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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Women and Men, chapter 25 (search)
and even as to that such a phrase would seem too fulsome for truth. For although this post involves far more of direct personal power than do most thrones, yet it has no permanence; it is held by a four years lease, after which the occupant reverts to the ranks of common men. By our theory the President himself is the servant of the people, or, as the present incumbent has expressed it, public office is a public trust. The question has been seriously raised by European reformers, such as Mazzini and Louis Blanc, whether the same trust could not more fitly be exercised by the mere chairman of a committee, and Mr. M. D. Conway has of late revived this theory. Surely the phrase exalted station is too extravagant for a function thus temporary and derivative; and setting the President aside, there is no one else among us on whose position it could be fitly bestowed. We can recognize the exaltation of a great public character, but hardly of a station. For there is no station which any
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Women and Men, chapter 60 (search)
his own emotions beneath a veil. Of the three kings of the American lecture platform in our own day, two at least-Phillips and Gough-admitted that they never appeared before an audience without a certain shrinking and self-distrust. It must be owned that this quality is not everywhere connected with conspicuous leadership, especially outside of the Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-American race. It is difficult to associate it, for instance, with Victor lingo, with Bismarck, with Garibaldi-although Mazzini must have had it, and it was most visible and lovable in Tourguenieff, as I can personally testify. But enough has been said to show that the Ignore delicate graces of character, so far as they are founded upon modesty and a spirit of self-withdrawal, are consistent with the most eminent and acknowledged greatness before the world. If this is the case even with men, why not with women, in whom the source and spring of humility lies deeper? If this be true, there is no reason to fear th