The Town Crier

San Francisco News Letter/February 27, 1869

“Hear the crier!” “What the devil art thou?”
“One that will play the devil, sir, with you.”

Edward Curtiss, with an LL.B. after his name, which he will shed upon acquiring further wisdom, has, for some reason not down in the logic of common sense, been delivering an oration. It seems like a harmless vanity, but we predict from it this result: Curtiss, LL.B. will look it over in print, while other people will overlook it; he will read it and re-read it more times than there are persons who will once attempt it; he will grow older, and will think less of it every time he re-reads it; the older he gets, the lighter his work will appear to him. If he gets wiser, at the rate we might wish he would, he will be sorry next year that he spoke this year, and he may then do that thing, slightly impossible for most of us, but which he enjoins in his peroration: “Go forth, armed with Washington’s virtues, and the blessings of Almighty God will go with you.” It is comparatively well understood that Washington took his virtues with him when he went away, and didn’t leave any of them lying around loose for his successors to gobble up. If a young person hasn’t any virtues of his own, the chances of his catching any of Washington’s are not so good at present as they are of catching the small-pox.

We sympathize with a religious weekly as naturally as with a neglected and homeless poodle. Whenever we pick one up we turn quietly to the begging columns to learn what we can do for it. It has just struck us that it would be a wonderfully charitable act to give their earnest appeals for aid the benefit of our circulation. We therefore reprint a few random whines, and cordially invite editors to send us their papers, with the weekly begging paragraph marked, and we will cheerfully copy it gratis: “We cannot too earnestly impress upon our friends the necessity of increased effort in extending our subscription list. There is need of a large addition to our subscription list to meet increased weekly expenses.”—Evangel. “Do our friends fully appreciate the importance of making an earnest effort just now in behalf of their own paper.”—Spectator. “The rates are low, and only by largely increasing our paying list of subscribers can we hope for success. We earnestly urge our friends to act promptly.”—Advocate. “But what we require is a large augmentation of our subscription list. Every dollar will be appropriated to the improvement of the paper.”—Occident.

We had fondly hoped the Alta had finally disposed of that Old Land-mark. To our certain knowledge it has been “removed” an infinity of times, and has been “gone” upon a multiplicity of occasions, during the last ten years. When the last Pioneer was sent to San Quentin, and his shanty was sold at auction and moved to the Mission, we felt that we were eternally rid of the thing. Imagine our surprise and indignation when we thoughtlessly cast our eyes over the Alta last Sunday, and lit upon the startling announcement: “The Bavaria Brewery on Fire—An Old Land-mark Scorched!” How we did swear, to be sure. You must not do this thing anymore, Alta; you really must not. There are things that flesh and blood cannot stand, and this is one of them.

Judge McKinstry has again postponed sentence, in the case of Dr. Joseph H. Josselyn, until today at one o’clock. This kind of shilly-shallying may be great fun for the judge, but he should remember that there are nearly a hundred and fifty thousand persons in San Francisco who had their mouths made up for a fervent Amen! and it is no small disappointment to them. If he escape this time we shall pronounce sentence ourselves. We have one already written out, in which the words “San Quentin,” “fifteen years,” and “hard labor,” are significantly prominent in all the emphasis of large caps.

The Presbytery of San Jose met on Tuesday and proceeded to formally depose the Rev. Mr. Hamilton from the Christian Ministry, which they accomplished with perfect ease, but one man—the only one, by the way, to be found in that body—dissenting. The Rev. Mr. Brier (who is by no means a sweet-brier) stated that he had been shamefully misrepresented by the press. Guess not; we have not seen it stated that he was anything but a clerical dunderhead. Mr. Hamilton’s gravest offense was “contempt of the Presbytery,” a crime in which we confess to being deeply implicated.

The counter-jumpers have taken the war-path against refractory merchants who elect to do business at such hours as they like, in an earnest and characteristic manner. They carry transparencies up and down the streets, counseling people to make their purchases before seven o’clock, so that the gentlemanly clerks may have time for this honorable warfare. Transparencies do not show well until after seven PM, and really somebody has to carry them. It is hoped that the generous heart of the public will be touched by this modest appeal.

