February 15

A chilly, cloudy morning but no wind; probably will snow before night. At 10 p. m. was ordered by Capt. H. R. Steele to take my command up to the reserve as soon as possible as the Johnnies were advancing in eight (whew!) different lines: think the man who reports this must be troubled with C. W. (commissary whiskey); arrived in camp at 4 p. m.; snowed all the afternoon. But what's become of the eight lines of C. W.?

February Fifteenth

DETERMINING THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE NEW BOARDER

“I will illustrate by an incident,” said Mrs. Paynter.

“As I say, this young man spends his entire time in his room, where he is, I believe, engaged in writing a book.”

“Oh, me! Then he's penniless, depend upon it!”

Henry Sydnor Harrison
(Queed )

 

Cyrus Hall McCormick born, 1809

 

 

Feb. 15, 1884

... It was such a delight to meet the greatest of all our historians[213 ] at this particular moment. There never was so much kindness in this world. I can think of nothing but our journey, and the wretchedness of having only one day there. Of course I am going to live at the Clarendon. If any doubt arises, do not let it exist for a moment. Then I must visit the Bodley for an hour, and Stubbs, Liddon, M. Müller, Jowett, Brodrick, Bright of University.

But these are my private wanderings. Do remember that, and let them not spoil the cachet  of their own grouping. As all passes through you, do take an opportunity to say how thankfully and joyously I accept his invitation.


[213 ] Stubbs.

February 15

February 15, 1875. (Hyères ).--I have just been reading the two last "Discours" at the French Academy, lingering over every word and weighing every idea. This kind of writing is a sort of intellectual dainty, for it is the art "of expressing truth with all the courtesy and finesse possible;" the art of appearing perfectly at ease without the smallest loss of manners; of being gracefully sincere, and of making criticism itself a pleasure to the person criticized. Legacy as it is from the monarchical tradition, this particular kind of eloquence is the distinguishing mark of those men of the world who are also men of breeding, and those men of letters who are also gentlemen. Democracy could never have invented it, and in this delicate genre of literature France may give points to all rival peoples, for it is the fruit of that refined and yet vigorous social sense which is produced by court and drawing-room life, by literature and good company, by means of a mutual education continued for centuries. This complicated product is as original in its way as Athenian eloquence, but it is less healthy and less durable. If ever France becomes Americanized this genre at least will perish, without hope of revival.

February 15

February 15, 1871.--Without intending it, nations educate each other, while having apparently nothing in view but their own selfish interests. It was France who made the Germany of the present, by attempting its destruction during ten generations; it is Germany who will regenerate contemporary France, by the effort to crush her. Revolutionary France will teach equality to the Germans, who are by nature hierarchical. Germany will teach the French that rhetoric is not science, and that appearance is not as valuable as reality. The worship of prestige--that is to say, of falsehood; the passion for vainglory--that is to say, for smoke and noise; these are what must die in the interests of the world. It is a false religion which is being destroyed. I hope sincerely that this war will issue in a new balance of things better than any which has gone before--a new Europe, in which the government of the individual by himself will be the cardinal principle of society, in opposition to the Latin principle, which regards the individual as a thing, a means to an end, an instrument of the church or of the state.

In the order and harmony which would result from free adhesion and voluntary submission to a common ideal, we should see the rise of a new moral world. It would be an equivalent, expressed in lay terms, to the idea of a universal priesthood. The model state ought to resemble a great musical society in which every one submits to be organized, subordinated, and disciplined for the sake of art, and for the sake of producing a masterpiece. Nobody is coerced, nobody is made use of for selfish purposes, nobody plays a hypocritical or selfish part. All bring their talent to the common stock, and contribute knowingly and gladly to the common wealth. Even self-love itself is obliged to help on the general action, under pain of rebuff should it make itself apparent.

159. John Adams

Baltimore, 15 February, 1777.

