The Journals of

Edmund Quincy Sewall Jr.



Journal No. 2, February 13-June 26, 1839

Sewall Family Papers, Thoreau Institute


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Scituate February 13th 1839
I first kept a journal by the suggestion of Mr Alcott and found it very pleasant so that I now begin another.

Wednesday 13th.

We finished “Marmion” last night with the “Lady of the Lake”[1] Mr Morrison[2] had been so kind as to lend us. I do not like “M” quite so well as “L.L.” except the last part of the 6th Canto. Some of the songs in both are very beautiful I think. I went to a “parsing school” composed of some of our sc^h^ool who study Grammar to which I belong. Saw Venus for the first time to know her. It seemed quite red to me but perhaps perhaps that was because it was so near the horizon. Father went to Hingham today to a meeting of the trustees of Derby Academy.[3] It is a beautiful day for winter today. Mother and Mrs. C. Vinal came into our school this afternoon. I ought to have mentioned before that I am reading Arabian “Nights Entertainments.”[4] It is a much larger book than I expected. Read a silly story from a newspaper in the evening.

Thursday 14th

It was very wet & muddy all day. I went to Mr Allens store in the evening and left an umbrella there through carelessness. There was water communication from Mr Curtis’s to Capt Webbs by way of the gutters.

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Friday 15th. Order of things underfoot the same viz terribly muddy. Mother went to Mrs Charles Vinals to spend the afternoon.

Saturday 16th. Nothing particular happened except that we devoted the whole forenoon at school to ciphering and that a certain couple of boys[5] who live near acted like brats as they were.

Sunday 17th. Mr Dorr preached. The text in the morning was from the 18th chapter of John 37th verse. “To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” The afternoon text was from Luke 24th chapter 6th verse. “He is not here but is risen.” I went to meeting in the morning and staid at noon. I took a book out of the library called an “Oasis."[6] My schoolmaster Mr Morrison came and took tea and spent the evening.

Monday 18th Mr D went away in the morning. Mr Morrison came in the evening and invited Sister to a ball to be held tomorrow night. Mr G Allen also came in the evening and staid very late.

Tuesday 19th Mr May and his family and Mr Peirce with his, children excepted came and drank tea.

Wednesday 20th. I went to a parsing school in the evening.

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Thursday 21st. I went to a lecture on astronomy in the evening by Mr Morrison. He began by a history[7] of astronomy. Afterwards he described the Ptolemaic System, with its absurdities. They supposed the earth to remain stationary and the Sun Moon planets and satellites to be revolving around it. They supposed the sky to be solid because they supposed the force which set the universe in motion to be applied to the outer surface of the wheel and unless there was a communication between the outer and inner planets the former would continue to revolve but the latter would of course stop. Through this solid sky they thought there were seven openings in which the planets revolved and which they called the “seven Heavens.” Copernicus was born in 1472 and died in 1543 in the 71st year of his age. He delayed the publication of his work many years after it was written and did not live to be persecuted for it for the first printed copy was placed in his hands a few hours before his death. Mr. M. then showed that astronemers [sic] must know the distances of the sun and moon to predict eclipses so exactly and therefore it was not mere guess work of astronomers when they said that the sun was 95,000,000 miles from the earth and the moon 240,000. He then began to treat of the sun. Its diameter is 880,000 miles. He said one could not form any idea of so vast a sphere. The most obvious appearance of the sun’s disk is that of large dark spots on its surface. The most probable theory of these spots is that of Sir William Herschel who supposes the sun

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to be an opaque body and surrounded by two strata of clouds the upper self luminous and the under next the sun opaque. When these clouds break away but the upper open wider than the lower the opaque body of the sun is the spot itself and the inner clouds the penumbra by which it is surrounded. The attraction of gravitation is 27 times as great as that at the earth. A common man weighing 160 lbs on earth would weigh over 2 tons at the sun and the sun being as soft as a bed[?] of the finest powders he would sink many miles into its surface or be crushed by his own enormous weight. It is not probable that the sun is inhabited on account of its great heat. He said that it had been calculated that when a certain comet (I forget what its time of appearance was) was nearest the sun the heat in the comet was sufficient to evaporate steel and even platina[8] which is the least fusible metal we know. Next to the sun as we suppose (for he said that there might be several between it and the sun without our seeing them they would be so covered with the suns light) is Mercury. It is 37,000,000 miles from the sun and revolves around it in 3 months. It is about the same density as lead and is the smallest planet except the asteroids being only 3200 miles in diameter. Then Venus comes at 68,000,000 miles diameter ^from^ the sun and revolving around it in 7 ½ months. He said that the poles of Venus were about the climate of Georgia.

On Friday the 22d and Saturday the 23d nothing particular happened.

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Sunday 24th Mr Kent preached. He went to Duxbury on Saturday and came over in the morning. He brought his daughter Ella whom he had carried to Duxbury to make a visit to her aunt but the child being homesick he was obliged to carry her home again! I went to meeting in the morning. The text was the 2d Epistle to the Corinthians 13th chapter 8th verse. “For we can do nothing against the truth but for the truth.” In the afternoon I staid at home with George. I took a book out of the library called the “Sabbath day Book.”[9] I committed to memory a little piece by Mr Willis on a ‘child tired of play’ beginning

“Tired of play, Tired of play,”
“How hast thou spent this livelong day”[10]

Monday 25th. Nothing particular.

Tuesday 26th In the afternoon I went with the cart and George to Mr Prentiss store an expedition which I have reason to rember [sic] on account of the trouble it put me to.

Wednesday 27th In the forenoon I discovered my boots to be burnt to my cost for they being stiff and hard to put on father pounded one of them and it tore a great hole.

Thursday 28th. it is my birthday today as nearly as I shall come to it this year.[11] In the evening I went to the second and last lecture on Astronomy by Mr Morrison in which he treated of

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the moon and superior planets. The moon is 2,180 miles in diameter and 240,000 miles from the earth. When viewed through a telescope mountains and great caverns some of them 40 miles in diameter and 4 miles deep. There are three kinds of mountains in the moon. The first rise from level plains in the form of a sugarloaf, the second long ranges 3 or 400 miles in length, and the third (which is entirely peculiar to the moon) are circular ranges with a mountain of the first class in the middle the area of the circle being level. The sun is 4 hours in rising above the horizon and a lunar day is 15 of our days. During the long night of 15 days the earth (which is 13 times larger to the moon than the full moon to us) always appears stationary if the observer is stationary. The planet next to the earth is Mars which is 145,000,000 miles from the sun. Vesta is next and the smallest planet being only 230 miles in diameter Juno is next of which I don’t remember the diameter. Ceres comes next 1625 miles in diameter and Pallas is last at 2000 miles diameter. Then comes Jupiter
“Whose huge gigantic bulk

Dances in ether like the lightest leaf” the largest planet in the system his diameter is 89,000 miles in diameter and has 4 moons and revolves around the sun in 12 years.

Then we come to where Saturn

“girt with a lucid zone in gloomy pomp
Sits like an exalted monarch.”[12]

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He has 7 moons and 2 rings is 79000 miles diameter and goes round the sun in 30 years. Uranus comes last is 35000 miles in diameter and goes round it in 84 years. He read Herschels recipe for an orrery. Take a globe 2 feet in diameter for the sun. Represent Mercury by a grain of mustard seed Venus by a pea the Earth by a pea mars by a large pins head Jupiter by a orange Saturn by a small orange and Uranus by a small plum.

Friday March 1st. In the evening Mr Morrison came and pointed out to Ellen and me Mars and Jupiter. He also brought a map of the stars which was not colored like ours but rather better executed.

Saturday 2d. In the afternoon a company of boys marched through the streets as trainers with drum and fife. Mr M. came and brought the “Lay of the last Minstrel.”[13]

Sunday 3d In the forenoon there was no sermon on account of the small number of hearers caused by bad weather. In the afternoon there was a regular meeting. George and I staid at home all day.

Monday and Tuesday 4th and 5th nothing particular happened.

Wednesday [6th]. In the after noon Messrs May and Sewall came into

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our school. Miss H D Allen brought “Rollo at work”[14] and an annual called the “Violet”[15] yesterday. and I have read the former and several stories from the latter.

Thursday 7th Nothing particular happened.

Friday 8th was the last day of our school. A book was sent round today and yesterday for the scholars to write in as a sample for the master to take with him.[16] Many however didn’t get a chance to write in it. In the afternoon the school was examined. 12 persons came into the school including the committee.[17] The examination went off very well. I had a large lug to bring home my books.

Saturday 9th I began a letter to aunt. I am reading “Travels in Egypt Arabia Petraea and the Holy land.”[18]

Sunday 10th Mr McReading preached in the forenoon from Romans 10 chapter 17th verse “So then truth cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Father preached in the afternoon.

Monday 11th nothing particular

Tuesday12th Enoch came in the morning and Mr and Mrs Cole and Mrs Turner in the afternoon to take tea.

Wednesday 13th Mother and Father and George went to Mr Leonards in the afternoon. I forgot to mention that we received a packet

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from Uncle George containing a letter to each of us and the first volume bound up of a book (of which we had read a part before in numbers) called Nicholas Nickleby on Monday.[19] I also got a book from the Library on Sunday called Cousin Elizabeth of which I afterwards found we had two or three copies at home.[20]

Thursday Friday and Saturday the 14th 15th and 16th brought their plays and squabbles and screams and mischief to George and me as usual. I learn that we are to have another mans school in the High School House (part public and part private that is some district money is appropriated to it and there is a kind of subscription by those who put their names down in a paper that was carried round by “one Stone” as a book would say.

Sunday 17th Mr Barett from Boston[21] preached in the morning from Mark 10th chapter 21st verse “One thing thou lackest.” He said that people who are generally good but did not possess some one of the virtues wondered they did not have the benefits they had been taught to expect from a virtuous course of life and illustrated it by familiar examples. In the afternoon he preached from Daniel 3d chapter 18th verse “Be it known unto thee o king that we will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” He spoke of their firm principle, described principle and men who had none and exhorted his hearers to promote principle by every means in their power. Father read aloud the procla-

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mation for Fast day in the afternoon. In coming home from meeting in the afternoon we saw a large ship neither very far out nor very near in.

Monday 18th. School did not begin as expected. I may as well mention here that it did not begin until the Monday after. I took out yesterday a book from the Library, the 2d volume of “Parent’s Assistant.”[22]

Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th. nothing particular.

Thursday 21st do do. We have been finishing “Oliver Twist” by “Boz” alias Mr Charles Dickens.[23] During this vacation I have been manufacturing things for George as daggers and bayonets.

Friday 22d. Tried to make a bonfire in the afternoon but did not succeed. In the evening Ellen brought home a Dutch pipe apiece for G and me. They have very long and brittle stems.

Saturday 23d In the morning George and I blew soap bubbles with our new pipes. In the afternoon had a nice bonfire and burned up all our old cornstalks and all the dried grass which I got off of the front yard.

Sunday 31st I have neglected my Journal now for a whole week so that I can’t remember all its events. Thursday was Fast day. Mr Leonard preached in the afternoon from Proverbs 14th 34th Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. On Friday

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afternoon I went with Sis to Mr. Samuel Hatch’s and had a nice time. I learned (partly) to play gammon and chequers. The rest of the day nothing particular. Today father preached from John 10th 10th “I am come that ye might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” in the afternoon “ ” “ ”

Monday April 1st. Received from Mr Morison a letter and “Dicks Celestial Scenery” a book treating of the planetary system.[24] The rest of this week went on as common. I had several minor bonfires and answered Mr M’s letter. On Saturday I cleaned out the henhouse and went to see William Vinal.

Sunday 7th. was Communion day. I staid at home with George in the forenoon. In the afternoon I went to meeting. The text was James 4th 8th “Draw nigh unto God and he will draw nigh to you.” The rest of this week went on as usual. We had an April rain in the last part of it which did much good to the grass. The last two days which were cold chilly rainy days we had no fire in the schoolhouse. There were 21 scholars at school on Friday morning but in the afternoon only 12 or 14 only 2 of which were girls and and on Saturday the population consisted of 12 boys kicking their heels and stomping on their toes with a view to prevent the blood from freezing. On Saturday morning I found a bench ^desk^ torn up by the roots and transplanted to

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the top of the broad aisle - an event which the unfortunate desk had long ago anticipated its fate for it had long been terribly rickety as are also most of the other front desks as the organ of destructiveness is strikingly developed in some of them to judge by by their actions. I was one of the sufferers on each day and can say that for myself. I ^hardly^ never was more uncomfortable.

I received a letter from Uncle Dennis[25] and finished “Dicks Celestial Scenery” which I like very much indeed.
Enoch Gardner was appointed Librarian and Treasurer of the Library last Sunday or Sunday before – says he shan’t accept but I guess he will.
the rest of this The next week went off as usual and so did the time up to this day – April 24th.

[Thursday] 25th. Our first daffy blossomed today and Mother sent it to little Charlotte May.[26] In the afternoon I staid from school and went to hire Mr Clay to work.

Friday 26th Mother and sister planted their first lot of flower seeds. In the evening I carried off our old Cockerel in a basket borrowed for the purpose and changed him for a white one at Captain Bowers’s.

Saturday 27th Mr Clay came in the morning and dined with us. He made quick work of it for he made all the beds in the fore noon. We planted all our potatoes, a good deal of corn 2 beds of on-

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ions 1 of parsnips and 1 of peas. We received a box from Aunt Prudence containing two caps trimmed with pink ribbon for Mother and a letter.

Sunday May 12th In the morning the text was from Matthew 6th chapter 33d v “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” and in the afternoon from the 1st Epistle to Timothy, 5th chapter 1st v. “Rebuke not an elder but entreat him as a father and the younger men as brothers.” After meeting in the afternoon while going out of church he [EQS Sr.] received a letter from his uncle May stating that Uncle Charles had had an ill turn & was left speechless. Father set off after supper to go to Danvers.[27] Our peas have come up now & we planted Melons and part of our Chinese corn. I have been reading “Milman’s History of the Jews” and am now in the third volume.[28]

We are reading aloud “Sparks’s life of Washington.”[29]

Wednesday 15th. Father got home today. Cousin Joseph is coming to spend a fortnight with me a week from next Monday.[30] He sent me a ball of his own making and Mary sent a little one to George.

Friday 16th [i.e. 17th]. There was a launch this afternoon of a small vessel but I did not go to it, it being the last whole day of the school. There were but 7 scholars myself included – 2 boys and 5 girls.

Saturday 18th Our school left off today. Was forced to pour out my ink

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coming home it spilt so. Got my books home after a weary day and expect not to go to school again all summer. We have got our pole beans planted – 16 poles quite a contrast to last year’s 10 – perhaps shall plant a few more but don’t know.
Went to Willy Vinal’s in the afternoon to stay till 3 o’clock and had a capital time. We had a fire on a flat rock in an old tin-kitchen which we called our stove. It was red hot (the fire I mean) for it was made of good stuff. We burned “ever so much” old stuff as willow sticks and brush. It heated the old stove so that the melted lead which had been used for soldering when it was first made ran down on all sides. After the fire was out we picked all the lead off the rock and carried it in. Charles C. Vinal was there.

