Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born into a privileged New York state family in 1882. He would become one of the most important Presidents of the USA. He steered the country through desperate economic times and led them in the 2nd World War. He had two advantages at the start of his career, no need of finance due to family wealth and a famous political cousin and ex-President, Theodore Roosevelt.

His stable and loving family life encouraged an undimmed optimism that never seemed to waver whatever dangers his country faced. He was well educated, his harsh disciplined schooling taught him to face the challenges life threw at him. He trained as a lawyer, but always looked to politics as a career. He stood, as a Democrat, for the New York Senate in 1910 and got elected in a strongly Republican area. His methods included travelling around the district in a car. Despite the public display of wealth, his charm and personality won over his voters. He took aim at corruption at the heart of New York immediately. This made him an enemy with his colleagues, but popular among the voters.

By 1913 he had been made Assistant Navy secretary to the Wilson administration, his claim to have read 10,000 naval books clearly helped. He greatly increased the size of the Navy, in anticipation of entering the 1st World War. He continued to serve in the Navy, and stood for Vice President in 1920, but lost. His career was cut short when he contracted a disease that left him paralysed from the waist down, a disability that he kept hidden for his whole career. But in 1929 he returned to work as Governor of New York. The Wall Street Crash had caused serious economic problems. The countries leadership believed the problems would fade, but Roosevelt anticipated differently. New York was the only state to provide support for the poor at that time. He made radio broadcasts, which combined the comforting nature of a fireside chat, with a platform for his views, that were becoming more focussed nationally.

He stood for President in 1932 and received a resounding endorsement. He immediately started tackling the severe economic depression. He called it the New Deal, it was a call to arms of for America. One quarter of the workforce were unemployed, two million were homeless, industrial production had halved and agricultural prices had fallen by 60%. He started various agencies to feed and support the unemployed, give relief to farmers and regulate the banks. He instituted great public works to improve the infrastructure such as the Tennessee Valley authority. Creating employment by building dams, hydroelectric stations, regulating waterways and generally modernising agriculture. It was focussed on the poverty-stricken Tennessee valley, but covered a great area, particularly the vast agricultural mid-west. He started social security to provide for those who could not provide for themselves.

In 1935 his focus was more on big business. He tried to regulate employment and give more rights to workers and a fairer market place. He was opposed and criticised as a Marxist, but his methods were not based on ideology, but on pragmatism. He strongly believed that the country needed to try something to get out of the mess they were in, regardless of previous dogma.

He was re-elected in 1936, with 60% of the popular vote. He continued to try to reform the Supreme Court and regulate business but was thwarted. He had brought a coalition, of people from all backgrounds and demographic groups across the country who were prepared to fight for the good of all. It was called the fifth party system and modernised and popularised the Democratic party.

His methods would be to surround himself with talented individuals and encourage competition and divisiveness that would inspire creativity and application. He maintained control, making all the decisions, he did not use collective responsibility. His political craft and personal charm drove those who worked for him to achieve at the highest level.

The economy had been saved, but the next test was in War. The rise of fascism in Italy, Japan and Germany seriously threatened the World order. The USA was neutral and isolationist. FDR knew that they would have to get involved eventually and received Churchill’s first message when he was made 1st Lord of the Admiralty. There was much opposition to war in America, but as the broken deals, anti-Semitism and invasions overtook Europe, the tide of opinion began to turn. FDR had increased spending on Naval and Air production. But when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour happened, the country declared War firstly on Japan and then on Germany and Italy.

Churchill was delighted, he believed that US industry would turn the tide of War and he was right. The country mobilised and within a few months the northern industries were producing tanks, planes and ships at an unbeatable rate. FDR managed to focus on Europe, as the main threat. He had prepared the navy well and they island hopped across the pacific, pushing the Japanese back to their home islands. The Russians bore the brunt of the Nazi’s. The allies attacked in Africa and Italy, through strategic bombing and the D-day landings. Churchill and FDR met with Stalin to plan the War and the peace.

His expertise in naval matters had stood him in good stead. He was re-elected for a record fourth term before passing away a few days before victory in Europe. He left a changed world. His successor Harry S. Truman authorised the detonation of the first atom bomb over Japan. While shortening the War and potentially reducing American casualties, it brought forth a new era. The atomic cold war. America had changed from an isolated nation to a super-power on FDR’s watch. It became a world policeman and replaced the decaying colonial empires as a new force in the world.

But today, there is still a threat of economic collapse, extremist warmongering and nuclear war. FDR’s call to arms for a new deal, united his country and in solving their problems, helped the world.

We need to learn from his lesson and recognise, prepare and deal with the problems that he believed threatened his country and the world.

So, look to the future with colleagues and friends, and with a glint in your eye, mix a cocktail and know that there is always hope. That was FDR, but who will be next to carry on his legacy.

Conway-Laird (2017)

Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson was born in Norfolk in 1758. He joined the Navy and rose to become the most famous naval officer in British history. He will always be remembered for winning the crucial Battle of Trafalgar. Its importance is demonstrated by the central London monument, Nelson’s column.

Nelson came from minor nobility in Norfolk. His mother died when he was young and after school, at the age of 12 he joined the Royal Navy. He was mentored by his uncle, Maurice Suckling and started aboard his ship as a seaman. He was immediately promoted to Midshipman, a junior officer.

It has always been said, that at this time, England ruled the waves. True enough, they had a navy far bigger and better than anyone else. As an island nation, Britain relied on its navy to prevent an invasion. To this day there has not been a successful invasion for 1000 years. Both Napoleon and Hitler realised the task was too great, mainly because of the Royal Navy.

The eighteenth century saw the expansion of Atlantic trade. American and West Indian colonies were growing cash crops like sugar, cotton, tobacco, coffee and tea, using African slaves. The Royal Navy was vital in keeping the sea trade routes open. During this time there was an almost constant war with the French. Fighting all in the Americas, India, Africa and Europe, the great colonial powers vied for greater and greater control of trade. Nelson joined the Navy during the War of American Independence, France was aiding the colonists in seeking freedom and getting one over on the enemy at the same time.

Life on a naval ship was harsh. Sea sickness, which Nelson suffered from, was debilitating. Lack of food and water caused disease and death. The cold, the heat and the wet conditions. Foreign climates could be oppressive, the West Indies could be a death trap for the British. Yellow fever was a killer. Nelson caught malaria and continued to suffer bouts of the disease all his life. The crew were tough guys as well. A 12-year-old Midshipman telling seasoned matelots what to do, must have been a daunting prospect.

During his early years, he gained experience and promotions. He sailed in the West Indies, Central America, the USA, Europe and India. He blockaded, escorted, attacked forts, captured enemy ships, impounded their booty and even went on an expedition to find the North-West passage. This was based on a theory that you could sail to the Pacific from the Atlantic by going around the top of Canada, through the ice in summer. If this could be achieved it would greatly benefit sea trade. It was never discovered.

The defeat to America led to a period of under-unemployment, but the French Revolution had developed into the Terror and Europe was uniting against a country that had killed their King. Nelson was sent to the Mediterranean. He had his own command now. He helped in the invasion of Corsica and was stationed in Genoa, before the French captured that city. He approached his first proper action with glee. Eventually defeating the French 84-gun ship Ca Ira. He was full of schemes for raiding and amphibious assaults and was frustrated by the traditional and understandable reticence of those in command. The Royal Navy did not take risks, it did not need to.

In 1797 he was stationed off Cadiz, raiding Spanish treasure ships. He had a plan to raid Tenerife. He led one assault party, but was stuck by a musket ball in the right arm which he lost. The Spanish were better prepared than expected and the mission was a failure.

His next mission was to hunt the French fleet. They were based at Toulon in the south of France. Napoleon had amassed an army, but Nelson did not know where they were going. Battling the winds, Nelson could not prevent Napoleon slipping out of Toulon and away. Hunting for him down the Italian coast, he eventually discovered that Malta had fallen, and the French had then headed East. The probable destination was Egypt, they were discovered at Aboukir Bay. Nelson immediately ordered an attack. He was able to slip his ships through a gap in a protecting shoal and devastated the French fleet at anchor. Napoleon had lost his fleet and his army was marooned in Egypt. It was a stunning and bold victory. Nelson was given a hero’s welcome on return at Naples and then in England.

The trade embargo imposed on England by France, known as the Continental System was a problem to everybody else. Nelson was sent with Admiral Hyde Parker to the Baltic to deal with the Russians, Prussians, Swedes and Danes. At Copenhagen the plan was to continue to blockade then negotiate. But Nelson had a plan of attack. He had a damaging battle with the Danish fleet and when told to withdraw, he refused to see the signal. He got his victory, and negotiated with the Danish, but his insubordination can only have been tolerated due to his success and popularity. He was a risk taker, but kept winning.

