1800s The Charlotte Letters

Correspondence to Charlotte McVeagh (née Brooke), Ferdinand Meath McVeagh and Maria McVeagh (née Rotheram)


March 1813 from W Brooke.. 1

July 1813 from W Brooke.. 2

December 1813 from Emma.. 3

A) Historical Note 1. 4

May 1814 from W Brooke.. 5

April 1816 from E. White.. 6

B) Historical Note 2. 7

April 1816 from Edith Shaw… 8

July 1816 from Flora McVeagh.. 10

C) Historical Note 3. 12

September 1816 from Emma.. 13

January 1818 from Flora McVeagh.. 14

April 1819 from E White.. 15

May 1819 from J Hallett.. 16

November 1820 from Emma.. 17

February 1821 from Flora Deacon.. 19

February 1821 from Jane Hallett.. 20

D) Historical Note 4. 21

September 1821 from Harriet Brooke.. 22

September 1821 from E Walsh.. 23

October 1821 from Emma.. 25

October 1821 from Catherine Bowles. 26

November 1821 from Flora Deacon.. 27

November 1821 from Mary Brooke 28

April 1822 from H Brooke 29

May 1822 from Mary Brooke 30

July 1822 from E White.. 32

January 1823 from John Morron.. 33

December 1828 from John Hughes. 34

July 1865 from Ellen Campbell.. 35

1.  March 1813 from W Brooke

Franked in Lisbon 1813 and sealed

To Mrs McVeagh


Devonshire, [that is then crossed out and re addressed to Combe  Hill, Near Bath]

                                                                                                                            Lisbon March 7th 1813

Your letter dearest Charlotte of the 8th ultimo caused me inexplicable concern the melancholy particulars of which I have this day transmitted to your brother Henry, the premature demise of your dear engaging sister has completely and indeed entirely overcome me – Her cheerful animated and endearing disposition had made too deep an impression on my affection not to occasion me the deepest sorrow but as it has pleased the Almighty to take her away we must not in too strong a sense repine at his decree – had she lived dear amiable soul. I feel perfectly convinced she would have approved, all we could have wished, for I perceived Mary[1] hails of character in her which would they had been brought to maturity, would have amply confirmed my opinion I hope your unhappy mother bears her misfortune with Christian fortitude, give her my love – tell her Henry is doing well and from every account received likely to do so.

You’ll no doubt experience much surprise at my not having received your letter ere this but the fact is so tho’ Packer not having arrived before the 3rd inst. and the one for England sails tomorrow, I therefore lose not a moment in writing from the hope of this reaching you before you take your departure from Sidmouth[2] for Combe Hill Villa. My last to you acquainting you of my appointment as Brigadier General on the staff in this country has I trust reached you – in your future direction of your letters to me, leave out 5th Dvn Gds and merely state “Staff Lisbon” [3] as had I not by chance opened the packet of letters for the Regiment, I would not have received yours, (it being among them) until it had reached the Regiment and come down again here.

With respect to my future movements on destination, I am still in the dark, however you shall know when anything is decided relative to myself.

With best love to you dear

Believe me

your truly sincere

and affectionate uncle

W Brooke

2.  July 1813 from W Brooke

To Mrs McVeagh

Combe Villa
Near Bath                                                                   

                                                                                                                              Lisbon July 13th 1813

How strange and unaccountable my darling Charlotte that your letter of 3rd inst should have been the first intelligence I had of your accouchement tho’ it took place on the 13th ultimo from the various superscriptions on the back of it, it appeared evident that you had not post paid it, and without which foreign letters are not forwarded – therefore take warning in future – accept now my tender congratulations on the late event, your present health and also that of your blue eyed boy[4] (the colour as I am informed by Aunt Mary of his olios or eyes), would, they had been the similitude of your own beauteous ones, but fortunate for the rising female generation they are not, as they would have penetrated their susceptible hearts by 100’s – indeed will I accept  the serious trust with pleasure of making myself answerable for all the high crimes, misdemeanours, misnomers or misconceptions he may be guilty off(sic) ere he attains the age of twenty one – therefore you may dub Mr “Godfather” Honeycombe on receipt of this – So you are the nurse on the occasion – success attend your endeavours my sweet one. I highly approve and hope you will perform the same natural and praiseworthy office to all the rest provided your health admits and of which, I cannot entertain a doubt. Tell your unhappy mother with my love, that I will with pleasure enter into any plan judged most eligible for obtaining the £300 due pay for your brother William’s equipment.[5] It appears to me very possible that, that sum could be raised, on my entering into a joint bond on the part of my brother Robert, and myself making it payable in six months from this date and which, will take upon me, to make good. I know of no other way, as his last dividend was, by my order invested back into the fund, and as for myself advancing £1 I, could not, having given the last I had for the purchase of a horse for your brother Henry and their (sic) being at present 6 months staff and 6 Dv Regimental pay due me.

I had a letter some few days since from Henry. He was very well, in high spirits, and in charming quarters at Tafalla between Pamplona and Tudela in the direction of Saragossa[6]vide map” as soon as you have put your boy “to sleep”. I have forward your letter to him.

When you see Tucker tell her to ask Sally Combes if she would like to come out to this country as my cook in case I am appointed to a stationary command (not one of paper, pens, and ink, with a circulating library!) as I think the climate would agree with her, should she like such an aquatick (sic) excursion the interest must be made (piece of the letter is torn at this point due to the seal) her passage thro’ Mrs Brooke[7] at Southampton and from her to Col Towers – adieu my dear love, and with kind remembrance to Mr McVeagh. Believe me ever and anon

Your affectionate

W Brooke

3.  December 1813 from Emma

Postmarked December 26th 1813 Swansea

from Emma

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Meath, Ireland

Dearest Charlotte I am much afraid you must have thought me troublesome in so often teasing you with reproaches for not writing. One letter I did receive informing me of your accouchement but the other was seized by the Fates. I was glad however to hear you were well Your last arrived at a fortunate period, I was entering my 25th year and it helped to beguile my thoughts from dwelling too intensely on the days past and to come with many painful and as many happy retrospections. I think now my life will glide quickly on till I attain my half century. I shall hope to see you before another twelve months passes over your head and mine. Louisa[8] has been in Miss McVeagh’s[9] company for a few days at Swindon where she and Miss Thaynes were to be also. I long to hear from her and quite envy her such a pleasant week she has been very fortunate since she left home having seen many old friends.

We are all spending our Christmas together and enjoying this true Christmas weather which for some years we have not known especially in Wales snow being a thing almost unknown here it is now what they call a deep snow about two inches thick. We have been making ourselves warm by quadrilles and Colin Maillard our guide is come every now and then. The consequence is that you get fatigued and feel warm and it does not quite agree with me tho’ I feel so much better than I did some little time ago. As to your excuse of poor women I agree with you in all at the same time I think that it is in their power to remain single and in that case happy, it seems to me however that they prefer a “stalled ox and hatred therein all” to a dinner of herbs when peace is in some respects I think the ox better than the herbs and can preach very well till I am tired when I fear I shall fall like the mist. One’s affections once engaged and worthily so the suggestions of prudence are little thought of, too little sometimes I fear for our peace and it is only at my steady time of life that the scales are properly balanced and the lightest weight suffered to pass unheeded – Cuthbert[10] has been in Pembrokeshire hunting but as he is not in all things the favourite of fortune, first incessant rain and next hard frost have prevented his joining the hunt and he is now on his road home – I wish you could come by way of Swansea into England we shall all be too happy to see you dear Charlotte and by your smile give our best love to your mother and Harriet[11] and tell the latter Mosca still bears a faint recollection of her in her mind’s eye; my father is looking older but feels the same. Lady Bucklington (whom your mother may recollect as Miss Blagrove) has been visiting her relations in the neighbourhood and we saw a great deal of her, she did not know my Father, expecting to see some good old man, declaring he looked just the same as ever – I really believe this mild fine climate regenerates every lady that lives in it, I advise you dear Charlotte when you are tired of Ireland and the world come here and live amongst us should we still be a part of this pleasant neighbourhood – remember your letters are always welcome and the subject of self will never fatigue me – Louisa has even the Queen[12] passing thro’ Hungerford, the Duke of Gloucester is at the Pearces – tell your mother Charles Craven is at last caught by a 20,000 with her other charms external I mean and that Robt Wraughton is supposed to be paying his divorcées in Suffolk – Papa Berkshire is as she remembers it except poor Mrs Shaw whom Louisa thinks will not see Inglewood again. Richmond is still in France, The [Mayes …[13]] up to Chilton in the Spring. Adieu dear Charlotte accept all the love of our party and that of your most affectionate Emma.

Miss Wallis is sick of dull England and the other they fear has consumption hanging about her, no true happiness without alloy

December Christmas Day

A)   Historical Note 1

In 1807, Napoleon’s forces had moved through Spain, invaded Portugal and captured Lisbon.  This move was especially directed against the trade between Portugal and Britain, which was causing a breach in the ‘Continental System’ – Napoleon’s enforced precursor to the European Union!  In January 1808, the King of Spain was replaced by Napoleon’s brother, Joseph.  At this time, Portugal appealed to Britain for help and Arthur Wellesley (later Duke of Wellington), recently returned from India, ws sent out with a British force, which defeated the French at Vimiero.  The ensuing Convention of Cintra, however, was negotiated by a General senior to Wellesley, and the French were allowed to withdraw from Portugal.

In 1808, the British commander, Sir John Moore, landed in Spain with a force intended to assist the native guerrilla movement against the French.  He was forced to retreat to Corunna, where he successfully evacuated his forces but was himself killed. The effect of his diversion had been to weaken the French movement against both the Spanish and Portuguese, and it gave time for Wellesley, who took command of British and Portuguese forces in 1809, to strengthen the defences of Lisbon.  The defensive emplacements around Lisbon, known as the ‘Lines of Torres Vedras’ were supported by a ‘scorched earth’ area up to thirty miles from Lisbon, in which the French could not adopt their usual methods of living off the country.

Portland’s government (the Duke of Portland became Prime Minister in 1807) had greatly increased the training and efficiency of the British Army, and the forces under Wellesley were far superior to those previously used.  They proved, by all accounts, as good as, if not better than, the forces Napoleon could bring against them.  From the Lisbon base Wellesley (easily supported from the sea by the navy) drove the French back towards Madrid, and the battle of Talavera, July 1809, was an important victory.

The French were now beginning to lose battles and an ominous change was coming over the war.  The very geography of Spain itself was against them for they had to move their supplies across the main valleys and rivers (Nelson having won naval supremacy over the French at Trafalgar in 1805).  The most significant change occurred in 1810 when Massena, one of the most brilliant of Napoleon’s generals, succeeded in advancing to Lisbon but completely failed to penetrate the Lines of Torres Vedras.  He commenced a siege of Lisbon but the French suffered terribly from the lack of food supplies and about 30,000 died of fever.  Massena was now forced to retreat and this was the decisive turning point of the Peninsular War.  Wellesley’s success had been achieved by the endurance of his forces and his skilful alternation of attack and retreat in order to draw the French deeper into the country.  He now followed up his success at Lisbon by defeating the French at Almeida, 1811, and capturing the key fortresses of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz in 1812.

The withdrawal of troops from Spain to join Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in June 1812 strengthened Wellesley’s position there and, in 1812, he won the battle of Salamanca and, in 1813, that of Vittoria (following which he was made Duke of Wellington).  In April 1814 he reached Toulouse in Southern France where he again defeated the French.

The Napoleonic Wars culminated, on 18th June 1815, in the Battle of Waterloo.

