Letters from Alexander MacDonald in Glasgow, to his brother Roderick MacDonald in Melbourne, Australia 1868-1905.

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Letters from Alexander MacDonald in Glasgow, to his brother Roderick MacDonald in Melbourne, Australia 1868-1905.

The following letters have been transcribed by John Macdonald, in June, 2000 from the originals,  Original spelling has been left.

INDEX (Date and Address sent from)

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Dunbarton,  February 23rd  1868

Dear Roderick,

I am sure you will be surprized at me for delaying so long in answering your very kind and welcome letter and was happy to hear from you and that your health was continuing to be good and the climate agreeable with you.  I received also the parcel you sent to me by William Colville before the New Year and it was received by me as a New Year's gift but I did not receive some of the things till the month of January which kept me from writing to you sooner.  The ship was so long in coming from London and as he left his chest on board till she arrived in Glasgow, so then she was to come to Stephen's slip and it would save him the trouble of going up for it as she was coming to Kelvinhaugh Slip.

Dear brother I really do not know how to thank you for your kindness to me in sending me so much clothing which came at a very acceptable time indeed.  However I will not forget you for this kind turn of you towards me and if ever you require anything at my hand I will try and acknowledge you for it if it is in my power to do so.

I had a letter from my father yesterday.  He wished to be remembered to you.  He is still getting better, but still trouble with coughs, and all the rest of them are well as they were when he wrote to you on the 11th.

The coat answers me first class, that is the black one, and the grey top coat fits as well to me, but the black trousers are too small for me, the vest will do and the shepherd check flannels will do.   The collars does the same size as I use.  I also received from William Colville some books you gave him to read on the voyage.  He gave me a reading of them which I will return to him when I am done with them.

Dear Roderick I suppose you will see by the heading of this letter that I am in the same place as when you left me for Calcutta.  The last cheer you got from me from the deck as you were rounding Dunbarton Castle, and wished you well and may you succeed and have plenty.

I am with Mr Denny, shipbuilder.  I think we will have 12 months work here.  The shipbuilding is beginning to thrive a little better than it was some time back.  The Clyde was very busy this year.  This is a very cold dull place in the winter time.  I wish I was in some hot country.  I am here since John went away to Kurachi on the barque Nora.  On 10 Decr. I will send you a paper next week.  I must write you when I get more news.  The paper will give you the rest as I am writing this I am tormented with the toothache which I am likely to go mad with.  My cheek is swollen with it.

I now conclude with kind love to you and a happy New Year and many returns from

your affectionate brother,


I wrote Johnny last week.  I am lodging with William Farquhar, 18 Castle St., Dumbarton

William Colville said  he would write you.  I received everything except the Balmoral Bonnett and he thinks it is lost or taken by one of the sailors.

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40 Crawford St, Partick
20th August,  1882

Dear Roderick,

I write to let you know that your Dear Brother John Died on the 12th August at 9.5 am and was burried in Craigton Cemetry on Tuesday the 15th alongside your Dear departed Mother.  Patiently did he bear his trouble to the end during his long and protracted illness of two years and six months.

He has been bedfast one year and a half and I all along have been supplying all his wants which has kept me very much down along with all the other afflictions befallen our family of late and I think it but right if you have any spark of Christian Spirit you will assist me to pay part of his internment which cost me the sum of nine pounds which is part paid.

Your Mother is burried in a Borrowed Grave, but none else could be allowed to be burried in it.  I bought ground 8 ft deep close to Mother which cost 4 pounds alone which is very expensive here.

Before any one could say that your oldest brother got a pauper's burial out of due respect to our family and yourself and I hope that this will find yourself, wife and family all well.

Margaret is keeping very unwell with a pain in her side.  She wishes to be kindly remembered.

Roderick Findlay your namesake, he was the last man that saw John before he died and Maggy was constantly beside him.  Roderick came to Glasgow on a visit at the time.

I now conclude, hoping to hear from you soon.

I remain your affectionate brother

Alex. McDonald

P.S.  There are few remaining of us now.  Good night.

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Crawford St,  Partick,  Glagow
May 26th  1883.

