Saturday, March 22, 2008

Henry Wise Farley 1812

This letter home, from Harvard medical student HW [Henry Wise] Farley, contains a lengthy and detailed first-person account

Farley describes leaving Ipswich for his boarding house on Newbury St., Boston. He lugs his heavy trunk a quarter mile, has little sleep for a few days, and then attempts to bring the trunk up "three pair of stairs, high Boston stories."

"You might, perhaps, in a still time have heard my heart beat at their bottom. I was astonished, agonized; it seemed to be impatient of its narrow prison. In fact I had a serious fit of palpitation...I found next day that when I went up stairs I had pain or distress in my breast accompanied more or less with horrid forebodings. This distressed my mind exceedingly. It increased momently; I dreaded to go up a stair, my heart beat hard only at sight to them. By Saturday evening I was so violently affected that I with difficulty reached my room..."

"I was firmly persuaded I had an incurable disease of the heart. I had nothing but remorse for past excesses in exercise, excessive pain for the present, and gloomy apprehensions for the future."

Fortuitously, at this time Farley is visited by another boarding house student who had "a similar case". He advised Farley to "take no medicine, compared my own case with his own, called them both hysterics hyppo, told me he had recovered. In a moment I was nearly so, myself."

War of 1812 - AWOL Soldiers Executed at Fort

"As to going in a privateer or other vessel I have by no means given up the idea...yet as I am now considerably interested in the lectures I should like to get thro with them first."; "On Thursday last two unfortunate runaway rogues of soldiers were shot at one of the forts. This likely and will frequently happen...Two more I understand are sentenced for next Thursday."

Harvard Students

"About 60 attend the lectures among which are every sort of contour of countenance that ever happened, I believe, except handsome ones...proof positive that deep philosophic, thinking pates, seldom have the commonly much valued yet insignificant addition of a pleasing face. Among these heroes of science, your very humble servant cuts no very disrespectable figure."

Also mentions buying a five dollar half ticket in the Union Canal lottery.

Letters & Postcards on E-Bay