From John Jeffrey O'Donnoghue on board the Sir William Bensley at Portsmouth, to [his brother] Hallifield Cosgayne O'Donnoghue at Revd. Spencer's, Bradford, Wiltshire.
He was a little disappointed at the fact that he was in such a hurry to leave London that he had to postpone the writing of this letter. Happily he can now put pen to paper.
They have been detained for some days here owing to the non-arrival of another ship [the name of which has been partially erased but is probably the Fame], commanded by Captain Barker, which is the property of Mr Holder of Bristol. Some concern was felt at her failure to arrive, but happily she reached port safely on February 15th. His friend Captain Barker dined with them yesterday and invited O'Donnoghue to spend a day with him on board his vessel, which he intends to do at the beginning of next week. O'Donnoghue receives letters from home by each post and is a little surprised to discover that their father [Bartholomew] has not yet arrived in England. Yesterday he received a letter of introduction from [Richard Hely] Earl Donoughmore, addressed to Sir John Cradock, Commander in Chief at Fort St George in Madras, India, and one from ?Papa to Mrs Dick, wife of one of the [Madras] Council. The letter from the Duke of Portland [William Henry Cavendish], he has not yet passed on to the Governor, Lord William, as the Duke was out of town when O'Donnoghue left and has not yet returned.
They have twelve passengers on board, all of whom with one exception are [East India Company army] cadets and all are agreeable, but for two young boys and one `vulgar, conceited, talkative fellow, who is much disliked by us and the Captain'. They live as well as any man can expect. They have fresh meat to eat when near land, with soups and four or six dishes exclusive of vegetables, and pudding or pie every day. They have meat with their breakfast, tea and supper. They also have plenty of wine and rum etc.
He had a letter from Brother Morgan a few days ago - all is well. O'Donnoghue has sent Hallifield a present from his mother.
On the reverse of the sheet is a second letter from [John Jeffrey O'Donnoghue] in Bristol to [his brother] Hallifield Cosgayne O'Donnoghue. He has, thank God, arrived safely in Bristol after a long journey and a stormy passage from Waterford and Nailford.
Hallifield is to be congratulated on his happy situation - he must ensure that he will make use of this opportunity to improve on his Christian knowledge.
He has examples at hand, and should therefore be enthusiastic in his imitation. Spiritual matters are discussed.
Mamma says that Hallifield must write to her once a fortnight. Also he is not to purchase the volumes of Zion's Trumpet and the former part of the Christian Guardians as she will give her copies to him. He must beware of spending more money than he needs to, as it is sinful to do so. John can see that his brother may well be tempted to extravagance, especially when a book is involved. Some of his money should be given to the poor, not in the gratification of personal desires where books etc are concerned.
In a postscript he mentions that their nephew is a lovely child. Hallifield should not forget the family at Brockley, [Somerset?]. Mama received Hallifield's letter and is well as is Eliza. Their father is in London. Aunt and Uncle send their regards as does Mr Harris etc n.d.