Knowing her distress, the captain of the corps wrote begging us to advertise for the man in the Cry. We did this, but for some time heard nothing of the result.
Several weeks later a Salvationist entered a beer-house, where a group of men were drinking, and began to distribute War Crys amongst them, speaking here and there upon the eternity which faced everyone.
At the counter stood a man with a pint pot in hand, who took one of the papers passed to him, and glancing carelessly down its columns caught sight of his own name, and was so startled that the pot fell from his grasp to the floor. "Come home," the paragraph ran, "and all will be forgiven."
His sin faced him; the thought of a broken-hearted wife and starving children conquered him completely, and there and then he left the public-house, and started to walk home—a distance of many mile— arriving there about midnight the same night, after an absence of eleven months.
The letter from his wife telling the good news of his return, spoke also of his determination by God's help to be a different man, and they are both attendants at the Salvation Army barracks.
A SEDUCER COMPELLED TO PAY.
Amongst the letters that came to the Inquiry Office one morning was one from a girl who asked us to help her to trace the father of her child who had for some time ceased to pay anything towards its support. The case had been brought into the Police Court, and judgment given in her favour, but the guilty one had hidden, and his father refused to reveal his whereabouts.
We called upon the elder man and laid the matter before him, but failed to prevail upon him either to pay his son's liabilities or to put us into communication with him. The answers to an advertisement in the War Cry, however, had brought the required in formation as to his son's whereabouts, and the same morning that our Inquiry Officer communicated with the police, and served a summons for the overdue money, the young man had also received a letter from his father advising him to leave the country at once. He had given notice to his employers; and the #16 salary he received, with some help his father had sent him towards the journey, he was compelled to hand over to the mother of his child.
FOUND IN THE BUSH.
A year or two ago a respectable-looking Dutch girl might have been seem making her way quickly and stealthily across a stretch of long rank grass towards the shelter of some woods on the banks of a distant river. Behind her lay the South African town from which she had come, betrayed, disgraced, ejected from her home with words of bitter scorn, having no longer a friend in the wide world who would hold out to her a hand of help. What could there be better for her than to plunge into that river yonder, and end this life—no matter what should come after the plunge? But Greetah feared the "future," and turned aside to spend the night in darkness, wretched and alone.
Seven years had passed. An English traveller making his way through Southern Africa halted for the Sabbath at a little village on his route. A ramble through the woods brought him unexpectedly in front of a kraal, at the door of which squatted all old Hottentot, with a fair white-faced Child playing on the ground near by. Glad to accept the proffered shelter of the hut from the burning sun, the traveller entered, and was greatly astonished to find within a young white girl, evidently the mother of the frolicsome child. Full of pity for the strange pair, and especially for the girl, who wore an air of refinement little to be expected in this out-of-the-world spot, he sat down on the earthen floor, and told them of the wonderful Salvation of God. This was Greetah, and the Englishman would have given a great deal if he could have rescued her from this miserable lot. But this was impossible, and with reluctance he bid her farewell.
It was an English home. By a glowing fire one night a man sat alone, and in his imaginings there came up the vision of the girl he had met in the Hottentot's Kraal, and wondering whether any way of rescue was possible. Then he remembered reading, since his return, the following paragraph in the War Cry: —
"TO THE DISTRESSED. The Salvation Army invite parents, relations, and friends in any part of the world interested in any woman or girl who is known, or feared to be, living in immorality, or is in danger of coming under the control of immoral persons, to write, stating full particulars, with names, dates, and address of all concerned, and, if possible, a photograph of the person in who the interest is taken.
"All letters, whether from these persons or from such women or girls themselves, will be regarded as strictly confidential. They maybe written in any language, and should be addressed to Mrs. Bramwell Booth, 101, Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C." "It will do no harm to try, anyhow," exclaimed he, "the thing haunts me as it is," and without further delay he penned an account of his African adventure, as full as possible. The next African mail carried instructions to the Officer in Command of our South African work.
Shortly after, one of our Salvation Riders was exploring the bush, and after some difficulty the kraal was discovered the girl was rescued and saved. The Hottentot was converted afterwards, and both are now Salvation Soldiers.
Apart from the independent agencies employed to prosecute this class of enquiries, which it is proposed to very largely increase, the Army possesses in itself peculiar advantages for this kind of investigation. The mode of operation is as follows: —
There is a Head Centre under the direction of a capable Officer and assistants, to which particulars of lost husbands, sons, daughters, and wives, as the case may be, are forwarded. These are advertised, except when deemed inadvisable, in the English "War Cry," with its 300,000 circulation, and from it copied into the twenty-three other "War Crys" published in different parts of the world. Specially prepared information in each case is sent to the local Officers of the Army when that is thought wise, or Special Enquiry Officers trained to their work are immediately set to work to follow up any clue which has been given by enquiring relations or friends.
Every one of its 10,000 Officers, nay, almost every soldier in its ranks, scattered, as they are, through every quarter of the globe, may be regarded as an Agent. A small charge for enquiries is made, and, where persons are able, all the costs of the investigation will he defrayed by them.
SECTION 8.—REFUGES FOR THE CHILDREN OF THE STREETS.
For the waifs and strays of the streets of London much commiseration is expressed, and far more pity is deserved than is bestowed. We have no direct purpose of entering on a crusade on their behalf, apart from our attempt at changing the hearts and lives and improving the circumstances of their parents.
Our main hope for these wild, youthful, outcasts lies in this direction. If we can reach and benefit their guardians, morally and materially, we shall take the most effectual road to benefit the children themselves.
Still, a number of them will unavoidably be forced upon us; and we shall be quite prepared to accept the responsibility of dealing with them, calculating that our organisation will enable us to do so, not only with facility and efficiency, but with trifling cost to the public
To begin with, Children's Creches or Children's Day Homes would be established in the centres of every poor population, where for a small charge babies and young children can be taken care of in the day while the mothers are at work, instead of being left to the dangers of the thoroughfares or the almost greater peril of being burnt to death in their own miserable homes.
By this plan we shall not only be able to benefit the poor children, if in no other direction than that of soap and water and a little wholesome food, but exercise some humanising influence upon the mothers themselves.
On the Farm Colony, we should be able to deal with the infants from the Unions and other quarters. Our Cottage mothers, with two or three children of their own, would readily take in an extra one on the usual terms of boarding out children, and nothing would be more simple or easy for us than to set apart some trustworthy experienced dame to make a constant inspection as to whether the children placed out were enjoying the necessary conditions of health and general well-being. Here would be a Baby Farm carried on with the most favourable surroundings.
SECTION 9.—INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS.
I also propose, at the earliest opportunity, to give the subject of the industrial training of boys a fair trial; and, if successful, follow it on with a similar one for girls. I am nearly satisfied in my own mind that the children of the streets taken, say at eight years of age, and kept till, say twenty-one, would, by judicious management and the utilisation of their strength and capacity, amply supply all their own wants, and would, I think, be likely to turn out thoroughly good and capable members of the community.
Apart from the mere benevolent aspect of the question, the present system of teaching is, to my mind, unnatural, and shamefully wasteful of the energies of the children. Fully one-half the time that boys and girls are compelled to sit in school is spent to little or no purpose —nay, it is worse than wasted. The minds of the children are only capable of useful application for so many consecutive minutes, and hence the rational method must be to apportion the time of the children; say, half the morning's work to be given to their books, and the other half to some industrial employment; the garden would be most natural and healthy in fair weather, while the workshop should be fallen back upon when unfavourable.
By this method health would be promoted, school would be loved, the cost of education would be cheapened, and the natural bent of the child's capacities would be discovered and could be cultivated. Instead of coming out of school, or going away from apprenticeship, with the most precious part of life for ever gone so far as learning is concerned, chained to some pursuit for which there is no predilection, and which promises nothing higher than mediocrity if not failure—the work for which the mind was peculiarly adapted and for which, therefore, it would have a natural capacity, would not only have been discovered, but the bent of the inclination cultivated, and the life's work chosen accordingly.
