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73 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792
Every man whose name was down was asked by me if he served the King during the late war, and every widow, if she had been wife to a man of this description, or every single woman if she were a daughter of a man who gained his freedom for his services for it is my opinion that these are the only people whom Government means to put themselves to the expense of removing.
Will you ask Colonel Bluck to give me an answer to the queries I sent him in a letter addressed to him from Halifax- Will you be so obliging as to request the favour of Mr. Burn to send me a list of such as he may think proper to refuse in consequence of their indisposition or incapability- I will thank you to enquire for John Cottress* a slave to Mr. Farish whose freedom I should be happy to purchase Major Skinner will inform you of the particulars relative to this poor fellow and you will oblige me to use your utmost endeavours to get him with you.
I must trouble you also to enquire for two poor men, who live at Port L'Herbert in great distress their names are Thomas Shepherd and
*This man (John Cottress was taken
in execution by the Sheriff,
together with all his master's property
& Major Skinner assured me it would not be possible for me to purchase his
freedom from the Peculiarity of his situation. John Martin,
you speak to David George he would most likely send a person to Port L'Herbert
to inform them that they may get a passage to Halifax if they could be at Shelburne
before you leave it, or if they could avail themselves of the Governor's proclamation
by taking a passage to Halifax by any vessel which might be going there, as
the Captain would be paid a fair price for their passage-
In the evening I called upon the Governor &
was not admitted in consequence of his being extremely ill.
November 20th-At daybreak mounted our horses
and proceed on our journey. The road which had hitherto been extremely good
became intolerably bad, the weather excessively cold and the
We could not help noticing a beautiful specimen of iron ore, strongly attracted by the magnet without previous roasting and which he informed Us contained from 60 to 80 per cent of pure malleable Iron & was found in great quantities he told us it came from the Bay of Fundy but declined mentioning the particular spot from whence it might be procured.
Messrs. Hartshorne, Tremain & Barker having some business required their presence a few miles from Windsor, it was agreed that Mr. Taylor & myself should set out upon our return to Halifax precisely 11 o'clock this forenoon & proceed on our way as far as O'Briens where was intended we should all dine & sleep. At the time appointed we mounted our horses, the weather now being extremely pleasant and the much better for traveling the snow having by this time been formed a well beaten track. Called at the Stars for some refreshment and arrived at O'Briens about 4 in the afternoon an hour and a half before other party joined us The dinner was excellent and served up in the style, the landlord polite civil & attentive, the beds as good as we desire and our horses well taken care of. Upon the whole I cannot help considering this house with respect to accommodation & good treat superior to any of the same kind in those parts of the Province which I have visited.
November 22nd Set out from the
Inn at daybreak and breakfasted at Falconer's. Knowing that the bridge before
mentioned which was repair could not in the short time we had been absent, be
rendered passable, & seeing another bridge about a mile above the former
with a tolerably good road leading towards the wood on the contrary side of
the and in a direction which we imagined would soon bring us in to the road,
we determined to follow it, which we did, into the middle of wood, after passing
two or three hundred yards, the path we had been became on a sudden so contracted
and at the same time so rugged, compel us to dismount in this manner, we proceeded
leading our horses behind us, till in a short time we had lost every trace of
the road wood now becoming still closer and the rocks increasing in size, we
stopped to consider whether it would be more advisable to force our passage
through in the same direction, or endeavour to return the same way we for my
part, the attempt either way appeared greatly difficult & for what with
the steepness of the rocks and the deep holes by the roots of trees barely covered
with moss, I was under the fearful apprehension for the safety of our horses-After
a few minutes deliberation we endeavoured to return and with great difficulty
succeeded business retarded up an hour & a half-upon our arrival at the
some labouring men conducted our horses over the river for us and proceeded
on our journey to Halifax About six miles from Halifax
November 25th - About two o'clock this morning His Excellency John Parr Esq. Lieut. Governor of Nova Scotia, departed this life aged 66 years; he had long been accustomed to frequent attacks of the gout, which occasioned his death. He had presided in this Province at the head of Government upwards of nine years.
This day the Honorable Richard Bulkeleyl2l was sworn to the administration of the Government of this Province. Employed all this day in superintending the fitting out of the different vessels and ordering the Lucretial from Dartmouth to this side of the water to be prepared for the reception of myself & Mr. Taylor.
