friendly offices of him who was destined to be the
future vindicator, in the British Senate, of the cause
of African freedom.
To Oranmlle Sharp, Esq.
'' My dear Sir^ ^' Quarter past Two o'clock, Thanday.
** I am sorry I did not write to you the other day. I
thought, though now I find myself mistaken, that Mr.
F had perfectly understood me. What I wished
him to tell you wasÂ» that Mr. Secretary Grenville said, his
Majesty, by his prerogative, could grant the St. .George's
Bay Company the desired exemption firom that obligatioQ
which subjects a man's whole property to the Bankrupt
Laws, &c.; and therefore I suggested, that yon should
immediately draw up a Memorial or Petition to his
Majesty, begging this exemption, and transmit it either
directly to Mr. Grenville, or to me for the purpose of
being conveyed to him.
*' With sincere esteem and regard," &c. &c.
â€¢' W. Wf LBBRFORCB.''
Thmas CandM, Captain luUr, with othen.''â€”^* And Ogilby
also testifies, that * on the island in the river of Serre Lions,
the English possessed a small fort, erected for the more secure
managing of their trade, which, in the year 1664, the 18th of
December, the Dutch, under the conduct of the Admiral De
Rotter, with a fleet, wiUiout reason surprised and took,** &c.
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138 MEMOIRS OF GRANVILLE SHARP. [III.
From the same to the same.
*' I have been speaking at the Treasary respecting the
vessels in the condemned hold, I shall be much obliged
to yon if yon will favoar me with the names of the parti*
colar vesseb on which yon have an eye.
" I am, my dear Sir/' &c. &c.
** Treatnry, Twelve o'clock, asih Jannarj, 1790/'
From the same to the eameÂ»
â€¢' Dear Sir,
" The vessel in the condemned hold must be sold
at a pablic sale: half the proceeds go to the Bigging
Office, half to the King. If you think it worth whUe,
(the whole sum for which the vessel will sell being about
140L), I think it probable I may be able to get the Trea*
sory to make a present of their half; and, if yon will
intimate your wbhes to that eflTect, I will endeavour to
expedite the sale of the vessel. I understand it is in high
order and equipment,
^ " Very truly yottrs,** &c. &c.
Q. S, to WUliam WUberforce, Esq.
'* Dear Sir,
'' The Lapwing, in the condemned hold, (about forty
tons burthen), I am informed, will be completely suitable
' to be stationed at St. George's Bay, for the coasting
traffic ; and I earnestly solicit your application to the Trea-
sury, to obtain a grant of the King's half of her value, for
the St 6eorge*s Bay Company.
'' There is also a larger vessel in the condemned hold,
named the Hope^ of abont one hundred tons burthen, which
would be big enough, on opr first trial of the trade, for
the ship of communication between England and the new
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90 CUARTÂ£& OF IKCORPORATIOV. 139
African territory; so that the two yesaejs together will
completely set us up as to shipping for the present. But
the Hope is so rigged, that, by Ihe rules of the Custom-
house, she must be broken up and puUed to pieces.
** However, as she would be much more valuable to
the Company when properly rigged as a brig ; and as she
has spars, sails, &c. that could, at a small expense, be
converted into a lawful form of rigging ; perhaps, if she
should be advertised for public sale, and the Company^s
agent should be the highest bidder, she might be saved
from being broke up, on our enga^ng to alter the con-
struction to a legal form.**
(r. S. to the same,
" Dear Sir, ** February IS, 1T90.
" I send herewith a few printed copies of the * Descrip-
tion of St. George's Bay,* and beg leave to acquaint you,
that the New Company purposes to meet on Wednesday
next, at the Eling's Head in the Poultry, at twelve pre-
cisely; and if you should think proper to honour us with
your name as a subscriber, we shall be heartily glad if you
will be pleased to assist us at our meeting, and propose
such of your friends as you think would approve of being
included in the Corporation.
*' The broker, employed for the Company, was the highest
bidder at the Custom-house sale yesterday, for the Lap-
wing sloop. He thought it right to bid to 186/., which
gum I have paid him.
'' It is of great importance to the safety of the New
Settlement, that the Charter of Incorporation should be
expedited as soon as possible."
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140 MÂ£MOIR8 OF 6BANVILLÂ£ SHARP. [HI.
TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
The Memorial of Chranville Sharp, Citizen of London,
in Behalf of himself and Others.
