Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

“Happy mortals are we, that we cannot dive into futurity!”

Following are some of the last entries from the journal of SARAH EVE, a young woman in Philadelphia in 1774.

March 27th. — A fine day, but still windy. In the morning I went over to Mrs. Stainforth’s and staid with her until dinner time. We had the pleasure of Mr. Clifford’s company to dine with us. In the afternoon Mr. & Mrs. Garriguse, Hannah Mitchell, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Rush (bless me, what a girl, Mr. Rush should have been set down first, I am sure, but now it is too late), and Mr. J. Giles drank Tea with us.

March 30th.— “Warm and cloudy. In the morning I went to Mrs. Rush’s where I spent the day and night. . . . About ten o’clock I went to bed and left Miss Bets up. Query, which was the happier, that lady sitting up with her, or myself lying in a fine soft bed, reading the ” Adventures of the renowned Don Quixote,” and in a most excellent humour to enjoy it?

May 1st. — A May morning indeed!. . . .This day is five years since my dear father left us; I am persuaded that had we known that morning we parted with him, that he was to have been absent so long, we should
have thought it impossible to have existed for one half the time ; nay, I know not at that time whether we should have wished it. Happy mortals are we, that we cannot dive into futurity! if we could, how pleasure would be anticipated until it became tasteless, and the knowledge of distant evil would render us utterly insensible to the joys of present good.

May 2nd. — In the evening I went to church and heard Mr. Stringer for the first time since his return from England. I dined at Mr. Rush’s. Betsey & myself in the afternoon went to Christ Church.

May 18th. — Mama and myself went to town in the morning, called at Mr. Rush’s. . . .

June 24th. — This morning I went to town, staid a little while at Mrs. Clifford’s, from there I went to Smith’s and spent the day. In the evening called at Mr. Rush’s. . . .

June 27th. — In the afternoon Mr. Cummings came here. In the evening the two Mr. Rushes called to see us.

July 3rd.— This day I spent at Mr. Rush’s. . . .

July 12th.— In the evening B. Rush, P. Dunn, K. Vaughan and myself carried Mr. Ash’s child to be buried . . . .

It was the custom at one time for friends and relatives of the deceased, including women, to carry the coffin to its resting place.

August 3rd. — This day I spent at Mr. Clifford’s . . . . In the evening called at Mr. Smith’s and Mr. Rush’s, then went to my sister’s where I met Mama and the Boys to go home with me.

August 13th. — About four o’clock we went to Town. I drank Tea at Mr. Rush’s, afterwards went down to see Mrs. Smith . . . .

September 4th. — To-day very unwell with a chill and fever. In the afternoon Mr. Rush and Betsey Rush were here.

September 5th. — In the morning I found myself much better and came down stairs and expected to have had no more of the fever, but about eleven o’clock found myself colder than December, and in the afternoon warmer than the inhabitants of Mercury — what a contrast in a few hours! In the afternoon my sister and Peggy Campbell and in the evening the two Betsey Rushes and Capt. Bethel.

September 21st. — Hearing that little Bets was unwell, I went to see her, and then to Mr. Smith’s to spend the day. Mr. Clifford read a paragraph in the York paper that mentions that my brother was to leave the Bay the 3rd of Sept.for Georgia, with some of the principal inhabitants and a hundred negroes on board, and that there were but two Vessels in the Bay, so that whether or not my Father has sailed we cannot tell. What doubt and anxiety attend absence — Oh! that our present uneasy apprehensions could but sleep ! Came home exceedingly unwell.

September 26th. — Last night Mama was extremely ill, Isabel very poorly and I not much better. . . . In the evening Mr. Rush came to see us, he did not know we were sick until he came here; he seemed so distresst that he did not know how to leave us, ” You should, why did you not let us know how you were, that we might have been up before.” Are we not blest with the best of friends.

September 27th. — Mama still bad, this morning we sent for Dr. Rush who gave Mama some powders and me some elixir, which we think have been of service to both. In the afternoon Mr. & Betsey Rush and Peggy Campbell came out here, and in the evening Mr. Rush.

September 29th. — Mrs. Clifford came out, although the weather extremely hot and sultry. About twelve we had a gust and it turned cold, so great a change in the weather gave me a chill instantly. Mrs. Rush and Betsey walked out here, but did not stay long as it looked like rain.

