The "Peopling Plan": Recruiting Indentured Laborers in Greece, Italy, and Minorca

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Paris, May 7, [1767]

“I arrived here yesterday and set out for Lyons tomorrow. The object before me hastens me so much that I regret the loss of this day, which, however, I would not shun. I troubled you, Sir William, with a letter from Dover to desire you to write one [letter] to Marseilles as soon as the warrant for Secretary came to your hands. From something drop't from Dr. Stork, I suspect that he had an intention to endeavour to get [the secretary of East Florida appointment] through the Prince of Wales, to whom he is known. I hope this suspicion is not well founded, however, I shall not be sure of it until I hear of Mr. Tully's having sent the warrant to you. Though it is not of importance yet a second disappointment would not be agreeable. I hope I am wrong for I should be sorry to have such a bad opinion of Stork. My respects to Lady Mary, I find a remarkable difference in the dampness of the air here, and am persuaded that Lady Mary would be better in France than in London.”

Dundee City Archive

John Graham to James Grant

Savannah, May 28, 1767

Graham has now secured the cattle requested by the East Florida planters. He bought 500 head from Mr. Barnard. They are up country cattle. And he also bought 500 head from George McIntosh which ranged Sappelo River to the Altamaha River, on the salts.

Have Mr. [John] Davis on the spot to select the cattle he wants for Turnbull, all salts or fifty-fifty, whatever he wants. Mr. Rolle wants 300 head.

James Grant Papers, Roll 13, File 362-367

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Marseilles, [France] May 29, 1767

“I was glad to learn my suspicions of Dr. Stork were ill founded. I have engaged a gentleman here to procure me some able vine and olive planters from this part of France. I intend also to carry a few Italians with me from Leghorn that ... [possess] every chance of knowledge and experience in the cultivation of these valuable productions. I arrived here the 17th of this month and I go by the packet boat to Port Mahon. If the wind is favorable we go tomorrow morning.”

Dundee City Archives

John Graham to James Grant

Savannah, June 13, 1767

Graham informs Grant that five African ships are expected in Savannah in the summer, which will require Graham's presence in the city. I have received letters from Mr. Penman and from Captain Bisset, both mention how unlucky Dr. Turnbull has been with regard to the purchase of Negroes from me. No less than three of the five are dead. To all appearances they were in perfect health when they went from this place and to Graham they seemed to be “very likely men boys” or he would have selected others for Turnbull.

Graham says that at his own plantation in two months time he lost six of ten Africans that he picked last July from a “choice cargo.” “There is no accounting for it and it sometimes has been that no one is lost in one hundred, though my own loss has been very heavy, yet I'm sure it has not given me more uneasiness than Mr. Turnbull. I propose sending to Augustine twenty or thirty supernumeries that they may have any one of ye choosing for any that may be disliked of my choice.”

James Grant Papers, Roll 14, File 28-30

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Leghorn, [Italy], June 15, 1767

“I arrived at Mahon the 26th of last month where I staid only five days to regulate everything necessary for our Greeks, and [for] this place, where I have been ever since the 7th of this month. I was sorry not to find the [letters of credit] from Mr. Couts but I could not doubt of having them very soon, and still flatter myself that they are forwarded....”

Without letters of credit, Turnbull was forced to delay his recruitment plans, forcing him to stay one week longer in Italy than he wanted. He felt he had to leave for Turkey soon or be “thrown too far back in the season.” He decided, therefore, to “proceed with £1500 of my own money which I had forwarded to this place and I have freighted a ship to carry me to the Levant to collect as many colonists as I can provide for at present, and if your letters get here before I go away I shall still be in time to go on as at first intended, and to take up my first plan....[Please send next letters by] “way of Vienna and Marseilles directed to me at Smirna, enclose in letter to Mr. Alexander Longis at Mssrs. Martin and Triol [perhaps Friot], known merchants in Marseilles.”

Expecting grape vines to flourish in Florida, Turnbull procured “some very expert people from the South of France, and from several of the Italian States; so that I am without a doubt of beginning such an Emigration from these different countries and from Greece, as will soon people his Majesty's Southern Colonies of North America. I go from this place to Malta, Levant, and the Greek Islands, and afterwards to Smirna, where I hope to be about the 20th of August. I will not neglect, Sir William, to acquaint you on how I go on....”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Leghorn, [Italy], June 19, 1767

“The Post of yesterday brought me an order from Mr. Couts for the 3000 pounds.” Turnbull immediately drew £1000 Sterling for his expenses and planned to draw an equal amount during the next week. He also enclosed a bill drawn on the “Right Honorable George Grenville for 1000....” During the delay while waiting for the letters of credit, Turnbull readied the ship for passengers, loading supplies needed during the forthcoming voyage.

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Leghorn, June 26, 1767

. . .

“I depart tomorrow morning very early for Port Mahon, to set down about a hundred people I have now on board in the ship in the road. I have collected these People from several states in Italy. I go away with them as fast as possible as the governour has taken umbrage at my taking so many People from his place. I mean strangers, for I have taken none belonging to this State. He gave me leave at first to ship strangers but having discovered that my scheme was much larger than he at first imagined he seems to look out for a pretext to detain my ship, and although I proceed with caution yet I think it proper to get away for fear of Detention.

