Chapter 29


ENRAGED by Noyes's claim of miraculous power, and emboldened by the failure in the case of Mary Knight the enemy prepared to pounce. Their opportunity came through the Iealousy of two men.

Clifford Clark, when he heard the rumors that Complex Marriage was in practice, fearful lest his wife he involved, quit the Community, rushed to Brattleboro to consult a lawyer, secured rooms for two of his children at the Rev. Mr. Eastman's, and confided to Mr. Eastman his stispicions. Immediately afterward he repented, signed a retraction, and reIoined.

Daniel I. Hall ever since the cure of his wife and his own confession of faith had been a trusted outside friend. Most of his affiliations were with the Community and be was expected to become a member. As time passed be went deep enough into Noyes's confidence to hear from his own lips that he had personally violated the marriage law. This knowledge threw Mr. Hall into torment for a week. At the end of that time he had another conversation with Noyes in which he appeared satisfied. But he went secretly to the State's Attorney. Soon the High Sheriff was at the door.


Putney, October 29, 1847. (Friday.)

Dear Mother:
If you look this way now-a-days, you may conceive of us as walking unround, unharmed in the midst of a fiery furnace, and see us not alone but the Son of God with us. Whilst 1. Mrs. Polly Noyes was visiting the Dickermans, Perfectionist friends at Hamden, Connecticut.-G. W. N


Iohn was gone, when we were supposed to he suffering the humiliation of defeat in the Mary Knight case, Mr. Eastman stepped forward our declared enemy. He helped forward the affliction, when God was displeased but a little. When Mr. Clark frightened by his own Iealous imaginations escaped, Mr. Eastman stood in the crossway, and through this conIunction God let out the secret of our social relations in his own chosen time. That Mr. Eastman should make much of it is not strange; that in confederacy with Israel Keyes, Chandler, Cutler and others of that sort he should raise a frightful storm we must not wonder. But the first burst of indignation is overpast, and we find ourselves never so happy, so fearless, so exulting. Last Tuesday morning, October 26, Iohn was arrested on a charge of adultery. After the legal preliminaries Mr. Miller gave bail and Iohn was released until his trial before the County Court in April next. If you have ever seen him with radiant countenance, walking with elastic buoyancy, his cane raised in a flourish, relating some glorious adventure midst shout and laughter, you have some idea of the scene in his room when he was restored to our congratulations. He was in duress about four hours, and had opportunity to parry wit with the lawyers. He told them that they would have the first picking of this affair, but that it was a controversy of principles, and would have to be settled at last by priests and philosophers.

He was treated with punctilious courtesy from the time when at our front door the Sheriff broke his "unpleasant errand" until he made his exit from the tavern unsoiled by a single word of insult. And so it has been through the whole. We walk the streets, we pursue all our avocations, compliments are passed as usual. Something inspires an awe. We think it is the maIesty of truth and innocence, and a lurking fear in the people's minds that we are the Kingdom of God.


Wednesday Iohn went to Brattlehoro, and in the Brattlehoro bank he made his first open confession of the principles of the Kingdom of God He was not ashamed of Iesus Christ. Horatio [1] made inquiries. Iohn gave him no satisfaction as to facts, hut boldly avowed his principles.

Horatio said that he was thinking of coming up here; he didn't know but Harriet, Charlotte and George would he glad to quit and make their escape, and he wished to offer them help. Iohn told him we were completely involved; that he heard George say that same morning that he was ready to go to prison for these principles, and that he hadn't a thought of leaving. but if Horatio wished to see for himself, he had better come up; he should have every chance to try for us.

Thursday evening he came, and requested a private interview with us. We talked an hour or two. He is mortified by the family disgrace, and is expecting to have your support fall upon him by the ruin of our property. We told him as to the disgrace, he stood so clear of us no one would hold him at all responsible, especially after the course he was then takmg; and that after the first tumult was over and Iohn was heard in his own defense, though we should be called eccentric and fanatical, we should not he called licentious by any one that was honest. We told him that Iohn had been one of the best paymasters at his hank so far, and that the God who had supplied our necessities would in future; and as for you, you were in our hearts to live and die for you, you never would leave us, you were fully with us. There was mutual courtesy, but the contrast as to cheerfulness and spirit was altogether in our favor, and he left quite convinced that there was no secret dissatisfaction which would dispose us to take advantage of his proffered help. We repeated what Iohn had told

1. Horatio, Noyes's brother, was cashier of the Brattleboro bank.-G. W. N.


him before, that if he wished to help us, the way was for him to take a rational view, to regard the matter not in the light of statute law but of common law, which says that if no one has been inIured, no wrong has been done; and then to persuade such men as Chandler and Israel Keyes to let us alone till we hurt somebody.

