Then uprose that bald, gray old man of seventy-five, his hands tremulous with constitutional infirmity and age, upon whose consecrated head the vials of tyrannic wrath had been outpoured. Unexcited he raised his voice, high-keyed, as was usual with him, but clear, untremulous, and firm. Almost in a moment his infirmities disappeared, although his shaking hand could not but be noted, trembling, not with fear, but with age.His speech was absolutely crushing. He met every point that had been urged against him and triumphantly refuted it. He handled his oratorical antagonists with merciless severity, depicting certain events in their lives with such vividness that the onlookers gazed upon them with visible and unmistakable pity. Said one of these men when he afterwards understood that a certain party was about to engage in a controversial debate with Mr. Adams, “Then may the Lord have mercy on him.” Mr. Adams was not expelled. His opponents frankly admitted their discomfiture and dropped the whole business. It cannot be denied that John Quincy Adams, almost by his unaided efforts, preserved and sustained the life of the Anti-Slavery cause at a time when it was almost moribund. He plowed the ground, cutting a deep and broad furrow as he went his way, and in the upturned soil such laborers as Birney and Garrison and Chase planted the seed that rooted and grew until it yielded a plentiful harvest.
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