the Thoreau Log.
1850
Æt. 33.
January. London, England. 1850.

The Westminster Review reviews A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers:

10. -- A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS. By Henry D. Thoreau. London: imported by John Chapman, 142, Strand. 1849. 
 
An exceedingly pleasant narrative of a week’s boating excursion upon the waters of two rivers, whose very existence, perhaps, is all unknown to the majority of the dwellers on this side of the Atlantic. The author is evidently one who has read much, and thought much, -- a keen observer and lover of nature, and one whom we could gladly journey with, amid the scenery described in this volume. Notwithstanding occasional attempts at fine writing, and some rather long-winded disquisitions upon religion, literature, and other matters, -- sometimes naturally arising from the incidents of the voyage, sometimes lugged in apparently without rhyme or reason, -- the book is an agreeable book and all the irrelevant matter may be skipped by those who don’t like it, while such as prefer this kind of reading to the narrative portions, may revel in it to their heart’s content; and so may each class of readers find something to suit them in these pages.
  We know not if the following choice morceau be original or select; it figures as one of the three mottoes at the beginning of the book, each having a page devoted to itself, a significant hint, perhaps, of the absence of “taxes on knowledge” across the Atlantic: -- 
 
    “I sailed up a river with a pleasant wind,
    New lands, new people, and new thoughts to find;
    Many fair reaches and headlands appeared,
    And many dangers were there to be feared;
    But when I remember where I have been,
    And the fair landscapes that I have seen,
    THOU seemest the only permanent shore,
    The cape never rounded, nor wandered o’er.” 
 
As a set-off we give a sample of the prose, in the following description of a bivouac on the banks of a river, which makes one long to be of such a party.
  The voyageurs are two brothers, who, in a boat of their own building, weighed anchor in the river port of Concord, U. S., “on Saturday, the last day of August, 1839.” A tranquil voyage, with but few incidents, bring them, on Monday evening, to their halting-place, which is thus described: -- [quote from page 177: “Soon the village of Nashua was out of sight…”]
  We shall be glad to meet our author again, as soon as his ‘Day in the Woods,’ which we see announced as nearly ready, shall have reached England; for we may as well intimate, before we conclude, that the present volume is a native of Boston, U.S., having been introduced to this country by a spirited publisher, to whom the English reader is already under considerable obligation. (Westminster Review, 52:599-600)

January 5. Concord, Mass. 1850.
Bronson Alcott writes in his journal: “Set off for Concord to pass Sunday with [Ralph Waldo] Emerson, Dined with E., and saw Thoreau in the evening for a while” (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 219).
16 January. Concord, Mass. 1850.
Thoreau’s aunt Maria writes to Prudence Ward: “and now my dear as I believe you do not take any paper let me recommend to you the Home Journal. I think you would like it, it is literary and entertaining, Mr. Emerson like it much and with Henry, always wishes to see it, it is only two dollars a year, a weekly paper” (Transcription in the Thoreau Society Archives at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods; MS, private owner).
23 January. Concord, Mass. 1850.
Thoreau lectures on “Cape Cod” at the Unitarian Church for the Concord Lyceum (Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 185-6).

Lincoln, Mass. James Lorin Chapin writes in his diary:

Have been to Concord this evening and heard a lecture upon Cape Cod from Henry D. Thoreau. His ideas are strange, many of them, yet I think he had been any other than a “native” of Concord he would have been well liked by most of the people. He gave a graphic description of the wreck of the British Brig, St John which was wrecked at Cohasset last Oct. (Concord Saunterer 17, no. 3 (December 1984):25)
28 January. Cambridge, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau checks out The Vishnu Purana, A System of Hindu Mythology and Tradition, The Sankhya Karika; or, Memorial Verses on the Sankhya Philosophy by Isvarakrsna, and The Works of Sir William Jones from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau’s Correspondence, 289).

30 January. Concord, Mass. 1850.
Thoreau lectures on “Cape Cod” at the Unitarian Church for the Concord Lyceum (Studies in the American Renaissance, 186).
Lincoln, Mass. James Lorin Chapin writes in his diary: “This evening I have been to Concord Lyceum and heard another lecture upon Cape Cod by Mr. Thoreau. He seems to have a great faculty of saying a great deal about a very small affair, - rather too much so I think” (Concord Saunterer 17, no. 3 (December 1984):25).
February or March. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson lists Thoreau as a member of the Town and Country Club in 1849 (The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 11:237). See entry 20 March 1849.

1 February. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson pays Thoreau $1.50 for working on his house the previous summer (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

6 February. Saco, Maine. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to Thoreau:

Dear Henry,
  I was at South Danvers on Monday Evening, & promised Mr C. Northend, Secretary of the Lyceum, to invite you for Monday 18th Feb. to read a lecture to his institution. I told him there were two lectures to describe Cape Cod, which interested him & his friends, & they hoped that the two might somehow be rolled into one to give them some sort of complete story of the journey. I hope it will not quite discredit my negotiation if I confess that they heard with joy that Concord people laughed till they cried, when it was read to them. I understand Mr N., that there is a possibility but no probability that his absent colleague of the Lyceum has filled up that evening by an appointment. But Mr N. will be glad to hear from you that you will come, & if any cause exist why not, he will immediately reply to you. They will pay your expenses, & $10.00. You will go from the Salem depot in an omnibus to Mr N.’s house. Do go if you can. Address Charles Northend, Esq. South Danvers.
  Yours ever
  R. W. Emerson. (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 255)
18 February. South Danvers (now Peabody), Mass. 1850.

Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Cape Cod” for the South Danvers Lyceum (Studies in the American Renaissance, 187-8).

1 March. Boston, Mass. 1850.

Bronson Alcott: “Thoreau has read papers* quite recently [23, 30 Jan & 18 Feb] before the people in our cities and towns with a decided acceptance” (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 227).


