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LETTER-BOOK OF CAPTAIN ALEXANDER McDONALD,
OF THE
ROYAL HIGHLAND EMIGRANTS
February, 1776


TO MAJOR SMALL.

Halifax 19th February 1776

My DR MAJOR

It is with inexpressable pleasure and Satisfaction, I have Received Your kind favour of the 10th instant. I did not feel half so much pleasure upon the Receipt of my own Commission as when I received the Account of Rand McKinnans & John McDonalds being Issued, together with the agreeable account of the Commissions of the Second Battalion being also in your possession. I dont doubt but there will be inCouragement Enough from home to form into Regiments and Companies all the friends of government we can come at in America - so that people who has not a thought of being yet field officers may get an opportunity of trying what they Can do.

The Accounts we have in the Massachusets Gazette of the Fate of General MtGomery & his Army, if it holds true as the Newspapers represents it, will make a wonderfull change in the affairs of the Rebells, but I will say nothing 'til I have a further Confirmation, only wishing with great anxiety it might prove true.

Lieut. McLean with the number of Clever fellows you told me in your Letter was coming to reinforce me is not yet arrived, Neither is the Halifax Schooner of war, who I am told parted With her Convoy the day after they Left Boston in chase of Another schooner. I wish it may not prove to be one of the Enemys privateers of Superior force, which can Scarcely be as the Halifax is very well armed and very well Manned. We expect her in here every hour tho' it is above five or six days since She parted with her Convoy.

I had a Letter from Mrs McDonald dated the 6th december. She is pretty well tho' full of Anxiety, and uneasiness, as you may easily believe ; she tells me that she sent you a Cask of hamms, a Cask of potatoes and a Cask of Apples. I should be glad to know if they were honest Enough that brought them to deliver them to You.

I have a few Lines from a young man up on the island who asures me that people are still at heart firmly Attached to Government, as much so as when I Left them Except a few scoundrels which he says I know well Enough; he say's that the people are impatiently waiting for the asistance of Government and an opportunity for them to join the Kings troops, he tells me if he had an Opportunity of getting them aboard that he would join me with a good number of men if I could procure him some small office in our Chore. I intend to write him and incourage him as much as possible, tho' I Cannot take upon me to promise him any office; if nine or ten thousand of our troops were to Land there next Summer we should soon Recruit twenty or thirty thousand more, and I should be very glad to be Among them, for. I am afraid that our Newfound Land Recruits will be much more fond of going to Catch Coddfish In the Summer, than of taking the field.

