Captain Todd

“Thomas Pagnell of Trehannez,
from Captain Todd, Falmouth, 1806,”


Eunice Shanahan

Front address panel has Cornwall written at the top right hand corner, Post Paid L Todd in the bottom left corner, and is addressed

To Thomas Pagnell Esqre
Near St Columb
There is a red charge mark Pd 6d, and a FALMOUTH boxed mileage mark of 270 (correct according to Robertson).

On the outside of the letter is a note by the recipient

22nd July 1806 Capt Todd about Francis going to trial.

The letter is sealed with black sealing wax showing a fox with a bushy tail and the entwined, engraved initials LT which is mentioned in the last paragraph of the letter.


This is a three-page letter on very heavy dark cream paper with no watermark. Most of the writing is legible, but there are some words which are less certain, so I have put a question mark in brackets beside those queries.

Cronarth (?)
Tuesday 22 of July 1806
My dear Sir
I am favored with your letter of the 21 and I will immediately send to Falmouth to be forwarded to Be at the Indian Queen(*) in tonights Mail Coach a Parcel containing the measurement and sale of the Timber with three letters from McMillan(?) from whom communications on the subject I believe I have before transmitted to you.

I should be extremely sorry to do anything that might ruin Francis and his Family but his misconduct certainly should be marked in such a way as to make him fully sensible of it.

As I am not in possession of the facts I cannot offer an opinion and even if all the circumstances were fully known to me I should wish to leave the Business entirely to your management. I take it for granted there must be sufficient evidence to bring the point home to him, and that he is aware of his Error so as to enforce Him to submit and avoid the Expense and Publicity of a Trial. No man on earth can decide better than yourself whether the case be evidenced in Law Justice or Mercy and whatever you do I shall most assuredly approve, but the man must not at any rate set it at defiance.

I perfectly agree with you that He is not the most desirable tenant and if he could be induced to quit it would be greatly to my advantage as then no doubt the Estate would let with rescheduable (?) thereon, especially as the Farmer at Worthyvale has opened the eyes of the neighbourhood as to the value of land perfectly cultivated. From what I have seen of Francis he does not seem to know how to make the best of his land. He is a slovenly Farmer and I have taken it in my head that he is not the most correct man in the world.

On my return Mrs Todd showed me your letter and told me the answer which is really what I should have written had I been at home.

My ship sailed on Friday, I am ashore on leave,and in all likelihood shall the week after next go into Devonshire with my wife and three of the children. I will certainly contrive to see you before I go to sea again as I have much to say when we meet. I wish you had mentioned how Mrs Pagnell was, as I grieved the other day to hear that she did not gain strength so much as you wish.

Pray what have you done about your son as my Friends notwithstanding the late change retain their situations as Surveyor General and Secretary of the Ordnance.


Has Norway sold Tregear yet? He asked 1800£ as we shall have a Peace soon and there will be no difficulty in getting money then I should not dislike the Purchase if he would lower his price 2 or 300 I wish you would try him with 1400 or 1500£.

With our united regards to you and yours

I am my dear sir
Cordially and faithfully yours
Lance(?)Lamb (?) Todd

The writer has then turned the paper upside down and written across the bottom of each page, but I cannot work out if they are separate sentences or joined.

perhaps the sooner you take an opportunity of speaking to Norway the better

This image shows the writing at the top is upside down, and then the text follows from page 2 of the letter on the next page

do when the young Folk have any leisure desire my journal Book to be sent me that I may send an order for the Balance.

On the outside of the letter is this paragraph

The black wax with which this letter is sealed is for Mrs Mitchell (Mrs Todd’s mother) who died last Thursday and is to be buried tomorrow. Pray if you have an opportunity mention it to Mr and Mrs Pike and to Mrs Paul with our kind regards.

I could not find online or in my atlas places named Cronarth, nor Trehannez but did find a reference to the 1801 census, giving the population of St Columb as 1816 persons, on the Genuki Cornwall site.

(*) Indian Queens is a village near St Columb, which may have been the collection point for the mail coaches.

(**) The Surveyor General he referred to at that time was Lord Robert Spencer, but I could not identify who would have been the Secretary to the Ordinance. The ‘recent change’ he mentions in this sentence refers to the political unrest because of the death of Pitt the Prime Minister in January of 1806 and the subsequent government upheaval, resulting in what the contemporary wits called “All the Talents” because of its broad and comprehensive character, from the far left to the far right. This was the period of the almost constant wars against Napoleon, but it was generally believed that this would end, and there would be peace with a victory by Britain.

I could find no information about the writer Captain Todd, nor his ship, which he mentions, saying that he is on shore leave. So if anyone reading this has any information about the addressee or the writer, I would be delighted to know about it.

Sources : Great Britain Post Roads, Post Towns and Postal Rates 1635-1839Alan Roberton Robertson
A History of England Charles Oman

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