4.   May 1814 from W Brooke

Letter postmarked Lisbon

from W Brooke (uncle)

to Mrs McVeagh

Combe Villa

Nr Bath

England                                                                                                                Lisbon May 14th 1814

Well, my dear Charlotte, I think your ardent wishes as expressed in your letter of the 10th ultimo of seeing me and your brother[14] soon are likely to be realized at least I should imagine so from what you have ere this seen in the papers, viz – that the allied forces shall evacuate the French Territory on the 1st June[15] – consequently the British troops will be embarked as soon as shipping can be sent for that purpose. Those poor few will in my opinion be the last, however, even the, the period cannot be far distant – there are at this moment, two Packets descried off the Coast and which may possibly bring some instructions on that Head, but as this letter must be put into the office this Evening on account of the Packet sailing tomorrow I shall not have it in my power to give you any positive information at present.

I’m sorry you have taken such a professional antipathy to Mr Hicks as his abilities as a surgeon are unquestionable and tho’ you prefer one of your own sex the moment might arrive when such skill would be indispensably necessary, however, don’t imagine I wish you to employ him in any way whatsoever, as I never wish to even mention his name, but for your benefit in cases of surgical emergency – So poor Emma[16] won’t marry, I hope you have persuaded her not to adhere to such resolve, should an eligible opportunity offer, but which from their very secluded residence is not likely to happen- They are all to be pitied having such a father and from such a one, I think you have had, by your Union with your beloved Ferdinand a most fortunate escape – what say you to a trip to the continent by Holland, Paris etc etc when I return, should I not succeed to a staff situation at Home hey my bonnie lassie – how do you and aunt  rub  on – hey –

The last letter I received from Henry was dated the 17th ultimo from near Toulouse[17] – he was well and as happy as possible, as ever indeed all the British officers from the very kind welcome and attention of the French towards them. I sent him your letter the day after I received it but have not since heard from him – Henry’d know if poor William[18] has sailed if he has I trust with his Uncle Arthur’s[19] case and my introductory letter to Lt Col Nicolls[20] Qu Ma G  to Lord Moria, he will do well;

I have not heard from your mother a long time, but perhaps these packets now in sight may bring me one from her – give her my affectionate love when you write and tell her should I land at Plymouth she will be the first person I shall call on and from her to Combe Villa but not to enliven it with my rattle as I’m grown very serious and grave you understand. God bless you my darling and believe me your affectionate uncle W Brooke

My best regards to Ferdinand.

5.  April 1816 from E. White

Marked Aylesbury

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Meath, Ireland                                                                                                                                                                                                         Hardwyke

                                                                                    April 17 1816

My dearest Charlotte

I cannot as yet give up the familiar title I have been accustomed hitherto to address you by, tho’ I have too much reason to doubt whether I hold that place in your remembrance I must ardently aspire too(sic) the idea of being thus forgotten you cannot judge how painful it has been to me in the reflection unless it were possible for you to look into my mind and to know the true regard I have for you and the anxious wish I have to hold your good opinion and how much I have prided myself as I hoped in possessing a share of it and thus flattering myself, I have long been expecting to hear from you. For a time I was willing to make very great allowances as you were on a travelling system and as you had much to see and correspondences with connextions(sic) to fill up your vacant time and on your going to Ireland where everything was new and of course most interesting, it being to be your future home, I could even then excuse delays for a certain time from my young friend. From other quarters I have been so happy to hear of your welfare and that you are pleased with Drewstown. I hope you are far removed from any danger of the rioters[21] that the newspapers seem so much with. I never read them without my mind recurring to you. I hope that Mr McVeagh from his situation is not called on to act in an magisteriable situation, as I understand it is that class of gentleman that are most obnoxious.

That Mrs McVeagh[22] accompanied you to Ireland gave me great pleasure to know, to have a sensible companion so nearly connected with you by the ties of relationship and friendships must have been most desirable as your entering a new stage of life where you would find the habits of people varying from this country. I hope its air and climate agrees with you and that you have regained a little more flesh on your bones and that Mr McVeagh and dear little Ferdinand enjoy their health. I most sincerely hope and pray tell me what chances there are of little Ferdinand having a playmate in a brother or sister, I must wish it, as one only darling stands a sad chance of being spoilt he is a pretty interesting plaything as yet but higher objects must be thought of for him when a succession would be wished for. Though last mentioned not less thought of my and your good friend Mrs Boyson. I hope both her and her little girl are well, she is so very valuable in every point of view that I hope she will ever be stationary with you. I never knew any person so disinterested as to emoluments for herself and so careful to the interest of her employers.

I have little to say of myself having passed through the winter in a very sedentary quiet way and excepting chronic pains in a very tolerable state of health. I can only compare myself to an old snail lies dormant in the winter in the crook of an old knoll and in the spring when the glorious sun revives all nature glides forth from her retirement such has been my case having made such pleasant visits to distant friends and within the last six weeks, we have within this last few days been experiencing exceptional winter weather severe frosts and night falls of snow to the degree of some inches on the ground and vegetation considerably injured. My brother has also enjoyed his usual good health and has varied his scene by a trip to France to Sarum and town.

Betty and her children are just now all well she poor soul just had a most painful winter from a most violent scarlatic humans that fell in her arms and deprived her of helping herself in the hand for some weeks and had many fear she would not recover not do I think she will every be wholly free from the complaint it is vastly troublesome to her on any exertion and washing.

My brother had a letter from your mother not long since on business and expressed herself most highly gratified with your and Mr McVeagh’s invitation to Drewstone(sic), no doubt she has many inducements to accept it and wish she could do it without incurring so much expense as such a movement will occasion.

I had a letter today from Miss Samber giving a more promising account of her health, she has been a great invalid from Xmas day when she took a chill and has experienced the different Fevers of Typhus and Inflammatory[23].  Her letter gave me the melancholy death of Mrs Wm Brodie, Louisa Hussey that was, you cannot I think have forgotten her she has left a young family but her poor mother is the great object of my pity and I scarcely think she will sustain the loss. Miss Moore was fortunately with her. Do you remember young Harry Eyre[24] he has just lost his wife they were a very attached couple, your school fellow Caroline Eyre in a bad state of health, your school fellows the Miss Lyons’s have lately lost their father, his second wife you may recollect was my next door neighbour Miss Robbins she has 3 children, the eldest son runs away with the estate and I fear the younger ones are slenderly provided for. I can only add my best attend the trio and am ever yours

E White.

B)                      Historical Note 2

The Act of Union had been passed in 1800, and Ireland was now subject to the parliament at Westminster.  The failure of the union was not inevitable.  Indeed there might have been great advantages for Ireland in being linked with what was then the richest country in the world.  Irishmen no longer decided the destiny of Ireland.  Of the 658 members of the House of Commons, only 100 represented Irish constituencies.  Clearly the success or failure of the union would depend on the attitudes taken to Irish problems by the MPs from Britain who formed the great majority. For Irish problems existed in plenty.  The most serious of these problems was the question of the land.  The land of Ireland was simply not sufficient to feed all those who were trying to get a living off it.  Population was increasing rapidly.  This led to competition for land and drove up rents, thus reducing still further the people’s resources.  Things could have been better if farming methods had improved, but most farmers had no security of tenure and they had learnt by experience that, if they improved their holdings, the landlord was quite likely to put up the rent.

Although the land problem seems to have been the worst problem of early 19th Century Ireland, it is fair to say that it was not the problem which most preoccupied politicians until the great famine of 1845-8 made it impossible to ignore it.  In earlier years both British Ministers and Irish politicians were more concerned with other and more immediate problems.  Catholics and Presbyterians resented paying tithes to the established church.  Local government was controlled by small oligarchies in each borough.  There was no provision for relief of the destitute.  Many Irish industries were declining, under competition from large-scale industry in Britain.

The most prominent issue of all, in the early years of the union period, was the catholic demand for full emancipation.  Most of the penal laws had been repealed in the 1780s and 1790s. Catholics could now maintain schools, join the professions and vote at parliamentary elections.  They were still, however, debarred from all the more important offices in the state.  They could not sit in parliament, they could not be judges, or colonels in the army, or captains in the navy, or be ministers in the government, or hold any except the most junior offices in the civil service.  These restrictions naturally galled catholics, all the more as Pitt had virtually promised, when he carried the union between Britain and Ireland in 1800, that it would be followed by complete emancipation for the catholic body.  Opposition from King George III and from Pitt’s fellow ministers proved too strong and the plan was dropped.

In the first twenty years of the century the catholic agitation was carried on by a coterie of landlords, merchants and professional men.  They had no claim to speak for the mass of Irish catholics and they quarrelled continually amongst themselves.  So, although their doings took up plenty of space in the newspapers, it is not surprising that successive British governments found it unnecessary to take notice of them.

6.  April 1816 from Edith Shaw[25]

Salmoni           April 1816


to Mrs McVeagh
Nr Athboy

My dear Charlotte

You with enquiries or letters……………..Piece of the paper has been torn off

as I have nothing to com………………

of your being well and ………………..

you are persuaded I hope ……………..

are not neglectful, and (will ever) be interested in your happiness and that of our little cousin and his Papa – the subject of my letter now will not be particularly agreeable to you as I understand from Flora you have received numerous epistles on the same topic from the fountainhead and mine and mine can only be considered as third hand. I make this application to your kind heart, I hope you will use all your influence with Ferdinand to obtain some assistance for its object, however shall (feel) gratified by your generosity

……….the person for whom I

……….and I do so at the

……….ation Mrs Lumsden[26]. I

……….(le)tter from that lady stating

……….Emily and her young family

……….oldest cannot be quite

……….they are literally starving!

……….Aberdeen, and had dined at Mrs Lumsden’s. Mrs L strenuously recommended his taking his family out to America, and engaging either as a clerk in some mercantile concern, or in the cultivation of land. Mr McC[27] did not seem to like the plan, saying he is the first on the list of the Member of Parliament for the County for any situation that may be in his power to bestow, and would prefer a situation in Aberdeen or near home. Mrs Lumsden however suggests the improbability of anything being given to him which could indemnify the expense of moving so large a family into a town where everything is infinitely more expensive than in the remote part of the country where Mr McC now resides, and the little chance there is of his getting any place at all; but such is their present misery that some immediate relief is absolutely essential to their existence!

Mrs L gave Mr McC a letter of introduction to her brother in law Mr Innes who passed some years in America, requesting him to receive Mr McC and endeavour to persuade him to adopt this plan. Mr Innes was a Mr Farquharson of good family but being a younger brother was sent to Ireland and put into the linen business; at Mr Shaw’s he saw Miss McVeagh whom he married, and they settled in Dublin but finding business slack, they went to America and stayed there till recalled to inherit a fine fortune which they possess and have taken the name of Innes. Mrs Innes[28] knew Emily[29] as a child and was the most intimate friend of Ferdinand’s mother[30] and a very near relation of his father’s[31]; these circumstances joined to an excellent heart, will induce her and Mr Innes to afford Mr McC any assistance of information and introduction in their power, and if they can persuade him to go abroad he may yet do well should he consent to this plan, a little purse for the expenses of the voyage would be indispensably requisite, perhaps a hundred pounds, it would do much good. I have spoken to Flora[32] who with her usual generosity has promised me some aid, and I trust I shall not in vain apply to you. I will write to Mrs Henry McV[33] and hope to obtain something there, as to myself all I can do is to beg, for tho’ I would gladly add a mite it is really not in my power, the dreadfully distressed state of my unfortunate sister in law Mrs Blood demands every shilling we have to spare – I trust to your generosity and Ferdinand’s kind heart; any relief given to those eight suffering innocents will be real charity, place yourself for one moment in the situation of this poor mother and imagine your little Ferdinand crying for bread while you are yourself in want dear Charlotte! how very lamentable is poor Emily’s sad state, with eight children! For God sake prevail on Ferdinand to grant a trifle to their sad necessities it will bring a blessing on your child. Flora is and looks extremely well – Jane[34] I heard from today she is as well as she can be just now and perfectly happy – I got a letter ……

Paris tomorrow. Tom[35] sails…….

