In enclosing a renewal subscription for the “Westmeath Examiner” Annie J. Pryce of 2 Willow Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., writes:
“Your paper is truly valuable to one so far away from the old home town. After all there is no place like one’s own home town, but especially when it happens to be an Irish town. And there is nothing that can take the place, or be “just as good” as one’s own town newspaper. How I love to receive it each week, clean and fresh, full of real old-fashioned news, and yet as up to the merit of one of our Metropolitan dailies, filled with advertisements and demoralizing filth of a great City. Such matter should never be allowed in public print to degrade a Nation, but that is what is fed to them. How different the Irish papers are, every item interesting and fit to read. I didn’t see one latter of congratulation from anyone on your splendid report of the magnificent ceremony of the Foundation Stone laying. You gave it your whole-hearted cooperation and you deserve the full thanks of all your readers. It was a magnificent event, nothing could surpass or even equal it in any country, or any American City. Let us all trust in God that we will live to see this majestic Temple completed and the great work of Chris the King carried on a larger and grander scale than is now in the old edifice that done so well during the last 100 years. Then again we read with great pride of your Cusack Park. Surely you will not limit it to Mullingar Park. All Ireland should be proud of it, it is one of the finest sport arenas in the world, there are few larger in america. The forsighted gentlemen who spent money and energy to make it a reality are to be congratulated. It is a noble undertaking. Then we read of your progressive County Concillors who are now with the aid of your L.G.D. erecting a Hospital. Also, to-day I am reading of the consideration of sites for your new Tuberculosis Hospital. Let us hope they will be guided by Providence to select the most suitable site for the benefit of those unfortunates who are so afflicted. Then again, your Mental Hospital is receiving due consideration and in a short time will be among the finest in Ireland. My hope and wish is that in the not too far distant future such institutions will no longer be necessary.
I read with regret that your town lost the Shoe Factory. What a great help it would be to all concerned, workers and merchants, it would be so up-to-date as to furnish inspiration to Mr. Doyle, T.D., who finds all “Infant Irish industries in kitchens and cellars.” Then too, we would like to read Mcgillycuddy of the Reeks if it was shorter and “snappier,” also the poems of John Kelly, not bad.
Now I read of your County making a bid for the Midlands Beet Sugar Factory. Well let us hope that your Mullingar men of enterprise who could build a Cathedral, Sports Park, the second finest in Ireland, will have no less than the finest Beet Sugar Factory in Ireland, in “not” the town of Mullingar, but the Midland City of Mullingar, and don’t stop there. In the near future have a Tobacco Factory there, don’t let Mr. Pilkington discourage you because Cap Factory was a failure. Make sure that it will not be a failure. I don’t think your interesting paper would be complete without Stroller and Passing Events. They tell their stories in “spicy” fashion.
Then I like to read your District Notices, Court trials, how simple they are in comparison to New York–no murder, kidnapping, or divorce. Then the Obituary notices to remind us of an old friend or neighbour who has passed on. Then we like to read of the fairs which are almost passing away, and the Agricultural Shows. These are so many items, all interesting.
Then again, how interesting your politics are. Such a small population, about the same as Brooklyn, and so many silly factions all fighting among themselves. I am really looking for a revolution fostered by England for her own good. Then she will send over a million men and separate the foolish Irish factions and bring about the law and order, settle the Land Annuities, boom up trade for her own enterprises, wipe out all foolish tariffs. Then all will be happy, no more little factories in cellars or kitchens, all manufacturing done in clean lightsome airy factories in England, and Irishmen can continue at the old trade they know best, agriculture, and a good price at Smithfield market. For centuries the whole world knew Ireland could not govern herself, too many parties, too many brands of religion, too much intoxicating liquor, anything to make the foolish silly Irish fight and squabble among themselves. So good old J.B. can be peacemaker and exporter on a large scale to Ireland, and in return what a fertile filed to supply England’s foods and men to fight her battles. I am not yet three from Ballynacargy, but I can see the difference between politics in Ireland and America. In New York all Irish are democrats and we will vote for John Patrick O’Brien for Mayor and not much argument about it. And when I cast my first vote I hope it will be for Mr. Matthew Troy of my own home town to be the first Irishman elected Mayor of New York. Of course I am not old enough yet to vote, not to think of getting citizen honours, but when I am a citizen I hope to be a good one, a Roosevelt Democrat. Now it will not be long before our Mullingar men have their great annual ball dance and reception, your paper publishes such a splendid account of it so ably collected and written by our untiring Secretary, Mr. Christopher Murray. But this year it will be better than ever as there will be a valuable prize for the most popular unmarried woman from Westmeath. Also, a passage ticket as as second prize offered by Mr. Troy of the Troy Steamship Agency. Now Mr. Editor, it is getting late. I feel tired and if you find and part of this long letter worth using to fill in news you may do so, as I don’t care who reads it. It is nothing but the truth as I see it, and there is no chance of my immediate return to dear old Mullingar.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, the advertisements, how I like to read them and compare prices and I find things are ever so much cheaper here in New York. I am at a loss why your merchants keep their goods a secret. If all would advertise, compete with each other, have more customers, more men employed, more money in circulation, more trains, lorries, buses, coming to town, in a word, all industry would benefit by advertising in your paper and all Midland papers. I saw a slogan in some paper: “Keep advertising and advertising will keep you.”
Annie J. Pryce