July 30th, 1772John Forstall, Kilkenny to Nicholas Forstall, New Orleans
Dear nephew —
Mr. John Waugh [sp?] forwarded your letter to me of the 20th of last May, and your former letter came to my hands, you may be assured I am glad to hear you and my niece are well. I believe I told you how our family stood in this country in my letter to you. I was but 8 years old, when your father was sent to Nantes so was deprived to my grief of a father and mother, but I was then in a college in Paris. I received some letters from him to Paris, when he was at Nantes. I also can tell you that your being born in a foreign country does not lessen my love for the pledges my Brother Nick left of him, and your success and good fortune would be as agreeable to me as any nephew — I have but you, your brother, and the young man who is here ‘du côté de mes frères. Celui-ci est le fils unique de mon frère ainé, et par conséquent possède l’héritage de la famille selon les lois de ce royaume.
When parents only leave small fortunes the youngest children are to be pitied — This young man married very well, paid off all encumbrances, and now lives on his estate which he has improved very elegantly — My dear Father had many children and out of 8 sons, I am the only one left. He had given us all a profession, by which to earn a living, & I never had a shilling of the family; but God kindly preserved my father to the end of my studies, and he was alive for six years after my return home; he died in the 62nd year of his age and did us very great honour.
My nephew has four daughters and no son; the eldest of his daughters is but six years old; but he and his wife are very young. As he is now but 30 years old, so they are very likely to have a great many. They are both impatient for a son, and she is far gone with child at this time. We are certainly of a very old family, and remain a landed estate in the direct line in the family, notwithstanding all the revolutions this country has suffered. All your family’s inclinations were for the army. I had four uncles in the French army; two of them I did see; the other two were killed very young; you may be sure they were officers. I had three brothers in the Spanish army, the last one whose name was Stephen Forstall died two years ago in Valencia, where he retired, having been sickly for a considerable period. He got a company at the battle of Campo Santo, and was a gallant officer. My Eldest brother was in the regiment of Hibernia, a captain very young, but he returned home when my father died, to process the estate, where he married and had this one son; but for this it would happen that you would have it, if you are the eldest, but neither you nor I have been born to have estates. I saw that long ago; and for this reason tried to procure for myself an independence as every man should do in such cases — And as well as we thought, accounts were always that Brother Nick was in a most prosperous way and most industrious.
I have no children. I am in an expensive way and I cannot fall off, tho’ I am old and cannot attend so close to the drudgeries of my profession as I have done, which must lessen my income and yet I must keep up the same appearances — I always did this through a little pride for us. As to the Genealogy you require. tho’ difficult to be executed, and expensive I shall enquire the method to proceed in it, and when I do I shall remit it to you — ’tis all so troublesome — We trouble ourselves very little about these matters here, and as you are married and in commerce, I should think you have the less call for it. Vous savez, sans doute que les gens de notre religion sont génés horriblement dans ce pays icy, & nous n’avons pas du pouvoir à faire des fortunes comme les gens de la religion établie. Il n’est pas propre que j’eclaircisse tous ces faits en lettre, mais soyez persuadé que s’il y avait quelque chose pours vous servir que je n’oublieras pas les enfants de mon frère Nicholas. I have nephews by my sisters, but they have plentiful estates, so that the children of my brother should be my care, though I did not even hear from you, if any thing happened. I did know there were some children of his, and I would have taken care to find you out — As I have no children you may be always persuaded that while I live, I shall take of you to serve you in ever way in my power — You & your brother are my nearest objects. However, Honor, Industry, and activity must always speak in our favor. I hope you possess these qualities which I recommend to you, as also my love to my niece. Be persuaded that I am ever your very dear uncle ready to render you all the services that may lay in my power — So believe me your affectionate servt.
(Sd.) John Forstall
P.S. Write your name as I do. I seal this letter with the arms of the family which are ‘Une tête de levrier & trois phéons — B. les phéons sont des fers de Dart en forme de blazon.