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except as affected socially by the group of United States Army officers stationed at “ The Barracks," in the town's suburbs. The College was conducted under strictly Orthodox, though not Calvinistic, religious principles; and, practically, all the boys had come from homes which were, at least, associated with Christianity in some Orthodox form.
Some Pertinent Fxperiences at Dickinson —The most marked personal change, pertinent to these “Memories,” because of my new surroundings, was a gradual lapse from the highly exalted spiritual mood with which I had come away from home. At no time, during the two years I was at Dickinson, did I lose sense of having entered College " to study for the ministry." But the ministry, ere long, seemed to be very far away. The
, normal life of boyhood was exhuberant around me, and it naturally found personal response in my daily intercourse with many new made friends. I became a member of a Greek letter fraternity whose festivals, wbile innocent, or proper enough socially, were not just what they ought to be, measured by the standards of "piety” I had brought with me from my home and my home-church. I became also an active, energetic member of the Union Philosophical Society, one of the two literary fellowships which comprehended on their rolls the students of the College. My general reading, for the first time, went largly into fiction. I had special and most enjoyable sessions with Fenimore Cooper, Wasbington Irving, and Captain Marryat.
In the autumn of 1860, a group of students, of which I was one, indulged in a festival trip to Harrisburg, and took part in a welcome reception to the Prince of Wales, afterwards the British King, Edward VII., then on tour in
America. The Prince seemed to be a boy very inüch like ourselves ; rather diffident, possibly shy; but our unanimous judgment was that we liked him.
At the end of the following February, we indulged in a like “spree " to see Abraham Lincoln, who was to make a stop at the State Capital on the way to his inauguration as President of the National Union. We were able to get a good sight of him, and I was quite near to him ; but he was, evidently, kept well surrounded by a group of friends.
Throughout the second Dickinson year, I thought far more of the coming sectional struggle among the States of our Union than of any thing else ; and when the Civil War was actually threatened, I became a member and an officer in a company of student-militia, organized that we might be made familiar with company drill and the manual of arms.
The increasing drist of the Nation towards its mighty struggle so impressed and agitated me, that when, after the attack upon Fort Sumter, the President called for 75,000 volunteers for the defence of the Union, I immediately enlisted in a company forming at Carlisle. That attempt to be a soldier, however, lasted but for a few hours. My father, in response to a telegraphic announcement of my enlistment, sent the answer, “You must not go. Your Mother,"
“ and himself appeared in Carlisle that afternoon. He cancelled my enrollment at once, and took me back with him to Chambersburg, a thoroughly humiliated youth, far from being in a religious state of mind.
Very soon my career as a student at Dickinson College was closed, and a new period in Collegiate education was begun elsewhere.
I have very few letters written while I was at Dickinson. But looking back over this initial stage of my College career, remembering it as correctly as I now can, apparently the chief positive effect of my experiences then, was the protection it provided me at a very sensitive age against a possible morbidity of religious emotion; so far, at least, as a spontaneously liberty-loving, intellectually generous and inquisitive nature could be endangered. Also, I think, the stay at Dickinson enlarged my mental horizon enough to disclose a somewhat wider intellectual domain than that of which I had perception in the closing years of my child. hood.
EARLY RECORD OF NATURAL LIBERALISM.
As a good evidence of this mental widening, I recall a Class composition which I prepared in the second Dickinson year. Its theme was “ Reverence for the Religious Principle in all its Developments.” Among the judgments given in this boy production were these :
“ Bigotry in any form must be contemplated with pity and disdain. I have no sympathy with a spirit which would scorn man's weakest efforts for spiritual improvement. The religious principle, existing as it does in every human heart, -the mark of its high origin, the connecting link binding man to God,-should command the most profound respect.
Whether beheld in the Christian philosopher whose powerful intellect pierces far into the boundless domain of knowledge, or in the ignorant slave who cannot even read the Divine message which assures him of immortality; whether in the poet who consecrates genius to the cause of virtue, or in the rough seaman whose only music is the tempest's roar; whether in the zealous Puritan or in the calm spirit of the enlightened Christian, it is still the proof of man's higher destiny, the manifestation of his nobler being
However marred by credulity and fanaticism, it is too sacred to be torn from its deep resting place in the soul and rudely trampled under the foot of the scorner. Far better to be the sincere, though ignorant, worshipper, than, like the Prophet of Khorassan, to conceal under a glittering veil, the features of a demon. Let us reverence the heavenborn fire on the heart's altar, whether burning with a clear, strong radiance, or dimmed and blackened by the smoke of superstition."
While I was at Carlisle, however intermittent or feeble my zeal as a professed Christian may have been, I was never so weakened that regular attendance at Church and observance of other duties as a Church member were interrupted. But there were long periods when I was not very devotional, and not very studious of the books of spiritual culture which I had set apart for daily reading. I thought but little of the doctrines of my inherited "Confession of Faith.” But also, neither“ rationalism" so called, nor, certainly, skepticism had any part in my nental occupations, one way or another. Whatever I thonght of theological problems, when I thought of them at all, did not take me outside the Creed I had been taught. Moreover, all the time I bore with me, more or less consciously, the fact that I had been set apart for the Christian ministry. This consciousness had become involved in my personal “make-up," and, in good time, I was confident, it would be given full way.
But, allowing for this fact, I look back upon those initial College days, as being in the main the time when, as a normally developing boy, I was happily a participant in the ordinary work and play of other boys who were much like me ; and when, without being a leader, I held an honorable place among my fellow-students in the College curriculum.
At Princeton College.
I passed the exciting summer of 1861 in Chambersburg. The days were filled with news of the events of the opened war of the “Southern Confederacy" against the National Union. I fretted constantly over my inability to "go to the defense ” of Washington, our Nation's capital, imperilled by the nearer advance of the Confederate army after the disaster at Bull Run.
I found some relief, however, in renewal of activity as a member of the home-church, I was re-awakened to my religious obligations, and I was much stimulated afresh by the prospect then opened to me of continuing, at Princeton, my education for the ministry.
In the autumn, to my great satisfaction, I was admitted to the Junior Class of Princeton College. Then, with some realizing sense of what I was doing, I began definite preparation for my accepted life-work. A season of “revival” befel the College that autumn and winter; and, with many College mates, my religious emotions were vividly aroused. Religious thinking and practice, as I understood it then, became the most prominent factor in my daily living. I took a leading part in local mission Sunday School work, and was prominent in the conduct of the Philadelphian Society, the special organization in the College supported for the culture of the religious life of the students.
It happened that I spent the winter vacation of 1861-62, in Washington City. With that opportunity I visited many of the camps and some of the field hospitals, doing a little here and there to help the sick and wounded.