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Diary of Thomas McClelland July 1862

July 1862

     Tuesday 1st-- Fifth session Biennial examination. Trigonometry, Calculus, and Greek Testament. I made rather a passable examination to-day. Being unable to study any of importance yesterday and day before and not having my pockets filled with papers to assist in doing the work, I naturally failed a little. I apprehend Bascom, Davis & May, who are ponying117 so much, will get themselves into serious trouble yet.

     Thursday 3rd-- Sixth session Biennial examination. Day and Theremin's Rhetorics, Cicero, and Eng. Literature constituted the examinations of the Day. The Professor was not sparing of his questions. If one had gone into a very elaborate statement he could have written all day. I was very brief. I was not able to do my duty to-day. In fact I would have been better in bed.

     Saturday 5th-- Seventh, and last, session of Biennial. Horace was pretty easy. Extract Liber I. Satira V. lines 20-36. The Satire is an account of Horace's journey from Rome to Brundusium. Questions in Roman history, and Gibbon were very reasonable. I felt better to-day than any day since Biennial commenced. I think I made my best examination to-day.

 

Commencement Week

     Sunday 6th-- This afternoon President Chapin preached his baccalaureate sermon in the new Congregational Church. The address was very good. His address to the class I could not hear distinctly. The house was not so full as it would have been had it not threatened rain.
     Rev. Mr. Walton, of Rockford, delivered the address before the Missionary Society to-night. It was not as good as several of the preceeding addresses on similar occasions.

     Monday 7th-- I was too much on the alert yesterday. I have been a sick fellow all day. Dr. Taggart gave me more powders this morning. Prof. Butler [see page 1 for footnote] of the State University, delivered the address before the Archaean to-night in place of Rev. Mr. Swazey of Chicago, who was taken sick. I did not hear Professor Butler's address but all speak well of it.

     Tuesday 8th-- This afternoon the Prize exhibition occured in the new church. Hill of the Freshmen and Rood of the Sophomores carried the ten dollar prizes. The affair was very good. Hayden pleased me the best. He had an extract from Websters Plymouth Rock Oration "The abolition of the slave trade," Hayden spoke like a statesman. The others were too theatrical. Taylor fizzled. He had an extract from Curran's plea for Alex H. Rowan. I spoke the same piece before the college when I was a prep. May murdered the "Raven." Any boy in the Union school with a little practice would have done as well. He made the Raven to speak in a horrid coarse, loud voice; instead of that deep, low, sepulchral tone, which befitted the case.
     I still think Sophomores are getting down when they submit to speak in public select declamations when they are able to write nearly as good pieces as they can select.

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     Wednesday 9th-- This morning I helped to distribute programs and then returned to my room. I went to the church in the afternoon and heard the Poem delivered by Mr. Henry Burton. This is all I heard of the entire exercise. Everybody spoke of the commencement as being better than any preceding one. The orations were well listened to. I read the Valedictory in a proof sheet at the Journal Office to-day. I think it, at least, was a weak affair.

     Another college year is passed. When I shall take up my books again it will be as a Junior. The great chasm of Sophomore Biennial is crossed, and I am luckily safe on the other side. I thank Providence that I have got along so comfortably so far. I would that I were through and ready to go to studying my profession. The college course is a long one. The name, I think, is greater than the substance. I am a little in doubt whether I will be as well pleased fifty years hence, if I live so long, to finish my college course as to quit now and go to studying a profession. I think I shall complete my college course, if health and prosperity are favored me, at all hazards.
     This Term has alienated me from Beloit College more than all preceding time I have been here. If I can negotiate a loan to carry me through an eastern college, I will not stay here another year. I owe much to the College Faculty. They have all, in a private capacity, shown me many favors. On this account I would like to stay. I think Prof. Kelsey has done me a positive injury in the department of Mathematics. He took such a course with the class that there was no one in the class but became disgusted with him and the studies. I would like to study Philosophy and Astronomy under a man whom I like as a teacher, under a man who is fit to teach. This much in the line of my studies will be a great inducement to take me away. Another great advantage in the east there would be a larger number of students to associate with. This privilege is undoubtedly one half a man's college course. At least such is the decision of nearly all educated men.

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