Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library
LETTERS FROM DUNCAN CAMPBELL TO JOHN CAMPBELLS
Your very kind letter of the 21 June came safe to my hands about three weeks since. I had the satisfaction of hearing from time to time from Colin1 of your welfare but was willing to learn from yourself whether I could keep time with you at my own fireside, which I find by yours I have done pretty nearly. Colin told me the difficulties you had to encounter with in obtaining what I own I think your Natural and Reasonable Right. I am extremely sorry to find my old friend Lachlan2 carries his opposition so far, I was in great hopes you and him would upon a fair discussion of the matter, come to an easy accommodation. I have kept up that harmony which the tye of Blood between you Naturally claims, however as in my mind you are right as well in this as in all your actions of life, I say this Dear Jack without _____ you have my sincere wishes for your success. I think your proposal to Mure3 was a fair and just one but let me request you still to adhere to that principal you had of paying them nearly before you take the consignments from him tho' perhaps he has not deserved this at your hands. The whole world will Commend you for it, and there is something may be said in favour of it, for tho' in this instance there may be an exception yet it will be set as an example to others to take Business out of his correspondents hands for such Causes as perhaps did not deserve that treatment. By such means the Natural confidence between Men might be hurt in the Commercial way. I say this because I would have you appear above those who oppose you, for you must be sensible I have no other Motive.
I had heard before I received yours of poor Grace4 being but in an indifferent state of health but understood she was quite recovered. I am extremely concerned to be informed she recovers but slowly, the change of air and cool situation of Cardiff Hall5 will I flatter myself soon restore her health. You have my sincere prayer for that happy event. I learned lately from my Brother6 of your uncle Johns7 being in great danger and that there is little hopes of his getting over it. I assure you I shall lament his loss most sincerely; many good offices he has done me and to almost every young Man connected with him; he will be missed in your neighbourhood greatly; Though I have doubts from which Jack writes of his ever reading my letter yet as there is hopes while there is life I shall write to him by this conveyance to thank him for this last act of Friendship towards me in taking a share of a ship for my Nephew.8 Whilst I am speaking upon this subject give me leave Dear Sir to return you my sincere thanks also for the Readiness you have shewn to help me set that young Man afloat. I have but small power myself to serve these young folks but the assistance of my friends has enabled me to put this youth in fair way, and if he fails it must be his own fault. He has got the command of the dearest little ships9 I ever saw in my life, quite new and every material in her of the best sort and as well fitted as any ship in that Trade. Her cost to Gravesend is £ and your share is a 19th part of that ship.10 Colin and I thought you would have no objection to stand the £100 though the share is larger than you expressed to him, the sum being the same. I think I never knew as ship of this size and quality fitted as she is sell so cheap. Eighteen Months since she would have cost £400 more. I reckon she will carry about 340 hogsheads and if she meets with dispatch cannot fail of getting Money. I need not assure you that the greatest oeconomy shall be observed on this side of the Water.
I hope you and my Brother will consult the means of sending Somervell to North America next year he must be home so as to sail form hence in all July. I have wrote Jack that the best way will be for every Gentleman that wants Lumber to Commission his Quality and Quantity at a fixed price to be delivered to him at his wharf, or at the Currant price Lumber may sell for at the time of delivery, but you will consult on that afair and give me your opinion thereon, which I shall adhere to.
I need not here request your kind assistance in loading her quickly, for on that everything depends. I am very largely concerned in this ship on my own private Account, it being quite unconected with our partnership,11 and therefore I am the less able to bear a loss by delay. I have shipt sundry articles of Lumber in the ship to give her some freight out, which is not included in the outfit of the ship, but is charged to the Owners in a separate Account £160.6.4 which will be settled when the Returns are made in the dividend for the voyage. I hope it may suit you to help me with some of them.
Your Cousin Mac.12 was married about 9 weeks since to Capt. Riddle13 in the India Trade at Mr. Mure's at Saxham.14 Present all the Riddle family, Doctor Dugald,15 Colin Campbell & sundry other Gentlefolks but not your humble. I have nothing now worth communicating, your Blood Royals are all a Wiveing and our Queen keeps jogging on once a year. There was a fine caudle the other day at the Christening, but I am afraid not of Scotch Oatmeal however I hope to see that day come to pass again when the Bag piper of Inverary etc.
My wife and little folks all join in love to you and Mrs. Campbell, may every Blessing attend you both is the sincere wish. Dear Jack etc.
