1824: Rev. John Barnwell Campbell, Sr. to John Barnwell Campbell, Jr.

Rev. John Barnwell Campbell, Sr. Gravestone

This letter was written by Rev. John Barnwell Campbell (1784-1847), a native of Beaufort, South Carolina, and a graduate of Queens College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained Deacon by George Tomlin, Bishop of Lincoln, on 12 June 1808, and after a time being Curate in the Parish Church of Broughton Astley in the county of Leicester, he returned to the United States and was ordained Priest by the Rt. Rev’d William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania on 9 June 1811. He was elected to the Church of St. Helena, in Beaufort, South Carolina, as assistant Rector in January 1810 and as a Rector in April 1812.

Rev. Campbell married Catharine Amarinthia Percy (1790-1818) on 21 November 1811. Died in Newport Rhode Island, 28 March 1847.

This letter was written to his nine year-old son, John Barnwell Campbell, Jr. (1815-1891) who was, at the time, attending school in Philadelphia. He later graduated from Princeton University and the New York General Theological Seminary. Like his father before him, John became a reverend in the Episcopal Church. He served as an assistant to Bishop Gadsden in South Carolina for a number of years and then served as pastor of St. Philips Church. He was married to Elizabeth Moore Parker (1824-1887) in 1841.

Stampless Cover

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3


Addressed to John Barnwell Campbell, Jun., Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]
Care of Rev. Mr. Boyd

[Newport, Rhode Island]
September 28, 1824

My Dear Son,

I am glad that you have obtained a meritorious distinction in your class, but I would wish you to avoid overcharging your mind and you must be guarded against those who over reason upon any subject. Listen most to those who come to some solid and useful conclusion when which the mind can rest with pleasure, security, or any proper conviction of rectitude. I do not know altogether why your certificate is ornamented with a squirrel, a swan, and a hare. But you may possibly remember my saying that comparative anatomy teaches us the wisdom with which the animal creation is formed. Thus, the shoulders of the squirrel is formed somewhat after the manner of the human shoulder blade by means of which he is enabled to crack nuts for which his teeth is particularly well formed; whereas ours are often much injured by that practice which we do not think of at the time but are made to feel in after life. The swan is distinguished for the length and beauty of the head and neck and the grace with which it swims and moves upon the water. I recollect two lines of the poet [William] Wordsworth describing them this, “The swans upon St. Mary’s Lake swim double, swan and shadow!” I did not know until a few years ago that the hare was found in our country. They are met with in the State of New York. One of the sentiments of Socrates mentions that the timid animals have, in general, finer hair. Thus the deer and hare differ from the lion and the wild boar. The remark, however, does not always apply as the leopard has fine hair but is not particularly timid, but rather courageous. Seafaring people have generally coarser hair than those more accustomed to the land. Phoebe’s hair is taken from the silk worm whilst Patty’s and yours sits close upon the head like a duck.

You will remember I gave you a fife at Trenton but I do not know that you ever learnt to blow upon one. The sound is rather sharp and martial but you have a taste for music. A flagelette would suit your mouth and lungs best. Archibald ought to have a taste for music for both his Father & Mother played well. Make good use of your ears. Get a constant habit of resisting inward fear whether asleep or awake and you will save yourselves from many a troublesome hour. Thus some length of time ago, I dreamed or saw in a vision of the night the appearance as I thought of a large building of stone with the legs of numbers of persons hanging over the top cursing and swearing and doubling their fists like a collection of maniacs, but I awoke up and recollected the impressions arose from the swearing character of the English riding upon the top of a mail coach with their legs & feet hanging down. Thus, a thousand frightful things prove to be merely vain images in the memory of the brain or excited there by particular outward causes to which most, if not all of them, can be traced.

I did not hear until Mr. Jacobs came here that Charlotte Stuart and John Stuart were married, nor that Mrs. Nat Barnwell was married until Edwar Lining, who is here, mentioned the fact. I would not have you learn too much but what you do learn, make yourself perfect master of. The greater part of those who have learnt later have no conception of the elegance of the languages or of the grammatical construction. Do not waste your time and receive as little as possible into your mind which you do not comprehend. Some thing must, however, be learnt when trust.

My love to your uncles and aunts and kiss Phoebe and Patty for me and Archibald. Your affectionate father, — John Barnwell Campbell

P.S. Tell Phoebe to write to me.


William Wordsworth

Rev. Campbell refers to a poem by William Wordworth entitled, Memorials of a Tour in Scotland, 1803. The line actually reads:

“The swan on still St. Mary’s Lake,
Float double, swan and shadow!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Spared & Shared 21

Saving history one letter at a time.

Spared & Shared 20

Saving history one letter at a time

Notes on Western Scenery, Manners, &c.

by Washington Marlatt, 1848

Spared & Shared 19

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Recollections of Army Life

by Charles A. Frey

The Civil War Letters of William Kennedy

Co. B, 91st New York Infantry

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

Building Bluemont

The Origin of Bluemont Central College

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

The John Hughes Collection

A Virtual Archive of his Letters, 1858-1869

The Civil War Letters of Rufus P. Staniels

Co. H, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers

This is Indeed A Singular War

The Civil War Letters of Henry Scott Murray, 8th New York Light Artillery

%d bloggers like this: