Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/264

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266 Southern Historical Society Papers.

but in the latter year he removed to Philadelphia to conduct a " Quiz Class," in conjunction with Drs. Pancoast and Luckett. In this congenial work he was engaged when the John Brown raid, that doleful harbinger of the war, occurred. This gave occasion for the outspoken declarations of intense and bitter feeling which had long smouldered, and from which the medical students enjoyed no excep- tional immunity.

When the body of the executed felon was borne through Phila- delphia, the dwellers in that city of Brotherly Love gave free and full expression to the sentiments which prevailed in their bosoms.

Now did the powers which lay dormant in the soul of this young physician play their first and most dramatic part on the public stage. His acquaintance among those with whom he lived and worked was of necessity limited. Himself, comparatively unknown, with- out the graces of person, the seductiveness of manner or powers of speech which so often win the attention and control the con- duct of the masses of mankind, we find him, in the midst of winter, leaving Philadelphia at the head of three hundred medi- cal students, who, forfeiting all they had staked, of present in- vestment and of hope of future advantage from those schools, fol- lowed their leader with unfaltering tread into unknown and appar- ently hopeless fields. What now, we may enquire, was the secret of that marvellous power in the exercise of which a youth of twenty- four years of age was enabled to induce 300 men, many of whom were doubtless older and far more experienced than himself, to for- sake the present means of earning a livelihood and cast their fortunes with him ? What is the foundation of that confidence, under the potent sway of which legions of veteran soldiers and the people and statesmen of great empires have been induced to place their desti- nies in the hands of young and inexperienced leaders ? How did the youthful Alexander so win over the trained legions of Philip as to achieve by them the conquest of Greece, and lead them across wide fields of Asia until their victorious march was stayed on the banks of the far distant Hyphasis? How did the younger Pitt so lead captive the Commons of England, make impotent the re- sistless logic of Fox, the profound philosphy and the gorgeous rhet- oric of Burke, and hold them unbroken, in his resistance to Napo- leon's pride, until he himself was stricken to his death by the baleful rays of the Star of Austerlitz ? In every human heart, however be- nighted by ignorance, debauched by sin, or depraved by crime, there remains a susceptibility to the ennobling influences of heroism.