The Brotherhood must help not only the spiritual part of life,
but also in social matters. They should always help the down-trodden,
showing the brotherly feeling which was portrayed throughout
the life of Christ.
Rt. Hon. A. Henderson, M.P.,
President of the Brotherhood Movement, at Weston-super-Mare.
In a previous chapter we mentioned a yellow-covered newspaper which abused our English friends for supporting the appeal of the native deputation. It characterized the advocacy of the aims of the deputation by the Brotherhood as "Rubbish — a commodity which can always be picked up, and quite a lot of people spend much of their time in collecting it." "Why," exclaims this paper with indignation, "we had imagined that the `Brotherhood' movement was of a religious nature."
Our answer to this taunt is, that just because the Brotherhood movement opposes the Natives' Land Act it must be religious, for Anglican Bishops in South Africa have denounced this law in their episcopal charges (vide `Church Chronicle', 1913, October issues), and Anglican Bishops in South Africa are nothing if they are not religious. Nonconformist Ministers have condemned this law in their annual synods and conferences. Ex-Premier W. P. Schreiner, K.C., C.M.G., at present the London representative of the Union of South Africa, is the son of an old South African missionary. He was member of the Union Parliament when this law was passed and was one of the few senators who had the pluck to vote against it after condemning it; and it is monstrous to suggest that these pious and learned men could conspire to denounce a law just for the pleasure of denouncing it. And to our untutored mind it seems that if it be true that all these good men are working for the spread of Christ's Kingdom in South Africa, then we must be pardoned the inference that in the same country protagonists of this Act are working for the establishment of another kingdom. This inference grows into a belief when it is recalled that the men who are responsible for the recent commotion are the very men who forced this law upon the Government.
In the various reports of the South African Church Synods of 1915, the character of this "Church closing" law stands out in bold relief, and it is there revealed as an opponent of Christ and His work. Let us refer to only one of them. "The native work of the (Transvaal) District has been seriously hampered by the operation of the Natives' Land Act. As the result of evictions under the Act, some of the Churches on farms have ceased to exist." — Cape `Methodist Churchman', Jan. 22, 1915.
The numerous South African opponents of this law had no share in the recent upheaval, and the Brotherhoods by lending their platforms to a campaign in opposition to a law that emanates from such a quarter show that their cause, in addition to religion, is on the side of law, order, and constitutional liberty. We know, of course, that no doctrine of liberty would be acceptable in South Africa that did not also imply "liberty to ill-treat the blacks". Hence the Brotherhood propaganda, being colour-blind, explains the fury of the London mouthpiece of "lily-white" South Africa.
Early in July the deputation called at the Brotherhood headquarters in Norfolk Street, Strand, to explain to the National Brotherhood Council the object of their mission. Mr. William Ward, the national secretary, received the deputation in person; Mr. John McIntosh, secretary to the London Federation, Mr. W. Mann and other officers being also present. They invited the deputation to the Quarterly Meeting of the London Federation at Bishopsgate on July 14, 1914, after which the deputation received invitations to address meetings in various parts. Some of these engagements still remain unfulfilled. A list of the centres visited is given at the end of this chapter.
At the Bishopsgate gathering Mr. Will Crooks, M.P., was the "star turn". He welcomed the deputation and regretted the cold reception accorded to it by the Colonial Secretary. He added, however, that if they proceeded along the same moderate lines followed by Dr. Rubusana and Mr. Msane (the two members of the deputation who spoke that evening) he felt certain that they would do more good for their cause in the country than they did at the Colonial Office.
The `Brotherhood Journal', the newspaper organ of the movement said: —
Bear ye one another's Burdens
For Brotherhood men and women there can be only one response to their appeal. For Brotherhood is not only between man and man, but between nation and nation, and race and race.
In our movement, at any rate, there can be no colour bar to love and justice. If our Brotherhoods did not rise to a cause like this, we might well question the reality of their fraternal pretensions.
We are told that the problem has its difficulties. No doubt. But they can be overcome, if only our statesmen will act in a spirit of courage and faith. Surely empire means not only privilege and power and glory, but also responsibility and obligations. If it means only commercial profit, and injustice is to be done with impunity under the Imperial flag,
Of what worth is such an Empire?
