THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 302.
An Application for a Grant of the Pitch Lake at La Brea.
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.
24th June, 1811.
To His EXCELLENCE THE GOVERNOR 01i TRINIDAD.
I beg leave to inform Your Excellency that it has pleased
the Lords of the Admiralty to recommend me for a grant
of the place called Pitch Lake and its dependencies situated
in the Island of Trinidad ; and their Lordships not having
such grant in their department, they came to a determination
to recommend it to the Lords of the Treasury requesting that
it may please their Lordships to grant me the same.
Accordingly their Lordships of the Treasury directed an
official letter to His Majesty's principal Secretary of State
(which has been communicated to me by Mr. Harrison,
the Secretary of the Treasury Board) mentioning in substance
that having received a letter from the Lords of the Admiralty
by which their Lordships expressed a desire that Mr. G. Tigere
should obtain the grant or lease of the Pitch Lake and
dependencies; it was therefore necessary to request His
Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies to enquire from
Major General Hislop, Governor of Trinidad what is the
extent and value of the said Pitch Lake and as soon as their
Lordships shall have received the report upon that subject,
he will be pleased to transmit it to the Treasury Board.
A few days ago I went to the office for War and the
Colonies to enquire if an) report had been received from
Trinidad and Mr. Peel acquainted me by his messenger that
Major General Hislop was now in town and that it would bh
better for me to see and communicate with Your Excellency
on tie subject.
It is therefore necessary to acquaint Your Excellency
that I claim and desire in my petition, the same dependencies
which I understood the Spanish Government had in
contemplation before the taking of the Island, for establishing
the foundry of the Bitumen upon a large scale.
That is first, a part of the natural meadow commonly
called the Savana de la Brea upon which grounds the works
were intended to be built: a canal was to be dug from the
sea to the works because the landing place is too shallow
and too distant. A separate rail and tram road was intended
to be cut in a straight line through the said Savana communi-
cating from the works to the Lake.
Second the swamp which is situated to the east of the
Plantations and commonly called Point Sable where plenty
of acquatic mangrove trees could be cut for firewood.
Third a tract of land proportionate to the extension of
so large an undertaking and situated about southeast of the
settlements, was to be reserved for planting provisions for the
Indians and Negroes employed in the exploitation of the ,aid
Bitumen and also to secure for the future, a constant supply
of timbers, lumber and staves for the envelope and packing
of the said prepared Bitumen and Pitch in order to be
independent of the United States of America for these articles.
These are the indispensable dependencies without which
it is impracticable to attempt the establishment of a permanent
foundry for purifying and preparing the Bitumen of the Lake
and without which the Pitch Lake will remain of no use to
Great Britain or to her West Indian Colonies.
It is on these articles that Your Excellency is earnestly
solicited to inform His Majesty's Secretary of State for the
Colonies and whatever further information it may please
Your Excellency to give on that subject, I sha!l remain for
ever, Your Excellency's
Most grateful, obliged and obedient servant,