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[125]

He was the brightest and quickest of his class. He learned readily and rapidly, and retained what he learned better than most who acquire so easily. His recitations in Latin were the best I ever heard; and in all his recitations he had an easy, confident way, which I recall very vividly.

From the journal of a school debating-club of which he was a member, it appears that the favorite themes for debate had relation to great national issues, upon which he and the rest would so soon be called to stake their lives; while it also appears that his name was invariably recorded as taking the side of universal freedom and abstract right. Not that this shows in him any truer regard for these than they had, who, for ends of debate, took the opposite side, some of whom nobly proved, in the final event, how dear to them was the cause of freedom and of right. ‘But,’ says his teacher, who was president of the club, ‘Hall, I well remember, always, in the debates, took the side of his convictions. He chose to do so, and we allowed him; though, it being an exercise for intellectual training mainly, sides were taken irrespective of convictions.’

He entered Harvard College in 1856, with an unconditioned acceptance, and took early and easily a highly respectable rank among his classmates,—a rank which, it is due to truth to say, he failed to keep permanently, through a temporary dominance of indifferent and careless ways, causing thereby the only disappointment he had ever brought upon a single heart that knew him. At the close of his Sophomore year it was thought best by his father,—a judgment which he himself cordially approved,—to transfer his academic relations to Antioch College in Ohio. Offering himself, with no loss of time, for admission to the Junior Class of that institution, he was readily accepted; and there, emerging from the shadow, in a noble reassertion of his better self, he honorably completed the collegiate course, graduating with distinction, and enjoying in eminent measure the good — will and affection of fellow-students and officers. A professor in the institution at that time writes: ‘He always interested me. He impressed me from the first ’

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H. W. Hall (1)
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