British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

royal assent to such Bill as may be passed in the Parliament of your Majesty's Kingdom of Great Britain whereby one or more of its ports may be made Free Ports under such restrictions, and for such space of time as in the wisdom of your Majesty and the Parliament may seem meet. And your Majesty's Petitioners will ever pray.

EDWARD BYAM, President. THO: FREEMAN, Speaker.


48
GRENADA: LIEUT.-GENERAL EDWARD MATHEW TO LORD HAWKESBURY, February 17931

MY LORD,

It has been a great object with me for a length of time to obtain, for your Lordship's information, as full a statement as possible of the present situation of the trade carried on from the free port of St. George, in the Island of Grenada, to the foreign colonies.

I have frequently conversed on this subject with the principal merchants, who have agreed that the most effective plan would be to ascertain the value of the annual importations from Europe, and deduct from the gross amount a reasonable sum for the consumption of the Island. The remainder, of course, would be the importation for the supply of foreign markets. The amount of the European goods imported by the merchants of St. Georges for the consumption of the Island, cannot be great, for a militia of not quite a thousand men gives but a small number to be supplied.

Almost every plantation imports for itself the stores it has occasion for. The inhabitants of Grenville are supplied in great measure by ships which trade thither, and some importations are also made into Gouyave and Sauteur, for those neighbourhoods.

The great quantity of European goods imported into St. Georges must therefore be principally for the supply of the foreign settlements. I enclose an abstract (No. 1)2, of the sterling value of the merchandise imported from Europe by sixteen houses for the last year, amounting to £328,246. These houses are selected, as they devote themselves particularly to the foreign trade. . . .

But this is not the only benefit resulting from the Free Port Act. A quantity of the flour, bread, rice, fish, etc., imported on any British bottoms from America, and of the wine imported in like manner from Madeira and Teneriffe, is reshipped here for foreign settlements. The export of rum is also considerable. The enclosed abstract (No. 2) of

____________________
1
Liverpool Papers, Add. MSS. 38,228, ff. 325-8. An undated letter. Lieut.- General Edward Mathew was Governor of Grenada between 1784 and 1789. In May 1791 his plea for a new free port had been favourably considered by the Committee for Trade, but the Commissioners for Customs had scotched the idea.
2
The four abstracts referred to (ff. 329-33) in the dispatch are here omitted.

-329-

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