Guyana's Western Border

Year 1841

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[13 January 1841]

Caracas, January 13, 1841.

I am instructed by Lord Palmerston to acquaint your Excellency that Her Britannic Majesty has issued a Commission to Mr. R. Schomburgk authorizing him to survey and mark out the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela; and I have orders to add 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. .


[24 January 1841]

Caracas, January 24, 1841.


I have the honour to transmit to your Lordship a copy of a communication which I have addressed to the Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs, in compliance with your Lordship's instructions.


Inclosure: Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, to Señor Guillermo Smith, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, 13 January 1841 [Document No. 595 above].

[28 January 1841]

(Translation - Original: Spanish)

Caracas, January 28, 1841 (12th of the Law, and 31st of Independence).


The government having taken into consideration your note of the 13th instant, in which you notify that that of Her Britannic Majesty has been pleased to appoint a Commissioner with authority to survey and mark out the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela, his Excel-lency the President has conceived this to be the best opportunity to settle definitively this affair, which interests both nations.

The Government, in consequence, has determined to reply, proposing through you to the Government of Her Britannic Majesty to conclude a Treaty of Limits, by Plenipotentiaries duly authorized, either in this capital or in London. My Government does not doubt that that of Her Britannic Majesty will allow that it is absolutely necessary and expedient that the Treaty should precede the survey and demarcation of the territory, which, being a material operation, ought to be executed conformably to stipulations.

After the conclusion of the Treaty to which my Government invites that of Her Britan-nic Majesty, a Commissioner on the part of Venezuela will be appointed to proceed, jointly with the British Commissioner, to the operation of marking out the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela, thus both nations being satisfied, and obviated for the future all questions regarding limits. . .


[30 January 1841]

Caracas, January 30, 1841.


I had the honour this morning to receive your note of the 28th instant, and, in reply, beg leave to acquaint you that I shall transmit, by the next packet, to Viscount Palmerston the views of the Venezuelan Government therein expressed.

At the same time you will allow me to observe, in reference to the desire of your Gov-ernment that the Treaty which you propose should precede the demarcation of the boundary be-tween British Guiana and Venezuela, that Mr. Schomburgk's Commission having been issued by Her Majesty some time since, it is probable that that gentleman is already engaged in the execu-tion of the duty assigned to him, and this circumstance, besides being conformable to established practice, will materially facilitate the labours of any future Joint Commission such as you pro-pose. . .


[2 February 1841]

Caracas, February 2, 1841.

My Lord,

I have the honour of transmitting to your Lordship copies, in Spanish and English, of a communication I received from the Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs on the subject of the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela. This Government invites your Lordship to ne-gotiate a Treaty of Limits, and at the same time expresses a desire that the Treaty should precede the marking out of the boundary.

I also inclose copy of my reply to Colonel Smith, in which I state the probability of Mr. Schomburgk being already engaged in the execution of his Commission. . .



Inclosure 1: Señor Guillermo Smith, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, 28 January 1841 [Document No. 597 above].

Inclosure 2: Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, to Señor Guillermo Smith, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, 30 January 1841 [Document No. 596 above].

[22 June 1841]

River Manari (a tributary of the Barima), June 22, 1841.


In conformance with the plan which I had the honour to place before your Excellency, and which received your Excellency's approbation, the Boundary Expedition under my com-mand, composed of the individuals mentioned in the accompanying document, left Georgetown on the afternoon of the 19th of April in the schooner "Home", which had been chartered for the purpose of conveying us to the Waini, or Guainia. After a stormy passage, which the vessel and her crew appeared to be but ill calculated to meet, we arrived in the afternoon of the 21st of April at the mouth of the Waini, where I resolved on disembarking our baggage, and selected a bank composed of sand and shells, heaved up by the sea, as the site of our camp. With the exception of some of our provisions, which were damaged, all our other baggage was disembarked in good order.

I resolved on remaining at the mouth of the Waini a sufficient length of time to enable me to fix the geographical situation of that point with some precision, and also for the purpose of ascertaining to what extent the entrance of the river was navigable. I accordingly commenced a survey, and, with the assistance of Mr. Glascott, completed it by the 31st [sic] of April. I have the honour to send herewith, for transmission to the Right Honourable Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, a copy of the original survey. It will be observed that, although shal-lows and sandbanks do not qualify that river as a resort for larger vessels, nevertheless if, at a future period, that part of British Guiana should become of importance, it may serve for vessels of smaller size, as during high water it affords a navigable channel of from twelve to eighteen feet at the bar, and a greater depth in the basin. It labours, however, like all tidal rivers along this coast, under the disadvantage that fresh water can only be procured within the distance that can be made in a boat with one-tide in its favour. During our sojourn at the shell-bank I had to send a boat's crew to the River Aruka, a tributary of the Barima, in order to procure drinkable water, which was connected with the delay of a day and a half. The scarcity of water induced me to despatch, on the 27th of April, part of our expedition who were not indispensable for the survey to Cumaka, a settlement of Warrau Indians on the banks of the Aruka; and Mr. King, the Super-intendent of Rivers and Creeks, kindly took upon himself to command them. The remainder of the party followed on the 1st May, after the survey had been completed. On the 28th of April we received the visit of a Warrau chieftain from the Canyaballi, a tributary of the Waini, and about two days' journey from its mouth, who, having heard of our arrival, came with part of his men and appeared rejoiced that at last it should be decided whether the Waini was in the British or in the Venezuelan territory, as at present they did not consider themselves secure against being car-ried away by the Venezuelans, and forced to work at low wages at Angostura, or in other parts of the Venezuelan territory. The Captain is known among the colonists of this part under the name of Sam Peter, and appeared a very intelligent old man. During the interval the weather had changed, and it became now apparent that the short rainy season had set in. We ascended the Waini to the remarkable passage which connects that river with the Barima, and, although not navigable for sailing vessels, affords a ready communication in boats and canoes between the two rivers. This natural channel, which may be compared in some respects to the Cassiquiare, which connects the Upper Orinoco with the Rio Negro, is known in the colony under the name of the Mora Creek. The Warrau Indians, who inhabit these rivers, call it Morawan. Where we en-tered it from the Waini, I estimated its width 110 feet, and near the entrance we found a depth of 16 feet.

During the flow of tide, the current sets from the Waini to the Barima and with such a velocity that the steersman has to use precautions not to be swept against trees which in one or two places obstruct the bed of the river, and which become the more dangerous since the passage is so very winding: for this reason, though the depth would permit vessels of 6 to 8 feet draught to navigate the Mora, its numerous windings and rapid tide render it only fit for boats and ca-noes. The ebb tide sweeps with equal velocity through this natural channel, from the Barima to the Waini. The Barima offered, where we entered it from the Mora, the sight of a much larger river than l would have expected it to be. I estimated its breadth 700 feet; its water, still subjected to the influence of the tides, was of a dark colour, and its depth from 18 to 24 feet. About five miles distant from the Mora flows the River Aruka into the Barima on its left bank. Before the conjunction the two rivers are nearly of equal breadth, namely about 400 feet. The Aruka has, however, yellowish muddy water. A few houses, inhabited by Warrau Indians, are within a short distance of the confluence of the Aruka with the Barima. They, with others who inhabit the lower Aruka, acknowledge a Warrau by the name of William as their chieftain, who resides at the small brook Atopani. We followed Mr. King to the Warrau settlement Cumaka, within a short distance of Atopani, where we landed in the evening and found a large assemblage of Warraus with their Chieftain William, all of whom confessed that they had always considered themselves under British protection; and, as proof thereof, the chieftain bore one of the sticks which are given as a badge of chieftainship by the authorities of British Guiana, and which he is said to have received as early as seven years ago.

The Indians assembled offered a distressing sight of suffering under ophthalmia. My former travels have made me acquainted with numerous tribes who inhabit British Guiana or the adjacent territories, and though that disease is by no means unusual among them, I nowhere saw it as frightfully exhibited as here, where at least 50 percent of the inhabitants are suffering under the disease; or, in consequence of it, have their eyesight impaired. I ascribe it to their inhabiting the low marshy grounds, where it appears they are more subjected to colds than in the open sa-vannah or on the high mountains, and to inexcusable neglect.

Cumaka is situated on rising ground. These hillocks, which are the first high ground from the sea inland, form a small chain that extends in a western direction; they are composed of indurated clay, highly ochreous; and, to judge from their vegetation, and the provision grounds of the Indians on their declivities, I consider the soil fertile. It is only here that the vegetation on the banks of the rivers commences to change. Hitherto it consisted of curida and mangrove trees, and numerous truli and manicole palms; but when we had reached the rising ground, we ob-served noble forest trees, as per example the crab-nut tree, useful for building materials, locust, curahara, sirnaballia, sonari, and others.

From the curahara the Warraus prepare canoes and corials, and from the size of these I judge of the height of the trees from which they are made.

Several of the crew were indisposed, and the first coxswain dangerously ill. It was, therefore, necessary to make a stay of some days at Cumaka to restore the health of those who suffered. The skill and usefulness of Mr. Echlin, who accompanied the expedition as artist, but who by his study and experience on attending the colonial hospitals, possesses medical knowl-edge, were therefore in constant requisition. I employed the interval to determine the geographi-cal situation of Cumaka, as a point in the interior on which to rest our pending operations, and to calculate and draw the plan of the River Waini. A native Warrau, who spoke somewhat of the English language, was engaged as interpreter, and through him we gave the Indians who contin-ued to visit us plainly to understand that it was the wish of Her Majesty's Government to afford every protection to those who inhabited the regions within the limits of British Guiana, and that the object of our present expedition was to ascertain how far Her Britannic Majesty had the right to claim these parts. Many of these Indians had to relate acts of cruelty committed by the Vene-zuelans and in some instances they accused their persecutors even of murder.

I resolved, as soon as the general health of my crew was restored, to proceed to the mouth of the Barima for the purpose of examining that part of the river, and to plant a boundary post at its eastern point as a testimonial of Her Majesty's right of possession, and another at the western point of the River Amacura, as a testimonial of Her Majesty's claim to the right bank of that river, as the western limit of Her colony of British Guiana. I engaged six Warrau Indians un-der the command of the chieftain's son, to accompany us, and we set out on our journey on the 10th of May; and having paddled through the greater part of the night, we landed the following day at the mouth of the Barima, where we encamped not far from Point Barima an the river's right bank.

The survey of the river was commenced on the 12th, and after having inspected the lo-calities in the neighbourhood, I fixed upon a small sandy bay at a short distance south from Point Barima to plant the first post. This took place on the 13th of May with such ceremony as circum-stances would permit. From thence we proceeded to the River Amacura, where we planted on the same day a post as a testimonial of Her Majesty's claim to its right bank as the boundary of British Guiana. The two original documents which accompany this will serve as an attestation of our proceedings. We took the liberty to name the point of the Amacura, where the post was planted, after Her Most Gracious Majesty, Point Victoria

The situation of the River Barima, near its mouth, offered various difficulties to fix on a base-line for its survey. I resolved, therefore, to determine the respective distances of some of its chief points from each other by intervals noted by chronometer between the flashes and reports of guns fired from three stations. Mr. Superintendent King offered his services to the Assistant-Surveyor, Mr. Glascott, in firing the guns on the 18th of May, when, I am sorry to say, he ex-perienced much temporary injury by the explosion of one of them. I was at first apprehensive for his sight; but am now happy that my fears on that score are entirely removed. Our survey of the Barima was finished by the 19th of May; and I have the pleasure to send herewith for Your Ex-cellency's transmission to Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, a copy of the origi-nal plan.+

It will become evident by an inspection of this plan that the Barima near its mouth la-bours under similar disadvantages with the Waini; but if once entered, it offers an uninterrupted navigation to vessels of 250 to 300 tons burthen from its mouth to the junction of the Aruka In-deed, a finer river for steamers could not be desired. Its banks are, however, marshy to its junc-tion with the Aruka and so much subjected to the tide that we could not find any spot fit for our night quarters. If the lower tracts were to be put into cultivation, it would cost the same labour and expense which we required to render the coast-land of Demerara arable end productive. This has no reference to the upper regions, which have not been visited as yet by me.

If the difficulty of procuring at all times fresh water could be overcome by building tanks, etc., the Barima and the Waini would offer excellent fishing stations, and the easy com-munication, either by sea or by the Mora passage, between these rivers, enhances their importance as such. The fish known under the name of querriman in the colony abounds in these estuaries, and its value is acknowledged, as in its dry state it brings, in the market of Georgetown, 5 to 6 bits (1s. 9d to 2s. 3d) each. Of equal, if not greater value, is the morocotto, which frequents the rivers that fall into the Orinoco, and which weigh in their natural state from 10 to 12 lbs. It is of great importance to point out every resource which the Colony possesses, and by the use of which it can render itself independent of foreign importations. These fisheries, if followed up in a proper manner, would no doubt become a useful branch of internal commerce.

I scarcely need observe to Your Excellency that during our operations at the Barima we met no obstructions from the Venezuelans, of whom we saw none, although the Commandant at Coriabo, which is the first post in Orinoco, must have been aware of our proximity, as several Indians who had visited us in our camp went from thence to Coriaba. It was at first my intention to pay a visit to the Commandant, and to assure him, as being the nearest Venezuelan authority, of the friendly intentions of Her Majesty's Government, and that the present demarcation was merely a preliminary measure, open to future discussion between the respective governments; but after having proceeded a considerable distance, an uncommonly rough sea, such as our corial was not at all calculated to encounter, obliged us to bear away for the nearest beach, and there remain till the following morning, when finer weather enabled us to return to our camp.

In a memorial* on the boundaries of British Guiana, which I had the honour to address to Your Excellency, I observed that the Dutch, when in possession of these Colonies, were in actual occupation of the mouth of the Barima; and some merchants of Middleburg, subjects of the States-General, had a colony in that river. Colonel Moody, of the Royal Engineers, who was sent in the earlier part of this century to report on the military situation of the Orinoco, observed at the mouth of the Barima the remains of the former post. I report this circumstance, as the site of our camp, at the mouth of the Barima, gave evident proofs that the ground had been under cultivation, and the environs showed vestiges of trenches. I noted some straggling cassada plants, and a few shrubs of arnotto [sic], which does not grow wild on grounds subjected to tidal influ-ence. These circumstances, as simple as they appear, contribute to attest the undoubted right of Her Majesty to the Barima, with all the tributary streams which flow into it. But as in the demar-cation of a territory it is of great importance to fix upon a line of boundary which is permanent and fixed in nature, and which cannot be destroyed by human hands, I thought it advisable to claim the eastern or right bank of the River Amacura, preserving for Her Majesty, or for such of Her subjects as may deem it advantageous for their purposes, the same rights to the navigation and fisheries of that stream as the Venezuelans may claim hereafter.

The pale or post at the mouth of the Barima was planted as an attestation of Her Maj-esty's undoubted right of possession to that river. This point in the possession of Great Britain is of great value in a military respect. The peculiar configuration of the only channel (Boca de Nav-ios), which admits vessels of some draught to the Orinoco, passes near Point Barima, so that if hereafter it became of advantage to command the entrance to the Orinoco, this might be easily effected from that point. This assertion is supported by Colonel Moody's evidence, who visited this spot in his military capacity in the commencement of this century.

When the limits of British Guiana are established, it will be highly advisable that some person of authority should be placed at this point, not only for that protection of the native tribes, but likewise to command from the neighbouring States that respect to which a British colony like Guiana has full right. Venezuela has a Post and a Commandant within a short distance from the mouth of the Orinoco; the Post nearest to the western boundary of British Guiana is in the River Pomeroon, a distance of 120 miles from the Amacura; and it follows, consequently, that the Postholder of the Pomeroon can never exercise his influence or protection over the Indians who are settled on the Barima, or its tributaries, and which, as I have been assured by the Superinten-dent of Rivers and Creeks in this district, amount to a large number.

The unsettled state of the weather during the period we encamped at the Barima made our astronomical observations very precarious. Mr. Glascott and myself, however, succeeded in fixing the situation of our camp to our satisfaction; but, as much as I should have liked to extend the survey of the mouth of the Barima to the Boca de Navios of the Orinoco, the unfavourable weather, the ill state of health of my crew, and the delay which would have been connected with it, prevented me from executing a work, which although my instructions did not point out such an undertaking, would have found every excuse by its general usefulness to navigation, if the circumstances had been more favourable.

We left the mouth of the River Barima on the 20th of May, and arrived at Cumaka, which we had selected as our depot, the following day.

The exposure to the heavy rains which had set in did not fail to show its influence on the crew; and five were reported on the sick list. The 27th of May arrived, therefore, before we could start for the Amacura. Mr. Glascott, the assistant-surveyor, being indisposed, he remained at Cumaka, and I was only accompanied by Mr. Echlin.

Thirteen miles from Curuaka, in a southern direction, the Aruka is joined by the Aruau, by means of which the portage is reached, which facilitates the communication between the riv-ers Aruka and Amakura. I resolved, however, to follow the Aruka some distance beyond the junction, in order to visit a Warrau settlement, and to become acquainted with the nature of that river at its upper course.

It lessens materially in size, being scarcely more than thirty yards across. The banks, still swampy, are studded with manicole and truli palms, along the stems of which we saw the aromatic Vanilla trailing in large quantities, forming natural festoons, and its numerous white flowers diffusing a delicious perfume. The water of the river was of a jet black, and so clear that it proved difficult to discern where the reflected image which the trees and shrubs that bordered its banks cast into the river, separate from the real object. It was late in the evening before we reached the Warrau settlement which consisted of eighteen individuals. Another village of fifteen inhabitants was higher up which it appears is the last inhabited place on the Aruka, that river having its source about 15 miles farther south. The incompetency of my crew for the pending journey, in consequence of several having been left sick at Cumaka, made it necessary that I should engage some Indians to assist in transporting the corial across the portage and through the smaller creeks; and three Warraus were accordingly engaged for that purpose.

We returned next morning to the junction of the Aruan with the Amacura, and, follow-ing the former river upwards, reached in the evening the portage, whence we had to transport the corial to one of the rivulets which flow into the Amacura. The ground rises here to about 40 to 50 feet and, extending from north-west to south-east, forms the separation between the small streams which flow into the Amacura and the Barima Thu portage is somewhat more than a mile in a south-west direction. The size of our boat, and the narrowness of the path, were such, never-theless, that our crew were occupied nearly two days ere they had got the corial across to the River Yarikita, which falls into the Amacura. The soil consisted of rich loam; and I observed several trees useful for naval and civil architecture, as the crabwood, siruaballi, suari, mora, and many others. One of these mora trees astonished me by its gigantic size. If required, and a thicker population and increased industry were to render it expedient, there would be little or no diffi-culty in connecting, by means of a permanent water-course, the River Barima with the Amacura, this might be effected by cutting of a canal across the portage. The soil, as already observed, is an ochreous clay, and, with the exception of a few blocks of granite, which no doubt had been transported by water, there was no rock in situ that appeared to offer obstructions to such an un-dertaking. The course of the Yarakita was west-north-west towards its junction with the Amacura. After having been joined at its right bank by the small rivers Waina and Wayuma, it increases considerably in size. The botanist would have been here much delighted in a diversified and interesting flora. Orchideous plants: the Peristeria, or flower of the holy spirit, several Epidendra, with scarlet blossoms, and many others of equal interest, adorned the trees. A Cri-num, with white flowers and a delicious perfume, bordered the banks; Bignoniaceae trailed along the trees; and the Brownea racemosa, which has been compared to our rose, added to the variety by its bright scarlet colour, especially when contrasted with the green of the surrounding shrubs and trees. The river is subjected to the influence of the which, it appears, rises here about two feet. A short distance from its junction with the Amacura rise on its right bank some hills to the height of about 500 feet. They are called Manibari, and were the highest we had seen since we left Demerara. On the left bank, and close to the confluence, is the hillock Arikita, of less size than the former.

We entered the Amacura at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and, following its course down-wards, were at 5 o'clock in the evening at the mouth of the rivulet Otucamabo, flowing into the Amacura from the right or eastern bank. We ascended it in order to pay a visit to Assecuru, a set-tlement of Arawaaks and Warraus, under the Arawaak chieftain Jan. We were received by him in a very friendly manner, and found in him an intelligent man, who spoke the Creole Dutch per-fectly. The settlement consisted mostly of Arawaaks, and only a few Warraus. The greater cleanliness in person of the former, compared with the latter, was striking. We did not observe among any of the Arawaaks (whether children or adults) those tumours which are caused by an accumulation of chigoes, and which, being neglected to be extracted in time, render many of the Warrau children lame; indeed, as the chigoes penetrate other parts as well as the feet, these poor children suffer, by the neglect of their parents, not only the greatest pain, but are rendered in their appearance absolutely offensive. This was not the case with the Arawaaks, among whom the filthy state of the Warrau is proverbial; nor did they suffer from those ophthalmic complaints which I have mentioned as being so common to the Warraus of these rivers, and of which the extent has been underrated in the statement that even 50 percent of them suffer under it.

The complaints of Captain Jan of the cruelty of the Venezuelans, or Spaniards as they are generally styled, were numerous. He related that they frequently came to his place and took from him and his people plantains, cassava, hammocks, paddies, etc., without paying for them at all, or at the best very inadequate prices. One of the women showed me an ell of salempores, of the value of one shilling for which they had taken from her four bunches of plantains. But as hard as these proceedings must fall on the poor people, who frequently by brutal force are oblige to give the produce of their fields to their oppressors, and suffer in the sequel want themselves, it would be well if there it stopped. But, alas! the system of carrying Indians from their habitations to distant parts of the Orinoco and Venezuelan Guiana, and there oblige them to work in bondage and subject them to chastisements, is frequently penetrated upon these poor beings. In the small River Otucamabo, which Jan inhabits, there was, at a short distance from the mouth, a settlement of Warrau Indians, called Awarra, who a few months ago were surprised by a number of Venezuelans, led, as they told me, by the Commandant of the Lower Orinoco, and three of them were carried to the Venezuelan post, Coriabo. Some time after, however, they found means to get away at night, in a small canoe; and, as they are now staying at Assecuru, I conversed with them through our interpreter. Even supposing that much of what they related is exaggerated, still, if any part of it be true, the conduct of the Venezuelans towards the natives is stamped with tyrannic cruelty. One of the Indians, who had been forced to work at an estate called Carussima, as I understood, said that those who, by age or infirmity, were not able to finish their tasks, were flogged with a four-tongued whip of ox-hide, or they were drawn up with their hands to a beam in the workhouses, and, when thus hanging above the ground, were unmercifully beaten. Their nourishment, during the period they were forced to work, was scanty, and of the coarsest description; and, as to the reward for their labour, if they should be allowed to return to their homes, this was out of the question. I will not relate any more of the cruelties which were mentioned as having been inflicted upon them or others; but the truth of these was attested by the Indians who were present; and they observed likewise that it frequently had occurred that Indians who travelled with their families in canoes had been overtaken by the Venezuelans, who, having tied the men, had violated in their presence their wives and daughters. I cannot think for a moment that the higher authorities of the province are acquainted with these diabolical proceedings, to which, no doubt, they would put a stop. But the poor Indian, who, in consequence of the distance of the seat of the Provincial Government, can never bring forward his wrongs, or expect any redress, must not suffer; much less he, who, according to the right of possession, or the claim of Her Britannic Majesty, considers himself under her protection.

As I possess, myself, some knowledge of the Creole language, and as the chief boat-men, Prentice and George Albert, speak it perfectly, I examined Captain Jan whether he believed in a supreme being, a future life, or was aware of the nature of an oath, and the punishment which awaits those who perjure themselves; to all which he answered in the affirmative, having acquired some knowledge of the Christian religion during his stay at the Essequibo, where in former times he worked for wages; and he asserted that, if required, he would confirm by an oath the truth of what he had told me. I desired him to assemble next morning his people, and I found that their number amounted to 59; namely, 19 men from the age of fifteen years upwards, 14 boys, 13 women, from fifteen upwards, and 13 girls. I told them, through our interpreter, the ob-ject of our coming here; and that it was not the wish of Her Britannic Majesty's Government, since it claimed the right bank of the Amacura as the limit of the British colony of Guiana, that they should be molested; and that I should make it my duty to bring their complaint, through your Excellency, to the knowledge of the Right Honourable Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies. Meanwhile, I advised them, if these oppressions of the Venezuelans continued, rather to leave their present habitation, although it might be dear to them, and to draw nearer to the cultivated part of the British colony, where the law would secure them against such oppres-sions; which proposal they promised to consider. I drew up the accompanying document, of which I left a document in the hands of the chieftain, Jan; and under the supposition that the Venezuelan Authorities of the Orinoco have been informed through their Government of the in-tentions of Her Majesty's Government, I hope that, by presenting this document, it may prevent the repetition of similar atrocities. At the same time I beg leave, submissively, to suggest to your Excellency to transmit a copy of this protest to the authorities at Angostura, and to desire them to stop these proceedings of their inferior servants, as the Indians of the Amacura accuse the Commandant of the Orinoco who resides at Coriabo, of having led the party who surprised the Warrau Indians at the Amacura and carried them into bondage.

With Captain Jan of Assecuru as a guide, and our crew increased by several of his fol-lowers, we left the settlement on the 2nd of June, and followed now the Amacura upwards. After having passed the Yarikita, which we had descended two days previously, we found that the Amacura decreased materially in size, lessening in the course of the day to a stream. We as-cended, at 5 o'clock in the evening, the stream Curriabo, which joins the Amacura from its west-ern bank, on the Venezuelan territory, where we intended to remain during night at a Warrau set-tlement, especially as it had rained almost continuously and in torrents during the whole day.

The Indians have all withdrawn from the banks of the Amacura, and selected small streams for establishing their settlements upon. They suppose that by doing so they are less sub-jected to the visits of the so-called Spaniards; and, in order to increase their security, these streams are almost allowed to be grown over, so that one only who is well acquainted with their navigation would suppose them to be inhabited by human beings, or be able to reach their abodes.

The intricate navigation rendered it very difficult to make any progress in our large boat. The settlement consisted of only twelve individuals; but there are several other settlements in the vicinity, and about forty Caribs live in the neighbourhood. The whole population, including the Caribs, amounts nearly to ninety persons, but as the natives are, according to the limit at present claimed by Her Majesty, in the Venezuelan territory I did not consider myself authorised to hear or interfere in their complaints against Venezuelan oppression, nor would I give them any encouragement to settle in British Guiana, in order to prevent the Venezuelan Government from accusing me hereafter of having enticed inhabitants of their territory to settle in the British Col-ony.

The succeeding day (June 3rd) proved so rainy that we were obliged to remain station-ary. We started, however, on the 4th of June to continue the survey of the Amacura to its falls or rapids, which are caused by a ledge of granitic rocks that cross the river, and throw an impedi-ment to its further navigation. It had dwindled the previous day to a stream, but the torrents of rain which had fallen lately rendered it impetuous in its course. Near the mouth, the Curriyabo is only divided by a short neck of land from the Amacura, which latter river has still low banks, and is quite serpentine. As we advanced I found its bank to increase in height, and studded with no-ble forest trees. The gorgeous flowers of the Brownea racemosa and Gustavia angustifolia were so abundant that they added considerably to the beauty of the sylvan scenery. A few miles above the junction of the Curriyabo with the Amacura, the stream Tusa joins the latter river from its right bank. It appeared to be of the same size as the Amacura. The course of the Amacura is much farther westward in ascending than laid down on extant maps. Our course was to-day gen-erally west-south-west to the fall Cuyurara. This fall is about 12 feet in perpendicular height; two, others are higher up, and the whole descent may amount to about thirty feet. The small size of the river renders the aspect of the falls by no means imposing, and it may be said that the Amacura above its junction with the Yarikita is only fit for the navigation of the small boats of the Indians.

We did not proceed farther, which in our large boat would have been impracticable, nor did it appear to me that I was so far warranted in risking the death of the individuals who accom-panied me as to prosecute the stream's course in small boats, where protection against the in-clemency of the rain proved impossible. Astronomical observations were so precarious that, since we departed from Cumaka, we had not seen either sun or stars. There are no more inhabitants at the banks of the Amacura or its tributaries beyond the junction of the Curriyabo, and, according to the evidence of the Indians, who pretended to have been at the source of the Amacura, it is about two days' journey in their small boats from the fall Cuyurara.

The 5th of June saw us on our return to Assecuru. Arrived at the junction of the Yarikita with the Amacura, I selected one of the trees on its left bank to engrave on it Her Maj-esty's initials as a boundary mark. This tree is situated on the northern foot of the hill Arikita, and about 500 yards distant from the junction of the rivers, which bears north 37 degrees west.

On leaving Cumaka, and considering the present journey as a pioneering expedition, I had only provided myself with a chronometer, a sextant, an artificial horizon, and prismatic compass. The unfavourable state of the weather enabled me only to procure observations of the sun for chronometer on the morning of the 6th of June, and ten days having elapsed without any intermediate observations, I could not depend upon its rate. However, I had desired Mr. Glascott, who, as a consequence of indisposition, had remained at Cumaka, to fire, at 6 o'clock on the evening of the 6th of June, three guns, which we distinctly heard at Assecuru. We thus procured the direct compass bearing of Cumaka, and, combined with my observations for latitude, I received as result the difference of longitude between Cumaka and Assecuru.

I was fortunate enough to procure here, and at the Upper Amacura, a large supply of Indian provisions, for which we paid, to the full satisfaction of the Indians, in such articles as they much desired, namely, cutlasses, knives, calico, salempores, beads, etc. The provisions which we had brought with us from Georgetown being nearly exhausted, this supply was very welcome, and, as I had received information from Mr. Glascott and his party at Cumaka that they were short of provisions, I dispatched a large supply by two small canoes across the portage of Yarikita.

We left on the 7th of June on our farther descent to the mouth of the Amacura. The Arawaak Captain Jan, who went with us to the upper Amacura, and who proved himself very useful and intelligent, accompanied us farther, as his knowledge of the localities and the names of streams which fall into the Amacura, rendered his services valuable. The steams which join the river from the eastern or right bank are very numerous, and it increases materially in breadth. I state its average depth at its lower course as 18 feet, though there are places which must excel that depth. A peculiar feature in this river are large patches, consisting of matted grass, the splendid blue water-lilies (Ponthederia azurea), and several other water plants, which, torn off by the increased stream during the rainy season, came floating down with the current, and, reaching that part of the river where it is subjected to the tides, they are carried to and fro as the tide may be flowing or falling. We might have numbered thousands of these little floating islands. We reached in the afternoon, at 3 o'clock the Coyuni, which, like the Mora from the Waini to the Barima and vice versa, offers an uninterrupted passage in canoes from the Amacura to the Ara-turi. The Coyuni connects the Amacura with the Waicaicaru or Bassama, which falls into the Araturi. This river flows opposite the island Imataca into the Orinoco, and is another instance of a remarkable connection between the tidal rivers of this coast. A short distance above the mouth of the River Araturi is the Venezuelan post Coriabo. The importance of this natural canal in a military or a commercial point of view is undeniable, but its importance to Venezuela (if a denser population should make it such) is rendered abortive in the military aspect if Great Britain possesses the right or eastern bank of the Amacura.

There is no doubt that the Amacura is navigable for smaller vessels and steamers to the Yarikita; the bar at its mouth and the inconsiderable breadth, which seldom amounts to more than 300 yards renders it unfit for larger vessels. It abounds in that delicious fish, the morocoto.

It was late in the evening before we reached Victoria Point, at the mouth of the Amacura, and we were happy to observe that the boundary post which we had planted here on the 13th of May was still standing The same refers to the post which we had planted at Point Barima, and which we visited next morning on our ascent of the Barima.

We arrived on the 10th of June at Cumaka, where to my great pleasure I found the invalids mostly restored, and Mr. Superintendent King rejoicing in his recovered eyesight.

We prepared the succeeding day for our departure, when a murder, which had been committed two months ago upon an Indian from the Orinoco, obliged Mr. Superintendent King to take cognisance of it, and to enter into judicial proceedings. As this case comes before your Excellency in a more detailed form, I shall only allude to it in general terms, and make such re-marks as my knowledge of Indian manners and customs call forth.

It appears that an Indian from the Orinoco, by the name of Waihahi, frequently visited the Indians at the Aruka, among whom he was much feared as a Pi-aiman or conjuror, who, by his malpractices or charms, was enabled, like the Obeah man of the Africans, to injure his fellow creatures. This Waihahi was accused of having killed by his charms, or by secretly administering poison, the family of a young Indian boy named Maicarawari, his mother, whom he loved affec-tionately being the last victim, and when he, who now remained the only member of the family, reproached the Pi-aiman for his deed, he was laughed at in derision, and was told that a similar fate awaited him. The Warraus of these rivers have not the slightest knowledge of religion. They know nothing of God or a future life, but the principle of revenge, based upon "blood for blood, life for life", is implanted in their breast from the time they are able to understand their maternal language. The Indian boy considered himself unalterably appointed to revenge the death of his family upon him who did not deny that he was the cause of his bereavement, and when Waihahi came again to visit Aruka an opportunity offered itself to execute his revenge. At a drinking feast which Waihahi gave to the Indians in the neighbourhood, and to which Maicarawari accompa-nied his chieftain, a dispute arose when the Pi-aiman said in anger that he would leave the place next morning but that the Chieftain William and his followers should die shortly after in the bush, and that there should be no one to bury them but the carrion crows. The boy, who had taken no share in the revels, had been sitting apart, and this threat no doubt confirmed him in his resolution of executing his intentions. When he saw the Pi-aiman asleep in his hammock he rushed towards him, and, taking his war club in his hand, he killed him with a stroke by com-pletely fracturing his skull.

As the deed was committed within the assumed limits of British Guiana, namely, east of the Amacura, and in a river which falls into the Barima, it would come under the jurisdiction of the Colony, but a serious question arises whether the Indian, who has no knowledge of the Christian religion, and does not acknowledge our laws, can be punished for an act which civilised nations consider a capital crime, but which according to the manners and customs he has been brought up in is a meritorious deed. And this persuasion has not left him. He himself went to the Indian chieftain Cabaralli, who bears the highest authority in these rivers, and informed him of what he had done, and since the Superintendent thought it his duty to proceed with him and the witnesses to Georgetown he has followed voluntarily and without restraint to be tried by a Court of Justice and adjudged by laws of even the existence of which he has no knowledge. His judges are not able to enter into his feelings, nor do they see that by the maxims of his tribe he was, as it were, ordained to commit an act which any other Indian under similar circumstances, and equally unacquainted with the Christian religion, would have considered it his sacred duty to perform. But this tragical event, which is no doubt one among many that have come to our knowledge, gives rise to the mournful reflection that there are in this Colony, and comparatively within so short a distance from its capital, thousands of Indians who walk in perfect darkness with regard to the Christian religion. Should the moment arrive when religious teachers shall be sent amongst them, and they shall be converted, such cases must cease entirely, or the perpetrators will be amenable to the Courts of Law for their misdeeds. In the present case, between Indian and Indian, both of whom are uncivilised, it is my opinion, based upon my knowledge of the Indian character, of their customs and manners, that Maicarawari is not amenable to the Courts of Law of this Colony for the deed which he has committed.

I have to apologise to your Excellency for the remarks and the opinion which I have advanced; but another opportunity might not occur to show how much it is required to tender civilisation to the native tribes who inhabit British Guiana. If Great Britain, by its commercial connections and shipping, derives any benefit from the possession of this Colony, it must be rec-ollected that the territory belonged once to those tribes from whom European nations have wrested it.

The interest in the welfare of the natives of this Colony which your Excellency has shown, and the wise ordinances which have been framed for their protection, render it impossible that such cruel acts as they are subjected to in the neighbouring territory could be committed upon those in British Guiana; but, as long as these tribes are not converted to Christianity, they labour under a disability, which I am sure your Excellency will give your consideration to re-move; otherwise the Indian is liable to be oppressed by every unprincipled and designing man. The first question which is put in a Court of Justice to a person who appears as plaintiff or as witness is whether he be acquainted with the nature of an oath - of a God and a future life. A satisfactory answerer cannot be expected from expected from him, who has never been instructed in the Christian religion; but, as sacred as is his affirmation to the Quaker, equally so is to the Indian his assertion that he tells "the truth and no lie," by which strong expression only I can convey the meaning of the Indian sentence. Before such an assertion, however, is taken, in lieu of an oath, the unprincipled colonist may subject the native to every oppression, without running the risk of punishment for his misdeeds. I am informed it is not so in Her Majesty's East India colonies, where a law is in existence by which the evidence of the natives, who are heathens, is nevertheless regarded valid in the Courts of Justice. The Indian of Guiana is no idolator; he either believes in a good spirit or walks in perfect darkness, without giving a thought on the existence of a God; and, as he cannot swear by his idols, some other binding form must be substituted.

Although the rainy season has for some time past set in, and although our stores are ma-terially reduced, and we have been deprived of many comforts, I yet deem it my duty to perse-vere, and continue the survey to the Cuyuni. The two large corials, which we are not able to transport across the land, have received orders to proceed round the coast to the Essequibo, where they are to remain at Bartika Point, while the coxswain Cornelius is to meet us with small canoes and a supply of the most necessity provisions on the Cuyuni. As far as I can foresee, three to four weeks may elapse before the expedition can return, for refitting, to Georgetown.

The map which I am constructing will point out more clearly the route which we have taken, and those points where boundary marks have been planted. I shall lose no time, on my re-turn to the Colony, to lay this map before your Excellency, the incompleteness of which at this moment, where my investigations are unfinished, and unprovided as I am with the necessary ma-terials for its construction, prevents me from enclosing it herewith. I must not, however, omit to observe that more unfavourable weather for astronomical observations we could not have had than we have experienced during our expedition.

I cannot close this report without bringing to your Excellency's notice the alacrity and good conduct of the officers belonging to the Expedition. It gives me likewise pleasure to ob-serve that the men who compose the crew have performed their duty to my satisfaction, and I have only to wish that they may continue in their good behaviour.

The expedition is highly indebted to Mr. King, the Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks of the County, who, by his active co-operation in furthering the ends of the Expedition, and his acquaintance with the Indians of these parts, has made his assistance the more valuable. . . .

Her Majesty's Commissioner of Survey.

[Notes: + Not sent to the Foreign Office
* Not included in this collection



Names of Officers on the Guiana Boundary Expedition
Mr. Commissioner Robert Herman Schomburgk.
Mr. Assistant Surveyor Adam Gifford Glascott, R.N.
Mr. William Leahy Echlin, Artist.

Attached to the Expedition

Mr. Richard M. Schomburgk, Botanist of the Royal Prussian Gardens at Sans Souci.
Mr. Thomas Hancock.


This is to certify that I, the undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's Commissioner for Surveying and Marking out the Boundaries of British Guiana, planted this day, in the presence of the witnesses, who have subscribed their names hereto, a post, branded with Her Majesty's ini-tials, as a testimony of Her Majesty's right of possession to the River Barima and its tributaries, and all the land through which they flow. This post lies, according to my observations, in latitude 8º 36' 9" north, and longitude 60º 40' 36" west of Greenwich; the river's southern point bearing from hence S. 25º 30' W.; the River Amacura S. 43º 30' W.

I also branded three trees with Her Majesty's initials (situated E by N. ½ N., distant about 30 yards from the above post) as a farther proof thereof.

Dated this 13th day of May, 1841

Knight of the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle, Third Class

ADAM G. GLASCOTT, R.N., Assistant-Surveyor.
ROBERT KING, Superintendent Rivers and Creeks, S.J.P.
HENRY CHESHAM [X - His mark]
GEORGE ALBERT [X - His mark]
JOHN BELFAST [X - His mark]
THOMAS JOQUIN [X - His mark]
CAESAR NUNEZ [X - His mark]
SAMUEL WITTEN [X - His mark]
WILLIAM CLARK [X - His mark]

Witness (Signed) - ADAM G. GLASCOTT, R.N.

