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HISTORY OF TRINIDAD.



HISTORY OF TRINIDAD



(SECOND PERIOD)



From 1814 to i8jg.



BY



LIONEL MORDAUNT FBASEB

bit



NEL 1




VOLUME II.



TRINIDAD :
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, PORT-OF-SPAIN.

1896.



PRINTED AT THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE,
PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD, B.W.I.



UNrv^



F7
V, 2




CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

Ancestry of Sir Ralph Woodford — Extraordinary powers given him — Decision
of the Prince Regent in the case of the Chief Judge — The Council dis-
solved and new Members named — Duties of the Governor as " Royal
Vice-Patron of the Holy Roman Church"

CHAPTER II.
Difficulty of obtaining labour — Immigration from the East suggested by
Mr. Burnley — A Committee appointed to examine the Accounts of the
Building Committee and the Expenditure of the Parliamentary Grant ...

CHAPTER III.
Mr. Joseph Marryat. — Appointed Colonial Agent hi 1805 — Correpondence
at that time between himself and Lord Castlereagh, and with the
Governor and Council of Trinidad with regard to the Agency — Com-
mencement of differences between Sir Ralph Woodford and Mr. Marryat

CHAPTER IV.
Mr. Marryat's Accounts referred to Messrs. Edwards, Lushington and Byng,
the Imperial Auditors, for their Report — That Report unfavourable in
some respects to Mr. Marryat, who in consequence resigns ...

CHAPTER V.
Sir Ralph Woodford commences the improvement of Port-of-Spain — Discon-
tent of Householders — Endeavours to find a suitable site for a Leper
Asylum — Civil War in Venezuela — Injury to Trade in Trinidad — Sir
Ralph offers to mediate between the parties to stay bloodshed — Refugees
from both sides hospitably received in Trinidad — Increase of smuggling
between Venezuela and Trinidad — Steps taken to discourage it

CHAPTER VI.
The Militia— Martial Law — Duelling a common practice in Trinidad — Sir
Ralph Woodford's severity towards it— Port-of-Spain in 1816 — Building
Regulations — The energy of the Governor distasteful to the " British
Party" — "Committee of Landholders" formed in London under the
leadership of Mr. Marryat — The policy of Sir Ralph attacked by it —
Land Proclamations of 1815-6-7 — Spanish Law concerning tenure of Land

CHAPTER VII.
Chacon's Land Policy— Always resisted by the French Colonists— His inability
to enforce the Law — Determination of Sir Ralph Woodford to do so
— Contrast between the policy pursued by the British Government in
Gibraltar and Trinidad



Page.



13



20



32



41



52



76



vi. CONTENTS.



CHAPTER VIII.

Page.
San Fernando destroyed by fire— Sir Ralph's comprehensive scheme for the
development of the Colony — Precautions against small-pox — The Indian
Missions— Trinidad segregated from the Spanish Diocese of Angostura
and placed under the Propoganda — The British, Dutch, and Danish West
Indies placed under a Vicar-Apostolic who was to reside in Trinidad —
The Right Rev. Dr. Buckley named first Vicar-Apostolic — Order in
Council fixing the salary of £1,000 per annum for himself and his suc-
cessors to be paid from the Trinidad Treasury ... ... ... 91

CHAPTER IX.
Further attempts made, without success, to obtain a change in the Constitu-
tion of the Colony — Heavy fines imposed upon Messrs. Lamont, Ross
and others for taking part in a duel — Remarks on colonization — Contest
between the " British Party" and the "Colonists" properly so-called —
Correspondence between the Governor and the Protestant Rector of Port-
of -Spain with regard to the consecration of Trinity Church ... ... 113

CHAPTER X.
Sir Ralph goes on leave — Government administered by Lieut. -Colonel Young
— Whilst in England Sir Ralph suggests plans for supplying Port-of-Spain
with water — Correspondence connected with complaints of the " Com-
mittee of Landholders" — Character of Sir Ralph as a man and a Governor
— Debate in House of Commons, 25th July, 1822 — Sir Ralph violently
attacked by Mr. Marryat and warmly defended by Mr. Goulburn ... 126

CHAPTER XI.
Return of Sir Ralph from leave — Received with enthusiasm by the majority
of the white colonists — The leaders of the free coloured people not well
disposed towards him — Reasons for this — Trinity Church consecrated on
Trinity Sunday, 1823— Angry feelings excited in the Colony by a speech
made in the House of Commons by Mr. T. Fowell Buxton — Despatch
from Lord Bathurst on the same subject — Mr. Burnley's attitude in
Council — Meeting of planters in Tacarigua — Debate in Council on Lord
Bathurst's Despatch — Interest taken by Sir Ralph in the spiritual wel-
fare of the people shown by his correspondence with Dr. Buckley ... 143

