THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No 422.
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 Records.
24th October 1777.
Having mentioned the Island of Trinidad in my let-
ter of yesterday, I think it necessary to speak a little
more particularly of it and to observe that if ever it
should come to be well peopled and cultivated it might
prove a painful thorn in the sides of the Windward Is-
It lies about five leagues south southwest distant
from Tobago and thirty leagues almost due south from
Grenada. To go from Grenada to Trinidad takes at least
four or five days on account of the currents but the
return is generally performed in one.
It seemed to have been entirely neglected by the
Spaniards and was chiefly inhabited by Charibs and
fugitives from the Main till a few months ago a new
Governor was sent there who, on his arrival, publish-
ed a Proclamation inviting people to come and settle
at Trinidad, offering every advantage and encourage-
ment that could be desired. In consequence of it many
of the inhabitants of St Lucia, several bankrupts of
this Island and various other persons of desperate for-
tunes embraced the proposal, carried thither their ne-
groes and began settlements and plantations.
Among others a French gentleman of this Island
was tempted to try his fortune there but not much ap-
proving either of the people or the government,he soon
returned. Enclosed I have the honour to send a copy
of the observations he made during his stay at Trinid-
ad and as he is a man of sense and veracity I imagine
them to be pretty just.
As the passage from Trinidad to Tobago is perfor-
med in two to three hours, it sometimes happens that
notwithstanding the utmost vigilance of our people,
Spanish launches and other small vessels approach the
About a month since, a small schooner from Trin.
idad came over in the night to Man of War Bay at the
northeast end of Tobago where two new plantations
were just begun by Messrs Myers and Kelly, landed a
number of men and carried off near forty slaves and a
small schooner lying at anchor. The Chief of the enter-
prise was one Pascal Bonavita, a Corsican by birth,
who had formerly lived at Martinique and committed
several piracies and robberies in those seas under a
pretended American Commission. The Commission now
runs in the name of one White and has already served
for several different little pirate vessels on board of
which this White, the only American of the crew, had
served at different times. He was with Pascal Bonavita
on this expedition at Man of War Bay but the schooner
was the property of Pascal and, in fact, commanded by
The plunderers then returned to Trinidad with their
booty. One of the proprietors of the slaves immediate-
ly came over here from Tobago and made his complaint
to me on which I dispatched the Favourite sloop of war
which happened to be in the road here,with a letter to
the Governor of Trinidad demanding the slaves to be
restored and the pirate to be delivered up or severely
Neither of these requisitions were complied with
but in return an evasive and unsatisfactory answer was
sent to me as Your Lordship will perceive on reading
the enclosed papers which I have the honour to trans-
mit. They consist of my letter to the Governor of Trin-
idad and his answer; also the depositions of Mr Myers
whom I had sent in the Favourite and who returned in
her here the day before yesterday. I send also a let-
ter from the Governor of Trinidad to Captain Fooks on
his first arrival at Trinidad and Captain Fooks answer
to which no reply was given.
The negroes were certainly landed at Trinidad and
disposed of in the manner mentioned in Myer's affidav-
it. No other British ship besides the Favourite went to
Trinidad or was near the coast but the Governor's ap-
prehension had magnified her appearance into five ar-
med vessels as he mentioned in his letter.
There is no defence or fortification in the Island
except a small battery of four six pounders and half a
dozen soldiers so that the Favourite's boats well man-
ned were an overmatch for the whole force of the Col-
ony. Captain Fooks behaved with the utmost prudence
and discretion offering no offence or hostility what-
But unless the Court of Spain sends orders to the
Government of Trinidad to observe a different conduct,
I am very much afraid that the people of Tobago will
take upon themselves to retaliate and though I should
certainly use all my power and authority to prevent
anything of the kind, it might be very difficult to fix
the fact upon the proper persons.
I have the honour to be, My Lord,
Your Lordship's most humble and obedient servant
Lord George Germain.
Secretary of State.