Group Title: The Trinidad Historical Society publication.
Title: Publication
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 Material Information
Title: Publication
Physical Description: no. : ; 26 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Port-of-Spain
Publication Date: 1932?-52?
Frequency: irregular
completely irregular
Subject: History -- Periodicals -- Trinidad   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Trinidad and Tobago -- Trinidad
Dates or Sequential Designation: no. 1-1042.
Numbering Peculiarities: Ceased publication.
Issuing Body: Issued 1932-35 by the society under its earlier name: Trinidad Historical Society.
General Note: Reprints of documents relating to the history of Trinidad.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00080962
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 45882505

Full Text

31/ 7/1817.



Publication No. 13.

Despatch by His Excellency Sir Ralph Woodford, Bart., to the
Secretary of State relating to a visit paid to certain parts of

Source :-Trinidad Duplicate Despatches, 1817. No. 251.
31st July, 1817.

I have availed myself of the late favourable season to
visit some parts of this Island which I had not before seen,
to which I was urged as much from a wish of being
able to give Your Lordship some information of the appearance
of that part of the Island, as from a desire of being able to
report the result of the expence that had been incurred in
opening the communication to the Eastern Coast which
I am sorry to find by a late Letter from Mr. Harrison the
Lords of the Treasury seem disposed to condemn, probably
from my having designated it as a Road, but though a width
of 40 feet was cleared of the Standing Wood that the Path
might not again be lost, and that by ventilation the ground
might require Solidity, it is only a Path that has been made
practicable almost reaching the River Oropouche distant
about 13 Miles from Guanapo where the high Road
Some Plantations in Cocoa have been begun by
Mr. Beggorrat, and the Marquis del Toro and his Brother ;
to whom I gave a temporary permission for the purpose
before the Land Proclamation was issued.
Although the Land is very indifferent from Guanapo
to Oropouche, I am assured that there is on the Banks of
this fine River some of the most fertile Lands of the Island.
The Canal projected in 1802 was intended to unite this
River with the Caroni ; the trees have been rolled aside
and the stumps generally rooted up, but much labour is still
required in parts that have not withstood the rains.

From Oropuche to Rio Grande about 5 Miles the trace
requires considerable labor and great alterations but from
Rio Grande to Matura and Salibia on the Eastern Coast an
excellent path has been traced by a planter who undertook
that part of it ; about 4 or 5,000 Dollars would be required
to render this road passable in most Seasons of the Year and
an Annual sum of about SI,ooo in repair.
The Land (sic) of Rio Grande and Matura are fine, and
two Settlements are already formed by Spaniards of cocoa
to some extent.

From Salibia the road to Toco is not yet opened though
it has reached Balandra Bay, however from not having been
continued the year after it was commenced it has grown
up in bush and is impassable.
The Rivers Salibia, Matura and Oropuche are navigable.
The mouths of the two latter are the only interruptions on
a fine sandy beach of 27 miles to Manzanilla point. Upon
these Rivers ferries might be established; the land is a
good height sloping gradually to the shore.

There being no possibility of crossing Manzanilla Point,
I was compelled to embark, but the opening of a trace which
would thus complete the coast communication between
the quarters of Matura and Mayaro is so important for the
better examination of that part of the country, the search
after runaway slaves, &c., that though I cannot pretend to
submit an Estimate of the Expence, I beg permission to
undertake it, as well as to erect some good Huts upon the
whole road at convenient distances for the shelter and repose
of the traveller; the want of them was severely felt by myself
and any such accommodation would induce a visit to and
settlement of that part of the country.

Having landed at the River La Branche I ascended it
for a considerable distance and am able to report that in
that vicinity the land is of a very fine quality, and I am
assured that it extends to the River Ortoire, and for a
considerable distance in the interior ; an Indian Path was
formerly practicable through part of this land,it now requires
to be reopened and is among the first operations of that kind
that I would recommend for your Lordship's sanction.

The Cocoa Nut Walk belonging to the Cabildo situated
on this shore of the Island consisting of nearly Ioo,ooo trees
in bearing, only requires the establishment of a manufactory
for the oil, to renderit an important acquisition to the Public

In the Quarters of Mayaro new sugar Estates are forming
and some cultivation of Cotton still remains.

