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Edwards and Dwight and Whitefield. And behind them stood Wickliffe and Cranmer and Wesley and Luther and a multitude who had harps and crowns. And they said to the angel ; “We will go on earth and teach the diffusion of conscientiousness. We will heal America by righteousness.” Then the angel arose, and lifted up his far-gleaming hand to the heaven of heavens, and said 2 “Go. Not in the first three, but only in all four of these leaves from the tree of life, is to be found the healing of the nations,—the diffusion of liberty, the diffusion of intelligence, the diffusion of property, the diffusion of conscientiousness. You will be more than ever efficient, but not sufficient.”
I listened, and under Plymouth Rock and the universities there was no sound ; but under emigrant wharves and crowded factories, and under Wall Street, and in poisonous alleys of great cities, I heard yet the black angels laugh; but, with the laughter there came up now from beneath a clanking of chains.
Then I looked, and the whole firmament above the angel was as if it were one azure eye; and into it the ten thousand times ten thousand gazed ; and I saw that they stood in one palm of a Hand of Him into whose face they gazed, and that the soft axle of the world stood upon the finger of another palm, and that both palms were pierced. I saw the twelve spirits which had gone forth and they joined hands with each other and with the twelve hours, and moved perpetually about the globe; and I heard a voice, after which there was no laughter: “Ye are efficient, but I am sufficient.”
JOHN B. GOUGH (1817–1886)
THE FAMOUS TEMPERANCE ADVOCATE
gone through the fire of experience. Thus it was with John B. Gough, the eminent temperance lecturer. While learning the bookbinding trade in New York he fell into the habit of drinking, and for ten years was such a slave to intemperance that he sank into the lowest depths of poverty and wretchedness. About 1840 he was induced to sign the total-abstinence pledge, and from that time forward devoted his life to the reclamation of the intemperate. Gifted by nature with fine powers of emotional oratory, and combining with this the qualities of an actor, he soon distinguished himself as the most eloquent and successful advocate of the temperance cause. Oratory, anecdote, impersonation, impassioned relations of his own degradation, combined in him to yield a wonderful effect upon his audiences. He lectured for many years widely through the English speaking world, and doubtless was the happy instrument for saving myriads from the curse of drink.
H E who can best make himself felt on any subject is he who has
THE TEMPERANCE CAUSE
[Gough's orations on his chosen subject were multitudinous. The utmost we can do here is to offer an extract showing his manner of speech. But few orators depended more than he upon the manner, rather than the matter, of his addresses for his effect upon an audience. He acted as well as spoke, and his orations were in their way examples of histrionic ability.]
Our enterprise is in advance of the public sentiment, and those who
carry it on are glorious iconoclasts, who are going to break down the drunken
dragon worshipped by their fathers. Count me over the chosen heroes of
this earth, and I will show you men that stood alone—ay, alone, while
those they toiled, and labored, and agonized for, hurled at them contumely,
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scorn, and contempt. They stood alone; they looked into the future calmly, and with faith; they saw the golden beam inclining to the side of perfect justice; and they fought on amid the storm of persecution. In Great Britain they tell me when I go to see such a prison : “Here is such a dungeon, in which such a one was confined; ” “Here, among the ruins of an old castle, we will show you where such a one had his ears cut off, and where another was murdered.” Then they will show me monuments towering up to the heavens. “There is a monument to such a one; there is a monument to another.” And what do I find? That the one generation persecuted and howled at these men, crying, “Crucify them crucify them l’’ and danced around the blazing fagots that consumed them ; and the next generation busied itself in gathering up the scattered ashes of the martyred heroes, and depositing them in the golden urn of a nation's history. O, yes! the men that fight for a great enterprise are the men that bear the brunt of the battle, and “He who seeth in secret”—seeth the desire of his children, their steady purpose, their firm self-denial—“will reward them openly,” though they may die and see no sign of the triumphs of their enterprise. Our cause is a progressive one. I read the first constitution of the first temperance society formed in the State of New York, in 1809, and one of the by-laws stated, “Any member of this association who shall be convicted of intoxication shall be fined a quarter of a dollar, except