Sunday, July 31, 2005

July 31, 1917

On the Western Front, American novelist John Dos Passos wrote in his diary:

How damned ridiculous it all is! The long generations toiling -- skimping, lashing themselves screwing higher and higher the tension of their minds, polishing brighter and brighter the mirror of intelligence to end in this -- My God what a time -- All the cant and hypocrisy, all the damnable survivals, all the vestiges of old truths now putrid and false infect the air, choke you worse than German gas -- The ministers from their damn smug pulpits, the business men -- the heroics about war -- my country right or wrong -- oh infinities of them! Oh the tragic farce of the world.

July 31, 1863

After the battle at Fort Wagner, Hannah Johnson wrote to President Lincoln:

My son went in the 54th regiment. I am a colored woman and my son was strong and able as any to fight for his country and the colored people have as much to fight for as any... I know it is right that a colored man should go and fight for his country, and so ought to a white man. I know that a colored man ought to run no greater risques than a white, his pay is no greater his obligation to fight is the same.... they said Mr Lincoln will never let them sell our colored soldiers for slaves, if they do he will get them back quck he will rettallyate and stop it... Will you see that the colored men fighting now, are fairly treated. You ought to do this, and do it at once, Not let the thing run along meet it quickly and manfully, and stop this, mean cowardly cruelty...

July 31, 1812

John Luttig, a clerk with the Missouri Fur Company, wrote in his journal:

This Morning we left our old she Cat at Camp I missed her, and Mr Manuel sent a Man for the Cat... this Remark may seem rediculous, but an Animal of this kind, is more valuable the this Country than a fine Horse. Mice are in great Abundance and the Company have lost for want of Cats, several Thousand Dollars in Merchandise...

July 31, 1775

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband:

We learn that...our ever valued Friend Warren... was [not] treated with any more respect than a common soldier, but the [savage] wretches call'd officers consulted together and agreed to sever his Head from his body, and carry it in triumph to Gage, who no doubt would have 'grin'd horrible a gastly smile'... What Humanity could not obtain, the rights and ceremonies of a Mason demanded...

Friday, July 29, 2005

July 30, 1866

On his return voyage from Honolulu to San Francisco, Mark Twain wrote:

Ever since we got becalmed -- five days -- I have been copying the diary of one of the young Fergusons (the two boys who starved and suffered, with thirteen others, in an open boat at sea for forty-three days...after their ship, the 'Hornet,' was burned on the equator). Both these boys, and Captain Mitchell, are passengers with us...

July 30, 1865

Frederick Douglass wrote to Lydia Child:

Use the story of my life in any way you see fit... I do not think it well to make known the manner of my escape from slavery. No good end could be served by such publication and some evil might possibly come of it...

July 30, 1852

Mrs Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to her mother:

This morning we received the shocking intelligence that Louisa Hawthorne was lost in the destruction of the steamer 'Henry Clay' on the Hudson...

July 30, 1836

Reverend Elijah Lovejoy wrote to his brother:

By the Alton Telegraph, which I send you today, you will learn that I have had the honour of being mobbed at last. I have been expecting the catastrophe for some time, and now it has come... a few miscreants undertook to follow the example of St Louis, and so demolished what was left of the printing office...

July 30, 1805

John Ordway, a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, wrote in his journal:

[W]e dined at a Camp where the Snake Indians had been camped 4 years ago, and was aatacted by the Gross vauntars. 2 or three of the Snake nation was killed, and Several Squaws taken prisoners our Intrepters wife was one of them. She tells us that she was taken in the middle of the River as She was crossing at a Shole place to make hir ascape...

July 30, 1796

Believing he'd been abandoned to imprisonment during the Reign of Terror in France, Thomas Paine wrote to George Washington:

As to you, sir, treacherous to private friendship (for so you have been to me, and that in the day of danger) and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an imposter, whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any.

July 29, 1890

In a special message to Congress, President Benjamin Harrison wrote:

The recent attempt to secure a charter from the State of North Dakota for a lottery company, the pending effort [for] renewal of the charter of the Louisiana State Lottery, and the establishment of one or more lottery companies at Mexican towns near our border, have served the good purpose of calling public attention to an evil of vast proportions...

July 29, 1861

The Boston Journal reported:

Wise's balloon went up...and when between Fort Corcoran and Ball's Cross, it was seen to collapse suddenly and fall with great rapidity... It was too far off to ascertain how many were in the car, but it is feared that their escape from a sudden and terrible death was impossible...


At Washington, DC, Mary Henry wrote in her diary:

Much is said of the ferocity of the Southerners at the battle but the feeling of animosity seems to be equally deep on both sides. One of our friends who had been upon the field told us he saw two wounded men a federal & a secessionist lying side by side attempt to bayonet each other too weak for such an effort they sank back exhausted & dying.

July 29, 1855

During an outbreak of yellow fever at Portsmouth, VA, Reverend James Chisholm wrote in his journal:

The pest-house, temporarily constructed out in the vicinity of Portlock Cemetery, and upon which many of our citizens have been working day and night for the past forty-eight hours, is completed and made ready for the reception of sufferers. But now, behold, unlooked-for difficulties arise and threaten to defeat the wise and benevolent plan of removal. In the first place, the wretched and squalid patients in Irish Row positively refused to abandon their pestilential abodes...

July 29, 1806

Former Vice President Aaron Burr sent a coded letter to General James Wilkinson at New Orleans:

I have obtained funds, and have actually commenced the enterprise. Detachments from different points under different pretences will rendezvous on the Ohio, 1st November... protection of England is secured... Wilkinson shall be second to Burr only... Burr will proceed westward 1st August, never to return: with him go his daughter -- the husband will follow in October with a corps of worthies. Send forthwith an intelligent and confidential friend with whom Burr may confer. He shall return immediately with further interesting details -- this is essential to concert and harmony of the movement...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

July 28, 1878

President Rutherford B Hayes wrote in his diary:

In eight or ten States of the South, in the mountain regions, embracing perhaps sixty counties in all, with possibly a population of a million or more, the tax on whiskey can't be collected; or if collected, it is with a good deal of difficulty. Hitherto there has been a great deal of evasion and some violence and bloodshed...

July 28, 1864

A Union soldier wrote from Virginia:

On this point...stands and aged oak, measuring four feet in diameter at its trunk, said to be the identical tree under which the romantic incident of Pocahontas saving the life of Capt John Smith took place. That such a tree...should be sacredly preserved must be generally conceded; but sad to state, the vandal hand of the soldier has already commenced the work of destruction... What a pity it is that these old landmarks -- these venerable monarchs of the forest and relics of by gone ages, should be thus wantonly and foolishly destroyed!

July 28, 1862

President Abraham Lincoln wrote to Cuthbert Bullitt:

What would you do in my position? Would you drop the war where it is? Or would you prosecute it in future with elder-stalk squirts charged with rose water?... Would you give up the contest, leaving any available means unapplied? I am in no boastful mood. I shall not do more than I can, and I shall do all I can to save the government, which is my sworn duty as well as my personal inclination. I shall do nothing in malice. What I deal with is too vast for malicious dealing...

July 28, 1851

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote of his five-year-old son:

Julian had a great resource in my jack-knife, which, being fortunately as dull as a hoe, I have given him to whittle with. So he made what he called a boat, and covered the floor of the boudoir with chips, twice over; and finds such inexhaustible amusement, that I think it would be cheaply bought with the loss of one or two of his fingers...

July 28, 1847

Pvt William Wilson Ingraham wrote to his brother:

I am now on my way to the rocky mountains to kill indians and hunt buffaloe... Howard and I joined a company called the Sublette Rangers. We have twenty eight dollars a month and out of our first six months pay a hundred and twenty dollars are deducted to pay for our horses and their saddles and bridles and our clothing...

July 28, 1777

John Adams wrote to Abigail:

Is it not unaccountable, that one should feel so strong an Affection for an Infant, that one has never seen, nor shall see? Yet I must confess to you, the Loss of this sweet little Girl, has most tenderly and sensibly affected me. I feel a Grief and Mortification, that is heightened the it is not wholly occasioned, by my Sympathy with the Mother...

July 28, 1743

Benjamin Franklin wrote to his sister:

You express yourself as if you thought I was against Worshipping of God... There are some Things in your New England Doctrines and Worship, which I do not agree with, but I do not therefore condemn them, or desire to shake your Belief or Practice of them... I would only have you make me the same Allowances...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

July 27, 1944

From the diary of the 381st Bomb Group's medical unit:

Penicillin has been obtained for use in this dispensary and by peculiar coincidence two brand new cases of Gonorrhea have shown up for it...

July 27, 1922

From an editorial by William Allen White in Kansas' Emporia Gazette:

So, dear friend, put fear out of your heart. This nation will survive, this state will prosper, the orderly business of life will go forward if only men can speak in whatever way given them to utter what their hearts hold -- by voice, by posted card, by letter or by press. Reason never has failed men. Only force and repression have made the wrecks in the world...

July 27, 1864

Admiral Theodorus Bailey wrote to the Secretary of the Navy about the yellow fever epidemic at Key West:

My worst fears have been more than realized, and for more than two months the disease has held its course without abatement and is now as virulent as at any time... The mortality on the island I am told has reached as high as 12 to 15 in a day... The squadron is much crippled...

July 27, 1861

From a letter to the Richmond Dispatch:

Went into a stable at Centreville... found a Washington Artillery man seated by the side of a wounded soldier, evidently ministering to him with great care and tenderness. He remarked it was very hard to fight as he had fought, and turn and find his own brother fighting against him, at the same time pointing to the wounded soldier from whose side he had just risen.. Thus they met -- one from the far North, the other from the extreme South -- on a bloody field in Virginia, in a miserable stable, far away from their mother, home and friends...

July 27, 1852

George S Hilliard wrote to Nathaniel Hawthorne:

You have written another book full of beauty and power, which I read with great interest and vivid excitement... Zenobia is a splendid creature, and I wish there were more such rich and ripe women about. I wish, too, you could have wound up your story without killing her, or that at least you had given her a drier and handsomer death...

July 27, 1831

James Madison wrote to Mathew Carey:

I have recd. your favor of the 21st, with your commencing address to the Citizens of S. Carolina. The strange doctrines and misconceptions prevailing in that quarter are much to be deplored; and the tendency of them the more to be dreaded, as they are patronized by Statesmen of shining talents, and patriotic reputations...

July 27, 1783

Benjamin Franklin wrote to Sir Joseph Banks:

I hope...that Mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable Creatures, have Reason and Sense enough to settle their Differences without cutting Throats; for, in my opinion, there never was a good War, or a bad Peace. What vast additions to the Conveniences and Comforts of Living might Mankind have acquired, if the Money spent in Wars had been employed in Works of public utility! What...might have been obtained by spending those Millions in doing good, which in the last War have been spent in doing Mischief; in bringing Misery into thousands of Families, and destroying the Lives of so many thousands of working people, who might have performed the useful labor!

July 27, 1769

James Otis wrote to Catharine Macaulay:

No. America is really distressed as you justly perceive. The governors of too many of ye colonies are not only unprincipled, but...rapacious... The revenue officers in general are to the last degree oppressive... [A mutual friend] told of captures & prizes taken from truly loyal subjects here inasmuch as the same as is sent out against traitors, rebels, and others the worst of his enemies. Indeed, all the least endearing appellations are liberally bestowed on the colonists for no apparent fault...[except] petitioning ye King, & living as...peaceably as possible on ye fistful pittance lest them call blasphemy & treason...

Monday, July 25, 2005

July 26, 1944

At Normandy, Coast Guard crewman Clifford Lewis wrote in his diary:

Went ashore in evening with Qullien, Cuss and Davis... Visit grave yard. Saw Buncik, DeNunzio and Burton's graves... It's fixed up nice and the little white crosses are lined up neatly In 2 directions. A flag pole, a mast from some ship is In the center and flowers are planted around It... Many more graves being dug...

July 26, 1864

Mary Boykin Chesnut wrote in her diary:

We have laughed so at broken hearts -- the broken hearts of the foolish love stories. But Buck, now, is breaking her heart for her brother Willie. Hearts do break in silence, without a word or a sigh. Mrs Means and Mary Barnwell made no moan -- simply turned their faces to the wall and died. How many more that we know nothing of...

July 26, 1861

Union soldier Bob Taggart wrote to his brother:

They say the secessioninst have no mercy on the wounded , but when ever they pass on the field or elsewhere, one who cannot take himself away, they instantly bayonet him. The game is now being played as a general thing on both sides...

July 26, 1843

Of his troubled relationship with a new plural wife, Mormon William Clayton wrote in his diary:

[Margaret] seems quite embittered against me in consequence of which I called her to me and asked her if she desired the covenant to be revoked if it were possible To this she would not give me a satisfactory answer... M. has treated me not only unkindly but meanly & cruelly, but I forgive her before the Lord for I sympathize with her in her grief, but cant console her for she will not speak to me...

July 26, 1784

Benjamin Franklin wrote to Benjamin Vaughan:

We assemble parliaments and councils, to have the benefit of their collected wisdom; but we necessarily have, at the same time, the inconvenience of their collected passions, prejudices, and private interests. By the help of these, artful men overpower their wisdom, and dupe its possessors; and if we may judge by the acts, arrêts, and edicts, all the world over, for regulating commerce, an assembly of great men is the greatest fool upon earth...