Guaguavara possesses a good Port but the general
cultivation of that part of the Island instead of being spread
and divided into small settlements as it formerly was, has
been concentrated since the Abolition of the Slave Trade
into large ones, a change which is generally observcable
throughout the Island. On all the East Coast there is a
remarkably fine sandy beech ; The Negroes have more fish
than they can eat ; sheep thrive particularly well, the rivers
are all navigable ; that of the Ortoire is the largest and the
air appeared to be well suited to an European constitution.

From the tide affecting the waters of the Rivers for a
considerable way up it would he necessary to dig Wells.

In the general face of the country the Hills are less abrupt
and the low lands are less flat than those within the Gulph
so that a greater uniformity of land may there be expected
to be found ; whatever may be the swamps in the interior
they are all to Leeward, those on the Coast in rear of the
Cocoa Walk do not I was assured extend beyond 30 paces
from the shore and thatbeyond suchlinethat the soil was well
adapted for Cocoa or Sugar; it is however proper to obser\ e
that the whole has never been visited by any Scientific
traveller, and the information that I obtained cannot therefore e
be considered as accurate.

To ascertain therefore the nature of the whole country,
it would be necessary that a person of talent should examine
it, and that Indians should be employed to open traces in
different directions ; it is only thus by enabling Settlers to
choose theirland that the culti action of them can be looked for.

At Mavaro a general application was made to me by
the Inhabitants to obtain !or them the establishment of
a Custom House Officer and permission to ship their produce
t- Tobago with which Island they can communicate most
easily while the delay and expense of sending their produce
to Port-of-Spain added to the difficulty of obtaining droghers
to fetch it was represented by the Planters as a serious

The coast from Saliba to Guataro is open and exposed
to the whole force of the Trade Winds, for though the
Manzanilla Point affords scme shelter the anchorage there
is bad and the vessel attending me lost two anchors, the

navigation therefore in the Crop Season would be better
carried on with Tobago than Port-of-Spain, the trip being
shorter would be more frequently repeated, and the risk
of its laying for a length of time upon an open Windward
Coast better avoided. On passing the Southern Coast I could
not discover the inaccessible mountains laid down in
Mr. Mallet's Map, but the country is unknown except at
Erin where there is a small Spanish Settlement which is
the rendezvous of the Guaraoon Indians who inhabit the
Orinoco, and at the River Marouga navigable for sixteen
miles up into the interior where one Estate is now planting
in cocoa.
From this point my course was directed by a trace opened
last year to the Settlements of the last American refugees in
Naparima, and I am happy to say that I found them as well
settled as I could expect from the short time they had been
in the country; they have built themselves good huts, and
those that are industrious have a considerable quantity
of land cleared.
I was however sorry to observe how greatly they had
suffered from want of shoes to which they were accustomed
as soldiers and also in America, I beg leave to suggest that
they should be furnished with that article.

There are I regret to add above 80 in Hospital affected
with ulcers of the most obstinate kind, many of whom will
for a long time be unable to assist themselves if ever they
recover ; it will be necessary in the meantime that they
should have constant attendance and that the present
superintendance they receive from Mr. Mitchell under whose
care they were originally placed should be continued but
as the trouble and responsibility of the Rations will be confined
to the Sick and Infirm that he should be allowed by the
Treasury a salary of Five Dollars per diem instead of Eight
which he has received since the last 500 were put under
his charge, and that his present assistant should be continued
at his present salary of i5s. currency !but that for this last
mentioned person a good mule should be purchased and that
a male and female servant be allowed him. In the first
settlement of refugees commenced in the quarter in 1815 the
people appear very comfortable but in all they require the
advance of domestic animals, the purchase of which is
expensive. If the Lords of the Treasury would authorize
it, the establishment of premiums in Mules, Pigs,
Dogs, &c., for the largest quantity of provisions brought
to market, and of Fowling Pieces and European Garden
Seeds to which they have been accustomed in America,

beads and clothes of which they appear to be extremely
fond, for good behaviour might be tried and probably .with
success; of the last 500 that have arrived in the Colony
eighty are Africans who are much the most industrious,
the rest are Virginians, intelligent but prone to idleness.

