Tramps Beggars ASSET to SOCIETY

king of hoboes, Jack London, he is said to have written the


(Speech first given at the Academy of Sciences Hall in San Francisco,
January 19, 1902)

Mr. Francis O'Neil, General Superintendent of Police, Chicago,
speaking of the tramp, says: "Despite the most stringent police
regulations, a great city will have a certain number of homeless
vagrants to shelter through the winter." "Despite,"--mark the word --
a confession of organized helplessness as against unorganized
necessity. If police regulations are stringent and yet fail, then
that which makes them fail, namely, the tramp, must have still more
stringent reasons for succeeding. This being so, it should be of
interest to inquire into these reasons, to attempt to discover why
the nameless and homeless vagrant sets at naught the right arm of the
corporate power of our great cities, why all that is weak and
worthless is stronger than all that is strong and of value.

Mr. O'Neil is a man of wide experience on the subject of tramps. He
may be called a specialist. As he says of himself: "As an old-time
desk sergeant and police captain, I have had almost unlimited
opportunity to study and analyze this class of floating population,
which seeks the city in winter and scatters abroad through the
country in the spring." He then continues: "This experience
reiterated the lesson that the vast majority of these wanderers are
of the class with whom a life of vagrancy is a chosen means of living
without work." Not only is it to be inferred from this that there is
a large class in society which lives without work, for Mr. O'Neil's
testimony further shows that this class is forced to live without

He says: "I have been astonished at the multitude of those who have
unfortunately engaged in occupations which practically force them to
become loafers for at least a third of the year. And it is from this
class that the tramps are largely recruited. I recall a certain
winter when it seemed to me that a large portion of the inhabitants
of Chicago belonged to this army of unfortunates. I was stationed at
a police station not far from where an ice harvest was ready for the
cutters. The ice company advertised for helpers, and the very night
this call appeared in the newspapers our station was packed with
homeless men, who asked shelter in order to be at hand for the
morning's work. Every foot of floor space was given over to these
lodgers and scores were still unaccommodated."

And again: "And it must be confessed that the man who is willing to
do honest labor for food and shelter is a rare specimen in this vast
army of shabby and tattered wanderers who seek the warmth of the city
with the coming of the first snow." Taking into consideration the
crowd of honest laborers that swamped Mr. O'Neil's station-house on
the way to the ice-cutting, it is patent, if all tramps were looking
for honest labor instead of a small minority, that the honest
laborers would have a far harder task finding something honest to do
for food and shelter. If the opinion of the honest laborers who
swamped Mr. O'Neil's station-house were asked, one could rest
confident that each and every man would express a preference for
fewer honest laborers on the morrow when he asked the ice foreman for
a job.

And, finally, Mr. O'Neil says: "The humane and generous treatment
which this city has accorded the great army of homeless unfortunates
has made it the victim of wholesale imposition, and this well-
intended policy of kindness has resulted in making Chicago the winter
Mecca of a vast and undesirable floating population." That is to say,
because of her kindness, Chicago had more than her fair share of
tramps; because she was humane and generous she suffered wholesale
imposition. From this we must conclude that it does not do to be
humane and generous to our fellow-men when they are tramps. Mr.
O'Neil is right, and that this is no sophism it is the intention of
this article, among other things, to show.

In a general way we may draw the following inferences from the
remarks of Mr. O'Neil: (1) The tramp is stronger than organized
society and cannot be put down; (2) The tramp
is "shabby," "tattered," "homeless," "unfortunate"; (3) There is
a "vast" number of tramps; (4) Very few tramps are willing to do
honest work; (5) Those tramps who are willing to do honest work have
to hunt very hard to find it; (6) The tramp is undesirable.

To this last let the contention be appended that the tramp is only
personally undesirable; that he is negatively desirable; that the
function he performs in society is a negative function; and that he
is the by-product of economic necessity.

It is very easy to demonstrate that there are more men than there is
work for men to do. For instance, what would happen to-morrow if one
hundred thousand tramps should become suddenly inspired with an
overmastering desire for work? It is a fair question. "Go to work" is
preached to the tramp every day of his life. The judge on the bench,
the pedestrian in the street, the housewife at the kitchen door, all
unite in advising him to go to work. So what would happen to-morrow
if one hundred thousand tramps acted upon this advice and strenuously
and indomitably sought work? Why, by the end of the week one hundred
thousand workers, their places taken by the tramps, would receive
their time and be "hitting the road" for a job.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox unwittingly and uncomfortably demonstrated the
disparity between men and work. ["From 43 to 52 percent of all
applicants need work rather than relief." -- Report of the Charity
Organization Society of New York City.] She made a casual reference,
in a newspaper column she conducts, to the difficulty two business
men found in obtaining good employees. The first morning mail brought
her seventy-five applications for the position, and at the end of two
weeks over two hundred people had applied.

