Speeches on Questions of Public Policy by Richard Cobden
The Speeches contained in these two volumes have been selected and edited at the instance of the Club which was established for the purpose of inculcating and extending those political principles which are permanently identified with Cobden's career. They form an important part of the collective contribution to political science, which has conferred on their author a reputation, the endurance of which, it may be confidently predicted, is as secure as that of any among the men whose wisdom and prescience have promoted the civilization of the world.
These Speeches are not in any sense compositions. Cobden was, in the strictest meaning of the words, an extempore speaker. He pretended neither to rhetoric nor to epigram, though the reader will find passages in these volumes the unaffected grace of which is as pleasing as the highest art, and illustrations which have all the force of the liveliest humour. But, as a rule, the speech is, as Sir Robert Peel called it, when the speaker's career was in its beginnings, "unadorned." The style is homely, conversational, familiar, and even garrulous. But it is always clear, and invariably suggests such a comprehension of the subject which is discussed, as gives the exposition all the force of a debate. So cogent and exhaustive was Cobden's reasoning, that, in almost every case, they who attempted to resist the effect of his conclusions were constrained to betake themselves to some irrelevant issue, or to awaken some prejudice against him. What he said, too, was stated with great geniality and kindliness. It was difficult to refute the speaker, it was impossible to quarrel with the man. He was as popular as he was wise. His manner was as modest as his speech was lucid.
There is no subject which Cobden treated which he did not take care to know perfectly well. He was never unprepared, for he never spoke on any topic with which he was not thoroughly conversant. He read up everything which he talked about. Hence his facts were as indisputable as his inferences were precise. He was never obliged to repudiate a principle which he had once adopted and announced, for he never accepted a compromise on any question of public policy. Hence he has done more than any other statesman to make the administration of public affairs an exact science. And for the same reason, as he entered into Parliament in the full maturity of his powers, he never had to abandon a single position which he accepted, maintained, and affirmed.
Cobden's name is principally identified with the agitation which led to a Free Trade in Food. This is not the place to enter into the history of that great financial reform, because an examination of all the statements which were made in defence of that restrictive policy to which the Corn-laws were the coping-stone, would require, in itself, the space of a special treatise. Most of them, it will be found, are taken and refuted in the Free-trade speeches with which these volumes commence. A quarter of a century after the final overthrow of the system, we can have no conception of the warmth and vindictiveness with which that system was defended, and of the courage, readiness, and learning which were needed in order to combat protective theories, and finally to overthrow them.
The immediate object of the organisation with which Cobden was associated, was the repeal of all protective taxes. For the purpose of carrying out this work, Cobden sacrificed fortune and health. The labours which he undertook during the campaign against the Corn-laws materially injured a constitution which, like that of all his family, was never robust. The unremitting attention which he gave to the details of an agitation, which confronted such vast and such angry interests, left him no leisure for conducting the affairs of his own manufacture. But once embarked in political life, Cobden could not abandon it, or retreat from it. He knew very well that after he had organised and carried out the campaign against the Corn-laws, there were other violations of economical laws, which characterised the social system of this country, the correction of which was only less important than the repeal of those monopolies, though the machinery for correcting them was by no means equally available.
He saw, for example, that no ultimate benefit would ensue to the mass of the people by the abolition of all taxes on food, unless what he called by a pardonable metaphor, Free Trade in Land, were also established. By this he meant the removal of that artificial scarcity of marketable land, which is directly traceable to certain usurpations in the real or presumed interest of the aristocracy, by which the devolution of land is regulated according to the custom of primogeniture, and by which estates are restrained from alienation under the covenants of a strict settlement. Thus, in the last year of his life, and in the last speech which he made, he regretted his age and failing physical energies, since he was now debarred from entering on an agitation for the abolition of those customs and privileges which make land the monopoly of the rich, and condemn the English peasantry to hopeless labour.
