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On Duncan Campbell (1726-1803)

From Dan Byrnes

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See new file posted by 28-9-2012: A review by Dan Byrnes of Dr John Jiggens, Sir Joseph Banks and the Question of Hemp: Hemp, Sea-Power and Empire, 1777-1815. Australia, Jay Jay Publishing, 2012. Paperback, 285pp. ISBN: 978-0-9578684-3-4. At HEMP

This file is reserved for new information from D. R. Arathoon (Canada), Pieter Dickson (UK) and others on the genealogy of Duncan Campbell (1726-1803) and/or on "the first Campbells on Jamaica".

The following is received from Pieter Dickson on 13-11-2006.

Dear Dan,

Delighted with the news of the new [Merchant Networks] website and very much look forward to the full version having pre-viewed what is on offer. Glad you found the material interesting and I hope it is useful.

On Pictures:
I can possibly send you any of the following. Digital images of the original notices in the Cornwall Chronicle about Campbells, and others, in western Jamaica - Digital copy of various 18th/early 19th century lithographs/prints - of Lucea Harbour, Green Island fort, Lucea fort, slaves at field work, wharf work, plantation views, etc. Photographs of surviving Georgian buildings in Jamaica, some ruined some still in use; ruined sugar works, windmills, watermills. (John Dickson would have built many of them as a carpenter-wright and owner of a gang of skilled carpenter and mason slaves - such as Robert Campbell advertised for lease at Greenwich Estate in 1794).
- Digital copy of large scale maps of western Jamaica, 1763 and 1804.
On Campbells in Jamaica
Re my passing interest in Campbells: John Dickson started his Jamaican odyssey, about 1750, at Salem in Hanover (sometime called Blewhole if an old map can be relied on) a Campbell property - I don't yet know which Campbell; a tenuous connection may have been through Campbell relatives, 'Braleckan' Clerks, who were related to 'Penicuick' Clerks, under whom Dickson's father owned land in Lasswade, Midlothian.
- NAS: Register of Sasines, RS27/147 f.12, 19 April 1756. Dickson's original feu charter had been granted by George, Lord Ross in 1745.
- NAS: Clerk of Penicuick papers [GD18/5239/61 & GD18/5239/71];
Dugald Clerk [Braleckan] had two brothers in Jamaica one of whom was Robert Clerk, a widower with no children.

Dugald wrote to Sir John Clerk [Penicuik] 2 April 1751,that Dugald's son, John, was to manage the estate, Robert having died and bequeathed it to John, his nephew; he was to be joined by cousins Dugald Malcolm from Scotland and Daniel Clerk from Virginia, who was to be 'overseer of the negroes'. In the same letter Dugald Clerk mentions Sir John's nephew [unnamed] who was also destined for Jamaica. Dugald Malcolm later inherited the Clerk property, Pell River.

On John Campbell of Saltspring (the brother of Rebecca the first wife of Duncan Campbell of London (1726-1803) the Overseer of the Thames Prison Hulks):
Two letters from him to the Governor's secretary after the disastrous hurricane of October 1780 and an extract from Royal Gazette on the same topic: [The National Archives, Kew: CO137/79 f.15-46]

Duncan Campbell's Adelphi premises, London

Duncan Campbell's premises at 3 Robert Street Adelphi

Campbell's splendid address built by the Adam Brothers. In 1989, the premises at 3 Robert Street, the Adelphi, of CIPFA. (The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, London WC2N6BH). Premises used by Duncan Campbell, Jamaica merchant and Overseer of the Thames prison hulks from late 1786. Below are more graphics of premises' interiors.