I have written more particularly about Horatio, because he will probably have some commtinication with you. We have no fears for your steadfastness, but we do not want you should come into sympathy for a moment with his mortification or his forebodings, hut sympathize with us in our confidence and Ioy. Now is no time to he ashamed or afraid. Let us honor the Primitive Church by upholding their fashions and by trusting their wisdom and power to sustain the introduction of those fashions into this world.

Mr. Miller was speaking at the dinner table Iust now of some one, who after questioning him said, if the stories that were told about us were true, it was horrible. Iohn remarked:

"Horrible invasion of custom. If all the world were Shakers, marriage would be horrible; or if Shakerism was made compulsory, that would make a greater stir than either."

This invasion of custom commences the administration of the Primitive Church Complex Marriage is the first principle in the social system they are going to introduce. Community of the affections will be as hateful to the world as community of property, but the principle will prevail. We see every day that this confession of the principles of the Kingdom of God concerning marriage is now the real "offense of the cross. To every one that makes it that confession is the end of the world, the Iudgment of selfishness.

I cannot begin to write all I should like to say, but I want to have you know, Mother, that we are all firm as a rock, that we have no fears, but praise God continually for his good-


ness. You will hear more from us, and must expect something glorious. You must Iudge of the expediency of showing this to the Dickermans. There will be something published probably before long-not in the next paper. Iohn is intending to publish a book as soon as convenient. When we are examined by those whom we cannot trust, we do not admit facts which would give any legal advantage, but we avow principles.

Yours affectionately,

HARRIET H. SKINNER IN The Spiritual Magazine

NOVEMBER 1, 1847

As it is God's first obIect to nourish the faith of the church, he is taking far more pains to assure us ourselves that we are in communication with Omnipotence than to certify the fact abroad. We see his power not so much in outward signs as in moral miracles, in spiritual changes, in daily providences. Stripes and imprisonment impend, and not a heart quails. There is among us a nioral magnet of inconceivable strength. Iron will~ have broken, excessive self-esteem has bowed, acquisitiveness has opened its hand, the affections have withdrawn from every attraction without and gathered within the charmed circle. Our daily interchange is rapidly condensing life and intensifying the power of love.

NOYES IN The Spiritual Magazine NOVEMBER 1, 1847

We are called to take part in the final battle of the great day of the Almighty. Christ is now going forth on the white horse to Iudge and make war in righteousness What cause have we to fear though the hosts that come against us should cover the breadth of the earth? .

Of all the ripening agencies both for good and evil none is more effectual than the system of graduated moral ob-


structions As tinbelief by continually reIecting the evidences of spiritual truth gathers fresh strengtll and Ilastens to that fiery knowledge of God which all falsehood must experience in the Iudgment, so also God graduates the trials of our faith so as to strain it to the uttermost, and thus gives new momentum to our heavenward progress.


Hamden, Connecticut, November 6, 1847.

Dear daughter Harriet A.: . . .

When I got home and opened my letter, "all well" to my relief met my eye; but if I had heard you were all dead, the shock could not have been much greater. Dear Harriet, what a letter for me to read! And yet I cannot but speak of the merciful arrangement for me and I will not doubt that there was some strengthening an~el about you when this bitter cup was put into your hand. I will not enlarge. You can better conceive than I can describe the thoughts and feelings that rushed through my mind. I lay down on the bed and soon recollected that something of this kind was hinted to me last summer, and I could not but foresee this result. I have anticipated for a long time, that if we were following Christ in the regeneration we must be brought where the doctrines of Christ, the cause of truth, and all our labors will for the time be crucified, dead and buried, and a great stone rolled at the door.

