"The New Brunswick Reporter," Fredericton, NB, Fri., May 6, 1853
Letter from Michael F. Gordon to
Edward F. Gordon, his brother
"The following extract has been obligingly handed us by the brother of the individual whose signature it bears; and we willingly publish it, hoping that it may assist in allaying the fever, which has for some time past so obstinately raged in New Brunswick:
Melbourne, December 25, 1852
My dear Edward --
This you observe is Christmas day. I arrived here on the 20th instant; it is an awful place.-- Would to God I was in New York. I never experienced such hot weather--Fredericton cant touch it. Green vegetables the whole year round, in fact, every thing in every state of nature; some trees budding while others are shedding their fruit--a perfect summer the whole year, But every thing is very high--Turkey 5s. per pound, Geese 20s. each, chickens 18s. a pair, Oats 25s. per bushel, Potatoes 20s. per bushel, eggs 7s. 6d. per doz., Brandy 1s. a glass, Flour L15 per ton and everything in proportion, and mark you, this is sterling money. Myself and chums are paying 65s. sterling, a week for board, and glad to get it. I met some of the natives yesterday nearly naked, black with long hair--they look frightful. The number of persons arriving here is seven thousand a week--the town is overflowed. Over the river opposite Melbourne is a city of Tents, numbering more than five thousand--Rent and board so high that great numbers pitch their tents and cook for themselves. Many of our passengers are there, but will leave with us--had I a tent I should have gone there also. I had a delightful passage of 92 days. I saw many strange things, and see something new every day, which will be a subject to talk about should I live to get back home.
I leave on Monday for the Diggings in company with Jones that kept the London House in Fredericton and two other fellow passengers which compose our party, with three other parties, making in all sixteen persons. We have to walk seventy miles, and pay 20s. per cwt. for carrying luggage. D.H---- and the Gardens are where I am going, but P----r is some two hundred miles in another direction. I shall not see him yet a while. W. B-----r has gone home disgusted without giving the mines a fair trial. Young D-----l is in the mountain Government escort--gets 8s. a day and found. The work has used him up--has been very ill for four weeks. I have seen him twice, a perfect skeleton. I have deposited in the Bank thirty pounds sterling, to take me to Liverpool in case I am unfortunate at the mines. I have stored my Trunks with Isaac Hind Esq. Some of the passengers sold all their clothes rather than pay storage; I can only say that I would rather live on fifty pounds a year in New Brunswick than have five hundred here. I would advise all to stay where they are. I am here and I intend to try it faithfully. Some make money, but the chances are few. I hope for the best. I shall write to Father and send papers. The paper containing our Address to the Captain of our ship, you can send to Father after reading it.--Send the enclosed to A., and let all letters be addressed us on the last page. Remember me to all. I send M. a paper--cannot write to all at once. I have green peas and new potatoes for dinner. I shall hurry back as soon as I faithfully try the mines.
Believe me your affectionate Brother,
M. F. GORDON "
Descendants of Michael F. Gordon