May 29

Weather quite cool and comfortable; no fighting today; only twenty miles from Richmond—Hurrah! The negroes were much frightened when they saw the Yankee army approach, but have become very much tamed in twenty-four hours; said the Johnnies told them we had horns, would cut off their arms, etc. Poor things! they were actually frightened, and showed it by their bulging eyes, looks and manner. It was comical! General Russell has gone on a reconnoissance to Hanover Court House. It's rumored that General R. E. Lee is dead, but I believe it's a fake.

May Twenty-Ninth

If we wish to be free—if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained—we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

Patrick Henry

 

Patrick Henry born, 1736

 

 

37. John Adams

29 May, 1775.

Our amiable friend Hancock, who, by the way, is our president, is to send his servant to-morrow for Cambridge. I am to send a few lines by him. If his man should come to you to deliver this letter, treat him very kindly, because he is a kind, humane, clever fellow.

We are distressed here for want of intelligence and information from you and from Boston, Cambridge, etc., etc., etc. We have no regular advices. I received one kind letter from you in one from Colonel Warren. An excellent letter I had from him. It has done him great honor and me much good.

My duty and love to all. I have had miserable health and blind eyes ever since I left you. But I found Dr. Young here, who, after scolding at me quantum sufficit for not taking his advice, has pilled and electuaried me into pretty good order. My eyes are better, my head is better, and so are my spirits.

This Congress will support the Massachusetts. But we have an amazing field of business before us. When I shall have the joy of meeting you and our little ones I know not.

The military spirit which runs through the continent is truly amazing. This city turns out two thousand men every day. Mr. Dickinson is a colonel, Mr. Reed a lieutenant-colonel, Mr. Mifflin a major. He ought to have been a general, for he has been the animating soul of the whole.

Colonel Washington appears at Congress in his uniform, and, by his great experience and abilities in military matters, is of much service to us.

Oh that I were a soldier! I will be. I am reading military books. Everybody must, and will, and shall be a soldier.

May 29, 1864

Sunday. This was to be our pay day, and little else was thought of or talked about all the morning. A number of us were in Colonel Parker's tent when the adjutant congratulated me on getting full pay, with no reduction for the time I was absent without leave; that the rolls had been passed upon at headquarters and no reduction made. Colonel Parker said it could not be. The record had never been cleared, and if the paymaster was informed of the fact I wouldn't get any pay at all. After some talk, in which some took one view and some another, the matter was dropped and I thought no more about it until told by the paymaster, when I stepped up for my $415, that I could get no pay until an investigation was had and the rolls cleared. I was mad clear through, and I was terribly disappointed, too. I first found out that the colonel had done it and then went and gave him a piece of my mind. He laughed the matter off, but he was just as mad as I. I forgot about his being my superior, and I wonder he didn't put me under arrest. I certainly gave him plenty of excuse for doing it. I had no right to talk as I did, but I had plenty of reason, and I have not yet got to the point where I am sorry for doing it. I reminded him that although I was absent from my regiment for a few days without leave, I was on duty in another, and earning my pay, while he and the rest of them were loafing in camp at Lakeport. I can't imagine why Colonel Parker has so suddenly turned against me. So far as I know he has no reason for it, and if he knows of one, he is not man enough to tell. So I must live on borrowed money for another two months, and affairs at home must get along the best way they can. Maybe it all comes from his hobby, "The good of the service," which he so often quotes.

May 29

TEMPERATURE AT CUTTACK AND POOREE.

I find that the depth of water which fell in the two hours and a half that the storm continued was one inch and a half, a quantity which in England, I believe, would not fall without many days of rain. But this is a delightful place. The difference of climate between this and Cuttack could hardly be conceived, and yet the distance is only fifty miles. At Cuttack, during the hot season of the year, the inhabitants are obliged to close every door and window at half-past six in the morning, in order to keep out the fearfully scorching heat, neither can they open them again till seven in the evening. Although the air is kept in constant motion by the punkahs, yet, being confined, and also much rarified by the heat, it produces a stifling gasping sensation, which is most painful. At this time of the year too the mosquitoes come into the houses in great numbers, and we are therefore compelled to use the mosquito-curtains at night, which have no opening all round, and the lower edge of which is tucked in with the bed-clothes; you might almost as well be shut up in a box. The intense heat, and the quantity of bad air which necessarily accumulates under the curtains, cause continual headaches and oppression of the lungs.

