111F TRIN AIDAD HITOICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 158.
A Petition from the Illustrious Cabildo of Trinidad to the King
Source :-Public Record Office. State Papers Colonial.
Published by the courtesy of the Master of the Rolls and the
Deputy Keeper of the Public Records.
14th December, 18o0.
The Illustrious Cabildo of Trinidad desires to testify to
the universal joy and satisfaction of the inhabitants on learning
that Trinidad is to become part of Your Majesty's dominions
by the preliminaries of peace.
The Illustrious Cabildo is instructed to convey most
humble thanks for that inestimable advantage, and it humbly
hopes that this petition will not be rejected as it represents
the voice and opinion of the responsible part of the community
tending to promote its future happiness and prosperity.
The success of Your Majesty's arms withdrew the Colony
from a state of nullity and langour, the consequences of a
weak and indolent government. The wisdom and vigilance
of Your Representative actuated by purest ideals, soon laid
the basis of prosperity by establishing scrupulous order and
discipline in every branch of authority. He realises that the
surest support of government is the love and esteem of the
people and hence justice is strictly and impartially
administered to all classes and with liveliest satisfaction we
acquaint Your Majesty that if the country submitted to
Your Majesty's arms, the conduct of Your Governor secured
the conquest by commanding the respect and esteem of
By the examp les ol' preservation of law and order necessary
li'om time to time, some ol'Your Majesty's subjects accustomed
to that extent of liberty, have imagined the\ have discovered
in Governor Pic to's impartiality, a want of regard for them,
a persuasion that has prevailed no doubt by not sufficiently
considering the delicate situation of a Governor charged with
the peace and defence of a Colony settled by people distinct
in the language, customs, manners and prejudices.
May it please Your Majesty, y our new subjects are no
strangers to the inestimable blessings of the British Constitution
and other advantages. Your faithful subjects of Trinidad
expect to partake equally of these blessings but they wish
to attain them with that prudence and moderation which
form the basis of wise government and with such alterations
and limitations as the local situation requires.
Experience of late years has proved that liberty so amiable
when properly controlled is in its licentiousness the most
absolute of despots.
Your Majesty's faithful subjects of Trinidad however
cherish a free constitution but they cannot with sufficient
energy represent to Your Majesty that the melancholy events
of which the sister Colonies were victims provide the necessity
of conferring a greater degree of authority to its executive
government than is commonly granted by the British
Constitution and made still more necessary by the population
of different nations and the proximity of the Continent.
The Island of Tobago obtained continuation of its laws
for ten years when ceded to France in 1783 ; your subjects of
Canada in 1763 obtained the enjoyment of their laws and
It is to Your Majesty's paternal care for the happiness and
tranquillity of your subjects and to the wisdom of Your
Majesty's Ministers that the Illustrious Cabildo of this Island
conveys the wishes and prayers of this important Colony that
Your Majesty will be graciously pleased to grant the same
privileges to it as were accorded to the Province of Canada
that is to say the provisional continuation of its laws and
religion until the Colony convened by representatives chosen
by the free suffrages of the 23 respective parishes and of the
8 barrios of the Town of Port-of-Spain assisted by two members
of the Board and presided over by His Excellency the Governor
shall, determine the system of government and administration
ofjustice most appropriate to its situation.
14th December, 1801.
Sr. HILAIRE BEGORRAT,
Alcalde of First Election.
J. FRANCISCO FARFAN,
Alcalde of Second Election.
MICHEL DE GOURVILLE,
Alcalde Mayor Provincial.
Regidor, Alguacil Mayor.
FR. DE CASTRO,
JUAN VENTURA INDAVE,
JOSEF VINCENTE BONTUR,
ANGEL ANTONIO FARFAN,
DIEGO ANT. ALCALA,
Escribano de Cabildo.