THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY,
Publication No. 66.
Letter from Thomas Picton, Governor of Trinidad to the Right
Honourable H. Dundas, Secretary of State.
Source : Additional Mss. 36870. British Museum. Published
by the courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
14th May, 1799.
Your Dispatches Nos. i and 13 have come to hand.
Agreeable to your directions a detailed statement of the
produce of the 31 per cent. duty upon Exports and Imports
is making out with all possible dispatch, by Mr. Collier the
Superintendent, and when completed I shall not fail to
forward by the first safe occasion. The Duty (nominally
3 per cent.) does not actually exceed i' of which the
Merchants subscribing the Monies were by no means ignorant.
Sir Ralph Abercromby's intention being to raise a sufficient
Revenue to repay the expense of the Civil Establishment and
of a couple of small armed vessels for the defence of the
coasts. The Superintendent has been guided by the Spirit
of his instructions and the Duty attended to has always been
taken in a manner so extremely favourable to the trade that I
conceive the Merchants have but little reason for complaint.
The Emigrants from San Domingo, who shall present
themselves at Trinidad without the necessary certificates fron-
Earl Balcarras (His Majesty's Lt: Governor of Jamaica) will
be received in a manner suited to their respective merits and
Trinidad should be regarded as a sugar Colony, the lands
being generally more favourable to the production of Cane,
than of Coffee or Cotton. The quantity of land to be granted
should certainly depend upon the means of cultivation, but
everything considered the smallest class of sugar plantation
cannot consist of less than 200 Acres of good Land, of which
Ioo acres for cane, 50 for pasture, and 50 for Negro Grounds,
Establishments and Casualties. A plantation of this class
carried on with the greatest economy will require a Capital
of about 8,ooo Sterling. I never have made any Grants,
nor shall I without express authority.
The Spanish having offered a gratification of Twenty-five
dollars for each Soldier Deserting from this Island, Ten
Germans of the 2nd Batln: of the 6oth Regt: (Late
Hompeches) went off in a body last week. Trinidad from
its contiguity to the Spanish Main, and the great facility it
affords to Desertion, is in my humble opinion, a bad station
for this Corps which are wholly composed of Deserters.
I have the honour to be,
etc., etc., etc.,
(Signed) TH: PICTON.
The Rt: Honble: