Transcribed by John McGuire , email@example.com
Original in Possession of Robert Smallwood
Charlotte Town, Prince Edward Island, Oct 12-1805
Dear and Loving Parents
I just now sit down to write these few lines as an answer to your letter dated February 16th which give me more pleasure than I can express. I wrote an answer to it on the 12th of Aug, but thinking that you would receive a letter that I sent by the Aprile packet, I was in hopes of seeing John before now, but I heard by the next packet that it was taken by the Spainyards on its way to London. I wrote to Alex McLean Gairth after that by a ship going to Leith, and some passengers from this Town in her, and I think he could not miss getting his, on which I thought that he would come or at least send an answer, because that I mentioned in Alex'n's letter that I sent for him, to be as helper to Mr. Robertson, which I thought he could do no better anywhere else than to come, to have good wages bed board & washing forby what he could learn himself. I have not lost hopes of him coming yet, as there was a ship come to Belfast on the beginning of this month with passengers sailed from Stornway in the Isle of Skye and the Capt informed us that there was ships to sail from Greenock and Leith at the same time for Pictou in Nova Scotia. I'll be in hopes of seeing him till I hear of their landing as that is the convenientest place for this Town on account of the packet coming and going twice in the month. I wish he was there once, I would soon pay for his passage to this, & if he do come he will be sure to take his for Pictou, the ship that came to Belfast named North friend from Greenock commanded by Capt McPherson is going to Pictou to be loaded with timber to take back to Greenock...
Dear Father you said if I would send you good news that you would all come. I have no news to send but this that I think it better for one to work for himself and ripe the benifit of it, than work for others & sent off after all their labor. There is plenty of lands here wood lands from 15/ per acre to 2/6 & clear lands from £1-10 to £1 per acre & Liced lands from 1/ to /6 per acre and the lice 999 years and farms that they give upon halfs the owner of the lands provide cattle and sheep & seed for sowing & receives the one half of all the produce. My advice would be to you or any other that comes out that they should take care of their money for I heard that there is dispute among the last comers by giving their money to a young man that went to Skye last year or to his Lordship & give a bill upon his agent here & cannot procure money for them & and therefore I would that everyone should keep their own & then they can take lands or anything that they can see to their best advantage. It would be best for a family to pay for their passage and find their own victuals, only the Cap't to find them in water, for ship allowance is very dry & another thing if any of it remains they can take it with them - especially Barley which is not be had here... You wanted to let you know how I live in the woods, I live better than ever I did in Scotland off Tea & sugar Beef Mutton & Pork would serve & Rum three times in the day. As for anything you have I can get it here but tools hich I miss very much & if John is not come away yet if he can find money or any one else to bring me out a chest of tools I would pay them their money in Sterling on demand with interest from the first to the last farthing. I want moulding planes and planes for plowing flooring which I would wish to be shod or plated with steel to keep them from wearing & them to tongue and groove inch 1/4 & small ones down to 1/2 inch and 3/8 of an inch. That ship did not come here but went to New York as I understand by the post mark. I bought neither shoes nor clothes but one pair of mogasines for the winter. The winter requires warm clothes but the summer would require them as light.
The ice set in last year on the 15th of Decr, for I was in the town and I was the last that went out with a boat & got safe to Belfast which is 18 miles from town & where we went with the boat at night we could go a mile in the morning out upon the sea, there are some days very cold indeed perhaps two or three days at once and the rest moderate & some of it very pleasant, and it is the only time they do the most of their business riding in their Carrials upon the ice. The ice went away upon the 12th Aprile being about three months after I came here to town in a Carrial I made for Mr. Robertson. The snow was very deep last winter more than it has been for ten year back. It was about three feet at an average in the woods. I wrought every day of winter in an open house only I had to keep on mits, the summer is very warm. Every thing is very high in proportion to their wages. I had 3/ per day and found all the time I was in the woods working at a saw mill for L. [Lord] Selkirk for 4 months and after that for 4/ per day for two months and find myself and all summer at 5/6 per day. Any mechanic ought to bring his working tools with him & farmers all utensil such as everything belonging to Iron for it is 1/ per pound when wrought, an axe for cutting wood is 12/6 & 7/6 if you can find steel and iron. This summer is been very dry which made the crop very light. I wrote in the first letter that John should bring books such as Hamiltons arithmetic & Testaments & such as them it would be better than money if he had it, it was the want of it that kept me without tools. I had just 2/ when landed at Belfast, but ever since I never wanted money. I would have you write me as soon as you get this letter and pay postage to London directed as before & write on the back of it to be sent by the packet as I can get it by the March packet that goes to Pictou on the Ice. There is no news here that is worth mentioning, but the melincoly accident that happened to H. Stewart son - Stewart from Athol who was teaching some children & in the middle of the day took his gun & 4 of his scolars & went to shoot at some birds & cocked his gun and the bird flew over across & they ran to a boat & he put the but end of the gun in first & putting off the boat, went off and discharged the whole shot in his left briest & the lead lodged in his shoulder bone & lived 6 days after.
Mr. & Mrs. Robertson join me with their Compt to you all.
I am your affectionate son,
Give my Compt to Duncan Stewart & tell him that found his astrikle plane in my chest which astonished me very much. I was informed that a Brig was coming from Perth likewise by the Capt.