THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 334.
The Governor General of Grenada 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 Record,.
.Norember 3th, 176i4.
I arrived here after a tedious passage on the 23rd of last
month intending to have stopped only for a few days in order
to wait the arrival of the Melvill store ship which had been
separated from us; and to furnish myself with all lights
which might be useful in establishing and carrying on the
new Government and to give what encouragement I could to
the disposition which I hoped to meet with for settling Tobago.
But to my no small mortification I was no sooner arrived
than informed of a universal dread and dislike of that Island
occasioned by the sudden death of almost every white person
who had lately gone thither and the report of an excessive
sickness prevailing among the troops.
I cannot but mention too that very strong exception had
been taken up and propagated against several clauses in the
King's Proclamation particularly that of the revocabilitv
during the space of twelve months.
In short we found so general and strong a determination
against any of the people going from hence to Tobago without
which assistance it never could be settled, that I thought it
my indispensable duty to His Majesty and the public to
remain here for sorne time and exert my utmost efforts to
changing tlat spirit into a more favourable one; not only
reflecting on the great value and importance which this
Island may become to the nation but judging that it would
form a very disagreeable and particular disappointment at
home, should the first settlement and sale of lands directed by
His Majesty's instructions, be totally fruitless and disliked.
That this must have been the case in Tobago in January
and February next unless some sort of town and settlement
was begun in a healthy quarter, all favourable circumstances
of the Island set forth and the terms of the Proclamation
(which were objected to) palatably explained, was but too
evident. Even now if the lands on the leeward side only
should be exposed for sale (as I believe has been directed)
I dare not promise much success on the first trial; for the
difference of healthiness between the windward and leeward
sides of uncleared countries in this part of the world is very
remarkable as also the difference of clearing with the wind
or against it.
Besides it is the general bel;cf here that the best tracts of
land for plantations lay along the windward shore of Tobago
which added to the circumstance of better healthiness, a thing
of the utmost importance to the first adventurers and their
slaves, may possibly delay them coming into the market or at
least with considerable spirit, until the windward parts are
exposed for sale.
However I am not without hopes that if the first settlement
takes place and gives a favourable impression of the Island,
some of the lands that have been surveyed, may be disposed of.
The measures which I took (after consulting with Admiral
Tyrrell wiho is here, Governor Pinfold and some other persons
of confidence) to remove or at least diminish the prepossession
against Tobago, having at last taken effect so far that a
number of persons gave in their names for town lots, to be
taken up in some healthy and commodious situation on the
windward side of the Island, I dispatched Lieutenant Governor
Brown on the 9th instant in the Melvill store ship with the
properest instructions I could think of and am now in daily
expectation of a very favourable report from him which I
shall avail myself of here as far as possible and afterwards
proceed to join him with the other store ship, carrying down
all persons with their slaves and effects who are willing to go
and have further explained that however little my situation
of finance entitles me to refuse any legal or accustomed fees,
yet I am resolved to do for nothing, the business of the first
In short, My Dear Sir, you will perceive that my zeal to
found the Colony (which has so often failed) is not only at
present unprofitable to me but even occasions some loss as it
keeps me from Grenada where some fair advantages probably
arise to the Governor. But these I very much despise in
competition with so great an object for the public.
I flatter myself therefore that my conduct will be as well
thought of at home as it was well intended and judged to be
useful here. I am persuaded too that Lord Halifax will be
ready to mention with his usual goodness to His Majesty the
reasons for my stopping so long here should it appear in the
I cannot omit to mention that the Lieutenant Governor
Brown and Mr. Stewart the only Commissioner here, have
assisted with great zeal and activity.
I shall sail for Tobago on the 21st where I shall stay no
longer than is absolutely requisite and I hope to get to Grenada
before the end of the month.
I have only to add that I am always with the sincerest
My Dear Sir,
Your most obedient and most humble servant,