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

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ernment, it will be prudent not to attempt an occupation which would complicate
negotiation and might lead to unpleasant discussion.

Since the occupation of the Barima by the Dutch ... the territory within
that river has been inhabited by the aborigines alone. Same, p. igS.

1842. British Counter Case.

Lord Aberdeen consented to order the removal of the posts purely as an act
of international comity. B. C.-C, 12S.

1844. Earl of Aberdeen.

As a most valuable concession to Venezuela, Her Majesty's Government are
willinj; to waive their claim to the Amacura . . . and to consider the
mouth of the Moroco lliver as tlie limit of her Majesty's possessions on the
sea-coast. . . . upon the condition . . . that no portion of it shall be
alienated at any time to a foreign Power, and that the Indian tribes now residing
within it shall be protected against all injury and oppression. B. C, VII, go.




1844. Earl of Aberdeen.

This [Trinity] parish is from Capouie Creek to Pomcrooii, iiml as far as the
British settlements extend. V. C, III, 145.

1862. Sir W. H. Holmes.

Anthony Trollope, who visited the Colony in i860, [says]. . . . And
lastly of our own rivers, the Guiana (or Whynee), though I doubt whether,
for absolute purposes of colonization, we have ever gone so far as this. And be-
yond that . . . the Orinoco. On its shores we make no claim. Though
the Delta of the Orinoco is still called Guiana, it belongs to the Republic of
Venezuela. V. C.-C, 111,246.

1871. W. C. McClintock, Superintendent of Pomeroon.

This tract of land, situated on the left bank of Marucca, ... is nothing
more or less than a swampy jungle, . . . with only from fifty to sixty per-
sons living in it ; these persons are Spanish Arowacks, the descendants of the
Spaniards who . . . in 1821-22 abandoned . . . the Oronoko to seek pro-
tection under British rule, . . . the high lands in question were made over to
the Spaniards with a promise of protection, which they have enjoyed for near
fifty years, and now most urgently beseech that the same may again be extended
to them, as since British jurisdiction has been withdrawn murders, violent
cases of assaults, thefts, &c., have become frequent. B. C, VI, 211.

The left bank of Morucca being a swampy jungle, and . . . utterly
valueless ... a question of some importance is . . . that in the
case the Venezuelans prove to the satisfaction of the English Government
their rights to the left bank of Marucca, valueless though it be, would it
be wise to let them have it, or would it not be better to purchase their right.
To the Venezuelan Government this swampy jungle can be of no value, whereas
to this Colony the occupation of Marucca, ... is paramount.

In case the Spanish obtained a footing in Marucca . . . rum and other
spirits would be introduced from the Oronoko in large quantities. Retail spirit
shops would be established at the mouth of Marucca and at other places, which
would interfere very materially with the revenue. Sajne, pp. 211-212.

1875. Governor Longden.

The Amacura River . . . was . . . proposed by Sir Robert Schom-
burgk for adoption as the boundary line . . . but . . . never ac-
cepted, and the frontier is still undetermined, the limit of the ancient Dutch
Colony being claimed by Great Britain as the boundaries of the present Colony.

Same, p. 214.

1879. E. F. im Thurn.

The territory in dispute commences on the western bank of the Essequibo
River, and extends to an undefined distance toward the Orinoco.

V. C, III, I JO.

This post on the Amacura. ... Its very existence is doubtful, for it is
not shown anywhere but in Bouchenroeder's chart. . . . But there is yet
stronger evidence . . . that the Dutch at the close of the i8th century did
not consider that their territory extended so far toward the Orinoco. Pinckard,
whose writings should have authority, . . . distinctly says . . . that the




most northern outpost of the Dutch Colonies at the time of their first capture by
the English was on the Morooca. The ancien post Hollandais, marked in
Bouchenroeder's map, is very possibly one of the posts established by the first
Dutch who came to Guiana about the end of the i6th century, when, according
to tradition, they tried to settle on the Orinoco before finally taking up their posi-
tion on the Pomeroon and Essequibo. . . . Scliombur^k's cljiiin, based
upon the supposed existence of this Dutch Post, to make the Amacura ser\'e as
part of the western boundary of British Guiana, seems untenable. At any rate.
it never was and never could be admitted by the Venezuelans.

A boundary treaty based on the survey by Schomburgk was promised in 1841
by the British Government, but, as was to be expected, it was not accepted by the
Venezuelan authorities. V. C, III, 132-153.