This is a matter in which every one of our members should exert the force of opinion on the side of right. Let us open to our coloured brothers' cause our platforms and our hearts.
The five members of the deputation will be in this country for some months, and are prepared to address Brotherhoods and Sisterhoods, and to send information as to their case to any who wish it.
We doubt not that they will find in our midst not only a most sympathetic hearing, but active help in educating public opinion in this country, in order that a great wrong may be righted.
How unlike so many poor attempts at brotherhood, organized in the name of Christianity, especially in our part of the globe, where "they have made the welkin ring with the sorrowful tale of the unfortunate condition of the weak, but, like the rich man in the parable, they liked their Lazarus afar off," and considered their fraternal pretensions satisfied if they sent their dogs to lick his wounds. No, the Brotherhood movement is no such parody. It is practical Christianity which knows no distinction of colour or boundaries between nations. Our nine months' association with Brother Martin and Brother Timberlake, of the Shernhall Brotherhood, confirms this view; and our acquaintanceship with other members of this wonderful movement (which counts judges and members of Parliament as well as factory hands among its office-bearers) satisfied the writer that they are always ready to practise what they preach.
A noteworthy occasion in connexion with the campaign was our visit to the Southall Brotherhood on Sunday, March 14. We can hardly forget the day; it was on Crocus Sunday when thousands of Londoners went to Hampton Court in crowds to see the crocus bulbs in bloom. It was a glorious day and we remember it as the second day in 1915 on which the European sun shone through a cloudless sky from sunrise to sunset. Thousands of people attended at Hyde Park to witness the church parade, and still more thousands took advantage of the glorious spring day after a strenuous winter to flock to Epping Forest and other popular resorts.
In the afternoon we took part in an Imperial indoor demonstration organized by the "Southall Men's Own" at the Central Hall. Mr. William Cross of Hanwell represented England; Mr. T. Owens, F.C.I.S., represented Wales; Mr. S. S. A. Cambridge, a black barrister, represented his homeland, British Guiana; Miss Ruth Bucknall, the celebrated lyric soprano, who artistically contributed the solos, represented Australia; while Scotland and the Emerald Isle were also represented in the orchestra and elsewhere in the hall; Mr. and Mrs. Lionel Boote, of Auckland, New Zealand, represented "the most English of the Colonies" (unfortunately the Indian representative could not reach Southall in time), and the writer represented South Africa, the baby member of the British family.
Among such intellectual giants, one was inclined at the outset to feel somewhat out of place, but thanks to the encouraging Brotherhood cheer which always accompany their reception of a speaker, the stripling soon finds himself at home, as is always the case on any Brotherhood platform, and that was how we felt that day.
Mr. W. Cross said, in part, that one of the most striking proofs of the unity of the Empire was shown in the splendid way that men had come forward to assist the Mother Country on the battlefields of Europe from all parts of our Dominions. The coloured men from India had come as free men and fellow-subjects to do their share. The Empire was composed of territories and people — once separated by race and creed, now united under one flag. There was a great resemblance between Brotherhood and Empire. In it all kinds of religion were represented, yet all were united in one great principle. It had been said the soul of Russia was pity, of France reason, and of Britain justice. No Empire could be built to stand unless based on justice and freedom. The principle of freedom underlay Empire as it underlay Brotherhood also. There was no limit to the Empire that was founded upon unity, toleration, justice, and liberty; it surely had no end. Similarly there was no frontier to the kingdom of Brotherhood, and they looked for a kingdom out-spanning far beyond the roll of British drums — the kingdom of Brotherhood — the kingdom of Christ.
Referring to the limitations of colour in South Africa, Mr. Cambridge said: "Have you no cattle and sheep in South Africa? Are there no birds? Have you not observed that they are of different colours and yet are not restricted in their flight on that account; and are you going to run counter to the work of nature in regard to human beings? The British Empire has a population of over 430,000,000, of which less than 100,000,000 are white, and there was a big problem to solve: `How to rule with justice and equity this great multitude of various races and creeds and consolidate them as fellow-subjects of one great and mighty Empire.' The future of the British Empire could be secured by following the high ideals of `Brotherhood' which were foreshadowed by Christ in the Bible, and by great writers such as Shakespeare and Addison. The fall of Rome was due to her failure to recognize the duty of welding her subjects together as brothers one and all under the Fatherhood of God. . . ."