Mr. Hall, by whom this letter will be sent, will carry several letters to you, which have been written and delivered to him several days. He has settled his business agreeably. I have not received a line from the Massachusetts since I left it. Whether we shall return to Philadelphia soon or not, I cannot say. I rather conjecture it will not be long. You may write to me in Congress, and the letter will be brought me wherever I shall be.

I am settled now, agreeably enough, in my lodgings. There is nothing in this respect that lies uneasily upon my mind, except the most extravagant price which I am obliged to give for everything. My constituents will think me extravagant, but I am not. I wish I could sell or send home my horses, but I cannot. I must have horses and a servant, for Congress will be likely to remove several times, in the course of the ensuing year. I am impatient to hear from you, and most tenderly anxious for your health and happiness. I am also most affectionately solicitous for my dear children, to whom remember

Yours.

We long to hear of the formation of a new army. We shall lose the most happy opportunity of destroying the enemy this spring if we do not exert ourselves instantly. We have from New Hampshire a Colonel Thornton, a physician by profession, a man of humor. He has a large budget of droll stories with which he entertains company perpetually. I heard, about twenty or five-and-twenty years ago, a story of a physician in Londonderry, who accidentally met with one of our New England enthusiasts, called exhorters. The fanatic soon began to examine the Dr. concerning the articles of his faith and what he thought of original sin. "Why," says the Dr., "I satisfy myself about it in this manner. Either original sin is divisible or indivisible. If it is divisible, every descendant of Adam and Eve must have a part, and the share which falls to each individual at this day is so small a particle that I think it is not worth considering. If indivisible, then the whole quantity must have descended in a right line, and must now be possessed by one person only; and the chances are millions and millions and millions to one that that person is now in Asia or Africa, and that I have nothing to do with it." I told Thornton the story, and that I suspected him to be the man. He said he was. He belongs to Londonderry.

February 15, 1844

I feel quite well again: we start for the hills this afternoon. The party consists of seven Europeans and about one hundred natives. It happened rather curiously that the Rajah to whom the hill belongs called here this morning on business: he is a very intelligent young man. He has volunteered to accompany us, to supply us with elephants if we wish to hunt upon the plain, and to provide us an escort of five hundred men; so we shall go in state. He rode a magnificent white horse with pink eyes . We each take a small axe, a pair of pistols, and two guns.

But before proceeding I would enter into more particulars concerning the excursion that we took for the benefit of my wife's health. On Monday we all started at half-past five in the morning—Captain R. and myself on horseback, and Mrs. R. and my wife in palanquins, having their ponies led by their side. We had about one hundred and twenty servants with us, Captain R. having a good deal of surveying and other work to do.

As we went along the road he stopped to inspect the different bridges, &c. We had one little adventure this morning. It seems that some months ago a beyraghee, or mendicant, sat himself down by the side of the road, a few miles from Cuttack, with nothing but an umbrella to shade him from the sun. There he remained for some weeks, subsisting on the charity of the pilgrims who were proceeding to Juggernat'h. I should have mentioned that our road lay, for a considerable distance, on the direct route for Pooree. After some time the beyraghee made himself a little hut of wicker-work, after the fashion of many of the Indian devotees. These baskets, as I may call them, are just large enough to contain a man in a lying-down position; they are, in fact, mere coverings.

By degrees the basket became a good-sized mud hut; then the beyraghee began to enclose a small piece of ground, which he cultivated, and built himself a granary of bamboo to contain the rice given him by the pilgrims. Now, although a man with an umbrella does not much matter, yet a hut with a little field, around which a village is likely enough to spring up, cannot be allowed upon the roadside, which belongs to Government.

The man had been warned, but paid no attention to what was said; and accordingly, when we reached the spot, Captain R. directed the chuprapees, or Government messengers, to pull down the fence and destroy the hut, granary, &c. We sat on our horses while these men obeyed the order. In a quarter of an hour the whole was level with the ground. I knew that Captain R. was perfectly right, yet I could not help pitying the poor man, who came and laid himself down at our horses' feet, with his hands clasped over his head. Like many of the beyraghees, he was entirely naked. They are a worthless, wicked set of men, and peculiarly obnoxious to Europeans. It was a singular scene. Captain R. and myself, with our broad-brimmed hats, sitting quietly on our sturdy ponies; a half-naked groom at the head of each; the naked beyraghee at our feet; and a dozen chuprapees, in the white native dress, with red badges, hewing the house and fence to pieces, and scattering the remains on all sides under the grove of mangoes with which the road was bordered. In the distance were the palanquins, whilst the wild song of the bearers faintly reached our ears.

