Letter #49

Not dated, begun 14 January 1836 at Demerara 

The Return Mail Boat to Barbados shd be here and depart tomorrow my dear Kate – 15th Jany 1836 – and as I have recd such dreadful goose for not writing by this roundabout channel, it is my determination to give you a few extracts from my journal, notwithstanding the last letter home was dated on the 6th or 7th Inst, but alas the journal will afford little or nothing since the former report, for we have been more stupid than usual in spite of the Xmas holidays, which to blacky no doubt have passed in various enjoyments, if drinking and dancing incessantly may be so termed, and, I should add, dressing for finery is their delight. The upper class and Military have been slow in the extreme, nothing going forward to cheer one. On the contrary, the Genl Court Martial, still sitting, has cast a gloom over all and a fear of expressing themselves freely on the chance that every remark will be repeated in the wrong quarter. In fact all is carried to his Excellency, which ought not to be, and he courts the system. You recollect his performances on the Survey of closetting all the young subs – I fear his information is obtained here as to all that passes much in the same way. However, this is between ourselves. The garrison evidently partake of the disagreeable feelings introduced throughout the Colony by the Court on Sir Andrew Halliday, 2 or three of the charges being for scurrilous attacks and reports by letters of the Colonist. I have not attended the proceedings, but from what one picks up on these occasions it would seem that he will be acquitted of most of the charges. How glad I shall be to be able to say adieu to my little brother officer, altho I must confess he has made himself very agreeable in a way. An order has this moment been put into my hands appointing me President of a District C Martial tomorrow. This is the third within the last fortnight that I have presided at, and with the Garrison duty by the weeks, you may suppose there is but little time left for one’s own duty or amusement. I really quite long to get clear of this command, not that I dislike the local, but during Sir Com’s reign it never will be endurable, all the world being at loggerheads. Hold, enough of this, you will exclaim. By the bye, letters have been recd here stating that 8 Arty Cols are to have the choice of selling. Will the REs have the same in proportion? – it is to be hoped. Nearly four pages I have scrawled over and not one word of reproach yet about sugar ships, unkindness &c &c &c. Still, not one letter did I receive by the last packet which came to anchor on the 9th Inst. Every person I met had letters and some remark to make on them. No doubt the Inspector Genl is absent & my dispatch was laying on his table for the want of a frank. Good news sometimes travels slow, thus I hope that the next will bring joyful tidings that Augusto has passed, promotion for his father with various other good accounts.

15th – My factotum Mr Case, a very respectable black overseer, has just shewn himself to say ‘Make haste Massa Capt with your letter, the Lucretia’s bag is to be made up at 9’. As the Mail Boat has not yet arrived I shall endeavour to start this by this vessel, and write a few lines also by the latter if the Court Martial does not keep me too late. You will observe that my letters are more than usually stupid when the Wickham report has not come to hand, and since I wrote on the 6th nothing has transpired. Mr Naghten has been away for some days at his Mother’s estates, where I expect he will remain for a time – much more to his taste than the Store. He is a good humoured young fellow & I see a great deal of him when he is in town. Do not be enraged because this is so short. I only commenced it to prove that I was well, happy is out of the question, but as passably so as circumstances will admit of. At this moment I am suffering as if some hundred pins were pricking at me from the sand flies, and quite despair of completing my letter. God bless you all my dear Kate. I trust you have young body guard of the Ensign and Cadet – it will grieve me much to learn that he has not succeeded. I observe in the papers the death at Woolwich of a Capt Sir John Parker. It must be a mistake – surely it is not Brevet Lt Col Parker. Tomorrow I trust will be the last day of the G Court Martial & my house will be vacated. The little Capt Thomson nevertheless is a good little body. This is only by comparison with most of my letters a note, but will satisfy you I’m all right. Have not drawn on the Agents yet, must soon. Love to the dear girls, & boys if with you, regards Miss Parker. How is my good Uncle Hawker? I was dreaming of him last night. Regards to him & my aunts with MOB.

& believe me my dear Kate

Your aff Fred E

It is perfectly impossible to write when these sand flies are about you. Oh that I were with you again!