September 30th. — To-day cold, blowing and raining, so great an alteration in the weather in so short a time, I believe never has been. But notwithstanding Mr. Rush came through it all to ask how we did.

October 7th. — This morning we had the infinite pleasure of seeing my dear brother Jackey after an absence of twelve months. . . . To-day I went down stairs for the first time in eight days. . . .

October 9th. — A pleasant day, Mr. Rush, in the afternoon drank Tea with us.

Sarah Eve’s journal ends in mid December. Her father did come home before the end of the year. If you have been paying attention you will have noticed that the name of Dr. Benjamin Rush (and his mother and sister) is mentioned often in the preceding excerpts. He had been courting Sarah Eve and they were to have been married at the end of 1774. However, Sarah died three weeks before their wedding. As Sarah wrote: “Happy mortals are we, that we cannot dive into futurity!” Rush, in his autobiography, does not mention her.

EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF MISS SARAH EYE (concluded), The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography Vol. 5, No. 2 (1881),, pages 194-96, 198-200. Image from the National Library of Medicine (pp 28, 29, 30, 36).

posted February 8th, 2020 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Death,Eve, Sarah,Illness,Philadelphia,Rush, Dr. Benjamin,Weather

“only … rare occurences … make impressions on … memory”

SARAH EVE of Philadelphia continued in her journal to write about the weather comparing it to memory, in general, in which the unusual is remarked on and remembered while the usual, which is often fine, is either taken for granted or ignored. A philosophical young lady.

March 23rd. [1773] — A most fine day indeed, but as this is not uncommon at this season, I dare say, in a week it will be entirely forgotten, as in general it is only the rare occurences that make impressions on the memory. In this year we have had as yet but one day rendered memorable by its temperature, and that was the 21st of February, the extreme coldness of which made it so. . . .
It puts me in mind of those lines of our poet Godfrey*:
” The blazing meteor streaming thro’ the air,
” Commands our wonder, and admiring eyes
” With eager gaze we trace the lucent paths
” Till spent at last, it shrinks to native nothing,
” While the bright stars which ever steady glow
” Unheeded shine and bless the world below.”
The weather certainly may be said to be an emblem of mankind; there are few men in an age that are remembered after they are dead, and those few for being remarkable, like the days of the year, extreme in something, man for his goodness, wisdom, or ambition, for the service or disservice he has done a community, in common, with the weather only pleases or displeases for the present, all is forgotten when no more. It seems ingratitude so soon to forget those whose whole lives were made eminent by their social virtues, when perhaps another will be remembered and his name handed down to posterity for having been the best hair-dresser, or the best fiddle-maker of his time.

* Thomas Godfrey whose poems were published in 1765. Born in Philadelphia 1736, he died at the age of twenty-six. The lines quoted are from The Prince of Parthia, A Tragedy. Act I. Scene 2d.

In the next entry, however, Sarah is commenting again on the weather.

March 25th. — A most dreadful, rainy, windy day indeed. I am really afraid we shall hear of some damage done, as I think I never heard it blow harder. Alas! the poor Sailors, protect them, Heaven!

Source: Extracts from the Journals of Miss Sarah Eve, p 27-28.

posted January 16th, 2020 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Eve, Sarah,Poetry,Weather

“it is very extremely excessive cold”

According to Mrs. Eva Eve Jones of Augusta, Georgia, who published “Extracts of Sarah Eve’s Journal” in 1881, a member of the family wrote of SARAH EVE: “Her hair, though red, was always fashionably dressed, and her appearance very stately.” Stately she may have been but she certainly had a sense of humor. As noted in the previous post Sarah began her journal in part, to record and comment on the weather. In February 1773, herewith these entries.

February 15th. — A delightful day. . . . This evening Isabel planted peas, concluding like the Young
Man in the Fable, from the exceeding fineness of the day, that summer was come; and as the death of the swallow and coldness of the weather which was so pleasant but the other day, convinced him of his mistake in prematurely selling his cloathes, so I fancy will the rottenness of the peas satisfy her that had they been planted six weeks later, it had been much better. However, as this haste only proceeds from an anxiety of having them before our neighbors, it may be termed an innocent, if not a laudable emulation.

