THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 305.
Sir Ralph Woodford rccommnend the introduction (/ Cat/le.
Source: -Trinidad Duplicate Despatches. Vol. III. i8i7-1819.
August 13th, 1817.
By the arrival of four Spanish Gunboats on tlie 8th inst.,
I have learnt the evacuation of the Province of Guavana
by the Royalist Troops under the command of General
La Torre and the Governor, Licut.-Colonel Fitzgcrald.
It appears that the blockade of the Indepciidant.s had
long since reduced them to absolute famine which it had
been found in vain to resist from the continued absence
of the Royalist Fleet, augmented as the pressure of the scarcity
became, by the arrival of a considerable detachment from
Barcelona of troops without provisions of any description.
The greatest patience and fortitude was shown by the
inhabitants of Angostura as well as the troops, lor after the
consumption of every domestic animal, their determination
to resist to the last moment enabled them to subsist upon
hides and even upon grass.
The Troops and a portion of the inhabitant, embarked
on the night of the 2nd inst., and favoured by the descent
of the waters of the Orinoco at this season of the year, passed
safely through the Independant Fleet by which however
they were pursued and lost one brig with 300 men.
Letters of the 17th inst., addressed to the Harbour Master
have been received from Arismendi dated from the Forts of
Guax ana, an impregnable position, unless reduced by famine :
they declare that the utmost lenity has been shown and
that they will protect all British Traders. If, as it is reported
by their party, they have got possession of St. Fernando de
Apure which is the key to the Province of Varinas, we max
indeed expect the arrival of trade.
I feel it again my duty to point out to Your Lordship,
for the consideration of His Majesty's Government, the
advantages to be derived to the Public Service from the
establishment of Cattle Pens upon the extensive savannahs
of this Island from which in a few years the Troops in this
Island and eventually in the other British Colonies might
be regularly supplied with fresh provisions, the want of which
is so severely felt and is now so enormously expensive both to
the Government and individuals.
While the Independants are in possession of Guayana,
no difficulty would occur upon this head, except of convoy
in case of an effective blockade by the Royalists.
The first expenses would consist in preparing the savannahs
for their reception and in obtaining the services of Spaniards
from the plains, to take charge of them. The cattle might
be obtained at about 5 dollars a head upon the spot; the
freight would depend on the agreement which could be made,
it is now about $15 per head. A steam boat would reduce
it very considerably.
An additional inducement for seizing the present moment
is the apprehension to be entertained of the little care that
will probably be taken of the great depot (the property of
the Missionary Friars of Guayana) by the Party in whose
possession they now are and the loss, which in the present
circumstances of the country, would probably never be repaired.
I have the honour to be,
Your Lordship's faithful and