I said then: "They will not do wrong they cannot; God will not suffer it." And my mind was at rest As I had time to reflect, T recovered my composure, believing Cod is able to raise us up again. As we are set for the defense of the truth and are partakers of the sufferings of Christ, so we shall be perfected and reign with him when he shall have subdued all things to himself. . .


It happened that Mrs. Dickerman and Caroline were from home when I opened the letter, and I succeeded in concealing the matter from them. I think I should perhaps get more coil-firmed and strengthened myself. . . . What are "the principles" you avow, and what shall I say to show that they are, as Harriet says, "the offense of the cross"?

Mrs. Dickerman and, I should think, her husband are so commited that they must help to hear the burden with me, but how it will affect them 1 cannot tell. Mrs. Dickerman thinks she is bearing everything now from the church and from the Bradleyites.

I should be very glad to see something in Iohn's own handwriting as to the aspect, but I must look for light and direction in any way God is pleased to grant it. We can be content to sit in sackcloth and ashes so long as the Lord will. .

I rejoice to see Harriet's confidence and courage. I will not indulge a feeling that there is a spice of bravado or contempt of law in her, but will believe that she is acting a distinguished part in the battle of the great day. .

Love and gratitude,


John says he is God's agent. His commission was forced upon him ten years ago, and since that time he has certainly known that he was to head the insurrection that would break in pieces the khigdoms of this world and establish the Kingdom of God. The Primitive Church formed the new heavens, we the new earth Thev reconciled man and God, we shall reconcile man and woman.



Putney, November 14, 1847.

Dear Mother.
We received your letter last evening, and the confidence and cheerfulness with which you view the present give us great delight. William C. Gould, who is here on a visit with his wife, was much pleased with your courage in calling for ammunition and equipping yourself to fight single-handed in this war; and Iohn said with what looked like filial pride: "There's a woman!"

And this refreshing letter was only the heaping up of the overflowing cup of God's goodness to us the last few days. Mother, there is no worst to write, but better, better, better. '.If a man's ways please God, he maketh his enemies to be at peace with him." The excitement in this place has passed away, and a full tide of favor is setting in upon us from every quarter. John thinks that within a month the prosecution will be all closed up-not a man be found to back up the warrant, nor a witness that would testify against him. He says he shall conquer the law by making Iudge and Iury his friends. I cannot tell you particulars, but we have miracle upon miracle in the quelling of the tempest which shook this place. The town is in the chains of a spiritual magnetism, and with full knowledge of our principles and practice are quieting themselves as though it were said to them: "Touch not mine anointed." Mouths which have breathed out threatening and slaughter are giving again the friendly greeting. Houses which have been blockaded now invite us to their doors. For every move which the Devil makes, God has some counter-move that exactly checks him, so that Mr. Miller said last evening, he felt the best when things looked the worst. Through the whole of this affair we have neither said nor done anything to take back.


We have overcome evil with good, and carried out the prin ciples of non-resistance in the most sublime manner. I should be glad to relate to you some instances, particularly those in which Mr. Miller has displayed the magnanimity and self-possession of a Christian hero. He has been most exposed to the shots. Iohn gave him the highest praise at the dinner table a few days since. . .

John is intending to write to you soon his Bible argument in full. I asked him what you should say to the Dickermans. He said you must be left in that matter to the providence of God; if you said anything, tell them to read all his writings on this subIect, then read the article "The Kingdom of God Has Come," look at the seal which was put on that confession by the cure of Harriet Hall, and draw conclusions. I think you will have wisdom as we have had. There is something curious about your being in Connecticut, the birth-place of Perfectionism. God has some glorious design in it undoubtedly. Write as often as you can.


NOYES IN The Spiritiual Magazine NOVEMBER 23, 1847

The different acts in the drama of establishing the Kingdom of God are these: first, the personal resurrection of Christ; second, the resurrection of the Primitive Church at the second coming in 70 A. D. and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the invisible world: third, a period during which Christ rules the world with a rod of iron and puts down all authority and power; fourth, the final establishment of the Kingdom of God in the outer world. This agrees with Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The succession of universal empires was to be followed by a period of divided rule, corresponding to the situation at the present time. Then says


Daniel: "Tn the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."


Chapter 30: Mary Mead Comes | Contents