Diary of Thomas McClelland April-June 1860
Monday 2nd-- To-day closed the exercises for the term. At half past one we were examined in Latin. I did not make so good and examination in Latin as I did in Greek. After prayers Mr. Fisk made up the standing of the class and reported the same. I stood 7.125, on a maximum of 9. I cannot complain. Some of the boys have started for home to enjoy a happy vacation. I will stop in town. Called in Pettybone's35 room and had a good chat accompanied by a pipe. Read the Tribune to-night.
Tuesday 3rd-- Dreary, dreary, dreary. Most of the Preps. have gone home. The examinations have been concluded to-day. Mr. Fisk reported the standing of the Preps at evening prayers. The Dept., as a whole passed a good examination. I drew from the library Life and Religion of Mohammed36. Dock drew two vols. of lectures on History. Taylor drew the Perry and Odinburgh Encyclopedias, and Humes Eng. Vol Four. The Republicans have gained the elections of town officers, and are celebrating the victory by parading the streets, and uttering all kinds of Plutonian yells. Kopplin came in and entertained us, an hour by reading and giving instruction in German.
Wednesday 4th-- Commenced this morning to arrange Mr. Fisk's room, and the cellar, at half past six. When I got through, I was perfectly tired out. Taylor assisting, we sifted about fifteen bushels of ashes to get to the small pieces of coal out. Called on Mrs. Brown at noon, she wishes me to make some garden for her this vacation. Read a speech of S.A. Douglas on a resolution he brought before the Senate the object of which was for Congress to call out troops in case of an invasion from one state into another. I do not think that he done himself or his party any honor by it. To-night I began to read the Life and Religion of Mohammed. Not much stir around the college buildings this P.M.
Thursday 5th-- Have worked hard all day. After finishing my job at Mr. Collins', I went to Mrs. Brown's and arranged her yard. To-morrow I will spade up her garden. The wind was very high this forenoon, but fell in the afternoon, and became very pleasant. Received Catalogue of Oberlin College and Cincinnati & N.Y. Papers by this evening's mail.
Friday 6th-- Tired as I can be. I worked ten hours to-day, besides doing some chores. Received a bunch of papers by Chicago mail, but am two sleepy to read them. The wind blew very hard all day. There is some apperances of rain to-night.
Saturday 7th-- Another day of hard work. After quitting work I took a bath, put on a clean shirt and felt a hundred per ct. better. Went into the village, and being told that tomorrow was Easter Sund. I bought a dozen of eggs. Called on Mr. Gilbert, but he was not at home.
Sunday 8th-- Easter Sunday. Rose this morning at five o'clock arranged room + c. and ate a half dozen eggs for breakfast. At 10 1/2 o'clock I went across the river and heard the Rev. Mr. Graves preach. Have spent the day rather miserably. To-night I went to the First Congregational church and heard a good sermon from Rev. Dr. Brimsmade, text "It were better for that man had he never been born." Jesus' words at the Last Supper, when he alluded to the one who should betray him. Wrote a letter to mother after returning from church. There is good prospects of rain to-night.
Tuesday 10th-- This morning I slept until 7 o'clock. Went to Collins' and done my work, then went to town. I saw Ed Heath, who has just returned from Kansas. Worked five hours for Mrs. Brown this P.M. Read a little in Edinburgh Encyclopedia concerning Mary Queen of Scotts. Read the Tribune. Congress has the President in a bad fix. I hope they will investigate the matter to the bottom.
The measures taken to lessen the authority of the Mormons and punishing their crimes, I think is recommendable in Congress.
Wednesday 11th-- Vacation half gone, and very little done on my part. Have made four Dolls and a half, and read some, and loafed a good deal. Mr. Pelton called to inform me that I could take rooms in Bittle's house, but whether I will except his offer or not, I do not know. Went to Kirkwood's room to-night and stayed a little while. He has a fiddle, out of which we could get very little music. The day has been very pleasant. Received a letter from Charley Barton by the evening's mail, and a most miserable thing it was. I certainly would not read such nonsense as he writes if he was not a personal friend.
Thursday 12th-- Have worked hard all day and am awful tired. I finished my job at Mrs. Brown's this evening. Received Letter and Catalogues, by mail, from Crosby, Nichols, Lee and Co., and a package of books, from the same Company, by Express. They sent me a copy of ___________ German Grammar, which they wish introduced into the school. I shall show it to resident as Prof. Nason37 is absent. Richard's Latin Lessons and Tables I get for 52 7/12 cts. each, the same costing 62 1/2 cts in the book-stores in town. Book-sellers will rave when they find that they have lost $2.50 at one time. The Trade will be very dull, so far as the college offers customers, in another year.
Friday 13th-- Worked five hours for the College to-day setting out trees in the yard. This P.M. I called on Mrs. Brown and finished her garden. The remainder of the afternoon I spent in loafing. I called on Mr. Pelton to make arrangements for rooms in Bittle's house, the results was, that not knowing who would bid the house off at the sale, I would have nothing to do with it. Dock went to town to-night and got some syrup and I built on a fire to have a regular candy "haul". I first crawled in at the kitchen window and got one of Mrs. Dewey's pots, but it was too large, so I went to our English neighbours and borrowed one.
Dock boiled the candy while I visited. After I returned I ate a little. The remainder he worked and laid by for morning. In reading the proceedings of Congress in the Cincinnati Times, I see Lovejoy of Ill. has come very near getting himself into a muss, by advocating too strongly some of his ultra abolitionist doctrines. I was glad to know that he did not flinch at the threats of the Southern bullies.
Saturday 14-- This forenoon I gardened for Mr. Collins. Among the seeds I sowed were Beets, Cabbages, Cress, Lettuce, & Peas. This afternoon I was jobbing in the College yard. Am very tired to-night, will go to the Episcopal church to-morrow. I understand that Brittain has reduced the price of Richard's Latin Lessons & Tables from 70 cts. the first price, to 40 cts. He designs to win all the boys to buy books of him and leave me to keep my two doz. He is mightely fooled if he expects to come that trick. I have no fear but that I can sell mine. They cannot afford to keep the price so low. The only object is to bluff me. If I had the money I would go and buy every one they have in the store.
Monday 16th-- Worked all day, picking stones in the College yard. I had a long chat with Tutor De Forest, he told me he entered Yale College having studied Greek less than a year. For two years he has devoted his whole time to Mathematics. The coming term will close his engagement with this Institution. He returns East to resume his Theological studies, when the term closes.
I called on President Chapin this eve. and presented him a copy of Richard's Latin Lessons. Since I have received my lot of these books, Brittain--the book seller, has reduced his from 70 cts. to 40 cts. "Competition is the life of trade." I am firmly resolved, never to purchase any more books in this town.
Wednesday 18th-- Rose this morning at four o'clock, and got at work by twenty minutes after four. After finishing my job, I took the tools to Deacon Gregory38's and got the keys for Mr. Fisk's room. I opened all of the windows and gave the room a good opportunity to air. Mrs. Collin's invited me to a party at her house to-night, but having lessons to prepare, I did not attend. Many of the students arrived to-day. The bell rang for prayers at 5 o'clock. There are a good many new scholars this term. Up to this hour, I have not got a solitary lesson prepared. Dock has gone to his new boarding place to-night. Taylor to Mrs. Lathrop's, I am left all alone. All the boys seem joyful. Weather is beautiful but no appearances of rain. Alas! What will the people do.
Friday 20th-- Recited my first lesson in Cicero this morning. I think it will be very easy reading after a short aquaintance with his style. The Society adjourned to-night without doing any business. Wrote a part of a letter to Bob, this eve. The air is very stagnant to-night.
Saturday 21st-- I have an awful head ache to-night. I have done nothing to-day, except work. I earned 35 cts. this afternoon.
Tuesday 24th-- Recited a miserable lesson in Cicero this morning. I shall never recite another such lesson! I must quit going with others of my class to get out a recitation. If I study it out myself I can make a recitation even if it is wrong.
We are receiving very short lessons in Greek. It is evident we will accomplish little under Mr. Avery this summer. He is not half hard enough on the class. I continue to copy off a few verses of the "Hermit of Candoo" in the fore part of this book. To-night I swept out the chapel for Taylor. I am about tired out.
Wednesday 25th-- First Rhetorical day. No class exercise. In the afternoon, two Preps, one freshman, four sophomores and one senior spoke. All done very well but the Senior who failed. Alas! for a student just on the eve of graduating to go on to the stage and break down, not being able to finish his oration!
Friday 27th-- Recited two very good lessons to-day. President took the names of those members of the class who wish to be considered members of the normal class, after the Cicero lesson. The debate to-night was a perfect farce. Disorder prevailed all the evening. The Society is in a truly deplorable condition.
The boys are in a fever to get books. I think I can send for a $15 or $20 lot on Monday. Our Sat. and Wed's exercises are well arranged this term. The President hears us recite on Wednesdays in Geography and Eng. Gram. and Prof. Porter on Saturdays on Algebra and Arithmetic.
