America In The Making
For two years or more, a lively press and a listless people were discrepant features of the United States. They were also the subject of puzzled comment on this side.
The New York Herald, the Sun, Tribune, and Evening Post expressed themselves impeccably throughout, and with due wrath against German methods. Yet the American masses were but faintly moved.
If they were stirred at all it was only between editions, so to say. One should not forget that the New York papers spoke for the cultured East alone.
They did not reflect the masses at large any more than the London Times may be said to speak for Tyneside, or the Morning Post for the Norfolk farmer or the mechanics of Woolwich and Canning Town.
I am aware of the paradox which maintains that a metropolis is unrepresentative of its own nation. One hears this of London and Paris, of Rome, Vienna, and Madrid. Whether it be true of Europe is here immaterial.
But let me say with all emphasis that no intelligent American can be found who will claim that New York City is in the smallest degree "American." It is, in fact, the most foreign of all the world centres; a native of Manhattan Borough is by no means easily found.
Foreign names predominate in New York. All the races of Europe and Asia live here and labour in vortex rings of nationality. Over in Brooklyn you may lose yourself in a new Naples. Williamsburg is wholly German; Washington Street is Syrian, and reads a Daily Mirror in the Arabic script (Meerat el-Gharb). Mott Street and Pell Street are Chinese, with throngs of yellow men slipping past each other like eels in a tub.
In a thousand night-schools English is taught to new citizens who have formally "asked for their first papers." But these hordes are all apt to lapse into their own tongue; or they take no interest in study after a day's work at the highest tension.
It is above all New York which deserves the name of "the melting-pot." It contains nearly a million Jews—a type of immigrant who will not be lured out on to the farms. The Jew loves New York City, where ninety per cent. of America's money is.
Here in truth is an Israelitish camp to awe the modern Balsam: "Who can count the dust of Jacob?" One person in every four is a Jew whom you meet on Manhattan Island.
It is largely in her make-up, then, that the secret of America's apathy must be sought, apart from causes that are more obscure. If the special correspondent from London would take the ferry over to the Ellis Island Immigration Station, he might see America in the making and understand the swamping of the United States by alien stocks which became a problem so far back as 1885.
It is astonishing that this Door of Hope has been neglected by British editors and enlightenment sought from the "men higher up" who live in wholly different spheres. Let me present the rushing of these foreign floods, for surely no such human portent, no politico-social factor was ever so strangely staged.
I shall go no further than the Franco-Prussian War, when the population of America was less than that of Britain at the last census. And Britain is smaller than the single States of Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona.
Today America musters over 105,000,000 souls, white, black, yellow, and red. It is a welter of contradictions, a riot of inconsistency; and yet there is something in the very atmosphere which makes for national traits—the clash of races, immensity of area, "States' Rights," and local patriotism notwithstanding. In thirty years America doubled her population, such was the spâté of foreign peoples tnmbling in by the shipload. The Immigration Commissioner was once expecting two million new citizens a year.
Immigrants at Ellis Island
Ellis Island, out in New York Harbour, was well named "Uncle Sam's Sieve," and I shall show it in pre-war operation. It is a breezy, emotional place, with vistas of sparkling waters; great ocean ships and fussy tugs, scows carrying railway-ears, ferry-boats, black with passengers, and a. procession of double-decked barges plying between the island and the latest arrival of the immigrant fleet.
There are sea-noises and land-noises, shrill whistlings and distant boomings. The roar of the city drifts over from Manhattan, with its sky-line of pinnacles and deep canons full of fierce endeavour.
Behind is the Statue of Liberty, whose torch is now ablaze in the dark; the colossus by day has a background of factory shafts and trailing smoke.
Here is the first barge-load from the ship, and a fantastic crowd pours out to the tune of "Presto!" from a cheery American inspector. The big red building yonder is the gateway of the United States. Go in with the awestruck rabble and ascend to the gallery.
Now look down into the vaulted hall where future Americans are sorted in two and twenty pens, with high steel railings in between. All are examined by doctors and the unfit weeded out; the rest pass from fold to fold, answering questions at each official desk.
Listen to the languages in this busy hive of citizenship. In these pens are races that have never met before; people far apart as the Sicilian and the Hebrew patriarch from the Russian Pale.
Three-fourths of the crowd are from sontheastern Europe—from Italy, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, and South Russia. Seventy-five per cent. are farm and village folk, with an average of twenty dollars between them and that "dependency" which means deportation.
The men are mostly under forty, pioneers in this magical land; their families will come on later, when Fortune's trail has been blazed, and the father is doing well.
They are not pretty people to look at, these of the Ellis Island cages. They are primitive creatures, coarse and crude--too often illiterate, and on that account not so acceptable to America in her day of doubt. . . .
A Polish dwarf is prompting a nervous giant near the inspector's desk. A Magyar girl in a dull red shawl, with a guitar under her arm, stares up at the Stars and Stripes of the gallery.
On the seat beside her is a cane hamper, with a pillow, a blue teapot, and other belongings. There are muffled fights between the Greek and Irish children. Picturesque dudes of Bessarabia and the Bukowina are busy with mirror and comb, oblivious to all else.
There are burly Finns and Bulgars; gaunt Armenian women, Syrian maids of real beauty from the Lebanon, odds and ends from the rayah races of the Kaliph in Europe and Asia Minor.
Steady streams of immigrants are passing out. A waiting-room is raucous with relief in many tongues; shrill inquiries are made for the Jersey City ferry, and the New Citizens' train in the Pennsylvania station.
Their baggage is quaint or mediaeval; humpy sacks, boxes of tin, and gaily painted wood secured with rawhide strips.
Hundreds of them have no heavy baggage at all. These are mere straws in humanity's tide; sad-eyed waifs with all their worldly goods tied about their persons, and rattling oddly as they pass to and fro.
There is one cage marked "Temporarily Detained"; telegrams must be sent to friends about the occupants of this place.
They may be young girls, to whom Uncle Sam stands in loco parentis. His officials are very suspicious of "domestic agency" men, who may be White Slave raiders doing a big home trade as well as exporting victims down to Rio and Buenos Aires.
The telegraph operator has at last a sheaf of messages to send: "Detained Ellis Island, steamer Need ten dollars. Also proof of your ability to support." For America has a horror of paupers and prostitutes.
The pen of the "Detained" is at once a gay place, and a sad. Boys and girls are merry enough, buying cakes from a Polish pedlar; but in shadowy corners sit the old and weary, in every attitude of dejection.
Some of these have been detained for days, well enough lodged and fed by the authorities. Before the week is over they must go before a Board of Inquiry. . . .
Haply there is no answer to that appeal flashed into great American spaces. If the immigrant be old and feeble, he is deported—a word of damnation in the Ellis Island pens. . . .
An official in uniform calls names from a list, and the hall seethes with excitement. Four or five nondescripts step forward, tremulous with glee. These pass down a corridor into the "Lovers' Lane," which an inspector tells you "holds more kisses to the square inch than any other spot on earth." Here in a room walled with wire-netting the "American" pioneer, incoherent and overdressed, greets his people from overseas.
He has already prepared a home for them in the jostling arena. Over-ardent swains are not allowed to claim their sweethearts when these young persons arrive alone. But the Island has a marriage-bureau of its own that works all day and makes love respectable from its outset on American soil.
Three judges hold session upstairs in the Board of Inquiry, and before them sit doubtful cases—red-eyed or listless folk, indignant or full of dread. In the Deportation-Boom are some contract labourers—Bulgarians hired for the anthracite mines.
They were marked down at Varna by an official of the American Federation who advised Ellis Island by cable of this infraction of the law. For such cases there is no hope; all are sent back to Europe at the steamship company's expense.