It is a pity that the argument used by Mr. Cambridge would not go down with the majority of the rulers in South Africa. If it did one would remind them that even South African ladies pay higher prices for black silks than they do for white silks; that the value of domestic animals does not as a whole appear to be influenced by their colour: thus, whereas the fleece of white sheep commands a higher price in the South African wool market than the fleece of black sheep, their mutton has about the same flavour. Again of horned cattle, which give the same quality of beef, irrespective of colour; farmers will tell you of them that coloured cattle are among the best for farming and other purposes, while white bullocks are subject to sore eyes, and white cows continually suffer from erythema of the nipples (`Garget-mammitis'); yet we have not heard that this peculiarity had any influence on the quality of their beef or the quality of the milk they give. The springbuck, whence the best South African venison is obtained, has the colours of black, white and brown; and this blend has not prevented it from having the reputation of being the prettiest and most graceful antelope in the world. But argument in this respect is simply wasted on the ruling caste in South Africa: there, Mr. Cross's views about "freedom, liberty," etc., will simply be laughed out of court, unless he limits them to white men; so that one sometimes wonders whether Christ's metaphor about "casting pearls before swine" does not find an application here. Look at the weighty arguments delivered inside and outside Parliament against the Natives' Land Act. Surely no legislature with a sense of responsibility could have passed that law after hearing arguments of such force and weight against it; but the South African legislature passed that Act and seems to glory in the wretched result of its operation.
Mr. Boote expressed his pride in finding how shining was the native policy of New Zealand when contrasted with the native policy of South Africa. "Why," said Mrs. Boote to us, with evident satisfaction, "we have got Maori members of Parliament and our country is all the better for it." She had every justification to look pleased at the comparison which reveals the justice of her country's rule, for we remember how the women of New Zealand got the vote. The white members of Parliament in New Zealand were equally divided on the Women's Enfranchisement Bill; but for the native members, there would have been a tie, as was the case in South Africa three years ago, when the white members of the South African Parliament, as seemed likely there, wheedled the Women's Suffrage Bill out of the House. Happily for Women's Franchise in the Antipodes the Maori members voted solidly for the Bill and secured the passage of a reform which, judging by the satisfactory results in Australia and elsewhere, gave the lead to the rest of the Empire.
It was at Hammersmith, where the chairman after hearing our story of the operation of the Natives' Land Act, in moving a resolution, in a sympathetic speech, asked: "Why did we spend 240,000,000 Pounds and kill 10,000 men in the South African War if this is the result?" He asked the permission of the audience to change the last hymn on the programme and sing the Brotherhood Song of Liberty.
As the newspaper `South Africa' seems to insinuate that the Brotherhood movement by allying itself with our cause had deviated from its aims and objects, we would explain that the chairman did not run out of the meeting to borrow a book from somewhere containing that song. The song is No. 26 of the `Fellowship Hymnal' — the hymn-book of the P.S.A. and Brotherhoods.
At subsequent meetings it had often been our pleasure, after delivering the message from the South African Natives, to sit down and hear the chairman give out that hymn, and the orchestra lead off with the tune of Costa's March of the Israelites. A pleasant variety was lent to it at the Victoria Brotherhood in Monmouthshire, which we visited on the first Sunday in 1915. There the chairman gave out the now familiar hymn, and the grand organ chimed the more familiar tune of "Jesu, lover of my soul" (Hollingside's), and the variety lent extra freshness to the singing of the Brotherhood Song of Liberty, which is reproduced: —
Men whose boast it is that ye
Come of fathers brave and free,
If there breathe on earth a slave,
Are ye truly free and brave?
If ye do not feel the chain
When it works a brother's pain,
Are ye not base slaves indeed —
Slaves unworthy to be freed?
Is true freedom but to break
Fetters for our own dear sake,
And with leathern hearts forget
That we owe mankind a debt?
No! true freedom is to share
All the chains our brothers wear,
And with heart and hand to be
Earnest to make others free.
They are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think:
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.
J. R. Lowell.
P.S.A. and Brotherhood Societies Addressed by the Deputation
and the Order in Which They Were Visited
[Modified from original table format]
[a] Society. [b] Name of President or Secretary.
[c] Where Meetings are Held. [d] By Whom Addressed.
