THERE is one point to which I specially want to draw the attention of
Scoutmasters and Commissioners. It is this:
I find that unless one occasionally looks up one's book of
instructions, whether it be the Gospel, or the King's Regulations, or the
rules for one's guidance in any time of life, one is apt to get into a
groove of one's own original reading of them, and to act rather on the
memory than on the actual spirit of them. One needs an occasional
"refresher" course of reading.
I notice that it is very often the case among Scoutmasters as
regards Scouting / or Boys; they carry out their training on lines of their
own, which were originally founded on the book, and are in many cases an
improvement on what they found there; but sometimes essentials have
gradually dropped out, and it is this that we want to avoid. May I ask
Scoutmasters to re-read their book occasionally ? Say once a year ?
I suggest that St. George's Day is an easy one to remember, since
he is held to be the patron saint of Scouts. I believe it would be helpful
to Scoutmasters and helpful to the cause if on this occasion annually they
would read through our handbook, especially the Scout Law and its
application, so as to ensure the right spirit being impressed upon the boys.
MY recent tour round the world showed me how strong is already that
feeling of brotherhood throughout our Movement. Whether it was in
Africa or Australia, Canada or New Zealand, America or Malta, Scouts felt
that they were with and of us in the parent Movement at home, and I was
impressed with the idea that, if this sentiment were only promoted, it would
mean an immense deal for the strengthening of the bonds of our Empire, and
even beyond that, for the assurance of peace in the world through a better
understanding and fellowship between the nations. Internally and locally our
brotherhood is already doing good in that direction. Counties in England
are often fairly jealous of each other, provinces in Ireland can nearly be
at war; States in overseas Dominions can be suspicious or envious between
themselves -- just from want of a little broadmindedness or a common tie. It
is a failing that cannot be cured by preaching to the present men, but it
may be prevented in the next generation by eradication ? that is by bringing
the mass of the boys into sympathy and mutual touch through the feeling of
"brotherhood." Local racial differences run strong, and are hard to wash out
in such instances as between Boer and Briton in South Africa, French and
British in Canada, Eurasian and White in India, Maltese and British in
Malta, between the eight nationalities in Shanghai, and so on. But it struck
me very forcibly in the course of my visit to these countries that the Boy
Scout Movement, young as it is, is already doing a good deal in that
Boys of whatever origin are equally attracted by Scouting: once
they find themselves in the same uniform, under the same promise, working
for the same ends, inspired with the same ideals, and competing in the same
games, they forget their respective little differences and feel that they
are brother-Scouts before all. If a sufficient number of them are encouraged
to take up Scouting, this must in the next generation go a considerable way
to abolishing the
present absurd jealousies between localities. If the ties of the
brotherhood can be strengthened by mutual interchange of correspondence and
of visits, a further link will be forged for consolidating our Empire by the
development of personal sympathy and sense of comradeship between the
manhood of all the different overseas States and the Mother Country.
Should the Scout Movement develop on to a more general footing,
then I have no doubt whatever that the same principle of "brotherhood" will
extend its influence for good among those who will be the men of the
different nations within the next few years, and must, of necessity, prove a
genuine factor for the maintenance of peace where they are in personal touch
and sympathy with each other.
I SHOULD like to urge upon all Scoutmasters the great importance of
getting their boys into camp during this summer. The camp is the thing that
appeals to the lads. It is in the camp that the Scoutmaster really has his
opportunity. He can enthuse his boys with the spirit that is
required; the spirit is everything. Once that is developed, everything comes
easy; without it, success in training the boys is practically impossible.
I don't care what sort of camps they are -- tramping camp, week-end
camp (provided that they come frequently), boat cruising, or woodland camp;
all are equally valuable for the purpose in hand. But camp, in one form or
other, is, I think, essential to the successful training of a Troop.
And when in camp, it is again essential to have a definite
programme of work laid down for each day -- with an alternative in case of
its turning out wet. The camp must be a busy one and not a school for
aimless loafing. I hope to hear of great developments in this line during
the present summer.
I REMEMBER once seeing a picture in a public gallery on the Continent
which attracted a great crowd of people round it, and so excited them that
one heard frequent ejaculations from them such as "Shame!", "The brutes!",
and so on. I don't think I have ever seen another picture have so direct an
effect on those looking at it.
The subject was a regiment of infantry marching along a hot, sunny
road. One man had fallen dead by the way-side, his comrades were glancing at
him with varying expressions of pity as they passed, one of them was placing
a few flowers on his breast, while an officer strode by apparently unmoved.
