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قراءة كتاب The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 1

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‏اللغة: English
The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 1

The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 1

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

the register—the first to succeed a long line of Confederate Generals and Colonels. When President Lincoln arrived to enter the city, he had the good fortune to be down by the river bank, and to him was accorded the honor of escorting the party to General Weitzel's headquarters in the mansion from which Jefferson Davis had fled without standing upon the order of departure.

With the fall of Richmond, and the surrender of Appomattox, Mr. Coffin's occupation as an army correspondent ended. During these long years he found time to write three volumes for juveniles—"Days and Nights on the Battle Field," "Following the Flag," and "Winning his Way."

On July 25, 1866, Mr. Coffin sailed from New York for Europe, accompanied by Mrs. Coffin, as correspondent of the Boston Journal. War had broken out between Austria on the one side and Italy and Germany on the other. It was of short duration; there was the battle of Custozza in Italy and Konnigratz in Germany, followed by the retirement of Austria from Italy, and the ascendency of Bismarck over Baron Von Beust in the diplomacy of Europe. It was a favorable period for a correspondent and Mr. Coffin's letters were regularly looked for by the public. The agitation for the extension of the franchise was beginning in England. Bearing personal letters from Senator Sumner, Chief Justice Chase, General Grant, and other public men, the correspondent had no difficulty in making the accquaintance of the men prominent in the management of affairs on the other side of the water. Through the courtesy of John Bright, who at once extended to Mr. Coffin every hospitality, he occupied a chair in the speaker's gallery of the House of Commons on the grand field night when Disraelli, then Prime Minister, brought in the suffrage bill. While in Great Britain Mr. Coffin made the acquaintance not only of men in public life, but many of the scientists,—Huxley, Tyndal, Lyell, Sir William Thompson. At the social Science Congress held in Belfast, Ireland, presided over by Lord Dufferin, he gave an address upon American Common Schools which was warmly commended by the London Times.

An introduction to the literary clubs of London gave him an opportunity to make the acquaintance of the literary guild. He was present at the dinner given to Charles Dickens before the departure of that author to the United States, at which nearly every notable author was a guest.

Hastening to Italy, he had the good fortune to see the Austrians take their departure from Verona and Venice and the Italians assume possession of those cities. Upon the entrance of Victor Emanuel to Venice he enjoyed exceptional facilities for witnessing the festivities.

He was present at the coronation of the Emperor and Empress of Austria, as King and Queen of Hungary. Through the courtesy of Mr. Motley, then Minister to Austria, he received from the Prime Minister of the empire every facility for witnessing the ceremonies.

At Pesth he made the acquaintance of Francis Deak, the celebrated statesman—the John Bright of Hungary; also, of Arminius Vambrey, the celebrated Oriental traveller.

At Berlin he had the good fortune to see the Emperor William, the Crown Prince, Bismarck, Van Moltke, the former and the present Czar of Russia, and Gortschakoff, the great diplomatist of Russia, in one group. The letters written from Europe were upon the great events of the hour, together with graphic descriptions of the life of the common people.

After spending a year and a half in Europe, Mr. Coffin visited Greece, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, sailing thence down the Red sea to Bombay, travelled across India to the valley of the Ganges, before the completion of the railroad, visiting Allahabad, Benares, Calcutta, sailing thence to Singapore, Hong Kong, Canton, Shanghai. Ascending the Yang-tse six hundred miles to Wuchang; the governor of the province invited him to a dinner. From Shanghai he sailed to Japan, experiencing a fearful typhoon upon the passage. Civil war in Japan prevented his travelling in that country, and he sailed for San Francisco, visiting points of interest in California, and in November made his way across the country seven hundred miles—riding five consecutive days and nights between the terminus of the Central Pacific road at Wadsworth and Salt Lake, arriving in Boston, January, 1869, after an absence of two and a half years. During that period the Boston Journal contained every week a letter from his pen.

For one who had seen so much there was an opening in the lecture field and for several years he was one of the popular lecturers before lyceums. In 1869 he published Our New Way Round the World, followed by the Seat of Empire, Caleb Crinkle (a story) Boys of 76, Story of Liberty, Old Times in the Colonies, Building the Nation, Life of Garfield, besides a history of his native town. His volumes have been received with marked favor. No less than fifty copies of the Boys of '76 are in the Boston Public Library and all in constant use.

Mr. Coffin has given many addresses before teacher's associations, and a course of lectures before the Lowell Institute. During the winter of 1878-9 a movement was made by the Western grangers to bring about a radical change in the patent laws. Mr. Coffin appeared before the Committee of Congress and presented an address so convincing, that the Committee ordered its publication. It has been frequently quoted upon the floor of Congress and highly commended by the present Secretary of the Interior, Mr. Lamar. Mr. Coffin also appeared before the Committee on Labor, and made an argument on the "Forces of Nature as Affecting Society," which won high encomiums from the committee, and which was ordered to be printed. The honorary degree of A. M. was conferred upon Mr. Coffin in 1870, by Amherst College. He is a member of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, and he gave the address upon the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of his native town. He is a resident of Boston, and was a member of the Legislature for 1884, member of the Committee on Education, and reported the bill for free textbooks. He was also member of the Committee on Civil Service, and was active in his efforts to secure the passage of the bill. He is a member of the present Legislature, Chairman of the Committee on the Liquor Law, and of the special committee for a Metropolitan Police for the city of Boston. Mr. Coffin's pen is never idle. He is giving his present time to a study of the late war, and is preparing a history of that mighty struggle for the preservation of the government of the people.