Letter to John Clement Esq. Deputy Secretary
Salt Spring, Hanover October 10th, 1780

As the enclosed letter* is expressive of the apprehensions of the Inhabitants of this part of the island, I transmit it to you, to be laid be laid before his Excellency, the Governor, to whom I present my humble respects, and acquaint him that the miserable situation the storm on the 3rd Current has put us in, few having shelter from the weather, and most of our arms are destroyed really requires the protection requested - my having been confined at home since the fatal day, has prevented me from viewing the devastation in the windward part of the parish, but from the accounts I have received, it is not short of what the Inhabitants hereabout have experienced, which is beyond description.
I am Sir, Your most humble servant
John Campbell

[* This letter, with its subscribers, is missing from the file, CO137/79. John Palmer, at Montego Bay, wrote a similar plea on behalf of survivors in St. James as did George Murray in Savanna-la-Mar]

Letter to John Clement Esq. Deputy Secretary
Salt Spring, Hanover October 10th, 1780

Having found, since my letter to you of the 10th inst., that the application made by the inhabitants of this parish for a detachment of 25 soldiers to be quartered at Lucea, was premature, there being no house as yet to shelter them from the weather, I think it incumbent on me to have his Excellency the Governor made acquainted with that circumstance; and to offer it as my humble opinion that sending any soldiers to he above mentioned quarters should be postponed, till a proper house can be provided for their reception; which will take some time, as every person is, and will be, busy in getting some shelter made for himself and family. It is with concern I acquaint you, that we know of thirteen white persons who have lost their lives by the storm, in this parish, the number of slaves is not yet exactly known, but I am afraid it will not be short of 50 or 60 - as to the damage we have sustained in our properties otherwise, it is not easily estimated; but, from a rough calculation, I may venture to assert it will be found to amount to at least one fourth of the value of the slaves and the freeholders in the parish; a loss that will require many years to make up.
I am Sir, Your most humble servant
John Campbell

The Royal Gazette of Jamaica, 13th October, 1780

In Hanover:
Our accounts from Lucea. the Town, except two houses, those of Messrs A & D Campbell and the adjoining tenement of Mr. Lyons, levelled to the ground.
The elegant house of John Campbell Esq. at Salt Spring; Kendall and Campbell Town; and of that of Mr. Chambers, at Bachelors Hall, no longer adorn that rich and fertile parish.
Of the wretched victims.we can only as yet name
Messrs. Aaron & Salmon Dias Fernandez, two ancient Gentlemen of the Jewish nation, one aged 81, the other 80..

On Duncan Campbell
His name turns up briefly in a 1778 case at the Edinburgh Court of Sessions anent William Dickson, brewer in Lasswade, v John Dickson of Salem, Island of Jamaica, his [elder] brother, for a debt of some £688. Duncan, on behalf of John, had sent small monies (£200) to William during 1773-74 for the education etc. of John's children who were sent to Scotland after his wife, Ann Dickson (nee Crooks) died; the money dried up from 1775 and John's last remittance to his brother had been five puncheons of rum in 1775. (The entire account is fascinating reading on various costs at he time).

On Merchants, Slavers & Ships
James Wedderburn & Co., judging by announcements in Cornwall Chronicle, were particularly active in imported slaves. At least two notices show the classic turnaround of slave ships arriving from Africa and backloading produce for Britain within six weeks. I believe shipping reports may reveal more detail - and a (Capt.) Bligh's movements by ship are noted.

I shall be happy to send on anything relevant that I come across as I try to piece together the titbits (a collection of letters, reports, legals, conveyances, wills, official papers etc.) I am putting together for a planned but brief account/book? on Jamaica 1750-1950 - its internal economy, affecting five generations of a family, as influenced by war, natural disaster, trade, politics and the letting-go of threads with the old country. Probably over-ambitious, but I'm giving it a go.


To find your way to more files on Merchant Networks topics related either chronologically, or alphabetically by merchant surname, go to the main file of Sitemap.

Finally, I recall from the Blackheath Connection, a remark you made about a visitor to the island in 1980 being surprised at the care given to old Campbell graves. There is a vast, untapped historical resource of country people who know much detail about their past and are proud and pleased to talk about it, despite the history of slavery (it wasn't as black and white as it is made out to be - no pun intended). This knowledge is quite ignored officially and now dying out with the present generation. One such is a remarkable man at Green Island, Moses Campbell, (it would be!) an Afro-Jamaican with only an elementary education, poor but proud of his name and who last year, late one afternoon, was only too delighted to drop everything at an instant and guide us to the old Green Island fort. He could detail the construction of the buildings and that of the original road by the coast through swampland, the 18th century brick culverts draining the area, the old church long relocated and a forgotten cemetery hidden away in the bush. He also reported other, smaller military establishments along the coast towards Orange Bay that, as far as I am aware, are unrecorded elsewhere. He and others were intrigued by the old maps and documents we had and were almost desperate to know more about the background to their intimate, local knowledge. (When I visit again I shall use Moses Campbell as a general guide.)