*From Cape Cod.

Before 11 March. Lincoln, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys a lot south of Walden Pond “known in 1746 as Samuel Heywoods ‘pasture’” for, and accompanied by, Ralph Waldo Emerson (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 7; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).  
 
See entry 18 April.

11 March. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson to Thoreau:

Mr Henry D. Thoreau,
  My dear Sir,
  I leave town tomorrow & must beg you, if any question arises between Mr [Charles] Bartlett & me, in regard to boundary lines, to act as my attorney, & I will be bound by any agreement you shall make. Will you also, if you have opportunity, warn Mr Bartlett, on my part, against burning his woodlot, without having there present a sufficient number of hands to prevent the fire from spreading into my wood, - which, I think, will be greatly endangered, unless much care is used.
  Show him too, if you can, where his cutting & his post-holes trench on our line, by plan and, so doing, oblige as ever,
  Yours faithfully,
  R. W. Emerson (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 256)
15 March. Lincoln, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys the “Sawmill Woodlot” near Sandy Pond Road leading to Flint’s Pond for Ralph Waldo Emerson (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 7).

See entry 18 April.

23 March. New York, N.Y. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to his wife Lidian:

Will you not now say to Mr Thoreau, that I beg he will give me a day of attention to my vines, which were laid down last fall & which it is I suppose now quite late enough to uncover and train. James [Burke?] will not know anything about them, and I hope Henry will undertake it; both those on the trellises, and those which we set our last fall, by hands of James, round the Mr [Amos Bronson] Alcott’s summer house. Then if he can further reestablish our fallen arbour in the great path and he may set new posts, if he will, I shall be very glad to pay the bill. (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 4:187)
Spring. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys land at the foot of Annursnack Hill near Barrett’s Mill Road for Jesse Hosmer (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 8; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Mass.).

April. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys land on Lexington Road for John B. Moore (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 10).

London, England. Sophia Dobson Collet reviews A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers for the People’s Review of Literature and Politics.

1 April. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson pays Thoreau $6 for working on a vine arbor (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

18 April. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson pays Thoreau $7 for surveying “Samuel Heywood’s Pasture” and 50¢ for a plan of the “Sawmill woodlot” (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

26 April. Cambridge, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau checks out Sama Veda. Translation of the Sanhita. By J. Stevenson, Translations of Passages of the Veda by Ramamohana Raya, and Mathematical and astronomical tables by William Galbraith from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau's Correspondence, 289).

27 April. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson pays Thoreau $2 for Cyrus Stow’s survey (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

30 April. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau, with Irish laborers Shannon and Garrity, mends the line of buckthorn hedge along the border shared by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Isaac Watts (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

After May 1. Haverhill, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys land for Nehemia Emerson (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 7; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

2 May. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson pays Thoreau $2.50 for working on his buckthorn hedge (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

12 May. Haverhill, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Sunday, May 12, 1850, visited the site of the Dustin house in the northwest part of Haverhill, now but a slight indentation in the corn-field, three or four feet deep, with an occasional brick and cellar-stone turned up in plowing. The owner, Dick Kimball, made much of the corn grown in this hole, some cars of which were sent to Philadelphia. The apple tree which is said to have stood north from the house at a considerable distance is gone. A brick house occupied by a descendant is visible from the spot, and there are old cellar-holes in the neighborhood, probably the sites of some of the other eight houses which were burned on that day. It is a question with some which is the site of the true Dustin house.
  Also visited the same day an ancient garrison-house now occupied by Fred. Ayer, who said it was built one hundred and fifty or one hundred and sixty ago by one Emerson, and that several oxen were killed by lightning while it was building. There was also a pear tree nearly as old as the house. It was built of larger and thicker and harder brick than are used nowadays, and on the whole looked more durable and still likely to stand a hundred years. The hard burnt blue-black ends of some of the bricks were so arranged as to checker the outside. He said it was considered the handsomest house in Haverhill when it was built, and people used to come up from town some two miles to see it. He thought that they were the original doors which we saw. There were but few windows, and most of them were about two feet and a half long and a foot or more wide, only to fire out of. The oven originally projected outside. There were two large fireplaces. I walked into one, by stooping slightly, and looked up at the sky. Ayer said jokingly that some said they were so made to shoot wild geese as they flew over. The chains and hooks were suspended from a wooden bar high in the chimney. The timbers were of immense size.
  Fourteen vessels in or to be in the port of Haverhill, laden with coal, lumber, lime, wood, and so forth. Boys go [to] the wharf with their fourpences to buy a bundle of laths to make a hen-house; none elsewhere to be had.
  Saw two or three other garrison-houses. Mrs. Dustin was an Emerson, one of the family for whom I surveyed.
  Measured a buttonwood tree in Haverhill, one of twenty and more set out about 1739 on the banks of the Merrimack. It was thirteen and eight twelfths feet in circumference at three and a half feet from the ground. (Journal, 2:7)
25 May. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys the “Yellow House” lot on Main Street for his father (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 11; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

31 May. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

To-day, May 31st, a red and white cow, being uneasy, broke out of the steam-mill pasture and crossed the bridge and broke into Elijah Wood's grounds. When he endeavored to drive her out by the bars, she boldly took to the water, wading first through the meadows full of ditches, and swam across the river, about forty rods wide at this time, and landed in her own pasture again. She was a buffalo crossing her Mississippi. This exploit conferred some dignity on the herd in my eyes, already dignified, and reflectedly on the river, which I looked on as a kind of Bosphorus.
  I love to see the domestic animals reassert their native rights, -- any evidence that they have not lost their original wild habits and vigor... 
 
I visited a retired, now almost unused, graveyard in Lincoln today, where five British soldiers lie buried who fell on the 19th April, ’75. Edmund Wheeler, grandfather of William, who lived in the old house now pulled down near the present went over the next day and carted them to this ground... 
 
