Hosted websites will become read-only beginning in early 2024. At that time, all logins will be disabled, but hosted sites will remain on RootsWeb as static content. Website owners wishing to maintain their sites must migrate to a different hosting provider before 2024 (More info)
Letters From Jamaica

Letters From Jamaica


This is a collection of letters written by Benjamin Turney of Sedgebrook in Lincolnshire which I have been able to amass with help of friends and Repositories. The transcripts appear with permission from the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and with permission from Ann Hanson.

The first discovery was made by my cousin John Savage whilst perusing the shelves of the Derbyshire Local Studies Library, in Matlock. This was the series of letters �My Dearest Girl�, compiled by Ann Hanson. I was particularly interested in these as I was tracing the Turney family and had done much work in the Parish Registers of Sedgebrook, Lincolnshire. I was able to get in touch with Ann who very kindly sent me a typed collection of the letters. I cannot thank both John and Ann enough for their contribution to this research.

I had already done extensive research into two of Benjamin�s brothers, John and William and now it was Benjamin�s turn. The story will unfold, along with the letters and with comments taken from other letters that have a relevance to Benjamin. I have left Benjamin�s spellings as they are in the letters.

My first discovery were two of Benjamin�s letters that were in the Joseph Banks Collection, of the Natural History Museum in London. Originals to be found in the British Library. I thought I had struck gold when I found them. I wasn�t to know what else I was about to find.

My next discovery was the Vanneck Estate Papers, which I found listed on the A2A (Access to Archives) pages on the Internet. Details within on their estate of Golden Grove in Jamaica. Could it be possible that there could be anything in these papers that may refer to Benjamin being a Doctor on the plantation?. There is only one way to find out for sure. So I spoke to Cambridge University Library staff who are the custodians of these papers and made a trip to Cambridge with my husband. We were made very welcome there and given as much help as they could, the following pages are what we were able to find.

At this point I think another thank-you should be to my husband who lives with Benjamin too. Rodney came and helped me read through and transcribe the letters and offered his points of view over many issues arising. Needless to say such a controversial document such as this has left us with many questions to ask.

To any readers who find this of interest, please feel free to quote any of the work you wish but also please recognise my efforts in producing this document and state your source.

Elizabeth Hampson 2004

Portrait of a Georgian Gentleman

I first came across Benjamin as a name in the parish registers of the church of St Lawrence in Sedgebrook, Lincolnshire. I was convinced I had ancestors who came from this village and as I had struck a brick wall I decided that by transcribing the church register I would gain an insight into the families who had lived in the area.

Benjamin, the register informed me was christened at St. Lawrence on 15th December 1755. His parents were William Turney, a Grazier and Fellmonger and his wife Mary nee Robinson. Benjamin was their seventh child but their fourth son. Altogether they had 8 children, two sons dying as infants. Benjamin claimed descent from the Tournays in Caenby, Lincolnshire by the use of the Tournay arms engraved on a silver cup bearing his initials.

William and Mary had been married in 1747 at St. Mary�s Church in Nottingham. The family were tenant farmers, farming on the lands of the Thorold family in the Sedgebrook area. William was an under constable at the Quarter sessions in 1750 and a churchwarden in 1769. However, shortly after the birth and subsequent burial of their last child William in 1757, Mary died, Benjamin was only 2 years old so would have had very little, if any recollection of his mother.

William then married again on 30th May 1765 to Mary Mugliston in St Wulfram�s Church, Grantham. Mary was the daughter of George Mugliston of Grantham, again a wealthy family with lands to inherit. It must be assumed that the second Mary took over the role of mother to William�s children. No children were born to William and his second wife Mary as she confirms in her will.

At the time Benjamin was a child his education may have been provided in the village. Dame Margaret Thorold set up a charity for the education of the children of the parish. This was in 1718. I do not have any records of Benjamin�s education but without doubt he had a good education as he went on to become a Surgeon and Apothecary, he had been a great play reader, judging Shakespeare �perhaps the deepest and most accurate judge of human nature, that ever depicted Man in all his various forms�.

Benjamin�s father William died in 1774, he must have realized his life was approaching its end as his will had been made only 3 months prior to his death. Benjamin was, by now aged 19. He had been apprenticed by his father, in 1770, [aged 15], to Henry Swan, Surgeon and Apothecary of Lincoln City for the price of �70. A considerable amount of money for the time. How long his apprenticeship lasted I am not too sure but he may well have been nearing the completion by 1776. In his father�s will he inherited a sum of �600 to be paid at the expiration of his apprenticeship, with interest.

In this year of 1776 Benjamin stood surety to the value of �200 for his sister Mary�s marriage by license to William Tongue. He signs in a clear regulated hand, ending in a flourish. In the year of 1777 he again stands surety for �200 for his sister Ann�s marriage by license to Andrew Tongue, this time his signature is rather ornate and full of confidant swirls.

For some time I had no further sightings of Benjamin, he seemed to have disappeared completely however, he wanted to be counted I think. The story will unfold in date order, however in truth the discoveries were not made in that manner.

It will appear that he left England�s shores sometime in 1780 and sailed to Jamaica. A dangerous journey, which will have taken anything up to 45-50 days, traveling a distance of 3,750 miles. Not only was the crossing dangerous due to the weather but also pirates were always on the lookout for ships to plunder. The ships would sail in convoys if possible and they were all fitted with cannons. Disease soon spread on these ships and often there would be mortalities. However, despite all this Benjamin must have arrived safely. Whether Benjamin was there on 3rd October 1780 when the hurricane hit Savanna-La-Mar and destroyed it I don�t know.

The following year on the 1st August another hurricane hit the island and over 100 vessels were wrecked in Kingston Harbour. Benjamin must have wondered what he had come too. In a letter to Chaloner Arcedeckne from Simon Taylor dated 30th January 1782 and written from Albion St David�s he comments :-

As a result of this �terrible Hurricane�, Arcedeckne had �not a plantain tree hardly standing nor any ground provisions of any sort�

Firstly two letters found in the Banks Research Project of the Natural History Museum in London dated 14th May 1782, (British Library Ref BL.A.MS 33977-143-144) and 20th June 1782 (British Library Ref. BL.A.MS 33977.151) and addressed to Chaloner Arcedeckne. The letters were from Golden Grove Plantation, St Thomas in the East, Jamaica. Benjamin had gone out to the plantation in the capacity of Doctor to look after the slaves. The sugar plantation belonged to Chaloner Arcedeckne, the son of Andrew Arcedeckne and Elizabeth Kersey who was born in Jamaica. probably in 1743/44. He was educated at Eton College (1753-1759) and, except for a visit to Jamaica in the early 1760�s spent the rest of his life in Yoxford Suffolk, England. He sat as member of Parliament for Wallingford (1784) and Westbury (1784-1786). In the late 1700�s he also lived in Harley St, Cavendish Squ., Middx. He also owned Bachelors Hall Plantation.


