Rafael Seijas.

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

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Cuyuni, bringing with him two parcels of bread, and having come down for a
canoe in which to fetch the remainder of the bread.

September 23, [1699]. . . . Jotte again set out for Cuyuni, to fetch the
remainder of the purchased bread.

Saturday, October 17, [1699]. Two Caribs . . . arrived from the Upper
Cuyuni, bringing tidings that the old negro traders . . . had not set out
from the dye store until the 20th September. Same, p. 216.

1700. Official Diary at Kijkoveral.

January 27, [1700]. . . . There arrived from Mazaruni the old negro
Big Jan, who had been sent thither upon the 2nd November last, bringing
with him 10 quakes of oriane dye, 30 quakes of bread, 8 quakes of pork, and
4 quakes of flsh. ' Same, p. 21S.

March 14, [1700]. Arrived Sam, the negro, from Mazaruni, bringing with
him twenty parcels of bread, twelve quakes of oriane dye, and (.'') parcels of
pork, &c., sent down by Big Jan. Same, p. 2ig.

April 10, [1700J. There arrived here . . . the old negro trader Big
Jan, with his boy Sam, bringing with them from Mazaruni, 22 parcels of
bread, 22 parcels of pork, and 3 quakes of paaij, together with some other
trifles. Same, p. 220.

October 18, [1700J. There came here the old negro traders, Big Jan, Jan
Swart, " Handsome Claesje," and Lieven, to each of whom trading wares were
dealt out for the purchase of oriane dye. . . . Jan Swart and " Handsome
Klaseje " [go] n|) to (luyuni \boven naar Cioene\. Same, p. 221.

1701. Official Diary at Kijkoveral.

January 20, [1701 |. . . . In the afternoon there arrived here from . . .
the negro trader Lieven, bringing with him some provisions.

January 21. . . . the above-mentioned negro trader came here with the
Indians he had taken with him and brought back again, who had served as pad-




dlers on the journey to and fro, and who were ready to proceed thither with him
again. These were paid for their services, and fresh trading wares were dealt
out to the above-mentioned trader, in order to proceed up stream again to
acquire more goods by barter, whereupon they departed. B. C.-C, App., ijy.

1730. Commandeur in Essequibo.

It having been found . . . that divers inhabitauts of this Colony allow
trade to be caried on in the rivers of Massaruui and Cuyuui through the
medium of their slaves or free Indians whom they send out for that purpose,
both for the exchange of red slaves and other things ; and whereas those two
rivers had for years past been kept for the private trade of the Honourable Com-
pany, each and every one is hereby expressly forbidden to carry on any trade
in them under the penalty of confiscation of the viessels, slaves, and other goods,
and the imposition of an additional fine of 50 Caroly guilders. B. C, II, 10.

1731. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

That . . . yon have forbidden to private colonists the trade in the
rivers Mazaruni and Cuyuni meets our full approval. , V. C, II, 8j.

1747. Inventory of trading goods at the Cuyuni Post.

In the year 1 747 of the transfer of accounts to the former Postmaster and
stock of the same, as follows :

[Detailed list of cloths, looking glasses, knives, beads, etc. used in the Indian
trade.] Safne, p. 2gY.

1750. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I think it would be best ... to prohibit until further orders tralBc with
the Indians on the Rivers Essequibo, Massaruni, and Cuyuni. B. C, II, dj.

1774. Director-General in Essequibo.

The Postholders draw their pay, and, . . . furthermore, some wares for
the Indian trade instead of regular rations, and they have freedom of trade,
whereby, . . . they make quite a fair living, B. C, IV, i2j.

1 790. Captain-General of Caracas.

The trade which the Indians of the province of Guayana are wont to carry
on with the colony of Esseqnibo is done in corials or canoes, by way of the
rivers Cuyuni and Curumo.

It . . . appears that the territory . . . between the northern side of
the Cuyuni and Essequibo is liable to overflow, and no . . . traffic is carried
on by land, but only through rivers or bayous, and it is controlled exclusively
by the inhabitants and natives, no other person being admitted by them.

V. C, III, 401-402.

. [1897] George L. Burr.

The [Esseqnibo] Colony's trade . . . was mainly a trade with the
natives. . . . This was at the outset, and for more than a quarter of a cen-
tury of its existence its exclusive function, . . . and for many decades this
remained its [the Company's] chief source of income, and the object of its most
jealous care. V. C.-C, II, S2.



