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action, new watercourses, islands in the rivers and bars at the mouth, and rapids at intervals hindering navigation; with these huge rivers are a continuous chain of creeks and channels which can be used for canoes and small boats.
The Dutch were early pre-eminent in trade and settlement, carrying on a steady smuggling trade in the Spanish settlements as well as a great trade inland with the Indians. A settlement was made by them on the Essequibo river about 1616, a charter being granted to the Dutch West India Company in 1621. From 1625 onwards the Dutch had traded in land towards the Amazon, made a settlement at Berbice in 1628 and stretched their trade and settlements to the mouth of the Orinoco. As an example of the treatment of colonies by the then commercial code, when the Berbice Association, in 1782, applied to the Dutch States General for a charter, the grant was accompanied by the imposition of a land tax of 50 lbs. of sugar for each inhabitant, a customs duty of 2} per cent. on both exports and imports, and a tonnage duty.
The French and English founded settlements at different points which were for the most part unsuccessful. While the Dutch were building up what is now British Guiana, what is now Dutch Guiana was granted in 1868 to Lord Willoughby, Governor of Barbados. This colony grew and prospered. The French settled at Cayenne, but their colony did not grow. When from 1665 Great Britain, France and the Netherlands were at war, all three, though each occupied only a spot here and there, claimed the whole country from the Orinoco to the Amazon. The settlements changed hands freely, Lord Willoughby's colony of Surinam passing to the Dutch, the monotony of the wars being varied by mutinies, raids by pirates and privateers, and desperate conflicts with wild bands of escaped negroes in the forests, who carried on war against the plantations.
In 1788 came a great Dutch governor, Sturm van's Gravesande, who extended the settlements, began the colony of Demerara and controlled and made terms with the Indian tribes. In 1788 he persuaded the Dutch to open the Essequibo to all nations with free land and freedom from taxes for three years. In 1745 he opened the Demerara river, where there was one trading post, to general commerce, and it soon went ahead of Essequibo, which, at the opening of the eighteenth century, was much as it is now. Sturm, by a German named Horstmann, explored the country to the south, the land of El Dorado between the Essequibo and the Amazon, his maps becoming the basis of the first map of South America in 1748. Sturm worked under great difficulties, the Company desiring dividends at home at the expense of the troops, slaves and supplies necessary for the colonies, and the planters calling for expenditure in Guiana. But in spite of difficulties he increased settlement, inviting English from Barbados and other West India islands to settle in Demerara.
The affairs of the British colonies in North America and the Dutch colonies in South America in 1763 show a very curious contrast. A great forest region extended over a large part of the country. With such an extensive bush, the negroes, when they ran away, were safe from pursuit and soon became exceedingly dangerous to the white planters. But Sturm van's Gravesande had pursued a steady friendship with the Indian tribes, though he would not give them fire-arms, besides this very liberal policy towards the immigration of British West Indians. This was repaid by valuable assistance on the part of both in 1768. While the directors at home were starving the colony in every respect, a terrible insurrection of the negroes in Berbice and of the bush negroes almost for a time wiped out the white settlements. The negroes took and destroyed one fortified post after another, the white men seized with panic and decimated by an epidemic abandoning the forts. When at length the revolt was subdued and the negroes driven back into the bush, the ruin had been so complete that it was hard, for want of men and money, and through sickness and the tropical destruction of cultivation, to re-make the colony. The general revolt against European authority was felt all over South America. In Brazil the negroes and Indians attacked the Portuguese ; the free natives of Chili attacked the Spaniards, who had to be reinforced from Peru and from Spain.
While this was going on in the south, the British troops were engaged in saving the American colonists from the Indian tribes under Pontiac. The revolt in Guiana was a revolt of the great body of negroes needed for the cultivation of the sugar plantations, checked by the union of the white people supported by the Indian tribes. In North America, until, after the successful rebellion, cotton-growing became a staple industry, there were few negroes, the Indians being the danger. Here the war was caused by the transfer of the Indians as subjects from the one white race, the French, to the other white race, the British, excited to rebel and to raid the British colonies by the defeated French. In Guiana the war was one carried on in the coast region of a tropical land; in North America it was an attack from the interior on the isolated posts along the lakes and the Mississippi. The garrisons of these posts were mere skeletons of uncared-for men.” Only one post on the lakes, Detroit, held out.
When Amherst organized an expedition for relief he applied, owing to the dearth of regular troops, to Pennsylvania for help. The colonists were always justifying their objection to imperial taxation on the ground of their loyalty and willingness to raise forces through the local assembly. “But,” says Fortescue, “it is hardly credible, but it is a fact, that even in face of the deadly peril upon its borders the province refused to provide a man.'