Warrau Indians (Signed)

WACARABA [X - His mark]
DANIEL MANUEL [X - His mark]
MAYUCARE [X - His mark]
(Chieftain's son)
CURIABA [X - His mark]
YAROW-ANARI [X - His mark]
ARUA-CAIMA [X - His mark]
URUABALLIA [X - His mark]

Witness (Signed) - ROBERT KING, Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks, S.J.P



This is to certify that I, the undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's Commissioner for Surveying and Marking out the Boundaries of British Guiana, planted this day, in the presence of the witnesses who have subscribed their names hereto, a boundary post, branded with Her Maj-esty's initials; and claimed in the name of Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ire-land, all the land extending from the River Barima to the eastern point of the River Amacura, where this river falls into the Orinoco, and along its right or eastern bank to its sources, with the right of fishing, and the free navigation of British vessels thereof, and the land farther southward, as may be hereafter claimed in Her Majesty's name.

The point of the River Barima where a boundary post was planted to-day, as a testimo-nial of Her Britannic Majesty's right or possession, bears from here N. 43º 30' E.; the western point of the River Amacura north, 48º west; and this boundary post is situated, according to my observations, in latitude 8º 33' 3" N., and longitude 60º 40' 36" west of Greenwich.

Dated: 13th day of May, 1841

Knight of the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle, Third Class

ADAM G. GLASCOTT, R.N., Assistant-Surveyor.
ROBERT KING, Superintendent Rivers and Creeks, S.J.P.
GEORGE ALBERT [X - His mark]
HENRY CHESHAM [X - His mark]
JOHN BELFAST [X - His mark]
THOMAS JOQUIN [X - His mark]
CAESAR NUNEZ [X - His mark]
SAMUEL WITTEN [X - His mark]
WILLIAM CLARK [X - His mark]

Witness (Signed) - ADAM G. GLASCOTT, R.N.

Warrau Indians (Signed)

WACARABA [X - His mark]
DANIEL MANUEL [X - His mark]
MAYUCARE [X - His mark]
(Chieftain's son)
CURIABA [X - His mark]
YAROW-ANARI [X - His mark]
ARUA-CAIMA [X - His mark]
URUABALLIA [X - His mark]

Witness (Signed) - ROBERT KING, Superintendent Rivers and Creeks, S.J.P

Victoria Point, River Amacura.



Whereas the Arawaak Chieftain, or Captain Jan, who with his followers is settled at Assecuru and along the banks of the Rivulet Otucamabo, which flows into the River Amacura at its eastern right bank, has this day complained to me that certain inhabitants of the neighbouring Venezuelan territory, chiefly those who dwell on the banks and islands of the River Orinoco, have frequently come to his abode, and taken from him and his people, either by force or for in-adequate payment produce of their provision fields, and pilfered their huts and hammocks and paddies. And where it further appears that they, or other inhabitants of that territory, have com-mitted the atrocious crime of forcibly carrying away some natives of the Warrau Tribe from Awarra, on the banks of the said Rivulet Otucamabo, in order to make them work in the Vene-zuelan territory; I, the undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's Commissioner for Surveying and Marking out the Boundaries of British Guiana, by virtue of the Commission graciously granted to me by Her Majesty, and the express desire of Her Majesty's Government, "That the native tribes within the assumed limits of British Guiana must not be molested," hereby solemnly protest against such proceedings towards the native Indians inhabiting the right or eastern bank of the Amacura, and to which Her Britannic Majesty has laid claim as forming the western boundary of Her Colony of Guiana, leaving the full recognition of such boundary to subsequent amicable negotiations between the respective Governments of Great Britain and the Republic of Vene-zuela.

Given under my hand and seal at the Arawaak Settlement, Assecuru, this first day of June, 1841, and the fourth year of Her Majesty's reign.

Knight of the Prussian Order of the Red Eagle, Third Class

[19 July 1841]

Government House, Demerara, July 19, 1841.

My Lord,

I have the honour to transmit a letter in original from Mr. Schomburgk, dated the 22nd June, detailing his operations to date.

Mr. Schomburgk was on the point of setting off for the Cuyuni River, leading to the Essequibo, to connect his survey from the Barima to the point of union.

The boundary-marks were placed without opposition or notice from the Venezuelan au-thorities, on the Barima and other necessary points - Indians alone, of different tribes inhabiting the tracts of country over which he passed, all eager fear the protection of Great Britain, and loud in their complaints of the oppression of the Spaniards from the neighbouring territories.

Mr. Schomburgk has left a protest, herewith transmitted, against these alleged wrongs, requiring respect to be shown to boundary claimed, and to the tribes within that boundary.

The state of deplorable ignorance of the aborigines is detailed, which, however, is no novel allegation.

The fact of murder from superstitious feelings and from revenge of an Indian within our claimed boundary, on a Pi-wa-hee or Obiah man, has been brought to my notice.

It was thought right to hold an inquest on the body of the murdered Indian, and bring the murderer to Georgetown, there to be subject to the judicial authorities; no resistance was made, nor was any confinement of the criminal required, he being perfectly satisfied he had not committed an offence; he therefore voluntarily followed the Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks to Georgetown.

The proceedings of the inquest have been placed in the hands of the High Sheriff, who, having doubts as to the legality of the proceeding has referred them to the Law Officers of the Crown, whose opinion has not been yet give.

Hereafter, as population increases, advantage may be taken of the immense forests on the rivers considered the boundary of British Guiana, but at present they are useless.

Mr. Schomburgk recommends that when the boundaries are fixed some person of au-thority should be placed at the Barima; but unless the opinion of the Legislature take a decided change, no money will be granted for salary.

The appointment of Mr. Echlin, in the room of Mr. Walton, the artist, to accompany the Mission, has proved of great advantage, his medical knowledge having been of essential service during much sickness of the party in consequence of the incessant rains, and in relief of one nearly fatal accident to the Superintendent of Rivers and Creeks. . . .


[24 July 1841]

(Translation: Original - Spanish)

This 24th day of July, being summoned by the Governor, Charles Suera appeared in this office, and the following deposition was made by him:

The 2nd Commandant of the skiff which arrived last night from the station of Yaya, whence it sailed on the 19th of this month at 1 p.m.

Q. What do you know respecting the circumstances of the English at Amacuro?

A. The Commander of the skiff "Restaurador" was informed at Curiapo that a flag was seen on a flag-staff, on which flag-staff, which is a square post fastened with three nails to a mangrove tree, is marked as if with an iron a circle, within which is a crown above two letters, a "V" and an "R"; the Commander of the "Restaurador" gave information that a vessel was cruis-ing, he does not know in what part, to capture one of the revenue-cutters that may take any vessel employed in smuggling beyond that flag.

Q. What other intelligence have you regarding the days or day on which the flag was hoisted?

A. In the month of June the deponent was in the port of Tabla, going downwards, and there Juan Centella inquired if he knew of two flags which had been hoisted at the mouths ("bo-cas") and of some shots that were heard, to which the deponent replied that he had come from Angostura, where nothing was known.

Q. Did he know of any troops being at the place where the flag was?

A. He knew nothing thereof.

Signed with the Governor:


The Secretary of the Government,

[24 July 1841

(Translation: Original - Spanish)

Republic of Venezuela, Principal Administration of the Custom-house of Guayana, An-gostura, July 24, 1841.

The Subaltern Administrator of Yaya, in a despatch of the 19th, which I have just re-ceived, states to me the following:

"Yesterday the skiff 'Restaurador' arrived at this port from the visit to the Windward Caños without meeting in the cruise any other novelty than seeing and reconnoitering in Point Playaso, which is situated at the mouth of the Caño Amacuro, British colours hoisted on a post, wrought on four sides near a sentry-box constructed on purpose; the colours contain these two letters, 'V.R.' I inform you thereof for the purposes you may think proper."

I transcribe the same for your information. . . .


[24 July 1841]

Republic of Venezuela, Government of the Province of Guayana, Angostura, July 24, 1841.

(Translation: Original - Spanish)

I received today from the General Administration of the Custom-house, the intelligence which appears in the copy that among the inclosures is marked No. 1. In consequence thereof, I made the 2nd Commandant of the skiff of which mention is made come to my office, and I re-ceivers his deposition which is contained in copy No. 2. There are other rumours afloat which corroborate the fact that some Englishmen have erected marks of possession in our territory, but up to the present this Government knows nothing more than is seen in the inclosures, nor can it surmise whether it is an act of the authorities of British Guiana or of private persons.

I prepare beforehand this notification to avail myself of any opportunity that may pre-sent itself before the mail, and meanwhile I have adopted the following measures: To call into active service the 2nd Lieutenant of the National Navy Thomas Servers, that he may set out to-morrow in a skiff which I have applied for to the Custom-house to explore all the Great Mouth (Boca Grande), examine what may be necessary to know, and, in short, to proceed according to the instructions I have given him. . . .


[17 August 1841]

(Translation: Original - Spanish)

Republic of Venezuela, Department of Foreign Affairs, Caracas, August 17, 1841.


Since the receipt of your communication of the 13th January last, wherein you were pleased to acquaint this Department with the Commission issued by Her Britannic Majesty to Mr. R. H. Schomburgk, authorizing him to survey and mark out the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela, and, in consequence of which it was proposed through you to celebrate a Treaty of Limits, the Government has heard nothing respecting the operations of the Commissioner, or the result of the indication relative to the Treaty.

By a despatch just received from the Governor of Guayana, with two documents an-nexed, copies of which I have the honour to address to you, the Government has been informed of a very singular occurrence, namely, that there was seen and reconnoitered at Point Playaso, near the mouth of the Caño Amacuro, a British flag, with the Royal ensigns hoisted, near a sen-try-box constructed for the purpose, and stationed on a part of the Venezuelan territory, of which Republic has always been in quiet and peaceable possession.

The Government is still ignorant of the motive or object of this incident, as also whether it proceeded from orders of British authorities, or was the spontaneous act of private individuals. At the same time it cannot be indifferent with regard to an occurrence which manifests the intro-duction of foreigners into our territory without the permission or assent of the competent authori-ties, and this sort of incursion ought to appear the more remarkable inasmuch as there is a considerable distance between the ground on which the flag was fixed and the limits of the Re-public on that side.

Therefore, his Excellency the Executive Power being desirous to ascertain the origin, object, and circumstances of the above-mentioned occurrence, I hasten to request you will be pleased to communicate to me what you may know or consider conclusive to enlighten the Gov-ernment on the subject. . .


[18 August 1841]



Caracas, August 18, 1841.

Having to dispatch the home packet, which has just arrived, and desirous to avail my-self of its departure to acquaint you with the intelligence I have received from our Vice-Consul at Angostura, I write you these few hasty lines.

The Vice-Consul, under date of the 25th July last, states that news had reached Angos-tura that the British flag was floating at Barima and 5 leagues up the Orinoco, and that a vessel (British) was cruising in that direction; and this intelligence had created the "utmost surprise and alarm at Angostura", and that the Governor had sent an armed boat with fourteen men to ascer-tain the fact. . .

In addition to this report, I received late last night a communication from the Venezue-lan Foreign Minister, transmitting to me some documents relating to the same subject, and re-questing me to inform him whether the acts complained of are to be attributed to persons acting under your instructions, or whether they are the unauthorized acts of private individuals.

The above intelligence was made known to the public yesterday through the medium of one of the papers, and I understand that it caused much excitement.

The report received by this Government states that the British colours were flying on the banks of the Amacura, about 10 miles above Barima.

I send this letter and my despatch of the 4th instant to the Postmaster at Barbados, re-questing him to transmit them immediately to you. I have adopted this course to prevent a recur-rence of what retarded the arrival of a former despatch.

Letters coming from Demerara or any of the islands suffer, I do not know from what cause, much delay before they reach Caracas.

[21 August 1841]

Caracas, August 21, 1841.


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the note your Excellency addressed to me on the 17th instant. The arrival of the packet on the same afternoon, and the necessity of dis-patching it, prevented me from replying before now.

With respect to the circumstance which is the principal object of your Excellency's note, I know nothing more than the vague reports that were current at Angostura towards the end of July last.

About three weeks since I received from his Excellency the Governor of British Guiana a despatch, dated, the 24th June, acquainting me that Mr. Schomburgk had set out in May last for the purpose of commencing his survey, with instructions to act in the most conciliatory manner if brought in contact with any of the Venezuelan authorities. . . .


[28 August 1841]


Caracas, August 28, 1841.

I have now the honour to transmit to your Lordship a copy of a note from M. Aranda dated the 17th instant, with the documents which accompanied it, and of my reply to M. Aranda.


Inclosure 1: Señor Francisco Aranda, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, 17 August 1741 [Document No. 605 above].

Inclosure 2: Señor Florentine Grillet to Señor Francisco Aranda, Venezuelan Mi-nister of Foreign Affairs, 24 July 1841 [Document No. 604 above].

Inclosure 3: Señor Thomas Armas to Señor Florentine Grillet, 24 July 1841 [Doc-ument No. 603 above].

Inclosure 4: Deposition of Charles Suera, 24 July 1841 [Document No. 602 above].

Inclosure 5: Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, to Señor Francisco Aranda, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, 21 August 1841 [Document No. 607 above].

[August 1841]

Demerara, August, 1841.


The party under my command left Cumaka, where we had sojourned for some time, as detailed in my former report, on the 13th of June; and having arrived at the junction of the Aruka with the Barima, we continued the ascent of the latter river in an east-south-eastern direction. We reached on the next day its junction with the Kaituma, which falls in on the left bank from the south, and is at its mouth about 200 feet wide. The Kaituma is inhabited by Warrau and Waika Indians, and is connected with the Upper Barima by several intermediate brooks.

Numerous rivulets join the Barima at both its banks, some of them inhabited by War-raus. It has still, however, the appearance of a tidal river, being margined by mangrove and curida bushes, over which manicole and truli palms raise their head. Its banks form continued swamps, which only through the industry of man could be made arable.

We encamped on the night of the 15-16th of June, at a Warrau settlement, the chieftain of which called himself Marawari. The noise of the Indian drum and songs on our approach an-nounced that the inhabitants were revelling; and on landing we had sufficient evidence that Marawari was intoxicated. One of his wives was in the same state, and thus we witnessed, for the first time since we had left the colony, the effects of that horrible vice, drunkenness.

The settlement consisted of five huts, surrounded by rich provision grounds; and I ob-served with pleasure some lemon and lime trees near their houses. Their provision fields abounded in cashew nuts (Anacardium occidentale).

We passed on the following day the small river Maruiwa, or Hohanna, which, by the in-terlacing of numerous other rivulets, affords a passage in boats from the Barima to the Waini, a journey which the Indian effects generally in two days.

At a short distance above this river rise some hillocks from both its banks. They are the first which are met with in the Barima. The Warrau chieftain, Clementi, has selected one of them to build on its summit a large hut, which, by its construction and neatness, distinguished itself from the generality of Indian houses The erection of this house, with its gallery in imitation of a second storey, was the more gratifying as he did it to award accommodation to the Superinten-dent of the district on his periodical visits, the good effects of which, as exhibited in the character and better conduct of the Indians in their social intercourse, I had several times opportunity to witness.

By studious attention, I seized here a favourable moment to determine the position of the place, a circumstance which the unfavourable weather had not afforded us since we left Cumaka. Warina is, according to my observations, in latitude 7º 50' 15" North, and longitude 59º 43' 30" West, and the height of the house we had selected for our night's quarters was about 70 feet above the Barima. The chain of hillocks, on one of which the house was built, extends in longitudinal ridges in a north and south direction - N. 12º E, and S. 12º W.

I always considered it my duty, wherever an opportunity offered for illustrating how-ever slightly, the geology of the colony, to observe how far the structure of the country might be favourable to cultivation, it being undeniable that the quality of the soil depends generally upon the rocks which form the strata below the arable land. The super-strata at the hills of Warina con-sist of ochreous clay, intermixed with mould, pebbles, and that due proportion of sand which would particularly qualify it for the cultivation of coffee. The large blocks of ferruginous clay which lie dispersed on the surface insure the necessary moisture for the cultivation of that plant, for it is well known to the agriculturist how beneficially such blocks operate on the soil on which they lie, contributing not only to the retention of the moisture, which would otherwise evaporate, but to the precipitation of atmospheric vapours.

The rivulet Curiye offers another medium of communication with the Maruiwa and the Waini, but it can only he made use of by small boats. We passed, at 9 o'clock on the 18th of June, the River Amissi, which joins the Barima on its left bank. It is of considerable size, and at the junction of the two rivers it would seem as if the Amissi were the larger one. The Indians, however, informed me that its course has not the length of the Barima, and that its banks are mostly swampy; the current appears insignificant.

During the rainy season the influence of the tide is felt to this point; in the summer months it is felt still higher up. The swampy banks of the Amissi render it unfit for habitations. Even the Warraus, whom the earlier authors of travels described as living on the tops of trees, but who in reality raised only a platform just above the level of the water, and rested their miserable dwellings on stumps of Ita trees, prefer now higher ground to build their huts upon. The Amissi affords, by natural canals, communication with the River Kaituma.

Since we had left Warina the Barima, in ascending, had adopted a more south-western course, its banks also became higher, while the palms and mangrove bushes, which till how had been so numerous, became less frequent, and were replaced by a more varied vegetation. Our Indian guides informed us that, by ascending the rivulet Yaramuku half a day, we would reach high hills and savannahs. We continued, however, the ascent of the Barima, and passed the rivu-lets Aruta and Pequa; the latter inhabited by Warraus. The Barima narrows above this creek to forty yards, and flows with a strong current, which impeded our progress; its depth was still from three to four fathoms. The banks (it being now the middle of the rainy season) were full to over-flowing and rose scarcely a foot above the water's edge. In lieu of palms the most stately mora trees overshadowed the river. In all my former travels in Guiana I have nowhere seen trees of this description so gigantic as on the land adjoining the Barima at its upper course. Indeed, frequently when our boat rounded some point which the river made in its course, and a long reach was before us, these majestic trees appeared in the background as hillocks clothed with vegetation, until a nearer approach showed our mistake, and we found that what we considered to leave been a hillock was a single tree rising to the enormous height of 130 to 150 feet, forming by it-self, as it were, a forest of vegetation. The importance of the mora in naval architecture is now fully recognised in Great Britain, and a new export trade has been opened to the Colony. At the Upper Barima this tree is abundant, and grows to such a size that the whole British Navy might be reconstructed merely from the trees which line its banks, a circumstance well worth consid-eration, especially as being near a river which is navigable to vessels of twelve feet draught, the craft intended for the transport of the timber might load at the very spot where the trees are cut down.

It is only lately that the timber of Guiana has come into notice in England; but so supe-rior are the mora and the greenheart for objects of naval architecture that a higher price is given for them in the seaport towns than for any other wood imported into England.

It appears that, at the commencement of this century, a white man - very likely a Dutch settler - had advanced so far inland as the Horena River. The Indians showed us the place where he had cultivated sugar, and they told us that he had possessed a schooner and several punts, with which he carried on a timber trade. The Indian, in his expressive language, called the former settlement "the last place of the white man."

We entered on the 19th of June the Caruwavu or Caruawa River, a tributary of the Barima, and halted at a settlement of Warrau Indians. While among the Warraus I had heard much of one of their games which they exhibit during festivities, and I had the satisfaction of seeing it here performed. It is played in parties, two against two; and the champions, painted and dressed accordion to the taste of their tribe, show their athletic skill by attempting to push each other from a space of ground by means of the naha, which I might resemble to a shield. It ap-peared to us an innocent pastime which gave agility to their limbs, and displayed to the greatest advantage their muscular power and fine proportions.

There are several Warrau settlements on the banks of the Caruwavu. I estimate their number at 200 individuals. The Manari, a river with a stronger current than the Caruwavu, joins the latter on its left bank at the distance of about a mile from its confluence with the Barima. The Manari is mostly inhabited by Warraus, but there is a settlement of Waikas about five miles up where we intended to stay for a few days. I had understood from some Indians, who were well acquainted with the Cuyuni, that there had been once a Dutch post at an island called Tokoro, which was much farther to the west than that part of the Cuyuni where, from the information I had received previously to my submitting the memorial on the boundaries of British Guiana, I considered the boundary line ought to cross to the River Cuyuni. The path overland led from this settlement to the River Barama, and from thence to the Cuyuni; and it became, hence, necessary to select it as a starting point. Our larger canoes, being much too bulky, were now of no further use; and, us the official duties of Mr. King, the Superintendent of the County, required his speedy return to Georgetown, I resolved on sending the two canoes, with such of the crew as I considered not qualified for the fatigues of an overland journey, under his command to the coast.

