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THE WEN AND THE KNIFE.
Factions—Frauds-Offices—Intrigues Improvements--Pavements --Cho
lera-Factions-Ignorance, Mechanics-Aldermen-Police-Malefactors—Riots-Mayors-Military-Conflagration-Health offices-Almshouses—Monarchies—Mobs-Political parties—Majorities-HonestyBest men-Rogues—Remedy--Parties—Ward meetings—RegistersSuffrage-Qualification of voters-Candidates to be examined by a board of censors-Pimps-Spies-Speech-makers-Brawlers and leaders -Fires-FIRE-COMPANIES not allowed by the Romans-Rennedy-How they should be organized-LYNCHING-Mobs--Riots --Order--Law-Peace-marshal--Police--Security--Public peace.
A BRIEF summary of a few of the official corporation, political, and other obliquities, especially prevalent in towns and cities, with some suggestions for their remedy, is now proposed to be given.
The local affairs of towns, cities, and counties, their lights, roads, streets, bridges, strays, water, police, &c., all of which could be abundantly attended to by one competent and faithful magistrate, even in the largest cities, are in some places, where the population and property are large, made to serve the most abusive purposes of political and party strife, and personal speculations.
Intrigues for Low Office.—“Histories are daily written which discover the subtilties and tricks of state: but sure it is that there is as much false dealing, close practices, cunning suggestions, dissimulation, breach of promises, and every way as much dishonesty, in a petty, poor, base, paltry corporation, for the choice of their town clerk, their bailiff, or some such officer, as you shall find among the great bashaws, for the upholding and supporting of the Turkish empire.”—GOODMAN's Fall of Man, p. 207.
Halls, chambers, galleries, and other superfluous pageants are sometimes made; chartered privilege for taxation, organizations of mayor, double legislative departments, tax collectors, treasurers, chief captains, marshals, head men, and high constables, municipal courts, judges, and recorders, are arranged for with separate apartments, and swarms of subordinates, with all the affectations, ceremony, and pomp which belong to national governments.
Large salaries, favor, patronage, contracts, intrigue, corruption, peculations, police, knavery, petty oppression, and open negligence of required duty are unblushingly perpetrated without stint.
If a court-house, a building, a road, a street, or a bridge, requires to be repaired, or rebuilt, the public may wait for years, and in vain.
Their courts and grand juries may demand from the appropriating departments of these petty governments the funds for their execution ; reference to committees and indefinite postponements will follow every motion upon the subject; unless the contract for the work, and the whole appropriation can be previously arranged to suit the views of the insolent and corrupt miscreants who thus insult and defy the people.
In a single city, whose increase of business and population had so overswollen its old court-house, and other necessary local accommodations, as to have made their confined and inappropriate condition a notorious and common nuisance; and subjected the public archives to constant dilapidation, after legislative enactments, authorizing new buildings, and the concurrence and urgent request of all the required sources of authority, with unexceptionable plans and estimates; a petty county board, the whole bunch not worth $10,000, who had the power to veto the demanded appropriation, baffled and deviled the people for more than twenty years, for no reason but that the contracts could not be intrigued for, so as to accommodate themselves and their tavern-haunting, rum-drinking associates.
If an improvement is proposed in the construction of a pier, or quay, a street lamp, a gutter, or the size of a paving-stone, or a sanitary or police regulation, grave committees are raised, whose time is liberally spent in excursions and feastings, at the public expense; and of all these pretended efforts for public improvement, no report of any of the hundreds of these committees records anything but stupidity and ignorance.
Upon a recent cholera preliminary, they demanded from a number of medical practitioners that, whereas this epidemic is generated by choak damp or carbonic acid, by sulphuretted
hydrogen, and other offensive emanations from privies, and the fetid odors from knackers, &c., what measures were necessary to render these atmospheric deteriorations innoxious, and thus to counteract and defeat the cholera.
To these prodigious ejaculations of wisdom they received in answer, by way of a liber primus hit, from a single respondent, the following appropriate rebuke: That every decent man and woman should keep their dishes and noses clean; and if there was so much dirt about them as to disturb their neighbors by its deportation before cold weather comes, that they should sprinkle it all over with a quarter dollar's worth of nitrate of lead and chloride of zinc, or some other antibromics. And when winter time comes, to get moon-catchers, with hooks and boxes, to make a thorough exculpation of these morbific influences. That, however repulsive and intolerable, to a casual observer, all these fetid odors may be, including that from dead animals, the spinning of their entrails, and the distillation of hartshorn from their bones, &c., for many years past, it had been discovered, by special and accurate hygienic examination, not to affect the workmen and families about them, who soon became familiar with and unconscious of the inhalation of these odors.