July 26, 1720

Virginia planter Robert "King" Carter wrote:

[W]e Expect to have upon the Sales of twenty Negroes we have yett to Dispose of between twelve & Thirteen hundred Pounds the Cheifest part in Gold... We shall take the first opportunity to transmitt You a full & particular accot. of the whole Cargo, as soon as we can compleat It... the whole accot. of the Slaves will be about Ten Thousand Pounds It will be hardly needfull for us again to mention the great Disadvantage we have bin under, by the number of boys & Girlls so very much exceeding all manner of Proportion to the men & Women...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

July 25, 1945

President Harry Truman wrote in his diary:

We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world. It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark... The weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec of War, Mr Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop this terrible bomb on the old capital or the new...

July 25, 1892

Letitia Dicke wrote from Bay City, MI:

It is now near midnight and I'm wide awake and expect to be for the rest of the night. Anna came down an hour or two ago to tell me that I'm homeless. We were burned out this afternoon, with hundreds of other families. There is not a house left from 29th street up to 35th and as far back from the river as Stanton street and Broadway - a clean sweep!... There are hundreds tonight who will sleep on the ground and without their suppers. Poor little children who got separated from their parents. One woman lost her little babe. Anna said she'd go crazy, had she stayed there longer herself, seeing and hearing the distress...

July 25, 1869

From a decree issued by Emperor Norton regarding Frederick Marriott and his airship:

Whereas, we Norton I, 'Dei Gratia' Emperor of the US & Protector of Mexico, being anxious for the future fame & honor of the residents of San Francisco, do hereby command all our good & loyal subjects to furnish the means & exert their best skill & advance money to make Mr Marriot's aerial machine a success...

July 25, 1812

John C Luttig, a clerk with the Missouri Fur Company, wrote in his journal:

Mr Manuels Negro Boy Charles went out the Boat to get some grass or grasshoppers for a Prairie Dog which he had caught some days ago, he the Boy went upon the Hills unperceived, they are very high he fell down a...precipice into the River, the Man who was steering the Mackina Boat saw it, and cried out...but Mr Lewis unfortunately did not understand the men however saw something strugling in the water, but thought the Boy was a swimming, when the Men came towards him, they went to find the Boy, alas he was gone, he must have been stunned by the fall or otherwise would have saved himself...

July 25, 1795

From an advertisement the North Carolina Central and Fayetteville Gazette:

$10 reward to deliver to the subscriber in Georgetown, a mustie servant woman named Nancy Oxendine, she is a stout wench, of a light complexion about 30 years old...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

July 24, 1944

On Owi Island in the Pacific, Sgt WE Ursprung wrote in his journal:

Cpl Schaffer was killed and Cpl Heath is not expected to live. They were hit in the head by an airplane wing while riding on a truck at the air strip. Lt Liscomb received second degree burns when he crashed S/Sgt Winkles ship on the runway.

July 24, 1878

President Rutherford B Hayes wrote to HS Noyes:

You evidently have not heard of the rule -- an ungracious and embarrassing rule -- which I felt it was my duty to adopt against the appointment of relatives to office. No man connected with me by blood or marriage has received any appointment at my hands. I need not say that there have been applicants. No doubt a number have felt severely my refusal to give them places...

July 24, 1865

Ruth Shackelford, in Wyoming on her way to California, wrote in her diary:

About 4 o'clock we crossed the top of the Rocky Mountains and are now going down... We passed Mr Niel's house and there is not another house within twelve miles of his. The house was built of round poles, two rooms. They have a blacksmith shop and stage and seem to have plenty of work to do. There are five hacks standing there. They have another round pole bridge and charge 50¢ a wagon to cross on it, with 200 wagons crossing there today...

July 24, 1860

In the Rocky Mountains, prospector Lamech Chambers wrote in his diary:

Us four sold three of our claims for $50 dollars each in cash and one good yoke of oxen -- me and Barak, Bud and Hufstetter are now able to go home to Georgia to see our families -- great rejoicing with us -- me and Hufstetter went to Denver and took a spree we was so glad.

July 24, 1858

The Oregonian reported:

We are told that gold has been discovered within 15 miles west of Hillsborough...that yields 17 cents to the pan... Don't start all at once, wait a day or two. Some 30 men, old miners, have gone out to examine the diggings.

July 24, 1838

In a speech to the Literary Societies of Dartmouth College, Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

Explore, and explore. Be neither chided nor flattered out of your position of perpetual inquiry. Neither dogmatize, or accept another’s dogmatism...

July 24, 1774

Lord Dunmore, governor of Virginia, wrote to Colonel Andrew Lewis:

[T]he unhappy situation of the Divided People settled over the Alagany Mountain's makes it necessary for [me to] go in Person to Fort Dunmore to put Matters under the best Regulation to Support that Country for a Barrier [and] give the Enemies a Blow that will Breake the Confederacy & render their plans abortive...

Friday, July 22, 2005

July 23, 1909

From an article in the Atlanta Constitution:

As a result of a pistol duel between George F Hatfield and JJ McConnel, of Wilkinson county... Mr Hatfield died this morning... and McConnell lies at his home seriously, if not mortally wounded, a pistol ball entering his neck... The difficulty arose over the disapperance of a jug of whisky from [Mc]Connell's house last Saturday... The tragedy took place while the streets of the town were full of women and children at a Baptist meeting and a singing convention were in progress at the place...

July 23, 1880

On Oregon's Wallowa River, Frank Stevens wrote in his diary:

Saw a man at this place with a fish trap, where he was ready for the red fish when they came up the river... The red fish come up in large numbers to lay their eggs, and for about 2 months the stream and lake is full of them. It may look like a big story, but it is nevertheless true, that there is a stream which comes in at the head of the lake where they get so thick that a man can stand on the edge and throw out barrels of them with a pitchfork... there is one great curiosity about them -- when they are in the river, before they get to the lake, they are a bluish color, but when they have been in the lake awhile they turn red...

July 23, 1864

Two weeks after the Battle of Monocacy, Union soldier Samuel McClain wrote near Washington, DC:

I have very sore feet. I can't tell whare we will have to go to from here. We have bin marching for 17 days and nights with the exceptions of a few hours at a time. Some nights we had to march all night & all day to. We ware fired into by the gorillers one night... We are safe now, for we are inside of the fortifications... I have seen the elephant's tail, I have.

July 23, 1861

After the battle at Manassas, Confederate soldier Albert Peel wrote in his diary:

I went on to the battle field and was perfectly struck with horrow to see the yankeys strewed so thick... I counted a Hundred & Forty Eight in going a hundred yards, I found a Georgian with his Brains shot out, and living perfectly sensible of all that passed, he told me that if his head was bound up he believed that he could get well...

July 23, 1764

James Otis published his views on taxation without representation in The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved:

We all think ourselves happy under Great Britain. We love, esteem, and reverence our mother country, and adore our King. And could the choice of independency be offered the colonies or subjection to Great Britain upon any terms above absolute slavery, I am convinced they would accept the latter. The ministry in all future generations may rely on it that British America will never prove undutiful till driven to it as the last fatal resort against ministerial oppression, which will make the wisest mad, and the weakest strong...

