British author, Pierre Franc M’Callum visited Trinidad in 1803, only six years after the island was captured by Britain from Spain. M’Callum wrote this book in the form of letters to someone back home, though it is likely he always intended them to be published as a guidebook to a new part of the British Empire.
M’Callum’s opinions on black soldiers and the West India Regiments
In this extract M’Callum is reflecting on the policy of using black soldiers in the West Indies less than a year after the mutiny in Dominica. M’Callum believes that no benefit, in terms of European lives saved, is worth the risk of using men who have no ‘amor patriae’ or ‘love of country’. Two of the West India Regiments were stationed in Trinidad in 1803, and M’Callum thinks that they might be a threat to the security of the island. He uses the recent example of the mutiny in Dominica and the violence of the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), to argue that black soldiers are only motivated by ‘lust and brutality’. M’Callum’s widely read book helped to spread a racist and negative image of the West India Regiments.
- Article by:
- Tim Lockley
In 1802 the 8th West Indian Regiment rose up against officers at their post in Prince Rupert’s, Dominica. Tim Lockley explains the cause of the mutiny, and its immediate aftermath.