Rafael Seijas.

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

. (page 24 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

. . . after discussion ... it was resolyed to request the Committee on
Commerce to consider more fully the documents bearing upon the said raid, and
also to instruct the Advocate to formulate their views thereupon in a Remon-
strance to the States-General. Same, p. lyj.

The Committee on Commerce reported . . . concerning the raid of the
Spaniards upon the Company's Post in Rio Cuyuni, and that the Advocate had
formulated their views in a Remonstrance to the States-General which they sub-
mitted for approval to this Chamber.

Resolved to approve said Remonstrance as it stands. Same, p. i-jd.

1759. States-General.

Read . . . the Remonstrance of the Directors of the West India
Company . . . setting forth that they . . . have been from time im-
memorial in undisturbed possession, not alone of the aforesaid River Essequibo,
but also of all the branches and tributaries. . . and especially of the . . .
Cuyuni. That they, the remonstrants, in virtue of that possession, have always
considered the said River Cuyuni as a domain of this State, and have, in conse-
quence, built on its banks a so-called Post. With the most extreme astonish-
ment . . . the remonstrants have learnt . . . that a troop of Spaniards
. . . from Orinoco . . . had attacked overcome and burned the said
Post ; and . . . carried off to Guayana as prisoners the Postholder and
assistant, as well as a Creole man and womaa, with their children. That the said
Director-General . . . addressed a letter ... in . . . 1758 to Don
Juan Valdes, Commandant of Guayana, requesting . . . reparation for the
said outrage. . . . But that he . . . instead of satisfying this just de-
mand, had simply ordered to be written by one Nicolas Castro from Cumana, a
. . . haughty and unsatisfactory despatch.

The remonstrants therefore pray for the reasons alleged that Their High
Mightinesses may be pleased to cause such representations to be made to the
Court of His Catholic Majesty, that reparation may be made for the said
hostilities, and that the remonstrants may be reinstated in the quiet possession of
the said Post, situated on the banks of the River Cuyuni, and also that, through
their High Mightinesses and the Court of Madrid, a proper delimitation between
the Colony of Essequibo and the River Orinoco may be laid down by authority,
so as to prevent any future dispute.

It was moreover approved and agreed that . . . the . . . Ambas-
sador of their High Mightinesses to the Court of Spain ... be instructed
. . . to insist [as above]. Same, pp. lyd-iy/.

1759. Dutch Ambassador at Madrid.

Since the said Commandant (of Guayana) wishes to support, without any good
reason, an invasion and hostilities committed upon territories properly belonging


N ATU R E-(Continued).

to my masters, . . . they have directed the undersigned to communicate

the above to your Excellency . . . and they are confident of obtainins?

. satisfactorj' reparation for the past and orders for the fnture, so

that they may see themselves in undisturbed possession as before, of the said Post
on the River called Cuyuni. V- C., //, /j6.

1759. Dutch Ambassador at Madrid, to States-General.

Pursuant to your august orders, I gave information orally of the matter [of the
destroyed Cuyuni Post] to Seiior Wall, and yesterday I repeated my complaint
against the Conimandenr of Guayana by a written memorandnm thereof, and
pressed for prompt reparation. B. C, II, lyg.

1760. Director-General in Essequibo.

I am well aware, my Lords, that to undertake measures of reprisal a distinct
order from the Sovereign is necessary. . . . Although the appearance of some
such threat is contained in my letter to the Commandant of the Orinoco, it has
never entered my head to proceed to such extremities. Same, p. 1S3.

1762. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

Concerning the affairs of Cuyuni we shall shortly present a furtlier Memo-
rial to tlie States-General. Same, p. 211.

1762. Director-General in Essequibo.

I trust that your Lordships will not lose sight of the outrage iu Cuyuni.
That matter, My Lords, is of the utmost importance for many very weiglity
reasons, and more than any one in Europe could imagine ; . . . even if there
were no important reasons which compelled the Honourable Company to take an
interest in the possession of Cuyuni, I cannot see why we should permit the
Spaniards to disturb and appropriate our lawful possessions. Same, p. 211.

I hope their High Mightinesses will be pleased to arrive at a favourable Reso-
lution respecting the affairs of Cuyuni, and receive justice in this matter from the
Court of Spain.