1 88 1. Lord Granville.

Her Majesty's Gfovernnient are unable to accept the mouth of the Moroco
as the boundary on the coast ; they would nevertheless be ready to consider
any conventional boundary which the Venezuelan Government may propose com-
mencing at a more northerly point on the coast. Same, p. 220.

1886. Earl of Rosebery.

Her Majesty's Government attach especial importance to the possession
by British Guiana of the mouth of the River Waiui, and they desire, therefore,
to stipulate that the line should start from the sea-coast westwards of that
point, due compensation being found in some other portion of the disputed ter-
ritory for this departure from the basis of an equal division. B. C, VII, 116.

I have now to instruct you to address a note to the Venezuelan Government in-
forming them that . . . Her Majesty's Government cannot . . . allow
their rights in the territory . . , to remain any longer in suspense : and

that it is their intention, ... at once to define the boundary ... as
follows :

The initial point to be fixed at a spot on the sea-shore 20 miles . . . east
from the right bank of the River liarima and to be carried thence south over
. . . Yarakita Hill.

This line is identical with that which was suggested in Lord Granville's note
to the Seiior de Rojas of the 15th September, 1881. V. C, III, 160.

1887. E. F. im Thurn.

I was more than ever convinced of the desirability . . . of maintaining'
what is known as Schomburgk's boundary-line, at least as far as the Amacura
is concerned, and I was also much impressed by the excellence of the oppor-
tunity now offered us of securing permanent recognition of that line by a little
firm but quiet demonstration. B. C, VI, 2jg.


1781. Capt. Edward Thompson, R. N.

I . . . enclose you the Capitulations of the Dutch subjects of the Colonies
on the Rivers of Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo. . . . Berbice is inhab-
ited 100 miles up, and hath 100 plantations, . . . Demerara is divided into




plantations on both sides the river 1 60 miles inland, . . . The Bay of Esse-
quibo, which receives three larg-e rivers that penetrate into Spanish
Aniorica . . . contains seventy plantations, which extend from Demerara to
Fort Zelandia, . . . and from that parallel on the west coast as low as the
River Pomeroon, besides the Islands Liguana, Wackingham, &c. B. C, V, i.

1808. Court of Policy.

/. Tostholder AVahl wishes to change the Post and bring the same to a
certain Iiill, from where he can oversee the three months of the rivers Esse-
quibo, Cajoeny, and Massaroeny.

4. He thinks it necessary that all persons, white, colored people, or Indians,
in going up or coming down the river, should be obliged and ordered to stop at
the Post and present their passes.

6. That he also requests some authority be given him over the colored
people and over the Indians, to keep them in good order, as they are so dis-
tant from the seat of Government.

The Court did further resolve ;

I. That leave be granted to the Postholder Wahl to change the Post.

4. That all persons, whether whites, colored people, or Indians, or others, in
going- up or coming down the river, shall stop at the Post, and report the errand
they go upon ; also those whom this concerns, exliibit their passes to the
Postholder. B. C.-C, App., 263.

1 841. R. H. Schomburgk.

I had understood from some Indians who were well acquainted with the
Cuyuni that there had once been a Dutch Post at an island called Tokoro, which
was much farther to the west than that part of the Cuyuni where ... I
had . . . previously . . . considered the boundary line ougrht to
cross to tlie River Cuyuni. B. C, VII, 22.

1857. Lieutenant-Governor Walker.

The boundary claimed by Great Britain, however, according to the
same authority [Schomburgk], crosses the River Cayuui in longitude 00^ 20',
or thereabouts, [First Schomburgk Line]. B. C, VI, 20J.

You will return with them by . . . the Cayuni River, and you will take
every opportunity of examining the country in its neighborhood, especially after
you pass the longitude of 00° 15', which the progress of the expedition will per-
mit, the great object of your employment being to ascertain the probability of
the existence of gold fields within the British possessions. Same, p. 20/.

1879. E- F- im Thurn,

In 1857 certain English expeditions were, indeed, sent to Tupuquen, but their
sole result was a tardy acknowledgment from the Englisli that the mines of
that place were not in British territory.

Tupuquen undoubtedly lies very far on the Venezuelan side of the boun-
dary as claimed by the English and as laid down by Sir Robert Schomburgk.
Had we, therefore, claimed the mines at that place, it would have been most
unwise and unwarrantable. V. C, III, iji.




1879. E. F. im Thurn.

Schomburgk . . . traces the western limit . . , along certain
natural features, which, unsatisfactory- as they are for the purpose, seemed to him
the best available. V. C, III, 152.

The old Diitcli outpost on the Ciijuui River . . . Up to this point
tliere is no reason wliy the British Government should not accept Codazzi's
line, which is based both on history and natural features. Same, p. ijj.

Some time before 1863, gold was discovered on the Cuyuni at a point but two
days' journey from the mouth of that river . . . the British Guiana Gold
Mining Company was formed to work these fields. Buildings and machinery
were erected on the spot and some gold was extracted. . . . The Venezuelan
Government appealed to the British Government, which . . . issued a proc-
lamation to the English gold miners that they were working as adventurers in
disputed territory and that they were to expect no protection from the British
Government. . . . The mines . . . were so near our Penal Settlement
that to allow the uncertainty of the English claim to the gold field was virtually
to allow the uncertainty of our claim to the Penal Settlement. Same, p. 1^4.


1S41. R. King, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks.

A Custom-house officer . . . ought to be sent down to this [Pomeroon]
district, as these traders [Oronolio] bring many articles into the country which
are liable to pay duty, but which they dispose of readily in the Pomeroon and
Essequibo coast. B. C, VJ, 114,

1843. W. C. McClintock, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks.

I . . . learned that it was likely two or three Oronoko traders would be
in Morocco ... I will ... lay before the Collector of Customs a state-
ment of the amount of duties received from the Spanish traders, part of which
is in cigars.

Another Oronoko trader arrived ; cargo, black-eye peas and cigars, duty
paid in money. . . . Went to Morocco Creek to overhaul a sloop from the
Oronoko ; cargo, forty 1 50 lb. bags blackeye peas, ten full-grown hogs, and ten
young ditto. The owner of the vessel, who was on board, not having money to
pay the duties, produced documents which proved that he was regularly cleared
out at Angostura for Demerara, consequently allowed him to pass.

Same, p. 127.

Was visited by Jose Rodinze, Postholder of Corioppo, a village in Rio Oro-
noko. . . . After paying: duty on his cargo, which consisted of salted
fish, cigars and dried meat, proceeded on his way to town.

Received information of the arrival of a carg'o of salted fish in Morocco
from the Oronoko. Proceeded ... to where the fish was housed. Found
500 pounds. The duty was paid in money. Same,p. 12S.

1844. W. C. McClintock, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks.

During this quarter there have been twenty-three arrivals from the Oro-
noko. These cargoes consisted principally of salted fish. There were also a
few M. cigars, some dried meat, and three head of cattle.

The amount of duty, King's and Colonial, is 1S7 dollars. Same, p. i2g.




1844. W. C. McClintock, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks.

During this quarter only four Spanish boats have ccme from the Oronoko.
The dullness of the trade is caused by the great scarcity of fish.

The amount of duty received from tlie Oronoko traders this quarter is
trivial on account of the scarcity already described. B. C, VI, iji.

1845. ^V. C. McClintock, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks.

The Posthouse has been undergoing repairs, . . . which prevented the
possibility of attending as strictly as was necessary to the numerous Spanish
traders that came up from the Oronoko in large canoes laden with fish and other
articles, on which there is duty to be collected. Formerly . . . the
Oronoko duties amounted in one year to a sum bordering on 500 dollars ; but
since that period, now upwards of twelve months, the collections have been very
inconsiderable. Same, p. 140,

1847. W. C. McClintock, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks.

Received information, that . . . several Spanish traders were expected, but
. . . could not remain ... in the creek ; consequently, all those who
had cigars sold almost all they brought up to the inhabitants of 3Iorocco. To try
and prevent a recurrence of this kind it will be requisite [to] . . . erect a house
in the upper part of Morocco Creek, . . . on a spot by which all corials, &c.,
would be compelled to pass. Unless a precaution similar to what he has pro-
posed be established, it is totally out of his power ... to collect duties
from the Oronoko traders. Same, p. 14Q.

1849. W. C. McClintock, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks.

All Spaniards who trade to the Colony in coreals, canoes, and sometimes
small sloop boats, are obliged ... to pass through Morocco Creek . . .
and from whom, according to a special order of Sir Henry Light, I am com-
pelled to receive duties. Same, p. 1J4.


1836. Sir Robert Porter.

It becomes my official duty to represent . . . the . . . necessity
. . . of placing a conspicuous beacon on Cape Barima. B. C, VII, S2.