It is not for me to attempt any reform of our School system on this model. But I do think that I may be allowed to test the theory by its practical working in an Industrial School in connection with the Farm Colony. I should begin probably with children selected for their goodness and capacity, with a view to imparting a superior education, thus fitting them for the position of Officers in all parts of the world, with the special object of raising up a body of men thoroughly trained and educated, among other things, to carry out all the branches of the Social work that are set forth in this book, and it may be to instruct other nations in the same.
SECTION 10.—ASYLUMS FOR MORAL LUNATICS.
There will remain, after all has been said and done, one problem that has yet to be faced. You may minimise the difficulty every way, and it is your duty to do so, but no amount of hopefulness can make us blink the fact that when all has been done and every chance has been offered, when you have forgiven your brother not only seven times but seventy times seven, when you have fished him up from the mire and put him on firm ground only to see him relapse and again relapse until you have no strength left to pull him out once more, there will still remain a residuum of men and women who have, whether from heredity or custom, or hopeless demoralisation, become reprobates. After a certain time, some men of science hold that persistence in habits tends to convert a man from a being with freedom of action and will into a mere automaton. There are some cases within our knowledge which seem to confirm the somewhat dreadful verdict by which a man appears to be a lost soul on this side of the grave.
There are men so incorrigibly lazy that no inducement that you can offer will tempt them to work; so eaten up by vice that virtue is abhorrent to them, and so inveterately dishonest that theft is to them a master passion. When a human being has reached that stage, there is only one course that can be rationally pursued. Sorrowfully, but remorselessly, it must be recognised that he has become lunatic, morally demented, incapable of self-government, and that upon him, therefore, must be passed the sentence of permanent seclusion from a world in which he is not fit to be at large. The ultimate destiny of these poor wretches should be a penal settlement where they could be confined during Her Majesty's pleasure as are the criminal lunatics at Broadmoor. It is a crime against the race to allow those who are so inveterately depraved the freedom to wander abroad, infect their fellows, prey upon Society, and to multiply their kind. Whatever else Society may do, and suffer to be done, this thing it ought not to allow, any more than it should allow the free perambulation of a mad dog. But before we come to this I would have every possible means tried to effect their reclamation. Let Justice punish them, and Mercy put her arms around them; let them be appealed to by penalty and by reason, and by every influence, human and Divine, that can possibly be brought to bear upon them. Then, if all alike failed, their ability to further curse their fellows and themselves should be stayed.
They will still remain objects worthy of infinite compassion. They should lead as human a life as is possible to those who have fallen under so terrible a judgment. They should have their own little cottages in their own little gardens, under the blue sky, and, if possible, amid the green fields. I would deny them none of the advantages, moral, mental, and religious which might minister to their diseased minds, and tend to restore them to a better state. Not until the breath leaves their bodies should we cease to labour and wrestle for their salvation. But when they have reached a certain point access to their fellow men should be forbidden. Between them and the wide world there should be reared an impassable barrier, which once passed should be recrossed no more for ever. Such a course must be wiser than allowing them to go in and out among their fellows, carrying with them the contagion of moral leprosy, and multiplying a progeny doomed before its birth to inherit the vices and diseased cravings of their unhappy parents. To these proposals three leading objections will probably be raised
1. It may be said that to shut out men and women from that liberty which is their universal birthright would be cruel.
To this it might be sufficient to reply that this is already done; twenty years' immurement is a very common sentence passed upon wrong-doers, and in some cases the law goes as far as to inflict penal servitude for life. But we say further that it would be far more merciful treatment than that which is dealt out to them at present, and it would be far more likely to secure a pleasant existence. Knowing their fate they would soon become resigned to it. Habits of industry, sobriety, and kindness with them would create a restfulness of spirit which goes far on in the direction of happiness, and if religion were added it would make that happiness complete. There might be set continually before them a large measure of freedom and more frequent intercourse with the world in the shape of correspondence, newspapers, and even occasional interviews with relatives, as rewards for well-doing. And in sickness and old age their latter days might be closed in comfort. In fact, so far as this class of people were concerned, we can see that they would be far better circumstanced for happiness in this life and in the life to come than in their present liberty—if a life spent alternatively in drunkenness, debauchery, and crime, on the one hand, or the prison on the other, can be called liberty.
2. It may be said that the carrying out of such a suggestion would be too expensive.
To this we reply that it would have to be very costly to exceed the expense in which all such characters involve the nation under the present regulations of vice and crime. But there is no need for any great expense, seeing that after the first outlay the inmates of such an institution, if it were fixed upon the land, would readily earn all that would be required for their support.
3. But it may be said that this is impossible.
It would certainly be impossible other than as a State regulation. But it would surely be a very simple matter to enact a law which should decree that after an individual had suffered a certain number of convictions for crime, drunkenness, or vagrancy, he should forfeit his freedom to roam abroad and curse his fellows. When I include vagrancy in this list, I do it on the supposition that the opportunity and ability for work are present. Otherwise it seems to me most heartless to punish a hungry man who begs for food because he can in no other way obtain it. But with the opportunity and ability for work I would count the solicitation of charity a crime, and punish it as such. Anyway, if a man would not work of his own free will I would compel him.
CHAPTER 6. ASSISTANCE IN GENERAL.
There are many who are not lost, who need help. A little assistance given to-day will perhaps prevent the need of having to save them to-morrow. There are some, who, after they have been rescued, will still need a friendly hand. The very service which we have rendered them at starting makes it obligatory upon us to finish the good work. Hitherto it may be objected that the Scheme has dealt almost exclusively with those who are more or less disreputable and desperate. This was inevitable. We obey our Divine Master and seek to save those who are lost. But because, as I said at the beginning, urgency is claimed rightly for those who have no helper, we do not, therefore, forget the needs and the aspirations of the decent working people who are poor indeed, but who keep their feet, who have not fallen, and who help themselves and help each other. They constitute the bulk of the nation. There is an uppercrust and a submerged tenth. But the hardworking poor people, who earn a pound a week or less, constitute in every land the majority of the population. We cannot forget them, for we are at home with them. We belong to them and many thousands of them belong to us. We are always studying how to help them, and we think this can be done in many ways, some of which I proceed to describe.
SECTION 1.—IMPROVED LODGINGS.
The necessity for a superior class of lodgings for the poor men rescued at our Shelters has been forcing itself already upon our notice, and demanding attention. One of the first things that happens when a man, lifted out of the gutter, has obtained a situation, and is earning a decent livelihood, is for him to want some better accommodation than that afforded at the Shelters. We have some hundreds on our hands now who can afford to pay for greater comfort and seclusion. These are continually saying to us something like the following: —
The Shelters are all very well when a man is down in his luck. They have been a good thing for us; in fact, had it not been for them, we would still have been without a friend, sleeping on the Embankment, getting our living dishonestly, or not getting a living at all. We have now got work, and want a bed to sleep on, and a room to ourselves, and a box, or something where we can stow away our bits of things. Cannot you do something for us?" We have replied that there were Lodging-houses elsewhere, which, now that they were in work, they could afford to pay for, where they would obtain the comfort they desired. To this they answer, "That is all very well. We know there are these places, and that we could go to them. But then," they said, "you see, here in the Shelters are our mates, who think as we do. And there is the prayer, and the meeting, and kind influence every night, that helps to keep us straight. We would like a better place, but if you cannot find us one we would rather stop in the Shelter and sleep on the floor, as we have been doing, than go to something more complete, get into bad company, and so fall back again to where we were before."
But this, although natural, is not desirable; for, if the process went on, in course of time the whole of the Shelter Depots would be taken up by persons who had risen above the class for whom they were originally destined. I propose, therefore, to draft those who get on, but wish to continue in connection with the Army, into a superior lodging-house, a sort of POOR MAN'S METROPOLE, managed on the same principles, but with better accommodation in every way, which, I anticipate, would be self-supporting from the first. In these homes there would be separate dormitories, good sitting-rooms, cooking conveniences, baths, a hall for meetings, and many other comforts, of which all would have the benefit at as low a figure above cost price as will not only pay interest on the original outlay, but secure us against any shrinkage of capital.