Bouquet, the Swiss colonel in command, collected five hundred British soldiers, but many who had been in the West Indies were quite unfit for duty, and “no fewer than sixty, being unable to march, were carried in wagons to reinforce the posts on the way.” Attacked by a great body of Indians in the woods, the victory was dearly won after a most desperate battle by the handful of Highlanders, English and Germans, courageous and steadfast under Bouquet's skilful leadership. The Americans, “not ashamed to save themselves while British soldiers, too weak to stand on their legs, encountered their enemies, very consistently declined to furnish a man.” An appeal to the various provinces to send levies had no result except for New York and New Jersey, Pennsylvania refusing until forced by her own bordermen to send help. Then finally Bouquet was enabled to invade the Indian territories to the south-west and put an end to the war. Is it any wonder that in the following year Grenville put on extra duties and passed the Stamp Act for the payment of ten thousand British soldiers to defend the colonies ?
The colonies of Guiana suffered terribly from the later European wars. When the Dutch and British went to war in 1781, the three counties were captured by the British, and were ceded to them in 1814. They suffered from American privateers in 1812, and from the anti-slavery agitators later on. Import of labour from the West Indies, Africa, Madeira, and even Malta was tried without success. In 1838 East Indians were brought, but the anti-slavery society interfered. In 1853 they tried Chinese coolies. The planter had also to fight the competition of the anti-slavery free-trader, who took off the sugar duties in favour of the slave-grown sugar of other countries and European beet sugar. The Dutch apprenticed their slaves before emancipation.
The British, in their West India islands, experienced difficulties some ten years later when an expedition was sent to St. Vincent at the very worst time of the year for Europeans without tents or camp equipage to settle matters with the Caribbs, who were threatening the plantations. St. Vincent had passed to the British from France in 1768, which gave opening for trouble. But the difficulty dated back to about 1670, when it is said a cargo of negroes intended for Barbados was wrecked on St. Vincent. The negroes took to the woods, mixed with the Caribbs, and nearly exterminated the original Indians, a gentle people of a yellow colour. They multiplied in the island, being naked and very savage, doing hardly any cultivation of the richest soil in the world. They were increased by the runaways from other islands, and they encouraged desertion of the slaves of the planters of St. Vincent.
The conflict went on during 1771-3, when a settlement was arrived at. Colonel Barré, in debate, says that the Caribbs are fighting for “liberty," and that every English heart must applaud them. But it does not seem necessary to believe that prior occupation of a rich soil unused can give a right to exclude more advanced peoples, and independent of any question of right, a human instinct which will not be gainsaid leads the stronger races always to assert their right to make what they believe to be a better use of the earth's abundance. It may be left at that.
THE FIRST PARTITION OF POLAND
IT was from the East, from India and not from the West Indies, that the smouldering hot ashes of American controversy were fanned into flame. But on our way to the East affairs in Europe of the utmost importance deserve attention.
In 1772, that year of apparent calm in America, when the troops sent to war with the Caribbs in St. Vincent were lying out in the woods in the worst of the tropical season without covering, and the Whig remnants were declaiming that the Caribbs were fighting for liberty and so on, the vultures in Eastern Europe began to tear up the unhappy kingdom of Poland. Augustus III. of Saxony, who had driven out Stanislaus, the father-in-law of Louis XV. of France, continued to hunt in Saxony until his death in October, 1763, leaving his ministers to the mercy of the Liberum Veto : but towards the end of his reign a determined effort was made to abolish the Liberum Veto and save Poland by some of the more patriotic nobles, headed by the Czartoryski family. But other nobles, firm in defence of the privileges of their class, though strong for nothing else, were able to defeat these efforts for reform by obstruction.
When, in 1762, Catherine II., the German princess of AnhaltZerbst, became Empress of Russia, the plans of Frederick of Prussia (called the Great) for the destruction of Poland as a nation began to mature. Brandenburg-Prussia had, by the policy of the jackal, gradually become a powerful kingdom. Catherine, a resolute ruler, had adopted Russia as her country, had learnt the language and had been baptized as an Orthodox. When, in 1762, the Empress Elizabeth died, Catherine allowed her husband Peter, who succeeded, to be murdered, and became sole ruler. On Augustus' death Stanislaus Poniatowski was put up as candidate for Poland by Frederick of Prussia and by Catherine, to whom gossip had assigned him as a lover. They used force to the Diet and to the minority of patriotic nobles to obtain his election in 1764.