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Title: Mary Cumming, Petersburg to Rev Andrew Craig, Lisburn.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCumming, Mary/29
SenderCumming (n. Craig), Mary
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationmiddle class housewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPetersburg, Virginia, USA
DestinationLisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientRev. Andrew Craig
Recipient Gendermale
SourceT 1475/2 pp99-101: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9403062
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 09:03:1994.
Word Count976
TranscriptBlandford, December 20th 1813

My dear Father,
I embrace with pleasure another opportunity of
writing to you, although the long letter which I wrote to
Margaret last month has not left this country yet. I am sure
my dear friends have been anxious about me for some time past,
as I did not write for some months, owing to my bad health,
but I have now the happiness of telling my dear Father I have
got the better of all my complaints except a little fever now
and then, which does not signify. Last week I was able to walk
into Petersburg. We had a dinner-party yesterday and one the
week before, the last one I tell you went about as
usual, William never enjoyed better health than he has done
for the last twelve months, he is now very busily engaged
buying tobacco to have ready to ship off when peace comes.
When that much-wished-for event will take place it would be
difficult to say. William thinks the war cannot continue much
longer, we have all been anxiously expecting news from Washington
for the last few days about the embarge, which Jimmy
Madison wishes to lay on, but I trust most sincerely he and
his party will be disappointed in this as well as in many
other of his schemes. (I am not afraid of this letter being
opened. so that I make a little free with the old gentlemen's
name). The embargo has passed the House of Representatives on
Wednesday last and the Senate have been debating on it ever
since with closed doors. I hope to-morrow's mail will bring
us the joyful news of their having rejected it. Any event that
in the smallest degree would hasten our return to my native
country I wish for.
Men, women, and children are all politicians in this country,
politics is the general tonic of conversation among the gentlemen
and even of the ladies of this place. Some of the females
of my acquaintance are most violent democrats. I say nothing,
but I assure you I do not feel pleasant when I hear old England
spoken of disrespectfully. I have been very anxious for some
time past for a letter from home. The last I had was from
Rachel dated June. I am sure you have written to me often
since that time, and I hope very soon to receive a large packet
from home. I wrote to James Craig and to Mary Cumming last
month. I had a long letter from James at the time I received
Rachel's. I wish I could think of some news that would entertain
my dear Father, but I have been so little abroad lately
that I fear I have not got any worth mentioning, but to me the
most trivial circumstance that occurs at Strawberry Hill is
interesting, [--?] that as I have got nothing better I shall tell
you anything that comes into my head, and think I am talking
to you. How much I wish that I really was, and that happy time
I hope is not very far distant. I know William will make our
stay here as short as he possibly can, and if peace will be
brought about soon I think we would take our departure from
this country shortly after. I dread the summers we have. However
we will leave this place early next Fall, and stay away
during the sickly season. I hope we will travel northwards.
I would like to spend some time in Baltimore and Philadelpia.
If we do not go this route we intend going to some of the
Springs which are very much frequented in the Fall. It is
difficult to say what may take place before next summer. I
have met with so many disappointments of late that I do not plan
schemes of future happiness with the same hopes of success that
I once did. However I try to hope for the best, but like Burns,
some of my best laid schemes have gone "aft agley", and left
me nought but "grief and pain for promised joy", but I still
enjoy so many blessings that I must be resigned and hope for
better days. I experience so much kindness from my dear
William that I get over other disappointments far better than
I would otherwise do. There are a few lines in Cowper's
"Timepiece" which I admire very much, they are these:-
"Happy the man who sees a God employed
In all the good and ill that checquer life".

William has begun to read Wilson's "Egypt" to me. I think
it entertaining, but I always liked poetry better than prose,
indeed I hope to acquire a better taste for history than I
have at present. William is very fond of it, and remembers all
he reads. I suppose you amuse yourselves in the winter nights
at home in the same manner we used to do. How I wish we could
join the happy party once more. William has got his early
crop of potatoes put in a month ago. He will have peas sown the
first week in January. Our garden produces very fine vegetables,
and we have hired a gardener for the ensuing year, who will
find constant employment, so that we will have everything in
the nicest order, and I hope to make a great deal of money by
the produce of our garden, for we cannot use one quarter of the
vegetables and fruit which we raise, so that we send a quantity
to market every morning. I generally receive from three
shillings to four-and-six a day, which is my money. When Mrs
Bell lived here she once told me she made forty dollars by her
asparagus alone. Almost everyone who has a garden raises vegetables
for market and some make very large sums of money.