Well, you start from Cuttack in the evening, arrive at Pooree the next morning, and what a change! The doors and windows are open all day; and although the thermometer generally stands at 89°, yet the incessant breeze off the sea prevents any inconvenience from the heat; indeed, we are sometimes glad to close the doors in order to keep out the air. At night a delicious fresh wind, which frequently renders a blanket necessary, no mosquitoes, no curtains. In the morning we can remain out of doors till eight; in the afternoon we can go out at five.

How rejoiced many persons would be to be able to spend their hot weather at such a place. There are, nevertheless, two great drawbacks to the comfort of Pooree. First, the European houses are all situated on a vast plain of loose sand, extending from the sea as far as the eye can reach in every direction; so that it is considered at Pooree quite impossible to walk. My wife, like most other ladies, rides in a tonjon, a sort of small cab, carried on men's shoulders. I and almost all the gentlemen ride on horseback, or rather ponyback. At Cuttack only rich civilians keep horses; all we poor men are content with ponies. I have three beauties: two of them, Birmah ponies, for the carriage, are of a large size, thick built, very strong, and highly valued on account of their hardihood. It is usual to keep their manes cropped close, but I like to see them long. One carries me very well; the other is a saddle-pony, which does either for my wife or myself. It is bay, with long black mane and tail, very sleek, with thin ankles and arching neck. Indeed, several people who have looked at him say he is the best-built horse they ever saw. He is full of fire and play, jumps about, and every now and then stands upon his hind legs. But he will not bear to be annoyed by strangers. A friend of mine was riding him one day, and teased him so much that at last he reared and fell over backwards with him. The carriage-horses are what is called sorrel-colour.

The second drawback to the comfort of Pooree is rather a curious one, and is, I suppose, caused by the wind and the glare of the sun upon the sands. It is the impossibility for any one to keep awake during the day. Towards twelve o'clock an overpowering drowsiness comes on. Once or twice I have resisted it, and on those occasions I verily believe that in the evening, had I shut my eyes, I should have gone to sleep upon my feet. This is the universal complaint of all visitors to that place. The regular residents get over it.

Talking of the night reminds me of a general habit which would seem very odd to people in England. A person would imagine that everybody is very fidgety at night, and rolls and tosses about a great deal in the very hot weather. To render ourselves more comfortable at such times we have a number of pillows of all shapes and sizes and hardnesses scattered about the bed. At one roll you lay your leg on one and your arm on another, then you turn over to the other side, and then, throwing your feet on to one pillow, you hold another fast under your arm: that won't do, and you roll over on your back, with one pillow under your knee and another under each arm, and so on through the night. I can assure you that, however absurd it may appear, this multiplicity of pillows is a very great comfort on very hot nights, although when you awake you certainly often find yourself and them in very funny positions.

INTERVIEW WITH NATIVE RAJAHS.

But now let us describe the journey up the hill, which is situated in the territories of the Rajah of Neilghur; that is, he pays tribute to the English, but governs his territory for himself. Just before we went there, by the advice of the masahibs or councillors, he had been into one of our villages making a great disturbance, whereupon the commissioner, a sort of governor of the district, sent for the Rajah, desiring him to come in to Balasore and explain his conduct. I was with the commissioner when he arrived. The Rajah of Neilghur is a handsome intelligent-looking young man of about twenty. His estate brings him in a revenue of nearly sixty thousand rupees a-year. His brother, who is about two years younger, and full of fun and frolic, is always with him. They came to Balasore with a party of about thirty, three elephants, and twenty horses. The Rajah and his brother, with eight or ten of the masahibs, were ushered into the commissioner's room, where chairs were offered to the two former; the others remained standing. Of course all except the two young Rajahs took off their shoes before they entered the room. Mr. M., the commissioner, who, as I have told you, is the kindest of men, gave them a long quiet lecture, and strongly advised them to dismiss the masahibs and govern entirely for themselves; and he warned them that, if such disturbances occurred again, he should be obliged to send and take possession of the whole territory of Neilghur. They were very submissive and made what excuses they could, but which, in point of fact, amounted to none at all. At last they rose to take leave, and I with one or two others joined them.

