"Dumfries Penny Post, 1831Mrs. Adie to Mr Campbell."
This letter from the past is a Scottish one with some very interesting postal markings on it. The address panel is:-
The postal markings (Fig.1) show the journey of the letter, beginning with:
Now to the letter which has a lot of interesting snippets of information. The transcription is as the letter is written, with abbreviations and some odd spelling. It was written from Edinburgh, but this is the only word I cannot read in the letter – the name of the street .
Note: The‘Anacreon’ was a vessel which took immigrants to America. There is a listing on the internet of the passengers going to Norfolk and Portsmouth in Virginia, in June 1830. It was a copper-sheathed ship built in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1824 by
Note: The Cowans family were very well known, and they had contacts in Liverpool. I have a letter concerning them, which will be the subject of a later article.
“I am not yet informed what money may be requisite for Philly's passage which with her journey will be her cheif expense. My brother sent a bill for £100 which becomes due in Dec 18th to it he refers for the supply necessary for her.
Note: That is the financial side of things under control, so she continues with family news.
“My sister and I feel quite as you wish, we have been very happy with the young people so little while together. We desire to commit all our cares to God trusting that all shall be well.
Note: I was surprised that their young relative should have gone to Surat, at this time, but it had been a thriving place in the Gujarat state, west-central India, which became the emporium of India, exporting cloth and gold. Its major industries were textile manufacture and shipbuilding. The British established their first Indian factory (trading post) at Surat in 1612. By the mid-19th century Surat was a stagnant city of 80,000 inhabitants. It prospered again with the opening of India's railways. The ancient art of manufacturing fine muslin was revived, and Surat's cottons, silks, brocades, and objects of gold and silver have become famous.
“I am happy to say my sister continues better indeed I may say nearly well. We had a fine walk to buy provisions for Philly - we did send for Mr Ball as soon as the complaint gave alarm and it was by his advice we were directed. Dr. Wood says Philly will not suffer from the voyage she is free from her consumption.
A letter like this has an appeal for different people. Initially it would be of interest to postal historians, but nowadays there is such an upsurge in family history that genealogists would be interested as well. I am very surprised at the increase in the number of postal history items that are now becoming available on the internet, compared to just 5 years ago. The last time I looked on the e-bay site there were thousands of items for sale, and the prices have risen as a result. This increase in interest (and values!) has to be good for our hobby.
For a letter written by Campbell Adie to Patrick Campbell in 1801 click here
Sources: Immigration Ships Transcription Guild, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Alan Robertson’s ‘Great Britain Post Roads Post Towns and Postal Rates 1635-1839’, Hodgson & Sedgewick Scottish Add ½d Mail Tax.
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