December 4

Weather more comfortable this morning; more convalescents, etc., reporting in small squads; am feeling some better, but do  want to go to my regiment: men complaining, but I can't help it, there's no quartermaster; am busy with clothing rolls; looks like storm to-night.

December 4, 1863

Friday. Officer of the guard to-day, in place of a sick man. I once had the favor done me, and I am very glad to pay it back. Still more glad am I that I am well and able to do it. We expect our pay to-morrow and then hurrah for some new clothes, and a full stomach. Also a photograph to send home. Another steamer in and no letter for me. What's the matter up there? I guess I'll send them some stamps when I get the money to buy them.

December 4, 1862

Judging from appearances we are to move again. The anchor is coming up and there is hustling and bustling about all over the boat. Anything by way of excitement is good and I am glad something is going to happen. I miss a great many boats that were lying about us yesterday and every now and then one goes past us towards the open sea.

Later. We're off, heading in the only direction where no land is in sight.

Later still. Have learned this much. The Baltic is the flagship, with General Banks and staff on board. She has stopped and all the other vessels are forming in lines. Each vessel has orders which are only to be opened in case of separation from the flagship. It is too dark to see or to write and the ship pitches and dives terribly. Water dashes on deck sometimes, and this was almost thirty feet above water before we loaded up with coal.

281. John Adams

Paris, 4 December, 1782.

My dearest Friend,—Your proposal of coming to Europe has long and tenderly affected me. The dangers and inconveniences are such, and a European life would be so disagreeable to you, that I have suffered a great deal of anxiety in reflecting upon it. And upon the whole, I think it will be most for the happiness of my family, and most for the honor of our country, that I should come home. I have, therefore, this day written to Congress a resignation of all my employments, and as soon as I shall receive their acceptance of it, I will embark for America, which will be in the spring or beginning of summer. Our son is now on his journey from Petersburg, through Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, and if it please God he come safe, he shall come with me, and I pray we may all meet once more, you and I never to separate again.

Yours most tenderly,     J. Adams.

December Fourth

A BIT OF RECONSTRUCTION ORATORY

“Mistah President, de real flatform, suh. I'll sw'ar tuh high Heaven. Yas, I'll sw'ar higher dan dat. I'll go down an' de uth shall crumble intuh dus' befor' dee shall amalgamise my rights. 'Bout dis question uh cyarpet-bags. Ef you cyarpet-baggers does go back on us, woes be unto you! You better take yo cyarpet-bags and quit, and de quicker you git up and git de better. I do not abdicate de supperstition tuh dese strange friens, lately so-called citizens uh Ferginny. Ef dee don' gimme my rights, I'll suffer dis country tuh be lak Sarah. I'll suffer desterlation fus!”...

“I'se here tuh qualify my constituents. I'll sing tuh Rome an' tuh Englan' an' tuh de uttermos' parts uh de uth.” (“You must address yourself to the chair,” said that functionary, ready to faint.) “All right, suh, I'll not 'sire tuh maintain de House any longer.”

Hon. Lewis Lindsay
(From Stenographic Report )

 

 

Friday, December 4th.—Had a busy day loading at three places: just going to turn in as I have to be up at 2 a.m.; we shall have the patients on all night. It is a fearful night, pouring and blowing. We have taken a tall white-haired Padre up with us this time: he wanted a trip to the Front. We happened to go to a place we hadn't been to before, in a coal-mining district. While we loaded he marched off to explore, and was very pleased at finding a well-shelled village and an unexploded shell stuck in a tree. It specially seemed to please him to find a church shelled! He has enjoyed talking to the crowds of men on the train on the way down. He lives and messes with us. We opened the Harrod's cake to-day; it is a beauty. The men were awfully pleased with the bull's-eyes, said they hadn't tasted a sweet for four months.

One of the C.S. has just dug me out to see some terrific flashes away over the Channel, which he thinks is a naval battle. I think it is lightning. It was. The gale is terrific: must be giving the ships a doing.

December 4

December 4, 1876.--I have been thinking a great deal of Victor Cherbuliez. Perhaps his novels make up the most disputable part of his work--they are so much wanting in simplicity, feeling, reality. And yet what knowledge, style, wit, and subtlety--how much thought everywhere, and what mastery of language! He astonishes one; I cannot but admire him.

