May 23

Paris May 23, 1880

I have been in Paris only a few hours, and have seen nobody yet but Broglie, Gavard, and Laugel. I must see Scherer and talk to him about your visit here in the autumn. I have not been here for two years, and many of my friends are growing so old that I don't like putting off my visit to them. So I must keep those who have not that defect for a happier time.

Whitsunday, 1915.—In bed—in my tent, not a bell, but an Indian tent big enough for two comfortably. I share with S——. We have nothing but the camp furniture we took out, but will acquire a few Red Cross boxes as cupboards to-morrow. It is a peerless night with a young moon and a soft wind, frogs croaking, guns banging, and a nightingale trilling.

It has been a funny day, dazzling sun, very few patients.

May Twenty-Third

Great Chieftain of our choice,
Albeit that people's voice
No comfort speaks in thy lone granite keep;
Through those harsh iron bars
There come back from the stars
Low echoes of the prayers they nightly weep.
William Munford


Jefferson Davis puts in irons at Fort Monroe, 1865



We were ordered to be in readiness to march at 4 o'clock this morning, but did not start till near 9 o'clock a. m.; marched until about 11 o'clock a. m., and encamped about three miles from the North Anna river; heavy artillery firing heard in the direction of the river; have not heard the result; very warm all day, but the men bear the heat grandly. General Longstreet's Corps is only about three miles ahead of us from which it would seem we are chasing him—anyway, have captured many of his stragglers. It's intensely hot.

May 23, 1864

Monday. The army of stragglers kept coming in. They were gathered in a bunch and then sorted out and sent to their respective commands. Our tents arrived and were put up, and we began to live like folks again. Smallpox had by this time begun to develop, and a tent was put up outside the camp and such as showed the symptoms sent to it. We have all been exposed and may all have it, but a trifle like that does not worry us after what we have lived through. Some of the men have had the disease and they are to be used in nursing the others.

A nice little shower came up toward night which washed the dust from the leaves and grass, leaving everything about us beautiful. The smallpox is the only enemy in sight now, and that we can neither shoot nor run away from. The best thing about it is that one stands just as good a chance as another, and no better.

May 23

May 23, 1863.--Dull, cloudy, misty weather; it rained in the night and yet the air is heavy. This somber reverie of earth and sky has a sacredness of its own, but it fills the spectator with a vague and stupefying ennui. Light brings life: darkness may bring thought, but a dull daylight, the uncertain glimmer of a leaden sky, merely make one restless and weary. These indecisive and chaotic states of nature are ugly, like all amorphous things, like smeared colors, or bats, or the viscous polyps of the sea. The source of all attractiveness is to be found in character, in sharpness of outline, in individualization. All that is confused and indistinct, without form, or sex, or accent, is antagonistic to beauty; for the mind's first need is light; light means order, and order means, in the first place, the distinction of the parts, in the second, their regular action. Beauty is based on reason.

May 23, 1863

In the morning Isaac Mitchell and I set out to find the 128th. We followed the road, which was now a quagmire, but were met by an ambulance with wounded men and a cavalry guard, who told us that only an armed force could get through and that it was eight miles to where our brigade was then. We decided to wait. The wounded were put on the Sallie Robinson, to be taken to some hospital. About midnight the mortar fleet, which is farther up-stream, began firing and made a noise worse than several Fourths of July. We could follow the shells by the burning fuse, which looks like a shooting star. This we see first, then hear the boom of the mortar, then the hiss of the shell through the air and last the explosion when it strikes the ground.

Sunday night. A team for the quartermaster's stores came early and we were all day getting through to the regiment. Soldiers covered the ground. I have no idea how many there were. We were near the breastworks, but a belt of timber hid our view of them. We were in a clearing maybe one-half mile square, with woods on all sides. There was a house near us, the only building in sight.

