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The first Kansas banner was a newspaper. It made its advent under an elm tree on the town site of Leavenworth, September 15, 1854. There was not yet a house to be seen, nor any other definite sign of civilization. The situation presented only the aspect of primeval and uninterrupted nature. Never before had such a thing come to pass in such circumstances. It boldly challenged precedent and announced a new departure.

For the first time the press manifested the pioneering instinct and proposed to lead and not to follow the course of progress to become itself a part of the history of settlement and development. Perhaps it was an accident; possibly it was an inspiration; certainly it was infused with the denoting significance of those choice and potent events which constitute the basis and the philosophy of history.

There was room for the criticism that the scheme of starting a newspaper before there was any news to print was illogical, fantastic, preposterous. But it was not then, and has never since been, so regarded in Kansas. The novelty of it was infectious. A second paper was soon established at Kickapoo. Early in 1855 two more appeared here in Lawrence. Others followed as new towns were founded. The printing press preceded all the usual agencies of society. It did not wait for the rudimentary clutter of things to be composed and organized. The spirit of adventure thrust it forward ahead of the calaboose, the post office, the school, the church, and made it a symbol of conquest. Thus the theory of publicity was emphasized as a factor in the westward march of the American people and their institutions; and thus Kansas was signalized by a revelation that materially enlarged the scope and meaning of modern journalism.

It is to be remembered that the Kansas of those prelusive days was an unknown quantity. The early explorers had stigmatized it as a desert which could only serve the purpose of restricting our population and thereby insuring a continuance of the Union. This view had been accepted by the geographers, and was not positively contradicted until the newspapers crossed the Missouri river and began to put the prolonged myth, the monstrous falsehood, in the way of gradual extinction. What the newspapers failed to tell, the town builders proclaimed in the form of gaudy and alluring pictures, which sometimes represented things that had not yet gone through the formality of taking place. It was one of these "chromatic triumphs of lithographed mendacity," as he called it, which brought a young lawyer named Ingalls from Massachusetts to Kansas. His first sight of the town of his imagination was a rude and mortifying disappointment. He wrote vividly of the squalid reality as contrasted with the beautiful fiction. But, like the rest, he had come to stay, to make a home, to find a career. "It remains to be proved," he said, "whether there is any heroic stuff in my mold, and whether or not, in my hunger after the western horizon, I have eaten my own happiness."

We may easily believe that this expressed a common feeling among the new settlers. Most of them were having their first experience of frontier life, and all of them were comparatively poor. The task that confronted them involved all kinds of toil, privation, peril and sacrifice; but if they could have foreseen the whole story they would not have turned back. As they became acquainted with Kansas they developed a faith in her and a devotion to her which made them equal to every trial and superior to all vicissitudes. The typical habitation was a primitive log cabin, but it was invested with the splendor of a castle by their fidelity to all that it represented. They drew a profit from the discipline of industry and frugality; and they went hungry, if necessary, to keep the newspaper coming to the home.

The newspapers did not have to wait long for news. It soon began to reach them in abundance and diversity. There was something doing every day. Kansas suddenly became a history maker in the full sense of the term. The homeseekers were diverted from their simple and ordinary affairs to meet a problem that trivialized all other considerations. An irrepressible conflict that had exhausted the ingenuity of statesmen in schemes of compromise and postponement was focused here for practical adjustment. It was a question of choosing between free and servile labor, not on moral grounds alone, but also with reference to social and economic interests. A contagion of politics overspread the territory. There was a copious flow of speeches, resolutions, manifestoes and proc-lamations. Convention succeeded convention almost as often as changes of the moon. Twelve general elections were held in less than three years. Popular government was exemplified as a continuous assertion of the rights and functions of citizenship, including the privilege of shooting and being shot at for opinion's sake.

