Thomas Macky to Catherine CochraneAuckland
September 20th, 1849
My dearest Kitty
I must write you a few words just to keep us in mind of each other, although, believe me, my dear Kitty, I do not need anything to remind me of you.
I can say you are seldom absent from my thoughts. I sometimes sit down in a quiet place and indulge in sweet bitter thoughts of the many happy hours we spent together. Oh, my dear Kitty, through all the changes of this fleeting world I never can forget those happy days. God grant that this may find you in the enjoyment of peace and happiness. May the Lord give you that peace which He alone can give.
I have to thank John and Rebecca and William for hearing anything about you. Why not write yourself; to get a letter from you would be about as great a pleasure as I could have. The last letter I had from John and Rebecca they tell me they hear from you frequently, that you write in poor spirits. Rebecca says you are about as sanguine as John. Now I do not see what good there is in being sad. Do try to be cheerful and happy, trust in the Almighty who will order all things aright for those who put their hope and confidence in Him.
You have had a little variety of place of abode, which might keep you from melancholy, but I never can think of a single spot that I know or heard of in Ireland without a melancholy, though endearing, thought. Poor unfortunate Ireland, my heart is still with you. May the Lord yet grant that peace, happiness and prosperity may dwell in every corner of my own, my native land. It is only when you are far removed from the place of your birth that you love it aught. But enough of this, I might go on too far in this strain. It is one of my sweet moments of thought of old and happy times. Here as well as everywhere in the world there are plenty of Irish, some from Derry. John Thompson of Derry arrived here about six weeks since, but I think the sooner he is home again the better. He is a little wild and can do nothing for himself here. He says he had to leave home for being a rebel. We have him often with us, he is now down in the bush with a friend of James.
I have not heard from home now for two months, although we have plenty of ships here since. We have had another cargo of old pensioners the other day but they are not much good. There is a ship coming in to harbour while I write, perhaps I may have letters in her.
We hear sad accounts of the state of Ireland, of the people dying from starvation and disease worse than ever they were before. I wish we had millions of them here. If they would work there would be no fear of starvation. I see they have rebelled in Canada, I suppose it will join the States before long. We have peace and quietness here, neither war nor tumult, thanks to the Almighty. I have no reason to complain, I am as happy as I can expect to be, and if you were here my happiness would be complete. My health ever since I came here has been most excellent. I am liking this place better the more I know of it, it is really a fine country and a delightful climate. We have got the winter over, we had about 2 months rainy weather and very muddy streets but not cold. We have now most beautiful weather, clear air with occasional showers just sufficient to keep up vegetation.
I am kept very busy but I like that. I do hate being idle. James is doing an excellent business and making a rapid fortune. He has got a large family, three boys and two girls. I do not know whether there is to be any more or not, but what is is very noisy. Perhaps not being accustomed to children makes me think more of it but I think if they were my own I would keep them in subjection. The two eldest are certainly the best. Lizzy is a very smart intelligent girl and on the whole not bad. She is very well accomplished for her years. She plays exceedingly well on the piano and sings very well besides sundry other accomplishments. John is a very good gentle boy, but James is about as noisy crying a gentleman as every I was acquainted with. Sophia will be a nice little girl, she is very fond of me. The young fellow Robert Graham, one year old, a a very good boy indeed. He seldom cries. I think he is really as good an infant as ever I knew. I get a tolerably fair shake of nursing which I must confess I am not very fond of, but as we are sometimes badly off for servants in this place, (depending on these good creatures, the pensioners daughters) we must all lend a hand.
We do not see much society in the house, but what is, I like very well. We have a Sacred Harmonic Society here. I am one of the members. I pass two nights in the week very pleasantly with it. There are 56 members and the performance is excellent.
I think I mentioned in my last letter that we had commenced a Sabbath school in connection with Mr Panton's church. It is now a fine flourishing school. Our new church is not yet finished. I believe it will be in about a month. I like Mr Panton very much. He is not a very eloquent preacher but very earnest and a very good man. There are a great many Presbyterians here, about 300 families, but scattered over a very large district. They are principally Scotch, but there are a good many Irish.
I wish John was out here, I am sure in a few years there will be another minister required. The Irish Presbyterians would like to have a minister of their own country. I know two or three who would each give £100 towards building a church but at the same time I would not like to create any dissention in the congregation now formed, but if this place advances one minister cannot attend to all. I think if times do not improve or if they get such at home as not to be able to support their minister (which I am afraid will be the case in many places) I would certainly recommend him to come. There is a wide field for labour here in all these colonies. I think it very likely that my father and mother will come, I wrote some time ago to them and if they come I think in God's name you should all come together.
You have no doubt heard of the newly discovered gold regions of California. It has caused great excitement here. There are a good many people going there from this, but the state of living there is fearful. You will see in the papers that I sent, the Inchinnan advertises that place. We are shipping a very large quantity of goods in her to be sold at California. Some goods pay more than 200 per cent profit there. We will have about £2,000 worth in her. Among the different things we are sending twenty houses, very neat little cottages, which cost here £31 per house. From late accounts of this place they are worth £150 per house there. Captain Dacre will dispose of the goods and when he goes home he is to invest the proceeds in purchasing a vessel for James and Captain Dacre. He will be home in about eight months and will likely sail for this again in 12 months. I think it would be well for you all to come out with him. He would pay every attention to your comfort, that you may depend on, but I will write home after he sails and give them full details. I wish to my heart you were all here and you with me now. I am not afraid, my dear Kitty, but we will live happily together and if the Lord spares us to meet again nothing but death will part us.
John writes me that Mr Donnell and Dorcas are going to be married. I wish them every happiness. They were not long of settling the affair. I wonder where you will be when this reaches you. I suppose I had better address it to Rebecca as before, but they must all pardon me for not writing to any of them this time. I will write shortly.
My dear Kitty, about the first of June next year you will have sufficient to bring you comfortably out here. I will get my year's salary on the 1st February and will remit enough for you at once. I might have got it from James sooner but I think for the difference of a few months it is better not to be depending on any one and besides I will have the satisfaction of calling it my own, and of having something more when you arrive.
I must now conclude as the mail will soon close. Remember me to all enquiring friends and now my dear Kitty, farewell for the present, and may God bless you and keep you from every evil way and bring you to this land in safety is the prayer of your ever affectionate husband
PS By the Pilgrim just arrived, we have received a letter from William and father but not a single sentence concerning you. No letters from John or Rebecca. We have got English papers here so late as the 5th June but no good news in them. Affairs more quiet in Canada. Europe all in a general insurrection and Ireland no better off than ever. Lest I should not have time to write to my father, tell them to go by the instructions of my former letter. Let them sell all even at a sacrifice, if you were all here I am not afraid we will do well, there is no want here.
Thank the Almighty we are all well off and as happy as we can expect to be here. God bless you, my dear Kitty. You are nearest to my thoughts. I am confident we shall yet meet on earth. God grant it, I shall be able to send the needful by the time promised.