Main content

Title: John James Murphy to Martin Murphy, 20 April 1868
CollectionArgentina - Murphy
SenderMurphy, John James
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationcattle breeder
Sender Religionunknown
OriginUncalito, Argentina
DestinationHaysland, Co. Wexford, Ireland
RecipientMurphy, Martin
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1072
Genrecorrespondence, weather, cattle business, family, war, property
TranscriptFlor del Uncalito

My dear friends,
The last letters I wrote were somewhat on a new scale (three letters embodied in one). There were a degree of variety in the system, and you know variety is generally more or less interesting, and I hope each one of you read your respective post with pleasure. It matters but little what our style of writing is, if we can but convey happiness to those with whom we correspond. Sincerity and affection often exist in the heart of an author that can but feebly set forth language sufficiently strong to convey his feelings to those he loves and respects. Consequently, the size, form, and system on which our letters are written have nothing to do with the sentiments and feelings under which we write. I hope that they have, as also this one may, find you all in the enjoyment of good health, a blessing all friends here enjoy thanks to God. Dear brother, the parcels that Patt Roche brought out to me I have not yet received them, as they went out in his chest to Rojas. I must trouble you now to send me out by some passengers two flannel drawers, strong, large and the same as those we wear at home. Since the rain first came in the last of February, we have had a very beautiful season. The grass now is in abundance, the sheep improving very fast. We are getting through with the señaling (marking). We have done four flocks and so far the marking amount to about 23 per cent, which is very good at this early season. April 23rd. I have received the stockings and seeds all right. Dear brother, your letter of 7th March is at hand. I am happy to hear of you all being in good health. You say you had no letter since the middle of January but you should have got one in February also. But it was as well you did not, as the sickness was then raging and you would have felt more concerned about us. But thank God he was pleased to carry us through the sickness without having a single case on the Estancia. I do not send any papers now unless when I am in Buenos Aires, or that some person is going from here that could post them in Buenos Aires, as sending them from here is only a disappointment and loss of the postage, also as they never reach you. You requested of me to send you the names of Patt’s children. The eldest is Katy, the second is Anny, the third is Nicholas, the fourth is John Joseph William, the fifth is Bridget, all told, they are all well. Dear friends, We are on the eve of a great political change here, the election of President is soon to come off. Congress is bringing a charge against President Mitre. It appears the federal provinces seem to think him not justified in entering into the Triple Alliance with Brazil and the Banda Oriental against Paraguay, and the charge seems (to every one that choose to take an impartial view of the matter), to be perfectly well founded, and it’s thought that this will discover his prestige and lay it visible to the public. The War still continues. It is true we are every day drawing nearer to its completion, but that is all we can say. Dear brother, The sheep business, like the war appears to be at a stand still, the season is past for sales. Consequently, the general topic of conversation that was, has ceased until next wool season again. There are still a few forced judicial sales, but people are not looking to them, as a criterion to the value of sheep as heretofore. There have been a few speculators or I might better call them numbskulls, who has endeavoured to draw the public feeling to the belief that sheep is not worth more than ten dollars per head, and land are hundred thousand dollars per league (mind you a square league of land for 800 £) and more than that some has gone so far as to say that certain class of sheep is worth not even one dollar per head. If a person has to pay rent for land but these one what we used to call at home (ne’re be good), that would not make sheep pay even if they were worth 1 £ per head. Now let you imagine from the above that the business is gone to the dogs. I will tell what can be done by management and attention to the business. I made a calculation of last years business in this neighbourhood according to my own, allowing 12 per cent per annum to be fair interest in capital laid out. I make land in this neighbourhood worth five hundred thousand dollars or 4,000 £ per league, and sheep 20 dollars per head, or 3s 5d. Now, if I was to value my land at 100,000 dollars per league, my interest would be about 54 per cent. So you see we can let them shout and wink at the sheep business till they get hoarse in their necks, and that is all they will have for their pains. Dear friends, I have kept you too long at this stuff. Mine and Ellen’s love to all and I remain your dear brother
John J. Murphy

P.S. Pierce, the carpenter is leaving me after finishing the house which is nearly now completed. I shan’t have much work for a carpenter hereafter. A sort of a half-carpenter or a handy man at carpenter’s work would be very useful to me, as we can scarcely do without such a one for many little jobs you might look out for a man of that class to work 12 months for his passage as anything I put him to that is the general work about the place.

J. J. M.

P.S. Let me know in your next if you hear of anyone of the Nick Kavanagh’s neighbours being dead. I fell into conversation with a gentleman at the Races, who was telling me that a Wexford man of that name died on his Estancia in Montevideo, having about thirty thousand dollars. From his description of him, I am almost sure it’s Nick of Haysland.