Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



May 22, Saturday: Wilhelm Richard Wagner was born in , the 9th child of Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner, a police actuary, with Johanna Rosine Pätz Wagner, daughter of a baker (the putative father would die; it seems likely that this infant was the illegitimate offspring of the actor and playwright who would officially soon become the boy’s stepfather).

A cannonball narrowly missed the Emperor Napoléon killing instead General Kirgener and the emperor’s closest confidant, General Gérard-Christophe Duroc. The Emperor, shaken, called off pursuit of the Russians he had defeated on the previous day.

The British and Portuguese began a new offensive in Spain.

L’italiana in Algeri, a dramma giocoso by Gioachino Rossini to words of Anelli, was performed for the initial time, in Teatro San Benedetto, Venice. The work met with great enthusiasm.


August 16, Monday: Fort Detroit was captured by the British.

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was christened in the Thomaskirche of Leipzig.

Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



August 28, Sunday: In , Johanna Rosine (Pätz) Wagner, a widow with nine children, widowed by Carl Friedrich Wagner for less than a year, got married with Ludwig Heinrich Christian Geyer, a portrait painter, actor and poet — who it would seem may have been her infant Wilhelm Richard Wagner’s biological father. The family would relocate to Dresden.

Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 1st day 28th of 8th M / Our Meetings both Silent & to me dull seasons Our little John went again this Afternoon & behaved well -Father & Mother Rodman took tea with us this Afternoon — RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS


Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



February 16, Thursday: Johanna Wagner Geyer and Ludwig Geyer added a daughter, Cäcilie, to their family which already included the toddler Wilhelm Richard Wagner.

Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 5th day 16 of 2 M / Jonathon Chase & Daniel Brayton of Swansey Attended Meeting & Jonathon appear’d in testimony, which evinced him to be a living member of the Body - They are on a visit to the Moy [Monthly] Meeting - intending to see the families of it & have commenced their services this Afternoon. — In the Preparative Meeting The former Overseers with the addition of my name were reported & agreed to be recommended to the Moy [Monthly] Meeting for that Service — A Service which I feel not only incompetent on but have serious doubts whether it is the sphere in which I ought to act - however submit to the judgement of my friends. — RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS


Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



September 30, Sunday: Ludwig Geyer died. RICHARD WAGNER

Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: Next Morning took Aunt Patty my H & John in the Waggon & went to meeting - Abigail Sherman & Anne Dennis said a little & I thought it was a pretty good meeting — returned & dined at Uncle Stantons & in the Afternoon returned home, rode part of the way & walked a part of the way, leaving Hannah & John to complete their visit. RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS


Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



December 2, Monday: Richard Geyer entered the Kreuzschule of Dresden. RICHARD WAGNER


Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Geyer’s family moved to Prague but he remained in school in Dresden. RICHARD WAGNER


Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Geyer left school in Dresden to join his family, that has moved back to Leipzig. RICHARD WAGNER


Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 21, Monday: Richard Geyer entered Leipzig’s Nicolaischule under the name Richard Wagner (the name of his biological father).


Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner began to compose: a couple of piano sonatas and a string quartet.


Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner composed a piano arrangement based on Ludwig ’s 9th Symphony.


June 16, Wednesday: Richard Wagner entered the Thomasschule, Leipzig where he would for a short while be taking violin lessons.

In Berlin, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel gave birth to her only child, Sebastian Ludwig Felix Hensel (she was naming it in honor of her fave ).

Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



While Richard Wagner studied music at , he created a couple of concert overtures plus a Piano Sonata in B-flat major.


February 23, Wednesday: Richard Wagner matriculated at Leipzig University as a music student.

When Polish and Russian forces clashed at Grochow, although they didn’t know this yet, they were going to be fighting for 3 days but were going achieve no strategic result (might as well have stayed in bed).

Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 4th day 23rd of 2nd M 1831 / Today is our Monthly Meeting at Smithfield. — The travel is so bad that none of us from the Institution have attempted to go. — There is a large quantity of Snow remaining on the ground it rained most of last night, & is raining hard this Morning, so that it is neither Sleighing or Wheeling, & every step a horse takes will sink him (in many places) to his knee joints, & in some places worse than that - so that we have not ventured to undertake to go. — RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS

December 25, Sunday: Concert Overture no.1 in d by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, in the Royal Saxon Hoftheater, Leipzig.

A flow of lava came out of Mount Vesuvius toward Ercolano. MOUNT VESUVIUS

In Providence, Rhode Island, Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 1st day 25 of 12 M / Both meetings silent In the Afternoon Abel W Townsend & wife attended - They expect to set out tomorrow for home they have gone to Wm Almys to lodge & will take the Stage

Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX




Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner wrote a Symphony in C major that was then performed in Prague. He began work on a 1st , , but soon put this aside. He wrote a Piano Sonata in A major.


February 17, Friday: Incidental music to Raupach’s play Konig Enzio by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, in the Royal Saxon Hoftheater, Leipzig.

April 22, Easter Sunday: After recovering from Asiatic cholera, Felix Mendelssohn arrived in London from Paris.

A Scene and Aria for soprano and orchestra by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, in the Leipzig Hoftheater.

Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 17, Thursday: Michael Faraday read before the Royal Society in London an announcement of the basic laws of electrolysis, “Relation by Measure of Common and Voltaic Electricity.”

Richard Wagner moved from Leipzig to Würzburg, to be chorus master and coach for his brother Albert Wagner.


December 12, Thursday: Selections from Richard Wagner’s romantic opera were performed for the initial time, in München.

Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner completed Die Feen and began work on . He met Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer. He became a music director in .


January 21, Tuesday: Richard Wagner moved back from Würzburg to Leipzig.

Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 10, Tuesday: David Henry Thoreau checked out, from Harvard Library, John Marshall (1755-1835)’s A HISTORY OF THE COLONIES PLANTED BY THE ENGLISH ON THE CONTINENT OF NORTH , FROM THEIR SETTLEMENT, TO THE COMMENCEMENT OF THAT WAR WHICH TERMINATED IN THEIR INDEPENDENCE.... (Philadelphia: Abraham Small, 1824).

More than 3,000 gathered at Brown’s Race to celebrate Jonathan Child’s inauguration as Rochester, New York’s first mayor.

HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin sailed up the Pacific coast of the South American continent.

In Leipzig, Richard Wagner’s initial published essay “Die deutsche Oper” appeared in Zeitung fur die elegante Welt.

In Oxford, England, “Captivity of Judah,” an oratorio by William Crotch to words of Schomberg and Owen, was performed for the initial time, at ceremonies installing the Duke of Wellington as Chancellor of the university (also performed was the premiere of Crotch’s ode “When these are days of old” to words of Keble).


Thomas Carlyle and Jane Welsh Carlyle moved to 5 Great Cheyne Row (now 24 Cheyne Row) in the Chelsea district of London near the Thames River. He has spent the last quarter of his life in London, writing books; has the fame, as all readers know, of having made England acquainted with , in late years, and done much else that is novel and remarkable in literature. He especially is the literary man of those parts. You may imagine him living in altogether a retired and simple way, with small family, in a quiet part of London, called Chelsea, a little out of the din of commerce, in “Cheyne Row,” there, not far from the “Chelsea Hospital.” “A little past this, and an old ivy-clad church, with its buried generations lying around it,” writes one traveller, “you come to an antique street running at right angles with the Thames, and, a few steps from the river, you find Carlyle’s name on the door.” With the exception of the soundproofed room which the writer would have constructed at the top of the house during the 1850s, the building now preserved by the Carlyle’s House Memorial Trust and by the National Trust still very much echoes this contemporary description, which is of Carlyle’s penning: The House itself is eminent, antique; wainscotted to the very ceiling, and has been all new-painted and repaired; broadish HDT WHAT? INDEX


stair, with massive balustrade (in the old style) corniced and as thick as one’s thigh; floors firm as a rock, wood of them here and there worm-eaten, yet capable of cleanness, and still with thrice the strength of a modern floor. And then as to room ... Three stories besides the sunk story; in every one of them three apartments in depth (something like 40 feet in all; for it was 13 of my steps!): Thus there is a front dining room (marble chimney-piece &c); then a back dining room (or breakfast-room) a little narrower (by reason of the kitchen stair); then out from this, and narrower still (to allow a back- window, you consider), a china room, or pantry, or I know not what, all shelved, and fit to hold crockery for the whole street. Such is the ground-area, which of course continues to the top, and furnishes every Bedroom with a dressing room, or even with a second bedroom ... a most massive, roomy, sufficient old house; with places, for example, to hang say three dozen hats or cloaks on; and as many crevices, and queer old presses, and shelved closets (all tight and new painted in their way) as would gratify the most covetous Goody. Rent £35! HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 2, Saturday: Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s funeral.

Richard Wagner conducted an opera for the initial time, with a performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Lauchstadt, Thuringia.

Emancipation had happened, and the sky had not fallen:

“EMANCIPATION IN THE ... INDIES....” : On the next Monday morning, with very few exceptions, every negro on every plantation was in the field at his work. In some places, they waited to see their master, to know what bargain he would make; but, for the most part, throughout the islands, nothing painful occurred. In June, 1835, the ministers, Lord Aberdeen and Sir George Grey, declared to the Parliament, that the system worked well; that now for ten months, from 1st August, 1834, no injury or violence had been offered to any white, and only one black had been hurt in 800,000 negroes: and, contrary to many sinister predictions, that the new crop of island produce would not fall short of that of the last year. But the habit of oppression was not destroyed by a law and a day of jubilee. It soon appeared in all the islands, that the planters were disposed to use their old privileges, and overwork the apprentices; to take from them, under various pretences, their fourth part of their time; and to exert the same licentious despotism as before. The negroes complained to the magistrates, and to the governor. In the island of Jamaica, this ill blood continually grew worse. The governors, Lord Belmore, the Earl of Sligo, and afterwards Sir Lionel Smith, (a governor of their own class, who had been sent out to gratify the planters,) threw themselves on the side of the oppressed, and are at constant quarrel with the angry and bilious island legislature. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 1, Thursday: Waldo Emerson lectured at the Lyceum in Concord on “The Study of Natural History.”

Incidental music to Schmale’s play Beim Antritt des neuen Jahres by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, in the Magdeburg Stadttheater, conducted by the .

In this extraordinarily cold winter Boston Harbor had frozen, all the way out to Fort Independence.

In Newport, Rhode Island, Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 5th day 1st M 1st 1835 / It has been a very clear Day & the Air cold. —— Attended Meeting which was Silent & I thought solid - Indeed it has been a pretty good day with me - for which I desire to be thankful. ——1 RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS

January 10, Saturday: The overture to the romantic opera Die Feen was performed for the initial time, in Magdeburg, and was conducted by Richard Wagner himself.

1. Stephen Wanton Gould Diary, 1833-1836: The Gould family papers are stored under control number 2033 at the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections of Cornell University Library, Box 9 Folder 15: January 1, 1833-August 28, 1836; also on microfilm, see Series 7 HDT WHAT? INDEX


February 16, Monday: Incidental music to Apel’s play Columbus was performed for the initial time, in Magdeburg, conducted by its composer Richard Wagner.

Daniel Webster delivered an address on “The Appointing and Removing Power” in the US Senate that is “singular among the speeches of Mr. Webster, as it exhibits him as a ‘Strict-Constructionist,’ and as a master of that peculiar kind of deductive reasoning which is commonly considered the special distinction of his great antagonist, Mr. Calhoun. In subtilty and refinement of argument it is fully the match of most of Mr. Calhoun’s elaborate disquisitions. At the time of its delivery it excited the almost savage ire of John Quincy Adams, as will be seen by reference to the latter’s ‘Diary.’ It was in connection with this speech that Mr. Adams speaks of ‘the rotten heart of Daniel Webster.’ How such a purely intellectual feat as this, one so entirely passionless and impersonal, should be referred to rottenness of heart, is one of the unexplained mysteries of the operations of Mr. Adams’s understanding, when that understanding was misled by personal antipathy.”2 Mr. President,—The professed object of this bill is the reduction of executive influence and patronage. I concur in the propriety of that object. Having no wish to diminish or to control, in the slightest degree, the constitutional and legal authority of the presidential office, I yet think that the indirect and rapidly increasing influence which it possesses, and which arises from the power of bestowing office and of taking it away again at pleasure, and from the manner in which that power seems now to be systematically exercised, is productive of serious evils. The extent of the patronage springing from this power of appointment and removal is so great, that it brings a dangerous mass of private and personal interest into operation in all great public elections and public questions. This is a mischief which has reached, already, an alarming height. The principle of republican governments, we are taught, is public virtue; and whatever tends either to corrupt this principle, to debase it, or to weaken its force, tends, in the same degree, to the final overthrow of such governments. Our representative systems suppose, that, in exercising the high right of suffrage, the greatest of all political rights, and in forming opinions on great public measures, men will act conscientiously, under the influence of public principle and patriotic duty; and that, in supporting or opposing men or measures, there will be a general prevalence of honest, intelligent judgment and manly independence. These presumptions lie at the foundation of all hope of maintaining governments entirely popular. Whenever personal, individual, or selfish motives influence the conduct of individuals on public questions, they affect the safety of the whole system. When these motives run deep and wide, and come in serious conflict with higher, purer, and more patriotic purposes, they greatly endanger that system; and all will admit that, if they become general and overwhelming, so that all public principle is lost sight of, and every election becomes a mere scramble for office, the system inevitably must fall. Every wise man, in and out of government, will endeavor, therefore, to promote the ascendency of public virtue and public principle, 2. Edwin P. Whipple’s THE GREAT SPEECHES AND ORATIONS OF DANIEL WEBSTER WITH AN ESSAY ON DANIEL WEBSTER AS A MASTER OF ENGLISH STYLE (Boston: Little, Brown, 1879). HDT WHAT? INDEX


and to restrain as far as practicable, in the actual operation of our institutions, the influence of selfish and private interests. I concur with those who think, that, looking to the present, and looking also to the future, and regarding all the probabilities that await us in reference to the character and qualities of those who may fill the executive chair, it is important to the stability of government and the welfare of the people that there should be a check to the progress of official influence and patronage. The unlimited power to grant office, and to take it away, gives a command over the hopes and fears of a vast multitude of men. It is generally true, that he who controls another man’s means of living controls his will. Where there are favors to be granted, there are usually enough to solicit for them; and when favors once granted may be withdrawn at pleasure, there is ordinarily little security for personal independence of character. The power of giving office thus affects the fears of all who are in, and the hopes of all who are out. Those who are out endeavor to distinguish themselves by active political friendship, by warm personal devotion, by clamorous support of men in whose hands is the power of reward; while those who are in ordinarily take care that others shall not surpass them in such qualities or such conduct as are most likely to secure favor. They resolve not to be outdone in any of the works of partisanship. The consequence of all this is obvious. A competition ensues, not of patriotic labors; not of rough and severe toils for the public good; not of manliness, independence, and public spirit; but of complaisance, of indiscriminate support of executive measures, of pliant subserviency and gross adulation. All throng and rush together to the altar of man-worship; and there they offer sacrifices, and pour out libations, till the thick fumes of their incense turn their own heads, and turn, also, the head of him who is the object of their idolatry. The existence of parties in popular governments is not to be avoided; and if they are formed on constitutional questions, or in regard to great measures of public policy, and do not run to excessive length, it may be admitted that, on the whole, they do no great harm. But the patronage of office, the power of bestowing place and emoluments, creates parties, not upon any principle or any measure, but upon the single ground of personal interest. Under the direct influence of this motive, they form round a leader, and they go for “the spoils of victory.” And if the party chieftain becomes the national chieftain, he is still but too apt to consider all who have opposed him as enemies to be punished, and all who have supported him as friends to be rewarded. Blind devotion to party, and to the head of a party, thus takes place of the sentiment of generous patriotism and a high and exalted sense of public duty. Let it not be said, Sir, that the danger from executive patronage cannot be great, since the persons who hold office, or can hold office, constitute so small a portion of the whole people. HDT WHAT? INDEX


In the first place, it is to be remembered that patronage acts, not only on those who actually possess office, but on those also who expect it, or hope for it; and in the next place, office- holders, by their very situation, their public station, their connection with the business of individuals, their activity, their ability to help or to hurt according to their pleasure, their acquaintance with public affairs, and their zeal and devotion, exercise a degree of influence out of all proportion to their numbers. Sir, we cannot disregard our own experience. We cannot shut our eyes to what is around us and upon us. No candid man can deny that a great, a very great change has taken place, within a few years, in the practice of the executive government, which has produced a corresponding change in our political condition. No one can deny that office, of every kind, is now sought with extraordinary avidity, and that the condition, well understood to be attached to every officer, high or low, is indiscriminate support of executive measures and implicit obedience to executive will. For these reasons, Sir, I am for arresting the further progress of this executive patronage, if we can arrest it; I am for staying the further contagion of this plague. The bill proposes two measures. One is to alter the duration of certain offices, now limited absolutely to four years; so that the limitation shall be qualified or conditional. If the officer is in default, if his accounts are not settled, if he retains or misapplies the public money, information is to be given thereof, and thereupon his commission is to cease. But if his accounts are all regularly settled, if he collects and disburses the public money faithfully, then he is to remain in office, unless, for some other cause, the President sees fit to remove him. This is the provision of the bill. It applies only to certain enumerated officers, who may be called accounting officers; that is to say, officers who receive and disburse the public money. Formerly, all these officers held their places at the pleasure of the President. If he saw no just cause for removing them, they continued in their situations, no fixed period being assigned for the expiration of their commissions. But the act of 1820 limited the commissions of these officers to four years. At the end of four years, they were to go out, without any removal, however well they might have conducted themselves, or however useful to the public their further continuance in office might be. They might be nominated again, or might not; but their commissions expired. Now, Sir, I freely admit that considerable benefit has arisen from this law. I agree that it has, in some instances, secured promptitude, diligence, and a sense of responsibility. These were the benefits which those who passed the law expected from it; and these benefits have, in some measure, been realized. But I think that this change in the tenure of office, together with some good, has brought along a far more than equivalent amount of evil. By the operation of this law, the President can deprive a man of office without taking the responsibility of removing HDT WHAT? INDEX


him. The law itself vacates the office, and gives the means of rewarding a friend without the exercise of the power of removal at all. Here is increased power, with diminished responsibility. Here is a still greater dependence, for the means of living, on executive favor, and, of course, a new dominion acquired over opinion and over conduct. The power of removal is, or at least formerly was, a suspected and odious power. Public opinion would not always tolerate it; and still less frequently did it approve it. Something of character, something of the respect of the intelligent and patriotic part of the community, was lost by every instance of its unnecessary exercise. This was some restraint. But the law of 1820 took it all away. It vacated offices periodically, by its own operation, and thus added to the power of removal, which it left still existing in full force, a new and extraordinary facility for the extension of patronage, influence, and favoritism. I would ask every member of the Senate if he does not perceive, daily, effects which may be fairly traced to this cause. Does he not see a union of purpose, a devotion to power, a co- operation in action, among all who hold office, quite unknown in the earlier periods of the government? Does he not behold, every hour, a stronger development of the principle of personal attachment, and a corresponding diminution of genuine and generous public feeling? Was indiscriminate support of party measures, was unwavering fealty, was regular suit and service, ever before esteemed such important and essential parts of official duty? Sir, the theory of our institutions is plain; it is, that government is an agency created for the good of the people, and that every person in office is the agent and servant of the people. Offices are created, not for the benefit of those who are to fill them, but for the public convenience; and they ought to be no more in number, nor should higher salaries be attached to them, than the public service requires. This is the theory. But the difficulty in practice is, to prevent a direct reversal of all this; to prevent public offices from being considered as intended for the use and emolument of those who can obtain them. There is a headlong tendency to this, and it is necessary to restrain it by wise and effective legislation. There is still another, and perhaps a greatly more mischievous result, of extensive patronage in the hands of a single magistrate, to which I have already incidentally alluded; and that is, that men in office have begun to think themselves mere agents and servants of the appointing power, and not agents of the government or the country. It is, in an especial manner, important, if it be practicable, to apply some corrective to this kind of feeling and opinion. It is necessary to bring back public officers to the conviction, that they belong to the country, and not to any administration, nor to any one man. The army is the army of the country; the navy is the navy of the country; neither of them is either the mere instrument of the administration for the time being, nor of him who is at the head HDT WHAT? INDEX


of it. The post-office, the land-office, the custom-house, are, in like manner, institutions of the country, established for the good of the people: and it may well alarm the lovers of free institutions, when all the offices in these several departments are spoken of, in high places, as being but “spoils of victory,” to be enjoyed by those who are successful in a contest, in which they profess this grasping of the spoils to have been the object of their efforts. This part of the bill, therefore, Sir, is a subject for fair comparison. We have gained something, doubtless, by limiting the commissions of these officers to four years. But have we gained as much as we have lost? And may not the good be preserved, and the evil still avoided? Is it not enough to say, that if, at the end of four years, moneys are retained, accounts unsettled, or other duties unperformed, the office shall be held to be vacated, without any positive act of removal? For one, I think the balance of advantage is decidedly in favor of the present bill. I think it will make men more dependent on their own good conduct, and less dependent on the will of others. I believe it will cause them to regard their country more, their own duty more, and the favor of individuals less. I think it will contribute to official respectability, to freedom of opinion, to independence of character; and I think it will tend, in no small degree, to prevent the mixture of selfish and personal motives with the exercise of high political duties. It will promote true and genuine republicanism, by causing the opinion of the people respecting the measures of government, and the men in government, to be formed and expressed without fear or favor, and with a more entire regard to their true and real merits or demerits. It will be, so far as its effects reach, an auxiliary to patriotism and public virtue, in their warfare against selfishness and cupidity. The second check on executive patronage contained in this bill is of still greater importance than the first. This provision is, that, whenever the President removes any of these officers from office, he shall state to the Senate the reasons for such removal. This part of the bill has been opposed, both on constitutional grounds and on grounds of expediency. The bill, it is to be observed, expressly recognizes and admits the actual existence of the power of removal. I do not mean to deny, and the bill does not deny, that, at the present moment, the President may remove these officers at will, because the early decision adopted that construction, and the laws have since uniformly sanctioned it. The law of 1820, intended to be repealed by this bill, expressly affirms the power. I consider it, therefore, a settled point; settled by construction, settled by precedent, settled by the practice of the government, and settled by statute. At the same time, after considering the question again and again within the last six years, I am very willing to say, that, in my deliberate judgment, the original decision was wrong. I cannot but think that those who denied the power in 1789 had the best of the argument; and yet I will not HDT WHAT? INDEX


say that I know myself so thoroughly as to affirm, that this opinion may not have been produced, in some measure, by that abuse of the power which has been passing before our eyes for several years. It is possible that this experience of the evil may have affected my view of the constitutional argument. It appears to me, however, after thorough and repeated and conscientious examination, that an erroneous interpretation was given to the Constitution, in this respect, by the decision of the first Congress; and I will ask leave to state, shortly, the reasons for that opinion, although there is nothing in this bill which proposes to disturb that decision. The Constitution nowhere says one word of the power of removal from office, except in the case of conviction on impeachment. Wherever the power exists, therefore, except in cases of impeachment, it must exist as a constructive or incidental power. If it exists in the President alone, it must exist in him because it is attached to something else, or included in something else, or results from something else, which is granted to the President. There is certainly no specific grant; it is a power, therefore, the existence of which, if proved at all, is to be proved by inference and argument. In the only instance in which the Constitution speaks of removal from office, as I have already said, it speaks of it as the exercise of judicial power; that is to say, it speaks of it as one part of the judgment of the Senate, in cases of conviction on impeachment. No other mention is made, in the whole instrument, of any power of removal. Whence, then, is the power derived to the President? It is usually said, by those who maintain its existence in the single hands of the President, that the power is derived from that clause of the Constitution which says, “The executive power shall be vested in a President.” The power of removal, they argue, is, in its nature, an executive power; and, as the executive power is thus vested in the President, the power of removal is necessarily included. It is true, that the Constitution declares that the executive power shall be vested in the President; but the first question which then arises is, What is executive power? What is the degree, and what are the limitations? Executive power is not a thing so well known, and so accurately defined, as that the written constitution of a limited government can be supposed to have conferred it in the lump. What is executive power? What are its boundaries? What model or example had the framers of the Constitution in their minds, when they spoke of “executive power”? Did they mean executive power as known in England, or as known in France, or as known in Russia? Did they take it as defined by Montesquieu, by Burlamaqui, or by De Lolme? All these differ from one another as to the extent of the executive power of government. What, then, was intended by “the executive power”? Now, Sir, I think it perfectly plain and manifest, that, although the framers of the Constitution meant to confer executive power on the President, yet they meant to define and limit that power, and to confer no more than they did thus define HDT WHAT? INDEX


and limit. When they say it shall be vested in a President, they mean that one magistrate, to be called a President, shall hold the executive authority; but they mean, further, that he shall hold this authority according to the grants and limitations of the Constitution itself. They did not intend, certainly, a sweeping gift of prerogative. They did not intend to grant to the President whatever might be construed, or supposed, or imagined to be executive power; and the proof that they meant no such thing is, that, immediately after using these general words, they proceed specifically to enumerate his several distinct and particular authorities; to fix and define them; to give the Senate an essential control over the exercise of some of them, and to leave others uncontrolled. By the executive power conferred on the President, the Constitution means no more than that portion which itself creates, and which it qualifies, limits, and circumscribes. A general survey of the frame of the Constitution will satisfy us of this. That instrument goes all along upon the idea of dividing the powers of government, so far as practicable, into three great departments. It describes the powers and duties of these departments in an article allotted to each. As first in importance and dignity, it begins with the legislative department. The first article of the Constitution, therefore, commences with the declaration, that “all legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives,” The article goes on to prescribe the manner in which Congress is to be constituted and organized, and then proceeds to enumerate, specifically, the powers intended to be granted; and adds the general clause, conferring such authority as may be necessary to carry granted powers into effect. Now, Sir, no man doubts that this is a limited legislature; that it possesses no powers but such as are granted by express words or necessary implication; and that it would be quite preposterous to insist that Congress possesses any particular legislative power, merely because it is, in its nature, a legislative body, if no grant can be found for it in the Constitution itself. Then comes, Sir, the second article, creating an executive power; and it declares, that “the executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States.” After providing for the mode of choosing him, it immediately proceeds to enumerate, specifically, the powers which he shall possess and exercise, and the duties which he shall perform. I consider the language of this article, therefore, precisely analogous to that in which the legislature is created; that is to say, I understand the Constitution as saying that “the executive power herein granted shall be vested in a President of the United States.” In like manner, the third article, or that which is intended to arrange the judicial system, begins by declaring that “the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish.” But these general HDT WHAT? INDEX


words do not show what extent of judicial power is vested in the courts of the United States. All that is left to be done, and is done, in the following sections, by express and well-guarded provisions. I think, therefore, Sir, that very great caution is to be used, and the ground well considered, before we admit that the President derives any distinct and specific power from those general words which vest the executive authority in him. The Constitution itself does not rest satisfied with these general words. It immediately goes into particulars, and carefully enumerates the several authorities which the President shall possess. The very first of the enumerated powers is the command of the army and navy. This, most certainly, is an executive power. And why is it particularly set down and expressed, if any power was intended to be granted under the general words? This would pass, if any thing would pass, under those words. But enumeration, specification, particularization, was evidently the design of the framers of the Constitution, in this as in other parts of it. I do not, therefore, regard the declaration that the executive power shall be vested in a President as being any grant at all; any more than the declaration that the legislative power shall be vested in Congress constitutes, by itself, a grant of such power. In the one case, as in the other, I think the object was to describe and denominate the department, which should hold, respectively, the legislative and the executive authority; very much as we see, in some of the State constitutions, that the several articles are headed with the titles “legislative power,” “executive power,” “judicial power”; and this entitling of the articles with the name of the power has never been supposed, of itself, to confer any authority whatever. It amounts to no more than naming the departments. If, then, the power of removal be admitted to be an executive power, still it must be sought for and found among the enumerated executive powers, or fairly implied from some one or more of them. It cannot be implied from the general words. The power of appointment was not left to be so implied; why, then, should the power of removal have been so left? They are both closely connected; one is indispensable to the other; why, then, was one carefully expressed, defined, and limited, and not one word said about the other? Sir, I think the whole matter is sufficiently plain. Nothing is said in the Constitution about the power of removal, because it is not a separate and distinct power. It is part of the power of appointment, naturally going with it or necessarily resulting from it. The Constitution or the laws may separate these powers, it is true, in a particular case, as is done in respect to the judges, who, though appointed by the President and Senate, cannot be removed at the pleasure of either or of both. So a statute, in prescribing the tenure of any other office, may place the officer beyond the reach of the appointing power. But where no other tenure is prescribed, and officers hold their places at will, that will is necessarily the HDT WHAT? INDEX


will of the appointing power; because the exercise of the power of appointment at once displaces such officers. The power of placing one man in office necessarily implies the power of turning another out. If one man be Secretary of State, and another be appointed, the first goes out by the mere force of the appointment of the other, without any previous act of removal whatever. And this is the practice of the government, and has been, from the first. In all the removals which have been made, they have generally been effected simply by making other appointments. I cannot find a case to the contrary. There is no such thing as any distinct official act of removal. I have looked into the practice, and caused inquiries to be made in the departments, and I do not learn that any such proceeding is known as an entry or record of the removal of an officer from office; and the President could only act, in such cases, by causing some proper record or entry to be made, as proof of the fact of removal. I am aware that there have been some cases in which notice has been sent to persons in office that their services are, or will be, after a given day, dispensed with. These are usually cases in which the object is, not to inform the incumbent that he is removed, but to tell him that a successor either is, or by a day named will be, appointed. If there be any instances in which such notice is given without express reference to the appointment of a successor, they are few; and even in these, such reference must be implied; because in no case is there any distinct official act of removal, that I can find, unconnected with the act of appointment. At any rate, it is the usual practice, and has been from the first, to consider the appointment as producing the removal of the previous incumbent. When the President desires to remove a person from office, he sends a message to the Senate nominating some other person. The message usually runs in this form: “I nominate A.B. to be collector of the customs, &c., in the place of C.D., removed.” If the Senate advise and consent to this nomination, C.D. is effectually out of office, and A.B. is in, in his place. The same effect would be produced, if the message should say nothing of any removal. Suppose A.B. to be Secretary of State, and the President to send us a message, saying merely, “I nominate C.D. to be Secretary of State.” If we confirm this nomination, C.D. becomes Secretary of State, and A.B. is necessarily removed. I have gone into these details and particulars, Sir, for the purpose of showing, that, not only in the nature of things, but also according to the practice of the government, the power of removal is incident to the power of appointment. It belongs to it, is attached to it, forms a part of it, or results from it. If this be true, the inference is manifest. If the power of removal, when not otherwise regulated by Constitution or law, be part and parcel of the power of appointment, or a necessary incident to it, then whoever holds the power of appointment holds also the power of removal. But it is the President and the Senate, and not the President alone, who hold the power of appointment; and therefore, according to the true construction HDT WHAT? INDEX


of the Constitution, it should be the President and Senate, and not the President alone, who hold the power of removal. The decision of 1789 has been followed by a very strange and indefensible anomaly, showing that it does not rest on any just principle. The natural connection between the appointing power and the removing power has, as I have already stated, always led the President to bring about a removal by the process of a new appointment. This is quite efficient for his purpose, when the Senate confirms the new nomination. One man is then turned out, and another put in. But the Senate sometimes rejects the new nomination; and what then becomes of the old incumbent? Is he out of office, or is he still in? He has not been turned out by any exercise of the power of appointment, for no appointment has been made. That power has not been exercised. He has not been removed by any distinct and separate act of removal, for no such act has been performed, or attempted. Is he still in, then, or is he out? Where is he? In this dilemma, Sir, those who maintain the power of removal as existing in the President alone are driven to what seems to me very near absurdity. The incumbent has not been removed by the appointing power, since the appointing power has not been exercised. He has not been removed by any distinct and independent act of removal, since no such act has been performed. They are forced to the necessity, therefore, of contending that the removal has been accomplished by the mere nomination of a successor; so that the removing power is made incident, not to the appointing power, but to one part of it; that is, to the nominating power. The nomination, not having been assented to by the Senate, it is clear, has failed, as the first step in the process of appointment. But though thus rendered null and void in its main object, as the first process in making an appointment, it is held to be good and valid, nevertheless, to bring about that which results from an appointment; that is, the removal of the person actually in office. In other words, the nomination produces the consequences of an appointment, or some of them, though it be itself no appointment, and effect no appointment. This, Sir, appears to me to be any thing but sound reasoning and just construction. But this is not all. The President has sometimes sent us a nomination to an office already filled, and, before we have acted upon it, has seen fit to withdraw it. What is the effect of such a nomination? If a nomination, merely as such, turns out the present incumbent, then he is out, let what will become afterwards of the nomination. But I believe the President has acted upon the idea that a nomination made, and at any time afterwards withdrawn, does not remove the actual incumbent. Sir, even this is not the end of the inconsistencies into which the prevailing doctrine has led. There have been cases in which nominations to offices already filled have come to the Senate, remained here for weeks, or months, the incumbents all the while continuing to discharge their official duties, and relinquishing their offices only when the nominations of their successors have HDT WHAT? INDEX


been confirmed, and commissions issued to them; so that, if a nomination be confirmed, the nomination itself makes no removal; the removal then waits to be brought about by the appointment. But if the nomination be rejected, then the nomination itself, it is contended, has effected the removal. Who can defend opinions which lead to such results? These reasons, Sir, incline me strongly to the opinion, that, upon a just construction of the Constitution, the power of removal is part of, or a necessary result from, the power of appointment, and, therefore, that it ought to have been exercised by the Senate concurrently with the President. The argument may be strengthened by various illustrations. The Constitution declares that Congress may vest the appointment of inferior officers in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments; and Congress has passed various acts providing for appointments, according to this regulation of the Constitution. Thus the Supreme Court, and other courts of the United States, have authority to appoint their clerks; heads of departments also appoint their own clerks, according to statute provisions; and it has never been doubted that these courts, and these heads of departments, may remove their clerks at pleasure, although nothing is said in the laws respecting such power of removal. Now, it is evident that neither the courts nor the heads of departments acquire the right of removal under a general grant of executive power, for none such is made to them; nor upon the ground of any general injunction to see the laws executed, for no such general injunction is addressed to them. They nevertheless hold the power of removal, as all admit, and they must hold it, therefore, simply as incident to, or belonging to, the power of appointment. There is no other clause under which they can possibly claim it. Again, let us suppose that the Constitution had given to the President the power of appointment, without consulting the Senate. Suppose it had said, “The President shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States.” If the Constitution had stood thus, the President would unquestionably have possessed the power of removal, where the tenure of office was not fixed; and no man, I imagine, would in that case have looked for the removing power either in that clause which says the executive authority shall be vested in the President, or in that other clause which makes it his duty to see the laws faithfully executed. Everybody would have said, “The President possesses an uncontrolled power of appointment, and that necessarily carries with it an uncontrolled power of removal, unless some permanent tenure be given to the office by the Constitution, or by law.” And now, Sir, let me state, and examine, the main argument, on which the decision of 1789 appears to rest it. The most plausible reasoning brought forward on that occasion may be fairly stated thus: “The executive power is vested in the President; this is the general rule of the Constitution. The HDT WHAT? INDEX


association of the Senate with the President in exercising a particular function belonging to the executive power, is an exception to this general rule, and exceptions to general rules are to be taken strictly; therefore, though the Senate partakes of the appointing power, by express provision, yet, as nothing is said of its participation in the removing power, such participation is to be excluded.” The error of this argument, if I may venture to call it so, considering who used it,3 lies in this. It supposes the power of removal to be held by the President under the general grant of executive power. Now, it is certain that the power of appointment is not held under that general grant, because it is particularly provided for, and is conferred, in express terms, on the President and Senate. If, therefore, the power of removal be a natural appendage to the power of appointment, then it is not conferred by the general words granting executive power to the President, but is conferred by the special clause which gives the appointing power to the President and Senate. So that the spirit of the very rule on which the argument of 1789, as I have stated it, relies, appears to me to produce a directly opposite result; for, if exceptions to a general rule are to be taken strictly, when expressed, it is still more clear, when they are not expressed at all, that they are not to be implied except on evident and clear grounds; and as the general power of appointment is confessedly given to the President and Senate, no exception is to be implied in favor of one part of that general power, namely, the removing part, unless for some obvious and irresistible reason. In other words, this argument which I am answering is not sound in its premises, and therefore not sound in its conclusion, if the grant of the power of appointment does naturally include also the power of removal, when this last power is not otherwise expressly provided for; because, if the power of removal belongs to the power of appointment, or necessarily follows it, then it has gone with it into the hands of the President and Senate; and the President does not hold it alone, as an implication or inference from the grant to him of general executive powers. The true application of that rule of construction, thus relied on, would present the argument, I think, in this form: “The appointing power is vested in the President and Senate; this is the general rule of the Constitution. The removing power is part of the appointing power; it cannot be separated from the rest, but by supposing that an exception was intended; but all exceptions to general rules are to be taken strictly, even when expressed; and, for a much stronger reason, they are not to be implied, when not expressed, unless inevitable necessity of construction requires it.” On the whole, Sir, with the diffidence which becomes one who is reviewing the opinions of some of the ablest and wisest men of the age, I must still express my own conviction, that the decision of Congress in 1789, which separated the power of 3. Mr. Madison. See the discussion in Gales and Seaton’s Debates in Congress, Vol. I. p. 473 et seq. HDT WHAT? INDEX


removal from the power of appointment, was founded on an erroneous construction of the Constitution, and that it has led to great inconsistencies, as well as to great abuses, in the subsequent, and especially in the more recent, history of the government. Much has been said now, and much was said formerly, about the inconvenience of denying this power to the President alone. I agree that an argument drawn from this source may have weight, in a doubtful case; but it is not to be permitted that we shall presume the existence of a power merely because we think it would be convenient. Nor is there, I think, any such glaring, striking, or certain inconvenience as has been suggested. Sudden removals from office are seldom necessary; we see how seldom, by reference to the practice of the government under all administrations which preceded the present. And if we look back over the removals which have been made in the last six years, there is no man who can maintain that there is one case in a hundred in which the country would have suffered the least inconvenience if no removal had been made without the consent of the Senate. Party might have felt the inconvenience, but the country never. Many removals have been made (by new appointments) during the session of the Senate; and if there has occurred one single case, in the whole six years, in which the public convenience required the removal of an officer in the recess, such case has escaped my recollection. Besides, it is worthy of being remembered, when we are seeking for the true intent of the Constitution on this subject, that there is reason to suppose that its framers expected the Senate would be in session a much larger part of the year than the House of Representatives, so that its concurrence could generally be had, at once, on any question of appointment or removal. But this argument, drawn from the supposed inconvenience of denying an absolute power of removal to the President, suggests still another view of the question. The argument asserts, that it must have been the intention of the framers of the Constitution to confer the power on the President, for the sake of convenience, and as an absolutely necessary power in his hands. Why, then, did they leave their intent doubtful? Why did they not confer the power in express terms? Why were they thus totally silent on a point of so much importance? Seeing that the removing power naturally belongs to the appointing power; seeing that, in other cases, in the same Constitution, its framers have left the one with the consequence of drawing the other after it,—if, in this instance, they meant to do what was uncommon and extraordinary, that, is to say, if they meant to separate and divorce the two powers, why did they not say so? Why did they not express their meaning in plain words? Why should they take up the appointing power, and carefully define it, limit it, and restrain it, and yet leave to vague inference and loose construction an equally important power, which all must admit to be closely connected with it, if not a part of it? If others can account for all this silence HDT WHAT? INDEX


respecting the removing power, upon any other ground than that the framers of the Constitution regarded both powers as one, and supposed they had provided for them together, I confess I cannot. I have the clearest conviction, that they looked to no other mode of displacing an officer than by impeachment, or by the regular appointment of another person to the same place. But, Sir, whether the decision of 1789 were right or wrong, the bill before us applies to the actually existing state of things. It recognizes the President’s power of removal, in express terms, as it has been practically exercised, independently of the Senate. The present bill does not disturb the power; but I wish it not to be understood that the power is, even now, beyond the reach of legislation. I believe it to be within the just power of Congress to reverse the decision of 1789, and I mean to hold myself at liberty to act, hereafter, upon that question, as I shall think the safety of the government and of the Constitution may require. The present bill, however, proceeds upon the admission that the power does at present exist. Its words are:— “Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That, in all nominations made by the President to the Senate, to fill vacancies occasioned by the exercise of the President’s power to remove the said officers mentioned in the second section of this act, the fact of the removal shall be stated to the Senate, at the same time that the nomination is made, with a statement of the reasons for which such officer may have been removed.” In my opinion, this provision is entirely constitutional, and highly expedient. The regulation of the tenure of office is a common exercise of legislative authority, and the power of Congress in this particular is not at all restrained or limited by any thing contained in the Constitution, except in regard to judicial officers. All the rest is left to the ordinary discretion of the legislature. Congress may give to offices which it creates (except those of judges) what duration it pleases. When the office is created, and is to be filled, the President is to nominate the candidate to fill it; but when he comes into the office, he comes into it upon the conditions and restrictions which the law may have attached to it. If Congress were to declare by law that the Attorney-General, or the Secretary of State, should hold his office during good behavior, I am not aware of any ground on which such a law could be held unconstitutional. A provision of that kind in regard to such officers might be unwise, but I do not perceive that it would transcend the power of Congress. If the Constitution had not prescribed the tenure of judicial office, Congress might have thought it expedient to give the judges just such a tenure as the Constitution has itself provided; that is to say, a right to hold during good behavior; and I am of opinion that such a law would have been perfectly HDT WHAT? INDEX


constitutional. It is by law, in England, that the judges are made independent of the removing power of the crown. I do not think that the Constitution, by giving the power of appointment, or the power both of appointment and removal, to the President and Senate, intended to impose any restraint on the legislature, in regard to its authority of regulating the duties, powers, duration, or responsibility of office. I agree, that Congress ought not to do any thing which shall essentially impair that right of nomination and appointment of certain officers, such as ministers, judges, &c., which the Constitution has vested in the President and Senate. But while the power of nomination and appointment is left fairly where the Constitution has placed it, I think the whole field of regulation is open to legislative discretion. If a law were to pass, declaring that district attorneys, or collectors of customs, should hold their offices four years, unless removed on conviction for misbehavior, no one could doubt its constitutional validity; because the legislature is naturally competent to prescribe the tenure of office. And is a reasonable check on the power of removal any thing more than a qualification of the tenure of office? Let it be always remembered, that the President’s removing power, as now exercised, is claimed and held under the general clause vesting in him the executive authority. It is implied, or inferred, from that clause alone. Now, if it is properly derived from that source, since the Constitution does not say how it shall be limited, how defined, or how carried into effect, it seems especially proper for Congress, under the general provision of the Constitution which gives it authority to pass all laws necessary to carry into effect the powers conferred on any department, to regulate the subject of removal. And the regulation here required is of the gentlest kind. It only provides that the President shall make known to the Senate his reasons for removal of officers of this description, when he does see fit to remove them. It might, I think, very justly go farther. It might, and perhaps it ought, to prescribe the form of removal, and the proof of the fact. It might, I also think, declare that the President should only suspend officers, at pleasure, till the next meeting of the Senate, according to the amendment suggested by the honorable member from Kentucky; and, if the present practice cannot be otherwise checked, this provision, in my opinion, ought hereafter to be adopted. But I am content with the slightest degree of restraint which may be sufficient to arrest the totally unnecessary, unreasonable, and dangerous exercise of the power of removal. I desire only, for the present at least, that, when the President turns a man out of office, he should give his reasons for it to the Senate, when he nominates another person to fill the place. Let him give these reasons, and stand on them. If they are fair and honest, he need have no fear in stating them. It is not to invite any trial; it is not to give the removed officer an opportunity of defence; it is not to excite controversy and debate; it is simply that the Senate, and HDT WHAT? INDEX


ultimately the public, may know the grounds of removal. I deem this degree of regulation, at least, necessary; unless we are willing to submit all these officers to an absolute and a perfectly irresponsible removing power; a power which, as recently exercised, tends to turn the whole body of public officers into partisans, dependants, favorites, sycophants, and man-worshippers. Mr. President, without pursuing the discussion further, I will detain the Senate only while I recapitulate the opinions which I have expressed; because I am far less desirous of influencing the judgment of others, than of making clear the grounds of my own judgment. I think, then, Sir, that the power of appointment naturally and necessarily includes the power of removal where no limitation is expressed, nor any tenure but that at will declared. The power of appointment being conferred on the President and Senate, I think the power of removal went along with it, and should have been regarded as a part of it, and exercised by the same hands. I think, consequently, that the decision of 1789, which implied a power of removal separate from the appointing power, was erroneous. But I think the decision of 1789 has been established by practice, and recognized by subsequent laws, as the settled construction of the Constitution, and that it is our duty to act upon the case accordingly, for the present; without admitting that Congress may not, hereafter, if necessity shall require it, reverse the decision of 1789. I think the legislature possesses the power of regulating the condition, duration, qualification, and tenure of office, in all cases where the Constitution has made no express provision on the subject. I am, therefore, of opinion, that it is competent for Congress to declare by law, as one qualification of the tenure of office, that the incumbent shall remain in place till the President shall remove him, for reasons to be stated to the Senate. And I am of opinion that this qualification, mild and gentle as it is, will have some effect in arresting the evils which beset the progress of the government, and seriously threaten its future prosperity. These are the reasons for which I give my support to this bill.

April 6, Monday: Two duets from Richard Wagner’s romantic opera Das Liebesverbot to his own words were performed for the initial time, in the Magdeburg Stadttheater, and were conducted by the composer himself.




May 2, Saturday: In an attempt to satisfy his creditors Richard Wagner organized a benefit concert for himself in Magdeburg, including a large orchestra and the famed singer Wilhelmine Schroder-Devrient. The evening was, however, a fiasco, being so poorly attended that in fact the performers outnumbering the listeners — and even those who had attended were beginning to drift away before the orchestra arrived at the conclusion to “Wellington’s Victory.”

Richard Wagner “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project HDT WHAT? INDEX



During this year Richard Wagner was writing his Overture.

March 29, Tuesday: Richard Wagner conducted his own grosse komische Oper Das Liebesverbot, oder Die Novize von Palermo to the composer’s words after Shakespeare was performed for the initial time, in Magdeburg’s Stadttheater. On the same day an anonymous article appeared in Robert Schumann’s Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik in support of this new opera (the article had been written by the composer).


March 30, Wednesday: Samuel Wesley wrote to William Crotch, sending compositions by his son, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, in an attempt to gain a Bachelor of Music for him (nothing would come of this).

Some people take Richard Wagner’s music most seriously: it opens a window into their stupid little souls. A 2d performance of his Das Liebesverbot needed to be cancelled because fistfights broke out among the cast on stage before curtain (although one cast member pulled out a knife, no one was seriously injured).4

April 11, Monday: Hoping to make the acquaintance of Felix Mendelssohn and gain a wider audience for his music, Richard Wagner sent Mendelssohn a copy of his Symphony in C major (Mendelssohn seems not to have responded and the score has never been found).

Although Das Liebesverbot by Wagner was given a 2d performance in Magdeburg, the fiasco of March 30th had caused such a scandal that only 3 people showed up to form an audience.

November 24, Thursday: David Henry Thoreau supplemented his borrowings from the Harvard Library by checking out, from the library of the “Institute of 1770”, SHAKSPEARE’S ROMANCES COLLECTED AND ARRANGED BY SHAKSPEARE II (two volumes, London, 1825 — there is a copy of this rare pseudonymous work in the British Museum), as well as Volume 93 of the North American Review — the volume which contains: 4. Hey dudes, c’mon. You’re up there in costume, in the land of bulletless bang guns and daggers with spring-loaded rubber blades and hollow handles. If you expect us to take any of this seriously we’ve gotta see blood on the boards when you’re done! HDT WHAT? INDEX


• a survey of Greek folk lyrics entitled “Romaic Popular Poetry” • a survey of works on education by the Reverend Joseph Emerson of Malden (a great-grandfather of Waldo Emerson who had prayed every night that no descendant of his might ever be rich), Dr. Timothy Dwight, and Warren Burton entitled “Principle of Emulation,” including an account of German universities • an article “Lives of Pinckney, Ellery, and Mather” • a review of Volume VI of the Reverend Jared Sparks’s LIBRARY OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY (LIFE OF WILLIAM PINKNEY, by Henry Wheaton; LIFE OF WILLIAM ELLERY, by Edward T. Channing; LIFE OF COTTON MATHER, by William B.O. Peabody.) LIBRARY OF AM. BIOG. VI • a critical notice of the Reverend John Snelling Popkin’s THREE LECTURES ON LIBERAL EDUCATION (which was a book, published during this year, which Harvard College students would be needing to deal with in taking that professor’s course in “Greek Literature” and the “good taste of the ancients”)

Richard Wagner got married with Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer, an actress, in Tragheim near Königsberg (Kaliningrad) where she was currently performing. Faithfully guided, draw near to where the blessing of love shall preserve you! Triumphant courage, the reward of love, joins you in faith as the happiest of couples! Champion of virtue, proceed! Jewel of youth, proceed! Flee now the splendour of the wedding feast, may the delights of the heart be yours! This sweet-smelling room, decked for love, now takes you in, away from the splendour. Faithfully guided, draw now near to where the blessing of love shall preserve you! Triumphant courage, love so pure, joins you in faith as the happiest of couples! — Wie Gott euch selig weihte, zu Freude weihn euch wir. In Liebesglücks Geleite denkt lang’ der Stunde hier! — Faithfully guarded, remain behind where the blessing of love shall preserve you! Triumphant courage, love and happiness join you in faith as the happiest of couples. Champion of virtue, remain here! Jewel of youth, remain here! Flee now the splendours of the wedding feast, may the delights of the heart be yours! This sweet-smelling room, decked for love, has now taken you, away from the splendour. Faithfully guarded, remain behind where the blessing of love shall preserve you! Triumphant courage, love and happiness HDT WHAT? INDEX


join you in faith as the happiest of couples. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 5th day 24th of 11th M / Our first Meeting was a very remarkably favourd one. Father was favourd to exceed almost any thing I ever heard from him then Hannah Dennis, & then Mary Hicks in a well Authorised & truly Gospel testimony - We had considerable buisness in the last & prety well resulted — Benjn. Mott & Jonathon & Hannah Dennis dined with us When I returned home I found two parcells & a letter from my friend Thos Thompson of Liverpool.- Cousin Henry Gould & Thos Nichols called & sat most of the evening with us. — When we returned from Meeting we were shocked with the information that our dear little neighbour Sam Bailey about an hour before had by some means at the Coal grate got shockingly burned & the case was very doubtful as to his living - his stomach, Arm, face & Neck was sad to behold so that he could talk but not sensing his pains — his feet was cold & she rubbed them he asked who it was that rubbed him, some of the by standers told him it was Miss Gould & asked him if he did not know her, he said I cant see her, something is in my eye” he is a little boy not quite three years old grandson for our neighbour Faisneay & came in to see us nearly every day & was a sweet little interesting fellow He died about twelve hours after it happened. — RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS HDT WHAT? INDEX



During this year Richard Wagner wrote his Rule, Britannia Overture and began work on , der Letzte der Tribunen. LISTEN TO IT NOW

February 17, Friday: Incidental music to Singer’s play Die letzte Heidenverschworung in Preusen oder Der Deutsche Ritterorden in Konigsberg by Richard Wagner was performed probably for the initial time, in the Konigsberg Stadttheater.

David Henry Thoreau’s Harvard College essay on assignment “Speak of the characteristics which, either humorously or reproachfully, we are in the habit of ascribing to the people of different sections of our own country” utilized, among other resources, Archbishop Richard Whately, D.D.’s ELEMENTS OF RHETORIC...... had never been mistress of the world had not the distinction of allies been merged in the title of Roman citizens. They were Romans who conquered the world; so many Latins, Apulians, and Campanians, had they stood, in other respects, in precisely the same relative situations, would sooner have gone to war with each other. How much mischief have those magical words, North, South, East, and West, caused. Could we rest satisfied with one mighty, all-em bracing West, leaving the other three cardinal points to the old world, methinks we should not have cause for so much apprehension about the preservation of the Union. When, in addition to these natural distinctions, descriptive and characteristic epithets are applied, by their own countrymen, to the people of different sections of the country, though in a careless and bantering manner, the patriot may well tremble for the Union. ...

April 1, Saturday: Richard Wagner was appointed as the music director of the city theater in Königsberg (Kaliningrad). HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 21, Monday: Waldo Emerson to his journal:

What means all the monitory tone of the world of life, of literature, of tradition? Man is fallen, Man is banished; an exile; he is in earth whilst there is a heaven. What do these apologues mean? These seem to him traditions of memory. But they are the whispers of hope and Hope is the voice of the Supreme Being to the Individual. We say Paradise was; Adam fell, the Golden Age; & the like. We mean man is not as he ought to be; but our way of painting this is on Time, and we say Was.

Samuel Ripley Bartlett was baptized in Concord.

Richard Wagner arrived in , with Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner, to take up a position as musical director of the theater there.

Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 2nd day 21 of 8 M / This Afternoon I unexpectedly met with the Widow of Wm Shotwell who recently died at Edw Wings in Tiverton. I was glad to fall in with her & spend a few moments in sympathy with her & her children tho’ it was on the Head of the Long Wharf while they were waiting for the Steam Boat to come from Providence to take them in - Wm Shotwell & his wife came from NYork some weeks ago on a visit to his brother in Law Edw Wing & wife in Tiverton & after spending some time Pleasantly, he was taken sick of Cholera Morbus, which was corrected by Medicine after which he was soon taken in a fit & died & was buried on 5th day last the 17th in Friends burying ground at Fall River. RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS HDT WHAT? INDEX


September 13, Wednesday: Friedrich Wieck received a letter from Robert Schumann asking for his daughter’s hand. Wieck would be evasive.

Richard Wagner conducted in Riga for the initial time, in a performance of a comic opera by Carl Blum to which Wagner added an aria.

December 3, Sunday: Clara Wieck gave her 1st concert in , at the home of Baroness Pereira.

Richard Wagner’s Volks-Hymne “Nikolai” for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra to words of von Brackel was performed for the initial time, in Riga’s Stadttheater.

Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 1st day 3rd of 12 M 1837 / Our Morning Meeting was well attended and a very solid weighty Meeting - Father was engaged in testimony In the Afternoon Father was again at Meeting & had a short testimony to offer Ann Rodman came home with me to tea & set the evening — My wife being unwell was not at Meeting today — RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS

December 24, Sunday: At Hotel dell’Angelo, Como, a 2d child, Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt, was born to and Countess Marie d’Agoult, while they were on their extended tour of and .

Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 1st day 24th of 12th M / Another stormy 1st day - It snowed last night & being some Rain today, made the walking had, so that but few were at meeting, especially the Women, but it was pretty Solid seasons, tho’ my mind was weak & poor most of the time — both were Silent - RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS HDT WHAT? INDEX



March 19, Monday: Richard Wagner’s overture “Rule Britannia” was performed for the initial time, probably in the Schwarzhauptersaal in Riga, with the composer himself conducting.

Senator Morris submitted a number of thorny issues in regard to the slave-trade to the US Senate. “Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to inquire whether the present laws of the United States, on the subject of the slave trade, will prohibit that trade being carried on between citizens of the United States and citizens of the Republic of Texas, either by land or by sea; and whether it would be lawful in vessels owned by citizens of that Republic, and not lawful in vessels owned by citizens of this, or lawful in both, and by citizens of both countries; and also whether a slave carried from the United States into a foreign country, and brought back, on returning into the United States, is considered a free person, or is liable to be sent back, if demanded, as a slave, into that country from which he or she last came; and also whether any additional legislation by Congress is necessary on any of these subjects.”

Friend Stephen Wanton Gould wrote in his journal: 2nd day 19th of 3rd M 1838 / We recd a kind & very acceptable letter from our daughter Mary A Gould by which we learn the family are well tho’ there are a number Sick around them. — RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS

November 15, Thursday: Richard Wagner began a series of subscription concerts in Riga. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 16, Wednesday: Gesang am Grabe by Richard Wagner to words of von Brackel was performed for the initial time, in the Jakobi-Kirchhof, Riga.

Waldo Emerson’s 6th lecture in the “Human Life” series at the Masonic Temple in Boston, “The Protest.” Bronson Alcott and Jones Very were in the audience although not together. Emerson made “a splendid Protest against every lie in life.”5

July 9, Tuesday: Waldo Emerson wrote to Margaret Fuller:

JONES VERY I am editing Very’s little book. Three Essays; and verses. Out of two hundred poems, I have selected sixty six that really possess rare merit. The book is to cost 75 cents, and I beg you to announce its coming value to all buyers. If it sells, our prophet will get $150 which, little though it be, he wants.

His contract in Riga not having been renewed, Richard Wagner and his wife Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner stayed one step ahead of their creditors by abandoning Mitau near Riga, heading toward Paris.

July 29, Monday: Richard Wagner and Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner were aboard the Thetis, attempting to reach England from eastern , when it needed put into a Norwegian fjord during a gale. The composer was struck by the mountains rising from the sea, and the calm water, and would recall this in “Der fliegende Hollander.”

August 12, Monday: In England, a Chartist or National Holiday celebration was unsuccessful.

The Wagners were needing to avoid their creditors. After 3 weeks at sea for a trip that should have taken but 1 week, and after having suffered through furious gales, Richard Wagner and Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner docked at London. After awhile they would pass on, to Paris.

August 20, Tuesday: Adolf replaced Wilhelm as Duke of Nassau.

While was taking the cure at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Richard Wagner met him and asked for assistance. This would be generously provided, both in cash and with professional recommendations (this relationship would collapse upon Meyerbeer discovering Wagner to be maligning him behind his back).

5. One almost wishes it had been a formal debate, with an opponent to sponsor the contrary attitude. HDT WHAT? INDEX


September 16, Monday: Richard Wagner and his wife Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner, armed with introductions from Giacomo Meyerbeer, reached Paris for the 1st time. Wagner expressed disappointment with the city.

The dashing Thoreau brothers, just back from their excellent adventure, heard that the Reverend Edmund Quincy Sewall, Sr. and Mrs. Edmund Quincy Sewall were vacationing at Niagara Falls, and so dashing brother John Thoreau, Jr. promptly dashed off to Scituate in order to be able to visit Miss Ellen Devereux Sewall in her home — while she was without adult supervision (George and Edmund, her younger brothers, were the only chaperonage). Meanwhile the younger brother, Henry Thoreau, left behind in Concord, worked furiously at his essay on bravery, at his essay on friendship, at his translation of Æschylus’s PROMETHEUS BOUND, and at his essay on the satirist Aulus Persius Flaccus:

The life of a wise man is most of all extemporaneous, for he lives out of an eternity which includes all time.

All questions rely on the present for their solution. Time measures nothing but itself. HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 24, Sunday: Romeo et Juliette, a symphonie dramatique for solo voices, double chorus and orchestra to words of Deschamps after Shakespeare was performed for the initial time, at the Paris Conservatoire, and was conducted by its composer, Hector Berlioz. He dedicated this to Nicolò Paganini. Richard Wagner was most impressed, either by this performance or by the one on December 1st.

James Nasmyth made in his sketchbook the 1st preserved drawing for a steam hammer. HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner was writing A . He met Franz Liszt. LISTEN TO IT NOW

July 12, Sunday: The 1st of Richard Wagner’s essays entitled “German Music” appeared in the Paris periodical Gazette musicale.

Henry Thoreau continued in his reading in his personal copy of the 1822 Paris Delalain edition of François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon’s ABRÉGÉ DE LA VIE DES PLUS ILLUSTRES PHILOSOPHES DE L’ANTIQUITÉ, in the personal copy he had acquired in 1834. This reading was leading him onward to Bias of Priene.

July 12: What first suggested that necessity was grim, and made fate so fatal? The strongest is always the least violent. Necessity is a sort of eastern cushion on which I recline. I contemplate its mild, inflexible countenance, as the haze in October days. When I am vexed I only ask to be left alone with it. Leave me to my fate. It is the bosom of time and the lap of eternity — since to be necessary is to be needful, it is only another name for inflexibility of good. How I welcome my grim fellow and aspire to lie such a necessity as he! He is so flexible, and yields to me as the air to my body! I leap and dance in his midst, and play with his beard till he smiles. I greet thee, my elder brother, who with thy touch ennoblest all things. Must it be so, then it is good. Thou commendest even petty ills by thy countenance. Over hangs the divine necessity, ever a mellower heaven of itself, whose light too gilds the Acropolis and a thousand fanes and groves. Pittacus said there was no better course than to endeavor to do well what you are doing at any moment.

Go where he will, the wise man is proprietor of all things. Everything bears a similar inscription, if we could but read it, to that on the vase found in the stomach of a fish in old times, — “To the most wise.”

When his impious fellow-passengers invoked the gods in a storm, Bias cried, “Hist! hist! lest the gods perceive that you are here, for we should all be lost.”

A wise man will always have his duds picked up, and be ready for whatever may happen, as the prudent merchant, notwithstanding the lavish display of his wares, will yet have them packed or easy to be removed in emergencies. In this sense there is something sluttish in all finery. When I see a fine lady or gentleman dressed to the top of the fashion, I wonder what they would do if an earthquake should happen, or a fire suddenly break out, for they seem to have counted only on fair weather, and that things will go on smoothly and without jostling. Those curls and jewels, so nicely adjusted, expect an unusual deference from the elements. Our dress should be such as will hang conveniently about us, and fit equally well in good and in bad fortune; such as will approve itself of the right fashion and fabric, whether for the cotillion or the earthquake. In the sack of Priene, when the inhabitants with much hurry and bustle were carrying their effects to a place of safety, sonic one asked Bias, who remained tranquil amid the confusion, why he was not thinking how he should save something, as the others were. “1 do so,” said Bias, “for I carry all my effects with me.” PHILOSOPHES DE L’ANTIQUITÉ HDT WHAT? INDEX





July 26, Sunday: The 2d of Richard Wagner’s essays entitled “German Music” appeared in the Paris periodical Gazette musicale.

Abby May Alcott was born to Abba Alcott, almost 41 years old. Bronson Alcott attempted to reconcile himself to the fact that he would not get a son:

Providence, it seems, decrees that we shall provide selectest ministries alone, and so sends us successive daughters of love to quicken the Sons of Light. We joyfully acquiesce in the divine behest and are content to rear women for the future world.


October 28, Wednesday: Richard Wagner entered debtors prison in Paris.

November 19, Thursday: Richard Wagner completed Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen. LISTEN TO IT NOW

December 4, Friday: Richard Wagner sent the score of Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen to August von Luttichau, director of the Dresden Opera. LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 9, Saturday: Richard Wagner dedicated his arrangement of the vocal score of Gaetano Donizetti’s La Favorita to Giacomo Meyerbeer.

British explorer James Clark Ross, with the ships Erebus and Terror, reached the Ross Sea.

Franz Liszt arrived in Limerick, where he would offer two concerts.

February 23, Tuesday: From Paris, Richard Wagner wrote an article to appear in the Dresden Abendzeitung. This announced that the Paris Opéra was in danger, but would be saved by Giacomo Meyerbeer.

March 18, Thursday: Giacomo Meyerbeer wrote from Baden to August Freiherr von Lüttichau, director of the Dresden Opera, recommending Richard Wagner and Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen. LISTEN TO IT NOW

April 25, Sunday: In Bonn, when Hector Berlioz and Franz Liszt produced an all-Beethoven concert at the Salle du Conservatoire to benefit the Beethoven monument, Liszt played various piano sonatas and the “Emperor” Concerto, conducted by Berlioz, along with the 6th Symphony, and the receipts were barely enough to pay the musicians. The audience required Liszt to play his own Reminiscences on Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable while Berlioz and the orchestra waited. Richard Wagner, reviewing the concert for the Dresden Abendzeitung, would suggest that “Some day, Liszt in heaven will be summoned to play his Fantasy on The Devil before the assembled company of angels.” Jacques Offenbach, an aspiring cellist, joined with Anton Rubinstein, a visiting Russian prodigy, to perform the 2d and 3d movements of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in A.

April 25. A momentous silence reigns always in the woods, and their meaning seems just ripening into expression. But alas! they make no haste. The rush sparrow, Nature’s minstrel of serene hours, sings of an immense leisure and duration. When I hear a robin sing at sunset, I cannot help contrasting the equanimity of Nature with the bustle and impatience of man. We return from the lyceum and caucus with such stir and excitement, as if a crisis were at hand; but no natural scene or sound sympathizes with us, for Nature is always silent and unpretending as at the break of day. She but rubs her eyelids. I am struck with the pleasing friendships and unanimities of nature in the woods, as when the moss on the trees takes the form of their leaves. There is all of civilized life in the woods. Their wildest scenes have an air of domesticity and homeliness, and when the flicker’s cackle is heard in the clearings, the musing hunter is reminded that civilization has imported nothing into them. The ball-room is represented by the catkins of the alder at this season, which hang gracefully like a lady’s ear-drops. All the discoveries of science are equally true in their deepest recesses; nature there, too, obeys the same laws. Fair weather and foul concern the little red bug upon a pine stump; for him the wind goes round the right way and the sun breaks through the clouds. HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 29, Thursday: Richard Wagner and his wife move to Meudon near Paris.

Henry Thoreau wrote in his journal:

April 29: Birds and quadrupeds pass freely through nature — without prop or stilt. But man very naturally carries a stick in his hand — seeking to ally himself by many points to nature.— as a warrior stands by his horse’s side with his hand on his mane. We walk the gracefuller for a cane — as the juggler uses a leaded pole to balance him when he dances on the slack wire. Better a monosyllabic life — than a ragged and muttered one — let its report be short and round, so that it may hear its own echo in the surrounding silence.6

October 30, Saturday: Richard Wagner completed the score and lyrics of Der fliegende Holländer.

Here is the preserved Brook Farm record: At a meeting of the Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education on Saturday last, October 30, 1841, the following votes were passed:— Voted, 1. To transfer the Institution recently carried on by George Ripley to the Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education from and after November 1, 1841, according to the conditions stated in the instrument of this date, and signed by George Ripley, William B. Allen, and Charles A. Dana. 2. To transfer the establishment recently carried on by Marianne Ripley to the Brook Farm Institute, from and after November 1, 1841, according to the conditions stated in the instrument referred to in the above vote. 3. That, in the annual settlement with individual members, each member shall be allowed board in proportion to the time employed for the Association: that is, one year’s board for one year’s labor; and if no labor is done, the whole board shall be charged. 4. That the price of board charged to the Associates shall be $4.00 per week, until otherwise ordered, including house-rent, fuel, light, and washing. 5. That three hundred days’ labor shall be considered equal to one year’s labor, and shall entitle a person to one share of the annual dividend, and no allowance shall be made for a greater amount of labor.7 6. That sixty hours shall be considered equal to six days’ labor for the months of May, June, July, August, September, and October, inclusive; forty-eight hours, from November to April, inclusive. 7. That for children of the associates, over ten years of age, board shall be charged at half the established rate.

6.The poet W.H. Auden has in 1962 brought forward a snippet from this day’s entry, for some reason inserting an extra clause “like a rifle”:


Pg Topic Aphorism Selected by Auden out of Thoreau

Better a monosyllabic life than a ragged and muttered one; let its report be short and round 55 Success and Failure like a rifle, so that it may hear its own echo in the surrounding silence.

7. Bear in mind that not all the labor of the farm would be performed by these members. The farm did have a subordinate staff of hired help and servants to perform a significant amount of the needed labor. This socialist experiment was not egalitarian. HDT WHAT? INDEX


8. That the price of board and tuition shall be $4.00 a week for boys, and $5.00 a week for girls over twelve years of age; and $3.50 a week for children under that age, exclusive of washing and separate fire.

Chas. A Dana, Secretary

December 14, Tuesday: While in Paris, Richard Wagner learned that through the intercession of Giacomo Meyerbeer, Der fliegende Holländer has been approved by the intendant of the Berlin Court Opera.

In protest against the racist Dorr constitution, Frederick Douglass lectured at Regional Anti-Slavery Conventions in Phenix and in Fiskville, Rhode Island.

December 14. Tuesday. To hear the sunset described by the Old Scotch Poet Douglas –as I have seen it– repays me for many weary pages of of antiquated Scotch. Nothing so restores and humanizes antiquity –and makes it blithe– as the discovery of some natural sympathy between it and the present. Why is it that there is some thing melancholy in antiquity— We forget that it had any other future than our present — as if it were not as near to the future as ourselves. No thank heavens, these ranks of men to right and left –posterity– and ancestry are not to be thridded — by any earnest mortal— The heavens stood over the heads of our ancestors as near — as to us.— Any living word in these books abolishes the difference of time— It need only be considered from the present stand point HDT WHAT? INDEX



April 7, Thursday: Frederick Douglass was in Upton, Massachusetts to speak for the Upton Female Anti-Slavery Society, and at an annual event called “State Fast Day,” the Reverend Adin Ballou, who had been fooled in his youth by the “libertarian” crowd of the 19th Century and had been led to side with the slavers against the abolitionists, heard this escaped slave for the first time, and came to recognize the horrible reality of what, in abstraction, he had been considering to be reasonable.

The Reverend William Ellery Channing delivered his final sermon in the Federal Street Church in Boston.

After 30 months of financial destitution Richard Wagner and Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner left Paris for Dresden. HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 12, Tuesday: A convention of the National Charter Association took place in London.