[a] 1. London Federation of Brotherhoods [b] Mr. John McIntosh [c] 230, Bishopsgate, E.C. [d] Mr. Saul Msane, Dr. W. B. Rubusana
[a] 2. Tooting Brotherhood [b] Rev. E. Aldom French [c] Wesleyan Central Hall, Tooting, S.W. [d] Mr. Saul Msane, Dr. W. B. Rubusana
[a] 3. Willesden Green Men's Own Brotherhood [b] Mr. H. J. Weaver [c] Baptist Church, High Road, Willesden Green [d] Mr. Sol T. Plaatje, Mr. T. M. Mapikela
[a] 4. Westbourne Park Brotherhood [b] Dr. J. Clifford, MA.DD. [c] Baptist Church, Bayswater, W. [d] Dr. W. B. Rubusana
[a] 5. Willesden P.S.A. [b] Mr. W. Springbett [c] Primitive Methodist Church, Willesden Green [d] Dr. W. B. Rubusana, Mr. T. M. Mapikela
[a] 6. East Ham Brotherhood [b] Rev. W. H. Armstrong [c] Central Hall, Barking Road, East Ham [d] Dr. W. B. Rubusana, Mr. T. M. Mapikela
[a] 7. Tooting Graveny Brotherhood [b] Mr. A. Riding [c] Central Hall, Tooting, Broadway [d] Mr. Saul Msane
[a] 8. Men's Brotherhood [b] Rev. A. Clifford Hall [c] Congregational Church, Greenwich Rd., S.E. [d] Mr. Saul Msane
[a] 9. Hammersmith Brotherhood [b] Mr. J. W. Butters [c] Albion Congregational Church, Hammersmith [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 10. Shern Hall Brotherhood [b] Mr. W. H. Jennings [c] United Methodist Church, Whipps Cross [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 11. Swanscombe Brotherhood [b] Mr. E. Pallant [c] Wesleyan Church, Swanscombe, near Northfleet [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 12. Clifton Brotherhood [b] Rev. F. Hastings [c] Congregational Church, Peckham Rye [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 13. Abertillery P.S.A. [b] Mr. Wm. Davies [c] The Pavilion, Abertillery, South Wales [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 14. Abertillery P.S.A. [b] Mr. E. Jefferies [c] Wesleyan Church, Abertillery, South Wales [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 15. Barking Brotherhood [b] Mr. W. Barnard [c] Wesleyan Church, Barking, Essex [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 16. Willesden Green Men's Own [b] Mr. C. E. Pink [c] Baptist Church, High Rd., Willesden Green [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 17. Victoria Brotherhood [b] Mr. J. W. Hall [c] Wesleyan Church, Newport, Monmouthshire [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 18. Marsh Street Men's Own Brotherhood (Men's Meeting) [b] Mr. E. K. Fuller [c] Queen's Cinema Electric Theatre, Walthamstow [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 19. Greenhithe Brotherhood [b] Mr. S. W. Lineham [c] Wesleyan Church, London Rd., Greenhithe [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 20. Marsh Street Men's Own (Evening Meeting: Mixed) [b] Mr. W. F. Toynbee [c] Queen's Cinema Electric Theatre, Walthamstow [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 21. Dartford P.S.A. [b] Mr. H. Keyte [c] Primitive Methodist Church, Dartford, Kent [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 22. Southall Men's Own Brotherhood [b] T. Owen, Esq., F.C.I.S. [c] Central Hall, Southall, W. [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 23. Lloyd's Park P.S.A. [b] Rev. R. P. Campbell [c] United Methodist Church, Lloyd's Park [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 24. Men and Women's Meeting [b] Mr. F. Mercer [c] Independent Church, Edmonton, North [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 25. Chiswick Brotherhood [b] Mr. D. J. Hawkins [c] Brotherhood Hall, Turnham Green Terrace [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 26. Abney Brotherhood [b] Mr. W. A. Procktor [c] Abney Church, Stoke Newington [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 27. Uxbridge P.S.A. [b] Mr. W. Ashton, J.P. [c] Old Meeting House (Congl.), Uxbridge [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 28. West Ealing P.S.A. [b] Mr. S. Garrard [c] Primitive Methodist Church, West Ealing [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 29. New England P.S.A. [b] Sir Richard Winfrey, M.P. [c] P.S.A. Hall, Peterborough, Northampton [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 30. Shern Hall Brotherhood [b] Rev. James Ellis [c] United Methodist Church, Walthamstow [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 31. Leighton Men's Meeting [b] Mr. G. F. Drew [c] Corn