August 9

Am making out muster and pay rolls; got a letter from J. R. Seaver and another from Aunt Nancy Merrill of Chelsea, Vt. Lieut. J. M. Read reported to his Company for duty this afternoon. Captain L. D. Thompson and Lieut. G. E. Davis have gone on picket this evening; good news from Sherman and the Gulf Department to-night; rumors of a move this evening.

August Ninth

“All quiet along the Potomac,” they say,
“Except now and then a stray picket
Is shot, as he walks on his beat, to and fro,
By a rifleman hid in the thicket.
'Tis nothing—a private or two, now and then,
Will not count in the news of the battle;
Not an officer lost—only one of the men,
Moaning out, all alone, the death-rattle.”
From “All Quiet Along the Potomac To-night”

[This poem has been claimed by a Mississippian. It has also been claimed on behalf of a New York writer; but it now seems probable that the verses were originally written in camp by Thaddeus Oliver, of Georgia, in August, 1861.—Editor]

 

Francis Scott Key born, 1780

 

 

August 9

August 9, 1862.--Life, which seeks its own continuance, tends to repair itself without our help. It mends its spider's webs when they have been torn; it re-establishes in us the conditions of health, and itself heals the injuries inflicted upon it; it binds the bandage again upon our eyes, brings back hope into our hearts, breathes health once more into our organs, and regilds the dream of our imagination. But for this, experience would have hopelessly withered and faded us long before the time, and the youth would be older than the centenarian. The wise part of us, then, is that which is unconscious of itself; and what is most reasonable in man are those elements in him which do not reason. Instinct, nature, a divine, an impersonal activity, heal in us the wounds made by our own follies; the invisible genius of our life is never tired of providing material for the prodigalities of the self. The essential, maternal basis of our conscious life, is therefore that unconscious life which we perceive no more than the outer hemisphere of the moon perceives the earth, while all the time indissolubly and eternally bound to it. It is our [Greek: antichoon], to speak with Pythagoras.

August 9

August 9, 1859.--Nature is forgetful: the world is almost more so. However little the individual may lend himself to it, oblivion soon covers him like a shroud. This rapid and inexorable expansion of the universal life, which covers, overflows, and swallows up all individual being, which effaces our existence and annuls all memory of us, fills me with unbearable melancholy. To be born, to struggle, to disappear--there is the whole ephemeral drama of human life. Except in a few hearts, and not even always in one, our memory passes like a ripple on the water, or a breeze in the air. If nothing in us is immortal, what a small thing is life. Like a dream which trembles and dies at the first glimmer of dawn, all my past, all my present, dissolve in me, and fall away from my consciousness at the moment when it returns upon itself. I feel myself then stripped and empty, like a convalescent who remembers nothing. My travels, my reading, my studies, my projects, my hopes, have faded from my mind. It is a singular state. All my faculties drop away from me like a cloak that one takes off, like the chrysalis case of a larva. I feel myself returning into a more elementary form. I behold my own unclothing; I forget, still more than I am forgotten; I pass gently into the grave while still living, and I feel, as it were, the indescribable peace of annihilation, and the dim quiet of the Nirvana. I am conscious of the river of time passing before and in me, of the impalpable shadows of life gliding past me, but nothing breaks the cateleptic tranquillity which enwraps me.

I come to understand the Buddhist trance of the Soufis, the kief of the Turk, the "ecstasy" of the orientals, and yet I am conscious all the time that the pleasure of it is deadly, that, like the use of opium or of hasheesh, it is a kind of slow suicide, inferior in all respects to the joys of action, to the sweetness of love, to the beauty of enthusiasm, to the sacred savor of accomplished duty. November 28, 1859.--This evening I heard the first lecture of Ernest Naville [Footnote: The well-known Genevese preacher and writer, Ernest Naville, the son of a Genevese pastor, was born in 1816, became professor at the Academy of Geneva in 1844, lost his post after the revolution of 1846, and, except for a short interval in 1860, has since then held no official position. His courses of theological lectures, delivered at intervals from 1859 onward, were an extraordinary success. They were at first confined to men only, and an audience of two thousand persons sometimes assembled to hear them. To literature he is mainly known as the editor of Maine de Biran's Journal.] on "The Eternal Life." It was admirably sure in touch, true, clear, and noble throughout. He proved that, whether we would or no, we were bound to face the question of another life. Beauty of character, force of expression, depth of thought, were all equally visible in this extemporized address, which was as closely reasoned as a book, and can scarcely be disentangled from the quotations of which it was full. The great room of the Casino was full to the doors, and one saw a fairly large number of white heads.

