Rafael Seijas.

Venezuela-British Guiana boundary arbitration. Digest of evidence arranged according to subjects online

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a night attack upon the plantation De Savonnette, in upper Berbice, and killed
flfty-flve negroes, men, women and children. B. C, II, 227.

1783. Dutch Administrator of Essequibo.

They [slaves] exhibited to me the flogged Bomba, the negro Jamis, wlio had
been shot, and the girl Dede, who detailed her miseries while they themselves
there extracted the gun-shots and tied them up. B. C, V, 12.

1786. Director-General in Essequibo.

The good effect ... of the Post of Maroco becomes daily more felt. A
deserter from here and two runaway negroes . . . having been captured
there. . . . One of these negroes has drowned himself, the other has by the
Court here been sentenced on the 26th September last to be flogged, branded,
and lias had his ears cut oft", and put in chains for his life. Same, p. 44.

1794. Jan Van Eersbeek.

Having also brought with us one Indian and the right arm of that negro.

Same, p. 1^7.



. British Case.

To prevent escape [of slaves] . . . the Dutch to a great extent relied
on the Posts in the Upper Essequibo and the Cuyuni. B. C, p2.

1706. Commandeur in Essequibo.

TJiirteen young- negro Creoles, whom I made use of as traders for the Com-
pany . . . have run away up above the falls in Cayuni. ... I
have . . . sent after them the sergeant. ... I have also sent a free
Malack, named Jan Pietersen, . . . said Jan Pietersen has again come down,
reporting that he has found four of the runaways overland in Penoeny,
. . . the others have traveled further up the Cayuni, also to the savannah.

B. C, I, 22S-22g.

1707. Commandeur in Essequibo.

If the indigro succeed the Slave Trade will have a considerable stimulus.

Same, p. 22g.

1708. Commandeur in Essequibo.

The successful attempting of sugar-cane demands an undeniably g'reater uiiiu-
ber of slaves, ... As regards the importation of slaves for this river,
. . . in this grievous war-time private individuals have no desire to cumber
themselves with more slaves. Same, p. 2jo.

1728. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I . . . [take] the liberty to inform you that several slaves belonging to
the inhabitants of this Colony have dared to run away and to remain under your
protection in the River Orinoco, refusing to return to their duty ; . . . I
beg most earnestly, Sir, that you may be pleased to return by the bearer of this
all the slaves who deserted from this Colony. B. C, II, g.

1729. Secretary Gelskerke in Essequibo.

For some years past your Lordships' slaves, as well as those belonging to the
colonists, run away to Orinoco as soon as they think they have any grievance.
There the Spaniards keep them, and will not give them up when we have
claimed them. This makes them so insolent that measures have been devised
to provide against this. Same. p. 8.

1753. Instructions to Iturriaga.

Some years ago a number of rebellious negroes fled from their [Dutch]
Colony of Surinam, whom, so far, they have been unable to reduce although for
that purpose a large body of European soldiers were brought our.

Same, p. S6.
1755. L)on Eugenio de Alvarado.

This Indian slave trade is of great utility to tlie Dutch, as the said slaves
cultivate their lands, and fetch as high a price as negroes. Same, p. iiS.

1769. Remonstrance of States-General.

This desertion [of slaves] unless checked, miglit in time cause the com-
plete ruin of Essequibo. B. C, IV, j2.

1769. Ex-Prefect of Missions.

The Colony of Essequibo is going visibly to its rnin since the gate has
been closed for the illicit traffic which it previously carried on in Orinoco, and
the poilos or slaves have found that of their liberty open, so that they can escape
thence. Sajiie, p. jo.



1772. Director-General in Essequibo.

The numbers of the runaways increasing- daily, this matter will end in the
total ruin of a great many plantations, unless efificacious remedies be adopted.

B. C, IV, 1 00- 10 1.

1773. Director-General in Essequibo.

A still more ruinous occurrence for the Colony occurred a few days ago
. . . eleven negroes, five negresses and one child made off in a boat to Orin-
ocque, which has now l)econie a refuge for these people. Unless your Lord-
ships be pleased to adopt efficacious means most speedily, and demand early
redress from the Sovereign, we shall, I fear, hear before long of a large and in-
creased number of similar occurrences, resulting in the total ruin of the
Colony . . . If no treaty can be concluded with the King of Spain by
which our runaway slaves may be restored to us . . . then I foresee . . .
that our Colony, which is now beginning to flourish, will in less than ten years
suffer irremediable ruin. Same, pp. 108-iog.

