Scheme for raising one Regiment of Mulattoes, and another of free Negroes, to serve in the West-Indies, as light Infantry for three Years, or during the War.
Each Regiment to consist of 530 men including non Commissioned Officers and Drummers, to be divided into ten Companies consisting of one Captain, one Lieutenant, one Ensign, 3 Sergeants, 3 Corporals, 2 Drummers, and 50 effective, with 3 Contingent men, to be commanded by an Officer, with the rank of Major, or Lieutenant Colonel. [As the free people are all Tradesmen, a third of the number to be on Furlough at a time for 4 months, as an Inducement for Inlisting.]
The Officers nominated by the Governor of Jamaica, to raise the men for their Commissions at their own expence; Captains 25 men, Lieutenants 15, Ensigns 10, the Officers to have rank in the West Indies only, and when reduced, to be intitled to half pay, and rank.
These Regiments to be paid, clothed, and armed by Great Britain on the same footing as her regular Troops; but, as the British Pay is found to be inadequate with the utmost economy to the necessity of the Soldier, provisioins must be furnished by Great Britain, equal to that given by her to the troops in Garrison at Gibralter, with the same allowance for Officers, till the Legislature here, may be induced to give the same Island Subsistence to these Corps, as it does to the other regular Regiments.
[The nomination of the first Officers from the Governor to the War Office. Recommendations afterwards from the Governor to his Majesty, to be accepted, or not, as he may please. Officers to rise according to Seniority.]
When the Regiments are approved by the Officers, appointed to inspect them, pay to be drawn from the date of his Majesty's Warrant. [To their light accoutrements, I would wish a small Ax added, and a round hat, with some feather Ornaments.]
These free people might be raised immediately, and considered solely as defensive, and not offensive; such bodies it might be prudent to keep up in future; at any rate I would advise the keeping them up, and recommend to the King to give the Officers the West India rank, and in case of being reduced, the half pay.
[Half pay mentioned only as in inducement to the Officers which I hope will be agreed to; for such troops once on foot, will be of that Utility to that Country, and so much the interest of Great Britain to keep up, that no ill consequences will accrue from such indulgence.]
It must be endeavored that the Legislature should give an Island subsistence, which at first they may refuse, in consequence of the Scheme not giving a single man more as to its defence, than it had before.
But then some of the people of consequence might wish to have a rank, and such an Establishment might after a little time be an inducement to many to settle in the Island, who might otherwise have no thoughts of it.
In case the above ideas should be honored with the least consideration, I think it would be worth the while, even should there at first appear difficulties scarcely to be surmounted in carrying into execution the whole plan, instantly to set about raising the two free Corps according to the System enclosed;
the keeping them up will at any rate have this good consequence that, whether they may be wanted outwardly or served for the Protection of the Island, so many less men will be wanted from Europe, and of course so many lives saved from the mother Country.
[May 25th 1779]
Great Britain, Public Record Office, Colonial Office 137/75/42-43.
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