Saturday, August 13, 2016

Samuel Kettell* to James S. Pike, April 25, 1850

Boston, April 25, 1850.

My Dear Sir: Nothing objectionable in your last. T’other one has made quite a fortune for itself as far as publicity goes. You will see by the accompanying Albany paper how it is relished in certain quarters. The sweetness of the praise bestowed upon you by one critic is tempered by a drop of acid from the galipot of another. On the whole, you may congratulate yourself highly on the success of that scratch; none but a sharp one could have caused so much rubbing. I could send you many other copies of the letter and the comment thereon, but suppose you have already seen abundance of them.

You and I have but one opinion of the charlatanry and egoism of Clay. It is a portentous humbug that has ridden the Whig party like a nightmare. I would as soon buy real estate in the tail of a comet as I would invest political capital in his principles.

My hope and trust is that you may never be hampered in the free expression of your thoughts through the columns of the Courier. The reputation which you have gained for it is great. I wish the independence of a public journal were a means of making it profitable, but I am ashamed for our enlightened public to say that the dullest, stupidest, most unideaed and slavish of all printed sheets are the very ones most certain of success in money matters. People are very eager to read what they will not pay for. I know that by abundant experience.

I am now awaiting with the utmost impatience the result of the negotiations which I mentioned to you, and which will decide whether I am to stay in or go out of the concern. Whatever happens, I shall always feel the great obligations we have been under to you, and always be ready to do what I can to requite them.

Yours truly,
S. Kettell.
J. S. Pike, Esq,

* The editor of the Boston Courier.

SOURCE: James Shepherd Pike, First Blows of the Civil War: The Ten Years of Preliminary Conflict in the United States from 1850 to 1860, p. 40-1

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