|McAuley, William to Graham, William, 1821
|Dear Uncle. Immigrant Letters to Antrim from the USA (1843-1852) [R.H. Roy]
|Cambridge, Mass., USA
|Andraid, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
|emigration, economy, family
|Letter from William McAuley, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. to his
nephew William Graham, Andraid, County of Antrim.
May 9th 1821
Your favour of the 21st December last came to hand in the month of
April last. It gave us all pleasure to hear that you were well. You complain,
and not without reason, of the pressure of the times, the total stagnation
of business, the low price to which produce has fallen must render it very
difficult for a farmer to pay the heavy rents that were imposed on their
lands, in consequence of the great demand during the late war. I am happy
to hear that you have a desire to better your condition by removing to the
United States, and as your capital is respectable there can be no doubt that
you may improve it handsomely. Times may turn for the better in Ireland,
yet under any circumstances, with a large family, such as you have, and the
means which you possess, you cannot fail in settling yourself here to great
I have been, in the course of my life, in various parts of the country,
and also in Canada, and have taken all the pains in my power to inform
myself respecting various parts of the Union and from the healthiness and
fertility of this part, its being well watered and contiguous to market, I am
inclined to give it a decided preference. You could not come to this country
in a better time, as land may be purchased at least one third less than it
could have been bought five years ago, and many valuable farms at a small
distance from this, can be bought at very reasonable prices. Should you
conclude to come you can be easily accommodated here with a house, or a
farm for one year, where you could keep your family fully as well, and
certainly cheaper than in Ireland, till you fixed upon a situation for
settling, and you might, as your means are sufficiently ample, spend some
time in viewing the country, till you met with land that suited you. We, in
this country, are not terrified to begin a journey of 100 miles. It is as little
thought of, as it used to be formerly to go from your house to the town of
Antrim. This very winter, now past, I have travelled on business upwards
of 500 miles and have for several years by past, travelled several hundred
miles every year.
When you come you will probably be disappointed, as is generally the
case, with all coming from a country in the highest state of cultivation, to
one newly reclaimed from the wilderness. Yet you must make up your mind
to meet with hills still covered with forest trees and land although fertile, still requiring all the skill and labour of the husbandman, and as to fairs
and market days, both you and your family must bid farewell to them.
Our family are in our usual state of health, my wife has been for
several years, been very much distressed with a lameness in her legs. My
daughter Sarah is married and has four children; she is but in a delicate
state of health. James Irvine died last October, and his wife has been very
infirm ever since, her daughter Charity lives with her. My other sisters'
families are all well, and are numerous. They chiefly live in our
neighbourhood. William Hill, who lately came over here, lives close to us.
He and his family are well, his friends are kind to him. Betty Telford desires
to be remembered to your mother and to you all, she still remains a widow,
she has four children married, as you have stated that my sister Margaret
and her son and daughter live together, and you have to pay a very high
rent, I would think that if they were to come here with a small capital, they
might do much better than to remain where they are, with the prospect of
becoming daily worse, yet as their condition is but known to me in part, I
would be loath to advise or urge them.
You mention in your letter that you could commence here, either as
a farmer or merchant, and no doubt but it would be in your power to begin
in either way, you will be better able to decide when you come. But at all
events you ought to vest one part of your property in a good farm, and as
to the rest you will act as circumstances may appear to you most propitious.
Henry McAuley and family are all well. You will remember me to
your mother, we have got to such an advanced period of life that there is no
probability that we will ever see each other, yet she is frequently in in my
thoughts, and I hope if we do not meet in this, we shall in a better world.
James Irvine's son James is in the State of Ohio. My family joins me in
presenting our love to you and family, to your mother and all her family,
to my sister Margaret and family, to James Graham of Groggan and all
With sentiments of sincere affection, I remain your loving Uncle.