1767 Prose, James Murray, 'Letter to Rev. Baptist Boyd'

Author: James Murray

Date: 1767

Source: ‘A Letter from James Murray, Thus directed … to the Reverend Baptist Boyd … in the Parish of Aughelow , in the County of Tyrone’, in The Pennsylvania Gazette (issue 464, October 27 — November 3, 1737) , and a later, manuscript version of 1767 which survives in a collection of 18th and 19th-century ‘Letters from Emigrants to America’ on deposit at the London School of Economics (transcribed in Ullans, Nummer 2, 1994, pp.49-50).

Comments: Possibly more than two versions of this ‘letter’ survive in America. It was apparently used as an ‘advertisement’ for Scotch-Irish colonists during the 18th century. For a full account (with transcripts) of the 1737 and 1767 versions, see ‘An Early Letter in Ulster-Scots’ by Michael Montgomery in Ullans, Nummer 2, 1994, pp.45-51. The 1767 version is provided here.

Doc. ref. no.: USLS/TB/Prose/1700-1799/003

James Murray Letter to Rev. Baptist Boyd (1767)

Address: For the Kingdom of Ereland in the North of Ereland, near Aghnacloy in the County of Tyrone, to Baptiste Boyd the Revarend Minister of the Gospel in the Parish of Aghnacloy. Let aw Persons that see this take Care to send it to the Revarend Baptiste Boyd, Minister of the Gospel in the Parish of Aghnacloy in the County of Tyrone living near Aghnacloy, wee Care.

Revarend Baptiste Boyd

March 18th 1767 New York

Read this Letter & look and tell aw the Poor folk of your place that God hath opened a Door for our deliverance, for here is nae scant of Breed here, & if your Son Samuel & John Boyd wad but come here they wad get mair money in ane Year for teeching a Latin School, nor your sell wad get for three Years preeching whar ye are. Ah Rev. Baptist Boyd ther geed ane with me in the Ship, that new gets ane Hundred pounds ilka a year for the teeching & keeping a Latin School, and God kens, little was he skilled in Learning when I left ye, & new wad ye think it, I hea Twenty pounds a Year for being Clark till York Meeting House & I keep a School for wee weans.—

Ah dear Sir there is braw liveing in this same toon for high Learned Men, the young folk in Ereland are aw but a pack of Cowards, for I will tell you in short this is a bonny Country & aw things grows here that are I did see grow in Ereland & we hae Cows and Sheep & Horses plenty here, & Goats & Deer & Raccoons & Beavers, & Fish & Fowl of aw sorts. Trades of aw sorts are gude here, a Wabster gets twelve pence a Yard for a Tweel Hundred weaving, Eighteen pence for a Woolen Yard, a Labourer gets four Shillings & Sax pence the Day, a Lassy gats four Shillings & sax pence the Week for spinin on the wee Lint wheele, a Carpenter gets sax Shillings the Day, a Taylor gets twenty Shallings for making a Suit of Clothes [“othes” scored out and “eaths” entered = Cleaths], a Wheelwright gets twenty Shallings for making lint Wheels apiece. Indian Corn a Man will get a heal Bushold of it for his Days work here, for Rye grows here, & Oats & Wheat & Winter Barley & Summer Barley and Buck Wheat grows, na every thing grow here — New I beg of ye aw to come here & bring our wee ye aw the Cleaths ye can of every Sort beath of Linen & Woolen & Guns & pooder & Shot & aw sorts of wars made of Iron & Steel and aw Tradesmen, let them bring their Tools wee them and Farmers their Plugh Irons. A Mason gets sax Shallings the Day. Fetch Wheep Saws here, & Hatchets & Augures & Axes & Spades & Shovels & Bibles and Hamers & Salm Buckes fetch aw Sorts of Garden Seeds & Pots & Seafaring Buckes, & Parsnips & Onions, Kale & Karrots. Fetch aw the Buckes here you can get, fetch a Spade & Hoe made like ane Stubbing Axe for here you may clare as muckle ground in ane Month as will maintain Tenfolk a heal Year.

Dear Revarend Doctor Baptiste Boyd, I hae been 120 Miles in the Wilderness and there I saw a plain 120 Miles long & 14 Bread & there never a Tree nor Bush on’t & as gued Medow Ground as oney in Ereland, there are a great wheen of the native Folk of this Kintry turned Gued Christians & weel sing the Salms bonoly & appear Religious, & gee the Ministers plenty of Skins for his Steepings & he gits plenty of Siller for them again, Deer Skins to make Brecks of and Beaver Skins.

Revarend Doctor Baptist Boyd, ye may get Lan here for £10 ane Hundred Acres for ever, & Ten Years forbearance till ye get the Money before they’ll ask it fro you & it lies within 46 Miles fro this same York & upon a River Side it lies sae that ye can carry aw the Gueds in a Boat to this same York to sell if oney of you comes here it is a very strong Lan & very Rich ground plenty of aw sorts of Fruit grows on it. Swine plenty enough — there are Kay & Stirks & Horses that are aw wild in the Wilderness & the are aw yer ane gin ye can grip them. Desire my Father & Mither & my three Sisters till come here & I will pay aw their passages, desire James Gibson to sell aw he has & come here I will help him too, for here aw that a Man works for is his ane, there are nae ravenous hans to rive it frae us here, nae sick a word as tythe or herbige is kenned here but ilk ane enjoys his ane, there is none till take away your Corn, yeer Keel, yere Potatoes, yere Lint, or yere Eggs, na, na, na, blessed be his Name, na ane gees bands for his ane Gueds here.

I bless the Lord for my safe Journey here, I was Cook till the Ship aw the Boyage, we war ten Weeks & four days on the Sea afore we lawnded — This same York is as big as twa of Armagh. I desire to be remembr’d to aw my Friends & Acquaintances my Loove to your Sell Reverand Baptiste Boyd & aw your gued Family, I do desire you till send this Letter till James Broon of Drumurn & he kens my Brither James Gibson & weel gee him this Letter, it shall be my earnist Request ance mair till beg of you aw till come here, I did value the Sea nae mare than the dry Lan, Let aw that come here put in a Sea Store of Oaten Meal & Butter & Brawndy & Cheese & Vinegar but above aw things have a writing under the Han of the Captain of the Ship, are ye come in, if I were in Ereland I would not stay there yet I thin to gang there as a Factor to a Gentleman in this City, he is a Returney of the Law here, there are Servants here that came out of Ereland who are now Justices of the Peace, I wall come to Ereland, gin the Lord spare but twa Years after & will bring Rum & Staves for Barrels and Firkins for till sell & maney other things for this Gentleman & my sell for I will gang Super cargo of the Ship, sae that if nane of ye come afore I will bring ye aw wee me sell by the Help of the Lord. —

Now I have given you a true Description of this new York look untill the 8th Chapter of Deutoronomy & see what it saith of the Lan there, this is far better.

Now this is the last of sax Sheets of Paper I hae written to you upon this head I hope that your Father will be stoot & aw that I named, feer nae the Sea, trust in God & he will bring you safe to the Shore geen you please him. Now the Lord make you aw so to do, nae mare frae me, but my Duty till my Father & Mither & my Sisters and Brithers & now ance mair to yere ane sell Reverand Doctor Baptiste Boyd, if oney ane write me a Letter direct to Mr John Pemberton Minister of the Gospell in New York you may send it wee any body that is coming till these parts & it will come very safe and now my Love to aw Farewell.

Jas Murray.

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