter upon; and any way, their wants would be supplied till this was the case.
There would be friends who would welcome and care for them, not merely on the principle of profit and loss, but on the ground of friendship and religion, many of whom the emigrants would probably have known before in the old country, together with all the social influences, restraints, and religious enjoyments to which the Colonists have been accustomed. After dealing with the preparation of the Colony for the Colonists, we now come to the preparation of the COLONISTS FOR THE COLONY OVER-SEA.
They would be prepared by an education in honesty, truth, and industry, without which we could not indulge in any hope of their succeeding. While men and women would be received into the City Colony without character, none would be sent over the sea who had not been proved worthy of this trust.
They would be inspired with an ambition to do well for themselves and their fellow Colonists.
They would be instructed in all that concerned their future career.
They would be taught those industries in which they would be most profitably employed.
They would be inured to the hardships they would have to endure.
They would be accustomed to the economies they would have to practise.
They would be made acquainted with the comrades with whom they would have to live and labour.
They would be accustomed to the Government, Orders, and Regulations which they would have to obey.
They would be educated, so far as the opportunity served, in those habits of patience, forbearance, and affection which would so largely tend to their own welfare, and to the successful carrying out of this part of our Scheme.
TRANSPORT TO THE COLONY OVER-SEA.
We now come to the question of transport. This certainly has an element of difficulty in it, if the remedy is to be applied on a very large scale. But this will appear of less importance if we consider: —
That the largeness of the number will reduce the individual cost. Emigrants can be conveyed to such a location in South Africa, as we have in view, by ones and twos at #8 per head, including land journey; and, no doubt, were a large number carried, this figure would be reduced considerably.
Many of the Colonists would have friends who would assist them with the cost of passage money and outfit.
All the unmarried will have earned something on the City and Farm Colonies, which will go towards meeting their passage money. In the course of time relatives, who are comfortably settled in the Colony, will save money, and assist their kindred in getting out to them. We have the examples before our eyes in Australia and the United States of how those countries have in this form absorbed from Europe millions of poor struggling people.
All Colonists and emigrants generally will bind themselves in a legal instrument to repay all monies, expenses of passage, outfit, or otherwise, which would in turn be utilised in sending out further contingents.
On the plan named, if prudently carried out, and generously assisted, the transfer of the entire surplus population of this country is not only possible, but would, we think, in process of time, be effected with enormous advantage to the people themselves, to this country, and the country of their adoption. The history of Australia and the United States evidences this. It is quite true the first settlers in the latter were people superior in every way for such an enterprise to the bulk of those we propose to send out. But it is equally true that large numbers of the most ignorant and vicious of our European populations have been pouring into that country ever since without affecting its prosperity, and this Colony Over-Sea would have the immense advantage at the outset which would come from a government and discipline carefully adapted to its peculiar circumstances, and rigidly enforced in every particular.
I would guard against misconception in relation to this Colony Over-Sea by pointing out that all my proposals here are necessarily tentative and experimental. There is no intention on my part to stick to any of these suggestions if, on maturer consideration and consultation with practical men, they can be improved upon. Mr. Arnold White, who has already conducted two parties of Colonists to South Africa, is one of the few men in this country who has had practical experience of the actual difficulties of colonisation. I have, through a mutual friend, had the advantage of comparing notes with him very fully, and I venture to believe that there is nothing in this Scheme that is not in harmony with the result of his experience. In a couple of months this book will be read all over the world. It will bring me a plentiful crop of suggestions, and, I hope, offers of service from many valuable and experienced Colonists in every country. In the due order of things the Colony Over-Sea is the last to be started. Long before our first batch of Colonists is ready to cross the ocean I shall be in a position to correct and revise the proposals of this chapter by the best wisdom and matured experience of the practical men of every Colony in the Empire.
SECTION 2.—UNIVERSAL EMIGRATION.
We have in our remarks on the Over-Sea Colony referred to the general concensus of opinion on the part of those who have studied the Social Question as to Emigration being the only remedy for the overcrowded population of this country, at the same time showing some of the difficulties which lie in the way of the adoption of the remedy; the dislike of the people to so great a change as is involved in going from one country to another; the cost of their transfer, and their general unfitness for an emigrant's life. These difficulties, as I think we have seen, are fully met by the Over-Sea Colony Scheme. But, apart from those who, driven by their abject poverty, will avail themselves of our Scheme, there are multitudes of people all over the country who would be likely to emigrate could they be assisted in so doing. Those we propose to help in the following manner: —
1. By opening a Bureau in London, and appointing Officers whose business it will be to acquire every kind of information as to suitable countries, their adaptation to, and the openings they present for different trades and callings, the possibility of obtaining land and employment, the rates of remuneration, and the like. These enquiries will include the cost of passage-money, railway fares, outfit, together with every kind of information required by an emigrant.
2. From this Bureau any one may obtain all necessary information.
3. Special terms will be arranged with steamships, railway companies, and land agents, of which emigrants using the Bureau will have the advantage.
4. Introductions will be supplied, as far as possible, to agents and friends in the localities to which the emigrant may be proceeding.
5. Intending emigrants, desirous of saving money, can deposit it through this Bureau in the Army Bank for that purpose.
6. It is expected that government contractors and other employers of labour requiring Colonists of reliable character will apply to this Bureau for such, offering favourable terms with respect to passage-money, employment, and other advantages.
7. No emigrant will be sent out in response to any application from abroad where the emigrant's expenses are defrayed, without references as to character, industry, and fitness.
This Bureau, we think, will be especially useful to women and young girls. There must be a large number of such in this country living in semi-starvation, anyway, with very poor prospects, who would be very welcome abroad, the expense of whose transfer governments, and masters and mistresses alike would be very glad to defray, or assist in defraying, if they could only be assured on both sides of the beneficial character of the arrangements when made.
So widespread now are the operations of the Army, and so extensively will this Bureau multiply its agencies that it will speedily be able to make personal enquiries on both sides, that is in the interest alike of the emigrant and the intended employer in any part of the world.
SECTION 3.—THE SALVATION SHIP.
When we have selected a party of emigrants whom we believe to be sufficiently prepared to settle on the land which has been got ready for them in the Colony over Sea, it will be no dismal expatriation which will await them. No one who has ever been on the West Coast of Ireland when the emigrants were departing, and has heard the dismal wails which arise from those who are taking leave of each other for the last time on earth, can fail to sympathise with the horror excited in many minds by the very word emigration. But when our party sets out, there will be no violent wrenching of home ties. In our ship we shall export them all—father, mother, and children. The individuals will be grouped in families, and the families will, on the Farm Colony, have been for some months past more or less near neighbours, meeting each other in the field, in the workshops, and in the Religious Services. It will resemble nothing so much as the unmooring of a little piece of England, and towing it across the sea to find a safe anchorage in a sunnier clime. The ship which takes out emigrants will bring back the produce of the farms, and constant travelling to and fro will lead more than ever to the feeling that we and our ocean-sundered brethren are members of one family.
No one who has ever crossed the ocean can have failed to be impressed with the mischief that comes to emigrants when they are on their way to their destination. Many and many a girl has dated her downfall from the temptations which beset her while journeying to a land where she had hoped to find a happier future
"Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do," and he must have his hands full on board an emigrant ship. Look into the steerage at any time, and you will find boredom inexpressible on every face. The men have nothing to do, and an incident of no more importance than the appearance of a sail upon the distant horizon is an event which makes the whole ship talk. I do not see why this should be so. Of course, in the case of conveying passengers and freight, with the utmost possible expedition, for short distances, it would be idle to expect that either time or energies could be spared for the employment or instruction of the passengers. But the case is different when, instead of going to America, the emigrant turns his face to South Africa or remote Australia. Then, even with the fastest steamers, they must remain some weeks or months upon the high seas. The result is that habits of idleness are contracted, bad acquaintances are formed, and very often the moral and religious work of a lifetime is undone.
