Group Title: The Trinidad Historical Society publication.
Title: Publication
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Publication
Physical Description: no. : ; 26 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Port-of-Spain
Publication Date: 1932?-52?
Frequency: irregular
completely irregular
Subject: History -- Periodicals -- Trinidad   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Trinidad and Tobago -- Trinidad
Dates or Sequential Designation: no. 1-1042.
Numbering Peculiarities: Ceased publication.
Issuing Body: Issued 1932-35 by the society under its earlier name: Trinidad Historical Society.
General Note: Reprints of documents relating to the history of Trinidad.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080962
Volume ID: VID00130
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 45882505

Full Text

27/7/1785- .



Publication No. 142.

A Proclamation as to Land Tenure by the Governor of Trinidad.
JULY 27TH, 1785.

Source : -Trinidad Duplicate Despatches, Vol. II, 1815-1816.
The Original in these despatches is a translation from the

In this Port-of-Spain in the Island of Trinidad to the
Windward, on the Twenty-seventh day of July, I785, His
Excellency Joseph Maria Chacon, Captain of a Frigate in
the Royal Navy, Governor and Commandant General of
this Island and subdelegated Intendant thereof and
Commissioner for the Crown Lands, by Our Lord the King
Declared that the zeal and patriotism which have animated
him since the period that His Majesty was pleased to invest
him with the command of the establishment and population
of this valuable Colony, have not allowed a moment's repose
and relaxation having been constantly employed in procuring
information, combining and carrying into execution the
most efficacious means for the exact and punctual furtherance
of the intentions of His Majesty and the removal of those
obstacles which have hitherto rendered abortive the wise
regulations adopted by Our Ministry for the prosperity of
the agriculture and commerce of this Island and frustrated
the exertions of the predecessors of His Excellency in this
Intent upon these interesting objects His Excellency
by the clearest evidence that one of the principal causes of
the decline in which His Excellency found the agriculture
and population on his entering upon the administration
of this Island, contrary to what he might expect from the
assistance given to those previously entrusted with this business,
is the confusion, contradiction and uncertainty in which
the property and appurtenance of the Lands are involved
in this Island from the arbitrary occupancy thereof by the
ancient Spaniards without previous form, concession,

admeasurement or demarcation of boundaries as has been
wisely provided by the fundamental Laws of all civilised
nations as also by those which govern these dominions of
America, insomuch that although the richest and naturally
the most fertile Lands in this Jurisdiction are actually wild
and uncultivated, scarce is there a spot remaining that can
be granted to new colonists which is not claimed as the
property of the aforesaid Spaniards without any other title
than their own voluntary occupancy or that of their ancestors ;
the excess in this respect having been carried so far that a
species of emolument or traffic has been formed most prejudicial
to the magnanimous purposes of His Majesty in this Island.
For these same Spaniards whose poverty and habitual indolence
incapacitated them for cultivating and giving a real value
to their pretended properties, sell them at exorbitant prices
to foreign settlers ; and what is more many of those who
conceive themselves proprietors of almost all the uncultivated
Lands of the Island, abandoning these, proceed to cultivate
the Crown Lands which might be granted to new colonists
who would work them with advantage having no other object
in this than afterwards to sell this pretended property at an
exorbitant price. From whence has proceeded and continues
to proceed, a chaos olf confusion, perplexity and controversy
in the grant of Lands, so that many foreigners who have
come to this Island with the determination of settling have
found themselves under the necessity of quitting it, to avoid
paying for the Land at the arbitrary caprice of the aforesaid
Spaniards or involve themselves in the disputes and litigations
which their grants were attended with ; as is clearly proved
by the many acts and suits of this kind which were pending
at the time His Excellency entered upon this Government
which is confirmed by the issue of the proceedings recently
instituted by Mr. Michael dc Gourville and many others
who solicited grants of uncultivated Land in wood in the
quarter of St. Joseph.
In consequence whereof and this being an object to
which it is necessary that Government should immediately
direct its attention and requires to be explained and established
upon determinate and incontestable principles to obviate
in future similar contradictions and litigations as contrary
to the spirit of good order, equity and justice which it is
desirous of inspiring into the minds of all its subjects, it has
resolved upon the Declaration containing the following
articles, the exact and indispensable observance whereof
is hereby strictly enjoined.
First are declared as Crown Lands and belonging to His
Majesty all those Lands which have not been alienated by
a formal Title of concession, admeasurement and line of

