THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 102.
The Council of War to the King.
Ioth November, 1637. Madrid.
Source : Additional MSS. 36324. British Museum. Published
by courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum. Translated
from the Spanish.
SIRE-In a part of a letter which Don Juan de Eulate,
Governor of the Island of Margarita, wrote to Your Majesty
on the 29th December, 1636, he states that Don Diego Lopez
de Escobar, Governor of the Island of Trinidad and the
Province of Guayana wrote to him in June and August of
the said year pointing out the manifest danger of that Island
being lost unless he were to assist it ; with any help he might
send him, he was resolved to go to the part they call Moruga
near the Punta de la Galera which was peopled with enemies
who were awaiting more men to make a descent on the
town of Trinidad.
With 50 soldiers and a Corporal whom he sent to assist
and the 30 he had already, they surprised a settlement of
Dutch who were on the other side of the Punta de la Galera
and overcame them capturing ten prisoners. They went
on from there to another port which they also seized taking
ten more Dutch.
They then withdrew to the town of San Josef de Oruna
and the said Don Diego Lopez de Escobar sallied forth from
there with the said relief party and the 30 soldiers of his own,
to the Island of obaco and landing there he seized a small
fort and took eleven of the enemy and demolished other
forts which were in the said Island without being able to
obtain anything of much value.
The prisoners they carried off amounted to nearly Ioo
between Dutch, French and Negros. The said Governor
of Trinidad sent him 6o Dutch and French asking him to
give them ships to go to the Island of San Cristoval. He had
no vessels to give them and as 60 enemies were too many
to be kept guarded without notable risk of some mishap,
he wrote to the Governor of Cumana to take them for work
on the fortifications of Araya.
While waiting for the reply, he conferred with the Cabildo
of Margarita as to the best way of keeping them in custody
and the place where they ought to be kept and the food to
be given them. It was agreed that they should be placed
separately in irons and distributed in the houses in the town
by the sea with such guard of soldiers as Captain Laurenco
Galindo might consider sufficient who was in charge of them.
pending a reply from the Governor of Cumana. In case
he would not take them, it should be considered what should
be done with these prisoners about which there were different
opinions but the majority voted for their death.
The said Governor of Cumana in a reply to their letter
dated 14th December, said that he found it equally inconvenient
to receive the prisoners seeing that his port was open; two
of his prisoners tried to seize a boat and escape to Curacoa
and 17 that he kept in the fort had conspired to cut down
the guard one night, let themselves down the wall and escape.
He was therefore of opinion that they should be sent in boats
to Caracas where ships would be found in which to send
them to New Spain, Havannah and Cartagena whence the
galleons might bring them to these Kingdoms ; for to allow
them to go to San Cristoval as they requested would be to no
purpose as from there they would return to the same Island
of Tobaco and fortify themselves to greater advantage.
In a meeting of Council held on the i9th December,
seeing that the Governor of Cumana was unwilling to receive
a single one of the 60 enemies and that the evident risk was
great from either keeping them or putting them on board a
ship it was agreed that they should all die as traitors to God
and to Your Majesty as their natural King and Lord.
Difficulty arose as to the manner of carrying out this sentence
and it was left to Don Eulate to arrange its fulfilment. Having
considered the matter it was resolved that they should be
strangled and buried with all secrecy on the shore.
This was duly carried out and 19 boys on account of
their age received mercy, were spared and were distributed
among the residents of the town who undertook to treat
them with all care and instruct them in Our Holy
This report was laid before the Council of War and it
was considered a serious matter and it is desirable that this
justice which has been executed upon these men may not
be known in the northern parts because it would be a reason
to do the same with the subjects of Your Majesty who may
have been captured by them. It should be kept secret here
and a letter should be sent to the person who is going to
succeed the said Don Juan de Eulate in the Government of
Margarita to see that it is kept secret there in case this
occurrence has not become known and that the boys are not
to go out of the Island arranging that the persons to whom
they are allotted should endeavour to reduce them to Our
Holy Catholic Faith and should guard them carefully so that
they nay not communicate with foreigners.
The said Don Juan de Eulate provided he has executed
his office, should be commanded on giving it up, to come to
this Court as conducive to the service of Your Majesty for
special matters thereof.
When he has arrived, this matter will be discussed and
it will be seen what is desirable to be done and a report
presented to Your Majesty so that you will be pleased to
command what may be Your Royal Pleasure.
Ioth November, 1637. Madrid.