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INTRODUCTION TO "BITS OF
IF the following famous orations were not called "Bits of Eloquence," "Inspiration" would be a good name.
In reading such eloquence one gets more than information, more than entertainment, more even than ideas. One gets an inspiration that arouses to the greatest possible endeavor every atom of strength and the noblest impulses of the soul. It unfolds to one not only a more profitable life, but a greater life. The reading of an eloquent passage not only inspires the mind of the reader, but inspires to greater activity every atom of the body. The blood is made to run with greater vigor on its course. A peculiar, indescribable feeling, akin to awe, passes over and through a person. Everyone experiences this sensation on beholding the broad expanse of the ocean, the towering mountains reaching upward to the sky, or when looking upon a beautiful work of art; but the most inspiring thing in all the world is to read the great masterpieces that have been left as a rich legacy to mankind.-G. H. K.
If I were to tell you the story of Napoleon I should take it from the lips of Frenchmen, who find no language rich enough to paint the great captain of the nineteenth century. Were I to tell you the story of Washington, I should take it from your hearts, you who think no marble white enough on which to carve the name of the Father of his country. But I am to tell you the story of Toussaint L'Ouverture, who has left hardly one written line. I am to glean it from the reluctant testimony of his enemies, men who despised him, hated him, because he had beaten them in battle.
Cromwell manufactured his own army. Napoleon, at the age of twenty-seven, was placed at the head of the best troops Europe ever saw. Cromwell never saw an army till he was forty; this man never saw a soldier till he was fifty. Cromwell manufactured his own army-out of what? Englishmen—the best blood in Europe. This man manufactured
his army out of what? Out of what you call the despicable race of negroes, debased, demoralized by two hundred years of slavery, one hundred thousand of them imported into the island within four years, unable to speak a dialect intelligible even to each other. Yet out of this mixed, and, as you say, despicable mass he forged a thunderbolt and hurled it at what? At the proudest blood in Europe, the Spaniard, and sent him home conquered; at the most warlike blood in Europe, the French, and put them under his feet; at the pluckiest blood in Europe, the English, and they skulked home. to Jamaica. Now, if Cromwell was a general, at least this man was a soldier.
I would call him Napoleon, but Napoleon made his way to empire over broken oaths and through a sea of blood. This man never broke his word. I would call him Cromwell, but Cromwell was only a soldier, and the state he founded went down with him into his grave. I would call him Washington, but the great Virginian held slaves. This man risked his empire rather than permit the slave trade in the humblest village of his dominions.
You think me a fanatic, for you read history,