THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 138.
A Report from the Casa de Contratacion to the King.
Source :-Additional Mss. 36324. British Museum. Published
by courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum. Translated
from the Spanish.
23RD JANUARY, 1638.
On the 20th May, 1637, the Council of War made a report
to Your Majesty that by letters received from the Governors
of Margarita and Trinidad and from the Cabildo of the town
of Guayana, it had been made aware of the great hardships
they are suffering from the way in which these islands are
infested not only with enemies from the north but also by
Carib Indians by whom they are continually harassed, robbed
and persecuted owing to the settlements which they have
made and the intercourse they maintain with the Indians.
They are without hope of being able to resist their force
because in addition to those they have already, the enemy
arc daily expecting fresh reinforcements on order to take
entire possession of the Island of Trinidad, a thing which
would lead to the gravest dangers and injuries since it lies
to the windward of all the other islands and of the coasts
of the mainland.
This inability to resist, results from the inhabitants of
these islands and towns not having been helped along ago
with any arms or supplies or even clothing which used to
be taken to them in authorised ships, although they offered
to do their duty in defence and they placed before Your
Majesty the importance of these islands as being rich in
products, as tobacco, hides, cotton and dyewood and from
the discovery of mines of quicksilver and from their position
in the rear of the New Kingdom of Granada and with other
reasons which were represented to Your Majesty with the
opinion of the Council as to the remedy for these injuries.
Menzorandu n oJ the King on the foregoing.
You make reproaches about the money I have used as
though I had taken your's or some private person's without
compensation or as if I had ordered it to be taken for the
purpose of making presents to certain people or as though
if I had not taken it, a great portion of the State of Milan
and of Flanders with the whole of Burgundy would not now
have been lost so you may see with what slight reason you
advise repeatedly on this matter.
If the trade would voluntarily pay one per cent. or two
or had been made to pay for the public cause on any of the
many occasions oil which, I have s oldercd, there would
have been a totally different result and what has happened
and is feared, would never have occurred nor would so tardy
a remedy as a visit by the ships of the Brazil route be proposed
for they can only be a very small fleet and cannot arrive for
four months nor can they alone effect anything of importance
against those who may have taken possession over there.
What might be done is to send direct at once to the Island
of Trinidad, in tenders and caravels or light vessels, 200 men
with munitions and clothing and some provisions for the
people there and a couple of good soldiers as leaders to ensure
success and when this assistance has been despatched as I
have resolved, this matter can be discussed to some purpose
and on a firm basis.