And that the numerous and effectual purifying agents for all these noxious odors, by the most conclusive and fatal experiments, had been found to possess no disinfecting power over febrific malaria.
A city legislature, composed of some twenty or thirty ignorant politicians, had to be told these simple facts, which every woman and child knows who has read any compendium upon useful knowledge, or the respectable newspapers and magazines of the day.
A majority of the members of the conventions and delegations from whom their nominations emanate are boisterous bullies, without homes or employment; who never pay their debts; hold no property, and pay no taxes. And the ward and district meetings where these delegates are chosen are always held in the night, amidst the uproar of tumultuous rabbles brought there from other districts, and plied with rum by the gamesters and factions to overawe and bully down the people.
No registers are used to test the right of suffrage ; and all order and integrity of proceeding are lost in the violence of a
uivâ voce yell, and the false proclamation of a corrupted president.
The scenes of horror and desecration exhibited in some of these attic ward-rooms and odious rum-holes beggar all the ferocities of aboriginal savagism.
Entire city and county legislature delegations by these infamous dens have been nominated, and by faction, frauds, and riotous excitements been elected, who have been wholly unknown to their constituents.
No directories or assessors' lists will indicate their names, abodes, occupations, or one dollar's worth of property they ever owned.
They are reckless, irresponsible, ignorant, corrupt, and venal; with gross and depraved animal appetites, and the most abandoned moral and sensual propensities.
At the distance of every square or two, there is a dingy recess with a sign on it in large letters :
“MAGISTRATES OFFICE. « WILLS, DEEDS, AND ALL OTHER INSTRUMENTS
CAREFULLY AND LEGALLY DRAWN HERE.”
In one city there have been more than three hundred commissioned police officers, with a Mayor and Recorder, at an annual expense of $130,000.
They profess to watch and guard, by blocks and beats, the entire city day and night.
Thousands of fights and riots, mobs, fires, and murders occurred; not half of them were published in the newspapers. No one ever heard of the arrest of a criminal at these scenes of outrage, or of the presence or interference of the police.
They stand at corners, smoke cigars, and stare at female passengers; impudently swagger through the streets with large clubs, talk politics, pimp, and spy out a dirty tub or a carriage waiting for the proper accommodation of the owner; or pick up some poor inebriated countrymen, not the rowdies ; for they consort with them, and sue for and pocket half the fines. :
They constantly annoy, persecute, and bully the people; but render them, no indemnity against robbers, conflagration, and murder. No forger or burglar was ever arrested by them unless for reward; and their corrupt collusion with these scoundrels is no longer denied.
At the recent riots in Philadelphia, from 1844 to 1849, an average of two thousand military and special police were on duty, at a cost of $60,000; by whom, and their mounted centurions, the streets were insolently patrolled and blocked up for days. Full warning was openly given of the intended aggressions.
The police was present at these riots and fires in quadruplication. Loud and vapid harangues were ejaculated by them from fire-plugs and cab-tops.
A squad of some forty or fifty ruffians, most of them halfgrown boys, clambered over each other's shoulders, dashed in the windows, and fired the immense and splendid structures; tore down chancels and altars; ripped open magnificent and invaluable libraries of learning and science; and amidst hellish shouts and demoniac yells dashed their desecrated plunder into the flames.
The entire bevy of miscreants could and would have been knocked down and dragged out by this police four to one, if they had been ordered to do it. No blow was struck; no arm was raised; not one of these ruthless scoundrels was there touched or has been since then arrested or brought to justice.
All the world beheld with horror this formidable police melt away into the crowd, and an audacious mob of not three hundred, including the aiders, abettors, and all told, in open and unbridled insurrection.
These perpetrations, on one occasion in Philadelphia, cost in pay to the temporary police and military more than $60,000, and in damage by fire $160,000.
Not one check was given to it except the commendable order of a militia officer to fire upon the mob in Southwark, which presently dispersed them; and for which the wailings and execrations of the non-tax paying idle politicians, and drunken rabble, who claim to be the law and order, free school loving, dear people, were poured out in street corner and town-meeting torrents.
Under the pretext of sanitary precaution, a detestable nuisance called a “ Health Office,” is licensed, which avails itself of its ostensible necessities and purposes of pbilanthropy to obtain, from time to time from the legislature, the most preposterous and oppressive powers, for example:-