21st November 1857

My Dear Mother

I received your welcome and wished for letter today. I have been looking out every mail for one, and was wondering if it if it had been lost, for there a(re) strange times here at present although, thank God, they are getting better.

My Dear Mother, I am happy to announce to you the birth of a son. Beccy was taken ill on Sunday night, the 13th inst, about half-past eleven, and gave birth to a beautiful boy at twenty minutes past two on Monday afternoon the 14th; the very day on which our troops entered Delhi. Dear mother, I was very near losing dear Beccy through it, if she had not a skilful doctor and a good nurse she would never been spared to me; poor lass, she had a sore trial but with the help of God she got over it.

We cannot be too thankful for all his mercies towards us, for, dear mother, it has been a fearful time in this country since the Mutiny commenced. It would make your blood run cold if you heard of the atrocities that have been committed from one end of the country to the other. They seem to have picked upon the poor helpless women and children to vent their spite upon. They are cowardly scoundrels, but they showed themselves to be blood-thirsty villains and not as they used to be termed (honest Jack Sepoy).

I am happy to inform you dear mother, that the news came today that the whole of Delhi is in our hands; the king is hid in a large tomb where we expect soon to find him if he does not give himself up. What remains of the Sepoys have bolted in different directions. Our loss has been very severe, but there’s have been immense. They fought like madmen, for of course they knew there was no chance for them; there are fifty rupees for every Sepoy bearing arms and thirty rupees for everyone without arms.

When they are caught, it is a rope round their neck, or blown away from a gun, whatever is handiest; and how would you like to see a dozen of fellows tied together and placed in front of a gun and blown to atoms? You, I have no doubt, think it cruel, but if you were here, you would go yourself and see them. It is a mild death to what some poor Europeans have got from them. There is scarcely a day but one is brought in. I just saw by the last Lahore Extra’s, of 325 of the Sialkot and Jhelum mutineers being brought into Lahore. They were no sooner in, than they were blown away from the guns, so there is not much time lost with them (so much for  Jack Sepoy).

As I mentioned, that Beccy had a good doctor and a good nurse in her confinement. I must let you know that it was through the kindness of Mrs HOGGE, my Commanding Officer’s lady, and Commissioner WILLIAMS lady, who had taken quite a fancy to Beccy, and had been very kind indeed. I had no right to have a doctor a few days before Beccy was confined, Mrs HOGGE sent a note to Beccy inquiring if she was prepared for her approaching confinement, (or) if she was not, she was to say what she wanted, (for dear mother, it is different here to what it is at home; you cant go to shop here and get what you want). She would get it for her at the same time asking if she was going to stay at home. She advised her to stay at home, what Beccy had made up her mind to do previous. So Beccy answered her note and she got Dr CANNON to promise to attend her, and also send her own nurse.
I may mention that Beccy had engaged a black midwife, who I believe is very skilful, but neither Mrs HOGGE or Mrs WILLIAMS would tell of it and Beccy was very thankful to have a European nurse-such a nice old body-something like your dear self! Mrs HOGGE made Beccy a present of a beautiful woollen cap of her own working, and some little shoes, also of her own working. Mrs WILLIAMS has been very kind too; she has given Beccy some small clothes of every description and is going to make her a present of the christening robe, likewise a goat for to give her good milk. She kindly came to see Beccy on Saturday afternoon and I happened to be at home. She is such a kind lady, so dear mother, we have not wanted for friends. Beccy will write you herself when she gets well she ill give you all the particulars herself.

Dear mother, let me know how all Alexander’s (1) children are-Ann, George and Agnes; wouldn’t I like to see them. They must be grown a good deal since I saw them and little Jamie; I hope he will be a better boy than his uncle; and little Ellen?-I hope will be spared to her father. Be sure to remember me to Uncle ADIE and all the people about there; also to Aunt IMRIE and Ann IMRIE; where is she? You mentioned she was married, but I could not make out who to; give her my best respects. Remember me kindly to Aunt Agnes; let her know all the news. Remember me kindly to Mrs BOYD, Mrs BRUCE, Rev JOHNSTON and all enquiring friends.
You mentioned that you sent a newspaper; I have not received one; the letter was registered; I should like to hear the news at home. Now dear mother, I hope this will find you enjoying good health as it leaves me at present do write soon and believe me, to remain

Your affectionate son

Jas Johnston

NB I will send another copy next letter. I forgot to mention what I am going to call my little chap. It is going to be JAMES CHARLES JOHNSTON, after her father and me.

Goodbye for the present