Guyana's Western Border

From 1803 to 1840

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[15 May 1803]

Article 1. The Post-holder shall keep an accurate journal of his proceedings and of all occurrences at the post.

Art. 2. He shall transmit quarterly a copy of this journal to the Protector of his district.

Art. 3. In case of any extraordinary occurrence at or near the post, he shall immediately acquaint therewith the Protector.

Art. 4. He shall take care to keep the past in good order, and he shall use his utmost ex-ertions to attach to the post the Indians who call upon him, or who live in his vicinity.

Art. 5. He shall endeavour on all occasions to prevent misunderstandings or quarrels be-tween the several Indian tribes, and where any such exist, he shall exert himself to restore peace.

Art. 6. When required by the Protector he shall be obliged to repair to him without loss of time, and to execute promptly any orders he may receive from the Protector.

Art. 7. He shall not permit any persons, whether white, free, coloured, or negroes, to pass the post, unless they show him a pass, either from the Governor-General, or from the Com-mander of the Essequebo, or from one of the Protectors of the Indians, the latter being empow-ered to grant such passes, which must always specify the reason why the persons therein named are to go beyond the post.

Art. 8. If any person, not provided with such a pass, should attempt to pass the post, the Post-holder shall be authorised, and is even obliged, to detain such person or persons, and to bring them to town before the Governor or the Commander; at the same time giving notice to the Protector.

Art. 9. But to persons having a proper pass, he shall give every assistance in his power towards forwarding the business they are upon.

Art. 10. He shall not be allowed to carry on any traffic, nor shall he compel the Indians to sell to him the articles they bring down, but he shall suffer them to proceed without any mo-lestation whatever in their trade. Any articles bought from them he shall cause to be duly paid for.

Art. 11. He is on no account to compel the Indians to do any job or work of whatever nature for him.

Art. 12. He shall not take or appropriate to himself the property of the Indians, much less their wives and children, on pretence of their being indebted to him, even in case of an Indian having had goods from him on credit, and refusing to pay for the same. The loss arising therefrom to be for the Post-holder.

Art. 13. Should any Indian apply to him with complaints for ill-treatment against other persons, he shall repair with such Indian to the Protector, who will then examine and inquire into the complaints and give redress if the case requires it, all exclusive of the action which the Fiscal might think proper to bring against the offender or offenders.

Art. 14. Any white or free coloured person about the post who might be desirous to have an Indian woman to live with him, shall acquaint therewith the Post-holder, who is then to wait on the Protector with such woman, and her parents or nearest relations in order the Protector may be enabled to inquire and ascertain whether such cohabitation takes place with the free consent of the parents, and whether the woman be not engaged to some other Indian, and the Protector is then either to sanction or to refuse such cohabitation as he may think right.

Art. 15. Should the Post-holder be desirous of employing any Indians for clearing wood, or for fishing or paddling his boat, he shall be at liberty to hire them for that purpose, with the consent of the Protector, who shall previously inquire whether such engagement has been entered into voluntarily, and who will at the same time inform the Indians that if they are not duly paid as agreed upon, they may complain to him.

Art. 16. He shall be present at the annual distribution of presents to the Indians.

Art. 17. He shall apply from time to time to the Protector for the rum he may want for the purpose of giving a dram to the Indians who call upon him.

Art. 18. In case of Indians paying the post to go down the river, the Post-holder shall recommend to them to wait on the Protector.

Art. 19. The Court of Policy reserve the right of at all times altering and amending the present instruction as they may see proper.

Done this 15th May, 1803.

(Signed) A. MEERTENS

By command:
(Signed) P. F. GINNE, Secretary

[Editor's Note: These instructions were enacted by the Court of Policy on 14 May 1803, but were published on the following day.]

[10 August 1804]

King's House, August 10, 1804.

1. The Protectors of Indians will, to the utmost of their power, give effect to, and enforce among their respective post-holders a strict and diligent observance of the Instructions originally issued on the 18th May, 1803, and subsequently reprinted and issued afresh by authority on the 2nd May, 1815. And in case of any post-holder abusing his trust, or being negligent or remiss in the discharge of his duties, as prescribed by the above Instructions, the Protector of the district will make a special and immediate report to the Lieutenant-Governor (or Commander-in-chief for the time being) in order that, if necessary, the said, post-holder may be removed from his office and replaced by another person.

[30 September 1804]


Barbados, September 30, 1804.

I have also the honour to inclose observations on the Colonies of Demerara and Esse-quibo, handed to me by Mr. Dalzell [the Deputy Commissary of Accounts for the Colony]. Should your Lordship not before be in possession of information on the subject equal to what these observations contain, you will find them of interest and importance. They are the result of information obtained from several persons in those Colonies best entitled to give them.


Inclosure: Observations on the Colony of Esequibo* and Demerary

Situation - The Colony of Esequibo and Demerary is situated between the 6th and 7th degree of north latitude, and between the 57th and 59th degree of west longitude from London, in that part of South America known under the general name of Dutch Guyana. It is bounded on the north by the main ocean, which divides it from Africa; on the south by unexplored woods and the river of the Amazons; on the east by Berbice and Surinam; and on the west by New Cumaná and the Spanish Settlements on the Oronoco.

Boundary - It is separated from Berbice by the Abari Creek. The boundary with the Spaniards is disputed. According to Dutch, it is a line running north and south from Cape Brama or Brem; and according to the Spaniards it is the Morucco Creek, a little to the westward of Cape Nassau.

Extent - The distance from the Abari Creek on the east to the most distant military post at Morucco on the west is -

From Abari to Mahaica . . . . . . . . . . 20 miles
Mahaica to Demerary River . . . . . . . 28 miles
Demerary River to Esequibo River. . .  18 miles
Esequibo River to Poumaron. . . . . . . 45 miles
Poumaron River to Morucco. . . . . . . 12 miles
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . 123 miles

Division - It formerly consisted of two distinct Governments, and it is at present divided into the two separate colonial jurisdictions of Esequibo and Demerary by the Barasiri Creek.

It is intersected by the River Demerary, Esequibo, and Poumaron, and by several navi-gable creeks and canals. In the mouth of the Esequibo there are several large cultivated islands.

Cultivation - From the Abari Creek to the River Demerary the plantations are in cotton. In the River Demerary, and from it to the east side of Esequibo River, they are in coffee and sugar.

In the islands of the Esequibo they are in sugar.

From the west side of Esequibo River to Cape Orane they are in coffee, sugar and cot-ton; and fro Cape Orange, alongst the Araibish or Tiger coast, as far as there are Settlements to-wards he post at Morucco, they are in cotton.

Seat of Government - Formerly the seat of Government was on the River Poumaron, the original Settlement of the Dutch. It is now at Stabroek, on the River Demerary. At present this is only the ground plan of a town, extending about a mile and a-half from east to west, and half-a-mile from north to south, with many good houses placed separately or in groups at considerable intervals. It is said to contain about 500 white inhabitants, and about 2,500 people of colour and negroes.

[Note: * Many British officials also used this spelling, in the early 19th century.]

[18 January 1813]

Georgetown, January 18, 1813

I have the honour of acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 16th inquiring of me, for the information of his Excellency the Acting Governor, whether I know of any annual Treaty or Agreement between the Government at this Colony and the Chiefs of Indian nations respecting annual presents, for the performance of any past or future services for which the latter was to receive any subsidy or tribute, and inclosing an extract from the Right Honourable the Earl Bathurst's letter to his Excellency the Acting Governor, showing the light in which the In-dians are to he considered in this country for the future.

Though my appointment as Protector of the Indians is of no more than three or four years' standing, yet I have been in the habit of calling, on the behalf of Government, for the as-sistance of the Indians at different periods since the year 1795, during which space of time I know of no Treaty or Agreement with the Chiefs of Indian tribes implying anything of the nature of subsidy or tribute; nor in my intercourse with these nations was I ever authorized by this Gov-ernment to make any promise of the kind though I know, from a residence of thirty-three years in the country, presents were generally made by the Dutch Government, and as often expected.

It is true that in 1811 a claim was set up by a tribe of Indians, which came down the Essequibo from a distant part, to an old engagement alleged by the Indians to have taken place between the old Dutch Government, and their forefathers, whereby the former were indebted to the latter, and if the Colony had any regard for their (the Indians') friendship, it had now a fair opportunity of confirming the same by agreeing to supply their wants.

It was not, I believe, thought expedient to repulse them suddenly. They were in conse-quence told that, though the Government could never recognize a claim of the nature made by them, yet, that in consideration of their wants, and the great distance they came, some presents would be sent for to England, if they would be content to wait their arrival, but on condition that for the future no such demand should be attempted. This kind of accommodation had its immediate inconvenience, for the Indians more immediately in our neighbourhood, and generally more serviceable and friendly, became jealous of the reception given to foreigners, and it therefore became necessary to appease their discords by promising them a show of the European presents when they arrived here.

In justice to the Indians generally, I never had occasion to call for their services but when they attended with great alacrity.

I am greatly obliged to his Excellency for the obliging manner he has been pleased to notice my humble services in quelling disturbances in the Colony. . .

Protector of the Indians.

[18 January 1813]

Demerary, January 18, 1813.

My Lord,

Upon receipt of your Lordship's letter of the 25th November respecting the Indians, I immediately applied to Mr. Edmonston, one of the oldest settlers in their vicinity, and who holds the appointment of Protector; a gentleman highly esteemed by the whole Colony, and for whom the different tribes of natives have great respect and affection, having served under him with fi-delity in a very dangerous insurrection in the year 1795.

I beg leave to submit to your Lordship Mr. Edmonston's replies to my application for in-formation respecting any Treaty with the Indians, as to annual subsidies or presents agreed to be continued to them.

When Manarroc, the Chief of the Caribs, came down with about 300 people, as I was in-formed he had held rather strong language and insolent demands upon a former occasion, l re-ceived him and his Chiefs, desiring to know the cause of their visit. His reply was, that he came for presents promised him, and as in consequence thereof he did not make prisoners or sell slaves, he expected to have what he came for. I told him that the promise of any former Governor I could not be answerable for, unless ordered by my King - that I was confident His Majesty and the British nation would not permit any demand to be made as a right, but that they would grant from their own generosity and friendship a boon and gift, which must come of their own free will, and when they thought proper. To this he answered, that he had come a long distance, and his people were sickly, when he made a promise, he considered it as binding to himself, his son, and son's son if he died - that all he wished at present was to be in friendship with the English, and would be satisfied with what was thought proper. I then told him that in consideration of the distance he had come, he would be given what presents could be had conveniently, but he must not come or expect any mole unless sent for, that the English would always perform any promise made by them, but did not now consider any to bind them. They were then perfectly satisfied, and it was, my Lord, admirable the good behaviour of those people in a state of nature, but, addicted to liquor, that such a number should be in the town at large, for eight days, without one unpleasant circumstance occurring. I am highly gratified, my Lord, that the measures adopted upon this occasion were so fortunate as to meet your Lordship's approval.

About two months after this, five chiefs of the Arowauks, with their followers came down the Demerary; as their tone and demeanour seemed to be more peremptory than the Caribs, expressing a jealousy of the presents they had received, and threatening to make war and sell their prisoners for slaves, I told them at their peril to attempt anything of that kind, and informed them they could not now receive anything, but if at any future time it was thought proper to call for them, notice would be given to Mr. Edmonston, their Protector, and the gratuity or presents would depend upon good behaviour. This gentleman informed me that he explained the matter to them afterwards more fully and that they were perfectly satisfied.

As the articles sent for to England were taken by American privateers off the coast, and afterwards retaken and brought to this Colony, I purpose seeing a proportion of them personally delivered to the Chiefs, and your Lordship's instructions fully explained and impressed upon them.

Mr. Waterton, a gentleman that I have taken the liberty to mention to your Lordship in a separate letter, is also the bearer of this, and better acquainted for some years with the natural habits and dispositions of the Indians than any other person in this Colony. . .



Inclosure: Mr. Charles Edmonston, Protector of the Indians, to Mr. Eyre (Assis-tant Government Secretary of British Guiana), 18 January 1813 [Document No. 561 above].

[26 September 1813]


Demerara, September 26, 1813.

The first head of expense in the abstract is that connected with the Indians, amounting to 82,850 fr., or 6,904 [pounds] sterling for 1811; and 61,348 fr., or 5,112 [pounds] sterling in 1812, in both of which years, it is true, extra expenses were incurred. It is, however, obvious that our Colonies are tributaries to the Indians; whilst the proper system of policy would be to make them allies, looking to us for protection; and whilst living within our territories, affording them such as we might conceive they deserve, the quantity of rum and sugar issued tending to render them almost useless; for my part, I think the whole present Indian system requires to be recon-sidered.

I have the honour to inclose the last instructions issued to the Post-holders.


Inclosure: Instruction for the Post-Holders with the Indians in Essequebo and Demerary, as enacted by the Honourable Court of Policy, 15 May 1803 [Document No. 558 above].

[9 November 1813]

King's House, Demerary, November 9, 1813.


Soon after you left us for Berbice I received various communications from the Arabian coast tending to excite alarm at the state of insubordination of the negroes upon a few estates on that coast. I deemed it best to inquire into the matter on the spot.

I beg leave also to state to you what steps I have taken as Governor on this occasion, and what are my further intentions.

I have also ordered the Post-holder Linau, at Moroco, to come up with selected Indians, and I intend making him scour the woods between the Arabian coast and the Pomeroon, with a view to dislodge any runaway negroes who may have established themselves there, and at the same time to remains close to the disaffected estates during the Christmas; and as the negroes will then know their retreat to the woods is cut off, an armed force on the coast, and the Whites prepared, I cannot believe we shall have any disturbance. As Christmas approaches I also intend to select some Essequebo Indians and scour the back settlements of the left bank of that river till they meet Linau's Indians. The Post-holder Wahl is, I fear, too old for this service, but I shall provide a substitute.

The militia establishment, you are aware, requires much reform; some estates on the Arabian coast last militia inspection had no white persons upon them. I have directed the 2nd Fiscal to enforce the law against them.

The Major Commanding being without much weight in the community, though I under-stand a very good man, I have deemed it necessary to fill up the vacancy of Lieutenant-Colonel for Essequebo, by the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Macrae, who formerly commanded the Demerary militia with the same rank. I have also, with a view to get the militia near this coast in a state of forwardness and preparation, filled up the vacant majority of the 1st Battalion by ap-pointing thereto Captain Peter McGarell, though he is only 2nd Captain in the battalion, Captain Tuckerman being represented to me as not only having less zeal, but also lives at such a distance, being a wood-cutter, that the whole battalion are incommoded by the time lost in labour and boats to send their Returns.

[13 August 1814]

In the Name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.

The United Provinces of the Netherlands, under the favour of Divine Providence, having been restored to their Independence, and having been placed by the loyalty of the Dutch People and the achievements of the Allied Powers, under the Government of the Illustrious House of Orange; and His Britannic Majesty being desirous of entering into such arrangements with the Prince Sovereign of the United Netherlands, concerning the Colonies of the said United Netherlands, which have been conquered by His Majesty's Arms during the late War, as may conduce to the prosperity of the said State, and may afford a lasting testimony of His Majesty's friendship and attachment to the family of Orange, and to the Dutch Nation; the said High Contracting Parties, equally animated by those sentiments of cordial good will and attachment to each other, have nominated for their Plenipotentiaries, namely:

His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,

The Right Honourable Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, one of His said Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, a Member of Parliament, Colonel of the Londonderry Regiment of Militia, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and his Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, etc.;

And His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange-Nassau, Prince Sovereign of the United Netherlands, His Excellency Henry Fagel, His Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at the Court of His Britannic Majesty:

Who, after having exchanged their Full Powers, found in good and due form, have agreed to the following Articles: -


His Britannic Majesty engages to restore to the Prince Sovereign of the United Nether-lands, within the term which shall be hereafter fixed, the Colonies, Factories, and Establishments which were possessed by Holland at the commencement of the late War, viz., on the 1st January, 1803, in the Seas and on the Continent of America, Africa, and Asia; with the exceptions of the Cape of Good Hope and the Settlements of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, of which Posses-sions the High Contracting Parties reserve to themselves the right to dispose by a Supplementary Convention, hereafter to be negotiated, according to their mutual interests, and especially with reference to the provisions contained in the VIth and IXth Articles of the Treaty of Peace, signed between His Britannic Majesty and His Most Christian Majesty, on the 30th May, 1814.*


His Britannic Majesty agrees to cede in full Sovereignty the Island of Banca, in the Eastern Seas, to the Prince Sovereign of The Netherlands, in exchange for the Settlement of Cochin and its Dependencies on the Coast of Malabar, which is to remain in full Sovereignty to His Britannic Majesty.


The Places and Forts in the Colonies and Settlements, which by virtue of the two pre-ceding Articles are to be ceded and exchanged by the two High Contracting Parties, shall be given up in the state in which they may be at the moment of the signature of the present Conven-tion.


His Britannic Majesty guarantees to the Subjects of His Royal Highness the Prince Sov-ereign of the United Netherlands, the same facilities, privileges, and protection, with respect to Commerce and the security of their property and persons within the limits of the British Sover-eignty on the Continent of India, as are now or shall be granted to the most favoured Nations.

His Royal Highness the Prince Sovereign, on his part, having nothing more at heart than the perpetual duration of Peace between the Crown of England and the United Netherlands, and wishing to do his utmost to avoid any thing which might affect their mutual good understanding, engages not to erect any Fortifications in the Establishments which are to be restored to him within the limits of the British Sovereignty upon the Continent of India, and only to place in those Establishments the number of Troops necessary for the maintenance of the Police.


Those Colonies, Factories, and Establishments, which are to be ceded to His Royal Highness the Sovereign Prince of the United Netherlands by His Britannic Majesty, in the Seas or on the Continent of America, shall be given up within 3 months, and those which are beyond the Cape of Good Hope within the 6 months which follow the Ratification of the present Con-vention.


The High Contracting Parties, desirous To bury in entire oblivion the dissensions which have agitated Europe, declare and promise, that no Individual of whatever rank or condition he may be, in the countries restored and ceded by the present Treaty, shall be prosecuted, disturbed, or molested in his person or property, under any pretext whatever, either on account of his con-duct or political opinions, his attachment either to any of the Contracting Parties, or to any Gov-ernment which has ceased to exist, or for any other reason, except for debts contracted towards Individuals, or acts posterior to the date of the present Treaty.


The Native Inhabitants and Aliens, of whatever Nation or condition they may be, in those countries which are to change Sovereigns, as well in virtue of the present Convention as of the subsequent arrangements to which it may give rise, shall be allowed a period of 6 years, reckoning from the exchange of the Ratifications, for the purpose of disposing of their property, if they think fit, whether it be acquired before or during the late War, and of retiring to whatever country they may choose.


The Prince Sovereign of the United Netherlands, anxious to cooperate in the most effec-tual manner with His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, so as to bring about the total abolition of the Trade in Slaves on the Coast of Africa, and having spontaneously issued a Decree dated the 15th of June 1814, wherein it is enjoined, that no ships or vessels whatever, destined for the Trade in Slaves, be cleared out or equipped in any of the harbours or places of his Dominions, nor admitted to the Forts or Possessions on the Coast of Guinea, and that no Inhabitants of that country shall be sold or exported as Slaves, - does more-over hereby engage to prohibit all his Subjects, in the most effectual manner and by the moat solemn Laws, from taking any share whatsoever in such inhuman Traffic.


The present Convention shall be ratified, and the Ratification shall be duly exchanged at London, within three weeks from the date hereof, or sooner if possible.

In witness whereof, we, the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, in virtue of our respective Full Powers, have signed the present Convention, and have affixed thereto the Seals of our Arms.

Done at London, this 13th day of August, 1814.

(Legal Seal) H. FAGEL

*[Article VI. Holland, placed under the Sovereignty of the House of Orange, shall receive an increase of territory. The title and exercise of that Sovereignty shall not in any case belong to a Prince wearing or destined to wear a foreign Crown.
The States of Germany shall be independent, and united by a federal bond.
Switzerland, independent; shall continue to govern herself.
Italy, beyond the limits of the countries which are to revert to Austria, shall be com-posed of Sovereign States

Article IX. His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway, in virtue of the arrangements stipulated with the allies, and in execution of the preceding Article, consents that the Island of Guadeloupe be restored to His Most Christian Majesty, and gives up all the rights he may have acquired over that island.]




In order the better to provide for the Defence and Incorporation of the Belgic Provinces with Holland, and also to provide, in conformity to the IXth Article of the Treaty of Paris, a suitable compensation for the Rights ceded by His Swedish Majesty under the said Article, which compensation, it is understood, in the event of the above Reunion, Holland should be li-able to furnish, in pursuance of the above stipulations; it is hereby agreed between the High Con-tracting Parties, that His Britannic Majesty shall take upon himself, and engage to defray the fol-lowing charges:

1. The payment of 1,000,000 pounds sterling to Sweden, in satisfaction of the Claims aforesaid, and in pursuance of a Convention this day executed with His Swedish Majesty's Plenipotentiary to that effect, a Copy of which Convention is annexed to these Additional Arti-cles.

2. The advance of 2,000,000 pounds sterling to be applied, in concert with the Prince Sovereign of the Netherlands, and in aid of an equal sum to be furnished by him, towards aug-menting and improving the defences of the Low Countries.

3. To bear equally, with Holland, such further charges as may be agreed upon between the said High Contracting Parties and their Allies, towards the final and satisfactory settlement of the Low Countries in union with Holland, and under the dominion of the House of Orange, not exceeding, in the whole, the sum of 3,000,000 pounds sterling, to be defrayed by Great Britain.

In consideration, and in satisfaction of the above engagements as taken by His Britannic Majesty, the Prince Sovereign of The Netherlands agrees to cede in full Sovereignty to His Bri-tannic Majesty, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Settlements of Demerara, Essequibo, and Ber-bice, upon the condition, nevertheless, that the Subjects of he said Sovereign Prince, being Pro-prietors in the said Colonies or Settlements, shall be at liberty (under such regulations as may hereafter be agreed upon in a Supplementary Convention) to carry on trade between the said Set-tlements and the Territories in Europe of the said Sovereign Prince.

It is also agreed between the two High Contracting Parties, that the Ships of every kind belonging to Holland, shall have permission to resort freely to the

Cape of Good Hope for the purposes of refreshment and repairs, without being liable to other charges than such as British Subjects are required to pay.


The small District of Bernagore, situated. close to Calcutta, being requisite to the due preservation of the peace and Police of that City, the Prince of Orange agrees to cede the said District to His Britannic Majesty, upon a payment of such sum annually to His Royal Highness as may be considered, by Commissioners to be appointed by the respective Governments, to be just and reasonable, with reference to the profits or revenue usually derived by the Dutch Gov-ernment from the same.


The present Additional Articles shall have the same force and validity as if they were in-serted word for word in the Convention signed this day. They shall be ratified, and the Ratifica-tions shall be exchanged at the same time and place,

In witness whereof, we, the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, have signed and affixed to them the Seal of our Arms.

Done at London, this 13th day of August, 1814.


[16 May 1827]

Demerary, May 16, 1827.


There is a legally-appointed Protector of Indians for each of the six rivers: Mahaiconey, Mahaica, Demerary, Boerasirie, Essequebo, and Pomeroon, under whose immediate orders post-holders act. The Inclosures . . . are respectively the Commissions and instructions under which the Protectors act, and I am not aware what warrant or what instructions can be more formal or conclusive. They are chosen from the most respectable gentlemen of the nearest districts to the respective Indian residences and although they receive no salary, yet their responsibility is ap-parent and unquestionable.

The Court were also of opinion that Mr. Hilhouse's influence and instigations would un-settle the minds if the Indians, and render them dissatisfied, and they earnestly requested me to take the necessary measures for restricting Mr. Hilhouse from further intercourse with them.

These were men of local experience, and their apprehensions appeared to me reasonable. I therefore withdrew from Mr. Hilhouse his provisional appointment of Quartermaster-General of Indians by the communication No. 5,* issuing at the same time to the different Protectors the instructions No. 6* in order to insure its being effectually fulfilled.

By these proceedings it is probable that Mr. Hilhouse may have felt, himself disap-pointed and discontented; for it is clear from the Paper marked (B)* of the Inclosure No. 4 that he had proposed to become Chief of all the Indians, to receive regular pay and employment as a British officer, and to have the disposal of disbursement of 10,000 guilders a year.

For some time, however, I heard nothing of him, but towards the middle of the last year I found that he had commenced to reside upon the Crown lands on the Upper Essequebo in the division Massaroony, and that the result of his residence there was considerable agitation and dissatisfaction among the Indians of that river.

In consequence I directed the Second Fiscal, with reference to my communication to Mr. Hilhouse of 1824 (Inclosure No. 5*), to give him warning that such a residence would not he permitted, and to direct him to remove.

[* Not printed]


Inclosure 1: Instruction for the Post-Holders with the Indians in Essequebo and Dem-erary, as enacted by the Honourable Court of Policy, 15 May 1803 [Document No. 558 above].

Inclosure 2: Extract from Instructions for the Protectors of Indians, 10 August 1804 [Document No. 559 above].

[18 October 1827]

King's House, Demerara, October 18, 1827.

My Lord,

I have had the honour to receive you Lordship's despatch on the 23rd June, with its in-closure, commanding me to transmit, for the information of the House of Commons, Returns containing "An account of the extent and situation of the Crown lands" in the United Colony of Demerary and Essequebo.

The local circumstances of this Colony are so peculiar that the only approximation I can make to the information desired is to send your Lordship a sketch defining generally the bounda-ries, rivers, and principal divisions of it, with the number and general lines of position of the re-spective estates possessed by individuals; every other part of it is Crown land.

I have endeavoured to make the explanations upon, and attached to, the sketch,* as full as the nature of the subject admits of, or seems to require; and I have added to it schedules of such portions of Crown land as are under periodical or provisional licence of occupation, to dif-ferent inhabitants, for wood cutting, and provision lands, and paying a certain yearly quit-rent into the King's chest.

The country possessed by individuals is (as the yellow-coloured portion of the sketch will show) a narrow border of the alluvial soil along the coasts and rivers' banks; all else belongs to the Crown.

I have, etc.
(Signed) B. D'URBAN,

[* Not reproduced]



This sketch embraces all the cultivated and occupied portions of the Colony of Demer-ary and Essequebo, but it would have made it of an inconvenient size, and would probably have been of no essential utility to have extended it to all the boundaries of the Colony.

These are -

On the north, the sea coast, from the mouth of the Abary to Cape Barima, near the mouth of the Orinoco.

On the west, a line running north and south from Cape Barima into the interior.

On the south, the Portuguese frontier, in that district of it which is called the Govern-ment of Rio Negro, and which may be generally defined by a line running east and west along the ridge which Humboldt called the Cordillera of Parima, separating the two systems of rivers flowing respectively northward into the valleys of the Orinoco and Essequebo, and southward into that of the Amazons.

On the east, the Abary River, from its mouth, as far as its course extends, and thence in a southerly direction to the Portuguese frontier before mentioned. Precision in this last boundary-line is of the less consequence since it borders on the sister British Colony of Berbice, which has the River Courantyn for its eastern boundary, and which, with Demerary and Essequebo, now form British Guyana.

The general extent of the Colony of Demerary and Essequebo, may be therefore taken at 3º of longitude by 5º of latitude.

With the exception of the estates situated along the sea coasts and rivers' banks, as indi-cated in yellow on the sketch, every other part of the Colony is Crown land, and at His Majesty's disposal; and even of the portion so indicated, several parts are Crown land, consisting of those in the schedules (X) and (Y)** annexed, which are held from the Crown for wood cutting or provision lands, upon provisional licences, and pay a certain quit-rent into the King's chest.

It will be obvious, from the peculiar local and other circumstances of this Colony, that the extent and situation of its Crown lands will not admit of any more precise Returns than are contained in this sketch with its accompanying explanations.

(Signed) B. D'URBAN

Demerary, October 18, 1827

[** Not reproduced]

[14 February 1831]

St. Matthew's Parish, Parsonage House, Demerary, February 14, 1831.


According to your Excellency's request communicated to me by the Rev. Leonard Strong, I give you the following statement of the free coloured people and Indians residing up the Essequebo River as far as they have come under my observation, also my purpose concerning them.

