British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview
favourable reception, which I am persuaded they cannot fail to meet with, when they come to be duly considered and are found to have no other source than the making a solid and certain provision for the regular cultivation of the Island.[Summary of draft enclosure. Portland makes the following suggestions:
A review of local legislation during the previous ten years, in order to ascertain the causes which retard the natural increase of the slaves, the steps already taken, and others that might be taken to obviate these causes.
The preparation of statistics indicating the annual importation and re-exportation of slaves during the previous ten years.
and The local legislature to consider possible ways and means of encouraging marriage and the rearing of children, e.g. pecuniary rewards for rearing children, exemption of pregnant women from field labour, &c.
To consider legislation for securing slaves from liability to be seized for their masters' debts.
To consider ways and means of encouraging Christian missionaries with a view to the general establishment of the Christian religion and morals.
Since the young are more amenable to instruction than adults, to consider the possibility of laying an import tax on slaves over 20 or 25 years of age.
To consider the possibility of adopting the practice in Grenada of the appointment by Vestries of inspectors to enforce all regulations in favour of the slaves.]

10
TRINIDAD: LORD HOBART TO GOVERNOR SIR THOMAS PICTON, 18 February 18021

SIR,

As one important source of the advantages, which Great Britain may expect to derive from the acquisition of the island of Trinidad, will arise from the cultivation of the immense tracts of fertile land, now unleased and unsettled, it becomes necessary to consider, with the attention due to the importance of the object, the best means to be employed, in the first instance for clearing, and afterwards for establishing settlements in the uncultivated parts of the colony.

It may be urged that were the lands once disposed of, the interests of the persons becoming the proprietors would operate rapidly and effectively to render them most beneficial to the planters, and consequently to the public, but the peculiar situation of the West Indian colonies at the present period, and the opinions which have already been expressed in this country against permitting the importation of slaves from Africa to Trinidad may make it necessary to have recourse

____________________
1
Draft in C.O. 295/2, marked 'Private'. This request for information as to the practicability of Trinidad being a free labour colony was prompted in part by representations by the elder James Stephen. Brigadier. General Picton had been appointed military Governor of Trinidad in 1797, on its surrender. In July 1802 he was informed that he was to be one of three commissioners for the government of the island, with Colonel Fullarton and Captain Hood as the other two. He quarrelled with Fullarton, resigned in 1803, and was succeeded to the military command by Frederick Maitland. Picton stood trial on Fullarton's charges for cruelties permitted under his governorship in 1806.

-542-

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