Monday, February 22, 2021

First school for freed slaves

‘We heard him with amazement and disgust that grew more and more apparent, and when he said he had had a negro whipped, Ellen and I rose and left the table.’ This is Laura Matilda Towne, daughter of a well-to-do Pittsburgh family, who spent most of her adult life on the Sea Island of St Helena administering - by setting up a school and nursing - to the needs of slaves freed in the Civil War. She died 120 years today, but soon after her diaries and letters were published and these provide a first hand account of her passionate abolitionist views and actions.

Towne was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1825. She was the fourth child of John and Sarah Robinson Towne. Her father came from Topsfield, Massachusetts, her mother from Coventry, England. Her mother died when she was quite young, and John Towne went back to Boston, where his children were educated. Later the family moved to Philadelphia, where the oldest son had settled. There they developed a growing commitment to the idea of abolishing negro slavery, partly as a consequence of the fiery sermons by William Henry Furness, minister of the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. She studied homeopathic medicine and probably attended the short-lived Penn Medical University. She taught in charity schools in various northern towns and cities in the 1850s and 1860s.

Early in 1862, Towne responded to a call for volunteers to help a large population of former slaves who had been liberated in the Union capture of Port Royal and others of the Sea Islands of South Carolina. Soon after arriving on St Helena Island she was teaching, nursing, and helping to direct the distribution of clothing and other goods. By September, she and her friend Ellen Murray had established the Penn School (which proved to be the first school founded in the Southern United States specifically for the education of African-Americans). Subsequently, it also offered training for future teachers. Apart from her voluntary work running the school, Towne also served as a public health office, legal adviser and a children’s advocate. She lived on the island, with Murray, for 40 years, though her final years were marred by recurring bouts of malaria. She died of influenza on 22 February 1901. Further information is available from Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and the South Carolina Encylopedia.

Once relocated to St Helena, Towne was an avid writer, of letters and a diary. Extracts from the diary along with her letters were edited together, by Rupert Sargent Holland, into chronological order and published by Cambridge in 1912 as Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1884. The work is freely available online at Internet Archive. Here are several extracts.

23 May 1862
‘Ellen is coming at last. I felt sure no one could stop her. Mr. McKim is also to come as Philadelphia agent, and I am free.

We have been for three days going to various plantations, once to Mr. Zacha’s at Paris Island, once to Mrs. Mary Jenkins’, Mr. Wells’ and to Edgar Fripp’s, or to Frogmore, Mr. Saulis’; also to Edding’s Point and one other place. At the three places of Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Fripp, and Edding, the wretched hovels with their wooden chimneys and the general squalor showed the former misery. One woman said the differences in the times were as great as if God had sent another Moses and a great deliverance - that it was heaven upon earth and earth in heaven now. They all seemed to love Mr. Wells. We saw there one woman whose two children had been whipped to death, and Mr. Wells said there was not one who was not marked up with welts. He had the old whip which had a ball at the end, and he had seen the healed marks of this ball on their flesh - the square welts showed where it had taken the flesh clean out. Loretta of this place showed me her back and arms to-day. In many places there were ridges as high and long as my little finger, and she said she had had four babies killed within her by whipping, one of which had its eye cut out, another its arm broken, and the others with marks of the lash. She says it was because even while “heaviest” she was required to do as much as usual for a field hand, and not being able, and being also rather apt to resist, and rather smart in speaking her mind, poor thing, she has suffered; and no wonder Grace, her child, is of the lowest type; no wonder she is more indifferent about her clothes and house than any one here. She says this was the crudest place she was ever in.

The happiest family I know here is old Aunt Bess’s Minda and Jerry and herself. They are always joking and jolly but very gentle. When I go there at night to dress Bess’s foot I find her lying upon her heap of rags with the roaches running all over her and little Leah or some small child asleep beside her. Jerry got me some of the pine sticks they use for candles. They hold one for me while I dress the foot.

It is very interesting to observe how the negroes watch us for fear we shall go away. They are in constant dread of it and we cannot be absent a single day without anxiety on their part. It is very touching to hear their entreaties to us to stay, and their anxious questions. They have a horrible dread of their masters’ re-turn, especially here where Massa Dan’l’s name is a terror.

They appreciate the cheapness of our goods and especially of the sugar at the Overseer house, and are beginning to distrust the cotton agents who have charged them so wickedly.

