This letter was written by James H. Hoyt (1828-1875), the son of Joseph Warren Hoyt (1801-1850) and Louisa Matilda Whelpley (1803-18xx) of New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut. James later married (1854) Elizabeth Sarah Brush (1829-1898), became a physician, and resided in Stamford, Connecticut.
James was enrolled in the Greenwich Academy when he wrote this letter in 1847. The academy was founded twenty years earlier in a small, two-story frame house adjacent to the Second Congregational Church in Greenwich. In 1839, when Philander P. Button became the principal, there were only six scholars. Button served for 22 years and built up the enrollment, admitting both boys and girls in those days.
James grew up in New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut where he formed an acquaintance with Julius B. Harrison, to whom he wrote this letter. Julius was born in Cornwall in 1819, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1843, and settled in New Milford. He was State Attorney in 1852 but his promising career ended abruptly with his death in 1854 at the age of 35.
Addressed to Julius B. Harrison, Attorney at Law, New Milford, Connecticut
August 14, 1847
Your favor was duly rec’d and in accordance with the strict rules of duty, should have been noticed before. I find but a small amount of leisure time when out of school. I have more or less small matters, which demand some attention.
In noticing yours, I perceive you have made several notice of several important points, which are in my opinion, well made – first in regard to a stated or regular course on which depends much, we are benefited in many ways by a course of regularity. No man can pursue business of any kind with advantage without a system. The same remark can be made with studies. We are in studying to arrange them in order – also to arrange them to their respective places. We must have a place – so to speak – in the mind where we can make our arrangement of the various circumstances which come under our notice — small as they appear when assigned in order, they are subservient to great purposes. In the time when needed, thy come forth with power, invoking themselves into strong & impregnable thoughts.
At present, I have but 3 studies – Arithmetic, Grammar, & Mental Philosophy, the latter I think a good study enhancing that which will be of great practical benefit. A short time since, Mr. [Philander P.] Button, our principal, asked me what my intentions were. I gave him a short chapter of my intentions. He asked me if I intended to go through college. I told him I thought not as student. He thought my present course of study was as good as I could have. However, he recommended some others. One was surveying which I think I shall commence next term. As for the Languages, I think I shall not give them great notice at present. We have some two or three scholars who are preparing to enter College – one in particular who intends pursuing the profession of Law, but in my opinion he will need more than can be learned him there in order to be competent to pursue said profession.
Here is Greenwich, there is a very great favor to college education. If one would be anything, he must have his diploma. There is not another town in the State, I will venture to say, that can boast of more priests – hardly a family but what has one if not more who is following this humble, yet honorable profession.
We have nothing here now but Fairs. The ladies of the several churches are active in their labours. Yesterday during the afternoon & evening, there was 2.40 dollars raised. Well done for the ladies. I have been solicited to aid but have not taken a very active part, not thinking it proper as I have not gained citizenship.
I have heard from Southville almost every week. Should be pleased to see my friend Mr. Babbitt. He is living quite easy this summer — I suppose — being out of business, but I doubt whether he is not busily engaged in calling his numerous neighbors up to settle. He understands how that is done. You are aware of that fact.
You mention Neighborn Wilson. He has been very affectionate toward Mrs. Beach. Domestic, in other words, rather to feeling. That is bad business. It will do to have a friendly feeling, but this pushing things too far will not answer. Honorable Daniel always, if I have been correctly informed, had a peculiar drawing for his female friends and acquaintances.
I shall be in your place soon. Our school closes in about six weeks for one month. You will please remember me to your lady. My mother is well and also sends her regards to Mrs. Harrison & yourself.
I am yours, — James H. W. Hoyt