THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 63.
Letter from Thomas Picton, Governor of Trinidad to His Excellency
Source : Additional MSS. 36870. British Museum. Published
by the courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
20th April, 1799.
I have been favoured with Your Excel: letter of the 20th
by the Gait6 Sloop of War. I am not ignorant of the very
slender means at Your Excel: disposal to undertake offensive
measures of any risque or consequence, but I thought that my
Duty to make you acquainted with the favourable disposilicn
of the Inhabitants of the Neighbouring Provinces which a
comparatively small Force might determine to a Declaration
of Independence. The question is not I humbly conceive
whether a Revolution in that Country will be advantageous
or not to Great Britain, which might be proved in the
affirmative, but whether theinhabitantsof these High Countries
shall be indebted to England or France for their Emancipation ,
if to the latter much danger will eventually Menace all our
West India Colonies. My idea is by no means that of conquest.
I have always expressed myopinion to His Majesty's Ministers,
that an attempt of that nature would not only be Chimerical
What I have always recommended, as Your
Excellency might have observed, in my correspondence with
Mr. Secretary Dundas, was to direct a moderate Force
(from 2 to 3,000 men) against a particular point, accompanied
with a Declaration, that His Majesty's sole intention was to
afford the opprest Inhabitants of the Continent an opportunity
of asserting their right to a Government of their own choice.
A great moral Revolution, the forerunner of a political one,
has already taken place in that Country.
The inhabitants wait but for a favourable occasion, and
the business once set in motion, will go on of itself with very
little assistance, which they will eventually be able to pay for.
Besides these considerations, the Distress it will occasion to the
Court of Madrid and the Great Diversion of its Forces,it will
operate at an easy rate, another strong Recommendation. I
am flattered with the expectation of shortly seeing Your
Excel: at Trinidad when Ishall havethe Honour of explaining
more fully my conceptions respecting this business.
Yr: Excel: very faithful
(Signed) TH: PICTON.
By the Flying Fish.