AMERICANREVOLUTION.ORG

LETTER BOOK OF CAPTAIN ALEXANDER McDONALD,
OF THE
ROYAL HIGHLAND EMIGRANTS
November/December, 1777


To JOHN OGILVIE.

Halifax 16th Novr. 1777
DR SIR

Inclosed you have a bill of £800 Sterg. on Messrs Harly & Drummond drawn by the Deputy paymr Genl Here by Virtue of a Warrant from Major Genl Massy impowering & authorising him to draw for such Sums from time to time As Shall be wanted to Support his Majestys troops in Nova Scotia where the Said Genl Massy is Commander in Chief.

I have Drawn on you of this date for £600 Sterg. in favor of Lt. Saml. Bliss for Subsistance due a Company of our Regt. Stationed at St John's Newfoundland wch. I hope will meet with due honor & in case of any unforseen or unexpected Accidents happening to the inclosed so that you wd. not think yourself bound to answer the bill it must be returned without cost or Damages as I told Mr Bliss it must not be Subject to either. I am not apprehensive that the Inclosed will meet with any accidents as I have got Mr Smyth to send an Exact Copy of Genl. Massy's Warrant to him Annexed to the Letter of Advice wch. I send you by this Conveyance

I wish to God I had the same Power that Paymasters had last War of drawg. upon any agent in London for the Subsistance of the Regiment wch. wd. put a little money in my pocket by the Exchange.

An Accot. of the Transactions of Genl. Howe & his Army I expect to have the pleasure of hearing from you. The last Accots we had from Genl. Burgoine were not the most favorable, in short Matters has not been in Such a critical Situation since this unhappy war began as this present moment. The Rebels are obstinate & Seems determined & has carried their power so high & become so dreadful & formidable to the rest of the inhabitants that they begin to Shoot & hang such as are inimicable or even those they think inimicable to their cause & I am afraid Government will be obliged to Establish many more Regts. than they have as yet raised. I am certain it must be so let them think what they will If they reduce America & want to keep them in obedience hereafter.

They have often declared if they could but get the British Army in the Woods & get between them & their Ships that they would destroy them to a man. This they make use of now to delude the people promissing if they destroy what army is now in America that they shall for ever after live in the greatest ease peace & plenty Not considering that Great Britain has it Still in her power to dispose of them one province after another to the Difft powers of Europe Should they not be able to reduce or keep them in Obedience themselves however I hope, in God that will not be the Case & I hope you Shall have better Accots. from the Army than we have before this Letter comes to your hands. You may expect to hear from me Soon wth an Accot. Cur't. & a bill for the Bal'ce. of the Off'rs. Clothing.


To WM MACDONALD ESQR

Halifax 20th Decr. 1777
DR SIR.

Long before this comes to yr, hands You shall have a more distinct Accot. of the affairs of America & the proceedings of our Army than I am able to give you at present but Captn. Jno. Macdonald will write you fully upon these matters to whom I entirely referr you.

Matters of another kind induces me now to trouble you & to Sollicit your kind friendship & protection for my two Oldest boys whom I send by this Opportunity to the Care of my Sister at London and Mr John Ogilvie who are to forward them to you in the most Speedy & Safe Method they can think of I wish to God they had been with you three yrs. ago as the Distracted Situation of Affairs in this Country has been their Ruin for want of Education as well as many hundreds more & there is but little appearance of a Settlemt. Should you & my brother think it more adviseable to send them to the Highlands I leave it entirely to yr. better Judgmt. I Send you inclosed a bill for all I can spare to answer the Expence of their Education for a year or two & will always continue to remit you wt. I can spare for that purpose from time to time. I hope the oldest boy will soon have a Commission & his Subsistance will be more than Sufft. to maintain both Children. For all this I dont wish he should take a turn for the Army as It is but a poor business I have found it myself 32 yrs. & am affraid I will die a beggar. Wt.ever turn any of them will take my Greatest Wish is to have them well educated being the only fortune I can leave them if I can accomplish that. You & my brother will be able to judge wch. way their Genius leads most. I should be happy that any of them took a turn for the law or Physick. Should it be for the law I would have them Study the Scotch laws under your own Eye & the English under that of Mr. Archd. Macdonald's. Should any of them have an inclination to study Physick Edinborough is the best College I know. I have two other Children Young boys and will be disposed of hereafter as you shall advise me as I am very fond that they & the little Girl I have should be educated in Scotland. I wanted much to persuade the Mother to go home along with them all but she told me she wd. not leave America as long as a Red coat durst Stay in it. I will not incroach any more on your time beg leave to offer my humble respects to Mrs. Macdonald & all friends. Only tell Mr. Wm. Haggard of Leith that I think he is very unkind not answering my letter in wch. I begd him to send a hhd of the very best claret wth. Orders to draw upon Mr Ogilvie for the Amot. This being all

I remain Dr. Sir
Your most obedient
& most h'ble Servant


To THE HONBLE. ARCHD. MACDONALD ESQR.

