Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
The Reluctant Briber

By Lincoln Steffens

(American writer upon social problems, 1866–1936. The president of a powerful public service corporation has become disturbed in conscience, and calls in a student of social conditions)
“YOU’RE unhappy because you are bribing and corrupting, and you ask my advice. Why? I’m no ethical teacher. You’re a churchman. Why don’t you go to your pastor?”  1
  “Pastor!” he exclaimed, and he laughed. The scorn of that laugh! “Pastor!”  2
  He turned and walked away, to get control, no doubt. I kept after him.  3
  “Yes,” I insisted, “you should go to the head of your church for moral counsel, and—for economic advice you should go to the professor of economics in——”  4
  He stopped me, facing about. “Professor!” he echoed, and he didn’t reflect my tone.  5
  I was serious. I wanted to get something from him. I wanted to know why our practical men do not go to these professions for help, as they go to lawyers and engineers. And this man had given time and money to the university in his town and to his church, as I reminded him.  6
  “You support colleges and churches, you and your kind do,” I said. “What for?”  7
  “For women and children,” he snapped from his distance.  8

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