May 23

May 23, 1873.--The fundamental error of France lies in her psychology. France has always believed that to say a thing is the same as to do it, as though speech were action, as though rhetoric were capable of modifying the tendencies, habits, and character of real beings, and as though verbiage were an efficient substitute for will, conscience, and education.

France proceeds by bursts of eloquence, of cannonading, or of law-making; she thinks that so she can change the nature of things; and she produces only phrases and ruins. She has never understood the first line of Montesquieu: "Laws are necessary relations, derived from the nature of things." She will not see that her incapacity to organize liberty comes from her own nature; from the notions which she has of the individual, of society, of religion, of law, of duty--from the manner in which she brings up children. Her way is to plant trees downward, and then she is astonished at the result! Universal suffrage, with a bad religion and a bad popular education, means perpetual wavering between anarchy and dictatorship, between the red and the black, between Danton and Loyola.

How many scapegoats will Prance sacrifice before it occurs to her to beat her own breast in penitence?

May 23

May 23, 1855.--Every hurtful passion draws us to it, as an abyss does, by a kind of vertigo. Feebleness of will brings about weakness of head, and the abyss in spite of its horror, comes to fascinate us, as though it were a place of refuge. Terrible danger! For this abyss is within us; this gulf, open like the vast jaws of an infernal serpent bent on devouring us, is in the depth of our own being, and our liberty floats over this void, which is always seeking to swallow it up. Our only talisman lies in that concentration of moral force which we call conscience, that small inextinguishable flame of which the light is duty and the warmth love. This little flame should be the star of our life; it alone can guide our trembling ark across the tumult of the great waters; it alone can enable us to escape the temptations of the sea, the storms and the monsters which are the offspring of night and the deluge. Faith in God, in a holy, merciful, fatherly God, is the divine ray which kindles this flame.

How deeply I feel the profound and terrible poetry of all these primitive terrors from which have issued the various theogonies of the world, and how it all grows clear to me, and becomes a symbol of the one great unchanging thought, the thought of God about the universe! How present and sensible to my inner sense is the unity of everything! It seems to me that I am able to pierce to the sublime motive which, in all the infinite spheres of existence, and through all the modes of space and time, every created form reproduces and sings within the bond of an eternal harmony. From the infernal shades I feel myself mounting toward the regions of light; my flight across chaos finds its rest in paradise. Heaven, hell, the world, are within us. Man is the great abyss.

Würzburg May 23, 1880

Although ink was not invented to express our real feelings, I improve my first stoppage between two trains to thank you for three such delightful days in London. It was a shame to take up so much of your busy time, and to persecute you with the serpentine wisdom. I did not wish to turn into bitterness the sweetest thing on earth, but I fancied that there are things good to be observed in your great position which nobody will tell you if you do not hear them from the most wicked of your friends. Hayward, indeed, who walked home with me the other night, might claim that title and dispute my prerogative; and I thought he would be useful to you in many ways until I found out that he is only solicitous about getting invitations for ——.

Since you detected ... lending herself to a humble intrigue, you can never be surprised at the revelations of disappointment and self-seeking, and must not believe that the smiling faces you see express unmixed loyalty and satisfaction. So I want you to be vigilant not to resent, but to pursue the work of disarming resentment, and not easily to persuade yourself that it is done.

To begin at the top. Here is Lowe, positively wounded at the letter offering him a peerage instead of power, and wounded by the very thing which showed Mr. Gladstone's anxiety not to give him pain, by the absence of any reason given for being unable to offer him office. For one so often finds that acts specially showing delicacy and considerateness, little supererogatory works of kindness, are taken unkindly. Now that is just a state of mind you can improve away by an initiative of civility, bearing in mind that what Lowe says to me, his wife delivers from the house-tops.


