Moral condition of New York.
The New Orleans Picayune
contains an article under the head of "The Home Heathen,"from which we extract the following:
A recently received Northern journal contains an address delivered before the New York Young Men's Christian Association.--This association, says the address, "stands pledged to attempt the mental, moral, and social improvement of the 150,000 young men who are exposed to the temptations and besetments of this great city." It is an "attempt" which might well appall any one acquainted with the "temptations and besetments" of that city.
If any foreign journal or Southern newspaper were to utter one tenth part of the statements contained in the address, or expose a moiety even of the misery and rank rottenness in which the sub society of New York fairly stews, there would be one universal burst of indignation from Central Park
to the Battery
that the fame of the metropolis should be so blotted and belied.
Nevertheless, a New York young Christian
, addressing his associates, speaks of "the surpassing sinfulness of the city, not so much to feed curiosity as to stimulate missionary zeal," and, with the same laudable motive, we note a few of the fields for missionary labor presented in the address and existing in the city.
And here is the directory: In a resident population of nearly 900,000 souls (and bodies) there were received last year into the charitable and correctional institutions of the city 57,931 persons; 41,299 persons were committed to prison for ninety special offences; there are "6,000 liquor dealers in the city; 100,000 (the address says) German infidels; 350,000 souls "voluntarily destitute of the true means of grace; " "13,000 families without a Bible," 60,000 children who never attended a school; 15,000 children classed as homeless ones, who prey upon the community, either as beggars; thieves, or vagabonds, and who are growing up, unchecked and unrestrained, into the next generation of burglar, pickpockets, and prostitutes; "obscene books and prints published, imported, and sold in our streets, at our wharves, and in some of our bookstores"--a "periodical press not guiltless as respects immoral teachings and influence" -- of 99,232 arrests last year, "three fourths were directly on account of intoxication and arising therefrom"-- nine theatres, "six of which permit the presence of prostitutes"--amusements "graduated so as to gratify every class, however degrade, and every taste, however depraved"--"model artist exhibitions, free concert saloons, dance houses, dog fights, and other such spectacles, attracting crowds every night--"twenty five thousand abandoned women, of all grades, and twenty-five hundred brothers"-- "Broadway
flanked for more than a mile, on either side, by streets whose very names are synonyms of debauchery," while it is notorious that the great thoroughfare has scarcely a block above Canal street which is not disgraced by an assignation house or a disreputable hotel." "More than half the population dwelling in crowded tenement houses, erected and arranged to hive from four to one hundred and twenty-five families of five persons each-- "an underground population," according to Dr Francis
, of 25,000 persons — and with this enumeration, of which we have given a sketch, merely omitting much of the worst, the address defers the consideration of "gambling, lottery policies, desecration of the Sabbath, the reckless disregard of sanitary rules, the increasing riotous character of city politics, and the vagrancy, ignorance, and pauperism, so prevalent in our community." Surely, subject matter sufficient for another address, if not for a volume.
We have read of an artist monk who painted a picture of Purgatory so frightful in its details that he went mad over his own work — and of yet another, who drew the devil in such a horrible form that it killed him outright Our young Christian has simply photographed a Christian city in the year of grace, 1863.
and the picture is one which may well stagger our faith in the civilization of this century.