|Mary Cumming, Petersburg to James Craig, Ireland.
|Irish Emigration Database
|Cumming (n. Craig), Mary
|middle class housewife
|Petersburg, Virginia, USA
|Lisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
|T 1475/2 p32-33: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by LT, 09:05:1994.
|November 11th 1811
I have been engaged these two days writing to my Lisburn and
Armagh friends, and I now take up my pen to write a few lines
to my dearst James, my old and loved correspondent. I am
sure you would be pleased to hear that after encountering the
dangers of a tempestuous voyage at sea and a fatiguing one
by land, that I am now comfortably fixed in my new place of
I cannot express the joy I felt when after being buffetted
and tossed about for five long weeks on the great Atlantic,
I again got in sight of dear terra firma. I was as sick as
possible during the voyage and sea-sickness is the most unpleasant
and dispiriting kind that I ever suffered.
I wish my dear James saw how comfortably I am settled in
my new habitation. Everything in it is as neat as possible.
I am very much pleased with America and the people I have met
with I like and admire very much indeed. The American ladies
are in general elegant, accomplished and well-informed.
Their manners are extremely pleasing, there are a good many
of this description in Petersburg who have visited me since I
arrived, and I think I shall have a very pleasing society.
I was quite delighted with the view of New York, the harbour
and surrounding country: on our sailing up the river Hudson
there was nothing that attracted or pleased me so much as
the immense tracts of country covered with woods. I can give
you no idea of the beauty and endless variety of the colouring
and form of the trees. On my arrival the woods appeared in all
their magnificence and charmed me more than anything I ever
saw. The trees assume a much more brilliant appearance here
than in Ireland, but I was delighted with everything I saw
then, being completely tired looking at the wide Atlantic for
such a length of time.
The principal towns in America are very handsome, some
of the public buildings are extremely beautiful and the houses
have all a clean nice look, owing I suppose to the inhabitants
burning wood instead of coals. Philadelphia is thought to be
the handsomest town, it is built in the most regular manner,
but I admire New York more, the situation is beautiful. When
at Philadelphia I had an opportunity of seeing the celebrated
Cook perform his favourite character of Sir Pertinax MacSycophant
in "The Man of the World". I never was so pleased
with an actor in my life as with Cook. There is a theatre here
but it is not open just now. We were at Covent Garden when we
were in London. I was delighted with it of course, but indeed,
my dear James, we went to so many curiosities when in that
great metropolis that my poor head was quite bewildered. I
never was in a place that I would like to live in so little as
London. Our climate here in some respects is pleasanter than
in Ireland, particularly at this season of the year. The
weather at present is clear, dry, and in the middle of the day
as warm as in the month of April with you. But I will be better
enabled to tell you how I like it when I spend a summer here.
I am glad you are determined studying law, and if the best
wishes for your success in everything you undertake would be of
any use to you be assured you possess my most earnest prayers,
for you happiness and prosperity. I often anticipate the
joyful meeting we shall all have if we live to return to my
dear native country, and I trust and hope you will then be
Councillor Craig. Oh! how proud I shall be of my dear brother.
I hope I shall hear from you soon, it is impossible to conceive
the joy I feel when I receive a letter from Ireland.
When you write tell me all the news you can think of for every
trifle is interesting to me now that I am so far from all of
you. How are the Miss Wallaces? Give my kind love to my
Nephew William. I hope he is well. Mr. Cumming joins me in the
best wishes for your health and happiness, and believe me,
my beloved James, your sincerely attached.
M. [Mary?] Cumming.