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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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/ from D O M I N I C A , rejpetlhg the F I R E at R O S E A U. 5 bv the effect of the fire ? he said, From the reports made to me, the plunder and robbery were much less than I expected from the nature of the case, considering the exasperation of the enemy; that he couid not form any judgment of the amount, either positive or by comparison, with the total loss, though he thought it must be trifling.— And being asked, Where did the militia remain after the retreat of the regular forces r he said, Upon my right, to cover the retreat of the regulars. — And whether they continued to the laar to ahow the same courage and good con duct as they had before exhibited ? he said, Previous to leaving the position they occupied, I acquainted the commanding officer with my intention of preserving the island at Prince Rupert's Head : and that, as the enemy's numbers were so considerable, I had directed the commanding officer of the regular forces to com- mence his retreat, and that, after that had been effected, any of them thnt were de- fi rows to share our further dangers, would he admitted into the fort; in consequence of which a proportion came and joined themselves with the regulars; those who did not accompany the regulars, were directed to place themselves under the command of the president of the Council, who Had received instructions from me to enter into any capitulation he might think proper for the preservation of what remained or was likely to remain in the town of roseau, having at the same time addressed a note to the French Commander in Chief, informing him that I was gone to Prince Rupert's Head, and had left authority with the President to enter into any terms with him that could soften the sufferings of the inhabitants, and that I trusted he would not allow of any wanton or disgraceful plunder. Tire Militia did act in obe- dience to those orders, and retired to Mount Bruce, where they surrendered. That when the retreat had been effected-, the town was occupicd by the enemy, and re- mained in their possession six days'.- - And being further asked, Whether the fire of the enemy upon the town did it. material mifchief? he faid, I think not; they fired with an elevation that- carried the shot over the town into the forts and batteries ; but after the fire broke out they directed the fire upon the town; that a very incon. siderable part of the town remained after the conflagration, and the - most valuable in point of property was deft roved.— And being asked, Whether he had any reason to believe that the negroes who deserted the town carried off any considerable property? he said, No, I have not; the negroes very early of the day abandoned the town, and those 1 overtook on the road did not appear to me loaded with plunder. — The H'H. JOHN ROBINSON, Esquire, being examined, was asked, Have you referred to the original claims produced before the Commissioners appointed by the Legisla. t ure of the island, with a view of ascertaining how the loss, in each case, was dated to have arisen ? The witness ( producing the Report of the said Commissioners) Append said, I have; and have marked upon the Report, which cases state a loss by fire only; which bv fire and the enemy; and which have no particular case of loss stated.— And, JAMES LAING, Esquire, being again called in and examined, was asked, Were you present at the town of Roseau at the time of the attack ? he said, I was, from the beginning to the end; that he remained there after the enemy were in possession of the town ; and did not leave it for a moment, till Sir George Prevost returned with the British forces.— And being asked, Had you an opportunity of ob- serving what pillage and embezzlement took place during that period ? he said, I cannot, say positively ; but I think the pillage and embezzlement was trifling; the negroes carried off some goods, but were forced by the magistrates and proprietors 73- ® 2 2...^.
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