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

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of land. This and an establishment on the Berbice were the only Dutch settle-
ments in Guiana in 1648. Neither then, nor at any time prior thereto, had the
Dutch occupied or settled a foot of ground west of their Essequibo post.

Same, p. 74.

Tlie objects which first broug-ht the Dutch to America, were to plunder
the Spanisli settlemeuts, and to rob the Spanish treasure on its way across
tlie oc(>an. When the Treaty of Munster put an end to this system of robbery,
the Dutch relations with Guiana became those of mere trade; and the posses-
sions of the Dutch on the Guiana coast stood out as merely so many trading
establishments. Same, p. pp.

The earliest relations of the Dutch, witli (Juiana in general, and with the
Essequibo in particular, were limited to trade and to hostile operations against
the Spaniards. Same, p. 222.




•. British Counter Case.

It is true that the earliest relations of the Dutch with Guiana and with the
Essequibo related to trade and hostile operations against the Spaniards, but these
relations inimediately developed into the taking of posssession of parts of the
country. They were certainly trading to the Essequibo before 1635.

/)'. C.-C, iji.

. British Case.

The Postholders' relations with the Indians, in course of time became
more political tlian commercial. B. C, 88.

Numerous passages from the records can also be cited to show that at a
comparatively early period the political functions of the Postholders had be-
come more important than the commercial.

It will be found that in British times the Postholders traveled largely through
the districts round their Posts, and exercised magisterial functions. During the
Dutch period it does not appear that they habitually did so. Same, p. Sg.

It thus appears that, as the influence of the Company among the Indians
increased, a change took place in the duties of the Postholders. Originally
mainly trading agents, they had become, before the British occupation, al-
most exclusively political officers, and they were maintained in order to fulfil
functions of this kind long after the trade [in balsams, annatto and slaves] had
come to an end. Same, pp. Sg-go.

■ . Venezuelan Counter Case.

[Dutch] occupation . . . consisted exclusively of trade and of rela-
tions with Indians. V. C.-C, 22.

1688. States-General.

Concerning a certain Company which is said to be newly formed in Amster-
dam for the purpose of trading to the West Indies. B. C, I, 2oy.

1731. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I sent your Lordships by Captain Daniel Bellein ... a sample of the
indigo made by Jan van der Meers. ... I wish from the bottom of my
heart that heaven miglit be pleased to bless this plant (as being the surest
means of furtlier populating this Colony). B. C, II, 12.

1732. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I sent him [Jacobus van der Berg, one of the Company's servants], above the
falls in Essequibo on the 15th October, 1731, with orders to go as far as he possi-
bly could, to deal with tlie Indians in a most friendly manner, and furtlier
to see whether lie could not induce any Chiefs to come here, so that I might
talk to them myself by means of interpreters. Same, p. 16.

1733. Court of Policy.

Every possible means is being employed liere to cultivate the trade with
the Indians, but the many branches into which the nation is split up, and the
absence of good interpreters, are great obstacles to success. Same, p. ij.

1735. West India Company (the Ten).

We praise and approve all that has been done by the Commandeur with the
Governor of Orinoco ; . . . and recommend your Honour to use every en-
deavour to cause tliat commerce to increase more and more. Same, p. 21.




I737- Commandeur in Essequibo.

In view of the slave trade and the production of line dye, this post re-
mains of much importance, since, small as is this beginning, we become ac-
quainted among the Indians further inland, and this trade may by decrees be-
come considerable. B. C, II, 24-2^.

1752. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

We liave always proposed to ourselves nothing more tJian to facilitate
. . . the coininerL^e which is carried on, not only from here [Middelburg in
Holland] to the river and Colony of Essequibo, but also there with the natives
[and] Spaniards, and especially with those of Orinoco. Same, p. yj.

1769. Prefect of Missions.

I sent him [a negro slave-trader from EsseqniboJ off, promising tliat ho
.vvonld return with his family and become a Cliristian. B. C, IV, 21.

1775. Director-General in Essequibo.

The Post of Arinda up in the River Essequibo ... the only nse of this
Post is to get the Indians up the river to become somewhat more accustomed to
us, and at the same time to keep a sharp loolc-out whether those nations niig:ht
not be planning- something^ ag'ainst us. Same, p. ij6.

1897. George L. Burr.

Van Meteren points out : " The United Netlierlands . . . endeavored
. . . gradually to open a commerce with the West Indies, without seeking
to make any conquests there, but rather to win the friendship of the Indians
and to protect them against the Spaniards, . . . and thus to come into
traffic with them." V. C.-C, II, 4S.


. Brhish Case.

In 1724, the Postholder at Wakepo mustered Indians to protect friendly
tribes in Essequibo from attack. B. C, Si;>.

The object of these presents was to secure the assistance of the tribes in
case of a negro revolt, and to attract them to the neighborhood of the Dutch
Posts. Same, p. p2.

1724, Court of Policy.

The Commandeur . . . informed the Court that, according to reports re-
ceived, the Maganout nation were killing all whom they could lay hands on up in
Essequibo, and that they were driving away all other nations who were our
friends. His Honour maintained that it was very necessary for the protec-
tion of the whole Colony to extirpate and annihilate these rebels if possible.
. . . It was unanimously agreed to order Jan Batiste, the Postliolder at . . .
Wacquepo, ... to proceed against tlie said Maganouts, and to kill or
capture all lie can llnd. B. C, II, 2-j.



1730. Commandeur in Kssequibo.

On the 26th May of last year [1729], I received an unexpected visit from a
French gentleman named Nicholas Gervais, Bishop of Orraii, coming from the
Orinoco . . . he expressed to me his intent ion of making a stay in or about
this Colony and seeing- whether there niiglit not he some means of converting?
the Indians of these lands to Cliristianity, if I would grant him permission to
do so. I demonstrated to him the impossibiHty thereof, and, furthermore, that it
was not in my power to grant him such permission.

You will see from the enclosed letter, . . . how that prelate has un-
happily been murdered by the Indians in Aguirre. B. C, II, lo-ii.

1748. Commandeur in Essequibo.

The Spaniards were beginning to approach more and more up in Cuyuni ; but
a war having some weeks ago arisen between the Carib nation and that of the
Warrows, which is carried on very obstinately, this will stop their further pro-
gress, and possibly, 11 the Caribs obtain tlie upper liaiul, they will be driven
somew hat fjuthcr away, w ithout our having? in the least degree to meddle
there witli. V. C, II, loi.

1758. Don Jose Solano.

They [foreigners] enter and exploit the interior and the rear of these provinces
to the great detriment of the Royal Treasury and the injury of so many heathen.
This harm is chiefly done by the Dutch of Esse(iuibo, who incite the
Caribs to make raids and Iiunt for slaves, and they are the cause of the repeated
risings in the Missions of the Orinoco and of the constant desertions of Indians
already reduced. B. C, II, 140.

1778. Colonial Records.

1778. From Plantation Duynenburg.

[Kiltum /. e. rum, furnished] to the Indians in tlieir revels, by order of the
Director-General, ... 176 gallons. B. C, VII, 1S2.


. Venezuelan Case.

The early attempts of the Dutch to gain a foothold at various points on the
coast of Guiana ended invariably in failure. V. C, jo.

. British Case.

The trade of the Dutch with the Indians led naturally to control by the
Company of the territory in wliicli this trade was carried on. B. C, S2.

1758. Prefect of Missions.

It appears to me that the Dutch v/ere never so eager in their pursuit after
slaves as they are at present, and it is precisely on that account that so little fruit
is obtained in the efforts made to convert the Indians and Caribs, for, being
counselled by the Dutch not to allow themselves to be drawn into the Mis-
sions, they do not like the villages, and, consequently, retire to the forests. It
was precisely owing to these bad counsels that the Indians of tlie four Mis-
sions rebelled in the year 1 17]50. B. C, II, i4g.



1777. Augustin Crame [and] Joseph Linares.

This province is bounded on the east by the Dutch Colony of Essequibo and
French Guayana. The proximity of the Dutch does not at present give any ground
for alarm. lu no way whatever do tliey belie their peaceful system, nor
iiiauifest auy ambition to extend tlicir possessions in the interior. Never-
theless, their explorations have reached the Parime. B. C, IV, lyg.

