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Present State of the Military and Naval Forces Upon the Island of Cuba

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionConnecticut Historical Society: Oliver Wolcott Jr. Papers. view image
Document Information
Date 1790
Author Name James McHenry (primary)
Recipient Name Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (primary)
Summary Detailed accounting of the military and naval forces of Cuba which included an assessment of the dissatisfaction of the people with their form of government. Author argued that if the inhabitants were allowed to purchase slaves in proportion to their ability to pay for them, the island's productivity would increase significantly.
Document Format Autograph Draft Document
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups James McHenry; Oliver Wolcott, Jr.; blacks; whites; of color; of colour; troops; militia; infantry; battalion; priest; carpenter; workmen; laborer; slaves; ;
Related Places Cuba; Mississippi River; Santa Domingo; Havanna; church; fortification; Santa Theresa; Fort del Principe; Porterico; St. Domingo; Mexico; custom house; ;
Keywords race; coffee; sugar; cigars; tobacco; snuff; gold; hides; beef; pork; rice; hogslard; butter; cheese; candles; bees wax; apples; potatoes; cod fish; beer; cider; iron; horse; frigate; spirits; barrel; molasses; coffee; tobacco; pistols; jug; honey; gold bars; ingots; raw hide; starch; guyacum; grandilla; mahogany plank; cedar; pitch; tar; tarr; silver; dry goods; gammons; candles; mast; yard; irons; ;
Key Phrases The inhabitants of the whole Island of Cuba may without any exception be pronounced universally dissatisfied with the heavy yoke imposed by their despotic system of government.

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Vol. 10
no. 74 [margin]
The following is the present state of the Military & Naval Forces upon the Island of Cuba...viz.
At the Havana and its environs 100,000: men who may be brought under three equal different descriptions. Viz. One third nearly white, and one third of Colour and the remaining third Black - and throughout the other parts of the Island about another 100,000. Souls of like proportion in Colours.
In the number mentioned at the Havana and its environs is comprehended the Kings and Hibernians, Regiments of regular troops, each of which ought to consist of 1377. men but they are at present very incompleat.
The Havana Militia consists of Your, separate Corps Viz. a Regiment of white Infantry a Batallion of Horse, one regiment of Coloured, and another regiment of Black Infantry each of 1377 men. They are all well disciplined but were they put to the Test, I am of opinion the tryal of them in prowess would do them little Honor. The most able bodied men are of the clerical order, their number about 2000. Priests & Fryers and 500 Noviciatures who occupy 14 chances or larger Co.
With respect to the Country Militia, they are much dispe [page torn] over the country, that little efficient aid could be [undecipherable] [page torn] from them upon any emergency whatever.
Their fortifications are all [undecipherable] strong particularly Moro and Cavanas at the instance of the harbour Santa Theresa at its head but the strongest Fort called Fort del Principe on the Land wide is not yet finished. Their
Their marine at present consists of only, one 7D and 2 Frigates in good order but badly manned they have a Ship of 100 Guns upon the Stocks, but through the want of money the Carpenters employed in building the Ship as well as the workman upon the Fortifications are stopped from proceeding in their several works. Government at this time owe to its subjects at the Havana about Four Millions of Dollars and proportional sums at the Mississippi Porterico & St. Domingo - but speedy payment is expected form the exertions of General Galvez who is gone to Mexico in the Quality of Vice Roy.
The Inhabitants of the whole Island of Cuba may without any exception be pronounced universally dissatisfied with the heavy yoke imposed by their despotic system of Government and they doubtless will at some future period eagerly embrace the earliest favorable opportunity to shake off the galling chain nay even the Military part are far from being pleased with their situation.
The following is the reports from the Havana for two successive years taken from the Custom House Books.
in 1783
642.344 Arobas & 17lb of white Sugar
426.737...17lb of Clay
9760 barr.s of Spirits
507 do. of Molasses
693.13" of Coffee
20th.3067.20 Tobacco in leaf
35,624.16 Snuff on acct. accts [undecipherable] King
in 1784
431..968..18lb of white Sugar
314..979..5 Clay
9.489 Barr.s Spirits
283 do. Molasses
417.2 Coffee
30,613.18 [bracket] Snuff & leaf for the King -
300.8 Snuff...}
224.8 in leaves for Individuals }
9.206.17 Bees wax
4.111 ~ Jugs of Honey
923 ~ Starch
112.766 Pistoles
377 Ounces Gold barrs
9.824..864..6 marks in Ingots
53.778 .. Raw Hides
6..702 .. do Oressed.
246 ~ }Snuff and Tobacco
463.62 } for Individuals ~
13.044..18lb Bees qx
252. o Starch
132.. of Guyacum
700 of Granodilla
444. Mahogany Plank
238 Cedar
186.266 Pistoles
1.446 ounces gold Bars
3.041.096 Dollars
1.241 marks in Ingots
3.989 ... do Oressed
111 Barrd Pitch
147 ... do Tarr
The slightest view of the soil and attention to the Happy climate of this Fertile Island must force conviction that were the Inhabitants per=mitted to purchase Slaves proportioned to their abilities to pay for them their exports in the several articles of produce would be increased many fold for no industry is to be expected from the exertions of the white Inhabitants of that region of [Llosh?] _
To form a proper opinion of the amount of the cash exported from the Havana, the above account is not to be solely relied on for in order to save the heavy duty of non [undecipherable] upon all money exported, many run the risk of smuggling it on board of outward bound vessels, consequently monies so exported cannot appear upon their Custom House Books. Perhaps not less than on third may be added to the exportation of the Gold & Silver articles _
The necessary annual imports exclusive of Dry Goods 40,00 Barrels Flower
40,000 / 80,000 Bs {Beef, Pork, Rice, Gammons, Hogs Lard, Butter, Cheese, [undecipherable], Candles, Bees Wax, apples, Potatoes, Cod Fish, Beer & Cyder, Masts & Yards Irons
Iron & Stub _ Supposed to be equal to 40,000Bbs ... all which ar=ticles may be at least estimated to amount to 800,000 Dollars
State of the Hand of Cuba _O.P._