, therefore, is our only just demand when we solicit an expression of opinion.
Every man thinks erroneously.
God alone knows all
The smallest defect in our knowledge, the slightest bias of desire, or fear, or habit, is sufficient to mislead us. And in truth, the errors of a true man are not discreditable to him; for his errors spring from the same source as his excellences.
It was said of Charles Lamb
, that he liked his friends, not in spite of their faults, but faults and all
! and I think the gentle Charles
was no less right than kind.
The crook, the knot, and the great humpy excrescences are as essential features of the oak tree's beauty, as its waving crown of foliage.
Let Horace Greeley
's errors of opinion be what they may, he has done something in his day to clarify the truth, that no error of opinion is a hundredth part as detrimental to the interest of men as the forcible suppression of opinion, either by the European
modes of suppression, or the American
He has made it easier than it was to take the unpopular side.
He has helped us onward towards that perfect freedom of thought and speech which it is fondly hoped the people of this country are destined in some distant age to enjoy.
Moreover, a critic, to be competent, must be the superior of the person criticized.
The critic is a judge, and a judge is the highest person in the court, or should be. This book is a chronicle, not an opinion.
And to conclude, the glory of Horace Greeley
is this: He began life as a workingman.
As a workingman, he found out, and he experienced the disadvantages of the workingman's condition.
He rose from the ranks to a position of commanding influence.
But he ceased to be a workingman with
workingmen, only to become a workingman for
In the editor's chair, on the lecturer's platform, on the floor of Congress, at ducal banquets, in good report and in ill report, in the darkest days of his cause as in its brightest, against his own interest, his own honor, his own safety, he has been ever true, in heart and aim, to his order, i. e
. his countrymen.
In other lands, less happy than ours, the people are a class; here we are all people; all together we must rise in the scale of humanity, or all together sink.
A great man?
No. A great man has not recently trod this continent—some think not since Columbus
left it. A model man?
No. Let no man be upheld as a model.