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Title: Extract of Letter from Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, USA
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
Sender Genderunknown
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginSusquehanna, Penn., USA
Recipient Genderunknown
SourceThe Irishman, Friday, September 21, 1821
ArchiveThe Linen Hall Library, Belfast
Doc. No.9410387
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 20:10:1994.
Word Count654
(From the Examiner)
Mr. EDITOR - I have read with satisfaction your paper for the
last ten years, and see you now and then amuse and instruct
your friends with information from America; I therefore, in
return, send you this extract of a letter:-
Silver Lake, Susquehanna, March 20, 1821
"I, who have bought, and now hold 115 acres of good land, for
county-tax, one dollar and four cents; and two dollars and
eight cents for road tax. This last I have to work out, and
that is the total of all my taxes for the present year. When I
have paid my 104 cents, it matters not much if I get no more
cash for twelve months. It is true, for cash we can now buy 2
1/2; mutton 2; wheat 62 per bushel; rye 37 1/2; potatoes 12
1/2 to 18 per bushel of 60 pounds; salt, 3 dollars per bushel
of 280 pounds. A good milk cow from 10 to 15 dollars; a yoke
of oxen, from 40 to 80 dollars; good horses, from 30 to 80
dollars; fowls, 12 1/2 cents; sheep, 1 1/2 dollars; geese 30
to 50 cents; venison, on which we have lived principally for
three months, 2 to 3 cents per pound; soal [sole?]-leather, 25
to 30 cents per pound. Stage travelling averages about 6 cents
per mile; hay 8 dollars per ton; oats 18 cents per bushel. A
labourer has five and six shillings a day; and a mechanic a
dollar and upwards, 70.6d to the dollar; so that a good joiner
or shoe-maker may get, say, 1 bushel of wheat, 10 pounds of
meat, 1 pound of butter, and half a bushel of potatoes for a
day's work. Next he may buy one acre of freehold land, in some
places, for two dollars, up to six eight and ten but the
common average is three or four; so he may work two days, one
for his family food, one for their clothing and sundries, and
four for an acre of freehold land, that has as much wood on it
as he will consume in ten years. The mechanic and labourer
therefore, must improve his condition by settling in America;
but he must not extend his views very far, since all he has to
pay wages for is loss to him; he cannot make profit; wages are
too high for the state of things, they are gradually coming
down. In farming, a man must maintain his family
independently, but cannot realize property. The produce of the
country is greater than the consumption; and there being no
export trade, there id a dearth of cash at present which
causes the low prices. Every man is not adapted for this
country. He who has no capability to adapt himself to new
employments and methods, and who cannot for himself turn
carpenter, wheeler, cooper, taylor [tailor?] and shoemaker,
had better stay at home; unless he can bring with him as much
money as will buy all these things, to carry with him to the
settlement. We make our own soap and candles (duty free), and
have abundance of wild gooseberries, currants, cranberries,
blackberries, cherries and raspberries, for family use in
summer. Apples in this new station are rather scarce; but in
the older settlements, they were so plentiful last year, that
immense quantities were left to rot for manure, or were eaten
by hogs. I have been here now nearly nineteen months, and have
not taken ten dollars in cash, but have had meat, flour,
vegetables, building materials, etc., which I must have paid
cash for, so it is nearly as well. We have many privations to
endure, many hardships, and much hard labour; but the rest of
the chapter is sweet. We have pleasure and advantages that I
would not exchange for all the luxuries of London. We are free
and unfethered as the door that bound over my field, and the
birds that delight me with their notes while I am taking the
trout from a fine stream that meanders through my lot."
"N.B. - Silver Lake Settlement, is about 170 miles from New
York, and about 150 from Philadelphia.
I am your obediant Servant,
August 26, 1821.