1790. Don Miguel Marmion.

On account of various Indians having gone to Esquivo from these Missions
to sell hammocks and other articles, and brought back in return . . .

spirits, they had a drinking feast, and there resulted therefrom a disturbance,
and the Religious of the village of Guascipati killed one of the Indians acci-
dentally, B. C, V, 114.


• [1897] George L. Burr.

Throughout the period of this truce [of 1609] I have lighted on no mention of
(xuiana Colonies in any official record, but this by no means disproves their exist-
ence ; long after their existence is certain the effort to keep them secret is
demonstrable, and they scarcely appear in Dutch official papers till after the
treaty of Munster. V. C.-C, 11,53.

. British Case.

The energies of the Dutch were not confined to the area of actual planta-
tion. Hunting and fishmg were carried on, and Posts established in various
parts of the territory in question. B. C, 2g~jo,

1623. British Case.

At least as early as 1623 the Dutch began to establish settlements in the
territory between the Corentin and the Orinoco, and from that time down to the
acquisition of Brhish Guiana by Great Britain they continually extended their
settlements in various parts of that district. Same, p. yS.

1638. British Case.

In 1638 it was reported to the King of Spain that the Dutch were seek ingf
favorable sites for the foundation of new settlements. Same, p. 25.

1722. British Case,

In 1722 the officials of the Company were making explorations in order to
ascertain the nature of the soil in the interior with a view to plantations.

Same, p. 33,

, British Case,

During the period shortly antecedent to 1750 , . . the Dutch records tell of
peaceful development, of coffee, cocoa, and indigo plantations, of exploration,
and of trade. . . . tlie Dutch were established in the Province of Guiana,
and were occupying with their cities and mills the territory from the Orinoco to
Surinam, and it was suspected that their design was to make themselves masters
of the mouth of the Orinoco and of the nations that dwelt on the river, to found
plantations in that district, and to penetrate wherever they pleased. Same, p. 3/-




— . Venezuelan Case.

Tlic story of Dutch reiiioiistrances is one of Spanish aggression and asser-
tion of sovereign rights in the territory now in dispute, followed l;y repeated
protests of the Dutch, and memorials to the Spanish Court, all of which were
treated with contempt — answered only by a continuance of these aggressions, by
further acts of polhical control, by further grumblings on the part of the Dutch,
by further complaints to which the Spanish Government did not deign to reply,
and by tinal acquiescence by the Dutch in the inevitable. l^. C, /j/.

-. British Counter Case.

The ideas conveyed by this paragraph are entirely opposed to the facts.

" Spanish aggression " there was, in the sense that there were occasional raids
upon Dutch territory. " Assertion of sovereign rights or political control " by
Spain in the territory now in dispute there was none. It is quite true that there
is an absence of any official admission by the Spanish Government of the justice
of the Dutch Remonstrances and that in many cases no definite answer was
obtained. The attempt, however, to build upon* this foundation the theory that
there was final acquiescence by the Dutch in Spanish pretensions is preposterous.
The Dutch remained in possession of what they claimed. B. C.-C, 102.

-. Venezuelan Case.

During a portion of the present century, in violation of the Treaty of
Munster, (ireat Britain has occupied a strip of land along the coast, between
the Essequibo and the Pomeroon rivers, known as the Arabian or Arabisi Coast.
Venezuela has repeatedly protested ag-ainst such occupation, and has, in every
way possible, short of war, asserted her rights to the territory so occupied.

V. C, 225.

Venezuela has repeatedly protested against such occupation [of disputed
territory by Great Britain]; and has in every way possible, short of war, asserted
her rights to the territory so occupied. Same, pp. 226-22J.

-. British Counter Case.

This proposition is denied. B. C.-C, ijj.

-. Venezuelan Counter Case.

The first intimation which Venezuela received of the presence of any British
in the Barima-Waini region was at the time of the Schoniburgk survey in
1841; she at once protested ag-ainst it; in consequence of that protest the
boundary posts erected by Schomburgk were removed. V. C.-C, no.



N ATU R E-(Continued).