1683. Commandeur in Essequibo.

In Barima I have had one of the Company's servants take up his abode, since
there is much annatto and letter-wood there and it is close by Pomeroon. Re-
cently, too, it has been navigated as many as two or three times by Gabriel Biscop
and exploited with great success, much to the prejudice of the Company. . . .
That trade, both there and in Pomeroon, I have forbidden to him, and to all
others as well. U. S. Com., II, 1^8-i^g.

[Another translation.] I have caused one of the Company's servants to reside
in Barima, as much annatto and letter-wood is obtainable there, and it lies near
to Pomeroon, and has recently been navigated two or three times by Gabriel
Bishop, and traded in with great success, to the great prejudice of the Honourable
Company. ... I have proliibited him and all others trading: from there
and in Barimaroome* \^stc\. B. C, I, iSj.

1684. Commander in Essequibo.

Gabriel Bishop, and other interlopers from Snrinam, spoil not only that
[annatto] trade [in Barima], but buy up all the letter-wood, ... as well
as madder oil and hammocks. . . . They traverse and overrun the land
right up to the river Cuyuni itself.

To check this I have caused a small station to be made in Barima, and
Abraham Baudaart, who is there [in Pomeroon] as Postholder . . . shall
occasionally visit those places and encourage the Caribs to trade. Same, p. 186.

1717. Petition of Free settlers in Essequibo.

It is now nearly five years since we have been prohibited . . . from trad-
ing, as well within as without this Colony in Red Indian slaves, balsam, &c.,
. . . [and] must see the profits, which were to be expected therefrom, accrue
before our eyes to our neighbours, to wit, the colonists of Snrinam and Berhice.

[Traders from] Surinam and Berhice . . , traffic in the Rivers Marocco,
"VVeijne, Barima, Pomeroon, Orinoco, Trinidad, and wherever it is con-
venient to them. Same, pp. 246-247.

We cannot . . . comprehend what is the object of Y. H. in prohibiting
the business [trading in Indian slaves] to us seeing that you cannot hinder
those from Surinam and Berhice — yea, not even French, English and other
foreign nations. Same, p. 248.

1724. Governor of Cumana.

As soon as I arrived in this Government . . . news was frequently sent
me that many foreigners — the Butch from Surinam and Berbice — came to
these places trading, in vessels, and penetrating more than 100 leagues up the
Orinoco, and more than 30 above Angostura, the Fathers lamenting the trade
carried on with the Caribs, the sale of tools, stuffs, wine, spirits, guns, and other
arms, which they exchanged for a large number of Indian slaves. B. C, III, y8.

1728. Court of Policy in Essequibo.

The Secretary, H. Gelskerke . . . communicated to us a certain letter
written by Jan Batiste from the Post in Wacquepo, ... in which informa-
tion was given that the Spaniards of the Orinoco Iiad with armed force taken
possession of a Surinam vessel fishing in the neighbourhood of the aforesaid
river. B. C, II, 7.

* Note by George L. Burr. The reading " Barimaroome " finds no warrant in the manuscript ; it is
clearly " Baumeronne," a common spelling of the name of the Pomeroon. U. S. Com., If, ij8.



1750. Cominandeur in Essequibo.

If this prohibition [against sale of fire arms to Indians] extended only to the
Colonies of Essequibo and Demerara, this would cause much damage to the col-
onists, . . . for a much greater number are sold by the neighbouring Colonies.
The itinerant traders . . . always have an ample supply of them.

B. C. II, 67.
1750. Anonymous.

They all make the utmost efforts to collect the produce offered by the Indian
tribes, and the Spaniards settled on the banks of the Orinoco, and also that offered
by the smugglers who go down to the Kingdom of Santa Fe and the provinces
of Barinas, Venezuela and Cumana. Of course a vessel rarely conies from
Surinam and Berbice, owing- to the distance and costliness of the journey ;
but as they are in correspondence with Essequibo, and that colony is constantly
sending its ships to the Orinoco, they all share in its benefit. B. C.-C, App., ig^.

1757. Director-General in Essequibo.

Complaints having been repeatedly made by the Commandant of Orinoco
concerning the evil conduct in Barima 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. B. C, II, iji-ij2.


. Venezuelan Case.

The Dutch trade into the interior . . . was in no sense exclusive, . . .

it was participated in . . . by . . . Spaniards, [andj . . . French

as well. V. C, go.

