Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Note to the Ministers of Ypsi from Editor C. R. Pattison

C. R. Pattison was the most fiery editor in all of Ypsilanti history. He treated his paper, the Ypsilanti Commercial, as a large cannon. He didn't fire it in every weekly issue of the Commercial, but when he did not even local ministers were out of range.

The Commercial's printing-house stood at the corner of Huron and Cross Streets, though I don't know which corner it stood on. In the November 22, 1884 edition, Pattison tells local preachers to tone it down already.


As a rule Thanksgiving sermons are unmercifully long. This fact has kept a great many people away from church. A year's thoughts and ideas are piled into one effort. Boil down, cut off the prefaces and expletives and long drawn conclusions. Give the solid meat.

Again enough singing is piled service to last five years. Last year we laid up the program of song, such a multiplicity of pieces on purpose as a reminder to this coming occasion, but we have mislaid it.

At all events short prayers, not over three glorious Thanksgiving hymns, a brief boiled down wide awake sermon, and there will be many more thankful souls. Many a good woman can give the promised good dinner and yet enjoy the church service, many a farmer and farmer's wife can come to church and get back to their turkey, and not grumble all the way homeward and be [ticked off...]

In the very same issue, even on the same (front) page, Pattison delivered another editorial, this one aimed at the Commercial's detractors.


Some would like to have the Commercial tamed or toned down so as to give no progressive ideas, to be very careful not to advance a step beyond the path it has been accustomed to tread. Not give its readers anything to think of but lull them to sleep with the same old song. Better give them something to get mad on, for they will soon get over it and feel better, than to administer to a perpetual stagnation of thought and action. It is the glory of American freemen that they are not hampered and if they kick and get a little mad [they] yet have common sense enough to soon get over it and behave manfully and nobly. The COMMERCIAL would not be worth taking did it not stir up your laggard brains and ideas occasionally. Count on it doing so at least when you need it bad.

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