Welcome to the web archive of the SA Historical & Philatelic Association.
We hope you will enjoy reading the articles and information on Salvation Army history and
heritage that will be published here over the coming months.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Ballington Booth Episode, The New York Times Report


Commander Ballington Booth Will Take No Orders from England

Statement cheered to the echo. Report that Commander and Mrs. Booth-Tucker Had Been Appointed for America Not Believed.

Commander Ballington Booth of the Salvation Army last night announced to the members of his staff that he had decided not to relinquish command of the army in the United States, and that under no circumstances would he take orders from England.

This was taken to mean that he will reorganize the army in this country on an independent basis, and it was received with cheers and other demonstrations of approval.

The Commander emerged from his retirement last evening and appeared at the Army Headquarters in West Fourteenth Street, where he held a council of war with his staff supporters. Col. Alexander M. Nicol, the personal representative of Gen. Booth in the present difficulty, and Col. Eadie, who has assumed to exercise the authority of Acting Commander, were called to the council room and given to understand the Commander's position. They went into his presence pale and trembling, and they emerged from the room looking very much troubled.

During the session a message was received purporting to come from London to the effect that Commander and Mrs. F. De La Tour Booth-Tucker had been appointed to succeed Mr. and Mrs. Ballington Booth in the United States. This was promptly bulletined by Col. Nicol, but its truth was denied by Commander Booth and his friends, who declared that the dispatch was bogus and was issued by Eva Booth, who is in this city, to create a false impression. Commander Booth's statement that he would not recognize the message as official was received with applause. It was argued that the message could not be authentic, because Gen. Booth is not in London, and would not make an appointment of such importance except in the regular way, from the London headquarters.

Commander Booth's arrival at headquarters was entirely unexpected, and took the opposition by surprise. The regular Sunday evening gospel service was in progress, and the large hall was well crowded. Early in the evening a spirit of insubordination was manifested by several members of the corps, who refused to don their uniforms and join the corps inside. They retained their citizen's dress, and stood on the sidewalk in front of the building. One of these was Major Glenn, who is Commander Booth's most intimate lieutenant.

Major Glenn stood near the curb, watching the horse cars. A few moments past 9 o'clock a tall, slender man, with a prominent nose and long hair, and enveloped in a long army overcoat, sprang from a blue-line car going westward. He was instantly recognized as Commander Booth, and in a moment a cheering crowd surrounded him. With him was his lawyer, Mr. Alexander. Followed by Major Glenn, they hurried into the building and rushed into the elevator, which carried them up to the fourth floor, where the Commander's private office is situated. As quickly as possible they entered the office, and the door was locked and barred against intruders.

Commander Booth looked excited as he hurried inside. He held an open manuscript which he seemed anxious to read to his friends. Messengers were dispatched to various officers scattered through the building, and in a short time about thirty were closeted with the Commander. Among them were Brigadiers Evans and Fielding of Chicago, Major Stillwell of Michigan, Major Glenn, Staff Captain Crafts, Major Marshall, and Ensign Taylor. When all were seated, Commander Booth rose and addressed them.

He had spoken but a moment when he was interrupted with a burst of applause, and sittillar demonstrations were repeated during his speech. Members of the staff then expressed their views, and messengers were sent for Cols. Nicol and Eadie. They responded, but did not seem to relish the idea of meeting Commander Booth just then, and they did not remain in the room long. It was shortly after they retired from the Commander's presence that the message announcing the appointment of Ballington Booth's successor was received. It was handed to Col. Eadie, who immediately regained his spirits, rushed to the council chamber, and delivered it. It was received in silence, and he left the room smiling. Then Commander Booth told his hearers that he did not believe the message was authentic, and he would not consider it of any account until it was verified.

This aroused enthusiasm, and he was cheered again and again.

But Col. Nicol was not going to lose any time in acquainting the army with the. news, and he posted this notice on the bulletin board near the main entrance:

"Commander and Mrs. Booth-Tucker have been appointed successors to Commander and Mrs. Ballington Booth, and may be expected to arrive in this country with all dispatch. A. M. NICOL."

