Diary of Catherine Louisa Caldwell (1792-1814)
Known as Louisa Caldwell
[Catherine Louisa Caldwell, born 6 June, baptized 15 June 1794 and died 20 August 1814 aged 20. This notebook also contains diary entries written by Catherine's sister Anne Marsh-Caldwell]
5th January 1813
How our unhappy outward circumstances - - be I believe that a mind in a proper frame would now wish to commit suicide, I do not mean that the person might not wish to die, but it requires a person to have the mind very wretched and agitated before it can get over the repugnant feeling of being a self murderer. It is passion which is hurried (buried?) away to commit it for it fixes all its possibility of happiness on the one object and is not capable of receiving pleasure from any thing else if this object is taken away or(?) from this passion so mortified, every power of being happy is taken away with the object and the wretched mind is no longer capable of having life. If the mind is employed on thinking of God. There is always a recourse wh: it is impossible should be taken away from it and besides if religion is firmly impressed on the mind and the places its happiness in it having the Christian feelings every other object must appear too insignificant for it to place all its affections upon the trying to attain to the Christian character will bring the mind into so callow a state that nothing will have sufficient power to so entirely disturb it as passion mentalle will do.
As it regards oneself independent of society it would be wrong to commit suicide for I believe that God sends us into this world to go through a variety of trials that our minds may be so improved by the resistance to temptation that we are obliged to make that we may be able to enjoy heaven and that without our minds are so much improved it will be impossible to enjoy it as our happiness there will be more perfect according to the perfection of our feelings. Resignation and patience are two of these virtues which we must have and how are we to attain to them if we put it our of our power to practice them when they are first called for.
It shows the weakness of all these arguments like Huimes in the (town? twin turn?) they always give to the expressions instead of taking the sense as it really is, as calling it knowing a few ey: of (blood, Wood?) out of the its channel instead of putting to death a fellow creature.
(Hume, Hune?) on the whole is rather too facetious for showing it is a very good thing to treat these kind of arguers as very ridiculous people yet it is better done by a sensible person treating them with contempt than by laughing as if it was for the sake of the joke and the contrary arguments should not be set down in a ludicrous light as we know good sense may be turned into nonsense by that means, but they should be set down truly as they are and then laugh at their nonsensical import.
Without evil in the world it would be impossible to have many of our noblest feelings as there could not be temptation without evil. Forbearance and all virtue must be gained by having something to resist. It might be said that God might have made us perfect as himself. Suppose God has the power of going wrong himself! Who I believe he has and gave that same power to us he would not chuse to take us into his heavenly kingdom till he had tried how we shall use that power and till we have got those virtues wh: resisting the temptation to do wrong would give us.
I think the Education of children is very faulty as to religion. For they are all let to grow up with making the world too (untidy?) there motive till they come to reason and think much upon it. The idea of there being a God is so strongly implanted from the first moment that they can connect any idea with religion that we find all the cares and pleasures of the world and the strong (litteness?) they bring with them are not able to chuse(?) it (outs cuts?) and even if any doubts come (met?) the life the strong feeling is to believe in a God and it is from this early impression and having the idea grow up with you that makes that strong believe in it when there is no sign by which we can tell the truth of it. If we were taught from the first time we know right from wrong to make God the motive for all our actions and to refer them to God we should find it much a more easy to prevent the (coded? order?) afterwards making so strong a motive. In every thing a child does it is made to consider how the world will think of it. Emulation is the feeling by sh: we push on to excellence and the applause of the world or the worldly advantage is the end. Instead of considering how we may make ourselves most useful and promote the greatest enjoyment amongst our fellow creatures wh: if we read our bible e shall find to the surest way of pleasing God. Considering it in this light would not make us less eager to improve our minds to the full stretch of their powers as I do not think the good of society is only promoted by all having clothing and fooding but the improvement of the mind is a great pleasure and a rational one and the more you improve your own the more able will you be to improve the minds of others and increase the happiness of those whose minds are equal or superior to yours. I do not think my feelings are quite so acute as they used to be, but I do not believe that age (husots?) feelings for I believe if one was to keep up the same thoughtlessness about ones own happiness that one has as a child the feelings would be stronger but the living in the world makes us selfish or rather considering our characters makes us egotistical and the thinking of self prevents the (force, true?) of few living more than any thing else.
What is said in the Christian observer is about the necessity of self examination is very just for more harm is done to the character by indolence in looking after ourselves than in any thing else. No person without they had a determination to be riched (wicked?) would fall into sin if they kept the recollection of how much they were losing sight of what is at stake and how much harm falling into bad habits does and how one action (strong? Arising?) from bad habits that the harm is done. Advantage is not taken.