boundary in conformity to the Laws of the Indies or
Royal Cedulas respecting the population and cultivation of
this Island.
SECOND.-In the decision of the causes or matters now
pending with the Fiscal respecting uncultivated Lands,
Immemorial Possession will not be admitted as a sufficient
Title, it being His Majesty's intentions to possess thereof
the property and dominion, against whose interest there is
neither usucaption nor prescription, as being injurious in
this case to the welfare of the State and the common interest
of the Nation.
THIRD.-That all those inhabitants who hold from a
distant period of time, ungranted land whether by inheritance
of their ancestors or other relations or because they have
taken possession of them by their own will, the same being
cultivated and a value thereto given, will be the first entitled
to a gratuitous grant thereof of property in preference to
other claimants, on condition that in the space of three months
they present themselves to this Government in order to obtain
their Title of Concession according to the Royal Cedula of
Population under the penalty to those who shall not so
present themselves within the said term, of losing all their
right and claim thereto.
FOURTH.-As it happens that many inhabitants have
inherited of their parents various Lands which although
not granted, have been adjudged to them in a certain sum
in conjunction with other co-heirs, it is hereby declared
that whenever such Lands by reason of their being uncultivated
shall be ceded to some new Colonist, this shall make good
the sum in which they shall have been adjudged, the same
being proved by proper documents ; and the same com-
pensation shall take place under the circumstances of such
inhabitants having purchased the Lands of other individuals
whose claim is founded on a similar right.
FIFTH.-All the ancient Spanish inhabitants who without
Title of Property and Concession, shall claim Lands in
different parts, covered with wood by the not having the
means to clear them, shall within the term of three months
make choice of the situation in which they wish to establish
themselves and present themselves in order to obtain a grant
thereof according to the Cedula of Population ; the Crown
Lands remaining in benefit of His Majesty to bestow them
upon others who will clear and cultivate them.
SIXTH. -As the ambition of many Spaniards is carried
to such an excess that although they are unable to put a
single quarree of land in cultivation, they pretend to be
proprietors of considerable portions in different Quarters and
quitting these pass over to the Crown Lands and thereon
employ the little labour they are capable of, these persons

must likewise make election within the said Term of Three
Months of the situation most suitable for their establishment
whether on their pretended property or on the Crown Lands ;
the surplus land remaining in benefit of His Majesty as is
provided in the preceding article.
SEVENTH. -The spirit of this Proclamation being to remove
every impediment whatever to the cultivation of the lands,
it is declared that should the legitimate possessor not have
the means to work them, they shall be granted to others
who may demand them, with sufficient strength, these paying
to the proprietors the sum or value for which they were
obtained, whether in payment of a credit, gift, purchase
or other means leaving them such portion of land which
they may be capable of cultivating in conformity to the
Cedula of Population.
EIGHTH. -From the preceding article are excepted all
those new colonists who possess any land with the Title of
this Government under conditions of conforming to the
regulations contained in the said Royal Cedula of Population.
NINTH.-His Excellency not wishing to injure any persons
who have bona fide employed their funds by renting lands
in the occupancy of Spaniards which have not been granted
to them, whenever these shall be granted in consequence of
their being abandoned and uncultivated to some other
colonist, this shall be bound to secure such rent or tribute on
the said Lands so charged or redeem it as it may suit his interest.
TENTH. -Whenever this Government shall grant Crown
Lands and any one shall have cultivated a part thereof, he
shall be dispossessed of it under condition of his being paid
the value of the plantations or provisions that may be found
thercon and other expenses he may have incurred on his
establishment. And that the above articles might be observed
and carried into execution in all their parts, His Excellency
ordered them to be published in the usual places of this Port
and Copies thereof to be fixed up and others to be sent to
the Town of St. Joseph de Oruna, Valley of Tacarigua and
to all the Commandants of the quarters that they might
publish them in their respective districts ; and another copy
to be transmitted to His Majesty for His Royal Approbation.
And His Excellency decreed, ordered and signed the
Act with the advice of his Council in Port-of-Spain whereof
I certify on oath.
Before me,
Secretary Fiscal.

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