The A.D.C.-in-Waiting

An Arrangement in Scarlet and Gold

[Illustration: THE A.D.C.-IN WAITING—"An arrangement in scarlet and gold."]

[August 9, 1879.]

The tone of the A.D.C. is subdued. He stands in doorways and strokes his moustache. He nods sadly to you as you pass. He is preoccupied with—himself, [some suppose; others aver his office.] He has a motherly whisper for Secretaries and Members of Council. His way with ladies is sisterly—undemonstratively affectionate. He tows up rajas to H.E., and stands in the offing. His attitude towards rajas is one of melancholy reserve. He will perform the prescribed observances, if he cannot approve of them. Indeed, generally, he disapproves of the Indian people, though he condones their existence. For a brother in aiguillettes there is a Masonic smile and a half-embarrassed familiarity, as if found out in acting his part. But confidence is soon restored with melancholy glances around, and profane persons who may be standing about move uneasily away.

An A.D.C. should have no tastes. He is merged in "the house." He must dance and ride admirably; he ought to shoot; he may sing and paint in water-colours, or botanise a little, and the faintest aroma of the most volatile literature will do him no harm; but he cannot be allowed preferences. If he has a weakness for very pronounced collars and shirt-cuffs in mufti, it may be connived at, provided he be honestly nothing else but the man in collars and cuffs.

When a loud, joyful, and steeplechasing Lord, in the pursuit of pleasure and distant wars, dons the golden cords for a season, the world understands that this is masquerading, skittles, and a joke. One must not confound the ideal A.D.C. with such a figure.

The A.D.C. has four distinct aspects or phases—(1) the full summer sunshine and bloom of scarlet and gold for Queen's birthdays and high ceremonials; (2) the dark frock-coats and belts in which to canter behind his Lord in; (3) the evening tail-coat, turned down with light blue and adorned with the Imperial arms on gold buttons; (4) and, finally, the quiet disguises of private life.

It is in the sunshine glare of scarlet and gold that the A.D.C. is most awful and unapproachable; it is in this aspect that the splendour of vice-Imperialism seems to beat upon him most fiercely. The Rajas of Rajputana, the diamonds of Golconda, the gold of the Wynaad, the opium of Malwa, the cotton of the Berars, and the Stars of India seem to be typified in the richness of his attire and the conscious superiority of his demeanour. Is he not one of the four satellites of that Jupiter who swims in the highest azure fields of the highest heavens?

Frock-coated and belted, he passes into church or elsewhere behind his Lord, like an aërolite from some distant universe, trailing cloudy visions of that young lady's Paradise of bright lights and music, champagne, mayonnaise, and "just-one-more-turn," which is situated behind the flagstaff on the hill.

The tail-coat, with gold buttons, velvet cuffs, and light blue silk lining, is quite a demi-official, small-and-early arrangement. It is compatible with a patronising and somewhat superb flirtation in the verandah; nay, even under the pine-tree beyond the Gurkha  sentinel, whence many-twinkling Jakko may be admired, it is compatible with a certain shadow of human sympathy and weakness. An A.D.C. in tail-coat and gold buttons is no longer a star; he is only a fire-balloon; though he may twinkle in heaven, he can descend to earth. But in the quiet disguises of private life he is the mere stick of a rocket. He is quite of the earth. This scheme of clothing is compatible with the tenderest offices of gaming or love—offices of which there shall be no recollection on the re-assumption of uniform and on re-apotheosis. An A.D.C. in plain clothes has been known to lay the long odds at whist, and to qualify, very nearly, for a co-respondentship.

