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Title: Mary Cumming, Petersburg, [Va?] to Rev. Andrew Craig, Lisburn.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCumming, Mary/5
SenderCumming (n. Craig), Mary
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationmiddle class housewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPetersburg, Virginia, USA
DestinationLisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientRev. Andrew Craig
Recipient Gendermale
SourceT 1475/2 pp.41-44: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9, Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9006086
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by JM 01:09:1993.
Word Count1228
December 6th. 1811.
I feel truly grateful to you, my dearest Father, for your very
kind and affectionate letter, I am delighted to hear you are
quite recovered from your long and tedious attack of the gout, and
I trust you will enjoy a double proportion of good health this
I shall study to observe the very good advice you were so
kind as to give me in your letter respecting mine, indeed I
never knew what a blessing it is to enjoy good health till I
was deprived of it for a short time. I suffered a good deal of
sickness during my voyage across the Atlantic, but thank God,
I am now quite well .
We got to Petersburg at the most favourable time of
the year, I am told the weather was uncommonly warm in the
latter end of the season, indeed, since I came here some days
have been as warm as the weather in May in Ireland. A great many
of the inhabitants have been ill, some not yet quite recovered.
The invalids all seem to wish for frost now, we have had a
little already, but I think the weather just now delightful,
the air is so clear and dry, and what we would think rather
unusual in Ireland, the dust is in great abundance on the roads.
However, the weather is very variable, one day will be very
warm and the next quite the reverse, but I shall take care and
suit my dress to the changes of the season. I intend keeping a
journal of the weather for your amusement, I would like to
compare the differences of the two climates.
I am delighted to hear that you approve of my dear
James's choice. I hope most sincerely he may be successful in
everything he undertakes, I always thought, and think so still,
that James will be an honour to his family. I shall be quite
proud of him when I return.
I perfectly agree with you in your opinion of Mr. John
Oliver, he is gentle, good-natured and obliging, he was uncommonly
kind and attentive to me when in Baltimore, he told me he
had some thoughts of going to Ireland in Spring. The family are
very much esteemed and liked by all the respectable people in
Baltimore, and deservedly so. Mr. Robert Oliver is a most
excellent man, how delightful it would be for their poor old
mother to see them! They live in the greatest style you can
Oh, my dearest Sir, I hope all your fears respecting war
are without foundation. I never felt the least interest about
politics before, but now I do, but Mr. Cumming says the
American people have been talking in just the same manner for
four or five years past. It is a dreadful thing to think of,
two nations going to war with one another who are so nearly
connected as the Americans and English.
Provisions are cheaper here than in Ireland, our flour
is superior to anything I ever saw, potatoes are tolerably good,
but they will not keep so well during the Winter as in Ireland.
You can get excellent green tea for about five shillings a
pound. Wines are far more reasonable here than with you,
Madeira is the kind that is generally drunk, I would far rather
have gooseberry, but this shows what a bad taste I have. We
had champagne, claret and Madeira at Mr. Oliver's. We have been
at church every Sunday since we came, our clergyman is a Mr. Linn
and is as bad an orator as I would wish to hear. I know
I am not easily pleased, but poor Mr. Linn's is not calculated
to charm anyone that had ever been accustomed to hear good
preaching. His sermons are dry, uninteresting and unconnected,
and I hate the mornings repetitions that they have in church.
You will think me severe but I cannot help it, however I am
determined to attend regularly and perhaps I shall get reconciled
to Mr. Linn's performances. Shall I or shall I not receive
the Sacrament here? You will tell me what I ought to do.
Mr. Cummings has begun to read the "History of Virginia"
to me, I like it very much. He has a pretty good collection of
books, and there is a public library in Petersburg of which Mr. Cumming
is a member. They have got Marshall's "Life of Washington"
which I intend reading. It contains an excellent account
of America which I should like very well to be acquainted with,
for I like the country and I admire the people whom I have met
with extremely. The American ladies are in general gentle and
elegant in their manners, and most of those I have the pleasure
of knowing appear to be accomplished and well-informed, I hope
to derive great improvement from their society, as we have a
good many of this description in Petersburg, who have waited on
Mr. James Cumming who lives about half a mile from this has
got what would be a very good garden if cultivated and taken
care of. Mr. Cumming intends to take it from him, as his brother
has no use for it. I mean to turn gardener and have it kept in
nice order and I think it would be both healthful and amusing
for me to attend to it. There is nothing in it at present but
a few greens. I do not intend putting flowers down as we have a
little place for them before the parlour windows, but merely
make a vegetable garden of it. I did not pay as much attention
as I might have done when at home to your methods of gardening,
but still I think I know something about it. However, a little
experience will soon teach me. I should like to have some of
your nice broccoli seed to sow if I live till Winter, though
if I remember right you sowed yours the latter end of last
Summer. I do not know whether or not I can got some of the same
here. Mr. Cumming tells me that all kinds of vegetables are
very plenty in Spring and Summer. I should apologise to you,
my dear Father, for troubling you with all my foolish thoughts
but I know you too well to be afraid on that score. Write often
to me, my dear Father, for you cannot think how much I am
gratified by your kind letters, and I will study to be all you
wish me. I was telling Mr. Cumming that this is the first
letter I ever wrote to you. When we were away from home
Margaret always had to write, being much better at the business
than I was, but I hope to improve in the delightful art
of letter-writing, as well as in many things which I am ignorant
of. I wrote a long letter to Margaret some time ago, in
which I attempted to give her a description of our journey
from New York to Petersburg. You will not have to complain of
my not writing frequently, for I am never so happy as when
so employed.
Farewell, my dearest Father! That you may enjoy every
happiness is the sincere prayer of
Your affectionate
Mary Cumming.
Revd. Andrew Craig.
Ship "Powhattan"
Via London.