I am sorry to add poor John[36] …..

this evening in ill health – I ……

him on Friday, that I sent the….

expect him hourly, his complaint ….

Give my love to Ferdinand ……

Remember me to Mrs Boyson …..

of Combe Down enquired for  …..

is dead – Mrs Bonner asked …..

I would send her duty to you …..

is in Bath today, and is……

is staying with her. Adieu …..

pray send a favourable answer to my letter and

Believe me yours affectionately

Edith Shaw

7.  July 1816 from Flora McVeagh

Letter 1816 postmarked 18 July

To Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Meath, Ireland

from Flora McVeagh                                                                                      Hotel D’Irlande

                                                                                                                         Rue …  de Luxembourg,


                                                                                                                        July 13th

My dearest Charlotte

I have for some days been thinking of writing to you, the recollection of this being our dear little Ferdinand’s birthday has banished all my laziness and I feel most anxious to assure you he has my fervent wishes for every happiness when capable of enjoying it. I sincerely trust he may through life give you and my brother[37] every possible satisfaction and be an ornament to his family. I must now endeavour to inform you of my proceeding and I am sure you will rejoice to hear I am perfectly happy – Mrs Popkin and I have been together for three weeks which is sufficient time to form some little insight into a person’s character and I find her exactly what she appeared to me in London very good tempered and pleasant to live with, not requiring any form or becoming and most anxious to enjoy any pleasant amusement within our reach – We left London the 21st of June; reached Paris the 25th, the road from Calais is rather uninteresting until you reach Beauvais although you must feel struck with the endurance of the fields, not one inch of ground appears lost. The roads are magnificent the whole way without one turnpike, the posting good and we contrived to stop at the best inns where we were tolerably comfortable – from the buz of French which surrounds us everywhere I can imagine myself in France otherwise I should have had some difficulty at first to believe the first wish of my heart was actually accomplished – I have for so many years been desirous of visiting the continent and had so little prospect of ever being gratified. We are in very handsome apartments for which we pay 8 guineas a week, but I fear we must now move as the lease of the house shortly expires and there will be another proprietor – we have a delightful garden, the hotels are all very airy and we are neither inconvenienced with noise or dust. I cannot say much for the beauty of the streets they are narrow and dirty and as all the hotels are enclosed in courts you do not see any splendour the Place de Louis quatre is very fine, the Boulevards and Champs Elisee quite delightful drives, the gardens in the Tuilleries are beautiful and a charming place of rest – We drive to them and walk every evening – The Royal Family[38] drive about every day in a coach and eight attended by a troop of cavalry which has a splendid appearance – Paris is dull at this season although the best time for seeing the environs but as Mrs Popkin has many acquaintances and we are both pleased with the place we have agreed to spend the winter here and enjoy the gaiety deferring our excursion to Italy until next year. We were at a Ball at Sir Charles Stuart’s the English Ambassador last week where General Barnes was my Beau for the evening. He is a great person and being second in command I am sorry to say the troops will soon be ordered to Cambracy. We arrived too late for the fÃtes in honour of the Duchesse de Berne the only amusing one was a play, opera and ballet performed at the theatre in the Tuilleries Palace for which we were fortunate enough to procure tickets through the interest of the of the Comte Fecouncer? the dancing is beautiful beyond description – we are going to the opera on Monday and mean to take the round of the theatres likewise to see all that is to be seen at our leisure and we are not pushed for time – The Marquis de Villedenols family are our intimates they are charming people the Miss Villedenols very nice girls. We are much together, their brother Le Comte is very good natured but my heart is no danger although Mrs Popkin discovers he is paying me attention – you must ever expect me to mention anything under Monsieur le Comte or Marquis as everybody here is titled. The Villedenols own lots.

Mr Noun a brother of Mrs Wrigton’d spent a most delightful day at Versailles yesterday twelve miles from Paris. The Palace exceeds anything you can imagine. It may justly be called the finest in the world. It is worth coming to France purposely to see it, My eyes were quite dazzled with the splendour and I believe so influences all from 12 till 7 – We never rested walking about the gardens and palaces, I really once felt ready to faint with fatigue although I had the support Le Comte’s arm. Mrs Popkin was gallanted by a gentleman whose name I cannot recollect. He is about 30 and married to his aunt who is only 45 and threatens to plague him which delights me – we were all very weary returned to the inn at Versailles to drinks but my chief amusement was plaguing Mr Noun? the whole day who complains of being very solitary and miserable. I recommended him to marry. He is turned 40 and has no time to lose. I wish he would propose to one of the Miss Villedenols. He is a good deal with them – Everything reminds one of the unfortunate events occasioned by the Revolution[39]. They showed us the room at Versailles where poor Marie Antoinette escaped en chemise and we every day pass the  … in the Place de Louis ‘15’ where the unfortunate royal family were guillotined. It makes one shudder, at present everything promises a continuance of peace. At the theatre at the Tuilleries we had an excellent friend of all the royal personages. The Duchess des Berne is very pleasing but plain. Mrs Popkin has been to court but I do not intend to be presented until the mourning for the Queen of Portugal is over. We had a small party of selects the other evening amongst the number Sir Charles and Lady Morgan who was Miss Primrose She pleased me extremely and I think is far from plain. She spoke a good deal of my brothers[40] and said she had often heard of me. When Mrs Popkin introduced me she immediately enquired if my name was not Flora. Sir Charles was in ecstasy with some music I played he seemed to enjoy it thoroughly and even put on his spectacles for the occasion – Mrs P and I divide all expenses but as the living to me is more expensive and we keep horses for her carriage I have sometimes doubts about how I shall be able to afford it – dress is the only thing cheaper here and is my support. I bought crêpe the other day, a French yard which is five English quarters for 3/ 4d . Plain silk stockings for 6s/8d embroidered for 9/-, pocket handkerchiefs for less than 4/- a piece. Satins, silks and shoes in proportion. Therefore I calculate with Payne’s assistance in Mantua making I may dress for half I spent in England – Hats are worn very high and nothing is as fashionable as a square shawl India or imitation, silk shoes are not worn at all – the gowns are worn very full and everywhere the petticoats very long. Sashes very much flounced or muslin doubled over to run a stick through. No mixture of colours, no such thing as a pelisse to be seen. Artificial flowers are more worn than feathers and very cheap and only think of getting beautiful long white gloves for 2s/7d a pair 1s/4d for short ones- There is no particular fashion in the evening dresses blond[41] hanging down and a little pleating of net above and about the neck is the general way. There is much simplicity in the French style of dress. The trimmings at the bottom of the gowns are very handsome but I dare say you will hear all about the fashions from Mrs Tandy who will receive them from Lady Chapman. Pray tell me how Ferdinand’s law suit goes on and remember me to Mrs Tandy and Boyson. When my money is remitted I wish Ferdinand would send it to George Baynes 36, Crutched Friars. The bills be payable to his order that they may not be posted after me to sign. I think your tenants are improving and beg to hear all about Drewstown and its improvements. I wish you would send this letter to Mary with my kind love. The same to both my brothers and pray write soon and cannot you hurry to pay the postage of your own letter. I am in daily expectation of the Shaws who were to leave London the 6th. Where are the Brooke’s and what are their plans? God bless you my dearest Charlotte. In the midst of my enjoyments be assured you are often thought of with affection and I feel sincere regret at the distance which separates us. I trust should we not meet for several years that you will retain the same friendship and kindness you have ever carried for me and believe me your most truly attached friend and sister Flora McVeagh.

My beautiful friend Miss Keating whom you have heard me mention was married the 1st July to a Colonel Willy. She is now in Switzerland but returns to Paris in the winter.

C)   Historical Note 3

The French Revolution of 1789 was one of the most important events of world history.  The revolutionaries overthrew the monarchy and the old system.  Louis XIV had announced ‘L’état, c’est moi’ but by the reign of Louis XVI France was no longer the powerful state she had been one hundred years before.  Discontent was widespread, especially among the peasantry (from whom the nobility extracted feudal taxes of various kinds) and among the wealthy middle class, or bourgeoisie, who had little political influence.

At Versailles the King had collected an aristocracy who had left their estates.  In 1788 a bad harvest and food shortages made matters worse and Louis was compelled to summon the States General in May 1789. This comprised representatives of the church, the nobility and the commons, or middle class, voting separately by estates.  When in 1789 the Third Estate, or commons, declared themselves the National Assembly and invited the First and Second Estates to join them, the Revolution had really begun.  The Revolution came to be dominated by the Jacobins, and this led to the establishment of the Republic in 1792 and the execution of the King and Queen in 1793.

Louis XVIII (1755-1824), younger brother of Louis XVI, was king of France from 1795.  Married in 1771 to Princess Louise of Savoy, he was active in politics in the years leading up to the revolution (1789).  He fled to Belgium in 1791 and proclaimed himself Regent for Louis XVII in 1793 and king in 1795.  The victories of the republic and Napoleon’s enmity compelled him frequently to change his place of abode, until in 1807 he found a refuge in England.  On the fall of Napoleon (April 1814) he landed at Calais and then began the ascendancy of the ‘Legitimist’ party.  The Napoleonic constitution was set aside and a new constitution granted with two chambers on the British model.

The nobles and priests moved him to severe treatment on Imperialists, Republicans and Protestants.  This opened the way for Napoleon’s return from Elba (the Hundred Days in 1815), when the royal family fled from Paris and remained at Ghent till after Waterloo.  From Cambrai Louis issued a proclamation in which he acknowledged former errors and promised an amnesty and moderation to all but traitors and returned to Paris ‘in the baggage of the Allies’.  He was, however, powerless to prevent a backlash, the so-called ‘White Terror’, when the Royalist fanatics slew hundreds of adherents of the Revolution and Protestants.

8.  September 1816 from Emma

Letter franked Bath 1816 5th September

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Meath, Ireland

from Emma                                                                             Green Park Buildings

                                                                                                September 1st

my new direction Sketty, Swansea

My dearest Charlotte

Before I leave Bath I must just write you a few lines to inform you of the day of our departure and at the same time to offer you and Mr McVeagh my warm congratulations on the success of your law suit. I can enter into all your feelings on this head for we have so often suffered in the courts of law and from the ….. of lawyers that I cannot sufficiently rejoice with you upon your fortunate escape from them. Villany in Guardians is by no means uncommon and it is a rare thing to find one that is not tempted to injure those that they have in their power[42]. I beg you will tell Mr McVeagh how sincerely I rejoice with him and could I be with you at the time of your merry ball my heels would join in the festivities, tho’ I have long given up kicking and jumping, yet in your services I think I would once more delay the goose –

I have not seen the account in the papers – we leave Bath on Tuesday evening and I must say that the least I expect is a drownding(sic) I feel getting very cowardly as the time draws nigh and the weather having changed from calm to storm and wind seems rather to increase than diminish the fears I have – I will write to you a long account of our new abode and will endeavour to do it justice though I know I shall fail in that point. I shall hope some day to greet you there. I am surprised at your Aunt Mary’s returning from France after crossing the water. I should have had no fears about distance but I make no doubt she likes Bath and its many enjoyments too much to forego them. I am no friend to it myself though I cannot help saying that it certainly does possess almost everything that can render it delightful. I hope we shall visit it in the course of next year or I shall be a little disappointed. We have a number of charming friends here now among their number ranks foremost Dr Wilkinson. You never said that you were surprised at my large sheet I forgot to inclose the piece of lace. I will send it to you when I am in Wales. I mean to bathe and lay in a stock of good sound health.

My father is now getting better very fast I am happy to say and he can ride upon his pony, walking he is not yet able to accomplish, his legs swell dreadfully but I hope in time he will lose that.

I hope you will often think of us and you can always imagine that after all that we have suffered how doubly we are enjoying the many beauties of this sweet place and the memory of a happy charming home. My sisters send kind love to you and I hope you will kiss little Frederic(sic) for me. I shall not be able to send you any Bath news again but I hope my letters will not want that to be welcome to you. Adieu my dear Charlotte believe me yours with every affectionate wish. Emma.

My brother[43] is still without a profession but his many amiable qualities and the creations he has always made for his family and his love of farming and every domestic and country engagement render him far from an idle gentleman a thing you so much dislike and which is often the source of much mischief. I am glad your love is destined for the Bar it is certainly the finest field in the world for advancement and brings forth talents if there are any, it besides renders him equal to superintend his own affairs without the assistance of law that rack so many split upon. Adieu

9.  January 1818 from Flora McVeagh

Letter postmarked 22 Jan 1818                                                                            46 Southampton Row

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Ireland                                                              Russell Square
                                                                                                                                                  Jany 22nd
 I am beginning to wonder at your silence my dearest Charlotte, uneasy I am not, having heard from others that you are well, but still I should be better satisfied to receive the assurance from yourself – I hope you received a letter I sent you from Mr Assheton Smith’s in December, we spent a fortnight there very agreeably, the  Miss Smiths are good natured and Miss Elizabeth particularly agreeable – On our way back to (Banscot) we spent a couple of days with the Vilett’s where I met Miss Johnson[44], who informed me you were soon coming to England and that you wished her sister to return with you to Ireland – I recollect in your last, hints about projects, and to conclude you are like me, reluctant to communicate plans without having the certainty, or rather probability of putting them into execution – I have been sometime in London, the Pages are extremely kind and never suffer me to feel alone, but you may imagine I feel some difference in the contrast of Parisian life, and one in lodgings in Southampton Row! – Mrs Popkin has not been blessed with the good fortune she expected as she and her companion were scarcely settled together, when Miss Jones was called back to England by the death of a brother, and a week ago I read in the papers the demise of her lovely sister Mrs Cumberbatch so I imagine Mrs Popkin will spend the whole winter alone, an annoyance fully as great to her, as all my little disappointments – I saw Mrs Paulette the other morning, still in weeds, looking very dismal, talking of lost happenings and gloomy anticipations – and  I have been spending a week with Mr & Mrs George Wynch[45] at Hampton Wick, about 14 miles from town – one week perfectly satisfied me, as I never was in greater horror occasioned by four large French cats crawling about the whole house all day – Every room was to be open to receive them, no door save my bedroom to be closed – There were besides 2 large poynters and a terrier admitted as parlour boarders – Poor Mr Wynch is reduced to crutches having quite lost the use of his limbs he looks nearer eighty than sixty – They lease a very pretty cottage, leave it in the spring for Dorsetshire, where they will reside with Henry[46] who has taken orders and got a curacy – John[47] is getting on well in India. I hope your brother[48] does the same – Mrs Wynch has desired me to inform both my brothers that there is 10£ 18/ 6d coming to each of Col J Wynch’s [49] money since paid – I have just rec’d my share – shall I have it paid to me as part of my next remittance and Ferdinand can settle with Henry about it? My red carriage is looking very shabby, and I am buying a new one on which I wish to have my arms, so pray make a very good impression with Ferdinand’s seal and do not lose one day in writing to me – Mrs Shaw wants me to leave town on the 9th of February which day Jane arrives, but I cannot set off without having my carriage finished and at the very least it will take a week to have the arms put on – I shall be very glad to see Jane again as likewise the rest of my Widcome friends, but I so cordially detest the idea of being in Bath – I hope you convey my love to Henry and Mary in your letters – I would write if I thought they could court it – I am glad you have had Mrs Brooke and your sisters with you this winter pray offer my best regards to them – Adieu my dearest Charlotte with love to Ferdinand and best wishes to the children, believe me invariably your affectionate friend and sister Flora McVeagh
write immediately and do not at your peril forget the seal.

10.     April 1819 from E White

Letter postmarked 29 April 1819 from Aylesbury 42

to Mrs McVeagh, 39 Rivers Street, Bath

from E White                                                                                                Hardwyke[50] April 27 1819

My dear Mrs McVeagh

Indeed it was an unexpected pleasure the receiving a few lines from you, for I had begun to think you had given up writing to such distant friends under the very mistaken idea that generally prevails, that because you cannot amuse your correspondent with the local news around you, that there can be no subject for writing, overlooking the most important object for epistularity writing, that of communicating the passing secrets of the writer, little else that can be truly interesting to the receiver of letters and in proportion to the distance it is more ardently read.

It must be a great pleasure to you to visit Bath again, and recall the many scenes you have enjoyed in it. I wish your children had been with you and fully supposed they would have been fellow travellers with you, it must give you a divided heart having them left in Ireland, pray tell me about Mrs Boyson, as in a former letter from Harriet, she was got feverish and fallen into the inures of love, a circumstance I should not have suspected, having experienced its crosses and two children to maintain.

You write most flatteringly, saying you recall with pleasure the time you spent at Hardwyke cannot it be managed for you to come again, I shall not like your returning to Ireland without seeing you, I wish to have ocular demonstration whether you are taller, shorter, fatter or thinner than when I saw you last, I have a thousand questions to ask and to have answered that would make but a poor simple figure on paper. Therefore Mr McVeagh must be prevailed on to let you come. If he be still in London, write to him and tell him to call on my brother at his lodgings, 24 South Moulton Street, Oxford Street and the very sure way of finding him would be to catch him at his breakfast at about nine, he is in town this week and I make no doubt will be also there next, beyond that I cannot answer as I am expecting visitors to come to us, among the number Mr & Mrs Andrews from Swathling, the Miss Wayeshures and the Sandovers whom you met here…. before the marriage of Mary Sandover takes place at midsummer thus circumstanced I am sorry to say can only give accommodation to you and Mr McVeagh for whenever your mother and sisters come they must make a long (journey) and I wish I could ask the pleasure of their company now but the house will not stretch to make beds sufficient. It gives me much real pleasure that your dear mother finds Mrs General Brooke such an agreeable relative, Harriet writes last an indifferent account of your Aunt Mary, remember me most kindly to her as also but respects to the General and Mrs Brooke[51], Accept yourself and distribute to your mother and sisters the affectionate love of your very sincere friend, Well wishes

E White.

11.     May 1819 from J Hallett

Postmarked 24th May 1819     Lyme 146

To Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Near Athboy, Ireland

From J Hallett (Jane Maria we think)

                                                                                    Axmouth Vicarage

                                                                                    May 19th 1819

My dearest Charlotte

I can scarcely say whether I feel most gratified by your very liberal consideration of our darling child, or grieved at the length of time which has elapsed since your kind letter was written as both claim my grateful and speedy acknowledgement, and I much fear the delay in dispatch rendering me so apparently indifferent may have led you to deem me unworthy of your continued regard; I only wish it were in my power to prove mine for you by deed as well as word! your leaving England without my having the satisfaction I once anticipated of meeting you in Bath has really distressed me and had I not been aware that your visit there was too interesting and short that to admit of innovation I certainly should have expressed my wish of seeing you here as our comforts are daily increasing and our cordial welcome united with every endeavour to please might have compensated you for the privation of luxury: Richard begs I will not omit his thanks for the beautiful dress you sent his pet and to tell you it arrived very apropos on Tuesday last, just as we were going to take him out of his own Parish for the first time, to wait upon his Godfather, it has been universally admired and so I added must have been the Donor had she graced the party: I was delighted to hear of your looking so well and trust the trip may have proved so beneficial to your health and spirits as to tempt you soon across the water again. I conclude you will not very long defer placing your sweet boy in school and that event may accelerate our meeting. I was quite charmed by the descriptions Mrs Shaw gave me of both your little cherubs: she was so much pleased with our baby who is all life and spirits that she has tempted my dear father to promise him a visit prior to their departure for Scotland which will be a great treat to me as his late numerous engagements and my domestic or rather maternal duties have kept us apart much longer than either distance or inclinations can warrant. We are expecting dear Flora here in June and also hope to see Mr & Mrs Good who are just arrived from Denmark with the intention of placing their only son whom you may remember at a good school far from his home and within reach of anxious friends, a plan I think the most likely to be conducive to his future happiness. I am deeply interested by early friendship for all that family. The loss of my first child has rendered me so timid that I almost wonder at Mary’s courage in leaving her baby, pray remember me kindly to her and your Caro Sposos I shall continue a complete recluse two months longer when I intend to wean William who has just cut his second tooth – our neighbourhood is always gay in the autumn but very dull in the winter and spring. I am anxious not to lose another post in sending this which I direct to Drewstown where I should prefer it’s awaiting your arrival to being exposed to still greater delay in following you from Chester.

Believe me dearest Charlotte always your affectionate

J M Hallet

12.    November 1820 from Emma

Letter postmarked Swansea 6th November 1820

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Ireland

from Emma J (Johnson)                                                          Sketty Hall

                                                                                                November 1st

My dear Charlotte, when your letter was put into my hand, every feeling but that of pleasure vanished, that you were well, as well as your children, and though unknown to me Mr McVeagh, afforded me almost as much satisfaction as your long silence had caused me uneasiness. I really at first imagined your letter might be from the shades and contain a warning to me you may gauge then how aghast I was to find in it a notice of your being in Bath this winter where I think it is more than probably that we may meet. Sketty is now advertised to be let for ten years, Papa and Mama have determined to show “we innocents” the world as it now stands, tho God knows, I have seen and known too much of the worst part of it; however we are to move from here, as soon as it is taken off our hands, it is a bad time for letting a place of this sort, but I rather suppose Mama will prefer its remaining empty, to spending another winter here, every Autumn she has such severe seizures at her chest, that she is obliged to remain confined at home till March or April which is rather too much of a good thing – I anticipate much pleasure in the idea of seeing you once more and of giving ourselves a new impression of each other, I trust you will let me know when you are on the way that I may know of your arrival in Bath in order that I may have a stimulus to move from this wintry spot which I am loathe to leave – Our friends the Wilkinsons, whom perhaps you may remember, are here, and have been in Swansea ever since the summer, we have seen a great deal of them, he is concerned in lighting this famed town with gas – We often talk over Bath news and Bath pleasures with them – I wish I could enlighten your mind with regards to the circumstances you mention I alluded to in a former letter. Nothing I assure you is likely to happen to me to make a change of circumstances but I merely fancied that you would, from not ever seeing me being so far removed so lose all interest in your humble servant which would have much discomforted me indeed Charlotte, I have lived here three years, and I believe my sisters will say the same thing without sighing for a soul, and shall come to Bath free from any impression perhaps there I may not escape as wiser heads and colder hearts have been caught napping than mine true it is that we were gay merry girls when you knew us but after that period we were rather shut out from the world and in that period we grew wary , circumspect and not to be deceived, I believe by outward appearances – what says “crazy Jane”[52] when men flatter and think them false. I found them so”. When you mention your life resembling that of a Harriet[53], it rather increases my wish to be your neighbour to deter me from it were it in my power to do anything half as [  ] to myself as that would be, I am sure we should be most satisfied people, let me at least only mention to answer for myself.

