Transcribed by Alejandro Milberg, [email protected]
These letters have been donated to the Public Archives and Records Office by Alejandro. The first was written in August 1835, while looking into emigrating to P.E.I. The second was written in Devonport, England, in April 1836, when he was waiting for favorable winds to embark in the "Castalia" towards PEI.
Letter to P.E.I. by Henry Shearman, to Robert W. Hay 1835
CO 226/52 page 252
5 August, 1835
To Robert W. Hay, Esq.Honble Sir
Having made many unsuccessful inquiries with regard to Prince Edwards Island and being anxious to obtain some authentic information relative thereto for an individual desirous of settling in that colony, I have taken the liberty of addressing this inquiry to yourself, thinking that the fountain head is the best source to which application can be made, not doubting your urbanity will pardon the trouble circumstances have in a manner compelled me to thrust upon you - Without further tiring your patience with a long preamble, I will simply state that a perusal of McGregor's British America having pointed out Prince Edwards Island as a very desirable colony for an emigrant to settle in and it being therein stated that land sufficient to engross the labour of from ten to twenty thousand persons in the cultivation of it, remains hitherto unoccupied, I am very desirous to ascertain whether Government still holds any portion of that untilled land and will grant it to emigrants , and on what terms - also in what part or parts of the island such land is situated, and how it is to be obtained? If afterall I am in error in making this application to yourself, you will confer on me a very great favor by pointing out to whom the application should be made either in this country or Prince Edward Island. I beg with many apologies for the trouble I have given you to subscribe myself
Honble Sir Your very humble servt.
[received Aug. 6, 1835]Note: Robert William Hay 1786-1861 was in 1835 permanent under-secretary of state for the colonies.
Letters from P.E.I. by Henry Shearman, to his sister Marian Reynolds, who resided in England 1836-1843
The following seven letters were all written by Henry Shearman to his sister Marian, Mrs. Reynolds, who lived in England. The first, dated 8 April 1836, is from Devonport, England, where he and his family were waiting to embark in the Castalia towards PEI. The other six were all written from PEI, from October 1836 to October 1843.
They are part of an extensive collection of letters written by several members of the Shearman family, spanning the years 1828 to 1872. Mrs. Reynolds' son Francis William Reynolds, known in the family as Frank, had left England for Buenos Aires in 1837, aged 17. Two cousins of his mother, Richard and Edward Newton, had emigrated years before and had become successful farmers there. Frank expected to emulate them. Mrs. Reynolds either forwarded the family letters when she wrote to him, which she did frequently, or perhaps they were sent to Frank after her death in 1850. The letters remained in the family to these days.
· Words in red - dubious transcription
· Three asterisks (***) indicate an unreadable word
· Two asteriks plus letters (e.g. **ed) indicate a partially read word
From: Henry Shearman, Devonport
To: Marian Reynolds, c/o W. Shearman, Esq.
Date: April 8, 1836
favored by W. Shearman Esq.
In another hand:
6) from Henry Shearman 8 April 1836
Devonport 8th April 1836
My dear Marian
I was truly much shocked to learn the dreadful accident which so recently befel (sic) your husband but trust he is fast recovering from his severe injury - my Father has informed me the sight of the eye is quite gone. May God grant your husband resignation to this distressing dispensation & speedily enable him to resume active employment. Am glad to hear he has at length obtained some businesses to do & hope more will follow quickly. Here are we Wind & weather bound hourly hoping for a favorable wind to waft us away from old England's shores while no doubt thousands are longing ardently for an auspicious gale to bring them to its rocky strands - the owners have not acted rightly by us in summoning our party a week earlier than need must as the Ship is certainly not ready if the wind were fair
My Father & I went on board this afternoon and found the Vessel as yet unprepared and the owner's brother acknowledged she could not sail before Monday. I have succeeded in obtaining a hive of Bees which intend to take out with me. my Father enjoys walking about the heights here very much - yesterday we had a long ramble around the neighborhood. We took a private lodging as soon as we learn the Vessel was unlikely to sail for a few days as the Hotel was far too expensive to remain at. Our ladies went on board the Castalia yesterday & were pleased with the accommodations which they did not expect to be so good. I hope Reynolds when well again will be able to get Frank a situation - does he still prefer the Sea for his destination tell him to practice his drawing sedulously as he may be sure it will be advantageous to him in after years. I hope Marian
