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Title: Excerpts from the Diary of David A. Barnes, February 10 and 15, 1840: Electronic Edition.
Author: Barnes, David Alexander, 1819-1892
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann, Steven Sidor, and Margaret Brockland-Nease
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Risa Mulligan
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 13K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

No Copyright in US

The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-03-28, Risa Mulligan finished TEI/XML encoding
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: David Alexander Barnes Papers (#3484), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Excerpts from the Diary of David A. Barnes, February 10 and 15, 1840
Author: David Alexander Barnes
Description: 2 pages, 2 page images
Note: Call number 3484 (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Education/Goals and Purposes
Reading and Writing/Reading
Examples of Student Writing/Diary and Notebook Excerpts
Religion and Philosophy/Worship
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
DocSouth staff created a 600 dpi uncompressed TIFF file for each image. The TIFF images were then saved as JPEG images at 100 dpi for web access.
Page images can be viewed and compared in parallel with the text.
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Barnes meditates on the uselessness of his studies and objects to compulsory daily prayers.
Excerpts from the Diary of David A. Barneslink opens in a new window , February 10 and 15, 18401
Barnes, David Alexander, 1819-1892

Page 1

Monday Feb 10th 1840
The same state of weather still continues and all nature seems to partake of the gloom that surrounds them. The college buildings resemble old deserted mansions where we would rather expect to find the owl and raven than inteligent beings No truant youth weary of his books is seen running over the campus and starting us with his savage yell. No separate groups are assembled around the doors to idle away a weary hour in mirth and pleasant converstion. But all have retired to their respective rooms. Some perhaps guilty few see the arms of Somnus others busily engaged ovr the [classic] page or adling his brain in endeavoring to solve some abst[ruse] problem in astronomy or calculus. This useless expenditure of time in acquiring a knowedge of circls lines and tangents is thought necessary to invigorate the mind To give it the requisite mou[l]d for the reception and retention of ideas acquired in after [life] And thus we are compelled to plod our way throug sins and cosins tangents and cotangents thrown together and forming an indigested moles without a single verdant and inviteing spot upon which to repose. It is a mistaken notion in the system of education and one that deserves a radical change. The student who stores upon in his mind the useless familiar will find that he has been heaping up rubish and forming a [lumber] house from which he can draw no valuable products and while he is only caculated to measure hieghts and distances find the base of a cone& his companion less distinguished in collegiate honours is far outstriping him in the race of honour and distinction. His knowledge will thus avail him nothing and can only turn away in mournful dejection and regret his folly. I have been reading an anomious publication called Battles it is very interesting but contains nothing worthy of particular remaks.

Page 2

Saturday Feb 15th 1840
To day is one of but little interest. The same monoteny still continues that has ever characterized this place. The same bell whos tones are frequently as solemn as those of a funeral knell daily summons us to assemble in the chapel where we are forced to hear read a chapter in the bible and then a prayer apparently got by wrote and recited without the least fervency or animation This custom of having regular prays in an institution like this may have the good effects of rousing students from their beds but if it is also intended to impress upon their minds the necessity of pray and the continued worship of God I am disposed to question its efficacy in accomplishing this end. Experience which is said to be the best teacher has confirmed me in the opinion. Before I come here I never entered the house of God but with reverence and awe and never heard a sermon but it left some impression upon my mind and I always left the house more sensibl of my unworthyness and penitent for my transgressions. But here it is different I go to church almost indifferent to every thing hear the sermon without entering into the spirit of the minister and come away uninstructed. This however I am willing to admit does not arise from any defect in the custom established in every college of compelling the students to attend prays and divine worship but from the idea amonge students of being forced. They think it a matter to be settled between themselves and ther God, and one with which man has not the slightest interferance. They consider it tyranny and oppression and think themselves justifiable in throwing off the yoke if the neglect of divine worship should be the consequnces. The plastering of the Phi Hall fell this morning and it is fortunate that no one was in it for it would have been inposible to escape being injured if not kill. I am still reading Byron but have no room for reflections or extracts


1. David Alexander Barnes Papers, SHC. The diary is a bound ledger measuring eight by twelve inches and inscribed "Joseph J. Norcott./ Chapel Hill/ N.C./ Chapel Hill/ 16 May 1840/Presented to/ David A Barneslink opens in a new window /By/ J.J. Norcott." Entries begin on February 8, 1840, and end on February 15, 1840, the year Barneslink opens in a new window graduated. The ledger also includes notes on the law, drafts of legal documents, quotations from English and Latin poets, and expenses and receipts bearing on Barnes'link opens in a new window law practice in 1842. Barneslink opens in a new window (1819-92) graduated in 1840, practiced law, and became a superior court judge.