June 8

June 8, 1864

Wednesday. Borrowed $200 and sent home to pay on the place. Went down to visit the 128th and came near a sunstroke on the way. The weather is something awful in the middle of the day. I was completely used up when I got home.

Still we remain in the same position. Both armies seem to be preparing for defense operations. I have no doubt but what Grant intends to hold this line, but I think it far from his intentions to attack the rebs here again. Probably he will soon move round Lee's left flank and then perhaps build another chain of forts; really hope he will manage in some way to get round so much assaulting; enemy threw a few shells just at dark which all went over us; no change to-night.

June Eighth

Aurora faints in the fulgent fire
Of the Monarch of Morning's bright embrace
And the summer day climbs higher and higher
Up the cerulean space;
The pearl-tints fade from the radiant grain,
And the sportive breeze of the ocean dies,
And soon in the noontide's soundless rain
The fields seem graced by a million eyes;
Each grain with a glance from its lidded fold
As bright as a gnome's in his mine of gold,
While the slumb'rous glamour of beam and heat
Glides over and under the windless wheat.
Paul Hamilton Hayne


Stonewall Jackson turns upon Fremont at Cross Keys, 1862



June 8, 1863

Monday. No more signs of a battle than there have been for a week back. I may as well finish up my snake story, for there is nothing else in the air. The wind-up was the most exciting part of it. I dreamed about it as soon as I was asleep. Many of us have bush houses to sleep in. Bill Snyder and I were partners in one. We had set up poles against our big tree, and covered them with weeds and bushes, leaving a hole on one side to crawl in. I crawled in first and was soon asleep. Just as Bill was crawling in, the snake, which I had seen coming for me for hours, it seemed to me, made a jump and landed on me. I jumped, and at the same time gave a yell that aroused the whole regiment, and the boys say was heard on the picket lines. I went clear over Snyder, who grabbed, and got hold of me just as I was diving into the bushes outside. The first I knew I was being shaken so my teeth rattled. It was some time before we got settled down again. The snake let me alone after that. The boys say the snake did come, and it was to pay me for lying so about him. The Rebs made a move last night farther to the left, and came outside their works in quite a body. After a short but rather sharp skirmish they went back and staid there. The mail has come and I had six letters and three papers. Good news from home, or at least no bad news. Am glad enough to hear from them and to know they are well. One letter was from John, and from its tone he is well and feeling fine. The 150th is still in Baltimore.

252. Abigail Adams

8 June, 1779.

Six months have already elapsed since I heard a syllable from you or my dear son, and five since I have had one single opportunity of conveying a line to you. Letters of various dates have lain months at the Navy Board, and a packet and frigate, both ready to sail at an hour's warning, have been months waiting the orders of Congress. They no doubt have their reasons, or ought to have, for detaining them. I must patiently wait their motions, however painful it is; and that it is so, your own feelings will testify. Yet I know not but you are less a sufferer than you would be to hear from us, to know our distresses, and yet be unable to relieve them. The universal cry for bread, to a humane heart, is painful beyond description, and the great price demanded and given for it verifies that pathetic passage of Sacred Writ, "All that a man hath will he give for his life." Yet He who miraculously fed a multitude with five loaves and two fishes has graciously interposed in our favor, and delivered many of the enemy's supplies into our hands, so that our distresses have been mitigated. I have been able as yet to supply my own family, sparingly, but at a price that would astonish you. Corn is sold at four dollars, hard money, per bushel, which is equal to eighty at the rate of exchange.

Labor is at eight dollars per day, and in three weeks it will be at twelve, it is probable, or it will be more stable than anything else. Goods of all kinds are at such a price that I hardly dare mention it. Linens are sold at twenty dollars per yard; the most ordinary sort of calicoes at thirty and forty; broadcloths at forty pounds per yard; West India goods full as high; molasses at twenty dollars per gallon; sugar four dollars per pound; bohea tea at forty dollars; and our own produce in proportion; butcher's meat at six and eight shillings per pound; board at fifty and sixty dollars per week; rates high. That, I suppose, you will rejoice at; so would I, did it remedy the evil. I pay five hundred dollars, and a new Continental rate has just appeared, my proportion of which will be two hundred more. I have come to this determination, to sell no more bills, unless I can procure hard money for them, although I shall be obliged to allow a discount. If I sell for paper, I throw away more than half, so rapid is the depreciation; nor do I know that it will be received long. I sold a bill to Blodget at five for one, which was looked upon as high at that time. The week after I received it, two emissions were taken out of circulation, and the greater part of what I had proved to be of that sort; so that those to whom I was indebted are obliged to wait, and before it becomes due, or is exchanged, it will be good for—as much as it will fetch, which will be nothing, if it goes on as it has done for this three months past. I will not tire your patience any longer. I have not drawn any further upon you. I mean to wait the return of the Alliance, which with longing eyes I look for. God grant it may bring me comfortable tidings from my dear, dear friend, whose welfare is so essential to my happiness that it is entwined around my heart and cannot be impaired or separated from it without rending it asunder.

In contemplation of my situation, I am sometimes thrown into an agony of distress. Distance, dangers, and oh, I cannot name all the fears which sometimes oppress me, and harrow up my soul. Yet must the common lot of man one day take place, whether we dwell in our own native land or are far distant from it. That we rest under the shadow of the Almighty is the consolation to which I resort, and find that comfort which the world cannot give. If He sees best to give me back my friend, or to preserve my life to him, it will be so.

Our worthy friend, Dr. Winthrop [206] is numbered with the great congregation, to the inexpressible loss of Harvard College.

"Let no weak drop Be shed for him. The virgin, in her bloom Cut off, the joyous youth, and darling child,These are the tombs that claim the tender tear And elegiac song. But Winthrop calls For other notes of gratulation high,That now he wanders through those endless worlds He here so well descried, and wondering talks,And hymns their Author with his glad compeers."

The testimony he gave with his dying breath, in favor of revealed religion, does honor to his memory and will endear it to every lover of virtue. I know not who will be found worthy to succeed him.

Congress have not yet made any appointment of you to any other Court. There appears a dilatoriness, an indecision, in their proceedings. I have in Mr. Lovell an attentive friend, who kindly informs me of everything which passes relative to you and your situation, and gives me extracts of your letters both to himself and others. I know you will be unhappy whenever it is not in your power to serve your country, and wish yourself at home, where at least you might serve your family. I cannot say that I think our affairs go very well here. Our currency seems to be the source of all our evils. We cannot fill up our Continental army by means of it. No bounty will prevail with them. What can be done with it? It will sink in less than a year. The advantage the enemy daily gains over us is owing to this. Most truly did you prophesy, when you said that they would do all the mischief in their power with the forces they had here.

Many letters are lying in Boston for you, which have been written months. My good uncle Smith yesterday let me know that a letter of marque, bound for Nantes, would sail in a day or two. I eagerly seized the opportunity, and beg you to give my blessing to my son, to whom I have not time now to write. I dare not trust myself with the idea, nor can express how ardently I long to see both parent and son. Our whole family has enjoyed great health in your absence; daughter and sons, who delight in talking of papa and brother, present their duty and love. I shall not write for anything until the Alliance  returns, and I find what success she has had.

My tenderest regards ever attend you. In all places and situations, know me to be ever, ever yours.


[206]Professor John Winthrop, died on the 3d of May preceding.

The Orphan's Good Resolutions

[June 8, 1880.]

Persons I Will Try to Avoid


He has a villa in the country; but his place of business is in town; somewhere near Sackville Street. Vulgarity had marked him for her own at an early age. She had set her mark indelibly on his speech, his manners, and his habits. When ten years old he had learned to aspirate his initial vowels; when twelve he had mastered the whole theory and practice of eating cheese with his knife; at seventeen his mind was saturated with ribald music of the Vaudeville type.

Reader, you anticipate me? You suppose I refer to one of Mr.
Gladstone's new Ministers, or to one of Lord Beaconsfield's new

You are, of course, mistaken. My man is a tailor; one of the best tailors in the world. He has made hundreds of coats for me; and he has sent me hundreds of circulars and bills.

Now, however, he has lost my address, and there seems a coolness between us. We stand aloof; the scars remaining.

His name is Sartor, and I owe him a good deal of money.


