A Regiment of Drummers

April 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today, we introduce a new category, “The Bum Rush, or Straight from the Rush’s Bum”; a sort of what-if, “What Would Rush Say?”, if the master Bloviator had been around “back in the day.”

And to start things off on the right foot (in the mouth) …

“The Kids Aren’t Alright”

Or

“Cornpone and Sowbelly for Thought”

This gem originally ran in The Galveston News, March 25, 1875:

A Regiment of Drummers: The Labor Question.

The hostility of the average American youth to manual labor is a national calamity. The aversion of all mankind to the curse that followed the fall of our first parents is exhibited in a greater or less degree among all peoples. But the contestation must be made that here in America, under a republican form of government, and where labor should be regarded as manly and honorable, we have a shirking of the duties therein entailed which neither does good judgment nor sense of independence much credit.

We are led into these remarks from the tenor of a letter received in the NEWS office the other day, from New Orleans, stating that in answer to an advertisement that appeared in this paper a short time ago by a New Orleans firm, requesting the services of a “drummer” for Texas, the house had received three hundred applications. This might be pointed to as an evidence of the value of the NEWS as an advertising medium, but that is not the object of this article. It is of more import to show to the country generally that there must be something wrong in the social and material system of the commonwealth when three hundred men can be found on exceedingly short notice ready and willing to undertake such service as that required of a commercial solicitor. Now, it is not to be inferred from this that the position of a commercial traveler, or “drummer” as he is generally termed, is not one of responsibility and arduous exertion. On the contrary, it is a very hard life, and requires both tact and persevering industry. In fact, as business is now conducted, this class is indispensable to its prosperity. But the assertion is ventured that had a similar advertisement been inserted requiring the services of a good man to undertake a job of blacksmithing, or wheelwrighting, or any other task requiring the expenditure of a fair amount o£ elbow-grease and muscle, there would have been no three hundred applicants for the situation within a week.

And that is just what is the matter with too many who have to complain of hard times and nothing to do. The aversion to laboring with the hands is the cause of a great deal of material prostration. And not only is this the case in the South, for the North and West have the same complaint to make. Some time ago an article appeared in the Cincinnati Commonwealth showing the danger to the country from this cause. That journal represented that the skilled labor in the foundries and machine shops of the North and West was nearly all imported from Europe—that the youth of these sections evaded such work and sought clerkships and other light employment, and that in the event of a war of long duration with a European power, the country might feel grievously the want of such skilled labor. Of course this is a far-stretched supposition, but it proves that labor in America is not hold in that esteem which makes it honorable as in other lands.

Young men leave the country and come to towns seeking light employment and rapid promotion; the youth of our cities are all after “easy-going things,” and, as a consequence, the mechanical arts and useful industries are neglected and avoided. It is difficult to say where an innovation should commence here, but much remains with the parents undoubtedly in inculcating a respect for labor and enforcing a compliance with its exactions. Three hundred applications for a single situation as drummer inside of a week shows there are too many that way bent in Texas for the good of the State. That number of men upon good Brazos bottom land could raise two thousand bales of cotton a year, and corn and meat enough to do them. Just think of that, ye aspirants for commercial honors, and seriously and honestly go to work.

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