Kind regards


Cipfa's 1989 premises at 3 Robert Street, The Adelphi, London

Committee room

Cipfa's premises at 3 Robert Street Adelphi

Conference room

Cipfa's premises at 3 Robert Street Adelphi

Cipfa reception desk

Cipfa's premises at 3 Robert Street Adelphi

Entrance Hall

Cipfa's premises at 3 Robert Street Adelphi

Council chamber

Cipfa's premises at 3 Robert Street Adelphi

Historical amnesia? When visited by Dan Byrnes in 1989, the management of the CIPFA premises seemed to retain no awareness at all of Duncan Campbell's occupancy of the building from late 1786, though they and London's tourism authorities were aware that the famed actor Garrick had lived there, and after Campbell, writer J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan. In fact, there were no locations in London in 1989 that Byrnes could find, except perhaps for the old site of Newgate prison, which could easily be identified with post-1786 "convict history", thus to be associated with the convict destination, Australia. Only 45 seconds' walk from the front door of 3 Robert Street is the entrance to Society for Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Suffice to say, London is a very compact city.

The following information is sent on 11-6-2005 from Pieter Dickson, who researches on Jamaica.

From: <pieter@pieterdickson.free-online.co.uk>
Subject: Message from pieter dickson


Dear Dan,
Herewith extracts from the Cornwall Chronicle & General Advertiser (1776-1784, 1786-1788, 1790-1790 various copies) which I have on microfilm - announcements by or about various Campbells (of Jamaica) in the county (and one in St. Anne’s) including his namesake, Duncan Campbell.

There appears to have been another namesake, the ref. note to which I have mislaid: about 1780 one Mary Campbell entered a caveat upon the estate of one Duncan, deceased. Also included, in background, are a few references to Duncan’s correspondents in this part of Jamaica that you note in The Blackheath Connection. I assume that the Duncan in the Jamaica chancery case of 1787 is Duncan Campbell in London.

1776, November 30,
Messrs. Thompson & Campbell, merchants … imported goods for sale at Montego Bay

1777, December12 Lucea
William Brown – for sale, 325 negroes from Calabar lately imported in the Alexander, Capt. Fraser

1777, March 22
Colin & Alexander Campbell – goods imported from Glasgow for sale at Montego Bay and Martha Brae.

1777, April 26 Montego Bay
For Sale. On board the ship Thames, Peleg Clarke, Master, 240 choice Coromantee slaves, by Malcolm and Nevinson.

1781, March 23
William Brown – Treasurer of Rusea’s Free School – notice of school lands for sale or rent. (former properties of Martin Rusea at Musq. Cove, Maggotty and Retreat.

1781, November 30, Martha Brae
John Tharp & Alexander Campbell. For Sale, ... on board the ‘Lord Germaine’ ... 450 prime Fantee, Ashntee [Ashante] and Akim Negroes…

1782, August 10
Hanover, 20 July 1782. The creditors of John Dickson, late of the above parish, dec. are desired to render to Donald Malcolm Esq. Lucea or the subscriber at Davis Cove states of their several demands against the deceased that the most speedy method may be adopted for settling and adjusting the same; and those indebted to the said estate, are desired to speedily settle their accounts.
John Dickson [eldest son]
Who has, to be leased for a term of years or sold immediately, for good Bills, Produce or unexceptionable Bonds Thirty Negroes (all Creoles except 3 or 4) among which are some very fine Seamstresses, Carpenters, Masons, Waiting Boys and Field Negroes.

