Letter from J. Noyes to Rev. Varnum Noyes, December 16


Dublin Core


Letter from J. Noyes to Rev. Varnum Noyes, December 16


Brothers and sisters; Hobbies; Dance; Manners and customs; Marriage; Age; Clergy; Astronomy; Uncles; Marriage service; Family


Josiah begins this letter to his brother Varnum by discussing age and how it affects one's hobbies of choice, specifically focusing on the benefits and drawbacks of dancing. He continues by congratulating Varnum on his marriage to Lois. Josiah discusses the news of his hometown; he is rather critical of the reverends. He concludes by writing about the stars, the marriage of their 'Reverend Uncle,' and various family gossip.


Noyes, Josiah


Loose, The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection




c. 1833


Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)





Text Item Type Metadata


[Note: page is ripped and begins in the middle of a phrase]
natural principle based on similar natures, similar taste, feeling and mode of thinking
While a sickly habit and a feeble constitution had retarded my growth, a more healthy
and vigorous constitution enabled you early in life to equal me in size and in a few
years to take the advance. Brother A. was always looked upon as our "older." He and our
sisters had gone into company extensively before [u]I[/u] was [u]large[/u] enough and [u]you old[/u] enough
It may have been owing to this circumstance that we never acquired a stronger attach-
ment for the more fashionable amusements, that might not be inaptly termed the
"[?stuff?] of life", such as dancing, convivial assemblies, "balls" and pleasure parties. Though
[Note: page ripped] [?every-body?] is ready to bring an excuse ^[for] all the acts of life, some think that [u]even[/u]
[Note: page ripped] are not without their benefits. If we [u]seek[/u] an excuse for any of our conduct we
[Note: page ripped] almost always sure to find one; and it would be strange if we could not
possess ingenuity enough to find at least a [u]seeming one[/u] for dancing. Grave professors
of religion are not infrequently heard descanting on the advantages of the dancing
school in improving the manners of young people when [u]manners[/u] [?form?] no
part of the teacher's business; indeed [u]many[/u] dancing masters are themselves essen-
tially deficient in good breeding and good manners if not even in [u]respectability[/u].
To some I may perhaps seem to be unjustly severe; but if [u]your[/u] observations have
coincided with mine, since my first intercourse with the world, you would
have no hesitancy in saying, most of these masters, as they are called, are of such
characters and principle that no parent would be willing to have a son
or daughters modelled by them. Some of them are perhaps the last that I [?should?]
refer to as standards of politeness and good manners; and not a few possess no more
than a [u]passing share[/u] of respectability. But [u]we[/u] have never been spoiled by dancing; and
I apprehend neither regrets that he has never been more attached to this amuse-
ment. From the characters of our dancing-masters, and of those who practise it
most, in the sphere of my observation, very few of our [u]more respectable[/u] young peo-
ple practice or even countenance this amusement. But I will not trouble you
with a dissertation on practices that we are little liable to fall into, even though
we were not now already [u]too old[/u]. I know those, however, who do not hesitate to
practise it in their uncouth manner at [u]twice our age[/u]! Capt. G. with whom
I boarded evinces no less fondness for it than formerly, even though he has numer
ous grand-children and has [u]twice[/u] made the nuptial vow! Nuptial vow! ah,
this makes me think of the last [u]improvement[u] in the condition of my West-
tern Brother. Allow me to congratulate you in the wisdom of your choice, and
the happiness of a union with the [u]only one[/u] your heart had selected from our nu-
merous acquaintances for her amiableness, piety, affection and goodness. I should
now delight to visit you; as I have known you as the [u]brother[/u], and [u][?coelebs?], I want
to see how you look as the [u]husband[/u]! Be assured of my best wishes for your
hap-piness in your new connexion, and though I share no ordinary portion of happiness in
my lonely sojourn in the valley of celibacy, I rejoice that I have a brother that en-
joys [u]even more[/u]. I need not say, so worth a companion you cannot but love.

