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obliged the President to sail for England, and John Foster Alleyne, Esq. was sworn in on the 8th of April 1817 as President and Commanderin-chief. Before President Spooner resigned the administration, he had the pleasure of giving his assent to a bill the principle of which he had always supported, namely, "An act allowing the testimony of free negroes and free people of colour to be taken in all cases." This bill, which had been several times before the House, and had caused some angry debates, was ultimately passed on the 5th of February 1817.

CHAPTER XII.

EVENTS DURING LORD COMBERMERE'S ADMINISTRATION, FROM HIS ARRIVAL IN 1817 TO HIS DEPARTURE IN 1820.

LORD COMBERMERE arrived on the 3rd of June 1817, and assumed the government the next day. In his address to the Legislature, on the 17th of June, he congratulated the country that the reconsideration and consolidation of the slave-laws had been entrusted to enlightened and humane men, possessing a practical acquaintance with the subject. He recommended the establishment of a police upon a plan which would ensure security and order, and drew chiefly their attention to the important measure for securing the political happiness of the island, by diffusing religious instruction more generally among the lower classes of the community, whether slaves or free people. The Legislature voted the sum of four thousand pounds per annum for the support of the dignity of his Excellency's government.

A new election took place in September, and the Legislature was opened on the 9th of that month. The Governor recommended again the establishment of an efficient police, and the appointment of a committee for inspecting and reporting on the state of the common jail and other prison establishments. As the business which would be brought before the House required much time for ample investigation and discussion, his Excellency trusted that the periods of the meeting of the House would be prolonged to at least three successive days in every month, until the militia-bill was passed.

The severe gale of the 21st of October 1817, which did such injury

to the shipping in Barbados, almost devastated St. Lucia. On the arrival of the distressing news, Lord Combermere immediately took the necessary means to provide as much lumber or building-material as might be requisite to afford shelter to the suffering population; and to prevent the speculations of individuals, his Excellency purchased to the amount of eighteen hundred pounds; one half of which was taken for his Majesty's troops, the other half was taken upon account of the Colony, with the understanding that if required it should be paid for by the island of St. Lucia. Lord Combermere informed the House of his having done so on the 4th of November, and said that he relied upon the liberality of the House of Assembly for affording, if the circumstances of their constituents would allow, some pecuniary aid towards alleviating the distresses of their fellow-creatures. In consequence of this message, the House passed an act granting nine hundred pounds to the sufferers of the island of St. Lucia, providing however against the act being made a precedent, and requesting that on future occasions no arrangements should be made that might lead to an expenditure of the public money without the sanction of the legal and constitutional guardians of the public purse. This and another message were, contrary to the general custom of the Assembly, ordered to be delivered to the Governor by the acting Clerk of the House. At a subsequent meeting (February 17th, 1818) they apologized to the Governor, who considered it disrespectful, and stated as an excuse that they wished to give him the earliest information, which they could not have done if it had been sent to him in the regular way.

Lord Combermere denied that he had violated the legal and constitutional privileges of the representatives of the people, and stated that the lumber sent to St. Lucia was only in the shape of a loan. It would be his pleasing duty, he added, to communicate to the inhabitants of St. Lucia that the House of Assembly of Barbados had, with its usual liberality, voted the sum of nine hundred pounds to the unfortunate sufferers by the late hurricane. The benevolent desire of Lord Combermere unfortunately caused unpleasant feelings, which led ultimately to a rupture between the House and the Governor. The explanation which the Governor had given in vindication of his act gave rise to a string of resolutions being entered on the Journals of the House, of which the fourth and last was to the effect, "That the members of this House will never degrade themselves by using insinuations unworthy of men placed in a public and responsible station; but, possessing the liberty of speech, they will on all occasions (while they endeavour to guard against its abuse) express their sentiments with that honesty and freedom which ought always to distinguish a people governed by civil authority, and inheriting the rights of British subjects."

The militia-bill, although it had been before the House at the earliest day of meeting of the present representatives, was bequeathed in its in

complete form to the next; nor were the recommendations of the Governor respecting police regulations and the consolidation of the slave-laws attended to.

The commercial policy of Great Britain had thought it necessary to close the ports of her West Indian colonies to merchant-vessels of the United States. It had been in agitation for some time past to retaliate; however, the act for excluding British vessels from any port in the West Indies into which American vessels were not admitted, only passed the Senate and House of Representatives on the 4th of April and received the sanction of the President. We speak of events that have passed and which we judge by their effects, but even at the time that this measure of the United States Government was determined upon it was considered impolitic. The British colonies found that they could procure the produce of North America at the free ports upon cheaper terms than they could from the United States under the proposed restrictions, and hence they resorted to the islands of St. Thomas, St. Bartholomew, &c., which whilst the ports remained closed rose to an eminence hitherto unparalleled. The British carrying trade was in a great measure transferred to the mother country; and instead of seeing colonial vessels crowding the ports of the United States, and swelling the amount of tonnage duties and the revenue in general, this act prevented all direct intercourse.