If a person is born with natural independent pleasures whatever they are may be happy in giving up to them but being educated very often spoils these natural independent pleasures which I believe mast people would have if it were not for education. The trifling mind would be content to follow some trifling object but being educated the mind becomes less capable of being amused with trifling subjects and yet cannot receive the enjoyment from literature wh: a natural taste would give. The way then to be most happy is to find an end which is great enough to fill your mind and which will not in the end lead to unhappiness. The reason why so many are unhappy is that vanity and working for the sake of distinction is in general the end proposed for it as considering ones own happiness is certainly the first feeling in our minds and seeing no way in sh: it is so well promoted we follow after it. Vanity will like every wrong passion and feeling being its own unhappiness along with it for with vanity there is joined that impossibility of being contented and that being made unhappy by the (sueress?) of others wh? Makes us if it is the predominant passion of our minds sorry to see the distinction of our best minds and then how soon is friendship and affection lost! It is the distinguishing feature of our passions that they will not be content with having possession of half our minds we must either give all up to them or root them out entirely. The only end then to me wh: seems large enough to fill the greatest mind and who never can be at a stand and is usefulness and promoting the good of ones fellow creatures these are such innumerable ways of doing this that every mind can find something to do adapted to its powers, the right feelings would then be cultivated which are the benevolent ones and passion wh: is entirely selfish would be rooted out. Johnson's rules for Sunday are exceedingly good ones there is nothing I so much wish to work a reform in as my way of spending this day. His rules are these.
1.To rise early in order to it to go to bed early on Saturday
2.To use some extraordinary devotion in the morning
3.To examine the tenour of my life and particularly the last week, and to mark my advances in religion or (recession?) from it.
4.To read the Scripture methodically with such helps as are at hand.
5.To go to Church twice
6.To read books of Devinity either speculative or practical
7.To instruct my family.
8.To wear of by meditation any worldly soil contracted in the week.
25th January 1815
Read Hall's sermon upon Infidelity wh: is not written to bring forward the proofs against it but to show that it would&ldots;page 7 to page 13
Papa said speaking of the education of the poor that if as teaching to read) opens the mind of the powers of taking in what is right it also increases the power of taking in what is wrong which is certainly very true and therefore I do not thing we should be content with merely teaching to read but at the same time one ought to teach them Religion and plainly point out these (duty?) and try to put them in the way of showing having knowing their virtue by what they read.
14th February 1813
SallyWedgewood paid us a (forward, private?) visit before she left for Devonshire. It is feeling that makes us most inclined to love a person of any thing the longer&ldots;page 13
1st April 1813
A six weeks absence from home except for a few days which has made me enjoy the coming back extremely. My warm love for my sisters I find is much the strongest feeling I have and the most capable of giving me pleasure, (it hair?) I have in Charlotte a person who I know understands me and who stands next in the place of a sister to me of any body and as her conversation is very agreeable I did not feel the want of the girls company so much, but at Shrewsbury I could think of nothing but of the great pleasure of should have in being with my sisters I so tenderly lived and whose thoughts and feelings were in unison with my own. I have often thought that those people I love I loved more when I was absent from them than when with them and so it is and the reason is that you think more of their characters and dwell particularly on those part that you love and that give you most pleasure. The girls at S. are too young for me to have much pleasure in their company. They have not thought upon character and feeling and a person to be very agreeable to me must have done this. Mrs W.i. was all kindness to me and we had a few conversations together but I did not enjoy them very much because I could not feel quite at ease with her and conversations upon feelings and which these were can never be very agreeable without perfect ease. It is surprising how much uneasiness and bad management there is in the world from people not understanding each others characters and feelings which is reason enough without any other why mothers should educate their children and why they should not be sent to school for if mothers do not know their children's feelings they will in all probability do a great deal of harm admit breaks the strong attachment between sisters and the love of sisters to one another. I think is the most beneficial there can be. Sisters if they know each other call their lives will love each other for the good qualities of the heart no affections can be got by any thing put on the good quality it must really be these if therefore with being with your sisters you love them and wish them to love you, it is only by (really, sadly?) making yourself deserving&ldots;page 15