It was a period of intense feeling and desperate determination. The lines were drawn with unmistakable precision, leaving no middle refuge for the shirk or the sluggard. As a man voted, so he was expected to fight. The conditions were hair-triggered the word and the blow were simultaneous. Excesses attended the proceedings on both sides, but we can well afford to forget them in view of the rich profusion of heroism and glory with which they were associated. It was a busy time for newspapers. They had opportunities that combined practice with theory and provided ample facilities for all kinds of services. Their post of duty was on the firing line, and they helped to bring about the news they published. In several instances their offices were sacked and demolished, but somehow they got more type and more presses and resumed their work with additional zeal and an invigorated vocabulary. Their number steadily increased, until in 1858 there were twenty-two of them. They pushed their way, with further accessions, through multiplied difficulties, to the day of rejoicing which marked the admission of Kansas to the Union, January 29, 1861. And on the 22d of February following, the flag of the United States bearing the new star was raised for the first time, over Independence Hall, by that most lovable of our national heroes, Abraham Lincoln.

This should have brought tranquillity and happiness to Kansas. But the logic of destiny that was interthreaded with its life and its relations had other demands upon its courage and endurance. It was an hour of triumph, but the ominous reverberations of the recent conflict would not be silenced. It had lit the torch for a great national catastrophe. The War of the Rebellion ensued, and it was required to put itself to still harder tests than those through which it had just passed. Poor as it was in worldly goods, it yet possessed a wealth of manhood and patriotism. Its newspapers sounded the trumpet call of duty. At the very outset of the war it began offering its sons and soldiers to defend the Union it had just entered. It furnished more of them than it had voters, and the ratio of mortality among them exceeded that of any other state. It was in-vaded and scourged and plundered. Its towns were attacked and unarmed citizens massacred in the streets. But it fought on; it kept the faith; it persevered to the end.

When peace came Kansas was prostrate and desolate. The prolonged reign of turmoil and havoc paralyzed its industries and frustrated its chances of development. It was set back to a new beginning. The most valuable of its few remaining assets was represented in its newspapers. How many had contrived to survive they did not explain. There were thirty-seven of them precisely the same number, by a singular coincidence, that existed in the whole country when the Declaration of Inde-pendence was proclaimed. They stimulated hope and confidence; they invited immigration, and promoted every form of enterprise. The growth that followed was unprecedented. It involved all the elements of state making, from the bottom weeds to the top of the structure. The spirit of the people was adventurous, self-centered, impatient of slow progress, and indifferent to the danger of trying experiments. They did not care so much how other states had been constructed if to do so they must re-linquish the right to fashion Kansas according to their own views and purposes. It was their ambition to be sufficient unto themselves, and right well was their assurance justified by its general results.

Those were unique and spacious days in Kansas, never to be repeated in any country. It is one of the choicest memories of my life that I was permitted to see and feel the wonder and thrill of it all. To look back upon it in the light of present conditions is to realize, as was not then possible, the full measure of its importance. We were mostly young men who had been in the war and were glad to be back, and who had come here to find out what fortune could be coaxed or constrained to do for us. In many respects it was like drifting in on another planet. The newness and strangeness, the vastness, the emptiness, appealed to the imagination, and to the judgment as well. Certainly there was no lack of room, or liberty, or opportunity; and as for the rest, that was simply a question of learning how to grow up with the country.

There was a serious side to the undertaking, of course, but we did not allow that to dismay or depress us. Our habitual mood was one of cheerfulness. We lived in the sunshine and wore our hearts on our sleeves, defying the daws to peck at them. The course of thought and speech was free from restraining precedents and intrusive superstitions. Our mental operations were apt to be venturesome in all directions. We did a good deal of trespassing on the grass. Frankness and independence were encouraged, and there was indulgence for shortcomings where intentions were apparent. We did not shoot the violinist when he was doing the best he could. Every man had a fair chance and equality prevailed, because, like honesty, it was the best policy. No citizen of the state had money enough to excite envy. The normal condition of the pecuniary appendix was vexed and feverish, and if an octopus had appeared he would have been welcomed as something that we needed in our business. Instead of antagonizing the railroads, we besought them with gifts of bonds galore to come and raise the value of our lands for us and help us to build more schoolhouses and to get higher prices for our products.

