July 6

July Sixth

A golden pallor of voluptuous light
Filled the warm Southern night;
The moon, clear orbed, above the sylvan scene
Moved like a stately queen,
So rife with conscious beauty all the while,
What could she do but smile
At her perfect loveliness below,
Glassed in the tranquil flow
Of crystal fountains
And unruffled streams?
Paul Hamilton Hayne

 

Paul Hamilton Hayne dies, 1886

John Marshall dies, 1835

 

 

Our Division was ordered to move to City Point at daylight to take transports for Baltimore, Md., and thence by rail to Harper's Ferry, Md., or vicinity. I said we'd move shortly when ordered to fix camp on the second of July. We arrived at City Point about 3 o'clock p. m. after a hot dusty march and much suffering, and sailed about 4 o'clock p. m. It's quick work to load a boat in an hour, but Grant was there. The contrast from marching through sand ankle deep as dry as an ash heap with the air so thick with dust one a few steps away is invisible, and being on the cool river is a great transformation we much appreciate—Hallelujah!

July 6, 1863

Monday. Another hitch in the pay rolls, though made out as they always have been since I had anything to do with them. The figures are right, but the form is not. This time they are according to the new form and I suppose will stay put. The Rebs are getting real saucy again. They have taken to shooting at the men who carry rations to the men in the rifle pits. Last night a darkey was carrying a kettle of coffee to Company E and a ball struck the rim of the kettle, knocking one side against the other, and also knocking down the darkey and spilling the coffee all over him. Narrow escapes are an everyday occurrence. To-day a man took off his hat to scratch his head. That brought the hat up in sight and a rebel bullet went through his fingers, crippling his hand. Four men died from sunstroke to-day. The weather is very warm though we have no way to tell just how warm.

July 6

July 6, 1880.--Magnificent weather. The college prize-day. [Footnote: The prize-giving at the College of Geneva is made the occasion of a national festival.] Toward evening I went with our three ladies to the plain of Plainpalais. There was an immense crowd, and I was struck with the bright look of the faces. The festival wound up with the traditional fireworks, under a calm and starry sky. Here we have the republic indeed, I thought as I came in. For a whole week this people has been out-of-doors, camping, like the Athenians on the Agora. Since Wednesday lectures and public meetings have followed one another without intermission; at home there are pamphlets and the newspapers to be read; while speech-making goes on at the clubs. On Sunday, plebiscite ; Monday, public procession, service at St. Pierre, speeches on the Molard, festival for the adults. Tuesday, the college fête-day. Wednesday, the fête-day of the primary schools.

Geneva is a caldron always at boiling-point, a furnace of which the fires are never extinguished. Vulcan had more than one forge, and Geneva is certainly one of those world-anvils on which the greatest number of projects have been hammered out. When one thinks that the martyrs of all causes have been at work here, the mystery is explained a little; but the truest explanation is that Geneva--republican, protestant, democratic, learned, and enterprising Geneva--has for centuries depended on herself alone for the solution of her own difficulties. Since the Reformation she has been always on the alert, marching with a lantern in her left hand and a sword in her right. It pleases me to see that she has not yet become a mere copy of anything, and that she is still capable of deciding for herself. Those who say to her, "Do as they do at New York, at Paris, at Rome, at Berlin," are still in the minority. The doctrinaires who would split her up and destroy her unity waste their breath upon her. She divines the snare laid for her and turns away. I like this proof of vitality. Only that which is original has a sufficient reason for existence. A country in which the word of command comes from elsewhere is nothing more than a province. This is what our Jacobins and our Ultramontanes never will recognize. Neither of them understand the meaning of self-government, and neither of them have any idea of the dignity of a historical state and an independent people.

Our small nationalities are ruined by the hollow cosmopolitan formulae which have an equally disastrous effect upon art and letters. The modern isms are so many acids which dissolve everything living and concrete. No one achieves a masterpiece, nor even a decent piece of work, by the help of realism, liberalism, or romanticism. Separatism has even less virtue than any of the other isms, for it is the abstraction of a negation, the shadow of a shadow. The various isms of the present are not fruitful principles: they are hardly even explanatory formulae. They are rather names of disease, for they express some element in excess, some dangerous and abusive exaggeration. Examples: empiricism, idealism, radicalism. What is best among things and most perfect among beings slips through these categories. The man who is perfectly well is neither sanguineous--[to use the old medical term]--nor bilious nor nervous. A normal republic contains opposing parties and points of view, but it contains them, as it were, in a state of chemical combination. All the colors are contained in a ray of light, while red alone does not contain a sixth part of the perfect ray.

