James J. Wright , Santiago de Cuba, to Martha Wright, Dublin



Permission to publish from the Historical Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Dublin


University of Galway





Number of pages



Historical Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Dublin


James Jenkinson Wright


Portfolio 35X_L21






James Jenkinson


James J. Wright , Santiago de Cuba, to Martha Wright, Dublin


Kerby A. Miller, Patricia Miller


James J. Wright , Santiago de Cuba, to Martha Wright, Dublin


Santiago de Cuba April 13th, 1842

My dear aunt
As I get older I become more thrifty, or at least regard the relative value of shillings and pence with increased reflection, and I noticed 4/6 as postage of Jonathan’s last letter, and I looked around me to see how such charges could for the future be got rid of, now the vast increase of our exports of copper ore to Swansea, and consequent return of vessels from thence to this ports, offers opportunities of forwarding letters by them, to and fro continually with little comparative cost, and I have sent my last letter to Jonathan in that way, as I will also do with this, and I have by present conveyance written to James Ruxton of that City (Swansea) the same gentleman that attended to receiving and forwarding the butterflies, telling him that letters for me from Ireland would be forwarded
under cover to him post paid, and requesting his transmission of them always by the best and safest opportunities, which I feel assured he will do with pleasure, please to say all this to Jonathan for me, as it will be better for both of you and him to adopt this route for your letters hereafter, the effect of the delay may be obviated by writing a couple of weeks earlier.

I am at all times satisfied that it is not indifference, which influences any matter relating to our correspondence, for I feel too sensibly myself the pleasure arising from it, to imagine that it could be otherwise with you, here I am quietly replying to your affectionate letter of 2mo 23rd without having in the first place acknowledged its receipt, that done I continue

my answer, and I may say with great truth, how pained I was to read the terrible fall you had suffered, it was really Providential that you escaped with as little affliction as you did, and I think you have acted sagely, to recollect the advantage of having at all times others around you than servants, I thank you for
thinking about a bed for me, and invitation there [anent?], but I will not promise positively as I think such friendly matters should remain as the ministry sometimes says “open question.” I devoutly pray
that your next letter will advise me that every vestige of the sad accident has disappeared, and that you are to all intents and purposes as well as if it had not happened at all, sometimes an injury of the muscles is very the devils of cure, therefore it was the more grateful to me to learn that you were again able to resume your accustomed walks. It is extremely pleasing to read your remarks about all relatives, I am glad that Aunt Knott was pleased to hear of me, how well I bear in mind many passages of youth in relation to her and family, even to cousin to his sturdy defence of conservative principles. I am not personally acquainted with Doctor Madden, he is of a clique to which I am diametrically opposed, Turnbull once received the hospitality of my house, but it was before, I became aware of the tendency of his writings and his acts, since he has been British Consul I have returned even introductory letters which I had given to some of his friends to me, he has adopted a [?] inimical to the wellfare of this Island, and I have considered it proper to mark my repugnance towards him, still [I] think it probable that he considers it an advantage to continue

to count me ostensibly amongst his friends, I am pleased to be able to say that he has been dismissed from his office by the Earl of Aberdeen at the representations made by more than seven [vessels?] of his own countrymen at Havana, his work on Cuba was full of malevolent ignorant untruths, as for example
he stated that the revolutionary attempts in this City in 1836 of the Civil and Military Governor, to separate the Colony from Spain, was put down by the sacrifice of upwards of five hundred of our citizens, whereas not a drop of blood was spilled nor a gun fired, nor hand raised in an offensive act, but the movement was crushed by an expression of public opinion, and the firm determination avowed by the orderly part of our society that it should not be carried out, and as Turnbull visited this place shortly after, when any child could have stated the facts to him, I leave you to decide his merit as a writer for the public, indeed the only part of his work that contains truths is the statistical, and that is entirely compiled from others, his own observations and details are I may say almost universally [foule?], and of bad motive throughout. how changeable are terrestrial affairs! I have lately received advice of the failure of one of my former partners, and even such a capitalist in our firm, who withdrew as an active man from our concern, and began business with a brother in Boston about 3 years ago, with I presume a capital of near [?]00.000 dollars, which has all been swallowed up in that short period, it is a caution and warning to me not to attempt so much, but to be satisfied with what is reasonable.

We take the “Standard” and the “Times” London newspapers, so that we are aware of European movements generally, and I have always been sorry to observe that the advance of Ireland except as to population does not keep pace with most other countries, this Island has progressed surprisingly, it is the greatest and best colony held at present by any nation, India alone excepted, the tonnage of vessels entering into and departing from the Island, is not less than one eight of all going into and from all the ports of Great Britain and Ireland, all peace and quietness reigning throughout, we have been blessed exceedingly by the favourable dispensation of divine providence, and are sincerely thankful to the giver therefor.
I gave Jonathan in my last letter the latest news, that I had from Ohio, and since then I have received no further letters, therefore presume that no important event has taken place there, Nehemiah was much pressed in money matters owing to the unexampled severity of the times, arriving from the general disorganisation of the banks, and the very low prices of their produce, Pork for instance was down to 1 1/2 to 2 cents per pound, and prime land could be had at 3 to 3 1/2 cents, how can farmers get along at such rates except by the very tightest economy and industry conjoined.

I remain dear Aunt thine
very affectionately,

James J. Wright

Please to remember me kindly to all relatives and friends, and it is very pleasing to feel that I have such to be remembered to. The struggle to shake myself clear of business here comes about the 1st of October next, when our present association expires by limitation, and I do not doubt but what I shall be able to get completely out of harness as we sometimes call it.
I am yrs. JJW



List of contributors

Kerby A. Miller
Patricia Miller
Giselle Gonzalez Garcia
Margaret Brohony
Cristian Sanchez


James Jenkinson Wright
Martha Wright
Jonathan Wright


Sophie Estate, Santiago de Cuba
New York City, United States
Dublin, Ireland

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