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W. Anderson (William Anderson) Smith.

Shepherd Smith the Universalist : the story of a mind : being a life of The Rev. James E. Smith, M.A. online

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'SHEPHEED' SMITH



THE UNIVERSALIST



I



'SHEPHERD' SMITH



THE



UNIVERSALIST

THE STOEY OF A MIND



BEING A LIFE OF



THE REV. JAMES E. SMITH, M.A.

EDITOR OF 'family HERALD,' 'CRISIS,' ETC., AND AUTHOR OF 'THE DIVIXK
DRAMA OF HISTORY AND CIVILISATION"



BY

W. ANDERSON SMITH

AUTHOR OF 'LEWSIANA,' ' BENDERLOCH,' ETC., ETC.



LONDON
SAIMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY

Limited

St. ©unstan's 1|ousc
Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.G.



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I-



f PREFACE.

rpHE subject of this Biography has been dead for
-*- much more than a generation, but his life could
not well have been written earlier. His brother, the
late Dr. Eobert Angus Smith, FJa.S., was often asked
to produce a life of the famous Editor of the Family
Herald, but materials were awanting, and the time
was not ripe. Since his death, however, many of the
opinions which he disseminated, and for which he
fought most dcA^otedly, have become the common
heritage of modern thinkers, and views which were
in his day received as blasphemous are read with
equanimity. That he had much to do with the intro-
'duction of this liberality of mind towards all opinions,
no one who knows his story can well doubt ; and the
man who had the largest audience of his time for so
many years, and kept such a remarkable hold of it
notwithstanding the boldness of his views, must have
been a personality worthy of study. He was, indeed,
one of the great pioneers of modern thought. He
was the first to introduce and fight the standing of
the Penny Press in London in its broadsheet form,
along with Cousins as publisher. He was the first
to introduce it in its octavo form, with Biggs as
publisher. He edited the Crisis for Robert Owen, the
Socialist, while lecturing against Atheism and Mate-
rialism, and seeking to spiritualise their organisation,



VI PREFACE.

which he eventually broke up. In the Shepherd —
whence his popular name in literary London — he
expounded one of the grandest systems of Univer-
salism ever promulgated, stirring up the minds of men
in distant lands. Ere the Family Heredcl became the
depositary of his opinions, as prepared for the general
public, he influenced by tongue and pen all the rest-
less and energetic thought of the time. Always ready
to give a fair hearing to novel phenomena however
unpopular, he was for many years one of the most
virile intellectualities in the London world.

But his great ' mission ' was that of ' Universal
Charity ' in opposition to the narrow ' Faith ' of the
Scottish Church, in which he had been educated.

I have sought to give his vera effigies from his own
pen and contemporary correspondence, to extenuate
nothing as well as set down nought in malice, believ-
ing he would prefer to be treated according to his own
views of biography. Cuttings from such of his cor-
respondence as that with Lady Lytton (published with
the express permission of her executrix) might be
made to sadly misrepresent his mind. They require
to be read up to, so as to understand the meaning he
attaches to the expressions used. His opinions were
often expressed in a manner to give offence — in
opposition to his natural spirit. His judgment of his
brothers was too harsh ; for, with all their shyness and
lack of worldly wisdom, they were finer spirits and
more akin to his own mind than he gave them credit
for. His correspondents frequently complain of his
misunderstanding them ; and he was undoubtedly
impatient intellectually of inferior minds. Yet his
life requires little of his own charity ; morally, it can
stand the most rigid investigation, while he was no ^



PREFACE. Vll

ascetic, taking even stimulants in moderation. Thus
his friend Hugh Doherty, author of HHoriimc ct la
Nature, writes : — ' Your uncle was very temperate
and sociable in his habits of life as a laborious
student ; ' and as they were intimate, and laboured
together, and frequently dined together from 1836 till
1856, Doherty was well able to judge.

Yet he sacrificed his body to his ' mission,' which in
itself may be considered an immoral act, as his first
duty to his mind was to have kept his body whole-
some and more vigorous. Looked at strictly, he
ought to have taken more care of his health — he had
no right to die when he did ; but he considered his
' mission ' ended, his life lived, and he looked forward
to a spiritual existence unhampered by his physical
necessities. What is wrong for the world is not
necessarily wrong for an individual, and he may not
be judged as others with a less overpowering mentality.

He produced a lasting impression on his friends. I
quote from one who was intimate with him through
the years of his maturity : — ' From the year 1833 my
recollection of your uncle is vivid. When a child I
attended, with my mother, all the lectures he delivered
in Charlotte Street and Newman Street at the time he
was trying to convince the Socialists of the truth of
Christianity. I used to drink in his words, and in my
heart of hearts I reverenced and ivorshipped him. I can
see him standing now, calm and collected, while being

browbeaten by his adversaries I have in latter

years learned nearly all his wonderful articles in the
Shepherd hy heart, so that when I meet him in heaven
I may know all he thought and all he felt. Then
there is the Family Herald, all the leaders for fourteen
years written in our house ; but it is not those articles



viii PREFACE.

that show his inner life.' That is certain! His mind
was too wholly absorbed in the things of the Spirit.
In 1835 he had forestalled Spurgeon. 'AVhat indi-
vidnal but myself can keep up a weekly paper on
theological subjects. There is not a clergyman in
Scotland would find readers, and I doubt if England
could furnish as many as Scotland,' he writes his
brother. The * development ' of the religious idea was
as clear to him as to Max Mliller ; while in 1837 he
declares : — ' Future generations, when they have sepa-
rated the wheat from the chaff, will find to their astonish-
ment that the wheat of all religions was the same, and
that men w^ere only quarrelling about the chaff.'

I have scarcely succeeded in giving sufficient promi-
nence to his artistic life. He attained a very high
excellence as an artist, and it is certain that his
artistic temperament struggled with his religious bias
throuohout his life. The absence of the ele^^ancies
and refinements to which his soul aspired — in opposi-
tion to his religious views and all they led to —
undoubtedly had a considerable influence in disgusting
him with a world to which he could not properly
mutually accommodate his necessities and his aspira-
tions. Sackcloth and ashes did not convene with
the genius that produced dreamy landscapes of great
beauty and technical skill. Neither his religious nor
his artistic life was properly lived, and his ' mission '
dominates even his literary expression. So that he
hanos like Mahomet's coffin in a mid-heaven of his
ov/n, where, we fear, most readers will require to
crane their necks to properly appreciate this mummy
of a Modern Prophet.

W. Anderson Smith.
Ledaig, N.B., Jime 1892.



TABLE OF COJfTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

PAGE

Artistic Culture ix Cal^tn^istic Household— A Medieval
Student— Opinion of Contemporaries — Professor de Morgan
— H. Smith Evans— Sir Algernon BoRTH^^CK— Thomas
Shorter— S. C. Hall— The « Shepherd '—A Bible in Canada
—Dr. J. J. Garth Wilkinson— James Smith's Creed, . . 1



CHAPTER II.

His Forbears ' — Story of the ' Duchess Anne ' — Artistic
Faculty Hereditary— Prolific Families— Financial Disaster
to Father — Training for the Church — Absence of Oratory
— Irvingism — A Heroic Mother — Lady Bulwer Lytton — A
Pure Household — Impracticable Training — Strathayen —
Sketching — Theology — Prophecy — Glasgow University —
Black Bull Inn— Scott Russell— Tutor and Probationer-
Study AN End— Art versus Theology, 13



CHAPTER III. 1826-1828.

Tutor and Probationer— Pollock— James Thomson— Italian
— Winter Travelling — Perth ' Howfs ' — Swedenborg —
Choked Professions— ' Course of Time '—Hamilton, Perth
—Jock Aiton— Few Books— Cook's Geography— Marbles at
College— Fishing—College Comrades— Hard Times— Con-
servatrt; Instincts — Irving — Millennium — Mental Fer-
ment—Prophecy, 24



CHAPTER IV. 1828.

Orthodoxy — Irvingism — Threatened Aberration — Joanna
Southcottism — England — John Wroe — Controversy —
' Beyond Irving '—Book of Hermes, 38



X TABLE OF CONTEXTS.

CHAPTER V. 1830-1831.

