THE GRENADA HANDBOOK AND DIRECTORY 1946
AREA AND SITUATION
GRENADA, the most southerly of the windward group, situated between the parallels of 12, 30 and 11, 58 N. latitude and between 61, 20 and 61, 35 W. longitude. its is about 21 miles in length, 12 miles wide at its breadth, and contains about 120 square miles. It lies 68 miles S.S.W of St. Vincent and 90 miles north of Trinidad and between it and the former island stretches a chain of small islands called the Grenadines. The southernmost of these, embracing Carriacou, Petite Martinique, Isle of Rhonde and others , are included within the colony of Grenada. Carriacou has an area of some 13 square miles. The capital of Grenada, St. George's, is also the sit of the governor of the Windward Islands.
A topographical description of the island of Grenada ( surveyed by Monsieur Pinel in 1763) by order of Government-By lieut. Daniel Patterson. The original document preserved at the Public Works Department of Grenada.
The island is divided into six parishes or Districts, the principle of which is that named Basse-Terre or St. George which contains the city, the Fort and Port. Here also lied the ordinary residence of the Governor General, and the Courts of Judicature.
The District of St. George is situated on the south part of the island, extending 15.3 miles (4.5 Leagues) along the Chemin Royal from the Riviere Dounce to the Riviere de Chermin. It had fourteen Sugar Plantations. Ten had water-mills: besides a great many Coffee Plantations; but none of these were of consequence, except three or four. All of the Coast of Ponte des Salines or Point Salines to the Riviere de Chermin, was dry barren soil, and little inhabited, neither does if afford any other water than that of Wells or Ponds. The Salt Pond produced a great deal of salt, when carefully managed.
The District named Quartier du Megrin or St. David, lies towards the South-East; its coast forms several Points and some Bays capable of receiving small crafts: It extends 12.8 Miles ( Three and half leagues) from Riviere de Chemin to the Riviere de Crochu, which separates it on the North part from the District, Du Grand Marquis, there are several rivers which runs through it, and supplied Ten Sugar Plantations with sufficiency of water; there was also some considerable Coffee Plantations, and many others of less consequences as being but lately established; it is planted about four thousands paces up the hills ( 1.8Miles)
The Quartier Du Grand Marquis or St. Andrew's, situated towards the East, is the most considerable District, as well for Extent, as for the Number and importance of its Plantations: it is four and half leagues long (15.3 Miles), extending from Riviere de Crochu to the Riviere Antione, which separates it on the North side from the District Des Sauteurs. Lands were granted here, 7,000 paces ( 3.31 Miles) up from the Coast, which are in general good. There were however some, from the Town of Grand Marquis to the Riviere du Crochu which were indifferent, as they have been over-wrought and these on the heights as you go towards the great pond are cold and for the most part, bad. Several rivers run through this quarter, which supply 23 Plantations with water, twelve which were considerable , on the account of their produce and income. It contains also many large Coffee Plantations,, and many others of less consequences as being but lately established; it is planted about four thousands paces up the hills ( 1.8Miles)
The Quartier Du Grand Marquis or St. Andrew's, situated towards the East, is the most considerable District, as well for Extent, as for the Number and importance of its Plantations: it is four and half leagues long (15.3 Miles), extending from Riviere de Crochu to the Riviere Antione, which separates it on the North side from the District Des Sauteurs. Lands were granted here, 7,000 paces (3.31 Miles) up from the Coast, which are in general good. There were however some, from the Town of Grand Marquis to the Riviere du Crochu which were indifferent, as they have been over-wrought and these on the heights as you go towards the great pond are cold and for the most part, bad. Several rivers run through this quarter, which supply 23 Plantations with water, twelve which were considerable, on the account of their produce and income. It contains also many large Coffee Plantations, and a great number of small ones. There is but one single harbor where small craft can ride in safety, as a small island shelters it from the winds, which predominate on this part of the island with such violence, as to render it dangerous for any vessel to approach the coast.
The Quartier des Sauteurs, or St. Patrick’s situated in the north part of the island, extends four leagues (13.8 Miles) along the Chemin Royal from the Riviere Antoine to the Riviere de Duquens which separates it on the west form the district Du Grand Pauvre. The lands here are very good, and all granted; but it is not commanded by any high mountains, it has only the great Riviere des Sauteurs that can supply water-mills. It contains 18 Sugar Plantations, 12 of which yield great produce, and several large Coffee Plantations; small craft may anchor in the ports of Des Sauteurs and Levera.
The Quartier du Grand Pauvre or St. Mark, the smallest and least considerable in the island, is situated to the northwest, extending only two leagues (6.9 miles) from the Riviere du Quene, to the Ravine Marans, which separated it on the south side from the district is Ance Gouyaves. It contains six Sugar Plantations, three of which reside there are poor, and unable to defray the expenses of working the land, which is mountainous; the soil is nevertheless tolerably good.
The Quartier de l’Ance Gouyave, or St. John, situated to the west of the island, extends about two and a half leagues (8.6 Miles) from Ravina Marans to the Riviere Deuce. This quarter as well as the foregoing one, is but of little importance with regard to the number of its settlements : and though it is watered by several rivers , yet is contains but nine Sugar Plantations, the best of which are much less considerable than those which are on the Windward side of the Island. The land, being great intersected with mountains makes it very difficult to bring the settlements to perfection; There are only three or four Coffee or Cocoa Plantations which are of any consequence: and many of these lately planted on the heights produce very little, as the land is very cold , and requires a great deal of labor to keep it in order. The entire coast from the Grand Pauvre to the Basse Terre, is of easy access, there being all along, good anchorage.
The island of Grenada is in structure a moderately eroded volcanic pile, and is somewhat mountainous. The principle point Morne Ste. Catherine (2,749 feet), rises in the northern part of the island as the centre of a massif surrounded by lesser peaks ridges. South of this massif is a low col, where Belvedere ridge crosses the island, and beyond it the land rises again into a low curving ridge – or system of ridges- running first towards the south and then bending round to the east and north-east. This contains numerous peaks and high points- Fedon’s Camp, Morne Quaqua (2,412 feet)- Mt. Sinai (2,300 Feet) and south east Mountain (2,359 feet)- and embraces several ole crater base one of which is still occupied by a lake known as Grand Etang. From the central mountains the land descends to the sea. This is not strictly any coastal plain, though there are lowlands in the north-east at Levera and in the south-west where a long peninsula runs out to Point Saline. Except in the higher parts of the mountains, slopes are for the most part sufficiently gently to permit of development of agriculture.
The Grenadines are based upon a submarine ridge which only submerged to a depth’s about 20 fathoms. The island themselves are evidently highly eroded remnants, as evidenced by the irregular and “piton”- dominated landscapes.
With the exception of a few beds of limestone’s, which are very small extent, Grenada and the Grenadines are of volcanic origin. Grenada shows clear evidence of a number of distinct phases of volcanism, but for the most part appears to be intermediate in age between St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Volcanic activity is extinct and leaves only a few cold carbonic springs its last traces. Earthquake shocks were felt in 1867 and 1888, both cases centered beneath St. George’s harbor, which is the center of an old crater. Other old craters are still plainly visible near Grand Etang and at Lake Antoine. Much of the erupted matter consisted of massive lavas- basalt, augite-andesite and hornblende-andesite- which occupy the centre is the island. Coastally the deposits are agglomerate, ash and turf. Small deposits of marine coralliferous limestone sod Pleistocene age occur in the north at an elevation of 600 feet.
It is thought possible that Grenada may have been connected to the mainland of South Americas during the Pliocene times.
The Grenadines consist of fine-grained volcanic ashes which were originally laid down under the sea. Carriacou is capped about 600 feet with similar to those of Grenada, indicating a Pleistocene submergence which must completely have drowning these islands. The Grenadines are very deeply eroded. The surface ashes have been worn away to expose a number of residual phases whose hard lava cores stand up as pitons.
The island of Grenada is eroded to a moderate extent. The areas have reached based level and slopes have been reduced to intermediate erosional stage of moderate steepness.
The agricultural soils have been studied by Hardy, McDonald and Rodriguez (The Cacao soils of Grenada 1932). Red earth occurs predominantly in the centre of the island and shoal soil around the coast; these both are the result of intense weathering of volcanic rock materials, the former under a region of high rain-falls and the latter under one of low. The profile of the red earth shows a dark brown, humic surface horizon grading imperceptibly into the bright red, clayey parent soil, which is highly acidic, remarkably crumbly, friable and porous down to a great dept. A shoal soil has a A-horizon consisting of a dark humic clay, overlying at quite a shallow depth a B-horizon that has become sealed up hard by illuviation. Neither of these two types is properly a fertile soil, but it would appear that un most areas in Grenada weathering has not proceeded to its final stage-nothing like as far, for example, as in St. Lucia –and the soil are by no means as intractable as in that island. The well-cultivated aspect of Grenada testifies to the productivity of the land.
1498 The existence of Grenada was brought to the knowledge of the Old world by Christopher Columbus, who sighted the Island on August 15, 1498, but did not touch at it. On his voyage, which began on May 30, 1498, the first land made by the great navigator was Trinidad, on July 31. He entered the Gulf of Paria from the south, and, after cruising about the shores of Trinidad and the mainland, he passed through the Boca del Dragon, the northern outlet of the gulf, on the afternoon of August 14. The next morning , being the feast of assumption of the virgin, while standing to the northward, he saw to the north-east, many leagues distant, two islands, which he called ‘Assumption’ and ‘ Conception’ the former being Tobago and the latter Grenada. He then preceded westward, discovering Margarita and Cubagua while en route for Hispaniola.
For more than 100 years after its discovery by Columbus the aboriginal inhabitants, who were of the Carib race, were left in undisturbed possession of the island, to which they are said to have been attracted in great numbers on account of the superior hunting and fishing obtainable there as compared with the adjacent islands. The Spaniards were, no doubt , fully occupied with their more important conquests on the American continent and the larger islands of the Caribbean Sea , and as yet other European nations had not joined in the race for acquisition of new territory among fertile beautiful lands.
1609 According to a document in the British Museum, written by Major John Scott, historiographer to Charles ii, the first attempt to colonize Grenada was made by a company of London merchant, who equipped three ships and dispatched them with that objective. They reached Grenada on April 1, 1609, and landed 208 colonists, but these were persistently hunted by the Caribs that they were compelled to abandon the settlement and return to England, what was left them arriving in London on December 15, 1609.
1626 About the year 1626 both the English and French appear to have set covetous eyes on the unappropriated island of Grenada, and we find it included among the theoretical possessions of the French ‘Company of the Islands of America’, founded in that year by Cardinal Richelieu, while in the following year it was included in the general grant of the Caribbees made to the Earl of Carlisle by King Charles I. Neither nation, however, took any further steps until 1638, when a Frenchman named Polney attempted to effect a landing, but was driven off by the Caribs, who thus secured further immunity from attack for twelve years.
1650 In 1650, M.M Houel and Du Parquet, shareholders of the French company above referred to purchased Martinique, St. Lucia and Grenada from the company for sum equivalent to 1,600i.and, after establishing himself at Martinique, Da Parquet turned his attempts to Grenada, where he landed in June of that year with a strong following of 200 adventures. Whether they were overawed by the force which accompanied him, or whether they their simple minds were attracted by the by the trinkets and gowgaw of which he made the liberal presents, the Caribs made no resistance to Du Parquet settlement, and, according to Peres Du Terte, the island was ‘fair chase’ for ‘some knives and hatchets and a large quantity of glass beads, besides two bottles of brandy for the chief himself.
The colony was founded on a strip of land which in those days and certainly for fifty-five years afterwards, projected from the cliff known as ‘Ballast Ground’ on the eastern side of the entrance to St. George’s harbor, across the mouth of the ‘Lagoon’, which was not as now, an arm of the sea, but a deep lake of brackish water formed by the rivulets on the ‘Springs’ land and which overflowed its bar of sand after heavy rain, just as the embouchures of others streams in the island now do. Upon this site the French erected their huts and large wooden building brought in sections with them from Martinique, which they surrounded with stockade and defended with two canons, as a fortress within which they might retire if they were attacked by the Caribs. In the front of the settlement on the west was excellent anchorage for large ships, particularly in the inlet between the ‘Spout’ and the opposite point at the north. At the present day there is hardly 3 feet along this part of the harbor, and the site of the old town is a coral reef across the mouth of the Lagoon. There is no record in the colony of the convulsion which must have caused its present connection, but there can be little doubt that the Carenage was once the crater of a volcano, which, as will be seen, so lately as in 1807 and in 1902 gave proof of its existence.
1651 After establishing his colony Du Parquet left a relation of his named Le Compte, to govern Grenada on his behalf, but, In February 1651 the Caribs, probably recognizing the danger to which they had exposed themselves by their too easy yielding of a footing on the island to the French, began hostilities, and Du Parquet being determined not to lose his hold on the island, sent Le Compte a reinforcement of 300 men, with instructions to extirpate the aborigines. The French settlement was on the southern sea board, which they term Basseterre, the remainder of the island being designated the Cabesterre. Far from Le Compte at once obeying D Parquet orders to wipe out the Caribs, he gave them yet another chance. Only when the aborigines had again exhibited their perfidy and apparent inability to keep the peace and stop killing those who they had ceded the island did Le Compte a have recourse to extreme measures. He then devoted himself to his horrible task with zeal and energy, and his unhappy antagonists, not being able to cope with his followers on account of the superior weapons of the latter area of their armor, which effectively protected them from the wretch flint hatchets and wooden spears, succumbed in the unequal struggle were completely driven out of Basseterre. The last stand they made at this part of the campaign was at a precipice on the extreme north of the island , called by the French, in memory of the awful tragedy there enacted, ‘Le Morne des Sauteurs, or ‘Leapers’ Hill’, a name which, corrupted locally into ‘Sotiare,’ the town there located bears to the present day. A French Narrator this describes the incident: ‘ The savages were being hard pressed, retired to the summit of a small promontory, which was surrounded by frightful precipices and accessible by only a narrow and difficult path, the opening to which they had been extremely careful to keep concealed. The French, having succeeded at last in discovering the secret passage, broke in upon them by surprise. They fought vigorously, but the savages were completely defeated, and those who remained, about forty in numbers precipitated themselves from the top of the rock rather than surrender.
This closed the first part of the war of extermination, the Caribs, however, the remaining in possession of Cabesterre, where at first the French seemed disposed to leave them; but, burning with natural desire to avenge their wrongs, they soon broke up the temporary peace by raids on the settlements, and by killing all of the colonist who fell their way. Le Compte, therefore, determined to make an end to them, and, collecting his forces, marched in Basseterre, and day break surprised their head quarters, where the greatest number of them was assembled, and put them to the sword without regard to age or sex. Following his success with vigor Le Compte carried fire and sword throughout Cabesterre, and reduced the Caribs to such a small number that they never again disturbed the peace of the colony. Although few were in existence in St. Marks valley and other parts of the Cabesterre as late as 1705.
The complete subjugation of the island was, however, accompanied by the death of Le Compte, who was drowned when returning to the Basseterre from his victorious expedition. He was succeeded in the Government by M. Louis de Cacqueray, Sieur de Val-meniere, who experienced some trouble in assuming the reins of Government, as there were several officers among the colonist who conceived they had a better right to the post. These resorted to arms, but De Valmeniere was victorious and the leader of the opposition party, Lefont, only escaped execution by suicide. His adherents were banished, but their properties were not confiscated.
1657 The new Governor appears to have conducted the affairs of the infant colony with much tact and judgment, and under his direction made substantial progress for some time. Du Parquet, having suffered much in his purse of expenses of the Carib war, found it necessary to sell the island, and in 1657 it became the property of the Comte de Cerillac, who paid for it about 1,890I. The Governor appointed by the new proprietor is said to be ‘a man of brutal manners’, and he rendered himself intolerable to the colonists, accustomed to as they were to the mild and genial sway of De Val-meniere. The more respectable inhabitants emigrated to Martinique, a proceeding which so irritated the Governor that his tyranny became unbearable, and the colonists rose in arms against him, effected his capture, put him through a form of trial, and condemned him to be hanged. The wretched man succeeded, by claiming noble origin, in getting sentence of hanging changed to beheading, but at the last moment, finding that they had no skillful executioner, the rebels shot him.
1664 An Order in the Council was made by the King of France on April 17, 1664, transferring the rights of the ‘Company of the island of America’ to the new French West Indies Company, and M. de Val-meniere was appointed special Commissioner to give effect to the Order. He arrived in Grenada on November 22, and found the colonist in great distress after recent events. He readdressed their grievances, made the Comte de Cerillac leave the island, appointed M. Vincent to the Governor, and departed on November 29.
1665 In 1665 the Comte de Cerillac appears to have been paid his rights in Grenada 10,000 crowns.
1666 In 1666 an armed expedition was sent by M. Vincent from Grenada to Trinidad, Where it is said to have captured the fort in a ‘discreditable ruse’
1674 Upon the dissolution of the French West Indian Company, in the royal edict in December 1674, Grenada passed under the domination of the French crown.
1700 For the next eighty-eight years the French colony, notwithstanding many wars and rumors around it , appears to have enjoyed the blessings of peace and a measure of prosperity, which is evidenced by the fact that and an enumeration of the people and their properties taken in the 1700 showed a population of 257 whites 53 Free colored persons, and 525 slaves who were employed on 3 Sugar Estates and 52 Indigo plantations, Their livestock consisting of horses and 569 cattle; while a similar census in 1,753 showed the following increases: Population – 1,263 whites, 175 free colored persons, 11,991 Slaves; live-stock- 2,298 horses and mules, 2,556 cattle, 3,278 sheep, 902 goats, 331 hogs; cultivation 83- sugar estate, 2,725,600 coffee trees, 150,300 cocoa trees and 800 cotton trees. Owing, however in the absence of authentic records for this period, very little can be stated of the colony’s history in those years.
The condition of the colon in the early years of the eighteenth century me be gathered from the following remarks of an eye witness, Père Labat, a priest of the Dominican Order, who spent five days on the island September, 1700, and who seems to have a poor opinion of the colonizing capacity of his compatriots. He writes: ‘ The English know better than we how to profit by natural advantages . If Grenada belonged to them, it would long since have changed its aspect, and have become a rich and powerful colony whereas, up to the present time, we have not reaped and of the benefits which ought to have been derived from it, and after a many years of possession we behold it still no better than it was when M. Du parquet purchased it from the savages.’
1705 In 1705, M. De Bellair bring the Governor, the town was removed from its original site to the promontory on the western side of the harbor, where it now stands, and in that and the following year Fort George was built from the plans and under direction of M. de Caillus, ‘ Engineer-General of the American Islands and Territory Firma’. A map by this officer showing the town and fort, the site of the old town appears to have been Pot Louis, and the new town was styled Fort Royal, probably after the erection of the protecting fort, and retained that name up to the first English occupation in 1763, when it was named St. George’s and the citadel became Fort George.
1714 The cultivation of cocoa, coffee and cotton was commenced in 1714, in which year it is recorded that vessels trading between Martinique and the Spanish Main began to call at Grenada for water and supplies, giving a great impetus to trade. It is worthy of note that tobacco which was grown on the island at that period is said to have been of such superior quality that is realized double and treble the price of that grown in the other islands.
1739 In 1738, a hospital for the care and treatment of the sick and indigent persons was established In St. George’s, near the St. John’s River, and endowed with proceeds of the cultivation of the adjoining sugar estates.
1756 In 1756 war was declared between Great Britain and France.
1761 Admiral Rodney arrived in the West Indies at the close of 1761 with fleet of 18 ships of the line, and landed forces under the command of General Monekton, of 10,000 men.
1762 Upon the surrender of Martinique to him to February 4, 1762 he dispatched a squadron to Grenada under Commodore Swanton, whereupon the French surrendered on capitulation to that officer, and the passed under the British dominion, the administration of the Government being temporary vested in Lieutenant-Governor George Scott of Dominica.
1763 In the following year Grenada and the Grenadines were, by the 9th article of the treaty of Peace signed at Paris on February 10, ceded to Great Britain, and on October 7, by Royal Proclamation of George III, it was announced that letters patent had been issued creating the Government of Grenada, ‘comprehending the island of that name, together with the Grenadines, and the islands of Dominica, St. Vincent and Tobago,’ and providing for Councils and Assemblies of the representative of people therein, ‘ in such manner an form as is used and directed in those colonies , and provinces of America’ then under the Government of the British Crown; empowering also the legislature so created to pass laws as ‘near as may be agreeable to the laws of England,’ and authorizing the Governor to constitute courts of justice in the colonies, with right to appeal to the Privy Council of Great Britain. It should be here be noted that at the time of the cession the French were allowed to remove all public documents to Martinique, so that there are no records in the colony dating before 1763. This proceeding appears to have been provided for by the 22nd article of the Treaty of Paris.
1764 It was not until December 13, 1764 that the first Governor, General Robert Melvill, arrived in Grenada. He at once, under his instructions for the king, created a General Council for all the Colonies comprised within his Government, declared that the laws of Great Britain were in force in Grenada ‘as far as the nature and circumstances of the colony will admit,’ and enacted certain ordinances with the advice of his Council. Under the authority of royal letters patent dated July 20, 1764, he imposed an export duty of 4 ½ per cent on the value of produce exported, to be paid to the British Government in lieu of the duties formally paid by the colonist to the King of France, a proceeding which was strenuously opposed by the inhabitants. His original instructions were to convene one General Assembly for all of the islands of his Government, but not meeting with the support of the other colonies in this project,, Dominica being the first to protest, he established a House of Assembly for Grenada and the Grenadines, consisting of twenty-one members, and later on created similar bodies in the other colonies. It is to be noted that the new French subjects were allowed to vote at elections.
1766 The first session of Grenada House was opened April 15, 1766, but its career was brief and inglorious, for on April 25 it passed its first Bill, ‘ for the better government of slaves, &c.’ which failed to pass the Council, and a legislative conflict ensued, which ended the House claiming the right to adjourn without the Governor’s leave, as required by the royal instructions and it was thereupon dissolved on May 21, having existed thirty seven days, and new House of Assembly was convened on October 15. A severe earthquake destroyed several sugar works this year, and cause enormous landslides, so that it was impossible for some time to ride around the island.
1767 On March 19, 1767, The General Council was abolished so far Grenada was concerned, and a Council for Grenada alone was established by direction of the Home Government; a similar step was taken in due course with respect to each of the other colonies of the Grenadines Government. It became Necessary in this course in the course of the year to deposit troops against the runaway slaves, large number elected and made raids on the Plantation and settlers, and inconsequence of the necessity for providing for the numerous prisoners taken, attention was given to the inadequacy of the old French prison, and the erection of the old building known as the Old Common Gaol in St. George’s was commence upon the site of the prison. On March 17 , of this year, an armed schooner of Grenadian Customs( 8 guns and 12 men) captured a French smuggling vessel ( 10 guns and 18 men) after a hard fight.
1768 On July 26, 1768, Ulysses Fitzmaurice, Lieutenant – Governor of St. Vincent, assumed the Government both General Mevill and Lieutenant- General Gore, the Lieutenant- Governor, being absent from the colony. General Melvill did not resume the Government until 1770. A hurricane is said to have visited the island on August 12, 1768, but it must have been very mild and have done very little damage as there is no official record of it.
On December 31 the constitution of the Legislative Assembly was altered by direction of the Home Government, the number of members being increased to twenty-four and the quorum fixed a eleven; it was further provided that three of the French inhabitants who had taken the oath of allegiance to the King of England might be elected to the House, and they were to be allowed, upon election, to refuse, if they were Roman Catholics, to subscribe to the ‘Test’ as the disavowal of belief in the doctrine of Transubstantiation was called- a most liberal proceeding, regard being had to the spirit of times. These instruction, however, lead to more bitter dissensions in the colony, and, as the king refused to resolve them, the more zealous Protestants among the colonists retaliated by not serving in the Legislature, so that the conduct of the public affairs for many years was the most difficult and complicated, and the progress id the colony was seriously retarded.
1770 In 1770 a small red ant ( Fornica omnivore,L.) made its appearance at Petit Havre, now known as Woodford, and, rapidly spreading over the island, severally damaged for the next ten years the sugar-cane cultivation, and lime, lemon and orange trees. This ants had previously appeared in Barbados and Martinique, and was probably imported to Grenada from the latter place from smugglers. An eye witness thus describes the plague: ‘Their numbers were incredible. I have seen the roads colored with them for miles together and so crowded were they were in places that the print of the horse’s feet would appear for a moment or two, until filled up the surrounding multitude.
1771 In March 1771 General Melvill was succeeded in the general government of the islands by Brigadier- General Leybourne and on December 27 the town of St. George’s, then consisting of woods and houses was completely destroyed by fire, the damage done being estimated at 200,000Ꙇ currency. A census taken this year gave return of 1,661 whites, 415 free colored persons, and 26,211 slaves. Dominica was separated from the Government of Grenada at this date, and created a separated Government under the administration of Sir William Young.
1774 Lord Mansfield, Chief Justice of England, pronounced judgment against the Crown in Michaelmas Term, 1774, in the matter of the imposition of the 4 ½ per cent export duty, which was accordingly abolished, to the great joy of the colonists. The road to Grenville from St. George’s, by way of the Grand Etang, was commenced this year.
1775 General Leybourne died at St. Vincent in April 1775 and the Government devolved on Lieutenant- Governor Young of Tobago. On November 1, the greater part of the town of St. George’s was again destroyed by fire, the damage this time being estimated at 500,000Ꙇ currency. In consequence of this second fire a stringent Act was passed by the Legislature with respect to the erection of future buildings in town, which were consequently reconstructed of brick and covered with tiles.
1776 In 1776, St. Vincent was created a separate Government, the Government of Grenada being limited to Grenada, The Grenadines and Tobago, and Sir George (afterward Lord) McCartney was appointed Governor-in-chief.
1778 An Act was passed in 1778 providing that if the Home Government would establish a naval dock and dockyard at St. George’s the colony would give a considerable amount of slave labor and materials towards work; but nothing came of the liberal offer, and in the following year the colony passed out of the British into French hands.
The War of American Independence, began in 1775, had in 1778 involved Great Britain in war with France, and in April of that year a large French fleet under the Comte d’Estaing proceeded to New York, Whence after some fighting with the English vessels along the American coasts, he sailed at the end of the year to the relief of St. Lucia, then exposed to attacks from the British under Admiral Barrington and Brigadier- General Meadows. Here he was repulsed by the sea and land, and was obliged on December 30 to leave the island to its fate. He retired to Martinique, was he kept by Admirals Byron and Barrington on the defense for the next five months, during which time, however, he was successfully reinforced by ships and men under Comte de Grasse and M. de LaMotte-Piquet. In June 1779 the British fleets appear to have been compelled to raise their blockade of the French commander by the necessity for protecting a rich convoy of merchantmen which had assembled at St. Kitts and D’Estaing immediately made a dash for St. Vincent, which capitulated to him on June 18. Thence, flushed with success, he sailed to Grenada with his whole fleet of 25 ships of the line and 10 frigates, and with 10,000 troops, arriving there July 2.
