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Title: Isabella Allen, New York, to 'My dear sisters', Belfast
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileAllen, Isabella/103
SenderAllen, Isabella
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhousewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginNYC, USA
DestinationBelfast, N. Ireland
RecipientMarshall sisters
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceD1558/1/2/34: The Papers of William John Campbell Allen, Deposited by F.D. Campbell Allen Esq., 15 London Road, Harrow-on-the-hill, Middlesex
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, N. Ireland
Doc. No.9910058
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 22:10:99.
Word Count2584
TranscriptNew York September 19th 1838.
My dear sisters,
I suppose by the time this reaches you
you will both be settled at home. Alida painting
pictures from the sketches she has taken in the Highlands
upon my word my young lady you are a pretty article to be
[----ting?] over the country in such a way. I received
Rosa's letter on Wednesday evening on my return from
Niagara and need I say what a treat it was. I thought
the direction was in Alida's handwriting but I was
delighted to hear that she was enjoying herself in
Scotland. You dont say anything about having written
by the Packet of the 13th, so I suppose I know not
to expect her to bring me any news. I suppose by
this time the Great Western has reached England and
you have heard of our safe arrival and intended tour
so I will begin at the beginning and give you a sketch
of our journey We started on Friday morning with Mr
and Mrs Brown picked up Mr Buchannan [Buchanan?] and
his son - English going in the same way and with Mr
Maginnis made a party of 8. The two first are very
pleasant fellow travellers: the two second fidgetty
[fidgety?] and careful of self: the last a good natured
Welshman not much information, but always good humoured
and the [rare?] of [too?] moderate people. We all met
on board the steamer going to Troy 150 miles up the
Hudson. The morning was nasty and we saw little of the
river but cared less as we were to return in the same
direction. Mr & Mrs C [--b--ere?] on board, and we
parted at the end of the day probably not to meet again
in America. From Troy we took The next morning the
railway to Saratoga springs a most fashionable resort
in summer for fashionable its waters are considered
finer than any in America and equal to any in Europe.
It is a very pretty village surrounded with woods the
streets on each side seeming to terminate in a forest.
The Hotels with the exception of one were closed they
are large wooden buildings with long verandahs vines
or creepers hanging in festoons from pillar to pillar
every thing was comfortable and we remained there.
Sunday, went to church and visited a pretty lake in
the evening, but I must hasten on our route and my
journal will give afterwards the details. On Monday
we took a stage for Whitehall 38 miles distant the
[incline?] is very easy and the horses good but oh
[Poz?]! had you jolted over the roads, they are just
made by the ground being cleared for [stained] [a?]
certain width from grass and trees, and a fence of
wood marked [stained] [each?] side. No stones laid
down but when crossing a swamp trees are laid across
the interstices filled with [sand?] The first part
of the journey was comparatively easy but the last
seven miles were beyond my expectations. We went
into holes and out of them no grand style and could
not help admiring the dexterity of the driver who
took us along in safety. Very few accidents happen
on the roads and the people in the country think
nothing of a few heights and hollows We next morning
took the Steamer across Lake Champlain. It is the most
beautifully finished boat I ever was in a perfect
[babys--se?] We reached St John's the next morning,
took a railway to [La?] prarie, there got into a
steamer and crossed the Mighty St Lawrence to Montreal
the weather up till then had been oppressively warm
the thermometer in the shade at 75, but as soon as we
entered Canada it was cold and bleak the sky clear and
beautifully blue. Indeed I never saw it equalled in my
own country. We were very much pleased with Montreal
went searching for furs and found to our surprise that
all the skins are sent to England, dressed and made up
there and sent back here, so that they are quite if not
more expensive in Canada than at home. In New York they
are very dear and as to ermine it is scarcely to be
procured so [--og?] will provide herself much more cheaply
at home On Friday evening we took a steamboat again, and
sailed down the river to Quebec. I was disappointed in the
scenery on this part of the St Lawrence the banks are flat
but very thickly inhabited and the width of the stream in
parts is immense. Quebec is beautifully situated and is
a most extrordinary looking place quite impregnable.
