Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library
LETTERS FROM WILLIAM FRASER
See below for: Inquest
Francis Fraser Esq.
Lieut R. Navy
London 5 March 1806
9 B Street Carnaby Market
My Dear Francis,
Tho' the tenor of your letter of the 23d is not of a nature to add much to the comfort a prospect of getting thro' my own Embarrassments/ bless God, for the kind offices of the Honble W. Forbes with the Bishop of Man' affords me a Prospect that I think there is a good chance maybe shortly realised in my Ordination Yet it was no small satisfaction to hear from you for which I confess I felt somewhat impatient. I am truly unhappy our worthy and venerable Father's latter days should be so clouded - why should he resign himself - prey to Melancholy? He has - if any man living has the fullest testimony of a good conscience - and all his actions I firmly believe have ever been inflamed by the most upright purposes. Misfortunes on the lot of the just as well as the unworthy and when an inward consciousness warrants should be borne with firmness as well as resignation. But you will say perhaps it was a Letter you looked for not a Sermon - remember however that [---] for the sanction to preach - seriously Francis I wish the Old Man would take himself away from that dreary place where every object [lends] to encourage gloomy ideas. Adam is to write him today while [- -] from the duty of the York Hospital where he is gone to take his routine for a day, and will I trust urge such a removal to our good old Father.
Poor good hearted Rebecca's transition has I trust been to a better state. Here she had nothing to make Life [durable] [either] in possession or [aversion]! She was very dear to me and I valued her much indeed for the kindness of her nature.
I know Mrs Fraser would feel much on the occasion as I ever heard her speak in terms the most affectionate of Becky. I had a letter from Sandy lately. He is with the Regt the 56th at the Bcts Sandown [-], Isle of Wight in hopes to go with that Corps to India. May God prosper poor Sandy! He has I know not if I told you taken the name of Baird instead of his own under an idea that it may not a future day not be obnoxious to the Royal Commander in Chief. Adam and I took a Walk one day to Walham Green and called on John Baird's Widow - the Poor woman - and she is [-] so - being in very bad circumstances behaved with very great kindness - gave me a Ring with the Family Arms which was poor George Baird's and a brace of very handsome portraits which latter I made an immediate hamper of to Adam. She gave me also his Lay book of the Expedition with Capn Phipps 177?
I had a very kind Letter from Mrs Farquharson in answer to one I wrote to her on the occasion. The Old Lady seems much affected - nor is it strange - the last survivor as she is now is of our Excellent Grandfather's numerous family!
Adam who merits all the good I can say of him is pretty well for the present 6/6 per diem and 10/6 a week Lodging - He will I hope soon get an appointment to the Regt and I hope as I believe that his professional claims will bear him thro' with advantage to himself and credit to us.
I have been for a week out at [Windsor] with the worthy Doctor James Ogilvie Kings Chaplain at the Lodge. Brother to [the] Poet - to whom I have been indebted for an introduction production of much kind attention and pleasant society. I have a great esteem for Dr John Ogilvie. In a few days I go down to the [high] [-] of Maidstone to pass a [-] to him with Mr John Morris Brot to my good Friend Mr R. Morris of Jamaica. This the kindness of our [-] Master W. Smith I owe much to Mr Garden formerly of Birse and Mr Herdman his Clerk. I am engaged to pay the former a Visit at his Villa at Jeddington. Perhaps /as I pray/ an answer from the Isle of Man [-] between me and the fulfilment of that promise.
News you ask - I can give you none other than the papers afore you. Every prospect of a [--] of War. I wish you could get up in the [--] . I trust you have [-] a Chance [not-] how kindly I would be [-]
Don't [-] forget my best regards to your Lady. Capn Campbell, his Lady, I [--] the young Gentleman. Sent his Letter by a particular friend and at same time wrote to his Brother Morven Duncan. Let me hear from you my Dear Brother . take all that is kind [-] as much from Adam as from me. When you write to Abdn [-] us with [Love] to Dr Helen. And to Mrs [-]. Believe me
My Dear Francis
Francis Fraser Esq.
Care of John Davidson Esq.
London, November 4th 1806
My ever honoured Father,
Do not be displeased that my Letters they follow each other in such quick succession!
Blessed be the Almighty who has given me such a parent without whose support my great Object could never have been accomplished! A support that I am full sensible has been afforded at the price of much personal inconvenience with your slender and alas! extremely narrowed circumstances and I have amidst all the satisfaction that this highly favourable reverse of Fortune yields me to lament that impervious necessity prompts the call I make.
My Ordination secures me a very handsome Living in Jamaica the instant I reach it and will to a moral certainty enable me to remit you the whole amount by a Draft on this City. The delays that I have experienced cannot be helped nbsp; happy [this] - happy in the fulfilment of my wishes even at the great expence of Time and of Money and impatient to reach my destination for the strongest reasons; among which the earnest desire to relieve you from your engagements on my account is not the least powerful.
I gave you a Notice from Whitehaven thru' W. Davidson my worthy Friend that to enable me to leave the file of [ ] [ ] hither preparatory to my departure for Jamaica I had been enforced thro' the want of other means to give a Draft on you favouring the Honble Andrew Forbes then [ ] him [ ] Mr. John Dun who would pass it to the Collector of the Customs in Douglas for £25[ ]! and that with generous assistance of Mr John Hudman No 203 Piccadilly after sustaining the loss of £20 by being picked of my Pocket Book previous a few hours to my leaving this on my way to Liverpool I owe it, that I was able to proceed and remain there so long!
