on our mind was this, that he had heard a great deal of good of the people of Saratoga, and wished to form a better acquaintance with them. (Of course this desire was very flattering; but we hope the Saratogans won't feel too proud to speak to common folds hereafter, for we want liberty to go again next summer.) Mr. Cooper now walked into the Public Press and its alleged abuses, arrogant pretensions, its interference in this case, probable motives, etc., but the public are already aware of his sentiments respecting the Press, and would not thank us to recapitulate them. His stories of editors publishing truth and falsehood with equal relish may have foundation in individual cases, but certainly none in general practice. No class of men spend a tenth part so much time or money in endeavoring to procure the earliest and best information from all quarters, as it is their duty to do. Occasionally an erroneous or utterly false statement gets into print and is copied—for editors cannot intuitively separate all truth from falsehood—but the evil arises mainly from the circumstance that others than editors are often the spectators of events demanding publicity; since we cannot tell where the next man is to be killed, or the next storm rage, or the next important cause to be tried: if we had the power of prophecy, it would then be time to invent some steam-lightning balloon, and have a reporter ready on the spot the moment before any notable event should occur. This would do it; but now we luckless editors must too often depend on the observation and reports of those who are less observant, less careful, possibly in some cases less sagacious, than those of our own tribe. Our limitations are not unlike those of Mr. Weller, Junior, as stated while under cross-examination in the case of Bardell vs. Pickwick: “Yes, I have a pair of eyes,” replied Sam, “ and that's just it. If they was a pair of patent double million magnifyina gas microscopes of hextra power, p'raps I might be able to see through a flight of stairs and a deal door, but beina only eyes you see, my wision's limited.” Fenimore proceeded to consider our defense, which he used up in five minutes, by pronouncing it no defence at all! It had nothing to do with the matter in issue whatever, and we must be very green if we meant to be serious in offering it. (We were rather green in Supreme Court libel law, that's a fact; but we were put to school soon after, and have already run up quite a little bill for tuition, which is one sign of progress.) His Honor the Judge would tell the Jury that our law was no law whatever, or had nothing to do with this case. (So he did—Cooper was right here.) In short, our speech could not have been meant to apply to this case, but was probably the scrapings of our editorial closet—mere odds and ends—what the editors call “ Balaam.” Here followed a historical digression, concerning what editors call “Balaam,” which, as it was intended to illustrate the irrelevancy of our whole argument, we thought very pertinent. It wound up with what was meant for a, joke about Balaam and his ass, which of course was a good thing; but its
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.