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ready stated, assume that it was for the interest of the country to maintain our colonial posseffions; and he would give this as an answer to the Honourable Gentleman who made the Motion, as well as to the extract from that elegant pamphlet which he had read. At the same time he would remind the Houfe of the peculiar injustice with which he and his friends were treated on this point. · When troops were first sent to the continent, to protect Holland and the Netherlands, the House would recollect that they were arraigned from the opposite side of the House for neglecting the West India Colonies; he begged of Gentlemen then, as they must attack him, to attack him consistently, and not ac one time to attack him for neglecting, and at another for preferving, the West India Colonies. No longer ago than laft spring a very heavy attack was made upon him, in order to prove that the West Indies had been entirely neglected: he had repelled the attack, and proved to the House that the charge was totally groundless; and this day he was called upon to defend himself against a charge of a directly opposite nature. The Island of St. Domingo was the object of this day's attack, and an endeavour was made to prove that we should never have attempted to get possession of it, and that having got a part of it, we should die rectly abandon it. If it was, as it had always been held to be, right policy in this country to make it the principle object of any war to protect our own West India Colonies, and annoy those of the Enemy, then so far the Island of St. Domingo was a great object, not only to secure ourselves, but to lessen the maritime power of France: for, was it ever yet stated by any man, that it was at all to be doubted, that the naval power of France always rested almost entirely for its support and strength on their possession of the Inand of St. Domingo. If Gentlemen would take the pains to inquire into the point, they would find this allertion confirmed beyond all possibility of dispute; for they would see, that when France had full possession of it, the exports of that I and amounted to no less than seven millions sterling. This was at the reduced price sugars then bore; but, at the price which sugars bring at the present day, the exports of St. Domingo would amount to full ten millions sterling; and the men employed in the trade were the foundation of the maritime power of France, and the foundation of its commerce. The Inand of St. Domingo alone produced one third more than all the British West India Islands, Jamaica itself included. So that he was well warranted in saying, that the sugar-trade of Europe was, by the possession of that important Ifiard, almost wholly in the poffeffion of France: and whatever afforded ground for trade, afforded also ground for maritime strength. Even in that folitary point of view, being engaged in a war with France, was he wrong to allume, that if it was possible to disponers men of such a vast retource, it was the very best possible appropriation of the forces of this country? It was, in fact, a meritorious object, and was therefore of icfelf a sufficient answer to the objections of the Honourable Gentleman.
But he had stated it much too narrowly indeed, when he spoke of it as it affected the interests of France only for the polleflion of St. Domingo: it was also the protection of our own resources, and of the mari ime power, which we derived from the posseslion of Jamaica. At all tiines, while a war subfisted between Great Britain and France, Jamaica was the object of our continual anxiety and folicitude: for from the contiguity, and local situation of Domingo, as well as from the innumerable harbours with which the coast of that Island is indented, it was always affined as a fact, and, indeed, so plain as to be reduced to an axiom, that Jamaica was in continual danger from it. Every soldier, therefore--every failor---every ship that was sent to St. Domingo was sent to jainaica. The Hon. Gentleman himself had admitted, that the harbour of Nicola Mole was of great use; it was, indeed, of incalculable value to us---a harbour which commanded the whole windward pasage would be allowed by any Gentleman in the House to be at least material to us. There were topics which were maintained in all wars, and which he would maintain now. But it did not rest here---it was yet to be considered what the situation of St. Domingo was during the period of the war. He begged leave to correct a mistake the Honourable Gentleman had fallen into, when he said the calamnities of St. Domingo had arisen from our sending troops there. This was by no meais founded in fact or reason.
The House would recollect, that long previous to the commencement of the war, there was a dangerous insurrection of Negrocs in that Inand, and Lord Effingham, who was then Governor of Jamaica, sent a force to it to protect the Govern. ment of it from the Insurgents. This insurrection, though it was checked from time to time, was never completely quelled ; but that very circumstance justified the measure: for on our connection wich St. Domingo depended solely the safety of Jamaica. The House, in considering this question, would take into consideration, that in this war a scene unheard of, and a policy unexampled, was pursued. The French not only abandoved their owi. Inands to insurrection, but promoted it, and endeavoured to make the Negroes in all parts, and in our own Islands, instruments to avenge them on this country. He put it to the Honourable Gentleman himself, whether, fuppofing every ocher reason out of the question, Great Britain could remain an indifferent spectator of a body of five thousand Negroes in insurrection, and poftuffed of uncontrolled power, in an Illand contiguous to their Colonies? Was there any man who would agree, that if the Negroes, being in that state, had been permitted to proceed, and gaining strength, had extirpated the Planters, Jamaica would be worth one years purchaie? or that the lives and properties of the Planters of Jamaica would be fafe? Was there the same invasion of Jamaica that there was of Grenada from Guadaloupe? No: for St. Domingo was in our possession. Our first connection arose from being in portuned by the Planters to take the Iland under the dominion of England. The question then to be conlidered was this, was it adviseable to close with that solicitation ? And was it not matter of self-defence to prevent their being over-run wich iniurrections of Negroes?
As to the mortality, the Honourable Gentleman had not gone so far as to charge any one with an intention of taking poffeffion of an Inand that they knew would be fatal to the troops, for the purpose of cutting them off. But the House would recollect that insalubrity was not the character of St. Domingo. Even when the yellow fever attacked the troops it was not peculiar to that Igand, for it raged in every other. When Sir Charles Grey went to Saint Domingo the yellow fever did not prevail. And Governor Williamson wrote (which letter Mr. Dundas read) that nothing marked the healthfulness of the climate more than that not one man had died in it, but two of wounds. After that it was supposed that the contagion would cease, and the Island be restored to its pristine falubrity; and that it would not be the unhealthy grave which the Honourable Gentleman had stated.
