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Donald Macintosh (Bleachfield)

In 1787, Colonel John Baillie of Dunain agreed to lay out a bleachfield on the banks fo the Ness for Donald Macintosh. He expected to spend about £200 but by 1790 the bleachfield, although still incomplete, had cost some £900 and to repay this Mackintosh was forced to pay a high rent which soon led to his bankruptcy. [John Shaw, Water Power in Scotland, 1550-1870 (John Donald, 1984) p238]

Macintosh went to London and then to Berbice, where he arrived in August or September 1795 with the expectation of being employed on James Fraser of Belladrum’s property. It was not until November that he found work on a cotton plantation, at a low salary of £42. He remained there for four months until Fraser offered him the management of plantation Golden Fleece, at a salary of £100, and he began work there on 16th March 1796.

On 22nd April the colony was surrendered to British forces and, on 24th May, Macintosh wrote a letter to Colonel Baillie of Dunain which reflected on the oportunity to make money in the colony:

I see many young men here in a prosperous way who came but few years ago to the Country as bare as I did. It is true I came with greater embarrassments, but if so, I can easily avoid many extravagances which the generality of them enter into, consequently I look upon myself as on equal terms with them at least. I believe there is hardly any place where money may be made with more facility than here, the great difficulty is once to have a little; but when that little is in hand it can be increased by a rapid progression; and now that these colonies are under British Government, they will be more advantageous for Adventurers of all denominations than before. [Highland Council Archive D456/A/10/49]

Macintosh also expressed the hope that he would ‘return to my native land with Fifteen Thousand Pounds, tho’ more advanced in age by twenty years’.

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