Letters Of Robert Macdonald 1858 -1874

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Letters Of Robert Macdonald 1858 -1874

The following are transcripts of photocopies of original letters written by Robert MacDonald, over the period 1858 - 1874. They are in the main to his son Roderick, latterly in Australia, but also include one to his brother Alexander in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1847 on the death of hid daughter Catherine, one to his daughter Elizabeth (Findlay), in 1858, and one to his daughter Georgina (McLennan) in 1871.

The Canadian letter was supplied by Irma Isnor of Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada, the great great grandsdaughter of Alexander MacDonald, and the remainder by Roderick MacDonald, the grandson of Roderick MacDonald and great grandson of Robert MacDonald, who lives in the adopted homeland of his grandfather, Australia, near Melbourne.


INDEX (Date and Address sent from)


A letter written circa 1834 to the inhabitants of Dingwall by Robert MacDonald (Return to Index)

This letter seems to have been written in response to some sort of attack on his character by representatives of the established church.  Around  this time there was growing friction between the “established church”, controlled by the state and land owners, and a substantial number of minister’s and laity who wished for a church more in the spirit of the original Protestant reformers, i.e. a more spiritual church, divorced wholly from worldly interests and interference, where for example the parishioners, not the land owner, chose the minister and the services themselves were simple and plain. Robert MacDonald was obviously a strong adherent of the latter view, and seems to have made himself less than popular with the “establishment”. This friction was to come to head with the “Disruption” of 1843, and the setting up of the Free Church of Scotland.  

To the Inhabitants of Dingwall & its vicinity.

My Beloved,

                You may believe that it is not without an important cause that I take upon me to address you in this manner.  It is because that when my character was attacked, I was not allowed the benefit of speaking to you in my own defence, & therefore I trust that you will patiently & calmly consider what I am now to lay before you.

1    Seeing that the lying spirit in whom there is no truth has exerted himself in a particular manner, by his lying instruments, to misrepresent & defame my christian character, I consider it to be my duty to you as well as myself, to lay a fair & genuine account of my views & my conduct before you, with a view better to inform those who somehow have misunderstood the same  -  to correct the gross misrepresentations which others have given thereof  -  & to exonerate myself by testifying against the antichristian practises that are allowed to exist in certain professedly christian churches in this land.

2    During the first 15 years of my life, I followed the religion of my neighbours, without examining whether it was right or wrong;  thinking as many of you are this day, that it was right, because it was & is followed by so great a multitude, & supported by popular college taught misters, & state endowments, &c: but since then I was convinced of my mistake, & directed & inclined to take the bible as my only Rule of Faith & Practice.  Then my views were changed, & mine eyes were opened to see many errors both in myself & in others, in endeavouring to correct which, I was both opposed & abused by many from whom better was expected.  From step to step I was led to examine the Standard Regulations of the various divisions of the Christian Church in this land, &c; & on comparing them with the Holy Scriptures, I saw that many antichristian practices & corruptions were established & supported by some of those Regulations, which were, & still are stumbling blocks to many, & therefore should be swept out of the church wherein they are found.

3    In the several Parishes in which my lot was cast, I met with ministers from whom I could not get any good to my soul, & therefore I shunned them, & chose for myself such means of grace as I found to be more edifying to me.  In consequence of this, I & my family suffered.  On my finding that one of them, namely, the present minister of the parish of Duthil, united parties in marriage on a Sabbath day, I declared my disapprobation of his doing so, & for this cause, & also for my not attending his ministry, he wrote against me to the Secretary of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, in consequence of which, the Directors of the Society deprived me of my situation & salary; & that without stating to me the cause of which they did so, & neither did they allow me to get my case investigated, nor myself heard in my own defence.  It was afterwards found out that I was falsely accused & misrepresented to them.

4    About four years ago I was sent by the Glasgow Auxiliary Gaelic School Society to Arnisdale of Glenelg to teach.  The Schoolhouse that I got there being in a ruinous state, I had to remove my school out into another, until the former should be properly repaired, or the required accommodations should be provided.  About that time the missionary of Knoidart came to reside in the place, & stirred up some of the people to make some repairs on it for a preaching house for himself.  This took place in winter.  When he got this done he & the minister of Glenelg required me to return to it with my school.  This I refused to do until the house should be made wind & water tight as the Society required, & also for other equally reasonable causes.  They then took hold of this as a sufficient cause to get me removed out of the place, for to make room for a favourite of their own, & in a clandestine manner they wrote to the Society that I changed one Station for another, with other false accusations, & the result was that I was immediately deprived of my situation & salary, & their own favourite appointed to succeed me, & that also without allowing my case to be investigated, nor myself heard in my own defence.  The inhabitants of the place on seeing how unfairly & oppressively I was treated, kept me another year teaching their children.  The clergy being enraged by this, threateningly caused the factor of the place to put a stop to my teaching in the day-time, for some time, expecting by that to compel the people to send their children to the other teacher.  This the people would not do, except a few who, under slavish fear, sent theirs.  About a month afterwards I resumed.  This is only a part of the ill-treatment that I met with from those unjust cruel-hearted, & tyrannical Clergy & their unrighteous partisans.

5              I would now turn your attention to the following important subject.  Being convinced that our Lord Jesus Christ ordained & revealed, in the New Testament, sufficient Rules for governing & supporting His Church, & that it is our duty to receive, observe , & keep His ordinances pure & entire; without adding to them or taking from them, I consider it to be my duty also to discountenance, & to testify against, all church practices that I see were never

ordained by Him.  Under this conviction. & without respect of persons, I do hereby declare that I see that He never ordained that union between Church & State, whereby “authority & power is given to the Kings of the Earth, (even should they be Infidels) to call synods, to be present at them, & to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God,” I see that He never ordained the system of Church Patronage, whereby power is given to Kings, & to the heritors of lands (who also are kings of the earth) to chuse, elect, & settle ministers in parishes, contrary to the will of God’s people, who are thereby deprived of their Christian privilege, to chuse their own pastors.  In consequence of this, I see that many, if not all, of the ministers so settled, have more regard to the fleece than to the flock, & that it was for the sake of the manses, glebes, & stipends that they (being moved by the spirit of covetousness, & not by the Spirit of Christ) sought for the ministerial office.  In consequence of this the people of God flee from them, & chuse & support Pastors for themselves, besides being at the expences of building & supporting chapels for the same: & yet they are compelled to support those hirelings & blind guides from whom they fled.

6    I see that Christ did not ordain in His church the voting practice.  By this practice the opinions of fallible men are set above the infallible word of God.  He never ordained the warlike pomp practised at the meeting of the General Assembly of the State Church:  By this practice, sabbath profanation is carried on to a high degree & great extent &c.  He never ordained the practice of accepting money as a penalty for fornication & other offences: By this practice, sin & church privileges are bought & sold, & made articles of traffic in State Churches.  He never ordained to admit to His Table such professors as are conformed to the world in vain & useless fashions & gaudy dresses - nor such as are proud, light, wanton & profane in their talk & conversation - nor such as are dishonest & bad payers of their debts: and yet, I see that the most popular of the State Church Clergy use to admit to such; even such as have nothing better to recommend them than tokens:  such tokens of admission were never ordained by Christ.

7    I see that Christ never ordained to his Apostles &  ministers to be conformed to the world in phony grandeur, gaudiness, vain fashions, extravagant & luxurious living, nor to use coaches & gigs - nor to seek or take stipends - nor to leave one station for another for the sake of getting a larger stipend - nor to compel people to pay tithes or stipends to them - nor to prosecute people to jails, nor to arrest & roup their corn, cattle & furniture for refusing to pay them - nor to go with a band of soldiers to shot dead them who would venture to hinder them from arresting &c.  He never ordained to employ ungodly persons as Leaders in singing His praises in worshipping assemblies; and whatsoever He did not ordain or command is not of Divine authority & therefore ought not to be tolerated in any Christian Church.  It was partly on account of these antichristian practices being allowed in the Established Church of Scotland, that I refused to sign my name to the Formula of Confession of Faith of this church, seeing that some of these evil practices are sanctioned by them and where is the true christian that will blame me for refusing to trample on the neck of my conscience?

8    I hold that such ministers as are hirelings, tyrants, oppressors, promoters & supporters of antichristian practices, are not sent by Christ, & therefore should not be heard nor followed; because their preaching shall not be blessed to souls: and it is better to have no minister at all than to have such corrupt ones - And to withdraw or stop from hearing them is no contempt of divine ordinances, but a clear testimony of zeal for divine ordinances in their purity. To hear & support such corrupt & blind guides, is just a serving the devil & laying stumbling blocks before the blind, which will cause them to fall into perdition.  It is our duty to separate from all corrupt ministers & corrupt churches, otherwise we partake with them in their sins, & sadden the hearts of the righteous, & be stumbling blocks to the blind - the ignorant: And yet, how many professors do we see that follow such blind guides & hirelings, & that merely for the sake of some worldly gains!  May the Spirit of Christ apply these portions of Scripture to our consciences.  “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  To be a friend of the world, is to be an enemy of God - and what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, & lose his own soul?  Cease, my son. to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge:  For the leader of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.  To the law & to the testimony if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.  Let them alone:  they be blind leaders of the blind.  And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”  They who follow Jesus will not hear nor follow hirelings nor strangers.  “Now I beseech you brethren, mark them who cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, & avoid them:  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good works and fair speeches (sheep’s clothing) deceive the hearts of the simple.  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.  For from the prophets of Jerusalem (graceless ministers) is profaneness gone forth into all the land.”  Graceless ministers are members of the army that is against the Lamb, & are abominations to gracious souls.  “Wherefore then do ye spend your labour for that which satisfyeth not?”

9    I hold that it is our duty to hear only such ministers as have sound knowledge & experience, & whose example shew that they have the Spirit of Christ.  To approve all things, & to hold fast to that which is good.  Not to believe every spirit, even although college taught, but to try the spirits whether they are of God.  Not to pin our faith to any man’s opinion, nor to follow any man, but so far as he will follow Christ.  To follow Christ by testifying & contending faithfully, & firmly against all corruptions in doctrine, worship, government, & discipline in all professedly Christian Churches.  To be guided only by the “Holy Scriptures, which are profitable for doctrines, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” - and to do all the good we can & may to souls with the talents bestowed upon us.  “And whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken & yield unto men more than unto God, judge ye.

10  Have we not the right to be allowed the liberty of supporting only such principles & practices as we conscientiously approve of?  Certainly we have.  Is it not unjust & unreasonable to compel any man to contribute, to support a system of religion which he not only disapproves of, but believes to be unlawful, and directly condemned by the word of God?  Certainly it is.  That the Christian Church in this land is in much need of being reformed both in Doctrine, Worship, Government, & Discipline, cannot be denied:  yea, it has been repeatedly confessed & prayed for publicly, of late, by some of her most popular ministers: and it would not be dangerous to the church although she would be entirely reformed & conformed to our Saviour’s simple plan.  Away then with all antichristian & corrupt practices, together with all the wolves, foxes, greedy dogs, thieves & robbers, hirelings & blind guides out of the Christian Church: and let none of the Cainites, Balaamites, Hamanites, Jadasites, Magusites, Demasites, & Diotrephesites, be allowed to continue any longer therein.  -  And let all the Abels, Eldads, Medads, & Mordecais, be encouraged to do all they can to promote the Redeemer’s cause in the world.  Let us search the Scriptures, examine ourselves, try our ways, & turn unfeignedly unto the Lord:  And may he give us understanding in all things.

                                                                                Robert MacDonald

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Inverness 24th April,1847.

My dear Brother,

I am sure you will be startled at this note, and sympathise with us on reading it. Early in March last my scholars all except 5 were in one week swept away from school by the measles, & my youngest four, Alexander, Roderick, Catherine & Henry -Ebenezer, caught the same trouble almost at once, but they got favourably recovered, and then we thought that all consequent dangers were over: But! O but! On the 31st ulto my dear Catherine was discovered attacked by the croup and continued suffering severely there, in spite of all medical means used until half past 6 o'clock on the Sabbath morning ,the 4th day of this month when she expired, and death put an end to her terrible suffering!!!

On Tuesday after her remains were buried in the churchyard burying ground here, at 2 o'clock P.M. and that very respectably. The Rev. Mr Clark here and the Rev Mr Campbell late of Kildonan followed, one on each side of me, after the coffin, & my son-in-law and Johnny and Robert before it. Her coffin respectfully mounted and covered with cloth, with her name and age 3 ½ years on it. The coffin was 44 inches long, and yet just what she required and her burial was respectably and numerously attended. Her stoutness of body, neatness of form, beauty of person, whitness of skin and wisdom of intellect, were admired by all who knew her. She learned many good things and harmless songs, and composed several verses herself making up the blanks as she went along. Alltho she was social. yet would she be cheering herself alone. In short, she was the darling of my family, and I am afraid the idol of it too. We had only the loan of her, and her almighty owner had the right to take her back from us when he saw proper, but long will the breach be remembered by such of us as may live long. May this sad visitation be sanctified to us all. O! For the grace to make the proper use of it. Here follows a short Register of my children, which you can keep vis.

