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Report from the Committee On the Petition from Dominica, respecting losses by the Fire at Roseau


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Report from the Committee On the Petition from Dominica, respecting losses by the Fire at Roseau
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Report from the Committee On the Petition from Dominica, respecting losses by the Fire at Roseau

Date of Article: 11/05/1808
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[ 3 J REPORT. THE COMMITTEE, to whom the Petition of the Council and Assembly of the Island of DOMINICA, by their Agents, on behalf of the Sufferers of the Fire in the Town of ROSEAU, on the late Invasion of that Island; was referred;— HAVE, pursuant to the Order of the House, examined the Matter of the said Petition: To prove the Allegations whereof; JAMES LAING, Esquire, one of the Members of his Majezty's Council of the said Island, and Collector of the Customs, being examined, said, That the Island of Dominica, ever an attractive object of the cupidity of the enemy, on account of the singular importance of its situation between the Islands of Martinico and Guada- loupe interrupting their intercourse, and also for its strongly protected and capacious harbour for ships of war, was again attacked, and in greater force than usual, on the 2 2cl day of February iSof); when the enemy landed atabout three miles from the town of Roseau, with from two to three thoufand men :— And, That the Militia of the Island, undifmayed by the magnitude of the force, and encouraged by the animating example of their truly brave Governor Major Gene- ral PreVost, flew to arms, and under his command assisted once more in preserving that valuable colony to His Majesty ; to which transactions the witness added he was an eye witness. That during the Invasion, it being necessary to fire the guns of Fort Young, to pre- vent a detachment of the enemy from effecting a landing to the northward of the town of Roseau, the wadding of some of the guns, which were pointed over the faid Town, set fire to it, and the greatest and most valuable part of it was entirely destroyed. That the inhabitants of the said town, forming the principal part of the militia, and particularly of the Saint George's regiment, being absent on duty at their re- spective posts, and exerting themselves to repel the enemy, no one was left to stop the progress of the flames, or to save anv part of their property ; in consequence of which they and their families were reduced to extreme distress, without home or shelter, and many of them were utterly ruined. J v v And being further examined, he said, The militia consisted of the inhabitants of the town ; that there were scarcely any that did not take arms, and no persons were in the town, the negroes having left it, that could bear arms or be useful; that Fort Young, in Roseau, is opposite the Government house; upon which fort ten or twelve guns were mounted, and the enemy attempting to land on the north side of the town, made it necessary to fire the guns to prevent, the enemy effecting a landing.— And being asked, What effect the guns had? he said, That some of the wadding fell upon the houses, and being an eye witness to the transaction, is decidedly of opinion that this was the cause of the town taking fire, and a very large portion thereof being destroyed, the houses
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