Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
James Allan Francis (18641928)
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dyingand that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life.
JAMES ALLAN FRANCIS, One Solitary Life, pp. 17 (1963).
This miniature book, made up entirely of the text above, was hand set and printed by Doris V. Welsh, a former staff member of the Newberry Library, in an edition of 150 copies. No information in the book is given for the first published source of this essay by James Allan Francis, D. D. (18641928), nor could it be found in the essays and sermons by Francis in the collections of his writings in the Library of Congress. Nor was the Newberry Library able to identify the original published source.
As an anonymous work and with some variations in the text, One Solitary Life was published in The Irish Echo, December 27, 1969, p. 10; in the Congressional Record, December 23, 1969, vol. 115, p. 13105; and on a variety of Christmas greeting cards in the 1970s and 1980s.