's later years were calm and prosperous.
He held no public position after his early service in the Massachusetts Legislature, but during the period when the overseers of Harvard College were chosen by the legislature he once served, in 1858, as overseer, and alluded to this jocosely in a letter to Lowell
, then editor of the Atlantic
, as giving him authority over Lowell
He received the Harvard
honorary degree of Master of Arts in 1860, and that of Doctor
of Laws in 1866, at the hundredth anniversary of the college, when he was the only literary man so decorated among a number of men of science, a fact which attracted some notice.
He was made a trustee of Brown University (Providence, R. I.
) in 1869.
He was chosen a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1863, and was borne upon its rolls for three years, but never accepted the office or even replied to the invitation, for some reason yet unexplained, so that his name was dropped.
He declined membership of the Loyal Legion
, a society of officers who had served on the Union
side in the Civil War
, and had a limited number of civilian members; but this he refused as an organisation inconsistent with the principles of the Society of Friends.
's seventieth birthday was celebrated more profusely than had happened to any American author before; and more so than was at first wholly congenial to his modest nature.
The issue of a Literary World
(Dec. 1, 1877), devoted to him wholly, on the part of various authors, he might have more easily endured; but the elaborate dinner given him by the publishers of the Atlantic Monthly
, at Hotel Brunswick
, in Boston
, (Dec. 17, 1877) was an ordeal from which he is known