THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 152.
The Governor of Trinidad to the Secretary of the Indies.
Source :--British Museum. Additional Mss. 36331.
Published by the courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
Translated from the Spanish.
.th February, 1671.
As soon as 1 arrived in this Province which was on the
I9th of August of the past year, 1670, I took possession of the
Island of Trinidad as I have already reported to Your
Lordship. Having put the said Island in order 1 went to
the Town of Guayana where I opened the rcsidencia which
I am required to make upon my predecessors, the Governor
Don Joseph de Axpe y Zuniga with Don Juan Bauptista
de Valdes and their Lieutenants and other Officers. The
report of this residencia and a complete account of all that
occurred, has been forwarded.
I examined the Royal Treasuries which are very empty
as I can assure Your Lordship there are left only 75 pesos
of court fines, to these are added another 80 pesos from the
fines of residencia which I have imposed and another 25 pesos
from the Escribano de Camara ; all of which amounts to
The Town of Guayana has io vecinos, whitc, mestizo
and mulatto; all the rest have departed and gone to the
Province of Venezuela. This 1 have reported to Your
Lordship so that steps may be taken to return them to this
Town as I have so far tried to the best of my ability but
I have however at this Town a garrison paid de primera
plana, of 47 soldiers with their officers. They are in an
unsatisfactory condition because the supplies which can be
obtained are barely sufficient to keep them in food and
because of this scarcity of provisions, some desert every day.
This place suffers from scarcity of all things and it appears
as though we shall lose this Province.
Although my predecessors have asked the Royal Audiencia
to send money to pay the infantry, the reply is that as
His Majesty has not issued instructions upon this matter, no
further help can be given. I beseech Your Lordship to apply
on my behalf for this amount as it is so important to maintain
a garrison in this place with efficient strength. For this
money is necessary to keep them there though I myself will
remain there to do my best and will die in complying with
my duty to my King.
Sir, if this place be lost, you will lose the New Kingdom
and the Governments of Merida and Caracas. It is necessary
to realise that a small garrison is effective because united
with it are the Indians who are very numerous. Two fortins
should be made, well armed for the protection of this river
and province since if the enemy settle here, they will be able
to capture all above in the river.
This has been reported to the Royal Audiencia with all
the consequent dangers since no supplies have arrived for
20 months. I will report to Your Lordship whatever happens.
The Island of Trinidad has 80 vecinos and another
8o domesticated Indians. With this one cannot defend the
Island properly and the few encomenderos who usually assist
with their Indians are of little use. It is necessary to order a
garrison of 50 men for ihe service of His Majesty as this
Island is surrounded by settlements of the enemy as the
white of an egg surrounds the yolk. With such a garrison
the Island would be secure and I could proceed to reduce
the Indians as at present except for about 80, nothing is done.
The land would be cultivated and planted as it is very fertile
and grows anything.
If Your Lordship could arrange for supplies to be sent
for what is so important in the service of His Majesty, this
could be made one of the best Islands in America. If the
men sent could reduce the Indians and settle them it would
be of great advantage and very necessary because the enemy
all around here have a great desire for Trinidad and are
ready to take it.
I make my reports to His Majesty and to the Lord
President, Conde de Penaranda, stating all that is necessary
for the service of His Majesty, without any more interest
than my desire to serve.
I beg Your Lordship, with all humility, to support me
in all this which I lay at the feet of Your Lordship and to
grant me all honour possible.
May God preserve your life for many happy years.
DIEGO XIMINES DE ALDANA.
4th February, 1671.