Commander Booth remained with his officers until 11 o'clock. The elevator was ordered to the floor, and when it was in readiness the room door was opened and Commander Booth and his friends made a rush for it. They were hurried to the ground floor, where another rush was made for the street. A carriage was waiting for the Commander and he sprang into it. A great crowd had gathered to see him leave the building, and it followed him, shouting and cheering, as he was driven away. At Sixth Avenue the carriage was driven to the sidewalk. Commander Booth leaped from it and ran up the steps to the elevated railroad station. A policeman, seeing the crowd pursuing him and shouting, thought he was someone trying to escape capture, and followed him up the steps. Commander Booth jumped on a train that was pulling out just as the policeman got to the ticket box, and so failed to catch the Commander
The Gospel meeting was cut short because of the arrival of Commander Booth at headquarters and the fear that if the audience learned that he was in the building a demonstration would be made. Col. Nicol was to have led the exercises, but while passing through the corridors he was hissed by a number of outsiders, and he had reason to believe that he would be received on the platform with manifestations of hostility. So his chair on the platform remained vacant.

Several messages were sent to officers of the army on the platform during the meeting, and the audience could see that something unusual was going on, but it was not told that Commander Booth was in the headquarters. Shortly after his arrival the meeting was brought to a close and the lights were turned out.

The staff officers of the army will hold a meeting this morning. Important developments are expected to-day.

Two more proclamations were issued yesterday from Salvation Army Headquarters by Col. Alexander M. Nicol regarding the present troubles in the army's management, and both, by reason of that which they left unsaid, served to intensify the excitement among the officers and soldiers. No word had been received from Commander Ballington Booth or Mrs. Booth, and everybody who was expected to know of their intentions professed complete ignorance on that point. Religious services were held during the day in the lower hall in headquarters, and the subject most generally discussed by the crowds of soldiers and others was the crisis in the affairs of the army. The action that has led to the present unfortunate situation was spoken of in undertones, for instructions have been issued to prevent mention of the trouble in the hearing of strangers.

The first proclamation was typewritten on official headquarters notepaper, and was as follows:

Col. Nicol, the General's representative, desires to make the following appeal to all soldiers and friends of the army in America:

The army's principles are once more being put to a severe test. It is our duty to stand by them, for they have been demonstrated in all lands, as well as in the history of American struggles and triumphs, and have been inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Do not be in a hurry to condemn any one. Hasty judgments in these matters often cause lasting sorrows.

Our business is to save souls. Stick to this. The army must never, at any price, falter in its forward march to rescue the world from an eternal hell.

Pray for the officers, soldiers, friends, and enemies of the flag. Pray for the future of America. Pray for our beloved General in- this terrible and overwhelming sorrow, But, above all, pray that you may have more of the spirit of Jesus Christ, the world's greatest sufferer, and don't lead, a selfish life.

The second document, which follows, was of the nature of a general denial of statements made by friends of the Booths concerning the causes and alleged dismissal of the Booths:

It is untrue, as reported in the press, that Commandant Herbert Booth peremptorily demanded his brother to hand over the keys and property of the army.

It is equally untrue that he ever dismissed Commander Ballington Booth. Neither Commandant Herbert Booth nor any other officer possesses such power. That power is only vested in the General.

There is no foundation in the report that Commandant Herbert Booth, Commissioner Eva Booth, and Col. Nicol were deputed by the International Headquarters in London to court- martial the American leaders. Such was in no way the nature of their visits, and, indeed. such a proceeding would be contrary to the army's methods of discipline and government. It is absolutely false that Commandant Herbert Booth has assumed the command of the forces in the United States. At no time has there ever existed a shadow of foundation for this statement.

It is an unwarranted aspersion, both on the character and commission of Commandant Herbert Booth, to say that he has been actuated by jealousy toward his brother, or that he has ever sought, or seeks now, the American command.