Mr. Dundas then proceeded to thew, that other Administrations, and good ones, had sent troops on expeditions to a much more deleterious climate. At the Havannah, for instance, Lord Albermarle went there with near twelve thousand troops, and between June and O&tober five thousand men were left dead there, so that there were more men loft in that one spot in a few months, than in the West India Islands in four years of this war. Yet that war was reckoned glorious. .
When therefore it was the effect of the possession of that Island to bring down the Maritime Power of France, and save Janraica from devastation, when it was considered what the calamitics would be, if a large body of Insurgent Negroes, murdering the Planters, men, women, and children in St. Domingo, would extend their system of insurrection to Jamaica, and that this was prevented; would the Honourable Gentleman say that the caule of humanity would have gained any thing by abstaining from taking poffeffion of St. Domingo.
As to the expences, considering the magnitude of the object, they were not so great ;---they were laid out under Oficers who were instructed to be careful, and who he believed were fo, and whose accounts were under investigation ; but he must say the Officers were in a delicate situation---they had many things to plead in defence of not exercising Itrict æconomy, and would perhaps have reasons to give for the expences, which forbad the House at this time deciding upon it. It was rather unfair, however, in the Honourable Gentleman, to accuse Ministers of a job, when there was only one person whose appointment was made in this country. Ministers, however, he faid, had taken a decided plan, and given instructions prohibiting the expence of Civil and Military Establishments in that Inand (excepting the Garrison) from exceeding 300,000l.
But admitting as the Honourable Gentleman did that the Harbour of Nicola Mole was the best in the West Indies, could he be serious when he proposed to abandon it, and leave the whole without protection, to the people who had enabled us to make head against France and to suffer the Negro insurrections to ruin that Island and spread the same destruction to Ja maica? or if it was even to pass from us to France, would it be advisable to give up such a stake, which would be so great a material in Negotiation. To shew that it had not all the time been unproductive to us, he stated that 1796, the part of St. Domingo in our possession produced a Million and an Half, and employed above 400 fhips. Upon the whole, therefore, he opposed the Motion.
Mr. Wilberforce said, that upon this subject he should rather lay in his claim for future discussion, than enter into it at length now. He was sorry that he could not subscribe to the argument of his Right Honourable Friend. In the first place, he had contended that this war was not conducted by the French upon the same principle as former wars; and yet he had juftified the conduct of Ministers, who had adopted the same plan of operations that was pursued on former occasions. Instead of this mode it appeared to him that the wisest system of policy we could adopt, would have been rather to guard our own poffeffions against the destructive attacks of the French, than to extend them. Pole sessions in the West Indies were formerly extremely different from what they are now: for since the system adopted by the French, new possessiens were rather a curse than an advantage. The Right Honourable Gentleman, in contending for the advantage of our conquests in St. Domingo, had spoken of its im. mense value; and yet afterwards, he said, that it was reduced to the most deplorable state of anarchy before we attempted to attack it. The Right Honourable Gentleman laid, the possession
of St. Domingo operated to prevent attacks upon our other islands; but the fact did not support that argument: for Victor Hugues, with 1000 blacks, attacked Guadaloupe, and drove out 8 or 9200 of our troops; and fuppofe, at the end of the war; the Brigands should, as it was poflible they might, remain in the posledion of St. Domingo, then they would be able to attack Jamaica. His Right Honourable Friend had alluded to the opinion of oñcers; they certainly were entitled to great refpect, but still he thought the subject was left in doubt, and that another discussion was necellary. Our true policy appeared to be to thut up ourselves within our own poffemons, and not to attempt to make new conquests. He had been led into these observa ins from what had fallen from his Right Honourable Friend; but, upon the whole, he was compell.d to give his negative to the Motion.
Mr. B. Edwards faid, he was in some degree qualified to give an opinion upon this subject, because he had made the state of St. Domingo his peculiai study. An offer was made, through him, in the year 1791, by the Planters, to surrender the land to Great Britain ; but it was not then thought proper to interfere in the affairs of France. In the year 1793, the fame offer was made, and instructions were ient out to Sir A. Williamson, who was nevertheless left to his own discretion. The force in Jamaica was at that time very finall; but it was said, that as foon as the British force appeared before St. Domingo, the Illand would surrender. If Sir A. Williamson had not been of that opinion, he would not have attenipted the conquest. The regular force in the Ifand of St. Domingo amounted to about 3000 men; the Commiflioners brought out 8000 men, and the Militia was about 9000 men; and to these were to be added about sooo Renegado Negroes---in all about 25,000 men. Our force amounted to only 890 men; so that Sir A. Williamson must have had great reliance on the Planters declaring in our favour ; but he was unfortunately deceived, for the Planters were overawed. Mr. Edwards then proceeded to detail the circunstances of the various attempts that were made upon the island of St. Domingo, and concluded with giving his vote againft the Motion.
Mr. Fox rose for the purpose of saving only a few words. A Right Honourable Gentleman (Mr. Dundas) had affixed upon him a charge of inconsistency, in at one time accusing him of fending too few, and at another time of sending too many men to the West Indies. He pleaded guilty to the charge, but denied the inconsistency. If a West India expedition was to be undertaken for the purpose of making and defending new conquests, he contended now, as he did then, that Sir Charles Grey was fent with too small a force. But where was the in, No. 38.