Now "a wise man's country," as Zeno says, "is where he finds happiness," so it would appear that this migration flatters the United States. But sentiment in the matter has long since flown.
It stands to common sense that many of these people are not the best citizens of the nations they have left. Think what it means to tear up home by the roots; to leave one's own land and sail across the ocean to begin life anew in a continent of strange ways and foreign language, with extremes of climate which are very trying to the European.
It is depressing to watch the bitterness of the disinherited in these sorting-pens; the surliness of outcasts and trade-fallen failures—yet no sooner do they step ashore at the Battery than they fill their lungs with American air, which has a marvellous effect.
Giani or Pietro, from Ajaccio or Messina, is soon a transfigured man; a hustler—a devotee of America's dare and do, poring upon success-books or studying law between each pair of boots he shines (at five cents) outside the corner saloon.
At home in Corsica, Giani dreamed his life away in a hot sun with no more fortune, no more future than a few goats and a crop of chestnuts that dropped into his lazy mouth as he lay in the shade.
What is the secret of this sudden aspiring—of this young Rodin-passion—haunted day and night with the idea of doing quelque chose de puissant?
It is the mysterious American element that favours the transmutation. One is reminded of the trout which in a Scottish bnrn may never exceed a fingerling size, yet when placed in New Zealand waters attain a weight of five-and-thirty pounds.
All the same, America's pride and satisfaction in these hordes has long been jarred, especially when the million-mark was passed in 1905.
The insistent theme of thinkers was that, as immigration grew in volume, the quality of it fell off until the "men (and women, too), who are to vote" were eyed in the mass as questionable Americans.
Statesmen began to discuss and classify the various races in the throng. Some were more industrious than others; some more ambitious, more assimilable.
Others, again, would not respond to the American challenge. They herded together; they lived doubtfully, even calling for special police and secret agents of the law in polyglot squads, such as one finds in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
This falling oft in quality may be said to coincide with the rise to power and wealth of the German Empire, which checked and withheld the most desirable of immigrants.
So early as 1885 Teutonic and Celtic sources were thinning out; a. prosperous Ireland could only spare 20,000 of her sons in 1914, whereas she sent 60,000 in 1891.
As Northern and Western Europe began to keep their people, there was an abrupt migration of Iberian and Slavic stocks from the South and East; and these, America tried to tell herself, would be at least a passable substitute.
The statistics of the change are remarkable. Thus in 1885 Germany showed an immigration percentage of 31; by 1900 it had dropped to 4. The Scandinavian nations fell from 14 in 1880 to 4 in 1905.
Meanwhile the "ramshackle empire" of Austria-Hungary was readjusting the balance with Magyar and Czech, Ruthenian and Serb, Croat, Ruman, Slovak, Slovene, and Jew.
Here the American table shows a percentage of 1 in the year 1870, leaping to 13 in 1895, and a decade later to 27. Italy's percentage was 2 in 1875 and 22 in 1905. In the same period the Russian influx rose from 4 to 18, whilst Britain's contribution crumbled from 30 or 40 to 13.
Applying the dollar test, it was seen that the German or Dane brought with him twice as much money as those stagey figures from South-Eastern Enrope. The average Sicilian or Greek or Jew who landed at the Battery with $15 in his pocket was voted poor American stuff.
Worse still, out of a million aliens more than one-fourth could neither read nor write. Accordingly, the restriction screw was given further turns, and the steamship companies responded, having grown tired of taking back to Europe undesirables whom America refused to admit.
It is beyond question. that, in spite of all precautions, thousands of aliens have invaded the country who were on the verge of dependency, defectiveness, and crime.
Then came the perplexing task of distribution, so long the crux of statesmen and social students; of professors of economics and sociology, the press and pulpit, the learned and industrial bodies, and the Labour Unions. At Immigration Conferences evidence of shocking congestion in the cities was produced.
The Jewish immigrant especially will go no farther afield than New York, where his race has enormous power. Out of 694,172 Jews landed at Ellis Island, 504,181 remained in the city and settled there.
Out of a million foreigners admitted, the Census Bureau shows that well over one-third claimed the State of New York as their "ultimate destination."
Most of that million were bound for the cities or suburbs of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston. America was vexed to learn that seven-tenths of these citizensto-be settled in centres already thronged, instead of "going West" which has long been held classic counsel for the ambitious, Five years of residence is the term for citizenship.
It is preceded by a declaration of intention "to renounce for ever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty; and particularly to the one of which he may at the time be a citizen or subject."
Here let me note that there is much changing of names on the part of the new American. The Magyar and Pole must not be unpronounceable among his fellows, so Rabbinovitch is neatly trimmed to Robins.
There is wholesale shedding of "skis" and "offs." Jangling consonants of Bohemia are dropped, so are smooth vowels that mark the "Dago," and whole slabs of syllables that show the Greek: Spyridon Paraskevopoulos is a serious handicap in the hot American race for Success.
The Jew will often drop a too "Sheeny" name—and with it much of the olden faith, which his children frequently lose. Aliens who take to prize-fighting adopt Irish names—Murphy, Sullivan, or O'Brien.
The last census showed altogether 13,515,886 persons of foreign birth in the United States. To this one may add ten or twelve million negroes in order to gauge the hugeness of elements that clash with, or merely hamper, the true American ideals.
One learns casually that Norway has in the United States a population nearly as large as its own, and that M. Paderewski forwarded a Polish protest from America representing 4,000,000 citizens banded together in societies and organizations.
Altogether over five hundred journals are printed in foreign languages, thus fostering "national" feelings which conflict with the new citizenship. America shows an increasing dislike of the many quarters in her midst, ruled as they are by the padrone and the ward boss.
Some reformers would press compulsory English upon the newly-landed immigrant. He should be guided and taught, they say, as one teaches children; for it is in the intelligence of these people that the future of democracy lies. On the other hand, to neglect them means a listless electorate and weakness in the body politic.
"Americanization Day" was last year celebrated in 150 cities. The women's clubs take a hand in the process of moulding new citizens; and a Forward-to-the-Land League, with experimental tracts in Florida, tries to coax the Ellis Island hordes out of the Eastern cities into the real America beyond.
But the immigrant question bristles with difficulty. The labour market is in chronic rebellion against a flood of workers who compete with the native on un-American bases.
And those interested in the purity of politics see in these docile mobs a new supply of corruptibles upon whose votes (often secured with forged naturalization papers), "machines" may be reared and supported for the purpose of municipal loot.
So serious a matter had immigration become that America was glad of the respite given her by the war. During the second half of 1915, there were only 169,291 arrivals. As against these, there were 166,899 departures for Europe, leaving a net increase for the half year of only 2,392.
It was one of war's few blessings, this abrupt exclusion. of unskilled labour. Restrictionists were glad to see there was less unemployment than ever; fewer claims upon public and private charity through the checking of a human tide which had become a danger. Of course, America discusses immigration after the war, and that with renewed anxiety.
Some thinkers contend there will be a great migration from the "militaristic" nations; that .men, heartsick at the very thought of war, will turn eagerly to the land of peace and the serener uplift of life.
Others are that the older nations will need all their sons to repair the wastage in man-power and material; that all the wondrous gear bought and built in America, and long employed upon munitions of war, will in the Old World be turned to productive labour, so as to reduce the enormous debts under which the warring Powers must groan for a generation.
Nor is America sorry to see her supply of Jewish citizens cut off. Jewish influence permeates the United States, and is pacific to the point of emasculation. Jews own great newspapers like the New York World and Times. Jews are elected Governors of States.
There is "Honest Mose," the reformer of Idaho, who once sold cheap togs in a wooden shack of Boise City; and Simon Bomberger, the first Democratic Governor of Utah, who is still a "Gentile" in the Mormon State.
