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Title: John James Murphy to Martin Murphy, 28 May 1871
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 Count1503
Genrevisitor, epidemic in Buenos Aires, local economy, employees
TranscriptFlor del Uncalito

My dear brother Martin & friends,
Mr. Donovan, a gentleman from the County Cork, & his family are staying with us here since the first of May having cleared out from the sickness in Bs. As., but not till after they had all passed it over. But by a miracle from God none of them died, as the sickness is now abating. He left here on the 15th, leaving his family behind him till such time as he consider it safe to take them in, as there are yet something about fifteen or twenty new cases daily, which show that the disease is still lurking about the City & well it is feared till the houses & infected places are properly cleansed & purified. I sent by Donovan cash to take out Bills. One for James Furlong £63 stg., one for James Murphy (Ballygeary) forty pounds £40, & one for a Mrs. Cadd of the town of Wexford for four pounds £4 stg. Out of the £63 for brother James he is to hand over to Roche brother-in-law to Dick Flood six pounds nine shillings & six pence £6-9s-6d, which is the balance remaining of what he Dick Flood sent home to pay James, as he say he owed him £6-6s-6d. I sent some papers by him also, which will give you an account of the sickness & its ravages in the City. After reading the papers you may send them to Father Reville to have a look at. I enclosed a note for you in a letter to him a little time ago, but as the postal regulations are affected like all other business in the country it is not safe whether they reach you or not. As the sickness is fast decreasing its thought business will commence again with activity & it's likely the Bills will be there about the latter end of June. This is a splendid year so far but the sickness has thrown business back very much. It is thought there has about fifteen thousand succumbed, that is the official account, but I fear there are perhaps a thousand or two more. The Standard say twenty six thousand & add. The Government has chastised him severely for (as they believe) his exaggerated accounts send home as they believe such accounts are likely to retard emigration to this country, which they are endeavouring to promote by all means. In liu of something more interesting I will send you an account of the price of the produce of this country & other articles made use of in it according to market psia. Wool from 40 to 60 dollars per arroba, which is 25 lbs. Beef & mutton grace in pipeo 45 to 48 dollars per @ (this stands for arroba). Do not rendered from 25 to 30 per @. Sheep skins with 6 months wool $80 per dz. Bullock & cow hids from $60 to 100 according to weight. Bullocks fat but not anything like home cattle $300 each. Cows Do. [ditto] $250. Fat whethers, though not the season, are worth $40 each. Sheep by the cut, that is as the flock stand, $30 each but none but forced sales, say for debt & CC. Fowl from $10 to 20 per couple. Turkeys from $40 to 80 per pair. Geese & ducks not plenty enough to offer for sale. Potatoes one dollar per lb. Wheat from $25 to 30 per @. Barley about $15 per @. Indian corn the same price as the wheat. The crop has been a failure this year. Flour from $35 to 40 per @ at the mills. Beef in the market ½ dollar per lb. Mutton a little dearer. Onions 5 to 10 for one dollar. Cabbage one dollar per head. English butter $15 per lb. Cheese the same. Pork $6 per lb. Pork fat a load $8 per lb. Sugar from 2¼ dollars to 3¼ per lb. Coffee $4 per lb. The two strokes with an S across it mean dollar. Tea from $20 to 30 per lb. Rice $2 per lb. Best brandy by the case $25 per bottle. Best gin $20 per quart bottle. Sherry & ____ ____ $30 per bottle. Other wines from $4 to 10 per ____. Others still a better quality $15 per bottle. The bread or biscuits we use in the house are baked from for the purpose of keeping longer without getting bad, are $40 per @. Working horses from $300 to 500 cash. Cost Do from $1,000 to 3,000 cash. Nice saddle Do about $1,000 cash. A pair of coach horses matches from $3,000 to 6,000 cash. Hay bout $900 per ton. Clothing in general are very dear. A suit of fine black cloth would cost here $2,000. A suite of tweed good class $800, cord pants good $100 each. A common monkey packet $250. Collicars from $2½ to 6 per yard. Cotton trousers the same. Fine linen from $15 to 20 per yd. Blankets good quality more. ____ from $100 to 200 per pair. Felt lots from $20 to 200 each. Silk for dresses from $40 to 60 per yd. Silk handkerchiefs from $25 to 100 each. English saddles from $600 to 1,000 each. Harness such as those Hore sent me about $10 or 12,000 the set. Common sets from $3,000 to 5,000. Monthly wages for men from $300 to 400 per month with support. While collies shirts with linen breast & collar $40 to 60 each. Woollen stockings none good. Men boots from $100 to 200 per pair. Bootins with elastic $140. Leaden boots $100 per pair. Paisley shawl from $700 to 1,000. I bought a piano a few days ago, a very good one second hand, $5,500. Common pine with heard $1½ per foot. Other classes in proportion according to quality. Coal $400 per ton. Fencing wire $115 per 100 lbs. Hard wood posts for fencing & C from 9 inches circumference say from $12 to 20 each. Carpenter wages from $40 to 60 per day. Nick Pierce that came out to me was has $1,500 per month & his support. Here in Salto kerosene oil for lamps $20 per gallon. Lime, slacked, more or less adulterated $10 per arroba. Bricks 14 inches long, 7 inches wide by 2 inches thick, $220 per thousand. This is the general size mad in this country. They are made of the black earth with a quantity of ____ of straw or old grass mixed among it so as to make them burn. Flooring & roofing tiles 8 inches square from $8 to 900 per thousand. Shingles $150 per thousand. Roof such as you use for car roof at home $2 per yard for building a brick wall 14 inches thick (that is the length of a brick) $9 per square yard. A brick floor (for laying in) $4 per square yard. $ this mean dollars. @ mean arroba & is 25 lbs. The yard is only 34 inches. I have another job on hands this winter killing the biscachas, an animal about the size of a large cat but much larger. A number of them live together in large burrows in the camp. They live on grass & consume a great deal of it. They keep ten fifteen yards all around their burrow bare to the ground, & after some time the part so eaten became barren as they leave not even the roots with the ground. On my camp there are two thousand nine hundred & odd burrows, & I consider they consume the grass of a flock of sheep, say 2,000. I have contracted with an Italian; for the whole job I pay him $23,000 (twenty three thousand dollars) & give him meat. He find men & tools & is to leave the camp completely clear of foxes & biscachas, both animals a great nuisance. They have already done seven hundred & odd burrows & expect to be through with all before shearing. Frank Whitty's business is I must say going on slowly. There are a great many draw back to the business, but I think things will be soon arranged. To get through with business here in the Government offices a man need more than a reasonable share of patience, & if a person show displeasure at their indolence or their cunning attempts as swindling they are sure to annoy any more by their delays. James will have got the Bill ere this reach you. I would not have written you this lot of stuff were it not that I know you are always anxious to hear from us often &, more particularly, when I write you in the enjoyment of good health, a blessing we all enjoy & I hope all friends their are the same.
Dear Friends, is the constant wish of all friends out here, & more particularly of your dear & ever affectionate brother,
John J. Murphy