1722: Joseph Moody gives spicy weather reports

Joseph Moody was born in York, Massachusetts (now in Maine) in 1700. Moody belonged to a prominent family: his father was a reverend, his great uncle a chief justice of Massachusetts. At age 14, Moody was sent off to attend Harvard. He graduated four years later and returned to York as the local schoolmaster.

Moody kept a diary for the duration of his adult life. Much of it is concerned with his courtships and marriage, work, his religious beliefs and cursory observations about the weather – but Moody’s chronicle also contains some quite frank references to masturbation. Many of these self-pleasuring episodes occurred after romantic flirtations with women. Several follow liaisons with his future wife, Lucy White.

In November 1721, Moody kissed and fondled a 17-year-old girl, the appropriately named Patience Came. He later wrote that “I defiled myself” after she had left. A sampling of similar entries from Moody’s diary follows:

Thursday July 19th 1722
This morning I got up pretty late. I defiled myself, though wide awake. Where will my unbridled lust lead me?

Wednesday November 28th 1722
…We called on Captain Allen. I sat quietly with my beloved. Certain people are here at midnight. I defiled myself.

Thursday February 28th 1722
Raw south wind at night. I lay in bed late… David Storer lodged with me. At first we talked obscenely. Thereafter I defiled myself.

Wednesday March 13th 1722
Raw, cold. Snow at night. I polluted myself without any foregoing lust, and from mere desire…

Thursday April 25th 1723
…I called on Mrs Harmon. I was in a measure, frightened by a thunder storm; nevertheless, when half awake, I polluted myself.

Wednesday June 12th 1723
Very hot. Fresh W. wind. After I had got up, I knowingly and intentionally defiled myself…

Saturday June 16th 1723
Cloudy and cool. My anxiety, as on several occasions before, brought on a diarrhea… Nonetheless, at night, while awake, I defiled myself.

Friday July 5th 1723
Cloudy and Cool, few drops of rain… I spent only one hour with my beloved. I did not defile myself.

Saturday August 31st 1723
Pretty Calm and Warm. Hazy… Last evening, lying in bed, I knowingly and intentionally defiled myself after I had looked into the girls’ chamber.

Monday April 13th 1724
I stayed up with my love, not without pleasure, but I indulged my desire too freely, and at night the semen flowed from me abundantly.

Monday July 6th 1724
Not hot. Flying clouds. N. W. Breeze. Last night, at first, I handled my member, planning as I thought, nothing evil. In the end, though, I defiled myself…

Moody married Lucy White in November 1724. In 1732 he became a pastor but became notoriously unstable, once delivering an entire sermon with his face covered by a handkerchief. He died in 1753.

Source: Diary of Joseph Moody, York, 1723-24. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.