THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 398.
Sir Ralph Woodford to Earl Bathurst. Mr. Maingot's Salary
again and the Medical Officer.
Source :--The Red House, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Duplicate
Published by courtesy of His Excellency the Governor.
13th March, 1816.
I have had the honor to receive Your Lordship's Despatch
No. 71. by which I am sorry to learn that my recommendation
for fixing Mr. Maingot's salary at the Sum of 500 Sterling
has not met Your Lordship's Approbation.
It is probably owing to my imperfect Explanation that
Your Lordship is not aware that ever since 1805 Mr. Maingot
has had all the responsibility and executed all the Duties
of the Commissary of Population and Surveyor General,
previously apportioned among Colonel Rutherfurd and
Four principal Assistants besides Clerks. If Mr. Maingot had
not been possessed of some property, he never could have
lived on a Salary of 300oo if even it had been punctually paid,
but it was generally 18 Months or Two Years in Arrear.
Previous to my arrival lie had been obliged to assist in
the Slave Registry Office to enable him to exist, but since
June 1813 he has been entirely and fully employed, and
when I recommended the sum of 50o I considered it
extremely moderate and I intended to solicit even an early
Augmentation of it.
His Health is unluckily much impaired by a long residence
here, since 1783. The Public Service will meet with an
irreparable loss in being deprived of his Experience, Integrity,
With respect to clerks I have the honor to observe that
1 know of none in the Public Offices here, such as the
Registry of Slaves Office, the Judge's Escribano &c.,
where the Salaries are not regularly by the general Price of
clerical labour, and runs from 8oo to oo00 dollars.
The lowest white man cannot exist under a Dollar and a
half a day, independent of clothing, Medical Attendance etc.
It is not to be expected that any Person will risk a continued
Residence, and perform his duties in this Country, without
ample remuneration, and from want of a superfluous popula-
tion Provisions in this Island are dearer than in any other
of the West Indies.
With reference to the Medical Appointment I have the
honor to observe that I agreed some time ago with a Medical
Practitioner to attend the Government Negroes at the rate
of 125 Sterling per annum.
Although it is falling into disuse to contract for Medical
attendance on Negroes by which plan they only obtain weekly
care, the daily demands for other medical Duties appeared
to me to render it expedient that I should have authority
to allot an Annual Stipend to a proper Person to perform
them. They are casual and accidental and cannot therefore
be contracted for, a mode never adopted, but for Estate
It would also be attended with beneficial Consequences
if the Colony were allowed to apportion a part of their Funds
in securing the Advice and Observations of a respectable
Medical Man on those Branches of his Profession within the
Colony which are supposed to interest the Public generally
more that an Individual, and it was under these Circumstances
coupled with the former that I ventured to suggest the
Propriety of such an Appointment.
The want of a Colonial Revenue has long prevented a
sufficient Number of Public Officers from being appointed
in this Colony, and by the Manner in which Business has been
carried on, every Individual has suffered as much as the
Government ; and I feel certain that if those Public Officers
now established were paid, so as not to be obliged to engross
Three or Four Offices, or engage in petty Commerce to
enable them to gain a Subsistence and support their Families,
the Business of the Government would be much better carried
on, and a superior Description of Person, might be induced
to accept the Situations.
I beg leave to enclose a detail of Mr. Maingot's Services,
and to observe that his Object in applying to Your Lordship
in 1813 for a Confirmation of his Office was with a view
of attaining a warrant of Appointment under the Royal
I have the honor to be,
Your Lordship's obedient humble Servant,
&c &c &c