The uneasy peace of Amiens in 1801, gave Napoleon cover to prepare to invade England. As he prepared his armies, Nelson was given command of the Med, he was stationed off Toulon, shadowing and blockading the French navy under Villeneuve. The French escaped and sailed to the West Indies, Nelson chased him but never found him. Villeneuve returned to Europe and was holed up in Cadiz, awaiting the call to prepare for an invasion of England. Nelson was waiting outside. When Villeneuve made his move, Nelson was ready. The two large navies sailed in a long line in the same direction, watching each other. Nelson made his move, the daring and innovative and now famous action of cutting the line. He sailed his flagship straight for the French and Spanish. Cutting the line, the French fleet was broken into pieces and destroyed, never to be a force against England. The result was an end to French invasion plans. Napoleon had turned towards Vienna and had his glorious day at Austerlitz. So, the French ruled the land, but thanks to Nelson, the English had complete mastery of the sea.

But it was in his finest hour that this great hero’s luck run out. Shot by a French marksmen he died as the battle of Trafalgar raged. It had almost been a suicide mission. Nelson was a man of courage, commitment and experience. He ruled not with authority, but with understanding and even love. His experience meant that he could relate to his men, then they followed. He was vain and extremely sensitive to praise or criticism, but his understanding of strategy and tactics and ultimately being able to self-sacrifice made him a winner.

He was an individual, made by the Navy, but not really like them. They must have hated the risks he took, but since he kept winning they just had to love him as the people did. He put his life on the line, when the country was perceived to be in its direst need. But as throughout English history, “cometh the hour, cometh the man.”

His final communique to his fleet before action stations was, “”England confides that every man will do his duty”.

Conway-Laird (2017)

William Gladstone

William Gladstone was born of Scottish merchant parents in Liverpool in 1809. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, where he studied Classics and Mathematics. He was a fine orator at the Oxford Union. He was soon elected to Parliament, as a high tory, and would serve Robert Peel’s Government in the Treasury and the Colonial office.

Gladstone made a habit of identifying injustice and putting it right. One of his first bugbears was the Opium wars. He was outraged at Britain declaring War on China and the peddling of Opium, which he knew to be a dangerous and destructive drug. He championed the cause of dock workers who were based in pubs and needed a central organisation. He had a life-long personal crusade to save prostitutes. He would walk the streets talking to the girls, trying to help them into better circumstances. He was investigated, but proven innocent of any wrongdoing.

Peel’s Government fell over repeal of the Corn laws. Gladstone stayed in the Peelite faction and led it on the death of the founder. They formed a Government with the Whigs, and he was made Chancellor. He was always a believer in equality of opportunity, free trade, and laissez-faire economic policies. His first budget wanted to reduce tariffs on imports, to increase free trade and rely on income tax, which he would also like to reduce. His first budget speech was 5 hours long and was hailed as the work of a man fit to direct Governments. His oratory made the subject interesting and his skill in balancing the budget was recognised by all.

The Crimean War followed, and Gladstone refused to borrow, instead he raised income tax, to demonstrate the folly of War. His continued in a fiscally responsible manner, reduced income tax, increased trade and improved the lot of the working man. This was important as many would not have the vote, yet he still worked hard for them. Like Peel before him, he was much respected by the workers.

Another Government in 1867, saw a Bill on Electoral Reform. Gladstone campaigned for a greater franchise, but his arch rival Disraeli outmanoeuvred him by seeking an amendment to give even more people the vote, despite being a Conservative. Gladstone was stung, and a great rivalry would commence.

He was now the leader of the Liberal Party, formed from the Whigs and Peelites. He was elected to be Prime Minister in 1868, and remained in that position for 6 years. He believed his main role was to pacify Ireland. He would also seek individual liberty and reduce economic and political restraints. Always campaigning for better opportunity for the working man and rooting out injustice.

He was voted out in 1874, and he was very critical of Disraeli’s foreign policy in opposition. But returning to power in 1880, he presided over some bad overseas ventures. Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan and South Africa were all disastrous as the scramble for Empire in Africa was beginning.

His chance came for Ireland with the first Home Rule Bill. He united his minority Liberals with Irish Nationalists, giving devolution to them and power to him, but it split the Liberals. The Irish leader Parnell, was dragged through the mud in a divorce case and Gladstone’s morals mitigated against dealing with the man. He tried again in 1892, but the measure was defeated in the Lords.

He continued to fight for his principles, but he saw that politics was regressing from free trade, opportunity and support of the working man. The Tories were amassing wealth in the colonies and in the financial institutions and were espousing protectionism. He was Prime Minister until 84, and he stayed in the House three more years.

Regarded by many as one of the greatest Prime Ministers, he always championed the cause of the unfortunate. Driven by his morality, it also be could be his downfall. Disraeli, whose morality was less well defined, was a shrewder political operator and was able to outfox him at times.

But surely our leaders are there to represent us. We vote for them based on the promises they make to improve out lot. If they think they are smart because they outsmart us to get power, how has the world improved. Being a clever and devious operator has its uses, especially in dealing with those of a similar ilk. Surely a great leader is one who demonstrates that he can represent those who need help and stand up for principles first.

William Ewart Gladstone did that all his life. In Government, in Opposition, at home and in his private life. He practiced what he preached and boy what a sermon!

Conway-Laird (2017)

David Lloyd George

He was born in 1863, his father had died, and his mother took him back to Caernarfonshire where he lived his uncle, who was a great presence in his life. He lived in a rural area and recognised the plight of the ordinary person throughout his career. He was a Welsh speaker and the only Welshman to become Prime Minister. He studied Law and became a local solicitor.

He was elected for Parliament in 1890 locally, and continued to support himself as a solicitor. He was allied to some other Welsh liberals and was interested in Welsh independence and land reform. They were particularly concerned with disestablishing the Church of England in Wales. He became a leading opponent of the Boer Wars. Criticising the racial arrogance of the English and the cost of the War. Money that could have been spent on social reforms.

In 1906 he entered the Liberal cabinet and was made President of the Board of Trade. He did some important work regulating industries, but his finest achievement was in bringing about conciliation in the railway industry. The rail companies would not talk to Unions, but DLG managed to get them to see representatives on conciliation boards, thus averting a strike.

He became Chancellor in 1908 and was pressed to spend money on Dreadnoughts in the arms race with the Germans. The Budget in 1909 was hailed as a great success. He raised taxes on land and luxuries to pay for social reform and the arms race. He managed this without damaging free trade. The Conservative House of Lords rejected the budget, but an election held for the Liberals and the budget was passed.

In 1911 the power of the House of Lords was curtailed, DLG was instrumental in persuading the new King George V to give his consent. These victories allowed his social reforms and the start of the welfare state. Old age pensions, national insurance for the sick and unemployment benefit were all started under his Chancellorship.

In 1914 he was able to fulfil his dream of disestablishing the Church of England in Wales. But war was looming and people who thought DLG was anti-war were surprised by his Mansion House Speech, patriotically vowing to stand up to German aggression.

In the summer of 1914 he was advocating staying out of the coming War, but he was impressed by Belgium’s defiance of Germany and his statesmanlike behaviour held sway in the cabinet. By 1915 there was a crisis on the front as there were not enough shells and ammunition being produced. He was made minister of munitions and energetically transformed the department.

The Prime Minister Asquith was not a good organiser or planner and DLG replaced him Dec 1916. He was anxious to create any angle to defeat the Germans and knock them out of the War. His energy and innovation were rarely mirrored by anyone else. The military planners were too orthodox and staid. The only progressive action in the War was the Dardanelles. His colleague Churchill took the blame for that even though the prosecution of that mission was not what he wanted.

The Germans were able to transfer men by the Allies, as the new technologies of planes and tanks were starting to be combined effectively. Pushing the Germans back, they were starving due to naval blockade and collapsed politically in November 1918. There was no will to march into the fatherland and the enemy were allowed to lay down their weapons and go home.

The blame was probably the Germans, and the French exerted vast reparations on them at the peace conference at Versailles. The negotiations were extended longer than expected. But at home his coalition with Conservatives, was delivering on social reform. Minimum wages, public health and mine safety. An extended franchise for men and finally for women.

But Ireland was rebelling. The IRA were targeting British forces and were being tackled by the murderous Black and Tans. DLG may have realised that he had lost the argument and called for peace. Negotiations led to partition for Northern Ireland to remain British, and an Irish Free State.

But there were many financial and sexual scandals surrounding the DLG. He had achieved much, but people did not trust him anymore. The Labour party started to make up ground and even formed a Government in 1929. The Liberal Party was reduced to 40 seats. His old ally Churchill crossed the floor, for the second time, to join the Conservatives and look for a job.

