|Stewart, Frances to Capt. Francis Beaufort, 1826
|Revisiting Our Forest Home_The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]
|Douro Township, Newcsatle District, Upper Canada
|Capt. Francis Beaufort
|family life, emigration
|1826: December 1067
To Captain Francis Beaufort, Ireland
Douro 10th Deer, 1826
My dearest Francis
I think it will give you some pleasure to hear that your kind letter of
September 5th has been of unspeakable use to me & has roused me from
that despondency which had crept over me so shamefully some time
ago. For a month or two back, returning health & strength (of the last of
which I was almost totally deprived during our very hot summer) had
so far restored my intellects as to make me sensible of the great weakness
& folly I had given way to & I have often since regretted most painfully
having exposed myself so much to my dear and warmly attached
friends & grieved them so much by my dismal representations besides
giving them & you my dear & most steady friend reason to suppose that
I was ungrateful for the great & active exertions you have taken for our
advancement here. I assure you I cannot think of myself with patience &
I only wonder how you could treat me with such forbearing gentleness.
But now as ever, I have found, my dear Monitor and Uncle mild but
forcible in his advice & admonitions & indeed I am grateful to you for
still considering me your child & pupil even tho' an old mama myself &
so far from you.
You unmasked very justly that in all my complaints I mentioned
my husband very little. It was because I knew very well he would not
approve of my writing in that strain & therefore I wrote without consulting
him. If I had opened my mind more to him, I should not have been
so silly but I did not like to let him know how gloomy I was as I knew it
would only add to his pain. His mind was certainly harassed by various
disappointments but I never heard him express an idea of "giving up." No
indeed he shewed his superior firmness & tho' he could not avoid feeling
the sting of disappointment yet he never once expressed any idea like
sinking under it. On the contrary, when I at times threw out hints about
wishing to return home & when many of his friends proposed to him
to try living in some cheap place in England, he always said "No — as
I have made this exertion for my family I will give it a longer trial It is
too soon to give up our hopes yet; we must try for seven years before we
allow ourselves to be quite [ ]."
I now see very plainly how much better we are off here than we could
be at home in these melancholy times. Here we certainly have abundance
of all the necessaries of life & escape the misery of seeing our fellow creatures in distress. Of late our prospects have brightened. Our crops have turned out much more abundantly than we could have expected. We
have plenty of wheat & potatoes & our cattle so far have gone on well,
but winter is a trying time & many people lose almost all their stock
in winter from difference causes such as starvation where fodder is not
plenty, or perishing from cold or being lost in the woods when they cannot
find any food. But we must keep up our hopes & recollect that many
many meet with these disappointments in this country who have not the
means within their reach of regaining the loss & we, thank God, have,
tho on a small scale.
Dear Francis, I cannot tell you how deeply we feel all your active
kindness about the Land Company & the other appointments you &
kind Maria E. have been endeavouring to procure for Mr. S. He, I assure
you, feels it most acutely as well as I do & never [ ] the impression have
our hearts let the result be what it may. Of the Military Road app't we
have long since lost all hopes as we were told that no one except a military person would be employed. This I mentioned to Harriet as soon as we heard it but I think it must have been in the letter of last Dec'r which
was lost. I hope this one may not meet the same fate.
We have just heard of Mr. Gaits having arrived in York & Tom has
sent to him the letter you so kindly procured from Mr. [Mack-], (the
name we could not decipher) but it was certainly a very flattering letter
& I hope along with all the other interest may have some good effect.
We are anxiously expecting an answer as Tom wrote to Mr. Gait along
with it. He thought it better to send the letters as in the present state of the roads travelling is so tedious and arduous that Mr. G. might have
left York before he could reach it, but he intends going there as soon as
sleighing commences if he finds there is any necessity for doing so.
We thank you most sincerely for recovering the postage of the overcharged
packet. I only learned by Harriets last letter that there had been
a mistake about the am’t & I thought it was for fear of accidents that you
had only sent a part of the money at first.
I have participated in the enjoyment our dear Harriet must have had
from your short visit to Ireland. How nicely it happened that she could join the wedding party at E'town & that you were there then also. I sincerely wish dear Harriet Butler all the happiness so truly amiable a creature deserves.
Tho' I know you don't admire speech making or sentimentalising,
yet I must tell you in plain & simple truth that your letter gave me sincere happiness (tho' not unmixed with pain arising from the consciousness of having deserved the reproof) but it showed me that you still love me & feel the same uncle-like affection for me that you ever did my own dear "Old boy" & I feel tenderly alive to your kindness in giving up so much of your time & attention to me when you might so reasonably & fairly have cast me off as undeserving of your care from my very inexcusable weakness & discontent.
I intended to have written to my dear Alicia but as I could only repeat
the substance of this letter, I think I had better defer it till another time & at present commission you to give her my warm love & thanks for her
note. The account of all your dear children is most interesting always to
one who must ever feel the strongest affection for you and yours, & now
believe me to be your grateful niece, pupil & daughter.