CHAPTER XII.
Retirement of Rev. Mr. Clapham — A Royal Commission appointed to inquire
into the Laws of Trinidad and the Titles to Land — Two of the Commis-
sioners, Messrs. Dwarris and Maddock arrive — Public Meeting held for
the purpose of impressing upon the Commissioners the necessity of intro-
ducing the English Law into the Colony, and for a change in the Consti-
tution — Petition against the Order in Council concerning the treatment
of Slaves — Despatch from Lord Bathurst on the subject — Difficulties
attending the Slave Question — Misrepresentation and misunderstanding
on both sides ... ... ... ... ... ... 159

CHAPTER XIII.
Considerations on the Slave Question continued ... ... ... 186



CONTENTS. Vll.



CHAPTER XIV.

Page.
Solicitude of Sir Ralph with regard to Roads — The Bishop of Barbados given
a seat in Council — Death of Dr. Buckley — Public Funeral — Universal
regret — Sir Ralph leaves the Colony on account of ill-health — His death
at sea — The news received in the Colony with the greatest grief — Sermons
in all the Churches — A Public Meeting called for the purpose of raising a
monument to his memory — General appreciation of him and of the effect
of his long government of Trinidad ... ... ... ... 195

CHAPTER XV.
Colonel Farquharson acting Governor — Important despatch from Mr. Huskis-
son with regard to the Land Question — Sir Lewis Grant appointed
Governor — Right Rev. Dr. McDonnell named Vicar-Apostolic — Increas-
ing difficulties in connexion with the Slave Bill' ... .., ... 220

CHAPTER XVI.
Troubles in Demerara and Barbados in connexion with the obnoxious Orders
in Council — Trinidad contrasts favourably with other Colonies in this
respect ... .... ..„ ... ... ... 231

CHAPTER XVII.
Death of Chief Justice Ash ton Warner — Serious deficit in the Accounts of
the Colonial Treasurer St. Hill — Financial Depression — Hurricane in
Barbados — The Government policy towards Roman Catholics changed —
The " British Party" gains the ascendancy — Change in the Constitution —
The Council of Advice becomes a Legislative Council — Cabildo petitions
against the Order in Council for the amelioration of the condition of the
Slaves — Public Meeting for the same purpose — The free people of colour
decline to join the movement — The Eoyal Gazette (Newspaper) started as
a Government Organ in opposition to the Port-of-Sx>ain Gazette which
upheld the interests of Slave-owners — Mr. Burnley takes exception to
Dr. Llanos being a Member of the newly constituted Council on the
ground of his being an Alien — Lord Goderich then Secretary of State for
the Colonies confirms Mr. Burnley's views and Dr. Llanos is removed —
Great indignation amongst the colonists of Foreign descent ... ... 240

CHAPTER XVIII.
Unpopularity of Sir Lewis Grant — Incident in the newly-created Criminal
Court — Assessoi-s refuse to sit — The new Chief Justice Mr. George Scot-
land shows himself to be of the Anti-Slavery Party — The Council for the
first time composed exclusively of Protestants —Mr. Marryat, son of the
late Agent and holding informally the same position, gives great offence
by a speech in Parliament — Resolutions passed at a Public Meeting in
Trinidad removing him from the Agency and nominating Mr. Burnley in
his place — Petition from the Cacao Planters praying for special relief as
directly representing the Capitulants ... ... ... ... 274

CHAPTER XIX.
Prosecutions for importing Slaves from other English Colonies instituted —
Great excitement and indignation— Documents connected with the trials



viii. CONTENTS.



Page.
stolen from the Court House— Despatch from Lord Goclerich modifying
the constitution of the Criminal Court— Discord in the Artillery Regi-
ment of Militia — Sir Lewis Grant leaves and is replaced by Sir George
Hill ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 305

CHAPTER XX.
Antecedents of Sir George Hill — Endeavours to set matters right in
the Artillery — Chief Justice Scotland enters two actions for libel
against the Proprietor, the Editor and the Publisher of the Port-of-
Spain Gazette — The Court House again robbed of all the proceedings in
these cases — A large sum of money also abstracted — This was brought
back by Father Smith, having been confided to him under the seal of con-
fession — Verdict against defendants for £180 and costs — Meeting of -Pres-
byterian residents to establish a Place of Worship — Discontent amongst
the Members of the Church of England — Numerous frauds practised on
holders of Compensation Bonds — Deaths of Col. De Soter, Mr. Black
and Lady Hill ... ... ... ... ... ... 326