We landed at the settlement, Manari, in the afternoon. It consisted of five Indian houses, the largest of which was given up to us to reside in. In my former report I alluded to the negligence in person and in the houses of the Warraus, and mentioned how superior the Arawaak Indians were in that regard, to the latter. Equally superior, if not surpassing the Arawaaks, are the Waikas. Their cleanliness, both in person and domestic arrangements, was a gratifying picture after having travel for months among the Warraus. The Waikas are of much fairer complexion than the other Indians who inhabit the coast regions, whom they surpass in athletic form and regularity of features. The Warraus indulge in bigamy; I met even several instances of polygamy among that tribe. It is different with the Waikas, whom I found uniformly to possess but one wife.

The land adjoining Manari is wonderfully productive. We saw sugar-canes vying with the best on the coast, Indian corn and maize far surpassing any ever produced at the coast re-gions, and bunches of bananas weighing from 80 to 100 pounds. The superstratum is a rich loam, intermixed with vegetable earth and sand; and, as it lies upon clay, a sufficient moisture to ad-vance vegetation is always kept up, thus affording every capability for the cultivation of the sta-ple produce of the colony.

Mr. King, and those of the party who were to return with him, left Manari on the 22nd of June. Our provisions were at that time much reduced, and the period of the year did not war-rant me in supposing that I would be able to get much from the Indians. I desired, therefore, that the boat of the expedition should proceed up the Essequibo, and await the land party at Bartika Point; from whence a supply of the most necessary provisions should be sent up the Cuyuni, in a smaller corial to meet us. This service was confided to the second coxswain, Class Van Corne-liusen.

I was anxious to examine the Barima beyond its falls. I started, accordingly, on the 24th of June in a small canoe, accompanied by Mr. Glascott, the assistant surveyor, and Mr. Echlin, the artist of the expedition; and, descending the Manari for a short distance, we reached the Barima by two of those natural canals (the Taima and Ataima) which so frequently connect rivers having a parallel course in these swampy regions. The almost continual torrents of rain which we had had for some weeks, had caused the Barima to overflow its banks, and we found the current running at the rate of from 4 to 4½ miles an hour; our progress was consequently slow. A short distance above the off-flow which connects the Barima and Manari, we visited a Warrau settlement called Emu, where we admired a gigantic bamboo, several hundred yards in circum-ference. Two of the Indians were occupied in finishing a native canoe, which they had cut out of cedar (lcica altimissa), a species of wood uncommonly well qualified for that purpose, and re-sembling in its durability, odour, and reddish colour the famed Bermuda cedar, although a genus quite distinct from the Icica. As the cedar tree of Guiana is by no means scarce, it deserves more attention.

The Warraus are famed for their skill in finishing canoes out of the single trunk of a tree. They formerly furnished the colonists, as well as the tribe of Indians inhabiting the coast regions, with canoes and corials which, for durability and speed, far surpassed any boats ever introduced from Europe. Of late years their industry has much relaxed, and they are loud in their complaints that the Spaniards of the Orinoco take away all their largest craft and destroy them, and that the smaller only escape by their being able to hide them. The famed Spanish launches employed during the revolutionary war of Venezuela, were made by the Warraus. Some of these were roomy enough for from 50 to 70 people. They refuse now to make any of so large a size, not for want of the trees fit for the purpose, but that, they say, if the Spaniards hear of their making any large craft, they send a party of men to take them away or cut them in pieces, in order to prevent them from being sold and used for smuggling by the people at the mouth of the Orinoco. Such cruel acts cannot be practised upon the Indians who live within the British boundary, if that boundary is once politically recognised.

We passed the small rivers Ararisi, Yakritin, Buruparu, Maricawaballi, and landed on the evening of the 25th of June at the Warrau village, Simuita. We measured here the breadth of the river, and found it fifty-one yards. The River Kaituma runs hence along 9 miles in a north-east direction. The barometer stood at 6 hours a.m. 30.020 English inches; the thermometer at 70.5º Fahrenheit.

We were accompanied by a number of Indians from Simuita and the neighbouring set-tlements, who intended to ascend the river to the falls, to shoot the delicious fish called mara-cotto or ossibu, which, at the time these waters are full, migrate beyond the falls for the purpose of depositing their spawn.

We formed a flotilla of small boats, our canoe being the leading frigate. Several fish were procured on the first day. In order to attract them to the shore, a number of the seeds of the carapa, or crab-nut, are pounded, and, having been surrounded by a netting made of withes, they are put in the water and soon attract the greedy maracotto; an Indian stands ready with a light spear which he lances into them one after another with unerring skill. I have in my former report alluded to the importance of following up the fisheries as an additional resource of the colony. I here observed that the maracotto reaches frequently a length of 30 inches, and is 26 inches in girth, while its delicious flavour recommends it to attention as an article of trade.

We observed on the 27th of June a tract of sandstone which was heaped up in numerous blocks. It is fine-grained and much used by the Warraus in lieu of grindstones to sharpen their tools for the manufacture of their boats. We arrived in the afternoon at the fall Mecoro-vussu, which throws the first impediment to the navigation of larger vessels on the river. A few miles below the falls we found a depth of three fathoms. The Barima is, therefore, navigable so far for steamers of considerable size, although it might prove tedious to sailing vessels to reach that distance, in consequence of the serpentine course and strong contrary current.

It is not known to the Indians inhabiting these regions that white men had ever pene-trated so far before. We might have stopped here, and commenced our return, the more especially since the weather was so unfavourable; but I found the course of the Barima so different from what it is laid down on maps that I considered it of importance to trace it higher up, as, by its western course on its ascent every mile would add to the British territory. This course, differing so much from the Barima of theoretical geographers, will, I presume, be deemed sufficient evidence of the importance of the measure which Her Majesty's Government have resolved upon, namely, that an actual survey should prelude the definitive negotiations with the Govern-ments interested in the determination of these boundaries.

Only the rainy season could have afforded us the opportunity of ascending the Barima any further, and I resolved, therefore, to continue until we could make no more progress in our corial.

The first series of falls were ascended without any accident, and we halted the sane evening near some temporary huts which certain Waikas from Manari had erected opposite to a place where they intended to found a new settlement. Although months had doubtless elapsed since any human being had sojourned in these huts, we found them swarming with fleas and tshigoes, which made us soon relinquish the idea of using them for our night's quarters.

We passed in the course of the next day (June 28th) numerous rapids, of which one called Uropacari was the largest. The river kept its breadth, but was studded with rocks. We passed in the afternoon a large rivulet with black water, called Duquari. It comes from the west-north-west. I afterwards observed stratified quartz, and could not but admire some huge blocks of granite which rose above the level of the river, and are called by the Indians "arauta". Their shining surface and symmetrical form were equally remarkable.

The River Wanama (so named from a species of bamboo which grows at its mouth, and which the Warraus call "wanama" joins from the left bank, and is one of the largest tributaries of the Upper Barima. About half a mile farther south-west the River Mehokawaina unites with the Barima; both tributary and recipient are, previously to their junction, of the same breadth, only the Mehokawaina comes from the south-east, and the Barima, proper from the south-west.

I found it now advisable to discontinue the ascent in corials, as numerous trees which had fallen across the Barima would have thrown the greatest difficulties in the way of any further attempt to advance with the boats.

After having marked three trees with Her Majesty's initials, I left Mr. Glascott in charge of the camp which we had formed at the junction of the two rivers, and having armed the most effective of the crew with cutlasses and axes, we pathed ourselves a way through entangled bushes and swamps, following the left bank of the Barima. With the exception of two rivulets, the tributaries which the river received were of inconsiderable size. Its bed is frequently traversed by granitic dykes, over which the water precipitated itself impetuously, and its current is so rapid that it would have proved difficult to make any way in ascending, even in a small corial. I admired the number of noble forest trees, among which I observed the Bullet tree, the Locust tree, the Crab-wood, Curahara, Hupu, Cuyama, Yarura, and its allied species Paruacussana, the Suari or Impa, and Makaraballi, but the most remarkable appeared to me the Tunkara, which measured in circumference from twenty-eight to thirty feet. Its trunk rose free from branches, smooth and round to about 70 or 80 feet, and I was told by some of my Indian guides that the Warraus use the tree for making canoes. It is soft and white, and the colonists prepare staves from it. The Warraus prepare their bark or shell from the bark of the bullet tree and Makaraballi.

Incessant rains rendered our travelling through these woods and over swampy ground by no means comfortable. We continued our march next morning (the 1st of July), and passed a large river which - the Indians of the inhabitable part of the Barima below its falls never having ascended so far, and in the absence of any other name - we called Rocky River, from the numer-ous blocks by which its course was obstructed.

Our stack of provisions being now completely exhausted, we had to return towards our camp. I halted, therefore, at 11 o'clock, and, having marked a tree with Her Majesty's initials, we returned to the spot where we had encamped the previous night, under severe rain and thunder. The river was about thirty feet wide when we had left to follow its bank, its course frequently obstructed by rapids and falls, and, upwards, west-north-west. The land adjoining on either side was fertile, consisting of clay mixed with sand and vegetable earth. The forest scenery was luxu-riant, and hillocks of inconsiderable height, perhaps not more than 50 to 60 feet above the Barima, appeared particularly adapted for the cultivation of coffee and cacao.

We reached, on the following day, the camp at the junction of the two rivers, where Mr. Glascoott, during our absence had only succeeded in taking meteorological observations, the un-favourable weather having prevented him from determining its geographical position astronomi-cally.

  Barometer Thermometer (degrees F) Thermometer Thermometer
  In inches Attached (º) Detached (º) Wet (º)
Highest 30.088 80.5 80.00 78.5
Lowest 29.942 71.04 71.00 70.00
Mean of 37 observations from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. 30.007 75.56 75.30 74.02


Having once more reached the corials, we floated down the river, and our return rapid. While it had taken us 6 days to ascend from Manari to the Mokohawaina, we accomplished our return in 2½ days.

An Indian messenger awaited us here from the Lower Barima with the news that a party of Venezuelans, headed by the Commandant of the Orinoco, had proceeded to the mouth of the Barima and the Amacura and cut down the boundary posts which, in the execution of the service confided to me, I had planted there.

How far this information was founded in truth I cannot assert. However, the appearance of these boats, which were said to be armed, had created a panic among the Indians, and those of the Rivers Aruka and Amacura were fled into the woods.

Our departure from Manari was delayed in consequence of the indisposition of the first coxswain Peterson, and Mr. Echlin, attached as artist to the Expedition, but to whom, from his study of medicine and his knowledge of the diseases of the colony, the medical treatment of our sick had been entrusted, reported that, in consequence of serious indisposition, Peterson would be unable to journey with us overland. From the information which I had procured, the road promised to be of the most fatiguing description, and as I was anxious that the chronometers, of which two had hitherto preserved a fair rate, should reach safely the coast regions, in order to prove by re-measurement of Georgetown how far the observations taken by their means were to be trusted. I desired Mr. Glascott, the Assistant-Surveyor, to proceed with the coxswain by water to the coast, while Mr. Echlin and the men best fitted for such an undertaking were to accompany me overland to the River Cuyuni. I had another object in view in sending Mr. Glascott by the route alluded to, as, should the weather have proved favourable, he might be enabled to determine by astronomical observations some of the more important points an the coast.

According to our observations the settlement Manari is situated 7º 35' 34" north lati-tude, and 60º 00' 35" west longitude, or 109 miles west of Georgetown.

The extract of our meteorological observations gave us the following result:

  Barometer Thermometer Thermometer Thermometer
  In inches Attached (º) Detached (º) Wet (º)
Highest 30.176 89.00 88.8 83.4
Lowest 30.018 72.2 71.5 68.00
Mean of 37 observations taken hourly 30.092 78.5 78.0 75.2


We were joined by a number of Warraus and several Waikas from Manari, whose ser-vices we had engaged to assist in carrying our luggage from Manari to the Barama, which flows into the Waini. We were told that we would have to ascend the Barama in boats for 4 days before we should reach the path that leads to Cuyuni.

An Indian carries scarcely more than 24 lbs. weight on journeys overland. While the negro carries invariably his burthen on his head, experience has taught the Indian that by doing so he would not be able to make much progress through the thick woods, and his load is, therefore, slung on his back. For that purpose they have baskets, which are made of the stems of a calathea or of some species of palm.

Our preparations had been completed, the loads distributed according to the appearance of the strength possessed by our carriers, and, after Mr. Glascott had left with his party in a boat which was hired for the purpose, we commenced on the 8th July our march overland.

The forest through which we now began our march appeared to have less underwood, and I noted numerous specimens of that valuable timber tree the Siruaballia, which affords one of the best timbers for the planking of vessels and the construction of gigs, boats, etc. I saw trees of this description of which the trunk might have measured 70 feet before they branched off. Through the whole of our day's journey, cedar and other forest trees, many of them of the most gigantic dimensions, were abundant; besides numerous Hya-hya trees The latter is the remarkable tree which yields, by incision, a milky fluid that forms a good substitute for cow's milk. The Indian, to whom it is inexplicable how man can make use of milk after having been weaned from the maternal breast, does not attach any value in that regard to this fluid; but the younger com-munity prepare from it balls of caoutchouc; and as it has now become of such vast importance as to be considered almost a necessary of life, the vegetable Milk tree adds another to the number which furnish this valuable substance.

Our path led us over hillocks from 50 to 60 feet high, extending in longitudinal ridges, and their intermediate valleys formed generally swamps, on crossing which we frequently sank to our girths in mud and water. After four hours' march, we crossed the Caruwavu, here merely a rivulet, and arrived in the afternoon at a small settlement consisting of two houses inhabited by Waikas. I had in the morning the mortification to find that the mountain barometer which I took with me had materially suffered from the land journey, and was from the present unfit for use. After having continued our march for two hours, we halted at Paripu, a settlement likewise in-habited by Waikas. We found the inhabitants in great tribulation: a messenger had arrived from the Cuyuni, informing them that some Spaniards had come across from Augostura, and were building corials at the banks of the Cuyuni for the purpose of surprising the Indians of that river; that they intended to kill the adults, and lead the younger portion away into captivity. This mes-senger was sent to urge the Waikas of these regions to assist them in making war against the Spaniards. Not only here, but, likewise in the sequel, where I found that this alarm had spread, I showed them the inutility of such a violent measure, as neither in number nor in the means could they cope with their assailants. But I advised them, provided the report were true, to be on the alert; and on the approach of their oppressors, to retire into the woods.

The cassada grounds around the settlement were extensive, and the magnitude of the plantains and of the Indian corn, or maize, struck me with astonishment. Some of the ears of the latter were twelve to thirteen inches in length; those which are produced on the coast regions do not reach more than five inches. The soil is here is rich, black mould, mixed with white sand, and would produce anything. Considering the extent of this productive soil, and the importance to British Guiana that she should avail herself of her internal resources, and thereby produce food for her inhabitants without relying on importations from foreign countries, it is a subject of as-tonishment to me that the maize of the interior should not have been cultivated on a larger scale than merely what the Indian uses for the supply of his individual wants. To prove the importance of the maize, I would only observe, by the way, that the importation of this cereal grain from the slave States of North America into the British West India Colonies amounted in the year 1836 to 126,680 bushels; of corn meal, to 36,168 barrels; valued together at 61,341 pounds sterling.

The neatness and order in which we found the provision fields around the settlement, showed that there presided over them an Indian who distinguished himself from the generality of his brethren. Paths led through the field; the yams were trailed against poles; some lime and or-ange trees, so seldom to be met with amongst the Indians, increased the favourable idea I had of its inhabitants, and induced me to suppose that they were some of the scattered remnants of those fugitives from the missions, who during the revolutionary war, were obliged to fly to save their lives. We found only an Indian and some females at home; the rest, with their chieftain, were gone to work for a period at a wood-cutting establishment on the River Pomeroon, with a view to earning sufficient money to procure themselves such articles as have become almost t necessaries of life with them - namely, clothes and other apparel, implements for working at the fields, powder and shot.

Leaving Paripu, we continued our march, and in the afternoon of the same day arrived at another large settlement, judging, at least, from the number of the huts. Here, also the male inhabitants were absent, having gone to work at the Pomeroon. The fear of "La Patrias", as the Venezuelans are invariably styled by the Indians bordering on the Republic, and who still with shuddering think at the massacre to which their brethren were exposed when the lawless hordes entered the mission and spread devastation under the cry "Por la Patrias!" prevailed likewise here; and the raised voices and violent gesticulations of the females when they told our guides of the reports which had come from the Cuyuni were a speaking proof of the wrongs which had been committed upon this once happy people. Unprotected as they were, they intended, they said, to leave their settlement, and to seek their way to the Pomeroon, where their husbands were working. Our interpreter stated to them the object of my mission, that I was then on the way to Cuyuni, and that if I should meet any Venezuelans there, I promised every exertion to prevent them from crossing over to this Colony.

While passing through the village I noticed at the farther end a house which was aban-doned. Two heaps of ground thrown up near the middle of the house, and one covered with a large earthen vessel, attracted more particularly my attention. I made inquiries, and learnt that they were graves of a father and his child, both of whom had been killed by the malpractices of a piaiman or conjuror. When is the period to come at which the Christian religion shall enlighten these poor benighted beings, and prevent the recurrence of such dreadful scenes, with the effu-sion blood in their train? The accusation that the victim had died through the agency of a piaiman is sufficient to awake a revenger of the deed among his relations.

After we had passed the village we had to wade to our necks for upwards of a mile through water. The Rivulet Parapaimai had inundated its shores, and, as the rain descended in torrents, we were glad when, towards evening, we arrived at the Caribisi settlement Cariacu, situated on the banks of the Barama, which is here about sixty yards wide. The Barama flows about 40 miles farther below into the Waini, and is the largest tributary of that river. It is inhab-ited by Waikas, Caribisi, Warraus, and a few Arawaaks, whose aggregate number I estimate at 500 individuals.

The men at Cariacu, like those at the two settlements previously passed, were absent at a wood-cutting establishment on the Pomeroon; and we found only a few of the female commu-nity, who, with a Carib, had been left in charge of the place.

Several of my Indian carriers and guides declined going any father. The reports which they had heard in the course of the day were repeated at Cariacu; and as they consisted mostly of Warraus, the most timid of all the Indian tribes, such reports could not fail of having their effect. I had to replace their number from among the Caribisi and Waikas of the vicinity, which occa-sioned a delay of two days. The weather during the period was so unfavourable that I could not procure astronomical observations.

We had to ascend the Barama to a distance of four days' journey hence before we should meet the path which leads to the Cuyuni, and as there was only one boat to be had which afforded place to four individuals, we had to resort for a conveyance to shell or bark canoes, called by the colonists of Demerara "wood-skins," and by the Spaniards "conchas". They are made merely of the bark of divers species of trees, that portion being stripped off and manufac-tured into the boat. They are generally from 25 to 30 feet long, and, when laden, seldom draw more than 3 inches of water. Light, and the most simple of construction, they can be easily car-ried on the head over rocks and other impediments which might obstruct the navigation. Indeed, they are the only craft with which the Indian navigates the upper parts of rivers, but require proper management, as they are dangerous and a false movement when sitting in one of them may cause it to sink. However, we could not procure any other conveyance, and we confided our persons and luggage to these frail vessels.

We departed from Cariacu on the 11th of July. The Barama resembles much the upper Barima; its banks are clothed with similar vegetation, and it is equally serpentine in its course. I noticed a good deal of potter's clay, used by the Caribisi for the manufacture of pottery, which, for its durability is highly appreciated by the colonists. The clay has a greyish colour, and is mixed with the loose materials of decomposing granite.

The rivulet Nakuwai was the largest tributary which we passed in the course of our first day's ascent; it joined the Barama at its left bank. We noticed the first rocks which were lying in the river's bed above the rivulet Abocotte. About a mile and a half above this the Erawanta and Mazuwini join, close to each other, the Barama. During the rainy season, when the bed of the river is full, it forms numerous off-flows, which adopt a more direct course than the river itself, and join it again at some distance on. The Indians, who are acquainted with these branches, navi-gate them, and thus shorten the ascent materially.