Lord Combermere met the new Assembly on the 3rd of November. The consolidation of the slave-laws, a more regular attendance of the members of the House, the necessity of a system of police for Bridgetown, and the reconsideration of the militia-bill, were objects which he particularly recommended to the attention of the Assembly. The reply of the Assembly to his Excellency breathed harmony and the promise of giving a serious consideration to the points to which he had alluded. With respect to the consolidation of the slave-laws the address observed,"We shall not fail to notice your Excellency's remarks on the propriety of revising, correcting and consolidating such of our laws as relate to the treatment and government of slaves, the first step to which, it will be in the recollection of your Excellency, was taken by the late House of Representatives at their last sitting, by the repeal and expulsion from our statute-book of some of the most disgraceful and obnoxious clauses.” This address (the last of the friendly ones which the Governor received) concluded in the following words :-"We are perfectly convinced that no greater gratification could be afforded your Excellency than the occurrence of frequent opportunities, by which you may have it in your power to contribute to, and to manifest the interest you take in, the honour, welfare and happiness of the Colony committed to your charge."

The harmony existing between the Governor and the people was now disturbed, and it is to be regretted that the first occasion arose at the observance of a religious ceremony. His Excellency the Governor had

patronized a society about to be established under the direction of the members of Council, part of the Clergy, part of the Assembly and other respectable members of the community, to be styled "The Barbados Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge." Some considerable collections had been made towards its establishment; and, in order to increase the fund, the Governor appointed the 26th of February 1819, being the second church day in Lent that year, for attending divine service and hearing a charity sermon, to be preached by the Rev. Mr. Orderson; a full orchestra of amateurs volunteered to assist Mr. Wall, the organist, in the performance of selected pieces of sacred music. As the Governor purposed attending the ceremony in state, the LieutenantColonel commanding the Royal Regiment of Militia by order of his Excellency the Governor, issued a regimental order for the flank companies of that regiment to assemble in Trafalgar Square by 8 o'clock in the morning of Friday the 26th of February, no doubt for the purpose of giving more éclat, as his Lordship attended the service with his military and colonial suite. Soon after this regimental order was made known, the 'Globe' newspaper of the 25th of February contained an article in which the editor condemned in unmeasured terms this step, which he considered the Governor had no power to take, as the militia-bill1 stipulated that any number of the militia could only be called out upon an extraordinary occasion, which the editor contended was not the case in this instance.

"Some, we are well aware (by way of finesse) may say, that we aim at creating insubordination in the regiment. To this we answer, No! it is only to oppose oppression and resist a system of tyranny, which, according to our interpretation, are not sanctioned by custom or law. The militia of this island, as well as that of almost every other, was not organized to dance attendance to those who delight in a red coat; it was embodied for the protection of the country and its laws; and however lame the law may appear to some on this point, who do not view it in the same light that we do, they should not take advantage of it, and, instead of encouraging the men in their duty, make it disgusting. to them by the petty tyranny which they attempt to practise."

At a subsequent meeting of the Assembly, the House unanimously requested the Attorney-General to file two criminal prosecutions against

The clause in the militia-bill which refers to the point goes on to say, "Provided likewise, and be it further enacted, that the Commander-in-chief for the time being, in support of the dignity of government, may direct, and is hereby authorized accordingly to direct, the commanding officer of any battalion or corps to call out what number he thinks proper of the said battalion or corps to attend him upon any public occasion, or a sufficient guard to attend the Chief-Justice and the Court of Grand Sessions during the continuance of the said Court, or any, number he may think proper for the honourable reception of any Governor, when such shall be appointed by his Majesty, and also upon any extraordinary or public occasion."

Mr. Michael Ryan, printer and publisher of the 'Globe' newspaper, -one for a libel on the House, and the other for a libel on the Colonial Government, in charging it with tyranny and oppression in calling out the militia, and endeavouring to excite sedition against the Government.

It is questionable how far this motion may have originated in party spirit. The island had been divided into two parties, one of which comprised the aristocracy and their exalted notions; the other consisted of a class who professed liberal principles. The 'Globe' newspaper was started in October 1818 in the interest of the latter, and the Western Intelligencer' was the organ of the former. Various articles written on the events of the day in a vein of witticism were promulgated in the Globe,' as proceeding from a club called "Samalgundi," which name was given to the whole liberal party, while the opposition or aristocracy were styled "the Pumpkins." The announced prosecution for libel against Mr. Ryan called forth several articles in the 'Globe,' one of which signed "Crito" was addressed to the "Barbadians, his fellow-citizens," in which he defended Mr. Ryan's conduct and his avowal of the rights of the people. Previous to the former publication, another article under the signature of "Rectus" warned Mr. Ryan to be on his guard to prevent the jury who were to decide his case being packed. The anonymous writer alluded in unmeasured language to the probability of some attempts for that purpose; and the consequence was that the editor received notice of a fresh prosecution instituted against him for a libel, stated to be contained in an article signed "Rectus," published on the 15th of April. At the suit of the Attorney-General, Mr. Ryan was arrested on the 12th of May for the sum of five thousand pounds, and bail demanded for double the amount. The necessary bail was immediately offered; nevertheless the editor preferred to be committed, in order to appear a martyr in the public cause. Several meetings took place in consequence, and those who condemned the proceedings against Ryan formed themselves into a body, called "the Friends to Liberty and a free Press." They had selected the 18th of May, being the fourteenth anniversary of the introduction of martial law into the island', for assembling at Collier's Hotel, where Mr. Cheeseman Moe, a justice of the peace, addressed them, and recommended them to persevere in asserting their right of discussing with freedom the measures of public men holding official situations: he proposed that Mr. Thomas Howard Griffith should be elected their chairman. In the resolutions which were framed they disclaimed being classed among the richest or the greatest, but they wished to be considered as the yeomanry of Barbados, and stated that they assembled primarily to protect the editor of the 'Globe,' prosecuted as they thought unjustly. They repaired afterwards in a body to the prison, to

1 See ante, p. 362.

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