Letters from P.E.I. - Alexander Beazeley to Miss Nicholson, 1850


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The following letter was transcribed for us by Mike Salmon, mikesalmon@blueyonder.co.uk from his collection of Prince Edward Island Covers.


Addr. to Miss Nicholson Thornton Park near Berwick on Tweed England
B/S Prince Edward Island No. 23 1850 arr. Berwick De. 12 1850 Ms. 1/ó.

Charlotte Town Prince Edward Island
Gulf St. Lawrence.
November 23rd. 1850.

My Dear Elizabeth & Harriet,

I am exceedingly sorry that my first letter to you from our new home should bear ill news, but so it is. I had hoped that it would be long before any of us were separated from one another, but an allówise and all merciful God has seen fit to order otherwise, and has taken our dear Mother to Himself. Her health was broken by the very bad voyage we had, a leaky damp ship, & unwholesome provisions. During last winter Mother drove out in the sleigh, when there was a cold north wind, and unfortunately neglected to take a "Respirator", which she had been advised to wear. As we went out, we had the wind behind us, & found the drive mild and pleasant, but when we turned homewards we met it & Mother felt chilled. Since that day (in February, I think) she never felt quite well - the cold went to her chest, & in the summer she was laid up with a kind of English cholera. which weakened her dreadfully. The cold then attacked her lungs, & from August she rapidly sunk, and after a long and very painful time, which she bore with an angelís patience, it pleased our Father to remove her, on the morning of the 13th. November. She died in Simeonaís arms, quite gently and peacefully, - I was away at the time, and was summoned home just in time to see her quite expire, but she was not conscious. Remembering how much dear Mother suffered, & how completely broken down her health was, it would be wrong to wish her back from her happy state - nor would I, if I could recall her. But to lose her altogether, to miss her from among us, never more to see & hear her, is a sad trial for us all, under which nothing could sustain us, but the firm belief of her blessed state, and a reliance on the all-wise governing of Providence. Father has borne up better than we could have expected, but Simeona & Kate suffered a great deal. For weeks & weeks before dear Motherís death, Kate sat up all night with her, & slept in the day - this was very trying for her health, and the doctor said she could not have stood it much longer, for she would not stir out into the open air, as it would make her too sleepy at night. She began to look thin & hectic, & there is little doubt that if she had continued this watching for much longer, her health would have given way. Latterly, as Ona was better, she sat with Kate, & relieved her in the watching. They were both very unwell after dear Mother died, but now they are getting better, & I hope Ona may get through this winter in safety. Last winter tried her severely - she was so very ill that Dr. Hobkirk said she could not live over June! But we have been favored by an indulgent Providence, & the consumption has been reduced from the acute to the chronic kind, & she may yet live for 6 or 7 years. Does that not seem a very short time to have her? And yet we shall be truly thankful if she be spared so long - she herself does not think she will live beyond the end of next year.

About a week before dear Mother died, a letter came from Berwick, bringing the melancholy news of Grandmotherís death, but this we kept from her, for fear she might not be able to stand the shock, & now we are glad this additional suffering was spared her. They will meet, we trust in Heaven.

The funeral was on the 15th. Michael and I chose a very pretty spot in the burying ground, where we hope all to be laid together, if we live & die here. In the summer we will try and make a little garden there, and plant dear Motherís favorite flowers near her. You cannot think how beautiful & peaceful & happy she looked, as she lay in her coffin, such a happy, sweet expression, so different, oh so very different from the pained & wasted look she had while alive, during the last fortnight or three weeks.

This great and severe trial has made us almost forget our other bereavement, the loss of Grandmother. She seems to have died as gently & easily as dear Mother, & very nearly within a month of her. But she was old, & we could not have expected her to have live very long, but we had hoped that dear Mother would have been spared to us for many happy years - that we should have settled here in such comfort & pleasure - now, we are a broken - up family, we have lost the best among us, and shall

2 . Nov. 23rd. 1850.

never be as we were before, & there is the terrible certainty that Ona cannot live very much longer. The doctor says one of her lungs is entirely gone. So you see that our Colonial life has not been quite such a cheerful one as we had anticipated. Sickness & death are sad destroyers of family comfort, & the gradual thinning of the family circle is not a pleasant thing to-look upon. There is one thing however, which is our great stay & comfort - a firm belief that we are all in the merciful hand of One who is infinitely wise, and who orders everything for the best. This is a great consolation - a sheet anchor upon which we may rely in the severest storms.

I am afraid you will think this a very poor & rattling letter, but indeed I have no heart to write now. I enclose you a letter I began in the spring, & which I cannot really finish, but if you will write to me, I will try & send you a better letter in the beginning of next year, when these painful thoughts are not so fresh in my mind.

View Enclosure

I have made a little sketch or plan of Charlotte Town, which I must leave unexplained. I had intended to send you a fuller explanation of it , but this must here suffice for the present.We first lived in a house near the center of the town, which I have marked with by a dot, near Queen Square, in the town. In the summer we moved to a house near Government House, which I have marked with a little triangle. The lightly shaded parts near town, marked "Kensington" & "Belvedere", are two pieces of land which Father has bought, & together contain about 300 acres. Belvedere is a beautiful place, well wooded. If we all had good health, Father would have built there this year, but now I suppose we shall stay in town. I do not see anything else just now to describe, except the "Cricket Ground" [Note: now Belvedere Golf and Country Club. Ed.], where we played in the summer. We have got up a Cricket Club here, which seems likely to be a good thing, as there is very little to do here in leisure hours in the way of amusement, excepting what I have mentioned at the beginning of the other letter. During this season we have played a good many matches, some of which were really well contested. I hope by practice, some day to become a good cricketer. I have omitted to tell you about the climate - the winter is very severe - sets in in November, & lasts till March, or the end of April. The cold is dry, not damp like an English winter - the temp. frequently below zero. The spring is backward, and there is no settled fine weather till June. The summer short & hot - the autumn, or "fall", delightful beautiful serene weather, calm & mild - the finest weather, I think, I have ever known. The weather suddenly changed today - it has snowed all day, & the snow lies deep, there were sleighs about today. I suppose the harbor & rivers will be frozen over about the end of this, or beginning of December. Last winter, which they say was mild, the river froze on Dec. 4th. I got both my ears frozen last winter, which is very painful indeed, I hope they wonít freeze this year.

Pray remember us all very kindly to your circle, & believe me to remain,

Your affectionate cousin,

Alexander Beazeley.

View Tombstone and Data: [ Margaret Beazely ] | [ Simeona Beazely ]

[Interestingly, Margaret's (referred to in this series of letters as "Mother") tombstone, is one of the stones in the cemetery now known as the "Old Protestant Burying Grounds" on University Avenue (Elm Avenue), in Charlottetown. Simeona (referred to here as "Ona"), is buried nearbyÖ The Inscriptions: Margaret, wife of George Beazely, d. Nov 13, 1850, age 49 | Simeona, dau. Of Commander and Mrs. Beazely b. Aug 17, 1821, d. Aug. 31 1851, age 30 years. Simeona's stone is a bit weathered, with some spalling and was relevelled last year. Margaret's stone is on the ground, but in excellent condition. It could be remounted on a base or simply placed in the ground, as there is a lot of blank space on the bottom of it. Do you know of any descendants who would be interested in helping to restore this stone? If so, please contact George Wright - gwright@isn.net]

See Also:
Mar. 1851 Letter from George Beazeley
Jul. 1851 Letter from Alexander Beazeley
Sep. 1851 Letter from George Beazeley
Nov. 1852 Letter from George Beazeley

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