Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library
LETTERS FROM DUNCAN CAMPBELL TO:
JOHN CAMPBELL 1782
DUGALD CAMPBELL 1794
London, 6th February 1782
per the Swallow Packet
Copy per favour of Donald Malcolm Esq.2
My last to you was dated 28th December of which having sent copies I beg leave to refer thereto About ten days since your letter 11 November came to hand; the fear of its awakening in my mind my feelings for the loss I have sustained,3 has till this moment prevented me reading it Dugald4 having only read to me what related to business, but as I could not answer without perusing it I have indeed met with another severe trial of my fortitude Had I read that letter when it came to hand I should have been much less able to support its effects being at that time in a very indifferent state of health & spirits, but I thank God I am now much better. I have as you say lost a valuable child in whom I had placed great hopes indeed of comfort in my advanced life, & assistance & example to my younger children of which from their number they will stand much in need & the more so from the conduct of poor Mary5 - what a blessing would she have been to these infants. But on this I must not dwell longer, it will unman me quite. We have lost her, but I trust in God almighty she is a gainer by the change.
My former letters would advise of having altered my mind as to Dugald[s] embarkation, at least for the time;6 if I find my health & spirits such as to be able to part with him he may go by the next convoy. My affairs about you seem to want some exertion, otherwise I shall be made a Dupe of by most of my correspondents. Mr. Brown7 has I think almost entirely given up consigning to me; Mr. Fleming8 I can easily see will do the same unless I enter deeper into advance than his consignments are worth indeed I repent my having had any connexion with a man who is only bale to receive but cannot confer a favour; his supplies & bills with that of A. George9 £300 if drawn for will considerably exceed the advance agreed & when I from necessity stop my hand what means has he to pay my Demands? Your & my worthy friend Mr. Brissett10 has written to Mr. Malcolm11 to call on me to know whether I have resolved not to pay his Bill for £1,200 & in that case to apply to & promise his favours to whoever will undertake to pay the same; he has too drawn large bills on me @ 90 days sight on account of a bill for £1,000 he remitted me at 132 days which being noted for non acceptance his bills will of course be refused could he expect more advance from me, did I ever promise him a credit equal to this? or did his consignments warrant his making so free? Certainly not. my only concern on the business is your having put your hand to such a bill at a time when you knew form me he had been trifling with and amusing me from year to year with promises. Mr Malcolm behaved with great candour to me & on my side I was equally explicit. Donald Malcolm & Mr. J. Brissett were present,12 saw all our correspondence for some years past & declared Mr. Brissett had been treated by me in a most friendly manner & that he had no right to expect me to accept such a Bill. I have written to him fully; ask for my letter of 2nd Inst. His son Joseph knows all my sentiments on his Father's conduct perfectly which he reprobates or seems to reprobate & goes out if I can believe his letters full of satisfaction & gratitude for my conduct towards him. But should necessity oblige all or any part of the folks I have mentioned above to send their sugars into other hands I hope if you are on the spot you will exert, effectually exert, the utmost endeavours to obtain payments of what is due to me; the better to enable you to do this I will send out Brissett's Accounts proved, if possible by this fleet. If he cannot pay, get a Bond or Judgement as no other security will be satisfactory to me if he refuses that I would wish an immediate action to be brought against him, but should you leave the Island and Dugald not be there, in that case who is fit to be trusted with my little concerns. When upon this subject, I think it right that Mr. Peter Campbell's13 Account should be put upon a proper footing; surely he cannot object to granting a Bond, I shall be much hurt if he does. What have you done about John & James Campbell's14 bill? I wish you had followed my advice about it I request you will get it made perfectly safe at least and to bear Interest. Doctor Paterson's15 bills too ought to have been put in Motion Sums like these you might suppose from my other Engagements would be very convenient to me. I see you have applied the payment from Blagrove's16 attorneys to you own use with which your account is charged; I am afraid by your passive conduct in all my money matters you consider my purse much, much deeper than it really is; what I give or do, I do freely, & that perhaps as I have gone so far leads you to think so, but I beg to undeceive you; I have declined drawing a line as long as circumstances would admit but now I must stop & request you will act accordingly in all matters relating to my concerns in your Island. My large, very large family requires that I should hold something in hand for their immediate support, as well as the support of any credit her. This must appear a most necessary step when you consider how I have been & may still be disappointed in my