|Mary Cumming, Baltimore to Margaret Ward, Lisburn.
|Irish Emigration Database
|Cumming (n. Craig), Mary
|middle class housewife
|Baltimore, Maryland, USA
|Lisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
|Ward (n. Craig), Margaret
|T 1475/2 p132-135: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by LT, 09:05:1994.
|Baltimore. Feb. 9th, 1815.
My beloved Margaret will be surprised when she sees where I
date my letter from. I am very sorry to tell you bad health
has detained me here all this Winter, the last letter I wrote
home was to my Father in October, at which time my health was
very delicate, but I thought I would get better in a short
time as the weather was getting healthy and I had the best
advice that could be got in Baltimore. I was disappointed,
however, as I have frequently been, I got weaker every day.
We came into town the latter end of October, where I have been
confined to my room, mostly to my bed, for the last four
months; how this may terminate, my dear Sister, God only knows.
At present I am extremely weak and thin, more so, I think,
than I ever was before. My principal complaint now is a very
weak stomach which prevents me gaining strength. Dr. Brown
attends me every day and if it is possible to do anything
for me he will be able to effect it, for he is the most skilful
physician in Baltimore, and has always paid me great attention.
Indeed I have met with the most uncommon kindness and attention
from this good family I ever experienced in my life
from any people. I am a thousand times better attended than
if I had been in Blandford, it was extremely fortunate I did
not return in the Fall, for never was that unfortunate place
so unhealthy as it has been this year. My dear William has
been twice to see me since he first left me, he was here for
three weeks lately. He is the very picture of health, and if
his poor Mary was well would be of happiness.
I am happy to tell you that among all the rest of
my complaints I have not the smallest symptom of either a
breast or a liver complaint, the spleen in my side is much
better and if I could but get the better of this excessive
weakness all might yet be well. I have come through such
dreadful sickness since I came to this country that my hopes
are very sanguine that Providence will yet be kind and generous
to me. But my dear Sister and friends, if it should please
that great Disposer of events to think fit to take me from
this world at present, we must all try and bear it with resignation,
and think it for my happiness. My views of this
world have changed a good deal of late, though it is still inexpressibly
dear to me yet I have not the same dread of leaving
it as I had a few months ago. In all probability if that event
should take place my darling husband would pay his native
country a visit (I hope a long one) in that case my last and
most earnest request to you and my friends at home will be to
transfer the kindness and affection which I well know you
would have bestowed on your poor Mary to her adored William,
whose study during the short time I have been with him has
ever been my happiness and welfare.
But these are all sad and gloomy thoughts, it will do
me good to turn to something more lively, and all may yet be
better than I am sometimes inclined to think.
I intend sending this letter by ship which will sail
from this port in a few days, I have not heard a word from
Ireland since I received the large packet giving me an
account of my dear Margaret's wedding.
Since I wrote last there has been most wonderful news arrived,
no more nor less than that there is peace between this country
and Great Britain. Had I been in good health this news would
almost have put me crazy, as it is I feel truly rejoiced.
There are to be great illuminations to-night, indeed every
one seems to participate in the general joy. There will now be
plenty of opportunities of vessels going from every port we
may wish. If my health was a little better _ but that I have
great fears of, however I shall hope for the best.
From what Margaret Byers hinted in her letter I have every
reason to believe that my dear Margaret is a Mama before this
time. If so God grant that you and your little charge are as
well and happy as I wish you. I shall expect you will call
one of your daughters for me; I must not look back though I
have lately thought I ought to be very thankful, for I now am
convinced that whatever is is for the best though we cannot
think so at the time I would give worlds to see you all again,
but know this is impossible until I get a little more strength.
I intended writing to my beloved Rachel by this conveyance,
but I will have to send my letter off to-day. It requires
a long time for me now to write one, however there will
soon be a number of opportunities to send letters and I shall
soon write to her, the sweet darling! This I believe is her
birthday. Oh, may every happiness attend her wherever she
goes is the prayer of her sister!
Since I began this letter I cannot say I am much better
or worse, I suffer very little pain, have a tolerable appetite,
and get a good deal of rest. My wishes are almost anticipated
before formed, so that it will not be for the want of the
greatest care and attention if I do not recover.
We had great rejoicings and illuminations here last night,
on account of the victory gained over the British at New
Orleans. We will have them repeated some night soon again on
account of the peace. Nothing can be greater than the general
joy and satisfaction on this blissful occasion. I expect to
get letters from Ireland some day soon by the ship that
brought the happy news. Mrs. J. Brown got letters from her
friends, mine, of course, if there were any would go to
Petersburg, and I have not had time to get them sent to me
And now, my beloved Sister, my paper draws to a close,
if my health will admit you have a prospect of seeing me in
Spring, if it pleases Providence to dispose of me otherwise
we must be resigned to His Will. I do not feel the same
reluctance at quitting this world which I did a few months
ago, and I trust we will all meet in a better land never more
Give a thousand loves to my beloved Father, Brother,
and Sister; to your good man, Miss McCully and Margaret.
That every blessing and happiness may attend you all
is and will be the constant prayer of your
Mrs. James Ward,