On This Day: 6 December 1696

On this day in 1696, Mary Bowrey wrote to her husband, Captain Thomas Bowrey, on board the St George Galley in the Downs. This is a rare survivor. Bowrey does not appears to have been sentimental and the letter was possibly retained because another from his father-in-law about business was on the same sheet of paper.

It was Tuesday night and Mary wrote to her der tomey (dear Tommy), signing herself your loven wife til death. She believed that they would not see each other for at least eighteen months while Bowrey commanded the galley on a trading voyage to the East Indies. Having assured her husband that she was well, she hoped that he would keep so, and then complained about the weather but that was the end of the social niceties. She knew what interested him.

Mary’s news was that her cousin had just informed her that the French king’s letter had been read in Parliament and she hope that they would quickly have peace. The king was Louis XIV and England, alongside the Dutch, Spain, Sweden, Scotland and others, had been at war with France for eight years. The war did not end until the following September.


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