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. The pencil markings were written on the letter’s front after it was received and have no bearing on the item’s postal history.
This brief note accompanied a legal document in which David Shelton Edwards granted power of attorney stating, "Your Power of Att.y is on the first page to save double postage, "and the sheet appears to be roughly cut to the left of the note's text. He continues with advice to his wife Harriet about keeping her own private purse and to keep only, "good bankable money."
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.
National Museum of American History, Naval History Archives. David Shelton Edwards Papers. Accession Number: 1978.0652.
New York Public Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division. "David S. Edwards papers, 1818-1865."
U.S.F.C. Pen: 29th & 30th 37
Dr Wife - yours of the 1st inst I have answered & have written to Washington to have the Chron: sent to you. your allotm.t I sent 2 weeks since. & am now waiting - to answer another of your letters - when it arrives. Your Power of Att.y is on the first page. to save double postage. - - - O! here comes Purser De Bree holding up a letter - it is from you - the moment I beheld your hand writing - the pleasing certainty thrilled thru my bosom; but it is so full I can hardly find where to begin. I see the first page filled up with a most awful long bill - at the bottom of which I could not do otherwise than write approved [inserted from above: except the visit(?)] only hoping it is all paid. for I am trying to get out of Debt as soon as possible. My Mother always used to tell me to keep out of debt - she used to say "you'll never see trouble 'till you begin to give notes - and then - you'll see enough." look out for bad money. Keep none but good bankable money on hand. I think you will be able to (as soon as all your debts are paid) establish a fund —— may be of use to you when you go to keeping house
I promise I will not interfere with; but shall be your own little private purse - so dont lay it in your drawer to be stolen. Treasury notes are the best money going for they are good, & draw interest. So my letter of the 21st & 22d Oct. was not so plausible - well Dear I beg pardon - we must take the bitter with the sweet - & I think you have now had your satisfaction by paying me in my own currency - so now we will start fair again [small drawing inside of a wavy circle] The Commodore is now convalescent & Mrs. Dallas is well, & we are good friends again the Com. has taken the House Mrs. Higly occupied. & Mrs. Cook breaks up & boards with Mrs. Garnier.
I forwarded to you the Chronicle containing my report. Mr. Wentworth & Mary Warren are to be married soon. the sidewalks are being paved. Mrs. Willis is enceinte. The Boston sails in a few days & Mr. & Mrs. Fauntleroy go in her to Havana for their health. - there is a fine 3 story house & some others building in the New City. The railroad goes slowly. I give myself very little trouble about politics; but I think there will be a reaction before long.
Kiss the children for Pa. my love to ma & all the Family. ever most affectionately
Your DS. E.
30th P. m. Mrs. Mac is here at Collins all well.- she went from the ship to the St. Boat at Mobile. all send love to you - Mrs. D. wants you to come out. & I want you badly - but I dont blame you for staying with ma.- yours DS. E.
[written sideways in the top margin]
I rec.d Harriets dear little letter. & read it all over & over again. My foot is 5 1/2 measure - no more. the shoes are too long, the other things are good. love to all family
I rec.d Delias letter. I thank her for it.