Cherbuliez's mind is of immense range, clear-sighted, keen, full of resource; he is an Alexandrian exquisite, substituting for the feeling which makes men earnest the irony which leaves them free. Pascal would say of him--"He has never risen from the order of thought to the order of charity." But we must not be ungrateful. A Lucian is not worth an Augustine, but still he is Lucian. Those who enfranchise the mind render service to man as well as those who persuade the heart. After the leaders come the liberators, and the negative and critical minds have their place and function beside the men of affirmation, the convinced and inspired souls. The positive element in Victor Cherbuliez's work is beauty, not goodness, not moral or religious life. Aesthetically he is serious; what he respects is style. And therefore he has found his vocation; for he is first and foremost a writer--a consummate, exquisite, and model writer. He does not win our love, but he claims our homage.

In every union there is a mystery--a certain invisible bond which must not be disturbed. This vital bond in the filial relation is respect; in friendship, esteem; in marriage, confidence; in the collective life, patriotism; in the religious life, faith. Such points are best left untouched by speech, for to touch them is almost to profane them.

* * * *

Men of genius supply the substance of history, while the mass of men are but the critical filter, the limiting, slackening, passive force needed for the modification of the ideas supplied by genius. Stupidity is dynamically the necessary balance of intellect. To make an atmosphere which human life can breathe, oxygen must be combined with a great deal--with three-fourths--of azote. And so, to make history, there must be a great deal of resistance to conquer and of weight to drag.

December 4

December 4, 1863.--The whole secret of remaining young in spite of years, and even of gray hairs, is to cherish enthusiasm in one's self by poetry, by contemplation, by charity--that is, in fewer words, by the maintenance of harmony in the soul. When everything is in its right place within us, we ourselves are in equilibrium with the whole work of God. Deep and grave enthusiasm for the eternal beauty and the eternal order, reason touched with emotion and a serene tenderness of heart--these surely are the foundations of wisdom.

Wisdom! how inexhaustible a theme! A sort of peaceful aureole surrounds and illumines this thought, in which are summed up all the treasures of moral experience, and which is the ripest fruit of a well-spent life. Wisdom never grows old, for she is the expression of order itself--that is, of the Eternal. Only the wise man draws from life, and from every stage of it, its true savor, because only he feels the beauty, the dignity, and the value of life. The flowers of youth may fade, but the summer, the autumn, and even the winter of human existence, have their majestic grandeur, which the wise man recognizes and glorifies. To see all things in God; to make of one's own life a journey toward the ideal; to live with gratitude, with devoutness, with gentleness and courage; this was the splendid aim of Marcus Aurelius. And if you add to it the humility which kneels, and the charity which gives, you have the whole wisdom of the children of God, the immortal joy which is the heritage of the true Christian. But what a false Christianity is that which slanders wisdom and seeks to do without it! In such a case I am on the side of wisdom, which is, as it were, justice done to God, even in this life. The relegation of life to some distant future, and the separation of the holy man from the virtuous man, are the signs of a false religious conception. This error is, in some degree, that of the whole Middle Age, and belongs, perhaps, to the essence of Catholicism. But the true Christianity must purge itself from so disastrous a mistake. The eternal life is not the future life; it is life in harmony with the true order of things--life in God. We must learn to look upon time as a movement of eternity, as an undulation in the ocean of being. To live, so as to keep this consciousness of ours in perpetual relation with the eternal, is to be wise; to live, so as to personify and embody the eternal, is to be religious.

The modern leveler, after having done away with conventional inequalities, with arbitrary privilege and historical injustice, goes still farther, and rebels against the inequalities of merit, capacity, and virtue. Beginning with a just principle, he develops it into an unjust one. Inequality may be as true and as just as equality: it depends upon what you mean by it. But this is precisely what nobody cares to find out. All passions dread the light, and the modern zeal for equality is a disguised hatred which tries to pass itself off as love.

Liberty, equality--bad principles! The only true principle for humanity is justice, and justice toward the feeble becomes necessarily protection or kindness.