Ballast point freshness dating
As a narrative, the Journal falls naturally into four parts, dealing respectively with the voyage from Scotland to the West Indies; with life and experiences in the West Indies at Antigua and St. Kitts to the Cape Fear River; with life on the Cape Fear just before the American War of Independence; and, finally, with the various adventures and experiences of Miss Schaw and her companions in Portugal on her way back to Scotland. Oliver, who has compared his copy with that in the British Museum, says that although there are differences in binding and pagination, the two manuscripts are in the same handwriting and are apparently identical, word for word.
Nowhere in our manuscript does the name of the author occur, and, for the most part, the names of persons referred to are in blank; so that only after much following of clues and searching in the records of England, Scotland, Ireland, the West Indies, and America have the editors been able to trace the careers of those who play the leading parts in the story. Our belief is that both are copies of the same manuscript, which, in turn, may have been the original; for these letters, written to a dear friend, probably a woman back in Scotland, by this same “Jen.
Thus had the stage been set for Alexander and Janet Schaw, who, all unconscious of so much preparation for their advent into history, wandered happily from one to another of the West Indian islands, to various plantations and centres of the colony of North Carolina, and finally, Miss Schaw herself, to Lisbon, meeting old friends and acquaintances, and enjoying the lavish hospitality that clannish Scotsmen naturally offered to such charming and distinguished guests.
It is a matter for congratulation that Miss Schaw made her visit to the West Indies and the Cape Fear just when she did, for had she come a few years later, she would have found Antigua and St.
What is her achievement, and what is the significance for us of this Journal of hers?
It is in the search for answers to these questions that one begins a real voyage of adventure.
Mutual affection and devotion characterized these Scottish families, wherever their members settled.
Eager for news from home, those in the colonies extended generous hospitality to the wandering members of their own family, or the families of their friends; those that remained in Scotland never lost interest in their kin across the sea, aided them with money, and welcomed them back whenever they could come.
And that the Journal might lack no element of romance, there were the fine English sailors, the honest mate, the subservient supercargo, hand in glove with the unscrupulous captain; the pitiful emigrants smuggled aboard and treated like slaves; frightful storms and rumours of pirates; and hovering in the background, always the sinister figure of Parker, the rascally owner of the vessel, whose evil deeds constantly came to light during the perilous voyage on which the Schaws were embarked.Scholarly research has been applied to the work of this delightful “Lady of Quality,” but she holds her ground firmly and ably, as with ease and fluency she discusses manners and customs, climate and scenery, sugar-culture and farming, friends,—their houses, amusements, recreations, and sorrows,—and, fortunately for posterity, happenings and human beings as she saw both in the West Indies and North Carolina just before the American War for Independence.Rarely is she caught napping, and with her enthusiasm and humour, her ability to make us see and feel with her, she carries us to a triumphant end.The Journal relates that there sailed from the Firth of Forth on October 25, 1774, a small craft, the bound for the West Indies and North Carolina, the chief passengers of which were a young Scotsman and his sister, the author of the Journal, who from other sources we discover were Alexander and Janet Schaw of Edinburgh.
Travelling with them were Fanny, an attractive girl of eighteen or nineteen, John, Jr., or Jack, a lad of eleven, and William Gordon, the nine-year-old “Billie” of the Journal, connections of the Schaws, and children of John Rutherfurd, a prominent resident of the colony of North Carolina. Mary Miller, Miss Schaw's maid, whom she called her Abigail, and who is a comic figure in the story; and the faithful, efficient Robert, Mr.
Dating her first letter “9 o'clock evening, October 25, 1774,” Miss Schaw says: “I propose writing you every day, but you must not expect a regular journal.