THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 249.
Sir Ralph Woodford, Governor of Trinidad to Earl Bathurst.
Duplicate Despatches. Published by the courtesy of His
Excellency the Governor of Trinidad.
4th January, 1814.
I have the honour to reply to that part of Your Lordship's
duplicate despatch No. 7 which relates to the Town of Guyria
and the Spanish Main.
The situation of this part of the coast remains in the state
declared by me on the I2th and 23rd November in Nos. 37
and 40 and for the reasons therein stated I trust my conduct
in suspending any execution of the measures directed by
Your Lordship on the July last will be approved as Your
Lordship becomes acquainted with the situation of the country.
Altho' a few days since the Maria Brig of War arrived
for the protection of the Island, yet on enquiry from the
Commanding Officer, I learn that he has positive orders
from the Admiral not to interfere with either Royalist
Party in the Gulph and that he does not consider himself
authorized to prevent their attacking each other, or to take
any part in any operations I might have judged it expedient
I am not aware of his present station but if it is in the
Gulph his presence has not prevented a Royalist Privateer
from seizing within gun shot of the coasts of the Island
the British Sloop Trinidad returning from Guyria whither
she had gone as is usual by means of clearing out for another
Port and having produce of the Main on board and a launch
belonging to the Island was also seized the same day and
the boats coming up from the Plantations visited.
I shall not fail to represent this to the Governor of Guyana
alto' I feel that if the vessels of the Island chuse to violate
the blockade declared by the Spanish Government they must
run all risks so long as a perfect neutrality between both
parties is not maintained by at least two of His Majesty's
Cruizers being constantly in the Gulph.
I am induced to hope that the Royalists will soon regain
their ground, Calabozo which commands the high road to
Caracas from the interior having fallen.
Santa Fe has likewise declared in favor of the King and
two divisions of the Insurgent Army having been beaten
before Valencia-Coro is in communication with Mexico and
at Carthagena the Insurgents commanded by the Frenchman
Labathel who was a private Dragoon of Murat's Cavalry
and came out here to join Miranda have been beaten by
an army of Indians, who it is worthy of remark have universally
shown a grateful attachment to the Spanish Government
by which they were so encouraged and protected.
General Monteverde is not dead and Colonel Solomon
with his Regiment from Cadiz is daily expecting some
I shall renew my solicitations to the Admiral for some
better naval force for the Colony, to be ready to carry Your
Lordship's Instructions into effect whenever a favourable
moment arrives, and shall represent to the Commander of the
Forces more particularly the difficulties which Major-General
Delaval apprehends should he be called upon to furnish
any troops for the service.
I may take this opportunity of adding that the views
of the Insurgent party on the Main towards this Island are
no longer secret, alto' I apprehend no bad result from the
hopes in which they indulge.
Their friends are certainly many and among some of the
Principal inhabitants of this Island-and altho' there are
still here Independents who sought an Asylum here some
time ago, yet I despair of proving their attachment of the
Revolutionary Cause, from the facility with which from all
parts of the Coasts communications may be carried on by
which plans may be organized without exciting the slightest
suspicion on the part of the most vigilant Police.
The horrors which the Manifesto I had the honor to
transmit immediately on its receipt on the 23rd November,
details, and lite melancholy truth of the sacrifice of every
European they can gain possession of, are I have reason to
hope producing some impression of the minds of the people
who daily are witnesses of their atrocities.
It will be as I before stated, when Guyria can be
maintained by the Royalists and they are very far removed
from it at present in point of distance, and that the cause of the
Insurgents generally declines, that I shall hope to possess
some naval force to enable me to demand Mr. Bideau's
surrender with advantage.
I shall nevertheless be guided by the communications
with which Your Lordship may from time to time honor
me, and that local circumstances suggest, thus I hope my
conduct will be approved.
I have the honour to be,
Your Lordship's obedient and faithful Servant,
(Sgd.) RALPH WOODFORD.
&c., &c., &c.