The scenes in the cotton-house used to be very funny. Miss W. would say to some discontented purchaser who was demurring at the price of some article, “Well, now, I don’t want to sell this. I believe I won’t sell it to-day. But if you want to take it very much at a dollar and a half, you may have it. Oh, you don’t? Well, then, I can’t sell you anything. No, you can’t have anything. We are doing the best we can for you and you are not satisfied; you won’t be contented. Just go - go now, please. We want all the room and air we can get. You don’t want to buy and why do you stay? No, I shall not let you have anything but that. I don't want to sell it, but you may have it for a dollar and a half,” etc., etc.

This is one of many real scenes. The people are eager, crazy to buy, for they are afraid of their money, it being paper, and besides, they need clothes and see finer things than ever in their lives before. Except when they are excited they are very polite, always saying “Missus” to us, and “Sir” to one another. The children say, “ Good-mornin’, ma’am,” whenever they see us first in the day, and once I overheard two girls talking just after they had greeted me. One said, “I say good-mornin’ to my young missus [Miss Pope] and she say, I slap your mouth for your impudence, you nigger.’ ” I have heard other stories that tell tales.

The white folks used to have no cooking-utensils of their own here. They came and required certain things. The cooks hunted among the huts and borrowed what they needed till the family went away, of course straining every nerve to get such cooking as should please. “I would do anything for my massa,” Susannah says, “if he would n’t whip me.”

On May 7, as Mr. Pierce stepped off the boat at Hilton Head and walked up the pier, a Mr. Nobles, chief of the cotton agents here, came forward saying that he had a letter for him. Then he struck him upon the head, felled him, and beat him, saying that Mr. P. had reported him to the Secretary of the Treasury and had got a saddle and bridle of his. Mr. Pierce got up with difficulty and took only a defensive part. Some soldiers took Mr. Nobles off. Mr. Pierce had really mentioned this man and his agents, which was his duty as guardian of these people, for they were imposing upon the negroes shamefully. They, of course, hate this whole Society of Superintendents, etc., who will not see the negroes wronged. So Mr. P. has had his touch of martyrdom.

The Philadelphia consignment of goods - in all $2000 worth - would have done immense good if it had come in season. The people of these islands, whom Government does not ration (because there is corn here) had nothing but hominy to eat, were naked, were put to work at cotton, which they hated, as being nothing in their own pockets and all profit to the superintendent, who they could not be sure were not only another set of cotton agents or cotton planters; and so discontent and trouble arose. Mr. Pierce said to them that they should be fed, clothed, and paid, but they waited and waited in vain, trusting at first to promises and then beginning to distrust such men as were least friendly to them.

The first rations of pork - “splendid bacon,” everybody says - was dealt out the other day and there has been great joy ever since, or great content. If this had only come when first ordered there would have been this goodwill and trust from the first. They even allow the removal of the corn from one plantation to another now without murmuring, and that they were very much opposed to before.’

18 June 1862
‘Ellen had her first adult school to-day, in the back room - nine scholars. I assisted.

The girls were much interested in seeing the people come, with their flat baskets on their heads, to the corn-house, to “take allowance,” and then sit down in the sand, and old and young fall to shelling the corn from the cob with a speed that was marvellous, the little babies toddling about or slung on the backs of their mammies, or lugged about by the older sisters, not able to stand straight under their weight. It was very picturesque.’

22 July 1862
‘Our guns have come! Captain Thorndyke brought over twenty and gave Nelly instructions. Commodore Du Pont was here this afternoon. The people came running to the school-room - “Oh, Miss Ellen, de gunboat come!” I believe they thought we were to be shelled out. Ellen, Nelly, and I went down to the bluff and there lay a steamboat in front of Rina’s house, and a gig was putting off with flag flying and oars in time. Presently a very imposing uniformed party landed, and, coming up the bluff, Commodore Du Pont introduced himself and staff. We invited him in. He said he had come to explore the creek and to see a plantation. They stayed only about ten minutes, were very agreeable and took leave. Commodore Du Pont is a very large and fine- looking man. He invited us all to visit the Wabash and seemed really to wish it.’

31 August 1862
‘Aunt Phyllis wanted to go to church and is too feeble to walk, so Captain Hooper, aide-de-camp to General Saxton, gave her his seat in the carriage and jumped on behind himself. Harry stopped the horses. “Massa, my massa, don’t do dat!” he pleaded. Then he scolded and begged, and begged and scolded, while Aunt Phyllis sat still, saying she never rode in a “cheer” before. Captain Hooper was obdurate, and Harry had to drive on in deep dejection of mind and mortification of spirit.

