Letter #24

Courts martial were frequent occurrences; they were conducted by officers as prescribed by military law. Most of the offences tried were desertion or crimes against property. Flogging was a common punishment; it was not abolished in the Army until 1881. 

Barbados did not have a lighthouse until 1852. It was built for the Great Exhibition in 1851, dismantled, and then rebuilt at South Point. 

A ...     Read more

Letter #25

This letter is incorrectly dated 1834

                                                      Barbados 18th Jany 1834

My Dear Kate

By my Journal, if a small red book badly kept deserves to be so named, I observe that it was on the 4th inst that I had the pleasure of writing to you. Nothing of note has occurred since worthy of being put to paper, therefore it becomes my turn to regret that I have little news to fill this sheet of hot-pressed. It never ...     Read more

Letter #26

Jany 28th 1835

Altho I have so recently written my dear Kate, it will not answer to allow such a favorable opportunity to escape – the Barbadian sails, or report is incorrect, tomorrow for Liverpool, but as the regular Mail will depart on Saturday, I shall only indulge myself with giving a line to shew that I continue in excellent health &c, but more home sick than ever, particularly so on parting with several ...     Read more

Letter #27

English has again written the wrong year at the head of his letter.

                                                                 6 am 1st. Feby 1834

The Gun has just fired my dear Kate as a signal that the packet is in sight, and I understand is not to be detained an instant, as some new regulations respecting the steamers, by which conveyance the mail is to be forwarded in future, is about to be put in force. However, after this preamble I have only time to write that I left ...     Read more

Letter #28

Written from St Lucia, this letter has no cover, suggesting that it was enclosed with another, perhaps to his daughters. ‘x this day year’ refers to the anniversary of his departure from England – see letter 42.

x this day year

12th Feby 1835

By the new arrangement my dear Kate I shall have the pleasure of writing to you every fortnight. You will be perfectly overwhelmed with my correspondence. I now observe ...     Read more

Letter #29

The mention of Mr Mudie cannot refer to Mudie’s Select Library; it was not launched until 1842. Another Mudie, George, a social reformer and publisher of popular literature, was active at this time.

The description of the snake matches the St Lucia boa, boa constrictor orophias.

26th Feby 35

How is this my dear Kate? – two packets have arrived and no letters. The 8 day mail Boat will be here the day after ...     Read more

Letter #30

Morne Fortuné enjoyed a commanding view over Castries and the surrounding coastline. The former French fort at Vigie was on the far side of the bay. 

English, whose sympathies were clearly with the Tories, was naturally enthusiastic to corner the captain of the Sheldrake and get the latest political news. William IV was the last monarch to defy the Commons by appointing a prime minister who ...     Read more

Letter #31

Written from St Lucia, begun on 28th March 1835 

The word ‘Creole’ appears here for the first time. It has been used in several senses over the years, but at this time it meant a person born free in the West Indies of non-native or mixed parentage of any race. Thus the description of a lady in letter 35 as ‘a fine french Creole’ means that she is white, but born in the West Indies.

All this ...     Read more

Letter #32

Not dated at the beginning; letter begun on 29 April 1835 

English has received some more silhouettes with better likenesses – see letter 8. Perhaps the family have made their own this time. 

Dominique, the French name for Dominica, lives on although the island had been under British rule since the Seven Years’ War. 

Punishment of a servant by flogging seems brutal today, but we have to ...     Read more

Letter #33

Baron D’Yvoley’s estate was on the coast to the south of Castries. Poor roads and rocky terrain made sea the preferred means of access, as it would probably still be today. 

A ‘pilgarlick’ is a bald-headed man, hence one to be pitied – that is, the lawyer; ‘Saffriere’ is Soufrière – literally ‘sulphur mine’ – the nearest town. ‘the Soufre’ is probably a volcano; the ...     Read more