The reason why I did not claim the boats captured by the Spaniards is as
follows : — The settler Jan Dudonjon having been sent by me to Orinoco with
special authority to claim ... a few runaway slaves who were prisoners
there, the commandant ... not only refused to give him a hearing, but
forbade him to set foot on shore, ordering him to depart at once. Same, p. 21 j.

Prior to this he had also returned to me unopened a letter which I had asked
the Commandant to write to him. Of what use would it therefore be to take
further steps? One cannot even get a refusal when the letters are thns sent
back unopened, and llie Envoys are driven away unheard. Same, p. 214.

1762. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

Up to this time not the least answer has been received from the Court of
Madrid to tlie Memorial about Cuyuni presented by us to the States-General.
In view of this, it is our inlention loshortly present a further Memorial upon
that subject to llie States-General, with addition of what has happened
since. Same, p. 214.



1762. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

Notwithstanding- all the reasons alleged in your letter, we could have wished
that you had duly claimed the captured salters' vessels; a refusal from the Com-
mandeur of the Orinoco would have given us a better right to complain to the
Sovereign. B. C, II, 214.

1765. Director-General in Essequibo.

Since tlie raid upon the Post in Cuyuni I have never received one word of
answer to all my letters ; some have been even sent back [unopened].

B. C, III, 128.

1767. Director-General in Essequibo.

If it is desired to prevent the ruin of the Colony, the three following points
should be taken into serious consideration and be put into effect as soon as pos-
sible : —

I. To insist with the Court of Spain upon redress for the grievances, and
to ask there for measures to make those in command obey the orders of His
Catholic Majesty, for they really laugh at them.

And if no redress can be obtained at the Conrt of Spain, to use reprisals
against the Missions, situated on our frontier, even on our territory ; I think they
would then be brought to reason. Same, p. 14J.

1767. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

As to taking efficacious measures against the running away of slaves to Orinoco
and elsewhere . . , we already told you how little effect we were expecting
from any representations or requests here in Europe, in view of the result ob-
tained at the Court of Spain, by the representations made at the request of the
Presidial Chamber of Amsterdam, regarding the slaves absconding from Curagao
to the coasts of Cora. However, ... we have appointed a committee to
report to the Pensionary of this Province about the condition of affairs, in order
that he may . . . lay the matter before the meeting of the Provincial
Estates and bring- it about that the Deputies to the States-General be instructed
to urge in that body that Mr. Doublet ran Cirroeneveld be reqnested to make
the most vigorous representations to His Catholic Majesty, to the end that
the slaves deserting from Essequibo cum annexis to the Spanish Colonies may
be returned, as has always hitherto been done until a few years ago.

Same, pp. i^g-ijO.

1767. Director-General in Essequibo.

We shall have to wait and see what results the solemn oaths and promises of
the Governor of Guayana will have . . . because we believe that all fur-
ther demands for restitution of the runaway slaves will be fruitless both in
America and Europe, and especially those which your honours seem to think
could be made to the Spanish Ambassador. Same, p. /jS.

1768. Director-General in Essequibo.

Don Manuel Centurion, Governor of CJuayana, . . . writes to me that
Mr. La Barre was quite mistaken in what he told me ; . . . slaves who
had fled from Cayenne to Orinoco . . . were really returned by an authori-
tative order. But that not any orders had been received from His Catholic
Majesty, concerning the restitution of the Dutch slaves, and that there was
no likelihood of such being given. Same, p. 181.


N ATU R E-(Continued).

1768. Director-General in Essequibo.

Must we, my Lords, regard all this quietly and endure all these insults and
hostile acts? Must we see our Posts raided and ruined and our boats attacked
upon our own coasts ? What is to be the end of this ? There is no redress to
be got from the Court of Spain. Why not exercise the Jus talionis?

B. C, III, I S3.

1768. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

We have repeatedly instructed our Deputies in the Assembly of Ten to pro-
pose there tliat the States-Greneral be again urged to liave empliatic repre-
sentations made to tlie Court of Spain for restitution of tlie slaves who ran
away from Curagao to the coasts of Cora and from Essequibo to Orinoco ; but
no report having yet been made thereof, we cannot as yet inform you of the
result. Same, p. 1S4.

