Letter from MARY ANN BULKLEY to JAMES BARRY, written 11 April 1804, at Merchants Quay, Cork

Source: MS 2069, National Library of Ireland. Cover: Bishop mark: A/ AP / 13/ 1804. James Barry Esq.r R.A.
& Professor of painting to the
Royal Academy
London - 1

Barry's sister Mary Ann had married Jeremiah Bulkley in 1782 and lived in Barry's home town of Cork in Ireland. This letter, dictated to and in the hand of Mary Ann Bulkley's daughter Margaret,2 was the first she had written to him for many years.

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My Dear brother

I have been always very unwilling to trouble you, knowing the multiplicity of your avocations, or you shou'd should have often hear'd heard from me, while things were going on prosperously with me. I thought it sufficient if you heard of me & mine, thro through my much esteemed friend M.r Penrose,3 who I know corresponded with you, I must say he has been ever kind & attentive to me & mine, but I must now trouble you, to inform you, that my Son whom we strained every point to forward in the World, after giving him the best Education this place afforded, we gave a large Apprentice fee to an Eminent Attorney in Dublin, he had served near two years of his Time; WhenTime; when last year a Miss Ward4 of the City of Dublin, a young Lady of genteel connexions (sister to the late General Ward5 who was GuilotinedGuillotined in France in Robespiers6 time) fell in love with him, herhim; her friends would not consent till my poor husband, ever anxious to advance his Children, was tempted to settle on him a Farm, for which he paid a Fine & Agents fees, three hundred pounds Str,7 And laid out in building an excellent Dwelling-house, & Offices manuring, & more than Twelve hundred pounds (a Lease of Lives Renewable for Ever & taken Eleven Years Ago) and other Interests he had in this Town, and they have been Married. We had embarked some time before this in the Grocery business, and had a well furnished Shop, many Articles for which we were oblidged obliged to lay in on Credit. & Credit; & our Creditors hearing that my Husband had made over his property on his Son, immediately became importunate, so that we were oblidged obliged to stop payment, thispayment. This stroke, & the loss of my Husbands Husband's employments in the Weigh-houses,8 in consequence of Party runing running so high And an Orange faction,9 Col.. Longfield10 having got at the head of the Weigh-houses, who would not employ him on Account of his Religion.11 These have clouded all our prospects, my Husband has offered to give up to his Creditors more than would pay them all, if sold for a fair Value, which things never bring when sold in this mannner. The entire of his debts amount to about Seven Hundred pounds Str. He was ever partial to John12 (as being an only Son) and wished to make him as respectable as possible, I fear very much he will not act up to the tenor of his, or my ecpectations expectations , as the property settled upon him was intentionally for the purpose of Assisting me, and my two Daughters if Ocasion Occasion required his doing so. I received a letter from him, from Dublin a few days ago which gave me great pain, and which I imputed to his youth and want of experience. I also fear he is badly advised, I cannot immediately form any opinion respectin respecting himself or his letter, as my Husband is in the Country untill he he until he comes home. If he cannot bring his Creditors to a settlement and give him time to pay them. He purposes going to the West Indies Untill Until something Can be done13 (a very great fall indeed in the space of about three years from a comfartable comfortable situation) & remit to us his earning.

With the greatest deference I remain
Most truly & Sincerely Your
Most Affectionate &Ca &Ca Sister

Mary Anne Bulkley14

P.S Sir,
My Mother is not able to write legible on account of a tremour in her hand, desired me to write for her, Myher. My inexperience and so much unaccustomed to letter Writing I hope will be accepted by you as an Apology the length, the many faults, & Errors in this letter, by Sir
by Yours Most Affectionate
&Ca &Ca &Ca Margt
Margaret Anne Bulkley

Merchants Quay
Cork 11.th April 1804 -
I am concerned for not being able to
ascertain your address with exactness.15 -