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Following the example of a section of the American revivalists, an attempt has been made by the Salvation Army to inaugurate a series of services outside the principal public-houses in the south of London, on the lines advocated.some two or three years ago in America, and which was known there as the “ Whisky War.”.. On the night of October 1 numerous “ squads ” of the “ Army,” carrying banners and, preceded by men and boys playing “ Hallelujah,” drums and concertinas, peraraulated the principal thoroughfares, accompanied by a large and disorderly crowd of boys and girls, who hustled and annoyed the foot-passen-gers. At intervals a halt was made, and then the leaders announced that next day an attack would be made on the “ devil’s castles,” the public - houses. Accordingly, next day (Sunday) the “ Army mustered in great force, and at one o’clock, after dividing into parties of seven or eight, the “ Army ” proceeded to carry out the programme of “ praying the drunkards out.” Stationing themselves outside the largest of the publichouses, meetings were impoverished, prayers offered, hymns sung, the audience supplying a chorus of their own, but at the same time acting with great good humour. The services, however, were in most instances of short duration, as, whether from being unable to stand the “ chaff,” and in many cases the filthy ribaldry of the roughs or lacking the devotion of the American Evangelists, who worked by relays day and night until they had either “converted ” the landlord or closed the house,” the female portion of the “ Army” speedily beat a retreat, and the males, left to themselves, quietly dropped off and betook themselves to the less obstrusive occupation of tract distributing. A few enthusiasts, however, entered the houses, distributing tracts denunciatory of drink and tobacco. We should state that the “ roughs ” gathered out of the streets for this army are not exhorted from the social and moral height of a gentleman in broadcloth, on whose lips the word “ brethren ” has no more than a professional meaning, but spoken to by “ Hallelujah Bob,” whom they perhaps knew as a very great sinner indeed, or sung to by “Happy Sal, with a voice erstwhile familiar enough in the “ boozing-ken.” 1 hat such a peculiar phenomenon and all its concomitants should be required among us speaks eloquently as to the state of our so-called civilisation.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 496, 19 November 1881

Word Count

THE SALVATION ARMY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 496, 19 November 1881