July 23, 1722

Mrs Silence Dogood, aka Benjamin Franklin, wrote to the New England Courant:

It has been for some Time a Question with me, Whether a Common-wealth suffers more by hypocritical Pretenders to Religion, or by the openly Profane? But some late Thoughts of this Nature, have inclined me to think, that the Hypocrite is the most dangerous Person of the Two, especially if he sustains a Post in the Government...

July 22, 1944

An American serviceman in France wrote to his wife:

Maybe you know something now of what the boys have gone through: constant contact with the enemy since D-Day. They've taken their losses, too. Somebody says 'Old Bill got it today.' 'No!' you say. 'Son-of-a-bitch!' And you go on about your business, with a little more emptiness inside, a little more tiredness, a little more hatred of everything concerning war...

July 22, 1918

American soldier Edward Luckert wrote from France:

[W]e suspected that Fritz might lay in wait to ambush us... we arose and leaped into his trench. It was empty... we filed down his path toward the second line... paused here almost five minutes and were just about ready to dash in and start the fuss, when we heard a smothered cough directly in front of us. And then the ground seemed to spring up in one great roar and flame and we knew it had been a trap...

July 22, 1861

A Union soldier wrote to his mother after the Battle of Bull Run:

The scene was dreadful... they kept falling and bleeding and dying before our faces, but we merely kept loading and firing... Ambulances, cannon, men and horses were piled in one confused mass, and to add to the horror of the scene, the enemy commenced firing solid shot and shell directly at the bridge, blowing up the living and the dying... I have seen war, and seen enough...


At Washington, DC, Mary Henry wrote in her diary:

[A] violent pull at the door bell made us all start to our feet. Two soldiers entered bloodstained & dusty. Poor little Fanny threw herself on the floor at my feet covering her ears fearing to hear the terrible news they might bring. They were messengers of good tiding for her however Elderkin was safe but a sad sad tale they had to tell...

July 22, 1859

John McTurk Gibson wrote in his Journal of Western Travel:

Leaving Ogden City we again took the sandhills... camped at noon in a place where the grasshoppers were skipping in thousands and had eat up every green thing. We tasted the bitter end of a raking windstorm, the air was completely filled with dust, and...we did as they do in the eastern deserts, laid flat on our bellies till the squall went over...

July 22, 1849

At Socorro, New Mexico, forty-niner William P Huff wrote in his diary:

This evening I went to a Mexican show, the fee of admittance was three cents. The show was poor indeed and the principal actor was a most bungling rope performer as well as wretched manipulator in the sleight-of-hand art... The real show however, was the motley crowd that had gathered together from every part of the town. The fair and the dark, the tawney and the nearly black, the brunette and the Triguena, the bright copper colored and the spotted Albino, the American, the German, the Irishman, the Pueblo Indian, the Mexican, the Frenchman, the cavallero and peon, and senorita and Margarita all drawn together by that common magnet, fun and curiosity...

July 22, 1640

From the minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia:

Whereas complaint has been made to this Board by Capt Wm Pierce Esqr that six of his servants and a negro of Mr Reginolds has plotted to run away... the Court taking the same into consideration, as a dangerous precident for the future time (if unpunished) did order that Christopher Miller a dutchman...should receive the punishment of whipping and to have thirty stripes, and to be burnt in the cheek with the letter R and to work with a shakle on his legg for one whole year...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

July 21, 1948

David E Lilienthal, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, recorded comments made by President Harry Truman in his diary:

'I don't think we ought to use [the A-Bomb] unless we absolutely have to. It is a terrible thing to order the use of something so terribly destructive, destructive beyond anything we have ever had. You have got to understand that this isn't a military weapon... It is used to wipe out women and children and unarmed people, and not for military uses.'

July 21, 1863

Union soldier Howard Stevens wrote from Vicksburg:

The citizens of V were in great danger during the seige... Many a 15 inch mortar shell went crushing down through the roofs of houses bursting on the inside killing women and children while quietly slumbering in their beds. Nearly every house in town bears the marks of our shots. They had to dig caves in the sides of banks and live in them...

July 21, 1862

Union soldier Thomas Christie wrote from Corinth, MS:

I have seen many very good looking girls down here, but the moment you get into conversation with them you are disenchanted... They display the most deplorable ignorance of...the commonest subjects of conversation, and by the languages they use show their nonacquaintance with English Grammar or its most simple rules. In fact the most of them are almost wholly uneducated, and know nothing beyond the narrow sphere of their domestic duties...

July 21, 1852

On the Oregon Trail, Abigail Jane Scott wrote in her diary:

We this day met a Mountaineer who had been in the mountains since '39 -- he is a native of Kentucky and the best Spicimen of a backwoods man I ever saw... his name is Caldwell, his uncle Mr Wm Caldwell was one of (our) nearest & most intimate neighbours in the 'Sucker State'...

July 21, 1851

From the records of the Ladies Board of Oberlin College:

The case of several young ladies who had been guilty of improper conduct was examined. Three white ladies Miss Caroline Heldman Ameline Rodgus + Martha Hall...met two colored ladies Miss Josephine Darnes + Penelope Lloyd. Neither party would give the walk. Miss Heldman was pushed off + fell the distance of two or three feet. Miss Heldman retaliated by applying several vile epithets to the colored ladies...

July 21, 1831

At Cleveland, Ohio, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:

After coasting along for hours beside a dark forest that only ends where the lake begins, one suddenly sees a church tower, elegant houses, fine villages, with an appearance of wealth and industry. Nothing but nature is savage here; man fights against her everywhere armed with all the resources of civilization. One goes without transition from the wilds into a city street...

July 21, 1811

On the Missouri River, John Bradbury wrote in his diary:

[W]e landed...and entered a small skirting of trees and shrubs, that separated the river from an extensive plain. On gaining a view of it, such a scene opened to us as will fall to the lot of few travellers to witness. This plain was literally covered with buffaloes as far as we could see...

July 21, 1774

Mingo chief John Logan wrote to Captain Michael Cresap:

What did you kill my people on Yellow Creek for. The white People killed my kin at Coneestoga a great while ago, & I thought nothing of that. But you killed my kin again on Yellow Creek, and took my cousin prisoner then I thought I must kill too...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

July 20, 1923

Crystal Eastman, co-author of the 1923 Equal Rights Amendment, wrote in Time and Tide:

Indifference is harder to fight than hostility, and there is nothing that kills an agitation like having everybody admit that it is fundamentally right.

July 20, 1870

Hannah Ditzler of Naperville, IL, wrote in her diary:

Arrived in Waterloo to visit Mary and Eli Richert... DW knew I was coming and came to greet me. I composed myself and shook hands... He asked me to come to his home, but he can not know what a trial it would be to see his wife...

