James J. Wright, Santiago de Cuba to Jonathan Wright, attention of Martha Wright, No. 33, Seville Place, Circular Road, 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_L36






James Jenkinson


James J. Wright, Santiago de Cuba to Jonathan Wright, attention of Martha Wright, No. 33, Seville Place, Circular Road, Dublin, Ireland,


Kerby A. Miller, Patricia Miller


James J. Wright, Santiago de Cuba to Jonathan Wright, attention of Martha Wright, No. 33, Seville Place, Circular Road, Dublin, Ireland,


Santiago de Cuba April 5 1842
My dear cousin,
I have perused and reperused your last valued favor, with much interest, its dates are notable days, the anniversary of the independence of the United States, and the first of the new year, may they be auspicious to our correspondence. The restoration of my uncle to a comparative good state of health must have been gladdening to you all, and I join you in that feeling although, so far away, and I am pleased to be able to say to you, that my father was also recovered from his affliction of the legs and bladder, and Nehemiah under date of 1st of last November writes
"from his general state and appearance, I observe nothing to
"prevent his being spared to us for many years, except what
"his advanced age presents" which is really cheering, but of uncle William what he says is not so much so, viz,
"he is able to be about and attend to his business and manages well, but fails
"in bodily strength fast, his constitution is more ailing and shattered than fathers"
I hope however that part of the lost ground may be regained by him, and when I get out there no means shall be left untried by me, to reinvigorate and cheer his mind, which is possibly what is requisite, my own health is not yet quite reestablished although I am gradually getting better, I presume that I shall at all times, be occasionally subject to similar affections, as it is a chronic complaint of the bladder, which seldom is got rid of as we advance in life.
[written on side of page]
P.S. Give my best love to Aunt Martha, my uncle and your brother John and remember
[written on side of page]
me affectionately to all relatives and friends, I am very anxious indeed to get underway
The loud toned bells, the moorish looking steeples, and the Moro [Morro] Castle are with us, as they have frequently been described, but we have few balconies, our houses being chiefly confined to a single floor, to preserve them against earthquakes, the windows but out upon the street perhaps 18 inches, and are grated either with iron bars or turned rounds of hard wood, and that 18 inches in addition to the embrasure of the entire thickness of the stone walls, generally about two feet, serve the inhabitants as seats or lounges to take the air, and converse with their friends outside, at the same time that they protect the unmarried damsels from a too close approximation to their male acquaintances, and give something of an antient [ancient] barracaded [barricaded] appearance to the dwellings, but for scenery one must visit the mountains cultivated in coffee, it is truly splendid, strictly alpine, the house that I dwelt in for several years was 2400 feet above the level of the sea, and part of the same estate about 3500, I think I may say that the fields averaged an ascent of 45 degrees at least, but notwithstanding all this feast of the eyes, I should undoubtedly prefer sitting down cosily to a cup of tea, with a few friends at No. 33 Seville Place.
I shall be governed by what you say in not permitting myself to use too free a style in addressing Aunt Martha, but you must bear in mind, that I have now been living more than a quarter of a century, where the ladies permit themselves, with perfect freedom to talk to men upon any subject, without intending anything shall loose thereby.
[written on side of page]
on my travels to visit you, but I must in duty and love make some stop in Ohio first.
Your course through life was read with sympathy, and I sincerely hope that the mining shares will not turn out as losing a speculation as you seem to fear, but it is too true, that mining operations generally are like placing money on a card, all or nothing. I do not wonder that care troubles you when thus at risk, and I know well myself what the anxiety of money and business matters is, in return for what you tell me, I may state that you are aware that we went to Ohio in 1802 where I worked hard in summer and hunted in winter, in 7 quit and tried a clerkship in Baltimore, in 10 started as supercargo, and in 13 I think visited this place in that capacity, having then gained about £800 after various vicissitudes as to losses and profits, began business here as a Commission merchant in 17 and suspended payment in 26 with an indebtedness of $750.000 and assets of $1.500.000, in 38 finished paying off both the principal and interest, to effect which nearly a million was paid out, for interest on heavy sums at from 6 to 12 p cent per annum runs up fast, and probably such a liquidation was never before fully & completely get through in the West Indies, and this done I again took upon me the direction of the house, and I cannot complain of the result, and as the term of our partnership expired the 1st of October this year, it is my intention to withdraw altogether from the turmoil of affairs, and take the residue of life easier, so that you need not fear but what I shall at all times, have leisure enough to reply to your epistles.
give me the name of your firm and number of your house in Christ Church place, for not knowing these, I enclose for you to Aunt Martha in fear of miscarriage.
We experience very severe money pressure at present, and several failures have occurred to an amount in the aggregate of 2 Millions of dollars which is heavy for a small place like this, in the United States affairs are really awful, and it is impossible to say who is safe or who is not, a capitalist with us, and a former active partner with me, who had established himself in Boston stopped 3rd Ult [ultimo] for half a million, but we are not committed, and we fear that a great many will be wound up there, I remain dear Jonathan very affecty your cousin & well wisher.
James J. Wright
[written on side of page]
I have no possibilities of franking letters to you and am sorry for it. 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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