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

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days' journey distant the dwellings of the negro fugitives from Essequibo and
Surinam are situated. B. C, V, 142.

1792. Governor of Guiana.

You should assure yourself of the information . . . that iu an island
. . . helow the mouth of the Mazaruni there are various nations of In-
dians armed with flre-arms and a stockade. . . . there is more reason for
distrust when, as you tell me, they are provided with fire-arms in contravention
of the general ordinances which govern us, . . . these vagrant nations
. . . if . . . not protected by . . . more civilized ones could not be
provided with such armament on the frontiers of our possessions, or rather,
within our own. V. C.-C, III, J40-J41.


. British Case.

The Dutch were recognized as having- . . . rights iu the districts of
the river itfassaruni. Spanish Indians, coming from the Spanish Missions,
asked for the permission of the Dutch Commandeurs to settle in that locality.

B. C, iij.
1757. Don Jose de Iturriaga.

The request they [Dutch] make in writing to the Commandant of Guay-
ana, that he may permit their Aruacas to pass higher up the river when they
come for the turtle-fishing, though neces.sary to their interests, is hardly in con-
formity with the title of (governors of Essequibo and Orinoco ; and I am
positively assured that not only does the Commandant condescend to grant it,
but he goes so far as to protect with his licences the vessels going up for that
purpose. On these occasions Aruacas, Caribs, and Dutchmen come disguised, so
as not to be detected. B. C, II, ijy.

1757. Don Jose Solano.

Some fourteen years ago he [Iturriaga] saw a Protection or Patent executed
in Latin by the Governor of Essequibo in behalf of a Carib Captain, who lived
within the Orinoco river ; . . . and he ascertained that the States-dieneral
in their Patents to the Governors of Essequibo add the title of Governors of
Orinoco; and that it is a matter of fact that these Governors call themselves of
Essequibo and the Orinoco in the licences issued by them. ... He adds
that lie does not quite aj>prove of the title of Governors of Essequibo and of
Orinoco, but deems needful for their benefit the request that they make by writing,
to the Commandant of Guayana, that their Aroacas who come to fish for turtles
be allowed to pass higher up. V. C.-C, III, 66.

1758. British Case.

Fray IJenito de la Garriga ... in 1758 . . . say[s] . . . that
he had seen documents from Essequibo, according to wliicli the jurisdiction
of that Government extended to the mouth of the Aguirre, and the boundary



was a line drawn south from that point, skirting the outmost savannahs of the
Missions of Miamo, passing Tucupo and Curumo, and reaching Aripamuri, by
which name he referred to Rupununi. A study of the whole letter shows that
the Dutch were supreme not only in the Barima district, but also in all the forest
region between the Orinoco and the Cuyuni. B. C, Ii6.

1758. Fiay Benito de la Garriga.

Moyo, ... on coming from Essequibo, . . . told me he had
brought many papers from Essequibo, and among them an official document
ill which the jurisdiction of the Groveruor was marked down. This, ac-
cording to what he said, extends to the mouth of the Aguirre, and from that
mouth a straight line due south shows the division of the jurisdiction of his Gov-
ernor, so that the said line extends to the margins of the outermost savannahs
of our Missions of Miamo, etc. The said line passes by Tucupo and Corumo,
and crosses to the before-mentioned Aripamuri. I consider, if this news be
true which the said party gave me, that tliey have cut the stolen clotli to suit
their taste. And it must be true, for it is proved by the fact that the Governors
sometimes give permits in which these boundaries are marked. B. C, II, 14Q.

They clearly show the object of those foreigners, and give reason to think
that they want to appropriate the vfhole of the Eiver Cuyuni if their passage
is not stopped. And so we shall never have the Caribs in subjection, with
proper authority to prevent the people of Surinam from passing along that river
to purchase slaves, if they establish those posts. B. C.-C, App., 20j.

1758. Don Jose Solano.

iturriaga adds . . . that the people of Essequibo declared openly and
maintained that the extent of the Dominion of the States-General reaches to
the " Boca de Navios " or great mouth of the Orinoco, and they even go far
into the interior to make the most of their fishery.

These four letters having been referred to . . . Don Joseph Solano,
... he [Iturriaga] fails to find on what basis they make their claims,
unless it be the passiveness wherewith the Commandants of Guiana have al-
lowed them to fish in " Boca de Navios " and Barina and Aguire rivers, and
extend their navigation up to Guayana. That they thereby stretch their dominion
to the great mouth of Orinoco. V. C.-C, III, 6y.

