July 30

Oh, it's been so  warm! I do wish we could have some rain, it would be so refreshing! We remained in camp until 3 o'clock p. m., when it was reported the enemy was passing through South Mountain, and of course we had to "get." Our brigade is train guard; got a large mail to-night. My commission came as First Lieutenant of Company E, Tenth Vermont, but I cannot get mustered, as Captain Smith, our mustering officer, is in Washington.

July 30, 1863

Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday I spent writing letters, that is, all the time I could get. The heat is something awful. It is almost as bad in the shade as right out in the sun. The only comfortable place is in the river. Several have given out and if it continues many more will do so. We have signed the pay rolls for March and April, and hope to get the money to-day or to-morrow. If we do I am going to eat something off the top of a table, if it takes the whole two months' pay. The story is we are to go back to Baton Rouge, but what for, or when, has not yet been told.

July Thirtieth

Let me also recall the fact that on July 30, 1619, eighteen months before the Pilgrims set foot on American soil, the vine of liberty had so deeply taken root in the colony of Virginia that there was assembled in the church at Jamestown a free representative body (the first on American soil)—the House of Burgesses—to deliberate for the welfare of the people.

Randolph H. McKim


First Legislative Assembly in America meets at Jamestown, 1619

Battle of the Crater, near Petersburg, 1864



July 30

July 30, 1877.-- ... makes a very true remark about Renan, a propos of the volume of "Les Evangiles." He brings out the contradiction between the literary taste of the artist, which is delicate, individual, and true, and the opinions of the critic, which are borrowed, old-fashioned and wavering. This hesitancy of choice between the beautiful and the true, between poetry and prose, between art and learning, is, in fact, characteristic. Renan has a keen love for science, but he has a still keener love for good writing, and, if necessary, he will sacrifice the exact phrase to the beautiful phrase. Science is his material rather than his object; his object is style. A fine passage is ten times more precious in his eyes than the discovery of a fact or the rectification of a date. And on this point I am very much with him, for a beautiful piece of writing is beautiful by virtue of a kind of truth which is truer than any mere record of authentic facts. Rousseau also thought the same. A chronicler may be able to correct Tacitus, but Tacitus survives all the chroniclers. I know well that the aesthetic temptation is the French temptation; I have often bewailed it, and yet, if I desired anything, it would be to be a writer, a great writer. Te leave a monument behind, aere perennius, an imperishable work which might stir the thoughts, the feelings, the dreams of men, generation after generation--this is the only glory which I could wish for, if I were not weaned even from this wish also. A book would be my ambition, if ambition were not vanity and vanity of vanities.

56. John Adams

Philadelphia, 30 July, 1775.

This letter is intended to go by my friend Mr. William Barrell, whom I believe you have seen in Boston. If he calls at our house you will please to receive him complaisantly and thank him for your present of pins. I have been treated by him with great civility both at this and the former Congress.

This day I have heard my parish priest, Mr. Duffield, from 2 Chronicles xv. 1, 2. This gentleman never fails to adapt his discourse to the times. He pressed upon his audience the necessity of piety and virtue, in the present times of adversity, and held up to their view the army before Boston as an example. He understood, he said, that the voice of the swearer was scarcely heard; that the Sabbath was well observed, and all immoralities discountenanced. No doubt there were vicious individuals, but the general character was good. I hope this good man's information is true, and that this will become more and more the true character of that camp. You may well suppose that this language was exceedingly pleasing to me.

We have nothing new but the arrival of some powder. Three little vessels have certainly arrived, making about ten tons in the whole, and four or five tons have arrived from South Carolina. A supply I think now we shall certainly obtain. Congress have taken measures for this end which I hope to have the pleasure of explaining to you in person within a few days, as Congress has determined to adjourn to some time in September. I could not vote for this myself, because I thought it might be necessary to keep together, but I could not blame those who did; for really we have been all so assiduous in business in this exhausting, debilitating climate, that our lives are more exposed than they would be in camp.

Love to the children.

July 30,1914.

This will be only a short letter—more to keep my promise to you than because I feel in the mood to write. Events have broken that. It looks, after all, as if the Servian affair was to become a European affair, and that, what looked as if it might happen during the Balkan War is really coming to pass—a general European uprising.

It is an odd thing. It seems it is an easy thing to change one's environment, but not so easy to change one's character. I am just as excited over the ugly business as I should have been had I remained near the boulevards, where I could have got a newspaper half a dozen times a day. I only get one a day, and this morning I got that one with difficulty. My "Figaro," which comes out by mail, has not come at all.

Well, it seems that the so-called "alarmists" were right. Germany has NOT been turning her nation into an army just to divert her population, nor spending her last mark on ships just to amuse herself, and keep Prince Henry busy.

I am sitting here this morning, as I suppose all France is doing, simply holding my breath to see what England is going to do. I imagine there is small doubt about it. I don't see how she can do anything but fight. It is hard to realize that a big war is inevitable, but it looks like it. It was staved off, in spite of Germany's perfidy, during the Balkan troubles. If it has to come now, just imagine what it is going to mean! It will be the bloodiest affair the world has ever seen—a war in the air, a war under the sea as well as on it, and carried out with the most effective man-slaughtering machines ever used in battle.

I need not tell you—you know, we have so often talked about it—how I feel about war. Yet many times since I came to France to live, I have felt as if I could bear another one, if only it gave Alsace and Lorraine back to us—us meaning me and France. France really deserves her revenge for the humiliation of 1870 and that beastly Treaty of Frankfort. I don't deny that 1870 was the making of modern France, or that, since the Treaty of Frankfort, as a nation she has learned a lesson of patience that she sorely needed. But now that Germany is preparing—is really prepared to attack her again—well, the very hair on my head rises up at the idea. There have been times in the last ten years when I have firmly believed that she could not be conquered again. But Germany! Well, I don't know. If she is, it will not be for lack of nerve or character. Still, it is no secret that she is not ready, or that the anti-military party is strong,—and with that awful Caillaux affair; I swore to myself that nothing should tempt me to speak of it. It has been so disgraceful. Still, it is so in the air just now that it has to be recognized as pitifully significant and very menacing to political unity.

The tension here is terrible. Still, the faces of the men are stern, and every one is so calm—the silence is deadly. There is an absolute suspension of work in the fields. It is as if all France was holding its breath.

One word before I forget it again. You say that you have asked me twice if I have any friend near me. I am sure I have already answered that—yes! I have a family of friends at Voulangis, about two miles the other side of Crecy-en-Brie. Of course neighbors do not see one another in the country as often as in the city, but there they are; so I hasten to relieve your mind just now, when there is a menace of war, and I am sitting tight on my hilltop on the road to the frontier.

192. Abigail Adams

30 July, 1777.

I dare say, before this time you have interpreted the Northern Storm. If the presages chilled your blood, how must you be frozen and stiffened at the disgrace brought upon our arms! unless some warmer passion seize you, and anger and resentment fire your breast. How are all our vast magazines of cannon, powder, arms, clothing, provision, medicine, etc., to be restored to us?[176] But, what is vastly more, how shall the disgrace be wiped away? How shall our lost honor be retrieved? The reports with regard to that fortress are very vague and uncertain. Some write from thence that there was not force sufficient to defend it. Others say it might have stood a long siege. Some there are who ought to know why and wherefore we have given away a place of such importance.

That the inquiry will be made, I make no doubt; and if cowardice, guilt, deceit, are found upon any one, howsoever high or exalted his station, may shame, reproach, infamy, hatred, and the execrations of the public be his portion.

I would not be so narrow-minded as to suppose that there are not many men of all nations, possessed of honor, virtue, and integrity; yet it is to be lamented that we have not men among ourselves sufficiently qualified for war to take upon them the most important command.

It was customary among the Carthaginians to have a military school, in which the flower of their nobility, and those whose talents and ambition prompted them to aspire to the first dignities, learned the art of war. From among these they selected all their general officers; for, though they employed mercenary soldiers, they were too jealous and suspicious to employ foreign generals. Will a foreigner, whose interest is not naturally connected with ours (any otherwise than as the cause of liberty is the cause of all mankind), will he act with the same zeal, or expose himself to equal dangers with the same resolution, for a republic of which he is not a member, as he would have done for his own native country? And can the people repose an equal confidence in them, even supposing them men of integrity and abilities, and that they meet with success equal to their abilities? How much envy and malice are employed against them! And how galling to pride, how mortifying to human nature, to see itself excelled.

31 July.

I have nothing new to entertain you with, unless it be an account of a new set of mobility, which has lately taken the lead in Boston. You must know that there is a great scarcity of sugar and coffee, articles which the female part of the State is very loath to give up, especially whilst they consider the scarcity occasioned by the merchants having secreted a large quantity. There had been much rout and noise in the town for several weeks. Some stores had been opened by a number of people, and the coffee and sugar carried into the market and dealt out by pounds. It was rumored that an eminent, wealthy, stingy merchant [177] (who is a bachelor) had a hogshead of coffee in his store, which he refused to sell to the committee under six shillings per pound. A number of females, some say a hundred, some say more, assembled with a cart and trucks, marched down to the warehouse, and demanded the keys, which he refused to deliver. Upon which one of them seized him by his neck, and tossed him into the cart. Upon his finding no quarter, he delivered the keys, when they tipped up the cart and discharged him; then opened the warehouse, hoisted out the coffee themselves, put it into the trucks, and drove off.

It was reported that he had personal chastisement among them; but this, I believe, was not true. A large concourse of men stood amazed, silent spectators of the whole transaction.

Adieu. Your good mother is just come; she desires to be remembered to you; so do my father and sister, who have just left me, and so does she whose greatest happiness consists in being tenderly beloved by her absent friend, and who subscribes herself ever his



[176]The loss of Ticonderoga.

[177]Thomas Boylston.