“Though this first number is small, I can see that it has opened such an Emegration (sic) from this part of the world as will be of great consequence in America. As soon as I set these people down at Mahon I depart for Greece to bring the other colonists.

“June 27, 1767, in the morning early. I am now on board and the ship is getting under sail. I have about a hundred fine vine planters and labourers aboard.”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

[Port Mahon], July 1767

“I had the pleasure of informing you by my last letter from Leghorn that I shipped 110 people who I departed with the 27th of last month and I arrived here on the 5th of this month. I bought a fiddle and drum for them and we were merry, noisy, and healthy during the passage. They are all young people without maim or deformity, and seem to be very able for planting and peopling. I will endeavour to take only those who have such qualifications as are necessary in a new colony. I have these first recruits here under proper care and regulations and I hasten to Turkey for the Greek colonists. As I find there is a great deal to do in this affair I look forward to it with so much the more pleasure, and I do not doubt of succeeding to our expectations. I depart tomorrow for Greece and hope to be here again in October or November at farthest.”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to James Grant

Port Mahon, July 9, 1767

“I have the pleasure of acquainting your Excellency that I arrived here yesterday from Leghorn with one hundred and ten working people. I leave them here until my return from Greece, which I hope will be in November at farthest; I have reasons, Sir, to flatter myself that I may bring nigh five hundred working people besides children, but something may hinder my getting above half that number. I beg the assistance of a favour to bring them ashore when the ship or ships appear off the bar of St. Augustine. I will hoist a white flag at the [ ?] gallant mast head, as soon as I see the signal house, where I make no doubt they will have orders to keep a good look out.

“I am afraid that Mrs. Turnbull will be uneasy about the risk she thinks I [take] on this Levant expedition. I beg sir that you will assure her that I do not go to any place where there is danger. I think I know the ground well that I am to head on.

“As I shall want corn when I arrive I beg the favour of your Excellency ordering as much to be ready as will be sufficient for five hundred people with good appetites for three months. Also two or three thousand weight of pork not of the fishy sort and
[we easily] can use double the number of fish and rows [roe] already ordered, I will take [word not eligible] from him on my arrival which I hope will be in January. The fish must be all wet salted, and the rows well dried in the sun, small fish and rows too, for one. Mr. Earl and Davis may order a few to be used, especially the rows if the fish they catch for eating [are not sufficient. I am sorry for causing you a great] deal of trouble. I give my complements to everybody.

“I intend to bring some young mulberry with me. If the passage is long they will certainly perish, therefore I should be glad if it could be contrived to have some from Georgia that no time may be lost....”

James Grant Papers, Roll 14, File 109-111

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Port Mahon, July 11, 1767

“My last letter informed you that I had taken 2000 plus my own 240 to the captain of a ship to fit out to deduct from freight. Five hundred pounds was placed in the hands of Edward Purnell Esq., in Leghorn for purchase of items for our plantation and to freight and fit out a ship to meet me here in November. About £450 laid out for the people I brought here for their food, bed, clothing. That laid out in cloathes is charged against their wages.” Turnbull wrote that £1800 would be changed into silver money called Tallare and carried with him to Turkey. It was delivered to Mr. Barker's merchant house in Leghorn and in exchange for bills of lading dispatched to Mr. Thomas Nixon in London.

“Most of the People I brought here were twenty to thirty years old. I have agreed with them at wages of five pounds a year for six years from the day of their arrival in the province, one half of the five pounds to be paid at the end of every year, the other half at the Expiration of the six years. A few of them from fifteen to twenty years of age serve at half wages till twenty, and six years afterward at full wages of five pounds yearly. By this agreement you see, Sir William, that the labour of these people will not cost us half so much as is generally paid, besides the advantage of their being easily maintained, and of keeping the one half of the wages in our hands until the expiration of the term of years agreed upon. This will ensure their staying with us better than any other method I could think of, and at the same time saves the laying out of much money for wages till the produce makes a fund for that end. And as there must be an overseer for every twenty-five or thirty laborers I have agreed with four at fifteen pounds Sterling a year. This is another savings of thirty or forty and more is generally given in America.

“The proposals which I make to families are that they are to be carried into the province freight, bedding, and etc. free but that all other expenses of provisions, tools, etc., are first to be deducted out of the produce of the lands, and when that is all paid we are to share half and half for seven, ten, or fourteen years, to begin from the time of the first sharing. The family however is to have the necessary provisions of food from the mass of the produce before the division is made. These will be very advantageous conditions to the proprietors as it will ensure the people on his ground at least ten years, I mean even those who engage for seven years after the first divisions which will probably [be] the third year after their beginning to open the ground. I will do my utmost to engage the Greeks to accept terms which you will observe, Sir William, are more advantageous to us than the first I proposed in London. When I am in Turkey if I find that I can have a sufficient number of Greeks, I will in that case, draw on you for the other thousand pounds from Smirna, or draw from Minorca on my arrival here again, and if you think proper, Sir William, to ... [have Gov. Johnstone arrange credits for me it would speed us on.”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Malta, July 20, 1767

Turnbull arrived in Malta on July 19th, and planned to proceed to Turkey in five or six days. “As I had observed, when I was here three years ago, that the Maltese were very dexterous at ginning of cottons, I now propose to ask the grand master to permit me to hire two or three of them for that purpose, and as this Island has ten thousand more inhabitants more than it can maintain [I should be able to contract for] many of them two or three years hence....I have also ordered some cotton ginns to be made here.”