Something superior in this direction will also be required for the women. Having begun, we must go on. Hitherto I have proposed to deal only with single men and single women, but one of the consequences of getting hold of these men very soon makes itself felt. Your ragged, hungry, destitute Out-of-Work in almost every case is married. When he comes to us he comes as single and is dealt with as such, but after you rouse in him aspirations for better things he remembers the wife whom he has probably enough deserted, or left from sheer inability to provide her anything to eat. As soon as such a man finds himself under good influence and fairly employed his first thought is to go and look after the "Missis." There is very little reality about any change of heart in a married man who does not thus turn in sympathy and longing towards his wife, and the more successful we are in dealing with these people the more inevitable it is that we shall be confronted with married couple's who in turn demand that we should provide for them lodgings. This we propose to do also on a commercial footing. I see greater developments in this direction, one of which will be described in the chapter relating to Suburban Cottages. The Model-lodging House for Married People is, however, one of those things that must be provided as an adjunct of the Food and Shelter Depots.
SECTION 2.—MODEL SUBURBAN VILLAGES.
As I have repeatedly stated already, but will state once more, for it is important enough to bear endless repetition, one of the first steps which must inevitably be taken in the reformation of this class, is to make for them decent, healthy, pleasant homes, or help them to make them for themselves, which, if possible, is far better. I do not regard the institution of any first, second, or third-class lodging-houses as affording anything but palliatives of the existing distress. To substitute life in a boarding-house for life in the streets is, no doubt, an immense advance, but it is by no means the ultimatum. Life in a boarding-house is better than the worst, but it is far from being the best form of human existence. Hence, the object I constantly keep in view is how to pilot those persons who have been set on their feet again by means of the Food and Shelter Depots, and who have obtained employment in the City, into the possession of homes of their own.
Neither can I regard the one, or at most two, rooms in which the large majority of the inhabitants of our great cities are compelled to spend their days, as a solution of the question. The overcrowding which fills every separate room of a tenement with a human litter, and compels family life from the cradle to the grave to be lived within the four walls of a single apartment, must go on reproducing in endless succession all the terrible evils which such a state of things must inevitably create.
Neither can I be satisfied with the vast, unsightly piles of barrack-like buildings, which are only a slight advance upon the Union Bastille—dubbed Model Industrial Dwellings—so much in fashion at present, as being a satisfactory settlement of the burning question of the housing of the poor. As a contribution to this question, I propose the establishment of a series of Industrial Settlements or Suburban Villages, lying out in the country, within a reasonable distance of all our great cities, composed of cottages of suitable size and construction, and with all needful comfort and accommodation for the families of working-men, the rent of which, together with the railway fare, and other economic conveniences, should be within the reach of a family of moderate income.
This proposal lies slightly apart from the scope of this book, otherwise I should be disposed to elaborate the project at greater length. I may say, however, that what I here propose has been carefully thought out, and is of a perfectly practical character. In the planning of it I have received some valuable assistance from a friend who has had considerable experience in the building trade, and he stakes his professional reputation on its feasibility. The following, however, may be taken as a rough outline: —
The Village should not be more than twelve miles from town; should be in a dry and healthy situation, and on a line of railway. It is not absolutely necessary that it should be near a station, seeing that the company would, for their own interests, immediately erect one.
The Cottages should be built of the best material and workmanship. This would be effected most satisfactorily by securing a contract for the labour only, the projectors of the Scheme purchasing the materials and supplying them direct from the manufacturers to the builders. The cottages would consist of three or four rooms, with a scullery, and out-building in the garden. The cottages should be built in terraces, each having a good garden attached. Arrangements should be made for the erection of from one thousand to two thousand houses at the onset. In the Village a Co-operative Goods Store should be established, supplying everything that was really necessary for the villagers at the most economic prices. The sale of intoxicating drink should be strictly forbidden on the Estate, and, if possible, the landowner from whom the land is obtained should be tied off from allowing any licences to be held on any other portion of the adjoining land. It is thought that the Railway Company, in consideration of the inconvenience and suffering they have inflicted on the poor, and in their own interests, might be induced to make the following advantageous arrangements: —
(1) The conveyance of each member actually living in the village to and from London at the rate of sixpence per week. Each pass should have on it the portrait of the owner, and be fastened to some article of the dress, and be available only by Workmen's Trains running early and late and during certain hours of the day, when the trains are almost empty.
(2) The conveyance of goods and parcels should be at half the ordinary rates. It is reasonable to suppose that large landowners would gladly give one hundred acres of land in view of the immensely advanced values of the surrounding property which would immediately follow, seeing that the erection of one thousand or two thousand cottages would constitute the nucleus of a much larger Settlement.
Lastly, the rent of a four-roomed cottage must not exceed 3s. per week. Add to this the sixpenny ticket to and from London, and you have 3s. 6d. and if the company should insist on 1s., it will make 4s., for which there would be all the advantages of a comfortable cottage—of which it would be possible for the tenant to become the owner—a good garden, pleasant surroundings, and other influences promotive of the health and happiness of the family. It is hardly necessary to remark that in connection with this Village there will be perfect freedom of opinion on all matters. A glance at the ordinary homes of the poor people of this great City will at once assure us that such a village would be a veritable Paradise to them, and that were four, five, or six settlements provided at once they would not contain a tithe of the people who would throng to occupy them.
SECTION 3.—THE POOR MAN'S BANK.
If the love of money is the root of all evil, the want of money is the cause of an immensity of evil and trouble. The moment you begin practically to alleviate the miseries of the people, you discover that the eternal want of pence is one of their greatest difficulties. In my most sanguine moments I have never dreamed of smoothing this difficulty out of the lot of man, but it is surely no unattainable ideal to establish a Poor Man's Bank, which will extend to the lower middle class and the working population the advantages of the credit system, which is the very foundation of our boasted commerce.
It might be better that there should be no such thing as credit, that no one should lend money, and that everyone should be compelled to rely solely upon whatever ready money he may possess from day to day. But if so, let us apply the principle all round; do not let us glory in our world-wide commerce and boast ourselves in our riches, obtained, in so many cases, by the ignoring of this principle. If it is right for a great merchant to have dealings with his banker, if it is indispensable for the due carrying on of the business of the rich men that they should have at their elbow a credit system which will from time to time accommodate them with needful advances and enable them to stand up against the pressure of sudden demands, which otherwise would wreck them, then surely the case is still stronger for providing a similar resource for the smaller men, the weaker men. At present Society is organised far too much on the principle of giving to him who hath so that he shall have more abundantly, and taking away from him who hath not even that which he hath.
If we are to really benefit the poor, we can only do so by practical measures. We have merely to look round and see the kind of advantages which wealthy men find indispensable for the due management of their business, and ask ourselves whether poor men cannot be supplied with the same opportunities. The reason why they are not is obvious. To supply the needs of the rich is a means of making yourself rich; to supply the needs of the poor will involve you in trouble so out of proportion to the profit that the game may not be worth the candle. Men go into banking and other businesses for the sake of obtaining what the American humourist said was the chief end of man in these modern times, namely, "ten per cent." To obtain a ten per cent. what will not men do? They will penetrate the bowels of the earth, explore the depths of the sea, ascend the snow-capped mountain's highest peak, or navigate the air, if they can be guaranteed a ten per cent. I do not venture to suggest that the business of a Poor Man's Bank would yield ten per cent., or even five, but I think it might be made to pay its expenses, and the resulting gain to the community would be enormous.
Ask any merchant in your acquaintance where his business would be if he had no banker, and then, when you have his answer, ask yourself whether it would not be an object worth taking some trouble to secure, to furnish the great mass of our fellow countrymen, on sound business principles with the advantages of the credit system, which is found to work so beneficially for the "well-to-do" few.
Some day I hope the State may be sufficiently enlightened to take up this business itself; at present it is left in the hands of the pawnbroker and the loan agency, and a set of sharks, who cruelly prey upon the interests of the poor. The establishment of land banks, where the poor man is almost always a peasant, has been one of the features of modern legislation in Russia, Germany, and elsewhere. The institution of a Poor Man's Bank will be, I hope, before long, one of the recognised objects of our own government.