The population of the state increased from 140,179 in 1865 to 362,307 in 1870, and the number of newspapers increased in the same time from 37 to 80. These papers were all better than their patronage warranted. That is to say, they were characteristic of Kansas and in harmony with the spirit of the people. They discounted the future and trusted in the law of possibilities. And so when it was suggested that we ought to have a publication of still more excellence the editors indorsed the idea, and in January, 1872, the first number of the Kansas Magazine appeared. It was an audacious project, a rushing in where angels might have feared to tread. In other words, it was an amplification of the Kansas theory of "publishing nonpareil papers in long primer towns." The story of it has been appreciatively told by your Professor Carruth. It was not born with a silver spoon in its mouth, and it never propitiated fate with the earning of a dividend. But it was a good investment, nevertheless. As an advertisement for Kansas it was worth many times more than the $10,000 that it cost its uncomplaining stockholders. It did not pay, strictly speaking, but it was a distinctive literary triumph; it added a precious chapter to history, and, in Professor Carruth's phrase, "the light of it still lingers on the western sky."

There are things in the bound volumes of that lamented publication which belong with the classics of American literature. It has preserved for later generations the atmosphere of a remarkable epoch. The elemental mystery and fascination of the plains, the intermingled comedy and tragedy of frontier life, are vividly mirrored in its pages. It reflected from first to last the buoyancy and progressiveness of the young state; it was a pronounced assertion of the consciousness of Kansas. Ingalls and Steele were the stars of first magnitude in its constellation of contributors, but there were others, mostly newspaper men, who did striking and unforgettable work, often behind the mask of anonymity. The enthusiasm of its founders included some dream stuff, no doubt, but at the same time it represented certain vital and practical facts. It was not a necessity, and therefore it did not attain permanence; but it survived long enough to prove that Kansas was capable of producing a first-class magazine, if it was not yet able to support and perpetuate it.

The failure of the magazine was deeply regretted, but we reconciled ourselves to the loss, and went on with our schemes for making Kansas grow toward both the horizon and the zenith. We were not in the busi-ness of looking backward. When the day was done we left it to itself and took up a new one. There was no past tense in the grammar of our calculations and our enterprises. It was tomorrow and not yesterday that filled our dreams and absorbed our energies. Ill luck came often, but it did not tarry, because we snapped our fingers at it and laughed it away. Property was always going to be higher in the spring. We circumvented the ironies of the financial system by indorsing one another's promissory notes. The peculiar metaphysics of the situation hyphenated us in a kind of general sympathy and comradery. We had our rivalries and our antipathies, but for the most part they were transient and subordinate, and did not cause any serious disturbance of the fundamental concord.

It was in our politics, perhaps, that we were most apt to disregard the impulses of brotherly kindness and patience. The Kansas newspapers had early manifested a partiality for aggressive and vociferous campaigns. They were very fond of putting candidates under the harrow, as they called it a process which they have not yet entirely abandoned, I am told. All the leading public men of the state had been subjected to such treatment from time to time; and even a toughened veteran like Gen. Jim Lane had been lacerated to the point of calling for mercy from the Atchison Champion when Ingalls was editing it. "About the mildest term it ever applies to me," he said, "is miscreant." The contest of 1872 was stuffed with this explosive material. A new legislature was to be chosen, and it was to elect a United States senator, and a brilliant young editor now a scandal of worldwide notoriety Pomeroy, had the prize snatched from him, at the very moment of grasping it, by a dramatic exposure that was without a parallel. The speech which precipitated this squalid and incongruous calamity was not reported, and its excited author could not coherently recall what he had said. Well, we could not afford to go to press without it, and a brilliant young editor now a prominent lawyer Col. W. H. Rossington, went to his desk and wrote such a speech as in his opinion ought to have been delivered, and that was the speech which was printed everywhere, and praised by the London Times.

The next day John J. Ingalls was elected senator and started upon the road to highest distinction in oratory and statesmanship. For eighteen years he served in that exalted station with conspicuous and picturesque success, and his statue stands in the national capitol to specify and commemorate his recognized greatness. By common consent his name leads all the rest in the gallery of eminent Kansas citizens. No adequate biography of him has yet been written; no satisfactory analysis of his character and achievements has ever been made. The best of all attempts in that respect, I think, is to be credited to an honored graduate and regent of this university, Mr. Charles S. Gleed. It is comparatively easy to measure and define conventional qualities of greatness, but Ingalls was phenomenal and paradoxical. The people of Kansas admired and applauded him, but they never wholly understood him. He did not invite the familiarity that flatters the vanity and allures the goodfellowship of the multitude. His intellect was not persuasive, but intimidating and compulsory. He always held a brief for the prosecution. His natural attitude was self poised and imperturbable, as if to say, "I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul." That distinguished Kansas exile, George R. Peck, tells of once coming upon him in the midst of a terrible political struggle, of which he was the central figure, and finding him complacently reading Charles Lamb's Essays.

