Letter #109

Not dated at head, but presumably begun on 8 September 1838 

The heat my dear dear Kate is so oppressive that it requires much exertion to take pen in hand on private matters, even the great pleasure I at all times experience when writing to you is at the present moment scarcely a sufficient stimulant, but in truth I start my letter in a sorry humour and out of spirits, and on reference to your last letter which most commonly has the desired effect I read nothing joyous, all is gloomy. Fortunately the budget cheered me, but that arrives so long after date now that its interest is somewhat lost. Our office people have befriended me a second time, for the package of the 15th July another 30 odd shillings was charged. It would be well to write a polite note to Col Wells and ascertain where the difficulty rests, for it would cost far less were each of my dear party to write separate letters by the post. Set the matter right so soon as you can, there’s a good soul, or I shall be ruined with postage. But first to business: Lt Turner of Ranger Packet breakfasted here this morning. He has promised to take charge of the package containing the deed of release. I shall address it to you & put some trifles in the parcel with it for my dear lassies. The time will be but short to collect, therefore shd I not send for all 4, the neglected shall be thought of by the next opportunity. By the same I will give a reply to Mr Kelsall from whom a letter has reached me for the purpose of giving a brief statement of my late lamented Uncle’s will, but between ourselves for little other purpose than to enter upon a lawyer’s correspondence with me. Had I not seen a copy of the will forwarded to yourself, his letter would not even have afforded me the information that I was one of my late Uncle’s executors. These people mystefy on purpose.  However, the principal object of his letter appears to be to obtain my consent that a codicil in the testator’s hand writing & signed at the foot of the Will, should be carried into effect, which by some defect at law is a nullity, being unattested and excluded from proof. He writes as follows: ‘It is however the wish of all the parties in England, viz Sir John English, Mr E English & Mr H Hawker, to have it nevertheless carried fully into effect & if your brother Charles, to whom I shall ford a similar communication, & yourself, concur in this feeling, the defect at law can be covered by voluntary relinquishment to Mrs Hawker of your respective interests in the property specified in the codicil.’ In reply I shall of course consent with the rest of the interested parties. The answer will pass thro your hand, consequently you will make known my wishes are the subject & pass it on to Mr Kelsall. 9th Sept: Not so sultry and, were it not for the host of mosquitos, I could write you a steady long letter, but it is useless to attempt to please you. In your last you tax me with every thing that is bad – my letters are cold &c &c and I am extravagant and you still cry poverty although your income is greatly increased. In no case have I exceeded nor have I [word missing] to the extent of my command pay for [word missing]. I have no doubt that on reference to the abstract you will find in addition to the 19£ command & extra allowances due to a large amount, but my paper is too confined to give way to recrimination, but I do sincerely wish you would not indulge in filling yours with the everlasting allusions to the nothingness of every thing earthly, being weaned from this world, divine Grace and much more. That you are perfectly right there is no question, but there is a time and a place for all things certainly, and a letter from the other side of the Atlantic which usually causes such delight, and from you, generally such a perfect solace to counteract the everlasting torments and vexations I have constantly to encounter here is a grievous disappointment when opened and I find the greater portion filled with a subject that’s kept better to one’s own bosom as reflection for the closet. I can always discover when you have sat up too late, too much company, bile or the weather gloomy. Cheer up, good wife, we have to get on in the world yet and must not think ill of it, for both you and I have much, ah! very much to be grateful for. With all your paper preaching, I suspect you think more of it than your abused lord. I almost dread the lectures on my return, still am most anxious for the trial. In the small box that Lt Turner takes charge of, you should find the deed of Release, two letters, one to dear Mary to pay the 159£ &c to you or order, and the other to Mr Kelsall, the above sum you can use as you deem best. If possible I would