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"It is finished,” exclaimed Minona, and she lifted her countenance in prayer to heaven. The cloud-arch was divided; the evening sun shone mildly out through the vista, and a sweet fragrance breathed over the earth, like the breath of spring. .
“Do you see the heavenly light ?" said the mother; "the night of the storm is past, and the blessed spring-time of earth is born!"
“Truth bursts forth triumphantly from the night of the grave, and sits upon its blazing throne!” exclaimed the joyfully revived Minona. “For us her eternal kingdom is won!”
“Amen!” said the pastor, who had come softly near, “Amen," and they caught each other's hands; and their hearts were as full of blessedness and joy as if they had just heard the greeting of the Saviour: Peace be with you!
Upon the white sea-sand
There sat a pilgrim band.
While evening waned away
From breezy cliff and bay,
One spoke, with quivering lip,
Of a fair freighted ship,
But one had wilder woe,
For a fair face long ago
There were, who mourned their youth
With a most loving truth,
And one upon the West
Turned an eye that would not rest
Some talked of vanished gold,
Some of proud honors told,
And one of a green grave
Beside a foreign wave
But when their tales were done,
There spoke among them one,
“Sad losses have ye met,
But mine is heavier yet,
6 Alag !" these pilgrims said,
“For the living and the dead,
For the wrecks of land and sea !
But, however it came to thee,
SOME CHAPTERS ON HUMBUG.
BY THE EDITOR.
The small fish thought it wondrous fun:
“And let us love and all be one !" WE shall make progress in our subject, and at the same time still fruther illustrate its nature by attempting an outline sketch of the his. tory of Humbug.
The first humbug of which we have any account in history was the swarm of Babel-builders in the plain of Shinar. Here was the evil purpose-here was the attempt to trick God-here was the humming swarm of poor deluded men.
The magicians of Egypt were humbugs. They imitated and counterfeited the true power. They deceived the people with sham wonders. They caused them to swarm around them to their own injury and destruction.
What a graphic specimen of humbug we have in Absalom. It is as if one of our modern political demagogues had sat for the picture. He wished to steal the hearts of the people in order to dethrone his father David, and sit as king in his place. Now mark how he proceeds: "Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou ? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right, but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." O, the dear people! How despicable, mean, and ridiculous his fulsome flattery of the people. How deeply dark and devilish his conspiracy against his father's honor and throne! He met his just fate. There dangles the humbug by the hair in the branches of the oak! Let all such as seek the office, instead of modestly waiting for the office to seek them, take warning! It will be a blessed thing for our country when our politics will have become more silent when voters shall think more and swarm less.
In the time of our Saviour, humbug had a complete embodiment in the Pharisees. Mysterious and awe-inspiring! Complete tricksters; making prayers long for pretense! Blowing their trumpets to call at
tention to their holiness; and advertising themselves on their broad phylacteries. Paying tithes even to the mint, and giving alms to the poor to inspire confidence, and thus causing the widows to make them the depositories of their dowries, and the guardians of their children, and then devouring the widow's house and the orphan's bread_closing always with prayer! Here is humbug in its highest and truest form. A true humbug must always call in the aid of religion-he must cover his impositions with the cloak of seeming right. Even Barnum tells us that he always carried his Bible with him.
We cannot follow down the history of the world—though its annals are rich in specimens. It may be sufficient to remark that they are generally of the type of the ones mentioned. The hoary ruins of the Past show how extensively a humbugged race has been engaged in Babel-building. The annals of history are filled with the sham exploits of cunning magicians, who, in the employ of the Pharaohs in power, blinded the people, and if they did not hinder, they delayed the time of the people's deliverance. In the dim picture of the Past, if not by the hair upon the oak, then by the neck upon a gibbet, is seen many an Absalom who kissed the dear people for the sake of his own power and pocket, till they found him out. And can any one fail to trace, in the history of all ages and all lands, the generation of the Pharisees, who,
“In holy phrase, transacted villanies
That common sinners durst not meddle with." Those who have not sufficient humility to confess the faults and follies of their native land, must excuse us when we say ours is the classic land of Humbug. In the circumstance of its being a country of motley inhabitants, with few ties to bind them to each other's interests, is to be sought and seen one reason for the prevalence of the spirit of humbug Then there is also the greatest amount of freedom enjoyed, opening the door for the great grab of cunning. To this must be added the great liberty and facility of newspaper advertising, enabling a puck to hum in the ears of millions in a very short time, from among which he cannot fail to call out a swarm to buzz around the wildest folly. Nor must we forget that American society and civilization, cut off in a way from the stream of the deep solemn past, and being in a sense an independent phenomenon, has as yet somewhat of a by-rote, light, rattling, and floating character. It is more active than earnest-more busy and bustling than sound and serious—its power is more extensive than intensive. It has the “do-duty” of the English, the variety and vivacity of the French; but not yet sufficiently the earnest inwardness of the Germans. Hence, as not in deep streams but in broad and shallow ones, we find innumerable funnel-like wire-suckers, so do we find the true power and glory of humbug, in that stage and state of civilization where the channel of history is not yet sufficiently deep to bring to us the steady treasures of the past—the well-tried wisdom of ages. The fact is, a nation resembles an individual: when it is a child, it is childish, whether that be the first or the second childhood. In a new country, therefore, or in one old and worn out, must we seek for the classic soil of humbug.
