Letter – Patience Stead to John Erasmus Blackett – 25 Jul 1785

Document Type: Letter
Date: 25 Jul 1785
Correspondent: Patience Stead
Recipient: John Erasmus Blackett
Archive Source: NRO ZBL 260 2
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dissapated? and if his Character was the [missing word] irreproachable – I don’t think him a proper [missing word] for the daughter of Sir Edward Blackett fact I am angry at him for his presumption, and [missing word] don’t <allow> him <mind> that he may really [word missing] I hope however that he will [scratched out: ‘not’] he <…> nearly related to me. You must not send my sister their letters for she will perhaps be angry at me for differing in opinion so widely from her – but <indeed> she must not. I am sorry to tell you my dear Father that the affair in Georgia is not decided – nor might not till April next – we are very cruelly used by those in power there, who certainly have suffered their class to be tricked. This is the very worst country in the world to settle business the people seem to be very backward – Ralph Izard in particular has much indolence, unsteadiness or I don’t know what in his character that it is hardly possible to get him to talk of business.

      The affair of <Ryal> is not concluded, and I dare say he will put it off till the instant of our departure from their country – but this is between ourselves. & There is a great deal of  writing here – I might be engaged some where every afternoon –  but you know <the ill will> I have to Tea drinking parties – I fancied greatly a drive in the Phaeton round the Race ground, which we <indulge> ourselves in as often as possible to conceive how delightful the <freshness> of the evening is after a hot day – one meets all ones acquaintance –  for There is only one rode out of town, and the number of carriages driving about –  the gay dress of the Ladies make it a pretty scene.

      I was on Thursday morning at a dismal ceremony the only one of the kind I was ever at – we were particularly invited to attend the Funeraille of Mrs. Laurence – widow of Mr. Laurence’s Brother who only arrived from England 2 months ago – and not being aware of the danger of staying in the country till the middle of July – she caught the Fever, came to town & died in a few days. It was a very pompous Funeraille – and so much <burst> wine, cakes, etc that I thought it never would have been over. There was a great number of people. They all walked in procession after the corpse to Church - but it was so dreadfully hot - and having been very ill lately with a Fever – I asked old Mr. L. if it would be a want of respect to go in the Carriage – he assured me not, and he insisted on my getting into the coach, which I had ordered to wait at the door and having an idea that every body would walk. It happened very lucky that I did – a most <…> storm of rain came on, which continued 3 hours - many Ladys got wet –  (& of course a <…>) - the Grave was filled to the top with water.

      I am mortified that my aunt never receives my letters, and when you tell me she is hurt at my silence – what can I do? – I have got acquaintance with a very agreeable good man – a countryman of hers. and an intimate acquaintance of Dr Carlyles. Dr. Baron – he attended me during my last Illness with great attention – he knew my connection to them, and thought me very like my aunt – he has been an unfortunate man – he was not on the right side, that is, he refused to take the oaths – for he was perfectly <disoffensive> on both sides –  He was banished from this Country & has been wandering about <Augustin> some time –  He is now permitted to come back for one year only – but I am in hopes his <merit> will make such an <unperson> that he will still have some favor shown him. He is in a great way of business here. In a former letter I suggested my Sister would order a cloak & muff to be sent over for me – has she received my letter and can it be done without much inconvenience to herself.

      I hear bad news my dear Father – that very shortly there will be no vessels from Eng[lan]d to this Part – Is this true don’t tell me if it is – I am pleased that you had my letter from Baltimore but I shall be really vexed if my Journal is lost –  not for its merits – for it had none – but I have no copy. You dont know how often I wish myself in your library – I have no books here –  and they are such a price – and such lumber when read that I dont Buy any. I never had so strong an inclination to read as now – The heat will not let me work – It is too much excercize to play on the Harpsichord – in short one can do nothing but lay on the Bed & read. I wish I may receive your letter with the newspapers & that book you mention – a thousand thanks for your kind attention. I am very much obliged to Mr. Staniforth for some newspapers he sent me with your letters – to be sure the Liverpool papers only tell one where there is a <turtle> to be dressed – I love the Newcastle papers a thousand times better. Stead writes God bless you my Dearest Father. I am <interrupted> with Company or I should have filled another sheet – accept my dutiful regards and believe now and ever your most dutiful – and most affect[ionate] Daughter

      Patience W. Stead 
Incomplete letter from JEB’s daughter Patience, with the earliest page or pages missing, and therefore the date is also unknown. The apparent reference to an unsuitable match for the daughter of Sir Edward Blackett can only refer to Anne Blackett, who married William Scott in November 1785. Patience married Benjamin Stead in August 1782. The burial of Mrs Mary Laurens, widow, took place on Thurs 21st July 1785 (South Carolina Gazette and Public Advertiser, 23 July 1785) so the letter appears to have been written within the following week. Monday 25th is used here. Benjamin Stead was involved in a protracted dispute to have a debt settled in Georgia, USA, (where his father had owned a plantation before the American War of Independence) to which end he appears to have travelled there at some point after June 1783, evidently with his wife.

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The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467