Chapter 32



Putney, December 7, 1847.

DEAR Brother Noyes:
The following copy of a preamble and resolutions which were adopted last evening by a meeting of about sixty of the citizens of Putney at the Congregational meeting-house will give you some idea of what the people here are trying to do. They were presented to us this morning by H. H. Barton, Tsrael Keyes and Jonathan Cutler, who were a Committee appointed for that purpose.


Whereas, an Association of Perfectionists, so-called, has existed in the town of Putney for several years past, who among other things have declared that the moral law is abolished, and have inculcated sentiments of a licentious tendency, and exerted an influence detrimental to the moral interests of the community and

Whereas, from recent disclosures it is evident that these licentious principles have been carried out in practice to an alarming extent in said Association, threatening to ruin the character of all connected therewith or brought under its deadly influence; and

Whereas, John H. Noyes, the founder and leader of said


Association, has recently been arrested for his licentious practices, and placed under heavy bonds, and has since absconded; and

Whereas, George Cragin, an associate of Noyes, has also recently absconded under cover of the night, evidently from fear of the threatened penalty of the law; and

Whereas, said Association are publishing a periodical denominated The Spiritual Magazine, through the medium of which they are disseminating their pernicious principles, and are thus exerting a demoralizing influence not only upon the commutlity in the more immediate vicinity of its publication, hut in different parts of the country where it is circulated; and

Whereas, the principles of said Association are evidently disorganizing in their tendency, and calculated, if carried out to their utmost extent, to abolish all law and government both of church and state, and erect upon their ruins an irresponsible hierarchy;


Resolved, That the moral interests of this community demand the immediate dissolution of said Association.

Resolved, That The Spiritual Magazine, which is the principal organ of said Association, and which has evidently become a public nuisance, ought immediately to be discontinued; and that no publication whatever ought hereafter to be issued by said Association inculcating those principles which, if carried out in practice, would result in the violation of the laws of the land.

Resolved, That those Perfectionists who still remain in this town ought publicly to renounce those principles which tend to, and abandon those practices which are, a violation of the statute laws of this State.

Resolved, That those persons in this town, who have received


serious injuries from said Association, ought to be suitably remunerated by said Association.

The Committee required of us an answer in writing. We told them that we would give them an answer tomorrow morning. The citizens are to have another meeting Thursday evening to hear the report of this Committee and take what further action on the subject they think proper. George and I think now that we shall offer to attend their meeting and answer them publicly, George answering the second resolution and J the other three. I shall go to Brattleboro for Mother Noycs tomorrow, and shall consult Messrs. Bradley and Mead, but shall not follow their advice too far.

Mr. Baker of Newfaue wants to buy our home farm. He will call and look at it soon, and will pay a fair price. I am decidedly in favor of selling it if we can get what it is worth. The interest on the money will be much more than the income from the farm, and it will he much less care. As we are now situated we shall not need the house, and if we again want a house for a Community, we shall want a larger one. What do you say?

We called a business meeting of our men at the printing-office for the purpose of arraying our forces to the best advantage. It was decided that Mr. Skinner should leave the store and be general steward at the Upper House Mr. Baker is to do all the chores at both places. Mr. Clark spends all his time chopping, and Mr. Woolworth is to assist him when he is not obliged to work in the shop. Mr Leonard and I chop our own wood. We are all to have breakfast at eight o'clock. This will enable all to commence work at the same time and in good season. All take hold of work heartily. We find it necessary, "since the sun of liberty has set," to light the candles of indus-


try and economy. I think we shall set an example worthy of imitation, not as under law but cheerfully for the truth's sake.

I have been very short of money, having been called on unexpectedly for several debts. Last week I was obliged to pay about $300, and had nothing with which to pay except what I got by the hardest. However I am nearly by the pinch and have no fears.

The moment the people here found that we were on the retreat their wrath was excited to the highest pitch. The situation has been ten times as bad as before you left. But God has not led us into the wilderness to perish. 1 am confident that we shall soon get a glorious victory, but the Lord only knows how.

Yours in love forever,


Putney, December 7, 1847.

Dear Brother: . . .
I wish Mrs. Cragin could look in upon us when we are eating our dinner, with the children all sitting up to the table behaving very "seemly," sprinkled about among the grownups. We have contracted our table to accommodate fourteen, and eat our bread in gladness We thought we would try to save wood as much as convenient, because our wood-cutters were taken away, and for that purpose Mr. Lemuel Bradley and Sarah removed to John's room, where Mr. Bradley keeps school three or four hours a day, and three of the children sleep there. I think Mr. Bradley does very well with them. They spend most of their time out of school in manufacturing kites, or sewing. . . . Charlotte has the little ones at the Lower House. . .

The day after Buruham, Knowles and John Leonard left, the people made a push to get James Baker and Lemuel Bradley


away, but there was a simultaneous feeling in many of us, "Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther." We found out it was old Baker, Hall and Chandler who concerned themselves about James for fear he would lose what property he put in. Mr. Baker thought James and Catherine ought to receive wages for their work, and that he himself should have some of it. How ridiculous, when Harriet Hall has been with us all summer without a word being said about expense! As to Bradley, Israel Keyes got sick of the business, finding it would make expense for the town and trouble for himself. I was ready to tell him that I considered myself at liberty to hire a teacher for my son, as some property had been entrusted to Mr. Mead for the purpose of his education.

Brother Morgan, will you be kind enough to send this to Brother Cragin or John, if they are not with you. . .



Putney, December 8, 1847.

Dear Brother Noyes:

I have had a long talk with Mr. Mead about our affairs. He thinks they are crowding us too far. It is now likely that he and Mr. William C. Bradley will come up tomorrow evening, attend the meeting, and do what they can for us.

I think it will soon be known that you are again connected with the Cragins, and it will raise a tremendous breeze. I do not know how we shall be able to stand the shock, for the public are so excited now that it is all we can do to live.

What is my duty? What ought I to do with my feelings about this subject? 1 sometimes think I ought to tell the people here plainly my sentiments, and at the same time tell them that I would not judge you, that I had too much evidence of


your being what you profess to be to reject you, that I believe everything else. What say you?

Mother will stay at Mr. Mead's for the present, say until this question is settled with the public.

I have just talked with Mr. William C. Bradley. He says, if the people here understand that you are with the Cragins, and that you are advising us to defend you, the two thousand dollars will have to be paid. He and Mr. Mead both say, if you continue publishing on this subject before court, they can do nothing for you.

I enclose twenty-five dollars. I was obliged to borrow the money and some more of Mr. Mead.

You will please write to us, but address to Mr. Mead and he will forward it. Mr. Bradley advises this course.

I shall do all in my power for the best good of our Association.

Yours truly,


Putney, December 9, 1847.

Dear John:
Your letter comforted me It also confirmed me in the belief that your spirit was with us and that God had been working in and through me. For a few days after you left I had to contend with a spirit of separation and desolation, but Christ and I conquered Then I had to get contented not to hear from you. I concluded we could get along all winter without hearing from you if it was best for all concerned. I thought that God would give you an instinct when to write, and when a double portion of your spirit was needed here: also that perhaps you could help us more effectually if you were out of this foggy atmosphere than if you were here. Next I went through a bap-


tism of a spirit of fear. Hearing that the opposition was in great commotion, I fixed my clothes by my bed so that I could put them on easily in case our house should be broken in, and thought I would take care of Johnny and the little trunk which contains your papers. Since then the fear of mobs and all they can do is taken away. Finally I contended with a spirit which sought to push us clear back to a mere belief in the doctrine of holiness, reading our Bibles, attending to our children and being industrious. I fought this spirit for a week. Saturday Harriet Skinner and I together came out of the cloud. We declared that we would not suffer the world to hinder the circulation of love, joy and peace among us. We communicated our determination to George. He agreed, and on Sunday gave us a first-rate discourse at the Chapel. Afterward all came to dinner with us, and we had our long table full once more.

I had the same thought about God's object in separating us which you mention, and George made it the subject of conversation at the Chapel Sunday. I had also thought many times of our journey west, and felt that it was just and proper that I should stay at home. I thank God for his kindness to me, and that he has given me an opportunity of doing something for Mrs. Cragin in taking care of the children. .

Mr. Miller's last letter to you contained information of the state of feeling towards Mr. Cragin. Rollin Keyes told Mr. Miller that if Mr. Cragin had not left before daylight he would have been arrested. The people were much enraged that he escaped them, and now they talk of pursuing him. Dr. John Campbell told Emma this morning that the civil authority of any State would deliver him up Jt seems to me that this is more bluster than reality, but I don't know. It seems God does not design to keep your location a secret, for he permitted your mother to let Mr. Mead, Mary and Horatio read your letter to me before Mr. Miller got to Brat-


tleboro. She did not know, of course, anything about the opposition to Mr. Cragin here. I think it is for the best. I was glad to have Mr. Mead know the affair was not all broken up. .

George took the brunt of the storm yesterday. He had been hearing stories, when Harriet Campbell wrote Emma to come to her immediately. So George was in suspense all day about that. Then the meeting of citizens Thursday evening was before him, and the girls at home were accusing him of having destroyed their happiness. He said he never knew what trouble was before, but at intervals he would say he knew it was a preparation for the society of heaven. If it were not for some such trials, we should be ashamed to associate with St. Paul and St. John. He has been strong and happy the last week, and I think he will be stronger yet when he gets a victory over the spirit of fear which is upon him.

When Mr. Miller has much intercourse with Mr. Mead, he falls into the testimony he gave just before you went away, that he has no evidence of the truth of the doctrine in question. At other times I have thought he was returning to his first love. .

These are such eventful times that I hardly know how little to write. I find I can condense the history of the past week better than I can write of our present state. We don't mean to write you things twice over.

Yours in the hope that I shall walk in the spirit of God,



Putney, December 9, 1847.

Dear John:

George is almost crazy. He was for starting off tonight, taking Helen with him and leaving her somewhere while he went to see you. He said he could not live in this atmosphere.


We tried to keep him quiet and persuade him to wait on God for a day or two. I think it will be brighter tomorrow. People are very bitter against you.

Friday morning.-I kept my letter because it was thought best not to put it in at this office George feels better this morning I think he will satisfy himself that it is God's will before he leaves. He gave us a caution this morning about doing any thing that would belie the pledge Mr. Miller and he have given the people, that we will do nothing against the strictest rules of morality in the best society. He thinks that I had better not write to Mr. Cragin. Harriet says, if we were to take Miss Catherine Beecher or Dr. Johnson as specimens of good society, we might write to gentlemen who were not our husbands.

The trouble at the other house arises from Emma's communication with the Doctor. He drives them up closer and closer. She wrote a letter to Harriet Hall yesterday denying that she was practically involved in our doctrines and wishing Mr. Hall to clear up her character. She showed it to the Doctor and he approved If she seeks to save her life she will lose it. But it is the Doctor's spirit.

The people inflame each other by their meetings, but on the other hand they quarrel. I think they will destroy themselves

Mr. Clark wants I should be sure to tell you we are in good spirits.



December 10, 1847.-Yesterday morning the Committee appointed by the meeting of citizens called upon us again to get our answer. We had a long talk with them. The engagement which they had drawn up for us to sign was the most outrageous document ever written, saying that we had broken the laws of God and man, had become convinced of our errors, and promised to abandon our pernicious practices. We refused to


sign it. Then they insisted that we should write one ourselves, and sign it. We told them that we could say by word of mouth all that we had to say, and from that they could make their report. We said that there was nothing proved against us, but, as there were certain things of which the public complained and of which they supposed us to be guilty, we were ready to pledge ourselves that in ftiture there would be nothing in our conduct which was a violation of the moral laws or the laws of the State.

In regard to the paper, George told them that he had never intended to publish anything of a licentious character, and that he thought those who complained were those who did not read the paper. But as the public supposed that the paper had a licentious tendency, he would endeavor to be more guarded in future, and would publish nothing which was a violation of the moral laws or the laws of the land.

Then they wished to take down in writing what we had said, and have us acknowledge that it was correct, so that there could be no mistake. This we refused to do. We told them that they could write what they chose after they left, but we should say nothing about it.

After talking about two hours we asked the Committee if they were satisfied with our offer Mr. Barton and Mr. Cutler said that they were, and thought the public would be; but Mr. Keyes said he was not, and would not be unless we confessed that we had committed sin. He was very impudent. We however took little notice of what he said, but directed our remarks principally to the other members of the Committee, who on the whole treated us quite fairly.

You may say that we have bound ourselves too much, but we are not bound at all, though they do not think so. We made this offer, but they voted to lay the report on the table and did not accept it. We have ~l the advantage of having made the


offer, for it puts a majority of the town on our side, but we are left perfectly free.

We all have a spirit of victory this morning, and feel that the worst of the wrath is over.

Yours truly,


Putney, December 12, 1847.

Dear Brother Noyes:
Our trade at the store has got about as low as possible. Yesterday we traded twenty cents, and made four cents profit. William was saying last night that he wanted more time to study. I told him I thought he would get time enough soon. .

But I think yesterday was the darkest day. Trade is better this morning. I told our folks last night that I hoped we should not trade any today, and then we should not be afraid of losing custom. .

I asked you some questions in my last letter about my own duty in relation to confessing to the public, which you need not take the trouble to answer, as I do not wish to say anything to the public which will make them regard me as any different from the rest. .

The smoke of battle has been so thick some of the time, that it was almost impossible to see anything. But it has cleared away some, and we now see plainly that they have got no advantage of us. . .

Yours in everlasting love,



Brattleboro, December 11, 1847.

Brother Miller:
I think the last meeting resulted on the whole favorably. But you will see everything is placed on trial. Nothing but the most circumspect conduct on the part of you all can insure even safety. As J have before said, 'tis not enough to say you will abstain from practices and still maintain the doctrines which justify those practices. People will feel insulted by such a heartless carrying otit of pledges. All eyes are upon you. I give an extract of a letter I have received from there:

"They must avoid the appearance of keeping up their obnoxious connections. Mrs. Clark is seen almost every day to be in close communion with them, and from her public reputation I should as soon associate with . I still hope you will succeed in leading those of the Perfectionists who remain here to take a course that will in time restore them. .

Houses of assignation are not popular in Putney, and why this reluctance on the part of those who remain to come off at once, and then the people will be satisfied."

This extract is meant for you only. 'Tis well meant and, I think, good sense.

Things are whispered of Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Bradley, which in my view render it imperative that they should leave. See that the thing is done as humanely as possible, but-let it be done.

Although the meeting did not insist on George's stopping his press, my advice is that he issue no more papers at present. Of this more when we meet.

In your note just received you say: "Charlotte says she shall hold on to you." I am glad to hear this. If she will consent to be governed by my counsel, I will, God helping me,


bring her safely through. I feel that I can never float her over the troubled waters on the rotten raft which John has built.

Mother decides to stay here a few days longer before going to Putney, when Mary and I shall probably come up with her. She appears quite calm and cheerful today. She has just sent down a letter directed to Mr. Skinner, which I forward. I have run it through. She and Mary, I believe, perfectly agree in relation to the new doctrines. and I think it has taken a load from her mind. How happy I should be to know that all my friends had broken away from a which has cost them so much! I don't believe in drawing up a paper, as she proposes. Commit nothing to paper. There are ways enough of expressing a change of views besides signing a paper.

My love to the family.

Yours as ever,


On my way home I called on the Meads at Brattleboro, and they rather advised me to remain with them, as there was so much excitement still at Putney. Horatio and his family were at Brattleboro, and everything conspired during my stay of several weeks to make me fall in with the worldly view of the whole concern. I came to the full conclusion that John was wrong, and wrote out my feelings in the following letter:

Brattleboro, December 11, 1847.

Dear Mr. Skinner:
This comes to you in relation to the late developments in the Corporation. I protest to you that I came home with my life in my hand, prepared to do or suffer with you whatever my duty might require. The paper which was handed me soon after my arrival containing John's pledges to the people somewhat relieved me of any immediate call, and I was permitted


to look at the subject without distraction. I did not at first perceive the extent of the pledge, but last evening, I believe, my understanding was opened to see that it is in fact a renunciation and abandonment not only of the practice but the principles which have led to the late disclosures. The idea of abiding by the principles while not resuming the practice appears to me utterly false and inconsistent. Jf we would carry out the spirit of these pledges, we must abandon the whole scheme as a delusion.

I propose to have a paper drawn up so far embodying the sentiments here expressed as we can cheerfully subscribe our names to, this to be given to the people as the best return we can make to their outraged feelings.

We must acknowledge that Mr. W. C. Bradley, Mr. Mead and Horatio have acted with courage and wisdom in our behalf, and Mary's forbearance and firmness excite my wonder and gratitude.

I can appeal to you and to all the State of Vermont, if I have not brought up a virtuous family; whether there was ever in either sons or daughters any practices or principles that could lead to licentiousness while under parental care. And I do not believe there are any among you that are licentious. If there are, J have no fellowship, and they must answer for themselves.

Of John I say with Mary, I judge him not. God will judge him. I ask no favor in respect to him. I do not condemn him, but his own pledges condemn his principles and practice. I do not find in the Bible nor in The Berean a line that would lead to or countenance these practices or principles; and I am determined with Mary by the help of God to abide by the Bible and The Berean. I I am determined at present to receive no communication from John whatever.

I am myself implicated in this thing with you, and feel my


self called upon to protest against every one violating the established morality of society or the solemn vows of the marriage covenant.



Putney December 13, 1847.

Dear Brother Noyes:
Yesterday we felt quite encouraged. The people in town, many of them, began to talk in our favor. This morning Gates Perry, Deputy Sheriff, called with two writs against you of $3000 each in favor of Hall and Baker. He put an attachment on the real estate, and undertook to attach the store, but gave that up. God only knows when these things will end. .

Give yourself no trouble about us. Pray for us, that we may have wisdom to do the right thing. All I ask is to know and do the will of God.

The meeting at the Congregational meeting-house was quite laughable. They accused each other of lying, which is not much better than what they accuse us of doing. When Dr. Campbell was talking against us in all his wrath, some young fellows in one corner kept bawling out at him. The Chairman would silence them, but as soon as he began to talk again they would have the same thing over.

The meeting was adjourned for two weeks. They appointed a Committee of Vigilance consisting of five men, Dr. Campbell, Israel Keyes, Timothy Underwood and two others. They are determined to do all they can to break us. We shall manage the ship till the first of January, I think. By that time I shall want to see you.

Mr. Baker has decided to carry his wife to Samuel Lord's tomorrow to spend the winter.

Report says that Mr Lamb will prosecute George tomorrow for his offer to Lucinda, and perhaps myself too. George wants


me to ask how far we ought to bend to the blast. Shall we stop the paper? Shall we stop our meetings?

Yours truly,


Putney, December 13, 1847.

Dear Brother:
We are "faint yet pursuing." Emma is considerably in communication with the Doctor, and is of course spiritually oppressive and sometimes threatens. Helen is more isolated, though opposed and almost discouraged. This makes Woolworth's and my position difficult. I shall at least "continue." I want light in regard to the paper and shall have it. I have some things which I should like to talk about for the sake of having a more perfect understanding, when you can find time.


Dear John: Do strengthen Mr. Miller and George. They almost stagger sometimes under the awful spirit they have to meet.



