Quantity: 1 available
Book Condition: Very Good
On offer is a superb, original, historically significant 1852 manuscript diary handwritten by John Downes of Cambridge, Massachusetts as evidenced by his two signatures. [While we cannot confirm ownership we believe the author is Commodore John Downes a famed American naval officer with a storied career who lived from 1786 to 1854. The writer's preoccupation with the weather, the wind direction and other comments give us no pause to suggest this ownership but a local historian or researcher should have little problem confirming.] The diary was created on blank pages sandwiched among and in-between, two 1852 Farmer's Almanacs, which in turn are laid into a hard bound covers by bookseller Kidder & Cheever of Boston. Bound in between the two almanacs are a number of pages used by Downes to record, almost on a daily basis, his thoughts, events, weather, politics, ornithology, etc. There are over 55 well filled pages handwritten in a tiny, very legible manner using the pages to maximum ability. Historians and collectors of the pre Civil War period will be hard pressed to find a more erudite observer and commenter on the era's politics, philosophy and current events. In fact Downes is very opinionated, passionate man and right from the beginning of the writing he affirms his indignation of women's bloomer and a professor 'trying to tell Americans what is what'. 'All being most of the materials for an American Revolution'. Downes begins the 1852 year by writing "Janry 1852- New Years Day. Very warm for the season. Yesterday closed with a rainy evening, and we had heavy showers through the night. The Year 1852 commences with a French Revolution on its hands. What else it may pick up on its way toward Doomsday remains mostly hidden; but we shall see quite fast enough. Already on hand we have Prof. Kossuth who is endeavoring to enlighten the benighted people of these Unites States on what is what, and other interesting particulars. We have Free Soilers and Abolitionists and Bloomers and Woman's-Right-ers and some other small materials for an American Revolution if the talent were equal to the will but happily, they are not world- compellers, they move not mountains, nor man, but themselves. Thermometer at bedtime 33 deg... He continues on with various snippets throughout the year, including, in part "[January] A woodpecker I saw this morning is beyond my present learning. It was not the Red-headed for his head was not red, but black as a newly caught fugitive slave… our harbors are being blocked with frost… our marine is being stripped of spars and rigging, and brought ashore and harnessed to horses. [Describes snow and the various adorned sleighs]… We saw one this afternoon in its semblance of a long black hull with "bright" varnished sides; and called the "Constitution" another fitted out as the "May Flower" both freighted down to the benches… we saw another which was fashioned something after the manner of a swan. I should judge the Captain and crew of this craft might count up to about sixty individuals…[reminisces about what sleighing was like 40 years before, then gives a creative discourse of tavern and drink vs. church]… Went to Boston … to attend Dr. A. B. Gould's lecture before the Lowell Institute…[thermometer bulb broke because of cold] … this evening we go to the Opera where Madam Anna Thillon is turning the heads of all Boston… saw Madam Thillon in the Black Domino. It is difficult to imagine the sad work a more beautiful woman would make amongst the youngsters, -- oldsters too, for that matter… went sleighing… past West Cambridge to Lexington and saw the monument erected on the spot where the first business were given when we fell out with John Bull nearly 80 years ago… finest sleigh ride we had for the last 20 years… Dined at Middlefield's and had a first rate old fashioned boiled Indian suet pudding; the first for many years… saw several heavy avalanches of snow…passing through Washington St. met an old friend, T[homas] Comer, the musician. Shook hands and talked to him of old times… his hair gray but otherwise he is not a day older than he was 20 years ago. Besides his profession as composer and musician he was an actor of much more than ordinary merit. I have never seen his equal in the character of the mock prince, Dandini, in Cinderella. Passed the evening at Mrs. Uphams where we had music and dancing… but the dancing… may I never set eyes on that abominable dog = polka again… Went to Boston… bought Dean's New England Farmer, not with any intention of digging an existence from the bowels of the earth, but that I love to read of matters of husbandry…rain has prevented our attending a Bissextile dancing party at Groton this evening … Spent weekend between Groton and Worcester with Dr. Green … Not at all pleased with the Lawrence Academy Administration. This administration… seems to have discovered a fearful clement of sin in the practice of dancing by young people at the juvenile gatherings called Balls… the young folks are were admonished to remain at home on the evening of the party given by the ladies of Groton (with Mrs. Governor Boutwell as lady patroness) on pain of the administration and heaven's serious disapprobation, and of everlasting expulsion from the Lawrence Academy and of ditto damnation… Attended Prof. Pierce's lecture on mechanics at the college this afternoon. Went to Boston, saw my friend Charles Bradlee [Bradlee was a Boston music publisher who was the first to copyright in 1835 the "A-B-C" song that everyone today knows as the song to teach kids the alphabet], the first time… for twelve years… [April] A furious northeast rain storm commenced last night. Wind blowing a hurricane. The storm has continued with unrelenting fury from [yesterday] until this morning. Last night we had lightening and thunder. The papers speak of many shipwrecks on the coast… Most of the inhabitants of the city of Cambridge have gone in to Boston today to partake of the [Lajos] Kossuth foolery that