Wednesday, 5 March 2014

01 Oct 1816

Barbuda October 1st 1816


   At the time the last Packet was at Antigua the weather had so very unfavourable an appearance that it was not thought prudent to let either of our vessels leave that Island; consequently the Packet had left before I was aware of her arrival, which prevented my writing you by that conveyance.  As it is now nearly about the time another should be there, I shall send this to be in readiness for her.  Since my last we have had some good rains, tho not in abundance; yet sufficient to bring on our Grass well; and also to enable me to plant a good piece of Corn; Cotton I have been enabled to do little with, but I have planted some, though I fear rather late in the season to expect much from it; there are some old Bushes which were planted two years since, I am now endeavouring to get them cleared.  We have a good many Cattle on the Island, but not the demand for Beef there used to be when the Navy was here; I have only sold ten Oxen for working, and about two hundred sheep.  I would have sent you Bills for their amount, but for the last two months the Yellow Fever has been so very bad at Antigua that I have not thought it prudent to go there to procure Bills, nor shall I until it is somewhat abated; the mortality has been greater at St Johns than it has been at any time since 1802, chiefly people late from Europe have suffered, however I trust it will soon be over.
   Since the loss of the vessels last year we have been badly off for want of them, I am now propose as soon as the Corn etc is established to rip up the Woolwich, she is just in the same situation I left her last year; from her, I hope to get enough to enable me to build a good Drougher.
    We this morning began to shear the American Sheep, I am sorry to say the Shepherds give me but a very indifferent account (? letter damaged) of the wool, it is very thin, & on many of the older ones inclined to turn to hair, more particularly so on the hind quarters; they will be able to form a better judgement of it as they get on; the Flock now consist of 215 Americans & 13 Marinos, the sheep are finer & in much better condition than the Island breed, I shall have some of the Rams turned out in different parts of the Island, they may improve the Breed which is much wanted.  We are greatly in want of good Dogs, if you conveniently could send out a couple of Bull Dogs they would be very acceptable, we are now obliged to depend entirely on the Pens for catching the Cattle, the wild ones we cannot get at all.  I remain
Your Most obedient
Humble Servant
(signed) John James

Reference: JJ262 Robson Lowe collection on microfilm 24995, University of Texas at Austin, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection.

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