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[328]

Lectures are important, too, as the means by which the public are brought into actual contact and acquaintance with the famous men of the country. What a delight it is to see the men whose writings have charmed, and moved, and formed us! And there is something in the presence of a man, in the living voice, in the eye, the face, the gesture, that gives to thought and feeling an expression far more effective than the pen, unassisted by these, can ever attain. Horace Greeley is aware of this, and he seldom omits an opportunity of bringing the influence of his presence to bear in inculcating the doctrines to which he is attached. He has been for many years in the habit of writing one or two lectures in the course of the season, and delivering them as occasion offered. No man, not a professional lecturer, appears oftener on the platform than he. In the winter of 1853-4, he lectured, on an average, twice a week. He has this advantage over the professional lecturer. The professional lecturer stands before the public in the same position as an editor; that is, he is subject to the same necessity to make the banquet palatable to those who pay for it, and who will not come again if they do not like it. But the man whose position is already secure, to whom lecturing is only a subsidiary employment, is free to utter the most unpopular truths.

A statement published last winter, of the proceeds of a course of lectures delivered before the Young Men's Association of Chicago, affords a test, though an imperfect one, of the popularity of some of our lecturers. E. P. Whipple, again to borrow the language of the theatre, “ drew” seventy-nine dollars; Horace Mann, ninety-five; Geo. W. Curtis, eighty-seven; Dr. Lord, thirty-three; Horace Greeley, one hundred and ninety-three; Theodore Parker, one hundred and twelve; W. H. Channing, thirty-three; Ralph Waldo Emerson, (did it rain?) thirty-seven; Bishop Potter, forty-five; John G. Saxe, one hundred and thirty-five; W. H. C. Hosmer, twenty-six; Bayard Taylor (lucky fellow!) two hundred and fifty-two.

In large cities, the lecturer has to contend with rival attractions, theatre, concert, and opera. His performance is subject to a comparison with the sermons of distinguished clergymen, of which some are of a quality that no lecture surpasses. To know the importance of the popular lecturer, one must reside in a country town the even tenor of whose way is seldom broken by an event of comhanding

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