Great letter describing Calcutta


Date Written

Dec. 9, 1828

John W. Parker was 20 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Abigail Parker, was 25 when it was received.

It was written 194 years, 9 months, 24 days ago.
It was a Tuesday.

Dec 9th 1828

Honoured Parents,

I wrote you on the 5th by Mr. Tappan of the “Hoogley” informing you of our safe arrival. As you may not received that when this arrives I will repeat.

We arrived in 133 days to the Sand Heads & 143 to the city. Samuel Pulsifer was lost overboard on the 8th of October, every effort was made to save him but without effect.

I have sold the Dolls @at S. Rupus 20 ꭋ deposited the proceeds in the hands of Doorgapasaud Day & Rum Tonoo Ghose @ 5% pr. ann. with Capt. Brigg as security. Indigo is high, 1st quality SR 275 @ 290 pr. Fy. Md. or $1.85 or 1.95 per lb., 2nd 230 @ 260 or $1.55 @ 1.75 per lb., 3rd 175 @ 220 or $1.18 @ 1.48. Large size Possacky Choppas SR 135 @ 140 pr. Corge or $3.37 @ 3.50 pr. ps. –small heavy none. Small fine 68 @ 70 or $1.70 @ 1.675 pr. ps. Large Bandannas 140 @ 145 or $3.50 @ 3.62 ½ pr. ps. Small fine 70 @ 75 or $1.75 @ $1.87—small heavy none.

From the uncertainty of Wms. being at home, I have not written him but given the price of articles in your letter. I shall probably invest the adventure a part in Indigo & part in Silks.

I promised Abigail in my letter that I would write her by this oppty. I shall include what I have to say in her letter & write you by the L. Packet that will probably sail in [?]

I remain your affectionate son,
John W. Parker

To Mr. Wm. B. Parker, etc

Dec 9th 1828

Dear Sister,

I have as yet considerable leisure time & know of no more agreeable way of filling it up than by writing you, not than I can tell you much that is interesting or instructing but it is pleasant to talk to our friends at home although we can receive no answer.

Our passage out was as pleasant as I had a right to expect. The event in the latter part made it less so than it otherwise would have been, but of such events we must make a proper use. I consider myself fortunate in being with Capt. Briggs, as well as old school mate Mr. Scobie being an officer. We have nearly discharged our outward cargo & purchased a part of the return cargo & talk of getting away by the 10th Jany., but I think not so soon as that—I hope in all, January.

As to giving you any description of this place or its inhabitants a fortnights stay is not long enough to know much about them.

The scenery on the banks of the river is very interesting at least after having been at sea 4 or 5 mos. The cottages of the natives are thatched which being among thick woods have a very wild appearance, the same as we might imagine an Indian village looked in our country. As we approach the city, many very elegant country seats are seen on each side of the river. In the city are a great many fine buildings & some very wide & good streets but then generally that I have seen narrow lanes & alleys—these of course rather dirty & would be more so were it not for the thousands of crows & other birds that eat up the stuff that is thrown into the streets. These are not allowed to be destroyed on account of their use in clearing the city as well as the jackals which come into the city at night.

They have got about all the kinds of vegetables that we have at home, but I have seen none of our fruits. They have all the tropical fruits that we see at home together with some others, among them are the quaver & pomlamo [?maybe Pomelo] the former looks like a pear has a dry spicy taste, but to me not pleasant. The pomlamo is as large as a muskmelon, green, & rather sour. The plantain a long yellow fruit sometimes seen at home, but not often. Sweet potatoes grow here as well as common potatoes which I did not expect to see.

We have hired a house where we live & do the business, this is customary in these parts & is very convenient. Mr. Hammond a gentleman who came out in the Hoogley & remains behind, lives with us.

There are very extensive auction sales in this city. At one of them, I bought a piano for $5., worth at home probably $50, but it is too large to carry home. I shall sell it again, can probably get little more than cost.

If I have time I shall write to the boys before I leave here. Tell George [8 yr. old brother] if he will study pretty hard, I shall find something for him here as well as Edward [11 yr. old brother]. I am in hopes to get letters from some of the boys by the “George”.

In my other letter I asked the question whether it would not be a good idea to have some regular time each day to read in the family some religious or moral subjects. This would at least be of great advantage to the boys & could be made interesting to them & give them time to think of these subjects, in addition to the instruction we should receive. I am sure you will have no objection to forwarding this & am equally sure that it will receive the approbation of Father & Mother.

I sent my 1st letter by Mr. Tappan of Newburyport, he promised me that he would deliver it personally.

I remain your affectionate brother,

John W. Parker

Miss Abigail Parker

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