Two Years Before The Mast A Personal Narrative Of Life At Sea By Richard Henry Dana, Jr.





























































































































 -   His father, if possessed
of less vigor than his predecessors, was yet a man of culture and
ability.  He was - Page 2
Two Years Before The Mast A Personal Narrative Of Life At Sea By Richard Henry Dana, Jr. - Page 2 of 618 - First - Home

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His Father, If Possessed Of Less Vigor Than His Predecessors, Was Yet A Man Of Culture And Ability.

He was widely known as poet, critic, and lecturer; and endowed his son with native qualities of intelligence, good breeding, and honesty.

After somewhat varied and troublous school days, young Dana entered Harvard University, where he took high rank in his classes and bid fair to make a reputation as a scholar. But at the beginning of his third year of college a severe attack of measles interrupted his course, and so affected his eyes as to preclude, for a time at least, all idea of study. The state of the family finances was not such as to permit of foreign travel in search of health. Accordingly, prompted by necessity and by a youthful love of adventure, he shipped as a common sailor in the brig, Pilgrim, bound for the California coast. His term of service lasted a trifle over two years - from August, 1834, to September, 1836. The undertaking was one calculated to kill or cure. Fortunately it had the latter effect; and, upon returning to his native place, physically vigorous but intellectually starved, he reentered Harvard and worked with such enthusiasm as to graduate in six months with honor.

Then came the question of his life work. Though intensely religious, he did not feel called to the ministry; business made no appeal; his ancestors had been lawyers; it seemed best that he should follow where they had led. Had conditions been those of to-day, he would naturally have drifted into some field of scholarly research, - political science or history.

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