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are willing to reciprocate his eulogies—belong to our literati, no matter how illiterate they really are, or how imperfect is their knowledge even of the vernacular tongue. In short, it will be seen, as we proceed, that we indulge in no exaggeration when we say that those who take Mr. Hart's “Manual of American Literature” as a guide must regard the above definitions of Webster, Johnson, Brande, etc., as reversed, and in future define literature as “the results of cacöethes scribendi, vanity, impudence, and, above all, a disposition to pay either in meal or malt—in hard cash or 'in trade'--for the eulogies of Manual' compilers !"
Very often, as we have said, have we censured the tribe of puffers—those who, for a consideration, try to make giants of pigmnies; but never until the present instance were we called upon to censure the compiler of a text-book who puffed himself. So far as we are aware, Mr. Hart has been the first, even among our puffers, to present the world an elaborate eulogy on himself. If any compiler would be justified in makinġ his own performances the subject of an article in his own work, we might expect to find such an article in a cyclopædia or biographical dictionary ; but we never have. In no other work extant are there so many names of authors, English and American, as in Alibone's Dictionary, but if the compiler has said one word about his works" in it we have failed to see it. Professor Lieber has no article on himself in the Encyclopædia Americana. Messrs. Ripley and Dana have been equally forgetful of themselves in their New American Cyclopædia. But we might examine every work having any pretension to respectability, hitherto published, and not find one that is equal in this respect to Mr. Hart's “Manual." As for the compilers or authors of English, French or German cyclopædias, biographical dictionaries, or manuals of literature, we know of no instance in which they are self-enlogistic.
But in the pantheon of Mr. Hart, that gentleman himself is one of the principal deities. First, he gives us a full biography, then a list of his works, with their exact size, number of pages, etc. He tells us, among other things equally interesting, how the parents of the future compiler “settled in the
woods two miles above where Scranton now stands." the Wilkesbarre Academy he fitted for College.” “In 1844, he edited the ‘Pennsylvania Common School Journal.'” “On selling out the 'Sunday School Times,' to go to Trenton, in 1862, he was retained as Senior Editor, and he continued to write the leading editorials of that paper, weekly, to the close of 1871." (!)
. In the catalogue of his “ works” he includes the performance now under consideration, and “Prayers for the School Room, in preparation.” Not content with all this, he informs us, that his Annual Reports “fill more than three thousand closely printed pages." We may remark, in passing, that when his “Prayers” are published, we should like to find among them some such as the following: “From vanity, longwindedness, the puffing' mania, bad taste, bad grammar, charlatanism, etc., etc., good Lord deliver us!”
It is almost superfluous to say that one who can be thus minute in describing his own acquirements, qualifications and productions, for the benefit of "schools and colleges," without blushing, need not be expected to blush in describing those of others who evince a proper appreciation of his skill and discretion in that sort of work. Accordingly no auctioneer is more unsparing or more equable in his praise than Mr. Hart; and, like the auctioneer, it is by no means what deserves praise most, but what needs it most, and will pay most for it, that is most highly and most elaborately praised by our compiler.
But before we attempt to illustrate this, let us view Mr. Hart's qualifications in another light. Accompanying the book under consideration we receive several pamphlets, each descriptive of the surpassing merits of one of the many“works” included in the wonderful catalogue alluded to above. The brochures, also, are very much in the auctioneering style. In each we are told that the author is “a teacher of teachers," and that in this book “he presents the matured fruits of his life-long work in teaching this particular branch.” We have not seen his treatise on “Removing Mountains”
(12mo, pp. 306), but we can hardly doubt that in this also “he presents the matured fruits of his life-long work in teaching this particular branch” (!)
We confess that in examining some of Mr. Hart's “works” for the first time, not long since, it puzzled us a good deal to understand how they could be salable commodities even in the rural districts, although we were as fully aware then as we are now,
that the demand for "literature” among the masses is, in general, in an inverse ratio to its worth. But Mr. Hart's publishers have kindly enlightened us on this point. They have taken so much pride in explaining their plan, that were it theirs alone, as they seem to think, we should probably say nothing to spoil it. The thing is very simple in itself, but also very ingenious. It is this: when a book of Mr. IIart's is ready," complimentary copies are sent to teachers, professors, common school superintendents, trustees, etc., etc., a large proportion of whom write "complimentary letters” in return for the favor. It is true that in a great many instances the writers of these letters care nothing for the books which they declare superior to all others. Indeed, it not unfrequently happens that they never extend their perusal of them beyond the title-page, save when they expect to find in them eulogies on themselves, or model quotations from their works. Except in these cases, their chief object in praising the last book received as never to be surpassed, is to find themselves paraded about in flaming circulars as authorities in literature and education ; although it too often happens that if put to the test, with their life depending on the result, they could not write three consecutive sentences, in any language, grammatically or logically correct.
