Leo Negro to Jane Addams, July 28, 1912


For safety please address my mail, enclosed, to the [address] given -- Miss Myrtle Adams, Rossville, Georgia.

Chattanooga, Tennessee.
July 28th, 1912.

Dear Madam: Yours of the 25th received. Many thanks for your attention, and assurance of confidence. My object in furnishing you with facts in regard to one of the worst contributory causes to immorality in these United States, is because you are at liberty to publish it in your own way, if you choose, after securing reports to verify my statements, later.

It will take some time for me to look up certain reports of the Army -- etc. in regard to the subject, but allow me to outline in a general way a brief summary of what can be proven. Fort Riley, Kansas may be taken [as one] of the worst examples of the general effect of a large Army Post.

Brothels need no segregation there, the place is simply notorious with soldiers, the infection extends to married ITEMS fully as much as others. My argument will not be that BLUE are any worse in the aggregate than GRAY, but one safeguard vouchsafed the gray is not encouraged with the blue -- MARRIAGE is only Tolerated in the service, and severely condemned.

The man who defends the honor of the flag and the home, should himself be encouraged to have the genuine feeling of Protection in his own heart.

But, under the present system, an old blue has a fine chance to become a Drunkard, a Misanthrope, or a degenerate, who lives and dies a Machine only. He may be a trained machine, he may be a military martinet, a terror in his line; but in the aggregate not worth HALF as many determined Married men.

What we most desire to show is the injustice, the blind prejudice of Authority against Marriage in the line even among Corporals and Sergeants.

My argument is that Marriage in the Non-combative forces should be well defined and encouraged -- the Hospital service, Quartermaster Corps, Engineer, Signal Corps, Teamsters, etc. and Sanitary quarters built for the families. In the Line, Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery, more restricted in numbers, but as clearly defined, and instead of miserable shacks, as now built by soldiers, etc. some decent small houses provided. Marriage is now encouraged more much. But the present tendency is to localize Regiments of the Line, and prevent expense of [changing] station, and to infuse local pride, such as the Militia enjoys, into the regular organization; a very sensible idea. Germany has the greatest Army in the world -- nearly all married men, and they are so well organized and well respected, that they are simply invincible. Trained German soldiers came over here and defeated the Southern Army. First and last, men succeed on the Morality inherited from the Ancestors. [page 2]

Ours is the most expensive and inefficient Army of any civilized power and those higher up attribute it ALL to lack of proper organization; but it is more from lack of proper material than all other causes combined. Fighting Blues cannot be made in time of peace, but well disciplined and scientific methods can prevail, and instead of decent young men becoming completely disgusted with the coarse immorality prevalent, and leaving as soon as his term has expired, he may remain and become of permanent value. ***** As to the Bow, the cord is so is -- so is woman to the man *** is true with the Blue as well as the Gray; if not decent women, then it is some [ITEMS].

But this Moral consideration is only half the story -- the better half. Youth will recover from wounds to finer sensibilities, true manhood will reassert itself, after the blue becomes a gray; but alas, the Physical man. By the reports of the Surgeon General it may be shown that very little time or health is lost from diseases associated with vice and lewd women.

By deeper probing it can Easily be established that fully 50% of crime and insubordination is directly traceable to association with these Items.

Fully 25% of the remainder may be charged to drink, aside from the Item. The efficiency of an organization is [reckoned] from the days lost etc. by sickness or other causes. If a truthful statement can be procured, it will be found that venereal disease is the Canker Worm now at the root, and is responsible for at least 50% of the inefficiency of the service.

Does this mean anything? What does it cost to train one cavalryman? Is it cheaper to throw money away as a premium to vice, to clothe Items, to destroy the health of young men for life, than it is to build a few or several cheap quarters for married men, and schools for their children?

There is a joke in the Army that the Government collects Internal Revenue from the Distillery to pay the Blues and they hasten to return it to the Liquor dealer, who returns it to the Distillery -- thus our great Uncle is an automatic encouragement to Distillers, through this blue force. But there is a More serious side to this question of Marriage, for these same blues place a continuous premium upon vice, and the prejudice of authority against marriage only tends to intensify this [scandalous] fact.

Unlike Germany, who at least protects her blues by strict medical inspection of all Items, our cities as Chattanooga takes no precautions. This is to become a Brigade post within a few years, and a big battle in the name of decency should be fought to meet conditions -- beforehand.

Yours sincerely, Leo Negro.

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