Pending that I venture to throw out a suggestion, without in any way pledging myself to add this branch of activity to the already gigantic range of operations foreshadowed in this book—Would it not be possible for some philanthropists with capital to establish on clearly defined principles a Poor Man's Bank for the making of small loans on good security, or making advances to those who are in danger of being overwhelmed by sudden financial pressure—in fact, for doing for the "little man" what all the banks do for the "big man"? Meanwhile, should it enter into the heart of some benevolently disposed possessor of wealth to give the price of a racehorse, or of an "old master," to form the nucleus of the necessary capital, I will certainly experiment in this direction.
I can anticipate the sneer of the cynic who scoffs at what he calls my glorified pawnshop. I am indifferent to his sneers. A Mont de Piete— the very name (Mount of Piety) shows that the Poor Man's Bank is regarded as anything but an objectionable institution across the Channel—might be an excellent institution in England. Owing, however, to the vested interests of the existing traders it might be impossible for the State to establish it, excepting at a ruinous expense. There would be no difficulty, however, of instituting a private Mont de Piete, which would confer an incalculable boon upon the struggling poor.
Further, I am by no means indisposed to recognise the necessity of dealing with this subject in connection with the Labour Bureau, provided that one clearly recognised principle can be acted upon. That principle is that a man shall be free to bind himself as security for the repayment of a loan, that is to pledge himself to work for his rations until such time as he has repaid capital and interest. An illustration or two will explain what I mean. Here is a carpenter who comes to our Labour shed; he is an honest, decent man, who has by sickness or some other calamity been reduced to destitution. He has by degrees pawned one article after another to keep body and soul together, until at last he has been compelled to pawn his tools. We register him, and an employer comes along who wants a carpenter whom we can recommend. We at once suggest this man, but then arises this difficulty. He has no tools; what are we to do? As things are at present, the man loses the job and continues on our hands. Obviously it is most desirable in the interest of the community that the man should get his tools out of pawn; but who is to take the responsibility of advancing the money to redeem them? This difficulty might be met, I think, by the man entering into a legal undertaking to make over his wages to us, or such proportion of them as would be convenient to his circumstances, we in return undertaking to find him in food and shelter until such time as he has repaid the advance made. That obligation it would be the truest kindness to enforce with Rhadamantine severity. Until the man is out of debt he is not his own master. All that he can make over his actual rations and Shelter money should belong to his creditor. Of course such an arrangement might be varied indefinitely by private agreement; the repayment of instalments could be spread ever a longer or shorter time, but the mainstay of the whole principle would be the execution of a legal agreement by which the man makes over the whole product of his labour to the Bank until he has repaid, his debt.
Take another instance. A clerk who has been many years in a situation and has a large family, which he has brought up respectably and educated. He has every prospect of retiring in a few years upon a superannuating allowance, but is suddenly confronted by a claim often through no fault of his own, of a sum of fifty or a hundred pounds, which is quite beyond his means. He has been a careful saving man, who has never borrowed a penny in his life, and does not know where to turn in his emergency. If he can not raise this money he will be sold up, his family will be scattered, his situation and his prospective pension will be lost, and blank ruin will stare him in the face. Now, were he in receipt of an income of ten times the amount, he would probably have a banking account, and, in consequence, be able to secure an advance of all he needed from his banker. Why should he not be able to pledge his salary, or a portion of it, to an Institution which would enable him to pay off his debt, on terms that, while sufficiently remunerative to the bank, would not unduly embarrass him?
At present what does the poor wretch do? He consults his friends, who, it is quite possible, are as hard up as himself, or he applies to some loan agency, and as likely as not falls into the hands of sharpers, who indeed, let him have the money, but at interest altogether out of proportion to the risk which they run, and use the advantage which their position gives them to extort every penny he has. A great black book written within and without in letters of lamentation, mourning, and woe might be written on the dealings of these usurers with their victims in every land.
It is of little service denouncing these extortioners. They have always existed, and probably always will; but what we can do is to circumscribe the range of their operations and the number of their victims. This can only be done by a legitimate and merciful provision for these poor creatures in their hours of desperate need, so as to prevent their falling into the hands of these remorseless wretches, who have wrecked the fortunes of thousands, and driven many a decent man to suicide or a premature grave.
There are endless ramifications of this principle, which do not need to be described here, but before leaving the subject I may allude to an evil which is a cruel reality, alas! to a multitude of unfortunate men and women. I refer to the working of the Hire System. The decent poor man or woman who is anxious to earn an honest penny by the use of, it may be a mangle, or a sewing-machine, a lathe, or some other indispensable instrument, and is without the few pounds necessary to buy it, must take it on the Hire System—that is to say, for the accommodation of being allowed to pay for the machine by instalments— he is charged, in addition to the full market value of his purchase, ten or twenty times the amount of what would be a fair rate of interest, and more than this if he should at any time, through misfortune, fail in his payment, the total amount already paid will be confiscated, the machine seized, and the money lost.
Here again we fall back on our analogy of what goes on in a small community where neighbours know each other. Take, for instance, when a lad who is recognised as bright, promising, honest, and industrious, who wants to make a start in life which requires some little outlay, his better-to-do neighbour will often assist him by providing the capital necessary to enable him to make a way for himself in the world. The neighbour does this because he knows the lad, because the family is at least related by ties of neighbourhood, and the honour of the lad's family is a security upon which a man may safely advance a small sum. All this would equally apply to a destitute widow, an artizan suddenly thrown out of work, an orphan family, or the like. In the large City all this kindly helpfulness disappears, and with it go all those small acts of service which are, as it were, the buffers which save men from being crushed to death against the iron walls of circumstances. We must try to replace them in some way or other if we are to get back, not to the Garden of Eden, but to the ordinary conditions of life, as they exist in a healthy, small community. No institution, it is true, can ever replace the magic bond of personal friendship, but if we have the whole mass of Society permeated in every direction by brotherly associations established for the purpose of mutual help and sympathising counsel, it is not an impossible thing to believe that we shall be able to do something to restore the missing element in modern civilisation.
SECTION 4.—THE POOR MAN'S LAWYER.
The moment you set about dealing with the wants of the people, you discover that many of their difficulties are not material, but moral. There never was a greater mistake than to imagine that you have only to fill a man's stomach, and clothe his back in order to secure his happiness. Man is, much more than a digestive apparatus, liable to get out of order. Hence, while it is important to remember that man has a stomach, it is also necessary to bear in mind that he has a heart, and a mind that is frequently sorely troubled by difficulties which, if he lived in a friendly world, would often disappear. A man, and still more a woman, stands often quite as much in need of a trusted adviser as he or she does of a dinner or a dress. Many a poor soul is miserable all the day long, and gets dragged down deeper and deeper into the depths of sin and sorrow and despair for want of a sympathising friend, who can give her advice, and make her feel that somebody in the world cares for her, and will help her if they can.
If we are to bring back the sense of brotherhood to the world, we must confront this difficulty. God, it was said in old time, setteth the desolate in families; but somehow, in our time, the desolate wander alone in the midst of a careless and unsympathising world. "There is no-one who cares for my soul. There is no creature loves me, and if I die no one will pity me," is surely one of the bitterest cries that can burst from a breaking heart. One of the secrets of the success of the Salvation Army is, that the friendless of the world find friends in it. There is not one sinner in the world— no matter how degraded and dirty he may be—whom my people will not rejoice to take by the hand and pray with, and labour for, if thereby they can but snatch him as a brand from the burning. Now, we want to make more use of this, to make the Salvation Army the nucleus of a great agency for bringing comfort and counsel to those who are at their wits' end, feeling as if in the whole world there was no one to whom they could go.
What we want to do is to exemplify to the world the family idea. "Our Father" is the keynote. One is Our Father, then all we are brethren. But in a family, if anyone is troubled in mind or conscience, there is no difficulty. The daughter goes to her father, or the son to his mother, and pour out their soul's troubles, and are relieved. If there is any serious difficulty a family council is held, and all unite their will and their resources to get matters put straight. This is what we mean to try to get done in the New Organisation of Society for which we are labouring. We cannot know better than God Almighty what will do good to man. We are content to follow on His lines, and to mend the world we shall seek to restore something of the family idea to the many hundreds of thousands—ay, millions—who have no one wiser or more experienced than themselves, to whom they can take their sorrows, or consult in their difficulties.