New York City, December 14, 1847.

Brother Mead:
The enclosed letter to Miller was written without any intention of passing it through your hands, but on second thought I am willing that you should see the style of my communications with the home department and the course of my intentions. Besides you will get intelligence of my present situation, and one letter will answer for twq. I send it therefore unsealed, and wish you to seal it and forward it safely as soon as convenient.

I received my trunk on Sunday and with it your letter. 1


need not reply to it any further than to thank you for your labor in our affairs, and assure you that I will cooperate with you in efforts for pacification so far as my position defined in my letter to Miller will allow. I think it must be apparent to you by this time that our enemies as well as we have risen into a region above law. The war has become transcendental on both sides, and it will be decided not by legal but by transcendental processes. We bide our time. .

Yours truly,


New York City, December 14, 1847.

Dear Mr. Miller:
After receiving your letters communicating the state of things up to your visit to Mr. Mead, I thought it best to defer answering until we heard the result of the second meeting of the citizens, as I could give no advice that would reach you in season. This morning we have received a second budget of dispatches. Cragin and I had made an appointment to meet Abram Smith at the hall of Powers' Greek Slave. Thither Cragin brought your letters from the post-office, and we read them with appropriate emotions of mingled joy and sadness in the presence of the personification of beauty and nobleness meekly submitting to oppression. .

And now what shall I say of your affairs? I am well satisfied with your report of the course which you and George have taken, and am particularly delighted that you have recovered your determination to give the enemy no advantage by acknowledging doubt. I recommend to you to pursue steadily the twofold policy of standing firm on our principles and yieldmg to public Opinion in regard to measures. If it seems expedient, I should be perfectly willing that George should stop


the paper for the present, giving notice to that effect to the subscribers. If we cannot publish in Putney, God will find another place for our press. And furthermore, if the pressure of Satan does not abate soon, I am perfectly willing that you should sell not only the upper establishment but all our possessions in Putney. We have friends in all parts of the country, who will be glad to give us refuge, and help us to plant ourselves where we can grow with less molestation. But I leave you to watch tile signs and judge whether we can hope to keep our foothold in Putney without sacrificing our principles. As to abandoning the testimony that the Kingdom of God has commenced or acknowledging that we have done wrong, that is out of the question with me. I shall cheerfully suffer the spoiling of goods or imprisonment or death rather than bend in that way. Indeed I cannot concede either to friends or enemies the right to stop my mouth or muzzle our press permanently or for any great length of time. The threat of losing two thousand or ten thousand dollars will not deter me from speaking what justice to God and man demands. Yet I shall not brave public opinion unnecessarily, and shall have an eye to the bearings of my proceedings on your position.

As to publishing those resolutions in The Spiritual Magazine my impression is that you had better not unless you are at liberty to comment upon them freely. I shall canvass them fully in due time. For the present, if your press is under restrictions, I should prefer to stop it altogether, simply giving notice that you will wait till you are free. But I have confidence in George's discretion and leave it with him. . .

You will wish to hear about our fortunes in this city. We came here with poor recommendations. (Our story had preceded us by way of Edward Palmer's correspondence with his brother.) But we have been treated with more than usual kindness and respect by all old friends and some new ones. Cragin


and I thought of hiring a room, but on looking into the papers for advertisements our chance seemed but slight. Before commencing search we called on Catherine Wadsworth and spoke of our plans to her. She suggested that her sister and brother-in-law would be willing to have us occupy their parlor, as they have little use for it; and we might stay or leave when we pleased, and pay what price we pleased. Accordingly Catherine made this arrangement for us, and we leave it with her to say what we shall pay. Harriet will remember our room. It is a genteel parlor on the first floor, with carpet, glass ornaments, eight mahogany chairs, sideboard. A bed has been placed in the room. We have a coal fire. Catherine is delighted to wait on us, and has wilfully constituted herself our factotum. Thus our accommodations are just right for receiving company, which is flowing in upon us considerably. We have communicated our views of the Kingdom of God to all who have called, and have been heard with interest and delight in every instance . . . We have much reason to account ourselves well treated by the Lord for the present, and we suffer no forebodings of future evil to mar the joy of our hearts. The only drawback I have had has been the thought of your perils and pressures. It seemed hardly right that I should be free and comfortable while you were battling with the storms of Putney But then I thought that my presence with you would only increase the fury of the storm, and that it would do you no good to see me imprisoned or assassinated, while the buoyancy and comfort which I have here may help to sustain your hearts by invisible communication. Perhaps too we are preparing an asylum here for those who cannot keep their foothold in Nazareth. . .

Yours heartily,
J. H. N.



New York, December 14, 1847.

Dear Mary: . . .
Abram Smith is in the city, and has spent considerable time with us. John has presented our new theory to Smith, Sherwood and wife, Miss Wadsworth, Miss Pomeroy, Mr. Perry, and Mrs. Black, and not a repulse from one of them. John first met Mrs. Black at Sherwood's last week, and had quite a long conversation with her. He is better pleased with her spirit than ever before. Of course she has many transcendental notions which he is obliged to criticise, but on the whole we think her a hopeful case. I should judge the social theory made a favorable impression. She said most of the ideas were new to her, and she would think upon them. .

