Diary of Thomas McClelland October-December 1860
Monday 1st-- The usual continue of studies gone through with to-day as usual. I have been in very close league with Morpheus during the day owing to the late hour I kept last night. This morning when I left Brainard he was much stouter than he has been. He slept well during the night, with the exception of an hour or so this morning early he was seized with a cough. He is in a fair way to recover.
Received an invoice of books from Harper & Bros. by the mail this evening. My bill called for $24.05 worth of books. They sent me only $16.96 worth, difference $7.09 Two copies of Goodrich's British Eloquence58, $2.60 each--total $5.20, which I ordered they did not have on hand, consequently did not send.
Wednesday 3rd-- Election of officers in the Archaen Union to-night, with the following result. Martin as President, Chesborough Secretary, Hayden Treasurer, and Rice Librarian. All members of the Delian Society except Rice, the librarian.
Friday 5th-- Chicago. To-day I went to see the greatest humbug exstant, S.A. Douglas, candidate for the Presidency, who spoke for about two hours in Chicago. In all the annals of American Political history, Douglas is the first man that ever took the stump to electioneer for himself for the Presidency.
This morning we left Beloit at six o'clock on the G.&C.W. R.R. and for six long hours did we plod along. At Belvidere we took on the train from Rockford. At several other places on the road coaches were attached to the train so that by the time we got into Chicago there were some sixteen cars on the train. Upon arriving in Chicago we made our way to Thompson's Dining Hall where we enjoyed some of the comforts of this life to the amount of forty-five cents. After dinner we went to a street car and started for the place of exhibition. The ground selected for the occasion was the cricket ground containing eleven acres, after the crowd had all arrived, I should judge that the field was one sixth filled. When the judge arrived he was not received very warmly. Ever and anon the little man would wave his hat in token of obedience, and then a few foriegn voices could be heard, in a foreign brogue, shouting for Douglas.
His speech was begun by abusing Seward and the Republican
party generally. When he had spoken about thirty minutes I left and made my way into the city where I enjoyed myself hugely. Visiting the Court House, the lake, wigwam, Grigg's Bookstore, and other notable places.
At night the different Douglas clubs formed a torch light procession. It took it forty minutes to pass the Tremont house. The horseman went four abreast, pedestrians two a breast. Nearly all were Irish and Dutch. I was told that many were hired for the occasion. This may be a Republican tale. At eleven o'clock the excursion train on the G. & C.W. R.R. started and we were on our way for Beloit. After various stoppages and changes of cars we arrived in Beloit at six o'clock on the 6th of October wearied and just in time for morning prayers.
The time I was occupied and the expense I was at I think was well used. The first course of discipline I expect will be my penalty for disobeying the College laws.
Monday 8th-- Received a case of books this morning from Harper & Bros.
Tuesday 9th-- Received letter from Harper & Bros containing invoice for Moor's Poetical work and Olinstead's Philosophy, which are to be forwarded in E.W. Porter's box.
Thursday 11th-- Sent to Harper & Bros to-day for twenty eight dollars and nineteen cents worth of books. Draft for twenty one dollars and ten cents, the remainder, seven dollars and nine cents is due me from orders of the 6'' and 26 ultimo.
Friday 12th-- This morning when prayers were concluded Prof. Emerson announced to the students that the recitations for the first hour would be omitted to-day and a double lesson be got for to-morrow. The cause of this omission was, that S.A. Douglas, Democratic Candidate for the Presidency would speak for ten minutes from the rear of the cars to the citizens of Beloit at a quarter past eight o'clock.
With some enthusiasm the boys took up their line of march for the depot, and in about five minutes we joined the throng, which was patiently awaiting the coming of the
"Little Giant". We did not have to wait long, for at the appointed time the train made its appearance. After some time was consumed in wooding and watering the locomotive, at the wood shed, the train was run up to the depot, and then the advocate of Popular Sovereignty made his appearance. He looked much better than he did in Chicago last Friday. He had just got started on a nice little speech when the cars started. Cheers were given by the crowd for Douglas, Lincoln and Pennsylvania.
This evening President Chapin occupied his regular seat in the chapel and officiated at prayers. He looks well after his eastern trip. Now we go into the history.