Mr John Hudman advanced the poor fellow all he had in the world £30! Mr Smith made your acquaintance with Mr Hudman_ I am to intreat of you my Dearest [ ] Father thro' the aid of W. Davidson to pay the £25 Order favour the Honble A. Forbes and to put it in my power to inform Mr Hudman his Advance for the want of which he is sadly crippled!
I have thus already drained your resources to Amount of £150 and for God's sake bear me this (as you have carried me thus far) by continuing ways and means thro Mr Davidson to make up a Draft on his Banker (including the £30 to Mr Hudman) for £80 - The Fifty over will pay my passage out and some small outfit for the Voyage to Jamaica. I shall then owe you £200! but no longer than till I possess the means and there are three Livings vacant now ___ on the best of which I reckon I will fall confidently [ ] [ ] [ diately as I am on the spot having made further [ ] Interest with [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] Dear Helen? ___ any tidings from our beloved Adam? I have not been many hours in Town - and with this under the effect of a satisfying Journey Servant of Sleep ______
With the most anxious longing to hear from you I am my Dearest Father
Your truly affectionate Son
Reverend W. F.
No 9 Broad Street, Golden Square
[Note in margin:]
If W. Davidson will send me a Statement I will transmit you my Note payable @ 6 months.
Nassau, New Providence
June 29th 1808
My Honoured Father,
After a long series Disappointmemts and mortification, as unexpected as I trust unwarranted I am at last Bless God settled in a comfortable tho' not very lucrative Living here which will enable me to make matters out till the Duke of Manchester provides better for me in Jamaica from whence this is distant a fortnights Voyage. I was appointed to a Parish - St. John's the 25 June last by the amicable Governor of these Islands - Governor Cameron - of the Lochiel family whose Lady is sister to Lord Erroll - and shall have a right to draw on London for a certain part of my Stipend shortly when I will do all I can towards my debts to you my worthy and venerable parent which obligation insurmountable difficulty as so long left unchanged. I have the satisfaction of writing this by a particular friend of our dear Adam's - a Capn McNiel - lately from Antigua - to which Island a late opportunity has enabled me to send a letter for my Dear Adam - now Ass Surgeon 96th Regt Stationed at Santa Cruz. Capn McNeil speaks most highly of Adam who will now hold the rank of field Surgeon. They served together in Antigua.
I hope to hear from you my Dr and worthy Father - My Respects to Mr Byres - and every truly kind and affectionate to my Sister, Brother all relations and friends - in which Mrs F and 3 Girls and [ ] join with Ever Dear Father
Capn McN is of the
7th W. Indies ([ ])
Regt [ ]
Francis Fraser Esq. Findrack
Care of John Davidson Esq.
Nassau, New Providence
Octor 18th 1808
My Dear and Honoured Father will not I trust in his Affection and goodness think harshly of me - it has been very much against my wishes as well as my intention that your generous assistance has been so long unrequeathed - a series of Disappointments which I neither foresaw nor was prepared to meet has been the cause. I waited nearly a year in Jamaica in full confidence that Sir Eyre Cook would have provided for me - for such provision his repeated promises warranted my looking up - but alas - they proved altogether fallacious and disgusted and mortified in the extreme I took a Voyage to these Islands (the Bahamas) in the beginning of the Year with Letters to Governor Cameron who very handsomely appointed me to a living the 25th January. I returned to Jamaica for my Family - and we have been settled at my Parish St Johns - which comprizes several large and small Islands some 50 miles N.E. of this place the Capital of the Bahamas. I am bless God pretty well off - and hope the Duke of Manchester will make good his promises to recall me to something better before long. I waited on his Grace on my return hence for Mrs F and our three girls. It was most kindly received on the strength of my introduction from Ld Huntly Sir Eyre Cook. He came out (the Duke) in the [ ] Frigate[?] Capn Skene -
A part of my income arises from a Society in London for the propagation of the Xn religion in foreign parts and apart from Government - to be drawn for half yearly. Having been obliged to borrow £26 from Mr Herdman - Piccadilly to whom Mr Ln: Smith - Birse kindly introduced me on my going up to London I have sent him a set of Bills for £60 - @ 30 days and of which he will pay himself and I remit the Balance to you - as somewhat towards the payment- and [rely] on my best efforts
So My Dear Father write to me at times - and give me all the Family News - addressing to a friend of mine in this town "William Hield Esqr
His Majestys Ordnance Store Keeper" [ ]
Several officers of the 7th West Indies Regt who were [ ] with our Dear Adam [ ] [ ] when the Regt was there. all agree in speaking uncommonly well of him - highly gratifying this you may believe this to an affectionate Brother.
How are Francis - Helen - how is every body whom I have a right to ask about - Of
Mr Byres I heard in Jama from Mr John Durno - whom I often saw - do make my best and kindest regards to all of them- without detailing their names!-
May the Almighty ever bless you My most dear and Honoured Father
Your ever affectionate son
Address The Revd W. F. Rector of St John's - Bahamas.
Francis Fraser Esq.