Page 16. I read part of Hayley's Life of Cooper [Cowper]. It does me more good to read the ife of a good man than any thing else. I am the greatest admirer of Coopers character but I am not so fond of his letters as I expected as far as they show most amiable feelings I am very much interested in reading them but his wit is I think in general very poor and almost forced sometimes. I am of opinion that (occasional?) low spirits are almost in every case a benefit. I mean that many people who would run on in a thoughtless way are sooner recalled to a sense of religion by depression of spirits than by any thing else. People who go on in a worldly way never doing any thing morally wrong but entirely careless and thoughtless about religion from so entirely living for the world will not by a small disaster be recalled and if it is a worldly misfortune they will in general try to console themselves by the world. But for depression of spirits there is no worldly thing that can give them the least relief, every thing they try to (desict?) themselves with is tinctured with the same melancholy, religion will force itself upon the mind and it is soon found that to a depressed mind it is the only means of comfort. Many instances there are of its being a very desponding kind, this is indeed very natural to expect for in the first place the first time a persons eyes are opened and they see the life they have been leading they must be struck with their own unworthiness and secondly a depressed mind will take everything in the most gloomy way. But still we see it is the only comfort low spirits find. If anything will exalt the mind religion will and at the time of lowness whether it is form meditating so much or from some other reason the mind is I think more capable of being salved than at any other time&ldots; page 17
Page 18. I read Belinda which I admire extremely Lady Delacroix's character is uncommonly well drawn and it is kept up to the end. The difference between her light dashing way of talking and Harvid Frickes is very well done. Miss Edgeworth has no idea of feeling to draw such coolness as Belinda's. If a person has feeling it is quite impossible to subdue it in the way she did&ldots;
I think this book gives me a higher opinion of Miss Edgeworths abilities of any I have read, Castle Racksent(?) is perfect in its way but a person living amongst the Irish might get the knack of writing their manner without the great ability which is necessary to keep up for so long a time a character and conversation like Lady Delacroix.
Page 19. Read the life of Gilbert Wakefield by himself, which he says is his preface almost in the following words is written for the good of his fellow nature and hopes it will be of service as the exampled of such a life as he led he thinks must &ldots;.
Page 20. Began Grays letters, which Sir James MacIntosh says are most beautifully written, speaks of them as written in the most elegant language.
I have been at Mair in the company of the three Miss Allens, all of whom I like exceedingly. There is something more taking in Miss A's manners than in any bodies I ever saw. She is very agreeable, pretty and elegant, and with these superiorities she still seems as pleased with the people she is with and talking to as if they were the agreeable people and she was making herself pleasant to them&ldots;
The more I read History the more I am convinced that Victory attends more upon good generalship than anything else. We see that the Romans who entirely over came the people they fought against were quite conquered by those people when led on by Pyrhus and the Carthaginians conquered as soon as Eartippus was their general&ldots;
Page 21. I read Courine by Madame de Stael which I like even more than I expected the sentiments and feelings are so true and feelingly expressed. Though I don't think I am at all like Courines character yet I can quite enter into it. &ldots;
Page 23. When I say Anne has not a good taste I mean it is not in her natural character to have a very refined one, but it is more the result of her ability, she wished to do many things in good taste, her music for example and it was by considering the effects of causes(?) by attention and using her understanding not by having a nice(?) perception of taste that she got it. Cleverness is the poorer by exerting yourself of and doing what you set your mind to without having it as a feeling. Therefore I should say a very clever person would be able to write poetry draw and play in taste etc. But talent is independent of our own exertions a person with a talent for Poetry will excel in that but if he is not clever in will not be able to turn his mind to what he chuses. Cleverness along will never give the fire and feeling of talent though it may be ensuring good taste and - feelings. Johnson I should call clever, without any particular talent, his Poetry will never be so fine as Milton's or Shakespeare's though it may be more correct but he would have the (fever, power, poorer?) of knowing(?) his cleverness to any thing Milton and Shakespeare I think would most likely have been great in nothing but Poetry for which they had a talent.
It is my good plan not to expect much pleasure in life. It would prevent many people from (worrying, moving?) into mischief by thinking they are losing time if they are not in pleasure and it would make them more patient in learning their ills in life if they considered that it was what they with any body else must expect and would make them very thankful for the enjoyments they had and be considering it as a great mercy when they were free from pain and care instead of being disappointed if they were not in a state of positive enjoyment. I think on the whole a married life is the best but if you are to be disappointed because your husband is not he most perfect of men and never hurts you - it is the lot which none have the way (say?) to look and think which way of spending life is the happiest is to take the mediocrity of the married and single for unhappiness there will be in both. Most people marry expecting to be entirely happy and are disappointed if they are not but they should remember not life is spent without great pain.
