I am now got as farr as Monday 29th July and will proceed to give you some Account of Grenada and how I spent my time there. Breakfasted on Shore with the Postmaster Mr Reistet in Company with a Mr Bords, Stubbs, my Surgeon and two or three other Gentlemen, after Breakfast waited on the Governor who lives at a place called the Villa rented for him by the Island about a Mile and half out of Town, Mr Bords was so obliging as to lend me a Horse, but such a one bold – the proverb says look not a Gift Horse in the Mouth, it was a Spaniard and as grave a Don as any among them, a vile Rap and the Roads ten times worse than any I ever saw in the worst part of Cornwal before Turnpikes were introduced. I am pretty certain you will say they were then bad en:o I had such a Surfeit of the Horse and Road that I chose much rather trust to my Feet, hot as it was than ride back again, so returned the Don by the black Boy. I was soon introduced to Sir George MaCartney the Governor whom I found busy in his Study amongst heaps of Papers, he seemed a polite well bred Man about 40 years of Age a good person and affable, as a Knight of the Bath, to be sure he was not without his red Ribband and it’s a pity he should, for it seemed a pretty play Thing sensible Men have their Foibles and like Children love Baubles, I staid about half hour as the General the Name they give him was going to ride out. He gave me a very polite Invita:n to dine which I accepted off.
Walked into Town under cover of an Umbrella most infernal hot, swallowed punch the Gallon and then went on board where I staid ‘till half past two o’Clock, when came on Shore, Mr Ireland the Collector lent me his horse, a very good one from England – and at three moved off again for the Villa where I found on my arrival several Gentlemen who were come to dine with his Excellency. Soon after we were introduced into the Drawing Room where was Lady Jane, the Governors Lady, by her Title, you will find she was somebody no less a Person than a Daughter of the great Earl of Bute. She seemed between 30 and 40 tall and slight, very deaf and a most disagreeable way of talking at least it appeared so to me, her upper Teeth very bad, so that ‘twou’d be a difficult matter to ascertain her Age by them, however she seemed affable, good humoured and a genteel Person, was dressed in a slight white silk Sack trimmed with Green Gauze and a pretty large Hoop, very particular you will say, at four Dinner was announced to be on the Table, no bad News to one who never eats a Relish and who dines at one o’Clock. There were present Mr Carsar (President of the Council) Mr Warner (Att:y General) Mr Baker (Soll:r Gen:l) Mr Lascels (the Gov:s Secret:y) Cap:t Horne (his Aid du Camp) a Mr Townshend, Simpson, James Campbell, Mr Campbell and two or three others names unknown all grand Bocero Men as the Blacks call the white People of any Fashion, not one Lady to keep poor Lady Jane in Countenanace.
A very elegant Dinner, Table well covered only one Remove, beside the Desert, served in Plate exceedingly Handsome, no Soop in the Centre, but two noble Silver Tureens with it one at each End of the Table, very hungry, made a good Dinner, his Excellency seemed funny, special Wine – stuck to old Hock, ‘twas good, but got little of it as they rose from Table soon after Dinner, by the Bye when I dine there again will take the old Hock Glass, as others did – drank Coffee & Tea & returned to Town with Cap:t Horne went to the Tavern and drank some Punch met there an old acquaintance Cap:t Napean [Nepean] (a Cornishman) of the Corps of Engineers and my old Passenger Mr Robert Boge Jun:r a very good Man whom I found to be much esteemed on the Island and lately made a Member of the Assembly, had a long chat with him, from the Tavern went with an Intention of going on board but meeting with Bray went with him to Mr Wayland’s a Prin… [?] and eat a bit of supper there were present Mr Wayland, Mr Rustat and a Mr Ryan, went off after Supper.
