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New Haven, Fri. July 12th 1804

Respected Friend,

I have this moment recied
your Foundly favor of the 9th Inst- with
which I now sit down with pleasure, to return you
an answer.- Nothing in particular has occ-
urred, since I arrived at New-Haven; except a
few of those disturbances which always attend
seminaries of learning; and which are interwov-
-en with their very frame, and constitution.
Two have been expelled and six dismissed
from College, this term. It is absolutely nec-
essary, that some vent should be given to the
overflowing spirit of mischief which is pre-
=dominant in youth. A mischievous, and tur-
-bulent disposition is extremely natural, and
if cherished, will lead to the most dangerous
consequences. This is exemplified by an acco-
-unt we had, or might have had, in the history
of our own country- Where, a number of young
men assembled to congratulate one of their com-
-panions upon the day of his freedom. After
they had imbibed plentifully of the spirit of
the West-Indies, they passed a law, that no
one should leave the company, until they had
broke up. It happened, that an innocent youth
observing the intoxication prevalent among the

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In this letter to Christopher Arms, Rudolphus Dickenson tells his friend of an incident involving both violence and mischief that occurred while he was attending Yale. This type of rowdy (and sometimes dangerous) behavior was common in the world of the college undergraduate in the early republic. Dickenson also reports on hearing news of the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, remarking that Hamilton was the greatest "law character" in America. It is interesting to note that the two political parties celebrated the Fourth of July separately, rather than jointly. Dickenson's reference to the navy of the Isle of Deerfield must be a private joke.

 

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Letter to Christopher Tyler Arms from Rodolphus Dickinson on Independence and duel between Burr and Hamilton

author   Rodolphus Dickinson (1786-1862)
date   Jul 12, 1804
location   New Haven, Connecticut
width   8.0"
height   13.0"
process/materials   manuscript, paper, ink
item type   Personal Documents/Letter
accession #   #L07.048


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See Also...

"HYMN - For Fourth July--1826"

"Temperance in Schools" article from Gazette and Mercury newspaper

Toasts for Independence


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