THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 52.
Martin Perez Anday Salazar, Governor of Trinidad and
Guayana to the King.
igth March, 1722.
Source :---Additional Mss. 36332, British Museum. Published
by courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum. Translated
from the Spanish.
In my letter of 23rd September, 1721 I reported to Your
Majesty that I had taken possession of the Government
of this Island of Trinidad and of Guayana on the
I thJuly, 1721.
I have now to report to you that I have visited the whole
of the Island and of Guayana whence I returned on the
2nd March, 1722 to this town and am giving account to
Your Majesty of the condition in which I find this Government.
So far as concerns the spiritual state, the number of
sacerdotes is reduced to ten; one Vicario, a Frenchman
who serves as Cura Interino in the parish of this town; a
sacristan who is also sacerdote authorised by the Royal
Patronato who is not a confessor; another sacerdote very
old who has suffered from many accidents and who served
as Cura of this parish but because of his infirmity renounced
it in the month of May, 1721 and whose resignation was
accepted by the Bishop of Porto Rico who was here at the
time on a pastoral visit which he completed for the whole
Island as I am inrinmed, in less than 48 hours.
He left this parish without a Cura as I learnt on my
return and I at once sent to the Superintending Vicario of
Cumana for at least a chaplain to be sent as soon as possible
who would be a capable man and who could remain as
Vicario and Cura Interino.
In this town there is a Hospice of the Franciscans with
a Prelado who is the only religioso left in the Hospice.
Two leagues away are three pueblos of Indians, two
encommendado to Your Majesty and the third passed to
the Royal Crown since the expiry of the encomienda enjoyed
by the authority of Your Majesty.
These three pueblos have one Cuia and two Churches
where he attends with much reluctance as he wishes to leave.
I have warned him that I cannot aoree to itis nor allow
him to go until the Bishop put another in his placc.
In Puerto de Espana three leagues distant frcm this
town there is another saccrdote serving the Church of this
port which was erected with the assistance of the parish
of this town with the approval of tle Royal Patronato and
of the Bishop.
A league from this town is another small pueblo of Indians
allocated to the Royal Crown where there is a Capuchin
Father of more than 70 years old wlho I am informed has
to be wheeled about and is only able to administer the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass in the Church which the Indians have.
The other Sacraments are administered by the Cura of
At a distance of 10-12 leagues there arc four Indian
pueblos de doctrine allocated to the Royal Crown where
there is a Cura authorised by the Royal Patronata who
takes care of two pueblos. The other two have been for
several years under his spiritual care until 1719 when the
Capuchin Missionary Fathers returned from Guayala and
at the instigation of the Governor took possession of these
two Indian pueblos until Your Majesty shall decide what
shall be done about the missions in Guayana for which they
were sent by Your Majesty and which appear to have failed
for reasons which they gave.
Thus I have reported in triplicate on all in this Govei nmcnt
for the information of Your Majesty as also for the Viceroy
and the Audencia of Santa Fe. No acknowledgement
of this has up to now reached this Government.
These are Sire, the only sacerdotcs we have in this Island
and if it were not for the Capuchins and the Chaplain to
whom I have above referred, these people would be devoid
of spiritual aid.
All this I have represented to the Bishop but as this
Island is a long way from that of Porto Rico and between
the two there is no direct communication, he has not made
any provision for us. I have sent special requests asking
him to send to us a Cura for this town as also for the pueblos
of the Indians and for Guayana. The Church of thc ]alttr
is served by a Capuchin at the request and charge of the
Government and for the present there appears no other
Sire, I am of the opinion that tllie C' tlhin Fathers
should be kept here forming for these four pueblos of
Naparima Indians a hospice charged with the c aic cf 11(:
pueblos and also providing for Guayana and that sC cr\al
religiosos should be sent out to establish missic ns there N ho
with this support I have no doubt will be able to call cut
the Royal Pleasure of Your Majesty.
As is so much desired the Capuchins will be able to
provide for the Indians who welcome them having been
pacified and reduced by them and being those who undcr-
stanl their language which these religiosos study in order to
be able to reduce them, a thing which is not attempted nc(
done by the clerigos which is a great pity because the 1 :er
Indians are unable to confess and in case of urgent ncccssily
only through an interpreter.
These four pueblos were in a destitute state until the
Capuchin Fathers who founded them, took them over again
as I am informed, brought to do so by the lack of anyone to
administer spiritual care.
The clerigo wiho as above mentioned is in charge of
two pueblos is not able to carry out his duties because lie
had the misfortune to break his leg in a riding accident more
than two years ago since which time he has :cen unable to
move. By the Grace of God he is able to manage the work
of one of the pueblos though only with great difficulty. The
work at the second he is unable to accomplish and it is a fact
that every four months the Father at the Hospice of this
town goes there to perform any baptisms and marliagcs
remaining only three to four days and leaving the poor Indians
with this poor comfort, and they make complaint to me.
I console them telling them that I am reporting this to
Your Majesty and that without doubt from the great interest
and love that you bear for them you will issue Royal Ordcrs
for Fathers to be sent thus they are waiting as also nm I as
little may be expected fiom the present Bishop of Porto Rico
although doubting the lack of saccrdotcs of which iwe are
They are available in the Bishopric but they do not know
the language of the Indians for which reason they cannot
take spiritual charge of their cul'.
I be:ccci Your Holy loyall Majesty to give consideration
to this matlcr with your u:ual catholic z, a1 since for the right
discharge o0 my conscience I should i nc rm Your' Majes that
it is very important that Capuchin Apostolic i N ,: i s
should he in this land to recmed a tdfault so important to the
service of ;God and of Your Majesty and for the discharge
of Your Rooal Coniscience.
This can !i remedied at small costl b sending here
seven relighos~o; who wixh the three loiw iiore from the
province of (Caialuna and witil tile Prefect Ir:y Raymundo
[d Villaf'raci I :'re elnoir: h lfcr the w\( rk; at present.
If Your Ni njsty approve four could go to C(uayan: to help
at that garrison town and to found mi,00ions while six could
remain in thlis Idland to control the seven puclIos where they
are much wanted. If approved apostolic missionaries arc sent
(lien in that case, I am informed they could serve Your
M\ajcsty as Curis in doctrinas.
1.ay Your 1H ly Royal Majesty decide \\ ihalt i necessary for
this matter as 1 can do no more than to represent it in
, npliance Nwit mv obligations a!d in obedience to your
royal orders c en to the sacrifice of my life as a loyal vassal of
.',ay God pr-cerve the Catholic and Roxal Pe son of
'YIour 'ijest ', o mav ny yea s as C ',i :( 1< P rt d.
San Joseph, Trinidad, gith Maich, :722.
A miii1nt records that to S:Ai >is missionaries out to
Trinidad would cost for voya g, ships journey, clothing
food, &c., ioi.-.5o maravedis de vellen or WI.iY5 each.