Christian Recorder: January 3, 1863
Turner writes about the happenings in Washington, DC
Keywords: Solomon Brown, Lyceum, Lecture
MR. EDITOR:--We are in the midst of the Christmas holidays. Everybody is moving hither and thither in search of that kind of enjoyment, which their peculiar natures and distinctive characteristics value and appreciate. Congress has adjourned for ten days. The general of the army of the Potomac has furloughed a large number of the gallant sons of war, while the remaining portion are resting in front of the enemy, in hopes of a glorious resurrection from a serious defeat by a triumphant victory in the next engagement. Wounded soldiers are still pouring in from the direful conflict, which recently proved so disastrous to the Union army. Others in hospitals are enjoying the luxuries of Christmas dinners, which have been provided by their friends and a benevolent people; our people are eating, drinking, marrying, and holding fairs, festival, &c.
The colored convention which meets weekly, met for adjournment at the First Baptist Church, Tuesday evening, but owing to some disagreeableness from the effects of fresh paint, they adjourned to meet at John Wesley Church, Island, on Tuesday evening next. Nothing worth noting was done, as they immediately adjourned after organizing.
The contraband relief association is holding a week’s festival at the Union Bethel Church, for the benefit of our suffering friends.
They were very largely patronized until some disturbance took place which has terminated very seriously. It appears that Mr. Thomas Cross, one of the trustees of said Church, had an occasion to try to quiet some interruptions which were being made by some rude young men, when they became outraged to such desperation that they turned furiously upon Mr. Cross, and beat him unmercifully, who after recovering himself, made to the window as a means of escape, when a shower of dishes were rained upon him from the hands of the frenzied party. But finally jumping out of the window, he fell against something which still injured him worse. He is hardly expected to recover. Mr. President Lincoln, who I am informed set a very high estimate upon Mr. Cross, has put out several detectives to arrest the parties. The affair needs no comment from me, but I should hate to be in the boy’s boots. I am informed by persons from Alexandria that the small pox is raging terribly there. Professor Solomon G. Brown, of the Smithsonian Institute, lectured before the Israel Lyceum on Monday evening last. Subject: geology. And I do not believe that I cross the bounds of truth when I say that I never heard or read an abler lecture on that subject in my life, though I have devoted more time to the study of that science, than any other in the range of my knowledge, and I am confident that I have read the ablest works on geology, that have ever came from the pen of man.
Commencing at the Azoic age, he reviewed in the most magnificent style the development of the vegetable kingdom, passing through the various stratas belonging to the period, he came to the Palegoic age, the age of mollusks, or Silurian period. Here he commented upon the fishes, shells, both of marine and freshwater, and the carboniferous deposits of the ancient date. But we might follow him through mesoic, genoic, and human epochs and then fail to give a synopsis of his lecture. He showed a section of the earth’s crust, scanning sixteen strata, embracing all of the yet discovered from the territory, to the volcanic fountain. Thus he went on treating most scientifically, the philosophy of Artesian wells, coal beds, coal oil, mineral ores, salts &c. He described the ratio of heat, in the descent into the heart of the earth, stating that though on the surface of the earth, the thermometer might stand at zero, in a depth of eighteen hundred feet, it would rise to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And that since the days of Adam, the incessant fall of the atomic particles of matter had increased the present forming geological strata to the thickness of eight feet.
Yet the lecture was nothing more than an introduction to a course which he is to deliver before the said Lyceum. I regard Professor S. G. Brown as a geologist, and Rev. George T. Watkins is an ethnologist, two of our most scientific men.
Governor Joseph E. Williams, ex citizen and lecturer of the Haytien republic, and author of the infamous Central American project of colonization, for the freed Americans of African descent, has been recently appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, messenger for the architect’s office of the United States capitol extension.
The colored people here are completing a grand demonstration, as a tender of appreciation of President Lincoln, after they shall have seen his proclamation for emancipation. The demonstration, I expect will take place in front of the mansion.
H. M. T.
Washington, Dec. 28, 1862