There is more reason in this than in many of the plans proposed; but mechanical forces can never recreate the world. I shall take no shares in the large company that is proposed; my faith is that Christianity will yet make the worst street of our cities better than the best street now is.
Archimedes consumed the enemies of Syracuse by a great sun-glass. As the ships came up the harbor, the sun’s rays were concentrated upon them: now the sails are wings of fire; the masts fall, and the vessels sink. So, by the great sun-glass of the Gospel, the rays of heaven will be concentred upon all the filth and unchastity and crime of our great towns, and under the heat they will blaze and expire. When the day comes that I have shown will come, suppose you that there will be any midnight brawls? any shivering mendicants, kicked off from the marble steps? any droves of unwashed, uncombed, unfed children? any blasphemers in the street? any staggering past of inebriates? No! No wine-cellars. No lager-beer saloons. No distilleries where they make the XXX. No bloated cheeks. No blood-shot eyes. No fist-battered foreheads. The grandchildren of that woman who now walks up the street with a curse, as the boys stone her, will be philanthropists, and heal the sick, and manage great commercial enterprises.
When our cities are so raised, we shall have a different style of municipal government. The great question, in regard to the execution of the law, now is: “What is popular?” Our city governments slumber—great carcasses of insufficiency, sending up their stench into the nostrils of high heaven, while there are thousands of gambling-houses, and drinking-saloons, and more places of damnable lust than the decency of the country has time to count. Do you tell me that the authorities do not know it? They do know it. All the police know it. The sheriff and his deputies know it. The aldermen know it. The mayors know it. Everybody who keeps his eyes and ears open knows it. In the name of God I impeach the municipal authorities of many of our cities, that they neglect to execute the law. You cannot charge it upon any one party. Within the past few years both parties, and all kinds of parties, have been in power; but the work has never been done. You have but to pass the City Hall, or look in upon the rooms of some of our city officials, to see to what sort of men our cities have been abandoned. Look at the swearing, bloated, sensual wretches who stand on the outside of the New York City Hall, picking their teeth, waiting for some crumbs of emolument to fall at their feet; and then tell me how far it is from New York to Sodom. Who are those wretched women sent up in the city van to the police-court, apprehended for drunkenness? They will be locked up in jail; but what will be done with the groggeries that made them drunk? Who are these men in the city-prison? That man stole a pair of shoes; that boy, one dollar from the counter; that girl snatched