William S. Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0241, Box 5, Folder 55, transcribed
by Jennifer Petti, 2004.
Note: Everett Colby Banfield was the husband of Ann Scholfield Fiske
Banfield, Helen Hunt Jackson's sister. This diary covers his first year
at Harvard University in 1846.
A memorandum of daily occurrences with notes and explanations, commenced
September 15th, 1846 at Harvard University Cambridge Mass, By Everett
C. Banfield. Entering in the first freshman class under the Administration
of President Edward Everett LLD. Charles Beck Professor of Latin. C.C.
Felton Professor of Greek. B. Pierce Professor of Mathematics. J.C. Merrill
Tutor Greek. J.S. Hartwell Tutor Latin. F.J. Child Tutor Mathematics.
Touch not, open not, read not!!!!
I have delayed commencing this book chiefly from negligence. I will state
however some things which have happened since I left Exeter. -Upon the
24th & 25th of August the class for admission to College were examined.
Bowles, Cogswell, Moore, Osgood, Pierce, Roberstson, Richardson, Smith,
Stebbins, Whiting and myself entered delegates from old Phillips Acad'y
Exeter NH. - Bowles and I took a room together, [crossed out: "with
whom above all others I prefer to room"]. Perhaps it will not be
out of place for me to speak here of my acquaintance formed while in Exeter
-The connection between here and there is so intimate, and my age being
such while there that the impressions made at that time will be the hardest
to efface from memory, and at the same time happen to be of a most pleasing
character, I trust-it will be with pleasure that in future life I shall
revert to this little sketch book. My teachers there properly demanded
my first attention. Mr. Soule, the Principal, is a dignified portly looking
man, rather stern in look, but quite pleasing at his house. A very good
teacher. In case of trouble with scholars, he is apt to try to make them
believe he knows the whole affair, and thus he often gets them in this
way to confess the whole, so that then at any rate he finds it out. Upon
the whole I was not sorry to end my connection with him. Mr. Hoyt, who
taught me in Greek and Mathematics is a first-rate clever easy man as
ever walked. He cares nothing apparently for dignity in school or out.
A very good teacher, always rendering a recitation interesting by stories,
jests and comical translations. Always very free and easy to speak. Mr.
Swan on the other hand was reserved and forte bashful. Incase a scholar
got troubled in the class, he rarely rendered aid. Lauren he is a fine
man, well meaning and agreeable in familiar intercourse. I now will speak
of those members of the school with whom I was acquainted and who have
scattered about. Of those now here I shall not speak 'till we are separated.
HC Bacon of the advanced class was a self-conceited personage very unpopular
with the scholars. Yet so far as my own acquaintance goes I have nothing
particular against him. J.B. Frothingham comes next-in order as a member
of the advanced class. He is one with whom I was quite intimate, and on
the whole was a good companion. I boarded with him at Mrs. Veasey's; 2
terms. NS Cotton was a member of my class and the best scholar of it.
He was chiefly lacking, as it seemed to most in good common sense. He
used to afford great-amusement to us by his rawness. For example he actually
believed he heard the cannon and thought he could see the fireworks from
Boston on the 4th July. W.H. St. Clair also a member of my class was a
very clever sort of a fellow. He never left anything but a favorable impression
upon my mind. Jas. F. Lyman was a classmate, a fine modest good natured
little fellow. He intends to enter here next year. J.G. Neil boarded at
Mr. Vasey's. He was one whom I always esteemed as a good friend. Always
liked him much, and have spent much time very pleasantly with him. Lester
Clark I liked well at one time; but after a while dislike grew up to a
certain extent from his braggishness. Nat Gorham was a clever fellow rather
self-conceited but not so disagreeably so as many are. Gardner Gilman
was a first rate fellow, with whom I spent so pleasant a 4th of July.
I trust I shall remember the credit I owe him for that. Townshend, Sleeper,
Langdell, Clark, Burleigh, Brown, Dunbar, Geo. Cobbs, Howard Sleeper I
can speak of collectively as a good set of fellows. But-there remains
one of whom I have not yet spoken though he comes last of my male friends
yet-he is not least thought-of. His noble spirit warm heartfelt friendships
is such as to endear him to all who know him. His friendship is one I
hope I shall be able and worthy to retain. Since we parted at Exeter I
have had the pleasure of a visit from him. He passed the Sunday with me
and walked out here to visit the other fellows Sunday night. I have received
a letter from him since he left at which time he was at Detroit. Richard
H. Sylvester alias Dickon is the person I refer to. My female acquaintance
at Exeter was very limited and of short duration. The first person I formed
an acquaintance with out of the house where I boarded was Sarah E. Cobbs.
Her acquaintance was quite a pleasing one. She helped me to while away
a great many hours which otherwise would have been spent I know not how!
I attended her and a friend of hers to the Exhibition at the end of the
term here. To Sarah Laurence Next- I had the pleasure of being introduced
to. She was a pleasant pretty girl very agreeable in her manners. I had
the pleasure of becoming acquainted finally with MA Gorham, the very intimate
friend, as I have some right to suppose, of my present room-mate. I was
very much pleased with her appearance and enjoyed her society finely much
better than I ever expected to. Hope I shall never forget that last shake
of hands at her gate. My acquaintance with other ladies of Exeter was
so short, that it is needless to speak of it. The schoolmates I have here
made mention of will, so long as memory last afford pleasure. The traits
of their character were various and unlike and afford subject for separate
contemplation. The final meeting of those of us who left at Mr. Harvey's
shop will long be remembered by me. The ladies whom I have mentioned will
be remembered so long as there is any regard for female friendship in
my breast. And now I close the account of my doings in Exeter. Expecting
to record nothing more here concerning that venerable and respected town
which shall come under my personal observation. This is the Eve of the
21st of September and nothing of peculiar interest has occurred since
I began this account save that the 16th was fathers birthday and the 19th
my own on which day I entered on my 18th year. I shall await some new
interesting event to afford occasion to fill up 2 or 3 more pages here.
Livy Xenophon and Pierce's Geometry are my studies, I Escheutrues Manual.
Sunday Eve Sep 27th
Some few things have occurred recently which perhaps I may as well write
down as not. Last Wednesday the Whig Convention was held in Boston at
which [Eper?] Briggs and [Johu?] Reed were nominated candidates for Governor.
Lieutenant Gov D. Webster N. Waither & other Whigs were present and
addressed the meeting. Thursday Eve a meeting was held to consider the
kidnapping case. The venerable John Quincy Adams presides. His hands shook
greatly as did almost all his limbs. Tears stood in his eyes. It does
not seem possible that the "old man eloquent" can live much
longer. He will or has literally worn out. SC Phillips, Wendell Phillips,
Charles Sumner, & Theodore Parker were the prominent speakers. I had
the pleasure of being present. Today & also last Sunday my eyes were
involuntarily turned to a pew back of mine by the black oculis of a pulchrous
animal. I should like to know who she is. May the same pleasant vision
meet my eyes again & again!
Sunday Eve October 6th
Alas! How useless and unregarded are some of the wishes of men! The very
same pleasant vision from which I so foolishly anticipated so much pleasure
has gone at least for one week. How many times have I declared I would
not yield to the whisperings of the imagination! I heard this tale Dr.
Lyman Beecher he having just returned from the 9th convention at London,
and having narrowly escaped shipwreck in the Great Western. In the pm
his son and Beecher preached most excellently. I had a good conversation
with my Uncle Jonas tonight on means of preserving health, he advises
strongly the use of the shower bath and also frequent exercise in the
open air. My mind is dull to night, can't fill up much.
Sunday eve Oct 11
The freshman class of which I am a member is divided into 3 sections;
the third is the highest. At the beginning I was placed in the 2nd. I
have retained that place in the division made last week. The lessons of
the different sections vary a little the third advancing the most. The
3rd consists of 16. The Second of 21. The first of 32. I begin to see
that a college life is somewhat dangerous to one's morals, certainly here
at Cambridge. Frequenting theatres and other such places is very common.
It requires a firm character to withstand the temptations. But it makes
those who attend such places miserable. The fear of being found out, and
the necessary delinquency in recitations are the causes of this bad feeling.
I hope I shall be able to keep from going to those places. Least of all
would I be willing to endure reproof from such a man as President Everett.
One whom I always so respected and with whom I had desired to be brought
in connection. My respect and admiration of him has increased since I
have been acquainted with him. His familiarity is so pleasing I can not
help liking him. It is with some pride that I consider myself one of the
first class that entered under his administration. He has been termed
by an English Lord the governor of science in America. His little son
about-7 yrs old has made considerable advancement in Latin and has commenced
Greek, almost a prodigy. Safford the youthful prodigy in Mathematics has
arrived here, quite an inferior looking little chap, with only a sparkling
eye and a large head that is in the least worthy of remark. I still continue
to admire Dr. Edward Beecher's style of preaching. He is a fine looking
man, a gentleman and a scholar, remarkable for his zeal against Popery
as well as for the kingdom of Christ, I must raise 25 cts, my assessment
for football which it is the usage for the freshman class to furnish.
I am determined next year if not sooner to get a room at a private house,
where I can be free from the noise and company which is forced upon one
resident in the College buildings. I cannot endure the roughness of many
who frequent our rooms here it is really disagreeable and disgusting.
I am fond of having a friend come in and have a civil, social chat with
me, but when he gets rude and puts everything in the room in disturbance,
my regard and respect for him ceases at that instant ---- The weather
is growing cold, the tress are shedding their foliage and I cannot help
reverting to past days, where past winters have been spent by me. But
stronger of all is the remembrance of last autumn. A year ago the present
time I was suffering the most that I ever did in my life, my sickness
was the Rheumatic fever occasioned by kicking football at Exeter. Yet
there was pleasure in the recovery, although I was obliged to limp about
the streets with one chord stiff one day and another the next. The cold
air of winter never was so agreeable as then. It really was bracing and
was far more agreeable to me than the mild air of spring and summer. O
how sweet are the pleasures of the memory! I have been to see Mr. Everett
to get my average in my recitations. In Math 6 2/11, Greek 4 4/25, Latin
5 19/25. These are on a scale of 8. Greek comp 16. Latin comp 22. These
are on a scale of 24. Mr. Everett inquired how I got along, if my time
was wholly employed. I told him I did not know how satisfactorily I got
along, but my time was mostly taken up. He smiled and said he would see
how that was by his books. I like him first rate
Sunday eve Oct 18
Ah me! That spectre has floated across my vision again! How long, Oh!
