He spoke for an hour or more, with no papers, no books, no notes. He was the most enthralling speaker I had ever heard, and now, more than thirty years later, I have not heard his equal. What he said I cannot remember except for one thing, and I quote it diffidently, perhaps because somewhere in some record of that conference, his address was published, and it will be found that I have got it all wrong. He was speaking – for a portion of his address at least – on one of his favourite themes, moral man and immoral society. The one thing I remember is that he told us – in words that I have no doubt much changed – that individual man could become a saint, but that collective man was a tough proposition.
He was thus denying a hope that I had cherished when young, that human society could be perfected by love and devotion; and he was making articulate something that I knew but had never myself articulated – that the immorality of society did not invalidate a belief in the goodness of man, that in fact the inhumanity of man to man could be made endurable for us only when we manifested in our lives the humility of man to man.