On this day in 1697, Nathaniel Long wrote to Captain Thomas Bowrey and William Walton care of the Post Office at Portsmouth. Bowrey and the St George Galley were stuck in Portsmouth harbour having sprung leaks and, then, colliding with a Swedish ship. Walton had travelled from London to meet with Bowrey accompanied by Mary, Bowrey’s wife, and Elizabeth Gardiner, his sister-in-law.
The letter makes it clear that both Long and George Cole, another investor in the galley, had both gone into the country for Christmas. Now, in the New Year, Long had just returned home but Cole was still away. There is little mention of Christmas in Bowrey’s papers but this letter shows that a prolonged break over the festive season is nothing new.
Now back in town [London], Long had arranged a line of credit so that Bowrey could have the necessary repairs carried out.
Long finished his letter by sending his service to Madam Bowrey and Madam Betty. I believe that this is the first reference made to Elizabeth’s pet name.