There was no affectation, no demagogy in this inflexible imperturbability. It was a congenital part of the man. "They call me haughty," he said, "which means that I scorn stupidity and hate shams and hypocrisies." His style as a writer and a speaker was inimitably elegant and melodious. He was an expert in the chemistry of words and the architecture of literary edifices. The rapier and not the machete was symbolized in his extraordinary power of invective. He was a poet and a lover of nature, and he had a keen sense of humor that was at once both a spur and a shield to him. What a delight it was to sit in his library and listen to his incomparable talk. I cherish in particular the recollection of one such occasion. It was a stormy summer night, with the wind sweeping through the trees and the rain spattering against the windows. His boy Sheffield was playing with toys on the hearth; an enormous cat was furtively watching the door. The senator was in his happiest mood. We discussed history, science, poetry, sociology almost everything under the sun but politics and even politics did not finally escape, for he had to tell me of a letter just received from Uncle Chet Thomas, who was holding a federal appointment and had been notified that he would have to give it up. The letter said, "I wish you would fix it so I can hold on until fall and make it as late in the fall as possible." Gradually the conversation got around to certain criticisms which had been made on his use of the expression "the splendid invention of immortality." Then he delivered one of the most eloquent lectures I have ever heard. All the doubts and difficulties of the searchers after truth about the future world were presented in a most glittering and incisive way; and when he had finished we sat silent. The storm had abated, and there were stars to be seen. The cat was purring softly in a corner ; the boy lay asleep at his father's feet, like Brutus' little lute player. Suddenly the senator turned to me and said with thrilling earnestness in his voice, "I would give everything I have for my wife's implicit faith in Christianity."

When the time came for his retirement from the station which he had so long adorned, he accepted the inevitable with his usual composure. I saw him soon after he left the senate. His talk was still as charming as ever, and he spoke freely of the change in his fortunes; but I could not fail to detect in his manner a sense of melancholy. There was no repining and no bitterness, but there was the fatigue and debilitation of a chastened spirit, the pathetic lassitude of a broken heart. Incidentally he gave me to understand that he had ceased to entertain any political plans or expectations. He felicitated me upon the fact that I was chief editor of a great newspaper, and declared if his life were to be lived over, that would be his ambition. I never saw him again. The next I heard from him he was seeking health in the arid solitudes of the Southwest. It was a vain and sorrowful quest. "I am desperately tired and discouraged and home-sick," he wrote. But he was not to reach home and die there, as he wished. His returning journey was cut short, and under an alien sky, with his wife at his side and the Lord's prayer on his lips, he fell into the ultimate sleep, in the shadow of everlasting wings.

The editorial fraternity of Kansas has a right to claim Ingalls as one of its celebrities. He belonged primarily to the guild of writers, the promoters of publicity. It was repeatedly demonstrated that he possessed all the instincts and tendencies of a journalist; and his first election to the senate, he always insisted, was due to the Kansas Magazine more than to any one influence. He never lost his interest in newspapers and their relation to the welfare and progress of the state. It was his pleasure to see them grow during his presence in the senate at a rate unequaled elsewhere. At the time of his death they numbered over 500. They were all governed by the same general principle of devotion to Kansas and paramount attention to its affairs. It has always been true of the Kansas press that it has kept in close touch with its patrons and given preference to the local drift of things. This is probably the main secret of its strength and its utility, and there is to be derived from it an important lesson to journalism. The tendency of too many newspapers is toward the remote and universal instead of that which directly concerns the average reader. It is all very well to tell what is going on in different parts of the world, and to prate profoundly about events and issues that have the enchantment of distance, but it is better to make a faithful report of proximate occurrences and to editorialize on themes that have to do with the practical life of a given community. The paper that devotes most of its space to its own town and state has the true idea of its mission and its limitations.

