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Notebook No.145, 28 May 1846 - June 1846

 Item — Box: Lyell-temp-box 6
Identifier: Coll-203/A1/145

Scope and Contents

This notebook contains Charles Lyell’s notes from 28 May , 1846 to 6 June [actual date of 6th presumed, as that is the last date of the previous notebook] 1846, covering the end of the Lyells’ visit in the United States through the approximate first half of their ocean passage to England. They had returned to Boston on 21 May, and spent ten days socializing there, prior to embarking their voyage home to England. They departed from Boston on 1 June , aboard the RMS Britannia, stopping at Halifax, and arriving in Liverpool on 13 June, 1846. There are additional notes about sea-serpents and mastodons. The discussions written during the voyage are mostly about politics in the United States, including an incident concerning a judge and bribery that Lyell had originally heard and recounted during his visit to Louisiana in Notebook 135, reflecting the experiences during his travels and conversations he had with passengers onboard. Upon arrival in Liverpool, Lyell memorializes a delay in baggage collection and records the names of some of the passengers. Notes are in ink and pencil.The index is located on six unnumbered pages at the back of the notebook and is on blue paper, stitched in place with white thread, added into the notebook at a presumed indeterminate later date. This notebook is soft backed, unlike the others which are hardback.

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:

The following table of contents is Lyell's own words, copied from Lyell's own "Index", found at the end of the notebook, transcribed from digital surrogates using the platform Transkribus. When known, Lyell's abbreviations and contractions have been expanded using brackets [ ]. Abbreviations in standard use, such as two letter abbreviations for United States place names, have not been expanded. When writing is unclear, and transcription is not possible, this is denoted using [...]. Quotation marks are Lyell's own notation for ditto, as is the abbreviation "do"; The inclusion of [sic] indicates the misspelling of a word is deliberate and taken from the notebook. There are numerous margin notations in this index. X is used to mark a pencil cross, and ? also marked in pencil, made at certain entries. It is not clear if this notation is written contemporaneously or later. At times Lyell has included dates (inner left margin) and these have been inserted at the beginning of the appropriate section.

Lyell's own index:

May 28th. 1846
p. 1 X Boston residence at
p. 2 Connecticut foot-prints museum of
p. 2 X Norton on books of Moses not authentic.
p. 2 ? Hagan repudiat[ion] Edit[or]. shot in duel
p. 2 X Bennet & Owen anti English as renegades
p. 3 X Sea-serpent at Nahant. vis
p. 4 X - [Sea-serpent] vis D. Webster on evidence
p. 4 X - [Sea-serpent] Perkins & Cabot
p. 6 Mastodon skeleton f[ound]. entire N.Y. [faint-erased ‘?’ in margin]
p. 6 X Irish labourers in Mass[achusetts] unpopular
p. 6 X - [Irish labourers] bring down wages – mud huts
p. 6 Mastodon osteology of - Jackson
p. 6 X Sea-serpent Cabot on
p. 8 X Toleration - numerous sects equal
p. 8 X Fogs at Boston, backward spring
p. 10 Mastodon, 20 dorsal vertebrae
p. 10 X Houses price of in Boston - rents
p. 10 ? Debts of States – Al[abama]
p. 10 ? Bancrofts & Grahame’s hist[ories]. U.S.
p. 10 ? Cannon practising at Boston
p. 11 ? Chastity & illegitimate children
p. 11 X Sea-serpent, witness knowing sea monsters
p. 11 X Norton Unitarian Pope
p. 11 X Unitarian creed
p. 11 X War with Engl[and]. Norton, on effects of
p. 13 ? Peabody’s sermon on religious meetings
p. 13 X War. C. Sumner on best man ag[ainst]. it.
p. 15 ? Mexico, Norton on effect of annexing
p. 15 ? Guizot on latin races coloniz[ing] America
p. 16 X War & borrowing for. Dr Jackson
p. 16 X Dr. J. on D. Webster – Boston
p. 16 ? Mexico annexat[ion]. of 8 million.
p. 16 & 17 X Jealousy of S[outh]. & N[orth]. Then N. grew richer in the war by manufactures. [‘& 17’ added at end of line]
p. 17 X Dr Binney not believer in sea-serpent
p. 17 X War expenses w[ould]. cause political revol[ution].
p. 18 ? Investments of money in Mass[achusetts]. Prescott.
p. 18 ? - [Investments] Ticknor & Lowell
p. 18 X - [Investments] Mass[achusetts] railways better than S.S. bonds.
p. 20 X Judges in Mass[achusetts]. small pay but honor great
p. 20 ? N. Appleton’s investm[ents] in Lowell factory
p. 20 ? W. Prescotts literary profits.
p. 20 X Mastodon daguereotyped [sic daguerreotyped]
June 1st.
p. 22 X Sailed in Britannia Steamer
p. 22 X Recruiting for war in L[ouisiana]. Falkner’s [sic Faulkner Lake]
p. 22 X Exciteability [sic Excitability] of Americans, Eliot [sic Elliot]
p. 22 X Independance [obsolete form of independence] of Judges endangered
p. 22 X President, or executive council best
p. 24 X Bribery of a Judge in L[ouisiana].
[Note: This is referring to Judge Leonard; named with expanded account in Notebook 135.]
p. 24 ? Irish fraudulent voters.
. 24 X Mexican war, danger of, Elliot [2nd ‘l’ of ‘Elliot’ added-written in]
p. 26 X A difficulty, a man shot,
p. 26 ? Texas extension of its boundaries
p. 26 X Judges in L[ouisiana]. why cashiered
p. 26 X - [Judges] evil of small salaries of
p. 28 X War, Elliot Atlantic cities sh[ould]. not be burnt, but commerce warred ag[ainst].
p. 28 ? The West & not N[ew]. Engl[and]. has the power
p. 28 X Emigration from N[ew]. Engl[and]. 3 percent of popul[ation].
p. 30 X The three curses of Americ[an]. Govern[ment]. Elliot
p. 30 X 4th July Oration do harm
p. 32 X Repudiat[ation]. & borrowing for war
p. 32 X Gr[eat]. Britain cannot cede an inch
p. 32 X Slavery, internal slave trade
p. 34 ? West Indies sugar & S[outhern] States Cotton
p. 34 X Canada sh[ould]. have been retained by France
p. 34 X Coloured race, mixed whether inferior
p. 36 X Negro very improveable, Elliot.
p. 36 X Politicks [sic Politics] a trade in U.S. intrigue
p. 36 X West Indies, Emancipation, effects of
p. 40 X - [West Indies] Coulies [sic Coolies] in returning, Barbados
p. 40 ? Mexico population of, Elliot.
p. 42 X Passengers, names of in Britannia
p. 42 X “Recuperative power” of the West
p. 42 X East Indies raised by British.
p. 44 X West Indies, Coolies in
p. 46 X Bowie Knives in South
p. 46 ? Governm[ent]. of Primary Assemblies
p. 46 X Calquoun [sic Calhoun] & Texas
p. 46 X Polk & Mexican War
p. 48 X Free trade, insincerity of Democrats
p. 48 ? Senate of U.S. more than Privy Council, an executive body
p. 48 X Coolies W. Indies
p. 48 X Politeness to women. N.Y.
p. 48 X Artists ill educated in England
p. 50 X Educat[ion]. in U.S. causes new men to take their place well
p. 50 X Halifax arrival at
p. 50 X War, spirit of cherished in U.S.
p. 52 X Convention N.Y. ag[ainst]. negro votes -
p. 52 X - [Convention N.Y.] not for judges being election
p. 52 X Pres[ident]. U.S. places in gift of
p. 52 X Free blacks why miserable
p. 52 ? Holford Mr on repudiation
p. 54 X Universal suffrage whether unalterable
p. 54 X Repudiat[ion] hurts English more than any Americans imagine
p. 54 Poliliticks [sic Politics] in U.S. none enriched by
p. 56 X unprincipled, Holf[ord]., Elliot
p. 56 X Southern slave-holders rule North
p. 58 X - [Southern slave-holders] places in Gift of Gen[eral]. Govern[ment].
[Note: ‘... gift of the federal Government’ is stated on p. 58 in the notebook.]
p. 58 X Texas annexed to please South
p. 60 X Annexat[ion]. popular because of the passion in South for more land
p. 60 X War uncongenial to American except to the borderers
p. 62 ? American Credit, Holford on
p. 62 ? Alabama taxes - on unoccup[ied]. land
p. 62 X Icebergs seen in Britannia
p. 64 Intrigue in the U.S. more than in Engl[and].
p. 64 Annexation really disliked by Northern Democrats
p. 66 Polk why set up to Gen[eral]. Jackson
p. 68 Drilling of North[ern]. democrats to obedience
p. 70 Slaves, chained in gangs travelling
p. 70 - [Slaves] will be emancipated by a collision
p. 70 Polk’s inaugural
p. 70 Woman in U.S. as to chastity Elliot.
p. 72 American Constitut[ion]- New Engl[and] fettered
p. 74 War, effect of military man will become King, & make them pay troops, & for that revolutionize
p. 76 Canada & U.S. treatment of by England - estrangement
p. 78 Americans wondering at Canadians proposing annexat[ion]. to them
p. 78 Democratic choice of coarser candidates
p. 78 Recruits in P[ort]. Hudson Miss[issippi]. for war
p. 80 X Iceberg near approach in hazy weather
p. 80 X Military glory in U.S.
p. 82 X England more peaceful, U.S contra
p. 82 X Women in U.S. pure conversat[ion].
p. 82 X - [Women] in business men less high-mind[ed].
p. 84 X Roth [sic Rothe], Dane in Britannia
p. 84 X - [Roth [sic Rothe]] on protection in N.Y. ag[ainst]. English Insurances
p. 84 X War “men who have nothing to lose govern in U.S.
p. 86 X Inferiority of political and commercial classes in U.S.
p. 88 Military influence in U.S.
p. 88 - [Military] They are good marksmen
p. 88 War sh[ould]. be waged on their commerce
Following several blank pages are two pages of apparently unconnected writing.
p. 95 [continued from? top half crossed-deleted?]
p. 96 The Britannia left Boston Monday [...] & arrived at Liverpool Sat[urday] at 1/2 past 10[clock] …
[Lyell notes a delay in retrieving baggage and it seems like then has handed over his notebook for his fellow passengers to write in their names:]
J.V. Himes
Lt Col. Freer [K.A.?]
NH Harenc
Co. Antognini
A. Tomasi
[AG ? ]
Geo[rge]. H. Evans
C. Fallon
C. Lyell
G. Philips [Phipps?]
G.W. Warren
Ja[me]s. Hartly
Tho[ma]s. Lysaght
Stephen Olin


  • Creation: 28 May 1846 - June 1846


Language of Materials



102 folios

51 Leaves

1 volume



Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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