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21 page printout. Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. INTERVIEWS Contents of this file page FUNERAL OF JOHN G. MILLS AND IMMORTALITY. 1 STAR ROUTE AND POLITICS. 6 THE INTERVIEWER. 11 POLITICS AND PROHIBITION. 13 THE REPUBLICAN DEFEAT IN OHIO. 15 THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL. 16 THE GRANT BANQUET. 18 ROBSON AND CRANE DINNER. 20 **** **** This file, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL **** **** Robert G. Ingersoll rarely takes the trouble to answer critics. His recent address over the dead body of his friend John G. Mills has called forth a storm of denunciation from nearly every pulpit in the country. The writer called at the Colonel's office in New York Avenue yesterday and ask him to reply to some of the points made against him. Reluctantly he assented. FUNERAL OF JOHN G. MILLS AND IMMORTALITY. Question. Have yon seen the recent clerical strictures upon your doctrines? Answer. There are always people kind enough to send me anything they have the slightest reason to think I do not care to read. They seem to be animated by a missionary spirit, and apparently want to be in a position when they see me in hell to exclaim: "You can't blame me. I sent you all the impudent articles I saw, and if you died unconverted it was no fault of mine." Question. Did you notice that a Washington clergyman said that the very fact that you were allowed to speak at the funeral was in itself a sacrilege, and that you ought to have been stopped. Answer. Yes, I saw some such story. Of course, the clergy regard marriages and funerals as the perquisites of the pulpit, and they resent any interference on the part of the pews. They look at these matters from a business point of view. They made the same cry against civil marriages. They denied that marriage was a contract, and insisted that it was a sacrament, and that it was hardly binding unless a priest had blessed it. They used to bury in consecrated ground, and had marks upon the graves, so that Gabriel might know the ones to waken. The clergy wish to make themselves essential. They must christen the babe. this gives them possession of the cradle. They must perform the ceremony of marriage -- this gives them possession of the family. They must pronounce the funeral discourse -- this gives them possession of the dead. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES Formerly they denied baptism to the children of the unbeliever, marriage to him who denied the dogmas of the church, and burial to honest men. The church wishes to control the world, and wishes to sacrifice this world for the next. Of course I am in favor of the utmost liberty upon all these questions. When a Presbyterian dies, let a follower of John Calvin console the living by setting forth the "Five Points." When a Catholic becomes clay, let a priest perform such ceremonies as his creed demands, and let him picture the delights of purgatory for the gratification of the living. And when one dies who does not believe in any religion, having expressed a wish that somebody say a few words above his remains, I see no reason why such a proceeding should be stopped, and, for my part, I see no sacrilege in it. Why should the reputations of the dead, and the feelings of those who live, be placed at the mercy of the ministers? A man dies not having been a Christian, and who, according to the Christian doctrine, is doomed to eternal fire. How would an honest Christian minister console the widow and the fatherless children? How would he dare to tell what he claims to be truth in the presence of the living? The truth is, the Christian minister in the presence of death abandons his Christianity. He dare not say above the coffin, "the soul that once inhabited this body is now in hell." He would be denounced as a brutal savage. Now and then a minister at a funeral has been brave enough and unmannerly enough to express his doctrine in all its hideousness of hate. I was told that in Chicago, many years ago, a young man, member of a volunteer fire company, was killed by the falling of a wall, and at the very moment the wall struck him he was uttering a curse. He was a brave and splendid man. An orthodox minister said above his coffin, in the presence of his mother and mourning friends, that he saw no hope for the soul of that young man. The mother, who was also orthodox refused to have her boy buried with such a sermon -- stopped the funeral took the corpse home, engaged a Universalist preacher, and, on the next day having heard this man say that there was no place in the wide universe of God without hope, and that her son would finally stand among the redeemed, this mother laid her son away, put flowers upon his grave, and was satisfied. Question. What have you to say to the charge that you are preaching the doctrine of despair and hopelessness, when they have the comforting assurances of the Christian religion to offer? Answer. All I have to say is this: If the Christian religion is true, as commonly preached -- and when I speak of Christianity, I speak of the orthodox Christianity of the day -- if that be true, those whom I have loved the best are now in torment. Those to whom I am most deeply indebted are now suffering the vengeance of God. If this religion be true, the future is of no value to me. I care nothing about heaven, unless the ones I love and have loved are there. I know nothing about the angels. I might not like them, and they might not like me. I would rather meet there the ones who have loved me here -- the ones who would have died for me, and for whom I would have died; and if we are to be eternally divided -- not because we differed in our views of justice, not because we differed about friendship or love or candor, or the nobility of human action, but because we differed in belief about the atonement or baptism or the inspiration of the Scriptures -- and if some of us are to be in heaven, and some in hell, then, for my part, I Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES prefer eternal sleep. To me the doctrine of annihilation is infinitely more consoling, than the probable separation preached by the orthodox clergy of our time. Of course, even if there be a God, I like persons that I know, better than I can like him -- we have more in common -- I know more about them; and how is it possible for me to love the infinite and unknown better than the ones I know? Why not have the courage to say that if there be a God, all I know about him I know by knowing myself and my friends -- by knowing others? And, after all, is not a noble man, is not a pure woman, the finest revelation we have of God -- if there be one? Of what use is it to be false to ourselves? What moral quality is there in theological pretence? Why should a man say that he loves God better than he does his wife or his children or his brother or his sister or his warm, true friend? Several ministers have objected to what I said about my friend Mr. Mills, on the ground that it was not calculated to console the living. Mr. Mills was not a Christian. He denied the inspiration of the Scriptures. He believed that restitution was the best repentance, and that, after all, sin is a mistake. He was not a believer in total depravity, or in the atonement. He denied these things. He was an unbeliever. Now, let me ask, what consolation could a Christian minister have given to his family? He could have said to the widow and the orphans, to the brother and sister: "Your husband, your father, your brother, is now in hell; dry your tears; weep not for him, but try and save yourselves. He has been damned as a warning to you; care no more for him, why should yon weep over the grave of a man whom God thinks fit only to be eternally tormented? Why should you love the memory of one whom God hates?" The minister could have said: "He had an opportunity -- he did not take it. The life-boat was lowered -- he would not get in it -- he has been drowned, and the waves of God's wrath will sweep over him forever." This is the consolation of Christianity and the only honest consolation that Christianity can have for the widow and orphans of an unbeliever. Suppose, however, that the Christian minister has too tender a heart to tell what he believes to be the truth -- then he can say to the sorrowing friends: "Perhaps the man repented before he died; perhaps he is not in hell, perhaps you may meet him in heaven;" and this "perhaps" is a consolation not growing "out of Christianity, but out of the politeness of the preacher -- out of paganism. Question. Do you not think that the Bible has consolation for those who have lost their friends? Answer. There is about the Old Testament this strange fact -- I find in it no burial service. There is in it, I believe, from the first mistake in Genesis to the last curse in Malachi, not one word said over the dead as to their place and state. When Abraham died, nobody said: "He is still alive -- he is in another world." When the prophets passed away, not one word was said as to the heaven to which they had gone. In the Old Testament, Saul inquired of the witch, and Samuel rose. Samuel did not pretend that he had been living, or that he was alive, but asked: "Why hast thou disquieted me?" He did not pretend to have come from some other world. And when David speaks of his son, saying that he could not come back to him, but that he, David, could go to his son, that is but saying that he, too, must die. There is not in the Old Testament one hope of immortality. It is expressly asserted that there is no Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 3 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES difference between the man and beast -- that as the one dieth so dieth the other. There is one little passage in Job which commentators have endeavored to twist into a hope of immortality. Here is a book of hundreds and hundreds of pages, and hundreds and hundreds of chapters -- a revelation from God -- and in it one little passage, which, by a mistranslation, is tortured into saying something about another life. And this is the Old Testament. I have sometimes thought that the Jews, when slaves in Egypt, were mostly occupied in building tombs for mummies, and that they became so utterly disgusted with that kind of work, that the moment they founded a nation for themselves they went out of the tomb business. The Egyptians were believers in immorality, and spent almost their entire substance upon the dead. The living were impoverished to enrich the dead. The grave absorbed the wealth of Egypt. The industry of a nation was buried. Certainly the Old Testament, has nothing clearly in favor of immortality. In the New Testament we are told about the "kingdom of heaven." -- that it is at hand -- and about who shall be worthy, but it is hard to tell what is meant by the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven was apparently to be in this world, and it was about to commence. The Devil was to be chained for a thousand years, the wicked were to be burned up, and Christ and his followers were to enjoy the earth. This certainly was the doctrine of Paul when he says: "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." According to this doctrine, those who were alive were to be changed, and those who had died were to he raised from the dead. Paul certainly did not refer to any other world beyond this. All these things were to happen here. The New Testament is made up of the fragments of many religions. It is utterly inconsistent with itself; and there is not a particle of evidence of the resurrection and ascension of Christ -- neither in the nature of things could there be. It is a thousand times more probable that people were mistaken than that such things occurred. If Christ really rose from the dead, he should have shown himself, not simply to his disciples, but to the very men who crucified him -- to Herod, to the high priest, to Pilate. He should have made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem after his resurrection, instead of before. He should have shown himself to the Sadducees, -- to those who denied the existence of spirit. Take from the New Testament its doctrine of eternal pain -- the idea that we can please God by acts of self-denial that can do no good to others -- take away all its miracles, and I have no objection to all the good things in it -- no objection to the hope of a future life, if such a hope is expressed -- not the slightest. And I would not for the world say anything to take from any mind a hope in which dwells the least comfort; but a doctrine that dooms a large majority of mankind to eternal flames ought not to be called a consolation. What I say is, that the writers of the New Testament knew no more about the future state than I do, and no less. The horizon of life has never been Pierced, The veil between time and what is called eternity, has never been raised, so far as I know; and I say of the dead what all others must say if they say only what they know. There is no particular consolation in a guess. Not knowing what the future has in store for the human race, it is Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 4 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES far better to prophesy good than evil. lt is better to hope that the night has a dawn, that the sky has a star, than to build a heaven for the few, and a hell for the many. It is better to leave your dead in doubt than in fire -- better that they should sleep in shadow than in the lurid flames of perdition. And so I say, and always have said, let us hope for the best. The minister asks: "What right have you to hope? It is sacrilegious in you. "But, whether the clergy like it or not, I shall always express my real opinion, and shall always be glad to say to those who mourn: "There is in death, as I believe, nothing worse than sleep. Hope for as much better as you can. Under the seven-hued arch let the dead rest. "Throw away the Bible, and you throw away the fear of hell, but the hope of another life remains, because the hope does not depend upon a book -- it depends upon the heart -- upon human affection. The fear, so far as this generation is concerned, is born of the book, and that part of the book was born of savagery. Whatever of hope is in the book is born, as I said before, of human affection, and the higher our civilization the greater the affection. I had rather rest my hope of something beyond the grave upon the human heart, than upon what they call the Scriptures, because there I find mingled with the hope of something good the threat of infinite evil. Among the thistles, thorns and briers of the Bible is one pale and sickly flower of hope. Among all its wild beasts and fowls, only one bird flies heavenward. I prefer the hope without the thorns, without the briers, thistles, hyenas, and serpents. Question. Do you not know that it is claimed that immortality was brought to light in the New Testament, that that, in fact, was the principal mission of Christ? Answer. I know that Christians claim that the doctrine of immortality was first taught in the New Testament. They also claim that the highest morality was found there. Both these claims are utterly without foundation. Thousands of years before Christ was born -- thousands of years before Moses saw the light -- the doctrine of immortality was preached by the priests of Osiris and Isis. Funeral discourses were pronounced over the dead, ages before Abraham existed. When a man died in Egypt, before he was taken across the sacred lake, he had a trial. Witnesses appeared, and if he had done anything wrong, for which he had not made restitution, he was not taken across the lake. The living friends, in