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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is fresh. the foresails of the ship are all set & turned aslant to catch the wind. We are sailing at the rate of 9 Knots an hour, an old Tar standing beside me here tells me. he says this is a fine vessel but that one in which he sailed before went regularly 13 Knots an hour So much for his Yarn. We have a notice put upon the Cabin 8 am every day telling us in what latitude & longitude we are in & the progress made every day which is calculated from the degrees of latitude & longitude. to day it stands thus Lat: [Latitude] 42.3 N. Long:[Longitude] 10.39.W. 213 miles this is ascertained by taking the suns Altitude in the heavens every day at 12 oclock by Means of the Sextant. all the officers of the Ship are out with them every day, We have had some rifle shooting today & also some revolvers were being tried. A soda water bottle was hung up at the yardarm one man first Smashed the bottle with one Shot left the neck hanging. he Shot away the neck with the Second with his revolver

Last edit 4 months ago by Dendendaloom
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& this too with the bottle tossing about with the wind. I never Saw a better shot made. I have got hold of a book called prairie Bird which I am reading just now. I have read it before but it keeps to pass away the time it is a lazy life on board Ship. Nothing at all to do but eat & sleep & pass away the time as you best can. I intend beginning to learn Hindoostanee as soon as I feel all right & fit to study in the meantime I could not Settle to it, so as to make anything of it.

Wednesday. August 19th 1854.

Nothing has happened to day worth noting in. fact it is the Same thing over & over again every day. at 2 o clock we saw another homeward bound vessel about 5 or 6 miles distant. We are always too far distant from them to send off a boat & I don't Know that it would be safe in Such a rough Sea -- to do so the cheif engineer when I asked him whether we even likely to stop to Send letters home in any vessel he said he did not think they would as it would cost 3/ a minute all the Time

Last edit 5 months ago by Dendendaloom
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they stopped. I expect that we will soon get sight of land now. Via Madeira. We are not to stop at the Cape if it can be avoided but push right on to Ceylon & there take in a fresh supply of coal We are now put on short allowance of water. One jugful each being the allowance. I do not know why they should do so because they have only to condense the steam produced by boiling Salt water. We have Salt water baths which we can have either hot cold or shower. I have not tried either yet but intend to begin soon. To night some of the young officers got up the rigging. the Sailors were very soon after them & tied them to the rope ladders. Until they paid their footing which was either 5 or 10/- (Summat to drink the genelmans health with) as they called it. There was one very green young fellow of an officer who was nicely caught. he was led into it by the others. They proposed to try a race to the top of the rope ladder & down the other side. This young fellow got off his coat to it The others let him

Last edit 5 months ago by Dendendaloom
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pass them the sailors were immediately up on each side & pinned him fast to the crosstrees the rest were gathered on deck laughing at him asking how he felt? Was he proud of his victory? how amiable he looks? & such like remarks. On paying his 10/- he was loosened & came down rather crestfallen. There is no end of good living here we have breakfast lunch dinner tea supper & all of them in the very best style. We have Claret to breakfast & we go by the Indian custom so far as to have rice & curry at every dish there being a good many old Indians on board like it very nice but those who have been in India say that it is nothing compared with the curry we will get in Calcutta. In the evening between 8 & 9 oclock all kinds of fruit are placed on the table With wines of every kind which every one may take as much of as he pleases Which I think is a great pity as several rather noisy Scenes take place afterwards I have made a point of not going into the Saloon at all as yet at night I generally remain on

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deck until 9 or 10 oclock when there is singing going on both among the sailors in the forecastle & the passengers on the Quarter deck. Some of the sailors sing well & with good taste & feeling & I must say I like better to listen to the singing of these honest heated fellows than to be in the company of the more distinguished & fashionable Most of them seem to think of nothing else from morning to night but playing cards gambling & betting I can see the sovereigns change owners very quickly I believe there is one man on board who has already lost £150. I can notice that they play for higher stakes every day I dont know what it will be before we reach Calcutta The surgeon tells me that In a ship which he went out before one man gambled away not only all his money but even his outfit & landed without a shirt to out on. So much for gambling - we passed in a line

Last edit 5 months ago by Dendendaloom
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