Friday, April 23, 2010

The Person Sitting In Darkness

Having now laid all the historical facts before the Person Sitting in Darkness, we should bring him to again, and explain them to him. We should say to him:
"They look doubtful, but in reality they are not. There have been lies; yes, but they were told in a good cause. We have been treacherous; but that was only in order that real good might come out of apparent evil. True, we have crushed a deceived and confiding people; we have turned against the weak and the friendless who trusted us; we have stamped out a just and intelligent and well-ordered republic; we have stabbed an ally in the back and slapped the face of a guest; we have bought a Shadow from an enemy that hadn't it to sell; we have robbed a trusting friend of his land and his liberty; we have invited our clean young men to shoulder a discredited musket and do bandit's work under a flag which bandits have been accustomed to fear, not to follow; we have debauched America's honor and blackened her face before the world; but each detail was for the best. We know this. The Head of every State and Sovereignty in Christendom and ninety per cent. of every legislative body in Christendom, including our Congress and our fifty State Legislatures, are members not only of the church, but also of the Blessings-of-Civilization Trust. This world-girdling accumulation of trained morals, high principles, and justice, cannot do an unright thing, an unfair thing, an ungenerous thing, an unclean thing. It knows what it is about. Give yourself no uneasiness; it is all right."
Now then, that will convince the Person. You will see. It will restore the Business. Also, it will elect the Master of the Game to the vacant place in the Trinity of our national gods; and there on their high thrones the Three will sit, age after age, in the people's sight, each bearing the Emblem of his service: Washington, the Sword of the Liberator; Lincoln, the Slave's Broken Chains; the Master, the Chains Repaired.
It will give the Business a splendid new start. You will see.
Mark Twain, 1901. The Person Sitting in Darkness, the conclusion of a piece about the American Occupation of The Phillipines.......


nodecorum said...

Is the quote entirely correct? There was not 50 states in 1901.

microdot said...

I checked quite a few different entries abpout the piece and the controversy it generated at the time.
Every version had the same wording, and I have to concur, this is the original text of Twain.

Perhaps that is a mystery you would like to solve?

mud_rake said...

Twain, perfectly presented in the photo, was a master of insight and a devil for those he disdained.

mud_rake said...

Twain, perfectly presented in the photo, was a master of insight and a devil for those he disdained.

steve said...

It is kind of funny how subversive Mark Twain's writing could be. I remember reading Huck Finn as a 6th, or 7th grader. For me it was like a turning point because the subtext of the story -about slavery, about morality vs legality (granted not on those terms as a 6th grader), the subtext really hit me in the face and made me think. I mean I don't want to make it out more than it is, but most people, when they think of Twain, they think of this old river codger who wrote endearing and quaint children's stories. But a story like Huckleberry Finn must have been revolutionary for its day.