His visits to New-York were of a pacific character—those of a mediator—and in accordance with instructions from the International Headquarters.

It is not true that Commandant Herbert Booth is in New York. Having fulfilled his commission he returned to Toronto, and is at present conducting his farewell.

It is absolutely untrue that any officer on the National Headquarters' Staff has ever tried to oust Commander and Mrs. Ballington Booth from their positions. The statement is a pure fabrication. ALEXANDER M. NICOL, the General's Representative, and Colonel, Salvation Army.

Col. Nicol remained in seclusion all day, but Col. Eadie, who is the acting commander of the army, made a statement to a reporter for THE NEW YORK TIMES.

“The stories concerning my conduct in this country which were published this morning," said Col. Eadie, "are falsehoods instigated by the devil. One paper in particular printed an outrageous string of calumnies that would justify me in suing it for libel, but I have decided to leave the matter with God. He will demand an accounting from their author at the proper time. Meanwhile, I think the man's conscience will trouble him a little.

“It is not true," Col. Eadie explained, “that I am desirous of Anglicizing the Salvation Army. Such a statement is absurd. ‘It is one of the cardinal principles of the army that it should be adapted to the people among whom it works, In America I am an American. I have been here two years, and have taken out my first papers. If I stay here five years I shall become an American citizen. In Japan I conform to the customs of the Japanese; in Wales, to the Welsh; in France, to the French, and in Rome, to the Romans."

“Do you object to the ownership of property by soldiers of the army?"

“Yes. The principles of the army are opposed to any soldier in its ranks owning property. There are several reasons. One is that no one is sent to any place for a longer term than five years, and, if they buy houses, they find it inconvenient to move when ordered elsewhere. There is no objection to any soldier holding property he owned before he joined the army, but he should not purchase land after lie enters our ranks.

“Has objection been made to Commander Booth's owning his home in Montclair?”

“Commander Booth does not own that house. He bought it with Salvation Army funds and it belongs to the Salvation Army. He holds it as he holds all other Salvation Army property—as trustee. All Salvation Army Commanders, or Commissioners, hold the Army property in their respective territories in the same way."

“Has a demand been made upon Commander and Mrs. Booth to turn over the Salvation Army property to Herbert Booth or to you, or Col. Nicol? "

“You can't make such a demand upon persons whom you can't find. We don't know where they are."

“If they were to return to headquarters would they be regarded as still leaders of the army?”

“By their own acts they have removed themselves from the army. Their resignations, however, have not been acted upon. Gen. Booth is now on his way from Bombay to London, and when he arrives in England he will consider the matter. Commander Booth stands in a different relation to the General than other Commanders. He is General Booth's son, and in his letter of resignation he treats of family matters that make the situation extremely delicate. I think Gen. Booth will call a council of Commanders of equal rank with Ballington Booth, to whom he will submit the whole question of Ballington's refusal to obey orders, and his resignation, and they will recommend such a course as they may deem best for the discipline of the army. It will not be a court-martial, but a court of inquiry, and General Booth will be left free to adopt or reject the advice given him."

" Under Gen. Booth's original order, Commander Booth has until April 9th to serve here, has he not?" - yes."

"Yet he is regarded as being no longer connected with the army?”

“I can't say that."

" Suppose Commander and Mrs. Booth should return to-day to headquarters and assume full charge of the organization, pending action on their resignation, would you recognize their authority, or would you dispute it?"

“I’d rather not say," answered Col. Eadie. "I'm not clear on that point myself."

Col. Bache declared that he was not opposed to the use of bicycles by soldiers in the Salvation Army.

“Bicycles are used in England, and I have encouraged their use, especially in villages, in this country," he said. “I never have ordered any one to dispense with them."

Col. Eadie said he believed the rank and file of the army would be loyal to General Booth, irrespective of their attachment for Commander and Mrs. Ballington Booth.

No comments: