June 16th, 1704
Dear Cousin Rachel,
I hope this letter finds you well. You must come visit me sometime in London. As you asked to hear an account on the state of affairs here once I arrived, I shall tell you that the citizens here are quite aroused over political issues currently. I have spent a couple afternoons in their coffee houses and have taken up reading a newspaper called “The Observator”. From what I have ascertained there is much calamity over who will be heir to the next throne. Presently, the monarch is a Queen Anne, a protestant. A few years ago in 1701, there was a law passed that the crown cannot be held by a Catholic. The problem is that the closest protestant relation to Queen Anne is a lord named Hannover, who is very very distantly removed from her sovereign in relation. I tell you, since moving here I have become ever more grateful that I am of good protestant blood. The situation for Catholics here is dreadful, even worse then back home. The newspaper I have been reading slanders Catholics day and night. The papers go on and on about how these Jacobites (for that is what they are commonly referred to as) are enemies of the state and are a danger to national security. Often I read an article that discusses a book the Jacobites like to read, such as Cassandra, or a dead Bishop Land that the Jacobites exalt. And the author goes off about how these Bishops and books condone superstition, witchcraft, and sorcery. One would think the Catholics are a band of devil worshippers. As you can imagine, this results in a great deal of conflict with the Irish and Scotts. I tell you, I don’t know whose idea it was to create this United Kingdom, but it seems an awful experiment. I have read several times of uprisings in Ireland and unrest in Scotland. Well, it’s no wonder. When you try to go to Catholic areas and tell them that a Catholic can’t rule the kingdom, those subjects won’t be happy. I personally believe England would have an easier time if they round up all of the Catholics and shipped them over to the New World. For the people that aren’t members of the Church of England, that’s what the ones with sense are already doing. It’s only pains and unrest for them to stay when they are clearly not wanted. Well, I hope to hear from you soon and let me know when you intend to visit.
Sincerely,
Steven Dushel
September 21st, 1704
Dear Rachel,
I received your letter a couple days ago. I am glad to hear that things are going well and that uncle’s health is improving. How did the children enjoy the package I sent? Well, I tell you, the English are a quarrelsome people. I already told you about all the heatedness over the Catholic problem. None of that has changed. The only other thing people seem to talk about around here is the war with Spain and France. And let me tell you, I’ll be darned if I’ve ever met a group of more overconfident, self-assured victors than these Londoners who are sitting in their coffee houses. These pompous fellows do absolutely nothing to help with the war effort except sit and brag about how they are going to whip all of Europe. Whenever the newspapers aren’t slandering the Catholics, they are boasting of their military might, especially that of the Navy. I have trouble ascertaining how well they are actually doing in the war. Not long ago, I read an article about how the English recently whipped the French and the Bavarians in a substantial battle, taking thousands of war prisoners and sinking the Bavarian fleet. Maybe a week or so later, there was a war circulating about another naval battle in the Mediterranean in which rumors say the French might’ve got the better of it. The newspapers denounced this report as rubbish, saying that there was no way the French navy could have obtained a victory over the English navy, and surely the English won the battle. Moral quickly rose as everyone convinced themselves that the French had been badly beaten. Now, since I am not an Englishman by blood, I was able to analyze the reports without getting swept up so much in emotion. And, in my opinion, it does not appear that anyone can conclusively say what happened in this battle, though the English folks are wholly convinced that their fleet achieved a conclusive victory. It will be interesting to see how this war unfolds. It seems that a great deal of valuable lands in the New World and the West Indies are at stake. For a country like England, who has just about no valuable natural resources to speak of, losing this war would be quite devastating to the country, at least in my opinion. The citizens of London are very zealous about the war and show great support for their soldiers. The war is also used a leverage to create more animosity against the Catholics. Common sentiment appears that the Jacobites wouldn’t mind a French victory, as it might help them return a descendant of the former King James to the throne. That’s all the public news I have for now. Please let me know how things are back home and when you intend to sail to London and visit me.
Sincerely,
Steven Dushel
October, 13th, 1704
Dear Rachel,
I’m so glad to hear that you’ll be visiting next month. We will have so much to do. I am particularly looking forward to taking you to see the London theatre. I’m not certain what will be playing, it seems they perform a different piece every night. Personally, I believe that the concerts are the best. These usually include operas sung in both Italian and English and the music is played by some of the premier musicians in London. It’s truly a wonderful experience. They are also very taken up with performing Shakespeare tragedies. Macbeth and Hamlet have played a decent since I’ve arrived in London. By far, the two most popular plays have been Squire of Alsatia and Abra Mule. But even these, which are widely the most liked, are only played maybe a couple of times each month. So there’s really no saying what will be performed when you visit in a few months. I don’t want to spoil too much of the plays for you but I would like to give you a brief account of what happened so you have an idea of the English taste. In Abra Mule, a beautiful young woman is loved by the Sultan, his brother the prince, and the Grand Vizier, who all go through great lengths to obtain her love. As you can imagine, with men of such power being love rivals, there is no shortage of drama in this great battle of love. In The Squire of Alsatia, there are many political implications ridiculing the Tories. Given my prior accounts of the political situation, it should be no surprise that a political anti-Tory play is popular. With regards to the rest, it seems that the English are obsessed with love stories, especially dramatic love stories with multiple rivals competing for one man or woman. Even in tragedies such as Hamlet, as you know, much of the drama surrounds Hamlet’s disdain for his mother’s remarriage. Anyhow, I look forward to receiving your upcoming visit and showing you around the city.