He is always up to the Hills when the weather is unpleasant on the plains. Butterfly-collecting, singing to a guitar passionate songs of love and hate, and lying the live-long day on a long chair with a long tumbler in his hand, and a volume of Longfellow on the floor, are his characteristic pursuits. It is needless to say that he is the Accountant-General, and the last man in the world to suppose that I have given myself ten days' privilege leave to the Hills on urgent private affairs,—affairs de coeur, and affairs de rien, of sorts.


His head is shaved to the bone; his face, of the Semitic type, is most sinister, truculent, and ferocious; his filthy Afghan rags bristle with knives and tulwars. He carries five or six matchlocks under one arm, and a hymn book, or Koran, under the other. He is in holy orders—a Ghazi! A pint, or a pint and a half, of my blood, would earn for him Paradise, with sharab, houris, and all the rest of it.


He was once an exceedingly pleasant fellow, full of talk and anecdote. We were at school together. He was captain of our eleven and at the head of the sixth form. I looked up to him; quoted him; imitated him; lent him my pocket money. Afterwards a great many other people lent him their money too, and played écarté with him; yet at no period of his life was he rich, and now he is decidedly poor. Still the old love of borrowing money and playing écarté burns hectically in his bosom, and with years a habit of turning up the king has grown upon him. No one likes to tell him that he has acquired this habit of turning up the king; he is so poor!


She was rather nice-looking once, and I amused myself with fancying that I loved her. She was to me the summer pilot of an empty heart unto the shores of nothing. It was then that I acquired that facility in versification which has since so often helped to bind a book, or line a box, or served to curl a maiden's locks. She, learned reams of those verses by heart, and still repeats them. Her good looks and my illusions have passed away: but those verses—those thrice accursed verses, remain. How they make my ears tingle! How they burn my cheeks! Will time, think you, never impair her infernal memory?


I lisp a little, it is true; but, thank goodness, no longer in numbers. I only lisp a little when any occasion arises to utter sibilant sounds; on such occasions this little girl, the only child of her mother, and she a widow, mimics my infirmity. The widow is silly and laughs nervously, as people with a fine sense of humour laugh in church when a book falls. This laugh of the widow is not easy to bear; for she is pretty. Were she not pretty her mocking child would come, I ween, to some untimely end.


My Lord is, more or less, admired by two or three young ladies I know; and when he puts his arm round my neck and drags me up and down a crowded ball-room I cannot help wishing that they were in the pillory instead of me. I really wish to be polite to H.E., but how can I say that I think he was justified in finessing his deficit and playing surpluses?

How can I agree with him when he says that Abdur Rahman will come galloping in to Cabul to tender his submission as soon as he receives Mr. Lepel Griffin's photograph neatly wrapped up in a Post Office Order for two lakhs of rupees? And then that Star of India he is always pressing on me! As I say to him,—what should I do with it?

I can't go hanging things round my neck like King Coffee Calcalli, or the Emperor of Blue China.

But soon it will not be difficult for me to avoid my Lord: for

      "Sic desideriis icta fidelibus
      Quærit patria Cæsarem."


He still smiles when we meet; and I don't think any the less of him because he was called "Bumble" at school and afterwards made Governor of Bombay. Men drift unconsciously into these things. But when I happen to be near him he has a nervous way of lunging with his stick that I can't quite get over. They say he once dreamt that I had poked fun at him in a newspaper; and the hallucination continues to produce an angry aberration of his mind, coupled with gnashing of the teeth and other dangerous symptoms.


He is a huge gob of flesh, which is perhaps animated dimly by some spark of humanity smouldering filthily in a heart cancerous with money-grubbing. His whole character and mode of life stink with poisonous exhalations in my moral nostrils. Nature denounces, in her loud commination service, his clammy hand, his restless eye, his sinister and bestial mouth. Why should he waken me from the dreams of literature and the low music of my own reflections to disgorge from the cesspool of his mind the impertinent questions and the loathsome compliments which form his notion of conversation? He has come to "pay his respects." I abhor "his respects." He is rich:—What is that to me? He is powerful with all the power of corruption: I scorn his power, I figuratively spit upon it. He is perhaps the man whom the Government delights to honour. More shame to the Government! A bully at home, and a tyrant among his own people, on all sides dastardly and mean, he is a bad representative of a gentle and intellectual race, that for its heroic traditions, its high thoughts, its noble language and its exquisite urbanity has been the wonder of the whole world since the dawn of history.


A cocked hat, a tailcoat with gold buttons and a rapier:—"See'st thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings? Hath not his gait in it the measure of the court? Receives not thy nose court-odour from him? Reflects he not on thy baseness court-contempt?" Observe how mysterious he is: consider the secrets burning on his tongue. He is all asides and whispers and winks and nods to other young popinjays of the same feather. He could tell you the very brand of the pills the Raja is taking: he receives the paltriest gossip of the Nawab's court filtered through a lying vakeel. Ten to one he carries in his pocket a cipher telegram from Simla empowering him to confer the title of Jee [CC] on some neighbouring Thakor. Surely it is no wonder that he believes himself to be the hub of creation. Within a radius of twenty miles there is no one even fit to come between the wind and his nobility. If he should ever catch hold of you by the arm and take you aside for a moment from the madding crowd of a lawn-tennis party to whisper in your ear the arrival of a complimentary Kharita  and a pound of sweetmeats from the Foreign Office for the Jam of Bredanbatta you should let off smiles and blushes in token of the honour and glory thus placed at your credit.

[CC: Equivalent to Sir.]


All Assistant-Magistrates on their first arrival in this country, stuffed like Christmas turkeys with abstracts and notes, the pemmican of school-boy learnings, are more or less a weariness and a bore; but the youth who comes out from the admiring circle of sisters and aunts with the airs of a man of the world and the blight of a premature ennui  is peculiarly insufferable. Of course he has never known at home any grown-up people beyond the chrysalis stage of undergraduatism, except to receive from them patronising hospitalities and little attentions in the shape of guineas and stalls at the opera, such as good-natured seniors delight to show to promising young kinsmen and friends. Yet his talk is of the studio, the editor's room, and the club; it is flavoured with the argot  of the great world, the half world and Bohemia; he flings great names in your face, dropping with a sublime familiarity the vulgar prefixes of "Mr." and "Lord," and he overwhelms you with his knowledge of women and their wicked ways. Clever Ouida, with her tawdry splendours, her guardsmen, her peers, her painters and her Aspasias, and the "society papers," with their confidences and their personalities, have much to answer for in the case of this would-be man of the world.


Tuesday, 8.

Next to a friend's discourse, no morsel is more delicious than a ripe book, a book whose flavor is as refreshing at the thousandth tasting as at the first. Books when friends weary, conversation flags, or nature fails to inspire. The best books appeal to the deepest in us and answer the demand. A book loses if wanting the personal element, gains when this is insinuated, or comes to the front occasionally, blending history with mythology.

My favorite books have a personality and complexion as distinctly drawn as if the author's portrait were framed into the paragraphs and smiled upon me as I read his illustrated pages. Nor could I spare them from my table or shelves, though I should not open the leaves for a twelvemonth;—the sight of them, the knowledge that they are within reach, accessible at any moment, rewards me when I invite their company. Borrowed books are not mine while in hand. I covet ownership in the contents, and fancy that he who is conversant with these is the rightful owner, and moreover, that the true scholar owes to scholars a catalogue of his chosen volumes, that they may learn from whence his entertainment during leisure moments. Next to a personal introduction, a list of one's favorite authors were the best admittance to his character and manners. His library were not voluminous. He might specify his favorites on his fingers, and spare the printer's type.

"Books have many charming qualities to such as know how to choose them." And without Plutarch, no library were complete.

Can we marvel at his fame, or overestimate the surpassing merits of his writings? It seems as I read as if none before, none since, had written lives, as if he alone were entitled to the name of biographer,—such intimacy of insight is his, laying open the springs of character, and through his parallels portraying his times as no historian had done before: not Plato, even, in the livelier way of dialogue with his friends. Then his morals are a statement of the virtues for all times. And I read the list of his lost writings, not without a sense of personal wrong done to me, with emotions akin to what the merchant might feel in perusing the bill of freight after the loss of his vessel. Hercules, Hesiod, Pindar, Leonidas, Scipio, Augustus, Claudius, Epaminondas, minds of mark, all these and other precious pieces gone to the bottom: his books on the Academy of Plato, The Philosophers, and many more of this imperial freight, to be read by none now. Still, there remains so much to be grateful for; so many names surviving to perpetuate virtue and all that is splendid in fame, with his own. I for one am his debtor, not for noble examples alone, but for portraits of the possibilities of virtue, and all that is dearest in friendship, in his attractive pages. It is good exercise, good medicine, the reading of his books,—good for to-day, as in times it was preceding ours, salutary reading for all times.