Nassau; Bahamas Decr 28th 1808
My Dear and ever Honoured Father
I wrote to you some four months ago by a Capn McNeil a friend of our Dear Adam and since by the Prince [Ersiont] Jamaica Pacquet. Since which a very important change has occurred. In consequence of an offer made me of the Living of the Parish of Vere in Jamaica by his Grace the Duke of Manchester the Governor of that happy colony a consequence of which relinquish my appointment in the Church here and proceed to that Island by the first favourable opportunity of a conveyance for self Mrs F and three Daughters with our Major Domestics
I have now had the Living of St Johns for a Twelvemonth and happy in the esteem and ap- [ ] of a highly respectable and liberal community which no consideration would induce me to leave but the obvious interest of my Family. In their removals I have been subjected to a very heavy outlay which has crippled me so much that I am still backwards in funds- I shall however be settled in Jamaica with such Superior Advantage that I [hunt] if God continues Life and Health I shall in a year or two get round- and give you satisfactory proof that nothing but the mere want of the means has kept me so long without something [settling?] the amount of your Advances-
My Friend Mr Herdman of London had a Bill from me which would pay him the loan I had and afford a little towards your claim_ Let my letters be addressed to me in Vere parish Jamaica_ I hope you have health and shall bear up well under the [ ] of advanced age and you have of the many evils of Life to which we are all subjected in a greater or lesser degree! May the Almighty support and help you! Remember me most kindly to Helen and Her Husband and family as well as to Francis and Wife_ Adieu my ever Dear Father!
I am unalterably
Your affectionate and dutiful son
Complts to all Friends
Mr Byres particularly my respects Whilst Mr Davidson etc etc etc
Francis Fraser Esq.
Falmouth, Trelawney, Jamaica
September 5th 1809
My Dear Brother,
Before this you will have received my answer to your distressing communication of 11th March in which you do not touch on the additional and heavy affliction which from Mr Wm Walkers Letter address to here followed - and to have originated in it - I mean poor Helen's lamentable situation! Good God - What a series of miseries. Be it our care to hear them with resignation let us humbly kiss the rod! trials there no doubt of the most painful kind but alas - we are born to suffer and few indeed are the instances when in some shape or other any are exempted from their allotted portion of Evil in this life - in another all inequalities will be adjusted.
My Heart bleeds for our poor Sister and the sufferings of our Dear and venerable Father must be in no small degree exacerbated by embarrassments to the relief of which with every inclination I can not at present juncture contribute - For I have been compelled to new furnish the Parsonage House at great expence - to purchase Horses and Servants; for my Parish is one of the largest in the Island - Superadded to this I incurred a debt to Mr Hield my Friend H. M. O. S. K. at New Providence to bear me and family back to Jamaica which is still unliquidated - as well a loan from the House of [B ] in Kingston when I was detained at an enormous expence before I could get a passage round[ ] by [Wales] - and a Bill I drew on the Society for propagating the Xn religion in foreign parts has been very cruelly returned under protest All these circumstances have put it out of my power to send our girl to England to have the finishing polish which Jamaica cannot give.
Before my Honour Such My Dear Francis are my circumstances - and I cannot doubt that standing acquitted with you for a non compliance when the matter was - and must/ I fear/ for a season be altogether out of my reach - I have the will - and time may please God produce the power.
I wish to know the circumstances of poor Dear Adam's premature and ever lamented fate! as well as all the particulars of Rebecca's deplorable case - and what the hopes we may indulge of her recovery ______________ Sir D. K. died without Estate or [ ] for the former will not pay his debts tho' he made a will and left some Land formerly [ ] to [C ] which will be of no use to him as the [C ] will cover it - and the title his father had forfeited - besides all this there are nearer relations - the Children of James Rankine Esq - [D ] [near] Dundee - His Grace has been uncommonly friendly: thanks to the gallant Lord Huntly - whom I have frequently written to in acknowledgement.
I am glad to see his services called [ ] Can't you my Dr Brother get into play [ ] since you don't want courage or ambitions - and now is the time. I wrote our friends lately by Mr Duns - I am glad Colonel Forbes has been so fortunate. What is his age and character - married or single.
Mrs Fraser who is going to put me to [ ] [ ] by adding to our family desires to join me and the 3 girls in every thing kind affectionate and dutiful to you all - I beg to hear soon- fully and frequently - Most kind regards to Mrs Fraser
and all Relations and friends from My Dear Brother
Yours [ ]
Francis Fraser Esq. of Findrack R. N.
June 26th 1812
My Dear Brother,
My friend Francis Robertson Esq has the goodness to take these lines for you. His health required a Voyage to Europe and he will be at Aberdeen on his way to Banff where his relatives live.
I hope you and your Lady enjoy health and happiness - Thank God we cannot complain - Two of our daughters are at school in London - Our Eldest - poor girl - unhappily the victim of Epilepsy. We can do nothing for farther [ ] and by kindness and can only much as possible alleviate her sufferings! I had sundry letters from our Cousin Mrs O'Hara resident at [Garpic] in Nova Scotia with a large family - in narrow circumstances She speaks of having heard from you - and that our Cousin [Philip] Farquharson had written to her - she had heard that her Brother William [Cort] was dead - This is not the case - poor man - but I regret to say that he has taken up a vocation so derogatory to all his connections that I am necessitated to "cut him" The Office he has entered on some time ago is the most degrading in the Island - Making Marshals Dog or as they state in England Bailiff - or Bailiffs Officer - the lowest grade - [nor] in much better than Exec??!!
Don't say a word of this to Mr Robertson nor to Mrs Farquharson - say 'Unfortunate Man! that he has been extremely ill fated.
By my best and affectionate regards to Miss Farquharson Sisters to whom I wish you to introduce Mr Robertson - How is our poor sisters child? With our best respects to Mrs Fraser I remain Dear Francis
Francis Fraser Esqr R. N.
Favoured by Aberdeenshire
Alexr Milne Esq
July 31st 1818
My Dear Brother,
Mr Milne a very old friend of mine and a very good man will give you these lines - You will, long on this have received a Letter that went to London by Captain Linden.
