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Notebook No.144, 13 May 1846 - 26 May 1846

 Item — Box: Lyell-temp-box 6
Identifier: Coll-203/A1/144

Scope and Contents

This Notebook contains a record of Charles Lyell’s visit to the United States of America (commenced in Notebook 121) recording his visit to New York and surrounding areas, focusing on Albany, Vermont, Saratoga, Syracuse, New Orleans, Long Island, and Mobile. This notebook has detailed notes of geological features, flora and fauna, political discussions, religion, anti-Irish, anti-American, and anti-English issues, as well as recording detailed evidence of the political state of slaves, and tensions with bordering areas of America. Lyell mentions many geological findings and fossils like the Gnathodon, Zeuglodon, Ichthyosaur, and especially, sea-serpents. The sea-serpents are mentioned often in this notebook with many individuals contributing to the notes on them. Lyell speaks with key individuals like James Hall (Palaeontologist), Ebenezer Emmons (Geologist), Rev. Orvile Dewey (Unitarian Minister), and Alonzo Potter (Episcopal Bishop) as well as information on the workings of publishing companies in America and UK; Harpers, Wiley & Putnam, and Little & Brown Co. This notebook is a light brown colour and written in ink and pencil. The index is located in the end of the notebook from page 93 and is seven pages long.

Content warning:

Lyell uses his Scientific Notebooks to gather evidence, based on both his own observation, by reviewing other people's works, by correspondence, asking questions and analyses. The language used in this index is historical, can be discriminatory and may cause offence.

Transcription note:

When known, Lyell’s abbreviations, contractions, and known people, have been expanded using square brackets ( [] ). The inclusion of [sic] indicates the misspelling of a word is deliberate and taken from the notebook. An ‘X.’ (Lyell’s own) may indicate use in Lyell’s printed works, with this notebook relating to A Second Visit to the United States of North America Volume 2 printed in 1849. The capital letter ‘G.’ is (Lyell’s own) relating to a geological section of the notebook.

Lyell's own index:

