The Independent
New York: 9 January 1862

[from] Sermon.


Henry Ward Beecher.*

  ...I was met in the street, on Saturday, by the very gentlemanly lessee of the Brooklyn theatre, (I suppose we must call it now,) when he requested me, as I had become the editor of The Independent, to give a notice of the performances that were to come off there. He said "the Octoroon" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" would be played, and he thought a notice in The Independent would do him a great deal of good. I declined to give the notice through The Independent, but I give it here! And I will tell you just what I think. I think they are very nice plays. And I will tell you why I think they are introduced. Out in the West, when we wanted to trap turkeys, (the foolishest birds in the woods,) we sued to build a great pen, and cut a kind of channel leading into it so low that with their heads down they could walk under the lower rail. Now, a turkey is so simple that it never will stoop to go through a hole in order to escape. So when we had built the pen and cut the channel, we took corn and poured it along, a little here and a little there, in the channel. And then the fools of turkeys would go gobbling up the corn, with their heads down, till they got into the inclosure; and then they were caught—for when they had once lifted their heads, they would not lower them again to go out where they came in, and they could not fly out. And if there is any foolish young man that wants to get caught, let him go to see these nice plays, and follow them up, and he will soon be in the inclosure; and that will be the end of him—for a young man that is once theatre-struck, is devil-struck!