ENCAMPMENT AT BENGWHARRIE

Nothing of interest occurred after this until we arrived at Bengwharrie, a small village, where our tents were pitched under a grove, or, as we call it, a "tope," of splendid trees. I have already described the appearance of a private encampment; the only difference here was that we had a greater number of men about us, and more tents. Mine contains one room, about twenty-four feet square; in the centre rises the high pole which supports our canvas house. At each end are cloth doors, made to roll up. The tent has a double fly or covering, one much larger than the other; it is like a small one inside a large one. This tends to keep it warm at night, and cool during the day; the outer fly forms a verandah round the inner room. In the latter are two small camp bedsteads, a camp table, camp chairs, &c. By camp bedsteads, &c., I mean such as will double up for the convenience of carriage. In the verandah are our palanquins, a chest of wine, beer, &c., some cooling apparatus, and various other articles. At one side there is an entrance into a small tent, which serves for a bathing-room.

After breakfast, we were very much interested in watching the monkeys. The tope swarmed with a grey species, some of which appeared almost as large as men. They are peculiarly sacred in the eyes of the Hindus, who imagine that one of their gods once assumed a similar form. They are called Hunnamuns, which was the name of that deity. My wife and I stood at the door of the tent watching them for hours; they do not appear to be afraid of men. Many of the females had young ones with them, and they came and sat down close to us with their little ones in their laps. First they would suckle them, then they would hush them to sleep, or turn them over and over, pulling off all the dirt that adhered to their skins, and making them clean and comfortable.

A little farther off you would see four or five males picking the fruit off a low bush, and chattering to one another all the time. Then a half-grown one would jump down, and give a hard pull at an old one's tail, for which he generally received a good box on the ear, unless he was nimble enough to get out of the way in time; presently one of the old fellows would get angry, and spring into the tree after his little tormentor, and a regular chase would ensue. The leaps they take are tremendous; they will often spring from the top of a lofty tree into the middle of the next without falling.

I saw one of the females shot; it was a cruel sight, and struck all the natives with horror. They refused to touch the dead body. The ball did not kill her instantly, and she cried piteously, whilst she pressed her little one to her bosom, and tried to get into the tree. To the last she would not relinquish her young one, and died in endeavouring to save it. I could not shoot a monkey, their actions and their cries are so like human beings. I know of a case in which an officer shot one, and the whole herd instantly sprang from the trees and attacked him; it was with difficulty he was saved. They are most interesting creatures.

CROW-PHEASANT.

In the evening I went out with my gun, accompanied by Captain R. I got nothing, however, but some doves and some crow-pheasants; the latter are not eaten by Europeans, though much relished by the low-caste natives. It is a bird, as the name signifies, between a crow and a pheasant. The colour is black, tinged with a deep dull red. It has a long tail, and runs like a pheasant; but I believe that its food is the same as a crow's, that is, carrion and animal food.

GAME.

On the Tuesday morning Captain R. was lazy, so I started by myself at six o'clock to try and get some jungle-fowl. When I say by myself, I of course mean with three or four servants. I, however, shot nothing but a few doves and one green pigeon. The latter is a large bird, of a pale-green colour, and is most delicious eating, which is more than can be said of any of the game in India. The partridges are dry and flavourless; the deer have literally not a particle of fat upon them; the hares are fit for nothing but soup. A leveret is good, and so is a very young peacock, but, old or young, they must be eaten the same day that they are killed. By the by, the black partridge is pretty good: it has a black neck, shading into deep red on the head; the back is dark; the breast and tail are most beautifully covered with minute white spots.

