with this anniversary.
Beyond his native city and its suburbs, he was little known except among scholars.
He had kept aloof from politics, and even from the public agitation of questions in which he was most interested, and had uniformly declined to speak before lyceums or at academic festivals.
Not regarding the mere record of his name as an attorney in the court calendar, the newspapers had printed it hardly a dozen times.
Had he died before this event, his memory would have been only a tradition with the few early friends who survive him. The Fourth of July, 1845,—a day ever memorable with him,—gave him a national, and more than a national, fame.
Such abrupt transitions may be expected in military life, but they rarely occur in civil history.
When that occasion was ended, he had demonstrated his moral fearlessness, his capacity to deal with great issues, his gift of inspiring eloquence; and he took his place in the front rank of orators, which he held while he lived.
Fortunate in his opportunity, he was fortunate also in the people who were often to listen to his voice,—a people among whom the moral sentiments have always been potent.
The gloom, which for many months had vexed his spirit, vanished as he wielded the new-found faculty in the service of mankind.
Student though he was to the last, he now went forth from the seclusion of a scholar's chamber well trained by self-discipline, and strong in purpose and hope, to enter on the work which God had appointed him to do. How well it was done,—with what courage, perseverance, and power,—is written in the fifteen volumes of his Works, which begin with the effort of this day, and in the history of his country for the twenty-three years he stood in the Senate as the tribune of Human Rights