At this junction the entire British force in the colony consisted of 540 men, of whom only 90 were regular soldiers, the remainder being militia and volunteers for ships in the harbor, who had been got together by the special exertions of the Governor, Lord MaCartney, a vote of thanks to whom, for his zeal and energy in the preparation for the defense of the island, was the last action of the House of Assembly. With these scanty forces Lord MaCartney made a brilliant defense; but D’Estaing, having on the evening of his arrival landed a strong force under Count Dillon at Molinier Bay, marched inland, and made a turning movement on St. George’s. After a hard struggle and heavy loss, he carried by assault on the night of the 3rd the works on Hospital Hill, which command the town and Fort George, to which the British thereupon retreated to the hurry of their departure. Leaving the guns unspiked. They were at daybreak, next morning directed against Fort George, and the gallant defenders had no alternative but to surrender on the 4th, the victor having dictated such insolent terror when the garrison offered to capitulate that the Governor preferring the former course. D’Estaing, who is said to have had a private grudge against the British having been the subject of stricture from the officers of the British army in consequence of having broken his parole in the previous war, there upon gave up St. George’s to plundered by his troops, and sunk nearly all of the vessels then anchor in the Carenage, a well- directed fire from which( especially from H.M.S ‘York’) during the assault on Hospital Hill, had seriously retarded his operations.
At daybreak on July 6, Admiral Byron made his appearances with a squadron off St. George’s, too late to save the colony; but, notwithstanding that his force was far inferior to that of the French be bravely attached them, with the result that D’Estaing, although wounded, which so dispirited him that he retired during the night under the shelter of the guns of St. George’s. As no attempt was made the following day to attack the British squadron, which although much damaged by the previous day’s fighting, was drawing up to give battle, and as the recapture of the island was impossible with his inferior force, Admiral Byron retired to St. Kitts.
Grenada was thus once more became an appanage Of the French Crown, and was held as such for the next four and a half years, during which time it appears to have been ruled in the most despotic manner by Comte de Durat as Governor and the British colonist were solely oppressed.
The authentic records in the colony of the occurrence of this period are very scant, as the French were allowed in 1783 to remove their documents to Martinique, and many of the British records disappeared about the same time, being probably lost or destroyed during the sack of the town and in the unsettled state of the colony.
Directly after their capture the of the island the French, realizing how seriously their advance upon St. George’s and their occupation of the fortification on Hospital hill would have been embarrassing if forts had been in existence in Richmond Hill proceeded to forcibly appropriate the Mount George estate, the property of Honorable William Lucas, and began the erection o a fort there.
1780 On October 10, 1780 Grenada, in common with most of other West Indian Islands, was visit by a hurricane, but it was no so severely felt there as in others, and had one result of great benefit to the colony, as the heavy rainfall destroyed the sugar ants which, in defiance of all efforts to eradicate it, had ravaged the crops of the island for the previous ten years. Nineteen Dutch Ships fully laden with cargo, are said to have been stranded and been destroyed by this cyclone at Grenada.
1781 In 1781 M. Roumé de St. Laurent, a Grenada planter, conceived the idea of persuading the Spanish Government to allow foreign immigration into Trinidad, which was then strenuously prohibited by Spain, and having attained his object in 1783, there was great influx from Grenada, and the other French islands of the French colonists into that beautiful island, and at that time colonized to only a few Spaniards.
By the 8th article of the Treaty of Versallies, signed on September 3, 1783, Grenada and the Grenadines were restored to Great Britain, and in January 1784, Lieutenant- Governor Mathew arrived with a commission as Captain-General and the Governor-in –Chief ‘in and over the island of Grenada, and such of the Islands commonly called the Grenadines to the southward of the island of Carriacou, Including that island, and lying between the same and Grenada.’ This de-limitation of the colony is still in force. His intentions included the revival of the Legislature and Courts of Justice on the lines laid down for the Governor Melvill in 1768. The new Governor took prompt steps in those matters, an in re-establishing the Assembly took occasion to revive the privileges formerly granted to the French Roman Catholic inhabitants. The Legislature, on being convened, proceeded to purchase the Mount George estate from the Hon. William Lucas, and to the make liberal grants of slave labor and materials towards the erection of fortification on that part of the estate called Richmond Hill, which commands the town of St. George’s on the east, and its approaches from the east and south. They also voted the sum 20,000Ꙇ, to join the body of water known as the ‘Lagoon’ in the inner harbor of St. George’s, but the project was never carried out. The first newspaper in Grenada was published in January of 1784, under the title of ‘The Grenada Chronicle.’