Richard Wagner and his wife arrived in Dresden where he was to assist in rehearsals for Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen. LISTEN TO IT NOW

The initial organizational meeting for the New York Philharmonic Society was chaired by Anthony Philip Heinrich.

Frederick Douglass spoke in Wrentham MA.

Lord Ashburton wrote to Albert Gallatin: LORD ASHBURTON to ALBERT GALLATIN , April 12, 1842 DEAR MR. GALLATIN, My first destination was to approach America through New York, but the winds decided otherwise, and I was landed at Annapolis. In one respect only this was a disappointment, and a serious one. I should have much wished to seek you out in your retreat to renew an old and highly valued acquaintance, and I believe and hope I may add, friendship; to talk over with you the Old and New World, their follies and their wisdom, their present and bygone actors, all of which nobody understands so well as you do, and, what is more rare, nobody that has crossed my passage in life has appeared to me to judge with the same candid HDT WHAT? INDEX


impartiality. This pleasure of meeting you is, I trust, only deferred. I shall, if I live to accomplish my work here, certainly not leave the country without an attempt to find you out and to draw a little wisdom from the best well, though it may be too late for my use in the work I have in hand and very much at heart. You will probably be surprised at my undertaking this task at my period of life, and when I am left to my own thoughts I am sometimes surprised myself at my rashness. People here stare when I tell them that I listened to the debates in Congress on Mr. Jay’s treaty in 1795, and seem to think that some antediluvian has come amongst them out of his grave. The truth is that I was tempted by my great anxiety in the cause, and the extreme peace between our countries. The latter circumstance induced my political friends to press this appointment upon me, and with much hesitation, founded solely upon my health and age, I yielded. In short, here I am. My reception has been everything I could expect or wish; but your experience will tell you that little can be inferred from this until real business is entered upon. I can only say that it shall not be my fault if we do not continue to live on better terms than we have lately done, and, if I do not understand the present very anomalous state of parties here, or misinterpret public opinion generally, there appears to be no class of politicians of any respectable character indisposed to peace with us on reasonable terms. I expect and desire to obtain no other, and my present character of a diplomatist is so new to me that I know no other course but candour and plain dealing. The most inexpert protocolist would beat me hollow at such work. I rely on your good wishes, my dear sir, though I have nothing else, and that you will believe me unfeignedly yours, ASHBURTON

April 18, Monday: As he passed through Leipzig, Richard Wagner sought out Robert Schumann at his home. Wagner did most of the talking.

October 20, Thursday: Earlier this year Richard Wagner had moved from Paris to Dresden. His grosse tragische Oper Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen to his own words after Bulwer Lytton was performed for the initial time, in the Dresden Hoftheater. The work was very enthusiastically received. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Believing war to have broken out between Mexico and the United States, Commodore Thomas Jones USN sails into Monterrey harbor and demanded the town’s surrender. Local defenseless officials complied, and Jones claimed California for the United States. HDT WHAT? INDEX


October 28, Friday: Eight days after the enormous success of Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen, the Dresden Kapellmeister died. All eyes turned to Richard Wagner.

Giacomo Meyerbeer was accepted into Freemasonry at a lodge in Paris. HDT WHAT? INDEX



In Potsdam, Felix Mendelssohn’s music to William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream was performed for the 1st time. In Dresden, Richard Wagner’s opera Der fliegende Holländer was premiered.

January 2, Monday: Der fliegende Holländer, a romantische Oper by Richard Wagner to his own words after , was performed for the 1st time, at the Dresden Hoftheater, directed by the composer.

February: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The New Adam and Eve.”

Richard Wagner was appointed Kapellmeister at King of ’s Court and began work on Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg.

February 2, Thursday: Richard Wagner was installed as Kapellmeister to the Royal Court of Saxony in Dresden.

When Hector Berlioz went by train from Leipzig to Dresden in 3½ hours to prepare a concert there, and then came on the return 3½-hour journey that afternoon, it was his initial experience on a train. This was the eve of Felix Mendelssohn’s 34th birthday and he to conduct the revised version of his cantata Die erste Walpurgisnacht at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and Berlioz was going to make certain he did not miss it.

February 6, Monday: At the age of 34 Kit Carson got married a 3d time, with 14-year-old Josefa Jaramillo, daughter of a prominent family of Taos in the New Mexico territory. The couple would produce eight children the descendants of whom are still to be found in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado.

Hector Berlioz arrived in Dresden. He met Richard Wagner whom he found “self-satisfied but warm” and enjoyed Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen and Der fliegende Holländer. Wagner had written unkind remarks about Berlioz which would appear in the Zeitung für die elegante Welt during Berlioz’ stay, but would regret these remarks once he heard Berlioz’ music.

The Virginia Minstrels made their New York debut at the Bowery Amphitheatre.

Lidian Emerson wrote to Waldo Emerson: It is now Monday the sixth day of the month. We had no conversation last night but all Concord (and many other places besides) was entertained with a magnificent snow storm. Soft and pure words innumberable fell all around us — might we but have understood them! Our trees are richly laden; and gorgeous to behold is the large evergreen in front of my chamber window. I trust kind nature will gently unladle them before they find their riches so cumbrous as to endanger their future well being. Henry [Henry Thoreau] has so far improved in health to be quite able, as he thinks, to shovel snow once more, deep though it be. HDT WHAT? INDEX



He has made very handsome paths from both doors and the great blocks of snow lie on each side attesting that they were no trifle to dispose of — I don’t know that I ever saw the snow deeper on a level. It is not much drifted.

Lewis Tappan had a headlock on human righteousness, and was inordinately proud of the manner in which constant close surveillance of the American business community by the agents of his Mercantile Agency was policing our morals and enabling our lives: Indeed, “moral regulation” was among the industry’s founding objectives. The Mercantile Agency grew now only from Lewis Tappan’s business failures but also from his success in reform movements. Building associations and communications networks, antebellum do-gooders papered the land with temperance pledges and codes of conduct to keep drunkards dry and factory girls pure. They installed “Overseers of the Poor” and built panopticons, octagonal prisons and asylums that facilitated central observation of oddballs and miscreants. Similar disciplinary aims moved Tappan to deploy surveillance and to devise performance standards. In a private letter about his firm in 1843, he bragged, “it checks knavery, & purifies the mercantile air.” ... Branding weak men, bad men, and madmen, a credit agency was a panopticon without walls. HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 7, Wednesday-9, Friday: In Dresden, Richard Wagner conducted music for the unveiling of a statue of the late Friedrich August I, including the premieres of his own Der Tag erscheint for male chorus to words of C.C. Hohlfeld, and Felix Mendelssohn’s setting of the national anthem of Saxony, Gott segne Sachsenland, for male chorus and winds.

On this day and the following two days, Frederick Douglass would be attending the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Anti-Slavery Society in Concord, New Hampshire.

June 8, Thursday: Richard Wagner wrote to Felix Mendelssohn that “I am proud to belong to the nation that produced you and your St. Paul.”

Henry Thoreau wrote to his mother Cynthia Dunbar Thoreau and father John Thoreau in Concord from Castleton on Staten Island: Castleton, Staten Island, June 8th 1843

Dear Parents,

I have got quite well now, and like the lay of the land and the look of the sea very much— Only the country is so fair that it seems rather too much as if it were made to be looked at. I have been to N.Y. four or five times, and have run about the island a good deal. Geo. Ward when I last saw him, which was at his HDT WHAT? INDEX


house in Brooklyn, was studying the Daguerreotype process, preparing to set up in that line. The boats run now almost every hour, from 8 AM. to 7 Pm. back and forth, so that I can get to the city much m ore easily than before. I have seen there one Henry James, a lame man, of whom I had heard before, whom I like very much, and he ask s me to make free use of his house, which is situated in a pleasant part of the city, adjoining the University. I have met several people whom I knew before, and among the rest Mr Wright, who was on his way to Niagara. I feel already about as well acquainted with New York as with Boston, that is about as little, perhaps. It is large enough now and t hey intend it shall be larg- er still. 15th Street – where some of my new acquaintances live, is two or three miles from the Battery where the boat touches, clear brick and stone and no give to the foot; and they have layed out, though not built, up to the 149th Street above. I had rather see a brick for a specimen for my part such as they exhib- ited in old times. You see it is quite a day’s training to make a few calls in dif- ferent parts of the city (to say nothing of 12 miles by water and three by land, ie. not brick or Stone) especially if it does not rain shillings which might inter- est omnibuses in your behalf. Some Omnibuses are marked “Broadway – Fourth Street” – and they go no further – otherss “8th Street” and so on, and so of the other principal streets. This letter will be circumstantial enough for Helen. This is in all respects a very pleasant residence – much more rural than you would expect of the vicinity of New York. There are woods all around. We breakfast at half past six – lunch if we will at twelve – and dine or sup at five. Thus is the day partitioned off. From 9 to 2 or thereabouts I am the schoolmas- ter – and at other times as much the pupil as I can be— Mr and Mrs Emerson and family are not indeed of my kith or kin in any sense – but they are irre- proachable and kind. I have met no one yet on the Island whose acquaintance I shall actually culti- vate – or hoe around – unless it be our neighbor Capt Smith – an old fisherman, who catches the fish called moss-bonkers – (so it sounds) and invites me to come to the beach when he spends the week and see him and his fish. Farms are for sale all around here— And so I suppose men are for purchase. North of us live Peter Wandell – Mr Mell – and Mr. Disusway (dont mind the spelling) as far as the Clove road; And south John Britton – Van Pelt, and Capt Smith, as far as the Fingerboard road. Behind is the hill, some 250 feet high – on the side of which we live, and in front the forest and the sea – the latter at the distance of a mile and a half. Tell Helen that Miss Errington is provided with assistance. This were as good a place as any to establish a school, if one could wait a little. Families come down here to board in the summer – and three or four have been already es- tablished this season. As for money matters I have not set my traps yet, but I am getting the bait ready. HDT WHAT? INDEX


Pray how does the garden thrive and what improvements in the pencil line? I miss you all very much. Write soon and send a Concord paper to yr affection- ate son Henry D. Thoreau

Thoreau also wrote to Waldo Emerson: STATEN ISLAND, June 8, 1843.

DEAR FRIEND, — I have been to see Henry James, and like him very much. It was a great pleasure to meet him. It makes humanity seem more erect and respectable. I never was more kindly and faith- fully catechised. It made me respect myself more to be thought wor- thy of such wise questions. He is a man, and takes his own way, or stands still in his own place. I know of no one so patient and deter- mined to have the good of you. It is almost friendship, such plain and human dealing. I think that he will not write or speak inspiringly; but he is a refreshing forward-looking and forward-moving man, and he has naturalized and humanized New York for me. He actually reproaches you by his respect for your poor words. I had three hours’ solid talk with him, and he asks me to make free use of his house. He wants an expression of your faith, or to be sure that it is faith, and confessess that his own treads fast upon the neck of his understanding. He exclaimed, at some careless answer of mine, “Well, you Transcendentalists are wonderfully consistent. I must get hold of this somehow!” He likes Carlyle’s book, but says that it leaves him in an excited and unprofitable state, and that Carlyle is so ready to obey his humor that he makes the least vestige of truth the foundation of any superstructure, not keeping faith with his bet- ter genius nor truest readers. I met Wright on the stairs of the Society Library, and W.H. Channing and Brisbane on the steps. The former (Channing) is a concave man, and you see by his attitude and the lines of his face that he is retreat- ing from himself and from yourself, with sad doubts. It is like a fair mask swaying from the drooping boughs of some tree whose stem is not seen. He would break with a conchoidal fracture. You feel as if you would like to see him when he has made up his mind to run all the risks. To be sure, he doubts because he has a great hope to be disappointed, but he makes the possible disappointment of too much consequence. Brisbane, with whom I did not converse, did not im- press me favorably. He looks like a man who has lived in a cellar, far gone in consumption. I barely saw him, but he did not look as if he could let Fourier go, in any case, and throw up his hat. But I need not have come to New York to write this. I have seen Tappan for two or three hours, and like both him and Waldo; but I always see those of whom I have heard well with a HDT WHAT? INDEX


slight disappointment. They are so much better than the great herd, and yet the heavens are not shivered into diamonds over their heads. Persons and things flit so rapidly through my brain, nowadays, that I can hardly remember them. They seem to be lying in the stream, stemming the tide, ready to go to sea, as steamboats when they leave the dock go off in the opposite direction first, until they are headed right, and then begins the steady revolution of the paddle-wheels; and they are not quite cheerily headed anywhither yet, nor singing amid the shrouds as they bound over the billows. There is a certain youthfulness and generosity about them, very attractive; and Tap- pan’s more reserved and solitary thought commands respect. After some ado, I discovered the residence of Mrs. Black, but there was palmed off on me, in her stead, a Mrs. Grey (quite an inferior color), who told me at last that she was not Mrs. Black, but her moth- er, and was just as glad to see me as Mrs. Black would have been, and so, forsooth, would answer just as well. Mrs. Black had gone with Edward Palmer to New Jersey, and would return on the mor- row. I don’t like the city better, the more I see it, but worse. I am ashamed of my eyes that behold it. It is a thousand times meaner than I could have imagined. It will be something to hate, — that’s the advantage it will be to me; and even the best people in it are a part of it, and talk coolly about it. The pigs in the street are the most respectable part of the population. When will the world learn that a million men are of no importance compared with one man? But I must wait for a shower of shillings, or at least a slight dew or mizzling of sixpences, before I explore New York very far. The sea-beach is the best thing I have seen. It is very solitary and re- mote, and you only remember New York occasionally. The distanc- es, too, along the shore, and inland in sight of it, are unaccountably great and startling. The sea seems very near from the hills, but it proves a long way over the plain, and yet you may be wet with the spray before you can believe that you are there. The far seems near, and the near far. Many rods from the beach, I step aside for the Atlantic, and I see men drag up their boats on to the sand, with oxen, stepping about amid the surf, as if it were possible they might draw up Sandy Hook. I do not feel myself especially serviceable to the good people with whom I live, except as inflictions are sanctified to the righteous. And so, too, must I serve the boy. I can look to the Latin and mathematics sharply, and for the rest behave myself. But I cannot be in his neigh- borhood hereafter as his Educator, of course, but as the hawks fly over my own head. I am not attracted toward him but as to youth generally. HDT WHAT? INDEX


He shall frequent me, however, as much as he can, and I’ll be I. Bradbury told me, when I passed through Boston, that he was com- ing to New York the following Saturday, and would then settle with me, but he has not made his appearance yet. Will you, the next time you go to Boston, present that order for me which I left with you? If I say less about Waldo and Tappan now, it is, perhaps, because I may have more to say by and by. Remember me to your mother and Mrs. Emerson, who, I hope, is quite well. I shall be very glad to hear from her, as well as from you. I have very hastily written out some- thing for the Dial, and send it only because you are expecting some- thing, — though something better. It seems idle and Howittish, but it may be of more worth in Concord, where it belongs. In great haste. Farewell. HENRY D. THOREAU WILLIAM HOWITT (The “Bradbury” he mentions in this letter was of the publishing house of Bradbury & Soden, which had published, in Nathan Hale’s BOSTON MISCELLANY, and promised to pay for but so far neglected to pay for, “Walk to Wachusett.”)

July 6, Thursday: Das Liebesmahl der Apostel for male chorus and orchestra by Richard Wagner to his own words was performed for the initial time, in Dresden, as conducted by the composer. HDT WHAT? INDEX


October 1, Sunday: Ephraim Wales Bull started breeding the wild fox grape:

I put these grapes whole, into the ground, skin and all, at a depth of two inches, about the first of October, after they had thoroughly ripened, and covered the row with boards.

Richard Wagner and his wife moved to an expensive apartment in Dresden and began to amass a large collection of literature from all eras, focusing of course on German mythologies. HDT WHAT? INDEX




January 8, Saturday: At The Manse, “Nathaniel blasphemed superbly whenever he looked at the thermometer,” this being the coldest January in a century. After interminable talk and too little work, “the chickens had come home to roost” at Fruitlands. It was midwinter and there was nothing in the pantry, nothing in the root cellar. Charles Lane and his son William Lane had gone across the river to the Shaker community. After a period in which Bronson Alcott attempted to atone by starving himself to death, the Alcott family found temporary accommodations in nearby Still River (3 rooms in the Lovejoy home).

A day after the Berlin premiere of Der fliegende Holländer, Giacomo Meyerbeer hosted a dinner in honor of Richard Wagner. HDT WHAT? INDEX


January 10, Sunday: In this exceedingly cold and biting winter, an exceedingly cold and biting law went into effect in the District of Columbia. The burden of proof was shifted entirely onto the shoulders of any Negro taken under arrest, to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the white authorities that he had in fact been born free.

At Fruitlands, during this exceedingly cold and biting winter, after interminable talk and too little work, “the chickens had come home to roost.” It was still midwinter and already there was nothing whatever in the pantry, nothing whatever in the root cellar, nothing whatever in the woodshed. Bronson Alcott had been attempting to atone by starving himself to death, but, as Louisa May Alcott put his spiritual situation in her autobiographical TRANSCENDENTAL WILD OATS,

When all other sentiments had faded into dimness, all other hopes died utterly; when the bitterness of death was nearly over, when body was past any pang of hunger or thirst, and soul stood ready to depart, the love that outlives all else refused to die.

Abba Alcott wrote her brother, the Reverend Samuel Joseph May, that

having ate our last bit and burnt our last chip, we sent for Mr. Lovejoy to come and get us out — which he did.... All Mr. Lane’s efforts have been to disunite us. But Mr. Alcott’s conjugal and paternal instincts were too strong for him.

Bronson has destroyed his journal of the last months at Fruitlands. It appears he also went through his daughter Anna’s diary, ripping out numerous pages. Eight pages of Louisa’s diary of that period have turned up, behind a partition in one of the houses the Alcott family subsequently inhabited, so it is remotely possible that more pages may someday appear. Of course, we do have her TRANSCENDENTAL WILD OATS, but it would be nice to have something less thoroughly sanitized by afterthoughts. THE ALCOTT FAMILY

Richard Wagner wrote Felix Mendelssohn about their new relationship. “If I have come a little closer to you, that is the nicest thing about my whole Berlin expedition.”

Waldo Emerson lectured at the lyceum in Salem, likely on “The New England Man.” He would receive $20.

Sunday, January 10, 1844. I believe that no law of mechanics, which is observed and obeyed from day to day, is better established in the experience of men than this, —that love never fails to be repaid in its own coin; that just as high as the waters rise in one vessel just so high they will rise in every other into which there is communication, either direct or under ground or from above the stars. Our love is, besides, some such independent fluid element in respect to our vessels, which still obeys only its own, and not our laws, by any means, without regard to the narrow limits HDT WHAT? INDEX


to which we would confine it. Nor is the least object too small for the greatest love to be bestowed upon.

February 9, Friday: John R. Taber was born to William Congdon Taber and Hannah Tucker Shearman or Sherman Taber (1801-1858).

Franz Liszt attended a performance of Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen in Dresden and assured the composer, Richard Wagner, that he was intending praise the work everywhere. LISTEN TO IT NOW

February 29, Thursday: When Franz Liszt experienced a performance of Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen in Dresden, this was his initial encounter with the music of Richard Wagner and it greatly impressed him. He resolved to put a Wagner opera high on his list of priorities for Weimar. LISTEN TO IT NOW

July 22, Monday: The Overture to Faust was performed for the initial time, in the Palais des Königlichen grossen Gartens of Dresden, and was conducted by the composer Richard Wagner himself. LISTEN TO IT NOW

August 12, Monday: Frederick Douglass spoke in Norristown, Pennsylvania at the annual meeting of the Eastern Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society.

Gruss seiner Treuen an Friedrich August den Geliebten for male chorus and wind band composed for the King of Saxony by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, on a riverboat at Pillnitz near Dresden, with 300 singers and 120 players.

December 14, Saturday: Sam Houston ended his 2d Presidency of the Republic of Texas and laid plans to retire to his Raven Hill plantation 13 miles east of Huntsville, Alabama.

Trauermusik on motifs from Weber’s “Euryanthe” for wind band by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, to accompany the remains of to reburial in Dresden. It was directed by the composer himself.

December 15, Sunday: An Webers Grabe for male chorus by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, as the mortal remains of Carl Maria von Weber were reinterred in Dresden. It was directed by the composer himself. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 5, Sunday: Kaiser Adolph von Nassau, a grosse Oper by Heinrich August Marschner to words of Rau was performed for the 1st time, in the Königliches Sächsisches Hoftheater of Dresden. The singers were prepared by Dresden Kapellmeister Richard Wagner.

April 13, Sunday: Dresden Kapellmeister Richard Wagner completed Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg (Tannhäuser and the Singers’ Contest at Wartburg Castle).

Summer: The leader of the conservative party in Lucerne, Joseph Leu von Ebersol, was murdered in his bedroom.

While taking the waters at Marienbad, Richard Wagner read Wolfram von Eschenbach’s 13th-Century epic poem Parzival about a quest for the Holy Grail.

William Chapman Hewitson and Mr. John Hancock made an excursion into the Swiss Alps during which they were able to collect a series of Diurnal Lepidoptera. News of this would appear in the Zoologist. HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 25, Monday: Isaac Hecker and the other two American aspirants to the Redemptorist order landed in England en route to their one-year novitiate at the mother institution in St. Trond, Belgium. There Hecker would be as unable to get with the program as he had been while residing at the Thoreau boardinghouse, but the directors of the order made special allowances for his condition, such as tolerating his studying on his own and at his own pace. (James McMaster would belatedly come to a recognition that the religious life was not for him, bail out and become — a religious journalist.)

Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm of was born in Nymphenburg Palace (today this is in a suburb of München), the 1st son of Crown Prince Maximian of Bavaria with his Princess.

August 26, Tuesday: The firstborn of Crown Prince Maximian of Bavaria by his Princess was baptized as Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm, at the request of his grandfather King Ludwig I whose godfather had been Louis XVIth of France.

October 19, Sunday: In Dresden, Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg was 1st performed. LISTEN TO IT NOW

December 17, Wednesday: In the Engelklub, Dresden, Richard Wagner reads the libretto of to colleagues, including Ferdinand Hiller and Robert Schumann. HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner began work on Lohengrin. HDT WHAT? INDEX


July 29, Wednesday: The Kearney expedition, making for California, ped at Bent’s Fort, just north of the Mexican border on the Arkansas River (present Colorado).

Brevet Captain John Charles Frémont’s unit arrived in San Diego, California, on one of US Commodore Robert Stockton’s ships and took over the town without resistance. Stockton, on a separate warship, would lay claim to Santa Barbara in a similar manner a few days later. Meeting up and joining forces in San Diego, they would lead a march to Los Angeles, and claim that town also without any challenge.

At a concert to celebrate the July Revolution in the Tuileries, Joseph Henry fired a couple of shots at King Louis-Philippe who was standing with the royal family on the balcony of the palace. They missed. Henry was apprehended, would be judged insane, and would be sentenced to life at hard labor (however, in February 1848, he would be freed by the new regime).

At Gross-Gaupa, while he was composing Lohengrin, Richard Wagner received a 16-year-old visitor, an admirer of his work, Hans von Bülow.

November 26, Thursday: Giacomo Meyerbeer, in Berlin, wrote to Richard Wagner that no, he wasn’t going to loan him 1,200 thalers. HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner took an interest in some ancient Greek plays, especially the ORESTEIA of Æschylus.

August 1, Friday: At Dresden’s Hoftheater the 2d incarnation of Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg, a grosse romantische Oper by Richard Wagner to his own words, was performed for the initial time.

Per Brigadier General Franklin Pierce’s campaign journal: Camp under the walls of the Castle of Perote, August 1. We make a halt here of two or three days, to repair damages, procure supplies, and give rest to the troops. I have sent two hundred sick to the hospital in the castle, and received about the same number of convalescents, left by trains that have preceded me. While at the artillery quarters, to-day, in the village, Captain Ruff arrived, with his company of cavalry and the company of native spies, as they are called, now in our service, and commanded by the celebrated robber Domingues. Captain Ruff was sent forward by General Persifer F. Smith. The latter, in consequence of the rumors that had reached the commander-in- chief, in relation to the attacks made upon my command, had been sent down as far as Ojo del Agua, with a view to ascertain my whereabouts and condition, and to afford support, if necessary.




Richard Wagner wrote a prose sketch for the Nibelung myth and completed the poem for ’S TOD (SIEGFRIED’S DEATH) — later to be changed to GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG (TWILIGHT OF THE GODS).

March 20, day: When King Ludwig I abdicated, Crown Prince Maximilian became King Maximilian II of Bavaria.

April 28, Sunday: Gioachino Rossini, believing his life to be in danger from revolutionaries who questioned his support for their cause, left Bologna for Florence.

In order to keep them from discussing the Frankfurt assembly, the King of Saxony dissolved the Saxon Diet in Dresden.

Richard Wagner completed his opera Lohengrin in Dresden.

Prussia offered military support to any German king who refused to consent to the German constitution.

Ibrahim Sarim Pasha replaced Mustafa Resid Pasha as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.

Toward the end of April, while in London, Waldo Emerson met twice with Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and heard Italian mezzo-soprano Giuditta Grisi and contralto Marietta Alboni at the Opera.


May 16, Tuesday: Richard Wagner submitted a “Plan for the Organization of a German National Theatre for the Kingdom of Saxony.”

The Hungarian government called for the recruitment of 10 divisions of a national guard. HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 8, Thursday: The Dresdener Chorgesangverein performed Three Mixed Choruses for the first time, composed by their accompanist, Clara Schumann as a birthday present for their conductor, Robert Schumann. Clara and the chorus had rehearsed the music secretly in order to surprise him.

Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner spent an evening with Robert Schumann at his home in Dresden. Unfortunately, Liszt and Schumann argued over the abilities of Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer. Soon, Wagner would ask Liszt to give him some money.

Waldo Emerson delivered the 2d of his 6-lecture series “The Mind and Manners in the Nineteenth Century” at the Marylebone Literary and Scientific Institution in London, with his friend Thomas Carlyle in the audience. The lecture was on the “Relation of Intellect to Natural Science.” THE LIST OF LECTURES

June 17, Saturday: Our newspapers were carrying notices that we were at peace:

Richard Wagner read his article “What relationship do republican endeavors bear to the monarchy?” to the Vaterlandsverein. He was distinctly anti-monarchy.

When Austrian forces bombarded Prague it would capitulate, and what would follow would be the arrest or exile of pan-slav leaders, martial law in Bohemia, and indefinite postponement of elections for a Czech Diet. HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 23, Friday: Waldo Emerson attended, gratis, a Chopin matinee concert.

William Cooper Nell’s name disappeared from the masthead of Frederick Douglass’s North Star.

Workers began erecting barricades near the Place de la Bastille and throughout Paris. Through fierce fighting, they would eventually win control over 3 distinct locales of Paris. This was an insurrection against the bourgeois republic, and perhaps the initial class war in modern Europe.

Romanian hospodar George Bibescu accepted a revolutionary cabinet and a constitution.

General R. Cabrera re-entered Spain to lead a Carlist revolt in support of Don Carlos’ son Montemolin.

Richard Wagner initiated the voluminous Wagner-Liszt correspondence, and an important friendship, by asking Liszt for money.

Frédéric François Chopin plays at the home of the retired singer Adelaide Kemble Sartoris in Eton Place. Among the 150 people present are William Makepeace Thackeray and Jenny Lind.

September 22, Friday: In London, John Harnold, a seaman on the steamer Elbe from , was diagnosed with the cholera.

Richard Wagner conducted the finale to Act I of his unperformed opera Lohengrin at a concert celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Saxon Royal Court Orchestra, Dresden.

Frederick Douglass published, in The Liberator, his letter of September 3d to Thomas Auld:

Sir: The long and intimate, though by no means friendly relation which unhappily subsisted between you and myself, leads me to hope that you will easily account for the great liberty which I now take in addressing you in this open and public manner. The same fact may possibly remove any disagreeable surprise which you may experience on again finding your name coupled with mine, in any other way than in an advertisement, accurately describing my person, and offering a large sum for my arrest. In thus dragging you again before the public, I am aware that I shall subject myself to no inconsiderable amount of censure. I shall probably be charged with an unwarrantable, if not a wanton and reckless disregard of the rights and proprieties of private life. There are those North as well as South who entertain a much higher respect for rights which are merely conventional, than they do for rights which are personal and essential. Not a few there are in our country, who, while they have no scruples against robbing the laborer of the hard earned results of his patient industry, will be shocked by the extremely indelicate manner of bringing your name before the public. Believing this to be the case, and wishing to meet every reasonable or plausible objection to my conduct, I will frankly state the ground upon which I justify myself in this instance, as well as on former HDT WHAT? INDEX


occasions when I have thought proper to mention your name in public. All will agree that a man guilty of theft, robbery, or murder, has forfeited the right to concealment and private life; that the community have a right to subject such persons to the most complete exposure. However much they may desire retirement, and aim to conceal themselves and their movements from the popular gaze, the public have a right to ferret them out, and bring their conduct before the proper tribunals of the country for investigation. Sir, you will undoubtedly make the proper application of these generally admitted principles, and will easily see the light in which you are regarded by me. I will not therefore manifest ill temper, by calling you hard names. I know you to be a man of some intelligence, and can readily determine the precise estimate which I entertain of your character. I may therefore indulge in language which may seem to others indirect and ambiguous, and yet be quite well understood by yourself. I have selected this day on which to address you, because it is the anniversary of my emancipation; and knowing of no better way, I am led to this as the best mode of celebrating that truly important event. Just ten years ago this beautiful September morning, yon bright sun beheld me a slave –a poor, degraded chattel– trembling at the sound of your voice, lamenting that I was a man, and wishing myself a brute. The hopes which I had treasured up for weeks of a safe and successful escape from your grasp, were powerfully confronted at this last hour by dark clouds of doubt and fear, making my person shake and my bosom to heave with the heavy contest between hope and fear. I have no words to describe to you the deep agony of soul which I experienced on that never to be forgotten morning — (for I left by daylight). I was making a leap in the dark. The probabilities, so far as I could by reason determine them, were stoutly against the undertaking. The preliminaries and precautions I had adopted previously, all worked badly. I was like one going to war without weapons — ten chances of defeat to one of victory. One in whom I had confided, and one who had promised me assistance, appalled by fear at the trial hour, deserted me, thus leaving the responsibility of success or failure solely with myself. You, sir, can never know my feelings. As I look back to them, I can scarcely realize that I have passed through a scene so trying. Trying however as they were, and gloomy as was the prospect, thanks be to the Most High, who is ever the God of the oppressed, at the moment which was to determine my whole earthly career. His grace was sufficient, my mind was made up. I embraced the golden opportunity, took the morning tide at the flood, and a free man, young, active and strong, is the result. I have often thought I should like to explain to you the grounds upon which I have justified myself in running away from you. I am almost ashamed to do so now, for by this time you may have discovered them yourself. I will, however, glance at them. When yet but a child about six years old, I imbibed the determination to run away. The very first mental effort that I now remember on my part, was an attempt to solve the mystery, Why am I a HDT WHAT? INDEX


slave? and with this question my youthful mind was troubled for many days, pressing upon me more heavily at times than others. When I saw the slave-driver whip a slave woman, cut the blood out of her neck, and heard her piteous cries, I went away into the corner of the fence, wept and pondered over the mystery. I had, through some medium, I know not what, got some idea of God, the Creator of all mankind, the black and the white, and that he had made the blacks to serve the whites as slaves. How he could do this and be good, I could not tell. I was not satisfied with this theory, which made God responsible for slavery, for it pained me greatly, and I have wept over it long and often. At one time, your first wife, Mrs. Lucretia, heard me singing and saw me shedding tears, and asked of me the matter, but I was afraid to tell her. I was puzzled with this question, till one night, while sitting in the kitchen, I heard some of the old slaves talking of their parents having been stolen from Africa by white men, and were sold here as slaves. The whole mystery was solved at once. Very soon after this my aunt Jinny and uncle Noah ran away, and the great noise made about it by your father- in-law, made me for the first time acquainted with the fact, that there were free States as well as slave States. From that time, I resolved that I would some day run away. The morality of the act, I dispose as follows: I am myself; you are yourself; we are two distinct persons, equal persons. What you are, I am. You are a man, and so am I. God created both, and made us separate beings. I am not by nature bound to you, or you to me. Nature does not make your existence depend upon me, or mine to depend upon yours. I cannot walk upon your legs, or you upon mine. I cannot breathe for you, or you for me; I must breathe for myself, and you for yourself. We are distinct persons, and are each equally provided with faculties necessary to our individual existence. In leaving you, I took nothing but what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for obtaining an honest living. Your faculties remained yours, and mine became useful to their rightful owner. I therefore see no wrong in any part of the transaction. It is true, I went off secretly, but that was more your fault than mine. Had I let you into the secret, you would have defeated the enterprise entirely; but for this, I should have been really glad to have made you acquainted with my intentions to leave. You may perhaps want to know how I like my present condition. I am free to say, I greatly prefer it to that which I occupied in Maryland. I am, however, by no means prejudiced against the State as such. Its geography, climate, fertility and products, are such as to make it a very desirable abode for any man; and but for the existence of slavery there, it is not impossible that I might again take up my abode in that State. It is not that I love Maryland less, but freedom more. You will be surprised to learn that people at the North labor under the strange delusion that if the slaves were emancipated at the South, they would flock to the North. So far from this being the case, in that event, you would see many old and familiar faces HDT WHAT? INDEX


back again to the South. The fact is, there are few here who would not return to the South in the event of emancipation. We want to live in the land of our birth, and to lay our bones by the side of our fathers'; and nothing short of an intense love of personal freedom keeps us from the South. For the sake of this, most of us would live on a crust of bread and a cup of cold water. Since I left you, I have had a rich experience. I have occupied stations which I never dreamed of when a slave. Three out of the ten years since I left you, I spent as a common laborer on the wharves of New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was there I earned my first free dollar. It was mine. I could spend it as I pleased. I could buy hams or herring with it, without asking any odds of any body. That was a precious dollar to me. You remember when I used to make seven or eight, or even nine dollars a week in Baltimore, you would take every cent of it from me every Saturday night, saying that I belonged to you, and my earnings also. I never liked this conduct on your part — to say the best, I thought it a little mean. I would not have served you so. But let that pass. I was a little awkward about counting money in New England fashion when I first landed in New Bedford. I like to have betrayed myself several times. I caught myself saying phip, for fourpence; and at one time a man actually charged me with being a runaway, whereupon I was silly enough to become one by running away from him, for I was greatly afraid he might adopt measures to get me again into slavery, a condition I then dreaded more than death. I soon, however, learned to count money, as well as to make it, and got on swimmingly. I married soon after leaving you: in fact, I was engaged to be married before I left you; and instead of finding my companion a burden, she was truly a helpmeet. She went to live at service, and I to work on the wharf, and though we toiled hard the first winter, we never lived more happily. After remaining in New Bedford for three years, I met with Wm. Lloyd Garrison, a person of whom you have possibly heard, as he is pretty generally known among slaveholders. He put it into my head that I might make myself serviceable to the cause of the slave by devoting a portion of my time to telling my own sorrows, and those of other slaves which had come under my observation. This was the commencement of a higher state of existence than any to which I had ever aspired. I was thrown into society the most pure, enlightened and benevolent that the country affords. Among these I have never forgotten you, but have invariably made you the topic of conversation — thus giving you all the notoriety I could do. I need not tell you that the opinion formed of you in these circles, is far from being favorable. They have little respect for your honesty, and less for your religion. But I was going on to relate to you something of my interesting experience. I had not long enjoyed the excellent society to which I have referred, before the light of its excellence exerted a beneficial influence on my mind and heart. Much of my early dislike of white persons was removed, and their manners, HDT WHAT? INDEX


habits and customs, so entirely unlike what I had been used to in the kitchen-quarters on the plantations of the South, fairly charmed me, and gave me a strong disrelish for the coarse and degrading customs of my former condition. I therefore made an effort so to improve my mind and deportment, as to be somewhat fitted to the station to which I seemed almost providentially called. The transition from degradation to respectability was indeed great, and to get from one to the other without carrying some marks of one's former condition, is truly a difficult matter. I would not have you think that I am now entirely clear of all plantation peculiarities, but my friends here, while they entertain the strongest dislike to them, regard me with that charity to which my past life somewhat entitles me, so that my condition in this respect is exceedingly pleasant. So far as my domestic affairs are concerned, I can boast of as comfortable a dwelling as your own. I have an industrious and neat companion, and four dear children — the oldest a girl of nine years, and three fine boys, the oldest eight, the next six, and the youngest four years old. The three oldest are now going regularly to school — two can read and write, and the other can spell with tolerable correctness words of two syllables: Dear fellows! they are all in comfortable beds, and are sound asleep, perfectly secure under my own roof. There are no slaveholders here to rend my heart by snatching them from my arms, or blast a mother's dearest hopes by tearing them from her bosom. These dear children are ours –not to work up into rice, sugar and tobacco, but to watch over, regard, and protect, and to rear them up in the nurture and admonition of the gospel– to train them up in the paths of wisdom and virtue, and, as far as we can to make them useful to the world and to themselves. Oh! sir, a slaveholder never appears to me so completely an agent of hell, as when I think of and look upon my dear children. It is then that my feelings rise above my control. I meant to have said more with respect to my own prosperity and happiness, but thoughts and feelings which this recital has quickened unfits me to proceed further in that direction. The grim horrors of slavery rise in all their ghastly terror before me, the wails of millions pierce my heart, and chill my blood. I remember the chain, the gag, the bloody whip, the deathlike gloom overshadowing the broken spirit of the fettered bondman, the appalling liability of his being torn away from wife and children, and sold like a beast in the market. Say not that this is a picture of fancy. You well know that I wear stripes on my back inflicted by your direction; and that you, while we were brothers in the same church, caused this right hand, with which I am now penning this letter, to be closely tied to my left, and my person dragged at the pistol's mouth, fifteen miles, from the Bay side to Easton to be sold like a beast in the market, for the alleged crime of intending to escape from your possession. All this and more you remember, and know to be perfectly true, not only of yourself, but of nearly all of the slaveholders around you. HDT WHAT? INDEX


At this moment, you are probably the guilty holder of at least three of my own dear sisters, and my only brother in bondage. These you regard as your property. They are recorded on your ledger, or perhaps have been sold to human flesh mongers, with a view to filling your own ever-hungry purse. Sir, I desire to know how and where these dear sisters are. Have you sold them? or are they still in your possession? What has become of them? are they living or dead? And my dear old grandmother, whom you turned out like an old horse, to die in the woods — is she still alive? Write and let me know all about them. If my grandmother be still alive, she is of no service to you, for by this time she must be nearly eighty years old — too old to be cared for by one to whom she has ceased to be of service, send her to me at Rochester, or bring her to Philadelphia, and it shall be the crowning happiness of my life to take care of her in her old age. Oh! she was to me a mother, and a father, so far as hard toil for my comfort could make her such. Send me my grandmother! that I may watch over and take care of her in her old age. And my sisters, let me know all about them. I would write to them, and learn all I want to know of them, without disturbing you in any way, but that, through your unrighteous conduct, they have been entirely deprived of the power to read and write. You have kept them in utter ignorance, and have therefore robbed them of the sweet enjoyments of writing or receiving letters from absent friends and relatives. Your wickedness and cruelty committed in this respect on your fellow-creatures, are greater than all the stripes you have laid upon my back, or theirs. It is an outrage upon the soul — a war upon the immortal spirit, and one for which you must give account at the bar of our common Father and Creator. The responsibility which you have assumed in this regard is truly awful — and how you could stagger under it these many years is marvellous. Your mind must have become darkened, your heart hardened, your conscience seared and petrified, or you would have long since thrown off the accursed load and sought relief at the hands of a sin-forgiving God. How, let me ask, would you look upon me, were I some dark night in company with a band of hardened villains, to enter the precincts of your elegant dwelling and seize the person of your own lovely daughter Amanda, and carry her off from your family, friends and all the loved ones of her youth –make her my slave –compel her to work, and I take her wages –place her name on my ledger as property – disregard her personal rights –fetter the powers of her immortal soul by denying her the right and privilege of learning to read and write –feed her coarsely –clothe her scantily, and whip her on the naked back occasionally; more and still more horrible, leave her unprotected –a degraded victim to the brutal lust of fiendish overseers, who would pollute, blight, and blast her fair soul –rob her of all dignity –destroy her virtue, and annihilate all in her person the graces that adorn the character of virtuous womanhood? I ask how would you regard me, if such were my conduct? Oh! the vocabulary of the damned would not HDT WHAT? INDEX


afford a word sufficiently infernal, to express your idea of my God-provoking wickedness. Yet sir, your treatment of my beloved sisters is in all essential points, precisely like the case I have now supposed. Damning as would be such a deed on my part, it would be no more so than that which you have committed against me and my sisters. I will now bring this letter to a close, you shall hear from me again unless you let me hear from you. I intend to make use of you as a weapon with which to assail the system of slavery — as a means of concentrating public attention on the system, and deepening their horror of trafficking in the souls and bodies of men. I shall make use of you as a means of exposing the character of the American church and clergy — and as a means of bringing this guilty nation with yourself to repentance. In doing this I entertain no malice towards you personally. There is no roof under which you would be more safe than mine, and there is nothing in my house which you might need for your comfort, which I would not readily grant. Indeed, I should esteem it a privilege, to set you an example as to how mankind ought to treat each other. I am your fellow man, but not your slave,

Frederick Douglass

October 8, Sunday: The Tchaikovsky family, including young Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, departed from their provincial home for Moscow, where the father believed a new job awaited him.

Richard Wagner wrote this date on a manuscript titled DIE NIBELUNGENSAGE (MYTHUS). It was a prose outline of the RING.

November 12, Sunday: In a light fall of snow, the constitution of the 2d French Republic was inaugurated at the Place de la Concorde.

Franz Liszt conducted the music of Richard Wagner for the 1st time, in the Court Theater in Weimar. It was the overture to Tannhäuser. HDT WHAT? INDEX



April 1, Sunday: As Austrian forces sacked Brescia, they killed an unknown numbers of civilians.

Richard Wagner’s final concert in Dresden included Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Michael Bukunin, being sought as a Russian revolutionary, approached the conductor afterward to say “when everything else is destroyed in the flames of the future, that work of art must be preserved, even at the cost of our lives.”

April 8, Easter Sunday: Richard Wagner published his inflammatory “The Revolution” in the Volksblätter.

May: Professor Thomas Bell, who as President of the Linnean Society had chaired the meeting of July 1, 1848 at which Charles Darwin’s and Alfred Russel Wallace’s papers on their theories on natural selection had jointly been presented: “On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection,” at this point offered his annual presidential report. He opinioned, amazingly, that “The year which has passed has not, indeed, been marked by any of those striking discoveries which at once revolutionize, so to speak, the department of science on which they bear.”

Although this man’s perception was that there was not ongoing any noticeable revolution in science, there was ongoing a very real political revolution in Dresden — Richard Wagner was participating in it, and would be forced to flee Germany to avoid arrest, and would end up in . His contribution included the essays “” and “The Artwork of the Future.”

According to Friedrich Engels, in the midst of these revolts Karl Marx was expelled from on the pretext that he was no longer a Prussian subject (and would return to Paris, only to be once again expelled there).

May 4, Friday: During the night, barricades appeared in Dresden. Richard Wagner attempted to win the troops over by appealing to their nationalistic sensibilities in the face of a possible Prussian invasion. The royal cabinet, fearful that the king might accede to demands, induced His Royal Highness to flee to his summer palace. The revolutionaries set up a provisional government which swore to uphold the Frankfurt constitution.

Austrian forces began the bombardment of Fort Malghera on the mainland, protecting Venice.

A revolutionary group in Russia, the Petrashevists (whose number included Fyodor Dostoyevsky), were all arrested by police and imprisoned in Sts. Peter and Paul Fortress.

The nomination of Giacomo Meyerbeer as a Commander of the Legion of Honor was made public. HDT WHAT? INDEX


May 5, Saturday: Frederick Douglass was escorting two white women, the British friends Julia and Eliza Griffiths, along the Battery and Castle Garden at the toe of Manhattan Island, when he was set upon by gang of white men.

As revolutionary guards came to the Schumann home in Dresden intent on impressing Robert into their cause, Clara, 7 months pregnant, convinced them he was not there. At that moment he was fleeing through the garden door with 7-year-old Marie. Later, Robert, Clara, and Marie left their younger children in the care of servants and took a train to Mügeln, walking to Donha and finding refuge with a friend in Maxen. In the evening, Schumann composed his Frühlingslied op.79/18.

During the Dresden revolt, Richard Wagner manned the post in the tower of the Kreuzkirche relaying messages to the rebels below, under constant fire from Prussian troops.

In Paris, Valentin Alkan offered his final (for 25 years) concert.

In Sicily, Neapolitan rule was restored.

May 6, Sunday: Prussian and Saxon troops began their assault on Dresden. Richard Wagner saw his in flames, apparently set by revolutionaries, commenting “It was an ugly building anyway.”

Margaret Fuller reported the arrival of the French army at Rome: Rome, May 6, 1819. I write you from barricaded Rome. The “Mother of Nations” is now at bay against them all. Rome was suffering before. The misfortunes of other regions of Italy, the defeat at Novara, preconcerted in hope to strike the last blow at Italian independence, the surrender and painful condition of Genoa, the money-difficulties, — insuperable unless the government could secure confidence abroad as well as at home, — prevented her people from finding that foothold for which they were ready. The vacillations of France agitated them; still they could not seriously believe she would ever act the part she has. We must say France, because, though many honorable men have washed their hands of all share in the perfidy, the Assembly voted funds to sustain the expedition to Civita Vecchia; and the nation, the army, have remained quiescent. No one was, no one could be, deceived as to the scope of this expedition. It was intended to restore the Pope to the temporal sovereignty, from which the people, by the use of suffrage, had deposed him. No doubt the French, in case of success, proposed to temper the triumph of and Naples, and stipulate for conditions that might soothe the Romans and make their act less odious. They were probably deceived, also, by the representations of Gaëta, and believed that a large party, which had been intimidated by the republicans, would declare in favor of the Pope when they found themselves likely to be sustained. But this last pretext can in noway avail them. They landed at Civita Vecchia, and no one declared for the Pope. They marched on Rome. Placards were affixed within the walls by hands unknown, calling upon the HDT WHAT? INDEX


Papal party to rise within the town. Not a soul stirred. The French had no excuse left for pretending to believe that the present government was not entirely acceptable to the people. Notwithstanding, they assail the gates; they fire upon St. Peter’s, and their balls pierce the Vatican. They were repulsed, as they deserved, retired in quick and shameful defeat, as surely the brave French soldiery could not, if they had not been demoralized by the sense of what an infamous course they were pursuing. France, eager to destroy the last hope of Italian emancipation, — France, the alguazil of Austria, the soldiers of republican France, firing upon republican Rome! If there be angel as well as demon powers that interfere in the affairs of men, those bullets could scarcely fail to be turned back against their own breasts. Yet Roman blood has flowed also; I saw how it stained the walls of the Vatican Gardens on the 30th of April — the first anniversary of the appearance of Pius IX.’s too famous encyclic letter. Shall he, shall any Pope, ever again walk peacefully in these gardens? It seems impossible! The temporal sovereignty of the Popes is virtually destroyed by their shameless, merciless measures taken to restore it. The spiritual dominion ultimately falls, too, into irrevocable ruin. What may be the issue at this moment, we cannot guess. The French have retired to Civita Vecchia, but whether to reëmbark or to await reinforcements, we know not. The Neapolitan force has halted within a few miles of the walls; it is not large, and they are undoubtedly surprised at the discomfiture of the French. Perhaps they wait for the Austrians, but we do not yet hear that these have entered the Romagna. Meanwhile, Rome is strongly barricaded, and, though she cannot stand always against a world in arms, she means at least to do so as long as possible. Mazzini is at her head; she has now a guide “who understands his faith,” and all there is of a noble spirit will show itself. We all feel very sad, because the idea of bombs, barbarously thrown in, and street-fights in Rome, is peculiarly dreadful. Apart from all the blood and anguish inevitable at such times, the glories of Art may perish, and mankind be forever despoiled of the most beautiful inheritance. Yet I would defend Rome to the last moment. She must not be false to the higher hope that has dawned upon her. She must not fall back again into servility and corruption. And no one is willing. The interference of the French has roused the weakest to resistance. “From the Austrians, from the Neapolitans,” they cried, “we expected this; but from the French — it is too infamous; it cannot be borne;” and they all ran to arms and fought nobly. The Americans here are not in a pleasant situation. Mr. Cass, the Chargé of the United States, stays here without recognizing the government. Of course, he holds no position at the present moment that can enable him to act for us. Beside, it gives us pain that our country, whose policy it justly is to avoid armed interference with the affairs of Europe, should not use a moral influence. Rome has, as we did, thrown off a government no longer HDT WHAT? INDEX


tolerable; she has made use of the suffrage to form another; she stands on the same basis as ourselves. Mr. Rush did us great honor by his ready recognition of a principle as represented by the French Provisional Government; had Mr. Cass been empowered to do the same, our country would have acted nobly, and all that is most truly American in America would have spoken to sustain the sickened hopes of European democracy. But of this more when I write next. Who knows what I may have to tell another week?

May 8, Tuesday: When August Röckel was captured by Saxon troops in Dresden, they found on his person a letter from his friend Richard Wagner clearly implicating the composer in revolutionary activities.

May 9, Wednesday: Due to growing Prussian intervention, the Dresden revolutionaries needed to sound a retreat, hoping that they might regroup in Chemnitz or Freiburg. While driving back to Dresden from Freiburg, where he had gone to summon reinforcements, Richard Wagner viewed rebels marching away from the city. Some rebel leaders would be captured in Chemnitz but, luckily, Wagner would escape. Royal troops would execute 26 students, and numbers of the rebels would be defenestrated out of 3d-floor and 4th-floor windows.

May 13, Sunday: When the fugitive Richard Wagner arrived in Weimar to seek help from Franz Liszt, he was informed that Liszt was not there.

A “people’s congress” meeting in Baden precipitated a mutiny by the army against the Grand Duke.

May 14, Monday: Prussia ordered its deputies removed from the German National Assembly.

A Revolutionary Executive Committee for Baden was established in and Rastatt under Chairman Lorenz Brentano.

When Franz Liszt arrived at his home in Weimar he found Richard Wagner and decided to help his fellow composer hide from the authorities. Liszt would organize a false identity and an escape to Switzerland and Paris. Before departing, Wagner would be able to hear Liszt conduct a rehearsal of Tannhäuser, scheduled to be performed on May 20th. Wagner would reminisce, “I was astounded to recognize in him my second self....”

Henry Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government” and, it has been alleged, Charles V. Kraitsir’s language 8 theories, appeared in the ÆSTHETIC PAPERS of Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, and to some Westerners at that time, “go-ahead” Americans,

THOREAU AND CHINA 8. I am at a loss for how to substantiate this allegation unless it refers to the article “Language. — The Editor” that occupies pages 214-223. HDT WHAT? INDEX


“RESISTANCE TO CIVIL GOVERNMENT”: If a state is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if a state is not governed by the principles of reason, riches and honors are the subjects of shame. HDT WHAT? INDEX


Confucius’s reasoning (straight out of the ANALECTS or LUN-YÜ, one of THE FOUR BOOKS) was not CHINA seeming particularly persuasive:

I think that Mr. Thoreau has got into better company than he deserves and doubt if there is much in him.

Better company than he deserved: Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (in 1878)

But there were in addition those were impressed, for the Boston Daily Chronotype, edited by Elizur Wright, Jr., would comment on its page 2 that ÆSTHETIC PAPERS contained an essay by H.D. Thoreau on resistance to civil government which was

a very interesting paper, and quite radical — beautifully so.

Also appearing in ÆSTHETIC PAPERS was the Reverend Samson Reed’s “Genius.” HDT WHAT? INDEX


Nathaniel Hawthorne took “Main Street” (and several other stories) out of the future editions of his THE SCARLET LETTER, and included it in his sister-in-law’s volume. (He definitely knew how to recycle: he would also include this story “Main Street” in his 1852 volume THE SNOW-IMAGE AND OTHER TWICE-TOLD TALES.) HDT WHAT? INDEX


THE SCARLET LETTER: A portion of his facts, by-the-by, did me good service in the preparation of the article entitled “MAIN STREET,” included in the present volume. The remainder may perhaps be applied to purposes equally valuable hereafter, or not impossibly may be worked up, so far as they go, into a regular history of Salem, should my veneration for the natal soil ever impel me to so pious a task. Meanwhile, they shall be at the command of any gentleman, inclined and competent, to take the unprofitable labour off my hands. As a final disposition I contemplate depositing them with the Essex Historical Society. But the object that most drew my attention to the mysterious package was a certain affair of fine red cloth, much worn and faded. There were traces about it of gold embroidery, which, however, was greatly frayed and defaced, so that none, or very little, of the glitter was left. It had been wrought, as was easy to perceive, with wonderful skill of needlework; and the stitch (as I am assured by ladies conversant with such mysteries) gives evidence of a now forgotten art, not to be discovered even by the process of picking out the threads. This rag of scarlet cloth –for time, and wear, and a sacrilegious moth had reduced it to little other than a rag– on careful examination, assumed the shape of a letter.

May 16, Wednesday: A warrant for the arrest of Richard Wagner was issued in Dresden.

New-York opened a hospital above a tavern to try to deal with the increasing number of cholera deaths (2,500 would succumb before the end of July).

May 18, Friday: Hector Berlioz printed an article by Franz Liszt in the Journal des débats, praising Richard Wagner and his Tannhäuser.

Returning from Karlsruhe to his home in Weimar, Franz Liszt learned that a warrant has been issued for Wagner. Under cover of darkness he took Wagner from his home to that of Eduard Genast, manager of the Weimar theater. Genast went to minister Bernhard von Watzdorf who advised him that since the warrant had not yet been delivered, there was still time for Wagner to steal away. Using money borrowed from Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, Liszt dispatched Wagner toward the village of Magdala — 2 hours later the warrant arrived from Dresden. HDT WHAT? INDEX


May 19, Saturday: Richard Wagner reached Magdala with 60 thalers, fake identity papers, and a scheme whereby he would impersonate a “financial expert” sent to administer an estate near Magdala. He would be hidden on the estate for 3 days, during which time he would consult with other revolutionaries.

The Neue Rheinische Zeitung was suppressed by the Prussian government and its editor, Karl Marx, was exiled (he would return to Paris).

May 22, Tuesday: Abraham Lincoln was granted US Patent No. 6,469 (he remains the only President ever to be granted a patent).

Maria Edgeworth died.

Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner joined Richard Wagner at Magdala where he was hiding.

Margaret Fuller wrote to her brother Richard Frederick Fuller: Rome, May 22, 1849. I do not write to Eugene yet, because around me is such excitement I cannot settle my mind enough to write a letter good for anything. The Neapolitans have been driven back; but the French, seem to be amusing us with a pretence of treaties, while waiting for the Austrians to come up. The Austrians cannot, I suppose, be more than three days’ march from us. I feel but little about myself. Such thoughts are merged in indignation, and in the fears I have that Rome may be bombarded. It seems incredible that any nation should be willing to incur the infamy of such an act, — an act that may rob posterity of a most HDT WHAT? INDEX


precious part of its inheritance; — only so many incredible things have happened of late. I am with William Story, his wife and uncle. Very kind friends they have been in this strait. They are going away, so soon as they can find horses, — going into Germany. I remain alone in the house, under our flag, almost the only American except the Consul and Ambassador. But Mr. Cass, the Envoy, has offered to do anything for me, and I feel at liberty to call on him if I please. But enough of this. Let us implore of fate another good meeting, full and free, whether long or short. Love to dearest mother, Arthur, Ellen, Lloyd. Say to all, that, should any accident possible to these troubled times transfer me to another scene of existence, they need not regret it. There must be better worlds than this, where innocent blood is not ruthlessly shed, where treason does not so easily triumph, where the greatest and best are not crucified. I do not say this in apprehension, but in case of accident, you might be glad to keep this last word from your sister MARGARET. ARTHUR FULLER’S BOOK HDT WHAT? INDEX


May 24, Thursday: After hiding for 5 days in Magdala, Richard Wagner walked to Jena and the home of Professor Oskar Wolf.

That afternoon a reporter stopped by the Boston prison to ask black convict Washington Goode the usual journalistic questions, such as how does it feel to be waiting around to get hanged.

As the reporter was exiting he asked his escort for details about the construction of the gallows in the prison yard, but the official responded to his inquiry only with a question of his own, “What have you been writing HDT WHAT? INDEX


so much in the papers for?”

The turnkey incidentally remarked to the reporter, that he expected this prisoner that night to attempt to do away with himself.

May 24, Thursday evening: Father Edward Thompson Taylor, chaplain at Boston’s Seamen’s Bethel, and a 2d Methodist pastor, the Reverend Mr. Dexter S. King, visited Washington Goode, to discuss with the imprisoned 29-year-old seaman the condition of his immortal soul.

May 24/25, Thursday night and Friday morning: Desperate, in Boston prison, Washington Goode slashed an artery with a shard of broken glass, and swallowed tobacco and tarred rope, but this was not to be the worst day of this seaman’s life. Prompt medical attention saved him from bleeding to death. HDT WHAT? INDEX



May 25, Friday: This was Waldo Emerson’s 46th birthday.

Thomas Greene Wiggins was born to the slaves Domingo “Mingo” Wiggins, a field slave, and Charity Greene of Columbus GA. Domingo and Charity’s slavemaster would suppose this blind sickly “pickaninny” to have no labor potential, and so, a couple of years later when he sold off the father and mother, it was possible for them to carry Tom along at no additional charge to the purchaser. Although Tom’s parents had married, the prevailing custom of the time was that married female slaves and their offspring were to be known the names of their owners — following slavery tradition, therefore, the infant was to grow up as Thomas Greene Bethune.

Austrian troops entered Florence and restored the power of Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany. He would return on July 28th.

After 3 weeks of withstanding furious bombardment, Venetians abandoned Fort Malghera and retreated to Venice, blowing up a large part of the railroad bridge that was their sole connection to the mainland.

Leaving his wife in Jena, Richard Wagner departed the shelter of Franz Liszt and under an assumed name, headed for Paris by way of Switzerland.

Rolands Knappen, oder Das ersehnte Glück, a komische-romantische Zauberoper by Albert Lortzing to words of the composer and Düringer after Masäus, was performed for the initial time, in Leipzig Stadttheater. This was a great success.

It had been 13 years since the last execution in Boston and many had hoped there wouldn’t be any more. Due to such petitionary unrest, it was not considered advisable to attempt to hang Washington Goode on Boston HDT WHAT? INDEX


Common so, in order to witness this man die, many were reduced to the indignity of perching upon the rooftops overlooking the city’s jailyard.

The going price for a nice window view is reported to have been $20 or higher. The condemned man was so weak from loss of blood from his suicide attempt of the previous night that he needed to be carried to his gallows strapped to a chair. Evidently the warden had elected to ignore the plea of a local newspaper, that as had been done in Brooklyn a few years earlier, he offer the victim the option of the new discovery ether before dropping the trap of the scaffold. This was during a rainstorm, for we have a report that one of the packed spectators in the courtyard is reported to have cried out “Down with your umbrellas, and let’s see the bloody nigger swing!” The condemned man strapped in the chair, offered a cup of water, commented “This is the last Cochituate water that I shall ever drink.” HDT WHAT? INDEX


Famous Last Words:

“What school is more profitably instructive than the death-bed of the righteous, impressing the understanding with a convincing evidence, that they have not followed cunningly devised fables, but solid substantial truth.” — A COLLECTION OF MEMORIALS CONCERNING DIVERS DECEASED MINISTERS, Philadelphia, 1787 “The death bed scenes & observations even of the best & wisest afford but a sorry picture of our humanity. Some men endeavor to live a constrained life — to subject their whole lives to their will as he who said he might give a sign if he were conscious after his head was cut off — but he gave no sign Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.” —Thoreau’s JOURNAL, March 12, 1853

1836 James Madison unsolicited comment “I always talk better lying down.”

1846 Benjamin Robert Haydon final entry in 38-year journal before “Stretch me no longer on this tough world. offing himself — Lear”

1848 John Quincy Adams had just voted “no” on war on Mexico “This is the last of earth. I am composed.”

1849 Washington Goode offered a cup of water before being “This is the last Cochituate water that I hanged in Boston shall ever drink.”

1849 Edgar Allan Poe in bad shape in Baltimore “Lord help my poor soul.”

1850 John Caldwell Calhoun unsolicited comment “The South! The poor South! God knows what will become of her.” ... other famous last words ... HDT WHAT? INDEX


The assembly sang a hymn, one that had been selected by Goode himself:

At 9:50AM, local time, the trapdoor of the scaffold beneath the chair with the negro strapped into it was triggered and fell open with a thwack and –as the Boston Daily Bee reported– this black soul was “launched into the presence of the Supreme Being of us all.”

May 28, Monday: Augustine Joseph Hickey Duganne (1823-1884) wrote from Philadelphia to Charles Wesley Slack. He regretted stoppage of his paper; requested copies of his “legend” and issues of Excelsior critiquing his poems; asked of 30th anniversary “Mammoth” of the library.

Richard Wagner boarded a steamer at Lindau and crossed Lake Constance into Switzerland.

A constitution for the Dreikönigsbund was issued, the Unionsverfassung. HDT WHAT? INDEX


May 30, Wednesday: As the last Wednesday in May, this was Election Day.

Prussia adopted a 3-class suffrage.

Richard Wagner left Zurich for Paris.

James Munroe and Co. published Henry Thoreau’s A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS with the notice in its endpapers, “Will soon be published, WALDEN; OR, LIFE IN THE WOODS. By Henry D. Thoreau.”

TIMELINE OF A WEEK TIMELINE OF WALDEN The author had included comments on the captivity narrative of Hannah Emerson Duston in the “Thursday” chapter,9 recycling some material about the validity of historicizing which he had originally created while contemplating the captivity narrative of Mistress Mary Rowlandson of Lancaster after hiking past the rocky terrain on which Rowlandson had been ransomed and which he had previously incorporated into “A Walk to

9. The version of the Reverend Cotton Mather, the version of Friend John Greenleaf Whittier, the Nathaniel Hawthorne version, and the Thoreau version of the Duston captivity narrative may now best be contrasted in Richard Bosman’s CAPTIVITY NARRATIVE OF HANNAH DUSTON RELATED BY COTTON MATHER, JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER, NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE AND HENRY DAVID THOREAU, FOUR VERSIONS OF EVENTS IN 1697, INTERSPERCED WITH THIRTY-FIVE WOOD-BLOCK PRINTS BY RICHARD BOSMAN (San Francisco CA: Arion Press, 1987). Also see Arner, Robert. “The Story of Hannah Duston: Cotton Mather to Thoreau.” American Transcendental Quarterly 18 (1973):19-23. HDT WHAT? INDEX



On beholding a picture of a New England village as it then appeared, with a fair open prospect, and a light on trees and river, as if it were broad noon, we find we had not thought the sun shone in those days, or that men lived in broad daylight then. We do not imagine the sun shining on hill and valley during Philip’s war, nor on the war-path of Paugus, or Standish, or Church, or Lovell, with serene summer weather, but a dim twilight or night did those events transpire in. They must have fought in the shade of their own dusky deeds.


Bob Pepperman Taylor has, in his monograph on the political content of Thoreau’s ideas AMERICA’S BACHELOR UNCLE: THOREAU AND THE AMERICAN POLITY. (Lawrence KA: UP of Kansas, 1996), provided a most interesting analysis of Thoreau’s accessing of the Duston story. The author starts his chapter “Founding” by offering three Waldo Emerson sound bytes by way of providing us with a typically trivial Emersonian take on the concepts of nature and freedom: “The old is for slaves.” “Do not believe the past. I give you the universe a virgin today.” “Build, therefore, your own world.”

Professor Taylor points up in his monograph how tempted Emerson scholars have been, to presume that Thoreau would have shared such a perspective on nature and freedom, and offers C. Wagner as a type case for those who have fallen victim to such an easy identification of the two thinkers. Here is Wagner as he presented him, at full crank: Thoreau’s uncompromising moral idealism, despite its occasional embodiment in sentences of supreme literary power, created an HDT WHAT? INDEX


essentially child’s view of political and social reality. Because his moral principles were little more than expressions of his quest for purity and of hostility to any civilized interference with the absolute attainment of his wishes, he was unable to discriminate between better and worse in the real world. Taylor’s comment on this sort of writing is that if Thoreau holds an understanding of nature and freedom similar to that found in Emerson’s writings, we cannot expect a social and political commentary of any real sophistication or significance. In this event, it is easy to think that Thoreau is little more than a self-absorbed egoist. There are good reasons to believe, however, that Thoreau’s views are significantly different than Emerson’s on these matters. In fact, these differences can be dramatically illustrated by looking at Thoreau’s first book, A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS. In this work Thoreau immerses himself in American colonial history, specifically investigating the relationship between Indian and European settler. Far from encouraging us to escape our past, to cut ourselves off from our social legacies and the determinative facts of our collective lives, Thoreau provides us with a tough, revealing look at the historical events and conditions and struggles that have given birth to contemporary American society ... what is thought of as a painfully personal and apolitical book is actually a sophisticated meditation on the realities and consequences of the American founding. In other words, Taylor is going to offer to us the idea that Emerson was not, and Thoreau was, a profound political thinker. He goes on in this chapter “Founding” to further elaborations upon the overlooked sophistication of the political analysis offered by Thoreau in A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS: Thoreau begins his book with the following sentence: “The Musketaquid, or Grass-ground River, though probably as old as the Nile or Euphrates, did not begin to have a place in civilized history, until the fame of its grassy meadows and its fish attracted settlers out of England in 1635, when it received the other but kindred name of Concord from the first plantations on its banks, which appears to have been commenced in a spirit of peace and harmony.” Out of respect for historical chronology, Thoreau presents the Indian before the English name for the river. The river itself and, by implication, the native inhabitants are of ancient lineage, while “Concord” and the people responsible for this name are relative newcomers. In the second sentence of text, Thoreau explains that the Indian name is actually superior to the English, since it will remain descriptively accurate as long as “grass grows and water runs here,” while Concord is accurate only “while men lead peacable lives on its banks” — something obviously much less permanent than the grass and flowing water. In fact, the third sentence indicates that “Concord” has already failed to live up to its HDT WHAT? INDEX


name, since the Indians are now an “extinct race.”

A WEEK: The Musketaquid, or Grass-ground River, though probably as old as the Nile or Euphrates, did not begin to have a place in civilized history, until the fame of its grassy meadows and its fish attracted settlers out of England in 1635, when it received the other but kindred name of CONCORD from the first plantation on its banks, which appears to have been commenced in a spirit of peace and harmony. It will be Grass-ground River as long as grass grows and water runs here; it will be Concord River only while men lead peaceable lives on its banks.