Saturday was unfortunately a pouring day the only wet one
we had on our travels. We visited the citadel however, and
had seen the town cathedral on the previous evening. on
Saturday night we went on board again and steamed during
all Sunday reaching Montreal on Monday morning just in
time to catch the stage that was on the road to Kingston
at the end of Lake Ontario. We heard everywhere in Canada
that disturbances are expected on Lord Durham's departure
and next winter is likely to be a very unsettled one. All
seem vexed at the idea of his Lordships leaving. For two
days we steamed and staged alternatively taking the stage
where the rapids were too strong and too rough to be
navigable we slept on board vessels at night and boarded
in them. The river is much more beautiful as you sail up,
numberless islands wooded to the water's edge over it's
surface make it very beautiful, villages and houses all
neat and thriving are along it's banks and the streaming
of some very strong rapids gave an excitement to the sail.
On Monday morning we embarked on Lake Ontario the boat
was a very fine one strong and finely fitted up. Our
passage one of 24 hours to Lewiston on the Niagara river
was very rough The lake is like the ocean we were
frequently out of sight of land and the waves on it must
have been tremendous for they struck the boat so as to
make her tremble from end to end. We were seasick but what
of that, the morning took us to the Falls. How I wished
I had had you all beside me as I stood looking at the
magnificent scene. My expectations were far exceeded. I
could have conceived nothing so grand, so overpoweringly
beautiful. We stopt [stopped?] on the American side at
the Cataract hence from which we could see the stream
hurrying to it's Fall and hear the continual rush of the
water. The morning of our arrival we spent on the American
side seeing all the fine points and the different falls
in detail. The last sound sound (sic) I heard was the
music of the water and the same sound awakened me in the
morning. Say you "how could you sleep at all near such
a spate" alas travelling about so much fatigues our bodies
and in spite of ourselves we must eat drink and sleep.
Friday morning was wet but it cleared and we took a stage
to the Whirlpool two miles below the Falls. on our return
we took the ferry boat to cross to Canada; the boat like
a Larne ferry boat rowed by one man leaves the shore
scarcely ten yards from the American and not a quarter of
a mile from the great horse shoe Fall, the water is
amazingly calm and wears a smooth surface to conceal the
raging beneath. It was with fear and trembling I stept
[stepped?] into the boat. The spray came across us in
clouds and our crossing in safety so near the cataract
seemed miraculous. We landed and walked to table rock,
stood at the edge of the tremendous fall, looked down
below where it frothed and foamed and threw up a body
of spray far higher than the rocks over which it fell.
Went down to the entrance of the place where persons
go underneath the Fall, saw six men dressed to enter,
returned to the Ferry, crossed and then bade
adieu to a scene that I never expect to see equalled.
I would have encountered double the seasickness and
fatigue to see it. it was truly magnificent. From
that we took a railway to Buffalo: thence staged
to Rochester. on Sunday staged 63 miles to [Auburn?].
From that had railway and stage to Atica. On Tuesday
we visited the [Freuton?] falls which are perfectly
beautiful, the scenery is romantic and the river takes
5 successive falls each one of them about 5 times (or
probably more) the size and height of those on the Clyde.
The day was bright and warm, and the spray formed into
beautiful rainbows. We were all in good spirits and I
think it was the pleasantest day we had on our excursion.
William and I parted company from our fellow travellers
at Mica taking the railway night train to Albany which
place we reached in time for the boat down the Hudson.
We had a glorious sail the river is romantic and
interesting, we devoured [Poz's?] letter which was
waiting us and here we are in good health and spirits
in the Carleton once more. We travelled 1600 miles in
less than three weeks, saw what was to be seen and
enjoyed ourselves highly, so you may think we were
not idle. On Monday week we talk of starting for
Augusta where we have received an invitation for
[from?] Mr Campbell to take up our abode with him
which we intend doing. I am afraid we will be rather
too great a tax on his hospitality, but William says
not. This is a pouring wet day. Yesterday I was
shopping with Miss Corbitts kind assistance and with
the exception of [making?] a bonnet [frad?]
everything, French goods & all much dearer than at
home. And now my paper has come to a close.
