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<iijjies to market, and procuring themselves what is necessary for their habitations, to the obvious prejudice of the whale co!ony:
The commanders in chief, in order to remove an evil of such importance* and which is daily increasing, enait and ordain as follows :—
I. The civil commissaries, each in his respective parifl), are to draw up ami deliver, as soon as possible, exact lilts of the habitations situated in the laid parilhes, containing the number of slaves, cattle, acres of land, buildings, and plantations, an estimate of those objects, and a specification of all sorts of productions made and gathered on each estate, whereinought tobediltinguislied those thai bona fide had been made and collected before the twenty-third o( last March.
II. The civil commissaries in- the parishes of the different towns and boroughs are likewise to draw up an 1 deliver a list of the houses, slaves, and servants, to be found in the said towns anil boroughs, stating the proprietors thereof, the yearly rentes each house, and enumerating al-rsorts ot property, comprised under the denomination of goods, commodities, or mei chandise in the said towns and boroughs.
III. The civil commissaries are also ordered, in their respective quarters, to demand the ledgers, and all account-books, notes, and deeds belonging to captains cr agents of the French trade, as well as an exact account of all forts of property, falling under the description of vacant succestion, in each quarter of the colony, with a correct inventory os all the goods, effects, and chattel5, belonging to Arch persons as have taken arms in hand, or Ix-en killed during the siege, or banished the island; and further, aspecification of all properly belonging to persons of any description 'whatever, residing in France.
IV. The civil commissaries are to name in their reports all persons, without exception, that should delay giving in the differ-nt specifications requ'red* or be: suspected of makinga false declaration, or sail to give the usunl assistance necessary forjhe exactness and impartiality of reports of that kind; it bein^ the intention and wilh, that the intended levy be made in the most equitable manner, and in exact proportion with the means of each individual.
V. The said reports are to be made with all possible expedition, so that on Saturday the 31st inst, or sooner, they m:ty be delivered by the civil commissar ies to the commissioners appointed to receive them, and who, for this purpose, will repair either to the Imendjnt's Hotel at Sr. Pitrre, or to the Governor's House at Fort Royal: The commanders in chief having, on their part, manifested their ardent wish to adopt the mildest measures, declare herewith, that it is their firm resolution to have this present measure sully executed, or, on failure cs it, to avail th.-mslves of the povjrf •with 'which they are invested, to order and enforce a general confiscation.
Given under cur signature, on board the Soyne, Fort Royal Bay, on the ivrsnty-f.-i\ cf May, the year as our Saviour one thousand seven
hundred hundred and ninety-four, and tile thirty-fourth year of his MajeuVj feign.
(Signed) CHARLES GREV.
By order of their Excellencies, JOHN JERVIS.
(Signed) G. Fisher.
By these proclamations, nothing could be more clear than that a general contribution and a general confiscation were intended, and there was no species of property that was not enumerated under them. How it was to be'proved that these proclamations were not intended to be carried into effect, he could not conceive. The next thing to be considered was, whether there was any necessity for this? whether the inhabitants had opposed iiIs Majesty's troops, so as to make it necessary?. He had carefully perused the dispatches, and there was not the least proof of any such resistance having been offered by the inhabitants, persons of any prope'rty whatever. The Whites were always well inclined to the British Government, but were kept in subjection by the Mulattoes, and the Negroes, and the Petits Blancs, which are a set of people possessing no property. The Emigrants also, he asserted, had been driven into exile, and their property confiscated. There might have been something of the kind done by a banditti, but he thought it really fair to conclude there v/as none of the resistance to make those proclamations neceflary. These inhabitants, in consequence ot the first proclamation, had joined Us; and from the ir.anncr in which they were treated afterwards, they saw clearly it would have been better for them if they had opposed us. This appeared to him to be highly injurious to pur character, as a people generally renowned for justice and humanity. It was inconsistent with the rest of our conduct in this war; and while in various parts of the globe, we were covering our enemies with bounty, those who trusted to our good faith met with ruin.
