Robert Trotter from John, 1798

“Soho Square,1798,
John Trotter to his brother Robert,in Edinburgh ”


Eunice Shanahan

This is one of the seven letters we have which were written to Robert Trotter, during his long career which ended up as the Postmaster General of Edinburgh. This one is written much earlier than the first one which can be accessed by the link at the end of this webpage.

It is is a long and beautifully written letter from John Trotter, (possibly another brother), who is living in London. It is addressed to Robert Trotter Esqr No.5 Georges Square Edinburgh. There are three postal markings: first a poorly applied double cirle evening duty date stamp in black with the year in two figures, for SE 27 98; second, the 8 charge mark, which is correct at the time of 1796-1801, 8d for distance over 150 miles; and third the rather faded Scottish Bishop Mark date stamp in red for SEP bisected circle over 30. This was usual for a letter to take 3 days London to Edinburgh.

So now to the letter, which begins wih a paragraph about the business deal they have in hand. Because the cost of sending a letter depended on the weight and number of pages, most writers did not bother with paragraphs, and crammed as much writing onto a single page as they could. So, I have added paragraphs to make it easier to read, and the images show how it was actually written.

Soho Square 26 Sepr 1798
My Dear Bob
Your kind letter of the 7th instant has quite nonplused me, I do not like to interfere with you in what you so heartily desire & hardly know how to refuse the preference you afford me. I have consulted Sandy & Coutts on the subject & they both agree in the propriety of your offer & my concurrence & of course I accept the obligation under the Conditions you point out.

By this time Mr Jardine has returned & possibly you may have had an opportunity of conversing with him in the business, if so, may I beg you will make me acquainted with such of the particulars as you may conceive of importance to me as Purchaser. I agree with you that my name had better be concealed for a time, meanwhile you can treat as if for yourself, but it would gratify me were you to transmit a statement of the Condition & Rents of the estate.

I doubt not that you will do by me as you would for yourself & therefore I hereby empower you to bargain & settle for me to the best of your judgement, but recollect that I will not suffer you to do in this or any part in future business as you threaten in your last letter, for I must insist that you do by me as by every other of your friends & make the regular charges for the Hepburn & this affair. I am obliged to you equally for the intention but it is incumbent with the usage of my management & I hope you will indulge me by a compliance with my (which you will perhaps call) a whim.

I yesterday visited poor David Pitcairn possibly, I mean probably, for the last time –- the only chance to the contrary is his acceptance of my offer to accompany him to Portugal & Spain – he has too often witnessed my talent for Nursing & I wish him never to experience it. I like him & he will find few more zealous to bestow on him all the comforts of real affection. I shall receive my yes or No this day.

I received letters from Kingsgate this morning they are all well & Mrs rather better - I am heartily glad that they have removed their Quarters from Newcastle to the Convent which is certainly a more eligible Birth in Winter, being less exposed.

This image shows how the letter was written on the inside of the paper, and the fold is clearly visible.

Lady Newark is about to travel North again to sell off her furniture &c & after arranging her other domestic concerns she purposes to return to this place to reside altogether. This being the case I have invited her to this house as a resting place for a few days. Barbara accompanys her & of course becomes my intimate, so that I shall have enough upon my mind till all be passed over.

I had rather see you & Madam Anne altho’ she disdains to write an old friend, that wishes her very well notwithstanding. She shall not come to Glencross if she perseveres to use me so unsisterly yet believe me I am most sincerely & affectionately hers & yours &c
J. T

on the outside of the letter it is noted that the letter has come from John Trotter.

Finally, and not part of the original letter, someone, has added a pencil note on the front by the address, which is much harder to read than the original letter.

tells Robt he can treat Mr Hennessey as if for himself
This letter is more than 200 years old, yet the paper is in really good condition, and the ink has not faded at all. Many letters of this age are not in such a good condition.

For a later letter to Robert Trotter in his role as Postmaster General of Edinburgh click here.

for three commercial letters to Robert Trotter in the 1770s. click here.


Copyright By E & R Shanahan
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