Your true lover,


New York, December 14, 1847.

Dear Mary:

I have time to say but a word. . . . We only need you and Harriet here to make our situation superb. Everything which George points out in our travels about the city as reminding him of you has also a peculiar charm for me.

We are having a good time with Abram Smith. I think you and he will meet ere long under happier auspices than formerly, and that all offenses will be swallowed up in victory.

Yours heartily,


Brattleboro, December 17, 1847.

Brother Miller
In conversation with Platt today he told me it was intended to prosecute the male members of your Corporation for gross


lewdness or some other of the "offenses against chastity, morality and decency" named in the 99th Chapter of the Revised Statutes of Vermont. It may be well for you to study that Chapter of the laws of the State. He says people are not satisfied with a promise to submit to all the requirements of the moral law and the statute laws of the State while still insisting upon and inculcating principles subversive of both. They look upon it as a mockery and an insult.

I know you and George will some day see these things in their true light. I could only wish you might see them in season to avoid their disastrous consequences.

I know not what John promises himself in New York. As soon as it is discovered that he is Carrying out his principles there (and he is watched there), he will be transferred from his pleasant parlor to a less pleasant tenement in the City Prison. I know you people do not like to hear me talk so. This only makes me feel more sensibly the duty imposed upon me of repeating my friendly admonitions. It is hard for me to feel that, whilst I have incensed many Putney people by attempting to defend you all, I at the same time give offense to the other side by the measures I take to protect them.

Mary and I intend coming to your house early next week.

Yours truly,


Putney, December 21, 1847.

Dear Brother Noyes:
Since I wrote you last we have had some rather hard pinches, but we yet "live and move and have our being," thank God. Our enemies have threatened us in every possible way, but we have stood firm and united, and are now having quiet times. The adjourned meeting of the citizens comes off next Thurs-


day evening. What will be done then I cannot say, but we do not apprehend any danger.

I think the last two suits against you (Hall's and Baker's) can be settled for a small sum, as it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove anything against you. I will get their best terms before I see you. If we acted on the same principles they do, we could make them some trouble.

George is getting out a notice to subscribers that the Magazine will be discontinued today. I think we shall not be obliged to give up our meetings, though we may stop them for our own convenience.

Our enemies have heated the furnace for us as hot as p05sible, btit when they have looked in they have seen "one like the Son of Man." I have become fully convinced that we can put no confidence in men. God alone is able to deliver us.

Mr. Mead and Horatio want Mr. Skinner and me to put our property, or a portion of it, into the hands of a trustee for our families. I told them that I would think of it and would do what was best. I have concluded not to do anything about it. If the Devil can get my property, he may have it. I have no fears about getting a living.

If the paper is to be discontinued, I should think favorably of your plan of having the Leonards go to New York. I think however they had better remain as they are till I see you.

Mr. Clark does first-rate. If he owned the whole, he could not take more interest in the business than he does.

Emma thinks the Doctor would be very glad to be on good terms with me. The only difficulty is that kick. He doesn't want that to go for nothing. He knows that he ought to apologize in order to have a good understanding. 1 call him "John the Bootist." Though a great man in the world, he is less than the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.

We are now all in good spirits, joyful and happy. Every-


thing begins to look bright. Give yourself no trouble on our account. 1 shall do everything in my power for the good of all concerned.

If you want more money before I come to New York, you will please say so and it shall be sent immediately.

Mr. Mead and Mary have just come up to spend the night.

Yours forever,


Hamden, Connecticut, December 20, 1847.

Dear Brothers:
When I tell you that I have but just received your letter, you will see that I have had some trial of my faith. God has sustained me wonderfully, enabling me to say again and again with all my heart, the trial of my faith is worth a great deal more than a letter. When Mr. L. H. Bradley came, I was in the worst dilemma. It stirred up a great commotion in the spiritual atmosphere, so that it looked threatening, I assure you. But I gave the old gentleman LMr. Tuttle] some money, and believed God, and it passed off. I think it will be good policy for you to write me very soon, and send a special message to Mr. Tuttle with promise of pay. I have heard him tell folks hereabout, that I was going to stay only a fortnight; but if you write and request him to board me longer, stating the reasons why it is not expedient for me to come to the city at present, it will satisfy Charles and Sophronia and make me feel rather more at home.

I could fill my sheet, but the old gentleman is just ready.

I have had only five minutes to write this, with Vic on my lap, who by the by is doing well.

I must just tell you that we have some victories over disease in Laura's case, that Mrs. Tuttle, Louisa and I are leagued


together to resist the Devil, that I am learning faith every day, that I love you devotedly, and am

Yours forever,


Hamden, Connecticut, December 20, 1847.

