THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 393.
Sir Ralph Woodford to Earl Bathurst. Martial Law in December 1813,
and Notes on the Militia.
Source:--The Red House, Port-of-Spain. Trinidad Duplicate
Despatches. Published by the courtesy of His Excellency
5th January, 1814.
I have the honour to acquaint Your Lordship that the
Task of obliging the Spanish Escribanos to collect into some
regulation The Judicial Processes and the Archives of their
respective Registries having been completed, the Courts
of the Alcaldes were closed and Martial Law was declared
on the 21st Ulto.
I did not deem it advisable to renew a former Custom
of ordering the Militia to take the Guards by which
arrangement the regular Troops were left unemployed, but
they furnished nightly Patroles, and the utmost quiet has
been preserved in the Town throughout the Holidays.
Some want of attention to the Militia Service on the
part of several residents having been observable, and the
permitting such a want of Conformity to the existing Rules
being productive of Injustice to those who regularly attended
the Parades I deemed it expedient to Issue a Proclamation
calling upon all Persons to present themselves within a limited
period to the proper Magistrates by which between Four and
Five Hundred Defaulters have been discovered, and many
others who have omitted to Report themselves have incurred
the Penalty attached to their disobedience,
I have great satisfaction in reporting to Your Lordship
the good conduct of the Militia, and their general Efficiency,
which Major-Genl. Delaval who inspected them at my request
is perfectly satisfied with, and I believe I may venture to
add that they are as good as any of His Majesty's Colonies:-
The clothing which was given to them by His Majesty
having lasted until now, about 8 years, I hope Your Lordship
will do me the favour of taking their former services and their
readiness at all moments to obey the Orders of Government
together with their respectable State of Discipline into Your
favourable consideration, and obtain for them a renewal
of this Mark of distinction so gratifying to the Foreigners
of which it is almost entirely composed. Their Muskets
which were very old originally would now be unserviceable
if I had the means of furnishing them with Powder, or their
Services were to be actively required, and their accoutrements
are entirely worn out. I hope therefore Your Lordship will
order serviceable Muskets and side Arms to be furnished,
those at present used being delivered over to the Ordinance
Store Keeper, and that Accoutrements may accompany
the Clothing the Men so anxiously expect.
The Jackets being made of the Quality of Cloth given
to Serjeants in the Line has been one of the Causes of the
Clothing having lasted until now. And altho' this may
create some trifling addition to the Expense, it will be economy
in the result.
As the free Colored People of which the Militia is
principally composed here, have been led to hope that they
have been represented as deserving this encouragement
I will fain trust they may through Your Lordship's kind
Patronage and favourable representations to His Royal
Highness, not be disappointed.
A Return is inclosed.
I have the honour to be
Your Lordship's Obedient and faithful Servant,