A Jew—Louis Brandeis—sits in the Supreme Court of the United States. As for ambassadors at foreign Courts, one has but to mention Oscar Straus, Henry Morgenthau, Abraham Elkus, and Lewis Einstein.
But it is in the realm of finance that the Jew is supreme; a notable exemplar is Jacob Schiff, the philanthropist, who played a leading part 'in the League to Enforce Peace.
My point is that Hebrew pacifism is opposed to vigorous measures of national defence. "Over yonder," the generous Jews were told in Carnegie Hall, "Despotism rallies its victims to a bloody death. Here in America we set in motion vastly different armies.
Behold our 20,000,000 school children laughing as they go. See yet another army of 20,000,000 stalwarts who march out each morning to the anvil, the forge and the loom."
So what with Jewish and Gentile pacifism, the influence of the women, and German intrigue from Cuba to Colon, and thence to Mexico City, Preparedness for war had "hard sledding" indeed in its early days.
It was this feebleness of the national will which engaged the ablest American minds. It also accounted for the feeling of relief when immigration stopped, and the alien torrent was shown to be a factor which the country could do without.
For many years American students of this problem have been of three schools—restrictionist, selectionist, and exclusionist; these last weighed police revelations of unexampled crime, as well as horrible crowding in the slums.
But the demand for cheap labour, for iliterate, non-English speaking serfs, was both insistent and fierce. Beyond doubt the poor devils of aliens were cruelly exploited.
Until quite recently (and the change of spirit is startling to one who knows the facts) no nation on earth held human life so cheaply as the United States, in spite of professions to the contrary which were conventions and little more.
"The casualties of our peaceful industries," wrote President Roosevelt to Josiah Strong, the statistician, "exceed those of a great and continuous war." In round figures they amount to 50,000 killed and 500,000 injured every year. Such is Prosperity's toll; this is the seamy side of America's speed-up.
According to Dr. W. II. Tolman, "the Pennsylvania coalfields alone furnish a Bull Run Battle of deaths year by year." And so reckless are the railroads that their foremost expert, Mr. James J. Hill, remarked to a Cabinet Minister: "Every time I take a journey I expect it to be my last, so uncertain has the thing become."
"Ah, Bawss," said the negro brakeman to me at Fort Worth, "w'en soldierin's as deadly as switchin' I guess we'll have disarm'ent at hand!" The railway havoc for one year was 10,046 killed and 84,155 injured.
Angry protest appeared in the papers about this, but public opinion was never roused. The Interstate Commerce Commission collected almost incredible facts and figures.
The Sunday journals had whole-page articles on "The Price of Peace"—"Every time the second-hand circles the dial of your watch, an American is slaughtered or maimed."
"It's cheaper to kill men than to protect them," said the disappointed inventor to Dr. Josiah Strong, who gave his whole career to preventive work in this direction.
"When I produce a thing that saves time and labour, it goes off like hot cakes. But directly I make a device to save human life and limb, I've only wasted energy; and I can't give the thing away!"
It is undeniable that the alien immigrant was no more than raw material, cheaply held, mere unconsidered gun-meat, in America's eternal war.
I saw an Armenian arrested for begging on Third Avenue, New York. The man had both hands destroyed by the machinery of a harvester concern in Chicago, and he was soon thrown on the community as a public charge.
The flesh-and-blood havoc of bursting fly-wheels in the factories is another reckless tale. So also are the casualties in lead and copper mines; in city subways and in the streets, where motors and trams take a fearsome toll.
Chemical works and quarries, laundries, foundries, and textile-mills—the slaughter and crippling of workers in these places has long been the despair of social pioneers.
