Westmoreland, Jamaica: 1820. Single folio sheet, folded to pp, 8" x 10." Completely in neat ink manuscript. Text on first two pages, third page blank, fourth page with address, remnant of wax seal [hole in blank portion resulting from breaking the seal], and a few postal cancels. Very Good.
This letter is an illuminating window on the activities of a prosperous Jamaica plantation owner in the years before Emancipation. It discusses Grant's shipment of sugar from his Three Mile River Estate in Jamaica, bound for Perth, and Estate's slaves, business, and cattle. "30 hogsheads of Three Mile River Sugar on the Isabelle Simpson for Perth which vessel sailed from Yarmouth on the 17th ult. I hope she will have arrived safe and delivered her cargo in good order long before you receive this. . . The expenditure of manure does not as you seem to think improve the quality of sugars, but otherwise, although it tends greatly to increase the quantity. . . The slaves on the estate are healthy & the cattle recovering from the fatigues of the crop. I shall be obliged to dispose of from 12 to 14 of the oldest & that are unfit for the yoke longer to the grazier, as we have not the means of fattening them on the estate."
James Colquhoun Grant [1725-1822] was a planter and attorney, originally from Scotland, who owned and lived at the Brighton estate in Westmoreland, Jamaica. He served as Solicitor to several estates in Western Jamaica, including the Three Mile River estate. In 1807, he was appointed Commissioner of the Parish of Westmoreland to act as "senior magistrate" pursuant to "An Act to authorize and empower the Commander in Chief for the time being to cause parties to be raised and fitted out for suppressing any Rebellion, and for going in pursuit of, and reducing runaway Slaves." He had five sons and two daughters by Ann Wilson [1797-1845], his "housekeeper" and a "free woman of colour," as described in his will signed May 30, 1822. He left Ann and his children almost his entire estate. The will was written just before he left for Scotland, a trip which he correctly predicted he would not survive. [PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS, HOUSE OF COMMONS AND COMMAND, VOLUME 19. H.M. Stationery Office: 1816. pp.107-113.] Our research did not uncover any information on Archibald Crawfurd; there were several men by that name near or from Edinburgh. Item #31957