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Henry Hill Downes.

Private 124th Illinois Vols. (Infantry), August II, 1862; died at Vicksburg, Miss., September 26, 1864, of disease contracted in the service.

Henry Hill Downes was born at Boston, November 24, 1830. He was the son of Commodore John Downes, U. S. N., and Maria Gertrude (Hoffman) Downes. Not long after his birth, his parents removed to Charlestown, Massachusetts, where he resided till he graduated at Harvard. He was fitted for college at the Chauncey Hall School, in Boston, with the exception of a few months previous to his admission, which were passed under the instruction of George P. Sanger, Esq. He entered Harvard in the year 1849, joining the Class of 1852 in the second term of its Freshman year. Here those social qualities, courteous manners, and that kindly disposition, which had secured him so many friends while at school, still continued to make him popular.

After leaving college he decided to fit himself for the profession of the law, and for this purpose entered the office of Charles B. Goodrich, Esq. He was admitted to the bar of Suffolk County, and began to practise in 1855. He did not, however, long remain in Boston, but finding advancement rather slow, sought a more promising field for the exercise of his talents at Detroit, Michigan. There he remained but a year, and in 1857 removed to Grand Rapids, in the same State, where he continued to practise his profession till the winter of 1859-60, when he again changed his residence to Davenport, Iowa. He was there appointed Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, and held this office till his removal to Quincy, Illinois, where he was living at the time of his enlistment in the Union army, August II, 1862. He joined the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Illinois Volunteers as a private, and continued to perform his military duties in the army of Major-General Grant till his last sickness. [178]

He died September 26, 1864, in the United States Hospital at Vicksburg, Mississippi, of malarial fever. He had labored faithfully and fought well; and it is matter of satisfaction to his friends, as it was to himself, that he lived to see the successful result of that long and glorions campaign which ended in the freedom of the Mississippi. His patriotism was ardent and devoted, and he felt that his country deserved every sacrifice that he could offer.


Samuel Foster Haven.

Assistant Surgeon 15th Mass. Vols. (Infantry), August 5, 1861; Surgeon, July 21, 1862; killed at Fredericksburg, Va., December 13, 1862.

the subject of this sketch was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, in the house of his grandfather, the Hon. Samuel Haven, May 20, 1831. His father, S. F. Haven, Esq. has been for many years librarian of the American Antiquarian Society, at Worcester. His mother was the daughter of the Rev. Freeman Sears of Natick, Massachusetts, who died early in life, after a brief settlement in that place. She died when Foster was not quite five years old.

Fortunately, at that tender age, the friend from whom his mother, an orphan, had received her intellectual and moral culture, in the most important period of her life, extended to him the same kind care, and watched over his early development with equal interest and affection. Whatever elevated and generous sentiments it is possible to cultivate in the mind of a child, she labored to implant or nurture. She kept a journal of her experiences in the process of guiding and enlightening his spontaneous mental operations, which evinces her devoted affection, and has a striking moral and metaphysical significance. The wide circle of the friends and acquaintances of this lady (Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody) will readily understand how every intellectual germ which could be nourished into a principle of devotion to duty or chivalrous self-sacrifice or heroic aspiration would receive an impulse and a direction from her hand which could never be wholly lost; and in this case the noble fruition of the life of her pupil bears ample testimony to the success of her early cultivation.

The details of the life of a child are, perhaps, applicable to a notice of his maturity only in the general way of showing the influence of early training on his more developed character and actions. And in this connection it may be appropriately [180] remarked, that the record of Foster's child-life, as kept by his devoted friend, displays many touching incidents of tender, confiding affection, and evinces a truthfulness of spirit, an unwearied and almost systematic inquisitiveness and a power of self-absorption in an idea, very unusual in a child; all of which traits were eminently characteristic of his mature years.

The subsequent portion of his childhood, previous to his residence in Worcester, he passed in the care of his grandparents at Dedham, and at the family school of Rev. Mr. Kimball, in an adjoining town. He went to Worcester in 1839,—his father having removed thither two years before, —and received the remainder of his preparatory education in the public schools of that city.

At the age of seventeen he entered Harvard College, and graduated in the Class of 1852,—the last of four successive generations of his name and family in the Catalogue of the Alumni of that University. Soon after graduation he entered upon his medical studies as the pupil of Dr. Henry Sargent of Worcester, and subsequently became a member of the Tremont Street Medical Class in Boston. During the last year of his pupilage he held the position of house physician in the Massachusetts General Hospital. In the autumn of 1855, having taken his degree of Doctor in Medicine, he visited Europe, and spent nearly two years in assiduous devotion to his studies, giving especial attention to his favorite branch of Ophthalmology in London, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin.