Still more strikingly was the same proposition recently demonstrated
in San Francisco. A sympathetic strike called out a whole federation
of trades' unions. Thousands of men, in many branches of trade, quit
work, -- draymen, sand teamsters, porters and packers, longshoremen,
stevedores, warehousemen, stationary engineers, sailors, marine
firemen, stewards, sea-cooks, and so forth, -- an interminable list.
It was a strike of large proportions. Every Pacific coast shipping
city was involved, and the entire coasting service, from San Diego to
Puget Sound, was virtually tied up. The time was considered
auspicious. The Philippines and Alaska had drained the Pacific coast
of surplus labor. It was summer-time, when the agricultural demand
for laborers was at its height, and when the cities were bare of
their floating populations. And yet there remained a body of surplus
labor aufficient to take the places of the strikers. No matter what
occupation, sea-cook or stationary engineer, sand teamster or
warehouseman, in every case there was an idle worker ready to do the
work. And not only ready but anxious. They fought for a chance to
work. Men were killed, hundreds of heads were broken, the hospitals
were filled with injured men, and thousands of assaults were
committed. And still surplus laborers, "scabs," came forward to
replace the strikers.

The question arises: Whence came this second army of workers to
replace the first army? One thing is certain: the trades' unions did
not scab on one another. Another thing is certain: no industry on the
Pacific slope was crippledin the slightest degree by its workers
being drawn away to fill the places of the strikers. A third thing is
certain: the agricultural workers did not flock to the cities to
replace the strikers. In this last instance it is worth while to note
that the agricultural laborers wailed to High Heaven when a few of
the strikers went into the country to compete with them in unskilled
employments. So there is no accounting for this second army of
workers. It simply was. It was there all this time, a surplus labor
army in the year of our Lord 1901, a year adjudged most prosperous in
the annals of the United States.[Mr. Leiter, who owns a coal mine at
the town of Zeigler, Illinois, in an interview printed in the Chicago
Record-Herald of December 6, 1904, said: "When I go into the market
to purchase labor, I propose to retain just as much freedom as does a
purchaser in any other kind of market...There is no difficulty
whatever in obtaining labor, for the country is full of unemployed

The existence of the surplus labor army being established, there
remains to be established the economic necessity for the surplus
labor army. The simplest and most obvious need is that brought about
by the fluctuation of production. If, when production is at low ebb,
all men are at work, it necessarily follows that when production
increases there will be no men to do the increased work. This may
seem almost childish, and, if not childish, at least easily remedied.
At low ebb let the men work shorter time; at high flood let them work
overtime. The main objection to this is, that it is not done, and
that we are considering what is, not what might be or should be.

Then there are great irregular and periodical demands for labor which
must be met. Under the first head come all the big building and
engineering enterprises. When a canal is to be dug or a railroad put
through, requiring thousands of laborers, it would be hurtful to
withdraw these laborers from the constant industries. And whether it
is a canal to be dug or a cellar, whether five thousand men are
required or five, it is well, in society as at present organized,
that they be taken from the surplus labor army. The surplus labor
army is the reserve fund of social energy, and this is one of the
reasons for its existence.

Under the second head, periodical demands, come the harvests.
Throughout the year, huge labor tides sweep back and forth across the
United States. That which is sown and tended by few men, comes to
sudden ripeness and must be gathered by many men; and it is
inevitable that these many men form floating populations. In the late
spring the berries must be picked, in the summer the grain garnered,
in the fall the hops gathered, in the winter the ice harvested. In
California a man may pick berries in Siskiyou, peaches in Santa
Clara, grapes in the San Joaquin, and oranges in Los Angeles, going
from job to job as the season advances, and traveling a thousand
miles ere the season is done. But the great demand for agricultural
labor is in the summer. In the winter, work is slack, and these
floating populations eddy into the cities to eke out a precarious
existence and harrow the souls of the police officers until the
return of warm weather and work. If there were constant work at good
wages for every man who would harvest the crops?

