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(Free Mulatto, Address to Earl Bathurst, p. 3 et seq.)

Among these (visitors) was Mr Rome de St Laurent, a gentleman who, to the ardour of a heart bent on agricultural speculation, joined a mind capable of indulging in the most enlarged vitws of policy and legislation. On his landing in Trinidad, he beheld an island gifted wilh every blessing which nature in her greatest prodigality of favour could possibly lavish; a soil Ihe most exuberant, diversified with every variety of ground; extensive plains, hill and dale, rivers capable of navigation far into the interior, offering at every season a plentiful supply of water; mountains traversing the island in four groups; and,withil, separated from the north-east point of Tewa-Firma by a beauliful basin, offering a .safe anchorage throughout, at the most tempestuous seasons. The whole island; too, was covered with forests containing every species of durable wood, and holding forth every advantage to a government that knew in what way to avail itself of such resources.

Mr Rome de St Laurent, astonished that such an important colony should have been so long overlooked, immediately conceived the project of prevailing on the governors to permit him to proceed to the city of Caraccas, in order to consult upon the best means of drawingan ingress of inhabitants into this valuable but strangely neglected colony.


(Codazii, Geographia física de Venezuela, p. 228.)

Bachaco. Hormiga colorada de cabeza grande y dos pinzas en la boca, con las que agarra las hojas de las plantas, las cuales destruye para llevar á sus mansiones subterráneas. Hacen escavaciones que parecen canales, y en ellas se encuentra multitud de grandes celdas en donde depositan los -hijos en medio de una cantidad de pelusa vegetal que se llama yesca de hormigas, igual al noli ó yesca de la Nueva Granada. Esta materia es escelente para estancar la sangre; hervida en salitre es una de las mejores yescas. Conos de muchos pies de altura forman las tierras sacadas de los subterráneos de estos insectos, y en ellos hay tres clases de individuos: machos, hembras y neutros. Viven en sociedad formada de neutros, y luego que los machos y hembras adquieren sus alas, salen del hormiguero. La fecundacion se verifica en el aire, muchos mueren en seguida y las hembras que deben -llegar á ser madres pierden sus alas; unas van á formar nuevas colonias y otras, detenidas prisioneras por los neutros de la habitacion, ponen allí sus huevos. Se alimentan los bachacos de materias animales y vegetales, y muchas vezes destruyen la ropa que encuentran en las habitaciones. Gustan mucho de sustancias dulces, y son la plaga de los jardines y de la agricultura. En una noche destruyen un jardin entero. Los lugares por donde pasan quedan tan trillados como un verdadero camino, y los hai de mas de medio pié de aucho y de largo muchos centenares de varas. Los indios de Rio-Negro comen el bachaco que Be denomina culon, por lo grueso de la parte posterior que estâ formado de manteca pura. Los recogen en la época de la fecundacion, enciérranlos en saquitos de marima, y ahumados los comen estendiendolos sobre el pan de casabe.


(Parliamentary papers, App. to Report on titlcs to lands, p. 196, note.)

A pionia is a limited quanlity of land, and means a lot or portion of land in a village, 50 feet broad and 100 feet deep; 100 fanegas of plough-land for wheat or oats, 10 fanegas for" corn or maize, 2 acres for a pen, and 8 acres for provisions; also pasture-land sufficient to support 10 sows, 20 cows, 5 mares, 100 sheep and 20 goats.

A caballeria means a lot or portion of land in a village, 100 feet broad and 200 feet deep, in every other particular, it is equal to five peonias, viz: 500 fanegas of plough-land for wheat or oats, 50 for maize, 10 acres for a pen, 40 for provisions, etc.


(Free Mulatto, Address to Earl Bathursl, p. 5 et seq.)

Mr Rome de St Laurent took advantage of his presence at the seat of government to accomplish the scheme on which he had so long meditated. He represented to the Intendant that few people would be tempted to settle in an island as yet in a wild state, without very bright prospects were held out to them; that few would quit their old abodes, where they enjoyed every comfort to hazard Jiving in woods and wilds, conlinually exposed to sickness, accompanied by all the privations necessarily incidental to original colonists, unless some very extraordinary advantages should be offered as an inducement. He further said that, conversant as he was with the inhabitants of the old exhausted settlements, he would pledge himself that a rapid increase of population would be acquired so soon as an adequate encouragement was offered .

There is something so contagious in enthusiasm, and so attractive in the glittering idea of planting inhabitants in a desert, that Mr Rome de St Laurent found no difficulty in communicating the enthusiastic I' clings which animated him, into the breast of a benevolent man like Don Josef de Avalos. Any other than Mr Rome de St Laurent would have shrunk from the apparently visionary plan; but it is the character of enthusiasm to remove every obstacle, to consider every attempt as practicable, and not to calculate ou the failure of the scheme which engrosses its attention.

The Intendant, struck by the plausibility of the reasoning, and the splendour of the project, fully entered into the views of the necessity for granting some peculiar favours in order to attract settlers to the colony. Here then were sketched out the outlines of the schedule which was afterwards published in 1783.


(Bryan Edwards, History of the abol. of the slave trade, t. IV, ch. in, p. 450 et seq.)

Whatever may be the guilt which Spain incurs by her perseverance in a barbarous traffic, it must be owned that her code of slave laws, which was promulgated in 1789, deserves to be mentioned with the highest praise. Its mildness and equity are honourable to the feelings of the franiers of it, and of the sovereign by whom it was sanctioned. Nor is there any reason to believe that it is not faithfully executed. By this code, every owner of slaves must instruct them in th* Christian religion, procure them to be baptized wilhin a year, and maintain a priest to say mass, and expound to them the doctrines of Christianity; he must provide them with such food and clothing as to the magistrates may seem to be sufficient, and likewise with commodious habitations; he must encourage marriages, and not prevent theslaves of different estates from intermarrying, and, in cases where the estates are distant from each other, he must dispose of the wife to the master of the husband at a fair valuation; he must not overtoil them, nor

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