Turnbull says he is “very impatient to be in Turkey.” His travels had again been delayed by four or five days, this time by a bad storm, “a gale,” which knocked over a ship named the “Bold Spirit” near Sardinia.

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Smirna, [Turkey], September 3, 1767

Turnbull arrived at Smirna ten days before September 3rd, and began buying “provisions for the People I am about to embark. I stayed a few days in the place from whence I take these Greeks and as there will be as many in all probability as will fill two ships, I have freighted another here. The first with provisions etc., on board is already under sail and on departure the other cannot be ready in less than two or three days.”

Duncan had warned Turnbull that the Levant Company might object to his recruitment plans, prompting him to say: “They cannot overset my Scheme, though they have cramp't me a little. However, I am up with them, for I have persuaded half their factors here to come to Florida where they intend not only to bring their families and fortunes but also to bring others with them. The difficulty of settling affairs here will keep them here two or three years before they can come. I proceed with caution and secrecy as to the place where I intend to ship the people and do not even mention it here for fear my letter should be opened, but as soon as I arrive in Malta or Mahon I will write more fully. My schooner was seen here, and the Turks were informed of it, which obliged me to some little Expenses extraordinary for fear of my provisions being stopped...but now all [has been] taken care of and the ship is six miles away. I'm not worried about getting people on board. Even if they go back on their word I have other resources”
. . .

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Milos, September 30, 1767

“Tho' I have been often within a hundred miles of the place where I am to take in the Greeks, yet I have not been able to get there. The contrary winds and weather having buffeted me about for twenty days past without being able to advance a foot, and at last obliged me to take shelter for fear of being drove on some of the Islands in these seas. This delay ill suits my impatience to get on, and will probably retard my arrival at Port Mahon till the middle of November, so that I cannot expect to sail from thence to Florida before the beginning of December at soonest, and if I meet with much bad weather, it may be later.”
. . .

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Near Sparta [Greece], October 10, 1767

. . .
“I have some of the Greeks on board and hope to fill our two little ships in twelve or fifteen days more. I am onboard the ship I brought from Leghorn which is at anchor in the mouth of the Eurotes River where the Spartan Fleet used to lay. Sparta is a days journey from hence where I intend to go to meet with a person of note there about providing some hundreds of families for us every year. So that with these and others, I hope to succeed in the Peopling Plan and that in a large way. However as I do not hold myself absolutely certain until I have all the Greeks on board and the Ships under sail, I beg, Sir William, that you would not say anything of this latter until you hear from me after I depart from here.”

Turnbull was worried about an “unforseen accident” but he was no longer worried about “hindrance or molestation from the Turks.”

Dundee City Archives

Photographs

introduction


Gythion toward East


Gythion toward Eurotas River


coastal villages in Mani


Kotronis, Eastern Mani


Terracing near Vathia Mesa Mani


Kokkala East Coast Mani

Photographs II

introduction


Near Vathia Mesa Mani


Tower houses terracing Mesa Mani


Tsikalia Mesa Mani


Tsikalia Mesa Mani


Wildflowers inside Methoni Castle Fortress

Photographs III

introduction


Koroni Harbor Gulf of Messinia


Koroni Fortress


Methoni Castle


Bourtzi Prision, Methoni Castle

Governor James Grant to Sir William Duncan

St. Augustine, November 7, 1767

Governor Grant informed Duncan that he would be able to locate six tracts of land of four to five thousand acres each for Dr. Andrew Turnbull's children and friends, but that they would be south of the two tracts already granted at Mosquito Inlet. Mr. Upton's 20,000-acre tract and Mr. Fawcett's property of the same size lay between the tracts already granted to Turnbull and Duncan and the promised tracts.

Locating the two tracts promised for Sir Richard Temple [actually intended for Mr. George Grenville], and for Mr. Barbolou will have to be delayed until Turnbull returns from the Mediterranean.

Grant also announced that the Earl of Shelburne had agreed to spend forty shillings of government money for each of the first 500 Greek adult settlers imported.

East Florida, the governor said, was remote from the other British provinces and “still in a great measure in a State of Nature.”

Dundee City Archive

Henry Laurens to Sir William Duncan

Charles Town, December 26, 1767

Laurens mailed an invoice with charges for items sent to New Smyrna. Included were forty barrels of rice, twelve barrels beef, two barrels of salt, eighteen barrels of corn, 2080 bushels of corn in bulk, and twenty hogs, all ordered by Governor Grant for the New Smyrna settlement.

Laurens sent another letter on January 8, 1768, enclosing a bill for freighting provisions to Turnbull's storehouse at New Smyrna.

. . .

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Leghorn [Italy], January 22, 1768

Bad weather and contrary winds hindered Turnbull's recruitment activities in the Mediterranean. His passage from Turkey to Leghorn lasted three months. The storms were so bad on the journey to Port Mahon that Turnbull was forced to stop at Leghorn for four days to repair sails and rigging on his ship.

He wrote on the 22nd of January: “I have sent a ship to Mahon with Greeks” but informed Duncan that he could not write full informative letters because his letters were being opened and censored by the authorities “on account of my having taken some people from this place last summer.” His plan at that time was to depart on January 23rd for Port Mahon.

