James J. Wright, Santiago de Cuba, to Martha Wright, care of Jonathan Wright Esq., No. 7 Christ Church Place, Dublin, Ireland



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_L22






James Jenkinson


James J. Wright, Santiago de Cuba, to Martha Wright, care of Jonathan Wright Esq., No. 7 Christ Church Place, Dublin, Ireland


Kerby A. Miller, Patricia Miller


James J. Wright, Santiago de Cuba, to Martha Wright, care of Jonathan Wright Esq., No. 7 Christ Church Place, Dublin, Ireland


Santiago de Cuba July 21st, 1842
My dear aunt
On the 16th instant I had the pleasure of receiving your very good acceptable letter of 31st of May, and it is now before me for reply, what a beautiful legible hand you write! now although many do not care a great deal about handwriting, I do, for of a verity, it gives to me greater satisfaction in perusing a letter to be able to do so currently, and it is really a shame that I let you beat me therein, my nerves ought to be as steady as yours, but they are not, although I assure you that I use no stimulus stronger than tea, and even that I have partially given up latterly for plain syrup and water, and my food is very simple and light also for I use but little meat of any kind. It is pleasing to me to be able to say that my health is very nearly if not quite reestablished, for I feel sure that you will be glad to know it.
I answer your letter without any delay, as I shall continue to transmit via Swansea, which will probably take longer time on the route, I have already had an answer from Captain John Ruxton of that city who assures me that any letters for me, which are addressed to his care will be duly attended to, so you need have no fear in writing, as to that course admitting of greater likelihood of miscarriage than even the mail itself.
Jonathan’s last, was the first information which I received of any accident having happened to brother Nehemiah, but he referred thereto only incidentally and it remained for yours to let me know the nature or rather cause of the later and more serious one, and it was not my fault for I have written five times to Nehemiah since his last advice to me under date October 31st 1841, and not a
single individual of the family has written me a line either in return or to advise me of what had happened, and I remain very anxious indeed to get letters from some of them, having letterly written to several, in order to have a reply from some one or other, for your letter has augmented it much, as you say “his unexpected recovery so far is cause of thankfulness” which still leaves grounds for the most distressing fear. I think however that no fatal result can have taken place, for certainly in such case I would not have been unadvised, as I consider myself de facto head of that branch of our family, which is as you remark much extended, for although I am a far off wanderer, I have never for a moment lost sight of my duties towards it, especially of father as the chief next of Nehemiah’s line, then of mother Hannah’s, and lastly of Elinor's children, which latter I may fairly confess I have never felt for, as towards all the others, I dare say I have aided at one time or another at least £5000 Stg, though as I kept no account of it, I go more by guess than anything else, but all father’s attempts to get ahead even with my aid failed, for he was of too yielding a disposition in business ever “to go ahead” as the Yankees say, and at last I begged him to renounce entirely all business and take the residue of life at his ease, talking of the family in Ohio brings to my mind that Jonathan has put a maggot in my brain, perhaps I ought not to term thus, a laudable desire to trace up as far as one can the stem of the family tree, which I truly wish to do, and I presume he will read to you what I say on the subject therefore I confine myself at present to soliciting you to aid him as far as you can in the matter. Is this a mere whim, or is it a praiseworthy object? I certainly look upon it as the latter, and feel zealous in the object.
I think your moving from Seville Place prudent and wise for neither at your nor my age, is it good for man
or woman to be too much alone, and that was one of the reasons, which influenced me in giving up my country life, now as I am not certain whether you will have already moved or not, prior to the arrival of this, I think it best not to trust to post office promises of forwarding your letters to Thomas Street, in case you have, therefore I will direct this to the care of Jonathan, please to tell him that I have found out the number of his house, by referring back to his letters, till I got at it, in one of 1836, and will you have the goodness to give me your number if you move to Thomas Street.
From causes which I feel pretty confident that I have explained to Jonathan, and that he in all probability communicate to you, it is not all likely that I shall be able to leave here before March or April of next year, how circumstances snatch from us or postpone pleasures. do let you have your letters regularly up to the latest period of my stay here for if they arrive subsequently to my departure, they will be carefully forwarded from hence to wherever I may be.
Give my best love to all relatives particularly to my cousins Margaret, Abby, Mary & Sarah Watson, ask the former if they recollect the walks with me from school, and the trial I was put upon to know or decide, as to whether I ought to be punished or not, for fighting some dirty fellows who insulted them, I am now a good quaker as respects combativeness, though I have often had cannon and musket balls whizzing round me when chased during wartimes at sea, for during our political crisis here in 1836, I was frequently addressed by the military chief of our party as “Mr. Moderation,” from my great desire to avoid strife, and I take some praise to myself that no struggle took place, and I sincerely thank God that our fine Island has been always preserved in peace and tranquility, we have indeed manifold favors to be grateful for, no part of the world has been more blessed than this, notwithstanding the heavy tribulations that have pressed upon the mother country.
I have been greatly pleased to observe from the reduction of the amount of excise paid latterly in Ireland that their [sic] is a large diminution of the consumption of spirits, for it is a mighty advantage to the country but the riots in County Clare were much to be deprecated, and their cause to be deeply lamented, here our labourers never suffer from hunger, the soil is very fruitful. “All save one” , that confounded letter, I declare I don’t know what was in it, for I keep no copies, and the contents of my social epistles is soon driven out of my head by business matters. I know Mrs. Shelton occupied much of my time and care then, and if it was different from my usual style I advance it as proof of my letters being the genuine course of my thoughts, and a certainty of that, ought to cover some errors.
I remain always and ever
your affectionate nephew
James J. Wright



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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