THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 438.
A Petition from the Inhabitants of Tobago, presented by General
Melville in Paris, about the Administration of the Island.
With the Replies of the King.
Source:-Paris. Archives of the Ministry
of the Colonies. B.O. 1906. No 552.
Published by the courtesy of the Minister
of the Colonies. Paris.
Translated from the French.
5th June 1781.
First. That the Inhabitants of Tobago be allowed
to enjoy the exercise of their religion and that differ-
ences of religion should make no alteration in their
civil rights and that the Ministers should be maintain-
ed in their benefices and privileges.
Reply. The ordinary exercise of religion will be
maintained as will all civil rights. The Clergy will
continue to enjoy their temporal advantages.
Second. That the Laws and Municipal Rights, as
agreed in the Capitulation, be continued.
Reply. Nothing will be changed at present in the
administration and the inhabitants will continue to
exercise their municipal privileges already establish-
ed save such as the King shall consider to require al-
Third. That the proprietors of the land, wherever
resident,may enjoy their ownership undisturbed in the
land or the slaves; and that they may deal with them
as desired without limitation.
Reply. The abolition of the droit d'aubaine ap-
plies equally to the proprietors resident in the Colony
as to those resident elsewhere, provided the actual
managers in the Island have taken the oath of fidelity
to the King.
Fourth. That the Laws and Institutions under which
money has been lent and contracts made, be maintain-
ed in all their entirety. This requires the maintenance
of an appropriate public office and staff.
Reply. All such arrangements made under the Eng-
lish Laws shall continue in force in future, until the
King may be pleased to make any other Ordinance.
Fifth. That all rights of succession to moveable
and im-moveable property, will not be limited in any
way and that it will be unnecessary to obtain letters
of naturalization from His Very Christian Majesty.
Reply. Already answered in reply to No 3.
Sixth. That the Port of the Island be declared a
Reply. The Port of Tobago will be under general
regulations, established for all the French Colonies,
save as experience may show necessary. The King how-
ever, is pleased to allow foreign ships to enter for 3
years and longer, if it appears necessary or advisable.
Seventh. That the Custom Dues be fixed at the
same rate as in other French Islands.
Reply. Tobago being a French Colony, will be tr-
eated as all the others.
Eighth. That owners of land taken now or in the
future for fortifications or other public works, shall
be properly indemnified and equally paid for the ser-
vice of slaves and animals used in the service of the
Reply. This is just and agreed to.
Ninth. That the Government of Tobago be indepen-
dent of that of Martinique or other Windward Islands
Reply. The Government will be independent in all
that relates to administration but not of military con-