The Island Register - Letters from/to P.E.I. - The Douglas Letters - 29th January 1794


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Transcribed by Richard Walker, rwalker@bml.ca.


Edinburgh 29th January 1794

Dear James

I am very sorry to inform you that our Brother Samuel died on the Evening of Friday the 17th Instant he had very indifferent health for these four years past and was confined to the House since October, except on the 1st of this month he took a short walk about his house at Auchingraymont;---- Sandy arrived at Auchingraymont on the 2nd Inst. and is staying there just now---- Mr. William Molle & Mr. John Granger accompanied me from Edinburgh to attend the funeral which was upon the 22nd.----

Upon opening Samuels' Repositories we could find no Settlement made by him of his affairs in consequence of which the whole heritage, which is the chief find, devolves upon you as next heir.

In order to convey as full information as possible I send you the following state of the funds left by Samuel, and his Debts so far as I know---- 1st the Lands & Money left by Samuel Douglas

The Lands of Burnhouses extending to about 400 acres arable & pasture ground---- The present lease of these lands which was for 19 years ends in May 1798---- The present Rent of the Lands ( besides what the Tenant pays to the Minister for Stipend which is above £12. Sterling yearly ) is----------------- £ 64.10

From this there falls to be deducted the __ess, poors rates

& other public burdens -- amounting yearly to about --------------------------- £ 2.10    £ 62.

The Lands of Over & Nether Monksheads, the present lease of these Lands, which are all pasture, was granted in 1790 -- and is for 19 years after November 1790;

The Rent is--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- £ 54.

From this must be deducted the Ministers Stipend which

is payable by the Landlord------------------------------------------------------------------- £ 1.     £ 53.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- £116.

Cash lying in the Royal Bank, being made up mostly of the proceeds of Alexander Douglas's goods remitted to Samuel last harvest from Canada & which Samuel placed in the Bank in his own name----- £590.

A Bond for £1200., owing by the Laird of McFarlane to my Aunt has never been fully paid--- It is thought that the principal of this Debt will be recovered----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- £1200.

There has been already paid at different times to my Aunt & Samuel of this Debt----------- £ 854.

Remains of principal------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ £ 346.

N.B. This remainder cannot at present be set off against the Claims upon Samuel Douglas's Subject, as it will only be rec'd in partial payments at different times.

Samuel had at his death betwixt £50. & £60. lying in the Bank at Hamilton and in his House--- It will require this money and more to pay his House Rent, Funeral Charges, & house expenses for Mrs. Douglas, till 15 May next when her Jointure or annuity begins to be paid--- There is £30., of house rent due against May---

Burdens and Claims on Samuel Douglas's Estate---------- By Contract of Marriage Samuel ?????? Mrs. Douglas in Burnhouses in a yearly Jointure or Annuity of --------------------------------------------------- £60.

Cash owing by Samuel Douglas to Alexander Douglas being the remainder of the Legacy left him by his Aunt & £200. Left him by his Father & current interest------------------------------------------------------------- £1113.

Ditto owing by Ditto to John Douglas being what his Father left him----------------------- £200.

Ditto a Legacy left by Mrs. Mary Douglas to Mr. Braimer's Children not yet paid----- £200.

An annuity of £4. --? yearly left by my Aunt to Duncan Watson a man near 90 years of age--

N.B. I will not observe this in the following calculations as it is uncertain how soon it may end--

Bond of Provision granted by Samuel Douglas last November to his daughter Margaret payable at her age of 21, or marriageand bearing interest from May 15, 1794------------------------------------------------ £1000.

Mrs. Douglas Nephews William Molle & John Granger & myself are appointed ==========

Tutors & Curators for Samuels child ----------------------------------------------------------------- £2513.

Sum of Interest payable yearly from Samuel Douglas's Estate after 15 May 1794-- £125.13    £125.13.

Including Mrs. Douglas's annuity--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- £185.13.

Present free yearly rent of the Lands of Burnhouses as above------------------------------ £ 62.

Ditto-----------------------of Monksheads as above-------------------------------------------------------------------- £53.

Money in the Royal Bank for which only 4% is allowed £590. ----------------------------- £23.12

There will be a deficiency yearly after 15th May next, to pay the Interest of Debts ---------------- £138.12

and Mrs. Douglas's Jointure of----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- £47.1

It is informed by people of skill that the Lands of Burnhouses will set upon a new Tack at near £200. premium there are only four years after May next to run of the present Tack and it would be proper to grant a new Tack immediately of these Lands. This cannot be done but by yourself---- The factory I have from you will enable me to lift the rents.

