August 23

It was chilly and foggy this morning, but it cleared about 9 o'clock a. m. Skirmishing still continues on the pike and on the left of the line. It's rumored the Nineteenth Corps charged the enemy this morning driving it back in confusion. The Tenth Vermont moved to the right this forenoon giving room for a battery on our left. Our forces have thrown up breastworks, but I don't anticipate any attack.

August Twenty-Third

EVOLUTION

Out of the dark a shadow,
Then, a spark;
Out of the cloud a silence,
Then, a lark;
Out of the heart a rapture,
Then, a pain;
Out of the dead, cold ashes,
Life again.
John B. Tabb

 

 

August 23, 1863

Sunday. The regiment was invited to attend church in a body and we went. That is the rank and file did, and a few of the officers. I knew there was a Catholic church here, but did not know of a Protestant church. The church was in a shady grove, and in spite of the heat of the day it was comfortably cool. The preacher was a middle-aged man, and he appeared to favor the Secesh cause. At any rate he prayed right out loud for it, but failed to get an Amen from us. He explained at great length which cause was right, and then prayed that the right might prevail. The congregation was mostly of the 128th, and for specially invited attendants we got mighty little attention from preacher or people.

August 23, 1862

Night. Home again. We left Hudson at 5 a. m. Were delayed in Chatham, waiting for the Harlem train, long enough to make quite a visit with brother William and his wife Laura. Uncle Daniel was there also. There is little else talked of but the war. Men are arranging their business so as to go, and others are "shaking in their boots" for fear they will have to go. I don't waste any sympathy on this latter class. There are some I would like to see made to go. They belong in the Southern army, where all their sympathy goes.

I found our folks well and glad to see me. I have no sort of doubt of that. Just as we had had supper, Obadiah Pitcher came with his buggy and offered to take me to call on some friends; this I thought too good a chance to lose, and we went south. We found so many, and there was so much talking, it was Sunday morning when we came back.

Sunday, August 23rd.—The same dazzling blue sky, boiling sun, and sharp shadows that one seldom sees in England for long together; we've had it for days.

We've had yesterday's London papers to read to-day; they quote in a rather literal translation from their Paris Correspondent word for word what we read in the Paris papers yesterday. I wonder what the English hospital people in Brussels are doing in the German occupation,—pretty hard times for them, I expect. Two that I know are there doing civilian work, and Lord Rothschild has got a lot of English nurses there.

This morning I went to the great Requiem Mass at Notre Dame. It was packed to bursting with people standing, but we were immediately shown to good places. The Abbé preached a very fine war sermon, quite easy to understand. There was a great deal of weeping on all sides. When the service was finished the big organ suddenly struck up "God Save the King"; it gave one such a thrill. And then a long procession of officers filed out, our generals with three rows of ribbons leading, and the French following.

This is said to be our biggest base, and that we shall get some very good work. Of course, once we get the wounded in it doesn't make any difference where you are.

235. Abigail Adams

23 August, 1778.

I could not omit so favorable an opportunity as the present of writing you a line by Mr. Warren, who is upon his travel and probably may take France in his way. The welfare of your family is so essential to your happiness that I would improve every means of assuring you of it and of communicating to you the pleasure I have had in receiving every letter you have written since you first left the harbor of Boston. Mine to you have not been equally successful. Several packets have been sent to Neptune, though improperly directed, and I query whether, having found his mistake, he has had complaisance enough to forward them. So that you must not charge to me any failure, in point of punctuality or attention, but to the avidity of the watery god who I really believe has destroyed them. But enough of romance.

You see me in good spirits. I can tell you the cause. The Alliance  arrived last week and brought me the feast of reason and the flow of soul; assurances too of the health of my dear absent friends. Those only who know what a separation is of the tenderest connections can form adequate ideas of the happiness which even a literary communication affords.

I have written to you and my dear son by Captain Sampson. If Mr. Warren should be bearer of this to you, I need not ask you to love him. His merit will insure him that, and every attention he may stand in need of, from one who never suffers the promising youth to pass unnoticed by. He has a double claim to your friendship, not only on account of his own worth but the long and intimate friendship which has ever subsisted between his worthy parents and the friend I address, who will accept of the tenderest sentiments for his health and happiness from his ever affectionate

A. Adams.

201. John Adams

Philadelphia, Saturday, 23 August, 1777, 4 o'clock.

