man in the United States
who is as much heard and read as Henry Ward Beecher
, unless the other man be Wendell Phillips
The mention of Henry Ward Beecher
's name is suggestive of oratory of the very highest order.
It will not be denied by any competent and unprejudiced person that his great speech in England
— there were five addresses, but the substance was the same-upon the American
question (which directly involved the slavery issue) during our Civil War was far and away the finest exhibition of masterful eloquence that is to be credited to any of our countrymen.
The world has never beaten it.
found himself in England
by a fortunate accident at a most critical period in our national affairs.
A crisis had there been reached.
A powerful party, including a large majority of the public men of Great Britain
, favored intervention in behalf of the South
Southern agents were at work all over the kingdom, and were remarkably effective in propagating their views.
It looked as if the Rebel
interest was on the point of winning, when Mr. Beecher
appeared on the scene.
He had not gone to England
to make public speeches.
He was there for health and recreation, but, realizing the situation with his quick perceptiveness, he took up the gage of battle.
It was a fearful resolution on his part.
The chances seemed to be all against him. It was one man against thousands.
His victory, however, was complete.
His five great speeches in the business centres of England
were not only listened to by thousands, but they went all over the country in the public prints.