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TRINIDAD. town in a state of cleanliness and salubrity will be infinitely facilitated. Other works having sanitary objects in view have been undertaken by the general Government. A public washing-house has been erected, and is in full work, and the rivers from which the town is supplied with water are consequently uncontaminated by filth, and a public bath-house is very nearly completed. There is every reason to think that in a short time Port of Spain will be, to say the least, as healthy a town as any in the West Indies.
16. The paucity of labour, and especially of skilled labour, which is available for public works, has retarded the opening of two establishments which have been in progress of construction during the year under review. It is probable, however, that before this Report leaves the Island they will both have been put to their destined use. I mean the new Colonial Hospital and the Lunatic Asylum. There are at present sixty-seven patients under treatment in the hired building still used as a general hospital, and forty in the portion of the Royal Gaol set apart for lunatics. It is fortunate that a decrease in the aggregate number of persons confined in the gaol, consequent upon the removal of a portion of them to the convict depôt at the Irois Forest, and the opening of a district prison at San Fernando, as well as to the general diminution of crime, which there is no doubt the establishment of the depôt has contributed to bring about, has rendered the inconvenience long felt of keeping the lunatics in the same building with the debtors and other prisoners less intolerable than it otherwise would have been. I append the Enclosure. Annual Report of the Keeper of the Royal Gaol. The opening of the two establishments referred to will, I hope, be followed up at no long distance by that of the new Colonial Hospital at San Fernando, in the erection of which great progress has been made during the present year, and which I am the more desirous of completing, as the dilapidated state of the existing hospital renders it scarcely safe for the reception of patients.
17. Two other important works undertaken by the Government were finished before the close of last year. The laying down of a main sewer to carry off to the sea the refuse of the new hospital, the wash-house, and the Royal Gaol, and the substitution of an enlarged reservoir for the small one by which the waters of the St. Ann's River were previously made available for the supply of Port of Spain. The success of the former of these experiments gives every promise for that of the general drainage of the town; but such is the demand, and so great the consumption, not to say waste of it, that it begins to be apparent that ere long an additional main pipe from the reservoir at Maraval will be required.
18. The works remaining to be executed, in addition to the underground drainage of the town already referred to, are the re-erection of the Governor's residence at St. Ann's, for which plans and estimates have been prepared, and materials are being collected, and the advancement further into the sea of the line of wharves, which for a considerable time have been gradually becoming useless from the filling up of the sea approaches. This subject, in connexion with that of the extension of the jetty, appeared to me to present so many difficulties that I issued a commission of inquiry into it, and I expect shortly to be furnished with their report. A great desire has also been manifested that the Government should erect a patent slip for facilitating the repairs of vessels in the Gulf; and though this is perhaps rather a speculation which should be undertaken by private parties or a company, yet it is a project which may well be considered as part of the main question of the improvement of the harbour.
19. It has been customary for the Government, in addition to such public works as it takes into its own hands, to afford assistance in the shape either of advances or subsidies to the wards in their larger and more expensive operations. On this principle, advances are now being made for the construction of three bridges along the Eastern Road, and in 1856 a sum was appropriated in aid of the erection of a bridge over the Caroni River at a distance of about nine miles from its mouth, which has been finished since the beginning of the present year. I look upon this as a most important fact in respect to the road system, or rather systems, of the Island. I say systems, because the River Caroni and the Great Savannah through which it runs in its lower course have hitherto operated as an intervening barrier between the roads branching off from Port of Spain to the north of them and San Fernando to the south. The consequence has hitherto been, that, except in the very height of the dry season, intercourse between the north and south of the Island has been kept up solely by sea, by means of the steamer plying in the Gulf, or by sailing and row-boats. By the exertions of the wardens and the local road boards, constant improvements and extensions have been made in the existing roads on each side of this barrier. From the northern end of the new bridge there is now
uninterrupted communication with Port of Spain, and but little is required to be done TRINIDAD. to fill up gaps in that between the southern edge of the Savannah and San Fernando. It remains to construct a highway across the Savannah itself, of about nine miles, and a survey of this line is now being made by the Inspector of Roads. It is true that there is reason to believe that this connecting link will be provided in due time by the Trinidad Railway Company, with which in the course of last year the Colony entered into negotiations, on terms mutually advantageous; but several years must elapse before any of its projected lines can be completed, and it is not yet decided when or on which of them it will commence operations. In the meantime the districts immediately to the south of the Grand Savannah are languishing from their comparative inaccessibility, the conformation of the land putting them even out of the reach of the steam service; and administration of the law is rendered defective in them from the same cause. To them, therefore, above all others, a junction with the new Caroni Bridge would be a real boon, and I am in hopes that by the combined action of the central Government and of the local authorities means may be found for affording it to them.
20. Such a road, though highly necessary for ensuring prompt communication, would in no way or in a very slight degree affect the question of the transport of produce. The roads more especially kept up for this object run, not parallel to but at right angles to the line of coast, that is, to the many spots made use of as shipping places in the Gulf; and as cultivation has extended inland it has become more and more a matter of importance to maintain them in as efficient a state as the difficulty of obtaining proper material will admit of, or to provide substitutes for them more fitted for the purpose. The latter alternative is being adopted in more than one locality, under the provisions of Ordinance No. 4. of 1856. A line of tramway, eight miles in length, with several branches, is in course of formation, and in a state of considerable forwardness, in the southern division of the county of Victoria; another, of four miles in length, has been commenced in the district of Chaguanas in the county of Caroni; while the preliminary steps are being taken for laying down a third, of seven miles in length, in the northern division of the former county.
21. I have alluded to the difficulty of obtaining materials for road-making. This of itself is evidence of great and wide-spread richness of soil, and that the colony rejoices in a practically unlimited extent of lands of the utmost fertility. I had ocular demonstration when I made a tour of the whole Island in the early part of the year, and endeavoured to reach its centre by a route hitherto untried; but on this point the report of the gentlemen who have been employed on the geological survey of the Island will no doubt give ample information. It will be ready, I understand, to be forwarded to you before the end of the year.
22. I had the advantage of the company of these gentlemen at various places during my journey, and with them I inspected, among other objects of interest, the coal which they have discovered upon the face of the cliffs along a portion of the eastern coast. Their endeavours to trace its course inland have been much impeded by the dense forests which clothe the surface of the Island wherever it is uncleared, but I believe they have observed sufficient indications of it to be able to come to some general conclusions on the subject, if not, as I hope, however, may be the case, to fix upon a spot more within reach than the inhospitable coast an which it was first seen, where operations for extracting it might be likely to meet with success. It has been pronounced to be a tertiary coal of good quality; but the trial made of it on a small scale on board H. M. ship "Buzzard" has shown it to possess defects which render it more or less unsuited for purposes of navigation; for local use in sugar mills, and probably for railroad engines, it would be of great value, if easily procurable in sufficient quantities.
23. Though in the course of these observations I have taken a sanguine view of the prospects of the Colony, I am by no means blind to the possibility of circumstances occurring which may retard for a time its progress, and necessitate redoubled cautiousness in the management of its finances. Great advantage has been taken latterly of their flourishing condition to carry out public works long in contemplation, and urgently requiring to be undertaken; the expenditure under this head has therefore been large, and it is likely to be so for some time longer, if the state of the revenue should continue to justify it. The most pressing wants of the community in this respect have, however, now been met, or will shortly be so, and the liabilities of the Colony have been proportionably diminished. The works remaining to be executed are mostly such as may be carried out either at once or by degrees, and they have been planned accordingly; and
TRINIDAD. for one at least of them, namely, the improvements of the harbour, a separate fund will in all probability be raised. The great pressure upon the resources of the Colony, and to bear which they must be husbanded and developed, will no doubt for many years to come be its expenditure for the introduction of labour from distant sources; but it is to the returns from this very outlay, large though it may be, that I look with confidence for effecting such development on the one hand, or for meeting on the other those temporary checks to prosperity which circumstances extraneous to the Colony are apt from time to time to produce.
Encl. in No. 11.
The Right Hon. Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart.,
I have, &c. (Signed)
ROB. W. KEATE.
Enclosure in No. 11.
Extract of Report of the Keeper of the Royal Gaol, for the year 1857, laid before the Council of
Royal Gaol, 11th January 1858.
The Convicts Depôts at Irois.
These establishments have greatly tended as a check to crime, from the fact that prisoners who have been sent thither, and undergone their sentence, have not been recommitted to gaol.
The labour performed there has not only been beneficial financially but politically; and were it even only the latter, still a great point is achieved, inasmuch as it has the effect of checking crime, and of enforcing that real hard labour which is intended by the sentence.
It is a source of gratification to me to be able to assert that the effects of these depôts is far greater than can be imagined. In the first place, the convicts are removed beyond the possibility of seeing or of hearing of their friends and relatives; their occupation is of a nature sufficient to cause reflection even in the mind of the most ignorant; they see and know practically what they have to undergo; and they, moreover, are cognizant that only by a radical change in their conduct, and by a due regard to obedience, they can for one moment entertain "hope."
Their labour tends also to go towards their keep; and it may fairly be asserted that nothing could have been devised having a greater tendency to eradicate evil propensities, and to curb violent and refractory dispositions, than the above-named establishments.
The behaviour of the convicts has been all that could be desired; and in stating this I can further observe, that punishments for disobedience or other offences have not exceeded two during the past twelve months, a feature which, considering the daily average of prisoners (thirty at each depôt), is of sufficient proof of what I have advanced. It is also a matter of import to state that the larger numbe of convicts located at these establishments are men whose sentences vary from two to four years.
As a means of conducting things in such manner as may be advantageous to the convict and to society at large, a strict moral discipline is carried out, as it is far better, in isolated establishments or penal settlements of this kind, to moralize a man, and convince him of his fault, and the fatal conse quences that will attend if he persists in doing evil, than to have recourse to severe punishments. In doing so I have no hesitation in saying that I have succeeded with every advantage to the convict and to the country.
During the past year a total of 24,000 cubic feet of balatta, crapeau, locust, tapana, cedar, galba, and mora timber, and 160 cords of firewood, have been the result of the labour of the convicts.
Cory of a DESPATCH from Governor WODEHOUSE to the Right Hon.
Government House, Georgetown,
I HAVE the honour to forward the Blue Book for British Guiana for 1857. The revenue of the Colony for that year will be found to have exceeded that for 1856 to the amount of 36,0417. The principal changes in the taxation worthy of notice are the cessation of the produce export tax, and the imposition of the registration tax. The former had been imposed some years before; as a special provision for Immigration, and the payment of it fell upon the planters, as the producers of the main articles of export. In 1855 and 1856 arrangements were made by which the payment of a considerable proportion of the cost of Immigration was devolved upon the planters; and it was then admitted that the duty on produce exported, a tax objectionable in its nature, might with propriety be dispensed with.
The registration tax had had its origin in the riots which occurred in the Colony in the early part of 1856. The Legislature then undertook to pay compensation amounting to about 60,000l. to those whose property had been destroyed, and resolved that the outlay should be recovered by an annual tax upon all able-bodied people of two dollars for males and one dollar for females. The tax was levied in 1857, and again in 1858, but was abolished, with very little judgment or discretion, by a majority of the Combined Court, in their annual session for this years.
The expenditure for 1857 was 280,8791., against 235,013/. for 1856. The increase is to be found under the heads of Annuities and Gratuities, Immigration, Militia, Revenue Establishments, Cholera, and Loans repaid.
The gratuities granted by the Combined Court were more numerous and of a higher class than common. The expenditure for Immigration was much increased by our having been obliged to liquidate various old claims outstanding against the Colony for transactions of past years.
The arrangements for calling out a part of the Colonial Militia came into operation in the latter part of 1856, and consequently but a small charge was incurred during that year. As was to be expected, many difficulties were encountered in the outset, but it may be hoped that most of them have been overcome, and that it will be found practicable to maintain the force in an efficient condition. It is divided into cavalry, artillery, rifle and line companies, and service in one of them is compulsory upon the inhabitants of Georgetown possessing certain pecuniary qualifications; but those liable are permitted to volunteer for the cavalry, artillery, or rifles.
The revenue establishments were increased in consequence of the imposition of the registration tax, and since its abolition they have been again reduced.
Under the head of Loans .repaid is included the redemption of one series of the bonds issued in compensation for the riots.
Of the Ordinances passed during the year, two only seem to call for special notice here. One, No. 10, relative to the introduction of Portuguese immigrants; the other, No. 12, for the establishment of dispensaries. It had become evident, from the experience of past years, that the Portuguese immigrants from Madeira were, almost without exception, so industrious in their habits as to render it unnecessary to have recourse to indentures of service for the purpose of securing an adequate return for the cost of their introduction; while at the same time such large numbers of them had already been introduced as to remove all fear of the new comers falling into distress on their first arrival. It was therefore determined to appropriate a sum for the payment of the passages of a certain number, upon the express condition that they should not be brought under indentures, but left free to locate themselves at their own discretion. The full number for which provision was made have already arrived, and the Government continues paying, in the confidence that the Legislature will sanction the further outlay.
The dispensaries have been established experimentally. The want of medical relief, from which the inhabitants of the rural districts, not attached to estates, were suffering,
had been frequently and urgently pressed upon the consideration of the Government; GUIANA. and when, by the imposition of the registration tax, the whole population of the Colony
was subjected to a direct contribution to the revenue, it was felt that the measure might very properly be accompanied by an attempt to provide for one of the most urgent wants of the lower orders. And, notwithstanding the abolition of that tax, the Government has been able up to this time to prevent the discontinuance of the dispensaries. At present, however, we can only regard them as experimental, and I should be sorry to venture an opinion as to their ultimate success.
In conclusion, I have to express my regret, that for reasons, explained in previous Despatches the returns of Trade and Shipping have not been filled up; but I trust that in future Blue Books the deficiency will be supplied to a considerable extent.
The Right Hon. Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart.,
I have, &c. (Signed)
P. E. WODEHOUSE.
COPY of a DESPATCH from Governor HINCKS to the Right Hon.
Windward Islands, Barbados,
2. Having in my report on the Blue Book for 1856 submitted lengthened explanations on the fiscal position of the colony, the course of its trade, and the nature of its various institutions, my principal duty on the present occasion will be to institute a comparison between the operations of the past year and those of the preceding one.
Revenue and Expenditure.
3. I estimated the annual revenue of the colony in my last report at about 80,0007. The actual receipts in 1857 were 82,592l. 14s. 10d., and there was no material increase or falling off in an any particular branch.
4. The expenditure for 1857 was considerably in excess of that of 1856. This arose from causes which I shall briefly explain. About 11,500l. was expended on a new steam dredge, on the public wharves, and in blasting operations in the careenage. In 1856 the expenditure under that head was about 500l. The Government House was under repair in both years, but the expenditure in 1857 exceeded by 1,100l. that in 1856. There were also increased grants in 1857 to the general hospital, to the roads, and to the educational board, making an aggregate of 21,0771. of disbursements in excess of 1856.
5. It is gratifying to me to be able to report that, notwithstanding the increased expenditure during last year to which I have called attention, there has been no diminution in the available surplus, which was 21,359l. 13s. 5d. at the close of 1857, against 19,7371. 5s. 5d. at the same period of 1856.
6. In my last report I indicated the probable expenditure under this head. The Government House has been completely rebuilt, but some of the out-offices are still in the same dilapidated condition as the main building prior to its reconstruction. The public offices have not been commenced; but plans and estimates are under consideration. The Mole head improvements are in progress, and the steam dredge is at last in complete working order.