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Books before Printing.
doctrines of christianity subjects of caricature and profane burlesque. They do this by expressing the truth in the cant phrase of vulgar ignorance, so as to clothe it in an aspect of absurdity, or by associating the truth with some low allusion or ludicrous image; or by extending the limits of the truth to some extreme of evident extravagance, or blending it in association with foreign and opposite ideas; little thinking that this absurd, distorted, fantastic image, which they have conjured up as a phantom of human superstition, is nevertheless but a caricature of a divine reality, which, in a different form, is revealed in direct terms again and again, in that Book which, many of them at least, acknowledge to be the Word of God.
BOOKS BEFORE PRINTING. What people did without books, or what is the same thing to the mass of people, without printed books, becomes a greater subject of wonder every year, as these beguilers of our leisure hours become more and more numerous. A writer on this subject in Chambers' Journal gives us some curious items on the condition of literature prior to the use of printing. What would the Bishop of Durham, mentioned in the following extract, have said, if he had been told that the day would come when clergymen would read fewer books than many classes of laymen; yet that is probably the case now-unless they happen to be editors as well as clergymen--from the very circumstance that the books they do read require so much time and thought.
An old writer, Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham, who, in 1344, wrote a Latin treatise on the “love of books,'' avowedly prepared it solely for the clergy, and seems to have treated the notion of there being any other class of readers with a magnificent contempt. “Laymen," says he, “to whom it matters not whether they look at a book turned wrong-side upwards, or spread before them in its natural order, are altogether unworthy of any communion with books." It is presumable that he would not have said this if laymen had then been at all in the habit of reading. It is indeed a fact that many of the clergy, and men of the monastic orders, were very imperfect readers; and, according to the good bishop's views of their qualifications, some of them were hardly more fit to be entrusted with books than the despised and unlettered laity. In the treatise alluded to, his lordship is not sparing of his reproach in regard to the frequent misuse of books which came under his notice. He reprobates the unwashed hands, the dirty nails, the greasy elbows leaning upon the volume, the munching of fruit and cheese over the open leaves, which were the marks of careless and idle readers. With a solemn reverence for a book, at which we may now smile, but for which we can hardly help respecting him, he says: “Let there be a mature decorum in opening and closing volumes, that they may neither be unclasped with propitious haste, nor thrown aside after the inspection without being duly closed”—an admonition still worthy of attention in certain quarters, though of course its observance is not of so much consequence as it was in the fourteenth century, before the invention of printing.
Do you ask me whence these follies,
-NOT FROM HIAWATHA. We have seen, in the last article, how Humbug proposes to cure the body, and what a money-making business it proves itself to be. His wonderful mission, however, is not confined to the bodily ills of human life. Some patients have weak minds as well as weak bodies, and Dr. Humbug is ready to serve them. In this business he also notices the weak side and enters there.
Here is a poor inebriate whose will, by the long habit of drinking, has become too weak to control his appetite and passion for strong drink. He has often wept over his misery. What shall he do? He feels himself to be a poor slave. He would do or give any thing in his power to be released from the fiend that torments him He has signed the pledge, but under the strong passion and temptation he has broken it again. What shall he do! At this juncture Humbug falls into his way in the shape of the following advertisement, which has been published in thousands of copies over the land:
“A REMEDY FOR DRUNKENNESS.—The Doctor has in his possession a remedy which effectually destroys all taste for liquor, and prevents a person from acquiring the habit of drinking. In the many thousand cases for which he has used this article, he has the pleasure to say, in not one single case has it ever failed. In towns where it has been used, temperance societies have dissolved and taverns been shut, simply because no one wanted a drink after using this Remedy. He supplied the Remedy to a celebrated temperance lecturer of this place, and he has written to the Doctor that he has made more permanent conwerts to the cause of temperance in one week than he has done all his life by preaching or example; because, after using this Remedy, all taste for liquor is completely destroyed; and after taking this Remedy, a person who had been in the habit of drinking would as soon think of drinking soapsuds and water as liquor. The discovery of this important Remedy is the greatest addition science has ever had. The effect is instantaneous."
