Back to Black Loyalist Home Page Black Loyalists: Our Story, Our People Canada's Digital Collections

Home: Documents: Mission To America: 93-102

  revolution
  exile
  arrival
  prejudice
  faith
  suffering
  exodus
People
Communities
Documents
Loyalists Now
Feedback
 

93 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792


enthusiasts in religion which I hope to be able to moderate on the voyage, though I commend them for their intentions upon every occasion, and I firmly believe the majority practice what they preach.

 With respect to their industry their neighbours have declared to me their surprise at their being able to support themselves upon such a barren & stony land as they have done, which could never have been brought to the state their Lots are now in, but from unwearied industry-I have told every person, they must if they go with me either work or starve, and fearing an expression of mine might induce them to go, I have stated to them that the country is a great deal worse than I believed it to be so that I hope they will be agreeably surprised. I have told the single women likewise that they must not expect to get Washing for their subsistence but that they must work in the fields, as there is no town to go to and at the same time observed that the Company would not advance any provisions to those who did not show every endeavour to get their living in an honest way &c. but I have taken care that not one single woman has given in her name, unless she could find a man to be answer able to maintain her so that I have put them down in the different families accordingly. I have likewise told the men that I shall form a very unfavourable opinion of those who may show an inclination to be servants to any gentlemen when they have an appointment of becoming their own masters, and valuable members of society if they please, and that in short, the character of the Black people forever after will depend on the manner they conduct themselves and that the fate of millions of their complexion will partly be affected by it.

 After mentioning this and having seen every individual amounting at least to one thousand souls, I can positively say that if the Settlement should not succeed, it will not be for want of proper people to colonize it.

 I can plainly see many obstacles in the way, though the great one is removed and therefore shall venture to give you my advice as I may not have it in my power to do it again as life is very uncertain.

 In the first place your governor must strictly adhere to every order you give and put those orders into execution in the most mild and pleasant manner to convince the people at large that the whole of his study is to promote their happiness. He must always be on the watch to shock an unpleasant ex- -pression from any of the inferior officers, who from passion or partly from prejudice may wound their feelings; you may

 

94 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792


probably say that none will be appointed but those who detest slavery and who feel for the misery those people have under gone, but consider the education of many, and the world at large, and you will have reason to fear, for the people are taught to believe from me that they are to become men and that no distinction is to be made, between them & the Whites-You must understand me. I particularly allude to captains of your vessels, sailors, keepers of the storehouses and inferior people, who would think no harm in calling these people what I cannot mention on paper; if that should take place, without an immediate check they will be disgusted and begin to doubt the sincerity of the Company's intention, but the worst of all would be setting a bad example-Begin well at first and there is a chance of continuing; but if a bad example is set in the infancy of the Colony, I know not what may be the consequence.

 The people as I before have said are enthusiast's in religion, and are divided into different sects principally Methodists, yet I should not despair of getting them in our way of thinking if a conscientious clergyman of the Church of England were sent over who had a good delivery & who would do his duty properly, for if he would read the prayers of the Church which are so very beautifully pleasing & gratifying when read in an impressive manner. I am convinced it would have a wonderful effect-But if a person is sent out at £50 a year, what can you expect from it? I know that if the colony succeeds, these people would be very happy to pay a man of the description I have mentioned, therefore, I hope you will give this a very serious thought-Consider the general good this Colony may do and you will not then let it fail for want of support.

 All the Coopers & Carpenters I shall take with me ought to be employed some way or other by the Company at a fixed rate per day, according to the price the company will be able to afford to sell their provisions &C at.

 The Packet arrived yesterday which we had given over on the supposition that she had been obliged to bear away for New York. I was rather disappointed at not receiving letters from the Company by her, but trust I shall meet with some at Sierra Leone. The Bashleigh which will take this is now getting under weigh which obliges me to conclude this letter by assuring you


I am with the greatest esteem
 Most sincerely yours,
John Clarkson.

 

95 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792


I wish I could send by this vessel a complete list of names of all such as will attend me, but you may depend upon it I shall leave one here to be forwarded by the first opportunity.

