Letter #60

Crofton, home of the Naghten family, is at Stubbington, about six miles from Wickham and close to Catisfield. 

Capoey is a seaport up the coast to the north-west and beyond the estuary of the Essequibo. 

Mr Young’s mission to Cuba is explained in letter 52.

Demerara 11th Augst 1836

Still here my dear Kate much to my disgust for ere this I thought to have been settled in Barbados. Capt Victor I understand reach it from Dominica about the 24th. Probably Sir C Smith is giving him and Madame a little rest to enable them to encounter the vile frogs, sand flies &c &c of this sugar boiling place. However, by the next packet I trust to be relieved for I am heartily sick of Demerara under present circumstances. Moreover Sir Com & I do not hit it off exactly on duty matters. He is extremely overbearing and would willingly impose upon our Department that which belongs not to it. All this sort of thing I of course stand in the way of, which he considers opposition, so that by sticking to the Regulations laid down for our guidance an Engineer in charge is sure to clash with the Govr, unless he happens to be a superior high minded fellow who sees clearly before him and does not interfere. This man appears to be the same to all and to be on good terms with him would quite unfashionable. After all it amounts to nothing, still is an additional cause for wishing to get away. If I have the good fortune to plant my foot in old England again, how I will make you laugh at some of my adventures, particularly the official. No letters my dear Kate by the last mail boat which anchored here on the 4th, but of course the package has been detained in town. On paying T Naghten a visit I understand that you were all well, had passed a day at Crofton, Mrs N being quite delighted with you all. It was a great disappointment but I hope the next will bring the stray letters & my successor Capt Victor with the order to depart. The only novelty I have to inform you of as regards my movements has been a trip to Capoey Port, ordered there by Sir Com. How the Comdg E will admire the proceeding I cannot immagine. It was, I must think, done out of wickedness, as he knew that the offr was expected every day to relieve me, but my good luck with a little activity attended me. I found a Schooner starting on saturday last to the coast of Guiana close by. At ½ past 2 got my traps on board at reached Capoey about eight, meeting with a most hearty reception from Capt Warburton & his wife, Irish people in fact. My companions, Ensign Nicholls 67, son of Col Nicholls RE, which I only then found out, Lt Kemble 67, brother of Mrs Butler’s or ‘poor little me’, related to our friends the Seddons. Mr Liney DC Genl agreed with me that our trip so far was exceedingly amusing. They prepared a dinner, got beds ready and in truth all was bustle. The wife, once pretty, was the most perfect Irish Character I have ever met with excepting described in a novel. I remained at the Port until Monday night preparing Estimate for the repairs & dining each day at their mess, 67th, Madame W being a member. Mind you they have only a company there, and I laughed all the time. We left Mr Kemble at Capoey, embarked at 3 oclock PM, & reached home about 9 oclock the same evening where I found my dog & cat ready to eat me, the only living excepting Kate the Parrot to welcome me. Sir Com thought he had given me work for a week at least, but the good fortune of finding a vessel returning on monday, quite an unusual thing, upset all the plan. Mr Young and Ensign Smyth have return from Cuba, the former unsuccessful in his mission. The Spaniards would give up one Negro, and it is reported that our Govt has been completely cajoled, paying large sums on the capture of these Slaves under the supposition that they thus free in the Havanna according to treaty, whereas they are in a worse state of slavery at the present moment than they would have in the British Colonies under the former system. The next project is to import or rather land the Captured here until the working population is sufficiently increased to carry on the cultivation, sugar of course, which it is said brings a great price at present. Among the little changes of little people, Capt Sidley, our acting Brigade Major, has been ordered to join his Regt 86, a Capt Rose 69 acting in his berth. Our Chief Judge in St Lucia has joined here in that capacity, the Govr Genl Sir Lionel Smith is going to Jamaica, with all his staff of course. Of these several I shall miss. A Col G MacGregor I understand is to be Govr and Sir S F Whittingham to comd the troops with rank of Lt Genl. Time will shew but I think Sir C Smith RE will not like to have the comd of the troops taken out of his hands. Orders have been recd here that Engr officers having so many responsible duties are not to take Garrison. The Govr think I have set this going, not the case, and directs that I am to be kept on duty as usual. Thus I was yesterday President of a Court Martial and today officer of the day. This will cause a kick up no doubt but as I am going away I would rather avoid it. I saw Fred name in the Gazette & congratulate him. Did the rogue treat you all? You did not report how your car looked in its new colors & the carriage – what have you done about the repair required? I try to keep up in spirit but really am so sick of this place it requires a great effort. Are the Miss Gardiners well & Lady G? – remember me kindly, I wish I was near them. Had I not heard from Naghten how well you all were I shd have been in a fuss, but now know that your letters have been detained. Mrs Naghten writes that Augustus has grown tall. I wish his name well on the H Guards list. There appears no chance of promotion for me – I must go thro my term of exile. They are sending our people to this climate in lots. Capt Streatfield I hear has returned home. I’m getting deep into the 3rd year. Regards to my Uncle and Aunts at Catisfield & to Mr H Hawker & his family if in your routine. I continue well & shall be jolly when in Barbados no doubt, but here all one’s friends, so soon as made, start away, it appears to me. Thank Fred, Gusto & the dear Girls for their charming letters. Remember me kindly to Miss P. How is Jenny? Believe me your ever aff Fred E.

This is intended to go by the return mail boat but I am doubtful whether she is in or not – unless during the night. Hot, hot, hot weather.

Grouse shooting. Oh! that I were with you dear Kit. All well 12th 6 oclock in the morning.

Fred junior was gazetted Lieutenant on 17 June 1836. 

The new Governor of Barbados and the Windward Islands, Major-General Sir Evan John Murray MacGregor, was transferred from the governorship of Antigua. The new army commander was the 65 years old veteran Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel Ford (known as Samford) Whittingham. He had served in the British and Spanish armies; as Governor of Dominica from 1819 to 1821; then in India until 1835.