I . . . request you will inform me (for the information of my own

Cioyernment) whether anything has jet been actually done as to erecting the
lighthouse or beacon which I pointed out to the Government ... as abso-
lutely necessary. Same, p. S4.

1836. Senor Gallegos.

The Department of Finance will give suitable orders to carry out this under-
taking [Barima Light]. Same, p. S4.

1836. Vice-Consul Hamilton at Angostura.

The loss of the " Coriolanus " is another proof of the abandonment to which
the important navigation of the Orinoco is left, and of the inattention of Govern-
ment to a matter seriously involving the interests of the country.

Same, p. S4.

A beacon could be easily erected on the point of Cape Barima.

Same, p. 83.



1842. Daniel F. O'Leary, British consul at Caracas.

It does not appear that Sir Robert Porter ever informed your Department
that he had written to the Venezuelan Government on the subject [of Barima
Light]. B. C, VII, 84.

I forward to you . . . letters of Mr. Hamilton to Sir Robert K. Porter-
Upon these letters it was that Sir Robert founded the request he made to the
Venezuelan Government to cause a lighthouse to be constructed at Ilarima.

Same, p. 8§.

. British Counter Case.

The request . . . made by Sir Robert Ker Porter [in 1836 for Barima
Light] . , . was made without the authority and without the knowledge
of Her Majesty's rxOTerument. It was not acted on by the Venezuelan Govern-
ment, nor was the fact of its having been made communicated to the British
Foreign Office. B. C.-C, i2y.

1886. F. R. St. John.

The erection of a lighthouse [at Barima] would still constitute a violation
of disputed grounds. B. C, VII, iij.

1887. Earl of Iddesleigh.

An attempt to erect such a lighthouse . . . would be a departure from
the reciprocal engagement taken by the Governments of Venezuela and Eng-
land in 18.50 not to occupy or encroach upon the territory in dispute between the
two countries. Same, p. 118.


. British Case.

The Government of Venezuela has, however, on occasion, modified its pre-
tensions as regards the district immediately to the west of the estuary of the
Essequibo, and claimed only that the boundary should run from the neighbour-
hood of the mouth of the Moruka southwards to the Cuyuni, near its junction
with the Massaruni, and then as stated above. B. C, 6-j.

1833. Quarterly Return of Pomeroon Post.

A colored Spaniard [Venezuelan] called on his way up the [Pomeroon] river.
Exliibited his pass from Angostura. B. C, VI, ji.

1840. R. King, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks.

September 24. — Started from Dunbarton Castle for the Morocco.

September 25. — Proceeded up the creek and stopped at the Spanish In-
dian's, Calixtro, . . . and then went as far as tlie Mission. . . . 3Iet
here Francisca Rodriques, the Postholder of the Oronocco, who requested a
pass to proceed to (ieorgetowu. Same, p. g6.

1840. Juan Pirel.

TJie Commander of the [Venezuelan] gun-boat is of opinion that Mora
Creek is llie line between the Venezuelan territoi^, and that little further is be-
longing to the British. Same, p. pp.



1 841. Instructions to Senor Fortique.

Althoiig-h Venezuela's rig-hts in Guayana extended to the banks of the Essc-
qulbo . . . this Government being anxious to remove all obstacles to a
speedy adjustment, is not disposed to insist upon its rights to that extent, it being
manifest that England will not agree to surrender her establishments on the
Pumaron and Moroco rivers. You may, therefore, direct the course of your
ueg'otiations accordingly, making gradual concessions until an agreement can
be had on the following line of boundary between Venezuela and British Guiana,
viz.: Tlie Moroco from its mouth to its headwaters in the Imataca mountains ;
thence southward ... to Tupuro creek ; thence ... to the Cuyuni
river ; thence ... to its confluence with the Essequibo ; and thence south-
ward along the left bank of the Essequibo to its confluence with the Rupuruni.

V. C, III, 425.

1 88 1. Senor de Rojas.

My (irovernmeut will accept the point of departure on the coast at a mile to
the north of the mouth of the Moroco. ... A meridian of latitude \stc\ to
be drawn at that point westward to the point where this line crosses the longi-
tude of 60° from Greenwich and thence . . . southward. B. C, VII, g8.