Dear  Roderick,

I write these few lines to let you now that we are both well, hoping this will find you all the same.  We received the papers that you so kindly sent, and also your photos all right.  I was very much pleased to see yourself and wife.  She is I assure you a fine looking woman, and such a pretty family you have got.  All friends have seen them.  They are very much admired by all at Inverness and elsewhere and now I have got them handsomely framed and I am after hanging them up in my room which adorns it very much.  We were so glad to hear from you once more after so long a silence, we thought you had quite forgot us.  I was happy to hear that you stated business on your own account.  I hope you are doing well.  It is a fine looking shop.  I delayed writing thinking to have my phot to send to you in return, but will some other time as times are very hard on the Clyde and have been for a long time back.  I have been away some time in England but the work was done, so I have been partly employed since I returned, but at present I am not. Your namesake Roderick Findlay is clerk in the Grand Trunk Railway, Montreal, but joined the Garrison Artillery, Montreal and is now forced away to the rebellion in Canada under General Middleton.  His bother Robert just arrived in time to take charge of his luggage before he went away.  Robert Findlay he got a situation as architect in a good house in Montreal.  Maggy gave Bob Hendry's address and he wrote to him and received an answer from him.  He was then badly with rheumatic fever.  We have had no word from his since the year (1877), we did not know where to write to him to inform him of his mother's death, John or Robert's.  Tommy Findlay went out to Java as engineer of a steamer.  They broke his engagement and he left the vessel and they have no tidings about him since 5 months.  Eliza got married and has tow of a family and is away to Kent.  John Findlay is putting up business on his own account in Newcastle as a shipbroker.  The weather here is very cold for this time of the year.  We have had any amount of hailstones, and there is bout 15 feet of snow on the top on Ben Nevis, the observatory on the top of the mountain is completely covered. I am sending you with this mail the Capital Graphic Newspaper.  Received your last newspaper of March 7th.  Can you play the bagpipes?  I was not aware until I saw that you gave a selection of music on them (Scotland Forever).  Alex McLennan and John are bringing their father and mother to live in Glasgow.  Alexander lives in the country and comes in to business daily.  His business is in a depressed condition here along with the rest.  We both wish to be kindly remembered to Mrs McDonald and yourself.  I think this is all the new at present.

I would be happy to hear from you at your early convenience.

I remain your affectionate brother,

Alexander McDonald

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40 Crawford St., Partick, Glasgow
August 27th  '85

Dear Roderick,

I received your kind and welcome letter of July 9th also the enclosed photo of Roderick Alexander.  I am quite happy to see he is such a fine boy, and many thanks to you for coupling my name to yours. 
You have a fine looking wife and family.  I will get Roderick Alexander framed the same as the rest.  He is very much admired by all friends who saw him.  I am very proud of the name and if he was nearer to me I would make him a present.

I was indeed so happy to have a letter from yourself as we have a letter from yourself as we have so few friends here now.

I was making enquiry at the Outfitters about the Highland Dress.  I see that they are very expensive.  I enclose a circular with a list of the prices.  If you think about getting a highland costume I would be very glad to try to send it to you, but I would rather accompany it myself.  The shipbuilding trade on the Clyde has been very depressed for the last two years and it is still getting worse.  Nothing but bare poles standing.  About three fourths of the ship's carpenters are unemployed, and what work is on hand the apprentices and foremen finishes it off.  Too many ships being built and no fresh orders coming in.

The people here about are looking forward with grave fears for the coming winter.  I have not earned a sixpence since I wrote to you last, even today I travelled eight miles looking for work as a labourer and failed in getting it.  Men willing to work and cannot get it, looking at one another.  It is very discouraging for many.
I enclose to you Henry's address.  It is the same old address that he had formerly.  We had a letter from Robert's wife.  Her mother died lately.  They are all pretty well.

We seldom see the McLennans, and as for Alex McLennan I have not seen him since three years.  I expect they are getting on all right.  We have seen John and his sister at times.  Eliza Findlay's husband's name is Edward Jezzard.  She has had an addition to her family since I wrote you last, in the shape of a young (son).  He is away on a cruise to Madeira and she is left alone in Kent at present till her husband's return.

I was pleased to see that you are interested in the Highland Games and Concerts.  I received the papers and programs.  It was a fine turn out and thanks for the papers you sent.  I am forwarding a paper along with this letter.  We have had no word about nephews abroad.  I see by the papers the revolt is over. 
Maggy sends her kind love to Mrs McDonald and yourself.  She is not keeping very strong just now.  Now I think this is all the news I have to send you at present.  Hoping this may find you and your wife and family in good health as it leaves me at present with my kind love to you all.

Hoping to hear from you soon again.

With love to you all.

Your affectionate brother

Alex McDonald

(Take no notice of the writing on the envelope.  The lawyers has it on hand. They will find him out)?

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1072 Oswald Place,  Whiteinch,   Glasgow  
October 11th 1886

Dear Roderick,

I received your long looked for letter of August 4.  I was almost giving up hope of hearing from you after so long a delay, but receiving newspapers from time to time I saw that I was not altogether forgotten.

I return you many thanks for them all.  We have removed from our old house, 40 Crawford St, Partick and came to Whiteinch to the above address last March.  I have forwarded my address in newspapers from time to time thinking you might have received them before now, but I still see that they are directed to 40 Crawford St.

 I have wished Edward Robeson, (Carpenter) RMS Iberia to call on you as his father lives in Whiteinch.  I was very glad to hear that yourself and Mrs McDonald and family were all well.  I was happy to hear that you have had another addition to your family.  May they long continue, and also Robert is such an excellent scholar and trust he may soon be able to assist you in your business.  I was very sorry to hear that business was so depressed in Melbourne and that you had so many losses.  I did not think that things were so bad in Melbourne.
Here it has been something fearful, the shipbuilding trade on the Clyde has been going back in a depressed state for the last three years.

I could not get work of any description all last year with the exception of 4 months and one week, and now for this year 1886 three months work and the most of that time labouring at 3 pence halfpenny per hour, it would not keep body and soul together, things cannot take a turn soon enough for the better as people are in great fear for the coming winter now at hand.

All our friends about here are all well.  Some of them was wishing for your address.  Probably you may have heard from them at this time.  I truly wish I could get something to better my condition than stopping here wasting my time for little or nothing.  I hear good accounts of some of my fellow workmen that went out to Melbourne some time ago doing well.  Maggy is not keeping very strong.  We both wish to be kindly remembered to Mrs McDonald and yourself, hoping this will find you all well.  I will be very happy to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

I remain your affectionate brother,

McDonald  (Rubber Stamped)

P.S   I wish you and Mrs McDonald a happy New Year.

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6 Meadow Road, Partick, Glasgow
16th May (1889)

Dear Roderick.

I write you these few lines to let you know that we are both well, hoping yourself and wife and family are in good health.

We were longing very much to hear from you.  The last letter we had from you was dated in November last.  You stated then that some of the children was to write.  We received the views of Melbourne also the two calenders and also the papers which I am so pleased to see and also the accounts of your family and of your son Robert being so successful in receiving so many prizes in the country with so many children and for which we both thank you for being so mindful of us.

I have got my photo taken at long last and send them with this letter.  Maggy Dorning's aunt called for your address.  A young man the name of Sinclair was going out to Melbourne in hopes of getting something to do.  We know nothing about him.  We gave the address.  He would likely have arrived out by this time.  We seldom see any of our friends.  I hear Alexander McLennan and John are removing to other premises this month.  I understand Alexr. McLennan is indulging rather much and is not to be trusted.

I do not think they are doing very much.  They have their old father and a message boy in the place of business.  They were very flourishing at one time.  They thought that no person was like them.  They have come down a bit now.

We had a visit of Thomas Findlay.  He was here seeing the exhibition.  By the by we received your fine picture of your Melbourne Exhibition without a scar.  We have our house adorned with pictures you so kindly sent, and your own and your wife and family's
photos all framed.

We had a very cold spring here.  I was ill for a month from a chill working out in the wet with wet clothes on all day not being able to come home for a change.

Maggy suffered from rhumatism.   Our house is on the ground floor and is rather damp, but we are living in it for cheap rent and being near to work. but must try and get a change by the end of the year.

There are a good deal of work in the shipbuilding yards on the Clyde, but the agitation for wages in all classes keeps us from getting on with our work.  I am working at repairs off and on as work comes in.  Plenty of men for all the work, that is on the Clyde.
Please remember us to Mrs McDonald and with our love to one and all of you, hoping to hear from you soon again.

I remain dear Roderick,

Your Affectionate Brother,

Alex. McDonald

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6 Meadow Road,  Partick,  Glasgow
November 25th  (1889)

Dear Roderick,

I received your very welcome and kind letter and we were very glad to hear from you.  We were delighted to receive such nice letters from Robert and also Mary Ann.

I was very glad to hear that he got into such a good place of business, that of Robertson & Moffat.  They will very likely have an interest in him, yourself being so long there.  He and Mary Ann are both very good writers.  If you should not have time to write, we would be happy to have a letter from them occasionally.

I hope you will excuse m y silence, but as Maggie wrote I delayed from time to time in writing you.

We had a visit from Alexander McLennan at long last and stayed with us from Saturday to Monday.  I am sorry to say his father got his leg broken.  It all happened through Alex's neglect of his business in the shape of a boose, and taken to the Western Infirmary near to us.  We called to see his father.  Although he never called to see my brother John, although his accident ended in death, his father is getting better, but I believe will be lame for life.

I received the very beautiful picture of the unveiling of Sir William Wallace's statue at Ballarat.  You sent the Ballarat paper giving all the account of the day's proceedings and also the picture of your shop.  It looks a fine building.  A. McLennan was admiring it very much.  I hope you will get on well in it and make a fortune.  There is not much to be made here.  No regular employment that we can depend on, but I am to say that I am employed at present.  No person knows how long.  All the ships are built of steel and little work for carpenters.  Ironworkers get mostly all the work.  There are tow dredgers built here and are nearly ready for Melbourne harbour.

There is a young man here his name is William Muir.  He was enquiring about you.  He used to reside in Kelvinhaugh.  He is a foreman joiner in A&Ingle's Point House ship building yard.  I do not know if you remember him.  He said he knew you well.

Maggie had no word from London since.  You know her oldest son and daughter are married and has one or two of a family each.

We are intending to remain as we are, although it is damp (the address will be the same as formerly) 6 Meadow Road, Partick.  I hope that yourself and family also your wife and her mother.

Please remember us kindly to them all, and thank Robert and Mary Ann for such nice letters they sent.

All friends in Inverness and Liverpool are well.  I hope you will excuse this bad writing as I seldom write now, since the old people went away.

I remain wishing you all a happy New Year.


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6 Meadow Rd., Partick, Glasgow
May 6th  1895

Dear Roderick,

I received your welcome letter of March 19th also the annual report and the last papers, and Maggy received the photos all right.  They are very well taken.  She is sorry that she is unable to write.   Maggy is very poorly indeed, her speech is almost gone.  I can hardly make out a word she says to me and falling down at times through weakness.

We are very well pleased that you have been called to mission work and wishing you every success in your work.  I hope you have got word of Robert's safe arrival in Canada and trust he may get on better there for a time.  I am sure that you will miss him at home.  I have had no word from Hendry for sometime past and I am getting very uneasy about him.  I hope he is well.

The shipbuilding on the Clyde is better than it was and more orders are coming in.  I am working four miles from here.  I take train back and fore but I do not know how long it will last.  We are to launch a large vessel on the Queen's birthday 24th May and likely a lot will be paid off.  I will hand you a paper about the launch then.

We had a very severe winter of it with frost which continued for eight weeks and put a stop to all outside work in the building yards, the plates being frozen together put the work back so long as it continued.

Robert will find it cold in Montreal in the winter time.  I have very little news to send you at this time, I will send you more the next time.  I am sending a Herald by this mail.

I now conclude with kind love to you all,

I remain your affectionate brother,

Alex McDonald

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6 Meadow Road,  Partick,  Glasgow
November 19th  1895

Dear Roderick,

 I herewith enclose to you a schedule for inspection and signature as you can see by the enclosed that Maggie left the sum mentioned and for which the officials of the bank wish your signature, or I will be unable to get a penny of it after all my trouble with Maggie and our parents.

As there are so many names to sign please only use one line, the one that I marked.  Just your full name only as they have your address already.  As this has to be sent on to Hendry please forward to him by first mail to Texas to save time and please instruct him to forward me at once, as I have to send it to London and to other relations to sign it.

And please Roderick write very small as the lines are so close and so many names to sign
and tell Hendry the same.

Dear Roderick I am sure you will have heard by this time of Maggie's death as I sent a paper and intimation of the death.