is an adept at her needle as nothing can be so useful to a young lady as understanding all kinds of work believe me my dear Sister I shall anxiously look to receive better news of your future prospects not having the means I will not proffer assistance Look with confidence for support on that heavenly father in whom we live and move and have our being - let us strive never to be weary in well doing & he will never long hide his face from us although for wise purposes clouds may veil his blessings for a season - if we sometimes suffer let us humbly remember how acute and prolonged the sufferings our gracious redeemer experienced for an ungrateful people - if we place our burden upon him we know in whom we trust and that such you may always have the blessed with the love of your children believe me ever most truly your affectionate Brother
Caroline sends her kind love and condolences to you all
From: Henry Shearman, Prince Edward Island (PEI#1)
To: Marian Reynolds
Date: Sunday, October 30, 1836
Prince Edward's (sic) Island Sunday 30 Octr. 1836
My dear Marian,
I very much regretted missing a letter from you my dear sister among the contributions made by the rest of the members of our family for our entertainment by the Victoria which only recently arrived here. You are well aware how deeply we all sympathize with you Marian in your misfortunes and doubt not that distance far from weakening the strong ties of natural attachment which will ever bind us together only creates a more tender & soul searching interest in your welfare. I learned with great sorrow the severe dispensation that Almighty power who bringeth good out of evil had in his wisdom been pleased to afflict not only your husband with but also your boy whereby you have been compelled to bear with still heavier privations than heretofore may that same blessed being who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb afford you such heavenly consolation under your affliction that you may bless the hand that chasteneth. I look back hereafter with calm resignation and thanksgiving to this apparently unhappy period of your life. May the chequered scene of life be to us all my dear Sister only a scene of trial from which we may hereafter arise purified from the vile dross of sin & trusting in the merits of our crucified Lord & Saviour be received by our glorified judge into those celestial abodes
when the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest. I shall not apologize for thus introducing those thoughts to your notice my dear Marian which it would be well for all of us never to discharge from our meditations - since in the midst of life we know not how soon we may die but most especially because we ought to take great delight in working out our own Salvation by relying on the merits of our allwise (sic) creator benificent (sic) redeemer & gracious sanctifier united for our gain this own glory in the one eternal God made flesh to *** us from our sins which although they be as scarlet yet shall they be white as snow by the washing we have through his blood. How much more happy would all of us become in this vale of tears could we stedfastly (sic) resolve daily to commemorate the great loss of our Saviour dying for us on the accursed tree whereby he nailed the sins of all those who faithfully believe on his name & do his commandment to the cross for ever. Let us beseech him of his goodness to grant us such a godly sorrow for our past sinful lives that looking unto him as the way the truth & the life we may firmly seize hold of that blessed hope of everlasting life that may cheer us on our way here be our path gone so thorny (what evils can we endure that our God did not suffer for our sakes while at enmity with him) & ensure us a place when this mortal conflict has ended amongst the Saints in light. Having thus far poured out my soul to you for our mutual benefit may God's blessing attend our meditations & work out for us that good we cannot attain without it be blessed by his approval. I was much shocked to hear
of the dreadful accident that deprived your husband of the sight of one of his eyes. I most sincerely hope the wound has now been long healed and that he has received strength in the other to enable him to attend his affairs without inconvenience from his privation. Poor Frank's arm too I trust is quite strong again & as useful as ever. I hope little Marian improves in her studies & grows up a good & virtuous girl, attentive to her mother & desirous to make herself useful in every way she can. I do most earnestly hope that your own health is better than when we parted & God grant you strength of mind & body to bear up against your trials here. Caroline has much to contend against here naturally of delicate constitution she has much to exhaust her in her daily avocations - the Servants here are very indifferent - we now have the third female help since our arrival the former two were so filthy and stupid that my dear wife was compelled constantly to be drudging in the kitchen to get anything done - The one we now have is much better & as she is very willing & a tolerable plain cook we hope she will stay with us as she bakes very nicely. I too have had some trials to contend with - the boy I took out you no doubt heard had absconded - for some time I was quite without a man & had to do many things. I scarce knew how to sit about. Owing to the summer season proving very late & my neighbors having done very little in their farming on my