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Mahon, February 3, 1768

Turnbull finally arrived back at Port Mahon on February third. He informed Duncan: “All our people I left here are well except one who died lately, but I am very anxious for a large French Tartan full of Greek families. The Captain of the Mahon packet boat spoke with them twenty-one days ago. He was then only twelve leagues from this Island, but a storm coming on soon after, it is imagined he bore away for some port in Spain.

. . .

“I shall carry at least 500 People to Florida, and all for our plantations except a thousand pounds worth, belonging to another gentleman.”

. . .

“I have 250 working people with me here now [along with] others, and if the French vessel...” arrives I can take at least 500 to Florida, though expenses have been “much heavier than I imagined.”

My quarantine will be out in ten days, and I have ordered Biscuit to be baked and every other necessary thing for getting away as soon as possible.”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Port Mahon, February 16, 1768

The delays in departure for Florida caused unexpected expenses that were greatly vexing to Turnbull. In mid-February he sent three bills to Duncan, totaling £2300 Sterling. He told Duncan he was getting ready to depart Mahon, but first he had to collect enough provisions to sustain the laborers during the long journey to Florida. Purchasing enough flour for bread was a particular problem “on account of so little wind that the mills cannot work.” He had tried to purchase enough provisions in Turkey but during the unexpectedly long three month voyage to Port Mahon the settlers consumed the supply enroute. Turnbull anxiously awaited the arrival of the other vessel with Greek settlers, which would bring the total to 500.

“As to our scheme in general you will see by my letters by the packet that the engagements I have made with most of the Families obliges them to stay with us as Farmers for Ten years after the cultivation of the land gives an advantage which ensures them on our Farms for thirteen years at least, and tho' the expenses have been higher, from delays and other accidents, than I expected, yet the advantages on the whole will rather exceed than fall short of our estimates and calculations.”

Turnbull apologized for the heavy expenses, but argued that he could not avoid buying enough foodstuffs to sustain his recruits until they were settled in Florida.

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Minorca, February 21, 1768

“I have sent you three letters since my arrival here, but had not time to acquaint you with the particulars of my voyage into Turkey and the measures I was obliged to take to procure people for our colony, which were, that when I found that the Turks were apprised of my Scheme by the Levant Company's consuls, and that the Priest, engaged to meet me, was stop't by his Patriarch at Constantinople, and consequently could not fulfill his contract with me, I then turned myself to that part of the Peloponnese where the Greeks are not subject to the Turks, who they drove out of their Country fifty years ago, and still maintain their independency.

“After I had engaged as many of these Greeks as two large ships could conveniently carry, I went to Smyrna to freight another Ship, and to lay in provisions for the voyage, which was all ready in twelve days. I then departed for the mouth of the Eurotas [River], which was the Port of Rendezvous, but westerly winds detained me a month in this passage, which is usually made in three days. On my arrival, I collected my people as fast as I could, and got the greatest part on board. I was then going to another port to take in the rest, but the plague breaking out in the neighborhood obliged me to put to sea for fear of bringing Infection into the ships.

“I resolved then to fill up in another place, but the Captains of the ships objected on account of the dangers from an advanced season, and as I found also that the Turks were on their guard, and would continue to keep a lookout as long as they saw me on their coasts, I thought it best to anchor in a [nearby] port and to agree with a Greek of Influence in his country to bring me two hundred people more, and meet me at Mahon.

“When I had concluded this agreement I steered for Malta with the two ships, but after beating a month against a contrary wind and the most stormy weather I ever saw, I was obliged to put into Modon for refreshments. I took care to anchor out of gunshot of the Fort for fear of Detention, but was obliged to send my boat ashore with ten of my people for water. They were surprised, seized, and loaded with Irons by the Turks. This was done on pretext of my having Turkish subjects on board. I was not alarmed at this as I knew from experience that money affected everything with Turks, and consequently I set negotiations on foot with the governor, who released my people the next day, after we had agreed that the moula' or cadi should send a captain of the grand Segnior's galeones on board, with another officer to visit the two ships, and to search everywhere to see whether I had any Greeks with me or not. These officers being let onto the secret had private orders not to search the ships, but only to drink coffee with me in the cabin. This was done, and they went ashore and declared by the holy Faith of their Prophet that they had look't into every part of the ships, but did not find any subjects of their Master on board. This affair cost me six hundred dollars to the governor, and one hundred to the officers.

“I was sorry for this expensive incident but there was no other way of getting the people out of their hands but by paying for them. I put to sea next day where I still met with such bad weather that I was twenty four days before I arrived at Malta where I staid ten days to fill up our water and to take on some cotton gins and other Engines I had bespoke there. I then got under sail but still found such weather at sea that the ships were kept above water with difficulty, three ships were lost very nigh us on the Coast of Sicily.

“Notwithstanding all the stormy weather of this Winter my people kept their health and spirits, but this delay of three months at least more than could be immagined (sic) has taken so much the greater loss as it consumed much of the provisions laid in for America, and still brings on more expences and a loss of time in providing a fresh supply. All my people are now arrived except two hundred Greeks who I expect every moment. When these join me I shall have above nine hundred men, women and children which will make a good beginning.

