The following letter was transcribed for us by Mike Salmon, email@example.com from his collection of Prince Edward Island Covers.
May 9th, 1850Mr Marjoriebanks:
My Dear Sir;
I am wondering very much that I have not heard from you. You surely must have over- looked the delay that occurred in the first instance on my part - I asked you to overlook it - And after making an apology for it I thought you were more of a gentleman than to have retained it in your memory.
I have the pleasure of writing you that I am in very excellent health. You may recollect requesting me to write you, particularly about the climate of this Country. I recollect of you making the observation that you would be afraid of the severity of the N.A. - Winter - it is admitted by all, that the climate of this Island and the adjacent Colonies is the longest and most severe in all N. America - that is placed beyond a doubt by looking at the parallel upon which it lies (I have said Climate above - where I should have said Winter) and a great many persons writing home, state the length of the time the snow continues on the ground and the ice upon the lakes but the learned writers never charge people to say any thing about the dry and pure atmosphere which the weakest lungs may breath - without inconvenience - epidemic illnesses are not known here, and as far as regards pectoral complaints, they are very rare - when I was in Dumfries I never faced a Winter that I could say that I was in good health I had always colds and frequently to excess and had I had the misfortune to have had to drag out other ten years in a Shop then I believe I would have become consumptive, or long before that period when I came here in Sept. I was in very good health - and since then I have had the experience of one Winter without the slightest cold sore, chest or any other pectoral disease. I never enjoyed health since I recollect before to what I enjoy at present. Never was so robust and strong. That fine full tone that one feels when in perfect health
I will now give you some idea of the way I have been employed during Winter- I have been frequently out with a hunting, party, hunting the Moose? silver fox and bear - the long deep snow drives them to the outskirts of the forest, which renders them more easily found than they otherwise would be. The Indians hunt them for their skins which are valuable. Once after a fresh fall of snow four of us started for some sport with an Indian for guide, we had got three moose? and a fox and here come together on the banks of a stream in the forest, when we saw the trail of a bear quite fresh across the ice - so we resolved to follow him, we kept on his trail till he led us for many miles into the forest and it had begun to snow and we were thinking of retracing our steps for fear of a storm when the guide led us to the outskirts of some thick brush. We found he was in it, and each took his post round it to pick him up when he broke cover, I had just got to my place, and their dogs put in, when I saw the bush shake, and out he came at a slow walk he came right towards me - it being the first I had shot at and a bad position for shooting since I had nearly got into a ------with him. I had a fine Rifle that I could depend upon to a hair and I thought I could shoot him in the heart - but with his walk in the deep snow I took about three inches below the mark - he rose on end to look towards me - when the Dr. of the barracks put a ball right into his heart which killed him - After taking a pull at the fire water we commenced our return. With night setting in and the snow driving in our faces we lost our way and as we trusted to the Indian, we had no compass we were nearly lost. A young Englishman that was with us that hunted every winter here, and in the far west said he never made as narrow an escape - we got at last unto the banks of a stream, which the Indian knew and followed it, we came to an encampment far into the night - done up, but after some hot brandy we lay down round the large fire and slept as ---- as if I had been on -------- there is no life like one free and independent in the woods. King of the forest glade - I will bless the day when I set sail for this country - I have a great deal to write you about the place, but I must wind up for the present - I fully intended when I wrote you last to write again next mail - but the sport is so good here, that I am out all day then at night we have parties for ever more, they ------- ---- ------ -----, with their roasted geese and Brandy punch they make one forget any thing but the present time - and females for I never saw any to compare with them- I will write you in the course of a week a long letter about the appearance of the Island it is a lovely sport just now. I sent the last letter to the post office by the boy and the stupid fellow put them with the --- without paying them It was a mistake or they would all have been paid Dickson's as well - I have not heard from him or Brown but I don't care a damn I never will write them again, unless I hear from them soon. Give me all the news and write upon receipt of this letter. Put a good strong seal upon it and address as before - I wish to correspond with you or I would not have wrote till I heard from as for Dickson & Brown I don't care a damn whether they wrote or not. Give Mrs Rankine my kindest respects when you see her say I am well, happy and like this Country so well that I will never return to stay in the Old Country again.
Co??in Potts?1 shilling in red (prepaid) Postmarked P.E.I May 8 1850
Mr Hobart's?, Merchant,
Received Dumfries May 22