arrival out here I was induced to make a trial of the season & thence has resulted little else than trouble and disappointment. My Potatoes were almost destroyed by a very severe frost which took place here on the 7th Septr. so that I barely got as much back as I planted. My Wheat suffered from the same cause & has not ripened The Oats cut green were a wretched crop - my Mangel Wurzel did not succeed & my Swede Turnips were given prematurely to my poor sheep & lambs which could obtain no pasture by reason of the long drought we have experienced all the summer. Whereby very little Hay has been saved - all these things taken together have renderd produce of any kind twice the price of former years so that it will prove very distressing to a great portion of the population - most especially to new settlers who have only got into their farms in the summer - my means of support will consequently be much reduced & I much fear frustrate to a great extent the benefit I hoped might accrue to my family by my emigration - I have so many letters to write & am so driven for leisure to accomplish them that must here for a while take my leave of you - referring you to the other branches of our family for other particulars of our doings this side the Atlantic Wishing you and yours my dear Sister happiness here and hereafter believe me with kindest love to all those you hold dear in which the Carolines unite as to yourself believe me most affectionately
For Mrs. Reynolds
From: Henry Shearman, Keston, Prince Edward Island (PEI#2)
To: Marian Shearman de Reynolds
Date: November 2, 1837
Pg. 4 middle In another hand:
8) From Henry Shearman 2 Nov - 1837
Prince Edward's (sic) Island - N. America
to the care of
Wm. Shearman Esq.
98 Gracechurch St.
Keston 2d November 1837
My dear Marian,
It gave me much heartfelt pleasure my dear Sister to greet your handwriting again after so long an interval it is now your turn to chide me for not earlier replying to your interesting letter. the truth however is that it arrived here when I was very much occupied with manifold occupations immediately subsequent to our removal from the Malpeque Rd. and Davies' vessel The Victoria is always so long on her passage out for England that she has no time to remain here & always dispatches what business he has in Charlotte town in very great haste - so that I could not well have written by the return of the vessel. Caroline & I thank you for the contribution of some English newspapers. They were very welcome except some Mr. Wingfield of the Trinity House was so obliging as to send me they are the only news we have received. I missed your letter on the last voyage but understand from my dear Father you were busy packing up. how chequered have been the fortunes of our family since our dear Mother's death - most part of us have been great sufferin (sic) in either health or property - we must all of us however bear in mind that his life is merely a state of probation
and look forward with unbounded faith to that blessed immortality which shall be revealed to those who continued steadfast in well doing - amidst your very many severe trials my dear Sister our dear Father has truly proven himself a friend to you in the hour of need - God grant the prospects opened for Frank may brighten as the day advances and that Marian may so far benefit by her grandfather's liberality that some time hence she may become an ornament to Society and a solace to her parents in their declining years. Time rolls on apace - it seems but yesterday I was the apprentice at Willmotts nursery when you took lodgings in old Corbett's house and your boy Frank was so providentially rescued from a horrid death - how many scenes have shifted athwart the real drama of life since then - Now the broad wave of the high Atlantic tide swells & undulates between the Mother & her offspring. You are fortunate in interesting Richard in the welfare of your boy. he has shown himself a man of conduct & perseverance. there are some sterling qualities about him and I sincerely trust Frank will be guided by his experience & counsels - you will probably
have heard of his safe arrival when you get this - 'tis pleasing to learn how active our dear father has become in his latter years - exerting himself to his utmost to promote the prosperity of his children - this is the more gratifying as a few years back his valuable life seemed very precarious - now I trust his health is confirmed for many years to come Captn. Davies told me he looked very well indeed. The R&R affair was excellent - it no doubt caused much diversion in the village -particularly amongst their old acquaintances - how does John Willmott get on in London I fear there is a sad want of any sterling quality there to work upon. When one looks around on the acquaintances of other days how little is then whereon the eye delights to rest much [and] the mind to meditate - 'tis a sad heartless world and he w[ho] is indebted for his happiness to its fickle friendships is sadly to be pitied - how inspiring are the hopes of religion when all other hopes are fled - they alone shine more purely unto the perfect day. The neglect of those who should be the guardians of our endevours to support our family has deeply wounded the sensitive bosom of my dearest wife who cannot but severely feel the unkind treatment of her own family and that she is cast intirely (sic) on the more disinterested affections of her husband's relatives - as shall be writing by this mail to all my brothers I must not make my letter to you dear sister over long otherwise my scanty wit will be unravelled too soon and wool being in demand this year by reason of its scarcity
I shall not be able to allow enough yarn to weave another writing you and youn therefore dear Sister happiness & content of mind if it be not Gods will to bestow earthly comforts believe me with the greatest interest in your welfare here and hereafter more especially.