Of course we can do this but imperfectly. Only God can create a mother. But Society needs a great deal of mothering, much more than it gets. And as a child needs a mother to run to in its difficulties and troubles, to whom it can let out its little heart in confidence, so men and women, weary and worn in the battles of life, need someone to whom they can go when pressed down with a sense of wrongs suffered or done, knowing that their confidence will be preserved inviolate, and that their statements will be received with sympathy. I propose to attempt to meet this want. I shall establish a department, over which I shall place the wisest, the pitifullest, and the most sagacious men and women whom I can find on my staff, to whom all those in trouble and perplexity shall be invited to address themselves. It is no use saying that we love our fellow men unless we try to help them, and it is no use pretending to sympathise with the heavy burdens which darken their lives unless we try to ease them and to lighten their existence.
Insomuch as we have more practical experience of life than other men, by so much are we bound to help their inexperience, and share our talents with them. But if we believe they are our brothers, and that One is our Father, even the God who will come to judge us hereafter for all the deeds that we have done in the body, then must we constitute, in some such imperfect way as is open to us, the parental office. We must be willing to receive the outpourings of our struggling fellow men, to listen to the long-buried secret that has troubled the human heart, and to welcome instead of repelling those who would obey the Apostolic precept: "To confess their sins one to another." Let not that word confession scandalise any. Confession of the most open sort; confession on the public platform before the presence of all the man's former associates in sin has long been one of the most potent weapons by which the Salvation Army has won its victories. That confession we have long imposed on all our converts, and it is the only confession which seems to us to be a condition of Salvation. But this suggestion is of a different kind. It is not imposed as a means of grace. It is not put forward as a preliminary to the absolution which no one can pronounce but our Lord Himself. It is merely a response on our part to one of the deepest needs and secret longings of the actual men and women who are meeting us daily in our work. Why should they be left to brood in misery over their secret sin, when a plain straightforward talk with a man or woman selected for his or her sympathetic common-sense and spiritual experience might take the weight off their shoulders which is crushing them into dull despair?
Not for absolution, but for sympathy and direction, do I propose to establish my Advice Bureau in definite form, for in practice it has been in existence for some time, and wonderful things have been done in the direction on which I contemplate it working. I have no pleasure in inventing these departments. They all entail hard work and no end of anxiety. But if we are to represent the love of God to men, we must minister to all the wants and needs of the human heart. Nor is it only in affairs of the heart that this Advice Bureau will be of service. It will be quite as useful in affairs of the head. As I conceive it, the Advice Bureau will be THE POOR MANS LAWYER AND THE POOR MANS TRIBUNE.
There are no means in London, so far as my knowledge goes, by which the poor and needy can obtain any legal assistance in the varied oppressions and difficulties from which they must, in consequence of their poverty and associations, be continually suffering.
While the "well-to-do" classes can fall back upon skilful friends for direction, or avail themselves of the learning and experience of the legal profession, the poor man has literally no one qualified to counsel him on such matters. In cases of sickness he can apply to the parish doctor or the great hospital, and receive an odd word or two of advice, with a bottle of physic which may or may not be of service. But if his circumstances are sick, out of order, in danger of carrying him to utter destitution, or to prison, or to the Union, he has no one to appeal to who has the willingness or the ability to help him.
Now, we want to create a Court of Counsel or Appeal, to which anyone suffering from imposition having to do with person, liberty, or property, or anything else of sufficient importance, can apply, and obtain not only advice, but practical assistance.
Among others for whom this Court would be devised is the shamefully-neglected class of Widows, of whom in the East of London there are 6,000, mostly in very destitute circumstances. In the whole of London there cannot be less than 20,000, and in England and Wales it is estimated there are 100,000, fifty thousand of whom are probably poor and friendless.
The treatment these poor people by the nation is a crying scandal. Take the case of the average widow, even when left in comfortable circumstances. She will often be launched into a sea of perplexity, although able to avail herself of the best advice. But think of the multitudes of poor women, who, when they close their husbands' eyes, lose the only friend who knows anything; about their circumstances. There may be a trifle of money or a struggling business or a little income connected with property or some other possession, all needing immediate attention, and that of a skilful sort, in order to enable the poor creature to weather the storm and avoid the vortex of utter destitution.
All we have said applies equally to orphans and friendless people generally. Nothing, however, short of a national institution could meet the necessities of all such cases. But we can do something, and in matters already referred to, such as involve loss of property, malicious prosecution, criminal and otherwise, we can render substantial assistance.
In carrying out this purpose it will be no part of our plan to encourage legal proceedings in others, or to have recourse to them ourselves. All resort to law would be avoided either in counsel or practice, unless absolutely necessary. But where manifest injustice and wrong are perpetrated, and every other method of obtaining reparation fails, we shall avail ourselves of the assistance the Law affords.
Our great hope of usefulness, however, in this Department lies in prevention, The knowledge that the oppressed poor have in us a friend able to speak for them will often prevent the injustice which cowardly and avaricious persons might otherwise inflict, and the same considerations may induce them to accord without compulsion the right of the weak and friendless.
I also calculate upon a wide sphere of usefulness in the direction of friendly arbitration and intervention. There will be at least one disinterested tribunal, however humble, to which business, domestic, or any other questions of a contentious and litigious nature can be referred without involving any serious costs.
The following incidents have been gathered from operations already undertaken in this direction, and will explain and illustrate the kind of work we contemplate, and some of the benefits that may be expected to follow from it.
About four years ago a young and delicate girl, the daughter of a pilot, came to us in great distress. Her story was that of thousands of others. She had been betrayed by a man in a good position in the West End, and was now the mother of an infant child.
Just before her confinement her seducer had taken her to his solicitors and made her sign and swear an affidavit to the effect that he was not the father of the then expected child. Upon this he gave her a few pounds in settlement of all claims upon him. The poor thing was in great poverty and distress. Through our solicitors, we immediately opened communications with the man, and after negotiations, he, to avoid further proceedings, was compelled to secure by a deed a proper allowance to his unfortunate victim for the maintenance of her child.
SHADOWED AND CAUGHT.
A— was induced to leave a comfortable home to become the governess of the motherless children of Mr. G—, whom she found to be a kind and considerate employer. After she had been in his service some little time he proposed that she should take a trip to London. To this she very gladly consented, all the more so when he offered to take her himself to a good appointment he had secured for her. In London he seduced her, and kept her as his mistress until, tired of her, he told her to go and do as "other women did."
Instead of descending to this infamy, she procured work, and so supported herself and child in some degree of comfort, when he sought her out and again dragged her down. Another child was born, and a second time he threw her up and left her to starve. It was then she applied to our people. We hunted up the man, followed him to the country, threatened him with public exposure, and forced from him the payment to his victim of #60 down, an allowance of #1 a week, and an Insurance Policy on his life for #450 in her favour.
#60 FROM ITALY.
C. was seduced by a young Italian of good position in society, who promised to marry her, but a short time before the day fixed for the ceremony he told her urgent business called him abroad. He assured her he would return in two years and make her his wife. He wrote occasionally, and at last broke her heart by sending the news of his marriage to another, adding insult to injury by suggesting that she should come and live with his wife as her maid, offering at the same time to pay for the maintenance of the child till it was old enough to be placed in charge of the captain of one of the vessels belonging to his firm.
None of these promises were fulfilled, and C., with her mother's assistance, for a time managed to support herself and child; but the mother, worn out by age and trouble, could help her no longer, and the poor girl was driven to despair. Her case was brought before us, and we at once set to work to assist her. The Consul of the town where the seducer lived in style was communicated with. Approaches were made to the young man's father, who, to save the dishonour that would follow exposure, paid over #60. This helps to maintain the child; and the girl is in domestic service and doing well.
THE HIRE SYSTEM.
