James is getting more poetic as he comes to the crescendo of his dedication. It is true that the monument will help remind people of his contributions. It acknowledges that his hard work with “thousands” grew ever larger after he had passed.
“But this stone will not only speak of Laurent Clerc's life and his work; it will be eloquent of the love and gratitude of the uncounted thousands whom that life and that work have blessed. It will proclaim that whatever may be their shortcomings, they can remember kindness and cherish the memory of a benefactor.
Yet far be it from us to claim that in erecting this memorial we regard ourselves as having discharged in whole or in part a debt. Not a hundred columns, with their summits among the clouds and their sides emblazoned with letters of gold, could do that. The debt we owe to Gallaudet and Clerc is immeasurable, eternal; not to be paid in things earthly and perishable, stone or gold. The memory of such lives as theirs will outlast the monuments we have erected. It will glow in the hearts of the innumerable crowd that comes after us long beyond that distant day when these shafts shall have fallen and mingled with the earth beneath.”
James speaks of the memorial not discharging the debt owed him. Well, fancy that, if we do not have a movement growing to honor him with a postal stamp. What impeccable timing! Wish to help? Drop me a line at email@example.com and let's see if we can fulfill it!