your affectionate brother,
The letter, a single sheet of paper folded in half for writing, was folded several times and sealed with red wax, part of which broke off. When the letter was opened, a small, triangular piece of paper from the side of the page under the seal broke off and is still attached under it.
From: Henry Shearman, Keston [Prince Edward Island] (PEI#3)
To: Marian Shearman de Reynolds, c/o William Shearman, 98 Gracechurch St, London
Date: May 4, 1840
Keston 4th May 1840
My Dear Sister Marian,
I have long waited an opportunity to write you & should have found it before this but business required me to address other parties and as we agreed to write alternately my turn arrives but once in two months wherefore I hope you will excuse my not having sooner written you - no doubt you have heard all about us from our brothers and sisters & my dear Father whom it is delightful to hear continues at his advanced stage of life in the enjoyment of such excellent health - we had a delightful letter from dear Sister Sarah yesterday addressed to Caroline giving us a very *** budget of family news except of dear Emilys health which hope is before this much amended & that it will continue to improve and be firmly re-established as the Summer advances - how are you getting on we hope most sincerely you have washed all the stormy billows of misfortune and are now enjoying better success in your worldly affairs if not my dear Sister do not be cast down but *** your full confidence on the saving strength of him who is mighty & willing to save to the uttermost - and let us ever bear in mind that it is our duty to bide his time & diligently seek his favor by doing our utmost to deserve or neither to speak incorrectly to propitiate his favor - Marian I suppose grows out of knowledge I hope she is a kind and affectionate girl to her parents & obeys their commands with alacrity and cheerfulness for a sulky disobedient girl is loved by nobody - How does Reynolds get on I hope he has plenty of profitable and agreeable occupation have you lately heard from Frank he I hope gives satisfaction to his employers and is getting on in his study of Spanish and Mercantile affairs - have any letters lately been received from Richard or Edward and does the former still keep his purpose of going to England shortly I got a very friendly letter from Susan last post informing me dear little Fanny
had been sent to School at Swinton under the tuition of Miss Rendell the intimate friend of poor Caroline . The little Miss had been trying very hard to dominate our Susan & even once Miss R. but the latter soon overcame her towering ambition and brought her into a proper status of submission to lawful authority so she was very good & well **ed at her last visit to Grandmama's at Exeter - dear little Harry I have no particular news of except his transmission with other children to Hertford - dear little fellow I hope he will meet with some kind playmate there and he will be taken care of - We are very busy now with workmen in the house carpenter and plasterer and do not expect to get tolerably to rights before the autumn - our winter season has been very mild and the Spring commenced only in the upper air but on the green earth or rather withered straw color in the fields & Devon red on the roads it has not been at all genial hitherto we have had a great deal of rain which delays farming operations very much so that the crops will not be got in before the crucial period though I hope we shall get a long *** of fine warm weather after so much wet and if we do we may work forward for fine harvest which please God is greatly to be desired and earnestly prayed for - I am trying to form a garden but fencing is so expensive I am sadly worried to know how to protect my plants from the inroads of all sorts of animals which are very unruly in this country making little to do to jump over the field fences when ever they perceive any thing looking tempting within the enclosures I have had to haul three thousand longers or fencing poles this winter across then in over the Hillsboro' river which is a most troublesome affair at this distance four miles and a half - it occupied all the mans spare time throughout the winter and after all was obliged to leave several hundred in Mr. Peake's yard in town - which we have had no time to get home yet - I assure you the life
of an emigrant is no sinecure - it is a constant system of plotting and contriving how to get the work done or rather so much of it as cannot be left undone for never can I get done above half what I propose to do - now we are all hurry & **th putting up the fences which time we greatly regret bestowing in there is so much ground work to do both on the farm and in the garden - the season this climate affords us to get in our crops is very short and so few trustworthy laborers can be obtained it is often a wonder how half the prop** [small piece missing] get their work done at all - I think you have here a pretty long catalogue of grievances sufficient to deter any reasonable person from seeking to emigrate who can obtain an honest livelihood at home - and yet after all I dare say we shall some day laugh at all the annoyances which now I confess not a little and not unfrequently annoy & perplex us that it is to say if we succeed to our wishes - for we have a great many difficulties yet to contend with & the great uncertainty of the climate keeps one in a perpetual state of alarm - however we must not neglect to do our duty and then come what may we cannot blame ourselves for the result - you will say this is a strange rambling letter but as we see very few people and hear less news I have just let my pen travel at random on the paper giving you a few and important insights into our little world of chequered hopes and fears. Lady Westmorland has paid us three visits *** we have been at home today she kindly brought us two packets of Nutmeg Melon Seed. I hope we shall have letters from you in the box coming out and now I must draw my scribbled paper to a close - give my love to every individual your family & believe Caroline & me to wish you health and happiness.
