Letter #97

Dominica 4th March 1838

Fortunately the packet for England is late in making this Island my dear Kate, for every possible contretemps has occurred to conspire against my writing. Your last letter of the 16th or 17th of Jany reached me at St Lucia, thus you will observe that the long anticipated tour of Inspection with the Genl & Staff has commenced. We embarked on thursday the 8th of Feby in Carlisle bay with all the honors of bands playing and guns popping, the party consisting of Genl, Col Story RA, Col E RE, Dr Draper Insp Genl of Physic &c, Capt King D Asst Adjt Genl, the two Aid de Camps Capt Whittingham & Bates on board a small schooner hired for the purpose. Well enough as a passage vessel, in fact formerly filled up as a Yatch, but so small that we were much crowded, and all the party began to hide their heads very shortly after she was under weigh. In spite of all the honors so recently paid, the Arrow schooner Capt Henderson soon began to roll most cruelly, and the whole crew from Genl to cabin boy were not a little delighted to make the land of St Vincent’s & anchor in the roadstead about 9 oclock the following morning. Sir Samford was so much overcome he deferred landing until the next morning which we accordingly did on the 10th Feby when, horses being provided, the guns having again popped &c &c, we all mounted & proceeded up the hill of about two miles steep ascent to the Garrison, inspected a wing of the 74th Regt, the R Artillery, the Barracks, in short every corner. Breakfasted with Lt Col Main, Madame being an inhabitant of Inverness formerly, some chat of course, her daughter in fine flow – sey looking lass whom I talked into giving me many seeds as she delicately poured out the tea. The one son, a good looking Ensign of the papa’s Regt, and the younger, a little boy dress up in the uniform of the 74th with a wee sword which was presented in due Regimental stile as the Gen passed the garden gate, little wretch. Had I not by good luck observed him, the poor old Genl was so lost in other thoughts, sea sickness and inspections, he certainly would have rode over the little red jacket. We passed an agreeable morning, the scenery was beautiful. For this I would have remained for a few days contentedly, but St Vincent’s had no other charms – hot, town miserable and dirty, no society, no fruit, bad market. After an introduction to the Govr, Tyler, a gentlemanly man with 8 or 9 young children just recovering from Scarlet fever which prevented our driving there, and something of a florish in the way of a speech from the Deputation of Island representatives, we embarked under a salute, dined on board the Arrow, & at dusk sailed with a light wind & contrary for St Lucia, so light that towards night we anchored in Barbers bay about 22 or 25 miles from our former resting place, however we all enjoyed to quiet night. Next morning a foul wind all day and all night a sea, found ourselves at daylight near Martinique. On tuesday 13th we reached Castries Carinage & very soon afterwards our fatigued worn out Genl landed and was taken to the Govr’s, Col Bunbury. I landed the following morning and got a bed at Baron D’Yvoly’s, were I remained during our sojourn at St Lucia, but not much rest here. The mail was received, and what with inspections at the Mourn, Pigeon Island, the time past rapidly, but most heartily sick I felt of my old quarters. After more foul wind, contrary currents, we landed here on the 2d. The same routine has of course followed, dined two days with Govr, Light, formerly of the R Artillery, pleasant gentlemanly man, addresses & other pothers follow, & we embark for Barbados this afternoon, whence my dear Kate you shall have the usual long letter. I am full of business – a constant attention on the Genl to ensure my Dept having the first word & to stop all troubles so far as my Comd is concerned. The packet is in sight & the bag will soon close. I must therefore close to, & have to descend the hill to post this & to breakfast at 9 with Capt Ansell & his wife before we start to call on the Gov, see the Gen & all other troubles. Adieu dear Kate. I am quite well, but as brown as a colored man – when shaving just now I hardly new my face. God bless you. All love &c

Your aft

Fred English

English has confused his governors here: The Governor of Dominica at this time was Sir William Macbean George Colebrooke, formerly an RA officer. Henry Light was Governor of British Guiana.