Letter from Harriet to Father, August 28, 1884


Dublin Core


Letter from Harriet to Father, August 28, 1884


Birthdays; Aging; Nicknames; Names; Sino-French War, 1884-1885; France--Foreign relations--China; China--Foreign relations--France; Imperialism


Harriet writes to her father for his birthday and tells him of her wishes for him to live to be over a hundred. She says that as she ages she likes to sign her full name "Harriet" more than "Hattie." She is very proud of her namesake, Harriet Newell, and likes to spell her name the same way. In the second half of the letter, she tells her father about the violence between the French and China, as she worries over the outcome. She is sympathetic for the Chinese but thinks they cannot win and hopes they do not because, she says, then they will drive out all foreign people.


Noyes, Harriet Newell


The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection, Box #3






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)






Sino-French War, 1884-1885

Text Item Type Metadata


Canton China
Aug 28th 1884.
My dear Father -
The last mail brought
your letter written July 1st and 4th
two very important days in the
history of our family and our
country. Your age is just twice
mine now and you can remember
if I can not the time when your
years were forty times mine.
Taking these two facts together it
would seems as though I might
soon overtake you. And so I shall
when we are both young again in
our Fathers house where twice shall
be no more. I will enclose some
lines cut from an old paper which
I think are very beautiful.
In the last observer we noticed
mention made of several who had
lived to be a hundred. The Chinese
often inquire about our parents their
ages et cetera. and always say that
we are very fortunate that our
parents have lived to be so old.
Sometimes they express the wish
that you may live to be a hundred
years old. one of the Christians said
once on your birthday that he

hoped your days might be as the
days of Abraham. You wrote of
baptizing Mr Elliott's little Paul.
I quite agree with you that Paul
alone is a sufficient name for any
child and sounds better alone.
The longer I live the more I
admire the character of Paul.
and I look forward with great
pleasure to the time when I hope
that we shall know and associate
with him as we now do with our
friends on Earth. To come back
to names, I seldom write my
name Hattie now except when
I am writing home or to intimate
friends that I have long known.
I quite agree with you that Harriet
is much better for a missionary
of my years. Mattie + Hattie
are quite too juvenile for maidens
between forty + fifty. Miss Lewis
who is forty-eight was always called
Hattie at home and I see her
name is printed so in the report
but she usually writes it now
Harriette Lewis a very pretty
name I think. As I was
named for Harriet Newell I
suppose although the second name

was not mentioned when I was
baptized I am fairly entitled to it
am I not? Do you not think
that the full name --
"Harriet Newell Noyes" or
Harriet N Noyes looks pretty written.
I thought once of asking you if you
would like it spelled Harriette as
Miss Lewis does but although it
would look a little prettier it would
not seem right to me as that is not
the way that Harriet Newell is spelled
I have always been very glad that
you chose this name for me - Do
not write Hattie on envelopes if you
like Harriet better. Now I think
I will not write [u]Harriet[/u] any more
on this page - but change the subject.
A note has just come in from
Dr Thomson, latest war news. The
report is current among the
Chinese that the French having
knocked the arsenal at Foochow
all to pieces. and sink seven of
the Chinese gunboats have now
gone to Nan King. That is
where Mr Leaman and Lucy
are. I hope they will not get
into any trouble. We hardly expect
them to come to Canton but if the
Chinese do not come to terms soon

It seems altogether a very hard case
for the Chinese. They have tried very
hard to make peace but failed --
They have been for years trying to
get a navy and foreign guns and
in the arsenals of their own now
make very good guns and they
fondly thought that they would have
a very good chance with foreign
powers. But the engagement at
Foochow shows that they can
literally make no defence at all.
They are time and half afraid
of their own guns + steamers. The
French vessels were not injured at
all they lost we hear seven men.
At the same time we cannot feel
that it would be best in any way
for China to be victorious. They
would without doubt at once try
to drive away all foreigners, hosts
of the people are longing to do so
and in this advanced age of
the world of course other nations
will not allow it. Of course in the
end they must yield to the
French it only remains to be
seen how long they will hold out.
The people are so poor that it seems
as though it will be very hard for them
to raise as large indemnity.