That was all: but just at that time there was a great outcry
against the officers of the army of that country because of the large number
of deaths from sunstroke which were occurring among the young soldiers at
manoeuvres. The feeling was so strong that in numerous cases officers were
stoned by the villagers as they passed. And, though an officer myself, I
could not help sympathising with the feeling against them -- because the
deaths were largely the outcome of bad scouting.
Bad scouting in two senses. In the first place, the officers at
that time -- I am speaking of a good many years ago, mind you -- were very
bad at map-reading: they would start out at early dawn with their troops to
get to their destination before the heat of the day came on, but with no
bump of locality and poor ability in reading maps they were, at high noon,
still wandering about the country, utterly lost, with their men played out,
struggling along under a pitiless sun.
That was bad scouting in one sense, and they were also bad scouts
in that they did not see to what extent their men were suffering until it
was too late. They themselves marched at the head, trying to find their way
-- leading on at a hurried pace, unencumbered with much kit, and anxious to
get home, while their young recruits struggled along behind them, loaded up
with heavy accoutrements, crowded together in the dust, fagged and tired,
literally, to death. Things are different now in that army, but I am grieved
to find that there is a sign here and there in our own Movement of somewhat
similar bad scouting on a minor scale.
Some young Scoutmasters, from over-keenness, have been putting
their boys to tasks of endurance that are really beyond them in the way of
long marches or long-distance despatch rides. Fortunately, only one or two
cases have occurred, but I venture to give this hint in the hope that it
will make others, who may be contemplating such expeditions, pause and
I know it is very tempting, when you have got a smart Troop of
well-trained, keen, athletic boys, to go ahead and do a big thing with them
-- and the boys themselves are eager for it. But it leads to competition, to
making "records," and to over-exertion, which may do little harm to the
well-formed young man at the head, but may be fatal in laying seeds of heart
disease, strained ligaments, lung troubles, etc., in the lad whose organs
and muscles are immature and only now forming themselves. The evil may show
no sign at the time even to a Scoutmaster who is a good Scout and reads
signs below the surface. The great thing is to avoid the risk of it by never
calling on the boys to exert themselves to their full extent of endurance.
A father wrote to me last year, very proudly, of the achievement of
himself and his Scout son in doing a great bicycle ride within a short space
of hours. I am afraid I wrote rather rudely in reply, which drew on me a
rebuke from him. At the same time I remain unrepentant, because I know the
danger of such feats to the ultimate health of the boy.
It is no use to put immature creatures to tests of their powers of
endurance. The thing for us who are training the future men of our race is
to build up in them the foundation of good, sound organs and healthy bodies
by encouraging the use of nourishing food and well-designed moderate
exercise. This will enable them to endure when they come to be men, instead
of breaking them down while they are still in the critical period -- the
It has been suggested to me that a Regulation should be made
forbidding such tests of endurance, but for our brotherhood I hate
"Regulations." I am certain that the more experienced Scoutmasters all agree
with me in this very plain but none the less important truth about endurance
tests. What I hope is that they will impress it when giving advice to their
I HAVE said before now: "I don't care a fig whether a Scout wears uniform
or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carries out the Scout
Law." But the fact is that there is hardly a Scout who does not wear uniform
if he can afford to buy it.
The spirit prompts him to it.
The same rule applies naturally to those who carry on the Scout
Movement -- the Scoutmasters and Commissioners; there is no obligation on
them to wear uniform if they don't like it. At the same time, they have in
their positions to think of others rather than of themselves.
Personally, I put on uniform, even if I have only a Patrol to
inspect, because I am certain that it raises the moral tone of the boys. It
heightens their estimation of their uniform when they see it is not beneath
a grown man to wear it; it heightens their estimation of themselves when
they find themselves taken seriously by men who also count it of importance
to be in the same brotherhood with them.
I have been in the habit of wearing shorts instead of knee-breeches
when in Scout uniform, but I do it intentionally, not merely because I am
much more comfortable in shorts, but because it puts me more closely on a
level with the boys and less on the standing of an "officer," as we
understand him in the Army.
A Scout official's line is rather that of an elder brother or a
father to his boys than of an officer or a schoolmaster. And the more he
assimilates his inward ideas and his outward dress with theirs, the more he
is likely to be in sympathy with them and they with him.
As regards camps, I am delighted to see Scout camps being held in every
county, if not in every parish, in the land. The camp is the real attraction
to the boy, as it is also the real opportunity to the Scoutmaster. It is the
one practical school for moulding the Scout spirit and for character-making.
It is a great thing to have got the camp recognised as the great
feature of the year for Boy Scouts. The next thing is to ensure that, having
got into the way of having camps, we do not, as has been rather often the
case, confine our programme to the same line year after year.
