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Title: O'Brien, Joseph Sinton to O'Brien, Maria Wright, 1842
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationclerk
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginNYC, USA
DestinationCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien, Maria Wright
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1623
Genrecorrespondence, account of bearer, work, enquires about relatives, latest Quaker meeting, account of a family acquaintance from Ireland
TranscriptNew York 6 Mo 1 1842

My Dear Sister
I suppose thee will be surprised to hear from me so soon again, but having a chance to send it by private hand I
take this early opportunity of answering thy very acceptable letter which came safely to hand in three days after it
was mailed. I was very glad to learn you were getting along so well this spring and shall feel better contented to
stay here. I do not know but some people will think that I am trying to throw the burthen on other shoulders that
was ought to have been borne by me, by leaving home under the circumstances that I did; but I hope it may be
for the better and I am determined it shall be if it is in my power.
The times are so hard with you this spring that I do not think we could have done the mill this summer if
I had staid at home, and I think Father and Thomas with the boys help (which must be considerable) are getting
along without me very well. The person that I am to send my letter by is John W Wright663, has returned from London where he has been in business for himself for upwards of a year. He has a brother at Farmington to whom
he is going to pay a visit. We have great fun with him here about a young woman he brought out with him - an
English lady from London - who we all think is going to be his wife, and he is going to take her to Rochester where
she has some friends. Abram told me last evening that John would be at yearly meeting and probably would see
some friends there from Collins.
We have had a great time with Yearly Meeting here last week, but I attended only on first day as we were very
busy, having two ships that had just arrived to attend to that were consigned to us from Cork and Londonderry
in Ireland and having on board upwards of two hundred and Seventy passengers. And a person that knows nothing
about it can form no idea of the number of forms we have to go through before they are permuted land. We have
to copy all the names of the passengers four times, giving the name of the place they are from, their age and sex:
two of these copys have to be left at the custom house and one at the Mayors office with as many oaths that there
are no more persons on board than are specified in the list. One we keep ourselves, and the original is returned to
the captain And then we have so many persons coming to inquire for their friends whom they expected that it
takes one person nearly all the time to answer their questions, so that we are busy all the time. I had to be up early
this morning to write my letters be[fore] business commenced and was in the office at half past Six, which is pretty
early here.
There is a fire in the lower part of the town which I think is a very large one as the bell tang for nearly an hour.
It is still burning but wilt in all probability be soon at an end as there are forty engines in New York and must
have nearly all got there by this time.
I have not been in the country since I wrote last nor since I was at Bayside, which was before there were any
leaves on the trees and it seems as if I had lost one spring entirely. We have very fine weather but it has not been
very warm yet. I have not left off my woolen shirts yet and very few people wear summer clothes. James gave me
3 shifts that were made for him but were a great deal too large and are just right for me. He is going to get me
some summer clothes this week, or rather the cloth to make them, and something for a summer jacket to wear in
the office. He has said nothing about how much he will give me a month yet and I dont know whether to ask him
or not I should like to know what Father thinks about it or whether I ought to ask him. I know well enough he
will not let me go unrewarded: he is [a] person that never will do any thing for a stranger untill he is satisfied they
are in want; and when he does know it he will relieve no matter what the cost. I shall ask him for some money a
while after he gets me some clothes and he can no more then refuse which I am sure he will not do.
Thee does not tell me what news from Philadelphia: thee merely says thee got letters. I suppose [thee] thinks I
am so neat that I can hear from them often enough - well, I do, but not from thy friends of which I conclude thee
has got a good many from the number of letters thee has. James has gone to Philadelphia today on business and
expects to be back tomorrow, so it is no more than going to Buffalo from Collins, nor as much for they can go
quicker. When thee writes to Henrietta Suydam thee may thank her for invitation to me to pay them a visit but
I think it will be some time before I shall have the pleasure. I cannot write so well today as common as I did not
sleep very [well] last night or in feet any night this week, on account of a bad cold which I took the day I was at
yearly meeting, as I was in a perspiration when I came when ... and I was nearly an hour waning for James and
This meeting was much larger than common on account of part of a sermon of George F. White's that was
published in the Herald a few days before and it was expected he would preach on that day; but it is the only
day in the whole year that he does not speak and there were newspapers reporters to have taken down his sermon.
He is making a great talk here about his doctrines and Rose street [New York] meeting house does be as full as it
can hold every first day. He is always preaching against hireling ministers, lecturers and editors and he has converted
most of the friends to his belief that all Abolition and Temperance societies have done a great deal of harm in the
world Two weeks ago first day, a young man was about to give an appointment for an Abolition meeting: at the
word Abolition the whole meeting rose in a mass and left the meeting house. In Philadelphia they have made an
alteration in the Dicipline that people may marry in their own houses instead of going to meeting; and a proposition was brought before the meeting that persons might mary those that were not members, but cannot
be decided till next yearly meeting; and then if it is allowed I shall say the Friends are going down hill.
Thomas Richardson had letters from Aunt Jane's husband: they are all well.

12 oclock
Abm has just given me a letter to read that he received from William Dawson, I think an old acquaintance of
mother's and I do not know but a relative; but he says that it is very hard times in Ireland. There are a great many
failures and there are 5 persons [under dealing] on that acct in their monthly meeting. There are two persons
by the name of Greer have failed also but does not say whether they are friends. His letter is dated in Lisburn but
he speaks as if he had not lived there long, or else that he had moved lately - Mother will know. He says Jacob
Green or Greer has three daughters dangerously ill; then he speaks of Wakefields and Haughtons as being well.
This may be interesting to Mother. I recieved a newspaper from Cortes mailed at Buffalo.
How would it answer to send you a real Irishman just from Ireland, strong and scout, used to hard fare, will
work cheap and do anything you tell him. His brother lives at Abm's and he is as honest and faithful as I ever saw,
quite handy and can learn to do every thing. I know you would like him and I think James would forward him
to you if I would mention it to him. He arrived here only two days ago and it will be impossible for him to get
work here. I told his brother this morning that I would write to you about him. He has always been a poor man
and cannot write, and if you cold him he must not go of[f] the farm he would not do it. Now then, if you want
him, just tell me what wages are for hired men and I will try to send him on to you. I would make his brother pay
his rare to you and then when he got there and worked enough to pay it I could pay his brother again.
I intended to have written part of this letter to Thomas, but he must excuse me this time. And try to have
Margaretta to ... remember me to all inquiring friends and tell them I am not homesick yet; and John is ready to go.

Love to all