I immediately told the Rajah that we were going over to Neilghur on the following day, and asked whether he would provide five hundred coolies to beat the jungle. The Rajah promised that he would procure us the coolies and elephants and make us comfortable. The party then mounted, and really it was a very pretty scene. Both the Rajahs and all their attendants were dressed in the purest white—full loose trowsers, white frocks open on one side of the chest, and white turbans. The younger brother wore a red sash, all the others white ones. The Rajahs had most splendid gold chains round their waists, and three very handsome rings in each ear. The eldest mounted first. His horse, which was very tall and strongly built, was an albino; it was perfectly white, with red eyes. The saddle, which for all natives is made deep and well padded, was covered and entirely concealed by a splendid crimson cloth extending from the shoulders to the haunches. It was surrounded by a deep gold fringe, and reached about half way to the ground on each side. The young man laid his hand on the horse's shoulder, and at one vault sprang into the saddle, the cloth remaining on. This was the signal for every one to mount, and then they all began to show off. Their horses played all sorts of antics; they danced, and plunged, and reared, and capered about, though still under perfect control; indeed, it was evident that all these tricks were the result of education. After some minutes spent in this way, they suddenly started off at full gallop, and tore along at a tremendous rate as long as they continued in sight. They were followed by the elephants in a rough trot.

But I must say something more about these elephants. I was walking through the town with C. the evening before, when we saw the elephants coming towards us. We were both startled, if not alarmed. One of them is said to be the largest in India, and it really did look awful. The others, which were of the ordinary size, looked like young ones by its side. I had afterwards an opportunity of measuring it, and, if I remember rightly, its height was twelve feet eleven inches. It is very old, as Tippoo Saib rode it at Seringapatam. It is quite blind, and it is most interesting to observe its manner of walking or running. At each step its trunk swings from side to side, just touching the ground in front, so that the animal may know if there is any impediment in the way. A part near the end of the trunk is much worn away and quite hardened by this constant rubbing. His tusks are magnificent, but his body is little more than a skeleton covered with skin.

Whilst at Neilghur I saw this monster bathe. A boy took him down to a pond close to our tent. He led him by one of his tusks. When he reached the water, at an order from his attendant the elephant held out his trunk and the lad climbed up it until he reached his tusks. The elephant then raised his head until they were the highest part, when the boy slipped off them on the head itself. The animal then walked slowly into the water until it reached the top of his legs; at a signal from the boy he then lay down, whilst the lad kept on the head, scrubbing both that and his back. At another signal he sank himself lower and lower, until only his trunk and the head and shoulders of the boy were visible. It seemed to enjoy it very much, and was almost unwilling to come out again.

LEAVE BALASORE.

We sent our tent on before and started from Balasore at about eleven o'clock in the evening in palanquins. Our party consisted of T., D., B., C. and his son, and myself. We arrived at Neilghur at about three o'clock, and our palanquins were simply set down on the ground that we might finish our night's rest. By the by, when the bearers of the palanquins are changed for fresh men, on taking hold they very often cry out, "Ah! my brother, my child!" but with me they generally make an addition to this—"Ah! my brother, my child, my elephant!"

When they set my palanquin down I turned to look about me. It was very dark, though the stars were shining brightly. The hill seemed to rise almost perpendicularly from my feet into the clouds; a strong blast of cold wind came rolling down its sides, and I was very glad to creep back again into my palanquin and cover myself up with a thick blanket. A little before sunrise I turned out again and roused my companions. We dressed ourselves, loaded our guns and pistols, and started on the ascent, after swallowing a hasty cup of tea and a bit of bread.

SUNRISE—SCENERY.

At this moment the sun rose, and none but those who have witnessed the splendour of the oriental sunrise can have an idea of the magnificence of the scene. Immediately in front of us was a broad sheet of water surrounded by dense jungle, interspersed with lofty trees, from which, as we looked, two peacocks came forth to drink. At the back of the lake the hill rose abruptly to the height of nearly a thousand feet, the sides partially covered with trees, but which were interspersed here and there with precipices two or three hundred feet in depth, composed of a dark-coloured rock. From each side of this principal eminence project as it were shoulders, of about half the height, and which, covered with the thickest foliage, inclined round to the right and left so as to enclose us in a sort of semicircle.

We had sent men the day before to trace a path through the jungle, and they had tolerably succeeded. But unfortunately I was weak and far from well, and was completely knocked up before I got half-way to the top. One of our party was a medical man, and he insisted on my not attempting to go any farther. I felt deadly sick, my face was as white as snow, every pulse in my head and chest throbbed as if it would burst, my mouth was not dry but clammy, and when I lay down on a piece of rock I almost doubted if I should ever rise again. However, I soon felt better, descended the hill, got a glass of beer, and lay down in the tent for an hour or two. The others reached the top without much difficulty, though two of them avowed that, if the summit had been a hundred yards farther, they could not have reached it. They were very thankful for some beer and brandy-and-water which I sent up for them. They saw no animals, though in several places traces of bears were observed. The Rajah says there are no tigers in these parts.

