Cunninghame, Col. William,
Autograph Letter Signed to General John Barrington, Fort Royal, Guadeloupe, April 1, 1759

folio, two pages, inscribed on four page bi-folium, docketed in ink on rear leaf, paper somewhat stained holes in paper affecting text of about seven words, in upper portion of each page, however the sense of the letter is unaffected, else good.

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Cunninghame writes to Barrington concerning Governor Melvill who commanded the Citadel at Port Royal and the general state of affairs there during a crucial point in the British campaign to take Guadeloupe. Cunninghame writes:

"Sir By what Governor Melville has explained to me of the express to you of the 30th, the strain of it is so different from his first Reports of the Garrison that I need say noth[ing] more than that he now saw with his own eyes as[d shall?] be henceforth guided by his own judgment. The [true] cause of the gloom of that report was his being much out of Order and Confin'd so that he was obliged to depend on the representations of those that had not a proper view of the state of this Garrison. But since he has had time to consider and reflect on every Circumstance attending this place. I beg leave to confirm the opinion you formerly had that no Officer of your army will fulfill the duty of a Governor with more intelligence, circumspection and resolution than W. Melville (Barrington had appointed Melvill governor a week earlier) ... We got here in time last night to make a tour of the works and its circuit superficially. The Enemy has got a Bomb Battery of one Mortar as the deserters say on the top of that green hill where a body of troops first appeared that day we attacked them under your command on the south side of the gallion. The gun battery reported is on the same side the trench under the large green tree the left commanding the Beach, the right towards the Jesuits on the south of the gallion I think exactly as the place our people used to fire so much upon while we were here. There are two guns and will probably open in a day or two. I beg'd the Governour to assemble all the Offic[ers to]night. In their prescence I explained to them the situation The reason of the commanding officer ... and me being sent to them, your intentions toward them and [the] absolute necessity there was of defending this p[lace] to the last extremity against an impotent ... and dispirited enemy ... I beg'd to know if any one had doubts or apprehensions It was answered there was none there that wou'd not chuse to die in the Breach rather than give up the place improperly..."

The island of Guadeloupe was one of the most profitable of all the French colonies and as such was a prime target of the British during the conflict of the Seven Years War. The British forces attacked the neighboring island of Martinique on January 6, 1759 bombarding the town of Port Royal. The English forces under General Hopson and Commodore John Moore made an abortive attempt to capture the town. The bombardment of Basse Terre, Guadeloupe began on January 23, 1759, by Commodore Moore's squadron prior to its invasion by British troops. On January 24, an invasion force under General Hopson captured the town. General Hopson died on Guadeloupe on February 23, he was succeeded in command by Major-General John Barrington. The French surrendered the island to the British under General Barrington on May 1, 1759, after a three month campaign.

The island was occupied by the British for four years and was returned to the French by the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1763. France in order to retain Guadeloupe signed away her claims to Canada under this treaty.