May 14

May Fourteenth

[This exploration] was undertaken at the instance of President Jefferson, and together with the voyage which Captain Gray of Boston had made to the Columbia, in 1792, gave the United States a claim to all the territory covered by the States of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Philip Alexander Bruce


Lewis and Clark start from St. Louis on northwestern expedition, 1804



Paris May 14, 1880

I shall be delighted to inaugurate breakfasting in Downing Street on Thursday; and I should very much like to drop in the night before, as you are to be there. But it seems very indiscreet; and if I dine with Lord Granville, I shall not be able to get away until very late, when you will be gone to bed. Tegernsee late hours cannot be kept in London. I will hope for the best, and keep all I have to say, partly for next week, partly for some more propitious season.

We were aroused several times during the night by sharp firing on the skirmish line. About daylight we received an order to move further to the left, and soon found ourselves on the extreme flank of the old line of battle. Soon after we left our old position, the skirmish line that had caused us so much trouble during the night was captured. We found on examination that Lee's army fell back during the night still further. We moved about two miles towards Spottsylvania Court House, charged across the valley and Ny river, and took possession of the heights where Lee's headquarters were this morning relieving the First Division of our Corps which had been hotly engaged. Thus we virtually part with the stage on which was fought one of the greatest battles of modern times if not in history, and no one regrets it; it seems like a horrible dream. But how about the uneasy souls—the remorse of those who are responsible for this war in the hereafter? What does it all mean, anyway? Is man irresponsible? Should he not have a care? Verily!

251. John Adams

L'Orient, 14 May, 1779.

When I left Paris, the 8th of March, I expected to have been at home before this day, and have done my utmost to get to sea, but the embarrassments and disappointments I have met with have been many, very many. I have, however, in the course of them, had a fine opportunity of seeing Nantes, L'Orient, and Brest, as well as the intermediate country.

By the gracious invitation of the King, I am now to take passage in his frigate, the Sensible, with his new Ambassador to America, the Chevalier de la Luzerne. I hope to see you in six or seven weeks. Never was any man in such a state of uncertainty and suspense as I have been from last October, entirely uninformed of the intentions of Congress concerning me. This would not have been very painful to me if I could have got home. Your conversation is a compensation to me for all other things.

My son has had a great opportunity to see this country; but this has unavoidably retarded his education in some other things. He has enjoyed perfect health, from first to last, and is respected wherever he goes, for his vigor and vivacity both of mind and body, for his constant good humor, and for his rapid progress in French as well as his general knowledge, which, for his age, is uncommon. I long to see his sister and brothers. I need not add—

May 14

May 14, 1853.--Third quartet concert. It was short. Variations for piano and violin by Beethoven, and two quartets, not more. The quartets were perfectly clear and easy to understand. One was by Mozart and the other by Beethoven, so that I could compare the two masters. Their individuality seemed to become plain to me: Mozart--grace, liberty, certainty, freedom, and precision of style, and exquisite and aristocratic beauty, serenity of soul, the health and talent of the master, both on a level with his genius; Beethoven--more pathetic, more passionate, more torn with feeling, more intricate, more profound, less perfect, more the slave of his genius, more carried away by his fancy or his passion, more moving, and more sublime than Mozart. Mozart refreshes you, like the "Dialogues" of Plato; he respects you, reveals to you your strength, gives you freedom and balance. Beethoven seizes upon you; he is more tragic and oratorical, while Mozart is more disinterested and poetical. Mozart is more Greek, and Beethoven more Christian. One is serene, the other serious. The first is stronger than destiny, because he takes life less profoundly; the second is less strong, because he has dared to measure himself against deeper sorrows. His talent is not always equal to his genius, and pathos is his dominant feature, as perfection is that of Mozart. In Mozart the balance of the whole is perfect, and art triumphs; in Beethoven feeling governs everything and emotion troubles his art in proportion as it deepens it.

May 14

May 14, 1852. (Lancy.)--Yesterday I was full of the philosophy of joy, of youth, of the spring, which smiles and the roses which intoxicate; I preached the doctrine of strength, and I forgot that, tried and afflicted like the two friends with whom I was walking, I should probably have reasoned and felt as they did.

Our systems, it has been said, are the expression of our character, or the theory of our situation, that is to say, we like to think of what has been given as having been acquired, we take our nature for our own work, and our lot in life for our own conquest, an illusion born of vanity and also of the craving for liberty. We are unwilling to be the product of circumstances, or the mere expansion of an inner germ. And yet we have received everything, and the part which is really ours, is small indeed, for it is mostly made up of negation, resistance, faults. We receive everything, both life and happiness; but the manner in which we receive, this is what is still ours. Let us then, receive trustfully without shame or anxiety. Let us humbly accept from God even our own nature, and treat it charitably, firmly, intelligently. Not that we are called upon to accept the evil and the disease in us, but let us accept ourselves in spite of the evil and the disease. And let us never be afraid of innocent joy; God is good, and what He does is well done; resign yourself to everything, even to happiness; ask for the spirit of sacrifice, of detachment, of renunciation, and above all, for the spirit of joy and gratitude, that genuine and religious optimism which sees in God a father, and asks no pardon for His benefits. We must dare to be happy, and dare to confess it, regarding ourselves always as the depositaries, not as the authors of our own joy.

* * * *

... This evening I saw the first glow-worm of the season in the turf beside the little winding road which descends from Lancy toward the town. It was crawling furtively under the grass, like a timid thought or a dawning talent.

May 14, 1864

SATURDAY. Reveille at 3.30 a. m., breakfast at 4.00, and at 4.30 we were off. The road followed the river, which is very crooked, making it nearly double the distance it would be in a straight line. About 9 a. m. the cavalry got into a fight on our right. We halted, and for the first time had the men load their guns. The enemy had come out from the woods and charged a squadron of our cavalry as it was passing, and for a time it was hard to tell which was getting the best of it. One of our men was shot from his horse, but the horse kept his place in the line as if nothing of the kind had happened. When the Rebs were finally routed and driven through the woods, the riderless horse kept his place and distance as long as they were in sight. Before leaving Alexandria I had traded my horse for a mule that had no brand on him, and I had let a man who was not feeling well ride until now. In the skirmish just noted one of the mules in the quartermaster's team got hit and the quartermaster took my mule to put in his place, putting his rider in the wagon. That left me to walk whether I wanted to or not, but as I had plenty of company I didn't so much care. We kept going at a lively gait until noon, when we halted for hard-tack and coffee. The men on the boats kept exchanging shots with the Rebs on the opposite shore, but with what result I don't know.

Soon after dinner we came to a sharp turn in the river where the road ran close up to the river bank, and while rounding this on a double-quick we got the first attention from the other side that had been paid to us direct. A volley came from a thicket on the other side, the most of which went over our heads. One shot, however, went through the haversack of the man next to me and spoiled his tin cup. The shot came as close to me as it did to him, but I have nothing to show for it, while he is prouder of his battered cup than he ever was before. About 2 p. m. the advance had a sharp skirmish with the enemy, losing ten men killed and forty wounded. The wounded were put on a boat and a detail left to bury the dead, after which they must catch up as best they can. About dark we passed Wilson's Landing, said to be twenty-five miles from Alexandria. Soon after we overtook the pontoon train and halted for the night. We are detailed to guard the pontoon train on the trip and have nothing to do but keep up with it unless it is attacked. I found the 128th close by, and after comparing notes with the boys of Company B, crawled behind a log and went to sleep.