In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: The offices

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: 1854

Whitman Archive ID: prc.00128

Source: The manuscript was sold by Sotheby's in 2008. The current location of the manuscript is unknown. Transcribed from digital images of the original that were posted to Sotheby's website. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This manuscript includes a partial draft of "Memorial in Behalf of a Freer Municipal Government, and Against Sunday Restrictions," a public letter printed in the Brooklyn Star on October 20, 1854. Whitman probably drafted the manuscript shortly before the piece was published.

Related item: Poetic lines on the back of this manuscript leaf relate to the poem eventually titled "Song of Myself." See prc.00127.

Contributors to digital file: Brett Barney, Caitlin Henry, Nicole Gray, and Brandon James O'Neil

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[cut away]most selfish interests of a few, and

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The offices [cut away] great city are not ^principally created for as to be the successful rewards of smart and or lucky politicians, or to confirm that the nominations of some caucus in a lawyers office, or in a packed convention, may be put through and confirmed.—They are part of the organic motion of the city, for the life and health of it from head to foot.—

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After all has been is said, ^however, it ^the work of establishing and raising the character of cities, of course, remains at last and eventually with the people ^themselves.—Strictly speaking they have no right to complain of being hampered and cheated and hoodwinked [illegible] overtaxed and insulted.—for they always hold the remedy in their own hands.—I am not athe man to soft‑soap the people any more than I do office‑holders—but this I say for, them at all times, that their very credulity is in some sort, a proof of their and perpetual confidence in others, an are organic signs of the most upright and beautiful noble ^elements of our national character.—It remarkable that is to be said [o?]

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This credulity and confidence are never the faults of the legislative bodies, however.
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W.W. W.W.

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