It is best to change one's locality each season, as this in itself
alters to some extent the routine, and also suggests new subjects for
training, according to local conditions. The daily routine should be
progressive and new, and so should, as far as may be possible, be the
successive annual or other camps.
I should like to urge on Scoutmasters who manage camps that they
should, if only in their own interests, communicate with the Commissioner of
the District before they go into camp, as he may be able to facilitate their
arrangements. In so many instances the Commissioner knows which landowners
are well-disposed or the contrary, and whereabouts in the district other
Scouts may be camping.
And, in addition to this, it is, after all, only right and
courteous, and therefore Scout-like, to let the Commissioner know when you
intend to invade his district.
I HAVE endeavoured to explain our position in regard to education, on the
following lines. The new scheme ofˇ@National Education, so far as it has
been recently fore-shadowed, may be indeed an improvement on the past, but
it does not apparently pretend to anything much moreˇ@than that already
employed in America and elsewhere. Hard to beat if you look at it from the
theoretical point of view, and if you are convinced by the reports of some
of those responsible for it in those countries, but not so satisfactory if
you regard its practical effects upon the nation.
At present the country spends so many millions on education, that
is on training its sons and daughters to be good, healthy, prosperous
citizens, and if education successfully effected this result there would be
little to say against it.
But we have to look at the other side of the balance sheet as it
actually exists. Here we find that we spend an equal number of millions on
punishing our "educated" people for failing to be the good citizens they
ought to be, or on trying to remedy their defects in this direction.
Prisons and police, poor relief and unemployed, aged poor and
infant mortality, squalor, irreligion, seething discontent -- what a crop of
tares for all our sowing of expensive seed ! All traceable more or less
directly to the want of education -- not education in the three R.s, but
education in high ideals, in self-reliance, in sense of duty, in fortitude,
in self-respect and regard for others -- in one word, in those Christian
attributes that go to make "Character," which is the essential
equipment for a successful career.
Is this being looked to in the new scheme of education ?
In the Boy Scout Movement our aim is, as far as possible, so to
shape our syllabus as to make it a practical form of character training, and
to render it complementary to the scholastic training of the schools.
The necessary points to develop in our youth in order to evolve
good citizens are:
These are stated in their order of importance.
Number 2 is taught in the schools. Number I is left to the pupils
to pick up for themselves out of school hours, according to their
environment. Number I is precisely what the Scout Movement endeavours to
The two main methods of training are:
(1) By Education: that is by "drawing out" the individual boy and
giving him the ambition and keenness to learn for himself.
(2) By Instruction: that is by impressing and drumming knowledge
into the boy.
Number 2 of these is still too often the rule. In the Scout
Movement we use Number I. By appealing to the instincts and nature of the
boy we give him ambitions, and we afford him the opportunities for the
venting of his animal spirits in a good direction.
In this way we are doing what we can to help the school
authorities, and to complete their work.
I HAVE had a conundrum propounded to me as to the relation between a good
turn and the knot in the Scout's tie. My idea was, and is, that the Scout
should, in the morning, tie an extra knot in his necktie, or leave his
necktie hanging outside his waistcoat, until he had done his good turn for
that day, when he could resume the ordinary fashion of wearing his tie
inside his waistcoat or with only a single knot in it. Through stupid
wording on my part some confused impressions on the subject got abroad; but
I don't think it mattered much -- the good turns were done all the same.
THE long evenings of winter are our great opportunity with the Scouts --
we can get them together to hear good exciting yarns, to play basket-ball or
other games, to practise handicrafts, and to pass their tests. The season is
coming on apace, and it will pass by just as fast. It is well, therefore, to
look ahead and to frame our programmes of work in good time. Now is the
moment to do this. The imagination of the Scoutmaster here comes in; and
many ingenious schemes will no doubt be evolved. Among other ideas, I
propose, for my own little centre, to write up a little play bringing in the
ancient history and lore of the village, for the Scouts to act. The
rehearsals, the making of scenery and properties, the acting and singing,
all have their uses from the training point of view, while they appeal
warmly to the boys' instincts. And possibly the results may be satisfactory
also from a financial point of view.
For Scoutmasters generally then I would say: "Be Prepared to put
your winter evenings to good use."
I FEEL that anything that can be devised for fostering the Patrol spirit
and the responsibility of Patrol Leaders cannot but be valuable from the
point of view of character training, apart from the fact that it also tends
to relieve the over-taxed Scoutmaster of much minor work.
One suggestion as to this may be taken from the custom which
prevails with best effect at Winchester, where every boy has to report to
his prefect weekly that he has done five hours' "exercise" during the week.