1st Georgina, born in Dingwall , on Tuesday 29th Oct 1822
2nd Elizabeth, born in Dingwall, on the sabbath 25th July 1824
3rd John born Dingwall, on Wednesday 29th March 1826
4th Margaret born in Dingwall, Tuesday 6th Jany 1829
5th Robert born Arnisdale of Glenelg, Tuesday 16th of August 1831
6th Kenneth born in Dingwall, Tuesday 1st of February, 1834 died there sabbath 31st May 1835 smallpox
7th a son born dead in inverness 1837
8th Alexander born in Inverness, on Saturday 20th of April 1839
9th Roderick born in Inverness, on Monday 12 April 1841
10th Catharine born in Inverness on Monday 18th of September, 1843 and died there on sabbath 4th April 1847
11th Henry Ebenezer born in Inverness on Thursday 23rd April 1846

I wish you to send to me in your next letter a register of your family, in the same manner written, and I will keep it in remembrance. I heard lately from my father and sisters they were in their usual state of health but my Father failing much in strength. I took a burying place where Catharine's body lies. Seven feet broad and 6 feet long for three graves. I got it free and I placed two stones one at each corner of the head of the spot ,with R McD 1847 on each stone. Nearly 600 died here since 3 months. The year 47 will be long remembered by many and cannot be forgotten by us.

Shortly before Catharine got ill, my father sent word to me to send her East at Whit Sunday first, but his wish cannot be gratified in that respect. She was my Mother's image in every respect that I knew. I add no more at present about her, but that she was Beloved and lovely in life, and lovely and Beloved in Death. Something from my children in my next.

(Sideways on the page was ) Henry E. is a pretty stout, cheerful and kind child and now has got 4 teeth and speaks some words, and never troublesome, but very good natured and extraordinary wise for his age. Roderick is like to be an extraordinary scholar if spared. In September last , he had not the alphabet, all being neglected herding on the farm, but now he is reading the New Testament, and any English book he can get and has my questions of the Shorter Catechism by heart and rises early and sits in bed reading away. Alexn. Is reading the Bible, but not so willingly. Robt. NB I will be writing as may occur to my mind a letter for you , to be ready by the time I hear from you again.

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Loigin School, By Portaskaig
Islay, July 8th 1858

Dear Elizabeth,
We received your letter & also the Courier. We are glad that you were all well then except Georgina. We are exceedingly sorry for her being so poorly after such hopes of her being soon well. We firmly believe that if she had continued to use the Broom, Juniper, and parsley, as we directed, that she would be by this time well or nearly so. Agrimony is very good for her trouble & she might use it as tea, strongly infused & taken with sugar and milk. Give our best respects to Maggie, and tell her that we will do our best to reward her yet, if she will stop with the children till we hear of Georgina's recovery, if that is allotted to her.
John came home to us last week, and he only got 3 days work since he came. He expects some work soon here, for a short time. We wish that work could begot there for him. No certainty of work at Glasgow soon. Alex is again unwell by sort of eruption like chicken pox all over his body. We expect him home next week, (being the Glasgow Fair week), to see us.
Roderick is well & likely to do well. He wrote us on Monday last, and said that his Master is to get a boy on Tuesday first to go to his place, and that he is going in to the Warehouse, & will have a good deal to do. He will have to keep the Stock Book, & count up the Stock at the end of every month, & to see all the goods come in right, & out right, which he is glad to get at last. His Master is to give him a rise in his wages. Rod'k is to have the whole charge of the Warehouse till the Salesman come, so that he cannot come to see us sooner than the end of this month.
We were kept very busy till now at the potatoes & peats. The potatoes are looking well & healthy-like yet. We had a wet & stormy summer yet, except for a few days. Write us soon again. Our best respects to you all.
Your affectionate father,
R. McDonald.

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Keils, By Portaskaig
Islay, May 2nd 1861

Dear Roderick
I received your very acceptable letter of the 27th & 28th of last month, & we are glad for knowing thereby that you all were well then: We have cause to be thankful for the measure of health that we enjoy. We are after finishing our potatoe planting. We had good weather since three weeks, but rather cold,, & very dry - much need for some rain. I got over the taking of the Census stock middling well, but no payment yet for it. It will not be above 25/-: too little for the trouble. The Parroquet Rosella is well, got a very long tail, & sings & whistles heartily, & replies, by whistling, to the whistling of the Boys, & is very fond of seeing them when they go out & come in. We will be glad for Robert's visit, (tell him not to come before June or July, that we may be better prepared for him), & would be so for your own. I hope that he will let us know of the time before he will come. I enclose a few lines to John, which I trust you will deliver to him, as I have not his present address. Henry is still with us, & we long for getting him away to where he may do for himself. He is a great destroyer of clothes, & shoes, & therefore he is at present in wont of wherewith to appear decently in such a place as Glasgow. People will soon begin to cut their peats, & will be asking him to help them. So we do not know what to do with him, as we cannot afford to give him a decent suit of clothes at present. Maggie (by her ill nature), did not let us know of her enquiries in his behalf. He is a careless lumber, slothful about our business, & very ready to help others. Hither to he was a careless learner of writing & spelling, but clever at his Arithmetic. He works now at the Miscellaneous questions in Gray's. If Robert & John would undertake to clothe him, & set him agoing we would be glad to get quit of him which we had not to say about any of our family. I would even make a present of him to them, after all that he cost me which harrows my very heart grievously!!!

Young Neil McDermid's wife died on the 18th of April of consumption.

Dear Roderick, to gratify your wish to know something about your ancestors, I copy the following from my family record, viz.
"Strathgarve, Contin, Oct'r 18th. 1818
"This record is to certify to all whom it may concern that I, the writer hereof, Robert MacDonald, was born of respectable parents at the west-end of Auldinie Bridge, near Loth, in the parish of Loth, Sutherlandshire, at three o'clock in the morning of Monday, the 22nd day of June, A.D. 1795, & was baptised by the Rev. George MacCulloch, minister of Loth. That my father is John MacDonald#, farmer & cattle dealer, eldest son of Alexander MacDonald & Janet MacPherson, there; and my mother, Katherine MacDonald, eldest daughter of Robert MacDonald, weaver, & Christina Sutherland, Kintradewell, parish of Loth. (My grandfathers descended from two MacDonalds who had to flee, one to Sutherland and the other to Caithness, from the Western Isles at the time that MacDonald, Lord of the Isles was overpowered, &, believed, were natives of Islay).

My eldest brother, George, was a soldier in the 42nd Regiment, & was wounded, & died thereby, at Bayonne, shortly before the battle of Waterloo. I have living a sister named Isabella, & a brother named Alexander#, both younger than I. I had an uncle & three aunts on my father's side, namely, George#, Betty#, Isabella#, & Elizabeth#, & three uncles & one aunt on my mother's side, namely, Donald#, John#, William#, & Helen#."

Dingwall, Dec'r 4th, 1821. I was united in marriage to Margaret MacKenzie, eldest daughter of Kenneth MacKenzie#, smith, Dingwall, by the Rev. John MacDonald, of Ferintosh.
Issue hereof      1st Georgina, born in Dingwall, Oct'r 29th 1822
                         2nd Elizabeth, born in Dingwall, July 25th 1824
                         3rd John, born in Dingwall, March 29th 1826
                         4th Margaret, born in Dingwall, Jan'y 6th 1829
                         5th Robert, born in Arnisdale, Glenelg, Aug't 16th 1831
                         6th Kenneth#, born in Dingwall, Feb'y 1st 1834
                         7th A son#, born dead in Inverness, 1837
                         8th Alexander, born in Inverness, April 20th 1839
                         9th Roderick, born in Inverness, April 12th 1841
                         10th Katherine#, born in Inverness, Sep't 18th 1843
                         11th Henry Ebenezer, born in Inverness, April 23rd 1846

Those marked # above died. My brother, Alexander, was first a merchant, & after losing all his effects by fire in America, became a schoolmaster in Nova Scotia. My ancestors & that of my wife were of the farming line.
Excuse haste. I'll enlarge next time. Our best respects to you, & Robert, & Lousia, & their bairn.
From you affectionate father, Robert Macdonald

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Keils, By Port Askaig, Islay
Argyle-shire, Decr 26th 1861

Dear Georgina & John,
I write this to inform you that we are in our ordinary state of good health, hoping & wishing that this may find you all well. It is a long time now since I wrote to you without hearing from you, But we had the pleasure frequently to hear from Elizabeth of your welfare, & of Alex being doing well & getting some spare time to attend school. We long to hear how you all are particularly & how Eliza, Georgina, & Robert are, & is Robert in School. A letter came from my Brother's daughter from Nova Scotia, telling that Donald McKenzie, the smith, & his wife (Jane your Aunt), & family were well, but that their son Alexr died in March last; that Donald himself & his son Kenneth were working far from home in New Brunswick, but that they were expected soon to come home. Their son Alexr was hauling wood down a river, & got cold which caused his death. He built a new house for themselves shortly before he took ????? ???.
We saw last week in a Glasgow Newspaper that the ship Clutha, on which John is, sailed from Australia for London on the 14th day of October last, so that, if well, he may be expected to arrive before the end of January. We heard a few days ago from Alexr, & himself & Margt & henry were well. We heard likewise from Robert & Roderick & they were well. Robert's wife has got another daughter lately. All well. Our potatoe crop failed this year. We had 16 drills, & each drill 160 yards long, & we had not above 2 Bolls of sound potatoes, and the most of that same not large. And all our neighbours not better. We were reading in a Newspaper that the potatoes about Inverness were not much better than here. They say that the potatoes called Protestants are the best that kept, that they are sweet & would be dry in sandy ground. We had an extraordinary wet harvest & winter till about a week ago. We now have fine dry weather, but a little frosty today. We saw in the papers about a murder in Inverness. The only safety now-a-days is to keep from bad company. We did not get a letter from Elizabeth since a while. Let us now how she & hers are. Our best respects to you all.
From your affectionate father,
Robert McDonald

Write soon, with all the news you can.
We wish you a good New Year, and happiness therein.

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No13, Telford Road, Inverness
June 28th 1865

Dear Roderick,
We received yesterday your letter of the 25th inst. which did fill us with astonishment as you said. All we can say is that altho' we wish you to remain in this country, yet, as we do not know what Providence intends for you, we cannot object to you accepting that offer, which may, if you be spared in life, be for your benefit: therefore may the Almighty's will be done in the case.
This leaves us in our ordinary state of good health, with our best respects to you all. I add no more just now, as we expect to see you soon here.
Your very affectionate father
Robt McDonald

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Inverness. July 29 / 65

Dear Roderick,
Your mother wishes you to speak to Mr. Slater for Alexr McLennan to get him into their warehouse there, & to leave Alexr's address with Mr Slater. Mr & Mrs McIver are sorry that you did not call in to see them before you left, as he wished to give you some instructions. He wishes you not to indulge in eating fruit no more than in spirits, as it may cause dysentery & other diseases. To take only very little of it at a time. Also observe not to sit out in foggy weather after being confined in long, but to keep walking while out, especially during the rainy season. It is Rice water they use for Common drink. 1/4 lb of rice boiled in about 4 or 5 pints of water to make 6 Bottles after being strained. To be used to quench thirst. Plenty milk can be got, & it is a good drink. In bowel complaint, a large glassful or two of Brandy will be of good effect to check it, & to keep your bed till better. They beat an egg or two & mix it with the Brandy. Hot new milk with the egg & pepper & salt will be good for it. Pour the boiling milk on the beaten eggs, & mix with the salt & peppers & take it as hot as you can bear it. A bandage of flannel about the belly will be useful, a little tight.
Write us, & let us know what ship or conveyance you go by from Southampton. When you see henry see if he can come to see us, & when.
About your hat, see if it will suit Henry. All well, Farewell.
Your loving mother & father
Margaret & Robert McDonald

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13, Telford Road, Inverness. Mar. 16/66

My dearly beloved Son,
It is with deep feelings of sorrow that I take my pen now to write to you this letter, & I am sure that it will be with equal feelings you will read it. It fell now to my lot to send to you the sad & distressing Notice of your beloved sister Elizabeth's death! On the morning of Thursday the 8th day of this month, at 9 O'clock, she was delivered of a living son, but she died almost immediately after it. The child is living, but his mother has gone to her long home! A sad & sore stroke this is to poor Thomas & his throng & weak family! The Midwife was sent for, but she was away from home attending another wife. The doctor was sent for but he was too late a-coming. Your poor mother, with Widow McKay, had to do their best in the case. Thomas was from home tugging a ship on Lochness, & only arrived home three hours after his dearly beloved wife's death!
Mr May ordered one of his men to make the coffin, & it was made, mounted, & lettered, equal to any made here for any Lady. Her name "Elizabeth McD-Findlay, aged 41" on the plate on its breast, as I ordered. She was buried at 1 O'clock on Saturday in the same grave with her sister Catherine, & aside her own daughter. The burial was very numerously attended by both high & low of the neighbourhood, & Mr May & other gentlemen, along with the rest followed the Hearse, on foot to the gate of the Church-yard, & from that the coffin till they saw it placed in the grave. Her death is deeply lamented by all in the neighbourhood. She was 4 hours dead before I got notice of it. ---- I sent Notices immediately to Robert, John, Margaret, Alex'r, & to Dingwall, & to Sutherlandshire, but as she was to be buried on Saturday none of them could come. (I had no letter from Robert since. I am highly displeased at him. He is not what I ought to expect him to be, as a son & a brother.) He will repent when I will not be in need of his aid, or sympathy.
Your mother is still in Thomas's taking charge of his family. He urgently wished her & me to give up this house, to go to reside in his house to take care of his family, & his House, & Garden, & that he would engage a servant to do the work, under your mother's directions, so that your mother would not have to do but very little, & that we would have our choice of either the lower or upper flat of the house for our accommodation, & our use of the garden as well as himself & family; --- & all that as long as he would have the house & that we would try & make a living thereby.