That sturdy old patriot, G. Garibaldi, seems to be as innocent of logic as he in insensible to the ludicrous. In a recent letter to a Hungarian friend he opens thus: “Hungary and Italy are two sisters, as is shown by your heroically losing your leg on Italy’s battle grounds, where you illustrated the name of the Magyars, in company with Tucker and the other brave sons of our noble country.” A Hungarian lost his trotter in Italy; ergo, Hungary and Italy are two sisters. You can go to the head of the class, Giuseppe.

Cannot some one of our leading dailies offer a situation upon its editorial staff to “the gentleman just returned from White Pine?” His fitness is indisputable; he has furnished a large part of the current mendacity which has enlivened their columns for the last few weeks. We should employ him ourselves, but we are already supplied with a first-class liar, and our readers won’t stand two. The capacity of the dailies, however, is absolutely unlimited; they secrete liars as the liver secretes bile.

Prentice Mulford writes to the Sonora Democrat thus: “There was a masquerade ball at the hall of the California Theater, and some of the girls stripped every inch of shank belonging to them. We have a much better idea of the average and general anatomy of women than our ancestors. More opportunities.” [If Prentice Mulford had a better idea of the average and general characteristics of a gentleman he would not commit himself to such vulgar falsehoods as this.]

Councilman Moody, of Oakland, is trying to cast doubts upon that city’s ownership of Dr. Merritt’s tadpole aquarium. He thinks the reservation was made for the benefit of Dr. Merritt individually. We apprehend that it makes but little difference to whom this pellucid sheet legally belongs; the only ones liable to dispute the city’s actual possession are the geese, and they can be easily conciliated by an offer of seats in the City Council.

On Monday the Impure Order of Red Men were addressed by the Healthy Ancient Blatherskite of the Order, at Platt’s Hall. In the course of his remarks the Healthy said: “The language of the Red Man is, to a great extent, symbolic, and we, therefore, use certain emblems which to us are significant, but to the uninitiated seem puerile and meaningless.” That defines our position exactly; we belong to the uninitiated.

Under the head of “White Pine Incidents” the Pacific leads off thus: “A prayer meeting, held twice a week and very hopefully attended, has been organized in Treasure City. A Sabbath school is also in full working order,” etc. We do not hesitate to brand these statements as malicious attempts to influence the stock market for private ends. Our own correspondent makes no mention of these new incorporations.

The Call has a poem entitled “Where are the Police?” Where indeed? And this poet running at large!

It is reported, upon what seems good authority, that Major Jack Stratman’s chances for a Cabinet appointment are as good as ever. The only “recommendation” he submitted to Grant was a full report of Still v. Stratman. That insured him the appointment. It is desirable that Grant’s silver speech should be transmuted into golden silence. Hence the necessity for an experienced alchemist in his Cabinet.

This is the way the folks in Massachusetts talk about a good citizen of San Francisco, who made a sensation among the ladies and gentlemen of Utah: “John McCullough had a benefit at Brigham Young’s Theater the other night, at which the receipts consisted principally of corn in the ear, sweet potatoes, white mice, young pigs, and two hundred axe handles.”—Boston Post.

O the exalted cheek of these parsons! The Spectator having rebuked the editor of the Pacific, says the latter answers with a laugh, and that “repentance and a prayer for forgiveness would be more proper.” The editor of the Spectator is a good man and a worthy, but he never impressed us as being a proper person to whom to address prayers and things.

We are pleased to observe the Monitor firing a few heavy shot into that old hulk the Alta, on the question of Protestantism. Not that we think the Monitor any nearer right than the Alta, but on general principles we rejoice to see the stupidity of the latter exposed, and we have neither the time nor the inclination to do it ourselves. Besides, it is beneath our dignity.

The Rev. B. T. Martin, of Oakland, contributes four and a half columns of holy dreariness to the Evangel. He says he shall sing a song, the never-ending burden of which shall be, “Hither to the Lord hath helped us.” If his song is such a never-ending burden as his article, we fancy the Lord will get dev’lish tired of it.