The most cruel wrongs are frequently inflicted on the very poorest persons, in connection with this method of obtaining Furniture, Sewing Machines, Mangles, or other articles. Caught by the lure of misleading advertisements, the poor are induced to purchase articles to be paid for by weekly or monthly instalments. They struggle through half the amount perhaps, at all manner of sacrifice, when some delay in the payment is made the occasion not only for seizing the goods, which they have come to regard as their own, and on which their very existence depends, but by availing themselves of some technical clause in the agreement, for robbing them in addition. In such circumstances the poor things, being utterly friendless, have to submit to these infamous extortions without remedy. Our Bureau will be open to all such.
TALLYMEN, MONEY LENDERS, AND BILLS-OF-SALEMONGERS.
Here again we have a class who prey upon the poverty of the people, inducing them to purchase things for which they have often no immediate use—anyway for which there is no real necessity—by all manner of specious promises as to easy terms of repayment. And once having got their dupes into their power they drag them down to misery, and very often utter temporal ruin; once in their net escape is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. We propose to help the poor victims by this Scheme, as far as possible.
Our Bureau, we expect will be of immense service to Clergymen Ministers of all denominations, District Visitors, Missionaries, and others who freely mix among the poor, seeing that they must be frequently appealed to for legal advice, which they are quite unable to give, and equally at a loss to obtain. We shall always be very glad to assist such.
THE DEFENCE OF UNDEFENDED PERSONS.
The conviction is gradually fixing itself upon the public mind that a not inconsiderable number of innocent persons are from time to time convicted of crimes and offences, the reason for which often is the mere inability to secure an efficient defence. Although there are several societies in London and the country dealing with the criminal classes, and more particularly with discharged prisoners, yet there does not appear to be one for the purpose of assisting unconvicted prisoners. This work we propose boldly to take up.
By this and many other ways we shall help those charged with criminal offences, who, on a most careful enquiry, might reasonably be supposed to be innocent, but who, through want of means, are unable to obtain the legal assistance, and produce the evidence necessary for an efficient defence.
We shall not pretend authoritatively to judge as to who is innocent or who is guilty, but if after full explanation and enquiry the person charged may reasonably be supposed to be innocent, and is not in a position to defend himself, then we should feel free to advise such a case, hoping thereby to save such person and his family and friends from much misery, and possibly from utter ruin. Mr. Justice Field recently remarked: —
"For a man to assist another man who was under a criminal charge was a highly laudable and praiseworthy act. If a man was without friends, and an Englishman came forward and legitimately, and for the purpose of honestly assisting him with means to put before the Court his case, that was a highly laudable and praiseworthy act, and he should be the last man in the country to complain of any man for so doing."
These remarks are endorsed by most Judges and Magistrates, and our Advice Bureau will give practical effect to them.
In every case an attempt will be made to secure, not only the outward reformation, but the actual regeneration of all whom we assist. Special attention, as has been described under the "Criminal Reform Department," will be paid to first offenders.
We shall endeavour also to assist, as far as we have ability, the Wives and Children of persons who are undergoing sentences, by endeavouring to obtain for them employment, or otherwise rendering them help. Hundreds of this class fall into the deepest distress and demoralisation through want of friendly aid in the forlorn circumstances in which they find themselves on the conviction of relatives on whom they have been dependent for a livelihood, or for protection and direction in the ordinary affairs of life.
This Department will also be responsible for gathering intelligence, spreading information, and the general prosecution of such measures as are likely to lead to the much-needed beneficial changes in our Prison Management. In short, it will seek to become the true friend and saviour of the Criminal Classes in general, and in doing so we shall desire to act in harmony with the societies at present in existence, who may be seeking for objects kindred to the Advice Bureau. We pen the following list to give some idea of the topics on which the Advice Bureau may be consulted: —
Accidents, Claim for Administration of Estates Adulteration of Food and Drugs Agency, Questions of Agreements, Disputed Affiliation Cases Animals, Cruelty to Arrest, Wrongful Assault
Bankruptcies Bills of Exchange Bills of Sale Bonds, Forfeited Breach of Promise
Children, Cruelty to Children, Custody of Compensation for Injuries Compensation for Accident Compensation for Defamation Compensation for Loss of Employment, &c., &c. Confiscation by Landlords Contracts, Breach of Copyright, Infringement of County Court Cases
Debts Distress, Illegal Divorce
Ejectment Cases Employers Liability Act Executors, Duties of
Factory Act, Breach of Fraud, Attempted
Goodwill, Sale of Guarantee, Forfeited
Heir-at-Law Husbands and Wives, Disputes of
Imprisonment, False Infants, Custody of Intestacy, Cases of
Landlord and Tenant Cases Leases, Lapses and Renewals of Legacies, Disputed Libel Cases Licences
Marriage Law, Question of the Masters' and Servants' Acts Meeting, Right of Public Mortgages
Negligence, Alleged Next of Kill Wanted Nuisances, Alleged
Partnership, The Law of Patents, Registration and Infringement of Pawnbrokers and their Pledges Police Cases Probate
Rates and Taxes Reversionary Interests
Seduction, Cases of Servants' Wrongful Dismissal Sheriffs Sureties Estreated
Tenancies, Disputed Trade Marks, Infringement of Trespass, Cases of Trustees and Trusts
Wages Kept Back Wills, Disputed and Unproved Women, Cruelty to Workmen, Grievances of &c.,&c.
The Advice Bureau will therefore be, first of all, a place where men and women in trouble can come when they please to communicate in confidence the cause of their anxiety, with a certainty that they will receive a sympathetic hearing and the best advice.
Secondly, it will be a Poor Man's Lawyer, giving the best legal counsel as to the course to be pursued in the various circumstances with which the poor find themselves confronted.
Thirdly, it will act as a Poor Man's Tribune, and will undertake the defence of friendless prisoners supposed to be innocent, together with the resistance of illegal extortions, and the prosecution of offenders who refuse legal satisfaction for the wrongs they have committed.
Fourthly, it will act wherever it is called upon as a Court of Arbitration between litigants, where the decision will be according to equity, and the costs cut down to the lowest possible figure. Such a Department cannot be improvised; but it is already in a fair way of development, and it can hardly fail to do great good.
SECTION 5.—OUR INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT.
An indispensable adjunct of this Scheme will be the institution of what may be called an Intelligence Department at Headquarters. Power, it has been said, belongs to the best informed, and if we are effectually to deal with the forces of social evil, we must have ready at our fingers' ends the accumulated experience and information of the whole world on this subject. The collection of facts and the systematic record of them would be invaluable, rendering the result of the experiments of previous generations available for the information of our own.
At the present there is no central institution, either governmental or otherwise, in this country or any other, which charges itself with the duty of collecting and collating the ideas and conclusions on Social Economy, so far as they are likely to help the solution of the problem we have in hand. The British Home Office has only begun to index its own papers. The Local Government Board is in a similar condition, and, although each particular Blue Book may be admirably indexed, there is no classified index of the whole series. If this is the case with the Government, it is not likely that the innumerable private organisations which are pecking here and there at the social question should possess any systematised method for the purpose of comparing notes and storing information. This Intelligence Department, which I propose to found on a small scale at first, will have in it the germ of vast extension which will, if adequately supported become a kind of University, in which the accumulated experiences of the human race will be massed, digested, and rendered available to the humblest toiler in the great work of social reform. At the present moment, who is there that can produce in any of our museums and universities as much as a classified index of publications relating to one of the many heads under which I have dealt with this subject? Who is there among all our wise men and social reformers that can send me a list of all the best tracts upon— say, the establishment of agricultural colonies or the experiments that have been made in dealing with inebriates; or the best plans for the construction of a working man's cottage?
For the development of this Scheme I want an Office to begin with, in which, under the head of the varied subjects treated of in this volume, I may have arranged the condensed essence of all the best books that have been written, and the names and addresses of those whose opinions are worth having upon them, together with a note of what those opinions are, and the results of experiments which have been made in relation to them. I want to establish a system which will enable me to use, not only the eyes and hands of Salvation Officers, but of sympathetic friends in all parts of the world, for purposes of noticing and reporting at once every social experiment of importance, any words of wisdom on the social question, whether it may be the breeding of rabbits, the organisation of an emigration service, the best method of conducting a Cottage Farm, or the best way of cooking potatoes. There is nothing in the whole range of our operations upon which we should not be accumulating and recording the results of human experience. What I want is to get the essence of wisdom which the wisest have gathered from the widest experience, rendered instantly available for the humblest worker in the Salvation Factory or Farm Colony, and for any other toiler in similar fields of social progress.
