There seems to be a very deep and decided feeling in the community at present in reference to the houses of ill fame that infest our city, and all good citizens are asking the question "What can be done to abate or extripate this enormous evil?" It is possible that it cannot be extirpated, but there can be no doubt that it may be very materially abated, and at least kept out of sight of the public eye. We have, on several occasions, expressed the belief that the course taken by the police authorities toward these institutions is one of the worst that could be devised; resulting only in replenishing the pockets of those who drag these festering evils up to the surface of society, and draw the attention of all eyes upon their ugliness, without tending in the least, to abate the nuisance. Occasionally a "raid" is made upon one or more of these dens — always at night — and half a score or a score of a wretched women are lodged in the calaboose, to undergo the stereotyped penalty of a $50 fine on the following day, a large share of which goes to the officer making the arrest. They then return to their life of shame, having received a free advertisement in the police court, and intent only upon making good their loss.
Now, we have law enough relating to these institutions; more possibly, than could be sustained in an appeal to the higher tribunals; what we lack is efficacy on the part of the executive officers. Let the inmates of these houses be spared, and the keepers, who are piling up colossal fortunes as the price of their shame, be made to pay the penalty. Let swift, severe and repated punishments be visited upon them, and they will soon cease to flaunt their gaudy trappings in the face of innocence and decency. We are told that the proprietor of one of these infamous haunts of vice, whom the Almighty created in the form of a man, boasts that his establishment has cleared over $4,000 since the arrival of the first returned veteran regiment, and that his gains are now upwards of $2,000 a week! What cares he for police raids? He is not molested — his horrible income is not lessened a dime by the tax levied upon the wretched beings who contribute to his board. Now it is useless to tell this community that such a state of things cannot be changed. This man can be reached by the police, and must be, though the entire force be changed every day until men are found who will hold themselves free from all intercourse with a wretch so lost to manhood and to decency, and who cannot be corrupted by the fruits of his scandalous traffic. If fines are to be imposed, let them be piled on the heads of the proprietors of these places, so rapidly and so heavily that neither four thousand nor twenty thousand dollars a month shall suffice to make good their penalties. And when the fines are imposed, let them be collected. Justice has been mocked often enough by appeals, changes of venue, and other legal trickery to secure immunity for these criminals. The people simply demand that the laws, as they stand, be executed, and the council will be more profitably employed in devising ways and means to effect this, than in tinkering at that which has already more than sufficient to meet the exigencies of the case.