In addition to furnishing rooms in his own person, an A.D.C. is sometimes required to copy my Lord's letters on mail-day, and, in due subordination to the Military Secretary, to superintend the stables, kitchen, or Invitation Department.

After performing these high functions, it is hard if an A.D.C. should ever have to revert to the buffooneries of the parade-ground or the vulgar intimacies of a mess. It is hard that one who has for five years been identified with the Empire should ever again come to be regarded as "Jones of the 10th," and spoken of as "Punch" or "Bobby" by old boon companions. How can a man who has been behind the curtain, and who has seen la première danseuse  of the Empire practising her steps before the manager Strachey, in familiar chaff and talk with the Council ballet, while the little scene-painter and Press Commissioner stood aside with cocked ears, and the privileged violoncellist made his careless jests—how, I say, can one who has thus been above the clouds on Olympus ever associate with the gaping, chattering, irresponsible herd below?

It is well that our Ganymede should pass away from heaven into temporary eclipse; it is well that before being exposed to the rude gaze of the world he should moult his rainbow plumage in the Cimmeria of the Rajas. Here we shall see him again, a blinking ignis fatuus  in a dark land—"so shines a good deed in a naughty world" thinks the Foreign Office.—ALI BABA.

Boehme

Monday, 9.

Write to Walton, the British Boehmist, whose letters interest by the information they contain of himself and of his literary ventures. Any disciple of the distinguished Mystic and student of his works, living in foggy London in these times, is as significant and noteworthy as are students of Hegel in St. Louis.21  Mysticism is the sacred spark that has lighted the piety and illuminated the philosophy of all places and times. It has kindled especially and kept alive the profoundest thinking of Germany and of the continent since Boehme's first work, "The Aurora," appeared. Some of the deepest thinkers since then have openly acknowledged their debt to Boehme, or secretly borrowed without acknowledgment their best illustrations from his writings. It is conceded that his was one of the most original and subtlest of minds, and that he has exercised a deeper influence on the progress of thought than any one since Plotinus. Before Bacon, before Newton, Swedenborg, Goethe, he gave theories of nature, of the signatures of colors and forms, of the temperaments, the genesis of sex, the lapse of souls, and of the elementary worlds. He stripped life of its husk, and delivered its innermost essence. Instead of mythology, he gave, if not science, the germs, if nothing more. And when the depths of his thinking have been fathomed by modern observers it will be soon enough to speak of new revelations and arcana. His teeming genius is the genuine mother of numberless theories since delivered, from whose trunk the natural sciences have branched forth and cropped out in scientific systems. And like Swedenborg, it has borne a theology, cosmology, illustrious theosophists and naturalists,—Law, Leibnitz, Oken, Schelling, Goethe, Baader, and other philosophers of Germany.

His learned English disciple and translator, Rev. William Law, an author once highly esteemed and much read by a former generation of pietists, says of him in his Introduction to Boehme's Works:—

"Whatsoever the great Hermes delivered in oracles, or Pythagoras spoke by authority, or Socrates or Aristotle affirmed, whatever divine Plato prophesied, or Plotinus proved,—this and all this, or a far higher and profounder philosophy, is contained in Boehme's writings. And if there be any friendly medium that can possibly reconcile these ancient differences between the divine Wisdom that has fixed her place in Holy Writ and her stubborn handmaid, natural Reason,—this happy marriage of the Spirit of God and the soul, this wonderful consent of discords in harmony,—we shall find it in great measure in Boehme's books; only let not the non or misunderstanding of the most rational reader (if not a little sublimed above the sphere of common reason) be imputed as a fault to this elevated philosopher, no more than it was to the divine Plotinus, whose scholars, even after much study, failed to comprehend many of his doctrines."

