January 1

New Year's Day, 1915, Rouen.—A Happy New Year to us all! We are not off yet, and several other trains are doing nothing here. We came into Rouen this afternoon, and heard that we are to clear the hospitals here to-morrow, and take them down to Havre.

Thank goodness we are to move at last. Went for a walk in the town after tea, and after dinner the O.C. and Sister B. and one of the Civil Surgeons and the French Major and I went to the cinema. It was excellent, or we thought it so, after the months of train and nothing else.

Although attached to Company B, Tenth Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry, (Capt. Edwin Dillingham's of Waterbury, Vt.), Lieut. Ezra Stetson commanding, I am Second Lieutenant of Company D (Capt. Samuel Darrah's of Burlington, Vt.) of the same regiment, having been promoted from First Sergeant of Company B last spring.

All are wishing me a "Happy New Year"! God grant that I may have one. I was awakened long before daylight by the band serenading the birth of the New Year. Lieut. G. W. Burnell took his departure early this morning for Washington, D. C.; he has been promoted Captain of U. S. Colored Troops and is about to take up other duties in Baltimore, Md. It was quite pleasant early in the day but it is very muddy under foot; had a grand New Year's dinner. There has been a very cold wind this afternoon. This evening it is clear and intensely cold. Will Clark has made me a short call; am feeling very well but studying hard.

January 1, 1864

Friday. Good morning, 1864. How do you do, and have you a leave of absence for me on or about you? This is the coldest day I have seen in Louisiana. Ice formed on every puddle. The natives say it has not been so cold in seventeen years. Good! I have seen ice once more. Now for a snowstorm and then it will begin to seem like home. What are our folks at to-day? It is easy to guess, that they are together somewhere, probably at home to eat some of the good things mother knows so well how to cook. Then after dinner they will talk the afternoon away and then go home. But I forget that the roads may be blocked with snow, and the mercury too low for comfort in going out. At any rate it is safe to say they will have a good time somewhere and somehow. This idleness is going to be the ruination of us, I fear. Three officers are absent without leave, and Gorton was sent to round them up. He came back first and I mistrust he came on after giving them a caution. Soon after the runaways came back and were placed under arrest by Colonel B. and they now have only the limits of the camp. As nothing more is likely to happen to-night I will stop writing and try and plan how to sleep warm.

January 1, 1863

The Arago did call for our mail and the body of Lieutenant Sterling was put on board to go to his family in Poughkeepsie. We gave the old ship three cheers, and then some one sang out three cheers for the lice you gave us. John Van Hoovenburg died last night. We made a box for him out of such boards as we could find. Though we did our best, his bare feet showed through the cracks. But that made no difference to poor Johnnie. The chaplain was with him to the end, says he was happy and ready to go. This is how we spend our New Year's day. We wish each other a happy New Year though just as if we were home and had a good prospect of one. After the funeral Walter Loucks and I went up the river quite a distance, so far it seemed as if our legs would not carry us back. Negro huts are scattered along. I suppose white people cannot live here and so the darkeys have it all. Some cultivate patches of ground and in one garden we saw peas in bloom. We bought a loaf of bread and a bottle of molasses of an old woman, and though the bread was not what it might have been, it tasted good. There are some orange trees, but no oranges. The darkies say they will blossom in about a month. A man in Company E, a sort of poet, who was always writing songs for the boys to sing, was cutting wood to-day and the axe flew off the handle and cut the whole four fingers from the right hand. There were no witnesses and some there are who say he did it so as to get a discharge. The doctor has dressed the hand and he is going about in great pain just now.

January First

Some thunder on the heights of song, their race
Godlike in power, while others at their feet
Are breathing measures scarce less strong and sweet
Than those that peal from out that loftiest place;
Meantime, just midway on the mount, his face
Fairer than April heavens, when storms retreat,
And on their edges rain and sunshine meet,
Pipes the soft lyrist lays of tender grace,
But where the slopes of bright Parnassus sweep
Near to the common ground, a various throng
Chant lowlier measures—yet each tuneful strain
(The silvery minor of earth's perfect song)
Blends with that music of the topmost steep,
O'er whose vast realm the master minstrels reign!
Paul Hamilton Hayne

 