Thoreau wastes no time in pointing out that regardless of the “spirit of peace and harmony” that first moved the whites to establish a plantation on this river, relations between the natives and the settlers soon exhibited very little concord indeed. In these opening sentences Thoreau presents us with an indication of a primary problem motivating his trip down the Concord and Merrimack Rivers: he hopes to probe the nature of the relationship between Indian and white societies and to consider the importance of this relationship for understanding our America. Joan Burbick, one of the few to recognize the primacy of the political theme underlying Thoreau’s voyage, writes that in this book Thoreau “tries to forge the uncivil history of America.” We know the end of the story already: one “race” annihilates the other. Part of Thoreau’s intention is to not let us forget this critical truth about our society, to remind us that our founding is as bloody and unjust as any, try as we may to put this fact out of sight and tell alternative stories about our past. As the story progresses throughout the book, however, we see that another intention is to explain the complexity and ambiguity of the historical processes that led to and beyond this bloody founding. The history Thoreau presents is “uncivil” in two senses: first, and most obviously, it is about violent, brutal, uncivil acts; second, it is not the official or common self-understanding that the nation wants to hold. Thoreau’s journey is not only aimed at personal self- discovery, despite the obvious importance of that theme for the book. On the contrary, the opening sentences and the problems they pose suggest that Thoreau is first and foremost interested in a project of discovery for the nation as a whole, the success of which will depend upon looking carefully at the relationship between settler and native. The project of self-discovery is to be accomplished within the context of this larger social history. Thoreau’s personal and more private ruminations are set quite literally between ongoing discussions of events from the colonial life of New England. We are never allowed to forget for very long that our contemporary private lives are bounded by, in some crucial sense defined within, the possibilities created by this earlier drama of Indian and colonist. Duston is taken from childbed by attacking Indians, sees “her HDT WHAT? INDEX


infant’s brain dashed out against an apple-tree,” and is held captive with her nurse, Mary Neff, and an English boy, Samuel Lennardson. She is told that she and her nurse will be taken to an Indian settlement where they will be forced to “run the gauntlet naked.” To avoid this fate, Duston instructs the boy to ask one of the men how to best kill an enemy and take a scalp. The man obliges, and that night Duston, Neff, and Lennardson use this information to kill all the Indians, except a “favorite boy, and one squaw who fled wounded with him to the woods” — the victims are two men, two women, and six children. They then scuttle all the canoes except the one needed for their escape. They flee, only to return soon thereafter to scalp the dead as proof of the ordeal. They then manage to paddle the sixty or so miles to John Lovewell’s house and are rescued. The General court pays them fifty pounds as bounty for the ten scalps, and Duston is reunited with her family, all of whom, except the infant, have survived the attack. Thoreau ends the story by telling us that “there have been many who in later times have lived to say that they had eaten of the fruit of that apple tree,” the tree upon which Duston’s child was murdered. Striking as it is, many of the themes of this story are repetitive of what has come before, a powerful return to the material from the opening chapters, primarily the violence in “Monday.” Thus, Thoreau starkly conveys the grotesque violence on both sides of the conflict, and he concludes here, as he did earlier, that we are the beneficiaries, even the products, of these terrible events — it is we, of course, who have “eaten of the fruit of that apple-tree.” But this story is different too. Most obviously, it is a story in which women and children, traditional noncombatants, play a crucial role. The brutality in the Lovewell campaigns is between men who voluntarily assume the roles of warrior and soldier. The brutality in the Duston story is aimed primarily at those who are most innocent, children. And this brutality, like that among male combatants, is not confined to one side. The Indians murder Duston’s infant, but she, in turn, methodically kills six children and attempts to kill the seventh (the “favorite boy” was a favorite within his family, not to Duston). In addition, this murder of children is conducted not only by men but by women and children as well. The violence and hostility between Indian and settler have reached a point at which all traditional restraints have vanished, where the weakest are fair game and all members of the community are combatants. Here, not in the Revolution, is the climax of the American founding. In this climax all colonists and Indians, even women and children, are implicated, and the entire family of Indians, not just the male warriors, is systematically killed off. This frenzy of violence, of escalating atrocity and counteratrocity, of total war, is the natural culmination of the processes Thoreau has been describing throughout the book. The Duston story represents the victory of the colonists and the final destruction of the Indians. Thoreau is returning down the river to his own home, as Duston had to HDT WHAT? INDEX


hers 142 years earlier. His investigation into the nature of the American founding, his “uncivil history,” is mainly complete. Consider Thoreau’s use of the Hannah Emerson Duston story as the climax of a historical process set in motion by the collision of incompatible societies. He is appalled by the events, but he also understands that they are the culmination of huge political conflicts that are greater than the individual players. Professor Taylor goes on in this chapter “Founding” about the political content of A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS to consider each drama of Indian and colonist recounted there by Thoreau, culminating in the last and perhaps most powerful of these major tales, that of the Duston odyssey in “Thursday”: It is instructive to contrast this analysis with Cotton Mather’s simple praise of Duston as a colonial heroine and with Hawthorne’s shrieking condemnation of her when he calls her “this awful woman,” “a raging tigress,” and “a bloody old hag” on account of her victims being primarily children. Thoreau’s analysis is considerably more shrewd than either Mather’s or Hawthorne’s, and Thoreau resists the temptation of either of these simpler and much less satisfactory moral responses. Thoreau’s conclusion about our political interconnectedness is built upon a hard-boiled and realistic political analysis combined with a notable moral subtlety. As we have seen, Thoreau believes that the forms of life represented by Indian and colonist are simply and irrevocably incompatible; the structure of each requires a mode of production and a social organization that makes it impossible to accommodate the other. This argument is compelling ... the Hannah Emerson Duston story in A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS represented for Thoreau the final destruction of the Indians at the hands of the white settlers. HDT WHAT? INDEX


Joan Burbick, one of the few to recognize the primacy of the political theme underlying Thoreau’s story of a riverine quest, points up the fact that in his A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS Thoreau was attempting to “forge the uncivil history of America.” Here is our narrative as it is supposed to get itself narrated, within a basic-rate Western Union telegraph message of eleven words: 1 One 2 race 3 must 4 snuff 5 the 6 others 7 White 8 to 9 play 10 and 11 win Thoreau is not going to allow his readers to indulge in any foundation myth that can serve as a legitimation scenario, but instead he is going to remind us that our founding as been quite as vicious, quite as bloody as any other. Thus we find, in the pages of his book, that when he refers to the three extraordinarily notorious Indian- killers Captain Myles Standish of the Plymouth Colony, Captain Benjamin Church of King Phillip’s War, and Captain John Lovewell of the 18th Century, he does so by deployment of one single, solitary, unremarkable descriptor: “sturdy.” These problematic individuals were, simply, sturdy men. They did what in their time seemed to need to be done, to wit, exterminate entire families of people, man, woman, and child, who threateningly differ from one’s own sort. HDT WHAT? INDEX


A WEEK: On the thirty-first day of March, one hundred and forty- PEOPLE OF two years before this, probably about this time in the afternoon, A WEEK there were hurriedly paddling down this part of the river, between the pine woods which then fringed these banks, two white women and a boy, who had left an island at the mouth of the Contoocook before daybreak. They were slightly clad for the season, in the English fashion, and handled their paddles unskilfully, but with nervous energy and determination, and at the bottom of their canoe lay the still bleeding scalps of ten of the aborigines. They were Hannah Dustan, and her nurse, Mary Neff, both of Haverhill, eighteen miles from the mouth of this river, and an English boy, named Samuel Lennardson, escaping from captivity among the Indians. On the 15th of March previous, Hannah Dustan had been compelled to rise from childbed, and half dressed, with one foot bare, accompanied by her nurse, commence an uncertain march, in still inclement weather, through the snow and the wilderness. She had seen her seven elder children flee with their father, but knew not of their fate. She had seen her infant’s brains dashed out against an apple-tree, and had left her own and her neighbors’ dwellings in ashes. When she reached the wigwam of her captor, situated on an island in the Merrimack, more than twenty miles above where we now are, she had been told that she and her nurse were soon to be taken to a distant Indian settlement, and there made to run the gauntlet naked. The family of this Indian consisted of two men, three women, and seven children, beside an English boy, whom she found a prisoner among them. Having determined to attempt her escape, she instructed the boy to inquire of one of the men, how he should despatch an enemy in the quickest manner, and take his scalp. “Strike ’em there,” said he, placing his finger on his temple, and he also showed him how to take off the scalp. On the morning of the 31st she arose before daybreak, and awoke her nurse and the boy, and taking the Indians’ tomahawks, they killed them all in their sleep, excepting one favorite boy, and one squaw who fled wounded with him to the woods. The English boy struck the Indian who had given him the information, on the temple, as he had been directed. They then collected all the provision they could find, and took their master’s tomahawk and gun, and scuttling all the canoes but one, commenced their flight to Haverhill, distant about sixty miles by the river. But after having proceeded a short distance, fearing that her story would not be believed if she should escape to tell it, they returned to the silent wigwam, and taking off the scalps of the dead, put them into a bag as proofs of what they had done, and then retracing their steps to the shore in the twilight, recommenced their voyage.



A WEEK: In the words of the old nursery tale, sung about a hundred PEOPLE OF years ago, — A WEEK “He and his valiant soldiers did range the woods full wide, And hardships they endured to quell the Indian’s pride.” In the shaggy pine forest of Pequawket they met the “rebel Indians,” and prevailed, after a bloody fight, and a remnant returned home to enjoy the fame of their victory. A township called Lovewell’s Town, but now, for some reason, or perhaps without reason, Pembroke, was granted them by the State. “Of all our valiant English, there were but thirty-four, And of the rebel Indians, there were about four-score; And sixteen of our English did safely home return, The rest were killed and wounded, for which we all must mourn. “Our worthy Capt. Lovewell among them there did die, They killed Lieut. Robbins, and wounded good young Frye, Who was our English Chaplin; he many Indians slew, And some of them he scalped while bullets round him flew.” Our brave forefathers have exterminated all the Indians, and their degenerate children no longer dwell in garrisoned houses nor hear any war-whoop in their path. It would be well, perchance, if many an “English Chaplin” in these days could exhibit as unquestionable trophies of his valor as did “good young Frye.” We have need to be as sturdy pioneers still as Miles Standish, or Church, or Lovewell. We are to follow on another trail, it is true, but one as convenient for ambushes. What if the Indians are exterminated, are not savages as grim prowling about the clearings to-day? — “And braving many dangers and hardships in the way, They safe arrived at Dunstable the thirteenth (?) day of May.” But they did not all “safe arrive in Dunstable the thirteenth,” or the fifteenth, or the thirtieth “day of May.”



When the Reverend George Ripley would review A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS, he would profess to be disturbed at what he took to be Thoreau’s irreverent stance:10

...he asserts that he considers the Sacred Books of the Brahmins in nothing inferior to the Christian Bible ... calculated to shock and pain many readers, not to speak of those who will be utterly repelled by them.

Thoreau inscribed a copy of his book for the Reverend Orestes Augustus Brownson, writing on the front free endpaper: “Rev O.A. Brownson with the Regards of the author.” This copy is now in the rare book collection of the University of Detroit and it is to be noted that after page 272 the text is unopened. Brownson had not read past that point:

10. In 1853 or 1854, in the creation of Draft F of WALDEN; OR, LIFE IN THE WOODS, Henry Thoreau would tack in what would be in effect a response to the Reverend George Ripley’s reaction to A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS:

I do not say that the Reverend Ripley will realize all this; but such is the character of that morrow which mere lapse of time can never make to dawn. The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

(Well, OK, what he would insert would not be so specific as this, actually he would distance the remark through the deployment of cartoon characters: instead of “the Reverend Ripley” he wrote “John or Jonathan.”) HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 2, Saturday: Walter Savage Landor’s “The Heroines of England” in The Examiner included a Hemans retrospective.

Richard Wagner arrived in Paris.

French forces attacked into the suburbs of Rome.

November 4, Sunday: Richard Wagner completed “The Artwork of the Future” in Zürich. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 15, Tuesday: Nathaniel Hawthorne sent off his completed sketch for the “Custom House” introduction to THE SCARLET LETTER, along with a still unfinished version of the tale, to James T. Fields. At this point it was uncertain whether the tale was to be a full romance in and of itself, or merely one of a new series of tales to be entitled OLD TIME LEGENDS: TOGETHER WITH SKETCHES, EXPERIMENTAL AND IDEAL. Hawthorne was uncertain that the tale, so dark and wearying and perhaps so disgusting to some, would be palatable as a separate work. “Is it safe, then, to stake the fate of the book entirely on this one chance? A hunter loads his gun with a bullet and several buckshot, and following his sagacious example, it was my purpose to conjoin the one long story with half a dozen shorter ones.” While this discussion was taking place, the as-yet-unpublished volume was being advertised in the Literary World as a “new volume of tales.”

British warships arrived at Piraeus to enforce certain claims that had been brought by two British subjects against the Greek government.

In Zürich, Richard Wagner began guest-conducting the Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft with a performance of the Symphony no.7 of .

January 29, Tuesday: Waldo Emerson delivered “Spirit of the Times” at Clinton Hall in New-York.

King Friedrich August of Saxony granted Giacomo Meyerbeer the Knight’s Cross of the Royal Saxon Order of Merit.

On the advice of Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner left Switzerland for Paris.

February 1, Friday: Edward, a son of Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, died after a 2-month illness. The lawyer would resume his travels in the 8th Judicial Circuit, covering over 400 miles in 14 counties in Illinois.

Richard Wagner moved back to Paris from Zürich.

March 14, Thursday: Richard Wagner visited Eugène Laussot, a Bordeaux wine merchant, and his English wife Jessie Laussot, at their home in Bordeaux.

Waldo Emerson delivered “Natural Aristocracy” at Hope Chapel in New York City as the start of a new lecture series. The series included “Property,” “Power,” “The Laws of Success,” “Wealth,” “Economy,” “Culture,” and “Worship.” HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 16, Tuesday: Richard Wagner wrote from Montmorency to his wife Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner, informing her that he had decided to separate from her. He was presently engaged in a liaison with Jessie Laussot, the English wife of Bordeaux wine merchant Eugène Laussot.

When a battalion of light infantry marched across a bridge over the Maine at Angers, the bridge collapsed killing 200. TIMELINE OF ACCIDENTS

WALDEN: If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, –we never need read of another. One is enough.

July 3, Wednesday: After escaping the irate husband Eugène Laussot bent on his death, and breaking up with the English wife Jessie Laussot, Richard Wagner returned to Zürich to his “Villa Rienzi” and his own wife Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner (which outcome must have made her very happy indeed, or very unhappy, depending on what soap opera you’re attending).

August 24, Sunday: Two works by Franz Liszt were performed for the 1st time, conducted by the composer in Weimar: Chöre zu Herders Entfeisselten Prometheus and the overture Prometheus (Prometheus would be revised into a symphonic poem).

Richard Wagner completed his essay Judaism in Music. This would be published in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik under the pseudonym “K. Freigedank.”

The final installment of Herman Melville’s anonymous analysis “Hawthorne and His Mosses” in The Literary World.



August 28, Thursday: Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, a romantische Oper was performed for the initial time, at the Hoftheater in Weimar, Germany — despite the fact that the author, after the failure of the German revolution, was still in hiding in Switzerland. It was directed by Franz Liszt, and this was of course Johann Wolfgang von ’s birthday. The theater was full of artistic luminaries including Giacomo Meyerbeer, Robert Franz, Joseph Joachim, and Hans von Bülow. LISTEN TO IT NOW

End of the governorship of Major-General Sir Patrick Ross on St. Helena.

September 3, Monday: The Neue Zeitschrift für Musik published the initial of two installments of Das Judenthum in der Musik by Richard Wagner, published anonymously under the name “K. Freigedank” (meaning “free thought’). The purpose of this was to describe the situation in music to real Germans, which is to say, righteous Germans, Germans who were not tainted with Jewishness: ... explain to ourselves the involuntary repellence possessed for us by the nature and personality of the Jews, so as to vindicate that instinctive dislike which we plainly recognize as stronger and more overpowering than our conscious zeal to rid ourselves thereof. ANTISEMITISM

In St. Petersburg to be enrolled in the School of Jurisprudence, Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovksy was taken by his mother to see a performance of A Life for the Tsar by Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka. This would have a lasting effect on his life and work.

The 12th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s freedom, which we may well elect to celebrate in lieu of an unknown slave birthday.

“It has been a source of great annoyance to me, never to have a birthday.”

September 9, Sunday: The Neue Zeitschrift für Musik published the 2d of the two installments of Das Judenthum in der Musik prepared anonymously by Richard Wagner. ANTISEMITISM

The “Compromise of 1850” legislation was enacted in the United States federal Congress. California was admitted as the 31st state, and as a free state; Utah and New Mexico were created territories without a decision on slavery. Slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia (which of course did not mandate that any of the slaves there become free). The idea of allowing a fugitive slave to have a trial by jury was no longer to be tolerated. The compromise was endorsed by the Reverend Professor Francis Bowen.

Phineas Taylor Barnum generated enormous publicity for Jenny Lind’s tour by auctioning off the best seats to her initial concert at Castle Garden in New-York. The Herald had it that: The report of the auction on Saturday of tickets to Jenny Lind’s first concert, published in yesterday’s Herald, has excited a good deal of interest in the city and the auction is the subject of conversation everywhere, particularly in reference to the HDT WHAT? INDEX


first ticket, purchased by Genin, the hatter, whose establishment is next door to Barnum’s Museum, in Broadway. Some say it is a juggle and that there has been an understanding between him and Barnum. But that does not account for the “bids” made by five others, who all seemed anxious to get it. There is a better solution of the mystery than to charge it to Peter Funk. It was not that the first choice was one iota better than the second, which sold for twenty five dollars, or than another, which long afterwards was purchased adjoining the two hundred and twenty five dollar seats, for ten dollars, for, in point of fact, the seat selected by Mr. Genin, right under where Jenny Lind will stand when she sings, is by no means the best seat, and the choice shows that Mr. Genin is a far greater adept in hat-making than in music; and we may add that but very few showed a good judgment in the selection of the choice seats for which they paid so high, the best seats being yet to be sold. But Genin would not, probably, give three dollars even for a seat on the stage to hear the Nightingale sing, if he had not some other object in view than the pleasure it would give him. We will be asked what can that object be? We answer — Genin has found out a secret by which a few men in this city have realized large fortunes. He has begun to study the philosophy of advertising, and being an enterprising fellow, he calculated that he would test the truth of the philosophy by a practical application, and resolved to give five hundred dollars for the choice seat in the whole house to Jenny Lind’s first concert, rather than lose so fine a chance of advancing his interests. One gentleman asked him why he gave so much for a ticket, and if he was not a fool for doing so? “No,” said he, “I will make it pay.” Another came up, immediately after the sale, and offered him $50 premium on it if he would transfer it, and allow his name to go forth to the public as the purchaser. Genin said he would not give it for $500. We have the secret of the value of the ticket, in the fact of the kind of men who were his chief competitors for it. They were three patent medicine doctors, who have made fortunes by advertising, and regarded this as a trump card, knowing that the name of Jenny Lind would attract attention all over the country, and that their advertisements, being connected therewith, would be sure to be read. Genin calculated that this auction would be attended by a reporter from the Herald, and that if he bought the first choice ticket, his name and establishment would be recorded, and would come before a hundred times as many readers as it could by any other means. We understand he is about to follow up this idea on the night of the concert, and that he will sit in the front of the audience with an immense hat suspended over his head. Truly it is a Yankee notion. The ticket is worth $1000 to him. We think we have now explained the secret of Genin’s determination to have the first ticket. But why did the people cheer him so vehemently? For two reasons. First, for his ingenuity in advertising, by paying for a ticket to a concert, a sum that was never paid before, even in England; and secondly, because the first choice was taken from the upper ten HDT WHAT? INDEX


by a tradesman. And here was a capital idea of Barnum’s for putting the people against the aristocracy in a rivalry of dollars. He is a brick in his way and deserves to make money.

The federal legislature enacted the payment of “creditors of the late Republic of Texas.” Speculators who had bought up huge amounts of Republic-of-Texas notes bribed certain legislators to vote against this payment initially (in order to scare out the weaker holders of the notes so they would not profit), and then to subsequently vote for this payment. By knowing how the corrupt deal was going to go down, these insiders would gain enormously. One of those who profited from this insider trading was Francis Joseph Grund, who as a Washington DC insider had gotten wind of this corruption in time to get aboard for the ultimate payoff.

A compromise enabled California to enter the Union as our 31st state with slavery forbidden, by making Utah and New Mexico territories without any decision pro or con as to slavery. “It is simply crazy that there should ever have come into being a world with such a sin in it, in which a man is set apart because of his color — the superficial fact about a human being. Who could want such a world? For an American fighting for his love of country, that the last hope of earth should from its beginning have swallowed slavery, is an irony so withering, a justice so intimate in its rebuke of pride, as to measure only with God.” — Stanley Cavell, MUST WE MEAN WHAT WE SAY? 1976, page 141

September 9, 1850: There is a little grove in a swampy place in Conantum where some rare things grow –several Bass trees –two kinds of ash –Sassafras –Maidenhair fern –the white-berried plant –ivory? –&c &c and the Sweet viburnum? in the hedge nearby. This will be called the wet year of 1850 The river is as high now Sep. 9th as in the spring– And hence the prospects and the reflections seen from the village are something novel. Roman wormwood, Pigweed Amaranth, Polygonum and one or two coarse kinds of grass reign now in the cultivated fields Though the potatoes have man with all his implements on their side, these rowdy & rampant weeds completely bury them between the last hoeing & the digging.– The potatoes hardly succeed with the utmost care. These weeds only ask to be let alone a little while. I judge that they have not got the rot. I sympathize with all this luxuriant growth of weeds such is the year. The weeds grow as if in sport & frolic You might say Green as Green briar I do not know whether the practice of putting Indigo Weed about horses’ tackling to keep off flies is well founded but I hope it is, for I have been pleased to notice that wherever I have occasion to tie a horse I am sure to find Indigo weed not far off – and therefore this which is so universally dispersed would be the fittest weed for this purpose. The thistle is now in bloom –which every child is eager to clutch once –just a child’s handful. –I sympathize with the berries now {MS torn} found anybody. {Four-fifths page missing} The Prunella – Self-heal Small purplish flowered plant of low grounds Fragrant Life Everlasting. {Four-fifths page missing} street & the village & the state in which he lived A voice seemed to say to him Why do you stay here and live this mean dusty moiling life when a worthy & glorious existence is possible for you?” But how to come out of this and actually migrate thither– All that he could think of was to practice some new austerity. To let his mind descend into his body & redeem it. To treat himself with ever increasing respect. He had been abusing himself– Those same stars twinkle over other fields than this HDT WHAT? INDEX


CHARLES DUNBAR Charles grew up to be a remarkably eccentric man He was of large frame athletic and celebrated for his feats of strength. His lungs were proportionably strong– There was a man who heard him named once, and asked it was the same Charles Dunbar – whom he remembered when he was a little boy to have heard hail a vessel from the shore of maine as she was sailing by. He should never forget that man’s name. It was well grassed and delicate flowers grew in the middle of the road– I saw a delicate flower had grown up 2 feet high Between the horse’s path & the wheel track Which Dakin’s & Maynards wagons had Passed over many a time An inch more to right or left had sealed its fate. Or an inch higher. And yet it lived & flourished As much as if it had a thousand acres of untrodden space around it –and never knew the danger it incurred. It did not borrow trouble nor invite an Evil fate by apprehending it. For though the distant market wagon Every other day – inevitably rolled This way – it just as inevitably rolled In those ruts– And the same Charioteer who steered the flower Upward – guided the horse & cart aside from it. There were other flowers which you would say Incurred less danger grew more out of the way Which no cart rattled near no walker daily passed But at length one rambling deviously For no rut restrained plucked them And then it appeared that they stood directly in his way though he had come from farther than the market wagon– And then it appeared that this brave flower – which grew between the wheel & horse – did actually stand farther out of the way than that which stood in the wide prairie where the man of science plucked it. To day I climbed a handsome rounded hill Covered with hickory trees wishing to see The country from its top – for low hills show unexpected prospects– I looked many miles over a woody low-land Toward Marlborough Framingham & Sudbury And as I sat amid the hickory trees and the young sumacks enjoying the prospect– A neat herd of cows approached – of unusually fair proportions and smooth clean skins, evidently petted by their owner – who had carefully selected them– One more confiding heifer the fairest of the herd did by degrees approach as if to take some morsel from our hands – while our hearts leaped to our mouths with expectation & delight She by degrees drew near with her fair limbs progressive making pretence of browsing – nearer & nearer till there was wafted toward us the cowy fragrance cream of all the daries, that ever were or will be – and then she raised her gentle muzzle toward us – and snuffed an honest recognition within hand’s reach– I saw ’twas possible for his herd to inspire with love the herdsman. She was as delicately featured as a hind– Her hide was mingled white and fawn color – and on her muzzles tip there was a white spot not bigger than a daisy And on her side toward me the map of Asia plain to see. Farewell Dear Heifer though thou forgettest me, my prayer to Heaven shall be that thou may’st not forget thyself. There was a whole bucolic in her snuff I saw her name was sumack– And by the kindred spots I knew her mother More sedate & matronly – with full grown bag – and on her sides was Asia great & small– The plains of Tartary even to the pole – while on her daughter it was Asia Minor.– She not disposed to wanton with the herdsman. And as I walked she followed me & took an apple from my hand and seemed to care more for the hand than apple. So innocent a face as I have rarely seen on any creature And I have looked in face of many heifers And as she took the apple from my hand I caught the apple from her eye. She smelled as sweet as the clethra blossom. There was no sinister expression And for horns though she had them they were so well disposed in the right place bent neither up nor down I do not now remember she had any – no horn was held HDT WHAT? INDEX


toward me–

September 14, Saturday: In a letter to E.B. Kietz, Richard Wagner first wrote of his idea for a festival theater built to his specifications.




January 10, Friday: Richard Wagner completed OPER UND DRAMA ().

January 10: The snow shows how much of the mts in the horizon are covered with forest– I can also see plainer as I stand on a hill what proportion of the township is in forest. Got some excellent frozen thawed apples off of Anursnack– Soft & luscious as a custard –and free from worms & rot Saw a partridge (Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus) budding –but they did not appear to have pecked the apples There was a remarkable sunset a mother of pearl sky seen over the Price farm Some small clouds as well as the edges of large ones most brilliantly painted with mother of pearl tints through & through. I never saw the like before. Who can foretel the sunset –what it will be? The near and bare hills covered with snow look like mountains –but the mts in the horizon do not look higher than hills. I frequently see a hole in the snow where a partridge has squatted the mark or form of her tail very distinct. The chivalric & heroic spirit which once belonged to the chevalier or rider only seems now to reside in the walker– To represent the chivalric spirit we have no longer a knight –but a walker errant– I speak not of Pedestrianism, or of walking a thousand miles in a thousand successive hours– The Adam who daily takes a turn in his garden methinks I would not accept of the gift of life If I were required to spend as large a portion of it sitting bent up or with my legs crossed as the shoemakers and tailors do. As well be tied head & heels together & cast into the sea– Making acquaintance with my extremities I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art taking walks daily –not exercize –the legs or body merely –nor barely to recruit the spirits but positively to exercise both body & spirit –& to succeed to the highest & worthiest ends by the abandonment of all specifics ends.– who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering– – And this word saunter by the way is happily derived “from idle people who roved about the country [in the middle ages] and asked charity under pretence of going à la sainte terre,” to the holy land –till perchance the children exclaimed There goes a sainte terrer a holy lander– They who never go to the holy land in their walks as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers & vagabonds– {Two leaves missing} than usually jealous of my freedom I feel that my connexions with & obligations to society are at present very slight & transient. Those slight labors which afford me a livelihood & by which I am serviceable to my contemporaries are as yet a pleasure to me and I am not often reminded that they are a necessity. So far I am successful –and only he is successful in his business who makes that pursuit which affords him the highest pleasure sustain him. But I foresee that if my wants should be much increased the labor required to supply them would become a drudgery– If I should sell both my forenoons & afternoons to society neglecting my peculiar calling there would be nothin left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birth-right for a mess of pottage F. Andrew Michaux says that “the species of large trees are much more numerous in North America than in Europe: in the U S there are more than 140 species that exceed 30 feet in height – – ; in France there are but 30 that attain this size, of which 18 enter into the composition of the forests, & seven only are employed in building.” The perfect resemblance of the Chestnut Beech & hornbeams in Europe & the U S rendered a separate figure unnecessary. He says the white oak “is the only oak on which a few of the dried leaves persist till the circulation is renewed in the spring.” Had often heard his father say that “the fruit of the common European walnut, in its natural state, is harder than that of the American species just mentioned [the Pacanenut Hickory] and inferior to it in size & quality.” The arts teach us a thousand lessons. Not a yard of cloth can be woven without the most thorough fidelity in the weaver. The ship must be made absolutely tight before it is launched. It is an important difference between two characters that the one is satisfied with a happy but level success but, the other as constantly elevates his aim. Though my life is low, if my spirit looks upward habitually at an elevated angle –it is, as it were redeemed– When the desire to be better than we are is really sincere we are HDT WHAT? INDEX


instantly elevated, and so far better already I lose my friends of course as much by my own ill treatment & ill valuing of them (prophaning of them cheapening of them) as by their cheapening of themselves –till at last when I am prepared to them justice I am permitted to deal only with the memories of themselves –their ideals still surviving in me –no longer with their actual selves– We exclude ourselves– As the child said of the stream in which he bathed head or foot V Confucius It is something to know when you are addressed by divinity and not by a common traveller. I went down cellar just now to get an armful of wood –and passing the brick piers with my wood & candle –I heard methought a common place suggestion –but when as it were by accident –I reverently attended to the hint –I found that it was the voice of a God who had followed me down cellar to speak to me. How many communications may we not lose through inattention? I would fain keep a journal which should contain those thoughts & impressions which I am most liable to forget that I have had Which would have, in one sense the greatest remoteness –in another the greatest nearness, to me. ’Tis healthy to be sick sometimes,11 I do not know but the reason why I love some Latin verses more than whol English poems –is simply in the elegant terseness & conciseness of the language –an advantage which the individual appears to have shared with his nation. When we can no longer ramble in the fields of Nature, we ramble in the fields of thought & literature. The old become readers– Our heads retain their strength when our legs have become weak. English literature from the days of the minstrels to the Lake Poets Chaucer & Spencer & Shakspeare & Milton included breathes no quite fresh & in this sense wild strain It is an essentially tame & civilized literature reflecting Greece and Rome. Her wilderness is a greenwood her wild man a Robinhood. There is plenty of genial love of nature in her poets but Her chronicles inform us when her wild animals, but not when the wild man in her became extinct There was need of America I cannot think of any poetry which adequately expresses this yearning for the wild. the wilde. Ovid says

Nilus in extremum fugit perterritus orbem, Occuluitque caput, quod adhuc latet.– Nilus terrified fled to the extremity of the globe, And hid his head, which is still concealed – And we moderns must repeat –quod adhuc latet. Phaeton’s Epitaph Hic situs est Phaëton, currûs auriga paterni; Quem si non tenuit, magnis tamen excidit ausis. His sister Lampetie –

subitâ radice retenta est. All the sisters were changed to trees while They were in vain beseeching Their mother not to break their branches cortex in verba novissima venit.

11.The poet W.H. Auden has in 1962 brought forward a snippet from this day’s entry as:


Pg Topic Aphorism Selected by Auden out of Thoreau

212 The Professions ’Tis healthy to be sick sometimes. HDT WHAT? INDEX


His brother Cycnus lamenting the death of Phaeton –killed by Joves lightning –& the metamorphosis of his sisters –was changed into a Swan – Nec se caeloque, Iovique Credit, ut injustè missi memor ignis ab illo.

Reason why the swan does not fly – Nor trusts himself to the heavens Nor to Jove, as if remembering the fire unjustly sent by him

i.e. against Phaeton. precibusque minas regaliter addit. II-397

Jove – royally adds threats to prayers.

Callisto – Miles erat Phoebes

i.e. a huntress – – (neque enim coelestia tingi Ora decet lachrymis) II-621 For it it is not becoming that the faces of the celestials be tinged with tears

How much more fertile a Nature has Grecian Mythology its root in than English Literature! The nature which inspired mythology still flourishes– Mythology is the crop which the old world bore before its soil was exhausted– The west is preparing to add its fables to those of the east. A more fertile nature than the Mississippi valley. None of your four hour nights for me me– The wise man will take a fool’s allowance– The corn would not come to much if the nights were but four hours long The soil in which those fables grew is deep and inexhaustible. Lead cast by the Balearian sling. Volat illud, et incandescit eundo; Et quos non habuit, sub nubibus invenit, ignes. II-728 That flies & grows hot with going, And fires which it had not finds under the clouds. The old world with its vast deserts –& its arid & elevated steppes & table lands contrasted with the new world with its humid & fertile valleys & savannahs & prairies –& its boundless primitive forests– Is like the exhausted Ind corn lands contrasted with the peat meadows, America requires some of the sand of the old world to be carted onto her rich but as yet unassimilated meadows I went some months ago to see a panorama of the Rhine It was like a dream of the Middle ages– I floated down its historic stream in something more than imagination under bridges built by the Romans and repaired by later heroes past cities & castles whose very names were music to me made my ears tingle –& each of which was the subject of a legend. There seemed to come up from its waters & its vine-clad hills & vallys a hushed music as of crusaders departing for the Holy Land– There were Ehrenbreitstein & Rolandseck & Coblentz which I knew only in history. I floated along through the moonlight of history under the spell of enchanment It was as if I HDT WHAT? INDEX


remembered a glorious dream as if I had been transported to a heroic age & breathed an atmospher of chivalry Those times appeared far more poetic & heroic than these Soon after I went to see the panorama of the Mississippi and as I fitly worked my way upward in the light of today –& saw the steamboats wooding up –& loooked up the Ohio & the Missouri & saw its unpeopled cliffs –& counted the rising cities –& saw the Indians removing west across the stream & heard the legends of Dubuque & of Wenona’s Cliff –still thinking more of the future than of the past or present –I saw that this was a Rhine stream of a dif kind that the foundations {One leaf missing} all this West –which our thoughts traverse so often & so freely. We have never doubted that their prosperity was our prosperity– It is the home of the younger-sons As among the Scandinavians the younger sons took to the seas for their inheritance and became the Vikings or Kings of the Bays & colonized Ice land & Greenland & probably discovered the continent of America Guyot says –“the Baltic Sea has a depth of only 120 feet between the coasts of Germany and those of Sweden;” p 82 “The Adriatic, between Venice & Trieste, has a depth of only 130 feet.” “Between France & England, the greatest depth does not exceed 300 feet;” He says The most extensive forest “the most gigantic wilderness” on the earth is in the basin of the Amazon & extends almost unbroken more than 1500 miles South America the kingdom of palms no where a greater no’ of species “This is a sign of the preponderating development of leaves over every other part of the vegetable growth; of that expansion of foliage, of that leafiness, peculiar to warm & moist climates. America has no plants with slender shrunken leaves, like those of Africa and New Holland. The Ericas, or heather, so common, so varied, so characteristic of the flora of the Cape of Good Hope, is a form unknown to the New World. There is nothing resembling those Metrosideri of Africa, those dry Myrtles (Eucalyptus) and willow-leaved acacias, whose flowers shine with the liveliest colors, but their narrow foliage, turned edgewise to the vertical sun, casts no shadow.” my own The white man derives his nourishment from the earth from the roots & grains The potatoe & wheat & corn & rice & sugar –which often grow in fertile & pestilential river bottoms fatal to the life of the cultivator The Indian has but a slender hold on the earth– He derives his nourishment in great part but indirectly from her through the animals he hunts –“compared with the Old World, the New World is the humid side of our planet, the oceanic, Vegetative world, the passive element awaiting the excitement of a livelier impulse from without.” [Guyot] {One leaf missing} “For the American, this task is to work the virgin soil,”– “Agriculture here already assumes proportions unknown everywhere else.” [Guyot]

April 18, Friday/19, Saturday: Richard Wagner wrote Franz Liszt asserting that his “long-suppressed resentment against this Jewish business” was “as necessary to me as gall is to the blood.” JUDAISM

On this day and the following one Henry Thoreau was surveying, for Cyrus Stow, the Sudbury Road (Back Road) in which he laid out a new street (Stow Street) and divided the land into new houselots up to the present Hubbard Street: HDT WHAT? INDEX


• Sudbury Road (Back Road) and Stow Street in which Thoreau lays out the new street (Stow) and divided the land into new houselots up to present Hubbard Street (the invoice for this is now at Middlebury College).

May: Richard Wagner completed the verse draft for Der Junge Siegfried (YOUNG SIEGFRIED) — later to be called simply SIEGFRIED.

At about this point Waldo Emerson was writing in his journal:

HISTORY OF RR The old woman who was shown the telegraph & the railroad, said, “Well, God’s works are great, but man’s works are greater!”

August 6, Wednesday: J.C.A. Smith, the white-guy escort whom the anti-slavery society had sent along with Henry “Box” Brown during his lecture tour in England, reported back to William Lloyd Garrison that Brown had quarreled with him, and that he had picked up bad habits, and that he was denying to him his “fair share” of the moneys “they” were collecting from the British crowds. (Uh, dude, why don’t you crawl back into your box — this ain’t about you.)

Richard Wagner and completed a walking tour from Brunnen, Switzerland that included the Surenen Pass. With this experience, he added Das and Die Walküre to his Nibelung concept.

August 6, Wednesday: The motions of circus horses are not so expressive of music –do not harmonize so well with a strain of music as those of animals of the cat kind– An Italian has just carried a hand-organ through the village– I hear it even at walden wood –it is as if a cheeta had skulked howling through the streets of the village with knotted tail. Neglected gardens are full of Flea-bane? now not yet in blossom. Thoroughwort has opened –& golden-rod is gradually opening the smooth sumac shows its red fruit The berries of the bristly aralia are turning dark– The wild holly’s scarlet fruit is seen & the red dwarf chock cherry Cerasus is (Prunus Obovata– After how few steps –how little exertion –the student stands in pine woods above the solomon’s seal & the cow wheat – in a place still unaccountably strange & wild to him –& to all civilization. This so easy & so common –though our literature implies that it is rare –we in the country make no report of the seals & sharks in our neighborhood to those in the city We send them only our huckle berries not free wild thoughts. Why does not man sleep all day as well as all night –it seems so very natural & easy –for what is he awake. A man must generally get away some hundreds or thousands of miles from home before he can be said to begin HDT WHAT? INDEX


his travels– Why not begin his travels at home –! Would he have to go far or look very closely to discover novelties. The traveller who in this sense pursues his travels at home, has the advantage at any rate of a long residence in the country to make his observations correct & profitable. Now the American goes to England while the Englishman comes to America in order to describe the country– No doubt there some advantages in this kind of mutual criticism– But might there not be invented a better way of coming at the truth than this scratch-my back & I’ll scratch your’s method? Would not the American for instance who had himself perchance travelled in England & elsewhere –make the most profitable & accurate traveller in his own country. How often it happens that the travellers principal distinction is that he is one who knows less about a country than a native. Now if he should begin with all the knowledge of a native –& add thereto the knowledge of a traveller– Both natives & foreigners would be obliged to read his book. & the world would be absolutely benefitted It takes a man of genius to travel in his own country –in his native village –to make any progress between his door & his gate. But such a traveller will make the distances which Hanno & Marco Polo –& Cook BOTANIZING & Ledyard went over ridiculous. WM BARTRAM So worthy a traveller as Wm Bartram heads his first chapter with the words “The author sets sail from Philadelphia, and arrives at Charleston, from whence he begins his travels.” I am perchance most & most profitably interested in the things which I already know a little about –a mere & utter novelty is a mere monstrosity to me. I am interested to see the yellow pine which we have not in Concord though Michaux says it grows in Mass –. or the English Oak having heard of the royal oak –& having oaks ourselves Or the oriental Plane having often heard of it –& being well acquainted with its sister the occidental plane –but the new Chinese flower whose cousin I do not happen to know I pass by with indifference. I do not know that I am very fond of novelty. I wish to get a clearer notion of what I have already some inkling. These Italian boys with their hand-organs remind me of the keepers of wild beasts in menageries –whose whole art consists in stirring up their beasts from time to time with a pole. I am reminded of bright flowers & glancing birds & striped pards of the jungle– these delicious harmonies tear me to pieces while they charm me – the tigir’s musical smile. How some inventions have spread –some brought to perfection by the most enlightened nations have been surely & rapidly communicated to the most savage– The gun for instance How soon after the settlement of America were comparitively remote Indian tribes –most of whose members had never seen a white man supplied with guns– The gun is invented by the civilized man & the savage in remote wildernesses on the other side of the globe throws away his bow & arrows & takes up this arm. Bartram travelling in the S states bet 70 & 80 describes the warriors as so many gun-men. Ah, yes even here in concord horizon Apollo is at work for King Admetus– Who is King Admetus? ADMETUS It is Business with his four prime ministers Trade & Commerce –& Manufactures & Agriculture. And this is what makes Mythology true & interesting to us

September 15, Monday: Richard Wagner began a cure at Dr. Zacharia Brunner’s Hydrotherapy Institute in Albisbrunn, south of Zürich. He would be staying there until November 23d, during which time he would elaborate his “Siegfried” project into the idea of 4 separate works, and begin writing prose sketches for the initial 2 of these.

September 15, Monday: Ice in the pail under the pump–& quite a frost. Commenced perambulating 1 the town-bounds. At 7 /2 AM rode in Co with A A Kelsey & Mr Tolman to the bound between Acton & Concord near Paul Dudley’s. Mr Tolman told–a story of his wife walking in the fields somewhere–& to keep the rain off throwing her gown over her head & holding it in–her mouth–and so being poisoned about her mouth–from the skirts of her dress having come in contact with poisonous plants. At Dudleys, which house is handsomely situated with 5 large elms in front, we met the Select men of Acton–Ivory Keyes & Luther Conant. Here were 5 of us. It appeared that we weighed–Tolman I think about 160–Conant 155–Keyes about 140– Kelsey 130–myself 127. Tolman described the wall about or at Forest Hill cemetery in Roxbury–as being made of stones upon which they were careful to preserve the moss, so that it cannot be distinguished from a very old wall. Found one intermediate boundstone near the Powder mill drying-house on the Bank of the river. The workmen there wore shoes without iron tacks– He said that the Kernel house was the most dangerous–the Drying house next–the Press house next. One of the Powder-mill buildings in Concord? All the intermediate bound-stones are on the north sides of the different roads.– The potatoe vines & the beans which were still green are now HDT WHAT? INDEX


blackened & flattened by the frost.

September 15th, 16th, 18th, and 30th: Henry Thoreau and Aaron A. Kelsey inspected the boundary markers of the Town of Concord re-establishing a portion of the line between Concord and Acton, from a Pilot’s stone near the railroad right-of-way and another near the Powder Mills, etc. etc., for a total of nine stones. At the Powder Mill he needed to relocate a marker stone, and the Town of Concord would pay $1.50 for doing this. Thoreau would receive a total of $16.50 for his work.

(Although this practice of annually beating the bounds of a town was in that era universal, this was but a small portion of the perambulation of the town line either of Concord or of Acton.)

View Henry Thoreau’s personal working drafts of his surveys courtesy of AT&T and the Concord Free Public Library:

(The official copy of this survey of course had become the property of the person or persons who had hired this Concord town surveyor to do their surveying work during the 19th Century. Such materials have yet to be recovered.)

View this particular personal working draft of a survey in fine detail: HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 24, Monday: In Berlin, Giacomo Meyerbeer was informed that he was being attacked by Richard Wagner in his Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft. Meyerbeer, “deeply demoralized,” located a manuscript copy of an essay Wagner had given him a decade earlier, titled “Uber den Standpunkt der Musik Meyerbeers,” in which Wagner had praised Meyerbeer’s music.

The federal treason trial for the accused ringleaders of the Christiana Riot began in Philadelphia before Supreme Court Justice Robert Cooper Grier, sitting in circuit. The opening argument by prosecutor John W. Ashmead was to the effect that “a great number of persons, armed and arrayed in a war-like manner, with guns, swords and other weapons, assembled and traitorously combined to oppose and prevent by intimidation and violence, the execution of the laws of the United States,” whereupon defense attorney Theodore Cuyler responded by mocking the seriousness of the event: “Blessed be God that our Union has survived the shock.”

November 24, Monday: Setting stakes in the swamp (Ministerial) Saw seven black ducks fly out of the peat hole. Saw there also a tortoise still stirring. The painted tortoise I believe. BIGELOW Found on the S side of the swamp the Lygodium palmatum which Bigelow calls the only climbing fern of in our latitude–an evergreen called with others–snake tongue as I find in Loudon. The Irishman who helped me says when I ask why his country men do not learn trades–do something but the plainest & hardest work–they are too old to learn trades when they come here HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner created the poems for and Die Walküre. This incurable Romantic met — with whom eventually he would fall in love: I must tell you with a bleeding heart that you have succeeded in separating my husband from me after nearly twenty-two years of marriage. May this noble deed contribute to your peace of mind, to your happiness.

March 17, Wednesday: Giacomo Meyerbeer received a visit at his Berlin home from a friend who had recently spent some time in Weimar, “where Liszt was gathering many musicians around him who subscribe to a new direction in music, which defines itself as freedom of musical thought, independent of any specific form: Richard Wagner was their ideal.”

Henry Thoreau lectured on AN EXCURSION TO CANADA at Concord. TIMELINE OF CANADA

March 17, Wednesday: I catch myself philosophizing most abstractly–when first returning to consciousness in the night or morning. I make the truest observations & distinctions then–when the will is yet wholly asleep.– & the mind works like a machine without friction. I am conscious of having in my sleep transcended the limits of the individual–and made observations & carried on conversations which in my waking hours I can neither recall nor appreciate. As if in sleep our individual fell into the infinite mind–& at the moment of awakening we found ourselves on the confines of the latter– On awakening we resume our enterprise take up our bodies & become limited mind again. We meet & converse with those bodies which we have previously animated. There is a moment in the dawn–when the darkness of the night is dissipated & before the exhalations of the day commence to rise–when we see things more truly than at any other time. The light is more HDT WHAT? INDEX


trustworthy–since our senses are purer & the atmosphere is less gross. By afternoon all objects are seen in mirage. Frank Brown showed me the Pintail Duck day before yesterday–which he had received from Duxbury.– To day the fox-colored sparrow [Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca] on its way to Hudson’s Bay.

May 29, Saturday: Put up to this by his friend Franz Liszt, Hans Christian Andersen was present for a performance of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser in Weimar. “The text, good; the performance on the whole better than expected. The music competent with regard to idea, but lacking in melody. What Carl Maria Weber or Mozart couldn’t have done with it!”

December 15, Wednesday: By this point Richard Wagner has finished the entire text of .

Robert Schumann received a vote of confidence by 22 members of the Düsseldorf Allgemeiner Musikverein, who object to Wilhelm Wortmann’s letter appearing in the previous issue. Nevertheless, Schumann agreed to hand over the choral rehearsals to Julius Tausch. HDT WHAT? INDEX


December 18, Saturday: Horatio Greenough died in asylum of some sort of brain problem.

On this day and the following one, Richard Wagner was providing the initial reading of the complete poem Der Ring des Nibelungen at the home of François and Eliza Wille in Mariafeld, near Zürich.

Louisa May Alcott’s 3d publication of which we presently have any knowledge, titled “The Masked Marriage,” appeared in Dodge’s Literary Museum, Volume VI, #2. Below, how it would be represented as part of the March girls’ publication “The Pickwick Portfolio” enfolded into Chapter 10 of Volume I of LITTLE WOMEN, OR, MEG, JO, BETH AND AMY in 1869:


(A Tale Of Venice)

Gondola after gondola swept up to the marble steps, and left its lovely load to swell the brilliant throng that filled the stately halls of Count Adelon. Knights and ladies, elves and pages, monks and flower girls, all mingled gaily in the dance. Sweet voices and rich melody filled the air, and so with mirth and music the masquerade went on. “Has your Highness seen the Lady Viola to-night?” asked a gallant troubadour of the fairy queen who floated down the hall upon his arm. “Yes, is she not lovely, though so sad! Her dress is well chosen, too, for in a week she weds Count Antonio, whom she passionately hates.” HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner composed a Piano Sonata in A-flat major for Mathilde Wesendonck. He began writing the music for Das Rheingold. He met for the initial time Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt, age 15.

At this point Joseph Arthur, comte de Gobineau, was beginning to produce, in four successive volumes over a 3-year period, his elaborate ESSAI SUR L’INÉGALITÉ DES RACES HUMAINES, a treatise upon the decline and fall of civilizations. He pointed up the fact, for instance, that the “peuples jaunes” (that is, the Chinese or “Mongoloid” race), “have little physical vigour and tend towards apathy ... to mediocrity ... [and] have an easy enough understanding of what is not too elevated or too profound.” This series of tomes would (eventually) prove most helpful to Aryan race theorists such as Professor Louis Agassiz, Dr. Josiah Clark Nott and George Robins Gliddon. His theorizing, in brief, was that whiteness of skin indicated initiative, and darkness inertia, to such an extent that all the real civilizations of the world, not only those of the Near East and of the Indian subcontinent but those of the Far East12 as well, have in fact historically been initiated by Aryans, and that, therefore, all human history is a product of the white race’s hymen fécond (fertile intermixture) with colored stocks. It is simply not satisfactory, to search for the cause of the decline of civilizations among cultural factors such as Christianity, or the role of institutions, or excessive luxury. Instead, one must combine the historical question of the decline and fall of civilizations with the notion of racial degeneration:

I was gradually penetrated by the conviction that the racial question overshadows all other problems of history, that it holds the key to them all, and that the inequality of races from whose fusion a people is formed is enough to explain the whole course of its destiny.

12. The hopelessly Eurocentric term “Far East” had been created in 1852 to designate “the extreme eastern regions of the Old World.” HDT WHAT? INDEX


Doesn’t it sound a bit self-serving, for a fair-haired Nordic “Aryan” to presume that world leadership naturally rests with his fair-haired Nordic peoples. Never mind, the composer Wagner and his English son-in-law Houston Stewart Chamberlain would be popularizing this conceit in Austria and Britain, while the writer Madison Grant would be performing a similar function in the United States of America.

In contemplating the nation on the opposite side of the Atlantic, which professed that it was basing itself on principles of equality and democracy, the count could however express nothing but contempt. Equality and democracy are characteristics of dissolute, mixed-race persons in dissolute, mixed-race societies not worth the powder to blow them to hell and on top of that, those Americans are the sheerest hypocrites: Gobineau never neglected an opportunity to display his fine scorn at a nation supposedly founded upon egalitarian doctrine, that nevertheless was able to countenance human enslavement.13 Such is the lesson of history. It shows that all civilizations derive from the white race, that none can exist without its help, and that a society is great and brilliant only in so far as it preserves the blood of the noble group that created it, provided that this group itself belongs to the most illustrious branch of our species.

“The only lesson of history is that there are no lessons of history.” — A.J.P. Taylor A notice in the Saturday Review at this point coined the nice phrase “Muscular Christianity.” The anonymous author was describing the conceit that a perfect Christian gentleman, a manly fellow rather than a girly boy, should not be loathe to fear God, play competitive team sports, and doctor a horse. This sort of attitude would come to be associated with Charles Kingsley, Thomas Hughes, Catherine Beecher (she had incorporated music into German gymnastics during the 1830s and would coin the term “calisthenics”), and with Dio Lewis, the Boston homeopath whose NEW GYMNASTICS FOR MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN would in 1861 introduce Indian clubs into New England schoolhouses.

13. His race attitude seems identical with Waldo Emerson’s. HDT WHAT? INDEX


February 16, Wednesday night: On 4 successive evenings, Richard Wagner would be reading Der Ring des Nibelungen to invited guests in the Hotel Baur au Lac in Zürich (one wonders what his loss rate was, how many of these folks actually stuck it out all the way into the 4th evening without developing a scheduling conflict that would unfortunately necessitate their being absent).

May 22, Sunday: Three nights of concerts featuring the music of Richard Wagner ended in Zürich with the composer’s 40th birthday party. At this banquet he was given a laurel wreath, and a poem in his honor was read. This poem, presented anonymously, had been created by the wife of a close friend, Johanna Spyri, someone who would become most famous in 1880 when she would create the character known as Heidi. Although this festival brought Wagner great acclaim it also generated a considerable debt.

May 22. Sunday. To Nobscot with W.E.C. This is the third windy day following the two days' rain. A washing clay, such as we always have it this season, methinks. The grass has sprung up as by magic since the rains. The birds are heard through the pleasant clashing wind, which enlivens everything. It is clear June, the first day of summer. The rye, which, when I last looked, was one foot high, is now three feet high and waving and tossing its heads in the wind. We ride by these bluish-green waving ryefields in the woods, as if an Indian juggler had made them spring up in a night. Why, the sickle and cradle will soon be taken up. Though I walk every day I am never prepared for this magical growth of the rye. I am advanced by whole months, as it were, into summer. Sorrel reddens the fields. Cows are preparing the mill: for dune butter. Already the falling apple blossoms fill the air and spot the roads and fields, and some are already turned (lark with decay on the ground. With this warmth and wind the air is full of haze, such as we have not had before. The lilac is scented at every house. The wood pewee's warm note is heard. We ride through warm, sandy shrub oak roads, where the Viola pedata blues the edge of the path, and the sand cherry and the choke-cherry whiten it. The crickets now first are generally heard. Houstonias whiten the fields and are now in their prime. The thorn bushes are full of bloom. Observed a large sassafras tree in bloom, - a rich lemon (?) yellow. Left our horse at the Howe tavern. The oldest date on the sign is “D. II. 1716." An old woman, who had been a servant in the family and said she was ninety-one, said this was the first house built on the spot. Went on to Nobscot. Very warm in the woods, - and hear the hoarse note of the tanager and the sweet pe-a.-wai, -but pleasantly breezy on the bare hilltops. Can't see the mountains. Found an abundance of the Viola Mulalenbergii14 (debilis of Bigelow), a stalked violet, pale blue and bearded. The krigia out, a redder, more July, yellow than the dandelion; also a yellow Bethlehem-star and ribwort; and the mountain cranberry still here and there in blossom, though for the most part small berries formed. An abundance of saxifrage going to seed, and in their midst two or three looking densely white like the pearly everlasting - round dense white heads, apparently an abortion, an abnormal state, without stamens, etc., which I cannot find described. The pastures on this hill and its spurs are sprinkled profusely with thorny pyramidal apple scrubs, very thick and stubborn, first planted 1)y the cows, then browsed by them and kept down stubborn and thorny for years, till, as they spread, their centre is protected and beyond reach and shoots up into a tree, giving a wine-glass form to the whole; and finally perchance the bottom disappears and cows come in to stand in the shade and rub against and redden the trunk. They must make fine dark shadows, these shrubs, when the sun is low; perfectly pyramidal they are now, many of them. You see the cow-dung everywhere now with a hundred little trees springing up in it. Thus the cows create their own shade and food.15 This hill, Nobscot, is the summit of the island (?) or cape between the Assabet and Musketaquid - perhaps the best point from which to view the Concord River valley. The Wayland hills bound it on the east; Berlin, Bolton, [and] Harvard hills on the west. The Sudbury meadows, seen here and there in distance, are of a peculiar bluish green. This is the first truly lively summer Sunday, what with lilacs, warm weather, waving rye, slight[ly] dusty 14. Also 13olden farm and Pinxter-Flower Brook. 15. See Excursions. 305; I3iv. 374, 375.] HDT WHAT? INDEX


sandy roads in some places, falling apple blossoms, etc., etc., and the wood pewee. The country people walk so quietly to church, and at five o'clock the farmer stands reading the newspaper while his cows go through the bars. I ought perhaps to have measured the neat white oak by Howe's. A remarkably thick white pine wood this side of Willis's pond!! When yesterday Sophia and I were rowing past Mr. Yricltard's land, where the river is bordered by a row of elms and low willows, at 6 P. At., we heard a singular note of distress as it were from a catbird - a loud, vibrating, catbird sort of note, as if the catbird's mew were imitated by a smart vibrating spring. Blackbirds and others were flitting about, apparently attracted by it. At first, thinking it was merely some peevish catbird or red-wing, I was disregarding it, but on second thought turned the bows to the shore, looking into the trees as well as over the shore, thinking some bird might be in distress, caught by a snake or in a forked twig. The hovering birds dispersed at my approach; the note of distress sounded louder and nearer as I approached the shore covered with low osiers. The sound came from the ground, not from the trees. I saw a little black animal making haste to meet CAT the boat under the osiers. A young muskrat? a mink? No, it was a little dot of a kitten. It was scarcely six inches long from the face to the base - or I might as well say the tip - of the tail, for the latter was a short, sharp pyramid, perfectly perpendicular but not swelled in the least. It was a very handsome and very precocious kitten, in perfectly good condition, its breadth being considerably more than one third of its length. Leaving its mewing, it came scrambling over the stones as fast as its weak legs would permit, straight to me. I took it up and dropped it into the boat, but while I was pushing off it ran the length of the boat to Sophia, who held it while we rowed homeward. Evidently it had not been weaned - was smaller than we remembered that kittens ever were - almost infinitely small; yet it had hailed a boat, its life being in danger, and saved itself. Its performance, considering its age and amount of experience, was more wonderful than that of any young mathematician or musician that I have read of. Various were the conjectures as to how the kitten came there, a quarter of a mile from a house. The possible solutions were finally reduced to three: first, it must either have been born there, or, secondly, carried there by its mother, or, thirdly, by human hands. In the first case, it had possibly brothers and sisters, one or both, and its mother had left diem to go a-hunting on her own account and might be expected back. In the second, she might equally be expected to return. At any rate, not having thought of all this till we got home, we found that we had got ourselves into a scrape; for this kitten, though exceedingly interesting, required one nurse to attend it constantly for the present, and, of course, another to spell the first; and, beside, we had already a cat well-nigh grown, who manifested such a disposition toward the young stranger that we had no doubt it would have torn it in pieces in a moment if left alone with it. As nobody made up his or her mind to have it drowned, and still less to drown it, - having once looked into its innocent extremely pale blue eyes (as of milk thrice skimmed) and had his finger or his chin sucked by it, Nvliile, its eyes being shut, its little paws played a sootliiccg tune,-it was resolved to keep it till it could be suitably- disposed of. It rested nowhere, in no lap, under no covert, but still faintly cried for its mother and its accustomed supper. It ran toward every sound or movement of a human being, and whoever crossed the room it was sure to follow at a rapid pace. It had all the ways of a cat of the maturest years; could purr divinely and raised its back to rub all boots and shoes. When it raised its foot to scratch its ear, which by the way it never hit, it was sure to fall over and roll on the floor. It climbed straight up the sitter, faintly mewing all the way, and sucked his chin. In vain, at first, its head was bent down into saucers of milk which its eves did not see, and its chin was wetted. But soon it learned to suck a finger that had been dipped in it, and better still a rag; and then at last it slept and rested. The street was explored in vain to find its owner, and at length an Irish family took it into their cradle. Soon after we learned that a neighbor who had heard the mewing of kittens in the partition had sent for a carpenter, taken off a board, and found two the very day at noon that we sailed. That same hour it was first brought to the light a coarse Irish cook had volunteered to drown it, had carried it to the river, and without bag or sinker had cast it in! It saved itself and hailed a boat! What an eventful life! What a precocious kitten! We feared it owed its first plump condition to the water. How strong and effective the instinct of self-preservation! Our quince blossomed yesterday. Saw many low blackberries in bloom to-day.

July 13, Wednesday: The choral societies of Zürich joined outside of Richard Wagner’s window to provide him a torchlight serenade (now I’m jealous — nobody’s ever done this for me). HDT WHAT? INDEX


October 10, Monday: Harriet Fredrica Hickling Webster, widow of Professor John White Webster, died.

In the home of Madame Patersi de Fossombroni in Paris, Franz Liszt saw his 3 children for the 1st time in 9 years. He had come from Switzerland with Richard Wagner, Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, and her daughter Princess Marie. Also present were Hector Berlioz and Liszt’s mother Anna. At the request of Princess Marie, Wagner continued the reading of his Nibelungen poem, that he had begun reading to them in Switzerland. This was the 1st Wagner had seen of 15-year-old Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt. It was also the 1st time Wagner and Berlioz had gotten together since 1843.

October 11, Tuesday: At the home of Hector Berlioz in Paris, Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner came to breakfast. Liszt accompanied while Berlioz sang parts of Benvenuto Cellini. Wagner had not heard this before. HDT WHAT? INDEX



While working on Die Walküre, Richard Wagner plowed through Arthur Schopenhauer’s WORLD AS WILL AND IDEA a total of 4 times. He sent along a copy of THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG inscribed “in veneration and gratitude,” which presumably looked real nice on the philosopher’s coffee-table in his living-room. He fell in love with Mathilde Wesendonck (since her husband Otto Wesendonck had saved him from having to pay his bills, one might suppose it would have been more seemly for him to have fallen in love with the husband, but I guess that’s not the way this sort of thing works).

September 26, Tuesday: On a warm and very pleasant afternoon, Henry Thoreau walked along the riverside in Merrick’s pasture but did not attempt to swim.

Richard Wagner completed the full score of Das Rheingold.

November 20, Monday: In Boston, Unitarian Reverend Orville Dewey delivered a lecture “The Civilization of the Future” in which he called for an end to human slavery. As part of this lecture, however, he took occasion to deny persistent slanders circulated by the pro-slavery people, that he would be willing to sacrifice his own mother if that would bring an end to the peculiar institution. Of course he wasn’t as extreme as all that, of course he loved his own white mommy above these black Americans who weren’t even relatives of his!

The initial meeting of the Neu-Weimar-Verein took place at the Russischer Hof. Charter members included Franz Liszt and Peter Cornelius, plus some out-of-town members Hector Berlioz, Hans von Bülow, Joseph Joachim, and Richard Wagner. The purpose of the association was to further the music of the more radical Romantics: Berlioz, Wagner, Liszt, and others. HDT WHAT? INDEX


December 16, Saturday: In a letter to Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner came up with the idea behind the opera . LISTEN TO IT NOW

At what would come to be known as the initial meeting of the Saturday Club, Richard Henry Dana, Jr. recorded in his journal, he dined at the Albion Hotel “in a select company,” which is to say Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, Amos Bronson Alcott, a visiting lecturer Charles H. Goddard from Cincinnati, Thomas Cholmondeley, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, and the Boston attorney Horatio Woodman.16 “Emerson is an excellent dinner table man, always a gentleman, never bores or preaches, or dictates, but drops & takes up topics very agreeably, & has even skill & tact in managing his conversation. So, indeed, has Alcott, & it is quite surprising to see these transcendentalists appearing well as men of the world.”

The National Anti-Slavery Standard suggested that neither Henry Thoreau’s A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS nor WALDEN; OR, LIFE IN THE WOODS had “received ... adequate notice in our Literary Journals.” TIMELINE OF WALDEN TIMELINE OF A WEEK

16. Woodman would be one of the small number purchasing Thoreau’s WALDEN. Whether he would read it, we wish we knew. HDT WHAT? INDEX



In England, Richard Wagner conducted the orchestra of the Philharmonic Society in return for the sum of £200. He found out he didn’t like the cold, rainy English climate, which left him with a “collection of rheums and catarrhs,” and he commented on the fact that Queen Victoria’s nose was red (he also noted with interest that she wasn’t fat; she noted on her part that his satin pants fitted him real well). The critic of the Times found the 1st version of his Tannhäuser was “not music at all” (a 2nd version also would be unappreciated, later, in Paris).

January 23, Tuesday: A 2d version of The Overture to Faust by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, in the Casino Zürich, and was conducted by the composer. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Panacea-Klänge op.161, a waltz by Johann Strauss, was performed for the initial time, in the Sophiensaal, Vienna (also premiered was the Souvenir-Polka op.162).

Thomas Cholmondeley had, by this date, been appointed a captain of the militia of Hodnet Salop, England. In the afternoon, the water was still higher than yesterday, and Henry Thoreau noticed that near Hunt’s or Red Bridge (Gleason E6) over the Concord River, the river was just over Lowell Road. In the Minnesota Territory, amidst general celebration, sleighs passed over the first bridge to span the Mississippi River at any point along its length. This suspension bridge had been thrown over the river, by a local “fixer” named Franklin Steele, HDT WHAT? INDEX



just above St. Anthony “Place where the Water Falls,” the point at which the river became unnavigable by steamboat, to join the booming city of St. Anthony to an illegal community named Minnehapolis made up of white squatters on the territory of Fort Snelling Military Reservation. Basically, Steele was out to “Steele” anything that wasn’t nailed down. These squatters were all competing with one another to be in on the take, when and if the US government could be lobbied or bribed into releasing control over this unneeded military claim and its riparian water rights to the enormous falls at St. Anthony, which could potentially generate more 17 power than was being used by all the mills of Lowell MA. (Other sources say “the first bridge across the [navigable] Mississippi River” was between Rock Island IL and Davenport IA, a railroad bridge, but this claim is disingenuous because it involves suppressing the modifier “navigable” and thus presupposes an implicit definition of “Mississippi River” as starting one mile south of the Minnesota bridge.)

Jan. 23. P. M. - The water is still higher than yesterday. I found [it] just over the Red Bridge road, near the bridge. The willow-row near there is not now bright, but a dull greenish below, with a yard at the ends of the twigs red. The water in many hollows in the fields has suddenly fallen away, run off, or soaked up, leaving last night’s ice to mark its height around the edges and the bushes. It has fallen two feet in many cases, leaving sometimes a mere feathery crystallization to supply its place. I was pleased to see the vapor of Sam Barrett’s fall and, after, the icy cases of the alder and willow stems below. But the river is higher than ever, especially the North River. I was obliged after crossing Hunt’s Bridge to keep on round to the railroad bridge at Loring’s before I could recross, it being over the road with a roar like a milldam this side the further stone bridge, and I could not get 17. Eventually, a federal officeholder who sympathized with the institution of slavery did open the lands of Fort Snelling to their exploitation a few days before he fled from his Washington office to Richmond, Virginia to join the insurrection. HDT WHAT? INDEX



over dry for the feebleness and incontinuity of the fence. In front of G. M. Barrett’s was a great curving bay which crossed the road between him and Heywood’s, and by Fort Pond Bridge at Loring’s it had been over for ten rods in the night. A great cake a foot thick stands on end against the railroad bridge. I do not quite like to see so much bare ground in midwinter. The radical leaves of the shepherd’s-purse, in green circles on the water-washed plowed grounds, remind me of the internal heat and life of the globe, anon to burst forth anew. Yesterday I met Goodwin shooting muskrats and saw the form and bloody stains of two through his game-bag. He shot such as were close to the shore where he could get diem, for he had no clog, the water being too cold, he said. I saw one poor rat lying on the edge of the ice reddened with its blood, half a dozen rods from the shore, which he had shot but willing to wade for. It is surprising bow much work will be accomplished in such a night as the last, so many a brook will have run itself out and now he found reduced within reasonable bounds. This settling away of the water leaves much crackling white ice in the roads.

April 29, Sunday: Giacomo Meyerbeer experienced Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser for the 1st time, in Hamburg. “The opera itself was incontestably a musical-artistic manifestation of the highest interest. There was indeed a great dearth of melody, an unclarity and a formlessness, but nonetheless great flashes of genius in conception, in orchestral coloring, and in purely musical respects, particularly in the instrumental passages.”

June 11, Monday: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert attended the 6th of Richard Wagner’s 7 philharmonic concerts in London. The composer visited with the royal couple in their box at intermission. They requested an encore to the overture to Tannhäuser.

