Home: Documents: Mission To America: 83-92
I have just seen a letter from Annapolis, written by a Major Bouckly [Barclay] wherein he says that to his knowledge all the families who will embark from thence and Digby, are men of decent property; he does not mention the number, but on the last return 150 souls had given in their names.
Thinking as a Commercial man I rejoice in having such valuable Settlers but I cannot help regretting that I have not had it in my power to visit the above places as I am sure there must by many poor creatures working upon the land of other men, without the probability of ever having any of their own: these are the men which I am sure Government intended should go, and the description of people I have so long anticipated the pleasure I should receive in being partly instrumental in relieving.
Peters I expect every hour, his wife & children were to sail from Digby about five days ago and he talked of coming by land. I have heard nothing from Governor Canton, but Hope to in the course of a few hours as an express was sent to him about ten days since.
Since writing the above, a strange revolution has taken place in the Province, nothing less than the death of the Governor. I have written to the President of the Council, and have just received for answer, that orders have been issued out, for carrying on the business as usual, and with the utmost despatch.
The general opinion and wish of this Province is that Governor Wentworth to whom I had the pleasure of introducing you, should succeed to this Government; he has the greatest knowledge of this Country in every respect and is universally esteemed.
I cannot conclude this letter without acknowledging the readiness Mr. Hartsthorne has upon every occasion shown to forward the views of the company, and though he does not write to you nor his name appear in my letters yet he has not been deficient in contributing everything in his power towards assisting me.
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In this letter a bill of fare of
the rations to be allowed to family was enclosed
As the number of people going with me are greatly beyond our expectations, and though I suppose £40 sterling will pay all their debts, yet as they have been obliged to leave their property here to very great disadvantage and many of them have not been able to sell it all and will not have it in their power to carry with them their pigs, fowls &c. I think I shall be under the necessity of drawing upon you for £100 it may only be £60, but a hundred will certainly be the outside to purchase stock and other articles for their comfort on their arrival in the New Settlement to make them some amends for their losses in leaving this Province in such a hurry. Before I left England I received 10 guineas from Mr. Whitbread, 10 from Mr. Parker, 10 from his father and 10 my brother and I understood 70 men were subscribed paid into your hands and that I was to draw upon you the money if I should think it needful.
If it should not be so, you will speak to my brother about it as he will inform you the names of the gentlemen who to become Subscribers for I really think it will but be proper
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If you wish to make the people of this Province happy who generally speaking are in a state of misery and if you wish it to be in a flourishing state which it has not been for these ten years, you will use all your interest to get Governor Wentworth appointed to this Government if he should think it worth his acceptance; for if such an arrangement should take place it would give heartfelt satisfaction to all descriptions of men here you must know that he is related to Lord Fitz William and is intimate with the leaders of Opposition though I believe he is always received with marks of respect at Court-but talking of parties, when the happiness of thousands is depending is illiberal and absurd-
I do not know whether the Governor would accept such an appointrnent, the reason I mention it to you is because it is generally wished for here and I know him to be a man of an unspotted character and whose heart is as susceptible of the fine feelings as any that ever throbbed.
Believe me dear Sir most
Copy of part of a private letter to Mr. Wilberforce-
Having two hours leisure this afternoon, I cannot spend it more to my satisfaction than in dedicating it to you-I have so much to say to you that I am at a loss where to begin and fear I shall be obliged to defer the greatest part till I have the pleasure of seeing you.
I have written a full account of the business I have undertaken to perform to Mr. Thornton, therefore I must refer you to him for any information you may wish on that head- Many of the Free Blacks in this Province are in a very distressed situation, and though I feel rather more interested for them, than for those of my own colour, from the misery they have continually experienced, yet I should consider myself as wanting in humanity were I not to mention to you that the majority of White Soldiers (English & German) who were disbanded at the conclusion of the war, are in a simi- [similar] situation to the Blacks, and many of them have with tears in their eyes, solicited me to give them a passage to
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You will not believe me when I tell you I can bring innumerable witnesses (all of whom were parties concerned) who have not yet received one year's provisions though they were allowed three, and you may depend upon it, Government paid the most extravagant price for these three years be cause to my certain knowledge, they always purchase the best of everything; nay many of them have neither received a mouthful of provisions or so much as an implement of husbandry (though these articles were allowed also) and as for their lands, as I have said before, they have been given to some of them, but how! at such a distance that nineteen out of twenty of those on my list have never seen though many of them have been obliged to pay the fees of office to the amount of from 5 to 15 as the price seems to me to have varied considerably-it is certain those in office were happy to take what they could get, without considering that probably they deprived a poor distressed person of his last farthing.
You will be surprised to hear that since my writing the above the Governor has departed this life; I can say of him with great truth that he always behaved to me with a great deal of civility & attention and appeared ready upon all occasion to forward the views I am here upon; this is the more extraordinary when I tell you that to my certain knowledge he received at letter by the same conveyance as brought him his dispatches relative to our business desiring him to do all in his power to retard it; I will pledge myself to you to prove this at any time, but shall leave you to guess the author of it. I can likewise say that this very letter has been the cause of adding to the general expenses for the Governor was irresolute and gave very improper orders not knowing which way to act, and in the midst of his distress he produced the letter-Is not this abominable? I have hitherto kept it to myself but I am almost ashamed to let it remain a secret, but for your satisfaction I will endeavour to be silent till I see you.
If Administration have any wish to see this Province in a flourishing state they will without any hesitation, appoint Governor Wentworth to succeed this Government, should he think it worth his acceptance, for they will not be able to appoint a man so well acquainted with with every part of
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As I understand that the vessel will sail in the course of an hour, I must conclude for the present wishing you may carry the Abolition this year as I am sure that will add greatly to your happiness; and with my best compliments to all my friends.
I remain my dear Sir,
Peters arrived here this forenoon from Annapolis Royal in the Bay of Fundy. He brought with him 90 people besides his family-At one o'clock being dressed for the funeral, I went by invitation to the late Governor's house. At two the procession began in the following order.
The several Lodges of Free Masons in their badges His Excellency being Grand Master of the Order,
The 20th Regiment in which he formerly served & commanded
The Church Wardens
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The Sheriff of the County
The Hon (The Hon Mr. Bulkeley) The Hon
Mr. Morris (President of the Council) Mr. Newton
Judge Benton and Judge Hutchinsonl38
The Treasurer of the Province
Speaker of the House of Assembly
Members of the Assembly in Town
The Custos Rotulorum of the County
The Garrison was under Arms and paid every honorable attention respect to his
remains-Minute guns were fired by the Fleet under command of His Excellency
Sir Richard Hughes Bart and a party Royal Artillery from the Citadel during
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Halifax, November 29th, 1791
I am so pressed for time that I know not which way to turn myself but cannot avoid taking up my pen by the first opportunity to return you my sincere thanks for the attention Mr. Taylor and myself received from your family during our visit at Shelburne.
We shall find no difficulty in procuring shipping, I believe 1100 Tons are already agreed for, therefore I think the offers of Government should be made general-With my respectful compliments to Mr. Skinner and the ladies in which Mr, Taylor begs leave to join-
I remain dear Sir
November 30th - Waited upon Mr. Bulkeley the President of the Council who received me with attention and promised to do everything in is power to forward my business and further said that he & every other gentleman would and ought to do every thing in their power to assist me, who had upon every occasion conducted myself with so much candour & fairess-Came home, received several visits from people of every description and of whom was a young woman a Black named Lydia Jackson; her case, which I have taken from her own mouth I shall relate since it will serve to give some idea of the situation of the Black people in this Province.
Mr. Henry Hedley of Manchester finding Lydia Jackson in great distress having been left by her husband, he invited her to come & reside his house, to live as a companion to his wife, after she had been there for seven days, he required her either to pay him for her board or bind herself to him for seven years; she was unable to pay him and refused to be bound; length gradually shortening the period by a year at a time, he by dint fair promises obtained her consent to be indented to him for one year; the writings were in consequence drawn up by a Mr. Harrison of the same place, but taking advantage of her ignorance the term of thirty nine years was specified in the Indenture, instead of the one she had consented to; and to this paper she without the least suspicion made her mark-Henry Hedley-Did her the next day that she was to serve out the year with Dr. Bulman
of Lunenburg and sent her round for this purpose in a Schooner commanded Alexander Brymer, Dr. Bulman soon after her arrival at Lunenburg informed her to her great astonishment that she had been articled for the term of thirty nine years, and that she had been made over to him for the consideration of £20 which he had paid to Henry Hedley.
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I do not know what induced me to mention the above story have many others of a similar nature; for example, Scott's case, Mr. Lee, Senr. case, Smith's child, Motly Roads child, Mr. Farish's negro servant.&c.
This day being the Feast of St.
Andrew I received an invitation dine with a party of one hundred,
first toast after dinner was to the memory of the late governor, when the band
of music immediately "How stands the glass around &c." passed a very pleasant
day, & till late in the evening.
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This information communicated to me before from another quarter, accounts for the delay in the outset and may be considered as the principal cause of the extraordinary expence for the Governor was irresolute and very improper orders not knowing which way to act, and in the midst of his distress he produced the letter from E. N.
Dined at home and in the evening employed on board the Lucretia in fitting her up for the reception of myself and the sick people. Received several petitions from individuals.
The following is a copy of a letter sent to Henry Thornton Esqr.
Although I wrote to you a few days ago by the Ark and have sent you a duplicate of my letter in the same vessel which will convey this yet it is the last opportunity I shall in all probability have of addressing you before I quit this place & particularly as Peters has arrived, I am induced to take my leave of you for the present and give you every account in my power up to the present day.
Peters arrived here about six days since with his wife and children and several of his companions amouting to 94 men &c. From everything I can learn he has conducted himself with great propriety and though he was insulted and even knocked down by a White man at Digby, yet upon his return to that place, he put an end to the prosecution on hearing that the man was intoxicated at the time he commited the outrage-From has [his] account the people at New Brunswick are in a deplorable state, the Agent appointed for carrying on the business (who is Secretary to the Governor) has done everything in his power to prevent their going by telling them that I intended to sell them for the Company and that Peters was to have so much per head for his trouble; they have also been guilty of forgery, in producing Indentures & agreements on the part of the Blacks to work upon their lands, and in their service for certain terms, at the same time have said that if they should offer to go, they would prosecute them for hot performing their contract, and others to prevent some of them from going would not pay them their just debts, telling them that if they would stay they should have their money, but if they were determined to go they would not pay
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Since writing my last letter I have seen the President of the Council who is now acting as governor, his behaviour was everything I could wish so that the Governor's death has not in the least retarded his business, for to do him justice I must say, that he always appeared forward, to promote the embarkation from the time I arrived in the Province.
I hope Dalrymple has put down in his Pocket book the private signal I gave him so that he may know us when we appear off the land of Freedom which was a Dutch Jack reversed at the Fore Top Gallant Mast head. The reason why I wish him to know us is that he may send out Pilots to con- -duct us into the Harbour. I shall hoist my pendant on board the Lucretia and as I intend that my own vessel shall be the Hospital ship I shall then be ready to administer comfort to those who may want it, I have got her fitted up accordingly. I expect at least 7 or 8 births in the course of the voyage many of the women are pregnant so that I have to have more room in my own vessel than I have given to others, and then I have made up the complement which I do not take in the Lucretia on board another Brig, whose height between deck is better than five feet which will be better able to carry those above her complement that would complete mine than one or two other vessels will theirs.
I have now mentioned I believe almost all I have to say to you that is worth communicating, but cannot leaving off without telling you what I think respecting the New Settlement.
The people I shall carry with me are generally speaking sober, hardworking men, and extremely grateful & rather