The same anxiety to carry out Free Trade to its legitimate consequences made Cobden an advocate of Financial Reform, and thus induced him to suggest the extension of one part, which is as yet the least equitable part of our financial system, and even to urge the absolute abandonment of the other part. He wished to see the United Kingdom a free port, rightly recognising that the more fully such a result could be obtained, the greater might be the industry, and the greater must be the affluence of his countrymen. Hence he advocated direct instead of indirect taxation.
Again, Cobden had the greatest anxiety to improve the moral and material condition of the people, and he had certain very definite views as to the machinery by which the improvement could be effected. He was one of the earliest advocates of a system of National Education. But, in the face of facts, he saw that it could be universal, only if it were permanently freed from the risk of denominational intrigue. He knew, again, that excessive taxation presses with increasing weight on those whose income supplies the narrowest margin above the necessaries of life. By far the largest part of the public expenditure is levied for the maintenance of the Services, and he was never weary of demanding that the cost of these Services should be materially reduced. He saw that the apology for these Services was to be found in the Foreign Policy of this country; and from the earliest days of his political career he urged the country to adopt the principle of non-intervention. He clearly understood that if the people of England busied themselves solely with their own defence, the charges on the revenue might be so reduced that the industry and enjoyments of the people would be vastly augmented.
But he founded his arguments on behalf of international amity, justice and peace, on far higher grounds than the material interests of society. He strongly held to the opinion that there is a retribution for national crimes, and he believed that the Foreign Policy of this country had been constantly immoral. He was persuaded that no advantage which can be obtained by war is equal to the loss, misery, and demoralisation which inevitably accompany it; and he knew that every end which warfare aims at can be safely, honourably, and cheaply obtained by arbitration. He denounced war as barbarism, and he saw that the stimulants to war are almost invariably supplied by those violent and self-seeking partisans who appeal to professional prejudice or a sordid patriotism in order to achieve their personal objects. After all means of averting war had failed, after every appeal to international law and public faith had been exhausted, a defensive war might, he held, be just and necessary; and defence, he very easily recognised, was far stronger than attack, far cheaper than aggression.
With the same end, he strove to do away with one of the professional incentives to war, the custom of confiscating unarmed vessels, belonging to the subjects of a belligerent Power, on the high seas. The retention of such a custom by a nation whose mercantile marine is larger than that of any other community was, he saw, an act of astonishing folly, or still more amazing ignorance. To those who argued that the risk of loss by such a nation is a powerful preventive of war, he answered, that war is never desired by a people, but by politicians and military men, whose ambition and cupidity are fired by the prospect of advancement or profit, and it is in the interest of such persons that the present custom is retained. The experience of the late American War has taught US that this barbarous and indefensible practice has other and more serious consequences.
In the same spirit, and with the same purpose, he dissected the motives which induce Governments to contract, and money-dealers to negotiate, Public Loans. He saw that these obligations were generally created in order to subserve some aggressive or tyrannical policy; and he contrasted the inconsistency of the public conscience, which was always ready to sympathise by demonstration with an oppressed people, and yet did not scruple to lend money to the oppressor, in order to enable him to outrage humanity with safety. He held that the men who lend money to profligate Governments occupy exactly the same place with those who make advances for infamous purposes, and that, until such time as the public conscience scouts their proceedings, they should at least be denied sympathy and assistance in recovering principal or interest from their defaulting debtors.
To these views of Mr. Cobden on War Expenditure and Foreign Policy, his opponents had nothing to answer, except by charging him with advocating peace at any price. It is almost superfluous to say that the charge was false, and nearly as superfluous to state that they who made it knew it to be false. The reader of these Speeches will find sufficient proof that the speaker put no limit to the necessary cost of defence—that he simply wished to take away the motives and material of aggression.
