Within the last few years two other adjectives, it may be mentioned, have been added to the very limited vocabulary of art- abuse that is at the disposal of the public.
An unhealthy work of art, on the other hand, is a work whose style is obvious, old- fashioned, and common, and whose subject is deliberately chosen, not because the artist has any pleasure in it, but because he thinks that the public will pay him for it.
I need hardly say that I am not, for a single moment, complaining that the public and the public press misuse these words.
Taking into the account the existing debt, foreign and domestic, upon any plan of extinguishment which a man moderately impressed with the importance of public justice and public credit could approve, in addition to the establishments which all parties will acknowledge to be necessary, we could not reasonably flatter ourselves, that this resource alone, upon the most improved scale, would even suffice for its present necessities.
If the opinions of those who contend for the distinction which has been mentioned were to be received as evidence of truth, one would be led to conclude that there was some known point in the economy of national affairs at which it would be safe to stop and to say: Thus far the ends of public happiness will be promoted by supplying the wants of government, and all beyond this is unworthy of our care or anxiety.
The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public
views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.
Let us try this public opinion by another test, which is important in three points of view: first, as showing how desperately timid of the public opinion slave-owners are, in their delicate descriptions of fugitive slaves in widely circulated newspapers; secondly, as showing how perfectly contented the slaves are, and how very seldom they run away; thirdly, as exhibiting their entire freedom from scar, or blemish, or any mark of cruel infliction, as their pictures are drawn, not by lying abolitionists, but by their own truthful masters.
The following are a few specimens of the advertisements in the public papers.
It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office.
Because the Circumlocution Office was down upon any ill-advised public servant who was going to do it, or who appeared to be by any surprising accident in remote danger of doing it, with a minute, and a memorandum, and a letter of instructions that extinguished him.
The doctor, ordinarily the most mellifluous and self-possessed of men, flew into a violent, roaring, cursing passion, on this occasion--declared that I was imperiling the honor and standing of the family--insisted on my never drawing another caricature, either for public or private purposes, as long as I lived; and ordered me to go forthwith and ask pardon of Lady Malkinshaw in the humblest terms that it was possible to select.
My fellow-captives soon discovered that I was studying their personal peculiarities for my own advantage and for the public amusement.