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[322] Atlanta Constitution, a medium through which he impressed himself upon his state and his section.

In 1886, by reason of a speech on The New South delivered 22 December before the New England Society of New York City, he became the spokesman of the new era, and the title of that speech became the watchword of a vast movement. Though it aroused the ire of the old school, as seen above in the denunciation of ‘the banners of utilitarianism’ by Charles Colcock Jones, Jr., it expressed a new sense of the economic basis of society and of the social conditions which must obtain more and more in the regenerated South. Some of his later speeches are notable. The South and her problem, delivered in Dallas, 26 October, 1887, and The farmer and the cities, at Elberton, Georgia, in June, 1889, show him as the evangel of the new gospel to his own section. His treatment of the negro problem before the Boston Merchants' Association in December, 1889, was more cogent in argument than his other addresses, but less ardent in appeal. Yet one of the auditors characterized it as ‘a cannon-ball in full flight, fringed with flowers.’ Weakened by his exertions on this trip in the unexpected cold of the Northern winter, he returned to Atlanta to die 23 December, 1889.

One singular feature of Grady's career, and one significant of the new era, was that he never held public office. His ambition shows the change which had come over the spirit of the South:

My ambition is a simple one. I shall be satisfied with the labors of my life if, when those labors are over, my son, looking abroad upon a better and grander Georgia—a Georgia that has filled the destiny God intended her for—when her towns and cities are hives of industry, and her country-side the exhaustless fields from which their stores are drawn—when every stream dances on its way to the music of spindles, and every forest echoes back the roar of the passing train—when her valleys smile with abundant harvests, and from her hillsides come the tinkling of bells as her herds and flocks go forth from their folds—when more than two million people proclaim her perfect independence and bless her with their love—I shall be more than content, I say, if my son, looking upon such scenes as these, can stand up and say: ‘My father bore a part in this work, and his name lives in the memory of this people.’

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