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 continues on the subject of settling an indebted estate. David Shelton Edwards explains that he and a Mr. M plan to shoulder the debts of Henry and James. He tells his wife Harriet that their house in Washington, DC has been painted as she requested and gives her instructions for their son William as he goes off to school.
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. Sept. 10th 1840.
Since I received your letter saying that you did not like to see me stand aloof but hoped I would try to assist Mr M. & facilitate matters - that you would rather make some sacrifices &c. prompted also by my own feelings I wrote to Mr. M. offering to him the use of my name. he wrote me [inserted from above: on the 4th] that he might want it to raise [written above: $] 1000. on the 5th I sent him two notes of [written above:$] 500. each to be paid in 90 days at the L. I. Bank - These he may perhaps put in the Bank & take out the money - to pay expenses already incurred - besides the bonds. which I hope will not be required,
I presume Mr. M. will take Henry's mortgage [inserted from above: he is of age] for his debts - & I propose taking James' mortgage for his debts. & let the rents pay the debts of the Estate.
And now my dear wife - as to the "sacrifices" there are very few that we can make with propriety. so I think we will go on as well as we can, with, perhaps, a pecuniary sacrifice.
The Commodore has taken your request into consideration - & has ordered the inside of the whole house to be painted, the parlors were done to day. the color is lighter than before. The ladies enquire after you every day - and send their love to you, George is my factotum & does his work without a word said to him - Antonio requires looking after. & since you left his wages have been poorly earned.
George made you some peach preserves yesterday - good lemon clings(?) are 75- cts a peck. Capt. Mc Intosh says the Navy Yard will not do for his family - nor the City either. he has applied to me for our house at S. S. & I have written to Mr. Folger to know if he expects to continue there. Mrs Odenheimer has lost one of her twins. You may send Willy to Dr. Hawks as soon as you please
I have written you a check on the next page. you must endorse it when you give it.
Tell Willy he must be kind & generous to his associates, and make friends & not enemies of them. he must scorn to tell a lie or to equivocate. He must always do as Dr. Hawks & his teacher tells him. he must [inserted from above: not] get into little passions. and when he has done wrong he must acknowledge it & try not to do it again. & always be ready in time for his meals & other engagements. Pay the omnibus driver at Flush.g
I think Harriet must have hurt herself riding horse or some such way - & from your not writing me again - think she must be well. Hosea writes me that he expects to go to Connecticut with you. I hope you will find Mother better.
give my love to all the family. - Hosea says he is to sail the 1st Oct. - have you written Mary Fowler.-
My love to Delia & the Capt. - James is getting a shaving & dressing box made - for Sea. When will his ship be ready -
I hope to have the curtains up, & the carpets down,
already for the Bride.
from your affect.e husband
[top of third "page" removed (7 3/4 x 2 7/8 in.)]
Sept. 11th P. m. I feel much disposed to keep this letter on hand until I hear from you - so you need not look for another until I have something more to write about -