Capitulation de L'Isle de Tabago ...

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Capitulation de L'Isle de Tabago ...



A certified copy of the articles of surrender by which Tobago was given over to the French forces by the British. This manuscript copy is signed by the Marquis de Bouille.


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[English Translation]

Surrender of the Island of Tobago between the Count de Grasse commanding the Naval Forces of His Most Christian Majesty, and the Marquis de Bouillé commanding General of the French Windward Islands of America on one side

And the Honorable George Fergusson, Esquire, Commander-in-chief of the Island of Tobago, and the Honorable Major Stanhope Commander-in-chief of the forces of HIs British Majesty, on the said Island, on the other side.

Article 1

The Governor, the staff officers, officers of the troops and soldiers of the Island of Tobago will leave the reduit and forts, with the men of war and then will put down arms, with the exception of the Officers.


The officers and troops will be then sent to France, with the exception of the officers whom the French General will permit to stay in the Windward Islands of America on their word.

The wives and children of the troops will follow to the same destination.


The inhabitants of the Island will keep their civil government, their laws, customs and ordinances: justice will be administered by the same people who are presently in charge until peace as long as they conduct themselves well.

The Chancellery Court will be held by the members of the council and in the form established by the laws, customs and ordinances in which the said court will be made to the Council of His Most Christian Majesty.


The inhabitants in general of the said Island and the ministers of the religion, will now be in the possession of their goods and in the enjoyment of all they possess, of whatever nature that they can be, in their privileges, rights, honors and exemptions. They will have the free exercise of their religion, and the ministers the possession of their rectorships.

The free negroes and mulattoes will now be in their freedom, but no slave will be able to be freed in the future without the permission of the governor General conforming to the practice in the French colonies.


The inhabitants will only pay to His Most Christian Majesty the dues they paid to His British Majesty.

The costs for administration of justice, the salaries of the ministers of the religion and other common costs will be at the charge of the colony.

The commodities which will be exported from the colony, will pay to the realm the same duties which are paid in the French Colonies. It will be the same of them for the entry duties.

They will enjoy all the privileges of commerce given the subjects of His Most Christian Majesty in the Windward Isles of America.


The inhabitants will not pay the contribution of twelve hundred moëdes required and accepted by the provisional surrender but the colony will be charged with the reconstruction of the ships which were burned during the siege, in the manner that the inhabitants to whom they belong only contribute for their quota of the reconstruction. (To the amount of twelve hundred moëdes.)


The effects and particularly the slaves which were able to be taken during the siege, belonging to the inhabitants of this colony and which are able to be recovered will be returned. The slaves which were able to be conducted on board the vessels of the French Squadron, will be put on land and delivered into the hands of the Provost Marshall.

Note - will not be included amongst the restored effects ships which had been taken before the surrender of the Island or after, in the same way as the commodities or merchandises which are there.


The vessels, Ships and coasting-vessels belonging to the inhabitants of the Island will stay to them in own nature, but the English Ships from Europe or from the English Islands will faithfully be surrendered and delivered to the French Governor.


The absent inhabitants, even those who are in the service of His British Majesty, will now be in the possession and enjoyment of their goods which being able to be managed by the legal representatives.


The inhabitants will be, as in the French Islands, obliged to the lodging of men of war, in strictly necessary circumstances only, the troops being ordinarily lodged at the cost of the King or in ships (or buildings) which belong to him.


They will be obliged to furnish negro labor for the fortification works or others relative to the service of the King up to the amount of the number of four hundred; and the said Negroes will be fed at the cost of the King during the time that they are employed at the said work.


The inhabitants will take the oath of fidelity to His Most Christian Majesty in the hands of the French Governor or Tobago, in the extension of time of two days at risk of being deprived of the enjoyment of their goods.

But the inhabitants and particularly the widows who not being able to do it in the limited time by illness, absence or other obstacle will have a term which will be notified to them.


The inhabitants will observe an exact neutrality and will not be forced to take up arms against His British Majesty nor against any other powers.

Consequently they will carry all their arms to the area Chief which will be deposited in the Kings Magazine with the exception of those which Justices of the Peace will judge necessary in each habitation in order to insure the Police among the Negroes, but the Justices of the Peace will answer personally for the bad use which could be made of it against the terms of the present surrender; and they will deliver, in the delay which will be prescribed them, a list signed by them, into the hands of the French Governor of the arms which had been left with the inhabitants of their districts.


The inhabitants of the Island where not attached in title to the Service of His British Majesty, will not be reputed prisoners of war.


The commercial ships coming from England or from some other State that this could be, belonging to the inhabitants or merchants of the Island of Tobago, will be received in the ports of the said colony, during the space of six months without which they can be confiscated and will be deemed property of the said inhabitant or merchants.

Reserving beyond the said term to the French Governor, the right to judge the property of the said Ships, in consideration of the far off places from where they had been expedited.

But the inhabitants or merchants will be held to make the declaration oto the Director of the Province, in the extension of time* of one month of the ships which can or must be addressed to them in self or in partnership.

*Na the extension of time carried to two months.

The inhabitants generally will be able to dispose freely of personal property and real estate in the enjoyment of which they are maintained, consequently to sell them, to give them away in the same way as they judge it convenient.

They will dispose equally of their incomes and will be able to send their children to England or elsewhere in order to receive education there, and to have them return from there.


There will be returned to the General of the troops of His Most Christian Majesty all the artillery, the machines and effects which depend on it, all the arms in general, the powder of war, the victuals, all the effects generally whatsoever, the ships and buildings (les batimens meubles & immeubles), belonging to the King of England: There will be lists addressed of it and the delivery will be made in the shortest delay.


The inhabitants who have in their homes English soldeirs or sailors will be obliged to declare them in the space of four days, at punishment of a fine of one hundred moëdes and those who will aid in their evasion, will be enormously pursued.

At Tobago the second June, Seventeen hundred eighty-one. Signed - The Count de Grasse - The Marquis de Bouillé - Geo. Gergusson and C.J.R. Stanhope, for that which conserns the troops alone.

For the copy to conform with the original: Marquis de Bouillé

Original Format

Ink on paper


“Capitulation de L'Isle de Tabago ...,” Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed December 4, 2022,

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