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This is one of the 77 letters found in a bog in Ireland. NEWS: David JACKSON's impending marriage; conundrum of TJ - to return to HSBC in Far East or not; Eliza's knees ailing, but her purse healthy; turmoil over Home Rule; the elderly aunts McCULLAGH & BROWN doing poorly.
Sharon Oddie Brown. October 11, 2006
Updated March 23, 2010


Urker March 4th 1893

My dear Tom


            Although my writing days are over, I must write on this occasion.


            This new year has been already a year of surprises to me. I had quite given up hope of David’s [1] marrying, and had even ceased to urge him on the subject, when lo! one fine morning a letter came informing us that he was engaged. I like it well in every respect but one; which is that I wish he had known his own mind sooner, so that he might have been married in Ireland, and have had his wife [2] out with him. But I fear it cannot be helped now.


            But your news is the most wonderful of all. To think that there seems to be but one man who can manage the Head Office of the Bank and that one man is my son!!! Like you I am torn two ways; and all I can do is pray to God to guide & direct you; and I feel assured that whatever you decide on, will be for the best. The blessing of old Rose [3] has not yet lost its efficacy, and many a blessing you have besides. As you say, it would be a noble achievement to put the Bank in its old position, and the old cow [4] is very dear to me. Under God she “took me out of a horrible pit; and out of the [miry?] clay” and the large sum you would get, and would be well worthy of, would be a great matter to so large a family, as you have. But oh the family, the family! that is where the pinch lies. As for the old Mother, she would not bid you turn your back on your duty, though that duty were to face bayonets. And it does really seem as if it were your duty to go. It is to be feared that the Bank will go from bad to worse, if not placed under efficient management. But I am not capable on deciding what is best. All I can is pray to Him who can guide aright.


            I have been nearly a cripple all winter with stiffness in my knees; but I am now much better, and hope to improve still further when the good weather comes. And I am quite strong in purse, having all heavy demands paid, except Miss Parks’ [5] ] bill for schooling; it is not yet called for, & when it is, I hope to be able to meet it. What you sent, will be a good help, many thanks to you for it.


            All Protestant Ireland in a ferment at present about Mr Gladstone’s [6] Home Rule Bill. That is just the true name and description of it, no matter what sweet names it is called by; But all is not lost that is in danger and he who overthrew wicked [Hassian? Hasacoius?] in the height of his pride; still reigns.


            All your friends in Ireland are well, as far as I know except Aunt Brown [7] , who is very poorly, and old Aunt McCullagh [8] . Both of them seem as if they would not last long. Lizzie [9] spends a good deal of her time taking care of her Mother. It is her duty to do so, and I hope the Mother may act justly by her; though I fear the contrary.


            Of course you will let me know at once whatever you decide upon doing; That God Almighty may bless you with ten thousand times ten thousand blessings, prays your ever-affectionate Mother

                        Eliza Jackson


[1] David JACKSON, youngest surviving brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON who married Margaret Louisa WRIGHT – probably in Yokohama, although possibly in Hong Kong.

[2] Margaret Louisa WRIGHT was a sister of three brothers who worked with HSBC: Robert Thomas WRIGHT, James Francis WRIGHT & John Stephenson Reed WRIGHT. One of her sisters married Thompson BROWNE, also of HSBC. She came from Ballinode, Co. Monaghan.

[3] Who this Rose is, I do not know.

[4] The family’s pet name for HSBC

[5] Miss PARKS was a governess for Eliezer GILMORE's children.. Eliza also paid for the schooling of the children of Margaret JACKSON & Andrew Bradford McCULLAGH

[6] Prime Minister of England.

[7] Given the later reference to Lizzie caring for her mother, this is most likely Margaret JACKSON (1815-1895), widow of Rev. Daniel Gunn BROWNE.

[8] Aunt McCULLAGH is probably Eliza WALLACE ( 1809-1895), wife of James MCCULLAGH (who died about 1865).

[9] Elizabeth Sarah BROWNE, wife of James JACKSON – brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON



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