Late Mr. P.T. Barnum
Phineas Taylor Barnum
Phineas Taylor Barnum,
who died on the 7th inst. At
Bridgeport, was born in 1810 at
Connecticut. In the course of his
long life he had become more widely
known, and maintained a firmer hold
over the vast public to whom he
delighted to appeal, than almost any
celebrity past or present.
The statesman who is the idol of
to-day, may be the discredited
recluse of tomorrow. The general,
for whom festal cities have blared
with peaceful fires, slips out of
the public mind, and recovers a
temporary fame only when he departs
this life at Bath or Cheltenham.
But to Barnum, the braying of Fame's
trumpet was a commercial as well as
a moral necessity, and he insured
the certainty of its sound by
blowing it himself.
If in the less pretentious walks of
life, such as war, or politics, or
letters, hold advertisement were
recognized as a legitimate adjutant
to genius many a darkness would have
leapt into the light and shone in
the sudden making of splendid names.
if the postulant for popular humor
had committed his repetition to the
care of P. T. Barnum, The
extraordinary energy, and intuition,
and practical humor, which made
Barnum the greatest of showmen,
were, apparently, fitted solely for
For all his experiences and skill
failed to secure him success in
commerce or speculations, other than
those which traded beneficently
enough on the willing grubbily of
mankind and their faith in what ever
is enforced with sufficient
emphasis. It is a strange career to
look back upon; a career associated,
throughout, with the gaiety of
nations. Barnums Show was a
household word when men, who are now
more of austere fathers of families,
were still at the age when show and
circus are a dream of delight, and
the smell of orange-peels and
sawdust acquire that magic
association with a treat which they
seldom lose to any but the
indisputably superior person.
Barnum was not content to be a
benefactor to his fellow-creatures
merely by providing the Great Show
on Earth for their delectation, and
his own profit. He turned his
wealth to many benevolent purposes,
and the belief in himself, which was
so remarkable and even puzzling a
feature in his character, was at
least reposed in a very
large-hearted, courageous, and save
in the pardonable eccentricities of
the show world toughly honest man.
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