THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 349.
An Address to the King from the Council and Assembly of Tobago.
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.
January 23rd, 1771.
To THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
The Humble Address and Petition of the Council and Assembly of
MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,
We, your most dutiful, loyal and obedient subjects, the
President and Members of the Council and the Representatives
of the People in the General Assembly of your Island of
Tobago, truly sensible ot your Majesty's gracious and paternal
regard tor all your subjects which has so frequently maniested
itself in this infant Colony and imposing implicit confidence
in the continuance of that Royal Benevolence which has ever
disposed you to prevent the wants and relieve the distresses
of your faithful subjects, however remote,
Do, with the utmost humility, presume to approach your
Sacred Person in behalf of ourselves and our distressed fellow
settlers, the inhabitants of Tobago, to lay beforcyour Majesty
our truly precarious situation and earnestly solicit your royal
protection and assistance.
When we see Your Majesty's Dominions threatened with
the horrors of a war by an ambitious and powerful enemy
(part of whose extensive territories we have daily in our view)
we cannot help reflecting with the utmost apprehension on
the defenceless state of this, the youngest of Your Majesty's
Colonics at so early a period of its settlement, exposed to all
the ravages of the small privateers who infest these coasts
plundering and pillaging wherever they can, without the
means of repelling their insults or of even providing for our
own security; with only one battery in the whole Island and
that a very insufficient one to resist the smallest attack by
sea or land.
Upon the eve of such an expected even, our danger
became lately more immediate and imminent by a most
daring and bloody insurrection among our slaves when we
saw before our eyes, our innocent friends most cruelly mangled
and butchered by desperate barbarians and the survivors
hourly exposed in the most anxious state of suspense, to
sharing the same fate.
In so distressful a situation (by the vigilance and
unremitting attention of Your Majesty's Commander in Chief)
the small detachment of Your Majesty's Troops quartered in
this Island consisting of two Companies of the 7oth Regiment
(so incomplete that only 18 men could be spared from the
garrison to the assistance of the attacked plantations) were
re-inforced as quickly as could be expected with a supply of
men and arms from Grenada.
But had not Providence most graciously interposed by
permitting several advantages to be gained over the rebels
in the beginning of the outrages, that assistance would have
arrived too late and this flourishing Colony would have been
now in a state of ruin.
But though we have so happily surmounted the more
immediate danger of this alarming rebellion, our situation is
far from being secure. We shall still continue to be exposed
to conspiracies of a similar nature while we remain in our
present condition. We have a very small proportion of white
inhabitants to oppose to the united force and violence of our
slaves and we find ourselves (under the burthen of the heavy
debts we have already incurred in quelling the late insurrection
and under the many other immediate exigencies of the public)
unable to support any considerable expense merely for the
preservation of our internal tranquillity.
May it therefore please Your Majesty to take the distressed
situation of your faithful subjects, the inhabitants of Tobago
(who, under the encouragement offered by Your Majesty's
Royal Proclamation have vested their fortune and ventured
their lives in endeavouring to settle a remote country and
have actually brought it from being lately in a state of nature
without the least cultivation, to be of some consequence to
the interest of the trade of Your Majesty's Realm) into Your
Royal Consideration that you may be graciously pleased to
give orders that proper measures may be speedily taken for
the internal as well as the external security of this young
though promising Colony by erecting necessary fortifications
for its defence and by furnishing it with such further assistance
in troops as, to Your Majesty in your paternal benevolence
and royal wisdom, its real importance to the British Empire,
shall appear justly to merit.
President of the Council.
Speaker of the Assembly.
January 23rd, 1771.