Whatever the circumstances presented and whatever the immediate result will be, we are to dare to do our duty as we understand it. And we are so to dare and so to do in complete faith that right makes might and in utter disregard of fear that might may triumph. The only basis of true courage is faith, and our trust must be in right, in good, in God.
We live in a republic that sustains itself through the acceptance by all of the will of the majority, and to talk of despotism whenever the authority necessary for efficiency is exercised, and that with practically unanimous concurrence, is wholly unreasonable. A man who cannot yield allegiance to the country in which he lives should either be silent and inactive or go to some country where his sympathy corresponds with his loyalty.
As years increase we more and more value the personal and individual element in human life. Character becomes the transcendent interest and friends are our chief assets. As I approach the end of my story of memories I feel that the most interesting feature of life has been the personal. I wish I had given more space to the people I have known. Fortune has favored me with friends worth mentioning and of acquaintances, some of whom I must introduce.
Of Horatio Stebbins, the best friend and strongest influence of my life, I have tried to express my regard in a little book about to be published by the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston. It will be procurable from our San Francisco Unitarian Headquarters. That those who may not see it may know something of my feeling, I reprint a part of an editorial written when he died.
The thoughts that cluster around the memory of Horatio Stebbins so fill the mind that nothing else can be considered until some expression is made of them, and yet the impossibility of any adequate statement is so evident that it seems hopeless to begin. The event of his death was not unexpected. It has been imminent and threatening for years. His feebleness and the intense suffering of his later days relieve the grief that must be felt, and there springs by its side gratitude that rest and peace have come to him. And yet to those who loved him the world seems not quite the same since he has gone from it. There is an underlying feeling of something missing, of loss not to be overcome, that must be borne to the end.
In my early boyhood Horatio Stebbins was “the preacher from Fitchburg”—original in manner and matter, and impressive even to a boy. Ten years passed, and our paths met in San Francisco. From the day he first stood in the historic pulpit as successor of that gifted preacher and patriot, Starr King, till his removal to Cambridge, few opportunities for hearing him were neglected by me. His influence was a great blessing, association with him a delight, his example an inspiration, and his love the richest of undeserved treasures.