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Black Loyalists
Memorial of Ricketts, et al

Jamaica ss
To his Excellency Major General John
DALLING, Captain General Governor and
Commander in Chief in and over this his
Majesty's Island of Jamaica and other the
Territories thereon depending in America
Chancellor and Vice Admiral of the same.

The Memorial of William Henry RICKETTS, William LEWIS, Thomas BARKER, Richard BUCHNOR, James Samuel JONES, John BERTRAND, Thomas SIMCOCKS, and John Morant MORRIS Esquires.


That during the Martial Law in the Months of August and September 1779-- when the Island of Jamaica was threatened with Invasion, Your Memorialists had the honor to receive Your Excellency's beating Orders, to raise a Battalion of Free Mullattoes for the defence of the Island.

That in consequence thereof, Your Memorialists chearfully devoted the whole of their time, to that purpose, and with much trouble, and at a very heavy private expence, raised a considerable number of Free Mulattoes, for his Majesty's Service, who did duty at the out Quarters, and were afterwards reviewed, and approved of, by Your Excellency's Aid de Camp.

That is was no small encouragement to Your Memorialists to experience that the Scheme met with the Approbation, and Countenance of a Gentleman of Your Excellency's Military Talents and Experience but they own, it was much heighten'd, by the Orderly appearance of the Men at the Review, which was such, as warranted the most favorable opinion, of their future utility, in the defence of the Island.

That it is therefore with the deepest concern, Your Memorialists have learnt, that the Scheme for raising the abovementioned Corps, is laid aside, through the interposition of the Merchants and Planters residing in England. With deference to their Judgment, Your Memorialists beg leave humbly to submit to your Excellency that such Intervention could not have proceeded from a Calm and dispassionate Consideration of the Subject.

That Your Memorialists understand, that the pricipal Objection was, that the Scheme promised no Additional Strength to this Island, in point of Numbers. Your Memorialists admit that it does not, but as the superiority of Discipline which distinguishes the Soldier from the Citizen, occasionally call'd out to serve in the Militia, makes a great difference, and is of infinite consequence in all Military Operations so Your Memorialists apprehend that every Scheme which promotes that, does of course tend to give an Additional Strength to the Island.

That Your Memorialists, in support of the Scheme, as a saving measure to Great Britain, appeal to the alarming Mortality, too well known to Your Excellency, from the returns made to your Excellency of the several Regiments sent to this Island, they must be frequently, and at great Expence recruited from Great Britain, or they would soon dwindle into Nothing. Whereas a Corps of Mulattoes being Natives, used to the Climate and enured to Labor, and fatigue, would seldom want recruiting and would be able to bear marching as occasion required, a circumstance which an European Constitution cannot endure in this hot Climate.

That such a Corps being thoroughly acquainted with the Woods, and Defiles of the Country, would exclusive of their service against any Invading Enemy, become a better safe Guard against an Intestine one; and from Constitutions adapted to the Climate, much might be expected in the assistance they would give in attacking the Dominions of the Enemies to the Crown of Great Britain.

That such a Corps would ensure to the interior part of the Island, and would operate as an Encouragement and Additional motive to its further Settlement and Cultivation: these, with many other reasons, concur to make Your Memorialists conceive that the Scheme for raising a Mulatto Corps is of Publick Utility.

But if these Sentiments should not avail and this Scheme should unfortunately not be adopted----------------------------------Your Memorialists humbly request Your Excellency to recommend them to his Majesty's Attention; that his Majesty would be graciously pleased to order them to be reimbursed the Expences which their Loyalty and earnest desire to be in his Majesty's Service, and their Sense of the Advantage of the Scheme to the Publick and their Expectation of its full Adoption induced them to incur.

And that he would be graciously pleased to give Your Memorialists a further proof of his Royal Approbation, by appointing them to some of the New Corps, now raising for his Majesty's Service, and to such Rank as Your Excellency may think them worthy to be recommended to.

William LEWIS

[Enclosure of letter from John DALLING to William KNOX, dated Jamaica, 9 February 1780.]

Great Britain, Public Record Office, Colonial Office, 137/77/28-29.

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Moving on: Black Loyalists in the Afro-Atlantic World
by John W. Pulis