Diary of John E.T. Milsaps

Monday, April 10th, 1899

Manila, Luzon Island –Entry made in parlor of No. 2 Calle Santa Elena, Tondo.

General William Booth is 70 years of age today. A most remarkable man is he, in my opinion the most remarkable since the days of St. Paul. Half a century of hard work he has given to religious work. About 34 years ago Wm Booth stood, so to speak, alone on Mile End Waste, London, England, to preach the gospel to the poor and outcast, since that eventful day in July 1865. God has used him & thousands of others to evolve the marvelous organization, so well known to the world as the Salvation Army. Seldom if ever has a more remarkable family come upon the stage of time than the Booth family. Mrs. Catherine Booth & her children were and are as a rule above the average. Their Godliness, ability, courage and zeal made them during the years agone what we considered worthy leaders of such an organization as this one is of which I write. We had the most implicit confidence in them. No matter who else did wrong, we somehow believed they were above doing wrong. Others might make mistakes but not the Booths. All along the years we heard and read of valiant warriors, men and women mighty in deed and word, getting at outs with the Booths and dropping out of the Salvation Army. We thought them, no matter who or how many, always blameworthy as a matter of course; but I do not think so now. I believe the Booths are no better than other Christians, and a great deal worse than many known to me, whose names are not so well known to the world at large. The wonderful success of Gen. Booth will dazzle mankind, and biographers of the future will probably think him more than mortal. Indeed there are not one or two persons in the Salvation Army at the present time, but a crowd, who because of expected favors laud him and the members of his family to the skies. The most extravagant language is used to describe his or their doings & the most fulsome praise given. If such writings were the effusions of sycophants who endeavored to outcry each other to attract attention to themselves the case would not bear as hard upon the Booths, but they want such extravagant laudation. I believe in honoring leaders & strengthening them (if they are worthy) with the public, but beyond a certain point one cannot go. I know of no parallel to the extravagant praise given the Booths. I believe they were true & good at one time & as self sacrificing as any of their followers but not so now. I am convinced they regard the Salvation Army & its following as family property – real estate, money & bodies and souls of men & women – their own to be bequeathed by the elder Booth to his children. A number of prominent Salvationists think so, if I mistake not.

I fear a great storm is coming for this organization. I do not want the Salvation Army wrecked. I want it to hold together and preach Christ to the nations. Nothing better in the religious world exists, but the Booths have become a heavy load to carry. They no longer command our confidence as in former years. My heart is sad because of this fact. I tremble for the future of the Salvation Army if the Booth administration continues. If they want to appropriate it as their own, they are the greatest enemies of the organization on the earth & the most dangerous because they have the power in their hands and have the prestige of being the makers (so far as men can see with the eye of sense) of the great concern. I hope my fears are groundless & that my opinion is at fault regarding the family but while I have these fears & hold the opinion I now do, I write as I am now writing. May God direct the future of the Salvation Army, & raise up the right leaders regardless of name or family connections. Amen, and may the General if he has lost ground in his soul, recover it. It would be a thousand pities if a man like Gen’l Booth who served his generations so faithfully should at the close of his long life spoil his record.

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As usual Bible reading & prayer. Cooked breakfast & supper.

Arranged my files of Manila newspapers.

Bro. M. Turner & family of the Ecclesia mission called. We had an extended conversation re mission work & kindred subjects. Private D. G. Hines of E. Co. 1st Montana Vol. Inf. came in on sick leave from having been sun-struck last week near Calumpit.

He overhauled his curios & gave me a Roman string of beads with cross, charm etc.; also presented me with a splendid dress trimmed with lace – a Filipino woman’s dress. He thinks the latter is from Polo & the former from Malolos. Before Hines left for his quarter we prayed together.

Called at the post office & received the Houston “Post”.

Rev. Owens went out today to look for a house. Wants to rent a place & start a school. He appears to be in a quandary whether to remain on the Islands or return to the U.S.

Rumor says the troops will start out again in two or three days for a thirty days campaign against the Filipinos. Perhaps that campaign will finish the war.

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