Diary

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About this Item

Collection Title
Papers of John Henry Tudor 179518021795-1802
Language
Undefined
Date
1798-1801
Repository
Harvard University Archives
Rights
The Papers of John Henry Tudor are open for research.
Identifier
colonialnorthamerica.library.harvard.edu/hua10010c00026

Content Notes

The first part of the volume is a student notebook, dated 1798, containing extracts from various published texts, including Patrick Brydone's (1736-1818) A tour through Sicily and Malta, George Gregory's (1754-1808) The economy of nature explained and illustrated on the principles of modern philosophy, as well as the writings of John Locke (1632-1704) and August von Kotzebue (1761-1819). The second part of the volume, consisting of diary entries, is written tête-bêche (from the back cover forward). The diary starts on February 10, 1800, during Harvard's winter recess, and Tudor writes about his vacation pursuits, including a journey with friends to Woburn to visit Harvard classmate Loammi Baldwin, Jr. (1780-1838) and his family. Loammi Baldwin, Sr. (1745-1807) was chief engineer of the Middlesex Canal, then under construction, which Tudor toured. Describing his impressions after viewing the site, he writes, "I had no idea of the importance of the canal before." The most frequent topics of the diary are Tudor's chronic poor health, family news, and travels in New England and New York, but he also comments on activities during his final semester at Harvard, such as oratory exercises he was preparing for a spring exhibition and a masquerade for the upperclassmen. At his graduation in July 1800, which included the traditional discussion and debate of student theses, Tudor thought "the performances … were miserable indeed," with the exception of Washington Allston (1779-1843), Joseph Buckminster (1784-1812), and a few others. After graduation, Tudor continued to socialize with his Harvard friends. In October 1800, they celebrated the anniversary of the Harvard Coffee Club, as well as the anniversary of the Porcellian Club; the latter party was attended by about 30 men who "enjoyed themselves like pigs and gentlemen." Tudor writes earlier in the diary that his career course had changed, and he would pursue commerce instead of law. In November and December 1800, entries reference his applications for employment at the counting houses of Daniel Sargent (1730-1806) and Ebenezer Preble (1757-1817). He ultimately found a position with John & Samuel Welles. In early 1801, Tudor sailed to Havana with his brother Frederic, against the advice of his physician. The remaining entries in the diary almost exclusively concern Tudor's knee problems and medical treatment in Havana, which included an operation to remove a mass of tissue. In May, he boarded a ship bound for Boston, landing at Charleston, South Carolina, and Alexandria, Virginia, where he wrote his last entry in July 1801.