Dr. Walter Ross (III) 1 2
- Born: 1793
- Died: 1832 at age 39
From Slaves & Highlanders (http://www.spanglefish.com/slavesandhighlanders/index.asp?pageid=316500):
Dr Walter Ross (1793-1832) was the son of Walter Ross, tacksman of Kincraig (parish of Roskeen), and Christian Wallace. After spending some time in London, he went to Georgetown, Demerara, in 1819 from where he wrote, shortly after arriving, to his uncle, John Wallace at Nonkiln (Ross-shire):
Doctors do very well here, many of them have £3,000 a year and I hope in a few years I shall have a very handsome income . . . I shall find horses the most expensive thing. A doctor in good practice must keep four and the cost nearly £100 each. Great Fortunes have been made here of late by the rise of the price of Negroes; a good negro costs £300 and two or three years ago they were only worth £80 . . . morals here are very bad. Every quite [white] man almost has his Mistress and a swarm of Mulatto children. This is a system I detest and which please God I am determined to avoid. You will be surprised to hear that I am accused of being over religious. I hope the country will soon improve in this respect. I feel quite happy and I am confident if I live of doing well here but I shall be able to be more particular in my next. I gasp for any news from Britain. This is my first letter to Scotland and I hope you will not be loose a day in answering it and be particular in your intelligences.
Letter of Dr Walter Ross
Dr Ross was said to have 'amassed a considerable fortune' by the time of his death in 1832. [British Columbia Historical Quarterly April 1943 'Five Letters of Charles Ross, 1842-44']
From Lack Family Genealogy (http://www.lackfamily.net/genealogy/names/wallace_name/d1.htm#i620):
General Notes: Georgetown, Demerara.10th March 1819
Mr John Wallace,Tacksman of Nonikiln, Invergordon
My dear John,
I think I promised to write to you after my arrival in South America, but let that be as it may, I feel at this moment such a strong desire to hear of my friends in Ross-shire that I must write, and know of none to whom I have a greater pleasure in writing than to yourself. I never will forget the many happy moments I spent at Nonikiln.
I had a very stormy and tedious passage across the Atlantic. I left London in the end of October and arrived here about the end of December. I wrote to London and Liverpool immediately on my arrival but I have heard nothing yet from Britain.
This is a most delightful country; for the last ten or twelve years there have been no dangerous diseases, and it is at this moment as healthy as Roshkeen. I never enjoyed better health than I do at this moment. Newcomers have almost always a fever shortly after their arrival, but these fevers which formerly proved so fatal are for some years so very mild as to create no apprehension whatever. My friend Mr. Brown was seized with it yesterday week and he is now quite recovered and about to preach on Sunday. The manners and habits of this country are altogether new to me. I wish I had you here for a week! Nothing would surprise you so much as their profession of money. Their is no copper used at all: buy an egg and you pay a bit (5 shs) for it. When I arrived I employed a Negro to carry a Trunk a distance of about ¼ of a mile and he charged 5/-!! Everything else is in proportion. Dr. Brown's precentor has £100 stg. a year and the Kirk Officer £50. Doctors do very well here; many of them have £3000 a year, and I hope in a few years I shall have a very handsome income.
I had Letters to many of the most respectable Inhabitants in the Colony. I dine out almost every day since I arrived. The expense of their dinners here is most enormous: they have five or six varieties of wine every day, they drink Champaine, for which they pay £8 per dozen bottles, like small beer. I shall find horses the most expensive thing, and Doctors in good practices must keep four and they cost nearly £100 each. Great fortunes have been made here of late by the rise of the price of Negroes. A good Negro costs £300 and two or three years ago they were only worth £80. The hire of a slave is 5/- a day and a white man will work as much as three of them, but they can endure the heat of the sun better.
Mr. Brown is better circumstanced than any Clergyman in Ross-shire. A house and garden were bought for him last week for nearly £2000. He will be able to save nearly £400 a year. His Church is quite a grand one and the congregation very respectable. Their Morals here are very bad. Every white man almost has his Mistress and a swarm of Mulatto children. This is a system which I detest and which please God I am determined to avoid. You will be surprised to hear that I am accused of being over-religious. I hope the country will soon improve in this respect. I feel quite happy and I am confident if I live of doing well here but I shall be able to be more particular in my next.
I gasp for news from Britain. This is my first letter to Scotland and I hope you will not lose a day in answering it and be particular in your intelligence, Give my warmest remembrances to your honest spouse; give her a kiss from me, How is my esteemed uncle George and family. I will surprise him with a letter some of these days. You will mention me to Lachlin etc. etc. without mentioning .. ........ Call upon my friend the Minister of Killearn and tell him I will write to him soon. Who is schoolmaster there ? Give my compliments at Brigend. Is my Flame Miss Munro married or about to be married ? I would desire you to go to Strathpeffer but John would acquaint Mr. McKenzie with my welfare.
I have not met many acquaintances here from Ross-shire. I saw a son of Benjamin Ross the other day. Young men having no profession have great hardships to endure here for many years after their arrival, and after all, unless they have good Friends it is very precarious whether they can reaIise a fortune until (before ?) they are so reduced by effects of climate as to be unable to enjoy it. My excellent friends the Robertsons are well and I see them daily.
I regret putting you to the expence of Postage but I cannot pay it here otherwise I would do it at once for I hope never to feel the want of money more. Address "Dr. Ross, Georgetown, Demerara."
I hope your farm goes on well, Have you settled with Rose ? I hope to see you at Nonikiln some ten years hence. I shall always wish you, my dear John, long life and happiness, Be not over anxious about this world, but learn to be content, and believe me ever to be your most affectionate nephew
I am going on Wednesday to a great BaIl given by the sons of an A L Paterson which is calculated will cost £1000. I wish you had the sum.
This week you see me met with an accident but I have no time to transcribe it.
Dr W.Ross.1819, Demerara
Noted events in his life were:
• Emigrated, Dec 1818, Georgetown, Demerara, (Guyana).