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Thomas Macky to Catherine Cochrane

April 7th, 1851

My dearest Kitty
    I wrote to you this day six weeks by way of California which I hope arrived safe with the accompanying needful long before you lost hope. I had only time to write a very hurried letter at that time as the mail closed a day sooner than I expected. I believe I mentioned that I thought it likely I would require to visit it this season again myself, but as Mr Graham is going he will take charge and were it not for the going home part of it I would be glad I has not to go, for taking journeys like that (frequently) you very soon acquire a roving spirit and that is not desirable.
    As it was, after my visit to California, it was some time before I could settle down to regular routine of business. However, I trust you will not think anything about me not going and as I am pretty sure that at least my father and mother and Dorcas will be coming out with you, you will not be lonely. Oh that John and Rebecca were also coming with you. I do trust they will, it would be a joyful sight to me to see you all here.
    I often think about John coming. I think it would be a struggle with him to leave his congregation, but if he were here I am quite sure he would soon have the affections of the people as much as he has at home, but I trust God will direct for the best, and, should (contrary to every hope) none of them come, do not be afraid to come alone. You will always find a friend, and as I mentioned before, endeavour to bring a good faithful servant with you. Servant women's wages are from 5/- to 9/- per week and the only ones you can get are pensioner's wives and they are too often of very indifferent character.
    My dear Kitty, the more I think of my neglect of writing to you the more I see the extent of my transgression, but believe me, my affections have never been changed. I trust you will forgive me my neglect and, if God spares us to meet in this land, I hope I shall make up for it. A letter that I had from William the other day (the first I had from home for about seven months) informs me that you were well and at Carnshanagh and, very justly, gave me severe reprimand for not writing. However, it gave me very great pleasure to receive it as I expected I would have to wait some long time for one. He tells me J A is at Rosehill and very poorly. Poor Ann, she has had her share of trials.
    I am glad Joe is assisting his cousin at the factory as I hope it will be a good thing for himself and be the means of making the other do some good. I suppose there is no use trying to induce him to come here, but if he would think of that I will ensure him at least employment and a good reward for his labour.
    I hope by the time this reaches home you will be making your preparations to start; I have mentioned in my letter to William something about the passage. I am quite sure from what I know of you on our voyages on Lough Swilly that you will enjoy it much. You will almost imagine yourself in heaven on a fine night in the South East Trades-- it is really beautiful. Then, in stormy weather you will see ocean in all its majesty. I know of no life so brave and manly as the sailor's and none in which you require more faith and trust in that power which is everywhere present. However, a long voyage may either be made agreeable or miserable; all depends on one's disposition. In a ship full with many passengers you will find a great variety of characters, but in a short time you will know which are best to associate with, but at the same time civility and courtesy cost nothing. Take plenty of exercise, walk about on deck as much as possible and you will find it of the greatest service. If you have not learned to play chess, learn at once, it is the best pastime I know of, and bring along with you some entertaining books. You need not attempt to read anything dry. Do not bother about bringing many things with you, you can get anything here just the same as at home. For the voyage the only thing you are likely to want will be a water filter and some raspberry vinegar. You will have plenty on board in the shape of food. There are always some grumblers, but I have never found any reason for it. No doubt a great deal depends on the captain, but the generality of captains of London ships are very gentlemanly men, very different from the captains of the American passenger ships. You will find it no loss to be kind to the steward. These gentlemen generally expect something, but it is never lost. Be sure to come in the cabin.
    There are very little changes here. I am, thank God, well and happy. I cannot say I have had one day's illness since I left home. I like this place more and more, the climate is delightful and the people generally very kind and agreeable. I am kept very busy-- I have been writing till ten o'clock all last week but am never so happy as when I am hard at work.
    James and the family are all very well, the youngsters as noisy as ever. I want him to build a house out of town which I think he will do as it would be much healthier for the children and have them out of the way. He has been very fortunate in business, and is well able to keep them all very comfortable, but indeed he is only too kind to them as they are indulged in everything they want. He is kind and affectionate to all. I never heard an application for assistance made to him in vain.
    Mr Baird and family are all first rate, they are all well pleased with their new home and busy making improvements. It will be a very nice place. I trust that we will be able to secure a farm for my father in the same neighborhood, as the soil is most excellent. Mr Baird is a very different man from what he was when I knew him at home, he is particularly steady now. The girls are brave soncy lassies and seem very industrious.
    James has written a long letter to my father at last, he tells me he has filled three sheets. I must write a few lines to John and Rebecca and enclose this in theirs.
    Now my dear Kitty, farewell till we meet, remember me to all old friends. How is Cousin Mary, Dorcas, dear Rebecca-- God bless her, I do hope she will come with you. May the Almighty bless you abundantly and send you in safety to this place is the sincere prayer of one who has never ceased to love you.

T L Macky