PAGE

Leavixg Scotland — Southcottism — Ashton-under-Lyne — The
Napiers, Letham— ' The Woman '—His Influence— Teaching
Hebrew — Uniyersalism — Preaching Paradoxes — Circum-
cised—Bearded — Wroe's Departure— Visitations— Life at
Ashton, 48

CHAPTER VL

Doctrine of the Woman— Joanna Southcott— John Wroe—
Smith's ' Mission ' — Unity by the Universal— The ' Body '
IN Edinburgh— Campbellites— Satan Bound— Her Majesty's
Coronation, -, . . • .57



CHAPTER YIL 1830-1833.

Division in Edinburgh — Questionable Finance — Is it an Im-
posture ? — The New Shiloh — Smith is Judas — Meeting
at Stockbridge — Napier's Dispensary — Great Excitement —
Suspicion op Wroe — Smith leaves Ashton-under-Lyne—
Inspired ' Idiots '—Napier's Defection, *67



CHAPTER VIIL 1832-1833.

Pursuing Art — Selling Drawings — Cholera — Perth Hos-
pitality — Exhibiting Pictures — An Art Critic — Money for
London— Lessons in Painting— Pleased w^ith London-
Chemistry AND Art— Robert Owen— Irving— Labour Notes
— Atheism — Eating-Houses — Peter Borthwick — Paintings —
Preaching ' Good and Evil '—Irving— Copley Fielding—
Robson—Baynes— Purser— Atheists— Theatres — Parcels-
Cars and Omnibuses — Mrs. Wheeler — Selling Lectures —
Borthwick— Shiloh— Infidelity, 77



CHAPTER IX. 1834.

Socialism — Some must Lead — * Pioneer ' — Mr. Morison —
Poverty — III Health — Troublesome Brothers — The
Unstamped — Owen — The * Crisis '— Lectures — ' Anti-
christ ' — Co-operatr^e Trades Union — Friction — St.
SiMONisM— Dr. de Prati— The Women of the Future-
Impractical Radicals — Owen in Disrepute — Power of
Unions— ' Society of Civilisation and Progress,' Paris—



TABLE OF CONTENTS. XI

PAGE

Breach with Owen— Censured— The ' New Moral World '
— ' The Shepherd ' — Done with Infidelity — Message from
THE Lord, 95



CHAPTER X. 1834.

Uni\t:rsal Analogy — Spiritual Pantheism — No Pay — Bad
Health— Nature is Unity— The Weakest Strongest— A New
Church — ■ Taylor — Carlile — Owen — Detrosier — Owen
LESS Material — Lecturing — Irving Dead — His Opinion of
Smith — Bipolarity — Progressive Keligion — Mind and
Matter — On Marriage— Stealing a Fine Art, . . .114



CHAPTER XL 1835.

Revelation Progressive— Individual as well as Universal
Revelation — Atheism — Trusting in Providence — Greedy
Priests— The Sabbath— Hell— London Liberality— Blas-
phemy — Passion versus Reason — Knowledge not Truth-
Whigs and Tories, 135



CHAPTER XIL 1836.

Irritation— A ' Visitation'— Writing for Press— Lecturing— His
Hearers— London Press— Provincial Press— Mrs. Wheeler
—Mrs. Bulwer Lytton— Sir John Doyle— Dr. Robert Angus
Smith— Irvingism— Father Preaching— Another Visitation
— R. Angus Smith— Dr. Wiseman— Dr. M'Gill—' London Free
Press '—Miss Catherine Walker- Miss Forster— Edinburgh
Retrograding — Centre of Dissatisfaction — Selling 'Weekly
Herald ' to Cobbett's Sons — Under Providence — What is
Knowledge? 146



CHAPTER XIIL

Joseph Hopeless— Micaiah Intolerable— No ' Esquire '—* Shep-
herd,' Vol. II.— Pantheism Advancing — Miracles— Nature-
Science Delusive— Revelation— ' Legends and Miracles '—
He translates ' Zadiq '— ' England at One View '—Wood-En-
graving — ' Chronicle ' — Bold Advertising — ' Shepherd '
Subsidised— The < Penny Satirist '—Quite Innocent— The
Press Independent— ' P. Satirist' 40,000 a Week— A Moral
Object in View— A large Audience— Modern Prophecy, . 157



Xll TABLE OF CONTENTS.