Having had an opportunity of going up the Rive Essequebo, and desirous of knowing the condition of the free coloured people and Indians there as respects their temporal condition, I inquired of them whether an instructor - one that would be able to instruct them in the principles of Christianity, as well as any knowledge, advancing their temporal welfare, would be acceptable - their unanimous reply was, that it was an object much desired, and that they would do all they could to render his situation comfortable, at the same time confessing the extent of their means would be very inadequate for the personal comfort of any who might wish to reside among them.

Their local situation is unfavourable to settling up either the Essequebo or the Mas-saroony since there are a considerable number of inhabitants on each branch of the river. From this circumstance, with other observations and inquiries I made when there, I conceive that the point of juncture, between the Essequebo and the Massaroony, would be the most convenient situation for my residence and proposed school for their children, that I may be equally useful to the free coloured and Indians of both rivers.

[28 February 1831]

Monday, 28th February, 1831.

Fiscal v. Billy William, an Indian.

William Hilhouse - I have been in this Colony sixteen years. The last eight years I have had an exclusive household of Indian domestics. I am partially acquainted with their language, with their manners and customs perfectly; they have customs, but no code of laws, but have the lex talionis in all the tribes; on almost all occasions they exercise the lex talionis when a white me-diation does not step in to buy off the murder by a pecuniary consideration; by their customs the Caribbees always punish adultery with death; the other nations it is not so certainly ascertained, but adultery with a negro, or the descendant of a negro, is punished with death; the Indian has a right of property in his wife, and in case of her breaking the conjugal tie, he can punish her as he would a cat or a dog by shooting or hanging. The woman is inferior in her rank of society to the man, for she is his slave, his property. Thy Indians are, in general, excessively jealous of heir wives; there have been so many instances of incontinence with white persons that it may justify great suspicion on the part of the husband. In all the nations the descendant however remote of a negro is till classed as a negro; the next of kin under any circumstance avenge death, however just the cause may have been. I have known numerous instances. There is scarcely a family of Indians in the Colony in which an instance of the retaliation has not occurred; if the prisoner was acquitted I do not think the Indians would spare this man unless the Governor or some other per-son arranged compensation for the death of this woman, otherwise the avenger of her death is now in this room. If the prisoner were convicted and executed, his relations could not leave re-course to the lex talionis, for the public executioners taking his life it would be easily explained to them. I know the place generally were the murder stated to have been committed; there has been an old Dutch fort far beyond the place, there are many Indian settlements about within a few hours; the Tapacouma runs through the forest.

Cross-examined - I have travelled in every direction among the Indians and witnessed their habits and manners in their native towns. The Indians' nick-name is Yarike; they consider me as the head of an Indian family, having an Indian child. The Ackaways during the insurrec-tion applied to have me appointed their Chief: a petition to that effect was since presented to the present Governor; there are three tribes in alliance with the Colony: the Caribbees, Arrowaaks, and Warraus. The Ackaway is the main strength at present. The nearest relation to the person who has fallen avenges the murder. I have never heard of a man selling his wife; she is only a slave to himself. Most of the Indians near the plantations have a native Indian name and another name. The moment the reason was explained of the prisoner's death, the les talionis would, if executed, cease. There are Post-holders and Protector of Indians; the post is about 60 or 70 miles from the mouth of the Essequibo; it is about 10 miles on the north bank of the Masseroneys; the falls of the Essequebo are about 110 miles from the mouth of the river. There is a white settler at the falls, another at the junction, but grants have been made of the land on both sides up to the falls of the three branches of the Essequebo, viz., the Essequebo, the Mazarony, and Cayone. Many Indians live between the falls of the Essequebo and the mouth, particularly Arrowacks in the Tapacouma Creek; there are three settlers; several Indians live in the creek.

Re-examined - Settlements of the Indians on the River Essequebo are some on the banks, some far up the smaller creeks, I know James Fraser; he is in the Tapacuma. In all grants it is enjoined that no inconvenience shall be offered to the Indians. I have known from tradition a Treaty has been made by the Colony with the Arrowacks, Warrows, and Caribbees. I have only understood the Treaty to be as retaining them as soldiers in the defence of the Colony, that they obey all calls of the Colony for service in consequence of which an allowance is made every three years which they consider as a retaining fee. I think it the only tie they look on it is as subjecting them to serve when called on solely as allies; there is no clause I have heard of calling on them to submit to the laws in other respects. I was employed by the Governor to raise an Indian force. I raised it entirely through personal affection; they had had a quarrel with the Executive, and would not have come without. The Governor, in my presence, thanked them as friends and allies.

By the Court - There are tribes of Arrowacks; the prisoner is an Arrowack; there are upwards of thirty. The tribes move much about from place to place amongst each other, fre-quently change their residence, the nations as amongst each other recognize particular boundaries, the individuals of families may consist of several tribes, but the nations never intermarry. It is a common thing for a Buck family to quit its place of abode.

A. van Ryck de Groot - I have been forty years in the Colony, have in some respects be-come acquainted with the Buck laws and customs, but very limited. The lex talionis is in force amongst them for adultery; they generally flog them or beat them severely within my knowledge, I cannot say it is punished with death, but I have heard so. I am a Protector of Indians. If an In-dian made a complaint to me I should act as a mediator, not as a Magistrate. If the injuring party did not choose to appear, I should not feel myself authorized to compel him to do so. In their quarrels I should consider I had nothing to do unless they called on me as mediator; there is no order not to interfere, nor the contrary; on a grant, the grantee is ordered not to molest the Indi-ans, but to cultivate friendship. I give presents, in the name of the Governor, to the Indians; they are a retaining fee for their fidelity and friendship, the presents are not ever wilfully neglected, they may be withheld by accident, the Indians consider them as presents to them as friends and allies not as subjects. I do not know they have any mode of recording events or any substitute for writing; any compact between them and us is oral only.

Cross-examined - I lived in Fort Island in 1795. Mr. Pletner was Commander ad interim, and as such President of the Court of Justice. A man was punished in 1795, I think for murdering his wife. I believe she was an Indian woman. I cannot say whether the man was an Indian or not, but we took him for one; his name was Macaniouri; he was decapitated. I believe the name of the woman was Yagrow (record of trial put in). I was then Head Clerk of Secretary's office. Sen-tence is written by me; the man is described as a free mulatto, and the woman as his wife. I do not recollect any other similar trials.

March 1, 1831 - I summed up and gave my opinion.

With regard to the power of the Court, the argument will resolve itself into the conse-quences that follow from the fact of the spot, where the act was committed being within the territory of Great Britain. If it be so, the place is occupied under a grant from the Crown, built on and cultivated by the grantee, who carries on a trade there.

Beyond it there is a similar settlement, and "far beyond the place there has been a Dutch fort" as is proved by Mr. Hilhouse's evidence. Thus, the Crown of Great Britain has exercised all those rights by which nations usually indicate their claim to territorial possessions. On the other hand, no pretence is set up that this territorial right was ever disputed by the Indians. Officers whose very name is that of their protectors are dispersed amongst them, and to these we learn by the evidence they are in the constant habit of submitting their disputes; they receive from us pre-sents for services. There is, therefore, a customary communication between us and them as a body, yet as a body we never hear of their complaining of our encroachments, or claiming any rights inconsistent with them. We do not find amongst them any form of general government, and it is stated in evidence that they have no code of laws. But a custom (loosely enough proved) is stated to exist that they can punish adultery by shooting or hanging, as they would a cat or a dog, and this from the right of property of the Indian over his wife. Although this custom is not shown to extend to suspicion of adultery, that is not material, for the point is whether the Indians, whatever their customs may be, are in a position to claim their exercise by a jurisdiction which would supersede our rights. Their position appears to me to be that of a conquered nation, or, more accurately speaking, that of a nation whose lands the Dutch, our predecessors, occupied, peopled, and governed by their own laws and institutions, without any resistance from the former inhabitants. But the mere fact of non-resistance cannot change the character of the possession, nor the situation of those from whom the territory is taken; it is still a conquered country. These foreigners, then, so conquered, have chosen to continue within the territory, have never disputed our rights, and have adopted our institutions formed for their express comfort and protection. Are they, then, not in the situation of any other foreigners who come into another nation's bonds, or remain in, and domicile themselves under, the new Government when a conquest is made, and do they not bind themselves thereby to obey and conform to those laws that the new community has thought proper to establish? In my judgment they do.

I think, therefore, the jurisdiction of this Court extends to the trial of this offence, and although I should not stretch the law to avoid any evil consequences which might arise from the contrary conclusion, but rather propose an enactment to meet them (if, indeed that would be law-ful), should the above reasons not be valid, it may strengthen the former argument to point out some of the anomalies to which a determination that this offence could not be here tried would directly lead. The first and most obvious is the existence of two absolute and independent crimi-nal jurisdictions in the same territory, the one for Indians, the other for Europeans and Blacks. The claim is that the prisoner is not subject to be tried under our criminal laws, and it seems to be founded on the fact of its being an Indian that he killed; whether rightly or wrongfully killed does not affect the question, for without jurisdiction we have no power to investigate the matter, and it will scarcely be urged that this Court can try whether a person killing another was justifi-able by the Indian laws, and declare it, according to those laws, justifiable homicide. But further, if for the murder of an Indian this man cannot be tried, by what process of reasoning the Court claim jurisdiction over an Indian killing a white or black man? He may have Indian customs to show the propriety of his conduct, and unless these tribes are subject to the governing powers of the Colony they are governed by their own laws, and in such a case the offender must be submit-ted to their operation. The murder of an Indian by a white or black man would no doubt be by us punished with death. These wild untutored savage tribes are domiciled amongst us, receive the benefit and protection of our laws, and must, in my judgment, be subject to the restraints and punishments which those laws adopt for the prevention and punishment of crimes. With regard to the individual before us, the wild state of barbarianism in which he has lived, the faint and vague impression of his own customs probably prevailing in his mind, and the suspicions he may, from the character of the woman, have entertained of his wife (however unjust on the present occasion), may perhaps weigh with the Court (should it find him guilty) to recommend to the Governor to exercise the only power he possesses in such a case, to leave the execution or mitigation of the sentence to the merciful consideration of His Majesty's Government.

I added that should such recommendation be sent to His Majesty's Advisers, I should also suggest for their consideration whether the wound was sufficiently described in the indict-ment, although in my opinion it is, and particularly so under the Rules and Orders of the Criminal Court of this Colony.

A true extract:

Deputy Secretary

[15 April 1831]

King's House, Demerary, April 15, 1831.

My Lord,

l have the honour herewith to transmit a duplicate of the indictment, sentence, and Judges notes upon the trial of an Indian recently convicted of murder, before the Criminal Court of Justice of the Colony, and condemned to death, but recommended by the Court to His Maj-esty's mercy.

I have accordingly respited the execution of the sentence until His Majesty's pleasure shall be known, humbly submitting the prisoner's case to His Majesty's gracious clemency.

The evidence and the notes of the learned Judge are so clear as to require no elucidation upon my part, but I request withal, to submit. to your Lordship, that His Majesty may be moved to direct such a commutation of the capital sentence as may remove the prisoner for ever from this country, because at whatever distance of time he might return hither, the nearest of kin to the murdered woman then alive would feel himself bound to avenge her, and this man would infalli-bly be put to death in consequence. . .

(Signed) B. D'URBAN


Inclosure: Extract from the note-book of His Honour Charles Wray, President of the Honourable Court of Criminal and Civil Justice of The Colonies of Demerary and Essequebo - Eighth Criminal Session, 28 February 1831 [Document No. 568 above].

[10 August 1831]

By His Excellency Major-General Sir Benjamin D'Urban, K.C.B., etc., Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Colony of British Guiana, etc.

(L.S.) (Signed) B. D'URBAN

Whereas application has been made to me by the Rev. Leonard Strong, rector of St. Matthew's Parish, praying that I would grant into the Church Missionary Society a certain tract of Crown land, being 300 roods depth on the missionary side of the point called "Bartica Point", for the purpose of establishing a Mission to the free coloured and Indians in that neighbourhood.

I do hereby grant unto the said Rev. Leonard Strong, for and on behalf of the said Church Missionary Society, this my licence and permission to take possession of and occupy the said hereinbefore-mentioned tract of Crown land for the purposes aforesaid, during His Maj-esty's pleasure.

Given under my hand and seal of office, at the King's House in Georgetown, British Guiana, this 10th day of August, 1831, and in the 2nd year of His Majesty's reign.

By his Excellency's command,
(Signed) T. C. HAMMILL,
Acting Government Secretary

[20 September 1831]

Essequebo, September 20, 1831.


As there appears to be a want of information in the mother-country on the situation of the Indians inhabiting the districts of British Guiana, especially with respect to their relations with the Government of that Colony, I have thought it might not be unattended with advantage to throw together a few observations on their actual situation, illustrated by facts and occurrences that have fallen under my own knowledge, and which I beg leave to submit to your Excellency.

2. In consequence of the trial before the Court of Criminal Justice of this Colony of an Indian (Billy Williams) for the crime of murder, a question was started whether crimes commit-ted by the Indians properly came within our jurisdiction.

3. Without entering into the general question of the right of any Court of Criminal Judi-cature to take cognizance of crimes against the law of nature - as murder and like, by whomso-ever committed, within its jurisdiction - I shall proceed to notice a very correct and just observa-tion that has been made with reference to the subject: That if the Indian tribes within the Colony may be lawfully punished for the violation of our laws, it is an irresistible inference that they are entitled to effective protection by our civil and military power; that, in fact, the agency of the police should be co-extensive with the operation of the Criminal Law.

4. Let us then, inquire whether protection has been afforded to the native inhabitants of these settlements, and I shall endeavour to prove not only that protection is, and has long been, afforded to the Indian tribes, but that the are sensible of it and satisfied with it.

5. In every district of the Colony where Indians reside an officer is appointed, who is se-lected from amongst the most respectable proprietors, whose very title "Protector of Indians" proclaims the duties which he has to perform. To him it belongs to receive the complaints which Indians may have to prefer against not only, as I conceive, any of the other inhabitants, but also against each other, and use every legal method to procure redress of their grievances.

6. In each of those districts is also a Post-holder, receiving a salary from the Colonial Government, and residing at situations more immediately in contact with the Indians, who are chiefly, though not exclusively, appointed for the purpose of assisting the Protectors in their care of the Indians, as appears by the instructions for those officers, and who are therefore placed un-der the immediate superintendence of the Protectors.

7. That such protection has been promptly and effectually afforded, and been relied on by the Indians, can be proved by the production of innumerable instances. I shall, however, only encroach on your Excellency's time by stating a few which have come under my own immediate view, and I shall begin with the case before us, that of Billy Williams.

8. As soon as he had committed the crime which he was aware had placed his life in danger, he first fled into the woods, but, being pursued, he made his way to Mr. Timmerman, the Protector of Indians of the district in which he lived. The family of the murdered woman pursued him there, and demanded that he should be surrendered to them, which was, of course, refused by the Protector. The family then proceeded to the office of the Second Fiscal, and stated the circumstances, demanding justice against the accused, and expressing themselves satisfied and desirous that he should be dealt with according to our laws.

9. During the period I have held the office of Second Fiscal, three or four cases some-what resembling this have been brought before by the Indians, although this was the first of them that was brought to trial, various causes having intervened with respect to the others. Three of these cases I distinctly remember.

10. In one of them the slayer (like Billy Williams) had fled to the Protector Timmerman, and the friends of the deceased went in like manner to demand the person of the accused from him, and on refusal came to my office to demand justice according to our laws. While I was col-lecting the necessary evidence to bring the accused to trial, the friends of both parties (through the intervention of Mr. Timmerman) came to a good understanding together, and eventually ap-plied to me to stop the proceedings which, with the approbation of the Lieutenant-Governor Murray and Mr. President Henry (the case not being attended with any circumstances of peculiar atrocity), I accordingly acceded to.

11. In both the other cases the accused were brought bound before me by the Indians themselves; one of these cases was also compromised, and made up among the friends of the ac-cused and those of the deceased; and as it appeared clearly a mere manslaughter in an affray, I did not hesitate to let it drop also. The other appeared to be a case of deliberate and atrocious murder, and the culprit would have been brought to trial, but he made his escape from prison and I never heard more of him.

12. I am extremely sorry to have to add to this catalogue of crime one of a recent date, and of a very dark complexion. The accused, an Arrawaak Indian named Frederick, was brought before me by the Post-holder of Essequebo a few days since, and is now in gaol to await his trial.

13. In all these cases the offence has been of Indian against Indian, and yet your Excel-lency will observe that in every one of them they were satisfied that the accused should be dealt with according to our laws, and in three of the five cases they showed their decided preference to that course being pursued, as they had it in their power to have acted otherwise, from all which it is evident they rely on, and receive protection from us.

14. While Frederick was in confinement here several of the Indians of his own nation came to me and requested to see him, and having been indulged, they one and all returned to me and expressed their satisfaction that he was to be tried, adding their hopes that he would be hanged.

15. I have no hesitation in asserting, and my intercourse with, and knowledge of the In-dians enables me to do so with confidence, that they, and especially those who reside nearest to our settlements, consider our taking upon ourselves the decision of cases of this nature as the greatest favour we can do them.

16. I have another and a strong instance not only of their willingness but of their desire to have their death feuds taken up and settled by us. Your Excellency will recollect, about five years since, my having reported to you a feud of this nature being carried on up the Essequebo, when the respective parties, which were both hotly numerous, had stockaded themselves, and having, with your Excellency's sanction, sent a deputation to invite both parties to come down to me with the view of having their quarrel adjusted. The Chiefs of the respective parties came down accordingly, each attended by about thirty able warriors; they were all of the Accawaii na-tion, but of different tribes or families. The quarrel arose by an Indian of one of the families hav-ing been killed by one of the other, who, in his turn, was put to death, and his death again re-venged, until the law of retaliation produced its ordinary result in the death of several innocent persons on both sides. They expressed their readiness to submit their quarrel to my decision as their Protector, but demanded what they should do in similar cases in future. I asked them if they would agree to bring the individual who should again kill one of the other party and give him up to be tried by our laws, to which the Chiefs having first communicated with their respective par-ties, readily, and to all appearances, joyfully assented. The Chiefs having eaten bread and drank wine together then placed their marks to a Treaty of Peace and Alliance which I had drawn up and explained to them, and which I have every reason to believe they have faithfully observed, having heard of no feud or quarrel between them since.

17. That the Indians receive effective protection where offences are committed against them by other persons than Indians, the records of our Courts of Justice will clearly show. From my jurisdiction I have sent forward within the last two years three cases for trial for offences against the persons of Indians. The first was a charge against two negroes of Mr. Mackay, a woodcutter up the Essequebo, for the murder of an Indian. The prisoners, I believe, were acquit-ted for want of sufficient evidence. The second was also a charge against a negro for causing the death of an Indian in a scuffle. The third was against a white man for a violent assault upon the person of an Indian, by pouring rum on his head and setting fire to it, by which he was severely burned. This case is still pending.

18. Various instances may be adduced of their having applied to me, as well as to the other Protectors, where offences of a minor nature have been committed against them, and I feel confident their complaints have been always properly attended to, and they have seldom failed of having redress. Indeed, your Excellency can bear at least a negative testimony to the correctness of this statement by the absence or paucity of complaints brought by the Indians before you, for they are well aware that your Excellency's ear is open to them, should they in vain seek redress through their constituted Protectors.

19. Thus it is evident that effective protection has not only gone hand in hand with the operation of the criminal law, as relates to the Indians, but has, in fact, preceded it, and such be-ing the case, I, as a warm friend of the Indian tribes of these Colonies, am, for their own sakes, anxious to see the Empire of the law established among them, to guard them from the effects of their own unruly passions, and to prevent the commission of crime, and especially of the crime of murder, indeed the only one to which they are at all addicted.

20. Fears have been expressed that the natives have to this day received no compensa-tion for the lands we have dispossessed them of. However honourable their feeling may be, as expressive of a high sense of justice, it is, in like manner, grounded on a want of sufficient in-formation as well of the localities as of the measures of the Colonial Government; for, in the first place, the Indians can scarcely be said to be dispossessed of the lands we cultivate, as it is well known that they never inhabited or cultivated the lands along the sea-shores, nor even those lands on the banks of the rivers which are selected for cultivation by the European settlers, but, on the contrary, they always choose the sandy soils, which with scarcely any labour than that of clearing off the wood produces one, two, and sometimes three good crops of their esculent roots, but which is totally unfit for the culture of our staple productions. And, in the second place, your Excellent is well aware, the Colony pays annually a considerable sum for allowances and rations to the Indians, dealt out to them whenever they think proper to visit the town, or to call on any of the Protectors or Post-holders on their journeyings through the country; and besides, every third year a large amount is expended for the triennial presents. Thus it is proved that they have not been dealt with unjustly, and that compensation has been and is continued to be made.

[21 September 1831]

Weist Deeven, September 21, 1831.

My dear Sir Benjamin,

Your letter of the 13th instant, with the despatch of the Secretary of State, came to me on the evening of the 15th instant, a few hours after our boat had started for town, and I have not had an opportunity of forwarding a reply to it till now.

The disposal of the unfortunate Billy William is indeed a puzzling question, for I hardly think his life safe in any situation within the possible reach of the brothers of his deceased wife, so inveterately did they express themselves against him, and so thoroughly do they feel it a point of honour to have her death avenged. There can be no doubt that he could find the means of sub-sistence and the power of making himself intelligible at other parts of this continent. In Cayenne, for example, he might enjoy these advantages, and be out of the reach of his late wife's relations; but how ask the French Government there to permit a man banished for the crime of murder to be let loose in their territories? Thy same difficulty presents itself with respect to Colombia or any of the new States to leeward, but perhaps not in so strong a degree; and if an opportunity of a King's ship going to any of these settlements should offer, I think it is possible the matter might be arranged in a satisfactory manner if he was sent in her; and I apprehend you have no other al-ternative but that of keeping him in the gaol.

From the despatch of my Lord Goderich, it would appear that there is a want of information at the Colonial Office on the subject of the relative situation of the Indians of these settlements with the Colonial Government; and your Excellency would, in my opinion, be doing a service to the former, and but justice to the latter, by informing the Secretary of State more mi-nutely on the actual relations subsisting between them.

This is perhaps the more necessary at this point, as unfortunately I have, within a. few days had to send up another Indian for trial on a charge of the murder of two individuals, his wife's father and mother.

I have thrown together a few observations on this (to me at least) very interesting sub-ject, and with reference to my Lord Goderich's despatch, which, if at all acceptable to your Ex-cellency, I shall be most happy to lay before you. . .

(Signed) GEO. BAGOT

[26 November 1831]

King's House, British Guiana, November 26, 1831.


I have had the honour to receive your Lordship's despatch of the 21st July last,* con-cerning the Indian convict "Billy William."

Having reflected upon the great difficulty in disposing of him at all satisfactorily, I thought it expedient to avail myself of the counsel of Mr. Bagot (the Second Fiscal, and Protector at Indians, upon the Essequebo and its branches), whose sound judgment and extensive knowledge of the Indian tribes generally; and whose acquaintance with both those involved in this case particularly, as well as with the immediate parties concerned, and the case itself, in which the original examinations were all taken before him, pointed him out as especially fit to afford me useful suggestions thereon.

I accordingly sent your Lordship's despatch for his confidential perusal. His answer very clearly and justly states the position of the matter with its attendant difficulties; and it is certain that there is no alternative, consistent with this Indian's personal safety, but to keep him in prison until some convenient occasion may present itself of bestowing him where he may be able to provide for his subsistence, out of reach of those by whom he is held in feud, and who, although they would be perfectly satisfied if he were hanged by our laws, yet would not think themselves the less bound to sacrifice him, if he should have escaped alive from their operation.

About three years ago, Mr. Armstrong had been sent out by the Missionary Society to act as a catechist and schoolmaster to the negroes upon two adjoining estates in Essequebo, whose proprietors had jointly desired to have such an instructor; and on his arrival, I had licensed him to act in that capacity, which he continued to do accordingly, until, in the course of the last year, some change, I believe, in the property of those estates (at any rate, no fault upon his part) put an end to his further employment there, and he then went to pass some months upon the Up-per Essequebo and Massarooney Rivers.

On his return from that excursion, the Rev. Mr. Strong (Rector of the Parish of St. Mi-chael in this Colony, and an exemplary and invaluable parochial clergyman) mentioned him to me as a proper person for making the attempt (which he knew I had very much at heart) of estab-lishing the germ of some instruction for the Indians in the districts Mr. Armstrong had been visit-ing.

I commissioned Mr. Strong, therefore, to communicate with Mr. Armstrong upon the subject; the result will be found in the correspondence between Mr. Strong and Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Bagot, and myself, and in my consequent licences granted in furtherance of the measure. A subscription was then set on foot in the Colony in aid of the undertaking, and Mr. Armstrong has been established ever since near the Indian post, upon the confluence of the Essequebo and Mas-sarooney, under the care and protection of Mr. Bagot generally, and immediately of Mr. Richard-son, the resident Post-holder there, who has received my special instructions to that effect.

Mr. Bagot's Reports will, I think, have shown your Lordship that protection is afforded to the Indians by the Magistrates of the Colonial Government, and that they willingly avail them-selves of it, and are not altogether ignorant of the penalties of our criminal code, since they are disposed to rely upon them for the punishment of great crimes committed amongst themselves, and they will rely upon them provided they see that they are effectual, as, for instance, in the case of Frederick (which is therein stated), but it may be well apprehended that, if this be not the case, it they see that from whatever cause our laws suffer such a murderer to escape with impu-nity, they will cease to resort to their interference, and resume their habit of seeking their own vengeance, which indefinitely perpetrates mutual bloodshed.

Mr. Bagot has justly said that "we have not dispossessed the Indians of their territory," they occupy it as freely and uninterruptedly for every purpose which is essential or agreeable to them, as if we had never come hither (by the way we only succeeded to the place of the Dutch), but the tribes who live within reach of civilization, derive most solid and important benefits from our regular and constant assistance, as your Lordship may in some degree gather from the Report No. 5* and its inclosures, which also estimates their past and present numbers; (those, moreover, whose purposes of traffic bring them to Georgetown, where there are quarters provided for them, and rations issued) and triennial presents also distributed at the posts on the rivers.

Of these, the average value in Demerary and Essequebo has heretofore been as follows:
Annual supplies. . . . .£1,400
Triennial presents. . .£2,400
Amounting in every four years to. . .. £6,600

and the description of all things furnished has been carefully adapted to their wants, habits, and expectations.

[* Not Printed]


Inclosure 1: Mr. George Bagot, Protector of the Indians, to Governor of British Guiana, Sir Benjamin D'urban, 21 September 1831. [Document No. 573 above].

Inclosure 2: Mr. George Bagot, Protector of the Indians, to Governor of British Guiana, Sir Benjamin D'urban, 20 September 1831 [Document No. 572 above].

Inclosure 3: Rev. J. Armstrong to Lieutenant-Governor [of Demerara-Essequibo], Sir Benjamin D'urban, 14 February 1831 [Document No. 568 above].

Inclosure 4: Land grant issued by Sir Benjamin D'Urban, Governor of British Guiana, 10 August 1831 [Document No. 571 above].

[13 February 1832]

Monday, 13th February, 1832.

Charles Herbert, First Fiscal, v. Frederick, an Indian.

(Charge of murder of two Indians)

Lodwick Baeker - I live close to the falls of the Essequebo. I know an Indian called Jacobus or Dutchman. I know also Tuhetta; they were Indians. Some time I heard they were dead; when I heard that I went to the Buck place. I took him into the house where the bodies were. We saw them. The place of the house is about half-a-day from the post, Mr. Richardson's post. I saw the Bucks bury the bodies the next day; they buried them in the house.

Cross-examined - I have known prisoner a long time. The prisoner was living at the place where I saw the dead bodies. I have known him live elsewhere. I know the falls in the Ma-zarooni called the Marshalls Falls; cannot say how many hours from the post to the Marshalls Falls; it will take a whole tide to get there. This place is not in the Mazarooni, but in the Esse-quebo. Bucks had been living there a long time. They had as much ground cultivated as Bucks generally have.

William Playter - I am Assistant Post-holder at the Mazarooni to Mr. Richardson. I gen-erally reside there. A report was made to me at the post some time about the middle of August that some Bucks were killed. An Indian named Lawrence brought me the report. Mr. Richardson was absent. He returned in the evening. I reported it to him. On the following day, Sunday, we went up to the Essequebo River; on our way up we met the Indians Lawrence and France. I was about from three to four hours going to the Buck house from the post. It is about 8 or 9 miles dis-tance from the post. It is about 5 miles from the mouth of the Essequebo branch; have never been higher than the Buck place. I do not understand the Indian language.

