These two 1836 letters were written by 77 year-old, retired merchant, Peter Wainwright (1759-1841) from Liverpool, England. When these letters were written in 1836, Peter’s wife, Elizabeth Mayhew (1759-1829) had already passed. Peter Wainwright was a tobaccoonist who emigrated from England to Boston prior to the Revolutionary War. When in America, he met and married the daughter of Rev. Jonathan Mayhew of Boston. Before their children were born, the Wainwrights returned to England and didn’t return to America until 1802. The Wainwrights eventually returned to England but their children stayed in America.
The first letter was written to Charlotte (Lambert) Wainwright (1794-Aft1836), who was the wife of his son, Peter Wainwright, Jr. (1794-1878). They were married in 1825 and had at least four children by 1836. The second letter was written a month later to Peter Wainwright, Jr. whose occupation is given as a Boston “Merchant” in the 1850 Census.
Peter Wainwright, Jr.’s brother was Bishop Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, an Episcopal clergyman.
TRANSCRIPTION of Letter One
Addressed to Mrs. P. Wainwright, Junr., Roxbury, Ship New Jersey, Capt. Barstow
12th July 1836
My Dear Charlotte,
I calculate on this ___ you that my son will be on his passage to Liverpool. I cannot describe how much it would add to my pleasure were you to accompany him. His relations join me heartily in this desire. We are anticipating much pleasure from his visit. I shall be in Liverpool about the time I think he will be here and wait for his arrival. I was at Mr. Gain’s last evening and have the pleasure to say all is well. Mrs. Gains had received a letter from my son in London____ was well and receiving great attentions and pleasure from a variety of sources. Capt. Bartsow is to sail this morning for Boston. I hasten therefore to drop this line to say all friends in this quarter are well. With love to you and your dear children and kind remembrance to all my friends.
I am ever my dear Charlotte, your affectionate father, — P. Wainwright
TRANSCRIPTION of Letter Two
Addressed to Chr. Peter Wainwright, Junr., Boston, [Massachusetts]
26th August 1836
My Dear Son,
I have just received your letter of the 29th ult. and packet of N. Papers by the Orpheus and am exceedingly disappointed and sorry any cause should prevent your visit to England, thereby depriving you and your friends of much pleasure which we have long anticipated. I have been here a week every day anxiously looking out for the arrival of the Packet. The morning was pleasant and with great delight I stood on the pier of Priners Dock viewing the ship coming up under full sail with a fair wind on her near approach. I looked out with hope of seeing you amongst the passengers assembled on deck. Not seeing you, my mind was filled with many surmises and regrets. I was not so near as to speak to Capt. Barstow so I hastened to Boring & Co. office where I met your letter, which in a degree relieved me from anxiety leaving me only under regret and disappointment at not seeing you.
The last letter from your Brother [Jonathan] that was dated 6th inst. at ______ wherein he expressed such anxiety to know whether or not you were coming. If you was, he should hasten to meet you. I shall write him the first post to inform him of my disappointment in which he will, I am sure, cordially unite with me. I calculate to see him the early part of next month as I think he will have a wish to attend the musical festival at Manchester which commences on the 12th.
I received a kind note from my sister B____house to say she would have beds for me and my sons during this time and hoped for the pleasure of our company. I drop these few lines to go by the first ship for Boston tomorrow. I have put up a few papers also. I shall then return home tomorrow and will write you again after a few days. In the mean[time], with love to you & Charlotte, and Dr. _____. I am ever, my dear son, your affectionate father, — P. Wainwright