1761. Don Jose Solano.

The third and fourth letter of . . . Iturriaga, dated . . . 17 57 and
. . . 1758, treat of tlie pretensions on tlie Orinoco openly put forward by
the (Governors of the Dutch Colony of the River Esquivo, on the ground that
the titles that they have from the States-General give them this jurisdiction ; not-
withstanding I do not know that they have reclaimed the vessels which the Trini-
tarios and Guayanos took from them in the course of this river. B. C, II, 2oj.

Nor do I know on what they [Dutch] could found their claims; for

though, by the Vth article of the Treaty of Munster, the dominion of the
countries, fortified places, factories, etc., was conceded to them which they at
that time possessed in America, on the Orinoco neither they nor any others but
the Spaniards alone, ever held, or have since held, castles or forts.

Same, p. 204.



1763. Don Jose Diguja.

To the east, and on the coast of this province [of Guayana], are situated
the Dutch Colonies, Essequibo, Demerary, Berbice, Corentin, and Surinam.
According to reports obtained by Don Juan de DiosyValdes, , . . the Colony
of Essequibo consists of sundry sugar estates, which the Dutch have planted, to
the distance of 30 leagues, on the banks of the River Essequibo, beginning at its
mouth, and also of some islands formed by the said river, which offer land for
plantations. B. C, III, 62-63.

i'76g. Fray Benito de la Garriga.

From this I infer how much they [Dutch] are endeavoring to procure new
sites, and thereby allege possession, and cause a dispute in time, if a stop be
not put to them, for they now imagine that they hold as theirs the River
Cuyuni, when before their guards did not go beyond its mouth, as is proved
by the patent of orders issued to the Postholder of the Cuyuni. And even the
tfoveruor claims it as territory of the Colony, as shown by the protest he sent
to the Commandant of the Fort. And in like manner he claims the Rivers
Mornca and Barima, upon which he now founds his complaint against the said
Commandant-General, charging him with insults and outrages, because he dis-
lodged them, as already noted, from the advanced Post of Barima.

B. C.,/V, 23.

He declared that the Dntcli are not, nor ever have been, in possession of

the rivers or creeks which flow into the sea from the Essequibo exclusively,
up to the nioutli of the Orinoco; that they have only been permitted to have
in that part a small guard of two Europeans and some Indians, in a lodge
which they call the Post, on the eastern bank of the River Moruca, which the
Dutch call Maroco ; and that this settlement has not existed from time quasi-im-
memorial, because the whole of the Colony is not so, and we know that it began
in the year 1659. Same, pp. 47-4S.

It is untrue that the Dutch have held, or do hold, possession of the River
Cuyuni, ... for having established thereon a guard and lodge like that of
Moruca, in the year 1747, to facilitate the inhuman traffic and seizure of Indians
whom they enslave surreptitiously in the dominions of the King our Lord
. . . directly it came to our notice, in the year 1757, they were dislodged there-
from ; and so neither on the Cuyuni, Maseroni, Apanoni, nor the other rivers
which have their outfall in Essequibo do the Dutch hold any possession, nor is it
permissible that they should hold it.

The only place wherein the Dutch are tolerated and established is on the
banks of the River Essequibo, which runs from S. E. to N. W. almost parallel
to the sea-coast, the eastern boundary of this Province of Guayana, and leaves the
interior thereof free to the Spaniards, its legitimate possessors. Savic, p. 48.

It is an equally false statement that they [Dutch] liave also been prevented
by the Spaniards from carrying on the said llsliing in the territory which
Gravesande calls territory of tlic State itself, which, he says, extends from
the river Mareguine up to this side of the Guayne very near the mouth of the
Orinoco, which supposition, . . . is an insufferable error. Same, p. 49.



1769. Secretary of State for the Indies.

It is necessary for me to ask information from the Governors of the new vil-
lage of Guayana and of Cumana concerning the facts which are reported, and to
forwaid the said memorial [Dutch Remonstrance of 1769] to the Council of the
Indies, in order that His Majesty may be informed of the extension of those
boundaries, and about the right claimed by the Republic to the fisliery at
the entrance to the river Orinoco— a thins? as new to me as that the Carib tribe
of Indians is conceived of as the ally of the Dutch. V. C, III, 381.

