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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

Part First

Part First.

Great Shows are good, useful, and often necessary; Public Shows are of time immemorial wont and usage, and have ordinarily been designed to display in attractive combination the useful with the ornamental and the amusing. And even regarding the amusement concomitant of Exhibitions a good purpose is served by supplying a safety-valve for the exuberant spirits of the athletic, the strong, the vivacious, and the gay, as well known and understood in ancient times, especially in Greece and Rome. Recreative change is a necessity of nature; monotony is unhealthy; and it shrinks and shrivels and dulls the fine faculty of imagination; absence of such safety-valve is dangerous, politically and socially, especially among the concentrated conglomerated myriad populations, yet that subsidiary characteristic of Exhibitions is now only adverted to as incidental and by the bye; (is slightly parenthetical).

Most of our conveniences and accommodations in modern civilization, especially the intricate and elaborate, have been brought into common use and vogue through well appointed Exhibitions, published, advertised, and instituted.

We have all heard it is unwise to put the lighted candle under a bushel, when, during darkness of night, you want to see, although you may happen to be comfortably conscious that there it is, for emergent use and need; when put on an appropriate stick it radiantly throws its beams and shows, giving light to all present. Show is needed.

A modest man of genius invented a grand instrument; and, for want of means and consequent lack of courageous spirit, hid the thing, and both it and he were in obscurity. A spirited page 4 man plucked it out; touched it up; advertised, advertised in several different ways; exhibited before Royalty and in presence of the Royal Society of Scientists, received approbation, made his fortune, and benefited the world. Always show!!

Some have done great' tilings in secret and kept in perdu until boldly and energetically lugged out and compelled to be public benefactors.

Several centuries ago a great man modestly hid himself among his obscure kindred relations, and they, discerning, not liking, his extraordinary abilities, chided him severely for his seeming diffidence, saying unto him. as thou doest these things, "show thyself to the world," this said in contemptuous scorn; but then his time was "not yet," (envy and jealousy among brethren not uncommon). But. eventually, he did show himself; and, now, to-day, the grandest, the most magnificient, the most superb, and the loftiest monumental towers in all the world stand reared expressly in his mime and to his fame; (surely we need not mention, as chief among ten thousand, and in architecture beautiful, the two Cathedrals of Rome and London, Peter and Paul), a palpable fact, on which it behoves us to philosophise.

And, it will be remembered that some good while ago a man was vehemently and bitterly denounced for hiding his talents; for not exhibiting and using. Now this particular curse will not surely come upon the flagrant puffs who glaringly, staringly, flaringly advertise upon our street walls; these rather show forth the truth of fact—reduced to a maxim—that "the bold of face shall be hated." Now this just shows the converse: some men, some inventive geniuses, need, and ought, to be backed up and brought out and manifested openly; and we must give honour where honour is due. Some bold ignoramuses bragging of some most marvellous discovery, a panacea for all the ills that mortal man is heir to, should be shown up and exposed. For a few shillings their stuff will take off an honest man's leg and put it on again. Some of them have wrongfully made large fortunes. I am afraid Morrisson, with his pills, was one of them although just before he died he gave away many thousand pounds. Multitudes are easily deceived. Pity that many newspapers have, for a large consideration, disreputably advertised their stuff and nonsense, extolled their nostrums, and written them up. Some Newspapers in Great Britain I know peremptorily and constantly refuse them. Counterfeit coins are, however, proof positive that real coins are existent; and so on. Nobody counterfeits the worthless.

In all departments of human life, not even excepting the religious, shams and spurious pretences and pretenders are mingled with the real the honest and the true. Yet abuse does not argue against the U6e. Discrimination always needed.