Of the sisters married abroad, Deborah Bisset died first, and Harriet Scott next; the son of the latter came home from India, and died at his mother’s residence in Bath. He was visited by his cousin R. L. Bisset, near Calcutta, who found him in the receipt of a large income. Richard was received at his handsome country-house, and affectionately entertained. Young Scott left a fortune of one hundred thousand dollars, one thousand of which he bequeathed to his cousin Bisset, and the remainder to his Scott relatives.
Mary Lamar and her husband’s style of living absorbed their Madeira dividends; they, however, educated their orphan nieces and made them eligible matches for good husbands in a most respectable rank of life; neither of those ladies left descendants. Mary Lamar, either from a feeling of her destitute condition, or from bad advice, was estranged for a time from her brother-in-law, Robert Bisset, and denied herself to her nephew Richard. I have omitted an uncomfortable correspondence between her and Robert, in which she shows herself determined to have all her rights allowed, and demanded some matters which appeared to the partners unreasonable. The whole affair was settled at last by arbitration, and the balance not being adequate to her wants, she was obliged to give up her London residence, Grove House, and remove to a moderate mansion in the country—lay down her carriage, &c. The letters of her sister Dillwyn describe her condition at the close of life, when she was palsied and decrepid. However her ire may have been excited towards the Madeira partners, to whom she was finally reconciled, her affection for her family was always warm and cordial.
There is an unpleasant episode in the story, to which it is but proper to allude, as reference is occasionally made to it. Dr. Richard Hill’s wife’s nephew, Joseph Gillis, from Maryland, became a member of the firm of Hill, Bisset & Co., and continued to reap an eighth of the profits for forty years. He was scarcely on a par with the other members of the partnership as to gentlemanly habits or associations, and was at one period addicted to making too free use of the wine in which the firm dealt. He had a natural daughter in Madeira, called “Miss Gillis,” by a Portuguese mother. After a time, his bad habits induced mania-à-potu, and he committed all the follies of a raving madman. Richard L. Bisset, fearing the visits of the police, shipped him for London, under a pretence of going with him to the court of the Emperor of Morocco! After getting out to sea he left him. Recovering somewhat, poor Joe returned from London to Madeira. At his death, he made R. L. Bisset his residuary legatee, only partially providing for his daughter. R. L. B. was charged with influencing his bequest to himself, about twenty thousand dollars, and Bisset hearing of this, submitted his story to Henry Hill in Philadelphia. By advice of the latter, the property, after adding a residence at Funchal to Miss Gillis’s fortune, was to be distributed to the rightful heirs. Henry Hill was empowered to do this, but died very soon thereafter, and there is now no means of ascertaining what became of it.
Go to: Doctor Richard Hill