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SITUATION OF FRENCH FAMILIES IN KINGSTON IN 1795
LETTER FROM MARQUIS CADUSCH TO THE EARL OF BALCARRES
I have the honor to lay before your lordship an amount fall the unfortunate French Families who are now existing in Kingston and who wou'd have perished thro' misery had it not been for the generosity of the Government which has condescended to tender to them its assistance both kind and gracious. Must your Lordship be informed that not withstanding the heavy sums granted by the British Government there are still many worthy families in distress. If your generosity will exert itself, then there remains a great deal to be done -- In order that your Lordship might judge of the motives which have excited that generosity, and still require its continuance I shall point out to your Lordship the repeated events which have brought and detained in Jamaica so great a number of French persons.
Towards the middle of 1793, the Conflagration and destruction of Cape Francois by fire forced a surprising number of its Inhabitants to fly from that place once so fortunate and the horrible vexations of the common (?) panic occasioned from every part of the Colony an astonishing Emigration. War had just been declared against France, and the Americans offering the intervening means to transfer Colonial Produce, found themselves liable from British orders to be interrupted in their navigation, in order to prevent the produce of that Colony from being transmitted as a supply to the French Republic there has __armed with Privateers, and all the Inhabitants of Hyspaniola were taken and brought to Jamaica. Everyone of those American rebels had more or less unfortunate French Passengers, flying away with a small Portion of their former fortune, that same remnant or portion becoming a prey to the private ships or vessels of war the French passengers conducted to Jamaica found indeed an Asylum, but they could have found but misery real want and death had not the generosity of this Government and of the Inhabitants kindly provided against it. All the unfortunate received per week the moderate sum of fifteen shillings Jamaican Currency which sum was hardly sufficient for animal food.
The inhabitants of Jamaica sensible to the deplorable situation which their neighbours were reduced to raised contributions, which was aiming at succouring the most unfortunate, by adding a few shillings to what they already received.
The Grand Anse, the Mole claimed the British Protection and there was a prospect of an approaching end to our misfortunes. Events have disappointed our hopes, the number of the unfortunate increased in Jamaica, and too soon the sum granted by its generous Inhabitants was exhausted.
I presented to the Honorable Assembly of this Island a Petition which has been received as favourably as cou'd possibly be expected from the Representatives of the sensible and benificent Inhabitants of this Island. A sum calculated on the then present distribution and on the duration of four months was voted for but the duration of the evil was prolonged and the number of the victims proved double. The new funds were exhausted and His Honor the General Sir Adam Williamson continued that succour which had previously been granted.
New misfortunes befell the unfortunate Inhabitants of Saint Domingo. The English Government did not send sufficient Forces opportunely to save the Places already acquired, from the fury of the Brigands the Aux Grois was burnt, Tiburon was taken Leogane betrayed, Jean Rabel & Bombarde returned under the Power of the French Republicans, from all Places escaped an innumerable population of unfortunate persons totally destitute and almost naked. A still more atrocious scene than the proceeding ones, brought to this, and only Country Protection for more than 150 unfortunate Inhabitants who had escaped the massacre at Fort Dauphin, the Gonaives, le Bouque---(?) gave to the British Government new subjects, and to Jamaica fresh objects of pity.
That is, my Lord, what has occasioned those expences considerable indeed, and of which these give a note to your Lordship. It is not generosity alone which displayed itself. Pity prompted such an expence, and the motive has not yet ceased, You will not see, my Lord, without an emotion of pity, that there are existing in Jamaica 229 Families of white people amounting to upwards of 600 persons, 107 of which alone receive at present the bounty of the Government, the rest are recommended to your Lordship's benevolence.
Having lost so tender a Father as Sir Adam Willamson, this French cou'd not wish or expect a better one than your Lordship.
I have the honor to be with respect my Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient and very humble servant,
__ De Cadusch
Agt for Ft. Dn.
[Agent for Fort Dauphin?]
A true Copy of Mr. Caduch's Letter.
[NOTE from JFS: Major General Sir Adam Williamson was Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica from 1791. He was replaced in 1795 by Alexander, Earl of Balcarres. He in turn was replaced in 1801 by Lieutenant-General George Nugent.]
[A copy of four pages of the Gazette was included in the packet marked "In the Earl of Balcarres' of the 10 May 1795"]
[The following letter appears in the Gazette, first in French, and then in English]
His Majesty having been graciously pleased to appoint me Governor and Commander in Chief of St. Domingo, I think it expedient to make no more appointments, civil or military, until my arrival there; you will therefore please to preserve all such petitions and applications as are delivered to you for my consideration, until my arrival in St. Domingo; for the present I shall do no more than provide for the military service, and the relief of such as are in distress.
As I shall not be able to give any order respecting Jamaica after my leaving it, it is necessary that you make an exact list of the several old men, women, and children, who must have a provision made for them here; that I may present the same to my Lord Balcarres, and recommend those poor families to his care and benevolence.
But you are to give the most positive information and assurance to all such as are able to bear arms, that I can no more assist them but in St. Domingo, and that they must return soon to their respective districts; that I will do every thing in my power to assist such as contribute their exertions towards suppressing the spirit of anarchy which rages in St. Domingo, and restoring good order and tranquility there: But this is to be done in St. Domingo only.
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient servant,
The Marquis of Cadusch, Agent for the affairs of St. Domingo.
Whereas by an Act of the Legislature passed in the last session, entitled "An Act for the establishing Regulations respecting Persons of a certain Description, arriving in this island, or resident therein, in certain cases," the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being is authorized, by proclamation, to order and direct any person or persons, not being natural-born subjects of his Majesty, who shall have arrived in this island since the first day of January, 1792, or who should arrive therein during the continuance of the said Act (other than those who shall have had letters-patent of denization), to dwell and reside respectively in such district or districts as the Governor or Commander in Chief of this island for the time being shall think necessary; and the Governor or Commander in Chief, in certain exigencies, is therein further authorized by proclamation or order under his hand and seal, to direct such description of persons to depart this island within a time to be limited by such proclamations or orders respectively; and the consequence of disobedience of such proclamations are made very great.
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor being __cous, as much as possible, to guard against the evil which dictated the passing of such Act, had to make such regulations as may serve to differentiate the persons on whom it may be proper to exercise the powers he is entrusted with, and to guard all well-meaning foreigners, by timely mo__tion, from becoming objects of suspicion in these critical times.
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor has thought proper to require all persons of the description in the above-recited Act mentioned, within ten days from this notification, or the day of their arrival in this island, to repair to the Clerk of the Peace, or his lawful Deputy, of the Parish in which such person or persons shall be or reside, and to give information on his or their name, country, ties (?), age, rank, occupation, place and time of residence, in order to obtain a Certificate of the contents of such information, and which the Clerk of the Peace, or his lawful Deputy, is hereby requested to give: And in case such person or persons of the description in the above-recited Act mentioned, shall neglect to do what is hereby required, without a clear and satisfactory excuse for such neglect, his Honour the Lieutenant-Governor hereby avows his determination on enforcing against them the powers with which he is invested in and by the said Act.
Given under my hand and seal at arms (?) at St. Jago de la Vega, the third day of January, in the 35th year of his Majesty's reign, Anno Domini, 1795.
Signed ADAM WILLIAMSON
By His Honour the General's Command,
WM. SHAW, Sec.
Please see also the following reports:
French Families receiving government aid in Jamaica
French Prisoners or Emigrants taken to Jamaica 1793-1795
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