expectations from your side of the water, reasons that I am sure will stimulate you to give me all the relief and assistance in your power. If I am reduced to the necessity of borrowing money my comfort & peace of mind are at an end, & no future prospects, be what they may, will make amends for that loss. It gives me great pleasure however to find by your last letter that your spirits are not so depressed but that I may still hope you will be able on so trying an occasion to assist in obtaining an agreeable settlement of all my affairs with your neighbours. They are not intricate & but in few hands, & within the compass of a days ride, so that a spirited exertion for a very few weeks I think cannot fail of producing salutary effects to me; and such an exertion I conjure you by all the ties of friendship between us to adopt. The fear of losing the consignments of the people I have mentioned need be no barr, for the sums they owe will always purchase (whenever I wish for it) returns much more advantageous. Indeed at any rate should I drop they cannot be continued, for Dugald cannot begin where I leave off; the little I can leave behind when divided amongst so many will put it out of his power to hold the business on the terms it now stands a moments reflection will put this in a striking point of view, & at my time of life from the common course of Nature it becomes necessary to make arrangements suitable to my situation & family, an object that I can assure you fills up many of my sollitary hours with no small degree of anxiety, & here I drop this serious subject. I have more than once written you respecting Miss. Crooks's17 stay here her Expence is enormous & more than the Estate can, or ought in justice to the other children to afford; I must therefore insist upon being relieved of her Bills which are daily enhancing my advance on that estate's account. She is very desirous to return to Jamaica, her years and size require she should be taken from school & I cannot conceive what are Mr. Brown's reasons for continuing her longer here; in this I hope you and Mr. Dickson18 will interfere without loss of time; it becomes the more necessary, as I have expressed the same desire repeatedly to Mr. Brown without effect; he has forbidden her being suffered to visit anybody even Mrs. Campbell19 has been refused when she asked Mrs. Stevenson20 to lett her spend a few days with her. However extraordinary this may appear it is nevertheless true. N[eil] S[omerville]21 has applied to me for payment of your Debt, & I see by a letter from Noble22 to him which he sent me, that a suit against you was suspended only form the hopes you had given that I would pay his Demand; this I have in my former letters told you would be very inconvenient. If Mr. Neil does take such rigorous steps with you, which is not unlike him, he must be one of the most ungratefull monsters on Earth, he really is of that cast; but if I was you I would put him to tryal I already despise him & a conduct like this will make him despicable indeed. I forgot to mention that Capt. Ruggles23 writes me that you or I must give him some certainty as to the payments he or Mr. George are to receive from Fleming; I need not suppose after what I have said you will enter into any such Engagement nor bind yourself or me in any shape. The supplies now sent Mr. Fleming & those ordered for him from Ireland will make the Balance of his Current Account against him about £140 or £150 he has now two Bills to Ruggles depending £137 which if I pay will be considerably more than his few sugars per the Orange Bay will amount to. What then must be the case if Archibald George draws for £30024 that will enhance the advance greatly & yet I am much inclined to pay these bills for the time being relying wholly on your assurance of my being safe, & being able to extricate me from my engagements with that Gentleman.
I wish the interference of the folks you mention touching the Orange Bay25 may not have a contrary effect than what they intended; I am sure it can neither serve neither you nor me. Every hours delay is at the expence of the owners as insurers pay no wages or provisions, nor will they pay expence of suits at Law, without they are benefited thereby or have approved of entering into such; it is dangerous therefore taking matters out of the Captain's hands, who alone has charge of & is accountable for the cargo. From what I have sent and the circumstances of the times it certainly would be very adviseable for you to remain another year in the Island if your health is such as to admit of your attending properly to your own and my business but on the contrary if that is impaired everything ought to give way & in that case I would not wish you to stay an hour .
We all join in love to you & I remain
1 John Campbell of Salt Spring, Hanover, brother-in-law to Duncan Campbell
2 Donald Malcolm, merchant and planter of Hanover, at present in London
3 Rebecca, his eldest daughter, had died in Jamaica the previous September
4 His eldest son
5 His daughter Mary, whilst staying with relatives in Greenock in August 1781, had eloped with a soldier, Capt. William Willcox of Aberdeen
6 The intention had been for Dugald to go to Jamaica to 'learn the planting business' and to assist his uncle who was not in good health. He eventually arrived at Salt Spring about 1783/4 following John Campbell's death in 1782
