Brown Thurston

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 Responses to Lectures



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Biographical Sketch

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Journal Contents

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The journal begins in New York on June 15, 1834 with Thurston leaving to sail for Nantucket "on account of the depression in the money market which affected my trade" (1). Thurston believed that this journal would be read by others because he explained that he was describing Nantucket because these descriptions "may be interesting to whoever this manuscript may happen to be read" (1).

Throughout his entrees about the lectures that he has attended at the Lyceum, Thurston summarized that lectures that were made, rather than writing his opinion of the lectures. Many of the lectures that Thurston heard were religious sermons taken directly from the bible.

(Athens) January 6, 1843, Thurston heard a lecture at the Lyceum made by Reverend Mr. P... on the subject of Athens. Thurston used 3 pages to describe all that was said about Athens and her buildings, landscape and landmarks. Thurston even included the measurements of such buildings as The Temple of Theses. Thurston recited the details of the Temple that he remembered from the lecture, "it is constructed of snow white marble, and of exquisite workmanship. It is 104 feet long by 45 feet high-is surrounded with columns of perfect symmetry, Stand, upon a fountain of limestone rock. The floor is of marble and so exquisitely nice is the matching that it is difficult to tell where the joints are, even where."

(morals) January 25, 1843, Thurston heard, like Caleb Wall, Mr. Dana of Boston, speak about moral principal. "He drew illustrations from individuals in the various professions and stations and showed that all those who excelled had a ...moral principal to guide them. And he also illustrated by notions those that acquired the most knowledge were not the most durable, but...those that had moral culture."

(class equality) February 22, 1843, Reverend Mr. Stearns spoke about 'Liberty and Equality.' Thurston recited what Stearns spoke about the equality of the classes, "we are all here together-all dependent one upon the other,-the farmer upon the merchant, the scholar upon the mechanic-and so on."


Responses to Speakers

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March 1, 1843, Thurston heard Reverend Mr. Peabody, of Portsmouth, lecture on the "Poor Man-the Plebeian." Thurston summarized parts of Peabody's lecture, "he first told us what paganism had done to the poor man-had universally-without an exception in classic lore, doomed the poor man to degradation and oblivion in life..." Peabody gave examples of the unfair treatment of the poor man in Athens where the "people were divided into four classes, according to wealth, The lowest of these could not vote in elections-were not eligible for any office in government and were not allowed to speak in public."

Thurston also heard Reverend Beecher speak both on July 23, 1843, and August 9, of that same year. Although Thurston does not make any summaries of Beecher's speeches, he does state that, "Mr. Beecher made some very interesting remarks."


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