At all events, as soon as a sufficient number of these letters have been received, those of them that indulge inost in superlatives, and express most admiration are printed in circnlars as “testimonials." All who are thus liberal and enthusiastic in bestowing praise are dubbed "great educators." But as there are different degrees even of greatness, those gentlemen and ladies who distinguish themselves most by the boldness and loftiness of their praise, may expect to be rewarded by particular compliments to their "profound learning, their "genius,” etc., etc., if not by something more tangible. Nay, the institutions to which they belong are made to participate in their glory. We cannot wonder if we seem to exaggerate in these remarks, yet we have not made one which is not fully illustrated in the pamphlets enclosed to us with our copy of the “ Manual of American Literature." Thus, for example, we take up one bearing its title-page, “ To Teachers of Composition and Rhetoric,” in which we find more than eighteen closely printed pages filled with “ testimonials”—those of more than one hundred and ninety
great educators”(!) In a circular supplementary to this we find some things of which the following will serve as a specimen :
"A very remarkable tribute to its worth appears in an article in the Michigan Teacher, for Sept., 1872, from the pen of the wellknown Prof. Moses Coit Tyler, who occupies the chair of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of Michigan, one of the most prosperous, progressive, and vigorous institutions of learning in the country.”
After some further observations in the same style, a quotation is given from the very remarkable tribute.” Then we are informed that, “such testimony as this cannot be passed over; it must have weight and influence with every teacher," etc. Of course it must! It is almost superfluous to add that “the well-known Prof. Moses Coit Tyler” occupies, with the Michigan chair, a high rank in the Hart "Manual.”
All this, however, is but one form. The puffery may be said to be only in its incipient stage when the “great educators” have done their part of the work. Then comes the turn of the "appreciative” editors and correspondents. When a village editor receives a copy of a portly volume, accompanied with “testimonials” from so large a number of learned professors and teachers, his course is clear. His only idea is to be as lofty as possible in his praise. In order that he may not have to puzzle his brain too much a ready-made eulogy is generally sent him with the book. This being inserted, two porposes are supposed to be served: the author and publisher of the book have a valuable contribution to “opinions of the press," and the editor has the gratification to see his journal quoted as an authority in literature and education. Nor is this all; if he evinces proper zeal; if he does something similar once a month or so, commencing when the book goes to press, he may expect to be immortalized in the author's next performance. And since the learned professors and teachers, male and female, may reasonably calculate on their apotheosis for similar services, it can no longer seem wonderful to the curious reader, either that performances like that under consideration prove quite successful as catch-pennies, or that our American pantheon is so densely crowded !
Wonderfully prolific as the “teacher of teachers” informs us he is, this is the first time we have written a line about himself or any of his numerous “works.” Even now, we must confine ourselves to the two volumes whose titles stand at the head of this article ; or rather to one of them, for we can do no more than allude, in passing, to the other. It will be seen that the “ Manual of American Literature,” is not only as large as the “Manual of English Literature,” but a little larger: it contains much more matter. But the difference is like that between the “waterfalls” of the lady and her maid of all work. Bridget, as well as her mistress, has some genuine hair in her contrivance-perhaps as good hair as the most refined and beautiful lady need wish. But in order to equal that of her mistress in size and external appearance, Bridget has to stuff hers with horse-hair, wool, flax or tow—sometimes a mixture of these different articles, the tow being, in general, the largest ingredient. As Bridget can procure tow, or perhaps pure flax, as easily as her mistress can procure genuine human hair, she sometimes thinks she may surpass her mistress, at least in the size of her " waterfall."
We do not say that Mr. Hart has reasoned like Bridget, for we have a thousand assurances that the “teacher of teachers” has no rival in the logic of mixtures; but that he has expanded his “Manual of American Literature” with ingredients which exactly correspond, metaphorically, with those used by Bridget for a similar purpose, will be readily admitted by every impartial reader possessed of taste and discernment who takes the trouble to examine that curious book. We are not at all disposed, therefore, to contradict Mr. Hart when he says, in his preface: “It is not