Letter #98

This letter appears incomplete – probably a sheet has been lost.

Barbados 20th March 1838

Various events have transpired since I wrote to you my dear Kate from Dominica, and of moment in our small society in so far as they afford new matter to talk over. The surmises these changes cause are numerous and very amusing to such a poor wither’d burnt up set of mortals doomed to drag on their existence under this scorching sun. Before this reaches Wickham you will in all probability have heard that Sir J C Smyth, Governor of Demerara, has been gathered to his fathers. He died on the 4th inst at Camp House after only three days’ illness. Lady Smyth and her son were both ill, but I trust will reach home safely. I understand they have departed from Demerara. It is said, of course, that fever was the cause of Sir James’s death, but all attacks in these hot places terminate in fever from what some medical men have stated. I rather think that he was carried off by an inclination of blood to the head. He was a violent man when displeased, and several political schemes connected with the Colony had not altogether worked as he wished. In fact it was one constant contention between him and the Court of Policy. However, the poor man is gone & no doubt many regret his loss sincerely. Others can only do so upon good principle, for undoubtedly he was one of the most overbearing persons to those under him of her Majesty’s subjects. We were no friends, merely because on matters of duty I succeeded in carrying thro what was just & in which he had no right to meddle, the granting of lands within our Ord posts or property, & the last of his efforts, turning out the Clerk of Works from a house he had occupied to put in a commissary who was doffing his hat to him, all of which was given as I recommended. But to bring this melancholy account to an end, Col Bunbury, now so stout he can hardly stand, has been acting Govr for Sir Dudley Hill at St Lucia. We expect him every hour on his way to Demerara to administer the Government until a Govr is appointed from Home, & Col Main 74th Regt goes for a time to St Lucia. You will receive a letter some fine morning from me reporting my arrival at my Government. Your old acquaintance Lt Molesworth embarks today in the Packet for home. He was sent here from Berbice by a Medical Board which he has passed here, also he is perfectly worked up for the present and I much doubt whether he ever will recover, having symptoms of dropsy. L Smith and Lt Ford are also here waiting for their passage. The former will depart about the 26th inst, the latter will start by the Jupiter troop ship expected here daily with the 70th Regt. By the by, tell my worthy and esteemed friend Capt Tait that I have this day written to the Insp Genl requesting he will confirm the appointment I have given to Capt O’Brien 70th of Asst Engr at Barbados, thus filling up Leicester Smith’s berth. So soon as your letter is dispatched my dear Kate I shll ride to the General’s to state what I have done and get his authority for the young Capt to accept this honorable station. He appears to me a most intelligent and efficient officer and a man for office business. However, the officers of R Engr from England, if they are ever to be sent out, will of