It is so long since we heard anything of Harriet that your mentioning your mother’s departure rather surprised me, where is she then? I should be sorry were she not in Bath when we go there, it would not be Bath without her to us at least – As to our poor Queen[54], to use a common saying “she is more sinned against than sinning” in the opinion of my family and in mine; judging of her actions, from my own feelings, I should say her facing this country was a strong and proof of a conscience clear of all guilt, and I am fully convinced of it from the circumstances of the trial, it delights me to see Prince Leopold’s name as one of the first to call after Dennison’s able summing up of the case, which I must say, I would not relish reading throughout the evidence I would not look at but I saw enough in the sheet, I have mentioned to shock me, for the queen, for myself, and her accusers –I have always left her cause in the hands of “the mighty to save”, and I hope to see her yet righted – your Aunt Mary[55] seems to move about as the wind blows, she has left the General’s roof there, why does she not marry and have her own establishment, it is so odd that she should never have married – My father and Cuthbert have been in the north these last six weeks the latter is just come home my father will join us next week – they have been shooting also, but have never reached Scotland. When you talk of your boy not being yet eight, I should not have said he was six, so unheeded has time passed but on looking back I am soon convinced of my being in the wrong – In evil hour for you I sat down to my desk for I have filled my paper with various kinds of nonsense, and I feel so much in scribbling mood, that I think it is not unlikely I may cover the whole sheet, but all you can do is to send me one in return, and however egotistical you may think it is never considered too much so by me, you are so far removed that it is the only way in which I can bring you to my view, by knowing your employ, events, your occurrences and your thoughts if it were possible – let me soon hear from you again dearest Charlotte, memories too are ever waxing I shall dispatch you another of my terrible illegible scrawls – my sisters and Mama desire their best love to you, Cuthbert also begs to  you his remembrances I think he is the only one you would be likely to pass without recognising him – Rosa is hasting up into the woman and will soon cause me to hide my diminished load in a sober bed and make me sound my retreat from the varieties as well as the pleasures of the gay world – I will then strain a point and visit you in your solitude if you will take a grey headed spinster into your household who will promise to be very manageable. I have spent a very lively summer, Jane and myself visited some equable Berkshire friends the Baughams who were at that time living at a sweet place in the Vale of Bath while we were with them we made a charming party to Ragland (sic), Tintern and Pearcefield the beauties of which places we find has not done justice to, I saw the spot that proved fatal to those helpless persons who were drowned under Chepstow Bridge – I shuddered when I received the short distance they were from the land and determined in my own mind to refrain from all water parties, however tempting. We had lovely weather for our excursion. I rode all the way there and back again, there were some of our party who preferred lumping it to going in Mr V’s Borouche and I was glad to join them. What do you think of my  persevering 60 miles? I suffered no fatigue or other inconvenience. Will you ever be able to wade through this tremendously covered sheet or will you soon forgive me if ever for sending it to you – we have some thoughts of visiting the continent, I wish I could spend the time in Erins Isle for I have the greatest possible dislike to taking such a journey.

Adieu my dearest friend, believe me, constantly and affectionately yours

Emma J

Drink my health on the 21st it is my jour de naissance. I dare not tell you how old I am – somewhere about three times nine.

13.     February 1821 from Flora Deacon

Letter (frank mark unclear)? 1821

seal torn off

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Ireland

                                                                                                11 Park Place

                                                                                                St James’s Street

                                                                                                February 8th

My dearest Charlotte

From day to day I postpone writing – if my silence continues much longer I shall almost feel ashamed to terminate it, therefore sans faute by today’s post a letter shall be sent to you, thanking you sincerely for your last. It would be difficult to convey to your mind half the state of confusion we are in with so many things to get and so many arrangements to make but I find it both an easy and pleasant task to assure you I am perfectly happy a more delightful character than Mr Deacon’s cannot exist, nor a more affectionate indulgent husband and as we can have every comfort in life I might and do feel that I have every reason to be grateful to providence for the fate allotted to me. It would indeed afford me much pleasure to make you and Mr J Deacon acquainted. We are in very fashionable situation and pay high rent but have no super abundance of bedrooms in as much as two of the men servants are obliged to sleep out of the house – All Mr Deacon’s family are very kind to me and I have already had lots of cards left at my door but my craze for dissipation has long since subsided and I anticipate much more happiness from domestic life, which, I am certain of enjoying. Mr R Hallett[56] is in town. He dined here yesterday and I was heartily wishing Jane (could have) accompanied him – he is come up with the hopes of obtaining a living in Hertfordshire. You have doubtless heard, dear Charlotte that my marriage took place on the 23rd when we set off for Windsor where we spent a week – your little Flora may now be called Miss McVeagh without giving me any pangs – I cannot express the delight I feel in being settled, in having objects to interest me and being of essential importance to one person. If everybody could be equally fortunate I would have no hesitation in recommending the married state to all single women however advantageously they might be situated, but it is a lottery I confess. When Ferdinand remits my money in future let it be to Sir J Perring & Co, Bankers, Cornhill, London instead of Mr Barnes – I hear that Henry and Mary are at Bath – The Watts were very kind to me both took much interest in my affairs and were quite pleased with Mr James Deacon. To my infinite amazement my aunt presented me with a very handsome set of gold ornaments. Payne is entreating me to mark the linen and look over an inventory which I have neglected doing, so adieu dearest Charlotte with best love to my brother believe me

very affectionately yours

Flora Deacon

miss the dear children

14.     February 1821 from Jane Hallett

Postmarked 9 Feb 1821

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Meath, Ireland                                            

from Jane Hallett


                                                                                                Feby 9th 1821

To anyone less kindly disposed towards me my dearest Charlotte than yourself, I should find it difficult to account sufficiently for my apparent … of your truly affectionate letter, but you will believe my assurance that it was most cordially welcomed and that my delaying it s acknowledgement proceed entirely from my anxiety to procure all the interesting information you so naturally desired relative to our dear Flora’s marriage the exact period for which could not be fixed until within a very few days of its solemnization, after which Mrs Shaw’s having immediately addressed you, induced me to defer my epistle until I could give you further intelligence on the subject and also mention other friends in Bath to whom we are both attached. We arrived here on the 30th January and were gratified by meeting Henry and Mary[57] looking extremely well, as also my dear Father and his kind hearted wife she is a great favourite with your little Godson[58], whom I long to introduce to you; he is naturally timid, but with those he likes is exceedingly sociable and has already had a flirtation with little Fanny who has promised him another visit, she is a very find good tempered child, and appears uncommonly well managed; my satisfaction would be complete if your lovely Flora[59] could join their party, with Ferdinand as acting Manager of the trio; I hope I am not too sanguine in imagining Mrs Chapman’s expected accouchement may induce you to leave home early enough for me to anticipate the happiness of seeing you here prior to our departure on the 3 March; at all events we must contrive to meet ere you leave England, and I am sure Richard[60] would share my delights in welcoming you to our snug abode at any time you might have it in your power to gratify us with your company; it seems quite an age since I saw you and Ferdinand, to whom pray offer my best remembrances; my husband often wishes to become better acquainted with you both: he is gone to London to see some old friends and on his return here is engaged to spend his mornings very agreeably in singing with Mary[61] who will then complete her conquest; for he already shares my p…(piece of the letter here is missing) in her favour and with Henry chats away famously about Guns, Dogs etc –  they were at the Rooms last night where they found Mrs and Miss Watts and I daresay we shall meet them at a party the latter have announced for next Monday. I wish I could see you there dearest Charlotte – Your Aunt Mary talks with pleasure of your visiting England, she appears particularly animated in discussing Flora’s marriage[62], which was so long considered a grand secret, though known I am told all over Bath: you would enjoy hearing Mrs Shaw’s account of all the goings doings they had here and of the lively part Miss Jackson performed on the occasion. Flora wrote to Mrs S on the third day after her marriage from Windsor, and said though an early day she might pronounce herself fortunate and wish her three bridesmaids might be equally so, it appears quite a dream to us that she is actually married and though it may seem strange it was a great comfort to me, that I could not be present at what most truly delighted me to hear of but ever since my own marriage I have thought a wedding as most serious and somewhat melancholy affair especially where the feelings are deeply interested. I understand Flora was remarkably composed most fervently do I pray that she may enjoy the happiness of which she has every prospect. Mr Deacon is universally allowed to be a very genteel, good looking man with pleasing manners and in his conversation embracing a thorough knowledge of the world, his fortune is ample and his attachment to his family which is highly respectable renders him particularly so: he is very fond of children and of domestic life and I have no doubt will make his wife equally so in due time for she only wants a sensible good husband to make her all that her friends could wish – Richard writes me that he was not so fortunate as to  find Mrs Deacon at home but depends on having an opportunity of congratulating her in person before he leaves town , he is on a visit at Lady Sullivan’s with whose son he is very intimate and they have a house in Upper Montague Street which I think is not far from Flora’s present residence. She received many handsome offerings from Mr Deacon in valuable trinkets and from his brother in law Mr Colquhoun various articles of rich plate. Mrs Walter too gave her some beautiful ornaments – in short she continues one of Dame Fortune’s Favourites. I have had so many interruptions while scribbling this that I scarcely know whether you will be able to make any sense of my (scholomando) pardon its defects my dearest Charlotte, and with our united good wishes for you and yours believe me however hurried most unchangeable your affectionate JMH

Lucy is flattered by your remembrance and begs me to thank you for it.

D)   Historical Note 4

In 1820, the government lost sympathy over the ‘Queen’s Affair’. The Prince Regent (who became George IV) had married Mrs Fitzherbert secretly, then he committed bigamy by marrying the Princess Caroline of Brunswick.  The Prince had tried to divorce her by making charges against her moral conduct, but this led to an official enquiry into the conduct of both himself and Queen Caroline – which did neither of them any good.  In 1820, on the death of his father, George III, the new King determined to prevent Caroline becoming Queen, and Lord Liverpool (Prime Minister) was persuaded to introduce a Bill of Pains and Penalties against her in the House of Lords, but the majority was so narrow that he dared not put it before the Commons.  At the coronation, supported by a large and sympathetic crowd, Caroline attempted to gain entry to the Abbey, but failed.  She died a month later.

This affair did harm to the Royal Family and to Liverpool’s reputation.  William Cobbett had become an adviser of Queen Caroline.

15.    September 1821 from Harriet Brooke

to Mrs McVeagh
Athboy                                                                                                                                    Hardwyke
Ireland                                                                                                                                  Sep 15 1821                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

My dearest Charlotte

I fully intended to have answered your letter last week but owing to some unpleasant accounts from Weymouth we were detained in Salisbury much later than we intended – You will I am sure be much grieved to hear our darling Mary[63] has been suffering much from the effects of a severe bilious attack and till we felt assured that her illness was merely temporary my mother could not think of commencing our journey, on Sunday we received the desired information from the Medical Man attending her that her complaint was transient and she was now quickly recovering I fear that the change from home to school if not the chief cause greatly contributed to affect her health and most sincerely do I hope that it is the last time for some years at least that she will quit us as I am convinced she is too delicate to encounter the hardships of school. As soon as we are relieved from our suspense last Tuesday was named for our departure and we were so fortunate as to reach Hardwyke the same day accompanied by Caroline Everitt and were received with the purest affection and the greatest kindness by dear Miss White. Mr White is at present absent so you may easily form an idea of our party the weather has been deplorable since our arrival and I fear the harvest has suffered most undeniably.

