|John James Murphy to Martin Murphy, 3 August 1874
|Argentina - Murphy
|Murphy, John James
|Haysland, Co. Wexford, Ireland
|decease, attacks, fencing land, family disputes
|Flor del Uncalito
Dear Brother Martin,
Being in Bs. As. at the time your letter of 7th May arrived to this country, it was some time after before I received it, and also one from Father Reville of same date. I think now there may not be so much need of certifying your letters unless those containing matter of great importance, as I think the safety of letters are more looked to now than heretofore. How deservedly regretted must be the death of poor Bessy, and particularly to her family & friends. It was I may say a misfortune that must be long felt by her poor Father, being the tree on which he grafted the hopes and the future prospects of the rest of his Family. Such is the will of God, and may He have Mercy upon her soul. I think as O'Connor is so independent he may in consideration for the rest of the family return part of the fortune. It has been done by many much less independent than he, and I would look upon the act not as anything extraordinary generous for a rich man.
Dear Brother, Since I last wrote you there has been another most brutal murder committed on the person of James Rochford, a well to do Wexfordman from near Wilsons of Sludagh. He was married about 20 months to the Widow of poor John Pitt, had one child and was very comfortable and industrious. He was attacked in his house at night before bedtime. He had 24 wounds on his body, 14 of which were mortal. They did not molest the Wife nor child & it's a wonder. This is three Wexfordman murdered in Salto within these last six months, and all for the sake of plunder. Murders are also very frequent all through the camp, and even in the City, encouraged by the neglect of the Authorities taking any step to detect the criminals or punish them when they are taken. They are sent to prison without trial, from whence they are sure to escape after a little time more savage and more bloodthirsty than before. They are all well armed, and are going about in bandits of three or more and no one seem to know who they are unless from suspicion. But suspicion may be applied with just reason to most of the poor natives who have apparently nothing to live by unless plunder and robbery, and to effect that murder has frequently to be committed to save themselves. The Presidential Election has been more or less the cause of the present state of the country. There were no herd taken of crime, nor of anything but Law. Each party could effect either by fraud or bribery the success of their Candidate, and in many districts armed all the ruffins to obtain their object by knife and Revolver. We arrived out safe and all in good health. I did not expect to leave the City as soon as I expected did, but thought it better to come out soon and George wished it also on account of the unsafe state of the neighbourhood. I also wished to hurry out to get up a diping concern for curing the scab in sheep, which many Estancieros has already tried and with success, Brother William one. It take an outlay of about $50,000 dollars, and cost for tobacco &c. to make the wash about one dollar per head. But with all this it pays well as the losses heretofore from scab one could scarcely conceive an idea. Fencing in camp is now become a fever amongst Estancieros, who would have given great deal now to have commenced the work when I did, as it will cost them now about double for the material alone. It's only now Estancieros both Native and Foreign seem to appreciate and give due merit to the idea of us, who laid down the example for them which they at one time only laughed and ridiculed. The[y] find nothing less will do to protect life and property, and they find that it's only by fencing in their camps, particularly for cattle, that any thing can be made out of them. You may guess the feeling when a Wealthy Estanciero has just completed the fencing in of four square leagues of camp he has rented for a term of only eight years Lease, and no security whatever of a renewal of the Contract or that the owner of the land will allow him anything for the work in case of a separation. This work has cost him about £4,500, yet he expects & I am sure will make it pay, nay make a fortune by it. Dear Brother & Friends, I am extremely sorry that the news of the disunion that existed between Brother William's family and us has been conveyed to your knowledge. It is more than enough to have the painful recollections of it remain amongst us here and not to afflict our peaceable friends at home. I entreat and begged of William in one of my first letters, not to send it across the Atlantic, he having threatened to do so for motives which he erroneously believed he had a a serious charge to make against me to Father Reville. William's Wife Eliza being always and is still a great favourite with Father Reville, she & William sent home for many of the family who served them in return such as others never will, Ellen my Wife being one of the first that became her cook, servant & slave. Eliza was I believe always fraud & this pride being cherished by the indulgence of Father Reville, who showed her a dale of life both in Wexford & Dublin that she ever after considered herself superior to the rest of the family, whose education has been only that of respectable Farmers' daughters. When I got married to Ellen, and raised her from the cook house as Eliza said to a position which Eliza perhaps looked upon as above her own, envy & jealously soon began to appear, and Eliza did not conceal her feelings from nices maryers and story carriers who supplied her in return with ____ and falsehoods. She then commenced writing home not only to Father Reville but to some of her acquaintances about us, and up to that time both families always showed each other the letters they received from home, as we were requested to do so by Father Reville. But the answers to her letters had she continued to show then would have told on her so she ceased to let us see them. But the other sister saw them and were much displeased at her and of course told us. Eliza must had a thousand misgivings and a suspicious of us idea of us. But I thought William was innocent of any, till one day in Salto he opened on me with charges of me or Ellen having written letters underhand to Kate Cormack about them, and of me having said that he, William, struck Eliza in the face, and other things equally as false and as malicious. Of course I knew in an instant where these things originated. With Eliza, and in me referring to the letters she wrote to Father and other people who in the act of crushing him. I told him if Father Reville was here, and only know the manner that Eliza has acted towards her sister and us. I doubt not but he would be tempted to horse whip her. He then told me he would let me know by letter what I was. Consequently, a correspondence arose and in one of his letters he said he would write to Fr. Reville to know if he ever said in his letters to me that he would horsewhip Eliza. Requested him not to do the like, that Fr. Reville near said the like, nor I never said he did & to let the thing remain here. He wrote to Fr. Reville charging me with this most malicious falsehood. I then called on him to withdraw it. I did so twice, but my request was not heard. Consequently, I had to make a declaration of the whole affair to Fr. Reville, not that he needed it, but to prove my innocence of the charges laid against me. I did so on oath for I know William's word, there was worth as much as mine. Now I feel my conscience perfectly at ease on this matter, and accuse myself of no crime, nor provocation of the unfortunate affair. I served them at an extraordinary sacrifice to myself and as no man ever served another, for which I never sought his thanks nor acknowledgement, contented with the pleasure it gave me to be in a position to assist him in keeping his present home, which I may without hesitation say that he never could have done without me. When he told me he would let Fr. Reville know what he imagined I said, I entreated him not to do so, and after he did so. I entreated him on two occasions to withdraw it, and that he could do so by simply saying he mistook my words and its meaning. But he thanked me with derision for my kind advice, hence my declaration on oath to Fr. Reville of the whole affair. And I now and have long since ceased to make any further advances on the matter. We are all well, and desire kind love to all friends and I remain your Dear and affectionate Brother, John.
August 3rd, 1874
In telling you of the affair between Wm. & us, I know poor Fr. Reville did so with the best intentions he had. Did every thing in his power to console us. Send me some papers once a month to see if they come safe now. I sent a letter and two views of my place ____ to you by a Friend named Florence Donovan. I hope you will get them. Our young son's name is John Clement.