Folded letter by US Navy Surgeon David Shelton Edwards
The letter was sent unpaid and the Pensacola, Florida, postmaster marked it in the upper right corner for 25 cents postage due at destination, the correct rate for a single sheet letter going a distance more than 400 miles.
Com. Dallas returned from a hunt with a high fever and David Shelton Edwards was so busy taking care of him that he had not had time before now to write to his wife Harriet. He fears he may have seriously insulted Mrs. Dallas by not allowing her to be in her husband's room as much as she wanted during his illness. He finally received a collection of Harriet's letters brought via Havana. He details the actions he is taking to secure the power of attorney over his estate. He explains that he would much rather have their son, William, living in the country than the city because it is a much healthier lifestyle there. He finishes this letter by relating a joke told to him by Lt. Gardiner about a married couple fighting over what belonged jointly to both of them.
This letter is part of the correspondence of David Shelton Edwards between the years 1835 and 1848. The 48 letters from this period held by the National Postal Museum are primarily addressed to Edward's wife Harriet; in 1830, Edwards married Harriet Eliza Henry and they had two children, William and Harriet. They kept up a frequent correspondence when his naval service kept them separated. Between 1835 and 1848, Edwards served as a Surgeon at the hospital in the Pensacola Navy Yard, Florida; Fleet Surgeon to the West Indies Squadron; and Surgeon aboard many vessels engaged in the Mexican-American War. His naval career spanned from 1818 to 1861 and his last sea cruise ended in October of 1859 after which he retired to his family home in Connecticut except for a brief time spent at New Bedford, Massachusetts recruiting for the Union Navy during the Civil War. He died in Trumbull, Connecticut on March 18, 1874.
Constellation Nov. 20th 1837.
I have of late been so much engaged during the Commodore's illness that I have not till now been able to sit down without interruption to read [inserted from above: &] answer your 3 letters - 2 via Havana & 1 by express. The Commodore after his return from his hunt on St. Rosa, was attacked with a remmittent fever which assumed an inflammatory character - with a dangerous determination to the head. The Fever is now subdued & he will soon [written above: (I hope) be up] again; but I fear I have given offence to Mrs. D. in not permitting her to be in the Commodore's room as much as she wished. She said she thought she was treated with very little consideration. I told her I was sorry for it but considered it as absolutely necefsary. She is in bad health herself. Lt Morris you know died near Barnbridge in Geo: on his return to the North - he should not have left here.
Now for your letters, No. 1 [inserted from above: via Havana] dated 6th Oct. - I thank you my dear wife for your disposition to come out and be ready to meet me on my return from our cruise, and now feel that our happiness in being together would have been paramount to every evil. Your perseverance in finding the certificate is worthy of all praise. you may enclose it to me in your next.
I have made my citizen blue coat into a uniform for my common wear -& keep my other as best. A new coat would not have come amiss;
Mr. Ward has so much to do to look out for Bob that I did not suppose you would see much of him. Never mind Dear you have One who will always love you through thick & thin - so stick a pin there.-
I hope when your friends call to see you you will be able to see them kindly - otherwise their first visit would of course be the last.-I will write to Washington & direct the chronicle to you. & will send you a power of attorney in my next. Your allotment I enclosed in my last. never mind selling the Ins:stock as you would no doubt sell it at a sacrifice -
As for William I should think he would need a better constitution than he has to endure the changes from hot rooms with cool fires to the sudden change of air out of doors. I should think he would do better to be altogether in the Country whether he learns to be a Yankee or a Gentelman it matters not much for if he lives I suppose he will never be anything more than a counter-jumper or little Dandy.
I expect I shall get some handsome things for you all When I go to Havana.
I am so much "attached to William" as to think that the improvement of his mind so that his thoughts & actions should tend to proper objects to be the best kind of "worldly interest" and of more value than dollars & cents — & if you think W.m would gain that by going to the W. Indies then ship him off by the first vessel & let him go & suck sugar cane with the little niggers 'till he is just as good as they are - I think Delia has done much for him & I must say I could not object to such improvements; but I do not wish any body to bear his expenses - We can do that ourselves - I hope—. Mr. DeBree Mr. Schenck & others send their respects Mr. Gist too & many others & a great many ladies -
Dont ask me any questions about your Navy Yard folks - Miss L(?) & Miss C. are up before the Court here now for some charge of pettit Larceny -
You will persist in telling stories - Dont I know how much you care for me? - you would rather have me with you now one day than all the people in New York.
To our fair friends you must give love for love
So it is too late now? ha! Could'nt come! Well do you suppose I care — ? I wish you was near enough to let me abuse you -
If Capt. S. takes up the allotment at the end of the Quarter it will do.-if you had told me in time I would have made the assignment to somebody else. have you made any enquiry into that Painter's bill? have you sold the S. S. pew? or do you prefer to keep it - as you may perhaps go to housekeeping in the Spring -My love to Ma & give her as much money as she wants, if you have it. If the S. S. chimneys smoke - you must marrow(?) their throats - & Boltonize them ie raise the hearths - Dear I dont think hard of your remaining where you are in the present state of Ma's health.
"Your letters are very pleasurable, & I am glad you are happy" you may have that line back - it dont exactly fit me.-I have paid all off here except - Barclay & my Taylor.
I will end now by telling you one of our friend G Lt Gardiner's little stories - A certain man was planning his dairy with his wife said "my dairy" - says she Our dairy says he "my dairy" says she "our dairy" says he "my dairy" with that she floored him with the poker - his hat flew off - & he crawled under the bed - after a while wishing to make his escape he peeped his head out - & very faintly says - my- Dear - do you see any thing of Our hat-? I cant tell you any more of it now - but just keep an eye to our affairs & I will fill up all our wrinkles, with good cheer. & change your ill nature into sweet love.
so good bye till the next.
Capt. Mac has not heard from his wife by letter since his express but I think he will receive one to night.
Capt Chase goes on to the North tomorrow -
Adeocita D S. E