On one of the oldest donation boards in Clifton House it is recorded that ‘ Capt. Chas. McKenzie and crew of the ship Peace and Plenty’ made a generous donation to the Belfast Charitable Society in October 1786.
‘Peace & Plenty’ was a merchant barque sailing-ship of 400 tonnes. Captain McKenzie had sailed her very successfully from Belfast to Philadelphia and New York for at least the previous twelve years, maybe as often as 4 or 5 times per annum. He regularly advertised to carry passengers to the New World. He would also carry such goods as sail cloth, candles, soap, shoes, hides, salt, beef and whiskey. On the return voyage items such as log wood, cotton, molasses and rum would have filled the hold.
This donation from the Captain and crew may have been to express their gratitude for having safely completed a difficult crossing. It was common for crews to offer thanks with gifts of money, and sometimes even ship models, as votive offering in churches, and maybe sometimes in poor houses as well.
Contributed by Mark Doherty, Clifton House White Badge Volunteer