You are not over complimentary – it is regretted you should ever be called upon to write during the winter months as you can & generally do so charmingly when the sun shines. The stile of your two last one recd at St Lucia and the other since my return, did not contribute to much joyous feeling, not that I allude to the subject of finance as that will all come right shortly, but do dear Kate when you feel in such a train of thought as to feel called upon to send three sides of a letter with Motherly advice to your inexperienced old husband, forward it my good and excellent wife as a supplement to the agreeable one which I keep to read over and over again until the new dispatch arrives. You deserve quizzing. If a good soldier does his duty to the best of his power & as cheerfully as circumstances admit of, and still is reproached and lectured by his officer, that soldier soon becomes indifferent to all exertion to please. This remark on your two last has been too long but in truth you make such severe allusions & comparison, and to a man who never has his family out of his thoughts, that it is really but right to beg you will consider before you commit your momentary thoughts to paper and bear in mind how many weeks elapse before I receive those letters of advice &c &c, by which time you have actually forgotten all you have written. Do, I beg, spare my Uncle Hawker, & do not represent him in an unfavorable light. A few days since, the Horatio Transport returned after collecting the widows, invalids, orphans and sick. The vessel was put in quarantine and released yesterday. I understand she had about 50 children on board, amongst other families Dr Whyte’s – he is ordered home in charge of these unfortunate people. Still, he is contented as it gets him the passage to Europe. Shot Hall was well filled yesterday; I had not the heart to shut my gates against the worthy man who when sick himself attended me at all hours. Shd they be included with the two naval heroes that dined with me about 4 years ago Mrs Kit? Mrs Briscoe & six children, Capt Deverell 67 with three lovely little girls with several more families of six & sevens all disembarked in a scorching sun yesterday. The Whytes I sent my boat for early, they breakfasted here, passed the day, & after diner Mrs Col Monins 69th drove them to the Hotel to sleep. Added to their 4 young children, poor Capt Deverell & his little beauties who lost their mother at Demerara during the late fever dined. I found them adrift on the R Engr Wharf amidst landing of baggage, raining & all other miseries. Had you seen your elderly gentleman with his 7 guests and witnessed the raptures the poor little animals, as Fred would term it, express, even those in arms, at the new milk & butter, it would have gone far to get me into your good graces even for my extravagant hospitality, but joking apart it would done your heart good to observe how truly the parents & children enjoyed themselves after being many weeks crowded together in a small vessel. There was a good deal of baby crying, which to my horror echoed loudly in the marble Halls of Shot Hall, but I bore it manfully. They all look ill & tropical like. At St Lucia I saw Major Chadds & his fine family quite well, still looking West Indian about the cheeks. The daughters are very fine girls & were so happy to see me as an old acquaintance. If I can get a word in, which I think is possible, the Genl shall be put in mind that he wishes to come up here in comd of the 1st W Indies Detacht. The day I dispatched your letter from Dominica we departed, were becalmed, but after four days’ passage landed here, recd by all the honors – all the officer of the Garrison, Bands, drums, colors, guns, & the Genl was so delighted to get into the shade and large rooms of Shot Hall that I thought he would have taken possession. We get on very well – your [word missing] respecting the Genl & Govr I don’t understand

turn him out of his good quarter. When the 70th arrive they are to be sent to Grenada and St Vincent’s. Your remarks respecting beginning my letters two or three days previous to the Packet’s departure amuse me. The object is to give the lattest intelligence. All my days a busy ones, certainly the Mail days the more so, and so you should appreciate the letter, for 20 interruptions on official business interrupt me. But if you prefer it I will prepare a set of letters adapted to each month or season. They might amuse you as you seem dissatisfied with the usual system. Those around fortunately appear more pleased, or verily I believe the spirit would not move me to write so constantly instead

I believe you to be very, very good but am in doubt as to your charity to others – possibly you are misinformed. Believe half you hear, divide that again & be doubtful of the remainder. Nevertheless dear Kate I wish with all my heart I was with you again. My only fear is that you are getting too good for such a vile sinner’s society, hey Mrs Kit? I observe the long sheet must be closed. Our next trip will be to Grenada, Trinidad &c, but the Genl had enough of a small vessel – his poor old sides suffer, he wants a steamer as his conveyance. Best love to my dear Girls, Augustus & Fred. Regards to all at Catisfield, Dear MOB, my intended from the time she could crawl on the rug, to my excellent Uncle, God bless him & others at Southsea, Mr H Hawker, & last but much valued Miss Parker. Adieu dear old wife – I will receive all your curtain lectures with English humour, not tropic.

Your afft Fred E

Your finance regulations shall attended to, all will go straight, depend upon it.

All well 21st. No Packet yet – due yesterday.

We learn there is about to be a new Naval & Military Order established. Make a stir thro Sir F Mulcaster, Lord James, Marq Thomond &c to get my name in. I am entitled by long service & the Campaigns I have served in. Present at 5 Genl Battles.

Despite English’s pessimism, Lieutenant Molesworth survived, and was promoted to 2nd Captain in 1840.