[EDITOR'S NOTE: This item has not been previously republished elsewhere. It is included in this collection because of its potential to be the work of Clemens and is deserving of further research and consideration. Clemens referred to the T. H. Benton tribute to his mother five years later in The Galaxy, December 1870 in an item titled "History Repeats Itself."]
The advantages of advertising are, or ought to be appreciated by every one. Some people advertise their goods and set forth their excellent qualities; others advertise themselves and the good qualities they possess. The art of advertising consists of hiding the object you wish to gain from the eyes of the public; especially is this the case when a man advertises himself. The Pharisee who went up to the temple to pray set forth his virtues, thanking God for them. Any one hearing him -- provided the Pharisee did the thing cleverly and said his prayers quietly as if he was afraid of being overheard -- would be apt to say "that's a very very respectable Pharisee," and on some future occasion would have lent him money on his note if he required it. The following paragraph is at present being published free of charge in many newspapers; they all begin thus: 'How touching is this tribute of Hon. T. H. Benton to his mother's influence." Then follows what the Hon. T. H. Benton says: "My mother asked me never to use tobacco. I have never touched it from that time to the present day; she asked me not to game, and I have never gambled, and I cannot tell who is losing in games that are being played. She admonished me, too, against hard drinking; and whatever capacity for endurance I have at present, and whatever usefulness I may have attained in life, I have attributed to having complied with her pious and correct wishes. When I was seven years of age she asked me not to drink, and then I made a resolution of total abstinence, and that I have adhered to it through all time, I owe to my mother." What conclusion does a person come to after reading the above touching tribute to the influence of the mother of the Hon. T. H. Benton? Not that she was a very nice woman, but that her son was a good little boy, and has grown up to be a very nice sort of man. His mother asked him not to smoke. He did not smoke. Oh, wonderful man that will thus obey his mother. How touching it is to hear the Hon. T. H. Benton say, "Mother, I thank thee that I am not as other men. I don't smoke, I don't chew. Cigars are vanities, in my estimation, and fine cut is an abomination unto me. I never gamble -- poker is a mystery unto me; I could not peg a game of faro; four aces are as nothing in my eyes, a full hand causes me no pleasure, and my soul delighteth not in the right and left bower, and high, low and Jack are strangers unto me. As to liquors, I have not tasted anything intoxicating since I was seven years of age, for all this I thank thee, Oh! Mother." What a nice little boy the Hon. T. H. Benton must have been. When he was only seven years of age his mother warned him against hard drinking, and he immediately made a resolution of total abstinence. It isn't any credit to him that it is so good; it's all his mother's doings. The moral he intends to convey is, "Look here, all you tobacco smoking, tobacco chewing, seven-up playing reprobates, look at me! I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't play cards. My mother told me not to, and I never have. Your mothers told you not to do so and you didn't heed her. If you had listened to what your mothers told you,. you would be as I am now. Don't you wish you had obeyed your mothers, you drunken rascals! Look at me!" Had the Hon. T. H. Benton worded his advertisement of himself in that style would the newspapers have published it as "a touching tribute." No, he may bet his -- we forget he don't bet -- but he knows they wouldn't. He did the thing neatly, very neatly, but the worst failure of it is it has been done before. That touching tribute is plagiarism, he borrowed the idea from the story of the Pharisee.
[transcribed from microfilm]
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