St. Vincent and Grenadines Association of Toronto

Moments in Time #3 - Destiny of the Grenadines

Information researched and contributed by Fred Prescod
Correspondence between Thomas Robinson, 2nd Baron Grantham, Foreign Secretary, and Valentine Morris

FILE - [no title] - ref. L 30/14/260/1 - date: 28 November 1782

Contents
Morris, London to Grantham (Copy)
Mr Townsend's letter to the Governor of the Bank, intimating a probability of a speedy peace, and the duty Morris owes, as recent Governor of St Vincent, to the King leads him to acquaint Grantham that should the island of Grenada be left to the French, and that of St Vincent to the
English, it will be absolutely requisite to have the island of Bequia, as also the other smaller islands between Union Island and St Vincent, to belong to St Vincent, and to be ceded with that to the English, and not be deemed appendages of Grenada, although recently held as such by Lord Macartney's commission. This was an error made when two separate commissions were made out for Grenada and St Lucia, although this was inconvenient even when the two islands belonged to the same crown.

These islands, especially Bequia, are from the nature of currents and the Trade Wind so inconvenient to Grenada, that in speedily repressing riots and in enforcing the collection of duties and taxes to Grenada, Morris was obliged to send troops from St Vincent to assist the civil power, and to protect against plunder, for which the governor of Grenada sent his thanks. Besides which, Bequia is within an hours sail of Grenada, and has in Admiralty Bay a place where ships of war can lie in safety, and watch and command almost every harbour of St Vincent, and nearly the same with regard to St Lucia, and protect trade between St Vincent and St Lucia. In enemy hands therefore, this bay would be fortified, and ships could make it in one stretch to Martinique.

Bequia, in French hands, would be an "asylum", only an hour away for those wanting to evade the justice of the laws in St Vincent, and would be the rendezvous, support and supply of arms for the "too troublesome and dangerous Charibs" of St Vincent, who deprived of this would have only Martinique to resort to, passing by St Lucia or beating up by the small islands to Grenada.

Thus Bequia and the small islands north of Union ought to be attached to St Vincent, even though some of them are very small, and without harbours or accommodation except for the smallest sort of craft, and are only of importance to St Vincent by their situation. Had Morris' letters from the West Indies in 1776 to His Majesty's Ministers on that subject arrived before the two commissions had passed the great seal, he understands the defect might
have been rectified then.

If St Vincent is given back to the English, "it goes to the prosperity, nay the very being of the White Inhabitants of that Island" to have some "considerable Regulations" regarding the "people commonly called Caribs there", after they called in the French without provocation. The former boundary line between these people and the British subjects is inadequate to the security of a colony, especially one producing sugar. Morris communicates this to Grantham, "to guard against insiduous Clauses which the French may steal into a Treaty of Peace, respecting the Charibs".

The above letter appears in Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service:
Wrest Park (Lucas) Manuscripts [L 30/13/13 - L 30/14/306]

 

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