Cross-examined - I can talk a little of the Creole Dutch, and so can the Indian. Mr. Wishrope was quite close to us all the time when the club was found. We were all talking; he joined the conversation occasionally. Jacob Baeker was there, the man who was just now a wit-ness. Two Indians, Lawrence and France, were also there; also another free person whose name I did not know. I never knew the prisoner before that occasion. I am not sure whether there was any other Indian there or not. I cannot recollect that I had any conversation with any other In-dian. The Post-holder took the Indian out of the canoe, and took him to the post. l put him into the stocks by the orders of the Post-holder. This was on the Sunday when he first came. I don't know whether there was any examination of the Indian by the Post-holder, My orders when I took the prisoner to the place was to look for the stick the murder was supposed to have been committed with. I do not know if there was an examination of the prisoner. I was at the post the whole time he was there. I never knew an examination by the Post-holder of a person accused of crime. There are four rooms in the Post-holder's house: a hall and three bed-rooms. An examina-tion might have taken place without my knowing it. When the Post-holder took the prisoner out of the boat, the two Indians, Lawrence and France, accompanied him.

Re-examined - The stocks were brought into the house for safety. Lawrence and France speak Creole Dutch. I can understand what they say pretty well; but I cannot speak it so well as I understand it.

By the Court - Mr. Richardson is the Post-holder. I have been there twelve months. His duty is to look after the Indians and keep them in order. They always come to him when they have disputes to have them settled. Sometimes they ask for a bottle of rum, and he gives it to them. There is a Protector of Indians in the Essequebo, his Honour George Bagot. Mr. Richard-son is allowed every three months a puncheon of rum and one of molasses, plantains and fish, cutlasses and axes, for the purpose of distributing to the Indians. I have been to the Protector for these supplies, and I have also received them in town by his order. Sometimes they come and put the post in order and weed the grass, and they are given these things in payment. They always expect payment for their work. Sometimes they get these things without work. Not always, I be-lieve. The house at the post belongs to the Colony.

George Philip Wishrope - I live at Mon Repos, Essequebo, a little above the mouth of the Mazarooni. Some time ago, about the 27th August, I heard of some Indians being murdered. Lawrence told me of it. I advised him to go and inform the Post-holder. He came back, and begged me to go up the River to the place where the murder was supposed to have been commit-ted.

Cross-examined - Lawrence, France, and Pong were only male Indians at the post when I went there first. I have known the Buck place long; old Jacobus had been living there a long time. It is an Indian settlement. I know of no custom among the Indians for the punishment of murder. I know that when an Indian is killed the relation at' the person killed considers it his duty to take vengeance by killing the murderer. No other settlement is near this Buck place. It would take half-an-hour or an hour of tide to go from it to another Buck settlement. No other but Indians lived at the Buck place at that time. I have known Mr. Playter, the witness, a short time. I never heard him converse in Creole Dutch. Did not hear him converse with any of the Indians in Creole Dutch.

Re-examined - I have resided eleven years in the Essequebo. I am well acquainted with the river. There are Buck settlements below my place coming down the Essequebo, also above my place.

By the Court - There was not bush high enough to conceal the bodies where I observed the places flattened down. There is a spar-cutting place up the Essequebo. Mr. de Bretton, a white person, lives there. It is a tide above the Buck place where I saw the bodies. I have known that place of De Bretton's eleven years. It was there where I first went up that river. There are Buck settlements between the Buck place and De Bretton's place. Mr. de Bretton is an English-man.

[12 February 1833]


St. Matthew's Rectory, Demerary, February 12, 1833.

In compliance with your Excellency's wishes, I now endeavour to lay before you a brief summary of the proceedings and prospects of the Mission to Indians inhabiting the Essequebo and Massaruni Rivers, commenced with the year 1831, under the kind auspices of your Excel-lency, by Mr. John Armstrong, Missionary Catechist from the Church of England Missionary Society. His primary object upon receiving the grant of land from your Excellency on Bartica Point was the erection of a suitable building for the assembling of a congregation, and instruction of children, and his own residence, which he has effected in the completion of a building 40 feet square, and which has ever since been in use for the above purposes. During the time occupied in this, and cleaning some roods of land from the trees and brushwood that covered it, Mr. Arm-strong seized every opportunity of gaining the confidence of the Indians, whom he chiefly em-ployed, and laying before them the simple purpose of his taking up his residence among them.

As soon as the building was completed, Mr. Armstrong opened it for Divine Worship every Sunday, and it has ever since been attended by the neighbouring free coloured people to the average number of fifty or sixty, besides occasionally a few Indians. Mr. Armstrong has also regularly visited settlements of Indians in the Essequebo and Massaruni Rivers alternately every week, expounding the Scriptures and explaining the fall, the nature, and the condemnation of sin, with the redemption of mankind, to some in English, to others through an interpreter in the creole Dutch; he does also visit their sick, attend funerals, and furnish them with medicines. The great obstacle that presents itself to be overcome is the ignorance of the Indian languages. Some of them can converse fluently in the creole Dutch, but three tribes of Indians immediately contigu-ous speak diverse languages, so that having become the master of one, it is little or no assistance to the acquirement of another. Your Excellency is also fully aware how thinly scattered the Indi-ans are on the banks of these rivers and their tributary streams. The scattered settlements until you advance far to the interior varying from four to eight, twelve, twenty, thirty, or upwards, in the number of their inhabitants.

Mr. Armstrong being extremely desirous of visiting the settlements situated higher up the river, in the month of September last proceeded in his canoe five days' journey up the Cuyuni River, but for the want of provisions was obliged to return. He met with many Indians who were extremely friendly and fully aware of his purposes to instruct them and their children. He con-versed with some, who came they said from a settlement of 200, about five days' journey higher up the river, under the rule of a Chief who had emigrated from Venezuela; they also stated that he and they wished for a teacher or dominie to reside with them. Three Indian boys then peti-tioned their parents for permission to accompany Mr. Armstrong down the river and reside with him at the Mission house, to which they readily conceded, and the children are at present with him.

In December last the Mission daily school at Bartica consisted of 14 children, 7 of whom were Indians, 2 Caribs, 2 Ackawois, 3 Arrowhawks, being some of each tribe, speaking their several languages, and thus affording Mr. Armstrong the opportunity not only of acquiring mainly words in such languages, but also giving him the hope, under Divine blessing, of training up future interpreters to their respective nations. I should add that one of these boys, an Ar-rowhawk Indian, is reading in his English Testament and writing copies in a book.

In December last an additional missionary arrived from the Church Missionary Institu-tion at Islington to join Mr. Armstrong at Bartica Point, to which situation your Excellency was pleased upon application to licence and appoint him, i.e., Mr. Thomas Youd. Since which time Mr. Armstrong has determined on leaving the station at Bartica Point. under the charge of Mr. Youd, and proceeding himself up to the head of the Essequebo River in order to ascertain the exact situation of that more numerous and powerful tribe of Indians, the Macoosie nation, as also to make known the glad tidings of the Gospel, and endeavour to obtain their good-will for the settlement of missionaries among them.

From the experience of the Moravian missionaries during their labours among the Indi-ans in Berbice and Surinam, the greater part of the last century (as already laid before your Ex-cellency), we perceive that there are no great difficulties placed before zealous and persevering missionaries on the part of the Indians themselves, and from the testimony of a gentleman who has lately visited the Indians in the Oronook, and on the Spanish frontier, at the head of' the Massaruni and Cayuni Rivers, I learn that at one time there were no less than 20,000 Indians as-sembled to profit by the instructions of the Spanish priests, but that frog the lack of proper in-struction and care, their numbers are reduced to 8,000, now settled in Venezuela, chiefly at the head of the Cayuni River.

[9 November 1833]


Camp House, Demerara, November 9, 1833.

I beg, however, to suggest respectfully to you that the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty may be applied to direct the return of Captain Owen to this station to survey the Essequebo and the Berbice Rivers, the first of which, in particular, is very little known, and is said to flow in a variety of branches through a very beautiful country, offering great facilities for future cultivation.

[22 February 1834]

Pomeroon, February 22, 1834.


I have the honour to state, for the information of his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, that, in compliance with his commands, I proceeded upon the 19th instant up Morocco Creek to the residence of Captain Juan Aguilar, and having collected as many of the Indians as the unfavourable state of the weather would permit, I first explained, and then presented in form, his Excellency's Commission to Captain Juan, and have pleasure in stating that it was universally received with respect and gratitude.

After this ceremony I proceeded to examine into the difference between Captain Juan and the man Iös Moreno, alias Pepi, but, finding neither party anxious to push matters further, I had the satisfaction in a few minutes to see them shake hands with great apparent cordiality, and I trust the affair will here terminate. I, however, consider it but justice to Captain Juan to add that his statement of Moreno being an interloper, and having come to his settlement without a pass, is not untrue, as it has been clearly proven to me, and confessed by Moreno himself, that he only came to Morocco from Demerary for the first time in June last, and has since been living with an old Indian woman, whose young daughter he has lately taken as a wife. His statement to Colonel Croal of having resided sixteen years in the creek, and having a large family, is consequently a falsehood.

With respect to the "distance and means of communication between the post and Mo-rocco Creek," you will be pleased to inform his Excellency that from the post to Juan's settle-ment, to the best of my judgment, it does not exceed 30 miles, and that I performed the journey in a comfortable tent corial with great ease in six hours and-a-half, including a rest of three-quarters-of-an-hour on the way.

I have further to state, for the information of his Excellency, that Juan has abandoned the intention of building the church on the east bank, and has erected the frame within 50 yards of his own house on the west bank of the creek; and if I should not be considered presuming in venturing an opinion, I humbly think that if his Excellency were to grant a tract of land of certain depth from about a mile or two above the church, extending down the west bank as far as Para, or even as far as Himara Creek* (as laid down in Hillhouse's Chart), it would be amply sufficient for all the purposes Captain Juan or his people can require. . .


[* Called "Himara Cabara" by the Amerindians]

[29 March 1834]

The tract asked for the proposed Roman Catholic Mission is a triangle having a base of 50 miles, and a perpendicular of the same extent. Now, as the area of a triangle is ascertained by multiplying the base by one-half of the perpendicular, we have 50x25 = 1,250 square miles for 350 Indians, or at the rate of about 3½ square miles for each individual.

The thing is in itself so preposterous and extravagant that it will not bear a moment's consideration.

In my reply of the 17th January I have said to Mr. Hynes that enough ground to con-struct a chapel and a small village might have been taken into consideration, and a part of suffi-cient extent for the above purposes, and for that of raising sufficient food for these Indians is in progress, and that the grant will be vested in the proper official gentlemen as trustees for the In-dians.


[17 September 1834]


Camp House, Demerara, September 17, 1834.

With reference to the Memorial of Mr. William Hillhouse dated the 26th February, and forwarded to me in your despatch of the 30th July, I have the honour to report as follows.

2. On the 28th October, 1833, about eleven months ago, I received a Memorial from the Rev. Mr. Hynes, a Catholic clergyman residing in Georgetown, wherein he stated that between 300 and 400 Spanish Indians had been settled for some time (about twelve years it appears) upon the Morocco Creek, within the territory of this colony; that he had lately had occasion to visit them; that he had baptized seventy-eight of their children and united two couple in matrimony; that the said Spanish Indians were desirous of having a Catholic priest resident amongst them; that he entreated of me to assist them in procuring a Catholic priest and in granting to him a sal-ary; that the said priest would be the proper person to exercise civil as well as religious authority over his flock; and that k until such a priest could be procured, he requested that some lay person might be appointed to take charge the Spanish Indians in question. He also requested that a cer-tain tract of country, the boundaries of which he described, might be granted for the use of the said Catholic Indians.

3. In my reply to the Rev. Mr. Hynes, which is dated the 29th October, the very next day to the date of his Memorial, I informed him that I would give the subject an early consideration; that I would order due inquiry to be made with respect to the people in question; that l could not immediately say what it might be proper to do; but that the interests of humanity required that these Indians should not be allowed to relapse into barbarism.

The (at that time) Acting Colonial Secretary, Captain Hammill, published without any particular instructions from me, the application from the Rev. Mr. Haynes for the grant of land for these Catholic Indians. All applications for grants of land are published, as a matter of course, in the Royal Gazette in order that parties interested in opposing such grant may have an opportu-nity of stating their objections. It appeared upon investigation that the extent of ground applied for amounted to no less than 1,250 square miles. My answer to this part of the proposition, and which answer is dated the 17th January, 1834, was that I could not entertain such a petition. That sufficiency of ground to build a chapel and a small village for the creole Spanish refugees might have been taken into consideration, but the province asked for was beyond all bounds.

4. In the meanwhile, in compliance with my answer of the 29th October, to the Rev. Mr. Hynes' Memorial of the preceding day, I sent Captain Tonge, the Post-holder of the Pomeroon post (situated about 30 miles from the Morocco Creek) to inspect the Indian establishment in question, and to report to me fully upon he subject according to instructions with which he was furnished. Captain Tonge was, moreover, intrusted with a commission for the Senior Morocco Indian, Captain Juan Louis Aquilar appointing him to be Captain of the Morocco Indians. Cap-tain Tonge's Report to me is dated the 22nd February, and is a plain manly document. I beg to inclose a copy of it. Upon receipt of this Report I ordered on the 11th March a grant to be made out, but only to the limited extent as recommended by Captain Tonge for the use of these Mo-rocco Indians. The grant I directed to be made out in the names of the Sheriff for the time being of the Essequibo district, of the Protector of Indians of the Pomeroon district (which includes the Morocco Creek) for the time being, and of the Post-holder of the post at the Pomeroon for the time being. These gentlemen are to have and to hold the grant for the use of the Indians inhabit-ing the country in the neighbourhood of the Morocco Creek, subject to such rules, regulations, and enactments as at present are in force, or in future may be ordained by the Governor and the Court of Policy upon the subject.