1774. Director-General and Courts of Justice and Policy.

We again take the liberty of entreating your Lordships to be pleased to make
an alliance or contract with the Court of Spain ... to restore and to send
back our deserting soldiers or runaway slaves . . . If . . . not, . . .
the whole Colony will some day come to total ruin. Same, p. I2j.

1774. Director-General in Essequibo.

Unless your Lordships are enabled to adopt efficacious measures most speedily
. . . in the matter of the slaves running- away to the Spaniards, we shall
all be totally ruined here some day. Same, p. 128.

1775. Memorial to Director-General and Councillors of Essequibo.

The Undersigned, wishing to prevent the total ruin of this Colony, humbly
request your Excellency and your Honours to be pleased to bring this matter,
which is one of threatening danger, most speedily to the notice of their Lord-
ships, so that we may be ensured against further ruin and the loss of all our
possessions, both by the establishment of a few forts in the direction of
Orinoco and by positive orders from the Court of Spain for the restitution of
our slaves. Satne, p. i2g.

1775. Courts of Policy and Justice.

It were desirable that the remonstrances made by their High Mightinesses to
the Court of Spain concerning the desertion of the soldiers and the running
away of tlie slaves had had better results, . . . we fear with reason that
this matter may one day be of evil consequence for the Colony, Same, p. ij/,

1776. Director-General in Essequibo.

If the Governor (of Orinoco) does not restore our slaves, the Colony, in a
short time, will suffer irretrievable damage. Same, p. 166.

1783. Dutch Administrator of Essequibo.

It is to be wished that . . . something may be done with the Court of
Spain that this lieavy I0.S8 of slaves to their neighbouring domain could be
restored, and the total ruin of this land be prevented. B. C, V, 12.



1783. Dutch Administrator of Essequibo.

I, being at Demarara, saw the present Government dispatch a barque to
Oronoque to bring cattle for the garrison manned by the best slaves of the plan-
tations and of the (military) train, but until now I have seen none of them
appear, and if they or others may do this they will be in a better position to
teach the rest the road thereto, and the language of that fatal place, and come
themselves to take away their families, that they may still be here, in order never
to return. B. C, V, 12.

1784. Commandeur in Demerara.

This matter [escape of slaves] is of the greatest importance to this
Colony [Demerara] and to Essequibo. There passes no week without run-
aways of one plantation or another going thither, and the neighborhood is
depriv^ed of all possible means of being able to bring them back as long as there
are no uitleggers or a good strong occupation Post erected on the boundaries of
Oronoque. Satiie, p. 2j.

1784. West India Company (the Ten).

The chief reason which induces tlie slaves to run away is their idea that
as soon as they arrive there [in Orinoco] they will be exempted from their slavery,
and it is a fact that, directly upon their arrival, they are baptized by a priest and
declared free, but then they are starving, to prevent which they are given, on be-
half of the King, their food and drink, or 5 stivers per day.

In return for which they must work at the fortifications or in the mines fully
as hard as they ever had to do during their slavery, and if they show the least in-
clination to go back again, chains are put on their legs in order to keep them
there. Same, pp. 24-2^5 .

1785. Director-General in Essequibo.

This [as to the Moruka Post] is all subject to your Honours' approval, and to
save as far as may be possible the Colony from ruin, caused through the deser-
tion [of slaves] to Oronoque. Same, p. j6.

Everything here is in good order, only there remains the desertion of the
slaves of our inhabitants to Oronoque, which always continues, and proves a
great drawback to the welfare of this Colony. Same, p. jg.

1786. Director-General in Essequibo.

Now that we are . . . possibly about to become allies of Spain we may
obtain a Cartel with [her] ... for the extradition of our slaves who de-
sert . . . then would the inhabitants, particularly those of Essequibo, fast
begin to enjoy rest. Then we should be able to open Bouweron without danger.

Same, p. 41.
1788. Don Miguel Marmion.

The Caura [river] deserves most attention, on account of its abundance of
wood and the fertility of its soil and arable lands, in which the Indians cultivate
produce of first necessity ; and a beg'inning' has been made of some small planta-
tions of cotton by the fugitive negroes from Essequibo. Same, p. ^6.

1790. Director-General.

For an exchange of runaway slaves to the Orinoco and other Spanish
possessions. Same, p. J4.



1790. Lopez de la Puente.

The rebellious negro slaves, which at present numbers 12,000 more or
less, . . . are independent, and recognize no superior. . . . They have
always resisted the yoke of foreigners, but particularly that of the Dutch, and
have beaten the large expeditions , . . sent for the purpose of reducing
them ; . . . the Dutch now pay them a large sum in kind so that they
may refrain from raiding their settlements. B. C, V, 120.

1 791. Treaty of Aranjuez.

The reciprocal surrender of white or black fugitives is agreed upon be-
tween all the Spanish possessions in America, and all the Dutch Colonies, and
particularly, . . . between all the Spanish establishments on the Orinoco and
Essequibo and Demerara, Berbice and Surinam. Same, p. 128.

1792. A. Backer to Spanish Governor-General.

Whereas . . . the General States of the United Netherlands have, on the
23d of June of the past year, made an agreement in Aranjuez with . . .
the King of Spain, with regard to the extradition and surrender of fugitive
slaves ... we hope that the bearer of this letter will receive from Your Ex-
cellency all the facility and aid to recover several negro slaves who have fled
last year from Essequibo and Demerara to Orinoco.

We are disposed, on our part, to strictly fulfill the above-mentioned Agree-
ment. V. C. , //, 4S2.


1794. Governor-General in Essequibo.

A plantation without slaves is a body without soul ; it is only too well
known that our trade on the coast of Guinea is in great decay ; still, the agri-
cultural Colonies must not for that reason be made to languish. . . . this
Colony will now, we hope, . . . daily grow and flourish, if permitted
freely to import slaves. B. C, V. 1^4.

. Venezuelan Case.

This same year of 1S07 saw the abolition of the African slave trade, the
first of those steps which in 1838 resulted in the total abolition of slavery from
the Colony. . . . this . . . came as a severe blow to the struggling
planters whose dependence upon their slaves was complete. The blow itself
came at a most inopportune moment. It came when the colony was already in
a moribund condition. V. C, i/j.

The effect of this final emancipation was almost the ruin of the Colony.

Same, pp. J-/4-I75-

-. British Counter Case.

The abolition of the slave trade, the subsequent emancipation of the j
negroes, and the resulting loss to the planters, this had no efl'ect upon the
area which (jjreat Britain continued to occupy. B. C.-C, 112,

5 \




1807. [1893] James Rodway.

The abolition of tlie African trade in 1807 was naturally a great shock
to the planters. The old system of buying new laborers to open up and extend
the plantations then came to an end, and enterprise in that direction received a
check from which it has never since recovered. V. C, ///,j2j.

1 810. Court of PoHcy.

[As to the Oaribs] having formerly been of great use to the Colony
this certainly was the case at the time it was lawful to employ the other classes
of Indians as slaves, when these Caraiban Indians were very nseful in pro-
curing them, but could not be applicable at this moment, when that trade
was prohibited. B. C, V. ig^,

1849. Earl Grey.

It is most melancholy to learn, that while the difficulties of the planters have
continued since the abolition of slavery to become more and more severe,
until now their ruin appears to be almost complete, and the depreciation of prop-
erty once of such great value, has reached a point which involves in the deepest
distress great numbers of persons both in this country and the colony; at the
same time the negroes, instead of having made a great advance in civilization as
might have been hoped during the fifteen years which have elapsed since their
emancipation, have, on the contrary, retrograded rather than improved, and that
they are now as a body less amenable than they were when that great change
took place, to the restraints of religion and of law, less docile and tractable, and
almost as ignorant and as much subject as ever to the degrading superstition
which their forefathers brought with them from Africa. V. C, III, J2y.

1894. James Rodway.

The emancipation act had been passed on the 24th of August [183-] and
was published in the Colony on the 19th of October. V. C, III,j2j.

Under the emancipation Act the slaves were classified as predials and
domestics, the former being bound to remain as apprentices until 1840, while the
latter would be entirely free in 1838. Same, p. J26.

It is undoubtedly true that emancipation meant a serious reduction of the
estimated capital and, as a natural consequence, of all the advantages of its pos-
session. Only about a third of the value of the slaves was received, so that every
owner was mulcted in the amount of the other two thirds, leaving him in so much
the worse position as a borrower. From all that can be gleaned, the human
property on an estate was always of more importance than the acreage in cultiva-
tion, and was therefore its prop and mainstay in all financial difficulties.

