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The good Chief Justice is dead. Now they've buried him with military honors--the man who played a brief, romantic part in the Civil War, then dedicated his life to those phases of civilization most directly opposed to all things military.
It's hard to conceive of Mr. Holmes over attaining the prestige that was his if he had continued being a soldier. It's hard to believe that the jurist who had the world at his feet a few short weeks before his death would like to be thought of as a man of blood. The paradox is not only ludicrous, but grim.
The picture was pretty. Military escort, solemn dirges, jaunty stopping soldiers paying a farewell tribute to a men of the nation, and finally the solemn salute, fired as the casket sank into earth. It will be something to make the spine tingle, something to expand many young chests and straighten many young shoulders. It will be nothing less than the great man deserves. But there will be a horrible jarring note to anyone who thinks. Mr. Holmes was a jurist, a man who made his mark on the world through the power and justice of his intellect, through hours of painful and thorough work, through consistent disregard of self and consideration of first principles first; not through the seizing of a propitious moment for one rash deed of physical courage.
Military burial has a certain dignity. But the final rites of a national citizen such as Mr. Holmes was do not need the suppressions dignity, do not need the trend of marching feet, the roll of drums, to call forth their just tribute from the nation.
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