Letter #72

The United Service Journal was published from 1829. It was not an official publication. 

Georgiana’s affairs were now coming to a crisis. Her case was before the insolvent debtors’ court on 1 April. Jane, who was evidently living with Georgiana and Isabella, may have been unrelated, as no record has been found of a sister of that name. Her presence explains ‘three women’ in letter 80.

19th Feby 37 the next packet due 22

Agreeable and very unsettling reports are abroad here my dear Kate. Even shd it so happen that I am not to enjoy the rank of Lt Col, at present all the honors due in private society are now paid to me immagining promotion. Why, we hear ‘Massa, you Col wery grand, how you no Major?’ then by all the better class I am congratulated and Coloneled over until I’m weary, and in spite of all my contradiction and statement that they are premature, that I am not aware of such a promotion & so on, Col I am forced to be until the next account reach us, probably crushing me to plain Capt E as heretofore, with a considerable good laugh at my expense. However, so far as I am concerned it will not be brought about by myself. In addition to the reports in the U Ser Journal, papers &c, Col Bunbury & Col Goodman both recd private intimation that the Brevet would undoubtedly come out on Tuesday night the 3 ultimo. The communication to the former was from Major Maling, Sect at the Horse Guards, wishing Bunbury joy of his full Colonelcy and giving particulars as to the extent of promotion included. The most important to me was, if a fact, for I shall doubt until the Gazette lays before me, that eleven of our people leave as M Generals by some shabby saving. I expect nothing will turn out as I wish. The whole probably a fabrication, if not the Lt Cols in our Corps will not be filled up. Still upon the motto nil desperandum a Majority must be the consequence if not a Lt Col commission, and the 4th year of my banishment is entered upon with a good spirit and health in proportion. I’ll do my best please God to weather thro it. How I have watched the signal station for the number. A Rumming ship from Europe but not a single vessel has reach this from England since the 8 inst when the packet came which left Falmouth the day, 3rd, the Brevet is reported to have been given. But to some other subject, notwithstanding it is uppermost in my thoughts coupled with home and all I value. All the multitude here protest we have had an earthquake. I did not feel it, still they are possitive that there were at least 5 or 6 undulations of the earth. It was all lost upon me, but on comparing I recollect when in my gallery where I am now seated training a beautifull Granadilla runner, I did feel rather giddy for a few moments – probably it was caused by the motion of the earth. They experience shocks frequently at Demerara during this month. How to write you my dear Kate without copiously introducing myself I know not. I would willingly leave I out of the question, but in all the letters forwarded to you I much fear you will observe this great error. Yesterday I dined with a Mr Spencer who has some pretty & little daughters & friendly sort of persons they are. My office was to meet Mr & Mrs Rose. It was a perfect feast, enough to feed a regiment. Of late there has been a round of these entertainment in consequence of an American ship having arrived laden with Ice – Ice Cod fish, mutton & all other sorts of eatables to attract the sugar planters’ taste. Of course we who visit them benefit by all this in so much as lots of good Iced champaign and dinners innumerable. The Ice is undoubtedly a great luxury in this climate. Today we are again to be tormented by a Garrison Parade & I have to attend Com as one of the staff in my hot heavy coat & Cocked Hat. Probably it is only to prepare for Sir Stamford Wittingham’s expected visit. At last after much angry feeling and some perseverance on my part, I am order not to take Garrison duty. Thus Com is again defeated, but woe, woe to me if I get into his clutches, he will pay me off. On tuesday the 21st inst, Bunbury gives the ladies a Ball – they have talked the old fellow into it, & much to the surprise of all he has consented. I shall give Kate an account of this proceeding, and I suppose the next affair will be Com’s fancy Ball which is to be given immediately the room I am erecting is completed. Then come the Races, the 2d March & so on. The people here find it absolutely necessary to be on the alert and not think of climate – business all the morning & gaity every evening. It is however only an attempt, for with all the expeditions and exertions, the excessive heat overpowers all attempts at enjoyment in whatever shape it is offered. The subject of my sisters you observe I am driving off to the last. In truth I dread beginning to write on the subject – it bewilders me. Had I been at home I think I would have stopped the detestable step that Georgiana has taken. I may flatter myself but I would have seen my sisters & remonstrated against the dishonest measure they have pursued. To the world it must appear in this light whatever they may offer to paliate the proceeding. Involving their brothers in the disgrace brought on entirely by their extreme folly is a cruel offence that never can be forgiven & for one I never will. All the brothers have been willing & anxious for their happiness. Had they listened to reason or even common sense long since they might have enjoy comparative happiness, had they not headlong into opposition to all that was suggested by all who truly loved them. It is impossible for me to advise at this distance – the die is cast & G has succeeded in humbling her Brothers. It is piteous, poor soul, that she should have put herself into such a position, bad as it is. Kindness must be shewn to them, no harsh remark can avail. I hope you next will report something favorable. John and Edward should go and see her, find out her advisers & endeavour to break up the system of Isabella & Jane being led by the nose thus into opposition to their future prospect of comfort by poor G’s determined obstinacy. Fareham is not the place for them, but there are many delightful spots where with economy and a determination on G’s part to forget the pursuit of ladies who keep their carriage & such rubbish they might yet be contented. G’s manner appears even in the unhappy letter to Mrs Boyles; she cannot lose sight of her object. Ladies of Rank are inmates with her. The very thought of the whole affair is horrid & heart breaking. I must now go to parade and outwardly appear gay & endeavour to drive away such thoughts. This shall conclude for today. A vessel sails tomorrow & I shall have time to close it in the morning. Moreover an arrival may bring papers with news from Horse Guards.

20 Feby 37: Grand affair yesterday, the Govr had new horse & new horse appoints which the parade was ordered to shew off. I dined afterwards at a Mr Hohner’s. This morning we have had a Levée, Com was more polite than usual. The Johnston sugar ship sail this evening & my letter will go by her unless I detain it to learn the news by the Legrean now making for the River with a Brig in the offing. My heart bumps again with expectation, but am so accustomed to disappointment that I shall soon overcome the want of promotion shld the Brevet named be a hoax. Fred’s being appointed Acting Adjt & most likely it will be confirmed is very creditable to him, dear fellow. It is the only way for him to become a soldier & know his duty in these days of peace. If he were not a smart officer as well as a good looking fellow he would not be chosen. The duty requires more than his Fiz would do for him. The station is well spoken of by all, we may go there if I’m promoted. My dear little Annie I am happy to learn is better. I wish you would not so frequently remind me that I am an old sinner, it’s very abusive & you have caught so much of that mad Art officer’s stile in your letters, I fear my dear wife’s head will be turn before I get home. Kiss my dear children.

21st Feby: My dear Kit, this starts in an hour. I’ve just had time to read your letter. I am right well but the Rank of Major [word missing] me. I was [word missing] some jockey ship would take place. It’s now doubtful if we get the Corps promotion. Adieu dear Kit.

Red ink begins here

sick, sick, sick.

My old coat & Capt’s Epaulettes shall serve me as Major so long as a rag sticks together. I would not confess here how disappointed I feel. My sister case and perverse conduct is heartbreaking. At this distance all is beyond my control.

Sick!!! A Major – I would lay a bet there will be some shabby work about our Lt Cols and I shall be kept out here another year. I have not time to read Dear Fred’s letter before this starts. Do not be too sanguine about my return. Thus Emmet, Blanchard & Reid are to be my senior. Why don’t you write to Capt Tait? Don’t lose time in making his acquaintance. Will there be an Ordnance Gazette? Love to all – Your aff Fred.

21st Feby packet – come in a day before her time.

The apparent confusion between whether English’s promotion would be to Major or Lieutenant-Colonel is due to the fact that the Royal Engineers had very few majors, and a Captain of his seniority would often be promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel.