Com­man­dant Her­bert Booth in the Bays

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

In Jan­uary 1893, Com­man­dant Her­bert Booth ( 1862-1926), son of Wi l liam and Cather­ine Booth, founders of the Sal­va­tion Army, paid a visit to New­found­land. His trip in­cluded a jaunt in Con­cep­tion and Trin­ity bays.

Fol­low­ing a 70-hour stormy trip from Hal i f a x , Boo t h a n d h i s en­tourage be­gan a win­ter tour of the corps, or in­di­vid­ual con­gre­ga­tions. Their first stop was Bay Roberts. A con­tem­po­rary news­pa­per re­porter stated that the bar­racks, or place of wor­ship, was packed to the doors.

“Row upon row of happy, healthy, smil­ing faces graced the plat­form,” the re­porter added. In New­found­land par­lance, the plat­form in an Army bar­racks was called the “steps” or “scaf­fold.”

Booth ev­i­dently “ felt in his el­e­ment.” He en­tered the build­ing “with life and vim.”

The con­gre­ga­tion “ea­gerly … lis­tened as he told of the on­ward march of the King’s forces.” The lat­ter phrase is a eu­phemism for the progress of the church in gen­eral.

The meet­ing con­cluded with what Sal­va­tion­ists called a “ hal­lelu­jah windup.” The re­porter asked rhetor­i­cally, “Ah, who can de­scribe it? Where is the ready writer who can prop­erly de­scribe with pen and ink a Bay Roberts free-and-easy?”

The re­porter tried to de­scribe the event: “ With life, en­ergy and go, they dance unto the Lord.”

The meet­ing fin­ished, the vis­i­tors’ “trou­bles were to be­gin.” The dif­fi­culty lay in avail­able trans­porta­tion.

“Lo­co­mo­tion is not so easy on the is­land as in Canada. Rail­road fa­cil­i­ties are at a dis­count.” They were forced “ to do the next best thing,” en­list ponies to trans­port them to their next ap­point­ment.

“ New­found­land ponies are not very big of stature, but they are plucky. Yet there is at times an ex­cep­tion to this rule, as later de­vel­op­ments went to prove.”

An an­i­mal was hired so the Com­man­dant could bridge the 13 miles be­tween Bay Roberts and Car­bon­ear.

The pony was, ac­cord­ing to the pub­lished re­port, “ rather ‘ balky’ at times.” Progress was frus­trat­ingly slow.

The party, “af­ter many ups and downs,” reached Har­bour Grace, where they en­joyed the tra­di­tional New­found­land “cup of tea.”

They then re­sumed their trip to Car­bon­ear, “ but wait! That lit­tle horse was tired and failed to see the ne­ces­sity of again pulling Sal­va­tion­ists over snow­banks.”

Barely out­side Har­bour Grace, the pony “ flatly re­fused to go an­other yard.”

Al­ter­na­tives were limited. Re­turn­ing to Har­bour Grace, the trav­ellers boarded “an­other sleigh be­hind a bet­ter-tem­pered pony. This was a suc­cess­ful ven­ture.”

At 5 a.m., Booth and his com­pa­tri­ots reached Car­bon­ear, where “a hard, te­dious day was put in.”

The Methodist min­is­ter, Rev. James, “only too pleased to see and hear the Gen­eral’s son,” of­fered his church to the Sal­va­tion­ists for a “ ho­li­ness meet­ing.” The large build­ing had a seat­ing ca­pac­ity of at least 1,200. Even the gal­leries were packed.

The con­gre­ga­tion “ lis­tened with rapt at­ten­tion.” Com­man­dant Booth “spoke liv­ing words, thrilling words, pow­er­ful words, as to the Army’s on­ward march.”

Bri­gadier Hol­land was in charge of the “meet­ing, which was sim­plic­ity it­self. How those sol­diers love each other! Love!”

Which, noted the news­pa­per re­porter, was “ev­i­dently the strength of the Car­bon­ear corps. When one tes­ti­fies, an­other prays for him.”

At the con­clu­sion of the meet­ing, “ five knelt at the Cross” — the al­tar at the front of the build­ing — “weep­ing over past un­faith­ful­ness and plead­ing for de­liv­er­ance, which we be­lieve they re­ceived.”

The re­porter was im­pressed that even the Field Sec­re­tary danced. “Ah! he en­joyed him­self, and no mis­take.

“One can­not help but feel at home in the pres­ence of such loyal Sal­va­tion­ists as these.”

Leav­ing Car­bon­ear, the del­e­ga­tion trav­elled “over the bar­rens.” At 10: 30 a. m., they held a meet­ing at Hant’s Har­bour.

Their next stop by sleigh was Heart’s Con­tent.

The next day, they re­traced their steps to Har­bour Grace, then Bri­gus.

“It was a gru­el­ing, though sat­is­fy­ing, ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Com­man­dant Her­bert Booth was im­pressed by what he saw and ex­pe­ri­enced. He later wrote about “a true, sim­ple-hearted, go ahead, real Sal­va­tion Army peo­ple.”

The Sal­va­tion­ists had, in turn, “gained a new sense of pride in their or­ga­ni­za­tion’s achieve­ments; and per­haps a loftier sta­tus in their com­mu­ni­ties by virtue of the pub­lic sup­port ac­corded their Cana­dian Com­man­der.”

Com­man­dant Her­bert Booth of the Sal­va­tion Army held meet­ings in Con­cep­tion and Trin­ity Bays in 1893.

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