"Was there any chance of his being hereafter useful to Sir Thomas in the concerns of his West Indian Property?"

 The West Indies refers to the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coastlines. Many of the islands were colonised by the British and became that part of the British Empire known as the British West Indies. From the mid 17th century onwards, sugar plantations were developed on these islands, their main source of labour being African slaves. As we learn later in the novel, Sir Thomas Bertram has business interests in a plantation in Antigua.


Map of the West Indies (1736)
Public DomainMap of the West Indies (1736) - Credit: Herman Moll