We passed, on the afternoon of the 13th of July, some hillocks, and, soon after, the first rapid, formed by dykes of granite, and reached a settlement of Waikas, called Cadiu, which we were told was the last inhabited place below the great fall. We were here struck with the air of plenty; the cassava pounds were extensive; yams, sweet potatoes, plantains, and bananas were abundant; also the Paripi palm and Papayas, of which the fruit resembled a large melon, some of them measuring 28 inches in circumference. Sugar cane, cashew, and cotton trees grew around the huts. A number of wild fowls were observed; marodies, powis, parrots of all plumage, several sun-birds, all tame, and associating amicably with one another.

I succeeded in procuring a set of circum-meridian altitudes, according to which the set-tlement was in 7º 19' north latitude. We heard quite distinctly during night the roaring of the great fall Dowocaima, which is about two miles distant, and bears S. 58º W.

Having engaged three more Indians to accompany us from Cadiu to the Cuyuni, we started next morning at an early hour, and, after passing some rapids, approached the great fall We had to unload near the island Wayaruima, and carry the craft and luggage for the distance of 2 miles overland. These cataracts surpass in grandeur the great falls of the River Demerara, to which in their structure they bear some resemblance. The whole fall of the Barima amounts, in the given distance of two miles, to about 120 feet, but, from the sinuosities of the channel, there is no one point which affords a coup-d'oeil. The grandest scene is covered by the three upper falls, where the river, narrowing in to about 80 feet, rushes turbulently down the precipice in three jets, and forms in the distance of about one hundred yards a fall of 35 to 40 feet perpendicular. This part is called Dowocaima, and as we saw it at the height of the rainy season, when the river was full to overflowing, the scene was sublime indeed. The banks were bordered by a primitive forest and foliage of every hue, among which the bright red of the young Mora leaves formed a striking object. Lianas reaching from boughs 60 feet high down to the water's edge; a thousand creepers so closely enveloping whole rows of trees as to give them a fanciful resemblance to old massy columns crowned with ivy; white festoons, and clusters of purple and yellow salver-shaped flowers trailing from tree to tree, all combined to form a vivid picture of tropical vegetation. The uproar of the masses of water which rush over the ledges of rock, and envelope in foam the surrounding scenery, added the characteristic feature to the landscape.

The ledges of rock which form these striking scenes of nature are composed of gneiss, their stratification being south 33º west. They form an impediment to all further navigation, and one which, if a denser population should render such a step necessary, could only be overcome by canals or railroads. In the absence of these, our Indians took their light bark canoes on their heads and carried them to that part of the river where there were no serious obstacles to its fur-ther navigation.

We passed, next day, the rapid Massiwini and several others of less consequence, and encamped in the evening at the foot of the fall Aunama, from whence the path leads to the Cu-yuni. The River Aunama joins the Barama just below the fall; the latitude I determined to be 7º 14' N.

At a day's journey above this fall there is a Caribisi settlement; farther up the Barama is uninhabited. It is said to have its source in the same parallel of latitude with the Barima and Amacura, namely, in the extensive savannahs north of the Ikruyeku Mountains.

We commenced our overland journey on the morning of the 16th of July, and, travers-ing occasionally hillocks from 100 to 150 feet high, followed the valley through which the small River Aunama flows towards the Barama. We reached at noon an Indian settlement. The provi-sion-grounds around it were in good order, but the houses were tenantless. Our tortuous path continued in a west-south-west direction, still following the Aunama.

After a march of six hours we arrived, in the afternoon, at a settlement of Carabisi Indi-ans, called, from the rivulet on which it is situated, Aunama, and, according to circum-meridian observations of the [word(s) missing] a Gruis, in 7º 9' north latitude. On the ridges which we were this day crossing, and which generally stretched north-by-west and south-by-east, I ob-served several tracts of granitic blocks, the direction of which was north-west by west. The trees we met with on our journey were lofty, and there was less underwood than along the banks of the river. The mora, which had been so abundant, became scarcer the farther we receded from the Barama, and was replaced by a greater variety of timber trees, as Kakaralli, Determa, Siruaballi, Cedar, Yaruri, Souari, etc. We did not observe any Green-heart, a wood much and deservedly esteemed by shipwrights and house-builders.

Our course on the 17th of July continued west-south-west. We crossed at 10 o'clock in the morning the Aunama for the last time; and having passed a ridge of small hills, which stretched south-by-west, we stood soon after on the western branch of the Rivulet Acarabisi. We had now reached the most elevated spot between the Cuyuni and Barama, and entered another system of rivers, which, instead of flowing northwards towards the Waini and Barama, tend in an opposite direction - to the south - and, uniting with the Cuyuni, and ultimately an outlet into the Atlantic by the Essequibo. From this ridge of hills the natural configuration of the ground is sloping towards the banks of the Cuyuni southward; and I estimated the highest ridge which separates the two systems at 520 feet above the level of the sea. Heights which really deserve the name of mountains commence 20 miles further westward; nevertheless, these ridges of hillocks are of importance in the determination of the boundary, on the principle of natural divisions. I claimed them, accordingly, to form the limit from the source of the River Amacura, passing south-eastward the sources of the Rivers Barima and Barama, and continuing in that direction until the ridge meets the River Acarabisi. From the Amacura, consequently, the northern slope of these hillocks belongs to the British Colony of Guiana; the southern slope, to the westward of the River Acarabisi, and along which the rivulets flow to the Cuyuni, would belong to Venezuelan Guiana.

The Aunama and Acarabisi are only divided from each other by these hillocks, which rise not more than 60 to 100 feet above their level; both rivers, if properly cleared of trees which have fallen across, would afford a navigation to canoes and punts; and as the portage is not more than two miles, these rivers present, at the very frontier, the means of connecting the Pomeroon and Morocco coast with the Upper Cuyuni, where that river is comparatively free of obstacles.

Having claimed the right bank of the Acarabisi, as forming part of the western limit of British Guiana, I had several trees, which stood along its course, marked with Her Majesty's ini-tials. Towards evening we reached a Carabisi settlement, the latitude of which I found to be 7º 4' N. It consisted of six houses and seventy inhabitants. Its height above the level of the sea was ascertained by Wollastan's barometric thermometer to be 510 feet.

We followed the valley of the Acarabisi - by no means a comfortable path, as at this season of the year it formed an almost continued swamp, and we fell sometimes to our girths in the mire. A rich retentive soil qualifies these regions peculiarly for the cultivation of rice. It rained almost incessantly, and we were truly rejoiced when we arrived on the morning of the 19th of July at the Caribisi Settlement, Haiowa, about two miles distant from the left bank of the Cuyuni The general feature of the country between the Barama and Cuyuni is that of a series of narrow valleys, situated between hillocks of no great altitude. The principal valleys are those which fol-low the course of the Rivers Aunama and Acarabisi. The general direction of the others is at an oblique angle to these, and they vary considerably in extent; sometimes they are merely defiles, and the greater number of them do not expand more than about a quarter of a mile. I am fully persuaded that there can be no soil better qualified for the cultivation of coffee than that of this part. The zones of granite, sometimes in spherical blocks, and the vitrified and ferruginous masses of clay which I observed frequently to traverse the mountains, are favourable to the cultivation of that plant.

The productiveness of the soil nearer to the banks of the Cuyuni is evident from the specimens of sugar-cane, cotton, and plantains which were brought to me while at Haiowa. I saw a cane measuring fifteen feet long, and seven inches and a-half in circumference. The cotton, too, was of excellent quality and staple; and the few tobacco-plants which the Indians raised for their own use were remarkable for their large leaves, and, as I was assured, for their fine flavour.

Haiowa consists of four houses and 35 inhabitants of the Caribisi nation. The Caribsi, like the Waikas, are a superior race. They are fairer in colour than the Warraus and Arawaaks, and their average height is 5 feet 5 inches. The female sex vie in symmetry of form with the men: their features are more regular than those of other Indian tribes; and a profusion of hair, the tresses of which nearly touch the ground, contribute to their good appearance. Both sexes are great smokers; children, indeed, commence at an early age to indulge in that bad custom.

We now learned that the rumour as to the Spaniards having come to the Cuyuni had no foundation; two individuals had arrived from the neighbourhood of Angostura at the Cuyuni with the object, as I afterwards understood, of finding whether cattle could be driven from the savannah, near the River Caroni, to the British Colony. Whether their appearance had caused the alarm, or whether by unguarded words they had given reason for mistrust, I know not, but the Indians here were under the same apprehensions as those of the Barama.

We met with several Indians who spoke still with feelings of the greatest respect for the missionaries who were formerly settled at the Caroni, and when relating the relentless cruelties of the self-styled patriots towards those innocent victims of the civil war, it became evident that even to this hour, after the lapse of tens of years, their persecutors are held in the utmost abhor-rence. I was assured by an old Waika that nine missionaries, who intended to escape by the Cu-yuni to Demerara, were taken by the patriots and shot in cold blood; that the missions were de-stroyed, and the Indians hunted down and sacrificed by a relentless soldiery.

We expected to meet here the party which was to have been sent with a supply of pro-visions up the Cuyuni, for our stores had long since given out, and we were reduced to cassava bread and what game chance brought into our hands. We were, however, disappointed in our ex-pectations, and, in the absence of any craft, I had to send my coxswain a journey of two days higher up the Cuyuni, where I was told there was a corial large enough for our use. On his arrival at the settlement the inhabitants considered him to be one of the Spanish party returning to exe-cute their threat; and the men rushed out, armed with guns and cutlasses. However, they were soon assured that our party came as friends to the Indian; and having bargained for the corial, the coxswain returned with some additional guides on the morning of the 22nd of July; and after embarking our baggage, we commenced a few hours after the descent of the Cuyuni.

While at Haiowa I proceeded to the mouth of the Acarabisi, which bears from the set-tlement N. 75º 10' W., distant about a mile and a-half, and took, formally, possession of it in the name of Her Britannic Majesty, as the point where the western line of limits meets the Cuyuni. The line stretching from thence across the Cuyuni to its right or southern bank (where another tree was marked with Her Majesty's initials), and continues upwards to its source.

Several meridian altitudes of stars gave me as mean result for the latitude of Haiowa 6º 56' N. The boiling point of the barometric thermometer was 47th [sic] of a degree higher than at Acarabisi, and 50th [sic] of a degree lower than at the mouth of the Barima, which would give the approximate height of 260 feet above the level of the sea. I attempted to repair the barometer, and took a number of observations while at Haiowa; but until this instrument shall have been tested in Georgetown it cannot be relied upon. The mountains west of the Acarabisi rise to a con-siderable height, and the summits of the Ekreku are estimated at 2,000 feet above the level of the Cuyuni, Catiya, or Curumu, where, in the Royalist time, a Spanish military post (Destacamento de Cuyuni) was established*, is about twenty miles to the westward of the Acarabisi; but the Spaniards penetrated during the revolutionary war, as far east as the River Airekuni, only eight miles above the Acarabisi. All the old inhabitants, both Waikas and Carabisi, concurred in the assertion that the Spaniards, up to that time, had never penetrated farther eastward than the Aire-kuni river, whilst Father Caulin, in his "Historia Corografica de la Nuevs Andalucia, y Vertientes, del Rio Orinoco" (1779), has observed that, at the period he visited the Orinoco, while attached to the Expedition of limits, the Dutch had already carried on an extensive trade by means of the Cuyuni, with the Indian tribes at the Caroni and Parawa; and it was at that period (1750-1760) that the Dutch possessions extended to the foot of that series of falls, of which Kanaima is the most considerable.

The Cuyuni presented, where we embarked, a magnificent sheet of water. I estimated its width from 400 to 500 yards. Its current was rapid - perhaps three miles and a-half in an hour - and its bed full to overflowing. A small chain of hills called Macapa bore nearly west: they are distant about a mile. Our progress was rapid, and in the afternoon we had safely passed the dan-gerous fall of Kanaima, and rested at an abandoned settlement on the river's right bank. There were some other settlements in the neighbourhood, the inhabitants of which came to visit us. We did not observe any Mora trees along the banks; these were replaced by another equally majestic tree, which the Indians called Ta-au. The islands with which the river was interspersed were al-most covered with bushes of the Anassia amara, or bitter-ash. The stream itself continued as if cut up by a multitude of large channels which are not seen from each other, thickly-wooded is-lands intervening; and no accurate idea can be formed of their total breadth. Sometimes a little range of densely-wooded hillocks approach the river's edge.

We generally found that in the morning, with sunrise, a strong breeze set in against the current and that it changed by degrees to east-south-east, or east-by-south. Descending at the rate of five miles an hour, we passed numerous rapids where the river was free of impediments; it was about 600 yards wide. We passed the Otomong hills, and avoided by narrow passages be-tween islands numerous large cataracts, which, in our small canoes, it would have been dangerous to attempt to descend. At the cataract of Poinka-marka, or Wommipong, of the Caribisi, we had to unload and draw the crafts over a portage of about 300 yards extent. The perpendicular fall of this cataract is not less than thirty feet and it is generally called the "Canoe-wrecker", in conse-quence of many fatal accidents which have occurred here. We halted in the evening at six o'clock at a single hut inhabited by a Waika, his wife, child and a dog. He shared his hut with us, although we were rather a numerous party for a single house. At a short distance hence the Rivu-let Aracuna enters the Cuyuni. It is inhabited by a few Waikas, and a path leads from it to the River Puruni, which flows into the Mazaruni The latitude of the hut is 6º 46' N.

The rapids and falls now become less frequent, and still water commences. The tract of granite and gneiss, which causes these impediments, extends, therefore, from the Aracuna hills uninterrupted to the small range of hillocks called Macapa. It is about fifty to sixty miles in length, and constitutes the second large series of falls. About eight miles below Arakuna, and opposite some small hills which rise on the river's right bank, is the Island Tokoro (Tokoro-patti), where, towards the close of the last century, the furthest outpost of the Dutch was situated. Although generations have elapsed, the circumstance that a Dutch post-holder once resided here has remained traditionary, and our guide, an old Waika, assured me that his father had frequently mentioned it to him, and that the post-holder's name was Palmsteen. The post was afterwards destroyed by the Spaniards, and the post-holder withdrawn nearer towards the cultivated part of the Colony**. A little below Tokoro-patti, on the right [sic] bank of the Cuyuni, is the rivulet Iroma. The rivers Rupa and Appa join the Cuyuni from the north: they were the largest tributaries we had met in the course of our descent. We reached in the afternoon the Toraparu, a rivulet from whence a much-frequented path leads, in a day, to the Purumi [sic]. We had anxiously looked forward to meet the party which we expected with supplies of provisions. We heard of them to-day at a settlement opposite the Toro hills; but only to have the disappointment of learning that, on ascending the previous day the dangerous fall Wakupang, they had lost everything, and saved only their lives and the corial. Among the baggage lost was one of the instruments, Massey's log, and a new tarpaulin. Thus disappointed in our hopes of meeting comfort, we had for some days longer to continue our scanty fare. We paid off our guides, who had accompanied us from Haiowa; as, with the men who had come up from the Essequibo, our crew was sufficiently strong to reach that river.

The dangerous fall Wakupang, where our stores were lost on the preceding day, was passed without accident. This is the commencement of the second series of falls or rapids. The river is studded with islands. Green-heart and Purple-heart, both most valuable forest trees, be-come abundant along its banks; but the impediments which the numerous rapids throw in the way will for some time render these treasures unavailable to the Colony. We passed in the after-noon the Cutuau hills, along which a river of the same name has its course. The Cutuau offers a communication with the River Waini, and is much frequented by the Indians of both rivers; eight miles farther eastward is the rivulet Wayarimpa, whence another path leads to the Puruni. The river is here free of impediments, its breadth from 600 to 700 yards, its waters clear and of a brownish colour. The circum-meridian altitudes of three northern stars gave me 6º 43' N. as the latitude of this creek; a few miles from it is the Cataract Tonomo, where the post-holder resided after his station had been withdrawn from Tokoro Island.

We had commenced this morning (July 26th) the descent of the third series of falls, caused by a small range of mountains, through which the river has broken itself a passage. It rained almost incessantly; and, as the wind was against us, it endangered our descent of numer-ous rapids, and the coxswain could scarcely look forward. We had to unload at the cataract Aru-aka-matubba, and to haul our corials overland. We passed soon after the Woku or Powis moun-tain, which rises on the river's right bank to a height of 500 to 600 feet; this ridge extends west-north-west, and east-south-east, and it can be seen from the junction of the Cuyuni and Mazaruni. Little islets, consisting of heaped-up masses of rock, divide the river into numerous channels. We had to pass the fall Camaria, and as it did not afford any portage, we attempted to descend it in our craft. It nearly proved our destruction. As it was, the craft filled with water, and it was only the presence of mind of some of our crew to which, under the Almighty, we were indebted for our safety. We reached, on that evening, Ematubba, generally called "the great fall", where we had to unload, and to haul our corials overland, and encamped at the foot of the small island, whither the corials had been drawn.

Continued rains precluded the possibility of any observations, and we started on the morning of July 27th, under the same unfavourable weather. An hour and a half after we were at the foot of the last fall, called Akaya, and saw before us the junction of the three rivers Esse-quibo, Mazaruni, and Cuyuni.

We were received with demonstrations of hearty joy by the remainder of our party, who had awaited us at the Protestant mission at Bartika Grove, near the junction of the Mazaruni and Essequibo, and the missionary, the Reverend B. H. Bernan, joined in their welcome. The mission over which this worthy man presides was founded by the Church Missionary Society about the year 1831, and Mr. Bernan commenced his labours in 1837, since which time improvements have followed successively. The mission now consists of about 120 inhabitants, who are all located in neat cottages surrounded by gardens and provision grounds. I am too well acquainted with the Indian character to expect a perfect reform in the adult Indians, and the missionary has no doubt reaped a similar experience. His chief object is, therefore, to inculcate in the minds of the youth entrusted to his care, religious precepts, the benefits of industry and civilisation; and in this his labours are successful. The school is attended by from 40 to 50 children, mostly Indians. Some of the latter (I think 24) are maintained by the mission, and instructed in the normal school, that they may hereafter return among their tribes and relations, and assist in working out the great objects of conversion and civilisation. Their progress is, indeed, encouraging. Some of them, in the short space of four months, have learned to read and to write; and the copy-books which I saw would not have dishonoured an European school of even higher pretensions. One of the boys, an Arawaak, had advanced to the Rule of Three in arithmetic Their psalmody is sweet, and when, on the evening of our arrival, we attended prayers, we were much pleased with the attention they paid to the exhortations of their religious teacher.

Mr. Bernan's great plan is to induce the Indian parents who live at any distance from the mission to send to him their children when only four or five years of age, thus to alienate them from Indian life and manners, and from their earliest youth to point out to them the beneficial examples afforded by the Christian religion and civilisation. An asylum for female Indian orphans has just been erected, and is under the guidance of a respectable female teacher; the house is spacious, and has all the comforts required for such an institution. The orphan boys are under the guidance of a teacher sent from England. It is not, however, religious principles alone which are sought to be implanted in their breasts The missionary shows them, by example, that the destiny of man is not indolence; the children are encouraged to manual labour; they assist in keeping in order the surrounding garden; and I was astonished when Mr. Bernan told me that the wharf near the mission had been constructed solely by him and his disciples during leisure hours.

The religious service is at present held in a house, but a church, to which the colony has contributed, is in course of erection, and a hospital for the sick has been added to the house where the boys are located.

This is a cheering picture of the good work which has been commenced among the remnants of the aboriginal tribe, and, if I am entitled to an opinion, it is the only means by which the great objects of the Christian religion and civilisation can prosper. During the late expedition, I had frequent opportunities of meeting Indians who had been brought up at the former Spanish missions, and although so many years had elapsed, it was nevertheless evident that they belonged to an improved race. Philanthropy must mourn that civil strife should have felled with one stroke the effects which the religious and industrious endeavours of the good fathers had produced dur-ing numerous years amongst these children of the forest, effects the fruits of which were yet visible, although more than a score of years had elapsed; and those who show that superiority in their manners and laborious habits must have been mere children when they lived in the missions of the Capuchins of the Caroni.

