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[158] unswerving fidelity to the simple principles of personal and political selfishness. To him the luxuries of life are a place under the government, a glass of whiskey, a clean shirt, and a dollar bill. No writer ever achieved popularity more quickly. The letters were published in all the Northern papers, were as eagerly expected as news of the battles, and universally read by the Federal soldiers. ‘Nasby’ was not only a humorist but he was a great force in carrying on the reconstructive measures of the Republican party after the war by his laughable but coarse and merciless pictures of the lowest elements in the Western States that had been opposed to the policy of equal justice.

Of all the humorists mentioned in this chapter ‘Artemus Ward’ alone was known beyond the seas. He was born in Maine, travelled as a wandering printer in the South and West, and really began his career in 1857 when he was called to the local editorship of The Cleveland plain dealer. To this paper he began to contribute articles purporting to describe the experiences of Artemus Ward, an itinerant showman. He began to lecture in 1861 and had an unprecedented success on the platform in this country and in England, where he was a noted contributor to Punch and where he died. He had many and varied experiences and in them all saw nothing but humanity. He wrote of people and of their doings, not unkindly or profanely, but always as a moralist, waging warfare with abounding good humour upon all things that were merely sentimental and insincere and doing good service by exposing them in vivid caricatures. Although it was his genius for misspelling that first attracted attention—he was the first of the misspellers—his plaintive personality proved more attractive still, and may prove permanently so.

Derby, Shaw, Locke, and Browne carried to an extreme numerous tricks already invented by earlier American humorists, particularly the tricks of gigantic exaggeration and calm-faced mendacity, but they are plainly in the main channel of American humour, which had its origin in the first comments of settlers upon the conditions of the frontier, long drew its principal inspiration from the differences between that frontier and the more settled and compact regions of the

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