George Inglis' Demerara notebook
Inverness Museum, Inglis papers
Memorandum for general Conduct in Demerary
If Mr Gladstone persists in refusing any advance for the support of my family appeal to Mr Wilson before I take any measures to send anything for that purpose from Demerary
Endeavour gradually to introduce a system that may tend to ameliorate as much as possible the condition of the poor Negroes.
The frequency of punishment to be done away & if possible abolished altogether.
Particular attention to be paid to the sick, and children.
See that their Houses are clean & comfortable.
Encourage the people to cultivate spots of ground for themselves - & to raise poultry
Introduce a system of Economy
A seine will be advantageous & if fish in any quantity is got it will save expense. Idea of a Yare or Wear, which has been tried with advantage on the Berbice Coast.
A number of Hogs to be put up and fattened for the people instead of salt provisions given them at Xmas.
Endeavour with Mr Wilson’s assistance to raise some money to send my beloved Wife from the sale of cattle or otherwise.
William Robertson’s Debt (paid)
Minute attention to be paid to the gathering in of the crop.
Also to the cleaning of the cotton.
Observe rigidly temperance in my living.
The utmost economy in my expenses.
Examine all the Buildings and endeavour to put them in complete repair.
If I can procure nothing to send to my beloved Family - endeavour to sell the whole of the cattle for whatever they will fetch to remit the proceeds.
When, please God, I arrive in Demerary get from Mr Wilson copies of any letters he may have written me since July.
An accurate statement of his accounts against the plantation up to a given day, the Balance to be drawn for at as distant a period as possible
And from that period to be the charge upon myself,
& Keep the Accounts in a Book for that purpose
The whole of the Accounts to be closed & made up once a year
The Estate to be appraised
[Crossed out: See Mr MacBean, & converse fully with him on all matters regarding my interest in Demerary confidentially]
Speak to Mr Wilson of the probability of selling at some future period & ask him what gratuity or remuneration he would expect.
See Henry Tulloch
See Phineas McKintosh
A correct list of clothing supplies to be made out by Mr Morrison for the ensuing year
Write to Hugh Inglis & James Fraser]
Enquire a book giving in the lists if Negroes for Taxation.
And information respecting the respective Taxes.]
Idea of planting some Coffee in the Back Lands
Also a patch of Canes by way of experiment.
Idea of having out some goods - ask Mr Wilson respecting the sale on commission of goods or consignment, by wholesale, for immediate payment, at a moderate profit.
Might it not be possible to form a connexion with some reputable Young Man in the Colony - with Mr Hooper’s support.
Idea of offering Bellefield to Gladstone giving time for the payment of the Balce (after deducting his Mortgage) in small installments including interest.
Idea of selling as many of the Negroes as will pay Gladstone & endeavouring to do the best I can with the remainder
Memorandum of sea stores for the homeward voyage
2 Dozn Madiera
2 Dozn Port
4 Dozn Porter
a few bottles Rum
2 lbs Tea
6 Loaves Sugar
Potatoes, Yams, Corn,
Fowls, pigs, sheep
Ducks, cassava, Bread
plantains & plantain stock
Any letters that may come for me after my departure to be returned by Packet addressed to me in Inverness
Strict Temperance and Moderation in both eating & drinking
Moderate exercise & coolness
Avoid excessive heat
Occasional Bathing in the Sea
Bowels to be kept open
Light Breakfasts avoiding salt meats
Moderate use of fruit, shaddock & oranges
Avoid entirely all ardent spirits & use wine in great moderation
Ask Mr Wilson about my Will deposited in the secretaries office & if it is sufficient, otherwise a new one to be left there
Doctor Macbeth’s Will to be got from the Secretary’s office and sent home
Bows & Arrows for my dear boys also - beads - seeds - ears of corn - ? - beans - sowance - baskets
Enquire of Mr Wilson in the possible event of selling my Negroes & the land separately what commn. he would charge.
