THI TRIN IDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 161.
Tlhe Governor of Trinidad to the Secretary of State.
Source :-Public Record Office. State Papers Colonial.
Published by the courtesy of the Master of the Rolls and the
Deputy Keeper of the Public Records.
20th May, 1802.
After a laborious devotion of nearly six years to the public
service in times critical and dangerous in the extreme, at the
moment I had reason to hope that the vessel had arrived in a
port of safety, I find myself attacked by a conspiracy of all
that is rascally and infamous in the Island.
These persons who had rendered themselves by their
sedition and dishonest conduct, obnoxious to the severity of
the law, have judged the happy return of peace a fit opportunity
to calumniate me in the opinion of the world and to raise a
public outcry against my conduct by misrepresenting it
erywerwhre bv means of their emissaries.
Being well aware that these people of bankrupt fortunes
were capable of ever species of infamy, I was in no degree
surprised at their conduct but when I understood a Captain
Franklin of the Royal Corps of Artillery (a person I never saw)
instead of employing himself in attending to the duties of
His M.lj. -I 's Service as I have done, lent a hand to promote
their respective projects by attempting to rake out of the
necessary severity, suspicious circumstances forced me to
employ (for the purpose of reestablishing order and discipline
amongst the troops and to restore confidence and tranquillity
to the inhabitants), pretexts to support and give colour to
their calumnies and groundless fabrications, I confess I felt
a sentiment of mixed indignation and surprise.
Your Lordship may probably be unacquainted with my
situation, left in an enemy's country with a feeble, ill composed
garrison of which a great proportion was foreigners in the
most deplorable state of indiscipline and disorder with a
detachment of artillery, the most mutinous and insubordinate
that ever fell to the lot of a British officer to command. I had
to make my option between the disgraceful loss of an
important Colony confided to my charge or the adoption of
prompt and energetic measures to remedy the evil. Your
Lordship will believe as a military man, I would not hesitate
in my choice-nor shall I ever hesitate to incur responsibility
and sacrifice everything personal when the paramount
interests of His Majesty's Government are concerned.
Amongst a variety of examples I was at that time under
the necessity of making was a man of the artillery who seduced
five of the corps to quit the magazine where they were on
duty, to make depredations upon the inhabitants coming to
or returning from the market. He first committed with
violence a rape on a free woman of colour and afterwards
held her and her companion while the others repeated the
crime. He finished the inflanous business by robbing them
of their money and everything they had. Being taken with
the property upon him and identified (as well by the confession
of his companions as the testimony of the women), as the leader
of this scandalous affair, the provost was ordered to do his
duty and I trust I did mine.
Captain West of the Royal Artillery, whose energy and
vigilance was kept in continual employ to subdue this
mutinous and unruly spirit of his detachment, can afford
every information on this subject. Critically as we were
circumstanced respecting the people of this country, we had
as much serious cause of apprehension from this detachment
as that of Hompesch's.
I am ready, My Lord, to avow my conduct on all occasions
and to submit it to every kind of enquiry or investigation.
I trust it will not be found that I have acted from unworthy
or dishonourable motives and that what I have done was
called for by imperious and overuling circumstances.
The intention of these people is, if possible, to raise a
public outcry against me and this Captain of Artillery kindly
puts his good offices for the respectable purpose of assisting
them. If he had been actuated by public motives and
conceived that the atrocity of my conduct called for enquiry
and punishment, he might have laid this business through
the medium of his own immediate Commanding Officer
before His Excellency the Commander in Chief who would
have had an opportunity of examining the charge fully upon
the spot with all the means of elucidation at hand. But this
is not their object. It is a conspiracy to vilify me in the
public opinion by every kind of misrepresentation and
I trust however that my conduct on no occasion is in want
of apology and Your Lordship will I hope, credit my assertion
that I never would solicit protection which could in the
remotest degree compromise the justice of His Majesty's
1 have the honour to be,
Most faithful and humble servant,
The Right Honourable