To avoid these evil consequences, I think we should be compelled to have a ship of our own as soon as possible. A sailing vessel might be found the best adapted for the work. Leaving out the question of time, which would be of very secondary importance with us, the construction of a sailing ship would afford more space for the accommodation of emigrants and for industrial occupation, and would involve considerably less working expenses, besides costing very much less at the onset, even if we did not have one given to us, which I should think would be very probable.
All the emigrants would be under the charge of Army Officers, and instead of the voyage being demoralising, it would be made instructive and profitable. From leaving London to landing at their destination, every colonist would be under watchful oversight, could receive instruction in those particulars where they were still needing it, and be subjected to influences that would be beneficial everyway.
Then we have seen that one of the great difficulties in the direction of emigration is the cost of transport. The expense of conveying a man from England to Australia, occupying as it does some seven or eight weeks, arises not so much from the expense connected with the working of the vessel which carries him, as the amount of provisions he consumes during the passage. Now, with this plan I think that the emigrants might be made to earn at least a portion of this outlay. There is no reason why a man should not work on board ship any more than on land. Of course, nothing much could be done when the weather was very rough; but the average number of days during which it would be impossible for passengers to employ themselves profitably in the time spent between the Channel and Cape Town or Australia would be comparatively few.
When the ship was pitching or rolling, work would be difficult; but even then, when the Colonists get their sea-legs, and are free from the qualmishness which overtakes landsmen when first getting afloat, I cannot see why they should not engage in some form of industrial work far more profitable than yawning and lounging about the deck, to say nothing of the fact that by so doing they would lighten the expense of their transit. The sailors, firemen, engineers, and everybody else connected with a vessel have to work, and there is no reason why our Colonists should not work also.
Of course, this method would require special arrangements in the fitting up of the vessel, which, if it were our own, it would not be difficult to make. At first sight it may seem difficult to find employments on board ship which could be engaged in to advantage, and it might not be found possible to fix up every individual right away; but I think there would be very few of the class and character of people we should take out, with the prior instructions they would have received, who would not have fitted themselves into some useful labour before the voyage ended.
To begin with, there would be a large amount of the ordinary ship's work that the Colonists could perform, such as the preparation of food, serving it out, cleaning the decks and fittings of the ship generally, together with the loading and unloading of cargo. All these operations could be readily done under the direction of permanent hands. Then shoemaking, knitting, sewing, tailoring, and other kindred occupations could be engaged in. I should think sewing-machines could be worked, and, one way or another, any amount of garments could be manufactured, which would find ready and profitable sale on landing, either among the Colonists themselves, or with the people round about.
Not only would the ship thus be a perfect hive of industry, it would also be a floating temple. The Captain, Officers, and every member of the crew would be Salvationists, and all, therefore, alike interested in the enterprise. Moreover, the probabilities are that we should obtain the service of the ship's officers and crew in the most inexpensive manner, in harmony with the usages of the Army everywhere else, men serving from love and not as a mere business. The effect produced by our ship cruising slowly southwards testifying to the reality of a Salvation for both worlds, calling at all convenient ports, would constitute a new kind of mission work, and drawing out everywhere a large amount of warm practical sympathy. At present the influence of those who go down to the sea in ships is not always in favour of raising the morals and religion of the dwellers in the places where they come. Here, however, would be one ship at least whose appearance foretold no disorder, gave rise to no debauchery, and from whose capacious hull would stream forth an Army of men, who, instead of thronging the grog-shops and other haunts of licentious indulgence, would occupy themselves with explaining and proclaiming the religion of the Love of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
CHAPTER 5. MORE CRUSADES.
I have now sketched out briefly the leading features of the threefold Scheme by which I think a way can be opened out of "Darkest England," by which its forlorn denizens can escape into the light and freedom of a new life. But it is not enough to make a clear broad road out of the heart of this dense and matted jungle forest; its inhabitants are in many cases so degraded, so hopeless, so utterly desperate that we shall have to do something more than make roads. As we read in the parable, it is often not enough that the feast be prepared, and the guests be bidden; we must needs go into the highways and byways and compel them to come in. So it is not enough to provide our City Colony and our Farm Colony, and then rest on our oars as if we had done our work. That kind of thing will not save the Lost.
