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Title: O'Brien, George to O'Brien, Joseph Sinton, 1844
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderO'Brien, George
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationshop keeper
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginDublin, Ireland
DestinationCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1794
Genrenew job, their grandfather's decease, weather, politics, family news, he's not emigrating for the time being
TranscriptDublin 1st month 16th 1844
My Dear Cousin
Although to me it does not seem very long since I received thy acceptable letter of 9th month 19th yet by the time
thou receives this it will to thee appear a long time since thou wrote to me, and I suppose ere this thou art on the
look out for a reply to it. I could enumerate many reasons for [not] writing to thee sooner but one will suffice: that
one is that I have changed my situation and am now with my brother-in-law, Samuel Baker, where I have to work
much later every night. We do not shut the shop any night before 10 o'clock and on 7th day night not until 11
o'clock, so that my time for reading, writing &c is much more limited than it was as in my former situation. We
used to shut at 8 o'clock and now during the 4 winter months they are shutting at 7 o'clock, so that I have to work
3 hours longer than I would have, had I remained where I was; and by the time one stands from 8 in the morning
to 10 at night, he is quite as much inclined to bed as to settle to either read or write, particularly when one is obliged to work hard. However, I am much more comfortable here and ever so much better paid, having now just double
the salary that 1 had when I last wrote to thee. I have now £50 per an, to be advanced £10 each year for two years,
so that although I have not entirely given up the intention of going out to America, I think that I shall not go lot
at least 2 years. Before I left Pim's I was fully intent on going this spring, but having got settled here I am inclined
to think that if I content myself I am in a fair way to get on in the world. At all events I am in a much better way
to save something to take me out.
I suppose that thou hast long ere this heard of the removal of dear Grandfather. Poor old man, he suffered a
great deal in his last illness, but with Christian patience and resignation, and made I have no doubt a happy
change. Aunt Susanna must feel the loss of him very much. Having always lived with him and having him to look
up to at all times, and having attended so closely on him during his illness she no doubt feels the greater blank;
one which to her can not be filled up, for one forms a still deeper attachment, when obliged to attend in sickness
and Suffering one who has already been an object of attachment.
I suppose this time is about the most severe part of your winter, as it is generally with us; and these last few days
havs been colder than any we have had yet. But mere has not been frost enough to cause ice ¼ of an inch in
thickness this winter yet; indeed it has been a fine mild season: 1 have heard many say it is the most so of any they
ever remembered. The last five years, the seasons seem to be quite changed in this country. I can myself remember
when we would have smart frost in 1 Orb month, which would continue at intervals for 4 months, besides snow
of which we have had none this season yet; but for the last 5 or 6 years the autumns have been so fine and mild
that many would continue bathing in 10th month & 11th month.
There is great sensation here just now on account of O'Connell's being cried for having uttered seditious
language at some of the great meetings commenced to petition parliament for a repeal of the Legislative Union.
He generally presided at them and was in the habit of making long speeches and in which he abused the
government at no small rate; but was attested for using seditious language and is now standing his trial. There is
no knowing how long it may last, or if they find him guilty and proceed Co inflict any punishment on him, what
may be the consequences. For I am sorry to say that: our Ireland is at present in a very disturbed state on account
of this great Repeal agitation and is I think ripe for rebellion; I suppose thou as any true born American would
do, wilt say "why not repeal the union", is not Ireland as fit to legislate for herself as any other country; then why
not allow her to do so. 1 would say it myself and wish heartily that such a thing would take place, for I have no
doubt but that it would serve the country in many ways. But mere is one thing which prevents me as well as most
other protestants from being a "Repealer" and that is the dread of Popish ascendancy; for although I know but little
of the doings of the Roman Catholics, compared with those who lived in and can recollect some of the atrocities
committed by them in the year 1798, yet I have seen and know enough of the system (which is in their own words "unchanged and unchangeable"), to be able to form some idea of the consequences th.it would follow a Repeal of
the Union, a measure that would I have no doubt the effect of driving many as on former occasions to seek a refuge
in the Wilds of the West. I nope thou wilt excuse me for saying so much on this subject and making my politics
in some measure known to thee, but its being a topic that is so much talked of here and so often the topic of
conversation, that I could not well avoid saying something of it.
Since I wrote tries last, my eldest Sister Anna has been married and is now living in Youghal. Her husband's
name is Joseph Fisher and carries on soap boiling and chandling. At the time that she wrote to thy sister Maria,
I was in hopes that there would have been a correspondence kepi up between them, but now that they are both
married, I think it is hardly likely that it will revive again; indeed since Anna was married I am generally 5 or 6
weeks without hearing from her, although one can get a letter conveyed from one end of the kingdom to the other
for one penny. I would be glad that my letter to thee would cost thee a; little as thine to me; the two I have got
from thee have cost me nothing as my brother receives them free of postage and forwards them to me also free,
and also forwards mine to (bee free. Dost thou have to pay any thing on letters thou are forwarding to Ireland.
I would also like to know if British newspaper travel free in the States, for if I thought they would cost you
nothing I would occasionally send thee one. I have no doubt it would interest thy father to know something of
what is going on in Old Ireland.
I am obliged to thee for answering so particularly all my queries, all of which, although I had read and heard
a good deal of America, I could never exactly come at the right way of: that is a description of how the land was
cleared &c, and gladly would 1 be a witness to and an assistant at the work, for although I am in sume measure
settled where I am, when I think of America or hear it spoken of, my heart bounds at the thought of being a
farmer in one of the Western States, where there is no rent or taxes to be paid nor any danger of ones corn or cattle
being seized for tithe; and 1 still look forward to being settled in the Bright Land of the West. Gladly would I accept
thy kind invitation to accompany thee to West, whither thou intends going next autumn, but that for the present
I think it more prudent for me remain where I am: for as my brother-in-law [Samuel Baker] is pretty well off in
the world, I have no doubt he has some intention of putting me in a way of doing something for myself and
thereby enabling me to realize a small capital, which would be much better for me, should [I] in 3 or 4 years
hence still continue to wish to go out, than to go as I should now with little if any more than would take me across.
Well, although there does not seem much probability of our seeing each other, at least for a longer time than
either of us anticipated when commenced writing to each other, yet I hope that a correspondence may still be kept
up between us; for although I am but a poor hand at letter writing, yet when one has such near relatives at the
other side the Atlantic it seems strange that one should not write to hear from them occasionally. Indeed before I
wrote to thy father, when some old friends asked me about him, 1 used to be almost ashamed that I knew so very
little about him or his family: but I hope it will not be the case again.
It is well I did not forget to answer thy father's enquiry for Matthew Jenkinson; he is living in Carlow but
like many others who embarked in the butter trade, has been unfortunate; indeed doubly so, for by a house to
which he consigned largely failing, he [lost] what little he had made, and having commenced again in a small way,
it was not many months until the house with which he was then doing all his business failed; and he is now, after
toiling all his life one might say, not worth a penny. He ha; now a small farm near the town which he is working
and is I believe doing but little else. I think Jno Whitten is an old acquaintance of thy father: he is living in Dublin
in the same situation that he has h:ld for the last 24 years and frequently askes me rot thy father.
With dear love to thy father and Mother and the rest of the family, in which, were my father and family here,
they would unite, I remain
thy attached cousin

Geo O'Brien

I would be glad thou would sign thy name in full to thy next as I do not know what the S. is for