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False Proverbs and Small Debts in The Christian Recorder

The Christian Recorder embodied secular as well as religious material, and included good coverage of the black regiments together with the major incidents of the Civil War. The four-page weekly contained such departments as Religious Intelligence, Domestic News, General Items, Foreign News, Obituaries, Marriages, Notices and Advertisements. It also included the normal complement of prose and poetry found in the newspapers of the day.

False Proverbs

A young fellow must sow his wild oats.” In all the wide range of British maxims there is none, take it for all in all, more thoroughly abominable than this one as to the sowing of wild oats.

Look at it on what side you will, and I will defy you to make anything else but a devil’s maxim of it. What man – be he young, old or middle aged, that, and nothing else shall he reap. The one only thing to do with wild oats is to put them carefully into the hottest part of the fire, and get them burnt to dust, every seed of them. If you sow them, no matter in what ground, up they will come, with long tough roots like couch grass, and luxuriant stalks and leaves, as sure as there is a sun in heaven – a crop which it turns one’s heart cold to think of.

The devil, too, whose special crop they are, will see that they thrive, and you and nobody else will have to reap them; and no common reaping will get them out of the soil, which must be dug down deep again and again. Well for you if, with all your care, you can make the ground sweet again by your dying day.

Boys will be boys,” is not much better, but that has a true side to it; but this encouragement to the sowing of wild oats is simply devilish, for it means that a young man is to give way to the temptations and follow the lusts of his age. What are we to do with the wild oats of manhood and old age – with ambition overreaching the false weights, hardness, suspicion, avarice – if the wild oats of youth are to be sown and not burnt? What possible distinction can we draw between them? If we may sow the one, why not the other?

Small Debts

Nothing, says the Village Record, does more to soften hard times, or to sustain credit, than prompt payment of small bills. By paying your small bills, you enable your creditor to pay the storekeeper, the storekeeper pays bills he owes to others, and the same money, passing through a half dozen hands, pays as many debts, and leaves the parties at ease. But if the first one fails, through neglect, or carelessness, or indifference, to pay the debt he owes, it breaks the chain, and all are disappointed. And yet a man who would not fail to meet a heavy demand, or have his note protested on any account whatever, will put off paying his small bills, time after time, without a thought!

Especially if the small bills are due on subscriptions to newspapers!!

Source

Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Christian Recorder
Date: May 11, 1861
Title: False Proverbs
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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