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[397] Brougham's Statesmen, Campbell's Chancellors, Sheil's Irish Bar, Burke, Clay, and Webster. In the Presidential election of 1860 he showed an interest in public affairs which was made more intense during the last Sophomore term by the actual commencement of civil war. He then took an active part in College drill and in guard duty.

In July, 1861, he had been unanimously elected the first editor of the Harvard Magazine for his Junior year; and his last vacation was spent in preparation for his duties, and in a pleasant service with other students in making surveys upon Concord River. This stay near Concord made him many friends, prolonged his vacation and furnished him with a bright reminiscence, as its graphic record in the Harvard Magazine of October, 1861, will show. But after his return to Cambridge his interest, in the war grew more intense, and when a commission was offered in the New York Excelsior Brigade, in which his brother was Major, his decision was taken at once to engage in the military service. On the day of his departure he received a sword from his Class. He writes at this time:—

I consider it not only a duty, but a privilege, to throw my aptness for arms and my determination to be useful into the more pressing duties of the day. Besides, I shall not regret, if at the end of the year I can say that I too have sacrificed something in the great struggle.

What this sacrifice was can be best shown by these few words of Professor Child: ‘In my eleven years as Professor, I have scarcely known half a dozen that gave equal hope of intellectual excellence, few that seemed so likely to grow in a healthy way.’ And the spirit in which he made it is best shown in his last verses, written in October, 1861:—

Tell us not of our reverses, for to us they seem to be
But as irritable pebbles thrown against a raging sea;
And as ocean waves sweep backward to return with grander swell,
So the tide of human freedom shall sweep over these as well;
Till the nations listening vainly for a vaunting that is gone,
Hear alone the rising chorus of the ‘mudsills’ marching on;
Till the class that built the nation from their energy and skill,
Shall be free to mould its progress by the edict of their will.

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