Read Hurd on Prophesy. He says that the reason in general why we get such false ideas of Prophecy is that we give human intentions for what is the result of divine wisdom&ldots;
Page 27. Read Adele de Sinarge. A pretty little french (woman?0 Adele is a pretty young creature taken from a convent who knows nothing of the world is entirely simple and actless, has quick feelings of pity when she sees any one in distress and smiles directly afterwards if there is any thing that pleases her&ldots;
Page 28. Read Butler's address to the Protestants on the Catholic emancipation which is I think very convincing. He answers the objections against it very well. When it is said they do not regard their oaths with heretics he says nothing can be a more convincing proof then their not chusing to take the oaths which would emancipate them, another objection that they believe the Supremacy of the Pope. He answer&ldots;
Page 30. Discussing Romans.
Page 31. Read the first vol of Hialata for the second time which pleases me exceedingly. It is very unequal but some parts are beautiful. The plan of the Play is very suitable to poetry. Noble feelings and those that are directed to a very great end require fine language to express them and poetry seems here particularly in it place. The descriptions of the sparkling of the ring in the 3rd Canto is very good&ldots;
Page 34. Miss Edgworth for her 3 first volumes of fashionable tales got 500 and Johnson her bookseller sent her before he died 500 more as he said he got so much by the work. I am wrong in calling Shakespear's and Milton's mere talent, their's was genius but I think genius cannot like cleverness be directed to any thing and succeed according to the extent of that cleverness in any thing it was directed to. Genius I think it foundation is invension but to make a complete genius for poetry must be added fine feeling, imagination etc&ldots;
Page 37. Nothing one is apt to calculate so ill upon as ones happiness or what happiness consists in. The pleasure I have in living at home loving my sisters and walking about, the complete happiness I have felt for these last weeks I am convinced is greater than any I can have in any way (except it was and having a violent attachment which is my summit of earthly felicity) and yet I am often feeling as if I was losing my time because my youth was passing and I was not in company. It could not elevate my spirits more and most likely not so much as living at home and without there is somebody one very much prefers and in society it is heartless rock and my heart gives me more pleasure than anything else about me. One calculates equally ill through one's life and feels as if one was making a great sacrifice of happiness if one soberly lives one being good when I believe setting aside the difference of good and bad conscience which one ought to take into a calculation, one should find there are as many pleasures in the (centered?) as in the dissipated type. Whilst living retired one feels not satisfied as if one did not feel life enough, but in (disossed, dissolute, dispossessed?) life the steps further soon get a insipid as the retired life and leads you on and on every and last pleasure soon feeling as insipid as the last and there is nothing as new to go to and then you are not in the state you were before for the drop down from activity to quiet is terrible as you are without the feeling of content which is what makes the happiness of the retired and indeed if every kind of life as without the mind is in that -less state it can be happy with nothing.
Read Burke on the Popery laws in (blank). They were most shockingly hard a man might not rent any land except for 30 years and then 2 thirds of the profit were to be given up at any time that a son chose to become a convert to the Protestants he might make his father give up a third of all he possessed in the world, and then even his fathers possessions got any larger he might take a third at any time so that if his father's fortune was imposing he might put him at constantly into charicery, and fathers must at his death divide his fortune equally amongst all his sons&ldots; This was against the promise at the Treaty of Limerick. Burke says it must be against all law to which is founded upon equity and utility and that the laws are made to establish the most happiness where an individual must be punished for the good of the many it is right he should suffer, but here are too thirds of the &ldots;
Page 41. Finished the Second Punic War in Levy, Hannibal is a clever and greater man than I at first thought. He keeps a long stand in Italy which must have required great ability with so many nations of all kinds under him and after &ldots;
May 16th 1813
Anne and Miss F. Allen a long argument upon the word courage. Anne defined it the meeting any thing feared or dreaded. Miss F. Allen meeting danger. She would only allow it to fear of death, a personal danger. Anne said the courage was greater the more the thing was feared, a man therefore who cared for his reputation more than his life would be most courageous in declining a duel than in fighting it. Miss F.Allen said it would not be courage to decline, though it might be virtue. A man who fought the duel could not be a coward because it is a courageous act to put your life in danger but it would be more courageous to decline it.
