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Merchant houses

Nathaniel Winter & Co

Winter, Higgins, Rose & Co was a banking firm in Martinique involved in frauds carried out in the award and operation of victualling contracts under Valentine Jones, commissary general in the West Indies [Janet Macdonald, From Boiled Beef to Chicken Tikka: 500 Years of Feeding the British Army (Frontline Books, 2014)]. The partners were Nathaniel Winter, Matthew Higgins, and Hugh Rose.

In 1822 Nathaniel Winter & Co owned plantations Friends & Invlugt, Den Arendt & La Tranquilite, Deutichen and Nomen, all in Berbice, with 771 slaves. William Ross was attorney for all of the plantations. They also had interests in Demerara.

Mr. Winter, in his lifetime, and up to the month of May, 1830, carried on business in partnership with Mr. John Innes, as West India merchants, under the firm of Nathaniel Winter & Co. From the 1st of May, 1830, to the 16th of May, 1831, the business was carried on under the same firm, by Innes and a Mr. Robert Cumming Norman. On the latter day Innes and Norman dissolved partnership. [Courts of Exchequer]

His partner was probably the John Innes [1787-1869] who by 1835 was said to have 'been connected with the West Indies for nearly thirty years . . . particularly with Demerara' [Review of his Letter to Lord Glenelg, 1835]. But see below for his own statement that he had been involved since c1818.

Innes campaigned for plantation owners, gave evidence to parliamentary committees and published three pamphlets:

A Letter to the Right Honourable Henry Goulburn, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, etc, on the Claims of the West India Distiller to an Equalization of the Duties on Rum and British Spirits. By John Innes, Esq. (London) 28 pages pamph, 1830.

Letter to Lord Glenelg, Secretary of State for the Colonies; containing a Report, from Personal Observation, on the Working of the New System in the British West India Colonies. By John Innes, Merchant. (London) 119 pages 8vo, 1835

Thoughts on the Present State of the British West India Colonies and on measures for their improvement, tending to the extinction of the African Slave Trade. By John Innes, Merchant. (London) 54 pages 8vo pamph, 1840.

He lived in Kensington Square, London and appears to have been born in Scotland [tentative identification as John Innes, at Brompton Park, in 1841 census]. In 1846 he was honorary secretary of the newly launched British West India Company. Giving evidence to Parliament in 1848, he stated that he had been connected with the West Indies as a merchant for forty years but held no property there.

For further detail of John Innes see Legacies of British Slave-ownership (Catherine Hall, Keith McClelland, Nick Draper, Kate Donington, Rachel Lang)


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