Exercise means the playing of certain games or practice of certain
equivalents in the athletic line. I am glad to see that at least one Troop
carries out a somewhat similar scheme, and I should like to see it more
My idea roughly is that each Patrol Leader should send weekly a
report to his Scoutmaster to show to what extent each of his Scouts has
carried out Scouting exercises, has attended parades, and has paid up his
subscription during the week. It is expected of each Scout that he should do
at least four Scouting exercises weekly. "Scouting Exercises" would include
parades. Scout games, tramps or rallies, attendances at Scout instruction
class, doing Scout work on his own, such as making a map or a report, or
handicraft work, playing a recognised health-giving game, such as football,
rounders, paper-chase, or basket ball, for an hour. Good turns do not
count as "Scout Exercises," as they should be done every day in any case.
They may, however, be noted in the report in addition to the exercises.
THE more I see of Troops which are successful, the more I realise the
value of the system of making the Patrol the responsible unit of the Troop,
and the treatment of the Patrol Leader as a responsible being, just as if he
were grown up. As a further step in this direction, and one which I think
will be helpful to Scoutmasters, we are getting out a Patrol Report Form
which the Patrol Leader can fill in weekly and hand to his Scoutmaster. It
gives the attendance and performance of each Scout during the week at Scout
exercises, rallies, games, church, etc.
The percentage of such attendances can then go to the Patrol score
for deciding the order of merit of the several Patrols in the Troop.
Such competition cannot but be useful to the boys, and puts life
into their everyday work.
In some Troops each Patrol has its motto, which is an excellent
device in the same direction for developing the Patrol spirit. The motto is,
as a rule, selected or composed by the Patrol itself, and usually applies in
some way to the Patrol animal. Thus, for instance, the Lions Patrol might
have as their guiding phrase, "Brave as the Lions"; the Frogs, "We are not
croakers though we croak"; the Hounds, "Alert as watch dogs"; or "Faithful
Friends," and so on.
I SEE that in one of the newspapers lately the original inventor of
Scouting has discovered himself.
He is the fourth who has done so within the last four years. I was
under the impression that the original founder, Epictetus, died many
hundreds of years ago.
This particular one tells us that we have perverted his ideals and
that we are not sufficiently military.
The truth is that these gentlemen see a similarity in our body to
something that they have thought of for themselves, but they have not
studied its soul and have not, therefore, grasped its meaning or its
What is our aim ? They don't seem to regard that as of any special
importance in their argument. But it happens to be the keystone on which the
whole question stands.
Our aim is to get hold of the boys and to open up their minds, to
bring out each lad's character (and no two are exactly alike), to make them
into good men for God and their country, to encourage them to be energetic
workers and to be honourable, manly fellows with a brotherly feeling for one
As our Movement attracts all classes (the poorest get equal chances
and consideration with the more fortunate), much of the present human
wastage will be turned into valuable citizenhood.
It is by the character of its citizens, not by the force of its
arms, that a country rises superior to others.
If we can get that character and sense of brotherhood instilled
into all our boys at home and in the British Dominions overseas, we shall
forge a stronger link to that which at present holds the whole Empire
And as the Movement gets a hold, as it is doing, in foreign
countries as well, it will promote a common bond of sympathy which makes for
peace between the nations.
Our opportunities and possibilities in these directions are
immense; and these are the aims which our Scoutmasters have before them in
planning their work.
But our original inventors have apparently never thought of these
ends. It is certain they could no more attain them by drill than they could
attain them by teaching their grandmothers to walk the tight-rope.
Personally, I would not presume to speak were it not that I have
had some little experience in this particular line. A good part of my life
has been spent in training lads to be soldiers, cadets, or Territorials, and
I have served with all of them on active service in more than one campaign.
I have since had opportunities of seeing again the cadets in South Africa
and Canada, and, for the first time, in New Zealand and Australia. These
visits have confirmed me in the opinion which I then expressed, namely, that
with the excellent material that one finds among our boys all over the
Empire it is quite possible to turn out a very smart-looking army of cadets,
all able to drill steadily, to hold themselves well, to dress smartly, and
to show a high percentage of marksmen on the range. But many people seem to
have the idea that well-drilled men are necessarily
good soldiers. I have tried them on service and have very little
use for them. The better the soldier is drilled, the less he can be trusted
to act as a responsible individual.
Their so-called discipline was too apt to come from fear of
punishment or reprimand instead of from the spirit of playing the game. Yet
this is essential, if you don't want a mere veneer of obedience which won't
stand the test of service.
