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Title: W.H. Downes, New York to J. Shaughnessy, [Co. Limerick?]
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileDownes, W.H/23
SenderDownes, W.H.
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationmanager at tea trading company,
Sender Religionunknown
OriginNYC, USA
RecipientShaughnessy, James
Recipient Gendermale
SourceMr. W. O'Shaugnessy [O'Shaughnessy?]
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9103025
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogAction By Date Document added by C.R., 02:12:1993.
Word Count1451
TranscriptThe Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company
The Largest Importers and Distributors in the World
Two Hundred Stores in U.S
268 Columbia Street,
Bet. Carroll and Summit Sts.,
|"The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co's|
|celebrated Teas, Coffees and Baking |
|Powder have been my solace through |

Brooklyn, Oct 13 1887

James Shaughnessy Esq

My Dear Old Comrado
It is with feelings of regret that I acknowledge my
negligence in delaying to answer your highly esteemed letter.
You will, I am sure forgive me when I say, that it was not
through any want of appreciation that I failed to respond
before now. During the time that Arthur was enjoying himself
in dear old Pallas Kenry I was on a temperance crusade in
Phila. [Philadelphia?] It was a National Convention
comprising delegates from all the Societies in America. In
the procession there were over 70000 men. The Convention
lasted one week. I was honored by being elected Provincial
Vice President of New York Brooklyn and New Jersey. Besides
all the confusion incident to a convention of that nature the
Company transferred me from one store to another. On taking
charge of the new store, I had to devote my whole time to the
arranging of stock etc. which in a retail store is not an easy
task. The retail stores here must be fitted up in grand style.
Even the paper on walls is imported chinese scenery.
Everything else must be in keeping with wall decoration.
I have had a busy time; but now I am all right. Sundays are
all devoted to temperance. I go around from one society to
another and enjoy myself in that way. I got disgusted with
the drinking habits, practiced here by too many of our
country people. I know a number of people from home who have
become sots, through the terrible influence of the
intoxicating cup. America is no place for a man who intends
to tipple. It may be pardonable in Americans, or Germans. In
the first because their temperment is not so exciteable as ours
and in the latter because of the drinking custom which prevails

in their native country. Germans are mostly raised on Wine and
beer hence their systematic method of drinking. Drinking
however ruins their health as the liquor beer Etc. is
adulterated to a greater extent in this country, than it is in
Germany. At the same time, the use of liquor does not impede
their progress in a financial way. They, as a Class - are cool
and self possessed even though they are continually in a state
of semi inebriation. But the Irish people should never touch
liquor or beer in America. that is if they are desirous of
becoming good citizens, and reflect credit on the land, that
bore them. We are too quick in the first place. Too open
minded in the second, and last but not least. too ready, to
lavish our money. I know men in this Country, who were
considered "Models" at home - now drunken sots. Having lost
their respect through nothing else but drink. This is why I
have devoted so much of my time to the question of total
abstinence. It is the golden lever which will guide our weak
machinery to a successful goal. Do then I ask you, endeavor
to organize a Total Abstinance Society, and have it attached to
your church. Father Burke will only be too glad to co-operate
with you.
Why, You can do an immense good by engaging in
this work. You can make it a Benevolent Organization, by
having the members pay in so much a month. and when a member
is sick the Society can pay him so much a week. I thought
Arthur would inaugerate something of that kind when he went
home, but instead of that he was encouraging people to drink
rum, at "Keeffes"
Please tell Johnie to get out of the business. It is
no good. Bishop Ireland of Minnesota says that at one time
men, had either to work or beg but now you can step in
between, and open a Liquor Store.
I have occupied too much of your time with temperance
talk and now we will consider other topics. First I will say
that I was very glad to learn from Arthur, that you were
doing well and also I was also pleased to hear that good Father
and Mother were well. How. I would wish to see them: Arthurs
recital of home happenings brought me back in spirit to dear
old Pallas Kenry, and not forgetting Pady Downes Hedge, and
Daniel Keeffe's Bog. Those days shall always keep bright in
my memory. Oh; when I think of the innocence existing in
Ireland compared to this Country, it makes me shed tears.
When I think of Shannon Grove Cross and the many pleasant
evenings I spent there. How the Miss Halpins, Lynchs and
Mulqueens would dance while I played the only reel I then had.
viz "My Love is in America" And on returning home, when near
Dave Lynch's I could hear Tom Connell, yet singing "By the

Sweet Silver Light Bonny Moon". Then again I remember the
night on which we stole Keeffs [Keeffes?] Creel, which we
loaned to Tomeen Rourke. Yes and I remember when I used to
extinguish Bid Shea's Lamp with a long sall rod wet at the
end. I used to accomplish that trick by reaching in over the
"half door" By the way do you remember the day Robin Marshall
put the red sod of turf on poor Ned the ass's back, in order
to make him run. or do you remember, when we used to sit at Mr
Keeffe's fire, and when he used to notice, that we were
talking he used to ask us what we were saying and you would
respond by saying something about old "Johnny Gentleman" Now
I think I have mentioned enough to prove how my love for old
Pallas has not diminished with time. Some of our people come
here and after they are a year in the country they try to
shake off everything Irish from their appearance, and acting.
But I assure Ireland does not suffer in the least by such
people disowning it, as they are either grossly ignorant, or
have done something of which, Ireland would have cause, to
hang her head, for having given birth to such cowards and
traitors. I dont associate with many from home. They, are
not, I am sorry to say, many of them at least...the right
I fear you will scarcely be able to make out my
writing. I do so much writing lately. for the papers, that I
have become careless. I sent the Irish World to Pat (or
Bouchal) last week. Try and see it. There is a letter of
mine on it, on temperance. I shall send you some papers next
week. I shall note, all the information I desire you to send
me, and sincerely hope, that there will be No Blanks. 1st
Tell me as much as is consistant, about your own family.
About Bridget Mary and Maggie, and not forgetting your Good,
and deservedly respected Father and Mother. 2nd About Jim
Walsh (little Jim) and his Father William, or more familiarly
known us Billy. 3rd Geo [George?] Speren- [t?] and wife. I
often think of Miss Smallwood, as she participated in the
enjoyable evenings which spent in Shannon Grove. 4th Johny
Keeffe who often done justice to Dolly Don of Donnybrook.
The Kilkenny Girl Etc. He promised to send me that song but
failed I would like to get it. I have heard about Pat, so I
will spare you from asking anything about him. I am glad to
know that he is well, Please remember me to him. Let me know
particularly about Shannon Grove as follows, about Johny
Connell. James Halpin, and his sisters, Ellie Lynch (Dave)
Etc Etc. Send me if possible Miss Halpins address. so as I
can send papers occassionally. I get so many papers I dont
know what to do with them I have seven papers served in the
store everyday, and then on Sundays I get five or six weekly

I will now sum up by requesting you to write as soon as
possible, and a long long letter at that.
I forgot to inform you, that I see your brother John
quite often. He is doing well, and is one of the few from
home who is worthy of respect. He is married the second
time. His first wife I knew very well. She was a most
estimable lady. I dont know the 2nd wife, but I understand
that she is a good woman, and owns some good property. John
is worthy of being happy. He never forgot the good example
shown by his Father and Mother
I will now close by wishing you Good By. [Bye?] and
kind love to all. Yours Sincerely W H Downes