Montaigne also comes in for a large share of the scholar's regard. Opened anywhere, his page is sensible, marrowy, quotable. He may be taken up, too, and laid aside carelessly without loss, so inconsequent is his method, and he so careless of his wealth. Professing nature and honesty of speech, his page has the suggestions of the landscape, is good for striking out in any direction, suited to any mood, sure of yielding variety of information, wit, entertainment,—not to be commanded, to be sure, without grave abatements, to be read with good things growing side by side with things not such and tasting of the apple. Still, with every abatement, his book is one of the ripest and mellowest, and, bulky as it is, we wish there were more of it. He seems almost the only author whose success warrants in every stroke of his pen his right to guide it: he of the men of letters, the prince of letters; since writing of life, he omits nothing of its substance, but tells all with a courage unprecedented. His frankness is charming. So his book has indescribable attractions, being as it were a Private Book,—his diary self-edited, and offered with an honesty that wins his readers, he never having done bestowing his opulent hospitalities on him, gossiping sagely, and casting his wisdom in sport to any who care for it. Everywhere his page is alive and rewarding, and we are disappointed at finding his book comes to an end like other books.

Lord Herbert's Autobiography is a like example of sincerity and naturalness. If he too often play the cavalier, and is of a temper that brooks not the suspicion of insult, he is equally eager to defend when friendship or humanity render it a duty. The brothers, Edward and George, were most estimable characters. To George how largely are we in debt for his sacred verses, the delight and edification of the saints wherever they are known. Add Vaughan and Crashaw. And making due allowance for the time when Herrick's verses were written, his temptation to suit the tastes of courtiers and kings, his volumes contain much admirable poetry, tempered with religious devotion. He wrote sweet and virtuous verse, with lines here and there that should not have been written. But he is an antidote to the vice in his lines, and may well have place in the scholar's library with Donne, Daniel, Cowley, Shakespeare, and contemporaries.

If one would learn the titles and gain insight into the contents of the best books in our literature, let him track Coleridge in his readings and notes as these have been collected and published in his Literary Remains and Table Talk. He explored the wide field of literature and philosophy, and brought to light richer spoils than any scholar of his time, or since. His reading was not only choice, but miscellaneous. Nothing of permanent value appears to have escaped his searching glance, and his criticisms on books are among the most valuable contributions to British letters. He knew how to read to get and give the substance of the book in sprightly comment and annotation on the text. His judgments are final and exhaustive. To follow him were an education in itself.

One's diary is attractive reading, and productive, if he have the art of keeping one.

Thoreau wrote in his:—

"I set down such choice experiences that my own writings may inspire me, and at last I may make wholes of parts. Certainly it is a distinct profession to rescue from oblivion and to fix the sentiments and thoughts which visit all men, more or less, generally, and that the contemplation of the unfinished picture may suggest its harmonious completion. Associate reverently and as much as you can with your loftiest thoughts. Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest-egg by the side of which another will be laid. Thoughts accidentally thrown together become a frame in which more may be developed and exhibited. Perhaps this is the main value of a habit of writing or keeping a journal,—that is, we remember our best draught, and stimulate ourselves. My thoughts are my company. They have a certain individuality and separate existence, large personality. Having by chance recorded a few disconnected thoughts and then brought them into juxtaposition, they suggest a whole new field in which it is possible to labor and think. Thought begets thought. I have a commonplace-book for facts, and another for poetry. But I find it difficult always to preserve the vague distinctions which I had in my mind, for the most interesting and beautiful facts are so much the more poetry,—and that is their success. They are translated from earth to heaven. I see that if my facts were sufficiently vital and significant, perhaps transmuted more into the substance of the human mind, I should need but one book of poetry to contain them all.

