THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 65.
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.
22nd April, 1799.
My Intelligence from the Main states that they are in daily
expectation of a Squadron, with French and Spanish Troops
on board, Commanded by Don Matteo Emporan, Brother to
the Governor of Cumana ; and that the Militia of the
neighboring Provinces had received orders to assemble by
the 20th inst., that of Cumana to select a i,ooo of the choicest
to be in readiness at the shortest notice.
The different quotas of Militia may easily assemble this
dry season, at some point on the River Oronoque where they
are in way of vessels sufficient to transport them over the
narrow channel of the Southern and Eastern Quarters of
Trinidad, where they are certain of not meeting with any
opposition. The state of the Garrison, only 907 Effective
Rank and file will not admit of my making any considerable
Detachment to oppose them at a distance without leaving the
Town and other Principal Ports of the Island, definitely, and
in a situation to become a Prey to any trifling Force.
I have always represented the Oronoque as the Quarter
from which Trinidad had the most to apprehend from whence
alone it can safely be attacked without considerable Naval
Force. The Spanish Government is known to attach great
importance to this Island, and will make considerable efforts
to recover it. I must again represent to Your Excellency my
uneasiness respecting the Detachment of the 2nd Batln; of the
The Officers except Captain Schwarts are all the very
worst quality and the men have always shown a spirit of
Disaffection and were with difficulty brought to take Service
in the 6oth. I have not the smallest confidence in them, and
have reason to be of the opinion that the greatest part of them
would go over to the Enemy, were an attack to take place.
Should anything take place here I must again beg leave to
repeat that Las Cuevas will be the point to communicate with.
I have the honour to be,
etc: etc: etc:
(Signed) TH: PICTON.
Sent Ib the Scourge. Capt Warren