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1 School Lane, Church Street
Inverness Feby 10th 1868

My dearly beloved Roderick,
We received your very kind letter of the 7th of Jany with its contents. the Cheque for £ all safe, on the 7th current, for which we return to you our best thanks. It came in a very good time, as we were very broke for some time past. We presented your very liberal present for little Roderick, & Thomas returns many thanks to you for him, & entrusted the money to us to buy a suitable Dress for him, which we will do as soon as possible. Roderick is thriving well, & amuses himself & others by singing songs & hymns astonishingly.
Alexr is at work in Dumbarton since 2 months but as he had broken time with the storms & rain, he did not work but a few days each week last month, & having to pay 3/- besides his board, he could not send us but 10/- twice, as the wages are lowered. We understand that he received your parcel, & was to write to you. I sent to him your proper address. He was well when we had a letter from him some weeks ago.
John went to sea again, on the 10th of Decr in the Barque Mora of Glasgow, bound for Kurrachee & Bombay E.I., & he left for us an Allotment Note for £1 monthly. The first £1 payable to-day. Poor fellow he must have passed through very stormy weather.
We got only £2 from Robert since the 12th of April last. Georgina unknown to us wrote in her letter to Alic to tell Robert how we were last month, but whether he told him or not of our straits, he (Alic) sent to us a letter from himself with a P.O. order for 7/- all that he could spare after having sent some money to his father, & which was very kind of him. We are glad to hear that he has been promoted to the highest Department of the Warehouse. Margaret is with ourselves for above a month, & is improving in health.
We received a letter from Henry on the 5th of this month, & dated "Galveston, Texas, January 12th". I wrote to him on the same day that I wrote last to you. (Nov 7th) but as he was up the country looking for work, he did not get the letter till he came back, which caused the delay. He had to leave the Government works in Novr owing to the Government discharging all citizens, & putting recruits in their places. He was therefore some time out of employment, as the times are very hard with them, there being hundreds & thousands out of employment in the States & Galveston crowed with idle men, ready to cut a man's throat for a dollar, He had 21/2 weeks on the rail-way up the country, & had to leave it with the chills & fever, & came down again to Galveston, looked for work, but could not get it, altho' he offered to work for his board, which costs to him £1 per week. At long last he watched a chance to unload the steam-boat the "Santa Martha" on New Years night while others were drunk, & got 50 cents per hour. After that, 2 days at the Cotton Baling Press. There is to be no Cotton this year as the South is ruined. Now Negroes will work for 1!/2 dollars per day when the white men won't do it. The Yellow fever is still in Galveston. The was to go on the 13th of June to see if he could get employment at building a Rail-way Bridge, where there will be work for 200 workmen for 6 months. He heard that the Contractors were going to employ Blacks instead of white to work, & to take them from Georgia, but he is not believing it, & says that he hopes not. I wrote to him last Friday, & will expect a letter from him about the end of March. We strongly advised him to leave yon dangerous Country, & come home. The sooner the better, as his life is in danger, & no prospect of his prospering therein. The postage now to the United States for a letter under 1/2 oz is 6d stamp instead of 1/- as formerly. This leaves us all in middling good health, but my cough continued all the winter accompanied with a headache, but now I feel a good deal better. Your mother had several attacks of rheumatism & toothache. We will be expecting a letter from you in reply to this one. Excuse my mindings.
All our other friends here & in Dingwall & Sutherlandshire are well. I send to you along with this letter a copy of the Inverness Courier, in which you will find an account of the terrible storm we had here the two weeks before the last, except for the last week, when at the full moon the tide meeting the flood in the river the water rose so high as to come up near the Barracks on the other side, & as far on this side up to the Haugh above the Upper Bridge, & the high tide at Clachnaharry entered the back street houses at the Railway, several feet deep, but no loss of life. People had to be carried out of their houses at midnight. No more at present so I conclude with our best respects to you.
Your very affectionate father & mother
Margaret & Robert McDonald
Dear Roderick, as your father would wish to post your letter this evening as the mails will be dispatched tomorrow from Inverness and as I have no news to send you but which your father has given you already, I will, if spared to collect some more news to send you when we will write you again. As I am not in practice of writing since a long time, I feel very awkward to begin writing and the evening is getting very dark. I would take too long a time before I would finish it. I will try and write a little better when I write you again. I thank you for your kindness to us in sending us so much to help us on.
Your loving mother Margaret MacDonald

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1 School Lane, Church Street
Inverness. Aug't 6th 1868

Dear Roderick,
We received your letter of the 2nd of last month, on the 3rd of this month, with the bank cheque for £6 enclosed therein, for which we return to you many thanks. We feel happy for your good health being still continued to you, & I may say, likewise to us. We received a letter from Henry along with yours, & he was in good health when he wrote it on the 11th of last month. This leaves us both in good health. Your friends here, & at Clachnaharry, &c, are all well. I was long without writing to you, but I wrote to you on the 8th of last month, in it you will see the cause of it.
A. McLennan was here seeing us last month, & so was Rob't, & they both were well, & Robert's wife & family were likewise well. I think that I told you in my last that Alex'r McDonald Martin went to New York. He arrived there safe & well. His brother is working now in France. Our Alex'r is still working in Dumbarton, & is well. Margaret is still in Glasgow, & is well. We received a letter lately from John from Kurrachee. He told us that he wrote to you, & about the state of his health, & the scurvy. He wrote since to Alex'r, & Alex'r sent his letter to us. They were loading rapeseed & cotton, & bound for Liverpool, but did not expect to be home till next January.
Henry says that he was sometime employed at a Bridge two miles long that was damaged by the storm that brought the sea over the City of Galveston. He was, when he wrote, employed in the freight Warehouse. His work is to look after the niggers that they put the right freight into the right Box Car, & he has to stop there until 2pm. as he has the sealing of the Cars, that is, all through freights for the Interior have to be sealed. His wages are very little indeed, but what can be expected this time of year. His wages are 50 dollars a month. But when the cotton comes in he expects they will raise the wages, but whether they do or not, he means to stop where he is, rather than to be running about for a week's work, & the next week idle. He then says, "I was surprised when Mr Hardy told me to come to the freighthouse & work, when there were other two men who were longer in their employ than I, but I found out the reason. The others while at the Bridge at Virginia Point with me were getting drunk there, so he would not have them. He told me himself that because I attended my work, & kept sober, & knowing the freight Agent, & all the other clerks while I was at work discharging the "Santa Maria", I have the preference here. About coming home as you wish me, I don't believe that I will leave before next summer, as our City is healthy just now, & no Yellow fever expected this season. By next summer, if God spares my health, I will then. I have got very near enough to take me home, but I wish to have something besides bringing me home."
The principal serious news I have to send to you at present is about the weather we had here, & I hear, all over Europe this summer. We had great heat & drought constantly since the middle of June, except 2 or 3 slight showers of rain, so that the grass (pastures) is entirely burnt, & no foggage after cutting the hay which is short, & the corn straw so short that it cannot be cut, but is plucked, in many places. In consequence sheep & other cattle are suffering by want of meat & drink, & in some places dying. Men, women, & children, in England, &c, died by sunstrokes. Mr Peter Anderson, Solicitor here, one of the authors of the Guide to the Highlands & Islands, went with two English Gentlemen, last week, to the top of Ben Wyves, & back again, & he died shortly after coming home by the heat & fatigue. The potatoes crops are very much withered in many places, especially the early sorts. The heat of the weather last week & this week till this morning was greater than has been ever recorded in this country. The grass is so dry that extensive districts have taken fire, & many woods burnt, in England &c. The grass & herbage are also so dry hereabout. Thousands of acres of moors are so dry that no vegetation can grow on them for years. The thermometer registers 100 in the shade! Graziers are at their wits end. Sheep & cattle are selling at less prices than when they were bought a year ago. Sheep selling for 2/6d each, while we are paying 7d to 9d per lb for mutton. Wheat is the best crop now. Barley, oats, turnips, & some potatoes will be scarce, being spoiled before ripening. This week the shearing commenced hereabout. No good potatoes yet in the market. (We get fresh herring, but dear.)(What fishes do they get & sell there?) The Newspapers say that " the cottagers in the South are buying water at 1 1/2d a pail, & using it several time over for cooking, I believe dispensing with washing altogether." "Fields of corn were ignited & burnt in Belgium."
We had a slight shower of rain this morning. We long for more. (This is a terrible judgement on a sinful generation.) For the Assylum here they have to be carrying cartloads of water from the river & the canal. It is we that should be thankful for having the water in our house plentiful, & good. Hoping to hear soon that you have a better state of things there than we have here, we, & the rest of your friends here send our & their best respects to you, & so I remain, My dear Roderick
Your affectionate father,
Robert MacDonald

P.S. Henry's Address is "Mr Henry E. McDonald, Post Office, Galveston, State Texas, U.S. N. America." If you will write to him, give him the best advice you can from your own experience & observation, regarding temperance in every respect. His present wages are 50 dollars a month, & he pays 30 dollars a month for lodging & board & perhaps washing. I think that he lost your address, however I will send it to him again this time. Advise him to be cautious, with strict attention & care about his business, which may advance him & very sharp.

Who think you came to see us yesterday? Duncan McGregor from Keills. He is at present in an Insurance office in Keith, & came hither in an excursion. He looks well, & send you his best respects. He told us that the Buchanans lost the Caol-Isla Distillery, that Miss Catherine McDonald is in an Assylum in Glasgow, that the Lamonts of Portanellan went to N. America, that Mrs McIntyre, Baluilve?, & Mrs McLugas, Keills, died, that Mr Shanks married a woman from Rothesay & took the farm of Torbas, that Hugh McLachlan is appointed a minister in Kintyre, that Wm. Rounsfell has Loigin joined to Persabas, that Hector McDougal was drowned at the Jura side, that Margaret McDiarmid married a miner at Ballygrant, that Neil McDiarmid & Rob't McGregor are still living, that Mrs Anderson has the farm at Cairnbeg & that she has McPhail still, and so on ----- Good bye for the present. Write soon.

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Robert told us that his shares turned out well this year & that he is to get £5- for his shares in last dividend, & that he expects to be clear next year. He looks well & seems to be more happy than usual. British Cholera raged in London when he was here, & about 300 cases proved fatal there, & Harry had bowel complaint, & he got so alarmed by Lousia's letter about Harry that he hastened home when he found all well & Harry better. He gave us 1/2 Guinea each when here, besides what he laid out otherwise during the week he stopped with us. He removed from the house that he had to another, Rent £25- besides taxes. Your mother could not believe that he had so much to pay until Alex. McLennan told her as he had to go with Louisa to look for a house before he came away, as Rob't could not leave his work to look for it, as they were taking stock, & Rob't had so much to do. We cannot but believe that everything is hard on him, Louisa was for coming, but he could not pay for the whole at the time, as he had so much to clear, say between Rent, taxes, fire, light, water, & their support of Donald Brown's son. Hugh turned up in Australia in the Gold Mines, & lost all he had, & feels now what want is. He wrote to his father, lately, after being considered lost or dead for many years. His pride is now lowered, as his mother says. His last resource was to try the mattock instead of the pen. The fellow who could not work with a spade before, when at home. He got education to be an Exciseman but spoiled himself with drink & company, was pardoned once or twice but afterward could not be kept on, as it was the worst thanks that he would give to the supervisor when checked by him & for giving him good advice. More afterwards. I hope you will have my last letter next week. R.McD.
May you have long life & good health & prosperity manyfold for your good will & endeavours to help us.
Aug 68

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1 School Lane, Church Street
Inverness. Feb'y 5th 1869

Dear Roderick,
Your kind, welcome, and longed for letter of the 5th of last month, with the Bank Cheque for £6- came to our hands on Monday last, & for which we return to you our sincere thanks, with our best respects and wishing for you a good new year & prosperity for both for soul & body. We are glad & thankful for the Information you gave to us of your health & your favourable prospects. We thank you also for the £2:14:6 which we received from you in December last, by order of Alex'r McLennan. We & our people here about are in good health, thanks be to the giver of every mercy for it . Eliza McLennon is taken out to London by her brother on the 19th of Jan'y to service there as a Lady's Maid, &c. They both and Robert & his are all well. We did not hear about John since he sailed from Kurachee. The ship is daily looked for at Liverpool. We received a letter yesterday from Alex'r, & he is well & working in Govan.
We had very mild weather, but scarcely any snow, & very little frost since 3 months, but there were frequent terrible storms of wind, &c on the Atlantic & whereby many

Feb 8th/69. This morning we received a letter from Henry, dated Galveston, Texas, Jan'y 17th 1869, & he was then quite well & in the same employment, the railroad service. He did not receive your letter then, & said "it is not time anyhow". He mentioned that he sent 3 newspapers to you, & that two weeks ago, (that was about the beginning of Jan'y), he sent to you "The "New Orleans Times". No news. I intend to send to you "The "Glasgow Weekly Mail", along with this letter. The Mail leaves here for the East Indies only every Friday, & I could not have any letter ready to go last Friday. Let us know what business the Messr's Hutcheson have, & if they have families, & of what ages. Robert McLennon is kept in the Tartan Warehouse & working at the Arithmetic with me at night between 8 & 10 o'clock, & understanding it well, & Johny also. We observed that you were honoured there with a disagreeable, but very important task, of being a Juryman. We trust that you acted justly. "The Weekly Mail" is to accompany this letter. Adieu for the present. From your very affectionate father.
Robert McDonald
9th Feb'y 1869 The Moira (with John) arrived in Liverpool on the 7th inst & he is safe & we expect him here next week.
When you will write to Bell your Aunt, desire her to give to you her Master's address in full & his occupation & when you get that send it to us.

