outward life, have no right to be silent.
The largest contribution that will ever be made by any single man's life to the knowledge of the working of our institutions will be the picture of his career.
He sounded the depths of the weakness, he proved the ultimate strength of republican institutions; he gave us to know the perils that confront us; he taught us to rally the strength that lies hid.
To my mind there are three remarkable elements in his career.
One is rare even among great men. It was his own moral nature, unaided, uninfluenced from outside, that consecrated him to a great idea.
Other men ripen gradually.
The youngest of the great American names that will be compared with his was between thirty and forty when his first Antislavery word was uttered.
Luther was thirty-four years old when an infamous enterprise woke him to indignation, and it then took two years more to reveal to him the mission God designed for him. This man was in jail for his opinions when he was just twenty-four.
He had confronted a nation in the very bloom of his youth.
It could be said of him more than of any other American in our day, and more than of any great leader that I chance now to remember in any epoch, that he did not need circumstances, outside influence, some great pregnant event, to press him into service, to provoke him to thought, to kindle him into enthusiasm.
His moral nature was as marvellous as was the intellect of Pascal.
It seemed to be born fully equipped, “finely touched.”
Think of the mere dates; think that at some twenty-four years old, while Christianity and statesmanship, the experience, the genius of the land, were wandering in the desert, aghast, amazed, and confounded over a frightful evil, a great sin, this boy sounded, found, invented the talisman,--“Immediate, unconditional emancipation on the soil.”