Jacob A. Riis (18491914). The Battle with the Slum. 1902.
The measure was nearly full. Bishop Potter came back from the East, where he had been travelling, and met his people. Out of that meeting came the most awful arraignment of a city government which the world has ever heard. Nowhere else on earth, the Bishop wrote to the Mayor of New York, certainly not in any civilized or Christian community, does there exist such a situation as defiles and dishonors New York to-day.
In the name of these little ones, his letter ran, these weak and defenceless ones, Christian and Hebrew alike, of many races and tongues, but homes in which God is feared and His law revered, and virtue and decency honored and exemplified, I call upon you, sir, to save these people, who are in a very real way committed to your charge, from a living hell, defiling, deadly, damning, to which the criminal supineness of the constituted authorities set for the defence of decency and good order, threatens to doom them.
The Mayors virtual response was to put the corrupt Chief of Police in practically complete and irresponsible charge of the force. Richard Croker, the boss of Tammany Hall, had openly counselled violence at the election then pending (1900), and the Chief in a general order to the force repeated the threat. But they had reckoned without Governor Roosevelt. He compelled the Mayor to