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Basse Terre (Fort Matilda,) commanded by General Prescott, with a garrison of about 400 men; the Palmiste being entirely destroyed, and the guns and mortars burst, and rendered useless. The enemy opened their first battery of two guns and a mortar from Morne Houel, the day after the Blanche's arrival, and others were constructing on the hill which so immediately commands it.”
Fort Matilda surrendered on the 10th of December, 1794.
Captain Faulknor, on the 30th of December, cut out a corvette from under a battery at Deseada: he had two men killed and five wounded. The next day he captured an armed schooner laden with gunpowder, near Fort Louis, Guadaloupe.
On the 10th of May, General Prescott, the governor of Martinico, under the orders of Sir Charles Grey and Sir J. Jervis, issued a proclamation to the inhabitants of that island : they were required to choose representatives, who were to fix, in an equitable manner, a general contribution (the amount of which it said) shall be made known to them), to be paid by all who possess property in the colony- the commander-in-chief having decided that such an arrangement would be more convenient than a general confiscation.
Another proclamation was issued upon the 20th of May, in which it was said, that no attention having been paid to that of the 10th, requiring representatives to raise a sum of money adequate to the value of the conquest destined to reward the valour, to compensate the fatigue, and its consequences, sickness and mortality, and to make good the heavy expence incurred by the British officers, &c. who, with matchless perseverance, &c. had achieved the conquest of the island, subjected it to the British government, rescued from a wretched exile the greatest number of its inhabitants, &c., the procrastination of this arrangement having prevented several of the inhabitants from carrying their commodities to market;— the commanders, in order to remove an evil of such importance, do enact and ordain
"1. The civil commissaries, in their respective parishes, to deliver an exact list of the inhabitants, with the number of slaves, cattle, acres of land, &c. and a specification of all productions made and gathered on such estate, wherein ought to be distinguished those made and collected before the 23d of March.
“ 2. The civil commissaries in towns and boroughs to deliver a list of the houses, slaves, &c. enumerating all sorts of property.
"3. The civil commissaries were required to demand all accountbooks, &c. belonging to French captains or agents, and an exact account of all property falling under the description of vacant succession in the colony, with a correct inventory of all the goods, &c. belonging to such as had been captured in arms, killed during the
his French capt the descriptio all the goo
siege, or banished the island, and a specification of the property of all persons resident in France.
6 4. The commissaries were to name all persons who appeared not disposed to fulfil the purpose of the proclamation..
« 5. The reports were to be made with the utmost expedition, as it was the firm resolution of the commanders to have the present measure fully executed, or, on failure of it, to enforce a general confiscation.
The naval store-keeper at Jamaica was concerned in supplying Martinico with a counterfeit coin called stampees: they were made at Birmingham, and sent over by the gross. The affair was represented to government by Admiral Sir H. Parker, and an inquiry instituted. The profit upon the stampees, to the issuer, was estimated at 500 per cent. Joes and johannes, and two-sous pieces, were offered to be supplied from the same mint, by Mr. Bullock, the maker - the base metal joes at four shillings and sixpence; gold ones at one pound three shillings and nine-pence; two-sous pieces at three shillings per gross. A joe is an eight dollar piece.
Mr. Bullock, in his letter, September 1795, says— " I have had application from St. Kitt's, Tortola, and Martinico, but not liking the mode of payment, have not executed these orders."
At Grenada, a detachment of French troops from Guadaloupe joined the insurgents. After some checks, the British compelled their enemies to take refuge in the mountains. • Victor Hugues sent another detachment of troops from Guadaloupe to Dominica; who, assisted by some runaway Negroes and disaffected inhabitants, committed great devastations. The exertions of the English inhabitants, who assisted the regular troops, obliged the enemy to submit. Several were executed as traitors, and about 600 French inhabitants sent to England.