It was a common saying about Cobden that his range of political action was narrow. A glance at the topics treated in these volumes, a little reflection on their magnitude, will be a sufficient proof that this charge also is unfounded. But Cobden's political speeches cover only a small number of the subjects on which his opinions were strongly and clearly formed. They who had the advantage of his familiar intercourse, and who regularly corresponded with him, know how universal was his knowledge on political subjects, how lucid and sagacious were his interpretations of political events. When, in time to come, his correspondence is given to the world, it will be found to be a copious and profound history of his public life, and of the facts to which he contributed, or which he witnessed. There was hardly a subject of social interest on which he had not thought deeply, on which he did not speak and write wisely. But clear and wise as he was, his manner was inexpressibly gentle and modest.
There is one misstatement which was freely made against Cobden during his lifetime, and which has been reiterated since by such shallow people as form their opinions at secondhand. He was supposed to have been very moderately informed, to have ridiculed all learning, to have despised culture, and to have overvalued the educational importance of modern politics. At the time when it was first promulgated, the calumny was convenient and ingenious. It was intended to discredit Cobden's reputation as a statesman among educated persons. To repeat it now is to be guilty of an act of gross carelessness—an act of which no responsible and competent person would be guilty.
What Cobden did comment on, once and again, in terms of increasing severity, is the utter ignorance, on subjects of great political importance, which prevails among young men who have graduated at the older Universities, and who, under the peculiar parliamentary institutions of this country, are presented to seats in the House of Commons, or purchase admission into it, or succeed to analogous positions in the House of Lords. The system which introduces these personages to the Legislature puts them also into the Administration. Now, Cobden used to argue that the particular knowledge which the older Universities impart to such people, is of absolutely no use to them in the responsible place which they occupy, and that, considering the magnitude of the interests with which they deal, it is of paramount importance that they should have some knowledge of their own country and its history, and should further-more gain similiar information about those other countries with which their own has relations. He commented also on the danger which this country runs by incompetence and ignorance on the part of Ministers and Members of Parliament, and he might, had he wished to strengthen his case, have pointed to the absurd and mischievous misconceptions which prevailed among statesmen and politicians of the academical type as to the circumstances of the American War. Now, Cobden did not stand alone in this judgment. One of the commonest charges against the English is what foreigners call their insular habits, by which is probably meant a boisterous self-complacency, and a contemptuous disregard for the opinions of other nations. There are persons who consider this coarse and ignorant pride patriotic.
But, on the other hand, no man honoured with a more generous and modest deference that culture which he confessed to lack, but which he saw made in certain cases, as it always should be made, the substratum and method of practical experience. The scholarship which was coupled with a knowledge of modern facts, and which was made the means for arranging and illustrating such facts, was in Cobden's eyes an invaluable acquisition. For pedantry he had a hearty contempt. For learning, which is of no age or country, he had an exaggerated respect. But the difference between pedantry and learning lies in the fact that the former is satisfied with a narrow portion of the facts which constitute the history of the human mind, while the latter grasps all the inductions of social philosophy, or at least strives to do so.
If exact and careful knowledge of history constitutes learning, Cobden was, during the years of his political career, the most learned speaker in the House of Commons. Dealing as he did with broad questions of public policy, he got up his case accurately and laboriously. His facts, culled from all sources, were judiciously selected, and were never challenged. A cautious student of political economy, he knew that this science, the difficulty of which he fully recognised, was, or ought to be, eminently inductive, and that an economist without facts is like an engineer without materials or tools.
It was originally intended that all the Speeches contained in these volumes should have had the advantage of Mr. Bright's revision. Mr. Bright has done this service to those which are contained in the first volume. But, after he had given the same assistance to a few sheets in the second, he was unhappily seized with illness, and has been unable to give his further supervision to the work. It is hoped that this loss will not detract too much from the value of this publication.
A few of the Speeches were corrected by the speaker himself. But not a few, delivered on the spur of the occasion, have been extracted from newspaper reports, and have sometimes required the corrections of conjectural criticism. Mr. Cobden was a rapid speaker, and, as his voice became feebler, he was not always easy to report accurately.
