David Offley captured by Danish privateers



Date Written

July 17, 1810

History Referenced

David Offley was 30 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Mary Offley, was 17 when it was received.

David Offley died 28 years, 2 months, 17 days after writing this.
It was written 213 years, 4 months, 21 days ago.
It was a Tuesday.

Copenhagen [Denmark]
July 17, 1810

My Dear Sister,

I received thy affectionate letter the first of the month and should not have failed answering it immediately, but the opportunity then offered for America, did not afford sufficient time. I wrote however to our Brother and told him to assure thee of my sincere love for my dear Mother & sisters and to explain the reason that I had not wrote. I am sure my dear sister never could suspect that my Mother and sisters were obliterated from my memory. “ I feel too much confidence in her love to believe she ever harboured so unkind a thought.

I have lately received two letters from my dear Mary [Mary Ann Greer Offley], thy sister, and am happy to think she is happy to be rec’d among you, she mentions particularly the visit she paid mother some time ago when she experienced all that kind recess and affection I have ever been want to receive and had I no other cause for my affection the remembrance of the kindness I experienced where I almost thought myself forsaken by the world, would alone prevent the “remembrance of my dear brother and sisters from being obliterated from my memory.” My dear little boys--I am sure thee will be much pleased in having them so near thee & if my little namesake is so much like me and all my friends say he is that alone will prevent my being forgotten.

Long before the rec’t of this thee will have heard of my being captured by the Davies and brought into this place where I remain for trial. I dare say thee will wonder what I have been doing that I am to be tried and will think it strange when I tell thee that the vessel that I left home is called an English Brig and they wish to take her and the cargo away from me. This in Europe is called privateering in America. Thee knows we call taking a man’s property forcibly away from him by another name more appropriate. I have been here already more than two months and know not how much longer they may keep me, but I presume it will not be much longer. Whether I may be suffered to go on to Russia which was my intention is uncertain—so that after having sacrificed for more than three years all that happiness a much loved family offered to me, in the hopes that when I did return it would be to enjoy that peace and tranquility I have endeavoured to merit--am I at the eve of seeing my hopes vanish into air.

I am however now determined to follow my inclination and return home immediately & should nothing very unexpected take place before Christmas. I shall have the happiness to see you all again –as my return is so near. I shall reserve to that time the communication of my adventures and both perils by land and sea.

Thee will have heard from Mary that that my acquaintance with our new relation extended little further an exchange of cards. I learnt however there has been three very ancient families of the name Offley in England—One has become entirely extinct and few remaining of the other two. I have examined their arms in the Herald’s Court and find that there is a William Offley descended from Lord Francis Offley of whom there is no account since he was twelve years old. The family is from Cornwall but within this William was our Great Grandfather. It is equally as uncertain as unimportant. The Gentleman of who I speak had heard of our family and says he has no doubt but what we belong to his branch of the family. There is a town of Offley of which I expect I should see on my way home. I hope John will consider well of what I have wrote him. So sure as he quits the plow for the country house, so sure will he repent it. I hope his good sense & reflection will drive all such ideas out of his head. If it does not he will have to purchase wisdom, perhaps it may cost him dear. I have seen a person in Europe who told me Sister Rachel was about to be married; this cannot be true or thee would have told me. Give my love to Mother & sister Rachel, cousin Ann & Martha Powell; Aunt Betsey & family & believe me my dear Sister with great Affection, thy loving Brother,


“Tell John” I will write to him the next opportunity & at all events not to leave the country before I return.

Scans of Letter