San Francisco News Letter/December 12, 1868
“Hear the Crier!” “What the devil art thou!”
“One that will play the devil, sir, with you.”
The Indian Bureau is about to be abolished, and the care of the noble red man confided to the War Department. This is wrong; he should be given over, body and blanket—he has no soul—to the Indian Protection and Elevation Society of the City of New York. Mr. Peter Cooper, Mr. Henry Bergh, and Mr. Henry Beecher are the accredited agents of Providence in this matter, and to them alone can properly be entrusted the civilization of the poor Indian. The benevolent Bergh, and the benevolent Beecher, might be sent by the benevolent Peter into the wilderness, armed with suitable tracts, and if need be, protected by a particularly sanguinary corps of Puritan artillery from Plymouth Church, armed with revolving pop-guns. A trumpeter in front might proclaim peace on earth and good will toward redskins; and if this failed to bring about a cessation of hostilities, the venerable Peter himself might exhibit his shining pate, in all its threatening majesty. We are confident this is the true solution of the Indian question, and even in case of failure it would result in a final and eternal adjustment of the society.
General Cole has been acquitted: the jury finding that, although he was undeniably sane two seconds and a half before he murdered Hiscock and one second and a quarter thereafter, he was mad as a March hare at the instant of the shooting. This commisson de lunatico were furnished with a stop-watch and made repeated experiments upon the prisoner, and it was found that with strong provocation three-fifths of a second was ample time for the doughty general to drop into insanity, and that under the influence of a vigorous kick he could do it in half the time. The general is, it is said, coming to California to teach his art to those having rivals in the affections of their wives.
On Tuesday evening, the young Evangels of the Christian Association were edified by a lecture on Braminism, by Dr. Scudder. The Doctor set forth the leading characteristics of the Hindus by illustrations drawn from his own life. It’s as natural for the Doctor to talk Braminism as it was for Silas Wegg to drop into poetry. He seems to be an amphibious being, who spends half his time sunning himself on the dry rocks of Western Theology, and the other half sloshing about in the slimy pools of Oriental paganism. He prefers the latter, however, because it makes more noise, and he has the satisfaction of knowing that all the commotion is caused by his own tail.
At the last meeting of the Board of Supervisors, a man known as “Colonel” Columbus Sims entered the room and asked leave to insult one of the members, which being readily granted, he approached Mr. Canavan and spat in his face. The insult given by such a man as Sims to such a man as Canavan was an outrage of the grossest kind. Now, had it come from a respectable citizen, and been directed against Cole, why, it might have been regarded as a simple expression of public feeling, or something like the grand defiance of Cambronne when surrounded by a “ring” after Waterloo.
Rev. H.W. Nelson, rector of Hartford Episcopal Church, informed his congregation last Sunday that any member who attended the Grand Duchess or Blue Beard operas would be refused communion for six months, and Bishop Williams sustains him—Exchange. [Paying the above penalty will not excuse the offenders from paying pew rent during suspension, nor from putting money into the plate on Sunday. The rector and the bishop have to attend the proscribed performances, just to see that their orders are observed by the congregation; they don’t go to see anything else, oh, no!]
A certificate of incorporation for the Mechanics’ Insurance Company was filed on Saturday; capital, $100,000, divided into shares of $100 each. Several of the gentlemen announced as Trustees of the above incorporation, were elected about three months ago to a similar position in the Builder’s Insurance Company.—Exchange. [Oho! We do think that in this we do smell a particularly fragrant mice. From the ashes of the Builders’ the new phoenix of the Mechanics’ rises, as did never the unfortunate policy-holders in a certain company we wot of].
After the arrival at the Sailors’ Home of the survivors of the late wreck of the Hellespont, a prayer meeting was held in the chapel, to offer up thanks to the Almighty for having spared their lives.—Ex. [We learn that one ungodly tar proposed also a prayer of execration for the death of his shipmates, who were drowned. He said that, as it was an act of mercy to save those present, it must have been quite the contrary to drown the rest—it was a poor rule that would not work both ways. We are happy to say he was immediately knocked down.]