1683. Commandeur in Essequibo.

They [Indians] meet you with the tart answer that they can get plenty of
these [goods offered] by trade in Barima and other places, which partly squares
with the truth, on account of the trade which the French from the islands
carry on there. V . C, II, 44.

The wares already begin to depreciate in price and value, through the mul-
titude of foreign traders, a medium axe being worth only 7 shillings, the rest
accordingly. U. S. Com., II, 137.

1684. British Counter Case.

There is no evidence whatever that the Spanish were at this time trading in
the interior of Guiana at all. . . . Save for this interruption (of the French
... in 16S4) the Dutch at this time enjoyed the whole trade of the
Cuyuni, Massaruni, and Essequibo. B. C.-C, 61.

1684. Commandeur in Essequibo.

In order somewhat to check this [trade by French and Surinam Dutch], I
have caused a small station to be made in Barima, and Abraham Baudaart, whois
there [in Pomeroon] as Postholder in place of Daniel Galle, who is going home,
shall occasionally visit those places and encourage the Caribs to trade in annatto
and letter-wood which the French even from the islands in the river frequently
come with their vessels to fetch. B. C, 1, 186.



1684. Commandeur in Essequibo.

[Another translation.]

In order somewhat to check this, I have caused a small shelter to be made in
Barima, and Abraham Baudardt, who is stationed there [in Pomeroon] as outlier in
place of Daniel Galle, who is going home, shall occasionally visit that place, and
encourage the Caribs to the trade in annatto and letter-wood, which even the
French from the islands frequently come and carry off with their vessels.

U. S. Com., II, jjg-160.

This trade [to Orinoco] is falling off, by reason of the various foreign
traders and our neighbors, who cause the price of merchandise to fall.

Same, p. 161.

1685. Commandeur in Essequibo.

The French in the Barima come and fetch them even as far as up in the
Cuyuni, and have burned there the houses of the Pariacots, and have driven them
away. ^- C- > -^' "'^'^'^•

[Another translation]

The French in the Barima likewise come even to the upper Cuyuni to get

them [hammocks] and have there burnt the houses in the Pariacotten [and]
driven them away. ^- C.,11,52.

1686. Commandeur in Essequibo.

Daentje, the Company's old negro, [has just come] . . . from the savannah
of the Pariakotts up in the Cuyuni River. He has been away for fully seven
months, and was detained quite three months by the dryness of the river. . . .
The French are making expeditions through tlie country up there [in Cuyuni]
in order to buy up everything. B. C, I, 201.

1717. Petition of Free settlers in Essequibo.

The French and English barques are not behind-hand [in the Orinoco

trade]. Same, p. 247.

We cannot . . . comprehend what is the object of Y. H. in prohibiting
the business [slave trade] to us seeing that you cannot hinder . . . French,
English and other foreign nations. Sajne, p. 24S.

1750. Anonymous.

This trade is equally sought for and carried on from time to time, by the
French of the Island of Granada, . . . They also send their schooners or
launches with brandy, fine linens, velvets and hats ; returning with money, bal-
sam of copaiba, and Carib hammocks ; but they do not trade regularly, as the
distance is costly, and when a vessel goes, it takes ten or twelve hundred pesos
worth. B. C.-C, App., 195-196.


. Venezuelan Case.

Even while it [Cuyuni horse trade] lasted it was carried on in what was con-
fessedly Spanish territory. V. C, 96.

During a part of the 18th century the Dutch, with tlie permission of Spain,
and together with other nations, traded to the main mouth of the Orinoco river,
and to other parts of the Orinoco delta. Same, pp. 22^-224.




. British Counter Case.

Spain controlled the trade of the Orinoco from Santo Thome upwards, but,
except in this respect, it is untrue that the Dutch trade to the Orinoco River
and to other parts of the Orinoco delta was by permission of Spain.

B. C.-C, 133.

. Venezuelan Case.

In the interior Cuyuni-Mazaruni basin, the Spaniards for a time permitted
both the French and the Dutch to trade. V. C, loi.

. British Counter Case.

It is . . . certain that until Santo Thome was reached no Spanish per-
mit was required. B. C.-C, 63.

1665. Clemente Gunter.

He entered the Orinoco River . . . with a permit from Theodoro Saes,
Governor of . . . Booruma.