[Note: page is ripped and begins in the middle of a phrase]
make such an arrangement. I think rather favorably of such a step as the
town is increasing rapidly and new houses are constantly going up. More
than in any town around. People are "marrying and giving in marriage", building,
and even the old meeting-house, with its spire towering [u]ad astra[/u] is threatened with dem-
olition to make room for another of less dimensions, but more elegant and comfor [Note: page ripped]
ble. The old [?sheds?] have already disappeared and a long train of new ones have taken
place, though yet unfinished. Our Rev. Uncle, you are aware, was long since dism[Note: page ripped]
though he has had employment almost every sabbath since. A young Re[Note: page ripped]
by the name of Sessions is settles as his successor in the place. He was ordaine[Note: page ripped]
Oct. 2d. Uncle, thinking himself not treated with common courtesy (as did also the other
clergymen in town) concluded out to be present on the occasion. The fault of disre-
spect, or [u]overnight[/u] as the most favorable will have it, was mostly chargeable to the of-
ficiating parish Committee. In regard to the Ordination, very little trouble was taken
in the parish to [u]prepare[/u] for the occasion and little on the part of people at large
to [u]attend[/u]. I was invited to about a half a dozen places to dine; but as my invitation
were mostly [u]incidental[/u] I did not feel very much elated nor rate them very high; and
accepted of the one that accommodated my business best. The people [?present?] would
no more than make a [u]middling sunday congregation[/u]- the house would have
held twice the number. They were hasty in the settlements of Mr. [?S?] and, in my o-
pinion, [u]injudicious[/u]. He had preached to them only 6 or 7 sabbaths, and I believe du-
ring this short-time not in [u]person[/u] always, but by exchange. [u]He[/u], too, seemed eager
and hasty for a settlement; and I should think he thought more favorable of his
prospects than I do, or have; otherwise he would have been more deliberate, and
perhaps under such circumstances, preferred the situation of the [u]Candidate[/u] to the set-
tled [u]Pastor[/u]. But is it said, "he was in a hurry to get married" and for that pur-
pose [u]urged[/u] the parish on to a ^[more hasty] consummation of their union than they were re-
ally ready for. Judge of the circumstances for yourself when I tell you the parish
meetings to "give him a call" were hasty and thinly attended. On such an interesting
occasion should you think there could be such an apathy that no more than 14 would
attend? - and of these, we are told that [u]one opposed[/u], and another would not vote
at all! Think you the [u]Parish generally[/u] can long preserve harmony, be united and
contented in a settlement effect by so few? If I do not miscalculate men and times there
is little permanency in the whole matter; and you must not be surprised to learn
before [u]yours[/u] have passed that there is difficulty, or even he dismissed. The old adage
is, "hot love is soon cold"- however true or appropriate this may be in the present in-
stance, the [u]"hot"[/u], I believe, was not extensively felt. No more than half the paper in the
parish probably attended the ordination. Mr. S.'s character as a preacher does not proba-
bly [u]transcend[/u] the [u]mediocrity[/u]. He would not be called handsome; though his personal appear
ance is not disagreeable. He has numerous friends, and those warmly attached to him- and
I have no reason to be unfriendly. His salary is $500. He was no sooner settled then he took
a journey and, on his return, brought with him his [u]"fairer half,"[/u] his "better self" his amiable bride.

