6 July 2014

Edward Eliot's last (known) letter to his father

During the summer of 1797, Edward James Eliot was staying in Bath. His health had been poor, and his physician had advised him to take the waters at Bath, and ride on horseback daily, in order to improve his unspecified ailment.

On June 29, 1797, Edward Eliot wrote what was to be his last (existing) letter to his father Lord Eliot in Cornwall:

"My Hon[oure]d. Lord,

I return You a great many thanks for your kind Letter & good advice as well as good wishes, which I received ye day before yesterday. I am afraid my Complaint is not of so determined a kind as yours was at that period, or as will enable either me or my Physician to judge exactly when I may properly leave off the waters. At the same time, as I have very strong proof, & am very confident that I receive a great deal of benefit from them, I shall certainly strain my patience very hard to remain here a reasonable time, or till I no longer feel much improvement. I took [oe] for a few hours, in my way Hither, appointing a Builder from Cirencester to meet me, which he did. After all the noise & alarm Mr. Ward had made, of which I own I had been very much the Dupe, about the state of the House, I was glad to find that the necessary outside Repairs of the House are next to nothing. It seems an Idea He (Mr. W.) is very fond of, to pull down the old part of the House as it is call'd, & sur[e] up a new Kitchen & back kitchen behind the Hall, for the sake of lessening the range of Buildings & making it more compact; and it may very likely be s good plan & in the long run worth while, but as I don't apprehend any thing considerable is wanting to be done to that part at present; it will certainly very well bear Consideration. What, I'm sorry to say, will not so well bear consideration is the inside state of the principal Rooms; whose sides & floors for want of assistance are going very fast to decay: being very well worth preserving; I had some Conversation upon the spot with the Builders upon them, & he is to send me his notions of the method & expense of doing what may be necessary for that purpose; but the most will be considerably short of what I had supposed the state of affairs there to require. About 60£ towards it, & a little bit of land, we shall get you from the Canal, arrears of Taxes for the ground they occupy, & that I believe will finish the enclosed accounts with them. We have had but a wet time of it hitherto but I have never till today been hinder'd from my ride between one and three. This morning it was perfectly fine till about one when a violent Thunder storm came on, and it had been raining more or less almost ever since. I beg my Love & Duty to my Mother & Aunt and am, My Hon.d Lord, Your very Dutiful & very Affectionate Son, Ed. J. Eliot. Bath June 29th, 1797" [1]

Within two months of the date of this letter, Edward James Eliot died at his family seat at Port Eliot in Cornwall.


1. Edward James Eliot to his father, Lord Eliot, June 29, 1797. Eliot Papers, Cornwall Record Office, EL/B/3/3/8.

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