The water was over the turnpike below Master Cheney’s when I returned (May 31st, 1850).(Journal, 2:18-20)
3 June. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I visited this afternoon (June 3d) Goodman’s Hill in Sudbury, going through Lincoln over Sherman’s Bridge and Round Hill, and returning through the Corner” (Journal, 2:26).

4 June. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

To-day, June 4th, I have been tending a burning in the woods...
  You must burn against the wind always, and burn slowly. When the fire breaks over the hoed line, a little system and perseverance will accomplish more toward quelling it than any man would believe. It fortunately happens that the experience acquired is oftentimes worth more than the wages. When a fire breaks out in the woods, and a man fights it too near and on the side, in the heat of the moment, without the systematic cooperation of others, he is disposed to think it a desperate case, and that this relentless fiend will run through the forest till it is glutted with food; but let the company rest from their labors a moment, and then proceed more deliberately and systematically, giving the fire a wider berth, and the company will be astonished to find how soon and easily they will subdue it. The woods themselves furnish one of the best weapons with which to contend with the fires that destroy them, -- a pitch pine bough. It is the best instrument to thrash it with. There are few men who do not love better to give advice than to give assistance.
  However large the fire, let a few men go to work deliberately but perseveringly to rake away the leaves and hoe off the surface of the ground at a convenient distance from the fire, while others follow with pine boughs to thrash it with when it reaches the line, and they will finally get round it and subdue it, and will be astonished at their own success.
  A man who is about to burn his field in the midst of woods should rake off the leaves and twigs for the breadth of a rod at least, making no large heaps near the outside, and then plow around it several furrows and break them up with hoes, and set his fire early in the morning, before the wind rises.
  As I was fighting the fire to-day, in the midst of the roaring and crackling, -- for the fire seems to snort like a wild horse, -- I heard from time to time the dying strain, the last sigh, the fine, clear, shrill scream of agony, as it were, of the trees breathing their last, probably the heated air or the steam escaping from some chink. At first I thought it was some bird, or a dying squirrel's note of anguish, or steam escaping from the tree. You sometimes hear it on a small scale in the log on the hearth. When a field is burned over, the squirrels probably go into the ground. How foreign is the yellow pine to the green woods-and what business has it here?
  The fire stopped within a few inches of a partridge's nest to-day, June 4th, whom we took off in our hands and found thirteen creamy-colored eggs. I started up a woodcock when I went to a rill to drink, at the westernmost, angle of R. W. E.'s wood-lot. (Journal, 2:29-30)

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal on 5 June: “Yesterday, when I walked to Goodman’s Hill, it seemed to me that the atmosphere was never so full of fragrance and spicy odors. There is a great variety in the fragrance of the apple blossoms as well as their tints” (Journal, 2:30).

5 June. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “To-night, June 5th, after a hot day, I hear the first peculiar summer breathing of the frogs” (Journal, 2:29).

8 June. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Here it is the 8th of June, and the grass is growing apace. In the front yards of the village they are already beginning to cut it” (Journal, 2:30).

9 June. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Walden is still rising, though the rains have ceased, and the river has fallen very much… I saw a striped snake which the fire in the woods had killed, stiffened and partially blackened by the flames, with its body partly coiled up and raised from the ground, and its head still erect as if ready to dart out its tongue and strike its foe” (Journal, 2:31).

13 June. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys the Courthouse and Town House lots for the Town of Concord (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 5; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

15 June. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I observe to-night, June 15, the air over the river by the Leaning Hemlocks filled with myriads of newly fledged insects drifting and falling as it were like snowflakes from the maples, only not so white” (Journal, 2:36).

19 June. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys a house lot on Main Street for Daniel Shattuck (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 11; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

20 June. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

I can see from my window three or four cows in a pasture on the side of Fair Haven Hill, a mile and a half distant… And then for my afternoon walks I have a garden, larger than any artificial garden that I have read of and far more attractive to me, -- mile after mile of embowered walks, such as no nobleman’s grounds can boast, with animals running free and wild therein. (Journal, 2:37-8)

Acton, Mass. Thoreau surveys a road to Acton Center for J. Hapgood (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 8; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

21 June. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The flowers of the white pine are now in their prime, but I see none of their pollen on the pond” (Journal, 2:39).

After 21 June? 1850.

Thoreau travels to Cape Cod alone via steamer from Boston to Provincetown (Cape Cod, 1; The New Thoreau Handbook, 66).

Summer. New York, N.Y. 1850.

Herman Melville borrows a copy of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers from Evert Duyckinck’s library (The Melville Log, 1:376-7).

12 July. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson pays Thoreau $2.30 on a bill of James Connell’s (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

16 July. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I have not yet been able to collect half a thimbleful of the pollen of the pine on Walden, abundant as it was last summer” (Journal, 2:40-1).

19 July. Fire Island, N.Y. 1850.

The ship Elizabeth, carrying Margaret Fuller, her husband, and her son, is wrecked. When the news reaches Ralph Waldo Emerson, he sends Thoreau to search for the bodies and Fuller’s manuscripts (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 261n).

23 July. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to Horace Greeley:

The best thing we can think to do in these worst news of last night concerning Margaret Fuller, is to charge Mr Thoreau to go, on all our parts, & obtain on the wrecking ground all the intelligence &, if possible, any fragments of manuscript or other property. I know you will give him the best counsel & help: you, & Mr [Marcus] Spring, -- & I shall cordially unite with you in any expense this calamity makes necessary. (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 4:219)

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson advances Thoreau $70 to go to Fire Island (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

24 July. Fire Island, N.Y. 1850.

Thoreau adds to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s letter to Horace Greeley of 23 July: “If Wm E. Channing calls -- will you say that I am gone to Fire-Island -- by cars at 9 this morn -- via Thompson -- with Wm H. Channing” (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 219).

25 July. Fire Island, N.Y. 1850.

Thoreau writes to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Dear Friend,
  I am writing this at the house of Smith Oakes, within one mile of the wreck. He is the one who rendered the most assistance. Wm H Channing come down with me, but I have not seen Arthur Fuller -- nor [Horace] Greeley, nor [Marcus] Spring. Spring & [Charles] Sumner were here yesterday, but left soon. Mr Oakes & wife tell me (all the survivors came or were brought dir[ec]tly to their house) that the ship struck at 10 minutes after 4 A M. and all hands, being mostly in their night clothes made haste to the forecastle -- the water coming in [at o]nce. There they remained the, passengers in the forecastle, the crew above it doing what they could. Every wave lifted the forecastle roof & washed over those within. The first man got ashore at 9. many from 9 to noon -. At floodtide about 3½ o’clock when the ship broke up entirely -- they came out of the forecastle & Margaret sat with her back to the foremast with her hands over her knees -- her husband & child already drowned -- a great wave came & washed her off. The Steward? bad just before taken her child & started for shore; both were drowned.
  The broken desk in a bag -- containing no very valuable papers -- a large black leather trunk -- with an upper and under apartment -- the upper holding books & papers -- A carpet bag probably Ossolis and one of his? shoes -- are all the Ossolis' effects known to have been found.
  Four bodies remain to be found -- the two Ossoi's -- Horace Summer --- & a sailor.
  I have visited the child's grave -- Nobody will probably be taken away today.
  The wreck is to be sold at auction -- excepting the hull -- todav The mortar would not go off. Mrs Hartz the Captain's wife, told Mrs Oakes that she & Margaret divided their money-&tied up the halves in handkerchiefs around their persons that Margaret took 60 or 70 dol[lars.] Mrs Hartz who can tell all about Margaret up to 11 'oclock on Friday is said to be going to Portland NMe. today -- She & Mrs Fuller must & probably will come together. The cook, the last to leave, & the Steward? will know the rest. I shall try to see them. In the meanwhile I shall do what I can to recover property & obtain particulars here abouts. Wm H. Channing -- did I write it? has come with me. Arthur Fuller has this moment reached this house. He reached the beach last night -- we got here yesterday noon. A good part of the wreck still holds together where she struck, & something may come ashore with her fragments. The last body was found on Tuesday 3 mules west. Mrs Oakes dried the papers which were in the trunk -- and she says they appeared to be of various kinds. "Would they cover that table"?, a small round one -- "They would spread out" -- Some were tied tip. There were 20 or 30 books in the same half of the trunk. Another, smaller trunk empty, came ashore, but there is no mark on it -- She speaks of [Celesta] Pardena as if she might have been a sort of nurse to the child" -- I expect to go to Patchogue whence the pilferers must have chiefly come -- & advertise &c &c. (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 262-3)

New York, N.Y. The New-York Daily Tribune reports: “Mrs. Fuller, the mother of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, with two of her sons, reached the city yesterday morning, intending to remain here until the body of the former is found, or her effects are recovered. Rev. Mr. Fuller and Mr. Henry D. Thoreau, of Concord, Mass., left yesterday for Fire Island.”

26 July. New York, N.Y. 1850.

The New-York Daily Tribune reports:

Among the remains [of the Elizabeth], however, was a trunk belonging to the late Margaret Fuller Ossoli. We were promptly notified of its arrival by Mr. E. J. Fowler, Assistant Store-Keeper, through whose kind aid and that of the Custom-House Officers, the necessary formalities were speedily adjusted, and little time was lost in placing the sad relics in the hands of her family. The lock of the trunk had been wrenched off by the plunderers of Fire Island, adn no doubt some of the contents removed. Fortunately, the manuscripts are still capable of restoration, though it is to be feared the most valuable papers are lost…
  Mr. Henry D. Thoreau is still on Fire Island, and Mr. W[illiam]. E[llery]. Channing, the brother in law of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, leaves this morning for the same place. We shall probably receive further intelligence in the course of the day.

Boston, Mass. A. Bronson Alcott writes in his journal: “He tells me (Emerson) [Ralph Waldo Emerson] that W. H. Channing [William Henry Channing] and Henry Thoreau have gone to Fire Island in hopes of recovering the remains; also the work on Italy” (The Journals of Bronson Alcott, 232).

27 July. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to his brother William:

I was already in possession of the sad tidings you wrote of, and had already sent away Mr Thoreau to Fire Island. I have letters from him today describing a vain search for MSS or other property of Margaret [Fuller] except what had already been found when he arrived. But he recites many particulars which he learns from the people, & is going to Pachogue, where the pirates live… I told Thoreau, if he wanted more money than he carried, he must go to you in my name, or, to Mr [Marcus] Spring. (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 4:220)
29 July. 1850.

Thoreau writes to Charles Sumner:

Dear Sir,
  I left Fire Island Beach on Saturday between nine & ten o’clock A. M. The same morning I saw on the beach, four or five miles west of the wreck, a portion of a human skeleton, which was found the day before, probably from the Elisabeth, but I have not knowledge enough of anatomy to decide confidently, as many might, whether it was that of a male or a female. I therefore hired Selah Strong, Keeper of the Light, to bury it simply for the present, and mark the spot, leaving it to future events, or a trustworthy examination, to decide the question.
  Yrs in haste
  Henry D. Thoreau

P.S. No more bodies had then been found. (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 263)

Sumner replies 31 July.

New York, N.Y. The New-York Daily Tribune reports: “Mr. Thoreau is still on the Island [Fire Island], endeavoring to find the manuscript of Madame Ossoli’s [Margaret Fuller] work on Italy, which is known to have reached the shore.”

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes to Abby Larkin Adams: “I sent Mr Thoreau at once to the Fire Island Beach, & he is still there endeavouring to save any Manuscripts or other property, & to learn all that could be told” (The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 4:221).

30 July. 1850.

Thoreau returns $31 of the $70 advance Ralph Waldo Emerson had given him on 23 July (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

New York, N.Y. The New-York Daily Tribune reports:

Fire Island. -- Mr. H. D. Thoreau returned from Fire Island on Sunday afternoon last. His search for the body and manuscripts of Madame Ossoli [Margaret Fuller] was entirely unsuccessful, but, before leaving, he posted up notices in all public places, offering a reward for either.
31 July. Boston, Mass. 1850.

Charles Sumner replies to Thoreau’s letter of 29 July:

My dear Sir,
  I desire to thank you for your kindness in writing me with regard to the remains of a human body found on the beach last Saturday. From what you write & from what I hear from others, it seems impossible to identify them. If the body of my brother could be found, it would be a great satisfaction to us to bury him with those of his family who have gone before him.
  Believe me, clear Sir, faithfully & gratefully Yours,
  Charles Sumner (The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 264)

Boston, Mass. The Boston Transcript relays information from the New-York Tribune notice of 30 July (Thoreau Society Bulletin, no. 182 (Winter 1988):4).

7 August. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson pays Thoreau $2.41 for work (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

17 August. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys land near the train depot for Francis Monroe (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 10; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Before 25 August. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal: “A larger dialectic, I said, conveys a sense of power & feeling of terror before unknown, & H. T. said, ‘that a thought would destroy like the jet of a blowpipe most person,’ & yet we apologise for the poer, & bow to the persons” (The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 11:262).

29 August. Concord, Mass. 1850.

The Thoreau family moves into the “Yellow House,” with Henry occupying the finished attic (The Days of Henry Thoreau, 263-5).

30 August. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys the West Burying Grounds for the Town of Concord, requested by John Shepard Keyes (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 6).

31 August. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal on 1 September:

Yesterday took that secluded Marlboro road with W. E. C. [William Ellery Channing] in a wagon. Every rock was painted “Marlboro.” & we proposed to take the longest day in the year, & ride to Marlboro, - that flying Italy. We went to Willis’s Pond in Sudbury & paddled across it, & took a swim in its water, coloured like sugarbaker’s molasses. Nature, E. thought, is less interesting. Yesterday Thoreau told me it was more so, & persons less. I think it must always combine with man. Life is ecstatical, & we radiate joy & honour & gloom on the days & landscapes we converse with.

But I must remember a real or imagined period in my youth, when they who spoke to me of nature, were religious, & made it so, & made it deep : now it is to the young sentimentalists frippery; & a milliner’s shop has as much reason & worth.

(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 11:265-6)

September. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys for a proposal of a street to the Depot (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 6; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

After 2 September. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “One of my neighbors of whom I borrowed a horse, cart and harness to-day, which last was in a singularly dilapidated condition, considering that he is a wealthy farmer, did not know but I would make a book about it” (Journal, 2:62).

11 September. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Wednesday. The river higher than I ever knew it at this season, as high as in the spring” (Journal, 2:68).

14 September. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 15 September: “Yesterday, September 14, walked to White Pond in Stow, on the Marlborough road, having passed one pond called sometimes Pratt’s Pond, sometimes Bottomless Pond, in Sudbury. Saw afterward another pond beyond Willis’s also called Bottomless Pond, in a thick swamp” (Journal, 2:68).

17 September. Concord, Mass. 1850.

The Thoreau family is listed in the 1850 census by W. W. Wilde: “John Thoreau, 63, M[ale]; Cynthia D. 63, F[emale]; Henry D., 33, M; Sophia E., 31, F; Maria Thoreau, 53, F; Margaret Doland, 18, F; Catherine Rioden, 13, F.” (Thoreau Research Newsletter, vol 1 no. 2).

19 September. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 2:69).

25 September. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Left Concord, Wednesday morning, September 25th, 1850, for Quebec. Fare $7.00 to and fro” (Journal, 2:73).

I left Concord, Massachusetts, Wednesday morning September 25th, 1850, for Quebec. Fare, seven dollars there and back; distance from Boston five hundred and ten miles… We left Concord at twenty minutes before eight in the morning, and were in Burlington about six at night, but too late to see the lake. (A Yankee in Canada, 3, 7)

26 September. 1850.

"We got our first fair view of the lake [Lake Champlain] at dawn, just before reaching Plattsburg, and saw blue ranges of mountains on either hand, in New York and in Vermont, the former especially grand” (A Yankee in Canada, 7).

4 October. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Obliged to leave Montreal on return as soon as Friday, October 4th” (Journal, 2:73).

7 October. Portland, Maine. 1850.

George A. Bailey writes to Thoreau:

Dear Sir:

A few days since, by a lucky accident I met with a copy of a work of yours - “A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.” - I read to with much interest, - and if I tell you plainly that I am delighted with the book, it is because I cannot help telling you so; - therefore you should pardon whatever is amiss in the expression. - I should like to ask you many questions touching your allusions to persons; such, for instance, is “What were the names of the “aged shepherd” and “youthful pastor”, p. 21? - what that of the “Concord poet” quoted on p. 49? - of the Justice of the Peace and Deacon, p. 68? what the name of “one who was born on its head waters; quoted on p. 90? - and many more of a similar nature; but I fear that such an act on the part of a stranger, would be but little short of impertinence, though it might be kindly considered by you; so I must not use that method of making myself “wise above what is written.”

Next to confessing to you my admiration of your book, my object in writing you, is to make an enquiry for “Walden; or Life in the Woods,” - announced at the close of the “Week,” as shortly to be published. I have enquired for it in Boston, but no one can tell me anything about it. Will you please inform me if it has been published, and, if so, where it may be found? - Truly & Respectfully Yours,

Geo. A. Bailey

(Studies in the American Renaissance 1982, 348; MS, Joel Myerson collection of Nineteenth-century American Literature, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.).