1884. Michael McTurk.

Juan Jose Totasan, a Venezuelan Magistrate, . . . had come for the pur-
pose of serving notices ... to the residents on the Waini, Barima, Mora Guana,
and Amacura Rivers, and to fix them on the trees. 1 explained to him . . .
that I should destroy any [such] notices. I also pointed out to him . . .
Mr. Fitzgerald's words . . . that " about ten miles to the south-west of
Barima Point is the entrance to the Amacura River, which in ISOO formed the
boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela." I told him I was not aware
that the boundary had been altered since 1800, and asked if he was ; he said he
was not. He then told me he did not intend going- any further.

B. C, VI, 2JO-2JI.

1897. Cyriac, a Warow Indian.

I live ... in Barima. . . . The Venezuelans bringing morocot fish
from above the Amacura, in the Orinoco, used to pay duty to Mr. McClintock.

I have been present when the money was paid. B. C, VII, 2ji ,


1739. Marquis de San Felipe y Santiago.

These circumstances deserve consideration, chiefly because the Dutch on the
mainland are so near to the principal mouth of the Orinoco in three colonies
called Surinam, Bervice and Essequibo, with large populations and fortifications,
and are gradually approaching nearer ; and the Governors who have previously
been in Guayana have not prevented it, nor is there any knowledge of the
boundaries that are to be kept, nor orders, nor forces to hold them under control
which will in time cause irreparable damage. B. C.-C, App., iSi.

1758. Military Commandant in Essequibo,

It seems to him [Director-General in Essequibo] according to the letter in
question, that in Wuayana and at Cumami there is ignorance of the boundaries
of the territory of His Catholic Majesty, and those of the States-General.

B. C, II, 173.



1763. Don Jose Diguja.

Tlie boundaries of the Province of Gnayana . . . are unknown

. . . in respect of what it contains in its centre. B. C, III, 61.

1779. Don Jose de Abalos.

Tlie want of the Treaties of Peace for my instruction and accurate knowl-
eilg'e of what has been agreed upon with the States-General respecting the settle-
ments of Surinam and Essequibo, and liow far their frontiers extend.

B. C, IV, 210.

Be good enough to inform me what we have agreed upon with the Dutch
and French, in order that I may neither overpass the boundaries or fail in
what is desirable. Sa))ie,p. 211.

1788. Don Miguel Marmion.

The proper knowledge will be acquired of the extent and character of these
lands, and of the true boundaries which separate them from the foreign posses-
sions. B. C, V, 66.


17 1 2. [1897] George L. Burr.

The earliest mention I have anywhere found in Dutch records of a boundary
between the Dutch and the Spanish possessions in Guiana is that in 1712 by the
Lord of Sommelsdijk, head of the great Dutch family which was one-third
owner of the colony of Surinam, . . . where Mr. Tan Sommelsdijk and
his colleagues would have wished the frontier set does not appear.

V. C.-C, II, 1S1-1S2.

1746. Commandeur in Essequibo.

1 feel not the least diffidence as to dislodging them from that place and cap-
turing those forts, but such a step being one of great consequence, I dare not
take anything upon myself, especially as the proper frontier-line there is un-
known to me. B. C, II, 4^.

1746. West India Company.

Inasmuch as you are as yet in uncertainty about this matter [of boundaries]

we are of opinion [etc.]. Same, p. 46.

1746. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I have had the honour to inform your Honours ... of a Mission erected
with a little fort by the Spaniards up in the Cuyuni, in my opinion on your
Honours' territory, ... to make fortifications in our own land is in breach
of all custom. 1 say upon our own land — 1 cannot lay this clown, however, with
full certainty because the limits west of this river are unknown to me.

Same, pp. 46-4"/,

1747. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I should already long ago have removed and demolished the first fort up in
Cuyuni ... if 1 were but rightly conscious liow far the limits of your
Honours' territory extend, both on the eastern and northern sides, as well as
south and westwards, for the decision whereof not the least help is to be got in
this office. Same, p. 4g.



1747. West India Company (the Ten).

We have requested all the Chambers to inquire, each on its own account,
whether it is possible to find out how far the limits of the Company in Rio
Essequibo do extend. B. C, II, ji.

1748. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I wish, however, that if it were possible, 1 might know the proper bound-
aries. According to the testimony of old men and of the Indians, this
jurisdiction should begin on the east at the Creek Abary, and extend westwards

Online LibraryRafael SeijasVenezuela-British Guiana boundary arbitration. Digest of evidence arranged according to subjects → online text (page 19 of 45)