1770. Commandant of Guayana.

In . . . the Missions of the Catalonian Capuchins, . . . the Caribs
. . . have been settled to the number of 5,000 for over twenty years, without
our knowing until now that this numerous tribe belongs to the Dutch, as Grave-
sande says, nor still less that these forests are a part of the Republic, for they
have always been the nursery for the reductions of the Catalonian Capuchin
missionaries of Guayana. B. C, IV, 7/.

The Post which Gravesande states the Spaniards took, near a rivulet to the
south of the River Wayne, between this and the Povaron, where he states the
Company has had from time immemorial a trading settlement, and which also be-
longed, without contradiction, to the territory of the Republic, I imagine will be
the one the Dutch abandoned when they intruded in the river Barima, in
1768, as soon as they learned from their friends the Caribs that our privateers
were visiting that river, as one of the most considerable which flows into the
Orinoco, although he wishes to make little of it by calling it a rivulet ; and the
Director of Essequibo does not dare name it, least he thereby declare himself an
usurper ; and consequently he shows himself of very weak memory by stating that
this settlement was there from time immemorial, when it is scarcely two years
old. Satne, p. 72.

1778. Council of the Indies.

The Commandant of Guayana, Don Manuel Centurion, [stated that] Grave-
sand had endeavored to arouse the States-General against the proceedings of
the Spaniards, erroneously supposing that the Dutch had ever been in posses-
sion of the rivers or rivulets that empty into the sea from the Esquibo to the
Orinoco, because they had there no establishment other than a straw-thatched
hut on the eastern bank of the Moruca, or Maroco, which had been tolerated
for forty years back, intended to prevent the desertion of tlieir slaves.

V. C, II, 277.

That neither were they [Dutch] in possession of the Maseroni and other rivers
that emptied into the Esquibo on its southwestern bank, . . . because the
Esquibo flowing, approximately, parallel with the sea-coast . . . until it emp-
tied into the sea forty-live leagues east of the mouth of the Orinoco, all the
rivers having their sources in the furthest interior of the Province of Guayana and
flowing towards the coast lying between the mouths of the Corentin and Es-
quibo came in contact with the latter ; ... so that if, as the Dutch supposed,
the territory embraced by the rivers feeding the Esquibo (and they are the
Cuyuni, Maseroni, Mao, Apanoni, Putara, and other minor ones, with their



branches) belonged to the dominion of the Republic they would have in the
Province of Guayana more than the Spaniards ; the case being, as appeared from
the map he annexed, that the DutcJi could only cljiiin possession of the Suri-
nam, Cupernam, Corentim, Benis, Demerara, Esqnivo, and Powaron rivers.

V. C, II, 27 s.

That the Post which Gravesand stated the Spanish took possession of near a
rivulet south of the Guayne river, where he supposed the company had from
time immemorinl a trading-place depending beyond contradiction upon the Re-
public, must be, without doubt, the one which the intruding: Dutclimen upon the
Guarima River abandoned in the year 1768, so soon as they learned that our
cruising launches were patrolling that river, one of the largest emptying into the
Orinoco, notwithstanding that Gravesand made it out a rivulet, without venturing
to name it, so as not to declare himself a usurper. It is equally strana:e that he
should call this an immemorial establishment, when it had existed barely
for two years. Same, p. 2yg.

Tliat they [Spaniards] had never up to that time disputed the right of the
Dutcli to the fisheries at the mouths of the Orinoco because they did not fish

there, as is proved by the fact that, having armed during the last three years
some cruising launches for this river, they had seized thirty-three foreign vessels,
but none of them engaged in fishing, nor was there even any information that the
Dutch were in possession of such fishing grounds. Same, p. 2yg.


. [1897] George L. Burr.