How long will it continue to trifle with my heart. Yesterday I stepped
into the U.S. D.Court. Judge Woodbury was delivering a charge to the jury.
Messrs Choate, BN Curtis, Bantoul & others less noted were in. Walter
Gasset, a schoolmate at Exeter died recently at Brigham of Typhus fever.
One after of another of my acquaintances drop away from among us. E.P.
Livy a friend of mine at Wolfboro' now lies buried on the banks of the
Ganges. He left home in good spirits with the hope of a successful voyage.
He died a victim to the fever prevalent at Calcutta. E.B. Piper, a distant
relation of mine died a few months ago very suddenly of the Typhus fever.
No friend but his sister was present at his death. How soon my turn will
come, He alone who presides over the destiny of mortals knows. What is
death? It would seem but an end of all things with us judging by the little
consideration made by two hostile armies in shooting each other down in
cold blood. Ah I fear it is something more! ---In the eyes of many Gen.
Taylor is doing wonders off in Mexico. And so he is. Our nation thus far
has lost nothing of its fame for bravery. But the justice of the war,
that's the question. The star spangled banner which once created sensations
of the highest pride when mentioned, now is become a mere mockery among
ourselves and other nations.
Sunday Eve October 25
My walks in and out of Boston are fine; they afford seasons and subjects
for solitary contemplation which is a source of great pleasure to me.
The Charles River looked most majestic tonight. The moonbeams glittering
on the restless waves, the vessels lying at anchor, the slow and almost
suspicious tread of some individuals on the bridge, brought to my mind
some tales I have read, having some such scene for the commencement and
foundation. I have read since I have been here. Scott's Novels. They are
excellent. They portray the character of the organizations of those times
in grand style. His heroes and heroines are admirable most of them. Would
that the present age could furnish some such characters as Katrine Bulmer
or Constance de Greg. "O Darby, Darby, come back to your Katrina!"
that is the best part of James Darby. Almost too good to be natural.
Sunday Eve Nov 1st
The time for the state elections is now at hand. The Whigs are gaining
thus far. Old Pennsylvania has turned from her evil ways. Georgia Alabama,
and all the states yet heard are yielding to the Whigs except S.C. and
Illinois. Rather dull. Rather dull Tonight.
Sunday Eve Nov 8.
All hail, the Glorious news of the elections. The three most important
states in the union sure for the Whigs. The Keystone state, The Empire
state, and the Buckeye state. Would that they may continue firm till at
least after the Presidential election of next fall. The old Baystate chooses
her Governor tomorrow, and the whole routine of officers. Mr. Webster
made one of his glorious speeches Friday Eve, Saturday eve I attended
a Nation's American meeting. Heard Gen. H.A.S. Deerborn speak. Quite a
good speaker. The prominent men of this party, at least in Boston, are
rather a nonsensical set; though I can but hope that their grand principle
will be adapted.
Sunday Eve Nov 15
Again!! A whole week of dull weather has had a tendency to make me dull
in spirit. A few things there are however which have a counter effect.
First "spectacular illius pulchris virgins, quam vidi saepe autheae."
Second, as a Whig, I have cause to rejoice at the grand success of the
Whigs in all the states around and also in our own state. Gov. Briggs
is elected by over 7000. A Whig gain of about 10,000 upon last year. I
have been reading some of Scotts novels. They are fine. "The heart
of Midlothian" assuredly fine. Kenilworth ends badly and has too
much villainy to be very interesting to me. Parts of it are good however.
President Everett made us a speech the other day in regard to behaviors.
He has been insulted 3 or 4 times. Quid tibi feci, mi populi? Said he.
Would that they would respect him more. Received two letters from Dickon
lately one dated from Mineral Point and the other from Madison, Wisconsin.
Sunday Eve Nov 22
The weeks pass away fast. It seems but a short time ago that I was examined
for College, and but a short time since I used to look forward and picture
to myself all the pleasures and labors of a College life. I think however
I used to portray it pretty well, only I used to esteem it as something
greater and finer than the reality. What is it more than attending school
any where else? Nothing I' faith! The teachers here are not prodigies
of learning, nor are the pupils all of power or energy enough to set-the
"pond a fire." The same or as good, and certainly a better moral
education can be learned elsewhere. In some quiet village away from a
tempting city, where there are less pupils than here one could learn better
I think than here. But there's one half at least in the name of going
through College. I will give a representation of my teachers here now,
if I was good at drawing I would insert their profiles as the best mode
of ensuring the remembrance of them being indelible. Merrile is a spare
man rather tall, has a small head (but large nose) a roost for a pair
of specs, sharp black eyes, slick dark hair, on the whole what would be
termed a cross visage, and with a very peculiar gait. Hartwell is a very
modest, conscientious man, short and thick, with a pretty good head, hair
combed all over front and pushed up, light eyes, and on the whole has
quite a comely exterior. Child is a short light complexioned, light-curly
haired man, with specs on. Real cleaver and quite a funny looking chap.
He graduated last year and lugged off the first honors of the university.
But I was telling him "tempus fugit." Yes it is but a short
time since I was a suckling. Some incidents of lang syne are fresh in
my mind. Runnings on pasture hill in Medford are fresh. The Whortleberry
pastures, the moonlight walks with M.W.B. and M.F.R. &c. &c. and
the days when I went to the Academy at Milton are not forgot. I wonder
how many scoldings and hidings I've had for hooking off to play with the
Milton lassies (a sigh) I won't write any more reminiscences they are
too painful to bear. (Another sigh) O dear!
Sunday Eve Nov 29
This eve is magnificent. I rarely have so enjoyed a walk as I did tonight.
Charles River was calm as could be. The vessels had their sails spread
and were reflected in the water as finely as they would have been in a
artificial mirror. The hills in Roxbury were spotted with snow, the air
was sharp, and winter seems to have really come upon us. The week has
been very unpleasant, storming a part of the time and the travelling being
very bad the remainder of the time. Thanksgiving however passed of pretty
well. The only real check to my enjoyment has been little sister illness,
which has been and still is dangerous. That splendid steamer "Atlantis"
was dashed to pieces last Friday morn, and 50 passengers and crew were
lost. Nothing was left of the noble steamer but the engine, on the top
of which was the bell which tolled the funeral knell of the destroyed,
swung by the force of the wind. Ubi terrarum sirit ommes mulitres et virgins?
Cambridge is destitute I should think. My only time of refreshing seems
at meeting, especially at inadvertent glance, in church. Most assuredly
[8 lines of Latin] the result.
Sunday Eve, Dec 6. 1846
Last week I received a letter from my friend Dickon. An excellent letter
it was! I have written a reply of the most serious nature I ever wrote.
Miss S.E.C. of Exeter sent her mitre yesterday. HA! Ha! My former roommate
Ephraim White of Rochester, NH died recently by bleeding at the nose and
gums. He was a fine fellow and will be particularly remembered by me as
the friend who used to treat me so well during my helplessness when I
had the Rheumatic fever. Horace C. Bacon has come out a regular deist.
Folly of Follies! He means to make some stir where he is known if possible.
Warren Fowl has come here, having got sick of Yale. Colton is the sole
remaining delegate from P.E.A. of the Alumni of '46. Daniel Webster made
an excellent speech at the dinner given to him at Philadelphia last Wednesday.
400 Gentlemen sat at the table, and 1500 ladies looked on from the gallery.
He spoke 4 hours, reviewing and censuring the whole course of Pres. Polk's
Administration. It was a rich speech. He said at the close to the gentlemen
that surely their eyes had been gratified if their ears had not. Hurrah!
For the Ladies!
Harry Clay recently has had a silver vase presented to him by the ladies
of Tennessee. On the occasion of the presentation of it, he made a few
remarks, in which he strongly condemned the Mexican war. In fact it is
generally condemned by the most intelligent class of men. Little will
the victories of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma Monterey, Tobasco and whatever
follow be gloried in like those of the Revolution. At any rate I shall
think less of the men who do glory in them. John Quincy Adams was attacked
with the paralysis the other day, but has recovered. He expects to be
able to go to Washington soon. An aged Legislator is he truly. G.E. Badger,
Gen. Harrison's Sec'y of War, has been elected U.S. Senator from N.C.
in place of Haywood. Gen. Washington was the first person who ever received
the title of LLD from Harvard University. A worthy person truly to receive
that first honor frae Harvard.
Sunday Eve Dec 13
Last Wednesday was our first examination here. It was in Greek alone.
The examining committees are C.F. Adams, S.H. Taylor, J.P. Robinson and
J.C. Merrill (father of the tutor). Mr. Adams is a fine looking man, very
much resembling his Father J.Q. Adams. The examination was not at all
severe. My division got along very well. Congress commenced its session
last Monday. Some of the members of the House are down strong upon Mr.
Polk. Mr. Webster presented a petition from Harvard University that the
duty on the new Telescope may be remitted. A session of great interest
is expected. The President tries very hard to defend the Mexican war.
But there are critics enough who prove the fallacy of his arguments. Genl
Scott has started for Mexico and Com Stewart is expected here soon to
take command of the Ohio, which sails soon with sealed orders.
Sunday Eve Dec 20
The sleighing has commenced, it is capital out around here, but poor in
the city. It is feared that Mr. Adams will not be able to go to Washington
again, though his health is somewhat improving. The news from Europe seems
to portend a great revolution there. Great and momentous will be the results
of such a revolution as is expected if there is one at all. The Mexican
affairs are not progressing much. The Le Verrier Planet is the great source
of interest among astronomers, the Gin Cotton among philosophers, the
Spanish Marriages among the French and English Governments. But the annexation
of Cracow to Austria will turn all eyes thither. The troubles in Mexico
trouble us. &c. &c. If the present state of things hold on here
much longer there will be a great change in the Government soon.
Sunday Eve December 27 1846
The next time that I write in this book will be in 1847! The most eloquent
and impressive sermon I ever heard was preached today by Dr. Beecher.
I don't know what my heart is made of, but some how or other its effect
was lost immediately on leaving church. Though while listening I could
hardly prevent the tears from starting. Ever since I began to go to Dr.
Beecher's church I have been very much interested in him, and would not
have missed going every Sabbath for anything if possible to prevent it.
They have very good singing and a splendid organ at Dr. B's. These may
be somewhat attractive to me. Last week was quite a rich week for me.