Mr Wilson liberally agrees to make no charge in the event of my being compelled to sell
Bellefield 22 Feb 1814
Negroe Houses to be examined
New ones to be built gradually
Dwelling House requires new shingling
Logie & Gin House to be repaired gradually & as economically as possible
If I am able to keep Bellefield for 2 years more, i may fairly expect the crops to reduce my debt to Mr Gladstone considerably.
The prospect of crop is generally considered favourable at present by
such of my acquaintances here as are best qualified to judge - & while the American War continues the prices may be expected to keep up. In the mean time my Negroes will not be diminished in value, on the contrary the value of slaves it is generally thought will be greatly enhanced by the demand from the Sugar and Coffee plantations, whose numbers are decreasing & the high prices obtained for their produce will enable them to purchase.
If then after 2 years more I find
it expedient or necessary to sell, there is I think a moral certainty of my being able to do so to much greater advantage than i possibly could at present. Add to this that several of the properties on the East Coast will be put into sugar - probably that adjoining mine - there is not one on the Coast better adapted for that culture than Bellefield, therefore tho’ I cannot affect such a favourable change of culture, the value of my lands must I think be greatly enhanced
Bellefield 26th Feby 1814
If Mr Tinne agrees to take up my consignments - propose the following terms (In the mean time endeavour through Mr Wilson’s influence to obtain indulgences from Mr Gladstone) -
The present crop to go to Mr Gladstone
To advance the sum necessary for paying my debt to Mr G - £6000
& a further sum in protracted acceptances of £2000
To allow me annually one thousand pounds - & the residue of the proceeds of the crop to go in gradual liquidation of the advances
To honour all debts of my attorney for colonial expenses
To ship all stores & supplies required
To effect Insurances
Duration of the loan to be for [blank] years
The idea of making an arrangement with Mr Tinne of the House of McInroy & Co I have given up as that Gentleman would not do any thing decisive or without consulting his partners in Britain.
Bespoke a Tierce of Sugar from Mr Mackay of Essequibo to be paid for & forwarded by Mr Wilson by the June fleet, bill of lading to be forwarded to Mr Hooper.
Bellefield 1st March 1814
Observations for future correspondence with Mr Wilson -
To examine the cattle occasionally & endeavour to have then turned to better account
Too many grown Negroes kept at the House
The number of Hogs kept must be attended with much waste of plantains & require negroes to attend them
Remark that the sheep were given on condition of keeping no Hogs]
Canal between Nootenzuyl & Bellefield ought to be dug out without delays
Keep in view the future disposal of the House in Georgetown & the disposal of [blank] effects for her Daughter
In my correspondence with M Morrison (M Morrison)
To inform me the state & number of the Gang
“ ? they are supplied with provision, cotton picked , ginned, baled & shipped, mentioning the ships name
State of the cattle
Always recommend his first attention to be paid to the sick & children & general Economy
Mem: to send Mr Morrison a Dozn table spoons & a Ladle & a Dozn Tea spoons
The Carpenters to be employed occasionally in sawing boards & planks out of any large trees that may be cut with the pit saw.
Of course great care will be required to prevent the Negroes hurting themsleves in cutting & carrying large logs
On my return home, please God, send out some of the circular letters to Henry Tulloch, Messrs Simson & Grant & to request them to produce subscriptions
Recommend to Mr Morrison to accustom some of the people to the use of the scythe, they must be however particularly careful when sharpening the scythe & when using it to avoid cutting themselves which from their awkwardness they may be apt to do at first.
Receipt of corning Beef Mrs Wilson ? Helen to send it & to write her thanking her for all her kind attention to me
When please God I return home the immediate object of my attention will be
To enquire into the progress my dear ones are making in their education
To examine & arrange my papers in the green boxes
My letters, receipts, unsettled accounts etc in the bureau
My cash account in the bank see how it stands & adjust the balance in my books
Doctor MacBeth’s executry to be finally cleared
Look over all Dr R’s letting realtive to my sister Mrs I & Kingsmills
David’s letters & those of his father & sisters
Look over the account of my outlays for my nieces & nephews
Copy of Doctor MacBeth’s will from the Secretary’s Office in Demerary cost 20/stg]
Messrs Evan & Angus Fraser, Firm of Campbells House in Demerary
The Hoopers & my dear sister Bess
Alves if in town
Write Clarke & Betsey
Write Mr Alves
see Wm Mackintosh if in town
Ask Mr Hooper to aid me with a few hundred pounds in case of need and to make me to look around in order to make some more favourable arrangement in case Gladstone continues inexorable
- write Gladstone referring to Mr W’s correspndence regarding Bellefield & after consulting Mr Alves and know exactly what I am to expect
- propose after consulting with Alves, to give David all the security in my power for what I owe himself & others - stating that the ? sonsequences of selling at the moment alone prevent me from doing so in order to pay him & them but that if he signifies a wish for it i will do it at all hazards.
