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Title: One of The Drennan Letters, 1776-1819.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileDrennan, William/29
SenderDrennan, William
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationdoctor
Sender Religionunknown
Originprob. Edinburgh, Scotland
Recipient Gendermale
SourceT765/1/9: Obtained From Mrs. Duffin, Summerhill, Mount Pleasant, Belfast
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, N. Ireland
Doc. No.9804830
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 30:04:98.
Word Count1208
TranscriptMy Dear Will
Tho' [though?] you have so little regard for the
Scotch newspapers yet I find you have information much
sooner, and better, than any I can give you of publick
[public?] matters & this renders them an insipis [?] subject
however I will try for once, the news of Belfast this Day, as
it comes from Dublin may not have reach'd [reached?] you and
is interesting. Mudd Island is taken by storm & horrible to
relate the garrison put to the Sword - six hundd. [hundred?]
of the British troops kill'd [killed?], sixty of them
officers - there are also letters from Cork which say
Washington & his army are made prisoners, by having try'd
[tried?] to make a diversion at Philadelphia at the time of
the attack on Mudd Island - every day is now big with events
which seem to shock all partys [parties?] here, for there
does not seem any one compleatly [completely?] wicked &
foolish in their thoughts of publick [public?] affairs with
us but a Mr. Gordon and very little attention is paid to his
opinions several of Burgoines Officers are come to Ireland &
the letters from their Sisters or Daughters are highly
entertaining. Arnolds bravery, Gate's humanity & politeness
is much extoll'd [extolled?], & as there were many woman
[women?] with the army it gave occasion for both. I suppose
you do not believe that Arnold is dead, or you wou'd [would?]
have been painting his death as an envyable [enviable?] end -
I really think to die in the field must be so, for alas, I
must own reflection at that period wou'd [would?] not be my
wish, happy are they to whom it is so, perhaps my mind may
obtain strength to support itself without terror but there is
at present a weakness over it in the consideration of Death
which humbles me much. I suspect this is oftn'er [oftener?]
the case than is own'd [owned?] to & that at the last there
is a decent degree of fortitude kindly given by heavn
[heaven?] without which the best wou'd [would?] fail - it is
not Conscience that scars me nor the fear of punishment, Oh
may their terrors never be mine - it is a Womans fears, a
Womans tenderness - to go we know not where, to leave forever
those we love to have no demonstration of a future State. are
reflections sufficiently dreadful - the latter you start at
coming from me, I can't help it, reason me out of it & make me
happy for it is not Affectation but an honest confession of
doubts that I imagine will sometimes enter the mind of all
those who are not in the highest or lowest class of Mortals,
must our happiness depend upon our faith, yet that faith not
in our own power for how different are the minds of men formd
[formed?] so by Nature, & yet made more so by Education & if
they can be all convinced & satisfy'd [satisfied?] of a
future State of which there is so little of that Evedence
[Evidence?] most satisfactory to such creatures as we are or
rather such sure proofs of Dissolution in everything we
behold, can I believe that this ease & certainly proceeds
from conviction & well grounded faith, no it is a heavn
[heaven?] sent delusion to make this Life at least
comfortable perhaps it may be the one hope of Man that is not
to prove deceitful. When I come on this subject with Sam
his answer is short, he tells me he has done no ill to
others, as much good as in his power, therefore if he exists
after this Life he shall be happy, if not he is contented, as
he is sure that it is for the best this is a composure that I
hope & believe will never forsake him but his reasoning is
not sufficient for me. I had lookd [looked?] back to see
what led me to this subject & find it was Genr. [General?]
Arnold I was led to it without design & now recollect my
having once or twice before talk'd [talked?] to you on this
subject but being in yr. [your?] silent mood I cd. [could?]
not provoke you to contradiction answer me with yr. [your?]
pen, it will (for many reasons) carry more force with it than
arguments from Authority, they are not suited to my case,
yrs. [yours?] will be more the voice of nature & its her I
wish to hear for that must be the voice of God.
You surprize [surprise?] me by saying you have been 3
weeks without hearing from me as I am sure I have never been
that time without writing. I fear the inclosing [enclosing?]
newspapers has hurt my franks.
You appear anxious about getting yr. [your?] degree,
why when the worst is but going to America where so many seem
to please themselves in the hope of ending their Days. I do
not know how it might answer for yr. [your?] profession but
in some respects it wd. [would?] suit both yr. [your?] taste
& abilitys [abilities?]. the young Lawyers speak with
rapture of being soon there & among the rest Stewart Rowley
has been employ'd [employed?] with some others in defence of
a Man in Dublin try'd [tried?] for drinking Genl. [General?]
Washington & downfall to the Ministry - they came of [off?]
victorious & recoverd [recovered?] a Sum of money from the
prosecutor -yr. [your?] mention of the theiss [thesis?]
affair makes me curious to know how you have determind
[determined?] have you thought of Mr. MacKay, Stewart, Dr.
Haliday &c & how have you determind [determined?] - there
are letter to-day [today?] which damp the great joy of the
Crawfordsburn family on hearing Mrs. Alexander had got a Son
as her own life is now in Danger.
Do you remember Val: Pierce in this Town he stayd
[stayed?] at Mr. Harrisons & went to America some time ago he
sold all the goods he had upon Commission remitted the money
& immediatly [immediately?] joined the Provincials - young
Bristow who was with Genl. [General?] Borgoine & lost his all
writes to his Brother here that he had heard of his old
friend Pierce & that he was then a Major of Brigade there was
a Mr. Sarrell here some years ago, a spirited little fellow
who married Nancy Smith of Waterford they went to live at
Philadelpha [Philadelphia?] where a Sister Mrs. Smith took
with her married, her husband joined the Kings troops,
Sarrell the Provincials he commanded at Red Bank where 600
have lost his life at Mudd Island, in my opinion the horrors
of this barbarous war is only just now begining [beginning?]
we have a saying of his M--s here (how true I cannot tell)
that he wd. [would?] go to Hannover [Hanover?] before he wd.
[would?] give up the American WAr, of two great Evils we may
wish for the least.
I have not the least doubt but Jimmy Kennedys letter
wd. [would?] show what he possess [possesses?] a good head &
kind heart, he spoke to me a good while ago upon