Writing -- the art of communicating thoughts to the mind, through the eye -- is the great invention of the world. Great in the astonishing range of analysis and combination which necessarily underlies the most crude and general conception of it -- great, very great in enabling us to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and of space; and great, not only in its direct benefits, but greatest help, to all other inventions . . . Its utility may be conceived, by the reflection, that, to it we owe everything which distinguishes us from savages. Take it from us, and the Bible, all history, all science, all government, all commerce, and nearly all social intercourse go with it.
Fred Kaplan in Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer (kindle 4895+)