I have nothing to add to its contents but that Mr Milne will give you pleasure by his accounts of our welfare
His stay will not be long in his native country from which he has been many, many years an absentee
I anticipate pleasant tidings of you by his return - or sooner should his sojourn among you be protracted beyond his present intentions -
Accept of our united Kindest wishes for Mrs Fraser, Yourself, and family and believe me
My Dear Brother
Francis Fraser Esqr R. N.
by Mr Wilson
May 22d 1822
My Dear Brother,
I wrote to you 26th February last; and although I have little to communicate I cannot let the opportunity slip of dropping you a few lines by a Mr Alexander Wilson, who, after a residence of twenty odd years now returns to Banff, the place of his nativity with a [ ] competence, the fruit of hard labour as a Mason.
At the time I had the pleasure of addressing you, I had some doubts as to my obtaining the appointment of chaplain to the 92nd Rgt whose Head Quarters are in this town; those doubts were soon removed; and I now hold the situation which adds a Couple of Hundred to my Income - and it came very seasonably, for with the emoluments of my living much lessened of late years, expences have grown upon me.
The Regt was on its arrival commanded by a Major Wilkie, a particular friend of your Brother in law Capt Winchester, and a very honest fellow with whom I was on the best terms. He was superceded in the command by a Colonel Williamson, lately from England, and is now with the Detachment at Port Antonio
The Colonel and myself are on the like pleasant footing; and we have the prospect that this might continue permanent Head Quarters of future Corps as being a very healthy place. This Regiments tour of duty here will close in less than two years.
I am glad to say that I am still as well as a man on the verge of three score has a right to expect in any clime! My wife and two daughters are also in good health. Our Eldest, the wretched victim of apoplexy malady; - Fits!
Our best regards attend you, Mrs F and young family and good wishes to all
friends firm, My ever Brother,
your loving Brother
Favoured by Aberdeenshire
My Dear Madam Rectory, Trelawney
June 21th 1826
I avail myself of the opportunity of replying to your Letter of the 24th Feb: by Mr Tawse, a gentleman who has been for several years resident here; and promises to call on you on his way to his relations in Strathdon. He has also a few lines for General Forbes. Your Brother Major Winchester favoured me with a long letter the 20th August last inclosing a very gratifying one from my Nephew Francis, and another from my niece which I must take an occasion that will shortly offer to answer severally. Your Brother takes the warmest interest in your affairs; the details are painful: and I wish it were in my power to advise or assist. But it appears to me that things are far from irretrievable, and I hope ere long to learn that they are in a more favourable [train]. The loss of your little daughter your Brother had apprized me of to such afflictions we must bow submissively! I trust you will have great consolation in the survivors who have my best wishes. Of a family of seven including a Son, only two Girls remain to us! And I alone am left of Eleven! and far advanced in the [tale] of years; although bless god, in the full enjoyment of my health and faculties and altogether reconciled to pass the residue of my days here; where indeed previously to the wild schemes of a faction that seems bent on the ruin of these colonies, an exile for life needed not to have viewed as a pitiable doom! Circumstances to be sure are sadly altered and our prospects gloomy. Yet [ ] we hope may prevail and justice be done us: and we are ready to abide by the award. Mrs Fraser and my two daughters desire to be remembered in the most affectionate terms to you and your [five] dear Children; I shall be most happy to hear from you at all times and am, Very truly
Your affectionate Brother
General Nathaniel Forbes [cousin of William Fraser]
Rec.d at Auchernach Octr. 29th do
Rectory, Falmouth Trelawney,
Jamaica June 14th 1826.
My dear Sir,
I had lately a letter from the Widow of my Brother Francis Fraser of Findrack in which she mentions your kind enquiries after myself and family for which I beg leave to thank you at the same time that I offer my condolence on the death of your Son. Allow me to hope that you have others spared to comfort you and to inherit the ample fortune which I am glad to hear you have so honourably acquired.
Of such affliction I have myself tasted deeply! We have now but two - daughters - living to us, of a family of seven, including a son! and I am the last survivor of my Father's very numerous one! My Brother apprized me, some years ago, of your return from India after an absence from your native land nearly [coeval?] with mine, and I have resided constantly in this Island since the year 1781; with the exception of a visit to Britain about 20 years since, when I spent six Months among my relations in Aberdeenshire.
I recollect seeing yourself and Brother in Aberdeen, on your way to London preparatory to your departure. I am stationed here for the residue of my days; in a very good living in the Church; and tho I have not grown rich, I am not to complain having been blest with an unusual stock of health, which I thank God still continues; and a reasonable allotment of the good things of this world.
Your fellow subjects on this side the Atlantic have long been the Victims of a mistaken philanthropy; they have been most vilely traduced. There is not so happy a peasantry in the world as our slaves but the insane proceedings of the anticolonists if persisted in, cannot fail to work a fatal change. I have been tempted to drop you this letter from the circumstance of a young man,- a Mr Tawse, of very good character, now about to leave this place, to join his family in your immediate neighbourhood, offering to be the bearer of it.
Have you frequently revisited your Native land previous to your ultimate arrival? I have been so long here, that I am, in a manner, a stranger to my many and highly respectable connections in the North. Are you not related to General Gordon Forbes, and to Sir Charles? You are I presume acquainted with Lord Fife, and W. Farquharson of Monaltrie.
I hope you enjoy health, and a Constitution unbroken by the climate of Asia, and now assimilated to your native highlands when I understand, you have done much to improve your parsimonial inheritance. If you have leisure, at any time, to pen a few lines in return for this, I shall feel myself grateful to receive them by the Packet.