CHAPTER XXI.
Opening of the Colonial Bank — Revolt of the 1st West India Regiment at

St. Joseph — Ringleaders tried by Court Martial — Three shot — Remarks.. 343

CHAPTER XXII.
Defalcations in the accounts of Major Ford the Colonial Treasurer — Earth-
quake in Martinique — Death of Mr. Rothery the Attorney-General — Mr.
C. W. Warner — His parentage and early life — Appointed acting Solicitor-
General — Mr. Jackson, acting Attorney-General — Death of Sir George
Hill — His funeral — Labour difficulties — Remarkable speech from Mr.
Burnley — Trinidad placed under the Governor-General of Barbados —
Public indignation — Sir Evan McGregor, Governor-General, arrives and
is sworn in — Mr. Darracott refuses to take the oath and is suspended,
Dr. Philip being appointed in his place — Intolerance of Mr. Turnbull
the Colonial Secretary and Hon. Mr. Roxburgh — First anniversary of
Emancipation — Good conduct of the people — Hopeful views in conse-
quence — Lord Glenelg's Despatch — Supineness of the Government under
Sir George Hill — The chief cause of all the trouble with regard to
squatting — Difficulties thrown in the way of immigration by the Home
Government — Evil effects of mistaken philanthropy — Statesmanlike
conduct of Sir Charles Metcalfe, Governor of Jamaica — Concluding
remarks ... ... .. ... ... ... 355



CHAPTER I.




'HE newly appointed Governor of Trinidad belonged to a
good old English family, a strong point in his favour
in a Colony in which good birth has always been fully
appreciated.

Towards the end of the 17th century, Matthew Woodford of New
Sarum died, leaving a son, named Matthew after himself, who subse-
quently became Prebendary and Sub-Dean of Chichester Cathedral.

He married Ann, daughter of John Sherer, Esq., of Chichester, by
whom he had a son who also bore the name of Matthew, and who
married Mary, daughter of John Brideoke, Esq., by whom he had

issue :

1 . Ralph — First Baronet.

2. Matthew, D.D. and Prebendary of Chester.

3. John, a Colonel in the Army, who married Susan, daugh-

ter of Cosmo George, 3rd Duke of Gordon and widow of
John Fane, 9th Earl of Westmoreland, by whom he
had two sons, Alexander and John George.
Mr. Matthew Woodford had also three daughters, one of whom in
January, 1760, married Peter Thellusson of Plaistow, Kent, and
Broadsworth, Yorkshire, and had issue :
Peter Isaac, the first Lord Rendlesham.

Ralph, the first Baronet, was at one time Resident Minister at
the Hanse Towns, and subsequently Minister Extraordinary at the
Court of Denmark, and for his services was created a Baronet in
June, 1791.

He married Gertrude, daughter of Reesen, Esq., by whom

he had issue :

Ralph James, second Baronet, born in 1784, the future Governor

of Trinidad.



2 HISTORY OF TRINIDAD.

Elizabeth, married in 1801 to John Hammet, Esq.

The first cousin of Sir Ralph, Sir Alexander Woodford, commanded
a battalion of the Guards at Waterloo, took an active part in the
defence of Hougoumont, and died at an advanced age a Field Marshal
and Governor of Chelsea Hospital. He married Charlotte, daughter
of Charles Henry Fraser, son of William Fraser who was Secretary of
State for Foreign Affairs in Pitt's Ministry in 1783.

Sir Ralph Woodford, the first baronet, was a man of letters and a
wit, and had formed one of the brilliant circle of which the celebrated
Mrs. Montague was the centre. On his mother's side he was descended
from a family noted for genius and loyalty, the Brideokes, one of
whom, Dr. Brideoke, was Chaplain to James, 4th Earl of Derby, and
distinguished himself at the historical siege of Latham House. He
was afterwards made Dean of Salisbury.

When Sir Ralph James Woodford assumed the Government of
Trinidad he was in his 29th year, and the mere fact of his having
at such a comparatively early age been selected for so important a
post is a proof of the high esteem in which he was held by the
Ministry of the day. The experience gained from the disastrous
results of the Commission Government, and the recent disputes
between the Cabildo, the Governor, and the Chief Judge, determined
the Home Government to define clearly the powers which were to
be exercised by the new Governor, and these were expressed at great
length in his Commission.

After declaring that, " so far as circumstances would permit"
Spanish law should continue to be the law of the Colony, it was
ordered, that all the powers of the Executive Government were to
be vested solely in the Governor ; that he should have the same
powers and privileges as had been exercised by the Governors under
the Crown of Spain ; that the same Courts of Judicature, both civil
and criminal, should continue as had existed prior to the capitula-
tion ; that the judicial powers conferred upon the Spanish Governors
by virtue of their office should be enjoyed by their English suc-
cessor with the same authority and jurisdiction, whether appellate
or original, which had been exercised by the Court of Royal
Audiencia in Caracas. Appeals in civil causes when the sum or



HISTORY OF TRINIDAD. O

value at issue exceeded £200 were to be made to him, and from
his decision appeals were allowed to the Privy Council when the
amount at issue exceeded £500,— or for any lesser amount where the
matter in question related to the King's prerogative, or to the taking
or demanding any duty payable to him, or to any fee of office or
annual rent, &c, &c.

There can be no doubt that these extensive powers were conferred
upon Sir Ralph Woodford in order to enable him to put an end to the
confusion originally created by Fullarton, and which recent events
had considerably increased. The task imposed upon him was no easy
one for the very first step involved the putting an end to abuses
which had almost obtained a prescriptive right to exist, and this was
certain to raise up a host of enemies against the reformer.

By far the most important part of his Commission was that which
gave to Sir Ralph Woodford all the powers of a Court of Royal
Audience, and to understand how much this implied it is necessary to
explain the composition of that Court.

According to Spanish Law a Royal Audiencia was a College of
Advocates composed and governed according to fixed rules. As an
instance : the Audiencia of Caracas which was created in 1787, con-
sisted of a Dean (Decano Regente), three Oidors (Judges), two
Fiscals, an Escribano, or Registrar, a Relator, or Remembrancer, whose
duty it was to keep the Court fully informed of everything connected
with the causes before it, and an Escribano de Camera, or Judge's
Clerk.

In Trinidad the jurisdiction of this Court was now to be centred
in one man, who, as Governor, Commander-in-Chief and Vice- Admiral
already possessed very extensive powers. Under its original juris-
diction he had power to deal with all suits in which widows or
infants were concerned (technically termed "Causas de Corte").
In all criminal cases he was the Judge of Appeal, and as President
of the Royal Audiencia he had a criminal jurisdiction over all
offences and crimes, from petty larceny to murder. In the same
capacity he had power over the Judges of the inferior Courts
who, save when holding direct appointments from the Crown, were
removable from office at his option. In the latter case he could

a2



4 HISTORY OF TRINIDAD.

suspend them until the matter was referred to and decided by the
Sovereign. He was also Intendant of the Royal Domain, and Judge
in all matters connected with the Crown Lands, and, as such, dealt
with escheats and other causes to which the Crown was a party.
These already enormous powers were enlarged and increased by
subsequent Orders in Council, and when at a later period Judge
Johnson dedicated to Sir Ralph Woodford his translation of the
Spanish Law, he did not at all exaggerate in stating that " He,"
(the Governor) " had, in addition to his judicial functions, the direc-
tion of the whole financial, legislative, and executive machinery of
the Colony."

Doubtless, such a system of Government is opposed to the theories
of the present day, but Trinidad certainly did not suffer from Sir
Ralph Woodford's administration ; and it is a fact, as worthy of note
as it is incontrovertible, that even in more recent times those periods
during which the Colony has been blessed with Governors of ability
and possessing energy enough to govern and to refuse to be governed,
have been periods marked by progress and prosperity.

From the day of his arrival it was clear that Sir Ralph intended
to hold the reins of Government in his own hands, to see with his
own eyes, to hear with his own ears. He carried on a constant cor-
respondence with the Heads of Departments, and that, not through a
Secretary, but with his own hand, so that the whole machinery of
the Government was under his immediate control.

The following letter which he addressed to the Surveyor-General a
few days after his arrival will serve to show how speedily he had
assumed the position he ever afterwards maintained : —

Port-of-Spain,

22nd June, 1818.
Sir,

As Surveyor-General of the Colony, I am to call your attention to
your duty in that particular, and which requires your utmost exertions
before the season advances too far. The Commandants of Quarters have
received my orders to repair the roads in their respective districts, and
whenever a defaulter is found it will be your duty to report him ; at
the same time you will supply the defect and charge him with the
expense, and this in the most summary manner. You will render to



HISTORY OF TRINIDAD. 5

me a report of the state of the roads on the 30th instant, and on the loth
of next month, and will prepare for my consideration and approval a
draft of such regulations as you shall deem proper for the enforcement
of a strict obedience to my orders.