Exchange, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 32. Pembury Grove P.S.A. [b] Mr. Ernest Prior [c] United Methodist Church, Clapton [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 33. Shepherd's Bush Brotherhood [b] Mr. F. C. Simpson [c] Shepherd's Bush Tabernacle (Baptist) [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 34. East Ham Brotherhood [b] Mr. G. Sorrell [c] Central Hall, Barking Road, East Ham [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 35. Botwell Brotherhood [b] Mr. J. Matson [c] The Cinema, Hayes, Middlesex [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 36. Kingsland P.S.A. [b] Mr. J. Harding [c] Congregational Church, High Street, Kingsland [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 37. Heathfield Brotherhood [b] Mr. Hy. H. Castle [c] Recreation Hall, Heathfield, Sussex [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 38. Men's Own Brotherhood [b] Rev. A. Hallack, M.A. [c] Angel Street Church, Worcester [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 39. Greenwich P.S.A. [b] Rev. W. T. Penny [c] Central Hall, London Street, Greenwich [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 40. Hither Green P.S.A. [b] Mr. P. Duff [c] Congregational Church, Torridon Road [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 41. Whitefield's Men's Meeting [b] Rev. W. Charter Piggott [c] Whitefield's Tabernacle, Tottenham Court Road [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 42. North End Brotherhood [b] Mr. Elwin Wrench [c] North End Hall, Croydon, Surrey [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 43. Trinity Men's Own [b] Mr. A. J. Walker [c] Congl. Church, Victoria Park, Sth. Hackney [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 44. Acton Brotherhood [b] Mr. James McIntosh [c] Congl. Church, Churchfield Rd., Acton, W. [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 45. P.S.A. Brotherhood [b] Mr. W. G. Brown [c] Wesleyan Church, High Rd., Tottenham [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 46. Northampton Men's Own [b] Rev. R. Morton Stanley, M.A., B.D. [c] Doddridge Church, Northampton [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 47. Cheshunt and Waltham Cross P.S.A. [b] Mr. A. W. Ashmead [c] Drill Hall, Waltham Cross [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 48. Staines P.S.A. [b] Mr. R. C. Edwards [c] Town Hall, Staines, Middlesex [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 49. Snell's Park P.S.A. [b] R. Green, Esq., C.C. [c] Congregational Church, Upper Edmonton [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 50. Camberwell P.S.A. [b] Mr. H. A. Spong [c] Masonic Hall, Camberwell, Surrey [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 51. Norbury Brotherhood [b] Mr. J. L. Moody [c] Wesleyan Church, London Rd., Norbury [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 52. Hastings Brotherhood [b] Mr. A. G. Strickland [c] Congregational Church, Hastings, Sussex [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 53. Evesham Men's Own Brotherhood [b] Mr. G. H. White [c] Cowl St. Church, Evesham, Worcestershire [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 54. South Bank Brotherhood [b] Mr. T. Bosher [c] South Bank-on-Tees, Yorkshire [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 55. Tees-side Brotherhood [b] Mr. T. Summers [c] Wes. Church South Bank, Yorkshire [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 56. Shepherd's Bush, P.S.A. [b] Rev. W. G. Davis [c] Wesleyan Church, Shepherd's Bush [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 57. Stockton United [b] Mr. W. Weighell [c] Baptist Tabernacle, Stockton-on-Tees [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 58. Wembley Brotherhood [b] Mr. H. W. Hagger [c] Union Hall, Wembley [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 59. Watford Men's Own [b] Mr. A. G. Baker [c] Beechen Grove, Ch. Watford, Hertfordshire [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
[a] 60. Clerkenwell Men's Own [b] Mr. R. G. Pursaill [c] Peel Institute, Clerkenwell Green [d] Mr. S. T. Plaatje
In addition to the Brotherhoods and P.S.A.'s, we are indebted to
the Sisterhoods, Adult Schools and several Church bodies who gave us
many occasions to speak, the response to our message being most gratifying.