Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 6: No 2) >> The Philosophy of the Omnibus >> Page 19

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Page 19

Reviews/Essays | 1998
Transcription and hence it is that the beauty, and fine enamel, and rich paint of the popular
Omnibus, does not last long. How should any man dare to enjoy that which is
neat, delicate, and clean, without first having made himself so? Yet such is the
teaching of the era when the Omnibus had birth. The Omnibus marks such an
era it is the sign, indicative of a moral phase in the progress of the nations.
Are you sceptical? Do you doubt? Do you, forsooth,—bearing a high
thought, and a nice sense,—do you hold forth denial? Are you stubborn,
unconvinced? We offer you no vain theory. Our thought asks not for argument
it needs not to be written. Look for yourself. Go forth into the highways—go
into the halls of council and deliberation into the church, the forum, the senate.
Look where you will, and the Omnibus principle is forever in your eyes. See you
not the Court of Pie poudre in the Representative Congress the great hall the
congregated wisdom of these United, but discordant, States? Look down, as we
have looked, upon that motley and unmanageable assembly. They are the wise
men of your nation. They speak the doom—not of to-day, not of to-morrow not
of a state, a city, or a tribe. They speak the fate of a people, a countless and
growing people—of an empire, of a world—of the future. Yet what are their
pretensions so to speak? Look and answer. The Omnibus principle has clearly
presided in the selection of many among them. There is one half-besotted
creature just before us full as a beer-barrel whose head has surely been
"unkempt, uncombed," for a long variety of seasons. Such a man cannot be a
gentleman such a man cannot be a moralist such a man cannot be wise—for
cleanliness is a primary constituent of morals, wisdom, and gentility. For what
quality, then, has he been chosen to a station of so much responsibility? You see,
too, that he is a sot half drunk, even now and at all times profanely vulgar, and
proverbially studpid. He rides in the Omnibus he rides with the people. Does
he desire Pat's vote? He sees the brogan of Pat besmeared with mud, and he
resolutely besmears his own. He beholds Dick Gossip drunk, whose vote he also
desires, and he takes care to be frequently found in the Omnibus which is Dick's
favorite. He goes to the same gin shop, and thereby the patriotism of the twain