Since 1833, when the giant sequoias of the California mountains had been first sighted and described by white men, there had been considerable confusion. Some presumed that the measurements, given in feet, were misprints, and that what had been meant was inches. The trees were called Sequoia in honor of native representative to the United States federal government Sequoyah, using the latinate version of that Cherokee name. However, in 1853 some specimens of the mountain giant version of this tree reached England and botanist John Lindley created as a new genus Wellingtonia gigantea in honor of the just-deceased Duke of Wellington. Some Americans immediately protested that as this was a gigantic American tree, it ought by rights to be named after that gigantic American, General/President George Washington (and indeed, eventually this species would come to be recognized as the Sequoiadendron giganteum). On this day, however, the issue was still undecided, and the Daily Alta California therefore carried a most intriguing botany article: Wellington Gigantea, or the Great Tree and the Great Man. The above was the title of a very interesting lecture, delivered recently in England, on California Trees, by J[ames] Bateman, Esq., M.A., F.R.S., of Biddulph Grange, in the Assembly Room, Congleton. It is worth while to call the attention of readers to it both as a matter of science end State pride. Mr. Bateman commenced the lecture by observing that perhaps some present would be already acquainted with the extraordinary tree which had recently been discovered in North America, and to which had been given the name of a still more extraordinary man. The subject of the lecture might strike some as strange and curious, but he hoped that, ac they proceeded, they would find that it opened out into interesting and profitable trains of thought. The arrangement of the lecture would be briefly this: — He should first give some information as to the district in which the Wellingtonia was discovered; then he should describe HDT WHAT? INDEX


the tree itself, and afterwards make some allusions to the great man from whom the great tree had derived its name; and, in conclusion offer some general reflections, which it would be seen that the subject naturally suggested. If they were to ask for a detailed description of the scene in which the subject of the lecture was laid, it would be requisite that he should refer to an atlas published within the last four or five years, as on the maps issued previously to that time, they would find the country described under the vague designation of ‘unknown.’ But how great a change had taken place within those few years! Where at that time stretched a wild and unknown desert, now stood a magnificent city; and in the Bay of Sao Francisco, which was then scarcely ruffled by the oars of a solitary canoe, now floated vessels from all countries. The magician that had waved his hand over the desert and the waters, and produced this fairy change, was gold. They would already have discovered that he alluded to California. (Loud applause.) The discovery of gold in California caused a great tide of emigration to set in that way, and, as might have been expected, a large proportion of those who immigrated from all countries were characters of the very worst description. Then followed those scenes of rapine, violence and blood, the recitation of which made Europe shudder; and what should have been the inauguration of the “golden age” more nearly resembled the breaking loose of hell. These scenes, he said, were occurring on one side of the great range of hills dividing the California coast from the inland territories of North America; and at the foot of the hills on the other side was going on a spectacle equally strange and deplorable. For on the other side of those hills lay Utah, the great Salt Lake, around which swarmed a great Mormon population, under the rule of that licentious potentate, Mr. Brigham Young. He would not, however, dwell upon these painful scenes, but alike leave the Mammonites and the Mormonites, and turn to the calm and peaceful solitudes of primeval nature. Among the travelers who visited California when the gold discoveries began to attract the attention of Europe, was Mr. Lobb, who traveled as the agent of the most enterprising nurseryman this country ever produced — he alluded to Messrs. Veitch of Exeter and London, who sent him out not to carry away auriferous spoils from the country, but to examine into its vegetable productions. Mr. Lobb made numerous interesting Discoveries, and after ascending the hills to a height of about 3000 feet, his eye first rested on these monarchs of all trees, which were afterwards named Wellingtonia Gigantea. They towered to a majestic stature, some among them rising to a height of 400 to 500 feet, or three or four times the height of the tallest factory chimneys in Congleton, and with a proportionate girth, in some instances having a circumference of 90 feet, and a diameter of 30 feet, thus capable of furnishing single planks so large that one only would be sufficient to floor that room. Of course it was out of the question to think of bringing to this country an actual specimen of this monster tree, but Mr. HDT WHAT? INDEX


Lobb made an accurate drawing of it, from which he (Mr. Bateman) had copied the diagram to which he then directed their attention. He very lucidly explained a diagram representing a Wellingtonia, 300 feet high, and 3000 years old, which had been drawn on a scale of 1 foot to 10 yards. For the purpose of affording means of comparison, be had inserted in the drawing a ladder, of a common length, leaning against the trunk, end a man ascending it. The gigantic size of the tree dwarfed the ladder to an appearance like that of a walking-stick, and the man half way upon it seemed about the size of a beetle. He had also drawn a Scotch Fir and an Oak tree on the same scale; but, by comparison they both sank into the appearance of insignificant shrubs; still, however, he said, the eye had a difficulty in comprehending its astounding dimensions, and he had adopted another means of comparison. He had drawn sketches of the tallest buildings in the world, selecting the pyramids of Egypt, St. Peter’s at Rome, Salisbury Cathedral and St. Paul’s at London. They would, however, see that the Wellingtonia left St. Paul’s far behind; it was some feet higher than Salisbury Cathedral, the highest building in England; it contested the palm with St. Peters, and was but a small distance below the Pyramid. He then compared it with drawings of other trees, and, in comparison he said, the Palm tree appeared only like a Sugar Cane, the Spruce Fir like Juniper, and even the famed Cedar of Lebanon only as a bush. To convey a more perfect idea of of astonishing size, he related several anecdotes concerning it. The method by which these trees were felled, he said, was to bore them through with immense augurs [sic], and then wait for a strong wind to complete the work. He described the great violence which at tended the fall, and mentioned that, on one occasion, a traveler on horseback rode up in the trunk of one of the felled trees, to a distance of nearly a hundred yards. Some of the hollow trunks of these trees, be said, would have served for the smaller tubes of the Britannia Bridge, and here was a hint for railway contractors. If they were to bridge over a stream, they had only to plant one of these trees on the bank, and when it was full grown, fell it so as to reach across unto the other side, and there would be a bridge already made. The only difficulty in the way was one which be would confess was rather a strong objection — that they would have to wait for 3000 years before the tree had matured itself, that being the period it occupied in attaining to its full growth. He then directed attention to a specimen of the bark of the Wellingtonia, which he produced, and which was of an astonishing thickness. He said it had a cocoa-fibre texture, and gave forth a pungent smell. He related an amusing story of a clever practitioner in the land of Barnum, where he told there were men always ready to turn an honest or dishonest penny, who stripped one of these trees of its bark, and then joined the bark together and produced as actual representation of the Wellingtonia, and made a show of it in San Francisco, furnishing it inside with a pianoforte and carpets, and receiving parties in it. The HDT WHAT? INDEX


interior of one of these trees, he said, would furnish an area large enough to contain all the wives of Mr. Brigham Young, and all the husbands of Lola Montes, who, by the way, was at present in San Francisco. He then pointed attention to a diagram representing the lower portion of the trunk of a young Wellingtonia, about 1000 years old! He proceeded to explain the general characteristics of the tree, and placed it as a distinct genus between the Pine and the Juniper, having the cone of the pine, though proportionably smaller, and the foliage of the Juniper. It belonged, he said, to that most useful race to which wo were indebted for Deal or Pine, and for masts for our shipping; which also furnished rosin, pitch, turpentine, and many other useful articles. It was also stated that from the bark of this class of trees the wretched Russian serfs obtained a sort of bark bread, which, of necessity, must be a very disagreeable compound. And while on this topic, be would mention that a writer in the Quarterly Review says, that it is possible, by skilful manipulation, to manufacture a respectable loaf out of a deal board, and as it is well known that sawdust contained some grains of albumen, it was possible that, as the writer wittily remarked, “bread” and “board” might come to be synonymous terms. The Wellingtonia, it would be seen, was valuable from considerations of utility, and, in addition, it was a magnificent ornament to the landscape. Considering the fitness of the name which had been given to the tree, be reminded the audience that figures of trees were often emblematically used in Scripture to represent great or good men. He drew a distinction betwixt the senses in which the Palm and the Cedar were employed in the Bible, and read a lengthy passage in illustration from Ezekiel (chap xxxi.) These authorities, he said, would justify the title of the lecture, altho' they destroyed all claims to originality on that point, when it was seen that, twenty-five centuries ago, Scriptural writers had compared the great tree with the great man. He then explained the method by which they arrived at the age of the Wellingtonia, by counting the number of eccentric rings in the trunk, it having been ascertained that these rings were formed annually, and that each circle stood for a year. He explained in a very simple manner the process of restoration and growth taking place annually in the vegetable kingdom, by the circulation of the sap, which enabled them to arrive at the results above mentioned. This, he said, related to what they might term “arboreal” time, of which nature regulated her proceedings in the vegetable world, and which was at times useful in checking the vagaries of antiquarians. He related an instance in which naturalists had been able to indicate the age of ruins in Central America, by ascertaining the period of their desertion by the age of the trees that had grown over their walls. To prove the correctness of the principle by which they thus measured the existence of trees, he produced a wedge out out of a Scotch Fir tree, grown on the Knypersley estate, and, being able by the aid of other circumstances to fix the date HDT WHAT? INDEX


when it was planted by a former occupant of the estate, he counted the concentric circles, and found that they exactly agreed with the number of years which had intervened. He then applied this reasoning in the case of the Wellingtonia, and by a diagram on which spaces were marked, representing each 100 rings, which he said were found to exist in the specimen on the scale of 25 rings to the inch, and by calculating the diameter they ascertained that the age of the tree could not be less than 3000 years. He observed to what a remote period of time the existence of one of these trees led them. Pointing to the wand with which he explained the diagrams, he said, when that tree was but the thickness of this wand, there occurred a siege which was then as important, and had since been as famous in history as would be the present siege of Sebastopol — he alluded to the memorable siege of Troy. He would however add, that he hoped it would not occupy Lord Raglan lO years in reducing Sebastopol. To turn to Scriptural history, they found that the tree began to live in the days of the Judges — it would be quite a youth in the time of David. At the period of our blessed Lord’s incarnation it would be about 1200 years old, and it completed its second millennium during the dark ages of the Papacy. When it was about 2600 years old, a sad event, as far as concerned itself, occurred — viz: the discovery of America; for it was certain that when the enterprising European set foot on the shores of the New World, the tree would not remain “monarch of all it surveyed.” That period was the most remarkable of preceding history. Then Constantinople was captured by the Turks, and artillery for the first time made an appliance of war. Also about that time the printing press was discovered, and soon followed by the circulation of Bibles, which led to the glorious Reformation. At the time of that event, in the 16th century, the tree would be in a green old age, and so it continued until the 19th century so remarkable in history, as being inimical to crowned beads, and then this monarch of the American woods fell before the axe of European aggression. But the tree was as yet without a name. They would be aware already, he remarked, that botanists frequently gave the names of princes, nobles and great men to their discoveries. He mentioned several instances in illustration, and said that this had been carried out until, for some time past, there had scarcely been a family of note which had not furnished a name for some plant. But it strangely happened that in this particular the Great Duke had been omitted. But about the time that we lost our great man, the great tree was discovered; and a specimen was submitted to Professor Lindley, who, finding that it belonged to a new genus, proceeded to name it, selecting for that purpose the title of the great Duke. He read the dedication as made by the Professor, which concluded by saying that the most appropriate name for the greatest tree was the title of our greatest man, and, therefore, it should be henceforth known as Wellingtonia Gigantea. He did not know but we should have to go to war with America about this choice of name. He read an extract from an article HDT WHAT? INDEX


in the California Farmer, in which Dr. Winslow, writing on this subject, complained vehemently of an English name having been given to an American tree, and characterized it as indicating scientific arrogance and indelicacy, to select the name of Wellington is that of the greatest of trees, when the name of Washington would have been in every way more suitable. And the Doctor, in magniloquent language, proposed that the name of the tree could be changed, and it should henceforth be called “ Washingtonia Californica.” He observed that both law and equity, however, were against the Doctor — equity, because the Americans were at full liberty to have discovered the tree themselves, if they could, and to named it after Washington, if they chose; and they were now at liberty to discover, if they could, a tree still more magnificent, and might designate that by the name of their great founder. Botanical law was also against him, for it was a principle established by scientific men, for their own convenience, that, unless it could be shown that the discoverer was wrong as regarded the structure of a plant or tree, the name that he had given to it would continue to designate it to the end of time.

June 11. How’s morus, staminate flowers apparently only a day or two (pollen); the pistillate a long time. The locust apparently two or three days open. When I would go a visiting I find 1 that I go off the fashionable street — not being inclined to change my dress — to where man meets man & not polished shoe meets shoe. Ac to Holland’s Hist of Western Mass — In Westfield “In 1721, it was voted that the pews next the pulpit should be highest in dignity. The next year it was voted that persons should be seated in the meeting house according to their age & estate, and that so much as any man’s estate increased by his negros, ‘that shall be left out.’ If a man lived on a hired farm, ‘or hath obtained his property by marrying a widow, it shall be reckoned only one- third,’ that is, he shall have only 1/3 as much dignity as if he owned his farm, or had acquired his money by his own industry.” — What if we feel a yearning to which no breast answers? I walk alone — My heart is full — feelings impede the current of my thoughts — I knock on the earth for my friend — I expect to meet him at every turn — but no friend appears — & perhaps none is dreaming of me. I am tired of frivolus society — in which silence is for ever the most natural & the best manners. I would fain walk on the deep waters but my companions will only walk on shallows & puddles. I am naturally silent in the midst of from day to day — from year to year — I am rarely reminded of their presence — yards of politeness do not make society for me. One complains that I do not take his jokes — I took them before he had done uttering them & went my way. One talks to me of his apples & pears & I depart with my secrets untold. His are not the apples that tempt me. (and then this note, inserted later) Now (Sep 16th 55) after 4 or 5 months of invalidity & worthlessness I begin to feel some stirrings of life in me — Is not that carex, Pennsylvanica-like, with a long spike (one inch long by one half-inch wide), C. bullata? What a difference between one red-wing blackbird’s egg and another’s! C. finds one long as a robin’s, but narrow, with large black spots on larger end and on side, on or between the bushes by riverside; another much shorter, with a large black spot on the side. Both pale-blue ground. [Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus] The early willows at the bridge are apparently either S. discolor or eriocephala, or both. I have noticed the green oak-balls some days. Now observe the dark evergreen of June. The target leaf is eaten above. In order to get the deserted tanager’s nest at the top [of] a pitch pine which was too weak to climb, we carried a rope in our pockets and took three rails a quarter of a mile into the woods, and there rigged a derrick, by which I climbed to a level with the nest, and I could see if there were eggs in it. I have the nest. Tied the three tops together and spread the bottoms. HDT WHAT? INDEX


Carex cephalophora (?) on Heywood’s Peak. That fine, dry, wiry wild grass in hollows in woods and sprout- lands, never mown, is apparently the C. Pennsylvanica, or early sedge. There are young bluebirds.

June 13, Wednesday: Les Vépres siciliennes, an opéra by Giuseppe Verdi to words of Scribe and Duveyrier, was performed for the initial time, at the Paris Opéra. Presented during the Paris Exposition, this enjoyed a good success.

L’inconsolable, an opéra comique by Fromental Halévy under the pseudonym Alberti, was performed for the initial time, at the Théâtre-Lyrique, Paris.

Hector Berlioz conducted the New Philharmonic Society at Exeter Hall, London. The room was packed with a very appreciative audience, but one member of the audience, Richard Wagner was un impressed.

Five men reported that while boating on Silver Lake they had sighted a giant lake serpent.

Ellery Channing spotted a peetweet’s [Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia] nest that he would want to point out to Henry Thoreau.

Alicia M. Keyes was born, a daughter of John Shepard Keyes and Martha Prescott Keyes. The birth of Alicia in the summer was the event of the household, and we got through it well and enjoyed another daughter. She was named for Aunt Alicia and has taken from the beginning after and for me. J.S. KEYES AUTOBIOGRAPHY

June 13. C. finds a pigeon woodpecker’s nest in an apple tree, five of those pearly eggs, about six feet from the ground; could squeeze your hand in. Also a peetweet’s, with four eggs, in Hubbard’s meadow beyond the old swamp oak site; and two kingbirds’ nests with eggs in an apple and in a willow by riverside.

June 25, Monday: Before Richard Wagner’s final concert in London, Hector Berlioz dined with him. Afterward they retired to Wagner’s lodgings and drank together until 3:00AM. This was the 3d time in two weeks that they have been together and they seemed to part great friends, with promises to exchange future scores.

The Great Western Railroad steamboats Canada and America began service between Hamilton, Ontario, and Oswego.

June 25. Under E. Wood', barn, a phoebe's nest, with two birds ready to fly; also barn swallow's nest lined with feathers, hemisphere or cone against side of sleeper; five eggs, delicate, as well as white-bellied swallow's. HDT WHAT? INDEX


October 19, Friday: William Thaddeus Harris died in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Hans von Bülow conducted the initial performance in Berlin of the Overture and Venusberg music from Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Present were Franz Liszt and his two daughters. At the conclusion of the music what came was a chorus of hisses and boos. In his dressing room von Bülow collapsed and faints from the strain. At 2AM he was well enough for Liszt to force him out and back to his hotel, where Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt was waiting for him. The two stay up all night talking and confessed their love for each other.

Henry Thoreau made a journal entry that resulted in portions of the following paragraphs from “LIFE WITHOUT PRINCIPLE”:

Men rush to California and Australia as if the true gold were to be found in that direction; but that is to go to the very opposite extreme to where it lies. They go prospecting farther and farther away from the true lead, and are most unfortunate when they think themselves most successful. Is not our native soil auriferous? Does not a stream from the golden mountains flow through our native valley? and has not this for more than geologic ages been bringing down the shining particles and forming the nuggets for us? Yet, strange to tell, if a digger steal away, prospecting for this true gold, into the unexplored solitudes around us, there is no danger that any will dog his steps, and endeavor to supplant him. He may claim and undermine the whole valley even, both the cultivated and the uncultivated portions, his whole life long in peace, for no one will ever dispute his claim. They will not mind his cradles or his toms. He is not confined to a claim twelve feet square, as at Ballarat, but may mine anywhere, and wash the whole wide world in his tom. Howitt says of the man who found the great nugget which weighed twenty-eight pounds, at the Bendigo diggings in Australia: –“He soon began to drink; got a horse and rode all about, generally at full gallop, and when he met people, called out to inquire if they knew who he was, and then kindly informed them that he was ‘the bloody wretch that had found the nugget.’ At last he rode full speed against a tree, and I think however nearly knocked his brains out.” I think, however, there was no danger of that, for he had already knocked his brains out against the nugget. Howitt adds, “He is a hopelessly ruined man.” But he is a type of the class. They are all fast men. Hear some of the names of the places where they dig: –“Jackass Flat,” –“Sheep’s- Head Gully,” –“Murderer’s Bar,” etc.

Oct. 19. P.M. — To Pine Hill for chestnuts. It is a very pleasant afternoon, quite still and cloudless, with a thick haze concealing the distant hills. Does not this haze mark the Indian summer? I see Mrs. Riordan and her little boy coming out of the woods with their bundles of fagots on their backs. It is surprising what great bundles of wood an Irishwoman will contrive to carry. I confess that though I could carry one I should hardly think of making such a bundle of them. They are first regularly tied up, and then carried on HDT WHAT? INDEX


the back by a rope, — somewhat like the Indian women and their straps. There is a strange similarity; and the little boy carries his bundle proportionally large. The sticks about four feet long. They make haste to deposit their loads before I sec them, for they do not know how pleasant a sight it is to me. The Irishwoman does the squaw’s part in many respects. Riordan also buys the old railroad sleepers at three dollars a hundred, but they are much decayed and full of sand. Therien tells me, when I ask if lie has seen or heard any large birds lately, that he heard a cock crow this morning, a wild one, in the woods. It seems a dozen fowls (chickens) were lost out of the cars here a fortnight ago. Poland has caught some, and they have one at the shanty, but this cock, at least, is still abroad and can’t be caught. If they could survive the winter, I suppose we should have lead wild liens before now. Sat and talked with Therien at the pond, by the railroad. He says that James Baker told the story of the perch leaping into a man’s throat, or uncle (Amos?). The woods about the pond are now a perfect October picture; yet there have been no very bright tints this fall. The young white and the shrub oak leaves were withered before the frosts came, perhaps by the late drought after the wet spring. Walking in E.’s path west of the pond, I am struck lay the conspicuous wreaths of waxwork leaves about the young trees, to the height of twelve or fifteen feet. These broad and handsome leaves are still freshly green, though drooping or hanging now closely about the vine, but contrast remarkably with the bare and the changed leaves above and around. I hear many crickets by this path and see many warily standing on the qui vive in awkward positions, or running their heads under a chip, or prying into a hole, but I can see none creaking. I see at last a few white pine cones open on the trees, but almost all appear to have fallen. The chestnuts are scarce and small and apparently have but just begun to open their burs. That globular head of pale-yellow spheres of seed parachutes along the wood road is the rough hawk-weed. The single heads of savory-leaned aster are of the same color now. When, returning at 5 o’clock, I pass the pond in the road, I see the sun, which is about entering the grosser hazy atmosphere above the western horizon, brilliantly reflected in the pond, — a dazzling sheen, a bright golden shimmer. His broad sphere extended stretches the whole length of the pond toward me. First, in the extreme distance, I see a few sparkles of the gold on the dark surface; then begins a regular and solid column of shimmering gold, straight as a rule, but at one place, where a breeze strikes the surface from one side, it is remarkably spread or widened, then recovers its straightness again, thus:

Again it is remarkably curved, say, thus:

then broken into several pieces, then straight and entire again, then spread or blown aside at the point like smoke from a chimney, thus: HDT WHAT? INDEX


Of course, if there were eyes enough to occupy all the east shore, the whole pond would be seen as one dazzling shimmering lake of melted gold. Such beauty and splendor adorns our walks! I measured the depth of the needles under the pitch pines east of the railroad (behind the old shanties), which, as I remember, are about thirty years old. In one place it is three quarters of an inch in all to the soil, in another one and a quarter, and in a hollow under a larger pine about four inches. I think the thickness of the needles, old and new, is not more than one inch there on an average. These pines are only four or five inches thick. See slate-colored snowbirds.

Talking with Bellew this evening about Fourierism and communities, I said that I suspected any enterprise in which two were engaged together. “But,” said he, “it is difficult to make a stick stand unless you slant two or more against it.” “Oh, no,” answered I, “you may split its lower end into three, or drive it single into the ground, which is the best way; but most men, when they start on a new enterprise, not only figuratively, but really, pull up stakes. When the sticks prop one another, none, or only one, stands erect.” He showed me a sketch of Wachusett: Spoke of his life in Paris, etc. I asked him if he had ever visited the Alps and sketched there. He said he had not. Had he been to the White Mountains? “No,” lie answered, “the highest mountains I have ever seen were the Himalayas, though I was only two years old then.” It seems that he was born in that neighborhood. He complains that the Americans have attained to bad luxuries, but have no comforts. Howitt says of the man who found the great nugget which weighed twenty-eight pounds at the Bendigo diggings in Australia: “He soon began to drink; got a horse, and rode all about, generally at full gallop, and when he met people, called out to inquire if they knew who he was, and then kindly informed them that he was ‘the bloody wretch that had found the nugget.’ At last lie rode full speed against a tree, and nearly knocked his brains out. He is a hopelessly ruined man.” In my opinion there was no danger, for he had already knocked his brains out against the nugget. But he is a type of the class. They are all fast men. Hear some of the names of the places where they dig: “Jackass Flat,” — “Sheep’s-Head Gully,” — “Sulky Gully,” — “Murderer’s Bar,” etc. HDT WHAT? INDEX



March 23, Easter Sunday: At this point Richard Wagner has completed the full score of Die Walküre, and begun composing the music for Siegfried.

March 23: I am reassured and reminded that I am the heir of eternal inheritances which are inalienable, when I feel the warmth reflected from this sunny bank, and see the yellow sand and the reddish subsoil, and hear some dried leaves rustle and the trickling of melting snow in some sluiceway. The eternity which I detect in Nature I predicate of myself also. 18 How many springs I have had this same experience! I am encouraged, for I recognize this steady persistency and recovery of Nature as a quality of myself.

March 23: I spend a considerable portion of my time observing the habits of wild animals, my brute neighbors. By their various movements and migrations they fetch the year about for me. Very significant are the flight of geese and the migration of suckers, etc., etc. But when I consider that the nobler animals have been exterminated here, – the cougar, panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, deer, the beaver, the turkey, etc., etc. – I cannot but feel as if I lived in a tamed, and, as it were emasculated country. Would not the motions of those larger and wilder animals have been more significant still? Is it not a maimed and imperfect nature that I am conversant with? As if I were to study a tribe of Indians that had lost all its warriors. Do not the forest and the meadow now lack expression, now that I never see nor think of the moose with a lesser forest on his head in the one, nor of the beaver in the other? When I think what were the various sounds and notes, the migrations and works, and changes of fur and plumage which ushered in the spring and marked the other seasons of the year, I am reminded that this my life in nature, this particular round of natural phenomena which I call a year is lamentably incomplete. I listen to [a] concert in which so many parts are wanting.... I take infinite pains to know all the phenomena of the spring, for instance, thinking that I have here the entire poem, and then, to my chagrin, I hear that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first pages and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places.

Cruickshank commentary

18.EXCURSIONS, page 331: That Eternity which I see in Nature I predict for myself also. HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 26, Saturday: Henry Thoreau read in Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella’s DE RE RUSTICA. REI RUSTICAE AUCTORES...

Boston’s Saturday Evening Gazette completed Louisa May Alcott’s story “Bertha.”

Waldo Emerson made an entry in his journal in regard to Walt Whitman and his outrageously sexual or at least 19 sensuous LEAVES OF GRASS:

Whipple said of the author of “Leaves of Grass,” that he had every leaf but the fig leaf.

The audience that assembled to hear my lectures in these six weeks was called, “the effete of Boston.”

In Zürich, for friends, Richard Wagner played and sang through the 1st act of Die Walküre. The businessman Otto Wesendonck was so taken by his performance that he decided to forward 250 francs a month to the composer so that he might be unhindered in the completion of the work.

Valentine d’Aubigny, an opéra comique by Fromental Halévy to words of Barbier and Carré, was performed for the initial time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris. HDT WHAT? INDEX


October 22, Wednesday: To avenge an assault upon an unarmed boat displaying the US flag, American forces landed at Canton. Until November 6th, they would stand by there to protect American interests during a period of hostilities between the British and the Chinese.


Professor Henri-Frédéric Amiel, who would be referred to as the “Swiss Thoreau,” wrote in his JOURNAL

19. Thoreau’s favorite among Walt Whitman’s poems was the one that in the 1856 edition was being entitled “Sun-Down Poem” — the one that we now know under the title “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.” THE FERRY AT BROOKLYN PIER, NEW-YORK HDT WHAT? INDEX


INTIME: “We must learn to look upon life as an apprenticeship to a progressive renunciation, a perpetual diminution in our pretensions, our hopes, our powers, and our liberty. The circle grows narrower and narrower; we began with being eager to learn everything, to see everything, to tame and conquer everything, and in all directions we reach our limit — non plus ultra. Fortune, glory, love, power, health, happiness, long life, all these blessings which have been possessed by other men seem at first promised and accessible to us, and then we have to put the dream away from us, to withdraw one personal claim after another to make ourselves small and humble, to submit to feel ourselves limited, feeble, dependent, ignorant and poor, and to throw ourselves upon God for all, recognizing our own worthlessness, and that we have no right to anything. It is in this nothingness that we recover something of life — the divine spark is there at the bottom of it. Resignation comes to us, and, in believing love, we reconquer the true greatness.”

In celebration of the 45th birthday of Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner and a young soprano performed the 1st act of Die Walküre for the benefit of an assembled group in the Hotel Baur au Lac, Zürich, with Franz Liszt accompanying them on the keyboard.

November 23, Sunday: Franz Liszt conducted two of his symphonic poems, Les Preludes and Orpheus, at a concert at St. Gall, Switzerland. Richard Wagner, who was conducting the Eroica Symphony on the same program, was enormously impressed with both of them and calls Orpheus “a totally unique masterpiece of the highest perfection.”

On his last worship day at the Eagleswood community on the New Jersey shore, Henry Thoreau rose during Quaker First Day morning silent worship and spoke, and someone wrote down his words,20 and I would like to suggest here the reason why his words were written down. I submit that they were written down so they could be carried and presented to the Miss Sophia Foord who was known to love him from a distance.

Sunday forenoon, I attended a sort of Quaker meeting at the same place– (The Quaker aspect & spirit prevails here– Mrs Spring says “–does thee not?”) where it was expected that the spirit would move me (I having been previously spoken to about it) & it, or something else, did, an inch or so. I said just enough to set them by the

20. It is not entirely without precedent, that what someone says during the Quaker silent worship should be recorded, as witness the following singular publication from the turn of the 19th Century: However, it must again be emphasized how utterly exceptional this was (unless, as has been in the case once upon a time in ’s 3d Reich and at the present time in George W. Bush’s America, a Quaker meeting was infiltrated by a paid informer). Savery, William (1750-1804). SEVEN SERMONS AND A PRAYER PREACHED AT THE MEETINGS OF THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS, IN AMERICA AND ENGLAND. Philadelphia: Benjamin C. Buzby, 1808.

The Quaker speakings recorded in this volume had been offered by traveling ministers and were taken down in shorthand at various monthly meetings at or just prior to the turn of the century during “silent” meeting for worship.

Wells, John I. ESSAY ON WAR. 52 pages, 1808.

This Quaker was against war — except of course where, as in the OLD TESTAMENT, this had been ordered by a wrathful God Almighty himself. HDT WHAT? INDEX


ears & make it lively.

Quality, fineness, durability, is the test of unity. Thus it is like attracts like; thus it is, friends, in my ever-seeking, everyearning for truth, I have chanced to intrude upon your quiet retreat, and the path is so clear, so crystal in its attraction, I slipped into recognition. It is a pleasure to me as exquisite as when I chanced to meet some friendly moss or lichen, that answered to the vacant spot in my soul on earth....

O friends, to such, with pure, noble, truthful spirits, the world is a vast field of action; too large to admit languor or repining, too glorious to be an aimless labor. I love your blessed spirit, and quietly I will withdraw, lest I become overpowered by the delicious calmness and unity, and forget to leave my guest. But I shall come again, and hope you will greet me kindly.

I had excused myself by saying that I could not adapt myself to a particular audience, for all the speaking & lecturing here has reference to the children, who are far the greatest part of the audience, & they are not so bright as N.E. children Imagine them sitting close to the wall all around a hall with old Quaker looking men & women here & there.... Some of them I suspect are very worthy people.... On Sunday evening, I read the moose-story to the children to their satisfaction.21

21. Here is a contemporary photograph in which two men are mourning the recent death of a moose (one of the two was willing to pay $3,450 to the other of the two, in a jet boat at Chilko Lake BC, to lead him to this moose so he could off it): HDT WHAT? INDEX


It seems to me to be utterly phenomenal, and exceptional, that someone wrote down what Henry Thoreau said. We are aware of very few other occasions on which such a thing has happened in a Quaker silent worship, unless, as has been in the case once upon a time in Adolf Hitler’s 3d Reich and at the present time in George W. Bush’s America, a Quaker meeting was infiltrated by a paid informer. Quakers not only don’t write down what someone else has said during silent worship, they also don’t write down what they themselves have said during silent worship. When God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, of course Moses sat right down and wrote it down: “I am that I am.” And, of course, the ten commandments, and again, ten commandments. So one would suppose that in a group which believes that the Holy Spirit speaks through them during the silence, would you not expect there to be official recorders, pen poised, and official records? Would the voice of the Holy Spirit not be the substance, or at least a major portion, of what is recorded in the meeting’s minutes book? But no. What you typically find, in the journal entry of a Friend, on First Day evening, one who has that day spoken during silent worship, one who may have preached for even an hour during silent worship, is — “Truth prevailed,” or perhaps “We had a favored meeting” or even “We had a precious meeting.” Something about the manner in which these things occur makes them peculiar to the discrete group and the particular circumstance, and creates no desire to extend them beyond the discrete and the particular. Thoreau was adhering to Quaker tradition when we find, in his journal, and in his letter to his sister, no record of what he had said. Who-ever wrote down what he said, however, was not adhering to Quaker tradition, and such a deviation is utterly phenomenal and utterly unexplained. HDT WHAT? INDEX


Unless, of course, there is, as I suggested above, a personal explanation. Could some woman present have written this down because they were intimate friends with Sophia Foord, –and knew how she had been loving Henry from a distance though her love was rejected, –and wanted to convey this slip of paper to her, unknown to him, as a personal memento of him? Oh, rankest speculation. About all that could be said that such a hypothesis has going for it is that it does not contradict any of the known facts of the situation.

But is that sort of supposition not preferable to inaccuracy? On the following page, by way of contrast, is the utterly inappropriate manner in which Henry Thoreau can be presented in a book that is allegedly “Quaker history,”22 by relying primarily upon the Canby biography for the background of his life.

22. This is from pages 100-1 of George A. Sellick’s QUAKERS IN BOSTON 1656-1964: THREE CENTURIES OF FRIENDS IN BOSTON AND CAMBRIDGE, published in Cambridge MA by the Friends Meeting at Cambridge, 5 Longfellow Park, Cambridge MA 02138; printed Boston MA by the Thomas Todd Company, in 1979. My underlining is for emphasis on the inaccuracies. HDT WHAT? INDEX


HOW MANY QUAKERS HAVE STUDIED SEWEL’S HISTORY AND READ Henry Thoreau ... had read little about the early FOX’S JOURNALS Quakers, and knew Friends mainly through a few modern AS THOREAU AND representatives. Although he admired some of those he EMERSON DID? met, his impressions of Quakerism in general were not favorable. In 1843, he was much impressed by hearing an address in the Hester Street meeting house in New York by the great Quaker reformer, Lucretia Mott. It was in his account of this meeting that he commented on the Quaker women as “looking all like sisters or so many chickadees.” Lucretia Mott’s point of view appealed to him; he described it as RICKETSON WAS A “transcendentalism in its mildest form.” When Thoreau WELL-TO-DO QUAKER gave his nature lectures in New Bedford he usually WHO BECAME QUITE stayed with Friend Daniel Ricketson, a well-to-do SPIRITUAL IN 1861 Quaker who had read WALDEN and was one of Thoreau’s WHILE THOREAU WAS admirers. Although Ricketson was a Friend, he was IN MINNESOTA “plain and unspiritual,” and apparently had little Quaker influence upon Thoreau. He loved nature and was occasionally chosen by Thoreau as a companion in his rambles over the countryside. On one of their trips near Fairhaven in the summer of 1856 they came upon an elderly Quaker minister who made a very unfavorable impression upon Thoreau. Thoreau thought the old man spoke “with a sanctified air” and was conceited and narrow-minded. He had earlier commented that “even the quietness and perhaps unworldliness of an aged Quaker has something ghostly and saddening about it, as it were a preparation for the grave.” NO, HE WAS HELPING Thoreau had one more encounter with Quakers, which THE COLONY again left him unimpressed. In the autumn of 1856 DURING ITS STAGE OF he was employed as a surveyor to help lay out an DISINTEGRATION  educational colony called Eagleswood, near Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Not all the members of the colony were Quakers but Quaker influence was strong. There he attended the Friends meeting for worship, which he described in a letter to a friend as follows: “Sunday MY SISTER, forenoon I attended a sort of Quaker meeting ... where MY FRIEND! it was expected that the Spirit would move me ... and  it or something else, did — an inch or so. I said just enough to set them a little by the ears and make it lively.” But Quakerism, as he saw it, seemed too mild and too encrusted with tradition to suit his taste. Emerson, on the other hand, openly acknowledged his interest in Quakers and even his debt to them. From his earliest years Emerson seems to have been influenced by Quaker ideas.

* This is from pages 100-1 of George A. Sellick’s QUAKERS IN BOSTON 1656-1964: THREE CENTURIES OF FRIENDS IN BOSTON AND CAMBRIDGE, published in Cambridge MA by the Friends Meeting at Cambridge, 5 Longfellow Park, Cambridge MA 02138; printed Boston MA by the Thomas Todd Company, in 1979. My underlining is for emphasis on the inaccuracies. HDT WHAT? INDEX


My Interpretation is not the Only One Possible

Edward Dahlberg came up with an interesting comment in 1941, which may indicate that many people who encounter Henry Thoreau’s letter to the absent Waldo Emerson about Ms. Sophia Foord’s proposal do so through a self-imposed lens of what may perhaps be legitimately characterized as sexism. I will first paraphrase Dahlberg’s attitude toward the Thoreau/Foord affair, and then quote at length from his book in substantiation of my paraphrase: My paraphrase of Dahlberg’s rant would be that although we can safely acknowledge that Thoreau was making a stab at being an ethical metaphysician, or at least a moral teacher, his stab was a total failure because his egregious distaste for humans tainted all his efforts to set an example and tainted all his efforts to give good advice. Thoreau, so earnest and truthful, was just another one of those rationalists deficient in blood pigmentation. Which is to say, the man wasn’t a real man: his emotionality was deficient. Thus although Thoreau was an adept in the humanity cult, he was blocked in arriving at his love for humankind directly through his emotionality, and was forced to arrive at it through the multiplication-tables, that is, by way of bloodless categories created in the mind. Celibate Thoreau, in order to be PURE, cast out demons, but in so doing – like Adam after the Fall– he hid in quagmire, mud and fen, and so in effect it was he himself who entered the swine, or, to change the idiom: he turned his snorting hot-blooded steed Pegasus into a sneaking cold-souled cat. Thoreau’s very life was his disgrace, a devil’s nuptial of man and pond. When the man fell in love, it was but with a scrub oak. We should consider, as an example of this, Thoreau’s refusal of the proposal by Ms. Foord, a repudiation which must be described as having been not only “orgiastic” but also “savage.” This episode of his life amounted to the carnal error of a man with a spirit-glutted soul, or amounted to the blood-revenge of a man with an apriori bosom. It is not by chance that no women appear in the WALDEN; OR, LIFE IN THE WOODS book, or in the life at the pond. Thoreau, the “bachelor of nature” erecting in WALDEN the Western Fable of Ennui, altogether excluded women from his life and his surroundings and his writing, replacing this human contact with but the emeritic patience of ruminative sitting and waiting.

Oh wow! Now what appears on the following pages are the direct quotations from Dahlberg’s writings which support the above paraphrase of what he offered. Warning: they make painful reading23

23. Dahlberg, Edward. CAN THESE BONES LIVE. Norfolk CT: New Directions, revised edition 1960, pages 61-2, 64, 91-4, 127, 129 passim. HDT WHAT? INDEX


See what all the spirit-glutted souls, the rationalists and the ethical metaphysicians, who took to their apriori bosoms the remote abstract Mass Man — see what the spectral humanity-guzzlers have done.

All, from Plato, Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Kropotkin, to the socialists and communists, have been adepts in the humanity cult. The brotherhood of man has always attracted men without adequate blood- pigmentation, like Kant and Thoreau, who arrive at the love of man through the multiplication-tables and the categories. Both of these moral teachers had an egregious distaste for man. Kant kept himself closeted all his life in Königsberg because he would encounter fewer specimens of the genus, man. Henry Thoreau, so earnest and truthful, ate a muskrat to overcome his flesh-revulsion. Immanuel Kant devoured the categorical imperatives instead, and neither the muskrat nor the categories helped.

But the end of rationalism is not its own abstractions, but carnal error, or blood-revenge, as Henry Thoreau’s orgiastic and savage refusal of the woman who had proposed to him, or Immanuel Kant’s vile definition of marriage as “a treaty of reciprocal possession by the two parties which is made effective by the reciprocal use of their sex properties.” Immanuel Kant embraced godhead, the universe, the abstract Man, and, as he himself confessed, masturbated! While Aristotle, Master of Schoolmen, as the story goes, crawled on all fours, his rider, not the Golden Mean, but his mistress flourishing a whip! ... “How men lust after a piece of spirit,” cried , “when a piece of flesh has been denied them.” ...

How the Christian moan of ennui hovers over the Puritan; Emily Dickinson “plaited the residue of woe with monotony,” and Henry Thoreau bequeathed a bog at the Temple and the Table. HDT WHAT? INDEX


Jesus the bridegroom has perished; but the dogma, the ambiguous statutes, have endured: the nails, the cross, the hyssop, the dirty paraphernalia of sorrow, horror, and belief have remained. The cup that was too galled for Christ –“Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me”– has been drained by sectaries, visionaries, artists. A whole generation of poets, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Henry Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman, went to Bethesda and to skulled Golgotha.

Yet we trumpet Emily Dickinson straitened craft. Infolded Puritan lips become the beauteous, skeletal, Lacedaemonian line! And Emily Dickinson’s apocalyptic poetry accents Christ’s admonitory “Yea, yea; Nay, nay”; it is as life and vision, as we have observed it in the lowly and surly habits of Rappites, Shakers and Quakers, a jeopardy and chastisement.

And Henry Thoreau’s bog is what? the marsh, rocks, cindered veins of ravines, the charred and livid shells of trees lit by Charon’s eyes. Nothing blooms here: all is doomed: “Dead Water Mountain,” “dead water of Second Lake,” of “Large Lake”; “Among the rivers which empty into the Merrimac [sic], the Concord is known ... as a dead stream.”

Is this the serpent, or the fish?

All of Nature’s Table is not for man, who sometimes has for repast Banquo’s ghost.

There are many Natures — marsh, fen, mountain, mouse, bird, dove and men, whose touch, sight and smell yield a sweet Elysium or a reechy, blasted Erebus.

Henry Thoreau’s life is a half parable: to be PURE he cast out the devils, but entered the swine. His Nature is Bethesda’s Sink in whose mired waters he sought ablution from the Fall. HDT WHAT? INDEX


In LEVITICUS man is enjoined to keep the blood, the flesh and the brain, the altar of memory, undefiled. There are abominations in nature, fitch, kite, raven, rat or toad, that paint their loathsome image upon the tender mind: the body or raiment touched and fouled by these must be bathed; the earthen vessel upon which an Unclean Animal has fallen must be broken so that the veins may not unravel in revulsion. Had not Henry Thoreau said that the Imagination is wounded long before the conscience, and then turned his own Pegasus into a reptile.

His star was blighted by the First Shame; he wrote, “our very life is our disgrace.” Henry Thoreau, like Adam after the Fall, hid in quagmire, mud and fen. How can fallen “man ascend pure and fragrant”? asked he who went INTO NATURE to be clean. His life was a sorcerer’s mixing of separate natures. It was a devil’s nuptial of man and pond, bird, pine, muskrat and ravine; “I fell in love with a scrub oak,” “I felt a positive yearning toward one bush.”

Human literature and lore are a warm, loose bounty of the tongue — how tall Ulysses was when he sat, or how high Agamemnon was when standing. What noble gossip are Sancho’s gristled proverbs. Here are the flour, grain, wine and barley, all the goodly, brewing curd and milk of talk. This is the BREAD for which we ask our Poets only to get a Stone — Henry Thoreau’s swamp, Emily Dickinson burial sod, and Herman Melville’s watery grave.

The nineteenth century socialist settlements, Economy, New Harmony, New Lebanon, Fruitlands, Oneida, and the visions of the poets, Henry Thoreau’s WALDEN, Emily Dickinson poems, Poe’s “Eureka” and Herman Melville’s BILLY BUDD, are NEW TESTAMENT allegories.

Celibate Henry Thoreau, spinster Emily Dickinson, and the ascetic Shakers partake of the bread of original sin. ... HDT WHAT? INDEX


Henry Thoreau, “bachelor of nature,” indeed! wrote of war, economy, ruminative sitting, waiting and eremitic patience, altogether excluding women, and erected in WALDEN the Western Fable of Ennui. ...

Had Jesus married the illuminated prostitute, Magdalene, he would have forsaken the Acts, the overthrowing of the tables of the pigeon and money- venders, and the Bleeding Cross and given man as inheritance an imperishable generation of gentle little children or Galilean verse. But there is no Magdalene, not even a Mary or Martha, in the Puritan Testament; woman does not exist in these literary masterpieces, in MOBY-DICK, or in WALDEN.

December 16, Tuesday: Richard Wagner described his friendship with Franz Liszt as the nicest thing that had ever happened to him.

The 1st concert by Sigismond Thalberg in Washington DC was attended by President Franklin Pierce (we can hope he wasn’t drunk out of his mind).

Thomas Cholmondeley wrote Henry Thoreau from Rome, urging him to “try a history. How if you could write the sweet, beautiful history of Massachusetts? … Or take Concord … Take the spirit of Walton and a spice of White.” The reference was of course to Izaak Walton’s famously inoffensive fishing book THE COMPLEAT ANGLER OR THE CONTEMPLATIVE MAN’S RECREATION. BEING A DISCOURSE OF FISH AND FISHING, NOT UNWORTHY THE PERUSAL OF MOST ANGLERS and to the Reverend Gilbert White’s THE NATURAL HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES OF SELBORNE. — ROME, December 16, 1856. MY DEAR THOREAU,— I wish that I was an accomplished young American lady, for then I could write the most elegant and “recherché” letters without any trouble or thought. But now, being an Englishman, even my pleasures are fraught with toil and pain. Why, I have written several letters to you, but always, on reading them over to myself, I was obliged to burn them, because I felt they were bad letters, and insuffi- cient for a passage of the ocean. To HDT WHAT? INDEX


begin, then, a new and a good letter, I must acquaint you that I received [your] former communication, which gave me the sincerest pleasure, since it informed me that the books which I sent came to hand, and were approved of. I had in- deed studied your character closely, and knew what you would like. Besides, I had, even from our first acquaintance, a previous memory of you, like the vision of a landscape a man has seen, he can- not tell where. As for me, my life still continues (through the friendship of an unseen hand) a fountain of never-ending delight, a romance renewed every morning, and never smaller to-day than it was yester- day, but always enhancing itself with every breath I draw. I delight myself, I love to live, and if I have been “run down” I am not aware of it. I often say to God, “What, O Lord, will you do with me in particular? Is it politics, or philosophical leisure, or war, or hunting, or what?” He always seems to answer, “Enjoy yourself, and leave the rest to itself.” Hence every- thing always happens at the right time and place, and rough and smooth ride together. There is an old Yorkshire gentleman — a great-grandfather of nine- ty — who promises to see his hundred yet, before he flits. This man was asked lately (he has had his troubles, too) “what of all things he should like best.” The merry old squire laughed, and declared that “he should like of all things to begin and live his life over again, in any condition, almost, — he was not particular.” Now, I am like the squire in my appreciation of life. It is so great a matter to exist pleasurably. The sensation of Being! Thus much about myself. As for my HDT WHAT? INDEX


Phenomena, I have seen and thought and done quite up to my highest mark; but I will not weary you with descrip- tions of the Crimea, Constantinople, or even Rome, whence I am now writing. But one thing I will attempt to tell you. I saw the great explosion when the Windmill Magazine blew up. I was out at sea, a good ten miles from the spot. The day was fine; suddenly the heaven was rent open by a pillar of fire, which seemed ready to tear the very firmament down. It was like the “idea” of the hottest oven. As it hung (for it lasted while you might count) on the horizon, the earth shook and the sea trembled, and we felt the ship quivering under us. It was felt far and wide like an earthquake. We held our breath and felt our beating hearts. Presently we recovered, and the first feeling in every heart was, “Better go home after that!” The roaring noise was, I am told, tremendous. Strange that I cannot at all recollect it! I only saw the ap- parition and felt the shock.... The English temper keeps very war- like. They want another turn with Russia. But since Europe is now pret- ty well closed up, it seems to be the gen- eral impression that Asia will be the field of the next Russian war: and who knows how long it may last when once it begins? They descending from their Riphean hills, hordes of poor and hardy Tartars, — Gog and Magog and their company; we ascending, with the im- mense resources of India behind us, to- wards the central regions, the scarce-ex- plored backbone of Asia. The ruins of long-forgotten cities half buried in sand, the shattered temples of preadamite giants, the Promethean cliffs themselves, will ring with the clang of many a bat- HDT WHAT? INDEX


tle, with the wail of great defeats and the delirious transports of victory. There is a very old English prophecy now in circulation, “that the hardest day would come when we should have to fight against men having snow on their hel- mets.” So that superstition swells the anti-Russian tide. I have seen something of Turks, Greeks, Frenchmen, and Italians, and they impress me thus: the Turk, brave, honest, religious; the Greek, unclean, lying, a slave, and the son of a slave; the Frenchman, light-hearted, clever, and great in small things; the Italian, great, deep, ingenious. I would put him first. He is greater than the Frenchman. Having been in the Redan, the Mala- koff, etc., I am truly astonished at the endurance of the Russians. The filth and misery of those horrid dens were beyond expression. Even the cleanest part of our own camp swarmed with ver- min. I caught an aristicrat — a mem- ber of Parliament — one day stopped for a flea-hunt in his tent. Though too late for any regular engagement, I managed to experience the sensation of being un- der fire. It is only pleasurable for about a quarter of an hour; in short, it soon fatigues, like a second-rate concert. The missiles make strange and laughable sounds sometimes, — whistling and crow- ing and boiling. Watching them moving through the air from the north side of the harbor, they seemed to come so slow! The Crimea is a beautiful country, — the air clear, hilly, clothed with brush- wood; the pine on the hill, and the vine in the valley. It is a fine country for horseback, and many a good ride I had through it. I see that I am falling into description, whether I will or no. The Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmora — HDT WHAT? INDEX


indeed, all the neighborhood of Stam- boul — are charming, in spite of rags, dirt, and disease. Nature has done her utmost here, and the view from the Seraskier’s Tower is the finest in the world. The Turkish ladies (for I saw plenty of beauties in the bazaars) are, in figure, like our own; that is, “very fat.” The Turk and the Briton seem to agree that a good breed cannot be got out of lean kine. In the face, however, they excel ours; the lines are more regular. In expression, babies; in gait, waddling; the teeth often rotten from too much sweetmeat. There was an English lady at Stam- boul who had traveled with a bashaw’s favorite wife. They were put in one cabin on board a ship. She told us how the favorite behaved: how she was laughing and crying and praying in a breath; how she was continually falling fast asleep and snoring loudly, waking up again in a few minutes; she was the merest infant, and as fat as a little pig; lastly, how the bashaw was always pop- ping into the cabin, to see what she was about, at all hours, and cared nothing for the English lady, though she was some- times quite en déshabillé. I met Abdel Kadir in the East. He is a very handsome man, with mild, engaging manners, a face deadly pale, very fine eyes, beard, and hands. Very like one of your Southerners, some of whom are not to be surpassed. He is now residing at Damascus. I noted the Circassians to be a fine race, very tall and well made, with high features; grave and fierce, and yet sweet withal. They wear high caps, and carry an arm- ful of daggers and pistols. The feet and hands long and small. They have, too, a fine, light, high-going step, full HDT WHAT? INDEX


of spring and elasticity, like the gait of a high-mettled horse. “Incessu patuit.” But every nation has a motion of its own. Among the boatmen on the Bosphorus I saw many faces and figures very like the same class at Hong-Kong and on the Canton River in China. Both have a Tartar look. Mongolians, I imagine. I think I should like, as I grow older and more stay-at-home, to pay attention to the subject of “breeding.” Astonish- ing facts come out upon inquiry. Now, sheep, horses, dogs, and men should be more closely watched. I see already some things. I see that Nature is al- ways flowing. She will not let you fix her, and she refuses to be caught out by any process of exhaustion. There is always somewhat unknown, and that somewhat is everything. You may think that you have exhausted the chances of vice and disease by putting the best al- ways together. Now, if you merely put the best together, you will have either no breed or a very bad one. There is something in the “black sheep” which the better one loses. There is something divine, which is pity to lose, even in the most barbarous stock. Lord Byron said that the finest man and the best boxer he ever met told him that he was the offspring of positive deformity, and that he had brothers still finer than himself. On the other hand, I know a young gen- tleman who is an absolute baboon, but the son of a good-looking father and a mother of a race famous for beauty. But the family crest is a baboon, and it came out after the lapse of centuries. A student of family pictures will ob- serve, in a good gallery, how the same face comes and goes. It will sometimes sleep for three hundred years. A certain expression of countenance is in a certain HDT WHAT? INDEX


family; some change takes place, — per- haps they lose an estate or gain a peer- age; it goes, and turns up again in an- other branch which never had it before. Is not Walker the best representative of old Rolf Ganger? I think that both gang the same gait. This is enchanted ground, — St. Pe- ter’s, the Pantheon, the Coliseum, etc. But let me tell you what attracts me most in Rome and its neighborhood. It is the lake and woods of the ancient Alba Longa, the mother city of Rome, which you see clearly and well in the distance (about 14 miles off). The lake, which is very large, many miles round, is in the crater of an old volcano, and therefore high up. It is surrounded by woods, chiefly of holm oaks; but here are also the stone pine, the common de- ciduous oak, and other fine trees. These woods are pierced by numerous beauti- ful walks. [Here follows a sketch of the neigh- borhood of the Alban lake.] This little map will give you some inkling of these beautiful hills, of the lake of Alba and its sister Nemi. You will see that the colonists moved north- west to found Rome; you will imagine, when you stand on the bank of the lake, where is the long ridge or street whence the old city (all long ago gone) took its name, that you are at a height sufficient to see all the country round; yet you have got the Monte Calvo, with the old temple (now a convent) of Jupiter Lati- aris at your back and many hundred feet above you (perhaps a thousand). What a position for a city! What an eagle’s nest! Here is every variety of scenery, with the sea quite plainly seen to the west. Hence you wind up through a modern town, called Rocca di Papa, HDT WHAT? INDEX


and across a section of Hannibal’s camp (you remember when he came so near Rome), which is another mountain basin, towards the temple aforesaid, where the thirty Latin cities used to sacrifice. The holy road to the top of the mountain still remains. It is very narrow, and flagged with great uneven stones. Algidus (not so high) lies behind. To the east, across the Campagna, are the Sabine hills, with Tibur in their bosom, and the old tem- ple of Bona Dea on a great hill near it. The Etrurian hills are to the north, be- hind Rome, and Soracte, a little isolated shelf of rock, stands midway between them and the Sabine. Snow on Soracte marks a very hard winter. You remem- ber the ode, “Vides ut alta, etc.,... So- racte.” And now to come to yourself. I have your two letters by me, and read them over with deep interest. You are not living altogether as I could wish. You ought to have society. A college, a con- ventual life is for you. You should be the member of some society not yet formed. You want it greatly, and with- out this you will be liable to moulder away as you get older. Forgive my English plainness of speech. Your love for, and intimate acquaintance with, Na- ture is ancillary to some affection which you have not yet discovered. The great Kant never dined alone. Once, when there was a danger of the empty dinner table, he sent his valet out, bidding him catch the first man he could find and bring him in! So neces- sary was the tonic, the effervescing cup of conversation, to his deeper labors. Laughter, chatter, politics, and even the prose of ordinary talk is better than no- thing. Are there no clubs in Boston? The lonely man is a diseased man, I HDT WHAT? INDEX


greatly fear. See how carefully Mr. Emerson avoids it; and yet, who dwells, in all essentials, more religiously free than he? Now, I would have you one of a well-knit society or guild, from which rays of thought and activity might ema- nate, and penetrate every corner of your country. By such a course you would not lose Nature. But supposing that reasons, of which I can know nothing, determine you to remain in “quasi” re- tirement; still, let not this retirement be too lonely. Take up every man as you take up a leaf, and look attentively at him. This would be easy for you, who have such powers of observation, and of attracting the juices of all you meet to yourself. Even I, who have no such power, somehow find acquaintances, and nobody knows what I get from those about me. They give me all they have and never suspect it. What treasures I gleaned at Concord! And I remember at Boston, at my lodgings, the worthy people only held out a week, after which I was the friend of the family, and chat- tered away like a magpie, and was in- cluded in their religious services. I posi- tively loved them before I went away. I wish I lived near you, and that you could somehow originate some such so- ciety as I have in my head. What you are engaged in I suspect to be Meditations on the Higher Laws as they show themselves in Common Things. This, if well weaved, may be- come a great work; but I fear that this kind of study may become too desultory. Try a history. How if you could write the sweet, beautiful history of Massa- chusetts? Positively, there is an im- mense field open. Or take Concord, — still better, perhaps. As for myself, so enamored an I of history that it is my HDT WHAT? INDEX


intention, if I live long enough, to write a history of Salop; and I will endeavor to strike out something entirely new, and to put county history where it ought to be. Take the spirit of Walton and a spice of White! It would be a great labor and a grand achievement, — one for which you are singularly qualified. By being “run down” I suppose you mean a little “hipped,” — a disorder which no one escapes. I have had it so badly as to have meditated suicide more than once. But it goes away with the merest trifle, and leaves you stronger than ever. Ordinary men of the world defeat the enemy with a sop, such as getting drunk or having a woman; but this is a bad plan, and only success- ful for a time. He is better defeated by sobriety or a change of scene, such as your trip to the Connecticut River. “He is beginning to preach now,” you will say. Well, then, let us have a turn at politics and literature. I was certain from the first that Buchanan would be President, because I felt sure that the Middle States are not with the North. Nor is the North itself in earnest. You are fond of humanity, but you like com- merce, and a great heap, and a big name better. Of course you do. Besides, your principle and bond of union ap- pears to be most negative, — you do not like slavery. Is there any positive root of strength in the North? Where and what? Your civilization is all in em- bryo, and what will come out no one can predict. At present, is there not a great thinness and poverty? Magnas inter opes inops! You have indeed in New England and the genius of liberty, and for construction and management; you have a wonderful aplomb, and are never off your feet. But when I think of your HDT WHAT? INDEX


meagreness of Invention, and your absurd whims and degraded fancies of spirit- rapping, etc., and the unseemly low ebb of your ordinary literature, I tremble. You have one Phoenix, — the greatest man since Shakespeare, I believe, — but where is the rest of the choir? Why, the men that promise best — such as Channing, some of whose poems are ad- mirable — do not go down; and they never will as long as newspaper novels are in request. It is the same as in England, — all is fragmentary, poor, and draggletail. There is no continence. A perfectly beautiful conception, gener- ously born and bred, such as Schiller’s Cranes of Ibyeus or The Diver, is sim- ply impossible in such a state of things. And observe, I would affirm the very same thing of England as it is at this hour. There is no poetry, and very lit- tle or no literature. We are drenched with mawkish lollipops, and clothed in tawdry rags. I am sorry to see even in Mr. Emerson’s Traits of England that one or two chapters are far inferior to the rest of the book. He knows it, no doubt. He has sinned against his conception herein in order to accommo- date the public with a few sugarplums. Those chapters will hurt the book, which would otherwise be, like his Essays, of perfect proportion and of historical beauty. I have seen some fragments by a certain W. Whitman, who appears to be a strong man. But why write fragments? It is not modest. Com- pleteness of conception is the very first element of that sweet wonder which I know not how to call by its right name. There is a man we both of us respect and admire, — Carlyle; but has he not dam- aged his own hand beyond cure? He drives a cart, and strikes against every HDT WHAT? INDEX


stone he sees. He has no “perception” of the highest kind. A good preacher, but after all a creaking, bumping, tor- tuous, involved, and visionary author. I wonder what Emerson will give us for his next book. The only new books in England I have seen are Fronde’s History, of which I cannot speak too highly, and a report on India by Lord Dalhousie, very able and businesslike. There are also the Russian accounts of the battle of Inkerman (which were printed in the Times), curious and able. Grey’s Polynesian legend is getting old, but we have Sandwich on Kars and Russell’s admirable account of the Crimean campaign, of which I need say nothing. His excellent letters from Moscow will also form a good book. I had forgot Maurice’s and Kingsley’s last, and Mansfield’s Paraguay. (Read that.) Truly the list grows. Our poems, such as Arnold’s, Sydney Dobell’s, and Owen Meredith’s, are the very dregs and sweepings of imitation. Alexander Smith’s last I have not seen, but it is no great haul, I hear, — small potatoes! But they talk of a Catholic priest of the name of Stoddart, — that he has written well. Burton’s African and Arabian trav- els, Arthur Stanley’s Palestine, Cotton’s Public Works of India, are all good and sound. We ought to have a book from Livingstone before long. He is now on his way home, after having succeeded in traversing Africa, — a feat never ac- complished before. (He is at home, and going out again.) Newman on Univer- sities ought to be good. The other day a man asked me, “Have you ever read the Chronicles of the Emperor Baber?” I had never even heard of them before. He said they outdid Cæsar’s. Was he imposing upon my ignorance? The books above mentioned I will en- HDT WHAT? INDEX


deavor to get when I visit England in the spring; some indeed I have already, and will send them to you. I want you to send me a copy of Emerson’s Poems, which I cannot obtain, do what I will. Also please obtain for me a catalogue (you’ll hear of it at the Boston Athe- næum) of your local histories in the United States. There are hundreds of them, I believe; a list has been made which I want to examine. I suppose you are well versed in the French works written by early travelers and mission- ers on America. Would you tell me one or two of the best authors of Cana- dian or Louisianian research? I am at present working at an essay on Amer- ica, which gives me great pleasure and no little pain. I have a conception of America surveyed as “one thought;” but the members are not yet forthcom- ing. I have not yet written above a page or two. I have also been engaged upon Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleo- patra, and indeed in other ways. For my daily reading I am taking Tasso’s Jerusalem, Chateaubriand’s Génie, and sometimes a little Tacitus; and I also read the Bible every day. Farewell, dear Thoreau. Give my best love to your father, mother, and sis- ter, and to old Channing; and convey my respect to Mr. Emerson and Mr. Alcott; and when next you go to Bos- ton, call at my old lodgings, and give my regards to them there. If you write to Morton, don’t forget me there. He is a clever lad, is n’t he? Also my re- spect to Mr. Theodore Parker, whose sermons are rather to be heard than read. Ever yours, and not in haste, THOS. CHOLMONDELEY. Posted in London February 22, 1857. HDT WHAT? INDEX



April 10, Good Friday: In the morning Richard Wagner conceived the idea for a work that would be based on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s 13th-Century epic poem Parzival about a quest for the Holy Grail: ... on Good Friday I awoke to find the sun shining brightly for the first time in this house: the little garden was radiant with green, the birds sang, and at last I could sit on the roof and enjoy the long-yearned-for peace with its message of promise. Full of this sentiment, I suddenly remembered that the day was Good Friday, and I called to mind the significance this omen had already once assumed for me when I was reading Wolfram’s Parzival. Since the sojourn in Marienbad [in the summer of 1845], where I had conceived Die Meistersinger and Lohengrin, I had never occupied myself again with that poem; now its noble possibilities struck me with overwhelming force, and out of my thoughts about Good Friday I rapidly conceived a whole drama, of which I made a rough sketch with a few dashes of the pen, dividing the whole into three acts.

(Actually, as his wife Cosima would point out to him later, this couldn’t have occurred as described on this Good Friday morning, he had merely made it up. In his story he was sitting on the roof of the “cottage” Asyl on the green hill outside of Zürich, but they had not moved into this “cottage” belonging to the Wesendonck family until the 28th of the month. Had this actually happened on the 10th, then it would have needed to have happened while they were still residing at Zeltweg 13 inside the city of Zürich, where the environment couldn’t have been nearly so nice.) R. today recalled the impression which inspired his “Good Friday Music”; he laughs, saying he had thought to himself, “In fact it is all as far-fetched as my love affairs, for it was not a Good Friday at all — just a pleasant mood in Nature which made me think, ‘This is how a Good Friday ought to be.’” LISTEN TO IT NOW

Henry Thoreau noticed among the decorations in Friend Daniel Ricketson’s shanty a wall-motto from Horace’s ODES. We note that although he jotted down several such conceits, this stands out as the only one for which it was unnecessary to also register the name of an author.

April 10: D.R.’s Shanty is about half a dozen rods S.W. of his house (which may be one hundred rods from the road), nearly between his house and barn, is 12 x 14 feet, with 7 feet posts, with common pent roof. In building it he directed the carpenter to use western boards and timbers, though some eastern studs (spruce?) were inserted. He had already occupied a smaller shanty at “Woodlee,” about a mile S. The roof is shingled, and the sides made of matched boards, and painted a light clay color, with chocolate (?) colored blinds. Within, it is not plastered, and is open to the roof, showing the timbers and rafters, and rough boards and cross-timbers overhead, as if ready for plastering. The door is at the east end, with a small window on each side of it, a similar window on each side of the building, and one at the west end, the latter looking down the garden walk. In front of the last window is a small box stove with a funnel rising to a level with the plate, and there inserted in a small HDT WHAT? INDEX


brick chimney which rests on planks. On the south side of the room, against the stove, is a rude settle with a coarse cushion and pillow; on the opposite side a large low desk with some bookshelves above it; on the same side by the window, a small table covered with books; and in the N.E. corner, behind the door, an old-fashioned secretary, its pigeonholes stuffed with papers. On the opposite side as you enter is a place for fuel, which the boy leaves each morning, a place to hang greatcoats. there were two small pieces of carpet on the floor, and R. or one of his guests swept out the Shanty each morning. There was a small kitchen clock hanging in the S.W. corner, and a map of Bristol County behind the settle. The west and N.W. side is well-nigh covered with slips ANACREON of paper on which are written some sentences or paragraphs from R.’s favorite books. I noticed among the most characteristic Didbin’s “Tom Tackle,” a translation of Anacreon’s Cicada, lines celebrating tobacco, Milton’s “How charming is divine philosophy,” &c., “Inveni requiem; Spes et Fortuna valete: Nil mihi vobiscum est: laudite nunc alios.” (Is it Petrarch?) this is also over the door, “Mors pallida æquo pulsat pede HORACE pauperum tabernas regumque turres.” Some lines of his own in memory of A.J. Downing, “Not to be in a A.J. DOWNING hurry,” over the desk, and many other quotations, celebrating retirement, country life, simplicity, humanity, COWPER sincerity, &c., &c., from Cowper and other English poets, and similar extracts from newspapers. There were also two or three advertisements of cattle-show exhibitions, and the warning not to kill birds contrary to laws, he being one of the subscribers notified to enforce the act, an advertisement of a steamboat on Lake Winnepiseogee, &c., cards of his business friends. The size of different brains, from “Hall’s Journal of Health,” and “Take the world Easy.” A sheet of blotting paper tacked up, and of Chinese characters from a tea-chest. Also a few small pictures and pencil sketches, the latter commonly caricatures of his visitors or friends, as “The Trojan” (Channing) and Van Beest; I take the most notice of these particulars because his peculiarities are so commonly unaffected. He has long been accustomed to put these scraps on his walls, and has a basket full somewhere saved from the old Shanty, though there were some quotations which had no right there. I found all his peculiarities faithfully expressed, his humanity, his fear of death, love of retirement, simplicity, &c. The BARBER more characteristic books were Bradley’s Husbandry, Drake’s Indians, Barber’s Hist. Coll., Zimmermann on BIGELOW Solitude, Bigelow’s Plants of Boston, &c., Farmer’s Register of the first Settlers of New England, Marshall’s Gardening, Vick’s Gardener, John Woolman, The Modern Horse Doctor, Downing’s Fruits, &c., The Farmer’s A.J. DOWNING Library, Walden, Dymond’s Essays, Jobb Scott’s Journal, Morton’s Memorial, Bailey’s Dictionary, Downing’s Landscape Gardening, etc., The Task, Nuttall’s Ornithology, Morse’s Gazetteer, The Domestic Practice of Hydropathy, John Buncle, Dwight’s Travels, Virgil, Young’s Night Thoughts, History of Plymouth, and other DWIGHT Shanty books. There was an old gun, hardly safe to fire, said to be loaded with an inextractable charge, and also an old sword over the door; also a tin sign, “D. Ricketson’s office” (he having set up for a lawyer once), and a small crumpled horn; there I counted more than 20 rustic canes scattered about, a dozen or 15 pipes of various patterns (mostly PIPE the common), two spy-glasses, an open paper of tobacco, an Indian’s jaw (dug up), a stuffed Bluejay, and Pine Grosbeak, and a rude Indian stone hatchet, &c., &c. There was a box with fifteen or twenty knives, mostly very large old-fashioned jack-knives, kept for curiosity, occasionally giving one to a boy or friend. A large book full of pencil sketches, “to be inspected by whomsomever,” containing mostly sketches of his friends, &c., QUAKERS acquaintances, and himself, of wayfaring men whom he had met, Quakers, &c., &c., and now and then a verse under fence rail, or an old-fashioned house sketched on a peculiar pea-green paper. A pail of water stands behind the door, with a peculiar tin cup for drinking, made in France. JONATHAN DYMOND FRIEND DANIEL RICKETSON HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 28, Tuesday: Richard Wagner took up residence in the cottage at “Green Hill,” Otto Friedrich Ludwig Wesendonck’s villa overlooking Lake Zürich. Wesendonck’s wife Mathilde Wesendonck was in the habit of referring to this cottage as “Asyl” meaning “Refuge.” During this 4-month stay the Wesendonck family were of course in residence in the main house (which would make things nice and cozy):

The Wesendoncks at “Green Hill”

The Wagners in “Asyl” Cottage

Tarantelle op.6 for flute, clarinet and orchestra or piano was performed publicly for the initial time, in Salle Pleyel, Paris, the composer Camille Saint-Saëns himself at the piano.

Henry Thoreau wrote to someone: [ ] April 28 1857 HDT WHAT? INDEX


certify this day the area [tion] of Farrar’s [which] lies Lincoln [sing minutes] Cyrus Hub- by myself— contains acres rods. [Henry] D. Thoreau [Surveyor]

Page 2 and for Books on Canada—[ ] “Catalogue D’[ourrages] Sur L’Historie de L’Amerique” by G.B. [Faribault] Quebec 1837—This is not in [bookshops] here [ ]

May 27, Wednesday: Italian forces under Giuseppe Garibaldi defeated the Austrians at Como, 20 kilometers east of Varese.

At Vandoeuvres, a village near Geneva, Professor Henri-Frédéric Amiel, who would be referred to as the “Swiss Thoreau,” wrote in his JOURNAL INTIME: “We are going down to Geneva to hear the “Tannhäuser” of Richard Wagner performed at the theater by the German troup now passing through. Wagner’s is a powerful mind endowed with strong poetical sensitiveness. His work is even more poetical than musical. The suppression of the lyrical element, and therefore of melody, is with him a systematic parti pris. No more duos or trios; monologue and the aria are alike done away with. There remains only declamation, the recitative, and the choruses. In order to avoid the conventional in singing, Wagner falls into another convention — that of not singing at all. He subordinates the voice to articulate speech, and for fear lest the muse should take flight he clips her wings. So that his works are rather symphonic dramas than . The voice is brought down to the rank of an instrument, put on a level with the violins, the hautboys, and the drums, and treated instrumentally. Man is deposed from his superior position, and the center of gravity of the work passes into the baton of the conductor. It is music depersonalized, neo-Hegelian music — music multiple instead of individual. If this is so, it is indeed the , the music of the socialist democracy replacing the art which is aristocratic, heroic, or subjective. The overture pleased me even less than at the first hearing: it is like nature before man appeared. Everything in it is enormous, savage, elementary, like the murmur of forests and the roar of animals. It is forbidding and obscure, because man, that is to say, mind, the key of the enigma, personality, the spectator, is wanting to it. The idea of the piece is grand. It is nothing less than the struggle of passion and pure love, of flesh and spirit, of the animal and the angel in man. The music is always expressive, the choruses very beautiful, the orchestration skillful, but the whole is fatiguing and excessive, too full, too laborious. When all is said, it lacks HDT WHAT? INDEX


gayety, ease, naturalness and vivacity — it has no smile, no wings. Poetically one is fascinated, but one’s musical enjoyment is hesitating, often doubtful, and one recalls nothing but the general impression — Wagner’s music represents the abdication of the self, and the emancipation of all the forces once under its rule. It is a falling back into Spinozism — the triumph of fatality. This music has its root and its fulcrum in two tendencies of the epoch, materialism and socialism — each of them ignoring the true value of the human personality, and drowning it in the totality of nature or of society.”

In the afternoon Henry Thoreau went to Lee’s Hill on the western side of Concord and from there noticed that he could hear the sound of fife and drum on the eastern side of the village, in the training ground between the Common and the Cemetery. This reminded Thoreau that “May Training” was going on for the local militia.

May 27. P. M.—To Hill. I hear the sound of fife and drum the other side of the village, and am reminded that it is May Training. Some thirty young men are marching in the streets in two straight sections, with each a very heavy and warm cap for the season on his head and a bright red stripe down the legs of his pantaloons, and at their head march two with white stripes down their pants, one beating a drum, the other blowing a fife. I see them all standing in a row by the side of the street in front of their captain’s residence, with a dozen or more ragged boys looking on, but presently they all remove to the opposite side, as it were with one consent, not being satisfied with their former position, which probably had its disadvantages. Thus they march and strut the better part of the day, going into the tavern two or three times, to abandon themselves to unconstrained positions out of sight, and at night they may be seen going home singly with swelling breasts. When I first saw them as I was ascending the Hill, they were going along the road to the Battle-Ground far away under the hill, a fifer and a drummer to keep each other company and spell one another. Ever and anon the drum sounded more hollowly loud and distinct, as if they had just emerged from a subterranean passage, though it was only from behind some barn, and following close behind I could see two platoons of awful black beavers, rising just above the wall, where the warriors were stirring up the dust of Winter Street, passing Ex-Captain Abel Heywood’s house, probably with trailed arms. There might have been some jockey in their way, spending his elegant leisure teaching his horse to stand fire, or trying to run down an orphan boy. I also hear, borne down the river from time to time, regular reports of small arms from Sudbury or Wayland, where they are probably firing by platoons. Celtis occidentalis, perhaps yesterday. How the staminate flowers drop off, even before opening! I perceived that rare meadow fragrance on the 25th. Is it not the sweet-scented vernal grass? [Think not, but perceive that in any case.] I see what I have called such, now very common. The earliest thorn on hill, a day or more. Hemlock, apparently a day or two. Some butternut catkins; the leaves have been touched by frost. This is blossom week, beginning last Sunday (the 24th). At evening, the first bat.

