Barbuda May 23rd 1814
The last Packet brought me your letter of 20th March inclosing protests for non acceptance of two Bills (Viz) MacKays for £140: 13. 1 & Taylor’s for £105 Sterling both of which they assure me will be paid when due, which I hope will be the case; these Bills were paid me on account of the Wreck Sales, which were sold for Bills. I have also received the original of Rawlins’s Bill & have put it into the hands of a lawyer for recovery, he will proceed against the endorser of the Bill as I find the drawer is in Prison in England; I have every reason to hope it will be recovered with Costs. Inclosed you have the duplicates of the two Bills. Your Accounts to Christmas last I intended to have forwarded by the last Fleet, they were all ready but at the time of its sailing a Gentleman arrived here from Barbados to purchase Cattle, for which Admiral Duram was to have sent a Frigate, and expecting her momently I could not leave the Island; the ship has never arrived and the Gentleman after waiting three weeks return to Barbados whither he will come back or not is uncertain, as I have not since heard from him, he had twelve hundred pounds Government Bills with him which I was sorry to see again carried off the Island; these Accounts I shall now keep and bring myself, as I hope to leave this in the Fleet which is to sail the latter end of next month if nothing particular should occur to detain me. I have now nearly sent over all I can get from the Woolwich, it has been a very troublesome job. Your salvage will be I suppose upwards of one thousand Guineas, but I cannot speak positively to the Sum as the Articles are to be valued by the Officers of the Naval Yard at Antigua I shall arrange every thing before I leave this Country, there has been some delay in consequence of your Vessels being obliged to attend to the carrying your sugars.
I am extremely sorry that I am not able to give you a good account of the Island, we have had but one shower (to speak of) since last September; which was on the eleventh of last month, it then rained for about three Hours; but the Ground was so dry before that it has been of little service, no appearance of it remained two days after; therefore you may form some idea of the state of the place: at this moment not a sign of vegetation on the whole Island; I have been for some time feeding on Hay & and now obliged to have recourse to Bush, the Cattle are notwithstanding looking pretty well, my greatest fear is for the sheep, every precaution shall be taken to keep them up.
The Negros for the last ten days have been employed picking Salt, and must now be distributed over the Island to cut Bush for the Sheep. This is the dryest season except 1809 I have seen since I have been on the Island.
I will endeavour to get all the information I possibly can respecting Blacks contract before I have the pleasure of seeing you in England I am
Your most Obedient Humble
(signed) John James
Reference: JJ259 Robson Lowe collection on microfilm 24995, University of Texas at Austin, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection.