The most significant and important outcome of this presentation to the Czar was his pledge to my countrymen that Russia would always remember the generosity of the American people in their future relations. Everywhere in St. Petersburg and Moscow, the Russian and American flags were displayed together on the public buildings, so that I look back upon this occasion with a pardonable impression of its international importance. There was a suggestion of this feeling in an address presented to us by the City Council of St. Petersburg, in which a graceful remembrance was made of that occasion in 1868, when a special embassy from the United States, with Mr. G.V. Fox, a Cabinet officer, at its head, visited St. Petersburg and expressed sympathy for Russia and its Sovereign.
Returning from Russia, I continued my preaching tour in England, preaching to immense crowds, estimated in the English newspapers to be from fifteen to twenty thousand people, in the large cities. In Birmingham the crowd followed me into the hotel, where it was necessary to lock the doors to keep them out. What incalculable kindness I received in England! I remember a farewell banquet given me at the Crystal Palace by twenty Nonconformists, at which I was presented with a gold watch from my English friends; and a scene in Swansea, when, after my sermon, they sang Welsh hymns to me in their native language.
Some people wonder how I have kept in such good humour with the world when I have been at times violently assailed or grossly misrepresented. It was because the kindnesses towards me have predominated. For the past thirty or forty years the mercies have carried the day. If I went to the depot there was a carriage to meet me. If I tarried at the hotel some one mysteriously paid the bill. If I were attacked in newspaper or church court there were always those willing to take up for me the cudgels. If I were falsified the lie somehow turned out to my advantage. My enemies have helped me quite as much as my friends. If I preached or lectured I always had a crowd. If I had a boil it was almost always in a comfortable place. If my church burned down I got a better one. I offered a manuscript to a magazine, hoping to get for it forty dollars, which I much needed at the time. The manuscript was courteously returned as not being available; but that article for which I could not get forty dollars has since, in other uses, brought me forty thousand dollars. The caricaturists have sent multitudes of people to hear me preach and lecture. I have had antagonists; but if any man of my day has had more warm personal friends I do not know his name.
I had only one fault to find with the world in my sixty years of travel over it and that was it had treated me too well. In the ordinary course of events, and by the law of the Psalmist, I still had ten more years before me; but, according to my own calculations, life stretched brilliantly ahead of me as far as heart and mind could wish. There were many things to take into consideration. There was the purpose of the future, its obligations, its opportunities to adjust. My whole life had been a series of questions. My course had been the issue of problems, a choice of many ways.