9. John Adams

Falmouth, 6 July, 1774.

Our Justice Hutchinson is eternally giving his political hints. In a cause this morning, somebody named Captain Mackay as a referee. I said, "An honest man?" "Yes," says Hutchinson, "he's an honest man, only misled "—"he, he, he!"—blinking and grinning. At dinner to-day somebody mentioned determinations in the Lord's House (the Court sits in the meeting-house). "I've known many very bad determinations in the Lord's house of late," says he, meaning a fling upon the clergy. He is perpetually flinging about the Fasts, and ironically talking about getting home to the Fast. A gentleman told me that he had heard him say frequently that the Fast was perfect blasphemy. "Why don't you pay for the tea? Refuse to pay for the tea! and go to fasting and praying for direction! Perfect blasphemy!"[25]

This is the moderation, candor, impartiality, prudence, patience, forbearance, and condescension of our Judge.

Samuel Quincy said yesterday, as Josiah told me, he was for staying at home and not going to meeting as they, i. e., the meetings, are so managed.

Such is the bitterness and rancor, the malice and revenge, the pride and vanity, which prevail in these men. And such minds are possessed of all the power of the province.

Samuel makes no fortune this court. There is very little business here, it is true, but S. gets but very little of that little—less than anybody.

Wyer [26] retains his old good nature and good humor, his wit, such as it is, and his fancy, with its mildness. Bradbury retains his anxiety, and his plaintive, angry manner; David Sewall his softness and conceited modesty.

Bradbury and Sewall always roast Dr. Gardiner at these courts, but they have done it more now than usual, as Gardiner had not me to protect him. See how I think of myself!

I believe it is time to think a little about my family and farm. The fine weather we have had for eight or ten days past I hope has been carefully improved to get in my hay. It is a great mortification to me that I could not attend every step of their progress in mowing, making, and carting. I long to see what burden. But I long more still to see to the procuring more sea-weed, and muscle mud, and sand, etc.

However, my prospect is interrupted again. I shall have no time. I must prepare for a journey to Philadelphia, a long journey indeed! But if the length of the journey were all, it would be no burden. But the consideration of what is to be done is of great weight. Great things are wanted to be done, and little things only I fear can be done. I dread the thought of the Congress' falling short of the expectations of the continent, but especially of the people of this province.

Vapors avaunt! I will do my duty, and leave the event. If I have the approbation of my own mind, whether applauded or censured, blessed or cursed, by the world, I will not be unhappy.

Certainly I shall enjoy good company, good conversation, and shall have a fine ride and see a little more of the world than I have seen before.

The letters I have written, or may write, my dear, must be kept secret, or at least shown with great caution.

I believe I forgot to tell you one anecdote. When I first came to this house it was late in the afternoon, and I had ridden thirty-five miles at least. "Madam," said I to Mrs. Huston, "is it lawful for a weary traveller to refresh himself with a dish of tea, provided it has been honestly smuggled, or paid no duties?" "No, sir," said she, "we have renounced all tea in this place, but I'll make you coffee." Accordingly I have drank coffee every afternoon since, and have borne it very well. Tea must be universally renounced, and I must be weaned, and the sooner the better.

Footnotes:

[25]Foster Hutchinson, one of the Associate Justices of the Superior Court, and brother of the Governor. He was proscribed and his property confiscated. He removed to Nova Scotia in 1776, where he died in 1799.

[26]David Wyer, a graduate of Harvard College in 1758, entered on the practice of his profession at Falmouth, but died before he was forty, in October, 1775.

8. John Adams

Falmouth,[23] 6 July, 1774.

Mobs are the trite topic of declamation and invective among all the ministerial people far and near. They are grown universally learned in the nature, tendency, and consequences of them, and very elegant and pathetic in descanting upon them. They are sources of all kinds of evils, vices, and crimes, they say. They give rise to profaneness, intemperance, thefts, robberies, murders, and treason. Cursing, swearing, drunkenness, gluttony, lewdness, trespasses, maims, are necessarily involved in them and occasioned by them. Besides, they render the populace, the rabble, the scum of the earth, insolent and disorderly, impudent and abusive. They give rise to lying, hypocrisy, chicanery, and even perjury among the people, who are driven to such artifice and crimes to conceal themselves and their companions from prosecutions in consequence of them.