Golden Grove May 14 1782


I have just received the favor of yours of Jany 21 with regard to the flowers and fruit of the prune tree and am sorry they are not to be procured by the fleet which sails for home tomorrow, however you may depend on having what part can be got sent by the very first opportunity, the flowers are only to be had at one season of the year, abt January and fruit full ripe not till May or June, so great is the difference in the vegetative principle of this tree from most others. I intend to put some of the fruit nearly ripe into rum agreeable to your directions, and at the same time will send some of the dry ripe fruit wrapt in paper which if intended for planting will I imagine answer your intentions better. I will also send by the same conveyance 2 or 3 bottles of what is called here Nayeau ? wh I made sometime since at Holland for Mr Taylor, whether it is the same as that prepared by the French or not I can�t tell but am apt to think it is of a similar nature tho not so elegant a flavour which must be owing to a wrong method in making it. I only mean it as a specimen; if you approve of it any quantity can be made at G. Grove you please. Dr. Solander has an exceeding discription of this tree from very ingenious Gentlemen in this neighborhood.

As you did not mention the receipt of either of my last of Augst 18 and Nov 10 am afraid they were both lost. I then ---- as good an idea of the dreadful situation the Negroes had been in --------- pable of doing from the accumulated misfortunes that had attended, not only G Grove but the Island in general for some time past. Hurricanes and floods with their consequences, famine and disease marked with devastation their progress thru the island. The dysentery wh then raged with great violence did as little damage on G Grove as could hopefully have been expected, it chiefly attacked the old and weakly, the working Negroes sustained little loss as you will see in the list of increase and decrease; Mr Taylor knows well their situation and what they are capable of doing, he now pays the strictest attention to every minute article and transaction on the estate, the business will be conducted with that regularity and ease wh never fails of success and wh distinguishes every place he is concerned for; it is needless to say your interest in Jamaica is as near Mr. Taylor�s heart as his own, but as I have many indisputable proofs of this fact I now assert it with the greater pleasure as Grove cannot fail of doing well under his protection and management.

As you did not say anything in your last with respect to the few acres of land I petitioned for am afraid you have been induced to alter your mind, was I not convinced the Estate has a great deal more land than will be ever cultivated, I would not venture to mention it a second time but as this is really the case I have still some hope of your granting me this favor, as it will enable me to do some little for myself wh I can never do without ----- as there is now some hope of our keeping an undisturbed possession of the Island in consequence of our late signal victory could wish to be doing something before I grow old which I cannot do without your generous assistance.
I mentioned before my having had repeated offers of considering extending my practice wh I have hitherto neglected. I have now in my offer the care of Amity Hall which I hope you will consent to my taking, you know its situation and that I ride thro it every morning in my way to and from Holland, its vicinity to G Grove and the convenience with wh I can attend it is the reason why I venture on this request, however shd you have the least objection I shall give up every idea of that kind without murmuring. I hope you will not be displeased at my mentioning the matter.I am Sir with great respect yr most obt & oblgd humble servant

B. Turney

Chal Arcedeckne Esq.



The name of Solander, the Swedish botanist, the pupil of Linnaeus, and the friend of Sir Joseph Banks, was honourably distinguished in the progress of natural science in the last century. He was born in Nordland, in Sweden, on the 28th of February, 1736; he studied at Upsala, under Linnuaes, by whose recommendation he came to England in the autumn of 1760, and was employed at the British Museum, to which institution he was attached during the remainder of his life; he died, under-librarian of the Museum, in the year 1782.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Prune \Prune\, n. [F. prune, from L. prunum a plum. See Plum.]
A plum; esp., a dried plum, used in cookery; as, French or
Turkish prunes; California prunes.

German prune (Bot.), a large dark purple plum, of oval shape, often one-sided. It is much used for preserving, either dried or in sirup.
Prune tree. (Bot.)
a) A tree of the genus Prunus (P. domestica), which produces prunes.
(b) The West Indian tree, Prunus occidentalis.

South African prune (Bot.), the edible fruit of a sapindaceous tree (Pappea capensis)


Jamaica June 20 1782


Agreeable to your instructions of Jany I have sent you a few small branches of the Jamaica prune tree with the fruit upon them in a jar filled with rum and also some of the green fruit in a wide mouthed bottle you will at the same time receive some of the dry ripe fruit wrapt in paper. - In my last of May 14 I promised to send a bottle of Nayeau made by distilling rum from the bark of the prune tree merely as a specimen, but I have since found that infusion gives a more agreeable flavour than distillation and I imagine the bottle of rum which contains the green fruit only will have exactly the same flavour (with the addition of a proper quantity of refined sugar) by the time it reaches you. I was sorry at not being able to procure case bottles fit for the purpose none being to be had here large enough or with mouths wide enough to admit the branches, but as the jar is well secured it will, with a little care from the Captain arrive safe. In order to give you every information of this tree I have sent the botanica as well as general description of it, given to me by the same Gentm I mentioned in my last, it is exactly the same as that wh. he sent some time ago to Dr. Solander. If you shd still want the flowers, please to honor me with your commands and the utmost care shall be taken to procure them in the proper season. --- Capt Taylor by whom I send these things has also the care of the grapevines and he promis�d to give them a good berth and to take particular care of them on the passage. I shall be very happy to hear they arrive safe and answer your expectation, and am, Sir, with much respect, your most obedient sevt

B. Turney

Chal Arcedeckne Esq.


Extract from a letter from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne. (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1783. Simon Taylor was the Attorney for Chaloner Arcedeckne.

17th January 1783

I am sorry to hear Welch is dead, I have known him a great many years, you may depend on my doing every thing for Turney and the overseer that is reasonable. They are both ten times happier now than they ever were before since they came to the island and the overseer when I was up at the estate 10 days ago informed me that Kelly had made proposals to him to leave your estate and go and live with him on Dukingfield Hall and would take no refusal but desired him to think seriously on it and let him have an answer in writing next day when he gave him a direct refusal. What now do you think of the villain. I have sent your letter to him as well as the Doctor.

From Slavery & Abolition� Slave Birth, Death & Disease on Golden Grove Plantation, Jamaica, 1765-1810 by Betty Wood & T.R. Clayton :-

Although Golden Grove had produced some foodstuffs during the War (1780-83), it, like many other estates, had been hard hit by the curtailment of the provisions trade with the American mainland and, in August 1781, by an unusually severe hurricane. Arcedeckne had shipped out some provisions from Britain, but many of these victuals had been taken by Kelly �for his own use under the name of �Borrowing�, at a time when Arcedeckne�s slaves were �starving�. Moreover, he had intrigued against Hayward�s replacement, a Dr. Turney, in an attempt to �get him turned away�. Taylor was adamant that Kelly must be the one to go. Kelly was duly dismissed by Arcedeckne and replaced by an Overseer named Madden who, according to Taylor, seemed to have the Welfare of the Estate at Heart�.


