« PreviousContinue »
the landing-place of European immigration. Its wealth is mighty to establish and defend places of iniquity. Twice a year there are incursions of people from all parts of the land coming on the spring and the fall trade. It requires twenty times the municipal energy to keep order in New York that it does in any city from Portland to San Francisco. But still yon pursue me with the question, and I am to answer it by telling you that there is infinite fault and inmensity of blame to be divided between three parties. First, the police of New York city. So far as I know them they are courteous gentlemen. They have had great discouragement, they tell me, in the fact that when they arrest crime and bring it before the courts the witnesses will not appear lest they criminate themselves. They tell me also that they have been discouraged by the fact that so inany suits have been brought against them for damages. But after all, my friends, they must take their share of blame. I have come to the conclusion, after much research and investigation, that there are captains of police in New York who are in complicity with crime-men who make thousands of dollars a year for the simple fact that they will not tell, and will permit places of iniquity to stand month after month, and year after year. . I am told that there are captains of police in New York who get a percentage on every bottle of wine sold in the haunts of death, and that they get a revenue from all the shambles of sin. What a state of things this is! In the Twenty-ninth precinct of New York there are one hundred and twenty-one dens of death. Night after night, month after month, year after year, untouched. In West Twenty-sixth street and West Twenty-seventh street and West Thirty-first street there are whole blocks that are
pandemonium, There are between fiye and six hup
ared dens of darkness in the city of New York, where there are 2,500 policemen. Not long ago there was a masquerade ball in which the masculine and feminine offenders of society were the participants, and some of the police danced in the masquerade and distributed the prizes! There is the grandest opportunity that has ever opened, for any American, open now. It is for that man in high official position who shall get into his stirrups and say, “ Men, follow?" and who shall in one night sweep around and take all of these leaders of iniquity, whether on suspicion or on positive proof, saying, “I'll take the responsibility, come on! I put my private property and my political aspirations and my life into this crusade against the powers of darkness." That man would be Mayor of the city of New York. That man would be fit to be President of the United States.
But the second part of the blame I must put at the door of the District Attorney of New York. I understand he is an honorable gentleman, but he has not time to attend to all these cases. Literally, there are thousands of cases unpursued for lack of time. Now, I say, it is the business of New York to give assistants, and clerks, and help to the District Attorney until all these places shall go down in quick retribution.
But the third part of the blame, and the heaviest part of it, I put on the moral and Christian people of our cities, who are guilty of most culpable indifference on this whole subject. When Tweed stole his millions large audiences were assembled in indignation, Charles O'Conor was retained, committees of safety and investigation were appointed, and a great stir made; but night by night there is a theft and a burglary of city morals as much worse than Tweed's robberies as his were worse than common shop-lifting, and it has very little opposi.
tion. I tell you what New York wants; it wants indig- . nation meetings in Cooper Institute and Academy of Music and Chickering and Irving Halls to compel the public authorities to do their work and to send the police, with clubs and lanterns and revolvers, to turn off the colored lights of the dance-houses, and to mark for confiscation the trunks and wardrobes and furniture and scenery, and to gather up all the keepers, and all the inmates, and all the patrons, and march them out to the Tombs, fife and drum sounding the Rogue's March.
While there are men smoking their cigarettes, with their feet on Turkish divans, shocked that a minister of religion should explore and expose the iniquity of city life, there are raging underneath our great cities a Cotopaxi, a Stromboli,a Vesuvius, ready to bury us in ashes and scoria deeper than that which overwhelmed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Oh! I wish the time would come for the plowshare of public indignation to push through and rip up and turn under those parts of New York which are the plague of the nation. Now is the time to hitcb up the team to this piowshare. In this time, when Mr. Cooper is Mayor, and Mr. Kelly is Comptroller, and Mr. Nichols is Police Commissioner, and Superintendent Walling wears the badge of office, and there is on the judicial benches of New York an array of the best men that have ever occupied those positions since the foundation of the city-Recorder Hackett, Police Magistrates Kilbreth, Wandell, Morgan and Duffy; such men as Gildersleeve, and Sutherland, and Davis, and Curtis; and on the United States Court bench in New York such men as Benedict, and Blatchford, and Choate-now is the time to make an extirpation of iniquity. Now iş the time for a great crusade, and for the people of our cities in great public assemblages to say to police authority:
I ask you,
“Go ahead, and we will back you with our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
I must adjourn until next Sabbath morning much of what I wanted to say about certain forms of iniquity which I saw rampant in the night of my exploration with the city officials. But before I stop this morning I want to have one word with a class of men with whom people have so little patience that they never get a kind word of invitation. I mean the men who have forsaken their homes. Oh! my brother, return. You say: “I can't ; I have no home; my home is broken up." Reestablish your home. It has been done in other cases, why may it not be done in your case! “Oh," you say, "we parted for life; we have divided our property; we have divided our effects." I ask did
divide the marriage ring of that bright day when you started life together? Did you divide your family Bible? If so, where did you divide it! Across the Old Testament, where the Ten Commandments denounce your sin, or across the New Testament, where Christ says: “Blessed are the pure in heart?” Or did you divide it between the Old and the New Testaments, right across the family record of weddings and births and deaths ? Did you divide the cradle in which you rocked your first born? Did you divide the little grave in the cemetery, over which you stood with linked arms, looking down in awful bereavement? Above all, I ask you, did you divide your hope for heaven, so that there is no full hope left for either of you? Go back! There may be a great gulf between you and once happy domesticity; but Christ will bridge that gulf. It may be a bridge of sighs. Turn toward it. Put your foot on the over-arching span. Hear it! It is a voice unrolling from the throne: that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be unto him a God, and he shall be my son; but the un. believing, and the sorcerers, and the whoremongers, and the adulterers, and the idolators, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brim stone-which is the second death!”