I think Miss J.Allen one of the most, if not quite the most agreeable people I ever saw. Her manners are delightful and set off to the greater advantage a most elegant mind, she has the easiest way of bringing in literary subjects and has a gaiety about every thing which keeps up great interest. She is a great talker whenever she is called upon but has not that constant chatter upon every subject interesting or uninteresting that makes one get tired of a person --. I think her much the most agreeable of the family and much the most companionable for a long while. She can talk with interest on every subject, upon feelings, every kind of literary subject and be gay and ready for a joke at any time. If I was (up, less?) to her I would rather make a friend of her than any body I know, but to live quite happily with her you might to be cleverer than her and if she cone had any contempt for you or your abilities you would not be quite comfortable. She would show her contempt and make you afraid of her. I should think her very amicable as long as she like or thought well of a person but she would not be candid to a persons feelings and if once she thought ill of any one her prejudice is too strong to let her soon got over it. &ldots;
Page 44. Had an interesting conversation with Mary in which I could perceive the exertions she must have gone through to get so perfect. She is the greatest spur to exertion to me I can possibly have. If she can make herself so happy and content and can bear to see almost everyone in so much happier a situation than herself how wrong must I be to complain who have every thing to make me happy and am in general seeing people in so much less happy situations. I am not sufficiently religious I have I ear been more careless lately, I am very careless of my little faults. I am still very vain and caring entirely for myself. When I am mortified I constantly turned to myself and think only of making myself happy by thinking of the shortness of life. I wish I could make myself care for others happiness. It is my duty. I shall know less, I mean read less if (solo?) this but what is that. It is my duty I will try to keep up to it. How often I make resolutions fact. &ldots;page 45 discussing Romans, Alexander.
26th May 1813
With Anne to Betley Hall. Bents Hills. Mrs F Tomkinson(?) a remarkable sensible manner - - and agreeable one also. I would not judge how agreeable she was but I should think she was very so. Seems very good natured and her manners very natural. Living at home constantly is not the way to have natural manners. Those have the best chance who are brought up a good deal in company and do not go into with any (pretentions?) from which they expect anything for this spoils then all the notice and flattery in the world.
Page 47. E. B. very agreeable. From her odd way of talking she gives a great interest to very thing she says, and very seldom says the same thing that other people do. The dullest thing in a companion is to be pretty certain what they will say next.
28th May 1813
Some Allens came to pay a (favoured?) visit going to take lodgings at Dulwich.
Read the Edinburgh's review upon Alison. It is right I believe in giving the same meaning as Alison, but so much stress is laid upon outward association and so little upon the objects capacity of itself to raise the emotion, that only reading the review one might be led to suppose it deficient from Alison. I understand Alison that he says there is not &ldots;
Page 48. Read causes and effects of the conditions of the Poor in - He gives one of the greatest causes the - increase of idleness and bad disposition amongst the poor which he thinks may principally be accounted for by their - - What will most make people work will be hopes of a present advantage sh: he says it diminish much by the taxes he has to pay (who?) prevent him from so quickly earning the &ldots;.
2nd June 1813
Mr Ralph came, had a second voyage to America. Travelling will do a great deal to good (mind?) but barely any thing to a barren one. Roots of (trees?) are found on the bare mountains of Holland and the New lands. Can the reason why Edinburgh students so often are doubters be that from observing the body so much they are inclined to believe in materialization for believing in this should think could more lead to infidelity than any thing though it is not a consequence of it, for if any combination of matter was capable of producing mind it is possible matter by chance might be jumbled into a shape to give mind and that once done might account for the making of the world&ldots;
12th June 1813
Emma from London where she has spent a month. A London life is what I think I should more dislike to lead than any. There seems no time to reflect or to be affectionate and you would soon get tired of the gaiety and yet not have cultivated anything sh: could preface you for any other situation&ldots;
21st June 1813
Went to Etruria for a day through Newcastle locals there. Mr F is the most interesting looking man I ever saw with a very handsome face, the most beautiful expressions, which has in it of something I think more interesting than any thing I ever saw. A great expression of kindness with a melancholy cast over it.
Read first volume of Mrs Hamilton's popular plays. For style she is, I think, one of the worst writers I ever read. She uses so many words to one idea and says the same thing over and over again so often in different words that it is not only very tiresome but prevents one having as precise recollection of her book. She has no eloquence or imagination but is not content without chosing some common place picture&ldots;
Page 56. Read Jeffrey's review of Madame de Stael sur la literature in which he disagrees with her that the world is arising(?) by progressive steps to a state of perfectibility. I don't believe that the world will ever get much nearer perfection in genius and ability as I think these account &ldots;
1st July 1813
Went to see a poor woman in a terrible diseased state from cancer. I never was so struck in my life as with my own ingratitude and discontent for the numerous blessings God has given me and thinking if I was not happy now when all the world was smiling on me how could I be resigned and patient if such a fate were to befall me. It made me reflect how happy my situation was and instead of (assuming?) that I had not more my chief aim should be to dispense as much of my overflowing happiness to other as possible. When one does not feel great gratitude to God one may be sure one is not feeling right&ldots;
Page 60. Read Cromecks, Mithsdales and Galloways reliquies of poetry.
