George Washington Papers

Enclosure: Extract of a Letter from a Gentleman in Barbados, 9 August 1793


Extract of a Letter from a Gentleman in Barbados

[Barbados] August 9th 1793

I heartily congratulate your Country on your peace with the Savages; for, from what you tell me, I presume the Indian War is terminated—may this be your last War! but we are not without serious Apprehensions of a rupture between G. Britain & you. Without troubling You with a detail of many idle & unsupported Tales in circulation, it may be of Use to be informed, that on Tuesday last, (the 6th Instt) an Express arrived from the Governor of Bermuda, requesting Supplies of Ammunition &c., as he apprehended an immediate Attack from America. The Capt. of the Vessell sent Express, deliver’d his letter & message before a large Company at Pilgrim; for Governor Parry having left Barbados on the 21st of July, Mr Bishop, who succeeded him, as President, ⟨ha⟩d made this his first publick Day and had ⟨mutilated ⟩ out above eighty Cards1—the News of course circulated over our little Island, with great rapidity; and was received with the most unfeign’d concern—Among others, Sir Philip Gibbes was a Guest at Pilgrim that Day, and on the next he came to me by 10 in the Morning & passed a long Day with me.2 We were quite alone—This gave me an Opportunity of discussing the subject with him, & as he is perfectly acquainted with the people in power at Home, what he offers deserves the most serious Attention—Mr Pitt, he is positive, is not willing to quarrall with America, & this pacifick temper is confirmed by his Mother, the avowed Friend of America, and to whose Opinion he pays great Deference:3 nothing therefore short of real unrepair’d Injury, will provoke the Minister to War, and from the Confidence we have in Wisdom & Integrity of your President & Congress, we take for granted that they will labour to obviate this. But your common People are rather licentious, and as appears by some of your papers, betray the greatest partiality to France—Add to this that the King is unrelentingly vindictive, & woud rejoice to be ⟨ j⟩ustified in sending Sword & Fire among you on⟨ce⟩ more.

L, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1Except for a period in 1790, David Parry (d. 1793) of Wales served as governor of Barbados from 1784 to 1793, when he left the island because of declining health. William Bishop (d. 1801), president of the Barbados council, served as interim governor of Barbados, 1793–94, and again, 1800–1801. The governor of Bermuda from 1788 to 1794 was Henry Hamilton (c.1734– 1796), formerly the British governor at Detroit during the Revolutionary War. “Pilgrim” probably was Frere Pilgrim Plantation, now a city in south-central Barbados.

2Sir Philip Gibbes (1731–1815) was created first baronet of Springhead, Barbados, and Faikley, Oxon., in 1774.

3The mother of British Prime Minister William Pitt (1759–1806) was Hester Grenville Pitt (1720–1803), the widow of William Pitt, earl of Chatham (1708–1778).

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