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Title: Terence Finnigan, California, To "Biddy Darlin." Ireland
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileFinnigan, Terence/11
SenderFinnigan, Terence
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationgold miner
Sender Religionunknown
OriginSan Francisco, California, USA
RecipientFinnigan, Bridget (Biddy)
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceThe Belfast Commercial Chronicle, Monday, 15 April, 1850
ArchiveThe Linenhall Library, Belfast.
Doc. No.9808313
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 14:08:98.
Word Count593

As everything from California is important, we
offer no apology for publishing the following letter,
kindly furnished by an Irish damsel, whose sweetheart
went out some fourteen months ago to dig up a "fortin"
[fortune?] for himself and Biddy, in the land of gold:-

"Sanfransiskey [San Francisco?], Dec. 8, 1849.

Biddy Darlin, - I've been diggin in the mines - bad
luck to the spalpeen that deluded me to [to] come next
or nigh them - for seven weeks, Biddy, accushla, sarching
[searching?] for goold [gold?]; but a body might as well
look for new pitayies [potatoes?] in Thriffalgar-square
[Trafalgar Square?]. The schayming [scheming?] villyan
[villain?] of a say-cap'n [sea-captain?] that tuck
[took?] me out tould [told?] me I'd be [be] sure to meet
an ould [old?] friend, one Terry Fermor, as soon as we
made land, but by the powers o' [of?] war, we made wather
[water?] so fast all the way, that it was a mercy we ever
set out tin [ten?] toes alive out o' [of?] the ship; and
after all the divil [devil?] a morsel of Terry could I
find anywhere, so I started off for the diggins all
alone by himself, maning [managing?] to ketch [catch?]
fortin in time, but instid [instead?] of that I caught
the yalla [yellow?] fayver [fever?], which is the only
favour [fever?] I ever met with in these parts, not to
spake [speak?] of a touch of the dissentherey [dysentery?]
(I niver [never?] liked anything belonging to them
dissenthers) [dissenters?]; by rason [reason?] of working
so hard in the bowels of the airth [earth?], and lying
on an empty stummick [stomach?], for we mostly had nothin
[nothing?] to ate [eat?] for brekfast [breakfast?], the
same for dinner, and ditto repaited [repeated?] for supper,
and all the time throwing up mud and wather [water?], which
is mighty wakening to the inside. Washin' is plenty
here, but I can't say much for their boardin' or lodgin'.
Pitayties [potatoes?] was a dollar a pound and no mate [meat?]
but gristly [grissly?] bares [bears?] which is tuff [tough?]
customers to dale [deal?] with. Some of the boys who came
out in the same ship with me, I heerd [heard?] picked up
a decent [-----?] of gold in the river, but divil [devil?]
as much as the makings of a weddin' ring did I get for
my trouble. Ah then Biddy darlin' wasn't I misfortunate
blaggard for laving [leaving?] a purty [pretty?] colleen like
yourself to come to a country where the wimmen [women?]
- saving your presence, Biddy - are the colour of a copper
tay [tea?] kettle and have no more dry goods on their backs
than ould [old?] Mother Eve, before she turned manty-maker,
and brought in the fashion of vegetable aprons? What's
to become of my [me?] now I don't know. I thought of
turning my hand to a crossin-sweeping in Sanfransiskey
[San Francisco?], but the street-cleaning is done by
birds in this place, and the only fashionable amusements
are gambling, jewelling [dualling?], and shooicide
[suicide?], which keeps things alive. You may have read
in the papers that the diggers [-----ing?] goold
[gold?] in quartz [quarts?]; but don't believe it,
Biddy. I'll be on my oath none of them ever found a
pint of it; so you see how they exasperate things far
off. Biddy, darlin', I wish you could hit on some way
to get me out of this crewel [cruel?] spot. If you wor
[were?] to thry [try?] and raffle me. I think the boys
of the Sivin Diles [Dales?] and Droorey Lain [Drury
Lane?] would take tickets to raise me out of my grate
[great?] trubble [trouble?]. If I was oncest [once?]
back wid [with?] you, Biddy, I'd never ax [ask?] to
lave [leave?] you agin [again?] while grass grows and
wather [water?] runs.
"Your lover in disthress [distress?],
"Terence Finnigan".