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His integrity sprang from his truthfulness. He loved the truth, and the more he understood it, the better he loved it, the more unreservedly he gave himself to it. He shrank from what was false, not only in circumstances or persons of slight importance to him, but in such as were almost a part of his being. He wanted to get at the truth wherever it lay, in science, or commerce, or life, and it was often touching to see with what strong desire he labored to inform himself, wherever he was in doubt, rather than be ignorant, consciously, of that which was alone true.

Such are the mere outlines of his character. If they have been sketched with any distinctness, they show a man who would be among the first to spring to the defence of his country the moment it was assailed. No self-distrust would deter him, while his decision, his fervor, his courage, his integrity, and his truthfulness would all urge him on. Whatever his previous career, whatever his actual position, such a man as this was marked out for instant and for persevering service to the Union. Fort Sumter fired on, he went at once to Washington.

He was at that time thirty-five years old, having been born March 20, 1826. His birthplace was Boston; his parents were Andrew and Sophia Harrison Ritchie, his mother being the daughter of Harrison Gray Otis. His education was conducted by various teachers until 1839, when he went abroad with his brother under the charge of Mr. T. G. Bradford, with whom he spent between two and three years in France and Germany, acquiring the languages of those countries and carrying on his preparation for Harvard College, which he entered in 1842. After taking his degree in 1846, he began his commercial career in the counting-house of the late Samuel Austin, Jr., and there remained till 1849, when he sailed for Calcutta. His business there being transacted, he crossed to Bombay, and thence took the overland route, returning home through Europe in 1850. He continued in the East India trade at Boston till 1857, and afterwards engaged in the grain commission business at New York, from which he retired some time before the outbreak of the war.

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