Your affectionate Brother
As this will probably reach you about your birthday we wish you many happy returns of the day and may each year prove more prosperous than the last -
When you see Sarah Palmer tell her Caroline is writing to her in form of a journal and will send it as soon as she has filled her sheet of paper chock full (of grievances)
Wm. Shearman Esq.
98 Gracechurch St/
For Mrs. Reynolds
In another hand:
from Henry Shearman Prince Edward Island
4 May 1840
Favored by (Wm. Shearman)
Received June 2nd 1840
Ansd. 4 Sept 1840
Rubber stamp G 30MY30 1840
Red wax seal - a thistle flower surround by the words DINNA FORGET
From: Henry Shearman, Keston Farm, Prince Edward Island (PEI#4)
To: Marian Shearman [de Reynolds]
Date: May 28, 1841
Keston Farm P.E.I.
28th May 1841
My dear Sister
This Evening I received a long letter from Nephew Frank dated 16th March 1841 he wrote in high spirits - said they had now plenty of business since the blockade was raised on October last - Richard & his family were all well & he much wished to go to England but in account of the unsettled state of the country was unwilling to leave his estate & family at the mercy of God knows who - the letter came by the brig Francis, directly to Halifax, N. S. as probably you will soon be writing to Frank - tell him I received his letter and thank him for it. We are both thanks God in good health now, but poor Carry has many minor ailments - her toe the arm are both very painful to her & she is not free from
cough - she sends her kind love to you all - we were disappointed at getting no letter from You by the Lady Wood I hope one will come by the Autumn Ship We regret to hear your earthly prospects are not improving. May God preserve & bless you with cheerfulness & peace of mind under your severe trials - ours are hard to bear but I confess you have much more need of sympathy - one paramount blessing you enjoy in being near your relatives who are all disposed to do their utmost for your many wants. We are at length fairly launched into our short Spring which heads on closely upon the toes of Summer - the only pleasant season of our Northern clime - our winters are very severe - you in England have had a pretty good taste of winters rugged temper of late years more approaching a Russian climate than usual with the seagirt isle
Frank mentions having had no letter since the October packet - I must now conclude my poor scrawl being *** & having written several letters today - remember me most kindly to all friends & believe me
My dear Sister
Your loving brother
love to Marian & kind remembrances
to Reynolds wishing him better success
in his worldly affairs -
In another hand:
from Henry Shearman
Prince Edward Island North America
28 May 1841
Received 24 July 1841
Answered 9 August 1841
Rubber stamp: 4Eg(?)4 MY23 1841
The letter was sealed with a green, round embossed sticker with a character - an "S"? The letter also shows traces of having had a stamp and its cancellation.