Monday 15th-- Recited my first lesson Greek Testament this morning. Prof. Blaisdell gave the class, which consists of the whole college, a lecturing on the propriety of conducting themselves like gentleman. His remarks were very appropriate. I see young men come into the Bible class on Monday's mornings, and act in a manner that I would be ashamed of, still these young men call themselves Christians. At 2 o'clock, I met Prof. Blaisdell and rehearsed my piece for public speaking next Wednesday. I made no great effort. I will do better I anticipate before an audience. This evening I called on classmates Hayden and Bascom, contrary to my custom, and performed some problems in Algebra. The weather is clear with heavy frost. Newspapers on hand this evening.
Wednesday 17th-- After recitation in Mathematics this morning, I went at and prepared my Rhetorical exercise, thinking this was the day. But I was doomed to disappointment, for when the time had nearly arrived I was informed by Dawes that Greek was the order of the day. Of course, I did not have time to prepare my lesson so I went into the class, with my excuse stating that I could recite the review and four lines of advance in Homer, but my excuse was not accepted, for the Prof. did not call on me until we got to the latter part of the advance, when he called me. I did not recite and, I expect was marked accordingly. If so I think the Professor was, a little unjust.
Went gunning this P.M. Traveled nearly to Roscoe and back and did not see anything to shoot at larger than a Peawee, consequenter did not shoot.
Saturday 20th-- News from home, all well. Norton of Madison speaks in town this eve, also the Secretary of State, Harvey60. This evening I purchased a half bushel of potatoes. I design entering more deeply into the eating department. Washerwoman Peck cooly informed this evening that she would only charge me one shilling which is twelve and a half cents of our currency, for cooking my soup. The old hag took out enough of the meat which I gave her to cook for me, to pay an honest woman for her trouble in cooking. I will pay her up before the year is out. I have given her my washing, mending, and making for nearly three years and paid her well for all she has done, yet she wants every cent she can get out of me, not even sewing on a button without pay.
To-night I read some in Hallam's Literature preparatory to debate next Wed's eve. Subject, "Resolved that the Monastic Institutions were beneficial to the cause of education in their day."
Tuesday 23rd-- Received invoice of books from Harper & Brothers.
Thursday 25th-- The air of mirth61 and jolity which has pervaded our college atmosphere received a sad check to-day. Young Fisher, and Warner were both carried to their rooms to-day with their collar bones broken. They were engaged playing football when the sad accident befell them. Kendall did not appear in his place to-day, he has the typhoid fever. Other students are depressed on account of the sickness of friends at home.
Compositions were the order of the forenoon exercise. Through neglect I failed to select a subject or write a word until after the recitation in Mathematics, when I only had two hours to write in. The work was put through, but a pitiful piece of composition was delivered to the Professor for criticism. To-night, I have been roasting potatoes---a new dish for me. Had quite a conversation with class-mate Austin this eve. He gave me some information in regard to Philips Academy Andover. Austin has had a fine preparation for college. Would that mine was as good.
Saturday 27-- For the first time in two weeks, we had an easy place in Algebra. Our subject for this morning's lesson was Ratio and Proportion. To-day I took some lessons in reading aloud the first for a long time. I read one speech of Erskin against Mr. Williams of London for publishing Paine's Age of Reason. The speech was a learned one and well worthy the one who delivered it. Read an extract from Addison's translations of Ovid's Metamorphoses.
My breast which has been ailing for some time is better to-night. I fear I will have to quit study if I don't take a little more exercise. I prepared my Testament lesson for Monday morning, this evening.
Political news are most cheering. Right seems destined to prevail over wrong. The Republicans are sweeping every election as fast as it comes. Every person seems to be eager for the day of voting for president to come, that the final rebuke may be given to bogus democracy, by electing Abe Lincoln to the Presidency.
Tuesday 30th-- Received of Harper & Bros. one box of books. Weight of box 70 lbs cost of freight $1.41 drayage .25. Hallam's Middle Ages constituted my share of the books. Erskin took British Eloquence which I paid for, cost $2.86.
Wednesday 31st-- Society meeting to-night, subject discussed--Resolved, that all good citizens are under obligations to obey the Fugitive Slave Law. I thought a great deal on the Affirmative side of the question but said nothing. After the debate was concluded, I saw my folly of not saying something on the question. No proficiency in extempore62 speaking will ever be obtained without repeated trials and attempts. I will speak hereafter if I can say but twenty words. New and good arrangements have been made in respect to the library. Hereafter the Library will be open three quarters of an hour before the ringing of the bell for prayers, on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Heretofore it has been open only once a week, on Wednesday at noon for an hour. This week I have selected "Shakespeare and his Times" "Campbell's Biographical Sketches" and "Letters on Freemasonry"
Thursday 1st-- Received from Professor Blaisdell my last composition. He gives the production no encomium, but he gives me a justly merited rebuke for not being more careful in preparing my compositions. It is preposterous to think that a person can select and write upon a subject within the space of two hours, as I done on my last. I shall discard the subject and choose another.
