This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Fellow-Artists: I suppose that most of us are aware of the very important part which fidelity to nature and the higher principles of art bear in the success of our profession; and I fancy, sometimes, that the lessons which we have received in this direction, while pursuing our studies, may have a meaning that extends beyond our canvas and our easels.
I doubt not that in the experiences of most of us here present we have more than once had occasion to note the similarity between the work of perfecting a superior painting and of shaping our lives to our ideal of honor and usefulness. In the studio, when the picture has gathered form and awaits the finer touches of the pencil, we carefully scan it from different points of vision, noting each defect in coloring and expression, and toning down, heightening, obliterating and retouching, as our skill and tastes may dictate, until we con fess that in our eyes it is perfect. Thus it behooves us, as artists as men who revere art - who strive for excellence and fame - who respect ourselves and our talents - to stand aside occasionally and critically examine ourselves - our outer and inner lives - and note wherein we have come short of being the ideal men that we were designed to be. In the painting we have created with our pencils, a few movements of the hand will effect a wonderful transformation. If defects exist in character may we be equally adroit in the removal of blemishes and in the attainment of that which is wanting.
We are told that "an undevout astronomer is mad." Gentlemen, if our art is at all inferior to the sublime science of astronomy, it is because it is doing business more with our earth than with the immense universe beyond. We may with the utmost fidelity transfer to our canvas the finest landscapes and wildest charms of nature, and so win the highest applause from hosts of admirers. But alas! our choicest paintings are but types and shadows of the real grandeur of the works of nature which inspire our genius and should fill us with the spirit of devotion to the bounteous Providence which has spoken these beautiful things of earth into existence. An undevout artist is no less mad than the unbelieving astronomer.
Gentlemen, I am aware that this is an unusual train of thought to be introduced upon a festive occasion like this, but I am here to accord to my calling, and yours, all the dignity and emphasis to which it is entitled. I revere the memory of the dead and gone masters of our art; I rejoice in the perpetuation of their works and genius, and I believe that we who are endeavoring to leave to a grateful posterity paintings worthy of our profession should feel the importance of our mission, be faithful in our representations of nature, true artists in spirit as well as in works, and carry with us the character of high-minded, broad, generous, faithful men.
And now, turning to lighter matters connected with our profession, allow me to suggest that you who are expert portrait-painters should be "sharper than a serpent's tooth." I have observed that you paint portraits of gentlemen very conscientiously, for where the original possesses a pug-nose, you invariably give him one in your picture, and oftentimes, no doubt, it causes the poor man a world of uneasiness. As a remedy, I would suggest a schedule for such emergencies, fixing the price of an aquiline nose at so much, and a pug for something less, and let the gentleman decide for himself which he will have portrayed. This, brother artists, is the true mission of art - to make every one satisfied with himself and with your work. Should a cross-eyed man desire to be taken with straight visual organs, always be ready to accommodate him. What else should you do? He pays for the work, and takes his choice, preferring straight eyes to crooked ones. Who can blame him?
These are little things, gentlemen, but very suggestive, and you will do well to heed them.
I have thus responded to the toast in accordance with the assignment of the committee, and from the fullness of my heart, every sentiment of which is fraught with veneration for Art, and esteem for my fellow-artists.
Response to a Speech of Congratulation,
Made by John A. Logan to Illinois Republican Association.
Mr. President, and Fellow-Citizens of Illinois: I welcome you heartily, and tender you my sincere thanks for the expression of good will manifested to-night in this voluntary visit. It is pleasant at all times to meet with one's co-workers, and it is especially so to meet with those with whom our labors have been most immediately cast. Born and reared in the State of Illinois, a flood of personal and agreeable recollections rushes upon me as I behold your familiar faces. Some of you stood with me as boys upon the shore of life's great ocean, panting with eagerness to explore the inviting but untried expanse before you. Some of you were side by side with me when our young manhood, full of vigor and latent possibilities, began the struggle with forbidding fortune, and in the face of obstacles which magnified and ennobled your subsequent success. With some of you I have rejoiced in the accomplishment of objects for which we have striven, and with some of you I have grieved over the nonfrui-tion of your best-grounded hopes. With all of you I have been closely associated during some portion of our respective careers, and can dwell with gratification over the retrospect of our personal acquaintances - a retrospect which, while full of pleasures, should not fail to remind us that, though we have passed the heyday of youth, and are standing under the more subdued light of middle-age, we are still in the prime of usefulness, and with life's mission still unfilled. Some of you that are here have come upon the field of labor at a more recent period, but are no less my friends and fellow-laborers. To one and all of you, gentlemen, I desire to manifest my deep appreciation of the spirit which prompts your visit at this time, and to extend the hand of fellowship and of hearty greeting to my friends of Illinois here assembled.
Speech at a Manufacturers' Convention,