From: Henry Shearman, Keston, Prince Edward Island (PEI#5)
To: Marian Reynolds, c/o John Whiffen Shearman, Coombe-bury, Kingston Hill, Surrey
Date: April 4, 1842
Keston Prince Edward Island
4th April 1842
My dear Sister
Yesterday's mail made us acquainted with the heavy bereavement you have recently sustained Death has been very busy among our little family of late years God grant whenever time approaches we may each individually hail his approach with that joy & peace which the world cannot give may his repeated darts be warded off by the shield of Faith in the efficacy of the atonement through the blood of our glorified Redeemer - & may his awful summons awaken us from the death of sin unto an awakened sense of our danger unless we apply the precious blood of Christ to the washing of regeneration. in a *** unto Righteousness - the best of mankind have need to tremble before the judgment & **t of Christ - let us strive therefore to win the arduous race that is set before us - for we strive not for a temporal conquest, (bu)t that if we struggle with fortitude here against the wily arts of the wicked one we know - for our Lord hath so told us that we shall attain to Everlasting Joy & Peace in believing - Remember my dear Sister our blessed Saviour says Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted and far better the knowledge that they who hunger & thirst after righteousness are highly blessed for they shall be filled - You like myself are partaking of the liberal **ty of our dear brother may Heaven reward him with conduct to his family - what a blessing is it in a time of affliction to be surrounded by the good offices of those near to us by the ties of blood & affection may you never know the want of it. I hope & trust my dear Marian this heavy strike will cause you to search deeply into your heart of hearts & to seek for help in your hour of trial where alone it is to be found
erring & frail mortals as we all are we require a friendly probe to be sometimes thrust through our most tender sensibilities to let out the accumulated purulent matter that corrodes & destroys a healthful activity if our better affections - let us take heed & lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven - for where our treasure is there will our hearts be also - For we are told to take no thought for our life for our heavenly Father knoweth what things we have need of before we ask him - But to seek the Kingdom of God his Righteousness & then all things that be good for us shall be added unto us - & I am sure my dear Marian I can add my simple testimony to God's truth in these matters - had not his divine providence so ordered things to work together for good to us who indeed love him' but alas how imperfectly we might at this time be wanderers over the face of the earth without knowing where to lay our hands - but blessed be his holy name for ever he hath not deserted us when we called upon him & may you largely experience of his bounty in my most earnest prayer - Be assured if we ask aright we shall receive a hundred fold in this present time & then will come that blessed hereafter when all tears shall be wiped from our eyes if we pray to God for help in this life & faint not at the trials put upon us - How must I wish it were in my power to offer you & your girl a retreat but you know how sorely our path has been beset with difficulties & we cannot at present tell whether we shall remain in this country or travel to a more genial clime
many as are the struggles we must yet endure should we remain in this island I have great reluctance to quit it - hoping that a few years may overcome the ruggedness of our present prospect & cause the wilderness to bloom around us & cause us to look back upon past years as a necessary trial in this vale of tears - "Hope springs eternal in the human breast" says Campbell what a Hell were this world without that **ing from on high - As the genial influence of the Sun's heat to our bodies is the invigorating effect of hope the twin sister of Religion on our Souls which teaches us to look beyond the narrow limits of our mortal cares to that happy day when we shall be received up into the mansions of the blest - Is it not singular that our hearts are seldom turned away from the vanities of this short & fitful scene to take up our portion with the Lord - [small piece missing] Life unless some deep disappointment - some awful calamity afflicting dispensation destroy the happiness we had set our hearts upon in this world's giddy round - but so it is & altho' our blessed Lord constantly calls unto us & assures us that this Yoke is easy this burden is light - we will not in our hear to believe him nor will we endure his yoke nor learn of him who is meek & lowly in heart & who further assures him (whose word alone is truth) that through him we shall find rest unto our souls - may he ever have yoy & your dear children in his holy keeping my dear sister then will your sorrow be gradually healed & a
sweet serenity & peace attend your latter days - often has the widowed heart enjoyed in chastened affections more solid happiness tham ever came to her lot in all the glare & deceitful mockery of this false world - may such be yours & may you live to see your dear children grow up as useful members of society is the sincere wish
*** dear Marian Your affectionate Brother
Caroline sends her kind love & unites with me in best wishes for your happiness - God bless you -
For Mrs. Reynolds
John Whiffen Shearman Esq.
In another hand:
4 April 18.42
from Henry Shearman Prince Edward Island
Received 10 May 1842 from Henry Shearman 4th April
Answered 9 August 1842
Sealed with black wax, small piece still attached with broken off piece of paper under it.
Three faded rubber stamps, one with a handwritten inscription on it.
The letter was written in paper with black edging and seems to have been read many times - the paper tore at the folds and at some time it was repaired with transparent tape.