9 October. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Plucked a wild rose the 9th of October on Fair Haven Hill” (Journal, 2:72).

17 October. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I observed to-day (October 17th) the small blueberry bushes by the path-side, now blood-red, full of white blossoms as in the spring, the blossoms of spring contrasting strangely with the leaves of autumn” (Journal, 2:73).

18 October. Portland, Maine. 1850.

Josiah Pierce Jr. writes to Thoreau:

Dear Sir,

In behalf of its Managing Committee, I have the honor of inviting you to lecture before the “Portland Lyceum” on some Wednesday evening during the next winter. Your former animated and interesting discourse is fresh in the memory of its members, and they are very anxious to have their minds again invigorated, enlivened and instructed by you. If you consent to our request, will you be pleased to designate the time of the winter when you would prefer to come here?

The Managers have been used to offer gentlemen who come here to lecture from a distance equivalent to your own, only the sum of twenty-five dollars, not under the name of pecuniary compensation for the lectures but for traveling expenses -

An early and favorable reply will much oblige us.

With great respect, Your obedient Servant,

Josiah. Pierce, Jr

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 267)

24 October. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal:

Now that the civil Engineer is fairly established, I think we must have one day a Naturalist in each village as invariably as a lawyer or doctor. It will be a new subdivision of the medical profession. I want to know what plant this is? Penthorum What is it good for? in medical botany? in industrial botany? Now the Indian doctor, if there were on, & not the sham of one, would be more consulted than the diplomatic one. What bird is this? What hyla? What caterpillar? Here is a new bug on the trees. Cure the warts on the plum, & on the oak. How to attack the rosebug & the curculio. Show us the poisons. How to treat the cranberry meadow? The universal impulse toward natural science in the last twenty years promises this practical issue. And how beautiful would be the profession. C. T. Jackson, [Charles T. Jackson] John L. Russell, and Henry Thoreau, & George Bradford, John Lesley would find their employment. All questions answered for stipulated fees; and, on the other hand, new information paid for, as a newspaper office pays for news. To have a man of Science remove into this town, would be better than the capitalist who is to build a village of houses on Nashawtuck. I would gladly subscribe to his maintenance. He is, of course, to have a microscope & a telescope.

(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 11:277-8)

26 October. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journal on 27 October:

Rambling talk with H. T. last night, in accordance with my proposal to hold a session, the first for a long time, with malice prepense, & take the bull by the horns. We disposed pretty fast of America & England, I maintaining that our people did not get ripened, but, like the peaches & grapes of this season, wanted a fortnight’s more sun, & remained green, - whilst, in England, because of the density, perhaps, of cultivated population, more calorie was generated, & more completeness obtained. Layard is good example, both of the efficiency as measured by effect on the Arab, & in its reaction of his enterprise on him; for his enterprise proved a better university to him than Oxford or Sorbonne.

Henry thought, the English, “all train,” are mere soldiers, as it were, in the world. And that their business is winding up, whilst our pioneer is unwinding his lines.

I like the English better than our people, just as I like merchants better than scholars; for, though on a lower platform, yet there is no cant, there is great directness, comprehension, health, & success. So with English.

Then came the difference between American & English scholars. H. said, the English were all bred in one way, to one thing, he had read many lives lately, & they were all one life, Southey, Campbell, Leigh Hunt, or whosoever, they went to Eton, they went to College, they went to London, they all knew each other, & never did not feel the ability of each. But here, Channing is obscure, Newcomb is obscure, & so all the Scholars are in a more natural, healthful & independent condition…

Why are we so excellent at the humdrum of our musty household life, when quite aware of these majestic prerogatives? We do not try the virtue of the amulets we have. Thus we can think so much better, by thinking with a wise man. Yet we come together as a pair of six footers, always as six footers, & never on the ground of the immensities, which we have together authentically & awfully surveyed. Why not once meet & work on the basis of the Immensities, & not of the six feet?

Yes, we have infinite powers, but cannot use them. When shall we attain our majority, & come to our estate? Henry admitted, of course, the solstice.

(The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 11:283-6)

28 October. Cambridge, Mass. 1850.

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Voyages de la Nouvelle France occidentale, dicte Canada… depuis l’an 1603; jusques en l’an 1629 by Samuel de Champlain and Voyages de découverte au Canada, entre les années 1534 et 1542, par Jacques Cartier, le sieur de Roberval, Jean Alphonse de Xanctoigne, &c... from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau's Correspondence, 289).

31 October. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

That the brilliant leaves of autumn are not withered ones is proved by the fact that they wilt when gathered as soon as the green. But now, October 31st, they are all withered. This has been the most perfect afternoon in the year. The air quite warm enough, perfectly still and dry and clear, and not a cloud in the sky. Scarcely the song of a cricket is heard to disturb the stillness.

(Journal, 2:75)

8 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 2:85).

9 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I found many fresh violets (Viola pedata) to-day (November 9th) in the woods. Saw a cat on the Great Fields, wilder than a rabbit, hunting artfully” (Journal, 2:88-90).

11 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Gathered to-day the autumnal dandelion(?) and the common dandelion… We had a remarkable sunset to-night. I was walking in the meadow, the source of Nut Meadow Brook.

14 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys a woodlot near Ministerial Swamp for Cyrus Stow (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 11; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library).

Thoreau also writes in his journal: “Saw to-day, while surveying in the Second Division woods, a singular round mound in a valley made perhaps sixty or seventy years ago. Cyrus Stow thought it was a pigeon-bed, but I soon discovered the coal and that it was an old coal-pit” (Journal, 2:95).

