Book expressing concerns about the loyalty of black soldiers in the West India Regiments


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.

Full title:
Travels in Trinidad: during the months of February, March and April, 1803
1805, Liverpool
Letter / Ephemera
Pierre Franc M'Callum
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Document Supply MFR/8059 *1094*

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