Letter #33 – JANUARY 29, 1872  



SUMMARY

Man representing the Freedman's Bureau stands between armed groups of Euro-Americans and Afro-Americans



SOURCES

1

Library of Congress cph 3c05555 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c05555

Thomas Jackson talks of his own failing health and his continuing disillusionment with politicians and the fact that poor and ill-educted people can vote. He notes that Americans tend to earn a lot but seem to spend all they get!

Gives example of how politicians of both parties want to curry favor with the rebel states and still turn a blind eye to terrible crimes.

Admits he is now probably too old to return to his dear native land and even wishes he had never left. He is melancholy about his old age.

"I am old, sick and unhappy; but I am I'm not poor. I have no notion of marrying an old maid or a young one either."
TRANSCRIPTION

(Printed note paper)
Office of Reading Steam Cordage Manufactory, Reading, Pa.,       Jan 29, 1872

My Dear Cousin Caleb,

I received your kind letter & also the kind letters of your sons and daughter and have read and re & re & reread them with very great satisfaction and fully intended to have answered them before now. But it is the old story, procrastination. I thought also that you would not like me to bother you too often for I think I am becoming garrulous in my old age.

I am now an old man surely for I am over 65 and grandfather to five fine healthy boys & girls. But I begin to feel declining years much more than I ought to do. I have been troubled a good good deal with my old enemy, Asthma this winter, and sometimes think I will never be able to stand a voyage to England again, much as I long to go and to see you all and the old place once more, and mark the changes that 30 years has brought about in old Derbyshire. I am very much obliged to you for the "Ilson"
Papers you send me. I read them all over & see many old names that were familiar to me fifty years ago. I see my old school fellow John Barker still keeps the Bridge Inn. He learnt me to stutter when I went to school with him. Wonder if he has outlived that affliction. I have, almost. Ah! well Jack was a pretty good fellow and I would like to shake hands with him once again too. I don't know whether many more of the old stock still live.






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I suppose they die off there as everywhere and the young ones of the same name take their places. Of the six children of my Father that left England nearly Forty three years ago, five is still living and all, except from myself in tolerable good health and comfortable.

I saw John & William & Amos Watson and their wives and families last summer. They were all well and well off. John has only one son, a nice steady young man who would not be a farmer like his Father. So John sold his farm and retired to a nice quiet village to live out the rest of his days on the interest of the money and his son Charly is a good house carpenter.

About seven years ago John married an old maid of about 60 and they seem to be a very comfortable cozy old couple well calculated to smooth each others downward path to oblivion, or to "another and a better world than this". I am seven years younger than John Watson, but I have no notion of marrying an old maid or a young one either.

I know that I am old, sick and unhappy; but I am not poor. I have ample means to take care of myself and to pay others for their kindness where it cannot be accorded to me freely "without money and without price". That's about all a man needs to save up for.To provide well for, for the days that have no pleasure in and then leave what is left to his children, who I presume would love his memory nonetheless for what he leaves them be it much or little.

I often wish I had never left my native country. I think if I had worked as hard and lived as close as I have done here, I would have been as well off in my old age. But then




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My Father and all the rest of the family might have been miserably poor. They are all poor here for the matter of that, but not miserably poor, they are all comfortable.

My Father and mother were comfortable while they lived, but they died poor. It is true, people get high wages here & all might be comfortably well off if they were industrious and economical. But few of them are. Most of them spend all they earn, and no matter how hard they work or how much they earn, not one in ten ever saves anything. And too many of them get into debt all they can & never think of paying. The law allows every man to retain $300 worth (£60 English) which is always made 500 dollars worth (£100 English] by fraudulent appraisement. So it is not 1 in 10 hundred that has anything over that & it is no use to sue for debt, yet every rascal has a vote no matter how poor, how dishonest or how worthless he may be, and full three fourths of all the men elected to office are the most unprincipled demagogues and shameless scoundrels in the nation.

There are hundreds of thousands of good men in America, but they cannot rule. Thousands of them never vote at all. They have seen mere numbers, lead by lying villians, hungry for office and stealings, win at the elections so often that they gave it up years ago. The doings of the last eleven years have been enough to disgust any sensible man not blinded by what they call patriotism (national vanity] and democracy.

I must stop this subject. It would take a very long letter to tell you all I have seen and all I know. You may judge of it when I tell you that the chief justice of the United States, the president (Grant)



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and his Cabinet in council assembled, have compromised the most cowardly murder of a meritorious and loyal army officer by a most impudent, audacious, bold blood thirsty rebel officer four years after the war was over, and allowed the atrocious murderer to escape, soly and entirely to curry favor with Southern rebels and traitors who ought to have been hanged for their crimes years before.

A government that pets its worst enemies and does not protect its honest and best friends, but allows traitors and unrepentant rebels to murder them by thousands with perfect immpunity, must be the most infamous government in civilization. The United States government has been doing this most damnable thing ever since Lincoln was assassinated & the villian Johnson took his place. You may ask how this can be? Simply because the politicians of both parties (Republicans and Democrats) want to win favor in the ex-rebel states and 99 out of 100 of the victims have dark skins and (comparatively) "nobody cares for niggers").

I have a letter from William which I am going to answer shortly and I am going to send him and you a lot of likenesses. We expect to have postage between here in England down to twopence (English) and then there will be no excuse for long silence.

Servant girls wages are high now. From 12 to 20 shillings English a week & saucy and lazy at that. I wish a hundred thousand of good English girls would come. They might all get good places.

I must close now dear cousins all,
with the kindest love to you all and especially to yourself Cousin Caleb

I am yours affectionately
Thomas Jackson




AMBASSADORS' NOTES

Man representing the Freedman's Bureau stands between armed groups of Euro-Americans and Afro-Americans



SOURCES

1

Library of Congress cph 3c05555 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c05555

TJ Still expresses his fiery opinions about the politics of the day
"A government that does not protect its honest and best friends, but allows traitors and unrepentant rebels to murder them by thousands with perfect impunity, must be the most infamous government in civilization. The United States government has been doing this most damnable thing ever since Lincoln was assassinated.."

Unfamiliar names
Derbyshire is the county (state) in England where TJ grew up.
Ilson is dialect slang for his favorite home town , really Ilkeston

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