It was a sad decline for such a great leader. Vision, energy, passion, principle and above all the ability to charm, seduce, manipulate or extract whatever he wanted. He did not have the morality of Gladstone or the Statesmanship of Pitt, but he got things done. When you are dealing with the dirty business of politics, it pays to be dirty.

But after all the Welsh Wizard conjured up a welfare state and victory in the Great War. Not bad for a lad from Wales.

Lechyd da Boyo!

Conway-Laird (2017)

Sir Edward Carson

Edward Carson will long be remembered as a towering presence in Ulster, and possibly one of the main instigators in creating Northern Ireland through partition at Irish independence in 1922. His statue remains outside the Northern Irish parliament of Stormont near Belfast. He presents a dramatic pose with an impassioned look on his face and an accusing finger standing like a warning to all who threaten the Union.

He was born in Dublin in 1854. His father’s family were originally from Scotland and his mother’s an Anglo-Irish family from Galway. He studied in Dublin and became a Lawyer and a Queens Counsel at 35. He was a gifted and powerful orator, whose wit and legal knowledge made him one of the leading Lawyers of his day.

One of his more famous cases was when Oscar Wilde sued the Marquess of Queensbury for libel when he claimed he was a homosexual, which was illegal until 1967 in England. He defeated Oscar, who he knew from University in Dublin, with a thorough investigation, leading to criminal proceedings and jail.

He entered politics in 1892 as a Liberal Unionist. He held the post of Solicitor-General for Ireland and Solicitor-General for England until 1905.

In 1911 he came to prominence as the leader of a near revolt in Ulster. The third Irish Home Rule bill was going through Parliament and would probably lead to Irish Independence.

Ulster said No!

He spoke in Westminster, organised rallies, arranged the Ulster Covenant where 447,197 signed a petition against Home Rule, he arranged for Government Stormont, if necessary, and he started the Ulster Volunteer Force. They procured 90,000 rifles and drilled and trained to defend their land. Carson was an extremely controversial figure, as the movement he led with such determination became more extreme.

The Home Rule Bill was passed, but the First World War started, and Royal Assent was put off until its conclusion. The UVF formed the 36th (Ulster) Division and were sent to France. Many did not return and many were lost on the Somme.

After the War when the Irish Revolution was about to create the Irish Free State and partition, he was more conciliatory. Six of the nine Irish counties of Ulster would make up Northern Ireland. This province would be led at Stormont by his deputy Craig. He did not take up the challenge himself as he had no Northern constituency. But the fire in his heart for the people of the North forced the British Government to take note of their Protestant traditions. He appealed to the Protestant Government not to alienate Northern Catholics and to consider their position in the new arrangement.

He carried on his legal work as an appeal court judge. But he will always be remembered for his uncompromising stance to protect Ulster Unionism. His “No Surrender” attitude echoing the character of the people he represented, continued in the same vein by his successor, 60 years later, the Rev Ian Paisley. A man who stood by the same principles and said never, never, never to protect his people and their beliefs.

The Rev Ian Paisley finally ratified the Power Sharing Agreement of Northern Ireland in 2008. He shook hands with his Sinn Fein opponents and even welcomed the Irish Premier with open arms. This demonstrated the need to stick to the Unionist code, but on agreement extend warm love and friendship. True to the Northern Irish Protestant tradition.

This hopeful ending to years of trouble, may demonstrate that Carson had a correct vision of the future. Perhaps he laid a solid foundation for peace. His determination to get the future right, shows how important it was for Unionists to have such a skilled and wise leader at that time of crisis.

Possibly Carson was the first in the Pantheon of Heroes who self-sacrificed to get peace in Ireland.  But as always in history we can never know.

Maybe now we can see Stormont as the true cradle of democracy where Protestant and Catholic sit down in Unity of purpose. It is now 500 years since Martin Luther signalled the split causing the Protestant church. Maybe sticking to our principles and not compromising is the key to bringing people together. We are never going to agree on everything.

To bring different creeds and cultures together does not necessarily mean that we should compromise. It might mean that we should stick to our principles “By all means necessary” and then use God given wisdom and love to facilitate coexistence in our communities.

Conway-Laird (2017)


Nye Bevan

Aaaargh, the very mention of his name stirs within, the passion only the Welsh can summon. There is a word in Welsh that I cannot pronounce, or spell, or grasp. It is a event that happens when they sing before a Rugby International, at Church Choir or when preparing to take on an enemy, usually English. Nye had it, that fire breathing Welsh dragon, fired by anthracite, defender of the honourable Welsh miner, champion of the working class, hammer of the capitalist enemy. A man who would put fear even into Winston Churchill’s heart. So, he would order his Tory party “Do not debate this man!”