We have an express to-day from Governor Johnson, Captain Nicholson, and several other gentlemen, with an account that the fleet, to the number of two hundred and sixty-three sail, have gone up towards the head of Chesapeake Bay. They lie over against the shore between the river Sassafras and the river Elk. We have also a letter from General Washington, acquainting us that to-morrow morning at seven o'clock he shall march his army through the city of Philadelphia, along Front Street, and then turn up Chestnut Street in his way to cross over the bridge at Schuylkill River; so that General Howe will have a grand Continental army to oppose him, in very good season, aided by a formidable collection of militia. I like this movement of the General through the city. Such a show of artillery, wagons, light horse, and infantry, which takes up a line of nine or ten miles upon their march, and will not be less than five or six hours passing through the town, will make a good impression upon the minds of the timorous Whigs for their confirmation; upon the cunning Quakers for their restraint; and upon the rascally Tories for their confusion.

I think there is a reasonable ground for confidence, with the favor of Heaven, that Howe will not be able to reach this city. Yet I really doubt whether it would not be more for our interest that he should come here, and get possession of the town.

1. Because there are impurities here which will never be so soon or so fully purged away as by that fire of affliction which Howe enkindles wherever he goes.

2. Because it would employ nearly the whole of his force to keep possession of this town, and the rest of the continent would be more at liberty.

3. We could counteract him here, better than in many other places.

4. He would leave New England and New York at leisure to kill or catch Burgoyne.

In all events you may rejoice and sing, for the season is so far gone that he cannot remove to you.

200. John Adams

Philadelphia, 23 August, 1777.

It is now no longer a secret where Mr. Howe's fleet is. We have authentic intelligence that it is arrived at the head of Chesapeake Bay, above the river Patapsco, upon which the town of Baltimore stands. I wish I could describe to you the geography of this country, so as to give you an adequate idea of the situation of the two great bays of Chesapeake and Delaware, because it would enable you to form a conjecture concerning the object he aims at. The distance across land from the heads of these bays is but small, and forms an isthmus, below which is a large peninsula, comprehending the counties of Accomac and Northampton in Virginia, the counties of Somerset and Worcester in Maryland, and the counties of Kent and Sussex in Delaware. His march by land to Philadelphia may be about sixty or seventy miles. I think there can be no doubt that he aims at this place, and he has taken this voyage of six weeks, long enough to have gone to London, merely to avoid an army in his rear. He found he could not march this way from Somerset Court House without leaving General Washington in his rear. We have called out the militia of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania to oppose him, and General Washington is handy enough to meet him; and as General Washington saved Philadelphia last winter by crossing the Delaware and marching to Morristown and so getting in the rear of Howe, so, I conjecture, he will still find means to get in his rear between him and Chesapeake Bay. You may now sit under your own vine and have none to make you afraid. I sent off my man and horse at an unlucky time, but if we should be obliged to remove from hence, we shall not go far.

If Congress had deliberated and debated a month, they could not have concerted a plan for Mr. Howe more to our advantage than that which he has adopted. He gives us an opportunity of exerting the strength of all the middle States against him, while New York and New England are destroying Burgoyne. Now is the time! Never was so good an opportunity for my countrymen to turn out and crush that vaporing, blustering bully to atoms.

With the Archdeacon

A Man of Both Worlds

[Illustration: THE ARCHDEACON—"A man of both worlds."]

[August 23, 1879.]

The Press Commissioner has been trying by a strained exercise of his prerogative to make me spend this day with the Bishop, and not with the Archdeacon; but I disregard the Press Commissioner; I make light of him; I treat his authority as a joke. What authority has a pump? Is a pump an analyst and a coroner?

Why should I spend a day with the Bishop? What claim has the Bishop on my improving conversation? I am not his sponsor. Besides, he might do me harm—I am not quite sure of his claret. I admit his superior ecclesiastical birth; I recollect his connection with St. Peter; and I am conscious of the more potent spells and effluences of his shovel-hat and apron; but I find the atmosphere of his heights cold, and the rarefied air he breathes does not feed my lungs. Up yonder, above the clouds of human weakness, my vertebræ become unhinged, my bones inarticulate, and I collapse. I meet missionaries, and I hear the music of the spheres; and I long to descend again to the circles of the everyday inferno where my friends are.

      "These distant stars I can forego;
      This kind, warm earth, is all I know."

I am sorry for it. I really have upward tendencies; but I have never been able to fix upon a balloon. The High Church balloon always seems to me too light; and the Low Church balloon too heavy; while no experienced aeronaut can tell me where the Broad Church balloon is bound for; thus, though a feather-weight sinner, here I am upon the firm earth. So come along, my dear Archdeacon, let us have a stroll down the Mall, and a chat about Temporalities, Fabrics, "Mean Whites," and little Mrs. Lollipop, "the joy of wild asses."

An Archdeacon is one of the busiest men in India—especially when he is up on the hill among the sweet pine-trees. He is the recognised guardian of public morality, and the hill captains and the semi-detached wives lead him a rare life. There is no junketing at Goldstein's, no picnic at the waterfalls, no games at Annandale, no rehearsals at Herr Felix von Battin's, no choir practice at the church even, from which he can safely absent himself. A word, a kiss, some matrimonial charm dissolved—these electric disturbances of society must be averted. The Archdeacon is the lightning conductor; where he is, the leaven of naughtiness passes to the ground, and society is not shocked.

