THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 185.
Fray Gregorio de Beteta, Bishop Elect of Cartagena to the King.
Source : --Pacheco y Cardenas. Documenlos Ineditos. Second Series,
Translated from the Spanish.
YOUR IMPERIAL MAJESTY,
It is necessary at the present time to bring peace and the
knowledge of Our Lord and obedience to Your Majesty, to
the Aruac Indians of the Island of Trinidad and of Guayana
and to the other neighboring nations. They are all people
going in nakedness, very poor and in need of protection against
those who trade with them as well as against the Caribs,
I recommend the following. Agreement should be made
to establish a pueblo of Spaniards on the banks of the River
Orinoco in the Province of Cauza (Caura) or in some part
of Gua)ana. There should be 1oo men including officials,
artizans and labourers especially those who can work wool
and cloth ; also 30 soldiers in the pa\ of thie King for a year
or two until a fort and houses with protection lor defence
have been made which must be done lirst.
Three small vessels o!' 0oo tons each like caravels are
necessary. One will come to give notice of what may be
necessary to Your Highness ; the second will carry cattle
from the Island of San Juan and Maargarita so that they may
develop supplies in those lands : while the third should remain
there to give support until the fort is completed. Two small
brigantines witl some guns are ablo necessary to patrol the
sea and river. These are essential so that Indians who are
not Caribs, can come in security to bring supplies.
It is also necessary that Your Majesty should give at the
beginning 100 mares, 200 cattle and I,ooo sheep. Some of
these would be sent to the settlement and some to Tierra Firme
to be used by the people and to help with supplies and
provisions. Without such animals supplies for trade the
Indians would not come there io help those who may settle
It is necessary to :suppl, everything for these people, all
the food and other supplies for at least one year after their
arrival or until the\ can reap crops from hle land, at the
expense of His Majesty and also the pay of the soldiers so
that there will he no reason to return or go to other places.
It will be necessary to fix limits beyond which Caribs
may not be taken except with His Majesty's permission to the
Officials who would be tiere to control matters and maintain
order and not allow anythiing save by permission. All
would know that they have to obey and settle to work and
esteem their King, without v which there will be no hope of
success. It is also necessary that the one in charge should
also have charge of the Government of Margarita since from
there must come the supplies of maize and other things, the
failure of which would cause great difficulties. Other details
and particulars for this object can be add'ld by those appointed
to carry it out.
If Your Highness will order this to be arranged, it will be
possible to ensure the safety of those who have to deal with
these Indians, to convert and indoctrinate them. The Aruacs
and others will be protected by Your Highness from the
injuries from others and such ill deeds will be suppressed,
Our Lord recognized in the land and Your Highness well
One of our companions, Fray Francisco Montesino,
remained at Margarita at the expense of His Majesty as was
granted by the Royal Cedula. He remained there until
it was known what Your Highness would be placed to order
in this matter and also to deal with the Licenciado Sanabria,
Juez de Residencia, who had hindered the repairs to o:u
bergantine and put other difficulties in the way of our doing
what Your Highness has ordered. By his thult the brigantine
was burnt by the French who took all the supplies and food
which I had taken there and belonged to His Majesty.
May Your Highness be pleased to order what shall be
told to the priest there, what to hope and do and also about
the bergantine and other losses to thc Royal estate. May
Your Highness direct that the Fiscal or other Officer examine
the report I have made and other papers so that what is
necessary may be done.
This report was given to the Council by Fray Gregorio
de Beteta, the Bishop Elect of Cartagena.