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phrases. But there was the beginning of the man and he never changed in that respect from being the most intensely American and democratic writer of that day! You must remember that that was a day of sentimentality. If you will look back to the time from 1840 onward to 1850, you will be as much pleased as delighted, perhaps, with the amount of gush that we contrived to get out, in that period. It was a mawkish, sentimental era, almost altogether. You all remember about the old garret, and the rain on the roof, and the old yellow letters that the woman got out of the old garret, and the baby—why the baby was harder work than anything else—and the baby's shoes, the little shoes that you all know: why, we gushed and cried all over the place, about the baby's shoes, for a long time. They were not real tears; nobody pretended that they were; but we wanted something to cry about, and so we cried about those things. That was the era of extreme sentiment and gush,—or what would now be called "swash." In that era Mr. Curtis struck that perfectly pure and strong American note.
There was one thing to be said about those papers. I had remembered them as delicate satire. Mr. Curtis was a master of irony in his later years; with the most exquisite irony he used to cut off the heads of these fellows here in New York, and they never found it out. Some of them think they are alive now. They believe that a man is alive long after he has forfeited public esteem. Mr. Curtis had a most exquisite irony, but in those early papers it was not so fine; it was so downright, so sledgehammery, that it could not be mistaken. Most noticeable was the change that came as he went along in life, as he grew in years, and grew in mastery of his weapon until he flowered out in those papers in Harper's "Monthly," which he continued for thirty years, and which, whenever the occasion required, were very masterpieces in delicate satire, and good-humored irony, which is always the best sort, because men hate much more to be laughed at than to be sworn at.
I cannot of course go into any criticism of Mr. Curtis's work. I hold literature in great esteem in the great places in the world, because I think it is the most important thing we have, believing as I do, and as you know, that the most valuable thing in literature is nothing but a record of the thought of the world and of its emotions. Now, it is quite possible that on the highest plane of literary performance Mr. Curtis may take a place somewhere lower than we estimate him, in the warmth of our affection; but there is one thing which is perfectly certain, and that is, that the best, the most enduring literature, is that which most concerns and has the strongest relation to life. The noticeable thing about Mr. Curtis is, that all the time his literature, without ever ceasing to be high-class literature, in whatever way he turned his pen, or his tongue, became more and more intimately and radicably blended with the deepest interests of human life. And so, whether the first efforts of Mr. Curtis endure, as some lyrics, as some pieces of old literature, will endure, the real essence and substance of the literature which he so thoroughly put into everything that he did, is one of our most enduring and valuable national possessions. Mr. Curtis never ceased to be a literary man. You all know the story—you know what "The Potiphar Papers" cost him; you know what his early stand in anti-slavery matters cost him. They cost him what they cost Phillips, and what they cost everybody who was manly enough to stand up in that day and brave social opinion. But Mr. Curtis went on without any break at all in the use of that literary gift; and when he went up there to Middletown, in the early days of the anti-Nebraska excitement, and made an oration to the young students there it was a trumpet-call to the young men of the country, to go out and join in the great movement which this nation was bound to make for its emancipation from evil and from slavery. When he made that effort it was just as distinctly a literary performance as was "Prue and I," or "The Potiphar Papers," or as any Egyptian paper that he ever wrote. It was, in the first place, eloquent—and if you read it to-day you will find that it was eloquent in the highest sense of finished literary effort. I remember the effect it had; it was not merely the nature of the appeal; others were making that appeal in a thousand newspapers; but it was the clean, high, commanding literary note in that oration, which called the young men up to a higher plane of action and of life than they had ever been on before. ,
I could talk a great while (but it is useless) about Mr. Curtis in various ways. I think that no one ever went to him that did not feel that his greeting of him was somehow a benediction. On the most trivial matters, if you went to speak to him, or if you went to consult him about any serious thing, there was always the same—never any condescension—but always the same recognition of your dignity, and always the same affability, grace and charm of manner. I do not know but it increased our selfesteem—perhaps that was it; we felt that we were so much finer than we thought we were before, or so graceful a person would not treat us with so much consideration. But whatever it was, I always came away from a little or a long talk with Mr. Curtis with the feeling that I had somehow been refreshed, cleansed, purified and very often baptized with a new purpose in well-doing. [Applause.]
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
PROGRESS OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO
[Address by Professor Booker Taliaferro Washington, principal of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Tuskegee, Ala., since 1881 (born near Hale's Ford, Virginia, 1859; ), delivered at the opening of the Cotton States and International Exposition at Atlanta, Ga., September 18, 1895.]
Mr. President And Gentlemen Of The Board Of Directors, And Citizens:—One-third of the population of the South is of the Negro race. No enterprise seeking the material, civil, or moral welfare of this section can disregard this element of our population and reach the highest success. I but convey to you, Mr. President and Directors, the sentiment of the masses of my race when I say that in no way have the value and manhood of the American Negro been more fittingly and generously recognized than by the managers of this magnificent Exposition at every stage of its progress. It is a recognition that will do more to cement the friendship of the two races than any occurrence since the dawn of our freedom. Not only this, but the opportunity here afforded will awaken among us a new era of industrial progress. Ignorant and inexperienced, it is not strange that in the first years of our new life we began at the top instead of at the bottom; that a seat in Congress or the State Legislature was more sought than real estate or industrial skill; that the political convention or stump speaking had more attractions than starting a dairy-farm or truck-garden.
A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal: "Water, water; we die of thirst!" The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back: "Cast down your bucket where you are." A second time the signal, "Water, water; send us water!" ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered: "Cast down your bucket where you are." And a third and fourth signal for water was answered: "Cast down your bucket where you are." The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land, or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next door neighbor, I would say: "Cast down your bucket where you are "—cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.
Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man's chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is, that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labor and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.
To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat, what I say to my own race, "Cast down your bucket where you are." Cast it down among the 8,000,