[Note: page is ripped and begins in the middle of a phrase]
at 3 1/2 [?A?]M. [u]Ceres[/u] is south at 5 in the morning, [u]Pallas[/u] at 3h33m. morning; [u]Juno[/u] at 11h48
them all out. So, too, it will be seen at 7h11m morning; Hershell at 4 P.M. - so you may search
subject of observations. If you wish to ascertain the [u]true North[/u], it be will be pointed out
at 6h. 18m evening. I have been this particular because it is sometimes important to how
the true north; and as the North, or Polar Star revolves around a little circle of 3° 10' across
[Note: page torn for several lines] it will be on the meridian at those times respectively and just 12 hours from then
everal times. I should like to say much more upon Astronomy (more properly ^[it] would
e called [u]Astrology[/u]) but for want of room - as I have not a little yet to say on other
subjects -- the various fixed stars, that so beautify our heavens these pleasant eve -
nings, and the various constellations must be excluded. I have always taken pe-
culiar delight in my researches in this sublime science, and have given several lectures
upon it in Lyceums - one appointment of the kind was quite recent. The subject of
Meteors was for the [?entaiment?] of one evening. This was just after the beautiful
exhibition of Meteors, "shooting" or "falling stars," vulgarly so called, on the morning of Nov. 13.
No account is needed for all the newspapers have been full of them. I have seen ac-
counts of them from the South as far as [?S.C.?] and from the West as far as the western
part of N.Y. -- But I must leave the stars &c for the present. ---------------
Well, our Rev. Uncle is again married - the happy bride was Miss Sarah
[?P. Callendar?] of Boston. They were married at Boston Nov. 25th a very stormy day.
So that I passed thanksgiving with them, three days after their marriage. I wish
you could visit there at this time- you would find, besides our new [u]aunt-in-law[/u], the parlor
and drawing room nearly [note: page is ripped where it was once folded] ed, painted and carpeted, too neat and beautiful eight-day chr
nometer suspended from the ceiling, a large mirror set in mahogany &c. and am not
sure that the closet and dining-table have not received some fine additions. Among other
pleasant things I should not omit the mention of some [u]cheerful and smiling faces[/u]. Mrs. N.
appears to be a pleasant and sociable woman - may she continue so: and I hope this
connexion will be promotive of more happiness and harmony than that between [u]Adam[/u]
and his brother's Widow. Adam, I am informed, is now in Canada and expects to remain there
on hearing of the death of one of his sons there, he left this region with the expectation of not
returning. He and Joseph's widow probably never lived happily together. They are doubtless better
separated. Our cousin Sarah still remains, and I see no probability of her being married -
her health has lately been very good, though a few days since I gave her some medicine.
Thomas Jr. and wife now reside at Holliston - probably doing very well - he is quite steady [illegible]
one of our temperance members. Edwards was at his father's at thanksgiving; but his
lady, Miss Sarah B. Shepard, of Boston, was not with him. Charles lives at home, is a very
worthy young man - has, for months past, been working on the Railway which passes Un-
cle's house at the distance of about 20 rods north. The iron rails are laid part of the way
but not yet through Needham and towns above.- I have not visited Acton for more
than a year. When Uncle preached there, a short time since, our friends and relatives were
in usual health. I have not seen Medway friends since I was over there soon after Mr[?s?] W's
return. I received from you by Mr. Mason some specimens of minerals, but no letter - thank you
for them. They will remind me, as my eye meets them on the shelf, of Ohio and a dear brother re-
siding there: though they are not needed for [u]that purpose[/u]. Our Cousin Caroline Brooks I hear
is in the western part of N.Y. She is truly a fine, interesting girl - Elizabeth of Acton. Cousin Isaac
is wandering up and down in the earth and I fear not doing very well. By letters from Westmore
land I learn our friend Adeline, now Mrs. [?Hurd?], is at her father's. Her sister Alma and husband have
emigrated to the West - so I may never see them again. You have doubtless feared that our Cousin Charles
White is at last married!! Mary Brown is also married and now resides at New Ipswich. Though I am guardian to a
young lady. I neither claim nor exercise any control over the wiser concerns of the heart - adieu for the present - J. Noyes
[Note: Written sideways]
Tender my affectionate regards to Lois, and aspire her of the interest I feel in the wife of my valued brother [Note: page torn] allow [u]her[/u] a [?spa?]
done - i.e. [u]write sooner[/u]. I have lately purchased a new Sulky - cost without harness, $125. I want you very [Note: page torn] [?me?] perform some.

Needham Mass 25
Dec 16 -
Dec 27

Rev. Varnum Noyes
Guilford - Medina Co.


Original Format



Noyes, Josiah, “Letter from J. Noyes to Rev. Varnum Noyes, December 16,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed August 15, 2022, https://noyesletters.org/items/show/1019.

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