THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 253.
Sir George Hill, Governor of Trinidad to Right Honourable
E. G. Stanley.
Duplicate Despatches No. 24 of 1834 (with 2 enclosures). Published
by the courtesy of His Excellency the Governor of Trinidad.
No. 24. TRINIDAD,
9th March, 1834.
On the 12th ult. I reported (in despatch No. 22) the
arrival of 207 Prize Africans from the Havana with a translation
of the letter I received from the Governor of Cuba.
Immediate applications were made to the amount of
938 by the inhabitants for their services.
As the best mode of disposing of them I had them divided
into 20 lots of 10 each (5 males and 5 females) keeping those
together attached by relationship or friendship-There were
seven little girls under ten years of age too young to go to
Estates; these I placed in respectable families-the others
were distributed in 20 lots upon 20 different estates in the
capacity of free labourers pursuant to your instructions for
five months, and were delivered to the party direct from the
Spanish Schooner by the Captain, Don S. Costello upon
orders from me by which all expense has been saved either
to the British or Colonial Treasurl -1 inclose a copy of those
orders containing the names of the Afliicans and the receipt
for them of the party to whom they ere respectively delivered.
I inclose also a printed copy of the Document signed by Enclosure
the persons who obtained these Africans containing the No. 2.
conditions to which they thereby bound themselves to comply,
a copv of which Document I ha\e sent to the Commandants
of the Qtarterl in which these Africans are located together
with a letter of instruction flron myself of vwhiich I also inclose Eucloburm
a punted copy. No. 3
a printed copy.
Previous to the expiration of these five months experience
may suggest new terms under which these and other Africans
may be employed and I shall not fail to take frequent
opportunities of seeing these Africans my self and to instruct
the Protector of Slaves in his journeys into the country to
do the same.
When the proposal of the Governor of Cuba to send
here a large number of feied Africans fiom his Government
became generally known I received a Memorial numerously
signed proposing to take the number of Africans annexed
to each name amounting to 5,000 on the same terms as these
last have been distributed, stating that if the British Govern-
ment would instruct me to apprentice them until 1840,-Io,ooo
would be taken. I did not however feel justified in
authorizing more than 1,ooo of those now located in Cuba
to be sent here at present and those not to have been in Cuba
more than two years and under the conditions stipulated
in my letters of the 27th ulto. to 1the Gov\ernor of Cuba and
to Messrs. McLeary and MacKenzie of which I inclose copies.
But under the same conditions I have proposed to receive all fresh
Whilst thecs conditions arc observed particularly those
which require (lie equalization of the sexes, Certificates of
a healthy state of body and with a lill supply of clothing
and provisions for 30 da s after arrival here we can safely
and with great advantage receive and locate all the fresh
captured Africans the Havana Authorities can send us-But
I would not upon my own judgment without your instructions
encourage the introduction into this Colony from Cuba
Africans who had resided there five or six years-Their best
years of labor are probably gone by, their separation from
connections they must have formed, the doubtfulness of their
characters, *ii._. i strong objections in my mind to receive
I now particularly request your attention to a difficulty
which presses itself upon Ime. l'B the Act of 5 Geo 4 Cap. I13
and the terms of the Treaty with tlie Spanish Government
therein set out and confirmed, all slaves found on board
ships condemned for making an unlawful voyage shall receive
from the Mixed Commission a Certificate of Emancipation
and shall be delivered over to the Government on
whose territory the Commission is established to be
employed as servants or free .laborers-each Government
guaranteeing the liberty of these iudi\iduals consigned
to it. Now these Africans hav e become the subjects
of Spain-They are sent here however by the Governor of
Cuba and sanctioned by Messrs. McLeary and MacKenzie
the British Members of the Commission, with (as they state)
the permission granted to that effect by His Majesty's
Query-Arc they not Aliens and do they not still continue
to be Spanish Subjects ?
Qujery-What Control (otherwise than as Aliens) have
I over them ?
I have hired them out as free laborers for five months.
Query.-If they should become refractory or disobedient
or insubordinate as labourers, can they be coerced ?
I apprehend not-The only legal hold I have over
them is by considering them as Aliens.
Query,-Had the Spanish Government under the Treaty
a right to export them ?
Although I do not anticipate any emergency that I would
not venture to provide against upon my own responsibility
relying upon your liberal but firm character, yet I submit
whether the control and regulation of these persons as free
laborers ought not to be the object of an order in Council
or a Local Ordinance.
I could prepare an Ordinance to subject these persons
to wholesome control that should not even cast a shade
upon the spirit of humanity and kindness with which this
class of our fellow creatures ought to be treated.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient, humble Servant,
(Sgd.) G. F. HILL.
WE the Undersigned do severally acknowledge to have
received from His Excellency the Right Honourable Sir George
Fitzgerald Hill, Baronet, Governor and Commander-in-Chief
in and over the said Island of Trinidad and its Dependencies,
Vice-Admiral thereof, the several Male and Female African
Negroes lately arrived from the Havannah, and particularly
named and described in the Lists or Lots hereunto annexed
and respectively signed by us upon the following conditions
that is to say,
To be employed as Agricultural Free Laborers on the
Estates in the said Lists or Lots respectively named and
mentioned, flr the period of six months certain from the
date hereof, and not to be removed or transferred therefrom
to any other Property or Estate during the said period.
And we hereby respectively engage and contract with
His said Excellency the Governor to lodge, medicate and give
them an adequate supply of food, clothing and household
And we further respectively undertake and promise within
one month from the date hereof to have them vaccinated;
and we will within the said period, respectively make or
cause to be made and forwarded to the office of the Honourable
the Colonial Secretary, Affidavits in writing that they have
been so vaccinated.
And we further respectively promise to report each
month to His Excellency the Governor the state of the said
several Male and Female African Negroes by us respectively
received, and from time to time any casualty that may occur
to them or any or either of them.
IN WrITNIss \WHEREOF wCe have sexerally and respectively
set and subscribe d our Hands at Port-of-Spain, this fifteenth
day of February in lhe Year of Our Lord One thousand eight
hundred and thirty-four.
THO.AS ST. HILL,
C. & A. GEROLD.
byv H. Fuller.
per P. M. GRIFFITH.
MARIA BRIDGE NS.
FRED J. SWIFT.
for his father C. Libert.
JOHN W. Dow.
J. B. CONDON.
THOSE. JAS. GOULD.
per Lewis Pantin
28th February, 1834.
I transmit to you herewith a copy of a Receipt which
has been given by M r............. ...................... of the quarter
of..................................... for ten of the Africans distributed
on the 15th instant, together with a Memorandum of their
Sexes and their African and Baptismal Names.
The Receipt specifies the conditions to which the Parties
are reciprocally bound ; and as on the one hand the Africans
are at present, from their ignorance of the languages used
in this Island, unable to make known their wants or complaints,
I have to request that you will have them under your special
observation, and that you will particularly befriend them in
case of need--On the other hand should they leave their
present Domicile before the expiration of the Six Months,
for which they are hired, you will be pleased to apprehend
and restore them to their Employers.
Your obedient, humble Servant,
(Sgd.) G. F. HILL.
THE COMMANDANT OF
THE QUARTER OF ...........................