** HUMBLY SHBWETH,
'' That the. Black poor, and others, subjects of the
Crown of Great Britain, who settled on the land lately
purchased by your Majesty for their use at Sierra Leona,
consisting, by the last account, of about two hundred
persons, men, women, and children, are so extremely poor,
that they cannot effectually avail themselves of the extm-
ordinaiy natural advantages of that fruitful and healthy
district without some further aid ; and therefore they have
earnestly requested, in their last letters, that some mer-
chants or factors might be induced to settle among them,
in order to keep up a constant communication between
England and the new English territory in Africa, whereby
they hope to procure the necessary aid and assistance.
'' That your Memorialist, in consequence of this request,
has solicited and obtained prombes from seyeral respect-
able gentlemen and merchants of London, that they will
form themselves into a Company, and advance their re-
spective shares and proportions of money, to enable them
to send proper factors and agents to St. George's Bay^^
the principal harbour of the new English territory, in
order to promote and carry on the trade of the settlement
in British manufactures with the Natives of the neigh-
bouring coast and rivers in Africa, provided your Majesty
will be pleased to grant them a Charter of Incorporation,'^
&c. 8cc. &c.
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10.] SIERRA LEONE. 141
It was in the midst of such zealous and anxious
efforts, that, in the month of April 1790, news
arrived of the calamity mentioned in the previous
narrative, regarding the total dispersion of the Settlers
and the burning, of their town. Mr. Sharp imme-
diately made a representation of the outrage to our
Government, and, being admitted to an interview
with the Minister, was directed by him to procure
information as to the best means of affording relief.
This charge was speedily executed.
G. 5. to the Right Honourable William Pitt, &c. ^c.
Chancellor of his Majesty^ s Exchequer.
/' Right Hod. Sir, '' Leadenhall Street, 26th AprU, 1790.
** SijQce I bad the honour of representing to you the
deplorable situation of the poor people that were lately
.compelled to evacuate the new settlement at Sierra Leona,
.1 have carefully consulted several friends on the best
means of affording them some immediate temporary relief
at the least possible expense.
*' If a vessel was to be chartered on purpose for the
voyage, the charges would be very heavy, and time also
would be lost in preparation. But as I have lately
purchased, through the favour of Grovernment, a small
142 MEMOIRS OF GRANVILLE SHARP. [IIL
vessel, the Lapwing, of thirty-foar tons, intended for the
St. George^ 8 Bay Company^ to be employed in the service
of their factory in that Bay, in case they should succeed
in their application for a Charter; and as they have
already engaged a proper master for the said vessel, and
a principal factor (both acquainted with the coast), and
also some proper assistants, whose salaries are already com-
menced, it will occasion very little more expense to them
to employ this little establishment in carrying out, and
dispensing to the best advantage among the poor people,
whatever sum Government shall think proper to allow
them ; and a much less sum in this way will be necessary,
as the Company take upon themselves all the expenses of
their own people. It is conceived that, with the assistance
of the Company, a sufficient supply,, for the present, of
necessaries, clothing, and provisions, from hence, and
some few articles of traffic to barter for fresh provisions
and other necessaries on the spot, may be procured at the
expense of three hundred pounds, provided the Govern-
ment will, in addition, be pleased to order a small armed
schooner, or' sloop (any that are now actuieilly fitted for his
Majesty's service), commanded by a lieutenant of the
Navy, to proceed immediately with the Lapwing, for the
protection of the poor people, and to keep them together ;
becanse the agents at Banco Island profess that it is the
interest of their employers that the Settlers should all be
dispersed, though these gentlemen tbemsdves have always
been very obliging, and have freqnently informed me of
opportunities of writing by their vessels.
** The sending out an armed vessel that is already fitted
and eopper-sheathed;^ will not, I conoeive, occasion any
great additional expense; but it is certainly worthy the
eonsideration of Government, whether it may not be rather
more proper to send out at onceÂ« stout sloop of war, witfi
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10.] 8IERBA LEONE. 143
a suflBcient uamber. of marines, to retake possession of the
settlement, and restore the Settlers to their houses and
caltivated lots of land, lest any foreign power shonid in
the mean time purchase the same land as being now
evacoated ; for there is not really any spot equally valuable
on the whole coast of Africa. If possession is not speedily
regained, the Native Chiefs will conceive that the rights
of the Crown of Great Britain are superseded by the
evacuation ; and the French, who have still, it seems, a
factory in the neighbourhood, will probably be tempted to
purchase the land; for I have just received a veiy sensible
pamphlet from the author. Doctor Lanthenas, an eminent
physician at Paris, wherein he strongly recommends to the
French Nation the immediate establishment of some free
settlement on the coast of Africa, ' like to thai,* he ex-
pressly says, ' of the English at Sierra Leone*
" The information acquired for the gentlemen associated
to promote discoveries in the internal parts of Africa,
clearly proves that the establishment of a caravan from
the New Settlement at Sierra Leona* to Grongee (about
six or seven hundred miles distant) would open to us a
most valuable internal trade, which at present supports
with profit the expense of caravans which travel three
thousand miles under great disadvantage; so that the
saving and profit of the proposed intercourse would cer-
tainly be very great.