I wish you could redress the quartette discussing these stories round the fire for it has been very cold and settling the affairs of the nation but at the conclusion of every wise obscuration the burden of the song was on, that Charlotte were here in this wish we all write most fervently. Miss White speaks of you with much delight and to expatiate on your virtues is a never pasting theme. I conclude long ere this you are peaceably settle in Drewstown and expect you will write me soon a long circumstantial account of all your proceedings, what changes have taken place, if you have any chance of Kitty Bowles for the winter; How the Tisdalls are and where they are; and more particularly everything relative to yourself and dear little Flora the most trifling incident in which you are concerned becomes interesting to me; I much wish to hear how Ferdinand likes Miss Hays as you know he has always been a favourite of mine. My aunt Brooke[64] wrote me word that they had called on him but unluckily he was out walking but they were determined to see him previous to their quitting Bath which they did last Wednesday so that it was provoking enough owing to a mistake of Bandalls they passed through Salisbury the very day after we left it. Do you correspond with sister Elizabeth I have not heard from her lately but understand I may expect one by Mr White (who is to come home on Thursday) as my uncle took it to Bath expecting to meet me there. Mrs Wyndham is at Hyde and I hope soon to hear from her she is gone for perfect … and bathing – Miss Samber at Weymouth I heard from her this morning she is better and says Mary is well but looking thin she will be an acquisition to the poor child as she frequently invites her. She desired me to give her love to you and let you know she was very anxious to hear from you. Do pray gratify all your correspondents ever remembering to place me at the head of your list and recollect that I am now living quite as secluded as yourself and have even less intelligence to communicate so no excuses. I wrote to Jane Johnson[65] yesterday and said everything civil I could think of for you. I hope should Louisa visit Dublin you will be able to see her as she would divert you exceedingly they talk of spending the winter in Bath. My mother, Miss White and Caroline write in love to you and your little precious Flora. With your sincerely attached sister Harriet Brooke.

16.     September 1821 from E Walsh

Letter franked Bath 17th September 1821

from ?E Walsh

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Nr Athboy, Ireland

                                                                                                Bath, September 16th

My dearest sister’s most fond affectionate letter reached me last Monday and I would have answered it immediately but that I was sure you would excuse the delaying it a few days when I could I hoped be able to tell you I had seen your son I had walked to Grosvenor Place the week before last with your uncle and Mrs Brooke but the boys were out and we were therefore disappointed as twice afterwards set out and were stopped by the rain and we have had so much wet weather that they were obliged to leave Bath without seeing him. But on Friday last I armed myself with an umbrella and a little plum cake and all alone I made my way to the school and had the pleasure of finding Ferdinand at home. The dear boy threw his arms around my neck and burst into tears and then told me he was very glad to see me. After a little while he got quite gay and I can assure you he is looking the picture of health and happiness. He said he was quite reconciled to the school and that he was getting on so well that he should soon be at the head of his class and Miss Hay and all the boys were very kind to him. However, when I was coming away he looked a little grave and said he wished I would ask you when his Papa would come over for him as he promised him he should spend his Christmas holydays in Ireland. He also said he got but one letter from you since you parted and he hoped you would soon write again. And so do I dear sister for I too shall long to hear from you again and as I trust I shall always be able to tell you something about your darling may I not hope that you will often write to me. I know so well how idle living in the country makes one feel about writing thinking that one has no event to relate that I am doubly anxious to secure hearing from you and therefore shall be quite content if you tell me what you and Flora have been about. Kitty Bowles too I fancy I am acquainted with tells me how she liked the little filigree candlesticks. I was writing to you while the people are all at church for I was so overcome with the heat last Sunday that that I was obliged to come out in the middle of the service and have therefore determined to go in the afternoon while the warm weather lasts. Your uncle and Mrs Brooke[66] set out for Chichester on Wednesday and hoped to meet your mother and sister at Salisbury. I have not heard from Harriet for some time but am in dayly(sic) expectation of getting a letter from her from Hardwicke. Whenever I saw the General he was in a fuss either coming from or going to an auction. I think he will be quite at a loss for some employment when he returns and is quietly settled in Alford that I cannot say how I long for November when I may hope to see your dear mother and sister once more I feel sadly lonely and my spirits are so depressed that when I got your letter I absolutely sobbed over it till I could not see to read it. Your mother taught me to esteem you ere I saw you and when I became so intimate with you need I say that I loved you and I trust I shall ever retain a place in your affection. My dear brother[67] is still unmarried the lady putting it off from day to day why I cannot imagine. I have many fears for his happiness but I hope they may prove groundless. To see him wretched would be a misery I could not bear. If I continue writing in this gloomy strain I fear that not even the hopes of hearing of your son will tempt you to correspond with me but if now and then only I thus permit some of my dreary feelings to escape I am sure you will forgive me and still let me write on as it is some relief to my mind to do so. But to change the subject I am sorry you could not see the king at Panescourt. I think you were very right not to venture to Dun Leary[68] the accounts in the papers of the crowd there was truly terrific and running such a risk would be foregoing law for a sight of His Majesty. Almost everyone here is now out of mourning and I think the Queen is nearly forgotten[69]. We too have been delayed with rain since September commenced we have had but 2 fine days and the farmers say that the harvest is in a most deplorable condition[70]. For my part I think they are always grumbling for I recollect last summer when I was in the country hearing the rich ones complain that it was not worth their while to carry their corn to market they go so little for it. I believe I ought to apologise for sending you such a blotted sheet of paper but Willy has twice knocked the pen out of may hand and I should not have time to write it all over again today. Ferdinand desired me to tell you to give Flora a dozen kisses for him and I and my little pet a dozen more. Tell her I hope she will not forget me and that I flatter myself she will sometimes talk of me to you. And now I believe I must say farewell. When November comes I trust I shall be able to make my letters much more interesting but even before that time arrives I shall feel sadly disappointed if I do not often hear from you. And let me again assure you that I require not news yourself and Flora are to send me the most interesting subjects you can write about. God bless you my dearest sister ever believe me your sincerely attached friend E Walsh.

Tell me when you hear anything of Mrs Deacon[71] how she is getting on.

17.     October 1821 from Emma

Letter postmarked Swansea October 1821

from Emma

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Ireland                                                         October 4th

My dear Charlotte, you are I find from a letter to Jane from Harriett, got back to Drewstown, therefore I shall not suffer my pen though a dull one to remain any longer idle, your travelling address I was ignorant of or I should have waylaid you – My sister Louisa leaves Sketty next Monday for Warwickshire from whence at the end of three weeks then journeys on to Dublin, the only case of a little envy I feel with regard to her visit there is the possible chance she may have of seeing you. It is rather an unkind stroke of fate that I should be the only person deprived of the pleasure of seeing you, though I would give at least half I possess to enjoy a little of your society, I must hope that my meeting with you is only still a short time longer delayed – Louisa and her friends will be with the Kinsey in Harcourt Street and will be there till April, Perhaps before they return we may have moved our headquarters to some more animated part of the world though not more beautiful, I think we shall pay Bath or Clifton a passing visit, and I fear it is not likely we shall see you there as a journey from Bath is not at all times an easy thing to undertake – I have been from home these last three weeks and I find that change of air benefits me as much, and I have been so uncomfortable since I returned to this wild and chasing air that I shall be not a little glad to get away  from the sea – On reading over your last letter I find you mention yourself that August would see you at Drewstown; I shall hope to hear  that both yourself and Mr McVeagh have been expressing loyalty to the Sovereign, it must have been most gratifying to him to have been so warmly received in a country so generally looked upon as cruelly in … by this, but it only serves to convince me that the Irish are a warm hearted amiable people and I admire them for their loyalty, though I cannot like them better than I did before; I have so many charming Irish friends that I love the nation for their sake extremely. A young friend of mine is lately married to a Mr Stewart whose brother I believe is member for Tyrone. Do you know him? – Cuthbert has left us for three months, our property in Berkshire is lately sold and he is required to remain there till the purchaser takes possession of it which will not be till the winter, his horses and dogs are gone to him and we are left alone, we miss him not a little but e is enjoying himself so much that we ought not to regret his absence. He is now with the Fitches at Swindon – let me hear my dear Charlotte from you, and be as epistitial as you like, the more you are so, the better I shall be pleased – Remember you often call yourself so, or I should not have given you such a harsh word – Jane returned from France delighted with all she saw and heard and my Father was so enraptured with Nantes that he took a cottage there, but Mama is so regularly a John Bull that she detests the very thoughts of such a banishment, as she will call it, to tell you the truth I am rather inclined to her way of thinking, but the pleasures of country you may enjoy them upon such easy terms that it offers great attractions will you, if you leave Drewstown and we go there, will you come and peep at us? You recommend matrimony so strongly my dear Charlotte that when I go from here, I shall really think of it, but why do you not effect a change in pretty little Harriett she is as bent on single life as we seem to be; but the fact is that I have not yet met with one person whom I could like to have father and mother and home for, in my life – Our friends often ask after the bright star that appeared in our hemisphere so suddenly and vanished so soon, Jane tells me she is looking very well and now cuts an ounce of meat. All my family desire their kindest remembrances to you and Jane sends a kiss to Flora whom she describes as a sweet little girl –

Adieu then very dear friend

Believe me your sincerely


I have omitted Jane’s compliments to Mr McVeagh and …

18.     October 1821 from Catherine Bowles

Postmarked 13th October 1821

Letter to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy

from Catherine Bowles

                                                                                                49 Lower Mount Street

                                                                                                October the 13th

My dear Mrs McVeagh

I hope this will find you quite well of the pain in your head and dear little Flora as happy as ever, I travelled with a respectable party of six – but a pain in my head came to torment when I got half way to Dublin – I dined and slept at Harris’s that night their father and mother are not come home yet the next day I settled with Mrs King to remain with her – from that I went to Dodds where they had no calico that would suit you and they were selling by auction all sorts of furniture. I then went to every shop I could find and they all asked me ten pounds but at last I found a shop in Henry Street where I can get a pair for five pound ten they are selling by commission or you would not get them so cheap and they tell me it will take 16 yds of calico to make the covers which I can get for 10d a yard and as you have no lining calico yourself I think they might be made at home they will charge for the packing besides. Mrs Allen asked me 22 shillings for doing the screens but I found a much cheaper shop in Dawson Street where they have promised to do them for 15 shillings or less if they can. It is a glass shop where they will give you a very handsome glass and pier table such as you want for 12 guineas or perhaps they may make it pounds and for thirty pounds you can have very handsome bell ribbons with tassels – but see some of worsted – they are made of very thick ribbons but not so wide as what you have. I have bought the umbrella it is large than Mr Tisdalls a big one. You never gave me John’s apron but if you tell me the quantity and quality I can get it, the fashionable way of cricking the cushions now they will charge 6/6 a chair but they take very little calico. We have got summer in Dublin but dreadful fogs in the morning. The streets look quite gay in their summer attire. I can scarcely think of my winter (yet) – will you be so good as to tell Mrs Chapman that I fear the Dyer will not do her ribbon to her liking as they say it is very much abused and I can match the calico but it is not so bright a pink and if it is half a yd I am to get – and let me hear from you very soon and let me know if there is anything else I can do for you tell Mr McVeagh I put his letters in the penny post and I shall send the basket for the grapes the day before I set off for Drewstown but I have done nothing for myself yet. I hope I have been explicit in all things – I hope Mr McVeagh is lively give him my kindest regards with a thousand loves and kisses to Flora and accept the same from your ever sincere and affectionate Cathn Bowles

in haste

all the above articles are very reasonable from what I see in other shops.