Dr. Henry More, with a qualifying discrimination of Law's estimate, writes:—

"Jacob Boehme, I conceive, is to be reckoned in the number of those whose imaginative faculty has the preeminence above the rational, and though he was a holy and good man, his natural complexion, notwithstanding, was not destroyed but retained its property still, and therefore his imagination being very busy about divine things, he could not without a miracle fail of becoming an enthusiast, and of receiving divine truths upon the account of the strength and vigor of his fancy, which being so well qualified with holiness and sanctity, proved not unsuccessful in sundry apprehensions, but in others it fared with him after the manner of men, the sagacity of his imagination failing him, as well as the anxiety of reason, does others of like integrity with himself."22

Mr. Walton's Letter

"By Theosophy I understand the true science of Deity, Nature, and Creature. There are two classes of theosophists, or true mystic philosophers. The one such as Gichtel, the editor of the first German edition of Jacob Boehme (whose letters and life in seven volumes are now being translated into English, and if the necessary funds can be raised they will be printed.) Gichtel truly experimented the regenerated life of Christianity according to the science thereof contained in Boehme's writings; Bramwell fathomed Christianity according to the simple prima facie  representation thereof in the Gospel; in like manner in another form Terstegan was also a high proficient therein, as were also some of the ancient mystics and ascetics of France, Spain, and Germany, as referred to in the Cyclopedia. In the path of Gichtel there have been few and remote followers.

"The other class is composed of those who have intellectually fathomed the scope of Boehme's philosophy, such as Freher, Law, Lee, Pordage, and others.

"As to the pretended independent 'seers,' outsiders of Boehme's revelations,—whose names need not be mentioned,—these are of course not to be admitted into the category of the standard theologists, being mere phantasmatists or visionaries, and who, though uttering a great many good, and to some recondite minds, surprising things, say in effect nothing but what is to be found in a much more solid and edifying form in the writings of ancient classic divines and philosophers.

"As you will see by the accompanying printed papers, I assert that for theosophy to have its true efficiency in the world, there must not only be an intellectual acquaintance with all nature, magical, mental, and physical,—all which is present in every point of sense and mental essence as revealed in Boehme,—but there must be the actual realization of the translocated principles of man's threefold being into their original co-relative positions, and this in high confirmed reality; which is only another expression for the theological and alchymical term, 'regeneration.' And further, I say, there must therewith be a profound knowledge of the science and manifestation of animal magnetism.

"As to spiritism, of course at present theosophy has nothing to do with it, except to contemplate the workings of the magia of the fantasy of the grounds of nature, as shown in it.

"I may just observe, that, if you are not acquainted with the facts, you will find in V. Schubert, a German Professor, some most interesting interpretations of and deductions from Boehme's philosophy. He is a truly ingenious elucidator of many of nature's secrets purely from his conception of Boehme, and for general reading in theosophy, is much more interesting than Baader, who is very technical. But, as for myself, I cannot derive from these or any other authors, what my understanding requires that is beyond the manuscripts and printed authors in my sole possession. Those I have, contain the philosophy of nature and creation far more lucidly and classically opened than is found in any modern publication, for it is fundamentally demonstrated therein; whereas in Hamburger and others, Boehme is merely systematized, leaving his profundities in their original abyss, like ore in the mine; whereas my authors work it all out as far as they could in their day.

"I am and have been long engaged in preparing a compendium of the true principles of all Being, and setting forth all its stages up to the present time: all which is a great mystery both to philosophy and science, as you are doubtless aware. It has never yet been done, and is indeed the grand desideratum. We have never yet been able to reconcile the seeming or allowed declaration of Scripture concerning the creation, with the Newtonian philosophy, and the disclosures of modern chymic, electric, and other sciences, so as to present a solid, united, and convincing chain of the history of nature from the first point of mental essence, to the present state of physical things. And yet there must be such a history and knowledge thereof, latent in the human mind, and in the present daylight of theosophy and physical science, capable of being educed thereout, in a manner commending itself on the sight of it, with almost the force of self-evidence, though in some points appearing to clash with the seeming sense of Scripture.

"My labors are in the preparation of a series of symbolic illustrations (like Quarle's Emblems), whereby, with the accompanying text, to produce this kind of self-evident conviction. Of course I only open the procedure to the present time. You may conceive the time and labor and expense entailed by such an effort. Also the fierce daily long discussions with an avowed and actual rationalist opponent, whom I have for the purpose, without which the truth or science cannot be made to rise up apprehensively in the mind, and then only in a mind in which theosophical and modern scientific knowledge is, as it were, all in living activity, like a magic looking-glass, wherein the images are all living, and can be called forth instantly into visibility, as required by the formula of each successive consideration arising in the discussion, or during private meditation and reading of Boehme, having an object in view.

"The science of all things lies in the Mind. In Newton this plant of Jacob Boehme was largely cultivated for his day; but now, by means of modern science, the true history of all being can be brought forth as a complete logical tree. And this is what the world wants, a perfect philosophy and a perfect theology, as one only sound of the word of nature. This was the divine object in giving the last dispensation through Boehme, though this was such a chaos yet unavoidable. From which revelation of the ground and mystery of all things have ensued all the grand regenerating discoveries of modern science, as I have shown, and can now more fully demonstrate. All date from that new opened puncture of divine light in Boehme.

"I may just mention that I have a collection of all the chief editions of Boehme, in German, Dutch, English, and French, together with other elucidations whereby to produce a new and most harmonious edition of Boehme. Indeed such a thing cannot be accomplished without the means in my possession. I also have at command with me the literary and critical knowledge requisite to produce a correct translation. For there are numerous errors of sense in the German as in the English copies. Indeed in some cases the sense of the passage is not apprehensible. I trust the world will call for this work before I die, in order that I may have the pleasure of preparing, or rather directing, its accomplishment. If I can procure a copy of the Cyclopedia you write about, I shall be happy to present it to you.23

"I am, dear Sir, Yours very truly,

"CHRISTOPHER WALTON.

"London, 15th February, 1868."

"The object of these publications," says Mr. Walton, in his Prospectus, "and of their distribution in the libraries of Great Britain and the United States, is to induce and promote in a general manner, the study of pure metaphysical science, commencing at its root and ground in Deity, thence through all those principles of nature, eternal and temporal, of mind, spirit, and body, which develop and concentre themselves in the form, constitution, and support of man, as such, with a view to render it subservient to its true end and design, namely, the radical purification of theology throughout the earth, and the final resolution of it into a fixed and progressive science, and art in its kind, as contemplated and provided for by Christianity."

For those interested in the history of Mysticism, "Vaughan's Hours with the Mystics," published in London, 1856, is an interesting volume, full of information communicated by way of conversation, and in an attractive style.

21. A mystic book entitled "Quinquenergia, or Proposals for a new Practical Theology," by Henry S. Sutton, was published in London in 1854. Mr. Sutton is plainly tinctured with Boehme's theosophy, if not a disciple of his as appears from his book. It is a volume of singular originality, and the latest modern attempt at a Genesis from First Principles that I have met with. It seems to have attracted few readers in England or in this country.

22. Students of Boehme have been few and far between. Edward Taylor appears to have been Boehme's most distinguished disciple in England before William Law. He published "A Compendious View of the Teutonic Philosophy." London, 1670. Also Jacob Boehme's "Philosophy Unfolded in divers Considerations and Demonstrations, and a Short Account of his Life." London, 1690. John Sparrow published Boehme's Tracts and Epistles. London, 1662. John Pordage's "Theologia Mystica, or the Mystic Divinity of the Eternal Invisibles," London, 1683, is a rare volume.

23. The "Cyclopedia of Pure Christian Theology and Theosophic Science," is to contain the works of Boehme and his distinguished followers, Freher, Gechtel, Pordage, Lee, Law, and others. The first volume is already printed for private circulation, and deposited in the chief libraries of Europe and America. It contains six hundred and eighty-eight closely printed pages, chiefly of exposition and comment on Boehme, with biographical accounts of Boehmists and of their works interspersed in voluminous notes.