CIIAITKR XIV.



l'A(.K



New Pomtk'al System— Owkn and Himself— Univeh.sal Vitaijty

— IMAOINATION A NeCEHHITY— TlIK FEMALE I'UINCIl'LE— OiNE

Mastku oh Many— Fhee Tuade Universal oh Impossible —

A RPEECniKYINO PaHLIAMKNT— JOSKIMI WOLKK, APOSTLE OF

Jesus Cmuist— Pollock— I uvino—Hoktii wick— * Evanoelical
Maoazink ' — His Mokal Would — Land Allotment — Com-
munity OF Pkopkiity oiuectionahle— Paradoxes— Not a
Visionary— Moral, not Clerical, Government— A Disem-
bodied Spirit— No Truth in Profile, 170



CHAPTER XV. 1838.

His Lady Supporters — The Cleroy and Education — Their
BiooTRY — To THE Continent — Medical Advice in 'Satirist'
—Leaders from Continent- R. Angus Smith— The Pub-
lisher's Devil— Paris — Rome — Priests— Monks — Fleas-
Parisian Cafes— Vetturino— Venice Acquaintances— J. P.
Greaves— On Marriage— Teetotal and Vegetarian Friends
—The Spirit Again, 190



CHAPTER XVI.

Lecturing Again— Heraud-Checking Infidelity— Joseph Smith
-Light Reading— Ostracised in Scotland— London too Big
for Scandal—' Visitations '—Thomas Smith— Unacknow-
ledged Remittances — ' Penny Satirist ' — Universal
Church — Mrs. Wheeler— Refined Women — On Marriage —
Greaves the Mystic— Owen Estranged -The * Despatch '—

* PUULICOLA '—Ills P>ROTHER MiCAIAH AT TaNGIERS— CONVERSA-
TIONAL Meetings— Not a Chartist— Music— Translating
Fourier— III— End of * Phalanx ' — Theory of Light—
Doherty's Automaton Vessel — Goes Down — Prophetic
Numbers— The Disruption a Catholic Movement, . . 201



CHAPTER XVn. 1842-1850.

Mrs. Marshall the Medium— The 'Family Herald '—Type
Set by Machinery- Women Compositors— Done with Fou-
RiERisM— Daguerrotype — R. Angus Smith— Slow Progress
OF ' Herald ' — Quaint Analogies — Passions as Tax-
Gatherers — ' Penny Press ' Reputable — Land Allotment —
Progress of the ' Herald '—No Real Sympathy with
Democracy—' Northern Star ' on his Leaders— More Per-



TAI5LE OF COXTKN'TS. XIU

I'AOK
MANENT AND WIDESPREAD IN * HeRALD ' THAN ELBEWHERE— ThE

Irish Question— The World in Miniature— An ' Honest
Infiokl'— Anhquity ok Discovkrikh— ' Man is a Mink'—
' Herald ' Estarllshkd and Acknowledged— 125,000 a Week, 219



CHAPTER XVIIr.
Cold Lover— Fikrck Wooers— A Skeleton in the Cui'Roard—
A Laban with Thrke— Unrkquited Akkection but Atten-
tions RKCKIVED— IlKCALL MY LoVE !— ShE V)!ll HAVE ME— TWO

to One— a Delicate Situation— Yet Anotifer— Why do
Old Men, not Young, Admhie Mk?— Seeking a Wife— Cure
FOR A Cross Husband— My Husband won't Quarrel— A
Mother-in-Law Again— a Jealous Wife— Love without
Children— How many Cow-Tails to the Moon — No
Stays — Crkmation — Bother Valentines— Temperance —
Style— A Romance- Provincial Morality, . . . .241



CHAPTER XVIII. 18.50.

Analogy, or the Universal Scikncr— Shakesi-erian Idolatry
— ' The House that Jack Built '— Vegetarianis.m and
Homeopathy— T/fK Oreat Exhibition — Newman Impaled —
Tmk Deckaskd Wifk's Sister— The Poktry of HistoPvY —
MiX'HANics' Institutions— Thk Crimkan War— Reprkkknta-
tion of Minoritiks— Want of Rkx'RUITs- Want of 'Atmos-
PHKRK ' IN Art— TiiK Potato Disease- Private Charity—
Advanck of Women— C Doveton, Woodhousk — J. A. Jack-
BON, Edinburgh— George S. Phillips ('January Searlk')—
'This RARE Scholar AND Author,' 200



CHAPTER XIX. 18.>3.