“I have freighted four ships but am afraid that I shall be obliged to purchase a small schooner to take in a few of them for fear of crowding the ships too much. My expences run high from having double the number of people at first proposed, which happens from my having opened a correspondence for people from several places, which have all furnished a greater number than I expected, and consequently obliges me to a higher expence than was agreed on between us, but as a greater number gives a proportionate advantage, I do not make the least doubt of your joining with me in it and of supporting me in this affair, which will certainly turn out in a great way for us. And as the number we carry over are very considerable for private persons, I flatter myself that Lord Hillsborough, who I am glad to hear is Minister for America, will see that what we have been doing is the work of government, tho' it carries our private advantage with it, and I hope that his Lordship will extend the premium, granted us for Greeks, to Italians and others from the south of Europe, as they are equally useful.

“Forty shillings a head is to be paid us for the first five hundred working Greeks we carry into East Florida [although] not for children, for whom nothing is paid, tho' they are of no utility to us for some time, but rather a heavy load on us. I flatter myself, therefore, that his Lordship will extend this premium to all the men, women, and children which we carry over, which is so much the more reasonable as we have begun this affair at a great expence, which if continued and properly conducted will certainly drain Italy and Greece of their working hands in a very few years. This I venture to affirm from having sounded the Dispositions of these people, whose inclinations to emigrate are so strong that nothing but the inability to pay for ships to carry them away keeps them in countries where they groan under oppression and poverty.

“In Greece the husbandman is liable to the worst of usage as to his person, and the Italian Farmer is hardly put to it to get a very miserable subsistence, and often starved into Diseases and Death, especially in the Ecclesiastical states and in the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. Even in the northern states of Italy where the labourer is not so much oppressed, a spirit of emigration manifested itself very strongly in June last after I departed from Leghorn for a Report being spread that people were wanted for America, about two thousand vine and olive planters assembled in the environs of Leghorn, and would have ship't themselves for Florida if vessels had been ready to carry them away. And I have advices now from Turkey that five hundred families will be ready next month to embark from the Morea for our colonies, if ships are sent for them.

“But all this being attended with an extraordinary expence, few will enter into that way of peopling, except they are assisted by government in the beginning. That assistance should either be a continuation of a premium till five thousand men, women and children have been brought into the province, or that a Frigate or sloop of War be lent to Florida for the carrying of Greeks and Italians from this place to America. This last would be an expence of two or three thousand pounds to government, which would be the only sum necessary to be laid out as an encouragement for peopling the province.

“Lord Hillsborough proposed an annual ship to be employed in this manner: and as that was proposed soon after the Florida's were ceded to us, it would have thrown thousands of people into that part of America before now if it had been set on foot then. I flatter myself that his Lordship will now go on with this part of his former plan, which will not only be the least expensive to government, but also of greater service and help to the grantees than any other mode of assistance yet proposed. I found very great inconveniences from not having such a ship with me for the captain would have been more under my command than a charter party with a master of a merchantman admits of apprehensions of being sequestered by the Turks, with excuses of unsafe places to anchor in were continually objected to me, which was not only a hindrance but also run me into great expences and loss of time, which would not have happened if I had been in a ship where the captain depended on me and would have done his utmost to assist me.

“I beg leave, Sir William to repeat my entreaties of your doing all you can to obtain this very reasonable assistance of a premium for all the people I carry with me, and if it is obtained, to get an order to the governor of East Florida to give me Bills for it on the office which it is to be drawn from. I'll write to you by every opportunity, tho' I am much hurried from the Difficulty I find to provide every thing for so many people, where there is every a scarcity of such provisions as I want. Governor Johnston assists me much, and I am greatly obliged to him.

“I beg the favour of my humble respects to Lord Hillsborough with my hearty congratulations on his being appointed Secretary of State for America. I hope our Infant Colony will grow up to Manhood under his Lordship's administration.

“I had almost forgot to acquaint you that I have thousands of vines, and other plants for Florida, young olive and mulberry trees are not left out of this collection.”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

[Port Mahon], February 21, 1768

. . .

“I have now got all my people together except for two hundred Greeks, who I daily expect....I have now above five hundred people with me besides the two hundred I mentioned so that I have provided shipping for seven hundred, and the provisions are getting ready as fast as possible. The baking of biscuits retards me much tho' all the ovens are employed in baking it. You see, Sir William, that the number I hope to carry to Florida exceeds my intentions, this proceeds from my apprehensions of failure in some parts of my Scheme, which made me apply to more places than I expected people from, all these are likely to succeed which has thrown more almost by half than I expected, and consequently will bring us into greater expences. But as they are all, except a very few, engaged with us for ten years after the plantation has paid the expenses of settling them in the province, we shall have them for at least thirteen years on our grounds, which are greater advantages by half than any proprietors ever had in America. Most of the first young men I engaged for six years only have now agreed with me for ten years in the manner I mentioned. This, they say, they are reduced to agree to from the particular good treatment they have experienced from me, and I really flatter myself that at the expiration of the thirteen years many of them will continue with us, however that is, we have greater advantages than I flattered myself of.”

. . .

Turnbull was at the time readying four ships for departure, and trying to accumulate the provisions needed for the Atlantic crossing, which he said was very difficult “in Minorca, where there is no great plenty.” Because the departure had been so loing delayed by contrary winds, his settlers had already consumed much of provisions intended for the Atlantic passage.