The Establishment of an English Church and an
officiating Minister is greatly wanted by these American
Refugees, but as this want is as much felt by other portions
of the Colony who would view any preference given to the
Americans in this as in other respects with great jealousy,
I should not feel justified in requesting Your Lordship's
permission to appropriate any portion of the Colonial Funds
to this or any desirable purpose without being able to
accomplish both.

Although I am happy to have it my power to say that
no complaints were publicly made to me of the misconduct
of the American Refugees, yet I was concerned to hear
that some of them had incautiously boasted of the part they
had taken against their Masters in America of having killed
them in action during the last War

I had applications from one or two to return to the
Country of the Indians from which they had been brought,
and I have since been asked by others to allow them to go
to other neighboring Colonies to Bermuda and to England,
and I beg to know what may be Your Lordship's Pleasure
in this respect, I have promised them that I would inquire.

The quarters of Naparima are much improved and the
Country has been opened within these two years ; it is
principally to be attributed to the Road made under the
superintendence of Mr. Mitchell in that Quarter and the
example of its good effects in the neighbourhood. I had also
an opportunity of examining the new piece of road alluded
to in the Statement of Grievances brought before Your
Lordship by the Trinidad Merchants in London, and I can
assure Your Lordship that no unnecessary labour has been
required of the Planters but that the three estates pointed out
in the Statement are the only ones that have not completed
their share of the Road. In the Quarters of Pointe-a-Pierre
and Chaguanas, the new Cocoa Settlements are thriving
in a surprising manner ; the superior situation of the negroes
on these Estates in the abundance of provisions and the
facility and reduction of the labour, would entitle it to every
encouragement on the part of His Majesty's Government
and I would therefore beg leave to observe that the Penny

per pound King's Duty on Cocoa exported to the United
States should be withdrawn and that the duty in England
should be assimilated t t that on coffee as I had the I onor to
recommiend upon a former occasion, and that it should be
lawful to export Cocoa to any foreign port, paying a Duty
of 5 per cent. ad valorem, this would enable us to supply foreign
markets and it would afford the best encouragement for the
Settlement of the Island, while it would not interfere with
any other Island, this being the only one in which Cocoa
is raised to any extent or perfection.

In Couva and Savanetta the ground is wearing out fast
and the Estates are removing into the Interior, from the
very wet season of the Year i8i6 the crops in those quarters
had fallen off one half, and among them that off Carapichaima
Hall of which a moiety is administered for the Crown, that
I was well pleased with the state of cultivation on it. The
House requires immediate repair and the Negro huts should
be removed, there should also be a smaller set of works
to save cartage, but if the Crown does not purchase
Mr. Langton's Moiety, I would recommend the sale by the
Crown of Mr. Witmore's share.

The trace of a road from these Quarters to avoid the
present necessity of a passage by water is among those
improvements that merit an earl\ attention.

I am happy to say that upon my 'whole tour the greatest
part of which was through parts of the Island that had
never before been visited by any of His Majesty's Governors,
I had only one complaint of anv kind from the Slaves-
I found the Slaves on the Lastcrn side remarkably well housed
with large provision grounds. Within the Gulph however
among the Sugar Plantations the cultivation of ground
provisions has not been attended to, so that I have found
myself called upon to direct the Commandants to give notice
that the obligations of the Planters laid down in General
Picton's regulations would be enforced.

The Night Labor during crop upon an Estate (having
only Cattle Mills) it were much to be wished were prohibited
but unless the duty upon the Exportation of Sugar in England
were diminished it would not be possible for such Estates
during the short period of crop which the Seasons have of
late years afforded, to make good their engagements or pay
their expenses,

As it was necessary to hire a Vessel to carry me round
Manzanilla Point and to convey my Baggage, an expense
was incurred of 107 6s. od. for the same and a charge
of 88 was occasioned by the loss of the Anchors, and
I therefore solicit Your Lordship's Sanction to the charge of
,C195 6s. od. currency for this Service ; all other Expenses
I consider properly paid by myself.

I have the honour to be,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's faithful and obedient Servant,


&c., &c., &c.

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