His Mdfjnum OjmH — Absorbed in his ' Mission ' — The Five Acts
OF History— The P'ive Capitols — Women and Slave.s— Value
of 'i'lieological controversy — nationality is not the
British Mission— Orthodoxy Startled— Bipolaritiks of
Truth— Mr. Gregg— Thos. J. Lynch— Hugh Dohkrty—
• Spiritual Tklkgraph'— Dr. Garth Wilkinson— Prof. A.J.
Scott— John A. Hkraud, 281



CIlAPTEIi XX. 1843.

Optical Theorirs — IlARMfjNic Sciknce—Doherty— Algebra and
Mathkmatics— Dkatii of his J'athkr— P'rknch Grammar-
English Grammar— li. Angus Smith— Death of Dr. Jamks



XIV TABLE OF CONTENTS.

PACK

Napier— His Health— His Habits— 'P. Satirist' Fading
—Upholstering— The ' London Press '— ' Penny Press '—The
Orthodox Hell— The Pictorial Papers— French Art-
Hacks-' Daily News ' and Dickens— Deceiving Advertisers
— 'People's Journal'— 'Too Low and Radical '—Educa-
tional Institute of Scotland — The Chartists — French
Revolution— Louis Bl.vnc— ' A Gain to Us '—The ' Court
Journal'— His Ashton Training— III— Poetry of Travel-
ling Gone — Learning Dancing — The Press Infidel— Hell-
fire— Miss LiN^wooD- Importance of Dress— 'The World's
Wonder '—Allan Thomas ATTWOOB—Sanctus Wilfridus—
Father Ignatius— The Messiah— Manchester Revisited—
Popery— Southfleet—Borthwick — Cousin's Ink— Doherty
—'Jock Aiton '—Biggs, 300

CHAPTER XXI. 1857.

Mrs. Wheeler— Advancement of Women— Lady Bulwer Lytton
— Her Wrongs — Her Witty Correspondence — Love a Monster
—Married Tyranny— 'The Peer's Daughter '—Her Auto-
biography—Who Smith Is— Heresy— Friction with Mrs.
Wheeler — British Females — Miriam Sedley — Advice — Old
Ladies — A Moral Tiger — Newman— The ' Handwriting on
the Wall '—Newman ' the Apostate '—On Marriage— Remi-
niscences— Scotland — ' MoLiERE,' A Tragedy — Borthwick
—From Lady Lytton— Her Charity— Mercy, not Justice—
De Prati— Animals in HEA^^:N— ' Jew de Brass '—Borthwick
— Dizzy and Scandal — Well Dead— Bear and Avenge
NOT Yourself— Death of Borthwick— Spirits— He Loves a
Ballet— Spirit-Rapping— Mrs. Hayden— Women and Mar-
riage—Wales AND Misfortune— Mr. and Mrs. Norton-
Reminiscences of Edinburgh — Horrid Love— Two Hells —
Not a Literary Man— Life a Burden— My Dear Wife— More
' Esprit'— Juno— Mothers— A Rolling Stone— Publishing-
More Loves ant) Fewer Hatreds— Irish Recklessness—
' Deils and Lassies ' — Bosworth— Awful Fighter— His Own
Book— Marital Troubles, 325

CHAPTER XXII.

Astrology— Zadkiel (Lieut. Morison)— Spiritualism— Divina-
tion— Crystals— "Medical Galvanism— Dr. Zimpel— Hugh
Doherty— W. H. Halse— W. Salter Herrick— Marston,
Poet — Mrs. Crowe — Mrs. Hervey — Robert Chambers'
Daughters— Mrs. de Morgan— Alfred W^m. Hobson— Roger
Casement— Dr. Joule— E. V. Rippingill— Borrowing his
Brains— A Spiritual Pioneer, . 402



TABLE OF COXTENTS. XV



CHAPTER XXIII.

PAGK

Great Spiritual Awakexixg— A Baker Diffusionist— A
Brother Maniac— The Garlands— His Lady Friends— Hi.^
Followers— Woman's INIission— William Heal, Socialist—
H. Smith Evans— W. Salter Herrick and Smith's Landscapes
—Blasted Hopes— Mediums— Mr. Biggs, Publisher, . .417



CHAPTER XXIV.

Letters on Science — Humorous Treatment — Scientific
Sectarianism— Science for the Rich— A ' Moral ' should
BE Hidden — ' The Comlng Man ' — The ' Inquirer '— The
' New York Evangelist ' — ' Illustrated London News ' —
* Spiritual Magazine ' — Visit to Perth — Death — ' With
Hope and without Fear,' 426



SHEPHERD' SMITH.



CHAPTER I.

THE STORY OF A MIND.

Our imaginations are necessarily of a very inadequate
character, and the visions we call up to ourselves of the
conditions under which we lived and struggled, thought and
laboured a quarter of a century ago, are by no means facsimiles
of the actual state of things. Times have changed, and we
have changed with them to a far greater extent than we may
be willing to admit, and we can no more read the record of
the life that was, than we can enjoy the same poetry or the
same puddings.

This being so, how almost impossible is it to conjure up
to oneself the condition of a Scottish household in the first
years of the century, with Civilisation, as we understand it
to-day, a thing of the distant future. Letters costing Is. 2d.
each were serious epistles indeed, and not lightly written ;
travelling by mail-coach was slow and cumbersome, expen-
sive, and uncomfortable during a great part of the year;
newspapers were rare indeed in country districts, and passed
from hand to hand with the utmost care ; and public speak-
ing had not made any step towards that unusual flow of

B



2 SHEPHERD SMITH THE UNIVERSALIST.

words that threatens to destroy tlie equanimity of tlie multi-
tude, and upset the cahnness of judgment of the few. Yet,
even in Glasgow in those days, culture in its truest sense
was to be found in the simplest dwellings in the Drygate or
Garngad Road ; and lads were struggling, with little aid
from the paternal purse, to obtain a foothold in that world
of science and letters in which they were one day to make
themselves an honoured name. "With all appliances and
means to boot, our expensive systems of school boards and
renovated universities have not done more for our present-
day youth than honest ambition, self-restraint, and persistent
effort did in the first year's of the century for the humblest
of the citizens of Glasgow.

We find it so difficult to dissociate progress from all those
physical advantages we enjoy, that we can scarcely conceive
of cultivated people who saw few papers, wrote few letters,
and owned few books, who travelled rarely and never to any
distance, whose dwellings were circumscribed and furniture
simple, and who lived in a provincial town in a transition
period. And yet we have before us a copy of Allan Ramsay's
Gentle Shepherd, dated 1819, in manuscript, beautifully
executed, with charming coloured illustrations, by two lads
of eighteen and nineteen, struggling towards culture and
mental refinement through every possible physical and intel-
lectual disadvantage that could arise from humble circum-
stances and stern Puritan surroundings. Both became M. A.'s
of Glasgow, and men of wide culture and large intellectual
growth ; and the younger of the two is the special subject of
our Memoir, one who exercised as wide and as wholesome a
literary influence as any man of his time.

In after years he wrote that his father had ' destroyed the
language of the family,' and in this, perhaps, to a certain
extent lay the secret of the particular bias that was eventually
given to his life and his mind. For although at the instance
of their Puritanical father, with his strong religious ten-
dencies, most of the family were trained with a view to the



THE STORY OF A MIND. 3

ministry, yet few of them practised, and none of them were
gifted with the power of oratory. They soon felt that the
Jangnarje of the family had been spoiled, that, however
originally and powerfully they could think, the habit of
oral exposition had not been cultivated at a sufficiently early
age, and they drifted into channels they never originally
dreamed of, and left the church they could not fill with
their voices, for the wider audience of the world they could
at least reach with their pens. How this came about in the
case of our Subject, and in what manner and to what degree
his mind was prepared for the part it was to play, and in
what fashion this fine mind and gentle spirit found room in
the great rift he discovered in the world around him, when
he could not elbow a space for himself amid the ordinary
throng, we seek to discover mainly from his own writings
and correspondence.

It may seem a piece of afi'ectation to call it Tlie Story of a
Mind, as if every man's story was not the same ; but his
outward life was in the main so uneventful, and his mental
evolution so striking and so remarkable, that, more than falls
ordinarily to the lot of even our most intellectual men, the
story of his life is The Story of a ]\Iind — a mind of excep-
tional spirituality, of great purity and simplicity, of the



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