Coffin, Charles, 1765-1820. Journal of Charles Coffin and David Gurney, 1781-1785. HUD 785.14, Harvard University Archives.

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This diary appears to have been kept by two different students, both members of the Harvard College class of 1785. The first two pages contain entries made by a student named David, believed to be David Gurney because the entries relate to the freshman curriculum and Gurney was the only student named David who was a freshman in 1781. Gurney originally titled the volume "A Journal or Diary of my concerns in College of important matters." He made entries from August 28 through October 21, 1781, recording his lessons on Virgil, Tully, Homer, the Greek Testament, Hebrew grammar, English author John Ash's "Grammar," and a text called "The Art of Speaking." At the top of one of the pages recounting these studies, Gurney wrote in large, bold letters: "About how I misspent my precious time." Charles Coffin's entries begin on October 25, 1781 and fill the bulk of the journal. Coffin kept this diary while a student at Harvard College from 1781 to 1785. Although most of Coffin's entries are written in Latin, an account of his July 1781 examination for admission to the College is in English.

Biographical Notes

Charles Coffin (1765-1820; Harvard AB 1785) was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts on September 4, 1765. He attended Harvard College, receiving an A.B. in 1785 and an A.M. in 1788. He was a physician and a teacher who worked in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and later in Beaufort, South Carolina. He died in Beaufort on September 8, 1820.|David Gurney (1759-1815; Harvard AB 1785) was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1759 and fought as a private in the American Revolutionary War before enrolling in Harvard College in 1781. He earned an A.B. in 1785 and an A.M. in 1788. In 1787, Gurney was ordained a Congregational minister in Middleborough, Massachusetts; he served as minister there until his death in 1815.

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Domino West a Dartmouth prefecto, [hartmash?] un Jacelllo, [post?] quam, Denmark, minimus. [Die?] Septembris quinto comentus [amnuss?] [socionum?] [fratemtatis?] Phi, Beta, Cappa, diete in Sarello [habi?] [?] D. Paine orathonem [Angh?] canam [promuniarit?] sexto, [Die?] Vineris Domino mellen nostra [lasis?] Tuton [donaratun?] horarium manuale angentium par fibularaum argento arum, quad donum a [noleis?] qui in collegium Harvardinum [admite?] [tantur?], anno [So?] [factumess?] Sept. Die Saptimi [Concionatuest?] {Reverend} Dominus [Burkminsteia?] a [Neo-hantona?] concionato optimus.

[Masthi?] Die irea hosam Jestam matutinam vita [duesit?], post morbum [pebdonado?], postanam mortu angores poras plus septem [perpesiuseset?] Cyrus Woodword, umus [elasu?] [portre?] [Morsesus?] pramatura & [inopinata?] nos amunes ad nirtutem duces & [veiligionem?]

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nem colendam, & sic nos excitet gerendons, quoiam vita tam incesta sit, ut, quandom que mors, ille terrorum rex, e vita, Dei { ? ] voluntatem, nos vocabit, pasati [ ? ], nuncium illum istum horrificum [ ? ] accipere, & ad jedes beatas, Deum glorificantes, migress[ ? ]. Sic faxit Deus Optimum Maxiumus, per Christum Jesum Domimum nostrum. Mors, omnium, tam, juvenum, quam jenum tam Invitum quam pauperum, est finis [ ? ]

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Exhibitiones in facello habitae sunt, Dic Septembris 25th peer Lear, [Gling?], Prescott 2; Crafts mus Williams Word, Otis, mus Seniores, & per Amory, Gill, Abbot, Williams 3; mus [Perkman,] Burr, Mellen, v. mus Juniors. ---

Octobris 4th Die Veneris, ut filium Sequeretur, è vita decepit, Aer. Dominus Woodwaard ejus, qui in numero [lapis?] [nostro?] suit, pater, eodem, quo filius, mortes, [oppr---?] us; qui filium ejus, ad [sepulchrum?], cum masto domo, vel familia, lachrymis [obortis?], sequietus est, nunc, heu! mortis [pradair?] pulvere, [strikeout] - ?? - [strikeout] quo dormit filius qui dilectus, eras, ipec deponendus est. O dolor familia ejus tote acerbissimus! [Gio?] angore [strikeout] ?? [strikeout] chara ejus conjux, nunc afflicta, imò, oppressa est! Quam attonita filiae ejus, necesse est Sunt! Quam, corda tenera juvenum ejus liberorum m o vore vulnerantur!

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Gravis, ah! maximè gravis [fratris?] Sui mors suit! Intolerabilis, serè, igitur, ur est patris mors, heu! nunc [adjuneta?] ! Deus Optimus Maximus omnes sub pondre hujus afflictionis [trist?] pima, laborantes [??] Sustentet, & officio, patris, [strikeout] - ??- [strikeout] liberis & [meriti?] viduo, [strikeout] ?? [strikeout] clementer fungatur. Gujus mors, omnes ad virtutem ex enendam, excitet & omnespa-rati sunt, mortem lotè acupere, quamvis inopinatiprimam.

Nov.m Hoc mense nihil serò notationc accidit, prater hoc; John [Dashwood?] & Jos. [Andrews?], à Michael Gill, Anserem [eripuerunt?], & detecto pro peccato quo veniam [petreverunt?] à Deo hominibus, & [---] Gill pro ansore Satisfacere. Hujus menses diè 28th. per recommendationem à {Congresser?], & nostro, Gubernatore, celebrata est gratiarum actia [polenniris?] velanni

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versaria; concionaturest Mr Whitman; sed sermonem non admodum exquisitum, mihi confitendum est.

In auta prandi, fortum & epulis admodum jumquitussis, & bene apparatis, propt pranium vinum modice bibi: caetera dei, loocum in hoc libro habere non [?] Decr. Circa diem duodecimum, f[?] convictus, Josephus Andrews nostra classia, periculum fore timens, si add collegium maneret, profugit & ad Bostonian, ut [puto?] ad Collegium nunquam reventurus, sic horrible est furtum! O! utinam ego hoc sellus effugiam! 23th Decr. A Domino Jno Abbot vocatus vel invitatus, Domum domini Hunneywell in via qua ad Carolioppidum dducit ivi, um nonmillis societatis musia; cantationem habiumus bonam. * Charlestown a domno abi[?] [?] [?] [?]

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