Mr. Webster has been in the city on a case in court, I have heard him
speak there once again, and have feasted my eyes with gazing at him. He
is respected more in public and draws more attention than any man I ever
saw before. During the recess of the Court he passed around outside of
the bar to the opposite side of the room. The room was full but the people
turned aside and made room for him and gazed after him as if he were some
supernatural being almost. And in the street when he went up to his office
people stopped in the street and gazed at him so as to be almost impertinent.
But he passed on apparently regardless of the interest he excited. It
seems almost beyond belief that the same person who once was a noted lazy
snotty nosed boy, and who used even at the age of 15 to be sent out of
the Academy to wash his hands, and used to pick the plums out of his pudding
to eat afterwards--, now excites an interest and admiration wherever he
goes unrivalled by any man in the country! Yet-such is the fact. Yet he
has accomplished all by his own unaided talents and persevering industry.
His personal appearance is very prepossessing. He could be easily recognized
from a thousand by an entire stranger. He is quite tall and straight,
which added to a portly belly renders him very dignified. But the great
attraction in his personal appearance is his head. Undoubtedly he has
the most remarkable head of any public man in the country, if not in the
world, not to mention the power there is within. It is very large, especially
the forehead which is very full and round. His eyebrows are shaggy, and
his jet black eye is deep set, so that when excited in debate and uttering
some powerful sarcasm, his brow is said to represent a thunder cloud.
He has a fine set of teeth very white as yet, his whole complexion is
very dark. He is about 68 yrs old and his hair is a little sprinkled with
gray. He is not bald, though his forehead is very high. His voice is deep
and sounds very rich. He is in fine a wonderful man, and in the consideration
of a majority of the intelligent people of the country is inferior to
no one in the power and vigor of his reasoning faculties. He is a most
illustrious example of what a man born in humble life can do, raising
himself 'till he has rendered himself capable of filling most honorably
to him self and country the highest office which a free nations can bestow.
But it is needless for me to immortalize his name by writing of him here;
there are thousands who would be ready write his history were there such
a gap to be filled. But there is no danger of such a thing happening,
for as Pres. Quincy has said, "Nature made but one Webster in a century,
and when she had made him, she threw away the model." It remains
yet to be seen when another such a man will appear.
Sunday Eve. Jan 3 1847.
I have not much to say this week as I have been out here all the time
and have met with no particularly interesting news. Mr. Bancroft has been
confirmed as Minister to England. Mr. Barrow's death has created very
much sorrow at Washington as well as in his own state. Senators without
distinction of party bore witness to his fine character and talents. Senator
Crittenden was so overcome with emotion that he could say but few words.
Mr. Barrow was a Whig Senator from Louisiana. His son is in the Sop class
here. The war is not making much progress yet. The Boston volunteers seem
to be slow about getting off. I should think they would want to be gone
and get rid of the taunts and jeers of the boys in the streets who twit
them about coming home with one arm and one leg. Capt Ned Webster's company
are a good looking set of fellows. One of them was married lately.
Sunday Eve Jan 10
The present will be a busy week with us here. It is the last of the term,
2 examinations are to come off, one in Latin and one in Mathematics. [5
words in latin] this forenoon at Church. [2 words in latin] in the afternoon.
[Videtur impossibill, illau posse occupare tantum mei amini.?] I suppose
there will be a vacant place in this book for 6 weeks to come. I shall
try to have [5 words in latin] pages when I come back.
Sunday Eve Feb 28th 1847
Vacation has ended, and it has been a very pleasant one to me, save one
week that I was sick with a cold and symptoms of fever. Tirrell's trial
for arson had not finished when vacation commenced, therefore I was present
there enough to hear the concluding arguments of Messrs. Choate and Parker.
They were both excellent. Tirrell is a fine looking fellow. His wife and
child are both beautiful. I heard for the first time in my life a verdict
pronounced where life was at stake. That verdict was not guilty - Tirrell's
countenance was firm and unmoved until after the verdict was give when
he sat down and wept. In Court also I heard Chas Summer plead for the
volunteers who claimed their right to be freed, when they enlisted without
the consent of their parents and were under age. They were acquitted by
the Court. There were several Anti Slavery meetings which I attended at
Faneuil Hall an at the Melodeon Garrison seemed to be the presiding genius.
He is an excellent speaker, but his sentiments are outrageous. Foster
too as well as all of them was extremely beyond endurance, advising and
trying to persuade people to disunion and everything which could in the
least tend to the overthrow of all civil and religious government. A Sword
was publicly presented to Lieut. Col. Wright by L.A. Bowler Esq. in Faneuil
Hall. There was a dense crowd and a motley one too. Most of the volunteers
were there. The speeches of course were in imitation of those during the
Revolution. There was no opposition to disturb the harmony of the meeting.