Tuesday 30th July – Very hot, rainy Weather, Thunder and Lightning, all Night, breakfasted on board and spent all the morning writing, at half past one went on Shore to dine by Appointment with Mr Ireland the Collector there were present Mr and Mrs Ireland, another Lady, a Mr Charity and ano:r Gentleman besides Doct.Bray, went off soon after Dinner. Nothing extraordinary in this Company the Collector a plain and I believe a good Sort of a man, his wife very ill, came down to Dinner I was fearfull the Smell of the Meat was too strong for a delicate Lady, however she recovered surprisingly, ate & drank and I found she could speak too, weak as she was, after Dinner she rode out in a Hammock carried by two Negroes, just in the same Manner as you see the Porters carry a Block of Tin at Truro.
Grenada is also of the Charibbee Islands it lyes in 12°:58’ N Lattitude 58°:50° West Longitude may be about 25 or more Miles long and 10 or 12 Miles broad – this was conquered from France in the late war and ceded to England by the Treaty of Peace, is a good Sugar and Coffee Islands, it is divided into Quarters or Parishes of which know not the Names which I believe matters very little. It will make this Year as I am informed about 12000 hhds of Sugar which will be one third less than last year but then the Sugar is better manufactured, they will this season grow a great deal of Coffee and Cotton which last Article seems to be in great Demand.
There are only two good Shipping Places at this Island where the Ships load for England. The principal is St George’s formerly when the French had it Basseterre, here is a good Roadstead and a Bay – and a Harbour which they call the Careenage which is very safe but hot too a Degree owing to its being surrounded with high Hills which throws the rays of the Sun down directly upon your Head, in this Place the Merchant ships lay up ‘till they get loaded and it proves fatal to many a poor Seaman, who leaves his bones at Grenada. St Georges is the Capital of the Island, here is the Seat of Government and here all Courts are held, this Town has been very unfortunate being twice burnt down within these few years, the last Fire happened the 1st of Nov:r 1775 which destroyed every House almost in the Town, the part of it down to the Careenage escaped the Flames, the Loss was computed at between 3 and 400000 though I believe this account rather exaggerated, the Underwriter in London lost ‘tis said £250000 – and many their all – though so long in the Hands of the English they have never thought of building a Church , the French have a small one in Town and several in the Country, for what I have seen of them Religion setts very light upon them, but Taverns they have in plenty, when they go to Church the Court House must serve them. The Governor’s House was burnt down in the first Fire, since which no new one has been erected – The Fort which commands the Bay, the Harbour and Town is by Nature very strong, but then there are Hills again so near to it as to command it which takes greatly from its Strength 2 or 3 Companies are generally doing Duty here at present there is a Party of the 48th commanded by Major Cockburn.
This Government must have been very considerable before its Dismemberment, having Grenada, the Grenadines, Tobago, St Vincent and Domenica which two last are made seperate Governments and I dare say Tobago will ere long be taken from it but not whilst S.r Geo: MaCartney holds it, his Interest being so strong an Act is now passed in the Islands which prevents any people building but with Brick or Stone, not a bad Law.
The American Disturbances hurt this as well as the other Islands very much as they are in great Want of Lumber to finish the Roofs and Insides of the Houses, this Article is rose 3 a 4 hundred per Cent, every Thing is dear Money scarce, and their Credit bad, however the live and well too if they can get anything to eat or drink. The English and French do not at all live cordially together, especially since one of their Governors admitted them of the Assembly and Council though the Roman Catholick Religion which I believe is contrary to the Laws of England.
The present Gov:r is like a new Broom of course well liked, I believe from what Mr Bogle told me he is clever much more so than any that has been sent for some Time to the West Indies, The Trial will soon come on whether they like him or not, for he has but just got the Act passed for his Sallary from the Island £3000 Currency about £1800 Sterling, so that as yet he has been only gently stroaking them down the Back.