But the last and most sign)ficant need for the surplus labor army
remains to be stated. This surplus labor acts as a check upon all
employed labor. It is the lash by which the masters hold the workers
to their tasks, or drive them back to their tasks when they have
revolted. It is the goad which forces the workers into the
compulsory "free contracts" against which they now and again rebel.
There is only one reason under the sun that strikes fail, and that is
because there are always plenty of men to take the strikers' places.

The strength of the union to-day, other things remaining equal, is
proportionate to the skill of the trade, or, in other words,
proportionate to the pressure the surplus labor army can put upon it.
If a thousand ditch-diggers strike, it is easy to replace them,
wherefore the ditch-diggers have little or no organized strength. But
a thousand highly skilled machinists are somewhat harder to replace,
and in consequence the machinist unions are strong. The ditchdiggers
are wholly at the mercy of the surplus labor army, the machinists
only partly. To be invincible, a union must be a monopoly. It must
control every man in its particular trade, and regulate apprentices
so that the supply of skilled workmen may remain constant; this is
the dream of the "Labor Trust" on the part of the captains of labor.

Once, in England, after the Great Plague, labor awoke to find there
was more work for men than there were men to work. Instead of workers
competing for favors from employers, employers were competing for
favors from the workers. Wages went up and up, and continued to go
up, until the workers demanded the full product of their toil. Now it
is clear that, when labor receives its full product, capital must
perish. And so the pygmy capitalists of that postPlague day found
their existence threatened by this untoward condition of affairs. To
save themselves, they set a maximum wage, restrained the workers from
moving about from place to place, smashed incipient organization,
refused to tolerate idlers, and by most barbarous legal penalties
punished those who disobeyed. After that, things went on as before.

The point of this, of course, is to demonstrate the need of the
surplus labor army. Without such an army, our present capitalist
society would be powerless. Labor would organize as it never
organized before, and the last least worker would be gathered into
the unions. The full product of toil would be demanded, and
capitalist society would crumble away. Nor could capitalist society
save itself as did the post-Plague capitalist society. The time is
past when a handful of masters, by imprisonment and barbarous
punishment, can drive the legions of the workers to their tasks.
Without a surplus labor army, the courts, police, and military are
impotent. In such matters the function of the courts, police, and
military is to preserve order, and to fill the places of strikers
with surplus labor. If there be no surplus labor to instate, there is
no function to perform; for disorder arises only during the process
of instatement, when the striking labor army and the surplus labor
army clash together. That is to say, that which maintains the
integrity of the present industrial society more potently than the
courts, police, and military is the surplus labor army.

It has been shown that there are more men than there is work for men,
and that the surplus labor army is an economic necessity. To show how
the tramp is a by-product of this economic necessity, it is necessary
to inquire into the composition of the surplus labor army. What men
form it? Why are they there? What do they do?

In the first place, since the workers must compete for employment, it
inevitably follows that it is the fit and efficient who find
employment. The skilled worker holds his place by virtue of his skill
and efficiency. Were he less skilled, or were he unreliable or
erratic, he would be swiftly replaced by a stronger competitor. The
skilled and steady employments are not cumbered with clowns and
idiots. A man finds his place according to his ability and the needs
of the system, and those without ability, or incapable of satisfying
the needs of the system, have no place. Thus, the poor telegrapher
may develop into an excellent wood-chopper. But if the poor
telegrapher cherishes the delusion that he is a good telegrapher, and
at the same time disdains all other employments, he will have no
employment at all, or he will be so poor at all other employments
that he will work only now and again in lieu of better men. He will
be among the first let off when times are dull, and among the last
taken on when times are good. Or, to the point, he will be a member
of the surplus labor army.

So the conclusion is reached that the less fit and less efficient, or
the unfit and inefficient, compose the surplus labor army. Here are
to be found the men who have tried and failed, the men who cannot
hold jobs,-the plumber apprentice who could not become a journeyman,
and the plumber journeyman too clumsy and dull to retain employment;
switchmen who wreck trains; clerks who cannot balance books;
blacksmiths who lame horses; lawyers who cannot plead; in short, the
failures of every trade and profession, and failures, many of them,
in divers trades and professions. Failure is writ large, and in their
wretchedness they bear the stamp of social disapprobation. Common
work, any kind of work, wherever or however they can obtain it, is
their portion.

But these hereditary inefficients do not alone compose the surplus
labor army. There are the skilled but unsteady and unreliable men;
and the old men, once skilled, but, with dwindling powers, no longer
skilled. And there are good men, too, splendidly skilled and
efficient, but thrust out of the employment of dying or disaster-
smitten industries. In this connection it is not out of place to note
the misfortune of the workers in the British iron trades, who are
suffering because of American inroads. And, last of all, are the
unskilled laborers, the hewers of wood and drawers of water, the
ditch-diggers, the men of pick and shovel, the helpers, lumpers,
roustabouts. If trade is slack on a seacoast of two thousand miles,
or the harvests are light in a great interior valley, myriads of
these laborers lie idle, or make life miserable for their fellows in
kindred unskilled employments.

A constant filtration goes on in the working world, and good material
is continually drawn from the surplus labor army. Strikes and
industrial dislocations shake up the workers, bring good men to the
surface and sink men as good or not so good. The hope of the skilled
striker is in that the scabs are less skilled, or less capable of
becoming skilled; yet each striker attests to the efficiency that
lurks beneath. After the Pullman strike, a few thousand railroad men
were chagrined to find the work they had flung down taken up by men
as good as themselves.

But one thing must be considered here. Under the present system, if
the weakest and least fit were as strong and fit as the best, and the
best were correspondingly stronger and fitter, the same condition
would obtain. There would be the same army of employed labor, the
same army of surplus labor. The whole thing is relative. There is no
absolute standard of efficiency.

Comes now the tramp. And all conclusions may be an- ticipated by
saying at once that he is a tramp because some one has to be a tramp.
If he left the "road" and became a very efficient common laborer,
some ordinarily efficient common laborer would have to take to
the "road." The nooks and crannies are crowded by the surplus
laborers; and when the first snow flies, and the tramps are driven
into the cities, things become overcrowded and stringent police
regulations are necessary.

The tramp is one of two kinds of men: he is either a discouraged
worker or a discouraged criminal. Now a discouraged criminal, on
investigation, proves to be a discouraged worker, or the descendant
of discouraged workers; so that, in the last analysis, the tramp is a
discouraged worker. Since there is not work for all, discouragement
for some is unavoidable. How, then, does this process of
discouragement operate?

The lower the employment in the industrial scale, the harder the
conditions. The finer, the more delicate, the more skilled the trade,
the higher is it lifted above the struggle. There is less pressure,
less sordidness, less savagery. There are fewer glass-blowers
proportionate to the needs of the glass-blowing industry than there
are ditch-diggers proportionate to the needs of the a industry. And
not only this, for it requires a glass- blower to take the place of a
striking glass-blower, while any kind of a striker or out-of- work
can take the place of a ditch-digger. So the skilled trades are more
independent, have more individuality and latitude. They may confer
with their masters, make demands, assert themselves. The unskilled
laborers, on the other hand, have no voice in their affairs. The
settlement of terms is none of their business. "Free contract" is all
that remains to them. They may take what is offered, or leave it.
There are plenty more of their kind. They do not count. They are
members of the surplus labor army, and must be content with a hand-to-
mouth existence.

The reward is likewise proportioned. The strong, fit worker in a
skilled trade, where there is little labor pressure, is well
compensated. He is a king compared with his less fortunate brothers
in the unskilled occupations where the labor pressure is great. The
mediocre worker not only is forced to be idle a large portion of the
time, but when employed is forced to accept a pittance. A dollar a
day on some days and nothing on other days will hardly support a man
and wife and send children to school. And not only do the masters
bear heavily upon him, and his own kind struggle for the morsel at
his mouth, but all skilled

and organized labor adds to his woe. Union men do not scab on one
another, but in strikes, or when work is slack, it is
considered "fair" for them to descend and take away the work of the
common laborers. And take it away they do; for, as a matter of fact,
a well- fed, ambitious machinist or a coremaker will transiently
shovel coal better than an ill-fed, spiritless laborer.