Previous to going abroad he published an essay on ‘Intestinal Obstruction,’ which is still esteemed a valuable contribution to medical literature. After his return from Europe he established himself in practice in Boston, and while there read before the Suffolk District Medical Society an essay on ‘Cysticerci within the Eye,’ which was also found worthy of publication. Although in Boston but a short time, his stay was long enough to leave a grateful remembrance of his kindness and charity among the poor of his neighborhood, to which his medical successor bears cheerful testimony. Yet so reticent was he about all things that might seem to be creditable [181] to himself, and so entirely pure-minded in his generosities, that not even his own father knew of his charitable habits, till after his death.

In the spring of 1858 he removed to Worcester, and there established himself in practice, intending to give special attention to diseases of the eye. Here he remained until he entered the army.

Although, owing to his peculiarly fastidious and retiring nature, he was not widely known in his profession, he had acquired an enviable reputation among his medical brethren, as well for his powers of investigation as for his scientific attainments; while his moral worth secured for him the respect of all who knew him, and his ingenuousness of heart attracted the warm affection of the small circle of his intimate friends.

Dr. Haven was essentially a student all his life. His mental organization and moral qualities admirably fitted him for scientific research. He was endowed with a subtlety of discrimination, a love for, and facility in, minute observation, a power of handling details, an honesty of purpose, and a rare industry, fidelity, and perseverance, that could not fail of success in this department. His thoroughness was remarkable. He seemed unable to slight anything. All his works were finished with the elaborate nicety of a Dutch painting.

With these characteristics, combined with attainments that were remarkable in his special department and very excellent in all branches of medicine, he might well look forward to distinction as a man of science, while his training, his decided mechanical ingenuity, and his coolness gave promise of eminence in the more practical walks of a surgical operator.

He entertained especially fastidious notions about the dignity of his profession, and was exceedingly careful to avoid even the appearance of those tricks and devices which are not infrequently resorted to by practitioners to draw public attention upon themselves. It was a part of his thoroughness and conscientiousness to prefer the solid success that professional ability is sure in the end to attain, above the more dazzling [182] and ephemeral kind sometimes brought about by magnetic personal attractions or the loud praises and skilful manoeuvres of active friends.

He was not merely a professional man. His culture was wide for a person of his years and labors. Besides his college acquaintance with the classics,—which he kept up to a considerable extent,—he was in a measure familiar with the literature of France and Germany, and was also, about the time he entered the army, studying Italian, that he might enjoy the poets of that language in their original tongue. In matters of art his taste was pure and classic. His power of versification was considerable; and he was not without some skill as a draughtsman, which, under cultivation, might have ripened into an ability above mediocrity.

He had a strong taste for authorship; and, after spending many months in preparation, he had carried one manuscript to an advanced stage, without the knowledge of any one save those whom he was obliged to consult, and had made a contract for its publication, just as the war broke out. His desire to see this launched was the strongest obstacle to his entering the service, though it caused no hesitation in his conduct. It was an account of printers and printing in this country prior to the Revolution, with a catalogue of publications, revised and extended from Isaiah Thomas's ‘History of Printing.’ His manuscript is now in the possession of the American Antiquarian Society, and it is hoped that it may yet be published.

How industriously he pursued his studies was never understood until an examination of his papers after his death revealed it. Among them were found copious and careful notes upon a variety of subjects, evincing a wonderful degree of assiduity and thoroughness. That this was not appreciated in his lifetime is due to his exceeding reticence and to his peculiar methods of labor. It was one of his frequent remarks, that he must work in his own way or he could do nothing, and his own way was usually an original method.

But overtopping his intellectual abilities and aesthetic [183] culture was a spirit of singular simplicity, gentleness, and heroism, associated, however, with a shyness of disposition and fastidiousness of taste that to some extent restrained its free action. He was almost childlike in the guilelessness of his life and the naturalness of his emotions. As he was quiet and undemonstrative in temperament, his thorough amiability and warm affection manifested themselves much more in practical acts of kindness than in noisy profession or sentimental talk. Truthful to an extreme, in word and deed, he could not bend himself to suit the tastes of others, nor easily adapt himself to varying circumstances. Sensitive in his nature, judging always by the standard of perfection, and influenced by a noticeable aversion to all shams and insincerity, he saw much in the world that shocked him, and much in those around him with which he did not care to become intimate. Yet there was nothing of the cynic in his disposition, nor did he take upon himself the duties of public or private censor. Whatever offended his taste or his sense of right seemed to pain rather than anger him, and caused him to retire sorrowfully within himself, yet with a heart ready and anxious to forgive as soon as his judgment should assent. With this temperament and these tastes, it is not strange that he shrank from rough contact with the world, and that his circle of intimate friends was not large,—nor that in that circle he was the most warm-hearted, sympathetic, and trustworthy.

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