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1 School Lane, Church Street
Inverness. May 12th 1869

Dear Roderick,
We received your longed for, but welcome letter of the 30th March on the 3rd cur't by which we were informed of your being well in health, &c. And in return I have the pleasure of informing you that we have great cause to be thankful for the measure of health we enjoyed since we wrote last to you. Your mother is at present in her usual health, but as for myself, I am not so. About a month ago I lost my strength in my right side, from the top of my head to my toes, and although I am now a great deal better, yet I am not able to hold my pen right which my writing show, & my fingers are almost dead, but no pain except a dirling sensation. This stroke might be worse, therefore I should be thankful. We have planted our potatoes, & I wrought at them to keep me in motion, which did me some good but still I find it difficult to keep my fingers & toes warm.
Jamie Findlay went to Glasgow to learn the Carpenter trade, & is employed in Stephen's yard, & is well. Have you heard from your Aunt Bell since you wrote to us before about her. Your Aunt Jane with her husband & family left where they were, & took or bought a farm elsewhere. Their address now is

Mr Donald McKenzie, Blacksmith
Caribou River, by Pictou, Nova Scotia,
North America

Are you corresponding with my brother's daughter, Catherine Jane yet? I wrote to her some time ago, but got no answer. I am afraid that I had not her right address. If you be writing to Bell, tell her that we wonder very much that she did not give you or us her Master's or Employer's name, as it would be necessary in case of any thing coming over her, so that we might know where to write her or for her. Donald McKenzie (as above) bought the farm with the wood thereon, & built a sawmill to manufacture the timber. Alex'r Martin wrote to him from New York, & received this in the answer, & that he expects to do well by it.
John is away to sea again on the Ship Challenge of Greenock. They sailed on the 1st cur't from Greenock for Bombay, & perhaps for Calcutta. As I will have to write to him to Bombay, 3 months hence, I will warn him about what you remarked for his safety & respectability. He was not well in health since he came, nor when he left Greenock with cough & pained back.
Alex'r is working now in Govan, & is well. Margaret is at service in Glasgow. We learn that Robert is well & his wife & family except the youngest two, but we hope they are well by this time. A. McLennan is well, & so are the rest of our relations hereabout, & in Dingwall, & in Sutherland-shire. I sent to you an Inverness Courier last week. We had a letter lately from Henry, & he was well when he wrote it, on the 21st of March, & was still in the same employment, & stated that his employers were very kind & friendly to him. He said that he wrote to you, but got no answer, & sent some Newspapers to you.
We are glad for your favourable prospects. We will be glad for a letter from you as soon as possible for you after receiving this one, with all the News with you since.
We have favourable or seasonable weather, but rather cold at present. Hail yesterday.
I remain, Dear Roderick,
Your very affectionate father
Robert McDonald

Are you a partner in that firm? # Excuse this blot. We continue in the same house for next year.

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No.1 School Lane, Church Street
Inverness. Aug't 31st 1869

Our dearly beloved son Roderick,
I now try to write to you these few lines to inform you that we thankfully received your letter of the 2nd day of July last on the 2nd of this month with the Draft for £6 and your letter of the 23rd of July on the 28th of this month inclosing the "Second of Exchange" and after reading your last letter, & considering it we sympathise with you, & highly approve of your conduct in resigning your situation rather than continuing in breaking the Law of God, & we trust that with Providence you will soon get into a Situation in which you can enjoy his Sabbath with peace of consience without which you can never be happy nor blessed. Let his Holy Spirit be your Teacher & Sanctifier constantly, & may godly fear, & godly love, & tender consience with watchfulness, & prayer, & studying the Law of God be your constant society. Be a follower of & with those who follow Jesus whithersoever he goes, & never be ashamed of Him & His Cause. Amem. When you wrote that you were to leave your first situation in Calcutta your mother was afraid that you would not be so comfortable, so happy in other. She was very much toubled in her about it, but we wish & hope that the change will turn out for the best to you, in sending to you to a better climate. We wish that Henry would be in Melbourne too, rather than were he is, among wild unruly people, & an unhealthy climate. We had no letter from him since his letter of the 21st of March, & we are afraid but he is laid up with a fever as before, as he was then afraid of it, as the weather was getting hot, & as the place is low lying ground, & subject to fevers, & Ague fever. It was that, & seeing so many murders committed in the place that caused Lonnie's brothers to leave it & come home, as they could not depend upon that their lives would be safe for one day in the place.
This leaves us both in the enjoyment of good health, except that the toes of my right foot, & the fingers of my right hand are still greatly benumbed. John McLennan & Georgina & their family, & Thomas Findlay & his family are in good health, & so are the rest of our relations here & in Dingwall & in Sutherland. Margaret is at service in a good situation in Glasgow & is well. John went to sea on the 26th of April on the Barque Challenge from Glasgow for Bombay, & Alex'r went to sea on the 23rd of June on the Barque Trelawney from Glasgo' to the West Indies. How they are we don't know. A. McLennan was here lately seeing us about the time that we received your letter of the 2nd of June & I gave him the reading of it. He & I went over to Sutherland for 3 days to see our friends there, & we enjoyed it well. We went by train to Golspie, & back again by the same. He returned to London on the 16th curr't. Robert & his wife & family were then well except his Alic. We had a severe drought here this summer, so that our potatoes are very small; a great loss to us. With many here the turnips & grass, &c were likewise injured. Write to us when you receive this. We all join with our best respects to you & to Bell, your Aunt, if so be that you find her. When John was in Australia he found his Aunt Isabella in a place named Collingwood.
There were two daughters & a Captain McKidd who were next door neighbours to us on Wells Street before we went to Islay. Their names are Christina & Elsbet. They were found in Melbourne by John, & married; Christina to Mr Wm Fraser, & Elsbet to Mr James Fraser, Merchants there. We would like that you would find them out, & if you do, give them our kind Compliments, & tell them my name & that I was a Schoolmaster at the head of Wells Street. Your mother would advise you to lodge, for cheapness' sake, with a farmer outside the Town until you get a Situation, & also for your health, that is if do not get a situation before you go.

As we expect a letter from you before you receive this, you need not write again till you receive my next one. This letter is to leave Inverness on the 3rd of Sept'r, say Friday first. The Address of your Aunt Jane's husband is "Mr Donald McKenzie, Blacksmith & Farmer, Carriboo, by Pictou, Nova Scotia, North America". He took that Farm with its extensive Wood, & set up a Sawmill to manufacture the Timber, for sale. Having no more news at present, I conclude by saying that I remain, Dear Roderick, your very affectionate father
Robert Macdonald.

P.S. After writing the above, Georgina called in with a letter to them from Alex'r, saying that he received your last letter to him from Calcutta giving the same account substantially that you gave to us. He & his sister & Robert & all his are well. Little Alic is nearly so now. The Episcopalians built a Cathedral at the River side near Tomnahurich Street, & it is to be opened tomorrow with great pomp of vanities.
Farewell for the present, & future.
R.McD.
Longing for your next letter.

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1 School Lane, Church Street
Inverness. Dec'r 24th 1869

Dear Roderick,
We received your longed for & very welcome letter of the 11th of October last, on the 6th of this month & it comforted us very much, especially for your being so well & happy in your present situation, after all your troubles, & ever may you be so, enjoying Peace of Conscience with holiness of life.
This leaves us both in our usual state of health. Your mother looks as usual, & I nearly so, but not so well: Yet we have cause to be thankful.
I wrote to you at Melbourne Post Office after receiving your last letter to us from Calcutta, & we trust that you received it on your arrival there, although you did not acknowledge it. I would write this one sooner, but the Mail was not to leave here till to-morrow, or next day.
We received last night a letter from John dated "Barque Challenge of Greenock, Rangoon, October 31st.", & he was then well, but very much troubled with musquitoes, & thereby want of rest or sleep for 3 months & waiting there for a cargo homewards to London or Liverpool. He wrote to you from Bombay to Calcutta but got no answer, nor his letter returned. Margaret arrives here last night from Glasgow, & is well, & sends to you her best respects. No letter yet from Henry, after we wrote to him 3 times since 8 months. I wrote myself last enclosed with a letter to his Master, enquiring for him, & we wait expecting an answer soon, whether he is alive or dead. We are afraid that the letters were lost with some Mails.
We think that Robert & his wife & his family are well. He got lately an addition to his family, a daughter named Georgina after his sister. We got a letter from A. McLennan when you got yours, he & Eliza are well. Their father & mother & the rest of the family. Robert & Johny are in the Tartan Warehouse all well. Thomas Findlay & his family are well, & little Roderick is attending school. All the rest of our relations are likewise well. We had a cold winter hitherto.
Our best respects to you, & Isabella your Aunt the first time you see her.
Mary McKenzie, Mrs Dornin's sister is married to a Civil Engineer in Dingwall, & she called here lately & enquired for you, & asked for your address, which I sent to her. Mr. Keane is about killing himself with drink, & Mrs Dornin's daughter is very ill with rheumatism, & fever.
Willie McLachlan the Clerk in Stevens was enquiring for you, & sends his best respects to you.
The Captain & Crew of the ship Trelawney that Alex'r is on had the yellow Fever in the West Indies, & three of them, (the crew), died. The ship left Jamaica for home, & is expected to arrive soon at Greenock. We did not hear if Alex'r had the Fever.
You forgot to tell us what wages you have, & what you have to pay there for your lodgings, bed, board, & washing. Let us know what families here, the Invernessians there belong to. Is that climate cold in winter?
Excuse my fingers, they are still benumbed, & I cannot get them altered nor warm, they would sooner burn.
Expecting that you write to us on receipt of this if there be a mail then for this Country.
What countrymen are your employers?
I remain, dear Roderick,
Your loving father
Robert McDonald

P.S. Let us know what is Bell's master following, or is he a Farmer?
Many thanks to you for the Newspaper. I must send you some.
We wish for you a Good New Year & prosperity there, & many of them.

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13 Lower Kessock Street, Inverness#
June 9th 1870

Dear Roderick,
We received a letter from you on the ??? ?? ????. It was dated March 28th. Robert wanted to see it, & I sent it to him, & I was delaying in writing to you till he was returning it, which he did not yet, & until we would flit.
We are glad that your health has been continued so well. We have great cause to be thankful for the measure of health that we have enjoyed since we wrote to you last time. Miss Shaw came home to see her people, & called on us on the 22nd of May, & two or three times after that, & we showed her the parcel of your papers to be sent to you by her, & she agreed to take it to you when she goes, & that is appointed to be in the end of September, or the beginning of October. The parcel is here in her father's house, & to be sent to ?London?. She was allowed to stay here 3 weeks. She has many Parcels to take from parties here, to parties there. Her father lives in Glebe Street, & one of her brothers is a saddler living in Castle Street. She came with her Master, & his family, & as his servant, she got her passage free. Her trunk is not to be sent to her till they be ready to return. They had a fine passage on the sea coming.
We have not heard from John nor about him & his ship since they sailed from Rangoon on the 20th of February, but that they are expected to arrive, (if spared), in Glasgow between this & the end of this month. We heard that another Ship, belonging to the same Company, was lost lately with all her hands. Alex'r is over in Sutherland with my sister & hers. After coming home from Jamaica he was frequently attacked with the Ague, & went to Sutherland in hopes of getting better, & they kept him for a while, & he built a boat for them, & is a little better, & the fits are less frequent, nor continuing so long as formerly.# Margaret is with us, & in her usual health. All the rest of our people here, & north, & south are well. We had to leave the other house because of the damp & cold, & we suspected that the cold there was the cause of the relapse of his trouble, there being no fireplace in his room. That put us a little back, having had to lay out such in medecines, Peruvian bark & Quinine, wine, & brandy to check his fever, & medical attendance, & also had to pay a foreman & other flitting expences, beside our own & Marg'ts.
We cannot well express our gratitude to you for your continued kindness to us by giving us so much pecuniary help, but as we are at present so bare, we hope to be excused for asking you the favour of sending to us £2 or £3 on receipt of this letter, as convenient for you. The cause of my asking of your income, & outlaying there was, that I was afraid that helping us so much might straiten yourself in a little while, as we thought that your income there was less than you had in Calcutta.
When John came home from his former voyage in the Moira, he laid out his savings in paying old debts, & because of that he became bare enough, as he did not get payed since, & after we tried to save some of his money, & put it in the Bank for him, while he was in Glasgow afterwards, he was now & then sending to us for saving, but he got & spent (we believe) the whole, before going again to sea. Since than he left with us a Note for each month, which we duly received till now, but at the end of this month it will be discontinued, As he has asked Maggie to meet him at Liverpool or Glasgow on his return, we are afraid that he may be robbed as once before.
We received a letter from Henry on the 20th of May last, & he was well when he wrote it on the 3rd of April. I cannot remember if I told you in my last letter that he married on the 20yh April last, to a young girl of German extraction, but born & brought up in Galveston, well educated in English & German, & skilled in service work, & needle-work. Her maiden name is "Anne Steiness". "He says about her besides, that she has been a hard working young women. She is one of those who have a proud spirit so long as she has a bit of strength in her arms, & is independent. She never wore silk dresses in her life, & does not intend to wear such until she be well able to afford one. Her age is now 19 years." "When they married she was a servant girl in a French Family in Galveston, & well able to do all kinds of work, both in the kitchen, & in the sewing-room, even his trousers, vest or coat she is able to mend, & has made too. She is a member of the Lutherian Church, & her parents before the war were in very good circumstances, but since were poor, however he never intended to marry any girl because she had riches" &c.. He is a Shipping & Rail Clerk now.
We had very seasonable weather this season. Maggie & Our best respects to you & to Bell, I so I remain.
Your loving father
Robert MacDonald
My right hand is as it was, now 14 months without right feeling & shaking. I have no hope of restoration.

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13 Lower Kessock Street, Inverness
September 1st 1870

Dear Roderick,
We received your letter of the 18th of June on the 22nd of Aug't enclosing a letter to Margaret, &c (P.O. order for £5 see the end). We are sorry about the news you had to give us about the cold there, & its effects on you, & for the dullness of the Trade there. It is the general complaint here, & in America &c. But we had hot dry weather during the last 3 months till about a week ago, when it changed to cool & rainy. It is very wet today here. We hope that your being more accustomed to the cold weather there, it may be more agreeable to you. Keep yourself warm with warm clothes. This leaves us both, (& Margaret with us), in our usual state of good health, except my right hand & my right toes, (being as they were), & your mother some times complains of cramps & rheumatism. We send to you our best respects. I suppose that you did not receive my letter of the 9th of June. Perhaps you got it since. Alex'r suffered very much with the Ague after coming from Jamaica, & went over to Sutherland to my sister there, & stopped for some time with them, got free of the Ague, & built a boat for them for fishing, & came home at the middle of July, & John came then home from the East Indies quite well, & Robert & his wife & youngest child, Georgina came at the same time from London to see us & passed their holydays with us. So we had the pleasure of having the three Brothers together with us, but wanted you & Henry! I had a letter from Henry dated June 5th. He & his wife were then well, & employed, & in the same place, & he was to write to you then, I hope you received it before now. John & Alex'r returned to Glasgow about the end of July for work, but got none till the middle of last week. Their trade got very slack since the War between Russia & Prussia began. That war is still going on. No war, during my life, destroyed & wounded so many bodies as it has done already. The news about it, is the principal one since it began. Along with this I'll try to send you the last Glasgow Weekly Mail, & Portraits. Miss Shaw called on us several times, & she is to return to Melbourne this or next month. She is now in England with the family she serves. She is to bring your drawing papers with her when she goes. I rolled them up neatly, & delivered them to her sister to be sent to her with other peoples parcels in a Box she left in her father's for that purpose. I hope that you will receive them safe. All our friends at home are well in health. I received the General Laws of the Melbourne Lodge of the Order of St. Andrew, & observed your name therein. I enclose a note from Margaret. Many thanks to you for the £5 order. I got cashed Tuesday last when the notice came. I received also then the Weekly Times you sent to me. My love to you remembered & so I remain, your very affectionate father. Robert MacDonald.

As we will be anxious about your health, we will be so to hear from you oftener, therefore write by the first Mail after you receive this.

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13th Lower Kessock Street,
Inverness. Dec'r 21st 1870

Dear Roderick,
I received you welcome letter of the 10th of September last, & there was no Mail since from here to Australia till the 23rd of this month, sorry to delay, but I was posting some of the Glasgow Weekly Mail for you, & I post of it one along with this letter. We received the Newspapers you & Isabella sent, yours of Oct'r 8th, hers of Sept'r 17th, but no letter since the above date. I am so short of memory that I forgot if I wrote to you a letter since.
I now embrace the opportunity of the Glasgow Mail to write to you that we had a very hard winter hitherto, with frost, snow, & rain, & therefore we were sometimes suffering by catching cold, but nothing else except my hand & foot being as they were since the 11th of April 1869. paralysed.
John & Margaret are in Glasgow, he at his work, & she is at service, & both in good health.
Alex'r went to Galveston where Henry is, & we had a letter from him dated Nov'r 6th. He was then well in health (& so were Henry & his wife.) He was 8 days by Train, & 1 day by Steamer going from New York, & was offered work at the cars at 4 dollars per day, to commence as soon as he would get a tool-chest from New York. The Steamer he intended to go by from New York would not take Steerage passengers, & therefore he had to go by another & a mercy it was for him, as that Steamer, with all on board, went to the bottom of the sea of Florida by a hurricane, & if he had gone earlier, & by way of New Orleans, he would have to be in quarrantine for some time, as all Steamers & Trains there were with the yellow fever. There was no yellow fever in Galveston this year. The winter weather with them there was as hot or warm as the hottest day in summer with us. Copied substantially from Alex'r's letter.
All our relations here, & in Dingwall, & in Sutherland, & in London, are in good health at present, & we received a letter the other day from A. McLennan. He told me that he wrote to you lately. He has made up his mind to marry a girl who is a Governess in Mr. Hutcheson's House, with whom he hopes to live happy, as she is to his mind, well educated, & of a respectable character. Her parents are not alive. I do not know if he told you any thing about it. He wrote to us for our thoughts, & advice about it, & sent 5/-. And now with regard to yourself on such a subject, we advise you to choose with your own eyes a woman in every respect suitable for you, & to be a good & economical servant, if possible a truly pious one, & healthy, & free from pride & vanity & from a desire for strong drink, & to be sober & temperate. Your mother went to see the girl McPherson as soon as she heard that she came home from Glenurquhart, where she was for her health, & saw her pale but healthy. Her brother came home from Australia after getting through his money. She got ill by a complaint of her lungs, & it was for that she went from home. She is much reduced with it, & it will not leave her so soon, & we do not like to entangle anyone, or encourage you to such a sickly person. Health without money is better than money without health. As your mother saw her in such a state, she did not speak to her on the subject. Take your time, & don't do any such thing in a hurry, that you may have to repent of, & look out among your manager's people to see if there be among them a suitable person; a good general servant of all works that maybe useful, that will suit a working man, & a needle-worker. It is the ruin of young men to be looking too high; too high accomplishments, such as Ladies-maids & governesses, &c. that will need servants under them all their lives. Let her be from a healthy looking family of clean blood, & free from King's Evil, & not from consumptive families neither. You may mind Mucklevean's family in Park Street, Kelvinhaugh, who were all affected with the King's Evil, & many such in Islay.
Our best respects to you & Bell, & wishing you a good New Year &c. I remain your very affectionate father.
Robert McDonald

P.S. There is a widow McDonald in Grant Street here, whose husband was Duncan McDonald, Shoemaker, & they had a son named, who went to Australia, & she is longing very much to hear from him, if he is alive. He was in Melbourne when she heard last from him. Try & find him if you can. He was here a Merchant before he went.

Edit Note - The King's Evil was a name for scrofulous.

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13th Lower Kessock Street,
Inverness. Feb'y 16th 1871

Dear Roderick,
We received you kind letter of the 5th Dec'r on the 31st of Jan'y, with your P.O. for £4, for which we return to you our many thanks. It was & is a very seasonable help to us, as we were just run out when it arrived, & no help then from any other quarter. We are glad for your having been then enjoying your health so well. We have cause to be thankful for the measure of health that we enjoy. And now we wish for you a Good New Year, with health, prosperity, & happiness, therein & hereby, & many of such. All our relations here are in good health. John is in Glasgow working, but he is still unwell, being troubled with cough & sore throat. Margaret is at service in Glasgow, & in her usual state of health. Alex'r is with Henry in Galveston, & they were all well in health when they wrote to us last. Alex'r was then working at the Railway Cars. Our friends in London are also well. We had a letter the other day from A. McL, & sent us 5/-. We sent to you a Glasgow Weekly Mail by the last Mail despatched from here. We send this letter & 2 Weekly Mails, 4th & 11th Feb'y, by the next Mail from here, which will be despatched tomorrow. Mr James McKay, a brother to him who lodged with you there, is going forward with their mother soon to Melbourne, & they are to have a sale of their furniture, &c, this week, & then to prepare to go, & I am sending by him a book of Spurgeon's, named "John Ploughman's Talk", & if it will be delivered to you by him, I wish you to read it, & study it carefully, & you will find it very beneficial to you. We advise you not to lend any money to those Messr's McKay, as there may be a danger of not getting it back when required by you. They had their difficulties here. Their mother was left bare when their father was drowned in Kessock Ferry. He was sitting in the Boat, & he had the reins of a horse over his arm & the flap of the sail frightened the Horse & he jumped into the water taking the man out with him, & so he was drowned. She endeavoured to keep them in school, till they were got into shops, or a shop. After they served their time, they set up in a shop of their own by means of money lent to them by a friend, till they would be able to pay that friend. But by giving too much credit they soon went through it, & they went on too stylish keeping a £20 house, a £40 shop, (High rents which caused heavy taxes) when a £10 dwelling house would do. The lender never got back the money. Keep this to yourself only. Your mother went to see them & they are to come to see us before going off.
We had severe frosty & snowy weather this winter, but now it is fine for the season. Your mother & I wish you not to be acting as a Volunteer there as in London. Soldiers are murderers. Learn & obey the sixth commandment. Our best respects to you & Bell. Your affectionate parents.
Margaret & Robert McDonald

N.B. My fingers cannot hold my pen right. Write soon again

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
6th July 1871

Dear Roderick,
We received your letter of the 23rd of April on the 19th of June, by which we had the pleasure of knowing that you & your Aunt Isabella were well when you wrote. This leaves your mother & I well at present. I was very unwell for 2 weeks lately, & your mother unwell with cramp in her legs, & closeness of her breast.
We received a letter from Henry on the 27th of June. It was dated June the 7th. They were then well in health, but having gone through a severe storm & overflow on the City (than what they had in October 1867) whereby great numbers of cattle, hogs, & hens were drowned, & houses & bridges & Railroads were swept away & damaged. They had a second Storm (more than on the 10th & 11th) & we see in a Newspaper that we received today from him that Ships & Steamers suffered destruction or damages.
John & Alex'r are at work, John in Glasgow, & Alex'r in Dumbarton, but not constant work, & therefore we get no help from them, but little that John gives, & a little now & then from Robert. My salary or pension, being only £10 a year, is little enough to pay house Rent, fire, light, & taxes. This leaves us poor enough at present. Margaret is still in Glasgow at service, & well.
We had to move hither at Whitsunday. My address is at the top of this page. Our people here are all well, & wish you well. We have good Summer weather, & our potatoes do well. Alex'r McLennan & his sister Eliza are well in London & he is taking out his brother Robert, & if he can into the Warehouse where he himself is Superintendent. I wrote to you what you mentioned in your letter about him. I understand that he is quite well.
I am preparing to go up to Moy-hall Strathdearn on Saturday first to teach the Gaelic Language to The Mackintosh of Mackintosh, the heir to the Mackintosh Estates, & the Chief of the Mackintoshs. I am to be with him for a month, say to the 5th of August, & perhaps another while in Sept'r & October.
We advise you strongly to get free & keep free from being a soldier, or warrior. Sir Walter Raleigh &c. Read the enclosed printed piece taken from a Newspaper, headed by that name.
As many soldiers, as many learned murderers, says another eminent Christian. Be one of the "Peace Society". Try & get & study well "The Peace Society Tracts".
The Mail for Australia via Southampton will be dispatched from Inverness on Friday first. I forward to you along with this two Glasgow Weekly Mail. I will be expecting some help from you along with your answer to this, if not forwarded to me before then. With our best respects to you & your Aunt, I remain, Dear son
Your affectionate Father
Robert McDonald

Excuse my hand. Let us know if Mr James McKay & his mother arrived safe there & when & if you have received the Book I sent to you by them. Do you see Miss Shaw & how is she? Her father enquires.