I am also happy to inform you that money Matters goes well Now as we receive what we want on Account by warrant from General Massey. The other day General Massey Reviewed our Chore and Mustered them. Coppies of the Call Rolls, which I gave the General, I send you herewith inclosd and an Account Current to the 24th december, which after being duly Examined, is without many Errors if any. I will now begin to be Som'how Regular. The only thing we want to make us Easy & Compleat is our own Cloathing and Arms of all Species and Sorts, and the men don't Scruple to tell me to my face that they think it hard to be obliged to pay for these articles of Cloathing when there is now near hand a years Cloathing due to them Reckoning from the date of the Colonels Commission, and there is not an inch of Course red Cloth to be found in this place, for Love or Money, so that it is a pity that there was not a Sufficiency Sent down along with Angus McDonald of that stuff he brought down poor as it was, it would have made the men Look tollerable well, but if they are to pay for it they will not be Out of debt these three Years. Angus McDonald is very much vexed about Capn Campbell's plaguing you for the Money of those Articles. He should have never dreamed he said of Captn Campbells Asking it, till such time as it was stopt: from the men, and in order to Secure Captn Campbell Left his Receipt for the Money, which he thought was a sufficient Settlement, and will pay it as soon as it is Stopt from the Diffrent Men; besides the Ballances which you gave him to Clear with your Company, he Laid out about one hundred Dollars of his own for Shoes and Stockings which he must Lie out of until the Men are able to pay it, how Soon that is done and the Money is Collected, I shall send Captn Campbell an order on you for his Money and draw so much Less from the paymaster General. I am to form a Company of Grenadiers and another of Light Infantry the Grenadiers I take to myself and the Light Infantry to Ranold McKinnan, who I believe is as fit for a Light Infantry Company as any in his Majestys Service Without Exception. I beg that at Least Cloathing might be found for them two Companies to the full Establishment which I am told is fifty six men all over the Army to a Company. I am not Certain if the Contingent or non effectives are Included there. I have no articles of News or intelligence, only that the people in the Remote parts of this province are begining to shew themselves inclined to Rebellion, they are forming themselves into Committees and provincial Congress, the Governor wants two hundred men to go up the Country to take up their Ring Leaders and I am told our Chore and Colonel Gorham's are to furnish men on that Expedition and how our Men can go for want of Necessarys I do not know. I wish to god their Cloathing was Come, and if you can by any Means in the world, I would be glad to be informed what our destination is to be, whether or Not we Stay here, or if we Leave this place where we are to go. I wish it may be to Staten island provided the number I mentioned above were to Land there. I had a dispute with Mr Morden, but no ways disagreeable only that General Massey told me in his presence that I as Commanding officer of a Chore, was Entitled to the same Allowance of fire & Candle, with a field officer. I do insist upon receiving it and he as positively refuses to issue it, without an order from General Robinson, and I asure you it is impossible for me to live here with Less, for I am forced to keep four fires, that is to say, one in my bed room, one in a spare parlour, where I must receive all Gentlemen and others that comes Upon business. I must keep an office, where a Clerk cannot Sit without a Litle fire and the QrMaster with his pioneers cannot Sit in a Cold room making Catriages or any other business of the Regiment. The taylors of the Regiments must have a fire, and not one Stick of wood or one Candle is allowed for all these things, Except my allowance as Captain. I dont Like to be insisting upon a thing if I have no right to it, but General How can Settle it with two words.

Received by the halifax Schooner which came in this day being the 21St Six Commissions Vizt Captn Ranold McKinnons, Captn John McDonalds, Lieutenant Gerald FitzGerald, Lieutenant Robt Campbell, Ensign John Day, Ensign Joseph Hawkins, which Last is appointed to Captn Neil McLeans Company. Should be glad to know if it is our friend Neil here in this province, or Stuttering Neil of your Last Regimentas for this Same Hawkins god knows where he is for I Cannot find him out here.

As for Mr Hamilton, he has received his Commissions as Lieutenant & Adjutant and seems to be Extreamly well pleased with his Situation. I understand that he is taught to believe that the Governors Regiment is as well Established as Ours, in Short you need not give yourself Much trouble about it but get this vacancy filled up as Soon as you Please. Mr Day is not much bigger or older than My Son Donald.

I am Dear Major
Yours affectionately


To MRS. MACDONALD.

Halifax 22nd Feby 1776

My DR SUSEY,

I had the pleasure of receiving Your Dear Letters of the 6th 10th 12th december also of the 14th July the Contents of which I have observed, and I am the happiest Man in the world to find you and the Children are in health. I have already wrote you that you were to pay Doctor Weatherspoon also to pay Dicker, on Mr McDonalds Account and take his Baggage into Your Posession. The money you have Received you will Endeavour to get hard Cash for, whether you can get that or not keep it in your hands and want for nothing, Either yourself, or the Children. The people Surely about you will not be such Enemys to themselves as to offer you any Violence because they may depend on being severely Checked for it, in the End. I have Ordered Major Small to remitt you forty or fifty pounds Sterling which remittance you may expect from time, to time, as I can find Myself, in Cash to do it. I have wrote you already to make your family as Snug and Small as possible. You may pay the Men by all means, and if you find it more for your own Ease and Conveniency, may discharge them - in reguard to the farm, and the house where Mr Dicker is, you must act consistant with the advice of your best friends, particularly Sandy McDonald at Princetown, and Captn McLeod. As I suspect that Captn McLeod will be at a Loss for a Little Money you may Let him have a hundred pound, or what you are able to spare, send for them both, and tell them not to be uneasy as I hope the affairs of America will be Settled, not as the Congress will have it, but as Great Brittain will, in which Case we shall have it in our power to Setle all Matters, to Entire Satisfaction.