I may as well mention now that we shot the other day a double-spurred partridge; it was of a dingy red colour, with a crest on its head; the legs were bright red, and each armed with two long sharp spurs. As I walked along I observed a bird of a species which I had never seen before; I tried to shoot it, in order to have it stuffed, but missed, and sadly frightened some monkeys who were in the same tree. As far as I could judge, every feather was a bright blue, giving a most splendid appearance to the bird.

MANGO-BIRD.

After breakfast Captain R. and I stood at the door of the tent amusing ourselves with his air-gun. I killed with it three or four birds, whose skins I should like to preserve; one especially, though I believe I have before described it, namely, the mango-bird. I fancy the European name is the golden oriole. It is of one uniform brilliant yellow, with the exception of the head, which is perfectly black. Its note is very peculiar, as indeed are the voices of many of the Indian birds. I cannot describe the sounds on paper, but I have learned to imitate many of them well enough to hold a long conversation with them. Once or twice, when Captain R. wanted to get near to a bird without being observed, he asked me to continue talking to it. It is curious to observe them hopping from branch to branch replying to my call, and looking round on every side for the bird from which they suppose the sound to proceed.

On Tuesday evening Captain R. and I rode about four miles to try and find some peacocks. His pony had hurt its foot, so he took one of mine. We were going along quietly enough through some rice-fields, when suddenly the pony he was on shied; he spurred it, and it immediately reared and fell over backwards. Most fortunately he managed to throw himself off, so as to escape being under the horse, though, as it was, he got a heavy tumble. It is a very nice pony, a little inclined to rear; but I am too heavy for it to do so with me. I am getting thinner now. We came at last to a beautiful bit of bamboo-jungle, where we dismounted, inside of which was a paddy-field; in the centre were two fine cocks and five hens feeding. Beckoning to the servants to stay behind, I crouched down on the ground and crept slowly forward, until I came very near to the jungle-fowl, when I cautiously raised my gun to fire; from some cause or other it did not go off, though the cap exploded, and the birds flew away. Now, a regular Indian sportsman would not fire at a bird on the ground, but would first make a noise to frighten him, and would then fire as he was flying away; however, I am not practised enough for that, and like to get what they call a pot-shot whenever I can.

SPORTING.

A little while ago a party of officers went out from Cuttack to shoot. Their men were beating the jungle, when suddenly all the wild cry ceased, and a man came gliding to where all the sahibs were standing to tell them that there was a tiger lying asleep in his den close at hand. A consultation was instantly held; most of the party were anxious to return to Cuttack, but Captain B. insisted on having a shot at the animal. Accordingly he advanced very quickly until he came to the place, when he saw—not a tiger, but a large leopard lying quite still, with his head resting on his fore paws. He went up close and fired, but the animal did not move. This astonished him, and on examination he found that the brute was already dead. One of his companions had bribed some Indians to place a dead leopard there and to say that there was a tiger asleep. You may imagine what a laugh there was, though it was very wrong of the Europeans to encourage the natives to say what was not true.

Since then a large party has been out from Cuttack on a shooting excursion: they found five leopards, two sambres (the largest species of deer), and four of the Indian bisons or ghyal, of whose horns I have preserved a specimen. They however killed only one leopard.

But I must hasten on with my description. Captain R. and I proceeded into the jungle, where we heard several peacocks; we separated, creeping along in different directions. Presently I came to an open space where some pea-fowls were feeding, but we did not succeed in killing anything. The next evening we went to the same place, when Captain R. shot a peacock. Towards dusk I was creeping along, when suddenly I saw what appeared to me a fine peahen. I signed to my men to be quiet, got as near as I could, fired, and shouted to my followers to run and pick up the bird, for it was dead. An Indian servant rarely loses his gravity; but in this instance they could not restrain themselves when they found that instead of a pea-fowl I had knocked to pieces the skull of an old cow which had been half-picked by the vultures; in the dim light I had mistaken it for a bird.

BHOHONESWAR.

