Lorrettus Sutton Metcalf was born in Monmouth, Kennebec County, Maine, October 17th, 1837. He is descended from the Beare Park and Nappa Hall branch of the English family of Metcalf, of Norfolk County. The first representative of the family in this country was Michael Metcalf, of Norwich, England, a Puritan, who, being driven from his home by ecclesiastical persecution, sailed from Yarmouth with his wife and family on April 15th, 1637, arrived in Boston on June 17th, and settled at Dedham, Massachusetts.
The father of the subject of this sketch, Mason Jerome Metcalf, owned a manufacturing business in Boston, and mill property in Maine, and the son passed his boyhood between city and country. He was fitted for college in the schools of Boston and Monmouth, but instead of entering on a collegiate course, continued with private tutors the study of branches in the line of his taste. He subsequently received the degree of M. A. from Bates' College, Lewiston, Maine, and of LL. D. from Iowa College. Mr. Metcalf has always been a diligent reader, and early showed a taste for literary pursuit. When a young man he contributed quite largely, on a variety of subjcts, to a coniderable number of newspapers, including the Commonwealth, the Boston Journal, the Congegationalist, the Boston Traveler, and Zion's Herald. Subsequently he edited a local weekly paper, published in the vicinity of Boston, and then he became the proprietor and editor of five such papers. When the North American Review was purchased by A. T. Rice, and removed to New York, Mr. Metcalf became its Business Manager. He continued in that position for nine years, and during the last five he also perfomed the editorial duties of the publication.
In March, 1886, he issued the first number of the Forum, and for two years thereafter he again did double duty, acting both as Editor and Business Manager. Then he confined his attention to the editorial work exclusively for three years, retiring in 1891.
Mr. Metcalf is an untiring worker, and attributes to this quality such measure of success as has followed his efforts. While engaged on his newsppers in Massachusett he was accustomed ordinarily to give as much sixteen hours a day to labor, and during his conection with the North American Review the usual length of his working day wa fourteen or fifteen hours. He is very methodical in his habits, and of unerring memory in regard to business engagements. The routine editorial work of the North American Review and the Forum was conducted by him with such system that it moved with the precision of clock-work. Though religious in his tendencies of mind, he has a strong dislike to dogma; and in social matters he is very democratic, having little respect for the claims of wealth and position, and conceiving that character and mental ability are the only things of real value.
Mr. Metcalf is naturally a lover of adventure, and in his earlier days devoted all of his spare hours to wild sports, such as hunting, yachting, and mountain climbing. He has been thoroughly over the United States and Canada, has made several trips to Europe, and has met most of the men that have been prominent in public affairs during the past twenty-five years. He is a member of the Century Club and of the Author's Club, of New York, and of several scientific and philosophical societies.
The chief work of Mr. Metcalf's life, and that by which he will be remembered, has been the establishment of The Forum. The pubication was founded for the purpose of giving an absolutely unprejudiced discussion of important subjects. The first announcement of the new review set forth its aims in the following words:
"This publication addresses itself to the mass of intelligent people.
"It discusses subjects that concern all classes alike - in moral, in education, in government, in religion.
"It is genuinely independent, both of partisan bias and counting-room influence.
. "It is constructive in its aims, presenting opposing views, not for the purpose of exciting strife, but in otder to assist the reader to form wise coclusions.
"It employs the best known essayists; and it also invites to its pages men and women connected with important business and social interests who have special opportunities for information."
To this statement of its purpose The Forum has steadily adhered. It avoids all sensationalism, and, as stated above, is distincly constructive. Thus, in religious matters, a fair hearing is given alike to Protestants and Roman Catholics, to Jews and Christians, to Calvinists and Unitarians; but the enemies of all religion are not given a place. In politics, representtives of the various political parties are treated with equal consideration; but no encouragement is given to those who would destroy all government. In morals, all arguments as to the best method of accomplishing results are admitted; but nothing is countenanced that tends to weaken the sense of moral duty.
At the end of Mr. Metcalf's fourteen years' connection with the North American Review and the Forum, his eyes were in such a condition that he was compelled to take a long rest, and to abandon the hope of doing any more review work.
In December, 1893, he came to Jacksonville, Florida, and established the Florida Citizen, and at the present time is in charge of that publication. The Citizen is a daily and weekly paper, that gives the news of the world very fully. It has special correspondents in the principal cities of the country, and controls a telegraph wire to Washington and New York. It is an organ of the Democracy of Florida, and devotes much space to the moral, intellectual, and material development of the State.