He had come to this city ... to collect some few debts for clothing sold
on credit to two of the inhabitants ... [he said] Governor . .
Viedma had granted him a permit to come up to this city ... to inform
said Governor as to who were the debtors. V. C.-C, III, 11-12.

1702. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I can no longer delay in making Y. H. acquainted with the great mortality of
horses in this Colony, there being already almost 100 head dead through mange
and other forms of sickness. That truly is a great loss to the Colony, the more
so since the Spaniards will no longer permit any trafficking for horses on
their territory. V. C, II, 6S-6g.

171 1. British Counter Case.

In 171 1 a new Governor at Trinidad seems to have stopped the trade to
Orinoco, but in 17 12 the traffic was renewed. B. C.-C, 67.

1726. Court of Policy in Essequibo.

On the 14th March, [1726], Jan Batiste and Hendrik van der Win were
sent to Orinoco for the aforesaid purpose [buying balsam], and also to buy red
slaves, and were given a letter to the (governor of that river. B. C, 11,3.

1734. Commandeur in Essequibo.

It is . . . to be feared that ... we shall suffer great need of horses,
to obviate which I have by all available means tried to make arrangements with
the Governor of Orinoco, and to put the trade, both in horses and other things,
upon a tirm footing. ... He has politely excused himself, and this trade
will he possible only by the governor's connivance and during his pleasure.

V. C, II, S3.
1750. Anonymous.

The Spaniards from Barinas and other smugglers come down to the Dutch
colonies with cargoes of tobacco from Barinas and money, and return with the
goods aforesaid ; and an occasional one ventures to take a cargo from the Islands
of Granada or Martinique, carrying only the aforesaid goods in demand by the
French. B. C-C, App., 196.




1750. Anonymous.

The same smugglers are wont to travel by land with a hundred, two hundred
or more mules for Essequibo, bringing them from the plains and driving them
behind the town of Guayana, at six or seven days' distance ; but they do not fre-
quently use this route as it is long and troublesome, and on account of the rivers
and ravines in which they lose numbers of cattle.

It must necessarily follow that what li.as been conquered in the Orinoco will
be lost if the Governor of Cumana carries out rigorously the exclusion of what
the people of the river require, ... or the i)reveution of their trade
with the Dutch. B. C.-C, App., ig6.

1763. Don Jose Diguja.

There are no foreigners navigating the Orinoco, that is, above Guayana, for
at its mouth and up to the neighbourhood of the said fortress they do so freely, but
without being able to land in the said provinces, nor do any more trade than
the fortress allows, and within the terms explained in my . . . Notes, and
without the toleration therein stated, which is absolutely necessary, they can
d notliina:. B. C, ///,jj.

1764. Director-General in Essequibo.

The new (TOvernor of Orinoco has sent a trustworthy man here, bringing an
assurance from his part that it is his intention to allow trade to be carried on
with this river (but with absolutely no other). Same, p. 104.

I think that trade with Orinocque will now be fairly easy, because our boats
not only go to and fro unciiecked but only last week two Spaniards came to me
with formal passports from the Governor to come here. Essequibo was not ex-
pressly mentioned in them, but the neighbouring colonies of friends and allies,
which is equivalent. Same, p. 106.

1767. Director-General in Essequibo.

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

177 \. Director-General in Essequibo.

If . . . the war between England and Spain has . . . commenced,
. . • the . . . Spaniards . . . will require us, and we shall then g'et
permission to fetch these animals [mules] from Orinocque. B. C.,/V,gj.


. Venezuelan Case.

The [Dutch] trade then begun continued with more or less regularity during
the early years of the 17th century, during which time Dutch vessels sailed along
the Guiana coast, and ascended some of its rivers. They were at times driven
off by the Spaniards, but at other times they were successful in capturing
Spanish booty, or in quietly tradinsr with the natives at places from which
the Spaniards were at tlie moment absent. V. C, 66-67.



. Venezuelan Case.

Trade with the Spanish colonists of the Orinoco, though forbidden by the
laws of Spain, began in the last quarter of the 17th century to be encouraged
by the Dutch authorities. V. C, iii.

. British Case.

It is, of course, the fact that the Dutch carried on an extensive contraband
trade with the Spanish possessions by the connivance of the authorities, but
the existence in any region of trade carried on by the Dutch systematically and
not on sufferance excludes the idea of Spanish political control, while it natur-
ally, and in fact, led to political control by the Dutch. B. C, So.

. British Counter Case.