July 20, 1860

In Colorado, Captain Lambert Wolf of the US Cavalry wrote in his diary:

Bent was issuing government annuities to the Apaches and Arapahoes... A band of Cheyennes is also encamped here. In the afternoon I spent about two hours taking in the sights and appreciated it. There are now about 3,000 Indians here and they make quite a representation of the original settlers of this continent.

July 20, 1775

Dr James Thacher, a surgeon in the Continental Army, wrote in his diary:

This day is devoted to a Public Fast throughout the United Colonies, by the recommendation of Congress, to implore the Divine benediction on our country; that any further shedding of blood may be averted; and that the calamities with which we are afflicted may be removed. This is the first general or Continental Fast ever observed since the settlement of the colonies...

Monday, July 18, 2005

July 19, 1869

Traveling up the Missouri River, Serena Washburn wrote:

Our party had breakfasted and the second table were eating, when a loud crash was heard and an unusually great jar that knocked several from their seats. I was standing holding my state-room door and talking to Thirza who was sitting on my trunk. I was thrown almost to the floor, my sister was pitched headlong into my berth, but this did not seriously alarm us, as we were accustomed to hard knocks on bars and snags. But there was a rush and bustle outside and soon the cry reached us that the boat was sinking...

July 19, 1849

On the California Trail, forty-niner Dr Charles E Boyle wrote in his diary:

Today we traveled 28 miles -- a hard day's drive. Russell overtook us at night again and told us we were only three miles from the sink, but this has been his story every day for a week, and no one here has any very clear notion of where the sink really is...

July 19, 1836

After the Donner Party crossed the Continental Divide, Charles Stanton wrote:

This stream was of a swift current and sandy color, and its general course was westward. This surprised the most of us, as now they were willing to acknowledge that they had crossed the dividing ridge without knowing it...

July 19, 1791

Midwife Martha Ballard of Maine wrote in her diary:

Capt Savages Lady Came home with me & Sleeps here. Shee informd me that Sally Peirce Swore a Child on my son [Jonathan] & he was taken with a warrent. mr Abisha Cowen is his Bonds man for appearance at Coart.

July 19, 1725

Virginia planter Robert "King" Carter wrote to William Cage:

There is another little difference that hath lately happen'd, between the Officers of the Revenue and I... the Goods of Felons they have allowed me to take for Severall years, It hath latly happened a person hath hang'd himself, and is found Guilty by the Coroners Enquest of self murder, whereby his goods are -- forfeited, now says the Attorney General these Goods belong to the Crown and not to the proprietrs...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

July 18, 1945

President Harry Truman wrote in his diary:

PM & I ate alone. Discussed Manhattan (it is a success)... Stalin had told PM of telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace. Stalin also read his answer to me. It was satisfactory. Believe Japs will fold up before Russia comes in. I am sure they will when Manhattan appears over their homeland. I shall inform Stalin about it at an opportune time.

July 18, 1944

Captain William H Arthur, a B-17 pilot stationed in England, wrote in his diary:

No mission... off to London on 2 day pass. Stay Regent Palace -- 'Lift' operator asked if we had our 'Kie' for our room -- couldn’t understand her!... 7 buzz bombs came over -- could hear engines stop and then 'Ka-whump.' Have seen a lot of bomb damage. Stood around Piccadilly Circus & watched all the women peddling their 'wares' -- never seen anything like it. Even newsmen sell rubber goods very openly & loudly.

July 18, 1863

En route to California, George Richard Hamrick wrote in his diary:

Great Salt Lake Citty is a regular laid out Citty of 1500 or 1800 inhabitants it had shady yards and fllowery Gardens it has some magnificent Buildings of Which the Theatre Brigham Young and the Temple Which is unfinished and the State Buildings form a part The people are a mixed or mongrel mass of humanity they have some smart men Who lead the ignorant into Error... we had to pay exorbitant prices for every thing We Bought...

July 18, 1832

Fur trader Robert Campbell wrote to his brother:

A year has nearly elapsed since we parted, and the Fates, my wayward disposition, or both combined, have placed us at a distance of some thousand miles from each other. You, in the enjoyment of peace and security; while I, with a small band of hardy trappers, am in the midst of our old enemies the Black Feet Indians -- who if they had a chance would take pleasure in 'dancing my scalp'...

July 18, 1831

Touring western New York, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his journal:

Appearance of the country peopled as far as Batavia. After that scattered houses. Marsh. Road of tree trunks. Arrival at Buffalo. Walk through the town. A crowd of savages in the streets... Their strange look. Their oily, bronzed skin. Their long, black, stiff hair. Their European clothes worn in savage fashion... Population brutalized by our wines and spirits. More horrible than the equally brutalized populations of Europe...

July 18, 1755

Following a battle near Pittsburgh, George Washington wrote to his mother:

As I doubt not but you have heard of our defeat... we were attacked by a party of French and Indians, whose number, I am persuaded, did not exceed three hundred men; while ours consisted of about one thousand three hundred well-armed troops, chiefly regular soldiers, who were struck with such a panic that they behaved with more cowardice than it is possible to conceive... I luckily escaped without a wound, though I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

July 17, 1943

Stationed in North Africa, B-26 pilot Lt Herschel Davis wrote in his diary:

Odd -- I left my cigarettes and Zippo lighter on my bunk when I left for Algiers, and after several days absence, they were still there when I returned. Then that day I went to shower, and when I got back they had been stolen!!! Another oddity -- one night a sentry near my tent hollered HALT--HALT--HALT!! and then a loud bang. Seem as though a camel refused to give the password so the jittery sentry shot him.

July 17, 1879

From an editorial by Abigail Scott Duniway in her newspaper, the New Northwest:

The militia's been out and egged us! And now they've burned us in effigy, the image being a fair likeness of George Washington, so we're told, though we didn't see it; and it wore a white apron with the words 'Libeller of Families' on it in big letters... Only one egg hit us, and that was fresh and sweet, as it took us square on the scalp and saved a shampooing bill...

July 17, 1862

At Staunton, VA, Joseph Addison Waddell wrote in his diary:

The proceedings of the Northern Old School General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, lately in session at Columbus, Ohio, fill me with astonishment... The 'deliverance' of the Assembly on the state of the country, takes the most ultra ground against the South, throws the whole blame upon us, urges the prosecution of the war, and with the most arrogant, if not blasphemous, assurance assumes to speak in the name of Jesus Christ. The utter madness and folly of the men is astounding...

July 17, 1836

On the Oregon Trail, missionary Narcissa Whitman wrote:

This is a cause worth living for -- Wherever we go we find oppertunities of doing good -- If we had packed one or two animals with bibles & testaments we should have had abundant oppertunity of disposing of them to the traders & trappers of the mountain who would have received them greatfully Many have come to us for tracts & bibles which we could not supply. We have given away all we have to spare. When they return from hunting they have leisure for reflection and reading if they have the means, which might result in the salvation of their souls...