 December 2nd - Had a long conversation with Captain Rogers respecting the gun for the Lucretia. Arrived unexpectedly the Packet from England, which brought me two private letters the contents of which made me extremely happy. Perplexed all the morning with complaints of one kind or another-Although I was busily employed in writing & had forbidden any person being admitted, yet as soon as Black people called I could not refuse them, fearing they might have come many miles and probably lost a days work in consequence. Many of the women & children indisposed for want of proper lodging &c. Dined with Mr. Tremaine & passed the remainder of the evening at his house.

 December 3rd - All this morning extremely busy in finishing my letters as the Rashleigh & Ark, the only two vessels in the Harbour bound to Europe were to sail this day. Teazed as usual.

 The Ark sailed at noon & as I had reason to believe the Rashleigh would not go till tomorrow morning, I dined with Mr. John Grant; as soon as dinner was over returned to finish my letters & at two o'clock in the night was informed the Rashleigh was then under weigh. Mr. Taylor & myself went down to the wharf to order the Lucretia's boat to put us on board, but as the men were all asleep and the Rashleigh's anchor just a trip, we were obliged to steal about and paddle on board, with an old broom for an oar; fortunately for us Captain Murray of the Triton happened to be on board, and was good enough to tow us on shore-Passed the remainder of the evening at Mr. Grants.

 Received the following Petition

We whose names are underwritten has determined to leave Halifax and Preston on Dartmouth side to settle on that place for which your Honour is appointed Agent; and being free Ethiopians would crave your Honour's permission to grant unto them the privilege of nominating amongst themselves as Teachers or Preachers of the Baptist persuasion as each of us severally of that denomination would solicit from your Honour's hand and your testimonial to their request, which will be gratefully acknowledged by each of us the
Subscribers

Hector Peters his X Mark
 Simon Coilvill his X Mark
Robert Harrison his X Mark
Richard Richards his X Mark
 Thomas Saunders his X Mark


Halifax, Nova Scotia

To Mr. Clarkson Agent for New Sierra

Leone Society-

 

96 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792


  December 4th -- Employed writing all the Morning-Major Courtland and several Gentlemen called upon me-Dined with the Admiral and spent a pleasant afternoon-Supped with the Attorney Gene Sat up till past one o'clock preparing the most clear and simple Signals with the least possible expence to Government for the Squadron, putting down heads of orders for the internal description of the different &c. -

 December 5th - Numbers of people still constantly calling-Waited upon the President of the Council-Called upon Mr. Mordon the Ordn Store-Keeper to talk about the Guns-Went with Peters on hoard different ships to give necessary orders-visited all the Black people came from Annapolis & Digby gave them my advice for their future conduct; made some of the children little presents-Received a note be the favour of my attendance tomorrow at 12 o'clock, at the Council chamber. Dined on board the Sphynx Frigate with Mr. Philpot-The subject of Slavery was at length introduced and supported by the Doctor of the Sphynx, but all his arguments were refuted by the Master who had twenty voyages in the Slave Trade, and who said that everything advanced was true-I was charmed with Philpot's zeal, in trying away with the arguments of the Doctor-Returned on shore at seven two hours conversation with Mr. Wallace, on the subject of embarking people, talked an hour afterwards with Mr. Hartshorne; returned and busy the remainder of the evening preparing signals & instructions the different Captaines-

 December 6th - Till 12 o'clock my room was constantly full, but was obliged to leave off business to attend at the Council Chamber entering the room was politely received-The President ordered a memorial to be read from Mr. Wallace, stating his reason for having made contract with the shipping in the manner he had done and therefore they would assist him in carrying on the business accordingly-After was read the President desired me to pay attention to the contract, was ordered to be read by the Secretary; when he had finished, I was if I had any objections to it-I answered that I could not immediately that I had, but that I would beg the favour of them to take it home with me, where I could be better able to form an opinion-I stated my wisdom do justice to the Merchants, and at the same time not to be forgetful Free Blacks-A few questions were then asked Mr. Wallace by Mr. Blowers the Attorney General, concerning the contract-such as, if he thought was the cheapest method to take up the vessels by the Ton, or have paid by the head-As I knew the business was done, and could not altered, I paid but little attention to their conversation, only observing thought it was a very shameful charge when they had finished I their permission to put a few questions & to give my sentiments business, they readily complied with.-

  I asked an explanation relative to the Demurrage to be paid ships at Sierra Leone, and advised the Council to be cautious in giving any

 