7 Dr. Thomas Brown, second husband to widow Sarah Crooks at Cousins Cove, Hanover
8 William Fleming, planter at Industry estate, Green Island.
9 Archibald George, presumed former owner of Industry plantation (map of 1763)
10 George Brissett Senr. Planter at Cacoon estate, Hanover
11 Neill Malcolm, Jamaica merchant and planter, then in London, brother-in-law to George Brissett
12 Neill Malcolm's brother and Joseph Brissett, eldest son of George
13 Peter Campbell, planter of Fish River, Hanover
14 Unidentified but perhaps John Campbell of New Hope, Westmoreland, and his brother James. John Campbell owned Kendal plantation in Hanover (managed by James) and several estates in St. Elizabeth's parish
15 Dr. John Paterson of Baulk plantation, nr. Lucea, Hanover
16 John Blagrove, grandson of the late James Campbell of Orange Bay, owned Maggotty plantation in Hanover and Cardiff Hall and Orange Valley estates in St. Ann's parish
17 Sarah Crooks, daughter of Sarah Brown of Cousins Cove, whose father James Crooks [d1774] was 1st cousin to John Campbell of Salt Spring
18 John Dickson, former planter at Salem, Hanover, now merchant at Davis' Cove; uncle of Sarah Crooks and an executor, with John Campbell, of James Crooks' estate
19 Mary Mumford, second wife of Duncan Campbell, Rebecca Campbell having died in 1774
20 Mrs. Stevenson, schoolmistress in London
21 Neil Somerville, Campbell's nephew, the son of his sister Ann. Duncan Campbell had set him on his way in business with a ship of his own in 1766
22 George Noble, partner with Francis Somerville (brother of Neil) in 'Somerville & Noble', merchants in Kingston, Jamaica
23 George Ruggles of St. Elizabeth's parish
24 The implication appears to be that William Fleming is in arrears of his payments to Archibald George for the purchase of Industry plantation and has also borrowed from Ruggles. The following year, Ruggles and Fleming advertised the sale of Industry in the 'Cornwall Chronicle & Jamaica General Advertiser' [6 July 1783]
25 In August 1781, Campbell's ship Orange Bay had been driven ashore during a storm at Port Royal, was saved but its recovery and repair had been delayed. Campbell had reckoned an overall trading loss of £4,000 for 1781
London, 22nd April 1782
Per Mr. Donald Malcolm
I send you a copy of my private Letter of 6th Feby. & general letter of 6 April to which I refer. In the last I mentioned having written to Millar1 touching your Bill a copy of which letter with his answer I send you herewith I am at a loss what construction to put on his conduct in sending out the Bill I hope you have made no special Engagement to subject yourself to any loss or inconveniency by its being refused acceptance otherwise than that common on such occasions viz. giving security for the bills being paid when due, if you did make any such agreement you ought to have informed me accordingly. Large as my Engagements already are for you, had the safety of Jamaica been out of the question, my security would have been immediately annexed to this Bill. It was presented thro' a strange Banker without the least notice from Millar & called for next day; his behaviour in this matter has not much pleased me, but you know him best. Be as that may I am sure you will not under the present prospect of Affairs in the West Indies which rather thicken than brighten blame me for my conduct; come what may I can but pay this sum for you at last. When I tell you that at this moment the Balance of your Current Account which you have a sketch herewith is no less than £7,151.7.10d. you will wonder what more funds would enable me to go so far, than that I decline going farther at present. The Governor Dalling is now at Cork taking in provisions for Hanover a running Ship,2 I have ordered half of your & my other friends supplies from thence to be shipped in her, but as I did not care to risque the whole by that conveyance the other half I mean shall be sent per the next Convoy these Provisions are not included in the above Balance. Every Body here connected with Jama. is in greatest anxiety about its safety. I am perhaps less afraid than most people from my knowledge of its natural Strength, but my mind is by no means easy. We are in daily expectation of a Packet which may & I hope will bring us the good news of our fleets arrival out & other favourable accounts, for this & for your health & happiness you have the prayer of me & all about me. poor Mrs Campbell is but indifferent in her days past with symptoms of a miscarriage but is rather better yesterday & she may get go her time or near it. She & Dugd. join in Love to you with ......