A Sacramento correspondent of a religious paper says: “An interesting Church, in the Capital of the State, able to give a good support to a faithful minister, is now vacant. May the Lord direct and speedily send the right man to this important field.” As the congregation is able to give a good support to the lucky man, the Lord will probably have a goodly number of applicants from which to choose. There is little doubt but, with such an inducement, one will be speedily directed by Providence to make tracks for that place.
The defendants in the libel case of the great North American Fourth-of-Julyist, Joseph W. Winans vs. Wm. S. Moss, et. al,. have filed their answer. They claim that they did not damage plaintiff’s character. Indirectly they did; the publication of their article changed his character for the worse. It made a donkey out of a spread eagle, and defendants ought to pay him the difference between the two.
The Assistant Secretary of the Young Men’s Christian Association attended the trial of Brookbank, who murdered Palmer for improper intimacy with the former’s wife. What business had this young psalm-singer at so scandalous a trial? It is gratifying to learn that while he was absent a brother member entered his room and stole fifteen dollars.
The only safe mode to pursue when stricken down with the small-pox is to send for a physician, make your will and await the inscrutable will of God.—Call. [The last mentioned remedy is hardly so safer as the first, but good in its way. If the “inscrutable will” fail to arrive in time, a mild emetic may be taken instead. ]
The following has not the most remote reference to Father Eagan, who is one of those rare beings whom we venerate without exactly knowing why:
Ritualists burn incense. Why?
To perfume a Church that’s High.
Well—but, rather, I suppose,
To lead donkeys by the nose.
President Johnson, at the close of his message to Congress, speaks of “our respective terms of office now rapidly drawing to a close”—a gentle reminder that, although his luminary was about to be quenched, theirs were flickering rather unsteadily also.
The religious papers of the city are furnished regularly to the inmates of the San Quentin State Prison. This is a laudable attempt at conversion—expelling vice by substituting idiocy.
The resident physician of the small-pox hospital appeals to the ladies to send rags and garments for the use of the patients. They will be returned if desired.
The Rev. Dr. Stone lectured last Sunday evening on “the Nile.” That interesting stream has many mouths, but the Doctor’s one is equal to them all.
The Spectator preaches a long sermon from the text. “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” The editor of the Spectator is a Theopophagist.
If the 300 and more physicians in this city—including those who are not but think they are—had for a few days stopped tearing to pieces each other’s reputations, and had done a little real professional duty at a time of emergency, they might not have driven their span around quite so much, but would have done something creditable to themselves as a professional fraternity. Instead of that they have, in stupid and unprofessional apathy, allowed a pestilence to so far increase here as to wake to action even this self-thinking people, to the shame and disgrace of the conservators of the public health. If there are any live men among the really serviceable and efficient physicians here, some of them had better begin to move. It may seem ungodly to the Rev. Dr. Stone if we advance to open-handed fight against this yellow “royal banner,” but barring that clerical objection, in a worldly view we may gain by it. Moreover, if the banners increase, we may be afflicted with another printed discourse from the Boston parson, who will certainly think he has all the hosts of heaven on his side. Let’s not provoke anymore of these; even the pestilence is almost preferable to an increase of such “sermons in stones.”
The state of California has brought suit against the Pacific Mail Steamship Company to recover forfeiture for failure to pay the commutation tax upon Chinese immigrants. The amount claimed is $4,824,000. When it is recovered, one-third will be paid into the Anti-Coolie fund, one-fourth handed over to Gen. Winn, to be held in trust for the Eight-Hour League, and the remainder will go to the Town Crier. The latter will accept three per cent for cash.
Auditor Hale, City Attorney Hastings, Collector Story, and Street Superintendent Cofran vacated the offices they have held today in favor of their successors chosen in November. They will be accompanied into private life by the respect due to faithful public servants.—Bulletin. [We are glad Messrs. Hale and Story will get their due, and are not surprised that the other gentleman is to get what is due to others.]