November 26th - Received an invitation to attend the funeral of the late Governor-Wrote a note to the President of the Council telling him I was anxious to pay my respects to him, but that delicacy would not permit me till the late Governor was interred. Busy all this morning in giving orders respecting accommodations for the Free Blacks on board the different vessels.
November 27th Went to Church, called upon Mr. Brinley-Dined at house-drank a glass of wine on board the Ark. In the evening called upon Mr. Lee respecting a slave of his, who in my opinion ought to be free.
I was received by Miss Lee, supposed
to be one of the greatest in this Province-had a long conversation with her
father, found to be an honest, well-meaning, good sort of man, convinced that
he continually bought the person, but am sure that Captain Mason of the Delaware
and his Surgeon contrived to forge a title and sold him in that way.
I received your letter of the 12th inst relative to the Certificate given by me to such people as are desirous of leaving this for Sierra Leone.
Those that have not the General I trust will (from their decent carriage) merit the Agents Certificate, previous to his arrival on the Coast of Africa which that you & they may be blessed with a speedy & safe arrival & with more than you can seriously expect is my best wishes.
Believe Sir, that my confidence in Mr. Clarkson's probity & candour, does not permit me to suppose that the Emigrators under his concern, will in any degree suffer in their expectations, for when that gentleman harangued them, he promised even to those who could not produce a Certificate that their decent deportment during his administration should entitle them to every emolument & indulgence that the others could probably expect, & as a man of credit, Mr. Clarkson cannot suppose that I should subscribe to any thing that was derogatory t~o the principle of Truth; and when he considers the number that removes, he cannot be surprised to find so few are destitute of the character demanded by the worthy gentle- men of the Sierra Leone Company.
With respectful compliments to Mr. Clarkson and my best wishes for your and his perfect health, & for the success of the Company's undertaking.
I remain with due esteem, Sir
NB. Permit me to recommend the honest & industrious in the liveliest terms to the Agents the others are in his power to keep sober. Lewis Pandarvis is an old man-Simon Proof I did not recommend. To Dr. Charles Taylor
November 28th - Employed writing the fore part of this superintending the vessels &c. Dined with Mr. Hartshorne in the evening closed my letter for England. Received intelligence that British Queen of this town belonging to Mr. Forsyth, the vessel in which I intended to hoist my Pendant, was wrecked upon the Island of Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy, all the crew were however saved.
There are not many places probably
so dangerous for shipping as
The following is a copy of a letter sent to Mr. Henry Thornton Halifax, November 28th, 1791
Agreeably to my promise I now take up my pen to give you all the information I can up to the present day and am happy I have it in my power to acquaint you that we are now in a fair way of coming to a conclusion.
Eleven hundred tons of shipping are at length agreed for though I think upon the most shameful & extravagant terms, but that I cannot help. I have gratified my feelings in speaking my sentiments on that head and shall do all in my power to save every farthing to Government as if it were my own, it will however be pleasing to the Company to know that whatever expenses Government is put to in an extravagant way in consequence of this business they have had no share in it.
On my arrival here I determined not to have anything to do where money matters, were concerned, (exept in reprobating any improper expense) but to be ready at all times to assist the governor in putting into execution any order he might give for the reception of the Free Blacks and after that to protect them and see that the offers on the part of the Company were fulfilled.
I hope therefore you will enable me to stick to my de termination which may be easily effected by ordering two of your vessels attending the Lapwing to be upon the coast by the time we arrive. The Lapwing I shall want probably every hour of the day, and the reason why I wish two other vessels to be out is, that in case it should be necessary to send one of them home (of which I see no likelihood at present) I should wish the other to remain at Sierra Leone, to give me the use of herself, her spars and sails for according to the contract, the vessels are obliged to remain in the harbours of Sierra Leone ten days after their arrival before the demurrage money commences. I shall be authorized to detain the whole if I think proper, much longer at a certain price per day, according to the size of the vessels, this I wish to avow & I am sure I shall have it in my powers, if I can have a sufficient
80 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792
I have every reason to suppose that out of 560 men, women & children who gave in their names at Shelburne not more than one half or two thirds will be permitted to go, this is the reason why I do not send you the names of such as have given them in to me, as I shall not be sure of them till I get them on board when you may depend upon receiving a full account of the whole. I have strong suspicions that the principal inhabitants will tell these poor creatures that shipping cannot be procured and therefore they cannot go which will send them back to their homes and prevent them from making further applications when the vessels arrive to convey them from thence to Halifax; however, if this should happen I can readily point out all those who may have been the cause of preventing them and as it was thought proper to send a person under government to see them properly em barked, and this person happened to be a man I could put a confidence in, I have given him my sentiments in writing upon the subject and have desired him to act accordingly so that I am certain of knowing if any foul play has been used- With respect to Annapolis & New Brunswick I cannot tell how many we shall get from thence but hope to hear on Thursday-I am sure that not half will have the opportunity of ever hearing the Company's proposals explained for the person who has been appointed & sent from hence for the purpose is the son of the man supposed to be the author of the paragraph in the paper signed Philanthropos and of course is very much against the plan.
