1822-1827, "Original Pieces / in Poetry and Prose. / 1824" (title, on page 3)
A mixture of verse and prose pieces. The first item is a poem entitled "To the Memory of A Mother." At ends of pieces there are frequently dates, usually consecutive (e.g., August 10, August 14, September 5 1824, March 5 1825, July 1822, January 1825, April 2nd 1825, July 8th 1825, January 9th 1825, January 1826, June 1827), followed by initials or names (e.g., AHDH, my mother, MBW, Miss S. Bayley, MW, TA-n, DB), perhaps referring to people to whom Skelton has shown the pieces; occasionally the note "Published" appears. Most prose pieces parallel those found in Orations, Lectures, and Essays below.
1824, "Extracts-1824 / Walter M. Skelton's" (title page)
Primarily verse, with attributions at the ends of each piece. The cover and title page both have "W M Skelton" stamped on them.
Undated, ca. 1824-27, "Extracts / Skelton's" (title page)
Primarily verse, but a few prose pieces: a series of quotations, with name or source at the end of each. 96 pages, with 60-64, 68-69, and 74-96 blank.
In other hands
1818-4, lecture notes
Notes from 8 lectures on history (both general and ancient), some with questions appended; followed by (and occasionally interspersed with) verse. On front cover: "M [W] McAllister / Princeton College / Nassau Hall / Newjersey / January 9, 1818 / in the 42 year of the Amer / ican Independence." On page 3: "Conemaugh Loyalhanna," "Conemaugh" again, "T.W. Simpson," "Theodore Simpson," "Conemaugh Thomas Chrystie Skelton" (this last upside down in bottom margin); on page 52: "Conamaugh May 184."
1829-1830, "Elizabeth White's / Collection / of Poetry" (on cover, printed or traced)
Attributions appear at the ends of many poems, but not all. On page 133 are these notes and dates: "My Dear Mother departed this life 1st mo. 18th 1829" followed by: "EW 1st mo. 1830."
Undated, ca. 1834-1836
Extracts in prose and (especially) verse, some of which are attributed. Internal dates: "Princeton 1835" at the end of a poem; " October 4th 1836" at the end of a poem; "The Hon. Nicholas Biddles address before the Alumni of Nassau Hale Sept 30th 1835" at the end of a proverb; "1834" and "Webb" after a prose sentence; " July 1834" at the end of a poem "By a Lady." The first item is a poem by Campbell, "The Last Man"; on verso of last leaf are scribbles, including names (James Hogg, Washington Irving, Walter Scott, and Anderson), titles of poems, some quotations, the date 1836 and (at the top) the place name Freeport.
Orations, Lectures, Essays
In WMS's hand
Scope note: Presumably composed by WMS (the undated items are probably mid-1820s)
28 September 1824, On chivalry (no title, but "II" is at the top of p. 1).
Begins: "There are some subjects which naturally strike the mind." The date and "Skelton" are on p. 8. Also in Notebooks above.
14 February 1825, On slander, etc. (no title).
Begins: "If we should closely scrutinize the motives that prompt our own actions." The date and "Skelton" are on p. .
30 June 1825, Oration (no title), beginning: "All again is hushed in quiet."
The date and "Skelton" are on p. . Also in Notebooks above; and cf. next item.
July 1825, "An Oration delivered in the College chapel of Nassau Hall a few days after the 4th of July of 1825."
Begins: "All again is hushed in quiet!"; ends: "‘Fiat justitia, si ruat coelum!' Skelton." Also in Notebooks above; and cf. previous item.
1825, "Oration 1825" on slavery.
Begins: "Slavery, as it exists in our country at the present day." Title and date written vertically on p. , which is otherwise blank; the text ends on p. . Also in Notebooks above; and cf. draft beginning "Many have pretended" below.
July 1826, "An Oration delivered at Cranbury July 4th 1826."
Begins: "Friends and Fellow Citizens-Welcome! To one and all, as the organ of all, I bid a mutual and a cordial welcome." Not in WMS's hand, but the ending "Skelton" on leaf [9b] does look like his hand. Cf. Oration, beginning "Friends and Fellow Citizens - Welcome!" below.
5 September 1826, Oration entitled "The Influence of the Arts & Sciences on Civil Liberty."
Begins: "It is an evil peculiarly attached to literary pursuits." The date is on p. .
