Manuscript Letter Describing "Rowdyism" Among the Youth of Lynn, Massachusetts, 1848
Very good. Stampless folded letter, 3 pages, dated August 5, 1848, mailed from Lynn to Rawley, Massachussetts. Very good condition, with a small loss where the seal was broken. The writer has newly settled in Lynn and is writing to tell his friends of his recent experiences and impressions. He opens by describing a false fire alarm raised the night before by "some drunken rowdies," whose ringleaders were arrested, as well as an actual fire later on that resulted in a signficant loss of property. After pronouncing the town's Independence Day celebrations satisfactory, he writes of attending a "fisherman's mess": "we went about four miles out and fished from the rocks until we had enough for a meal, then fried and ate them with other things on the shore. Thus far everything was well enough, but there was a hotel near by and some of them went and got some brandy. After this many of them became noisy and indecent. I made an excuse to get away and left them alone in their glory." On Sunday, he found that the minister had been observing similar behavior. "He said 'I defy anyone to produce a town of this size where so much rowdyism and recklessness prevails among the young as in Lynn.' From the reports I hear almost daily, I am inclined to think the above assertion is nearly true. It is indeed a sad prospect when most of the young men spend their money and evening in Hotels, Saloons, Billiard Rooms, and in places sunk still lower in vice." An interesting first-hand impression of the social environment of a rapidly industrializing New England city.