disgrace, carried the body back, and it was buried outside of what might be called consecrated ground, while the ghost was supposed to wander for a hundred years. Often the children of the dead would endeavor to redeem the poor ghost by acts of love and kindness. When he came to the spirit world there was the god Anubis, who weighed his heart in the scales of eternal justice, and if the good deeds preponderated he entered the gates of Paradise; if the evil, he had to go back to the world and be born in the bodies of animals for the purpose of final purification. At last, the good deeds would out weigh the evil, and, according to the religion of Egypt, the latch-string of heaven would never be drawn in until the last wanderer got home. Immorality was also taught in India, and, in fact, in all the countries of antiquity. Wherever men have loved, wherever they have dreamed, wherever hope has spread its wings, the idea of immorality has existed. But nothing could be worse than the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 5 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES immortality promised in the New Testament -- admitting that it is so promised -- eternal joy side by side with eternal pain. Think of living forever, knowing that countless millions are suffering infinite pain! How much better it would be for God to commit suicide and let all life and motion cease! Christianity has no consolation except for the Christian, and if a Christian minister endeavors to console the widow of an unbeliever he must resort, not to his religion, but to his sympathy -- to the natural promptings of the heart. He is compelled to say: "After all, may-be God is not so bad as we think," or, "May-be your husband was better than he appeared; Perhaps somehow, in some way, the dear man has squeezed in; he was a good husband, he was a kind father, and even if he is in hell, may-be he is in the temperate zone, where they have occasional showers, and, where, if the days are hot, the nights are reasonably cool." All I ask of Christian ministers is to tell what they believe to be the truth -- not to borrow ideas from the pagans -- not to preach the mercy born of unregenerate sympathy. Let them tell their real doctrines. If they will do that, they will not have much influence. If orthodox Christianity is true, a large majority of the men who have made this world fit to live in are now in perdition. A majority of the Revolutionary soldiers have been damned. A majority of the men who fought for the integrity of this Union -- a majority who were starved at Libby and Andersonville -- are now in hell. Question. Do you deny the immortality of the soul? Answer. I never have denied the immortality of the soul, I have simply been honest. I have said: "I do not know." Long ago, in my lecture on "The Ghosts," I used the following language: "The idea of immortality, that like a sea has ebbed and flowed in the human heart, with its countless waves of hope and fear beating against the shores and rocks of time and fate, was not born of any book, nor of any creed, nor of any religion. It was born of human affection, and it will continue to ebb and flow beneath the mists and clouds of doubt and darkness as long as love kisses the lips of death. It is the rainbow Hope, shining upon the tears of grief. -- The Post, Washington, D.C., April 30, 1883. **** **** STAR ROUTE AND POLITICS. Col. Ingersoll entertains very pronounced ideas concerning President Arthur, Attorney-General Brewster and divers other people. With his family, the eloquent advocate has a cottage here, and finds brain and body rest and refreshment in the tumbling waves. This noon, in the height of a tremendous thunder storm, I bumped against his burly figure in the roaring crest, and, after the first shock had passed, determined to utilize the providential coincidence. The water was warm, our clothes were in the bathing houses, and comfort was more certain where we were than anywhere else. The Colonel is an expert swimmer and as a floater cannot be beaten. He was floating when we bumped. Spouting a pint of salt water from his mouth, he nearly choked with laughter as, in answer to my question he said: Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 6 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES No, I do not believe there will be any more Star Route trials. There is so much talk about the last one, there will not be time for another. Question. Did you anticipate a verdict? Answer. I did anticipate a verdict, and one of acquittal. I knew that the defendants were entitled to such a verdict. I knew that the Government had signally failed to prove a case. There was nothing but suspicion, from which malice was inferred. The direct proof was utterly unworthy of belief. The direct witness was caught with letters he had forged. This one fact was enough to cover the prosecution with confusion. The fact that Rardell sat with the other defendants and reported to the Government from day to day satisfied the jury as to the value of his testimony, and the animus of the Department of Justice. Besides, Rerdell had offered to challenge such jurors as the Government might select. He handed counsel for defendants a list of four names that he wanted challenged. At that time it was supposed that each defendant would be allowed to challenge four jurors. Afterward the Court decided that all the defendants must be considered as one party and had the right to challenge four and no more. Of the four names on Rendell's list the Government challenged three and Rerdell tried to challenge the other. This was what is called a coincidence. Another thing had great influence with the jury -- the evidence of the defendants was upon all material points so candid and so natural, so devoid of all coloring, that the jury could not help believing. If the people knew the evidence they would agree with the jury. When we remember that there were over ten thousand star routes, it is not to be wondered at that some mistakes were made -- that in some instances too much was paid and in others too little. Question. What has been the attitude of President Arthur? Answer. We asked nothing from the President. We wanted no help from him. We expected that he would take no part -- that he would simply allow the matter to be settled by the court in the usual way. I think that he made one very serious mistake. He removed officers on false charges without giving them a hearing. He deposed Marshal Henry because somebody said that he was the friend of the defendants. Henry was a good officer and an honest man. The President removed Ainger for the same reason. This was a mistake. Ainger should have been heard. There is always time to do justice. No day is too short for justice, and eternity is not long enough to commit a wrong. it was thought that the community could be terrorized: -- First. The President dismissed Henry and Ainger. second. The Attorney-General wrote a letter denouncing the defendants as thieves and robbers. Third. Other letters from Bliss and MacVeagh were published. Fourth. Dixon, the foreman of the first jury, was indicted. fifth. Members of the first jury voting "guilty" were in various ways rewarded. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 7 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES Sixth. Bargains were made with Boone and Randell. The cases against Boone were to be dismissed and Randell was promised immunity. Under these circumstances the second trial commenced. But of all people in this country the citizens of Washington care least for Presidents and members of the Cabinets. They know what these officers are made of. They know that they are simply folk -- that they do not hold office forever -- that the Jupiter of to-day are often the pygmies of to-morrow. They have seen too many people come in with trumpets and flags and go out with hisses and rags to be overawed by the deities of a day. They have seen Lincoln and they are not to be frightened by his successors. Arthur took part to the extent of turning out men suspected of being friendly to the defence. Arthur was in a difficult place. He was understood to be the friend of Dorsey and, of course, had to do something. Nothing is more dangerous than a friend in power. He is obliged to show that he is impartial, and it always takes a good deal of injustice to establish a reputation for fairness. Question. Was there any ground to expect aid or any different action on Arthur's part? Answer. All we expected was that Arthur would do as the soldier wanted the Lord to do at New Orleans -- "Just take neither side." Question. Why did not Brewster speak? Answer. The Court would not allow two closings. The Attorney- General did not care to speak in the "middle." He wished to close, and as he could not do that without Putting Mr. Merrick out, he concluded to remain silent. The defendants had no objection to his speaking, but they objected to two closing arguments for the Government, and the Court decided that they were right. Of course, I understand nothing about the way in which the attorneys for the prosecution arranged their difficulties. That was nothing to me; neither do I care what money they received -- all that is for the next Congress. It is not for me to speak of those questions. Question. Will there be other trials? Answer. I think not. It does not seem likely that other attorneys will want to try, and the old ones have. My opinion is that we have had the last of the Star Route trials. It was claimed that the one tried was the strongest, If this is so the rest had better be dismissed. I think the people are tired of the whole business. It now seems probable that all the time for the next few years will be taken up in telling about MacVeagh and James and Brewster and Bliss; Walsh is giving his opinion of Kellogg and Foster; Bliss is saying a few words about Cook and Gibson; Brewster is telling what Bliss told him; Gibson will have his say about Garfield and MacVeagh, and it now seems probable that we shall get the bottom facts about the other jury -- the actions of Messrs. Hoover, Bowen, Brewster Cameron and others. Personally I have no interest in the business. Question. How does the next campaign look? Answer. The Republicans are making all the mistakes they can, Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 8 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES and the only question now is, Can the Democrats make more? The tariff will be one of the great questions, and may be the only one except success. The Democrats are on both sides of this question. They hate to give up the word "only." Only for that word they might have succeeded in 1880. If they can only let "only" alone, and say they want "a tariff for revenue" they will do better. The fact is the people are not in favor of free trade, neither do they want a tariff high enough to crush a class, but they do want a tariff to raise a revenue and to protect our industries, I am for protection because it diversifies industries and develops brain -- allows us to utilize all the muscle and brain we have. A party attacking the manufacturing interests of this country will fail. There are too many millions of dollars invested and to many millions of people interested. The country is becoming alike interested on this question. We are no longer divided, as in slavery times, into manufacturing and agricultural districts or sections. Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas have manufacturing interests. And the Western States believe in the protection of their industries. The American people have a genius for manufacturing, a genius for invention. We are not the greatest painters or sculptors or scientists, but we are without doubt the greatest inventors. If we were all engaged in one business we would become stupid. Agricultural countries produce great wealth, but are never rich. To get rich it is necessary to mix thought with labor. To raise the raw material is a question of strength; to manufacture, to put it in useful and beautiful forms, is a question of mind, There is a vast difference between the value of, say, a milestone and a statue, and yet the labor expended in getting the raw material is about the same. The point, after all, is this: first, we must have revenue; second, shall we get this by direct taxation or shall we tax imports and at the same time protect American labor? The party that advocates reasonable protection will succeed. (At this point, with far away peals of thunder, the storm ceased, the sun reappeared and a vault of heavenly blue swung overhead. "Let us get out" said Colonel Ingersoll. Suiting the action to the word, the Colonel struck out lustily for the beach, on which, hard as a rock and firm as flint, he soon planted his sturdy form. And as he lumbered across the sand to the side door of his comfortable cottage, some three hundred feet from the serf, the necessity suggested contrast between Ingersoll in court and Ingersoll in soaked flannels was illustrated with forcible comicality. Half an hour later he was found in the cozy library puffing a high flavored Havana, and listening to home-made music of delicious quality. Ingersoll at home is pleasant to contemplate. His sense of personal freedom is there aptly pictured. Loving wife and affectionate daughters form, with happy-faced and genial- hearted father, a model circle into which friends deem it a privilege to enter and a pleasure to remain. Continues the conversation: Question. In view of all this, where, do you think the presidential candidate will come from? Answer. From the West. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES Question. Why so? Answer. The South and East must compromise. Both can trust the West. The West represents the whole country. There is no provincialism in the West. The West is not old enough to have the prejudice of section; it is too prosperous to have hatred, too great to feel envy. Question. You do not seem to think that Arthur has a chance? Answer. No Vice-President was ever made President by the people. It is natural to resent the accident that gave the Vice- President the place. They regard the Vice-President as children do a stepmother. He is looked upon as temporary -- a device to save the election -- a something to stop a gap -- a lighter -- a political raft. He holds the horse until another rider is found. People do not wish death to suggest nominees for the presidency. I do not believe it will be possible for Mr. Arthur, no matter how well he acts, to overcome this feeling. The people like a new man. There is some excitement in the campaign, and besides they can have the luxury of believing that the new man is a great man. Question. Do you not think Arthur has grown and is a greater man than when he was elected? Answer. Arthur was placed in very trying circumstances, and, I think, behaved with great discretion. But he was Vice-President, and that is a vice that people will not pardon. Question. How do you regard the situation in Ohio? Answer. I hear that the Republicans are attacking Hoadly, saying that he is an Infidel. I know nothing about Mr. Hoadly's theological sentiments, but he certainly has the right to have and express his own views. If the Republicans of Ohio have made up their minds to disfranchise, the Liberals, the sooner they are beaten the better. Why should the Republican party be so particular about religious belief? Was Lincoln an orthodox Christian? Were the founders of the party -- the men who gave it heart and brain -- conspicuous for piety? Were the abolitionists all believers in the inspiration of the Bible? Is Judge Hoadly to be attacked because he exercises the liberty that he gives to others. Has not the Republican party trouble enough with the spirituous to let the spiritual alone? If the religious issue is made, I hope that the party making it will be defeated. I know nothing about the effect of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Ohio. It is a very curious decision and seems to avoid the Constitution with neatness and despatch. The decision seems to rest on the difference between the words tax and license -- i.e., between allowing a man to sell whiskey for a tax of one hundred dollars or giving him a license to sell whiskey and charging him one hundred dollars. In this, the difference is in the law instead of the money. So far all the prohibitory legislation on the liquor question has been a failure. Beer is victorious, and Gambrinus now has Olympus all to himself. On his side is the "bail" -- Question. But who will win? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES Answer. The present indications are favorable to Judge Hoadly. It is an off year. The Ohio leaders on one side are not in perfect harmony. The Germans are afraid, and they generally vote the Democratic ticket when in doubt. The effort to enforce the Sunday law, to close the gardens, to make one day in the week desolate and doleful, will give the Republicans a great deal of hard work. Question. How about Illinois? Answer. Republican always. The Supreme Court of Illinois has just made a good decision. That Court decided a contract made on Sunday can be enforced, In other words, that Sunday is not holy enough to sanctify fraud. You can rely on a State with a Court like that. There is very little rivalry in Illinois. I think that General Oglesby will he the next Governor. He is one of the best men in that State or any other. Question. What about Indiana? Answer. In that State I think General Gresham is the coming man. He was a brave soldier, an able, honest judge, and he will fill with honor any position he may be placed in, He is an excellent lawyer, and has as much will as was ever put in one man. McDonald is the most available man for the Democrats, He is safe, and in every respect reliable. He is without doubt the most popular man in his party. Question. Well, Colonel, what are you up to? Answer. Nothing. I am surrounded by sand, sea and sky. I listen to music, bathe in the surf and enjoy myself. I am wondering why people take interest in politics; why anybody cares about anything; why everybody is not contented; why people want to climb the greased pole of office and then dodge the brickbats of enemies and rivals; why any man wishes to be President, or a member of Congress, or in the Cabinet, or do anything except to live with the ones he loves. and enjoy twenty-four hours every day. I wonder why all New York does not come to Long Beach and hear Schreiner's Band play the music of Wagner, the greatest of all composers. Finally, in the language of Walt Whitman, "I loaf and invite my soul." -- The Harold, New York, July 1, 1883. **** **** THE INTERVIEWER. Question. What do you think of newspaper interviewing? Answer. I believe that James Redpath claims to have invented the "interview," This system opens all doors, does away with political pretence, batters down the fortifications of dignity and official importance, pulls masks from solemn faces, compels everybody to show his hand. The interviewer seems to be omnipresent. He is the next man after the accident. If a man should be blown up he would likely fall on an interviewer. He is the universal interrogation point. He asks questions for a living. If Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES the interviewer is fair and honest he is useful, if the other way, he is still interesting. On the whole, I regard the interviewer as an exceedingly important person. But whether he is good or bad, he has come to stay. He will interview us until we die, and then ask the "friends" a few questions just to round the subject off. Question. What do you think the tendency of newspapers is at present? Answer. The papers of the future, I think, will be "news" papers. The editorial is getting shorter and shorter. The paragraphist is taking the place of the heavy man. People rather form their own opinions from the facts. Of course good articles will always find readers, but the dreary, doleful, philosophical dissertation has had its day. The magazines will fall heir to such articles; then religious weeklies will take them up, and then they will cease altogether. Question. Do you think the people lead the newspapers, or do the newspapers lead them? Answer. The papers lead and are led. Most papers have for sale what people want to buy. As a rule the people who buy determine the character of the thing sold. The reading public grows more discriminating every year, and, as a result, are less and less "led." Violent papers -- those that most freely attack private character -- are becoming less hurtful, because they are losing their own reputations. Evil tends to correct itself. People do not believe all they read, and there is a growing tendency to wait and hear from the other side. Question. Do newspapers to-day exercise as much influence as they did twenty-five years ago? Answer. More, by the facts published, and less, by editorials. As we become civilized we are governed less by persons and more by principles -- less by faith and more by fact. The best of all leaders is the man who teaches people to lead themselves. Question. What would you define public opinion to be? Answer. First, in the widest sense, the opinion of the majority, including all kinds of people. Second, in a narrower sense, the opinion of the majority of the intellectual. Third, in actual practice, the opinion of those who make the most noise. Fourth, public opinion is generally a mistake, which history records and posterity repeats. Question. What do you regard as the result of your lectures? Answer. In the last fifteen years I have delivered several hundred lectures. The world is growing more and more liberal every day. The man who is now considered orthodox, a few years ago would have been denounced as an Infidel. People are thinking more and believing less. The pulpit is losing influence. In the light of modern discovery the creeds are growing laughable. A theologian is an intellectual mummy, and excites attention only as a curiosity. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 12 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES Supernatural religion has outlived its usefulness. The miracles and wonders of the ancients will soon occupy the same tent. Jonah and Jack the Giant Killer, Joshua and Red Riding Hood, Noah and Neptune, will all go into the collection of the famous Mother Hubbard. -- The Morning Journal, New York, July 3, 1883. **** **** POLITICS AND PROHIBITION. Question. What do you think of the result in Ohio? Answer. In Ohio prohibition did more harm to Republican chances than anything else. The Germans hold the Republican responsible. The German people believe in personal liberty. They came to America to get it, and they regard any interference in the manner or quantity of their food and drink as an invasion of personal rights. They claim they are not questions to be regulated by law, and I agree with them. I believe that people will finally learn to use spirits temperately and without abuse, but teetotalism is intemperance in itself, which breeds resistance, and without destroying the rivulet of the appetite only dams it and makes it liable to break out at any moment, You can prevent a man from stealing by tying his hands behind him, but you cannot make him honest. Prohibition breeds too many spies and informers, and makes neighbors afraid of each other. It kills hospitality. Again, the Republican party in Ohio is endeavoring to have Sunday sanctified by the Legislature. The working people want freedom on Sunday. They wish to enjoy themselves, and all laws now making to prevent innocent amusement, beget a spirit of resentment among the common people. I feel like resenting all such laws, and unless the Republican party reforms in that particular, it ought to be defeated I regard those two things as the principal causes of the Republican party's defeat in Ohio. Question. Do you believe that the Democratic success was due to the, possession of reverse principles? Answer. I do not think that the Democratic party is in favor of liberty of thought and action in these two regards, from principle. but rather from policy. Finding the course pursued by the Republicans unpopular, they adopted the opposite mode, and their success is a proof of that truth of what I contend. One great trouble in the Republican party is bigotry. The pulpit is always trying to take charge. The same thing exists in the Democratic party to a less degree. The great trouble here is that its worst elements Catholicism -- is endeavoring to get control. Question. What causes operated for the Republican success in Iowa? Answer. Iowa is a prohibition State and almost any law on earth as against anything to drink, can be carried there. There are no large cities in the State and it is much easier to govern, but even there the prohibition law is bound to be a failure. It will Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 13 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES breed deceit and hypocrisy, and in the long run the influence will be bad. Question. Will these two considerations cut any figure in the presidential campaign of 1884? Answer. The party, as a party, will have nothing to do with these questions. These matters are local. Whether the Republicans are successful will depend more upon the country's prosperity. If things should be generally in pretty good shape in 1884, the people will allow the party to remain in power. Changes of administration depend a great deal on the feeling of the country. If crops are bad and money is tight, the people blame the administration, whether it is responsible or not. If a ship going down the river strikes a snag, or encounters a storm, a cry goes up against the captain. It may not have been his fault, but he is blamed, all the same, and the passengers at once clamor for another captain. So it is in politics. If nothing interferes between this and 1884 the Republican party will continue. Otherwise it will be otherwise. But the principle of prosperity as applied to administrative change is strong. If the panic of 1873 had occurred in 1876 there would have been no occasion for a commission to sit on Tilden. If it had struck us in 1880, Hancock would have been elected. Neither result would have its occasion in the superiority of the Democratic party, but in the belief that the Republican party was in some vague way blamable for the condition of things, and there should be a change. The Republican party is not as strong as it used to be. The old leaders have dropped out and no persons have yet taken their places. Blaine has dropped out, and is now writing a book. Conkling dropped out and is now practicing law, and so I might go on enumerating leaders who have severed their connection with the party and are no longer identified with it. Question. What is your opinion regarding the Republican nomination for President? Answer. My belief is that the Republicans will have to nominate some man who has not been conspicuous in any faction, and upon whom all can unite. As a consequence he must be a new man. The Democrats must do the same. They must nominate a new man. The old ones have been defeated so often that they start handicapped with their own histories, and failure in the past is very poor raw material out of which to manufacture faith for the future. My own judgment is that for the Democrats, McDonald is as strong a man as they can get. He is a man of most excellent sense and would be regarded as a safe man. Tilden? He is dead, and he occupies no stronger place in the general heart than a graven image. With no magnetism, he has nothing save his smartness to recommend him. Question. What are your views, generally expressed, on the tariff? Answer. There are a great many Democrats for protection and a great many for so-called free trade. I think the large majority of American people favor a reasonable tariff for raising our revenue Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 14 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES and protecting our manufacturers. I do not believe in tariff for revenue only, but for revenue and protection. The Democrats would have carried the country had they combined revenue and incidental protection. Question. Are they rectifying the error now? Answer. I believe they are, already. They will do it next fall. If they do not put it in their platform they will embody it in their speeches. I do not regard the tariff as a local, but a national issue, notwithstanding Hancock inclined to the belief that it was the former. -- The Times, Chicago, Illinois, October 13, 1883. **** **** THE REPUBLICAN DEFEAT IN OHIO. Question. What is your explanation of the Republican disaster last Tuesday? Answer. Too much praying and not enough paying, is my explanation of the Republican defeat. First. I think the attempt to pass the Prohibition Amendment lost thousands of votes. The people of this country, no matter how much they may deplore the evils of intemperance, are not yet willing to set on foot a system of spying into each other's affairs. They know that prohibition would need thousands of officers -- that it would breed informers and spies and peekers and skulkers by the hundred in every county. They know that laws do not of themselves make good people. Good people make good laws. Americans do not wish to be temperate upon compulsion. The spirit that resents interference in these matters is the same spirit that made and keeps this a free country. All this crusade and prayer-meeting business will not do in politics. We must depend upon the countless influences of civilization, upon science, art, music -- upon the softening influences of kindness and argument. As life becomes valuable people will take care of it. Temperance upon compulsion destroys something more valuable than itself -- liberty. I am for the largest liberty in all things. Second. The Prohibitionists, in my opinion, traded with Democrats. The Democrats were smart enough to know that prohibition could not carry, and that they could safely trade. The prohibitionists were insane enough to vote for their worst enemies, just for the sake of polling a large vote for prohibition, and were fooled as usual. Thirdly. Certain personal hatreds of certain Republican politicians. These were the causes which led to Republican defeat in Ohio. Question. Will it necessitate the nomination of an Ohio, Republican next year? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 15 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES Answer. I do not think so. Defeat is apt to breed dissension, and on account of that dissension the party will have to take a man from some other State. One politician will say to another, "You did it," and another will reply, "You are the man who ruined the party." I think we have given Ohio her share; certainly she has given us ours. Question. Will this reverse seriously affect Republican chances next year? Answer. If the country is prosperous next year, if the crops are good, if prices are fair, if Pittsburgh is covered with smoke, if the song of the spindle is heard in Lowell, if stocks are healthy, the Republicans will again succeed. If the reverse as to crops and forges and spindles, then the Democrats will win. It is a question of "chinch-bugs," and floods and droughts. Question. Who, in your judgment, would be the strongest man the Republicans could put up? Answer. Last year I thought General Sherman, but he has gone to Missouri, and now I am looking around. The first day I find one I will telegraph you. -- The Democrat, Dayton, Ohio, October 15, 1883. **** **** THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL. Question. What do you think of the recent opinion of the Supreme Court touching the rights of the colored man? Answer. I think it is all wrong. The intention of the framers of the amendment, by virtue of which the law was passed, was that no distinction should be made in inns, in hotels, cars, or in theaters; in short, in public places, on account of color, race, or previous condition. The object of the men who framed that amendment to the Constitution was perfectly clear, perfectly well known, perfectly understood. They intended to secure, by an amendment to the fundamental law, what had been fought for by hundreds of thousands of men. They knew that the institution of slavery had cost rebellion; they also knew that the spirit of caste was only slavery in another form. They intended to kill that spirit. Their object was that the law, like the sun, should shine upon all, and that no man keeping a hotel, no corporation running cars, no person managing a theater should make any distinction on account of race or color. This amendment is above all praise. It was the result of a moral exaltation, such as the world never before had seen. There were years during the war, and after, when the American people were simply sublime; when their generosity was boundless; when they were willing to endure any hardship to make this an absolutely free country. This decision of the Supreme Court puts the best people of the colored race at the mercy of the meanest portion of the white race. It allows a contemptible white man to trample upon a good colored Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 16 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES man. I believe in drawing a line between good and bad, between clean and unclean, but I do not believe in drawing a color line which is as cruel as the lash of slavery. I am willing to be on an equality in all hotels, in all cars, in all theaters, with colored people. I make no distinction of race. Those make the distinction who cannot afford not to. If nature has made no distinction between me and some others, I do not ask the aid of the Legislature. I am willing to associate with all good, clean persons, irrespective of complexion. This decision virtually gives away one of the great principles for which the war was fought. It carries the doctrine of "State Rights" to the Democratic extreme, and renders necessary either another amendment or a new court. I agree with Justice Harlan. He has taken a noble and a patriotic stand. Kentucky rebukes Massachusetts! I am waiting with some impatience -- impatient because I anticipate a pleasure -- for his dissenting opinion. Only a little while ago, Justice Harlan took a very noble stand on the Virginia Coupon cases, in which was involved the right of a State to repudiate its debts. Now he has taken a stand in favor of the civil rights of the colored man; and in both instances I think he is right. This decision may, after all, help the Republican party. A decision of the Supreme Court aroused the indignation of the entire North, and I hope the present decision will have a like effect. The good people of this country will not be satisfied until every man beneath the flag, without the slightest respect to his complexion, stands on a perfect equality before the law with every other. Any government that makes a distinction on account of color, is a disgrace to the age in which we live. The idea that a man like Frederick Douglass can be denied entrance to a car, that the doors of a hotel can be shut in his face; that he may be prevented from entering a theater -- the idea that there shall be some ignominious corner into which such a man can be thrown by a decision of the Supreme Court! This idea is simply absurd. Question. What remains to be done now, and who is going to do it? Answer. For a good while people have been saying that the Republican party has outlived its usefulness; that there is very little difference now between the parties; that there is hardly enough left to talk about. This decision opens the whole question. This decision says to the Republican party, "Your mission is not yet ended. This is not a free country. Our flag does not protect the rights of a human being. "This decision is the tap of a drum. The old veterans will fall into line. This decision gives the issue for the next campaign, and it may be that the Supreme Court has builded wiser than it knew. This is a greater question than the tariff or free trade, It is a question of freedom, of human rights, of the sacredness of humanity. The real Americans, the real believers in Liberty, will give three cheers for Judge Harlan. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 17 INTERVIEWS - FOURTH SERIES One word more. The Government is bound to protect its citizens, not only when they are away from home, but when they are under the flag. In time of war the Government has a right to draft any citizen; to put that citizen in the line of battle, and compel him to fight for the nation. If the Government when imperiled has the right to compel a citizen, whether white or black, to defend with his blood the flag, that citizen, when imperiled, has the right to demand protection from the Nation. The Nation cannot then say, "You must appeal to your State." If the citizen must appeal to the State for redress, then the citizen should defend the State and not the General Government, and the doctrine of State Rights then becomes complete. -- The National Republican, Washington, D.C. October 17, 1883. **** **** THE GRANT BANQUET. Chicago, November 13, 1879. TWELFTH TOAST. The Volunteer Soldiers of the Union Army, whose Valor and patriotism saved to the world "a Government of the People, by the People, and for the People." WHEN the savagery of the lash, the barbarism of the chain, and the insanity of secession confronted the civilization of our country, the question "Will the great Republic defend itself?" trembled on the lips of every lover of mankind. The North, filled with intelligence and wealth -- children of liberty -- marshaled her hosts and asked only for a leader. From civil life a man, silent, thoughtful, poised and calm, stepped forth, and with the lips of victory voiced the Nation's first and last demand: "Unconditional and immediate surrender." From that moment the end was known. That utterance was the first real declaration of real war, and, in accordance with the dramatic unities of mighty events, the great soldier who made it, received the final sword of the Rebellion. The soldiers of the Republic were not seekers after vulgar glory. They were not animated by the hope of plunder or the love of conquest. They fought to preserve the homestead of liberty and that their children might have peace. They were the defenders of humanity, the destroyers of prejudice, the breakers of chains, and in the name of the future they slew the monster of their time. They finished what the soldiers of the Revolution commenced. They re- lighted the torch that fell from their august hands and filled the world again with light. They blotted from the statute-book laws that had been passed by hypocrites at the instigation of robbers, and tore with indignant hands from the Constitution that infamous clause that made men the catchers of their fellow-men. They made it possible for judges to be just, for statesmen to be humane, and for politicians to be honest. They broke the shackles from the limbs of slaves, from the souls of masters, and from the Northern brain. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 18 THE GRANT BANQUET. They kept our country on the map of the world, and our flag in heaven. They rolled the stone from the sepulchre of progress, and found therein two angels clad in shining garments -- Nationality and Liberty. The soldiers were the saviors of the Nation; they were the liberators of men. In writing the Proclamation of Emancipation, Lincoln, greatest of our mighty dead, whose memory is as gentle as the summer air when reapers sing amid the gathered sheaves, copied with the pen what Grant and his brave comrades wrote with swords. Grander than the Greek, nobler than the Roman, the soldiers of the Republic, with patriotism as shoreless as the air, battled for the rights of others, for the nobility of labor; fought that mothers might own their babes, that arrogant idleness should not sear the back of patient toil, and that our country should not be a many-headed monster made of warring States, but a Nation, sovereign, great, and free. Blood was water, money was leaves, and life was only common air until one flag floated over a Republic without a master and without a slave. And then was asked the question: "Will a free people tax themselves to pay a Nation's debt?" The soldiers went home to their waiting wives, to their glad children, and to the girls they loved -- they went back to the fields, the shops, and mines. They had not been demoralized. They had been ennobled. They were as honest in peace as they had been brave in war. Mocking at poverty, laughing at reverses, they made a friend of toil. They said: "We saved the Nation's life, and what is life without honor?" They worked and wrought with all of labor's royal sons that every pledge the Nation gave might be redeemed. And their great leader, having put a shining band of friendship -- a girdle of clasped and happy hands -- around the globe, comes home and finds that every promise made in war has now the ring and gleam of gold. There is another question still: -- Will all the wounds of war be healed? I answer, Yes. The Southern people must submit, -- not to the dictation of the North, but to the Nation's will and to the verdict of mankind. They were wrong, and the time will come when they will say that they are victors who have been vanquished by the right. Freedom conquered them, and freedom will cultivate their fields, educate their children, weave for them the robes of wealth, execute their laws, and fill their land with happy homes. The soldiers of the Union saved the South as well as the North. They made us a Nation. Their victory made us free and rendered tyranny in every other land as insecure as snow upon volcanoes' lips. And now let us drink to the volunteers -- to those who sleep in unknown, sunken graves, whose names are only in the hearts of those they loved and left -- of those who only hear in happy dreams the footsteps of return. Let us drink to those who died where Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 19 THE GRANT BANQUET. lipless famine mocked at want; to all the maimed whose scars give modesty a tongue; to all who dared and gave to chance the care and keeping of their lives; to all the living and to all the dead, -- to Sherman, to Sheridan, and to Grant, the laureled soldier of the world, and last, to Lincoln, whose loving life, like a bow of peace, spans and arches all the clouds of war. END **** **** ROBSON AND CRANE DINNER. New York, November 21, 1807. TOAST. Comedy and Tragedy. I BELIEVE in the medicine of mirth, and in what I might call the longevity of laughter. Every man who has caused real, true, honest mirth, has been a benefactor of the human race. In a world like this, where there is so much trouble -- a world gotten up on such a poor plan -- where sometimes one is almost inclined to think that the Deity, if there be one, played a practical joke -- to find, I say, in such a world, something that for the moment allows laughter to triumph over sorrow, is a great piece of good fortune. I like the stage, not only because General Sherman likes it -- and I do not think I was ever at the theater in my life but I saw him -- I not only like it because General Washington liked it, but because the greatest man that ever touched this grain of sand and tear we call the world, wrote for the stage, and poured out a very Mississippi of philosophy and pathos and humor, and everything calculated to raise and ennoble mankind. I like to see the stage honored, because actors are the ministers, the apostles, of the greatest man who ever lived, and because they put flesh upon and blood and passion within the greatest characters that the greatest man drew. This is the reason I like the stage. It makes us human. A rascal never gained applause on the stage. A hypocrite never commanded admiration, not even when he was acting a clergyman -- except for the naturalness of the acting. No one has ever yet seen any play in which, in his heart, he did not applaud honesty, heroism, sincerity, fidelity, courage, and self-denial. Never. No man ever heard a great play who did not get up a better, wiser, and more humane man; and no man ever went to the theater and heard Robson and Crane, who did not go home better-natured, and treat his family that night a little better than on a night when he had not heard these actors. I enjoy the stage; I always did enjoy it. I love the humanity of it. I hate solemnity; it is the brother of stupidity -- always. You never knew a solemn man who was not stupid, and you never will. There never was a man of true genius who had not the simplicity of a child, and over whose lips had not rippled the river of laughter -- never, and there never will be. I like, I say, the stage for its wit and for its humor. I do not like sarcasm; I do not like mean Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 20 ROBSON AND CRANE DINNER. humor. There is as much difference between humor and malicious wit as there is between a bee's honey and a bee's sting, and the reason I like Robson and Crane is that they have the honey without the sting. Another thing that makes me glad is, that I live in an age and generation and day that has sense enough to appreciate the stage; sense enough to appreciate music; sense enough to appreciate everything that lightens the burdens of this life. Only a few years ago our dear ancestors looked upon the theater as the vestibule of hell; and every actor was going "the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire." In those good old days, our fathers, for the sake of relaxation, talked about death and graves and epitaphs and worms and shrouds and dust and hell. In those days, too, they despised music, cared nothing for art; and yet I have lived long enough to hear the world -- that is, the civilized world -- say that Shakespeare wrote the greatest book that man has ever read. I have lived long enough to see men like Beethoven and Wagner put side by side with the world's greatest men -- great in imagination -- and we must remember that imagination makes the great difference between men. I have lived long enough to see actors placed with the grandest and noblest, side by side with the greatest benefactors of the human race. There is one thing in which I cannot quite agree with what has been said. I like tragedy, because tragedy is only the other side of the shield and I like both sides. I love to spend an evening on the twilight boundary line between tears and smiles. There is nothing that pleases me better than some scene, some act, where the smile catches the tears in the eyes; where the eyes are almost surprised by the smile, and the smile touched and softened by the tears. I like that. And the greatest comedians and the greatest tragedians have that power; and, in conclusion, let me say, that it gives me more than pleasure to acknowledge the debt of gratitude I owe, not only to the stage, but to the actors whose health we drink to-night. **** **** Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended -- The Free Market-Place of Ideas. The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 21


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