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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clearly shown after the service. Several parties took to novels & some to playing cards &c which I think they would not have felt much inclined to do if they had heard one of Dr Browns Sermon instead Lat. 24.19 Long 19.23. Distance Me 182

Monday Augt 24th 1857 The ship has been rolling more heavily last night than it has done at all as yet. We have changed her course & are sailing against the waves which account for it. I was nearly rolled out of my berth 3 or 4 times last night & today the ship rolls over as if she would pitch us all into the sea. We are steering off the Coast of Africa (100 miles from it). A flying fish came on board to day & was picked up by one of the officers it is exactly like a Macker [Macherel] with wings in addition. I believe it is a common thing for them to come on board when the sea is rough. I have now got acquainted with a good many of the passengers & the time passes more pleasantly the Scotsmen more especially fraternise. The Cheif engineer of the ship is a Scotsman + our Surgeon studied in Edinr. he passed last

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year. I daresay you have heard me speak of him as the graduate who turned his back upon the principal & knelt down when he was being capped. I told him of this & we had a good hearty laugh at it. he was the first to recognize me I did not know him from the uniform he was in our latitude today is 24.57 N Long 21.21 west 187 mile we passed a good many ships today. Some of them seemed becalmed the breeze has nearly died away altogether but we are always so far independent of it having steam. We can make 180 miles a day with half steam power. We burn 25 tons of coal a day we had 1200 tons at starting so that we have enough to last us to Ceylon with a fair wind Tuesday Augt 25th 1857 We are still sailing slowly. Scarcely a breath of wind. We are trusting to the steam alone I heard this morning of a skirmish that had taken place last night An officer named Named Flanagan was taking some brandy on deck last night which is contray

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to the rules of the ship (although every one can take as much as he pleases below) 20 of the steward's stopped him & put hands on him he immediately knocked them both down I do not know what will be done to him I rather think it will be passed over with a reprimand from Colonel Lys who is on board. If he was put under arrest there would very likely be some mutiny. Our surgeon is a very nice quiet fellow & well informed in all the details of his profession. We often sit in his cabin at night & talk over college days in Ednr. We were sitting last night in his cabin enjoying the cool breeze through an open port when a wave dashed right in upon us which we had to beat a retreat & get the ports shut to keep out such unfriendly visitors our Latitude today is 22.47 North Long 23.45 W 174 miles

Wednesday Augt 27th 1857

Every one is now talking of crossing

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the line when we shall have his royal highness Neptune & his worthy spouse Amphitrite on board to pay us a visit. The Cheif Officer had the [m all struck through] Anchors out today showing them to some of the Ladies there are three degrees the first as smooth on the edge as a barrel hoop the second like a saw though not so sharp the 3rd like a comb with sharp teeth the blade of each is about 3 feet long Lat 20.15 Long 25.3 } 197

Thursday Augt 27th 1857

This forenoon we made out two ships ahead we were soon on a line with one of them (we always beat the sailing vessels) it was to windward 5 miles distant. They hoisted their colours. We at first could not make them out however on getting a good glass we made out the tricolor of the French. We hoisted our Union Jack they dipped their flag three times as a mark of respect we dipped ours also. They then showed the numbers by which we recognize the name there are 12 pendants each having different colours. each of these pendants correspond to

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certain [different - scored through] numbers 1,2,3 &ec they hoisted four of these pendants & by dint of perserverance & a good glass we made out her number & on turning up the book we found her ot be the "General Castell. We returned our number we then signalled where bound [underscored] they answered Maurituis [underscored] & asked where we were bound. We answered Calcutta We had by this time get far ahead & could not signal anymore We each however put up a pendant to show that we understood each other. I watched the Maneuvering with great interest & having a good glass I could make out the signals very well Lat 17.7 Long 26.23 218 miles

Friday Augt 28th 1857

The weather is now very warm especially this m'g the air is oppressive it makes me sweat like a Yank we sleep outisde the bedclothes at night now with our white ducks on & manage to sleep very cooly. We also keep our cabin door open & there is an open hatchway close beside we have put off steam today & are trusting to sail

Last edit 5 months ago by Dendendaloom
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