MACARTHUR, Douglas (1880-1964), General, U.S. Army. A group of 4 autograph letters (2 signed "Douglas," two unsigned) ONE AN EXTENSIVE 46-PAGE LETTER-JOURNAL, plus a related manuscript, all addressed to Florence Adams, a young woman whom he met in Manila, Phillippines, October 1904-January 1905 [most undated]. Together 64 pages, 8vo and 12mo, two written on Army & Navy Club stationery, one with envelope, most without salutation.
LIEUTENANT DOUGLAS MACARTHUR'S CORRESPONDENCE WITH A YOUNG LADY, ON MILITARY HONOR, ARMY LIFE AND MORE
A newly discovered, unpublished series of personal letters documenting a brief but emotionally charged relationship between a young woman and the recently commissioned Lieutenant MacArthur, serving with the Corps of Engineers in the Phillippines (his first Army posting). MacArthur's remarkable 46-page letter/journal--containing reflections on his father's Medal of Honor, his dreams, army life, his concept of courage--was written over several days enroute to a new post in California. Miss Adams was residing in Manila with her sister and brother in law, William Barre, chief U.S. auditor in the Philippines. Personal letters of MacArthur, especially of such early date, are highly unusual, and the archive affords fine insights into the early emotional life of this distinguished officer, the future military commander of the American Army in the Pacific.
Contents: MACARTHUR. Autograph letter-journal (unsigned), to Florence Adams, n.p. [on board the troop transport George H. Thomas sailing from Manila to San Francisco], n.d. [October 17--25 November 1904]. 46 pages, 8vo. "I have always despised a diary. It is true that one never puts into it the things to be ashamed of...and after a while when the still small voice is silent and they are forgotten, one reads it over and says to himself 'I must have been a pretty decent chap in those days'...A sort of lie to yourself. This diary, however, is going to be different...It should then be more or less true..." He reflects on the Civil War General whose name the vessel bears: "The most famous characteristic of Genl. Geo[rge] S. Thomas, whose name the boat bears, was his dogged ability to hold his ground against any odds. So strikingly was this demonstrated that he was known as the 'Rock of Chickamauga,' after his desperate resistance on that bloody field....It is an old saying that Republics are ungrateful and unjust and now I believe it. My old Dad received the Medal of Honor during the Civil War for merely leading a forlorn hope against a Rebel battery, while I - I go undecorated. Ah! Justice. Rightly do they paint you blind. There is a tribe in the interior of Thibet whose greatest mark of bravery is the wearing of a simple little piece of red cord around the right wrist. With those beggars bravery is the rule, not the exception, so brave indeed is the man who can boast that simple little 'Red Badge of Courage.' At the end of this voyage...I'm going to buy a little red cord and tie it around my wrists--not the right one only, but both..." He has broken "one of my principles, namely not to play poker with women"; not only does it "spoil your game--if you lose it awakens suspicions that you lost deliberately." MacArthur then fled to the deck: "with wind and wave to dissipate the hot fetid odour of smoke and champagne, and the clean sweet thought of you to purge my mind, I was able to keep to the narrow path which led to my bed and not to the orgie [sic] the crowd had started in the Doctor's stateroom..."
"I'm lonesome, horribly lonesome for you these long days and of all the sensations I have experienced it is the worst. I can't fight it off. Though you can 'deceive some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time,' there are two beings you can never deceive any of the time, your God and, as in this case, myself..." He wonders "who was it that said the saddest thing on earth next to a great defeat is a great victory?" His dreams have included "those rescally apaches who came so near getting me some  years ago...It has been the same old tale for me, poker all night, sleep all morning, bridge all afternoon. An intin[era]ry I'm not proud of..." The death of a stowaway is recounted in very melodramatic terms: "Just before he died, the man sent for me. Said he didn't have a friend in the world but if I didn't mind he'd like to think I was one...died in my arms...Good night sweet Child. May I take you in my arms just once and tell you very softly I love you--love you--love you...Uncle Sam is an uncertain master. Isn't the charm of Army life, however, in this very uncertainty?..."
ADDITIONAL CONTENTS: MACARTHUR. Autograph letter signed ("Douglas MacArthur"), n.p. [Manila], "Sunday evening," n.d. 6 pages, 8vo, Army & Navy Club stationery. Morning-after tenderness: "There isn't the slightest excuse for this little note except to press your sweet hand and tell you how mortified...I am at having kept you up so late last night...All day long I have been trying to read, study, what you will, but the spice of the night still binds me...listening with a thirsty ear to the witching melody of those 'wee small hours...The print in every book...has faded away...and left me only a sweet girl's tender eyes, until I've given it up...Am I beginning to lose my head about you, I wonder?" -- MACARTHUR. Autograph note signed ("Douglas MacArthur, 1st Lt. Corps Engin's U.S. Army." 13 lines in pencil on blank verso of printed Army & Navy Club statement, Manila, 15 October 1904. 1 page, oblong. A playful vow: "This certifies that being unable to meet my financial obligations I liquidate my debts -- it would be true to say I increase them -- by hereby certifying my soul and body to one Florence Adams..." -- MACARTHUR. Autograph letter signed ("Douglas") to Miss Adams, n.p., [ca.1 January 1905]. 3 pages, 8vo. Partly verse: "...Dear Lady the days seem long And sweet sad memories around me throng, Those happy summer hours are past, And darkness shrouds my life at last, Illumined once by thee..." A postscript offers "New Year's greeting from me with all my love," and laments, "No word from you since I left the Islands..." -- MACARTHUR. Autograph letter (unsigned), n.p. [Manila] n.d. "Sunday morning." 4 pages, 8vo, with envelope. "You have been very wonderful to me in everything you have said..No dreams will frighten me on my dark, still journey into unconsciousness, for I feel that the way will be lighted by the pale exquisite lamp of a woman's pity...[his dreams] will carry me away from all my old Army friends, away from loving thoughts of home, away even from my Saintly Mother and to thy side, Sweet Florence..." -- [ADAMS, Florence]. Autograph(?) manuscript record of encounters and contacts with MacArthur (referred to as 'he' or 'him'), n.p. [Manila], 16 October 1904]. 4 pages, 12mo. Early entries undated: "At...Army and Navy Club where he spoke but did not ask me to dance"; dated entries run from October 2 to 15: "He came to lunch with me and stayed till his boat left. I went out to the boat on the launch with him."