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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 7

Dated: 2 Sept 1804 from CB at Sellinge Lees. Addressed to: Miss Dacres (No address given)

You do not, my beloved Mary, require assurances to be convinced how very grateful to my feelings are the affectionate expressions in your letter of the 25th which regard my Mother and sisters. I have only to lament that the present circumstances preclude the possibility that you should have reason to esteem them as much for their own sakes as for mine, an which I most earnestly hope will be the case when you become acquainted with them – Oh! Mary, when, when that happy period arrives I assure you the dread of its distance affords no addition to the very moderate share of good spirits I at present possess, neither does the contemplation of difficulties which are alas! too conspicuous in our path to by any means tend to dissipate, afflictions which at present must assume but a melancholy hue – I however strive and will resolutely strive to contemplate the fairer side of this constantly thought on subject – and now, Mary, I think I shall have your permission to be little gloomy, when you hear that in the present state of affairs there is not a chance of being able to obtain leave of absence from this district – indeed it cannot be a matter of complaint that this is so considering the very threatening appearance that the Boulogne Flotilla at present assumes – and the relative situation of this Brigade which is with the exception of General Moore’s the nearest to the coast – we hear a constant and heavy cannonade. I am also informed that on a very clear day, it is possible to distinguish, from a signal post about two miles from our quarters, the French lines of Encampment – the coast is perfectly visible - and in all these circumstances I do now know that I should feel quite comfortable even at Wearde – a few weeks however must make a material change, as it is utterly impossible that their vessels can occupy the position in tempestuous weather in which they are now anchored. I wish, and I believe it is unanimously wished, that they would give us an opportunity of deciding this question- and one really would suppose, from what is passing in Russia that the Emperor will be compelled to make an attempt and that as soon as possible.

Since my arrival here I have accompanied Genl Paget to dinner parties at Sir Edward Knatchbull’s, Lord Thanet’s and two or three Militia Fetes – all these things are so much alike and so very uninteresting to a person wishing himself elsewhere, that I have no doubt but that the good folks I had the good fortune to sit near on these occasions thought me equally as stupid as I certainly found them – Sir E Knatchbull is a very pleasant man and his family appear to be as much so – he has a very large one, and is now married to a third wife not many years older than his eldest daughter. Lord Thanet lives very much in retirement since his trial – a lady presides at his table, to whom it is whispered he is married – she is German and has lived with him many years, when it was perfectly certain they were not married – indeed I do believe the report is not generally credited – You may perhaps not be acquainted with the sentence that was pronounced on this nobleman – it was that his right hand should be cut off – the confiscation of all his property – and imprisonment in the Tower for twelve months – the latter was the only part carried into execution and which confinement it is said has in some measure brought him to his senses.

Will you my Mary, thank your mother for her kind invitation to Julia – you do not know how much flattered and delighted she will be made by this kindness. I cannot fancy that Mrs Walton will have any objection to her accepting it – I shall leave her to fight her own battle on the subject, and which no doubt will be as strong as her inclinations.

The letter Barrington mentions I have heard of but not yet received it was forwarded with yours from Fermoy to Ipswich from whence they have not yet found their way. Pray give my best love to him and tell him he would not now be able to find time to read letters – he is much better occupied – I am happy that your Father is well, though much concerned that his expectations have been so greatly disappointed in regard to the Commander in Chief – I believe his motto is Esperance I have for some time made it mine and trust it will some of these days be fulfilled.

I hope to hear from you soon again, next to that of seeing you my only happiness is that your letters give me, and you are much too good to deprive me of that

My best love to all your family –
Farewell dear and beloved Mary,
For ever and ever yours
Chas Bevan

Sellinge Lees
2 September 1804


i) Sir E Knatchbull
ii) Lord Thanet – 9th Earl of Thanet 1767-1865; charged 1789 with riot at the trial of O’Connor in Maidstone. Had an “alliance” with Hungarian Anne de Bogamiewitz. Lived quietly in later years at Hothfield House, Kent
iii) Barrington – Mary’s brother serving in RN
iv) Julia – CB’s sister
v) Fermoy – Ipswich; BB had followed Paget on his transfer first to a brigade near Colchester, then to Infantry Brigade near Hythe
vi) Father’s disappointment – Evidently Admiral J R Dacres had hoped for the C in C post probably from the new administration in 1804


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