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[327] means of public instruction, or as a means of making money, we cannot deny that it is an institution of great importance.

‘The bubble reputation,’ said Shakspeare. Reputation is a bubble no longer. Reputation, it has been discovered, will “draw.” Reputation alone will draw! That airy nothing is, through the instrumentality of the new institution, convertible into solid cash, into a large pile of solid cash. Small fortunes have been made by it in a single winter, by a single lecture or course of lectures. Thackeray, by much toil and continuous production, attained an income of seven thousand dollars a year. He crosses the Atlantic, and, in one short season, without producing a line, gains thirteen thousand, and could have gained twice as much if he had been half as much a man of business as he is a man of genius. Ik Marvel writes a book or two which brings him great praise and some cash. Then he writes one lecture, and not a very good one either, and transmutes a little of his glory into plenty of money, with which he buys leisure to produce a work worthy of his powers. Bayard Taylor roams over a great part of the habitable and uninhabitable globe. He writes letters to the Tribune, very long, very fatiguing to write on a journey, and not saleable at a high price. He comes home, and sighs, perchance, that there are no more lands to visit. ‘Lecture!’ suggests the Tribune, and he lectures. He carries two or three manuscripts in his carpet-bag, equal to half a dozen of his Tribune letters in bulk. He ranges the country, far and wide, and brings back money enough to carry him ten times round the world. It was his reputation that did the business. He earned that money by years of adventure and endurance in strange and exceedingly hot countries; he gathered up his earnings in three months—earnings which, but for the invention of lecturing, he would never have touched a dollar of. Park Benjamin, if he sold his satirical poems to Putnam's Magazine, would get less than hod-carriers' wages; but, selling them directly to the public, at so much a hear, they bring him in, by the time he has supplied all his customers, five thousand dollars apiece. Lecturing has been commended as an antidote to the alleged “docility” of the press, and the alleged dullness of the pulpit. It may be. Praise it because it enables the man of letters to get partial payment from the public for the incalculable services which he renders the public.

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