January 27

Wednesday, January 27th.—They have found a way of warming our quarters when we have not an engine on. I don't know what we should have done without it to-day; it is icy cold. Mails to-morrow, hurrah! Going to turn in early.

It has been a delightful day; expect to be relieved this afternoon. Two deserters came into our lines this morning; they report Lee's army in a miserable condition—no rations or clothing, and the citizens nearly starving. They say that "Secession is playing out." The Thirty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry relieved us about noon; arrived in camp about 5 p. m. The roads are in splendid condition, as good as I ever saw them in Virginia at this time of year. If the weather was fine all the time picket guard would be more desirable than so much camp duty.

January 27, 1863

Two doctors came to take the place of Dr. Andrus and they have had plenty to do. For several days the weather has been hot, which opens the pores in our tents so the first rain sifts right through. Last night it rained and we had another night of twisting and turning and trying to sleep and with very poor success. I cough so when I lie down that I keep up and going all I can, for then I seem to feel the best. Dr. Andrus still looks after us. He is getting better and we are glad, for he is the mainstay in the family. Brownell died this forenoon and I shall never forget the scene. He was conscious and able to talk and the last he said was for us to stick and hang. "But boys," said he, "if I had the power, I would start north with all who wanted to go and as soon as we passed over four feet of ground I would sink it."

January Twenty-Seventh

If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of this Union, that it will free the States from their moral obligations, and as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must.

Josiah Quincy
(Representative from Massachusetts in Congress, opposing statehood for Louisiana Territory, 1811 )


Richard Taylor born, 1826



January 27

January 27, 1875. (Hyères ).--The whole atmosphere has a luminous serenity, a limpid clearness. The islands are like swans swimming in a golden stream. Peace, splendor, boundless space!... And I meanwhile look quietly on while the soft hours glide away. I long to catch the wild bird, happiness, and tame it. Above all, I long to share it with others. These delicious mornings impress me indescribably. They intoxicate me, they carry me away. I feel beguiled out of myself, dissolved in sunbeams, breezes, perfumes, and sudden impulses of joy. And yet all the time I pine for I know not what intangible Eden.

Lamartine in the "Préludes" has admirably described this oppressive effect of happiness on fragile human nature. I suspect that the reason for it is that the finite creature feels itself invaded by the infinite, and the invasion produces dizziness, a kind of vertigo, a longing to fling one's self into the great gulf of being. To feel life too intensely is to yearn for death; and for man, to die means to become like unto the gods--to be initiated into the great mystery. Pathetic and beautiful illusion.

Ten o'clock in the evening.--From one end to the other the day has been perfect, and my walk this afternoon to Beau Vallon was one long delight. It was like an expedition into Arcadia. Here was a wild and woodland corner, which would have made a fit setting for a dance of nymphs, and there an ilex overshadowing a rock, which reminded me of an ode of Horace or a drawing of Tibur. I felt a kind of certainty that the landscape had much that was Greek in it. And what made the sense of resemblance the more striking was the sea, which one feels to be always near, though one may not see it, and which any turn of the valley may bring into view. We found out a little tower with an overgrown garden, of which the owner might have been taken for a husbandman of the Odyssey. He could scarcely speak any French, but was not without a certain grave dignity. I translated to him the inscription on his sun-dial, "Hora est benefaciendi," which is beautiful, and pleased him greatly. It would be an inspiring place to write a novel in. Only I do not know whether the little den would have a decent room, and one would certainly have to live upon eggs, milk, and figs, like Philemon.

January 27

January 27, 1869.--What, then, is the service rendered to the world by Christianity? The proclamation of "good news." And what is this "good news?" The pardon of sin. The God of holiness loving the world and reconciling it to himself by Jesus, in order to establish the kingdom of God, the city of souls, the life of heaven upon earth--here you have the whole of it; but in this is a revolution. "Love ye one another, as I have loved you;" "Be ye one with me, as I am one with the Father:" for this is life eternal, here is perfection, salvation, joy. Faith in the fatherly love of God, who punishes and pardons for our good, and who desires not the death of the sinner, but his conversion and his life--here is the motive power of the redeemed.

What we call Christianity is a vast ocean, into which flow a number of spiritual currents of distant and various origin; certain religions, that is to say, of Asia and of Europe, the great ideas of Greek wisdom, and especially those of Platonism. Neither its doctrine nor its morality, as they have been historically developed, are new or spontaneous. What is essential and original in it is the practical demonstration that the human and the divine nature may co-exist, may become fused into one sublime flame; that holiness and pity, justice and mercy, may meet together and become one, in man and in God. What is specific in Christianity is Jesus--the religious consciousness of Jesus. The sacred sense of his absolute union with God through perfect love and self-surrender, this profound, invincible, and tranquil faith of his, has become a religion; the faith of Jesus has become the faith of millions and millions of men. From this torch has sprung a vast conflagration. And such has been the brilliancy and the radiance both of revealer and revelation, that the astonished world has forgotten its justice in its admiration, and has referred to one single benefactor the whole of those benefits which are its heritage from the past.

The conversion of ecclesiastical and confessional Christianity into historical Christianity is the work of biblical science. The conversion of historical Christianity into philosophical Christianity is an attempt which is to some extent an illusion, since faith cannot be entirely resolved into science. The transference, however, of Christianity from the region of history to the region of psychology is the great craving of our time. What we are trying to arrive at is the eternal gospel. But before we can reach it, the comparative history and philosophy of religions must assign to Christianity its true place, and must judge it. The religion, too, which Jesus professed must be disentangled from the religion which has taken Jesus for its object. And when at last we are able to point out the state of consciousness which is the primitive cell, the principle of the eternal gospel, we shall have reached our goal, for in it is the punctum saliens of pure religion.

Perhaps the extraordinary will take the place of the supernatural, and the great geniuses of the world will come to be regarded as the messengers of God in history, as the providential revealers through whom the spirit of God works upon the human mass. What is perishing is not the admirable and the adorable; it is simply the arbitrary, the accidental, the miraculous. Just as the poor illuminations of a village fête, or the tapers of a procession, are put out by the great marvel of the sun, so the small local miracles, with their meanness and doubtfulness, will sink into insignificance beside the law of the world of spirits, the incomparable spectacle of human history, led by that all-powerful Dramaturgus whom we call God. Utinam!