Mrs Fraser and my daughters desire to [named?] in the Kindest terms to yourself, and family.
I beg leave to remain
My Dear Sir
Your Affectionate Cousin
Rector of Trelawney
Major General Nathaniel Forbes
Favoured by Major Fraser
Jamaica June 14th 1828
My dear Cousin!
When I look at the date of your much valued and most friendly reply to my Letter by Mr Tawse and perceive that notwithstanding the very encouraging tenor of it, I should have allowed such a space to elapse without the rejoinder it so well merited, I am ashamed of my procrastination!
This will be handed to you by my name sake, Major Fraser of the 91st who is about to take his departure for the Mother Country from this place. I was happy to find that he was of your acquaintance; and have had much pleasure in cultivating his, during his sojourn Among us, as Chaplain of the Corps, which he for some time, commanded with great credit to himself. Having intimated his intention to visit you, I forthwith, took pen in hand! and hope forgiveness for the delinquency to which I have pleaded guilty.
I shall be most glad if the gratifying report he gave of your health continues unimpeached by fact. We are thank God, in our usual state, without much ground of complaint in any way. I think it not unlikely that in a year or two I may be tempted to cross the water for a short period. - this is my adopted country although my attachment to the land of my birth remains unaltered. I am much pleased with the benevolent plan you allude to:- what a pity that such obstacles should have arisen in the way of its accomplishment! I am sorry for Lord Fife's embarrassments. I sincerely hope that he may live to surmount them. It is unfortunate for him that he did not possess a little of the cupidity of his Uncle. It was I believe boundless. Witness the property he has amassed.
I am glad you know Mr Farquharson who has ever been believed a man of great worth. I shall take it kindly if you will remember me most respectfully to him. I paid him a visit with my poor father in 1805 on our way to Mar Lodge; and was pleased very much, both with him and his Lady. Our Grandmother, was a Gordon, from Sutherland, a most excellent person of an old and once opulent family whose representative is Sir Adam Gordon, Rector of Tilbury [&port]!
The Duke of Wellington is of course personally known to you. As prime minister his friendly disposition to these oppressed and depreciated, as well as vilified colonies has produced a most exhilarating effect. It has greatly tranquilized the general feeling of those interested in them. Jamaica is one of the most beautiful islands in the world; but facts would not bear me out, were I to deny the charge of the unfriendliness of its climate to European Strangers. Two of my Brothers both very young men, and of good promise, were out off here in early life! I am myself one of the few, who have been highly favoured: but it is not without painful feeling that I find myself, the Survivor of almost all my contemporaries! Gun Ships are now hastening to completed their [ightage] and in six weeks time we shall scarce have one in our ports. Aberdeen I fancy must have grown into a place of considerable importance. One solitary trader, or two, come here. You very kindly mention my poor Brother Francis's family. They are, I fear, but badly off, and I regret to say it is out of my power to assist them! Bye the bye Mr Farquharson's Father was married to an Aunt of mine, by the Mother's side - a Baird of the family of Auchmedden. now Sir Charles Forbes's. and by that, his Second marriage had several daughters. One of whom, I met at Monaltrie. Can you say, whether She, or any of her Sisters are yet living; and who, and where? Mr F I believe has had no child.
I have thus, my Dear Sir, in atonement for the faultiness of the past given you a long, but I fear, very uninteresting epistle. Trust me once more as correspondent, and I will do better. I shall be most happy to hear from You; and no such interval shall again occur. Mrs Fraser and my Daughters join me in kindest and best regards to You and Mrs Forbes - and beg to assure you, that I am, with great truth,
Your Affectionate Cousin
Auchernach Strathdon Aberdeenshire
Rectory, Falmouth, Trelawney, Jamaica
July 28th 1830
The Bearer of this Letter is a Captain Linden - of the London
Merchante Service Who has traded to this port for the 21 years that
I have been the incumbent of the Parish. a very good man. and
to whom as I was wishful he should see you, I have used
the liberty of giving this Letter and he will wait on you, on your
return from Scotland.
July 28th 1830
My dear Cousin!
I did myself the pleasure of writing you by Major Fraser, June 14th 1828, and although I have not been gratified by any communication from you since March 27th of the preceding year; yet had I the satisfaction of learning from one of my nieces of Findrack that her mother had seen you at Aberdeen last December, and that you were well and on your way to London. I have so few relatives, to say nothing of contemporaries left, that I am anxious to maintain an occasional epistolary intercourse, with the yet remaining fine folk that I number - a personal one I have now, however reluctantly, given up the hope of enjoying! as I could scarcely indulge it beyond a very limited period when circumstances would imperatively weald me to this country:- and at 65 years of age, we are not warranted to look for many more.
I have, thank God, excellent health and an unimpaired constitution although domestic calamities of the severest cast have made inroads on my spirits,- not soon repaired!
My second daughter, a very lovely forming creature was taken from us last February! So that out of a family of seven, including a Son the only daughter has been spared us!
"As those we love decay, we live in part;- "Cord after cord falls loosened
from the heart" etc- Beautiful lines of Thompson's of which I have too forcibly felt the agonizing truth!
But why intrude all this sombre detail on you, who, I am sorry to know, are no stranger to the anguish such repeated blows inflict!
Happily you have resources which are denied to me - You can change the scene and after an active and animating engagement of your time and attention in the improvement of your paternal acres, and diffusing comfort around you be, at will, in the London World.
