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siege, or banished the island, and a specification of the property of all persons resident in France.
« 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.
Annual Register, 1795, pp. 15. 254.
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 way, 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 lst 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 designate 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 “ 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 quiei-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 £1 1,437 each.
Brigadier-General Meyers having taken the command 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 Ouia, 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
Memoirs of Sir J. Jervis, vol. iy. p. 30.
Coke's West Indies, vol. ii. p.228.
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 Ouia 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 indi. vidual 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, 231.
pliance with the dispatch, abandoned the Vigie at seven o'clock the same evening, arrived at Calliaqua without molestation; and from thence with his men was conveyed in boats to Sir William Young's Island and Rock.
Captain Molesworth also evacuated the post at Morne Rhonde. The Vigie was once more occupied by the enemy, to the great alarm of the inhabitants. On the 29th his Majesty's ship Scipio arrived with a convoy of transports, having on board the 40th, 54th, and 59th regiments, who were landed without delay. The enemy called in all their out-posts and made every exertion to strengthen the Vigie. At ten o'clock on the night of the 1st of October, 750 men, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Strutt, marched by Calliaqua to the heights of Calder, where they lay concealed in a piece of standing corn.
Major-General Irving and Brigadier-General Meyers with the main body, about 1000 strong, marched at two o'clock from Greathead's house to Warawaroa Valley. At Augur's Pasture, Captain Boland of the 40th regiment was detached with 350 men, to gain the heights to the westward of the enemy's position. He was attacked in his ascent, but gallantly, though with considerable loss, gained the place. The two generals, with the 59th regiment, gained Fairbairn's Ridge by day break. To oppose their ascent from thence to the Vigie Ridge, the enemy posted their whole force on a small eminence, covered with a thick wood. The 59th, under Major M-Cleod, persevered in their attempts to climb the mountain, under a heavy fire of musketry, until the generals ordered them to retreat as it became dark. 100 men were killed and wounded in this unsuccessful attack.
The enemy, apprehensive of being attacked again during the night, and having almost expended their ammunition, abandoned the Vigie in the night, managing the thing so well that it was first discovered by accident. A drunken man, who had been a spectator of the action, lost his way back during the retreat, as did a sergeant and ten men of the 5th regiment: a Negro in the interest of the enemy offered to guide them to town, but instead of so doing betrayed them into the Vigie, with the intention of making them prisoners, when, finding that his friends had abandoned the place, he did so also, and left these men in possession of the Vigie. In the morning General Irving sent Lieutenant Kelly to take possession of that post, which he found pre-occupied by his drunken countryman, who is said to have refused him admittance until he had agreed to sign a receipt for the place.
Mount Young and Mount William now became the enemy's principal posts, and upon these they entrenched themselves. About the 16th of November the English took post on Forbes' Ridge, and from thence harassed their opponents with both shot and shell.
Coke's West Indies, vol. ii. pp. 231, 232. 233. 235. 236.