'' With sincere respect and esteem,
'' Bight Hon. Sir," &cÂ« fto.
The fate of the settlement and the Settlers was
now in suspense ; and, after nearly two months of
anxious expectation^ Granville renewed his entreaties
for their protection.
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144 MEMOIRS OF GRANVILLE SHARP. [IIL
6. S. to the Right Hon. William Pitt, Chancellor
of the Exchequer.
'* Right Hon. Sir, " Leadenhall Street, Jane 10, 1790.
" Ever since I had the honour of year permission to
address yoo, in April last, on behalf of the poor Settlers
at Sierra Leona, I have waited for your answer with
earnest anxiety, though without much hope of soon re-
ceiving it, being well aware that your whole time of late
must necessarily have been employed in affairs of the most
pressing national importance* But it is, nevertheless, my
duty to inform you, that I have received a letter from Mr.
Abraham Ashmore, the present elected Governor of the
Settlers, dated 13th January last (a copy of which I have
the honour to enclose), whereby it appears that the Natives
have entirely destroyed all the hooses and buildings in the
new settlement, and that the poor Settlers were removed
from place to place, at the will of the agent of the slave
factory at Banco Island.
** Since the date of that letter^ however, I have been
informed that they have obtained some land from one of
the African Chiefs, about nine miles above fiance Island,
in the same river, with leave to build houses ; that about
seventy of them still persisted in keeping together, though
much pains had been taken to separate them ; that about
eight or ten of them, being artificers, were employed at
Banco Island ; that several more of them wereat Robanna,
a town adjoining to the settlement, under King Naim-
banna, and that the rest were dispersed on the coastâ€” -so
that I have no doubt of their re-assembling as soon as their
land can be recovered. But if they are neglected much
longer, they most perish and fall into the snares of their
enemies, the neighbouring slave-dealers, by whose machi-
nations their misfortunes have been occasioned, and the
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10.] SIERRA LEdNÂ£. 145
adTa&tage of opeaing a free aod honest trade with.lbe ^2.
internal parts oi||lfrica (as recommended in the pro-*
oeedings of thoBsooiatia^Uor promoting Discoveries ^*
there, p.205) wiu be irrecoverably lost; becaase it is not ***
probable that ever snch an opportunity may offer again of
having above one hundred people, inqred to that climate
and ready on the spot, to adopt and sapport the free laws
of British Groveminent in the new African territory.
** Captain Savage^ of his Mi\jesty's ship Pomona, can
giv^^Il informatm- of the causes which excited the
to destroy the settlement, as well as of the very
ea^jBue and importance of the spot that was purchased,
and of the facility of defending it, of which, it seems, he , .
has made very ample observations. His information,
therefore, will afford just grounds for Government to pro-
ceed npon, in the. reinstatement of the poor people, wh^k
good behaviour in the management of their little goverB^
anent, their trade, and their cultivation, which was just
beginning; to be in a promising state of improvement, has
been highly spoken of by bim*
" If it should appear that the Natives have been justly
offended by the burning of theii^^lBwn (which was not in-*
tepded by Captain Savage), and that the retaliation of
burning the settlement was ordered by a public palaver or
assembly of Native Chiefs, it will m^ be right to recover
the land by force, but by persuasion in another palaver ;â€”
to state the dquble purchase of the land by the King of
ijrreat Britain, and, consequently, the justice of restoring
it to him, and of reinstating his subjects in their former
posspssions; also the advantages that will arise to the
whole country, by an honest trade with the St. George'slj^
Bay Company, in the natural productions of their soil.^^
Such a representation, accompanied with a few presents
to the Chiefs, as at first, to the amount ^of about SOL or
VOL. II. L
â€¢ â€¢ â™¦loigitizedbyVjOOQlC
146 MEMOIRS OF ORANVILXiE SHARP. [IIL
801. vaheÂ» will probabljr.obteia their general eooaeut to a
peaeeaUe re-eitebliakflient of tbe <6tilflM|^t*
*^ I have received a Iettei|faoiii Parflbforming me of
two French gentleneii, who are desirens to lajL oat from
1500/. to 2000L ftteriing in coltivatiog a pltotatioii at
Sierra Leone ; and^ if they can proonre land obder the
British Government, they promise* to promote the scheme
of caltivatbg with free people, and to observe all the laws
of this realm, as proposed in the Bd^alations for the new
settlement This proposal, under ^%/' proper stlpol^n
with the St. George's Bay Company, not to interfflil u|p^
their general trade, might form a proper exaoinle for '
future cultivators, that may be highly advantageous to the
Company, as well as to the kingdom in general.
