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Title: [?], Belfast to Madelina [Wightman, Alabama?].
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginBelfast, N.Ireland
DestinationFlorence, Alabama, USA
RecipientWightman, Madelina
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT 1475/1 p20-22: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9404165
Partial Date
Doc. TypeLET
LogDocument added by LT, 20:04:1994.
Word Count2183
TranscriptBelfast. 8th March 1822

My dearest Madelina

I cannot help thinking that you and Nancy have been very lasy [lazy?] not a
word from either for so many months - last is dated July 20th. Nancy and I
had calculated on one every month or at least every two, now that Nancy
is with you to remind you of this duty, and as I well know she is not
indolent in the use of the pen, ink, and paper. It is about two months since
I last wrote to you, my dear Father was then just recovering from an unusally
severe attack of pain from which he has not yet regained the use of
his hand or arm, the pain however became trifling and till within these
10 days past had little or no return of his rheumatic pains, and we were
in great hope of them troubling him no more but it returned to the old
seat in his back and was for some days very ill, and was scarcely relieved
from this till he was attacked with sickness and bowel complaint which the
Doctor attributed to bile, this confined him to bed all last week, and indeed
my dear Madelina there were two days he looked so ill. I almost feared
he would not recover but day after day he seems getting better now, and
has been able to rise for some days now and is nearly in his usual spirits
again. The joy I feel my dear Madelina you may suppose, to me he is almost
without exception the only blessing that I am permitted the actual
possession of, and to me it has become a very dear blessing indeed and his
kindness (though my own conduct may be very different sometimes from what
he wishes) is never more than momentary withdrawn from me, it often vexes
me to think I give him even momentary uneasiness, it is still evident he
wishes to see me settled in life, and by this he means comfortably married,
whilst I am perfectly satisfied to consider my present situation as
settled in life. Your letter to John my dear Madelina gave us all sincere
pleasure and I do hope the most trying time to your health is now over
completely, and all our fears for Florence be now at an end, what a happy
thing my poor little dears lip was likely to be so well healed, indeed you
and William seem so happy, so content, so comfortable, that I wonder I
still regret you are not near me, when in some instances you might have
more to vex you and when your health continues so good, I should endeavour to
be less selfish than to wish you here, though to see you here again would
be to me like entering on a new existence. O my dear Madelina, I wonder
shall we ever be together to talk to each other of all that has
happened since we parted, and to give your advice to one who in many
instances has felt the want of it, but this is all dreaming. I see no
prospect of such happiness before me. Mine should be the duty to ever bear
in mind the many blessings I do possess without grasping at those out of
reach and which perhaps I am not worthy of possessing while health is
spared to me and the numberless other comforts I every day enjoy, it is sinful
not to be content. I still hope for a renewed and better feeling which with
more lively gratitude, would lead me to acknowledge the mercies of
a kind and just God, but I do not feel that my heart is improving or that
I am in any way becoming a better Christian. I think I mentioned to you
before that I had partaken of the Sacrament and in this heart soothing
commemoration of a dear Saviour, there should not a shadow of a wordly
thought intrude to call our ideas to any other subject whatever, all should
be peace within and ardent unbounded gratitude of heart, shall I confess
my dear madelina that this is not so entirely the case as it should
be, we are, or at least I feel I am too much the creature of circumstance
and situation, and as I mostly go forward to that sacred table alone, there
is something of an isolated feeling crosses my mind, which should not at
anytime be the case, but [more?] particularly when about to commemorate that
event, which tells us all so plainly that we are all the children of redeeming
love and affection. I know my dear Madelina will blame me exceedingly
for this feeling, but indeed you cannot more than I do myself, and I assure
you that I am doing all in my power to get the better of it, for it is not
only at that time that I feel my religious duties interrupted by it, but
almost every Sunday, but I was led to speak of it as being the most important,
indeed I do regret exceedingly the unsettled and often unsatisfactory
attendance I give to any place of worship, for some condiderable time past
we have been in hopes that Mr [?] would resign as the congregation seems
to be gradually resigning him, even my father begins to see the little
improvement his children gain by going, and talks of taking a seat in Mr.
McEwens. I dare not urge him too rapidly, but have great hopes that this will
be accomplished. It is difficult to find one all you could wish, but consider
this change would be a prospect of some improvement and would like to have
a settled place I could go to regularly with pleasure. Latterly I have
been occasionally everywhere, my Father is seldom risen before 12, and often
one, the younger part of the family mostly take a walk after being at
first meeting. Issac is perhaps at the newsroom, I go out undetermined,
perhaps meet Mrs J. Neilson go with her to Dr. Hanna, sometimes the Doctor
and with him to M. Carr or struggle on to our own deserted place. Wm
[William?] perhaps is there and mostly the only occupier of John's seat, and I
have his company home. I have written this my dear Madelina while waiting up
for Isaac, will make no apologies for it but will either write another or
finish this tomorrow. Near 2.o.c [2 o'clock?]

