John Macky to James MackyTwo letters on one sheet--
(Endorsed Received April 12th, 1851)
4th November, 1850
My dear James
I once more write to you. This is now the fourth letter and I have never received any from you. Neither did you write to John, who has long been expecting one, and we are obliged to think that you care nothing for us. We are now betwixt hope and despair respecting poor Thomas whom we trust in God is still living and well. But we are at a loss to know what you mean. We received from you in May last four newspapers and in one of them we saw the name of Thomas Macky as a passenger going out to California, and we thought it a strange thing that you would not write to give us satisfaction as regards him and we also think it a remarkably strange thing that Thomas, who was so regular in writing, (since he went there we received four letters from him) would not write before he sailed for California seems very strange to us, and that he would never write to us since that.
You also sent us a paper which we got about two weeks ago, announcing the birth of your son which we were all glad to hear, but no other news for us. Could you or Thomas know our feelings, how unhappy we are, surely you would not treat us in this manner. And if you have any regard for us you will immediately inform us about Thomas, if he be alive, and where he is and what he is doing.
The last letter we received from Thomas he mentioned that Captain Pearse was to be in London in September last and we wrote to Mr Brooks of London hoping to get some information from him, and also to Willis & Co. Mr Brooks informed us that Captain Pearse was in Auckland in May last and from thence to California. We had heard of a vessel that you were agent for being wrecked on her way to California and that made us still worse. How to account for Thomas going to California we are at a loss to know as he wrote to us that he was happy and content with you.
I hope that Mr Baird and your aunt and family have all arrived safe and that they are happy and well. We are now every day expecting a letter from them, as he promised to write as soon as he would land, which promise I hope he will not forget as we will be all glad to hear from them and of their welfare.
I will now try to give you some information respecting this country. The first as regards myself. You are aware that I had advertised both my farms for sale but could not sell either of them. Coshquin I could get nothing for and Kilfennan I could not sell unless at a great sacrifice and I am obliged to hold them and struggle with them as I can for some time longer if we are able to get on.
There is no change for the better in this country. The failure of the potato crop is worse this year than it has been yet. The blight came on early before the potatoes got any size and they are very few in this country. But still there is plenty of food pouring in to us from all countries which makes our markets cheap here. Oats from 6d to 8d per stone and what from 16/- to 20/- per barrel. Oat meal 10/- cwt. Potatoes are selling at 6d per stone and these are mostly brought from Scotland where they have had very little failure this year and are a good size and good for eating.
High rents are still kept up, but they will soon get a great deal of the land to themselves as the people are emigrating rapidly-- but there will soon be few able to do so. Your cousin, William Macky, of Lisfannon has given up his farm to Lord Templemore for, I may say, nothing. He gets no money for it. He is gone at present time to Derry but intends going to America in the spring; your aunt, John and Ann are well and Miss Nancy still alive. William Macky's father is dead. Your friends in Kilfennan are all well, and your Aunt Baldrick and family are well. I hope our friend Baird will not regret leaving the country, and indeed he may not as the present prospects of this country are not good, and I hope he will get settled in a good farm as he knows well how to manage one. You can let him know that all his friends are well.
Your brother, John, and wife and children are well. They have three sons and a little daughter, all fine, smart children. The boys are at school at Burnfoot. They have got in under the National Board and have a fine school and excellent teacher. Miss Cochrane is living at Carnshanagh and is well.
Our neighbor, James Macky, and wife and sisters are well. They have had seven children. He has two dead, the eldest, a little girl, died a few days ago of whooping cough. Their youngest is a son and is very ill of the same complaint and it is feared that he will not recover.
Your brother, William, has always a notion of going out to New Zealand. Mr Baird was so kind as to offer to pay his expenses to take him out but William declined it, not knowing how he would be able to refund when he was there. How to act for the best we know not as his prospects here are not very encouraging. He is smart and well disposed and I think would do well in anything he had to do, and I think could transact any business with a very little practice, but here is only losing his time working hard for Lord Templemore.
Thanks be to God your mother and I have both good health at present and William and Dorcas are well. Dorcas has not been at school for some time as she was as far as her teacher, Mrs Andrew, could put her. We were always in hopes that we would be able to send her to Derry for some time but we have not got that done. You mentioned that Eliza Jane would write to her but she has not done it.
You may have forgotten us but we have not forgotten you and every night I pray to God for the welfare and happiness of you and your wife and children and I trust you will not be unmindful of us. No one should be over anxious for this world's possessions. Let us live to love and fear God and I trust He will provide for us what He sees good for us in this world and for our eternal happiness hereafter.
I mentioned in my letter which I wrote to you by Mr Baird that if it was in your power to send me a little money I would secure it for you, or some of your children, on Kilfennan property at my death, provided I should not live to see you.
Your mother and Dorcas join me in love to you and Ann and all your children and may God abundantly bless and prosper you all is the prayer of
Your affectionate father,