By the age of fifteen, London had turned delinquent. Barely seventeen, he signed aboard the schooner Sophie Sutherland, bound for Japan and the Bering Sea. Returning from the voyage in 1894, London began to be interested in the plight of the underprivileged and working classes, so he joined a group of militant workers who were going to Washington to protest the wretched working conditions in the country, caused by the Depression of 1894. He did not reach Washington, however; he deserted this "Industrial Army" in Hannibal, Missouri, and for a time he traveled around the country as a hobo. At Niagara Falls, he was arrested for vagrancy and sentenced to the Erie County Penitentiary. He was released after thirty days, and he quickly caught the first train heading West, arriving eventually in Oakland. It was probably soon after his release from the penitentiary that London became seriously interested
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