'* With sincere esteem and respect.
Right Hon. Sir," &o. &x>.
Soon after writing the above, Mr* Sharp, having
ascertained the real cause of the destmctipp of tbe
settlement by the Natives*, thought himself bound
again to communica^to Mr. Pitt tbe information
he had received, on (after justifying Captain
SavagCi as having disapproved of what had been
done by the officers of his ship) to retract altogether
" the proposal of recovering the land by force,''
** As retaliation is the ordinary law of uncivilized
nations, and particularly on the coast of Africa : notwith-
standing that our Government has a clear r%bt to do so
by th9^ absolute sale and cession of twenty square miles
bf land by the Natives to the King of Great Britain ; but
an eflfectnal recovery and possession may be much more
â™¦ Sec vol. ii. p. M.
tÂ» â€¢ ^ Digitized by VjOOQIC
10.]" StÂ£RRA LEONE. !47
easily gained by a re^pmrchdae^ IritH tbe consettt of all the
neigbbomring Cbi^s^ for a very trifling som laid oat in
English manafactares, to be disposeji of in presents â€” viz.
pr<^bly less tl^^^OO/. even for an increase of extent ;-Â«
whioh ctmciliati^ineans will best suit the intended par^
pose of promoting an internal trade with this Natives for
the natural prodnctions of their soil**Â« trade that will pro-
bably become of th^ first importance to the manafactiMriei
of Great Britain.
** As the proper season for sending ont a vessel to that
coast is now at hand, I beg leave once more to remind
fWi of my earnest solicitations in behalf of the poor people
sent out by Government, that they may not think them<^
selves entirely abandoned and lost.
^* With sincere respect and esteem,
'* Right Hon. Sir," &o. &c.
The silence of Mr. Pitt to all these letters forced
from Mr. Sharp one naore efforti on the SSth of
August 1790. In a fourth address to that Ministef
he repeats the opening sentence of his first, of the
26th April 1790, and recapitulates, with a severe
and pointed accuracy, the contents of his several
letters : he then continues,â€”
** And it is now my daty to inform yon, that the
Members of the St. George's Bay Company held a general
meeting yesterday, and, having considered the deplorable
state of the poor Settlers at Sierra Leone, agreed to send
out the little Lapwing as soon as possible, with a supply
of clothing, provisions, &c. to the amount of about 150/. *
(besides the expense of the outfit, and the wages and
provisions for their agents and seamen, 'which will cost
them more than three tim^ as much); but as they haw
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148 llEMOIRS OF GRANVILLE SHARP. [III.
not yet obtained a charter to secure tbem from being
iiyared in their individual capacity beyond the amount of
their sabscriptionsy I coold not prevail on tbem either to
attempt a re-purchase of the settlement, or to join in any
farther venture for the purchase of a laf^r vessel, orbrig^
to carry out the stores and agents*
** It isÂ» indeed, with great concern that I am obliged
to add, that this little supply, now proposed "ior be sent
by the Lapwing^ though it will be very .elpensive to the
Company, will afiPord but a small temporary relief to the
poor people, and cannot either be effectual towards
regaining their land (if no larger vessel is sent), or for
their future subsistence ; so that all the public advantages
which might in time, with a little more encouragement,
have been very fairly expected from the settlement, must
now be given up, probably for ever. If a Charter, even
without any exclusive privileges whatsoever, except that
of secaring the private fortunes of the members from any
demands beyond the amount of their subscription, had
been obtained, the Company would probably have sub-
scribed very liberally and amply for the recovery and
support of the settlement; but the opposition of the
Attorney-General to their very reasonable proposal of
a limited Charter without any exclusive privileges, has
entirely damped their zeal for promoting this most cha-
ritable and beneficial public undertaking; and unless
Administration will effectually encourage an application
to Parliament for such an unexceptionable Charter, all
hopes of farther proceedings must cease.
'* I am, with great respect and esteem,
â€¢< Right Hon. Sir," &c. &c.