July 17, 1791

Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams:

I have a dozen times taken up my pen to write to you and as often laid it down again, suspended between opposing considerations. I determine however to write from a conviction that truth, between candid minds, can never do harm... That you and I differ in our ideas of the best form of government is well known to us both: but we have differed as friends should do, respecting the purity of each other's motives...

Friday, July 15, 2005

July 16, 1932

Iowa farmer Elmer Powers wrote in his diary:

While we were eating dinner the phone rang... the operator said that all of the stores and the three banks in our town were having a Holiday for a week. And we always thot our banks were in such good shape... All of the banks in the County Seat are closed too.

July 16, 1863

Confederate spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow wrote, in a letter to Jefferson Davis:

[H]and bills were distributed...setting forth the imminent peril of Charleston and calling upon the people for 3000 negro's to work on the defenses. On nearing the city the booming of the heavy guns was distinctly heard, and I feared that the attack had been going on with but little intermission for several days. I omitted to mention also that the cars coming were laden with cotton and in many instances carriages & horses also being sent to the interior, showing the sense of insecurity which very generally prevailes...


Confederate soldier Van Buren Oldham wrote in his diary:

My boots are gone and I am barefoot. I would purchase a pair of shoes but three months wages would be required and I must have something to eat today with my money...

July 16, 1862

Union soldier Thomas Christie wrote from Corinth, MS:

It is always disagreeable to me to visit our Clyman boys there, for I seem to descend into a lower moral sphere with their cursing and brogue and quarreling. I expect though that they will fight like devils from mere habit and disposition although there are a great many among them who would not care now one snap which whipt, the North or South, if they only were out of it...

July 16, 1845

At Nauvoo, IL, Mormon police chief Hosea Stout wrote in his diary:

This morning about ten o'clock I went to Petty's Shop to get a pair of bullet molds made and then went in company with Amasa Lyman to Brother Hewett's to see dead bodies of the two Hodges who had been hung at Burlington but they had been taken to the graveyard before we got there...

July 16, 1826

Trapper Daniel T Potts wrote from the Wind River Valley of Wyoming:

The mildness of the winter in this valley may readily be imputed to the immense number of Hot Springs which rise near the head of the river... There is also an Oil Spring in this valley, which discharges 60 or 70 gallons of pure oil per day...

July 16, 1777

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband:

[T]ho my sufferings were great thanks be to Heaven I have been supported through, and would silently submit to its dispensations in the loss of a sweet daughter; it appeard to be a very fine Babe, and as it never opened its Eyes in this world it lookd as tho they were only closed for sleep... My Heart was much set upon a Daughter. I had had a strong perswasion that my desire would be granted me. It was -- but to shew me the uncertanty of all sublinary enjoyments cut off e'er I could call it mine...

July 16, 1772

Samuel Adams wrote to Colonel James Warren:

The Session is at length over. Since your Departure I have been, as I expected, almost plagued to Death with the Deputations of Whigs, & the Advantage the Tories constantly make of them... As we have been adherents with each have shared with me in the Curses of a Circle of Tories at Cambridge on the Commencement Day; when Confusion to me & my Adherents was given as a Toast...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

July 15, 1945

In Germany, General Hap Arnold wrote in his diary:

Non-fraternization ban was lifted last night at 6:00. It was a farce, for when Americans have been away from home for 1, 2, 2 1/2 years fighting, the period of letdown relaxation comes -- they want to talk to someone besides their comrades... Last night before it was lifted there were 3 GI s on one bench, 3 frauleins on an adjacent bench -- that is, when we were in sight -- when we returned a few minutes later they had all disappeared...

July 15, 1918

Aboard a troop ship en route to Europe, soldier Bill Schira wrote in his diary:

Our ship, the Karmala is losing out. We can't keep up with the rest. We can't see another ship anywhere. We are all alone. Some of the men are nervous. They are putting soldiers down in the hold to help fire up...


In France, Pvt Joseph J Jones wrote in his diary:

2nd Batt. hold first line of attack against Prussian Guard. 3rd Batt. Move up. German plane shot down shelter tent ripped by shrapnel. 1st Batt. suffer losses... Our 2nd Batt. holds the line killing with the bayonet...

July 15, 1880

Frank Stevens wrote in his Oregon Trail diary:

[E]arly in the afternoon we arrived at Walla Walla, making the trip in less than 3 months, as we had expected it would take us to go the journey. Camped outside the town and think we'll stop in this valley and work awhile... and then we are going to look for some place where we can find vacant land... They have a RR here and everything is cheap, but there is no chance for a man to get land near here...

July 15, 1864

Near Roseville, GA, Union soldier George Kryder wrote:

We had the hardest thunder and lightning last night that I ever heard. It struck an artillery casson with shells which exploded and killed and wounded 16 men...

July 15, 1863

Union soldier Edwin B Weist wrote in his diary:

Passed over the Antietam battefield through Sharpsburg. We got dinner to day in a field where some of the dead had been so slight buried that the hogs had rooted there bones out of their resting places and they were scattered in every direction...

July 15, 1852

Former slave Thomas H Jones wrote to Reverend Daniel Foster:

My wife has received a letter from a lady in North Carolina, stating that she has my wife's son, and will sell him for $850... She has been offered $1000 for him, but has been kind enough to make this offer to us...

July 15, 1839

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to his fiancee, Sophia Peabody:

Your letter was brought to me at East Cambridge, this afternoon... I put it in my pocket, and did not read it till just now, when I could be quiet in my own chamber; for I always feel as if your letters were too sacred to be read in the midst of people, and (you will smile) I never read them without first washing my hands...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

July 14, 1887

Former President Rutherford B Hayes wrote to an Ohio pastor:

You do not need a six-thousand-dollar church. It is a sin to attempt to build it in your circumstances. A suitable church, tasteful and convenient, can be built for two thousand five hundred dollars to three thousand five hundred dollars. All you spend more than this is for vanity's sake...

July 14, 1865

At Staunton, VA, civilian Joseph Addison Waddell wrote in his diary:

Early in the war, a mulatto girl belonging to Mr GM Cochran ran off. She appeared in town a few weeks ago, said she was married to a white gentleman at the North, and living in high style. Her manners were so offensive...that she was rebuked pretty effectually, and then she went off... Within the last few days a decent-looking white man came to town + inquired for Mr Cochran... The man exhibited much emotion, and said it was the first information he had received that she was not white...

July 14, 1864

In Georgia, General William Sherman sent an order to General John Smith:

The safety of this army must not be imperiled by citizens, If you entertain a bare suspicion against any family, send it to the North. Any loafer or suspicious person seen at any time should be imprisoned and sent off. If guerrillas trouble the road or wires between Kingston and Acworth, they should be shot without mercy...


