William Macky to Thomas MackyCoshquin
27th June, 1852
My dear Tom
You must excuse me for not writing to you more frequently but since I wrote last to you (which was with Katie) everything has been in so uncertain a way with us that I did not know what to write.
We had hoped for a long time that we would have got the farms sold as there were several people looking about both places, but none would give as much as my father wanted for them. At length Kilfennan was sold to Mr Glenn of the same place for £500. The bargain was concluded in the month of February but it was only last week that the title was made out and we have not got any money as yet, but we expect it will shortly all be settled. Glenn is occupying the place since the bargain was made.
The Baldricks of Linsfort offered £250 for Coshquin which my father at that time would not take. After a good deal of time spent in trying to deal with them my father proposed to take their offer but then they would not give more than £200 which he would not take. So you see 'delays are dangerous'.
As we were still in hopes of selling we did not commence our labour till the middle of January but we got on very well and had down all our crops in good time. We have 22 acres of oats, eight acres of flax, two of potatoes and two of turnips, and all looks very well.
We intend advertising Coshquin for sale immediately and if it be sold we will all start for New Zealand. But I am afraid that there is not much chance of getting it sold as very few care for purchasing land now, particularly on Lord Templemore's estates, and if not sold we would have very little cash out with us. When all debts are paid there will be little left. But if not sold, my father has promised to send me out in September. I may be able to do something there but here I can do little either for myself or any other person. I had some thought of going to Australia to the 'diggins' but New Zealand will most likely be my destination.
Dorcas has been at school in Derry for the last six months. She stops with Mrs Alexander. She is much improved and is growing tall and handsome.
I hope that long ere this time Katie and you are tied together with that knot which no man may unloose. God grant you every happiness and prosperity. We are anxiously looking out for a letter from her as it is now more than eight months since she left.
I suppose we may account for your not writing to us by your supposing us to be on the way to New Zealand. John Macky of Gallaugh received a letter from you enclosing one from my Aunt Baird for mother and we have seen letters from Uncle Baird to his brother and sister and James McNutt and were very glad to hear of their welfare. They appear to be getting on very well. We, likewise, received a letter from Uncle Baird about ten days ago, dated last January.
John and Rebecca and family are well. They would like to go out but under the present circumstances he does not know what to do. You ought to have tried and got some of the members of the congregation to mention John when they applied to the Free church for a minister, as the Free church are evidently prejudiced against an Irishman. As John is writing by this opportunity he will give you all the particulars but I think you need not expect his letter as soon as this as he wrote per ship and this goes per steam packet via Sydney.
There is a monthly line of steamers going now between England and Australia. There are great numbers of people leaving Derry and its neighborhood for the 'Diggins' in Australia. William Macky of Derry is away-- he said he would write you from that place.
They are embanking that part of Lough Swilly opposite John's place, taking the bank across from that hill behind the meeting house to Burt Shore, leaving Inch still and Island. There are 500 men employed at it and they are getting on very fast. They are likewise commencing the old embankment at N Cunningham. They are about to build a stone bridge across the Foyle for the railway and other traffic. They will commence shortly to build the Magee College at Derry, somewhere about those fields at the Rock. My Aunt Dunn is come to live with us. She never heard from Anne Gwynne since she went away-- that is, from any of the Gwynnes.
Andrew Rosborough has some notion of going to New Zealand. He is much improved since you saw him last. Great numbers of people are leaving Ireland and many more are thinking of going. I think Australia and New Zealand will get a good share of them. There is not much appearance of Ireland improving and the disease in the potato is appearing again this year in the south but we have not seen it in this neighborhood as yet. The crops all look remarkably well; this has been a very fine season and it is likely to be a plentiful harvest.
I think it is not likely that I will have any call to write to you at such a distance again as I hope that we will all be soon ready to leave this country. If we get the farm sold I think we will be ready again October.
Give my kind love to dear Katie and I hope she is happy and contented. Remember me to James and Anne and their family and to all our other friends, and may God bless and prosper you all is the prayer of
Your affectionate brother,
PS Finlay, the minister appointed by the Free church, is not going to New Zealand.