Same, p. J26.

It was undoubtedly true that there was great distress in the Colony at this

time. Lieutenant Governor Walker reported to the Secretary of State [Earl
Grey], on the matter, giving a sad picture of the Colony. Same, p. j2'/.

A commission was appointed, in January, 1850, to enquire into the state and
prospects of the Colony, which reported on the 28th of December of the same
year. This report is most exhaustive, proving beyond a doubt that the colony
In general was yirtually ruined. Same, p. j2y.



1681. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I have obtained little food from them [natives] and this want has been sup-
plied by the sea-side and again two canoes have gone there, one of them to Aiua-
cura to salt manatees and wild hog's flesh. B. C, I, iSj.

1699. Commandeur in Essequibo.

Our barque which we sent to Waiiii ... to salt fish and to trade
arrived here . . . with a very bad catch, and without having done
any trading.

We thought it to be the interest of the Company to let the said yacht [Ram-
mekens] make a short cruise to Waiiii to salt fish, wherein the desired success
was not achieved. Same, p. 214.

1699. Official Diary at Kijkoveral.

July 31, [1699]. Daniel Henderson came to the fort from Demerary . . .
to go salting up the river. Samg, p. 21 j.

October 27, [1699]. The yacht " Rammekens " has gone down to the River
Wayni for the salting of provisions.

November 11, [1699]. The yacht "Rammekens" again dropped down
stream to go and salt in the River Wayni, as has already been mentioned.

Same, p. 216.

1710. Commandeur in Essequibo.

Having learned through the Creole Jan, whom I had sent to Mazaruni to salt
for the fort. Same, p. 234.

1746. Commandeur in Essequibo.

This Colony from its very beginning having been in the possession of that
[Orinoco] fishery, and never having suffered the least hindrance or opposition
from the Spaniards, this [seizure by the Spaniards, of a Dutch fishing boat] ap-
pears to m2 to bs a kind of piratical act which cannot be tolerated. . . . The
new Governor being due in Orinoco in February next, I shall send there to claim
the boats and cargoes, but I am certain that such will be in vain. B. C, II, 47.

1747. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

We hereby repeat . . . and also very earnestly recommend you here-
with to aid in every possible way, and with all your might, in the maintenance of
the fishery [in the Orinoco region] and to help preserve the right thereof.

Same, p. 4g.

1748. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I shall also, as soon as a favorable opportunity occurs, execute your
Honours' order.s ... as regards the fishery. I have brought the matter
so far with the Commandant of Orinoco, that I believe myself that no further
disturbances will occur, but I can obtain no satisfaction for the three canoes
taken away because he pretends that this took place through a privateer of Trini- I
dad, and thus out of his jurisdiction. Same, p. JJ.


1767. Director-General in Essequibo.

Spanish deserters have arrived in Essequibo, . . . They give the harsh
treatment of the new Governor as a reason for deserting, ... I do not trust
the whole business, especially since commerce with Orinoco is entirely stopped,
and even the flshery is absolutely at a standstill, which has never hap-
pened before, and which is exceedingly embarrassiuj? ... to the
whole Colony. B. C, III, 14J.

On account of the bad treatment received at the hands of the present Governor
of Orinoque, all the Warouws, thousands of whom live on the islands in the mouth
of the Orinoco, are fleeing from there, and that hundreds of them have already
arrived in Barima. Our flshery is therefore knocked on the head for some
time, unless that nation should resolve to exchange blow for blow ; . . . but
courage fails them, for . . . [they are] most afraid of firearms.

Same, p. 144.

1768. Director-General in Essequibo.

They [Spaniards] are not content with most unreasonably keeping our run-
away slaves and with hindering lis from carrying' on the flshery in Oronoco,
which we have always been free to do, but they now wish to prevent us from
salting along our own coasts, and will in this manner end by closing our river,
and no boats will dare to go out any more. Same, p. 181.

1768. British Case.

Tlie Dutch had for many years [before 1768] enjoyed the maracot flshery
in the moutli of the Orinoco. It was much hindered by the Spaniards, but al-
ways upon the plea that the vessels were not fishing but smuggling. B. C, J2.

1769. British Counter Case.

The Dutch flshery iu the mouth of the Orinoco . . . had been enjoyed
by the Dutch for a long period, and their right to it was never denied by
the Spanish authorities till 1769. . . . All the captures of the Dutch fish-
ing craft before that year were either acts of piracy, disavowed by the Spanish
Commander, who, in many cases, procured redress for the owners, or were jus-
tified only on the grounds that, under pretence of fishing, contraband trade was
being carried on with the Spanish possessions. There is nothing to show that the
Dutch fishery was permanently abandoned after 1769. B. C.-C, Sj-SS.

1769. Remonstrance of the States-General.

That . . . the people of the Orinoco had some time ago not only begun to
dispute with the people of Essequibo about the flshing rights in the mouth of
the Orinoco and thereupon to prevent them by force from enjoying the same,
notwithstanding that the people of Essequibo had been for many years in
peaceful and quiet possession of that flshery, . . . but . . the

people of Orinoco were beginning to prevent, by force, their fishing upon the
territory of the State itself, extending from the River Marowjn to beyond the
Rivei Wayne, not far from the mouth ot the Orinoco. B. C, IV, ji.

1769. West India Company.

Concerning the . . . hindering of tlie fisheries ... we have
made a very full remonstrance to the States General. V. C, II, 212.


1769. Secretary of State for the Indies.

It is necessary for me to ask information from the Governors of . . .
Guayana and of Cumana concerning the facts which are reported, and to forward
the said memorial [Dutch remonstrance of 1769] to the Council of the Indies, in
order that His Majesty may be informed . . . about the ri^ht claimed by
the Republic to the fishery at tlie entrance to the River Orinoco ... a
thing' as new to me as that the Carib tribe of Indians is conceived of as the
ally of the Dutch. V. C, III, 3S1.

1770. Commandant of Guayana.

The fishery in the mouths of the Orinoco was never less disputed by the
Spaniards to the Dutch than at present, for the Dutch do not fish there, and in
the three years that the privateers for this river have been in service by my orders
they have taken twenty-three foreign vessels, but no fishing boat, nor have even
seen any, nor has it come to my knowledge that the Dutch have had such
fishery . . . And I have only been able to find one case in which the Span-
iards had met with and taken in the year 1760 a small Dutch schooner and
two fishing-boats, in the mouth of the Orinoco and River Barima ... I
am of opinion tliis pretended fishery should be denied to them and pro-
hibited. B. C, IV, 72.

1785. Council of the Indies.

In 1769 the Ambassador of Holland appeared, . . . presenting . . .
a memorial . . . that the Spaniards had commenced some time back, to
dispute their riglit to fish at the mouth of the Orinoco, and in the stretch of
territory between the Marewigni river and the other side of the Wayne, be-
longing to the State, . . . and that they had been disturbed in their fishing
by force, notwithstanding the long time they had enjoyed it quietly and peace-
fully, and that it was of great profit to them by reason of the abundance of fish to
be found there. Same, pp. 2J4-2/J.

The Governors of Guayana and Cumana . . . reported (justifying the
same). Same, p. 2/^.

That they could not found such pretensions upon the tacit or express permission
that the Commandants of Guayana and Orinoco may have at times gijen them to
fish at the Boca de Navios and the Barima and Aquire rivers ; on the huts they
may have built to salt and dry their catch, nor on the navigation which may have
been furtively allowed them as far as Guayana or farther up. Same, p. 2yj,

The matter remained in this condition up to the year 1785, when, the brief
having been made by the Relator, and the Record returned to the Attorney-Gen-
eral ... he stated in his reply of May 27 of the same year [1785J that at
that time there was no action required, since more than fifteen years having
passed without any pressure being brought by the Minister of Holland in the
premises, it was natural to believe that the Republic better apprised of the
want of just reasons for tlie demand it had made, had desisted thei'efroni.

Same, pp. 2jg-2So.



-. Venezuelan Case.

Spain was the first nation to discover South America, to explore it, and to
take formal possession of it. V. C, 221.

-. British Counter Case.

That Spain was the first to discover South America is admitted, but her

exploration of it was very limited. B. C.-C, ijo.

Venezuelan Case.

Spain was the first nation to discover and explore Guiana. V. C, 221.

-. British Counter Case.

It is admitted that Spain was the first nation to discover Guiana. It is

untrue that except to a very limited extent she explored that country. All the im-
portant explorations in that part of the territory now called Guiana were made
by the English and Dutch. B. C.-C, ijo.

-. Venezuelan Case.

Spain was ... the first and only nation to take formal possession of,