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[323]

This ambition dictated the character of his journalism and the substance of his speeches. In his newspaper he endeavoured without shadow of turning to draw attention to the material resources of the South and to develop her industries. In his speeches he displayed even greater brilliancy, fervour, and versatility in presenting the various phases of the topic. Incapable of rancour himself, he with magnanimous sincerity and a whole heart endeavoured to remove the barriers to harmony and co-operation between the sections. In short, he became the orator of the peacemakers.

This purpose in part explains the form of those addresses. He was delivering an appeal to his public, not conducting a legal argument. He was moving his auditors to a new point of view, not convincing them of a scientific truth. He threw into the effort all the ardour of a generous and enthusiastic nature. The pictures of his fancy, the constant balancing of phrases and ideas, the play of wit and humour and pathos were employed with the instinctive effectiveness of one who has learned to sway audiences. They reflect, too, in many ways the sonorous models of Southern oratory that formed the pattern and ideal for his youthful attempts. Yet there is a greater definiteness of thought, a closer linking of word and idea, on the whole a simpler and more vivid style than obtained in the old school. To the ears of the sophisticated, of course, his periods are cloying in their fluency. To thousands of untutored youths all over the South, on the other hand, his words have seemed the echoes of a silver tongue flowing like the honey of Hybla. His picture of ‘a country home, a quiet, modest house, sheltered by great trees,’ his vision of the returning Confederate soldier, ‘this hero in gray with the heart of gold,’ have been declaimed from hundreds of school and college platforms all over the South. His continued popularity proves that his sentiment was not merely a device for moving an audience but was the outpouring of Grady's real nature, full of quick sympathy and unfathomed tenderness. In character and disposition Grady belonged with the Old South; in vision and purpose he was the herald of the New.

No account of the New South in literature would be complete without notice of the life and writings of Booker T. Washington1

1 See also Book III, Chap. V.

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Henry Woodfin Grady (2)
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