19.     November 1821 from Flora Deacon

Letter franked 1821 and sealed

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Meath, Ireland

from Flora Deacon                                         

                                                                                                Chesterfied Street[72]


                                                                                                November 1st

 My dearest Charlotte

I heard yesterday from Mary that you have returned to Drewstown and as I begin to fear you never received the letter I wrote you from Banscot[73] I venture again upon a few lines which is rather an exertion to me at present – until the last week I have been wonderfully well and able to take constant exercise, but I now have so many uncomfortable sensations that I think the dreadful hour must be approaching fast and I feel very nervous and out of spirits – I did not calculate upon being confined before the 20th or end of this month and possibly I may not. I returned to town from Leamington the 13th of this month and engaged our present abode for three months by which time I rust we may have met with a house that will suit to take on lease as I am quite tired of moving from one place to another. Our present abode is very geniable the rooms are excellent and the situation ‘centrical’ with the advantage of being airy and quiet looking into Chesterfield Gardens. I trust the disturbances in Ireland are not so great as the newspapers represent. Have you any prospect of letting Drewstown? Mrs Schingler has again surrendered her liberty to Mr George Loftus who bears an excellent character and is of high family and very gentlemanly – the disadvantages are that he is 8 years her junior and has no fortune. They are gone abroad to winter in Florence where Mrs Loftus’ aunt the Duchess of Leeds is residing – Miss Sarah Praed is to be married to a clergyman. We spent six weeks at Leamington which is a very nice place – the country about is extremely pretty and the drives remarkably good in all directions – it is almost worth going so far to see Warwick Castle – it surpassed my expectations – I shall be anxious to hear from you soon and to be informed that you are cheerful and happy – nothing can exceed the affection and kindness of my husband, it is very consolatory to experience such anxious attention in my present situation and I feel most grateful for it. How is little Flora[74], and did you leave Ferdinand at Miss Hay’s? Is Mrs Chapman still with you and have you many resident neighbours?

Adieu my dear Charlotte, give my love to my brother and with fondest regards to you both believe me ever

Yours affectionately

Flora Deacon[75]

20.     November 1821 from Mary Brooke [76]

Sealed and postmarked 10 Nov 1821

to Mrs McVeagh, Drewstown, Athboy, Ireland

                                                                                                29 Rivers St, Bath

                                                                                                9th Nov 1821

My dearest Charlotte

You are no doubt surprised to find out opening this, the writing of your darling boy which must give you pleasure, he came to me at 12 o’clock and previous to taking our walk, I thought you would be happy to see his improvement in this way, and on my letting him so, he most willingly sat down, and sent you the above, after my dictating. I never saw him look better, and he is improved in every aspect and grown tall, we dined at 3 and amused ourselves afterwards with a walk till near tea time and Sally Combes with Jane escorted the little fellow back to Miss Hays at 7. I postponed sending this till I saw Harriet and your mother, who arrived here last Tuesday, both quite well, the former better than when last in Bath, and desires me to say, as I was writing she would defer doing so for a week when you might depend on hearing from her. Many thanks dear Charlotte for your wish of having me at Drewstown, believe me I want no inducement, but your society so never think it necessary to hold out any gaiety but you know full well what I suffer on the matter which I wish did not separate us. With respect to the Archdeacon, I do not flatter myself I should love the least chance, so pray tell Miss Kitty Bowles, I should be very sorry she had to depend on my changing my name for wedding sake as she would have a great wait, but I shall expect some of hers whenever there is any forthcoming, give her my kind remembrance. I fully enter into your feelings my dear Charlotte with respect to having Louisa Johnson with you still I think a little of her lively society would be of use to your spirits, however painful your domestic concerns may be, I am sure she would be delighted to be a little with you.

Bath begins to assume a more lively appearance and promises to be full this winter. The Music Meeting went off very well. I went one night to the Abbey and one to the Rooms where there were 1600 people besides 200 who could not get in, I never was so overcome with heat, having had the patience to go at 5 and remain until ½ past 11. Catalan was most wonderful but I prefer the witness of Mrs Salmon. I do not expect your uncle till next month when I hope to see him, I remembered you to both him and his better half, you’ll not know his house when you come again to this part of the world, it is so improved, but not finished yet. I wonder very much you have not heard from Mrs Deacon she must be confined by this, I wonder what she has produced, could I see Mrs Shawe I should hear all about it. Miss Walsh sends her love and says she will answer your letter soon excuse this bad scrawl but my hand is tired having written a long epistle to your uncle so God bless you and with Harriett’s and your mother’s love Believe me. Theresa begs for best respects to you

truly yours

M Brooke

My kind regards to Mr McVeagh and love to Flora.

[There is a short note written in Ferdinand’s hand]

My dear Mama

I am come to spend the day with Aunt Mary and am going to walk on the canal with best love to you and Papa. F. Mac Veagh  My love to Flora. [Ferdinand is 8 at this time]

21.     April 1822 from H Brooke [77]

Sealed ‘Entre nous’ on the seal

postmarked Bath 26 April 1822

to Mrs McVeagh
Ireland                                                                                     Bath, 30 St James Square

                                                                                                Tuesday April 23rd

My dearest Charlotte

I have this moment heard from my uncle the distressing intelligence of my Aunt Agnes’s[78] death and lose no time in making you acquainted with the unhappy event the account came from my uncle Robert[79] who simply mentions the occurrence without any particulars. My mother is suffering from an attack of Erysipelas in her face and head and is much weakened from the pain and fever attending the complain which must plead my excuse for this hurried letter as I am fully occupied reading to her the infection having nearly closed up her eyes, her spirits are much affected by her illness that when  she is able to employ herself I hope to write you a long letter, in the mean time let me thank you for your kind and considerate present which I know would only distress you to say anymore about only bear in mind I shall expect you to contribute  your share of amusement for my mother if not by your presence at least by writing constantly as you cannot conceive how much pleasure we all derive from hearing from you. Miss Walsh is at her brother’s and all impatience to hear from you her direction is Cambridge House, Nr Romsey, Hants. all the Nicholls[80] are staying with my Uncle and Aunt owing to my mother’s illness I have not seen them. Mary and your dear boy quite well tho’ the same cause has prevented my seeing him very lately and with the united love of all the family believe me ever in haste your sincerely attached

H Brooke

No account from William[81], it is believed that James Brooke[82] is also dead I trust it is not true.

22.     May 1822 from Mary Brooke [83]

Sealed with the name Mary on the sealing wax

Postmarked 3 June 1822 Bath

to Mrs McVeagh
Ireland                                                                                                             Rivers Street, Bath

                                                                                                                        May 31st

My dear Charlotte

I cannot describe to you how depressed my spirits have been for the last month, in the first place the report of my brother Arthur having lost his beloved Agnes, caused one to feel deeply for him, knowing them to be so truly happy a couple, I may say, each other’s idol, I am truly grieved to tell you a letter this day from my poor brother corroborates the sad intelligence, poor Agnes was within two months of her confinement when she was seized with sore throat and fever which proved fatal in a few day, judging of my poor brother’s affliction, losing a beloved wife and in the prime of life, and leaving five little girls makes her death more to be lamented, my heart aches for Mr & Mrs Kirchoffer from whom I heard last Monday, when they had no idea of the dreadful blow that awaited them. She gave me a most satisfactory account of the darling children, little Arthur having lost his Asiatic look, more like a European child, she has sent out their pictures by their Uncle Frank[84] who has got a Chaplaincy to India to the longing eyes of their dear parents and saying she preferred the Almighty in his mercy would spare Arthur and his Agnes, to their interesting family my dear Charlotte you who as a mother, must feel deeply for the affliction of those in Russell Place, having the dear children before them every hour and little Sally is of an age to feel the lost of her beloved Mama. God’s will must be submitted to with patience and Christian fortitude but indeed this is a severe trial for my poor brother – a letter from your brother William came by the same ship, to which there was neither wafer nor seal came open all the way however there was not any contents but what all the world might see, it was to your Uncle William. As Harriet writes to you, I’ll leave her to mention the particulars he had been spending a month with poor Agnes shortly before her illness, he was quite well and likes his corps much, young Wynch[85] is in the same – my brother Robert[86] arrived from Calcutta at Weymouth a week ago when your Uncle William set off to meet him, he did not find him so very much altered as he expected after an absence of 23 years in a boiling climate of course he has the look of an Asiatic but he will recover that when a little recovered in this country, they remained three days when the former went to London to clear his baggage out of the India House and the latter returned here having his wife’s family[87] on a visit going on 7 weeks next Thursday they make their exit or departure the end of next week when my brother goes to London for a short time, I think of going with him to see Robert and other friends – you’ll be sorry to hear Mrs Brooke has lost her eldest son James at Calcutta, he was coming home and she had prepared his room, this is the third she has buried in India, his 3 children are with her, what trouble and affliction she has gone through in her time but the Almighty has given her wonderful strength of mind to bear all his dispensations with fortitude, she now lives in London – your darling boy looked enormously well and happy when last I saw him and is much grown and improved. I had a visit lately from Mrs Col Shawe who has been spending a month with Mrs Deacon and says she is quite well and continues to nurse her baby. She is a fine child but not handsome.

Does Mr McVeagh come over for his son, is it time you all are coming to England in the autumn. I was very sorry to hear Mrs N McVeagh[88] was not at all well but hope she is better for the June air of Drewstown. I daresay there are great improvements in that quarter since I left it remember me kindly to her and her Caro Sposos. This town is now very stupid and hot. Harriett I think looking rather better but is still delicate. Mary[89] goes to a day school is perfectly well and much grown and promises to be as tall as yourself and exactly your own figure.

My kind love to your hubby and little Flora with a kiss and believe me dear Charlotte very affectionately yours

M Brooke

23.     July 1822 from E White

Letter postmarked Aylesbury 42 18th July 1822

to Mrs McVeath (sic), Drewstowe (sic), Athboy, Meath, Ireland

from E White

My dearest Charlotte

Your letter tho’ brought to me late in the day and am to have a dinner party, yet I will not lose a post to tell you how delighted I am in the prospect of seeing you at Handwyke once more, and make your stay with me as long as you can and if it be extended to months the better we shall like it, you know enough of my brother not to wish to be any restraint on him as he likes occasional moving about. Flora I shall be delighted to see and she must be of a most entertaining age I should much like to see Ferdinand but school time must not be broken in on.

I am sorry to hear your account of your mother I have not heard from them very lately, daring a certain question was in agitation a quick correspondence was passing I must confess I could not give a vote in favour of it as I saw no advantage to any party but in the contrary the prospect of great discomfort your mother has half promised to come to us this autumn if she be prevented perhaps she could spare Hariett to accompany you would it not be pleasant to you both, I am glad she is on a visit to Mrs Wyndham. How mortified and not without reason in my opinion the Slaebe family are at the marriage of their father to a young woman of 19 whom they always considered as full sister to their mother, but it is now made public that Mrs Slaebe was unhappily born before marriage. The young men are I hear all violent at present and declare they will never enter their father’s door as Papa keeps the purse they must submit in the end Miss Slaebe will probably be mostly with her sister in Ireland has its boast for genuine wit pray collect all the bon mots and scraps from newspapers for my scrap book.

Pray does your neighbouring poor escape the dreadful suffering that are so pathetically related in the newspapers. A collection is making in every town and village towards the end of procuring a fund for the present relief of your peasantry. In our village we raised near fourteen pounds.

Pray make my brother and my best compnacceptable to Mr McVeagh and that we should be very glad to see him and with our best love and wishes to you my dearest Charlotte believe me

Ever your affectionate friend

E White

Handwyke July 15th 1822

24.     January 1823 from John Morron

Postmarked 10th January 1823

from John Morron

to Ferdinand McVeagh
Post Office


                                                                                                2nd January 1823

Dear Sir

I have for the last two years deferred applying to you in the hope that your sense of justice would have made it evident that my situation as your Tenant deserves and absolutely requires amelioration.

In the agreement between us for the Lands of Rawdonstown, you are to pay to me the value of all the Slated Buildings which I have erected thereon. – Independent of these slated buildings, which at the lowest calculation have cost four thousand pounds, I have expended in other buildings and in draining, mannering and other permanent improvements on the land at least £6,000 -, yet notwithstanding these improvements, I find it impossible with every exertion to make the annual rent by the produce of the soil putting out of the question, any reasonable remuneration that I might have expected for the Capital which I have thus employed – I therefore submit to your justice, the absolute necessity there is for making me an abatement in the annual rent.