Clinton, Mass. Franklin Forbes writes to Thoreau:

Dear Sir

As one of the Committee on Lectures of the Bigelow Mechanic Institute of this town, I wish to ascertain if you will deliver your lecture on “Cap[e] Cod” before the Institute on either Wednesday Evening of the month of January -

An early answer will much oblige

Yrs respectfully,

Franklin Forbes

P. S. If you prefer any other lecture of yours to the above mentioned, please name a day on which you can deliver it.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 268)

Thoreau replies 15 November.

15 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I saw to-day a very perfect lichen on a rock in a meadow. It formed a perfect circle about fifteen inches in diameter though the rock was uneven, and was handsomely shaded by a darker stripe of older leaves, an inch or more wide, just within its circumference, like a rich lamp-mat” (Journal, 2:95-6).

https://www.walden.org/documents/file/Library/Thoreau/writings/Writings1906/08Journal02/Chapter1.pdf#page=48

Thoreau also replies to Franklin Forbes’ letter of 14 November:

Dear Sir,

I shall be happy to lecture before your Institution this winter, but it will be most convenient for me to do so on the 11th of December. If, however, I am confined to the month of January I will choose the first day of it . Will you please inform me as soon as convenient whether I can come any earlier.

Yrs respectfully

Henry D. Thoreau.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 268)

16 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I found three good arrowheads today behind Dennis’s… I was pleased to-day to hear a great noise and trampling in the woods produced by some cows which came running toward their homes, which apparently had been scared by something unusual, as their ancestors might have been by wolves”Thoreau writes in his journal: “I found three good arrowheads today behind Dennis’s… I was pleased to-day to hear a great noise and trampling in the woods produced by some cows which came running toward their homes, which apparently had been scared by something unusual, as their ancestors might have been by wolves”(Journal, 2:96-101)

17 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I found this afternoon, in a field of winter rye, a snapping turtle’s egg, white and elliptical like a pebble, mistaking it for which I broke it. The little turtle was perfectly formed, even to the dorsal ridge, which was distinctly visible” (Journal, 2:101-2).

18 November. Cambridge, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau checks out Les voyages du sieur de Champlain Xaintctogeois, captiaine ordinaire pour le Roy, en la marine by Samuel de Champlain and Histoire de la Nouvelle-France by Marc Lescarbot, vols. 1 and 2, from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau's Correspondence, 289).

19 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The first really cold day… Most of the oaks have lost their leaves except on the lower branches, as if they were less exposed and less mature there, and felt the changes of the seasons less” (Journal, 2:103-5).

20 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

“Horace Hosmer was picking out to-day half a bushel or more of a different and better kind of cranberry, as he thought, separating them from the rest… Desor, who has been among the Indians at Lake Superior this summer, told me the other day that they had a particular name for each species of tree, as of the maple, but they had but one word for flowers; they did not distinguish the species of the last” (Journal, 2:105-6).

Portland, Maine. Josiah Pierce, Jr., writes to Thoreau:

Dear Sir,

You may perhaps believe that I am writing to you from Ireland and not from Portland, making a blunder even in the date of the letter, when you read that this is for the purpose of apologizing for and correcting another error - I intended and ought to have designated the evening of January 15th and not of January 8th or 10th, as that on which we hoped to hear a lecture from you.

With the wish that this newly appointed time, the fifteenth of January next, maybe equally acceptable to you,

I am With great respect, Yours truly

J. Pierce, Jr

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 2:106)

21 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I saw a herd of a dozen cows and young steers and oxen on Conantum this afternoon, running about and frisking in unwieldy sport like huge rats… As I looked on the Walden woods eastward across the pond [Fairhaven Pond], I saw suddenly a white cloud rising above their tops, now here, now there, marking the progress of the cars which were rolling toward Boston far below, behind many hills and woods” (Journal, 2:106-8).

Thoreau also writes about this walk to Fairhaven Pond in his journal on 14 February 1851:

One afternoon in the fall, November 21st, I saw Fair Haven Pond with its island and meadow; between the island and the shore, a strip of perfectly smooth water in the lee of the island; and two hawks sailing over it; and something more I saw which cannot easily be described, which made me say to myself that the landscape could not be improved. I did not see how it could be improved. Yet I do not know what these things can be; I begin to see such object only when I leave off understanding them, and afterwards remember that I did not appreciate them before. But I get no further than this. How adapted these forms and colors to our eyes, a meadow and its islands! What are these things? Yet the hawks and the ducks keep so aloof, and nature is so reserved! We are made to love the river and the meadow, as the wind to ripple the water.

(Journal, 2:160-1)

23 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

To-day it has been finger-cold. Unexpectedly I found ice by the side of the brooks this afternoon nearly an inch thick. Prudent people get in their barrels of apples to-day.

(Journal, 2:108-9)

24 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Plucked a buttercup on Bear Hill to-day” (Journal, 2:109-10).

25 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

This afternoon the air was indescribably clear and exhilarating, and though the thermometer would have shown it to be cold, I thought that there was a finer and purer warmth than in summer; a wholesome, intellectual warmth, in which the body was warmed by the mind’s contentment. The warmth was hardly sensuous, but rather the satisfaction of existence. I found Fair Haven skimmed entirely over, though the stones which I threw down on it from the high bank on the east broke through. Yet the river was open… I saw a muskrat come out of a hole in the ice.

(Journal, 2:110-2).

Concord, Mass. Ralph Waldo Emerson pays Thoreau $1.50 for surveys (Ralph Waldo Emerson’s account books. Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.).

26 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

An inch of snow on ground this morning, - our first. Went to-night to see the Indians, who are still living in tents. Showed the horns of the moose, the black moose they call it, that goes in lowlands.

(Journal, 2:112-6).

28 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

On a “cold drizzling and misty” day, Thoreau writes his poem “I am the little Irish boy” in his journal (Journal, 2:116-8).

29 November. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Still misty, drizzling weather without snow or ice… The pines standing in the ocean of mist, seen from the Cliffs, are trees in every stage of transition from the actual to the imaginary” (Journal, 2:118-9).