The introduction to Blackstone's commentaries in which he strongly recommends and shows the utility of all gentle man who are not bred up to the study of the Law, to give a certain degree of attention to it, and he wishes lectures at the Universities in that subject to be attended. If this was done young men of independent fortunes would much raise their characters, particularly if they did it with the wish to make themselves as useful to their fellow creatures as possible.
Page 61. Went to see Mrs Gover act in the Tragedy of Remorse. There are many beautiful things in the play, but whether from bad acting or a fault in it some of the duet scenes were tedious. When Mrs G first comes on and when she is listening to what Adonis says she was too violent in her gestures and acted too strongly her feelings&ldots;
Page 62. Sensibility is feeling every thing very acutely. I much doubt whether it ides not always taking in everything give more pain through a life than pleasure. It must make people think a great deal of themselves for as every thing is felt most acutely as a pleasure or a pain (it?) yourself is often brought to your recollections and you must try to alienate(?) and consequently be &ldots;
23rd September 1813
To remember with people of strong and warm feelings not to think them wrong or be angry if at the time of feeling warmly they say very unreasonable things. Perhaps they may be carried away by the very best feelings and be from an excess of something good that they may say something unreasonable and even unkind but one ought to judge them by their feeling and if that is right not to harm them.
Mary I ever remember how much I owe her and never be ungrateful or treat her ill. How seeing the certainty of death makes life seem a little dream(?). The providence of God is shown so clearly in the world that at times it seems impossible there should be such a thing as unbelief. It seems so strange that seeing death so certainly and closely before one, that knowing this is a stage from this life to another and that as regards(?) ourselves in this we shall be judged for an eternal one, knowing this it would seem impossible that we could take sufficient interest in this life to make it a trial, but so it is that with out strong exertion we would to enjoy a moment bliss give up the pleasures of eternity, without strong exertion could do what was most violently against our own in the rest(?). I can never be sufficiently grateful for the blessings of seeing life in the manner I now do. In considering every thing as working for our good, every misfortune is a trial decreed by God to perfect our characters. I would wish to feel always in this way and as considering myself in a stage by which I am preparing myself by every action of my life to perfect myself to be able to enjoy that bliss which is only to be tasted by those who have purified themselves for it.
May I never be ungrateful to my God for the advantages I have received for the numerous accidents which have happened to me (filled fitted?) to (recal, reveal?) me from the world to God. May I never forget this last before I have received and may the life, the death of Mary show me the excellence of virtue and her example purify me to enjoy happiness with her pure spirit in another and a better world. A death too near at hand, too unperfect I am, how short a time remains to finish the work of correction I have but so lately taken up. In every trial let me never assume but only earnestly pray that it may purify one as it did her. God will not give me more than I can bear. I will fix my trust in God. I shall never be confounded.
31st September 1813
The more I live the more it seems as if Faith was what perfected our character and was more necessary to our salvation. For without a trust in God and resignation to his will we seem but got a little way in a devout mind and stand of ourselves and without God in the world and worldy news are the object of our lives.
6th October 1813
Suicide. Lesonotifs qui determine a se donner la mort changent tout a fait la nature de cet action, car lorsque on abdique la ne pour faire du bein a ses somblalles on &ldots;
Madame de Stael sur la Suicide.
Madame de Stael shows that suffering if received by a mind which wishes to do right and is well regulated with respect to the legion is the greatest means of perfecting it. That we shall find if we will look that, "Mais loin que le tort soit &ldots;
That committing suicide when we first are unhappy is putting it out of our power to attain to this perfection as we cannot increase the virtues of patience, resignation and trust and dependence on God which are some of the most elevated feelings of our natures&ldots;
He who hath bent him oer the dead
Ere the first day of death is fled
The first dark day of nothingness
The last of danger and distress
Before decay's effacing fingers
Have (crest?) the lines where beauty lingers
And marked the mild angelic air
The rapture of repose that's there
The fixed yet tender traits that streak
The languor of the placid eye cheek
And, but for that sad shrouded eye
That fires not, sins not, resses(?) not, now
And but for that still changeless how
Whose truck thrills with mortality
And curdles to the gayers heart
As if to him it would impart
The doom he dreads yet dwells upon
Yes, but for these and these alone
Some moments aye one treacherous hour
He still might doubt the tyrants power
So fair, so calm, so softly sealed
The first, last look, by death revealed.
Lord Byron's (Girour?)
I think no living poet is to be compared to him. Such beauty and such intensity of feeling.