1826, Oration (no title), beginning: "Friends & Fellow Citizens-Welcome!"
On p.  are "End" and below it "Skelton 1826." Cf. "An Oration delivered at Cranbury" above.
Undated, Untitled oration.
Begins: "The discovery and direction of those feelings which May be made subservient to the prevention of crime and promotion of good conduct, have engaged the attention of mankind since the creation of civil government to the present day." Leaf  blank, text begins on leaf [2a], and "Skelton" on leaf [8b]. A version in Notebooks above; and cf. draft beginning "Time is the greatest innovator" on capital punishment, and draft beginning "Many have pretended" below.
Undated, Oration or essay entitled "Proverb the 19th. Vers. 23d. a man's pride shall bring him Low."
Begins: "It is often the fate of those who stray from the paths of duty, in pursuit of happiness, to defeat their own views, & to embrace misery, where they hope to find enjoyment"; no colophon, just ends.
Short oration or essay, probably incomplete but ending with a full sentence in the middle of p. . Begins: "The great author of all things, in the formation of that strange and wonderful creature Man."
Undated, "For the True American."
Outline or draft of half a page. Begins with a 6-line poem by "Beattie"; then: "Most truly has it been written, in the emphatic and breathing characters of inspiration." Ends: "Moderation in all things May be ranked as the first, or alpha, in this list of first principles." A version also in Notebooks above.
Undated, "The Bachelor of Arts."
Outline or draft of a page. Begins with three lines from Shakespeare; then: "This is the age of improvement, & opinions should not be stamped with the sin of hetrodoxy [sic]."
Undated, Draft or part of an essay or oration on capital punishment (no title).
Begins: "Time is the greatest innovator . . ." (a quotation from Lord Bacon); then: "The present is an age of progressive improvement." Also in Notebooks above; and cf. oration beginning "The discovery and direction of those feelings" above and draft beginning "Many have pretended" below.
Undated, "W.M. Skelton Universal Suffrage": a note.
Undated, "The United States Senate" and "Chief Justice Marshall": two notes.
The name "W.M. Skelton" follows each note.
Undated, On slavery (no title).
Draft or outline. Begins: "Much has been said & written on the subject of slavery as it exists in these United States." A version also in Notebooks above; and cf. "Oration 1825" above.
Undated, On capital punishment (no title).
Draft or outline. Begins: "Many have pretended to rest their support of this barbarian practice on parts of the Jewish dispensation." Cf. oration beginning "The discovery and direction of those feelings" and draft beginning "Time is the greatest innovator" above.
In other hands
Scope note: Both probably written in the mid-1820s.
Undated, "Oration" in praise of Hamilton, with the names "GW Crump" and "GeoW Crump Powhatan" (on p. ).
Begins: "To swell the sable triumph of the tomb the Great destroyer in pointing his shaft at Hamilton has selected a victim of no ordinary value."
Undated, On misery and happiness in life (no title), with the name "Bryce" at the end.
Begins: "It is the delight of a certain class of men to describe the miseries of human life in the most lively manner."
In WMS's hand
Scope note: Perhaps composed by WMS.
8 September 1824, Untitled.
Begins: "My Mary's form is fair and delicate; / As fair -- but stronger -- is her chastened mind."
22 February 1826, Untitled.
Begins: "I said, fair lady, that ‘my Muse was dead', / And that, with all becoming obsequies / To such a frail and worthless thing." The date is on the verso followed by "S" and then: "Skelton To Miss C. Morford," with repetitions: "To Miss CM," "To Miss C," "Miss C Morford."
14 June 1826, "My Mother."
Begins: "Whose anxious love for me was first, / While yet an embryo of being." Poem of 27 lines (9 stanzas of 3 lines each), with "My Mother" as a tag to each stanza. The date and "Skelton" are on the verso.
In other hands
[Late 1824?], Untitled.
Begins: "A welcome gallant chief / From Gallia's sunny clime"; ends: "It bade us honour thee / Lov'd La Fayette." These are lines sung at the celebration of General Lafayette's second visit to Trenton, on 25 September 1824 by 13 young women, each representing one of the 13 original colonies; printed in the Trenton Federalist of 27 September 1824 and in the True American for 2 October 1824 a full account is in A History of Trenton 1679-1929 (1929), Chapter IV, Section V.
