houses, have met in Mr. Riis the most formidable
opponent ever encountered by them in New York City.
Many earnest men and earnest women have been stirred
to the depths by the want and misery and foul crime
which are bred in the crowded blocks of tenement
rookeries. These men and women have planned and
worked, intelligently and resolutely, to overcome the
evils. But to Mr. Riis was given, in addition to
earnestness and zeal, the great gift of expression, the
great gift of making others see what he saw and feel
what he felt. His book, How the Other Half Lives, did
really go a long way toward removing the ignorance in
which one half of the world of New York dwelt
concerning the life of the other half. Moreover, Mr. Riis
possessed the further great advantage of having himself
passed through not a few of the experiences of which he
had to tell. . . . No rebuff, no seeming failure, has ever
caused him to lose faith. The memory of his own trials
never soured him. His keen sense of the sufferings of
others never clouded his judgment, never led him into
hysterical or sentimental excess, the pit into which not a
few men are drawn by the very keenness of their
sympathies; and which some other men avoid, not
because they are wise, but because they are cold-
hearted. He ever advocates mercy, but he ever
recognizes the need of justice. The mob leader, the
bomb-thrower, have no sympathy from him. No man
has ever insisted more on the danger which comes to
the community from the lawbreaker. He set himself to
kill the living evil, and small is his kinship with the
dreamers who seek the impossible, the men who talk of
reconstituting the entire social order, but who do not
work to lighten the burden of mankind by so much as a
feather’s weight. Every man who strives, be it ever so
feebly, to do good according to the light that is in him,
can count on the aid of Jacob Riis if the chance comes.
(McClure's, March 1901.) Mem. Ed. XV, 209-211; Nat.
Ed. XIII, 270-272.
____________. Jacob Riis was one of those men who
by his writings contributed most to raising the standard
of unselfishness, of disinterestedness, of sane and
kindly good citizenship, in this country. But in addition
to this he was one of the few great writers for clean and
decent living and for upright conduct who was also a
great doer. He never wrote sentences which he did not
in good faith try to act whenever he could find the
opportunity for action. He was emphatically a “doer of
the word," and not either a mere hearer or a mere
preacher. Moreover, he was one of those good men
whose goodness was free from the least taint of
priggishness or self-righteousness. He had a white soul;
but he had the keenest sympathy for his brethren who
stumbled and fell. He had the most flaming intensity of
passion for righteousness, but he also had kindliness
and a most humorously human way of looking at life
and a sense of companionship with his fellows. He did
not come to this country until he was almost a young
man; but if I were asked to name a fellowman who
came nearest to being the ideal American citizen, I
should name Jacob Riis. (Outlook, June 6, 1914; used
as Introduction.) Jacob A. Riis, The Making of an
American. (Macmillan Co., N. Y., 1916), pp. xv-xvi.
RIIS, JACOB A. See also CITY LIFE.
RIOTS—SUPPRESSION OF. If it comes to putting
down a riot, make up your mind that the person with
whom to feel sympathy is the law-abiding citizen, not
the lawless. When people put themselves in opposition
to law, start to put them down with a healthy desire to
see that they get put down quick, and if any damage
comes, let it come on them and not on the men who
have refrained from violating the law. (Before Liberal
Club, Buffalo, N. Y., September 10, 1895.) Mem. Ed.
XVI, 275; Nat. Ed. XIV, 195.
RIOTS. See also BROWNSVILLE RIOT; LABOR
RIVER IMPROVEMENT. See INLAND WATERWAYS;
ROADS—IMPORTANCE OF. No one thing can do
more to offset the tendency toward an unhealthy growth
from the country into the city than the making and
keeping of good roads. They are needed for the sake of
their effect upon the industrial conditions of the country
districts; and I am almost tempted to say they are
needed for the sake of social conditions in the country
districts. (Before Nat. and Internat. Good Roads
Convention, St. Louis, April 29, 1903.) Mem. Ed.
XVIII, 616; Nat. Ed. XVI, 446.
ROADS. See also FARM LIFE.
ROBINSON, EDWIN ARLINGTON. It is rather
curious that Mr. Robinson's volume [The Children of
the Night] should not have attracted more attention.
There is an undoubted touch of genius in the poems
collected in this volume, and a curious simplicity and