Main content

Title: John James Murphy to Martin Murphy, 26 January 1864
CollectionArgentina - Murphy
SenderMurphy, John James
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationcattle breeder
Sender Religionunknown
OriginBuenos Aires, Argentina
DestinationHaysland, Co. Wexford, Ireland
RecipientMurphy, Martin
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1241
Genrebirth, family, drought, life in the colony
TranscriptBuenos Aires
My Dear Friends,
It is not worth while to give you an account of my passage from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires. Suffice to say that I arrived safe on the 14th of December, blessed with beautiful weather with the barometer standing 90 degrees in the shade. I was happy to find on my arrival that my brother Patt had come into town the day previous with his wife to be confined, which took place on 3rd of January of a son, which they have named John Joseph William. They left town for outside on last Thursday 21st all well. I also found my friend Mr Butler and his family all in good health. The old couple as young in appearance as when I left, and the young members grown altogether out of my knowledge. I was received by them all very kindly and had to stop with them driving my stay in town of two weeks. William got married about a month previously to my landing. He had to come into town a month afterwards to receive the bills of the purchase of the land, so I hastened out to keep company with the Mrs until his return, as I knew she would feel lonely during his absence. I remained a week there until he returned and four days at Uncalito, which I found greatly changed. The mount or plantation has exceeded any thing I’ve ever seen with respect to the growth of the trees, and the appearance they give the place. After William came out I then return to town to stand to stand godfather for Patt’s son which had been born during my stay in the camp. His name is John Joseph William. Dear Friends, I am sorry to say that I have arrived here in time to see one of the worst years that Buenos Aires ever experienced. I decline entering into the particulars at present until I see the result of the awful seca, which has already left many poor men without a head of sheep. Hundreds of thousands of sheep has already disappeared and still continue to disappear in hundreds daily. There are whole leagues of country left waste. The people has marched off to the frontiers with what is yet left them off trouve intending to travel on until they find something for them to eat as water as to drink, trying to save the few that is yet left them. Just imagine that there has been more sheep lost in all the dust storms this year than there has been lost in all the rain storms this last twenty years. Entire flocks with the people in charge of them has been smothered in these dust storms. The middle of the noon day has been frequently as dark as midnight. The candles lighting all through the day to enable them to do the work inside the house. The fathers & mothers of families had to remain up all night to save the soft children from smothering. All this proceeding from the camp not having a particle of any thing the earth produce either dry or green upon it. But thanks God it is not yet quite a general thing. The camps outside are yet holding out and I am glad to say that both William & me are some of the lucky few that their camp is yet holding out, and I think will unless the seca continue too long. Dear Friends, the times here are very much altered since I left, particularly the seasons has altered more than any thing else. I might say there has not been a good season since I left. I don’t think I’ve reason to act on William’s suggestion as to selling Uncalito. I don’t think there has any place in the country doing better. The flocks has increased well and the men interested are well pleased with their situation. I can also see that the people here has been attending very much to their comforts and social happiness, and has no such fears to apprehend as heretofore. They form such a strong body that it’s some extraordinary circumstance that leave property now unsafe. The happy and contented appearance the people display to persons arriving in this country remove every fear of danger and that which I entertained at home. I now set down as a nervous weakness or fear. Dear Friends, I felt the heat very much at my arrival to this country, as it happened to be mid-summer, which season if I were to come out again I should endeavo-ur to evade. But I am now getting accustomed to it, and like the young plant getting strong beneath its pleasing warmth, I feel as if I only wanted any thing here to make me happy and had I that here. I should have no trouble to make up my mind where to pass the remainder of my life, that is the society of you, my friends, that has been my comfort in the past and the object of my greater solicitude for the future. But this wish, this desire it’s likely I now never hope to see carried out unless changes take place, such as will render it necessary for you to do so, however I wish you were here, or me there, that I might be happy amongst you. Tell Father Kavanagh & Father John Furlong that I am sorry that I cannot carry out the collections on the cards entrusted to me, owing to a very scandalous dispute that arose between the Irish clergy here relative to a Dr O’Reilly that came here on a mission to collect from the Cape of Good Hope. Another reason for me not collecting is that that there is no clergyman or priest in the neighbourhood we live now within sixty miles of us on any direction. The families within that space has not seen a priest this last two years or had an opportunity to attend to their spiritual duties. Just imagine how absurd it would be in me to collect for Churches at home wherein we have not the advantage of seeing a priest ourselves. I am sure if our good Bishop Dr Furlong only knew our situation here, I think he would send us a priest to comfort us, or if there is any charitable young priest that would undertake to come and relieve us I would willingly guarantee his expenses here and out to this country. Otherwise, I am sure the Raymond from Dublin will be glad to bring him out free of expense. Dear Friends, we have seen rains this last week but I fear they have not been general. However, as the weather has broken we may have more. Any news or particulars that the letter do not contain I shall endeavour to make it up in my next. I received your letter of Decr. 6th and also one from Father James Roach (Wexford), with a card to collect also. Tell him as above for not collecting on it. I enclose you the second bill of exchange for £ 145, Patt sending the first by last packet. Also a likeness of Patt, Mrs and their eldest daughter Catherine. Hoping this will find all friends in good health,

I remain as ever your Dear Brother,
John Murphy
Respect to Dr Crean.