Since Lieutenant Robinson expressed his opinion, that in view of the conditions then existing it was the duty of every young man to learn the tactics of military drill, developments have been many and important, and now this duty is manifest. Since then also, not only have many undergraduates already identified with military drill in the State militia, volunteered for the public service, but a number have enlisted as raw recruits. As individuals these are to be commended for their patriotic enthusiasm, but it seems possible that the mass of young college bred men can prove more useful if they are less impetuous. The war has not, as yet, in the eyes of the administration, assumed proportions which present immediate enlistment as the test of patriotism. It rather presents the possibility of the future necessity of enlistment, and is a warning to prepare for such emergency. It the war prove of short duration, such enlistment will not be necessary; if of long, then the service of those who today seek to prepare themselves for the possibility, will be needed, and they can offer themselves as so much the better fitted for duty.
Experience in the past, in '61, as any veteran will bear witness, has shown that those who act with a definite and carefully considered purpose, and not on the impulse of a moment, prove the most useful recruits. And what, in this instance, should be the purpose in the mind of the undergraduate? The senible course is to consider the crisis coolly with the aim of deciding in what way he can serve his country best. If he thinks that the path of his duty lies in immediate enlistment, then no one can criticise him in his choice. If on the other hand, he feels that by accepting the privilege of daily drill offered here, and by making a study of military tactics and science, he can volunteer for nore useful service when the need is more urgent, then he is acting wisely. Not only does the country need patriotic support, but she needs that support which can plan for the future, can discipline and prepare itself for the discipline and service to come. He who enlists because of a feeling of unrest, from a desire to gratify a longing for excitement, or for any prospective advantage to himself, is not likely to be a man who will take kindly to discipline, and is liable to a revulsion of feeling after he has bound himself to years of service. If he were to act less on impulse, he might arrive at the conclusion that he could serve his country best by waiting and preparing for the possibility of a greater need, or he might discover that certain home duties and obligations did not justify the gratification of his desire to enter the service. The truest patriotism is after all that which lays aside self-gratification in any form and seeks intelligently the path of greatest usefulness.
Thus if any man feels it his duty to enlist now, he is justified, but let his action be free from hasty and selfish impulse, and let him consider as an individual whether he can be most useful now or later.