1 Unidentified; as he seems familiar with the Jamaican affairs, possibly Colin Campbell New Hope; or Colin Campbell the second son of Colin C. Black River (and grandson of Hon. John Campbell) who had inherited  from his father a half share in the Orange Bay and Fish River plantations together with 1,000 acres of adjoining land. Campbelton estate was laid out on a portion of these lands
2 Lachlan McLachlan of Fassfern, then resident in Jamaica, had defaulted on the terms of a lease assigned to him  but refused to quit the property he occupied, Lacovia in St. Elizabeth
3 Hutchinson/Hutcheson Mure, West India merchant in England, (Mure Son & Atkinson) had originally assigned the lease to McLachlan and was owed money. Colin Campbell 'of Westmoreland', Peter Campbell Fish River, John Campbell Orange Bay, John Campbell Salt Spring and Dugald Malcolm Pell River, had given their bond as security for McLachlan and now owed Mure. Successors to the estates of these men (who later included the writer of this letter) found themselves caught up in legal arguments which extended well into the next century. John Blagrove, as successor to Orange Bay was involved by 1818, in a suit together with Peter Campbell III of Fish River
4 Grace/Grizel Campbell, his wife, a cousin, and also the sister of Archibald Campbell of Minard in St. Ann
5Cardiff Hall estate, St. Ann's parish, producing pimento and livestock, the property of John Blagrove, nephew of John Campbell Orange Bay. Blagrove was a minor at the time. Acting as attorney for his nephew's several estates, Campbell presumably intended a visit to Cardiff Hall
6 John Campbell Salt Spring, his brother-in-law; Duncan married Rebecca Campbell in Jamaica in 1753
7 Captain John Campbell, a mariner and the brother of James Campbell the first of Orange Bay. See following letter
8 Neil Somerville, the son of Duncan Campbell's sister Ann
9 The ship was named Orange Bay after the Jamaican plantation
10 There were six more part owners living in Jamaica; all were related to Duncan Campbell by blood or marriage.
11 Duncan Campbell was in partnership with John Stewart in London; their business transported convicted felons to North America and returned with tobacco or other goods. Setting up Orange Bay with his nephew as master was Campbell's own venture to enlarge trade with his friends and relatives at the island
12 Unidentified, although she is later described as the niece of one Alexander McLachlan "late of the parish of Trelawny, Jamaica" in his will of 1783 [National Archives, PROB 11/1103]
13 Thomas Riddle is named so in Alexander McLachlan's will. Riddle commanded the merchantman 'Admiral Pocock' on hire to the East India Company. Homeward bound at Table Bay, South Africa, in mid March 1771, he was entrusted with dispatches for the Admiralty and the Royal Society by Capt. James Cook who had also called in there
14 Hutchinson/Hutcheson Mure of (Great) Saxham in Suffolk, England. He named his plantation in Hanover Saxham and also owned Caldwall nearby, both were in the vicinity of Green Island and Orange Bay
15 Dugald McLachlan, brother of Lachlan
I take this opportunity by my Nephew1 to return you my most sincere thanks for this last Mark of your Friendship towards me by joining to assist me in setting this young man afloat.2 Your readiness on this occasion at a time too (my Brother writes me you was so much indisposed as not to be able to write on the subject yourself) inhances my obligation to you. This indeed is of a peace [piece]with most of your other actions in a long serious [series] of years chiefly employed in doing generous offices to those connected with you. I pray god may spare you to receive this testimony of my thankfulness, and the gratitude that such a spent life deserves.3
I have by yours and my other friends assistance4 been able to set my this young Man fairly afloat and if he does otherwise than well it must be his own fault. He commands a fine little ship as I ever knew in my life quite new and extraordinarily well fitted she will I reckon carry about 340 casks and her cost to Gravesend £ . You are a 12th concerned which I thought would not be disagreeable as my brother wrote me you reckoned 1/16th would have cost that sum
1 Neil Somerville, master of the new Orange Bay
2 Both Duncan and John Campbell shared past experience as merchant mariners in command of their own ships. John had been assisted in business by his uncle, Hon. John Campbell Black River and Duncan was grateful for like help and advice
3 John Campbell never read this letter, he had died at Orange Bay on 29 July 1766, aged 66 ['Monumental Inscriptions of the West Indies', J. Lawrence-Archer, London, 1875]
4 Similar letters about shares in the ship were at the same time written to the other owners
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