Halifax 20 Decemr: 1777
DR SIR.

I Did myself the honor of writing you two long Letters in the Course of these two Years bye past thinking it might have been agreable to you to hold a Correspondence with anybody in this Country that would be able to give you an Accot of the rise & progress of this unnatural Rebellion also other matters and proposals concerning myself to neither of which Letters I recd. an answer wch. Surprises me much as I am persuaded they could not Miscarry as I sent them under Cover to Mr. Jno. Ogilvie of Conduit Street & I have lately wrote to Lady Margaret with a copy of a long letter I wrote to Lord Amherst the whole directed to your Care at the British Coffee house as the most likely place to find you out during the Sitting of parliament. As the Contents of these letters will certainly be known to you wherein I set forth my own and other people's Grievances & the injustice hitherto done to our Regimt. wch. we have raised & Completed at a great Expence trouble & the risque of our Lives I need not now trouble you with a repetition of it especially as our worthy Major Commandant expects to be in London very soon in order to make a representation to Majesty of his own & our long services & merit in recommending him to your friendship when there I need only but mention his Name to you. A few days or even a few hours of his Acquaintance will thoroughly convince you that he is a complete Gentleman; as an officer few can equal him & none exceed him, he has been a Soldier 32 years during which time he made the Art Military as well as every other Art and Science his Chief Study wch. renders him a Complete Offr. as well as a Gentleman & he is most Eminently possessed of every Virtue that can adorn a Member of any good Society.

In Short whatever I can say of him You'll find on a little acquaintance to be but a poor picture of him he is well known to your uncle Lord Eglinton who, I daresay, will be happy at every kind office you shall do for him.

We are placed here at such a distance from the Scene of Action that the proceedings of the Army and the affairs of America in General will be known to you before we hear of it Especially as you are a member of the house.

I have by this Opportunity sent over my two oldest boys in order to be sent down to Scotland to receive such Education as I can Afford to bestow upon them it being impossible for them to receive any in this unhappy Country in its Present distracted Situation. I have Recommended them to the Care of Wm. McDonald of Edinburgh & remitted him in a bill of Exce. of all the money I have in the World in order to Support them & if it please God they should turn out well I had rather them to follow any other business than that of the Military. Should they turn out worthy of your notice I should be happy you wd. take them under your patronage in such a Way as might have been useful to them & without any expence or little trouble to you as I look upon the Knowledge of the law to be the most beneficial branch of Business they could follow well knowing when Matters are Settled in this Country It will be a fine field for lawyers.

It wd. make me very happy if you should honor me wth. a few lines Giving me your opinion in, all these Matters and with my most h'mble respects to Lady Margaret I remain with the Sincerest regard & Esteem
Dr Sir, Yr Most Obed & h'ble Servant


To MR JNO OGLVIE, LONDON.

Halifax 20th December 1777
DR SIR

I had almost formed a resolution to write no more till I heard from you been apprehensive that some Accident has happened you wch. prevents your Acknowledging the Rec'ts of the Nos. of Letters I have wrote you in the Course of these two Years Especially The Rect of a bill Of £305,,6s,,5 wch. I sent you last November was a year. I have lately sent you a Bill for 800 £ Sterg. on Messrs. Harly & Drummond in order to put you in Cash to answer a bill of £600 wch I have drawn on you in favor of Lt. Saml. Bliss for the Subsistance of a Compy. of our Regiment Stationed at Newfoundland under his Command. I send you now inclosed an Accot. Currt. & a bill for a Sum more than Sufft. to Settle the Balance due you for all my drafts & the Amount of the Officers Clothing & Arms as Capt. Murd. McLean's Accot.

I have recd. the Sugar Tea & a piece of Black Sattin for wch. I am infinitely obliged to you but as I have neither Letter nor Invoice I dont know the Amount but hope the inclosed bill will be Sufft. to answer for the whole. Should however be glad to receive the Bill of Parcells.

Captn. Hamilton of the Ship Union belonging to the house of Mure & Atkinson & whom Colol. Maclean now Genl. McLean came over passenger with last year had two Negroe Men slaves from me wch. he Captn. Hamilton was to dispose of in Jamaica & on his return to London was to put the Nt. proceeds in your hands. I have not heard a word about them Since. As Captn. Hamilton I believe is much of a Gentleman I am under no Apprehensions of Losing the Money with't. Some unforseen accident has happened.