5. In further explanation of the subject, I beg to lay before you an extract of a Minute of mine, dated the 29th March, and addressed to the Acting Colonial Secretary, and which will ex-plain my views as to the future steps to be taken with these Morocco Indians. I also beg to refer you to the documents included inclosed in my despatch No. 20 of the 1st September, wherein you will perceive that I have expressly solicited the aid of two additional catechists or assistants for the Catholic priest, in the same manner and to the same extent as that of any other clergyman and church within the Colony. A perusal of these documents will, I trust, bear me out in the as-sertion that I have not been actuated by any spirit of bigotry, and that I have not been indifferent to the fate of these Indians; that I have granted them as much land as they could reasonably re-quire; that I have appointed one of themselves under a Special Commission to be their Captain and Magistrate; that I have applied for additional religious instructors of their own persuasion; and that I have placed them under the charge and superintendence of the nearest Protector of Indians and of the nearest Post-holder, the latter of whom has been moreover instructed to visit them periodically. I have refused the grant to the ridiculous extent as applied for, and I have de-clined granting to the Catholic priest any civil authority.

I beg to return Mr. Hillhouse's Memorial.


Inclosure 1: Mr. Bonnel Tonge (Post-Holder of the Pomeroon) to Mr. T. Hammill, Acting Colonial Secretary, 22 February 1834 [Document No. 578 above].

Inclosure 2: Extract of a Minute to the Government Secretary by the Lieutenant-Governor of British Guiana, James Carmichael-Smyth, 29 March 1734 [Document No. 579 above].

[10 February 1836]


Angostura, February 10, 1836.

I shall wait patiently the result of your recommendation to His Majesty's Principal Sec-retary of State for Foreign Affairs, and in the meanwhile have to acquaint you, as in duty bound, that I nave been called on to act in the interim capacity to which you were pleased to nominate me.

The British brig "Coriolanus" of Hull, Captain Joseph Nevil Fox, from St. Thomas to this place, ran aground on the 7th ultimo to the leeward of the grand mouth of the Orinoco, and after every effort of the master and crew assisted by Indians to get her off without effect, was aban-doned on the 29th ultimo, the vessel having bilged. Captain Fox arrived here on Saturday last, the 6th instant, with his people in his boat, bringing merely their clothing, and reported himself to the public authorities and to me. . .

From the investigation I have made I am perfectly convinced that no blame can attach to Captain Fox, who, indeed, is well known for twenty-five years in Trinidad and most of the Antilles as a most respectable man of his class. The accident appears to have arisen entirely from the sameness of the coast, the entrance of the Orinoco being almost void of distinguishing marks, and the currents setting violently to leeward, accompanied at same time with strong north-easterly winds which at this season are invariably prevalent.

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 Government to a matter seriously in-volving the interests of the country. Insurances to the Orinoco are at all times difficult to be ef-fected, and an occurrence such as the present will not only increase that difficulty, but considera-bly enhance the premium.

The only instructions for entering the river with a plan of the grand mouth, that can be procured by foreigners, are those formed by Captain Ambrose, of the brig "Hunter", who brought me out from Europe in the beginning of 1818, and which were drawn up under my own inspection. The greatest difficulty is to find the entrance from the same appearance which the coast bears for many leagues, and very frequently when the master of a vessel standing off dur-ing the night is supposing that he is making a strong board to windward the current is carrying him bodily to leeward.

There was a pilot-boat which was to have gone out every day from Point Barima and cruise about, but it was badly managed, proved of little or no utility, and does not now exist. The station of the pilots is at Pacayos (? Papagayos), 40 miles within the entrance, and the greatest difficulty and peril are encountered in reaching that place. A beacon could be easily erected on the point of Cape Barima, which would be seen at some distance, and would distinguish it effec-tually as the entrance of the Orinoco, and the proper channel as well as the dangerous banks of Cangresos could be pointed out by buoys at a very trifling expense; one-half the money laid out on the useless and now defunct pilot-boat would suffice. . .

[27 April 1836]


Angostura, April 27, 1836.

In consequence of what had been said here about placing buoys and a beacon at the grand mouth of the Orinoco, the Captain of the Port has drawn up a Memorial on the subject, which I have seen, and it appears good as far as it goes. I am informed that it has been sent to the Minister of Marine, but withal I fear greatly that it will not be attended to unless you have the goodness to represent, at your convenience, to Government the pressing necessity of adopting some efficient measures in a matter of such vital importance to the commerce of the country. It is notorious that many in the Colonies are afraid to send their vessels to the Orinoco in consequence of the great difficulty and danger in finding the entrance, and the state of abandonment in which the system of pilotage is allowed to remain. Insurances cannot be effected anywhere but at very high premiums, and in many places they cannot be done at all. Another proof of the ruinous results of the present vicious practice has just occurred in that valuable vessel the "Sir Walter Scott", having got aground for want of a pilot in crossing over from the point of Crab Island to Cape Barima,and remaining in that perilous situation for three days with a cargo of live-stock on board. Although the misfortune was known at the station of the pilots in Pagayos, for it was from one of them I received the information, no assistance whatsoever was rendered, and the vessel and cargo must have suffered considerable injury, the particulars of which I have not yet had an account of, as Captain Newnham as soon, as he got off proceeded on his voyage. I considered it an indispensable duty to represent the matter to the Governor of the province, and I have the honour to inclose a copy of the Oficio addressed to him, his reply and the documents implemented in consequence. The Governor has transmitted the "Expediente" to Government, and pray take into consideration whether it be a case deserving of interference or notice on your part. Such letters as that from the Captain of the Port to the Commandant of Pilots have been frequently written before, but have always been of no avail, and have been, and in fact will be, totally disregarded, for the menaces repeatedly held out have in no one instance been ever carried into effect. The absurd habit of "Indultos" pervades and paralyzes every Department in the coun-try. . .

[26 May 1836]

Caracas, May 26, 1836.


From a recent correspondence I have held with His Majesty's Consul in Angostura I have to request the serious attention of the Executive to a representation I am about to make rela-tive to the more safe navigation for vessels on entering the principal mouth of the Orinoco, situ-ated, to the south-west of the Island of Trinidad. Being particularly induced to address the Gov-ernment on this subject in consequence of the very imminent dangers vessels are exposed to, not only for want of proper land and water marks to guide them, but likewise on account of the inef-ficient state of the pilot establishment on the Island of Papagayos, a considerable distance up the river.

In proof of the results, from what I have just mentioned, allow me to state that on the 7th January last, the British brig "Coriolanus", coming from St. Thomas to Angostura, ran on shore a little to the leeward of the grand mouth of the Orinoco, and totally for want of a beacon to point out the proper entrance. Every effort was made on the part of the master and crew, assisted by some Indians, to get her off, but without success. She soon bilged and became a wreck. On the 29th she was totally abandoned, and on the 6th February the captain and crew reached Angostura, when he duly reported his misfortune to the British Consul in that city.

A second circumstance of the like nature (from similar causes took place but a very few weeks afterwards - namely, the British vessel "Sir Walter Scott", bound outwards with a cargo of cattle for the use off the troops in the English Colonies, ran aground (and for want of a pilot) in crossing from the point of Crab Island to Cape Barima, where she remained in the greatest dis-tress during three days. The Consul, in reporting this circumstance, adds, "Here is an additional instance of ruinous tendency, arising out of the present imbecile pilot system of the Orinoco, and although the misfortune was known at the station of the pilots in Pagayos, no assistance whatever was rendered. The vessel and cargo must have sustained considerable injury, the particulars of which I have not yet had, as the captain, the moment he got off, proceeded on his voyage."

Let me here refer you for the present to the inclosed copy of a letter addressed to the Governor of the Province of Guayana, by the Consul in illustration of the great neglect, as also disobedience to the pilot Regulations.

From what I have already said, it becomes my official duty to represent to the Executive of this Republic the indispensable necessity (and that without further delay) of placing a con-spicuous beacon on Cape Barima, the point forming the grand mouth of the Orinoco to the south-south-east, where I am given to understand it could be done with the greatest facility, and to the greatest advantage. The object would effectually prove a sure mark, as also safeguard for all ves-sels seeking proper entrance into this vast river. And it becomes the more to be required from the great difficulty experienced by all navigators in finding the entrance, as the coast presents the same appearance for many leagues together, and at this day has not a single mark of any kind to denote it.

The Island of Cangresos forms the other side of the great mouth, situated at a distance of about 8 leagues from the Cape to the west-north-west, whose dangerous sand-banks reduce the only navigable channel to scarcely 3 miles in width, which commence on passing the bar, just without Cape Barima, soon becoming difficult and intricate, particularly so after ascending for about 3 leagues, where the channel frequently changes its course on account of the shifting sands. In fact, it cannot be denied but that the whole navigation up to the Island of Pagayos (11 leagues from the Cape) is extremely dangerous and uncertain, requiring to be well surveyed and carefully sounded by some one thoroughly acquainted with that part of the Orinoco, and its probable casualties. Buoys ought to be forthwith laid down at those particular points which either mark the channel, or show where either sand-banks or sunken rocks lay, both being numerous, impeding the navigation, and increasing the dangers of the river to the great risk of lives and property.

The next subject of my representation regards the actual, I may almost say the useless, system of the Orinoco pilotage. I am well aware that a pilot-boat was intended to have gone out every day from Point Barima to cruise for vessels bearing towards the entrance of the river, but a shameful want of proper arrangement, attended by neglect, rendered abortive this wise plan on the part of the Department of Marine, and it does not exist at this day. The only pilot station on the Orinoco is at the Island of Pagayos, 40 miles distant from the entrance at the great mouth of the river, and it appears very clear what great difficulties and perils must be encountered in reaching it.

From the amicable bearing at all times manifested by this Government in its foreign re-lations, not only political but commercial, assures me that it is vividly alive at all times to what-ever may either augment that friendly feeling, or increase the mercantile prosperity of the coun-try. Under this firm belief, as well as from a sense of my duties in watching over that of my own country, I therefore seize the present occasion in endeavouring to impress upon the Executive, the imperious necessity of promptly taking stable and energetic measures in the regulation of that which is of such vital importance to the growing trade of Angostura, whose increase or diminu-tion cannot but very materially affect that of the whole of the neighbouring provinces of the Re-public, and, consequently, influence the public revenue.

Allow me to add (as materially connected with the subject in question) being a well-known fact, that not only in England, but in many of her colonies, the merchants are afraid to speculate, or even send their vessels to the Orinoco, in consequence of the dangers to which both property and life is exposed from the causes I have already set forth; thus corroborating what I have stated touching the total abandonment in which the navigation of the Orinoco at present is left. Indeed so deep is the impression of risk on the British mercantile mind, that at Lloyd's, at London, no insurance can be effected to that river, without a very considerable advance on the premium, and in many places not at all.

His Majesty's Consul at Angostura (as the preceding inclosure would show you) found it his indispensable duty to call the observance of the Governor of the Province of Guayana to the subject I now write upon, under the full hope that he might be able by his authority and re-monstrances to check in future the pursuance on the Orinoco of a system truly prejudicial to the interests of individuals, as well as to the general commerce.

I have honour of just laying before you that gentleman's Oficio to the Governor, which, together with his answer, as also other documents connected with the present representation, were forwarded to me, mentioning, at the same time, that such had duly been sent officially to the Government for its knowledge and guidance. These papers, I cannot doubt, will further show the Executive how absolutely useless the present pilot establishment is on the Island of Pagayos, being rather detrimental than advantageous to the intent and views of the Legislature, hence de-manding a most radical reform in some way or other.

Before I close this despatch, I must once more repeat my solicitude that the Minister of Marine be directed to investigate and correct the abuses which have frustrated the good intent of the Government and that Department, and likewise that he be directed to attend to the recom-mendation I now have the honour of making by placing a proper beacon on the Barima Cape, as also the appropriate buoys in the Orinoco for the safer navigation of it, so that I may be enabled, in a very short time (and I trust the urgency will be seen), to have the satisfaction of officially communicating to His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (for the infor-mation of the merchants interested at Lloyd's) the measures that have been taken by this Gov-ernment, rendering the great entrance to the Orinoco perfectly perceptible, as also the navigation of the river up to Angostura perfectly safe. . .


[15 June 1836]

(Translation: Original - French)

Foreign Office, Caracas, June 15, 1836.

The Secretary of Marine, to whose Department I addressed on the 7th instant an official note pressing him to regulate the pilot system on the Orinoco, an enhancing the urgent necessity of removing the dangers which beset the entrance of the great mouth of that river, has answered me on the 10th, as you will perceive by the copy which I have the honour to accompany.

This will inform you of the preliminary measures which Government has taken to realize a work in which the Province of Guayana in particular, and the Republic in general, are so much interested.

The Department of Finance will give suitable orders to carry out this undertaking as soon as the amount of the expense required therefor is known. . .


[14 September 1836]


Caracas, September 14, 1836.

I seize this opportunity (as in some degree connected with my subject) to request you will inform me (for the information of my own Government) whether anything has yet been ac-tually done as to creating the lighthouse or beacon which I pointed out to the Government (many months ago) as absolutely necessary at the Boca Grande of the Orinoco, as well as the putting down buoys in such parts of the river as would serve safely to point out its channel, sand-banks, etc., for the surer navigation of vessels trading to and from Angostura. Hoping that on both these most important subjects I shall speedily be in possession of satisfactory answers. . . .

[20 April 1839]

To his Excellency Henry Light, Esquire, Governor and Commander-in-chief in and over the United Colony of British Guiana, Vice-Admiral and Ordinary of the same, etc.

The Report of William Crichton, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks for the county of Essequebo, on a Memorandum of William Hilhouse, etc.

Respectfully sheweth:

That your reporter left Georgetown on the 25th day of January last for the Ampa post in the Essequebo, and after visiting the Masseruni, he departed for the Pomeroon post, where he arrived on the 18th February. From whence he departed on the fallowing day for the Indian set-tlement in the Morocco Creek, and on arriving at the residence of the late Indian Captain Juan, he learned that the inland water communications with the Wyena and Barima Rivers were so nearly dry that only a very small corial could proceed.

He was therefore compelled to reduce his baggage and provisions and return to the mouth of the Morocco and proceed from thence to Wyena by the sea coast.

He ascended the Wyena River, visiting the Indian settlements, to the month of he An-now Creek, a distance of nearly 200 miles from the sea, and thence to the Indian settlements near the head of that creek and returned to the Baramany Creek, which he ascended to the Biara, up which he proceeded to the Indian settlements in the Assacuta Creek, thereby connecting his pre-sent route from the Wyena River eastward with the termination of his journey from the head of the Morocco Creek, going westward on his last visit in December last. He then descended the Wyena to the mouth of the Moroco Creek, which may properly be termed a mouth of the Barima discharging itself into the Wyena River within a very short distance of the sea, which he as-cended and continued his route to the Indian settlement at Onoboe, having previously visited a portion of the Aruca, a tributary of the Barima. The inland communication with the Wyena through the savannah is about fifteen minutes' paddling above the settlement of Onoboe, at pre-sent dry.

