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[265] unexamined any idea which proposes to improve the Moral, Intellectual, or Social condition of mankind. Better incur the trouble of testing and exploding a thousand fallacies than by rejecting stifle a single beneficent truth. Especially on the vast theme of an improved Organization of Industry, so as to secure constant opportunity and a just recompense to every human being able and willing to labor, we are not and cannot be indifferent.


No subject can be more important than this; no improvement more certain of attainment. The plans hitherto suggested may all grove abortive; the experiments hitherto set on foot may all come to nought, (as many of them doubtless will;) yet these mistakes shall serve to indicate the true means of improvement, and these experiments shall bring nearer and nearer the grand consummation which they contemplate. The securing of thorough Education, Opportunity and just Reward to all, cannot be beyond the reach of the nineteenth century. To accelerate it, the Tribune has labored and will labor resolutely and hopefully. Those whose dislike to or distrust of the investigations in this field of human effort impel them to reject our paper, have ample range for a selection of journals more acceptable.

In the spirit of these words the Tribune was conducted. And every man, in any age, who conducts his life, his newspaper, or his business in that spirit, will be misunderstood, distrusted and hated, in exact proportion to his fidelity to it. Perfect fidelity, the world will so entirely detest that it will destroy the man who attains to it. The world will not submit to be so completely put out of countenance.

My task, in this chapter, is to show how the editor of the Tribune comported himself when he occupied the position of target-general to the Press, Pulpit, and Stump of the United States. He was not in the slightest degree distressed or alarmed. On the contrary, I think he enjoyed the position; and, though he handled his enemies without gloves, and called a spade a spade, and had to dispatch a dozen foemen at once, and could not pause to select his weapons, yet I can find in those years of warfare no trace of bitterness on his part. There is no malice in his satire, no spite in his anger. He seems never so happy as when he is at bay, and is never so funny as when he is repelling a personal assault. I have before me several hundreds of his editorial hits and repartees, some serious, more comic, some refuting argument, others exposing slander, some merely vituperative, others very witty, all extremely readable,

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