If it be not too much trouble I should be glad you would make some Enquiry about the affair.

Please to observe that Genl. Maclean or Major Small has no manner of Connection with any money Transactions between you and me we being only answerable to one another for all Transactions hitherto, You as my Agent Answerable only to me for wt. money I remit you from time to time, & I as paymaster to Major Comm't. Jno. Small's Battalion answerable only to him & Captns. of his Battn. by whom I was elected & chosen Paymaster for every part of my Conduct as such.

As you will Certainly hear all manner of news from America Especially from the Army under Genl. Howe Sooner than we can in Halifax I can have no news to trouble you with.

I Send by this Opportunity my two Eldest boys in order to be sent down to the Care of Wm. McDonald in Edinburgh. Should any assistance be demanded from you I hope you will readily grant it as I don't mean it should be attended with any great trouble. I shall always endeavor to keep You in Cash for any little demands I shall want of you.

I will be happy on your Accot. & ours when I have it in my power to address you as agent for the Royal Highland Emigrants or rather the 72d or Young Royal Highlanders. If Government does not do us justice May they be damned that will ever take up a Sword in their Cause again I myself had kept above a thousand from entering into actual Rebellion by dint of Argument & persuasion & at considerable Expence of travelling thro; the Country for that very purpose as his Excellency Genl. Gage can Vouch & Several other officers in this Regimt has done the Same.

To Endeavor to place me & other old offrs. on a footing with Rascally provincials is a piece of Cruelty Indignity & Injustice that the Nation ought to blush at.

Our two Battalions are not inferior as to offrs. & men to any in his Majestys Service & I am Sure we have not cost Government the third part of the money that those who have been raised at home & Sent to America has. I will write no more finding myself getting in a passion. I wish you well & believe me to be Dr Sir.

Your Sincere friend & humble Servant.


To MRS FERNANDEZ.

Halifax 20th December 1777
MY DEAR SISTER.

I received your letter some time agone by wch. I understand you was well & that Mr Fernandez was then at Lisbon. Also that poor Mr. McDonald & his Wife of Nicholas lane were both Dead but you was not so particular as I could wish in regard to your affair neither did you let me know of the death of our worthy Mother wch. I have since understood by a letter directly from the Country.

I have now by this Opportunity Sent home my two Eldest boys & Should this find you alive & well I hope you will take the best care in Your power of them the Short time they have to stay in London. As they are to be forwarded to Edinburgh to the Care of Wm. Macdonald Esqr. Writter to the Signet I would be glad that you would introduce them to Lady Margarett Macdonald & Mr. Archibald Macdonald Lord Macdonald's Brother to whom I also write But first see them decently dressed in the same Coloured Clothes with a hat & Narrow lace they will have along with them as much money as will answer this purpose or any other little things they may have occasion for Mr. John Ogilvie of Conduit Street has my directions to give his assistance in whatever may be found Necessary or Wanting.

The only thing I am anxious about is to put them under the Care of some good Careful person to deliver them at Edinburgh as I will have them by all means to go in the Fly or Postchaise without a lucky turn of Fortune would put an easier turn in this Way such as a Nobleman's coach or any other Retour. I know it is Expencesive but I had Rather bear that than run the risque of sending them any further by water.

I rec'd lately some tea & Sugar from the house of Davis & Newman late partners with Sir Thos. Rawlingson deceased I suppose by order of Mr. Jno. Ogilvie to whom I have wrote for these things. I send you inclosed a list of several things I want for my own use & the Gentlemen of the Regimt. Whatever part these Genn. will chuse to furnish I will be happy to Give them the preference (their house having always a good Character) & more Especially on Accot. of their being the old friends of Mr. Fernandez. You'll Shew them the list & they will point out what Articles they will chuse to furnish. They have nothing more to do than Carefully to pack them up & mark each package, Stores for Captn. Alexr. McDonald paymr 2d Bn. Y R H at Halifax. Send them aboard the Dunmore Captn. --- By the Same direction they will be pleased to Write me Covering a bill of Lading & Invoice Copies of which to be given to Mr Ogilvie who will pay the Amount & if Mr Davis or Newman thinks that I can be of any Service to them here they may freely command me.

We have (thank God) two boys & a Girl left behind the Youngest about three months old called John if I can think of any thing Else before the ship sails, I will let you know in the mean time I am My dear Sister Your affectionate friend and Brother.


To CAPTN ALLAN McDONALD.

