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« There is no true eloquence, unless there is a man behind
· John D. Long
Emilio Castelar 125
Sir H. Lytton Bulwer 127
Daniel Webster. 131
Henry Cabot Lodge , 133
Sherman Hoar . 144
John C. Calhoun . 16
Count Leo Tolstoi.
Charles Sumner · 179
Elmer Hewitt Capen 182
• Ralph Waldo Emerson 186
. Lord Macaulay 189
PAGE Justice for Dreyfus .
193 Address to the Assembly of Noblesse Comte de Mirabeau 197 The Repeal of the Stamp Act · Jonathan Mayhew · 199 The Secret of Murder .
Daniel Webster The Old Grudge Against England Rufus Choate
Joseph H. Choate . 206
Gouverneur Morris . 211
Thomas W. Higginson 221 Address Before the New York Historical Society
Daniel Webster 226 The Leadership of Educated Men George Wm. Curtis . 228 The Better Part .
Booker T. Washington 232 Corn Laws.
· 236 The Ideal Lawyer
John W. Griggs 239 Napoleon the Little .
242 The Cumberland Road
Thomas Corwin 246
249 Edwin Booth .
255 International Arbitration
James Russell Lowell 259 The Truth of the Gospel .
Alexander McKenzie 262 After-Dinner Speech at Harvard Club of New York .
Henry E. Howland 266 Secret Executions
• 271 The Duties of Christianity
Louis Kossuth • 275 The Necessity of Outside Agitation. Wendell Phillips . . 279 Washington's Inauguration . Chauncey M. Depew . 282 Address at The Harvard Alumni Din.
Booker T. Washington 286 Bulgarian Horrors.
William E. Gladstone 289 Second Inaugural Address
Abraham Lincoln . . 294
By FISHER AMES.
T seems as if newspaper wares were made to suit a
market, as much as any other. The starers, and wonderers, and gapers, engross a very large share of the attention of all the sons of the type. Extraordinary events multiply upon us surprisingly. Gazettes, it is seriously to be feared, will not long allow room to anything that is not loathsome or shocking. A newspaper is pronounced to be very lean and destitute of matter, if it contains no accounts of murders, suicides, prodigies, or monstrous births.
Some of these tales excite horror, and others disgust; yet the fashion reigns, like a tyrant, to relish wonders, and almost to relish nothing else. Is this a reasonable taste? Is the History of Newgate the only one worth reading? Are oddities only to be hunted? Pray tell us, men of ink, if our presses are to diffuse information, and we, the poor ignorant people, can get it in no other way than by newspapers, what knowledge are we to glean from the blundering lies, or the tiresome truths about thunder-storms, that, strange to tell! kill oxen, or burn barns; and cats, that bring two-headed kittens; and sows, that eat their own pigs? The crowing of a hen is supposed to forebode cuckledom; and the tickling of a little bug in the wall threatens yellow fever. It seems really as if our newspapers were busy to spread superstition. Omens, and dreams, and prodigies are recorded, as if they were worth minding. One would think our gazettes were intended for Roman readers, who were silly enough to make account of such things. Surely, extraordinary events have not the best title to our studious attention. To study nature or man, we jught to know things that are in the ordinary course, not the unaccountable things that happen out of it.
This country is said to measure seven hundred millions of acres, and is inhabited by almost six millions of people. Who can doubt, then, that a great many crimes will be committed, and a great many strange things will happen every seven years? There will be thunder showers, that will split tough white oak trees; and hail storms, that will cost some farmers the full amount of twenty shillings to mend their glass windows; there will be taverns, and boxing matches, and elections, and gouging and drinking, and love and murder, and running in debt, and running away, and suicide. Now, if a man supposes eight, or ten, or twenty dozen of these amusing events will happen in a single year, is he not just as wise as another man, who reads fifty columns of amazing particulars, and, of course, knows that they have happened?
This state has almost one hundred thousand dwelling houses; it would be strange if all of them should escape fire for twelve months. Yet is it very profitable, for a man to become a deep student of all the accidents by which they are consumed? He should take good care of his chimney-corner, and put a fender before the back-log, before he goes to bed. Having done this, he may let his aunt or grandmother read by day, or meditate by night, the terrible newspaper articles of fires; how a maid dropped asleep reading a romance, and the bed clothes took fire; how a boy searching in a garret for a hoard of nuts, kindled some flax; and how a mouse, warming his tail, caught it on fire, and carried it into his hole in the floor.
Some of the shocking articles in the papers raise simple, and very simple, wonder; some terror; and some horror and disgust. Now what instruction is there in these endless wonders? Who is the wiser or happier for reading the accounts of them? On the contrary, do they not shock tender minds, and addle shallow brains? They make a thousand old maids, and eight or ten thousand booby boys, afraid to go to bed alone. Worse than this happens; for some eccentric minds are turned to mischief by such accounts as they receive of troops of incendiaries burning our cities: the spirit of imitation is contagious; and boys are found unaccountably bent to do as men do. When the man flew from the steeple of the North Church fifty years ago, every unlucky boy thought of nothing but flying from a sign-post.
Every horrid story in a newspaper produces a shock; but, after some time, this shock lessens. At length, such stories are so far from giving pain, that they rather raise curiosity, and we desire nothing so much as the particulars of terrible tragedies. The wonder is as easy as to stare; and the most vacant mind is the most in need of such resources as cost no trouble of scrutiny or reflection; it is a sort of food for idle curiosity that is readily chewed and digested.
On the whole, we may insist that the increasing fashion for printing wonderful tales of crimes and accidents is worse than ridiculous, as it corrupts both the public taste and morals. It multiplies fables, prodigious monsters, and crimes, and thus makes shocking things familiar; while it withdraws all popular attention from familiar truth, because it is not shocking.
Now, Messrs. Printers, I pray the whole honourable