What are you all doing at Wellington Place. I wish
I could take a peep at you, see you busy at your
occupations and say two or three words to you.
If before One O'clock tomorrow I have anything to add
I will cross a piece. Now goodbye for the present
Give my love to my dear Peri & Meri Knowly John [W?]
J. the [Ba's?] and all and Believe that I am everywhere
your attached sis

To all to whom these presents shall come their son
in law or brother in law (as the case may be) [sends?]
[p--ting?] So far as Isabella will permit me to peruse
her epistle general, I perceive she has given you a
brief sketch of our journeyings since we landed on this
continent. Our absence from New York must be our apology
for permitting two or three packets to sail without any
letters from us, but I am not sure that where there are
so many of you, we will be ready to receive any excuse
for a packet leaving Liverpool without a communication
for us:- The advantage of crossing the Atlantic by steam
was finely illustrated to us (notwithstanding our
comparatively unfavourable passage) by the fact that the
Orpheus which sailed from L'pool [Liverpool?] the day
before we left Bristol only arrived here
last Sunday, after we had travelled on this Continent upwards of
1200 miles. I can add nothing
respecting our journey except that Isabella has proved a much
better traveller than I anticipated:
we had some sufficiently fatiguing days' journeys in the stages,
but she never complained
and was always ready for the following days occupation whatever
it might be. Rosa will
accept my thanks for her mention of my mother: and I hope from
what she says that the old lady will
be induced to go out more frequently this winter than she has
been in the habit of doing, even when I am
at home. I should be glad to hear, what arrangement she has made
with respect to servants, and whether she
has concluded on heartburning herself until my return with the
hopeful youth I left with her. Unless
I hear of these matters from some one of you; she will take good
care that I shall not hear of any of
her arrogances until I reach home, although if I heard earlier I
might have it in my power, even at this
distance to lessen them in some degree. One circumstance has
been omitted I see by my secretary
and that is that at Buffalo, a town at the foot of Lake Erie,
which has sprung up within 23 years
where no trace of civilization was to be found 30 years ago, we
stopped in a Hotel superior to
nine tenths of the houses in our largest towns in England or
Ireland, and that Mr. Brown & my self went
in the evening to a theatre which in point of elegance has no
equal at home out of London
and where the orchestra was very much superior to any thing I
have ever heard even in the
Hawkins Street Theatre in Dublin. With regard to the music this
is not merely my own opinion
but of others who were with me and have seen the places I have
mentioned. Kindest regards to all
which of course includes Miss Knowles. I presume you will let my
mother (sic) that you have received this epistle
from us: and I remain most truly from W.J.C.A.

Saturday morning. I have little more to add to what I wrote
yesterday. the rain
never ceased and I sat working while William read to me during
the greater part
of the day. This morning the sky is perfectly cloudless a most
beautiful blue. It seems
a pecularity of this climate that there are no uncertain days,
it either pours
in a torrent or is fine for 24 hours, no showers and sunshine
blended. William
is going to see a large vessel launched at after 9 O'clock. The
hours here are
early breakfast at 8 O'clock and we intend getting into the good
habits of early
rising. I hope before this poor little Andrew is better, does
Bella ever speak
of her Aunt Bella? dont let her forget me and her Uncle. Is
Master Sheridan
growing any. if
I am going
to remain
in the house till Miss Corbitt calls to take me out to shop. We
shall not
hear [Deary?] tomorrow preaching, he is removed from this now.
it will be
a comfort to be in a place of worship again in the last nine
weeks I have only
been at meeting three times and that is too few. We heard in
Saratoga an
excellent preacher and sermon quite uncommon and much better
we meet with in similar places in our own country. But I must
close for
William is going to take this out with him Goodbye dearest
Remember and write by every packet and [Meggy?] remember I will
to hear from you William is wondering when he will receive an
epistle from
John. Give my love to my Motherinlaw(sic) and tell her that I am
to keep William in order that he may not be any worse when he
to her than when he left. It is a difficult task. once more
goodbye. Remind
My Peri to write and
Believe me ever Your
affectionate siss

Envelope Address:-

Andrew Marshall Esq. M.D.
3 Wellington Place,
Per Royal William
to L'pool