The Tathams of County Durham
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Alice Raisbeck - letter to her son Thomas Tatham, R.N.

Letter from Mrs William Tatham (Alice Raisbeck) to her son Thomas Tatham

Dated 17 Sep 1779, postmarked Stockton, addressed to No. 2, Paradise Street, Rotherhithe.

It was with great pleasure I received, Dear Thommy, your agreeable letter, especially as it contained the good news of your advancement to so genteel a post. All your Stockton friends rejoice to hear it and join with me in wishing you success. And with all the anxiety of a tender parent I shall pray for your preservation and that our Good God will continue his protection over you in whatever danger you are exposed to. I am glad to hear so good account accredited to your ship. A young gentleman just come from London was on her and says she is one of the finest ships in the service for her size, that in all probability she will be a quick runner. If as good a pair of heels as the Lowestoft, you have nothing to fear from the danger of the enemy.

I am glad you sent the bills. They will be a means to make you a little popular in this part of the world. I have disposed of them to your order but fear success.

The sailors is all banished from this town. The Bellona still lays here very quiet and undisturbed, with all the officers idling their time about the town and sinking the King's money. At present they really cannot get hands to put her to sea with. It's said it might have been managed when she first went down. There have been strange doings about her. It is now thought it more advisable to have her discharged from the King's Service, as she is only lying in the river and serves no end but sinking the King's money.

My love to Mrs. Tatham. I am extremely obliged to her for her kind invitation and shall be glad to accept on't whenever it's agreeable. The thought of seeing my dear family once more gives me an inward pleasure not in the power of my pen to express. May the Good God permit me to enjoy the happiness, is the only wish I have at present to hope for in this world.

Mr Crow is not come home. I expect letters from Jackey by him. Tell Jackey not to expect a letter from me till Mr Crow's return. Poor old man, what disappointment he has met with in his children. George turns out to be a drunken fellow, is obliged to have his ship took from him, not being capable to manage it. Jemmy abides by no business, is unsettled by his unhappy connections with a girl much below him. Very afflicting to all his family, and cruel in him to so trouble so good a parent as Mr Crow. But as we are all born to trouble and disappointment, the best method we can take to bear our afflictions is to make a virtue of necessity.

Thomas Raisbeck Esq. often enquires after you - at present you are in great favour with him -, and often throws out a wish for his going to London upon a visit to you; but by no means don't give him any encouragement. Though he is possessed of a fine estate, he often wants pocket money. But as you are in high esteem I would have you keep up a correspondence with him - it is possible it may terminate to your advantage-, but no further familiarity with him.

I perceive by the papers Captain Pierson is got home with the Baltic Fleet. By the papers I shall be able to know the course you are to steer. Write me before you sail, and desire whenever Mrs Tatham has a letter from you she will make Lawrence or Jackey acquainted with it, that I may have the pleasure of hearing of you. Assure yourself, Dear Thommy, it will be very satisfactory to your tender mother,

A. S. Tatham.

Ally's best love to you and Mrs Tatham. We both send your sweet boy a kiss. Pray let his Mammie give him two a piece from us.

If it be in your way to see Lawrence, tell him the best remedy for the weakness he mentioned in a letter to me of his little boy is afflicted with is very cold water. When the body comes down, dip a cloth in cold water and press it up gently.

[Spelling and punctuation slightly modernised]

Date17 Sep 1779
Linked toAlice Raisbeck (Residence); Thomas Tatham (Post/Rank/Title)

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