Page:The Lull before Dorking.djvu/20

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14
THE LULL BEFORE DORKING

vagrancy and crime, must be aware that to a vast number of young men between the ages of seventeen and twenty, a spirit of independence, unsettlement, roving, vagrancy, call it what you will, comes almost irresistibly. Some return to industrial life, more go to swell that great proletariat and dangerous class, the problem of statesmen and the despair of philanthropists.

Now if these, or some of these, could be regimented and industrialized by discipline and work, on some such huge system as has been here put forth, the hands of those engaged in the struggle with Pauperization and Vagrancy would be visibly strengthened, and a vast blessing would be conferred upon a dangerous and pitiful, but to some extent irresponsible host, for whose present condition society is in part blameable.

The earthworks that might have to be immediately constructed would furnish work for the recruits, as well as for those not enlisted, and If payment were made for work and employment encouraged throughout the army, as has been urged repeatedly in the House of Commons by Mr. Tracy, and again and again approved by Committees and Commissions, the army might in time become a vast national university or training school, where every man would be compelled to learn not only reading and writing, but Industrial work, which is of even more necessity. It is not probable that there would be any unwillingness to engage upon these conditions; for the recruit would not be severed from his associates, nor even