From Sinclair of Freswick Papers (GD136)
Letters to William Sinclair of Lockend, formerly student in Edinburgh, latterly of Freswick, from John Geddes, in Edinburgh, his agent, particularly in matters of postage or miscellaneous topics of business, personal and some public matters, including news of friends (e.g. Dr. Brown) - 24 papers.
The letters are from John Geddes III. Here are extracts from the letters. This is a copy of a copy so the copyists may have made mistakes. Apologies for any of mine.
432/1: Edin - Mr John Geddes 1777 to William Sinclair Esq, student of Medicine, Mrs Grevis, Nicholson Street, Abbeyhill, ending "I have the honour to be your most obedient servant John Geddes". The letter is about the Company Act re distillers in Edinburgh.
432/2: Edin - Mr John Geddes 3rd July 1779 to William Sinclair Esq, student of Medicine, care of Mr Livany, merchant, Thurso. "It is supposed there will be some new regiments raised soon altho the Militia and Fencible Bill should take place." The letter includes an account of William owing £1-3-8.
432/3: Edin - Mr John Geddes 3rd July 1780 to William Sinclair, Lockend, Thurso, "If I go to America ...". The letter includes a list of names &: accounts, total £46
432/4: Edin - Mr John Geddes 17 July 1781 to William Sinclair, acknowledging 3 letters. "All these letters have been a month or more in coming... I answer to your query, by present rules a Lieut. in that situation cannot better himself by purchasing an Ensy & then a company. The most eligible method would be to exchange with an ensign and take rank in course as if never in the service, his Lieuty will signify nothing to him in his promotion."
At this time, commissions were usually purchased, and you could exchange between regiments, but there were obviously strict rules. Ensign is lower rank than Lieutenant, and Captain (a company) is higher. Presumably William Sinclair wants to know if someone (a relative of his?) who was a Lieutenant could purchase an Ensign commission (which must be in a different regiment or there wouldn't be much of a point) and then purchase a Captaincy. This is two jumps and is therefore against the rules. Once he had exchanged and become an Ensign, any past service as Lieutenant gets ignored.
432/5: Edin - Mr John Geddes 14 Jan 1782 to William Sinclair, Thurso. "I am obliged to you for your readiness to assist me in the plan I had some time ago in view relative to the soap manufacture" (he describes a firm which has gone bankrupt)"If you have no intention of being here, I think you should order your trunks home."
432/6: Edin - Mr John Geddes 1st July 1782 to William Sinclair, Thurso. "I have heard nothing of Freswick since he left Edin, Mrs Sinclair was in town some days ago and away again to England." Received by me from my brothers son Andrew G Thurso.
432/7: Edin - Mr John Geddes 26 Aug 1782 to William Sinclair Surgeon, Thurso. "Freswick appears to be in Edinburgh & Mrs. Sinclair of Barack... Three or four of your letters had the I.G. defaced & the others there was wrote 'to defraud Government'".
432/8: Edin - Mr John Geddes 16 Oct 1782 to William Sinclair Surgeon, Thurso. "You will receive from my uncle six Franks...I have made enquiries about the mode of applying to the Board for Lintseed Mr. James Campbell Link manufr in the Cowgate . Apparently James Capbell is employed by the trustee to ride thro the country & make report on the ground & the fitness of the persns making application. He says it is by petition to the board setting forth the ---- of the soil for lint and the willingness of the people to cultivate it and that spinning is carried on to a great extent in the Adjacent county.
Franks: This is before postage stamps. Normally you paid for a letter when you received it. Franks were pre-paid postage, used by people such as M.P.s. Considering the previous extract, one wonders if John Geddes is being slightly naughty!
Lintseed is flaxseed.
432/9: Edin - Mr John Geddes 8 Jan 1783 to William Sinclair Surgeon, Dunbeath. Freswick in Edinburgh. "I cannot understand how your letters are so old before I receive them, some a month or more. I always get letters from Caithness in eight days. I wrote you about 2 months ago under cover of my uncle with ½ a dozen Franks."
432/10: Edin - Mr John Geddes 17 Sept 1783 to William Sinclair Thurso. "I send this in a frank to my mother... If you have no intention of coming here soon I think you should order your trunks to be sent home, as some of the things in them may spoil. I have a long amount against you for porterage being obliged by Genl Mackay's movement from one quarter to another to shift my room six times these 4 years."
432/11: Edin - March 1787 to William Sinclair Esq of Lochend care of the postmaster Wick. W.S. on the prospect of inheriting Freswick. "My manufacturing scheme is but very small but I expect to have it on a broad scale soon."
432/12: John Geddes 24 Jan 1788 to William Sinclair Esq of Lochend care of Mr Sanderson Merchant Wick. Re his letters lying about in Wick P.O.
432/13: Edin John Geddes 29 Sept 1792 to William Sinclair Esq of Lochend near Wick "and was desired to call next Postday for an answer." Letter to Sir John Sinclair which J.G. delivered. "I am sorry at the account you give of your health. You mosy humble servant."
432/14: Edin John Geddes 17 March 1793 to William Sinclair at Mr. Burnets Bookseller, Aberdeen "Poor Calder's death, 6 months ago - left wife with 4 children. I understand that hs successor in the office is to be burdened with a small annuity for Mrs Calder... Yours most sincerely"
432/15: Edin Mr Geddes 2 Oct 1795 to William Sinclair at Freswick Dunbeath "I am sorry you find yourself in such a poor state of health. Lord Adam Gordon applied to the Duke of York for leave for your sousin. Captain Sinclair to stay at home. With out joint good wishes Dear Sir I am your most humble servant"
432/16: Edin John Geddes 4 April 1796 to William Sinclair at Freswick Dunbeath "I beg that you may not send me such large Packets of letters, if they fall into improper hands in my absence they will be returned on account of the postage they incur. With best wishes, I am, dear sir, Yours very sincerely J.G."
Letters were paid for when received unless franked (see above) and the cost was per sheet.
432/17: Edin John Geddes 8 Dec 1800 to William Sinclair of Freswick "I can assure you I have no intention of retiring to Caithness, the temptation would be great that could make me move to that country. "
432/18: Edin John Geddes July 1812 to William Sinclair who must be in Edinburgh because J.G. says "In the note I gave you this forenoon (re interest on Bill 653-15)"
432/19: Edin John Geddes 1st Dec 1813 to William Sinclair in Edinburgh "I request you will write a fresh bill.... I enclose a stamp and at meeting we will exchange the old Bill for the new one."
432/20: John Geddes 18 Jan Dec 1814 to William Sinclair in Freswick? Re an important deed
432/21: John Geddes 11 Feb 1814 to William Sinclair 2 Arinston Place Newington Re an island of Sloma
432/22: John Geddes 19 Nov 1814 to William Sinclair at Freswick Thurso. "Mrs Calder & your children and gave her your letter. Mrs. Calder looks poorly. She is far from being well. Barbara has a severe cold but I am hapy to inform you that your son and daughter are strong and healthy and in my opinion are improving decidedly. Mrs. Calder s so fond of John that she is alarmed for every trifle that regards him, but I can assure you that I never saw him look better. Mrs Calder is to get the powder for John first day. She is able to get out. Mrs. Calder will write you in a day or two."
432/23: John Geddes 26 April 1815 to William Sinclair care of Mr. G. mackay, Merchant, Thurso. "Adam saw Mrs. Calder & your children this morning when they were all well."
432/24: John Geddes 25 May 1815 to William Sinclair care of Mr. G. mackay, Merchant, Thurso. Re non payment of bill - also money to pay to Mrs. Calder.
© Jo Edkins 2014 - Return to Geddes index