Sunday 19th Mr More preached all day. The text A.M. was from Matthew 16th chapter 24th v. “And whosoever would follow me let him take up his cross and deny himself and follow me,” P.M. Isaiah 3d chap 10th v. “Say ye unto the righteous that it shall be well with him for he shall eat the fruit of his doings.” Took out the 1st volume of “Mackintosh’s History of England.”[31]

Monday 20th My vacation began today. We planted the whole upper slip of the garden. Our corn is up a good deal of it and some of the Chinese corn is too. Our melons are coming up and some bush beans, our peas are two [illegible word] high. None of the onions have come up or parsnips either to my knowl-

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edge. We have got planted in the upper slip 9 hills cucumbers 14 do Chinese corn 24 do winter squashes and 28 do sweet corn.

Tuesday 21st. We planted another bed of bush beans, another of peas and one of summer squashes. We planted some lettuce over one end of the parsnip bed and dug over a bed, planted part with pole beans and cut off the rest for a small bed for something else. The following shows how ^what^ the beds are planted with. Whole number of beds is 20.

Pole Beans 2 2/3
Melons 2
Bush beans 2
Peas 2
Onions 2
Parsnips & lettuce 21
Summer squash 1
Cabbages 1_

Planted 13 2/3
Unoccupied 6 1/3
Total 20

Wednesday 22d. It was rainy in the morning and wet all day. In the morning George and I played at indians in the chaise house. In the evening I wrote to Uncle George.

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Thursday 23d. We stuckour peas today and planted a few potatoes in a corner between the common corn & the upper slip, also planted a few hills in the lower part of the garden. Our corn has all come up & is likely to do well, the Chinese corn d[itt]o. Mr. William Vinal gave us 4 potatoes of a peculiar kind which is called “Hoghorns.” They are long slim potatoes. We planted them.

Friday 24th, was a rainy day. A fair was held at Marshfield for the Post Office of which Father wrote 3 letters and mother & sister each one. Ellen did not expect to go but Charles Bowers coming for her she went.

Saturday 25th. In the afternoon Father and Mother went to Kingston with a hired horse as our horse has been sick of the horse distemper several days. George & I went to Mr Porter’s to engage the horse.

Sunday 26th Mr Sweet preached AM from Ecclesiastes 12th 1st “Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth when the evil days come not or the years draw nigh in which ye shall say ‘I have no pleasure in them.’” P.M. from the 55th Psalm 19th verse. “Because they have no changes they fear not God.”

Monday 27th. We planted 10 rows of bush beans in 2 beds in the part of the garden lying between the upper slip & the great alley and the 2 rows of potatoes which we planted on the edge of the corn the other day. 3 of the 10 rows, i.e. one of the beds was planted with white

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beans for baking, the other bed is occupied with two kinds of bush bean 3 rows of one, 2 of the other. Below the beans we planted 6 hills winter squashes.
George wanted a garden of his own and father gave him a little piece (about 3 feet by 1 foot 6 inches in which he planted two rows beans (across his bed garden), & the rest with lettuce. Cousin J. did not come.

Tuesday 28th. We discovered that our potatoes were beginning to show their heads & commenced hoeing corn the 1st time. J. d. n. c [J did not come]

Wednesday Thursday & Friday [29th-31st] nothing especial. J. d. n. c. Sister & I were invited (Friday) to take a sail in Mr Simeon Bates’ boat with Misses M. Bowles & M[ary]. H. Lincoln. We expect to go. On Friday afternoon G and I went to try on my jacket and to buy us some candy. I found a packet in the road & left it at Mr Allen’s store to find an owner. George bought 2 sticks of candy & I one.

Saturday June 1st. Ellen & I were disappointed of our sail for though it was bright & pleasant in the early part of the day it clouded over & was unpleasant in the afternoon. Mary B. and Mary L. went to ask if it would be safe & pleasant to go out & found it would not. Mr Bates had carried out 12 men in the morning of whom 10 were so seasick that he described them as dead. In the afternoon a pedlar came of whom I bought a box of leads for

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my pencil he having some that just fitted it. In the afternoon I parted off one of my boxes so as to have one part for my money and the other for my pencils. Since the 28th we have planted 2 1/3 beds 1 of early turnip Beet one of long blood Beet & one ^third^ of carrots. On Friday I carried a decoction of tobacco and wet all the vines with it to keep off bugs. Joseph did not come but the stage went by so that I thought he was coming.

Sunday 2d. In the morning I staid with George. In the afternoon the text was from the Epistle of James 2d chapter 12th v. “So speak ye and so do as they which ^that^ be judged by the law of liberty.” We walked to and from meeting because the horse was so dirty that it would have taken a good while to clean her.

Monday 3d. We found out that our sweet corn, another the spot of winter squash & our cucumbers had come up also the things in G’s garden. Mr May came in the afternoon but his stay was shortened by his horse running away.

Tuesday 4th We planted 1 bed of carrots having heard that they might be given to horses & 2 beds English turnips. We have only 1 empty bed & that is prepared for planting. We are afraid we shall be obliged to plant our onions over again for not one has come up yet. I said Mr Curtis’ had come up but this might be a mistake.
Commenced hoeing potatoes 1st time.

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In the afternoon I went to Mr Cole’s & staid to tea. I rode the horse to plough a considerable while. Mrs Cole sent Ellen some flowers among which were some horse chesnut flowers. Two ladies stopped to admire them on the way home.
When I got home I found Cousin Joseph. He is smaller than I expected, he not being so large as I though nearly a year older. I will now give a condensed account of the events of his visit. For the first few days we played ninepins & minor things, except a grand excursion to the other end of the 4th cliff on Thursday and to the Dunnon rock the same day. On the former we set off about 7 and got back between 11 & 12 & went right off to the rock. I had some difficulty saw great numbers of birds nests consisting of holes in the cliff about the top not more than a foot and a half at the most from it. For ¼ of a mile of the farther part of the 4th cliff I should think there were not 3 square feet of the part mentioned that had not a hole in it and sometimes the same surface would have 11 or 12. I should think there were 5000 swallows in the 3d & 4th cliffs including young ones.
On Sunday [9th] the text all day was from Acts 20th 21st.
On Wednesday [12th] we walked up to Mr May’s. John had been up about ¼ of an hour. We had a very pleasant time.

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There were bats about the house and we tried to force them out of their holes. We raised but few and those we could not catch. They looked like swallows.
The next day we went to the 1st and 2nd cliffs. Did not come back by way of the 3d cliff but came out by the mill at the harbor and got across the gate. We picked some green goose berries and should have got more had it not been unpleasant.
We have had the front yard mowed and got in the hay on Friday. I expect to go to Boston & Concord on Saturday with Joseph[32] [illegible word] & to see the Giraffe. This has been awful writing I know. I am ashamed of it.

Saturday 15th. We (Joe & I) went up today on this day in the stage to Hingham, there to take the boat. The stage when we got in, contained but one passenger, but accessions were made to the number till the Stage was full enough for comfort. At this latter stage of our progress there were as near as I can remember there were 4 boys on the front seat, (including ourselves), 3 women on the middle seat & 2 women and a girl on the back seat – total 10, besides I believe there were one or two men outside. I made a sad mistake at the first accession to our party.

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Two ladies got in & I thinking that they would like the middle seat got on to the back seat (which I have now found is considered the most eligible for ladies) when our companion said “perhaps the ladies would like the back seat” so I scrambled back with all haste and established myself on the forward seat where we continued the rest of the way. On arriving at the Old Colony House the steam boat was just in sight. We paid our fare there. Mine was 21 ¼ cents. When the steam boat stopped the steam was let off with great noise. It rushed through the pipes very swiftly. We soon went on board and the baggage was put on the upper deck. When we set off the paddle wheels made a great quantity of foam which they continued to do the whole way. The forward deck and after part of the upper deck were the coolest parts of the boat & we were on the former a good deal. We did not go into either cabin but spent the whole time on deck. We saw the great furnaces and the firemen ^who were^ all sweating profusely in the exercise of their hot vocation. The mate’s office (I don’t know what else to call it) was in the forward part of the upper deck. There was a wheel with an axle in it which communicates by ropes & rods with the tiller it being his

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business to steer the boat. At the ringing [of] the third bell I went and paid the captain 18 or 19 cents I do not know which and received my ticket. The shore looked very pretty in some places & there were many islands which we passed. Boston in the distance looked very grim & smoky. I saw several large ships in the harbor at the wharves. When we arrived at Liverpool wharf our tickets were taken as we came out of the boat and receiving our basket which we carried alternately proceeded to uncle Thomas’[33] office but found it locked up as he had gone home to dinner. We got the key and having put our basket into the office locked it up and as we could not hang up the key again we brought it home. After dinner we all[34] went to see the Giraffe.[35] Uncle Thomas paid for all of us. There were also exhibited an Ibex, 2 Gemsbock,[36] a young Gazelle and two Mocos. These last resembled monkeys and were good jumpers. They were tied to the railing at first but at length the man untied one of them and put him on the back of the Giraffe but he not liking his situation sprung for the pole which supported the tent say 6 or 8 feet up and caught by the ropes about it. He was tied to the fence again. Either the other or the same one was done the same by and did the same, and they were

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then tied to the pole up and down which they travelled with ease by means of the ropes. The Ibex had long horns I should think about 1 ½ or 2 feet long he being I should think not more than 2 ½ feet from the top of the head to the root of the tail. These horns had rings on them for about half their length. They had brass balls on the tips probably to prevent his hurting them people. The Gazelle came out side the railing and a little boy chased him when he turned round and butted him with his little horns. The Giraffe is 16 feet high and is expected to grow much taller being only 32 months old. It is a female, the male having died in N. York. A basket suspended by a rope passing through a pulley at the top against the pole was used to give him his food except such as was given to him by his visitors. Several green boughs were tied to the basket while I was there which she stripped of their leaves with her tongue. Some clover was always ^so^ put into the basket which she eat. She is very fond of apples which were given her by the visitors in great q cut in pieces as big or bigger than a walnut. She kept going round to receive them. She took them with her tongue which she coiled bent round the piece and drew it into her mouth. I gave her one

