United States of America

May 3rd, 1898

The New St Charles Hotel, New Orleans

My Beloved Angee,

The heat of this place is very trying and I shall be very glad to turn in a northerly direction the day after tomorrow when I may hope to find it somewhat cooler. With the help of a carriage it has been bad enough to move about but to have walked would have been quite out of the question for me. I had intended going to Galveston but have decided not to continue the Southern route beyond this point. They have only surface drains in this city – deep and wide gutters on each side of the narrow filthy streets mostly filled with black filthy water &c&c and here and there the odour is most sickening – so unlike most of the great cities of the U.S. but there is a conglomeration of French, Spanish, coloured American and a few English the formation of the town mostly according to the tastes of French and Spanish. There is quite a French town in one part of the city which I drove partly through today – except in China it would be difficult to find anything like it elsewhere. I have had a good deal of work here for Crosse & B. whose business is simply enormous – they hold their trade for pickles especially against all competitions but the domestic (i.e. the American) jams have caused a great shrinkage in this branch of the business. I have taken a lot of trouble about their business and the weekly reports sent to them and it is some consolation to find this is appreciated as their letters to me witness – they are very nice and quite a different style to those from Drummond Road – but I must not complain of P.F. – if they seem to be lacking in a little warm expression of friendliness toward others they have acted more unfriendly still toward themselves in the business.

I was not aware until recently that the coloured people of the southern states are originally from Africa and of the true nigger[1] type – the Dutch brought them here as slaves as recently as 1600 – thoroughbred Ethiopians and some of them are very handsome and intelligent – they look as if their skin had had a coat of extra black, while the white part of the eyes and teeth as if an extra coat of white – their teeth are a picture. But socially they are kept at a distance. The U.S. Government are glad enough of their services in the army and I hear most of the first regiments to be sent to Cuba are these "immunes" as they are called having either had the yellow fever or supposed to have an immunity from this disease, not having taken it when in the midst of it.

I hope the war will soon terminate – Spain has had warnings enough but was too proud to heed them. America is too strong for her. How it makes one feel the solemnity of what God has revealed in His word as to the times which are at hand – the terror wrought in men's consciences on the opening of the seals – the beginning of the judgements – we may well sing "O What a debt we owe to Him who shed His blood who has saved us out of it and made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light". What a mercy for us in the midst of all the ruin and upheavings[sic] to have the very mind of  God told out to us in the Scriptures of truth – His thoughts which are high indeed above our own as the heavens are higher than the earth.

May 4th 1989

Mail day and I have been in my room since about 10.30 this morning writing, now a little after 3 – you would be amused to have a peep – all the clothes on my body is a pair of pyjamas and one of my thin under vests – couldn't have much less – it is fearfully hot and I am thankful to be able to keep indoors altho' it is hot enough in here. I have been wearing my white linen shirts and thankful indeed to have brought them. Thro' mercy I keep in good health but have to be very careful to keep to plain food. D.V. I hope to leave here tomorrow but am waiting the arrival of my mail before deciding upon the direction to take.

The time will soon come when I shall hope to be with you again, 4 or 5 weeks more, so shall not have tried your patience so much this time as on other occasions.

The Lord make it all up to you my dearest Angee and keep your heart and mind in peace – with much love to all our dear children and friends believe me with truest love to your dear self.

Being very affectionate Husband


[1] We recognise that this is an offensive term today. However, Edward Petter used the term "Nigger" as a neutral term to refer to black people. It is clear from the context that no negative connotation is implied. The use of the term on this website does not condone the modern usage. See further here.

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