The thanks of the Editors are due to the Proprietors of the "Manchester Examiner and Times," who were good enough to put the files of this influential paper at their disposal.
JAMES E. THOROLD ROGERS
Oxford, April 14, 1870.
The following paper, inserted here by kind permission of the publishers, appeared originally in Macmillan's Magazine for May, 1865 (the month after Mr. Cobden died):—
The honours paid by men of all parties to Richard Cobden at his death seem to dispose of the charges so constantly levelled against him during his life, of want of chivalry and want of patriotism. Men will honour in his tomb an opponent whom, from extreme difference of opinion, they would not—whom perhaps from the evil exigencies of party they could not—have honoured while he was alive; but they will not honour what is really sordid and mean even in the tomb. Englishmen might forgive and forget, they might even regard with gratitude, the author of patriotic, though misguided counsels, when the lips by which those counsels had been uttered had become suddenly mute: but even when touched by mortality they would not forgive or forget treason.
If "chivalry" means anything, it means the religions consecration of a man's powers to the redress of wrong. The powers consecrated in the Middle Ages were those of the soldier; the wrong redressed was the greatest of which mediæval Christendom could form a conception—the violation of pilgrims on their way to the sepulchre of Christ. In these days the powers to be consecrated are other than those of the soldier; the wrongs to be redressed are different and less romantic. And no powers ever were more thoroughly, or (as religion was at the root of his character) we may say more religiously, consecrated to the redress of wrong than those of Richard Cobden. No Sir Galahad ever sought the Holy Graal with a more disinterested and passionate ardour than he sought cheap bread for the people and social justice. No champion of Christendom ever went forth to combat giants and enchanters with more fervent faith or in a spirit of more intense self-devotion than he went forth to combat the demon of war. Free-trade and Non-intervention are less poetical than "Save the Sepulchre!" The figure of the Manchester cotton-spinner was much less picturesque than that of Tancred. The character of the Crusaders was the same.
It is a different question whether the course which he would have recommended to his country would always have been the most chivalrous. Most of us would probably think that he carried his doctrine of non-intervention too far. The world is still full of armed tyranny and wrong, which can, at present, be kept in check only by the fear of armed intervention. This he did not sufficiently see, and he naturally overrated the efficacy of commercial motives in restraining such military and territorial ambition as that of the French nation. In this he paid his tribute to the infirmity of human nature, which can seldom help treating the new truth as though it were the only truth, and pushing it to its full logical consequences before its hour. Constant collision with one extreme—the extreme of universal meddling and diplomatic wars—almost inevitably drove him into the other extreme. But there was nothing sordid or mean about the motives or the bearing of the man. In opposing wars and the policy which lead to them, he faced odium to which so kindly and genial a nature cannot have been callous, and he flung away prizes which were quite within his reach, and the desire of which probably no man who enters public life ever entirely casts out of his heart. War ministers and the advocates of a war policy are lavish enough of the blood of other men; but if is a delusion to think that the thereby display personal courage, or entitle themselves to tax with cowardice an opponent who is stemming the tide of passion on which they Boat to popularity and power. You will find a man ready to declaim in favour of a popular war who, as you may feel sure, would not face the shot, would perhaps not even face the loss of his dinner, possibly not even hot sherry and cold soup. The soldier who bravely shed his blood at Inkerman, and the statesman who endured the reproach of a "cotton-spinner" to prevent the soldier's blood from being shed, had something in common which was not shared by politicians who sat at home and made the war, much less by those who allowed themselves to be drawn into it against their convictions.
Cobden, when he denounced war, had not before his mind the uprising of a whole nation in a great moral cause. He had before his mind politicians carrying on war with hired soldiers, and money wrung from the people by the hand of power in a cause which, too often, was very far from being moral or even great.