From the first Dutch occupation of tlie Pomeroon, in 1G.5S, down to late
in the eighteenth century, tlie claim of the Dutcli to that river seems to
have been unquestioned. . . . In 1769, for the first time, we hear in Dutch
records of a counterclaim: the Spanish governor of Orinoco was said to have
declared that the territory was Spain's as far as the bank of Oene, in the mouth
of the Essequibo. During the years which followed, though Spain and Holland
were at peace, there was more than one Spanish incursion into the Pomeroon ; but
though ravages were committed along the coast and Indians abducted from the
interior, there was no attempt actually to take possession of the river. Of the
Instruccion of the Spanish Intendant-General of Venezuela, in February, 1779,
for the occupation and settlement of Guayana " to the borders of the Dutch
colony of Essequibo," the Dutch authorities seem to have known nothing; but of
the reconnoissance later . . . by . . . Inciarte . . . they knew ; . . .
but the Director-General having assured himself that they were "all gone without
having done any harm " to the post or to the Indians, evinced no disquiet about
the matter, and no steps seem to have been taken toward protest or further in-
vestigation. V. C.-C, II, g6.

1703. Commandeur in Essequibo.

The Governor of Surinam . . . shows himself ill-disposed because his
traders here in our district, namely, Essequibo, Uaumeron and Demerary
were not permitted to trade. B. C, I, 226.




1737. Commandeur in Essequibo.

We ought ... to keep up this Post ["tliei>ost of Wacquepo and
MoruJia"! because it was establislied for the maiiiteiiaiice of your Honour's

frontiers stretching toward the Orinoco. B. C, II, 2j.

1747. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I have discharged Pieter de Laet, the Postholder of Morulia. on account
of his bad behaviour, and since that Tost is of great importance, and it is essen-
tial to tlie Colony to keep np the same, I have appointed [etc.]. Same, p. ^o.

1755. Postholder in Wacquepo.

Concerning what you write, that if they will not come of their own free will
you would come and fetch them with violent measures, I do not think that you
meant this seriously, but that you only said so to frighten the Indians.

Because I cannot believe that you would undertake to violate in such a man-
ner the jurisdiction of their Hig-h Mightinesses, my Sovereigns.

Same, p. 122.

1757. Secretary in Essequibo.

Two [mules] died through the great drought, the lack of fresh water, and
above all, the getting grounded in a certain canal, called Itaboe, and situated
under the Company's Post Moruca. Same, p. ijg,

1760. Director-General in Essequibo.

I have been obliged to send a detachment of four of the best soldiers to the
Post of Maroco as quickly as possible because the Spaniards are beginning to
put tJieir horns out again. . . . They also threatened to deal with the
Post in Maroco ere long in the same way as they had done with that in Cuyuni.

Same, p. igy.

1769. Postholder in Moruca.

I . . . report . . . that ... a Spanish Tessel came into
Marocco and to the Post, there being upon it two Fathers, twelve soldiers and
a party of Weykiers with small canoes (the vessel was provided with eight swivel
guns, and on the forecastle a four-pounder piece) coming to fetch Arowaks
and Warouws ; and they have caught a whole party in Wayne and Maroco.
. . . We knew of nothing until a Father came to the Post. He, however, did
nothing to us at the Post, and I spoke to the Fathers, saying that such acts
were not permitted on Dutch ground and territory. They stated, in reply,
that they did not know that, and that they had orders from their Governor.
They in the evening departed, . . . but . . . they came up stream
again . . . with a noise, . . . and . . . asked where were the Indians
whom they had seen. . . . They seized immediately one maid. . . .
They have taken my two female slaves with their children, two free maids — one
boy of mine is still missing. . . . They have gone with more than a hundred
guilders' worth of my goods, that they found outside ; but in the house they
touched nothing. According to the report . . . they will come again to
come and fetch the Indians of Pomaroon. B. C, IV, S-g.

X769. [1897] George L. Burr.

But, in 1769, another remonstrance to the Spanish Court, drawn by the Zee-
land Chamber of the West India Company, urged by the Stadhouder, and adopted




by the States-General, stated or implied definite claims as to territorial boundary
in Guiana. On tfie coast the Dutch territory is represented as stretching to
beyond the Waini ; in the interior, to a point between the Dutch post on the
Cuyuni and the nearest Spanish Missions. This is the one document known to
the diplomatic correspondence of the two countries which suggests the place of
the boundary. V. C.-C, II, igo.

1786. Director-General in Essequibo.

The threats to raid the Post Maroco appear only to be a popular rumour
concerning which I deem it better not to write to the Government of Oronoque,
. . . it . . . being ver)- probable that the Government never thought
of it.

By writing to them about it, we sliould either offend them or show fear,
and thereby, perhaps, inspire them with a desire to do something of which
they would not otherwise have thought. At the same time, it would be well
to be on one's guard. B. C, V, 46.

