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WINDHAM CENTRE, February 21, '62. PROFESSOR JACKSON : I THANK you for the kind expressions of your letter in reference to my slight tribute to the memory of the late Col. Jackson, your son, and my friend in college days.
Except the meeting mentioned in the note to the fourth stanza, I have not seen William since leaving college. His presence at our class-meeting was almost a thing of course. He always seemed to belong with us as much as to his own class; for he had many friends, many society and personal associates among us. He was quick to discern character; nor did class or society connections, those barriers to common minds, oppose any obstacle to his search for intellectual fellowship and social intercourse.
On my way to the West, July 3d, '59, I must have passed without seeing William. He was to deliver the anniversary oration on the next day in this place. The compact and classical oration was published,' a copy reaching me in the Mississippi valley. Well do I remember that afternoon of mingled reading and reverie out upon the prairie. The identity of the favorite speaker of the Philomathean was preserved in it : that the flower, this the fruit. The rhetoric of the collegian was condensing into the ethics of the statesman.
It would be difficult for me to recall another scholar of aspiring mind, so generous in his estimate of others, so exacting towards himself. His singular beauty of person was in harmony with the structure of his intellect, elegant without effeminacy, graceful yet full of strength. His habits of conversation did not tend to idle talk, but he touched at once some point of philosophy or criticism, working habitually in lines of thought which others traversed only at set times and after special preparation. His fine critical acumen I have had occasion to verify in subsequent studies : the sententious and just synthesis was not easily forgotten. Guarding himself from the allurement of literary embellishment by a patient study of the great masters in history and ethics, it was evident that his eye was upon the future, with wise forecast anticipating the need of discipline and accepting the established conditions of success.
* It was published in the newspaper issued at Windham Centre. No copy of this discourse was found among the papers of Col. JACKSOx; and for its preservation, his friends are indebted to the writer of the above article.
It seems as yesterday that we walked in the garden, discussing the problems of life and history; joined in the debates; read or listened to the appointed essay. It seems but yesterday that he stood in his accustomed place, his eye s'iffused with inward fire, his voice rich and full of melody, his manner working upon all with a subtle pervading power, and eye and tone, gesture and presence, form and spirit, so wrought and attuned, so moulded and moved, so fashioned and informed with a vivid intelligence, that the mind's ideal was satisfied when WILLIAM JAčkson entered with his whole strength into a contested and prolonged debate.
Yesterday! a decade has passed ! Duty took from his hand the pen, and replaced it with a sword, saying: Go, serve your country. It is the law of sacrifice. The unblemished is for the altar. Friendship mourns; a light has gone out in your dwelling, that no power shall ever relume; but the great cause for which he died invests with its own sacredness his memory. The light which is piercing our gloom, and which we trust shall fill all our sky, will shed upon the grave of your fallen son its own imperishable glory.
Very respectfully yours,
0. B. HITCHCOCK.