When I visited George Bernard Shaw, in 1948, at his home in Aylot, a suburb of London, he was extremely anxious for me to tell him all that I knew about Ingersoll. During the course of the conversation, he told me that Ingersoll had made a tremendous impression upon him and had exercised an influence upon him probably greater than that of any other man. He seemed particularly anxious to impress me with the importance of Ingersoll's influence upon his intellectual endeavors and accomplishments.In view of this admission, what percentage of the greatness of Shaw belongs to Ingersoll? If Ingersoll's influence upon so great an intellect as George Bernard Shaw was that extensive, what must have been his influence upon others?What seed of wisdom did he plant into the minds of others and what accomplishments of theirs should be attributed to him? The world will never know.What about the countless thousands from whom he lifted the clouds of darkness and fear and who were emancipated from the demoralizing dogmas and creeds of ignorance and superstition?What will be Ingersoll's influence upon the minds of future generations, who will come under the spell of his magic words and who will be guided into the channels of human betterment by the unparalleled example of his courageous life?The debt the world owes Robert G. Ingersoll can never be paid.
Joseph Lewis