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About The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 1, 1876)
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VOL. 2 No. 2.
PORTLAND, OREGON, OCTOBER, 1876.
1 PKR AKItm, IIRP
ISINaLE CONKS, cNT
We give our readers in this number
a picture of a pagan temple. It is a
structure of wondrous massiveness and
ornamentation. It lifts its head upon
storied architecture toward the sky.
As a building it is lofty and command
ing, but what does it symbolize ? If
we think of the darkness which clouds
the lives of those who reared it, the su
perstition and cruelty which is charac
teristic of their worship and of the base
qualities which they attribute to their
gods, in whose honor it was reared,
docs not our admiration of the building
mourn that its greatness was for such a
There are other pagan tcmplca-than
those which are buildcd in pagan lands.
There are lives of men which are found
ed and pursued for objects lower than
pagan superstition. There are men
who reach high station and disport them.
tort before the gaze of the whole world,
whose lives are as base as their fortunes
are lofty. They endure for a time and
then pass away, as pagan temples are
passing away before the advance of civ
ilization. Let us build something that
will endure. Let us form onr lives up
on right principles and for noble ends.
Let us look upon this pagan temple and
take warning that greatness must be
true greatness or it will not endure.
BEFORE THE 8TATE Ag'l SOCIETY.
BY W. L. ADAMS, M. 1).
Less than ten years ago I was dis
gusted by hearing an orator in Boston
announce that "art is the true test of
civilization and human advancement."
To-day I am a firm believer in the
doctrine I then scouted j and if I was
wrong then, and right now, your hum
ble servant is progressing along with
the rest of you.
Suppose you should be taken up some
night and carried in your sleep half
way round the world, and then let
down in a strange country among a
new people, speaking an unknown
language ; your first impressions as to
the moral and intellectual statin of that
people would be made by the evidences
seen all around, of the extent to which
art or human handicraft had gone in
fashioning from original elements the
comforts and conveniences of man.
We all believe that other planets be
sides our own arc inhabited, some, per
haps, like Mercury, by an inferior race
to ours; while others, like Jupiter and
Saturn, we love to contemplate as peo
pled with a race as superior to us as we
arc superior (according to Darwin) to
our monkey ancestors.
Now if we could be set down, first
on one and then on the other of these
planets, and find that on the first the
primeval forests were yet undisturbed,
mere were no roads, no cities, no or
chards and no fields of waving grain, that
the people dressed in skins, lived in
caves and sat on piles of bones from
which they had gnawed the flesh of
animals killed by rough bludgeons and
stone spears, we should naturally shrink
back with horror from such a people as
low enough down in the scale of hu
manity to be willing to dispatch us
with a stone hammer and then eat us
raw. We shouldn't want to tarry long
among them, and should be well
pleased to hear the last whistle and
near the cry of the conductor of our
aerial chariot u All aboard for Jupi
On stepping off upon this magnifi-
manufacttirc diamonds from charcoal,
to make all costly metals and precious
stones from principles out of which
they originally sprang under the slow
process of geological formation.
Suppose that ages - ago they had
slaughtered their last cattle as useless
cuniberers of the ground, science and
art having taught them to make their
meat, milk, butter, and cheese, not
from the grasses, but from the elements
found in nature, whence vegetation
sprung, destined of old to be manu
factured into meat, milk, butter and
!i80li-if ifii? I
cent planet, what would be our im
pressions of the people if we should sec
the evidences of art carried to such per
fection that their cities contained noth
ing but the most magnificent and con
venient structures, their streets all broad
and perfectly clean, flowers, fruit trees
and fountains everywhere; facilities for
travel, such that the four hundred
thousand-mile circuit of the entire
planet could be safely made in half a
day; that all animal labor had been
superseded by machinery ; that chem
istry and alchemy had been carried to a
perfection that enabled the people to
cheese, by passing through the labora
tory of an animal's stomach, till man
should become wise enough to make
his own laboratory and he independent
of kicking cows and dirty stables.
Suppose that we should find those
people so familiar with the laws of life
and so careful about their observance
that they lived for millions of years;
that they knew now to control the
weather, make it rain when they
wanted it, and cause it to "hold up"
during Fair week; that they had ob
servatories larger and higher than Mt.
Hood, on which were mounted tele.
scopes that enabled them to see dis
tinctly what was going on through the
wnoie soiar system, telescopes through
which they had witnessed and photo
graphed all the changes that have been
going on on this little ant hill of ours.
trom the time that flora and fauna first
adorned its crust, down to the advent
of man; and that in their athencums.
were hung up nhotocrraohic nietures
showing all the geological changes,
evolutions and transformations that our
planet has undergone during its puzzling
geological epochs, with all its extinct
and living animals down to this day.
Amoncr a nconle who hml rnn-inl ilm
arts to such perfection, what would wc
expect to find ? Should we have any
tear ol being murdered, robbed or
maltreated? From the exhibitions of
handicraft seen everywhere, should wc
noi icci sure ol meeting a people with
intelligent and pleasing faces, inspired
with the belief that their world was
made to he enjoyed, and that the best
way to prepare for another world and
please their God was to make a good
use of their present world, and help
their fellows to make such good use of
it as to insure their highest possible
Wc will now leave the people on
Jupiter and come down to our own
little planet, and sec what we can dis
cover here, and what is the lesson of
the hour, We shall come a little hum.
bled, perhaps, and with some of the
starch taken out of our conceit, a char,
actcristic that weak men are noted for,
especially illiterate Americans. By
comparing ourselves with such as we
have been talking about, we feel hu
miliated; but by comparing ourselves,
with the rest of the world, or even with
our ancestors and that is about as fur as
most men ever sec we naturally full
into a sort of Fourth of July glorifica
tion of ourselves. This isall well enough
so long as it is not curried beyond the.
verge of an incentive to still higher and
nobler attainments; hut when wc carry
it to the extent that the German did
whom Coleridge met nt Frankfort, who.
never spoke ol himself without tukinir
off his hat out of profound respect, wc
pei naps carry our egotism a little
My postulate is, that art is the touch
stone of human civilization and human
advancement, and I am going to slick
to my text. I may not be as succinct
as was a hardshell brother who, in
taking for kh text "The world, the
flesh and the devil," announced that for
want of time he should "merely glance
at the world, barely touch on the llcsh
and then hurry on to the devil."
Art is the disposition or modifimtmn
of things by human skill to answer the
purpose intended. I his is Webster's
leliiution, a very correct one, and it
answers my purpose exactly, for under
it wc group in one cluster everything
that belongs to this Fair. There isn't
a machine on this ground but what is a
specimen of human skill or a work ot
art. Every fine painting, every bed
quilt, every rag-carpet and every other
manufactured article on exhibition, tell.
just what progress its fabricator has.
mane in an or skill in that direction.
Those beautiful and delicious apple
have lieen developed from the sour and
worthless crab-apple by pomological
art. These fine-blooded and fast horses,
these thoroughbred cattle, fine sheep,
goats, and superior swine and poultry,,
have all been developed from "scrub"
stock, by the long continued, patient
and judicious use of art appliances..
The woman who sends beautiful rolls
of clean, sweet butter to market, nicely
packed in some proper vessel, is a bet
ter artist and a better looking womo.