In the Army the well-meaning boys who came to us as recruits had
been taught their three R's in the day schools, but they had no idea of
having responsibility thrust upon them, of having to tackle difficulties or
dangers, of having to shift for themselves, and having to dare death from a
sense of duty.
These things and the many other attributes of good soldiers, which
may be summed up in the word character, had all to be instilled into them
before one could consider them as fit for drill and military smartness.
These are, in reality, only the final polish, and not, as many seem to
think, the first step in making a fighting man.
The Boers were never drilled, yet they made very good fighters, and
stood up to our drilled troops through a campaign of over two years.
Why was this ? Because they had all the proper ground-work of
character for the work -- they were self-reliant and resourceful, practised
at using to the best advantage their courage, common sense, and cunning (the
three C's that go to make good soldiers). Those men only needed the final
polish of drill and a little stronger discipline to make the very best of
That is the sequence of training that is wanted. If you apply it
the reverse way, you get the veneer. You must, as an essential, first have
character established as your groundwork.
Now, what is the aim of these men who go in for drilling their boys
Drill will never make a citizen, that is fairly obvious.
Their object must therefore be either (a) to make potential
soldiers of them or (b) to catch boys with the glamour of drill and
thereby to bring them under some form of discipline and exercise that is
good for them.
In the first of these cases it is essential that the Scoutmasters
should have exceptionally good instructors, otherwise the discipline learnt
in the parades of once or even twice a week is not likely to have a very
lasting effect on the lads' characters; and also the drill palls on a boy
after a time and puts him off becoming a soldier later on. If he does join
the service he thinks that he knows all about it, and his soul, accustomed
to it as a temporary infliction, resents discipline when he comes under the
real thing as a permanency.
As an officer I quite sympathise with the one who said that he
would rather have recruits who had never been drilled than those whom he
described as "half-baked buns who had to be uncooked, rekneaded, and baked
again before they were any good as soldiers."
In any case the leaders of these boys would surely be better
advised to turn them into genuine cadets and not masquerade them as Boy
In the other event, (b), the catching and training of wild
boys is certainly most commendable, and it is far the easier way to deal
with them so far as the officer is concerned.
But, then, why not join the Boys' Brigade or Church Lads, whose
training lies in that direction ?
By mutating our dress, but not our ideals, they spread false
notions as to our intentions. Parents and clergy naturally suppose that
soldiering is the end and aim of the Scouts' training and resent it
accordingly. They do not realise that we are working on a far higher plane
than that, namely, to make good and successful citizens.
Of course there are many Scoutmasters in our Movement who would
like to give a more definitely national note to the training of their boys.
They feel that the boys themselves do not quite realise that the
character training they an getting as Scouts will be the very finest
groundwork for goal results later on, whether they become soldiers or
sailors, citizens or colonists.
(A small proof in this direction is to be found in the Cadet Corps
of Overseas Dominions. I made inquiry as I went inspecting the cadets, and I
found that something like 80 per cent. of the cadet non-commissioned
officers had been Boy Scouts to start with.)
Well, I am fully in sympathy with this feeling on the part of those
Scoutmasters, and I think that they will find their opening in the new
scheme of Senior Scouts now being promulgated, when, the groundwork having
been laid and the boys having come to an age for judging for themselves,
they can specialise in any of the above lines that may appeal to them.
THE other inventors of Scouting invariably give the dates on which they
hit on the idea, so it may be interesting to some who are not already aware
of the origin of our scheme if I give a few facts about our particular Boy
The first idea of such training came to me a very long time ago
when training soldiers. When I was adjutant of my regiment in 1883 I wrote
my first handbook on training soldiers by means which were attractive to
them, developing their character for campaigning as much as their
drill-ability. This was followed by another, and yet a third in 1898. This
latter, Aids to Scouting, came somehow to be used in a good many
schools and by captains of Boys' Brigades, and other organisations for boys,
in spite of the fact that it had been written entirely for soldiers. I
therefore rewrote it for developing character in boys by attractions which
appealed more directly to them.
The uniform, in every detail, was taken from a sketch of myself in
the kit which I wore in South Africa, 1887 and 1896, and in Kashmir in
Our badge was taken from the "North Point" used on maps for
orientating them with the North; it was sanctioned for use for Trained
Scouts in the Army in 1898.
Our motto, "Be Prepared," was the motto of the South African
Constabulary, in which I served.
Many of our ideas were taken from the customs of the Zulus and Red
Indians, and Japanese, many were taken from the code of the Knights of the
Middle Ages, many were cribbed from other people, such as Cuhulain of
Ireland, Dr. Jahn, Sir W. A. Smith, Thompson Seton, Dan Beard, etc., and
some were of my own invention !
