From Thomas2 York. Geraldine5 Savage has the original.
I have at last sat down to write a few lines to you after having put it off from time to time till I am quite ashamed of myself, but better late than never is an old proverb I must resort to for want of a better excuse.
Mother has favoured me with coppies of your letters when they have arrived, and the perusual of them has given me great pleasure and satisfaction.
I think that h... to follow your lot have been heavey and severe and your toil must have been laborious, but amidst it all there has been something in the distance for you to point to, something that helped to cheer you on through difficulties and dangers that would have daunted any one with less persevering and energetic spirits than yours.
You might well be reminded of what John Leitchfield said, that you would meet with difficulties like mountains. I seldom think of you without calling to mind the forlorn and heart braking condition you where placed in upon the banks of the canal upon your arrival at Picton. No wonder you were downcast and allmonst desparing. It was a trial for the stoutest heart and the bare recollection of it often makes me readey to drop a tear of sympathy for your sufferings.
It often happens when our prospects are darkest and we are readey to despair that some kind hand is held out to assist us and to encourage us on in our journey through life, and with our courage renewed we once more renew the strugle for existence. I have no doubt you thought of all this after finding a shelter for your children and employment for yourself in a few hours afterward.
I have just recieved a few lines from mother. She says they are all anxiously expecting to hear from you. They are anxious about a box they sent you 17 weeks ago, for fear you may not have recieved it. She tells me she wrote to you to let you know that it was sent and what it contained. I mention this in case both the box and letter may have miscarried.
I was down at home at Easter for two days, our sister Sarah being very ill. She sent word she would like to see me for she had little hopes of getting better again. I found her very ill indeed and wasted allmost to a skeletion. I could see no prospect of her recovering, but her spirits were as good as ever.
She was quite resigned to her lot. Her mind was quite at ease and the prospect of death had no terror for her. She had a firm reliance on the goodness of her Maker, but she told me she did not believe that God made man to punish him eternaly in the horrible manner that is generaly represented. She thought He was to good a being to act in that manner.
She was quite willing to converse about her approaching end and did so in so calm and undistant a manner that I derived great satisfaction from her conversation and societey.
She was rather better the two days I was there but three days after I returned home I recieved word she was worse, and 8 days after I left Alice sent me word she was no more. She remained sensible to the last in the same quiet and easey state of mind she had shown all the time, till her spirit fled to Him who gave it.
Her illness I think was brought on chiefley by her fretting so much for the loss of her two infant children. It preyd upon her weak constitution till consumption followed and soon carried her off. Poor girl, she had maney good qualites. She was a kind and affectionate sister. As a wife I believe she sis her duty and no mother was ever fonder of her children.
I had an oppertunity dureing ten months when I was ill myself of observing her and of experiencing her kindness and I wish I was more able to express myself in paying a tribute to her memory. David intends to come up and see me in about a month.
I believe they are all pretty well at home but I can give you but little information about how matters go on there. You must depend upon Mother for that.
I learned from Mother when I was down how cousin Dickens had disposed of her money. It appears she had purchased an annuity. That is, she gave so much money into a societey and in return she recieved 8 shillings a week as long as she lived.
It appears she has saved upwards of one hundred pounds and she has left it to be divided in four parts, and Mother is to have one part paid to her 12 months after cousin's death, the other three parts to be put out at intrest. Phraps it will be about 2s a week, Mother to recieve the intrest.
My sisters seemed very much disapointed when they learned how she (cousin) acted. Poor Sarah had been attending upon her dureing her illness. In fact she would have no one else to attend upon her either night or day till she was quite done up with fatigue and confinment, and it appears that Alice had done a good deal of needlework for her one time or another,
and they think it showed a great want of feeling on her part never to mention anything about it or offer to pay them for it, particularey as she has often told them Mother would get all she had to leave. The other three parts at mother's death will be paid to the three cousins, that is John Robinson, the draper who used to live at Buckby, W. Robinson of Kettring and a younger brother of his.
I should have thought more of her had she left it all to Mother for certainly she stood most in need of it, but it was her own money and of course we must allow her the right to dispose of it as she thought proper.
I don't think mother and her lived upon the best termes allthough of course they did not quarell. Mother thought she was very stingey and I expect cousin thought a little more defference ought to be paid to her because she had a little money. That appears to me to be as near the truth as possible.
With regard to myself, I am pretty well in health although I am not so strong as I was before I was ill. I devote a good deal of time to reading and I never regret the time spent at it. I am temperate in my diet and I have not tasted either beer or spirits this 4 years and I left off smoking at the same time.
I don't know wether you feel any intrest in politics now or not. We have had some stirring changes in Europe this last year and a half. Phraps you may have heard to little to give you a just notion of the state of matters. I will give you a slight sketch of som portion of the proceedings.
I will commence first with France. In 1847 there was a party in France endevouring to get reforms, one of which was that more men might be allowed to have votes for members of parliment. As a matter of course the goverment opposed them. Meetings were held at diferant places to forward the cause and the reform party getting stronger every day.
At length the goverment denied their right to hold meetings and when the reform party where going to hold their last grand banquet, the goverment prohibeted it and called in all the troops that were quartered around Paris to the amount of 100,000 men.
On the day appointed to hold the meeting, Feburary 22d 1848, there was immense excitement. The people filled the streets in thousands and the national guard took part with the people and would not let the soldiers disperse the people.
At length some soldiers who were stationed at a public building fired and killed about 50 people. This put them in such a furey that they surrounded the building and set it on fire and all the troops in it were either killed in escapeing or burned. Afterwards a good maney troops joined the people.
The King, seeing this, offered to dismiss his ministers and choose more liberall men, but that did not stop the excitement, so he was obliged to abdiate in favour of his grandson, but they told him it was too late, and they established a republic. The monarchial party have been doing all they can to throw odium upon the republicans ever since, in hopes of reestablishing monarchy, but I don't think they will succeed.
Austria and Prusia were obliged to grant constitutions to their people, for before they were absolute Monarchs, and ever since, these kings have been trying to destroy what they were obliged to grant, which keeps these countries in a continual state of ferment.
Hungary, which formed part of Austria but had a constitution of its own, has been driven into rebellion by Austria trying to destroy its constitution. Hungary has declared itself an independant republic. Austria has called upon Russia to help to put down the Hungarians. Russia has sent 200,000 men into Hungary. The fighting is still going on and we can't tell which will conquer.
There was a upstir in Rome and the pope was obliged to fly, and the Romans established a republic. But to the eternall disgrace of the French government, they have put the Roman republic down in order [to] reinstate the pope against the wishes of the Italian people.
I find I have nearly filled my paper so I must conclude. I shall put a few seeds in the letter, goosberry, strawberry & black currant. I sent some in a newspaper about three months ago. Hope you recieved it. I will send a paper along with this & put a few seed in it too.
Give my love to Fredrick, Mary, Sarah, John and Samuell. For yourself my dear brother, that you may be able to establish for yourself and familey a home where you will be equaley free from the iron grasp of oppression and the gaunt figure of want, is the sincere wish of Yours Truly, Thomas York.
If you can send a few lines on a paper at any time my address is Thos Dickens at Mr. Grays, 51 Old Compton Street, Soho London. [Efforts to locate him at that address in the 1851 Census have been unsuccessful.]
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