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The Will Rise Again

The Will Rise Again image
Parent Issue
Day
20
Month
October
Year
1871
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Tho appalling calamity which has so suddenly overtuken Chicago, likc a thiof in the night, and which fiíls all iinaginali' mis witli horror and all hcnrts with oppressive, iigonizing pity, has neverthcless a hopeful side. It is not .is if that grcat city and its inhabitants had been cngulfed by an curthquuke. Tho grcator part of tho peoplfl aio Sparedt and although thcro will be mucli suifering for want of shelter, this will be but temporarj-, and contributions of food aro already reaohiitg thr:u trom scores of genofotfs, comniiaorating cities. None of these sufforcts will dio of starvation, and thoso of tliem who fCmain during the winter will have such protection from cold as can be givon by tonts and abundartt clothing By close overcrowding of tho uuconsumcii dwellings in tho city and suburbs, by the emigration of manüfacturing laborers, by the placing ofwomen sndohildreS with distant friendsj or procuring thein board in the country, it will not be necessary for any but tho hardier class of labcrers to pass the winter in tents. Tho stress of the ittffering will not extend beyond the ensuing ten days, and will coilsist chiefly in exposul'e (espccially if thoro should be cold, peltiug rain-storras), nnd in the desolating sonse of the ütter loss of property by people whom lives of toil had renderod comfortable. Many individuals aro hopelossly ruined, but a very few years will restore the city The growth of Chicago, a city which has rison like an exhalation on the southwestern shor-e of Lako Michigan, has been regardod by travellors and economists as ono of the chief marrols df recent times It is a phenomenon which never had á parallel, but which will be eclipsod and outdone by the more ftstonishing miracle of tho reconstruction of the burnt city out of its ashes. Forty and two years was this city in building, and yet it will bo reconstruetcd in threc years. It will raise again from its ruins as if by magie, and the wondov of its original growth will be forgotten in the greater wonder of its sudden new creation. This hopeful and confident tion rests upon the most solid grounds. ín the first placo, everything which contributcd to the iniportanco of tho city renlains, cxcept the consumcd buildings, machincry, and stocks of goods. Thero are the hundrcds and hundreds of outlying cities and villages scattered through the West; thore aro the millions and millions of acres of productivo farms; there are tho thousands and thousands of miles of railroads radiating in all directions from that great center; there are tho millions of tons of shipping on the great lakos which have boon accustomed to en.il frora Chicago laden with grain, and to return laden with goods and umber. These are what made the groatness of Chicago, and they wül quiekly renow it. Chicago has grown, only beíuisc these havo groWO. OhiOAgo AVas a aaxvel, only bocaUse tlio West Was a iimc:le. It has taken Chicago forty 'ears to reach the groutness it had lust aturday, because it has taken that length f time to bring the Western prairies ndei cultivatiori, to büild Up the tribü,ary Wostern towns, to construct the Vostem railroads, to cover tho Western vaters with their floets of propellers and ailing véasela. All these still exist, formng the materials and the inachiuery for a ast commerec, whicfa must he tsaits&oted 'rom some Western cüiitel'. The ilestruc ion of the Western farms, towns, and ailroads would have been ñital to Chi:igo ; but the buniing of her buildings is uot fatal, and will be only u traiisient imludiment to her vronderful growth. There is not tho slightest dauger of the iraosfer of her grain trade and her various business to other lake cities. At iresent the other lake cities liave not acilities to accommodate it ; their elevftOrs, warehouses, mercantile establishmeuts, banks, &0., being proportioned to lie business thoy already possess. To ransact in addition the business of Chiago, thoy would need an enormous inrease of structuros, accomniodations, and apital. But theso can be replaced in Jhicago as quickly as they could bo built t Milwaukee and othor lake ports, and nubody will invest money for tliem elsewhero with tho certainty that Chicago will be rebuilt as speedily as multitudes of busy hands can So the work. Tho lako ommerce will always tend to ono great sater, and thcro is no other center whioh lossesses such natural advantages as Jhicago. These have been increasod by ostly artificial advantages which it