October 6

Am feeling very much better this morning; very foggy till about 9 o'clock a. m. when the sun came out brightly; got a team about 10 o'clock a. m. and Jo Watson took me to James Burnham's place in Williamstown; arrived at Barre about noon; called at Mrs. David Mower's; no one there but Hattie Glover; did not get out; arrived at James' at 3 o'clock p. m.; all well; took them by surprise.

October Sixth

Who said “false as dreams”? Not one who saw
Into the wild and wondrous world they sway;
No thinker who hath read their mystic law;
No Poet who hath weaved them in his lay.
Henry Timrod

 

Henry Timrod dies, 1867

Nathaniel Bacon dies, 1676

 

 

Tuesday, October 6th.—I am now dividing my time between the top floor of Tommies and five Germans and the Officers' Ward, where I relieve S. —— for meals and off duty. There are some bad dressings in the top ward. The five Germans are quiet, fat, and amenable, glad to exchange a few remarks in their own language. I haven't had time to try and talk to them, but will if I can; two of them are very badly wounded. Some of the medical Tommies make the most of very small ailments, but the surgicals are wonderful boys.

October 6, 1862

Monday. Back in Camp Millington, and the rest of the day is ours. A letter from Miss Hull, in answer to one written her mother. It was full of home news, and I feel as if I had been there. My homesick fit has left me, but it was a terror while it lasted. I believe it is more common than we think. I see many faces yet that look just as mine felt. Like me they keep it to themselves, or possibly tell it to their diaries, as I did to mine. I am not the only one who keeps a diary. There are plenty of others who do, and others still who say they can remember enough of it without writing it down. In the afternoon Lieutenant Dutcher invited me to go for a walk. We followed the Baltimore & Ohio R. R. for about a mile and came to abandoned camp grounds nearly all the way. We found some housekeeping necessities which we brought back with us. After dress parade, we visited about until roll call, and are going to bed early, for to-morrow the grind begins again. Good-night.

215. Abigail Adams

Sunday, 6 October, 1777.

I know not where to direct to you, but hope you are secure; 't is said in some part of the Jerseys, but I know this only from report. I sent to town yesterday, but the post did not get in before the person whom I sent came out of town. I could not rest, but sent again this morning. The post came but brought no letters for me, and but two for any person that I could learn, and no late intelligence.

To the removal of the Congress I attribute my not hearing, but I never was more anxious to hear. I want to know every movement of the armies. Mr. Niles, by whom I send this, sets off to-morrow and promises to find you and deliver this into your hand. I doubt not you will let me hear from you by the first conveyance. Tell me where you are, how you are situated, and how you do. Whether your spirits are good, and what you think of the present state of our arms. Will Mr. Howe get possession of the city? 'T is a day of doubtful expectation. Heaven only knows our destiny. I observe often in the account of actions that our men are obliged to retreat for want of ammunition. Their cartridges are spent. How is this? Is it good generalship? We never hear of that complaint in the regular army.

There is a private expedition, 't is said. The troops have all marched last Monday. I own I have no great faith in it. I wish it may succeed better than I apprehend.

No news of any importance from the northward. I long for spirited exertions everywhere. I want some grand, important actions to take place. We have both armies from their shipping. 'T is what we have long sought for. Now is the important day. Heaven seems to have granted us our desire. May it also direct us to improve it aright.

We are all well. I write nothing of any importance till I know where you are and how to convey to you.

Believe me at all times unalterably

Yours, yours.

October 6

October 6, 1866.--I have just picked up on the stairs a little yellowish cat, ugly and pitiable. Now, curled up in a chair at my side, he seems perfectly happy, and as if he wanted nothing more. Far from being wild, nothing will induce him to leave me, and he has followed me from room to room all day. I have nothing at all that is eatable in the house, but what I have I give him--that is to say, a look and a caress--and that seems to be enough for him, at least for the moment. Small animals, small children, young lives--they are all the same as far as the need of protection and of gentleness is concerned.... People have sometimes said to me that weak and feeble creatures are happy with me. Perhaps such a fact has to do with some special gift or beneficent force which flows from one when one is in the sympathetic state. I have often a direct perception of such a force; but I am no ways proud of it, nor do I look upon it as anything belonging to me, but simply as a natural gift. It seems to me sometimes as though I could woo the birds to build in my beard as they do in the headgear of some cathedral saint! After all, this is the natural state and the true relation of man toward all inferior creatures. If man was what he ought to be he would be adored by the animals, of whom he is too often the capricious and sanguinary tyrant. The legend of Saint Francis of Assisi is not so legendary as we think; and it is not so certain that it was the wild beasts who attacked man first.... But to exaggerate nothing, let us leave on one side the beasts of prey, the carnivora, and those that live by rapine and slaughter. How many other species are there, by thousands and tens of thousands, who ask peace from us and with whom we persist in waging a brutal war? Our race is by far the most destructive, the most hurtful, and the most formidable, of all the species of the planet. It has even invented for its own use the right of the strongest--a divine right which quiets its conscience in the face of the conquered and the oppressed; we have outlawed all that lives except ourselves. Revolting and manifest abuse; notorious and contemptible breach of the law of justice! The bad faith and hypocrisy of it are renewed on a small scale by all successful usurpers. We are always making God our accomplice, that so we may legalize our own iniquities. Every successful massacre is consecrated by a Te Deum, and the clergy have never been wanting in benedictions for any victorious enormity. So that what, in the beginning, was the relation of man to the animal becomes that of people to people and man to man.

If so, we have before us an expiation too seldom noticed but altogether just. All crime must be expiated, and slavery is the repetition among men of the sufferings brutally imposed by man upon other living beings; it is the theory bearing its fruits. The right of man over the animal seems to me to cease with the need of defense and of subsistence. So that all unnecessary murder and torture are cowardice and even crime. The animal renders a service of utility; man in return owes it a need of protection and of kindness. In a word, the animal has claims on man, and the man has duties to the animal. Buddhism, no doubt, exaggerates this truth, but the Westerns leave it out of count altogether. A day will come, however, when our standard will be higher, our humanity more exacting, than it is to-day. Homo homini lupus, said Hobbes: the time will come when man will be humane even for the wolf--homo lupo homo.