Commenced to read Letters on Freemasonry by J.Q. Adams. I am Antimasonic in my views at present, what I may think of secret fraternities in subsequent times I know not, but for the present I can see no clue of the benefit to be derived, or the reason for uniting with such institutions. If they are honorable why not be up and above board about the matter. I can't see how a man can be called free who submits to be bound by an oath which is binding on him through life. I am impressed with the idea now, that I never will, be bound by an oath, which may in aftertimes conflict with my view of justice and morality.
Saturday 3rd-- The first wintry day. Sleet and cold from Olympus, was the character of the day. This evening went to town and heard some political gasing. I was not much edified, and consequently came home before meeting was out. Read a little on Freemasonry.
Monday 5th-- To-day we had a slight snow storm, a precursor of one more terrible to come in a little time. President Chapin prayed for the friends of Dea. Hobart, deceased this day, at prayers this evening. Deacon Hobart has been one of the firmest friends of Beloit College, and of course his death will be lamented by many. The N.Y. Tribune came to hand this evening pregnant with news political and miscellaneous. The friends of Mr. Lincoln are exultant at the prospects of the coming election. Mr. Douglas' friends seem to be disheartened in some parts of the country. To-morrow every American citizen will have the priveledge of casting his vote, for a man to fill the highest office in the land. The result of the election no one knows. My prayer is, that an honest man may be the choice of the people, a man who will lead the nation back to its primitive purness. [Thomas probably meant "pureness".]
Believing that the doctrines as promulgated by Abraham Lincoln, and the Republican party, generally are truly orthodox (politically) I shall cast my first vote for the support of A. Lincoln as president of the U.S. and Hanibal Hamlin for V. President, and the whole Republican ticket of Wisconsin.
Chesborough of the Sophomore class called in for a few minutes this evening, and had a chat. He, with Bascom and myself constitute a committee to procure a series of Society--songs for the benefit of the Delian Society. Mr. Chesborough as chairman will correspond with members of the several societies of Yale College and make arrangements with them to forward a collection of their songs, which we can use until some of our own poets indite some originals.
Tueday 6th-- To-day the election for President of the U.S. took place. What the result of the election will be, I cannot concieve. I fear the election will be thrown into the House of Represenatives, where party strife will be agitated to a disgraceful degree this winter. I in company with many others, cast my first vote for the offspring of the old Whig party--the Republican party. May this be the lucky party, and may they conduct the affairs of government, as did their ancestors in the times of Washington, Jefferson, and the Adamses.
Wednesday 7th-- Everything seems to coincide with the good feelings of all to-day. It is accertained that Lincoln to be the next president. The Republican majorities in the Northern states are truly surprising. A scathing rebuke to political demagogues, is the result of this election. The contest was between freedom and slavery, wrong versus right. Right has prevailed, and wrong is for a season crushed. For the first time during the term I done some work to-day.
The debate this evening was not very interesting. The subject discussed was too metaphysical for the society.
Ed. marched down to town this eve, and got a half peck of apples in virtue of a bet pending between him and myself in regard to the election. I betting on Lincoln's being elected by the popular vote-he that the election would be thrown into the house.
Monday 12th-- The public rejoicing just burst forth tonight. All the buildings on State and Broad Streets are illuminated in honor of Abraham Lincoln, President elect of the U.S. There is great need of rejoicing; a corrupt administration of eight years has well nigh impoverished our country. We have some reasons to think that the affairs of government will be conducted for the next four years with honesty and Godlike fear. To-day I mailed two letters, I hope to receive some mail ere long. Powell called on me this evening and gased an hour or so. He wants Poe's complete work. I have written a letter this evening to the publisher to ascertain what they can be obtained for. I had the best lesson in Livy to-day of any day yet.
Mifs Dewey is the only patriot on the College grounds. She alone has her room illuminated especially for the success of the Republican party. Mifs Dewey is a patriot.
Wednesday 14th-- The members of the Delian Society had an interesting time to-night. The subject was well discussed by six members, of the society. Young Jul. Danner after sneering at the speakers for some time and showing himself by way of walking across the room and swinging his cane around + c, left the room to the satisfaction of all. Those Danners are the most conceited ill bred, proud, poppies I ever saw. It is a pity that their father has to measure out tape behind the counter at a small salary, and their mother has to take boarders, to support the two insignificant squats.
Thursday 15th-- Completed my arrangement called by the literati "oration" which I calculated to speak one week from to-day. After rhetorical exercise this morning Prof. Blaisdell called me to him and gave me fifty cents for working for him about one hour and a half the other day. I protested against taking it but he insisted so strongly that I did take it with the intention of working enough more to make up the over pay. Prof. Blaisdell is laboring for the College, with all his power, and no more for the College than for each student individually. I hope he will be rewarded here on earth, but if not he will undoubtedly receive the reward of the "Just made perfect" in the world to come.
I admire the generosity of the man, yet I will not become an object of his or any other man's charity so long as Providence grants me health and good sense. I know young gentleman who are studying for the ministry, at other people's expence, who spend as much each week for segars, and nick nacks as I do in a year.
I do not condemn any person for receiving the aid of the Benevolent societies, but I must censure the for the injudicious expenditure of some of their money.
Saturday 17th-- A meeting of the students was held in the Archaen room this evening for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of adopting mob law and demolishing a grogery63 [sic: groggery], in the lower part of the town, and half of said grogery being built in Wis. and the other in Ill. the state line dividing the building thereby rendering it difficult for the law to have any salutary effect on the inmates of the house. The cause leading to this step in the part of the students was becasue a man of education. a classmate of Prof. Porter's, has been getting liquor there, and when the keeper of the shop got all his money, took his coat for more whiskey.
The reasons, I think, could hardly justify the students to take any measures in regard to the matter, but as it was the desire of some to express their opinions. I was willing to hear and be heard. The result of the meeting turned out contrary to the expectations of many. So many opinions were expressed, and so many plans proposed that nothing was accomplished. The chief persons in the expedition throttled their own undertaking by proposing senseless and puerile plans of operating.
The evening was not entirely uninstructing to me, for I learned how superficial some persons are, who are connected with this institution of learning, which shallowness, I suppose, is a foretaste of what is to be, on a more extended scale.
Monday 19th-- Prof. Porter made his appearance in the class-room to my great satisfaction. The Professor has had a very hard sick spell. He was not in a condition to take charge of his classes to-day, but his eagerness to be in his accustomed place, prompted him to come out. To-night the Tribune is on hand filled with all kinds of news. Between one and two sheets is filled with reports
of the Southerners, in their sedition movement. South Carolina is acting a most disgraceful part. She wants to be rebuked a job which James Buchanan seems unwilling to attempt. The Pontiac Sentinel contains little of importance in it this week. I have just commenced to commit my piece for declamation next Thursday. The weather has changed to be very cold. Wind from the west blows very hard, chimney smokes.
Wednesday 21st-- This evening the Archaen Union Society held thier public meeting. The poem by H.L. Osborn entitled "Two castles in Tyrol" was a worthy production. The discussion was conducted by Messrs C.W. Coolidge and F.E. Woodruff on the Affirmative and Messrs. L.O. Thompson and Walter Rice on the Negative. The question, "Resolved That the French Revolution, of 1790 has been a blessing to the world, was ably discussed. Decission given in Juror is Aff.
The closing oration was delivered by Mr. P.F. Pettybone in a masterly manner. His subject "Milton, the Reformer," was well developed. The music was better than has ever before been produced on such occasions. Four ladies helped to do the singing, a new feature in college society life. Messrs. Osborn, Coolidge and Woodruff, represented the Delian Society, and Messrs, Pettibone, Thompson and Rice, the Alethian.
The College Monthly made its appearance to-day. Several pieces of poetry, and some prosy prose with the Editor's Sanctum, and some few notices constitute its pages.
Saturday 24th-- Hoary winter has come in all his majesty. Ha, ha how eloquentius! Too much so for such develish cold weather. Last night both Ed and I almost frose. To-night we intend to "put up" in the same bed. No letters yet from home. I don't know what makes people so indolent. Called on Curtis at Mrs. Strong's and bartered with him for his desk. Reading history of England to-night.
Wednesday 28th-- Broke open a letter of Dock's, just now, from Bob. This is a practice I am not indicted to, nor would I want my letters opened by another, but as this was from home, and particular news was wanted, I took the above liberty so that if necessary I could carry the letter up to Dock to-night.
[Thomas scribbles out part of the diary here.]