You ask, Will any one respond to this, and be decieved thereby? You suppose that the trickery of it is too plain to allow it to be dan. gerous. But you must remember how sorely the poor drunkard is sometimes pressed by his woes; and how anxious a poor wife is to have her husband restored to his family. We assure you, innocent reader, that to such long hopeless hearts, the least ray of hope that falls before them
Somne Chapters on Humbug.
encourages them to try the remedy. The very fact that Humbug can afford to advertise this pretended cure so largely proves that it calls forth many applications. But we can furnish the reader with positive facts in the case. When the police in Philadelphia some time ago arrested one of these impostors, and seized his letters, they found, among thousands of others, one from a poor washer-woman residing near West Chester, Pa., who had sent him $20, saved out of her hard earnings, praying him to send the remedy that her husband might be cured of drunkenness!
This is one way in which Humbug feeds his pockets by taking advantage of human weakness; but it is not the only way. There are every where to be found young gentlemen whom nature has either neglected, or on whose face it has not displayed its luxuriance of hair as largely as desired. There are few villages and country places where there is not one or several who think that a Spanish look is all that is needed to complete their importance and their happiness. With what inward joy do such swelling youth read in The New York Tribune, of January 27, 1855, as follows: WI HISKERS and MUSTACHES produced in six weeks by GRA
HAM'S ONGUENT. It will not stain or injure the skin. $1 per bottle. Sent to any part of the country.
No. Nassau-st. Do any believe it? Yes; hundreds of simple souls have secretly sent on their $1, and then in faith and hope anointed their downy chins and upper lips ! These wonderful appendages to a man “produced in six weeks”—without "staining the skin”—“sent to any part of the country”—and only "$1 per bottle.” What is one dollar spent in manure for such a soil. Young America never gave a dollar more cheerfully. He feels inwardly glad that he lives in the 19th century and has even heard of “Graham's Onguent.”
There are also many to be found among the rising generation, and some among the generation advanced beyond rising years, whose heads and hearts, as well as their chins, are softer than they ought to be. Humbug is ready for them. Such read with joy in the Lancaster Independent Whig, of February, 1855 : ERS
TRICAL Powder will make young Men love young Women, and will also make young Women love young Men. It will make man and wife love each other, and all your enemies as friends. Price 50 cents a package, or three for $1. This Powder has never failed, nor never will, if used according to my directions. All orders must be pre-paid, and the Powders will be sent by return of mail. Address,
Pine Grove, Pa. Behold, even in the mountain regions of Pennsylvania is this wisdom known. Remember, "all orders must be pre-paid." Let it not be supposed that this kind of imposition is located only in country places. The following nonsense is also published in a widely circulated Almanac issued from Philadelphia. It is subjoined to a picture of a bride leaning upon the arm of the happy man who won her by the Powders :
“The Magic effects of Dr. —'s Magic Love Powders are made apparent in the above cut. The courtship, of which the above is a true copy, had been lingering for seven years, and probably would have contined for seven years more
if had not been for the aid of Dr.
His advice was solicited, and he sent one package of his Love Powders, and the result was a happy and speedy union of the above couple. The Doctor has used his Love Powder in more than twenty thousand cases, and has never known it to fail of producing the happiest result; he can send them to you to any part of the world, in letter so securely that the most curious cannot be aware of the contents of the letter. When you write you will please sign your name in a clear style, give the name of your post office, or county, town, and name of the State, and you cannot fail to get the happiest return you have ever had in your life for the small sum of money expended. These Powders are applicable to all sexes and conditions, and will make any person marry you that you wish. All that you have to do is to get one package of Dr.
's Love Powder, and you can put such a spell on them that they are no longer free agents.”
He must know little of human nature who does not believe that there are thousands of ignorant souls who answer to such advertisements. Persons of whom you would not dream in connection with such folly have bought and fed the “powders”—which was no doubt a little buckwheat meal, or something of the kind, sent nicely put up with directions for “50 cents a package, or three for $1.” In the same seizure of letters in Philadelphia, to which we have already referred, letters brought to light the fact that a wealthy lady in Reading, Pa., sent $40 to have the Doctor turn the feelings of a certain gentleman towards her. Another lady of Reading, attached to the same “nice man,” without knowing what had been done, wrote, about the same time, to have the Dr. turn his feelings toward her. He wrote back that her “letter came only one day too late!”—he had already fixed this man's love on the other lady; but for $50 he would change it back again, and turn it to her! Do you believe it?—the $50 were sent, as the correspondence shows. This young man must have endured singular convulsions in being thus jerked hither and thither in his heart affairs, in so short a time. It is to be hoped that this beautiful man got safely over it.
