Case 13: Guadeloupe~Barrington & Moore~May 11
Britain and France had been engaged in warfare in North America for nearly five years by the time large-scale campaigning commenced in the Caribbean during the winter and spring of 1759. The earliest of the victories of 1759 took place on the French sugar-producing island of Guadeloupe.
The expedition to the West Indies was conceived by Pitt as a blow against the French economy and as a way to gain an important colonial possession as a bargaining chip in eventual peace negotiations. The island of Martinique was the intended target, and a force of 6,000 troops with strong naval escort left England in November 1758 under the command of Major General Peregrine Hopson (1685-1759) and Commodore John Moore (1718-1779).
George-Louis Le Rouge, La Guadeloupe in Le Rouge, Atlas Ameriquain Septentrionale . . . , Paris, 1778. Hand-colored copperplate engraving. Paris, 1753. Map Division, Atl 1778 Le.
A landing on Martinique in January 1759 soon demonstrated that the island was too rugged and too well defended, so Moore and Hopson turned their attention to nearby Guadeloupe. The naval vessels bombarded the island’s chief town of Basse-Terre (far lower left on map) on January 23, and the troops occupied the fort after the French defenders withdrew to the interior of the island, where they refused to surrender. The British controlled little beyond the fort itself, and sickness soon thinned their ranks. General Hopson, himself, died at the end of February.
Peter Paul Benezech (1744?-1783?), engraver, after Archibald Campbell, A South West View of Fort Royale in the Island of Guadeloupe.From Scenographia Americana. Copperplate engraving. London, . Graphics Division, Prints.
Like most of the French Antilles, Guadeloupe has rough and dramatic topography. Fort Royal was the island’s chief conventional defense designed to oppose attacking warships. Lieutenant Campbell’s image suggests the difficulty of bombarding the fort from the sea.
Charles Grignion 1721-1810), engraver, after Archibald Campbell, A North View of Fort Royal in the Island of Guadeloupe When in Possession of his Majesty’s Forces in 1759. From Scenographia Americana. Copperplate engraving, London, . Graphics Division, Prints.
British troops are shown encamped outside the walls of Fort Royal as the Union flag waves from the flagstaff. Although the view of the encampment has surely been sanitized, it does present a rare scene of British soldiers living under canvas.
Articles of Capitulation of the inhabitants of Guadeloupe], May 1, 1759, in “A Collection of Capitulations, of Armies, Towns, and places, taken in the Course of the War which Commenced in 1756, and ended in 1762.”Manuscripts Division, Frederick Mackenzie Papers, Volume B.
Major General John Barrington (d. 1764) assumed command of the military force following Hopson’s death. He energetically pursued a policy of coastal raids against the island’s plantations. Meanwhile, Commodore Moore maneuvered to keep a French naval squadron away from Guadeloupe. By April, the French planters had had enough and were willing to accept favorable terms offered by Barrington in exchange for their neutrality. Representatives of the inhabitants signed a capitulation on May 1.
[Articles of Capitulation of the governor of Guadeloupe], May 1, 1759, in “A Collection of Capitulations, of Armies, Towns, and places, taken in the Course of the War which Commenced in 1756, and ended in 1762.”Manuscripts Division, Frederick Mackenzie Papers, Volume B.
Guadeloupe’s governor negotiated and signed articles of capitulation separate from those executed by the planters of the island.