These same Grenadians are a very comical Sett of People and require a tight Rein, never yet did a Governor please them, they have had Scotch, English, Scotch again, English and now Irish such work with them they put me much in mind of the Fable of the Frogs who if you remember prayed to Jupiter for a King, according he sent them a Log of Wood, when it first dashed into the Water they were not a little frightened at their new King but some of them bolder than the others ventured near it and finding it inoffensive used it just as they pleased and got up and rode about on it whilst it swam round the Pool, this at first pleased them, but they soon grew tired of this Indulgence and prayed Jove again for another King, he heard their Prayers and sent them a Serpent, how different from the Log, this new King devoured them. I think this Fable very applicable to the two last Governors whom I knew, Leyburne was the Log and when he dyed Lieu:t Gov:r Younge was the Serpent. The first they despised, the latter they feared, he was a Soldier and taught them a little of the Military Disipline would dismiss the Members and dissolve their Assemblies without their knowing why or wherefore, from military Governors Good Lord deliver us, say I. The present Governor intends going soon to Tobago to feel the Pulse of the Tobagians ’tis thought he may get £500 St:g out of them if so his Sallary will amount £3500 – without his other Fees or Perquisites which is not inconsiderable.
The other place they ship Sugar from is on the North Side and is called Grenville Bay I believe not a very safe place for shipping.
The Island has of late been tolerably healthy. The Ants have in Grenada too made great Ravages among the Canes, many Estates on the South Side of the Island having decreased greatly, a third in Value, and have been forced to plant Coffee.
The French here of late have played a number of very slippery Tricks they get in Debt as much as any Body will trust them and then they watch an Opportunity hire a Vessel and in the Night embark and get away to Martinico or St Lucia, this happened the other Day, one run off with 130 Slaves and was £20000 – in debt, they pursued him and entered the harbour of St Lucia with him and fired upon his Vessel. The French Governor interfered and the English were very near getting tucked up for their Imprudence.
An English Officer Cap:t Dumaresq, settled here, followed the French King and some Time since decamped for Martinico with all his Slaves and Effects, how very different should one think w:d an Officer in the English Army behave, no People in general I believe do behave with stricter Honor than they do, what a Slur must this be upon their Corps, the Scoundrel ought to have been sent back by the French Governor and then hanged up.
The Fruits of Grenada are much the same as in the other Islands, I do not remember seeing any Cocoa Nut Trees here, but they have a great deal of Coco of which they make Chocolate, the Gru grue Tree which is somewhat like the Cabbage Cocoa Nut Tree is here in great plenty, a particular kind of worm which they call after the name of the Tree is oftentimes found it more especially when the Tree has been felled any Time, I suppose the Inspect find this wood which is soft & spungy a proper receptacle for its Eggs where it is in Time hatched and becomes a large Maggot as big as your little Finger, not unlike the Grub Worms of our Oak web, the French I am told esteem these Maggots as a very dainty Dish and when dressed are fryed up in Batter, much good may it do them but I should not like to eat of them if I knew what they were.
Very few Birds in the Island except Wild Pidgeons in the Mountains neither do I think they have a Plenty of Fish, Sprats sold two pounds for a Bit. In this Place as in Tobago Scotchmen abound but there are here many Irish and English but not equal I believe both of them to the Scots, to do anything in the West Indies you must be Scotch or your Interest will be of little Consequence.
Yesterday morning the Ship Minerva of London arrived here from Madeira this Vessel came into this last mentioned Port the Day we left it. about 9 this Evening after taking a drink of Punch with Mr Bogle and Ruston came on board, found the people all hard at work – endeavoring to heave up the anchor w:th great Difficulty at last did it accomplish it, found that our Bower and Kedge Anchors had got foul of each other and that they had got hold of another, upon the whole in this affair we were exceedingly lucky for though we lost the Kedge Anchor we brought up another with the Bower of I suppose 12 C.t no bad Acquisition or Exchange as I imagine this must be at least 9 C.t heavier than the Kedge, it was an English made Anchor and must have been under water a great while and it had no Stock or any Cable to it and was covered over with Oysters and Coral. Enough for Grenada.