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Family Letters

 1 

Thomas Macky to Elizabeth Cochrane

Gregory's Boarding House.
Cheapside, London.
4 September 1848

My dear Kitty
    I hasten to fulfil my promise of writing to you on my arrival in London. I may just give you an account of my pilgrimage so far.
    Well, I started from Derry on Thursday at five o'clock in the Maiden City and got into Liverpool next day after a most delightful passage of 20 hours. The sea was as calm as a well the whole day and I was not the least sick. I stopped in Liverpool till half-past eight o'clock that night and started on the train to London (I had Jos Cherry with me the whole way from Derry and he stops with me). We got into London on Saturday morning at five o'clock. As it was dark the whole way I could not see anything of the country and therefore I turned my attention to sleep and slept most of the way.
    I got an omnibus that took me and my luggage to this place (about four miles) for one shilling. I went that day to Willis & Co, the agents for the ship, and put my luggage on board the ship. She is a very fine ship and the captain seems to be obliging. The fore cabin is situated in the centre of the ship. It comes next to the quarter-deck. It is large and airy but the berths are small. The berths are ranged on each side of it, each berth contains four beds, two on each side, one over the other and a space of about three feet between. The only difference between the chief and fore cabins is that the passengers in the chief cabin dine in the poop cabin. The chief cabins are just the same as the fore cabins. When you are coming out you must have a passage in the poop cabin as it is the only place that appears to be comfortable.
    I have seen some of the passengers that are going out and I think I will be happy enough with them. I will do what I can.
    I have got along first-rate so far in this great city. I wander about for miles round about, and can make my way very well. I went on Saturday to St Paul's Cathedral. It is an immense building covering two acres of ground. The charge for seeing every part is 3/-. I went through it all but I need not begin to describe it here as it would take up too much room. There is in it a large circular gallery called the Whispering Gallery in which the lowest whisper on one side is distinctly heard at the other, although there is a distance of 140 feet. I ascended up through the dome and got outside on a gallery street surrounding it, from which I had a delightful view of the city all round, extending for 8 miles on every side, and the Thames flowing up the centre, crossed by numerous bridges and covered with ships.
    On Sunday at half-past 10 o'clock I went to a Methodist chapel in Jewing Street and heard a very good sermon from Hebrews 4.11. The chapel was very much crowded and the singing was delightful. At three o'clock I went to St Paul's. It is a very grand place but I think there is not much true religion in it.
    I started out again at six o'clock to go to Regent's Square where the Rev Mr Hamilton, the author of The Mount of Olives etc preaches, but the walk was so long I could not reach it in time.
    This day I have been at the Tower and have gone through some part of it. One room is filled with equestrian figures all in different suits of armour-- Edward 1st, Henry 6th, Edward 4th, Henry 8th etc, with a great many ancient weapons of warfare. The next room is where Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned and is now called Queen Elizabeth's Armoury. There is a figure of herself mounted on a beautiful charger, in a costume similar to that in which she went to St Paul's to return thanks for the deliverance of her kingdom from Spanish invasion. The rest of the room is filled with weapons used principally in the reign of Elizabeth. I was then conducted to the Jewel Room in which the crown is kept and different other valuables. In one small place about 20 feet in circumference there is one jewel valued at three million sterling.
    Tomorrow, the Queen is to prorogue parliament in person, when, if I like, I may have a sight of royalty, but there is not great curiosity for it and I am as tired wandering about as an old horse.
    The ship is to leave the dock on Wednesday morning, which is five days later than the time appointed, but I can live very cheap in London and am always gaining some knowledge, for so far God has been with me and blessed me. I have got everything and well as I could wish.
    I trust, my dear Kitty, you will endeavour to be cheerful and make yourself happy wherever you are; put your trust in the Almighty and He will be your guide. He will instruct you and strengthen you and enable you under every trial and affliction to rejoice. May He give you that peace that passeth understanding. I trust the time is not far distant when we will meet again-- when I arrive in Auckland I will do all I can and write you the result; I hope in whatever way you may come you will be with me again 18 months hence.
    I intend writing at this time to my father and mother which will be all I can do. Give my kind love to Rebecca and John. May they live many and happy days together. If you go to Belfast or Cootehill remember me to all friends and wherever you go may God Almighty be with you and shield you and keep you under the shadow of His wing is the fervent prayer of him who can never cease to love you.

Thomas Macky

PS      You must surely write to me soon, anything at all will be very acceptable, it would be long not to hear from you until I would write from Auckland. Write in a month after this and then I will have it one month after I arrive. TM