Sarah is referring to the Aesop Fable titled “The Spendthrift and the Swallow.” The gist of it is that a young spendthrift, needing money, upon seeing a swallow, thought that spring had come, and so sold all of his clothes. A mistake. The weather turned cold, the swallow died, and the foolish man almost froze. The moral: “don’t draw a conclusion based on a single observation.”

February 21st. — The weather to day — but what shall I say of the weather? we have had ” very cold,” ” extremely cold,” ” excessive cold,” and ” exceeding cold,” as says this Book now, none of these separately is sufficient to convey the idea of the temperature of this day — it needs more than the superlative degree, it would take a super-superlative degree if there is such an one, for it is very extremely excessive cold, in short, they say that it has not been so cold since that winter the ox was frozen on the river. . . .

The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography Vol. 5, No. 2 (1881), pp. 191-205. From the Internet Archive, pp 20, 25. See details on the fable HERE.

posted January 10th, 2020 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Eve, Sarah,Weather

“I keept Christmas at home this year”

Young Anna Green Winslow, whose parents lived in Nova Scotia, was being schooled in Boston and living with her aunt. In these excerpts she describes the weather on Christmas Eve 1771, how she spent Christmas itself, as well as January 1.

Decr 24th.— … today is by far the coldest we have had since I have been in New England. (N.B. All run that are abroad.) Last sabbath being rainy I went to & from meeting in Mr. Soley’s chaise. … Every drop that fell froze. … The walking is so slippery & the air so cold, that aunt chuses to have me for her scoller [scholar] these two days. And … tomorrow will be a holiday, so the pope and his associates have ordained. … *

Decr 27th.—This day, the extremity of the cold is somewhat abated. I keept Christmas at home this year & did a very good day’s work. …

1st Jany 1772—I wish my Papa, Mama, brother John Henry, & cousin Avery & all the rest of my acquaintance … a Happy New Year. I have bestow’d no new year’s gift as yet.** But have received one very handsome one … [a book]. In nice Guilt and flowers covers. This afternoon being a holiday I am going to pay my compliments in Sudbury Street.

* Anna’s remarks reflect the Puritan dislike for Christmas.
** Gift-giving, if it prevailed at all in Puritan New England, took place on New Year’s Day.
For another excerpt from Anna’s journal, click here.

These excerpts are from a reprint of The Diary of Anna Green Winslow—A Boston School Girl of 1771, edited by Alice Morse Earle (Bedford, Massachusetts: Applewood Books, originally in 1894), pages 9-10, 13. The image is of a miniature owned by Elizabeth C. Trott, Niagara Falls, New York.

“that phenomenon of Nature; a blaizing ocean”

ABIGAIL ADAMS continues her description of details of her voyage to England for her sister MARY CRANCH.

If I did not write every day, I should lose the days of the month, and of the week, confined all day . . . on account of the weather; which is foggy, misty, and wet. You can hardly judge how urksome this confinement is; when the whole ship is at our Service; it is little better than a prison; we Suppose ourselves near the western Islands [the Azores]. . . .

July 8thAn other wet drisly day, but we must not complain, for we have a fair wind; our sails all square and go at 7 knots an hour. I have made a great acquisition, I have learnt the Names and places of all the masts and sails; and the Captain compliments me by telling me that he is sure I know well enough how to steer to take a trick at Helm; I may do pretty well in fair weather, but tis your masculine Spirits that are made for Storms. . . .

I went last evening upon deck, at the invitation of Mr. Foster to view that phenomenon of Nature; a blaizing ocean. A light flame Spreads over the ocean in appearence; with thousands of thousands Sparkling Gems, resembling our fire flies in a dark Night. It has a most Beautifull appearence. I never view the ocean without being filled with Ideas of the Sublime, and am ready to break forth with the psalmist, “Great and Marvellous are thy Works, Lord God Almighty; in Wisdom hast thou made them all.”

* Abigail is describing phosphorescence, or more properly bioluminescence, caused by the slow oxidation of material found in certain marine organisms.

“Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 6 – 30 July 1784,” Founders Online, National Archives, accessed April 11, 2019, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/04-05-02-0204. [Original source: The Adams Papers, Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 5, October 1782 – November 1784, ed. Richard Alan Ryerson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993, pp. 358–386.]

posted June 18th, 2019 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Adams, Abigail,Cranch, Mary (Smith),Ocean Voyages,Weather

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