Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/449

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

AUGUST, 1892.


 

NATURAL SELECTION AND CRIME.
By Prof. EDWARD S. MORSE.
"Find out what the law of God is with regard to a man; make that your human law, or I say it will be ill with you, and not well! If you love your thief or murderer, if Nature and eternal Fact love him, then do as you are now doing. But if Nature and Fact do not love him? If they have set inexorable penalties upon him, and planted natural wrath against him in every god-created human heart—then I advise you, cease, and change your hand."—Carlyle.

THE appearance of General Booth's work, entitled In Darkest England, was followed by a deluge of opinions, articles, and reviews on crime, vagabondage, tenement-houses, slums, etc. The serious spirit of these utterances showed an earnest awakening of the public mind in regard to the ominous character of the submerged classes.[1] To meet this baleful increase of vagabondage and crime we have had, first, punitive measures, even to mutilation, with no effect whatever, except perhaps as a deterrent to a few of the many thousands implicated; next, indiscriminate charity—public and private—still active in all but a few enlightened cities, with the effect of causing an alarming increase in the number of paupers and tramps; later, organized relief, which, being selective in a measure, results in some good being accomplished; and, finally, the Salvation Army, with rank and file mostly filled from the very classes demanding relief and reform. It would be strange indeed if such an organized force should not leave its impress on the chaotic material of the slums. That a great deal of temporary good, at least, is being accomplished by this organization there can be no doubt.


  1. Concerning General Booth's scheme, we commend a very just and temperate article in Blackwood's Magazine for January, 1891, entitled The Problem of the Slums.