18921127 See an image of this letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/vgcr-2w45


S.S. “Thames”,   Sunday 27th Nov 92


My dear Mother,

We are drawing near Rio & as the “Thames” will not stay very long in port I may as well have a few lines written to send on by her. We have had a pleasant run up. Most of the officers are old acquaintances of mine, particularly the chief officer, Mr Tyndall, in whose cabin we have had jovial sessions.[1] There are eleven young fellows from Rio on board who went down to the Plate to play cricket against Montevideo & Buenos Aires, suffering defeat in both places. They are all Englishmen & a merry crew. I knew two of them before. Youle, brother of the fellow who came out with me on this ship, & in whose house I have staid twice when passing through, & Keay who remembered having met me at McKinnels’ dance, though I did not recognize him.[2]

I thorough enjoy this life on board. Glorious weather, bright sun, & sea breezes, nothing to worry me, salt tub in the morning, novels, whist, chess, & poker to amuse one. For four or five days it is splendid, & I can put up with even three weeks of it.

Julian came down to the Ensenada port to see me off. He is looking forward to his own going home in Feby./March.[3]

I am going to live out of town at Rio. Though there is not fever yet in town it will be cooler & pleasanter outside.[4]

I look forward to renewing acquaintance with old friends.


I hope to see Bertie Weinberg one of these days.[5] He is engineer, as you likely know, on the “Tagus”, which is now in Rio or Santos.[6] She goes no further south, but returns to England via Rio after an eight days’ stay at Santos. I don’t much envy Bertie those eight days on the river at Santos. Fortunately the public health is now good there.

There must be several letters from you waiting for me at Rio. If we land this afternoon I trust Mr Spann will send a clerk to meet me with them.[7] On Sunday afternoons the offices are closed. To-night or early to-morrow morning I must write some other letters to go forward by this mail. I hope to have good news from you.

Best love




RMS Tagus, built 1871. The ship on which Bertie Weinberg served as engineer.
RMS Tagus, built 1871. The ship on which Bertie Weinberg served as engineer.



  1. Andrew Tyndall, engineer (b ~ 1853). See Index to People.
  2. The Youle brothers – Frederick Louis (b 1857) and Frank (Schwind) (b 1866). "South American merchants." See Index to People.
  3. Julian Weinberg. See Index to People.
  4. “Between 1802 and 1849, cholera and influenza pandemics killed hundreds of thousands from Shanghai to Seville to New York, but these diseases did not dip below the South American portion of the equator. As a result, Brazil gained a reputation of good health, an opinion confirmed by European travellers and some provincial authorities. This rosy reputation wilted in 1849 when a yellow fever epidemic devastated several seaports, including the imperial capital of Rio de Janeiro. Following this outbreak, waves of epidemics swept the nation with unfamiliar and terrifying virulence. Brazilians were struck again and again by cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, and bubonic plague until the early 1900s." https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/americas/article/abs/sickness-recovery-and-death-among-the-enslaved-and-free-people-of-santos-brazil-18601888/4E807636A7035B9C8014187CE0C4DA93
  5. Herbert James Weinberg (b 1868 Belfast, d Perth, Scotland, 1896). Son of Isaac Julius Weinberg. See Index to People
  6. RMS Tagus: Royal Mail Line – built 1871 – scrapped 1897. The Royal Mail line routes included: Southampton - Lisbon - Brazil - Uruguay - Argentina (1850-1980): http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Ships/RMSTagus.html
  7. Adolf Spann. See Index to People.


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John McCaldin Loewenthal: Letters Home from a Victorian Commercial Traveller, 1889 - 1895 Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Fink, Robert Boyd, Sarah Watkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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