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Title: McIlrath, Hamilton to McIlrath family, 1867
CollectionThe McIlrath Letters: A family history in letters from New Zealand to Ireland (1860-1915) [Bassett, McKee et al.]
SenderMcIlrath, Hamilton
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationcattle driver
Sender Religionunknown
OriginLake Ellesmere, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath family
Recipient Gendermale-female
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count608
Genrelocal economy, work, family, politics, family
TranscriptLake Ellesmere June 9th 1867

Dear Father and Mother
I can offer no excuse for not writing oftener but negligence but I
hope I shall not have the same to say for the future. So I now write a
few lines to let you know that James and I are both well and getting
on pretty well considering these hard times. Markets never was as
low in Canterbury as this present year Wheat is from two to three
shillings per bushel and very little demand for it even at that price.
Oats is much the same and nearly unsaleable. We have any amount
of both but we shall let the rats eat it before we sell it for that price
just yet.
Cattle is the only thing that pays well these times. I am going to
deliver on Wednesday 14 that we sold on an average of nine pounds
per head there is some 6 of them good strong bullocks nearly three
years old worth about £12 the others is yearlings. And cows with
their calfs sucking them which latter don't sell so well. James received
a letter from John dated Jan 15 '67 and also a newspaper from William
of March the 16. John mentioned that Mother had been ill for
some time before he wrote but I hope it was only one of her old sick
headaches and would be all right in a day or two. The fenians seems
to be keeping Ireland in a small fever of excitement they don't show
even as much pluck as the Maories what they want is to be lynch law'd
as soon as caught. I hope they have not been trying on any more of
their games at Johns. When he got that man he ought to have tied
him and sent for the police and made him give an account of himself.
There is some changes since I was in that side last. When I heard
that John was married it took me right flat aback I thought he always
said beggar the woman. However I like his pluck and for William
I thought he was too much in love and too poor ever to marry any
one but they appear to be both happy and that is the only thing in
this wicked world. And I am an uncle. I hope that boy Hamilton
may grow to be a better man than ever his uncle has been and for
John and Mrs & little Mary she ought to be much thought of being
the first little girl of that line for some time. I don't
think I ever knew William's Missus and Robert how
is he getting on he will be quite a man now if he takes
my advice he will court a hurricane but not be in too
much hurry marrying. As for myself I don't think I
will ever be able to make up my mind. Marriage is a
very serious thought. Cousin Robt. is living close by
us he is farming on his own (hook) and getting on very
well. There is a great many from home round here John
Skilling and Mrs Mary Ann Moorhead that used to be
they are doing first rate she makes a good wife. And Wm.Jas.
Alexander he is jogging along as steady as a church.

I shall write no more at present but believe me ever to Remain your
dutiful son Hamilton Mcllrath I never hear Mr Jas. Jelly's people
mentioned lately I should like to know how they are getting on give
my kind love to uncle Wm. And Aunt Jane and to (....)