We had but little hunting; while we were there one of our party killed a beautiful spotted deer. I shot some peacocks and a jungle-cock. Talking of hunting reminds me of an adventure which I must relate. The commissioner is the stoutest man I have seen in India, although my wife did insinuate the other day that I was nearly as big, but I am not.

The other day Mr. D., Lieutenant H., and the commissioner went out hog-hunting. This sport is always performed on horseback with long spears. The beaters soon turned out a magnificent boar. "A boar! a boar!" was the shout, and up galloped the commissioner and plunged the spear into the animal; but, in consequence of his horse swerving, he was unable to withdraw the weapon, and the boar ran off with it sticking into his back. Lieutenant H. now came up; the boar charged him, cut both the fore legs of his horse to the bone with his tusks, and tumbled horse and man over on the ground. In the mean time the commissioner had seized another spear from his syce, when the boar rushed at him. His horse swerved at the moment that he was making a thrust with his spear, and the poor commissioner rolled over on the ground. Fortunately the boar was nearly exhausted, too much so to charge again; but he did what perhaps no boar ever did before,—he seized the commissioner by the coat-tails as he lay on his stomach. Feeling the snout of the beast, he at once expected to be cut, if not killed, by its tremendous tusks.

He sprang upon his feet; the boar kept hold of his tail. The Commissioner faced about; he had neither pistol nor knife, so he commenced pummelling away at the boar's face with his fist. Now imagine the scene—a man of his extraordinary size with his coat-tail held up by an enormous boar; the Commissioner himself turned half round, and having a regular boxing-match with the ferocious brute. D. came up as quickly as he could for laughing, and with one good thrust of his spear put an end to the fight. The charge of the boar is fearful; he cuts right and left with his tusks, and inflicts the most dreadful wounds.

UNCIVIL TREATMENT OF RAJAHS.

And now I must mention some circumstances which to me rendered our expedition to Neilghur very unpleasant; they relate to the manner in which our party treated the Rajah. On the morning of our arrival, after our descent from the hills, he came with a party of horsemen to call upon us. We were just sitting down to breakfast, when I observed the cavalcade approaching. I mentioned it, and proposed that, according to Indian politeness, we should go into the verandah of our tent to receive them. But the principal man of our party said, "Oh! bother the fellow, we can't see him now;" and he sent a servant out to tell him so.

In the afternoon the Rajah sent his man, corresponding to our chief gamekeeper in England, to ask when we should like the coolies to beat the jungle, and to say that he would join us in the hunt. We named the time and started accordingly, found the coolies in readiness, and saw the Rajah and his brother coming upon elephants.

Our party began to move on, when I asked, "Will you not wait for the Rajah?" "I should think not," was the reply; "we don't want the beastly niggers with us." And yet these civilized men were glad enough to make use of these beastly niggers' coolies and elephants. I stayed behind and had some talk with them.

The next day the two Rajahs called at the tent; they entered as gentlemen, and made the usual Indian salutation. With the exception of myself, I do not think one of our party even rose from his chair. In the course of conversation we spoke of the badness of the water we got. The Rajah immediately offered to send a man six miles into the hills to fetch some from a mountain stream. In little more than an hour afterwards, one of our party, feeling thirsty, sent a servant to ask the Rajah whether he had not got that water yet. In India, in speaking to a servant, you use the word "toom," which signifies "you." In speaking to a gentleman you say "ab," which means "your honour." One or two of our party made a point of saying "toom" to the Rajah, which was in fact a great insult. The younger brother called upon us. The chief of our party spoke to him on the subject of the disturbances, although it had all been settled by the Commissioner, and gave him a regular blowing up. And now remember that all this was to a gentleman—an Indian it is true, but still a gentleman, with a fine estate, and about 6000 l. a-year, from whom we were receiving every kindness, and on whose land we were hunting. Can it be wondered at that the natives do not like us so well as might otherwise be expected?

The Rajah, I suppose, finding me more civil than the others, gave me a great mark of honour. He took me on his own elephant, while he acted as mahout, and whenever any roughness occurred on the ground he turned to warn me of it. I own that I did not enjoy the honour much. The elephant was covered with a crimson cloth, so that there were no ropes to hold by. The only way in which I could manage was to sit astride. It was really most painful, and I almost doubted whether I should ever be able to get my legs together again. I had two brace of pistols with me. The Rajah appeared very much pleased with them, and, to make up for the rudeness of our party, I gave him one of the pair. He was delighted, and I was sadly laughed at for giving anything to a nigger. His palace is a fine white building on the side of one of the hills.