Thus there is no encouragement for the unfit, inefficient, and
mediocre. Their very inefficiency and mediocrity make them helpless
as cattle and add to their misery. And the whole tendency for such is
downward, until, at the bottom of the social pit, they are wretched,
inarticulate beasts, living like beasts, breeding like beasts, dying
like beasts. And how do they fare, these creatures born mediocre,
whose heritage is neither brains nor brawn nor endurance? They are
sweated in the slums in an atmosphere of discouragement and despair.
There is no strength in weakness, no encouragement in foul air, vile
food, and dank dens. They are there because they are so made that
they are not fit to be higher up; but filth and obscenity do not
strengthen the neck, nor does chronic emptiness of belly stiffen the

For the mediocre there is no hope. Mediocrity is a sin. Poverty is
the penalty of failure, -- poverty, from whose loins spring the
criminal and the tramp, both failures, both discouraged workers.
Poverty is the inferno where ignorance festers and vice corrodes, and
where the physical, mental, and moral parts of nature are aborted and

That the charge of rashness in splashing the picture be not incurred,
let the following authoritative evidence be considered: first, the
work and wages of mediocrity and inefficiency, and, second, the

The New York Sun of February 28, 1901, describes the opening of a
factory in New York City by the American Tobacco Company. Cheroots
were to be made in this factory in competition with other factories
which refused to be absorbed by the trust. The trust advertised for
girls. The crowd of men and boys who wanted work was so great in
front of the building that the police were forced with their clubs to
clear them away. The wage paid the girls was $2.50 per week, sixty
cents of which went for car fare. [In the San Francisco Examiner of
November 16, 1904, there is an account of the use of fire-hose to
drive away three hundred men who wanted work at unloading a vessel in
the harbor. So anxious were the men to get the two or three hours'
job that they made a veritable mob and had to be driven off.

Miss Nellie Mason Auten, a graduate student of the department of
sociology at the University of Chicago, recently made a thorough
investigation of the garment trades of Chicago. Her figures were
published in the American Journal of Sociology, and commented upon by
the Literary Digest. She found women working ten hours a day, six
days a week, for forty cents per week (a rate of two-thirds of a cent
an hour). Many women earned less than a dollar a week, and none of
them worked every week. The following table will best summarize Miss
Austen's investigations among a portion of the garment-workers:

Walter A. Wyckoff, who is as great an authority upon the worker as
Josiah Flynt is on the tramp, furnishes the following Chicago

"Many of the men were so weakened by the want and hardship of the
winter that they were no longer in condition for effective labor.
Some of the bosses who were in need of added hands were obliged to
turn men away because of physical incapacity. One instance of this I
shall not soon forget. It was when I overheard, early one morning at
a factory gate, an interview between a would-be laborer and the boss.
I knew the applicant for a Russian Jew, who had at home an old mother
and a wife and two young children to support. He had had intermittent
employment throughout the winter in a sweater's den, barely enough to
keep them all alive, and, after the hardships of the cold season, he
was again in desperate straits for work.

"The boss had all but agreed to take him on for some sort of
unskilled labor, when, struck by the cadaverous look of the man, he
told him to bare his arm. Up went the sleeve of his coat and his
ragged flannel shirt, exposing a naked arm with the muscles nearly
gone, and the blue-white transparent skin stretched over sinews and
the outline of the bones. Pitiful beyond words was his effort to give
a semblance of strength to the biceps which rose faintly to the
upward movement of the forearm. But the boss sent him off with an
oath and a contemptuous laugh; and I watched the fellow as he turned
down the street, facing the fact of his starving family with a
despair at his heart which only mortal man can feel and no mortal
tongue can speak."

Concerning habitat, Mr. Jacob Riis has stated that in New York City,
in the block bounded by Stanton, Houston, Attorney, and Ridge
streets, the size of which is 200 by 300, there is a warren of 2244
human beings.

In the block bounded by Sixty-first and Sixty-second streets, and
Amsterdam and West End avenues, are over four thousand human
creatures, -- quite a comfortable New England village to crowd into
one city block.

The Rev. Dr. Behrends, speaking of the block bounded by Canal,
Hester, Eldridge, and Forsyth streets, says: "In a room 12 by 8 and 5-
1/2 feet high, it was found that nine persons slept and prepared
their food.... In another room, located in a dark cellar, without
screens or partitions, were together two men with their wives and a
girl of fourteen, two single men and a boy of seventeen, two women
and four boys, -- nine, ten, eleven, and fifteen years old, --
fourteen persons in all."

Here humanity rots. Its victims, with grim humor, call it "tenant-
house rot." Or, as a legislative report puts it: "Here infantile life
unfolds its bud, but perishes before its first anniversary. Here
youth is ugly with loathsome disease, and the deformities which
follow physical degeneration."

