John d'Entremont, Southern Emancipator: Moncure Conway, The American Years 1832-1865 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), xii.
Moncure Conway, to borrow a phrase from Walt Whitman, contained multitudes. He was successively Methodist Minister, Unitarian minister, Theistic minister, freethought minister, no minister at all. He was a Southerner who left the South, an American who left America, a citizen of the world who belonged everywhere and nowhere. He seemed equally at home - and detached - on the Australian frontier (which he visited in 1883) and in a London drawing room. He was both a platform polemicist and a serious scholar whose biography of Thomas Paine is in many ways still the best. He was respectable and Bohemian, gentleman and radical. He had a genius for friendship and a talent for provocation. "I never yet have heard him speak that he did not have something ... worth saying." said Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "nor did I ever hear him speak, I may add, that he did not say something worth differing from."