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The Humbugs of the World

The Humbugs of the World

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An American con man claims to have a giant's forty-foot fossil skeleton as part of his collection. When it comes time to display it, he claims some animals destroyed it, which ruins him. However, this is part of his plan as a subscription list is opened for his benefit.

This volume gives an account of humbugs, delusions, impositions, quackeries, deceits and deceivers generally, in all ages.

P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) was an American showman who established The Greatest Show on Earth (1871), which merged with its major competition (1881) to form the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

One of Mr. Barnum's secrets of success was his unique methods of advertising, and we can readily understand how he can bear to be denounced as a "Humbug," because this popular designation, though undeserved in the popular acceptation of it, "brought grist to his mill."

One of the happiest impromptu oratorical efforts that was heard for some time was that made by Barnum at the benefit performance given for his employees ona Friday afternoon. If a stranger wanted to satisfy himself how the great showman had managed so to monopolize the ear and eye of the public during his long career he could not have had a better opportunity of doing so than by listening to this address.Every word, though delivered with apparent carelessness, struck a key note in the hearts of his listeners. Simple, forcible, and touching, it showed how thoroughly this extraordinary man comprehends the character of his countrymen, and how easily he canplay upon their feelings.

Those who look upon Barnum as a mere charlatan, have really no knowledge of him. It would be easy to demonstrate that the qualities that have placed him in his present position of notoriety and affluence would, in another pursuit, have raised him to far greater eminence. In his breadth of views, his profound knowledge of mankind, his courage under reverses, his indomitable perseverance, his ready eloquence, and his admirable business tact, we recognize the elements that are conducive to success in most other pursuits. More than almost any other living man, Barnum may be said to be a representative type of the American mind.