30 Dec 1856
From the Rev. R Rice, Chaplain on board the Vulture - to Mr. Dewar
Buyukdere - Dec. 30/56
My dear Sir -
I can well imagine the poignancy of an infliction on a Parent’s bosom, when my own has been so deeply affected - Your son was my most promising pupil, but the hopes so fondly cherished of seeing him grow up an ornament to his profession have been alas! prematurely blighted “Even so Extra for so it Seemed Good be thy Sight” Doubtless the Lord had his [-] [barely legible text] good in view. Cogniscent as I am of the dangers & temptations that a youngster in the Service has to undergo I cannot but think of the prophet’s Declaration “The Righteous perisheth” &c . . . ...” [-] [barely legible text] considering that the righteous is taken away from the Evil [-] [barely legible text]” Our little Aide de Camp (for so I frequently Called him, he being the Captain’s at General Quarters) was an affectionate, obedient, & decidedly talented boy - he was generally the first to work out a question, & never evinced any unwillingness to engage in the duties of school - I send you a Copy of my record of marks obtained by the first & 2d boys at the monthly examinations in Augt & Sept.
Arith Algebra Eu Trigo Naviga Total
metic clid nome tion
1 Lawson 98 . . . 173 . . . 110 . . . 90 . . . 255 . . . 726
2 Dewar 100 . . . 175 . . . 80 . . . 40 . . . 160 . . . 555
1 Lawson 76 . . . 160 . . . 100 . . . 35 . . . 123 . . . 494
2 Dewar 76 . . . 193 . . . 80 . . . - . . . 95 . . . 444
I have no doubt in my own mind that in a few months he would have shown himself “facile princeps” in Every Subject. - He was the youngest of the six and yet he was second in each Examination. The only occasion I Ever had to find the least fault with him in School was one morning when all were rather heavy after a night when all had been more or less disturbed & deprived of their usual rest. Every one of the boys had arrived at a wrong result, even he who was generally correct - With a smile, intending to soften the mildest rebuke possible, I said, “Why Dewar, you are as bad as the Rest.” - He soon discovered & corrected the mistake - You may see from this what I expected from the boy. For some time after he had been taken ill, I saw nothing of him, the Surgeon having expressed his opinion that he was to be kept as quiet as possible, & that any excitement would be injurious. When he got a little better I was allowed to go in, & the first time I entered, he said in a plaintive tone, “You have not been to see me.” On my explaining the reason, he was quite satisfied - after this I saw him frequently - & asked to give him an account of my Rambles on shore.
(Here follow some unimportant particulars)
During his illness, he always kept his bible always at hand, & as long as he was able used to peruse the Sacred Volume - Looking at his bible one day I noticed that it was the gift of an Aunt, & that two texts had been particularly noted, one from the book of Psalms, & the other from the Epistle of the Philippians - of his own accord he repeated them to me, & I made as frequent use of them as I could in my conversations with him at all times afterwards, or rather addresses to him, for I did not encourage him to speak much. His eye would brighten when my address would contain these words “in every thing by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” - Whenever I engaged in prayer, his little hands wd be clasped in the most devotional manner & his whole countenance wd indicate a most earnest concentration of thought - Even latterly when his voice was inaudible, we could see how fervently he joined in the Lord’s Prayer & his Amen was distinctly perceptible. - Many a time has he whispered, “Pray, Pray” & we would see his hands brought across his chest immediately he saw I was going to address the throne of Grace - he has been heard to repeat frequently, “Go to my Father” - words suggested by the anthem wh. we sing, “I will arise.” &c. After his removal to the Surgeon’s cabin next my own, I told him we shd discontinue our weekly singing, if he thought it wd disturb him, but he wd not hear of it - Before the operation was performed on his throat, the Captn & Surgeon desired me to break it to him - This I did as considerately as I could & after having received his consent, - I offered up a prayer for God’s blessing upon the means that were going to be employed - He submitted like a little Hero, & really at the time, I thought he wd recover - The operation was performed on a Sat.y, & next morning I called to see him before Church & told him we were going to remember him especially in our prayers - He nodded his con[-] [barely legible text] & we, as a congregation offered up our intercessions on behalf of one, whom the Almighty had resolved to take to Himself - Between three & four on Monday morning, I was called to witness his departure to the land of Spirits. On the day of the Funeral I saw him again, & a more beautiful inanimate object I never beheld - He lay with his little head inclined to the right, with a placid smile on his face, a lifeless form that angels might desire to convey to Abraham’s bosom. He who said, “Suffer little Children to come unto me,” & who shed his own blood to wash our guilty souls, has added the more to the glorious company whose privilege it is to celebrate the praises of the Saints for Ever & Ever. Be assured of my heartfelt sympathy with those whom the Lord has been pleased this heavily to afflict -
I am Sir
Yours sincerely Richd Rice