The banks of these rivers as far as your reporter proceeded, are covered by the spring tides, and during the rainy season the low grounds must be entirely flooded and unfit for cultiva-tion except on the hills and rising grounds which take the direction of the various creeks at a greater or less distance from the banks. These hills and rising grounds are generally good soil, very superior in its character to that of the high grounds in the Essequebo River below the falls, and even better than the high grounds of the Pomeroon, bearing several crops of coffee and plan-tains, also well adapted for the cultivation of coffee.

Your reporter had communication with the Indian Captains of the various nations inhab-iting that portion of the country, who all concurred in declaring that there were no persons except Indians resident, in either of these rivers or any of the creeks their tributaries, and as he found no deviation in their statements, he feels perfectly convinced of their truth.

From all that your reporter could learn among the Indians in that quarter it did not ap-pear that the authorities of Columbia exercised jurisdiction further eastward than the Amacoora Creek, which empties itself into the sea above half-way between the mouth of Barima River and the Orinoco, having an inland communication with the latter.

All the Indian Captains in the Wyena and Barima, including those on the left bank of the latter streams with its tributary creeks, have received their insignia of command and presents when this custom prevailed from this Colony, and look one and all for its protection.

The district in question contains a numerous population of Indians, viz., Warrows, Ac-caways, Caribesee, and Arrawaks, the former the most numerous, and, in the humble opinion of your reporter, it would be good policy to secure the absolute possession of it to this Colony.

At the mouth of the Wyena River is a bank of sea-shells of considerable extent, a great portion of which is now above the highest water-mark, and covered with herbage, which will be a good place for a station if found necessary at some future day.

The tract of coast extending eastward from this bank to the Morocco Creek, a distance of near 100 miles, comprises a belt of rich alluvium, susceptible of cultivation, but without any inlet from the sea with the exception of one small creek. The interior is savannah, covered with water in the rainy season, interspersed with sand hills covered with wood; these hills in many places are the seat of Indian settlements, especially those situated along the course of the Mo-rocco and the creeks which connect it with the Baramany. This last creek takes its rise in a large lagoon in the centre of this tract between the Morocco and the sea, if the Indians are correct, not laid down in any chart. The truth of this your reporter will endeavour to ascertain on his next visit to that quarter. Your reporter, on visiting an Indian settlement in a creek or tributary of the Aruca in the Barima, found that all the inhabitants, to his surprise, had left the place, and not until his return to Pomeroon did he learn the cause. It appeared from the information of a Mr. Lee, of Pomeroon, who had been in that neighbourhood in search of Indian labour, that in the Orinoco the Columbian Government have fixed a certain price, viz., 4 dollars per mensem, as the value of Indian labour, and as it is wanted the Post-holder goes round and collects the Indians for this purpose, and the Indians in question were a portion of upwards of 300, who have recently left that river and settled in the creeks of the Barima to avoid this arbitrary mode of treatment, and believing the mission of your reporter among them to be analogous to the custom they had come there to avoid, they left their homes on hearing of your reporter's intention to visit them.

Your reporter, however, is sanguine that wherever he has had communication with the Indians he has left impressions that will prevent such an occurrence in future.

The post-house in the Pomeroon is in a very dangerous state, requiring very considerable repairs to render it habitable, more especially after the rainy season sets in, which your reporter has already represented in his previous Reports.

With respect to the removal of this post from its present situation to the mouth of the Ara Piakka Creek with a view to health and greater efficiency, placing it under the directions of Captain Pickersgill, your reporter is of opinion that the month of the Ara Piakka would be a situation of more salubrity, but he is not, under the present Regulations, prepared to assert that it would be one of greater efficiency, because placed at the mouth of the Ara Piakka it could only be useful in observing those who pass and repass by the Tapaccoma Lake, whereas in its present situation all travellers from the Morocco, Wyena, and Barima, whether proceeding through the Tapacooma Lake or by the sea-coast, must pass it in either going or coming, and the most effi-cient site, in the opinion of your reporter, if removal at present be deemed necessary, would be the mouth of the Morocco Creek.

To the proposition of placing this post under the direction or control of Captain Pickers-gill, your reporter would respectfully observe that however unobjectionable in every other respect for this charge, Captain Pickersgill is extensively concerned in wood and troolie cutting, which is now almost exclusively performed by Indians, and, in the opinion of your reporter, a bar to any such appointment. That however desirable it might be to have a person resident in the Morocco Creek invested with civil authority, yet to your reporter a clergyman exercising he functions of a Magistrate has always appeared out of his place, and in a position tending but too frequently to embroil him with his flock and to the injury of his spiritual character. Were these objections entirely removed a deep-rooted conviction on the mind of your reporter of the total unfitness of the present incumbent in the Morocco would preclude the possibility of your reporter recommending him to your Excellency for such an appointment.

The unfortunate case of the Indian, Pero Mauvel, stated in the journal of your 'reporter; would seem to point out the necessity of concluding an arrangement with the Republic of Co-lumbia respecting the western boundary-line of this Colony, which in the humble opinion of your reporter, should include the Mouth of the Barima River and all its tributary creeks from the sea to the Cayoni River.

The internal communication by water which commences with the Tapacooma is entirely cut off by the Barima River, and commences again with the Amacoona Creek to the Orinoco, thus marking the natural boundary of the province between the Barima and Amacoora.

If the right bank of the Barima River were taken as the boundary, and all the extensive creeks which enter that stream on its left bank remain subject to the Columbian State, this Colony would be subjected to the danger of having al the runaways from either Government congregat-ing on that fertile region without the right of control, and it is too distant from the seat of the Co-lumbian Government for its influence to be otherwise than only partially felt, especially as the aborigines look to this Colony for protection.

If the Wyena were selected as the boundary-line, the evil would be greatly increased by leaving a wider field of operation unoccupied.

With respect to the labourers on the west coast of Essequebo "having long declared their intention when free of driving the Indians from their settlements in the Creek (Morocco), and occupying the sites themselves, and individual attempts have been frequently made and frus-trated, but no impediment at present exists to a general rush in that direction."

Under a state of slavery, the frequent occurrence of an individual attempt such as here alluded to ought not to have excited any surprise; on the contrary, it is a matter of astonishment under a state of society fertile in causes inducing such individual attempts, their infrequency ap-pears to have been the rule and not the exception, for in the whole of the region in question not a single family or progeny of this description is to be found.

Your reporter cannot help expressing his astonishment that the idea of "a general rush" of the labourers of this coast to the Morocco Creek for such a purpose could possibly be enter-tained by any reflecting mind, when the causes which heretofore only produced individual at-tempts have totally disappeared, while the means of prevention remains the same.

Your reporter in his intercourse with these people cannot tax his memory with ever hav-ing heard either among them or among their employers any expressions or information which could induce him to believe that any such intention exists, or ever did exist, among them. They have no inducement whatever for such a proceeding, enjoying as they notoriously do too many comforts, and even luxuries, as the just reward of their labour to abandon them for the uncer-tainty, inconvenience, and privations of savage life.

That some idle and disorderly individuals of African birth may be found desirous of adopting this mode of life your reporter thinks not impossible, and even some white men might be cited as examples, including the author of the Memorandum in question, as living frequently with the savage, imitating him in his dress, adopting and descending to his habits of life, instead of attempting his elevation to the standard of civilization which education has necessarily im-pressed upon himself.

Your reporter, in support of his argument in further refutation of the idea of "a general rush," would have most respectfully drawn the attention of your Excellency to the position of the two coffee estates situated in the Pomeroon River, and having communications with the Indians of the Morocco Creek almost every day. Yet the labourers on these two properties may be confi-dently cited as remarkable examples of good order and industry, with too many comforts to leave for the privations of the forest.

Nor have the Directors of these two properties ever heard of such a scheme being for a moment entertained by their labourers, nor can it ever be successfully carried into effect, either collectively or individually, if the Superintendent perform his duty, and cultivate a good under-standing with the Indian tribes. It is also deserving of notice that there are only at this moment (when your reporter was in Pomeroon) twelve black labourers remaining in that river on the wood and troolie-cutting establishments, of the many who were employed in that occupation previous to the 1st August, as apprenticed labourers. They have all, with the exception of the above number, left the quarter and gone to the coast, their place being entirely supplied by the Indian.

Finally, it is somewhat remarkable, and it seems to have escaped the notice of the author of the Memorandum, that there never was an establishment of bush or runaway negroes on the west coast of Essequebo that had any lengthened existence, these having been confined to the east and west coasts of Demerara and the Demerara River. Therefore, it is the more improbable that such attempts will now be made in Essequebo when the causes which originally produced those of Demerara have entirely ceased to exist.

The post-house at Ampa is in a state of dilapidation, somewhat similar to that of Pomeroon, scarcely habitable, even in the dry season, and the only occurrences recorded in the journals of the two Post-holders are those of the passage of Indians and the various residents in the two rivers.

At the Grove Mission the house erecting for a day school is roofed, and will soon be ready to open.

At Cariacaria, which is under the direction of the Rev. Mr. Ketly, preparations are being made to open a day school.

All which is most respectfully submitted to your Excellency.

(Signed) WILLIAM CRICHTON, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks, and S.P.J., County of Essequebo.

April 20, 1839.

[1 July 1839]


Georgetown, July 1, 1839.

On the breaking out of the war in 1803, after the restoration of the Colony of Dutch Guiana to the Dutch by the Treaty of Amiens, it was again taken possession of by England, and by an Additional Article to a Convention, signed at London, 13th August, 1814, Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice were finally ceded to Great Britain. The British Empire acquired, there-fore, Guiana, with the same claims to the termini of its boundaries as held by the Dutch before it was ceded by Treaty to Great Britain; and although a Convention was agreed upon between France and Holland on the one side, and France and Portugal on the other, with regard to their boundaries, I am not aware that any such Convention has been entered into between the Dutch and Portuguese Governments anterior to the cession of the Colonies of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice to Great Britain. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century the Dutch had advanced their outposts south of the junction of the Rupununi to latitude 3º 50' north; the site of that post was pointed out to me when travelling with the Caribes in 1836 (Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. vi, p, 263). It was not fortified against the incursion of the Caribes in 1775, as is mentioned by Don Antonio Santos, who passed it at that time, with his friend Nicolas Rodriguez, on his journey from Angustura to Gran Para (vide. A. de Humboldt, "Sur quelques points importans de la géographie de la Guiana", pp. 23 and 38). At a later period there existed a similar post called Arinda a few miles south of the confluence of the River Siparuni with the Essequibo, of which the site is still known to the old inhabitants of the lower Essequibo. These two instances, therefore, clearly prove the existence of Dutch posts beyond the River Siparuni (at the mouth of which river Captain Leal fancied he discovered the remains of a former Brazilian boundary mark), and attest the claim of Her British Majesty to that territory. Furthermore, I planted the Union Flag of Great Britain at the sources of the Essequibo, in latitude 0º 4' north, and did take possession of those regions in the name of Her Britannic Majesty.

The VIIth Article of the Peace of Utrecht and the CVIIth Article of the Congress of Vi-enna allude to the boundaries between the Brazils and French Guiana; but I am not acquainted that there ever existed a Convention between the Brazils and Dutch Guiana. These boundaries are decidedly undetermined; and the pretensions of the Brazilian Government to advance them to the confluence of the River Siparuni with the Essequibo appears to rest alone upon the supposition that, between the years 1780 and 1783, Jose Joaquim Victoria da Costa and Joze Simoens de Carvalho, then on an astronomical survey of the boundaries, might have planted a boundary mark. This survey was continued from 1787 to 1804, by Antonio Pores de Sylva Pontes Leme, a Captain in the Portuguese Navy, and Riccardo Franco d'Almeida de Serra, a Captain of Engineers. During the latter period they occupied themselves with the examination of the River Branco, and the territory north and east of it, and reached Lake Amucu, on the banks of which the Macusi Village Pirara is situated.

The Brazilians, from political motives, have since the commencement of the nineteenth century expressed the liveliest interest in the possession of the Savannah east of the River Branco (vide Humboldt, "Sur quelques points", etc., p. 23); and that they wish now to extend their do-minions farther north and east of Lake Amucu is quite apparent. Their desire to assign British Guiana a boundary, by encroaching actually on the territory of that Colony, stands in evident connection with the fear of losing those plains, to the possession of which they have no more right than any other nation.

Although the Boundary Commission, under Pontes Leme and D'Almeida de Serra may have visited Lake Amucu, and pronounced the Rupununi, and the mountain range which to geographers is known under the name of Sierra Pacaraima to be the [actual] boundary, they had neither the consent of the British Cabinet nor that of the French.

In 1781 the Colonies of Essequibo and Demerara were placed under the protection of Great Britain; in 1783 the French took temporary possession of the whole Dutch Settlements, which in 1796 surrendered to the British forces under Sir Ralph Abercrombie; and after having been restored to the Dutch by the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, they were again taken possession of by England on the breaking out of the war in 1803, and finally ceded to that Empire, by an Additional Article to a Convention signed at London 13th August, 1814. This retrospect proves that, during the period the demarcation of the Brazilians took place, the Colony was held by Great Britain, France, and Holland, and no Commissioners of these great Powers were present, in order to give consent to the extraordinary pretensions of the one-sided and self-elected Brazilians Boundary Commission.

Moreover, I have been informed that the Commander of the expedition, which, by ap-pointment of the Colonial Government of British Guiana, proceeded in 1810 into the interior, in order to inquire into the disputes among the native tribes, ordered a boundary pale to be planted at Pirara.

Of equal importance is the determination of the western boundary of British Guiana, the limits of which have never been completely settled. The Dutch, when in possession of the Col-ony, extended their sugar and cotton plantations beyond the River Pomaroon. They recognized neither the mouth of the River Pomaroon nor that of the Moroco, where a military fort was estab-lished as the limits of their territory. They had even occupation of the eastern banks of the small River Barima (before the English, in 1666, had destroyed the fort of New Zealand, or New Mid-dleburg), which military outpost they considered to be their western boundary. When the settle-ments were in the possession of the Netherlands the present countries of Demerara and Esse-quibo were divided into the Colonies of Pomaroon, Essequibo, and Demerara (vide Hartsinck, "Beschryving Van Guiana", Amsterdam, 1770, vol. 1, p. 257).