1782, November 30
Lucea: November 25, 1782. As the partnership of Duncan & Archibald Campbell is this day formally dissolved, every person indebted to said partnership or to the former co-partnership of Dugald, Duncan & Archibald Campbell, are requested to be speedy in their payments to Duncan Campbell at Salt Spring or Archibald Campbell at this place as no further indulgence will be given.
Duncan Campbell, Archibald Campbell.

1782, December 28
To be sold on Thursday 7 January the ship ‘Adventure’ at Mr. [Boyd] Reid’s wharf, Green Island … also cargo [rum, mahogany, cotton, logwood]. The inventory of the ship to be seen in the hands of Mr. J. Dick, merchant at Kingston, Messrs. Thomson, Campbell & Co. at Montego Bay and Duncan Campbell Salt Spring.
Brands & Taylor, owners and agents for the concerned.

1783, January 3
Wanted, upon New Milns estate, a person who will attend a still house and can be recommended for honesty and sobriety. – William Campbell.

1783, January 20
Taken up at Fish River … mule … apply to Thomson & Campbell [Montego Bay]

1783, March 8
Caveat entered on the estate of William Campbell by John Campbell.

1783, May 14, Westmoreland
Runaway from ‘Delve’ estate two young Creole fellows (which were lately purchased from John Dickson Esq. of Hanover) Sampson, by trade a Carpenter … Peter, lately put to Mason’s business … it is supposed they are lurking about the upper part of Hanover or St. James … a Half Joe reward –
William Hylton.

1783, May 23, Lucea
Just imported in the ’Charming Molly’, Capt. Gill from London and the ‘Mary’ Capt. Hunter from Glasgow and Cork and to be sold by Donald Malcolm

1783, May 31 Montego Bay
Arrived from Glasgow in 7 weeks 3 days, the Alexander Capt. Campbell
Arrived from Lucea & Savanna-la-Mar, the Queen of England, Capt. Campbell

1783, June 6 Montego Bay
On discharging the ship Mary, Capt. James Campbell, in the River Thames, which loaded at this port in May 1782, there appeared six hogsheads of sugar on board for which no application was made. As it is supposed the bills of lading may have been lost, the person to whom they properly belong, will be paid the Nett proceeds, by applying to said Captain aboard the Queen of England or Thompson , Campbell & Co.

1783, August 13 New Milns
The Subscriber acquaints his Friends and the Public that the SURVEYING BUSINESS is conducted by him and Mr. Matthew Fo-- …William Campbell.

1786, September 16
I, Duncan Campbell Esq … Justice of the peace … public sale of stray … at the tavern of William Sinclair, Green Island.

1787, January 11 Montego Bay
To be sold. At Mr. Giffin’s Tavern on Tuesday 22nd instant … The good sloop Mary, whereof Peter Campbell is now master … built in this port and launched in June last … Bills of exchange, Cash or Produce at market-price, will be taken in payment. Inventory to be seen by applying to James K. Kelly.

1787, March 30 Montego Bay
For New York, the brig Jane, William Young Master: will sail in the course of next week. For small freight or passage, please apply to Mr. Donald Campbell.

1787, June 30
In Chancery: Campbell, per Attorney, v Campbell
In pursuance of the final Decree made in this Cause bearing the date the 20th day of April 1787, and in default in payment of the sum of Eleven Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventeen Pounds Eleven Shillings and Ten pence sterling money of Great Britain with interest … being the sum then reported as due to the complainant Duncan Campbell, from the Estate of John Campbell late of the parish of Hanover Esq. deceased … the said money being payable in Great Britain: I hereby give notice that I will on Monday the 5th day of November next … actually sell to the highest and best bidder all that Sugar Work … known by the name of Salt Spring … situate … in the parish of Hanover … slaves, stock and premises … which are … included in the Indentures of Lease and Release by way of Mortgage dated 17th and 18th days of October, 1776 …
George Murray, M.C.C.

