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Title: Nicholson, Thomas to O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne, 1819
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderNicholson, Thomas
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationmerchant
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginFriendsville, NY, USA
DestinationPhiladelphia, Penn., USA
RecipientO'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1507
Genreprospects, settling in a farm, family, arranging a visit
TranscriptFriendsville 4 mo 9th 1820

My Dear Anne
I have received thy letter of 29th ulto which operated (as thy letters always do) as a kind of cordial to my spirits,
thy sentiments, especially on some subjects, being so much in unison with my own, & we both a little sanguine
in our ideas which creates a sympathetic feeling. Thou sees I am complimenting myself by venturing to compare
with thee, bur thou must excuse me. As I find that thou wilt not leave Wilksbarre for a little longer time, I thought
I would again say a few words as a land of farewell for short period.
I am much concerned to hear of William's illness which must have been particularly unpleasant, but hope that
he is rapidly recruiting. It wd have given me a great deal of pleasure to have seen him here or to have seen you all
as you pass along, even for an hour if it were practicable or answerable for your convenience; but if otherwise,
I must only anticipate the pleasure of a future period.
You have I see settled upon going to Cateraugus [Cattaraugus County, NY] which I anxiously wish may be in
every respect agreeable & have no doubt from the representations which have been made of it that in many aspects it may be suitable. With respect to Dr Rose's settlement - I am by no means enthusiastic in favor of it, nor does it come up to my ideas for many reasons, but the fact is, my dear Anne, I have been buffeted about so much since I came to this land of strangers that I was very anxious to go somewhere from the bustle of the city, that I might gain a little repose and at the same time keep myself independent by my personal exertions. My Brother quite
united with me in sentiment and having heard much of this place & the land could be had at rather a low rate &
knowing also that some Friends had already settled here, we resolved upon it, and commencing the (to us) new
occupation of American farming. So far we have .struggled along pretty well & I have no doubt we shall surmount
the difficulties attendant upon the kind of life we have embraced. The work at first seemed very laborious to me
who was totally unused to such kind of bodily exertion, but I am now somewhat broken in and more reconciled
with it - particularly as it appears a much more independent sort of life than the precarious one of merchant or
trader in a large city. Some experience begins to strengthen me in this opinion & tho others may have more of the
luxuries of life, yet there is a pleasure in the independence of country life above every thing else. And I think that
if thou & I had the selecting of a few individuals from the land of our Nativity we could spend the remaining days
of our lives with some happiness & contentment. Thy advice to us Irish to not over-do ourselves is very correct.
I hope we shall keep in moderation, for I am not yet able to work as these Yankees do. A proportion of labor is
I apprehend is necessary for health, for as Dr Armstrong says

Toil strings the nerves
And purifies the blood

I am become so much of a Philosopher as to be in a great degree reconciled with my situation, but it has taken
some time to effect the change. The Wilksbarre friends have a sad idea of Dr Rose. TIE true he is very shrewd and
politic & pursues even' means to get his land settled, but I am not aware of anything very bad to be laid to his
charge. We are in some degree tied to this place at present, having partly paid for a farm. But when thou gets to
Cataragus and has had a little time to get to know the country & can then give us some encouragment with respect
to the quality and cheapness of the land - in addition to the very powerful inducement of your being settled there
- I would make considerable exertion to get rid of our place and join you, for the distance to us would be of no
consequence. And had I known of William's intention of going to the Country I shd not have been so hasty in
becoming one of Dr Roses settlers. A small farm wd do us with a little cleared land upon it, that could be had
reasonably. I can fully meet thy ideas as to how agreeable it would be to be near each other, were it only to spend
an hour now and then talking of the days other times, and it is a peculiarity of the Irish that in distant countries
they lean upon each other with the affeacion of brothers and sisters. This often makes me proud of my country.
I have not had letters from Ireland for some time bur now daily expect some. My correspondents at Grange have
been rather remiss lately & I shall take care to tell them of it. I cannot blame Anna [Nicholson] so much for she
has been pretty regular. I have latterly mentioned thee in all of my letters and shall continue to do so; & particularly obliged by thy doing so of us in thine, so please continue to do so & when thee writes again remember me affectionately to thy Father & Mother, also to Thomas & thy sister. I promised to correspond with Thomas & give
him some acct of this Country &c, but really things have been so unfavorable with me heretofore that I thought
to recount to him a scene of misfortune could be no pleasure; so I have put it off from time to time, but shall some day strive to say something to him. If thou are writing soon, please make some apology to him for me, and say it
was not for want of regard or that I had forgotten him.
The time is now arrived when Holms promised to pay the money. I shall lose no time in trying to obtain the
needful of which thou shalt have early information. In a letter from Mary a few days since, she mentions the
discease of James Christy wch I believe had been sometime expected. No further particulars were known to her.
Mary has been very poorly for some time, I think she has not been out of the house for 4 months, but is now slowly
getting better. I shall mention thee to her when I write. I shall attend to thy injunction to keep myself single. I
know that married people cannot move about with the facility of single people, and I heartily concur with thee that an Irish woman is preferable to an American and I will make thee my confessor and tell thee that I have none
in view here. We are much in want of a female in our little cabin here, not merely on account of her extreme
usefulness but for her society. For I think the presence of a female tends to make men more courteous & affable &
not so liable to fall into strange habits and manners. This we must take care to avoid until we are favored with one
I should like extremely to see thee, if I could at present. Our things are not come from New York but I expect
them m 10 days. If then thou are at Wilksbarre and can command the time, I would strain a point to spend a day
with thee and William, which I assure thee, my dear Anne, to give me extreme satisfaction - but dont depend upon
this. There is no danger of my going to Ireland at present (danger I should not say, but prospect) and without telling
thee wd be the last thing I wd do. Were we living near each other, I flatter myself I could sometimes raise thy spirits
and beguile the time so as to make thee forget some of the past, or at least take some pleasure on bringing it to
thy recollection - I have now tried thy patience long enough but oftimes to a friend my pen wont cease rambling
I would be glad thou would favor me with another letter from Wilksbarre if thou can spare the time I had intended
to say a few words about poor Hanna but have no room - I shall not forget her situation. She has not been treated
as I was led to expect. Does thou ever hear of Robert Boardman? He went to New Orleans some time ago & I have
not heard what he’s doing. Thou knows a friend of ours that used to be interested about him. Farewell my dear
Anne; John unites with me in dear love to thee & William from
thy truly affectionate cousin
Thomas Nicholson