When passion gives way to reflection, Nye Bevan, miner, son of a miner, Union rep for Tredegar at nineteen, he was the man who initiated the jewel in the crown of post-war Britain. The National Health Service. His passion was rights for the working man and an end to class prejudice. He was educated in history, economics, politics and Marxism at Central Labour College in London. Returning to South Wales, there was no work, he was regarded as a trouble maker. He became a Union Rep and organised during the General Strike of 1926, being responsible for handing out strike pay. He became MP for Ebbw Vale, not far from his Tredegar home. Got elected, never in doubt, never defeated.

At Westminster he targeted anyone. David Lloyd-George, Ramsay MacDonald any Tory, anyone who deviated from the text of his democratic socialism. Nye was not a politician, he was a prophet. He had no need of compromise, back-room deals, manipulation or coercion. He dealt in the truth and there was only one.

His vision in the late 1930’s was to defeat fascism and install socialism. Chamberlain took a pounding, eventually he saw the need for Churchill’s leadership. He described the Tories as vermin, not popular with the boss, Clement Atlee. He obviously remained in opposition during the 2nd World War, but his targets were the class bound officer structure of the armed forces and the capitalist advantage for those that manufactured armaments.

But cometh the hour cometh the man. Post-war labour victory led to a job. Minister for Health and Housing. A massive task to start the NHS and rebuild the shattered housing stock. But Nye the Tredegar boy did the first one. Compromising, clearly a new adventure, he stuffed gold in the mouths of the BMA. He allowed Doctors to do private work and got them to accept the NHS. Healthcare, available for all, free at the point of delivery. The reward for the heroes that sacrificed, to defeat the evils of fascism. He proved, healthcare a spiritual and socialist issue, not for profit, but for life. Each industry needs its own philosophy.

He continued in opposition from 1951, but the great Atlee did not see him as a Foreign Secretary. Not surprising, he was no diplomat. Popular down to the working man’s hob nail boots, he opposed nuclear proliferation and the labour party was split in the 1950’s. He died in 1960, at the dawn of an era that could not suit him. But rage and demand, his brand of political prophecy found its mark when he managed one of the greatest political achievements in British history. To start the NHS from the rubble and debt of the 2nd World War.

Ooh Nye boy, come back and save us. One breath from your fire breathing lips, and the Tory vermin would disappear in smoke and ashes!

If we cannot defend his victory, what alternative to a selfish ignorant, arrogant, dying world do we have? As a non-Welshman, words fail me…………………

Come on Wales, will you give up the ball in your own 22. Get up and fight, you may not like us, but by God we need you now!

Conway-Laird (2017)

William Booth

William Booth was born in 1829 in Nottinghamshire. His family were well off, but descended into poverty, and William was apprenticed to a pawnbroker at the age of 13. After a couple of years, he was converted to Methodism, and his overriding desire in life was to be an evangelist, and help as many people as possible hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved.

He trained as a minister, but was frustrated at being put in pastoral roles, when he wanted to save souls. In 1861 he resigned from the Methodist church and became an independent preacher. He set up a mission at Mile End in London’s East End and preached. There was a fair amount of abuse and he got wounded with bricks and other missiles.

But he could not fail to respond to the depth of human suffering he found on the streets. There were those evangelical reformers, or do-gooders, who genuinely improved the lot of the poor. But there was an expectation that they would be worthy and fit in with society. The people Booth was dealing with had fallen out of society entirely.

The homelessness and alcoholism, of this neglected part of society, did not fail to touch William’s heart. Not backing done one inch from his preaching values, he set up various schemes to help the poor and help them help themselves. Soup kitchens, help for prostitutes, homes for the homeless, help for ex-prisoners. Anything that would help get the needy up on their feet.

By 1878 the movement took to a new image. In an age of empire building, his movement took on a military bearing. Uniforms, ranks, marching bands and of course strict tee-totalism were the order of the day. The Salvation Army was born and spread its work throughout much of the world.

For Booth, the preaching of the message of Christ was indivisible from the actions of Christ to feed the poor and heal the sick. Congruent to his beliefs, his example has spread the love of Christ in word and deed worldwide.

William Booth, March on!

Conway-Laird (2017)