Saturday, August 2, 2008

More from Booth

Yesterday's entry reminded me of a number of other quotes from William Booth that have come to my attention over the years. The following which is drawn from "In Darkest England and the Way Out" illustrates some of the influence that James Barker's work in Australia had upon Booth.
It is rather strange to hear of distress reaching starvation point in a city like Melbourne, the capital of a great new country which teems with natural wealth of every kind. But Melbourne, too, has its unemployed, and in no city in the Empire have we been more successful in dealing with the social problem than in the capital of Victoria. The Australian papers for some weeks back have been filled with reports of the dealings of the Salvation Army with the unemployed of Melbourne. This was before the great Strike. The Government of Victoria practically threw upon our officers the task of dealing with the unemployed. The subject was debated in the House of Assembly, and at the close of the debate a subscription was taken up by one of those who had been our most strenuous opponents, and a sum of £400 was handed over to our officers to dispense in keeping the starving from perishing. Our people have found situations for no fewer than 1,776 persons, and are dispensing meals at the rate of 700 a day.

Interestingly this passage is followed by a letter of recommendation for the work of The Salvation Army in Melbourne written by Alfred Deakin, at that time representing the Victorian parliament but who was later to become Australia's second Prime Minister. What a great history we have and what a challenge to our present!

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