There is a philosophy in humbug which, however, is easily learned.
It is this: All men have weak sides. This humbug knows; and hence he approaches them—mark this-not for their good, but for his own. This gives rise to the great variety of character and profession which humbug assumes. Let us see:
There are many persons weak in body, and so humbug turns doctor. Let no one ask to have a history of his practice--a hundred almanacs and a thousand columns of newspapers, fail to tell all his wonderful cures, from the baldness of the head to the corn of the toe! “Be sure to take six bottles-look well to the signature.” “None genuine without my signature !”—and thousands believe it all.
Millions have been made, not only by those who manufacture, but also large and liberal dividends have gone to editors for advertising, and to retailers for retailing. Palaces have been built from the proceeds.
But are we justifiable in regarding these quack medicines as humbug? There are those who have tried them, and advocate them. Their very popularity seems to be proof that they are true. This seems plausible; and yet how general is the sentiment that they are a humbug. How then do we account for their popularity? We answer thus: You will find, by close observation, that nearly all who buy and try, do so as an experiment. Their feeling is, If it will do no good it can do no harm. The advertisements are so fair, the certificates so many, and the poor invalids' pains have been so keen and so long! What is money compared with health. I will try it.
Now, suppose there are only five such in the circle of every postvillage in the United States--that adds up already 100,000. But now the first bottle is used up; and the invalid feels slightly better, of which there can be no doubt. Hope has cheered him; the very idea of taking what even the remotest probability may regard as a certain cure, has a tendency to draw the brooding mind from the malady, and give to soul anù body a degree of cheerfulness and vigor. Besides this, all these quack medicines act temporarily upon the stomach, and blood, and nerves, which, without touching a seated disease, gives a hopeful tone to the system. Thus prepared, he reads again, “Do not stop under five or six bottles.” It must have a fair trial. One dollar is gone; there is hope in my present feelings. He takes the six !-there multiply, and you have 600,000 bottles, and as many dollars. This, on the supposition that, on an average, there are but five such invalids in every five miles square!
Besides, in how many cases is this medicine taken just at the point where previous treatment, or perhaps the rallying power of nature, has laid the foundation for a favorable change, or an entire cure. Thus, how easy for the most candid to be deceived into the giving of a certificate, which will cause another circle to swarm around humbug.
That the disposition to make the experiment is, to a great extent, at the foundation of the success of these medicines is confirmed by the fact, that they always run their course in a few years. But it takes a time sufficiently long, till all have experimented, to fill the pockets of the quack. When the public once moves in a certain direction, it takes a good deal of time and reason to stop the current and exhaust the momentum.
Then this quack medicine is always pleasant to take; this is an item. 1856.)
The Enchanted Island.
No restriction in diet—another item. Then the programme covers a host of diseases, among which every person in the least diseased will be sure to find his own; or, if he has none, he will find some symptom mentioned; and is it not also a preventive? This is even' better than cure; “one bottle will do it! Delay is dangerous !" If it be asked how one medicine can cure so many diseases, it is all plain, "it purifies the blood !"
Then, too, these quack advertisements always appeal to the lowest prejudices of men, to the disparagement of regular physicians. These humbugs are always the friends of the patient, against the "oppressions” of their own physicians! This appeal is food to a very large class of prejudices. There is a disposition natural to undervalue and suspect what is near them, in favor of what is at a distance. “No prophet has honor in his own country.” The bosom of strangers seems warmer and pleasanter by its flattery. They know what cord to touch to feed this feeling. “This medicine is purely a vegetable compound. It does not contain a grain of any kind of mineral poison. It is free from calomel and quinine !"
Considerations like these, we are firmly of opinion, will explain the success of any quack medicine without attributing to it any virtue beyond a soother of the throat, or a cleanser of the stomach.
THE ENCHANTED ISLAND.
As it runs through the realms of tears,
And blends with the ocean of years.
Where the softest of airs are playing!
And the tones with the roses are staying.
And we bury our treasures there;
There are trinkets and tresses of hair.
And a part of an infant's prayer ;
And the garments she used to wear
By the mirage is lifted in air;
When the wind down the river is fair.
All the day of light till night-
May that "Greenwood" of soul be in sight!