From the first the Kansas newspapers have been guided by this salutary theory. They have never attempted to cover the whole earth with their searching gaze and their ambitious wisdom, but have been content to make the dimensions of the state their principal field of operations. This has signified concentration of effort and purpose, and concentration means power and brings results. They have persistently subordinated everything else to home news and for Kansas, exploiting its advantages and celebrating its virtues, standing by it in adversity and rejoicing with it in prosperity. Now and then they have had follies and absurdities to confess in its name, and they have not evaded the duty which has sometimes required them to poke fun at themselves. They have thus caused Kansas to live an open life, with all the world looking on and never turning away for lack of entertainment.

It will not do to deny that there have been times when Kansas had the appearance of a lost cause, a collapsed experiment. More than once an exceptional malignity of misfortune has strained the confidence of its people almost to the point of surrender. When the drouth and the grasshoppers came, for example, and devastated the state to an extent which suggested a vindication of the old myth of the desert there was seemingly but little justification for hope of success. Those who passed through that distressing and humiliating period can never forget it. But for the newspapers, the state might have been depopulated. They labored as assiduously to cheer the popular heart, to alleviate the want and suffering, to save Kansas from threatened dissolution. An appeal was made for outside help, and there went with it a brave proclamation of abiding faith in the state. The response was liberal and sufficient. All sections of the country contributed, and it is worth remembering that the largest sum received from any point was sent by the lately stricken city of San Francisco.

The baleful reputation of this calamity hung over Kansas for several years, but the newspapers continued to boast of the state and its resources, and a succession of good crops helped to verify their estimates. History will never tell how diligently the editors sought for facts to influence home seekers, and how enthusiastically close they often came to bearing false witness, not against their neighbors, but in behalf of them. I can personally testify to their good intentions, as well as to their perplexities over the conflict between the demands of veracity and the impulses of loyalty. We knew that when they feared they might be prevaricating they were at most only anticipating. The eggs were in the basket all right, and it was only a matter of waiting for them to be hatched. It was permissible to mix visions and prophecies with current and negotiable realities when it was all certain to come true. Those of us upon whose souls such burdens rested have been greatly relieved and comforted, you may be sure, to see how grandly Kansas has surpassed our uttermost speculation. Indeed, we must own to a touch of professional chagrin that we stated the case so moderately.

You hardly need to be reminded that the Kasas papers have alway been essentially optimistic, and here again we have a valuable lesson in journalism. It is the proper business and obligation of the press to keep the bright side of life constantly in view. This does not imply that all disagreeable facts should be suppressed or their importance minimized; but it does imply that there is no valid reason for a policy which is calculated only to make people morbid and unhappy. We must not put out of sight the truths that we need to consider; but neither should we parade and embellish things that can only serve a troublesome purpose. The best form of dominion over the public mind is that which excites buoyancy and encourages hope and pluck. All praise and honor, therefore, to the Kansas newspapers for their steady preaching of the gospel of good cheer. It has been a hard task at times to persist in a sanguine view while the clouds were rolling by and subscriptions were dwindling and creditors were importunate; but they have invariably gone on breathing and diffusing ozone, and, like Ulysses, taking the buffets of fortune "with a frolic welcome."

This immensely profitable service was not rendered in any flippant or slipshod manner. The Kansas press has ever been noted for its high standard of excellence. You will search its files in vain for vibrations of unintelligence, for specimens of puerile or slovenly workmanship. There can be no "aspersion on its part of speech"; there are no orphaned verbs and widowed nouns ludicrously splotching its record. Many of its editors have been finished scholars, and all of them have known how to utter their messages in clear, precise and vigorous terms. And Kansas has not been ungrateful to these industrious and effective men behind the pen. It has rewarded them with official places of profit and distinction. They have been summoned from their ordinary labors to perform legislative and executive duties, to act as consuls and ministers abroad, to be governors and United States senators; and in no instance have they failed to measure up to the requirements.

