Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/235

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(i. 38), which refer to his Class A, who form, as has been said, the lowermost third of our 'v and below.' "Their life is the life of savages, with vicissitudes of extreme hardship and occasional excess. From them come the battered figures who slouch through the streets and play the beggar or the bully. They render no useful service, they create no wealth, more often they destroy it. They degrade whatever they touch, and as individuals are perhaps incapable of improvement. . . but I do not mean to say that there are not individuals of every sort to be found in the mass. Those who are able to wash the mud may find some gems in it. There are at any rate many very piteous cases. Whatever doubt there may be as to the exact numbers of this class, it is certain that they bear a very small proportion to the rest of the population, or even to Class B, with which they are mixed up and from which it is at times difficult to separate them. . . . They are barbarians, but they are a handful. . . ." He says further, "It is much to be desired and to be hoped that this class may become less hereditary in its character; there appears to be no doubt that it is now hereditary to a very considerable extent."

Many who are familiar with the habits of these people do not hesitate to say that it would be an economy and a great benefit to the country if all habitual criminals were resolutely segregated under merciful surveillance and peremptorily denied opportunities for producing offspring. It would abolish a source of suffering and misery to a future generation, and would cause no unwarrantable hardship in this.


It will be remembered that Mr. Booth's classification did not help us beyond classes higher than S in civic worth. If a strong and widely felt desire should arise, to discover young men whose position was of the V, W or X order, there would not be much difficulty in doing so. Let us imagine, for a moment, what might be done in any great university, where the students are in continual competition in studies, in athletics, or in public meetings, and where their characters are publicly known to associates and to tutors. Before attempting to make a selection, acceptable definitions of civic worth would have to be made in alternative terms, for there are many forms of civic worth. The number of men of the V, W or X classes whom the university was qualified to contribute annually must also be ascertained. As was said, the proportion in the general population of the V class to the remainder is as 1 to 300, and that of the W class as 1 in 3,000. But students are a somewhat selected body because the cleverest youths, in a scholastic sense, usually find their way to universities. A considerably high level, both intellectually and physically, would be required as a qualification for candidature. The limited number who had not been auto-