With regard to the idea os these islands having been taken by storm, the thing appeared to him to be astonishing. St. I'ierrc was stormed without reason or necessity, it being nothing but an open town without wall or ditch; and when the British troops advanced, resistance was only made by a, few negroes and mulattoes. Nor was this all; the whole island of Martinique was stormed; and Gentlemen might judge of the necessity of such a measure, by imagining what their surprise would be to hear of the storming of Hampshire. He would ask, if there was any insurrection here, would, any
persow person talk of takinc Hampfliire by storm? At Martinique, an island strongly fortified and capable of the greatest resistance, as it contained fifteen thousand white inhabitants, besides negroes and people of colour, the contest lasted for twenty-eight days, and only eighty-four men were said to be lost. Guadaloupe held out for eight days •, St. Lucia, three •days, and was said to betaken without loss. If, under such circumstances, these places could be said to be taken by storm, the conclusion to be drawn from it was, that the fate of war was ■wonderfully altered, and the French must have lost entirely, in this cafe, their character for fighting. Very different was his conclusion from such premises; he thought the circumstances proved beyond a doubt that the inhabitants did not at all oppose us. But even supposing that they actually re
, silted us, it would then be a question how far these proclamations were agreeable to the law of nations, and compatible with our interests as a state; and upon this he thought the House ought to come to a decision, otherwise the law of nations would appear to be nothing but a chimera, an idea that would be very injurious to the interest of all well-regulated states. He laid it down as a principle, that enemies when conquered immediately became subjects entitled to protection. The inhabitants of the islands had not been so regarded in this cafe, and therefore the House ought to annul the proceedings of the commanders. He contended that this mode of levying contributions, and subjecting to confiscation, had never been the practice in former wars, and that the manner in which the commanders in the West Indies had allowed the taking of booty, was contrary to the Act of Par
. liament which regulated that point on our part. He insisted also, that the conduct of these commanders was contrary to their instructions. He then proceeded to shew that the proclamations he had read, had been acted upon; and he read a petition that he said had been presented to the commanders, reminding them of their declaration in March, promising protection, &c. and complaining that the subsequent proclamations for contribution and confiscation had been enforced apainst them. Even supposing that these proclamations bad not been acted upon, in his opinion, they ought to b~' disavowed. He would ask, by way of illustration, whether the manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick ought not'to have been censured, although it had never been acted upon? For these reasons he trusted the House would come to a declaration upon the proclamations, and that no shift would be made use of to get rid of the subject, by moving the previous question, or a.ny thing of that sort ; the House mould not suppose that by passing this subject by, they would be doing nothing they
would would be doing that which was very dangerous. He concluded with moving, " That an humble ;sddrefs be presented to his Majesty, representing that it appears to this House, that* certain proclamations were issued by Sir Charles Grey and Sir John Jervis in the island of Martinique, and dated May the 10th and 21st, 1794, which this House conceives to contain principles not warranted by the law of nations, and of dangerou* 'precedent in all future cafes of hostility, snd which occasioned great alarm and dissatisfaction in his Majesty's colonies; and therefore humbly praying his Majesty, that he will be graciously pleased to take such measures for recalling the fame, and removing the apprehension of his faithful subjects, as to his Majesty thall seem good."
Mr. Mantling, in rising to second the motion, began with vindicating the memory of General Dundas, upon whose character no imputation was intended to be thrown. He referred to the declaration published in 1793, as explanatory of the principles upon which the war was to have been conducted, and from which he conceived the proclamations which it was the object of the present motion to dilavow, to be a wide deviation. He referred also to the instructions to the commanders in the West Indies, which, in ipeaking of booty, expressly excepted the property of the settled inhabitants; that very species of property against which their proclamations were directed. He found himself called upon to support the motion not merely as a West India merchant who had a considerable interest in that quarter, but as a British subject who denaanded that the character of the nation should be vindicated from the reproach of injustice. The alhdavit of General Myers stated, tlut a general resistance h.ul been made to the British arms in the island of Martinique. It was to be recollected that this island was thirty leagues in length, and seven in breadth, srora which it would appear h^w sir it was probable that such a resistance had been made. He ec.Kl refer to, many former instances, where there had been a considerable degree of resistance •, and yet no such principles as t^osc contained in tyc proclamations, had been attempted to be enforced. As. a proof of the loyal dispositions of the Inhabitants of Martinique, he quoted the authority of General Bruce, who mentioned, tha, eight hundred Fiench planters had taken up arms in the Britisli cause, a.l\ of whom must have dither been removed or massacred; yet there appeared no evidence tlut in the late expedition any steps had been taken to secure their property for the use as their heirs.
As. an additional ptoof cf the loyalty (if the inhabitants in tlut quarter, he stiitti that at the time appointed for taking
• ~ ihe the oath of allegiance, the concourse was so great, that the person employed to administer the oath was obliged to fend many of them away. He referred to the distinction between the laws of war and the rights of conquest. When the conquest took place in the islands, no reservation had been made of the rights of war; the inhabitants took the oaths of aU legiance, and were recogilized as British subjects; yet soori after an assembly was convened for the purpose of levying a contribution, who by declining to meet, gave evident proof of their satisfaction. The first instance of contribution had taken place in St. Lucia. A sum of three hundred thousand pounds was imposed, which was afterward reduced to one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Of this, the largest sum said to have been raised, amounted to thirty-five thousand pounds, a plain symptom that the original imposition was felt to be exorbitant and oppressive. It had been urged, that during the command of Sir Charles Grey and Sir John Jervis, no complaints had been transmitted to this country. The reason was easily accounted for: No notary could be found to draw up a remonstrarice, with the certainty of incurring the displeasure o's the superior council, and the consequent risk of being expelled from the islands. He instanced some particular cafes of oppression which had taken place, among others, that of Mr. Thornton, who had an estate of about twenty thousand a year in the neighbourhood of St. Pierre, who was at that time dismissed the island, without a shirt •to his back, and under the necessity of borrowing a guinea from a friend to purchase his passage to France. He affirmed that the proclamations of the loth of April and the 21st of May, were neither justified by the principles of the law of nations, nor the practice of former times. He contrasted the conduct of the Marquis of Bouille with respect to St. Kitt's, with that which had been observed by the British commanders. After the French had taken the island, he himself continued regularly to receive his remittances through Ostend, Bruges, or Hamburgh. The complaint on this occasion had been ascribed entirely to disappointed speculators. He him-felf had received hundreds of letters from respectable planters in different places, "unconnected with commerce, and not personally interested in the French West India islands, that Tcprobated in the strongest terms the conduct of the British ■commanders. From these he read some extracts to the House; 'These extracts talked of the inhuman and avaricious conduct: of the Britisli commanders as having fixed a stain upon the name of the country; and of the example which they had exhibited of rapacity and oppression, as being calculated in a Voi. HI. jH " reverse