In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

180civil war history most important contribution is the revelation of a man who was patient, kind and determined to preserve the sanctity of the Lincoln legend. The enigma of Robert Lincoln remains. For all of his accomplishments , the very legend he carefully helped to preserve continues to deny him his own identity with the American public. As he feared, he could never be just himself, Robert Lincoln, but remains still "Abe Lincoln 's son." Ronald D. Rietveld Wheaton College The Man Who Made Nasby: David Ross Locke. By John M. Harrison. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1969. Pp. ix, 335. $8.75.) A reader opening a book on a once popular but long-neglected humorist will hardly be inspired to continue if he is told on the first page of the preface that the author does not consider the humorist very funny. This is nonetheless the way in which John M. Harrison chooses to introduce his biography of David Ross Locke, editor of the Toledo Blade (of which Harrison has been associate editor) and creator of Petroleum V. Nasby. Harrison shares Locke's own indignation at his exclusive identification with Nasby. As he rightly claims, there is much more to Locke than the misspelled letters from "Confedrit X Roads", which, like most humor of the mid-nineteenth century, now seems hopelessly dated. At the same time, he is able to justify continued interest in the letters by taking Nasby out of the category of "phunny phellows" and placing him where he belongs, among the satirists. A newspaperman from the age of twelve, Locke worked as a printer in upstate New York before moving west to Cleveland. There his lifelong commitment to equal rights for the Negro found its first expression . When John Mercer Langston, later Minister to Haiti (not Liberia!), got a job as printer on the Herald, the white printers walked out but Locke refused to follow them. In pre-Civil War America there was plenty of opportunity for a young man to air his views by editing a small town newspaper; thus a number of Ohio communities became aware that Locke was strongly anti-slavery and pro-union. The first adumbration of Petroleum V. Nasby appeared in the Bucyrus Journal under the head "Another Paean from the Harp of a Thousand Strings." This sermon by an "unlearnt preacher", which is funny as well as satirical, is much in the style later adopted for the ignorant and bigoted Nasby. That rum-drenched Copperhead was born of the war years in the columns of the Hancock Jeffersonian of Findlay when Locke wrote and printed Nasby's semiliterate letters to ridicule the Confederate cause and its northern sympathizers . Perhaps he did not adequately distinguish genuine sympa- book reviews181 thizers from those who merely wanted to end the war with a negotiated peace, but his satire was an effective bludgeon for the Union cause. It was widely credited with helping to win the war. The Union more or less restored, Locke moved to Toledo to edit the Blade. As "a man who could do anything around a newspaper", he was in general charge of the operation, but made the Weekly his special care. Under his editorship it became nationally known, counting 200,000 readers. By culling skillfully from the Blade's editorials, Harrison has made his chapters on Reconstruction a case study of shifting opinion in the late 1860's. Originally a supporter of President Johnson and a foe of the Republican Radicals, Locke ended by supporting the Radicals and calling for Johnson's ouster. He agreed that the basic structure of the government should not be "distorted" merely to punish the Confederates, but he was not prepared—as he came to realize Johnson was^to withdraw protection from the freed slaves and leave their fate to the southern states. We thus find him praising the Congress as heartily for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866 over Johnson's veto as he had previously praised the President for vetoing it. With war and Reconstruction receding, the author focuses on Locke's career with the Bhde and the New York Evening Mail. Here the keen interest of the first half...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 180-181
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.