Princeton University Library Catalog

Statement of the affairs of the late Robert Gordon, dec'd, 1818 January 1.

Author:
Frankland, Thomas [Browse]
Format:
Manuscript
Language:
English
Compiled/​Created:
1818 January 1.
Description:
1 v. 40.5 x 26 cm (16 pages)
Biographical/​Historical note:
Thomas Frankland was Robert Gordon's Government Secretary in Berbice, as well as an executor of his estate, along with Alexander Fullerton, an attorney in Demerara and Essequibo.
Summary note:
Manuscript appraisal of the Elizabeth Anne plantation estate on Leguan Island in the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara region of colonial British Guiana (now the independent nation of Guyana), assigning monetary value to the enslaved workers, land, buildings, and livestock owned by Robert Gordon, Esq., as requested by his executors, Thomas Frankland and Alexander Fullerton, following his death. Robert Gordon was originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, the third son of Robert Gordon 3rd of Esslemont and 14th of Hallhead and Lady Henrietta Gordon; he served twice between 1810 and 1814 as British colonial governor of Berbice, a previously Dutch colony that had been captured by the British in 1796 but was not officially ceded until 1814. The Elizabeth Anne sugar plantation, which spanned over 526 acres, relied on the labor of several hundred enslaved workers and was equipped with its own hospital, windmill, cast iron aqueducts and cistern for independent water supply and irrigation, a sugar mill, large sugar boiling house, rum storehouse, and schooner. This detailed financial assessment documents the period between January 1, 1817, and January 1, 1818, and features a crop account enumerating the expenses and profits associated with the production of sugar and rum; a delineation of land into various sections of use, including descriptions of various buildings and functional structures; a list of the names of 336 enslaved workers, organized by occupation; a financial evaluation tallying itemized monthly expenses, which include items such as food, spirits, tobacco, guns, lumber and shingles for repairs, taxes, salaries for paid workers, and medical expenses for enslaved workers; a list of debts paid, debts owed, and receivables due; and an account of expenses associated with the education of Gordon's six children. All figures are calculated in Dutch guilders, although the final assessment is presented in two currencies, assigning to the Elizabeth Ann estate and its assets a total value of 78,065 British pounds sterling, or 936,780 Dutch guilders. Notably, the document refers briefly to Quamina, an enslaved Guianese man who played a leading role in the Demerara Rebellion of 1823, which was one of the largest uprisings of enslaved workers in the British colonies before slavery was abolished. A single entry in the appraisal, noted due to its financial implications, suggests that, in 1817, Quamina escaped Sir John Gladstone's “Success” plantation where he was enslaved and was temporarily held on the estate of Robert Gordon.
Binding note:
String-tied in bright yellow wrapper.
Source acquisition:
Purchase, 2016. AM 2017-40.
Subject(s):
Form/​Genre:
  • Appraisals (records) 19th century.
  • Manuscripts, English 19th century.
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