John Macdonald Case Study

1361 Words 6 Pages
John MacDonald was the son of Alexander MacDonald of Genaladal and Margaret MacDonald of Scotland; John had three siblings Donald, a younger brother, and sisters Helen and Peggy. John, his brother and sisters went to St. John’s Island in May of 1772 aboard the Alexander bringing with them 210 settlers. Things would get harder for the MacDonald’s, John and Donald went off to war leaving Helen in charge of their estate. The situation on St. John’s Island would only become worse with proprietors not paying quitrents and absentee proprietors; the government having to step in which lead to conflicts between the proprietors, landlords, tenants and the government officials. The distance between St. John’s Island and England did not help the conflict, …show more content…
John’s Island was an experiment on the part of Great Britain, which was never repeated. Proprietors had to pay substantial quitrents, 6 shillings for every 100 acres of fertile land or 2 shillings for every 100 acres of fallow land, the quitrents were put in place to help the island grow and become self-sufficient. In theory the quitrents should have worked, the proprietors would rent part of their land to tenants and pay the annual quitrent with the moneys collected while still making a profit. In practice quitrents did not work, the proprietors rented parts of their land to tenants with the intention that they pay for the use of the land however this is not the case. The land had to be cleared before it could be farmed or used to raise livestock; the tenants were not making any money and could not pay their rents forcing the proprietors to be responsible for the full quitrent payment. In 1797 the Assembly adopted a series of detailed resolutions about quitrents, thought to have been prepared by Jack Stewart Speaker of the Assembly and Receiver-General of Quitrents. Lots were separated into categories, completely unsettled totaled 23 lots, partially unsettled totaling 12 lots, 6 lots were settled with 9 families each and 26 lots were completely settled. Depending on how settled the proprietor’s lot was depended on how many years of back quitrents had needed to be paid. John MacDonald struggled like the other resident proprietors to pay back quitrents; John …show more content…
John went to London in 1783 to petition to the King-In-Council concerning the unreasonable assessment of the quitrents and the undue distress the quitrents were putting on St. John’s Island, while there John also petitioned the sale of lots during the war. The King-In-Council declared that all back quitrents prior 1783 must be paid by 1784 or the Lots would be restored to the original owners (Quitrent Act of 1773) and future quitrents would be set at half the present rate. John seemed to have a plan; he was interested in seeing if there were any families living on Lot 35 and if there was more than £300 of livestock. If the cattle had not been seized and the lot unjustly sold the Quitrent Act of 1773 can reverse the sale. Lieutenant Governor Walter Patterson implemented a treasury minute of 1776 authorizing legal action to be taken against delinquent proprietors based on the 1774 legislation. In November of 1781 a number of the lots were sold with 170,000 of the 200,000 acres being sold to Governor Patterson and his council. The King-In-Council would later decide to punish Governor Patterson for not following orders however, Patterson insisted that his Council and himself had nothing to do with the sales of the Lots because the Quitrent Act of 1773 did not give him the power to do so. Patterson

Related Documents