THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 157.
A Circular by Sir Ralph Abercromby to the Commandants of Quarters.
Source : -Public Record Office. State Papers, War Office.
Published by the courtesy of the Alaster of Ihe Rolls and the
Deputy Keeper of the Public Records.
HEADQUARTERS, PORT D'ESPAGNE,
22nd February, 1797.
'o COMMANDANTS OF THE QUARTERS
OF THE ISLAND OF TRINIDAD.
This Colony being by virtue of the Capitiulation concluded
with His Catholick Majesty's Governor Don Chacon become
subject to His Brittanick Majesty, I have the honour to
Transmit to you a Proclamation bearing date instant
published by the Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Fleet
And you are required to give notice to all inhabitants
residing or who may hereafter reside in your district, to
assemble at such convenient place as you may appoint upon
the day of there and in your presence to take the
following oath of allegiance to His Britannick Majesty.
I do swear to bear true and faithful allegiance
to His Majesty King George the Third, His Heirs and
Successors according to the Articles of Capitulation of Trinidad
so long as I live under or hold property under His Government
and to make discovery without loss of time to His Britannick
Majesty's Commandant of the Island of any conspiracy or
evil design intended against the safety of His Majesty's
Government which may come to my knowledge.......so help
You are likewise required to take the necessary measures
to collect all the arms in your Quarter and for conveying
these safely with the ammunition to Headquarters ; exception
however is made to such gentlemen of property who having
taken the oath of allegiance, are desirous to keep arms for
their own defence, but of all such you are to transmit an
exact return to me or the Commanding Officer for the
You are by this letter officially informed and you are to
make the same to be generally and publicly known that the
Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice and of the
Police or Cabildo is to continue as heretofore under the
Spanish Laws. In civil cases it is reserved to the opinion of
either party, to appeal from the sentence of the Court here
to the King and Council provided the cause in litigation
amounts to five hundred pounds sterling.
You are in like manner and for the same purpose informed
that all officers holding places either in the civil or criminal
administration of justice or of the police or cabildo, are to
remain in their offices, they taking the oath required of
allegiance to His Majesty's Government, with the same
salaries as they received under the Spanish Government and
with such fees as shall be allowed by a docket sanctioned b) me.
Further make known that persons will hereafter be named
to decide in maritime and commercial cases ; that the Clergy
are to be continued exactly upon the same footing as during
the Spanish Government ; that the Indians are to remain
in like manner as heretofore.
You are to make a faithful and accurate return to me or
to His Majesty's Commandant of the Island of the names,
nations and other particulars of such person or persons who
will not or do not take the oath of allegiance required.
You will acknowledge without delay the receipt of this
I have the honour to be Sir.
Your most obedient, humble servant
RA ABERCROMBY, LT. GEN.,
Commander in Chief.