1580. Queen of England.

Mendoza, Ambassador for Spain in England, made an angry and vehement
demand for satisfaction from the Queen, complaining that the Indian Ocean was
navigated by the English. The reply that he received was as follows : —

That the Spaniards, by their unfairness, . . . had brought these troubles
upon themselves. . . . Her Majesty does not understand why her subjects
and those of other Princes are prohibited from the Indies, which she could not
persuade herself are the rightful property of Spain, by donation of the Pope of
Rome, in whom she acknowledged no prerogative in matters of this kind, much
less authority to bind Princes who owe him no obedience, or to make that new
world as it were a fief for the Spaniard and clothe him with possession : and
that only on the ground that Spaniards have touched here and there, have
erected shelters, have given names to a river or promontory ; acts which cannot
confer property. So that this donation of alien property (w-hich by essence of
law is void), and this imaginary proprietorship, ought not to hinder other princes
from carrying on commerce in these regions, and from establishing Colonies
where Spaniards are not residing, without the least violation of the law of nations,
since prescription without possession is of no avail. B. C.-C, App.,jJJ.

1676. Spanish Council of War.

The Council finds itself compelled to [suggest] that a letter may be written to
tlie States-General or that they may be given to understand ... the
annoyance which would be occasioned if they were to make new plantations
in the Indies without informing jour Majesty. B. C, I, 178.

1688. Don Manuel Coloma, Spanish Mmister in Holland.

At Amsterdam and other places of these provinces [of Holland] several
private persons are uniting and seek to establish a fi'ee port in the form of a
new Commonwealth, ... to the prejudice of His Majesty [the King of

The Envoy Extraordinary . . . thinks it his duty to inform you thereof,
in order that you may be pleased promptly to prevent the execution of tlie un-
dertaking- they have planned. Sa»u\/>. 20J.

1693. Council of the Indies.

The . . . Governor of the Province of Venezuela, in a letter of i6th Oc-
tober, 1 69 1, reports, amongst other things, that they have been under arms, both
in the city of Caracas, where he resides, and in the port of La Guayra, in that
province, on account of seven Dutch vessels of large draught, . . . and more
than thirty bilanders of the same nation which were trading therewith the great-
est boldness possible, and no efforts or care have been able to prevent it, as these
foreigners are masters of all the coast, . . . and he lays stress upon the great
frequency with which foreigners assemble there.

The Council, in view of this letter, . . . consider it their duty to
place it in your Majesty's royal liands in order that, upon consideration of its !
contents, your Majesty may be jileased to give orders that . . . complaint
may be made to the States-tJencral respecting the serious breach of the
stipulations in the Peace of America. B. C.-C, App., 46-4?'



1735. West India Company.

>Vc I'lilly anprove the course followed by you with regard to the Spanish
Governor of Orinoco, siud recouiiiiend you to go on in the same way with all
thoughtful prudence, and not to desist from the complaint you have put for-
ward. B. C, II, ig.

1746. Commandeur in Essequibo.

Nine soldiers deserted from the Berbice River to Orinoco . . . On their
arrival in Orinoco they joined a vessel from Trinidad which was cruising about
there to prevent trade, and captured three canoes from this Colony that were out
fishing. . . . The new Governor being due in Orinoco in February next, I
shall send there to claim the boats and cargoes, but 1 am certain that such
will be in vain, having- profited by the example of the Postholder, Jurge
Gobel, whom they had promised me by letter to deliver up, but nothing came
of it, the man now living in the Spanish village in Orinoco. Same, p. .//.

1748. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I shall . . . execute your Honours' orders . . . concerning the forts
of the Spaniards, and as regards the fishery. I have brought the matter so far
with the Commandant of Orinoco, that I believe myself that no further disturb-
ances will occur, but I can obtain no satisftiction for the three canoes taken
away because he pretends that this tooli place through a privateer of Trinidad,
and thus out of his jurisdiction. Same, p. jj.

A wanderer of the name of Pinet having gone up the River Cuyuni . . .
has made report to me that the Spaniards had not yet undertaken the building of
any forts or Missions as had been their intention lower dovvn, but that they cruelly
ill-treated the Indians subject to us, continually taking them by surprise in their
dwellings and carrying them off, with their wives and children, to send them to
Florida ; that he had spoken to the Chief of the Spaniards, and had placed before
his eyes the unfairness of this treatment, as well as the consequences of it, but
that the latter had replied that the whole of America belonged to the King
of Spain, and that he should do what suited himself, without troubling about
us. . . .