It can be done, and in the service of the people it ought to be done. I look for helpers in this department among those who hitherto may not have cared for the Salvation Army, but who in the seclusion of their studies and libraries will assist in the compiling of this great Index of Sociological Experiments, and who would be willing, in this form, to help in this Scheme, as Associates, for the ameliorating of the condition of the people, if in nothing else than in using their eyes and ears, and giving me the benefit of their brains as to where knowledge lies, and how it can best be utilised. I propose to make a beginning by putting two capable men and a boy in an office, with instructions to cut out, preserve, and verify all contemporary records in the daily and weekly press that have a bearing upon any branch of our departments. Round these two men and a boy will grow up, I confidently believe, a vast organisation of zealous unpaid workers, who will co-operate in making our Intelligence Department a great storehouse of information—a universal library where any man may learn what is the sum of human knowledge upon any branch of the subject which we have taken in hand.
SECTION 6.—CO-OPERATION IN GENERAL.
If anyone asked me to state in one word what seemed likely to be the key of the solution of the Social Problem I should answer unhesitatingly Co-operation. It being always understood that it is Co-operation conducted on righteous principles, and for wise and benevolent ends; otherwise Association cannot be expected to bear any more profitable fruit than Individualism. Co-operation is applied association—association for the purpose of production and distribution. Co-operation implies the voluntary combination of individuals to the attaining an object by mutual help, mutual counsel, and mutual effort. There is a great deal of idle talk in the world just now about capital, as if capital were the enemy of labour. It is quite true that there are capitalists not a few who may be regarded as the enemies, not only of labour, but of the human race; but capital itself, so far from being a natural enemy of labour, is the great object which the labourer has constantly in view. However much an agitator may denounce capital, his one great grievance is that he has not enough of it for himself. Capital, therefore, is not an evil in itself; on the contrary, it is good—so good that one of the great aims of the social reformer ought to be to facilitate its widest possible distribution among his fellow-men. It is the congestion of capital that is evil, and the labour question will never be finally solved until every labourer is his own capitalist.
All this is trite enough, and has been said a thousand times already, but, unfortunately, with the saying of it the matter ends. Co-operation has been brought into practice in relation to distribution with considerable success, but co-operation, as a means of production, has not achieved anything like the success that was anticipated. Again and again enterprises have been begun on co-operative principles which bid fair, in the opinion of the promoters, to succeed; but after one, two, three, or ten years, the enterprise which was started with such high hopes has dwindled away into either total or partial failure. At present, many co-operative undertakings are nothing more or less than huge Joint Stock Limited Liability concerns, shares of which are held largely by working people, but not necessarily, and sometimes not at all by those who are actually employed in the so-called co-operative business. Now, why is this? Why do co-operative firms, co-operative factories, and co-operative Utopias so very often come to grief? I believe the cause is an open secret, and can be discerned by anyone who will look at the subject with an open eye.
The success of industrial concerns is largely a question of management. Management signifies government, and government implies authority, and authority is the last thing which co-operators of the Utopian order are willing to recognise as an element essential to the success of their Schemes. The co-operative institution which is governed on Parliamentary principles, with unlimited right of debate and right of obstruction, will never be able to compete successfully with institutions which are directed by a single brain wielding the united resources of a disciplined and obedient army of workers. Hence, to make co-operation a success you must superadd to the principle of consent the principle of authority; you must invest in those to whom you entrust the management of your co-operative establishment the same liberty of action that is possessed by the owner of works on the other side of the repudiation of the rotten and effete regime of the Bourbons, the French peasants and workmen imagined that they were inaugurating the millennium when they scrawled Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity across all the churches in every city of France. They carried their principles of freedom and license to the logical ultimate, and attempted to manage their army on Parliamentary principles. It did not work; their undisciplined levies were driven back; disorder reigned in the Republican camp; and the French Revolution would have been stifled in its cradle had not the instinct of the nation discerned in time the weak point in its armour. Menaced by foreign wars and intestine revolt, the Republic established an iron discipline in its army, and enforced obedience by the summary process of military execution. The liberty and the enthusiasm developed by the outburst of the long pent-up revolutionary forces supplied the motive power, but it was the discipline of the revolutionary armies, the stern, unbending obedience which was enforced in all ranks from the highest to the lowest, which created for Napoleon the admirable military instrument by which he shattered every throne in Europe and swept in triumph from Paris to Moscow.
In industrial affairs we are very much like the French Republic before it tempered its doctrine of the rights of man by the duty of obedience on the part of the soldier. We have got to introduce discipline into the industrial army, we have to superadd the principle of authority to the principle of co-operation, and so to enable the worker to profit to the full by the increased productiveness of the willing labour of men who are employed in their own workshops and on their own property. There is no need to clamour for great schemes of State Socialism. The whole thing can be done simply, economically, and speedily if only the workers will practice as much self-denial for the sake of establishing themselves as capitalists, as the Soldiers of the Salvation Army practice every year in Self Denial Week. What is the sense of never making a levy except during a strike? Instead of calling for a shilling, or two shillings, a week in order to maintain men who are starving in idleness because of a dispute with their masters, why should there not be a levy kept up for weeks or months, by the workers, for the purpose of setting themselves up in business as masters? There would then be no longer a capitalist owner face to face with the masses of the proletariat, but all the means of production, the plant, and all the accumulated resources of capital would really be at the disposal of labour. This will never be done, however, as long as co-operative experiments are carried on in the present archaic fashion.
Believing in co-operation as the ultimate solution, if to co-operation you can add subordination, I am disposed to attempt something in this direction in my new Social Scheme. I shall endeavour to start a Co-operative Farm on the principles of Ralahine, and base the whole of my Farm Colony on a Co-operative foundation.
In starting this little Co-operative Commonwealth, I am reminded by those who are always at a man's elbow to fill him with forebodings of ill, to look at the failures, which I have just referred to, which make up the history of the attempt to realise ideal commonwealths in this practical workaday world. Now, I have read the history of the many attempts at co-operation that have been made to form communistic settlements in the United States, and am perfectly familiar with the sorrowful fate with which nearly all have been overtaken; but the story of their failures does not deter me in the least, for I regard them as nothing more than warnings to avoid certain mistakes, beacons to illustrate the need of proceeding on a different tack. Broadly speaking, your experimental communities fail because your Utopias all start upon the system of equality and government by vote of the majority, and, as a necessary and unavoidable consequence, your Utopians get to loggerheads, and Utopia goes to smash, I shall avoid that rock. The Farm Colony, like all the other departments of the Scheme, will be governed, not on the principle of counting noses, but on the exactly opposite principle of admitting no noses into the concern that are not willing to be guided by the directing brain. It will be managed on principles which assert that the fittest ought to rule, and it will provide for the fittest being selected, and having got them at the top, will insist on universal and unquestioning obedience from those at the bottom. If anyone does not like to work for his rations and submit to the orders of his superior Officers he can leave. There is no compulsion on him to stay. The world is wide, and outside the confines of our Colony and the operations of our Corps my authority does not extend. But judging from our brief experience it is not from revolt against authority that the Scheme is destined to fail.
There cannot be a greater mistake in this world than to imagine that men object to be governed. They like to be governed, provided that the governor has his "head screwed on right" and that he is prompt to hear and ready to see and recognise all that is vital to the interests of the commonwealth. So far from there being an innate objection on the part of mankind to being governed, the instinct to obey is so universal that even when governments have gone blind, and deaf, and paralytic, rotten with corruption, and hopelessly behind the times, they still contrive to live on. Against a capable Government no people ever rebel, only when stupidity and incapacity have taken possession of the seat of power do insurrections break out.
SECTION 7.—A MATRIMONIAL BUREAU.
