Barbuda Septr 5th 1818
In a letter of 9th July of last year, I informed you of the necessity there was of building a vessel for the use of this Island, and your Antigua Estates; I am now happy to say that it is in a great state of forwardness, and could be launched in a very short time, and as it will not be much wanted till about the commencement of the next sugar Crop, it is not my intention to get her into the water till about Xtmas; she is built of the very best materials, and I trust will be a fine vessel, of about sixty tons and will carry thirty two Hhds of Sugar. I have, from Bolts obtained from Wrecks, then enable entirely to Copper fasten her; the Deck as well as Bottom, & Bands. I therefore trust you will have no objection to have her bottom Coppered as far as her light watermark. It will cost some money at first, but ultimately will be a saving; without it a vessel in this Country ought to be hove down at least every six weeks; when carrying Sugars it is a great loss of time: as well as expense; we cannot do it in this Island, I am therefore obliged to have it done in Antigua; in consequence of which, it is seldom done in less than a week. In a list of things required for the use of the Island I have included that Copper sheathing, but should you disapprove of the vessel being coppered you will of course strike it out. The Cable, Chain, & Canvas are principally for her use. The vessel now in use is very old, and must soon be condemned; I have been patching her ever since I have been on the Island.
The list of the things for the Island is absolutely necessary the Negroes having had no clothing since 1815 the date of the last Invoice; as I shall have to make the vessels sails after the arrival of the Canvas, I shall be glad to have the articles out by one of the first ships to Antigua, that she may be ready early in the Crop to carry Sugars.
I am sorry to say that I have heard nothing from Lord Combermere since I wrote you in November last; he was to have sent for the Cattle, and had promised to let me hear from him some days before his vessel would be here; he also talked of visiting this Island in his next tour.
We have an extremely dry, having had no rains of consequence for the last three months till yesterday, when we had some good showers, which enabled me to plant the whole of my Corn for next Crop. Last night and this morning it has been blowing hard, but nothing in the shape of a Hurricane, tho I think it possible it has blown harder at no great distance. I trust my boat will be able to cross the Channel, with this, tomorrow, I do not think it safe for her to do so this day. Enclosed are the second of the two Bills forwarded in my last of the 14th (instant?), one for £200 the other for £168:8 Sterling. I have forwarded the papers respecting Rawlins Bill to St Kitts. I am
Your Most Obedient Humble
(signed) John James
Reference: Gloucestershire Records Office, Microfilm no.351, Section no.6, D1610 C24
Accessed through Simon Fraser University library