13th The foregoing has been written for some days and on looking over it
I decided not to send it: I know not what put me in such a prosing mood,
but you may have it with anything else I can add, as all will go with James
Jackson who unexpectedly arrived in town and still more unexpectedly
announced his intention of setting out to America immediately. You will say
this might have been calculated on as likely, but not hearing any talk of
it latterly I thought somehow it might be some months ere he would leave us.
He has gone however to Liverpool and my packets are to follow him to-morrow.
The few days he was in town I could settle to nothing and thought every hour
lost that he was not with us. He kindly gave us all the time he could and
spent the last day with us, you may be sure my dear Madelina that our
hearts were filled with regret as we bid him farewell, my Dear Father was
greatly affected and James equally so, indeed I think he suffered far more
than when he went with the girls, he gives us great hope that he will not
be absent for many years. I trust happiness and prosperity will attend
him how few deserve it so well he will be able to give you so much information
about how we are all going on, that it is almost unnecessary to write to
you. I hope the pictures will reach you safely, my Father thought you
might as well let them remain here, and indeed so think I, as I wonder you
can ever give up Ireland for America - I am quite satisfied however with your
change to Florence, as from all I hear Shelbyville must have been a very
disagreeable place. Nancy will have large packets I expect from some of
her friends. I apprised them all of James' arrival in town, but I hear
Mrs Charles McAllister is very ill with rhematism. Miss Craig too
though she said her letter was written has never sent it but I believe
she is deeply engaged nurse-tending. Mrs Ward has given birth to a fine
girl, both are doing well, and there is every prospect of it living.
She confined herself to her bedroom for several months never venturing
downstairs, and enjoys good health.


[extract from another letter from America?]

Mr. Baker of Tuscaloosa to come and hold a protracted Meeting. He
accordingly did so and this meeting is just over. You will be glad
to hear that it has been signally blessed the conversion of about
twentyfive persons and many others are I am sure awakened, though
not yet willing to make it known. Among those who joined the Church last
Sunday were Anne Eliza Sloss, and Marianna Bigger, both of whom you
faithfully instructed in the Sabbath School for a number of years.
Here is the fruit of your labours and prayers on their behalf. I told
them both that I would write to you and gladden your heart by the
intelligence that all your labour had not been in vain, but that they
had yielded their hearts to God before the deceitful influence of the
world had hardened them. Miss Lucinda Depriest was another convert,
that all who had known her Mother seemed to rejoice over. Mrs Williams
and her sister Miss Pollock, Eliza Bigger, Mrs Coffey's daughter Rachel,
Mrs Donaldson's daughter, geting before either Father and Mother, and some
other young ladies who I think you do not know. I must not forget Mrs
Plumber. Among the men are Mr Henty, Mr Bliss, Mr Roy, Mr Lawrence's
eldest son, and young Henry Pope, and two or three other young men from
the stores came out nobly and boldly in the face of the world and avowed
their determination to follow Christ through evil report and good
report. In the midst of all this rejoicing Mrs Simpson was very much
grieved that Mr Simpson was absent nearly all this time. He had been
appointed by the Governor of the State to examine the acounts of the
Decator [Decatur?] Bank, which kept him from home all the time of the meeting,
except the Sabbath. Mr Hugh Simpson was impressed at the first, and
Mr Baker thought.


I never liked to write to you till I could say they had arrived tho' [though?]
Mrs Simpson often urged me to do so. She desires me to say that they
answer her very well, and to thank you for all the trouble you had
selecting them. Her health is much the same as when I wrote last, she
still feels the debilitating influence of the heat in summer, still
would desire if it was the Lord's Will that a way would be opened up for
her return to her native Land, believing that the change would be beneficial
to the moral as well as temporal interests of her children. They
are all at present in good health, the two youngest had an attack of
Scarlet Fever this Fall, but it was in a mild form. Mary had also a
slight Bilious Fever.

[extract from another letter?]

You will be concerned to hear that your old friend Mr Hood
has departed this life. He died early in October. There was little
change in his health from the time you left here till about three weeks
before his death, when he sank rapidly, and Mrs Hood will probably
make Jane write you the particulars after some time. Another of your
friends (Mrs Jackson) has had a visitation of Providence in her family
this season - her youngest daughter, little Jane evidently a very Stout
and healthy child was seized with Conjestive Fever which baffled the
skill of all the Physicians, and she sank under it. Mrs Jackson
suffered keenly but was enabled to acknowledge the hand of the Lord in
her afflication and to bow to his decision. Mrs Cheatham died this
summer of a lingering Consumption - her's was a happy peaceful deathbed
she did not talk much but if asked a reason of the "hope that was
in her" was ready to give it with meekness. She looked steadily
at death and seemed to have a well grounded hope of acceptance with God
thro' [through?] the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ but I must
hasten to give you some account of the affairs of the Church which are
at present very interesting to all who desire the prosperity of Zion
and to none I am sure more to you, who so long sighed over her