The Edinburgh Review, in a review of some books which are setting forth the terribly degraded state of Ireland attribute it to the influence of Government. The parliament of Ireland is now divided between the ministerial and opposition. It is the interest of Ministers to increase the first which can only be done by influence/giving emoluments/ to the representatives and their last must depend upon the degradation of the people to ensure their being able to have their votes. The great leading men in Ireland are very few and these have power over the rest. The influence of Government may be very great on them therefore as they have so much to give. The State of Ireland is shocking as the representatives chief aim is to make the voters upon his estate as many as possible he ..
Page 75. I think of Mary now so pure, so heavenly that it elevates my feelings to think of her [her sister Mary Caldwell who died 10 September 1813 aged 24]. I long to pure and intellectual to meet her in heaven. I can never be alone again. When by myself I am most with Mary. I feel sure I shall see her again. Heaven seemed so much the fittest place for her that I can (think?) of her now with more pleasure than ever. I fancy meeting us again with that sweet smile so motionless in death, lighted up with life. O vanity of the world how can I one moment let you - -ger me purifying my feelings so that I cannot enjoy friendship with Mary. O grant God the sisterhood may come pure out of this life and enjoy the friendship they are capable of in the next. Where no (made, male?) crosses will come to interrupt us. I tremble when I look what I have perhaps to pass through in life, how often I have wished and determined to do right, how often I have done wrong. &ldots;
25th October 1813
The load on the heart of expectation long defined(?) and anxiety mixed together is (trouble? Sensible?) This is an anxious period of my life. How old and far advanced in life we are to have such changes taking place. All great changes whether for happiness or misery lessen much as they come nearer. All my life I shall now expect to be much what I am and to feel much the same formerly I used to think that circumstances would make such a difference that they would quite change the current of my natural feelings.
30th October 1813
My Uncle and General Sherratt came.
1st November 1813
Henry Holland came. After travelling through Spain, Portugal, part of Turkey, Greece, Scicily. He remained some time with Ali Pasha who wished to keep him with him. He thinks he is clever. His character is very violent and revengeful of which latter feeling Dr Holland saw a strong example. He passed through the town of Gardichi, it was flourishing and all the people going about like any other town. When he returned the city was perfectly still, perfectly uninhabited with all the doors standing open. Ali Pasha had executed 600 in a yard and seen it done with his own eyes and this was for an affront which 40 years before the city had put upon his mother and sister when it was an enemy he had but just got the city into his possession as the reason of his revenge being so long deferred. Dr Holland prescribed for a Circasian woman of Ali Patarem. She came to him in the room where he, Ali Pasha, the Physician and a dragoman were. She was exceedingly beautiful, dark eyes, and hair, a robe spangled over with gold and silver and trousers with medals of gold and precious stones forming a sort of necolyte(?) and the same on her head. He did not like to look much at her as Ali Pasha was sitting by. Ali said nothing to her but had her before Dr Holland showed much anxiety. He saw another woman dying of consumption in bed, every thing very (nice??) about her. She had the remains of great beauty. Ali Pasha wished very much to keep Dr Holland and showed great regard to him when he went away by getting up and kissing him on both cheeks. In general when any body is going they get up some time before that they may not appear too respectful.
5th November 1813
General Skerrett went. Tried to get leave of absence, could not.
12th November 1813
Eliza Bent spent a day here.
When I think of those who have miserable feelings and not the consolation of Religion my heart is filled with pity and I cannot understand why such mercy should be showed to me above another. Whilst talking in company to have thoughts come across her that fill her with horror. How well I understand that this is, these are the feelings that when I speak of low spirits are (about?) over come me with pity. &ldots;
Page 80. Manners are so wrong as they do not show the real feelings that you are feeling. This should be unem- -red in trying to improve others. &ldots;
25th December 1813 - Christmas Day
On reading over what I wrote last Christmas I find I am so far corrected to be much happier then I was then and from not des-ing and making so much a consequence of the good of this world. I should be most grateful to God for this as it is by the circumstances of this year that my thoughts have been turned this way. I find my self faulty now in so very little promoting the happiness of others. I have lived sadly too much to increase my own happiness and welfare. Help me oh God this yet better to work the end for which I have come into the word and having freely received may I freely give the happy and contented with the enjoyment I receive, never cast a wish for more or be fixing(?) my wishes on what is out of my reach. &ldots;
Page 83. I have lately thought there is much more right in the tory than in the whig side. The tories on every question almost agree with the whigs that what the want is right, but they disagree on the time being proper for it. There seems a great deal of reason when a person says if a thing is right it is not right to have it and why delay it. It is difficult for the tories to refute this, though they know that measures are taken with violence and good done in too great a hurry always leads to harm, yet they can not always at it is a very complex business &ldots;
Page 86. Read the Bridal of Tuermain written by an unknown gentle man. The fancy of this all through is very pretty and the descriptions pretty but no beauty in descriptions of feeling or any passages that show great ability. He has the fault of Scott in the diffuseness of words &ldots;.