Biographical history: Simon Taylor was born in Jamaica in 1740, eldest son of Patrick Tailzour, who had assumed the name Taylor on his marriage to Martha Taylor. Patrick had come out to Jamaica from Borrowfield, Scotland and established himself as a merchant in Kingston.
Simon Taylor began his career as an attorney for absentee planters, became a sugar planter in his own right and at his death in 1813 he was reputedly the richest man in Jamaica. He was active in Jamaican politics and society, being member for Kingston in the Jamaican Assembly, 1763-81, and for St. Thomas in the East, 1784-1810; Custos; Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas; and Lieutenant Governor of Militia. He never married, although he had a large illegitimate family. For an account of his life and business, see R.B. Sheridan, Simon Taylor, Sugar Tycoon of Jamaica, 1740-1813 in Agricultural History Vol.45, No.4 (Oct. 1971) pp. 285-296 (a copy is available at Institute of Commonwealth Studies). General Nugent, Governor of Jamaica, 1801-1806, described Taylor in 1806 as much the richest proprietor in the island, and in the habit of accumulating money, so as to make his nephew and heir one of the most wealthy subjects of His Majesty. In strong opposition to Government at present and violent in his language against the King's Ministers, for their conduct towards Jamaica. He has great influence in the Assembly, but is nearly superannuated. He has most extraordinary manners and lives principally with overseers of estates and masters of merchant vessels; but he has had an excellent education [he went to Eton], is well informed and is a warm friend to those he takes by the hand. He is also very hospitable and civilised occasionally, but is said to be most inveterate in his dislikes. [P. Wright, ed. Lady Nugent's Journal (4ed., Institute of Jamaica 1966) p318] Simon's heir was his nephew, Sir Simon Richard Brissett Taylor (1785-1815), and after the latter's death his eldest niece, Anna Susannah Watson Taylor (1781-1853), inherited the estates. She had married George Watson in 1810 and the additional name Taylor was assumed at the time of the inheritance. (Information from Casbah � Institute of Commonwealth Studies) email: [email protected]

Taken from Lady Maria Nugent�s Journal of her residence in Jamaica from 1801-1805, edited by Philip Wright:--

I cannot help here avoid mentioning, that Mr. Taylor is an old bachelor, and detests the society of women, but I have worked a reform, for he never leaves me an instant, and attends to all my wants and wishes. He recollects what I have once commended and is sure to have it for me again. Every one of the party is astonished at this change; but I believe he takes me for a boy, as I constantly wear a habit, and have short cropped hair.

However Lady Nugent describes Simon Taylor as detesting the company of women, he is not so averse to their company that he remains at a distance as she goes on later to say:-

The housekeeper [at Golden Grove] told me that he had a numerous family, some almost on every one of his estates.


The next letter is from Benjamin, to Chaloner Arcedeckne. (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1783/3.

Golden Grove Jany 31st 1783

I have received the honor of yours of July 29 last, as also those of Octr 29 and Nov 2nd by the same packet and must now return your many and very sincere thanks for your kind and generous indulgence of all my wishes. My first and greatest wish now is to prove deserving so much favor and by my future conduct to merit the continuance of your good opinion.

Mr Taylor has given me a patch of land adjacent to the house I live in containing 15 acres which will make me both easy and happy. I have from my first arrival in this country, found in Mr. Taylor a steady friend and protector, in fact I owe my all to his generous support as I should inevitably have been ruined long since by the invidious and unjust attempts of a man I need not name and that at a time he was giving the strongest appearances of friendship and good wishes tho� without ever producing a single proof unless I was opening and stoping [sic] my letters to you when he could by any means get hold of them. Your observations on the unpleasantness of my time was but too just, however I now thank God most fervently (more on your account than my own) that the cause is removed, as a bare recital of his transactions in life would give you a horrid idea of the man and would be sufficient cause for your rejoicing at the connection being at an end, however as he is deprived of the pleasances of a good conscience and having nothing to comfort him in his declining years but a heap of ill gotten wealth, being universally despised I will not insult his fallen greatness and last consequence and credits1 The Negroes so far from losing their spirits rejoice with one voice at the happy change in their situation.

I am truly sorry to inform you that in the midst of my own good prospects I am very far from being easy, it pains me still more to add you are infinitely more concerned in the cause than myself. Mr. Taylor for some time past has been and still is, in a very alarming situation and unless he leaves this country for a few months the most dreadfull consequences may happen. Hundreds are now with aching hearts panting for his recovery for his loss will be irreparable to the community at large as well as to yourself. In the height of my concern for his recovery I venture on saying this much to you in hopes your influence may have sufficient weight in getting him off wh is a step in the opinions of all he aught immediately to take, however, I at the same time to hope you will not hint to Mr Taylor where you had this information as it might in some measure displease him. This being the season of the year when the Prune Tree blossoms you may depend I shall take care to have some ready agreeable to your desire and send them by ----------? opportunity which I am afraid will not offer soon, however every care shall be taken to have them properly prepared. I shall be very glad to hear those already sent arrived safe but from the turbulence of the passage am much afraid of them.

I am, Sir, with the highest respect, your most oblgd and very humble servt,

B Turney

Chal Arcedeckne Esq


(Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1765

As far back as 9th Dec 1765 when a new Doctor is being sought for the plantation in a letter written to Chaloner Arcedeckne from Simon Taylor he comments:-

Kelly also writes me that he had turned away the Doctor and when I come up will let you know the reasons. The case is, I believe, that Kelly is rather haughty to the white people and overbearing but to give him his due he takes great care of the Negroes and manages your estate excessive well insomuch as it is in fine order as any Estate in the West Indies and is very capable and industrious and I really believe has your interest interely at heart and I really do not know a person in the Island so capable of managing it as he is. Therefore it is better to let him have a Doctor of his own choosing to reside on the Estate providing he is capable.

The Doctor chosen was a Doctor Hayward who remained on the Estate until the 1780�s when Benjamin Turney took over. Obviously as John Kelly hadn�t personally chosen Benjamin he was somewhat put out.