Monday 30-- The weather is very chilly to-day. Our new teacher in Greek (Mr. Avery) does not seem to understand his business. We will loose a great deal not having Prof. Emerson to teach us this term. Cicero is hard.
To-day I wrote a letter to Crosby, Nichols & Co. for $21.00 worth of books. They will be here by the middle of May.
Tuesday 1st-- All hail the merry month of May. The weather is exceedingly cold for the season. I wrote to Crosby, Nichols & Co. to-day enclosing a draft of $20.00 for books. Telegram from Charleston reports a division in the convention. Four states have withdrawn. Great excitement prevails. Class-mate, Litts, returned this evening. He looks bad.
Friday 4th-- To-night being the time for the meeting of the Philagorean, the meeting was accordingly called, but owing to a lecture, which was to be delivered in town, the Society adjourned. The speaker was Carl Shurls [Schurz]39 of Milwaukee, Wis--subject "France Since 1848."
Although I was compelled to borrow the money to pay my way, I cannot regret going. I never was better pleased with any speaker in my life. His articulation was very clear and his composition almost unexceptionable. His position, at times and his want of gestures, made the lecture, not so pleasant as it would have been had the deficiencies been made up. His connections, so many Foriegn Courts, make him positive in what he asserts.
Saturday 5-- Received a letter from Aunt Lize to-night. Her account of grandmother's illness is not un-expected--the old lady has passed her alloted time. Riching's has returned, he is as good natured as ever. This evening I commenced my composition for Weds. I shall endeavor to prove that the student who absents himself from all good lectures, is depriving himself of general information which he cannot otherwise receive, unless spending a great deal of time in reading.
The day has been very warm. Gratiot called in to-night with a machine for beating time to music. It is a very concise and efficient instrument. The inventor was a Frenchman.
Sunday 6th-- The Presbyterian minister, Pres. Chapin, who has filled that pulpit for several weeks, completed his sermons on the office of Christ. Two weeks ago his text was Christ the Prophet; last Sund. Chrtist the Priest; to-day Christ the King. Text John 18:37," Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." The sermon was very good.
The day has been very warm with some manifestations of rain. There were a good many visitors in the chapel this afternoon.
Thursday 10th-- I did not get out all of my Cicero lesson this morning, time did not permit. Mack came down as usual, and turned the bolt to walk right in, but Lo' the door was locked and the young sauce box went out disappointed. I can't imagine how people can become so bold as to open a door and enter a room without being bid. Not knowing where the Greek lesson extended to, I prepared two lessons. I received a letter from Crosby, Nichols, Lee & Co. by the eastern mail. They shipped my books last Saturday. I shall expect them day after to-morrow.
Friday 11th-- Debate again to-night and as disorderly as it possibly could be. The money in the the Treasury amounting to some Seven or Eight Dollars was donated to the stocking a Gymnasium now contemplated being built.
The question owing to the confusion was poorly developed. I shall never speak in the Society again, on a question appointed for dispute. The person who speaks and is not listened to, can obtain very little comfort himself, and eventually will leave his arguments in complete.
Saturday 12th-- Finished copying my composition and handed in to the Prof. Went to town and got my shoe mended, also stopped in a Biliard Saloon, the first time I ever saw the lion of this stripe. Settled with Collins for working during the winter. He was tighter than I expected to find him. We did not agree very well on the time I worked during the winter. I felt pretty confident that I had worked seven or eight weeks, but he and his wife could make but three, and that is all he paid me for. I verily believe he has cheated me out of as much as he paid me. My reckoning may have been too large, but I am positive in asserting his is too small. It is a good lesson to me, I will learn to set things down, especially time worked.
Tuesday 15th-- We had a visitor in our Cicero recitation this morning. He had the most classical face on him of any man I have seen in a long time. A letter from Bob, to-day brought me five dollars. Deacon Gregory told me to-day to take a room in Middle College if I wished, I go to-morrow.
Mrs. Dorman sent me 37¢ for wood sawed last October. Better late than never.
Wednesday 16th-- To-night, instead of being in No. 5 North College, with Taylor, I am in No. 5 Middle College by myself. I am very well pleased with the change.
To-day we had our regular Rhetorical Exercise, Division No. 1 declaimed. I recieved my composition from the Professor. It was the worst cut up thing I ever saw. All the criticisms were just, and I have learned a good lesson. The composition was writtted in a hurry, and every line showed the fact. I shall do better next time, so if I do not, the reason will not be that I did not begin in time and do my part.
The Archaean Union are holding their election to-night, in the Archaen room, they seem to have jolly times judging from the noise.