Ralph Woodford.
E. Maingot, Esq.,

Surveyor- General.

On the 21st June, the Governor took his seat for the first time as
Corregidor, or President of the Cabildo. In his opening address he
declared that he would always support that Body in the exercise of
its functions so long as there was no attempt to interfere with the
Executive, or to " reproduce those regrettable discussions which had
already done so much mischief." There could be no misunderstanding
either the allusion contained in these last words, or the warning they
were intended to convey. It was quite clear that the new Governor
would not tolerate any interference with him as Chief of the Execu-
tive, and that he intended to intimate in civil but unmistakable terms,
that so far as it claimed any power of control over him as Governor
the Illustrious Board Avas defunct.

A still greater surprise was in reserve for the public. On the
16th of August, the Governor and Council assembled for the trans-
action of business when Sir Ralph informed the Board that he
had examined the accounts of the Committee appointed to control
the expenditure of the £50,000 voted by Parliament after the fire of
1808. From those accounts it appeared that the Gaol, still uncom-
pleted, had already cost close upon £30,000, and that £24,000 would
be required for the completion of the Protestant Church. Under
these circumstances the Governor said, that pending further instruc-
tions from the Home Government, he had stopped the further progress
of these works.

After the Order of the Day had been disposed of, the Governor
stated that he had received despatches from the Secretary of State
with regard to the differences which had occurred between General
Hislop and Judge Smith, the tenour of which he had been instructed
to communicate to the Board. From these despatches it appeared
that the whole question had been in the first instance referred to the



6 HISTORY OF TRTNIDAD.

Privy Council. As, however, General Hislop had brought no charges
against the Judge, and the latter had declared that he had no desire
to make a formal complaint against either the Governor, the Council,
or the Cabildo, provided he were at once re-instated in the full enjoy-
ment and exercise of all the powers of his threefold Commission, the
Lords of the Council had stated that, " they felt themselves relieved
of any other consideration than that of the prayer thus made by him."
On a careful revision of all the circumstances connected with the
case, their Lordships came to the conclusion that Mr. Smith had shewn,
" a great want of the temper, discretion and tact, so peculiarly required
in the position he held, and therefore they could not recom-
mend to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent that he should be
re-instated."

In order to fully appreciate this episode it is necessary to remember
that the Council now addressed by Sir Ralph was composed of the
same men who two years previously had supported the action of the
Cabildo in suspending Judge Smith, and that some of its members had
held seats at the Board since the day it was first summoned by Picton
in 1 801 . The senior member, Nihell, had filled offices of trust under the
Spanish Crown and after the capture of the Island had been appointed
Chief Judge, an office which he had retained until 1809, when removed
to make way for Mr. Smith. Next in seniority came Begorrat, the
personal friend of Picton, who had upheld the privileges of the
Cabildo against the attacks of Fullarton and his party, and Black,
who had so boldly resisted the First Commissioner in the case of the
Escribano De Castro. The other members of the Board were men of
standing in the Colony who had played no inconsiderable part in its
history, and who, in common with the older members, looked upon
themselves as identified with the Executive machinery of its Govern-
ment. These men naturally heard with unmixed satisfaction that Mr.
Smith was not to return to his post, and they had already begun to
congratulate each other upon their success when the Governor called
upon them to listen to another despatch from the Secretary of State,
thus worded : —

" The view taken by the Privy Council has been adopted by the Prince
Regent, who, however, on a review of all that has occurred, has come to



HISTORY OF TRINIDAD. 7

the conclusion that the same want of temper, tact and discretion, which
has been shewn by Judge Smith has been equally apparent in the Mem-
bers of His Majesty's Council whom he therefore directs shall be removed
from their seats, His Majesty having no further need of their services."

The official minutes of the Council only furnish a dry recital of
what took place on this occasion, but it is easy to imagine the scene
which followed this most unexpected denouement. The unseated
members left the Council Room with mingled feelings of surprise
and indignation, and being men of position, and influence found no
lack of sympathy in the hour of their humiliation.

At first sight the course taken by the Prince Regent may appear
harsh, but on the other hand it must be remembered that the Mem-
bers of the Council had pursued a line of conduct towards the late
Chief Judge which could not but give umbrage to the Government by
which Mr. Smith had been appointed. It was asserted at the time,



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