[Note: Letter concludes vertically on page one]
I hope the
will not
add to
the amount
they demand
With much
love Your
Harriet -

中国广东 1884年8月18日 我亲爱的父亲, 我们刚刚收到您在 7 月 1 日和 7 月 4 日写的信, / 那是我们国家和我们家庭历史上两个非常重要的日子。 / 您现在是我现在的两倍, 虽然我不记得了, 但您可能记得您比我大四十倍。 / 如果您只考虑这两个事实, 我可能很快就会超过您。 但我想, 我会活得比您长, 然后我们都会在天堂团聚, 我附上了一些我认为很漂亮的旧论文的引文。 / / 上一期报纸提到了几个活到100岁的人。 / 中国人经常问我们的父母,他们几岁了。 / 他们总是说我们很幸运, 我们的父母活了这么久。 / 有时他们说他们希望您能活到 100 岁。 / 当我向一位中国基督徒提到今天是您的生日时, / 他说他希望您能像亚伯拉罕一样老。 / 您说您为Elliot先生的小宝贝Paul施洗 / 我同意您的看法, 保罗是一个可爱的婴儿名字, 不需要中间名。 我越来越欣赏圣经中的保罗, / 我期待在天堂遇见他。 / / 说到名字, 我很少被称为Hattie, 除非和亲密的朋友聊天, 我通常被称为Harriet。 / 我同意Harriet对于像我这样年纪的传教士来说是一个更好的名字。 / Mattie 和 Hattie 是非常不成熟的名字, / 不适合40到50岁的女士。 Lewis小姐48岁, 她家人都叫她Hattie, 但她的名字在传教士报告中总是印成Harriet Lewis。 / 我认为这是一个漂亮的名字, 适合她。 即使在我受洗时没有提到我的中间名, / 我认为我仍然有权被称为Harriet Newell。 / 您觉得我的全名写在纸上好看吗? 我认为 Harriet Newell Noyes 或 Harriet N Noyes 在书写时看起来很漂亮 / / 有一次, 我想我应该问您是否更喜欢我的名字拼写 Harriet 或 Harriette / Lewis小姐也这么写她的名字。 我觉得这不适合我, 我很高兴您决定按照您拼写的方式拼写我的名字, 我也很高兴您为我选择了您所做的名字。 / 如果您更喜欢 Harriet 而不是 Hattie, 您应该把它写在您寄给我的信封上。 我不会再写我的名字了。 相反,我会换个话题。 / 我刚收到Thomson医生发来的最新战争新闻的便条。 / 按照信息法国人已经消灭了福州的军火库。 / 此外, 法国人已经击沉了七艘中国炮艇并前往南京。 / Mr. Leaman 和 Lucy都在那里。 / 我希望他们不会有任何麻烦。 我认为他们不会来广州, 但如果中国人不很快投降, 他们可能会来。 中国政府的处境非常艰难。 他们非常努力地和平共处 但失败了。 他们一直试图建立一支海军, 购买外国枪支, 并制造自己的枪支。 看起来他们应该有很好的机会击败外国军队, 但这次在福州与法国与法国的战斗证明他们没有做好防守的准备。 就像根本不为自己辩护。 / / 有一半时间, 中国士兵害怕自己的枪支和炮艇。 法国船只没有受到影响, 他们只损失了 7 名士兵。 同时, 我们认为如果中国赢得战争也不是最好的。 他们会试图流放所有的外国人。 / 很多普通人都希望这样做, / 但其他国家不会允许。 / 最后, / 中国人必须向法国人屈服, 这只是时间问题。 人民如此贫穷, 他们支付巨额赔款似乎是不可想象的。 / 我希望法国人不要要求更高的赔偿 给您 许多爱 您女儿 Harriet

Original Format



Noyes, Harriet Newell, “Letter from Harriet to Father, August 28, 1884,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed April 18, 2024, https://noyesletters.org/items/show/409.

Output Formats