1769, July 6. Fray Benito de la Garriga, Prefect of Missions.

Tlie Missionaries there collected 140 Indians, . . . And they found in tlie
power of the Dutchman living in the Post of Moruca, three Indian Monien
with their children, wliom he had enslaved and taken from the mouths of the
Orinoco, as they explained to us, and from the Kiver Massaruni. Tliese the
religious took away together with others above mentioned, without violence
or causing any injury to the Dutch. And now the (xovernor of Essequibo finds
in this a motive for complaining of your Commandant-General, charging him
with the infraction of Treaties, outrages, and offences, being indignant because
last year the same Commandant-General had dislodged the people whom he kept
surreptitiously in Barima. B. C, IV, ig-20.

1769, Aug. 2. Remonstrance of the States-General.

The Company . . . having the . . . direction and care of the Colony
of Essequibo, and of the rivers which belong to it . . . had . . . from
time almost immemorial been in possession not only of the aforesaid River
Essequibo and of several rivers and creeks which flow into the sea along the
coast, but also of all branches and streams which fall into the same River Esse-
quibo, and more particularly . . . the Cuyuni . . . which is considered
as a domain of the State [whereon] there had been established a so-called Post.

A Spanish detachment coming from the Orinoco had come above that Post
and had carried off several Indians, threatening to return at the first following dry
season and visit Massaroeny, another arm of the Essequibo, lying between that
and the Cuyuni River, and therefore, also unquestionably forming part of the ter-
ritory of the Republic, in order also to carry off from thence a body of Caribs
. . . and then to . . . visit the Company's said Post in Cuyuni.

Same, p. 2Q.

The Director-General aforesaid had also informed them ... of the estab-
lishment of two Spanish Missions, occupied by a strong force, one not far above
the Company's said post in Cuyuni (apparently, however, on Spanish territoiy),
and the other a little higher up on a creek which flows into the aforesaid Cuyuni

The Spaniards had begun to carry off the Indians from Moruca, and had I
made themselves masters of the Company's Post there . . . where from
time immemorial the Company had also a trading place and a Post, and which
also incontestably belonged to the territory of the Dutch, Same, p. jo.



1769, Aug. 2. Remonstrance of the States-General.

That they, the remonstrants, had further learnt . . . that the Spaniards
of the Orinoco River had murdered or . . . caused to be murdered . . .
the Company's Postholder of the Post Arinda . . . and also all the Caribs he
had with him. . ^. C., IV, 30-31.

That the people of the Orinoco had some time ago not only begun to dispute
with the people of the Essequibo about the fishing rights in the mouth of the
Orinoco, and thereupon to prevent them by force from enjoying the same, not-
withstanding that the people of Essequibo had been for many years in peaceful
and quiet possession of that fishery, . . . but that, further, the people of
Orinoco were beginning to prevent, by force, their fishing upon the territory of
the State itself, extending from the River Marowyne to beyond the River Wayne,
not far from the mouth of the Orinoco.

That lastly, . . .the conduct of the people of Orinoco, contrary not
only to the law of nations, in taking away and retaining, ... the slaves
which deserted thither from that Colony, notwithstanding that the owners de-
manded their return formally and most emphatically. Same, p. 31.

Decreed that a copy of the aforesaid Remonstrance ... be sent to
. . . [tlie] . . . Envoy ... to the Conrt of Spain. That lie be
. . . instrncted . . . to insist upon a prompt reparation of the acts
of hostility committed, and npon the reinstatement of the remonstrants in
tlie peaceful possession of the above-mentioned Posts and other rights, such
as the fishing at the above-mentioned places ; and . . . upon the necessary
measures being taken to prevent such causes of complaint in future ; and that
accordingly, the Court of Spain may give orders as soon as possible to restore,
without fail or delay ... on payment of the expenses incurred, all slaves
who have deserted ... or who may desert hereafter.

And an extract of this Resolution . . . shall be communicated to the
, . . Envoy ... of His Catholic Majesty, with a request ... to
support with his good ofiices these representations. Same, p. 32.

1769, Aug. 21. West India Company to States-General.

We had the honour to receive . . . your . . . resolution taken upon
our Remonstrance of July 17 last, which concerned certain enterprises by the
Spaniards from Orinoco against various posts of the Colony of Essequibo ; also
the impeding and preventing of the fishery for the people of the aforesaid
colony, upon their own coasts as well as in the mouth of the river Orinoco ; and,
lastly, the detention ... of the slaves deserting from the colony of Essequibo
to Orinoco . . . We saw that yon had been i»leased ... to in-
struct the Envoy ... at the Conrt of Spain that he make due represen-
tations with respect to the three aforesaid points, and insist . . . upon
a prompt reparation . . . and upon the necessary provision for the
future. V. C, II, 204.

1769, Sept. 7. Secretary of State for the Indies.

It is necessary for me to ask information from the (Jovernors of the new
village of Ouayana and of Cumana concerning- the facts which are reported,

and to forward the said memorial [z. e., Dutch Remonstrance of 17()»] to the
Council of the Indies, in order that His Majesty may be informed of the exten-


N ATU R E-(Continued).

sion of those boundaries and about the right claintied by the Republic to the
fishery at the 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, and letir appar-
te'/iaiit en qiielque sorte. V. C, III, jSi,

1769, Sept. 7. Dutch Ambassador at Madrid to States-General.

His Excellency told me he had received extract of your High Mightinesses'
Resolution, inclosing the complaints mentioned, . . . that he had given
report thereof to the King . . . that his Majesty had commanded it to be
placed in the hands of the Secretary of State for the Department of India and
the Navy. . . . his Excellency said he knew nothing of the matter, and
that he would send the said document to tlie Council of the Indies, in order
to take their advice thereon. ... I requested him ... to send or-
ders to the Governor to discontinue all hostilities, and to leave those of the Col-
ony in quiet possession, as they had possessed the same until now. His Excellency
replied to me that, when the advice of the Council of the Indies was received,
he should send the same to the Marquis de Grimaldi, and that they would then
make report thereof to the King. B- C-< IV, 3^-

1769, Sept. 23. Royal Order to Commandant of Guayana.

Tlie Minister of Holland has presented a note complaining: of the pro-
ceedings of tlie Spaniards established on the Orinoco against the Colony of
Essequibo, as stated in detail in the annexed paper. By order of the King I
send you this document in order that, in view thereof, you may, with all pos-
sible despatch, and with ail the necessary proofs, report what may have occurred
in reference to the acts mentioned therein, and what may suggest itself to
you on the subject for the information of His Majesty. Same, p. 46.

1769, Oct. 23. West India Company to Director-General.

Concerning the enterprises of the Spaniards, of which you speak in your
letter, as also about the hindering- of the fisheries and the detention of the
slaves deserting- . . . we have made a very full remonstrance to the
States-General, which has had for a result that on this subject the most em-
phatic representations have been made to the Court of Spain ... of which,
however, up to this time the effect has been only this, that the Court of Spain has
demanded of the Council of the Indies a report on this head. V. C, II, 212.

1769. [1897] George L. Burr.

In the formal remonstrance, addressed in 17(>9, . . . by the States-
General to the Spanish Court, a definite claim was made as to the boundary
on the Guiana coast. The territory of the Netherlands, according to this docu-
ment, stretched " from the river Marowyn to beyond the river Waini."

So far as appears in the diplomatic correspondence of the Netherlands, no
answer to this claim was ever made by Spain. Spanish aggressions, however,
did not cease. V. C.-C, II, 114.

The Dutch documents, indeed, know little enough of the Barima after 1768.
Storm van's Gravesande did not again urge it as the boundary ; and in the remon-
strance to Spain in 17(JJ) the Dutch government described its territory as
extending, not to the Barima, but only "to beyond the river Waini." Not
even a Dutch trader is again heard of in the Barima. Same, p. Ij6-



1770. Don Manuel Centurion.

In the city of Guayana on the 4th of April, 1770 Senor Don Manuel Cen-
turion, Commandant-General . . . declared : That having seen the declara-
tions and inquiries whereof these " Autos " consist he approved them and
considered them sufficient for the proofs which by order of the King he has
been instructed to draw up respecting the complaints made to His Majesty by the
Minister of Holland concerning- the proceedings of the Spaniards of Orinoco
against the Colony of Essequibo, and therefore ordered that a complete copy of
this report be taken by us the witnesses, the original should be sent to the King
our Lord. B.C.,IV,6g.

1770. Commandant of Guayana.

From the two judicial documents enclosed, your Excellency will see proved
that the Director of the Colony of Essequibo, Laurence Storm van Gravesande,
has ^vished to alarm the States-Oeneral with false charges, on which the Ke-
public of Holland has founded tlie complaints presented through their
Minister in Madrid, in reference to the proceedings of the Spaniards of Orinoco
against that Colony. Same, p. 70.

1770. Council of the Indies.

The Minister of Holland having complained of the aforesaid proceedings
against the Colony of Essequibo, . . . Instructions have also been issued
to the Commander of Guiana and to the Governor of Cuman.l to have ready
the matter in reference to the subject of the complaint of the Minister of
Holland. This letter and documents to be sent to the Council.

V. C.-C, III, 80-81.

1772. Director-General in Essequibo.

I have . . . written to the Governor [of Orinoco] . . . asking him
for the restitution of the slaves. I am certain that this is in vain, and that
no attention will be paid to this demand. B. C, IV, 100.

1773. Dutch Ambassador at Madrid.

I have been honoured with your High Mightinesses' Resolution, . . .
whereby I am desired, in writing, to renew^ the complaints of the rnnning
away of slaves from the possessions of the Netherlands West India Company
to the Spanisli possessions.

I shall not neglect to make . . . earnest remonstrances, according to the
tenour of )our High Mightinesses' highly respected Resolution, and to give, as
speedily as may be, information of the result of my commission. Same, p. 120.

1774. Proceedings as to Complaint by the Dutch Minister.

Having placed these proceedings and annexes in the hands of the Attorney-
General, as directed, said attorney, in his answer of the 6th of August, 1774,
said : That, in the proceedings instituted, in consequence of the pretensions of the
Minister of Holland assuming his right or dominion on his part to fish in that
portion of Orinoco river, and that he was disturbed and unjustly ejected by the
subjects of His Majesty, he recalls the fact that, in order to carry out tlie Royal
order of September 10, 17(J5), he requested from tlie Secretary of the Uni-
versal Department of Indies, as well as from the Council, all the documents
and antecedents to be found in connection with the subject. V. C, II, 42S.



1774. Proceedings as to Complaint by the Dutch Minister.

That it was done and that he received a large amount of papers, letters,
and documents, and that having taken them all into mature consideration he
found that it was a protracted matter, wanting close attention and considerable
time, that he needed for the discharge of his duties, and in order to avoid this
inconvenience he sug:gested that the whole affair should be submitted to a
Relator of tlie pleasure of the Council, so as to take special notes, and an ab-
stract of all the antecedents and facts up to the present time, and when that had
been done, to send it back to him (the Attorney-General) so as to submit his
further views and report to his Majesty.

And the Council having" accepted this suggestion by decree of the 1st of
September, 17 74, all the proceedings were delivered to me for the purpose
already explained by the answer of the Attorney-General. That was the result.

V. C, //, 43S-42g.

1774. Report of Fiscal on Complaints by Dutch Minister.

The Fiscal, for the Expediente, necessitated by the Dutch Minister, wishing
to allege full right and dominion in the Colony of Essequibo and fishery in
that part of the River Orinoco, and that your Majesty's subjects trouble and
disturb it unjustly, states that, in order to comply with the orders expressed in
His Majesty's Royal Order of tlie 10th September, 1705), concerning this affair,
he requested tliat all documents and data Ihat might serve to elucidate this
matter, and had any connection whatever therewith, should be sought for in the
Department of the Council of tlie Indies, as well as in that of the Secretary of
State, and be added to the file.

This was effectively complied with by the transmission of a mountain
("crecido cumulo ") of papers, dcspatclies, letters and documents; and the
Fiscal, having devoted himself to their examination, finds that the proper study
and discernment of all these is a very long affair, in which a great part of his
time, that he requires for the due transaction of other and very important affairs of
his office, would be uselessly consumed. Consequently, he is of opinion tliat
to avoid this inconvenience, and that the greatest exactness may be attained, the
whole affair should be placed in the hands of a competent person chosen by the
Council, so that a circumstantial commentary and abstract of all the docu-