25th June 1807: a beautiful present of sea plants

This is one of a series of posts of letters written by Ellen to her brothers and botanists in 1807. If this whets your appetite and you are interested in following the story, you might want to start at the beginning of the year and read the letters in date order.

Ellen wrote to her brother Sam on this day 210 years ago, and as usual she mentions the health of her Mother, how her disabled brother Tom is faring, and something about the Taylor family who are both neighbours and cousins. The news this time is about the arrival of a gift of plants.

The formality of the age means that Ellen refers to her sister-in-law Matilda as Mrs Hutchins. Matilda is married to Ellen’s brother Arthur and they are returning from Harrogate in Yorkshire, England, having been there to ‘take the waters’ for Arthur’s health.

Ballylickey June 25th 1807

My dear Sam

Tom is just as usual. He goes out in his gig often and some times goes out boating. His legs are very stiff. I don’t think he improves at all in walking. He makes few attempts and those with difficulty. My Mother is pretty well.

I have got a beautiful present of sea plants from a Mr Turner at Yarmouth. Some of the new plants I found were sent him. He was so pleased with them that he sent me some of the rarest kinds found in England and some foreign ones with some plates [drawings] and descriptions published by himself of Fuci and of Lichens.

You have not told me if you have asked Manny what answer he had to make to my letter. If he has given you any pray tell me.

How is Tom Taylor? All his friends at Inchilogh are very well. Mrs T able to come down stairs every day. She and Phyllis always enquiry after you very much. I hope you will soon enter college. You seem to wish it so much.

Mrs Hutchins says Arthur is wonderfully recovered since he went to Harrogate . I never saw so miserable looking a creature as he was before. He was like death stalking about.

All here write in love to you.

Yours affectionately

E Hutchins