A Letter from Liberia
Mars Lucas to Townsend Heaton, his former owner
June 19, 1830
Caldwell, June 19, 1830
I again take up my pen, to my satisfaction. In communicating. to you
a few lines, letting you know, that I am still in the land of the living.
and injoying reasonable health. I. am. glad to send. that I have almost.
got clear of. the fever, I. had a very severe, attakt of it. I. am able
to work a little now. but. very. often has to stop. on the account.
of. My. headacks, Jesse and myself to be house keepers, since the Decease.
of his Wife, his family is on a bettering state, Except his young child,
who remains very Weak, it is almost gone to nothing. We do. all our.
own Washing. Dureing our illness we had to hire a woman to wash and
cook but. we say that, it would not. suit Us, So, we have not. hire'd
any one since, I. may state to you. that I. am much deceiv'd, with,
this Country the reports, is all a lie, mearly to Encourage people.
to come to this Country. Times is very Hard. out here. every thing is
very Dear. and not to be had. The scarcely will allow us as much provision.
is a halfgrown Child can eat, a man can eat up all his meat. all in
one day. We only draw 1 lb. of meat. per. week. 3 qurts meal 2 quarts
of rice that is weeks allowance. I. really. think' that. the Socity
don't, know, about their, Usage here, we mights get. more allowance
but. the. give and take themselves I have nothing very Insteresting,
worth relating. hope by this time you have received, my letter, that
was sent, by the return of brig "Liberia" the account, that
I, sent you, I. hope you will Excuse, for owing to my short arrival,
in Africa--I. could say but little, about it. I am not. able to say
much, this time, but I. may say more, this, time. I. shall try to give
to you, an account of the produce, and agriculture. I am sorry to say
that, the people, has, not been, so, enterprising, as the might have
been, since, the came out here,--in fact--the are too much giveing to
the trading buseiness, their is some out of houses to put their heads,
in They has, no land Clear'd nor. nothing' in the ground. their main
food is Cusadoes, plaintains, Rice, bannoes, and so forth. Cusudoes
grows like pine roots, it is the main food, it makes very. good bread,
and very good fl'our. it is good to roast' or boil. the also make flour
out of Rice, but our people raise very little Rice, the depend altogether
on the Natives raising, it is very ease raise'd. If. our. people was
industrious and interprising, the might raise rice. enough for the whole,
Colony. But. the. people. get. above their trades after the. come. here,
the won't work but live from hand to mouth--but that would not. suit
me. if I. stay in the Country long, I. try to say, something better,
if their is any thing to support a family, but i. an glad to say, I.
am a Single man--
Their is a great talk of Coffee raise'd, but the coffee treas is very
scarce I. have seen about 10 or 12 coffee trees here, but I don't call
that raising it if the don't get Coffie before the rains it the will
never drink any.
Tobacco, is the main treade, here,. Camwood and Ivory in Return. beads
is another Chief article for trade at this time. Tobacco can't be had
for neither Love nor money. I mean the leaf tobacco. Sugar. sells for
25 cts per. lb. coffie the same, butter 37 1/2 Cents and can't be had
for that--The Merchants sells their goods, at 200 percent.
Jesse and Mars,
sends their warmest Love to, their old Mrs. and family. If you please
to let my My Father and Mother and brothers and sisters know that I
am almost out of the fever--also my best Respects to all inquiring friends--I.
may state to you that we have not drawn any land yet. but soon will.
We have to go to Milsburg, that is about 12 miles from this place, 21
miles from Monrovia it is a place that I don't want to go, too. I. would
rather stay in Caldwell, But. it is the orders of the Governor. Mr.
Yours with Respects,
N.B. please to answer this by the first opportunity that
(To) Townsend Heaton, Esq. Leesburg L. Cty, Virga.