‘Dear Brother,’ part 9. Cadogan gets his strength back in the South of France, and looks forward to coming home, eventually (Montpellier to Bordeaux, December 1789 to February 1790)

Five months after he fell ill at Nimes, Cadogan is starting to feel better at last. The Old Maids of Coley Park, are the widowed Anne Lady Jennings-Clarke, and her sisters Frances and Jane Thompson. Sir Philip Jennings-Clarke had died in January 1788, and it sounds as though Cadogan was serious about marrying his only daughter and heiress Frances Jennings; the ladies of Coley Park must’ve been working on his behalf. A hogshead of claret reminds you how much the Georgians drank – that’s about 250 litres or 333 bottles! Both letters are in Latin. When Cadogan switches back into English I’ve shown it in Italics.

Montepellier, before the Kalends of the Year 1790. That is to say, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Nine.*

Charles to his excellent and much loved Brother William greeting!

I received your letter dated the Ides of November, and I thank you for it, happily if not speedily, wishing you and your wife many delightful years. I give thanks to God Almighty that I’m well, and I pray that he allow me to live, at least as long as next Summer, as I’m coming to see you and your wife at Reading in August or September. I had such an enjoyable three weeks with you both at Downham, and I hope to have another (or more perhaps) with you next Autumn. But first I shall go to Reading.

I’m not surprised that Loveday has died. He was 79, and the Old Maids of Coley Park must be getting on for that age. To them, and to Lady Jennings, my deepest thanks as they’ve asked so much, and so kindly on my behalf. It’s very sad that Doyle is battling ill health, specially as old age is setting in. All his friends and everyone who knows him will lose a very faithful friend. It’s clear to me that his wife won’t long survive him. I don’t doubt that Ellis and his wife are well, they’ll be in the pink to the very end.

The beach at Montpellier does my health the world of good. Sometimes I go for a walk there, sometimes a ride; thanks be to God every day I feel stronger. My loyal servant is well, and sends you all proper compliments. You may address your next à la Poste restante à Bordeaux. I shall leave here in a few days, and I will make my way there, via Toulouse, where I shall stay for a while.

Give your wife a brother’s love, and my compliments to all our friends, like Vatas, Blane, and all your neighbours, and believe me to be entirely consumed by duty and good wishes to you,

Long life and be well, brother.

CH Cadogan

*Ancient Roman dating is quite strange. There were three special days a month, the Kalends (the first day), the Nones, (the 5th, or the 7th in March, May, June and September) and the Ides (the 13th, or the 15th in the months when the Nones was on the 7th; so the famous Ides of March is the 15th). All other days are counted as x before the next named day, inclusive. ‘Before the Kalends of 1790’ must be New Year’s Eve 1789, and in the next letter, ‘the sixth before the Kalends of March’ must be February 24th.

Bordeaux, the sixth before the Kalends of March 1790

Charles to his excellent and much loved Brother William greeting!

Poor me! To have got here and not found a letter from you! I hope illness is no reason for your silence, and that your wife is well. As for me, I hope always to be your servant at Reading in August. I enclose for you the bill of lading of a Hogshead of 1786 Claret that I am sending for you as sign of a brother’s love, and I beg to drink a glass of it when I come to Reading. Send the the bill of lading straight to Father, to whom I’ve sent the other Hogshead; and when he sends a servant to collect his wine, he can take yours too. How it gets to Reading ‘hoc tuum Negotium est,’ in plain English that’s your business. The Captain said in a day or two, and you must take out the wine within fifteen days after it’s arrival, as you see by the Bill of Lading.

I shall leave here after a few days for Lutetia – that’s Paris – where I hope to arrive around Easter Sunday, and I hope I’ll find a letter from you à la Poste restante, otherwise I shall think you’ve died. Please give my best to Vatas, Blane, the Old Maids of Coley Park, all of whom I hope to see again, in less than six months’ time. Cottrell sends you all kindness, and please give my best compliments to your wife, and believe me consumed with all duty and affection,

CH Cadogan

Source: Parliamentary Archive CAD 4/27 – 28


Gustave Courbet The Sea at Palavas c.1854 Musée de l’art moderne – André Malraux, Le Havre (c) Muma-Le Havre/ Florian Kleinefenn

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