As the first was the most western possession, and formed the boundary between Spanish Guiana, its limits were considered to extend from Punta Barima, at the mouth of the Orinoco, in latitude 8º 4' north, longitude 60º 6' west, south-west and by west to the mouth of the River Amacura, following the Caño Cuyuni from its confluence with the Amacura to its source, from whence it was supposed to stretch in a SSE line towards the River Cuyuni (a tributary of the Essequibo), and from thence southward towards the Mazaruni. These limits of our territory in-here contested by the Spaniards. When in possession of the South American Colonies they claimed the banks of the Rivers Moroco and Pomaroon. They pretended that their limits stretched from this point and across the savannahs, in which some little granite rocks stand prominent, first south-west and then south-east towards the confluence of the Rio Cuyuni with the Mazaruni, which river they crossed, and extended along the western bank of the Essequibo as far as the point where the mountains of Pacaraima give a passage to the Rupununi (vide A. de Humboldt's "Personal Narrative", English translation, vol. v, p. 155). And when at San Carlos I was assured that the Venezuelan Government, being informed that an expedition of discovery, under the direction of the Royal Geographical Society of London, was then exploring Guiana, was desirous of taking advantage of so favourable a moment.

My deductions from the different circumstances to which I have attempted to draw the attention of your Excellency are that it is practicable to run and mark the limits of British Guiana on the system of natural divisions, and that the limits thus defined are in perfect unison with the title of Her Britannic Majesty to the full extent of that territory.

That a strong recommendation be forwarded to the Home Government, urging the paramount necessity of determining the limits of British Guiana by actual survey under a Com-mission appointed for that object, and empowered to plant along the extent of that line, at the most remarkable points, such monuments as are not likely to be quickly destroyed, either by the influence of weather or violence, such points, for better security's sake, being fixed with astro-nomical precision.

That as it would be insufficient to the future security of the boundary to run the limits of the Colony of British Guiana upon ex parte authority, necessary steps might be taken to obtain the consent and concurrence of Holland, the Brazils, and the Republic of Venezuela, to institute a Boundary Commission.

If this be acceded to, the actual survey may be commenced immediately.

[15 July 1839]


Mr. Schomburgk, employed by the Geographical Society to obtain information in the in-terior of British Guiana and adjoining countries, who has lately arrived at Georgetown, having furnished me with the annexed Memoir and Map, I am enabled to reply to your Lordship's des-patch dated the 12th March, and to that of your Lordship's predecessor dated the 1st December, 1838.

In my despatch dated the 1st September, I alluded to a communication from Mr. Hill-house that a large tract of land between the Pomaroon and the Orinoco was the resort of smug-glers and refugees, and was independent of control either by the British or Colombian authori-ties; I was desired by Lord Glenelg, in the despatch which I have named above, to make inquiry into the truth of this statement; I accordingly directed the Superintendent of Essequibo, Mr. Crichton, to extend his researches to the Orinoco; the result has proved the incorrectness of Mr. Hillhouse's assertions, and given me valuable information.

Mr. Crichton left Georgetown on the 25th January, ascended the Essequibo to Ampa, below the confluence of the Massaruni, and arrived at the post on the Pomaroon on the 18th Feb-ruary, from which place he proceeded to the Morocco Creek or River; here he found the commu-nication between the Wyana and Barima Rivers was from the long-continued drought nearly dry; he was therefore obliged to risk the passage to the Wyana by sea, hazardous in the frail canoe or corrial used by the Superintendents, but fortunately unattended by disaster in this instance. Hav-ing arrived at the Wyana, he ascended it to the mouth of the Annow distant 200 miles from the sea, visiting the Indian settlements as he proceeded, as also those at the head of the latter river, whence he returned to the Baramany, ascending this to the Biara Creek; thence he went to the Indian settlements on the Assacotta Creek, connecting his present route from the Wyana east-ward to a point he had described in a previous Report as being his westward course from the head of the Moroco Creek. He retraced his steps downward on the Wyana to the mouth of the Moco Creek, considered by him as a mouth of the Barima discharging itself into the Wyana within a short distance of the sea; he ascended the Moco to the Indian settlements at Onobre, having previously visited a portion of the Aruca River, a tributary of the Barima; the inland water communication through the savannah with the Wyana is about fifteen minutes' paddling above the settlement at Onobre, but at that time impassable from the drought,

The banks of these rivers, as far as they were followed by Mr. Crichton, are entirely covered by the spring tides, and during the rainy season the low grounds must be entirely flooded and unfit for cultivation; the hills and rising grounds, which take the direction of the various rivers and creeks at greater or less distance from the banks, are generally good soil, superior in its character to that of the high grounds on the Essequibo River below the falls, and surpasses even that of the high grounds of the Pomaroon, having successive crops of cassava and plantains, and well adapted to coffee cultivation.

Mr. Crichton had communications with Indian Captains of the various tribes or nations inhabiting that part of the country through which he passed, who all concurred in declaring there are none but Indians resident on any of the rivers or tributary creeks; it appeared from their in-formation that the Colombian authorities exercised no jurisdiction further eastward than the Amacura Creek, which empties itself into the sea half-way between the mouth of the Barima River and the Orinoco, having a mainland water communication with the latter. Mr. Crichton found that all the Indian Captains on the Wyana and Barima, including those on the left bank of the Barima with their tributary creeks, have received their insignia of command, and presents when that custom prevailed, from this Colony, and one and all look for its protection.

In the tracts thus described there is a numerous population of Indians, consisting of War-raus, Accaways, Claribissee, and Arrowaaks, the former in largest numbers. The absolute pos-session of these tracts would be advantageous to the Colony, without interfering with the rights of the Colombian Government, which are only assumed for the purpose of pressing Indians into coerced labour at an arbitrary tariff of wages, and from which the Indians seek refuge within the acknowledged limits of British Guiana.

At the mouth of the Wyana is a bank of sea-shells of considerable extent, a great portion of which is now above the highest watermark, covered with herbage, and might be converted into a good military post. The tract of coast extending eastward from this bank to the Moroco bank, a distance of 100 miles, comprises a belt of rich alluvial soil, fit for cultivation, but without any inlet from the sea with the exception of one small creek. The interior is savannah, flooded in the rainy season, but interspersed with sand-hills covered with wood, which are in many places the seats of Indian settlements, especially on the hills following the course of the Moroco and the creeks connecting it with the Baramary, which takes its rise according to the Indians in a large lagoon in the centre of the alluvial belt above mentioned, and not laid down in any map.

Your Lordship will find in Mr. Schomburgk's Memoir that he considers the Amacura Creek between the Barima and the Orinoco as the proper western boundary of British Guiana. Mr. Crichton limits it by the mouth of the Barima and all its tributary creeks in a line running southerly from the sea to the Cuyuni River, a tributary of the Essequibo, into which it falls, hav-ing received the Massaruni just above the confluence, the internal communication by water, commencing at the Tapacooma Lake on the Arabian coast, Essequibo being entirely cut off by the Barima, recommences only at the Amacura Creek to the Orinoco, thus marking the natural boundary of the province between the Barima and the Amacura, which, including the left bank of the Barima and all the intermediate land to the Amacura, he coincides with Mr. Schomburgk.

If this territory be left to the Colombian Government, a fertile region would be out of the pale of possible civilization, and a large number of human beings now looking on the English as their natural protectors would be subjected to arbitrary and oppressive rule. The Indians are fully aware of the emancipation of the labourers, they no longer fear compulsion, they have found the Superintendents of Rivers and Creeks, in their office of Superintending Magistrates, upholding all their just claims for labour performed, and are thus disposed to hire themselves on the wood-cutting establishments on the Pomaroon. They are almost the only workmen; the black population, so far from flying into the interior, have returned to the more civilized parts of the province whence as slaves or apprentices they had been brought. But the same love of original location has prevented the black labourers of two coffee estates on the Pomaroon from removing, though cut off from the rest of the estates by water and wood.

Under the impression that as civilization has begun amongst the aborigines, that the British nation alone can protect them, I cannot too strongly urge the immediate decision of the limits of British Guiana. The views of Mr. Schomburgk can be traced with accompanying map, and much of Mr. Crichton's route on that published by Mr. Hillhouse some years ago, which, though not apparently laid down by astronomical observations, yet shows the position of the sev-eral rivers west pf the Pomaroon, though defective as to the creeks. Mr. Schomburgk's merits as a geographer will naturally point him out as a fit person to be employed in any Commission for question of boundary.

[6 March 1840]


Downing Street, March 6, 1840.

I am directed by Lord John Russell to request that you will submit for the consideration of Viscount Palmerston the accompanying copy and extract of despatches which have been re-ceived from Mr. Light, the Governor of British Guiana.

I am to request that you will observe to Viscount Palmerston that Lord John Russell considers it to be important that the boundaries between British Guiana and the conterminous territories should be ascertained and agreed upon if possible, and that Mr. Schomburgk's re-searches in those parts, which were conducted under the direction of the Royal Geographical So-ciety with the aid of Her Majesty's Government, have qualified him in a peculiar manner to be of use should the services of any person acquainted with the geography of British Guiana, be re-quired for the delimitation of the British territory.


Inclosure 1: Governor of British Guiana, Sir Henry Light, to the Marquess of Normanby, British Secretary of State for the Colonies, 15 July 1839 [Document No. 588 above]

Inclosure 2: Mr. Robert Schomburgk to Governor of British Guiana, Sir Henry Light, 1 July 1839 [Document No. 587 above].

[18 March 1840]


Foreign Office, March 18, 1840.

Sir: I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th instant, relative to the expediency of an arrangement being made with the Brazilian, Venezuelan, and Netherland Governments by which the boundaries of British Guiana may be accurately defined.

With reference to that part of your letter in which you state that Lord J. Russell consid-ers it to be important that the boundaries of British Guiana should be ascertained and agreed upon if possible, and that Mr. Schomburgk's researches in those parts have qualified him in a peculiar manner to be of use, should the services of any person acquainted with the geography of British Guiana be required for fixing the boundaries of the British territory, I am to state to you that the course of proceeding which Lord Palmerston would suggest for the consideration of Lord J. Russell is that a map of British Guiana should be made out according to the boundaries described by Mr. Schomburgk, that the said map should be accompanied by a Memoir describing in detail the natural features which define and constitute the boundaries in question, and that copies of that map and Memoir should be delivered to the Government of Venezuela, of Brazil, and of the Netherlands as a statement of the British claim. That, in the meanwhile, British Commissioners should be sent to erect landmarks on the ground in order to mark out by permanent erections the line of boundary so claimed by Great Britain. It would then rest with each of the three Governments above mentioned to make any objection which they might have to bring forward against these boundaries, and to state the reasons upon which such objections might be founded, and Her Majesty's Government would then give such answers thereto as might appear proper and just.

Lord Palmerston further considers that it would be expedient that the Brazilian detach-ment should be required to withdraw from Pirara and that the officer in command should be in-formed that any claim which Brazil may imagine itself to have to that village should be stated by the Brazilian Government to that of Great Britain, in order that it may be discussed and settled between the two Governments.

I have, etc.,

(Signed) LEVESON

To James Stephen

[18 April 1840]

Government House, Demerara, April 18, 1840.

Mr. Light's compliments to Mr. Stephen, and transmits, according to the request of Mr. Stephen, a copy of the Report of Superintendents of Rivers and Creeks, from which Mr. Light took the information contained in the despatch connected with Mr. Schomburgk's Memoir. No copy of the Superintendent's Report was sent with that despatch.


Inclosure: Extract of Report by William Crichton, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks for the County of Essequebo, 20 April 1839 [Document No. 586 above].

[23 April 1840]

Downing Street, April 23, 1840.


With reference to your despatches of the 9th January, 20th February, and 15th July, 1839, I have the honour to inclose herewith the copy of a letter addressed by my direction to the Foreign Office on the 6th ultimo, and copy of the answer returned, by direction of Viscount Palmerston on the 18th ultimo, on the subject of the proceedings which you have recommended to be taken for the purpose of defining the boundaries between British Guiana on the one hand and the Brazilian, Venezuelan, and Netherland territories on the other.

I learn from Mr. Schomburgk that he is about to return to British Guiana in the ensuing autumn, and that the state of the rivers will enable him to pass into the interior of the country early in the month of December. I have requested him to wait upon you on his arrival in the Col-ony, and it is my wish that you should make such arrangements with him as may appear to be expedient to carry Lord Palmerston's views into effect. It will be necessary that provision should be made to defray the expense of any such arrangement out of the funds of the Colony.

I understand from Mr. Schomburgk that he has received accounts of the Brazilian de-tachment having withdrawn from Pirara for the present. If it should not return you will have no occasion to act upon Lord Palmerston's views in respect to it. But you will be pleased to adopt the spirit of those views in respect of any military occupation or any aggression upon the Indians within the line which is assumed in Mr. Schomburgk's map as bounding the Colony under your government. . .

Signed) J. RUSSELL

[28 April 1840]

Downing Street, April 28, 1840.

My Lord, vI am directed by Lord John Russell to request that you will submit to Viscount Palmerston the accompanying copy of a despatch which his Lordship has addressed to the Governor of Brit-ish Guiana with a view to carry into effect the views in respect to the delimitation of the bounda-ries of the Colony which are stated in your letter to me of the 18th ultimo. . .



Inclosure: Lord John Russell, British Secretary of State for the Colonies, to Gover-nor of British Guiana, Sir Henry Light, 23 April 1840 [Document No. 592 above].

[28 November 1840]

Foreign Office, November 28, 1840.


I inclose to you herewith the copy of a letter from the Colonial Department, inclosing an extract of a communication* from Mr. R. Schomburgk to the Governor of British Guiana re-specting the undefined state of the boundary between the territory of British Guiana and Vene-zuela.

I have to instruct you to inform the Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs that Her Majesty has issued a Commission to Mr. R. H. Schomburgk, authorizing him to survey and mark out the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela; and you will state that the Governor of British Guiana has been instructed to resist any aggression upon the territories near the frontier which have been hitherto occupied by independent Indian tribes. . .


[* Document No. 587 above]

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