|Title:||Nicholson, Thomas to O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne, 1819|
|Collection||The Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]|
|Destination||Philadelphia, Penn., USA|
|Recipient||O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne|
|Genre||commentary on homesickness, legal affairs, prospects, settling in a farm, feelings about Ireland, correspondence|
|Transcript||New York 11 mo 25 1819|
My dear Anne
I was from home when thy kind and welcome letter came here, which is the reason why it has remained so long
unanswered, & having some idea of the probability of Hannah [White] going to Philadelphia, I delayed a little
longer for the opportunity. I am exceedingly gratified that the ice is at length broken & we have begun to commune through this medium, which I concieve is one of the greatest pleasures of our lives when there is a congeniality of
feeling - which I perceive is quite the case between thee and me. When thou speaks of our Native Land thou touches one of the chords of my Heart. It is a subject I could say
much upon were I to give way to my feelings, but I have one or two reasons which keep me always silent upon it,
nor even confess the like, as I do now to thee. In the first place Jno is not over fond of this country & were I to
join him in opinion he wd perhaps become discontented, so I never acknowledge any partiality. Another reason
is that Mary is very well satisfied with it and I shd be ashamed to own what she wd perhaps call a childish reeling.
So thou may see, tho' I have a sister & brother, yet I am restrained from opening my secret feelings to either, from
motives very different. But we must not give way too much to these reflections: it would be injurious, but a little
of it is delicious. I know that I am weak in this respect and strive to conquer it, which I do at times. But I shall
tire thee on the subject.
Since I wrote thee, I have recd a new power of Att. from S. Douglas which is perfectly correct. I sent a copy
of it to Holms, Pittsburgh requesting to know how soon I shd be able to get the money as I intended going there.
I received an answer. It could not possibly be got before the first of April next, as the persons who had it at interest
required some notice before they could pay it in. He assured me that this was the fact, so on consideration I
consented to let it remain a few months, when I have every reason to believe that the affair will be settled: which
I will be very glad of, both on acct of Susan Douglas & as it will give me an opportunity of paying thee a visit,
wen I assure thee will be no small pleasure to me.
It is since I wrote thee that my brother John has left Abm Bell. The latter had not sufficient employment for
him. This circumstance, with myself being in a state of inactivity, suggested to me the idea of settling in the
country, where by our united efforts I thought perhaps we could attain some sort of independence. For the purpose
I left this about 3 weeks ago & went to visit a settlement in Susquehannah County, Pennsylvania. There is a
Doctor Rose who has a large tract of land there & wishes to have it settled with emigrants to whom he is pretty
liberal in his terms. Some families of Friends have removed there & among the rest Thos Barrington & family who
came to this country abt a year ago. The land is not the first quality but tills pretty good and, as a little improvement
can be had reasonable, I have really decided upon removing there & beginning farming. I have sent John there
this week to make some conclusion to it. He is quite of my mind with regard to the propriety of this step. We are
both resolute and willing to put our hand to anything. So I have little doubt we will succeed. Some people think
we are wrong but I have no such idea. John, I am aware, could have gotten a situation in a ... The settlement I
should suppose neatly the same distance from Pittsburg as from Philadelphia is, so if you should remove I would
have it in my power at times to do myself the pleasure of a visit. I date say it is not a great distance from Wilskbarre.
I dont think that thee need fear not seeing Home once more, even should you remove to the Country. I would
not have thee low spirited on that acct. I know thy feelings, my Dear Anne; they are truly Irish - and therefore
warm - & let us hope for the most favorable issue. Thou may see from what I have written that I have no idea of
returning at present - unless something unforseen should occur. For tho’ I ardently love Ireland, Yet I could not
brook the idea of returning were I to be dependent on them. Tho' I am willing to make out a livlihood in any
honorable way, yet my pride forbids this. When the day comes when I can visit it as I would wish, I will embrace
it with rapture. Thou therefore wilt not want for some one to talk to of the days that are gone by & the friends
that we left behind us. My sister M[ary Beale] sends her dear love to thee and wishes thee wd give it also to M.
Greeves and say she will write her shortly, and thou will also please to have the parcel delivered to Aunt Harpur.
Mary is very comfortable with her husband. I have no doubt the matried state is the most happy and thou says
"my turn comes next". How soon that may be I know not, but I will confess to thee that I have never seen the
person in America, humble as I am, with whom I could wish to join my lot for life - tis true there may be many,
perhaps far above my de[s]sert, but as yet I have not known any that wd make me think of such a change. Thou
sees that I have made my confession on the subject.
I am much obliged for the invitation to go see you. Nothing could be pleasanter to me, but the object I have
in view at present prevents me. So soon as I can I shall avail myself of the opportunity. Indeed I should have thought much of taking a walking trip to see you in summer, were Germantown not so near Phild. I dont like to get among the great folks there & could not well avoid it. I would much rather be chatting with thee at thy own fireside than with any of the grand ones in their proud mansions. It is irksome to come in contact with folks (as the Americans term it) of their description.
Some time ago (I think about two months) I recd a present of some seeds & roots from Jane & Hulda. & there
being an abundant supply I was thinking thou wd accept of a small parcel I had remaining. I had no opportunity
or I wd have sent some before - it is but a trifle, but as they come from the seat of our Fathers may be welcome on
that acct. I hope they may grow - some well I put down seem to be coming up. It is on acct of the smallness of the
family that induces Mary to do without servants - there will probably be no one but her and Jos. this winter. I am
pleased that Hannah is going to Jno Wright as I expect that it is a good place for her, and I hope that she will
continue to conduct herself with that propriety that she has hitherto done. She is now from under my control &
in giving her up I cannot but feel some anxiety for her well being. Did thou hear of the probability of Julia Hewston
[Hewetson] going to be married to Jos Jacobs of Waterford, a very gay young man. She has left T.C. Wakefield &
now resides at Waterford. The Grange family are well - I am a pretty active correspondent with all the girls - indeed
they are my principal correspondents. I have had no letter for two months, but a vessel is expected from Belfast in
a month, by which I hope to hear some news. A ship will sail in about a fortnight from this for Belfast. If thou wd
have any letters, forward them to me and I will take the best of care. I am obliged for the offer of the newspapers
-was there a convenient opportunity I should like to see them- but dont put thyself to any trouble.
Before I conclude I would wish to repeat my earnest desire that thee will not let down thy spirit or be depressed
by the great distance that separates thee from many that are dear to thee, add to wch the very dull state of business.
I know to a mind like thine these things are trying, very trying, but they must be sustained with firmness: it is our
duty to do so. I have been dreadfully tried myself within the last 18 or 20 months & felt some of the rude blasts
of adversity such as once I never dreamt of, but I trust I have firmness with which to withstand the shock. I look
forward with confidence to better times & wd encourage thee to join me - 1 am led to say this from a sympathetic
feeling which is in my breast. I have now run over this whole sheet, with I dont know what - I write as it occurs
to me and if thee can obtain but a few moments pleasure from deciphering the writing I shall be satisfied. With
love to William and Mary Greeves, I am, my Dear Anne,
thy truly affectionate