Catalogue reference: CO 260/4 folio 98. Crown Copyright.
My Lord St: Vincent March 5th 1777
I should think myself very blameable not to Transmit to Your Lordship a Copy of a Letter of this date I have done myself the Honor of writing to the Lords of the Treasury; perhaps the Contents of it should have been Transmitted primarily, if not solely to Your Lordship, should this be the case Your Lordships Intimation shall in future correct the Mistake
I must now in Duty not
to Omit to inform Your Lordship that the Runaway Negroes in this Island become a very formidable Object, and an Evil that is increasing in spite of all the Efforts to prevent it hitherto taken, their Numbers I dare take upon me to Assure Your Lordship are at least eleven Hundred, their fast holds at least eight I positively know of, and in about Four of these are full nine hundred and of these Two so Uncommonly strongly Situated, and nearly inaccessible by the Nature of the Ground, that One fifth part of the Numbers within those strong holds, could not be forced by trebles the force of the Colony were these Unhappy desperate Wretches, as well acquainted with all, or made full use of the Advantages of their Situation as they seem to be judicious in chusing them - I must again repeat the far greater part of them are compleatly armed by the Assistance of the Caraibs; have received particular Strength by many fresh Negroes of the Estates resorting to them in Bodies; are more than uncommonly insole[ ] talk among themselves so [ ] they [ ] to decoy aw[ ] four soon being to be Engaged in a French War, and [ ] then will be the time for them tall to Emancipate themselves, but that in the mean time the