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Minorca, February 27, 1768

Turnbull explained at length the numerous bills he had been forced to draw on his partners, Duncan and Grenville, in order to provide room, board, and clothing for the people he had recruited. He informed his partners in this letter that he feared it could cost another £2000 to 3000 Sterling for the voyage from Minorca to Florida. And the numbers of settlers, along with attendant expenses, kept rising dramatically.

“If my last ship with Greeks arrives, I shall have about a thousand people or very nigh that number, so that my expenses are running very high....” He asked his partners to see this as an opportunity, since advantageous terms of indenture had been worked out. “Expenses will certainly go higher than £1800, it will be easy for me to bring them down to that first sum in reimbursing it from the produce of the first crops.”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to the Earl of Shelburne

February 27, 1768.

“I arrived here the third of this month from Turkey. One of my ships with my People arrived before me, I await a third with two hundred Greeks, who with those here will make nigh on one thousand in all. I hope to depart here the middle of next month, although continuing contrary winds throw me back. I was particularly careful not to give umbrage to the Ottoman porte, thus I took only such Greeks as the Turks wish out of their way. Those now with me are from among a People who inhabit a chain of mounts, which makes the southernmost promontory of the Peleponesse. That People submitted to the Turks when they conquered the Morea at the beginning of this century, but finding themselves hardly used, they shook off their fetters and continue free to this day. The Turks have often tried to bring them under subjection, but have always failed from the impracticability of attacking them in their mountains.

“These Greeks are ruled by chiefs called captains, to whom they pay a small tribute yearly to enable him to provide warlike ammunition to defend them against the Turks. This, however, is frequently consumed in Civil Wars among themselves. Several mountains In the Turkish Empire are inhabited by People who maintain their Liberty in this manner, and who rather chuse to work hard in cultivating the little pieces of ground they find among the mountains, than live under tyranny in the fertile and extensive plains under them.”

“Turnbull explained to Lord Shelburne that this was not his first plan, which he had been “hindered from pursuing by the Turks being on their guard everywhere, having been informed of my scheme by the Levant Company's consuls. Ill grounded apprehensions of jealousy had influenced them to make it public in all places of which I felt the effects at Modon in the Morea, from being obliged to put in there for refreshments for my People, after keeping at sea as long as I could in the worst weather I ever saw. On sending a boat with ten men ashore for water, they were taken into custody on pretext of my having some of the Grand Segnior's subjects on board the ships then with me, but they were cleared next day in consideration of a present made privately to the commanding officer of the garrison, who desired me not to permit the People to appear on deck for fear of complaints against him for letting me carry away Greeks, which he thought he had a right to detain as rebels.

“It would not be difficult to draw thousands of families from Greece and the south of Europe for our colonies. I now confirm, that the Tryal I have made is brought to a certainty, and I think it probable that America would soon drain Italy and Greece of the greatest part of their working hands if ships are sent to bring them away.” Such settlers would be very useful, as they “carry with them the Improvements of ages in the culture of many productions”

Turnbull mentioned that he has aboard his ship “ginns for the cleaning of cotton, with several models of Engines of agriculture” plus grains, seeds, plants, and other items. Turnbull knows East Florida is not under the Earl of Shelburne any longer but he is sure that Shelburne continues to have interest in his activities since he encouraged Turnbull “to enter into this colonizing scheme in a much larger way than I first intended.” Turnbull pledged to write from time to time to inform Shelburne of his progress in Florida. He also praised the great assistance he received from Governor Johnston at Minorca.

Turnbull was enthused that his Italians were marrying “young women of this island which I encourage. It is the general opinion that there are more women than men on this island, the want of commerce and the little encouragement given to labourers by the proprietors of lands having obliged the men to look for Bread in other countries.”

Bowood Papers, British Library, London

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Port Mahon, March 5, 1768

. . .

“Our young Italians pick up wives here, which increases our numbers daily. I encourage this way of recruiting as the women in this Island are handsome, laborious, and excellent breeders. We shall have a fine crop breed in Florida. Now that I am on this subject I can't help mentioning that one of our goats from Turkey has had three kids at one time. This is a particular kind of goat that I think will do well in America.”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

[Port Mahon], March 9, 1768

Turnbull was pleased to announce that the ship had arrived with last of the Greeks. In a previous letter he said the number of settlers was 1000, but since then “so many of our young men are married here that their wives have increased our numbers to about 1200....” He hastened to add that he perceived this to be a “great advantage for us,” but conceded that expenses continued to mount alarmingly.

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

[Port Mahon], circa March 11, 1768

Contrary winds and the difficulty of gathering supplies not available at Mahon had further detained Turnbull's departure. On this day he was highly hopeful that the expedition was nearly ready for departure, possibly as early as the next day. He also reported that he was forced to continue drawing on his partners for financial support. More bills were sent, for £500 Sterling drawn on George Grenville. With this draw on George Grenville, Turnbull said that all three partners had contributed equal amounts to the scheme.