It would be impossible for me to call the complete roll of the Kansas editors with whom it was my pleasure and advantage to be associated, and I am reluctant to name one without all of them. But I must speak of the one always foremost in our esteem and affection dear old Web Wilder; all of those acknowledged leaders, Dwight Thacher, Father Baker, Noble Prentis, Sol Miller, Ed Howe, the Anthonys, the Martins, the Burkes, the Murdocks, Eugene Ware, Ward Burlingame, the Rices, Milt Reynolds, Joe Hudson, Jake Stotler, Prouty, Speer, Peters, Hoch, Learnard, Hanna, Roberts how readily the list increases! And yet I could not forgive myself if I omitted Henry Inman, Alex. Butts, Wirt Walton, Johnny Gilmore, Jack Downing, West Wilkinson, Clay Park, Buckingham, Meredith, Taylor, Lane, Griffin, Folks, Peffer, Millington, Riddle, Capper, MacLennan, Sheridan, Walker, Admire, McElroy, Emmert, Rizer, McNeal, Chalfant, Sampson, and Wilson. These and others are all names to be cherished in the great, generous heart of the state. Some, alas! have been chiseled on tombstones, others still remain at the mastheads of Kansas newspapers, and others have slipped out by well earned right of retirement, which always in the case of the editor carries with it an unstifleable longing to be in the harness again.

I am not seeking to immortalize my former comrades and friends as individuals; I am only trying to show what they signify as a fraternity, and to indicate how notable and beneficent their efforts have been in the shaping of the life of this illustrious commonwealth. Take that most exact and valuable of Kansas books, Wilder's "Annals," and you will see how the influence of the press runs all through the history of the state like an electric current. The book itself is only a compilation of clippings from the newspapers, and it provides all the information that is necessary to a comprehensive and circumstantial understanding of how the state has been made, and why it is what it is instead of something else. Such a book could not be written about any other state, because in no other state has the press been so intimately and impressively related to the general course of events. The force that was crudely set in motion under that elm tree on the river bank at Leavenworth has proved to be an instrument of destiny, and the lessons it teaches are too plain and too important to be misunderstood or disregarded.

Thus Kansas has been made a training school for journalists, and the whole country has derived advantage from its instruction. It has equipped men who have reflected credit upon the profession from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They are to be found everywhere. There is no better recommendation in the newspaper offices of other states than "formerly of Kansas." This means much at the present time when journalism is becoming, if it has not already become, the greatest power in the system of modern civilization. Kansas now has newspapers in 395 of its towns, being surpassed in that respect by only seven of the other states. They aggregate over 700, and may safely challenge comparison of merits with those of any other state. It is to be hoped, or rather it is not to be doubted, that they will continue to grow both in number and in excellence. That has been their habit in the past, and they can not do otherwise in the future without ceasing to be Kansas newspapers.

It remains to be said, on this noble eminence of Mount Oread, the state's intellectual center of gravity, that the dominant note of Kansas history and Kansas newspapers is exultant and reassuring. We happen to be living just now in an era of accusation and exposure. The air is crammed with the yellow particulars of commercial and social iniquity. We can not turn in any direction without encountering a prophet of disaster. The pessimists are striving with all their benumbing power to make us despair of the republic, to persuade us that the canker of vice is at the heart of everything, and that nothing can save us but a great national regeneration. It is a good time to read the story of Kansas and get its healthy inspiration. Let us not be in a hurry to believe that our civilization is a failure, and that our patriotism has forfeited its vitality. Evils we have continually with us, we know; but have we not also much that is good and strong and splendid? This magnificent university is itself a standing protest against the skepticism of the carpers and alarmists. There is yet room for optimism. Wherever reforms are really needed they will undoubtedly be made; the intrinsic and puissant virtues of organized society will survive and prevail; and it will still remain true, as it has ever been, that

"God 's in his heaven, All 's right with the world'

Every man thinks his lot the hardest. When he leaves college to begin his education the country editor is filled with ideas for man's betterment, charged with reforming zeal and overflowing with enthusiasm for the purification of politics. He calls attention to neighborhood conditions, suggests improvement and is shunned by nice people. He pounces upon the first wrong that shows its ugly head and subscriptions stop. He tries to sweeten the fetor of politics and loses all chance at the county printing.

He soon learns that men do not trouble to change conditions. Conditions change the man. The head is squeezed to fit the hat, and he acquires the charming art of touching up truth. Youth accepts positions instead of getting jobs; ancient maidens entertain and "a delightful time was had," while a henhouse fire is a holocaust.

But he does his work in the world and we give a meed of praise to the busy, brainy, bustling body whose only hope of reward is in getting the post office.

Sharing all our Joys and Sorrows, Boosting our Business, and Working with Tireless Energy for Others, the Country Editor is the Most Important Factor in his Community.