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omnipotent power arrayed on the side of virtue, and watching with untiring vigilance over the true interests of all, that this wicked world must have been transformed into a sort of Utopia since his timewa place from which all prejudice, venality, corruption, and sycophancy were swept away, and where the governors and the governed would emulate each other in their exertions for the common weal. But if, after perusing the aforesaid rhapsodies, the said Socrates could have a quantity of newspapers taken indiscriminately from different parts of the country placed before him, there is strong reason to believe that an attentive perusal of their elegant contents would materially change his opinion. He would find the gentlemen presiding over one half of the press stating that the other portion of their editorial brethren were, without exception, the greatest set of rascals, scoundrels, rogues, thieves, and vagabonds that ever existed on the face of the earth; and that they were the most vile, the most degraded, the most contemptible miscreants that could, by any possibility, disgrace humanity. On the other hand, he would find the party accused in these gentle terms, asserting that their assailants were well known to be such infamous liars, so totally destitute of every spark of honesty, so stained with infamy, so branded with convicted falsehoods,
as to render any thing they might say unworthy of the slightest notice. Poor Socrates would be sadly puzzled, and think there was more in this than he ever “ dreamt of in his philosophy," and that truth still kept her ancient station at the bottom of a well. He would find these virtuous vehicles of knowledge and information made up of quack advertisements, dreadful murders, dreadful poetry, Joe-Miller jests, and editorial personalities; in the latter of which he would see all the coarseness of his old enemy Aristophanes ten times trebled, without a single redeeming sprinkling of his wit and humor; and he would be lost in utter amazement to find that the very, worst and most ignorant portion of the people (according to their own showing) had been, by some strange fatality, elevated to instruct and amuse the rest.
There are some subjects which it is necessary to aid by a slight stretch of the fancy, or a little geration of language, in order to give them point and effect; but to describe, just as it is, the manner in which editorial warfare is carried on in the country papers of the United States, other words than are to be found in Walker or Webster must be sought for; they are too tame, too weak to convey any idea of these Billingsgate personalities.
"A beggar in his drink,
as the worthy conductors of the press think proper to bestow upon each other. Wherein the utilitythe advantage of all this to the public, or what is more, to themselves, consists, it is not easy to disco
If they are what they say they are, would it not be their policy to agree and keep it concealed, and not blazon forth each other's infamy to the world? And what has that world to do with their disreputable quarrels and low abuse, farther than to laugh at and despise them for it? the public of this day, as of yore,
care not a toss up
and after looking on for some time, and amusing itself with the noise and sputter of the enraged belligerents, come to the conclusion that they are both contemptible creatures, and pay no further attention to the matter. In fact, nine-tenths of the papers have, by this degrading conduct, in a great measure lost the power of affecting character either by praise or censure : there are many who pay no sort of attention either to what they say of public men or of each other; and if there are still those who, making a deduction of ninety-nine per cent., think
“there must be some truth in what the fellow says," their number is fast diminishing. A paper is at present lying before us, from which better things might have been expected, as it is published in a decent neighborhood, and contains some good reading matter, in which, amid two-thirds of a column of abuse, one of the most moderate sentences is, that his opponent is “ a liar by nature and a thief by profession.” After going on for some time with unabated spirit in this strain of unmitigated abuse, he winds up with the following magnificent piece of composition. “If the river Amazon were made to run through his (his opponent's) soul, more time would be taken up in cleansing it of its depravity and filthiness, than was required by the ancient river to cleanse the celebrated stables, wherein a thousand oxen had been stalled for almost as many years !” This appears to be only one of a series of articles on the subject ! and the offence, as far as we can make it out, for which all these hard words are let loose, seems to have been the copying a paragraph without due credit, or something of the kind of equally vital importance to the community, We have not seen the replication to this choice morceau, but presume it will be in the same style of impassioned and elegant invective.
Now is not this and such as this abominable?
and hundreds of instances could be pointed out of still greater magnitude, in which the personal appearance and family connexions of a man are ridiculed-charges of not having paid bis tailor's bill, or any thing else, no matter what, that depravity can invent or blackguardism utter, are put forth, Opprobrious epithets from such sources, when applied to those who have been long before the public, and whose characters are well and favorably known, can do but comparatively little harm; they may exclaim with Brutus,
“ I am armed so strong in honesty
but suppose an honorable and sensitive man, just commencing his career, attacked by one of those literary scavengers, what exquisite pain must it give him to find himself dragged forward and slandered in this manner. And he has no redress; he cannot reply, or at all events if he does, it will be a most unequal match, for he will be temperate in his language, and anxious not to assert any thing but what is strictly true. It would be like a gentleman neatly dressed in light-colored unmentionables and white kid gloves, engaged in a combat of throwing mud from a kennel with a ragged and