To-night a Mr. Simmons, I think, who had been fighting in the Southern army upon compulsion, and who now belongs to the Maine regiment here, talked of his experiences when fighting his country. We heard him with amazement and disgust that grew more and more apparent, and when he said he had had a negro whipped, Ellen and I rose and left the table.’

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The travelling Mr Bargrave

‘A stately artificiall River runns through the Toune: but at all these places were we forcd to pay Toll, for our Selves & horses: rating our horses heads at a greater price then our own:’ This is from the 17th century diary of Robert Bargrave, an English merchant who travelled and traded throughout the Levant and Mediterranean. He died in Smyrna en route to Constantinople, and his death was reported some 360 years ago today.

Bargrave was born in Kent, possibly at the family home, Eastry Court, Eastry, near Sandwich, in 1628, second son of the dean of Canterbury. He studied at Clare College, Cambridge, and Corpus Christi, Oxford. He seems to have been admitted to Gray’s Inn in 1640, at the unusually young age of twelve, along with his elder brother, but this may have been to take part in the inn’s dramatic entertainments, says the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB). From 1647 until 1656, he worked as a merchant trading in the Levant and other Mediterranean locations. Much is known about this period in his life since he kept a detailed diary of four journeys: from England to Turkey 1647-1652; from Turkey to England 1652-1653; from England to Spain and Venice 1654-1656; from Venice to England 1656. Around 1653, he married Elizabeth Turner of Canterbury, and they had four children.

From early 1656 Bargrave was employed as personal secretary to Heneage Finch, earl of Winchilsea. When the earl was made ambassador to Constantinople, Bargrave went too, as the Levant Company’s secretary requiring him to serve as chancellor of the company’s factory and also to deputise for Winchilsea in his absence. On route to Turkey, in the Plymouth, Winchilsea’s party stopped at Lisbon, Algiers, and arrived at Smyrna in mid-December 1660. Bargrave fell ill, and was left behind when the Plymouth sailed for Constantinople on 7 January. According to the ODNB, his death was reported to Winchilsea on 9 February 1661 by the English consul at Smyrna, Richard Baker: ‘Your servant mr Bargrave is dead & buried at Santa Venáranda whither wee all accompanied him; his wife most disconsolate & to be admired for her love & care of him’.

Although brief extracts from Bargrave’s diary had been published in a variety of earlier scholarly works, the first fully annotated edition (with un-modernised language and spelling) was only published as recently as 1999, by the Hakluyt Society, edited by Michael G. Brennan: The Travel Diary of Robert Bargrave, Levant Merchant 1647-1656. The Society had, in fact, been preparing the work for publication in the 1940s, but the project lapsed. 

Again according to the ODNB: ‘Bargrave’s diary records his extensive experiences of commercial and diplomatic affairs, as well as his encounters with émigré royalists, and his relatives John Bargrave and John Raymond, who together compiled the invaluable guidebook published under the latter’s name as An Itinerary . . . Made through Italy (1648). Interspersed with these travel records are examples of Bargrave’s own poetry, including a masque with musical settings and dance steps, and his general observations as a tourist.’ Here are several extracts from Bargrave’s diary.

20 September 1652
‘Sept, the :20: we reachd (though with much difficulty) Yenèe Cue, a pretty small village seated beside a pleasant brooke: wherein we bathd our selves, and learnd our pediculous Companions to swimm: The Land hereabout is indeed very pleasing, resembling Parke - or Forrest - Grounds: at night by a Courteous Turkes Invitation, we repaird to his house; where he enterteind us with a Supper, & our horses with Hay, Gratis:’

21 September 1652
‘Sept, the :21 : we spent the first of the Day, in mending our Carts: the Vexation whereof is such, as I shall for ever putt them in my Letany, & give in Caution against them to all, whose Necessity may not force theyr using them; yet in the Afternoon (with Trouble enough) we travelld about fower howers, & pitchd at a most delicious Fountain on the way side.’

