Letter #71

Buckeen is an Irish word – see letter 117 – meaning a social climber. English probably meant to write ‘buckra’ – see letter 83 – a word used by black people to indicate a white. 

King Olomule, a dubious reading anyway, has not been traced. 

English’s sisters Georgiana and Isabella were in financial difficulties. Georgiana was summoned before the Insolvent Debtors’ Court on 1 April, where her case was listed as ‘opposed’.

Demerara 5th Feby 1837

With a new steel pen my dear Kate just recd with the annual allowance of stationary, I am about the composition of a third or forth letter since the 1st day of 1837. The desk however looks so inviting after the complete brushing the outside has had on the part of blackman Edward and inside by white buckeen the Capt that I cannot resist the pleasure, moreover a vessel starts for London tomorrow & on board of her embarks a famed Sub well known in Demerara named Jenkins, Lt and late quarter master (acting) of the 69 Regt. I have thus mentioned him as his departure reminds me of the opportunity by sugar ship of writing. In other respects he is of that uninteresting character an every day heartless Lines man. He would not be worth your making his acquaintance beyond the limits of a Ball-room, nevertheless there is no harm in the man. My letter then is to be in company with bold Jenkins, the latter to join the Depot companies as Adjt, and I do trust by the time you rec it something decided will have transpired respecting the long looked for Brevet. All the world here, interested or not, seem confident that such is to take place, thus the [word missing] not pass over before I join you and sound the Bugle for an advance from Wickham to some foreign comd, either abroad or at home will have equal charms for me if I enjoy the society of my family and if Ellicomb could benefit by a separation for three years from all that’s dear to him, so let it be. I feel spiteful enough to glory in such an event for his tyranic proceedings. Most likely he will be all smiles on my visit to Pall Mall office. All the nonsense I put to paper respecting Sir Com you must receive as intended, that is, were you on the spot, I shd not think it worth the time it might occupy to relate to you, but to amuse you at such a distance and point out the extraordinary effect a bad climate has on a bad fellow in comparison with a well disposed disposition. In truth it’s beyond ratio, all of the latter are more or less very good humoured, indolent, without vice but a little testy, but such as friend Com are vicious, overbearing, treacherous &c &c drive on – in short resemble King Com who has all the wish to declare himself independent as King Olomule without ability or popularity, the latter being his dream. You will exclaim ‘What an ill humour Fred is in’, but it’s not the case – I have no cause so to be on that score. All that has been questioned between the Com & self has turned in my favor. The matter of my being put on Garrison duty, or rather I shd give it as a Colony question, for on the success of my labors the other officers will either be called upon to perform Garrison duties or not is a subject of no consequence. I have become used to it – the principle is what is objectionable. A General order reached this Station ten day ago directing that Capt English was to be relieved from Garrison duty. In promulgating this order Com gave one of his own, a District Order, directing me to be continued. This opposition, to say the least of the disobedience as Comdg a Garrison the bad example &c &c will cause a complete misunderstanding with the Great People at the Horse Guards & Barbados, I cannot immagine how it will end. All this keeps Pat wide awake. I have just come from his Levée, very civil but drinking as usual. Mr Dickson letter which I have read several times over pleases me more each time. It appears exceedingly straight forward & I think you have done wisely in applying to him. If Augustus is fortunate & makes his way in that house, the Woolwich affair may be looked upon rather in the light of his favorable destiny. Of course all depends upon his unremitting attention & moral conduct when in London, thus proving to his superiors his rectitude & unquestionable integrity. This once established with his ability may put him in a situation in a very few years so superior in means & comfort to an artillery officer that he will bless the day all hopes of a commission failed. I shall feel most anxious for your letters on this subject. If this affair proceeds entreat Augustus to study Spanish & his french without the loss of a moment, & his hand writing. Take a master, do anything to improve it. His having a knowledge of Spanish will put him on such a footing in the firm that must bring him ford. Give my kind love to him, the days of boyish folly are past. If he works well I never will cease to stand by him. My sisters’ affairs humble me exceedingly, they are the only cause of unhappyness. What is to be done about them? The next step will be still more heartbreaking to their brothers. Tomorrow the 7 our Mail is due. I trust that it will bear good accounts of you all & poor dear Annie. Regards to all at Catisfield, particularly my Uncle Hawker. The Roses are exceedingly attentive to me. I dined there yesterday and was at a gay assemblage of the Colony beauties at there excellent house on friday last. This must not be too late therefore I conclude with best love my dear Kate from your aff Fred E. Kiss the dear girls & regards to Miss Parker, brothers &c. 6 Feby 1837.

I have much to write about but the time will not permit.

Love &c &c to the Miss Gardiners.