We have said that religion lay at the root of Cobden's character. His firm belief in God was, as all who knew him intimately will agree with us in thinking, a great source of his fearlessness as a social reformer; nor, though absolutely free from any taint of sectarianism or bigotry, did he ever readily take to his heart those whom he believed to be devoid of religion. Not only was he a practical believer in God; he was a Christian in the ordinary sense of the term; and, for that matter, there was no reason why a dean should not attend his funeral, and a bishop be willing to read the service over his grave. He would no more have thought of propagating religion than he would have thought of propagating commerce by any force but that of conviction; but he had a distinct preference for Christian morality and civilization. And therefore, in the case of the war with Russia, besides his dislike of war in general, he could not fail to be specially opposed to one which was to rivet the Mahometan yoke (the foulness of which he had seen with his own eyes in his early travels) on the neck of Christian nations.
Cobden was not wanting in love of his country. He had spent his life in her service, and devoted all his faculties to improving the condition of her people. If he was wanting in professions of love towards her, it was as Cordelia was wanting in professions of love towards Lear. But he loved her in subordination to, or rather as a part of, humanity. He was an intense practical believer in the community of nations, and acted under an intense conviction that the interests, high and low, of each Community were inseparably blended, in the councils of Providence, with those of the rest. If it was of the commercial interests of nations that in public he principally and almost exclusively talked, this was chiefly because his modesty led him to confine himself to his special subject, chiefly because his modesty led him to confine himself to his special subject, and to pay an almost exaggerated deference to others upon theirs. He distinctly saw and deeply felt that commerce was the material basis on distinctly saw and deeply felt that commerce was the material basis on which Providence has ordained that a community of a higher kind should be built. And if he recognised the community of nations as above any one nation, did not the Crusaders in the same way recognise a Christendom?
The policy of charity, courtesy, mutual good-will and forbearance which he preached, was, after all, pretty nearly identical with the Christianity which England proclaims not only as her established religion, but as the palladium of her empire. For a moment, in the case of the bombardment of Canton, this policy was decided to be contrary to the national honour; but the decision was reversed in the case of Kagosima. It is a source of national weakness only if the enmity of your neighbours is a source of strength. The Free-trade treaties are fast making England a member of a great commercial confederation, the other members of which could scarcely fail to stand by us in case of an attack on the common trade.
The success, commercial and political, of the French Treaty made Cobden too blind, as we should say, to the menacing magnitude of the French armaments, and to the continued existence of the spirit of aggression which those armaments imply. He was also a little too tolerant of the military despotism of an autocrat who had embraced the doctrines of Free-trade. We have felt this ourselves as strongly as the rest of the world. But it should be remembered (especially when his conduct is compared with that of public men who pretend to be the peculiar representatives of English spirit) that, in his personal bearing towards the Emperor, he studiously maintained the reserve and the dignity of an English freeman. That he would have advised his country tamely to English freeman. That he would have advised his country tamely to allow France to commit actual injustice in Europe never was proved, though no doubt these were the questions on which his rational admirers would have most dreaded to see him tried.
If his peace and non-intervention policy was not that of a Chatham, it was at least not that of the mock-Chathams. If he had been Foreign Minister he would not have held out to Denmark expectations of armed assistance; but, on the other hand, he would not have had, when the time of need came, to put her off with sympathetic declamations. He was an "international man," to use the phrase of the French Minister, before the age of international men had fully come. If, with the morning rays of an enlarged morality shining on him he sometimes showed too little regard for the narrow patriotism which had been the most comprehensive virtue of preceding ages, this, again, was a fault in him, but it was one which the next generation will easily forgive.
The Bishop of Oxford calls Cobden "the great Sussex Englishman." The son of an English yeoman, proud of his birth, he has been borne from a most English home to a grave among the English bills. And who will say that he is not worthy of that grave?
