Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Amazon is not an indivisible unit. It is a vast and varied territory, broken up by rivers and ranges of mountains; and it is not possible suc

cessfully to contend that the occupation of Santo 5 Thomé was equivalent to the taking possession of the whole.

Such a claim would lead to consequences absolutely preposterous. If it could be supported

Venezuela would now be entitled to the whole 10 territory as far as the Amazon.

It is completely rebutted by the action of the Representatives and Governments of Spain and the United Netherlands, ever since the beginning

of the seventeenth century; and the whole history 15 of the Dutch in America is conclusive against it.

The Dutch were recognized as being rightfully in South America. The extension of the Dutch possessions formed the subject of many communi

cations from Spanish Governors, Commandants, 20 and officials to the Home Government, and it was

continued as of right by successive Dutch officers without hindrance or objection by Spain.

It was, in fact, open to the Dutch to extend their settlements in South America. They stood 25 in this respect in the same position as the Spaniards.

The rights and possessions of Spain and the United Netherlands, and Venezuela and Great

Britain as their successors, are to be judged by 30 the same standard, viz., the extent of territories

settled by or brought under the control of each.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER II.

SCHEME OF ARGUMENT.

It is proposed in the first place, in Chapter III, to refer to the action of Spain and Venezuela, and in Chapters IV and V to deal with the historical 5 evidence as to the Dutch and British title to the territory in dispute. Chapter VI will deal with the extent of present occupation by Great Britain and Venezuela respectively.

The result of this examination of the evidence 10 will be to establish:

(a.) That Venezuela can show no title to any part of the territory to the east of the Schomburgk line.

(6.) That to the west of the Schomburgk line 15 there is a great extent of territory to which Venezuela can show no title.

(c.) That Great Britain has established her title to the whole of the territory east of the Schomburgk line and to a considerable extent of 20 territory to the west of that line.

(d.) That the existing occupation by Great Britain is only the natural sequel to a long course of acts of dominion and control by the Dutch and British.

25 In the concluding Chapter of this Argument the contention of Great Britain will be formulated as to the delimitation of the boundary which Her Majesty's Government claim to be right and fair, having regard both to the facts 30 established by the evidence and embodied in the above propositions and to the geographical features of the country under consideration.

In presenting their case before the Arbitrators Her Majesty's Government will rely on all the 35 evidence delivered with the British Case and Counter-Case.

Her Majesty's Government have not in this Argument called attention to the errors of fact

which occur in the Venezuelan Case and Counter-Case. It will be more convenient to postpone doing so until the oral discussion before

the Arbitral Tribunal, when the documentary 5 statements on both sides will be complete and

can be considered as a whole.

CHAPTER III.

HISTORY OF SPANISH AND VENEZUELAN

ACTION.

[ocr errors]

The territory in dispute embraces the whole of that part of Guiana which lies between the 5 Schomburgk line and the Essequibo and a considerable tract, to the westward of that line, which is indicated by purple colour on the map at p. 4 of the British Atlas.

It is maintained on behalf of Great Britain 10 that the documents and evidence disclosed in the Appendices to the British and Venezuelan Cases and Counter-Cases shoir conclusively that Spain never occupied, possessed, or controlled any part of this territory, nor did Venezuela, with the 15 exception that in very recent times during the present century there has been some slight occupation of a part of the territory to the west of the Schomburgk line, as, for instance, by the Venezuelan Police Stations on the River Uruan 20 and the Amakuru.

The examination of this part of the Case at length would involve reference to a great number of documents from which citations have already been made in the British Cage and Counter- 25 Case.

It is proposed as far as possible to avoid repetition and to refer where necessary to the paragraphs of the Case and Counter-Case respectively; but it will facilitate the comprehension of this 30 argument if reference is again made to some of the principal documents in

documents in their order of date.

Broadly stated, the conclusion established by the facts is that Spanish occupation and control 35 were confined to the Settlement of Santo Thomé at its different sites to the River Orinoco above Santo Thomé, and, subsequent to the beginning of the eighteenth century, to the territory occupied or controlled by the Capuchin Mis- 40 sious in so far as these are to be considered Spanish settlements. It will be found that the main object of all the various Decrees of the Spanish Government was to protect the (1878)

D

Orinoco against the Dutch and Caribs, and to guard the approach to the Provinces of New Granada, Cumaná, Barcelona, and Venezuela,

by means of a fort on the river. The very 5 existence of the Settlement of Santo Thomé

itself at times depended upon the Dutch Colony of Essequibo, as was noted in a letter by the West India Company to the Commandeur of

Essequibo and in Spanish documents of about 10 1750, referring to the administration of Governor

Tavares in Guayana.

British Case App.
II, p. 20.

British Counter-
Case App., p. 196.

pp. 42, 43.

p. 14.

It is suggested in the Venezuelan Case and Venezuelan Case, Counter-Case that the Spaniards at some time at

Venezuelan the end of the sixteenth century and early in Counter-Case, 15 the seventeenth century settled in the River Esse

quibo. For the reasons among others referred to in p. 31 of the British Counter-Case, which are strengthened by further examination of the docu

ments, it is believed that there is no foundation 20 for any such suggestion; the utmost that the

Spaniards ever did was to make some voyages to the river. Any alleged settlement there of the Spaniards at that date is, however, quite im

material. From the year 1623 at least the Dutch 25 settled and occupied the Essequibo River, and

held it continuously without interruption. If it be supposed that the Spaniards were there previously, any rights which Spain had acquired

accrued to the Dutch by virtue of their conquest 30 of the river, and were lost to Spain either by abandonment or by defeat. It is clear that at the beginning of the seven

British Case, teenth century Sante Thomé was the only Spanish p. 21.

settlement in the whole of Guiana. 35 The Report of Don Antonio de Berrio to the

British Case App.,

I, p. 5. King of Spain in the year 1593 states that from the mouth of the River Amazon to that of the Orinoco there was not a spot settled by Spaniards. The letter of Domingo de Vera in 1597 speaks British Case App.,

I, p. 16. 40 of Santo Thomé as the town established at the

entrance of Guayana, and the letter of Don Diego
Suarez de Amaya shows that in 1602 Santo Venezuelan

Counter-Case Thomé was the only city in the province. This

App., III, p. 1. fact is confirmed by Beltranilla's letter to the British Counter

Case App., p. 8. 45 King of Spain in 1609, which speaks of there

being two towns, one in Trinidad, and the other, which is called Santo Thomé, in the province of Guayana. The petition for assistance by the city of Santo British Case App.,

I, pp. 19–53. 50 Thomé in the year 1621 states that the city had

« ZurückWeiter »