Edward Everett, Orator and Statesman

By Paul Revere Frothingham | Go to book overview

II
PEGASUS IN THE PULPIT

IN 1813 the Christian ministry was still at its height in New England. It was the calling preëminently of scholars -- the 'chosen profession.' It offered a splendid field for earnest, active, consecrated men of literary tastes and high ideals. It was honored in the community and adorned by men of culture and influence. In the words of Lowell: 'The New England clergy were still an establishment and an aristocracy, and when office was almost always for life and often hereditary.' It left ample leisure for study and literary pursuits. It supplied one with a wide and intelligent hearing. There was at that time no social problem in the country to absorb a minister's time, nor to claim his constant attention. The 'institutional' church was unknown. The community contained no poor people -- at least, none in sufficient numbers to constitute a problem. Parish activities were few, and organizations, whether for fighting vice, or diminishing intemperance, or establishing social justice, were unknown. The minister was preëminently a preacher. The sermon was supreme.

Moreover, the doctrinal tests at just that time were not, severe. The Liberal Movement was well upon its way, although the unfortunate breach which later came in the ranks of Congregationalism had not yet taken place. When Everett came forward to begin his life-work, Channing was already firmly established, with his liberal influence visibly spreading. He had been preaching for eight years in the church in Federal Street, where large and eager congregations hung upon his words and were thrilled by his rapt devotion and ethereal presence.

It was natural, therefore, even without the pressure and persuasion which came from Buckminster and Kirkland, that Everett should have chosen as he did, seeing in the pulpit a

-19-

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Edward Everett, Orator and Statesman
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xiii
  • I - Background and Beginning 1
  • II - Pegasus in the Pulpit 19
  • III - Wander Years 36
  • IV - The Greek Professor 61
  • V - Apollo in Politics 93
  • VI - Governor of Massachusetts 127
  • VII - Port After Stormy Seas 157
  • VIII- At the Court of Saint James' 188
  • IX - A Diplomat in London 220
  • X - President of Harvard 265
  • XI - An Interlude 302
  • XII - Secretary of State and Senator 329
  • XIII - The Orator 373
  • XIV - With the God of Battles 414
  • Index 473
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