The Rhetorical exercise this afternoon was very interesting. W. Lewis gave us a speech on the subject of slavery, as being right as taught by the bible. Mr. Cooper replied in a spirited speech, deducing his arguments from the same source, the bible. The Freshman class was not represented. May being absent, and for some reasons Mr. Maxworthy failed to speak.
The society to-night was not very interesting. There is hardly life enough among the members.
For the first time since the commencement of the term, we scrubbed out our room, and kind of straightened up. To-night we must lodge with some of our neighbors, owing to the dampness of our room. I will stop with Davis, Ed with Pollock. The club have sent me a very kind invitation to take dinner with them tomorrow. I think I will accept the invitation. To-morrow is the day set apart by the governor of Wis. for Thanksgiving and prayer.
The Greek goes precious hard. One hundred lines of Homer, is truly a terror to a Freshman.
__________________________________ (He writes a passage in Greek.)
Thursday 29th-- Thanksgiving day. According to an established custom, in common with many other of the states to-day was appointed, as a day for thanksgiving and prayer. At the earnest solicitation of the gentlemen of the club, I dined with them to-day. We done justice to a fine turkey which was prepared in fine style by Miss Dewey64. Recieved a letter from Bob to-night containing five dollars, a very acceptable reception is recieved.
Davis called in this evening and we got out our Homer. Ed is off to-night again. His lessons must be ruinous quanities.
Friday 30th-- The last day of the month. Lessons to-day went off first rate on my part. Mathematics this morning were all done prompt by ME an extraordinary circumstance. The Greek at noon was well recited throughout the class. Livy was pretty hard and the last sentence of my reading was so hard that I did not make it out by myself.
This morning I called on Mr. Hiney, my tailor, and was measured for a coat and vest, two articles I need, if any poor sinner does. Ed brought his sister, a young lady living in town and a girl from Rockford Female Seminary65, into our room for a short season this evening.
[There is another part here that Thomas scribbles out.]
The weather is very fine. Freezing to-night. Have commenced to copy off my speech for next Wednesday.
Saturday 1st-- A box containing articles in the bed cloth-line, and books came from home to-day to Dock and I. One pocket handkerchief and a bag of hazel nuts fell to my lot, for which I am very grateful to the donors. Worked to-day some two or three hours. Finished copying of my speech for next Wednesday speaking. Have studied none this afternoon. Read some in Byron. Freezing to-night.
Wednesday 5th-- Society meeting to-night. No debate occurred. The debate was postponed, for the business of making appointments for the next public meeting of the Archaen Union Society. The following was the result of the election. Orator, Gilbert, Disputants, Cooper and myself. After the adjournment of the society, The Attorneys on the Moor Courts met in my room for the purpose of arranging matters for the trial. Rollins was chosen for the victim. He was consulted, but gave us no decision whether he would submit to be our prisoner or not.
It snows to-night.
Wednesday 12th-- Day expected to be devoted in examination before formal class, but the board of examiners not conning the examination was postponed.
The long-expected College Catalogues made their appearance to-day. They are gotten up, on the Yale style.
Thursday 13th-- Another lesson in Chaucer we had this forenoon. Our lesson in Homer extended to the four hundred and fortieth line, commencing at the first of the 2nd Book. I only got out two hundred and twenty-five lines. Last night the Alethians elected Erskin & Short for the next public debaters.
The night is the coldest we have had. Wrote a letter to Harper & Bros. for a copy of their magazine also several copies of their weekly pictorial paper.
Prof. Blaisdell has assigned the lesson for the first Thursday of next term. The second division will have compositions the entire class will have Chaucer.
To-morrow we will close the regular recitations of the term.
Saturday 15th-- To-day I have "crammed" some for examination. On Monday & Tuesday we will have to run the gauntlet of examination. The following is the order of exercise. ____, from 8 o'c A.M until we get through Greek Testament. In the afternoon from 3 1/2 o'c to 5 o'c Livy.----Tuesday from 10 1/2 AM to 12 o'c Homer.----In the afternoon from 3 1/2 o'c to 5 o'c Algebra.
Recieved a letter from Bob to-night containing ten dollars. Called on my tailor, Hiney, and got my coat and vest. The atmosphere is very temperate to-night.
Tuesday 18th-- The last day of the term. All the examinations are completed and we poor rebels are free. The examinations "went off" first rate. The Junior Exhibition, was very good to-night, yet on the dry order. The poem delivered by Burton was excellent. Snow is almost all gone. Roads muddy. To-night I stop at Dr. Taggart's. Barlow is in town to-day.
[Another section blacked out.]
on to January-March 1861