O'er those who lost and those who won,
Death holds no parley which was right—
Jehovah  judges Arlington.
James Ryder Randall

 

Paul Hamilton Hayne born, 1830

James Ryder Randall, Laureate of the War between the States, born, 1839

 

 

Cannes Jan. 1, 1886

It would have been a very great pleasure to be at Hawarden during these festive days; and only very strong local ties oblige me to say that it is impossible. There has never been a time when I was more anxious to learn what is really going on, and to see things from the centre, and it is therefore a disappointment to be away. But there is nothing that I could say or do that would contribute an element to the momentous decisions to be formed. That Mr. Gladstone will, in this great and perhaps final crisis, put himself into the position of Irishmen and view things not only from the point of their present wishes, but with their historic eyes, and that he will hold that the ends of liberty are the true ends of politics, that is the one thing certain and known to all men, and it is the whole of the political baggage with which I set out on the Irish expedition.

I know neither how to resist the claim of the Irish nation to govern themselves nor even their claim to possess the land, and nobody really familiar with the events of this century can say that the one is beyond the resources of political, or the other, of economic science. They are problems which have been solved repeatedly within the experience of two generations. Many experiments have been made, and it is not difficult to determine which solutions have failed, which have succeeded, and to tell the reason why.

I have thought so for twenty years, and now that the question has become perforce a practical one, nobody can be more heartily than I am on the side which I understand to be Mr. Gladstone's, or, to speak definitely, on the Irish side. The claim of duty exactly coincides with the claim of necessity, and that is all about it that one can say from a distance, without having seen what is on paper, or felt pulses all round.

Duty and necessity settle the question, but not as to policy in detail, which I have no right to talk about without hearing more what is said by people on the spot. Only let me say that I would not be influenced by hope of a very brilliant success, even if it is possible to do what would satisfy the better part of the Irish party. The people are so demoralised, both laity and clergy, that we must be prepared to see the best scheme fail. No Irish failure is so bad as the breakdown of parliamentary government, so that even from a sordid point of view that is not insuperable. But I would arm myself against disappointment. There is another point of view from which I see much to apprehend and prepare for. The elections send back Mr. Gladstone to Westminster, and even to Downing Street, with some loss of influence. I see it not only in the reduced majority, but still more in the increase of Conservative minorities at the poll, the infidelity of most important colleagues, and the reluctance with which he will be followed by members under pressure from their constituencies.

We saw the centrifugal forces at work last Session in the Ministry itself. Mr. Gladstone only retained office after the Egyptian vote by the neutrality of Rosebery, and in the question of concession to Parnell he had to yield to the Lords in the Cabinet.

How can they stand by him now, to support measures much more formidable, probably, than that which they rejected last spring? And could not Salisbury dexterously put the question in such a way that their vote then given should disable them altogether?

One sees the danger that Mr. Gladstone would be almost isolated among his friends, even if there is a majority in the House, and I can imagine no way of getting any considerable scheme through the Lords. I wish you would tell me that all this has been provided for, and that very careful negotiations have been carried on. Taking the question grossly, in outline, I can only say that I hope fervently that he will have strength to accomplish the only scheme of policy I can think worthy of his fame.

It seems obvious that, in the mass of letters that afflict your postman, there have been plenty of communications from good men of all sorts in Ireland. I speak of that from a slight, a remote, fear that the study of details, of conflicting and undigested suggestions, may have become distasteful to him. Writing to Lord Granville the other day in answer to a question, I proposed that his former private secretary, Wetherell, should make a tour in Ireland, as he has a very large acquaintance among people who do not clamour in the street. He would bring valuable information to bear. But I hope that there is no lack of information or of advisers.

One has to think of people in the background just because they are the minority. That may justify me in sending you the enclosed letter from a man who had, I think, a good deal of Spencer's confidence and good-will. I would not send it if I thought it could discourage, but Mr. Gladstone has faced heavier artillery every day since Christmas. Happy New Year never meant so much as to-day!...

P.S.—A frightened and discontented voice says, by this day's post, "If there is a vote of censure we must join in it and take the consequences of a majority, for we have no other mandate from our constituents but to bring back Gladstone, and if we abstained from voting we should lose our seats."