Letter from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne. (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck Arc/3A/1783

Kingston, Jamaica
5th July 1783

My Dear Sir,

I have sent Messrs Longs, Drake & Long the bills of loading Hughes & Gangers of 80 hogsheads 2 sugar & 60 puncheons of rum on board the Golden Grove, Capt Mann & of 60 hdds sugar & 20 Puncheons of rum on board Experiment, Capt Bruce and also the Bills of loading for a cask of Noix Dieu ? made by the doctor on Golden Grove for yourself which may turn out to your liking. It is the rum in which the inner bark of the prune tree has been steeped and sweetened with syrup. I have also sent to Messrs Longs the bills of lading of the Duke of Roxburgh�s wine, which is on board the Golden Grove and took a pipe and a half to fill them up.
-also he comments he has sent by the Pomona, Capt Morris, who loaded off Morant Bay to sail before 1st August 60 hdds sugar, 50 puns rum, the weather is terrible there indeed which prevents sending more, he sends best compliments to Mrs Arcedeckne & the little ones, signing off as usual-

I ever am with the greatest esteem and regard, my dear Sir, your most affectionate friend, and oblgd & humble servant,

Simon Taylor

Shortly after this Chaloner Arcedeckne must have approached Simon Taylor asking him to be Godfather to his latest born child. Simon replies:- I will with the greatest pleasure accept your kind offer of standing God Father to the child Mrs Arcedeckne has lately had and am very sorry to find you disappointed its turning out a girl. It is to be hoped the next will be a boy. (Cambridge University Library Vanneck-Arc/3A/1783/35)


Letter written by Benjamin from Golden Grove to his brother John in Sedgebrook nr Grantham, Lincs, England.

The letter was sent �Per Pacqet.� This letter is from a selection of further letters discovered in family archives. They are bound together and entitled �My Dearest Girl�. They have been compiled by Ann Hanson who very kindly gave me a copy. These letters have been deposited in Derbyshire Local Studies Library in Matlock. For the purpose of this particular piece of work I will refer to �My Dearest Girl� when the letter is from that source.

Golden Grove Jamaica
August 8 1784

Dear Brother,

I have received your favor of 4th May and am very sorry it did not arrive sooner as you therein say it will be rather inconvenient to pay the ballance due me at one payment. � In consequence of what you said in your letter of Decr 1783 I gave a Bill of exchange to Messrs Davidson Walker & Co Kingston for �150 dated 12 June payable at 90 days after sight, having your full permission for so doing in the letter alluded to above, and wrote you by last packett giving you advise of it.- As it is now too late to recall it I hope you will find means to give it due honor, as your not doing it would injure me very much indeed, had I known in time I would have bore every inconvenience rather than have given you the least. � I must now inform you of a most dreadfull calamity that has lately befallen this side of Jamaica.
On the 30 of last month the day was excessively stormy till night, when it became one of the most violent hurricanes ever known; many a heavy gale I have seen in Jamaica and have heard much said of hurricanes, but notwithstanding my being on the spot I never could credit more than one half I heard, till by fatal experience I have been dreadfully convinced of the truth of the whole, and much more than I even ever heard. I imagine it is unnecessary to give a definition of the word hurricane, however it is in short every thing the elements can assemble that is horribly destructive to mankind. I have seen trees who�s amazing magnitude would astonish you to behold, torn up by the roots like a small shrub, the largest and strongest buildings in a moment swept away like dust, in fact the most forcible language is by far too faint to give you an Idea of the scene of horror and desolation just now before my Eyes; blessed be almighty God that it did not continue quite an hour, ten minutes more would have levelled every house and building in this district with the ground, the whole coast is strew�d with dead bodies, not a ship or vessel of any kind except one, escaped the general destruction. Many hundreds have perished, both by sea and land, many have been buried in the ruins of their houses and many have been dashed to atoms by heavy timbers flying before the wind. � But to speak more particularly of my own situation, wh you will undoubtedly be anxious about. � In the midst of the storm I found my House going and very providently quitted it in time and fled to the open field for refuge, for however I could not fly being quickly laid prostate by the irresistable wind, luckily for me I was thrown upon an old stump of a tree by which I held fast being on the declivity of a hill which shelter�d me much. I had not been half a minute out of the House before that part I was in flew away like a Bird, however thank God the remaining part stood it out.
shattered that one more gust would have carried it away -----------------------------------------------------------?
my out offices are totally destry�d, but what is worse----------------------------------------------------------------?
by which the slaves are supported are now no more, so-------------------------------------------------------------?
the horrid prospect of a famine for six or eight months--------------------------------------------------------------?
All my slaves fortunately followed my example by------------------------------------------------------------------ -?
-------- and escaped with life, but how I am now to------------------------------------------------------------------?
----------You ask me what success I have had in this------------------------------------------------------------------?
gone this heavy calamity I could have answered very good for the time I have been in it, having now upwards of 40 hungry mouths to supply, and should have had ten or twelve more before Christmas if matters had gone on well, but am now under the most dreadful apprehension of losing half of them by famine. � I cannot yet exactly ascertain my loss, but it will be very considerable.

I meant to have sent the two puncheons of Rum for Mr Bates friend and am extremely unhappy that it will not be in my power now to oblige him, as all my cash and credit also must be employed for providing the means of preserving my people, I therefore beg you will not take amiss my not sending it, - I almost now envy you the comforts of an agreeable family and good fire side I am heartily tired of Jamaica and most sincerely wish I was able to quit it. Long may you live happy and secure from every danger and disappointment, is the fervant prayer of Dr Brother.
Your affectionate friend

PS I beg my best love to my Sister and request you will inform my Sisters Mary and Ann that I am alive and well as I shall not have time to write by this Pacquet.


A further letter written by Benjamin from Golden Grove to his brother John in Sedgebrook nr Grantham, Lincs, England, from �My Dearest Girl�.

Golden Grove
Octr 4 1785
Dear Brother

You will no doubt by this time have heard of this ill fated and unhappy Island having been again desolated by a tremendous and destructive Hurricane on the 27 of Aug last far exceeding that of last year in the damage done, not by its violence but by a longer continuance.The day as usual had been very stormy attended with heavy rains, about noon the wind increased and shifted from point to point every minute, this together with the excessive hot and calm weather we had a day or two before, sufficiently apprised us of the horrid scene we were shortly to be feeling spectators of, the wind about two o�clock afternoon settled in the North west, the sky darkened to almost midnight and the rain became heavy torrents of water pour�d from the Clouds in streams of inconceivable force. Now all was horror and despair � the open field became the safest and only refuge, where it was my lot to remain half drowned and almost deprived of every sense till day break the next morning. � The first objects presented to my View were the wretched remains of my house, Out houses and Negroe Houses together with my furniture (of which I had been particularly choice) lying in one undistinguished mass of ruin and destruction, add to this the entire destruction of the provisions by which the Negroes are supported, and I think you will say my situation just now is not enviable; to speak the truth, I was under this complicated load of misery for some days in a state of the deepest melancholy and despair � However on reflection I found Providence had been still mercifull and kind, first in two very signal instances of sparing my life in the course of the night & secondly in preserving the lives of my Negroes, all of whom escaped unhurt, and on enquiring I found a most extraordinary quantity of American provisions in the Island, such as Corn Flower which will preserve us against famine I untill such time as we can procure a supply.
My loss by these two storms has been very considerable indeed and will keep me down, however thank God I have now in a great measure recovered my Spirits and am repairing my misfortunes with all expedition. � I am again rising out of the Ruins of my buildings and hope in a few Months to recover my tranquility � but what can never be recovered is time � it will cost me years longer in Jamaica than intended, I should have wrote sooner but I hope my situation will be apology sufficient, I have now very little time but I could no longer delay giving some account of myself and have accordingly devoted this hour to your service.
I have not had a letter from you for a long time but I cannot now tell you the date having once more lost every paper I was master of of any consequence. I hope you will not quite forget me. Pray inform me what the balance is you have against me. � In haste and still a little confused I must beg leave to conclude with my best love to my Sister, Respects to[Mr and Mrs] Bunlon and also at Manthorpe & Selby, to Mrs [ ] to all friends believe dear Brother, with sincere friendship and esteem, yours affectionately


PS I must beg you will present my particulars and most respectfull compts to Mr. Twells, I had once thought of doing this personally, but that hope is now vanished.


20th Ocober 1786
A further hurricane hit the island and 15,000 lives were lost. This resulted in drought conditions but we do not have any surving accounts from Benjamin.


Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1788/4

Apr 7 1788

As for the plea that Negroes are cruelly used and more so than in any other Island is false, your Negroes at Golden Grove and in short, all over the Island are infinitely better than the lower class of white people at home, eat more meat and fish than they do, are better lodged and clothed and when sick have Doctors and people to attend them whereas when a poor labouring man at home falls sick he has no person to attend him and during the time he is sick his family are starving and if he died his family are maintained by the Parish, a maintenance a tolerably good Negro would not accept


Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck�Arc/3A/1789/2

March 21st 1789

I am also building, by the doctor�s house, a Lying-in Hospital for the Negro women, to see if we can preserve our children from the Lockjaw which carries off so many of them and is so fatal to them. I built one at Lyssons and have found very good effects from it, and as it answered at one place I wish to make it answer at the other.


Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne sent via The Henry. (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1789/20

5th Jul 1789

Previous letters must be dicussing the abolition of the slave trade in Parliament and Simon Taylor says :-
�I shall be very glad to see a favourable upshod to the great question, for I believe it involves in it, whether Britain will have any sugar colonies or not.�, he doubts other European countries will cease their trade and he compares the stopping of slave labour and making sugar to the Israelites being made to make bricks without straw, going on to say that Great Britain helped �the sufferers of the Hurricane in 1781 with �40,000 worth of charity and gave staple food at �500,000�. He doubts Pitt & Sheffields argument that the price of sugar would be the same and adds that the estates know how to treat the negroes and don�t need advice from Parliament. He has passed the previous correspondence to Dr. Turney and goes on to describe the handling of the negroes which is under the surveillance of Turney. The negroe women and girls are kept on light work for 1 year to see if they will breed, it has been thought that heavy work was detrimental to this process, they also have 3 meals per day prepared by one of their own country women to get them settled. After that they go on to the plantation and grow their own rations. The women work either in the Penn or at the sugar work. There is an experiment going on at this time on which is best. It has been observed that even with this easy first year they seldom breed in that year. The negroes arrive in poor shape owing to the diet and confinement on the ship, they have sores on their skins and ulcers in their stomachs. He then quotes �another fatal thing is this, as soon as these people begin to have their blood broke down by the cursed quantity of mercury and antimonials the plantation doctors give them they have a constant acid on their stomachs, to remedy this the negroes, if they can possibly get at it, use a sort of whitish loam which allays the acid but bloats them. When they cannot get it they eat cinders and ashes.� Apparently children born during this early time are sickly and die. Simon Taylor states that he is building a Lying-in House next to the Doctor�s on the hill where new mothers and their babies can be seen twice each day. �Another thing that destroys the negroes is the pox� he states. �They never complain and try to hide it, the women treat the symptoms with some sort of bushes and plum tree bark and never come to the hospital till they are rotten as can be. The men don�t complain till they pass blood, the negroes will not believe that the venerial is got by contact, they believe it to be a strain. Smallpox used to be a killer but the owner now inoculates his negroes since about 20 years ago.�


Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1789/19

July 5th 1789
I send your letter to Dr. Turney and can very easily buy you 10 new Negroe women or girls fit to breed.


Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1789/26
Sept 6th 1789

While I was there (Golden Grove) I had the satisfaction to see the Lying-in House finished, all to the plastering of it and the building the chimney. I have directed the Doctor to send for Flour, Rice, Gru-ts ?, Candles etc and whatever can be wanted for the lying-in, women to be sent to him from town and consequently we shall see if we can save the children from the lock jaw. It is in a spot chosen by himself, the house built according to his directives so that if the children are not raised it is his fault. As soon as we have the mills in order and a little house up at Batchelor�s Hall I will have the Hospital or Hott house in as compleat order as anyone can be made. I further intend to build a house for the reception of all the Negro children to take them away from their parents as soon as they are 15 months old and put them under the charge of 2 careful old women who shall do nothing else but take care of them and feed them from the Hott house until they are 8 or 9 years old and can be serviceable to their parents in fetching water, carrying a little dry wood and a basket of Cocos Yams or Plantains from their grounds and if Negroes do not thrive after that I do not know what more I can do for them.


Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1790/2

March 6th 1790
The Lying-in House was finished and one woman had been delivered there, when I was up, and the child saved.


