Slavery and Revolution


Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, 11 October 1786

By Admms |

Taylor’s brother died of a fever, although the evidence available in Taylor’s letters does not allow for a more precise diagnosis of his illness. Here, Taylor reflects on the medical treatment that his brother received, on his own health, and on the preponderance of sickliness among whites in Jamaica. He also discusses the debts of Sir Charles Price, an extraordinarily wealthy and influential local sugar magnate, who died in 1772, leaving his heirs with a heavily indebted estate.

[…] I apprehend his doctor mistook his [Sir John Taylor, Simon Taylor’s brother] case, and gave him gouty medicines, when I believe the medicine he wanted ought to have been to expell bile which is the greatest and almost sole disorder of this country. We have both of us lived so long as to see very good numbers of our old friends and acquaintances drop off. I hardly know now twenty people in the island, that I knew when I first came here. […] I do not believe Sir Charles Prices debt will be recovered, he owes me upwards of two thousand pounds which I look on to be lost I am pretty well again after a slight fever I have had a few days ago, by getting cold, indeed almost every person in this part of the island have been sick, from the excessive heat of the weather in the middle of the day, with cold mornings & evenings, the weather is also drier about this town than I ever remember it in my life in October, which used to be constantly wett […]

(Vanneck-Arc/3A/1784/19, Simon Taylor to Chaloner Arcedeckne, Kingston, 11 October 1786)