Dear Harriet:
This morning I received my first letter from New York, just a fortnight having elapsed since John and George left here. I began to think something was the matter, especially after the Bradleys were here, according to whose account bonds and imprisonment were staring you all in the face, and 1 knew not what I might hear next. John told me once that perpetual temptation called for perpetual faith. I found the truth of this remark by experience, for I was between two fires. But the Lord sustained me wonderfully, not suffering fear to overcome hope but enabling me to rely on his faithfulness as a covenant-keeping God.

Mr. Bradley was here today. He and Sarah have been staying with Mrs Bristol since Thursday. Mr. Bradley went to the post-office from here, hoping to receive some intelligence from New York that would guide their future movements. I discouraged Sarah from going to the City alone, and advised them to stick together until they heard from New York, which they finally agreed to do, though not without some reluctance on the part of Sarah, who was ready to go right on alone. But as she is unused to traveling and it is quite doubtful as to her finding her relatives where she thinks they are, I persuaded her out of it. Their way seems to be hedged up, but He who suffers not a sparrow to fall unnoticed will assuredly take charge of them.

Mr. and Mrs Allen of Wallingford called to see me last


Friday. They have a good reputation which they count dear to them, and a spirit which is satisfied with its own state, and of course are among the "whole who need not a physician." Mrs. Allen, Mr. Allen and Mrs. Dickerman are sure that Perfectionism is at an end, that they are now witnessing its downfall in our separation, that it is an edifice built on the sand. However I should not think it strange if they changed their minds. The women, I think, are under conviction. Mrs. Allen is a great talker, and I had no alternative but to talk faster and louder than she and compel her to hear. She was rather impertinent too in some of her remarks, and so squeamish that she turned Mr. Bradley and her husband out before she could say what she wanted to. The Allens think there is no necessity for a head to the church on earth, while at the same time they have a great deal to say about unity. I gave them this problem to solve: How can a body of believers become one while each is fighting on his own hook?

I have not any stirring events wherewith to fill a sheet. Victor demands the greatest part of my time and attention. I have no cradle, and he sleeps scarcely at all during the day.

I read in The Berean, The Spiritual Magazine, and the Bible, sing some and talk some with Laura, and sometimes play a game of chess with Louisa, seldom leaving my room except to go down to meals. But I am contented and happy, and have no wish to change my situation, not even, tell Harriet H., to go to New York. I do not mean to tease you to write, but you can see that the reception of anything in the shape of a letter must be very welcome. Tell Harriet I derive a great deal of comfort and satisfaction from the perusal of her articles in The Spiritual Magazine. Several of them I frequently reread. The article headed "Loss and Gain" I highly prize, also "God's Will Concerning Us," also "The Tongue." If


you have not a fresh recollection of these articles, do read. They are excellent.

Mrs. Tuttle is a simple-minded woman who makes no pretension. She has a modest, teachable spirit, and is wifling to wait when she cannot see. I am not certain but she will take precedence of some of the women in this region who lay claim to a much higher degree of spirituality. Last evening she came into my room and said she had some news for me. She had been reading "Marriage Nailed to the Cross" and "Condensation of Life," and to use her own words, "It is all there. I wonder I never saw it before.' It is evident the spirit of God is enlightening and opening her heart. To him be the praise!

Wednesday morning.-Quite an event has ruffled the "even tenor of my way" this morning: nothing less than a call from George with a summons to go to New York with him. I think it will not be expedient for me to remain here longer, not but what they are very kind to me, but it creates some talk. I shall leave this sheet for Louisa to fill and send to you. Perhaps I shall see you soon in New York. Who knows?

Love to each one of the household of faith and to the dear children from



Putney, December 25, 1847.

Dear Brother Noyes:
In my last letter I promised to write you again after the adjourned meeting of the citizens. I expected then that I should have something interesting to write, but as near as I can learn there was little done. The report of the Committee was again taken up and discussed, but was rejected by the meeting. The more sober part of the citizens, like D. Crawford and Mr. Barton, did not attend.


The resolutions which were adopted at the first meeting were published the same week in the Semi-weekly Eagle, and this week in the Phenix, Democrat, and Bellows Falls Gazette with severe remarks.

Thursday night I received an anonymous letter through the post-office, saying that I would be tarred and feathered and ridden on a rail, if I did not leave town immediately. But it was evidently done only to frighten.

I have had a long talk with Mr. Palmer today for the first time. He says he has taken no part against us. He believes that such a state of things is sometime to exist in this world; the only question in his mind is whether the time has come. He was afraid that you had been too hasty, but did not know as you had.

Most of the people here seem to be quite bitter against us, but I hope for better times soon.

Mr. Mead and Mary came here the day before I wrote you before, and spent the night. We had a long talk with them; sat up till one o'clock. They stand about where they did when you left. Mary said, you thought you were raised up to introduce this doctrine into the world, and she thinks she was raised up to put a stop to it.