[1825?], "Lines upon hearing a discourse from the Revd Dr. Alexander, from the words referred to -- preached Sunday, March 6th 1825 -- in the College Chapel --" [in Princeton].
Begins: "By faith -- tho' bow'd beneath the vilest yoke / Oppression dire for slavery ever made"; preceded by the text: "By faith Moses when he was born etc. etc. Hebrews 11th Ch. [?] 23 to 29 inclusive -- see also Exodus." The title follows the poem on the verso.
Ashbel Green, President of the College of New Jersey from 1812-22, is referred to in the poem. Begins: "In Princeton when t'was nine o'clock / To Junior room did College flock / To get a holiday or knock / Town Tutors & the Faculty." Poem of 32 lines (8 stanzas of 4 lines each); the poem is in a hand that has many characteristics of WMS's hand and may be a hastily written copy by him. Also on the verso, following the poem, in what is probably WMS's hand, are "A parody," "Mrs. Mary Minto," and "Johnson is Skelton."
Undated, "Don't give up the Ship / A new song / Composed in / Dartmoor prison / By an American tar and sold by the author."
Begins: "You parliament of England you Lords and Commons too / Consider well what you're aboute and what you mean to do." Poem of 44 long lines (11 stanzas of 4 lines each), frequently reprinted; the title is based on Captain James Lawrence's last words to his crew, on the U.S.S. Chesapeake, in a battle against the British frigate HMS Shannon just outside Boston Harbor in June of 1813 during the War of 1812. On page 4 is an alphabetical list of surnames (in WMS's hand and including his surname) and then the name and address (not in WMS's hand) "B.W. Leigh Esq. / Richmond / Virginia."
Begins: "If on my heart the mildew of the blight / Of rash transgression sits & like a [v…] / Of darkness shrouds the future . . ." In margin on page , upside down, is the name "Thomas Skelton" followed by "Conam[e]ugh," with many other scribbles in margins of pages -.
Undated, two poems.
1st leaf, containing 2 items: 1st item: "The Burial," beginning "He buried her silently ‘neath the green sod / Where the flowers were freshly blooming." Poem of 20 lines (5 stanzas of 4 lines each), all on the recto, followed by "Struthfield" and then "Ann." 2nd item: An untitled poem of 32 lines (8 stanzas of 4 lines each) in pencil on the verso, in a different hand, beginning "I hate the world be cause the world / Hath ever hated me"; 6 stanzas are on the verso and the last 2 written upside down at the bottom of the recto. 2nd leaf: Untitled, but a recopying of "The Burial" on the recto in the same hand as on the recto of the 1st leaf.
Undated, "Auld Lang Syne."
Begins: "Should auld acquaintance be forgot / And never brought to mind?" Well known poem in 5 stanzas (of 4 lines each, with a 4-line refrain) by Robert Burns, written in 1788. The name "W Joline" written 15 times in the margins and at the top of the recto.
Undated, "Parody on the Knight Errant."
Begins: "T'was Samy Jones the fisherman was bound for Sandy Hook / But first upon his almanack a solem oath he took."
Undated, "A Picture."
Begins: "She was a lovely girl I trow, / This all who've seen her can avow."
Undated, "Days of Yore."
Begins: "There is a charm in evenings hour / When wearied nature sinks to rest." This item and "To a Friend" and "To Melancholy" are all written by the same hand. The name "Rosalind" appears at the end.
Undated, "To a Friend."
Begins with 4 lines by Byron (from "The Corsair," Canto II, passus XIV): "Oh I envy those / Whose hearts on hearts as faithful can repose," etc. The poem proper begins: "I have longed for a soul as exalted and true / As I've seen in those visions of fancy so fair." This item and "Days of Yore" and "To Melancholy" are all written by the same hand. The name "Rosalind" appears at the end.
Undated, "To Melancholy."
Begins: "I know thee when the breezes play, / So calmly and so softly driven." Poem of 52 lines (3 stanzas of 12 lines each and 1 of 16 lines). This item and "Days of Yore" and "To a Friend" are all written by the same hand. The name "Rosalind" appears at the end.
Undated, "The Lacerated Glove" and "Lines on revisiting the Cottage of Rosa after a long absence."
