Arnaud Vendryes
translation by : David Watson and Ernest Wiltshire

In early 1795,  citizen Victor HUGUES attempted to raise the
whole  of  the  Windward Islands  against  the  English.  In
Grenada, FEDON and his rebels came close to victory.

The  following information is abstracted from "A history  of
the  island of Grenada,  1498-1796" by Raymund P.  DEVAS  as
well as from the CARAN archives (series: Colonies C/10A/4).

1: The events according to R.P. Devas

In  February  1795  Charles NOGUES and  Pierre  LA  VALETTE,
having  been appointed Captains,  returned from  Guadeloupe,
bearing  commissions naming FEDON Commander-in-chief of  the
rebels in Grenada.

The rebellion broke out on the night of 1st to 2nd of March.
FEDON and BESSON,  with a hundred slaves and coloureds, took
the  Marquis (Grenville) by surprise;  they executed  Father
PEISSONIER whose behaviour appeared suspicious.

Simultaneously,  another  band of rebels,  guided by Etienne
VENTOUR  and  Joachim PHILIP,  attacked  Gouyave  (Charlotte
Town).  A notable presence among them was a Catholic priest,
Pascal MARDEL.

The English governor,  Ninian HOME,  and his entourage  were
taken  prisoner near Gouyave.  In the following  weeks,  the
English  made several attempts to bring the situation  under
control,  but to no avail.  Reduced to taking the defensive,
they  were unable to prevent the rebels from receiving  help
from Guadeloupe.  They did however capture a ship on which a
rebel,  Pierre ALEXANDRE,  was travelling, and he was hanged
on May 2.

On  May 8,  the English launched a general attack;  it was a
complete failure,  its  only consequence being the  massacre
by  FEDON  of  48 prisoners,  one of whom was  Ninian  HOME.
Operations ceased during the summer. The English forces were
devastated by an outbreak of Yellow fever (bulam fever).

On October 10th,  two French vessels,  the "Brutus" and  the
"Republican,"  were  captured with reinforcements on  board;
nevertheless, some troops, led by citizen JOSSéE, managed to
disembark.  The rebels again took the  offensive,  capturing
several  enemy boats;  by February 1796,  the whole  island,
except for the capital,  was in their hands.  Their success,
however,  was  limited by dissension in their ranks,  and by
the arrival of British reinforcements.

On March 22,  British General NICHOLLS again took Post Royal
Hill. During this engagement, FEDON was wounded.

On  June  9,  Lieutenant-General Ralph  ABERCROMBY  made  an
inspection   tour   of  Grenada,   and   organised   ongoing

FEDON  and  what remained of his troops were  surrounded  on
Mount  Qua  Qua (Morne Fédon or Fedon's  Camp),  where  they
again  massacred their prisoners before surrendering.  FEDON
himself disappeared, and his fate remains a mystery. The act
of  surrender was signed by JOSSéE on June  10th  1796.  One
hundred  and  twenty  men were sent as  prisoners-of-war  to
England,  where  they remained in captivity for  17  months.
Thirty-eight  French  citizens  were  executed,  and  others
deported to the coast of Honduras.

The story is told of one Jacques CHADEAU, who was not caught
and  executed  until June 1807,  after being hunted  for  10

2: List of French executed

Colonies  C/10A/4  lists  the names of 29 of the  38  French
citizens executed between July 6th and 8th 1796.
BATARELLE, woman & 4 children
BEAU, Pierre
BOUCAUD, aged 60, woman & 3 children
CHAUTENEL, Clovis, coloured
CLAUZIER, Sainte-Marie, woman & 6 children
DESUZE, aged 75, & 6 children
DOLABAILLE, Alexandre, woman & 5 children
DROST, woman & 2 children
DUMONT, Gerbert, woman & 4 children
FOURTEAU, Jean, woman & 4 children
FURGERIE, Charles, coloured
HOULINGUE, woman & 4 children
HYPOLITE, coloured
LABASTIDE, woman & 3 children
LORENCY, woman & 5 children
MARASSE de FAROTTE, woman & 5 children
MORILLON, woman & 5 children
Father PASCAL, priest of Gouyave
RALPH Pierre
RAPIERRE, Edmond, coloured

3: / The prose of Victor HUGUES

The  series  "Colonies  C/10A/4"  from  the  CARAN  archives
contains messages sent from Guadeloupe to the insurgents  in

One  notes,  in addition to the usual lively style of Victor
HUGUES,  the  difficulties of communicating with  a  Grenada
under an effective English blockade, a relative ignorance of
the  events that had occurred on the island,  and the bitter
comments  on the dissension which seemed to prevail  in  the
rebel ranks.