Lydia, I understand. has given you up entirely, and with you her own revelations. Emma and Helen are opposed to

They do not go to meeting or call at either of the other houses. Mrs. Campbell calls on us occasionally. We are all well and in pretty good spirits.

We get along about as well with our work as ever. I supposed, when Mr. Baker left, we should be obliged to hire some one, but we are not obliged to yet. I am doing all in my power to get in money and settle up affairs at the store.

We spend our evenings in reading and conversation. God has been with us through all our trials. I am looking forward


with much interest to the time when I shall see you and Brother Cragin. I want to sit down and have a long talk with you. I cannot say all J want to on paper.

One word more. Alexander Wilder has written to R. W. Keyes explaining his position and denouncing us. The letter was read today in the store. Col. Longley has written to Mr. Chandler asking questions. I understand he is quite busy against us.

I thought when I began that I should not write more than one page, but there is no stopping till I get to the end of the sheet when writing to you.

Yours truly,


Putney, December 29, 1847.

Dear Sister:
We were some surprised to find you writing from New York, for we have not heard any intimation of your leaving Mr. Tuttle's. But we judged there might have been some difficulty from your saying that the cakes of ice bore you long enough to jump from one to another. J am glad you are landed once more in New York, in the winter too~you will avoid the cold country snows. . . . You will know how to be abased and how to abound, coming from your retired chamber to the City and the society of John and Mr. Cragin, and the favorable prospects too that open up~ you of the reception of the truth. Those who receive John's views of heavenly society now, if they are aware of the stir-up in Vermont, will have a better opportunity than some of us did to count the cost.

Last evening brought us your letter from Hamden. I should think we might learn to put entire confidence in God's leadings, even when it seems to us he is putting us in the worst situation


possible. We have all been learning the same lesson in different ways. We too, when in the greatest whirl of the wrath of man, did not hear from John for two weeks. I saw it was God's design to turn us to himself. 1 said to myself and those around me, God will not place us in this position and leave us in darkness for the truth's sal~e he will direct our steps. And he did.

I too have been reading the Bible, The Spiritual Magazine, and John's Religious Experience. We have now plenty of leisure for reading, since the people have ceased their outward movements. The change is so great from the whirlwind to this stillness, we have much need of faith and patience to resist a dull, lonesome spirit which is trying to creep over us. But I say, let the Devil do his worst, he cannot overcome Christ in us, and we are doing the work of God so long as we believe.

Louisa's postscript in your letter was very refreshing. How much she has gained by losing her reputation in the world! (George Noyes says, we should not say lose our "character," which is the common expression; he has not lost his character; that stands as firm as ever.) She and the Baker girls are far in advance of Emma and Helen in spirituality. Mr. Miller will tell you how they "kick against the pricks." Mrs. Campbell says they almost wear her out. She gets a blow at the pit of her stomach every day, which takes away her appetite. She thinks she must get rest soon. Emma has persuaded Mr. Woolworth to take a journey to visit his friends. She will not wait for snow, but hurries him off. \Vhat her object is I cannot tell, unless it is to get away from the pressure of God's spirit. Her absence may he a relief to her mother, as she is the connecting link between the Doctor and the Crawfords. The girls seem to be possessed by an evil spirit which tears them every (lay. They give their tongues full liberty, talk


against John and the "delusion" he is given up to, and urge Mrs. Campbell and Mr. Woolworth to renounce him and his doctrines. Harriet thinks in their case God has gone to the bottom of the heap of worldliness.



New York, December 30, 1847.

Dear Sister:
Truly our dispersion has so far resulted greatly to the dissemination of our views. We had a very distinguished visitor this week, Professor Upham from the State of Maine. He has written a number of books on the interior life. He is now exerting more influence over the spiritual part of the churches than Professor Finney with all Oberlin at his back. Professor Upham became so much interested in John's experience and writings, that he purchased The Berean and The Spiritnal Magazine, and expressed himself as delighted with our obnoxious views on sexual matters. So you see, that on the whole we are spreading our doctrines much faster by being sent away. And we were never happier in our lives. We are as conscious of holding the truth on the social relations as we are of our existence. And that truth will as certainly triumph as there is a God.

The Kingdom of God has come, the judgment has commenced, and the line is being drawn between the righteous and the wicked. The saints will judge the world. Stand fast, dear sister, in the pure testimony. God is a wall of fire round about us continually. Open your hearts to the free, eternal love of heaven, and you will have peace, confidence, joy and victory.

Your brother in the love of God,



New York, December 30, 1847.

Dear Sister: . . .
It is exceedingly wonderful to see the hand of God in every move that is made After we left Putney the people would not be satisfied until they had driven away Mr. L. H. Bradley and wife. They stopped a few days in Connecticut, informing that they were there without a home. Brother Smith was here at the time their letter came, and offered them a home at Kingston. I brought them on with Mary, and have sent them to Kingston where they will be in a situation to support themselves this winter.


Chapter 33: Turn of the Tide | Contents