The Miss Morris letters
A complete folded letter sent 3 June 1819 from Batavia to Campbeltown in Scotland. The letter shows no postal markings and must have been been forwarded privately or by an established forwarding agent. In the letter the writer recommends use of the forwarding agents Mess. Porter and Co.
The letter from Robert Morris to his sister is written with a fine dose of humour and touches on concerns foremost on the minds of Westerners in the Far East at the time; the challenges and delays of letter writing, the use of forwarding agents, health, financial transactions, and the difficulty of finding stimulating female company so far from home.
Part of a letter from Batavia to Scotland, sent 6 days after the above letter. The correspondence mentions the common practice of sending duplicate letters by different ships to ensure as timely an arrival as possible. This letter entered the postal system and shows apporpriate tariff marks and handstamps from London (29 Sep. 1819), Glasgow (2 Oct.), and Campbeltown. It was readdressed to the small town of Aros on the island of Mull off the west coast of Scotland.
"Batavia 9 June 1819
My Dear Nancy
The enclosed is the duplicate of a remittance for £100 which I have made to you by another ship (the Lander) but as I expect the present opportunity will reach port being a fast sailing light vessel… As I have written to you pretty fully by the above ship I shall only in the present express my disappointment at the non arrival of letters from you, having only received the one dated 27 May"
The simple address "To Miss Morris" and the absence of postal markings indicate a letter sent privately, probably together with, or inside, another letter to the same recipient.
The correspondence is from Eliza Morrison to her sister Nancy in Scotland (whom she had never met) and is dated Batavia 12 May 1821.
My dear Sister
The kind letter which I received from you on the 5th May was more gratifying to me than I can express, and let me assure you that it does not contain one kind expression but that my heart feels and replies to. I thank you very much for your congratulations and good wishes! I only hope I may in some measure merit the tenderness and affection, I have hitherto met with from your dear brother – we certainly had the advantage of a long acquaintance, before that event occurred which has greatly added to my happiness.
I regret much that I have never had the happiness of seeing you, but I have very frequently heard of you, and I look forward to the happy day when we shall be personally and intimately known to each other. When this may happen is at present very uncertain, but I think at no very distant period. I wish I could render my letter interesting to you by any means – I can only rely upon the kindness of your feeling towards me to make it in the least so, for my present mode of life affords so little variety that I have little to communicate.
Your dear brother is not looking very well at this moment, but this is entirely owing to his exertions in business, and this sad climate, which it must be confessed is a great enemy to a healthy appearance.
Our voyage from England was considered a tolerable one – rather long, and I am such a bad sailor that I suffered dreadfully from seasickness – it is a tedious thing to be confined for 5 months on a voyage – it affords so little variety & almost too much time for thinking. It has decidedly one advantage, it enables me to give due value to our comforts on shore, and we know better how to enjoy them. Let me beg whenever you have an opportunity, you will favour me by writing – and pray excuse the brevity of mine to you – let it convince you that my best wishes are yours and that I ardently desire a continuance of the kind regards your letter contains – You may rely on most grateful return of feeling from Your Affectionate Sister