It is necessary to organise rescue expeditions to free the miserable wanderers from their captivity, and bring them out into the larger liberty and the fuller life. Talk about Stanley and Emin! There is not one of us but has an Emin somewhere or other in the heart of Darkest England, whom he ought to sally forth to rescue. Our Emins have the Devil for their Mahdi, and when we get to them we find that it is their friends and neighbours who hold them back, and they are, oh, so irresolute! It needs each of us to be as indomitable as Stanley, to burst through all obstacles, to force our way right to the centre of things, and then to labour with the poor prisoner of vice and crime with all our might. But had not the Expeditionary Committee furnished the financial means whereby a road was opened to the sea, both Stanley and Emin would probably have been in the heart of Darkest Africa to this day. This Scheme is our Stanley Expedition. The analogy is very close. I propose to make a road clear down to the sea. But alas our poor Emin! Even when the road is open, he halts and lingers and doubts. First he will, and then he won't, and nothing less than the irresistible pressure of a friendly and stronger purpose will constrain him to take the road which has been opened for him at such a cost of blood and treasure. I now, therefore, proceed to sketch some of the methods by which we shall attempt to save the lost and to rescue those who are perishing in the midst of "Darkest England."
SECTION 1.—A SLUM CRUSADE.—OUR SLUM SISTERS.
When Professor Huxley lived as a medical officer in the East of London he acquired a knowledge of the actual condition of the life of many of its populace which led him long afterwards to declare that the surroundings of the savages of New Guinea were much more conducive to the leading of a decent human existence than those in which many of the East-Enders live. Alas, it is not only in London that such lairs exist in which the savages of civilisation lurk and breed. All the great towns in both the Old World and the New have their slums, in which huddle together, in festering and verminous filth, men, women, and children. They correspond to the lepers who thronged the lazar houses of the Middle Ages.
As in those days St. Francis of Assissi and the heroic band of saints who gathered under his orders were wont to go and lodge with the lepers at the city gates, so the devoted souls who have enlisted in the Salvation Army take up their quarters in the heart of the worst slums. But whereas the Friars were men, our Slum Brigade is composed of women. I have a hundred of them under my orders, young women for the most part, quartered all of them in outposts in the heart of the Devil's country. Most of them are the children of the poor who have known hardship from their youth up. Some are ladies born and bred, who have not been afraid to exchange the comfort of a West End drawing-room for service among the vilest of the vile, and a residence in small and fetid rooms whose walls were infested with vermin. They live the life of the Crucified for the sake of the men and women for whom He lived and died. They form one of the branches of the activity of the Army upon which I dwell with deepest sympathy. They are at the front; they are at close quarters with the enemy. To the dwellers in decent homes who occupy cushioned pews in fashionable churches there is something strange and quaint in the language they hear read from the Bible, language which habitually refers to the Devil as an actual personality, and to the struggle against sin and uncleanness as if it were a hand to hand death wrestle with the legions of Hell. To our little sisters who dwell in an atmosphere heavy with curses, among people sodden with drink, in quarters where sin and uncleanness are universal, all these Biblical sayings are as real as the quotations of yesterday's price of Consols are to a City man. They dwell in the midst of Hell, and in their daily warfare with a hundred devils it seems incredible to them that anyone can doubt the existence of either one or the other.
The Slum Sister is what her name implies, the Sister of the Slum. They go forth in Apostolic fashion, two-and-two living in a couple of the same kind of dens or rooms as are occupied by the people themselves, differing only in the cleanliness and order, and the few articles of furniture which they contain. Here they live all the year round, visiting the sick, looking after the children, showing the women how to keep themselves and their homes decent, often discharging the sick mother's duties themselves; cultivating peace, advocating temperance, counselling in temporalities, and ceaselessly preaching the religion of Jesus Christ to the Outcasts of Society.