A second letter to Sir William Duncan was written on March 11, 1768, in which Turnbull expressed great concern about the expenses resulting from the delays. He offered to cut expenses by selling to other East Florida planters the indentures of some of the laborers he had recruited in the Mediterranean. Upon arrival in St. Augustine, he wrote, “I may endeavour to get half of them off my hands at St. Augustine...But I own that I would much rather employ them all on our own grounds, as I foresee that many of them will continue with us even after their 13 or 14 years are elapsed.”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Port Mahon, March 16, 1768

. . .

The weather continued so severe that Turnbull's efforts to depart with the laborers were still being frustrated. He wrote Duncan saying he was nearly sick from fatigue, but the recruits “do not suffer my eagerness to get away from this oppressive place.”
The main concern expressed in this and other letters written during these weeks was the need to draw additional funds from his partners to pay the alarmingly high bills that had been incurred as a result of the long delays in dearture. He acknowledged that with the American expenses figured in, expenditures had climbed to more than £9000. Yet he reminded Duncan that the “Greek scheme,” as he continued to call the venture, was still advantageous to the New Smyrna investors. He again offered to “dispose of them [the indenture contracts] in Florida, or in Carolina, at a high price since they are engaged for double the time usually agreed for. But I should be sorry to be obliged to put these families into the hands of masters who might bear hard on them, and the more so as many would not have left their country if they had known they were to be under any other direction than mine, besides this, selling of them, as it were, would put an entire stop to our procuring more people from this part of the world.”

In a second letter written to Duncan on March 16, 1768, Turnbull listed all the expenses incurred since February 23, and expressed his extreme anxiety that Duncan and Grenville might refuse to honor future bills. He then wrote: “I think our colony will be worth your while to come and see in two or three years. My colection (sic) is none of the worst I assure you: being composed of People brought up to Husbandry, and almost all of a proper age. Our young brood also look well.”

Dundee City Archives

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Port Mahon, March 18, 1768

“This morning our People are to begin to send women on an Island in this Port from whence the Ship is to take them in, but as it will be four or five days before all the provisions and water can be put on board, I imagine it will be the 23d before we get to sea. I wrote yesterday to Mr. Nixon to ensure our whole adventure on board the five ships...and I solicited and obtained the Carysfort Frigate to escort us as far as Gibraltar....“ The ship captain gave assurances that the voyage would not be a dangerous one, but the cautious Turnbull still arranged for further escort.

Dr. Turnbull also apologized for the lengthy stay at Port Mahon made necessary by the difficulty of procuring provisions and supplies for so large a number of travelers at a time when food was “scarce enough for the inhabitants.”

Dundee City Archives

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Port Mahon, March 28, 1768

This letter began with Turnbull expressing again his great anxiety concerning the bills he has been sending his partners. The bills [which can be seen at the Dundee City Archive] contain details about the items purchased and the names of agents and merchants in the Mediterranean. The names include Theodore Alexiano, Anthony Feyel, John Olivar, Messrs. Bons and Vincent, Mr. Isaacque and Salvador Condini, and others. The network of trade at the time is outlined in the bills, and the amount of debt encumbered is startling.

“I am not a little uneasy about [the money that has been drawn] for fear you should think that I have gone too far, but I find that cloathing, feeding and providing every thing necessary for four months for twelve hundred People is no small expense and trouble. However, as at least a fourth part of the money we lay out is for cloathes and etc., and consequently is to be repaid, and that the rest will I hope come to us seven fold from the labour of these People, I flatter my self that you and Mr. Grenville will approve of what I have done. As for me, I risk my all in this scheme, which I would not have done if I had not been confident of success, and that without danger of loss, for our adventure in People, provisions and etc. is ordered to be ensured from this to Florida where they will be safe, and soon gain the sums of money laid out on them. Notwithstanding I shall be very impatient until I have your and Mr. Grenville's approbation of what I have done, and I hope to find letters from you on my arrival in Florida....”

“When I arrive in St. Augustine I shall see how much each of us has advanced—and consequently be able to charge equal shares....In the meantime I beg, Sir William, that you will be very punctual in paying these bills, the protesting of which would not only blast my credit but also ruin our scheme which promises great things, for I can safely engage that, at the expiration of our agreement, we shall have some hundreds of Farms on each of our tracts of land. Notwithstanding this flattering prospect, if you and Mr. Grenville do not approve of going so high, I will immediately find means of disposing of half of the families now with me and reimburse what has been laid out on them. I repeat that I shall be very impatient to hear from you on this account....”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Port Mahon, March 29, 1768

Turnbull writes that he has been up all night settling accounts. In order to clear all debts, he drew on Duncan for an additional £300 Sterling, 200 of which went to Governor James Johnstone.

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Port Mahon, March 30, 1768

“I had planned to go to sea yesterday as I wrote you, but ships were too crowded and we were obliged to freight a seventh ship as far as Gibraltar, and no English vessel being then in port, I hired a Danish snow of about two hundred tons” that was loaded with 200 people. “On mustering them all last night,” Turnbull discovered the number had risen to “1300 men, women and children,” which necessitated that he sign bills for another £90.

Anticipating that he would “have all at sea this day, if the breeze blows,” Turnbull said no one could have done it faster or for less expense. Working through the London merchant, Mr. Thomas Nixon, he explained the increased costs thusly: “this partly proceeded from my having a hundred more people than I expected. I think I mentioned the ships names on which our People are embark't....” are the Charming Betsey, which carried Turnbull, and Captain Duncan. The others were the Charlotte, Captain Brown, the Friendship, Captain Feyel, the Elizabeth, Captain Scott, the Henry and Carolina, Captain Alexander Alexiano, the New Fortuna, Captain James Vidaliand, and the Pearl, Capt. Jacobson, whom Turnbull said was “a Dane. The others are English or of this Island and Greece but have the privilege of English colonies as subjects of the British Majesty.”