The farming and lumbering trades had awesome records of their own; so had construction-work, especially in bridges and skyscrapers. "Count the storeys," your guide told you impressively in the down-town tour of New York, "if you want to know how many human lives the So-and-So Building cast." And truly, from the deep caisson to the fiftieth tier of windows, these towers have a dreadful record in killing and crippling for life.
It is for this reason that America became proficient in the making of artificial limbs. And here we fonnd her a useful ally in the aftermath of war, offering the Carnes arm to Rochampton Hospital, as well as mechanical legs "and jointed feet that hid all deformity.
"Success is a fine goal," says that typical American, Mr. Darwin P. Kingsley, of the New York Life Insurance Company, "but in our eagerness to win it we lash out right and left, trampling and wounding in ruthless concentration.
We destroy far more than we afterwards redeem by our public and private beneficence." Mr. Kingsley heads the "Safety First" leagues of America, which now preach a saner gospel of values, and point out "the brutal and costly inefficiency of a speed-up that defeats itself."
The last ounce of output is exacted of the worker—and then the bit beyond. which brings disaster on so huge and frequent a scale throughout the American sovereignties.
I have explained how the laws are made by forty-eight Parliaments, laws which are not uniform and are quite beyond count. In this connection I may quote Secretary Trefz, of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce.
"In the last five years," he says, "our national and State Legislatures have passed 62,550 laws, as compared with 1500 laws passed by the British Parliament in ten years." It is not so much new laws that America needs as what Elihu Root calls "the organization of the nation!'
Lincoln himself had this at heart when he conferred with General Dodge about the new trans-continental railroad—"not only as a military asset, but also as a means of holding the Pacific Coast to the Union."
To foster a really national spirit came before all else in President Wilson's war-time plans. "What I am striving, for," he told Labour delegates at the White House, "is to blot out all the lines of cleavage in America.
To sweep away groups and camps, and caste distinctions; to close up our ranks and kindle fresh unity of purpose." This was the foundation of Americanism in 1917.
There should be less exuberance and more reflection in an era that broke with the past before all men's eyes—that rollicking past when Macaulay found "all sail and no anchor" in the Constitution of the United States.
I know no symptom of this effort more striking than the new relations of capital and labour—of master and man; even of the helpless alien who was so lightly regarded in the heedless America of yesteryear.
I heard a Pennsylvania coroner, Mr. J. C. Armstrong, of Allegheny County, express himself sadly in this matter.
"The number of alien deaths in our furnaces and mills is truly distressing. But nobody cares—they're only flunks or lingoes. Why, there's more fuss made over the loss of a horse or a mule!"
Thirteen Hungarians were killed in Pittsburg. by one blast of molten metal. The furnace was known to be defective, and some of the men were wary enough to leave their work in time. At the inquest the foreman explained that "a rush of orders had kept the company from making repairs in time."
What did it matter?—They were only Hunks. That day an Austrian Lloyd steamer landed a thousand more at Ellis Island from the port of Fiume; tomorrow or next day would see groups of them squatting at the gates, glad of $2 a day and a life of withering hardships.
I suppose the valley of the Monongahela from Pittsburg to McKeesport (where the Hungarian colony is) shows industrial America in its most terrifying aspect.
There are no words for the vileness and flame of this hissing Gomorrah. Fifteen thousand factory-shafts spout smoke and soot. In the vengeful reek of this place the dead Hunk is buried in an unceremonious ditch to a dirge of psalms, oddly confused with the crash of steam hammers and blast-furnace roars of imminent menace.
The half-naked Hunk, wrinkled and wan, half-blinded by the glare of liquid steel, gasping and scorched, streaming with sweat as well as half-gassed with the poisonous reek—this is no picture piled np for effect, but a fact from which the onlooker turns away. No negro, no Chinese coolie would undertake this foundry and rolling-mill work; it is too heart-rending.
But the Hunk is dumb; he knows no English. Fifty per cent. of these industrial slaves are Ellis. Island pioneers. They come over alone, and do not send for their families till they have a pittance put by. I called upon these outlaws in their shacks by the drear churchyard. Here they lived like swine, in an atmosphere of murk and damnable tumult.