In my correspondence with Mr Wilson & Mr Morrison Recommend
Neatness about the buildings, Orchard etc etc - not of course to interfere in the smallest degree with the main object of the plantation
That slovenliness gives an unfavourable impression of the value of any property
To mention to me from time to time the state fo the Gang - provisons - crop quantity picked, ginned, baled & shipped, specifying theparticualr ships
Chief attention to be paid to the sich & children
Approve highly of his general lenience & mildness to the people
To Morrison that I rely on his profession of regard for my intent - that I have him in several instances been deceived by others who have behaved with a total disregard to delicacy & good faith but that I assure him I have a much better opinion of him than to suppose him capable of such dishonourable conduct
Population of George Town Demerary
1339 Coloured people
Account of the Negroe population & produce of Demerary & Essequibo for the year 1812
Slaves lbs Sugar gals Rum lbs Coffee lbs Cotton
Demerary 47032 12351979 815131 6167289 4322453
Essequibo 16187 16317354 843035 687134 399711
63219 28669333 1658166 6854423 4722164
This cotton crop very bad the average being nearly double or 10 million
About 7000 domestics, tradesmen, sailors & making in all about 70,000 in both colonies
produce by the April fleet from Demerary
35 bales pr the Higginson
25 do Dominica packet
15 do Kelton
75 in all
Gross Amt of sales of cotton at Bellefield in April 1814 f2462 from which vendue commission & charges to be deducted & the proceeds to be remitted to me by Mr Wilson
Sailed from St Thomas 4th May 1814 the Fleet said to be upwards of 343 sail
[some notes on ships follows - omitted]
Hymn for a time of Grief & Calamities
Though Life’s tempestuous billows roll
And vex the foaming sea;
Though forked lightnings fix the Pole
In awful Majesty;
Though Friends prove false, unfaithful Love,
And Foes alone are nigh
Yet will i trust in God above
And on his aid rely.
When racking pains and griefs molest;
And restless cares annoy,
Gods Holy Word shall ease my heart
And Sorrow turn to Joy.
For Jesus Christ my soul shall save
From sin and death and Hell
A Pris’ner ransomed from the Grave
Near his bright throne to dwell.
Followed by blank pages then
At the end of the notebook
London 23rd October 1813
My sorrow is great beyond all expression when I contemplate the necessity of seperating myself from my beloved my inestimable Wife & children. It rends my heart to reflect on what they may suffer from the want of my superintending care.
It is a measure however of imperious duty, I have failed in every attempt to procure the means of support for them in this country. Dreadful alternative! extinction of my earthly happiness! but let me not impiously despair - let me hope in the Mercy of a gracious God that I may yet return to them and in better & happier days. - and that my Joy will be enhanced by the recollection of the bitter pangs I now endure. While my life is spared, & I enjoy health, let it be my consolation, my support, to reflect that their happiness is my heart’s desire, - that for their sakes I make this most dreadful sacrifice - and that my feeble efforts are constantly and steadily employed to procure their comfort.
In this my arduous trial it is my earnest prayer to the Author of all good that he will in his great Mercy direct me aright & prosper my axertions.
Unto Him who is alone able to preserve our Eyes from tears, our feet from death, and our souls from death, let us commit ourselves.
E&DRG 24 Feb 1810
By John Wilson q.q. George Inglis, a first Mortgage on Plantation Bellefield, situate on the East Coast of Demerary, in favor of John Gladstone of Liverpool.