Anne's play delights me very much. There is so much of my favourite feeling in it and remarkable for pretty feeling. Some of it seems so entirely adapted to the poetry and that you could not express it except in that language. Many of the songs are very pretty. The feeling in reading all through is exactly like being upon fairy land, the fancy of the descriptions are so light and pretty. Some of the songs are beautiful, but the feeling all through it is what I admire and like most.
Read Stephens life of Horne Tooke, which although it is written very ill amuses me very much. He makes me tired by some of his minute details which give me no inlet into the character and are therefore useless but at the same time he gives the minute details which lead to being able to form an opinion of his character which make it very interesting. From reading a book written by a friend there is hardly any means of judging what feeling actuated him to such violent measures as of course here they are attributed to the most disinterested patriotism (passion?). If he had no worse reasons still one cannot but think he must have let the natural irritability of his nature have carried him much farther then such a man as he was with so much ability would have been carried if he had let his cool judgment lead him&ldots;
Page 88. Mr Foster Bower, who was a great oppositionist was obliged to be counsel of his trial for the court party and he said as he had got a brief he was determined to read it with the utmost attention and the result was that he was as certainly guilty of treason as a man could be. He told this himself to Mr Tollet. He seems to have been activated all through more by a hatred to the ministerial party than to gain any particular ends. &ldots;
Page 89. 2nd volume of Madame de Staels Allemagne. Upon Tragedy, Comedy etc. The Germans she says in going to see a Tragedy would sit with the greatest patience watching the development of each plot. From this character in their Tragedies they have fine metaphysical traits and do not make their effect interesting by the development of some grand feeling or passion but in the finer feelings of nature and common life. One of their most beautiful pieces is Faust written by Goethe. &ldots;
Page 93. The Phylosophy of Kant is charming and is exactly what I have long believed from the first reading of Locke, though without clearly knowing it. Instead of agreeing with the Phylosophers who said we gain every thing by experience that is through sensation from outward nature or with those who say the ideas we have got are born with us and only called out. &ldots;
Page 96. Madame de Stael says very justly that though it may be said that studying metaphysics is of no use as we never get nearer a certainty yet the attention that is obliged to be brought to it improves the mind&ldots;.
1st March 1814. The first part of Madame de Stael's Germany is upon Conversation. How the German differs from the French. It is not made an art of in the way the French do or so much as marry other nations which she attributes to there being no centre to which Genius may go and distinguish itself before all Germany. &ldots;
19th March 1814
Saturday. On Tuesday we heard the melancholy account of the Repulse of Bergen of op Zoom and Ofsorr (Antwerp?). General Skerrett having received many dangerous wounds. It is one of the strongest fortified places in Europe. General Gore (advanced?) to force enter hence into the town and be reinforced by General Cooke, who was coming up to them. They got in but General Cooke could not come up being stopped by ice or something. The fire from the houses was so violent General Gore was killed and General Skerrett (General John Skerret) dangerously wounded. We have heard no dispatches since. This shock make one feel what it must be to marry into the army. &ldots;
11th April 1814
It is long since I have written. On the 25th of March we received the news from Nantwich of poor General Skerrett's death. It seemed to me as if I had lost a brother and it was the first time I ever felt great regret for one seemed to lose so much a person from full health and enjoyment that one was so much attached to. I who seemed so connected in so many ways to our future happiness. In the death of Mary it was not regret I ever felt. I hardly felt that I should have less of her when she was gone. It was (held?) she lived, latterly nothing but seeing one so tenderly loved suffer without hope, without any hope of giving alleviation and without any power to communicate with of our minds. But this feeling of regret is not to be called near so acute as the pity one feels for great suffering in others. &ldots;
Page 102. Paley's Sermons.
Madame de Stael upon Rouseau's writings like all the rest of her works it is filled with sentences that delight one with their newness and truth. &ldots;
Page 103. Never to have lived with out knowing there was a God and not to consider it in that wonderful light would I should think be the best way to gain a strong belief. If any thing the wonder is comprehensibility of it rather staggers then strengthens it.
Catherine Louisa Caldwell died 20 August 1814 aged 20, the event being recorded in her father's diary.