Van Cooten family history progress and collaboration
Extract of letter from Hy van Cooten Esq of the Plantation Vryheids Lust in Demerary - to J Forbes No 23 Lambs Conduit Street.
1. The population of Demerary I can only guess at by a part which is nearly known by me and according to that it would amount to about 50000 slaves - in Essquebo I should suppose about half that number.
|2. One white man to 100 slaves upon the plantation||750|
|In the town -women and children included||2000|
3. Of the disposition of the whites to have their negroes instructed and with encouragement might be expected I do not know what to say - the ministers have been very careless and their conduct very little calculated to excite such a disposition if not to extinguish it entirely.
4. In Demerary there was a Dutch and an English minister when I left the colony three years ago and I suppose there is now the same in Essquebo I think only a Dutch minister.
5. In the town there is a house appropriated for public worship where the Dutch minister used to preach in the forenoon and the English minister to read prayers and preach in the afternoon.
6. As there was so litle made of divine worship in general it is difficult to say what denomination of teachers would be most acceptable.
7. The expense of a missionary to live in town not ungenteely would not cost less than £250 [....] but would hardly cost anything upon a plantation in case a Planter took a liking such a man which would would easily be if he was a man of an agreeable temper.
8. The passage out you know differs according to the situation on board, the passage money is paid here.
The only person known to me in Demerary to assist such men is Mr Post and I dare say would be glad to receive one upon his estate and exert himself in their cause. You know from Mr Posts* letters nearly what religious doctrine he embraces which would think much the same as the Scots Presbyterian.
I would think Berbice is not a much better situation in regard to religion - the population not so extensive as Demerary.
* NB Mr Post has on his own and on neighbouring estates under his direction 5 - 600 slaves for whom it appears by his letter he has engaged a black schoolmaster but who is not competent to be a teacher of religion. JF