The Eight-Hour League and Gen. Winn, who appears to make an honest living by leading them by the nose, have established evening schools—which is good. We would suggest, however, that the old boys who are to be taught therein be required to master the elementary principles of political economy, especially those parts relating to dishonest attempts to bolster up the price of labor by trades unions.
The immodesty of our religious press is something shocking to the secular mind. The Occident says: “If my brother can worship God with more genuine devotion and comfort in the use of a certain form of words, and when in a certain posture, and wearing a certain garment—” We stop right there; the decent damsels of the News Letter circle must never know a blush.
The ladies are to give another masquerade for the benefit of the Mercantile Library. As the indebtedness of the library is over a quarter of a million, and the receipts from the balls are barely sufficient to pay the interest that accrues during the dancing, we suggest a masquerade and a perpetual fair. To reduce the principal an eternal raffle might be gotten up.
The Alta, of yesterday, contained a tolerably long article upon our University, which amounts to very little.—Oakland News. [The last clause is superfluous—it is well understood that the Alta’s articles amount to very little; but how the article could be “tolerably” long we cannot understand. We have usually found their length intolerable.
The Call says that if Grant and Colfax administer the government with justice and impartiality, and according to the spirit and letter of the Constitution, they will receive its hearty support. Friends of these gentlemen would do well to acquaint them with this fact; it might materially influence their official conduct.
Officers Lees and Fuller have managed the case very quietly and shrewdly, but have probed it to the bottom and learned all the facts. We are indebted to officer Fuller for this information.—Alta. [Officer Lees corroborates the above, including the “quietly and shrewdly.”]
The Sacramento Union has unearthed a great commercial rival to San Francisco. It is situated somewhere in the Straits of Carquinez. We suggest that in honor of the discoverer it be called Unionville. This hackneyed and senseless name will then have a living signification.
The Alta says Horace M. Hastings, while holding the office of city attorney, saved the city a great deal of money. He saved it a great deal more when he retired. On the former savings he got a commission of one hundred per cent—the latter will go to the city.
A drama is being written by an obscure Bohemian in this city, entitled “Benedict Arnold.” Mr. S. Wylde Hardinge, a promising young actor, will appear in the title role. He has had some experience as an amateur in that particular line.
Oakland means to have a library. Ten dollars have already been subscribed. Three copies of Baron Munchausen, one of the Arabian Nights, two autobiographies of Mayor Merritt, and Some Account of J.W. Dwinelle have been promised.
Mr. John White, late Secretary of the State Senate, has been elected Secretary of the Labor Exchange. We are glad of it. The originator of the institution left $1,000 behind him; Bennett left $146.
The Alta has a friend who has a little girl, and Fitz Smythe publishes one of her little jokes. The only noticeable thing about it is, that it is better than anything Fitz ever wrote in his life.
Rev. Phineas Stow, the well known Chaplain of the Baptist Seamen’s Bethel, has been placed at the Insane Asylum.—Religious Exchange. [What has the Insane Asylum done to deserve this?]
The Oakland News says the Bulletin has always taken an exceedingly rational and sensible view of Oakland affairs. The Bulletin keeps a powerful microscope.
A little learning is a dangerous thing, but we nevertheless advise the Call to try it, and not afflict us more with such linguistic hash as a la Diablo, sauce piquant and rodent a la Chinois.
We have received from some parson, eager doubtless for the glory of our conversion, a work entitled, “Our Father’s Business.” As it is none of ours we shall not read it.
The yokel of the Times calls the Sacramento Union a bucolic contemporary. O Lord, the conceit of a country paper when it happens to be published in a city!
The Times has a column-length of leader headed “Moral Insanity.” The insanity it exhibits, however, is a particularly mild mental one.
The Sacramento Union has an article headed, “Notice to Vagrants.” “To Our Readers” would have been an equivalent caption.
The bark General Cobb sailed from this port with small-pox on board. How soon will some bark sail with General Cobb on board?
We have learned what the bridge connecting Oakland with San Antonio is for: it’s good to stand on and shoot ducks.
(Source: California State Library, Microfilm Collection)
The works of Ambrose Bierce and other major journalists are freely available from The Archive of American Journalism: www.historicjournalism.com