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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, May 26, 1915, NOON EDITION, Image 2

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1915-05-26/ed-1/seq-2/

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men. Well, look upon these endless
swarms of men, thousands upon
thousands of men, streets full of men,
men well within the age limits of
your demand. Here is army after
army for you. Why don't you take
them? -.
Why not? Well, this is- why not.
Listless, nerveless, dull-eyed, with
hollow chests, pallid faces, scrawny
forms What! Will you make sol
diers of these? Once, years ago, the
recruiters tried that experiment with
results well known in the secret his
tory of the army. They will not try
it again.
Traditionally, the British yoeman
was the strongest man of his inches
that went in shoe leather. While the
nation slept on this tradition a pro
found revolution had taken place.
Up to 1849 the country had been
largely agricultural. When the Corn
Laws were repealed she ceased to be
agricultural and developed into the
greatest manufacturing nation in the
world.
A vast army of producers gradually
exchanged agricultural employment
for life in the back alleys, dark courts,
sub-cellars and attics of the crowded
manufacturing cities.
Also, they exchanged open air life
for the grinding monotony of mills,
the fresh air of the fields for the
stenches of slums, and the rough,
hearty farm fare for tea, salt fish and
jam. f
The second and third generations
under tense conditions furnish those
strange beings that, inert and hope
lessly inefficient, now live and swarm
in the most repulsive regions of every
British city.
They represent the price that Eng
land is paying for her neglect of her
less fortunate.
They are not alone feeble in body,
but equally feeblein mind. If you
were to try to talk with some of
them you would find that they do not
understand you, nor could you well
understand them. You would find in
their rickety frames, horribly wreck-
ed by a faulty industrial system, a-
race of men apart and with only the
rudiments of human intelligence. You
would find, for instance, that some of
them seem to have forgotten how to
laugh, that they have almost no
knowledge of passing events and the
world about them, that they barely
know there is a war. You would find
that by day they creep out of their
holes and by night creep back again
like some dreadful animal! You would
find that to get something to eat and
to find some place to sleep constitute
for these children of God and breth.
ren of yours the horizon of life.
It is a horrible fact that in London
the underfed and the illfed are in a
majority after all these centuries of
civilization, here in civilization's cen
ter. If you were to go attentively
along any of the streets you would
see how true this is. The proportion
of young men most plainly ill-nourished
and proportion of young men
revealing the stigma of degeneracy
are not less appalling.
Furthermore, it is unfortunately
true that the mill that produced these
specters continues to operate. To this
day a very large part of the toiling
millions never get enough to eat, in
habit gloomy or unsanitary dwellings,
work long hours at dreary employ
ments, and as a result are thin-blooded,
small-boned and without ambi
tion. And that is one reason why
Great Britain has no such army as
Germany's and will have none.
It was the aftermath of Boer war
revelations that jolted the nation to
some of these facts. Nobody should
have been surprised; there had been
warnings enough. For years the un
heeded -prophets had been pointing
out that the conditions to which the
majority were condemned were eat
ing out the strength of the nation.
There was no strength; they said, in
the fortunes of a few, nor even in fac
tories, ships and trade. The only as
set of national strength was the phys
ical well being and intellectual devel
opment of the masses. When these
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