THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 388.
The Secretary of State to the Governor of Trinidad.
Source:-Public Record Office. State Papers Colonial. C.O.296/5.
Published by the courtesy ofl the Masler of lhe Rolls and the
Deputy Keeper of the Public Records.
DOWNING STREET, LONDON.
SIR RALPH WOODFORD.
I have submitted to His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent,
the petition of the Cabildo transmitted in your dispatch No. 9.
His Royal Highness entirely approves of your conduct
in refusing to sanction that act of the Cabildo which related
to the payment of General Hislop's expenses before the
In addition to the grounds stated by you in your dispatch
No. 9 in justification of your refusal, there appears from the
confession of the Cabildo to be one paramount reason founded
on the illegality of the order, for disallowing this expenditure.
Nor indeed if it were deemed expedient in some cases to
extend their rights of making payments, would this be the
instance in which I should consider it advisable as it would
be establishing a precedent productive of very serious
consequences in the event of any future differences in the
Colony by giving to the party whom the Cabildo might
choose to support, a power of involving their opponents in
heavy legal expenses on any frivolous and vexatious grounds
without hazard to themselves and thus rendering themselves
less desirous of maintaining tranquillity and less cautious
in preferring accusations.
But while His Royal Highness is anxious to confine the
powers of the Cabildo within their legal limits, lie is equally
desirous (u: nolt intcifering witl them fluther and as it appeals
that the Cabildo is authorized when it is necessary, to appoint
an Agent to superintend their interests in the Mother Country,
it is not intended to disapprove of the appointment they
have made so long as the Agent possesses the necessary
qualifications required by Spanish Law and confines himself
to executing with propriety the duties of the office he holds.
At the same time if the funds of the Cabildo are, as they
appear to be in so dilapidated a state, it is for them to consider
whether the sum now applied to the salary of the Agent,
might not (especially if the office is one of new creation) be
more usefully applied.
However the purchase of places might have been allowed
under the orders of the Spanish Monarchy, it is a practice
so at variance with every principle of the British Government
that it can be no longer continued. Though His Royal
Highness would not, from regard to the rights of the persons
who held those situations before the cession of the Island,
interfere with the enjoyment of the offices which they legally
purchased yet His Royal Highness cannot consent to their
transferring them to others of their own nomination and
entailing upon the Colony their own inefficiency.