THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 223.
Proclamation by Sir Thomas Picton.
Source :-Southey's Chronological History of the West Indies.
By virtue of an official paper which I, the governor of this
island of Trinidad, have received from the Rt. Hon. Henry
Dundas, minister of His Britannic Majesty for foreign affairs,
dated the 7th of April, 1797, which I here publish in obedience
to orders, and for the use of which your excellency may draw
from its publication, in order that you may communicate its
tenor, which is literally as follows : The object which at
present I desire most particularly to recommend to your
attention, is the means which might best be adapted to
liberate the people of the continent near to the island of
Trinidad from the oppressive and tyrannic system which
supports with so much rigour the monopoly of commerce,
under the title of exclusive registers which their government
licences demand ; also to draw the greatest advantages
possible, and which the local situation of the island presents,
by opening a direct and free communication with the other
parts of the world without prejudice to the commerce of the
British nation. In order to fulfil this intention with greater
facility, it will be prudent for your excellency to animate the
inhabitants of Trinidad in keeping up the communication
which they had with those of Tierra Firma previous to the
reduction of that island, under the assurance that they will
find there an entrepbt or general magazine of every sort of
goods whatever. To this end His Britannic Majesty has
determined in council to grant freedom to the ports of
Trinidad, with a direct trade to Great Britain. With regard
to the hopes you entertain of raising the spirits of those persons
with whom you are in correspondence, towards encouraging
the inhabitants to resist the oppressive authority of their
government, I have little more to say, than that they may be
certain, that whenever they are in that disposition, they may
receive at your hands all the succours to be expected from
His Britannic Majesty, be it with forces, or with arms and
ammunition to any extent ; with the assurance that the views
of His Britannic Majesty go no further than to secure to them
their independence, without pretending to any sovereignty
over their country, nor even to interfere in the privileges of
the people, nor in their political, civil, or religious rights.
THOMAS PICTON, &c.
Puerto de Espafia,
26th June, 1797.