The next day we proceeded about ten miles farther to Bhalmacottee; and on the day following, that is Friday, we started at five o'clock in the morning for Bhohoneswar. On the way we passed the remains of a very large old fort built of hewn stone. In one of the moats, which was still full of water, I saw the remains of a pier of a bridge. Bhohoneswar is a very ancient town, much more so than Pooree: it is celebrated for containing nine hundred and ninety-nine temples. The natives say that, had there been a thousand, Juggernat'h would have taken up his abode here; but as there were not he preferred having a new temple for himself at Pooree. The ancient city has disappeared, and the town only consists of a few hundred mud huts. The temples however remain—some perfect, others in ruins; some facing the street of the modern town, others half hidden in the surrounding jungle. It is a wonderful place, and I hardly know how to describe it.

At one extremity of the town is a tank, about half a mile square, and of a great depth, entirely faced with huge blocks of black iron-stone. In the centre of this stands a small temple, whilst the sides are surrounded by others of greater or less size. At the end next the town an enormous flight of steps leads down to the water, where hundreds of pilgrims were hastening to wash themselves before entering the great temple. The farther end is bordered by a dense and lofty jungle, and in the distance is a splendid background of rugged hills.

After leaving the burrah tellores (great tank) we walked through a lane of temples, many of which were ruinous, until we came to the grand sacred edifice of the place. The form of this, as indeed of most of the others, is similar to that of Pooree. The temple of Bhohoneswar is however larger, the principal tower being about two hundred feet high. Like all the others, it is built entirely of stone, and every block is most elaborately carved. The various cornices, of elephants, horses, &c., are as beautifully executed as if they had been done by the best European artists. The fretwork is most delicate in its livery, and the many images, though representing grotesque figures, are admirably carved. The whole forms one mass of most splendid sculpture.

No description would enable the reader to form any idea of the magnificence of this building. Many of the blocks of stone are fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five feet in length, and thick in proportion. It would be curious to discover by what means they were ever raised to the height of above one hundred feet. This temple is still sacred, and we were therefore not allowed to enter it, but we examined the interior of several of the others. The lofty domes were evidently constructed by a people who were ignorant of the use of the arch; they are formed of overlapping stones, approaching nearer and nearer together until they reach the top, where the whole is surmounted by one enormous block.

CUNDEEGURREE.

We breakfasted in a small tent which we had sent forward toBhohoneswar, and then proceeded in our palanquins to Cundeegurree, a distance of about seven miles. This latter place consists of three hills surrounded by the most romantic-looking jungle. Our palanquins were set down in what may be called a forest, at the foot of the principal hill, and crowned by a small but very pretty white temple. These hills are perforated in every direction with caves of various dimensions, and reminded me most forcibly of the ancient Petra. Many of the caves are inhabited by devotees and priests. The god whom they worship is quite unknown to our Hindu servants: he is called Persilat'h, and is the god of the Jains, who were a powerful race that existed prior to the introduction of the Hindu religion. There are very few of them now remaining. The god is represented as a naked man, standing upright, with his arms hanging down by his sides. In many of the caves are small images of this deity beautifully cut in a dark-blue stone.

At the summit is a Jain temple, which has been rebuilt within the last two hundred years. The Hindus say that the caves are the works of demons. Above the entrances to many of them are long inscriptions in a forgotten tongue. Several of the letters appear to resemble the Greek; but most of them are different from any known language. The entrance to one of the caverns is through the mouth of an enormous lion's head, cut out of the solid rock: it is exceedingly well executed. The pillars about the doorway are also cut out of the solid rock. Within the lion's mouth is an inscription in two lines, which I copied.

Many of the caves are large and lofty, others very small: there are some not high enough for a man to stand upright: of these latter several have very small entrances; and in these are devotees who had vowed never to leave them alive. The wonder seems how they could ever have managed to creep in. I saw some of these holy men: one of them had entirely lost his sight; another had his right arm shrivelled, and fixed in an upright position, with the nails several inches in length growing through the palm of his hand. What suffering do these heathens endure for the sake of their religion, whilst we are so unwilling to do even a little to please the true God! Their superstitions are most disgusting; but they are a reproach to us, both for our inertness in attempting to convert the Hindus, and also for the contrast they afford to our self-control, who call ourselves Christians.

