Renaud Morieux, a European history professor at the University of Cambridge happened to stumble across a treasure chest filled with hand written letters of love, intimacy and domestic life that date back to the 18th century.
As reported by The New York Times, the professor found this box of historical memoirs in 2004 while conducting his research work at the National Archives in Southwest London.
He asked an archivist for permission to examine the letters and has finally published a detailed thesis on his findings, after almost 20 years of rigorous analysis.
Upon examination, he discovered hundreds of letters bundled into three pairs.
Most of the letters were written from women — the mothers, fiancées and sisters of French sailors who were captured by the British Navy on April 8, 1758, boarded on the warship, Galatée.
Only three letters had been opened supposedly by some clerk or low-ranked official of the British Navy. The letters may have been labelled unworthy of delivering, they may have been stopped from being delivered by a British soldier, or may have been put in a box and forgotten about.
Dr. Morieux spent 5 months going through the manuscripts sealed with red stamps, the ink had barely faded and the pages had barely yellowed.
According to New York Times, the professor said he found it emotional to be the first person to read such messages, filled with sadness and intimacy, that went undelivered to their intended recipients.
In one letter, a woman writes to her brother, a sailor, that their parents have died. She urges him not to be too sad, noting that only “death is certain.”
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