At the time of Cobden's death, Mr. Thorold Rogers was still a clergyman of the Church of England (like Mr. Leslie Stephen, Mr. Goldwin Smith and others, Mr. Thorold Rogers later availed himself of the Clerical Disabilities Act, and resigned his Orders). On Sunday, April 9, 1865, Mr. Thorold Rogers preached at West Lavington Church, Sussex, in the graveyard of which Cobden was buried, a memorial sermon on Richard Cobden, from which the following interesting extract is taken:—
Two days ago, the greatest and wisest men in England gathered in this church and churchyard in order to render the last offices of loving homage to the most single-hearted and generous statesman who has ever lived in the history of mankind. The burial of other men has been solemnized with greater pomp and more numerous attendance, has been marshalled by authority and accompanied by all the circumstances which art could invent in order to shew honour to departed eminence. But on this occasion, as never before, the great concourse of mourners was gathered out of the deep wish felt to do reverence to a man whose memory will live as long as the world shall endure. To that grave in which lies all that was mortal of one whose rare powers of thought and word and deed were joined to vast and varied knowledge, and graced by most winning and gentle manners, men will do pilgrimage in time to come, For it is right and seemly, while we give all honour and glory to God for the fact that He suffers men to largely serve their fellows, and acknowledge always that there cannot be any true good in man's work acknowledge always that there cannot be any true good in man's work God, that we should gratefully recognize man's work, and hold in high honour God's choicest instruments.
Let us reflect on the reasons which roused, and will rouse, these strong feelings of affection towards the man who has gone from among us. In the first place, his whole public life was an earnest and constant endeavour to do true service to man. There have been those who doubted the convictions which he entertained, and resisted the conclusions which he sought to establish, but no man ever ventured to assert that his perseverance and resolution were founded on any but the loftiest and the purest aims. Out of every contest into which he entered with what he believed to be error and wrong, he came forth with unchallenged motives and untarnished reputation. Modest and unassuming in his whole demeanour, he was, as just and true-hearted men should be, jealous in the highest sense of his personal integrity. Wholly indifferent to the hostility which is sure to be the heritage of the courageous and the patient, he was careful lest any charge of self-seeking should even in the smallest measure binder or enfeeble the work which his instincts and his experience equally taught him could be effected only by persistent disinterestedness. And just as in the spiritual life, those only who are pure in heart are blessed with the sight of God, so in the administration of those public affairs which form the largest and most exalted field on which human interests can be consulted and sustained, they are sure to arrive at the wisest and most certain conclusions, and to secure the most solid and lasting benefits to mankind, who are not to be diverted from their purpose by fear, by flattery, or by self-interest. The advantage of his life, and his public teaching, allowed and admitted to the full even by those who once resisted him and his purposes, has become in the best sense the property of the whole human race, is acknowledged more and more widely among mankind, has called forth the respect and assent of all nations to whom the news of his death has come; but is consecrated by the unswerving integrity of his whole career, by the unfailing purity of his purposes, and by the heroic self-devotion of the last acts of his life. Henceforth he is a true pattern to all who give themselves up to public affairs and the administration of the state, and the great Englishman will be, among all who speak our tongue, and join to make the history of our race, dear to every honest English heart, and helpful to every earnest English will. To love truth for truth's sake, to resist what conviction suggests is false or wrong, to persevere in a righteous cause, even when it is in the highest degree unpopular or unacceptable, and to be willing to serve men, even when the willingness is slighted or thwarted, are the highest acts of the best life, and fulfil most nearly the spirit of God's commands.