Unidentified Newspaper cutting

Sir Walter Raleigh (a Devonshire worthy) said "that practices of war are so hateful to God, that were not His mercies infinite, it were in vain for those of that profession to hope for any portion of them."
Napoleon said that "war was the business of barbarians."
The Duke of Wellington said that "men who have nice notions of religion have no business to be soldiers."
Sir Harry Smith said that "the profession of a soldier was a 'damnable profession'."
Sir Charles Napier said that "to overcome all feelings of religion is generally the means of making a warrior."
Bishop Jeremy Taylor says, "If men be subjects of Christ's law, they can never go to war with each other. As contrary as cruelty is to mercy, tyranny to charity, so is war and bloodshed to the meekness and gentleness of the Christian religion."
Bishop Watson says that "war has principles and practices peculiar to itself, which but ill quadrate with the rules of moral rectitude, and are quite abhorrent from the benignity of Christianity."
Bishop Warburton says, "I look upon war as the blackest mischief ever breathed from hell upon the fair face of this creation."
Archbishop Whately says, "War is a great disgrace to civilized men and Christians."
John Wesley says, "Shall Christians assist the prince of hell, who was a murderer from the beginning, by telling the world of the benefit of war? Shall Protestant publications proclaim to the nations that war is a blessing of Providence?"
Dr Arnold (of Rugby) says, "Could there by any possibility have been another war in the war if we had accepted the mercies given us? * * * The Sermon on the Mount cannot be read by any good man without the strongest feeling of shame and humiliation, for the contrast between the picture of Christian principles there drawn and the reality he sees around him."
Rev. Henry Melvill says, "If war would altogether cease, were vital Christianity diffused, then we must regard it as at variance with Christianity, whatever splendours may be thrown around it by its achievements and apologists."
Rev. Dr McNeile says, "The Peace Society have reason on their side; they have sound argument on their side; they have Christian principles on their side."
Rev, J.C. Ryle says, " Men of the most eminent abilities and extensive erudition have never yet, nor ever will produce arguments sufficient to prove that the profession of a soldier is consistent to the profession of Christianity."

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Moy Inn, July 17th 1871

Dear Georgina,
I received Alec's note to you this morning and your letter this evening, and am glad for what I am told in them. I have to tell you and your Mother good news and nothing bad from here. I am enjoying good health and I have a good appetite and get good food, and a comfortable bed ever since I came here, and with very kind people. I get every morning a tumblerfull of milk new from the cow about an hour before breakfast, and porridge and plenty new milk and an egg and a cup or two of tea with plenty cream and sugar, and bread and butter to breakfast every day. I then got to Moy Hall at half past ten and be there with the Mackintosh till 1 o'clock hearing him of his lessons and directing him, and he comes on very well. After his lessons, every day, he brings a bottle of good sherry wine and takes a glass full of it, and gives me another. I then come home to the Inn where I get a good dinner between 2 and 4, and get tea with bread and butter about 6 or 7 o'clock every day. I get an offer of a tumbler of Ale or Porter at dinner, no whisky, and still better I can now walk better, but I miss the fire for my cold hand. I did see plenty good things here, but no fire since I came yet. I get rabbits and ham and veal and potatoes to dinner and often bread and butter, and Mr. Peter Kerr or his sister breaks or cuts the meat small to me. and she pours out the tea for me, and yet I take my food alone. This is the way I live here. I feel that I am getting stronger and healthier every day. I am surrounded by a large close of wood of many sorts of trees, including birch, and I am at liberty from my scholar to walk through it daily. He was in Inverness on Friday last at the Wool Market but only to see acquaintances, and I was writing sentences in Gaelic and English that day for him. He is a tall fellow, and wears a coarse jacket and kilt. (text missing)
I would like to know how your mother comes through. I am afraid poor enough, if enough itself. Having no more news for you I conclude with my best respects to you all. Give a reading of this to your mother.
Yours truly,
Robert MacDonald

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
August 31st 1871

Dear Roderick,
Since I wrote to you about the 7th of last month we did not receive any letter from you. The last was written on the 23rd of April, & we received it on the 29th of June. I went up on the 8th of July to Moy hall, 12 miles from Inverness, for a month to teach the Chief of the Mackintoshes the Gaelic Language, & I came home on the 5th current, & I expect that he will send for me for another month after the shooting about the middle of next month. He came on well in the time I was with him. I improved very much in appearance, health, & strength while I was up. Your mother & I are in good health at present, so are all our relations in this country. John is at work in Glasgow & Alx'r is at work in Dumbarton, & Maggie is at service in Glasgow and carriages and both are in good health. I received a letter the last week from Henry, & he & his wife & child were in good health when he wrote it on the 8th of this month & was about writing to you. Robert & his wife & family & A. McLennan are well. We were expecting a letter from you by the last Mail, & that is the cause of our writing this to let you know that we have not received any as yet. We are longing very much to hear if Mr James McKay & his mother arrived there safe, & if you got the book I sent by him to you. We heard here that they had a difficult passage, & were in great danger, & let us know if the McKays are well & employed. Mrs Thomson our last Landlady wishes to know about them.
When I went to Moyhall I had the pleasure of Alx'r McLennan coming up to see me, & he kindly gave to your mother 10/- when he was at home in his holydays. He took Robert his brother to London, & got him immediately into the Warehouse, where he is doing well, & promoted a step already; & it is likely that he told you of his promotion, to be a Superintendent of the Warehouse. Robert did not come north this summer to pass his holydays. The small-pox was raging in London, & in all other cities & towns & to Inverness this season & caused many deaths.
Write to us soon after receiving this whether there is a letter coming or not.
I had a letter yesterday from John & he tells that the carpenters where he is have a strike for an advance of wages, except Todd & McGregor's. They stuck out in Renfrew too. Some of the Masters offered only half what the men want, & yet they refused to take that, & it is likely that they will not yield till they come to poverty.
There is a good crop in this country this year & the shearing is just commenced. A great many strangers came, & were coming & going by Steamers & Trains from & to the South &c. this year daily. Carriages & Cabs are daily morning & evening all occuppied. Most of the Tourists are coming north instead of going to France &c. You will get this Country News in the Glasgow Weekly Mail which I send along with this letter. So I conclude with our best respects to & to Bell if you can find it convenient - From your affectionate father & mother.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

Your Aunt Anne's son Alex'r McDonald Martin went to New York the second time, & got no work, & his sister's husband is the same way - little or no work, & both repenting their going out. Trades & works here were very dull & slack during summer at home & abroad.

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
November 23rd 1871

Dear Roderick,
On the 27th of October I forwarded to you a letter in which I told you that your mother was to send to you some socks by Miss Margaret Davidson from Wells Street here. Her Address is Miss Davidson, Matron on the Ship "Light Brigade", Emigration Office, Brisban, Queensland, Australia. She left here on Saturday last, & your mother sent by her to you a Parcel consisting of 5 pairs of Socks, ring-straked, & some thread corresponding to them to fit them. We got them made by guess, but we hope that they are not too little, & if they are too large, that is a better fault, for they will go in by the washing. She sent some half-cuts of thread to match of such as she thought could not perhaps be got there, such as purple & mauve & some light blue. Likely you can get scarlet & white there to suit the other colours. Half a cut of the thread she sent with another half a cut to match of another colour will be enough for a pair, & the opposite bar. The differences between the pairs were caused by their being made by different hands, as she was anxious to get them done before Miss Davidson would be called away. I gave her your address, & she thinks that the distance between Brisban & Melbourne is not more than between Glasgow & Inverness, & that there are Steamers trading between them, & she would rather keep the Parcel till you write to her directing by which conveyance you wish it to be sent to you. She will therefore write to you on arrival. She expects to arrive about the end of February if the Ship will get a quick passage with good weather. Perhaps you may get leave to go over yourself & see her & get the parcel if it will be fine weather. Your mother & I think that you will gain by getting such an accomplished person that would suit your situation in life. Your mother broke the way for you already & she did not object. Your mother desired her not to come back again but to become your House keeper. She was here several times & her aunt seeing us. If you would be so lucky as to have her, you would not be troubled with beggars of friends. We would wish you to go & see her yourself as soon as she will write to you on arrival at Brisban, in case the ship may soon shift. If not mind to correspond with her on the subject.
The rest of our family are well except that Alex'r has a very sore leg. When he was to sail from Greenock for Jamaica he was repairing something on the ship & cut his leg. It got well & continued so till lately while working in Dumbarton, the place that was cut inflamed & bealed, & he got a doctor to lance it, & it is still in a bad state with him. All the rest of our relations are well here, & ourselves are as usual. I received the other day a letter from Alex'r McLennan, dated 48 Windsor Terrace, St Georges Road, Glasgow. He left the Fore Street Warehouse some time ago and cane to Glasgow to be with his Uncle, a Silk & Yarn Merchant in 47 Queen Street, & lodges in his Uncles's house at 48 Windsor Terrace, & is there very comfortable, & got stronger, & stouter, & very healthy. He left the F.S. Warehouse with the good wishes of all in it. "His Uncle took a notion of him, & went to London, & Alex'r therefore laid the matter before Mr Hutcheson & the Directors & got their full sanction to come to Glasgow, to see after it before leaving them. He therefore came on the Friday & returned on the Monday having settled satisfactorily that he would change, & did so on the most amicable terms & left the F. S. Warehouse & he has no cause to regret the change."
He received your letter & he is to write to you in a few days. He wrote to his grandmother telling her he would soon be needing blankets, & if she had no use for her wool that he would buy it from her. We suppose that it was a joke, & she wrote him back that she would try & get the wool made into blankets, & would give him one at least, & that he well deserved it at home, & that she wishes that you would require blankets. A. McL. was very kind to us, & gave your mother 10/- when he came down here in July last, & went to Moy too, & she told him how careless Johny was about his brother Alex'r. He had work for 3 weeks in Ingles' Yard at Point to eight o'clock at night & got paid accordingly 6d an hour, & he did not go to see his suffering brother, nor sent any money to help him. Maggie was obliging in sending him some. John would rather spend it in drink. Margaret is in the same place No. 30 Kelvinhaugh Street. ## Her master is very wealthy & made his Will, & he was very unwell, & watched by Maggie & her Mistress time about. He was not married & the Mrs is a friend of his own as House keeper. He is to leave thousands & she got £10 put in the Will for Maggie.
I enclose Miss Davidson's address, as I got it from her own hand, & I kept a copy of it. With our best respects to you we remain your loving father & mother.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

P.S. Remember us kindly to the Messrs McKay & their mother, & tell her that Mrs Thomson is in her usual state of health, but very dull since her minister Mr Ross died, about 4 months ago, & let us know if they got into employment, & how they are. Remember us also to Bell your aunt, if you know where she is, & how she is. Mrs Thomson sends her best respects to the Messrs McKay & their mother.
We had a letter from Henry lately telling us that in the beginning of October they had a terrible storm which put the sea in on the City Galveston 4 feet deep, & his wife & his child & himself & his mother-in-law had to be carried out of their house in a boat in the night to a safe place, & his wife at the same time very unwell, & after being long in the water his own feet swelled & he became sick for sometime. His house went of the foundation with it. Perhaps you will have a letter from him before this one, as he was to send you one at the time he wrote to us. Write soon.
R.McD.

## Ed. Note - The "Master" was Mr. Hugh Methven, recorded at home with Margaret in the census of 7 months earlier.

1871 Census (3rd April) Glasgow (644-8) Book 91. Page 20.

30 Kelvinhaugh Street, Glasgow.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Hugh Methven Head 68 Accountant Glasgow, Lanarkshire
Margaret MacDonald Servant 32 Domestic Servant Inverness, Inverness-shire

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
December 20th 1871

Dear Roderick,
I write this to let you know that we wrote to you several times since we had received a letter from you, & the last was on the 23rd of last month, in which we informed you that about that time we forwarded to you 5 pairs of Socks & some thread to feet them when required, by a girl from Well Street here who officiates a Governess & Matron on the Ship "Light Brigade" bound for Brisbane in that country. We refer you to our last 2 letters for the rest about them & her. When she will arrive there, or at Brisbane she will write to you about them, & we hope that you will pay attention to the subject, & endeavour to see her if the passage to Brisbane is safe for you. She is a good respectable girl & of very respectable people & old acquaintances of ours. The Ship on which she is "The Light Brigade" sailed from Gravesend on the 10th day of this month, & they expect to arrive in that Country in the lattend of February or the beginning of March if the weather will be favourable & if all will go well with them. As far as we know all our people are well in health. We did not hear from Henry since I wrote to you last. We heard from London last week & they told us that 3 of the children were after recovering from a kind of fever that they had, that a child named Alic had one of his eyes inflamed, & his mother went with him to the Eye Hospital. From your loving parents.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

P.S. About the thread, you may perhaps get there thread for mending the Socks, & use the thread your mother sent to you to feet them when needed. And about trying to see the girl Miss Margaret Davidson, enquire of a knowing man or a ship Captain if the passage to Brisbane be safe for you to go & come, or is it a long distance, before venturing. Your mother saw her Aunt today & she told her that she called on Robert when she was in London going to the Ship to see if she would get in the Warehouse the articles that she wanted, as being cheaper there as such abroad. She was here 2 months, & the Ship was paying her board during that time, & she has a £100 for the trip to Brisbane. Her aim is to buy an Annuity. She has at present on board the Ship 125 Adults & 10 children under her attendance & the Doctor's.
Our best respects to you & the McKays, & we wish you a good New Year & happiness therein.

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
April 17th 1872

Dear Roderick,
We received your kind & welcome letter of the 15th of Febr'y on April 10th, & we are glad that you are well. Your letter before that one was written on the 6th of November. No other from you to us came to our hand since we received your July letter on the 12th of Sept'r last with an order for £4.00. I wrote to you on the 29th of that month & sent with it your Portrait from Georgina & a Newspaper, & we are afraid that they are lost in or with the Rangoon, or some other way, as you did not receive them. We will be glad of a letter from you on receipt of this one with all the good news you can send. We are middling well in health. My hand & foot are still as they were, & am very stiff for writing. My voice is weak, & my hearing & sight failed very much of late, and my appetite so likewise. Margaret came yesterday from Glasgow to see us, & she is well, & wishes to be kindly remembered to you. She is to go back in a few days. John & Alex'r are working in Dumbarton & both well. Robert & his family are well except their Robbie & Alic, Rob is in the hospital with fits & Alic's ear discharging matter. Georgina & John McLennan & their family are in good health, & A. McLennan married on the ???? of March in London, & they reside now in Glasgow. I think that you will have a letter from him before this ne. Thomas Findlay & his family are all well, & all the rest of our relations in this town & in Dingwall & in Sutherland are likewise well. Henry & his wife & bairn were well when we heard from him a few weeks ago.
When you will write again to let us know the name & surname of your intended & about her people, & her age, & if you are united, & when. We wish you both a happy Union & prosperity both temporal & Spiritual.
Let us know if you got the socks, or if had any correspondence with Miss D. If she arrived safe & where & when. Any word about your Aunt & where is she &c. Our best respects to you.
From your loving parents
Robert & Margaret McDonald

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
July 1st 1872

Dear Roderick,
We Received your kind letter of the 8th of April on the 18th of June with the P.O. Order for £3-, all right for which we return to you many thanks. We are glad for you that you were in good health when you wrote it, & we hope that you continued so. We have cause to be thankful for the measure of good health we enjoyed since we wrote to you last, but my hand continues in the same state. All our relations here, & in Dingwall, & in Sutherland are in good health. John & Alex'r are working in Dumbarton, & both are likewise well in health. Margaret is in the same place & well. Robert & his wife & family are so too. We had no letter from Henry since I wrote to you last. Alex'r McLennan is married to a Governess that Mr Hutcheson his Governor in London had in his house. They both are well in Glasgow, and Georgina his sister with them.
This letter will be posted tomorrow, & the Mail will leave this Town on Wednesday morning. We will be expecting a letter from you in due time after you receive this one. We hope that you will then have to tell us if you have received the parcel of socks, & when, & what the carriage of it. How are the McKays & their mother? Any word since about Bell your Aunt? Any change in your own condition since? ----
Last winter & Spring here there was scarcely any snow & in consequence there is a heavy crop of every sort. We had very rainy weather during the last two weeks. We had only one thunder storm here, but it was a terrible one, & it killed a pig in the Nursery aside us. When you write to us mind to mention John McLennan's name, & Thomas Findlay's, &c. Their & our best respects to you, & so we are your loving parents.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

Thomas was west the Canal for a month repairing, & called when he came back, & was enquiring for you. Remember us, if you can, to Mr James McKay & his mother, & likewise to Miss Shaw, & if she has any word for her father & sister that you can send in your letter.

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
July 30th 1872

Dear Roderick,
We received your letter of the 22nd of May on the 16th of July by which we were informed that you received the Parcel of socks, & that free of charge for the carriage of it, safe, & in good time, & that yourself was in good health for which we were glad. We have the pleasure to inform you that we are in good health except my hand. It is still as it was since three years, & no hope of getting better. We received a letter from Henry on the 9th of this month to inform us that his child died on the 12th of June by congestion of the brain through teething. Her mother & himself are broken-hearted therefore. Notice of her death we saw in the Inverness Courier. I suppose they got a Paper from Galveston with the notice, desiring them to copy it in the Courier. John & Alex'r came to see us from Dumbarton on the 13th cur't & stopped a week: they are in good health & constantly employed. Margaret is where & as she was when I wrote to you about the 3 of this month, & so is Alex'r McLennan, & I think that I wrote to you that he is married. Robert & his wife & family are well, & likewise all our relations here, & in Dingwall, & in Sutherlandshire.. Miss Davidson did not arrive yet at home.
I forwarded your Portrait to you on the 29th of September last, & I am afraid that it was lost with the Rangoon, or some other wrecked vessel.
We had very rainy weather here since a month or two. We hear & read of thunder & floods in England with losses of lives & cattle &c, & of Cholera in Russia & Prussia, & Diorhea &c. When you write again let us know about the McKays & Miss Shaw.
Our best respects to you, & to them if you see them, & so we remain your loving father & mother.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
August 28th 1872

Dear Roderick,
I received your letter of the 22nd of May, & I answered it on 31st of July. I hope that you will receive it, & likewise the one before that acknowledging the receipt of the £3 Order.
I now write to you to inform you that Miss Davidson arrived here lately, & we delivered to her as you desired about the McPherson with whom she left the Parcel to be forwarded to you, but she answered that you have no occasion to be obliged to any one but her for carrying the Parcel, & that you are very welcome to it by her. You should write to thank her in your next letter to us. Let us know if you received the second letter Miss Davidson wrote to you.
We are very glad for that the socks fit you well, & were so suitable for you in such a season.
We are now in good health, & so are all our relations in the country. John & Alexander are at work in Dumbarton, & Margaret as she was in Glasgow. We did not hear from Henry since we received his letter about the death of his child.
Little Roderick Findlay is in School & coming on well, & so are the rest of the family, & James is in Glasgow at his trade, learning to be a Ships carpenter. Alex'r McLennan & his young wife are well, & he is getting on well since he came to Glasgow. I sent to him your kind compliments.
We had very rainy weather here since two months, & the potatoes are failing (diseased) very much. This will be a great loss, & we will have our share of it. I send to you an "Inverness Advertiser" along with this letter. We expect the Queen to pass here soon on her way to Dunrobin, Sutherlandshire. The Coals are getting very high priced in this Country. They are already reaching 1/9 per cwt. Food & fire will be very dear to us. Other things are rising in price also. The poor will suffer thereby, & so will others. Mr McPherson with whom Miss Davidson left your Parcel is married to a daughter of a tenant of Miss Davidson's Uncle on Wells Street here. Your mother is wondering that you did not write to her that you received her letter, & to thank her, as to help her mind easy, as she was to be in that place for sometime. We remain your loving father & mother.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

I can hardly write any right.

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
Decr 17th 1872

Dear Roderick,
We received your very welcome letter of the 10th of Octr on the 5th of this month with the P.O. order for Two pounds, & the Views of the principal buildings of Melbourne for which we return to you many thanks, & are glad for that you are well.
We had letters lately from Robert, Alexander, John & Margaret, & they were in good health all except john. He had benumbed feet & swellings, but getting better. No word from Henry since we received the letter with the notice of the death of his child, altho' I forwarded 4 letters to him since. All the rest of our relations hereabout are in good health, & so is A. McLennan & his wife in Glasgow. We are still in our usual state of health. The most of our potatoes failed in consequence of disease by the rainy season we had. We now have frost & snow. Very changeable weather. Try still to find out where bell is, & how she is. Are the McKays mother living & how is she. How far is Castlemaine from you? Mind Miss Shaw. On the 5th of September I forwarded to you a Weekly mail & a Courier with a letter. T. Findlay & Eliza send you their best respects. She is a stout and fine girl of age. Maggie & Roderick are diligently learning in school. John McLennan & Georgina & Eliza send their best respects to you. Eliza McLennan is a stout and fine girl too. She went away at this term to England again to serve a young lady who is delicate in health. Robert is at home & so is Johny. He is bound to a Draper but Robert is for to be a Joiner or House Carpenter.
We would like that you would send us a true likeness of your intended in your next letter. We wish you both prosperity & happiness.
Excuse the causes of my corrections. Our best respects to you &c. Your loving father
Robert McDonald
If you had given us notice before hand of your marriage day as A. McLennan did we could commemorate it here as we did his.

Alexr McLennan's address

48 Windsor Terrace
St Georges Road
Glasgow

A Weekly Mail along with this letter.

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48 Telford Rd Inverness
February 11th 1873

Dear Roderick & Joanna
I try to write to you these few lines to inform you that we are middling well in health, but I have been very unwell and confined to the house during the last six weeks with cough & closeness of my chest, & sore toes, but now I am getting a little better, but yet confined. And your mother has been keeping wonderful well, yet not free from colds. My right hand is still in such a state as that I can hardly write. I am very sorry to have to tell you that Alexr McLennan is a widower. His amiable wife died in child-bed on the 25th day of last month, & the child (a daughter) is living & a fine child she is, as we are told, & out with a nurse. His address is A. McLennan, 22 Willow Bank Crescent, Woodlands Road, Glasgow. The nurse with the child are at his uncle's house. His uncle's wife took them both into their own house.
We received a letter lately from Henry. He left Galveston & went to Houston which is a better place but subject to fever. His address is Henry E. McDonald, Houston, Harris County, Texas. His wife is in better health. We were 6 months without hearing from each other. Our letters evidently went wrong in the Post Office. They are all well in health.
John & Alexr are well & working in Dumbarton. Margaret is well, & still where she was. And all our relatives here are well. We will be expecting a letter from you soon. I sent to you the Glasgow Weekly Mail every time the Mail leaves here & I was getting Newspapers from you by every Mail from that city. Since the last potatoe crop failed everything got dear, also the coals are as dear as double the former price, now 2/- the cwt. They are as dear at Greenock & Glasgow, & several works are stopped on that account. We had a great fall of rain & snow, & hard frost. The papers will give you the rest. Our best respects to you & wishing you a good New Year & prosperity, both temporal & spiritual, Amen.
We remain your loving father & mother
Robert & Margaret McDonald

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
March 12th 1873

Dear Roderick,
We received your welcome letter of the 3rd of Jan'ry on the 27th of February with the P.O. order for £2 both safe, and for which we return to you many thanks. It came at a good time, as the coals & other provisions are very dear, and it is reported that soon they will be dearer. The coals here are 2/- the cwt.
We are glad for that you were well when you wrote your last letter, & we wish & hope that privilege will be long enjoyed by you, & at the same time we wish you a good New Year with Spiritual & temporal prosperity & happiness. We have cause to be thankful for the measure of health that we enjoy. Your mother is keeping wonderfully well, but not free from cold in this changed weather (I have to inform you that I have been so unwell as to be confined within the house during January & February, & until now this month, with cough & closeness of my chest, beside numbness of my right foot & right hand & without any hope of getting better in the last two members. All the rest of our relations here are well, so are John & Alex'r in Dumbarton, & Maggie in Glasgow, & they send you their best respects.
We are very sorry to have to inform you that Alex'r McLennan is now a widower. His amiable wife died on the 27 Jan'ry 1873 in child-bed after she was safely delivered of a fine stout female child, & a few days after the child died. By the two deaths he is left very lonely & dull & to be pitied. He has none now living with him but his sister Georgina. She is now grown stout & tall, & will be very useful to him.
Thomas Findlay's son James is well, & has now only one year to pass of his time. He is a stout pretty lad, his with his father's best respects will be welcomed by you.
Little Roderick is thriving well, & very keen & zealous learning, & will not let any of his class above him, & Maggie is equally so. Johny is coming on well now. Tommy & Robert are in Bell's School in the town, & thriving well likewise.
I have no more news & therefore I conclude with our best respects to you & to Bell your Aunt.
We remain your affectionate parents.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

P.S When you write to us again let us know which of the McKays with whom their mother lives, as Mrs Thomson wants to know & how they all are, & if in a thriving state.
There is in Melbourne a lad named Alex'r Ross a son of a widow Ross in Telford Street. Try & find him out. One of the McKays likely knows, & he is said to be a good lad. He may suit to be at your wedding, if you choose. He has an office of his own

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
May 6th 1873

Dear Roderick,
We received your very welcome letter of the 28th of March & the Newspapers last week with the notice of your agreeable marriage & wedding, & of you both being well. We have cause to be thankful for the good measure of health that we enjoy. We advertised your marriage in the Inverness Advertiser, & send herewith a copy of it. The Courier took it from the Advertiser. We sent a copy of that Advertiser to your Aunt in Sutherland, one to Robert, one to Maggie & John & Alex'r & one to Henry. Your mother was glad to hear that you had such a pleasant wedding, & that Mr McEachan was pleased to honour you with his company at supper with you. Had you any of the McKays, or any other of your country people at your wedding? We did drink to your health (both of you) & we shared it with our friends Mr Thomas Findlay & family, Mr John McLennan & Georgina & family & a few of our neighbours.
All our relations in this country are well except that A. McLennan is not keeping well at present.
John & Alex'r left Dumbarton about a month ago & began to work in Glasgow. John at Point House, & Alex'r at White Inch. In Partick he got the Small pox, & he was very ill with it, he was 3 days blind with it. He is in an Hospital in Glasgow since Thursday last week. He is now getting better & getting inwell, & it is hoped that he will get over it safely.
Mrs Thomson met your mother at the market, the other day & enquired of her about Mrs McKay, & she told her, & about James. She wishes to know if at any time she was sick when you mentioned that she was still alive, & which of her sons with whom she lives, & what is James at after his return to Melbourne.
We wish to know were is Carlton, is it in or near Melbourne? Are Mrs McDonalds parents living, & are there any more of a family, brothers & sisters. Remember us kindly to them all. Our friends here send their best respects to you both.
We conclude with our best respects to you both, & wish that you may be blessed with long life & spiritual & temporal prosperity & happiness. We remain your loving parents.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

Excuse my hand.

Henry's address is :
Mr Henry E. McDonald
Houston, Harris County
Texas, U.S. America
He left Galveston in July last
I am sending a Glasgow Weekly Mail to you by this Mail.

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48 Telford Rd Inverness
June 3rd 1873

My dearly beloved Roderick,
We received your letter of the 28th of March on the 24th of May with the portraits both safe, & please us well, & we are glad for you being both well when you wrote your letter. We return you both our best respects. We both are in good health, except my right hand, & it is getting worse so that I can hardly write, therefore I hope that you will excuse it, & me. Thomas Findlay's best respects to you.
I have to inform you that Alexr, your brother, took the Smallpox about the 25th of April last, & he was very ill with it, & 3 days blind with it, & confined above a month in a hospital in Partick. He took ill at Whiteinch where he was working. Four died in the Hospital while he was in it with the same as he had & it is awfully spreading 7 fatal to many. He came out last week & he is recovering well, but not at work yet.
All the rest of your relations in this country are in good health. We have fine weather now after a cold wet Spring & May.
We remain your loving parents
Robert & Margaret McDonald

With regards to your Portrait Roderick, your mother says that you should get it taken again as you look so melancholy & no smile in your face & your eyes not open like Joanna's. Keep your eyes open whatever. Joanna's was admired by all that saw it more than yours.

If the looseness will attack you again after taking a dose of castor oil, or of Rhubarb pills, Boil 1 1/2 oz of the chips of Logwood in 2 mutchkins of new milk to a mutchkin or of water, & put a stalk of good strong cinnamon broken & boil them together & take a cupful of it three times a day strained.
It is a safe remedy
After straining it add a little sugar to it to make it palatable. Your mother cured an old woman with it after 2 druggists could not with their medicines.

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48 Telford Rd Inverness
October 20th 1873

Dear Roderick & Joanna
I endeavour to write to you these few lines to inform you that we received your very welcome letter of the 13th of August last with the P.O. order for £2 which were very seasonable, & for which we return to you many thanks, & also for the Newspaper. We are glad for Mrs McDonald & yourself being so well in health as you told us.
We have cause to be thankful for the measure of good health that we enjoyed since we wrote to you last. All our relations in this town & in Dingwall are in good health, & those in Sutherland except my sister. She has been very poorly for some time past. Your brothers & sisters in Glasgow are also well, & so is Robert & his wife & family. Harry left school & he is in a Jewish warehouse, I suppose where you were once for a while. When we heard from henry last he was not well, he had a fever. I will write to you about how he will be, when I will hear again from him. Thomas Findlay & his family, & John McLennan & Georgina & their family send their best respects to you both. We have very stormy weather here now & some snow. We conclude with our best respects to Mrs McDonald & to yourself, & we send to you along with this the Glasgow Weekly Mail of last week. We wish you to try to find out where Bell your Aunt is by writing to the family with whom she was when you saw her last. We have let you know that Jess McLean your Aunt's daughter in Dingwall is to be married to a mason in Nairn on Friday first. I add no more at present. Excuse the shortness of my letter now, I will try to write a longer next time. I remain, Dear Roderick, & Joanna.
Yours truly Robert McDonald

Henry's Address
Mr Henry E. McDonald
Post Office
Houston, Harris County
Texas, U. S. America

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48 Telford Rd
Inverness Decr 16 1873

Dear Roderick & Joanna
We write this to let you know that we are in our usual state of health, & like wise all the rest of our friends in this country, but Robert's wife was poorly, but now she is recovering though slowly. She had a Baby about a month ago, & they thought that she would not live, now we have to say that the baby is a stout boy, & they compliment you by giving him you r name. She says in her letter that he is a good & quiet child and does not give any trouble to her. Thomas happened to be in at the time & he desired us to write to her that his Roderick is as good a boy , or the best boy that he has, & getting better every day, & striving to keep at the top of the Class. We wish you to acknowledge the compliment by sending some present in money to her for the baby. You will get over it soon. We received a letter from Henry about a week ago, & he & his wife were well when he wrote on the 16th of November after having a great deal of suffering from fever.
His address is (Mr Henry E. McDonald, Houston P. Office, Harris County, Texas U.S. America) I send with this a Glasgow Weekly. I cannot write more just now.
Yours truly Robert McDonald

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
March 10th 1874

Dear Roderick,
We received your letter of the 4th of December last, & we expected another before now. The letter you promised to send to us next month, but we did not receive it yet. We wrote to you since about Robert's youngest son, who was to be named after you, & now we have to let you know that he was named & baptised in the last week of January last, Roderick James. He is thriving & fit & stout for his age. We & all your relations at home are well except my sister & we were glad for you both being well when you wrote to us on the 4th of December. Thomas Findlay & his family are thriving well & in education, & James's time is nearly expired & he is to be put soon to some business. Roderick is an excellent scholar for his age.
John & Alex'r are well, & fully employed in Glasgow, & Alex'r in Dumbarton. Maggie is getting on well: no word of her getting married or any of the others. She is in the same employment. I hope A. McLennan is well & prospering in his new situation in Glasgow. He has his two sisters with him & his youngest at school. Robert is working at his trade of House-Carpenter & Johny is in a shop, a Draper's. We had lately great storms & Ship-wrecks & loss of life thereby. All from Inverness, 5 of the men from Inverness. We will be expecting a letter from you soon. Our love to you both. I cannot write more. Yours truly Robert McDonald

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
April 6th 1874

Dear Roderick,
We received your kind & welcome letter of the 28th of January last with its contents all safe being a P.O. Order for £2 & the pleasant news of that Joanna was safely delivered of a very fine girl on the 17th of the same month & that both were then doing well, for which we were & are very thankful & we wish to them both long life & happiness & to you the same along with them & may she give you much pleasure. {Remember us kindly to your wife & to her mother.
I have to let you know that John & Alick & Margaret are well & where they were when I wrote to you last. Georgina & John McLennan & their family are well & so are Thomas Findlay & his Family & they send you their best respects & so are Robert & his wife & family from whom we had a letter lately. We had a letter last week from Henry & he & his wife were well & he wished to be remembered kindly to you. We think that our relations in Dingwall & in Sutherland are well except your Aunt, my sister. She is poorly still. Robert & his wife are very mindful of us. Your mother is going about as usual, & I am middling well except my hand. I cannot write well or manage to hold my pens.
We had terrible gales & very high tides in this country this spring which caused great damage by sea & on land. It broke a lock & took away part of it & broke the bank between Clachnaharry & Kessock Ferry. Our best respects to you, your loving father. Robert McDonald

That gentleman McBain you mentioned to me is not a great one when he neglects to write to his parents. We saw them since & we know them. His mother told your mother that he did not write to them since 8 years. She is very poorly. Your mother is going to see her tonight. She was poorly for many a year, but now she is reduced so much as that she is not able to ly down in bed , & is in a sitting posture all night, with asthma & cough, & it would give her much comfort to hear that he & his family would be well & in good health. Are you hearing at all about Bell, your Aunt? Or are making inquiries? We received the newspaper you sent us. About the McKays & who of the sons the mother is with, if she lives?
Be sure to write to A. McLennan & thank him for his kindness to us often. He was lately very poorly & he now better & he sent to his father £5 to help him to pay the Rent & go up to Glasgow to see him. Write to us soon.

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
June 1st 1874

Dear Roderick,
We are exceedingly sorry for the sad news of the death of your dearly beloved child so early, but "The Lord gave, & the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord", therefore we should not murmur as he took only his own, & yet we cannot but be sorrowful. Your mother had a brother that died like her with a shriek called the hives. It is a kind of inflammation in the bowels. My sister had three grandsons taken away by the scarlet fever almost in a week lately, & if you had to stand to such as several cases took place here lately, - what would you think of it & how would you take it? or bear it?
Your mother wishes Joanna not to be mourning for what will not come back to her; your mother spoiled herself by so doing, & no good by it, but much loss by weakening her sight by crying ever since 30 years so that she could not read without spectacles.
All your relations in this country except James Findlay who is suffering by cough which he got from a bad cold at work at Glasgow.
After serving his time he came home, and although he got a little the better of the cough he is not gaining strength. We are afraid that he is in a consumption. My sister is keeping poorly since a year with shortness of breath, & myself not well, but I am endeavouring to rise daily, & your mother is keeping in her ordinary. Miss Davidson's Uncle James died suddenly, he took his breakfast & diner & towards evening his sister asked him would he have a cup of tea, & he said, no, that he was inclined to sleep just now, & he went to bed & never spoke nor moved, & died about two hours afterwards in a sleeping posture.
Miss Margaret Davidson went to Australia again & she asked of me your address as she intends to come home by way of Melbourne at this time & would call upon you. Your mother went to see her aunt last night & she was telling her that she would not arrive there till the end of June, & that likely she will be returning from Brisbane to Melbourne the beginning of July. Yourself may know what time will she take to Melbourne. We hope that you will make her comfortable while there, in giving her the offer of a few diets & a bed of the best that you can, & if you will not have a bed yourself, direct her to a respectable house for a bed, as she is not to follow the Ship she went by.
Our best respects to you & to Joanna & her mother. Your affectionate parents.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

Write to us by the first Mail. I send you a Glasgow Weekly Mail by the first Mail.

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48 Telford Road, Inverness.
October 20th 1874

Dear Roderick,
We received your kind, & welcome letter of the 10th of August with the Post office Order for £2-, for which we return to you many thanks. We are glad for you both being well. John McLennan & all his family are well, Thomas & his family had a long time of trouble in his house. James his oldest son was at Glasgow in a ship building yard serving his time as an apprentice, & had only one month left to serve when he took a severe cold, but his father sent word to him to come home, but he would not do that till he would finish his time, & that he would get good medecine where he was & remained till he finished his time, & got his certificate, & then he came here & his father brought him to two doctors & each of them considered him too far gone, & he lingered on for 4 months & then he died & was buried in his mothers grave. He was a promising young man, 22 9/12 years. My sister died on the 28th of July last. I am suffering with the palsy. All the rest of your relations are well, but we do not know how is Henry. Our best respects to you both & so we remain your loving parents.
Robert & Margaret McDonald

Your mother wonders at your carelessness that you did not ask your aunt for her ?????? nor offer her as much & such as ???????? ?? ?? ????????? where she dwell nor for her.*

Ed. Note. - This part of the letter is almost completely illegible. This is as best as I can read it.

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48 Telford Rd
Inverness
12 January 1875

Dear Roderick,
We are longing very much to hear from you as we were expecting a letter from you by the last mail. If you sent any we did not receive any since the sixth of October. But we received three papers since that time for which we return you many thanks.
We had a very severe Winter this season which blocked up all the trains from all directions. We were kept without mails for three days until a number of men were sent away to clear the line where the snow was from eight to fifteen feet deep in the Sutherland & Caithness & Perth Railways.
The inhabitants were kept without water for a fortnight owing to the pipes been frozen under ground. It was good for us that the river was at hand.
And what was worse there was a great number of shipwrecks & loss of lives. There was an immigrant ship with 477 passengers on board going to Newzealand took fire and out of that number only three survived & they cannot give any account of how the fire broke out.
All your friends are at present in good health excepting your father who is keeping very poorly since he wrote to you last. He is not able to write to any one of his family now.
He has not been able to go outside all this Winter owing to weakness by palsy.
Thomas Findlay & John McLennan & families sends there best respects & wishes you a happy new Year. Your Brothers John & Alick are both working in Glasgow & they suffered severely with the frost which caused there fingers to be frost bitten and blistered. When driving in the nails there fingers were sticking to them with the frost. The weather is a little better now but keeping very wet.
When you write again try and send us Bell's present address if you can find her out as Mary her sister wished very much get it to write to her.
Mrs MacBean the gentleman's mother desired me to ask you if you was seeing him at any time & if you new how he was. His mother & father are keeping very poorly this winter.
Your mother is asking how are the McKays coming on & which of the sons is there mother living with.
Robert & Louisa & baby Roderick came down to see Grandfather as they were hearing he was so poorly, as he was afraid he could not get the opportunity again. Roderick is very good & stout child. Robert's wife is very mindful of writing us, which is very kind of her.
We both conclude by wishing you & Joanna a Happy New Year & many returns of the season.
From your Affectionate
Father & Mother
Robert & Margaret MacDonald

Ed. Note. - This letter is in a hand other than Robert or Margaret MacDonald's.