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Letter to R. H. Beattie, care of Dr. F. S. Beattie, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from James Clarke, Havana, Cuba 1835

... withing range of the Cabanas stands an advance battery; at the head of bay on its south side stands Castillo Atares, commanding the city, part of the harbour, and interior approaches to the city; on the South West, and West sides stand Castle Principe. James Clarke, Havana, Cuba 1835


My dear friend

I would be doing injustice to the memory of my dear Father, and also to my own feelings, if I neglected any opportunity to cultivate, and cherish the friendship of the son of his, and I may say my own, dearest friend; and be assured that I shall feel happy if our acquaintance shall be cemented by as strong and virtuous ties as distinguished the friendship of our fathers.

When I left you in Phila, I did not know that I would have made this island my residence, this present year. But here am I, in the city consecrated by the Great Colon, and now the repository of his mortal remains [originally, “of the mortal remains of the Great ‘Admiral of the Seas’”] and what emotions are awakened in the mind of an American where standing on the spot when he offered up the pious thanks of his sincere and grateful heart, to him who guided ov[e]r the waters the frail bark containing perhaps the destiny of the world – . It is indeed a precious privilege — And while gazing on the marble shaft raised to commemorate the event I could not forbear calling in the aid of imagination to picture, the weather beaten, but godlike Admiral, surrounded by his now humble crew, and the nude nondaring [?] Savages, offering the incense not only of the censor, but of his noble heart, to the Almighty disposer of events for his guiding and preserving providence – dedicating this new world to its creator, an act worthy of its discoverer — —

In the cathedral stands his coffin containing all that remains of him and his son. – To an American who has never before been from his country, this is an interesting city, containing much that is of interest in architectural decorations, locality, and manners and customs of its citizens. The first view, and entrance of the harbour is truly magnificent, and ever yet I daily discover new points of beauty in the city and its beautiful environs, The harbour nearly surrounds the city, or so near that a canal of one mile would isolate it from the interior — The entrance to the harbour is defended by the Moro, and Punta fort, either of which could at one discharge sink any vessel that would enter sine permission. The Moro is joined by a covert way to the Cabanas, an immense fortification capable of containing from 20,000 to 30,000 men, and which commands the Harbour, the city, & all approaches to it on that side (nr N. East) This fort was a long time building, and cost an immense sum, so much that even a not over wise King of Spain enquired if it was built of silver; it is said from 80 to one h[undred] millions of dollars! Perhaps no one [knows] the exact amount — farther up the bay, and withing range of the Cabanas stands an advance battery; at the head of bay on its south side stands Castillo Atares, commanding the city, part of the harbour, and interior approaches to the city; on the South West, and West sides stand Castle Principe, and some batteries that effectually guard all the avenues from the country – while the city itself is enclosed by huge walls well manned even in times of peace[.] But here I am at the end of my sheet and must also end my story –

So let me hear from you soon, Address – Civil Engineer, Camino de Hierro, Habana – and when writing to your fathers family remember me and assure them of my grateful remembrance to the Dr and his family make my kindest regards and believe me yours

Truly & Sincerely

Clarke
Mr R H Beattie
[[ Habana Sep 29. 1835. ]]

Lost Faces Ancestor Photos from the 1800s

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Submitter: Phillip F. Schlee E- mail: schlee@ksu.edu

Full Spanish names of places referred to in letter: Castillo del Principe; Castillo Atares; La Cabaña; El Moro; El Punta; Camino de Hierro.

Notes: Letter to R. H. Beattie, care of Dr. F. S. Beattie, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from James Clarke, Havana, [Cuba], September 29, 1835; from the Phillip F. Schlee Collection.

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