There is another direction in which something ought to be done to restore the natural advantages enjoyed by every rural community which have been destroyed by the increasing tendency of mankind to come together in huge masses. I refer to that which is after all one of the most important elements in every human life, that of marrying and giving in marriage. In the natural life of a country village all the lads and lasses grow up together, they meet together in religious associations, in daily employments, and in their amusements on the village green. They have learned their A, B, C and pothooks together, and when the time comes for pairing off they have had excellent opportunities of knowing the qualities and the defects of those whom they select as their partners in life. Everything in such a community lends itself naturally to the indispensable preliminaries of love-making, and courtships, which, however much they may be laughed at, contribute more than most things to the happiness or life. But in a great city all this is destroyed. In London at the present moment how many hundreds, nay thousands, of young men and young women, who are living in lodgings, are practically without any opportunity of making the acquaintance of each other, or of any one of the other sex! The street is no doubt the city substitute for the village green, and what a substitute it is!
It has been bitterly said by one who knew well what he was talking about, "There are thousands of young men to-day who have no right to call any woman by her Christian name, except the girls they meet plying their dreadful trade in our public thoroughfares." As long as that is the case, vice has an enormous advantage over virtue; such an abnormal social arrangement interdicts morality and places a vast premium upon prostitution. We must get back to nature if we have to cope with this ghastly evil. There ought to be more opportunities afforded for healthy human intercourse between young men and young women, nor can Society rid itself of a great responsibility for all the wrecks of manhood and womanhood with which our streets are strewn, unless it does make some attempt to bridge this hideous chasm which yawns between the two halves of humanity. The older I grow the more absolutely am I opposed to anything that violates the fundamental law of the family. Humanity is composed of two sexes, and woe be to those who attempt to separate them into distinct bodies, making of each half one whole! It has been tried in monasteries and convents with but poor success, yet what our fervent Protestants do not seem to see is that we are reconstructing a similar false system for our young people without the safeguards and the restraints of convent walls or the sanctifying influence of religious conviction. The conditions of City life, the absence of the enforced companionship of the village and small town, the difficulty of young people finding harmless opportunities of friendly intercourse, all tends to create classes of celibates who are not chaste, and whose irregular and lawless indulgence of a universal instinct is one of the most melancholy features of the present state of society. Nay, so generally is this recognised, that one of the terms by which one of the consequences of this unnatural state of things is popularly known is "the social evil," as if all other social evils were comparatively unworthy of notice in comparison to this.
While I have been busily occupied in working out my Scheme for the registration of labour, it has occurred to me more than once, why could not something like the same plan be adopted in relation to men who want wives and women who want husbands? Marriage is with most people largely a matter or opportunity. Many a man and many a woman, who would, if they had come together, have formed a happy household, are leading at this moment miserable and solitary lives, suffering in body and in soul, in consequence of their exclusion from the natural state of matrimony. Of course, the registration of the unmarried who wish to marry would be a matter of much greater delicacy than the registration of the joiners and stone-masons who wish to obtain work. But the thing is not impossible. I have repeatedly found in my experience that many a man and many a woman would only be too glad to have a friendly hint as to where they might prosecute their attentions or from which they might receive proposals. In connection with such an agency, if it were established—for I am mot engaging to undertake this task— I am only throwing out a possible suggestion as to the development in the direction of meeting a much needed want, there might be added training homes for matrimony. My heart bleeds for many a young couple whom I see launching out into the sea of matrimony with no housewifery experience. The young girls who leave our public elementary schools and go out into factories have never been trained to home duties, and yet, when taken to wife, are unreasonably expected to fill worthily the difficult positions of the head of a household and the mother of a family. A month spent before marriage in a training home of housewifery would conduce much more to the happiness of the married life than the honeymoon which immediately follows it.
Especially is this the case with those who marry to go abroad and settle in a distant country. I often marvel when I think of the utter helplessness of the modern woman, compared with the handiness of her grandmother. How many of our girls can even bake a loaf? The baker has killed out one of our fundamental domestic arts. But if you are in the Backwoods or in the Prairie or in the Bush, no baker's cart comes round every morning with the new-made bread, and I have often thought with sorrow of the kind of stuff which this poor wife must serve up to her hungry husband. As it is with baking, so it is with washing, with milking, with spinning, with all the arts and sciences of the household, which were formerly taught, as a matter of course, to all the daughters who were born in the world. Talk about woman's rights, one of the first of woman's rights is to be trained to her trade, to be queen of her household, and mother of her children.
Speaking of colonists leads me to the suggestion whether something could not be done to supply, on a well-organised system, the thousands of bachelor miners or the vast host of unmarried males who are struggling with the wilderness on the outskirts of civilisation, with capable wives from the overplus of marriageable females who abound in our great towns. Woman supplied in adequate quantities is the great moraliser of Society, but woman doled out as she is in the Far West and the Australian bush, in the proportion of one woman to about a dozen men, is a fertile source of vice and crime. Here again we must get back to nature, whose fundamental laws our social arrangements have rudely set on one side with consequences which as usual she does not fail to exact with remorseless severity. There have always been born into the world and continue to be born boys and girls in fairly equal proportions, but with colonising and soldiering our men go away, leaving behind them a continually growing surplus of marriageable but unmarried spinsters, who cannot spin, and who are utterly unable to find themselves husbands. This is a wide field on the discussion of which I must not enter. I merely indicate it as one of those departments in which an intelligent philanthropy might find a great sphere for its endeavours; but it would be better not to touch it at all than to deal with it with light-hearted precipitancy and without due consideration of all the difficulties and dangers connected therewith. Obstacles, however, exist to be overcome and converted into victories. There is even a certain fascination about the difficult and dangerous, which appeals very strongly to all who know that it is the apparently insolvable difficulty which contains within its bosom the key to the problem which you are seeking to solve.
In considering the various means by which some substantial improvement can be made in the condition of the toiling masses, recreation cannot be omitted. I have repeatedly had forced upon me the desirability of making it possible for them to spend a few hours occasionally by the seaside, or even at times three or four days. Notwithstanding the cheapened rates and frequent excursions, there are multitudes of the poor who, year in and out, never get beyond the crowded city, with the exception of dragging themselves and their children now and then to the parks on holidays or hot summer evenings. The majority, especially the inhabitants of the East of London, never get away from the sunless alleys and grimy streets in which they exist from year to year. It is true that a few here and there of the adult population, and a good many of the children, have a sort of annual charity excursion to Epping Forest, Hampton Court, or perhaps to the sea. But it is only the minority. The vast number, while possessed of a passionate love of the sea, which only those who have mixed with them can conceive, pass their whole lives without having once looked over its blue waters, or watched its waves breaking at their feet.
Now I am not so foolish as to dream that it is possible to make any such change in Society as will enable the poor man to take his wife and children for a fortnight's sojourn, during the oppressive summer days, to brace them up for their winter's task, although this might be as desirable in their case as in that of their more highly favoured fellow-creatures. But I would make it possible for every man; woman and child, to get, now and then, a day's refreshing change by a visit to that never-failing source of interest. In the carrying out of this plan, we are met at the onset with a difficulty of some little magnitude, and that is the necessity of a vastly reduced charge in the cost of the journey. To do anything effective we must be able to get a man from Whitechapel or Stratford to the sea-side and back for a shilling.
Unfortunately, London is sixty miles from the sea. Suppose we take it at seventy miles. This would involve a journey of one hundred and forty miles for the small sum of 1s. Can this be done? I think it can, and done to pay the railway companies; otherwise there is no ground to hope for this part of my Scheme ever being realised. But I think that this great boon can be granted to the poor people without the dividends being sensibly affected. I am told that the cost of haulage for an ordinary passenger train, carrying from five hundred to a thousand persons, is 2s. 7d. per mile; a railway company could take six hundred passengers seventy miles there, and bring them seventy miles back, at a cost of #18 1s. 8d. Six hundred passengers at a shilling is #30, so that there would be a clear profit to the company of nearly #12 on the haulage, towards the payment of interest on the capital, wear and tear of line, &c. But I reckon, at a very moderate computation, that two hundred thousand persons would travel to and fro every season. An addition of #10,000 to the exchequer of a railway company is not to be despised and this would be a mere bagatelle to the indirect profits which would follow the establishment of a settlement which must in due course necessarily become very speedily a large and active community.