Balsam and red slaves were obtained from the country above Santo Thome,
and trade therein, therefore, could not be well carried on without the consent or
connivance of the Spaniards. B. C.-C, 64.

The trade in balsam . . . was, in any case, contraband, and . . .

involved going high up the Orinoco. Same, p. 6g.

1609. Ambassadors at Antwerp.

They [Spaniards] replied that your subjects [Dutch] have never traded in
tlie places and ports whicli they [Spaniards] have in the Indies, and that in
negotiating the Peace you [Dutch] had neither claimed to have done so.

B. C.-C, A pp., 320.

1755. Don Eugenio de Alvarado.

The communications between Guiana and the Dutch Colony of Essequibo
[by] the navigable rivers and streams, used for contraband commerce are most
numerous. B. C, II, 11 j.

1757. Don Jose de Iturriaga.

On these occasions Aruacas, Caribs and Dutchmen come disg-nised, so as
not to be detected. These last named are accustomed to go ashore at the River
Caura and elsewhere, and whilst the others are engaged in fishing for turtle they
occupy themselves in buying from the Caribs Indian slaves. Same, p. Jjy.

1758. Director-General in Essequibo.

The six mules which . . . were left behind in Orinoco have been brought
here . . . but the Commandant there instead of 6 sent 8 head, . . .
giving for reason that no more can be got for a long while, because one of H.
M.'s ships is daily expected from Spain, which will stay at anchor in the mouth of
the Orinoco. Thus the trade is stopped and even the salters will have to
keep away from there until tilings take a different look. V. C, II, i2j.

1760. Confidential Report [to King of Spain].

Alvarado . . . shows that besides the River Imataca there are other
rivers and other ways open by which various Dutchmen have gone in and out
and traversed the province [of Guiana] laden with merchandise in the years
1742, 1747, 1749, 1750, and 1753, from which it is inferred that the same maybe
done in the following years. B. C.-C, App., 20J.




1763. Don Jose Diguja.

The repairs and steps taken duly by the Governors, for the security of the
fortress, st«»p tlie foreig:uers from continuing- their illicit traflic, their landing
and their incursions through the provinces through which the Orinoco runs, as
they did until the year 1734 and even that of 1746. B. C, III, 46.

By this increase ... of the garrison . . .
small illicit commerce will be very easily stopped.

the foreigners , . .
Same, pp. ^g-jO.

Illicit entry ... is a general practice, ... in the Province of
Gnayana by the vessels which enter through the mouths of the Orinoco, the chief
parties interested being the Dutch of Essequibo and the other Colonies of the
coast. This kind of trade is most difficult to avoid, and it is even necessary to
tolerate it somewhat, for, unless that be done, ... the Spanish villages
would become . . . devoid of clothing.

Neither the King nor the country are affected by the loss of the surplus hides
and tallow ; or of those of bad quality which the said Dutch purchase for more
or less, as the case may be. For the aforesaid reasons ... it has been the
practice of this Government to tolerate the fact of the poor people obtaining the
clothing they need, and which they have no other means of getting in this
country. Same, p. 76.

[Marginal note on his report as follows] Letter from Don Phelipe Ricardos,
in which he declares that the illicit commerce of foreigners in the Orinoco
threatens irreparable ruin, and that they will penetrate to the provinces washed
by that river. Same, p. ^4.

1768. Judicial Proceedings.

Auto ordering the sale of the effects, seized in the Creek of Barima from
the foreigners who had established themselves clandestinely in the said creek,
for trade and exportation of woods and other products. Same, p. i6j.

First notice [0/ sale]. I ordered . . . the first announcement should be
given of the goods and utensils . . . that were seized . . . from the for-
eigners clandestinely settled for commerce and traffic in the creek called the
Creek of Barima, jurisdiction of this province. Same, p. 16S.

[Act of] sale of the implements and other utensils and articles . . .
which were seized from the foreigners who were clandestinely settled in the
Creek of Barima, jurisdiction of this province, for the purpose of exporting
woods and other products. Same, p. i6g.

Whereas the Dutch have unwarrantably sought to take possession of the ter-
ritory of Barima, jurisdiction of this province, where they had established farms
and houses to carry on the exportation of woods and other products in a clan-
destine manner, for which purpose, . . . they had . . . gathered
. . . runaway slaves, ... to act as pilots, and point out the lawless
Spanish subjects who only occupy themselves in carrying on clandestine expor-