Saturday 19th-- This has been a busy day for me and I have accomplished nothing. This morning a case of books arrived from Boston and after the Mathematical recitation to Prof. Porter40, I spent the whole morning in answering questions concerning the books. This afternoon I worked two hours for Dr. Brinsmade. To-night I tried hard with the assistance of Tallmon to get out my Cicero lesson, but it was no go, my head was too thick to take in the Latin. The boys are all elated with their new books.
Monday 21st-- I had hard work this morning to get out my Cicero by the time recitation hour came. Cicero is exceedingly hard, yet I am very fond of the reading. This afternoon I re-hearsed my piece for declamation on Weds. I am becoming more and more into the belief that Prof. Blaisdell is one of the most dutiful and devoted men I ever saw. After taking all the pains he could with me in my rehearsal, he offered to meet me any Saturday in the chapel and give me instruction in Rhetoric.
I must select a good piece, and get it perfectly, then go and rehearse to him---there is no doubt but that the exercise will be beneficial.
Tuesday 22nd-- I have taken a general "wash off" to-night and feel much better by the operation. Another circus in town. I only had the pleasure of seeing the animals. The menagery consisted of one live Indian, admittance free. The circus part
I did not ask the price. Called on Taylor and returned his book of Speeches by Phillips, Curran, + c. and borrowed a copy of the same book from Erskin.
I have selected an old piece for a declamation to-morrow, before the class-subject---Marius in Prison: by DeQuincy.
Wednesday 23rd-- In all my endeavors to declaim, I never made such miserable work of it as I done to-day. I got a good start, and was in a fair way to do myself justice when some members of the College Deps. who ought to have had better sense, began to play among themselves and make sport, and at the same time I became disconcerted, and consequently required the aid of my prompter, which spoiled the piece, blasted my own expectations and also those of Professor Blaisdell. To-night I was present at the Delian Society. The question discussed was,--"Res, that women-holding property-should have the right of suffrage." The question was very well discussed. The general appearance of the Society is good. We have great reasons to be thankful for the frequent showers of rain. A fine rain fell this afternoon.
Saturday 26th-- I have been laboring very hard this afternoon. Cooper, and I began at 1 o'clock to store away wood for Prof. Porter, and quit at 8 o'clock making seven hours without intermission. To-night I am too tired to study, and must calculate on getting up on Monday morning at 3 o'clock. This morning we had an exercise in Algebra--subject Simple Equations.
Monday 28th-- I did not meet my calculations in regard to getting up this morning at 3 o'clock. It was after four o'clock when I rose, and I did not have time to complete my lesson. Worked three hours for Mr. Cooper. Mr. Cooper came into my room this evening and read nearly all of my lesson for to-morrow. If he had not done so, I never could have got it out, at least in time for recitation. My Greek did not come out very well to-day. I must work hard to-morrow, and redeem myself. Appearances indicate rain. We are blessed with fine showers every few days. May41 of my class is one of the most self-important fellows we have in the class. He thinks he knows all. Deluded man!!
Wednesday 30th-- Rehearsed the piece, I spoke before the college last Wednesday--to-day. Prof. Blaisdell offers to hear me any time in private, rehearse or give and any other instruction in Rhetoric. His offer is very kind and I think I shall avail myself of the opportunity.
To-night I visited the Alethian Society. The discussion was tolerable good, but some features in the Society were not according to my ideas of a good Society. I think I shall unite with the Delian when I enter College.
To-morrow we renew Cicero, which has been omitted for three lessons on account of the President's absence.
Saturday 2nd-- Commenced to review Caesar to-day. From this date until the 11th of July I expect to do some good studying. Beautiful showers fall everyday or two, to gladden the hearts of all.
Sunday Eve 3rd-- This eve, I have read the extract from the death of Daniel Webster42. I cannot but admire the christian graces which he posessed. As a Statesman had no peers: as a christian, his very life and death were his exemplifications. He lived in the fear of God, and died in peace. He wrote his own epitaph a few days before his death. It read as follows:
"Lord I believe; help thou my unbelief."
Philosophical argument, especially that drawn from the vastness of the Universe, in comparison with the apparent insignificance of this globe, has sometimes shaken my reason for the faith which is in me; but my heart has always assured and reassured me, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be a divine reality. The sermon on the Mount cannot be a merely human production. This belief enters into the very depths of my conscience. The whole history of man prooves it.
Friday 8th- 1/2 past 10 o'clock. Have just recited in Cicero. Went to the class with an imperfect lesson, and being call the very last, and in an extremely hard sentence---failed. I must spend more time on my Latin. I have always been deficient in this study, and always will be, until I commence taking up sentences and mastering their grammatical construction. May I be a little more successful than I have been sometimes this term.
