04 May 2018

Imperialism and the Salvation Army

Rescuing England: The Rhetoric of Imperialism and the Salvation Army, an article by Ellen J. Stockstill in The Public Domain Review, explains William Booth's, founder of the Salvation Army, ideas on colonialism and emigration for improving the lives of Victorian England’s poor.
Booth saw the imperial power of the British Empire as central to providing the “way out” of “Darkest England”.

Darkest England, the title of Booth's book, portrayed England as overrun by“prostitutes” (over 30,000 in London, 100,000 in Great Britain); “criminals” (32,000 in prison); “drink” (“There are half a million drunkards in Great Britain”) and “drink traffic” (120,000 “Licensed Drinks Shops”); “destitution” (993,000); “the poor” (100,000 homeless); and “misery” (190,000 in workhouses). 

At this time when Canadian archivists and some historians are at work in an effort to strip out the colonial perspective on Canadian history, even though it is a reality, it is worthwhile understanding the motivation of a movement that helped some 250,000 people to emigrate from the British Isles to the British Empire Dominions.


Anonymous said...

He helped my family. I can't help but be grateful to him, no matter on what were his thoughts on the Empire.
In 1919 by great grandfather died of a brain tumour. He had at that time been running a laundry in Kennington, in London, south of the Thames. He had six children. Very quickly, the family was almost starving. My great grandmother, Ellen Harrington, tried to keep the laundry going but she still had five young children at home, the youngest just three years old. The sixth was her eldest, my grandmother, who had married in 1918.
The Salvation Army took pity on Ellen's family's situation, and in 1920 my great grandmother and her five youngest children arrived in Canada to join forces with her brother in law, George Harrington, who had emigrated to Canada years before. George had married here, and had nine children, when his wife passed away.
Ellen Harrington and George joined forces and raised all fourteen of those children together. The year afterwards, with her mother's reports that one would never starve in Canada, her daughter my grandmother Nellie Gray arrived in Canada with my grandfather, who had been badly disfigured in WWI.
A few years back I asked the Sally Ann Archives in Scarborough to check their records for anything about my family. The Sally Ann checked with the family for five solid years, making sure and reporting that all the kids were going to school, that they were all eating well, that the kids all had shoes. They were wonderful. Bless the Army and the Empire! Without them, neither all my cousins nor I would not be here! Cheers, BT

J said...

More recently in the 1970s when my Dad was in hospital recovering from a severe stroke, the Salvation Army visitor gave him pen and paper and cheered him up a lot! He never forgot the kindness of this visitor. He lived another 15 years or so .