Their patient acceptance of it all was to me more moving than any rage. Was not this America—the only America they knew? The joyous Old-World days were over; the blue Adriatic, and fair Carpathian valleys, too unreal now for any dream. Between Transylvania and Pennsylvania, hell's own gulf was yawning—and this was called the Valley of the Monongahela! ...
Yet even the worm, we are told, will turn. These aliens have shown fight in murderous strikes, especially where they see miniature standing armies maintained by employers for their own repression, as in the coal mines of Colorado.
An affray of this kind broke out two years ago at the big plant of the Fertilizer Trust in Roosevelt, N. J., barely twenty miles from New York's City Hall. At the first volley fired by the private guards eighteen unarmed strikers fell dead or wounded.
But here again they were only Hunks and Dagoes; and tradition of American capital rates these below the beeves and porkers of the stock-yard.
Tradition of this kind dies hard in a land where businesss has become a god. But such conduct is bound to react upon the community. The criminal records of these aliens are of peculiar flagrancy; they call for police-squads and special agents, like those of the famous Petrosino, who had a detective bureau of his own in Lafayette Street, New York. Petrosino was murdered in Sicily whilst following up a Black Hand trail.
Here I touch those secret societies which the immigrant floods bring with them from Europe. I refer to the Armenian Henchakist, the Chinese Tong, the Athenian blood-pact, and Neapolitan vendetta; as well as the Mafia, Camorra, and La Marto Nera or the Black Hand.
One hesitates to mention the exploits of these murder-clubs, for they surpass the crudest fiction and reveal fatal flaws in the civilized polity upon which they prey.
There are over half a million Italians settled in Greater New York, and the Black Hand Society had extraordinary license among them. In four months fifty-four persons were killed or maimed by pistol, knife, or dynamite: the victims had ignored the usual Black Hand letter demanding money under pain of death.
Big corporations, like the United States Steel, have detectives of their own to protect their industrial army. At one time $25,000 a month was extorted by threats from the foreign workmen of this huge concern.
But the Secret Service agents crippled the system by seizing the bandit leader, Pagnato, and ten of his assassins at the pay-office of the Hillsville Quarries.
It is remarkable what license all classes permit themselves in the slack immensity of this New World. Even the city police are apt to consider the brothel, the gambling den, and saloon as lawful sources of income.
It is a point of view very difficult to deal with, based as it is upon custom and a peculiar ethical code.
New York City has for many years tried to reform her police, pointing out the scandal of the lowly officer who could advertise the loss of his $1500 diamond ring.
Then there was the discovery of forty-three bills, each of $1000, in the desk of a captain who fell dead in the West 47th Station. And a corruption fund was raised by the force at large to defeat the Anti-Graft Bill in the State Legislature at Albany.
It was strange to see sober journals in so great a city as New York referring to their police as "a semi-secret, semi-criminal association that fosters and battens upon crime, and will not stay its hand at murder." But all such crudity is passing, as well as the docility and unconcern which has long been a marked trait of citizenship.
This was glaringly shown in New York's acceptance of the ruffian rule of Tammany Hall, its thugs and thieves, and criminal "Grand Sachems." Inaugurated long ago as a "friend of the poor," this singular body turned to politics under Aaron Burr and bossed New York for generations.
Tammany Chiefs were brigands of incredible boldness and absolute sway. Boss Tweed died in gaol, after looting the city of millions. But the hateful dynasty was far from extinct. It began to decline in 1901; entire control of the New World's greatest city passed from Tammany with the evil days of Van Wyck. Under Mayor Mitchel—a. typical crusader—New York was not only "free," but aspired to be America's model municipality.
Phayre, Ignatuius "America in the Making," Chapter V in America's Day: Studies in Light and Shade, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1919, p. 50-67.