This last appeal to the Minister's feelings wag
seconded by an application to Mr. Rosep Secretary
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10.] SIXEItA LÂ£ONÂ£. 149
to the Treasary, reminding him of a '^ ver^^ kind
promise/' which Granville had personally received
from him some time before, *^ to promote the caitse
of the distreMfi3 Settlers with the Lords Com-
missioners ; ''l^which he adds, â€”
** The next day, having an opportunity of speaking
with Mr. Pitt on the sabject, I received directions from
him to inquire and report to him the probable expense
and best nteans of sending some tempomry relief, which
in a day or two afterwards I wrote to himself. I havQ
freqoently repeated my applications to Mr* Pitt since tliat
^ time (as the enclosed copy of my last letter to him will
inform yon), bot vrithoat receiving any answer; and, as
a Committee of the St. George's Bay Company are to
meet next Wednesday, to give orders for the sailing of
th6 Lapwing sloop (at their own expense, withi^small
temporary relief, mach tooi^small to prodace any perma-
nÂ«it good effects), I think it my doty to avail myself of
your former polite and kind offer, and earaesdy r^oest
that you will now be pleased to solicit the Bight Hon. the '^.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Treasury Board,
for some additional relief to the poor Settlers, which at
this time would probably encourage the St* George^s Bay
Company to take some more effectual steps for the re-
covery of the settlement.
** Perhaps there may be less diflBcalty in appropriating
to this purpose some small part of the money granted last ^
year by Parliament for the setdements on the coast of
Africa; and.no part of that money, I am sure, can be so
properly or advantageously employed, as in the support
of a free British settlement on that coast.
" With great respect," &c. &c.
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190 MEMOIRS. OF OfiANVItLC SHARP. [IHl
Mr. Rose's reply (als be'ww out oi town) mdreljr
teferred. Mr. Sharp to Mr. Steele^ or ta Mr.Pitt'a
private Secretary. .
In conteinplatiDg these circumstaj^es, as related
in the last letter to Mr. Pitt, it is diReult to deters
mine^ whether our pity is more excited towards the
AttorneyÂ«General who arrested the progress of a
benevoleoft plaa of high importance to the country,
or townrds the founder of that plsf^ vfbo, perceived
himself debarred the aid of those, whose hands were
stretched out to protect and support him. The fond ex-
pectation of " a perfect good,^^ which his benevolence '
and zeal had conspired to raise, was now at an end;
He had been unable to establish '^ the happiest and
the fc^t government on the earth." He found no
4 hope% relief remainit^ ewept in the association of
a Chartered Company, to wlufth he might transfer aa
attempt surpassing his own individual strength â€” Â«uid
"K the prospect of that relief was suddenly blasted by
the opposition of the principal law-officer of the
The following fragment of a letter is apparently
written under strong feelings of disappointed hope.
t^Â« Ta tkâ‚¬ Settlers at Sierra Leone.
" Dear Friends, " Wickcn Park, 27Ui September, 1790.
" In April last I received from Messrs. Anderson, pro-
prietors of Bance Island, the melancholy news of year
being compelled to leave the New Setdement; and, near
the end of April, I received Mr. Ashmore's letter^ dated
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lU] :. 8IÂ£R&A.LBO|fÂ£:. Ifil 4f^
fisMi BAoe lalttlii, l|JfrÂ»iitg^ Mpk^me Mtsff^ m4
iafahlulif me ef youmoilflCB at Granville-tDwii beia(g
bonit kj th^ !Nfitif 68* . .
â€¢< Imtaediateiy o& tiie leocqit of Mb aewf I isf GOmied
Ik6 Bigbt HoQ^Â« Pitt, thelUiq^'fl FirÂ«t MiniBt^, of the
eiroiimstaTOes ^j^mt distness; jutd I #ai difeoted by him
inqnira^ Â«id ttat^ lo bite sa irdtiiig, the best meeiil
aeodmg ont aftne unmediate aadstmce^ â€” wbivh I flid
days after^rds, bat reteir ed no ansif erÂ» tboagh tbe
Lapwiag walB then ready for sea*
" I wete agfon to bim in the b^^itoilig of Jpii0Â» wd
.* again in JÂ«l^; bat the extreme bnrry of t>obUe biisinessi
ia pcffpariag for war against the Spaniards, prevented
Govenmcnt from taking aaiy notice uf my totters.
. '* lA tbe beg^biaing of tb^ pi^esent month, I received a
^^seoosKbhtter frodi Mr. Aabmore *, d^ted firom Par Bo60Â«i#
^^tod represtating. year distress fbr MVkt of necessanes ; oi|
whiob'I applied iigbin to.'Mr. Pitt^-^at Grovemmeat has^
not ybt ordered liny aosistanoe*