James Adam diary: 1857-1863 (Ms. Codex 1948)

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Diary comprising two volumes spanning the years from 1857 to 1863 written by James Adam. Volume 1 contains Adam's descriptions his journey from Scotland to India as a medical officer. On August 15, 1857 Adam departed from London on a steamer ship the Candia. He wrote of his sea voyage including officers he traveled with, the weather, landscapes, missing his family, sea sickness, and miles traveled. He arrived at Kalkota on November 5, 1857. Adam worked at a hospital and witnessed a portion of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. In February 1858 Adam was deployed to the ship Belgravia to take charge of the wounded and sick at the South African Cape. He traveled with his servant Harold. Once anchored at Table Bay Adam described the native people, seeing Dr. Livingstone. Adam noted he had a muster of forty natives whom he reluctantly treated for skin diseases. There is a copy of a letter to his parents and pencil drawings of the Cape of Good Hope. On the journey back to Calcutta there was an incident with the captain regarding ailing horses. In June 1858 Adam mentioned seeing cholera cases, reading Waston and works on homeopathy. Adam also worked off of the H.M.S. Proserpine. In March 1859 Adam began his voyage back to England on the Ivanhoe he mentioned playing chess and catching fish. Reading volume 1 from back to front are poems and songs. One of the poems was "written on board the Candia". Tables of daily latitude and longitude for the voyages to India and England are in the volume. Some accounting of receipts and expenditures is in the volume. Adam arrived back in Edinburgh on August 5, 1859. Volume 2 commences in 1861. In sporadic entries Adam described his arrival and work at Bethnal House Asylum with Dr. Ritchie. and Dr. Miller. In August 1863 Adam wrote of his trip to Scotland and attending a wedding in Portobello. He mentioned seeing family members in Edinburgh. Reading volume 2 from back to front is a clipping of an epitaph for Lord Clyde pasted over writing in pencil. Adam wrote an autopsy of a young woman named Ann Jones aged 23. A majority of volume 2 is blank. Inscribed on the first leaf of volume 1: J. F. Adam journal, commenced August 13, 1857 on leaving home for the first time to sail for India. Inscribed on the last leaf of volume 1: James F. Adam, Surgeon, H.M.S. Proserpine. Volume 2 is inscribed: Private, Jame Adam M.D., January 20, 1861. https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9977359130603681

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dark blue waves with every inch of canvass spread out there is a fine breeze & the sails are filled to the utmost there is something stirring in bounding free & uncontrolled over the sea. had not the idea that every knot we go takes me further from my beloved home. The sky is beautiful overhead the sun shining brightly there are very few on deck compared with the number we had on leaving Southampton there is a struggle here & there more than half the passengers are in their berths sick I can scarcely keep my legs on deck yet every roll the ship gives sets me trembling to the other side. Afternoon we have got an awning put up over the quarter deck as the sun is getting very hot some of the more hardy passengers are walking up & down the quarter deck Some are sitting reading some lying on cushions & others looking as if they would willingly part with their breakfast. the ship is rolling heavily from side to side & nothing is visible round & round except the broad blue expanse

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of the ocean. I have gone down below once more & got my large trunk into my Cabin. I have now got both my trunks in beside me. Capt Tedlie has found his luggage & seems in a better humour now, I got down to dinner at 4 oclock but made a sorry job of it. if I could only get some of the good plain food I used to get at home I could eat well enough but everything is so richly seasoned that the smell is quite enough for me. We have two breakfasts every day & 2 dinners as the Saloon is not large enough to contain all the passengers at once. At breakfast we have cold meats of all kinds Curry & Rice, preserves, Claret, rolls tea coffee &c everything in the eating way we could wish for. I expect before the end of the voyage to be able to set up for a Baillie. we have dismissed our first Servant, Fiash & got another called Carpenter. who is a very active fellow & very obliging We have about 160 first Class passengers on board. All officers with the exception of 2 or 3 on their

Last edit 5 months ago by Dendendaloom
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way to India to join their regiments. we have now entered the Bay of Biscay the sea does not run a bit higher than it has done since we left the Channel. I believe at this season of the year it is generally very quiet the water seemed very smooth but there is a great swell on which makes the ship roll about. I am writing this in my book lying on deck with my blue flannel suit on (which I find useful) I have got up some sofa pillows from below which make a very good couch most of the passengers have these folding chairs with them & they are certainly very useful on board ship. The only faces at all familiar to me here are 6 or 8 officers of the 34th that I used to see marching to the park. I have been trying to make out the course we shall steer for India in Sullivans geography. we do not go through the Bay of Biscay entirely rather across it & Strike out into the Atlantic then pass the Madeira & Canary islands down by the Coast of Africa & go round the

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Cape so that the first land we are likely to see is Madeira. At 5 oclock this afternoon a whale came tumbling out under our bows threw up a tremendous foam round about throwing up his tail & then sinking down under water a minute or two rising up again. We saw it on the surface about a dozen times. the sailors said it was about 20 or 30 feet long In the evening the boats were filled with officers singing smoking &ce. I turned into bed at 9 oclock & I could hear them singing & shouting long afterwards

Tuesday August 18th 1857

Got up at 6 this morning + went on deck 2 hours there is a fine fresh breeze + our ship is flying rapidly across the atlantic under full sail I went down to breakfast at 8 oclock. I thought I could eat with a good appetite but the first mouthful I took completely upset me there is a peculiar taste about everything which is most nauseating to me. a peice of tempting looking cold

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lamb stood before me thinks Ile try a bit of you. I did so & it is a wonder I did not vomit on the spot. however I daresay I'll get accustomed to it bye & bye. At 9.15 we saw a frigate about 5 miles distant the first vessel we have Seen since we left the Channel. She seems homeward bound. I wish we would hail her that I might send a letter home. oh, what would I give to see all your faces once more. every one seems happy here. they are all now accustomed to travel & to make the most of the Circumstances in which they are placed a great many have been in the Crimea. Although I must I say I cannot yet look upon things so philosophically, There is something grand & elevating on viewing the works of the Creator as we see them here. The great ocean rolling on its ceaseless waves the eye rests on nothing save the Wild waves dashing & rolling noisily until they seem to meet the sky in the horizon. The weather is still keeping very fine the sun shing brightly the breeze

Last edit 4 months ago by Dendendaloom
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