The animosity of the defeated party is natural, manifest, and invincible. They have offered Greenwood £110,000 for his newspaper, besides general offers of indefinite sums—enough to start it four or five times over. But the danger is not there, but at home; danger of disintegration and drifting. Both in church questions, and, ultimately, in land questions, your father is at variance with the great bulk of colleagues and followers—Chamberlain and Argyll in one Cabinet is an anomaly sure to tell in time, especially with Argyll discontented. So do not undervalue, or neglect, or waste, the social influence which centres in your hands.

Bismarck is so angry with Münster, that I hope he will transplant him; meanwhile it ought to be remembered that he, M., not only scouted the idea of Tory defeat, but wrote most disparagingly of Mr. Gladstone's influence and position.

Hayward will tell you what I learn from other sources, that Chenery really wishes to bring the Times  round. Mr. Gladstone dislikes thinking of those things, and allowed Delane to slip from him. Don't leave the whole thing to be done at No. 18.[20 ]

I hope, towards the end of the session, you will consult MacColl about the Bavarian mystery. It would be nice if Leeds does not require its member just then. Above all things keep a very regular diary. You will be so glad afterwards, unless you have some distant correspondent, and make your letters to him, or her, do for a regular diary, which is also a good plan.

[20 i.e., by Lord Granville.


Sunday, 23.

My little grandsons visit me at this becoming season of birds and apple blossoms. They accompany me to the brook, and are pleased with their willow whistles and sail-boats,—toys delightful to childhood from the first. Their manners, that first of accomplishments, delight us in return, showing that the sense of beauty has dawned and their culture fairly begun. 'Tis a culture to watch them through their days' doings. Endless their fancies and engagements. What arts, accomplishments, graces, are woven in their playful panorama; the scene shifting with the mood, and all in keeping with the laws of thought and of things. Verily, there are invisible players playing their parts through these pretty puppets all day long.

To conceive a child's acquirements as originating in nature, dating from his birth into his body, seems an atheism that only a shallow metaphysical theology could entertain in a time of such marvellous natural knowledge as ours. "I shall never persuade myself," said Synesius, "to believe my soul to be of like age with my body." And yet we are wont to date our birth, as that of the babes we christen, from the body's advent so duteously inscribed in our family registers, as if time and space could chronicle the periods of the immortal mind, and mark its longevity by our chronometers.5  Only a God could inspire a child with the intimations seen in its first pulse-plays; the sprightly attainments of a single day's doings afford the liveliest proofs of an omniscient Deity revealing his attributes in the motions of the little one! Nor is maternity less a special inspiration throbbing ceaselessly with childhood as a protecting Providence, lifelong. Comes not the mother to make the Creator's word sure that all he has made is verily good? For without mother and wife, what more than a rough outline of divinity were drawn? "That man," says Euripides, "hath made his fortune who hath married a good wife." For what would some of us have accomplished, what should we have not done, misdone, without her counsels to temper our adventurous idealism? Heaven added a new power to creation when it sent woman into it to complete what He had designed.

"He is a parricide to his mother's name,

And with an impious hand, murthers her fame,

Who wrongs the praise of woman; that dares write

Libels on saints, or with foul ink requite

The milk they lent us."

When one becomes indifferent to women, to children and young people, he may know that he is superannuated, and has withdrawn from whatsoever is sweetest and purest in human existence. One of the happiest rewards of age is the enjoyment of children. And when these inherit one's better gifts and graces, sinking the worse, or omitting them altogether, what can be added to fill the cup of parental gratitude and delight? I fail to comprehend how the old and young folks are to enjoy a future heaven together, unless they have learned to partake in the enjoyments of this. Shall we picture future separate heavens for them?

Sing, sing, the immortals,

The ancients of days,

Ever crowding the portals

Of earth's populous ways;

The babes ever stealing

Into Eden's glad feeling;

The fore-world revealing

God's face, ne'er concealing.

Sing, sing, the child's fancies,

Its graces and glances,

Plans, pastimes, surprises,

Slips, sorrows, surmises.