I don't Chuse to answer Mr McDonalds Severe Letter at present, but referr that 'til we Meet, when I will have it I hope in my power to Convince him that his Ideas were wrong. I am very sensible of his friendship and I hope he will never have any Reason to repent it. In my opinion you had better only keep the house and Garden and Lett the rest of the farm on shares to some honest Clever fellow, but to be under the inspection and Care of Mr McDonald and Captn McLeod, you Reserving to yourself, one, two, or three Milch Cows, grazing. This wretched, miserable, unnatural Contest must be decided in the Course of this Ensuing Summer. Seventy thousand troops will be Landed In America in diffrent parts Somtime in May Next. The whole powers of Europe has offered their asistance to Great Brittain, if they should want it. You have no doubt heard of General MtGomerys defeat at Quebec, the particulars of which I have Cut out of the Newspapers, & Send to you inclosd. Tell Abraham Harris I have Received his Letter and would be very Glad to See him, and would do any thing in My power to Serve him. I am happy to hear the people of the jerseys, and the Yankeys, are forcing the people of Long island and Staten island to swear to abide by the Laws of the Congress, or to give up their Arms, and be made prisoners. This I hope will Serve to open the peoples Eyes, to Shew them what Slaves they will be, if ever they had the misfortune, to come under the Yoke of such tyrants; as to what threatnings they throw out against Me I despise as much as the barking of a dog; they are more Objects of pity than Resentment; when the Eyes of the poor Ignorant misled Multitude will be opened, they will tear to pieces their wicked Leaders, who never had the Least reguard for the happiness, & Liberty, of the Country. Their whole views proceeding from unbounded ambition for Grandeur, and A Diabolical thirst for independance; however they will be made good Subjects, and am Certain that the people of America will Yet Live at Least as happy as ever they Did. God Grant it may soon be brought about and Am My Dr Susey Yrs &c

P.S. My Dr Susey I am afraid you have been imposed Upon, by that same Knight Campbell, In making you pay freight for things I don't believe you Ever Saw, for I never heard of any such name of Captn of a Vessel being in the Service, and You know its always Custumary Not to pay freights 'till the things are delivered. I am afraid he is an impostor if so there is no help for it; for god sake my Dr if you can any way in the world do it, Send me a pipe of the very best Madeira in New York with a pipe of good port, and a hogshead of the very best Spirits if you can any way Smugle them aboard, try Some of our old friends to help you to this.


To CAPT. MACLEOD.

Halifax 26th February 1776

DR SIR

You will, may be, be very much Surprized at my Silence, but I hope you will do me the justice to believe that it was not for the want of affection, or Inclination, to do any thing that would please you but merely for fear that holding a Correspondence with me Might be of some prejudice in your present Situation, though god knows I Lament the miserable state of America, and whatever the most inviterate Rebel among them may think of me for not joining with them, I May probably be the happy means of saving some of their wretched Lives in place of taking them. You will be expecting News, but you know it is dangerous to talk any thing about polliticks: no doubt you have heard or Seen the kings Speech and that the government is fully determined to force the Americans to obedience, that all the powers of Europe have offered their asistance for that purpose, and no doubt you have heard that General MonGomery is killed at Quebec, his Aide camp and a great many more killed of his officers, in short his whole army dispersed killed wounded or taken prisoners.

Which way I and the men under my Command here will be Ordered Next Summer God knows. I have three hundred fine fellows under my Command now, we have the 27th Regiment part of the 65th & 14th Regiments Colonel Gorhams Regiment and a Company of artillery, together with three or four men of war in the harbour, so that we are more than match for any number of the Rebells that wou'd be sent to this place, indeed if they attempted to Send any they would never get out again, for they would starve for want of provisions, as it is Entirely out of their power to bring any with them. I have referred Mrs McDonald Entirely to be advised By you and Mr McDonald of princetown; if she can Live in peace where She is and keep every thing together as it is for this Summer I think it is best, as I would keep that farm by all Means if I Live. I desired her the mean time to Let you have what money She can Spare. I will be remitting her money from time to time to put it more in her power to Serve you, well knowing that you cannot very readily get money for bills at present. As for the old unnatural brute I desired her to give him all his papers Let him go and Spend the Small remainder of his Estate with his son John where he spent the first of it - this with my Complyments to Mrs McLeod is all at present.