2 items, written by same hand. 1st item: "The Lacerated Glove" on pages 1-2. Begins with 2 lines by Shakespeare (from Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 2): "Oh that I were a glove upon that hand / That I might touch that cheek." The poem proper begins: "O Romeo! Had thy wish been granted, / What poet could thy raptures speak?" Poem of 28 lines (7 stanzas of 4 lines each, with 4 on page 1 and 3 on page 2); there are 3 notes to the poem: on "Capricorn (line 12), with 3 lines by Shakespeare; on "glove from Harriet's hand now torn" (line 14), with reference to "Mrs. Harriet Rodman"; and on "Scorpio" (line 23), with a quotation in Latin from Virgil's Georgics. 2nd item: "Lines. / On revisiting the Cottage of Rosa after a long absence. May 4th 1807 " on pages 3-4. Begins: "Seven summers have flown, and once more do I see / The fields, and the groves I deserted so long!" Poem of 24 lines (6 stanzas of 4 lines each, with 4 1/4 stanzas on page 3 and 1 3/4 on page 4), by Anthony Bleecker (1770-1827), printed in Samuel Kettell, ed., Specimens of American Poetry, with Critical and Biographical Notes (1829), II.382. The name "Paridel" appears at the end of the poem.
Undated, "Of My Lady Isabella playing on the lute."
Begins: "Such moving sounds from such a careless touch! / So unconcern'd herself, and we so much." Poem of 16 lines by Edmund Waller (1606-87) about Lady Isabella Thynne (nee Rich). The hand is perhaps that of a child practicing careful writing.
Undated, four poems.
4 poems, each of 40 lines (10 stanzas of 4 lines each), entitled "December," "February," "March," and "April ." (1) "December" (on pages -) begins: "From mountains of eternal snow / And zembla's dreary plains / Where the bleak winds for ever blow." Poem by Francis Fawkes (1721-77) entitled "Ode to Winter." (2) "February" (pages -) begins: "The Sister regent of the opening year / Now sways the scepter of revolving time." (3) " March " (pages -) begins: "At length stern Winters frigid sway subsides / And leaves progressive this auspicious isle." (4) " April " (pages -) begins: "A Scene of pleasure nature oer the plains / Displays propitious with a lib'ral hand."
Begins: "Hail sinless child we welcome three / In the unblemished purity / Of thy young heart." Poem of 12 lines (2 stanzas of 6 lines each, rhyming aabccb, with the b-lines shorter than the others). ; on the verso are accounts, in dollars, adding up to $32.70, with what appears to be a date: "20-12-40" (?1840).
Undated, "Stork of Lea."
Begins: "There was wailing on the water / And thunder in the sky." Poem of an uncertain number of stanzas (51 lines total, but the first 6 lines on the verso are a repeat of the first 6 lines on the recto and the last 4 lines at the bottom of the recto are written upside down); appears to be written by the same careless hand as (r) below. 1 large leaf; numbers (mainly sums) appear on both the recto and the verso; also on the verso is the place name "Holladaysburghe" and the personal name "Hiram" written 4 times.
Undated, three poems.
3 items, written by one careless hand, which appears to be the same as (q) above. At top right, written sideways, is "Samuel Whites […] / pair gloves 62 1/2." 1st item: Untitled, beginning "Tis midnighte & the clear blue sky looks down / [L..nd]ly on a slumbring world." 2nd item: "Dreams." Begins: "Here am I! What are they? If shadows of the mind / Along without prosstit sanction. They / are haughty -- perhaps they are but as the wind." Poem of 1 8-line stanza, followed by 3 lines, with 2 other sets of 3 lines written sideways in the margins, one set on the left and one on the right. 3rd item: "To Lydia." Begins: "The hour has come I must away / And yet before I go / One parting thought I'll cast on thee." 2 stanzas, the first of 6 lines rhyming abccab, the second of 7 lines rhyming abccbab, followed by 2 more stanzas written sideways in the margins, 1 of 5 lines on the left and 1 of 4 lines on the right.
Undated, "Canzonetta" (in Italian).
Begins: "La Biondina in gondoletta / l'altra sera gho mena." Poem of 40 lines (5 stanzas of 8 lines each) by Giovanni Battista Peruchini (1784-1870). 1 small leaf, folded in half to make 4 pages, with 2 stanzas on page 1, 2 on page 2, 1 on page 3 and with page 4 blank; the poem ends with "per un Veneziano" and "fin."