A Union soldier near the Chattahoochee River wrote to Hannah Ditzler of Naperville, IL:

Henry Norton was out on the line yesterday. He says they and the rebels made an agreement not to fire, and they keep up a conversation all day. The Rebs come over every day -- bring tobacco and trade for most anything. Some stay an hour or two; others swear they won't go back again. They have a great many deserters... The fighting is not so much fun as it is bragged up to be...

July 14, 1861

In one of the most moving letters of the Civil War, Major Sullivan Ballou wrote to his wife just a week before his death at First Manassas:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days -- perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more...

July 14, 1808

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter:

General Clarke...being, on a late journey, to pass by the Big-bone Lick of the Ohio, was kind enough to undertake to employ for me a number of laborers, and to direct their operations in digging for these bones at this important deposit of them...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

July 13, 1864

In Augusta County, VA, Nancy Emerson wrote in her diary:

The lady...told me since that no tongue can tell her feelings the day the Yankees were there. In the first place, they fired on her little son & another boy several times, as they sat on the fence watching their approach, & afterwards pretended that they took them for confederate soldiers from their being dressed in gray... Another of our neighbors was fired upon several times until he either dropped or lay down... They said it was because he ran, but he was passing between their pickets & ours, who were firing at each other, & was obliged to run... They always fire upon those who run from them.


At Washington, DC, Mary Henry wrote in her diary:

One of the men came forward to speak to us... Father said he was surprised to learn there had been quite a severe battle in the neighborhood. Oh no said the man only a skirmish. 'But we lost 300 men,' said Father. 'Oh, that is nothing,' replied the man, 'we don't consider that anything of a battle these days.' Life has grown sadly cheap within the last few years...

July 13, 1861

Southerner Mary A Smiley wrote to her brother:

Hutchens says he is too religious to fight he wont fight against his relations who are nearly all in the North. That if he went he wouldn't fire a ball at the Yankee's & that he didnt know whether he would take his company North or South. Dont you think he ought to have the words Traitor to his country, branded on his forehead, as heretick was branded on in ancient times?...

July 13, 1787

Congress, under the Articles of Confederation, enacted the Northwest Ordinance, establishing rules for governing the Northwest Territory, for admitting new states to the Union and limiting the expansion of slavery, stating:

The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them...

July 13, 1776

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband:

I now date from Boston where I yesterday arrived and was with all 4 of our Little ones innoculated for the small pox... Such a Spirit of innoculation never before took place; the Town and every House in it, as are as full as they can hold. I believe there are not less than 30 persons from Braintree... The Little folks are very sick and puke every morning but after that they are comfortable...

Monday, July 11, 2005

July 12, 1944

From the diary of the 381st Bomb Group, based at Ridgewell, England:

At 09.00 hrs today 36 group Forts...took off in grey, heavily overcast weather. There are a large number of people in Munich who, sometime early this afternoon, probably will not be recognizable to their friends... we shall go on, whenever necessary, with this indiscriminent type of bombing originally practiced and taught so well by the Germans...

July 12, 1848

Pvt William Wilson Ingraham wrote, from Grand Island, NE:

The wolves have become very troublesome lately, they are no longer contented with the buffalo skin lariettes with which the horses are picquetted but they take the horse and all. Several have been killed and many badly torn...

July 12, 1843

After Mormon leader Joseph Smith's claim that God had revealed to him that polygamy was acceptable, William Clayton wrote in his diary:

I wrote a Revelation consisting of 10 pages on the order of the priesthood, showing the designs in Moses, Abraham, David and Solomon having many wives & concubines... Joseph & Hyrum presented it and read it to [Emma Smith] who said she did not believe a word of it and appeared very rebellious...

July 12, 1816

Thomas Jefferson wrote to Samuel Kercheval:

I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude... Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it...

July 12, 1780

General Benedict Arnold wrote, in a coded letter to British Major John André:

I have accepted the command at W[est]. P[oint]. As a Post in which I can render the most essential Services, and which will be in my disposal. The mass of the People are heartily tired of the War, and wish to be on their former footing -- They are promised great events from this year's exertion -- If - disappointed - you have only to persevere and the contest will soon be at an end. The present Struggles are like the pangs of a dying man, violent but of a short duration...

July 12, 1776

Dr James Thacher wrote in his diary:

Melancholy accounts have been received respect respecting the situation of our army in Canada; they are subjected to very great hardships, sufferings, and privations. Destitute of the necessary supplies of provisions and stores, exhausted by fatigue, and reduced by sickness, with the small-pox attended by unexampled mortality, they are in a state but little short of desperation...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

July 11, 1929

In Kansas, a mob headed by Mike Clare lynched a black man who shot a Mr Cox; the Atchison Daily Globe reported:

Cox recovered and some believe the shooting was accidental. Clare left town and never came back.

July 11, 1864

After the battle at Monocacy Junction, Union soldier Samuel McClain wrote to his wife:

We have arived in Baltimore, or a part of us. We have retreated 45 miles. We marched all night & ontil 2 o'clock the next day. We have had a hard march. My feet are all raw. Thare are a grat many of our men missing yet... You bet I had to git to save my bacon...

July 11, 1837

Sarah Grimke, abolitionist and women's rights activist, wrote:

Had Adam tenderly reproved his wife, and endeavored to lead her to repentance instead of sharing in her guilt, I should be much more ready to accord to man that superiority which he claims; but as the facts stand disclosed by the sacred historian, it appears to me that...there was as much weakness exhibited by Adam as by Eve. They both fell from innocence, and consequently from happiness, but not from equality...

July 11, 1835

Ornothologist John Kirk Townsend, traveling up the Columbia River, wrote in his journal:

Mr Nuttall...brings distressing intelligence from above. It really seems that the Columbia River Fishing and Trading Company is devoted to destruction; disasters meet them at every turn, and as yet none of their schemes have prospered... as we cannot divine the cause, we must attribute it to the Providence that rules the destinies of men and controls all human enterprises...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

July 10, 1969

Shortly before his death at Binh Long, Lt Dean Allen wrote to his wife:

Being a good platoon leader is a lonely job. I don't want to really get to know anybody over here because it would be bad enough to lose a man -- I damn sure don't want to lose a friend... But as hard as I try not to get involved with my men I still can't help liking them and getting close...

July 10, 1879

Rutherford B Hayes wrote in his diary:

Yesterday the surgeon of the Home, Dr Huntington, left word that there was at the hospital an old soldier named Sergeant Gaines who fought under Croghan at the defense of Fort Stephenson... I called at the hospital and inquired... he was the old gentleman wearing a straw hat sitting on the porch... he arose with a pleasant smile and greeted me with genuine politeness as I told him that I was President Hayes...

July 10, 1839

Trapping on the Yellowstone, Osborne Russell wrote in his journal:

[W]e travelled along the border of the lake till we...found about 50 springs of boiling hot water... one of my comrades had visited this spot the year previous he wished to show us...what he called the 'hour Spring'...a hole about 15 inches in diameter in which the water...begins to boil and bubble violently and the water commences raising and shooting upwards until the column arises to the hight of sixty feet from whence it falls to the ground in drops on a circle of about 30 feet in diameter being perfetly cold when it strikes the ground... he had watched the motions of this Spring for one whole day and part of the night the year previous and found no irregularity whatever in its movements...

July 10, 1832

President Andrew Jackson vetoed the Second National Bank's recharter on the grounds that the bank was unconstitutional, writing in his veto message:

[T]he rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes... every man is entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society -- the farmers, mechanics, and laborers -- who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government... There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses...

July 10, 1828

From an article in the Baltimore Patriot:

[I]n the pine woods of Wilkinson county, [Georgia,] a couple... were, in 1801, married... Since that, time they have lived together in a state of uninterrupted happiness, which has been crowned by the birth of twenty one children, ten sons and eleven daughters; all alive and healthy at the presant time. Some places boast of their increase of hogs, others of their horses, and others again of their cattle; but we challenge the world to beat Wilkinson in what is infinitely more valuable -- the increase of fine healthy children...

July 10, 1822

James Madison wrote to Edward Livingston:

I observe with particular pleasure the view you have taken of the immunity of Religion from civil jurisdiction... This has always been a favorite principle with me; and it was not with my approbation, that the deviation from it took place in Congs., when they appointed Chaplains, to be paid from the Nad. Treasury. It would have been a much better proof to their Constituents of their pious feeling if the members had contributed for the purpose, a pittance from their own pockets... Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt...

July 10, 1782

General George Washington wrote to his former aide, Colonel John Laurens, who failed to convince the Georgia legislature to raise a regiment of slaves to fight the British:

That Spirit of Freedom which at the commencement of this contest would have gladly sacrificed every thing to the attainment of its object has long since subsided, and every selfish Passion has take its place -- it is not the public but the private Interest which influences the generality of Mankind... under these circumstances, it would rather have been surprizing if you had succeeded...

July 9, 1932

Iowa farmer Elmer Powers wrote in his diary:

Our grain shocks up well... I think the yield will be satisfactory. But the price is all wrong. Nature has done her part well. Just men in their management are blundering...

July 9, 1896

In a speech given during the Democratic National Convention, William Jennings Bryan said:

You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard; we reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country... we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

July 9, 1862

A Richmond newspaper reported:

The Advertiser has received New Orleans papers...containing several more of Butler's orders. Order No. 152 consigns John W Anderson to hard labor at Ship Island for two years for exhibiting a cross said to be made out of the bones of a Yankee soldier. No. 152 also consigns F. Keller to Ship Island...for exhibiting a skeleton in his window labelled 'Chickahominy,' intending it to represent a Yankee soldier slain in that battle...

Friday, July 08, 2005

July 9, 1853

Julia Newton Wood, traveling by wagon train to California, wrote in her diary:

Saw a family tonight that came here last fall, their team gave out and they...dug a hole in the ground with a pick, the ground being so hard he could dig it with nothing else, but when dug it was just as hard as a stone wall; dug a fireplace an oven. She said they went into it when they had just a hole large enough to contain them. Have 5 children... the snow had become too deep to cross the mountains, so they stayed and lived on wild meat...

July 9, 1848

William Henry Tappan, a civilian artist who traveled with the Missouri Mounted Volunteers to Fort Kearney, wrote in his diary:

A more delightfull Sabath was never ushered in by church bells or pealing organ than this which rose & smiled upon us in this far off wild dessert... Leut Woodbury excellent episcopal sermon from the text of labors of the vineyard, during which service a young antelope bounded in to the space in front of the speaker where the graceful creature stood gazing about him in mute astonishment at so unusual a proceeding in his native plain. but the choir comenced the concluding hymn at which he sprang over the seats and bounded over the prarie...

July 9, 1843

Nathaniel Hawthorne helped recover the body of a woman who drowned herself; afterward, he wrote in his journal:

If she could have foreseen, while she stood, at five o'clock that morning, on the bank of the river, how her maiden corpse would have looked, eighteen hours afterwards, and how coarse men would strive with hand and foot to reduce it to a decent aspect, and all in vain, -- it would surely have saved her from the deed. So horribly did she look, that a middle-aged man, David Buttrick, absolutely fainted away, and was found lying on the grass at a little distance, perfectly insensible...

July 9, 1806

Midwife Martha Ballard wrote in her diary:

[M]y Husband & I were awake at 3h ys morn by mrss Heartwel and Gillbard who brot us ye horrible tydings that Capt Purington had murdered all his famely Except his Son James who must have Shared the Same fate had he not been So fortunate as to make his Escape after an attempt was made to take his life. he was wounded with an ax, he fled in his Shirt only and alarmd mr Wiman of ye horrid Scein...

July 9, 1778

John Adams wrote to Elbridge Gerry:

Great Britain is really a Melancholly Spectacle.... It is with real Astonishment that I observe her Conduct... All Attention to the Welfare of the Nation seems to be lost, both by the Members of Administration and Opposition, and among the People at large... Tearing one another to Pieces for the Loaves and Fishes, and a universal Rage for gambling in the Stocks, seem to take up all their Thoughts...

July 9, 1722

The New England Courant published a letter by Silence Dogood, aka Benjamin Franklin:

Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or controul the Right of another: And this is the only Check it ought to suffer, and the only Bounds it ought to know...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

July 8, 1883

From an interview with Mrs Bailey Hobson, an early settler of DuPage County, IL:

I was telling some people last year, that 50 years ago I was drinking water from the Chicago River... I have not seen much of Chicago lately, but I remember well enough how it looked in 1832... I often think of the trials of those early days, and I believe they were too great for the men. There were five of us left with our children years ago. My husband died in 1850. The wives of both the Napers have been widows for years, and so were Mrs Blodgett and Mrs Hawley -- they are dead now. The men had to work too hard and it shortened their lives...


From an interview with Judge Murray, also an early settler of DuPage County, IL:

[T]hese were all the white people here in 1831, and we were a sort of free born people with broad Christian sympathies. We believe in doing just about as we pleased, so we did not interfere with the rights of other men. The good brethren of the East Branch Settlement who came out here from New England in 1832 used to come up here with their iron bed stead and try to fit us to it, but they found it useless, and gave up the people of Naper settlement as children of the Devil, for whom there was no hope."

July 8, 1865

Lewis Byram Hull, a soldier at Fort Laramie, wrote in his diary:

Dress parade. Man named Simpson drummed out of camp to Rogue's march, labeled 'Thief.' He made too much noise and was gagged with a bayonet...