Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, January 01, 1878, Page 265, Image 5

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    No. 1
Literary Criticism.
mas. This lie clenrly proved by Ills short
but Illustrious rule.
"WliIlc Cortez was at the head of the
subdued Mexicans, all went well. The
natives were satisfied, internal progress
was rapid and in fact all the arts of peace
were carefully cultivated. Not a revolt
was heard of among the conquered tribes
and he was regarded by all as a benign
How different was the sceue presented
as soon as his narrow minded country,
men were placed in authority. Revolts
sprung up on every hand. All sorts of
lawlessness were practised upon the sim
pic natives by the debased Spaniards and
Instead of the prosperity and order which
existed when Cortex was ruler, Mexico
has been sinking, from that day to this,
deeper and deeper into the mire of an
archy and confusion.
Before passing a too hasty and severe
condemnation upon the lives of men who
lived in an age less civilized than ours,
let us ask ourselves this questson how
will future generations look upon many
of our acts? I think that much which
we consider just and humane will be re
garded as acts of barbarism.
Then in speaking and writing of men
of former ages, while showing forth their
careers, let us place alongside of their
bad deeds, their good ones and alongside
of the good the bad and draw our inferen.
ces and conclusions by regarding the de
gree of civilization in which thvy lived.
We would have no one think that we
defend many of the acts of Cortez. He
was a human being and therefore subject
to mistakes and gross errors.
An unprincipled adventurer he would
be now, but then he was not so regarded.
Cortez in truth was in advance of his
countrymen or in other words ahead of
the time in which he lived.
The criticism that is sometimes placed
upon American literature, is indeed amus
ing. That criticism is necessary for ilesij;nat.
ing an inferior class of books and period
icals is self-evident. Hut that criticism
has been the chief agent in opposing the
formation of a standard in American lit
erature is equally true. Could criticism
end in preserving a pure class of literature,
then its brilliant results would remain un
tarnished. Hut criticism knows no end.
There is a class of people that arc called
critics. They do not stop with a just crit
icism upon second or third class writings
but pull down the master-pieces of emi
nent authors, and in glowing terms depict
the gross mistakes of those whose reputa
tion and perfection the ciitic might envy.
Critics, then, may be divided into two
classes. The criticisms of one class re.
suit in the benefit of literature: the critic
isms of the other in its degradation and
The first class is gifted with a free use
of their judgment. They rise above the
sphere of prejudice and jealousy. They
criticise an article upon its real merits.
If the article is worthy of attention, it re
ceives its due attention; if inferior, it re
ceives its due censure. It is this class that
lias established the standard of English
and French literature. But in America
this class is small. It is over-powercd by
the second class, and the standard of our
prose and poetry is made to suit thecritiq.
The critics of the second class are num
erous, and their criticisms are cheap.
They not onty criticise harshly an inferior
type of literature, but sometimes ridicule
the best that falls into their grasp. The
inferior and superior are alike to them.
They are not satisfied with anything. They
arc jealous over the success of others.
They seem to smilo upon the care-worn
authors about to be clirushed under the
weight of their malicious criticism. It is