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Title: McIlrath, James L to McIlrath, John, 1892
CollectionThe McIlrath Letters: A family history in letters from New Zealand to Ireland (1860-1915) [Bassett, McKee et al.]
SenderMcIlrath, James L
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginLakeside, Canterbury, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath, John
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count455
Genreilness, acquaintances, local economy, politics
Canterbury N.Z.
8th August 1892

Dear Brother John
I received yours of the 22nd April and sent you a newspaper by last
mail. It is strange that I never get those you send, I would enjoy
reading home papers very much. I have not had one only the one with
Mother's death for a long time. We are all well and was happy to
hear that your family was well but sorry to learn that you are
not as you would wish to be. My health is good considering
how little excercise I get. The disease in my knee left my
joint nearly stiff and when I stand the foot is within three
Inches of the ground. I have to use crutches, anything I do
I must do it sitting and being so accustomed to work I feel
the inconvenience very much. My sight also gave way and is
weak. The severe illness, sleepless nights and much reading in
bed with lamplight and the shock I received through the death
of my dearest companion in life all combined, has, I believe,
been in a great measure the cause. But we must submit, we
will not always be young, we have had our springtime and
summer and now in the autumn of life let us endeavour to
clothe ourselves in a suitable raiment for the fast approaching
winter of life. I was glad to hear of old friends the Messrs and
Miss Jellies. What a change, but this is a world of change.
Hamilton and family is well. We hear from them often. He wants me
to pay them a visit but I would have little pleasure although I would
much like to see them all (I may take courage and go). You talk of hard times. We have about 50 tons of good potatoes
and they would not fetch 50 shillings. I have known and seen when
they would have fetched £250. Our markets is so unreliable that we
never know what to grow. Our potatoes is all sound as yet, barley is
sometimes unsaleable, oats not worth growing and wheat ruled by the
London market, the carriage so far reducing the price greatly.
In fact we have far too much for local use and has to rely on the
outside markets. Fancy good bacon pigs sold last March at two pence
per pound or £0.17.6 per cwt and now selling at three pence halfpenny
per lb. everything is only a lottery.
I see Gladstone is likely to be Premier again and that you have been
having lively times in Belfast.
I think it strange that William never writes. Hoping this will find
you all in good health.
I remain your affectionate brother James