Monday, May 30

A letter to Mister Loomis


The following is an excellent example of one of last year's Mail Packet entries from an Acasta reader like you. It was written to new Midshipman Saml. Loomis. Below, you can find his reply to the above missive.

August 9, 1815

Dear Mr. Loomis,

I daresay you will be surprised when you see my name to this letter, who you have not seen since you were in petticoats! But you know I was always a good friend of your mother from our school-days, and I got your direction from your aunt and Uncle Phillips when I dined with them yesterday. When I found that the road to Manchester would take us within a few miles of their seat, I resolved to call upon them, for all Mr. Barrett protested. Nothing would please your amiable aunt more than our staying to dine with them, and so we did. They could talk of little else, but the reports in the gazette of your ship and her successes. I thought you would not mind an old friend of the family writing with news from home and to ask if you would be so kind as to bring me a new shawl from the Indies. The advertisements in the lady’s Magazine for the London warehouses say that a fine Indian shawl may be got for 2 shillings, but I daresay you will find a handsome one for cheaper. Now I come to think on it I do not quite recollect if your aunt said you were in the East Indies or the West Indies, for it is only in the East that they make shawls, I find, and I have no need of Rum, or Sugar, or whatever it is they make in the West. But if you should happen to take the east Indies in your way, I would be very much obliged if you would think of your Mother’s old friend and I shall certainly make good my debt if you should find a shawl at a good price. 

Since writing the previous, Mr. Barrett has told me that I quite mistake the matter, and that you are not in the Indies at all, but the North American Station. So much the better, for America is where they make the finest furs, I believe, and my tippet is sadly wore out. I should be just as obliged to you for a new tippet as for a new shawl, if it were not too dear.

Your aunt and uncle Phillips are in very good health, and do you know will soon be grand-parents, for their daughter Mrs. Grant expects her confinement any day. Your uncle Phillips was touched with the gout last winter, but I hardly count that as ill-health since a season at Bath affords so much pleasure. It is my old nervous ailment, and it would hardly trouble me if only I did not feel the cold so. A fine new fir tippet would quite set me up, if a shawl is not to be had. Old Mr. Hayter, God rest him, has finally died, and there is a new young vicar in his place, who dined with us. It hardly seems proper for a vicar to be so young. A certain young Miss was also of the company, that everyone teazes [sic] for reading the Navy List so carefully, but I shall name no names. I hope this letter finds you well, and that you wrap up warm when the wind comes on to blow. Pray mind your language, for I hear that sailors, for all they are called the bulwark of England, are on the whole a rough, blasphemous lot. It would distress your friends if you were to turn out wild. Do spare a thought for one who wishes you well.

Your affectionate friend
Mrs. Barrett

My Dear Mrs. Barrett,

It is indeed a wonderful surprise to hear from you Mrs. Barrett, and I do in fact remember you from my mother’s annual Christmas party so many years ago. Your letter brought me a great deal of pleasure and incalculable aid to my spirits. It has indeed been some time since I laid eyes on England let alone the family estate in Bury, and I look forward to seeing everyone soon now that the war in the colonies is over. It is especially good to hear of my Aunt and Uncle Phillips, news from my father’s side of the family rarely cross the ocean to me. I must again thank you for your wonderful insight into life at home particularly Manchester.

We are indeed not station'd in either the West or East Indies, but rather just leaving our duties along the north eastern half of the colonies. The change of pace feels very good, besides Old Boney, has started to rise again and will need another proper thrashing from his majesty’s navy. As luck would have it your letter arrived just in time for me to take in the markets of Boston, and I did indeed find a rather fantastical deal on a pair of matching tippets, I figured my mother would be most jealous of yours if I failed to find her a match to it.  Please consider this a gift of the rather stupendous luck the Acasta has been having, what with the taking of the Curlew, Betsey, the schooner Prudence, and of course the Stephanie most recently I dare say I am eating most healthily of late. 

As for the young miss, and not to generate too much gossip, I would have you know that the moment I return to the white cliffs of England, after re-taking the Lieutenants exam of course, I plan on seeing the honorable Dr. in London to ask him for his daughter’s hand. Hopefully as Lieutentant Loomis .

As for my own welfare, I find life at sea agrees with me, that is for the most part. Aside from some light digestive destress Dr. Roberts says I am in the peak of my health.  I do hope to this letter finds you in good health, and for a speedy reunion at my mother’s next Christmas party, or even sooner if luck would have it. 

Your Friend,
Samuel Loomis


  1. Thanks for sharing my letter and Mr. Loomis's response! I had so much fun writing for the Mail Packet last year. I have to get to work on something good for this year!
    ~ Eleanor (aka Lady Smatter, Her Reputation for Accomplishment)

    1. Thank YOU for such a good looking missive! I hope we get another letter or two from you again THIS year! :)