James J. Wright, Santiago de Cuba, to Jonathan Wright, 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_L38






James Jenkinson


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


Kerby A. Miller, Patricia Miller


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


Santiago de Cuba September 8th, 1842
My dear cousin,
I had last this pleasure on the 9th of July, to which I beg your reference and attention, and I now have the satisfaction to acknowledge the receipt on the 29th ultimo, of your very acceptable favour of the 19th of the preceding month via Swansea, which came by a vessel that had a short passage.
The account published of the violent earthquake that we experienced here on the 7th of June, you
will already have observed, from my preceding letters, I mean letters preceding this one, was erroneous and that it must have had reference solely to that which visited so severely St Domingo on the 7th of May destroying utterly one of its principal cities, together with several smaller towns and much injuring many others, and which was sensibly felt here, as well as in other parts of this end of our island, and the southermost verge of whose movement appears to have been, in a line from the south point of the west end of St. Domingo to New Orleans, which includes the district of Cuba only, as it was not felt to westward of us, nor in Jamaica at all. I think I have mentioned it's effects here either to you, or to
aunt Martha, but I will not be positive, as I have no copies of my letters to refer to, therefore I may say, that the destructive shock was felt here, almost simultaneous as in St. Domingo, doing no more harm however, than spliting the walls of houses and deranging the tile roofs of many, without any loss of life whatsover.

I was sitting in an easy armchair, in my own room up one pair of stairs reading, when I felt the first movement, and thinking it was a slight shock such as we are accustomed to, and don't mind much, I did
not move at once, but finding the vibration continue, I rose slowly and quietly laid down my book, still undetermined to run, but its violence augmenting I made for the stairs, while going down which pretty deliberately, I could perceive the building evidently in motion the walls cracking, and the timber and tiles creaking much, when at the bottom of the stairs I made across our small backyard pretty lively, till I got opposite a side entrance to our dwelling from a narrow street, out of which our negroes were actually tumbling in their hurry, where I stopped a moment, and I think not more than a moment, to feel whether it was over or not, for I couldn't tell when walking fast, and to decide whether to follow the blacks, but the high wall opposite of a public building made that street dangerous, so that I pressed in again through our front yard & through our principal apartment to the front door, when I found on
stopping to open it, that all was over, and mother earth again tranquil, the time occupied by the entire shock was not in my belief a minute, and I think I have felt heavier quakes, but none as long continued, almost the entire population was in the streets engaged in prayers for preservation, and after the news from St. Domingo was received we had a day devoted to thanksgiving for our escape. Those who were in boats in the harbour, and had thus a full and perfect view of the buildings, describe the houses as moving to and fro, slowly but considerably, in fact

the movement was slower than many other shocks, which I have felt, and was in my opinion the lingering undulation on almost the extreme verge of its action, there were a great many weaker shocks subsequent to the great one in St. Domingo felt for weeks from time to time, many of which had force enough for the pulsation to be felt here, but feebly, and thus ends my tale of the great earthquake as felt in this City, for its effect in St. Domingo - I beg to refer you to the newspapers as giving a more detailed account of the extent and horror of its ravages, than the limits of a letter permits, it would almost appear as if that fated island, was devoted like Sodom & Gomorra to the visitations of an avenging Deity and that not even the afflictions of the earthquake were accepting of sufficient expiation, for the awful chastisement of conflagration pillage and slaughter succeeded, and continued for several days, the blacks of the surrounding country after the earthquake had passed, poured into the ruined city and commenced their works of devastation.
I note the number 108 Thomas Street, to which aunt Martha was about moving, and I feel for the misfortunes of uncle William's daughter Abigail Hewson and husband, the times are critical for all those
engaged in business in most parts of the world, and have been and are shockingly severe here, and we do not expect much amelioration for some time yet, we perceived the probability of of the storm, and contracted our affairs much preparatory to it, or it might have dealt hardly by us, as it was, we are far
from escaping scot free, although nothing vital was suffered.

I am fully sensible to the kindness of your's and aunt's solicitations and thoughts about me, and feel that I reciprocate in kind, all the affection thereof, for it is a pleasure to dwell from such reflections, the produce of the memories and dreams of time gone by, and of kindred ties and feelings.
Remember me to aunt Martha and all relations and believe me Dear Jonathan
very affectly
your true cousin
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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