"You can do that with your Salvationists because they are saved, as you call it. When men are born again you can do anything with them. But unless you convert all the denizens of Darkest England, what chance is there that they will be docile to your discipline? If they were soundly saved no doubt something might be done. But they are not saved, soundly or otherwise; they are lost. What reason have you for believing that they will be amenable to discipline?"
I admit the force of this objection; but I have an answer, and an answer which seems to me complete. Discipline, and that of the most merciless description, is enforced upon multitudes of these people even now. Nothing that the most authoritative organisation of industry could devise in the excess of absolute power, could for a moment compare with the slavery enforced to-day in the dens of the sweater. It is not a choice between liberty and discipline that confronts these unfortunates, but between discipline mercilessly enforced by starvation and inspired by futile greed, and discipline accompanied with regular rations and administered solely for their own benefit. What liberty is there for the tailors who have to sew for sixteen to twenty hours a day, in a pest-hole, in order to earn ten shillings a week? There is no discipline so brutal as that of the sweater; there is no slavery so relentless as that from which we seek to deliver the victims. Compared with their normal condition of existence, the most rigorous discipline which would be needed to secure the complete success of any new individual organisation would be an escape from slavery into freedom.
You may reply, "that it might be so, if people understood their own interest. But as a matter of fact they do not understand it, and that they will never have sufficient far-sightedness to appreciate the advantages that are offered them."
To this I answer, that here also I do not speak from theory. I lay before you the ascertained results of years of experience. More than two years ago, moved by the misery and despair of the unemployed, I opened the Food and Shelter Depots in London already described. Here are a large number of men every night, many of them of the lowest type of casuals who crawl about the streets, a certain proportion criminals, and about as difficult a class to manage as I should think could be got together, and while there will be 200 of them in a single building night after night, from the first opening of the doors in the evening until the last man has departed in the morning, there shall scarcely be a word of dissatisfaction; anyway, nothing in the shape of angry temper or bad language. No policemen are required; indeed two or three nights' experience will be sufficient to turn the regular frequenters of the place of their own free will into Officers of Order, glad not only to keep the regulations of the place, but to enforce its discipline upon others.
Again, every Colonist, whether in the City or elsewhere, would know that those who took the interests of the Colony to heart, were loyal to its authority and principles, and laboured industriously in promoting its interests, would be rewarded accordingly by promotion to positions of influence and authority, which would also carry with them temporal advantages, present and prospective.
But one of our main hopes would be in the apprehension by the Colonists of the fact that all our efforts were put forth on their behalf. Every man and woman on the place would know that this enterprise was begun and carried on solely for their benefit, and that of the other members of their class, and that only their own good behaviour and co-operation would ensure their reaping a personal share in such benefit. Still our expectations would be largely based on the creation of a spirit of unselfish interest in the community.
IX. Again, it is objected that the Scheme is too vast to be attempted by voluntary enterprise; it ought to be taken up and carried out by the Government itself.
Perhaps so, but there is no very near probability of Government undertaking it, and we are not quite sure whether such an attempt would prove a success if it were made. But seeing that neither Governments, nor Society, nor individuals have stood forward to undertake what God has made appear to us to be so vitally important a work, and as He has given us the willingness, and in many important senses the ability, we are prepared, if the financial help is furnished, to make a determined effort, not only to undertake but to carry it forward to a triumphant success.
and was clear of the oily water, now, and upon a sort of
that she might honestly give him the answer that he demanded.