With a view to your benevolent purposes towards your peasantry I hope you have been able to surmount the obstacles that presented themselves to your establishment of a School A great [desiduatum] your Zeal for the accomplishment for which I am sorry to find not seconded by the Noble earl - or rather his agents!
The Bearer of this letter is a Captain Linden - of the London Merchante Service Who has traded to this Port for the 21 Years that I have been the incumbent of the Parish - a very good man; and to whom, as I was wishful he should see you, I have used the liberty of giving this Letter and he will wait on you, on your return from Scotland.
I am sorry to find that my friend Mr Farquharson of Monaltrie is no more; but he must have attained a respectable age:- and he was, I believe, ever highly valued by those that knew him.
We have been lately offering up prayers in our churches for the restoration of his Majesty's health - but the news of his demise is anticipated by - perhaps - the next European arrival! This event, and the contingents, are of course prevailing topics. I am pleased however to think that they cannot affect your happy un-embarrassment as to political changes.
On running over what I have written I perceive a great deal of egotism, but you will I am sure pardon it when you reflect on circumstances. That a sudden idea struck me to take the opportunity of having a Letter handed to You by Capt Linden whose "Blue Peter" is now flying at the fore:- that such was written on the spur of the moment.
I shall be most happy to hear from you when convenient;- Packets sail,
I need not tell you, twice in each month, for this Colony.
Allow me to conclude with the offer of Mrs Fraser and Miss Fraser's
kindest regards to yourself and Mrs Forbes
I ever am
My [ ],
Your truly affectionate Cousin
Ap 22d 1832
My dear Cousin
I am absolutely ashamed of having suffered such a period to elapse without replying to your most friendly communication of 5th May last year! Of the disastrous occurrences with which the [ ] of that year began; and the hideous devastation inflicted on the fairest portion of this colony by the demoniacal rebellion of our Slaves, the public prints will render you the melancholy details!
Suffice it to say that their was a most unprovoked injunction; never was there a happier peasantry, Each successive session of our Legislative body - The House of Assembly; added to the mild code in existence - fresh acts ameliorative of their condition. But alas! - in the midst of an almost profound state of apparent tranquillity, the Hydra shewed itself and scenes of unparalled horror and atrocity took place. This Parish, the largest and most productive in the Island has had its share of sufferance; but that is light indeed - compared with what has been visited on our Neighbours of St James and Hanover! There the distinction of prosperity is most appalling and utterly ruinous to thousands!
This accursed revolt was put down;- with much loss of blood on the part of the Slaves- in the different conflicts with the Militia and Kings troops. and the dismal sacrifice of lives on the scaffold! But few of the free inhabitants have fallen. The suppression has involved Jamaica in difficulties which it would take a long series of years - crippled as her resources [are] to [ ]
But after all gallant efforts;- and they have not been [ ] passed in any country;- it unhappily appears that the evil spirit has not been extinguished - it seems so deeply rooted in the negro mind that a removal of atrocity is [ ]itly dreaded which, if successful may blot this fine Country out of the List of Britain's dependencies and make it droitly a howling Wilderness!- And for this the parent state will have to thank her misguided counsels. We look for a Packet with the [ ] anxiety - our all depends on what government may do in this crisis!
I hasten to forward this scrawl to you by an early ship that leaves this tomorrow for London.
I pray to God that my next to you may furnish matter of a less gloomy cast! I shall write shortly.
I am thankful for the interest you take in my Brothers family - It does you great Credit. My Nephew Francis has I suppose yielded to his naval impulse;- In our West India Ships there are no Midshipmen - Why not place him in a Man of War; the Service is an honourable one: and in time he might rise
I have written a few lines to one of my Nieces from whom I have latterly had a letter. They will naturally feel anxious about our situation as I am near the very focus of the late rebellion
I hope you and your Lady enjoy health. Happy are you to be out of the reach of such calamities as we have been - and I fear Sadly are likely to continue the victims!
Capt Hall, who takes charge of this, - I am officer of the Navy! - who commands the ship now about to sail may I hope be enabled to call on You on his arrival. I wish he may, and I beg you will allow me to introduce him to you as my friend and a Gentleman of much respectability and worth.
Have the goodness to accept of Mrs Fraser and my daughters most affectionate regard
I beg you will consider me, My Dear Cousin,
Yours Most Affectionately
I ever am
My [ ],
Your truly affectionate Cousin
24 Sloane Street
Falmouth, Jamaica 12th Ap 1833
My dear Cousin,
I did myself the pleasure of writing to you about this time last year; and Capt Hall faithfully promised to present my Letter. On his return however this season he informs me that it was out of his Power, having been almost immediately on his arrival (he is of the Navy) been ordered to take charge of a Cutter. He speaks however confidently of it's having got to your hand; and if so, I shall still be most happy to hear from you occasionally.
I regret to say that our prospects in this once happy and flourishing colony are, at present most gloomy and portentous. God knows how it will end with us; but we are almost despondent!
Thus far, Mrs Fraser, my daughter and Self continue in the enjoyment of health, and the comforts of a very respectable, although not very lucrative appointment which I have now held for nearly a quarter of a century!
But I am fearful that neither life, nor property will be much longer safe in Jamaica! I hope all continues well with you; and long may it be so. There is a Lady, a very old and intimate friend of ours - now resident at 27, Charlotte St, Portland place Mrs Somerville Wood - formerly of this Island; but for many years past, resident in London. She has a daughter married to a Colonel Leicester Stanhope (the Honourable) with whom you may have met in India. She has expressed a wish that I would ask you to favour her with a call. I shall esteem it a kindness if you will. Her Aunt an elderly maiden Lady, and a Sister reside with her. They are people of the first respectability. I have heard nothing respecting my relatives at Findrack lately; but I shall write to them soon.
