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Adams (Sylvanus) Letters 1831
 
LOWELL HISTORICAL SOCIETY
ALFRED GILMAN COLLECTION

WRITTEN BY SYLVANUS ADAMS1
TO ALFRED GILMAN

                                   Springfield, Chickcopee Factory, Oct. 30, 1831

Respected Friend,

            Your letter of 7th Sept. was duly received, and its contents
properly appreciated.  I should have written before in answer to it, could I
have found sufficient matter within the precinct of my own pericranium to
do it.  Though it afforded an ample field, on which the mind might dil-
late, and a fruitful source for the pen of the literati, yet, when, within the
hands of a novice, is but a sorry instrument: however, such as I have I
give unto thee, and hope it may not fail to be of little interest
to you.

            You say “it’s is quite probable your pen has become a little rusty”,
but if were to judge from the epistle before me, I should say your pen,
feelings and intellect, were in a  high state of pollishe.  But, how sadly
the reverse is my condition; instead of having much to keep off the int-
ectural rust.  I have to labour against the pestiferous influence of others
which tends directly to accumulate it.  You must excuse me for again
touching upon the society in this place, but if you knew its exact state
you would not blame me.  Man is a social being, and he needs soci-
ety to keep off that listless ennui which alternately creeps over him,
occasioned by a monotonius course of  work or study - something for a
change - something to exilerate the drooping spirits, and a something
for variety which “is the very spice of life.”  Such were my views when I enter-
ed society.  I was invited to a party some three weeks since, on
Sunday evening!  a party commonly denominated “kissing parties.”
I was not aware of any thing more than a social chat, or perhaps
a few rounds of the “button” or a few turns of the “plate” - but judge
my surprise when I found instead of those harmless plays, we were enter-
tained by the most ludicrous buffoonery accompanyed by the most
vociferous roars of laughter and “comic songs”, which would have
disgusted a Harlequin himself.  I was accidentally caught in another
party on Sunday evening where cards! were unceremoniously introd-
uced: - and because I had the independence to remark, after the

  1Sylvanus Adams b: 10 Jul 1810, Medway, MA d: 16 Nov 1869, MA; parents: 
     Hezekiah and Julia Adams; employed: Lowell and Chicopee, Agent – Dwight 
     Company – cotton mill; married: Caroline Wasson b: MA.
 

party, that it was “perfectly rediculous” it was taken in high dudg-
eon, and I arrayed (in their coversion) before the dread tribunal
of the party-going populace, for my daring audacity and im-
pudence.  My situation, however, is much more pleasant than
when I last wrote.  I have obtained a good boarding place in a
small family, where a scientific man boards, (the superinten-
dant of the factorys and mechanical agent.)  But, were it not for
facilities which the place and business affords for advancing
my pecuniary interest.  I would make my exit.  amediately; but
under existing circumstances, I think it will be a year before
visit Lowell.  I have engaged for that length of time for 9 shillin-
gs per day, and some other avantages.

           You say, that “youth is the time to cultivate the finer feelings.”  So
indeed it is and I am happy in thinking that your promptness
in answering my letter has given me fresh assurance of your
sincerity.  I hope that hereafter there may be no lack of that friendly
intercourse, which, it seems we both feel desireous of warming into
life.

            I have recently received a letter from our friend Dole, which was a
very good one.  He informs me that the “ Frankling Lyceum”, (the
object of my daily thoughts and evening meditating) remains
about “so-so”, but - I should think from what he says in
regard to it, that it is in a truly flourishing state insomuch
that it has thrown to the wind its plebian garb and placed at
its head one of the limbs of the law.  This betokens something auspi-
cious in your existance and seems to warrent the fulfillment of
our most sanguine expectations.  But do not let your prosperity
here you into an effeminate state - know that the institution is
to be buoyed up and kept alive by your own vigilance and
perseverance.  Esq. Knowles is indeed a valuable accesion to your 
number, but beware of many of those law - literary gentlemen,
they are to be dreaded, for they will gnaw upon your vitals until they have
wrought your destruction.

           I have heretofore, thought some of writing a comm-
unication for your “box”, and should have done it prior to
this, had I not caught a glimpse of the intellectual front which
the society now carries which made me recoil, and so I
have abandoned it.

                                  Respectfully yours
                                  Sylvanus Adams
P.S.  Write soon
and I will answer it.
No ifs in the way, no no.
            S.A.

            Alfred Gilman

 

 
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