It is obvious from the above state that for 4 years to come you must lose near £ 50. Sterling yearly by this Succession, but it is to be hoped this deficiency will be made up in a great measure by Dividends from McFarlane's Bankrupt Estate----

It is the opinion of those of your friends here with whom I have consulted upon these matters, that you ought to come to Scotland immediately and arrange your matters in such a manner as will make them turn out to the best advantage---- Besides the above Claims against Samuels property which are all authenticated by written documents it is necessary to mention the Law Suits which Samuel has presently defending before the Court of Session---- When Samuel's partnership with Fleming ended, which was in 1789 he entrusted Fleming to wind up the affairs of the Company, Fleming from time to time put off winding up the Company concerns, & having wasted Samuels patience, in that matter; Samuel last spring brought a suit against Fleming for the balance which might be owing to him in ??? concern & likewise for money he had intrusted Fleming with since the end of the Copartnery---- Fleming found caution to the extent of £500. that he would without any further delay balance the Company books of "Fleming & Douglas" & pay whatever sum should turn out against him---- Fleming has since become Bankrupt and his three Cautioners are dead, one of them Bankrupt, what sum may be recovered from the funds of Fleming & his Cautioners is uncertain---- There is a suit in defendence against Samuel as Cautioner for Fleming's managing a Bankrupt subject of two March in Glasgow to account for his intromessions the sum claimed is £400. but this is rather a random sum and beyond what can be due---- There is another suit lately brought against the Company of "Fleming & Douglas" for bills unaccounted for before the dissolution of the Company and the sum demanded is also about £400. but it is thought not near that sum can be due. I have not had an opportunity of being acquainted yet with these two suits but suppose that if anything is due that the sums demanded are far beyond it----

Were you here, the Debts could be paid off so far as your ready money went and if necessay you might sell part or borrow on the Lands----

The complicated situation in which Samuel has left his affairs and the absolute necessity of your having the command of money in order to pay off the Debts prevents me from answering your order to pay Sandy £300. To purchase goods for your Brother in Law; and Sandy is much concerned that it is out of his power to advance any money at present for that purpose, you will observe that the money which Sandy sent from Canada last harvest, Samuel placed it all in the Bank, in his own name, so that until certain law forms are gone about not a shilling of it can be touched & as all Sandy's money was in Samuel's hands except some debts he left behind in Canada he must now look to you for payment; Mr.Haszard, Sandy hopes will be sensible that nothing but the occurring of the above circumstances could have prevented him from fulfilling the Commission he received & begs you will excuse him the best way you can.

A calculation upon supposition that you will pay off so much of the Debt.

Mrs. Douglass' Jointure remains during her life a burden on Burnhouses £ 60.

Margaret Douglas's £1000 is not payable till her marriage or majority

so may be looked to as permanent in a manner -------------------------------------------------------- £50.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ £110.

The above Debt of---------------------------------------------------------------------------- £1513.

may in part be Discharged viz

Cash lying in the Royal Bank----------------------------------------- £590.

Ditto of yours in Bankers hands------------------------------------- £500. --------  £1090.

Deficiency to be provided for------------------------------------------------------------- £423.

If you do not chuse to sell part of the Lands, the sum of £500 may be borrowed

upon them & the yearly interest of this will be--------------------------------------------------------- £ 25.

In this view the whole Debts payable yearly will be-------------------------------------------------- £135.

Funds to pay this Debt viz

Rent of Burnhouses for these four years to come is yearly------------------ £62.

Ditto of Monksheads for these 16 years to come------------------------------- £53. ------------- £115.

There will then be a deficiency only of the yearly Sum of----------------------------------------- £ 20.

This deficiency as before mentioned will no doubt be made up from Dividends from McFarlanes Subject. These calculations tend to show that it is possible to arrange Samuels matters so, that you can be no great loser for these four years, at that time when the new Tack of Burnhouses will commence you will be a gainer if the Lands set near to what they are said to be worth. I forgot to mention that Mrs. Douglas has the use of the household furniture during her life. It is necessary to repeat that yor presence here as soon as possible is absolutely necessary to give the proper directions how matters should be managed.--- And you will take notice that the same reasons which I wrote you of when Settling your Aunts Legacy, still remain (It surprises me that on that account Samuel did not make a Settlement of his affairs as he always promised) I hope you will therefore obtain leave of absence from your office for a time, till you settle & arrange your business in this Country.-- The Factory you gave me authorises me to lift the rents But it is proper that you come here & set Burnhouses Lands once the Debts all paid off & get every information regarding your affairs which it is impossible to convey by writing--- with best respects to Mrs. Douglas & family I am your affectionate Brother John Douglas

Ann begs to be remembered to you

Mr. James Douglas
Comptroller of the Customs in the Island of St. John
Gulf of St. Lawrence
Care of Messrs. Brymer & Belcher, Merchants
Hallifax
North America

Received Halifax - April 27th. 1794
Received Island of St. John - May 10th. 1794


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