May 13 1846
p.1 G. Drift Patroon Creek, Albany
p.1 G. Geol[og]y, Magnesia abund[an]t in Silurian groups of N[ew] Y[ork] so the West not so exceptionable
p.2 X Puseyism B[aptists] of Vermont & clergy
p.2 X Patronage of Gov[erno]r of N[ew] Y[ork]. 2000 offices
p.3 X Saratoga Spring, Galeville, Bald mount[ai]n
p.4 X Vote of thanks in the “3rd Ho[use]” at Albany
p.5 X Patronage of Gov[ernmen]t at Albany, vis
p.5 G. Geol[og]y, Brontes of Goldfuss not as in Elements
p.6 X treaty members of 3rd Ho[use] Albany
p.6 X Captial in small place rather than N[ew] Y[ork]
p.8 X Plants see in excurs[io]n to Saratoga
p.10 X Scenery at Saratoga etc with [Dr Ebenezer] Emmons
p.11 G. Taconic quest[io]n result of tour
p.12 G. Tentaculites nature of J[ames] Hall
p.12 X Saratoga, wooden houses & trees
p.13 X Legislation Albany, Lobbyer
p.13 X War with England, newspapers against
p.15 X State Convention N.Y number of
p.19 G. Zeuglodon Buckley on in Ala[bama] – 15 to 19
p.19 G. Serpentine, trap near Syracuse
p.19 G. Icthyodorulite [sic ichthyosaur] of West, age coniferous?
p.20 G. Silurian of N.Y [James] Hall on
p.20 G. Potsdam of Green Mount[ain]s resting on Gneiss
p.20 X Legislature of Mass super[sitio]n to N.Y
p.21 X [Rev. Orville] Dewey’s sermon ag[ains]t War N.Y
p.22 X [Rev. Orville Dewey] in Engl[and] precedence at parties
p.22 X Inspectors duties of Caveat Emptor
p.22 ? Anti-rent – Distress for rent, new law
p.23 X Inspectors
p.23 X Arrears of Taxes, Pa [Pennsylvania]
p.23 X Wilde autobiography
p.23 X Baltmore convention, Oregon
p.23 ? Okei – Battle of N[ew] Orleans
p.24 X Envy in a democracy
p.25 ? Negros free in N.Y badly off, why.
p.25 X Mexico – Ind[ian]s w[ould] make and infer[io]r cast[e?]
p. 25 ? Alonzo Potter B[isho]p at Lowell Instit[ute]
p.25 X [Rev. Orville] Dewey vote of sum to, for travelling
p.25 Education open opposite[io]n of demagogue
p.26 ? [Education] advance of in spite of & of Romanists
p.26 G. Redfield rain-drop specimen
p.26 ? Anti-English morbid feeling in U.S. 28
p.27 X Frequency of elections in [U.S]
p.27 ? Divorced person cannot marry
p.28 X Immigrants evil of N.Y
p.28 X Gorgeous houses in N.Y
19th May 1846
p.28 X Anti English feeling whence
p.28 X Balize [sic Belize] Musquitos [sic Mosquito] common in
p.28 X Boarding Ho[use] & want of privacy in N.Y
p.29 X Universal Suffrage – foreigners
p.30 X Harper’s establishment, Wandering Jew
p.31 G. Contents of Box 10, from N.Y
p.32 X Railway Journey by Brooklyn N.Y and Long Island, Orchards in
p.32 X Windmill, invention of N. Englanders
p.33 X Public meeting at N.Y for War (& 34)
p.33 X New Orleans all play, hate work
p.34 X Long I[sland] sail – New London. Green Port
p.34 X Commercial derangement by War N. Orl[eans]
p.36 X Harper’s visit to
p.36 X Poor in America in better posit[io]n
p.38 X Scenery in N[ew]. Engl[and] bright sun
p.38 X Railway follows estuary & river
p.40 X Irish voters
p.40 X Rate per hour of Railway
p.40 X Washington (W[illiam]. Prescott) lower masonry of
g p.40 X German thank of Engl[and] not of Germany
p.42 X Railway picturesque
p.42 X Political men may be less refined than when the country was less civilised, why
p.42 X Wandering Jew read in railway
p.46 ? Address S. Guild 4 Court St.
p.44 X Harper’s N.Y reprints what
p.44 X Tortoise habitats of Clarke Cincinnati
p.44 X Wiley & Putnam Little & Brown
p.48 X Women more refined than man
p.48 G. Gnathodon, extent of beds at Mobile
p.48 X Mobile fire Hamilton on
p.48 Mexico, Bay of S[an] Francisco, Gray
p.48 G. Temperature of W[est] & E[ast] coasts do – [Gray]
p.50 X New Bedford Whale fishery
p.50 X Spitting in the S[outh] compar[e]d to N[orth].
p.50 [Spitting] Capt[ain] Sherman & swab
p.52 X Mexican War began “on Irishman”
p.52 ? Dickens humour of, [William] Prescott
p.52 ? Slaver, W[illiam] Prescott horror at seeing
p.52 ? Senate of U.S (W.O) august body
p.54 ? “We are a great people” –
p.54 X Calquorn [sic Calhoun] sanguine ab[ou]t Oregon
p.54 X Western Steam “where it is damp”
p.54 ? New committee style of L[or]d John R[ussell]
p.54 X Oregon, Western bluster, on Amory [Holbrook]
p.56 Geologist names of to be mentioned
p.57 X Anti-American feeling in England in 1835, [Hugh] Legare [sic Legaré] on
p.57 ? Diary & dates in May 1846 –
p.58 X Tobacco exciting, not used in mad-house or prison
p.58 Equipages no fine ones in U.S
p.58 Wake Mr Consul Charleston
p.59 Spring season flow approach of
p.61 X [Washington] Allston condemning his youthful picture
p.61 Dearness of land in Boston
p.62 ? Book to prove. All the rich have dispossession
p.62 X Selection of Society scarified by public mem[bers]
p.62 X Anti-English feeling why
p.64 ? [William] Oakes dried plants by furnace, colours preserved of
p.64 Nenuphar, Magnolia, cotton grass
p.66 X Fairy Ring, Parmelia Centrifuga
p.66 X German told that Adam was 3rd coz of G
p.66 Advent hymn [William] Oakes on
p.68 X Naturalized plants num[ber]s in N[ew] Engl[and]
p.68 X Insects names Ateuchus, [William] Oakes
p.68 ? War with England
p. 68 X See – houses Wenham Lake
p.70 X Wenham L[ake] fish in etc.
p.70 N.Y Legislation more corrupt than Mass[achusetts]
p.70 X Railway enables Boston Merchants to live at Ipswich cheap
p.72 X War with Engl[an]d “ we sh[oul]d take Canada”
p.72 X Railway super[io]r in north
p.72 X Primogeniture condemned, Oakes,
p.72 X Free trade ag[ains]t Agriculture
p.74 X Expense in womens dress causes migrat[ion]n to west
p.74 X Anti-negro feeling distinguished from anti-slavery
p.74 X Romanist maid Ipswich confession at Boston
p.76 X Universal suffr[age] Boston & N.Y
p.76 X Inspection of goods why useful
p.78 Mastodon 20 vertebrae
p.78 X Blacks gainers, whites losers
p.78 Sea, serpent Bennie on –
p.80 X Plants with Dr Cotting, Brookline
p.80 X Poison ivy, sumac
p.80 X Abbot Lawrence too rich to be Governor
p.80 X Puseyism in Boston, turning back
p.82 X Maid servants with[ou]t caps, more becoming
May 27 1846
p.82 X Slaves are better treated in S[outh] not because of Abolitionist but progress of white & black
p.82 Maids English in S[outh] become equal & ladies
p.83 Texas burlesque of levy[/boys] & rough music
p.84 X Sea-serpent – Mr Cabot
p.84 ? Casteroid, Wyman on
p.84 X Repudiation in Mass[achusetts] Bridgeport
p.88 X Direct taxation
p.88 X Texas volunteers burlesque of
p.89 ? Caleb Cushing’s full of self
p.89 X Radicalisation of English in U.S Gray on
p.90 X Sea Serpent, Bigelow & Binnie on
p.90 X Democracy in New Hants [Hampshire], radicalisation, Vis
p.90 X Military Parade, Boston


  • Creation: 13 May 1846 - 26 May 1846


Language of Materials



99 folios

49 Leaves

1 volume



Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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