22 September 1652
‘September the :22: We sett out at break of Dawne; but having soon lost our way (& the Caravan too) in a Mist, we rid at range, till our hunger drove us in for a Bait at a Bulgares Cottage: hence we took our way to Carnabàtt; a handsom Toune, seated by a delicat Plaine, & washd with a pleasant River: neer which is as shady a large Grove of low Trees, as I have seen; so lovely, as if Nature had sett them for a Patterne of Plantation, to pose Art with: & here we found our Carravan; with whom we quartred, on the way side about an hower distant from Carnabatt –’

17 September 1652
‘Sep : 17: Leaving Thrace, we enterd into Bulgaria & rid to a village calld Dervènt=Cue: where we find the Inhabitants to be of the Grecian Relligion, & theyr Speech a confusd mixture of Turkish, Sclavonian & Greek:’ 

29 September 1652
‘September the :29:th we left Bulgaria, & entred a Country calld Dobrugia, which has lost its Christian name (unless it bee Silistria (as its chief City is still Called) And gotten this Turkish one; signyfying = Wellfare = from the great fruitfullness thereof: we rod about :12: howres to a Toune calld Bazargèe upon a délicat plaine & fertile Soile, scarse the :10:th part whereof is manur’d, through the paucity of Inhabitants; whose paines (though themselves are Turkes) are devourd by the Tiranny of theyr Governours. this Roud is very subject to Robberies; insomuch that in many places are to be seen Memoriall Pillars or heaps of Stones, over the bodies of Men there murdred & buryed.

30 September 1652
‘September the :30.th we went onn to a village calld Cavlaklèr;5 along the continued plaine, affording scarse a Tree & Stone within View: the Land clad with Grass wonderfully thick, having neither Men to manure it nor Cattle to eat a considerable part of it, although they have indeed great nombers of Bullocks & horses, scarse distinguishable from wild. The Inhabitants are so slothfull, that if they have sufficient for to Day & themselfs, they let Tomorrow & others take theyr Fortune: Water is bad & Searcy, & wine not to be had; because none but Turkes dwell in the Country: Wood they have none nor other burning then beasts Dung mixt with Straw, & dried; which would make bad Coals to broile Rashers on, if theyr Relligion would permitt them Bacon By the way we see a sort of Birds calld Тói (which I have neither mett nor heard of in Other parts) somewhat of the Shape & Colour of Turkies, but verie much greater: of which opportunity not letting us tast, we took it on Credit, that they be admirable meat: but could we have persuaded them to stand our Gunns, they had done a more opportune Favour; while even in a land of Plenty, we suffered very great want.’

17 February 1653
‘February the :17th: we came to Linghen; which with three other Tounes belong to the Prince of Orange; the Land extending about ten Legues in length, & two in breadth. Linghen was formerly a fortified Toune, but being taken by the Spanyards & retaken by the Hollanders, they demolishd the workes: & here termes Westfalia: -‘

21 February 1653
‘February the :21. we reachd to Emms Foort, a City well fortified, large handsom and cleane, having streight long Streets, delicatly pavd: but that which most contributed to our Prospect, was the stately even Rhoads to and from the City, curiously planted on each side with Abele=Trees, as also diverse other planted Walkes, leading out of the Rhode to Pleasant Villa’s, which are seated round about in land richly manurd, and chiefly with Tobacco, hence we advanc’d yet farther to Nearden, a Toune much larger then Emms Foort; the Streets broader, the buildings fairer, very uniforme, exceeding cleane: A stately artificiall River runns through the Toune: but at all these places were we forcd to pay Toll, for our Selves & horses: rating our horses heads at a greater price then our own:’

22 February 1653
February the :22d: - We went by water to Amsterdam, on an artificiall River, broad and deep, and cutt by a line about fower miles length from Nearden; the Rhoad goes along by the river, so that our boat was drawen by a Horse, as is the Custome through=out the low Countryes: The Land round=about us is every where bespotted with pretty Villaes and Guardens, so neatly contriv’d, & handsomely adornd, that together with the view of the City, of the Seae, & the litle Woods of Shipps neer it, they make up a most noble Prospect.’

Saturday, February 6, 2021

A burst of gun fire

‘Left the hotel at the usual side entrance and headed for the car - suddenly there was a burst of gun fire from the left. S.S. Agent pushed me onto the floor of the car & jumped on top. I felt a blow in my upper back that was unbelievably painful. I was sure he’d broken my rib. The car took off. I sat up on the edge of the seat almost paralyzed by pain.’ This is Ronald Reagan - born 110 years ago today - recording in his diary the attempt made on his life just a couple of months after he’d been elected president for the first time. His diary, though not rich in philosophical or psychological depth, is remarkable for having been written every day he was in office, and for the wide range of subjects, political and personal, that he records. 

