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Title: James A. Smyth, S S Empress of Britain to Eliza C Smyth, Castledamph
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileSmyth, James Alexander/93
SenderSmyth, James Alexander
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender ReligionProtestant (Methodist)
Originon board the Ship Empress of Britain
DestinationCo. Tyrone, N.Ireland
RecipientSmyth, Eliza C.
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceCopyright Retained by Mr & Mrs J Smyth, Castledamph, Plumbridge, Co Tyrone, Castledamph@btinternet.com
ArchiveMr & Mrs J Smyth
Doc. No.605075
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
Word Count1134
Transcript[Front of envelope]
Miss Eliza, C, Smyth
Co. Tyrone

OCT 1320[B?]

[Back of envelope]
11 AM
14 [OCT?]

Canadian Pacific Ocean

[Page 1]

[Printed at top]

[Emblem with CPOS in centre]

The Canadian Pacific Ocean Services, Limited

S.S. Empress Britain [Empress of Britain?]
Tuesday Oct 5 1920

Dear sister,
I have written a letter to Tilda, Martha and Liza McCullagh. So now I shall perhaps end my writing on the trip by this note. However it just depends on how much is doing outside during the day.
This is last day on Board We are now about 300 miles from Quebec. It is now about 10 o'clock shiptime a few hours later your time

[Page 2]

We entered St of Belle Isle yesterday (Monday) morning. We are now 12 hours behind time one of the stewards told me. This is due to the fact that we did not get away from Liverpool in time to get the 4 oclock tide and therefore lost 5 or 6 hours. Then yesterday morning we lost several hours in fog near the St of Belle Isle. There was quite a number of large icebergs around. I believe and am almost sure one was

[Page 3]

the same which I saw going over on July 29th
We did not have what I would call a pleasant passage. Sun did not shine
until Sunday. wind and cold, no one hardly bothered going on deck, until
yesterday and today. Saturday night there was a heavy head sea which made her pitch considerable [sic]. Personally I did not notice it as I was sound asleep. But with all this accommodation a dozen different room [sic] and place to sit and lounge around in the most beautiful furniture, and lunches & eatables whenever you like, it makes little difference whether you are on deck or not. You can wear the most beautiful clothes cleanest collars & shirts and never get them soiled.
I was telling some one in a letter that Mr Magrath who was over in

[Page 4]

Tynan Co Armagh with his wife and daughters was on the Boat. He was also on the Scandinavian going home. Such men as he know their place well, Going over it was not as high class a boat a much more common crowd. He his wife and daughters dressed like all the rest He never wore any very fine clothes. But in this

[Page 5]

he is dressed every night He submitted to me for to read his views of the
Irish question but it was confidential so I wont say any thing about it, except I say the question must be settled by Irish themselves.
Well yesterday we were walking the deck together and we began talking
about the Irish & Ireland.
It was a clear atmosphere the land was on one side.

[Page 6]

I said "what an optimistic impression one receives when you reach [the?] American continent. I said in Ireland you feel sad depressed.." He says "This is the country." Half those young Irishmen should be out here, Then he began to describe for me a Robert Wilson [sic] place near his father’s place in Tynan,
He says "I took the girls in. There was a clay floor mark you. Mr Wilson was putting on a fire in a fire place no commences [sic] in cooking, making up the fire with sticks and twigs to burn. (He went into details about the fire and twigs and bits of branches. not knowing that I saw
dozens of similar instances with you & Molly) Then he said God

[Page 7]

never intended any human being to live in such surroundings as Mr Wilson was living in."
Well of course I was taking it in as something unusual and Mr Magrath adds "There are hundreds of such homes,
I just thought afterwards if I had taken him say by airship and landed him in Castledamph or Andy Houstons where I was a week ago this morning, then he would be surprised. There is no [more?]

[Page 8]

man in America or Canada knows conditions of life in rural Ireland better than I do. This is just the reason why I have been always trying to improve them. If Irish people in these homes could only realize what a horrible
contempt people have for human beings who live such a degraded existence they would change them in 24 hours.
If you could see Mr Magrath [Magrath’s?] face when he was telling me about making the fire out of twigs and sticks you

[Page 9]

you [sic] would never forget it. I may add however I had the same idea around home when I saw them going out for twigs & sticks and then attempting to pose as progressive farmers. I may add I would not put up with your system of [eating?] if I were owner of the house five minutes
I see now in my mind that kitchen table bare, not big enough for two men and a whole bag full of potatoes on it it [sic]. What is your dining Room for I used to wonder, But then let this go It is none of my business now. It take [sic] a long serious progress to civilize the human being., I see Williams house I see his whole sickness rheumatism due to his methods of living. No use in talking. But why people want to shorten their lives 10, 20 years is beyond me.

[Page 10]

He has not seen his parents in 9 years. But he will be at home the minute he sees them for mentally they are all on one plane. There is the difference when one returns to your native place in Ireland They remain stationary or go back. This young fellow shave [sic] every morning, brushes
his teeth, his clothes et al. at night or for dinner he dresses and yet he is going [out?] to be sheep farmer. It is easy to see he will be a
success, Contrast him

[Page 11]

with some Castledamph gosson [boy or young lad?]. The Castledamph fellow does not know where to go in the first place. Secondly he does not know what work to take up for which he is fitted. Thirdly he has no knowledge of the world, its geography In fact he is as a sheep turned loose in a desert.
I have been harping on that for 25 years. There will be no attention paid to this until about 3 or 5 years more.
Then, land will come tumbling down and prices of cattle, etc. then there will be a scramble there in Ireland like after the wars of Napoleon in 1815. Then they [the?] man who has a vision will survive. Where there
is no vision the people perish." I think that is in [sic] Bible, as well as "[Wan?] Thing" that I heard so much,
Well by the press wires to-day I see McSweeney is still alive 53rd day a good fast.
Well I suppose all the corn is cut by now. Bright clear day just like June with you. May write Mary this evening.
J A [James Alexander?] Smyth

Transcribed by Mohamed Souissy