This is the picture drawn by the Tory pencil; and it must be granted to be a likeness. But this is declamation. What consequence is to be drawn from this description? Shall we submit to Parliamentary taxation to avoid mobs? Will not Parliamentary taxation, if established, occasion vices, crimes, and follies infinitely more numerous, dangerous, and fatal to the community? Will not Parliamentary taxation, if established, raise a revenue unjustly and wrongfully? If this revenue is scattered by the hand of corruption among the public officers and magistrates and rulers in the community, will it not propagate vices more numerous, more malignant and pestilential among them? Will it not render magistrates servile and fawning to their vicious superiors, and insolent and tyrannical to their inferiors? Are insolence, abuse, and impudence more tolerable in a magistrate than in a subject? Are they not more constantly and extensively pernicious? And does not the example of vice and folly in magistrates descend and spread downwards among the people?

Besides, is not the insolence of officers and soldiers and seamen, in the army and navy, as mischievous as that of porters, or of sailors in the merchant service? Are not riots raised and made by armed men as bad as those by unarmed? Is not an assault upon a civil officer, and a rescue of a prisoner from lawful authority, made by soldiers with swords or bayonets, as bad as if made by tradesmen with staves?

Are not the killing of a child by R.,[24] and the slaughter of half a dozen citizens by a party of soldiers, as bad as pulling down a house or drowning a cargo of tea, even if both should be allowed to be unlawful? Parties may go on declaiming, but it is not easy to say which party has excited most riots, which has published most libels, which has propagated most slander and defamation? Verbal scandal has been propagated in great abundance by both parties; but there is this difference, that one party have enjoyed almost all public offices, and therefore their defamation has been spread among the people more secretly, more maliciously, and more effectually. It has gone with greater authority, and been scattered by instruments more industrious. The ministerial newspapers have swarmed with as numerous and as malicious libels as the antiministerial ones. Fleet's paper, "Mein's Chronicle," etc., etc., have been as virulent as any that was ever in the province. These bickerings of opposite parties, and their mutual reproaches, their declamations, their sing-song, their triumphs and defiances, their dismals and prophecies, are all delusion.

We very seldom hear any solid reasoning. I wish always to discuss the question without all painting, pathos, rhetoric, or flourish of every kind. And the question seems to me to be, whether the American colonies are to be considered as a distinct community so far as to have a right to judge for themselves when the fundamentals of their government are destroyed or invaded, or whether they are to be considered as a part of the whole British empire, the whole English nation, so far as to be bound in honor, conscience, or interest by the general sense of the whole nation. However, if this was the rule, I believe it is very far from the general sense of the whole nation, that America should be taxed by the British parliament. If the sense of the whole of the empire could be fairly and truly collected, it would appear, I believe, that a great majority would be against taxing us against or without our consent. It is very certain that the sense of parliament is not the sense of the empire, nor a sure indication of it.

But, if all other parts of the empire were agreed unanimously in the propriety and rectitude of taxing us, this would not bind us. It is a fundamental, inherent, and unalienable right of the people, that they have some check, influence, or control in their supreme legislature. If the right of taxation is conceded to Parliament, the Americans have no check or influence at all left.

This reasoning never was nor can be answered.

Footnotes:

[23]The ancient name of Portland, in Maine, at this period a part of the province of Massachusetts Bay.

[24]Ebenezer Richardson. The affair happened on the 22d February, 1770, a few days before the other and more serious disturbance here alluded to, commonly known as the Boston massacre. A man of the government side, by the name of Lillie, who kept a shop in Hanover Street, finding the non-importation agreement not universally observed, ventured to offer his stock of goods for sale. As a consequence, his shop was at once marked out in the street as infringing the agreement, and a board set up on which a hand was drawn for the purpose of arresting attention and deterring all persons from purchasing. Richardson, well known as an informer attached to the custom house, who lived close by, came out and attempted to get rid of the board. A struggle took place. The mob drove him back to his house, and attacked it with stones. He then fired a musket twice, killing a German boy eleven years old, by the name of Christopher Snyder, and wounding another very severely.