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piece. – A boy was going to give it to her but she dropped it. Joseph picked it up and gave it to me and I gave it to her. She seemed to like it none the worse on account of the sawdust with which it was covered. At length the man requested the people to give her no more for fear of hurting her. Before this Uncle and Aunt had gone leaving us children to see as long as we pleased. The carriage in which the Giraffe travels was also exhibited. It is a very high one, of course. The male was probably handsomer than this that being the general law with regard to the bea^u^tyof the sexes of animals man excluded. Price of admission 25 cents children under 10 half price. It was in Court st. From Court street we sent home the girls and went to the barbers. I had to wait a good while. Cost of having hair cut 12 ½ cents. After going to Aunt Elizabeth’s and after staying there a good while went to Uncle’s office. He was not there and we waited some time before he came. When he did we soon went with him and bought a straw hat for me bringing up the basket at the same time. They asked 75 cts at first for the hat but sold it at 62 ½ cts. We then went home.

Sunday 16th. I went to meeting all day. In the morning

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Mr Gannett preached from [three words crossed out] in the afternoon, another man, but not Dr. Channing.[37] I have forgotten the texts. There were but 3 male and 1 female singer exclusive of the organist. The organ did not meet my expectations. Uncle Thomas’ pew is in the gallery. They use the same collection of hymns that we do. I went up to see aunt Ann in her chamber.[38]

Monday 17th. Father came with the chaise. He had left Mother “down town” to do some shopping. I showed told him that I had bought “Cock Robin” for George.[39] He told me thought that I had better have laid out my pence for something [else] as it was too silly for a boy 5 years old. I tho’t so too afterwards. I rode with him to a stable in Charles St. where we left the horse & Chaise. We (Father & I) then went to speak a passage for Mother and I in the Concord stage. On the way Father had a new crystal set in his watch. The ^stage^ office was in Hanover St. & nearly opposite to Dr. Brandreth’s[40] office for the sale of his “vegetable Universal Pills.” There was a piece of printed cloth in each window of Dr. B.’s office, one of which set forth the virtues of the pills & the other the reason they were so effective. The latter ran as follows:
“For as there is only one principle of life
So there is only one principle of disease
And only one method of cure.

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That method
is to purge & purify
the Body.”

The former says among their puffs, “all you have to do is to procure the genuine Article.” I don’t see upon what pretence Dr. B himself can ever manage die for he can get the “genuine Article” unless of old age. We went up into Aunt A’s chamber just before we went away. Aunt Ann & Grandma Sewall[41] gave 75 cents to George and me making 97 ½ cts. for me.
The stage came about 3 ½ o’clock & we went off. After a ride of 16 miles we arrived. Mrs. Thoreau got some supper for Mother & I. They have a very pretty flower garden & their sitting room opens right into it. I can’t recollect what days things happened so I shall have to tell what happened during the visit. We had a beautiful S sail while we were there in a boat which Messrs John & Henry T. made themselves.[42] – It was on Concord river. The boat was not quite large enough to hold us all viz. Mother, Aunt, Messrs J & H T., Frank (one of the boys who board there) & my self, so Messrs J & H walked alternately on the bank generally taking Frank with them. We had ^not^ the benefit of a good wind so that we used the sail but little. After sailing a considerable time Mother, Aunt, and Mr. H. Thoreau went home leaving us in the boat. We then went up the North branch of the river.

[page 27]

On our way we landed on a large rock w^h^ere Mr. Thoreau said parties were in the habit of coming to make chowder & eat it. The remains of fires ^kindled^ for that purpose were seen in on on different parts of it. He said that when he was 8 or 9 years old a party of about 20, (of whom he was one) came there to make merry. First they had some water melons. Then they made a chowder. There was a very selfish fellow among them & when the chowder was done as he liked his cool, he took out his share and set it to cool. When it was about cool & the rest of the party were getting theirs he looked round and saw a great yellow dog belonging to the party eating it, sow he lost his share of that. Then they had some eggs. He fished out his eggs the largest he could find. The last one he took was a very large one which he thought would be very fine. Upon breaking them the last spoilt all the rest. At last some of them agreed to each give him an egg. One of the party had shot a robin. H[e] took it by the legs and threw it up carelessly when it came down in this fellow’s plate. He was very angry, & threw his plate at the dog. We went into the boat with him and proceeded till we found a boat which Mr T. knew to belong to a Mr. Haynes, moored. We heard one report of a gun in the woods and

[page 28]

went to see him shoot. He is the best marksman in Concord. He was firing with a rifle at a mark a little larger than a dollar at a distance of 55 yards or 10 rods. He never failed to hit it in some part while I was there. He had two dogs with him. When Mr. H. went home we went too. When we were nearly at the place where the boat was fastened we found the other 3 boys who board there whom we took in. That night Mr. T. went out to practice shooting.
He fired att a piece of birch bark which we stuck up against a sand bank. He hit 2 of 3 times. He fired once at a cent not 5 or 6 feet off and hit it—we never saw the cent again. He also fired with shot at a cent which was blued with powder.
Mr. H. Thoreau also went with me & the boys to “Dover Cliffs.” The upper part of it is a rock the lower is covered with bushes. I & one of the boys when we were at the bottom climbed up to a fissure in the rock. I rolled down a stone which made the boys below jump out of the way. When they went away to school Mr. T and I staid behind and visited Walden pond which is 90 feet deep on an average. The water is so clear that you can see the bottom where it is 9 or 10 feet deep.[43]
We found a boat there and sailed across to a bar which runs out into the pond which is a good place to fish.