Owing to the vacillation of one juror, who changed his mind after the verdict had been delivered, the expensive case of Franklin vs. Merida will have to be tried all over again. If this lunatic could be made to foot the bill it would be a case of poetic justice, but since this is impossible, we can only regret that the Judge was not vested with the right to foot the lunatic.

General Grant is reported by the telegraph to have declared himself opposed to the appointment of military offices to civil positions. His opposition derives all its importance from the fact that it was not shared by the people. Had the people thought in this way it would have made precious little difference what he thought.

The Oakland News is in favor of that particularly sensible scheme of introducing bad English into the public schools in the shape of newspapers, in place of the “readers” now used. The News thinks it ought to be introduced. We think so too; its politics, morals and style are peculiarly adapted to a state of adolescence.

There are prominent dailies, whole pages of which are almost covered with incidents reflecting the morals of the Five Points.—Pacific. [For shame, Pacific. Why can’t religious papers like you and the Alta dwell together as brothers, and not be eternally hammering away at one another in this style?]

We do really think our local metropolitan muse distinguished herself on the occasion of last Monday’s festivities. We suggest for Mr. W. H. Rhodes and Mr. Charles De Lacy a pig-skin diploma, each, and their promotion to commanderships in the Ancient and Honorable Order of Unutterable Idiots.

The Call claims the credit of getting up the celebration of the 22d instant: “Had it not been for the suggestion of the Call the day would not have been noticed.” Not so; we have seen a much more popular and influential publication which calls attention to that day. It is a medical almanac.

The Oaklanders are fearful that John B. Felton, if elected, will resign the mayoralty and turn over the village affairs to some vulgar cove unknown to fame. Be quiet, Oakland; Mr. Felton is not the man to cheat a poor blind girl.

Red Men administer no oaths binding you to any political or religious creed. They bind neither your hands nor your feet.—Calumet. [In this latte particular they differ from the Druids, at least; and that is considerably in their favor.]

The Spectator says it will become “a center whence light and heat shall radiate in all directions.” We don’t know about heat, but if the Spectator radiates much light it will speedily be in the dark itself.

Putnam’s Magazine has an article from the pen of Mr. Tuckerman, entitled “The Ass in Life and Letters.” Mr. Tuckerman is a close student of the Alta, and quite conversant with his subject.

Mayor McCoppin has published a card in the Examiner, and following are the comments of the independent press: “Ough, ough!”—Bulletin. “Ki, yi!”—Alta. “Yow, yow!”—Times. “Hee-haw!”—Barnacle.

We protest against the Bulletin startling the community with such sensational originality as the following: “Young people cannot be too careful to avoid bad habits!”

On dit—That the critic of the Morning Call is the author of the celebrated Junius letters. Chronology is against this view, but the style of the letters is certainly his—barring the wit and sense.

The Chicago parson, the Rev. J. Gierlow, has written a poem for the Golden Era. After that lecture before the Little Christians we knew he would come to some bad end.

In emulation of the Police Commissioners, the officers have taken to breaking one another’s head. Now, by Saint Paul, the work goes bravely on!

The Spectator has a poem entitled, “I shall die alone.” Not quite; the Evangel, the Occident, the Pacific, and the Barnacle will bear you company.

A religious weekly says its church has recently lost several good members “by removal.” If they were good members why were they removed?

“Consentaneously,” Herald, is a good word; but that ninny Webster knew nothing whatever about its true meaning. He a lexicographer!

The organ of the Digger Indians, the Calumet, says: “Our last number was badly delivered.” True; it was an abortion.

Lieutenant J. F. Small, who was on leave of absence, was ordered to join his company. He committed suicide. Sensible fellow.

We learn from the editorial columns of the Times that a Mexican has invented a cart. This is a “Current Topic.”

Our religious friend, the Advocate, has an article on “Living Issues.” The Advocate will not long be one.

A Man who reads the news letter, Reg’lar—The critic of the Morning Call. (Price, fifteen cents per copy).

(Source: California State Library, Microfilm Collection)