Saturday 9th-- Oh what a day this has been to me. The whole afternoon I have been digging at my composition and only succeeded in finishing a thing. Received by mail a letter from Prof. Emerson, also one from Crosby, Nichols, Lee & Co. No letters came from home, I do not know the reason.
Monday 11th-- Finished Cicero this morning. To-morrow we commence to review. I have read some of the review this evening. I like it first rate. Read, also, three pages of Caesar. Caesar goes off good. Sent two letters to-day to N.Y. One to Harper & Bros. the other to D. Appleton & Co. I have an idea that the student patronage is about run out in Beloit.
Thursday 14th-- Unlucky wights43 we escaped reciting in Greek this morning, simply because Lute Avery was not notified of the change made in recitation.
Another circus made it's appearance in town to-day, under the control of Van Amburg. I saw the elephant as he passed the College in the morning. Have had an operation performed on my jaw by the dentist. One tooth filled and a root taken out. Warm day. Dr. Squires commences his lectures tomorrow.
Friday 15th-- Have done a good days work. Prepared my regular recitations and read fourteen sections of the third book of Caesar. Dr. Squires talked to the school about ten minutes before prayers this evening. His theme "Respect" sub-divided into, respect for one's self---respect for others--and respect to God-on self-respect-mutual respect-supreme respect toward God. Called in at the meeting of the Philagorean Society, but took no part. When the debts are paid I shall withdraw.
Weather warm and pleasant. College Monthly issued to-day.
Saturday 16th-- Completed reviewing Caesar to-day. Next week I must pitch into Virgil string. Went up the river this P.M. and took a swim, the first of the season. This evening I unfortunately left my studies to go down in town to witness the torch procession. The "Wide Awakes44" as they are called have begun the campaign presidental already. They are bound to do the best for Old Abe.
Monday 18th-- Commenced to-day to review Virgil. I find that there is a good deal of hard study about it yet. Have read one hundred and forty-lines.
Friday 22nd-- Dr. Squires delivered a short, but very interesting lecture to-night, on the proper care of the human body. Many good thoughts were developed. Withdrew my name from the roll of the Philagorean Society to-night. Have spent the evening rather idly, especially since I am on the eve of a good and hard examination. Read the Sentinel.
Monday 25th-- Some of "Longeared" are endeavoring to get up an excitement in regard to the election of officers to conduct the College Monthly for the coming year. In accordance with the political actions of the day, persons who cannot find enough studying to do to keep them engaged, spend their time in canvassing for their "pet men." Another class who can't get an office themselves bob around at the nod of College refugees, who are no better than their parasites. The "illustrious Senior Preps," made their debut this morning by holding a meeting after the Greek lesson. Mack figured largely in his underhand plotting sphere. May endeavored to make an impression on the "youth" on the importance of our class uniting, on some particular set of men, and succeeded admirably, for upon taking his seat. Litts was so overcome with the eloquence displayed that he nominated Mr. May as the third man of the Publication Committee. The vote was unanimous with the exception of one. Believing May one of the
most unbearable bores in the Institution I declined supporting him. I expressed myself in favor of Mr. Smith of the Sophomore class as my preference for Editors; also I expressed my intention to support a member of the Freshman class for Ed. if there was any candidate. These were the only expressions I did make and all I will make to satisfy the groveling desire of those who take so much interest in matters not concerning them.
I shall be a stranger to all class meetings, where they are called for the purpose of forming political coalitions.
Wrote a letter to S.C. Griggs & Co., Chicago inquiring for books.
Tuesday 26th-- Prepared a lesson in Milton for the morning's lesson. English grammar is rather odd to me after studying the Latin & Greek so much.
Recd. a note from Bob and Till by the evening's mail. Have not done much in the reviewing line yet. To-morrow I must make a full day.
Wednesday 27th-- Met Prof. Blaisdell to-day at the regular hour for rhetorical exercise, and he excused us from any farther labor in this Department for the term. He gave us a synopsis of the work we have to do next year. Got some linin and had a summer coat cut out to-day. Mrs. Peck promises to have it made by Sat. night. Joined the Publication Association, and was present at the election of officers. The day has been exceedingly warm. Recd. a letter from Griggs & Co. Chicago. I will not purchase books of them at their prices. I get books in N.Y. at thirty percent discount, where they throw off only fifteen.
Saturday 30th-- Received a letter from Bob, this evening, containing Three Dollars. The miserable stuff is nearly all gone. One dollar to pay debts, seventy five cents paid for making a coat. School being nearly completed, I have got a summer coat. The air is cooler than it has been for some time. Apperances of a storm.
on to July-September 1860