The doctor ordered her to the infirmary.  She was only a week in it when I got word to remove her.  So I did remove her to Georgie McLennans.  After being there 4 days she expired on the 3rd November.

I may say that I am fully employed, but can't say for how long.

Also that I am in good health at present.

Hoping  yourself, wife and family are keeping well.

I remain Dear Roderick,

Your affectionate brother

Alex McDonald

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6 Meadow Road,  Partick,  Glasgow
June 16th  1896

Dear Roderick,

You will be thinking long in not writing you before now.  The weather is hot and I am so tired when I get home from work that the time passes by unawares to me.

I have not much news to write you.  I received your last letter and a very nice letter it was.  Rebecca and I was glad to see such a sensible letter and I received Hendry's photo and his wife and family.  They do look nice.  I am getting mine and Rebecca's taken and I will send you a card when I get them.

I am intending to go to Liverpool at the fair holidays along with my niece to see Georgina's grave.  I will see Robert McLennan.  My nephew that is Georgie's brother, he is working in the railway signal works Farakarley.

I am sending you a paper now and again you will see all the news about Glasgow in it  more than I can write you.  I hope you are getting them safe.

Hoping you and your family are well as this leaves us.

Well you will be anxious to hear if I got the money all right (which I did).  I left it in the bank.

I have no more to say at present.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Your loving brother 


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6 Meadow Road,  Partick, Glasgow
May 30th  1897

Dear Roderick,

I received your very kind letter of April 4th and was glad to hear that you were all well as it leaves us both well at present.

I am happy to hear of Robert's well doing in Montreal.  There is no fear that he will get on well with Robert Findlay.

I received the photo all safe.  I assure you they are very beautiful taken.  Your daughter, I mean the one leaning to corner of the building, I forgot her name just now.  She is so like my mother by all the world.  The children look all so nice lying on the grass and I am quite proud of them.  I gave Georgie the other as you desired.  She thanks you very kindly for the photo you sent her.  She would write you but she does not know very well what to say to you not having any correspondence with you before now.  If she mentions anything in regards to money matters take no notice of her.  Her husband is only working at odd times and what he earns he drinks.  Her brother John has plenty if she wants.  I lent McLeod one pound last October.  I was to get it in a month, but he never came with it yet he bets on horses.  I have not seen John McLennan since a long time.  He was then well.  He is still in the business as carried on by Alick.  He is doing a good thing of it on his own hook.  He has other two lads in the warehouse.  His wife was very keen that I should invite them to my marriage.  Well I did so, and they both enjoyed themselves very much at my expense and they never gave us a call to see us since then now one year and six months.  I have invited them both to come to see us but they did not come.  He is so proud and God knows what he is to be proud of.  He never asked me to his marriage, neither to his brother's funeral.  There is not enough of the masher about me, but I think I am as good as him any day.  He comes to see you when you cannot see him when the body will be laid out to its last resting place.

Trade is very busy on the Clyde just now in regards to shipbuilding and engineering

I am still working on the First Class (Cruiser) Europa at Clyde Bank.  We are near finished with her and ready to start to the other cruiser in a week or so.  Tom Findlay is away at sea as Second Engineer.  If he goes to Melbourne he would give you a call.  He said he was not sure of going there.  I received a letter from Hendry, the same time as yours.  They were all well.  He was waiting to see if he could get a letter from you, but he did not receive a letter from you as yet this year.  He says times in Houston are very good for this time of the year.

I must now conclude with love from Rebecca and myself.

I remain your affectionate brother


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4 Millar St,  Partick,  Glasgow
July 16th 1898

Dear Brother,

I now take up my pen to write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting on here after so long a silence.  My reason is I have been thinking to write you always but I have been so tired every night.  I could not do it until now.

Now as we have got the Fair Holidays, I am able to write you a few lines.  I am sorry to hear by Georgie's letter that you got no clue of the will (that) is Donald McRae as my father spent a good deal of money trying to get it.   I  thought none of us need to try to get it, but Georgie would not believe me, and she would need to write you.  I suppose it put you to a good deal of trouble and expense.

I gave all my father's papers about (McRae) to Georgie, Rebecca and I is wishing to know if your son Robert is leaving Montreal for Melbourne hoping he will give us a call here in Glasgow if he is coming by way of Liverpool.  Both of us would like very much to see him before returning to Melbourne.  Rebecca was so much taken up with my nephew Alick from London when he was here.  He is such a nice young man.

I am going to have a sail tomorrow to see Rebecca's brother and sisters near Glencoe for week.  I am going by myself for Rebecca can't get away.  Mr and Mrs Stone is away to Inverness for their holidays and John McLennan and his wife are away on their holidays to Rothsay.

Dear Roderick, I have not much more news to write you at present hoping this will find you all well as this leaves us both well.

Thank you kindly for your newpapers and try and write me as often as you can as I like very much to hear from you.  I am still at work in Clyde Bank Admiralty yard on the battle ship "Ariadne" the yard of J & G Tompson.   Clyde Bank has plenty of work.  In fact all over the Clyde is very busy just now.

Dear brother I must now come to a close.  Rebecca joins me in sending her kind love to you all.

From your brother

Alex McDonald

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4 Millar St. Partick, Glasgow
December 24th  1898

Dear Roderick,

I am sure you will be longing to hear from me after such a long silence.  It is a long time between drinks.  You are not forgotten by me for all that, but you know that I am so tired when I come home and not able to begin and write.

Today I am at home with a bad cold and I thought of writing you a few lines at this time.

I am sorry that this letter will not arrive in time for the New Year.

I have very little news to tell you.  I am a bad hand at getting news.  Your nephew John McLennan went away to New York and he is making his fortune there.  He is coming back home again soon.  Whether he will go back again or not I cannot say.

Tom Findlay your nephew's wife got a daughter about three weeks ago.  Mother and child is doing well.
I was thinking every week that I would have the pleasure of seeing your own son here.
He would be made welcome when he will come.

I had a letter from Hendy.  He was not well when he wrote me, but I hope he is better now.  They had no yellow fever there this time.  He says his father in law is staying with him.  He is a shoemaker, and a good one at that, to trade he opened a shop in Houston on Hendy's lot.  He is 76 years of age and is in perfect health, has got second sight and will read the papers without spectacles.  He gave Hendy's (Clear Title) Deed to 75 acres of land, and will most likely give Louis, Hendry's son another 50 so it may do him some good in future years.

There is plenty of work on the Clyde at present.  We are very busy at Clyde Bank - 2 British cruisers, one Cunard steamer 600 ft keel, one Japanese battle ship on the stocks and one cruiser (The Ariadne) in the dock.

I must come to a close wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when it comes.

Rebecca joins me with kind regards to you all.  Hoping to hear from you soon.

Again received a paper and report, also your letter, glad to see how ell you are getting on with the Fellowship Union of Victoria.  Glad to se your name mentioned in a report.

I remain your affectionate brother,

Alex. McDonald

P.S.  I sent you some time ago the notes you were taking in St.Marks Church in Glasgow.  Did you get them you did not mention to me.

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4 Millar St, Partick,  Glasgow
March 7th 1899

Dear Roderick,

I received your kind and welcome letter of Jan. 4th and was glad to see by it that you were all well.

I must thank you very much for the cards you so kindly sent me.  I think they are very nice.  I am also pleased to see that all your family are getting on so well. There is nothing in this world would give me more pleasure than to see yourself.  Try and come, the rates are getting cheaper now, and I hope I may see your son Robert before he returns to Melbourne.

I heard from Georgie last night that John (her brother0 is coming back from New York, but I do not know whether he is going back to New York again or not.  I suppose he has been doing a profitable business there for some time.

There is a very intimate friend of yours here and has been since you were in Glasgow.  His name is Mr Monday.  He is a Master Blacksmith in Kelvinhaugh.  You and him used to be great chums.  He sent his kind love to you every time he comes across me, he asks how is Roderick.

I never see William McLauchlan now.  I am out of the way of seeing him.

I am still in Clyde Bank yet and very busy.  We are going to launch a Japanese Battleship on the 13th of this month.

I must come to a close.  Rebecca joins me in sending her kind love to you and your family.

I remain your affectionate brother

A.McDonald                                                                       Write soon

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4 Millar St, Partick, Glasgow
August 20th 1899

Dear Roderick and Johanna,

You will be thinking me very careless of not writing you before now.  I am that stiff and tired and hard wrought.  My mind is not in a frame for writing.  Although absent from me you are present in my mind.  I was glad to see by your last letter dated April 26th that you and your family are all well and enjoyed yourselves during your holidays.

It is a great pleasure that you can trust the children to keep the house when you are away on holidays.

Dear Roderick, I expect you will hear from Georgie.  She has been away to Inverness on a fortnight's holiday.  She is a lot better of being away.  Her brother John McLennan never calls on me.  Himself and wife has been away enjoying themselves away to Paris, Holland and Switzerland.

Tom Findlay and his wife was here last Sunday and they are all well, and as for John and Maggie Findlay they never come to see me or never acknowledge my sister Maggie's death, never came to see her even when she was lying ill, what I am referring to here is when their father died Tom wrote for his sister Maggie Findlay asking me to bury his father in one of the Lairs, which I gave the title deeds of my father's lair in the High Church yard Inverness, which I give her leave.  She offered herself to put a railing around the graves.  I know she is able enough to do it because her father left her 100 pounds and household effects and she will not do anything to it expecting her other brothers and sisters to contribute to it.  I think her brother in Montreal could do a little to help and as for John Findlay and herself they are never done galanting and spending money all over the country about this season of the year.  It annoyed me very much to see my father's burial place forgotten.

I was not in a position to put a proper headstone on my father's grave, but if I am spared to next year, I will not let my father's name be forgotten.

Dear Roderick, if your son Robert calls on his way home from Montreal to Melbourne, I will make him welcome and glad to see him and stay for some time with us.

I am pleased to let you know that we are both well, hoping this will find you and your family all well.  I have very little more to tell you only I am always working on the (cruisers) in Clyde Bank.  Some of the other yards are getting slack.

Rebecca joins me in sending our kind love to you all.

From your affectionate brother Alick

Fine weather at present.  Goodbye.

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4 Millar St.   Partick.
January 7th  1900

Dear Roderick,

I received your kind and welcome letter of Nov. 24th safe to hand, and was very glad to hear from you, and that you are all as it leaves us both well at present well.

I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.  I also received the photo you so kindly sent me.  I think they are very well taken by your son Urquhart.  You must be a rich man having such a nice family of sons and daughters.  It gave me much pleasure to see your son Robert here in Scotland.  My wife says that he is a quite accomplished young gentleman and every one of his cousins here thinks great deal of him.  I do hope he will have a safe and prosperous passage home to Melbourne.  I am sure he will be welcome on his arrival home in Melbourne.  I hope you will let me know when he arrives there as I will anxious to know how he got home .  We have had no word from him since he left here for London.  I hope he will benefit from his long journey coming here and going back again.

This has been a quiet New Year with us with rain and sleet - could hardly get out of doors.

This seems to be a dreadful war with the Boors in South Africa and the British seem not to be gaining much on the enemy, but I hope that they will soon gain a victory over them and that they will get their coffee warm for it yet.

There are a good deal of work on the Clyde at present and  more orders to hand for 1900 to the tune of five millions worth of contracts for the Clyde this year to hand.

I am still working at Clydebank.  It used to be J.& George Thompson Shipbuilders, Clydebank, so the yard is taken over now by John Brown & Co. Limited so we will have another year of prosperity.

I have not seen Willie McLane chlan for long.  His late master Alexander Stephen died in November that is Sandy Stephen, Shipbilder, Kelvinhaugh.

I saw John McLennan since the year came in.  They are all well and doing well.  I am sending you the weekly mail.  You can get the news better than I can write you

I am going to start work again on the 9th of this month.  Tuesday 1st.  Everything is rising in price in Glasgow.  Coals are up 1/9d a hundredweight and 2/-best coal.  Butcher meat is up in price also and clothes too, all owing to the war.  I have also seen Georgie.  She is well, and Tom Findlay are well.  Rebecca or myself did not go anywhere at the holidays.  We have been feeding on the fat of the land as we got a hamper from the Highlands with grouse, Blackcock hares in fresh butter.

Write soon again.
I must close with kind love from us both..

I remain your affectionate brother,

Alexr. McDonald

P.S.  No word from Hendry this year.  He said he would write in 1900

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4 Millar St,  Partick,  Glasgow,
Jan. 14th,  1901

Dear Roderick,

I received your letter of Nov. 28th and was glad to hear that you are all well at the time of writing.  I am glad to say that we are both well.

We have got the New Year over and into another century and wish you and all your family a hapy and prosperous year and many returns of the season.

I am still working at Clydebank.  The work is getting very slack and I do not know how long I may be kept there now.  The firm is not getting any orders for new work.  All the work they have will not last them long.

I am happy to say that all our friends here are well.  We were dining with John McLennan last week and they are both well, also Georgie is well.  Tom Findlay and family are well.

I have to inform you that the " McDonald Bards" of medieval times are printed now and I am sending for two books to Edinburgh.  Perhaps you have got one already.  They are priced at three shillings & sixpence each.  I expect to get them by Tuesday first at least.  I would like to send one to Hendry.

I have received your photo to hand.  It came safe and sound without a crack.  You are looking well and not a bit older.  So is all your family.  Everyone that saw them say that you are a man of money, that it is a splendid group.

I have never seen the (Guides to Islay) but will get them.  I will send it to you shortly.

I thank you very much for sending the  "Messenger".  I prefer a paper to them now and again I am sending the Mail and Oban Times.

I hope you will find your way to come and see the Exhibition this summer.  It is ten minutes walk from where I reside.

I must close come to a close with kind love to you and all your family.

Your affectionate brother,

A. McDonald

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4 Millar St,  Partick, Glasgow,
August 13th 1901

Dear Brother,

You will be longing to hear from us by this time and I assure you we are longing to hear from you.  We are anxious to know if Robert has got anything good enough yet at home, or if he is going back to Robert Findlay in Montreal.

Dear Roderick, I have sent Keith N..McDonald, Edinburgh, poems both English and Gaelic by my father.  He has the original book for the last three months but has not returned it to me as yet, but he said he would return them in due time.

As concerning our friends here, I expect that they are all well.  I have not seen them for some time on account of the holidays.  I have been a week down at Saltcoats but never got the length of Inverness yet.

I was glad to see by your last letter that you and Annie and family were in good health.  I am glad to say that Rebecca and myself is keeping quite well.  I had a letter from Hendry May 27th.  They were all well then, also a paper today.  I received your papers all safe for which I return many thanks also Messenger. 

The trade on the Clyde is getting very slack now.  There is very little doing at shipbuilding owing to high prices of coal and steel for the construction of vessels.  There was not an order in ClydeBank for the last twelve months.

Mr Munday and Willie is always asking for you.  McLaughlan is cashier in Stephens yard and Munday is a Master Blacksmith in Kelvinhaugh.

Be sure to write us soon, and perhaps you will be able to come and see the Exhibition next year in Kelvin Grove Park.  I am sending you the Oban Times by this mail.

I have no more to say at present hoping to hear from you soon.

I remain your affectionate brother

A. McDonald

Good night.  Still working at Clydebank

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4 Millar St.,Partick,  Glasgow
Jan. 18th 1905

Dear Roderick,

I have received both your letters and was glad to hear that yourself and family were all well.  I am glad to say that I am well but Rebecca is not keeping well since a year.

It gives me much pleasure that you had a visit of your son Robert and his wife.  I wish them much joy and prosperity.

In regard to Donald Macrae's will, I think you should push on with it as I am quite agreeable although I have not much I will give my mite.  I think Hendry should be a share also to defray expenses.  I understand that you took a copy of all the friends and addresses in (Margaret's) papers that I sent to you to fill up after she died and that is all the same friends again.  Our London friends are removed from where they were at that time.  I would not be able to find them out now.

I am afraid this is going to be the same, as Father was continually writing for money before they would tell him any more, but I hope that you will be more successful in your undertaking.  Wishing you success.

As of Roderick Macraes will, I do not know but I think she has not got anything.  I am sending some bits of writing I got amongst my father's papers re Roderick Macrae.

Here on the Clyde, there has been nothing but starvation this last three years.  I know some that has not done a stroke of work in that time & willing, but can't get it.  But trade is taking a turn for the better.  A great many people in Partick and district losing their furniture to pay taxes and rent.  There has been many ups and downs since I wrote you last.  I am sorry I did not keep my promise as I intended to do, but as Georgie is writing to you there is no use for me to say anything, however I may be wrong.

I have now come to a close, wishing you a very Happy New Year.  Rebecca joins me in sending our kind love to you all.

I remain,

Your affectionate brother,

Alex. McDonald