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4-194 (Original)

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addressee,family author,male,Maxwell, James,un
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Private Correspondence
O'Farrell, 1984
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4-194.txt — 4 KB

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I forwarded John his socks sent from Ireland along with some other little articles he wanted. I also sent him another supply of groceries and some little ironmongery. The last letter I had from him he writes in good spirits and says his health is tolerab good. He has now all that little parcel of land of mine viz. 345 or 350 acre rung also about one and a half miles of fencing done. He had the men cutting down some trees and grubbing a bit of ground for an orchard and garden (when I say grubbing I mean clearing roots of trees and stones). He has had three men working since October or early in November. This means a lot of money, never speak of what the first cost of the land was. But I hope we will, if spared, be able to make the thing swim. No doubt it is a great undertaking but I have not the slightest doubt of its success. 
I was talking to a Mr. Thomas (who is a cousin to Mr. Wilson, John's neighbour) who is in business in Melbourne. He had been up paying his cousin a visit and he told me that he was surprised to see the vegetables John had grown, turnips that could not be surpassed, also French beans and vegetable marrow, the latter being the length of his forearm. The above did not get any manure and in fact very little rain as it was an exceptionally dry season. This report speaks well for the soil of Tambo Crossing. John also speaks highly of the appearance of the grass where the trees are rung. You see we have to ring the trees that is to cut a nick with an axe through the bark right into the pith so as to kill the tree, as grass will not grow under them on account of the sun being shut out and the trees use up all the rain. We have no stock yet but we hope to be able to put on some in spring. I am afraid we will have to put cattle on instead of sheep on account of the wild dogs. I am sorry for that as we could have stocked it cheaper with sheep and had a quicker return. 
Now dear mother with reference to John and his hut: I mentioned about it before but I know you like to hear something fresh. His house, some would call it a hut but I think the proper name for it is a house for it is big enough to accommodate three people to sleep in as Mr. Thomas and Mr. Wilson stayed with John all the time. Mr. T was up and Mr. Thomas says it is very comfortable. I sent John 20 yards hessian to line it with, which will also add to the comfort. I also sent him another pair of blankets to keep him warm during the winter. 
[...] the young ladies in this colony compared favourably with that of any other country. I was surprised to know that Mrs P held such a humble opinion of foreign country ladies and such a high opinion of North of Ireland girls. Well had I the option or privilege of giving my mind on the matter I could tell her that the young ladies of this colony compared favourably with that of any other country (North of Ireland I speak from experience and other countries from what I read and hear). [183] First their forefathers being of a most energetic class of people; this is proved by their action in leaving the old country; thus their offspring inherit it. Second because they have the quick activeness of the Americans whom they come in contact with every day. Third because the pride in working when they work so that they are enabled to spend a sixth of their time in pleasure if they wish. 
There is also many other reasons I could give if I did not feel I was filling my letter with something that was not interesting to you. Indeed I find I have often to put on a double quick pace to keep time with those in business around me although I do boast of discipline which is daily getting infused into them. 
There is another idea I might have mentioned viz. that of education. Schools are kept by the State and according to the law of the country every father and mother must send their children to school where all the different branches of education is taught them free of charge. 
Dear mother you will think that all this is a lot of stuff and that it is because the young lady of my choice happens to be a Victoria colonial. Perhaps there may be something in it but you will see that my argument has reason and facts. Speaking of the young lady I might as well (and I think it only my duty as a son to set your mind at rest concerning this matter) say that there is an understanding between us which is financial. Had I not undertook this land business I purpose getting married about September or October next but as funds are at a low ebb and likely to be for some time we thought better not to jump into such an undertaking until things were set agoing properly. 
Her father Mr. R. bought a splendid cottage last week. It costs £1325. They purpose living in the old house for 6 months. The new one they are to receive 27s. 0d. per week rent from the party who sold it and built it [...]