Letter #88

James Crichlow of Lears was the attorney for the owner, Sir Francis Ford, 2nd Bart, whose father had acquired the plantation on his marriage into the Anson family. There is still a farm at Lears, but no sugar is grown.

Marking Stockings

Barbados 11th Oct 1837, Brother John’s birthday, many happy returns of the day &c &c.

My dear Kate, rather a domestic sort of an amusement & not much in my West Indian way. It is done very very inferiorly in comparison with Miss Parker’s stile. Hah! Interruption again & blotted my letter signing a bring up to the Respective Officers Trinidad. However, I have commenced a day before the Packet sails & hope to complete so far of my answer to your delightful letter of the 30 Augst today that little time will be required to close it tomorrow in spite of officials. The letter bag had been just closed and sent off when a note came to hand from Mr Haley’s house intimating that a package or Box of clothing was on board the Merchant vessel in the bay addressed to me. However, it proved to be on shore when I sent the boat for it & Mi Lor was dispatched to transport the long expected deal case to Shot Hall. It was soon unpacked, but not with the [word missing] that I broke open the box from Wickham. Boots, Jacket and Coat look superb & I could not, boy like, resist the trial of its effect that day at dinner at Lears, Mr Critchlow’s. They all fit, but I am happy to add will bear taking in in the waist. Thus you will observe your old husband is looking to the figure & his conceits much as ever. The great satisfaction to me is that I do not become corpulent and lazy. On my word, when I compare them with what I have hitherto termed my best rigging, the latter are really too bad for a Capt or Resident Engr, in fact they are unbecoming for a person holding such an important command. Thanks my dear Kate for the covering you have kindly sent – it will enable me to cut a figure at the Govr & Gen’s table so far as the gold laced garment goes. One of your letters in July was written in the empty dollar bag stile undoubtedly, which I must do you the credit to own has not been the case of late. You ought not to write in such a desponding humour for it vexes me beyond measure & puts me out of spirits until the following packet. All the packets that were detained for Sir F Mulcaster’s frank came by the last Mail including the letter alluded to, 29th July, wherein you state that my tell you nothing & positively you know more of the country, provisions, habits & Customs of Barbados from Mr Mundy’s letter to the Gardiners than you ever knew before. I regret you have found all my former letters from hence so devoid of such detail. Mr M must have made his observations when dreaming, I conclude, for with the exception of one or two persons to whom he was introduced by me, not a soul did he know. You have been in the receipt of rations & know all about it. To enter into a description would make me ill, having so many matters at the packet time of real consequence occupying my mind. Tait will explain all about them, only that I draw them for my serts & big dog Nelson, a superb Newfoundland left here by Capt Tidy, Brigade Major formerly. I may have been friendly to Mundy, but I liked & thought him a mild, gentlemanly young man, & his own brother officers being an exceedingly selfish, cold hearted set, possibly he felt more the trifling attention from me. As to jolly, it implies what I seldom feel, but thank God my spirits do not forsake me, & oftentimes when I exert myself on the principal of never being annoyed by trifles or pestering others with concerns of no moment or interest to them, I am outwardly merry or Jolly when the inward man is little disposed to be so in private. The purchase of a few sheep should not have had such an effect upon you my dear Kit as to cause your heart to sink within you. There was no alternative, or lose the right of a very lucrative affair if tolerably managed. ‘Remember I have the whole of the family on me’, & then you write that if I put a table or a few chairs into my quarters here to get a few rooms habitable to receive a visitor or old friend that you must unfurnish & live in some little out of the way hole, & so on. However, you had a bad head ache, but still you shd not put these remarks to paper. You fear that I may be altered. I must be exceedingly so to forget the comforts of yourself & my family, but it must be you that are altered to think me capable. No, No my dear Kate, I cannot tax my conscience on that score – I am placed in a different situation. At Demerara I lived a wretched life in the effort to keep up appearances & study economy, particularly as placed at the Head of a Dept & that – the Engr – positively it was scarcely the establishment of a gentleman. Here the difficulty is even greater because there are more observers on a newly appointed officer to comd. The Comd pay is paid to my order & on certificate signed by me to the agents, thus by this Mail I send the documents required for the last 3 months. I have returned myself before from 8th May to the 30th June at 20s pr diem. No objection having been made to the June quarter certificate, we may take it for granted that 20s is the Comd pay, but will not as yet calculate on more than 10s pr day. Now dear Kit I am sorry for your temporary inconvenience in the finances but they will renovate. Our former pay as Capt was 22s 2. Being one of the last 5 Lt Cols, mine is thus 16s 1d x by 2 = 32s 2d, double pay. 10s pr day Comd would be 42s 2d, if a £ a day Comd 52. 2. Then at 42s 2d would give us 769-10-10 or thereabouts. At 52s 2d pr diem = about 952. 0.10 pr Ann. Add 120£ pr ann for horse & sert allowances paid here = 1072. 0.10. Now turn dear Kate to pocket book, housekeeping book, desk &c &c, then say to yourself things will come right with common care. I must be contented with my old man & confident, taking care not to write when I am out of spirits or with a head ache. Now for the delightful letter 30th Augst. No, tomorrow I must finish the stockings & new trousers – dine with Tyler today, and of course a Champaign supper afterwards. Bow, Bow, Mrs Kit. Dined at Tyler’s – small party – Lt Downey of the Packet one, broke up early & to bed before 10. Up early this morning, signed and dispatched all the official affairs for Pall Mall with Lt Smith, of which there is a lot this turn. Walked round farm stockyard. I would write somewhat on this subject, but fear your dear good heart might sink within you. However, my stock yard is a great source of amusement, and soon after six every morning I am to be found there feeding or directing sheep to fatten. Pigs, 4 – Oh my poor wife’s heart, Guinea Fowls 12 – oh! again, Turkeys seven or eight, Duck about 24, Cocks, hens, Land Tortoise, Land crabs, horses, cows, calves, lambs, Monkeys, dogs Nelson & Toby, Macaw &c &c. Oh oh oh, my good wife’s heart, how I wish she was with me, but after all my dear Kate, I intend to turn a penny quietly & the keep cost me nothing, & as I stated before, I intend they shall half keep me. My hay is all up and thatched and the crop must soon be cut again owing to the continued wet weather. I wrote you that I had a fine net. It has produced beyond my expectations in quantities of fish, sufficient to allow of my sending presents to the Gen & all my friends. This I draw before day break or after dusk, thus it affords once or twice a week a healthy & vigorous exercise making the old gent feel as young as he did at 25. The boat I mentioned I brought up from Demerara. The notification that 4 offs are under orders for WI I have recd, they are nameless as yet – probably they are uncertain who will come out. I write by this Mail to urge them for a Capt in place of poor Briscoe. His widow I have heard from, she is not in bad circumstances – she still occupies the RE house there. The sketch of Shot Hall shall be sent to you, but it is so enveloped with trees that I cannot get a good view. Now my dear Kate, attend to this for me. Sir Sam Ford Whittingham’s son has recently left Woolwich academy & passed for Engrs. About Decr he will join at Chatham. The Gen consulted