May 28. Rain again in the night, and this forenoon, more or less. In some places the ground is strewn HDT WHAT? INDEX


with apple blossoms, quite concealing it, as white and thick as if a snow-storm had occurred.

June: Richard Wagner interrupted composition of his Der Ring der Nibelungen to churn out a couple of quickie “money-makers.”

August 18, Tuesday: Freiherr Hans Guido von Bülow and Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt got married in Berlin, then visited the Wagners.

Henry Thoreau wrote to Friend Daniel Ricketson: Concord Aug 18th 1857. Dear Sir, Your Wilson Flagg seems a serious person, and it is encouraging to hear of a contemporary who recognizes Nature so squarely, and se- lects such a theme as “Barns”. (I would rather “Mt Auburn” were omitted.) But he is not alert enough. He wants stirring up with a pole. He should practice turning a series of somersets rapidly, or jump up & see how many times he can strike his feet together before coming down. Let him make the earth turn round now the other way — and whet his wits on it, whichever it goes, as on a grindstone; — in short, see how many ideas he can entertain at once. His style, as I remember, is singularly vague (I refer to the book) and before I got to the end of the sentences I was off the track. If you in- dulge in long periods you must be sure to have a snapper at the end. As for style of writing — if one has any thing to say, it drops from him simply & directly, as a stone falls to the ground — There are no two ways about it, but down it comes, and he may stick in the points and stops wherever he can get a chance. New ideas come into this world somewhat like falling meteors, with a flash and an explo- sion, and perhaps somebody’s castle roof perforated. To try to pol- ish the stone in its descent, to give it a peculiar turn and make it whistle a tune perchance, would be of no use, if it were possible. Your polished stuff turns out not to be meteoric, but of this earth. — However there is plenty of time, and Nature is an admirable schoolmistress. Speaking of Correspondence, you ask me if I “cannot turn over a new leaf in this line”. I certainly could if I were to receive it; but just then I looked up and saw that your page was dated “May 10th” though mailed in August, and it occurred to me that I had seen you since that date this year. Looking again, it appeared that your note was written in ’56!! However, it was a new leaf to me, and I turned it over with as much interest as if it had been written the day before. Perhaps you kept it so long in order that the MS & subject mattter might be more in keeping with the old fashioned paper on which it HDT WHAT? INDEX


was written. I travelled the length of Cape Cod on foot, soon after you were here, and within a few days have returned from the wilds of Maine, where I have made a journey of 325 miles with a canoe & an Indian & a single white companion, Edward Hoar of this town, lately from Cal- ifornia, — traversing the headwaters of the Kennebeck — Penobscot — & St Johns. Can't you extract any advantage out of that depression of spirits you refer to? It suggests to me cider mills, wine-presses, &c &c — All kinds of pressure or power should be used & made to turn some kind of machinery. Channing was just leaving Concord for Plymouth when I arrived, but said he should be here again in 2 or 3 days. Please remember me to your family & say that I have at length learned to sing Tom Bowling according to the notes — Yrs truly Henry D. Thoreau

Thoreau wrote to H.G.O. Blake: TOM BOWLINE

Concord Aug. 18th 1857. Mr Blake, XVthly It seems to me that you need some absorbing pursuit. It does not matter much what is is, so it be honest. Such employment will be fa- vorable to your development in more characteristic and important directions. You know there must be impulse enough for steerage way, though it be not toward your port–to prevent your drifting help- lessly on to rocks or shoals. Some sails are set for this purpose only. There is the large fleet of scholars & men of science, for instance, always to be seen standing off and on on every coast, and saved thus from running on to reefs, who will at last run into their proper ha- vens, we trust. It is a pity you were not here with Brown and Rogers. I think that in this case, for a rarity, the more the merrier. You perceived that I did not entertain the idea of our going together to Maine on such an excursion as I had planned. The more I thought of it, the more imprudent it appeared to me. I did think to have writ- ten to you before going, though not to propose your going also, but I went at last very suddenly, and could only have written a buisiness letter, if I had tried, when there was no business t o be accomplished. I have now returned, and think I have had a quite profitable journey, chiefly from associating with an intelligent Indian. My Companion, Edward Hoar, also found his account in it, though he suffered con- HDT WHAT? INDEX


siderably from being obliged to carry unusual loads over wet & rough “carries”,–in one instance five miles through a swamp, where the water was frequently up to our knees & the fallen timber higher than our heads. He went over the ground three times, not be- ing able to carry all his load at once. This prevented his ascending Ktadn. Our best nights were those when it rained the hardest on ac- count of the mosquitoes.— I speak of these things, which were not unexpected, merely to account for my not inviting you. Having returned, I flatter myself that the world appears in some re- spects a little larger, and not, as usual, smaller & shallower, f or having extended my range. I have made a short excursion into the new world which the Indian dwells in, or is. He begins where we leave off. It is worth the while to detect new faculties in man–he is so much the more divine,–and anything that fairly excites our admira- tion expands us. The Indian who can find his way so wonderfully in the woods possesses so much intelligence which the white man does not, and it increases my own capacity, as well as faith, to observe it. I rejoice to find that intelligence flows in other channels than I knew— It redeems for me portions of what seemd brutish before. It is a great satisfaction to find that your oldest convictions are per- manent. With regard to essentials I have never had occasion t o change my mind. The aspect of the world varies from year to year, as the landscape is differently clothed, but I find that the truth is still true, & I never regret any emphasis which it may have inspired. Ktadn is there still, but much m ore surely my old conviction is there, resting with more than mountain breadth & weight on the world, the source still of fertilizing streams, & affording glorious views from its summit, if I can get up to it again. As the mts still stand on the plain, and far more unchangeable & permanent, stand still grouped around, farther or nearer to my maturer eye, the ideas which I have entertained–the everlasting teats from which we draw our nourish- ment. H. D. T. HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 20, Thursday: In the cottage “Asyl” at the Otto Friedrich Ludwig Wesendonck villa “Green Hill” outside Zürich, Richard Wagner stopped work on Siegfried to begin Tristan und Isolde. LISTEN TO IT NOW

The Wesendoncks at “Green Hill”

The Wagners in “Asyl” Cottage

August 20, Thursday: P.M. –To Hubbard’s Close. The hillside at Clintonia Swamp is in some parts quite shingled with the rattlesnake-plantain (Goodyera pubescens) leaves overlapping one another. The flower is now apparently in its prime.

August 20, Thursday: As I stand there, I hear a peculiar sound which I mistake for a woodpecker’s HDT WHAT? INDEX


tapping, but I soon see a cuckoo [Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus] hopping near suspiciously or inquisitively, at length within twelve feet, from time to time uttering a hard, dry note, very much like a woodpecker tapping a dead dry tree rapidly, its full clear white throat and breast toward me, and slowly lifting its tail from time to time. Though somewhat allied to that throttled note it makes by night, it was quite different from that. I go along by the hillside footpath in the woods about Hubbard’s Close. The Goodyera repens grows behind the spring where I used to sit, amid the dead pine leaves. Its leaves partly concealed in the grass. It is just done commonly. Helianthus, strumosus-like, at the south end of Stow’s cold pool; how long?

September 18, Friday: Richard Wagner finished the poem for Tristan und Isolde at the cottage “Asyl” and presented it for the benefit of Mathilde Wesendonck. He would shortly read it to a private audience that would include his wife Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner, Otto Friedrich Ludwig Wesendonck and Mathilde, and the newly married Hans von Bülow and Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow — all of whom were of course quite unaware of how their lives would be intersecting over the following decade. LISTEN TO IT NOW

September 18, Friday: P.M. –Round Walden with C. We find the water cold for bathing. Coming out on to the Lincoln road at Bartlett’s path, we found an abundance of haws by the roadside, just fit to eat, quite an agreeable subacid fruit. We were glad to see anything that could be eaten so abundant. They must be a supply depended on by some creatures. These bushes bear a profusion of fruit, rather crimson than scarlet when ripe. I hear that “Uncle Ned” of the Island told of walking along the shore of a pond where the “shells” of the mosquitoes were washed up in winrows. As I was going through the Cut, on my way, I saw what I thought a rare high-colored flower in the sun on the sandy bank. It was a Trifolium arvense whose narrow leaves were turned a bright crimson, enhanced by the sun shining through it and lighting it up. Going along the low path under Bartlett’s Cliff, the Aster laevis flowers, when seen toward the sun, are very handsome, having a purple or lilac tint. We started a pack of grouse, which went off with a whir like cannon-balls. C. said he did not see but they were round still and preserved the same relation to the wind and other elements that they held twenty years ago. I suggested that they were birds of the season. Coming home through the street in a thunder-shower at ten o’clock this night, it was exceedingly dark. I met two persons within a mile, and they were obliged to call out from a rod distant lest we should run against each other. When the lightning lit up the street, almost as plain as day, I saw that it was the same green light that the glow-worm emits. Has the moisture something to do with it in both cases? HDT WHAT? INDEX


(Here is the painting “Thoreau’s Path” by Cindy Kassab.)

September 19, Saturday. Still somewhat rainy, –since last evening. Solidago arguta variety done, say a week or more.

September 20, Sunday: Another mizzling day. P.M. –To beach plums behind A. Clarke’s. We walked in some trodden path on account of the wet grass and leaves, but the fine grass overhanging paths, weighed down with dewy rain, wet our feet nevertheless. We cannot afford to omit seeing the beaded grass and wetting our feet. This is our first fall rain, and makes a dividing line between the summer and fall. Yet there has been no drought the past summer. Vegetation is unusually fresh. Methinks the grass in some shorn meadows is even greener than in the spring. You are soon wet through by the underwood if you enter the woods, –ferns, aralia, huckleberries, etc. Went through the lower side of the wood west of Peter’s.The early decaying and variegated spotted leaves of the Aralia nudicaulis, which spread out flat and of uniform height some eighteen (?) inches above the forest floor, are very noticeable and interesting in our woods in early autumn, now and for some time. For more than a month it has been changing. The outlines of trees are more conspicuous and interesting such a day as this, being seen distinctly against the near misty background, –distinct and dark. The branches of the alternate cornel are spreading and flat, somewhat cyme-like, as its fruit. Beach plums are now perfectly ripe and unexpectedly good, as good as an average cultivated plum. I get a handful, dark purple with a bloom, as big as a good-sized grape and but little more oblong, about three quarters of an inch broad and a very little longer. I got a handkerchief full of elder-berries, though I am rather late about it, for the birds appear HDT WHAT? INDEX


to have greatly thinned the cymes. A great many small red maples in Beck Stow’s Swamp are turned quite crimson, when all the trees around are still perfectly green. It looks like a gala day there. A pitch pine and birch wood is rapidly springing up between the Beck Stow Wood and the soft white pine grove. It is now just high and thick enough to be noticed as a young wood-lot, if not mowed down.24

November: Richard Wagner composed “Der Engel” (“The Angel”), the 1st of 5 poems by Mathilde Wesendonck he would set to music.

December: Richard Wagner composed “Schmerzen” (“Sorrows”) and “Träume – Studie zu Tristan und Isolde” (“Dreams”), the 2d and 3d of 5 poems by Mathilde Wesendonck he would set to music.

December 23, Wednesday: Träume for violin and small orchestra by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, at Zürich outside Otto Friedrich Ludwig Wesendonck’s villa “Green Hill,” on the occasion of the 29th birthday of his wife Mathilde Wesendonck. This was an arrangement of the 5th of Mathilde’s lieder.

On this day and the following one Henry Thoreau would be surveying a lot on Walden Pond for John Richardson, Esq. (who had built the Town House on the Common on the West side, and then in 1789 swapped it with the County for the hotel that was then on the spot that later would come to be occupied by the Middlesex Hotel.)

24.Cut down in ’59. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 14, Thursday: In an effort to cool the atmosphere between himself and the Wesendoncks over their little ménage a trois, Richard Wagner left Zürich for Paris.

Felice Orsini, an Italian patriot and follower of Giuseppi Mazzini, led a small band in throwing several bombs at the carriage carrying the Emperor Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie to the Paris Opéra. Two people were killed. The Empress and about 150 others were injured. Orsini would be captured and executed. As the Emperor reached his box at the Opéra, the audience, aware of the attempt on his life, nevertheless remained mute.

Giuseppe Verdi arrived in Naples with an opera about killing a king.

Francisco Javier Istúriz y Montero replaced Francisco Armero y Fernández Peñaranda, marqués de Nervión as Prime Minister of Spain.

JONATHAN BUFFUM January 14, Thursday [1858]: Mr. Buffum says that in 1817 or 1819 he saw the sea-serpent at Swampscott, and so did several hundred others. He was to be seen off and on for some time. There were many people on the beach the first time, in carriages partly in the water, and the serpent came so near that they, thinking that he might come ashore, involuntarily turned their horses to the shore as with a general consent, and this movement caused him to shear off also. The road from Boston was lined with people directly, coming to see the monster. Prince came with his spy-glass, saw, and printed his account of him. Buffum says he has seen him twenty times, once alone, from the rocks at Little Nahant, when he passed along close to the shore just beneath the surface, and within fifty or sixty feet of him, so that he could have touched him with a very long pole, if he had dared to. Buffum is about sixty, and it should be said, as affecting the value of his evidence, that he is a firm believer in Spiritualism. This forenoon I rode to Nahant with Mr. Buffum. All the country bare. A fine warm day; neither snow nor ice, unless you search narrowly for them. On the way we pass Mr. Alonzo Lewis’s cottage. On the top of each of his stone posts is fastened a very perfectly egg-shaped pebble of sienite from Kettle Cove, fifteen to eighteen inches long and of proportionate diameter. I never saw any of that size so perfect. There are some fifteen of them about his house, and on one flatter, circular one he has made a dial, by which I learned the hour (9:30 A. M.). Says he was surveying once at Kettle Cove, where they form a beach a third of a mile long and two to ten feet deep, and he brought home as many as his horse could draw. His house is clapboarded with hemlock bark; now some twenty years old. He says that he built it himself. Called at the shop where lately Samuel Jillson, now of Feltonville, set up birds,–for he is a taxidermist and very skillful; kills his own birds and with blow-guns, which he makes and sells, some seven feet long, of glass, using a clay ball. Is said to be a dead shot at six rods! Warm and fall-like as it is, saw many snow buntings at the entrance to the beach. Saw many black ducks (so Lewis said; may they not have been velvet ducks, i. e. coot?) on the sea. Heard of a flock of geese (!) (may they not have been brant, or some other species?), etc.; ice[?] divers. On the south side of Little Nahant a large mass of fine pudding-stone. Nahant is said to have been well-wooded, and furnished timber for the wharves of Boston, i. e. to build them. Now a few willows and balm-of-Gileads are the only trees, if you except two or three small cedars. They say others will not grow on account of wind. The rocks are porphyry, with dykes of dark greenstone in it, and, at the extremity of Nahant, argillaceous slate, very distinctly stratified, with fossil corallines in it (?), looking like shells. Egg Rock, it seems, has a fertile garden on the top. P.M.–Rode with J. Buffum, Parker Pillsbury, and Mr. Mudge, a lawyer and geologist of Lynn, into the northwest part of Lynn, to the Danvers line. After a mile or two, we passed beyond the line of the porphyry into the sienite. The sienite is more rounded. Saw some furrows in sienite. On a ledge of sienite in the woods, the rocky woods near Danvers line, saw many boulders of sienite, part of the same flock of which Ship Rock (so called) in Danvers is one. One fifteen feet long, ten wide, and five or six deep rested on four somewhat rounded (at least HDT WHAT? INDEX


water-worn) stones, eighteen inches in diameter or more, so that you could crawl under it, on the top of a cliff, and projected about eight feet over it,–just as it was dropped by an iceberg. A fine broad-backed ledge of sienite just beyond, north or northwest, from which we saw Wachusett, Watatic, Monadnock, and the Peterboro Hills. Also saw where one Boyse (if that is the spelling), a miller in old times, got out millstones in a primitive way, so said an old man who was chopping there. He pried or cracked off a piece of the crust of the ledge, lying horizontal, some sixteen or eighteen inches thick, then made a fire on it about its edges, and, pouring on water, cracked or softened it, so that he could break off the edges and make it round with his sledge. Then he picked a hole through the middle and hammered it as smooth as he could, and it was done. But this old man said that he had heard old folks say that the stones were so rough in old times that they made a noise like thunder as they revolved, and much grit was mixed with the meal. Returning down a gully, I thought I would look for a new plant and found at once what I suppose to be Genista tinctoria, dyers’-green-weed,–the stem is quite green, with a few pods and leaves left. It is said to have become naturalized on the hills of Essex County. Close by was a mass of sienite some seven or eight feet high, with a cedar some two inches thick springing from a mere crack in its top. Visited Jordan’s or the Lynn Quarry (of sienite) on our return, more southerly. The stone cracks very squarely and into very large masses. In one place was a dyke of dark greenstone, of which, joined to the sienite, I brought off two specimens, q. v. The more yellowish and rotten surface stone, lying above the hard and grayer, is called the sap by the quarrymen. From these rocks and wooded hills three or four miles inland in the northwest edge of Lynn, we had an extensive view of the ocean from Cape Ann to Scituate, and realized how the aborigines, when hunting, berrying, might perchance have looked out thus on the early navigators sailing along the coast,–thousands of them,–when they little suspected it,–how patent to the inhabitants their visit must have been. A vessel could hardly have passed within half a dozen miles of the shore, even,–at one place only, in pleasant weather,–without being seen by hundreds of savages. Mudge gave me Saugus jasper, graywacke, amygdaloid (greenstone with nodules of feldspar), asbestos, hornstone (?); Buffum some porphyry, epidote, argillaceous slate from end of Nahant. JONATHAN BUFFUM Mr. Buffum tells me that they never eat the seaclams without first taking out “the worm,” as it is called, about as large as the small end of a pipe-stem. He supposes it is the penis.

February: Richard Wagner composed “Stehe still!” (“Stand still!”), the 4th of 5 poems by Mathilde Wesendonck he would set to music.

February 5, Friday: Richard Wagner returned to Zürich from Paris after receiving an Erard grand piano worth 5,000 francs from Madame Erard.

Sophia Elizabeth Thoreau wrote to her cousin Marianne or Mary Anne Mitchell Dunbar of Bridgewater MA, passing along some Concord gossip and describing her current reading: HDT WHAT? INDEX


“My poor father continues being unwell still.” HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 7, Wednesday: Anna Bronson Alcott (Meg), age 27, asked her mother Abba Alcott for advice about getting married with John Bridge Pratt, 24-year-old son of the printer Minot Pratt. John was an insurance man. Anna and John had acted together in a number of amateur plays. Her father Bronson confided to his journal that night that

[T]he thought is more than I am ready for at this moment.

THE ALCOTT FAMILY Louis Gerhard de Geer af Finspång replaced Claës Efraim Günther as Prime Minister for Justice of Sweden.

Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner intercepted a letter written by her husband Richard to Mathilde Wesendonck, married lady, that he had wrapped in the 1st sketch of his Prelude to Tristan und Isolde. She confronted Mathilde with it, thus bringing to its conclusion the silent “arrangement” between the Wagners and the Wesendoncks:

In the morning I regained my senses, and was able to pray to my angel from the very depths of my heart; and this prayer is love! My soul rejoices in this love, which is the well-spring of my redemption.... Be good and forgive me, and forgive my childishness yesterday; you were quite right to call it that! The weather seems quite mild. I shall come into the garden today; as soon as I see you, I hope I may find you alone for a moment! Take my whole soul as a morning salutation! HDT WHAT? INDEX


May: Richard Wagner composed “Im Treibhaus – Studie zu Tristan und Isolde” (“In the Greenhouse”), the 5th of 5 poems by Mathilde Wesendonck he would set to music. This completed the .

July 15, Thursday: After 3 months in Brestenberg for treatment of her heart ailment, Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner returned to her husband Richard Wagner at the cottage “Asyl.”

July 15, Thursday: Continued the ascent of Lafayette, also called the Great Haystack. It is perhaps three and a half miles from the road to the top by path along winding ridge. At about a mile and a half up by path, the spruce began to be small. Saw there a silent bird, dark slate and blackish above, especially head, with a white line over the brows, then dark slate next beneath, white throat and reddish belly, black bill. A little like a nuthatch. [Red-breasted Nuthatch] Also saw an F. hyemalis on top of a dead tree. The wood was about all spruce here, twenty feet high, together with Vaccinium Canadense, lambkill in bloom, mountain-ash, Viburnum nudum, rhodora, Amelanchier oligocarpa, nemopanthes. As I looked down into some very broad and deep ravines from this point, their sides appeared to be covered chiefly with spruce, with a few bodkin points of fir here and there (had seen two days before some very handsome firs on low ground which were actually concave on sides, of cone), while the narrow bottom or middle of the ravine, as far up and down as trees reached, where, of course, there was most ~ water, was almost exclusively hardwood, apparently birch chiefly. As we proceeded, the number of firs began to increase, and the spruce to diminish, till, at about two miles perhaps, the wood was almost pure fir about fourteen feet high; but this suddenly ceased at about half a mile further and gave place to a very dwarfish fir, and to spruce again, the latter of a very dwarfish, procumbent form, dense and flat, one to two feet high, which crept yet higher up the mountain than the fir,–over the rocks beyond the edge of the fir,–and with this spruce was mixed Empetrum nigrum, dense and matted on the rocks, partly dead, with berries already blackening, also Vaccinium uliginosum. Though the edges all around and the greater part of such a thicket high up the otherwise bare rocks might be spruce, yet the deeper hollows between the rocks, in the midst, would invariably be filled with fir, rising only to the same level, but much larger round. These firs especially made the stag-horns when dead. The spruce was mostly procumbent at that height, but the fir upright, though flat-topped. In short, spruce gave place to fir from a mile and a half to a mile below the top,–so you may say firs were the highest trees,–and then succeeded to it in a very dwarfish and procumbent form yet higher up. At about one mile or three quarters below the summit, just above the limit of trees, we came to a little pond, maybe of a quarter of an acre (with a yet smaller one near by), the source of one head of the Pemigewasset, in which grew a great many yellow lilies (Nuphar advena) and I think a potamogeton. In the flat, dryish bog by its shore, I noticed the E1npetrum nigrum (1), ledum (2), Vaccinium Oxycoccus, Smilacina trifolia, Kalrnia glauca (~) (in bloom still), Andromeda calyculala (4) (and I think Polifolia ~ ~), Eriophoru~n vaginafu~n, Vaccinium uliginosum (5), Juncus filifor~nis, four kinds of sedge (e. g. Carex pauci7~ora ~), C. irrigua with dangling spikes, and a C. Iupulina-like, and the Scirpus c~spitosus (?) of Mt. Washington, brown lichens (q. v.), and cladonias, all low and in a moss-like bed in the moss of the bog; also rhodora of good size. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 were quite dwarfish. The outlet of the pond was considerable, but soon lost beneath the rocks. A willow, ro~trata-like but not downy, grew there. In the dwarf fir thickets above and below this pond, I saw the most beautiful linn~eas that I ever saw. They grew quite densely, full of rose-purple flowers,–deeper reddish purple than ours, which are pale,–perhaps nodding over the brink of a spring, altogether the fairest mountain flowers I saw, lining the side of the narrow horsetrack through the fir scrub. As you walk, you overlook the top of this thicket on each side. There also grew near that pond red cherry, Aster prenanthe~ (??) and common rue. We saw a line of fog over the Connecticut Valley. Found near summit apparently the Vaccinium angu~ti~oliu~n of Aitman (variety of Vacciniu1n Pennsylvanicum, Gray), bluets, and a broad-leaved vaccinium lower down (q. v.). Just below top, reclined on a dense bed of Salix Uva-ursi, five feet in diameter by four or five inches deep, a good spot to sit on, mixed with a rush, amid rocks. This willow was generally showing its down. We had fine weather on this mountain, and from the summit a good view of Mt. Washington and the rest, though it was a little hazy in the horizon. It was a wild mountain and forest scene from south-southeast round easterwardly to north-northeast. On the northwest the country was half cleared, as from Monadnock,–the leopard-spotted land. I saw, about west-northwest, a large Green Mountain, perhaps Mansfield Mountain, though the compass was affected here. HDT WHAT? INDEX


The Carex scirpoidea (?) grew at top, and it was surprising how many large bees, wasps, butterflies, and other insects were hovering and fluttering about the very apex, though not particularly below. What attracts them to such a locality25 Heard one white-throated sparrow above the trees, and also saw a little bird by the pond. Think I heard a song sparrow about latter place. Saw a toad near limit of trees, and many pollywogs in the pond above trees. Boiled tea for our dinner by the little pond, the head of the Pemigewasset. Saw tracks in the muddy bog by the pond-side, shaped somewhat like a small human foot sometimes, perhaps made by a bear. We made our fire on the moss and lichens, by a rock, amid the shallow fir and spruce, burning the dead fir twigs, or “deer’s-horns.” I cut off a flourishing fir three feet high and not flattened at top yet. This was one and a quarter inches in diameter and had thirtyfour rings. One, also flourishing, fifteen inches high, had twelve rings at ground. One, a dead one, was twentynine inches in circumference, and at four feet from ground branched horizontally as much as five feet each way, making a flat top, curving upward again into staghorns, with branches very large and stout at base, thus:

Another fir, close by and dead, was thirty inches in circumference at ground and only half an inch in diameter at four and a half feet. Another fir, three feet high, fresh and vigorous, without a flat xxxxxxxxx

In an account of C. Piazzi Smyth’s scientific mission under the English Government to the Peak of Teneriffe, in 185~, it is said, top as yet, had its woody part an inch and an eighth thick (or diameter) at base (the bark being one eighth inch thick) and sixty-one rings. There was no sign of decay, though it was, as usual, mossy, or covered with lichens. I cut off at ground one of the little procumbent spruce trees, which spread much like a juniper, but not curving upward. This rose about nine inches above the ground, but I could not count the rings, they were so fine. (Vide piece.) The smallest diameter of the wood is forty-one eightieths of an inch. The number of rings, as near as I can count with a microscope, taking much pains is about seventy, and on one side these are included within a radius of nine fortieths of an inch, of which a little more than half is heart-wood, or each layer on this side is less than one three-hundredth of an inch thick. The bark was three fortieths of an inch thick. It was quite round and easy to cut, it was so fresh. If the fir thirty inches in circumference grew no faster than that an inch and an eighth in diameter, then it was about five hundred and forty-nine years old. If as fast as the little spruce, it would be nearly fourteen hundred years old. When half-way down the mountain, amid the spruce, “In the hollow of this crater [the topmost] 12,200 feet above the sea level, though at a lesser altitude they had left all signs of animal life, they found a population of bees, flies, spiders, as well as swallows and linnets–the birds and insects flying about in numbers.” And of a lower altitude, speaking of the flowers, it is said that during the early summer “the townspeople [of Orotava] find it worth their while to pack their hives of bees on mules and bring them to these upper regions to gather honey from the myriads of mountain flowers.” we saw two pine grosbeaks, male and female, close by the path, and looked for a nest, but in vain. They were remarkably tame, and the male a brilliant red orange,– neck, head, breast beneath, and rump,–blackish wings and tail, with two white bars on wings. (Female, yellowish.) The male flew nearer inquisitively, uttering a low twitter, and perched fearlessly within four feet of us, eying us and pluming himself and plucking and eating the leaves of the Amelanchier oligocarpa on which he sat, for several minutes. The female, meanwhile, was a rod off. They were evidently breeding there. Yet neither Wilson nor Nuttall speak of their breeding in the United States. At the base of the mountain, over the road, heard (and saw), at the same place where I heard him the evening before, a splendid rose-breasted grosbeak singing. I had before mistaken him at first for a tanager, then for a red-eye, but was not satisfied; but now, with my glass, I distinguished him sitting quite still, high above the road at the entrance of the mountain-path in the deep woods, and singing steadily for twenty minutes. It was remarkable for sitting so still and where yesterday. It was much richer and sweeter and, I think, more powerful than the note of the tanager or red-eye. It had not the hoarseness of the tanager, and more sweetness and fullness than the red-eye. Wilson does not give their breeding-place. Nuttall quotes Pennant as saying that some breed in New York but most further north. They, too, appear to breed about the White Mountains. Heard the evergreen-forest note on the sides of the mountains often. Heard no robins in the White Mountains. Rode on and stopped at Morrison’s (once Tilton’s) Inn in West Thornton. Heracleum lanatum in Notch and near, very large, some seven feet high. Observed, as we rode south through Lincoln, that the face of cliffs on the hills



and mountains east of the river, and even the stems of the spruce, reflected a pink light at sunset.

August 17, Tuesday: Pursuant to the end of his relationship with the Wesendoncks (see his letter of April 7th to Mathilde Wesendonck), the Wagners vacated the cottage “Asyl” near Zürich that had been provided for them. Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner headed for Dresden while he headed for Venice, where he would continue the composition of Tristan und Isolde. LISTEN TO IT NOW

In the evening President James Buchanan received a message that purported to have been sent that very day, by the Queen of England no less. The Queen’s message seemed to be merely: THE QUEEN DESIRES TO CONGRATULATE THE PRESIDENT UPON THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF THE GREAT INTERNATIONAL WORK, IN WHICH THE QUEEN HAS TAKEN THE GREATEST INTEREST. HDT WHAT? INDEX


Due probably to the fact that the cable that had been laid was of much too small a diameter and the voltage being used much too high, transmission and reception of Queen Victoria’s message to President Buchanan had 1 required fully 16 /2 hours. When this sentence arrived in the White House study, it was so utterly unexpected as to initially be suspected to be someone’s idea of a practical joke. However, a staffer recalled it being mentioned some two weeks earlier that Peter Cooper had designed a project to lay a cable across the Atlantic floor and that Cyrus Field was bringing the North American end of this cable ashore at Trinity Bay, establishing an electrical connection between Newfoundland and Valentia, Ireland. By checking with the Associated Press, it was determined that this strange communication was indeed genuine, that what they were passing from hand to hand was indeed the 1st and historic transatlantic cable message, as just flashed on to the White House by land telegraph from Newfoundland.

August 17: Still hear the chip-bird early in the morning, though not so generally as earlier in the season. Minott has only lately been reading Shattuck’s “History of Concord,” and he says that his account is not right GEORGE MINOTT by a jugful, that he does not come within half a mile of the truth, not as he has heard tell. LEMUEL SHATTUCK Some days ago I saw a kingbird twice stoop to the water from an overhanging oak and pick an insect from the surface. C. saw pigeons to-day.


P. M.–To Annursnack vu~ swimming-ford. The river is twelve to eighteen inches deeper there than usual at this season. Even the slough this side is two feet deep. There has been so much rain of late that there is no curling or drying of the leaves and grass this year. The foliage is a pure fresh green. The aftermath on early mown fields is a very beautiful green. Being overtaken by a shower, we took refuge in the basement of Sam Barrett’s sawmill, where we spent an hour, and at length came home with a rainbow overarching the road before us. The dog-days, the foggy and mouldy days, are not over yet. The clouds are like a mildew which overspreads the sky. It is sticky weather, and the air is filled with the scent of decaying fungi.

August 30, Monday: The Central Board of the 3rd Emigration Convention held in Chatham commissioned Martin Robison Delany “to explore in Africa, with full power to choose his own colleagues.”

Having fled from the refuge he had been offered by the Wesendonck family –upon having spoiled that nest– Richard Wagner took up residence in the Palazzo Giustiniani in Venice.

August 30: P.M.–To bayonet rush by river. Find at Dodd’s shore: Eleocharis obtusa, some time out of bloom (fresh still at Pratt’s Pool); also Juncus a~uminatus (?), just done (also apparently later and yet in bloom at Pout’s Nest); / also what I called Juncus scirpoides, but which ~/ appears to be Juncus paradoxus, with seeds tailed at both ends, (it is fresher than what HDT WHAT? INDEX


I have seen before, and smaller), not done. Some of it with few flowers! A terete leaf rises above the flower. It looks like a small bayonet rush. The Juncus militaris has been long out of bloom. The leaf is three feet long; the whole plant, four or five. It grows on edge of Grindstone Meadow and above. It would look more like a bayonet if the leaf were shorter than the flowering stem, which last is the bayonet part. This is my rainbow rush. All over Ammannia Shore and on bare spots 1~’ in meadows generally, Fimbristylis autumnalis, r apparently in prime; minute, two to five inches high, with aspect of F. capillaris. As I am now returning over Lily Bay, I hear behind me a singular loud stertorous sound which I thought might have been made by a cow out of order, twice sounded. Looking round, I saw a blue heron flying low, about forty rods distant, and have no doubt the sound was made by him. Probably this is the sound which Farmer hears.

August 31: P.M.–To Flint’s Pond. A hot afternoon. We have had but few warmer. I hear and see but few bobolinks or blackbirds for several days past. The former, at least, must be withdrawing. I have not heard a seringo of late, but I see to-day one golden robin. The birches have lately lost a great many of their lower leaves, which now cover and yellow the ground. Also some chestnut leaves have fallen. Many brakes in the woods are perfectly withered. At the Pout’s Nest, Walden, I find the Scirpus debilis, apparently in prime, generally aslant; also the Cyperus dentatus, with some spikes changed into leafy tufts; also here less advanced what I have called Juncus acuminatus. Vide three pages back. Ludwigia alternifolia still. Sericocarpus about done. High blackberries are abundant in Britton’s field. At a little distance you would not suspect that there were any,–even vines,–for the racemes are bent down out of sight, amid the dense sweet-ferns and sumachs, etc. The berries still not more than half black or ripe, keeping fresh in the shade. Those in the sun are a little wilted and insipid. The smooth sumach’s lower leaves are bright-scarlet on dry hills. Lobelia Dortmanna is not quite done. Some ground-nuts are washed out. The Flint’s Pond rush appears to be C~ladium mariscoides, twig rush, or, in Bigelow, water bog rush, a good while out of bloom; style three-cleft. It is about three feet high. This, with Eleocharis palustris, which is nearest the shore, forms the dense rushy border of the pond. It extends along the whole of this end, at least about four rods wide, and almost every one of the now dry and brown flower-heads has a cobweb on it. I perceive that the slender semicircular branchlets so fit to the grooved or flattened culm as still, when pressed against it, to make it cylindrical!–very neatly. The monotropa is still pushing up. Red choke-berry, apparently not long. At Goose Pond I scare up a small green bittern. It plods along low, a few feet over the surface, with limping flight, and alights on a slender water-killed stump, and voids its excrement just as it starts again, as if to lighten itself. Edward Bartlett brings me a nest found three feet from the ground in an arbor-vitae, in the New Burying Ground,~ with one long-since addled egg in it. It is a very thick, substantial nest, five or six inches in diameter and rather deep; outwardly of much coarse stubble with its fine root-fibres attached, loose and dropping off, around a thin casing of withered leaves; then finer stubble within, and a lining of fine grass stems and horsehair. The nest is most like that found on Cardinal Shore with an addled pale-bluish egg, which I thought a wood thrush’s at first, except that that has no casing of leaves. It is somewhat like a very large purple finch’s nest, or perchance some red-wing’s [Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus] with a hair lining. The egg is three quarters of an inch long, rather broad at one end (or for length), greenish-white with brown dashes or spots, becoming a large conspicuous purple-brown blotch at the large end; almost exactly like–but a little greener (or bluer) and a little smaller–the egg found on the ground in R.W.E.’s garden. Do the nest and egg belong together? Was not the egg dropped by a bird of passage in another’s nest? Can it be an indigo-bird’s nest? I take it to be too large. HDT WHAT? INDEX



March 12, Saturday: The prelude to Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, in Prague, conducted by Hans von Bülow. This was the version with a concert ending by von Bülow. LISTEN TO IT NOW

A story by Louisa May Alcott appeared in Boston’s Saturday Evening Gazette, entitled “Mark Field’s Mistake.”

March 12. Saturday. P.M. – Walk in rain to Ministerial Swamp. Going up the railroad in this rain, with a south wind, I see a pretty thick low fog extending across the railroad only against Dennis’s Swamp. There being much more ice and snow within the swamp, the vapor is condensed and is blown northward over the railroad. I see these local fogs with always the same origin, i. e., large masses of snow or ice, in swamps or woods, perhaps the north sides of hills, in several places afterward. The air is warm. As often as we came to a particularly icy or snowy place, as Harrington’s road in woods, we found ourselves in a fog. It is a regular spring rain, such as I remember walking in, – windy but warm. It alternately rains hard and then holds up a little. A similar alternation we see in the waves of water and all undulating surfaces, – in snow and sand and the clouds (the mackerel sky). Now you walk in a comparative lull, anticipating fair weather, with but a slight drizzling, and anon the wind blows and the rain drives down harder than ever. In one of these lulls, as I passed the Joe Hosmer (rough-cast) house, I thought I never saw any bank so handsome as the russet hillside behind it. It is a very barren, exhausted soil, where the cladonia lichens abound, and the lower side is a flowing sand, but this russet grass with its weeds, being saturated with moisture, was in this light the richest brown, methought, that I ever saw. There was the pale brown of the grass, red browns of some weeds (sarothra and pinweed probably), dark browns of huckleberry and sweet-fern stems, and the very visible green of the cladonias thirty rods off, and the rich brown fringes where the broken sod hung over the edge of the sand-bank. I did not see the browns of withered vegetation so rich last fall, and methinks these terrestrial lichens were never more fair and prominent. On some knolls these vivid and rampant lichens as it were dwarf the oaks. A peculiar and unaccountable light seemed to fall on that bank or hillside, though it was thick storm all around. A sort of Newfoundland sun seemed to be shining on it. It was such a light that you looked around for the sun that might be shining on it. Both the common largest and the very smallest hypericums (Sarothra) and the pinweeds were very rich browns at a little distance, coloring whole fields, and also withered and fallen ferns, reeking wet. It was a prospect to excite a reindeer. These tints of brown were as softly and richly fair and sufficing as the most brilliant autumnal tints. In fair and dry weather these spots may be commonplace, but now they are worthy to tempt the painter’s brush. The picture should be the side of a barren lichen-clad hill with a flowing sand-bank beneath, a few blackish huckleberry bushes here and there, and bright white patches of snow here and there in the ravines, the hill running east and west and seen through the storm from a point twenty or thirty rods south. This kind of light, the air being full of rain and all vegetation dripping with it, brings out the browns wonderfully. [Vide (FOUR PAGES BELOW).] I notice now particularly the sallows by the railroad, full of dark cones, as a fruit. The broad radical leaves of (apparently) water dock are very fresh and conspicuous. See two ducks flying over Ministerial Swamp. In one place in the meadow southeast of Tarbell’s, I find on the ice, about a couple of holes an inch across where a little stubble shows itself, a great many small ants dead, – say a thousand. They are strewn about the holes for six or eight inches, and are collected in a dense heap about the base of the stubble. I take up a mass of them on my knife, each one entire, but now, of course, all wet and adhering together. It looks as if they had been tempted out by the warmth of the sun and had been frozen or drowned; or is it possible that they were killed by the frost last fall and now washed up through the ice? I think, from their position around the base of the stubble in that little hole in the ice, that they came out of the earth and clustered there since the ice melted to that extent. There are many other insects and worms and caterpillars (and especially spiders, dead) on the ice, there as well as HDT WHAT? INDEX


elsewhere. I perceive that a freshet which washes the earth bare in the winter and causes a great flow of water over it in that state –when it is not soaked up– must destroy a great many insects and worms. I find a great many that appear to have been drowned rather than frozen. May not this have tempted the bluebirds on early this year?

March 24, Thursday: Six days after he finished Act II of Tristan und Isolde, the Saxon police obliged Richard Wagner to leave Venice. He would pass on to Lucerne, and eventually Paris. LISTEN TO IT NOW

March 24: P.M.–Down railroad. Southeast wind. Begins to sprinkle while I am sitting in Laurel Glen, listening to hear the earliest wood frogs croaking. I think they get under weigh a little earlier, i. e., you will hear many of them sooner than you will hear many hylodes. Now, when the leaves get to be dry and rustle under your feet, dried by the March winds, the peculiar dry note, wurrk wurrk wur-r-r-k wurk of the wood frog is heard faintly by ears on the alert, borne up from some unseen pool in a woodland hollow which is open to the influences of the sun. It is a singular sound for awakening Nature to make, associated with the first warmer days, when you sit in some sheltered place in the woods amid the dried leaves. How moderate on her first awakening, how little demonstrative! You may sit half an hour before you will hear another. You doubt if the season will be long enough for such Oriental and luxurious slowness. But they get on, nevertheless, and by to-morrow, or in a day or two, they croak louder and more frequently. Can you ever be sure that you have heard the very first wood frog in the township croak? Ah! how weather-wise must he be! There is no guessing at the weather with him. He makes the weather in his degree; he encourages it to be mild. The weather, what is it but the temperament of the earth? and he is wholly of the earth, sensitive as its skin in which he lives and of which he is a part. His life relaxes with the thawing ground. He pitches an tunes his voice to chord with the rustling leaves which the March wind has dried. Long before the frost is quite out, he feels the influence of the spring rains and the warmer days. His is the very voice of the weather. He rises and falls like quicksilver in the thermometer. You do not perceive the spring so surely in the actions of men, their lives are so artificial. They may make more fire or less in their parlors, and their feelings accordingly are not good thermometers. The frog far away in the wood, that burns no coal nor wood, perceives more surely the general and universal changes. In the ditch under the west edge of Trillium Wood I see six yellow-spot turtles. They surely have not crawled from far. Do they go into the mud in this ditch? A part of the otherwise perfectly sound and fresh-looking scales of one has been apparently eaten away, as if by a worm. There sits also on the bank of the ditch a Rana fontinalis, and it is altogether likely they were this species that leaped into a ditch on the 10th. This one is mainly a bronze brown, with a very dark greenish snout, etc., with the raised line down the side of the back. This, methinks, is about the only frog which the marsh hawk could have found hitherto. Returning, above the railroad causeway, I see a flock of goldfinches [American Goldfinch Carduleis tristis], first of spring, flitting along the causeway-bank. They have not yet the bright plumage they will have, but in some lights might be mistaken for sparrows. There is considerable difference in color between one and another, but the flaps of their coats are black, and their heads and shoulders more or less yellow. They are eating the seeds of the mullein and the large primrose, clinging to the plants sidewise in various positions and pecking at the seed-vessels. Wilson says, "In the month of April they begin to change their winter dress, and, before the middle of May, appear in brilliant yellow." C. sees geese go over again this afternoon. How commonly they are seen in still rainy weather like this! He says that when they had got far off they looked like a black ribbon almost perpendicular waving in the air. HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 3, Sunday: Richard Wagner took up residence in Lucerne.

Franz Schubert’s Gebet D.815 for vocal quartet and piano to words of Fouqué was performed for the initial time, at the Redoutensaal, Vienna.

Henry Thoreau made a journal entry that resulted in a portion of the following paragraph from “Life without Principle”:

This world is a place of business. What an infinite bustle! I am awaked almost every night by the panting of the locomotive. It interrupts my dreams. There is no sabbath. It would be glorious to see mankind at leisure for once. It is nothing but work, work, work. I cannot easily buy a blank-book to write thoughts in; they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents. An Irishman, seeing me making a minute in the fields, took it for granted that I was calculating my wages. If a man was tossed out of a window when an infant, and so made a cripple for life, or scared out of his wits by the Indians, it is regretted chiefly because he was thus incapacitated for –business! I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.

April 3: An easterly wind and rain. P. M.–To White Pond. C. says he saw a striped snake on the 30th. We go by Clamshell. The water on the meadows is now visibly lowered considerably, and the tops of bushes begin to appear. The high water has stood over and washed down the base of that avalanche of sand from my new ravine, leaving an upright edge a foot high, and as it subsided gradually, it has left various parallel shore-lines, with stones arranged more or less in rows along them, thus forming a regular beach of four or five rods’ length. The baeomyces is in its perfection this rainy day. I have for some weeks been insisting on the beauty and richness of the moist and saturated crust of the earth. It has seemed to me more attractive and living than ever,– a very sensitive cuticle, teeming with life, especially in the rainy days. I have looked on it as the skin of a pard. And on a more close examination I am borne out by discovering, in this now so bright baeomyces and in other earthy lichens and in cladonias, and also in the very interesting and pretty red and yellow stemmed mosses, a manifest sympathy with, and an expression of, the general life of the crust. This early and hardy cryptogamous vegetation is, as it were, a flowering of the crust of the earth. Lichens and these mosses, which depend on moisture, are now most rampant. If you examine it, this brown earth-crust is not dead. We need a popular name for the baeomyces. C. suggests “pink mould.” Perhaps “pink shot” or “eggs” would do. A great many oak leaves have been blown off in the late windy weather. When I disturb a leaf in the woods I find it quite dry within this rainy day. I saw the other day a long winrow of oak leaves, a foot high, washed up on the meadow-edge a quarter of a mile off, opposite Ball’s Hill, whence they partly came. It does not rain hard to-day, but mizzles, with considerable wind, and your clothes are finely bedewed with it even under an umbrella. The rain-drops hanging regularly under each twig of the birches, so full of light, are a very pretty sight as you look forth through the mizzle from under your umbrella. In a hard rain they do not lodge and collect thus. I hear that Peter Hutchinson hooked a monstrous pickerel at the Holt last winter. It was so large that he could not get his head through the hole, and so they cut another hole close by, and then a narrow channel from that to the first to pass the line through, but then, when they came to pull on the line, the pickerel gave a violent jerk and escaped. Peter thinks that he must have weighed ten pounds. Men’s minds run so much on work and money that the mass instantly associate all literary labor with a pecuniary reward. They are mainly curious to know how much money the lecturer or author gets for his work. They think that the naturalist takes so much pains to collect plants or animals because he is paid for it. An Irishman who saw me in the fields making a minute in my note-book took it for granted that I was casting up my wages and actually inquired what they came to, as if he had never dreamed of any other use for writing. I might have quoted to him that the wages of sin is death, as the most pertinent answer. “What do you get for lecturing now?” I am occasionally asked. It is the more amusing since I only lecture about once a year out of my native town, often not at all; so that I might as well, if my objects were merely pecuniary, give up the business. Once, when I was walking on Staten Island, looking about me as usual, a man who saw me would not believe me when I told him that I was indeed from New England but was not looking at that region with a pecuniary view,–a view to HDT WHAT? INDEX


speculation; and he offered me a handsome bonus if I would sell his farm for him. I see by the White Pond path many fox-colored sparrows apparently lurking close under the lee side of a wall out of the way of the storm. Their tails near the base are the brightest things of that color–a rich cinnamon- brown–that I know. Their note to-day is the chip much like a tree sparrow’s. We get quite near them. Near to the pond I see a small hawk, larger than a pigeon hawk, fly past,–a deep brown with a light spot on the side. I think it probable it was a sharp-shinned hawk. The pond is quite high (like Walden, which, as I noticed the 30th ult., had risen about two feet since January, and perhaps within a shorter period), and the white sand beach is covered. The water being quite shallow on it, it is very handsomely and freshly ripple-marked for a rod or more in width, the ripples only two or three inches apart and very regular and parallel, but occasionally there is a sort of cell a foot long (a split closed at each end) in one. In some parts, indeed, it reminded me of a cellular tissue, but the last foot next the shore had no ripple- marks; apparently they were constantly levelled there. These were most conspicuous where a dark sediment, the dead wood or crumbled leaves, perchance, from the forest, lay in the furrows and contrasted with the white sand. The cells were much more numerous and smaller in proportion than I represent them. I find in drawing these ripple-marks that I have drawn precisely such lines as are used to represent a shore on maps, and perchance the sight of these parallel ripple-marks may have suggested that method of drawing a shore-line. I do not believe it, but if we were to draw such a lake-shore accurately it would be very similar.

April 4, Monday: Le pardon de Ploërmel, an opéra comique by Giacomo Meyerbeer to words of Barbier and Carré, was performed for the initial time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris. Critics were enthusiastic.

Daniel D. Emmet, together with Bryant’s Minstrels, performed his newly composed song “Dixie” for the 1st time, at Mechanics Hall in New-York.

A complete Richard Wagner opera was staged in the United States for the 1st time, when Tannhäuser was produced in the Stadt Theater of New-York.

Headmaster Caleb G. Forshey and four of his Texas Military Institute cadets at Rutersville in Fayette County were again able, as they had been able a month earlier on another clear night, to trace the zodiacal band as it “reached entirely across the sky” from the western horizon, through Gemini and Leo, all the way to the foot of Virgo near the eastern horizon. ASTRONOMY

April 4. Clear, cold, and very windy; wind northwest. For a fortnight past, or since the frost began to come out, I have noticed the funnel-shaped holes of the skunk in a great many places and their little mincing tracks in the sand. Many a grub and beetle meets its fate in their stomachs. Methinks the peculiar and interesting Brown Season, of the spring lasts from the time the snow generally begins to go off –as this year the fore part of March– till the frost is generally (or entirely?) out. Perhaps it will be through the first week of April this year. Ordinary years it must be somewhat later. The surface of the earth is never so completely saturated with wet as during this period, for the frost a few inches beneath holds all the ice and snow that are melted and the rain, and an unusual amount of rain falls. All plants, therefore, that love moisture and coolness, like mosses and lichens, are in their glory, but also [?] I think that the very withered grass and weeds, being wet, are blooming at this season. The conspicuous reddish brown of the fallen brakes is very rich, contrasting with the paler brown of oak leaves. Such an appetite have we for new life that we begin by nibbling the very crust of the earth. We betray our vegetable and animal nature and sympathies by our delight in water. We rejoice in the full rills, the melting snow, the copious spring rains and the freshets, as if we were frozen earth to be thawed, or lichens and mosses, expanding and reviving under this influence. The osier bark now, as usual, looks very yellow when wet, and the wild poplar very green. P.M. – To Cliffs. Those striped snakes of the 30th were found (several in all) on west side the railroad causeway, on the sand, which is very warm. It would seem, then, that they come out in such places soon after the frost is out, The HDT WHAT? INDEX


railroad men who were cutting willows there to set on the sides of the Deep Cut, to prevent the gullying there, came across them. The epigæa looks as if it would open in two or three days at least, [Vide 12th.] – showing much color and this form:

The flower-buds are protected by the withered leaves, oak leaves, which partly cover them, so that you must look pretty sharp to detect the first flower. These plants blossom by main strength, as it were, or the virtue that is in them, –not growing by water, as most early flowers, –in dry copses. I see several earthworms to-day under the shoe of the pump, on the platform. They may have come up through the cracks from the well where the warm air has kept them stirring. On the barren railroad causeway, of pure sand, grow chiefly sallows, a few poplars, and sweet-fern and blackberry vines. When I look with my glass, I see the cold and sheeny snow still glazing the mountains. This it is which makes the wind so piercing cold. There are dark and windy clouds on that side, of that peculiar brushy or wispy character –or rather like sheafs– which denotes wind. They only spit a little snow at last, thin and scarcely perceived, like falling gossamer.

August 6, Saturday: Richard Wagner completed the full score to Tristan und Isolde in Lucerne. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Hector Berlioz read the poem to his unperformed opera Les Troyens to an invited audience of 20-25 people in a private house in Baden. In the evening, music from the opera was heard publicly for the first time when two duets were performed with piano accompaniment in the Salle Beethoven. On hearing the music, the composer wept. [NO THOREAU JOURNAL ENTRIES FOR 6 AUGUST]

September 11, Sunday: The Reverend Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote from Worcester, Massachusetts in an attempt to verify a speaking date.

Richard Wagner arrived at Paris from Lucerne.

September 11. P. M. – To Conantum-end. The prinos berries are now seen, red (or scarlet), clustered along the stems, amid the as yet green leaves. A cool red. By the pool in Hubbard’s Grove, I see tall tupelos, all dotted with the now ripe (apparently in prime) small oval purple berries, two or three together on the end of slender peduncles, amid the reddening leaves. This fruit is very acid and has a large stone, but I see several robins on the trees, which appear to have been attracted by it. Neither tree nor fruit is generally known, and many liken the former when small to a pear. The trees are quite full of fruit. The wax-like fruit of Cornus paniculata still holds on abundantly. This being a cloudy and somewhat rainy day, the autumnal dandelion is open in the afternoon. The Rhus Toxicodendron berries are now ripe and greenish-yellow, and some already shrivelled, over bare rocks. September is the month when various small, and commonly inedible, berries in cymes and clusters hang over the roadsides and along the walls and fences, or spot the forest floor. The clusters of the Viburnum Lentago berries, now in their prime, are exceedingly and peculiarly handsome, and edible withal. These are drooping, like the Cornus sericea cymes. Each berry in the cyme is now a fine, clear red on the exposed side and a distinct and clear green on the opposite side. Many are already purple, and they turn in your hat, but they are handsomest HDT WHAT? INDEX


when thus red and green. The large clusters of the Smilacina racemosa berries, four or five inches long, of whitish berries a little smaller than a pea, finely marked and dotted with vermilion or bright red, are very conspicuous. I do not chance to see any ripe. No fruit is handsomer than the acorn. I see but few fallen yet, and they are all wormy. Very pretty, especially, are the white oak acorns, three raying from one centre. I see dill and saffron still, commonly out at R.W.E.’s.

October 23, Sunday: After meeting with Ferdinand de Lesseps, Napoléon III announced his support for the Suez Canal project. EGYPT

Running into Hector Berlioz on a Paris street, Richard Wagner found him “in a pitiable state of health” because he had just come from an electrical treatment intended to help his nervous condition. The two of them resumed their personal, if not their professional, relationship.

News of Captain John Brown’s raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia having reached Cincinnati, the Reverend Moncure Daniel Conway in his sermon described the enterprise as “worse than a crime — a blunder”26 and declared that the Abolitionists, since they were non-resistants, would repudiate him. (However, upon Brown’s execution the Reverend would opinion that “Two days later my sermon exalted him to the right hand of God,” and then looking back through the perspective of old age, he would write that “Reading his career by the light of subsequent history, I am convinced that few men ever wrought so much evil.”) JOHN HOLLADAY LATANÉ

Several weeks earlier Henry Thoreau had delivered his sermon “LIFE MISSPENT” before the Reverend Theodore Parker’s Twenty-Eighth Congregational Society at the Boston Music Hall on Winter Street near the Tremont Temple.

Swamp-pink and waxwork were bare October 23d; how long?

26. We have no reason to suspect that the Reverend ever became aware that one of the participants in the raid had been a college classmate of his, a young student whom he had caused to be expelled from the college for a very minor infraction. HDT WHAT? INDEX


His sermon had been reported by Boston newspapers and the Reverend D.C. Eddy had read one of these reviews. Eddy responded with an argumentative theological sermon of his own which, as we might expect, was quite a bit more thoroughly covered, by the Boston Journal, than Thoreau’s lecture had originally been covered:

Misspent Lives. This was the subject of a lecture delivered at Harvard Street Church, last evening, by the pastor, Rev. D. C. Eddy, his text being Matt. vii. 26:27. The speaker referred to a recent lecture delivered in this city, by Henry D. Thoreau, on “Misspent Lives,” conceiving that the lecturer had given no true idea of a model life, either in his lecture or in himself; and turned from him to one wiser than Solomon in all his glory—and the estimate by Christ of a misspent life, as one who hearing and not doing his sayings, was likened to a man building his house upon the sand—turning from the epigrammatic nonsense of the Walden Pond cynic and the transcendental mysticism of Emerson to the Great Teacher whose language was as transparent as his life, and his life an illustration of his teachings, the speaker took the following positions: 1. Every life which did not recognize human brotherhood, and which is not in itself an effort to lift the world up to God, is a misspent life. There are men all around us who do nothing to fulfill one noble purpose—never reach forth a hand to save the lost—rise up and lie down to rest without being conscious of striking of[f] the fetter of [a] single bondman, or giving to a single immortal soul a heavenward impulse. Men may make the world blaze with their deeds, and their lives be misspent. The world is none the better for many a man who has lived in it. How many men with language glowing with eloquence, leave but misspent lives; they have shown their literature and their learning, but the wounds which have festered on the breast of humanity do not heal for anything they have done. Men use their gifted tongues on great public occasions and charm their hearers, and others applaud the sawing off of the heads of bronze statues rather than the heads of vice and crime, but who can help wondering that these great men do nothing to make the world better? They are burdened with learning and the graces of literature, but what is done to draw anything from the ocean of sorrow, or add anything to the sum of human happiness? HDT WHAT? INDEX


2. A life is misspent which is not in harmony with Christ and His salvation, which does not comprehend the Cross as its centre and rest upon the atonement as its basis. All the skill a man may have will not compensate him for the want of salvation. Salvation is what men need—Christ in his heart, will, and conscience; Christ crucified as the power of the Cross—as a living energy and the grand object of his life.3. A life is misspent which does not make a large and conscious preparation for a future world. A writer in one of the public journals tells us there is too much attention paid to the future life, and too little bestowed upon this world; that more attention should be given to the stomach, to the teeth, to the hair. What can such a man be thinking of? He forgets a man is to live forever. He can take care of himself, but he needs to care for his soul. All the care of his body, and all he can amass of things of this life, will do him no good without Christ. What did God say to the man who had nothing but barns and stores? “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” How is it with you who hear me to-night? How do you feel about the great brotherhood of man? Do you feel yourself bound to the great heart of humanity? Is Christ your life and your hope? If you trust in Him, it shall be with you as it was with him who built his house upon the rock. Without Christ your misspent life shall be as he who built upon the sand, and the winds and flood beat upon that house, and it fell. The house was crowded by an attentive audience. HDT WHAT? INDEX




An anonymous letter of this date, to the Clerk of Court, Kanawha County, in Charlestown VA: Copy “Clerk of the Court Charlestown Va Sir. You had better caution your authorities to be careful what you— with “Ossawatimi Brown” So sure as you hurt One hair of his head— mark my word, the following day you will see every City—Town and Village South of Mason & Dixons line in Flames We are determined to put down Slavery at any odds Forcibly if it must Peacefully if it can Believe me when I tell you the end is not yet– by a long odds All of us at the North Sympathize with the Martyr of Harpers Ferry” On the Envelope “Clerk of the Court Charlestown Kanawha Coy Virginia” Postmarked “New York Oct 23 1859” HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 17, Thursday: Arriving in to take up a position in the laboratory of the chemist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen, checking this out, Alyeksandr Borodin changed his mind.

Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner joined her husband Richard Wagner in Paris.

Henry Thoreau made an entry in his journal in regard to John Brown:

November 17. Another Indian-summer day, as fair as any we’ve had. I go down the railroad to Andromeda Ponds this afternoon. Captain Hubbard is having his large wood–oak and white pine, on the west of the railroad this side the pond– cut. I see one white oak felled with one hundred and fifteen rings to it; another, a red, oak has about the same number. Thus disappear the haunts of the owls. The time may come when their aboriginal hoo-hoo-hoo will not be heard hereabouts. I have been so absorbed of late in Captain Brown’s fate as to be surprised whenever I detected the old routine running still,–met persons going about their affairs indifferent. It appeared strange to me that the little dipper should be still diving in the river as of yore; and this suggested that this grebe might be diving here when Concord shall be no more. Any affecting human event may blind our eyes to natural objects. At the pond-side I see titmice alighting on the now hoary gray goldenrod and hanging back downward from it, as if eating its seeds; or could they have been looking for insects? There were three or four about it. I sit in the sun on the northeast side of the first Andromeda Pond, looking over it toward the sun. How fair and memorable this prospect when you stand opposite to the sun, these November afternoons, and look over the red andromeda swamp!–a glowing, warm brown red in the Indian-summer sun, like a bed of moss in a hollow in the woods, with gray high blueberry and straw-colored grasses interspersed. And when, going round it, you look over it in the opposite direction, it presents a gray aspect. The musquash are active, swimming about in the further pond to-day,–this Indian-summer day. Channing also sees them thus stirring in the river this afternoon. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 13, Friday: Breitkopf and Härtel completed publication of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Barclay Coppoc, having unlike his brother Edwin Coppoc escaped from Harpers Ferry, and then having eluded capture, wrote to Franklin Benjamin Sanborn of the Secret “Six” conspiracy to bring him up to date on developments: “but five of our little band now away and safe, namely Owen [Owen Brown], Tidd [Charles Plummer Tidd], Meriam [Francis Jackson Meriam], O.P. Anderson [Osborn Perry Anderson], or as we used to call him Chatham Anderson, and myself…. We were together eight days before [John E. Cook and Albert Hazlett were] captured, which was near Chambersburg, and the next night Meriam left us and went to Shippensburg, and there took cars for Philadelphia. After that there were but three of us left, and we kept together, until we got to Centre County, Pa., where we bought a box and packed up all heavy luggage, such as rifles, blankets, etc., and after being together three or four weeks we separated and I went on through with the box to Ohio on the cars. Owen [Owen Brown] and Tidd [Charles Plummer Tidd] went on foot towards the north-western part of Penn.” Osborn Perry Anderson, Barclay Coppoc, and Francis Jackson Meriam, traveling separately, would eventually find safe exile in the area of St. Catharines, Canada. Owen Brown and Charles Plummer Tidd would find work and safety, under assumed names, on an oil well in the vicinity of Crawford County, Pennsylvania.

During this month, in Iowa, at his monthly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Friend Barclay Coppoc was being disowned on account of his failure to adhere to the Peace Testimony. THE QUAKER PEACE TESTIMONY

January 13. Tuttle was saying to-day that he did remember a certain man’s living with him once, from something that occurred. It was this: The man was about starting for Boston market for Tuttle, and Mrs. Tuttle had been telling him what to get for her. The man inquired if that was all, and Mrs. Tuttle said no, she wanted some nutmegs. “How many,” he asked. Tuttle, coming along just then, said, “Get a bushel.” When the man came home he said that he had had a good deal of trouble about the nutmegs. He could not find so many as were wanted, and, besides, they told him that they did not sell them by the bushel. But he said that he would take a bushel by the weight. Finally he made out to get a peck of them, which he brought home. It chanced that nutmegs were very high just then, so Tuttle, after selecting a few for his own use, brought the remainder up to town and succeeded in disposing of them at the stores for just what he gave for them. One man at the post-office said that a crow would drive a fox. He had seen three crows pursue a fox that was crossing the Great Meadows, and he fairly ran from [them] and took refuge in the woods. Farmer says that he remembers his father’s saying that as he stood in a field once, he saw a hawk soaring above and eying something on the ground. Looking round, he saw a weasel there eying the hawk. Just then the hawk stooped, and the weasel at the same instant sprang upon him, and up went the hawk with the weasel; but by and by the hawk began to come down as fast as he went up, rolling over and over, till he struck the ground. His father, going up, raised him up, when out hopped the weasel from under his wing and ran off none the worse for his fall. The surface of the snow, now that the sun has shone on it so long, is not so light and downy, almost impalpable, as it was yesterday, but is somewhat flattened down and looks even as if [IT] had had a skim-coat of some whitewash. I can see sparkles on it, but they are finer than at first and therefore less dazzling. The thin ice of the Mill Brook sides at the Turnpike bridge is sprinkled over with large crystals which look like asbestos or a coarse grain. This is no doubt the vapor of last evening crystallized. I see vapor rising from and curling along the open brook and also rising from the end of a plank in the sun, which is net with melted snow, HDT WHAT? INDEX


though the thermometer was 16° only when I left the house. I see in low grounds numerous heads of bidens, with their seeds still. I see under some sizable white pines in E. Hubbard’s wood, where red squirrels have run about much since this snow. They have run chiefly, perhaps, under the surface of the snow, so that it is very much undermined by their paths under these trees, and every now and then they have come to the surface, or the surface has fallen into their gallery. They seem to burrow under the snow about as readily as a meadow mouse. There are also paths raying out on every side from the base of the trees. And you see many holes through the snow into the ground where they now are, and other holes where they have probed for cones and nuts. The scales of the white pine cones are scattered about here and there. They seek a dry place to open them, — a fallen limb that rises above the snow, or often a lower dead stub projecting from the trunk of the tree.

January 15, Sunday: Hector Berlioz persuaded the Journal des débats to announce Richard Wagner’s upcoming Paris concert.

Henry Thoreau was being written to by Friend Daniel Ricketson in New Bedford, telling about skating by both sexes. The Shanty 15 Jan. 1860. Friend Thoreau, We've been having a good deal of wintery weather for our section of late, and skating by both sexes is in great fashion. On the 26th of last month, Arthur, Walton, and I, skated about fifteen miles. We rode out to the south end of Long Pond (Aponoquet) and leaving our house at a farmer's barn, put on our skates, and went nearly in a straight line to the north end of said pond up to the old Herring weir of King Phillip, where we were obliged to take off our skates as the passage to Asawamset was not frozen. We stopped about an hour at the old tavern a and had good solid anti-slavery, & John ^ Brown talk with some travellers — One, a square set red bearded farmer said among other rough things, that he would like to eat southerners hearts! & drink their blood! for a fortnight, & would be willing to die if he could not live on this fare! This was said in reply to a spruce young fellow who had been in New Orleans, and knew all about slavery — damned



the abolitionists most lustily, and John Brown & his associates in particular. Oaths flew like shot from one side to the other, but the renegade northerner honest was no match for the farmer, who ^ met him at every point with facts, oaths statistics, and argument, and finally ^ swore his antagonist down flat.— He “burst the bully” in good earnest. Occasionally I had interfused a few words & others present, but our farmer was the Champion of the field and a more complete annihilation of a dough face I never witnessed.— My boys seemed to enjoy it well. After this scene we again resumed our skates from the Asawamset shore near by, & skated down to the end the extreme southern end of the ponds of east Quitticas pond thence crossing ^ to West Quitticas. We skated around it, which with the return from the south end of the former pond to our crossing place, we estimated at something over 15 miles. Taking off our skates we took a path through & walking about a mile the woods & came out in some old ^ fields near our starting point. We put on our skates at 10 1/2 oclock a.m

Page 3 and at 3 p.m. were eating our dinner at the old farm house of Wm A Merton near the south shores of Long Pond. I, as well as my boys enjoyed the excursion very much. We saw our favorite ponds under entirely new aspects, and visited many nooks that we had never before seen — sometimes under the boughs of the old cedars draped in long clusters of moss, like bearded veterans, and anon farther out on the bosom of the lake with broad and refreshing views of HDT WHAT? INDEX


wild nature, taking the imagination back to the times of the Indians and early settlers of these parts — shooting by little islands and rocky islets, among them the one called “Lewis Island,” which you thought would do for a residence. I got a fresh hold of life that day, and hope to repeat the pleasure before winter closes his reign. I found myself not only, not exhausted as I had expected, but unusually fresh and cheerful on my arrival home about 5 p. m. The boys stood it equally well. So my friend

Page 4

we shall not allow you all the glory of the skating field, but must place our Aponoquet, Assawamset and Quitticaset, in the skating account with your own beloved Musketaquet exploits. Well, since I saw you, dear old John Brown has met, & O! how nobly, his death, at the hands of southern tyrants. I honor him & his brave associates in my “heart of hearts”; but my voice is for peaceable measures henceforth, doubtful alas! as their success appears. I expect to be in Boston at the annual meeting of the Mass. A. S. Society near at hand, & hope to see you there, and if agreeable should like to have you return home with me, when, d.v. we may try our skates on the Middleborough ponds. We all spoke of you & wished you were with us on our late excursion there. With kind regards to your family & my other Concord friends, I remain,

H. D. Thoreau Yours faithfully, Concord D. Ricketson HDT WHAT? INDEX


[Thoreau made no entry in his journal for January 15.]

January 21, Saturday: Henry Thoreau made no entry in his journal.