From Benjamin to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1790/3

Golden Grove
March 29 1790

I receiv�d the honor of your letter of October 4th 1789 which I should have answered sooner but would for an opportunity of sending you the half yearly list of Negroes which you will please receive herewith, another shall be ready for some of the July ships for the present year. The Spanish Town list is not so accurate as I could wish owing to so many of them being there, of course the deaths and births are not always known upon the estate when they happen, in my next I will endeavour to have it more compleat. In the Bachelor�s Hall list of last year the overseer committed a mistake in giving 2 names to one boy of Lindsay�s Gang, whose proper name is Dickey and was also called Cudjoe and consequently made one more upon the list than should have been.
An epidemic of Peripneumonie nature prevailed much in the course of last year throughout the Island and in some places was very fatal, however I cannot ascribe our uncommon decrease on Golden Grove to this cause, not having lost a single patient by it tho� it affected the greater part of the robust and healthy upon the estate. A number of old and weakly invalids drop�d off and two or three accidents increased the number, however we lost 2 or 3 good women with a Dysentery early in the year, in the last half year there are only 2 of any value [viz] Bathsheba and Susannah, whom you will observe in the Account of Decrease.
I am happy to inform you the Lying-in House has answered the highest expectation and I have no doubt of its continuing to do so. Since the 1st Jany we have had 8 childn born besides 4 or 5 belonging to Holland Estate, all of whom are alive and well. The only difficulty in carrying this plan into execution lay with the mothers in the beginning, but the more sensible of them now begin to see the good effects of it, and in a little time I have no doubt of their giving up their old habits with alacrity when they find the preservation of their children will be their reward. � Had I wanted any confirmation of the truth of what I have always asserted to be the cause of the fatality amongst Negro childn I should here have the fullest testimony in support of the facts and nothing could be more effectual in preventing the mischief than the remedy now employed. Tis pity that the same anxious case which Mr Taylor possesses in so eminent a degree in these points was not more general than it is, and that a plan upon the same principle was universally adopted as I am confident in a very short time it would be the means of saving the lives of thousands, indeed the extent of the mischief in question is almost incredible and certainly one of the 1st principle causes of depopulation in the West Indies. But I must not omit to remark on a circumstance so singular as 8 births on G.Grove in so short a time, being more than double the number of what we may reasonably expect in common, however you shall have a faithfull and regular account of all that are born, which will enable you to judge of our success. I know it is not the number but the preservation of those that are born that will give you satisfaction and to obtain this end nothing shall be wanted.
In answer to your enquiries respecting the Botanical Garden, some of the plants have increased, the Mango will soon be as common as any natural production of the Country, there are also several very fine Cinnamon trees, the bark of which is excellent, of Nutmeg there is none, however the Camphor, Sago, Gum Arabic, a species of the Bread Fruit, with several other exotics are in a flourishing state, but sorry I am to add that in all probability in the course of 2 or 3 years there will not be the smallest vestige of a garden left. The river seems bent on its destruction, having already encroached within a few yards of its fence, although the Country is not unmindfull of it � it is fortunate that Mr East Gabden in Liguanea possess everything that is valuable, which is to found at Bath and I am informed in much higher perfection, here they are more likely to be preserved and propagated. Should I meet with anything that may be thought worthy, your acceptance will take particular care to presence and forward it.
The Medical observations and enquiries you were so kind as request Messrs Longs to send me are not yet come to hand and I hope it will not escape their memory.

I am with the highest respect and attachment, Sir, your most obedient, and most oblgd, humble servant,

B. Turney

Chal Arcedeckne Esq.


From Benjamin to Chaloner Arcedeckne Esq, c/o Messrs Long, Drake, Long & Hawking, (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1790/24)

Golden Grove
Jul 21st 1790
You will please receive enclosed a list of the Negroes on Golden Grove up to the 30th Jun last, with their Increase and Decrease. Since my last in March only three women have been delivered, which makes the whole number on G. Grove this year, ten, however they have produced eleven childn, all of whom are alive and well, in fact I have not lost one child in the Lying-in House out of 18 born since 1st Jany; a good omen I hope of future success. At present we have but few pregnant. I do not expect more than five or six at most before the close of the year. The unwillingness naturally to be expected from the mothers in conforming to this plan is now pretty well overcome, indeed every encouragement has been held out to them, which with the success attending it, appears to have reconciled them perfectly to the regulation. � I could wish, with your approbation to have something substituted in place of the check for the clothing of the newborn infants, it is too harsh and rough for the purpose, anything more soft and compliant would answer much better. � I have repeatedly visited the Botanical garden in the hopes of meeting with something that might be worth your acceptance, but am still at a loss what to send that would answer; if there is anything in particular that you would please to mention, no care, nor attention shall be wanting to procure it with all possible dispatch.
I have not yet read the medical observations and enquiries you was so good as mention, but hope Messrs Longs have not forgot them.
I am with the utmost respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most oblig�d humble servant,


In his list of Increases and Decreases of Originals on Golden Grove Benjamin names the 3 deliveries as:-
Jan 5th 1790 To Phaba delivered of a male child named Robert.
Feby 5th Red Sue delivered of a female child named Sally.
May 25th Corida delivered of a male child named Adam.
Jany 20th By Marotes Nanny died of Lockjaw.
Feby 25th Lucia an invalid died Insane.
May 13th Tomshot a watchman died of old age.
Of the Negroes bought off John Taylor [Simon Taylor�s brother]
Feby 2nd Cloe delivered of a female child named Harriet
June 1st Juliet delivered of a female child named Lucinda.
March 21st By Sylvia a little girl drowned
April 8th Galloway a Watchman died of old age.
A further list gives the names of the 181 Original Negroes on Golden Grove Estate living the 30th June 1790.
They are listed under their jobs, which are, Field Negroes, Field Cooks, Hoeing Fences, Grass Cutters, Cattlemen, Grooms, Party man, Hog Keeper, Midwife, House Negroes, Watchmen, Carpenters, Coopers, Masons, Blacksmiths. There is a category for Invalids of which there are 16. Women of which there are 36, Boys 17 of which 3 of their mothers are dead. Girls 16 , 5 of whose mothers are dead. Male children, 10, of which one mother is dead, and female children 10, of which two mothers are dead.


Extract from a letter by Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1790/30

Holland Estate, St Thos in the East, Jamaica
17th Sept 1790

I find the Lying-in House answers very well, we have not yet lost one child by the lockjaw and there has been 18 of yours and myne born there. If we can contrive to save them all, it will be a great matter for us.


(Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1790/42
Golden Grove Plantation to Simon Taylor DR
Dec 31st 1790 by Benjamin Turney for 182 Gallons of Rum
at 2/6 a Gallon..............................................�22.15
a small heifer..................................................�7.00
Hire of a Negro Woman this year.................�12.00



Extracts from a letter from Simon Taylor ito Chaloner Arcedeckne. (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1791

Jan 7 1791
The Lying-in House has answered very well hitherto the thing that hurts the women breeding is owing to their whirling about walking at nights to plays, dancing till daylight and a custom they have of suckling their children for at least two years, generally for two and a half and respecting the last I am hopeful that we will make a great improvement soon when the bathouse is finished the foundation is down and the carpenters are on it and it will be a very complete house and have both cold and warm baths and every convenience a hospital can house warm baths but I say now I do maintain it as an absolute fact that Negroes never will increase upon a large sugar estate ----------- and yet I cannot increase and never will until we can eradicate the venereal disease.


From Benjamin to Chaloner Arcedeckne. (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1791/16

Kingston July 24th 1791.