Accept of the offer of the best regards of Mrs Fraser my daughter and self for you and Mrs Forbes, and believe me to be under all circumstances
Your ever affectionate
Major General Nat: Forbes
Mr Wm Nat: Fraser
Care of D. Davidson Esq
Jamaica Ap 24th 1835
My Dear Nephew,
In now sitting down to reply to your last favour of 9th December and sundry preceding ones I have to charge myself with much tardiness; but I beg you will acquit me of the want of affection - I only regret my want of power to evince it in a manner congenial to my feelings.
The state of this once fine and flourishing island is deplorable; lapsing, in fact, rapidly to utter ruin.
This circumstance blended with my sole dependence under heaven being vested in it, has not been unattended with a most depressive influence on my spirits - and making that almost an irksome task, which in happier times, afforded pleasure - the cultivating an intercourse with near and dear relations _ General Forbes our excellent and amiable friend in his last letter speaks at large, and in the kindest manner, of you all and I am gratified to find takes so warm an interest in you _ His letter indeed puts me in possession of the circumstances of your family; on the whole I view them as rather consolatory that otherwise. I am pleased to hear that you are all receiving due advantages to qualify you for making your way honourably through life. I beg to be most kindly remembered to my Cousin Miss Farquharson. Of Mrs O Hara many years have gone by since I have any tidings. Nor can I give any information of course respecting the family - farther than her Brother Mr [Cort] is alive in this Island; and, in his old age, in very forlorn circumstances
I beg to be mentioned kindly to Mr and Mrs Rogers and the [ ] [ ] [ ]
Remember me, Mrs F, and our daughter to your mother, sister and Brothers. Expect to hear from me soon, and more fully, and believe me My Dear Nephew
Your affecte Uncle
Major General Nathaniel Forbes
21 Sloane Street
H. J. Hall Esq R. N.
May 6th 1836
My dear Cousin,
My last Letter to you was dated April 24th and I now sit down to write by my friend Capt Hall who was the Bearer of a communication from me some years ago - in which I took the freedom of introducing him as a gentleman of great worth.
I have not had the happiness of hearing from you recently but our friend Mrs Wood makes the kindest mention of you. I am at present very ill qualified for what I have now set down to acquaint myself of - a renewal of a correspondence on which I set so high a value; for the last twelve months, I grieve the Day, have been most painfully filled up by domestic infelicity. My only daughter, the survivor of our seven children, has made a most unfortunate marriage altogether in opposition to parental opinion and remonstrance; in short, she has united herself to a fortune hunter, whose mercenary views I saw thru from the beginning! The Gentleman in question is a Dr Tuthill of the Army, most respectably connected in Ireland and of [commence] as a Surgeon;- but of the vilest disposition I have ever met with!
As all I could do was unavailing the match took place under the paternal roof 4th August last_ She was seized with the measles with symptoms that brought on premature labour three weeks ago. But she and the child survived almost by a miracle;- and are now with us - but my poor daughter in that wretched state of health as scarce leaving a hope of recovery - with all my painful anticipations too fully realized! He will have to join his Regt at Honduras shortly; but his wife, if she lives which is doubtful, and the little girl will remain with us! But have I dwelt too long on so painful a subject. Pardon me.
I am sure of your sympathy - Accept of Mrs Frasers and my most affectionate regards to yourself and Lady. Let me hear from you and believe me
ever with the sincerest affection
Mr Wm N. Fraser
90, Union Street,
March, 19th 1839
My dear Nephew,
I have the pleasure of acknowledging you Letters of [ ] 15th and 14th January, and hasten to reply to the latter in order to save my distance with the Packet about to sail. When I mentioned Sir Lionel Smith in May 1837, he was then the beloved Governor of this fine colony; but his subsequent mal-administration has made him the object of execration; and he is in a state of hostility with all the respectable of the country! When he paid us his last visit here on his tour round the Island he conducted himself so uncourteously to the leading characters of our community as to excite the utmost disgust! I am one, among the many, many whose marked attentions he requited by downright, bearish rudeness! So much for Sir Lionel Smith, Baronet etc etc I am gratified to hear so favourably of you all. Our excellent relative the General has much in his power; and I hope you will experience more of its benevolent influence.
I have lately entered on my seventy seventh year! Still tolerably hale - but afraid to combat the horrors of a Northern Winter!
My better half - now in her seventieth is as well as most persons of her age! I remember with much pleasure Dr Adam; and beg to be remembered to him with respect and regards. I thank my amiable cousin Miss Farquharson for her kind recognition and offer best wishes.
I beg you to say to the beloved members of your family, the Findrack circle that they are never forgotten in my prayers!
Write me often - and fully. This is a very brief epistle; but the best excuse (and a painful one it is) I can plead, is, the deplorable state of this country in which I have passed so large a proportion of a long life. I shall write you soon and more amply. Believe me, meanwhile
My Very dear Nephew
Mr W. N. Fraser
William N. Fraser Esq
26 Dundas Street
Jamaica, 2nd June 1843
My dear Nephew,
You will accept of my best acknowledgements for your very kind letter of 30th March last year. It should not have remained so long unreplied to but that my extremely advanced age with its usual accompaniments, among the many others severe Rheumatism have rendered writing a task of painful effort.
