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The Highest Pedestal

( Originally Published 1916 )


When I first read in detail the life of Washington, I was profoundly impressed with the moral elevation and greatness of his character, and I found myself at a loss to name among the statesmen of any age or country many, or possibly any, who could be his rival. In saying this I mean no disparagement to the class of politicians, the men of my own craft and cloth, whom in my own land, and my own experience, I have found no less worthy than other men of love and admiration. I could name among them those who seem to me to come near even to him. But I will shut out the last half century from the comparison. I will then say that if, among all the pedestals supplied by history for public characters of extraordinary nobility and purity, I saw one higher than all the rest, and if I were required at a moment's notice to name the fittest occupant for it, I think my choice at any time during the last forty-five years would have lighted, as it would now light, upon Washington.

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