Written from Jamaica1779
M.r Peter Little Sen.r at Greengatehouse
To the Care of The Rev.d M.r Rob.t Little,
Westmoreland, Jam.a July 25.th 1779
My Honoured and Dear Parents
I hope this will find you in good Health, though I can scarce hope it will find you entirely free from the Weaknesses and Infirmities that usually attend the Decline of Life, those Monitors that put us in mind of our final Departure; that we may make such Preparations as it becomes those that are about to set out upon so important a Journey.
Whenever your Call comes, may you be found watching and in Readiness, and may God grant you the Reward that is laid up in Heaven for those that fear him. But it is my most sincere wish, my constant and earnest prayer, that it would please God to spare you yet many years, that you may live comfortably to yourselves a Blessing and Example to your Children.
I often regret my Distance from you, which puts it out of my Power to render you immediately my Share of these Services that are due to you from your Children, in Return for the many Cares and Troubles, Uneasinesses & Anxieties all of us have cost you, before we were able to take Care of Ourselves. However as a Small Token of my Duty and Affection, and at least to shew my good Inclination, I have enclosed a Small Bill of Exchange for Forty Guineas, which I would wish to be disposed of as follows – Twenty Guineas to you, my Dear Father and Mother – The other twenty to pay my Brothers Rob.t, James, and David, what I owe them, and if anything is left, to be given to my Brother Joseph and Sister Mary. As it has pleased God to take away my Dear Brother Willie, I will pay to my Sister, what he advanced me, by the next Opportunity. The Bill will Cost a little Trouble. But it was the easiest Method I could think of; for if I had sent Sugar or Rum, it would have been still more troublesome, and liable to a greater Risque. The Bill is drawn of Rob.t Dunmore & C.o Merchants in Glasgow, and payable ninety Days after Sight; therefore immediately upon receiving it, or as soon after as you conveniently can, you must sent it by some person you can trust, to present it, and they will accept it, and when all those months after accepting it are expired, it will be paid – After they have once accepted it, I dare say any Merchant in Dumfries, Annan or Lochmaben that has any Dealing with Glasgow, will give you the Money for it. But in Case they should
refuse to accept it, you must get an Attorney at Law or a Notary to protest it, and send it back to me again, and I will get another for it – but I am certain they will not refuse to accept it unless the Company should break for M.r Johnson draws Bills every year to the amount of 3 or 4000 pounds and never had a Bill sent back protested in his Life – I do not suppose there are two Gentlemen in the Island in better Credit than he is both here and in Britain. I could immediately pass this for the Value to any Merchant here.
I long exceedingly to hear from you, I have not had a Letter since that which contained the melancholy Accounts of my dear Brother Willie's Death which was a Circumstance that shocked me exceedingly and must no Doubt have been very hard upon you, but God giveth and God taketh away and we must submit to his Will, for he knows best what is good for us. One Circumstance gave me however some satisfaction, which was that he got home to Greeng. House before he died – Nobody writes to me but Robert, and he does not write so particularly about some things as I could wish. I would be glad to know, from time to time about your Circumstances and how you go on with the Farm. I hope that you make yourselves quite easy and get Servants enough to do all the Work, and if you should get a little in Arrears, I shall always, I hope, be able to remit a small Matter by this Method to help set you right again, and while it is in my Power, you need never Doubt my Will. You may assure yourselves that it will always be the greatest Pleasure of my Life to contribute everything in my Power, towards rendering your Latter Days comfortable and easy – I have already saved a few hundred Pounds, which I will secure in such a Manner, that you may get it, in case of my Dying before you – But if it Please God to spare me, (and I thank God I never enjoyed better Health than at present) I am now so well known and (I believe I may say) my character so well established, that I think I am now certain at least of a Genteel Livelihood, and if I cannot make a rapid Fortune, I can at least be always saving a Little, and that with Honesty and a clear Conscience – I have now formed such a Connection with some of the worthiest Characters here, that I begin to like the Country much better than I ever thought I should. Though I have still many objections to it.
I wish much to know what sort of Education Joseph and Mary have had; If they have learnt to write yet, let them write to me – I think Joseph could write pretty well before I came from home – I would
not have Joseph think of coming out Here to be a Planter, It is a way of Life I detest, I would rather for my own part be a Plough Man or Day Labourer in my own Country. If he has had Education sufficient, the best thing that could be done for him, would be to put him Apprentice to a Merchant in Glasgow or Liverpool; Or else if he has any Inclination that way put him Apprentice to a Cabinet Maker, House Carpenter, Mason, or Millwright, and after having learnt any Business, if he should choose to come out here I would endeavour to do something for him. He must learn how to write a good Hand, Arithmetic and book-keeping which he may soon do – Mary should be taught Writing, Arithmetic, and Needlework. I have wrote my Brother Robert upon this Subject and that I will willingly pay one half of the Expence, and the whole rather than they should want it.
All your Neighbour's Bairns that I know here are well – I beg you will give my compliments to all the Folks in the Greengatehouse and all my old Friends and Neighbours – I should be glad to know what is become of David Roger he has never wrote me – Remember me affectionately to all my Brothers, my sister Mary, and John's wife & David's.
I have wrote another Letter to my Brother Rob.t nearly to the same Purpose as this, and have enclosed another Copy of the Bill, and will send them by Different Ships, that if one Letter should be lost the other may have a Chance of coming to Hand – [I hope] you will lose no Opportunity of sending me an Answer to this – It will always give me the greatest Happiness to hear that you are alive and well, for you may assure yourselves that
your dutiful & affectionate Son,