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Collections - Letters

Letters of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Bevan, 1804-1811.

Letter Number 22

Dated: 25th August 1809 from CB Jersette, South Beveland.
Addressed to Mrs C Bevan

I had the pleasure to receive, my dearest Mary, two letters of the 16th & 20th Instant yesterday. I am happy to hear you say you hope soon to be quite well, for I have most (sic) uneasy on your account since the receipt of your former letter. I did not expect to have a more favourable report since the receipt of your poor Father, a fall from a horse is at any time a serious thing but at his period of life and in his very precarious state of health, it was most alarming, - I fear on his account for the Hertfordshire purchase, as he will certainly not be satisfied without society, the question is will he get any that he likes in that place and as to London I am sure it is the worst place they can go to without a much larger fortune – I am really grieved (?) at all this uncomfortable prospect; I think even Bath would be more preferable – He has many acquaintances there and all of his own time of life – much pleasanter than hunting out acquaintances of superior Rank who only look down upon you and think over a call at your door an act of the greatest condescension – I hope however that my forebodings are excessive and that they will be all most comfortably settled – Devonshire, Devonshire was the place – We have not a syllable of news – The business here has been horribly mismanaged – we expect to re-embark shortly and if nothing is to be done in this part of the world we may probably go to Sir Arthur Wellesley; at this place such is the report. The Army is becoming very jittery, ague and xx Fever in Every Corps in this Island those on board ships have not suffered. Major Bradford – Ld Chatham’s ADC has just returned from England and I hear says that the people of England are delighted at the capture of Flushing –
they are excellent judges of military affairs/ But I do not believe they are such fools. They who found fault with Sir John Moore! To be humbugged by such a fellow as this. I do not believe my countrymen are such idiots. At all measures if the people of or in England are delighted it is a great deal more than the English people in South Beveland are, or likely to be. We hear that there has been a dispute between Louis Buonaparte (King of Holland) and Marshall Bernadotte (Prince of Pontecorvo) who was sent from Vienna by his Majesty L’Empereur et Roi to command the Dutch and French Troops at Antwerp, to this Louis objected saying that he should command his own subjects in Person as Sir A. Wellesley says, Bernadotte replied that he had nothing to do with Antwerp which belonged to France – I do not give you this as true but as it is reported. I am very much obliged to you for your account of the Spanish affair. I had certainly seen the Gazette, but this does not lessen my thanks to you. I have a letter from Mrs Bevan, but not one word from any friends in Montague Square – This is rather surprising – She talks of returning to London but does not say one word of her affairs. I therefore conclude Mr L ?? is not yet arrived. I am surprised you have not any of my letters for I took them myself to Mr Le Geyt, Sir R. Keates secretary and others I took to Goes to the Adjt Gen 1. This I shall take to Batz tomorrow morning if it does not rain quite so hard as today. – I want also to see Ld Wm who writes me word he has lost his Brother Ld Henry which disturbed him very much. You have been too much occupied to hear anything of Lady Huwardine or Miss Maude – I am glad to hear Mrs Shaw is better – and hope she will go to the sea.

I have this moment heard that a Council of War has determined we return to England – Will this increase the delights of the People? We ought now to be on our return – but we ought to have in our possession the French Fleet and Flotilla – There must be a rumpus – I think. I conclude we are off to Spain – for the government must either (obliterated) Sir Arthur Wellesley or send him a (obliterated) Force to keep the field – I hope to see you very soon – if it only is for a very short time God Bless you and our dear little Boys, my dearest Mary – I am always, with best love to your Family –

Your most affectionate C.B.
Still at Jersette 25 August
On the flyleaf is written only
“Please keep in case I hear any more at Batz”


i) Hertfordshire place – Dacres was considering and did buy Money Hill, a house near Rickmansworth
ii) Sir Arthur Wellesley – He had been returned to the Peninsular and was fighting at Oporto
iii) Major Bradford – not identified, Chatham, Pitt’s elder brother was the C in C
iv) Flushing surrendered on 14 August
v) Buonaparte & Bernadotte: Bernadotte arrived at Antwerp on 15 August to take command of the Army of the North, apparently welcomed by Louis. Louis then went to Amsterdam to organise mobilisation of the National Guard to protect the rest of Holland; there were certainly some local difficulties over how much of local forces fell under Bernadotte’s command but probably not as much of a rift as CB’s rumour suggested.
vi) “letter from Mrs Bevan” presumably this referred to CB’s mother of whose planning he was critical
vii) Le Geyt – is in letter 21 described as Rear Admiral Richard Keates’ secretary. Keates commanding the squadron which transported the Reserve to South Beveland
viii) Goes a town on S. Beveland was where Chatham moved his HQ from Walcheren shortly before the end (as he moved the bulk of the Army thither)
ix) Lord Wm – presumably Capt Lord Stuart of Lavinia who had transported CB with Bn HQ 28th. Lord Henry Stuart was spoken of as a passenger
x) Lady Hawarden – 1st Viscount H (1793) was Sir Robert Maude – thus probably con with Miss Maude
xi) The Council of War – of Lieut Generals gave their opinion on 27 Aug and Chatham notified Castlereagh on 28th so CB was well and quickly informed. The evacuation does not seem to have started before 30 August
xii) To have the French fleet – no-one seems to have spoken of this – perhaps CB was thinking of Copenhagen when 28th helped sail some of the captured Danish fleet
xiii) The Adjutant General – Major Gen Harry Calvert was Adjutant General and was at that time in S. Beveland


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