Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
and sailed from England to Trinidad, which he safely reached after a voyage of three months-it takes two weeks nowadays!
However, he did not do much good there. He found what he imagined to be gold ore and brought a great deal of it home, only to find that it was quite worthless.
Trinidad remained under the Spanish rule for nearly 300 years. The capital is called the Port of Spain, a beautiful town among green hills at the head of the great gulf or landlocked sea of Paria.
But when there was quarrelling between Spain and Great Britain in 1797, the British fleet, under Abercromby, came sailing in, and attacked the place with 8000 soldiers and sailors. The soldiers were under the command of General Picton, who was afterwards so famous in the war in Spain, and who was killed when gallantly leading a charge at Waterloo. The fort which protected the Port of Spain stands on a wooded hill overlooking the place. It was stormed by the British troops, and captured after a feeble resistance; and so Trinidad came into our hands.
Port of Spain
To reach Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad, your ship has to come into the lagoon by one of three or four entrances between wooded islands of steep hills and ravines, and it is all very beautiful, and just the sort of place for a pirate’s lair.
It was through these narrow entrances that Lord Nelson sailed with all his fleet in 1805 when he was in pursuit of the French fleet, which had managed to escape from him in Europe. He expected from his information to find them at Trinidad.
Directly he saw that the hoped-for enemy was not there, he turned his ships about and sailed with all speed to Grenada. No French there, but they had been seen at Antigua.
Away he went in full sail, only to find on arrival at Antigua that they had gone back to Europe a few days previously. He never paused, but at once pushed on to overtake them.
Out in the middle of the Atlantic he noticed two or three planks floating in the water. Scout as he was, Nelson recognised these as “signs” or tracks of the French fleet, and pressed on with all the more keenness. When in the end he met them, it was at Trafalgar, off the coast of Spain, and you know what happened there on October 21st.
The capital of the Trinidad of to-day is a bright, clean city of small houses standing in their own little gardens, which seem to have flowers and plants of every kind of brilliant colour, and also good shade trees and tall, graceful palms everywhere.
Among the flowers you see the tiny humming-birds, scarcely larger than a big bumble-bee, gleaming with every colour.
Overhead fly “jim crows,” neat, black, cheeky birds, and circling about in the blue sky are great buzzards, with their ugly bare heads, looking out for any offal that may be thrown away.
Trinidad is a warm place, where you have to wear a helmet to prevent sunstroke, but there is always a breeze blowing, which prevents the heat being excessive.
About thirty miles from Port of Spain is a lake of pitch. Sir Walter Raleigh used some Of it for making his ships water-tight. Nowadays the pitch is dug out and used for making asphalt for roads. The curious thing is that, although over a thousand tons of it are taken away every year, the lake keeps filling itself up again all the time.
It is sufficiently hard to walk upon, and easy to dig; but wherever you dig a hole it will in a few hours have filled itself up again.