1817: Archibald McMillan to Iver McMillan

Here is a brief 1817 letter from Archibald McMillan (1740-1823), then visiting London, possibly to settle some business affairs in Scotland, to his brother Iver, in “Horseshoe Swamp, North Carolina, Bladen County (near Wilmington) America.” The letter describes Archibald’s planned return to America, but is otherwise cryptic as to his activities. An expert on transatlantic mails says that both brothers—as well as other family members—appear to have arrived in Wilmington NC in 1774 on the Ship, Ulysses, presumably fleeing high rent and oppression in Scotland. The integral address leaf shows that the letter travelled through both British and U.S. mail systems and bears rates for both.

McMillan family letters are available in both Duke and UNC historical collections (see below links).



[Note: This letter is from the personal collection of Richard Weiner and is published by express consent.]


Addressed to Mr. Iver McMillan, Horse Shoe Swamp, North Carolina, Bladen county (near Wilmington) America

29 Gold Square, London
Tuesday, 6th May 1817

My dear Brother,

I feel great pleasure at being able at last to acquaint you that my business is quite settled and that I intend leaving this for Liverpool (on Saturday next the 10th of May) where I shall take my passage to New York by the first opportunity. There is no ship from the Port of London at present & I shall make my passage much quicker from Liverpool. I was very much disappointed in my expectations since I wrote you last as I then said I hoped to have the pleasure of being with you before this time and I am extremely sorry that I could not keep my promise. I shall not at present enter into any particulars but will explain all when I see you.

You have no doubt been very uneasy about me—and I have not learned if you received any of my letters that I sent you which has made me feel rather uncomfortable.

I cannot make you certain as to what time exactly I shall be at New York as I hope to engage my passage at Liverpool but I do not think that will detain me. I will write to you immediately on my arrival at New York and that I may have a safe and quick passage and find my dear mother and friends in good health is the earnest prayer of your affectionate brother, — Archibald McMillan


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