Inclosed you will please receive the list of Negroes on Golden Grove & Bachelors Hall to the 30th June last. I informed you in my last of having met with a temporary interruption in our success in the Lying-in House and the cause I then assigned for it I have since had sufficient reason to believe well founded. I have now a carefull and well disposed woman there and the success has been answerable to my expectation on the change, not having lost one since, out of 9 births, my only regret is, in not having more patients in that way.
I have for some months past been in a very bad state of health and I came here two or three weeks ago to profit all I can from change of air and the best assistance and advise the Island affords in the Medical line but am much afraid nothing less than an entire change of climate can repair the injury my constitution has received from the many and severe attacks it has sustained, however I am considerably better than when I left home and hope in a few days to be able to return.

At present have only to add that I am with the highest respect, Sir,
Your most obedient and humble servant



11 August 1791. Back at home in Sedgebrook The Reverend Thomas Twells had died and was buried in the church with several of the Turney family who have their graves inside. He lived in the village and farmed with the villagers and cottagers.

Benjamin, had, in several of his letters home sent his greetings to Rev. Twells. One of the witnesses to Rev Twell�s will was John Turney junior. [Benjamin�s brother] The Rev Twells had been a witness for Benjamin�s father�s will too. No doubt Benjamin will have been saddened to hear this news. Had he been home in time, would he have been well enough to attend the funeral. ?


Letter from Benjamin to Chaloner Arcedeckne. (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1791/18

18 October 1791

When I had the honour of writing my last letter to you from Jamaica I informed you of my being in a bad state of health and that I was apprehensive a change of climate would be necessary to my restoration but had not at that time the most distant idea that it would become so immediately and suddenly requisite. My complaints which were various and complicated, and also of many months standing were daily getting worse and I found it absolutely necessary to submit to the adviceof the faculty and take a very abrupt departure. I found the happiest benefit on the passage that could be possibly expected, and hope the advantage that may reasonably be looked for, from two or three of the winter months, will enable me to return in good health and with renovated constitution, my only anxiety now is that (with returning health) the step I have taken may meet your approbations, as I am happy to say it has Mr Taylor�s whom I had the pleasure of seeing yesterday. The care of both Golden Grove and Holland is in the hands of a gentleman in the neighborhood on whose diligence and attention I can rely and whom Mr Taylor approves. I therefore hope you will not be uneasy on this account. I intend to set off for the country in a few days, but will return as soon as I hear of your being in town, being anxious to have the honor of paying my personal respects.

I am with the greatest respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most oblgd, humble servant

PS Should you have any commands for me before I leave town, please direct to No. 20 Wood St., Cheapside


From Benjamin to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1792/4

Golden Grove
July 22 1792


I have the pleasure to inform you of my arrival here on the 5th June [9] last in good health after a pleasant passage of 36 days. You will please receive the list of Negroes made up from 1st Jany to 30th June with the Increase and Decrease. I find there have been but few children born during my absence however it gives me great pleasure to say they have been all preserved and I hope we shall continue to go on with the same success, tho there is but a poor prospect at present of much increase this year. I never knew so few of the women pregnant.
Agreeable to your desire there are ship�d on board the Humphries, Capt Ayton a cask of Cocos and 2 Kegs of Cassada, the Coco�s are of the white kind but I am doubtful of their keeping good till they reach you. They are packed in dry ashes which I believe is the only way to preserve them. The Cassada is of the bitter sort and prepared in the manner it is used here. The sweet kind is used immediately out of the ground as a Gam or Coco.
The Gams shall be sent by the earliest ship next season, which is the proper time for them, at present there are none to be pronounced fit for the purpose, - I dare say it will afford you great satisfaction to hear we are perfectly quiet and as far as I am able to judge likely to continue so. I have taken the liberty of sending by Capt. Ayton a jar of Mangoes, containing about 6 dozen, which I hope will be acceptable being the produce of Jamaica and shall be happy to hear are approved. They were only pickled this month and will therefore not be fit for use for some months to come. The jar should not be open�d till the Mangoes are ready for use.

Have only to add that, I am with the greatest respect, Sir, your most obedt & obligd humble servt



From Benjamin to Chaloner Arcedeckne Vanneck-Arc/3A/1793/10 (Cambridge University Library)

Jamaica, St Thomas in the East
May 1st 1793

Inclos�d the list of Negroes on Golden Grove and Bach Hall with the Increase & Decrease from the 30th of June to 31st Dec 1792 which I hope you will find to agree with former Accounts sent home. The only alteration of any consequence is that of about 30 boys and girls taken from their respective lists in the Original and Bought Negroes and placed under new Denominations. I am sorry to say we have a considerable number of Negroes in the Yaws10 , both old and young, especially the latter and many of them only just from the breast, which makes it difficult to do much for them in the Medicinal way, further than attention to food and cleanliness and keeping them as free as possible from worms. I am not under any apprehension for the grown up Negroes but am afraid of some loss among the children as they are in this disease at so early an age, particularly subject to dirt eating as well as Worms. Every possible care is taken of them and as they are separated from the rest I hope we shall in time get clear of it. We are doing very well in the Lying-in House, not having lost any this year and I have no doubt of going on with the same success, but it will be equally painful to loose them (after they pass the worst) by any other means, which I am very fearfull will be the case with some of those now in the Yaws. � Having nothing further particular to communicate beg leave to subscribe myself with the greatest respect, Sir, your most obedient, and obliged humble servant,



Letter from Benjamin to Chaloner Arcedeckne Vanneck-Arc/3A/1793/34 (Cambridge University Libarary)

Golden Grove
Dec 1st 1793
I had the honor of receiving your letter of Oct 1st a few days since and agreeable to your desire have examined the account of Decrease since 1st Jan. I am very sorry to inform you we have lost five children this year by the Yaws and dirt eating, to which they are particularly addicted under this disease, and one of a fever. I am also informed of 2 belonging to the Spanish Town Gang, having died in Kingston of a putrid sore throat and disease for some time past very prevalent in the towns and which has carried off a great number of childn. All those now remaining in the Yaws are in a state of recovery, and no appearance of any further loss. They are in a house, separated from the rest and taken every possible care of, by which means all communication is avoided and danger of the disease spreading prevented. This unfortunate loss of childn has swelled the Decrease acct to an unusual number and is by far the greatest part of the loss, it has given me much uneasiness, but I hope you are satisfied that everything is done for their preservation which can possibly be thought of. I am also sorry to say a dysenterie complaint has prevailed more this year on Golden Grove than I have in general observed and that a number of the children have been and still are much affected with it. We have lately had the smallpox in the neighborhood, I inoculated on the estate and Pen about 100, all of whom are perfectly recovered. Early in the year the general return shall be made up, with the Increase and Decrease and sent by the earliest ship.
You will by this time be informed of Mr Taylor having bought my Negroes for Golden Grove estate, which took place Aug last. It gives me much pleasure to say, I think this is a most advantageous purchase for the Estate � they are a very fine and healthy gang and from their having been brought up and settled on the Estate, are very valuable and I hope will answer every expectation. In consequence of this arrangement having taken place, it becomes my duty to inform you that it is my intention to leave Jamaica in the course of Next year, I think about June and I sincerely hope my successor may equal me in attention to the duties of his office, in gratitude and most zealous attachment to your interest, and far exceed me in abilities and success. I cannot thank you Sir sufficiently for the very liberal support you have afforded me during my residence on Golden Grove, but I trust you will believe, I feel the most lively sense of gratitude and which I shall retain to the latest period of my life. Should there be any services I can render you before I leave the Country, shall think myself highly honor�d by your commands and remain with the utmost respect, Sir, your much obligd, and most obedient, humble servant,