I am sure you will feel very much for me when I tell you I am to have the command and direction of not less than eight vessels, all of which I hope will be ready to sail by the 20th December I dare not refuse this arduous task though I hope had I known when I was employed that the business was upon such an extensive scale and surrounded by so many difficulties which require our unremitting attention, I should have had the diffidence to have rejected it, but as I have once embarked in it I am determined to persevere & do my best
As soon as the Governor had informed me that I was to superintend the whole, I immediately waited upon the Admiral and paid him the compliment of asking his permission to
81 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792
You will be much surprised to find that eight vessels on [only] contain 1100 Tons We certainly could have procured ships of greater burthen, but I did not approve of their height between decks, and as the small vessels were only single decked by laying a platform we could give to each vessel good five feet consequently we had so much more air for each individual to breathe in-
I have taken care to see that after allowing five feet for their accommodation sufficient room would be left in the hold to stow away the full allowance of water & provisions with the different articles allowed to each family; however we have been under the necessity of taking two, whose height is no more than five feet between decks but I would not give my consent for their being engaged till I had made the merchants promise to cut scuttles on each side to give free vent to the fowl air which will be driven out by windsail and likewise to give up the steerage to be joined to the whole range of the deck, for the accommodation of the Blacks, which is good five feet from deck to deck, of course the sailors who always occupy the steerage will be obliged to live in the cabin-I was assured by the agent on the part of the Government that employing a number of small vessels would not be more expensive than taking a few large ones- With respect to provisions &c. I shall inspect and take an account of the whole to see that it is sound and whole- some, and to ascertain the quantity of beef & pork and other articles contained in each cask, so that I may know if any has been improperly expended during the voyages. As soon as I am acquainted with the exact quantities of stores, provisions &c purchased by Government, I shall ask the Governor what is to be done with the over-plus, should we make a favourable voyage, I know his answer will be "the whole must be given for the good of the Blacks, but it will be satisfactory to have his approbation.
I have read a Petition from the inhabitants of Preston, desiring to be settled together on their arrival in the new colony; indeed I should wish them to be separated from the rest for I can assure you without the least enthusiasm, that the majority of the men are better than any people in the labouring line of life in England: I would match them for strong sense, quick apprehension, clear reasoning, gratitude, affection for their wives & children, and friendship and good-
82 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792
I think you should be very cautious in permitting any Blacks from England joining the Colony, I have four or five going with me, but I have given them strict charge to conduct themselves properly as I should always have my eye upon them.
I hope you have made up your minds respecting the different Lots to be granted to each family, and that you will not split upon the rock which this Country has done by granting Town & Country Lots; in my opinion every man should have his work under his eye as an inducement to industry but if they are directed to different objects their industry is in fact lost-You will pardon me for giving my opinion who cannot be a judge, but as that idea appeared reasonable I could not help mentioning it, particularly as I have seen the baneful effects of it here.
We shall I hope have several mechanics particularly ship Carpenters you may probably wish to settle them in a different way from the rest, but I shall rest satisfied conscious that on my arrival in Africa, I shall find that the Surveyor has marked out the different allotments of land for five in a family, four, three, six or any other numbers so that we may put them in possession without delay and that every other order for the good of the Colony will be given so that I shall not be at a loss how to conduct myself on my arrival I shall endeavour during the voyage to find out the particular genius of each individual, that he may be put in that station where he can do the public most service; this I hope to have an opportunity of doing as it is my intention to visit each ship, every day, if the weather will permit, and it should be necessary & prudent to do so.
I will have a fast sailing Schooner in the Fleet that will be stationed on the weather quarter ready to bear down if I should make the signal to take me on board, so that I shall at any rate be able to speak to every vessel without detaining them, and if I should wish to go on board, I can easily do it.
You will probably hear in England various reports respecting this business and I am convinced it will be said by many that the Free Blacks were very happy & comfortably settled here; do not believe anything they have to say for I am better acquainted with the situation of the people in this I