December 30th, 1704
Dear Rachel,
I am so glad you were able to make it. I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your visit. I must say, I regret that you didn’t come just a month later. You narrowly missed this wonderful performance called The Careless Husband. It has been an instant hit. It first was performed in the theatre on December 7th, and has played over ten times in just the past three weeks. Everyone who follows the theatre closely finds it just wonderful. No surprise, given the taste of the English, it is a love story. Personally, I think seeing this play would have given you a much better opinion of the English theatre than that of which you left with.
The play unfolded as such. The husband was a gentleman of the name Lord Easy. He was carrying on an affair with a nearby widow and one of his wife’s’ maids. (It seems to me that none of these English plays can function without a dishonest lover). Lord Easy gets tired of the widow and tries to dispose of her; meanwhile his wife tries to pretend as though nothing is wrong due to her utter powerlessness. The other main characters are Lord Morelove and a woman Lady Betty. They have some sort of romantic relationship but a recent feud has caused a rift. Throughout the play, they are all socializing and scheming how to make the other jealous. There is this Lord Foppington, he is the only one who is ignorant the whole time. Betty flirts with Foppington to make Morelove jealous; while Morelove flirts with the widow to make Betty jealous (he is awful at this game). The widow, in the meantime is attempting to make Lord Easy jealous. This entire time, Easy is going around, having his choice at the woman of his choosing, and pulling the strings in favor of his companion, Morelove. Foppington is an utter ridiculous fool who claims to pursue woman for the reputation of having a mistress and is never the least aware that he is being played.
This play was humorous but I always find the endings of these English plays utterly ridiculous. Somehow, Lady Easy forgave her husband and went so far as saying he was the best husband in the world. Lord Easy reformed instantaneously. None of the two mistresses he kept resented him for breaking it off with them. And meanwhile, Lady Betty forgave Morelove for deceiving her and Morelove forgave Betty for using him like a puppet. I dare say, these authors go through ridiculous means to create happy endings in these comedies. The first 4 and a half acts make a happy ending utterly impossible. And the happy ending still occurs. The tragedies are no better. It’s almost laughable the way reality is turned onside it’s head to ensure that everyone dies no matter what in some of the Shakespearian tragedies I have seen. Just once, I’d like to see a play with a somewhat feasible conclusion. But, I suppose the point of the theatre is to get away from real life, and a realistic ending would ruin the entire point. Nonetheless, The Careless Husband was quite comical and I think you would have enjoyed it.
On the whole, I don’t think I’ll be staying in England long. Business is good. The war creates a high demand for men of my skills. I am constantly employed. But the environment is to tense. The bad blood between the Jacobites and the protestants makes London very hostile. And while I am not persecuted, it is very uncomfortable being around all of this political tension. Every day it is the same controversy, the Hannover succession. I frankly don’t care who is in the crown. I don’t see how anything Queen Anne has done has affected my daily routine. English folk are too caught up in political affairs. Additionally, people are always buzzing about the war. Every day I read an article about a different battle with the French or the Spanish or the Bavarians. The irony is, despite the fact that there is so much turmoil, the gentry just sit around and discuss things as if they have nothing better to do but talk. Frankly, I am sick of it all. Notwithstanding the excitement of all the diversions such as the theatre, I miss my quieter life back home. Please ask uncle if he could make arrangements to set me up with some employment on my return. I will certainly compensate him in full for his troubles. I, hopefully, will see you soon.
Sincerely,
Steven Dushel

Work Cited
Cibber, Colley. The Careless Husband. The Royal Exchange, London. 1705. Web.
Defoe, Daniel and Tutchin, John. The Observator. April 1, 1704 – November 1, 1704. Issues 4-
65. Web. 26 March, 2016
Moran, Berna. “The source of Joseph Trapp’s “Abra-Mule”. The Modern Language Review. 53.1
(1958). Pgs. 81-83. Web. 31 March. 2016
Royal Family History. English Kings and Queens Historical Timeline. Web. 29 March. 2016
“Season 1703-1704” The London Stage 1979. Print