PS By the Convoy to the fleet now going out I sent Mr Fleming3 a State of his Current Account the Balance of which was £339 .... to this there is to be added his Irish provisions. Not being certain of your stay in the Island I have given Mr. Donald Malcolm two Bills drawn by Fleming in favour of Mr Ruggles viz. one for £70 another £67... which I paid for Ruggles4 honour rather than let them return protested which Bills I have desired Mr Malcolm to negotiate & to receive payment of he will of course consult you on the occasion & I beg you will not lead me further into Engagements with this man but extricate me as far as possible from what I have done. The Balance of the estate Mr. Crooks5 Current Account by midsumer next will not be less than £450 or £500 a State of which will be sent next opportunity mean time this will guide you in your deliberations & conduct with Mr Brown6
1 Unidentified; perhaps James Millar who had managed Salt Spring during John Campbell's absence in 1770-1
2 A ship considered fast enough to sail without the protection of a convoy
3 William Fleming, planter at Industry estate, Green Island, Hanover
4 George Ruggles of St. Elizabeth's parish
5 Meaning Cousins Cove plantation, Hanover; James Crooks had died in 1774
6 Dr. Thomas Brown, husband of Sarah Grizell, James Crooks' widow
1st October 1794
About a week since I had the pleasure of receiving your letter of the 7 June & 14 July. As yours of the latter date relates to private business I shall confine my answer accordingly. I observe with great concern the account you now give and the picture you draw of Saltspring Estate and its dependencies, which force upon us a serious investigation of our reciprocal situation on which I will not recriminate as I can easily conceive how you must feel from the cause; but no more of this; let us look forward; these dreadfull times it is to be hoped will not continue always. When the Blessings of Peace return let us be prepared to avail ourselves of that event, by a rigid Oeconomy in every expenditure - Attend to this advice; get rid of that vanity which you say has so long flatter'd you in the appearance of being what you are not, a Man of Fortune - for it you will be as well respected if you move in a state of mediocrity as in the parade of affectation and grandeur. If you will follow these few hints, I have little fear we shall yet be able to extricate Salt Spring from difficulties. As to the proposal you make of giving up that Estate it is premature and would if complied with greatly derrange the plan I have adopted for a distribution2 but you may well contend that no act of mine will deprive you of that proportion which I intended and still intend to alott you for unless the Sans Cullotts take the distribution off my hands, in that case you must take the will for the deed.
My two girls Ann & Launce set out tomorrow to make a visit to their sister in Suffolk. They will be gone two months. Jack3 is now with us to see them safe to the end of their journey. We expect the East India ships, intended for this season will very shortly be taken up, when I trust the Henry Dundas will be among the number. The Mary will be out of dock tomorrow she has done pretty well this voyage and if she makes as good a freight next voyage we shall probably get something by her. We are all well again and join in cordial love with my Dear Jack
1 Campbell's eldest son now at Salt Spring, managing the estate and his father's much reduced affairs in Jamaica
2 Campbell had already written a will in February of that year and Salt Spring was Dugald's inheritance
3 John Campbell, Dugald's younger brother
London Jan 8, 1795
I wrote to you a few lines the 27 Nov with a PS of the 3rd December since which I have received your two letters of the 6 October. I observe what you mention about the sugar and rum DCC & DSC which shall be paid agreeable to your directions to the order of Messrs. Barings who have within these few days applied to know what is likely to be the amount of the Proceeds they are to receive; a note of which I have transmitted as you will see by the inclosed Copy of my Card to them.
I am extremely sorry for the loss you have sustained by the death of your Overseer and the Young Gentleman assistant to Dr. Paterson.1 I approve of the appointment you have made to fill up the vacancy occasioned by the death of the Overseer. You will be surprised when I tell you that all our Jamaican and West India fleets still remain at Torbay or other Western Ports in the Channel, whether this is owing to the French fleet being at Sea in superior force or to any other course I will not take upon me to decide; but it is a distressing circumstance to all concerned with Sugar Plantations. God send us better times.
My mind has lately been much agitated by some distressing circumstances which came to my knowledge on the decease of your poor unfortunate Sister Henrietta:2 I am unable now to give you a detail of that event & therefore I refer you to Copies of the sundry letters which passed on that subject from which you will learn every particular. - As soon as the severe weather which has prevailed for some weeks past breaks up, I mean to send Mr Boyick3 to carry down the poor Orphan Grace4 to her Grand-Mother in Scotland under whose care I intend to place her. Capt Bligh5 wrote you by my desire of yesterday's date with a detail of sundry particulars better known to him than to me and to these I beg leave to refer you. All my family ...... .... My Dear Dugald
You will receive herewith a list of the sundry sales sent you by Capt. Douglas
List of letters enclosed with the above, Viz;
Copies of A Crawford's letters of the 1st 5 & 10 December 1794
Copy of Mr. Boyick's letter to Mr. Crawford of 15 Dec.
Copy of my letter to Mrs. Susanna Campbell of 10 Dec.
Copy of Mrs. Susannah Campbell's answer dated 15 Dec.
Copy of my letter to A ****dated 6 Jany.
1 Dr. John Paterson planter of Baulk estate, Hanover
2 Divorced wife of Colin Campbell, merchant in Greenock, latterly at Holland, St. Elizabeth's parish, Jamaica
3 James Boyick, Duncan Campbell's Clerk
4 Henrietta Campbell's daughter
5 William Bligh was for several years on the Jamaica run, commander of 'Britannia', for Duncan Campbell before his voyages to the Pacific
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