The galleries were filled with very respectable people who abstained from
any applause whatever. -As might be expected meetings opposed to the Mexican
War are held. I attended one at which Dea Graeler presided. Chas Sumner
was the most prominent speaker. He was eloquent, but I think he was rather
too ultra. Theodore Parker Judge Williams and Elisu Wright of the Chronotype
were among the other speakers. At first the meeting was orderly and quiet,
but after a while when 100 or so of the volunteers came in they made such
an outrageous disturbance that finally nothing could be heard. One of
their officers came upon the platform and stilled them a little, but last
of all Dr. Walter E. Channing spoke a few minutes and appealed to their
good nature in a Christian manner with so good effect that the meeting
separated quietly. It may seem strange that a meeting of this kind, especially
when a great majority of the people are opposed to the war, should be
broken up so. But the reason of it undoubtedly is, that the opponents
of the war are so respectable and intelligent a class that they would
scorn to disturb a meeting therefore the war meetings went on orderly.
But the friends of the war are as a mass so low and rowdy in their conduct
that in such an excitement as prevails now, they will not listen to opposition
statements but must hiss and make as much noise as possible. So much rancor
and hard feeling exists between the opposing parties that it is next to
impossible for common person to know the right of the matter. The probability
is that both countries are in the wrong. There have been several interesting
Legislative meetings at the State House this Winter. Gov. Briggs is President.
Calhoun Pres of Senate and Bradbury Speaker of the House are among the
Vice Presidents. The officers of the Bay State set fine examples truly.
Messrs Calhoun and Bradbury spoke last Sunday Eve in Tremont Temple to
a crowded house. A cause of great excitement now is the famine in Ireland
and a part of Scotland. I will not give any account of it here as undoubtedly
it will form an epoch in the history of Great Britain. Suffice it to say
that the event has called forth our Country's greatest speakers. Webster,
Clay, Everett, Preston, Crittenden, Dr. Dewey and a great many others,
United States vessels are being loaded to carry provisions In, & contributions
are increasing very fast. $200,000 are already subscribed, Congress has
been busy about something or other. The $3000,000 peace bill has taken
up a great deal of time. Mr. Corwin's speech is said to have been the
best on the question. It was eloquent humorous and admirable as all the
papers say. Mr. Evans of Maine proposed that 10000 copies be printed at
the public expense for gratuitous distribution, which proposition quite
shocked the modesty of Tom the Wagon boy. Mr. Ritchie of the Wash Union
has been expelled from the floor of the senate for libels upon that body-I
made a short visit at Milton during vacation, which was exceedingly pleasant,
altho' it was rather cold. My chief stay was at Capt Cummings. I called
around however among the folks, who appeared to be glad to see me. I can't
look inside however. My pleasantest call was at Mr. Roger's. He has got
a splendid family. 8 children from Margaret down to an infant. All are
beautiful. I don't know that I ever saw so agreeable and beautiful a familie.
M-said Illa fuit laeter videre me. At any rate Ego fui laetus videre illam.
There is as pleasant a train of reflection connected with my Milton actions
as any that have happened during my life. Oh! Hum So goes the world.
Sunday Eve march 7
Nothing very wonderful has happened this week; only it is the first week
of the term, and we classmates are mingling ourselves together, and we
are learning the way to University Hall. &c. &c. But what does
it all amount to. Well would it be for many if there was no such thing
as College. It proves the death of them. I would like to quit and find
myself out for a voyage to Italy or some old classic land. I hope the
chance will offer soon. If it were not for father and Mother I would try
hard to find such a trip. But it is no use to speculate without some hope
of gain. We have commenced history this term to Mr. Lorrey. It is hard
but interesting. This mundes is a queer place pauperibus mortalibus.
Sunday Eve March 14
These are dull times for us here. We are so confined we have no time to
enquire particularly into the momentous affairs of the present time. Even
the rumor of the actual fact of a battle with the Mexicans causes not
much uncommon excitement; except the penny papers are in a little greater
demand. In the trying days of '76 not a victory was obtained but that
there was universal rejoicing. There were Bonfires and great gatherings,
and bells were rung and every thing was done that could show a nation
joy. How is it now? Alas! It is not for freedom that we are fighting.
Who dare to dispute our freedom as a nation? The most powerful nation
in the world knows by bitter experience that we are masters of our own
soil. Must the truth be told? Must it be confessed that we, almost the
only nation who dares use the sacred name of liberty, and even place it
on our current coin, are fighting for Slavery? Consistency is a precious
jewel above price. The once fair Goddess of Liberty has been driven about
from country to country 'till she took up her abode in this prosperous
land. But she has lost her character. She suffered herself to be seduced
by Slavery; and now for near 70 years have they lived in their adulterous
intercourse. Her deceitful and abominable paramour must be arrested and
brought to trial before the Grand Jury of the nations, not only on the
charge of Adultery but also of ill usage, having in his night come down
upon her and nearly ended her life several times. Even now he is strong.
He sees the contest before him. Already they are about to separate. Both
are exciting their forces, and getting them ready for the great battle
in which I pray and trust the injured and despised Goddess of liberty
will totally rout and destroy her opponent. In the days of '76 mothers
drove their sons to battle, prepared their arms made their balls even
of their silver spoons. How Now? Yesterday I saw two mothers whose sons
had enlisted. One said it was not through fear he would fall in battle
that she tried to persuade him not to go, but the thought that he would
stand up their to shoot down an innocent Mexican who never did him or
any one else perhaps any harm. The other one said it was the thought that
he was going to fight for Slavery that broke her heart. So it is.