1787 The colony was honored in April 1787 by a visit from Prince William Henry, the third son of George III, and afterwards King William IV. The young prince was serving as a naval officer on the frigate ‘Solebay’ at the time, and he was sumptuously entertained by the islanders, upwards of 3,300Ꙇ currency being expended for the purpose. And address was presented to him by the Legislature, and in his reply His Royal Highness referred to the island as ‘the first to be attacked in war on account of her riches and the harbor she possesses, which affords so much shelter in the hurricane months.
St. George’s was made a free port in this year by the Imperial Act 27 Geo. III., cap.27. The produce exported in 1787 was 175,548 cwt. Of sugar, 670,390 gallons of rum, 2,716 cwt. of cocoa, 2,062,427 lb cotton, and 2,810 lb indigo, stated to be worth in all ( including other articles, such as hides, wood ,etc) 614,908Ꙇ,and employing for its transport 188 ships of 25,764 tonnage.
1790 The year 1790 witnessed the arrival on November 28 of Dr. Thomas Coke, a Wesleyan missionary, with the object of planting a mission station of the Methodist body in the colony. This gentle-man afterwards wrote a history of the West Indies, which much labor and research, although his dates of events in the early history of Grenada are sadly inaccurate.
1792 On May 15, 1792, there was another severe fire in St. George’s caused by the burning of a vessel in the Carenage, laden with rum, and it destroyed about one-third of the town. A new Election Act was passed u the course of the year abrogating the privileges hither to granted to Roman Catholics by requiring all members of the Legislature to subscribe to the ‘Test’ thus virtually excluding Catholics.
In March of this year, Sir William Young, Bart. M.P spent a week in the colony, and from his diary the following passage is extracted as it describes St. George’s a centuries ago:-
‘St. George’s is a handsome town, chiefly built of brick and consists of a good many houses. It is divided by a ridge which, running into the sea, forms on one side the Carenage, and on the other the bay. Thus there is the Bay town, where there is a hand-some square and market place, and the Carenage town, where the chief mercantile houses are settled, the ships lying and-locked and in deep water close to the wharf. On the ridge , just above the row of communication between the towns, stand the church, and on the promontory, or bluff head of the ridge, stands a large old fort built by the Spaniards when in possession of Grenada. It is built freestone, is very substantially, if not scientifically, constructed and contains the entire 45th Regiment. The 67th Regiments is quartered in the new barracks, and does duty on the new fortifications Richmond Hill, a very strong situation to the east and north-east the town…. The church is plain, with a handsome steeple and a clock given by the present Governor Matthew.’
1793 In January 1793 General Matthew had successfully ministered the Government for nearly ten years, departed and after a short presidency of the Hon. Samuel Williams, Ninian Home, a low resident in the colony and a former speaker of the House Assembly, arrived from England with a commission as Lieutenant Governor, and was sworn in on January 28.
A Wesleyan chapel was erected in St. George’s in this year and in October an Act, which may be termed the Grenada’ September Act’ was enacted, requiring the Governor to summon a fresh House of Assembly every seven years . In 1793 is also noteworthy for the introduction of Breadfruit into the West Indies by Captain Bligh, who brought 300 plants of that valuable tree from Tahiti St. Vincent. Another importation but of different character was a malignant fever brought to Grenada in February from the island of Bulam, on the west coast of Africa in the ship ‘Hankey’. The disease, which was thereafter called ‘ Bulam Fever’ seems to have been akin to , if not identical with, what is known in Africa as ‘Blackwater Fever’ and it rage in the colony with more less severity for the next five years.
1794 Early in 1974 Mr. Home found it necessary to proclaim martial law in consequence of the outbreak of hostilities between Great Britain and France and the apprehension of descent of enemy upon the colony at any moment; no real preparation was, however made to repel and attack, as will be seen. He also endeavored to prevent the in rush of colored people from the French Islands which began to take place, but in this he was unsuccessful, as subsequent events showed. The colony was in great straits at this point for provisions, as there was a severe drought, and permission had to be given for the importation of foodstuff in American ships, a proceeding then regarded with much disfavor by the Home Government.