buy in a hundred of it. At all events do pay some part of it to Mr Crawfurd the wine merchant. Ask Mrs Hawker to let me have article, not perishable, of my late esteemed Uncle’s which may be useless to her – his gun, his pistols or even his powder horn, something that I can hand over to Fred as his ‘Uncle Hawker’ when, alas, his property is all divided and he, amiable man, forgotten by all the world nearly. But to the box again – there are therein two bags made by a poor woman here of the Mimosa seeds, they are pretty if you admire them. I shall order one or two more. The box is full, but I have stuffed in some models of the Indians’ cooking utensils for Annie & Isabella with some specimens of nutmeg. One has the Mace on it, but a Mid that was waiting here one evening amused himself by picking it off. They are the most mischievous little animals that exist. Ask my good Coz to write to Lord James for me to this effect, viz, copy of a letter I now send off to the Inspector General Sir F Mulcaster, ‘Dear Sir, Observing that the Coronation Promotion has conferred the distinction of CB on many officers of my standing, I trust you will pardon the liberty I now take of intruding my personal interest on your attention in the hope, should a possibility exist of obtaining the companionship of the Bath, that a reference to my services from the period the British Army landed in Portugal to the present will fully justify the claim now prefered by your very faithful and obedient sert F English.’ It will not do for me to state my services, but Lord James would know how to put the whole in train, and he was so jealous in my cause about Fred and so particularly kind that I have no doubt he would help an old soldier over the stile. All our officers that have recd the honor amply deserve it, still I have endured as much & seen more service Real than several. All old hands tell me unless the thing is pushed for it never will be given. No time should be lost. A small drawing by Capt Graham of Shot Hall for Fop & Fan is in the box. It will give you some idea but is not very good. He was in the sun at the time. What strange fancy you have in your head my good Kit. You may depend upon it I have lost all thought of grandeur to be kept up by the Comdg R Engr. I live as quiet as possible, rarely see anyone beyond what I can not avoid in return for long civility. I have mounted myself, in part furnished my quarters ready to receive you if necessary and you wish it. On my farm have got all my hay in hand & this will be a dry season. 12 Head of beautiful Cattle, some about to increase in number, 70 odd sheep, Cock & Hens, the latter setting young fowls for the dispatch cock demands, 14 or 15 pig, three or 4 about to add to their families, a Crawl full of turtle – presents – Guinea fowls, rabits on the increasing system &c &c, with a good crop of sweet potatoes to feed them on. No parcel arrived from the Man of War. I do long to be out of this in the quiet and comfort of my family. It is one constant routine of goosing & reprimanding one or the other. I told you that the Demerara Clerk of Work was brought to a Genl Court Martial – he was awarded six months’ imprisonment, but our Genl in his wisdom & listening to other has let the sinner off. A Mr Houghton, a sad shuffling fellow, he is dismissed which was his object. Regards to Capt Tait – I did not get Miss Critchlow’s letter until the last packet & sent it on. Negro affairs are progressing here, all will go on properly in time. Lt Mould that was on the survey is ordered here from Grenada, his brother died at Dominica, and Grenada is very sickly. I wish to get the poor fellow & his family away. Capt Rutherfurd is a great comfort to me – he is a sociable good fellow – what more can I say? Dear Gusto’s letters are alway a comfort – how I rejoice in the idea of taking him by the arm for a walk. The treasure story is not yet completed – a reference has been sent home. Do you wish for the papers, with all Maxwell’s rubbish? He is ½ mad I think, may stir up about the CB ship. The Genl & I are in an official brush concocted by a vile little Commissary Genl. It will blow over. He has misled the Genl, good man, but the REs must not knock under when right. I shall be astonished if not well supported. What a pest it is for a quiet man to be hawled into official squabbles in spite of all effort to the contrary. All hands grin and bow to the Eng, but if they can break out at him it is a full cry. But I care not for nobody, no not I but my dear Wickhamites & the boys. Regards to Miss P

Your afft Fred

Red ink begins here.

Bag making up, adieu dear Kate

Your afft Fred English

This, alas, is the last we hear of the buried treasure.