has equircd thirty years of persistent inJusry to créate. AU the graat railroad linos lave been constrncted with a view to Chicago as a starting point and a terminus. It might be easy to build a now own, il" that were all ; but not easy to econstruct the railroad system of the West with a new point of convergence. Milwaukee, Toledo, and some othor laces will no doubt do an additional jusiness, up to the limit of their facilities, n uioving what has not boen burnt of his year's grain erop. But they will not venture to erect a single new elevator with referonce to next year's business. ioforo the next grain erop is thrashed, ühioago will havo as many elevators as sho possesseil last week. There will be no difficulty in restoring all the buildngs and machinery boforo the end of Fuly, nor perhaps bofore the opening of aku navigation in the spring. It would je sheer waste of moncy to build them at other ports when they are certain to bo robuilt with the utmost speed and euergy on their old sites. Chicago has still all the eleraents of a jreat city except the more buildings. She ïas her river harbor which has been dredged and enlarged, and her piers and breakwaters which have been construeted at enormous expense. These canuot be extemporized in any other place. Sho has her light-houses for tHc socurity of navigation. She has her expensive tunnel under Lake Michigan for supplying a city thriee her recent magnitude with pure water. She has her extensivo system of sewerage, which, being underground and constructcd of incombustible materials, has not boen consumod. She has the grading of har streots and the excavatiou of lier eellars and vaults. She has the outlying vegetable gardens and milk dairies for supplying her tables. Her vast cattle yards wero untouehed by the ttames. The destruction of her great railroad de'pots will scarcely obstruct travel and traffic, as passengers can be receivcd and landed, and freight taken and delirerad, in the oiien air, until the depots are robuilt. And what is perhaps the most important of all lier remaining advantages and sources of resuscitation, Chicago has ' not lost her shrewd, ontorprising, energetio, indotuitable men of business, ïhcy can inoro oasily reestublish thomsulves in Chicago than thoy oiui form now connections elsewhere. ïhcy will not break trom their creditors in the East nor from thoir customers iu tho West. The vast, magniticont Northwest must still bo supplied with goods, and thov will continue to furnish the supply. New men in ncw oities have not their business acquain tances, and cannut build stores and collect stocks as quickly as tho Chicago merchants can rebuiUl and re'iew them. UhioagO will restore hersolf before compotitors can come into tho field. Of course, all parts of the festoration will not go on siuiuitaneously aitd thero will be somo intorchango of populution betvecn Chicago and othor cities. Tllere wrll be a great intlux of masón; öarpenters, plumbers, and that kind ot' meoaOQics into a place whore work will be abundant and wages high ; and on tlm other hand, tliero will be an aimost complete oxodus of manufacturera f'rom a city where renta will for a fow years be so onormousthat man ufacturerscannot stuud against the rivalry of the Bastera cities. As much ready-niado clothing and as many boots and shocs will be wanted for consumption in the West; but Chicago will siraply deal in them, not maku them. Her manufacturing population will easily find cmployincnt elsowhcro, working tor their old customcrS) but in otlier places. But Chicago will acquire inore buildors than sho will losO sUooinakcrs and tailorSi Building3 for the aocommodiition of conimerce and travel will be iirst reconstructed, and probably most of the elovators, railroad dejiots, warehouses, hotels, banks, and many of the stores will be replaced within a year. There will bo no diiHculty in obtaining capital for enterprises wbicl are hot tentativo or experimental, but absolutely certaiu to biing in handsome returns. The buildings can be mortgaged, and the land on which they stand can be mortgaged, to pay the cost of construction. The city will surely riso ; but it is appalling to think of the irretrievable ruin and suffering of thousaüds of individual men reduccd by this terrible visitation from aöluence to bankruptcyi The ruin extends to itlany individuals in othcr cities than Öhicago, and this new and sudden drain upon capital will bo likely to cause stringency in tho niöney nlafkot and depress the general business of the country. And vet it is well to tako as cheerful and hopeful a view as the fact will warrant.

Article

Subjects
Michigan Argus
Old News