Youth's trials and treasures,

Its hopes without measures,

Its labors and leisures;

His world all before him,

High heaven all o'er him;

Life's lengthening story,

Opening glory on glory;

By age ne'er o'ertaken,

By youth near forsaken.

Sings none this fair story,

But dwellers in its glory;

Who would the youth see,

A youth he must be;

Heaven's kingdom alone

To children doth come.

The family is the sensitive plant of civility, the measure of culture. Take the census of the homes, and you have the sum total of character and civilization in any community. Sown in the family, the seeds of holiness are here to be cherished and ripened for immortality. Here is the seminary of the virtues, the graces, accomplishments, that adorn and idealize existence. From this college we graduate for better or for worse. This faculty of the affections, this drinking freshly at the springs of genius and sensibility, this intimacy with the loveliest and best in life, is the real schooling, the truest discipline, without which neither mind nor heart flourish; all other advantages being of secondary account; wealth, wit, beauty, social position, books, travel, fellowships, are but sounding names, opportunities of inferior importance, compared with this endowment of personal influences.

Here, in this atmosphere of love and sympathy, character thrives and ripens. And were the skill for touching its tender sensibilities, calling forth its budding gifts, equal to the charms the child has for us, what noble characters would graduate from our families,—the community receiving its members accomplished in the Personal graces, the state its patriots, the church its saints, all glorifying the race. One day the highest culture of the choicest gifts will be deemed essential to the heads of families, and the arts of nurture and of culture honored as the art of arts.

"Boys are dear to divinity," dear to all mankind. What more charming than to watch the dawning intelligence, clearing itself from the mists which obscure its vision of the world into which it has but lately entered? The more attractive, since a fine sentiment then mingles mythically with the freshness of thought, confuses the sexes, as if the boy were being transformed into the girl, first entering her wider world of affection; and the girl in turn were being metamorphosed into the boy, first becoming conscious of the newer world of intellect; each entering, by instinct, into the mind of the other. I know not which is the more charming each in their ways, the coy manners of girls, or the shy behavior of beautiful boys,—mysteries both to each other, nor less to their elders. 'Tis the youthful sentiment, whether feminine or masculine, that renders friendship delightful, the world lovely; this gone, all is gone that life can enjoy. "There are periods in one's life," says Pythagoras, "which it is not in the power of any casual person to connect finely, these being expelled by one another, unless some sympathetic friend conduct him from birth in a beautiful and upright manner."


Of the great educators of antiquity, I esteem Pythagoras the most eminent and successful. Everything of his doctrine and discipline comes commended by its elegance and humanity, and justifies the name he bore of the golden-souled Samian, and founder of the Greek culture. He seems to have stood in providential nearness to the human sensibility, as if his were a maternal relation as well, and he owned the minds whom he nurtured and educated. The first of philosophers, taking the name for its modesty of pretension, he justified his claim to it in the attainments and services of his followers; his school having given us Socrates, Plato, Pericles, Plutarch, Plotinus, and others of almost equal fame, founders of states and cultures.

He was most fortunate in his biographer. For, next to the Gospels, I know of nothing finer of the kind than the mythological portrait drawn of him by Jamblichus, his admiring disciple, and a philosopher worthy of his master. How mellow the coloring, the drapery disposed so gracefully about the person he paints! I look upon this piece of nature with ever fresh delight, so reverend, humane, so friendly in aspect and Olympian. Nor is the interest less, but enhanced rather by the interfusion of fable into the personal history, the charm of a subtle idealism being thus given it, relating him thereby to the sacred names of all times. There is in him an Oriental splendor, as of sunrise, reflected on statues, blooming in orchards, an ambrosial beauty and sweetness, as of autumnal fruits and of women.

"In all he did,

Some picture of the golden times was hid."