In the solid rock of these hills have been excavated some tanks; but the most marvellous thing of all is the palace of the ancient rajahs. This, like all the rest, is hollowed out of the solid stone, and consists of two stories; the lower comprises a good-sized square court, surrounded on all sides by large excavated chambers. Into this yard you are obliged to descend from above. The upper floor is similarly cut, except that a large portion of the rock has been cut away before the entrances were made to the chambers. The consequence is that there is a broad terrace, overlooking the rooms beneath, and upon which the several apartments of the upper story open. What labour must have been employed in making these extraordinary excavations! The chambers are narrow, about twelve feet wide, but many of them are long; speaking from conjecture, I should say that one of them was not less than forty feet, the length corresponding with the direction of the side of the quadrangle. The entrance-walls (if I may call them so) seem to have been much ornamented; but what struck me most was a statue, cut, of course, out of the solid rock, and supporting one side of an ornamented entrance to one of the chambers. This statue, the natives say, is intended to represent the rajah who founded the palace: it is nearly the size of life and well preserved. The right arm hangs down by the side, the left is bent at the elbow, the hand resting on the hip. On the head appears to be a close helmet, with, I think, scales down each side of the face. The dress consists of a short shirt of scale armour reaching down to the thigh; below this hangs a cloth skirt to the knees; hanging from the shoulders behind is a short cloak resembling that worn by our modern horsemen; round the waist is a sash or loose belt; boots reaching half-way to the knees; and at the side is a double-edged Roman sword. Now, to what nation or people such a dress as this can have belonged I cannot conceive. I feel confident that no people of India have ever worn such garments; yet, when I look at this dress, and consider the Grecian nature of many of the letters in the inscriptions, and the un-Indian appearance of the pillars in the lion's mouth, I cannot help asking myself whether it is possible that, when Alexander was stopped by the Affghans, any of his people ventured still farther into the country, and after various wanderings founded Cundeegurree, as conquerors of the district. Or, if I wish to turn my speculations in another direction, I may examine the dress, carved in stone, and that statue, and think of the name of the reputed founder Lalal, India, Kesari (quære Cæsar?). All this, however, is mere speculation, as I have no sufficient data at present by which to arrive at any conclusion. There is a much longer inscription very correctly copied in Stirling's 'History of Orissa.'

After spending a most interesting day at Cundeegurree we returned to Bhalmacottee, from whence my wife and myself came on to Cuttack on Saturday. I forgot to mention an animal that we killed; the natives called it a "goodee sampsnake," and said it was very savage and very venomous, though I imagine it was nothing but a guana. It is a sort of lizard, with a very tough scaly skin, about two and a half feet in length, head like that of a snake, forked tongue, sharp teeth, short legs, armed with long claws or rather talons. I have preserved and stuffed the skin.

INSCRIPTIONS—ANECDOTE OF AN ELEPHANT.

A gentleman has just been here who told me an interesting anecdote about an elephant. A friend of his bought one, and went out hunting with a large party. The animal behaved very well all day; but in the evening, when they were going to take off the howdah, the mahout called to the Europeans to stand farther off, as the elephant appeared to be getting uneasy. He had hardly spoken when the animal made a rush forward, seized an unfortunate native, and began trampling upon him with his enormous feet; a chuprapee who ran forward was seized by the elephant, and flung to the distance of many feet into the river; the beast then raised the poor wretch he had been crushing, and threw him into the jungle, where he was found with not a bone unbroken; every limb was crushed: of course he died almost directly. The elephant then ran off, and for weeks was the terror of the country round—going into the villages, tearing down the houses to look for corn or rice. At last he was caught, and sold to the king of Lucknow, in Upper India. I should mention that the only limestone hills in this part of India are those around Cundeegurree.