April 27

Pleasant but some wind; started for the front on the 9 a. m. train; passed General Burnside's Corps south of Alexandria en route towards Ft. Albany; arrived in camp about sundown; found everything as I left it; am with my own Company (D) now, Lieut. J. A. Hicks having returned to Company B, which is his own company.

April Twenty-Seventh

The twilight hours, like birds, flew by,
As lightly and as free;
Ten thousand stars were in the sky,
Ten thousand in the sea;
For every wave, with dimpled face,
That leaped into the air,
Had caught a star in its embrace
And held it trembling there.
Amelia B. Welby

 

 

April 27, 1864

Wednesday. Heavy firing up the river. By the sound it is ten or more miles away. The gunboats are up there holding the enemy from getting their artillery within reach of the transports. The Rebs are closing in around Alexandria and the pickets begin to clash. Went for a walk with Captain Enoch, after which I called on Dr. Andrus to get him to do something with that tooth. He put me off with some more medicine, but says if it doesn't stop to-night he will pull it to-morrow.

April 27

April 27, 1853.--This evening I read the treatise by Nicole so much admired by Mme. de Sévigné: "Des moyens de conserver la paix avec les hommes." Wisdom so gentle and so insinuating, so shrewd, piercing, and yet humble, which divines so well the hidden thoughts and secrets of the heart, and brings them all into the sacred bondage of love to God and man, how good and delightful a thing it is! Everything in it is smooth, even well put together, well thought out, but no display, no tinsel, no worldly ornaments of style. The moralist forgets himself and in us appeals only to the conscience. He becomes a confessor, a friend, a counsellor.

Tuesday, April 27th.—Have been busy all day, and so have the guns. When the 15-inch howitzers began to talk the old concierge lady at the O.D.S. trotted out to see l'orage, and found a cloudless sky, and, mon Dieu, it was les canons. It is a stupendous noise, like some gigantic angry lion. The official accounts of the second dash for Calais reach us through 'The Times' two days after the things have happened, but the actual happenings filter along the line from St Omer (G.H.Q.) as soon as they happen, so we know there's been no real "breaking through" that hasn't been made good, or partially made good, because if there had, the dispositions all along the line would have had to be altered, and that has not happened.

The ambulance trains are collecting the Ypres casualties straight from the convoys at Poperinghe, as we did at Ypres in October and November, and not through the Clearing Hospitals, which I believe have had to move farther back.

Cannes April 27, 1882

The description you quote of Coleridge is not more inaccurate than epigram requires. I have just drawn up a list of recommended authors for my son, as being the company I should like him to keep, after me; and after some hesitation I included S. T. C. in the number. But he has to be balanced by sounder stuff.

Lecky only arrived two days ago, and is scarcely begun. But the beginning, and the account of Junius struck me as very far indeed ahead of all his former writings. There is a good deal of slovenly writing, and it is puerile to write modern history from printed books; but this is a wonderfully solid performance. You will not think it as amusing as Froude's "Carlyle," when you come to it, but much more nutritious.

You depressed my spirits the other day by showing that the majority of 39 did not amount to quite so much as I, from a distance, had imagined. And the Budget, though open to very little remark, does not do much to raise them. If I was not conscious of being the worst accountant yet discovered, I should say that there is a slip in one of the calculations of Savings Bank deposits.

Gardiner for some reason did not publish his article.... If Arthur Lyttelton, out of pure cussedness, wishes to put in the note you speak of, I would like to see what it is he says, starting from the materials buried in my letter.

Cannes April 27, 1885

I cannot imagine Russia drawing back in so supremely favourable a position. What is hard to understand is her having gone so far, and deliberately resolved on war. But I see that there is something in all this that has entirely escaped me. It seems so clear that our policy is to restore Russia to the position she had attained before the Congress of Berlin, that, therefore, we are not only her best, but her only friends—that I am quite bewildered, and half suspect that there has been some tremendous mistake in our management. I should like to have the chance of distracting Mr. Gladstone with various talk, in all this anxiety. Probably I shall be at Carlton H. Terrace on Friday week. Will you tell me there when we can meet? ... Tennyson's really profound animosity[256 ] against the P.M. has long been known to people in his confidence, and has come out at last. It was one reason, but not the only one, of my dislike to his peerage.

*****

Maine, whose series of articles form in reality an assault on the Government, promises to adopt all my remonstrances in the reprinting of them. These filled twenty-six of my pages, in all; so I count on a considerable modification of the text.

I hope there will be a possible play ... when we come to town.

—— is very intelligent, agreeable, amiable, a little complex in design; accurate calculation sometimes resides in the corner of her eye, and she knows how to regulate to a hair's breadth, when she smiles, the thin red line of her lips.


[256 ] The reference is to Tennyson's lines on the Franchise Bill, "Steersman, be not precipitate," &c.

175. John Adams

Philadelphia, 27 April, 1777.

Your favors of April 2d and 7th I have received. The inclosed "Evening Post" will give you some idea of the humanity of the present race of Britons. My barber, whom I quote as often as ever I did any authority, says "he has read histories of cruelty and he has read romances of cruelty, but the cruelty of the British exceeds all that he ever read." For my own part I think we cannot dwell too much on this part of their character and conduct. It is full of important lessons. If the facts only were known, in the utmost simplicity of narration, they would strike every pious and humane bosom in Great Britain with horror. Every conscience in that country is not callous, nor every heart hardened. The plainest relation of facts would interest the sympathy and compassion of all Europe in our favor. And it would convince every American that a nation, so great a part of which is thus deeply depraved, can never be again trusted with power over us. I think that not only history should perform her office, but painting, sculpture, statuary, and poetry ought to assist, in publishing to the world and perpetuating to posterity the horrid deeds of our enemies. It will show the persecution we suffer in defense of our rights; it will show the fortitude, patience, perseverance, and magnanimity of Americans, in as strong a light as the barbarity and impiety of Britons, in this persecuting war. Surely impiety consists in destroying with such hellish barbarity the rational works of the Deity, as much as in blaspheming and defying his majesty.

If there is a moral law, if there is a divine law,—and that there is, every intelligent creature is conscious,—to trample on these laws, to hold them in contempt and defiance, is the highest exertion of wickedness and impiety that mortals can be guilty of. The author of human nature, who can give it its rights, will not see it ruined, and suffer its destroyers to escape with impunity. Divine vengeance will, some time or other, overtake the Alberts, the Philips and Georges, the Alvas, the Geslers, and Howes, and vindicate the wrongs of oppressed human nature. I think that medals in gold, silver, and copper ought to be struck in commemoration of the shocking cruelties, the brutal barbarities, and the diabolical impieties of this war; and these should be contrasted with the kindness, tenderness, humanity, and philanthropy which have marked the conduct of Americans towards their prisoners. It is remarkable that the officers and soldiers of our enemies are so totally depraved, so completely destitute of the sentiments of philanthropy in their own hearts, that they cannot believe that such delicate feelings can exist in any other, and therefore have constantly ascribed that milk and honey with which we have treated them, to fear, cowardice, and conscious weakness. But in this they are mistaken, and will discover their mistake too late to answer any good purpose for them.