"I do not know but thoughts written down thus in a journal might be printed in the same form with greater advantage than if the related ones were brought together into separate essays. They are allied to life, and can be seen by the reader not to be far-fetched; thus, more simple, less artful. I feel that in the other case, I should have a proper form for my sketches. Here facts and names and dates communicate more than we suspect. Whether the flower looks better in the nosegay than in the meadow where it grew, and we had to wet our feet to get it? Is the scholastic air any advantage? Perhaps I can never find so good a setting for thoughts as I shall thus have taken them out of. The crystal never sparkles more brightly than in the cavern. The world have always liked best the fable with the moral. The children could read the fable alone. The grown-up read both. The truth so told has the best advantages of the most abstract statement, for it is not the less universally applicable. Where else will you ever find the true cement for your thoughts? How will you ever rivet them together without leaving the marks of your file?

"Yet Plutarch did not so. Montaigne did not so. Men have written travels in this form; but perhaps no man's daily life has been rich enough to be journalized. Yet one's life should be so active and progressive as to be a journey. But I am afraid to travel much, or to famous places, lest it might completely dissipate the mind. Then I am sure that what we observe at home, if we observe anything, is of more importance than what we observe abroad. The far-fetched is of least value. What we observe in travelling are to some extent the accidents of the body; but what we observe when sitting at home are in the same proportion phenomena of the mind itself. A wakeful night will yield as much thought as a long journey. If I try thoughts by their quality, not their quantity, I may find that a restless night will yield more than the longest journey."

These masterpieces, Thoreau's Diaries, are a choice mingling of physical and metaphysical elements. They show the art above art which was busied about their composition. They come near fulfilling the highest ends of expression; the things seen become parts of the describer's mind, and speak through his Person. Quick with thought, his sentences are colored and consolidated therein by his plastic genius.

Of gifts, there seems none more becoming to offer a friend than a beautiful book, books of verse especially. How exquisite these verses of Crashaw's, "Addressed to a Lady with a Prayer Book."

"Lo, here a little volume, but great book,

Fear it not, sweet,

It is no hypocrite,

Much larger in itself, than in its look.

"It is, in one rich handful, heaven and all

Heaven's royal hosts encamp'd, thus small,

To prove that true schools used to tell

A thousand angels in one point can dwell.

"'Tis Love's great artillery

Which here contracts itself and comes to lie

Close couched in your white bosom, and from thence

As from a snowy fortress of defence

Against the ghostly foe to take your part,

And fortify the hold of your chaste heart.

"It is the armory of light,

Let constant use but keep it bright,

You'll find it yields

To holy hands and humble hearts,

More swords and shields

Than sin hath snares, or hell hath darts.

Only be sure

The hands be pure

That hold these weapons, and the eyes

Those of turtles, chaste and true,

Wakeful and wise.

"Here is a friend shall fight for you;

Hold this book before your heart,

Let prayer alone to play his part.

"But O! the heart

That studies this high art,

Must be a sure housekeeper,

And yet no sleeper.

"Dear soul, be strong,

Mercy will come ere long,

And bring her bosom full of blessings;

Flowers of never-fading graces

To make immortal dressings

For worthy souls, whose wise embraces

Store up themselves for him, who is alone

The spouse of virgins, and the Virgin's Son.

"But if the noble bridegroom when he come

Shall find the wandering heart from home,

Leaving her chaste abode

To gad abroad

Amongst the gay mates of the god of flies,

To take her pleasures, and to play

And keep the devil's holiday;

To dance in the sunshine of some smiling

But beguiling

Spear of sweet and sugared lies;

Some slippery pair

Of false, perhaps as fair,

Flattering, but forswearing eyes,

Doubtless some other heart

Will get the start,

And stepping in before,

Will take possession of the sacred store

Of hidden sweets and holy joys,

Words which are not heard with ears

(Those tumultuous shops of noise),

Effectual whispers, whose still voice

The soul itself more feels than hears;

Amorous languishments, luminous trances,

Sights which are not seen with eyes;

Spiritual and soul-piercing glances,

Whose pure and subtle lightning flies

Home to the heart and sets the house on fire,

And melts it down in sweet desire,

Yet doth not stay

To ask the window's leave to pass that way.

An hundred thousand loves and graces,

And many a mystic thing

Which the divine embraces,

Of the dear spouse of spirits with them will bring,

For which it is no shame

That dull mortality must not know a name.

Of all this hidden store

Of blessings, and ten thousand more,

If when he come

He find the heart from home,

Doubtless he will unload

Himself some otherwhere,

And pour abroad

His precious sweets

On the fair soul whom first he meets."