is going on there. The Freesoilers have got him and are striving, with their whole soul, to make a political honest penny out of him… [May] Had a call from my friend Obadiah Rich [Boston, Silversmith]. It is 12 years since I have seen him. Found him nearly blind… [June 21] News comes from Baltimore that Genl. Scott has been nominated by the Whig party as its candidate for the Presidency of these United States. O Trumpery! O Moses … Class day at the College… dancing, shouting and banners and instruments of music and noise. Uproarious cheering for President Sparks, for the Professors, each by name, for tutors, each by name, for Daniel Webster (louder yet), and for everybody and everything loudest of all. Attended Mrs. Spark's levee …quite a brilliant affair… Beauties from all points of the compass… Commencement Day at Harvard University. Did not attend the commencement exercises… Mrs. President Sparks party in the evening… on presenting ourselves she drew [his wife's] arm within her own, walked to the tables, and presented her with refreshments with her own hands and with her own easy irresistible manners. I have never seen my little wife more graceful, and beautiful, and I considered her fully entitled to the attentions she received… Worked hard at occultations all day; from anxiety to get them done seasonably for the U.S. Nautical Almanac… [July 16] attended the meeting of our scientific club in the evening. Most of the talking performed by Prof. Agassiz, who stoutly maintained that all the varieties of the human race, white, black, red, brown, etc. cannot owe their origin to one, common stock. Pity that some of our abolitionists could not have been present and have shown him his errors ... throughout New England and from out West we have complaints of a very severe drought… many factories stopped for want of water… storm… telegraph wires are down everywhere… unless the thirsty earth drank up the rain as it fell, we shall have no end to the account of mills and bridges destroyed… [Aug. 3] took a walk to Fresh Pond. Saw the two young grizzly bears there… [Aug 20] Spent the evening at Dr. Gould's, with Capt. Davis, Prof. [William] Chauvenet, and Prof. [Cornelius] Felton… [Sept. 15] Streets all mud, so that the sheep and cattle, on their way to Brighton to be butchered, have not the most delightful walking… [Oct 1] Bought of Drake a copy of the first English edition of Don Quixote. Date 1620… [Oct 29] Daniel Webster was buried at Marshfield on the 20 October 1852. His funeral was attended by several thousands of people. He died on the morning of the 24th and was 70 years old… [Nov. 8] Lucy Chase called this morning with Mrs. Bigelow. She gave me a kiss on parting which I shall not forget soon… [Lucy was an abolitionist and Freedman's teacher]… This month [December] so far has given us an uninterrupted season of warm Indian summer weather… our windows are open, and our thermometers makes nothing of getting as high as 65 or 70 degrees… Lilacs are coming into leaf again [What? man made global warming in 1852 too? ] Our fellow subjects in the Southern and Western parts of our Union have not been so fortunate. Prof. Winlock from Kentucky tells me that they have had winter there these four weeks… the folks in Siberia [saw] a total eclipse of the sun. It is feared several gongs were broken on the occasion… The Quebec Gazette says the sleighs are out and the mail steamers have gone into winter quarters… the skating club has commenced operations by erecting a skating saloon on the Queen's Wharf. But whenever it comes a lady's turn to sprawl herself and her petticoats all prone upon the ice with their heels gesticulating at the clouds; it is to be hoped that the gentlemen skaters have the good manners to look the other way. Unless, indeed, that Bloomerism has become an accepted revelation with the blue-nose sisterhood; in which case there will be no danger; and the gentlemen may look on and laugh… [gives a long and sarcastic rendition of a penance service he attended at church]… Went to Boston and procured $100 for Lottie. She calls it pin money. I can't for the life of me imagine what a lady can do with so many pins…. "The second almanac gives a printed reference to a Pro. Miller's death on Dec. 29, 1849. Downes concludes that this is Rev. William Miller, who founded the Millerite movement (present day Seventh Adventists) and the reference rankles Downes. He pens on the same page "And who the deuce is Pro. Miller? Or is it Prophet Miller, the true Millerite Messiah that our learned editor considers worthy of mention. Where is the apostle of Peace Johnny = missionary, and Col. Pluck? We would like to see mention of them!" The covers of the book are G to VG, the inside almanacs and pages in F to VF condition.
Title: 1852 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY A PASSIONATE, OPINIONATED MAN WHO DETESTS THE FREE SOILERS, LADY'S BLOOMERS AND INTERFERING FOREIGNERS TRYING TO TELL AMERICANS 'WHAT IS WHAT'
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS MASS MA, 1852
Book Condition: Very Good
Size: 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall
Item: 1.00 Item
Seller ID: 0001960
Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, JOHN DOWNES, CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, CHARLES BRADLEE, FREE SOILERS, ABOLITIONISTS, WOMAN'S-RIGHT-ERS, GENDER STUDIES, PRE SUFFRAGE, SUFFRAGE, LAJOS KOSSUTH, OCCULTATIONS, ASTROLOGY, ASTRONOMY, OCCULT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, PRE CIVIL WAR, POLITICS, CURRENT EVENTS, ANTEBELLUM, NEW ENGLAND, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, AUTOGRAPHED, AUTHORS, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, KEEPSAKE, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, PERSONAL HISTORY, ARCHIVE, DIARY, DIARIES, antiquité, contrat, vélin, document, manuscrit, papier Antike, Brief, Pergament, Dokument, Manuskript, Papier oggetto d'antiquariato, atto, velina, documento, manoscritto, carta antigüedad, hecho, vitela, documento, manuscrito, Papel,