Slike strani
PDF
ePub

The negro flaves have also decreased. By the last returns preces ding the capture of the island in 1779, they were stated at thirty-five thousand, of which five thousand were in Cariacou, and the smaller islands. In 1785 they amounted to no more than twenty-three thousand nine hundred and twenty-fix in the whole. The decrease was owing partly to the want of any regular supply during the French government, and partly to the numbers carried from the island by the French inhabitants, both before and after the peace.

The free people of colour amounted in 1787, to one thousand one hundred and fifteen. To prevent the too great increase of this mixed race, every manumission is, by an act of this island, charged with a fine of one hundred pounds currency, payable into the public treasury. But this law has neither operated as a productive fund, nor as a prohibition; for it is usually evaded by executing and recording acts of manumission in some other island or government where there is no such law. The evidence of all free co. loured people, whether born free or manumitted, is received in the courts of this island, on their producing sufficient proof of their freedom; and such free people are tried on criminal charges in the same manner as whites, without distinction of colour. They are also allowed to possess and enjoy lands and tenements to any amount, provided they are native-born subjects or capitulants, and not aliens.

The governor, by virtue of his office, is chancellor, ordinary, and vice-admiral, and prelides solely in the courts of chancery and ordinary, as in Jamaica. His falary is three thousand two hundred pounds currency per annum, * which is raised by a poll tax on all llaves; and it is the practice in Grenada to pass a falary bill on the arrival of every new governor, to continue during his government. In all cases of absence beyond twelve months, the salary ceases and determines.

The council of Grenada consists of twelve members, and the assembly of twenty-fix. The powers, privileges and functions of both these branches of the legillature are the faine, and exercised precisely in the same manner as those of the council and assembly in Jamaica. A freehold or life eftate, of fifty acres, is a qualification to fit as representatives for the parishes, and a freehold, or life estate in fifty pounds house rent in St. George, qualifies a representative for the town, An estate of ten acres in fee, or for life, or a rent of ten pounds in any of the out towns, gives a vote for the representatives of each parish respectively; and a rent of twenty pounds per ann, issuing out of any freehold or life estate in the town of St. George, gives a. vote for the representative for the town.

The currency of G:cnada, or rate of exchange, is commonly, fixty-five per century worse than sierling.

town

The law courts in Grenada, besides those of chancery and ordinary, are the court of grand sessions of the peace, held twice a year, viz. in March and September. In this court the first person named in the commission of the peace presides, who is usually the president or senior in council.—The court of common pleas : this court conlifts of one chief and four assistant justices, whose commissions are during pleasure. The chief justice is usually appointed in England, a profeffional man, and receives a salary of lix hundred pounds per annum. The four affiftant justices are usually appointed by the go. vernor from among the gentlemen of the island, and act without a lalary. The court of exchequer : the barons of this court are commiffioned in like manner as in the court of common pleas; but this court is lately grown into disuse.—The court of admiralty for trial of all prize causes of capture from enemies in war, and of revenue iti, zure in peace or war. There is one judge of admiralty and one furrogate.-The governor and council compose a court of error, as in Jamaica, for trying all appeals of error from the court of conmon pleas.

We have already noticed that there are several small islands subject to the laws enacted in Grenada ; they each elect a person to represent them in the general assembly, which is always held in St. George's. As none of the Grenadines have a harbo. fit for large vessels, the produce of them is conveyed in small vessels to St. George's, from whence it is exported to the different places of Europe, Africa, America, &c. From the number of vessels that arrive there yearly from different places, and from its being the seat of the legislature, it has become so populous, that two newspapers are published in it. On occasion of the late pro{pect of a war with Spain, an act was passed here in February 1790, obliging every gentleman to give in upon oath the value of his estate, and the number of blacks upon it, in order that the general assembly might ascertain the number of Naves each should send to work upon the fortiácations on Richmond hill, near St. George's.

We fall close our account of this island with a view of its exports in 1987, with an account of its value in the British market. Vol. IV. Mm

An

. An Account of the Number of Vessels, their Tonnage, and Men (including their repeated Voyages) that cleared outwards from

the Island of GRENADA, &c. to all parts of the World, between the 5th of January, 1787, and the 5th of January, 1988,
with the Sjecies, Quantities, and Value of their Cargoes, according to the actual Price in London. By the Inspector-General
of Great-Britaio.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

DOMINICA.

This island is fituated between 610 and 620 welt lorigitude, and 150 and 16° north latitude, is about twenty-nine miles long, and fixteen broad; it was so named by Columbus, on account of its being discovered on a Sunday. Prior to the year 1759, its history is a mere blank; at the above period it was taken by Great-Britain from France, and afterwards confirmed to her at the peace in 1763

When Great Britain took poffeffion of this island, many Frenchmen had established plantations of coffee in various parts thereof, and these were secured in their poffeffions by the British government, on condition of taking the oaths of allegiance, and paying a quit rent of two shillings per acre per ann. provided each plantation did not confift of more than three hundred acres. The rest of the cultivable lands were sold by au&tion under the inspection of commiffioners appointed for that purpose: ninety-fix thousand three hundred and forty-four acres were thus disposed of, which yielded to the British government three hundred and twelve thousand and ninety-two pounds eleven shillings and one penny sterling. These purchases made by British subjects do not appear to have answered the expectation of the buyers, for the French inhabitants are still the most numerous, and poffefs the most valuable coffee plantations in the island, the produce of which has hitherto been found its most important staple.

At the commencement of the unjust and destructive war against the American colonies by Great-Britain, the island of Dominica was in a very flourishing state. Roseau, its capital, had been declared a free port by act of parliament, and was resorted to by trading vessels from most part of the foreign West-Indies, as well as from America. The French and Spaniards purchased great numbers of negroes there for the supply of their settlements, together with large quantities of the manufactures of Great Britain, payment for the greater part of which was made in bullion, indigo, and cotton, and completed in mules and cattle, articles of prime necessity to the planter. Thus the island,

though

M in 2

though certainly not fo fertile as some others, was rapidly advancing to importance.

The fituation of this island is between the French island of Guadaloupe and Martinico, with safe and commodious roads and harbours for privateers, rendered its defence an object of the utmost impor. tance to Great-Britain; but her defpotic principles, folly, and fran. tic rage against her colonies on the continent, caused a total neglect of her West-India possessions. Posterity will scarcely believe that the regular force allotted to this island, the best adapted of all others for the defence of the Carribbean sea, and the distressing of the French colonies, confisted only of fix officers and ninety-four privates. In 1778, the Marquis de Bouille, the governor of Martinico, made a descent with two thousand men ; all resistance being vain, the only thing the garrison could do was to procure as favourable terms of capitulation as possible. These were granted with such readiness as did great honour to the character of this officer, the inhabitants experiencing no kind of change except that of transferring their obedience from Britain to France, being left unmolested in the enjoyment of all their rights, both civil and religious. The capitulation was strictly observed by the Marquis, no plunder or irregularity being allowed, and a pecuniary gratification being distributed among the foldiers and volunteers who accompanied him in the expedition. An hundred and fixty-four pieces of excellent cannon, and twentyfour brass mortars, besides a large quantity of military stores, were found in the place, insomuch that the French themselves expressed their surprise at finding fo few hands to make use of them. The Marquis, however, took care to supply this defect, by leaving a garrison of one thousand five hundred of the best men he had with him.

Though the conduct of Bouille in the above expedition was such as in every partt hereof to reflect honour on him as a soldier and a man, yet it was far different with respect to the Marquis Duchilleau, whom Bouille appointed cominander in chief in Dominica. During five years and three months, the period this island was subject to the French monarchy, and under his administration, it was a prey to the most villainous despotism and wanton exertion of power. The principles of the late court of Versailles discovered themselves in all their heblich forms. The English inhabitants were stripped of their 1111, and fo: lid to idle mble in any greater number than two in a Ò

place,

« PrejšnjaNaprej »