Transcript of letter from Captain Hyde Parker, to J. F. W. Des Barres. April 1777
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My Dear Friend
Upon my arrival at New York last March* I was agreeably surprized to find that you were still in this world, having had great doubts upon that subject, not should I have been convinced to the contrary but by your two letters – one dated the 3rd of August 76 the other the 7th January 77, these I do assure you are the two only letters I have had the pleasure of receiving from you since my arrival on this side of the Atlantic. With those letters, I also received your two books of charts. As to those mentioned I have been sent by Mr Marsh of the Eagle. He denies having ever received any of the purchase have you mention. You will therefore receive my best thanks for those you was so obliging as to send me, and be assured that I shall always be happy and ready in being of any sort of use to you.
I am extremely sorry my sketch of the North River was not more perfect. I sent it to my father in order for him to give it him a general idea of the business that had been carried on. I shall now soon have one finish’d more completely
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in the interim. I enclose you the account of the North river as I delivered it to Lord Howe. By this you may be able to dress the former Plan, as to the soundings. They are in general regular except at the places where the sunken objects are. There is at that place a sort of ridge of five fathoms from Burdetts mountain to about one mile to the norther’d of Fort Washington. The rest of the River has in general from seven fathoms in the best of the chanel shoaling gradually on each side to four, after that it shoals very quick, but I think you better not meddle with the soundings until I furnish you with better gratuicals. By the bye My Dear Des Barres I see you have persisted in your error of the Bearings of Cape Codd from Boston light House. Instead of NNW as printed in your directions it ought to be WNW. Of this I wrote to you from Boston.
As to the Pheonix’s criticals as you are pleased to call them If I mistake not they were marked in the plan I sent my father but I will endeavour by the next to give you every idea I possibly can of her situation and that of every other ship employed upon the difficult service. I wish
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to my soul I had had your boy Jack to have sketch the landing upon New York Island. I think it would make one of the greatest picture that can be imagined. If you are acquainted with Captain Vandeput ask him. Thew you are none(known?) by his Clerk. If you happen not to know him I beg you will take the first opportunity of telling him that you are a friend of mine. After which you may ask him for that or any other favours you please. He is one of us and be an addition to your acquaintances _ A Capt Robinson [Robertson?] of the Engineer’s made a sketch of that landing and I am told has a masterly hand at those sort of things. He has promised make a coppy which I certainly will reserve for you. Any services have been so wholy confined to New York and not to have given me an opportunity of furnishing you with any thing but those particularswhich I have, and do now send. Should any thing in future allow you may be a focus of my attention - My best wishes attend Denmark Danmark street, where I hope to visit one next Fall or early in the Spring although at present there is no seeing through this accursed unatural war and how it is to end I cannot forsee, but hope with all my soul that people live(underlined), may not be disappointed in these sanguine wishes. I hope you are ……… [torn page corner]……….
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….. when I left you. Adieu my Dear Friend and Believe me with great truth.
Your Affectionate Friend
Off Cape Henry, April 18th 1777
* Parker was appointed Captain of the Phoenix on the 7th April 1775.