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[319]

There were, I think, few set occasions for testing my father's ability as a close debater. Certainly he was not to be compared with Charles Burleigh, who, in this respect,1 was easily first of all the abolition orators. In repartee, especially with a mob, my father was quick and effective,2 as witness the Rynders mob. His speeches were, though often severe and ‘radical’ in the extreme, impersonal and not calculated to excite combativeness in his hearers. His whole appearance was placid and peaceful. The impression he made on the prejudiced who heard him for the first time was the more favorable because his mild and benevolent aspect, the manner and the matter of his discourse, were so opposed to his evil reputation.3 He was sparing of gesture, though using more than the more graceful Phillips; and a familiar attitude on rising was with his right hand thrust in his bosom (as in the portrait at p. 358 of Vol. III.). He stood very erect, and presented a good figure.4 His voice was strong and sonorous, his enunciation and delivery good. He could easily sway an audience5 in the right mood.

Of my father's beauty in youth and early manhood I6 cannot doubt, and I may be permitted to repeat here the description of him by an artist companion in Newburyport, the late Thomas B. Lawson, already cited: ‘His7 hair a rich dark brown; his forehead high and very white; his cheeks decidedly roseate; his lips full, sensitive, and ruddy; his eyes intent—wide open, of a yellowish hazel; with fine teeth, rather larger than the average, and a complexion more fair, more silvery white, than I ever saw upon ’

1 Ante, p. 289.

2 Ante, 3.298.

3 Sarah Pugh noted in her diary for Dec. 6, 1853: ‘Spent at the [A. S.] fair [in Philadelphia]. Garrison's speech in the evening pleased every one. An orthodox Friend who came from curiosity to see and hear “the monster,” was perfectly fascinated. “Never heard a more impressive and solemn speech;” begged to be introduced to him, to express his great satisfaction with what he had heard’ ( “Memorial of Sarah Pugh,” p. 89).

4 In his prime, my father may have measured five feet nine to ten. His limbs were straight and shapely, his trunk perhaps slightly longer than his legs, so that he seemed in sitting a taller man than he was. His head was set well forward on his shoulders, which grew rounded with bending over the printer's form, and with age; but he was never bowed.

5 Ante, 3.19.

6 Ante, 1.55, 56.

7 Ante, 1: XV.

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