The continuance of the principle which was implanted in them at their youth, though it may be still only a mere spark, gives me every confidence that the mission at Bartika Grove will produce the happiest results; and I have only to express my sincere hope that similar institutions may yet be founded in other parts of British Guiana, and that aid tendered to the remnants of the aboriginal tribes within the British territory, which will place their rising generation much above their present religious destitution. This is the only recompense which England can tender to them for the loss of their lands, and for the miseries which Europeans have inflicted upon them. There are about 2,500 Indians now inhabiting the rivers on our western boundary, who walk in perfect darkness, but amongst whom an institution like that at Bartika Grove would produce the most beneficial results. From my intercourse with these tribes, and from conversations I have held with the more intelligent members of them, they appear willing to receive instruction, or to send their children to a normal school, if such an institution were to be founded in that part of British Guiana.

Our party left Bartika Grove on the 28th of July, in two corials, and we arrived safely in Georgetown on the second day ensuing after an absence of 3½ months, during which period we had made upwards of 700 miles; and although that period presented but a continuation of the most unfavourable weather, we determined nevertheless twenty-one points astronomically, and acquired a true knowledge of the course of the Rivers Waini, Barima, Amacura, Barama, and Cuyuni, all of which had never been visited before by any person competent to delineate them on a map. No wonder, therefore, that their actual course should be almost opposite to what it is rep-resented on extant maps.

The fertility of the tract we have explored has been pointed out in various places in this as well as in my former report. The lands adjacent to the Rivers Amacura, Barima, and Barama, and beyond the reach of the tides, are superior in quality to those of any other district hitherto visited, and this refers equally to the Cuyuni, where I met sugar-canes of the finest description, and native cottons of superior staple and quality. But the difficulties which the Cuyuni presents to navigation, and those tremendous falls which impede the river in the first day's ascent, will, I fear, prove a great obstacle to making the fertility of its banks available to the colony. The Amacura, Barima, and Waini are, for a great distance, free of such impediments, and a thicker population is only wanted to render this part of British Guiana one of the most productive throughout its whole extent, towards which the numerous natural canals and connections be-tween its chief rivers would materially contribute.

These tracts are at present inhabited by the following tribes: -

Warraus, along the coast, from Pomeroon to the Amacura; Arawaaks, intermixed with the former, chief at the Rivers Waini, Barima; and Amacura; Waikas and Chaymas, sister-tribes of the Wacaawais, at the upper course of these rivers, and the regions between the Barama and Cuyuni.

I estimate their whole number, as already stated, at 2,500. Many of them assist in felling timber, or in working on the estates; and if the system, which only of late years has been fol-lowed - namely, that of treating the Indian as a rational being, and giving a fair remuneration for his work - shall be generally adopted, the aborigines, there is no doubt, will prove most useful labourers to the colony.

No person has had more opportunities than myself of becoming acquainted with the ty-rannical conduct which has been practised within the last ten years towards these poor beings, and it is not too much to say that the treatment of them, which we now reprobate in the adjacent territories, many of the former colonists, even of the British territory, have been guilty of. What wonder, therefore, if these children of the forest, who still recollect the wrongs which in times past were inflicted upon them, should pause before they trust to the fair promises now made to them. They already recognise the protection of the Superintendent, under the existing regula-tions; and it is my full persuasion that, if the attention and paternal provisions which the aborigi-nes of Guiana have of late years enjoyed at the hands of Her Majesty's Government be contin-ued, and means adopted to afford them religious instruction, the relief of the once numerous In-dian population may yet be rescued.


Her Majesty's Commissioner for Surveying and Marking out the Boundaries of British Guiana.

* Sir R. Schomburgk evidently quotes from Humboldt; but this post, so often talked of, never existed.

** This is one of those errors into which Sir. R. Schomburgk occasionally falls owing to his not having studied the original documents.

[31 August 1841]

(Translation: Original: Original - Spanish)

Republic of Venezuela, Caracas, August 31, 1841.

This Government having been informed that at the mouth of the River Amacura and at Barima Point English flags have been fixed, and that other marks with Royal initials have been found, and being unable to discover the origin and motives for this act, effected on an important part of the territory of the Republic, which it has always quietly and peaceably possessed, and over which it has an indisputable right, has determined on sending a Commission composed of the Licenciates José Santiago Rodriguez and Juan José Romero to your Excellency as being the chief authority in British Guiana, having for object to investigate all that relates to what has hap-pened, and to give all necessary explanation as to the boundaries, as also to state the remon-strances to which these acts will give rise; in spite of the Government of the Republic having manifested to Her Britannic Majesty the necessity of previously fixing a Treaty of Limits by Commissioners from the two Governments and on grounds established by mutual agreement, which makes it necessary that affairs should be placed as they were in January last in which the Treaty was mooted, in order that the harmony which exists in the relations of the two countries should be preserved.

Your Excellency may confide in all that the Commissioners say on the part of the Gov-ernment of Venezuela, and in the event of your Excellency being disposed to observe the same conciliatory conduct which you recommended to the Commissioner, Mr. Schomburgk, with re-spect the authorities of this country, when he undertook the labours of his Commission, which was made known. to the Government by the British Consul in this capital; and if your Excellency wishes to cut short any difference which may arise respecting tire boundary, Messrs. Romero and Rodriguez are authorized to enter into a satisfactory arrangement for both parties, and although the boundaries between Venezuela and British Guiana are not definitively fixed, it may facilitate at least the settlement of a Treaty which hereafter is to be fixed by Plenipotentiaries named for this purpose by the Governments of Venezuela and of Her Britannic Majesty.

I take this opportunity of expressing to your Excellency the sentiments of consideration and respect. . .


[3 September 1841]

(Translation: Original - Spanish)

Foreign Office, Caracas, September 3, 1841.


The Government has thought proper to appoint a Commission, composed of the Licen-tiates José Santiago Rodriguez and Juan José Romero, to proceed to Demerara near his Excel-lency the Governor of British Guiana for the purpose of investigating the origin and design wherewith the British flag and other marks as of possession were planted at Barima and Amacuro; to enter into explanations with that authority respecting the limits between Venezuela and the British Colony, and also to make suitable reclamations and protests in defence of the rights of the Republic.

Though the Government is persuaded that the Envoys to the Governor will meet on the part of his Excellency with the same conciliatory conduct which he recommended to Mr. Schomburgk in case of coming in contact with any of the authorities of this country, it does not deem it superfluous to request you to recommend the object of the Commission to the above-mentioned Governor, principally with the view to facilitate a speedily and satisfactory arrange-ment with regard to the act recently executed within our territory, and which keeps in alarm the whole population of the Republic. . .


[3 September 1841]


Caracas, September 3, 1841.

I took the liberty to address to your Excellency a private letter, by the last packet, ac-quainting you with the reports which I had received from Angostura relative to Mr. Schom-burgk's movements; and I have now the honour to inform your Excellency that on the night of the 28th ultimo I received by express from Angostura further intelligence respecting them.

The British Vice-Consul in that town, in a despatch dated the 12th August, states that the officer who had been sent by the Governor of Guayana to explore the mouth of the Orinoco, and ascertain the truth of the rumours concerning the occupation of Barima and the territory be-tween that point and the Caño Amacuro, had returned to Angostura, and reported that Mr. Schomburgk had retired, leaving behind him a flag-staff with British colours, and several posts with a crown and the letters "V.R." branded thereon, which marks of possession the officer left as he found them.

It may be interesting to your Excellency to know that this intelligence has created here, as at Angostura, and indeed throughout the country, a very painful sensation and much angry feeling, and that the Venezuelan Government has, in consequence, determined upon sending Messrs. Rodriguez and Romero as Commissioners to treat with your Excellency, and to protest, if satisfactory explanations are not received, against the proceedings of Mr. Schomburgk.

Besides this measure, the Government is sending a special messenger to their Minister in London with instructions on the subject. Meanwhile, the public papers here are very violent, and urge the Government to adopt extreme measures. It would not surprise me if the posts erected by Mr. Schomburgk were removed - a step which would greatly complicate the question, and which I trust the prudence of the Government will endeavour to avoid.

The position of this Government under the present circumstances is certainly very criti-cal and embarrassing between the respect it professes towards Great Britain and the popular ex-citement so openly and decidedly manifested. The issue will depend in a great measure on the reply given by your Excellency to Messrs. Rodriguez and Romero; and I would take the liberty to suggest the expediency of your endeavouring to conciliate these gentlemen, and affording this Government, by your reply, means of temporizing with the pretensions of the more violent in this quarter. The constitutional weakness of the Government is such that the least pressure from without destroys its action, and exposes the country to all the horrors of revolution so frequent in South America.

[5 September 1841]

Caracas, September 5, 1841.


Yesterday I had the honour to receive your Excellency's note of the 3rd instant, and, in reply thereto, I beg leave to inform your Excellency that I had already written to the Governor of British Guiana, acquainting his Excellency with the appointment of Messrs. Rodriguez and Ro-mero, and recommending them to his Excellency. . . .


[7 September 1841]

Caracas, September 7, 1841.

I have the honour to inform your Lordship that the Venezuelan Government his com-missioned Messrs. Rodriguez and Romero, two distinguished Venezuelan citizens, to proceed to British Guiana for the purpose of remonstrating with the Governor of that Colony on the occupa-tion of Barima, and to protest against the same if satisfactory explanations are not given by his Excellency. On hearing of the appointment of these Commissioners I wrote to Mr. Light the des-patch of which the inclosed is copy, and which I trust your Lordship will not disapprove of.

I subsequently received from the Venezuelan Foreign Minister a note acquainting me with the above-mentioned appointment, and requesting me to recommend the object of the mis-sion with which Messrs. Rodriguez and Romero are charged to the Governor of British Guiana. In my reply I told M. Aranda that I had already done so. I have since written a private letter to Mr. Light suggesting the utility of initiating the question of an internal commercial intercourse between British and Venezuelan Guiana, from which I think important advantages might be de-rived hereafter. The Orinoco at no very distant period must become the great channel of Vene-zuelan trade, and it may be well to consult in time its growing importance, more particularly as connected with the welfare of British Guiana. . . .



Inclosure 1: Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, to Gover-nor Henry Light of British Guiana, 3 September 1841 [Document No. 612 above].

Inclosure 2: Señor Francisco Aranda, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs to Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, 3 September 1841 [Document No. 611 above].

Inclosure 3: Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, to Señor Francisco Aranda, Venezuelan Foreign Minister, 5 September 1841 [Document No. 613 above].

[15 September 1841]

Downing Street, September 15, 1841.

My Lord,

I am directed by Lord Stanley to transmit to your Lordship, for the information of the Earl of Aberdeen, the copy of a despatch from the Governor of British Guiana, inclosing the copy of a Report from Mr. Schomburgk of the operations of the expedition under his command for exploring the boundaries of British Guiana. . . .



Inclosure 1: Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, to Lord John Russell, Brit-ish Secretary of State for the Colonies, 19 July 1841 [Document No. 601 above].

Inclosure 2: Mr. Robert Schomburgk to Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, 22 June 1841 [Document No. 600 above].

[15 September 1841]

Demerara, September 15, 1841.


I had the honour to receive yesterday, for perusal, the despatches which Her Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Rio de Janeiro, and Her Majesty's Consul at Caracas have addressed to your Excellency with regard to the pending survey of the boundaries of British Guiana. Mr. Ousely's letter is so satisfactory, that I refrain from further allusion to it, but I beg leave respect-fully to offer such remarks as Mr. O'Leary's letter may call forth.

Before my departure from London on the execution of the survey, Mr. Vernon Smith, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, enclosed copies of letters to me which, by the desire of Viscount Palmerston, had been addressed to Her Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Rio de Ja-neiro and at Venezuela, notifying my appointment to survey and mark out the boundaries of Guiana, and desiring them to inform the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the respective Govern-ments of the issue of this Commission. If, therefore, my instructions had been to the effect, to enter at the present period already into actual negotiations, this preliminary step having been taken by Her Majesty's Government, it appears to me that it would have been the duty of the Venezuelan Authorities at Caracas to inform the Governor of Angostura of the intentions of Her Majesty' Government, and the intelligence that I had entered upon the execution of my duties could not have created "the utmost surprise and alarm," but my instructions do not authorise me to enter into any negotiations before the execution of the survey, and any communication from up part to the Governor of Angostura would have been unwarranted, or might have forestalled the views of your Excellency or Her Majesty's Home Government.

So far from wishing to be uncourteous towards the authorities of the territories which border on British Guiana, and in absence of any instructions to proceed up to Angostura, which only could have been executed with much delay and expense, I started in the largest of our boats from our camp at the Barima to wait on the Commandant of the Orinoco at Coriabo, but so dan-gerous proved this undertaking in our small canoes that, without risking our lives, we were obliged to desist, and to return next morning to our camp.

It would be repetition to state the grounds upon which rest the rights its of Her Britan-nic Majesty to the Barima, and the absolute necessity that the boundaries of British Guiana should be based upon natural divisions, and not upon imaginary lines; but Mr. O'Leary has been erroneously informed that a British vessel cruised off the Barima during my survey, and that the Amacura, the right bank of which I claimed as the limit between British and Venezuelan Guiana, be situated five leagues up the Orinoco, as it is merely four miles from the mouth of the Barima.

I most sincerely wished that there were no existing grounds of apprehension respecting the interference of Venezuelan subjects with the independent Indian tribes; the facts which I have brought to your Excellency's knowledge, and which may be corroborated by any person travelling among the Indians at the contested boundaries, prove that these cruel acts of the inferior authorities have not come to Mr. O'Leary's knowledge.

I can only repeat that while employed on the execution of the service with which I have been honoured, it shall be my constant aim to meet with the greatest courtesy any of the authori-ties of the territories adjacent to British Guiana, and to use every conciliatory means at my com-mand to produce the desired result of settling the boundaries of this important colony in the most amicable manner. . .


[19 September 1841]

Arabian Coast, Essequibo, September 19, 1841.

My Lord,

I have the honour to forward copies of two communications received from Mr. O'Leary, of Caracas, received by the last packet. As it was necessary that Mr. Schomburgk should report on them, they were sent to him. I have received his observations, and forward them in original.

I have the honour also to transmit copy of a letter I have addressed to Mr. O'Leary, which I trust will be approved by your Lordship.

I have alluded in my letter to Mr. O'Leary to a demand made by a person of the name of Hamilton, the son of a Colonel Hamilton, who resided many years in Angostura, to be allowed to cut a path from his pastures in the Venezuelan territory to the Essequibo by which he and other farmers in cattle will be enabled to supply our markets more readily than by the old route from the Orinoco. To this demand I have as yet made no reply, thinking it a subject for the con-sideration of the Court of Policy, my own opinion not yet being fixed. . . .


[19 September 1841]

Essequibo Coast, September 19, 1841.


I had the honour of receiving your public despatch dated the 4th August, and that marked private of the 18th of the same month, transmitted to me here on the 10th instant from Georgetown.

Having referred these despatches to Mr. Schomburgk, who is returned from his survey of the Venezuelan frontier, and preparing to commence that of the Brazils, I have received his explanations, of which I send you a copy.

I was convinced that the reports you said had caused "surprise and alarm" were exag-gerated. You will find from Mr. Schomburgk's communication that he attempted, at the risk of his own life, to make known his visit to the nearest Venezuelan authorities, the only persons he was entitled to address, as the object of his mission had been a diplomatic arrangement settled at home.

No vessel of war, or indeed any other that the coasting schooner which took Mr. Schomburgk's party to the Barima, was on the coast, though application had been made for a small vessel of war without success, more to facilitate the object of the survey than for defence or offence, as I do not suppose the Venezuelan authorities would have ventured to impede a Mis-sion purely of survey.

The point of departure of the Mission, and of the landmark placed by Mr. Schomburgk at the Barima, is marked by the ruins of a Dutch fort; it will be hard to prove that this fort ever fell into the hands of the Spaniards, or that the claim of the Dutch to the intermediate country from the Pomaroon and Morocco was ever abandoned.

Mr. Schomburgk's survey from the Barima to the confluence of the Cuyuni with the Essequibo has been of great public utility, and will much facilitate future negotiations. I have to thank you for the valuable information contained in your despatch of the 4th August. An internal trade which might loyally be carried on hereafter when both countries are in a condition to sus-tain it, and avoid the circuitous route of the Orinoco, requiring so many days to arrive at Angos-tura, would, I should have thought, been useful. It never entered in my calculation to encourage smuggling.

I am happy to say that Mr. Hamilton, of Angostura, is desirous of cutting a road from his pastures for the march of cattle to Essequibo.

I do not at present see any objection, though I shall consider it a subject for the Legisla-ture of the Colony.

I trust all things will terminate satisfactorily by negotiation, but the claim set up by the Venezuelan Government to the territory mentioned in your despatch appears to me totally inad-missible. . .


[5 October 1841]

(Translation: Original - Spanish)

22, Wimpole Street, London, October 5, 1841.

The Undersigned, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Venezuela, has the hon-our to state to the Right Honourable the Earl of Aberdeen, Principal Secretary of State for For-eign Affairs, that his Government, being informed of Her Majesty's Ministry having appointed a Commissioner for the demarcation of the boundaries between British Guiana and Venezuela, made on the 28th January last the proposal of entering into a Treaty of Boundaries by means of Plenipotentiaries competently authorized, engaging, immediately after its conclusion, to nominate on the part of Venezuela a Commissioner for proceeding, in conjunction with Her Majesty's Commissioner and on fixed bases, to the demarcation of boundaries between Venezuela and British Guiana. Two days after the British Consul at Caracas notified that he had transmitted to his Government the overture of the Executive of Venezuela, and ever since that time the latter has been waiting for an answer.

Now let his Lordship figure to himself the surprise with which the Government of Venezuela must have learnt that a guard-house (or sentry-box), with the British flag flying on it, had been constructed on the territory of the Republic. The Government of the latter is not cogni-zant either of the origin or object of this proceeding, which it trusts will be satisfactorily ac-counted for. In the meantime, however, the Undersigned, in compliance with his instructions, begs to press on his Lordship the necessity of proceeding to the negotiation of a Treaty of Boundaries as a preliminary step to the operation of demarcation, and requests his Lordship to be pleased to return an answer to the note of the 28th January above referred to. . .

(Signed) A. FORTIQUE

[21 October 1841]

Foreign Office, October 21, 1841.

The Undersigned, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the note addressed to him on the 5th instant by M. For-tique, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Venezuela, referring to a correspondence which took place in January last between the Acting British Consul at Caracas and the Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs respecting the appointment of Mr. Schomburgk to survey and mark out the boundaries between British Guiana and Venezuela, and stating that the Government of Venezuela has been informed that a guard-house, or sentry-box, has been erected upon the Venezuelan territory, and the British flag has been hoisted thereon.

The Undersigned has to inform M. Fortique that Her Majesty's Government has re-ceived from the Governor of British Guiana Mr. Schomburgk's Report of his proceedings in execution of the Commission with which he has been charged. That Report states that Mr. Schomburgk set out from Demerara in April last, and was on his return to the Essequibo River at the end of June.

It appears that Mr. Schomburgk planted boundary posts at certain points of the country which he has surveyed, and that he was fully ware that the demarcation so made was merely a preliminary measure open to future discussion between the Governments of Great Britain and Venezuela. But it does not appear that Mr. Schomburgk left behind him any guard-house, sentry-box, or other building bearing the British flag.

With respect to the proposal of the Venezuelan Government that the Governments of Great Britain and Venezuela should conclude a Treaty as a preliminary step to the demarcation of the boundaries between British Guiana, and Venezuela, the Undersigned begs leave to observe that it appears to him that if it should be necessary to make a Treaty upon the subject of the boundaries in question, such a measure should follow, rather than precede, the operations of the survey. . . .


[21 October 1841]


Government House, Demerara, October 21, 1841.

I have the honour of forwarding to your Lordship a second Report from Mr. Schom-burgk completing the detail of his operations from the Barima to the Cuyuni at its union with the Essequibo. I have hitherto withheld this Report in expectation of being able to transmit at the same time a map of the country about which Mr. Schomburgk has been employed. Its progress has been so much interrupted by sickness of Mr. Schomburgk and his party that the map is yet unfinished.


