Inquiry into the Poyasian Fraud
By CODD, Edward, 1824
Proceedings of an Inquiry and Investigation instituted by Major-General Codd His Majesty’s Superintendent and commander-in-chief at Belize, Honduras, Relative to Poyais, &c. &c. &c.
- Author: CODD, Edward
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: Published by Lawler and Quick… by order of the Magistrates of Honduras
- Publication date: 1824.
- Physical description: 4to (135 by 220mm), [i‑vi] 6–171pp., contemporary straight grained morocco, gilt, lettered in gilt to spine.
- Inventory reference: 12275
The Poyaisian Scheme (or Fraud) was the brainchild of the Scottish soldier Gregor MacGregor (1786–1845). He began his life of adventuring in Venezuela and Colombia. In 1820 he visited what is today Honduras, and claimed that while there he obtained a grant of eight million acres from George Frederick Augustus, king of the Mosquito Indians. Returning to London, Macgregor styled himself as Gregor I, prince of the independent state of Poyais. He set about publicising his fictitious state, setting up a land office in London and selling bonds to investors. The scheme began to unravel when, echoing the Darien scheme of the late seventeenth century, a group of around two hundred settlers, mostly Scots, sailed to Poyais. Discovering only a barren and inhospitable swampland, they were saved by a British rescue mission. MacGregor fled to Paris in late 1823 only to continue his activities there. After acquittal in a French fraud trial he returned to London in 1827.
The current work outlines an investigation by the Superintendent of Belize, Major General Codd, the colony whom had taken in the survivors from the fraudulent scheme. The investigation was in response to a pamphlet titled, ‘The Belize Merchants Unmasked, by Geo. A. Low’ (an agent of the Poyais scheme), which had libelled the Belize colony and accused it of illegally appropriating the survivor’s property.