Addendum: Crowned Masterpieces of LITURATURE
WHAT a Civilization we once had...
In my piece I had linked the Internet Archive editions of all ten volumes of Crowned Masterpieces of Eloquence. This was partly for my audience’s benefit, when one speaks on a public domain work, its nice to share it, instead of merely showing off your legendary thrift store find. But mostly it was for MY benefit, it being vastly easier to cite, reference, and cross reference digital editions than physical books.
It was while looking back through these digital editions to find a piece to write about I realized Vol 4 didn’t link to Crowned Masterpieces of Eloquence at all!
It linked to Crowned Masterpieces of Literature Justice Brewer’s 1908 10 volume collection of the greatest ESSAYS in in human history.
There was ANOTHER 10 volume gorgeous collection of the greatest short works ever produced assembled by this Supreme court justice, and I just hadn’t realized!
I would blame my negligence in not realizing Brewer had produced it… But even his Wikipedia page fails to mention this! Hell it fails to mention Crowned Masterpieces of Eloquence!
Think about that a US supreme Court Justice dedicated large amounts of time to producing these massive 10 volume works, celebrating the history of arts and letters… and it’s not even considered noteworthy.
The only collection of his to receive any mention is his 1899 collection “The World’s Best Orations” a precursor to crowned masterpieces, but without many of the frills or later works.
I’m shocked at this, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Eventually I will have to do a full survey of Brewer’s life and works. He’s a fascinating character, an arch conservative from the old right of American life.
He supported the Majority opinion in Lochner v. New York supporting the freedom of contract (except under very restricted circumstances), and was an arch opponent of federal regulatory powers over the economy, supporting a hawkish interpretation of the 10th amendment to heavily restrict federal control over the economy and he supported substantive due process to rule out various regulations violated ones private property rights.
Of course all of this today is screeched at in legal circles, the 10th amendment today being almost a dead letter, with the supreme court just 30 years later ruling feeding your own cattle, with your own grain, grown on your own land, was “Interstate Commerce” because were it not for that you might have maybe bought grain grown across state lines.
But if you’re a conservative, or libertarian and think the federal government shouldn’t be able to tell you what you do with your own property on your own land under the guise of interstate commerce, or shouldn’t be able to regulate the private economic activity between consenting free adults, or that the federal governments power to regulate is vastly less than that of the individual states…My god is he an interesting Justice.
He also was one of the most prominent speakers and writers of his day publishing several books on politics, America, and the Judiciary including:
The Pew to the Pulpit
The Twentieth Century form Another Viewpoint
The United States: A Christian Nation
The Spanish War: A Prophecy or an Exception?
The Mission of the United States in the Cause of Peace
All of these are the full texts on archive.org and I’ve been trying to find an online copy of “The Income Tax Cases and Some Comments Thereon” but to no avail.
In The Judge as Missionary (17 pg essay) Owen Fiss begins: “History has not been kind to David Brewer”… While this may be true of the legal proffession’s treatment of the entire Lochner era, and their sycophantic treatment of the new deal (which was an illegal coup against the constitutional order (never expect lawyers to defend the law, with rare exception they exist to bend and break it for the government)), I’d say he was immediately vindicated.
As an opponent to war, imperialism, and State Control over individual lives, the horrors of 1914 beginning 4 years after his death in 1910 confirmed basically everything he ever said on the matter. If you’re someone who thinks Woodrow Wilson was the worst thing to ever happen to America, Brewer seems not only to have been correct but prophetic in his endless speeches and works on the merits of peace.
But I said this wasn’t going to be a full survey of Brewer’s life and works. As deeply fascinating as he is.
Rather I wanted to Get all my links in order Here:
These are the full links
NOTE: You cannot simply change the number in the URL to change volume. I’ve tried, that would have been nice, but Internet Archive isn’t so merciful, nor are all the uploads complete, some are missing single volumes or have only half, some are black and white or missing illustrations, some are completely mis-numbered… this is why all my links are different years of publication, I’ve tried to find good uploads of each volume.
Crowned Masterpieces of Literature (1908):
Crowned Masterpieces of Eloquence (1910-1913):
As well here are the links for the earlier editions done by Brewer which might have some odd pieces not included in the above two:
The World’s Best Orations (1899-1901):
The World’s Best Essays (1900):
Though what happened to the other 8 volumes, or indeed if there even were other volumes in 1920 is a mystery (no sign of any 1920s collection of essays)… the table of contents seems to suggest it was a very late edition, milking the last of the brand before it disappeared into obscurity, yet this edition is very interesting because it includes prominent speeches from WW1. Ending off in volume 2 with the speeches of Woodrow Wilson.
Its a tragedy, Brewer was dead 10 years by the time this edition came out, yet his brand limped on long enough to catalogue the speeches of the war he wrote books to prevent, and those of the chief architect of the progressivism that’d destroy his life’s legal work.
What’d started as a call for peace and freedom, had become a catalogue of war and tyranny.
This has been very useful for me to get all my links in a row and to plot out what I want to write about with regards to Brewer and his great catalogues. I hope this has been as interesting for you as it is for me and I hope lots of eager eyes are now clicking through these really magnificient collections.
Til next time,
Stay Crowned you Literary Masterpieces
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