I do not like to speak of their work. Words fail me, and what I say is so unworthy the theme. I prefer to quote two descriptions by Journalists who have seen these girls at work in the field. The first is taken from a long article which Julia Hayes Percy contributed to the New York World, describing a visit paid by her to the slum quarters of the Salvation Army in Cherry Hill Alleys, in the Whitechapel of New York.
Twenty-four hours in the slums—just a night and a day— yet into them were crowded such revelations of misery, depravity, and degradation as having once been gazed upon life can never be the same afterwards. Around and above his blighted neighbourhood flows the tide of active, prosperous life. Men and women travel past in street cars by the Elevated Railroad and across the bridge, and take no thought of its wretchedness, of the criminals bred there, and of the disease engendered by its foulness. It is a fearful menace to the public health, both moral and physical, yet the multitude is as heedless of danger as the peasant who makes his house and plants green vineyards and olives above Vesuvian fires. We are almost as careless and quite as unknowing as we pass the bridge in the late afternoon. Our immediate destination is the Salvation Army Barracks in Washington Street, and we are going finally to the Salvation Officers—two young women—who have been dwelling and doing a noble mission work for months in one of the worst corners of New York's most wretched quarter. These Officers are not living under the aegis of the Army, however. The blue bordered flag is furled out of sight, the uniforms and poke bonnets are laid away, and there are no drums or tambourines. "The banner over them is love" of their fellow-creatures among whom they dwell upon an equal plane of poverty, wearing no better clothes than the rest, eating coarse and scanty food, and sleeping upon hard cots or upon the floor. Their lives are consecrated to God's service among the poor of the earth. One is a woman in the early prime of vigorous life, the other a girl of eighteen. The elder of these devoted women is awaiting us at the barracks to be our guide to Slumdom. She is tall, slender, and clad in a coarse brown gown, mended with patches. A big gingham apron, artistically rent in several places, is tied about her waist. She wears on old plaid woollen shawl and an ancient brown straw hat. Her dress indicates extreme poverty, her face denotes perfect peace. "This is Em," says Mrs. Ballington Booth, and after this introduction we sally forth.
More and more wretched grows the district as we penetrate further Em pauses before a dirty, broken, smoke-dimmed window, through which in a dingy room are seen a party of roughs, dark-looking men, drinking and squabbling at a table. "They are our neighbours in the front." We enter the hall-way and proceed to the rear room. It is tiny, but clean and warm. A fire burns on the little cracked stove, which stands up bravely on three legs, with a brick eking out its support at the fourth corner. A tin lamp stands on the table, half-a-dozen chairs, one of which has arms, but must have renounced its rockers long ago, and a packing box, upon which we deposit our shawls, constitute the furniture. Opening from this is a small dark bedroom, with one cot made up and another folded against the wall. Against a door, which must communicate with the front room, in which we saw the disagreeable-looking men sitting, is a wooden table for the hand-basin. A small trunk and a barrel of clothing complete the inventory.
Em's sister in the slum work gives us a sweet shy welcome. She is a Swedish girl, with the fair complexion and crisp, bright hair peculiar to the Scandinavian blonde-type. Her head reminds me of a Grenze that hangs in the Louvre, with its low knot of rippling hair, which fluffs out from her brow and frames a dear little face with soft childish outlines, a nez retrousse, a tiny mouth, like a crushed pink rose, and wistful blue eyes. This girl has been a Salvationist for two years. During that time she has learned to speak, read, and write English, while she has constantly laboured among the poor and wretched. The house where we find ourselves was formerly notorious as one of the worst in the Cherry Hill district. It has been the scene of some memorable crimes, and among them that of the Chinaman who slew his Irish wife, after the manner of "Jack the Ripper," on the staircase leading to the second floor. A notable change has taken place in the tenement since Mattie and Em have lived there, and their gentle influence is making itself felt in the neighbouring houses as well. It is nearly eight o'clock when we sally forth. Each of us carries a handful of printed slips bearing a text of Scripture and a few words of warning to lead the better life.