T. De Witt Talmage eBook

Thomas De Witt Talmage
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 389 pages of information about T. De Witt Talmage.
Sometimes governments helped them, as when President Pierce appointed Nathaniel Hawthorne to office, and Locke was made Commissioner of Appeals, and Steele State Commissioner of Stamps by the British Government.  Oliver Goldsmith said:  “I have been years struggling with a wretched being, with all that contempt which indigence brings with it, with all those strong passions which make contempt insupportable.”  Mr. Payne, the author of “Home, Sweet Home,” had no home, and was inspired to the writing of his immortal song by a walk through the streets one slushy night, and hearing music and laughter inside a comfortable dwelling.  The world-renowned Sheridan said:  “Mrs. Sheridan and I were often obliged to keep writing for our daily shoulder of mutton; otherwise we should have had no dinner.”  Mitford, while he was writing his most celebrated book, lived in the fields, making his bed of grass and nettles, while two-pennyworth of bread and cheese with an onion was his daily food.  I know of no more refreshing reading than the books of William Hazlitt.  I take down from my shelf one of his many volumes, and I know not when to stop reading.  So fresh and yet so old!  But through all the volumes there comes a melancholy, accounted for by the fact that he had an awful struggle for bread.  On his dying couch he had a friend write for him the following letter to Francis Jeffrey:—­

    “Dear Sir,—­I am at the last gasp.  Please send me a hundred
    pounds.—­Yours truly,

    “William Hazlitt.”

The money arrived the day after his death.  Poor fellow!  I wish he had during his lifetime some of the tens of thousands of dollars that have since been paid in purchase of his books.  He said on one occasion to a friend:  “I have carried a volcano in my bosom up and down Paternoster Row for a good two hours and a half.  Can you lend me a shilling?  I have been without food these two days.”  My readers, to-day the struggle of a good many literary people goes on.  To be editor of a newspaper as I have been, and see the number of unavailable manuscripts that come in, crying out for five dollars, or anything to appease hunger and pay rent and get fuel!  Oh, it is heartbreaking!  After you have given all the money you can spare you will come out of your editorial rooms crying.

Disraeli was seventy-five when “Endymion” was published.  Disraeli’s “Endymion” came at a time when books in America were greater than they ever were before or have been since.  A flood of magazines came afterwards, and swamped them.  Before this time new books were rarely made.  Rich men began to endow them.  It was a glorious way of spending money.  Men sometimes give their money away because they have to give it up anyhow.  Such men rarely give it to book-building.

In January, 1881, Mr. George L. Seavey, a prominent Brooklyn man at that time, gave $50,000 to the library of the Historical Society of New York.  Attending a reception one night in Brooklyn, I was shown his check, made out for that purpose.  It was a great gift, one of the first given for the intellectual food of future bookworms.

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T. De Witt Talmage from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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