* To Citizens NOGUET and VALLéE, officers of the Republic in
Grenada (25 ventôse III - 15 03 1795)

Courage,  brothers and friends. We have learnt of your first
successes,  but are as yet unaware of the circumstances.  We
have  dispatched Edmond RAPIER with 8000 cartridges.  We are
not sending you any money,  as LA VALLEE should not yet have
spent the 150 "moïdes"* that we gave him when he left.

Enable us to better help you,  by informing us by  despatch-
boat of what has occurred.  Annihilate the English, they are
the  enemies  of mankind:  show no mercy.  Not content  with
wanting  to  enslave us,  they have sought to starve  us  to
death. Give no quarter, strike hard. St Vincent and St Lucia
have been attacked, and soon the English will be everywhere,
we must wipe out even their very name.

*   To Citizen LAGRANGE,  deputy,  (10 floréal III  - 29  04

The  "Modeste" will bring you 100 pikes,  60 rifles,  25,000
cartridges, three barrels of powder, 50 pairs of shoes and a
bag of cockades.  If you controlled  several ports we  could
give  you  a  hundred armed men and  a  small  cannon...  We
approve   of   your  decision  to  appoint  citizen   FEYDON
provisional commander of the armed forces.   Tell NOGUé that
his  son is well,  so that he need not be concerned for  his

*   To Citizen FEYDON,  provisional commander of  the  armed
forces in Grenada (20 prairial III, 08 06 1795)

We have received no news from you;  however it would be very
useful to the Republic if we knew what successes or failures
you have had;  let us help you to increase the former and to
make  up  for the latter...  Make haste to let us know  your
needs and your situation.

*  To the same (22 fructidor III, 08 09 1795)

Our  colleague  has just informed us that in  spite  of  our
advice  and  our  exhortations,  there is  still  dissension
among  you...   We reiterate that as long as your motivation
remains an ambition to wear epaulettes,  and as long as your
passions take precedence over your devotion to the Republic,
you will suffer defeat...

*  To the same (3 frimaire IV, 24 11 1795)

We  are pained to see how divided you are;  the  enemy  will
hear  of it,  and will take advantage of it to fall upon you
and  defeat  you.  Let  ambition give way  to  love  of  the
Republic.   It  is  impossible for you all to be in  charge;
obey those who command you and do not force us to use  harsh
measures  against you.  Listen to our appeals,  they are for
your own good.

*  To the same (3 ventôse IV, 22 02 1796)

If you had followed our advice,  you would not have made  it
almost  impossible for us to help you.  Give us the means to
assist you by capturing a position on the coast, and then we
will  send you all you need.  The "Modeste" and  many  other
ships  sailed  around  your island but were unable  to  make
landfall.  We  hope  that the "Lutine" does better  and  can
bring  you the 200 "moïdes" and the various items which  she
has on board for you.

*  To the same (23 prairial IV, 11 06 1796)

For  some  time  now all the help and  ammunition  you  have
received  has  been shipped from St Lucia,  because  of  the
proximity and ease of communication between that island  and
yours.  The English have just captured Morne Fortuné, and we
hasten   to  send  powder  and  cartridges  to  you  by  the
"Modeste",  so  that  you will have the means to  repel  the
enemy,  should  they  attack.  It was only  after  the  most
vigorous  resistance,  and considerable losses sustained  in
the  various  battles,  combined with a lack of  ammunition,
that they were able to seize the fort.
A  number  of  republicans who had been  defending  it  left
before the surrender,  taking their weapons with  them,  and
joined  other troops scattered throughout the island and 500
French  deserters;  so the war in this country  will  become
more  active and more intense than ever.   We hope that this
failure,  far from vanquishing your courage,  will give  you
new strength, and that although the efforts of the defenders
of  St  Lucia were not crowned with success,  that you  will
still  use every means at your disposal to  achieve  victory
You must be on your guard:  the enemy will very soon have to
move forces to Grenada.  Try to obtain from Spanish Trinidad
the help that island can provide. To prove how easy it is we
have sent citizen GANDELAT,  our agent to that government...
To speak to you of zeal,  of action, would be to insult you.
Your  devotion is well known to us,  and we are certain that
you will be faithful to the oath of the  Republic:   Victory
or death.

* This may be the "moidore",  a Portuguese gold coin current
in  England  in the 18th century [Portuguese  moeda  d'ouro,
money of gold].

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Révision 26/08/2003