97 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-179


temptation to the Captains to part company with me, I advised them to allow me a certain time to make the voyage, either six, seven, or eight weeks, and in case any ship should arrive at Sierra Leone before that time had expired the Demurrage should not commence on board that ship till ten days after the time allowed me to make the voyage; such a clause, would in a great measure take away any inducement on the part of any of the Captains to leave the Fleet-I expressed myself very anxious that we should keep together, that all the vessels might receive the benefit of the surgeon and other comforts, which one might be able to afford another-

 I also recommended that the whole Fleet should sail together, at one time, if it could be done without greatly adding to the expence, and stated a variety of advantages attending it-

 From the information I had received from the Out-Ports, I had every reason to believe that the whole would arrive at Halifax, in a very short time; but if the Council thought that the Demurrage about to commence on the vessels already engaged, would be considered as an objection to waiting for the rest, I declared myself ready to sail with those now at Halifax in a week-I also thought it would be prudent for each ship to have a Mediterranean Pass which was agreed to-

 I spoke next upon the subject of clothing those who were in want-An objection was made to it, as it would be liable to great abuses- In reply I mentioned it as the late Governor's idea and enforced the necessity of it myself, by assuring them, many of the people were at this time, nearly naked, and some of them would certainly be starved to death, if this request were not complied with; but to satisfy them there should be no abuse, I would contrive to find out the real want of every individual without giving them a suspicion of what I wanted-

 I then desired the form of the discharging Certificate to be written out, before I sailed, as I should have nothing to do but sign, if I thought the Captains had done their duty-Agreed to-

 One of the Council asked me what course I intended to steer after quitting the Harbour, and my ideas upon the best-way to secure a safe & quick passage I thanked him for his question, and assured the Council if they had not asked me, I had made a minute to consult them upon it, as I did not wish as a young man to be too positive in my opinion and requested to see a Chart, and having fully explained to them my intention, in every situation in which we were liable to be placed, they were fully satisfied, and were please to make an apology for having put the question, and Said they asked it as a Matter of duty-

 I desired they would mention in my instructions what was to be done with the Provisions, Stores &c furnished by Government, after the expiration of the voyage: they answered, "to be given to the Blacks"- The next subject was on Stowage-I said I would plainly see, if it could be done, more would be put into the vessels then Government in-

 

98 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792


- tended. For my part I should have no objection, if even thirty or were left after the ships had all received their complement to distribute them among the rest, sooner than put Government to the expense of taking up another vessel; but if their should be more left, after all were full, the number contained in any one vessel, I should certainly object to being distributed, and should expect another vessel to be hired for them as it would only be complying with the wishes & orders of Government for should an Extraordinary mortality take place on the voyage, blame would justly attach to all parties, for having deviated from instructions of the Secretary of State, so pointedly given on this head.-

 Our next conversation was on the Tonnage of the vessels, got extremely warm and apologised for it, in consequence of understanding that the vessels were to be measured for the purpose-I assured the council, if that were the case, I should measure them myself according custom of measuring Transports, but should not give myself that if their Tonnage was to be taken from their Registers at the Custom for though I had volunteered my services, both to Government Company, yet I was determined to do all in my power to keep down prodigal expence, and to reprobate every proceeding, from whatever quarter it might come, which did not appear to be strictly honourable & correct-After this declaration, I had a conversation with the President on the subject of Guns for signals & which was complied with-

 The Council now broke up, the President assuring me of his readiness to assist me in anything in his power-visited all the vessels, to the workmen, ordering fires to be constantly burning between decks to dry the bed places which were obliged to be fitted up with bed planks as no others could be obtained-The Carpentors had received orders up the Lucretia's Cabin & bed places in a Superior manner for my comfort & accommodation, which I prevented, as it was only for a limited time and contrary to my notions of economy-Dined at house-After visited the Annapolis & Digby people, in their Barracks-In the busy writing letters, preparing signals and looking over the Contract-

 December 7th - Breakfasted with Mr. Putnam at 8 o'clock- to the Contract & addressed the following letter to the President Council-

 Halifax, December 7th 1791

Sir/

 Having signified your intentions of investing me with full authority to conduct the Convoy with the Free Black from hence to Sierra Leone, I am of opinion that Guns & Ammunition sufficent for signals, should be put on board the ship in which I embark, as it may probably consist of not less than eight vessels, which might be laible to separate in the

 

99 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792


night or during thick weather, without having proper signals-

Should this meet your approbation, I would request that directions may be given accordingly, as soon as possible.