These are the men and women who are what they are because they were
not better born, or because they happened to be unluckily born in
time and space. Gauged by the needs of the system, they are weak and
worthless. The hospital and the pauper's grave await them, and they
offer no encouragement to the mediocre worker who has failed higher
up in the industrial structure. Such a worker, conscious that he has
failed, conscious from the hard fact that he cannot obtain work in
the higher employments, finds several courses open to him. He may
come down and be a beast in the social pit, for instance; but if he
be of a certain caliber, the effect of the social pit will be to
discourage him from work. In his blood a rebellion will quicken, and
he will elect to become either a felon or a tramp.

If he have fought the hard fight, he is not unacquainted with the
lure of the "road." When out of work and still undiscouraged, he has
been forced to "hit the road" between large cities in his quest for a
job. He has loafed, seen the country and green things, laughed in
joy, lain on his back and listened to the birds singing overhead,
unannoyed by factory whistles and bosses' harsh commands; and, most
significant of all, he has lived. That is the point! He has not
starved to death. Not only has he been care-free and happy, but he
has lived! And from the knowledge that he has idled and is still
alive, he achieves a new outlook on life; and the more he experiences
the unenviable lot of the poor worker, the more the blandishments of
the "road" take hold of him. And finally he flings his challenge in
the face of society, imposes a valorous boycott on all work, and
joins the farwanderers of Hoboland, the gypsy folk of this latter

But the tramp does not usually come from the slums. His place of
birth is ordinarily a bit above, and sometimes a very great bit
above. A confessed failure, he yet refuses to accept the punishment,
and swerves aside from the slum to vagabondage. The average beast in
the social pit is either too much of a beast, or too much of a slave
to the bourgeois ethics and ideals of his masters, to manifest this
flicker of rebellion. But the social pit, out of its discouragement
and viciousness, breeds criminals, men who prefer being beasts of
prey to being beasts of work. And the mediocre criminal, in turn, the
unfit and inefficient criminal, is discouraged by the strong arm of
the law and goes over to trampdom.

These men, the discouraged worker and the discouraged criminal,
voluntarily withdraw themselves from the struggle for work. Industry
does not need them. There are no factories shut down through lack of
labor, no projected railroads unbuilt for want of pick-and-shovel
men. Women are still glad to toil for a dollar a week, and men and
boys to clamor and fight for work at the factory gates. No one misses
these discouraged men, and in going away they have made it somewhat
easier for those that remain.

So the case stands thus: There being more men than there is work for
men to do, a surplus labor army inevitably results. The surplus labor
army is an economic necessity; without it, present society would fall
to pieces. Into the surplus labor army are herded the mediocre, the
inefficient, the unfit, and those incapable of satisfying the
industrial needs of the system. The struggle for work between the
members of the surplus labor army is sordid and savage, and at the
bottom of the social pit the struggle is vicious and beastly. This
struggle tends to discouragement, and the victims of this
discouragement are the criminal and the tramp. The tramp is not an
economic necessity such as the surplus labor army, but he is the by-
product of an economic necessity.

The "road" is one of the safety-valves through which the waste of the
social organism is given off. And being given off constitutes the
negative function of the tramp. Society, as at present organized,
makes much waste of human life. This waste must be eliminated.
Chloroform or electrocution would be a simple, merciful solution of
this problem of elimination; but the ruling ethics, while permitting
the human waste, will not permit a humane elimination of that waste.
This paradox demonstrates the irreconcilability of theoretical ethics
and industrial need.

And so the tramp becomes self-eliminating. And not only self! Since
he is manifestly unfit for things as they are, and since kind is
prone to beget kind, it is necessary that his kind cease with him,
that his progeny shall not be, that he play the eunuch's part in this
twentieth century after Christ. And he plays it. He does not breed.
Sterility is his portion, as it is the portion of the woman on the
street. They might have been mates, but society has decreed

And, while it is not nice that these men should die, it is ordained
that they must die, and we should not quarrel with them if they
cumber our highways and kitchen stoops with their perambulating
carcasses. This is a form of elimination we not only countenance but
compel. Therefore let us be cheerful and honest about it. Let us be
as stringent as we please with our police regulations, but for
goodness' sake let us refrain from telling the tramp to go to work.
Not only is it unkind, but it is untrue and hypocritical. We know
there is no work for him. As the scapegoat to our economic and
industrial sinning, or to the plan of things, if you will, we should
give him credit. Let us be just. He is so made. Society made him. He
did not make himself.