1787, June 30
Tuesday last the Assize Court of this County was opened at Savanna la Mar … An address and Recommendation to the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the County …
Samuel Tor. James, Foreman, Wm. Woollery, Thomas James, John Mowat, Maclaurin Gillies, George Malcolm, David Connell, Alex. B. Hay, H. N. Jarrett Jun. Thomas S. Salmon, Cha. Bernard Jun., Geo. Brissett Sen., Thomas Boyd, George Lawson, James Campbell, Richard H. Reid, Simon H. Clarke.

1787, August 14 St. Anne’s
For Sale:Minard a penn in this parish … pasture … coffee … cotton … five miles form Runaway Bay and the same distance from Dry Harbour … Produce at a reasonable price, unexceptionable Bonds and Bills, will be taken in payment. Apply to the subscriber on the premises – Archibald Campbell.

1787, September 18 Hanover
Stolen or Strayed from Breadalbane Pastures in this parish … horse … give information thereof to subscriber who will cheerfully pay any expence. Donald Campbell

1787, October 4
For Sale or lease, Rock Pleasant Penn, within two miles of Martha Brae…For particulars, apply to Peter Campbell Esq. Fish River, Hanover or the subscriber in Trelawny. Francis Grant

1787, April 13
For Sale … Land & Buildings … situate in Barnett Town … now occupied by F. C. Scott Esq. Collector of this port. Also fifty acres adjoining Colchester Penn … apply to Donald Campbell

1790, May 29, Montego Bay
Arrived the Ulysses, Campbell from Greenock
Departed the Barry Lad, Campbell to Bristol
“the Aurora, Campbell to Greenock

1793, January 29, Hanover
To Be Sold: The Windmill erected and now in use at Salt Spring in this parish … for the small sum of Five Hundred Pounds … the situation on the above property being found ineligible is the sole motive for offering this very powerful Machine for sale. Apply to Dugald Campbell Esq. on the premises, or the subscriber.
William Brown.

1793, April 21, Fish River
To Be Sold: A run of land consisting of Three Hundred and Ninety acres … parish of Hanover bounded on the west by Cave Valley, and John Campbell of Orange Bay’s Negroe Provision grounds, on the North by Green River, on the East by John Kerr’s Settlement, and on the South by Endeavour Estate … It abounds with the most valuable Timber, viz; Mahoe, Green Heart, Bullet-Tree etc.- an excellent soil for Provisions and would make a capital Coffee walk, having a considerable quantity of bearing coffee on it. For particulars apply to Mr. William Connell, Fish River or the Subscriber. Peter Campbell.
N.B. It will be sold on reasonable Terms, for immediate payment.

1793, June 4 Montego Bay
For Sale. …commodious house lately occupied by Dr. John Pendrill, in Union Street…also sundry lots of land at the East-end of the same street …- William Campbell, Richard Hill

1793, August 1 Hanover
The co-partnership of Donald & George Malcolm at Lucea and of Malcolms & Barton at Green Island … dissolved by mutual consent. The business at Lucea will be carried on by Donald Malcolm and at Green Island by Donald Malcolm and John Barton.

1794, June 11 Hanover
To Be Leased for the term of twelve years. Greenwich Plantation … to be settled into a Sugar plantation at the option of the leasers … 320 acres … 60 of which are at present in coffee … twenty five Negroes … several Carpenters, Sawyers, Coopers, Masons … to be included … an elegant dwelling house, almost finished. Most advantageous terms will be given … by the subscriber who, from his very indifferent state of health, is desirous to leave the island in the July fleet. Robert Campbell

This has been a rather rapid exercise and not my main reason for going through the newspapers so I have probably missed several items. At a later time I’ll be extracting detail on shipping, as reported, in and out of the island – Ship, master, cargo, destination / origin. (Interesting, generally, how quickly trade with the new United States resumed after 1783 (with the Treaty of Paris between Britain and USA); also, the brevity of some partnerships and the extent to which produce was used as currency in property transactions).

Kind regards, Pieter

Arrow graphicReferences other: Original research by e-mailer Pieter Dickson: See Duncan Campbell, Thames hulks overseer, West India Merchant (1726-1803) - On this Campbell Genealogy - Ed)

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