John Macky to William MackyCarnshanagh
Burnfoot, L Derry
30th January, 1854
My very dear William
I wrote a letter a short time ago via Australia, addressed to all my brothers, in which I informed you of my appointment to New Zealand by our board of directors, and all the circumstances connected therewith. Since I wrote scarcely anything worthy of note has transpired in our circle and all public news you will have in the newspapers which are sent very regularly, if in the confused state of the post office they chance to reach you. Thank God we are all quite well and are now busy making preparations for our departure.
I am sorry to say Kilfennan is not yet sold-- Sam expects that everything will be arranged shortly, but I have my fears that the final arrangements about that unfortunate place will be as unsatisfactory as everything connected with it has hitherto been. Father is as sanguine as ever-- and his star of hope seems ever in the ascendant. After all it is very happy for him.
Your letter to me came to hand about three weeks ago, and all the intelligence it contained was very gratifying. It's a pity your letters had not been more general, and containing information on a greater variety of subjects, their style would have been more greatly valued. All your acquaintances are anxious to hear from you everything concerning New Zealand and the prospects of the various classes of emigrants, as they feel quite certain you would not depart from your usual candour and sincerity in tendering them advice upon so important a subject.
I don't think Mr Thomas Wallace and family have any idea of emigrating. He would like it very much but the rest are fearful and dissuade him from it.
I took occasion some time ago to talk seriously to Ellen about the increasing intimacy of James Alexander and her. She acknowledged there was an attachment which had been growing for years but as her parents were opposed to it and had been grieved about it she was determined to break it off. I don't hear that there is any near prospect of marriage with any of your old acquaintances, male or female.
Aunt Dunn has been very poorly for some time past with severe inflammation in the back of her head which has suppurated-- poor woman. She is much grieved about our leaving her, but her affairs are in such a confused and unsatisfactory state that she could not go along. I was determined that we would not be later in leaving than the end of March or the beginning of April, and wrote to Willis & Co about their terms etc and when Mr Law had written to satisfy himself and the directors that no easer terms could be had, I caused the treasurer to forward £100 to secure one of the stern cabins for us in the Cashmere, your old friend, which will sail late in March or Early in April. Of course this will lead father to hurry his preparations-- I felt it was quite useless to wait until he would see a clear prospect of all affairs being satisfactorily arranged.
We are likely to have more company than we expected. Ann Alexander seems determined to go, and is busy preparing. When father mentioned that circumstance in a letter written a few days before my last, I deemed his doing so premature, as I thought it very likely, though she talked confidently of it, that it would end in talk. However, it seems otherwise. She will take a servant, so will we, but not a very fine nor experienced one-- but a girl who's very honest, of excellent character and not likely to leave us soon.
I had no idea that the grief of the people would be so great at my leaving them. I trust in God I am not going contrary to His will in this matter. In many cases their grief is so great that I know not how to soothe and comfort them. Many families speak determinedly of going to New Zealand, but I am loath to advise, lest with their limited means they would have reason to regret the step they had taken.
For some sabbaths now we will be having young men preaching and I think the most of the people would be willing to leave the choice of my successor to myself, but this is a responsibility which I do not wish to incur. A considerable number of young men have already been recommended and it is likely to be greatly augmented. To those at a distance who have no other way of judging Fahan, but by its recorded collections for missions, it appears even more eligible than it really is. But after all there are few nicer situations for a young minister than it is at present.
I have no idea what Mr Cochrane may allow me for this place-- perhaps I may be a good deal disappointed-- but this cannot be helped.
Kitty's determined silence is most unaccountable; I fear she didn't join heartily in wishing us to go there.
Rebecca was at Cootehill for a week-- she returned last Wednesday. She got a good many things we required from Jno Campbell. He has sent some goods to brother Thomas and if he recommend it, will willingly get largely into the business.
Sam Metherell will leave in a few days for London-- I think it's in the Eclipse he intends going. He will have a considerable quantity of things with him. What a pity Thomas or James didn't write on, while they had reason to think their letters would find us here, to advise us of any changes in prices of the various things they wrote for us to take if we have any means. The news of the Melbourne market being glutted with various kinds of things from England makes us fear there may be a similar depreciation in Auckland.
If James see that he would consider good value in land for £150 or £200, and if he would consider it a good investment for the benefit of my family, I would be glad he should secure it. I suppose he might venture even farther than that for father and me together if he consider it really advantageous, and I expect the money will be forthcoming on our arrival. None of you has been at all sufficiently explicit in advising me what to take-- especially about books-- I was thinking if books could be brought duty free from America there, they would be cheap enough. However, if Jno Campbell continues to trade we will have frequent opportunities of getting what we require.
God grant that we may all meet in safety and peace! I must acknowledge to you that I am not at all sanguine in looking forward in this change-- I trust you all understand matters to be more favourable than I can at all suppose them to be. I have been thinking a good deal about my having to go considerable distances and preaching in difference places on the same day. The labour of that with my present health I would think nothing of, and would be a delight to be kept busy, but my bad seeing at night troubles me. God has, however, made up to me hitherto for that deficiency and I trust there may be less inconvenience than I anticipate.
Can you do anything about a church before my arrival? Let not the site be determined too rapidly-- in new places prospective advantages ought to be considered.
I trust Mr Bruce is getting on to his entire satisfaction. There has been no communication to our colonial secretary from the FC colonial convener. I fear they have not heeded the suggestion in Mr Bruce's letter-- I am determined to know all about it before I leave, and whether it's their wish to give their sanction and approval to my appointment.
All our friends, with the exception I have stated, are well-- mother's health is good-- her preparations and Dorcas' have been a little interrupted by Aunt's illness. Tell Kitty her father is quite well and has some expectation of seeing her in Auckland yet.
Aunt Mary is poorly, vexed about all leaving, and no letter from Uncle Thomas. Aunt Catherine as silent as herself, in her seclusion in Gouray. We expect Dorcas Donnell here in a few days. Anne's mother and sister etc are all quite well. Mr McIntyre is doing well.
There has been good news from Jno Cochrane from Melbourne. Farming is paying him well. I don't remember any further information I can give you at present. I expect someone will write by Sam. Metherell some days hence. Joe Cochrane and I dined with him last week and met the Cashin people.
And now, my dear William, God bless you and dear James and Thomas and their wives and little ones, and keep you all in the fear and love of God and do all things well for you. Rebecca and our dear children (Sam himself made the request as soon as he knew that I was writing) join me in hearty love to you all and praying that we may have a joyful meeting. I remain, my very dear William,
Your most affectionate brother,
Jos Cochrane, Derry, is quite well and interesting himself very kindly about our preparations.