Sunday Eve March 21st/47
There has been nothing of great interest transpiring to my knowledge the
past week. The account of Mr. Benton's actions have reached us and have
been reviewed. Mr. Benton must surely be insane or he is the most unreasonable
and ambitious man in America. What a Man! Asking the recall of 3 senior
officers to make way for him to take chief command of the Army! He must
be a crazy fool. His mind must be as Webster said Ingersoll's was, "crazy,
rickety, and all the screws in it loose." But thanks be to Polk's
cabinet, they would not agree to it. Revd. Dr. Baird preached today at
Dr. Beecher's. He has just returned from Europe. Major Com. longeth yea
fainteth through want of a reciprocity of amore. Eo et sit et video pulchras
virgins week post week, and that est omne possum dicire illis, non scio
illas. Sed est-melius videre et non dicire, guam non videre, yea [2 words
in Greek] veniet sometime patientia [word in Greek] daest.
Sunday Eve March 28, 1847
Quid habes scubere? Nihil of consequence vidi again illas puellas. Meuim
corburnath pruidan icognitar pulchri, quam vidi saepc. O Jupiter! Bacchus!
Venus! All who know dulcidia armoris! Audite meum brayrum There was a
glorious bonfire last Friday night on the steps of University Hall. The
President was out, and some of the tutors. But they could not stop it.
It would burn out it was cotton soaked in Turpentine. I am unaccountably
lazy in menta at least tonight. The visions of the day overpower everything
else. Mr. Bruid discovered a new comet a short time ago. The Aurora Borealis
was most splendid last Tuesday Night. E.C.B.
Sunday Eve April 4th
Last Thursday Eve while I was a-bed suffering from the toothache the alarm
of fire was heard, which proved to be another bonfire on the doorsill
and which burned the door most through. It will probably make a great
disturbance and may cause the expulsion of those concerned if they can
be found out. Mr. Webster and several others have gone on business to
Baltimore. He will probably make his southern tour before he returns.
Nothing very interesting.
Sunday Eve April 11
The President made a speech last Monday morn on the bonfire affair. He
says it is a criminal affair and unless confession shall be made a civil
suit will be instituted. He says this on the authority of the corporation,
of which C.J. Shaw is a member. Tuesday I was attacked with a toothache
again which kept me from college the rest of the week. Thursday was Fast
therefore there was no exercise out here. Saturday afternoon and evening
I went to see Banbard's panorama of the Mississippi River. It is truly
splendid, there is no exaggeration about that
Sunday Eve April 18
There has been a considerable degree of excitement lately. Genl. Taylor
has gained a great victory over Santa Ana at Buena Vista. The Mexican
force was 15000, the American was 5000. The Mexican loss was 2000, the
American 700. Lieut. Col. Clay was killed Henry Clay's son. Gen. Taylor
has written a beautiful letter to Mr. Clay concerning that event. Gen.
Scott has besieged and captured the city of Vera Cruz and the Castle of
San Juan d'Ulloa. This will probably be called a brilliant affair in military
history. The Americans lost 6 or 7. The Mexicans of course a great number.
One thing at least looks well in the history of this war our Generals
have acted as humane a part
As could be. Gen. Taylor is becoming very popular as a Military Chieftain
always does in a republic, and the probability is he will be the next
President if he consents to stand as a candidate. I believe he is a Whig.
I shall be sorry if he is nominated, as I think it shows a bad spirit,
and besides there are many civilians who deserve the office much more
than he does, and probably are better qualified for the office than he
is. The statement of this last bonfire has been placed in the hands of
the district attorney. I can't tell how it will end. E.C.B.
Sunday Eve April 25
I have just got out here, and am in the worst state of mind that I ever
found myself on a Sunday Eve. A trifling incident at home which I won't
mention partly causes this feeling. I feel now as though I would leave
college tomorrow if I could and absolutely if I can strike a bargain with
father and the Captain of a good ship I will cut stakes at any rate. I
think I must leave college soon. If I stay here I shall be a villain,
a sot a swearer & everything else that's bad. And I' faith I don't
want to be either one or the other. In the first place on my parent's
and friend's account and in the second place on my own account for I believe
I've got something left in my bosom that revolts against any one and all
of these sins. Though I have no settled opinions yet about religion yet
the dictates of my conscience tell me that the actions which I see around
me everyday, the lazy language I hear is dissonant to a clear and quiet
mind. There's no mistake but that college is a bad place. There are but
few in my class who don't swear, liquor drinking is common, theatre going,
smoking or chewing almost universal; and whoring is by no means uncommon.
Surely none would think it was, who could see the crowds of strumpets
around here on a pleasant afternoon. In fact I've no doubt but that I
shall be d-d [damned] if orthodoxy is true, if I stay here 3 years longer.
How ridiculous and hypocritical it appears to me to read about colleges
being the fountains where flow those pure streams that enlighten and purify
society. One thing I know that if Harvard College Students could have
their way (that is the most of them) Cambridge would be changed and filled
with strumpet houses, grog-shops, tobacco mists, obscene book stores &c
&c. I presume the most of the colleges in the Country are the same.
I know Yale is. So it can't be said Unitarian influence does it. But enough
of this. I shall pity the persons who ever shall read this. In justice
to myself I will say the worst thing I have done in the above mentioned
list is to smoke. But I have broken that off now as a useless pleasure.
