THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TRINIDAD
Publication No. 271.
From Flather Julian de Vergara to Father Hernando Cavero.
Source :-Historia tie los Missiones de los Llanos de Casanarc
v los Rios Orinoco v Meta by Padre Juan Rivero, 1736.
Translated from the Spanish.
5th September, 1669.
MYl FATHER PRO'INCIAL HERNANDO CAVERO-Although I
doubt whether this will arrive in the hands of Your Reverence
because of the great distance and also because thie messenger
and carrier is a savage Indian named Temesque of the Carib
Nation who goes to the River Meta in search of Indians of
other nations to sell for barter and machetes to the Spaniards.
I have sent this by this said Indian who has promised to go to
wherever you ma\ be.
Heie ni Father we expect death every day either from
the Caribs or from the English, of whom we have news that
they are at the mouth of the Orinoco with five ships and
foui balandras on theii way to attack Guayana, or from the
French of whom we have little better news. Moreover if these
enemies do not kill us, the great scarcity at present in these
lands will starve us first. The troops from the New Kingdom
are dying and we shall follow them.
In the ten months \we have been here, we have buried
18I of them and there has been only one birth which was
more dead than alive. Those who remain alive, the few
soldiers and the 5-6 vecinos, all are exceedingly thin and
more like the image of death. May God supply the means to
save us alive from this place where we have suffered so much ;
death and sickness are more certain than life and health.
There are no cows here, my Father, and no money at all
since of the little pay offered to the Father Ignacio as Cura of
this garrison, not a single real has appeared up to now. We
go more naked than clothed having only those clothes which
we brought with us from the Llanos.
With these we are left because others can only come from
the Island of 'Trinidad which we are told by Indians who
have come from there, has been attacked by the English who
have burnt all the houses and killed ten white men. However
the vecinos of that Island harassed the English during their
withdrawal and killed many of them. The Spaniards remain
masters of the Island.
Up to now I liha not been able to go to my Mission
doctrinea) fbr want of a building in which to sleep but I
expect to go in the coming week as the Indians aie making
a little house for me. The Indians, My Father, are very few
and only amount to 3o adults. Each day they become less as
they go off into the forests to live with the other savage Indians.
Several of the Indians have asked me to go ftuther on
where there are many Indians in large settlements. They are
ready to build a Church and a house for me and to provide
food. I should like to go even though it would take me
40 leagues from Father Ignacio. The feai that we nay have
to leave here any day or that the English or French may come
here and settle, prevents me from doing so. Will Your
Reverence decide as you may wish.
I assure Your Reverence that I do not hope for any
advance of Christianity either among the Guayana people or
among the other Indian nations around here until there is in
Guayana a strong force and many Spaniards ; and each of
these is difficult to supply as things are here now.
JULIAN DE VERGARA,
5th September, i66(.