This dealing with soft heads being a good business, in the money way, it is not to be wondered at that different schemes should be plied. Thus a Dr. Humbug, of New York, sends the whole secret in a book for only $1. This is better—every one can then make his or her own “powders:"
“MATRIMONY MADE EASY; Or, How to Wix A LOVER.
A BOOK OF ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY PAGES, 320. Printed on fine paper, and beautifully illustrated. By Prof. Prof.
of New York, formerly of Sweden, where he has been the means of bringing about thousands of happy marriages, will send to any address, on receipt of ONE DOLLAR, post-paid, plain directions, to enable Ladies or Gentlemen to win the devoted affections of as many of the opposite sex as they may desire. The process is so simple, but so captivating, that all may be married, irrespective of age, appearance, or position; and last, though not least, it can be arranged with the utmost ease and delicacy.
N. B.- This is no humbug, but one of the greatest sciences the world ever produced, which thousands of ladies and gentlemen in the city of New York can attest to. No one will ever regret the price paid for such an invaluable secret, which is contained in a book of one hundred and sixty pages, with all the necessary directions. Bills of any specie-paying bank in the United States or Canada received at par. All that is necessary for you to do is to write a letter in as few words as possible, and inclose the money.
The same paper, and the most widely circulating journal in this country, contains two other advertisements similar to this. The one
Some Chapters on Humbug.
offers the book for 12 cents. Wonderfully cheap, but “all letters must be post-paid.” This extensive advertising in papers where terms are high, shows that the business is extensively encouraged. Poor human nature. How easy is it for humbuggery to impose on thousands who have been brought up in ignorance, and especially whose religious education has been neglected. What a fearful darkness and stupidity must becloud the mind of any one who can be deceived by such impositions.
If, however, there are some who are fortunate enough to have personal attractions sufficient to win a suitor without resort to "powders,” and have merely a curiosity to know what their future husband or wife looks like, they also can be accommodated by Humbug. Hear how a woman beckons to the verdant in the land, through the columns of The New York Herald : M4 ATRIMONIAL.—MADEMOISELLE EMILE VILLETTE, Professor of
Autography (or reading of character by a person's hand writing) and a spiritual writing medium, will, upon the receipt of 25 cents, (or equivalent in postage stamps) and a specimen of hand-writing, send to any person a full delineation of their character, affairs of the heart, success, destiny, &c.; also a description of the one they love or will marry. Address, post-paid, Emile Villette, Broadway P. O. Those residing out of the city can safely transmit through the mail. All communications answered one week after their receipt.”
All this is certainly silly enough; and it is enough to make one ashamed of his kind to think that such wicked impositions are practiced, and that there are so many beings, with human faces, who can be caught by such chaff. But half is not told. If a weak-headed man's troubles lie in another direction Dr. Humbug is ready for him. Let him read the following testimonials: DEBTS EBTS OF LONG STANDING COLLECTED BY THE POWER OF
GEOMANCY.—It was my good fortune to have an interview with the Astrologer,
, respecting many persons who owed me money, who were able to pay me, yet had not the disposition. But, by consulting with this gentleman, I have recovered many bills that I had forgotten, and in two months received more money than I ever did in the same time since I have been in business. I would advise all to call, who wish a speedy collection of doubtful accounts, and try his magic, for I am sure they never will regret it. LEWIS RUSHEART,
Ho, ye whose books are full of bad debts, try "the power of Geomancy !"
Send on the money and the Doctor will give them “the disposition.” Where are the soft heads that pay the cost of this advertisement? Somebody pays it, rest assured, and besides this also a handsome dividend into the Doctor's pocket.
The following exhibits a fruitful source of profit to Humbug: RF ECOVERY OF STOLEN PROPERTY.-In November, 1849, I had a watch stolen from me, and was advised to call on Dr.
the Astrologer, in Locust street, Philadelphia. In a few days, by following his advice, I recovered my watch. I also confess that Dr. stopped me from drinking liquor. In six weeks he effected a cure; and I have not used or desired strong drink since. I believe he can cure the worst cases of drunkenness.
ROBERT MCINTIRE, White Marsh, Montgomery Co., Pa. We have in our possession a letter, in the hand-writing of the lady herself, applying for the power of discovering the thief and securing a return of the property stolen. The hand-writing, as well as the com