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on 6 February 1911 in Tampico, Illinois, to a salesman of Irish Catholic descent. He attended high school in Dixon and then Eureka College where he studied economics and sociology, played American football, and acted in school plays. On graduating, he became a radio sports announcer. However, a screen test in 1937 won him a contract in Hollywood, and a successful acting career followed. In 1940, he married fellow actor Jane Wyman (twice previously married) with whom he had two children. They divorced in 1948 (Jane would go on to marry twice more to the same man!), and Reagan married Nancy, also an actor, in 1952. They, too, had two children.

From 1947 to 1952, and from 1959 to 1960, Reagan served as president of the Screen Actors Guild, during which time he testified in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. From 1954 to 1962, he hosted the weekly television drama series The General Electric Theater, and he toured the US as a public relations representative for General Electric, giving pro-business talks speaking out against too much government control and wasteful spending. By this time, a youthful enthusiasm for Democratic politics had turned into support for Republican policies. In 1964, he gave a well-received televised speech for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, and two years later, in his first race for public office, Reagan won the governorship of California; he was reelected to a second term in 1970. 

On his third attempt, in 1980, Reagan won the Republican presidential nomination. He went on to defeat President Jimmy Carter by a large margin, and a clear majority of the popular vote. Two months after his inauguration as president, he survived an assassination attempt. At home, he undertook policies to reduce the federal government’s reach into the daily lives of citizens and to cut taxes to spur growth (dubbed ‘Reaganomics’). Increased military spending and deregulation of business were other priorities. With regard to foreign policy, he called the Soviet Union ‘the evil empire’, and fuelled the Cold War with aid to anticommunist movements in many parts of the world. In 1983, he launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a plan to develop space-based weapons. That same year, he authorised an invasion of Grenada after a coup by Marxist rebels. During Reagan’s second term (1985-1989) when he was reelected by a landslide, he forged a diplomatic relationship with the reform-minded Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, and challenged him to dismantle the Berlin Wall.

In 1994, Reagan revealed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He died in 2004, was given a state funeral in Washington, D.C., and  buried on the grounds of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (which had been opened in 1991). Further information on Reagan is readily available at Wikipedia, The White House, History.com, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Encyclopaedia Britannica, or The Miller Center.

Reagan has the distinction of being one of a handful of American presidents who kept a detailed diary in office ( even when in  hospital recovering from an assassination attempt).  In 2005, Nancy Reagan gave permission for the five volumes of her husband’s thick, maroon, leather-bound diary books to be transcribed. The Reagan Library Foundation partnered with HarperCollins (which is said to have paid over a million pounds for the rights) to have them published in 2007 as The Reagan Diaries (edited by Douglas Brinkley). According to Wikipedia an edited version of the diaries reached No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. A review can be read at The Nw York Times website. The actual diaries are on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. The full text (coupled with the so-called White House Diary - a daily schedule of meetings and events attended) is available on the library’s website and is the source of the following extracts.

11 February 1981
‘High spot a Nat. Security Council meeting. We have absolute proof of Soviet & Cuban activity in delivering arms to rebels in El Salvador - Also their worldwide propaganda campaign which has succeeded in raising riots & demonstrations in Europe & the U.S. Intelligence reports say he [Castro] is very worried about me. I’m very worried that we cant come up with something to justify his worrying.’

8 April 1981
‘My day to address the Bldg. & Const. Trades Nat. Conf. A.F.L.-C.I.O. at the Hilton Ballroom - 2 P.M. Was all dressed to go & for some reason at the last min. took off my really good wrist watch & wore an older one.

Speech not riotously received - still it was successful.

Left the hotel at the usual side entrance and headed for the car - suddenly there was a burst of gun fire from the left. S.S. Agent pushed me onto the floor of the car & jumped on top. I felt a blow in my upper back that was unbelievably painful. I was sure he’d broken my rib. The car took off. I sat up on the edge of the seat almost paralyzed by pain. Then I began coughing up blood which made both of us think - yes I had a broken rib & it had punctured a lung. He switched orders from W.H. to Geo. Wash. U. Hosp.

By the time we arrived I was having great trouble getting enough air. We did not know that Tim McCarthy (S.S.) had been shot in the chest, Jim Brady in the head & a policemen Tom Delahanty in the neck.

