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Title: Mary Cumming, Petersburg to Margaret [Craig, Lisburn?].
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCumming, Mary/40
SenderCumming (n. Craig), Mary
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationmiddle class housewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPetersburg, Virginia, USA
DestinationLisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientCraig, Margaret
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT 1475/2 p122-125: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9405204
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 09:05:1994.
Word Count1410
TranscriptBlandford, Nov. 17th 1814.

It is a long time, my beloved Margaret, since I wrote to you,
my last letter was dated in July, which I hope you have received
long since; about a fortnight ago I got three letters from
Ireland, one from my dear Rachel, another from Mary Cumming,
and one from James. I thought I would have had one from my
dear Margaret as Rachel mentioned you had written. If you
sent yours by the same conveyance it has not yet come to hand,
but I hope I may yet receive it, as I would be very sorry one
of your letters should be lost. I was uneasy at not hearing
from you during the summer, as there were several arrivals; I
believe I got all the letters you and my Father wrote during
the winter, his last was dated in March. I would have written
to my dear Margaret long before this time, but my health for
these two or three months has been so bad I could not bear
to write till I recovered a little. I have now the happiness
of telling you I shall soon be quite well. I gain strength
every day, and was able yesterday to walk to Mrs. Freelands.
You will also be delighted to hear my dear Mr. Cumming is,
and has enjoyed uninterrupted good health during the Summer
and Fall, indeed I never saw him look better than he does
at present.
I believe I mentioned in my last our intention of
leaving this place during the sickly season, this we would
have done, but as I expected to be confined in September, I
could not think of leaving home, and returning again just
at the most unhealthy time in the year, which would have been
worse than if we had not gone away, and I thought by taking
great care of myself I would get over the Fall in tolerable
health, but I have been sadly disappointed. I was not well
during the Summer, but was still able to go about, the fever
and ague I have never got completely quit of, which troubled
me a good deal in the Spring and Summer; though not a dangerous,
it is the most disagreeable complaint I ever had. The
last Summer was the warmest almost ever remembered in this
place, and you may be sure I felt it most sensibly. About
the middle of September I was taken with what they call a
bilious colic which confined me a few days and on the
eleventh I lay in, but my dear Sister, I grieve to tell you,
my darling baby never breathed, it had been dead for a few
days before, owing perhaps to my weak state of health.
After all I had suffered and all the schemes of happiness
I had planned, to be thus deprived of my sweet child was
almost more than I could well support. I was taken immediately
after with the same kind of bilious fever that I
had last year which confined me in July to my bed for five
weeks. I was very ill but with the best advice and attendance
I have at length got over the disease, and I hope to enjoy
tolerable health during the winter. Good health, such as I
once had I do not expect to have till I have been to dear
Strawberry Hill. How often I have longed to enjoy the
sweet healthy breeze that you have in that blissful little
place. You do not know half the blessings you all enjoy.
My little baby was another daughter, this was what I
wished it to be. 0h, my dear Sister, I can hardly help repining
at losing these two little angels, but I shall try to
be resigned, and hope for happier days. What keeps up my
spirits much better then they would otherwise be is the
unremitting kindness and attention of my dear William,
indeed, Margaret, unless you were in the house with him
you would not know how very affectionate he is to me. He
gratifies me in all my wishes, and as soon as he possibly
can will take me home to you again. Our days glide on in
peace and quietness and if I was once more with you I
should be completely happy, I think. I do not believe a
physician from Ireland would know how to treat the complaints
which we have in this part of the country. For my own part,
I think the severe remedies they are obliged to make use of
are almost as bad as the diseases themselves, bleeding,
blistering, salivating, are three of the most favourite cures
for bilious complaints. All three I had the pleasure of experiencing
this Fall. The two first are nothing, but if I had
an eneny on whom I wished to inflict a most severe punishment
I would order them to be salivated. For a fortnight you
would hardly have understood what I said, my mouth was in
such a state, but unless they tell me nothing else will
keep me alive never shall they stuff calomel down my throat
again, just as if it was magnesia. However, I believe it
partly saved my life, for nothing but powerful medicines
will do for the complaints incident to this climate. Adieu
to this subject, I have dwelt too long on it.
I wish I had something amusing to tell my dear Margaret.
Well, as I have got nothing better at present I
will tell you what kind of weather we have just now. I have
been out riding in Major Taylor's carriage this morning,
and enjoyed the little excursion very much, I assure you the
roads are about half a foot deep with dust, not a cloud to
be seen (which is generally the case during this month) and
at twelve o'clock the day as warm as any you have felt in
April. So you see every place has its advantages. The woods
are the most beautiful object at this season I can conceive.
I think the colouring of the trees more beautiful than ever
in Ireland.
As usual, my good and kind friend, Mrs. Freeland, has
paid me the greatest attention of late. She was with me when
I was confined, and for a week after she stayed day and
night, nursed me as if I was her own daughter, my dear Agnes
was my housekeeper. Never, never shall I forget what I owe
to that family. I see some of them almost every day, my
acquaintances in Petersburg are extremely kind and attentive,
indeed, I think I am very fortunate in having so many pleasing
neighbours. I am very anxious to hear from you again, it is a
long time since the date of the last letters. There is a ship
called the "Good Friend" expected to arrive in a few days,
which I trust will bring me a large packet. This is the same
ship Mr. J. Cumming intended coming out to this country in.
I had a very long letter from my dear James and am delighted
to hear he is well and happy, I will answer his letter and
also write to M. [Mary?] Cumming and Mrs. Brown by this opportunity.
Oh, Margaret, if you knew how much I think of you all, and how
anxiously I look forward to the happy time that will take me
to your arms. This is a stupid letter, but I hope I will have
pleasanter news to tell you when I write again, which will
be soon. Tell Margaret Byers I hope to hear from her very
soon, remember me in the kindest manner to her and Miss
McNally, and all other friends. Write to me very often, my
dearest Margaret. I am very much obliged to my dear Rachel
for her kind letter, which I shall answer at the next opportunity.
I am very much pleased with her writing, and the
accounts I hear of her improvement in every respect. Mary
Cumming tells me you both play sweetly on the glasses. How I
long to hear and become a scholar of yours. I wrote several
letters to you last summer, very likely they did not arrive
safe. I generally get yours ready opened for me.
William joins me in the kindest love to you all, and in wishing
you health and happiness. I am, my beloved Margaret's
sincerely attached.
Mary Cumming.