I am Sir, with the greatest respect
Your obedient Servant-
John Clarkson

To/The Honorable Richard Bulkeley-

 Called upon several people to persuade them to give up some children whom they called their slaves, whose parents were going with me-It is a practice in this Province for Masters to turn their Slaves out of doors to maintain themselves & family, if the family should be so large as to become burthersome to the Master, and there are many instances after seven years have elapsed, that the Master has retain: his Slaves, because they were useful, and sold & disposed of them,as he thought proper- visited the different vessels-The Parr & Venus will not stow the people so well as the other vessels-Objected to the manner the Bed places were putting up on board the Venus-Went on board a new ship just arrived, she appeared to me as well calculated for carrying the people, as the generality of the others; told the Owner I should recommend her to be taken up, and as he had not named her, I asked him to call her the Sierra Leone, which he did-Dined at home-Drank tea with Mr. Hartshorne- Had a long conversation respecting Mr. O. -Secretary to the Governor of New Brunswick whose conduct from all accounts, has been extremely reprehensible, with respect to the business, I am here upon-In the evening called upon Mr. Putnam, respecting some information about the Preston People At seven returned home, and employed myself in arranging my paper-This day received a letter from a Gentleman of respectability named Clarkson, living in Philadelphia, telling me that not long since his family and mine were one, as I had an opportunity of sending a letter by a, vessel, which was to sail from this place, I immediately answered it- In the course of the evening received the following answer to my letter to the President of the Council-

Sir/

 Mr. Morden will deliver the Guns & Stores whenever you will apply for them, giving him a receipt, expressing that on your arrival at Sierra Leone, you will deliver them to the Governor, or person in chief command there, for His Majestys Service

I am Sir
Your most obedient
Humble Servant
Richard Bulkeley

December 7th 1791-

 

100 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792


  December 8th - Not very well this morning Busy writing letters till eleven o'clock Called upon Mr. Morden about the Guns-A Carpenter from the Ordnance Department was employed on board Lucretia, to fit the Stanchions up to support the Guns-People busily employed-Visited the Mary and gave orders about fitting up the berths in a manner which appeared to me best calculated to preserve health-From there visited the Felecity, and gave particular charge to her owner, to see himself, that she was properly balasted-From there went to the Morning Star, this vessel the Carpenter had received orders from Mr. Wallace, to fit-up berths, amidships, this I objected to, and desired the Carpenter to leave off till he heard from me again-

 Called upon Mr. Wallace with Mr. Hartshorne, merely to speak out sentiments to him, upon the subject of berthing the people-I positively declared to him, that I would never give my consent, for one man more than the complement, to be put into a ship, till the whole were complete when I should be able to judge whether it would be prudent or not-I told him I was determined to obey order of Government, for if there should be any extraordinary mortality happen on the voyage, I should be blamed for suffering so many to be stowed together, and as I was to have all anxiety & trouble, it would be a comfort to me to have a vessel or two the Squadron, where I could put a man who was recovering, from my ship to stretch his legs, after an illness-I afterwards declared I had come another determination, which was to insist that each vessel should carry the luggage of her own passengers, as well as a sufficient quantity of water for each, with provisions accordingly, for if a vessel could not do that, would not be fit for the voyage, and who would be answerable to the people, for the loss of furniture & c, & c, if the luggage was on board ship, and the people another?-

 The Morning Star, appears to me not to have sufficient room to the proper quantity of ballast in her & at the same time to Stow her quantity of provisions & c, because they have put the platform too low; however I have charged the Owner & Captain for her to see that she has everything proper on that head, as I shall examine her before she sails; a' they should think they would not be able to put a sufficient quantity ballast into her, to make her safe, I should insist upon the deck being I up, and raised a good six inches higher-Came home and was busy writing till half past three; then visited the Lucretia & gave several orders respecting her-Dined and drank tea with Mr. Hartshorne-At ten Peters upon me and related several melancholy stories, respecting the injustice the Whites to the Blacks in New Brunswick-Employed arranging my paper & c-This day I delivered to the Secretary of the Province, a list of the Free Blacks from Annapolis, Digby and that neighbourhood who had given in their names to go to Sierra Leone, to be exposed in his office for a certain time, agreeable to an Act of this Province-In addition to public notice, I stated through the Newspapers, the steps I had take the information of the Public, although I was not bound by law to do than to expose the names for a certain time in the Secretary's Office, yet