I walked into the emergency room and was hoisted onto a cart where I was stripped of my clothes. It was then we learned I’d been shot & had a bullet in my lung.

Getting shot hurts. Still my fear was growing because no matter how hard I tried to breathe it seemed I was getting less & less air. I focused on that tiled ceiling and prayed. But I realized I couldn’t ask for Gods help while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed up young man who had shot me. Isn’t that the meaning of the lost sheep? We are all Gods children & therefore equally beloved by him. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back to the fold.

I opened my eyes once to find Nancy there. I pray I’ll never face a day when she isn’t there. Of all the ways God has blessed me giving her to me is the greatest and beyond anything I can ever hope to deserve.

All the kids arrived and the hours ran together in a blur during which I was operated on. I know it’s going to be a long recovery but there has been such an outpouring of love from all over.

The days of therapy, transfusion, intravenous etc. have gone by - now it is Sat. April 11 and this morning I left the hospital and am here at the W.H. with Nancy & Patti. The treatment, the warmth, the skill of those at G.W. has been magnificent but it’s great to be here at home.

Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve him in every way I can.’

18 April 1981
‘A nice quiet day - no emergencies, slept in late but still managed an afternoon nap. Wrote a draft of a letter to Brezhnev. Dont know whether I’ll send it but enjoyed putting some thoughts down on paper. 9 P.M. and we’re off to bed.’

19 April 1981
‘A beautiful Easter morning. In the afternoon Rev. Louis Evans & his wife called and brought us communion. They made it a most meaningful day.

Watched some T.V. in bed and saw Gloria Steinem take me over the coals for being a bigot and against women. Either she is totally ignorant of my positions which I doubt or she is a deliberate liar.’

12 February 1983
‘Found out some of our people stayed in West Wing all night rather than try to go home. Near 5 P.M. temperatures in the 40’s. Snow has been melting but still too deep to see any lawn. George B. & Bud McFarlane came by to tell me Neimeri of Sudan cites a reliable source that Khadafy is planning air action against Sudan to coincide with insurgent attacks from the South. We have A.W.A.C.S. planes available over Egypt to vector Egyptian planes if this proves reliable. George and Obie Shultz coming to dinner & we’ve run a movie.’

15 February 1983
‘Meeting with Repub. Cong. leadership. Our 2 Georges reported on their trips to Europe & Asia. They were roundly praised by all present. Then we got into a budget discussion & how the ec. was doing. It was a really upbeat meeting. Had an intelligence briefing on the Palestinian situation. It was pretty sobering. There are hundreds of thousands - indeed mils. scattered throughout the Middle East. All look upon Israel & the West bank as their natural homeland. There are already 1,700,000 of them in that area. Did a Q&A in the family theatre preparing for press conf. tomorrow night. Home to wood shed for that exam. Almost forgot - Geo. Shultz sneaked Ambassador Dobrynin (Soviet) into the W.H. We talked for 2 hours. Sometimes we got pretty nose to nose. I told him I wanted George to be a channel for direct contact with Andropov - no bureaucracy involved. Geo. tells me that after they left, the ambas. said “this could be an historic moment.” ’

30 March 1986
‘The weather was in & out but I managed to ride every day although one day was in fog, one in light rain & one in a strong wind but with sunshine. All in all it was a good trip and Barney, Dennis & I got in some trail clearing etc.

During our stay got a night time call re the bombing of the Disco in W. Berlin where 50 or so of our servicemen were wounded & killed. Evidence is adding up that the villain was Kadaffy although that hypocrite went on T.V. to say “it was a terrorist act against innocent civilians & he wouldn’t do such things.”

Roy Miller came up one day with our income tax forms. We really need tax reform!! Final day, Ron & Doria came up - that was our rainy day ride.

Sun was coming out today - Sunday of course because we had to leave. Ride home uneventful & here we are in the W.H.’

4 April 1986
‘No ranch chores today. Dressed up in our town clothes & helicoptered (1 hr. & 20 min’s.) down the Coast to a place between Newport & Laguna to the beautiful home of retired Gen. & Mrs. William Lyon. A reception & lunch for about 50 people - prospective donors & donors to the Presidential Library. A meeting 1st with architect of Library - it’s going to be magnificent. Then a receiving line & photos - some mix & mingle & lunch. I spoke briefly then back in the chopper & back to the ranch about 4 P.M.’

See also Poindexter, Reagan and Bush