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Adams (Sylvanus) Letters 1832
 
LOWELL HISTORICAL SOCIETY
ALFRED GILMAN COLLECTION

WRITTEN BY SYLVANUS ADAMS1
TO ALFRED GILMAN

          Springfield, Chicopee Factory, Tuesday evening June 12th 1832

Worthy Friend,

           I had sharpened my pen & prepared my other
utensils, last evening for writing to you but, just as I was
about putting my pen to paper, two friends called & invited
me to take a watter excursion with some ladies! And I with a
good deal of reluctance accepted, & of course yielded the claims
of my best friend to those of the fair! I intend, however that 
the last nights’adventures shall subserve me for this nights
sucubrations, and if the perusal of the relation gives you half
the pleasure that I received in the participation you may
think yourself amply remunerated for your trouble, But,
before I proceed, it will be necessary for me to premise a
little by way of explanation so that you need not be in the
dark concerning the change either in me or the society of
the village. Our society has improved & think very mat-
erially, or else I have lost the sense of seeing & hearing corr-
ectly. It is not the worst nor the best, but about medioc-
rity. Buffoon-parties, on Sunday evenings, are abandoned-car-
ds, become stale and useless-and, in sooth, the village seems 
to wear an intire different aspect from what it did ten
months ago-but there is still a chance for impovement. I
must be brief in my preliminary remarks-so to my theme.

           The Chicopee River is what I term, beautiful-it is about
the size of the Concord, but its watters are much more pellu-
cid and pure. It falls forecipitately over a bed of rocks, at its ju-
nction with the canal, which is near by, in the center of the village
and then foams along , like an ambitions courser over rocks &
stones, till it finds its way into the Connecticut. A small
dam is raised just above the falls, for turning the watter-
above that, the surface, is glassy, smoothe, and deep, the bank

  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.
 

on the left rises abrupt and steep-the other, is of alluvian
soil with here & there, lawns and groves. Now, can you form
an idea of the delight of a sail on such an evening as last,
ah, and with such a company?- if not, I will attempt
something like a discription. Not a breath of air was there
wandering to disturb the smoothness of the watter- the moon
sent down her rays of ineffable light and glaassed herself in
one expansive mirror, on the waveless watter. No uneasy
leaf nerved itself to disturb the stillness of the scene, but all
was hushed in the solemn silence of midnight, as it were, save
the gentle chirping of the cricket and the plaintive notes
of the nightingale-and now add to that, my love-lorn
Gilman, the seet (sweet) and silvery tones of beautiful female
voices, and will you not say the scene is estatical-raptur-
ous even to the sublime? After we had ascended hip-o-
will poured forth her shrill notes, blended with the rich acco-
mpanyment of female voices-which were echoed back from
the ajacent cliffs-which formed a melody more sweet more
harmonious and withal more enchanting than did the Lyre
of Olimphus, or its discription by Fletcher. After we had
returned to the falls, from where we started, whom should
we see but a lover seated upon the bank, pouring into
the “half-averted ear” of his mistress, his devoted, unaltera-
ble, his never-dying attachment. And whom do you think
the fair one was?- why, it was none other than my-you
know what-the one that-that-yes that jilted me. This
is what I call romance in real life.

            You have, probably, discovered, ere this, that I am the “rev-
erse of a cynick”, now, and have abandoned my misanth-
opacal views: perhaps you may claim the credit of conv-
erting me, by your spirited rallyinus-I’m willing and will
not deny it. I wish to convince you that I am not a 
“miss-and trope”, now- to use one of corporal Buntting
phrase-but a “man of the world”- but not, like that illu-
strous personage, been a member of the “Forty-second”
Friday evening. Heigho!- this has been an adventuous week.
last night, another boat ride(after 9 o’clock) with a known
sort of a companion-full of poetry and book-knowledge.
our canoe was birch-bark, which glided along the watt-
er like a “thing of life”. We amused ourselve, in the outset,
by a mental colloquy- a literary exercise-discanting upon
the merits of Byron, Goethe, Scott and others-at  length
we turned for amusement to physical execsise by
trying our nautical skill in rowing, in tact and turn
and a multiplicity of evolutions, until the dexterity of
 

one of our turns, skiped the light canoe from beneath
us and turned us, in jolly companionship, into the wat
ter. I had apprehensions for my own safety nor that
of my companion, whom I tho’t could swim, and all
my solictude was upon getting the boat ashore-but I
was mistaken-he could not swim-I turned rond to
look for him & to my astonishment, beheld him in
the middle of the stream gasping, in the last throe, for
breath-I sprang to his assistance, drew him ashore & 
saved him. You may judge with what sensations
we returned to our lodgings.

       When I commenced this letter, I intended to have
given you some moral reflections but upon reflection,
I tho’t I had not the ability to “illustrate” my ideas so ful-
ly as I should wish, & so abandoned it. You have given
me a happy “illustration” truly- whose character is the most
fully illustrated Miss D’s or the Boys, ha.

(P.S. will you give the enclosed paper to Weld?) Yours Adams

 

 
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