Halifax 31st Dee 1777
Dr Cousin

It is wth. Sincere pleasure & Satisfaction I recd. Yours of the 30th November Ulto. You have surely wrote it in the Morning Early Else St Andrew wd. have prevented the pleasure of my receiving a Letter from you of that date & Nothing can give me greater pleasure than to hear of you & Your Son being Safe out of the hands of the Rebels. I am also happy to hear of Mrs. Macdonald's Wellfare & her Spirited behaviour when brot. before the Committee of Rascals in North Carolina.

I dont doubt but She & the Other Gentlewomen there will be sorely oppressed by the Savage Cruelty of those Wretches who at present has the Upper hand of them Tho' they may Sorely repent it before this War is at an End.

I had rather you was here at the head of your own Company in our Regiment than Commanding a Comy. of Provincials wch. as we have a great many Enemys may be made a handle of to hinder our Establishment. Major Small who goes by this Opportunity will talk to you more fully on this Subject. The Rank of the Officers of this Regimt. is already settled by Major Small & the rest of the Officers present upon the Spot. How far the Commission you Speak of will avail you I do not know but I think Sandy McLeod B: M: did try to get rank from it where Frazier's Regimt. was raised last War but I believe was refused however You'll be in the right to try it if ever the Regimt. be established if not it will not be worth your trouble.

I have all your Subsistance from the Date of your Commission to the 24th Feby 1778 also your arrears and what Bag. & fforage money has been allowed Since as the inclosed abstracts will Show, Your Son Sandys as well as your own for which Sums or whate part of them you plese you and Sandy May Draw if you have not Drawn on me Allready to the amount of the Ballances in yours favours. You See I have Pay'd Some money on your account to Capt Murdoch McLean but Should it not be agreeable to you I have it still in my Power to recharge the Same to Capt McLaine, as he has a Chance to See you soon you will Settle matters and let me know. I would not advise you to venture here but in a man of warr and I assure you I think this part of British America the happiest Spot in it at prisent and would be very hapie to see you and all the othere officers of our Corpts. here with all the Cliver ffellows - of recruits you can Bring with you - we want about 85 to Compleat but we Expect a Great Manney from Newfoundland and from your Endeavours - I hope Major Small will Sende Capt. Alexr. Campbell to joine his Company or Oblidge him to Quitt, which I Darr Saie he will do for a triffle and I hope in that Case you will Secure it for Sandy being the 2d. oldest Lieutt If there is no Certainty of our Establishment I am convinced Campbell will Rathere Give up the Company for Nothing rather than be oblidged to joine at lest would be Glad to take one or two hundered pounds for it I mean the Company because (indeed) I would not think Safe to pay above one years purchass for it tho' I would be Sory that any body Eles Should purchass over Sandy's head.

As Your Son Ranald is going will be the Bearer of this I need not trouble you with any news to tell the truth there are none, only he will Give you a Description of the place he is a fine young ffellow and will make an Excellent Officer if he lieves - You tell me you have contracted a Great Deall of Debt, I Darr Saie you must have lieved Expensive but it is high time now my Dear Allan to Study Oeconomy your 3 oldest Sons are provided for Espetialy if this Regt. will be Establishmt. therefore has no right to Expect any more assistance from you, if you was worth ten thousand a year Except when a purchass Came in their way

I Darr Saie you and your Vollunteers make a formidable figure in the Dress you have Describ'd to Me which I perfectly understand all but the cuteikins which I take to be half Boots or Geatters.

I can not Give you the lest accot of Poor Normand Talisker Some People told me he and his wife went home what to do there God only knows I Dont know that I felt more concerned for a man in my life then I have for him Curse the Grogg at lest too much of it. I'm hapy to hear poor John McLean and Peggy are unmollested, I wish they may continue so. Pray for Godsake is it possible to Gett Mrs. McDonald & the othere poor women from N Carolina - I thought my worthy ffriende Major Donald McDonald had Gone to England long ago if this findes him with you pray offer him my most Humble respects

Bring with you or Sende to us Some Syder & Aples of the Best Sort if they can be Gote if you can go with Safety to Staten island I wish you would be so Good as to Sende or order to be Sent Some Negro Chielderen that are at my House as their Mothere is Dead, unless you finde matters are like to be Sattled in which case I would let them Stay where they are I again wish we were alltogethere as the more we are in one place the more respectable our appearance wishing you and all ffriends the complments of the Season and with Mrs McDonald's and my kinde wishes for every thing that can make you Hapy & ever I am with Sincerity and truth Dear Cousin

Yours affectionatly
A.M.D.

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