[page 29]

There are only 2 places in the whole circumference of the pond where it is shallow near the shore and in most other parts 4 steps into the pond would make the water over your ^my^ head.
The day we went away Saturday [22d] Grandma gave me 50 cts. & Mother 25 to buy something for George. While I was in Concord I bought Ellen a white fan which cost 16 cts, and a lamp of white wax which cost four pence. The stage came at 6 ½ oclock. I forgot to say that We visited the monument it which is of Granite in the middle of the old road.[44] The space between it and the road is planted with trees. I saw the grave of 2 British soldiers marked by 2 rough stones. We had a pleasant ride. Aunt went with us. It was a rainy day. Mother and Aunt were set down at the Hospital and I went on to the stage office where they soon came for me. We had a good deal of shopping to do and we went into a good many stores. We went into a confectioners and mother bought me an ice cream. It was very good tasted but so cold that I could eat but little of it so mother bought me a cheese cake. We bought a horse & cart for George at a toy shop. When we had done shopping we went to Aunt Eliza’s and sent Joe off for a hackney coach to carry us to the steamboat. It came

[page 30]

immediately and we got in. The boat soon started.
On board Mother paid me the 62 ½ cents which I gave for my hat. I bought me a piece of cake on board. We came home in the stage. The following is an account of my expenditures & receipts in this visit

Paid. Recd. Owned before 4.05 ¼
For E.’s Fan 16 cts 87 ½ 45 ¼
For ribbon 3 41 ¾ Now own 4.50 ½
For Wax 6 ¼ Gained 45 ¼[45]
For “Cock Robin” 12 ½
For Cake. _4___
41 ¾

George was delighted with his horse & cart. Mr Morrison came in the evening on a visit.

Sunday 23d. Mr. Allen of Pembroke preached all day from Matthew 6th 34th “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Monday 24th. Nothing special.

Tuesday 25th In the evening we I had a delightful sail on the harbor. It was about half past eight when we got under weigh. It was a bea^u^tiful moonlight night and the water was smooth as glass. Arrived at the wharf Dr. Thomas asked John Hawthorn who was in a boat to carry us to colonel Young’s boat

[page 31]

which he did. We then hoisted our sails (Captain Henry Vinal went with us to navigate the boat) & Dr. T. steered. Mr. Morrison sat or stood in the bow, & I was variable. There was very little wind indeed & we went very slowly ^most of the way^ across the harbor. We went about a mile & then came back. We managed to keep in a breeze most of the way and went pretty fast. Sometimes the Breeze would be but 4 or 3 rods as we could see by the look of the water. It looked dark where there was wind. We came up to the wharf ahead of the Ontario & fastened the boat. By the by I asked the Dr. T. what such a schooner as the Ontario (she is a large topsail schooner) was worth – he said about 5000 dollars. In going out we hailed a schooner – “What schooner’s that”? “What” Capt. Vinal repeated the question. “The Pyretis” which Dr. Thomas said had just arrived from the South. All this I forgot to say when I described the former part of our voyage. We went down & back railroad fashion.

Wednesday 26th. I was unexpectedly invited to a sail with Mr. M. & Dr. Thomas by the latter. We went out between 1 & 2. The provisions were a bottle marked Alcohol (filled with water) a bottle of cider and half a dozen crackers. We had to beat going out of the harbor. We sailed about a great while till we wanted to fish. We then asked leave of

[page 32]

a boat to make fast to it as we had no anchor. They gave permission but it took us so long to furl our sails that we drifted out of the way of it and made fast to another. We had not got our jib down as we did not know how to furl it so the man whose name was Goodwin furled it for us. He gave us a little bait for our hooks. We caught together 12 or 15 fish. I caught 1. We could see the fish in the water sometimes. Sometimes they would [illegible word blotted out] come and put their nose to my hook and then go away again. When we left we picked out 9 for me to carry home and gave the rest to Capt. Goodwin. When we left there were many boats round the place and vessels were coming in from all quarters towards it. I counted between 20 and 30 fishing schooners in sight. They throw ground mackerel overboard to raise the fish from the bottom and then throw their lines overboard and hook the fish. Sometimes they have two or three hooks on one line and I saw two fish hauled up this way at once.
I saw several of my quondam schoolmates out fishing. Joseph Colman, John Hawthorn and John Jones and Thomas Curtis. Upon the whole I think this was as pleasant a day as I ever passed. I had not the least symptom of sea-sickness nor did I feel afraid at all though Dr. Thomas had never before sailed a boat. We beat into the harbor the wind having changed and reached home ^between 3 & 4^.

The End of this volume


1. Two poems by Sir Walter Scott.

2. The Christian name of “Mr. Morrison” (Nathaniel Holmes Morison [1815-90]) is supplied in a biographical sketch entitled, “From Notes Taken by Caroline S. Abbot,” in the manuscript transcription of EQS Jr.’s four diaries, Sewall Family Papers, AAS. See also George Abbot Morison, Nathaniel Morison and His Descendants (Peterborough, N.H.: Peterborough Historical Society, 1951), 112-17.

