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Title: McMahon Glynn, Patrick to Glynn, Ellen, 1883
CollectionPatrick McMahon Glynn: Letters to his family (1874-1927) [Gerald Glynn O'Collins]
SenderMcMahon Glynn, Patrick
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationlawyer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginKapunda, South Australia, Australia
DestinationGort, Co. Galway, Ireland
RecipientGlynn, Ellen
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1063
Genreprospects, local economy, socialising, family
TranscriptKapunda South Australia
July 5th 1883

My dear Mother
It must be a long while since I wrote to you last and, though
I am very busy today, I have about time for a short letter. Yesterday
I was just a year in the Colony and on looking back find that
without having realized £1000 a year, as Davis prognosticated, I
have been able to look rich and probably have £30 over. I will
be admitted here on the 21st July, at the cost of £16. If the
press work had not turned up you would probably have heard that
I had shifted to Sydney. The money market in this country has
been cramped by three bad harvests in succession — besides other
temporary causes — so that law business since I came here has been
less remunerative than at any time since the foundation of the
Colony. Exceptionally fine rains have raised the hopes of the
farmers again, but my conviction is that this will be the last of the
Colonies. It's a great copper country—but copper has gone down
permanently in price; it has a first class soil — but a light and
irregular rainfall; its gold mines have not paid yet, though they
have smashed thousands. Under those circumstances I never feel
that composure here that belongs to one, who is conscious that
he is not a sojourner only in the country, and would probably
have thought seriously of changing to elsewhere. I like the bustle
and din of the Criminal Courts in a city like Melbourne or Sydney — but object to the starvation diet connected with what is known
as 'waiting for a chance.' I have been reading recently Progress
and Poverty by Henry George in which the author speaks of the
restless spirit of man, and I feel with him that man has a higher
object of ambition than the mere gratification of his physical appetites.
I know, if my income here was £5000 a year —while
there was a bigger world beyond to fail or succeed in I would never
rest quiet.
You must not think that this is a very bad place. We have a
big public dance once a fortnight—a lawn tennis club—private parties
etc. and a general air of smartness in everything compared to a provincial
town at home. However, these are things I reckon very little.
As long as I think that I might have beaten a few fools in a bigger
sphere of action, I can never remain quiet.
With the exception of the dances, the people here have kindly
consented to leave me alone. In fact reading Parliamentary debates,
Bills, Politics Colonial and foreign, in addition to the office, permits
of no leisure for gossip, especially when there are so many good
books in the world unread.
What I have just written ran into my mind when I began to
write, so I gave expression. Indeed, of regular news, there is
nothing of interest to send from here. Lizzy has written to Johnny
Wallsh after a very long silence and talks a little about running over
to see us from Sydney where she is at present. Her husband is, I
believe, a low drunken fellow who contributes very little to their
support. I intended to assist her this month, but as the — [fates?]
would have it, some months ago, to prevent a fellow being ruined,
I guaranteed a claim against him to the extent of £25, which, of
course, I had to pay. It would be well for everyone at the outset
to take it for granted that it is impossible for nine-tenths of us to
discriminate between an honest man and a rogue, so that the safest
philosophy is to presume all swindlers and regulate your pocket
Sister Bernard has not written to me for months. A few weeks
ago, however, Johnny Wallsh and I called on and saw Mother Mary
at the Convent, who told us she had left Sister Bernard well after
a trip to Queensland. The Convent at Sydney commands a delightful
view of the Harbour, which is second to none in the world.
Sir John O'Shanassy, for a long time leader of the Catholic
faction in Victoria, is dead. He lost his seat for Belfast at the last
general election, being put out by a State School teacher named Madden, who, I believe, is one of the Loughrea family. I, however,
never met him. Fanny McDonald has a lot of boarders now
and appears to be getting on. She writes a story or two for the
Australian Woman's Magazine; I padded them a little for her here
and there, but the public are none the wiser. I hope you get all
the Heralds regularly — I left orders to have them sent. All the
leading articles— the subleaders, i.e., the small print written with
wide spaces between the words, as distinguished from the paragrops;
as well as the literary Reviews, are written by me. For instance,
"The Victorian Statistics of 82-83" is a subleader; the Review of
Fernie's Sermons, one of my reviews. I like the work, but cannot
devote sufficient care to it on account of other business. From
tomorrow night, for instance, I have to be away, defending a fellow,
for two days, so that tomorrow morning I must read the debate
on a new Land Bill, the Bill itself, and write a leader on it in too
great a hurry for satisfaction to myself. But when a thing has to
be done — it will be done.
How are all the youngsters getting on at school? I hope
shortly to have another letter from you. From the papers that
come out it seems that the fates were against me in being away
from Ireland when the agrarianism began in fine style. Mclneroey
and I were on exactly the same footing when I left. He is probably
making £600 or £1000 a year now.
If there are any pamphlets by Henry George published on the
Land Question in the future, please send them out. His work on
Progress and Poverty is shaking the whole edifice of land monopoly
from base to pinnacle, and is being read all over the world. It
will eventually work a revolution.
I have no more time to spare, so with love all I remain

Your aff. Son
P. McM. Glynn