Friday, July 13, 2007


Arguments From On High

Monday, July 13, 1925

"Your Honor knows that fires have been lighted in America to kindle religious bigotry and hate. . . ."

The Court: "Sorry to interrupt your argument, but it is adjourning time."

Darrow impatiently asked for another five minutes.

The Court: "Proceed tomorrow."

Darrow went ahead without permission. "Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lecturers, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while, Your Honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious age of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted faggots to burn the men who dared bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind." He had finished, and court adjourned.

- Ray Ginger, Six Days or Forever?

"While he was talking there was absolute silence in the room except for the clicking of telegraph keys," the New York Times reported. "His words fell with crushing force, his satire dropped with sledgehammer effect upon those who heard him." H. L. Mencken added, "You have but a dim notion of it who have only read it. It was not designed for reading but for hearing. The clangorousness of it was as important as the logic. It rose like a wind and ended like a flourish of bugles."

- Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods



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