A BOY does not really get the value of the Scout training until he is a
First-class Scout. The Second-class is only a step to that standing. But it
is a lamentable fact that a good many are content to remain as Second-class
Scouts once they have gained a few badges of proficiency. It is for that
reason, mainly, that the All Round Cords are now obtainable only by
First-class Scouts. This move has been welcomed by Scoutmasters as giving an
incentive to the lads to keep progressing in their training.
Of course, the main objection to it is that it necessitates the
boys learning to swim, and facilities for this do not exist in all centres.
It has, therefore, been suggested in one or two cases that this rule should
be relaxed. I am afraid that I have been very "sticky" about it, and
although I generally make things as elastic as possible, I may have appeared
unnaturally obstinate in this one particular; but I had reasons, and
experience has now shown that those reasons were right.
When a boy has become a First-class Scout -- but not before then --
he has got a grounding in the qualities, mental, moral, and physical, that
go to make a good useful man. And I look on swimming as a very important
step, combining as it does attributes of all three of those classes ?
mentally it gives the boy a new sense of self-confidence and pluck; morally,
it gives him the power of helping others in distress and puts a
responsibility upon him of actually risking his life at any moment for
others; and physically, it is a grand exercise for developing wind and limb.
Every man ought to be able to swim; and in Norway and Sweden, the
home of practical education, every boy and girl is taught swimming at
The fact that swimming has got to be learnt by the Boy Scout before
he can gain his first-class badge has had the effect of putting the
character of the lads in very many cases to a hard and strengthening test.
At first they complained that there was no place near where they
could learn to swim. But when they found this was not accepted as an excuse,
they set to work to make places or to get to where such places existed. I
have heard of boys riding five miles on their bicycles day after day to
swimming-baths; streams in many country places have been dammed up, and
bathing-places made by the Scouts; the summer Camp has been established at
some seaside or river-side spot for the special purpose of getting everyone
trained in swimming.
It can be done if everybody sets his mind to it. If the boys are
put to extra trouble in bringing it about, so much the better for their
character training. In any case, I look upon swimming as an essential
qualification for First-class Scout, and for every man. Also, I don't
consider a boy is a real Scout till he has passed his first-class tests.
I HAD, last month, a most interesting conference with a number of members
of the Peace Society and of the Society of Friends.
They wanted to understand better the ideals underlying the Boy
Scout training, since their attention had been drawn to the Movement by the
fact that we had declined help from the Lucas-Tooth Fund.
I gave to the meeting a general outline of our work and aims, and
invited questions and suggestions from those present. In reply to some of
these, I made it plain that though we were against war, we were not,
therefore, against self-defence.
Also, I pointed out that you cannot do away with war by abolishing
armies; you might just as well try to do away with crime by abolishing the
police. What would be the result in either case ?
As regards war with civilised nations, that is, no doubt, a brutal
and out-of-date method of settling differences. But there are still, even in
Europe, many nations only partly civilised. It is all a matter of education
and character, and mutual knowledge and regard for each other.
The only way towards bringing about universal peace in Europe is
not by trying to cure the present generation of their prejudices, not even
by building palaces for peace conferences, but by educating the next
generation to better mutual sympathy and trust and the larger-minded
exercise of give-and-take.
The only really practical step so far taken to that end is in the
Boy Scout Movement, where, with our brotherhood already established in every
country and getting daily into closer touch and fellow-feeling by means of
correspondence and interchange of visits, we are helping to build the
foundation for the eventual establishment of common interests and
friendships which will ultimately and automatically bring about disarmament
and a permanent peace.
I NOTICE whenever we have people rising up to improve our code of Scout
Law, etc., they are generally blind to the spirit which underlies it. They
think that we have forgotten some of the boyish vices, and they start to set
us right by ordering the boys not to do this and not to do that. What
happened a few years ago in Ireland ? A certain political faction there
issued notices everywhere "No boy is to be a Boy Scout." "Boy Scout ? What
is that ?" at once asked every boy. When he found it was a young
backwoodsman with bare legs and a hat and staff, and he was forbidden to
be one, Patrols and Troops sprang up like mushrooms !
MANY Scoutmasters and others did not, at first, recognise the
extraordinary value which they could get out of the Patrol system if they
liked to use it, but I think that most of them seem to be realising this
more and more. The Patrol system, after all, is merely putting your boys
into permanent gangs under the leadership of one of their own number, which
is their natural organisation whether bent on mischief or for amusement. But
to get first-class results from this system you have to give the leader a
real freehanded responsibility -- if you only give partial responsibility
you will only get partial results. By thus using your Leaders as officers
you save yourself an infinite amount of the troublesome detail work. At the
same time, the main object is not so much saving the Scoutmaster trouble as
to give responsibility to the boy, since this is the very best of all means
for developing character. It is generally the boy with the most character
who rises to be the leader of a mischief gang. If you apply this natural
scheme to your own needs it brings the best results.