30 November. Carlisle, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau surveys a wood lot near the copper mines for James Barrett Wood (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 12).

1 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “It is quite mild and pleasant to-day. I saw a little green hemisphere of moss which looked as if it covered a stone, but, thrusting my cane into it, I found nothing but moss, about fifteen inches in diameter and eight or nine inches high” (Journal, 2:120).

3 December. Newburyport, Mass. 1850.

T. W. Higginson writes to Thoreau:

My Dear Sir

I hear with pleasure that you are to lecture in Newburyport this week. Myself & wife are now living in town again, & we shall be very glad to see you at our house, if you like it better than a poor hotel. And you shall go as early as you please on Saturday - which is the great point, I find, with guests, however unflattering to the hosts.

If I do not hear to the contrary I shall expect you, & will meet you at the cars.

Very sincerely yours

T. W. Higginson.

(The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau, 269)

4 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Fair Haven Pond is now open, and there is no snow. It is a beautiful, almost Indian-summer, afternoon, though the air is more pure and glassy” (Journal, 2:121).

5 and 6 December. Newburyport, Mass. 1850.

The Newburyport Daily Herald advertises:

Newburyport Lyceum.

The 6th Lecture will be delivered at Market Hall, on Friday Evening, Dec. 6, at 7 1/2 o’clock, by H. D. Thoreau, Esq.

Subject - “Cape Cod.”

Season Tickets are for sale by the Secretary at one dollar each.

A. A. Call, Sec’y.

(Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 190)

6 December. Newburyport, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau lectures on “An Excursion to Cape Cod” at Market Hall for the Newburyport Lyceum (Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 188-90).

Thoreau also writes in his journal: “Being at Newburyport in the evening, Dr. (H. C.?) Perkins showed me the circulations in the nitella, which is slightly different from the chara, under the microscope” (Journal, 2:121-2).

8 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

It snowed in the night of the 6th, and the ground is now covered, - our first snow, two inches deep… From Fair Haven I see the hills and fields, aye, and the icy woods in the corner shine, gleam with with the dear old wintry sheen… This evening for the first time the new moon is reflected from the frozen snow-crust.

(Journal, 2:122-3)

13 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The river froze over last night, - skimmed over” (Journal, 2:124).

14 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 16 December: “Last Sunday, or the 14th, I walked on Loring’s Pond to three or four islands there which I had never visited, not having a boat in the summer” (Journal, 2:124).

16 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “Walden is open still. The river is probably open again” (Journal, 2:124-5).

Thoreau also designs a cow barn and stanchions to be built in Northboro, Mass. for David Loring (A Catalog of Thoreau’s Surveys in the Concord Free Public Library, 9; Henry David Thoreau papers. Special Collections, Concord (Mass.) Free Public Library [see 80a-g]).

17 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal:

Flint’s Pond apparently froze completely over last night. It is about two inches thick. Walden is only slightly skimmed over a rod from the shore.

(Journal, 2:125-6)

18 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal on 19 December: “Yesterday I tracked a partridge in the new-fallen snow, till I came to where she took flight, and I could track her no further” (Journal, 2:126).

Boston, Mass. The records of the Boston Society of Natural History indicate: “Mr. Henry D. Thoreau of Concord, Mass. was elected a Corresponding member” (Thoreau Society Bulletin 73 (Fall 1960):5).

19 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The wild apples are frozen as hard as stones, and rattle in my pockets, but I find that they soon thaw when I get to my chamber and yield a sweet cider” (Journal, 2:126).

21 December. Clinton, Mass. 1850.

The Clinton Saturday Courant reports: “The next Lecture will take place one week from next Wednesday, and be given by Mr. Thoreaux, the type of Mr. Greeley’s [Horace Greeley] isolated education” (Studies in the American Renaissance 1995, 193).

22 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Concord, Mass. Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 126-8).

23 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “There is not much passing on railroads. The engineer says it is three feet deep above. Walden is frozen, one third of it, though I thought it was all frozen as I stood on the shore on one side only” (Journal, 2:128-9).

24 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “In walking across the Great Meadows to-day on the snow-crust, I noticed that the fine, dry snow which was blown over the surface of the frozen field, when I [looked] westward over it or toward the sun, looked precisely like steam curling up from the surface, as sometimes from a wet roof when the sun comes out after a rain” (Journal, 2:129-30).

26 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “The pine woods seen from the hilltops, now that the ground is covered with snow, are not green but a dark brown, greenish-brown perhaps… Walden not yet more than half frozen over” (Journal, 2:130).

27 December. Boston, Mass. 1850.

Samuel Cabot writes to Thoreau:

On the 27th of December, 1850, Mr. Cabot wrote to say that the Boston Society of Natural History, of which he was secretary, had elected Thoreau a corresponding member, “with all the honores, privilegia, etc., ad gradum tuum pertinentia, without the formality of paying any entrance fee, or annual subscription. Your duties in return are to advance the interests of the Society by communications or otherwise, as shall seem good.”

(Familiar Letters of Thoreau, 226-7)

Cambridge, Mass. Thoreau checks out Voyages de la Nouvelle France occidentale, dicte Canada… depuis l’an 1603; jusques en l’an 1629 by Samuel de Champlain from Harvard College Library (Companion to Thoreau's Correspondence, 289; Thoreau’s Reading).

30 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal (Journal, 2:130-3).

31 December. Concord, Mass. 1850.

Thoreau writes in his journal: “I observe that in the cut by Walden Pond the sand and stones fall from the overhanging bank and rest on the snow below; and thus, perchance, the stratum deposited by the side of the road in the winter can permanently be distinguished from the summer one by some faint seam, to be referred to the peculiar conditions under which it was deposited… Certain meadows, as Heywood’s, contain warmer water than others and are slow to freeze” (Journal, 2:133).




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