About the colonists, Turnbull wrote: “I had a woman brought to bed yesterday and 2 others are very nigh their time. We shall get on very fast in the peopling way and I have the honour to assure you Sir William that this collection is made up of good working people as they are all taken from great oppression and extreme poverty their being carried into a better country will have a good effect, they are all in great spirits and look much better than when they first engaged with me.”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Gibraltar, April 7, 1768

Several dozen bills were inclosed that were drawn at Port Mahon, totaling £5430.13.3. A bill drawn April 6th at Gibraltar was also included, this one for £60.15 to purchase “fish and herrings for our people.”

“As our expenses already exceed the sum agreed on to be laid out in this Scheme for the reasons I gave in former letters, it will give me some uneasiness until I have Mr. Grenville's and your approbation for what I have done....” More expense would be incurred during the remaining stages of the Atlantic crossing, Turnbull warned, but he was confident his partners would honor the bills for items “which may still be wanting to supply these people with me, which will be a trifle in perspective to the rest. In order to secure us against every possible risk by sea I ordered 500 pounds more to be entered, which makes in all to be ensured ten thousand pounds. Mr. Nixon will deliver the Insurance Policies.”

Turnbull, sensing that his partners were alarmed by the bills they had been receiving, requested that he be informed when he arrived in St. Augustine if they continue as investors in the project. He wanted that information “That I may dispose of our super numerary hundreds to reimburse you for what has been drawn for extraordinary [expenses]....I shall go on, as if the whole thirteen hundred people were on the account of the three partners and in consequence draw on you Sir William for two thirds, that is for Mr. Grenville's and your own, Enclosing bills payable to you for Mr. Grenville....I have no intentions of wronging anybody, it would distress me in my mind to the greatest degree, if any of the people who have given me money for bills were hurt by supplying me....I engage my all to pay you what you advance [and] more than agreed on, if you decline going to a greater expense”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Gibraltar, April 7, 1768

In the second letter written on this day, Turnbull explained recent events. The ships left Minorca on March 30, 1768, and were carried to Gibraltar by favorable winds, arriving on April 3. Plans had to be altered after the lead captain of the voyage to this point announced that he would continue only as far as the Madeira Islands, and two of the largest ships had to be replaced by three smaller vessels in order to carry along all the colonists. Upon arrival at Gibraltar Turnbull immediately began searching for provisions and water in hopes of being ready to resume the voyage in six days. He felt fortunate to have stopped at Gibraltar, as the wind was still blowing “hard from the west, [and] we would have suffered much if at sea.”

Turnbull conducted another census of his prospective colonists and discovered “upwards of fourteen hundred People on board the eight ships all belonging to us except one hundred. I have lost some since my departure from Mahon but have increased five by births....I carry very useful People with me and do not in the least doubt of doing great things in the planting way with the. And as we have been doing the work of government I flatter myself that Lord Hillsborough will not let this piece of service to the Public go unrewarded....I do not intend to be importunate, therefore you may mention it to His Lordship or not as you think proper...In the meantime I thought it my duty to write to his Lordship to acquaint him what number of People I had with me, and to desire his orders about the selling of these People if any were found necessary to be given”

Dundee City Archive

Andrew Turnbull to Sir William Duncan

Gibraltar, April 16, 1768

Bad weather forced further delays, which of course meant additional expenses. This letter included bills for provisions, including one for forty-five barrels of salted herring, and for drafts drawn for freight of two ships from Mahon. Some of the provisions needed for the Atlantic crossing had been consumed by the people idled at Gibraltar, prompting Turnbull to “purchase biskit and legumes from a Captain Alexander Kennedy, salt beef from others, and everything necessary, all which with the expense of fresh beef and other refreshments during our stay here has made my expenses amount to a considerable sum and obliges me to draw for the sums on the list....[It] was difficult to get credit for so much, then impossible to gather the money together in this place,” which forced him to draw on the firm of Livingston and Turnbull. I was obliged to purchase, and to leave bills with them to be negotiated when they could get money. What made this heavier on me was that as I thought my expenses would not amount to much here, I had not provided so much of my own money as I should have done and foreseen that the contrary winds would have obliged me to stay here so long, and that the Refreshments absolutely necessary for my People would have cost so much, but it is easy to conceive that the daily expenses for so many must be considerable.”

Once at sea, which Turnbull predicted might be the evening of April 16 since the wind had turned fair, the voyage was expected to last between five and six weeks. His anxiety concerning the expenses, and his fear that his partners might not honor the obligations, were expressed at length in this letter. He also extolled the virtues of the many good workers he had aboard the vessels, and the great profits they would create for his partners. “...as they are to engaged for a long time [profit] becomes so considerable that I hope to have some hundred of farms on each of our three grants in a very few years, if we don't starve our Scheme...[by refusing to honor the bills]” It was Turnbull's feeling that he would be sunk, never to rise again, if these bills were refused by his partners.

Dundee City Archive