A package arrived at the Paris home of Hector Berlioz with a note. “Dear Berlioz, I am delighted to be able to offer you the first copy of my Tristan. Accept it and keep it out of friendship for me. Richard Wagner.” The score was inscribed “To the dear and great author of Romeo and Juliet, from the grateful author of Tristan und Isolde.” LISTEN TO IT NOW

January 25, Wednesday: Richard Wagner conducted the 1st of a series of 3 concerts of his music in Paris. Attending on this evening at the Théâtre-Italien were Daniel-François-Esprit Auber, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Hector Berlioz, Valentin Alkan, and Charles Gounod. The audience was enthusiastic but the press merciless. Heard on this night for the first time was the Prelude to Tristan und Isolde with its concert ending as composed by Wagner. Alkan left at the intermission and would deliver the opinion with which I find myself in agreement, “Wagner was not music; it’s a sickness.” LISTEN TO IT NOW

Documentation of the international slave trade, per W.E. Burghardt Du Bois: “Memorial of the American Missionary Association, praying the rigorous enforcement of the laws for the suppression of the African slave- trade, etc.” –SENATE MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENT, 36 Cong. 1 sess. No. 8. W.E. Burghardt Du Bois: The attitude of the South toward the slave-trade changed pari passu with this development of the cotton trade. From 1808 to 1820 the South half wished to get rid of a troublesome and abnormal institution, and yet saw no way to do so. The fear of insurrection and of the further spread of the disagreeable system led her to consent to the partial prohibition of the trade by severe national enactments. Nevertheless, she had in the matter no settled policy: she refused to support vigorously the execution of the laws she had helped to make, and at the same time she acknowledged the theoretical necessity of these laws. After 1820, however, there came a gradual change. The South found herself supplied with a body of slave laborers, whose number had been augmented by large illicit importations, with an abundance of rich land, and with all other natural facilities for raising a crop which was in large demand and peculiarly adapted to slave labor. The increasing crop caused a new demand for slaves, and an interstate slave-traffic arose between the Border and the Gulf States, which turned the former into slave-breeding districts, and bound them to the slave States by ties of strong economic interest. As the cotton crop continued to increase, this source of supply became inadequate, especially as the theory of land and slave consumption broke down former ethical and prudential bounds. It was, for example, found cheaper to work a slave to death in a HDT WHAT? INDEX


few years, and buy a new one, than to care for him in sickness and old age; so, too, it was easier to despoil rich, new land in a few years of intensive culture, and move on to the Southwest, than to fertilize and conserve the soil.27 Consequently, there early came a demand for land and slaves greater than the country could supply. The demand for land showed itself in the annexation of Texas, the conquest of Mexico, and the movement toward the acquisition of Cuba. The demand for slaves was manifested in the illicit traffic that noticeably increased about 1835, and reached large proportions by 1860. It was also seen in a disposition to attack the government for stigmatizing the trade as criminal,28 then in a disinclination to take any measures which would have rendered our repressive laws effective; and finally in such articulate declarations by prominent men as this: “Experience having settled the point, that this Trade cannot be abolished by the use of force, and that blockading squadrons serve only to make it more profitable and more cruel, I am surprised that the attempt is persisted in, unless as it serves as a cloak to some other purposes. It would be far better than it now is, for the African, if the trade was free from all restrictions, and left to the mitigation and decay which time and competition would surely bring about.”29

Jan. 25. In keeping a journal of one’s walks and thoughts it seems to be worth the while to record those phenomena which are most interesting to us at the time. Such is the weather. It makes a material difference whether it is foul or fair, affecting surely our mood and thoughts. Then there are various degrees and kinds of foulness and fairness. It may be cloudless, or there may be sailing clouds which threaten no storm, or it may be partially overcast. On the other hand it may rain, or snow, or hail, with various degrees of intensity. It may be a transient thunder-storm, or a shower, or a flurry of snow, or it may be a prolonged storm of rain or snow. Or the sky may be overcast or rain-threatening. So with regard to temperature. It may be warm or cold. Above 40° is warm for winter. One day, at 38 even, I walk dry and it is good sleighing; the next day it may have risen to 48, and the snow is rapidly changed to slosh. It may be calm or windy. The finest winter day is a cold but clear and glittering one. There is a remarkable life in the air then, and birds and other creatures appear to feel it, to be excited and invigorated by it. Also warm and melting days in winter are inspiring, though less characteristic. I will call the weather fair, if it does not threaten rain or snow or hail; foul, if it rains or snows or hails, or is so overcast that we expect one or the other from hour to hour. To-day it is fair, though the sky is slightly overcast, but there are sailing clouds in the southwest. The river is considerably broken up by the recent thaw and rain, but the Assabet much the most, probably because it is swifter and, owing to mills, more fluctuating. When the river begins to break up, it becomes clouded like a mackerel sky, but in this case the blue portions are where the current, clearing away the ice beneath, begins to show dark. The current of the water, striking the ice, breaks it up at last into portions of the same form with those which the wind gives to vapor. First, all those open places which I measured lately much enlarge themselves each way. Saw A. Hosmer approaching in his pung. He calculated so that we should meet just when he reached the bare planking of the causeway bridge, so that his horse might as it were stop of his own accord and no other excuse would be needed for a talk. He says that he has seen that little bird (evidently the shrike) with mice in its claws. Wonders what has got all the rabbits this winter. Last winter there were hundreds near his house; this winter he sees none.

27. Cf. United States census reports; and Olmsted, THE COTTON KINGDOM. 28. As early as 1836 Calhoun declared that he should ever regret that the term “piracy” had been applied to the slave-trade in our laws: Benton, ABRIDGMENT OF DEBATES, XII. 718. 29. Governor J.H. Hammond of South Carolina, in LETTERS TO CLARKSON, No. 1, page 2. HDT WHAT? INDEX


February 9, Thursday: Hector Berlioz published a criticism of Richard Wagner’s music in the Journal des débats that would begin something of a 2d Querelle des Bouffons. “If this was the religion, and a new one at that, then I am far from confessing it. I never have, am not about to, and never will. I raise my hand and swear: non credo!“

Henry Thoreau was being written to by his college classmate Henry W. Williams, Jr., in Boston, who needed his photograph for the class book.30 {No MS, printed copy}

BOSTON, February 9, 1860. MY DEAR SIR: At the last annual meeting of the Class of ’37, a vote was passed, that the members of the Class be requested to furnish the Secretary with their photographs, to be placed in the Class Book. Several fellows, in accordance with the above vote, have already sent me their pictures, and I trust that you will feel disposed, at an early day, to follow their example. You can send to me through the Post Office, at 18 Concord Square. Very truly yours,

We have a letter of this date from Annie Bartlett, the 23-year-old daughter of Dr. Josiah Bartlett, who religiously wrote to her soldier brother Ned every Sunday. Be it noted that the Bartletts were not generally inclined to approve of Henry:

I went to hear Henry Thoreau’s lecture last night on Wild Apples. I liked it pretty well but I was very sleepy as I very naturally should be, being out till after two the night before.

Feb. 9. A hoar frost on the ground this morning—for the open fields are mostly bare—was quite a novel sight. I had noticed some vapor in the air late last evening.

February 15, Wednesday: The Journal des débats published a lengthy and soft reply by Richard Wagner to Hector Berlioz’s provocation of February 9th.

February 15: As in the expression of moral truths we admire any closeness to the physical fact which in all language is the symbol of the spiritual, so, finally, when natural objects are described, it is an advantage if words derived originally from nature, it is true, but which have been turned (tropes) from their primary signification to a moral sense, are used, i.e., if the object is personified. The one who loves and understands a thing the best will incline to use the personal pronouns in speaking of it. To him there is no neuter gender. Many of the words of the old naturalists were in this sense doubly tropes. P.M. –About 30 at 2 P.M. Skated to Bound Rock. Frequently, the same night that it first freezes, or perhaps in the morning, the ice over the thread of the river will be puffed up for many rods a foot or more, evidently by expanding vapors beneath, and also over the channel 30. We have no indication that Thoreau responded. HDT WHAT? INDEX


of some warm spring emptying in. Also at Walden where it is very shallow or the ice rests on a bar between the pond and a bay. When lately the open parts of the river froze more or less in the night after that windy day, they froze by stages, as it were, many feet wide, and the water dashed and froze against the edge of each successive strip of ice, leaving so many parallel ridges. The river is rapidly falling, is more than a foot lower than it was a few days ago, so that there is an ice-belt left where the bank is steep, and on this I skate in many places; in others the ice slants from the shore for a rod or two to the water; and on the meadows for the most part there is no water under the ice, and it accordingly rumbles loudly as I go over it, and I rise and fall as I pass over hillocks or hollows. From the pond to Lee’s Bridge I skated so swiftly before the wind, that I thought it was calm, for I kept pace with it, but when I turned about I found that quite a gale was blowing. Occasionally one of those puffs (making a pent-roof of ice) runs at right angles across the river where there is no spring or stream emptying in. A crack may have started it.

Feb. 15. [The manuscript journal volume that begins with this date bears the legend "The early spring" at the beginning.] As in the expression of moral truths we admire any closeness to the physical fact which in all language is the symbol of the spiritual, so, finally, when natural objects are described, it is an advantage if words derived originally from nature, it is true, but which have been turned (tropes) from their primary signification to a moral sense, are used, i. e., if the object is personified. The one who loves and understands a thing the best will incline to use the personal pronouns in speaking of it. To him there is no neuter gender. Many of the words of the old naturalists were in this sense doubly tropes. P. M.—About 30° at 2 P. M. Skated to Bound Rock. Frequently, the same night that it first freezes, or perhaps in the morning, the ice over the thread of the river will be puffed up for many rods a foot or more, evidently by expanding vapors beneath, and also over the channel of some warm spring emptying in. Also at Walden where it is very shallow or the ice rests on a bar between the pond and a bay. When lately the open parts of the river froze more or less in the night after that windy day, they froze by stages, as it were, many feet wide, and the water dashed and froze against the edge of each successive strip of ice, leaving so many parallel ridges. The river is rapidly falling, is more than a foot lower than it was a few days ago, so that there is an ice-belt left where the bank is steep, and on this I skate in many places; in others the ice slants from the shore for a rod or two to the water; and on the meadows for the most part there is no water under the ice, and it accordingly rumbles loudly as I go over it, and I rise and fall as I pass over hillocks or hollows. From the pond to Lee’s Bridge I skated so swiftly before the wind, that I thought it was calm, for I kept pace with it, but when I turned about I found that quite a gale was blowing. Occasionally one of those puffs (making a pent-roof of ice) runs at right angles across the river where there is no spring or stream emptying in. A crack may have started it. 31

March 11, Sunday: The Emperor Napoléon III ordered production of the opera Tannhäuser at the Paris Opéra (with such backing the Saxon ambassador in Paris, Baron von Seebach, would gain an amnesty for the composer Richard Wagner, who had been for 11 years an exile).

March 11. Sunday. 2 P. M. — About 40°.

31.The poet W.H. Auden has in 1962 brought forward a snippet from this day’s entry as:


Pg Topic Aphorism Selected by Auden out of Thoreau

The one who loves and understands a thing best will incline to use the 359 Language and Ideas personal pronouns in speaking of it. To him there is no neuter gender. HDT WHAT? INDEX



It is cold and blustering walking in the wind, though the thermometer is at 40; i. e., though the temperature is thus high, the strong and blustering northwest winds of March make this notorious March weather, which is worse to hear than severe cold without wind. The farmers say that there is nothing equal to the March winds for drying wood. It will dry more this month than it has in all the winter before. I see a woodchuck out on the calm side of Lee’s Hill (Nawshawtuct). He has pushed away the withered leaves which filled his hole and come forth, and left his tracks in those slight patches of the recent snow which are left about his hole. I was amused with the behavior of two red squirrels as I approached the hemlocks. They were as gray as red, and white beneath. I at first heard a faint, sharp chirp, like a bird, within the hemlock, on my account, and then one rushed forward on a descending limb toward me, barking or chirruping at me after his fashion, within a rod. They seemed to vie with one another who should be most bold. For four or five minutes at least, they kept up an incessant chirruping or squeaking bark, vibrating their tails and their whole bodies and frequently changing their position or point of view, making a show of rushing forward, or perhaps darting off a few feet like lightning and barking still more loudly, i. e. with a yet sharper exclamation, as if frightened by their own motions; their whole bodies quivering, their heads and great eyes on the qui vive. You are uncertain whether it is not half in sport after all.

March 21, Wednesday: Joseph Joachim wrote to Robert Franz to ask that he join in a protest against the “New German School,” particularly in regard to the music of Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt (he would, however, decline).

Ballades op.10/2-3 for piano by was performed for the initial time, in Vienna, by Clara Schumann.

March 21. Colder and overcast. Did not look at thermometer; probably not far from 40°.

July 15, Sunday: Baron von Seebach, Saxon ambassador to France, was advised that Richard Wagner had been granted free access to all of Germany with the exception of Saxony.

July 15, Sunday: It seemed to me yesterday that the foliage had attained its maximum of darkness, and as I ascended the hill at eve the hickories looked even autumnal. Especially I was struck by the dark but still perfect green leaf of the swamp white oak. I hear this forenoon the link link of the first bobolink going over our garden,–though I hear several full strains of bobolinks to-day, as in May, carrying me back to Apple Sunday, but they have been rare a long time. Now as it were the very cope of the dark-glazed heavens yields a slightly metallic sound when struck. I hear on all sides these days the loud tinkling rattle of the mowing-machine, but, alas, the mower goes to the blacksmith’s to whet his scythe only every second or third day!

P.M.–To Hill and Assabet Bath. On Hill.–No crops clothe the earth with richer hues and make a greater impression of luxuriousness than the cultivated grasses. Field after field, densely packed like the squares of a checker-board, all through and about the villages, paint the earth with various shades of green and other colors. There is the rich glaucous green of young grain now, of various shades, depending on its age and kind; the flashing blades of corn which does not yet hide the bare ground; the yellowing tops of ripening grain; the dense uniform red of red-top, the most striking and high-colored of all (that is, cultivated); the very similar purple of the fowl-meadow (the most deep- piled and cumulous-looking, like down) along the low river-banks; the very dark and dusky, as it were shadowy, green of herd’s-grass at a distance, as if clouds were always passing over it,–close at hand it is of a dark purplish or slaty purple, from the color of its anthers; the fresh light green where June-grass has been cut, and the fresh HDT WHAT? INDEX





dark green where clover has been cut; and the hard, dark green of pastures (red-top) generally,–not to speak of the very light-colored wiry fescue there. The solid square fields of red-top look singularly like bare ground at a distance, but when you know it to be red- top you see it to be too high-colored for that. Yet it thus suggests a harmony between itself and the ground. Look down on a field of red-top now in full bloom, a quarter of a mile west of this hill,–a very dense and red field,– at 2.30 P.M. of this very warm and slightly hazy but not dogdayish day, in a blazing sun. I am surprised to see a very distinct white vapor, like a low cloud in a mountainous country, or a smoke, drifting along close over the red-top. Is it not owing to the contrast between this hot noontide air and the moist coolness of that dense grass- field? Then there is the cheerful yellowish green of the meadows, where the sedges prevail, i. e. yellowest where wettest, with darker patches and veins of grass, etc., in the higher and drier parts. I can just distinguish with my naked eye–knowing where to look–the darker green of pipes on the peat meadows two miles from the hill. The potato-fields are a very dark green.

August 12, Sunday: British and French troops defeat Chinese north of Tangku behind the town.

While on his way from Paris to Baden-Baden, Richard Wagner crossed into Germany for the 1st time in 11 years.

August 12, Sunday: The river-bank is past height. The button-bush is not common no-v, though the clethra is in prime. The black willow hardly ceases to shed its down when it looks yellowish. Setaria glauca, some days. Elymus Virginicus, some days. Andropogon furcatus (in meadow); how long? Probably before scoparius. Zizania several days. River at 5 P.M. three and three quarters inches below summer level. Panicum glabrum (not sanguinale? – our common); how long? The upper glume equals the flower, yet it has many spikes. HDT WHAT? INDEX



February 2, Saturday: Texas: Declaration of Secession.

Crown Prince Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm saw the opera Lohengrin by Richard Wagner in München.


March 13, Wednesday: By imperial command, the so-called “Paris” revised version of Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner to his own words was performed for the initial time, in the Salle Le Peletier at the Paris Opéra. The performers had been subjected to 160 rehearsals, almost all of them personally supervised by the composer. The performance was disrupted by the Jockey Club, a group of young aristocrats who objected to Wagner’s decision not to place the ballet at the beginning of the 2d act as was in French opera the custom. The conductor, Pierre Dietsch, was completely inept, conducting from a violin part. The work would be withdrawn after only 3 performances.


March 30, SaturdayLemuel Shaw died.

The British chemist William Crookes announced discovery of Thallium.

Panne-aux-Airs, a spoof on Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser, opened at the Théâtre-Déjuzet, Paris.

March 30. High water, — up to sixth slat (or gap) above Smith's second post. It is said to have been some nine inches higher about a month ago, when the snow first went off. R.W.E. lately found a pine cut down in Stow’s wood by Saw Mill Brook. According to Channing’s account, Walden must have skimmed nearly, if not entirely, over again once since the 11th or 12th, or after it had been some time completely clear. It seems, then, that in some years it may thaw and freeze again. HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 6, Saturday: Incidental music to Shakespeare’s play The Tempest by Arthur Sullivan was performed for the 1st time, directed by the composer at a graduation concert for the Leipzig Conservatory.

Ya-Mein-Herr, cacophonie de l’Avenue, a spoof on Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser, opened at the Variétés, Paris.


April 6, Saturday: Am surprised to find the river fallen some nine inches notwithstanding the melted snow. But I read in Blodget that the equivalent in water is about one tenth. Say one ninth in this case, and you have one and one third inches, and this falling on an unfrozen surface, the river at the same time falling from a height, shows why it was no more retarded (far from being absolutely raised). There is now scarcely a button-ball to be seen on Moore's tree, where there were many a month ago or more. The balls have not fallen entire, but been decomposed and the seed dispersed gradually, leaving long, stringy stems and their cores dangling still. It is the storms of February and March that disperse them. The (are they cinnamon?) sparrows [Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca] are the finest singers I have heard yet, especially in Monroe's garden, where I see no tree sparrows. Similar but more prolonged and remarkable and loud.

32. His notes are in his 2d Commonplace Book. HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 15, Monday: Elizabeth Burrill Curtis was born, 1st child of George William Curtis and Anna Shaw Curtis.

Richard Wagner met the Grand Duke of Baden in Karlsruhe. The two made plans to mount Tristan und Isolde in September (this would come to nought).

President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion.


May 9, Thursday: Richard Wagner arrived in Vienna looking for singers for a projected performance of Tristan und Isolde in Karlsruhe. LISTEN TO IT NOW



June 22, Saturday: The dog Fips died. It had been the final connection between Richard Wagner and Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner.

Towards eleven o’clock at night he seemed to have fallen asleep under Minna’s bed, but when I drew him out he was dead. The effect of this melancholy event on Minna and myself was never expressed in words. In our childless life together the influence of domestic pets had been very important. The sudden death of this lively and lovable animal acted as the final rift in a union which had long become impossible. HDT WHAT? INDEX


The War Eagle was pressed into service and transferred 5 companies of the 1st Minnesota Infantry from St. Paul to La Crosse. (Henry Thoreau would board this steamboat on June 26th.)

The Union government began to offer $100.00 cash to new 3-year enlistees (today, that’d be like the Army recruiter coming before a high school class and offering a new Detroit compact car as an inducement to enlist):

The more than nine hundred men who fell into ranks on the parade ground of Fort Snelling on the morning of 22 June 1861 were beginning to look like soldiers despite their red flannel shirts, black pants, and black felt hats. They were young, mostly in their late teens and early and mid-twenties, and their appearance suggested that a good number of them made their living with their hands. Just a few months before most of them had been farmers, but there were also trappers, lumbermen, schoolteachers, and clerks in the ranks. The day before many of them had said their final farewells to weeping mothers and sweethearts. Now, less than two months after enlisting, they were off to war. The men were addressed by their chaplain, the Reverend Edward Neill. He urged them to see their mission in a determined but charitable light. “Your errand is not to overturn, but to uphold the most tolerant and forbearing government on earth,” he said. “You go to war with misguided brethren, not with wrathful, but with mourning hearts.… To fight for a great principle is a noble work. We are all erring and fallible men; but the civilized world feel that you are engaged in a just cause, which God will defend.” When the brief departure ceremony concluded, the men marched down the bluffs to the wharf, where two flat- bottomed steamers, the Northern Belle and the War Eagle, were waiting to take them to St. Paul, the state capital as well as its largest city. On reaching the upper levee they disembarked and proceeded to march through the main street. Although it was only seven o’clock in the morning, most of the town’s ten thousand citizens had turned out to see the regiment off. There were more emotional farewells, and the women of St. Paul gave each man a havelock, a cloth covering designed to keep the neck from getting sunburned.… “[W]hat a sight it was to see the boys, arrayed in their black felt hats, black pantaloons and bright red shirts — with their guns, carried at a right shoulder shift, glistening in the sun-light as they were marching toward the front, and to duty. I never have seen, never expect to, and, in fact, never want to see a more glamorous one.” HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 22: A.m. Some 15 miles below Mankato, detained by fog in last part of night. Big woods below Le Sueur. Have not yet seen no[r] do see for one mile straight — commonly not 1/4 or say about 50 r[o]ds [of] water. Run on a rock. See same birds along river as in C[oncord] except gulls & turkey buzzard [Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura], viz. peetweet, bank swallow, kingfisher & ducks, jays, Wilson thrush, rose— br[easted] grosbeak, scarcely a robin, Maryland yel[low]—throat whippoorwill, nighthawk, blue heron, mud hen (?) (Clapper Rail Rallus longirostris), a few hawks, great many pigeons, perhaps a few white—bel[] swallows, 2 or 3 shelldrakes, some vireos, whippoorwill. Mississippi 3 times as wide where r runs into it below Pike I. Reach St. Pauls at 9 p.m. The very wet lagoons of St. Peter’s [River] are close to the mouth. St. Peter’s, clay-colored water, yet pretty clear in a tumbler when settled. White maples larger & more prevailing higher up. Next payment (in July) to come off at Yel[low] Medicine [Agency].

August 7, Wednesday: At a Tonkünstlerversammlung in Weimar, attended by Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Peter Cornelius, and Hans von Bülow, the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein was founded.

August 31, Saturday: Orchestral excerpts from Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde were heard for the 1st time (save the prelude) in an outdoor performance in the Vienna Volkgarten, conducted by Johann Strauss. LISTEN TO IT NOW

October 30, Wednesday: Richard Wagner suggested to the publisher Franz Schott the idea of “a grand comic opera” called Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. LISTEN TO IT NOW

December 1, Sunday: George Minott of Concord died at the age of 78.

In Mainz, Richard Wagner read the scenario of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg to Franz Schott, who immediately offered him 10,000 francs. LISTEN TO IT NOW

December 22, Sunday: For the 1st time Crown Prince Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm saw a performance of Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser. HDT WHAT? INDEX



February 5, Wednesday: Richard Wagner read Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg to a large crowd in Mainz. LISTEN TO IT NOW

February 21, Friday: Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner showed up unexpectedly at Richard Wagner’s residence in Biebrich. He described what follows as “ten days in hell.” He wanted a divorce but could not raise this issue due to her bad health. They decided on a separation — she would move to Dresden, he to Vienna.

March 25, Tuesday: Richard Wagner in Biebrich wrote a letter to King Johann of Saxony, pleading for amnesty on account of his need to have access to the Dresden theater and because of the ill-health of his wife Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer Wagner.

The federal government prepared to pay prize money for negrero vessels captured under the slave-trade law: “An Act to facilitate Judicial Proceedings in Adjudications upon Captured Property, and for the better Administration of the Law of Prize” (STATUTES AT LARGE, XII. 374-5; CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE, 37th Congress, 2d session, Appendix, pages 346-7). INTERNATIONAL SLAVE TRADE

March 28, Friday: After an exile of 13 years, King Johann granted Richard Wagner a full amnesty for his part in the May 1849 uprising in Dresden, and allowed the composer to reenter Saxony.

July 30, Wednesday: Fünf Gedichte für eine Frauenstimme by Richard Wagner to words of Mathilde Wesendonck was performed for the initial time, at Laubenheim near Mainz (the songs had been composed in 1857-1858 during Wagner’s liaison with Frau Wesendonck).

November 1, Saturday: The Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and was conducted by the composer himself. LISTEN TO IT NOW

November 14, Friday: Richard Wagner moved to Vienna once more, hoping to produce Tristan und Isolde there. LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 23, Sunday: Richard Wagner read his poem Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in the home of Dr. Josef Standhartner in Vienna. LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX


December 26, Friday: Richard Wagner conducted music from his unperformed music-dramas Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in Vienna in a concert attended by the Empress of Austria.

LISTEN TO IT NOW Witnessing the 38 hangings of natives and half-breeds ordered by President Abraham Lincoln in Mankato, Minnesota, allegedly, was a worker in a traveling circus, Albert Woolson, 15 years of age, who would enlist as a drummer boy and would eventually become the last survivor of the , dying in 1956 at the age of 106 (allegedly, that is, unless all these memories were merely part of some elaborate extended circus con). The hangings were carried out to the cheers of a local crowd. After the mass murder the bodies were disposed of in a mass grave, but that night several local doctors would dig them back up as unprotected objects for dissection.33

RACE WAR IN MINNESOTA The decomposing bodies of Indians evidently made the most excellent fertilizer, for in the panorama description of the aftermath of the Sioux War, white maidens in party dresses were only needing to shake the HDT WHAT? INDEX


33. The famous medico sons of Dr. William Mayo, in particular, would learn their osteology by studying the skeleton of Marpiya Okinajin, or “Cut Nose,” and a specimen of his skin would be preserved in a white museum.

Whether anyone learned more than osteology from this curious contact with the native Other is presently unknown. THE MARKET FOR HUMAN BODY PARTS HDT WHAT? INDEX



trees in order to produce a plentiful crop of white babies: HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner gave concerts in Vienna, Prague, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.

January 1, Thursday: Caroline Cushing Andrews got married with Rufus Leighton, a clerk for the Department of Treasury and professional stenographer.

The Reverend William Rounseville Alger delivered the annual election sermon before the Massachusetts Legislature.

The metric system became mandatory in Italy.

Two Schmiedelieder from Siegfried by Richard Wagner were performed for the initial time, in a concert setting in the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, directed by the composer.

Major General John B. Magruder, who had become the Confederate commander of military forces in Texas on November 29, 1862, gave the recapture of Galveston top priority. At 3AM four Confederate gunboats appeared, coming down the bay toward Galveston. Soon afterward, the Rebels commenced a land attack. The Union forces in Galveston were three companies of the 42d Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment under the command of Colonel Isaac S. Burrell. The Confederates captured or killed all of them except for the regiment’s adjutant. They also took the Harriet Lane, by boarding her, and two barks and a schooner. Commander W.B. Renshaw’s flagship, the USS Westfield, ran aground when trying to help the Harriet Lane and, at 10AM, she was blown up to prevent her capture. Galveston was in Confederate hands again although the would limit commerce in and out of the harbor. Soon afterward, the Rebels would be commencing a land attack upon the port city.

Congress had enacted in 1861 that all slaves employed against the Union were to be considered free, and in 1862 that all slaves of men who supported the Confederacy were to be considered free. At this point President Abraham Lincoln, who had been dragging his feet, more or less got on board this onrushing train. Having made a preliminary proclamation on September 22, 1862 that emancipation from slavery would become effective, at the turn of the year, in those states which had not renounced their rebelliousness, at this point he made good on his threat by issuing a proclamation of emancipation that had been drafted by a bunch of Washington lawyers. READ THE FULL TEXT

A devout man, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Portland Chase read the BIBLE daily and sought comfort in God for the loss of so many of his wives and so many of his children. When Chase had called to the President’s attention that there was no mention of the Deity in the draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln had allowed as a new last line “And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of all mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.” SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE HDT WHAT? INDEX


At the clock tick which began this year he, as a martial law measure, offered to “emancipate” all those slaves he did not have the power physically to touch, without offering anything at all to any slave whom he did have the power physically to touch. It was a neat trick, especially since we have no reason to suspect that he would have been willing to touch any black person whom he did have the power physically to touch. Although to all appearances he grandly was declaring to be free all slaves residing in territories in rebellion against the federal government, his “Emancipation Proclamation,” so called, would turn out to be actually only a temporary martial-law proclamation, which in accordance with the deliberate intention of its careful drafters would free precious few. (I don’t know that a head count has ever been conducted, and here suggest that such a count would prove to be alarming if not nauseating.) The proclamation explicitly stated that it did not apply at all to any of the slaves in border states fighting on the Union side; nor would it be of any applicability to slaves in southern areas already under Union control; nor would it be of any use to any other slaves, since, naturally, the states in rebellion would take no action on Lincoln’s order.34 To avail themselves of this opportunity, slaves would have to vote with their feet. At great risk they would need to make their way across the battle lines into the Northern-controlled territories, where they would need to volunteer for war labor and get their names registered in the emancipation program. Pacifists and noneffectives need not apply.

Abraham Lincoln had been quite reluctant to see affairs come even to such a straited pass as this. A believer in white supremacy, he never viewed the war in any other manner than in terms of preserving the Union and his own control as President over the entirety of it. The simple fact was that, as pressure for abolition mounted in Congress and the country, as a practical politician similar to President Richard Milhouse Nixon (who would espouse and finance the Head Start program because of its political popularity although he believed the money was being wasted on children who, because they were black, would be incapable of profiting from the attention and the expenditure), Lincoln was willing to cave in and make himself more responsive. Thus it had come about that:

34. The hypocrisy of this was being well commented on in French newspapers at that time. For a review of this French commentary on the American white hypocrisy, refer to Blackburn, George M. FRENCH NEWSPAPER OPINION ON THE . Contributions in American History No. 171. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. HDT WHAT? INDEX



WHEREAS on the 22nd day of September, A.D. 1862, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. That the executive will on the 1st day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State or the people thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such States shall have participated shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-In-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for supressing [sic??] said rebellion, do, on this 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the first day above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Palquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebone, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Morthhampton [sic??], Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued. And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all case when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages. HDT WHAT? INDEX


The federal government’s temporary instrument of war allowed that, while human slavery would continue to be tolerated everywhere within its sphere of influence, it would no longer tolerate this practice in any area not within said sphere of influence.

Nevertheless, before a black audience in Tremont Temple in Boston, this governmental declaration was read aloud and Frederick Douglass led in the singing of the hymn “Blow ye the trumpet, blow!” William Cooper Nell, President of the sponsoring Union Progressive Association, addressed the group. For this occasion Waldo Emerson composed “Boston Hymn,” a poem in which he neatly cut the Gordian Knot of compensation:

Pay ransom to the owner And fill the bag to the brim. Who is the owner? The slave is the owner, And ever was. Pay him.

We may imagine that on this occasion hands were shaken all around, with no distinction of color. Imagine then, if you will, the author of this Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln, during one of his many electoral campaigns, reaching down from the stump and grasping the hand of a black man. Do you fancy that this ever happened?

The word “emancipation,” after all, comes to us from the Latin manus, meaning “hand,” and capio, meaning “take.” When a Roman purchased something, it was considered that the act of purchasing was not complete, either conventionally or legally, until he had grasped it with his hand. If he was purchasing land, he picked up a handful of soil and thereby took title. If he was purchasing a slave, he took hold of the slave and thereby took title.

The power of this paterfamilias over his son was, in fact, the same as the power of this man over his slave – HDT WHAT? INDEX


he could execute either one– but there was a legal ceremony by which, when his son became of age, his son could be set free to form his own familias. In that ceremony the father took the son by the hand, as if he were taking possession of a slave, but then dropped his son’s hand. After he had done this three times in succession, his son was emancipio. Emancipation, therefore, had a lot to do with shaking hands. Except during the US Civil War.

I am leading up to saying that Abraham Lincoln “emancipated” all those slaves he did not have the power physically to touch, but did not emancipate any slave he did have the power physically to touch. It was a neat trick. Here, in this painting, we can see how it was done:

The Emancipation Proclamation was an offer to place names on a list, which persons, should they fulfil the preconditions, would, at the end of the period of hostilities, be granted papers of manumission by the Federal Government. This was a very formal matter. It required prior registration. Whose names were actually so registered? Who actually received such papers of manumission? There should be such a list somewhere, if anyone did initiate or complete this process and if anyone did actually get freedom through this vehicle. Where is that list? How long is it? Does it exist? No, my friend, you’ve been conned. After a long and bloody civil war which was fought over whether we were going to be one nation state or two rather than over racial issues, we got ourselves out of this holiday from the Commandments in part by a carefully worded temporary martial law measure denominated the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been created by a team of white Washington DC lawyers. Under the terms of that martial law measure, which lapsed as soon as martial law lapsed, if a Southern slave could make it across the battle lines intact, and then perform labor for the Northern armies, and if that Southern slave could arrange to have his or her name recorded as part of the indicated program, as one of its beneficiaries, then, and only then, could he or she hope that at the successful conclusion HDT WHAT? INDEX


of the war he or she would receive freebie manumission papers from the federal government. Read the fine print, and weep. I don’t know how few people managed to avail themselves of this very restricted opportunity, but I do know it must have been very few, and I suspect in fact that it was zero. Perhaps one reason why we don’t have a list of the names of people who obtained freedom in this way is embarrassment, at how short or null such a list would prove to be. We don’t want to know about such things. I have come across one such actual named military emancipation from this period. This emancipation did not, however, relate in any way to the Emancipation Proclamation. It related, instead, to a military Board of Claims for Enlisted Slaves which was instituted under General Order No. 329 of the War Department during 1863. Here is the original certification of manumission document, from this Office of the Board of Claims, and it seems to be based on military service that had been rendered by the slave Isaac Gorden as a member of H Company, 30th Regiment. of the U.S. Colored Troops. It includes an order to reimburse the owner of this soldier Isaac Gordon, a man named N. Hammond Esgless. The document reads as follows: “OFFICE OF

BOARD OF CLAIMS for slaves enlisted in U.S. Service, No. 19 South Street, Baltimore, Maryland. I HEREBY CERTIFY, That Philip Pettibone of [blank] county, State of Maryland, has filed with the Board of Claims for Enlisted Slaves, instituted under General Order No. 329, War Department, 1863, - a valid Deed of Manumission and Release of service of Isaac Gorden a man of African decent, of Anne Arundel county, Md., enlisted on the 10th day of March, 1864, in the 30th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops, Co. H, as per Muster-rolls and descriptive list of said Regiment, filed at this office, appears. Witness my hand and seal this 21st. day of November, eighteen hundred and sixty four [signed] John S. Sears, Clerk to Board of Claims.” There is an impress seal that says: Board of Claims for Enlisted Slaves No. 19 South St. Baltimore, Md. At the bottom of the document the following appears: “$100.00 Annapolis Md. Nov. 29, 1864. The Treasurer of the State of Maryland, Pay to N. Hammond Esgless, or Order, the sum of One Hundred Dollars, being the sum appropriated for my slave Isaac Gorden, of Anne arundel County, Md. enlisted as described in the above HDT WHAT? INDEX


Certificate, under Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland, chapter 15, 246 and 373, of 1864. [signed] Philip Pettibone Test, [signature illegible]” There are two Revenue stamps, a 5-cent and 2-cent, attached to the document and they are dated “Nov 29.” The document has two folds. There is writing on the back of the document which appears to be for filing purposes.

After the Emancipation Proclamation, however, Headman Seattle (See-Ahth of the Susquamish) of the Susquamish, the same “Chief Seattle” who is famous for an environmentalist speech in the manner in which we all should be famous for our environmental speeches, that is, famous for an environmental speech which in fact wasn’t made (his actual speech seems to have been about the deep spiritual differences between peoples of widely differing cultures), did free his eight Native American slaves.

In this year, the Union army would begin to enlist black soldiers, to serve of course under white officers, of course at a lower rate of pay than white soldiers. Notice this unit’s drummer, who was paid at a lower rate still, HDT WHAT? INDEX


paid less for being not only black but also, indeed, only a little boy. A quite emancipated little boy.

The lithograph which pictured this little drummer was based on a daguerreotype made indoors, next door to HDT WHAT? INDEX


“Roadside”, the country home of Friends James and Lucretia Mott near Philadelphia.

This was a military training camp, on which people were preparing for the task of killing other people, and it was named “Camp William Penn,” after a Quaker pacifist who was being alleged to have given up the wearing HDT WHAT? INDEX


of the sword of nobility, whose favorite punch line went:

It is not our ends that justify our means.

The image is a fraud. In the original, there is no flag waving bravely in the background. There is no tent. There is no greenery. There is no little drummer boy flanking to the right. Looking carefully at the fraud, we can see that the countenances of the black men have been sketched on, exaggerating their negroid features in such manner as to emphasize, that the important thing which we are to grasp about these Union soldiers, is their ethnicity.

Here is a real photograph of Camp William Penn. As you can clearly see, a waving flag looks quite a bit HDT WHAT? INDEX


different in a real photograph of the period!

The irony of this seems rather heavy. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, as his contribution to the recruitment campaign for the war (what if they gave a war and nobody came?), the immortal patriotic doggerel HDT WHAT? INDEX


“one if by day, and two if by night.”35

Frederick Douglass traveled through the cities of the North, recruiting black men to serve the Union Army. His son Lewis, age 22, and his son Charles Remond, age 19, were among the first to enlist. But the Union armies were routinely returning runaways to their owners. General McClellan ordered that slave rebellions were to be put down “with an iron hand.” But there were so many runaways. Finally, in Virginia, a Union general who believed in slavery, Benjamin Butler, began to declare them “contraband of war” and put them to work. Although Abraham Lincoln had twice disciplined Union generals who had freed slaves, putting slaves to work was something the President could accept, and the result was the Confiscation Act.

Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson described a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation at Camp Saxton on one of the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina, that had been occupied by Northern black

35. Well, at least that was the way Gerald Ford’s teleprompter had it, when he gave the keynote address at the Concord Bicentennial Celebration of April 19, 1975 at the Old North Bridge. And perhaps no poet has been parodied more: it’s all because, while he was at Bowdoin College in 1822 with author-to-be Nathaniel Hawthorne (still Hathorne) and president-to-be Franklin Pierce, he was accustomed to play whist without a helmet.

[Acting on a news story about ex-Presidents selling their autographs, I have sent a copy of this page to ex-President Gerald Rudolph Ford, along with a $1.00 bill and a reminder that in the era in question a dollar bill was worth almost precisely what a C-note is worth today, and asked if he could in good humor initial below:

X ______]

Longfellow’s thing about “one if by land, and two if by sea” was of course inaccurate in that the Atlantic Ocean didn’t ever get involved. The militia’s concern was whether the regular troops stabled in Boston were going to march down the Neck and through Roxbury, or first row themselves across the Charles River so they could march through Cambridge. In quoting Longfellow before the Concordians on April 19, 1975 as having said “one if by day, and two if by night,” Former President Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr., seems to me to have been saying something very Thoreauvian to these people, he was almost saying:

Look, this history stuff you have been passing off is drivel, and besides, you aren’t at all like your ancestors. For one thing your ancestors didn’t worship themselves, the way you worship yourselves through your ancestors. For another thing, it’s way past time you people got busy and did something for others, rather than wanting other people to come around and make your bacon for you. Would you look at this dump, you’re turning Concord into a damned tourist trap! By creatively “misquoting” this poem, I’m going to show you how little it, and you, are worth in the great scheme of things. HDT WHAT? INDEX


troops and were being protected by the ships of the US Navy.

The services began at half past eleven o’clock, with a prayer.... Then the President’s Proclamation was read.... Then the colors were presented.... Then followed an incident so touching, so utterly unexpected and startling, that I can scarcely believe it on recalling, though it gave the keynote to the whole day. The very moment the speaker had ceased, and just as I took and waved the flag, which now for the first time meant anything to these poor people, there suddenly arose, close beside the platform, a strong male voice (but rather cracked and elderly), into which two women’s voices instantly blended, singing as if by an impulse that could no more be repressed than the morning note of the song-sparrow. —

My Country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing!

After the ceremony the white officers visited a nearby plantation and viewed the instruments of torture still lying in the local slave-jail. HDT WHAT? INDEX


In Beaufort, South Carolina, the Reverend Dr. William Henry Brisbane, the Union officer in charge of auctioning off the lands and structures of the former slave plantations of the district, read the Emancipation Proclamation aloud to thousands of freedmen.

General John Pope sent General Henry Hastings Sibley and General Alfred Sully onto the Dakota reservation in Minnesota, to hunt down the remaining tribespeople and get them off their land so it could be divided into HDT WHAT? INDEX


farm acreage for white people.

RACE WAR IN MINNESOTA (Early in this year, Stephen Grover Cleveland, a future president, was 26 years of age and it was time to serve his country — so he hired a man to serve in his stead. He was just as much a draft dodger, in his era, as William J. Clinton and George W. Bush, in our own era!)

January 6, Tuesday: Yusuf Kamil Pasha replaced Keçecizade Mehmed Fuad Pasha as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.

Piano Sonata no.3 by Johannes Brahms was performed in Vienna by the composer. The critic Eduard Hanslick remarked, “it belongs to the most inward experiences that recent piano music has to offer.” In the audience was Richard Wagner who was in Vienna trying to get his Tristan und Isolde performed. Also premiered were Brahms’ song Jucche! op.6/4 to words of Reinick, Treue Liebe op.7/1 to words of Ferrand, and Parole op.7/2 to words of Eichendorff.

February 8, Sunday: Prussia allied with Russia to put down the Polish insurgency.

In Prague, Richard Wagner conducted the Provisional Theater Orchestra in a concert of his own works (the principal violist was Antonin Dvorák).

Georges Bizet’s ode-symphony Vasco de Gama to words of Delâtre was performed for the initial time, at the Société des Beaux Arts, conducted by the composer. HDT WHAT? INDEX


February 13, Friday: witnessed the first Linz production of Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner. This began his love affair with the music and ideas of Wagner, opening an entire universe of new possibilities. HDT WHAT? INDEX


May 12, Tuesday: Richard Wagner moved into a new house in Penzing, near Vienna.

On the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa, to avoid the spilling of royal blood, assassins strangled King Radama II with a cloth of silk, and so the throne would pass to one of his wives, Rabodo, as Queen Rasoherina.

In the ongoing civil war in the United States of America, there was fighting at Raymond. HDT WHAT? INDEX


A report from Walt Whitman: “Specimen Days”

A NIGHT BATTLE, OVER A WEEK SINCE There was part of the late battle at Chancellorsville, (second Fredericksburgh,) a little over a week ago, Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday, under Gen. Joe Hooker, I would like to give just a glimpse of — (a moment’s look in a terrible storm at sea — of which a few suggestions are enough, and full details impossible.) The fighting had been very hot during the day, and after an intermission the latter part, was resumed at night, and kept up with furious energy till 3 o’clock in the morning. That afternoon (Saturday) an attack sudden and strong by Stonewall Jackson had gain’d a great advantage to the southern army, and broken our lines, entering us like a wedge, and leaving things in that position at dark. But Hooker at 11 at night made a desperate push, drove the secesh forces back, restored his original lines, and [Page 722] resumed his plans. This night scrimmage was very exciting, and afforded countless strange and fearful pictures. The fighting had been general both at Chancellorsville and northeast at Fredericksburgh. (We heard of some poor fighting, episodes, skedaddling on our part. I think not of it. I think of the fierce bravery, the general rule.) One corps, the 6th, Sedgewick’s, fights four dashing and bloody battles in thirty-six hours, retreating in great jeopardy, losing largely but maintaining itself, fighting with the sternest desperation under all circumstances, getting over the Rappahannock only by the skin of its teeth, yet getting over. It lost many, many brave men, yet it took vengeance, ample vengeance. But it was the tug of Saturday evening, and through the night and Sunday morning, I wanted to make a special note of. It was largely in the woods, and quite a general engagement. The night was very pleasant, at times the moon shining out full and clear, all Nature so calm in itself, the early summer grass so rich, and foliage of the trees — yet there the battle raging, and many good fellows lying helpless, with new accessions to them, and every minute amid the rattle of muskets and crash of cannon, (for there was an artillery contest too,) the red life-blood oozing out from heads or trunks or limbs upon that green and dew-cool grass. Patches of the woods take fire, and several of the wounded, unable to move, are consumed — quite large spaces are swept over, burning the dead also — some of the men have their hair and beards singed — some, burns on their faces and hands — others holes burnt in their clothing. The flashes of fire from the cannon, the quick flaring flames and smoke, and the immense roar — the musketry so general, the light nearly bright enough for each side to see the other — the crashing, tramping of men — the yelling — close quarters — we hear the secesh yells — our men cheer loudly back, especially if Hooker is in sight — hand to hand conflicts, each side stands up to it, brave, determin’d as demons, they often charge upon us — a thousand deeds are done worth to write newer greater poems on — and still the woods on fire — still many are not only scorch’d — too many, unable to move, are burn’d to death. HDT WHAT? INDEX


“Specimen Days”

Then the camps of the wounded — O heavens, what scene is this? — is this indeed humanity — these butchers’ shambles? [Page 723] There are several of them. There they lie, in the largest, in an open space in the woods, from 200 to 300 poor fellows — the groans and screams — the odor of blood, mixed with the fresh scent of the night, the grass, the trees — that slaughter-house! O well is it their mothers, their sisters cannot see them — cannot conceive, and never conceiv’d, these things. One man is shot by a shell, both in the arm and leg — both are amputated — there lie the rejected members. Some have their legs blown off — some bullets through the breast — some indescribably horrid wounds in the face or head, all mutilated, sickening, torn, gouged out — some in the abdomen — some mere boys — many rebels, badly hurt — they take their regular turns with the rest, just the same as any — the surgeons use them just the same. Such is the camp of the wounded — such a fragment, a reflection afar off of the bloody scene — while over all the clear, large moon comes out at times softly, quietly shining. Amid the woods, that scene of flitting souls — amid the crack and crash and yelling sounds — the impalpable perfume of the woods — and yet the pungent, stifling smoke — the radiance of the moon, looking from heaven at intervals so placid — the sky so heavenly — the clear-obscure up there, those buoyant upper oceans — a few large placid stars beyond, coming silently and languidly out, and then disappearing — the melancholy, draperied night above, around. And there, upon the roads, the fields, and in those woods, that contest, never one more desperate in any age or land — both parties now in force — masses — no fancy battle, no semi-play, but fierce and savage demons fighting there — courage and scorn of death the rule, exceptions almost none. What history, I say, can ever give — for who can know — the mad, determin’d tussle of the armies, in all their separate large and little squads — as this — each steep’d from crown to toe in desperate, mortal purports? Who know the conflict, hand-to-hand — the many conflicts in the dark, those shadowy-tangled, flashing moonbeam’d woods — the writhing groups and squads — the cries, the din, the cracking guns and pistols — the distant cannon — the cheers and calls and threats and awful music of the oaths — the indescribable mix — the officers’ orders, persuasions, encouragements — the devils fully rous’d in human hearts — the strong shout, Charge, men, charge — [Page 724] the flash of the naked sword, and rolling flame and smoke? And still the broken, clear and clouded heaven — and still again the moonlight pouring silvery soft its radiant patches over all. Who paint the scene, the sudden partial panic of the afternoon, at dusk? Who paint the irrepressible advance of the second division of the Third corps, under Hooker himself, suddenly order’d up — those rapid-filing phantoms through the woods? Who show what moves there in the shadows, fluid and firm — to save, (and it did save,) the army’s name, perhaps the nation? as there the veterans hold the field. (Brave Berry falls not yet — but death has mark’d him — soon he falls.) HDT WHAT? INDEX


“Specimen Days”

UNNAMED REMAINS THE BRAVEST SOLDIER Of scenes like these, I say, who writes — whoe’er can write the story? Of many a score — aye, thousands, north and south, of unwrit heroes, unknown heroisms, incredible, impromptu, first-class desperations — who tells? No history ever — no poem sings, no music sounds, those bravest men of all — those deeds. No formal general’s report, nor book in the library, nor column in the paper, embalms the bravest, north or south, east or west. Unnamed, unknown, remain, and still remain, the bravest soldiers. Our manliest — our boys — our hardy darlings; no picture gives them. Likely, the typic one of them (standing, no doubt, for hundreds, thousands,) crawls aside to some bush-clump, or ferny tuft, on receiving his death- shot — there sheltering a little while, soaking roots, grass and soil, with red blood — the battle advances, retreats, flits from the scene, sweeps by — and there, haply with pain and suffering (yet less, far less, than is supposed,) the last lethargy winds like a serpent round him — the eyes glaze in death — none recks — perhaps the burial-squads, in truce, a week afterwards, search not the secluded spot — and there, at last, the Bravest Soldier crumbles in mother earth, unburied and unknown.

November 28, Monday: While travelling from Mainz to Löwenberg, Richard Wagner stopped at the home of Hans von Bülow in Berlin. In the afternoon, as von Bülow was rehearsing, Wagner and Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow went for a cab ride through Berlin. They both would regard this as the beginning of their serious relationship. (At this point Cosima was already the mother of 3-year-old Daniela von Bülow and infant Blandina Elisabeth Veronica von Bülow, but obviously they weren’t along for this “tears and sobs” and “we sealed our confession to belong to each other alone” Romantic cab ride through the city.) HDT WHAT? INDEX



February 6, Saturday-7, Sunday: Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms met for an initial and final tête-à-tête at the home of Baron von Voclow in Penzing, near Schönbrunn. Brahms had since late 1862 been involved in organizing Wagner’s concerts in Vienna. Brahms performed his Handel Variations, and Wagner offered the left-handed compliment “It shows what can still be done with the old forms by somebody who knows how to handle them.”

There was fighting at Morton’s Ford / Rapidan River.

March 10, Thursday: David Atwood Wasson (1823-1887) wrote from Worcester, Massachusetts to Charles Wesley Slack in regard to arrangements for a Sunday service.

After a short illness King Maximilian II of Bavaria died unexpectedly and Crown Prince Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm became, at the age of 18, King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

March 23, Wednesday: At the age of 50 Richard Wagner escaped from Vienna ahead of his creditors, avoiding debtor’s prison by making for Switzerland via München. HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 14, Thursday: 18-year-old King Ludwig II of Bavaria, on the throne for a few days more than a month, instructed cabinet secretary Franz Seraph von Pfistermeister to find Richard Wagner.

Spanish forces seized the Chincha Islands off the coast of Peru in retaliation for what Spain claimed was Peruvian mistreatment of Spanish immigrants (the islands were an important source of guano).

May 3, Tuesday: As Gioachino Rossini was seeking out Giacomo Meyerbeer in Paris, he was advised of the latter’s death and fainted on the spot. He remained unconscious for 10 minutes (later Rossini would compose a Chant funèbre).

After a search of nearly 2 months, Franz Seraph von Pfistermeister, cabinet secretary to King Ludwig II of Bavaria, caught up with Richard Wagner in Stuttgart and was able to convey the king’s wish that Wagner come to München at once. Later in the day Wagner was advised of the death of Meyerbeer — he would take the coincidence of these “happy” events, the favor of a monarch and the demise of a Jew, as an omen of good fortune. ANTISEMITISM HDT WHAT? INDEX


May 4, Wednesday: 51-year-old Richard Wagner met 18-year-old King Ludwig II for the 1st time, in his Residenz in München, Bavaria. The interview occupied an unprecedented one and three/quarters hours. Ludwig offered the musician an annual stipend and a house on Lake Starnberg in München (Haus Pellet), plus he was going to pay off all his outstanding debts. Wagner would describe this as “It was one unending love scene”:

Unending Love Scene Speaking of unending love scenes, on this day Wagner began his affair with Frau von Bülow. HDT WHAT? INDEX


There was fighting at Day’s Gap / Sand Mountain.

May 10, Tuesday: There was fighting at Chester Station, and at Cove Mountain.

Queen Victoria wrote to the Crown Princess of Prussia, “Meyerbeer’s death grieved me much; I do so admire his music and so did darling Papa (Prince Albert)!”

When Richard Wagner arrived in Vienna to pay off his debts and retrieve personal items, he was informed that his Erard piano has been sold to pay creditors.

May 14, Saturday: Richard Wagner moved into Haus Pellet, a house provided for him on Lake Starnberg by King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

L’île enchantée, a ballet by Arthur Sullivan to a scenario of Desplaces, was performed for the initial time, at Covent Garden Theater, London. It was played after a complete performance of Bellini’s La sonnambula.

May 22, Sunday: His beloved Erard having been sold to pay creditors, King Ludwig II of Bavaria presented Richard Wagner with a new Bechstein piano for his 51st birthday. HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 29, Wednesday: Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow and her daughters joined Richard Wagner at his house on Lake Starnberg, Bavaria. Wagner has invited the von Bülows to his house and Cosima and the children had come on ahead. The husband would himself arrive on July 7th.

A railway accident on the Grand Trunk Railway at Beloeil, Quebec took 99 lives. This was Canada’s worst railway disaster. TIMELINE OF ACCIDENTS

July 7, Thursday: It was only after Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow has been visiting Richard Wagner for a week in the Villa Pellet on Lake Starnberg that her husband Hans von Bülow arrived, completing this most famous musical ménage à trois. During the week before the husband’s arrival Dick and Cosima had been busy, consummating their union. A servant would later inform us that when the husband found the bedroom door to be locked, he went “to his living room, threw himself on the ground, beat on the floor with his hands and feet like a man possessed, and cried and even screamed.”

August 25, Thursday: When Franz Liszt and his daughter Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow arrived at Villa Pellet on Lake Starnberg, Richard Wagner was attending King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s birthday party at Hohenschwangau (he would return that evening).

People were killing each other at Ream’s Station. Elsewhere in the nation, there wasn’t much of this mutual murder going on, except that beginning on this day and continuing into the 29th, people would be killing each other at Smithfield Crossing. President Abraham Lincoln summoned Frederick Douglass to the White House to advise on problems of Lincoln’s re-election campaign. (Reversing his earlier stance, he would endorse Lincoln.)

August 26, Friday: While Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner traveled from Wagner’s Villa Pellet on Lake Starnberg to München, they discussed at length Wagner’s affair with Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow. Liszt was seriously displeased but Wagner spoke at length about just how much preference King Ludwig II of Bavaria was prepared to offer him.

October 5, Wednesday: There was fighting at Allatoona.

A tropical cyclone flattened Calcutta, destroying 70,000 people.

Huldigungsmarsch for military band by Richard Wagner in honor of King Ludwig II of Bavaria was performed for the initial time, in München.

In Kamaishi, Japan, a 200-foot tsunami killed thousands.

October 7, Friday: King Ludwig II of Bavaria promised to provide Richard Wagner with a contract to finish Der Ring der Nibelungen.

There was fighting at Darbytown / New Market Roads / Fourmile Creek. HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 20, Sunday: Mass no.1 in d for solo voices, chorus, orchestra and organ was performed for the initial time, in Linz Cathedral, and directed by its composer Anton Bruckner.

Hans von Bülow arrived with his wife and children in München and took up residence not far from Richard Wagner’s Villa Pellet on the lake. Von Bülow has been appointed “Vorspieler des Königs” at Wagner’s suggestion, although this was a ruse intended to bring Frau von Bülow close enough to be convenient. HDT WHAT? INDEX



April 10, Monday: The news of victory had arrived in Concord:

Hans von Bülow conducted the initial rehearsal for Tristan und Isolde in München a few hours after his wife Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow had given birth to the daughter of the composer of the music, Richard Wagner. The infant would be assigned the name Isolde Ludowitz Josepha von Bülow. LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX


May 11, Thursday: The final dress rehearsal of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde took place before King Ludwig II of Bavaria and an invited audience of 600 in the Königliches Hof-und Nationaltheater in München. This privileged audience was very appreciative of the music and the efforts of the musicians, directed by Hans von Bülow. (Presumably they had all heard via the grapevine that the composer was fucking the director’s wife, and you’ll have to admit, that does add a bit of piquancy to an evening’s proceedings.) LISTEN TO IT NOW

May 15, Monday: On the day scheduled for the premiere of Tristan und Isolde, agents of the court entered the home of Richard Wagner in München to carry away sufficient furniture, to pay off a 5-year-old debt he owes Madame Julie Salis-Schwabe. His mistress, Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow ran to the Bavarian treasury with a plea from Wagner that they release 2,400 florins against his salary. They did so, in coins which were so heavy that they required two cabs to transport. Later, Wagner learned that Malvina Schnorr von Carolsfeld, who sang the role of Isolde, was so ill that she would be unable to perform, and so the premiere needed to be postponed. LISTEN TO IT NOW

May 18, Thursday: Anton Bruckner met Richard Wagner for the initial time, in München.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk performed at the Oakland Female College.

June 10, Saturday: Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney died in Hartford, Connecticut. She had been one of the most popular writers of her day, both in America and in England, and was being referred to as "the American Hemans." During her life she had contributed more than 2,000 articles to nearly 300 different periodicals, and written more than 50 books.

The premiere of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde was staged for the initial time, in the Königliches Hof- und Nationaltheater of München, directed by Hans von Bülow. Despite some hissing, it was considered a success. In the audience was the Wagner devotee Anton Bruckner. LISTEN TO IT NOW

July 17, Sunday: Richard Wagner began dictating his autobiography to Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner.

Caleb Foote wrote that his son Arthur Foote was passing through “another stage. Having passed through astronomy, locomotives, and rebuses, he is just plunging into music, which absorbs him, for the moment, like a passion.” Arthur was to begin piano lessons on the following day. HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 27, Sunday: Thomas Chandler Haliburton died.

Between this Sunday and the 30th, Wednesday, Richard Wagner would be writing out a prose draft for a poem Parsifal. LISTEN TO IT NOW

November 29, Wednesday: An anonymous letter appeared in a München newspaper, praising King Ludwig II of Bavaria and Richard Wagner but calling for removal of certain court officials. This was easily identified as having been written by Wagner.

December 1, Friday: Bavarian Prime Minister von der Pfordten wrote King Ludwig II of Bavaria demanding that he choose between his people and Richard Wagner, and threatening to resign (the king considered abdicating in order to go and live with Wagner; Wagner managed to persuade him that this was not a good idea).

December 3, Sunday: King Ludwig II of Bavaria wrote to inform Richard Wagner that he was leaving Hohenschwangau and returning to München to deal with the crisis caused by Wagner’s letter to the newspaper of November 29th.

December 6, Wednesday: The XIIIth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed by the federal Senate on April 8, 1864 and by the federal House of Representatives on January 31, 1865, was ratified. The federal legislature, and only the federal legislature (not the executive branch, nor the judiciary), was to hold the constitutional power to criminalize human enslavement. The only thing that remained to be done, was for the federal congress actually to define a federal crime of enslavement, with associated punishments, and to make this federal criminal legislation effective by providing a definition of the elements of the offense, so that our court system would have guidelines to work with — something which in fact it would never do, as this constitutional amendment had been intended to function only as a stone fraud. (In fact, in these United States of America, neither before, during, or after our Civil War has any American citizen ever been arrested, arraigned, tried, convicted, sentenced, and punished, for a federal offense of having enslaved another person. It isn’t possible because the federal congress, which acquired exclusive agency, has always refused to state, what slavery might be, what it might consist of, how it might be recognized if it did exist. By virtue of this HDT WHAT? INDEX


amendment, neither the executive nor the judiciary can act until the legislature acts, because that would be to violate the “separation of powers” doctrine. Therefore our federal court system, and our federal system of district attorneys, cannot protect us against being enslaved any more than they might protect us against being “aardvarked,” for lack of any clue as to what might constitute our being “aardvarked,” or our being “enslaved.”

Confronted with his cabinet’s threat to resign, the grumblings and open hostility of his people, and the strongly worded advice of the royal family, King Ludwig II of Bavaria sent his 2d cabinet secretary, Johann von Lutz, to Richard Wagner’s München home to instruct him that he must leave the country.

The United States government refused to recognize Emperor Maximilian of Mexico.

December 7, Thursday: King Ludwig II of Bavaria wrote Richard Wagner that he should “never doubt the loyalty of your best friend.” HDT WHAT? INDEX


December 10, Sunday: Richard Wagner was obliged to leave Bavaria. Accompanied by his servant and his dog, he left München by train for Bern, Switzerland. He was seen off by Peter Cornelius, Heinrich Porges, and Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner.

King Leopold I of Belgium died in Laeken and was succeeded by his son Leopold II. HDT WHAT? INDEX


A report from Walt Whitman: “Specimen Days”

Again spending a good part of the day at Harewood. I write this about an hour before sundown. I have walk’d out for a few minutes to the edge of the woods to soothe myself with the hour and scene. It is a glorious, warm, golden-sunny, still afternoon. The only noise is from a crowd of cawing crows, on some trees three hundred yards distant. Clusters of gnats swimming and dancing in the air in all directions. The oak leaves are thick under the bare trees, and give a strong and delicious perfume. Inside the wards everything is gloomy. Death is there. As I enter’d, I was confronted by it the first thing; a corpse of a poor soldier, just dead, of typhoid fever. The attendants had just straighten’d the limbs, put coppers on the eyes, and were laying it out. The roads: A great recreation, the past three years, has been in taking long walks out from Washington, five, seven, perhaps ten miles and back; generally with my friend Peter Doyle, who is as fond of it as I am. Fine moonlight nights, over the perfect military roads, hard and smooth — or Sundays — we had these delightful walks, never to be forgotten. The roads connecting Washington and the numerous forts around the city, made one useful result, at any rate, out of the war.

TYPICAL SOLDIERS Even the typical soldiers I have been personally intimate with, — it seems to me if I were to make a list of them it would be like a city directory. Some few only have I mention’d in the foregoing pages — most are dead — a few yet living. There is Reuben Farwell, of Michigan, (little ‘Mitch’); Benton H. Wilson, color-bearer, 185th New York; Wm. Stansberry; Manvill Winterstein, Ohio; Bethuel Smith; Capt. Simms, of 51st New York, (kill’d at Petersburgh mine explosion,) Capt. Sam. Pooley and Lieut. Fred. McReady, same reg’t. Also, same reg’t., my brother, George W. Whitman — in active service all through, four years, re-enlisting twice — was promoted, step by step, (several times immediately after battles,) [Page 775] lieutenant, captain, major and lieut. colonel — was in the actions at Roanoke, Newbern, 2d Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburgh, Vicksburgh, Jackson, the bloody conflicts of the Wilderness, and at Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, and afterwards around Petersburgh; at one of these latter was taken prisoner, and pass’d four or five months in secesh military prisons, narrowly escaping with life, from a severe fever, from starvation and half-nakedness in the winter. (What a history that 51st New York had! Went out early — march’d, fought everywhere — was in storms at sea, nearly wreck’d — storm’d forts — tramp’d hither and yon in Virginia, night and day, summer of ’62 — afterwards Kentucky and Mississippi — re-enlisted — was in all the engagements and campaigns, as above.) I strengthen and comfort myself much with the certainty that the capacity for just such regiments, (hundreds, thousands of them) is inexhaustible in the United States, and that there isn’t a county nor a township in the republic — nor a street in any city — but could turn out, and, on occasion, would turn out, lots of just such typical soldiers, whenever wanted. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 25, Thursday: Christine Wilhelmine Planer (Minna Wagner) had a heart attack in Dresden and died. Richard Wagner was in Marseille at the time, and despite still being officially her husband, would not attempt to attend her funeral.

February 28, Wednesday: The month concluded without there having been a full moon.

Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph II ordered the mobilization of cavalry units in preparation for possible war with Prussia and Italy.

A St. Lewis bankrupt wrote to US Representative Thomas Allen Jenckes, who would sponsor the federal Bankruptcy Act of 1867, to point up the fact that since “the slavery of the colored man was upon one uneducated or refined,” and therefore had psyches that weren’t that greatly damaged, the slavery still being imposed by personal business bankruptcy upon the white American was upon a sort of person who was educated and refined, whose psyche was therefore being very badly damaged. Racist comparisons defined failure and rebuked the government for letting white men fall so low.

April 8, Sunday: A secret alliance between Prussia and Italy was signed in Florence. Prussia promised Venetia to Italy in the event of a Prussian victory over Austria.

April 9, Monday: To pacify German radicals, Prussian Chancellor Bismarck proposed a German parliament elected by universal suffrage.

Edvard Grieg and a Swedish friend left Rome for a week long trip to the region of Naples.

The United States of America granted citizenship to all persons born in the United States (excepting, of course, native Americans) when the federal Congress overrode President Andrew Johnson’s veto and passed a Civil Rights Act, “conferring citizenship” upon black Americans and “guaranteeing equal rights” with whites. Well, on paper at least — and wouldn’t even on paper classify as some sort of improvement? HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 15, Sunday: The widower Richard Wagner moved into “Villa ,” a house obtained for him by King Ludwig II of Bavaria overlooking the Vierwald Stättersee near Lucerne. Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow would join him in May and by the time her husband Hans would arrive in June, she would be pregnant with Wagner’s 2d child.

April 21, Saturday: Prussia and Austria agreed to stand down their armies on their common border.

Jane Carlyle died. Thomas Carlyle grieved, and from this point forward would lack the impetus a great deal (he would however open and edit her diary). Dr. John Aitken Carlyle would suggest that henceforth he and his bereaved brother might live together (the kind offer would be reluctantly declined).

April 27, Friday: Fearful of a Prussian/Italian alliance against them, Austria mobilized its troops in Bohemia and Moravia.

Suite for cello and piano op.16 by Camille Saint-Saëns was performed for the initial time, at the Salle Pleyel, Paris.

May 3, Thursday: Prussian forces mobilized against Austria.

Edvard Grieg reached Berlin from Leipzig. While in the city he purchased a copy of Hector Berlioz’s book on orchestration. While in the music store he asked for his own Humoresques but was informed that the composer has so many friends in Berlin that they were sold out.

May 10, Thursday: King Ludwig II agreed to mobilize the Bavarian army against Prussia.

Karl, Prince of Hohenzollern was elected ruler of Romania.

Edvard Grieg returned to Copenhagen from his sojourn in Italy and Germany.

May 12, Saturday: Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow arrived at the widower Richard Wagner’s “Villa Tribschen” overlooking the Vierwald Stättersee near Lucerne, to console him for the recent loss of his wife Minna Wagner. In order to create the appearance of respectability despite the presence of another man’s wife in his household, Wagner issued an invitation to the entire von Bülow family (by the time Hans would arrive in mid-June, Cosima would be pregnant with Wagner’s 2d child, but nevermind that as these people are artists).

May 15, Tuesday: William Henry Harvey succumbed to his lifelong tuberculosis at Torquay. The body is there in Devon on the south-western tip of England, while his main algal herbarium is at Trinity College, Dublin. During his 55 years he had described in excess of 750 species, and more than 75 genera of algae. His friend Harvard professor Asa Gray would issue a 4-page pamphlet of tribute, WILLIAM HENRY HARVEY.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria sent a telegram to Richard Wagner announcing that he desired to abdicate his throne in order to join the composer in the “Villa Tribschen” home overlooking the Vierwald Stättersee near Lucerne. HDT WHAT? INDEX


May 19, Saturday: Several smaller German states called for a demobilization within the .

May 22, Tuesday: King Ludwig II of Bavaria escaped incognito into Switzerland in order to attend Richard Wagner’s 53rd birthday party. He would remain at “Villa Tribschen” overlooking the Vierwald Stättersee near Lucerne for 2 days.

Karl, son of Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, became Prince Carol I of Romania.

June 1, Friday: Austria openly abrogated the Gastein treaty of the previous August and brought its Schleswig-Holstein dispute before the German diet in Frankfurt.

Julius Philipp Jacob Adriaan, Count van Zuylen van Nijevelt, and Jan Heemskerk replaced Isaac Dignus Fransen van de Putte as chief ministers of the Netherlands.

Renegade Irish Fenians from the United States invaded Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada (after holding out for one day, they would surrender to US forces).

June 8, Friday: Prussia annexed Holstein as Prussian troops marched into the Austrian-held province.

June 9, Saturday: Austria secretly promised Venetia to France in return for French neutrality in the war against Prussia.

June 10, Sunday: The ambassador of Austria in Berlin demanded his passports. The Austrian minister in Frankfurt ordered the mobilization of German federal troops against Prussia.

June 11, Monday: Austria called for military action by the German Confederation against Prussia.

June 12, Tuesday: Diplomatic relations between Prussia and Austria were severed.

June 14, Thursday: When the German Federal Diet voted to militarily oppose the Prussian intervention in Holstein, the Prussian delegates walked out. This was the beginning of what is variously known as the “Austro-Prussian War” or “Seven Weeks’ War” or “Unification War” or “Prussian–German War” or “German Civil War” or “Fraternal War” or “German War,” which would go on until August 23d and as a result of which Bavaria would be forced into alliance with Prussia.

Mid-June: Hans von Bülow arrived at the widower Richard Wagner’s “Villa Tribschen” overlooking the Vierwald Stättersee near Lucerne (his wife Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow was already pregnant with Wagner’s 2d child).

June 16, Saturday: Prussia invaded Saxony, Hannover, and Hesse. HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 17, Sunday: Lewis Cass died. During a long political career he had served as a governor of the Michigan Territory, as an American ambassador, and as a Senator representing Michigan. During the War of 1812 he had served as a brigadier general, participating in the Battle of the Thames. He had been in 1848 the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. The body would be interred in Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan.

Emperor Franz Joseph II of Austria declared war on Prussia.

Bettino Ricasoli, Count Brolio replaced Alfonso Ferrero, marchese di La Marmora as Prime Minister of Italy.

June 18, Monday: Prussian troops reached Dresden.

June 19, Tuesday: Prussia annexed Friedberg in der Wetterau.

Prussian forces reached the summer palace of the King of Saxony at Pirna.

June 20, Wednesday: Under its treaty of alliance with Prussia, Italy needed to declare war on Austria.

From this point until July 7th, US forces would be punishing a Chinese assault on the American consul at Newchwang. US MILITARY INTERVENTIONS

June 21, Thursday: Prussia declared war on Austria. GERMANY

Demetrios Georgios Voulgaris replaced Benizelos Athanasiou Rouphos as prime minister of Greece.

At Camp Whiting in North Carolina, the homes of 8 black families were torched by persons unknown.

June 23, Saturday: The Italian army crossed the Mincio into Austrian territory.

Prussian forces invaded Bohemia in two places. GERMANY

In Columbus County, North Carolina a white man, Dillon Baldwin, whipped a black man, Gabe Rouse, and was reported by the Freedmen’s Bureau. He would need to pay a fine. HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 24, Sunday: Austrian forces defeated the Italians at Custoza west of Verona. Although Austria had more casualties, the Italians retreated. The Austrians did not pursue. GERMANY

June 26, Tuesday: Prussians defeated Austrians in furious street fighting over the Iser (Jizera) crossings in Podol. GERMANY

June 27, Wednesday: Prussian troops attacked well-entrenched Hanoverians at Langensalza in Thuringia. The attack was repulsed and a Hanoverian counterattack sent the Prussians into retreat towards Gotha. Austrian forces attacked Prussians on the high ground at Vysokov near Skalice. In a confused and bloody encounter, they managed to achieve some objectives but are ultimately beaten back and defeated by the Prussians.

At about the same time, Austrian units attacked Prussians near Trautenau (Trutnov). After initial Prussian successes in the morning, a larger Austrian force resumed the attack in the afternoon. They cleared the high ground of Prussians, who retreated and left the Austrians in possession of the field. But the Austrians were forced to withdraw for tactical reasons and leave casualties at a rate four times that of the Prussians.

June 28, Thursday: The main Prussian army arrived at Langensalza and forced the Hanoverians to retreat to the east.

Prussian forces defeated Austrians and Saxons at Münchengrätz (Mnichovo Hradiste), 60 kilometers northeast of Prague, but the main Austrian army escaped. Meanwhile, Prussians defeated the Austrians at Burkersdorf and Rudersdorf, south of Trautenau (Trutnov).

In a furious engagement near the same ground as Vysokov on the previous day, Prussians sent Austrians into retreat at Skalice, leaving thousands of casualties.

July 1, Sunday: The Austrian army crossed the Mincio into Italian territory, but only to forage.

The main Austrian army in Bohemia retreated to positions around Königgrätz (Hradec Králové).

July 3, Tuesday: In the presence of King Wilhelm and Chancellor Bismarck, the Prussian army crossed the Bystrice in force at Sádová, near Königgrätz (Hradec Králové), 100 kilometers east of Prague and engaged the main Austrian army. After about nine hours of battle, the Austrians took to their heels and fled towards Königgrätz, many unaccompanied by their weapons. Hundreds drowned attempting to cross the Elbe in panic. Thousands more would die of exhaustion and exposure. In spite of the extremely favorable situation, the Prussians would not finish off the Austrian army. 33,000 men died in the battle. Upon hearing the news from Sádová, Bedrich Smetana fled the capital, fearing persecution from the Prussians. HDT WHAT? INDEX


July 5, Thursday: In hopes of gaining an ally against Prussia, Austria fulfilled its promise of June 9th and ceded Venetia to France.

The Prussian army set off in pursuit of the Austrians, presently retreating southeast towards Olmütz (Olomouc).

In Genoa, Giuseppe Verdi learned that Venetia has been given by Austria to France and not Italy. He was so upset that he stopped composing Don Carlos. “I am ill in a thousand ways.”

July 10, Tuesday: Prussian forces defeated Bavarians at Kissingen.

Ramón María Narváez y Campos, duque de Valencia replaced Leopoldo O’Donnell Joris, duque de Tetuán as Prime Minister of Spain.

July 12, Thursday: The entry of Prussian troops into Brunn (Brno) was witnessed by a choirboy named Leos Janácek.

July 18, Wednesday: After playing the organ at the Harvard University commencement in the morning, John Knowles Paine boards the steamer Cuba making for Liverpool.

A Prussian administration took over in the Free City of Frankfurt (Main).

July 20, Friday: In the first major engagement fought by ironclad ships, Austrian naval forces destroyed the Italian fleet off Lissa (Vis).

July 22, Sunday: Emperor Franz Joseph II of Austria decided to capitulate to Prussia.

July 26, Thursday: An armistice between Austria and Prussia was agreed to at the country estate of Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Mensdorff at Nikolsburg, Moravia.

Italian forces captured Udine, 100 kilometers northeast of Venice.

John Knowles Paine arrived in Liverpool from Boston and went immediately to London.

July 27, Friday: Karl Mathy replaced Anton von Stabel as prime minister of Baden.

The Great Eastern reached Heart’s Content, Newfoundland with the transatlantic cable. It worked as planned and messages were easily sent across the ocean. Cyrus W. Field had succeeded after a round dozen years of trying in laying a reliable transatlantic cable (1,686 miles long). HDT WHAT? INDEX


July 29, Sunday: King Georg V of Hanover surrendered his army to the Prussians at Nordhausen in northern Thuringia.

Prussians attacked numerically superior Austrians and Saxons at Jicin, 75 kilometers northeast of Prague. Despite some successes the defenders were forced to withdraw in disorder.

July 30, Monday: Italy accepted a three-day cease-fire with Austria.

Whites rioted against blacks in New Orleans. Evidently nobody had bothered to inform the New Orleans police that there had been a XIVth Amendment — they stormed a Republican meeting of blacks and whites, killing more than 40 and wounding more than 150 before federal troops intervened: James G. Hollandsworth, Jr. An Absolute Massacre: The New Orleans Race Riot of July 30, 1866. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001 Citation: Kevin D. Roberts. “Review of James G. Hollandsworth, Jr, An Absolute Massacre: The New Orleans Race Riot of July 30, 1866,” H-South, H-Net Reviews, November, 2001. URL: Reviewed by Kevin D. Roberts, Department of History, University of Texas at Austin. Published by H-South (November, 2001) Reconstruction in Microcosm: The 1866 New Orleans Race Riot Local events that magnify the broader themes of Reconstruction are frequently obscured by the national political events of the era. Though scholars’ attention to legislation and congressional intrigue as a means of grappling with the tumultuous Reconstruction period is understandable, James G. Hollandsworth, Jr., in his study An Absolute Massacre, demonstrates the importance of considering how local events affect historians’ grand narrative of the era. By describing the origins, events, and results of the New Orleans race riot of July 30, 1866, Hollandsworth illuminates the inextricable linkages between national political events and the riot, all the while employing a crafty narrative to build up to the page- turning crescendo of July 30. In short, this study should remind historians of the explanatory power that local events offer to well-covered topics and periods, for the author shows that this particular event was as much a product of national factors as it was of issues unique to Louisiana and New Orleans. Hollandsworth’s study is a much-needed narrative of an event that has received surprisingly little attention by other scholars. The author begins by situating the riot within the state and national political contexts of the period. As he shows, the movement by unionists in Louisiana to form and then to have Congress recognize the Free State of Louisiana was centered in New Orleans, which fell into Union hands in 1862. Though Benjamin “Beast” Butler engendered severe hatred for the Union in New Orleans, Hollandsworth argues that timely interventions by President Abraham Lincoln ensured the creation HDT WHAT? INDEX


of the Free State of Louisiana in 1864. This already complicated political intrigue became the political kindling for violence as a vocal faction of pro-Union free blacks and many transplanted whites opposed congressional recognition of the Free State of Louisiana on the grounds that its constitution did not guarantee universal male suffrage. The lobbying of Radical Republicans by this faction’s leader, Thomas Durant, led to the passage of the Wade-Davis Bill, which would have required that a majority of white voters, rather than Lincoln’s policy of ten percent of voters, swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution in order for a state to be readmitted to the Union. Lincoln’s subsequent pocket veto of the bill ensured that Louisiana’s fledgling unionist government would proceed in its affairs without the support of Durant’s faction, which redoubled its efforts to press for universal male suffrage. The insertion of race into the issue of readmission to the Union exacerbated already tenuous alliances between pro-Union whites and their perceived political inferiors. That fissure stunted the momentum of the pro-Union efforts, especially when it resulted in the disruption of alliances among leading Louisiana politicians such as Michael Hahn, the governor of the Free State of Louisiana, and Thomas Durant. The assassination of Lincoln, whom Hollandsworth describes as “the best friend the Free State of Louisiana had in Washington” (p. 31), was the crucial turning point in these tensions, for President Andrew Johnson’s desire that Reconstruction be a local affair simply strengthened the position of unionists in Louisiana who opposed more liberal suffrage laws. Thus, in the absence of a presidential commitment to Reconstruction from the top down, Hollandsworth argues convincingly that the balance of power shifted to anti-black, anti-suffrage whites, many of whom used black leaders’ activism on the issue of universal male suffrage as a justification for an event that would single-handedly avenge the Confederacy’s defeat and damage the increasing political power of African Americans and their “carpetbagger” allies. With the national political context set, Hollandsworth shifts the focus of his study to those factors that led to the riot itself. At the heart of this momentum is the convention of July 1866, where supporters of universal male suffrage planned to meet in order to ratify a new state constitution that guaranteed those rights. Creating angst among many whites by simply planning to gather, the language of the resolution to be considered by the convention inflamed the situation further: “Resolved, That, until the doctrine of political equality of all citizens, irrespective of color, is recognized in this State by the establishment therein of universal suffrage, there will and can be no permanent peace” (p. 50). Clearly, as Hollandsworth shows with reports from New Orleans newspapers, neither whites nor the pro-suffrage faction was flinching. The tinderbox that had been effectively yet tenuously protected was blown open when delegates to the convention finally arrived HDT WHAT? INDEX


at the Mechanics Institute, the temporary seat of power in the state (the capital would be moved back to Baton Rouge in 1879). Using almost exclusively the House Report No. 16: Report of the Select Committee on New Orleans Riots (1867) as his foundation for reconstructing the day’s events, Hollandsworth traces with blow-by-blow precision the details of the riot, which, although apparently planned by whites in New Orleans well in advance, proceeded helter-skelter once the police-led, white mob stormed the mostly unarmed twenty-seven delegates to the convention in the afternoon of July 30. Though one could concentrate on several aspects of the actual riot itself, the point that resonates profoundly from Hollandsworth’s depiction of the riot is the randomness of the violence. By sunset on July 30, dozens of black citizens who had no affiliation with the convention lay dead, victims of racial violence that was only sporadically halted by the New Orleans police. Although the final tally is, as Hollandsworth indicates, impossible to know with certainty, approximately fifty people were killed and well over one hundred wounded, with all but a few of those casualties being either African Americans or people associated with the convention. Though Hollandsworth fashions a gripping narrative and compelling analysis of national and local politics, An Absolute Massacre, in its sparse coverage of New Orleans society and race relations, raises more questions that it answers. Save for a brief chapter that uses black periodicals to flesh out the lives and thoughts of African Americans in the city, the most obvious weakness of the book is this omission. To what extent did ongoing relations between blacks and whites affect the turmoil of July 30? Were black organizations and communities in the city in public support of the convention? In addition to the riot accelerating the demise of Andrew Johnson and his moderate, locally centered Reconstruction, how did it affect black-white relations in New Orleans immediately following the riot? Addressing such questions would not only strengthen Hollandsworth’s political narrative; so doing would also employ the riot as an explanatory tool for both political events and society in Reconstruction-era New Orleans. It is not Hollandsworth’s project to compose a social history, but a more thorough analysis of the black community in New Orleans would have made his political narrative even more compelling. Nonetheless, Hollandsworth easily accomplishes what appears to be his ultimate goal: the composition of the first book-length study dedicated to the origins and events of the July 30 race riot in New Orleans. Though his focus on the political background to the riot might prompt other scholars to search for social and cultural explanations, James G. Hollandsworth ensures that An Absolute Massacre will be the much-needed foundation for pursuing such inquiries. Copyright 2001 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational purposes, HDT WHAT? INDEX


with full and accurate attribution to the author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews editorial staff at [email protected]

August 2, Thursday: Italy agreed to extend the cease-fire of August 2d until August 10th.

August 12, Sunday: A four-week armistice was agreed to by Austrian and Italian negotiators at Cormons, between Udine and Gorizia. GERMANY

August 13, Monday: A peace agreement was signed between Prussia and Wurttemberg at Berlin, including a secret alliance against France. HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 17, Friday: In Berlin, A peace agreement was signed between Prussia and Baden.

Harper & Brothers issued Herman Melville’s BATTLE-PIECES AND ASPECTS OF THE WAR. This book, dedicated to the 300,000 Union soldiers who had died during the violence, made no mention of the roughly equivalent number of Confederate soldiers who had died roughly equivalent deaths during the violence: The fight for the city is fought In Nature’s old domain; Man goes out to the wilds, And Orpheus’ charm is vain. In glades they meet skull after skull Where pine-cones lay — the rusted gun, Green shoes full of bones, the mouldering coat And cuddled-up skeleton....

He pointed out that humans did not seem wise enough to leave war to WALDEN’s “red and black ants.”

August 22, Wednesday: A peace agreement was signed between Prussia and Bavaria, including a secret alliance against France. HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 23, Thursday: Waldo Emerson wrote from Concord to Charles Wesley Slack, that he would not be able to attend the Republican convention in Philadelphia.

By the Peace of Prague, the Seven Weeks War was over. The German Confederation was ended. Austria was forced out of Schleswig and Holstein and all German affairs. Prussia was given leave to annex Hannover, Hesse-Kassel, Nassau, and Frankfurt, unifying Prussian territory. Austria recognized the North German Confederation. The Austrian cession of Venetia to France was affirmed. This marked the effective end of Austrian dominance, as it had been replaced by Prussia. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 22, Tuesday: King Ludwig II of Bavaria became engaged to Sophie, Duchess in Bavaria, a sister of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The main substance of our relationship has always been ... Richard Wagner’s remarkable and deeply moving destiny.

February 17, Sunday: Waldo Emerson was stranded in Port Byron for a few days due to a Mississippi flood.

Alexander Dallas Bache died at Newport, Rhode Island (he had for some period been incapacitated). His grave is in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC, graced by a monument by Henry Hobson Richardson.

A 2d child was born to Richard Wagner and Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow at Villa Tribschen, near Lucerne. The infant would be named Eva Marie von Bülow after the heroine of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. On the same day the mother’s husband Hans von Bülow arrived at Villa Tribschen.

The Hungarian Diet was opened in Pest. Gyula, Count Andrássy de Csíkszentkirály et Krasznahorska became Prime Minister of .

Lob der Frauen op.315, a polka mazurka by Johann Strauss, was performed for the initial time, in the Volksgarten, Vienna.

June 1, Saturday: The Boston police broke up a prize fight on Breed’s Island.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria went off for a long weekend in the Wartburg Castle on the precipice at Eisenach, supposed setting for the legendary Sängerkrieg.36

July 20, Saturday, 29, Monday: King Ludwig II of Bavaria went off to tour the World Exhibition in Paris, and then visit in Compiègne and Pierrefonds.

August 1, Thursday: The 4th and final instar of Richard Wagner’s grosse romantische Oper Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg (Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg Castle) to his own words was performed for the initial time, in the Königliches Hof-und Nationaltheater, München.

September 16, Monday: Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow took her children and left Richard Wagner in Villa Tribschen, near Lucerne, returning to München to her husband Hans von Bülow.

September 24, Tuesday: The Süddeutsche Presse was established in München with government funds by friends of Richard Wagner. Wagner began a weekly series, “German Art and German Politics.” 36. The full title of Richard Wagner’s 1845 opera Tannhäuser is Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg (Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg Castle). HDT WHAT? INDEX


October 7, Monday: The bridegroom King Ludwig II of Bavaria had repeatedly postponed his wedding, and at this point broke off his engagement with pretty young Bavarian duchess Sophie (later, undaunted, she would get married with Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Alençon).

October 9, Wednesday: Franz Liszt arrived at Villa Tribschen near Lucerne and for 6 hours he and Richard Wagner discussed Wagner’s relationship with his daughter Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow. Later they discussed Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, with Liszt sight-reading from the orchestral score while Wagner supplied the vocals. Liszt deemed it a masterpiece. They would not see each other again for 5 years. LISTEN TO IT NOW

October 24, Thursday: Richard Wagner completed Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. LISTEN TO IT NOW

December 19, Thursday: King Ludwig of Bavaria ordered that the series of articles by Richard Wagner entitled “German Art and German Politics” be discontinued. We don’t know why, but typically these articles had been anti-French and had favored . HDT WHAT? INDEX



April 4, Friday: The conclusion of Act 3 to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, in Linz, conducted by Anton Bruckner. Also on the program was the premiere of Bruckner’s own O könnt’ ich dich beglücken for tenor, bass, and male chorus to words of Silberstein.

June 21, Sunday: Franz Liszt performed in the Great Banquet Hall of the Vatican Library before Pope Pius IX and other high church officials at a gathering to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the elevation of the Pope.

Premiere of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, a music drama by Richard Wagner to his own words in the Königliches Hof-und Nationaltheater, München, conducted by Hans von Bülow, before King Ludwig II of Bavaria and 1,500 invited guests. Although a success with the public, the critics were unimpressed. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Summer: King Maximilian II had already had paths and lookout points constructed in the area around the Jugend lookout point, and in the 1850s, as a birthday present for consort Marie, he had positioned an iron bridge, the “Marienbrücke,” across Pöllat Gorge. At this point some 8 meters of stone were removed from the top of the Jugend to the left of the Pöllat to prepare the site for the erection of a fantastical “New Hohenschwangau Castle” modelled by King Ludwig II of Bavaria after the palace at Versailles (this involved the removal of the ruins of two smaller, earlier castles known as Vorderhohenschwangau and Hinterhohenschwangau. It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day (in 3 years); there will be several cosy, habitable guest rooms with a splendid view of the noble Säuling, the mountains of Tyrol and far across the plain; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world. It will also remind you of “Tannhäuser” (Singers’ Hall with a view of the castle in the background), “Lohengrin” (castle courtyard, open corridor, path to the chapel); this castle will be in every way more beautiful and habitable than Hohenschwangau further down, which is desecrated every year by the prose of my mother; they will take revenge, the desecrated gods, and come to live with Us on the lofty heights, breathing HDT WHAT? INDEX


the air of heaven.

July 22, Wednesday: Fleeing the rumors and scandal in München over her adultery, Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow went to Richard Wagner in Villa Tribschen near Lucerne, thus confirming the rumors.

October 16, Friday: Modest Musorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Cesar Cui and Sergei Dargomizhsky attended the initial Russian performance of Lohengrin by Richard Wagner at the Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg. Rimsky-Korsakov recalled “In our opinion, Lohengrin was contemptable.” They encountered no end of abuse for the work.

November 8, Sunday: While visiting his sister Ottilie and her husband Hermann Brockhaus in Leipzig, Richard Wagner made the acquaintance of a young philology student, Friedrich Nietzsche. They discovered that they shared an interest in Arthur Schopenhauer.

Over the previous month a race war has taken place in Louisiana. Ku Klux Klan members had searched the countryside looking for blacks, and for white Republicans. An estimated 1,723 people had been slaughtered. HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 16, Monday: Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow left her husband for the final time and with her daughters 7-year-old Daniela von Bülow and 4-year-old Blandina Elisabeth Veronica von Bülow relocated permanently to Villa Tribschen near Lucerne, home of Richard Wagner.

The remains of Gioachino Rossini were placed in a temporary tomb in the Madeleine, Paris.

Naturalization convention between the United States of America and Belgium. READ THE FULL TEXT HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 1, Friday: Chicago’s first vehicular tunnel was opened below the Chicago River at Washington Street. Construction started on a tunnel at LaSalle Street.

Early in this year, after nearly a 12-years hiatus, Richard Wagner would begin the composition of Act 3 of Siegfried.

It was on this day that Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow began her famous diary. COSIMA, IN TRANSLATION

January 11, Monday: Some 18 years after its initial reception Richard Wagner sent out from Villa Tribschen near Lucerne a slightly amended “Judaism in Music.” This republication would not be well received. ANTISEMITISM

May 7, Friday: Richard Wagner was elected a member of the Royal Academy of the Arts in Berlin.

May 17, Monday: Friedrich Nietzsche, who had become a professor at the University of Basel, had his initial meeting with Richard Wagner at Villa Tribschen near Lucerne. This was the year in which he would spend his 1st weekend, and Christmas season, there. COSIMA’S DIARY, ON F. N.

05-17-69 At lunch a philologist, Professor Nietzsche, whom R. first met at the Brockhaus home and who knows R.’s works thoroughly and even quotes from Opera and Drama in his lectures. A quiet and pleasant visit [....] 05-20-69 [...] invited Professor Nietzsche, for R.’s [56th] birthday. 05-23-69 R. had [letter] of birthday greetings [...] from the philologist Nietzsche (very nice letter) [....] 06-05-69 Prof. Nietzsche, the philologist, announces a visit, R. wishes to put him off, I feel it is better that he come [she’s pregnant with son Siegfried]. [.... Diary continued in Richard Wagner’s handwriting:] A bearable evening spent with Nietzsche. Said good night about 11. 07-02-69 (Wrote to Prof. Nietzsche and returned to him Lübke’s wretched essay on Die Msinger.) [Wilhelm Lübke (1826-1893): Wilhelm Lübke und Eduard Hanslick über Richard Wagner (Berlin: L. Gerschel, 1869). On Wagner, a 24-page pamphlet co-written by Lübke, an art historian, and the Austrian musicologist and critic Eduard Hanslick.] HDT WHAT? INDEX


07-31-69 Visit from Professor Nietzsche, a well-formed and pleasant human being. 08-02-69 Concerning Die heilige Elisabeth, Nietzsche yesterday remarked to me that it smelled more of incense than of roses. [Franz Liszt’s oratorio Die Legende von der heiligen Elisabeth (1865) concerns the life of Saint Elisabeth (1207-31), wife of Ludwig IV, Landgrave of Thuringia: he disapproved of her acts of charity and once caught her with a bundle of bread which she was carrying to the poor; when he commanded her to open it, the bundle was found to contain not bread, but roses.] 08-19-69 While I am working with the children, a package arrives from Professor Nietzsche: Semper’s lectures on architectural styles. [Lectures of (1803-1879), based on his book: Der Stil in den technischen und tektonischen Künsten (Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts).] 08-21-69 In the evening a visit from Professor Nietzsche, very pleasant as always. 08-22-69 In the morning, breakfast with the professor [....] Confusion concerning the professor’s departure. He is staying until tomorrow morning. [....] When I told Prof. Nietzsche of our experiences in , he said they were truly horrifying. 08-26-69 Very friendly letter from Professor Nietzsche, who sends us a lecture on Homer [Homer und die klassische Philologie (Homer and Classical Philology)]. [....] Nietzsche’s lecture [...] excellent. [....] Wrote to Prof. Nietzsche. 08-28-69 At midday the Brockhaus family and Prof. Nietzsche, all very kind. 08-29-69 [...] Prof. Nietzsche; always pleasant. 09-10-69 Letter from Professor Nietzsche, who reports that all newspapers are full of infamous accounts, talking of a complete break between W. and the King, etc. He asks for news, which I then give him. 09-18-69 In the evening visit from Professor Nietzsche, who tells me of the most licentious things in the newspapers. Among much else it is asserted that the performance of Das Rheingold is connected with a plot whose strings can be sought in the Tuileries. W. is said to have made an alliance with the Catholic party; the proof: Frau von Muchanoff, whose daughter is a radical supporter of the Catholics, and so on — all this rubbish is screamed across the world in order to prevent people’s recognizing the incompetence of the theater management with regard to Das Rheingold. 09-19-69 Coffee with Prof. Nietzsche; unfortunately he vexes R. very much with an oath he has sworn not to eat meat, but only vegetables. R. considers this nonsense, arrogance as well, and when the Prof. says it is morally important not to eat animals, etc., R. replies that our whole existence is a compromise, which we can only expiate by producing some good. One cannot do that HDT WHAT? INDEX


just by drinking milk — better, then, to become an ascetic. To do good in our climate we need good nourishment, and so on. Since the Prof. admits that Richard is right, yet nevertheless sticks to his abstinence, R. becomes angry. 09-29-69 [...] I [write] to Prof. Nietzsche about the portrait of Uncle Adolph. [Richard Wagner’s Uncle Adolf....] In the evening [R.] brings me a letter from Prof. Nietzsche. The latter sends me a newspaper in which are printed quotations from R.’s correspondence with a “very dear” friend. Who this last is, is not stated, and I say nothing to R. about it. 10-18-69 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche (very nice). 10-19-69 I reply to Prof. Nietzsche. 11-05-69 A Paris newspaper announces our marriage in very dignified phrases, a Herr Beckmann protests against ugly rumors. R. laughs, embraces me, and says, “Oh, yes, you are being gossiped about with me.” Then he takes Siegfried in his arms and plays with him for a long time; to me he says: “We shall have to send Siegfried away; when he is approaching manhood he will have to meet other people, to get to know adversity, have fun, and misbehave himself; otherwise he will become a dreamer, maybe an idiot, the sort of thing we see in the King of Bavaria.” “But where?” “With Nietzsche — wherever Nietzsche is teaching — and we shall watch from afar, as Wotan watches the education of Siegfried. He will have free meals twice a week with Nietzsche, and every Saturday we shall expect a report.” 11-08-69 (Prof. Nietzsche announces a visit.) 11-13-69 In the afternoon visit from Professor Nietzsche, who tells me it is quite incredible what lies are circulating in the world, both written and spoken, about R. (how, for instance, he stands before a mirror in an effort to equate himself with Goethe and Schiller — then about his luxury, his harem, his intimacy with the King of Bavaria, whom he incites to all his follies, etc.). We wonder what picture of him will go down in posterity. 11-14-69 In the evening R. and Prof. Nietzsche discuss the first conceptions of language, which R. describes jokingly as talking primitive philology. 11-24-69 Friendly letter from Professor Nietzsche, replied to him. 12-07-69 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, he is coming to us at Christmas. 12-09-69 (Wrote to Prof. Nietzsche.) 12-11-69 Very nice letter to R. from Prof. N. 12-24-69 Professor Nietzsche comes in the morning and helps me set up the puppet theater with Iftekhar on it. [....] Professor Nietzsche’s gift to me is the dedication of his lecture on Homer [“Homer and Classical Philology”]. HDT WHAT? INDEX


12-25-69 Family lunch; afterward read Parzival with Prof. Nietzsche [...] 01-03-70 Have not written in this book for a whole week. Spent most of the time with Prof. Nietzsche, who left us yesterday. 01-17-70 Wrote to Prof. Nietzsche. He has sent me Gervinus on Handel [Georg Gottfried Gervinus (1805-1871): Händel und Shakespeare: zur Ästhetik der Tonkunst (Händel and Shakespeare: On the Aesthetics of Music). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 1868.]; when in this connection I tell R. that Gervinus’s book on Shakespeare is still selling well after 30 years, R. says: “That’s because of the subject. If Shakespeare were to write a book about Gervinus, it would probably not sell at all.” — 01-25-70 For me a letter from Professor Nietzsche and arrival of a Semper drawing. [....] In the evening I read Gervinus to R. (Shakespeare, Handel), great dismay over the style (not to speak of the contents), he writes like Eduard Devrient! Prof. N. also sent me a philosophical book (Hartmann), which arouses feelings of great repugnance. [Eduard von Hartmann (1842-1906): Philosophie des Unbewussten (Philosophy of the Unconscious). Berlin: 1869.] Time and time again R. harks back to the greatness of Schopenhauer. 02-01-70 Sent Prof. N. his books back (Gervinus and Hartmann). 02-03-70 Letter from Prof. N. enclosing his lecture on Socrates [“Socrates und die Tragoedie” (Socrates and Tragedy)]. [....] In the evening R. reads me the lecture, which we find very stimulating. “Beloved music,” Socrates’s dream, brings R. back to the subject of the musical theme. “How much more significant does such a theme appear than any spoken thought! Schopenhauer is right: music is a world in itself, the other arts only express a world.” 02-04-70 In the evening R. reads me The Frogs by Aristophanes, in connection with our discussions on the lecture (“Socrates and Greek Tragedy”). 02-06-70 Wrote to Prof. N. while the children were playing. 02-07-70 [R.] writes to Prof. N., who wrote us two very nice letters about his lecture. 02-12-70 Prof. Nietzsche arrives. Lengthy conversation about his lecture. Then R. plays us passages from Mozart’s Entführung and Figaro — he likes the old Simrock editions. When Prof. N. remarks that Mozart is said to have invented the music of intrigue, R. replies that, on the contrary, he resolved intrigue in melody. One has only to compare Beaumarchais’s (incidentally excellent) play with Mozart’s opera to see that the former contains cunning, clever, and calculating people who deal and talk wittily with one another, while in Mozart they are transfigured, suffering, sorrowing human beings. 02-13-70 Spent the morning with Prof. Nietzsche, talked of many things. He tells me that Dorn, the conductor, has published a HDT WHAT? INDEX


book whose whole purpose is simply to denigrate R. Dorn attempts to conceal the base tricks he played in Riga by telling all sorts of lies. In them R. addresses him in a downright childlike way — what mean advantage is taken of this! I beg Prof. N. to say nothing to R. about it. Lunch with the children. Prof. N.’s departure. 02-17-70 In the evening a letter from Prof. Nietzsche, which pleases us, for his mood had given us cause for concern. Regarding this, R. says he fears that Schopenhauer’s philosophy might in the long run be a bad influence on young people of this sort, because they apply his pessimism, which is a form of thinking, contemplation, to life itself, and derive from it an active form of hopelessness. — 03-01-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche enclosing another from the bookseller Lesimple, who reports that on his instigation (via Prof. N.) the question of R.’s being given the direction of the music festival in Bonn is being eagerly discussed. 03-15-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche: in Bonn they have unanimously chosen F. Hiller as conductor of the music festival! 03-16-70 I write to Prof. Nietzsche. 03-26-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche. 03-28-70 Wrote to Prof. Nietzsche. 04-04-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche. 04-10-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who announces his promotion to professor ordinarius and speaks of newspaper reports making R. the musical director in Berlin. 04-14-70 Letter from Prof. N., who reports that Doris B[rockhaus]’s fiancé killed himself. 04-19-70 Still unwell: wrote to Prof. Nietzsche. 05-05-70 Letter to me from Prof. Nietzsche. 05-10-70 Arrival of Prof. Nietzsche’s speech [“Analecta Laertiana”] in Latin [...] 05-15-70 Letter to Prof. Nietzsche. 05-18-70 Nice letter to [R.] from Prof. Nietzsche. 05-22-70 [...] a nice letter from Prof. Nietzsche. 06-04-70 In the afternoon [letter] by R. to Nietzsche [...] 06-11-70 Returning home I find Prof. Nietzsche and his friend Herr [Erwin] Rohde, also a philologist, who had announced their coming yesterday. Lively and serious conversation. In the evening Prof. N. reads us a lecture on the Greek music drama [Nietzsche’s 1-18-70 lecture “Das griechische ”], a title for which R. pulls him up, explaining the reason for his disapproval. The lecture is a good one and shows that he has a true feeling for Greek art. (Prof. N. has brought me Dürer’s Melancholie.) HDT WHAT? INDEX


06-21-70 Prof. Nietzsche writes very nicely of the impression Tribschen made on him and his friend, and he dedicates to me his lectures on Socrates and Greek art. 06-24-70 [...] I write to Prof. Nietzsche [...] 07-16-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who out of consideration for us did not go to see Die Walküre in Munich; I reply to him and try as hard as I can to arouse his enthusiasm for Prussia’s right to represent Germany. 07-28-70 Visit from Prof. Nietzsche [...] 07-29-70 Spent the morning with Prof. N., R. reads passages from his essay on Beethoven, I am surprised I can follow it so well, since I have never studied philosophy. After lunch Herr N. introduces his sister to me, a nice, modest girl. 07-30-70 Prof. Nietzsche is going to the Maderaner valley with his sister. 08-09-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who has resolved to join the army. I reply to him, saying the time is not yet ripe. 08-16-70 I receive two letters from Prof. Nietzsche, the first, delayed, from Basel, the other from Erlangen, where he is already tending the wounded. In a few days he will be going to Metz. 08-21-70 (Letter from Prof. Nietzsche; he is composing music [“Ade! Ich muss nun gehen”] in the military hospital [in Erlangen].) 08-29-70 (Letter from Prof. Nietzsche in Maximiliansau.) 09-01-70 [...] some lines from Prof. Nietzsche (in Hagenau), who describes the terrible state and inadequacy of the medical care on the battlefields. Is it now over at last? ... Prof. N. says the French are still talking about the conquest of the Rhine! 09-02-70 (I write [...] to Prof. N. [...].) 09-13-70 Prof. Nietzsche writes to R., he is back in Erlangen and is ill. 09-16-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who seems to be deeply upset. 09-18-70 I write to Prof. Nietzsche. 10-24-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who, now recovered, has returned to Basel; he voices his fears that in the coming days militarism, and above all pietism, will make their pressure felt everywhere. 10-30-70 Letter to Prof. Nietzsche, recommending our student [Schobinger] to him. 11-12-70 [Letter] from [...] Prof. Nietzsche. 11-14-70 Prof. Nietzsche sends back Beethoven, remarking that probably few people will be able to follow R. HDT WHAT? INDEX


11-24-70 In the evening a letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who announces his arrival on Saturday and is terribly pessimistic with regard to Germany. 11-26-70 In the afternoon arrival of Prof. Nietzsche. 11-27-70 Breakfast with [Hans] Richter and the Prof.; I greatly concerned: the Loire army is described as very substantial (120,000) and is reported to be well led. Prof. Nietzsche says that he and his German colleagues in Basel are extremely worried! 12-04-70 Prof. Nietzsche sends us Burckhardt’s book on the Renaissance [Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897): Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien: ein Versuch (Leipzig: 1869)] and a little treatise by Prof. Czermak on Schopenhauer’s color theory [Johann Nepomuk Czermak (1828-1873): “Über Schopenhauer’s Theorie der Farbe: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Farbenlehre” (in: Sitzungsbericht der Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften)]. 12-16-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche: a Basel professor asked him whether Wagner’s Beethoven was written against Beethoven! 12-24-70 At 5 o’clock R. returns from town, bringing Prof. Nietzsche with him [...] 12-26-70 In the evening R. reads aloud passages from the manuscript Prof. Nietzsche gave me as a birthday gift; it is entitled “Die Geburt des tragischen Gedankens” [The Birth of the Tragic Concept] and is of the greatest value; the depth and excellence of his survey, conveyed with a very concentrated brevity, is quite remarkable; we follow his thoughts with the greatest and liveliest interest. My greatest pleasure is in seeing how R.’s ideas can be extended in this field. 12-28-70 In the afternoon music from Tristan, played by Richter for me and Prof. Nietzsche. [....] (Yesterday visit from our good student, Schobinger, who comes from Basel and assures me he finds more pleasure in seeing me again than any of his relations. Prof. N. helped him to get his scholarship.) 12-31-70 In the afternoon the quartet players from Zurich, R. rehearsed them in the F Major Quartet, Opus 59 (a favorite work of mine, if one may speak thus of such divine things), then the last (also F Major). Toward eleven o’clock the musicians go away, we stay up, Prof. Nietzsche, our good Richter, and we two. Midnight arrives, we wish each other a Happy New Year. May God bring us all peace! — 01-01-71 Family lunch; at about 4 o’clock Prof. N. takes his departure. 01-02-71 In Torgau, as Prof. Nietzsche tells us, the soldiers sing “Götternot, nur Knechte knete ich mir,” from Die Walküre. 01-03-71 Letter to Prof. Nietzsche, who has been instrumental in getting our nephew Fritz Brockhaus called to Basel. [....] HDT WHAT? INDEX


In the evening we once again discuss Prof. Nietzsche’s thesis [“The Birth of the Tragic Concept”], and R. cannot praise it too highly. 01-04-71 (Letter to Prof. N. [...]) 01-05-71 Talking again about E. T. A. Hoffmann, R. says he is always intrigued by the dilettantism in Germany, for to a certain extent all our greatest poets have been dilettantes, who produce sketches, in contrast to the Greeks, whose work always seems complete and assured. This leads us on to Prof. N.’s work [“The Birth of the Tragic Concept”], and R. says, “He is the only living person, apart from Constantin Frantz, who has provided me with something, a positive enrichment of my outlook.” 01-19-71 Letter from Prof. Nietz., he quotes some very fine words of his friend Rohde about Beethoven. 02-01-71 Our friend Prof. Nietzsche is ill [...] 02-10-71 [...] a letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who is traveling to Italy without coming to say goodbye to me, arouses troubled thoughts in R. 03-26-71 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche in Lugano. 04-03-71 At breakfast Prof. Nietzsche is suddenly announced, he comes from Lugano and will spend some days here. He appears very run down. 04-04-71 Good article on Beethoven in an English periodical (Academy), the author (Franz Hüffer) a German acquaintance of Prof. Nietzsche’s and a former opponent of R. 04-05-71 Prof. N. reads to me from a work (The Origin and Aim of Greek Tragedy [first draft of The Birth of Tragedy]) which he wants to dedicate to R.; great delight over that; in it one sees a gifted man imbued with R.’s ideas in his own way. 04-08-71 Prof. Nietzsche departs, after making the children happy with a green snake. 05-11-71 I learn this evening from Clemens Br[ockhaus] that Prof. Nietzsche has now dedicated his Homer [see 12-24-69], which he once dedicated to me, to his sister, and with the same poem. I had to laugh at first, but then, after discussing it with R., see it as a dubious streak, an addiction to treachery, as it were—as if he were seeking to avenge himself for some great impression. [In fact, N. had dedicated several copies to various friends.] 05-15-71 At 8 o’clock in Basel, where we spend a nice evening in the hotel with Prof. Nietzsche and our nephew Friedrich Brockhaus. 05-22-71 On our return we found Prof. Nietzsche in the house. [....] Prof. N. tells us that he intends to found a periodical, under R.’s auspices, two years hence, till then he will be busy HDT WHAT? INDEX


preparing it.— 05-24-71 In the afternoon, a visit from Prof. Nietzsche, R. accompanies him to the railroad station. 05-27-71 Prof. Nietzsche does not come, the events [i.e., fires (threatening the Louvre)] in Paris have upset him too much. 05-28-71 At midday arrival of Prof. Nietzsche (with sister), whom Richard had summoned (over the signature Lindhorst) by telegram. R. speaks sharply to him about the fire and its significance: “If you are not capable of painting pictures again, you are not worthy of possessing them.” Prof. N. says that for the scholar such events mean the end of all existence. Spoke of Bakunin—whether he was among the arsonists [....] 05-29-71 After lunch discussion about Aeschylus and the misunderstood saying that “he was always drunk,” about actors, and also, in passing, about Sophocles; and that tragedy had certainly evolved out of improvisation. All this contributed by Prof. Nietzsche, together with Sophocles’s saying about Aeschylus, that “he does the right thing without knowing it,” which R. compares with Schopenhauer’s saying about musicians— that they speak the highest wisdom in a language that their reason does not understand.— Our friends leave [....] 06-18-71 Prof. Nietzsche sends back Siegfrieds Tod, he has copied it out himself! With it he also sends his essay [Sokrates und die griechische Tragödie (Socrates and Greek Tragedy)]. 06-19-71 I write to thank Prof. N. 06-24-71 In the evening a letter from Prof. Nietzsche. 06-25-71 Read Prof. Nietzsche’s pamphlet [Sokrates und die griechische Tragödie (Socrates and Greek Tragedy)] with great interest, he is certainly the most outstanding of our friends. 07-15-71 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche. In this friendship, too, R. lavishes more love than he receives. 07-17-71 Yesterday I read a pamphlet by the theologian [Franz] Overbeck, which Prof. Nietzsche sent me; it brings R. and me to a discussion of religion. “The Catholics are quite right when they say the Bible must not be read by profane people, for religion is for those who can neither read nor write. But they played such shameful havoc with their interpretations that Luther became the only one who could take his stand on the Bible. He did indeed in that way also open the doors to science and to criticism, but Christ will continue to live all the same.” 07-30-71 After lunch Herr von Gersdorff visits us, he is a friend of Prof. Nietzsche’s who went right through the war and has all the noble and earnest characteristics of the North German. Naturally the conversation revolves around the war. 07-31-71 At table Herr v. Gersdorff, Prof. Nietzsche, Prof. Brockhaus, all equally pleasant. We spent our time in Tribschen, talking happily. — HDT WHAT? INDEX


08-03-71 Lunch as yesterday; at five o’clock Herr von G. and Prof. Nietzsche leave us. The latter is certainly the most gifted of our young friends, but a not quite natural reserve makes his behavior in many respects most displeasing. It is as if he were trying to resist the overwhelming effect of Wagner’s personality. 08-05-71 Yesterday R. caused me sorrow; Prof. Nietzsche had asked me for the [Siegfried] Idyll, so that he could read it; after asking R., I lent it to him, requesting him on his departure to return it to me, but he forgot; after his departure R. asked about it; our absent-minded friend had left the little work lying on the piano, and R., assuming that I had been negligent, had taken it to his room in vexation; this pained me deeply, for my only mistake had been in assuming that Prof. N. had done as I asked and put the manuscript back in its place, which he knows. 08-12-71 Nice letter from Prof. Nietzsche. 08-17-71 Letters from Herr v. Gersdorff, Frl. Nietzsche [....] I send Siegfried to Prof. Nietzsche and make the copy for the King. 08-28-71 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, saying that Dr. Liebermeister in Basel strongly recommends iron and calcium for Fidi. 09-11-71 (Letter from Prof. Nietzsche.) 10-21-71 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, he wants his book [The Birth of Tragedy] to be published by Fritzsch. 10-27-71 In the afternoon surprise visit by Prof. Nietzsche from Basel. He tells us the title of his book, which will be called The Emergence of Tragedy from Music. [Preliminary title of The Birth of Tragedy.] 10-28-71 Visited Marie M[uchanoff] with Prof. N. [...] 11-05-71 R. is working, “still bloodthirstily”; recently he said to Prof. Nietzsche, “From the fact that I am now composing nothing but bloodthirstiness one can deduce whether I was in love when I wrote Tristan.” 11-26-71 Prof. N. recommends a poor musician, but it is now too late; certainly we would prefer the poor wretch to the smooth Spiegel [a music teacher from Zurich], but it cannot be helped. 12-16-71 In Basel at 9 o’clock; evening with Fritz Br[ockhaus]. and Prof. Nietzsche. 12-17-71 Coffee with the two Basel professors at 3 o’clock [...] 12-18-71 Arrival of Prof. Nietzsche, who has literally run away from Basel. 12-19-71 In the evening Pohl, Ritters, and Nietzsche. 12-20-71 Dinner with Ritters, Pohl, Nietzsche. HDT WHAT? INDEX


12-25-71 Fine letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who has sent me a musical composition. [“Nachklang einer Sylvesternacht, mit Prozessionslied, Bauerntanz und Glockengeläute” (Echoes of New Year’s Eve, with processional song, peasant dance and the pealing of bells).] 01-03-72 Arrival of Prof. Nietzsche’s book [The Birth of Tragedy]. [....] at midday I find R. very excited and stimulated by Prof. Nietzsche’s book, he is happy to have lived to read it; he says after me comes N[ietzsche]. and then Lenbach, who painted his picture, and he observes how dreary his life would have been if he had died ten years ago [....] He calls me his priestess of Apollo—he says I am the Apollonian element, he the Dionysian, but we made an alliance, a pact, and from it came Fidi! [....] In the evening we read Nietzsche’s book, which is really splendid; R. thinks of the people who at the moment set the tone in Germany and wonders what the fate of this book will be; he hopes in to start a periodical, which Prof. Nietzsche would edit. 01-04-72 In the evening read more of Nietzsche’s book, which gives R. ever-increasing satisfaction, but we wonder where the public for it is to be found.— R. ends the day by saying, “My love for you is both Dionysian and Apollonian.” 01-06-72 Yesterday we read [Nietzsche’s] new book, with solemn feelings and with ever-increasing pleasure. [....] Finished Prof. Nietzsche’s book in the evening. “This is the book I have been longing for,” says R. 01-07-72 In the evening we begin the Oresteia, very powerful impact; talked a lot about Nietzsche’s book. 01-10-72 Prof. Nietzsche’ writes that he is ill, whereupon R. writes him a touching and affectionate letter. 01-16-72 Prof. N. sends the copies of the deluxe edition. We consider how to prevent his books being killed by silence. 01-18-72 I write to Prof. Nietzsche while R. works. [....] Letter from Clemens: the Nietzsche book has not been understood there; R. replies to him at length, telling him what he thinks of the book and its author. 01-20-72 Prof. Nietzsche pays us a surprise visit, which pleases us very much. Many things discussed: plans for the future, school reform, etc.; he plays us his composition [“Echoes of New Year’s Eve ...”] very beautifully. 01-21-72 Still fine weather; we go, 6 of us, for a morning walk [...] Our friend [Nietzsche] means very much to us. 01-25-72 Prof. N. writes sympathetically from Basel, where he saw R. 01-31-72 In the evening read Nietzsche’s book. 02-04-72 Prof. Nietzsche writes me that Hans [von Bülow] thanked him for sending his book and said he would be visiting Basel in HDT WHAT? INDEX


March. 02-06-72 Prof. Nietzsche has sent me the book Caroline, without a doubt the most insipid thing it is possible to imagine. [Caroline Schelling (1763-1809): Caroline: Briefe an ihre Geschwister, ihre Tochter Auguste, die Familie Gotter, F. L. W. Meyer, A. W. und Fr. Schlegel, J. Schelling ... Hrsg. von Georg Waitz. Leipzig: Hirzel, 1871.] 02-07-72 In the evening glanced a little through Caroline: very pitiful stuff! 02-08-72 I write to Prof. Nietzsche and give the children lessons. 02-09-72 [Dictation]: On January 24 via Basel, where I spent several hours with Nietzsche and Fritz B[rockhaus], on the night train to Berlin; although I tried to keep up a brave face in front of them, a letter from N[ietzsche]. which followed me showed that he had recognized the evil necessity behing my journey and truly regretted it. 02-11-72 Of Opera and Drama, which [R.] is correcting he says: “I know what Nietzsche didn’t like in it—it is the same thing which Kossak took up and which set Schopenhauer against me: what I said about words. At the time I didn’t dare to say that it was music which produced drama, although inside myself I knew it.” 02-15-72 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche. 02-18-72 Returning home, we are surprised by a visit from Prof. Nietzsche, to whom R. then gives an account of his journey. 02-19-72 R., who had a good night, after breakfast plays the first scene to our friend [Nietzsche], and that upsets [R.] so much that the whole day through he can eat nothing and is very run down. All the same, there is much discussion of the reform of educational establishments, also of the German character. 03-03-72 Prof. Nietzsche sent us several letters, among them one from Prof. Ritschl to him, very ironical in tone. 03-10-72 Prof. Nietzsche sends Hase’s Polemik and a letter to him from my father [Franz Liszt], who claims precedence for Golgotha and Tabor over Helicon and Parnassus. 03-11-72 I write to [...] Prof. Nietzsche (who tells me Hans [von Bülow] will be giving his concert in Basel within the next three weeks). 03-21-72 [Fritz Brockhaus] brings us Prof. Nietzsche’s lectures in Basel. 03-23-72 In the evening [read] the first two of Prof. Nietzsche’s Basel lectures [“On the Future of Our Eductional Institutions”]. 03-24-72 In the evening read Prof. N.’s third lecture. 03-25-72 Prof. N. announces a visit. R. does not work. The 4th HDT WHAT? INDEX


lecture affects us very much. 03-28-72 Toward noon arrival of Professor Nietzsche, who brings Lulu 100 francs in coins from her father. He saw a lot of Hans [von Bülow] in Basel and found him contented and in good spirits. In the evening he read us his 5th lecture. 03-29-72 [...] R. goes out with Prof. N. 03-30-72 In the morning went out with Prof. Nietzsche in fine spring weather while R. worked. 03-31-72 [...] with the professor’s help I hide eggs for the children. [....] In the afternoon I make music with Prof. Nietzsche. 04-01-72 Prof. Nietzsche takes his leave. 04-03-72 In the Italian Rivista the first public mention of Prof. Nietzsche’s book. 04-25-72 Toward 6 o’clock sudden arrival of Prof. Nietzsche from Montreaux. 04-26-72 In the evening some music, Prof. N. plays for me. 04-27-72 Prof. Nietzsche gone. 05-19-72 Whitsunday and many visits; arranging the laurels just arrived from Vienna; on top of that Cornelius, Porges, Schäfer, not very pleasant, later Ritter, Nietzsche, Gersdorff, then Countess Krockow; finally, and most charming, Frau v. Schleinitz and Countess Dönhoff. R. in town greeting the singers, much coming and going, but gay spirits. Rain, shortage of carriages. 05-20-72 First rehearsal, fine and touching welcome to the musicians from R., all in solemn mood, the only ones out of place the critics Gumprecht and Engel, who, in spite of R.’s veto, have taken up certificates of patronage in order to be here. Much to be learned; the musicians as yet have no idea of the interpretation. Another rehearsal in the afternoon, this time with the singers. Frl. Lehmann very good.— Malwida Meysenbug also here, to our great delight. Several from Florence. In the evening I with Marie Schleinitz, Baron Loën from Weimar, Ernst Dohm, Prof. Rohde, Nietzsche, Gersdorff, etc. R. to bed immediately after the rehearsal; tired, but very exhilarated by his success. All the tribes of Germany are represented, and none has any other interest beyond his pleasure in art. 05-25-72 In the evening read an article by Prof. Rohde on Nietzsche’s book; not suitable for the general public. 05-29-72 Very fine letters from Prof. N. to R. and to me. Certainly few people have so much feeling for our suffering and joys as he. 06-04-72 Letters from Herr v. Gersdorff; a philologist, Herr von Wilamowitz, hurls at us his polemic against Nietzsche’s book, under the title Zukunftsphilosphie. It is said to be contemptible. HDT WHAT? INDEX


06-09-72 Letter from Prof. N., who sends us Herr von Wilamowitz’s pamphlet attacking him. Observations arising out of this newest example of nastiness; R. sees the present state of the world as a sad one; professors educating more specialist professors, no humanistic education spreading its influence—the jurist, for example, never thinks of studying philology and philosophy, just all specialist subjects. 06-10-72 R. reads Herr von Wilamowitz’s pamphlet and is provoked by it into writing an open letter to Prof. Nietzsche, which he reads to me in the evening. 06-26-72 In the afternoon a nice letter comes from Prof. N., which R. replies to at once. 06-30-72 M. M[eysenbug] writes from Munich, where Tristan was performed. I am always beset by bitter feelings when I think about these performances, which delight our friends, taking place in our absence. (Prof. Nietzsche and Herr v. G[ersdorff] were also there.) “N. had his tragic mortal dished up there,” says R., thinking of Tristan. 07-01-72 Hopes set on Prof. N.; regret that things of such significance make no real impression, attract no attention. But was it ever different? Certainly Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason seems to have attracted very great attention. 07-05-72 Herr v. Gersdorff informs me of a plan by which Prof. Nietzsche will issue an appeal for a collection in which all who cannot buy certificates of patronage, or do not wish by means of a single contribution to join a Wagner Society, can take part. Our evening meal is enlarged by the presence of a Herr Krebs from Frankfurt am Main who, polite and well-educated, has come here with a curious request. He brings a sheet of paper which depicts, in a remarkably childish manner, Greek tragedy awakened by Wagner’s genius; this is to be reproduced in gigantic size (like the Symposium of Feuerbach!), and he wants R.’s approval. R. advises him to read Nietzsche’s book and gives it to him. He makes curious assertions—that one must now paint ideas, etc. After he has gone we are lost in astonishment over this curious apparition, and in the end have to laugh a lot over all these confusions. 07-17-72 In the afternoon [letter] from Prof. Nietzsche [...] 07-27-72 Prof. Nietzsche writes to R. that he is going to Munich for the university celebrations (i.e., for Tristan). 08-01-72 Visit from the dean [Dr. Dittmar, the dean of Bayreuth ....] He is reading Nietzsche’s book [The Birth of Tragedy] and is much captivated by it, says there are things in it which belong to the best our literature has produced. 08-21-72 Letters from Marie Dönhoff and Prof. Nietzsche; I answer the latter at once. 10-23-72 R. writes to Prof. Nietzsche, announcing our visit to Basel, and among other things he encloses a little clipping from HDT WHAT? INDEX


a newspaper, in which some tasteless extracts from opera texts are quoted and criticized, with the remark, “This goes even further than R. Wagner”! 10-25-72 [A] very fine reply to the Wilamowitz pamphlet [Erwin Rohde’s Afterphilologie: zur Beleuchtung des von dem Dr. phil. Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Möllendorff herausgegebenen Pamphlets: “Zukunftsphilologie!”; Sendschreiben eines Philologen an Richard Wagner. (Leipzig: Fritzsch, 1872)] in the form of a letter to R.— I read this to R. in the evening, to our very great delight, and R. says, “Yes, there we find ourselves in quite good company.” 12-04-72 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who tells me about a very curious letter to him from Hans [von Bülow], regarding a musical compostion of his [Manfred-Meditation] which our friend sent to Hans (rather to our amazement). [....] I [...] write [...] to Prof. N. [...] 12-25-72 [Letter] of good wishes from Prof. Nietzsche [...] 01-01-73 New Year activities; various things by mail, among them a folder of manuscripts from Prof. Nietzsche containing forewords to unwritten books [“Fünf Vorreden zu fünf ungeschriebenen Büchern” (Five Prefaces to Five Unwritten Books)]. 01-03-73 Prof. Nietzsche’s manuscript also does not restore our spirits, there are now and again signs of a clumsy abruptness, however deep the underlying feelings. We wish he would confine himself principally to classical themes. 01-06-73 In the night thought much again about the nature of art, in consequence of Prof. N.’s forewords [...] 02-01-73 (Prof. Nietzsche sends R. a paper on Hesiod [“Der Florentinische Tractat über Homer und Hesiod, ihr Geschlecht und ihren Wettkampf” (in: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie NF 28: 211-49, Frankfurt a. M.: 1873)].) 02-07-73 Dinner with the Wesendoncks, dispute over [David Friedrich] Strauss’s book The Old and New Faith, which R. and I found terribly shallow, but which Frau W. admires. 02-09-73 Kahnt’s journal [Neue Zeitschrift für Musik] announces a competition for the best essay on Der Ring des Nibelungen; the judges will be Karl Simrock in Bonn, the Germanist Dr. Moritz Heyne, and friend Nietzsche, and the prize is a certificate of patronage. 04-05-73 R. says, “I have begun the day with a witticism; I shall propose to the friends we are expecting tomorrow, Nietzsche and Rohde, that I take them on a walk to the sources of the Iamblichus.” [Allusion to Rohde’s Die Quellen des Iamblichus in seiner Biographie des Pythagoras (Iamblichus’s sources in his Biography of Pythagoras): Wagner is referring jokingly to the twin sources of the river Main, both in the vicinity of Bayreuth.] HDT WHAT? INDEX


04-06-73 [...] Prof. Nietzsche and Rohde [...] arrive [....] Discussions about the theater in the evening, R. reads his latest essay. 04-07-73 [...] R. goes with our friends to the theater [....] At lunch the two professors, the mayor, and the dean, who makes a fine speech to the three “men of the future,” as he calls R. and his two young friends—what awaits them in joy and sorrow. Very affecting. [....] In the evening Prof. Nietzsche reads us a new and interesting paper about the philosophers before Plato. [Nietzsche’s May 1873 lecture, “The Pre-Platonic Philosophers.”] 04-08-73 Our friends stay for the afternoon and evening [....] In the evening continuation of the reading [of Nietzsche’s lecture on “The Pre-Platonic Philosophers”].— Prof. Nietzsche tells me of a Prof. Paul Lagarde who, on account of a book on church and state [Ueber das Verhältnis des deutschen Staates zu Theologie, Kirche und religion: ein Versuch nichttheologen zu orientieren (Göttingen: Dieterich, 1873)], has been completely ostracized. 04-09-73 In the evening we had intended to devote ourselves to to Prof. N’s work on the philosophers R. jokingly calls “the sons of Thales,” i.e., Anaximander, Heraclitus, and Parmenides, but our talk led us so deeply into our experiences with regard to the Bayreuth undertaking that our gloomy mood could not be dispelled.— R. plays the end of Götterdämmerung—and that certainly makes all our cares vanish into thin air. 04-11-73 In the evening Prof. N. reads the conclusion of an essay. Not much conversation. Played Loewe ballads. We are a little vexed by our friend’s [i.e., Nietzsche’s] music-making pastimes, and R. expatiates on the turn music has taken. 04-12-73 Last day with our friends [Nietzsche and Rohde] [...] 04-28-73 [...] Prof. Nietzsche is preparing an essay attacking D[avid Friedrich] Strauss, and he has recommended to Fritzsch a theological work by Prof. [Franz] Overbeck, which no publisher is willing to take on, because of its frankness. [Ueber die Christlichkeit unserer heutigen Theologie: Streit- und Friedensschrift. Published by Fritzsch in 1873.] 06-01-73 (Wrote to Herr v. Gersdorff, who has told me about a serious eye complaint affecting our friend Nietzsche [...]) 06-05-73 As we part, R. says to me: “Are you now fetching your blanket? But you only do that when Nietzsche is here.” Tender memories of those times. 08-08-73 Prof. Nietzsche’s pamphlet attacking [David Friedrich] Strauss has arrived, reading it eagerly. [....] In the evening read Nietzsche’s Strauss; R. remarks that on top of everything else the glorification of philistinism is copied from the English. 08-13-73 My remarks about our friend Nietzsche’s essay bring us HDT WHAT? INDEX


to the subject of German style, and R. says that in school one should learn above all to speak properly, then writing would come of its own accord. 08-20-73 In the evening read Nietzsche’s pamphlet to our friend and am sorry to get from it an unpleasant impression of various things. 09-20-73 Letter to R. from Prof. Nietzsche, after a long silence; but his eye trouble is not yet cured. 09-22-73 R. replies to Prof. Nietzsche, on whose pamphlet there is a nice article in the A.A.Z. [Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung.] 09-25-73 In the evening R. has his Thursday gathering and reads aloud to the good people—somewhat to their dismay—two chapters from Nietzsche’s pamphlet. 09-28-73 [...] an all-but-angry interchange with Ottilie [Brockhaus, Wagner’s sister] concerning Prof. Nietzsche; she is so bound up in university ways that she talks about the book The Birth of Tragedy without stopping to consider that N. has jeopardized his whole career for the sake of her brother, and that it is therefore insensitive of her to pass on to us the contemptuous and libelous opinions of the top academics. I see from the sentiments of W.’s sister toward her brother’s most loyal supporter how even the warmest heart can cool when it is constantly confronted with power! 10-05-73 R. praises in Nietzsche’s work his remark about the “seekers” [see David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer, 2]— we do not have any classical figures, i.e., no flourishing period, after which a line could be drawn. “They all console themselves with the word ’Epigonentum’ [epigonism] and are fortified in their slovenliness.” 10-28-73 Prof. Nietzsche sends us his “Appeal to the Germans” but who will be prepared to sign it? ... 10-30-73 In the afternoon a meeting in the street wih Prof. Nietzsche. He, completely outlawed, tells us unbelievable things: that the International is reckoning him as one of their own, encouraged in that direction by a writer [“B. F.”] in Die Grenzboten, whose article, entitled “Herr [Friedrich] Nietzsche and German Culture,” exceeds all bounds and actually denounces our friend! 10-31-73 Went through Prof. Nietzsche’s very fine “Appeal” with him. Is it wise to issue this—but what use is wisdom to us? Only faith and truth can help. 11-01-73 Lunch with Prof. N., friend [Emil] Heckel, and Malwida [von Meysenbug], very nice and cheerful. In the afternoon we go to the theater, which looks splendid. In the evening the same company, plus Dr. [Ernst] Stern; R. in very gay mood. Then, in all seriousness, he talks about the , its arrested development, the great intellects searching around for foreign models—”Is it still possible now to return to the HDT WHAT? INDEX


source, to think again about the wealth of inflections, etc.?”— Friend Nietzsche tells us all sorts of dismal things about the position of the excellent Fritzsch [N.’s publisher], his health, and the state of his business. Our friend also relates how he is being tormented in connection with the International, a Frau Nilsson, a friend of [Giuseppe] Mazzini’s announced herself to him as a servant of the cult of Dionysus, she wants to advance Fritzsch money and if possible also to take over his business. Our friend greatly agitated by these curious happenings! He showed the importunate woman the door, she threatened him, etc.— Our Prof. Rohde in Kiel has been advised that he will never become a full professor. Curious situation. 11-02-73 Departure of friend Nietzsche, who is causing us profound concern. 12-04-73 [...] we read Hölderlin’s Hyperion—Malwida has given R. his works. R. and I recognize with some concern the great influence this writer has had on Prof. Nietzsche; rhetorical extravagance, incorrect and clotted imagery (the north wind which scorches the blossoms, etc.), but a fine, noble intellect, though R. says he cannot really believe in such neo-Greeks—he is constantly expecting him to say suddenly: I studied in Halberstadt, etc. 01-04-74 R. had a restless night and is indisposed. On top of this Prof. Overbeck pays us a visit, and I have to receive and look after him alone until R. joins us in the evening. The learned man makes a good impression on us, but he does not have particularly good news to tell of our friend Nietzsche’s health. 02-22-74 In the evening we read Nietzsche’s recently arrived book on the uses of history [Vom Nutzen und Nachtheil der Historie für das Leben (On the Use and Abuse of History for Life)]; it starts off in a very abstract way and consequently seems somewhat arbitrary. 02-23-74 We continue with our friend’s book and delight in it— great courage, great fervor, very acute judgment. R.’s example has opened his eyes to the triviality of the whole modern world. 02-24-74 In the evening finished the book with great interest. 02-25-74 Our friend’s treatise forms the topic of our conversation, the fiery wit with which it is written is quite astonishing. 03-20-74 In the morning a letter to Prof. Nietzsche about his treatise. 04-04-74 Some letters; governess affairs, and a very melancholy one from our friend Nietzsche, who is tormenting himself. R. exclaims, “He should either marry or write an opera, though doubtless the latter would be such that it would never get produced, and so would not bring him into contact with life.” 04-09-74 In the morning R. reads the latest work [On the Use and Abuse of History for Life] by our friend Nietzsche and HDT WHAT? INDEX


summarizes his opinion thus: “It is the work of a very significant person, and if he ever becomes famous, this work will one day also earn respect. But it is very immature. It lacks plasticity, because he never quotes examples from history, yet there are many repetitions and no real plan. This work has been brought out too quickly. I don’t know anybody to whom I could give it to read, because nobody could follow it. The basic idea has already been stated by Schopenhauer, and N. would have done much better to throw light on it from a pedagogical point of view.” 08-05-74 In the afternoon a note tells us that Prof. Nietzsche is here, but lying ill in his hotel, the Sonne. R. goes there and brings him back to our house at once. He soon recovers, and we spend a cheerful evening together. But what he tells us about the newspapers and about university people is horrifying. 08-06-74 Prof. Nietzsche tells us about a publisher [Ernst Schmeitzner] in Schloss-Chemnitz who has offered his services; he is said to be connected with the Social Democratic party, but all the same, both N. and Prof. Overbeck are accepting his offer, since they could not hope to find any other publisher in the whole of Germany; indeed, if they were to give up their professorships, they would probably be without bread, for not even a position as private tutor would be open to them. The Neue Freie Presse introduces an article [“Ueber historisches Wissen und historischen Sinn,” in: Neue Freie Presse, Nr. 3542 and 3544 on July 7 and 9, 1874] by Karl Hillebrand on Nietzsche’s book about history with the remark that it is only out of respect for their distinguished contributor that they pay heed to the work of an author who has sufficiently branded himself through his attack on Strauss, etc.— Prof. N. says that in Berlin Herr Du Bois-Reymond has made a proposal for setting up an academy, and in it describes Goethe as having ruined the German language, in contrast to Lessing! [....] Our friend N. brings along the by Brahms, and R. laughs loudly at the idea of setting such a word as Gerechtigkeit [justice] to music. 08-07-74 Breakfast with our friends in the summerhouse, conversation about Berlioz [...] 08-08-74 In the afternoon we play Brahms Triumphlied, much dismay over the meager character of this composition which even friend Nietzsche has praised to us: Handel, Mendelssohn, and Schumann wrapped in leather. R. very angry, he talks about his longing one day to find in music something that expresses Christ’s transcendence, something in which creative impulse, an emotion which speaks to the emotions, can be seen. 08-14-74 Friday the 14th [...] on the following day Prof. N. departed, having caused R. many difficult hours. Among other things, he maintains that the German language gives him no pleasure, and he would rather talk Latin, etc. R. mentions his own rules for treating the German language, says one should first look to see whether a foreign term is completely necessary HDT WHAT? INDEX


to express the sense; if it is, then use it boldly, and untranslated. 08-15-74 Saturday the 15th. Prof. Overbeck, whose visit we heartily welcome, tells us about a publisher, [Ernst] Schmeitzner, who is just opening business in Chemnitz, and whom he likes very much. R. has the idea that he might move here and use Bayreuth as his firm’s address. Heard dismal things about the situation of our friend N., who has to lecture on the entire history of Greek literature to three or four of the least capable students! The university has virtually excommunicated him. 09-01-74 In the evening read Karl Hillebrand’s article on Nietzsche’s book in the Neue [Freie] Presse. Some good things briefly stated, many stupid ones at length. “It takes a lot to believe in the Germans,” says R. 10-12-74 R. sends C[onstantin] Frantz a number of pamphlets (Nietzsche, etc.) to show him that he does not belong to the National Liberals! 10-23-74 While R. goes off for a rest, I begin reading Prof. Nietzsche’s paper Schopenhauer as Educator, which R. has already read and which absorbs us to the highest degree. In the evening I read some of it out loud to R. 10-25-74 R. works; I feel rather unwell and take advantage of the children’s day off work to rest and to finish Prof. Nietzsche’s fine paper. 05-15-75 [ ...] a very fine [letter] from friend Nietzsche about Götterdämmerung. 01-21-76 More and more we are considering, R. and I, the question of education; thoughts of establishing a model school, with Nietzsche, Rohde, Overbeck, Lagarde. Could the King be induced to sponsor it? ... 07-00-76 Arrival of Malwida Meysenbug and a splendid piece by Nietzsche, R[ichard] Wagner in Bayreuth. 07-21-76 Nice telegram from the King, thanking us for the Nietzsche pamphlet [Richard Wagner in Bayreuth]. 07-24-76 Prof. Nietzsche has [...] arrived. 10-15-76 [...] reading Nietzsche’s paper again [...] 10-24-76 Visit from Malwida, who is looking for an apartment for friend Nietzsche and inspects several houses. 10-27-76 [...] a visit from Malwida, Dr. [Paul] Rée, and our friend Nietzsche, the latter very run down and much concerned with his health. 10-13-77 Friend Nietzsche sends us a nice manuscript by a Dr. [Otto] Eiser in Frankfurt; but has only bad things to report about his health. 10-23-77 In the afternoon [R.] writes a long letter to Dr. Eiser HDT WHAT? INDEX


in Frankfurt, who wrote a detailed report about our friend Nietzsche’s state of health. R. says, “He (N.) is more likely to listen to the friendly advice of a medical man than to the medical advice of a friend.” 12-02-77 We continue for a long time to talk about the poet, who sees, feels, and describes absolutely everything, without ever giving a sign of his own feelings. We think of friend Nietzsche, who rebelled against Sh[akespeare]: “He always demands a certain kind of form,” says R., “and this is a malformation of sublimity and revelation.”

June 6, Sunday: A new constitution was approved in Spain, calling for representative government, equality of all citizens, separation of powers, basic freedoms, male suffrage over 25, and a monarchy.

A 3d child was born to Richard Wagner and Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow at Tribschen, a son, who would be named Helferich Siegfried Richard Wagner, and nicknamed “Fidi.” This son would turn out to be bixesual, having sexual relationships both with women and with men.

It was in this timeframe that the access road to the leveled-off Jugend lookout point was completed, so that the construction of Neuschwanstein Castle (then known as “New Hohenschwangau Castle”) might begin.


06-06-69 [Diary continued in Richard Wagner’s handwriting:] At 1 o’clock down to Richard to tell him and to insist that for the time being no fuss be made, that the arrangements for the day be adhered to, and that Nietzsche should stay for lunch with the HDT WHAT? INDEX


children. [.... she gives birth to Siegfried at 4 a.m. ....] At noon R. had to leave me in order to preside over the midday meal with his guest (Nietzsche) and the children. During this time I was given the attention necessary to my condition. At 4:30 R. was relieved of his onerous duties.

June 17, Thursday: Hans von Bülow, in München, wrote to his wife Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow at Tribschen agreeing to a final separation (it would appear that he was still unaware that his wife had just given birth to Richard Wagner’s 3d child).

September 5, Sunday: The foundation stone of what we know as Neuschwanstein was set in place — at the time it was being described as the “New Hohenschwangau Castle,” but a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

(What would be erected would technically not qualify as a “castle,” since the walls rather than being solid stone blocks able to resist 19th-Century cannonballs are merely a metal framework coated with surface stonework, materials that even a standard Swiss .50-caliber sniper rifle could easily penetrate. Hint, hint.)

September 22, Wednesday: The Vorabend to Der Ring des Nibelungen, Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner to his own words was performed for the initial time, in the Königliches Hof-und Nationaltheater of München. This production had been forced by King Ludwig II of Bavaria against the wishes of its composer. Among those in attendance was Franz Liszt.

Louischen-Polka française op.339 by Johann Strauss was performed for the initial time, in Pavlovsk. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 23, Sunday: Wendell Phillips wrote to Charles Wesley Slack to convey the information that Mr. Wright J. Potter had been given a poem from Slack, to read.

Giuseppe Verdi wrote to a friend in Paris about his failure to send along promised prose works by Richard Wagner — it seems almost as if Verdi were desiring to acquaint himself with Wagner’s nativist rants! I have long been convinced that my artistic ideal stands or falls with Germany. Only the Germany that we love and desire can help us achieve that ideal.

After United States Army troops led by Major Eugene Baker attacked a village of Piegan Blackfeet on the Marias River in Chouteau County, Montana, killing 33 men, mostly elderly, 90 women, and 50 children below the age of 12, many of them with the small pox, there wouldn’t be the usual sort of bragging. The army would be covering up this particular massacre, until in April a young officer would file a report. Investigation would reveal that the reason for all that secrecy was that the troops had raided the wrong village, killing off a whole bunch of people, man, woman, and child, who actually were friendlies. Oops, sorry about that, we’ll get it right the next time.

