October 9

Gloomy morning; am feeling better. Ryland Seaver has been down to see me this morning. Andrew Burnham and wife also called this afternoon; think they are looking a little worn; marriage without means is evidently not a bed of roses even for vigorous people on a country hillside farm. Rodney Seaver has also been in to see me, too; has married since I've been in the army. He is another good man, but Ryle and I have always been firm friends and always shall be. The three Seaver brothers are straight, reliable, splendid men.

Friday, October 9th.—My compound fractured femur man told me how he stopped his bullet. Some wounded Germans held up the white flag and he went to them to help them. When he was within seven yards, the man he was going to help shot him in the thigh. A Coldstream Guardsman with him then split the German's head open with the butt-end of his rifle. The wounded Tommy was eventually taken to the château of the "lidy what killed the Editor somewhere in this country."

October Ninth

BATTLE OF KING'S MOUNTAIN: THE FIRST REBEL YELL

And they came, these mountaineers of the South. Congress has not ordered them; it is a rally of volunteers.... They neither hesitate nor parley; they hitch their horses to the trees; like a girdle of steel they clasp the mountain; and up they go, at the enemy—rifles blazing as they advance, and the Southern yell ringing through the woods.

Thomas E. Watson

 

It was the joyful annunciation of that turn of the tide of success which terminated the Revolutionary War with the seal of our independence.

Thomas Jefferson

 

 

October 9

October 9, 1880. (Clarens ).--A walk. Deep feeling and admiration. Nature was so beautiful, so caressing, so poetical, so maternal. The sunlight, the leaves, the sky, the bells, all said to me--"Be of good strength and courage, poor bruised one. This is nature's kindly season; here is forgetfulness, calm, and rest. Faults and troubles, anxieties and regrets, cares and wrongs, are but one and the same burden. We make no distinctions; we comfort all sorrows, we bring peace, and with us is consolation. Salvation to the weary, salvation to the afflicted, salvation to the sick, to sinners, to all that suffer in heart, in conscience, and in body. We are the fountain of blessing; drink and live! God maketh his sun to rise upon the just and upon the unjust. There is nothing grudging in his munificence; he does not weigh his gifts like a moneychanger, or number them like a cashier. Come--there is enough for all!"

October 9, 1862

Thursday. Bonfires in honor of the election of Mr. Chapin, for Mayor of Baltimore, was what so mystified us last night. The latest reports said there were riots in the city and it was being burned by the rioters. It was quite a relief to find out the truth, although we knew the city was there as soon as daylight appeared. The first death in our regiment occurred to-day in the hospital at Baltimore; it was that of John H. Smith, Hudson, N. Y. He was sick when we came here and was taken to the hospital at once. There are a few sick in our camp hospital, but nothing very serious as yet. At dress parade, a notice was read that we had been placed in General Emory's Brigade. I am sorry I cannot remember what other regiments make up the brigade, but I know the 150th N. Y. was not one. The Dutchess County regiment, lately organized, is the one hundred and fiftieth that New York has sent out, and we are greatly in hopes they may be with us all through the war.

October 9

October 9, 1872.--I have been taking tea at the M's. These English homes are very attractive. They are the recompense and the result of a long-lived civilization, and of an ideal untiringly pursued. What ideal? That of a moral order, founded on respect for self and for others, and on reverence for duty--in a word, upon personal worth and dignity. The master shows consideration to his guests, the children are deferential to their parents, and every one and everything has its place. They understand both how to command and how to obey. The little world is well governed, and seems to go of itself; duty is the genius loci --but duty tinged with a reserve and self-control which is the English characteristic. The children are the great test of this domestic system; they are happy, smiling, trustful, and yet no trouble. One feels that they know themselves to be loved, but that they know also that they must obey. Our children behave like masters of the house, and when any definite order comes to limit their encroachments they see in it an abuse of power, an arbitrary act. Why? Because it is their principle to believe that everything turns round them. Our children may be gentle and affectionate, but they are not grateful, and they know nothing of self-control.

How do English mothers attain this result? By a rule which is impersonal, invariable, and firm; in other words, by law, which forms man for liberty, while arbitrary decree only leads to rebellion and attempts at emancipation. This method has the immense advantage of forming characters which are restive under arbitrary authority, and yet amenable to justice, conscious of what is due to them and what they owe to others, watchful over conscience, and practiced in self-government. In every English child one feels something of the national motto--"God and my right," and in every English household one has a sense that the home is a citadel, or better still, a ship in which every one has his place. Naturally in such a world the value set on family life corresponds with the cost of producing it; it is sweet to those whose efforts maintain it.

27. John Adams

9 October, 1774.

I am wearied to death with the life I lead. The business of the Congress is tedious beyond expression. This assembly is like no other that ever existed. Every man in it is a great man, an orator, a critic, a statesman; and therefore every man upon every question must show his oratory, his criticism, and his political abilities. The consequence of this is that business is drawn and spun out to an immeasurable length. I believe if it was moved and seconded that we should come to a resolution that three and two make five, we should be entertained with logic and rhetoric, law, history, politics, and mathematics, and then—we should pass the resolution unanimously in the affirmative. The perpetual round of feasting, too, which we are obliged to submit to, makes the pilgrimage more tedious to me.

This day I went to Dr. Allison's meeting in the forenoon, and heard the Dr.;[58] a good discourse upon the Lord's supper. This is a Presbyterian meeting. I confess I am not fond of the Presbyterian meetings in this town. I had rather go to Church. We have better sermons, better prayers, better speakers, softer, sweeter music, and genteeler company. And I must confess that the Episcopal church is quite as agreeable to my taste as the Presbyterian. They are both slaves to the domination of the priesthood. I like the Congregational way best, next to that the Independent.

This afternoon, led by curiosity and good company, I strolled away to mother church, or rather to grandmother church. I mean the Romish chapel. I heard a good, short moral essay upon the duty of parents to their children, founded in justice and charity, to take care of their interests, temporal and spiritual. This afternoon's entertainment was to me most awful and affecting; the poor wretches fingering their beads, chanting Latin not a word of which they understood; their pater nosters and ave Marias; their holy water; their crossing themselves perpetually; their bowing to the name of Jesus, whenever they hear it; their bowings and kneelings and genuflections before the altar. The dress of the priest was rich with lace. His pulpit was velvet and gold. The altar-piece was very rich; little images and crucifixes about; wax candles lighted up. But how shall I describe the picture of our Saviour in a frame of marble over the altar, at full length, upon the cross in the agonies, and the blood dropping and streaming from his wounds! The music, consisting of an organ and a choir of singers, went all the afternoon except sermon time. And the assembly chanted most sweetly and exquisitely.

Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear, and imagination——everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell. Adieu.[59]

Footnotes:

[58]Francis Allison, D. D., was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, as well as Vice Provost and Professor of Moral Philosophy in the college then recently established in that city. He came from Ireland in 1735, and died highly respected on the 28th of November, 1777.

[59]This is the last of Mr. Adams's letters during his first visit to Philadelphia. On the 28th he left that city. The Congress had adjourned on the 21st.

66. Abigail Adams

Braintree, 9 October, 1775.

I have not been composed enough to write you since last Sabbath, when in the bitterness of my soul I wrote a few confused lines, since which it has pleased the great disposer of all events to add breach to breach.

"Rare are solitary woes, they leave a train And tread each other's heel."

The day week that I was called to attend a dying parent's bed I was again called to mourn the loss of one of my own family. I have just returned from attending Patty to the grave. No doubt, long before this will reach you, you have received a melancholy train of letters, in some of which I mention her as dangerously sick. She has lain five weeks, wanting a few days, so bad that we had little hope of her recovery. We have yet great sickness in the town. She made the fourth corpse that was this day committed to the ground. We have many others now so bad as to despair of their lives.

But blessed be the Father of mercies, all our family are now well, though I have my apprehension lest the malignity of the air in the house may have infected some of them. We have fevers of various kinds, the throat distemper as well as the dysentery prevailing in this and the neighboring towns.

How long, O Lord, shall the whole land say, I am sick! Oh, show us wherefore it is that Thou art thus contending with us! In a very particular manner I have occasion to make this inquiry, who have had breach upon breach—nor has one wound been permitted to be healed ere it is made to bleed afresh. In six weeks I count five of my near connections laid in the grave. Your aunt Simpson died at Milton about ten days ago, with the dysentery.

But the heavy stroke which most of all disturbs me is my dear mother. I cannot overcome my too selfish sorrow. All her tenderness towards me, her care and anxiety for my welfare at all times; her watchfulness over my infant years, her advice and instruction in maturer age,—all, all endear her memory to me and heighten my sorrow for her loss. At the same time, I know a patient submission is my duty. I will strive to obtain it, but the lenient hand of time alone can blunt the keen edge of sorrow. He who deigned to weep over a departed friend will surely forgive a sorrow which at all times desires to be bounded and restrained by a firm belief that a Being of infinite wisdom and unbounded goodness will carve out my portion in tender mercy to me. Yea, though He slay me, I will trust in Him, said holy Job. What though His corrective hand hath been stretched against me; I will not murmur. Though earthly comforts are taken away, I will not repine. He who gave them has surely a right to limit their duration, and He has continued them to me much longer than I deserve. I might have been stripped of my children, as many others have been. I might,—oh, forbid it Heaven,—I might have been left a solitary widow!

Still I have many blessings left, many comforts to be thankful for and rejoice in. I am not left to mourn as one without hope.

Forgive me for thus dwelling upon a subject sweet to me, but I fear painful to you. Oh, how I have longed for your bosom, to pour forth my sorrows there and find a healing balm; but perhaps that has been denied me that I might be led to a higher and a more permanent consolator who has bid us all call upon Him in the day of trouble.

As this is the first day since your absence that I could write you that we were all well, I desire to mark it with particular gratitude and humbly hope that all my warnings and corrections are not in vain.

I most thankfully received your kind favor of the 26th, yesterday. It gives me much pleasure to hear of your health. I pray Heaven for the continuance of it. I hope for the future to be able to give you more intelligence with regard to what passes out of my own little circle, but such has been my distress that I know nothing of the political world.

You have doubtless heard of the villainy of one who has professed himself a patriot.[103] But let not that man be trusted who can violate private faith and cancel solemn covenants, who can leap over moral law and laugh at Christianity. How is he to be bound whom neither honor nor conscience holds? We have here a rumor that Rhode Island has shared the fate of Charlestown. Is this the day we read of, when Satan was to be loosed?

I do not hear of any inhabitants getting out of town. 'T is said Gage is superseded and Howe in his place, and that Howe released the prisoners from jail. 'T is also said, though not much credited, that Burgoyne is gone to Philadelphia.

I hope to hear from you soon. Adieu, 't is almost twelve o'clock at night. I have had so little sleep lately that I must bid you good-night.

Portia.

Footnotes:

[103]Dr. Church.

October 9, 1842

STORM.

We have had several thunderstorms here. A few days ago I saw a large black cloud coming up against the wind. Gradually it spread until it covered the whole sky. The wind now died away for a few minutes, and then rose again and seemed to rush from all quarters of the heavens at once, and formed a sort of whirlwind round Midnapore; then from the darkest part of the cloud flashed a vivid streak of lightning, followed almost immediately by a terrific clap of thunder. For three hours the storm continued, and scarcely three minutes elapsed between each clap, while we saw the lightning running along the ground for several yards.

SNAKE.

The other morning two men who lived in Midnapore caught a cobra de capello, or hooded snake, and they were examining it when suddenly it bit them both, and they died in the course of half an hour. We have not yet seen any snakes in our house, although most people frequently find them. This, as I think I told you, I attribute to our keeping the mungoose, of which the snakes are much afraid.

The chikary, or huntsman, makes a large oval shield, which he covers over with leaves: in the upper part are two very small holes. When he perceives a bird he crouches down behind his screen, keeping a watch through the two little holes, and creeping on very slowly. When he has approached near enough, he thrusts forward a long thin stick like a fishing-rod, and touches the bird with one end of it, on which there is a little lime; the bird sticks to it, and then the man draws back the pole and secures the animal.

In this way a great number of partridges are taken, with snipes, woodcocks, pigeons, &c. I had two hoopoes given me the other day. The Major who commands this station has four elephants for the use of the troops under him, to carry their tents when they are marching; and whenever we like it he lends us one for a ride. On the back of the elephant is placed a large pad, and on that is a thing like a great cradle, with two seats in it. A man sits on the neck with his feet in stirrups of rope, and a pointed piece of iron in his hand, which he presses behind the elephant's ears to guide him. Another man runs by the side and encourages the animal in Hindustanee. When we want to get on his back, the man on the neck presses the iron rod on the middle of the animal's head, and he kneels down; a ladder is immediately brought, and we climb up into the seat, or houdah, as it is called, and then the huge monster rises again. His pace is very slow and very jolting. He is not allowed to pass over any bridges, lest his weight should shake them down; he accordingly goes through the water instead. Neither may he go where he is likely to meet many horses, lest he should frighten them.

My costume here would make you smile. I wear thin shoes, white stockings, white trowsers, a short black cassock reaching a little below the knees, and a hat made of pith covered with black merino—the crown is about four inches high, and the rim about six or seven inches wide. This is my out-of-door dress. Indoors, unless when any one calls, I wear a white jacket instead of the cassock. I am without any waistcoat. At a dinner-party, black silk socks, black trowsers, and my long black silk cassock.

The only coins in use at Midnapore are the pice and the rupee; the pice is worth a farthing and a half, and the rupee about two shillings. Another kind of money passes here, viz. a little shell called a cowrie, of which 120 are worth a pice. At Madras and Calcutta there are many other sorts.

The insects are a great nuisance here. If the candles were not protected by a glass shade they would be instantly extinguished. Thousands of insects of all sizes swarm, jumping and flying about the lamps, of all colours, green, yellow, blue; and many of them sting, whilst others smell most abominably.

Every morning the mollie, or gardener, brings in a basket of vegetables for us to look at, and select what we shall require for the day's consumption. The cold weather here begins about the middle of October, generally on the 15th, and we are all looking very anxiously for it; but by cold I mean only such a lower degree of heat as will enable us to go out in the middle of the day (provided we carry a great parasol), which we cannot do now.

DINNER COSTUME—NATIVE SERVANTS.

At a dinner-party every one brings his or her own table servant. This assemblage has a very pretty appearance: the ladies are all in white dresses and short sleeves, and the gentlemen in white jackets and trowsers, except the Major and myself; he wears a red jacket, and I a black cassock. Behind each chair stands a dark-brown man with long black beard and mustachios, dressed in a sort of white tunic and a white turban, with a coloured sash wound several times round the waist. As it would be the greatest mark of disrespect for a servant to appear in the presence of his master with covered feet, they all leave their shoes outside the door. After the meat is cleared away, before the puddings are brought in, the servants go out and smoke for five minutes. There is not a man, either Mussulman or Hindoo, except of the very lowest caste, who would eat anything that came from the table of a European. They would consider it a degradation, and would not even drink out of anything we had ever used, or touch what we had cooked. The Hindoos eat only once a-day, unless on their grand feasts. Their food then is boiled rice, with perhaps an onion and a little spice in it, which they eat with their hands.

LANGUAGE.

The language of this country, though confessedly a compound of two or three Eastern tongues, appears to me to have many remains of what must have been the original language of man, that is to say, those which must have existed from the very earliest time bear a close propinquity to the words of other and later languages. Several instances which came under my notice bear out this opinion.

It is curious to observe how the different castes or ranks here keep distinct, and it is this which renders so many servants necessary. The man who lays the cloth would feel degraded bydusting a chair, and he who dusts the chair would rather leave his place than dust the room. Again, two men of different castes will neither eat, drink, nor sleep together. Their bed is a mere mat, which explains well that saying of our Saviour, "Take up thy bed and walk."

The other day my basin had not been emptied. I told the carah of it, whose business it is to attend to my apartment, and he went a hundred or more yards to call the matee, because it would have been beneath his dignity to throw the water out into the adjoining bath-room. The men here are a sadly idle set; they make almost slaves of their wives. Early in the morning we may see troops of women going out into the jungle, from which they return in the evening with great fagots of wood; these fagots are about twelve feet in length, and in the middle quite two in thickness, and are carried on the head. The poor creatures are obliged continually to stop and rest.

The higher classes of the natives wear a kind of loose white gown, down to the knees, and very loose trowsers, also white embroidered slippers, no stockings, and a white turban. The lower classes wear nothing but a long white cloth tied round their hips.

Every one here, both native and European, takes a cold bath at least once a-day. When a native dies his body is burnt, and to make the funeral pile every native keeps four or five large trees growing in his garden. As soon as he dies, one, or two, or three trees, according to the man's rank, are cut down and surrounded with a great quantity of dry stubble, on which the body is placed. Formerly, his wife was burnt alive at the same time. This was called a sati. There are a great many tombs of holy men about the country, and on these the people throw little wooden images. There is one tomb here on which are placed two large dumb-bells, and the people imagine that every Sunday night the man who is buried there rises up and plays with them. There is one very disagreeable custom here, which exists more or less all over India; it is called dustoorie. Whenever anything is bought, for every rupee that is paid the seller is obliged to give the servant of the purchaser two pice; so that the more he has to buy, the better it is for the servant; and if a master were to say he would not allow dustoorie, no native would enter his service.

I have just been to look at the man who is making me some white jackets. The women here never do any needlework. The men sit down on the floor, and hold the work between the great toe and the next.

DESTRUCTIVENESS OF THE WHITE ANT.

I was the other day in want of a sheet of pith, on which to fasten some butterflies, and, going into my dressing-room, where I knew I had left four pieces on a shelf only the day before, I found them apparently in good condition; but, on taking them up, discovered them to be only so much dust. I then examined the other things upon the shelf, and found them to be in the same state. This was the work of the white ant, which was swarming about. I called the carah and sent him to the bazaar, or the place where all the little shops are, and told him to procure me sixteen pice worth of turpentine, and when it was brought I spread it over the shelf, and, soaking into the wood, it destroyed the ants. If let alone they would, in about two days, have eaten the chest of drawers, all my clothes, and everything in the room. I have just been engaged in catching with a green net on the end of the bamboo a most beautiful swallow-tailed butterfly, and in doing so frightened away a jackal, who was so impertinent as to intrude into the compound in the middle of the day.