Extract from Simon Taylor in Kingston to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1794

Jan 18 1794
Simon reports on the storm the previous October where the sea on the West of the Island wrecked every vessel in Montego Bay then goes on to say :-

I am glad that you approve of my having bought Turney�s Negroes. The reason he sold them was, a Mr Jamison that was my Overseer at Holland sold me his Negroes that used to work with Turneys and the two gangs together made up one very good one, tho when divided the Doctor thought his rather small and therefore sold them. He does not talk of going home, indeed I do not wish it while he has his health, for he is a very good plantation Doctor, he knows and does his business. I have bought 20 young Ebo women for wives for Turneys men.


Extracts from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1794

Feb 4 1794

I informed you that Mr. Madden your overseer had been very ill & I apprehended he would die. The day before I left this he came to town very ill, grew worse and worse and died about four days after. I was at Golden Grove at the time on account of his death come up. Upon consulting Turney he informed me the eldest booker a Mr McCruickshanks had lived six years on the estate, that he knew it well, was a sober and industrious young man and he thought would do very well.

The letter goes on to describe the condition of a dam, which may cause problems to next years sugar crop. A lot of work will need to be done.
It will take the estates, Turney�s and the Bachelors Hall Negroes a considerable time to do it.

Later in the letter we read :-
Dr Turney informs me that he intends to leave this country in the first fleet for good, there have been several people speaking to me to succeed him I have uniformedly informed them that you have always hitherto when a Doctor was wanting sent one out from home and that I have always employed the same person as you do and should continue it, for we each of us made a rule that the Doctor should live on the estate, visit it twice a day and take charge of the Lying-in House and visit the Bachelors Hall and my Penn and not take any other practice; if you have no person who you wish to send out immediately and if Turney leaves the island before I hear from you there is a young man who is 32 or 33 years old living on Duckinfield Hall Estate who has no other practice.

and when Turney went to England before he got him to officiate for him, he says he will gladly accept the same terms as Turney and will see all the estate three times a day.


Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1794

May 4 1794

Turney never informed me of his intention to leave this country until about 7 or 8 weeks ago. There is a very good man, that Turney left the care of his practice too when he went to England in 1791 whose name is Bolton, and he lives at Duckinfield Hall.

(following the sudden death of the overseer a new one has been appointed as well as a new doctor.)

You will see Turney and he can inform you particularly about him and your doctor.

I have settled with Turney for his Negroes in the following manner. They were delivered on the 25th August last and amounted to �5960, this currency to make it equal to a payment in England have taken 5 months, two for the passage and three for the 90 days sight of bills, so that�s on the third of the principal sum of �5960 being the sum of �1906.13.4 is payable on the 24th Jan next with the interest on the whole sum being �290, makes �2284.13.4. or �1631.10.1 for which sum I have given him a bill of exchange on you dated this day payable on 24 Jan next, for the remaining part there will be the same sum due to him and payable with int. the 24 Jan 1796. The sum of �1560.19.0 and the remaining sum of �1490 payable on 24 Jan 1797 and for which I have given him my Bonds as your Attorney payable in England and he has executed the title of the Negroes to you.

Using the Web Site �How much is that worth today� at an amount of �6,000 in 1794 equates to �380,403.23 in the year 2002. According to �Travel, Trade and Power in the Atlantic 1765-1884� compiled by Betty Wood & Martin Lynn, in the year 1765 a Negroe could be bought for �52. Converting that amount for the year 1765 amounts to �3,296.80 in 2002.


Extract from Simon Taylor in to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/
(replying to a letter from C. Arcedeckne dated 4 Aug 1794)
Oct 10 1794
I am very lad to hear that Turney has arrived safe he had a very severe fit of illness just as he was to have gone aboard one of the Merchant Men.


Extracts from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1794
Nov 15 1794

I also see that Turney has been to wait on you, but did not stay long, he had spoke to me about his little Mullattoe son, but he died about 14 days after Turney left, this of the whooping cough. If he should return, I do not see where you can get a better Doctor than he is, we ought to consult our own interest, especially in the care of our own Negroes.

but by a letter Turney wrote dated 1st September he thinks of buying a grazing farm in Lincolnshire.

Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1795/1

Dec 15 1795
My time has really been so occupied that Turney�s bonds did not occur to me and indeed I do not see any reason for exchanging them into Bills and making yourself liable for them by getting your acceptance and if the Country is lost you will loose sufficiently without adding any more to it.


Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1796/6

10 April 1796

I observe you have paid Dr Turney his second bond. I did not pay it here the Stocks may be very good but I would as soon have my money elsewhere, out of the reach of Mr. Pitt as well as that of Mr. Fox should he ever come into play.


Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1796/8

May 1 1796

I did not chuse to draw for Turney�s money as the fleet was put off and did not know but it might have been inconvenient to you.


Extract from Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne (Cambridge University Library) Vanneck-Arc/3A/1796/21

28 Sept 1796
I should be very sorry that poor Turney has been dabbling in the Funds for I am confident he could know nothing about them and consequently is and was liable to be duped. I believe the best way will be to pay him at home and that will settle that transaction.


This is the end of the letters from Jamaica.


Return to top of page

Home Page, - 1841 Census, - 1851 Census, - 1861 Census, - 1871 Census, - 1891 Census & Strays, - 1901 Census, - 1911 Census, -

Topography & Directories, - Church of St Lawrence, - Wills, - Names from the Parish Register & M.I.'s, - Newspaper Reports, - Memorial Inscriptions, -

Notice Board & Contacts, - Stray Marriages of Sedgebrook Inhabitants, - Married in Sedgebrook, found elsewhere, - Turney Family, -

Militia List, - Newspaper BMD Wills & Obits, - Sedgebrook School, - Quarter Sessions, - Sedgebrook Manor House