March 5, Saturday: A railway was completed between Bombay and Calcutta.

Duluth, Minnesota was incorporated as a city:

The idea occurred to Richard Wagner of placing his opera house half-way between München and Berlin, in the city of Bayreuth — as a symbol of German unity. I wish I could score everything for horns. Imagination creates reality. I write music with an exclamation point! Wagner’s music is better than it sounds. HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 26, Sunday: Die Walküre, a music-drama by Richard Wagner to his own words, was performed for the initial time, against the composer’s wishes, in the Königliches Hof-und Nationaltheater, München.

Among the audience were Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Henri Duparc.

July 18, Monday: Hans von Bülow’s divorce of Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow was finalized. COSIMA’S DIARY, ON F. N.

07-18-70 Letter from Prof. Nietzsche, who, it seems, in order to escape both the French and the Germans, is going to the Axenstein.

July 19, Tuesday: Jacob Post Giraud, Jr. died.

Cabinet Chief Émile Ollivier, son-in-law of Franz Liszt and brother-in-law of Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow, announced that France had declared war on Prussia. At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War, King Ludwig II was supporting Bavaria’s alliance with the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia.

Visitors from France, including Camille Saint-Saëns and Henri Duparc, arrived to visit ardent Germanophile Richard Wagner and Cosima at Villa Tribschen near Lucerne, Switzerland. The visit was somewhat awkward but Wagner would manage to restrain his conversation to the topic of music (Cosima, however, wouldn’t be able to similarly hold her tongue). Despite anti-French rhetoric that was becoming ever more strident, the visitors would bring themselves to remain until July 30th.

July 19, Tuesday: Jacob Post Giraud, Jr. died.

Cabinet Chief Émile Ollivier, son-in-law of Franz Liszt and brother-in-law of Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow, announced that France had declared war on Prussia. At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War, King Ludwig II was supporting Bavaria’s alliance with the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia.

Visitors from France, including Camille Saint-Saëns and Henri Duparc, arrived to visit ardent Germanophile Richard Wagner and Cosima at Villa Tribschen near Lucerne, Switzerland. The visit was somewhat awkward but Wagner would manage to restrain his conversation to the topic of music (Cosima, however, wouldn’t be able to similarly hold her tongue). Despite anti-French rhetoric that was becoming ever more strident, the visitors would bring themselves to remain until July 30th.

July 27, Wednesday: Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow received word at Villa Tribschen that husband Hans von Bülow had divorced her unfaithful ass.

July 28, Thursday: The Emperor Napoléon III left Paris for Metz to take command of his army. He had a big blue “N” monogrammed on his underpants and was a’gonna show them he was exactly like the guy whose initial he wore. HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 25, Thursday: Richard Wagner got married with Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow in the Protestant Hofkirche, near Lucerne, on the birthday of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Faithfully guided, draw near to where the blessing of love shall preserve you! Triumphant courage, the reward of love, joins you in faith as the happiest of couples! Champion of virtue, proceed! Jewel of youth, proceed! Flee now the splendour of the wedding feast, may the delights of the heart be yours!T his sweet-smelling room, decked for love, now takes you in, away from the splendour. Faithfully guided, draw now near to where the blessing of love shall preserve you! Triumphant courage, love so pure, joins you in faith as the happiest of couples! — Wie Gott euch selig weihte, zu Freude weihn euch wir. In Liebesglücks Geleite denkt lang’ der Stunde hier! — Faithfully guarded, remain behind where the blessing of love shall preserve you! Triumphant courage, love and happiness join you in faith as the happiest of couples. Champion of virtue, remain here! Jewel of youth, remain here! Flee now the splendours of the wedding feast, may the delights of the heart be yours! This sweet-smelling room, decked for love, has now taken you, away from the splendour. Faithfully guarded, remain behind where the blessing of love shall preserve you! Triumphant courage, love and happiness join you in faith as the happiest of couples. LISTEN TO IT NOW

December 25, Sunday: The (originally titled Symphony) for small orchestra by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, on the stairs outside Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner’s room at Villa Tribschen. The composer had assembled local musicians to perform the work as a birthday/Christmas present to his wife.

Corporal Vincent d’Indy spent this night with his battalion in Issy in a tent in 15ºF weather “with a layer of ice for a mattress and a heap of snow for a pillow.” Yes, it was Christmas, birthday of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our hope for salvation and eternal life in Heaven, but yes, let’s be serious here, it was also wartime and there were enemies just crying out to be killed. HDT WHAT? INDEX



King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s conservatory on the roof was completed at the München Residenz (royal apartment).

During the Franco-Prussian War, 1,000 women in Paris blocked cannons and stood between Prussian and Parisian troops. CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE HDT WHAT? INDEX


January 18, Wednesday: Henry Marie Brackenridge died in Pittsburgh. His remains are at the Prospect Cemetery of Brackenridge, Pennsylvania.

King Wilhelm of Prussia was crowned Emperor of Germany in the Palace of Versailles. This amounted to the founding of the 2d Reich or Deutsches Kaiserreich, (the 1st Reich having been the ).

From this day until March 26th, Frederick Douglass would be on a tour of Santo Domingo. Later he would be speaking on behalf of President Grant’s agenda that the island generally known as Haiti be seized by and become a possession of the United States of America.

February 5, Sunday: Richard Wagner completed the full score to Siegfried at Villa Tribschen. HDT WHAT? INDEX


March 1, Wednesday: In an attempt to forestall a projected production in München, Richard Wagner wrote to King Ludwig of Bavaria that he could not bring himself to finish Siegfried (in fact, he had finished it at Tribschen on February 5th).

The Bordeaux Assembly agreed to preliminary peace terms. Accordingly, the German army entered Paris, protected from the crowds by the French National Guard, which included Georges Bizet.

April 14, Friday: A constitution for the new German Reich was adopted by the Reichstag.

Kaisermarsch by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, privately, in Berlin.

April 19, Wednesday: On their way to Berlin, Richard Wagner and Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner inspected the opera house in Bayreuth. They had credulously believed that it possessed one of the largest stages in Germany, although it most certainly did not. Wagner approved of the town but not this opera house. They reached a decision to fund and construct a new one.

April 23, Sunday: by Richard Wagner was performed publicly for the initial time, in the Leipzig Stadttheater.

April 28, Friday: When a section of the Erie Canal’s banks collapsed at the Ox-Bow in Fairport, the barge Bonnie Bird was carried a mile away from the canal by the escaping waters (the crew, and a team of horses, were unhurt).

Richard Wagner read his installation thesis “On the Destiny of Opera” before the Berlin Royal Academy of Arts.

Professor Henri-Frédéric Amiel, who would be referred to as the “Swiss Thoreau,” wrote in his JOURNAL INTIME: “For a psychologist it is extremely interesting to be readily and directly conscious of the complications of one’s own organism and the play of its several parts. It seems to me that the sutures of my being are becoming just loose enough to allow me at once a clear perception of myself as a whole and a distinct sense of my own brittleness. A feeling like this makes personal existence a perpetual astonishment and curiosity. Instead of only seeing the world which surrounds me, I analyze myself. Instead of being single, all of a piece, I become legion, multitude, a whirlwind — a very cosmos. Instead of living on the surface, I take possession of my inmost self, I apprehend myself, if not in my cells and atoms, at least so far as my groups of organs, almost my tissues, are concerned. In other words, the central monad isolates itself from all the subordinate monads, that it may consider them, and finds its harmony again in itself. Health is the perfect balance between our organism, with all its component parts, and the outer world; it serves us especially for acquiring a knowledge of that world. Organic disturbance obliges us to set up a fresh and more spiritual equilibrium, to withdraw within the soul. Thereupon our bodily constitution itself becomes the object of thought. It is no longer we, although it may belong to us; it is nothing more than the vessel in which we make the passage of life, a vessel of which we study the weak points and the structure without identifying it with our own individuality. Where is the ultimate residence of the self? In thought, or rather in consciousness. But below consciousness there is its germ, the punctum saliens of spontaneity; for consciousness is not primitive, it becomes. The HDT WHAT? INDEX


question is, can the thinking monad return into its envelope, that is to say, into pure spontaneity, or even into the dark abyss of virtuality? I hope not. The kingdom passes; the king remains; or rather is it the royalty alone which subsists — that is to say, the idea — the personality begin in its turn merely the passing vesture of the permanent idea? Is Leibnitz or Hegel right? Is the individual immortal under the form of the spiritual body? Is he eternal under the form of the individual idea? Who saw most clearly, St. Paul or Plato? The theory of Leibnitz attracts me most because it opens to us an infinite of duration, of multitude, and evolution. For a monad, which is the virtual universe, a whole infinite of time is not too much to develop the infinite within it. Only one must admit exterior actions and influences which affect the evolution of the monad. Its independence must be a mobile and increasing quantity between zero and the infinite, without ever reaching either completeness or nullity, for the monad can be neither absolutely passive nor entirely free.”

May 3, Wednesday: Attempting to secure funding for his Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, Richard Wagner obtained an audience with Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in Berlin (he received no such commitment).

Manuel Debussy assumed the rank of Captain over the 2d Company of the 13th Federate Batallion, which was among the most radical of communard units.

May 10, Wednesday: The Treaty of Frankfurt ended the Franco-Prussian War (a 9 month 3 week spree). France would be obliged to surrender the border regions Alsace and Lorraine, and pay an indemnity of 5,000,000,000 Francs (German troops would be remaining in northern France until such sum was tendered).

Manuel Debussy was released from prison.

May 12, Friday: In Leipzig, Richard Wagner publicly announced that Der Ring des Nibelungen was to be performed in 1873 in Bayreuth. He hadn’t yet brought up the idea of a new theater with the town fathers, but was confident that he could not be refused.

Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber died in Paris at the age of 89.

November 1, Wednesday: Angelo Mariani conducted a performance of Lohengrin at Teatro Communale, Bologna, the first performance of a Wagner opera in Italy. Giuseppe Verdi considered Mariani a traitor but this would not preclude him from attending a later performance on November 19th.

For the initial time, Richard Wagner wrote to the town fathers in Bayreuth laying out the plans for his new theater. Their response would of course be enthusiastic.

The Reverend Francis Ellingwood Abbot wrote from Toledo, Ohio to Charles Darwin in Down, England, providing a passage from Darwin’s note that he desired to quote in a lecture, and asking Darwin for his support in the free-thought movement. He sent a payment of 50 (we don’t know whether this was American dollars or British pounds), asking Darwin to become a regular contributor to The Free Religious Index.

November 7, Tuesday: The town of Bayreuth formally approved Richard Wagner’s plan for a new theater. HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 12, Sunday: Huldigungsmarsch by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time in the setting for orchestra, at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna.

November 19, Sunday: Giuseppe Verdi attended a performance of Lohengrin in Bologna, one that was also attended by Arrigo Boito. Verdi was recognized after the 2d act and although he was applauded for 15 minutes, he was reluctant to show himself to the crowd. He had brought with him a copy of Richard Wagner’s score and made notes on it throughout the performance. His comment would be “Impression mediocre.” HDT WHAT? INDEX



April 21, Sunday: An insurrection begins in the north of Spain in favor of the pretender, Don Carlos de Borbon.

Josef Rubinstein, a young, mentally unstable musician, arrived at Tribschen from his home in Kharkov. After reading Richard Wagner’s ?gJudaism in Music?h he came to a choice between suicide or following the man who had shown him his inherent Jewish deficiencies. As Wagner is leaving for Bayreuth tomorrow, he invites Rubinstein to join him there. COSIMA’S DIARY, ON F. N.

04-21-72 We are expecting Professor Nietzsche, but he does not come.

April 22, Monday: Richard Wagner departed from his house on the lake near Lucerne, Villa Tribschen, forever. He relocated to Bayreuth in order to oversee construction of his Festspielhaus. COSIMA’S DIARY, ON F. N.

04-22-72 (Prof. N. writes today from Geneva.)

April 29, Monday: Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner, her 5 children, nursemaid, personal maid, and dog “Russ” left Villa Tribschen to set up a menage on the following day with Richard Wagner in the Hotel Fantaisie in Donndorf near Bayreuth.

May 6, Monday: The Wagners experienced an initial “private performance” at München’s Hoftheater.

May 18, Saturday: Richard Wagner wrote to his father-in-law Franz Liszt, extending an olive branch by inviting him to the laying of the foundation stone of the .

Two songs by Gabriel Faure were performed for the initial time, by the Societe National de Musique: Lydia op.4/2, to words of de Lisle, and Seule! op.3/4 to words of Gautier. COSIMA’S DIARY, ON F. N.

05-18-72 [Bayreuth] in the afternoon arrival of Prof. Nietzsche, Herr v. Gersdorff, and the Ritters. Herr Heckel of is also here, is spending the night at the Fantaisie with Richter. Cheerful, companionable atmosphere, we all belong together. Many of the musicians already here. (R. writes to my father and in splendid words invites him here.) HDT WHAT? INDEX


May 20, Monday: Franz Liszt wrote his son-in-law Richard Wagner putting an end to his anger with the life choices made by his headstrong daughter Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner.

May 22, Wednesday: An Amnesty Act was signed by President Ulysses S. Grant, reinstating the citizenship rights of southerner secessionists with the exception of 500 prominent white leaders.

On his 59th birthday, in a driving rain, Richard Wagner laid the cornerstone for his Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. Later, in the town’s opera house, he spoke on how he envisioned the building and conducted a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony no.9, after which a banquet was offered. Friedrich Nietzsche was accompanying Wagner on this occasion, and would write that “Everything that had happened up to now was a preparation for this moment.”

At the Theatre Favart in Paris, Djamileh, an opera comique to words of Gallet, was performed for the initial time. The author, Georges Bizet, sat in the prompter’s box to ensure nothing went wrong, but toward the end commented to a friend, “It’s a complete flop.” Later he would add that “If you want to succeed today, you have to be dead, or German.”

At Cambridge University, Spring Comes Hither op.1/4 for voice and piano by Charles Villiers Stanford was performed for the initial time. HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 11, Tuesday: The Reverend Thomas M. Clark delivered a discourse on Gabriel Bernon at St. John’s Church in Providence, Rhode Island. (This would be issued as a printed pamphlet, and a copy of this pamphlet at the Rhode Island Historical Society bears an anonymous handwritten chronology of the events subsequent to Bernon’s flight from France.)

Basic construction had been completed of the Gateway Building for Neuschwanstein Castle (then known as “New Hohenschwangau Castle”), although it would require another year of finishing before this structure could be available for occupancy). COSIMA’S DIARY, ON F. N.

06-11-72 R. works on his letter [to Friedrich Nietzsche], which he completes and which I find quite masterly [...]

September: Construction activity began for the Palas of Neuschwanstein Castle (then known as “New Hohenschwangau Castle”). King Ludwig II of Bavaria would be able to use the upper floor of this Palas as a provisional accomodation while was visiting the site (and this would be just about the only benefit he would be deriving, as it would turn out during the onset of his madness, from all this work and expense).

280 St. Helenians departed on a ship heading toward South Africa (wave back at us before you drop below the horizon, folks!). HDT WHAT? INDEX


September 2, Monday: Richard Wagner and Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner visited Franz Liszt at the Russischer Hof Hotel in Weimar, and effected a reconciliation with their father/father-in-law (this was the 1st time the 2 men had met since 1867).

September 3, Tuesday: While visiting her father Franz Liszt, in Weimar, Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner wrote, “I am terribly upset by my father’s weariness of soul.... I saw the tragedy of my father’s life as in a vision — during the night I shed many tears.”

Death of Immanuel Nobel, father of Alfred Nobel.

The 34th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s freedom, which we may well elect to celebrate in lieu of an unknown slave birthday.

Here is a Daguerreotype, by an unidentified photographer in the 1850-1855 timeframe.

“It has been a source of great annoyance to me, never to have a birthday.” HDT WHAT? INDEX


October 15, Tuesday: Franz Liszt made his initial trip to Bayreuth to visit his daughter Cosima with her new husband Richard Wagner. Cosima was sending off a letter to Friedrich Nietzsche: COSIMA’S DIARY, ON F. N.

10-15-72 Wrote to Prof. Nietzsche.

November: Professor Friedrich Nietzsche visited the Wagners in . COSIMA’S DIARY, ON F. N.

11-09-72 A letter to R. from Prof. Nietzsche, who reports that this semester every one of his students has stayed away! And so he has been excommunicated on account of his book; the news affects us very deeply, for it is a very serious matter and puts our friend in an impossible situation.— We start thinking up extravagant ideas and plans for sending students to Basel; of forcing from Bismarck an appointment in Berlin—all kinds of impossibilities. R. also has hopes that his journey might yield something: “This is a case where the aristocracy could intervene.”— We are literally being outlawed; yesterday the dean told us that one of the precepts of the Catholic party is that its members must speak against Wagner and Bayreuth. I told R. I believed that we had now entered a particularly bad phase as far as the outside world was concerned. He laughs and says, “Oh, it is always bad.” 11-10-72 I did not sleep well, the news about our friend [Nietzsche] upset me too much. 11-21-72 [...] Dr. Hemsen, librarian to the King [of Württemberg]; he tells me that [...] he has acquired Nietzsche’s book [The Birth of Tragedy] for the library. 11-23-72 I write in the meantime to Prof. Rohde, who is now also completely outlawed and utterly isolated and without prospects. 11-24-72 Dinner with the Kessingers and Nietzsche in the Restaurant Valentin [....] Gay atmosphere [....] ([....] Prof. Nietzsche tells me that in Munich a Dr. Puschmann, lecturer at the university there, has just published a paper in which he proves psychiatrically that R. is mad. [Theodor Puschmann (1844- 1899): Richard Wagner, eine psychiatrische Studie.] That such things are possible and are tolerated!) HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 17, Friday: Richard Wagner read Gotterdammerung before a glittering assembly of potential subscribers gathered in the Berlin home of Count von Schleinitz. Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner would comment that “I cannot judge the impression the reading made, but I believe it was considerable.”

February 10, Monday: Richard Wagner began a reading of ORIGIN OF SPECIES by Charles Darwin.

Here is a current course elective from the Music Department of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania: MUS 226 1859: Charles Darwin, Richard Wagner and the Uses and Abuses of 19th Century Science One-hundred-fifty years ago, Charles Darwin published his treatise on the origin of species, and Richard Wagner composed his opera Tristan and Isolde. This course examines nineteenth- century [mis]applications of Darwinian theories, reflected in Wagner’s operas, replete with subliminal references to the superiority of Germanic peoples and inferiority on non-Germanic peoples. We shall: read Darwin and texts reflecting his influence in Germany; view Wagner’s operas; and consider Wagner's influence on Adolf Hitler. [H, GM2, V, W] Cummings

Here is deep reading by Marc A. Weiner, per his RICHARD WAGNER AND THE ANTI-SEMITIC IMAGINATION (U of Nebraska P, 1997, page 343): ...Darwin’s text allows for the reconstruction of a series of associations in Wagner’s imagination that would have linked masturbation to physiologically inferior, virtually beastly humans. Such associations would have seamlessly conflated with Wagner’s animal imagery linked to different races in his musical-dramatic tetralogy. Seen in this context, Hagen as the bearer of the sign of the Jew and the onanist emerges as a representative of a physiologically primitive stage in human development, as a “retrograded” being and even as an animal — as the quintessentially inferior outcast per se. MASTURBATION ANTISEMITISM

May 29, Thursday: Christus, an oratorio by Franz Liszt to words from the Bible and the Roman Catholic liturgy, was performed completely for the initial time, in the Weimar Stadtkirche, conducted by the composer. Liszt’s daughter , and his son-in-law Richard Wagner were present. Cosima would report that “Richard’s reaction covers all extremes, from ravishment to immense indignation, in his attempt to do it both profound and loving justice.” HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 2, Saturday: 1st trial run of a San Francisco cable car, on Clay Street between Kearny and Jones (the test, which was downhill all the way, was performed at 4AM). CALIFORNIA

With a small local ceremony, the roof was raised on the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Attending along with Richard Wagner and his family was the father-in-law, Franz Liszt.

August 11, Monday: Richard Wagner wrote to King Ludwig II of Bavaria to complain about how the German aristocracy was investing all its filthy lucre in “Jewish and Jesuit” concerns, neglecting him and his Festspielhaus. He hit up the monarch for a “loan” of 100,000 taler (for unknown reasons this communication would receive no reply). ANTISEMITISM

September 13, Saturday: German troops evacuated Verdun, the final French territory they had come to occupy as a result of the Franco-Prussian War.

Anton Bruckner visited Bayreuth to ask Richard Wagner to accept the dedication of his Symphony no.3.

December 25, Thursday: Kinder-Katechismus zu Kosels Geburtstag “Sagt mir Kinder, was bluht am Maitag” for solo voice, children’s choir and piano by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, at Bayreuth. Wagner had it sung by children in the room next to their bedroom so Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner can hear it as she awoke. CHRISTMAS

End of year: The Gateway Building for Neuschwanstein Castle (then known as “New Hohenschwangau Castle”) was readied for occupancy. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 25, Sunday: After hearing a most satisfactory sermon by the Reverend Mr. Bryant deriving insights from the 10th chapter of the book of Genesis at the Congregational Church in Everett, Massachusetts, Isaac-Farwell Holton walked to his home in a biting cold wind and sat down in his armchair while still in his coat, made a couple of minor comments, began to snore, and died. He had been serving as clerk of the Senate Committee of Elections in Boston and three of his articles were pending publication in New-York periodicals. There would be a proposal to purchase his magnificent Herbarium (proceeds for the benefit of surviving family members) and present it to his alma mater, Amherst College.

After turning aside Richard Wagner’s plea for financial assistance all of 3 times, King Ludwig II of Bavaria relented, and promised to help finance the new Bayreuth Festspielhaus. He would approve a loan of 100,000 taler.

Piccolomini, a concert overture by Vincent d’Indy (an organ student of Cesar Franck) was performed for the initial time, in Paris.

April 28, Tuesday: The Wagners moved into “” in Bayreuth, a new house the composer had designed, that had been funded by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 21, Friday: From this point until the 28th, King Ludwig II of Bavaria would be enjoying a 2d sojourn in Paris, residing at Versailles and Fontainebleau.

Marcus Spring died. His widow would relocate with daughter Jeannie and son Herbert to Los Angeles, California (she would survive until 1911, a few months short of her hundredth birthday).

August 28, Friday: King Ludwig II returned to Bavaria after his recent week-long sojourn in Paris, Versailles, and Fontainebleau. HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 21, Saturday: Sir William Jardine died at the resort town of Sandown on the southeast coast of the Isle of Wight.

Having received the promised loan for his new Bayreuth Festspielhaus from King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Richard Wagner wrote the last note of his Götterdämmerung at Wahnfried, his Bayreuth home — and Der Ring des Nibelungen was complete. HDT WHAT? INDEX



Preliminary rehearsals for Der Ring des Nibelungen were going on in Bayreuth.

President Ulysses S. Grant opened the Oregon Territory to settlement and vetoed a bill to protect the bison from extinction.

Professor Joseph Leidy and Anna Harden Leidy toured the museums of Europe.

March 1, Monday: The United States government guaranteed the rights of black Americans in public places.

Secretary of the Societe National de Musique Gabriel Faure was censured for “deplorable unpunctuality.”

Richard Wagner conducted a performance of his music in Vienna. For the 1st time the Wagner tubas were heard, playing Siegfried’s Funeral Music. This caused such a stir that the audience demanded the tuba-players perform it over again.

March 25, Thursday: Excerpts from Gotterdammerung were presented for the initial time, in the Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, as conducted by the composer Richard Wagner.

Trial By Jury, an operetta to words of Gilbert, wsas performed for the initial time, at the Royalty Theater, London, as conducted by the composer Arthur Sullivan. This was actually the 3d work on the program, having been preceded by a 1-act farce called Cryptoconchoidsyphonostomata and a complete performance of La Perichole by Jacques Offenbach. Despite this programming, Arthur Sullivan’s operetta was an immediate success and would run for 131 performances (the part of the judge was played by the composer’s brother, Frederic Sullivan).

August 2, Monday: Richard Wagner heard an orchestra in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus for the 1st time and was pleased at his new hall’s acoustics.

August 24, Tuesday-27, Friday: King Ludwig II of Bavaria visited at Reims, where French kings are crowned.

September 8, Wednesday: In München, Clara Schumann endured Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde: “It is the most repulsive thing I ever saw or heard in my life.” LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 17, Wednesday: 10:45AM. Outside the stage door of the Vienna Opera House, with a rehearsal of Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg was in progress, Hugo Wolf encountered Richard Wagner for the 1st time. “With a truly religious awe I gazed upon this great master of Tone...” LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX



March 5: Countess Marie d’Agoult, former mistress of Franz Liszt and mother of their 3 children, died of heart disease in Paris. Liszt learned the news by reading it in a newspaper, as did their daughter Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner.

After 8 years of complete paralysis, Francesco Maria Piave, librettist of Rigoletto and La Traviata, died in Milan.

Corriere della Sera published its initial issue in Milan. This was the 1st national Italian newspaper.

Le deluge, an oratorio by Camille Saint-Saens to words of Gallet, was performed for the initial time, in Paris. During the 2d part, dueling demonstrations of approval and disapproval erupted in the audience.

May 10, Tuesday: In Indianapolis, Colonel Eli Lilly founded a drug manufacturing company.

In Philadelphia, Grosser Festmarsch for winds and percussion by Richard Wagner, commissioned for a payment of $5,000 for the opening ceremonies of the Centennial Exposition of the American Declaration of Independence, was performed for the initial time (also premiered was a Centennial Hymn op.27 for chorus by John Knowles Paine).

Summer: Walt Whitman heard the cicadas, “a long, chromatic, tremulous crescendo, like a brass disk whirling round and round, emitting wave after wave of notes, beginning with a certain moderate beat or measure, rapidly increasing in speed and emphasis, reaching a point of great energy and significance, and then quickly dropping down and out.”

Late during this summer Richard Wagner has an affair with Judith Gautier.

August 6, Sunday: Just after midnight a royal train from München came to a stop in an open field outside Bayreuth. King Ludwig II of Bavaria stepped into a carriage in which Richard Wagner was waiting. The two had not seen one another for 8 years. The king was to view the dress rehearsals for Der Ring des Nibelungen in their entirety on the nights of August 6, 7, 8, and 9 at private performances in the company of the composer and a few others.

August 13, Sunday: A glittering array of political leaders, including Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany and Emperor Pedro II of Brazil, gathered in Bayreuth for the opening of the Festspielhaus. Attending musicians include Franz Liszt, Anton Bruckner, Camille Saint-Saens, Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg, and Arthur Foote. Friedrich Nietzsche attended, and sighted Richard Wagner (King Leopold of course was not there, as he had already had his private royal performance in full).

The initial production of the complete Der Ring des Nibelungen, Buhnenfestspiel fur drei Tage und einen Vorabend, by Richard Wagner to his own words opened in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus with a production of Das Rheingold. HDT WHAT? INDEX


August 14, Monday: Henry Stephens Randall died at the age of 66 at his residence in Cortland, New York after years of bad health. The body would be placed in the Cortland Rural Cemetery.

The initial complete public production of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen continued at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus with a production of Die Walkure. It was being performed in its entirety under Richter — this would be followed by 2 additional complete cycles. The festival would generate a deficit of 148,000 Marks.

August 16, Wednesday: Siegfried, a music-drama by Richard Wagner to his own words, was performed for the 1st time, on the 3d night of the 1st complete production of Der Ring des Nibelungen in the Bayreuth Festpielhaus.

August 17, Thursday: The 1st complete production of Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner concluded with the premiere of Gotterdammerung, a music-drama to the composer’s own words, in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus.

August 20, Sunday: After experiencing the premiere of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother Modest, “Nibelungen may perhaps be a very great work, but there has certainly never been anything as long-winded and boring as this interminable piece. The accumulation of the most complex and arcane harmonies, the colorlessness of the vocal lines, the endlessly long dialogues, the absence of anything of the slightest interest or poetic quality in the subject matter — all this stretches the nerves almost beyond endurance.” “I have seen and greatly enjoyed the first act of everything Wagner created, but the effect on me has always been so powerful that one act was quite sufficient; after two acts I have gone away physically exhausted.” —Mark Twain

November: Professor Friedrich Nietzsche’s final meeting with Richard Wagner, in Sorrento. COSIMA’S DIARY, ON F. N.

While in Rome, Wagner met the “Aryanist” Arthur de Gobineau.

Clearly, something about Nietzsche’s friend Dr. Paul Ludwig Carl Heinrich Rée was tickling Cosima’s “Jewdar”: ANTISEMITISM 11-01-76 In the evening we are visited by Dr. Rée, whose cold and precise character does not appeal to us; on closer inspection we come to the conclusion that he must be an Israelite. 11-02-76 [...] the evening we spend with our friends Malwida and Prof. Nietzsche. 12-24-76 Nice letter from Prof. Nietzsche, though informing us HDT WHAT? INDEX


that he now rejects Schopenhauer’s teachings! ... [Sorrento, December 19, 1876: Letter to Cosima Wagner: “[...] werden Sie sich wundern, wenn ich Ihnen eine allmählich entstandene, mir fast plötzlich in’s Bewußtein getretene Differenz mit Schopenhauer’s Lehre eingestehe? Ich stehe fast in allen allgemeinen Sätzen nicht auf seiner Seite; schon als ich über Sch. schrieb, merkte ich, daß ich über alles Dogmatische daran hinweg sei; mir lag alles am Menschen.” ([...] will you be astonished if I tell you that I have to confess a difference that I have with Schopenhauer’s teaching, a difference that developed quite gradually, but of which I have suddenly become aware? In terms of almost all his general claims I do not take his side; even while I was writing about Sch[openhauer], I noticed that I was already beyond all questions of dogma. For me, what was important was the human being.)]

December 4, Monday: Ruggero Leoncavallo attended a performance of Rienzi in Bologna in the presence of the composer Richard Wagner and Cosima. He would claim to have had conversation with them as of this occasion, although we have no independent attestation for this. Bologna, he made the personal acquaintance of Wagner, who was there for the production of “Rienzi.” Wagner encouraged him to persevere, bidding him not be alarmed at the difficulties he would have to face. While talking, Wagner pulled off his famous cap, seized between his fingers a lock of his white hair, and said, “Voyez, je lutte encore.” This conversation, Leoncavallo adds, “was very beneficial to me, and during all the bitterness of my subsequent struggles I had always before my eyes the figure of the patriarch, with his ‘Voyez je lutte encore.’” HDT WHAT? INDEX



February 23, Friday: By this point Richard Wagner had completed a 2d draft prose for the libretto Parsifal: Ein Bühnenweihfestspiel, 1st conceived during on Good Friday morning in 1857 on the basis of his Summer 1845 reading of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s 13th-Century epic poem Parzival about a quest for the Holy Grail, and then drafted in prose during August 1865. LISTEN TO IT NOW

April 19, Thursday: By this point Richard Wagner had transformed his 2d prose draft for Parsifal into a verse libretto. LISTEN TO IT NOW

May 2, Wednesday: In London, Hubert Parry met Richard Wagner for the 1st time, while Wagner was offering concerts there in an attempt to earn coin to make up for Der Ring des Nibelungen’s deficit of 148,000 Marks in his previous year’s extravaganza at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. During this year Parry would compose Concertstück for orchestra and in the following year would compose the overture Guillem de Cabestanh, and then in 1880 he would compose Scenes from Prometheus Unbound — in all these pieces commentators have noted the influence of Wagner.

May 16, Wednesday: President MacMahon of France, urged on by a conservative Senate, sacked republican Prime Minister Jules Simon.

Hearing excerpts from Richard Wagner’s Gotterdammerung, Hubert Parry jotted in his diary that “Siegfrieds Tod ... seems to me the greatest thing in the world and made me quite cold with ecstasy.”

May 17, Thursday: Queen Victoria received Richard Wagner at Windsor Castle. In her diary, his wife Cosima would be paying attention to the architecture and the paintings but would record nothing whatever of the monarch herself. “Nice digs you got here. Of course there are far finer castles where we come from. Windsor, is that your family name now? –Weren’t your forbears, actually, once upon a time, German royalty?”

Russian forces captured Ardahan southwest of Tiflis (Tbilisi) from the Turks. HDT WHAT? INDEX


September: Professor Friedrich Nietzsche returned to Basel to finish HUMAN, ALL TOO HUMAN.37

Richard Wagner made several complete drafts of the score for the libretto Parsifal, in various degrees of instrumental elaboration (this would be 1st presented in Bayreuth during the festival of 1882). LISTEN TO IT NOW

37. Friedrich Nietzsche. MENSCHLICHES, ALLZUMENSCHLICHES (HUMAN, ALL-TOO-HUMAN), sections 517-8 in Volumes VIII-IX of the Musarion Verlag edition, 1878-1879 HDT WHAT? INDEX



Richard Wagner began to compose a series of increasingly reactionary essays on religion and art (it would probably be a good idea not to familiarize yourself with these materials).

Sir George Grove suggested in print that, rather than the canonical polite explanation of his biographers, typhus, Ludwig van Beethoven’s deafness might have been due to “an incurable complaint which has been made worse by incompetent doctors,” syphilis. This was considered “incriminating” because syphilis is transmitted by “immorality.” Imagine this, a musician who was guilty of sexual congress with other human beings!


One interesting product of Beethoven’s deafness was the retention of some 400 “conversation books” in which people would write their questions or remarks. In those days before President Richard Milhous Nixon and audiotape, in regard to no person do we have a better constant record of their conversation. (Expletive deleted: we would bear in mind, however, that over a hundred of these conversation books have been destroyed by later editors as containing material unsuitable to his memory.) HDT WHAT? INDEX


March 31, Sunday: The München Hoftheater agreed, upon being directed to do so by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, to pay off the ’s debt on the basis of future receipts of royalties from the production of Richard Wagner’s works. In return this Hoftheater received the right to perform Parsifal free subsequent to its Bayreuth premiere. By this mechanism, Bayreuth was finally solvent. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Moncure Daniel Conway’s pamphlet THE PERIL OF WAR: A DISCOURSE DELIVERED AT SOUTH PLACE CHAPEL, MARCH 31, 1878 (London, South Place, Finsbury). READ THE FULL TEXT

April 4, Thursday: This is the probable date of Friedrich Nietzsche’s visit to his doctor, Otto Eiser, in Frankfurt. After the examination Eiser, a fervent Wagnerite, showed Nietzsche a letter from Richard Wagner in which the composer had accused the philosopher of being homosexual.38 Why Nietzsche broke with Wagner is something that I alone know, for the break took place under my roof, in my surgery.... Nietzsche was beside himself — the words that he found for Wagner are unrepeatable.

April 28, Sunday-29, Monday: This evening and the following one marked the initial performances, in Leipzig, of Das Rheingold and Die Walkure — the 1st times Richard Wagner had granted permission for them to be performed outside Bayreuth.

August: Richard Wagner scored the Prelude of Act I of the libretto Parsifal. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Professor Friedrich Nietzsche fell ill. During this month and the following one Wagner would be attacking him in the Bayreuther Blaetter.

August: Richard Wagner scored the Prelude of Act I of the libretto Parsifal. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Professor Friedrich Nietzsche fell ill. During this month and the following one Wagner would be attacking him in the Bayreuther Blaetter.

38. There is evidently a rumor floating around academia to the effect that Nietzsche and Wagner’s son Fidi had formed a homoerotic relationship. We should bear in mind that Fidi had not yet reached the age of nine, and we should also bear in mind that the standard story is that he would not explore homoeroticism until 1892, when he was 23, during a voyage to Asia with the composer Clement Harris. HDT WHAT? INDEX


September 21, Saturday: Regnum mundi for chorus and organ by Leos Janacek was performed for the initial time.

This evening and the following one marked the initial performances, in Leipzig, of Siegried and Gotterdammerung — the 1st times Richard Wagner had granted permission for them to be performed outside Bayreuth.

December 25, Wednesday: The prelude to Richard Wagner’s unperformed music drama “Parsifal” was performed for the initial time, at Wahnfried in Bayreuth, for the birthday of the composer’s wife, Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner. HDT WHAT? INDEX



April 16, Monday: Richard Wagner completed composition of the songs for Act III of his libretto Parsifal. LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX


April 26, Saturday: Richard Wagner completed an instrumental score for Act III of his libretto Parsifal. LISTEN TO IT NOW

A report from Walt Whitman: “Specimen Days”

DAYS AT J.B.’S TURF-FIRES — SPRING SONGS At sunrise, the pure clear sound of the meadow lark. An hour later, some notes, few and simple, yet delicious and perfect, from the bush-sparrow — towards noon the reedy trill of the robin. To-day is the fairest, sweetest yet — penetrating warmth — a lovely veil in the air, partly heat-vapor and partly from the turf-fires everywhere in patches on the farms. A group of soft maples near by silently bursts out in crimson tips, buzzing all day with busy bees. The white sails of sloops and schooners glide up or down the river; and long trains of cars, with ponderous roll, or faint bell notes, almost constantly on the opposite shore. The earliest wild flowers in the woods and fields, spicy arbutus, blue liverwort, frail anemone, and the pretty white blossoms of the bloodroot. I launch out in slow rambles, discovering them. As I go along the roads I like to see the farmers’ fires in patches, burning the dry brush, turf, debris. How the smoke crawls along, flat to the ground, slanting, slowly rising, reaching away, and at last dissipating. [Page 840] I like its acrid smell — whiffs just reaching me — welcomer than French perfume. The birds are plenty; of any sort, or of two or three sorts, curiously, not a sign, till suddenly some warm, gushing, sunny April (or even March) day — lo! there they are, from twig to twig, or fence to fence, flirting, singing, some mating, preparing to build. But most of them en passant — a fortnight, a month in these parts, and then away. As in all phases, Nature keeps up her vital, copious, eternal procession. Still, plenty of the birds hang around all or most of the season — now their love- time, and era of nest-building. I find flying over the river, crows, gulls and hawks. I hear the afternoon shriek of the latter, darting about, preparing to nest. The oriole will soon be heard here, and the twanging meoeow of the cat-bird; also the king-bird, cuckoo and the warblers. All along, there are three peculiarly characteristic spring songs — the meadow-lark’s, so sweet, so alert and remonstrating (as if he said, “don’t you see?” or, “can’t you understand?”) — the cheery, mellow, human tones of the robin — (I have been trying for years to get a brief term, or phrase, that would identify and describe that robin-call) — and the amorous whistle of the high-hole. Insects are out plentifully at midday. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 4, Sunday: Alyeksandr Glazunov began his studies with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Advised by his doctor to seek a warmer climate, Richard Wagner took his family to the Bay of Naples (they would remain there, in Villa d’Angri, until August 8th).

Tabor and Blanik (tone poems from Ma Vlast) were performed for the initial time, in Prague in a concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the composer Bedrich Smetana’s 1st performance.

January 29, Thursday The topping-out ceremony for the Palas of Neuschwanstein Castle (then known as “New Hohenschwangau Castle”).

Claude William Dukenfield was born.

George Stewart, Jr. lectured on “Alcott, the Concord Mystic” before the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec. This would appear in the TRANSACTIONS OF THE LITERARY AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF QUEBEC, SESSIONS OF 1879-80, and as “Lecture on Alcott” in the Quebec Morning Chronicle. BRONSON ALCOTT HDT WHAT? INDEX


February 17, Tuesday: In a dining room of the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg in which Tsar Alyeksandr II was about to entertain the Prince of Bulgaria, a charge detonated prematurely hurting no one in that room but killing 40 soldiers who were in the room below (this had been a plot by Stefan N. Khalturin, founder of the Northern Russian Workers’ Union).

Richard Wagner witnessed a production of Fromental Halévy’s La Juive at Teatro San Carlo, Naples. Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner reported that her husband found the work delightful and “not at all Jewish.”

March 9, Tuesday: Consular Convention Between the United States of America and Belgium. READ THE FULL TEXT

Engelbert Humperdinck met Richard Wagner for the 1st time, in Naples.

A report from Walt Whitman: “Specimen Days”

A snowstorm in the morning, and continuing most of the day. But I took a walk over two hours, the same woods and paths, amid the falling flakes. No wind, yet the musical low murmur through the pines, quite pronounced, curious, like waterfalls, now still’d, now pouring again. All the senses, sight, sound, smell, delicately gratified. Every snowflake lay where it fell on the evergreens, holly-trees, laurels, &c., the multitudinous leaves and branches piled, bulging-white, defined by edge-lines of emerald — the tall straight columns of the plentiful bronze-topt pines — a slight resinous odor blending with that of the snow. (For there is a scent to everything, even the snow, if you can only detect it — no two places, hardly any two hours, anywhere, exactly alike. How different the odor of noon from midnight, or winter from summer, or a windy spell from a still one.)

March 14, Sunday: At a performance of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in München, Vincent d’Indy was sitting quietly waiting for the prelude to begin, when “we hear soft sobbing close to us, all the more spasmodic for wanting to be suppressed.” It is Emmanuel Chabrier. “Oh! this is silly...Can’t help myself...Ten years of my life that I have waited for the cello A!...” LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX


October: Alfred Russel Wallace’s ISLAND LIFE.

Continuation of serial publication of Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevski’s THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV in The Russian Herald: Book XII, 6-14 (Dmitry gets convicted.)

Richard Wagner read Arthur de Gobineau’s AN ESSAY ON THE INEQUALITY OF THE HUMAN RACES (during the following year this racist author would have an extended stay in the Wagner household).

November 10, Wednesday: Richard Wagner conversed for the final time with King Ludwig II of Bavaria. HDT WHAT? INDEX


November 12, Friday: When Richard Wagner conducted a private performance of the Prelude to the libretto Parsifal for King Ludwig II of Bavaria at the Court Theatre in Munich, this would be the final time he would be in the same room with his monarch patron. LISTEN TO IT NOW

November 17, Wednesday: Richard Wagner and his family returned to Bayreuth after an absence of 11 months.

Incidental music to Verne and D’Ennery’s play Michel Strogoff by Jules Massenet was performed for the initial time, at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris.

An immigration treaty between the United States of America and China gave the US the right to limit or suspend (but not exclude) Chinese immigration.

December 25, Saturday: Ihr Kinder, geschwinde, geschwinde for children’s voices by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time, at Wahnfried in Bayreuth. CHRISTMAS HDT WHAT? INDEX



March: The Land Nationalisation Society was established and Alfred Russel Wallace, author of “How to Nationalize the Land,” was made its initial President.

Richard Wagner experienced chest pains after a Ring performance in Berlin.

June 3, Friday: Arthur de Gobineau was staying with the Wagners for 5 weeks at Wahnfried. His racial theories generated arguments — racial theories such as that to be a good musician one needed to have a Negro hidden in one’s family’s woodpile. On this day, according to Cosima’s diary, her husband “positively exploded in favour of Christianity as compared to racial theory.”

During this year Wagner would author three Bayreuther Blätter columns commenting on Gobineau’s racist theories, “Introduction to a Work of Count Gobineau,” “Know Thyself,” and “Heroism and Christianity.” His proposed solution to race problems was the same as what had been espoused by Thomas Jefferson in regard to his slightly-dusky slave Sally Hemings: white men should, by sharing their good genes among the inferior women, elevate and ennoble this entire human species. Fuck them until they are indistinguishable from us. The only problem with such an agenda, he recognized, was that because there were so many more of them than there are of us, there is always the possibility that we’re going to get swamped in all this darkness: Incomparably fewer in individual numbers than the lower races, the ruin of the white races may be referred to their having been obliged to mix with them; whereby, as remarked already, they suffered more from the loss of their purity than the others could gain by the ennobling of their blood.... To us Equality is only thinkable as based upon a universal moral concord, such as we can but deem true Christianity elect to bring about.

November 5, Saturday: Richard Wagner and his family arrived at the Hôtel des Palmes to spend the winter in Palermo (until February 2d when they would begin to tour the island of Sicily). HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 13, Friday: In Palermo, Sicily Richard Wagner completed the full score of the libretto Parsifal. LISTEN TO IT NOW

January 14, Saturday: The day after Richard Wagner wrote the final note of the libretto Parsifal in Palermo, Sicily, he was visited by the young artist Pierre-August Renoir. They had a pleasant chat and agreed that on the following day the painter would paint a portrait of the composer. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Le Ruisseau op.22 for female chorus and piano by Gabriel Fauré to anonymous words was performed for the initial time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris.

January 15, Sunday: Pierre-August Renoir painted a portrait sketch of Richard Wagner in Palermo, Sicily. This took 35 minutes. Upon viewing the work product the composer remarked “I look like a Protestant minister.” Renoir agreed.

Was sich liebt, neckt sich op.399, a polka française by Johann Strauss, was performed for the initial time, in the Musikverein, Vienna. Also premiered was Strauss’ polka françaiseVioletta op.404.

March 28, Tuesday: In Sicily, Richard Wagner suffered his initial major heart attack.

July 25, Tuesday: There was aA banquet in Bayreuth to celebrate the following day’s premiere of the libretto Parsifal. Sitting with Richard Wagner throughout the evening was a lover Judith Gautier rather than his wife Cosima, mother of his children. LISTEN TO IT NOW

July 26, Wednesday: Boers created the Republic of Stellaland with its capital at Vryburg.

Richard Wagner's Bühnenweihfestspiel Parsifal to his own words was performed for the initial time, in the 2d Festspielhaus at Bayreuth under the baton of . In the audience was Anton Bruckner, a passionate Wagnerian. The boys’ chorus had been prepared by Engelbert Humperdinck. HDT WHAT? INDEX


July 27, Thursday: A day after the premiere of Parsifal in Bayreuth, Hubert Parry attended a reception at Wahnfried. “He (Richard Wagner) looks old and white but wonderfully boyish. There is a curious gleam of fire and geniality and freshness about him...I couldn’t get a word with Liszt. He was incessantly sidling about caressing everybody like an old bogey at a witches’ sabbath who had got hold of all the pretty rascals he liked best.”

August 29, Tuesday: Richard Wagner was by this point quite ill, having been enduring increasingly severe bouts of angina. During the 16th and final performance of the libretto Parsifal, however, he entered the pit surreptitiously during Act III, grasped conductor Hermann Levi’s baton, and led the performance to its conclusion. LISTEN TO IT NOW

September 14, Thursday: Richard Wagner left Bayreuth to winter in Venice (this time he wouldn’t be able to return).

September 18, Monday: Arriving in Venice, Richard Wagner moved into the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi.

David Gill, Her Majesty’s Astronomer at the Cape, would report watching the comet of this year rise a few minutes before dawn: “The nucleus was then undoubtedly single, and certainly rather under than over 4″ in diameter; in fact, as I have described it, it resembled very much a star of the 1st magnitude seen by daylight.” ASTRONOMY

November 19, Sunday: Franz Liszt visited his son-in-law Richard Wagner and daughter Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner in Venice. He would stay until January 13th (his was the 1st time in many years that he hadn’t wintered in Rome). HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 13, Saturday: Franz Liszt departed from Venice, where he had spent 2 months with Richard Wagner and his daughter Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner, for Budapest. (It is conventional to record sadly, in conventional printed biographies, that this would be the final time this father-in-law and son-in-law would see each other.)

An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen was performed for the initial time, in Christiania (Oslo).

February 12, Monday: Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner made the final entry in her diary. COSIMA, IN TRANSLATION

February 13, Tuesday: Wilhelm Richard Wagner died at 3:30PM in the Palazzo Vendramin on Venice’s Grand Canal of a heart attack, in the arms of his wife, aged 69 years, eight months and 22 days. His Venetian doctor, Friedrich Keppler, wrote, “It is self-evident that the innumerable psychichal agitations to which Wagner was daily disposed by his peculiar mental constitution and disposition, his sharply defined attitude towards a number of burning questions of art, science and politics, and his remarkable social position did much to hasten his unfortunate end.” Jacques Manheit, a baritone in the Olmütz opera, will recall “...just as I was going from my home to the theatre, I saw a man running through the streets; he was quite distraught, sobbed loudly, and pressed his handkerchief against his eyes; I recognized Mahler (22) with difficulty...I went up to him anxiously and asked him quietly, ‘In heaven’s name, has something happened to your father?’’ ‘Worse, worse, much worse,’ he howled at the top of his voice: ‘the worst, the worst has happened, the Master has died.’...After that it was impossible to talk to Mahler for days. He came to the theatre for rehearsals and performances, but was inaccessible to everybody for a long time.”

February 14, Wednesday: Samuel Benjamin was appointed the first US minister to Persia.

Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner had sat by the corpse of her husband Richard Wagner for more than 24 hours, refusing all attentions. Upon hearing of the death, Hugo Wolf played the funeral march from Götterdämmerung, then spent the rest of the day in a tree crying.

Anton Bruckner was at the Vienna Conservatory when he heard of the death. Currently composing the adagio movement of his Symphony no.7, he concluded the work with funeral music in honor of his mentor.

Sulle rive di Chiaja for piano by Pietro Mascagni was performed for the initial time, at the Istituto Musicale Luigi Cherubini, Livorno.

Jean Munro LeBrun (Mrs. William LeBrun, Jennie M. LeBrun) made a spirited defense of Cynthia Dunbar Thoreau against unkind statements made by Franklin Benjamin Sanborn in his biography of her son in the HDT WHAT? INDEX


“American Men of Letters” series, in the pages of the Boston Advertiser. THE OFFENDING MATERIAL THE CORRECTIVE MATERIAL

On its voyage from Liverpool to Boston, the 320-foot steamship Glamorgan encountered an enormous wave that swept the captain and seven others overboard (the foundered wreck would be sighted by the steamship Republic two days later, and 44 rescued).39

Alexander Graham Bell sent a telegram to Alexander Melville Bell: “... HOPE YOU ARE NOT DROWNED....”

William James, experimenting with the sensation of sea-sickness, noticed that he was able to make “a rising qualmishness disappear entirely 3 or four times by rubbing vigorously” behind his ears.

February 15, Thursday: The new Tsar, Alyeksandr III, appointed Mily Balakirev as Superintendant of the Court Chapel, with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov as his assistant.

The body of Richard Wagner was being embalmed for shipment. On hearing of the death, Giuseppe Verdi wrote to his publisher, “It is a great individual who has disappeared! A name that leaves the most powerful imprint on the history of art!”

February 18, Sunday: The embalmed body of Richard Wagner had been delivered to Bayreuth for its funeral service. The body was placed in the ground in the garden at Wahnfried, near Bayreuth.

February 19, Monday: In Rapallo, by this point, Friedrich Nietzsche had belatedly learned of Richard Wagner’s death. ... I even believe that Wagner’s death was the most substantial relief that could have been given me just now. It was hard for six years to have to be the opponent of the man one had most reverenced on earth, and my constitution is not sufficiently coarse for such a position. After all it was Wagner grown senile whom I was forced to resist; as to the genuine Wagner, I shall yet attempt to become in a great measure his heir (as I have often assured Fräulein Malvida, though she would not believe it). Last summer I felt that he had alienated all those men from me who were the only ones in Germany I might have influenced to some purpose, and had inveigled them into the confused and wild hostility of his last years. I need hardly say that I have of course written to Cosima.

39. Such waves are now described as “freaque” waves. HDT WHAT? INDEX



May: Professor Asa Gray traveled to St. Louis.

Harvey D. Parker died in his home at 141 Boylston Street, at the age of 79. the facade of the Parker House would be “heavily draped” in mourning. From his fortune, $100,000 would go to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which now features a Harvey D. Parker Collection. The funeral service would be at the Arlington Street Church that the deceased had attended, and the body would be deposited in the Mount Auburn Cemetery.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria stayed for the 1st time in the completed rooms in Neuschwanstein (then known as “New Hohenschwangau Castle”). HDT WHAT? INDEX


July: When St. Helena public funds managed by Deputy Colonial Secretary Knipe were found to be £3,000 short, he was dismissed.

Completion of the interiors of the Palas of Neuschwanstein Castle (then known as “New Hohenschwangau Castle”), except for some final details.

Friedrich Nietzsche went to Sils Maria in Switzerland to work on the manuscript for the 3d book of what would 40 become his ZARATHUSTRA. The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a game, a self-propelled wheel, a first movement, a sacred “Yes.” (“On the Three Metamorphoses,” Kaufmann translation, page 139)

40. Friedrich Nietzsche. ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA, EIN BUCH FÜR ALLE UND KEINEN; 1961, THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA, tr. R.J. Hollingdale, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982c (1883-1885) HDT WHAT? INDEX



June 9, Wednesday: King Ludwig II of Bavaria was diagnosed as insane.

June 10, Thursday: With a panel of doctors certifying that King Ludwig II was insane and declaring him unfit to govern (and with the monarch’s brother Otto also being insane), a regency over Saxony was established by their uncle, Prince Luitpold.

Piano Quintet op.25 was performed for the initial time, at the Cambridge Guildhall, with the composer Charles Villiers Stanford himself at the keyboard.

June 12, Saturday: Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm was arrested in Neuschwanstein Castle (then known as “New Hohenschwangau Castle”) and interned at Berg Palace.

June 13, Sunday: Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm died mysteriously in the Starnberger See, with his psychiatrist Dr. Bernhard von Gudden also drowning apparently while attempting to pull him out. His body, found in the water, lay in state in Berg Palace and the Hofkapelle (Court Chapel) of the München Residenz.

A fire in Vancouver destroyed a thousand buildings. HDT WHAT? INDEX


June 19, Saturday: The corpse of Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm was placed in the crypt of St Michael’s Church in München.

August 4, Wednesday: In Bayreuth, at the request of Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner, Anton Bruckner provided music for the Requiem mass of her father Franz Liszt. What Bruckner did at the organ was improvise themes from Richard Wagner’s Parsifal (none of the father’s own music was heard — which perhaps should go down in history as “The Ultimate Boo-boo”). LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX



May 3, Tuesday: Music of Richard Wagner was staged for the initial time in Paris subsequent to his demise, with a production of Lohengrin at the Eden-Théâtre. Among the audience were Gabriel Fauré, Ernest Chausson, and Claude Debussy. The conductor, Charles Lamoreux, was widely suspected of being a German agent. A riot took place outside the theater and several items of street furniture were heaved through the windows of the building. Several arrests would be made.

O Praise the Lord of Heaven op.27, for soprano, chorus and orchestra by Charles Villiers Stanford to words of the Psalms, was performed for the initial time, in Manchester.

November 13, Sunday: An assembly of the Social Democratic Federation in Trafalgar Square, London, attended by Irish demonstrators unwelcomed by these Socialists, erupted into conflict and was then violently dispersed by police and troops.

When Gustav Mahler conducted Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser in Leipzig in the presence of Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner, they met for the initial time. LISTEN TO IT NOW

A funeral procession for the 5 deceased Chicago labor leaders (4 had been hanged with the short rope ensuring choking, the 5th had committed suicide while awaiting such hanging) wound through the streets witnessed by more than 150,000 citiens. HDT WHAT? INDEX



41 May: In Turin, Italy, Friedrich Nietzsche began work on THE WAGNER CASE.

June 29, Friday: Richard Wagner’s romantische Oper Die Feen to his own words after Gozzi was performed for the initial time, in the Königliches Hof-und Nationaltheater, München, 55 years after it had been composed.

September: Robert Frost entered high school in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

42 At Sils Maria in Switzerland, Friedrich Nietzsche finished THE WAGNER CASE and began work on THE 43 ANTICHRIST. True life, eternal life, has been found – it is not promised, it is here, it is in you: as a living in love, in love without subtraction and exclusion, without regard for station. (Section 29) Nothing is more unchristian than the ecclesiastical crudities of a god as person, of a “kingdom of God” which is to come, of a “kingdom of heaven” beyond, of a “son of God” as the second person in the Trinity. All this is – forgive the expression – like a fist in the eye – oh, in what an eye! – of the evangel – a world- historical cynicism in the derision of symbols. (Section 34) It is false to the point of absurdity to see in a “belief,” perchance the belief in redemption through Christ, the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian: only Christian practice, a life such as he who died on the Cross lived, is Christian…. Even today such a life is possible, for certain men even necessary: genuine, primitive Christianity will be possible at all times. (Section 39)

41. Friedrich Nietzsche. DER FALL WAGNER (CASE ON WAGNER), Vintage Books NY, 1967c (1888)

42. Friedrich Nietzsche. DER FALL WAGNER (CASE ON WAGNER), Vintage Books NY, 1967c (1888)

43. Friedrich Nietzsche. DER ANTICHRIST, Volume XVII of Musarion Verlag edition; THE ANTICHRIST[IAN]: A CURSE UPON CHRISTIANITY, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968b (1895) HDT WHAT? INDEX



November 21, Friday: Scherzino, number 2 of Rêves for piano by Isaac Albéniz was performed for the initial time, in London, by the composer.

Jean Sibelius witnessed a production of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in Vienna, “staged ... in so brilliant a fashion I could not have believed it possible.” LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX



March 29, Sunday: Gustav Mahler performed for the 1st time as First Conductor of the Stadttheater, Hamburg. The performance was of Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser. The critics were very impressed. LISTEN TO IT NOW

May 18, Monday: Gustav Mahler conducted Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde for the initial time, in Hamburg. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky traveled from Washington to Philadelphia, where he made his final appearance in the United States. He conducted his Piano Concerto no.1 with Adèle Aus der Ohe as soloist and then, after the concert, departed for New York.

September 16, Wednesday: Lohengrin by Richard Wagner was successfully staged at the Paris Opéra. Unlike the production of 1887, the nationalistic demonstrations outside are crushed by the police, even though the crowds are much larger. After such a success Wagner was to become the most performed composer at this capital of French musical culture. HDT WHAT? INDEX



The Bower and Square Tower of Neuschwanstein Castle (then known as “New Hohenschwangau Castle”) were completed (the mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria never saw them).

The Reverend William Rounseville Alger’s THE SOURCES OF CONSOLATION IN HUMAN LIFE (Boston: Roberts). Also, a new edition of his 1867 SOLITUDES OF NATURE AND OF MAN; OR, THE LONELINESS OF HUMAN LIFE.

January 17, Sunday: Richard Strauss conducted Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde for the initial time, in Weimar. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Rapsodie bretonne op.7bis for orchestra by Camille Saint-Saëns was performed for the initial time, at the Cirque des Champs-Elysées, Paris. HDT WHAT? INDEX



November 5, Saturday, 1898: When Richard Strauss conducted for the initial time at the Berlin Court Opera, what he conducted was Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. LISTEN TO IT NOW

Fromthis point to March 15th of the following year, during a contest between the Dowager Empress and her son Kuang-hsü (Guangxu), United States forces provided a guard for our legation at Peking and consulate at Tientsin. US MILITARY INTERVENTIONS HDT WHAT? INDEX



December 24, Thursday: The initial performance of Parsifal outside Bayreuth took place at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City over the objections of the . LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX



June 10, Saturday: For the 1st time, the Paris Opéra staged the complete Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner — 35 years after it had 1st been performed (it is of course so lengthy that it would run through the 14th). LISTEN TO IT NOW

The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell was performed for the initial time since the life of the composer, in Royal Victoria Hall, London, in a production by Morley College students led by Gustav Holst. HDT WHAT? INDEX



August 20, Tuesday: Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Diaghilev witnessed a performance of Wagner’s Parsifal at Bayreuth. LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 4, Sunday: Edgard Varèse made his initial appearance conducting a major symphony orchestra, by directing a performance of the Czech Philharmonic Society in Prague. The critics responded positively.

Parsifal by Richard Wagner was produced for the initial time at the Paris Opéra. This would be the last of Wagner’s important works to be produced in Paris. LISTEN TO IT NOW

July 22, Wednesday: The 1914 season of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus opened with a new production of Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer conducted by (merely 8 of the planned 20 performances would happen).

August 1, Saturday: As a result of the murder of Jean Jaurès, Erik Satie left the Radical Party and joined the Socialist Party of France.

Noon. The German ultimatum expired.

4PM. The French government ordered a general mobilization effective at midnight.

5PM. As German forces marched into Luxembourg to secure vital railheads in defiance of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s orders, the Kaiser ordered a general mobilization.

7PM. Germany declared war on Russia. The 1914 season of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus was closing early with a production of Wagner’s Parsifal, and at the performance Ernest MacMillan overheard the conductor, , inform someone of this declaration of war. LISTEN TO IT NOW

All German investments in London were sequestered by the Bank of England, including £50,000 belonging to the musician Richard Strauss. Belgium, Denmark, and Norway declared neutrality in the impending war. Italy informed Germany that the Triple Alliance applied only to a defensive war. HDT WHAT? INDEX



November 19, Sunday: French and Serbian forces captured Monastir (Bitola), Serbia, but then their offensive stalled at a cost of 110,000 casualties.

Allied governments presented another ultimatum to King Konstantinos of Greece, that all representatives of the Central Powers be expelled and all war materiel be turned over to Allied forces.

Trois Valses distinguées du précieux dégoûté for piano by Erik Satie was performed for the initial time, at the Société Lyre et Palette as part of an exhibition of paintings including works by Matisse and Picasso.

Arturo Toscanini directed a concert featuring the work of Richard Wagner in the Teatro Augusteo of Rome. After a selection from Siegried he began the Funeral March from Götterdämmerung. Toward the beginning a young man in the audience cried out, referring to a recent air raid on the city that had killed hundreds, “This was for the dead of Padua!” Although he had not intended this as an attack on the music, the audience then chimed in with a chorus of nationalistic disdain directed toward the performance. The conductor attempted to calm the audience by playing the national anthem but this did not succeed and the performance had to be abandoned. Toscanini would leave Rome on the following day. HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 5, Wednesday: For the 1st time since the beginning of the Great War, a work by Richard Wagner was performed at the Paris Opéra. WORLD WAR I

June 15, Wednesday: Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman became the 1st licensed African-American aviator.

Darius Milhaud published a review entitled “A bas Wagner” wherein he suggested that “Apart from some of his overtures, Wagner’s music should never be played in the concert hall” (this is a sentiment with which I agree). He would be deluged with hostile mail, “letters of remonstrance and insult.”

Aaron Copland landed at Le Havre. On the trip from New York he had befriended a young painter named Marcel Duchamp. HDT WHAT? INDEX



February 13, Monday: The surviving sections of Richard Wagner’s opera Die Hochzeit were performed for the initial time, in the Rostock Stadttheater, 100 years after this had been composed, and on the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death — all that remained of this work were the Introduction, a chorus, and a septet, Wagner having destroyed the libretto.

The 50th anniversary of Wagner’s death was celebrated in Leipzig in a large ceremony attended by Chancellor Adolf Hitler, Winifred and , cabinet members, diplomats, and artistic figures.

March 21, Tuesday: Chancellor Adolf Hitler opened the First Reichstag of the Third Reich in the garrison church, Potsdam. In the evening, a special performance of Richard Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger” took place. At the chorus “Wach auf” the singers were instructed to turn and sing it to Hitler’s box, thus transferring their allegiance from Hans Sachs to the new order.

Special Nazi courts were set up to deal with political dissidents.

Kurt Weill was driven from Berlin to the French border by Caspar and Erika Neher.

The initial prisoners were brought by the S.A. to Oranienburg concentration camp outside Berlin. By the end of the month 15,000 people would be interned there.

April 17, Monday: The Münchener neueste Nachrichten published an open letter condemning . Mann had delivered a lecture commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Richard Wagner in which he had criticized Wagner’s anti-Semitism as well as his attacks on the music of Felix Mendelssohn. ANTISEMITISM HDT WHAT? INDEX



April: In a speech, Führer Adolf Hitler told us, quite frankly, how it was with him. As a natural man, he said, he simply was going to do whatever he could get away with: “All that concerns me is never to take a step that I might later have to retrace and never to take a step which could damage us in any way. You must understand that I always go as far as I dare and never further. It is vital to have a sixth sense which tells you broadly what you can and cannot do.” WORLD WAR II GERMANY

In other words, might makes right, human decency be damned. Hey, was this guy ever a deep thinker! “Out of Parsifal I make a religion.”44

“The pachinko ball doesn’t want to plonk into the plastic tub before it has accomplished some sort of trajectory.”

44. Grosshans 1983, page 20 HDT WHAT? INDEX



January 31, Tuesday: Führer Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels attended a production of Werner Egk’s opera Peer Gynt in Berlin and became just ecstatic. Der Führer called Egk to his box at intermission to gush to him “I am pleased to make the acquaintance of a worthy successor to Richard Wagner.”

Stefan and Irma Wolpe moved into a new apartment at 138 West 91st Street, New York. HDT WHAT? INDEX



November 21, Thursday: Die Walküre by Richard Wagner was performed for the initial time at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow in a production by Sergei Eisenstein. The audience included many important officials of the Soviet and Nazi governments. WORLD WAR II

Warren H. Dickinson committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. HDT WHAT? INDEX



July 2, Wednesday: A conference of foreign ministers of Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union in Paris, designed to create an economic recovery plan, ended in failure when the USSR refused to go along with British and French proposals. Those two countries, however, announced that they were ready to work with the Marshall Plan. WORLD WAR II

In a Bayreuth court, , daughter-in-law of Richard Wagner, was sentenced to 450 days in prison for supporting Führer Adolf Hitler. HDT WHAT? INDEX



July 30, Monday: In the new elections to the Israeli Knesset, the leading Mapai Party once again received the most seats. This sitting of the parliament would produce 4 different governments.

The Bayreuth Festival opened for the 1st time since World War II, with a performance of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal. LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX



November 23, Saturday evening: Mrs. Alveeta A. Treon and Mrs. Louise Swinney were working the Dallas switchboard that handled the local jail. When Mrs. Treon arrived for work she was advised by Mrs. Swinney that their supervisor wanted them to assist two law enforcement officials listening in an adjacent room. At about 10:45PM prisoner Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to place a collect phonecall to a John Hurt in Raleigh, North Carolina, area code 919. Mrs. Swinney handled the call, alerting the men. Without attempting to make the requested connection she informed the prisoner falsely “I’m sorry, the number doesn’t answer” and pulled the plug (a John David Hurt who lived at 201 Hillsbro in Raleigh at phone number 834-7430 had during WWII functioned as a U.S. Army Counterintelligence officer).

That evening the newly reconstructed Nationaltheater of München was opening to the public with Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. LISTEN TO IT NOW HDT WHAT? INDEX



October 15, day: There were loud protests from an audience in Tel Aviv as Zubin Mehta led the Israel Philharmonic in an excerpt from Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner. Many walked out. LISTEN TO IT NOW

An OAS report blamed the Guatemalan government for thousands of extrajudicial executions over the previous 4 years. HDT WHAT? INDEX



October 13, Thursday: Anastasio Cardinal Ballestrero, Archbishop of Turin, announced that scientists in the United States, United Kingdom, and Switzerland had determined that the Shroud of Turin dated from the 13th Century.

The 1st movement and sketches to an adagio from a Symphony in E by Richard Wagner were performed for the initial time, in München, as orchestrated by Mottl.

Concerto for flute and orchestra by Gunther Schuller was performed for the initial time, in Chicago. HDT WHAT? INDEX



December 22, Sunday: Fierce fighting erupted in Tbilisi, between backers and opponents of Georgian president Gamsakhurdia.

In response to public and official outrage, the Israel Philharmonic announced cancellation of a concert of the music of Richard Wagner. HDT WHAT? INDEX



December 30, Wednesday: Lyuben Borisov Berov replaced Filip Dimitrov as Prime Minister of Bulgaria.

The Israel Philharmonic announced that it had reinstated its ban on the music of Richard Wagner.

The Brazilian Senate voted 76-3 to convict President Collor de Mello of bribery.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: In addition to the property of others, such as extensive quotations and reproductions of images, this “read-only” computer file contains a great deal of special work product of Austin Meredith, copyright 2006. Access to these interim materials will eventually be offered for a fee in order to recoup some of the costs of preparation. My hypercontext button invention which, instead of creating a hypertext leap through hyperspace —resulting in navigation problems— allows for an utter alteration of the context within which one is experiencing a specific content already being viewed, is claimed as proprietary to Austin Meredith — and therefore freely available for use by all. Limited permission to copy such files, or any material from such files, must be obtained in advance in writing from the “Stack of the Artist of Kouroo” Project, 20 Miles Avenue, Providence RI 02906. Please contact the project at .

“It’s all now you see. Yesterday won’t be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago.” – Remark by character “Garin Stevens” in William Faulkner’s INTRUDER IN THE DUST

Prepared: October 6, 2015 HDT WHAT? INDEX




This stuff presumably looks to you as if it were generated by a human. Such is not the case. Instead, someone has requested that we pull it out of the hat of a pirate who has grown out of the shoulder of our pet parrot “Laura” (as above). What these chronological lists are: they are research reports compiled by ARRGH algorithms out of a database of modules which we term the Kouroo Contexture (this is data mining). To respond to such a request for information we merely push a button. HDT WHAT? INDEX


Commonly, the first output of the algorithm has obvious deficiencies and we need to go back into the modules stored in the contexture and do a minor amount of tweaking, and then we need to punch that button again and recompile the chronology — but there is nothing here that remotely resembles the ordinary “writerly” process you know and love. As the contents of this originating contexture improve, and as the programming improves, and as funding becomes available (to date no funding whatever has been needed in the creation of this facility, the entire operation being run out of pocket change) we expect a diminished need to do such tweaking and recompiling, and we fully expect to achieve a simulation of a generous and untiring robotic research librarian. Onward and upward in this brave new world.

First come first serve. There is no charge. Place requests with . Arrgh.