Personally, he is said to have been the most beautiful and godlike of all those who had been celebrated in history before his time. As a youth, his aspect was venerable and his habits strictly temperate, so that he was reverenced and honored by elderly men. He attracted the attention of all who saw him, and appeared admirable in all eyes. He was adorned by piety and discipline, by a mode of life transcendently good, by firmness of soul, and by a body in due subjection to the mandates of reason. In all his words and actions, he discovered an inimitable quiet and serenity, not being subdued at any time by anger, emulation, contention, or any precipitation of conduct. He was reverenced by the multitude as one under the influence of divine inspiration. He abstained from all intoxicating drinks, and from animal food, confining himself to a chaste nutriment. Hence, his sleep was short and undisturbed, his soul vigilant and pure, his body in a state of perfect and invariable health. He was free from the superstitions of his time, and pervaded with a deep sense of duty towards God, and veneration for his divine attributes and immanency in things. He fixed his mind so intently on the attainment of wisdom, that systems and mysteries inaccessible to others were opened to him by his magic genius and sincerity of purpose. The great principle with which he started, that of being a seeker rather than possessor of truth, seemed ever to urge him forward with a diligence and an activity unprecedented in the history of the past, and perhaps unequalled since. He visited every man who could claim any degree of fame for wisdom or learning, whilst the relics of antiquity and the simplest operations of nature seemed to yield to his researches; and we moderns are using his eyes in many departments of activity into which pure thought enters, being indebted to him for important discoveries alike in science and metaphysics.

"His institution at Crotona was the most comprehensive and complete of any of which we read. His aim being at once a philosophical school, a religious brotherhood, and a political association. And all these characters appear to have been inseparably united in the founder's mind. It must be considered as a proof of upright intentions in Pythagoras which ought to rescue him from all suspicion of selfish motives, that he chose for his associates persons whom he deemed capable of grasping the highest truths which he could communicate, and was not only willing to teach them all he knew, but regarded the utmost cultivation of the intellectual faculties as a necessary preparation for the work to which he destined them. He instituted a society, an order, as one may now call it, composed of young men, three hundred in number, carefully selected from the noblest families, not only of Crotona, but of the other Italian cities.

"Those who confided themselves to the guidance of his doctrine and discipline, conducted themselves in the following manner:—

"They performed their morning walks alone in places where there happened to be an appropriate solitude and quiet, and where there were temples and groves, and other things adapted to give delight. For they thought it was not proper to converse with any one till they had rendered their own soul sedate and co-harmonized with the reasoning power. For they apprehended it to be a thing of a turbulent nature to mingle in a crowd as soon as they rose from bed. But after the morning walk, they associated with each other, and employed themselves in discussing doctrines and disciplines, and in the correction of their manners and lives.

"They employed their time after dinner, which consisted of bread and honey without wine, in domestic labors and economies, and in the hospitalities due to strangers and their guests, according to the laws. All business of this sort was transacted during these hours of the day.

"When it was evening, they again betook themselves to walking, yet not singly as in the morning walk, but in parties of two or three, calling to mind, as they walked, the disciplines which they had learned, and exercising themselves in beautiful studies.

"After bathing again, they went to supper; no more than ten meeting together for this purpose. This meal they finished before the setting of the sun. It was of wine and maize, bread and salad. They were of opinion that any animal, not naturally noxious to the human race, should neither be injured nor slain.

"After supper, libations were performed; and these were succeeded by readings, the youngest reading, and the eldest ordering what should be read and after what manner.

"They wore a white and pure garment, and slept on beds the coverlets of which were of white linen."

5. "Infants," says Olympiodorus, "are not seen to laugh for some time after birth, but pass the greater part of their time in sleep; however, in their sleep they appear both to smile and cry. But can this any otherwise happen than through the soul agitating the circulations of their animal nature in conformity with the passions it has experienced before birth into the body? Besides, our looking into ourselves when we seek to discover any truth, shows that we inwardly contain truth, though concealed in the darkness of oblivion." Does atom animate and revive thought, or thought animate and illuminate atom? And which the elder?