THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 134.
A R(yal Cedula to Don Geronimo de Portugal.
APRIL 6TII, I612.
Source:-Additional Mss. 36320. British Museum. Published
by courtesy of the Trustees of the Museum. Translated
from the Spanish.
THE KING-Don Geronimo de Portugal y Cordova,
Caballero of the Order of Santiago, My Loyal Chief and
Captain General of the Armada convoying the Fleet
to the Indies.
From many reports 1 have learnt that the Island of
Trinidad is visited by ships of many enemy nations to trade
with the inhabitants in the products of the soil, principally
tobacco which is the article from which they get the greatest
profit. This trade is carried on openly and in the ports o'
this Island there are always some ships. This causes results
contrary to the service of Our Lord God and of Our Realm
and interferes with our trade and commerce.
Furthermore it is believed that the enemy have the
intention of making a fort in one of the ports and getting
possession of this Island.
After considering all that has been reported, we require
a satisfactory remedy for this which would be obtained if the
Armada without failing in its voyage could go to this said
Island of Trinidad to capture these vessels. It has appeared
to you and to the Pilot Major that by leaving here on the
6th or 8th of this month, you will have sufficient time to go
to the Island of Trinidad and capture and burn the ships
of those traders who may be there and then continue your
voyage to Puerto Velo for the silver. This could be done
without delay as this Island is to windward and the affair
can be done in two days at the most taking with you for the
purpose special fire throwers and instead of lanchas, which
will be necessary and which we have not, taking six long boats
which can he carried on the poops ol the galleons, each taking
ii men. These boats can be used lbr attacking and burning
tlie enemy vessels without the galleons approaching within
artillery range and receiving damage.
After considering these matters in the Council of the
Indies, it was decided that you should go this year with the
Armada to the said Island of Trinidad as it will not delay
your voyage and this We require an order yon to do and
accomplish with all the skill and care which is necessary
and expected of you taking note of the weather so that the
voyage may not fail and the transport of the silver may be
I have instructed Don Francisco dc Varte, President
of the Casade la Contratacion, to provide everything necessary
bfr this affair so that you shall be able to capture, burn or
sink the ships of these traders without exposing the galleons
of the Armada to danger in the rigging or elsewhere which
might delay you or cause you to return to Spain without
the Royal Silver.
These things should be done as quickly as possible as this
affair is of great importance in the service of my realm.
I, THE KING.
PEDRO DE LEDESMA
6th April, (162.