Red ink begins here

me about his coming out here so soon as his course under Col Pasley was completed, which I strongly recommended he would not do, but to get him for a year or two on the Survey. This, on reference home, he is delighted with. Now will you ask my much esteemed friend Col Reid to write Col Pasley requesting, as this is Sir Samford’s object, he will be so disposed to urge the youth to look to this duty as for his benefit and future advantage as he advances in our corps. A hint from Col Pasley occasionally will insure this young offr’s attention to the object his father so much desires. All this depends of course on the ability of the lad, but if Reid will do this he will oblige me. The Gen, the Govr I get on with beautifully and likely to do so. On the day following the date of my last letter I went to pass a couple of days with Mr Critchlow, Col Tyler was too ill to join. They reside about 4 miles from the town – a pretty spot, Lears. I returned home on the Saturday night after enjoying two rational & agreeable days. He has 3 daughters, one married to an American. The eldest and the one to quiz Capt Tait about, is somewhat past – must have been pretty in her day – now delicate and interesting, very friendly and pleasing in her manner, but I doubt Tait’s taste would be for a person rather under her age. I have not called since but shall shortly ride there. In truth there is such constant employment I never appear to have a leisure moment on my hands. Do not fail writing about young Whittingham and I will make know to Col Colby the Gen’s wishes when probably he will apply for him. I must endeavour to give Capt Tait a few lines after looking over your last letter written with pale, very pale ink. Rain, constant rain. Tomorrow, 13 or 14, anniversary of the Hurricane 1819, eclipse of the moon & various other junctions & conjunctions which have warned Capt Wick or Wicks of his W I Gannet to sea. However, I do hope we shall escape a hurricane. We have had so much boisterous weather for the last 2 months that another Blow, as it is termed, is unlikely. I hope wife Mary is better. I much fear bad accounts of Mary Hawker. It is decided your letter is not to be finished without the usual interruptions. The Gen Sect has just been here on business, the Store keeper & L Smith now arrived. All gone again, now let me look over the pale ink letter. The concert must have been treat to the dear lassies. Kate has undoubtly taken a hint from Pasta. Kiss the creatures for me all round & then begin again. If my nieces are present, give each such a one as I would give them. Bordes – I do think it is very likely he may be ordered here. I will recollect your orders on that score about elbows, but he has no chance having disposed of the Barbados berth – Capt Rutherford is to be the Resident Engr. I am delighted I left the Survey. Charming letter of the 30th Augst, all spirit. Your remarks about Comd offrs and their young officers are exceedingly just – I shall take the hint, but of Cock fighting here, I have never known any thing or heard of it. You have erroneous ideas about the vice here. I am aware that Sir C Smith & the Bishop differed, but all I heard was that the latter preached at him, I never heard the story you relate nor do I think Sir C was a man to commit himself in so spiteful a manner. You hear strange things. Sir C left the to make the tour by New York. We will talk these matters over when we awake early some morning & are to lazy to get up. The Whytes are better gone to St Kitts – my poor godson is without a frock. I am much pleased with Gusto letter – he will get on yet. Remember me to Capt Tait. I did intend writing to him but Mr Owen comdg the Carron steamer has just walked in, thus I can only write to you. Regards at Catisfield to dear sisters & Fred when you write. Who did Miss Rose marry? God bless you all. I think of you from morning to night & night to morning. The 75£ was not drawn in one month – the bill might have been paid so. You must look to matters on a large scale, not in detail only. Regards to Miss P. Your aff Fred E.