It is the business of the Scoutmaster to give the aim, and the
several Patrols in a Troop vie with each other in attaining it, and thus the
standard of keenness and work is raised all round.
I WAS brought up on some of the old seamen's chanties as sung by the tars
in bygone days, as they tramped round the capstan or walked away with the
main brace or the boat-falls. But these, like many other good old
institutions, are dying out.
The words are not always perhaps of the highest moral delicacy in
every song, but in very many cases they have a rugged, manly poetry of their
own, and the better ones should appeal much to Scouts when doing hard,
combined work, such as rigging bridges, tautening rocket apparatus, hauling
ropes, pulling trek-carts, etc. And the learning of songs and choruses is a
form of education which much attracts them. These chanties are of the
simplest and easiest character for such purpose.
THE calmness and the cheerfulness of trained Scouts when doing their work
has often been commented upon. It is what results from giving them aims and
ambitions which they can carry out for themselves, and from which they CM
gain personal satisfaction. The secret of the Montessori system is that the
teacher merely organises the work, suggests the ambition, and the
child has full liberty in accomplishing the object aimed for. Freedom
without organised aim would be chaos. It is for this reason, without doubt,
that Scouting has been defined as the continuation of the Montessori system
with boys. The Scoutmaster initiates the ambition in the boy, leaving him
free to gain his objective in his own way -- he does not instruct, he leads
the boy on to learn for himself.
Thus it is that as he successfully accomplishes one step after
another the boy develops the calmness of confidence and self-reliance, and
the cheerfulness of freedom and triumph.
Calmness and cheerfulness are much needed in our citizens of
They may be called the two most important qualities. They are
taught very largely by example, and cannot, therefore, be inculcated by a
man who is himself fussy or selfish, or even argumentative. I remember well
a French soldier being executed when I was in Algeria -- the charge against
him seemed a small one for such a punishment, but the President of the Court
Martial, in justifying it said, "In any case he was a very argumentative
fellow," and that seemed reason enough.
Of course, no selfish man can ever recognise his own vice. Let us
assume, therefore, that every single one of us without exception possesses
selfishness in a greater or less degree, and let us each from this moment
forward try to reduce that degree. We shall feel the kick of it at times
when we want to assert ourselves as of old, on certain points in which we
know ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong. Well, now, we have to
hold our tongues and to accept the judgment of others, smilingly and
willingly. Life is too short for arguing. We shall soon find it goes all the
more smoothly and comfortably for our "offering the other cheek." This
comfort is only part of the reward that comes to us, for if we are
Scoutmasters we very soon find that our example is taken up by the boys, and
whatever self-discipline and unselfishness we exhibit is very soon adopted
by them, to the improved running of the machinery in all its wheels. Petty
squabbles, loss of temper, selfishness, all disappear by force of example
when they are not indulged in by superiors, and a zealous playing of the
game for the whole and increased efficiency rapidly ensue.
THE sudden rush to arms on the part of the great nations of Europe
against each other over a comparatively small incident in Servia, shows why
it is so essential to Be Prepared at all times for what is possible, even
though it may not be probable.
Also it shows how little are the peoples of these countries as yet
in sufficient mutual sympathy as to render wars impossible between them.
This will be so until better understanding is generally established. Let us
do what we can through the Scout brotherhood to promote this in the future.
For the immediate present we have duties to our country to perform.
WAR is going to be on its trial before a jury of the nations. It has to
show whether its causes and the ultimate results can justify the immense
destruction of the best manhood of a continent, the vast commerce, the
reversion to brute force and bloodshed, and the misery inflicted upon
millions of innocents.
Whether war is, as the various authorities would have us to
suppose, the work of armament makers, or of ambitious monarchs, or simply of
human nature that sweeps aside without a thought the palaces of peace, the
office-made rules of the game of war, the protests of anti-militarists, and
so on, we have yet to know.
The Damoclesian sword of war ever hanging over a country has its
value in keeping up the manliness of a people, in developing
self-sacrificing heroism in its soldiers, in uniting classes, creeds, and
parties, and in showing the pettiness of party politics in its true
In any case, this war will have proved how essential to the safety
of a nation it is to be prepared, in season and out, not merely for what may
be probable, but for what may even be possible.
The waste of wealth involved in maintaining this state of readiness
has grown to be enormous. Though it may be true that the money is spent
within the country, it is nevertheless a non-profit-bearing turnover and
does not, therefore, add to the nation's wealth or prosperity. It is at best
an insurance of our ship against storms.
The point to be considered is whether these storms are due to laws
of Nature, to the hand of God, or to the machinations of men. If the
latter, could not some more effective method be devised than this clogging
preparation which in the end not only fails in its object of preventing war,
but brings it about on a bigger scale when it eventually comes ?
These are matters which every lover of his kind and of his God
should think out and fit himself to pronounce judgment upon.
The awful drama is being unfolded before him; he may himself
before long be an actor in it; he will, in any case, have ample opportunity
for studying the question.
But the lessons of this war, when grasped, should not then be
thrown away and forgotten; they should give urgent reason for a more
effective education in the brotherhood of man such as shall prevent the
recurrence in future generations of the horror now falling upon us and upon
millions of innocent fellow sufferers of all nations.
I believe that with the dawn of peace after this terrible
storm-cloud has rolled away our Scout brotherhood may take a big place in
the scheme of uniting the nations in a closer and better bond of mutual
understanding and sympathy such as will tend to fulfil that hope.
I HAVE been asked by so many as to my views on war that I feel impelled
to state them here. Captain John Smith, the old Elizabethan hero, after his
first campaign in Flanders, was oppressed by the feeling that it was immoral
for people professing Christianity to fight against their brother
Christians. He unfortunately felt that, nevertheless, he must fight
somebody, so he took service with the Austrians against the Turks and other
A dear friend of mine was, in his principles, strongly opposed to
war, and his antipathy to causing death was so great that, even though he
was a young country gentleman of the right type, a good sportsman and
horseman, and fond of dogs, yet he would not go shooting because of his
repugnance to taking life.
The South African War came on. He felt it his duty to take his
share in the defence of the Empire of which he was a member. He therefore
went out to South Africa as an officer in the Yeomanry; but he went unarmed.
He fell dead at the head of his men when leading a gallant charge, doing his
duty to his country and at the same time obeying his conscience by having no
weapon in his hand. Paul Sabatier said the other day, when speaking of the
war, that, though a strong pacificist himself, he was at this moment a
belligerent. In this he is acting like thousands of others. He says that
"blindly to advocate peace at this moment is to be a traitor to one's
country and to the highest principles. No peace can be true or lasting that
is not based on justice."
In this war we are fighting for justice and honour, and therefore
A man who has any doubt about his duty at this juncture need merely
ask himself these questions:
Do I want to save my home, my womenfolk and youngsters, or those of
my fellow-countrymen, from the horrors that we now know that the Germans
inflict on non-combatants, or shall I leave it to other fellows to do ?
Do I believe in honour in the matter of keeping to an agreement,
and in justice to weaker states or people; in other words, do I believe in
chivalry and fair play ? If so, am I prepared to stick up for these
Am I against militarism, and do I desire free and democratic
government for my country, or shall I let things slide and come under German
discipline of "blood and iron" ?
Do I owe any duty to my King, Country, or Empire ?
ONCE when I was at sea in a fishing yacht owned by my brothers, we ran on
the rocks. I thought that all was up with us, and was anxiously watching my
eldest brother, our skipper, for a sign to get into a life-belt and take to
the boat; but when at length he looked at me it was to glare and shout
angrily, "Look out for that boat-hook, which is slipping away under your
When I found that he was thinking of such details as this I began
to recognise that the danger was not overwhelming, and that by attention to
minor steps we might pull through successfully and without loss; which we
eventually did. So it is with the Boy Scout Movement. Nervous souls seem to
apprehend disintegration of the Movement owing to the war taking the best of
our Commissioners and Scoutmasters. I am all the more delighted then to see
that there are those who are "looking out for the boat-hook," who are doing
their "Scout business as usual." In taking away a number of our
Commissioners and Scoutmasters the war is in reality doing a great good to
the Movement. It could not have come at a more opportune moment for forcing
upon us what I have always urged, namely, the value of the Patrol system and
the usefulness of the Patrol Leaders if only they are properly trained and
invested with responsibility.
Scanned by Aziah, used with permission.
||Used to express mild surprise or
||A large bus, typically used for
||sth that neither good nor bad
||Scottish Reformer and founder of
Presbyterianism in Scotland.
||A council or meeting with or of Native
||Reading, Writing, Arithmetic
||Rosemary Convalescent Home for Scouts,
||South African Constabulary
||Small cylindrical beads made from
polished shells and fashioned into strings or belts, formerly used
by certain Native American peoples as currency and jewelry or for
ceremonial exchanges between groups.