THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 57.
Report from Sancho de Alqui:a to the King of Spain.
Source : Additional MSS. 36320. British aMuseum. Published
by the courtesy of' the 7Trusteer of the British AMuseum.
Translated from the Spanish.
The affairs of this country are so different from what they
sound in your Court that they bear no comparison.
I was charged to make the residencia respecting
Don Fernando de Berrio and further to make a report on
the contraband trade of this Island and on that of Santo Thome
with the English and Flemish enemies who are on the mainland
and to execute the Ccdula of Your Majesty which is in force
in this Island.
It was a wrong report that was made to Your Majesty in
this matter and consequently in conformity with the said
report the commissions were sent to me with orders to complete
them within three months which is an impossibility.
From this town to that of Santo Thome is a distance of
6o leagues by sea and up the River Orinoco ; and further-
more boats are not to be found when they are wanted in this
town and when they are found Indian rowers are not to be
got on account of their being so harried by the Caribs, that
in consequence of the great ravages they make amongst them
they have retired inland and do not come to this town unless
they are fetched. This journey is a matter of considerable
difficulty as not less than 24 soldiers can go at a time for if
less go it is like sending them to destruction and there are
not more than 33 men here and with these this town has to
be protected against Flemings and English who go about this
port just as in the English Channel.
Yesterday I exchanged shots with two Flemish boats and
since they cannot trade as they used to do, they are possessed
of the devil. I have few men and cannot go to fight but I will
do what I can as I am in duty bound. It is more needful here
to go with a musket on the shoulder than with a pen in hand
for there are so few men and so many enemies that it is
necessary to sleep like the crane on one foot.
From here to the Orinoco there are 27 of the enemies
ships ; consider therefore Your Majesty how I can finish the
enquiry in so short a time. For in order to go to Santo Thome
I must go out on a dark night through the ships that are in
this port which are five in number.
I do not complain of the six ducats which are allowed me
daily for the period of the enquiry for the interest I have in
serving Your Majesty is more than the obligation I owe to
my King and Lord and is that he may honour me and confer
favour on my sons. With respect to the pay it is nothing since
an Oidor receives ten ducats a day on any commission that
he may be sent from Santo Domingo, enjoying his regular
salary at the same time without obligations which are
incumbent upon me.
In every journey I make I have to take soldiers and
supply them with necessaries for they are so poor they ha\e
nothing under heaven if I do not supply them. If I had to
make the expenditure with the six ducats a day this country
would be more trodden by Flemings than by Spaniards
owing to the ships that come to this port daily, for through
not going out to meet them with soldiers, it was necessary to
hold the land and to draw lots among the men on account
of the small number.
I am doing what I can and spending what I do not possess
with great pleasure for I know that I am serving Your Majesty
thereby, whom may God preserve as he is able and as
SANCHO DE ALQUIZA.
San Josephe de Oruna,
IIth February, 1612.