THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 81.
A letter from Pedro de Beltranilla to the King.
November, 3oth 1609. Margarita.
Source :--Additional Mss. 36319, British Museum. Published
by the courtesy of the Trustees of the British Musenm.
Translated from the Spanish.
Sire, Deceived like many others by the artifices and
frauds of Domingo de Vera and by the false accounts he gave
of Guayana and Dorado, I left my country and the many
comforts I had there. I came in his company a little less
than 14 years ago and of the 2,200 persons that came on that
occasion, there only remain men and women about 60 more
or less. The remainder perished or died miserably except
for a few who escaped.
There are two towns settled; one in Trinidad which
has about 35-40 men and another in the Province of Guayana
which they call Santo Thome and which has about 60 men.
They both support themselves by the trade which they carry
on with the privateers and the Indians which they bring
to sell in this Island. Of this and other transgressions, the
fountain head and author is the Governor himself.
He acts without any idea of christianity or consideration
that ie is a servant of Your Majesty but as an absolute King
and Lord of that country. Neither the law of God nor the
law of man is regarded in that country but only that of his
own will and pleasure which he does not exercise in anything
which tends to christian virtue just like an infidel and a
savage. Of his private affairs a long story would have to
I have written many letters to Don Luis Fajardo and to
the Licenciado Manso Oidor of Panama, and to the Governor
Coronel as being good ministers of Your Majesty.
All the Indians and other articles of barter are brought
to this Island of Margarita for sale. It is true and undoubted
that it is impossible for the Governor or any magistrate to
investigate this because besides not being men of business,
the persons about whom one has to enquire are so powerful
that unless the judge is powerful also as well as learned in
business and will proceed without respect of persons, I hold
it impossible to find it out.
These matters are so serious and prejudicial to the service
of God and Your Majesty that one of the Alcades of Your
Royal House and Court ought to come with men and soldiers
to protect him because otherwise they run a very great risk
as there are not more disloyal servants than the Governor
and those who assist him.
From what I have seen the obedience and respect due
to Your Majesty will run great risk of being destroyed if the
judge does not bring the power and force which is required
in the first galleons.
Please God I will go in person to give an account of all
to Your Majesty whose Catholic and Royal Person may
Our Lord preserve with increasing and larger realms.
3oth November, 1609.
LICENCIADO PEDRO DE BELTRANILLA.