|John James Murphy to Martin Murphy, 22 February 1868
|Argentina - Murphy
|Murphy, John James
|Haysland, Co. Wexford, Ireland
|local economy, war, cholera, weather, adversity
|Flor del Uncalito
My dear friends,
Christmas is over and we have entered on another new year. I hope you may have passed the Holy Season in joy and happiness, and that you will enjoy many returns of same. In this country I cannot boast of much to be rejoiced about in a temporal point of view. There are many causes for why we should not enjoy as we have done other years. The principal causes are the depression state of the country in consequence of the long continued war and the visitation of cholera and yellow fever to these parts, when such have been unknown till within this last two years. The cases of the late decease are few and confined to the city, but the cholera has spread through all the towns in the camp and during this last week several cases of it has been in the estancias. The victims are principally men of careless habits and women of nervous debility who take it through fear or fright. There are intense alarm through the country and business is at a complete stand still. The season is very unhealthy and the weather very changeable, which cause have complaint and stomach affection very prevalent, which is the forerunner of cholera and fever. Father Leahy gave stations of confession here yesterday. He is going round so as not to cause people to go to the villages to meet him, people having temporal use no fruit, no vegetables, drink little water, with God's help have no much cause to be alarmed. We have so far escaped thanks to God, although there have a number died all around us.
February 22nd. Dear friends, the cholera has been very bad ever since the date at the head of the letter. According to accounts there are whole districts left wanted of inhabitants. I will send you some of the most interesting papers when I go to Bs. As., as I find they don't reach you by sending them direct from here. I no doubt feel a sincere pleasure in letting you know that there has not been up to now a single case of it on either of my places. Neither has there been any on brothers William or Patt's thanks to the Almighty. This good news will I am sure afford great consolation to the absent friends of those who reside with us, and more particularly to you my dear friends, whose solicitude for our welfare is unbounded.
My dear friends, It is also painful to inform you that our countrymen when the disease began to spread through villages and estancias, they commenced to drink gin and brandy as prevention, and in most places where the sickness should make its first appearance all in the house would begin to drink. And the clergyman when called on would often find not a sober individual in the house but the patient. This foolish idea (in my opinion) has been the cause of many having lost their lives by it. My mode of proceeding during this fearful epidemic was to live as temperate as possible. I told all the men to be as moderate as possible in eating and drinking, make use of the food suitable to their constitution, keep the ____ regular and the stomach light, drink little water, and expel fear, and there is no danger of being attacked, as so we have succeeded thanks to God. My dear friends, you may perhaps imagine from me not referring to your present and future prospects in any of my last letters that I have given up taking any interest in them. You may think perhaps from the fact of me being married may cool the anxiety I felt in your welfare. But no. I am, and hope always to be, the same, and as I had written so much on the subject heretofore I thought it more prudent on my part to wait for a suggestion from you on the matter in case such things should come under your consideration at any time. I intend sending home some money when I go to Bs. As. about the end of March, if the sickness be all gone by that time, which I think it will please God as it is much diminished already from the cooling and the change that has come in the weather this last few days. This summer all through has been an unusually sickly one, very dry, with a great deal of high northly winds, which has in this country a powerful effect on the nerves and on the human system in general. Mr Brett & James Howlin is leaving me this March. The flocks has got too large to have them and any longer together. They are leaving with their part. I send by a young man from here who is going to Bs. As. several papers to post by next packet. I send them to Father Reville to have a read and he will send them to you afterwards. I cut the advertisement sheet off them so as to be able send the more of that part that will be more interesting to you. Hoping this will find all friends as we are ourselves in good health is the prayers of your sincerely and ever affectionate brother,
John J. Murphy
Ellen sends her love to you all.