All that I ever learned by smoking a cigar was that man is in like manner
consumed and goes to ashes and smoke. It seems to me that the cigar is
the best off. For it is consumed by one person. While man has a thousand
cares and troubles puffing away upon him, and then it often times it takes
4 score and 10 years to smoke him up after all. I won't put down any of
the news of the week, if there are any, for I can't comment on them and
I will wind off saying that no son of mine shall ever go through Harvard
College at least without he has his dad looking after him [the way?] than
my dad looks after me. But he has had no experience.
Sunday Eve May 2nd
Last Monday evening was the illumination of the Custom House in honor
of the victories of our armies in Mexico -It was wet and dark but the
illumination passed off pretty well. There was quite a crowd on the rigging
of the shipping -The fireworks were good. Gen. Taylor's name appeared
first on the peak of the C. House. Finally Gen. Scott & victory appeared
- I don't there were any decent folks there but "myself and friends."
There was nothing but screeching whistling all the time. They were so
motley a mess they could not raise a cheer for Scott or Taylor. That's
well enough. I can't imagine what sort of a heart or conscience Gen. Taylor
can have, who declares he thinks the war to be unjust and unnecessary,
but continues it with all his might. I don't believe his occupation compels
him to act as he does, or at any rate he will one day stand before a Judge
who will not regard such a miserable apology -Circumstances probably would
have been far different if he had thrown up his commission rather than
act against the dictates of his own conscience. At any rate he would have
kept his shirts clean from the blood of any fellow mortals. Mr. Webster
is received with uncommon attention at the South. A public dinner was
given him at Richmond which was a fine affair. At every place that he
stops at, the people throng to hear and see him.
Sunday Eve May 9
And yet more victories. Col. Douphan has taken Chihuahua with 924 men
contra 4000+. This was almost a miraculous affair -it is impossible to
say much about it here. Gen Scott has routed Santa Ana and his army at
Cerra gordo. Santa Ana's private carriage with $60.000, his wooden leg,
papers &c was taken the loss was about 350 on each side in killed
3000 Mexicans were taken prisoners including ex Prest Herrara, Gen. La
Vega, (who has been taken once before) 3 other Gen's and 40 or 50 cols.
Last week I spoke of Gen. Taylor. Gen. Scott now demands a passing notice,
I don't know as he ever expressed an opinion on the war but that's no
matter judging from his actions he would as leave fight for injustice
as justice -In the first place his last battle was fought on Sunday. He
was the aggressive party and could as well as not have put off the battle
'till Monday, but he made all his calculations and orders to commence
on Sunday. But there are no Sundays in war -and again he is a Roman Catholic.
I expect Amen to call his hopes for the Presidency. He is said to have
held a candle very reverently at the R.C. Cathedral at Vera Cruz-He has
sunk 2/3 in my estimation. It seems so marvelous that an honest man can
believe in such abominations! His daughter is a nun in Baltimore. He must
either be extremely ignorant or care little for the honor of his daughter.
Sunday Eve May 16
I yesterday heard Dr. Caruthers of Portland preach he is a fine speaker.
He is of Scotch birth and has quite a foreign accent. In these times of
war it is truly exceedingly gratifying to read of Mr. Webster's triumphant
career throughout the entire borders of our land. His is not the victory
of armies but of peace and the mind. I doubt whether there ever was in
this country such a career run as he is running now. At every place at
which he stops he is received with great enthusiasm. Political feelings
are laid aside by all and he is welcomed to every place that he visits
as a great statesman and orator, as an honor to his country and as a man
whose fame is not to be restricted by state limits or checked by political
principles. This is all as it should be. And one feels as he reads these
tokens of respect-paid to him throughout the land that there is still
in the hearts of out southern countrymen a brotherly and social feeling
regarding the dictates of a generous breast although we at times seem
to be greatly estranged from them.
Sunday Eve May 23rd
Today I heard Henry Ward Beecher preach for the first. I rarely have listened
to two sermons with greater interest than his. He has but to open his
mouth and a perfect stream of eloquence flows out. In the forenoon one
of his examples was the seducer. He went through the whole story, told
in splendid style. He spoke of the seduced as being trampled upon and
the seducer as being bound as to his temples by even respectable society,
with laurels. And then says he Oh! God! I thank you that there is a judgment
and a hell! Now my feelings were not wrought up to such a pitch as those
of persons near me. For I strongly incline to the belief that one half
at least of the times the female is the seducer. Nor am I one of those
who worship the imagined purity of the female sex as a sex. I believe
that they are as liable to corrupt thoughts and corrupt deeds at the male
sex. But adore purity wherever it is found. And I admire him who would
scorn to attempt destruction of purity as much as her who would loathe
and reject one making the attempts. I place the sexes on a level man is
bold powerful and blunt. Anything that he does is more effective and exciting.
Woman is mild and gentle and whatever she attempts especially of the baser
sort she does so gently that you would fain believe you mistook what she
meant. I am aware that I should suffer implications from the ladies and
their male adorers were they aware of my sentiments. But for all that
I love the ladies.
Sunday Eve May 30
The past week I have attended a number of the Anniversaries and have been
much edified especially by hearing J. Steiner a German, and H.W. Beecher.
The eloquence of the latter is wild and impetuous, amusing and irresistible.
His chief topic was the West. End of volume first.