The New Student's Reference Work/Phillips, Wendell

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Phillips, Wen′dell, the distinguished orator and abolitionist, was born of wealthy and aristocratic parentage at Boston, Mass., Nov. 29, 1811. After several years' study in the public Latin school he entered Harvard, from which he graduated in 1831. While yet in his collegiate course Phillips was noted not only for superior scholarship but for oratorical gifts and marked purity and dignity of character. In 1834, having taken a three years' course of legal study, Phillips was admitted to the bar at Boston. A little more than a year after entering upon the practice of his profession he saw the mobbing of Garrison (q. v.) at Boston, which made a deep and lasting impression and awoke serious thought upon the evils of slavery. It was in Faneuil Hall that Phillips, then only 26, delivered the first of those marvelous philippics that did so much to arouse antislavery sentiment, the occasion being a meeting to denounce the murder of Lovejoy at Alton, Ill., for advocating anti-slavery sentiments in his paper published at that place. From that time Phillips continued the faithful and unflinching opponent of slavery, raising his voice against it throughout the land and devoting his gifts and varied powers to the single purpose of its abolition and destruction. Although the matter of Phillips' speeches was nearly always fiery and impassioned, his delivery as well as his manner was invariably calm, reserved, perfectly easy and natural, giving him a power over audiences that compelled interest and attention, even when they most disagreed with him. Very appropriately was he called The Unagitated Agitator. He died at Boston on Feb. 2, 1884.