Seeing that all my remonstrances and letters to the Spaniards are of no
avail, and no redress is obtainable, I intend to tell the Chiefs of the Indians
when they come to me, that I can provide no redress for them, and that they must
take measures for their own security. Then I feel assured that in a short time
no Spaniard will be visible any more above in Cuyuni. Same, p. ^8.

1749. Commandeur in Essequibo.

Having written to the Governor of Cumana that if he persisted in the
design of founding a Mission in the River Cuyuni, I should be obliged to op-
pose myself thereagainst effectually, he has replied to me that such was without
his knowledge, (not the founding of the new [Mission] but the site), and that it
should not be progressed with, as in reality nothing has been done.

Satne, p. 6j.
1757- Director-General in Essequibo.

Complaints having been repeatedly made by the Commandant of Orinoco
concerning the evil conduct in Bari ma of the traders or wanderers, as well
from Surinam as from here, I have written circumstantially to the ad interim
Governor there, Mr. I. Nepven, whose reply is awaited daily.

Same, pp. jji-ij2.



1758. Director-General in Essequibo.

It is with the greatest surprise that I learned from some Indians a few days
ago that our post in the River Cuyuni had been attacked by Spaniards, the chief
of the said post, his second in command, a Creole slave of the Company, and a
Creole woman with her children taken prisoners, and the house burned down.

V. C, //, fsj.

AVhat, sir, am I to infer from an offence so directly opposed to the law
of nations, and to tlie Treaties of Peace and Alliance snbsistinar . . .
between His Catholic Majesty and . . . tlie States-General J ... I am

thoroughly convinced that His Catholic Majesty, far from approving an offence
of this nature, will not be remiss in rendering the fullest justice to my Sovereigns,
and inflicting an exemplary punishment upon those who thus dare to abuse their
authority. Same, p. 124.

1758. Nicolas de Castro.

The Commandant of Guiana has sent me, with other papers a letter which you
[(ilravesande] have written to him. demanding- the delivery of the two Dntch
prisoners, a negro, and a Creole, with their children, and of all that was found
by the guard in command there on an island in the River Cuyuni, which is, with
its dependencies, a part of the domains of the King, my master, and on which
these prisoners publicly kept up an illicit trade in Indian poitos, although it is
incredible that their High Mightinesses should have authorized you to enter the
said domains, and still less to purchase Indians from his villages and territories,
in order to make slaves of them. This being so, and our action being a justi-
fiable one, I cannot consent to the restitntion of the prisoners whom you de-
mand until I know tlie will of my master, to whom 1 have made a report of
all that has passed, with papers in justitication of my action. B. C, II, lyg.

1758. Military Commandant in Essequibo.

Having read the contents of the aforesaid letter, [of de Castro] and seeing
the frivolous pretexts which are are alleged in order to justify a proceeding so
directly contrary to the law of nations, . . . His Excellency . . . per-
sists, and now for the second time demands the freeing- of tlie prisoners
and a suitable satisfaction for this violation and insult done to the territory
of his Sovereigns, and that since it seems to him . . . that you in
Guayana and at Cumana are ignorant of the boundaries of the territory of His
Catholic Majesty and those of the States-General ... he has ordered me
to send you the enclosed map on which you will be able to see them very
distinctly. V. C, II, 12S.

1759. Director-General in Essequibo.

The letter from the Commandant here to the Commandant in Orinoco has
been sent back unopened, B. C, II, 1J4.

. Venezuelan Case.

The only answer the Spanish Commandant gave to these remonstrances was
a continuation of the very acts which brought them forth. V. C, ijS.

Renewed complaints by Ccravesande were returned unopened, and his
envoys driven away unheard. The remonstrance of the States General to the
Conrt of Spain was treated with the same contempt. V. C, i^g.



1759. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

As to the raid upon the Post of Cuyuni by the Spaniards, not only does it
exceedingly astonish us, but also seems to us of the gravest consequence for the
Colony. For that reason we shall not fail . . . to make upon that subject
the necessary representations to the States-General. B. C, II, 1^4.

Regarding the raid of the Spaniards upon the Company's Post in Rio Cuyuni

Online LibraryRafael SeijasVenezuela-British Guiana boundary arbitration. Digest of evidence arranged according to subjects → online text (page 23 of 45)