Inclosure: Report of Robert H. Schomburgk, Her Majesty's Commissioner for surveying and marking out the boundaries of British Guiana, August 1841 [Document No. 609 above].

[20 October 1841]

Government House, Demerara, October 20, 1841.

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's despatch of date Ca-racas, the 31st August, 1841, delivered to me by Messrs. Rodriguez and Romero on the 19th in-stant, relative to the mission of survey of Mr. Schomburgk.

From this despatch it appears that the establishment of flags and landmarks with Royal initials at Barima Point and on the River Amacura has made it necessary to send Commissioners to this province to require explanation.

I am sorry that any misapprehension of the nature of Mr. Schomburgk's mission should have been felt by the Government of Venezuela.

Mr. Schomburgk's mission was one purely of survey, with instructions from the Secre-tary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Palmerston, 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, namely, Brazil, Venezuela, and the Netherlands, to make any objections which they might have to bring forward against these boundaries, and to state the reasons upon which such objections might be founded, and Her Britannic Majesty's Government would then give such answers thereto as might appear proper and just."

The mission then of Mr. Schomburgk being purely of survey, which survey has been completed from the mouth of the Barima to the Cuyuni where it empties itself into the Esse-quibo, it will rest with the government of Venezuela to present its objections to the limits laid down by Mr. Schomburgk to Her Britannic Majesty's Government, the Governor of British Guiana having no authority to enter into any discussion on the relative merits of the boundary, nor on the counter-claims of the Venezuelan Republic.

I trust this explanation will be satisfactory to your Excellency; neither the Government of Venezuela nor of Great Britain having hitherto occupied the Barima, and that point marking the boundary claimed by the British Government, it will be prudent not to attempt an occupation which would complicate negotiation, and might lead to unpleasant discussion.

Since the occupation of the Barima by the Dutch, from whom Great Britain derives her claim, the territory within that river has been inhabited by the aborigines alone; my instructions are to protect them from injury and oppression, and I am convinced the humane dispositions of the authorities of the Republic of Venezuela, will rejoice that protection is held out to them, which, it is well ascertained, they have sometimes required.

It is but just to Mr. Schomburgk to say the moment he approached the first Venezuelan post on the Orinoco he endeavoured to reach it in one of the frail canoes of the country. The cur-rent and weather nearly caused his destruction; after suffering great hardship and running great danger he was obliged to give up any attempt at communication with the Venezuelan post-holder, or he would have made an official report to that functionary of the object of his mission.

The Commissioners your Excellency has introduced to me will, I trust, receive such ex-planations from me, by way of answers to queries from them, as will satisfy you that whatever has been done by Mr. Schomburgk is only presumption of right, not assumption of territory, the boundaries of which must be settled by the respective Governments.

It is right to mention also that Mr. Scbomburgk denies having left a flag or flag-staff at the Barima.

The cause of this report is that one of the Indians attached to the Mission found a small torn Union flag in one of the boats, and on Mr. Schomburgk naming a particular spot laid down on his survey of the Amacura "Victoria Point," in honour of our Sovereign, the Indian tried to attach this tattered flag to the branch of a tree near the spot; if it was attached it was pulled down or blown down before the party left the river.

Mr. Schomburgk had proceeded to the Barima before any notification was received of the wish of the Venezuelan Government to appoint Commissioners to fix by Treaty the limits of the two countries; but as the object of the British Government was to obtain correct maps of the countries in question previous to any negotiation, it would not probably have arrested Mr. Schomburgk's proceedings.

I have had great pleasure in thinking that my first interview with Messrs.

Rodriguez and Romero has passed to our mutual satisfaction; every attention in my power shall be frankly offered to them. . .


[21 October 1841]

Government House, Demerara, October 21, 1841.


On the 19th instant Messrs. Rodriguez and Romero, Commissioners from the Venezue-lan Government, presented a letter to me from the Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs, of which I have the honour to transmit transcript and translation.

The object of the mission of Messrs. Rodriguez and Romero was to obtain explanation relative to Mr. Schomburgk's Mission to the Barima and to the Amacura River; they were also prepared to enter with me on negotiations relative to the boundaries.

I explained to them that I had no authority to enter into any negotiation on a subject which would have to be settled between the respective Governments. I at the same time stated I was ready to answer any questions relative to Mr. Schomburgk's mission which they would place before me in writing, which they agreed to, and were apparently satisfied with the reception they received at my hands.

As the official letter of the Venezuelan Secretary of State required an answer, I have written a reply, a copy of which I have the honour to transmit.

I respectfully trust that the explanations I have given will meet with your Lordship's approbation. . .



Inclosure 1: Señor Francisco Aranda, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, 31 August 1841 [Document No. 610 above].

Inclosure 2: Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, to Señor Francisco Aranda, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, 20 October 1841 [Document No. 622 above].

[23 October 1841]

(Translation: Original - French)

Georgetown, October 23, 1841.

The Undersigned, Commissioners of the Government of the Venezuela, had the honour on the 19th instant of placing in your Excellency's hands the special official note of the 31st Au-gust last, from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of that State, accrediting the Undersigned with your Excellency for objects mentioned in the note.

In the interview with your Excellency on that day the Commissioners explained to you that, both from report and from the communications of the British Consul at Caracas, the Gov-ernment learnt that the Chevalier Robert H. Schomburgk, Commissioner for the limits of British Guiana, had proceeded in May of the present year to his survey, said to be to mark the limits be-tween the territories of British Guiana and Venezuelan Guiana, and for this purpose Mr. Schom-burgk had fixed on Point Barima, and on the mouth of the Amacura, and, on other places certain flags and posts with Royal initials as belonging to Great Britain. It also appears that the said marks are fixed on the same extent and direction as are marked by a red line in the map of British Guiana, added to a work published by Mr. Schomburgk last year in London, entitled "A Descrip-tion of British Guiana, Geographical and Statistical, etc." The said Mr. Schomburgk, in the above-named work, has manifested his belief that the true limit separating the two Guianas is still undefined by distinguishing the assumed demarcation of Venezuela by a green line.

Such demarcation, not being preceded by a Treaty of Limits, must appear as an act of occupation or possession by Great Britain of a territory which Mr. Schomburgk himself, in the above-mentioned map, has acknowledged to be that which Venezuela believes her own.

The Undersigned then, in the name of their Government, stated in their interview with your Excellency their hope that satisfactory explanation will be given them of the object and aim of this demarcation, and they founded this hope particularly on the fact that Great Britain is of all other nations the one with which the Republic of Venezuela has had the most friendly and unalterable political and commercial relations for the space of thirty years during war and peace in the course of its national independence, whence have sprung up mutual interests and sympathies which, instead of changing, must be continually more extensive and intimate.

The Undersigned take the liberty of inquiring of Governor Light whether he would be disposed to make (although provisionally and to await the future approval of the respective Gov-ernments) a Convention of respective Limits, rejecting that laid down by Mr. Schomburgk.

The Government of Venezuela imagined this might be done, because your Excellency had given instructions to Mr. Schomburgk to act in the most conciliatory manner with the Vene-zuelan authorities whom he should meet in the course of the survey.

In the conference the Venezuelan Commissioners urged the said objects of their mis-sion, adding other reasons and observations which they believed necessary, and the Governor was good enough to satisfy them in what relates to these two points: -

1. That the Governor is not authorized to agree to any provisional arrangement respect-ing limits, nor to change the boundary, which Mr. Schomburgk has laid down, as Commissioner named by Her Britannic Majesty's Government for that purpose.

2. That as the true limits of the two Guianas are really undefined and in discussion, the mission of Mr. Schomburgk has not been, nor can have been, made with the intention of taking possession, but as a simple notation of the line which Great Britain claims; so that, whilst the limits are thus undefined, the Government of Venezuela may rely on there being no fort con-structed nor military force sent on the ground in question.

The Governor terminated the interview by informing the Commissioners that he was ready to confirm the above explanations required of him in writing.

For this, as well as that the Undersigned may be enabled to inform their Government of the aforesaid explanations, they requested Governor Light to honour them with his confirmation relative to the above-mentioned points.

To conclude, the Undersigned beg to acquaint your Excellency that they had an inter-view the evening before last with Mr. Schomburgk, agreeably to the recommendation given by your Excellency, and that Mr. Schomburgk stated that he considered what he had done was not any assumption of territory.

The Undersigned take this opportunity to offer their sentiments of high consideration . . .


[23 October 1841]


Government House, Demerara, October 23, 1841.

I have this morning received a communication from the two Commissioners from Venezuela alluded to in previous despatch. Copy of their communication, with translation, I have the honour to transmit.

The information they require is confined to two points.

A copy of my answer will accompany this dispatch, which I respectfully trust will be approved.



Inclosure 1: Señores J. Santiago Rodriguez and Juan J. Romero to Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, 23 October 1841 [Document No. 624 above].

Inclosure 2: Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, to Señores Santiago Rodri-guez and Juan J. Romero, 24 October 1841 [Document No. 626 below]

[24 October 1841]

Government House, Demerara, October 24, 1841.


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23rd instant.

As I have not received any authority to discuss with the Government of Venezuela the question of the boundary-lines between the Republic and the Colony of British Guiana, you will, I hope, receive my sincere assurances that it is solely on account of the absence of instructions, and not from any the slightest want of appreciation of the friendly motives which have prompted your honourable mission, that I respectfully decline to threat with you as Commissioners on be-half of the Republic of Venezuela.

Whenever it may suit your convenience to receive it, I shall have the honour of deliver-ing to you a despatch to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Venezuela in reply to that with which I have been favoured.

Meanwhile, I beg to refer you to the annexed copy of a despatch from the Right Hon-ourable the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Great Britain, which specifies the objects of Mr. Schomburgk's mission to the Barima and the Amacura Rivers, and to which objects I beg to assure you he has strictly confined himself.

You will perceive that it rests with the Government of Venezuela to state the reasons on which are founded any objections they may have to the claims of Great Britain to Her Majesty's Government, by whom such answers would then be given as might appear proper and just.

In conclusion, permit me to add that no one can estimate more highly than myself the honour and advantage of continuing uninterrupted the friendly intercourse which has so happily subsisted between the Government I have the honour of serving and the Republic of Venezuela, and I cannot doubt that an amicable and mutually satisfactory decision will be made on any ob-jections addressed to Her Britannic Majesty's Government by the Republic of Venezuela.

I have, etc.


[26 October 1841]

(Translation: Original - French)

Georgetown, Demerara, October 26, 1841.


We have had the honour of receiving your Excellency's reply of date the day before yesterday to our former note, in which your Excellency states that you have no instructions for entering into a Treaty of Limits between your Colony and Venezuelan Guiana; and respecting the object and aim of the demarcation laid down by Mr. Schomburgk. Your Excellency refers to the contents of the copy you have sent of a despatch from the Office of the Foreign Department of Her Britannic Majesty's Government, dated the 18th March last. Of this we shall inform our Government and at the came time shall deliver the despatch your Excellency says you have pre-pared as answer to that delivered to you.

Our Government shall also be informed of your Excellency's manifestations to us in the interview of the 19th instant, which we repeated in our above-mentioned note, whose tenour your Excellency has not denied.

Although Great Britain has not thought of taking possession of the limits laid down by Mr. Schomburgk, and that generally the boundaries between, the two Guianas remain undefined, we take leave to say, according to our instructions, that the said demarcation should neither exist nor produce any effect, having been made within a part of the territory of the Venezuelan Republic, which she had peaceably possessed, and which, besides, of right belongs to her.

And to this plain and extended right to this territory must be added the necessary exclusive and constant use which Venezuela has always particularly enjoyed of the great mouth of the Orinoco called "Boca de Navio", including the two Rivers Amacura and Barima, which empty themselves into the said great mouth.

All nations with whom we trade will hear witness to the ancient establishment and daily service of our "pilot boats" between the Island Pagayos, in the River Orinoco, and Barirna Point, which is the main point of entrance and exit by the great mouth of the Orinoco; which is for Venezuela, by right and necessity, what the mouths of the Thames and the Seine are to their re-spective nations.

And besides the pilotage service, Venezuela has exercised its right of police and pre-vention of smuggling over all the southern bank of "La Boca de Navios", and at both sides, and at both mouths, of its two tributaries, the Barima and Amacura. Nor can Venezuela ever deprive herself of this use and right without considering it an offence, which she can never fear from her great and just friend Great Britain.

The Government of Venezuela will nevertheless manifest directly to Her Britannic Majesty's Government those reasons, and others applicable to the rest of its territory, compre-hended in the demarcation laid down. They are reasons of fact and right, derived from our ances-tors, the first discoverers and colonizers of these lands, the truth of which is verified by history, by public Treaties, and by geographers most authentic on this point, as being most ancient.

We consider our mission terminated, having in this, and in our note of the 23rd instant, given those opinions therein contained, that they may always carry weight.

In the meantime, we respond. with the same cordial sentiments to the generous wishes your Excellency has expressed to us, that the friendship which has so extensively and happily subsisted between the Government from which we have received our honourable mission, and that of Great Britain may continue unchanged, and to this we must add our frank expression of indelible grateful sense of the attention we have received from your Excellency. . .


[1 November 1841]

Government House, Demerara, November 1, 1841.

My Lord,

I have the honour to forward to your Lordship copy of a second letter addressed to me by the Venezuelan Commissioners, Messrs. Rodriguez and Romero, whose previous letter has been forwarded, with my answer, by the last packet; to this second letter I have merely replied in acknowledgment, and to mention that I should forward it to your Lordship.

A translation is annexed. . .



Inclosure: Señores Santiago Rodriguez and Juan J. Romero to Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, 26 October 1841, [Document No. 627 above].

[9 November 1841]

Downing Street, November 9, 1841.

My Lord,

With reference to your Lordship's letter of the 6th ultimo, inclosing copies of two des-patches from Her Majesty's Acting Consul at Caracas, with copies of a correspondence between that functionary and the Governor of British Guiana on the subject of Mr. Schomburgk's pro-ceedings in defining the boundaries of that Settlement, I am directed by Lord Stanley to transmit to you, for the information of the Earl of Aberdeen, the copy of a despatch, and its enclosures, from the Governor of British Guiana on the same subject, containing with other documents, a communication from Mr. Schomburgk in answer to Mr. O'Leary's observations on his proceed-ings. . .


Inclosure 1: Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, to Lord Russell, British Secretary of State for the Colonies, 19 September 1841 [Document No. 617 above]

Inclosure 2: Mr. Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, to Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, 18 August 1841 [Document No. 606 above]

Inclosure 3: Mr. Robert Schomburgk to Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, 15 September 1841 [Document No. 616 above].

Inclosure 4: Governor of British Guiana, Henry Light, to Mr. Daniel O'Leary, British Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas, 19 September 1841 [Document 618 above]

[18 November 1841]

(Translation: Original - Spanish)

22, Wimpole Street, London, November 18, 1841.

The Undersigned Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Venezuela has the honour to acknowledge having received the note of the 21st of last October, in which the Right Honour-able Lord Aberdeen, Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs says, in reference to the Report of Mr. R. H. Schomburgk respecting his topographical labours in Guiana, that that Commissioner had fixed boundary marks in the country surveyed by him, and that his Lordship was fully convinced that the demarcation thus made was merely a preliminary measure subject to future discussion between Great Britain and Venezuela.

The Undersigned has subsequently been directed to assure Her Majesty's Government that Commissioner Schomburgk, overstepping, no doubt, the terms of his authorization, has at a point of the mouth of the Orinoco fixed several posts with Her Majesty's initials - has hoisted the British flag in that locality, solemnly attended by an armed force - and has proceeded to other acts of dominion and empire.

Succeeding to the titles, never disputed by any nation, which Spain possessed to the property of the province of Guiana - quietly possessing not only the Orinoco but all the territory contiguous to that river to a considerable distance - and finally, trusting to the honour of neighbouring nations, the Government of Venezuela imagined all along that it had not to fear any invasion or any injury, at least on the part of a friend such as England, with whom it is connected by the closest relations.

Accordingly, when, on the 12th January last, the British Consul ad interim at Caracas, wrote to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, informing him, by order of Viscount Palm-erston, that Her Majesty's Government had charged the above Mr. Schomburgk to mark out and designate the boundary-lines between English Guiana and Venezuela, the Executive proposed, in reply, the conclusion of a Boundary Treaty by competently authorized Plenipotentiaries as a step preparatory to the demarcation and fixation of the boundaries, reasonably judging that, as this was so essential an operation, it ought to be carried out in accordance with what would be stipu-lated. But this proposal was not even so much as replied to, and the Commissioner went on as above related.

If the sole fact of fixing marks of boundaries in the territory of the Republic be an open violation of its rights, the Undersigned leaves it to the consideration, penetration, and delicacy of Her Majesty's Government to estimate the impression which must have been produced in Vene-zuela by the knowledge that those marks were accompanied with all the signs of actual posses-sion. Indeed the disgust occasioned by this undeserved offence has been great and profound; it may suffice to say that the Executive has been blamed as negligent in watching over the dignity and property of the Republic, solely because during this whole transaction it has always mani-fested an unlimited confidence in Her Majesty's Government.

Fortunately, this confidence, so hazardous to the people in Venezuela, has hitherto been justified, and the Undersigned is happy in declaring that in the sentiments of the Earl of Aber-deen he has met with the noble frankness and honour befitting his high public functions, and dis-played in the conferences which he has had with his Lordship on this subject. And he therefore makes no doubt he shall obtain from Her Majesty's Government reparation for the insult inflicted on the dignity of the Republic by an order to remove the marks which have affected the public tranquility in such an unpleasant manner. The Government of Venezuela might in right and justice have done so itself, without thereby offering any offence to the British, and the having refrained from it, out of an excess of courtesy towards the name of Her Majesty the Queen, ought to raise its justice in the eyes of Her Majesty's Ministers.

Besides the above, there are in the ad interim Consul's letter from Caracas the following words: "The Government of English Guiana has been empowered to resist any aggression on the territories adjacent the frontier hitherto occupied by independent tribes," words which need ex-planation, inasmuch as the Government of the Undersigned has not been able to persuade itself that Her Majesty's Government had been desirous to establish a principle of protection with re-gard to the natives located beyond the English frontier, and who, by this very fact, occupy the territory of Venezuela, or that it is wished to recognize in the savage tribes the personality attrib-uted by the law of nations only to nations constituted in political society, or, finally, that it is at-tempted by this means to defraud Venezuela of the rights which in America have always been recognized in its discoverers. . .

(Signed) A. FORTIQUE

[18 November 1841]

(Translation: Original - Spanish)

22, Wimpole Street, London, November 18, 1841.

The Undersigned, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Venezuela, has the hon-our to inform the Right Honourable Earl of Aberdeen, Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secre-tary of State for Foreign Affairs, that he has been authorized by, and has received sufficient in-structions from, his Government to proceed to the conclusion of the Treaty for settling the boundary-lines between the Venezuelan possessions and the English ones of Guiana, and that he is prepared to commence the negotiation the moment that his Lordship may acquaint him that Her Majesty's Government is also ready for it.

The Undersigned deems it his duty to call his Lordship's attention to the necessity of an agreement which may be said to have been come to at the instance of the British Ministry, and that it will be most useful for drawing closer the relations of good intelligence and amity subsist-ing between the two nations. . .

(Signed) A. FORTIQUE

[26 November 1841]

Foreign Office, November 26, 1841.

The Undersigned, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of two notes addressed to him on the 18th instant by M. Fortique requests that Her Majesty's Government will give orders for the removal of the posts which have been placed at the mouth of the River Orinoco by Mr. Schomburgk, the British Commissioner for surveying the limits of British Guiana, and in the other M. Fortique states that he has received instructions from his Government for negotiating a Treaty with Her Majesty's Government for the settlement of the boundaries between the British and Venezuelan posses-sions in Guiana.

The Undersigned has the honour to inform M. Fortique that he has referred these notes to the consideration of the proper Department of Her Majesty's Government.


[30 November 1841]

We must premise, before we enter into any actual discussion which point ought to form the western limit of the present Colony of British Guiana, that this territory, which comprises the former colonies of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, was an appurtenance of the States-General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Having been previously conquered by the British in 1781, under Sir George Rodney, and in 1796, under General White, it was restored at the peace of Amiens, in 1802, to their original possessors, the Dutch, who formed the Batavian Republic. On the recommencement of hostilities, in 1803, Demerara and Essequibo surrendered on the 19th September, and Berbice on the 26th September, to the British forces, under General Greenfield and Commodore Sir Samuel Hood; since which time it remained in British possession, and was ultimately ceded to Great Britain by an additional Article to a Convention between that Power and the United Netherlands, signed at London upon the 13th August, 1814. Great Britain, from the moment these colonies were ceded to her, had therefore the same claim to the terminus of the boundary of that part of the American Continent as when it had been under the Dominion of the House of Orange, who were the acknowledged sovereigns for more than two centuries.

So early as 1580 the Dutch navigated the Orinoco, and settlements were attempted on such parts as were not occupied by the Spaniards;[1] and the States-General privileged, in 1581, certain individuals to trade to these settlements exclusively.[2]

It is said that at the close of that century a Chamber of Merchants existed at Middel-burg, trading to the River Barima, which river enters the Orinoco at the most eastern point of its great mouth, or Boca de Navios.

In 1621 the States-General granted to some Dutch merchants, who formed a Corpora-tion under the name of the West Indische Maasschappij, or West India Company, an exclusive right to all the African and American commerce, and the right of governing any new colonies which it might acquire, retaining to themselves the power of nominating the Company's Gover-nor-General abroad.

This grant comprised the coast from the Orinoco to the eastward, and Hartsinck, the au-thentic historian of Guiana or the "Wild Coast," as it then was called, mentions in several places that the limits of the West India Company extended to the mouth of the Orinoco.[3]

In 1669, the Dutch West India Company granted to Count Frederick Casimir, of Hanau, a piece of land which he might select from their possessions at the wild coast of America for the purpose of settling a German colony, in which document the Orinoco is again alluded to as the western boundary of their possessions.

Previously, in 1648, on the 13th January, Philip IV, King of Spain, had recognised, by the Treaty of Munster, the Netherlands as independent States, and by an additional Article, on the 4th February, 1648, confirmed their possessions in foreign parts.

This Treaty included especially the colonies of the Dutch West India Company, and comprised consequently Guiana to the month of the Orinoco.

A confirmation of which offers the document between the Company and the Count of Hanau, where that river is still called their boundary, and which attests that it was recognised as such by Spain at the Treaty of Munster.

In 1674, the West India Company, which was incorporated in 1621, was dissolved, and the "Nieuwe West Indische Compagnie" was chartered by the States-General, the exclusive commerce of which was limited to a certain part of Africa, the Island of Curacoa, and the Colo-nies of Essequibo and Bouwerona (Pomeroon), the latter of which, as already observed, extended to the mouth of the Orinoco. The rest of the trade monopolised by the Company was thrown open to the subjects of the States-General.

It has been my aim, with the limited resources which I have at my command, to prove that the Orinoco was, at the 17th century, politically recognised as the boundary of the Dutch West India Company.

All the claims which during the last century and since have been set up, rest upon the fanaticism of the missionaries settled at the Orinoco and the Caroni, who with fear saw the ex-tension of the Protestant faith which emanated from the Dutch Colonies, and threatened to lose the religious hold which these missionaries possessed over the Indians. We find, therefore, that Fathers Gumilla and Caulin, both of them historians of the River Orinoco, proclaim first against the advancement of the Dutch heretics and usurpation of the territory.

But it remains now to be proved whether the Dutch were ever in actual possession of that part which is now in dispute; and here I refer to Hartsinck, who decidedly declared that the Dutch had a post at the mouth of the River Barima: "The first rivers which, on coming from the River Orinoco, we meet in Netherlands Guiana, are the Creeks, or River of Barima, about a mile wide, where we formerly had a post; three miles further, the Amachera, of the same width, which, like the former has its outlet in the River Orinoco."[4]

The want of fresh water, and the great distance from their principal settlements, no doubt induced the Commandant of the Pomeroon to withdraw that post. It is affirmed that it was in existence when the English, under Major John Scott, destroyed the fort New Zealand and plundered New Middelburg,[5] and there are still documents of the Dutch West India Company in existence, by which the directors desired the Commandant of Pomeroon to keep the fortified post of the Barima in repair. Colonel Moody (Royal Engineers) discovered the remains of this post in 1807, when he was employed as an engineer officer in Demerara, and when it was in con-templation to send a small force against Angostura to destroy the privateers which infested the coast of Dutch Guiana during the period it was occupied by the British; and when the Boundary Commission, at the commencement of this year, encamped at the site of the old Dutch post, the marks of the former trenches and cultivation were still observable.

It was, however, not only the Dutch, as an interested party, who pretended the Barima to be their western boundary. If we consult geographical works of the last century, we find that their claim was maintained by geographers uninterested in the question.

Bolt, in his "History of South America," published in the middle of the last century, states (p. 500) "that Dutch Guiana extends along the coast, from the mouth of the River Orinoco, in 9º of north latitude, to the River Marawini, in 6º 20' north Latitude."

I have consulted two charts of the coast of Guiana which were published in England during the last century, and which deserve confidence, as Great Britain, chiefly during the publi-cation of the first chart, was not an interested party.

I allude firstly to a chart of "The Coast of Guayana, from the Orinoco to the River of Amazons. London: Published in 1783 by W. Faden, Geographer to the King," in which the River Barima is stated as the western boundary of the Dutch according to their claim.

The second is a chart of "Guayana from the West Indian Pilot, by Thomas Jefferys, Ge-ographer to the King, published London, 1798," in which the Barima River is stated to "divide the Dutch and Spanish lands." Although under British protection at that period, these colonies were restored to the Batavian Republic in 1802.

France looked always with the most jealous eye upon the extent of the Dutch colonial possessions and their commerce on the South American continent, nor was this jealousy dimin-ished when the Dutch colonies, in 1796, were put under British protection; and as it was asserted that one of the reasons why Napoleon was not satisfied with the Treaty of Badajos consisted in the boundary of Cayenne not having been extended to the month of the Amazon, I have no doubt that France would prevent the extension of the British Colony of Guiana to the mouth of the Barima - which, with the highly romantic feelings of the descendants of the Spaniards, the present Republic of Venezuela call the Dardanelles of this territory - if it could be done without direct interference.

French geographers, therefore, curtail the extent of the former claim of the United Prov-inces of the Netherlands, and without deteriorating in the slightest degree the excellency in every other respect of their work, I must be still permitted to doubt their impartiality, the more since all modern geographical works respecting Equinoctial France, or Cayenne and the adjacent territo-ries, rest mostly upon Biet,[6] Barrere,[7] and Bellin,[8] the two latter of whom were by no means friendly inclined to their Dutch neighbours; indeed, Bellin wrote only from the documents of the "Depot des Cartes et Plans de la Marine."

Father Gumilla, a worthy missionary, who, however, was endowed with all the bigotry of his age, was the first to raise the cry against the advancement of the Lutheran heretics at the adjacent colony of Dutch Guiana. He published his works on the Orinoco in 1745.[9] Father Caulin followed him, and his ire is frequently raised against the Dutch heretics, who infested the Cuyuni, and traded with the Indians adjacent to the mission of the Capuchins, and instructed the fugitive Christians of the mission silently in their heresy.

The influence which the missionaries possessed over the temporal governors of Spanish Guayana caused the political assertions of claims to a territory which the Spaniards had never possessed, and which at the time the divisional limits were drawn, in which the reverend com-munities of Observants, Jesuits, and Capuchins were to exercise respectively their apostolic func-tions, had been consigned, pro forma, to the Capuchins.

We come now to a more recent period, when the former subjects of the Spanish Crown in that part of South America, dissatisfied with the rule of the Mother Country, declared them-selves independent.

At the Congress of Angostura in 1811 the boundaries of the New Republic were alluded to, and without any further application to the other Governments who were interested in that question, they were fixed upon as it appeared most advantageous to the Congress of the young Republic.

Great Britain was at that time in occupation of the Dutch Colony of Guiana, which was only ceded to her at a later period.

During the war which was then raging on the European Continent, Spain had taken an active part against Great Britain, and a kind of depredatory war was carried on by the Spanish colonists against the Dutch estates, which extended along the Arabian coast between the Esse-quibo and the Pomeroon.

The chief rendezvous of the Spanish launches and piratical vessels was then the River Barima, from which they made their descent upon the sugar estates of the Dutch colonists, de-stroying the buildings, and carrying away the slaves and the produce of the estates.

This reached ultimately such a height that the British Colonial Government had under contemplation of sending an expedition against Angostura, and it was at that period, as already observed, that the present Colonel Moody was sent as engineer to Point Barima to report upon its practicability of being fortified.

The same locality served, during the American War, their privateers as a rendezvous, and will for ever be used for similar purposes, as long as the commanding Point Barima is not fortified and garrisoned by Great Britain.

The importance of the Colony of British Guiana after its cession in perpetuity to Great Britain made the necessity apparent that its limits should be established to prevent disputes at a period when a small extent of land would be manifold increased in the value it bears now, and when the arrangements of a boundary question would meet various difficulties.

Great Britain was further influenced by the disinterested exertions in behalf of the op-pressed aboriginal tribes, who are the last remnants of the once thickly peopled districts now in-habited by Europeans and their descendants.

Frequent complaints had been laid before the Colonial Government of British Guiana of atrocious cruelties committed by the Brazilians on the Indian tribes at the south-western bounda-ries, and by the Venezuelans on the western boundaries of British Guiana.

These tribes considered themselves under British protection, and upon British territory, and upon the information that a party had been kidnapped by the Brazilians and carried into slav-ery, the question was brought before Parliament on the motion of Mr. Emerson Tennent, on the 11th May, 1840.

It was consequently thought that if the limits of British Guiana were properly deter-mined and recognised, that such atrocities could not be committed upon the Indian tribes who resided within these limits, as it would be a direct aggression upon the British territory.

Actuated by these views, Her Majesty's Government constituted an expedition to sur-vey, under Her Majesty's Commission, the boundaries of British Guiana, based upon the right of primary possession, either of the English or their predecessors the Dutch, but recommended as a general principle that whenever natural boundaries, as rivers or chains of mountains, etc., could be fixed upon, to use them in preference of astronomical divisions.

Copies of the maps of such a survey would then be delivered to the Governments inter-ested in the fixation of these limits, and if they considered themselves aggrieved, they were to state their reason to the British Government, who promised maturely to consider the points in dispute, and to settle them in the most amicable way.

The British Ministers accredited at The Hague and the Venezuelan and Brazilian Gov-ernments were at the same time informed of the steps which Her Majesty's Government had taken, and desired to make the necessary communication to these Governments.

The Boundary Expedition arrived in Demerara in 1841, and commenced their labours in April of the same year. Upon the strength of the historical data which had been procured, that the mouth of the Orinoco had been always considered to form the western boundary of the for-mer Dutch possessions, and that Point Barima, had been fortified by that nation.

The right of Her Britannic Majesty to its possession was asserted by the British Com-missioner on the 13th May, 1841, and a boundary pole was planted to attest that claim.

The River Amacura, about four miles further west, was claimed by the Commissioner to form the provisional boundary, as it is no doubt the most natural limit west of the former pos-sessions of the Dutch.

These proceedings raised a good deal of unnecessary alarm at Angostura, the chief town of the Orinoco, and at Caracas, the seat of Government of the Republic of Venezuela.

The former Spanish claims, when these parts belonged still to the Capitania of Caracas, were renewed - claims which for their absurdity, very likely, would have been forgotten had they not been renewed in an "Atlas de la Republica de Venezuela, by Colonel Codazzi, Caracas, 1840," in which the River Moroco is asserted to form the eastern boundary of Venezuela.

I have too little local knowledge of the territory which these maps represent, to judge generally; but I can positively assert that the "Boca del Orinoco de Navios" which comprises Point Barima, and in which disembogues the river of the same name, and the River Amacura is not correct.

We were justified to apprehend that where there are small faults there may be larger. I would note that the capital of British Guiana, which since 1812 is called Georgetown, and not Stabroek, is placed in Colonel Codazzi's map (Carta del Canton de Upata) on the left bank of the River Demerara, while it ought to have been known to a Geographer that it is situated on the right bank.

The most startling information, however, contains (Colonel Codazzi's "Resumen de la Geografica de Venezuela." Paris, 1841), in which he states that "the eastern boundary of the re-public extends from the mouth of the Rupunni [sic], near the vicinity of the Macarapen Moun-tains, along the left bank of the Essequibo to the confluence of the Cuyuni, which river the line of limit ascends until it meets the mouth of the River Tupuru; from thence it continues the Tu-puru upwards to the sources of the Moroco, terminating ultimately at the Atlantic Ocean near Cape Nassau."

This boundary, formed according to Venezuelan dictation, includes Cartabo Point, and the island Kyk-over-all, where, as it is conversant to every one acquainted with the early history of these Colonies, the Dutch had their first settlements at the Mazaruni.

It includes old estates, and a recent missionary institution, Bartika Grove, at the left bank of the Essequibo, and to crown the whole of their pretended claim, they call the west coast and Arabian or Arabisi coast of the Essequibo "usurped."

What with the claims of the Brazilians on the south-western territory, and the Venezue-lans on the west, it appears the Governments of the adjacent territories intend to reduce British Guiana to the tenth part of its rightful possessions.

The territory which the Venezuelan Government disputes amounts only, north of the River Cuyuni, to 7,000 square miles, and while it is incontrovertibly proved that the States-General, or rather their subjects, the Dutch West India Company, had actual possession of Point Barima, no fact can be adduced that either the Spanish or the present Venezuelan Governments were ever in possession of the smallest extent of ground east of Point Barima.

It is true the Spaniards attempted once or twice to attack the Dutch at their settlements, but they were always repulsed, even as late as 1797, when their attack upon Fort New Zealand was not only warmly received by the English and Dutch garrison, but they were totally defeated, many killed or driven into the river, and only a few escaped in their boats.

Great Britain has not undertaken the question of determinating the boundaries of British Guiana upon the principles of aggrandizement. She does not wish more than belongs to her by justness, but with the example of the United States before her, where, if the question of the Canadian limits had been settled at the close of the last century, it would have met no difficulties, she is naturally anxious to settle the boundaries of a colony of such vast importance as Guiana promises to be (as well out of political as philanthropical motives), at a period when there are comparatively few difficulties. . .


Demerara, November 30, 1841.

1. "I. de Laat Beschryvingen van West Indian," p. 591.
2. Reso. Holl. 10 en 14 Junij, 7 en 22 Julij, 1581.
3. Hartsinck, "Beschryving van Guiana," vol.1, pp. 211, 217, 257.
4. Ibid. p. 257.
5. Compare Hartsinck, vol. 1, p. 223; Humboldt's "Personal Narrative", vol. vi., p. 163; and Bo-lingbroke's "Voyage to Demerara", p. 202.
6. "Voyage de la France Equinoxiale enterpris par les Francois en 1652". Paris, 1664.
7. "Nouvelle de la France Equinoxiale". Bellin. Paris. 1743.
8. "Description Geographique de la Guiane". Paris, 1763.
9. "El Orinoco Illustrado y Diffendido". Por el Padre Joseph Gumilla, de la Compañia de Jesus de Madrid.

[8 December 1841]

(Translation: Original - Spanish)

22, Wimpole Street, London, December 8, 1841.

The Undersigned, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Venezuela, has the hon-our to address himself once more to the Right Honourable Earl of Aberdeen, Her Britannic Maj-esty's Minister for Foreign Affairs, to follow up the subject discussed in his note of the 18th ul-timo.

The Undersigned is aware that the latter was sent by his Lordship to the Colonial De-partment, and that the pressure business occupying the Ministers of Her Majesty would prevent its being answered in due time; two important motives, however, compel him again to trespass upon them, notwithstanding these considerations.

The first is a recent order from the Government of the Undersigned, urging him to press not only for the conclusion of the Treaty which is to settle the boundary-line between Venezue-lan and English Guiana, but more particularly for the removal of the boundary posts planted, contrary to every law, at Barima and other localities of the Venezuelan territory by the surveyor, R. A. Schomburgk. The Undersigned, in his note of the 18th ultimo just mentioned already, said something to his Lordship about the unpleasant feeling prevailing among the people of Venezuela on this account, and he now adds that this feeling, so far from diminishing, is, as may be easily supposed, on the increase in proportion as the time passes without reparation of the injury.

The second is the conduct observed by the Governor of English Guiana in his confer-ences with the Commissioners whom the Government of Venezuela accredited to him with the view of asking for explanations of these demarcations, as he manifested to them "that inasmuch as the real boundaries between the two Guianas are undefined and questionable, the operation of Mr. Schomburgk neither has nor could have been undertaken for the purpose of taking posses-sion, but only in the way of simply laying down the boundary-line supposed or presumed on the part of British Guiana, and that, therefore, while the confines remain undetermined, the Govern-ment of Venezuela ought to rest assured that no fort would be ordered to be built on the territory in question, nor that any soldiers or force whatever would be sent thither." But at the same time that he made this explicit declaration of England having the right to keep up the demarcation made by Schomburgk, the Governor also intimated that he did not deem himself authorized to alter it, insomuch that, by a singular contradiction, the authorities of British Guiana pretend to sustain de facto an act which they themselves have declared invalid in law; and although, in order to gloss it over, the Governor and Schomburgk himself added that such marks were equivalent to their having been made with ink on a map, their solicitude in not removing them creates suspicions little calculated to calm the feeling of the nation or to inspire the Government of the Undersigned with the confidence so necessary with regard to an arrangement which, as that con-cerning boundaries, requires the most friendly disposition between neighbouring nations.

The inhabitants of Venezuela, their Government, and the Undersigned know, however, how to distinguish between the generally timid and vacillating proceedings of subaltern authori-ties and the upright and pure intentions of Her Majesty's Government, and are very far from thinking that, with the view of upholding the conduct of Commissioner Schomburgk, it would approve in regard to Venezuela what it has disapproved of in the United States. The justice which is on the part of Venezuela, the assurances given by his Lordship to the Undersigned, that Her Majesty's Government lays no stress on the boundary posts in question, the declarations of the Governor of Demerara and of Mr. Schomburgk on this point, the prejudices which, in com-mon with the national interests, are sustained by many British subjects settled in Venezuela, through the state of alarm into which the nation is thrown, and, finally, the confidence necessar-ily inspired by the principles of integrity and rectitude of a stronger and powerful Government such as that of Great Britain, are considerations which raise in the Undersigned the strongest hopes that all boundary posts planted by Mr. Commissioner Schomburgk will be taken away as speedily as may be, and that steps will be without delay taken for coming to a definitive ar-rangement concerning the boundary-lines between Venezuela and British Guiana. . . .

(Signed) A. FORTIQUE

[11 December 1841]

Foreign Office, December 11, 1841

The Undersigned, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, has the honour to reply to the notes addressed to him on the 18th ultimo and the 8th instant by M. Fortique, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Venezuela, requiring Her Majesty's Gov-ernment to order the removal of the posts fixed by Mr. Schomburgk near the mouth of the River Orinoco, and repeating that M. Fortique is empowered to make a Treaty with Great Britain for the settlement of the boundary between the British and Venezuelan possessions in Guiana.

The Undersigned begs leave to refer to his note of the 21st October last, in which he explained to M. Fortique that the proceeding of Mr. Schomburgk in planting boundary posts at certain points of the country which he has surveyed was merely a preliminary measure open to future discussion between the two Governments, and that it would be premature to make a Boundary Treaty before the survey shall be completed.

The Undersigned has only further to state that much unnecessary inconvenience would result from the removal of the posts fixed by Mr. Schomburgk, as they will afford the only tangi-ble means by which Her Majesty's Government can be prepared to discuss the question of the boundaries with the Government of Venezuela. Those posts were erected for that express pur-pose, and not, as the Venezuelan Government appear to apprehend, as indications of dominion and empire on the part of Great Britain.

And the Undersigned is glad to learn from M. Fortique's note of the 8th instant that the two Venezuelan gentlemen who have been sent by their Government to British Guiana have had the means of ascertaining from the Governor of the Colony that the British authorities have not occupied Point Barima.


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