* At daylight upon the 4th of January, Captain Faulknor, in his Majesty's ship Blanche, discovered a French frigate at anchor outside the harbour of Point à Petre, in Guadaloupe: he immediately stood in within gun-shot of Fort Fleur d'Epée; but finding that the Frenchman did not appear inclined to come out from under the batteries, Captain Faulknor made sail after a schooner, which he detained, and stood over to Dominica with her in tow. At eight P. M. he observed the frigate about two leagues astern, and immediately tacked and made sail for her. At a quarter past midnight, Captain Faulknor passed under her lee, on the starboard tack :: both ships exchanged broadsides in passing upon opposite
Report of Commissioners of Naval Inquiry, Naval Chronicle, vol. ix. p. 456.
and Captain Blanche did the ran acroshe Fren tacks.ch wore; the A. M. the Blaimself las
at this timhip. Ata
now, with anche had
tacks, and Captain Faulknor tacked. When within musket shot, the French wore; the Blanche did the same, and engaged her nearly aboard. At one A.M. the Blanche ran across her stern, and soon afterwards, Captain Faulknor himself lashed the French ship's bowsprit to the capstern of his own ship. At a quarter past two, La Pique dropped astern : at this time Captain Faulknor was killed, and the Blanche had lost her main and mizen masts. The English now, with a hawser, lashed La Pique well fast, with her bowsprit on the Blanche's starboard quarter, and shot away all her masts. In this situation they towed her, running before the wind, and firing into her bows until a quarter past five, when the French hailed that they had struck. "
Lieutenant Milne and ten men then swam on board, and took possession of La Pique, of twenty-six twelve pounders, eight nine, and four thirty-two pound carronades, and 400 men, of whom seventy-six were killed, 110 wounded, and thirty lost with the masts. The English had eight killed, including Captain Faulknor, and twenty-one wounded.
Admiral Jervis and General Sir C. Grey, in vindicating their conduct in the West Indies, pleaded their secret instructions to consider the French government, having no legal authority, as an usurpation, and its supporters as rebels and traitors. In conformity. to this policy, the subjects of the national convention were in many instances sent away, their estates sequestered, and receivers appointed for the benefit of the government; the captors, in no one instance, deriving any emolument from them.
The property of republican agents in the towns of St. Pierre and Fort Royal, which were both taken by assault, they considered as unquestionable booty; it was there in order to be shipped to France, on account of the republic. The planters resident on the island had likewise sent produce to St. Pierre's, to be shipped or sold ; and this was considered lawful prize, because the proprietors either resisted his Majesty's forces, or declined accepting the terms of the proclamation of the 1st of January. No other private property of any description was molested; and although St. Pierre was taken by storm, the shops were open next day, and the inhabitants transacting business as usual. The provisions and necessaries supplied to the navy and army were regularly paid for.
These commanders asserted, that the complaints against them were made by British adventurers, who were disappointed of getting the prize property cheap, many of whom had been long in the habit of carrying on commerce with the French islands, and were deeply concerned with the planters in Martinico. The commanders desiga nate the memorials from the merchants and agents as “ equally unfounded in fact, and destitute of candour ;” and, in support of their assertion, published a letter from a merchant at St. Vincent's,
Memoirs of Sir J. Jervis, Naval Chronicle, vol. iv. p. 15,
wherein it is stated, that the speculators were 6 every one equally disappointed. The produce has been all appraised by gentlemen from the different islands; and it is the direction (he says) from the admiral and general, that the agents do not let a cask of it be sold under that appraisement; so the full value will be obtained otherwise."
With respect to their conduct at St. Lucia, the same commanders state, that the island was conquered by force, and the inhabitants not entitled to the benefits of the proclamation, but liable to be treated as enemies. To induce the conquerors to waive their claims, an arrangement was proposed, and £300,000 mentioned as an equivalent - a sum infinitely short of the value of the produce then upon the island! This sum was reduced to £150,000, to be paid at three instalments of £50,000 each, one in each of the years 1794, 1795, and 1796. This was accepted; but “the captors were defrauded of every ounce of property taken on the island, except the arms and military stores applied to the service of the public."
The commanders admit their proclamation to be improperly worded; and that instead of " to raise a sum of money adequate to the value of the conquest,” it ought to have been adequate to the value of the property liable to confiscation,” which, they assert, was all they meant. But, “as not a single farthing was collected,” and “ the project abandoned before it was known that his Majesty disapproved of contributions, they ought not," they say, “ to be loaded with every sort of malevolent misrepresentation and abuse."
Mr. Thelluson's memorial, which states the quiet submission of the white inhabitants of St. Pierre's, Martinico, the commanders say, “is positively and absolutely false,” and “the whole memorial founded in falsehood and misrepresentations, neither sanctioned by names, nor supported by any document or evidence.”
The whole of the property taken, both afloat and on shore, (excepting arms and military stores,) produced £183,000, the commanders' proportion of which was £11,437 each.
Brigadier-General Meyers having taken the command at St. Vincent's, ordered Major Ecuyer, who commanded at Ouia, to march, on a day named, towards Mount Young ; stating also, his intention of moving, with the main army, at the same time, towards Ouia ; the enemy's country lying between them, and woods stopping their retreat on one side, and the sea on the other, it was expected that they must surrender at discretion or be cut to pieces.
Major Ecuyer advanced accordingly, but supposing that he was exposing his men to be cut off, he halted, and waited three or four days in the open air, expecting the advance of the general. At the expiration of that time the enemy collected round him, and his men became fatigued; he therefore determined to return to Quia, and sent an officer to head quarters, to say that he had done so. The night succeeding his return, about one o'clock in the morning, he
was completely surprised by 600 of the enemy, who got possession of the camp, and put all they found to the sword; some few men escaped through the woods to Morne Rhonde, and some were taken from the shore by the boats of his Majesty's ship Experiment, Captain Barrett. From Quia the Caribs sent to St. Lucia for reinforcements, and in a few days were joined by 500 men : Mount Young was evacuated in consequence on the 19th of September; every thing was destroyed that could not conveniently be carried away: and leaving lights in the huts, the troops marched out in the night. At Biabou they collected the party stationed there, and the whole reached Zion Hill on the 21st. On the evening of the 22d the enemy appeared in force in Mariaqua Valley, and on the following morning were posted on Fairbain's Ridge, thus cutting off all communication with the Vigie. The necessity of supplying this post with provisions obliged the general to risk a convoy for that purpose. Eighty laden mules, under the care of LieutenantColonel Ritchie of the 60th, left Greathead's house near Zion Hill at two o'clock in the evening of the 24th. At Calliaqua they turned up, in a direction to get between the enemy and the Vigie ; but from behind a “ galba hedge” which flanked the path, the enemy commenced a sharp fire; the troops, however, gained the ridge, and obliged their opponents to fall back; orders were then given to charge, by Captain Forster, who commanded in front; “not an individual would obey him : from some unaccountable cause our men gave way just in the moment of victory, and fled in different directions, closely pursued by the enemy. The greatest part of the provisions fell into their hands ; our loss was estimated at about sixty men killed and taken prisoners;" the rest found shelter under the guns on Sir William Young's Rock. Colonel Ritchie with about twenty men retired to a mill belonging to Dr. Collins, where they repulsed several attempts which were made to storm the place : at midnight they abandoned the mill, and retired to Sir William Young's Rock. Colonel Ritchie died of his wounds.
Twenty-eight "johannes” were now offered to any person who would deliver a letter to the commanding officer at the Vigie; should he be a slave his liberty was promised. Two slaves volunteered the attempt; one was obliged to return; but Tamaun, a Negro, with his dispatch rolled in a piece of thin lead to preserve it from rain, and in case of detection to enable him to throw it away, escaped detection in Mariaqua Valley by lying flat upon his face while a Carib came out of a hut close to him, cut some wood and returned to make a fire. Tamaun then descended a precipice, by the roots and branches of the trees growing on its side, and at daylight, from a high tree, saw that he was nearer the Vigie than he expected. By six o'clock on the morning of the 26th the advanced guard carried him to the commanding officer's tent, who, in com
Coke's West Indies, vol. ii. pp. 229. 291.