In the Bishop and the ordinary padre we have far-away people of another world. They know little of us; we know nothing of them. We feel much constraint in their presence. The presence of the ecclesiastical sex imposes severe restrictions upon our conversation. The Lieutenant-Governor of the South-Eastern Provinces once complained to me that the presence of a clergyman rendered nine-tenths of his vocabulary contraband, and choked up his fountains of anecdote. It also restricts us in the selection of our friends. But with an Archdeacon all this is changed. He is both of Heaven and Earth. When we see him in the pulpit we are pleased to think that we are with the angels; when we meet him in a ball-room we are flattered to feel that the angels are with us. When he is with us—though, of course, he is not of us—he is yet exceedingly like us. He may seem a little more venerable than he is; perhaps there may be about him a grandfatherly air that his years do not warrant; he may exact a "Sir" from us that is not given to others of his worldly standing; but there is nevertheless that in his bright and kindly eye—there is that in his side-long glance—which by a charm of Nature transmutes homage into familiar friendship, and respect into affection.

The character of Archdeacons as clergymen I would not venture to touch upon. It is proverbial that Archidiaconal functions are Eleusinian in their mysteriousness. No one, except an Archdeacon, pretends to know what the duties of an Archdeacon are, so no one can say whether these duties are performed perfunctorily and inadequately, or scrupulously and successfully. We know that Archdeacons sometimes preach, and that is about all we know. I know an Archdeacon in India who can preach a good sermon—I have heard him preach it many a time, once on a benefit night for the Additional Clergy Society. It wrung four annas from me—but it was a terrible wrench. I would not go through it again to have every living graduate of St. Bees and Durham disgorged on our coral strand.

From my saying this do not suppose that I am Mr. Whitley Stokes, or Babu Keshub Chundra Sen. I am a Churchman, beneath the surface, though a pellicle of inquiry may have supervened. I am not with the party of the Bishop, nor yet am I with Sir J.S., or Sir A.C. I abide in the Limbo of Vanity, as a temporary arrangement, to study the seamy side of Indian politics and morality, to examine misbegotten wars and reforms with the scalpel, Stars of India with the spectroscope, and to enjoy the society of half-a-dozen amusing people to whom the Empire of India is but a wheel of fortune.

I like the recognised relations between the Archdeacon and women. They are more than avuncular and less than cousinly; they are tender without being romantic, and confiding without being burdensome. He has the private entrée  at chhoti hazri, or early breakfast; he sees loose and flowing robes that are only for esoteric disciples; he has the private entrée  at five o'clock tea and hears plans for the evening campaign openly discussed. He is quite behind the scenes. He hears the earliest whispers of engagements and flirtations. He can give a stone to the Press Commissioner in the gossip handicap, and win in a canter. You cannot tell him anything he does not know already.

Whenever the Government of India has a merrymaking, he is out on the trail. At Delhi he was in the thick of the mummery, beaming on barbaric princes and paynim princesses, blessing banners, blessing trumpeters, blessing proclamations, blessing champagne and truffles, blessing pretty girls, and blessing the conjunction of planets that had placed his lines in such pleasant places. His tight little cob, his perfect riding kit, his flowing beard, and his pleasant smile were the admiration of all the Begums and Nabobs that had come to the fair. The Government of India took such delight in him that they gave him a gold medal and a book.

With the inferior clergy the Archdeacon is not at his ease. He cannot respect the little ginger-bread gods of doctrine they make for themselves; he cannot worship at their hill altars; their hocus-pocus and their crystallised phraseology fall dissonantly on his ear; their talk of chasubles and stoles, eastern attitude, and all the rest of it, is to him as a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing. He would like to see the clergy merely scholars and men of sense set apart for the conduct of divine worship and the encouragement of all good and kindly offices to their neighbours; he does not wish to see them mediums and conjurors. He thinks that in a heathen country their paltry fetishism of misbegotten notions and incomprehensible phrases is peculiarly offensive and injurious to the interests of civilisation and Christianity. Of course the Archdeacon may be very much mistaken in all this; and it is this generous consciousness of fallibility which gives the singular charm to his religious attitude. He can take off his ecclesiastical spectacles and perceive that he may be in the wrong like other men.

Let us take a last look at the Archdeacon, for in the whole range of prominent Anglo-Indian characters our eye will not rest upon a more orbicular and satisfactory figure.

      A good Archdeacon, nobly planned
      To warn, to comfort, and command;
      And yet a spirit gay and bright,
      With something of the candle-light.

Ali Baba