The lands of Rawdonstown, altho’ highly improved with house, Working Mill, and offices, obtained at the before mentioned heavy expenses, would not if now to be let, bring the rent that I took it at, previous to its being possessed by any of these advantages, in consequence of the overwhelming depression in the value of landed property that has occurred since I became your Tenant for these lands.

Therefore, finding that it is impossible to make the rent I now pay, and as that rent is unquestionably beyond the intrinsic value of the Premises, I most earnestly request that you will take the whole of my case into your serious consideration and make to me a permanent annual abatement commensurate to the depression of the times, as well as adequate to, and in lieu of, “the value of all slated buildings erected by me thereon”. – By this measure you will perform towards me an act of justice to which I am every way entitled, and thereby also benefit yourself – trusting that I shall receive your speedy and favourable answer.

I remain

Dear Sir

Very sincerely yours

John Morron

25.     December 1828 from John Hughes

Letter postmarked Pulhely Dec 19 1828

To Ferdinand McVeagh Esq., Drewstown, Nr Athboy, Meath, Ireland

                                                                                    Revd John Hughes

                                                                                    Tynewydd, Nr Rollkely


                                                                                    Dec 16th 1828


I have received the letter with which you favoured me in answer to an advertisement inserted in the St James’ Chronicle, and beg leave to answer your questions in the order in which they are proposed. I have had eight years’ experience in teaching. I receive the limited number of five young gentlemen into my family, under a course of education preparatory to admission into university. I reside in N. Wales, in the County of Carnarvon, near the market town of Rollkely. I am a graduate of the university of Oxford and have been married for some years. I am sorry that I have nobody in Dublin to whom I can refer you. Consequently I am under the necessity of referring you to Gentlemen this side (of) the water. When I mention the name of Col. Edwards of Nanhorrn, a gentleman of ten thousand a year who is my neighbour, and the Bishop’s Chaplain, Dr. Williams, Rector of Trefdraeth, Anglesey. I deem it unnecessary to add to the number. My pupils are treated at home and abroad as part of my family. They have each a separate chamber to sleep in, not very large, but well aired and commodious. My terms including washing and the etcetera of domestic comforts are 100 guineas per annum. Three month’s notice is required of every young gentleman ere quitting my family or three months’ payment. I like to be explicit. If more particulars be required, I am Sir,

                                                Your humble servant

                                                            John Hughes

26.     July 1865 from Ellen Campbell

Black-lined letter (although part of the envelope has been torn off it looks as if Maria has written that it is the last letter from her dear friend Ellen.)

postmarked Navan 13 July ’65 (1865)

from Ellen Campbell[90]                       

to Maria McVeagh

My very dear Maria

I scarcely know how to write to you it is so long since I either wrote or heard from you; but you are often in my thoughts and prayers and still my oldest and dearest girlhood’s friend – I have been waiting hoping that bitter from such heavy trial would be … to write to you, and now dearest Maria I cannot tell you how desolate and sorrowing we are by the death of our beloved Father. I can scarcely realize it, yet and it seems like a bad dream which this lovely season making all so beautiful around, the feeling of a blanc and loss to us irreparable – My poor dear mother is tolerable and has borne the shock of losing the beloved husband of nearly 49 years, better than we could have almost hoped but then she has all her life so striven to hide her own sorrows that those who know her well an alone feel how her earthly prop and stay is taken from her – My poor dear father was not more than ten days ill and only declared to be in danger a few days before he died. And so short was the notice that we had, I did not reach here from Leamington where I was staying until Monday afternoon and he died a little before three on that morning – My dearest father is deeply and sincerely regretted by many and it is a comfort to receive a numbers of letters helping his worth and services, though the vain wish arises that he could have known in life how much he was loved and valued – I hope you will write and tell me how your kind husband and dear little girl[91] are – I have felt I could give so little happiness to my friends situated as I have been and living a life of sorrow and trial that really letter writing has been most painful and so dearest Maria I have made it my comfort to do all I could for them by remembering them in my regular prayers to the loving merciful father who … all things willing – My dear husband and darling children are at South Wales which is now our home as my dear husband’s poor brother died last September and left no children – I cannot say more dearest Maria but trusting you, your good husband and darling little girl are all quite well and very happy – love I …

My very dear Maria

your most affectionate friend

Ellen H Campbell

[1] This reference to Mary is confusing taken together with a later reference (letter 15) to Mary

[2] Later correspondence from the Halletts is postmarked from Lyme Regis, close to Sidmouth

[3] See Historical Note 1

[4] Ferdinand (born in June 1813)

[5] William, Charlotte’s brother, was off to India with the East India Company.  It seems clear from this that their father, Henry, was no longer around.

[6] See Historical Note 1

[7] ? William Brooke’s (the writer’s) wife?

[8] Louisa Johnson, Emma’s sister

[9] Flora McVeagh, Charlotte’s sister-in-law

[10] Emma’s brother

[11] Presumably Charlotte’s sister

[12] Queen Charlotte, wife of George III

[13] Is this Wayeshure? – the name occurs in later correspondence

[14] Probably Henry

[15] Under the Treaty of Chaumont – see Historical Note 1.

[16] Is this Emma [Johnson] from Swansea or did Charlotte have a sister, Emma?

[17] See Historical Note 1 (“In April 1814 [Wellington] reached Toulouse…where he again defeated the French”)

[18] Charlotte’s brother

[19] Presumably this refers to Arthur Brooke – the writer’s brother who was living in India

[20] According to IGI, William Eyre Joseph Brooke married a Mary Nicolls  – perhaps this is a relative (see Letter 21)

[21] see Historical Note 2

[22] we do not know which Mrs McVeagh this might be – possibly Henry’s wife?

[23] There was a widespread Typhus epidemic which continued until December 1819, causing some 50,000 deaths

[24] Any relation to Charlotte’s uncle, William Eyre Joseph Brooke

[25] Charlotte’s father-in-law (Joseph McVeagh)’s sister, Jane Maria McVeagh, married a Thomas Shaw.  Various letters refer to ‘Miss Shaw’ and this is perhaps Edith.  Are they perhaps related?

[26] Joseph McVeagh’s cousin-german, Catherine McVeagh (daughter of Joseph’s uncle, Hugh McVeagh and Margaret Lumsden) married her cousin Harry Lumsden in Aberdeen.

[27] Although somewhat tenuous, around the appropriate time (in 1802) IGI records that an ‘Emery’ McVeagh married William McCulloch – is this perhaps the Emily and Mr McC referred to here?

[28] Formerly Margaret McVeagh, daughter of Joseph McVeagh’s brother Hugh – she married Lewis Farquharson who assumed the name of Innes on inheritance of the estates of his Innes ancestors

[29] We do not know the relationship of Emily to the McVeaghs

[30] Margery Wynch

[31] Major Joseph McVeagh

[32] Flora McVeagh, Charlotte’s sister-in-law

[33] Mrs Henry McVeagh, née Mary Uniacke (daughter of John Uniacke) – Henry McVeagh was Charlotte’s brother-in-law

[34] Jane is possibly Jane Maria McVeagh who married Thomas Shaw (possibly Edith’s brother)

[35] Possibly Edith’s brother.

[36] No indication as to the identity of John, possibly another of Edith’s brothers?

[37] Ferdinand Meath McVeagh, Charlotte’s husband

[38] Louis XVIII (see Historical Note 3)

[39] See Historical Note 3

[40] Ferdinand and Henry, Charlotte’s brothers-in-law

[41] ‘blond’ being a type of fine lace which hung down over dresses at that time.

[42] Ferdinand’s parents died in 1794, leaving behind them an infant family (Joseph, who died young, Ferdinand, Flora and Henry).  This is presumably a law-suit brought by Ferdinand against their guardian.

[43] Presumably Cuthbert Johnson

[44] Presumably either Louisa or Emma referring to the other

[45] Presumably the son and daughter-in-law of Flora’s maternal Grandfather, Governor Alexander Wynch of Madras

[46] Probably Henry Wynch, son of George and Mary (chr. 19/2/1793 at Fort St. George, Madras)

[47] Presumably Henry’s brother, John, son of George and Mary (chr. 17/4/1797 at Fort St. George, Madras)

[48] Probably Charlotte’s brother William

[49] Presumably Flora’s mother’s (Margery’s) brother John (chr. 12/9/1757, Fort St. David, Cuddalore)

[50] is this Hardwick, Nr Aylesbury where a Revd. John White was a vicar from 1807-33?

[51] General William Brooke and his wife, Mary – Charlotte’s uncle and aunt

[52] Could this be a reference to Jane Austen and ‘Emma’ which was published around three years before this letter?

[53] In ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen, Harriet Smith is Emma Woodhouse’s friend – this is only conjecture on our part.

[54] Queen Caroline, wife of George IV.  “As king he sought to divorce her but her death in 1821 ended a struggle and a scandal in which the people sympathised with the queen.” (Chambers Biographical Dictionary). See Historical Note 4.

[55] Charlotte’s father’s sister, Mary?

[56] Jane Hallett’s husband, Jane being the writer of letters 11 and 14.

[57] Henry and Mary may be Henry Brooke, nephew of Charlotte’s paternal grandfather who lived in Bath (b. 1750) and was married to Mary

[58] William Hallett, mentioned in Jane Hallett’s previous letter (Letter 11)

[59] Charlotte’s infant daughter, Flora Harriet McVeagh

[60] Richard Hallett, Jane Hallett’s husband.

[61] If the hypothesis about Henry and Mary is correct, this is probably their daughter, Mary

[62] Charlotte’s sister-in-law, Flora McVeagh’s marriage to James Henry Deacon

[63] See footnote to Letter 1.

[64] No clear indication as to who this may be

[65] Jane Johnson is presumably Emma’s sister

[66] Probably Charlotte’s uncle, General William Brooke due to reference a few lines later to the General

[67] This may not sit well with reference to Edith Shaw’s possibly being the sister of Thomas Shaw (see note to Letter 6)

[68] George IV visited Ireland 12th August to 3rd September 1821; Dun Leary harbour was renamed Kingstown

[69] Queen Caroline

[70] The famine of 1821, particularly on the West coast of Ireland, was followed in 1822 by widespread fever

[71] Flora McVeagh

[72] off Curzon Street, Mayfair, London

[73] presumably the same place referred to in Letter 9

[74] Flora Harriet McVeagh [m. Ralph Sadleir]

[75] Formerly Flora McVeagh (Ferdinand’s sister, Charlotte’s sister-in-law)

[76] Is this from the daughter of Henry & Mary in Bath

[77] Harriet presumably – although it could conceivably be Henry, the writing is similar to the Harriet letters

[78] Aunt Agnes is Arthur Brooke’s (Uncle Robert Brooke’s brother)’s wife, née Kirchoffer, whom Arthur married on 21/5/1807 at St. George’s Church, Dublin

[79] Uncle Robert is Robert Brooke, Charlotte’s father’s brother (chr. 10/12/1771, Fort St. George, Madras)

[80] These are General William Brooke’s in-laws

[81] Charlotte’s brother presumably

[82] James is presumed to be the son of Anna Maria (Wynne) Mapletoft and Colonel Robert Brooke, former Governor of St. Helena. James Henry Brooke (d. 22/11/1821, Fort William, Calcutta) was Charlotte’s paternal grandfather’s sister’s grandson.

[83] Mary Brooke, presumably, Charlotte’s father’s sister (chr. 9th June 1776, Fort St. George, Madras)

[84] Kirchoffer presumably

[85] presumably John Wynch

[86] Robert Brooke, Charlotte’s father’s brother

[87] The Nicolls family, referred to in letter 21

[88] is this Mrs H McVeagh (in other words, Mrs Henry McVeagh)?

[89] See note to Letter 1

[90] Ellen Campbell died at Leamington Nov 11 1865

[91] presumably Maude Mary McVeagh