I remark that this coming time of municipal elevation will be a time of financial prosperity. Many seem to suppose that when the world’s better days come, the people will forsake their industries, and give themselves to perpetual psalm-singing, and, being all absorbed in spiritual things, will become reckless as to dress and dwelling; and very rigid laws then governing the commercial world, all enterprise and speculation will cease, and all hilarity be stricken out of the social circle. There is no warrant for such an absurd anticipation. I suppose that when society is reconstructed, where there is now, in the course of a year, one fortune made, there will be a hundred fortunes made. Every one knows that the commercial world thrives in proportion as there is confidence between man and man; and the extirpation of all double-dealing and fraud from society will increase this confidence, and hence greater prosperity. The heavy commercial disasters that have smitten this land were the work of godless speculators and infamous stock-gamblers. It is crime that is the mightiest foe to business; but when the right shall hurl back into ruin the plots of bad men, and purify the commercial code, and thunder down fraudulent establishments, and put into the hands of honest men the keys of commercial prosperity, blessed will be the bargain-makers of the city.
That will be a prosperous time, for taxes will be a mere nothing. Every style of business is taxed now to the utmost. City taxes, county taxes, State taxes, United States taxes, license taxes, manufacturing taxes, stamp taxes,—taxes! taxes! taxes! Our citizens must make a small fortune every year to meet these exactions. What hand fastens to all of our great industries this tremendous load? Crime! We have to pay the board of every man and woman who, by intemperance, is cast into the alms-house. We have to support the orphans of those who plunge themselves into their graves by beastly indulgences. We support from our pockets the large machinery of municipal government, which is vast just in proportion as the criminal proclivities of the city are great. What makes necessary hospitals, houses of refuge, police-stations, and alms-houses, the Tombs, Sing Sing, and Moyamensing?
In that good time coming there shall be no exhaustive taxation; no orphans homeless, for parents will be able to leave their children a competency; no prisons, for crime will have given place to virtue. Then the vast swindles which now, from time to time, disgrace our cities, will be unheard of. No voting of public money that, on its way to some city improvement, falls into the pockets of those who voted it. No courts of Oyer and Terminer, at vast expense to the people. No empanelling of juries to inquire into theft, arson, murder, slander, and black-mail. In that day of redemption there will be better factories, grander architecture, finer equipages, larger estates, richer opulence.