The lift stops to reflect between floors. That is all right in a hearse, but not in elevators. The American elevator acts like the man's patent purge--it worked. As the inventor said, "This purge doesn't waste any time fooling around; it attends strictly to business."
That New-Yorkers have the cleanest, quickest, and most admirable system of street railways in the world has been forced upon you by the abnormal appreciation you have of your hackman. We ought always to be grateful to him for that service. Nobody else would have brought such a system into existence for us. We ought to build him a monument. We owe him one as much as we owe one to anybody. Let it be a tall one. Nothing permanent, of course; build it of plaster, say. Then gaze at it and realize how grateful we are--for the time being--and then pull it down and throw it on the ash-heap. That's the way to honor your public heroes.
As to our streets, I find them cleaner than they used to be. I miss those dear old landmarks, the symmetrical mountain ranges of dust and dirt that used to be piled up along the streets for the wind and rain to tear down at their pleasure. Yes, New York is cleaner than Bombay. I realize that I have been in Bombay, that I now am in New York; that it is not my duty to flatter Bombay, but rather to flatter New York.
Compared with the wretched attempts of London to light that city, New York may fairly be said to be a well-lighted city. Why, London's attempt at good lighting is almost as bad as London's attempt at rapid transit. There is just one good system of rapid transit in London--the "Tube," and that, of course, had been put in by Americans. Perhaps, after a while, those Americans will come back and give New York also a good underground system. Perhaps they have already begun. I have been so busy since I came back that I haven't had time as yet to go down cellar.
But it is by the laws of the city, it is by the manners of the city, it is by the ideals of the city, it is by the customs of the city and by the municipal government which all these elements correct, support, and foster, by which the foreigner judges the city. It is by these that he realizes that New York may, indeed, hold her head high among the cities of the world. It is by these standards that he knows whether to class the city higher or lower than the other municipalities of the world.
Gentlemen, you have the best municipal government in the world-- the purest and the most fragrant. The very angels envy you, and wish they could establish a government like it in heaven. You got it by a noble fidelity to civic duty. You got it by stern and ever-watchful exertion of the great powers with which you are charged by the rights which were handed down to you by your forefathers, by your manly refusal to let base men invade the high places of your government, and by instant retaliation when any public officer has insulted you in the city's name by swerving in the slightest from the upright and full performance of his duty. It is you who have made this city the envy of the cities of the world. God will bless you for it--God will bless you for it. Why, when you approach the final resting-place the angels of heaven will gather at the gates and cry out:
"Here they come! Show them to the archangel's box, and turn the lime- light on them!"
CHINA AND THE PHILIPPINES
AT A DINNER GIVEN IN THE WALDORF-ASTORIA HOTEL, DECEMBER, 1900
Winston Spencer Churchill was introduced by Mr. Clemens.
For years I've been a self-appointed missionary to bring about the union of America and the motherland. They ought to be united. Behold America, the refuge of the oppressed from everywhere (who can pay fifty dollars' admission)--any one except a Chinaman--standing up for human rights everywhere, even helping China let people in free when she wants to collect fifty dollars upon them. And how unselfishly England has wrought for the open door for all! And how piously America has wrought for that open door in all cases where it was not her own!
Yes, as a missionary I've sung my songs of praise.