 

101 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792


I was determined to show all descriptions of men, the fairness of my intentions-

The following is a copy of the list-

Thos Peters Wife & family
Saml Wright Do
Tho Brown Do
Robert Stafford Do
Jarvis Frost Do
Henry Lawrence Do
Danl Carry Do
David Edmond Do
Timthy Withers Do
George Carall Do
Ralph Henry Do
York Bamson Do
Terence Davies Do
Jno Salter Do
Henry Floyd Do
Adam Greene Do
Isaac Williams Do
James Austin Do
James Banks Do
Saml Fryer Do
Pompey Campbell Do
Titis Robinson Do
Henry Warren Do
Jacob Lynch Do
Abrhm White Do
Tony Wering Do
Thos Jones-Yaff Benson-Hannah Kirby  
Law Hartshorne  
John Clarkson (Agents for the Sierra Leone Company

 

 December 9th - At eight this morning Mr. Tremaine called upon me to inform me that the vessels from Shelburne, were in sight & would be in the Harbour very soon-Went down to the Wharf & saw two Schooners, which had just arrived with part of the luggage; they were sent ahead to inform me that the others would be here very shortly, the whole consisting of eleven sail-Went to the Ordnance Wharf, and fixed upon my Guns, and ordered them to be sent down-Gave several orders on board the different Ships, and at eleven o'clock went over to Dartmouth with Mr. Wallace, and the Master Carpenter, to measure the Somerset -Objected to their vessel if a better could be obtained-At three o'clock four of five of the vessels arrived very much crowded-Mr. Hartshorne & myself busy running over to town to hire store houses for their reception, fortunately met with one which could easily contain 300 Souls-In three hours after we had everything taken out, the place properly swept, and two stoves

 

102 CLARKSON'S MISSION TO AMERICA 1791-1792


fitted up, and by eight at night, when the rooms were sufficiently aired, ordered the vessels to the Wharf adjoining the Store House, for the people to come on Shore-At ten the people had got their supper, and laths were laid upon the floor to put their beds upon; a sentinel was placed also at the door to watch them during the night-This evening I had three of the Captains of the vessels to sup with me, I explained to them my signals and my ideas of the best method of making a quick, and safe voyage & how could advise them to act in different case of emergency; gave an order all the Captains to send me an account, of their sails, rigging, anchor cables & c, that I might be sure every vessel had her proper quantity on board-Agreeable to the Contract-During our conversation, we were surprised by the unexpected visit of four Blacks just arrived from the Province of New Brunswick; they had been prevented from embarking with Peters and since detained under a false pretence of debt; the very Agents in this Province have taken the most unjustifiable means to prevent these people from gratifying their wishes, and when they found that the generality them were not in debt, they contrived to produce false Indentures & Agreements to deter them, and at length said, that none should go, who Could not produce his Free Pass, knowing that many of them had lost theirs, others were so worn out, as to render them unintelligible-this is the most shameful of all their conduct, because, the very men whom they refuse had lands granted to them in the neighbourhood of St. John, St Ann &C which were registered in the Office, and who would not have been titled to them, if they had not produced their Free Pass, on their arrival in this Country-These people were determined to quit a coal at the peril of their lives, whose inhabitants treated them with so much barbarity; they had the temerity to undertake a journey over land St. John to Halifax, which accourding to the route they must have taken could not be less than 340 miles; they set out for this Purpose the 24th last month, went round the head of the Bay of Fundy, & notwithstanding they had to combat with difficulties, that might appear insuperable considerate mind principally arising from the extreme closeness of woods, and the river they would be under the necessity of fording, they arrived safe & in good health, fifteen days after their departure from St. Johns-

 The greatest distress must have driven these men to form a resolution so uncommon, and to preserve a journey so replete with danger & difficulty, their passage for a few days being through such parts as I am convinced were never before visited by man-

 The names of these four men, are Richard Crankipine, William Taylor, Sampson Heywood, and Nathaniel Ladd; another friend of theirs accompanied them, but they were obliged to leave him, about forty from Halifax, as he had lamed himself, but he is expected every hour- I wished much to have given each of them a reward for their intrepid duct, but as I have now better than 800 Souls under my care, the greatest part of whom are in extreme distress, it makes me cautious how I act, and