such act of intoxication shall take place on the Fourth of July, or any other regularly appointed military muster.” We laugh at that now ; but it was a serious matter in those days: it was in advance of the public sentiment of the age. The very men that adopted that principle were persecuted; they were hooted and pelted through the streets, the doors of their houses were blackened, their cattle mutilated. The fire of persecution scorched some men so that they left the work. Others worked on, and God blessed them. Some are living to-day; and I should like to stand where they stand now, and see the mighty enterprise as it rises before them. They worked hard. They lifted the first turf–prepared the bed in which to lay the corner-stone. They laid it amid persecution and storm. They worked under the surface; and men almost forgot that there were busy hands laying the solid foundation far down beneath. By-and-by they got the foundation above the surface, and then commenced another storm of persecution. Now we see the superstructure—pillar after pillar, tower after tower, column after column, with the capitals emblazoned with “Love, truth, sympathy, and good-will to men.” Old men gaze upon it as it grows up before them. They will not live to see it completed, but they see in faith the crowning cope-store set upon it. Meek-eyed women weep
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as it grows in beauty; children strew the pathway of the workmen with flowers. We do not see its beauty yet—we do not see the magnificence of its superstructure yet—because it is in course of erection. Scaffolding, ropes, ladders, workmen ascending and descending, mar the beauty of the building ; but by-and-by, when the hosts who have labored shall come up over a thousand battle-fields, waving with bright grain, never again to be crushed in the distillery; through vineyards, under trellised vines, with grapes hanging in all their purple glory, never again to be pressed into that which can debase and degrade mankind—when they shall come through orchards, under trees hanging thick with golden, pulpy fruit, never to be turned into that which can injure and debase—when they shall come up to the last distillery and destroy it; to the last stream of liquid death, and dry it up ; to the last weeping wife, and wipe her tears gently away; to the last little child, and lift him up to stand where God meant that man should stand ; to the last drunkard, and nerve him to burst the burning fetters and make a glorious accompaniment to the song of freedom by the clanking of his broken chains—then, ah then will the cope-stone be set upon it, the scaffolding will fall with a crash, and the building will start in its wondrous beauty before an astonished world. The last poor drunkard shall go into it, and find a refuge there; loud shouts of rejoicing shall be heard, and there shall be joy in Heaven, when the triumphs of a great enterprise shall usher in the day of the triumphs of Christ. I believe it; on my soul, I believe it. Will you help us 2 That is the question. We leave it with you. Good-night.
ROBERT G. INGERSOLL (1833-1899)
NGERSOLL was an orator among orators, a man of extraordiI nary eloquence and unsurpassed control over his audience. His sentences breathe music and read like poetry. So rythmical is his language that it might almost be divided up into epic verse. Many deplored his power, for it was exerted in what was, to the Christian World, a wrongful cause. He was best known as an opponent of Biblical interpretation,-the cultured Tom Paine of modern times, while his remarkable powers in oratory enabled him to win far more converts to his views than Paine ever did. Yet our language does not contain a more truly religious oration than that spoken by him over his brother's grave; a eulogy more instinct with tender feeling and lofty sentiment. Ingersoll was a lawyer by profession, a cavalry colonel in the Civil War, and later was Attorney-General of Illinois.
BLAINE, THE PLUMED KNIGHT [Ingersoll's oratory was not confined to religious—or irreligious—subjects. He won fame as a political orator as well. And in this field his most notable effort was his speech before the Republican Convention of 1876, in which he rose to nominate James G. Blaine for the Presidency. We have already spoken of this splendid effort in our notice of Blaine. We need only say further that Ingersoll shares with Conk
ling the honor of delivering the two most effective nominating speeches on record.] "
Massachusetts may be satisfied with the loyalty of Benjamin H. Bristow ; so am I; but if any man nominated by this convention cannot carry the State of Massachusetts, I am not satisfied with the loyalty of that State. If the nominee of this convention cannot carry the grand old Commonwealth of Massachusetts by seventy-five thousand majority, I would advise them to sell out Faneuil Hall as a Democratic headquarters. I would advise them to take from Bunker Hill that old monument of glory.