Great as were this man's services to his country and the world, he was at all times ready to welcome those who laboured in other ways to advance the good of their fellows. Every plan which seemed likely to further what was good and true found in him a warm advocate and a judicious critic. Those who had experience of the willing kindness of his heart—and many here must have had such knowledge of him—may not have been aware of how his busy mind and loving nature were always teeming with plans for furthering the highest interests of his fellow-men; of how he mourned over ignorance and sin, and how he longed to help in the great work of supporting and extending the growth of a true godliness. It was, as I have heard him say over and over again, hopeless to expect any good from any man who did not cherish a strong and vital sense of religion, and did not make the revelation of the Gospel and the teaching of Christ the starting-point of all human duty. Too wise and too modest to arrogate, as shallow men do, entire completeness to the office which he was able to fulfil, he welcomed gladly every act of true charity and every honest purpose as a contribution to those great forces which fight with misery, and wrong, and vice. Many men who little imagine that he watched their labours, gained his warmest respect for their genuine service and untiring devotedness. He was full of the humility of true greatness, abounding in the sympathy which always goes with sincere devotedness.
Careful and cautious in the best sense, he had achieved, or possessed naturally, a complete mastery over himself. No one ever heard a hasty word or an angry expression from his lips. The strongest utterance of indignation to which he ever gave vent was called forth by what he felt to be a malicious misconstruction of the character and language of his friends. But free as he was from passion, he had an absolute loathing for deliberate untruth, and he would not hesitate for a moment to sacrifice an intimacy or a familiarity with any one whom he distinctly discovered to be acting treasonably to that which he held in such continual reverence. And on such occasions—there were, as might be expected, some, in so vast and varied an experience of men as his was—he never scrupled to avow the cause of his coldness or aversion, and to display the same openness in disclaiming an unwelcome because insincere friend, as in expressing and according the largest good-will to those whom he saw to be fellow-labourers after truth.
This translucent life of his was before the world, and witnessed to by all men. He had hushed into nothingness or into merely occasional bursts of spite the mean envy which disparaged the width of his great mind, or which affected to sneer at the efforts he made to further the general welfare of mankind. He had outlived the rancour of party spirit, and had put to silence the imputation of party interests. Never perhaps and had put to silence the imputation of party interests. Never perhaps did any man so conciliate the respect of those whose policy or whose instincts urged them to conclusions different from his. No earnest and busy worker in the battle of life was ever more blameless and more pure; no man so self-possessed was ever more unaffected.
You who have seen much of the daily doings of his later years can bear testimony to the kindliness of his manner, the courtesy of his conduct, the placid gentleness of his address, the unbroken evenness of his temper. No one ever, who came within the sphere of his influence, failed to see how orderly were his doings, and how generous was his estimate of those about him. Full of knowledge and wisdom, tried in the great struggles of his public life, he came in his maturer years to his native place, to exhibit the unvarying graces of a good and honest man, and to practise those rare virtues of simplicity and tranquillity which adorned him even more than his vast knowledge and unparalleled sagacity. Those who merely saw him could hardly credit the large powers which lay hid in so easy and serene a presence.
To us who were honoured with his closer intimacy there is a blank created by his loss which no subsequent friendship can occupy. We cannot imagine any man with such varied gifts, with such signal opportunities, with so wide an experience, with so wise a mind, with so pure and simple a character. Precious as are the memories of our association with him, as lasting as will be the recollection of his profound and sagacious judgments, we who constantly consulted with him on matters of difficult import, feel that the loss of his wise interpretations can be replaced from no living experience. The charms of his graceful simplicity, of his lucid language, his copious knowledge, are no longer available for our instruction. No man's loss could create such a waste, because no man ever occupied so large a space in the habitual thoughts and affectionate intercourse of his more intimate friends. To have lived familiarly within the influences and convictions of a great and true mind, is to live happily indeed, but to live within the range of a great sorrow.
There are not indeed wanting consolations to those who loved and honoured him, He was taken away in the maturity of his judgment, in the fulness of his powers, in the height of his reputation. But his renown is wide as the civilization which he furthered, and the Christianity which he acknowledged and revered. And those who can profit by them will surely take heart by his example and his teaching, by the speech of his lips, and the pattern of his life, and will not fail at all times to look to his character and recall his person, with continual honour to him, and with deep thankfulness to God, who permitted his words and ordered his ways, as He does order all that is good, and true, and honest, and loving.
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