From: Henry Shearman, Keston, Prince Edward Island (PEI#6)
To: Marian [Shearman de] Reynolds, c/o ...Shearman, Park Road, Brixton Hill, Surrey
Date: October 2, 1843
Keston 2nd October 1843
My dear Sister:
Your letter of condolence I thank you for surrounded by the members of your own immediate family the heavy loss you sustained in the bereavement of your husband a *** some slight degree alleviated while I, alas! have no sympathising soul to wean me from my sorrows - disappointed hopes on every side bent me & render my life a burden almost too heavy to bear - mine are no common difficulties to struggle with. To common observers my lot in life wears the semblance of moderately prosperous circumstances - whereas in truth I know not how to meet the demands of each passing day - I trust however my heavenly Father in his all** providence will with the difficulties that encompass me find me wherewithal to meet them by means at present totally unknown to my finite comprehension - You are happy in being able to render useful assistance to those dear to you by every tie of blood & friendship which my endeavours to keep my silent solitary bark from sinking - filling with water or capsizing me into a sea of troubles *** hurry me amongst shoals & quicksands from which I can see no escape I have taken up my pen to write to you without one idea in my addled brain - I must I believe postpone it until something occurs worthy of mention - so now good night & God bless you Wednesday Eleventh - nine days have elapsed since beginning this sorry scrawl - no incidents occur to vary the dull monotony of my solitary existence - for
society I might as well be in Kamtschatka or Nova Zembla. No one thinks it worth while to come & cheer my lonesome hours were it not that thank God I possess some resources within myself I might as well be buried in the grave with my dear wives - what a singular tale of real life is mine - had I the talent to combine in a thread of romance the many incidents of my chequered life I think few *** surpass it in quiet interest - for no stirring scenes could I call up to enchain & rivet attention - you too have been tossed on the troublous (sic) waves of an inexorable destiny - God grant our barks may hereafter be *** in a fair & joyful haven and that the scenes of our sorrows if ever remembered may serve only to gild more highly the intensity of happiness laid upon store for those who humbly seek their God & bow in lowly submission to his decrees - Our fallen nature will not always allow us to think on bygone days without murmuring yet I trust our Redeemer will finally impress his glorious image on our souls & through his precious bloodshedding receive us to himself & purge us from all sin - The truly miserable in his life my dear Sister are most easily weaned from the cheating joys of sense & take most delight in looking forward with ordered & fervent devotion to the End of this life of probation and fix their lofty hopes on that Eternal Rock of their Salvation Jesus Christ the beloved of his Father who shall if we strive without fainting or tiring in our duty be our exceeding great reward - May this blessed hope serve to strengthen us in this vale of tears & nerve us again of the repeated assaults
of our spiritual Enemy - I am glad to receive such commendable accounts of dear nephew Frank remember me with love to him when you write - dear niece Marian I hope as well as Frank will ere long be the means of adding to your comforts - it is very gratifying to know your children are doing well & I trust God will ever make them a blessing to you - I hope now dear Ellen is returned from her travels she will be an aid & relief to her dear Mother - dear Sarah has borne up remarkably well amidst the many troubles that have assailed her may her strength & happiness increase as she approaches the downhill of Life - & may be she live to see the children of her anxious love & solicitude reward her by their dutiful conduct - I hope my dear Sister you will take your turn amongst my correspondents if each add their mite I may have frequent tidings of my dear family - the only solace now left to me - for what are the cold attentions of our acquaintance when the heartstrings are wrung with griefs - how poor are their ever well intended offices of kindness - I know seldom ever are these poor nothings offered to us - Dear Harry wrote me a pretty note not long since perhaps you saw it - I think he improves he has not as John puts it, the "Ars Scribendi" his talent does not lie in letter writing - does he exhibit any fondness for drawing once I thought he promised some talent in that way - I have made a few slight sketches since dear Carry's decease & should I remain in my desolate house during the winter expect to beguile a part of it with the exercise of my pencil - God bless you My dear Marian and believe me ever to
be your most affectionate Brother
at *** Shearman Esq.
In another hand:
Recd. 30 Octbr. 18-43
Ansd. 1 May - 18-44
from Henry Shearman
Prince Edward Island
his 2nd Octbr. 18-43