Folded letter by US Navy Surgeon David Shelton Edwards
The letter was sent unpaid to Huntington, Long Island, New York, and marked at Washington, DC post office for 18 3/4 cents postage due at destination. This was the correct rate for a single sheet letter going a distance of 150-400 miles.
This letter largely regards the settling of the estate of a friend or family member. David Shelton Edwards does not identify the deceased but explains his planned actions on the part of his dependents, Henry and James, and how he is planning to settle their debts. He finishes this letter to his wife Harriet Eliza with more updates regarding their house and instructions for the family's 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."
Washington D. C.
28.th Aug. 1840
I have the pleasure of answering yours of the 23.d-I see you are getting restless - very well I want you to return here as soon as you are ready - it is now very healthy here - Mrs. Stevens & all the ladies send love to you the Com -desired me to give his respects to you & says they have no money yet to do any thing.
The Sec.y is still at the Springs - but when he returns I will try him again for James tho I fear it is a desperate case; & as he has now made up his mind to go to sea somehow - I hope Mr. Stout will select some ship for him., I tell him he must not think of going more than once in this way but must push straight ahead until he gets command. & he will be master of his own fortune - I hope Mr. Montgomery shewed to you my letter - I want to know what he & you all think of the business & how Capt. M. will manage it to raise the wind for the boys - I am willing to pay all James Debts & take his - acknowledgement & obligation approved by his Guardian &c. Mr Montgomery I hope will direct Alex.r Mont.y to do what is best for him & Mont.y must comply willingly - he will see the benifit of it hereafter - I do not think mont.y knowingly do wrong - but he should take good advice - & he can always do as he pleases - if he will only please to do right - If peradventure he should choose otherwise. the Executors would be justified in permitting him to be kept tightly at a trade without a cent [inserted from above: from the Estate] until the Estate is settled.
I think you ought to answer Mary Fowler's letter - give my love to them - I should think it hardly worth while for you to be at the trouble to go up there. & as the things have been there so long - they might as well remain longer - but do as you please about them the Carpet & such things of course must be worn out & now of little value. but the Bedsteads &c. will be food whenever you want them. -
Your carriage is mended.
James & myself dined yest.y with Col. Henderson - & the day before with Com Stevens — & to day - we have - apple dumplings!-
You write for [written above: $] 100. that dont look much like depriving yourself [inserted from above: or "sacrificing some] of your own comforts" - well if you want it, you must have it — you will not doubt make as good use of it as I should.-
I found hole in my waist coat pocked (ripped) and have lost out my knife - gold pensil case & I dont know what else. - they are gone. so much for bad pockets. You will find where Hosea is by enquiring at Washingt.n Hall. He asked me about taking you to Saratoga Springs - if you would. but I told him you was joking.
[top of third "page" removed (7 7/8 x 3 1/2 in.)]
Dont stuff Willy up to wear finery.
I have engaged nothing in the way of stores -
I would like to have a half barrel of pickled tongues - & of crushed sugar & of No. 1 mackerel. not No. 2. they can be procured at the store of W.m Burch No. 12 Coenties-slip. N.Y. which is a little beyond the Georgetown packets. If you dont get them - I can easily write to Mr. Burch for them - I was in his store in N.Y.
James [written in above: joins me in] love to all - & kiss the children & Delia & even the Capt. if he has [inserted from above: no] tobacco - you say miss m- has gone to the City. - I wish you would tell D. Hawks we do not like Willy to eat Candies or Confectionary.
come on as soon as you can
your affect.e husband.-