I have been highly gratified by the communications you have favoured me with in all of them believe me I entertain a lively interest; and in that spirit derived much satisfaction from what took place at the meeting of the Aberdeen Advocates Society, Your Brother, Robert has also, written to me for the first time; and I am delighted to think he has been so fortunate. The sole drawback is the indisposition of poor Frank! - of which, however, I hope he has recovered! I have been meditating a return to the land of my birth for some time past - but deterred by the rigours of your winters! I have not however altogether given up the purpose; tho' for the present put off. A particular friend of mine visits the north, where he has an Estate, and will be the bearer of a Letter to you. There has been a long history in my correspondence with our Relative the General. He has like myself fallen into the "[sere] and yellow leaf" I hope you see him occasionally and that the same kind intercourse still continues unimpaired. Your supply of the Aberdeen papers is a source of much pleasure to me. This is a fine Island, but has seen it's best day. I have had the pleasure of a long interview with Lord Elgin, a very amicable and talented person.
Mrs Fraser desires to join me in every good wish she can frame for you and yours; and in the flattering hope to hear from you shortly; and in the offer of my regards to all our friends. I ever, remain,
Your affectionate Uncle, -
Wm N Fraser Esq
TO THE MEMORY OF THE SEVEN BELOVED CHILDREN AND ONE GRANDCHILD OF THE REVD. WM. FRASER, A.M., RECTOR OF THIS PARISH, AND ELIZABETH LUCY, HIS WIFE. THIS WAS ERECTED BY HIM IN THE EIGHTIETH YEAR OF HIS AGE, 1843.
An inquest was held at the courthouse, on Monday last, before Thomas Whiteside, Esq., Coroner, touching the death of the Reverend William Fraser. The following is the evidence: --
John Palmer. -- I was the body servant of Mr. Fraser. On Friday night, about a quarter past seven o'clock, I was in deceased's house and saw him go to bed; he slept in a room at the top of the house; a little boy, called Samuel Lee, followed the deceased with a candle; in a short time the boy came down stairs and told me deceased had taken off his clothes. About a quarter of an hour afterwards I heard a noise in deceased's room, and went up stairs with the little boy. I listened at the door and called out, but got no answer. I observed more light inside the room than I thought there ought to be. I forced open the door and went inside the room, and saw deceased lying on the bed, which was on fire. Deceased did not speak until I dragged him out of bed to extinguish the fire, when he said, "Oh, Lord!" This was all he said. The net of the bed was on fire. I put it out by tearing it down and stamping on it, and poured water on it. Deceased was in his usual state of health when he went to bed that night. I observed nothing particular about him. I don't think deceased was ever sensible afterwards, relative to the circumstances of the fire. About six o'clock on Saturday morning deceased told me that he felt as if he was a piece of raw meat.
Dr. Anderson. -- I saw deceased, for the first time, on Saturday, about one o'clock; he would have been lying in the room below. I examined the body; observed a contusion on the left eye, evidentially from a blow. One of the arms, and the back of the same hand, was very much burnt. The whole of his hips and back, upwards, to the shoulders, were very much burnt; he was perfectly unconscious of what ailed him, but recognized me and some other individuals; he felt uncomfortable and uneasy but from what cause he did not know; he talked incoherently. I dressed the burns and sent him a composing draught; in about two hours I visited deceased again and he was still unconscious; he appeared rather more collected but still far from being in a condition to tell what had happened to him. The burning received by deceased was quite sufficient to cause death; at the same time I am of opinion deceased must have had a fit which caused such a shock to the nervous system as might have caused death.
W. N. Fraser Esqre
23 York Place
My dear Nephew,
I am in receipt of your letter of the 13th May and am sorry that you should have received the news of my dear Husband's death through the medium to which you allude, my cousin Mr James had undertaken the task to save my feelings, which was due to the family of my departed Husband. His death as sudden as it was disturbing under the peculiar circumstances attending it has left me indeed in what of that protection and support so needed at my advanced life and which I should be doubly happy to receive from you and the other branches of my Husband's family, so kindly proffered but at my advanced age subject as I am to periodical attacks of gout and asthma renders it impossible that I can leave a climate so congenial to both to much the risk of a colder atmosphere sincerely do I feel and with gratitude thank you for the Kindness and affection which prompted the offer.
It is right that you should be informed that my lamented Husband died without a Will and the only property that can be traced is £1200 in one of our Banks and that subject to his debts which has exceeded my belief, but of all his particulars you shall be apprized, the interest of this my dear Nephew with my Annuity from the Clergy Fund is all that is left for my support but I hope through Gods mercy not to feel that necessity which would make my old age a source of unhappiness to myself or a burden. to my Friends again I sincerely thank you and with the Kindest Affection believe me to remain
Your attached Aunt
Elizabeth Lucy Fraser
See Monumental Inscriptions for more on the genealogy of the Fraser family, and the connection to the James family, his wife being a descendant of Richard James.
[These letters were transcribed, and the photographs were contributed, by Carey Cunningham (nee Fraser), a descendant of the Revd. William Fraser's brother.]
SEARCH THIS SITE
Plan of this website
Help - Frequently Asked Questions
Jamaica Almanacs Slave-owners, Civil & Military officers, Magistrates etc.
Items in the Samples Directory
Items in the Members Directory
Transcriptions from Registers and Wills (Church of England, Dissenters, Civil Registration)
Jamaican Roman Catholic Church Registers - transcriptions
Jamaican Methodist Baptisms - transcriptions
Jewish births marriages deaths - transcriptions
Slaves and slavery in Jamaica
Photographs, maps, prints, etc.