1790. Report of Commissioners on condition of Essequibo and Demerara.

More lands here could be brought under cultivation if the vicinity of the River
Orinoco did not prevent it, for the Spaniards there sometimes come with armed
boats ... as far as Moruca, and carry away by force the Indians who
dwell there . . . The Colonies of Demerara and Essequibo, THEREFORE,
form a stretch of 21 (Dutch) miles along the coast of Guiana.

Same, p. yg.

1794. Governor-General in Essequibo.

We went on as far as the Creek of Moruca, which up to now has been
maintained to be the boundary of our territory with that of Spain, upon
what basis I do not know. It will be of the utmost necessity to define that
boundary-line once for all. Sarne, p. 14J.

1802. Anonymous [Dutch] Memorial.

From the Creek Abary (being the boundary between the Colony of Berbice
and Demerara) to the River Pomeroon, which belongs to the Colony of Esse-
quibo, that extent amounts to fully 25 hours' march. Same, p. ij6.


, [1897] George L. Burr.

Permission to cut timber [in the Waini] . . . was . . . repeat-
edly and formally granted by the Essequibo Court of Policy in the name of
the West India Company ; though, owing to the river's unnavigable entrance,
this permission remained unused. V. C.-C, II, ii^-

1753. Director-General in Essequibo.

In a short time everything will have been granted, and there will be no more
land remaining. Wherefore, I have sent away Pilot J. Grotendorst to measure
the Rivers Waini and Pomeroon.

A rumour is current here that Emissaries of Sweden have arrived in Surinam
in order to make inquiry respecting the River Barima lying between Oronoco and
this river, in order to bring over a Colony there. B. C, II, "/J.



1754. Director-General in Essequibo.

According to the reports of the Indians, there are between Orinoco and here
two or three very rich silver mines, by no means at or near the River Orinoco, but
far south of it on our side, and even, In my opinion, south of tiie >Vaini, and
in the chain of mountains commonly called the Blaauwenberg, which forms a
whole long line of mountain chain, . . . what shall I do? . . . It is
even impossible for me ... to detach eight or ten men to garrison and
defend as far as possible the Post of Moruka, which will, I fear, bear the brunt.

B. C, If, 93.

1759. Director-General in Essequibo.

The possession of that river [Cuyuni], as far, too, as this side of the Wayne,
which is pretended to be the boundary-line (although I think the latter ought to
be extended as far as Barima) cannot be questioned . . . and your Lord-
ships' right of ownership is indisputable. Same, p. iSo.

1 761. Secretary in Essequibo.

I respectfully reply that the aforesaid boats, having been seized by those pirates
between the rivers of Barima and Waini, were absolutely on the Company's coast,
for this is certain (not to enter upon the various opinions which exist about the
limits of the Company's domains) that the river of Waini indisputably belong-s
to the Company. Same, p. 200.

1762. Secretary in Essequibo.

If we may not go as far as Weyne, which is your lordships' river as mucli

as this one, I do not know what to do in future to get food for the slaves.

Same, p. 21^.

1762. Director-General in Essequibo.

Had both been captured in the mouth of the River Wayni (indisputably the
territory of the Honourable Company). Same, p. 216.

1763. Director-General in Essequibo.

The first [of the four Posts or so-called trading places of the Company] is
Maroco, situated between this river and Orinoco, under the direction of which
are the rivers of Pomeroon and Weyni. Same, p. 226.

1768. Director-General in Essequibo.

A Spanish privateer from Orinoco, cruising along our coast, made an attempt
to capture your Lordships' Salter before the River Waini (indisputably the Com-
pany's territory), and fired very strongly upon him. The latter was cautious
enough (not being able to escape otherwise) to run his boat high and dry upon
the bank, so that he could not be reached by the privateer who, having continued
to fire upon him for some time, and seeing that he could do nothing, finally

They [Spaniards] are not content with most unreasonably keeping our
runaway slaves and with hindering us from carrying on the fishery in Orinoco,
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 iranner end by closing our river_
and no boats will dare to go out any more. B. C, III, iSi.



1769. Remonstrance of the States-General.

The Spaniards had begun to carry off the Indians from Monica, and had
made themselves masters of the Company's Post there, being a small river or

Online LibraryRafael SeijasVenezuela-British Guiana boundary arbitration. Digest of evidence arranged according to subjects → online text (page 13 of 45)