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[312] me since my return from the conference at Old Point that he has felt no obligation for my course. “Drawing (says he) perhaps, as men frequently do, upon his own consciousness, he does injustice to the heroic mothers of the land in representing them as flinching from the prospect of having their boys of sixteen or under exposed to the horrors and hardship of military service.” I confess to feeling reluctance to seeing such boys exposed to the hardships and sufferings of war, and Mr. Davis much mistakes a mother's heart if he supposes she could behold her boy of sixteen or under exposed to the hardships of war under such circumstances with indifference. Had the policy been long pursued of sending these boys to the war without clothes to cover them, without sufficient food to sustain them, without even the arms necessary to make their puny strength as efficient as it might be, and altogether in a condition in which they could neitherinjure their enemies nor help their friends, but must inevitably have been useless and unnecessary death, he would have heard from those mothers in a style very different from what he seems to suppose. When these involuntary Curtii had been devoted to the infernal gods and the massacre of the innocents had been accomplished, the parents of those children would not have characterized his policy as either valiant or patriotic, but would have spoken of it in terms very far from complimentary. It would have been said that, if the country required the sacrifice of a military victim, the President himself, by age and station, would have played the part of Curtius far better and should have himself become the victim, and yet in no history of his flight from Richmond to the woods in Georgia where he was captured have 1 seen it stated that his head was once turned towards the enemy with that purpose. Nor do I blame him. Voluntary self-sacrifice is neither called for nor proper in any case. It would then have been nearly as insensate as the wanton sacrifice of the children under circumstances when they could do no service, but must have perished either from starvation or in battle. The character for valor which is won by exposing others to unprofitable and unnecessary suffering with insensibility and indifference is not worth much, and yet how often is it sought in that very way. “The destruction of the youth of a country,” said a celebrated writer and statesman of antiquity, “is like robbing the year of its spring.” Rob the year of

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