To MAJOR SMALL.

Halifax 28 Febry 1776

DR MAJOR

Last Night Mr Hamilton waited upon me asking My Commands for boston. I told him I had none to trouble him, as I had given my dispatches for you to Mr Shanks, of the Savage Man of War. I suppose his business to boston is to make intrest with General How to obtain Leave to sell his Ensigncy; if that favour will be granted to him the Genl may expect to have a great many more petitions for the Same purpose. I should be glad to know whether he is to belong to us or not, for I can get no good of him while he is between hawk and Buzzard this way.

Once more My Dr Major I beg you would Send down all the Cloathing thats there particularly the Shoes, as the whole men are bare footed for want of them, and indeed for want of Every article of Cloathing. - What Signifys to save the Cloathing, if We Loose the Men for want of them. I beg for god Sake that you would not be Angry with me for pressing so hard for these things. I am sure I would be very Sorry to give you any trouble about them, if it was not absolutely Necessary to have them. The officers begs that the plaids & tartan for them should be sent down, as they are Creasy to appear at the Assembly and shew their fine white thighs, &knees. It is very hard, that the Gentlemen of the 65th Regiment Should obtain for their own Use the hundred Dozen of wine, which Mr Spaight of their Regiment and I bought here; they might have used what freedom they pleased with Mr Spaights Share of it, but they ought to have sent Down mine to Me, as I never was more in want of it in my Life time. I am oblidged to order a dinner in a tavern, to return the Civilities of the Gentlemen whom I dined with So often, And Especially as we are not able to keep a mess for want of these things; if there is any to be got at Boston I beg you Send us down Some; indeed there is no Chore in the army that I'd Sooner Share any good thing I had with than the 65th, but its hard to want all, and Mr Spaight told me they only Sent him thirty dozen out of the hundred, of which I only got Seven Dozen, which is no more than Nothing; if they will Send Me thirteen dozen more I shall say Nothing, for which if they will Agree to Send them down, you will be pleased to pay the Money there otherwise I shall pay it to Mr Spaight here, but it Must be the very same wine that we bought at 18 Shillings a dozen. I understand that Captain Alexr Campbell is going round to yorke in a vessell fitted out Called the Glascow paquet. I suppose on the same Errant that poor Captain Duncan went. I wish he may not Meet the Same fate, if its true as I heard Yesterday that the friends of Government, the officers and Crews of the Men of war there are allowed to walk the Streets unmollested. I think I would Make a fine hawl there and I would heartily wish that I was in his place. I suppose Lieut McLean and the reinforcement of Clever fellows, that was Coming here are Gone with Captn Campbell. I heard that Captn Murdoch McLean is going to Scotland. I wish the ship Glasgow belonging to the Buchanans was Sent down here to be fitted as a small frigate with 20 or 22 Guns, and the Command of her given to Mr Shanks now on Board the Savage Sloop of war. I could almost Mann her with Sailors and Marines out of our Regiment. I would willingly Go in her and try what I Could do at New Yorke and North Carolina. I am perswaded that I would be able to do a great Deal in Reguard to Getting men, but in this Case you would Require to Come and take the Command here. I know I would have more Influences in both those places than any other man that would Go. I cannot but Express my Satisfaction at our good fortune in having got So very Genteel, So Carefull and so Capable a Surgeon to Our Regiment as Mr Morrison. You know I have drawn the full pay of the Captains. I beg to know whether I should Continue to do So, or not, or to what period. I am now drawing for two Musters More for the Seven Companies, besides the ballance you See already in the account, and I will only draw for Seven & Sixpence per day for the Captains. I suppose all Officers draws from the dates of their Commissions for Ration Baggage & Batt Money. I should be glad to instruct me how I am to draw for these things, for I Asure you we have much difficulty to push through with Everything we can scrape in this part of the world. Pray Let me know When we shall have the pleasure of Seeing You here or whether there is any Chance of your Coming here at all - My Compliments to Miss Philips & I am

Dr Major
Yours Sincerly

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