John Macdonald Case Study

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 had invested much of his money into his land and had very little left to pay four years of back quitrents. With all of the chaos on the Island John did not know if his Lot had sold or not , he had hoped to buy Lot 35 which belonged to General Maitland. A meeting of proprietors was called, however only a list of forfeited lots was produced; Mr. Stuart later produced a list of sold Lots, which was when John discovered his Lot had not been sold. John petitioned for the restoration of the Lots and

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