3. Derby Academy in Hingham, Massachusetts, opened in 1791. EQS Sr. was a trustee from 1834 to 1848.

4.The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, published in many British and American editions.

5. “Names of the two boys were G Ward E Q Sewall” (EQS Jr. footnote).

6. The Oasis (Boston: Allen and Ticknor, 1834) was an antislavery annual edited by Lydia Maria Child.

7. “Or rather a slight sketch of the history” (EQS Jr. footnote).

8. Platinum.

9. The Sabbath-Day Book for Boys and Girls (Boston: John Allen, 1835).

10. Nathaniel Parker Willis (1806-67), “On the Picture of a ‘Child Tired of Play,’” published in The Youth’s Keepsake: A Christmas and New Year’s Gift for Young People (Boston: Carter and Hendee, 1831), 176-77.

11. EQS Jr. was born on February 29.

12. These two quotations are based on “A Summer Evening’s Meditation,” by Anna Laetitia Barbauld. While the first quotation is accurate, Barbauld actually wrote that Saturn

Girt with a lucid zone, majestic sits
In gloomy grandeur, like an exil’d queen.

Works of Anna Laetitia Barbauld, 3 vols. (Boston: David Reed, 1826) and other editions.

13. A poem by Sir Walter Scott published in numerous American editions beginning in 1805.

14. Jacob Abbott, Rollo at Work; or, The Way for a Boy to Learn to Be Industrious (Boston: T. H. Carter, 1838).

15. Miss Leslie, ed., The Violet: A Christmas and New Year’s Gift, or Birthday Present, 1839 (Philadelphia: E. L. Carey and A. Hart, [1838]).
“I wrote
I must answer my questions
And must not play
For committee are coming
And tis the last day.” (EQS Jr. footnote)

17. The committee in 1838 included EQS Jr.’s father and Samuel J. May.

18. John Lloyd Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land, 2 vols. (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1837).

19. Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, published in multiple American editions beginning in 1839.

20. Cousin Elizabeth, by the Author of “A Visit to the Sea-Side” (Boston: Leonard C. Bowles, 1830).

21. Possibly Benjamin Fiske Barnett (1808-92).

22. Maria Edgeworth, The Parent’s Assistant; or, Stories for Children, 3 vols. Multiple editions from 1809.

23. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress, published in multiple American editions beginning in 1838.

24. Thomas Dick, Celestial Scenery; or, The Wonders of the Planetary System Displayed; Illustrating the Perfections of Deity and a Plurality of Worlds (Brookfield, Mass.: E. and L. Merriam, 1838).

25. Dennis Ward (1799-1878).

26. Charlotte Coffin May (b. 1833), daughter of Samuel J. and Lucretia May.

27. EQS Sr.’s uncle Joseph May (1760-1841), who was Samuel J. May’s brother. EQS Sr.’s brother Charles Chauncy Sewall (1802-86) was pastor of the First Unitarian Church in Danvers, Massachusetts, from its founding in 1827 until 1841.

28. Henry Hart Milman, The History of the Jews: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, 3 vols. (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1837).

29. Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, 1839).

30. Joseph Sewall (1827-1917), son of Thomas Robie Sewall and Elizabeth Quincy Sewall.

31. James Mackintosh, The History of England, 3 vols. (Philadelphia: Carey and Lea, 1830-33).

32. EQS Jr.’s cousin Joseph.

33. Thomas Robie Sewall (1792-1864), who was married to EQS Jr.’s aunt Elizabeth Quincy Sewall.

34. “Uncle T. Aunt E Mary Frances Joseph & I” (EQS Jr. footnote). That is, Thomas Robie Sewall, his wife Elizabeth, and three of their children: Mary (b. 1829), Frances (b. 1834), and Joseph (b. 1827).

35. This exhibition began on June 11, on which date an advertisement for it appeared in the Boston Morning Post. The advertisement states, “The proprietors of this novel collection, having excluded all animals of an offensive nature, render this exhibition highly interesting to all classes, and has delighted thousands of the intelligent and moral of both sexes.”

36. Gemsbock is the correct spelling; EQS Jr. appears to have written Gensbock.

37. The Sewalls evidently attended the Federal Street Church in Boston. In this period Ezra Stiles Gannett (1801-71) was assistant to the minister, William Ellery Channing (1780-1842).

38. Probably Anne Henchman Sewall (1793-1848).

39. “I forgot to mention this in my account of Saturday’s proceedings. It cost 12 ½ cts” (EQS Jr. footnote). The Death and Burial of Cock Robin was a popular children’s book published in many editions from the eighteenth century.

40. Benjamin Brandreth (1807-80) came to the United States from England in 1835 to sell the pills his grandfather William Brandreth had formulated.

41. Abigail Devereux Sewall (1781-1847).

42. The Musketaquid, built by John and Henry Thoreau in the spring of 1839. See introduction.

43. On June 22, Henry Thoreau wrote about EQS Jr. in his journal. See introduction.

44. The monument to the Concord Fight of April 19, 1775, was dedicated in 1837.

45. EQS Jr. seems to have made a mathematical error here.

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