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and advantage of having contributed to a work of such general interest and importance as the canal herein contemplated. And the contracting parties likewise agree that each shall enter into treaty stipulations with such of the Central American States as they may deem advisable for the purpose of more effectually carrying out the great design of this convention, namely, that of constructing and maintaining the said canal as a ship communication between the two oceans, for the benefit of mankind, on equal terms to all, and of protecting the same; and they also agree that the good offices of either shall be employed, when requested by the other, in aiding and assisting the negotiation of such treaty stipulations; and should any differences arise as to right or property over the territory through which the said canal shall pass, between the States or Governments of Central America, and such differences should in any way impede or obstruct the execution of the said canal, the Governments of the United States and Great Britain will use their good offices to settle such differences in the manner best suited to promote the interests of the said canal, and to strengthen the bonds of friendship and alliance which exist between the contracting parties.”
By Article VII. it was agreed that the Governments of the United States and Great Britain should give their support and encouragement to such persons or company as might first offer to begin the canal with the necessary concessions and capital, and that if any persons or company should already have entered into a proper and unobjectionable contract with any state through which the proposed ship canal might pass, and had made preparations and expenditures on the faith of such contract, such persons or company should have prior consideration and should be allowed a year from the date of the exchange of the ratifications of the treaty for the purpose of concluding their arrangements and presenting proofs of the necessary subscriptions of capital.
The contracting parties then embodied in Article VIII. of the treaty a general stipulation, in the following terms:
“The Governments of the United States and Great Britain having not only•desired, in entering into this convention, to accomplish a particular object, but also to establish a general principle, they hereby agree to extend their protection, by treaty stipulations, to any other practicable communications, whether by canal or railway, across the isthmus which connects North and South America, and especially to the interoceanic communications, should the same prove to be practicable, whether by canal or railway, which are now proposed to be established by the way of Tehuantepec or Panama. In granting, however, their joint protection to any such canals or railways as are by this article specified, it is always understood by the United States and Great Britain that the parties constructing or owning the same shall impose no other charges or conditions of traffic thereupon than
the aforesaid Governments shall approve of as just and equitable; and that the same canals or railways, being open to the citizens and subjects of the United States and Great Britain on equal terms, shall also be open on like terms to the citizens and subjects of every other State which is willing to grant thereto such protection as the United States and Great Britain engage to afford.” The treaty was approved by the Senate of the United States by a vote of
42 to 11, the latter number including the vote of Senator Douglas, who, though he was not recorded at the time, afterwards stated that he voted
against the treaty. With this inclusion, the vote stood: Yeas-Messrs. Badger, Baldwin, Bell, Berrien, Butler, Cass, Chase, Clarke,
Clay, Cooper, Corwin, Davis of Massachusetts, Dawson, Dayton, Dodge
Sturgeon, Underwood, Wales, and Webster-42.
Dickinson, Douglas, Turney, Walker, Whitcomb, and Yulee—11. (Ex.
Journal, VIII. 186.)
temala and Central America, was instructed by Mr. Buchanan to obtain
Cong. 1 sess. 92-96; Curtis, Life of Buchanan, I. 620–623.)
ton, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hise, May 1, 1849, MS. Inst. Am. States, XV. 64. June 21, 1849, Mr. Hise, acting without instructions, concluded with Mr. Sel
va, representing the Government of Nicaragua, a special convention by which the latter granted to the United States of America, or to a company of the citizens thereof, the exclusive right and privilege" of constructing a canal, railway, or other means of communication between the two oceans through the territories of Nicaragua. If the United States should decide not to undertake the work itself, then ** either the President or Congress" was to grant a charter to a company for the purpose. The United States was to have the right to fortify and protect by its forces the line to be establshed. Public vessels or private vessels of countries with which the contracting parties might be at war were not, during the continuance of the war, to be allowed to use the canal. Nicaragua agreed to grant to the United States, or to a chartered company, land for the establishment of two free cities, one at each end of the proposed way. In return for these concessions, the United States was to protect and defend Nicaragua in the possession and exercise of the sovereignty and dominion of all the territories within her just limits. (40 Brit. & For. St. Pap. 969; Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 94.)
For an unratified treaty of amity and commerce between the United States
and Nicaragua, concluded September 3, 1849, containing an Article
or by Nicaragua, and was not submitted to the United States Senate.
to Mr. Rives, min. to France, Jan. 26, 1850, MS. Inst. France, XV. 125.) The company referred to was styled “ The American Atlantic and Pacific
Ship Canal Company." Its contract with Nicaragua was signed at Leon, August 27, 1849. This contract, which was afterwards accepted under Article VII. of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, was annulled by a decree by the President of Nicaragua, February 18, 1856. (Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885),
195, 250.) Soon after the receipt of the Hise-Selva convention in Washington, Mr.
Clayton, who had then become Secretary of State, acquainted the British ininister, Mr. Crampton, with the fact that it was not approved by the United States, and at the same time suggested that great caution would be required on both sides in order to prevent the United States and Great Britain from being brought into collision on account of the Mosquito question. (Mr. Crampton, Brit. min., to Lord Palmerston, Sept. 17, 1819, 40 Brit. & For. St. Pap. 953; Correspondence (1885), 201,
where the date is erroneously given as September 15.)
Brit. & For. St. Pap. 955–961.
the departure of Mr. Bancroft from London and the temporary post-
to Mr. Clayton, Sept. 25, 1849, Correspondence (1885), 11.) Mr. Lawrence was afterwards instructed in the same sense. (Mr. Clayton,
Sec. of State, to Mr. Lawrence, min. to England, Oct. 20, 1819, Correspondence (1885), 13; MS. Inst. Great Britain, XVI. 50. See, also,
same to same, Dec. 10, 1849, MS. Inst. Great Britain, XVI. 73.) With reference to Mr. Rives' conversation with Lord Palmerston, see Lord
Palmerston to Mr. Crampton, Nov. 9, 1849, saying that the British
Brit. & For. St. Pap. 961, 962.)
State Pap. 966; Mr. Lawrence to Lord Palmerston. Nov. 8, 1849, id.
961; Lord Palmerston to Mr. Lawrence, Nov. 13, 1849, id. 962–964; same to same, Nov. 19, 1849, id. 965; Mr. Lawrence to Lord Palmerston,
Nov. 22, 1849, id. 966, 988; same to same, Dec. 14, 1849, id. 989. September 28, 1819, the Government of Honduras, by an agreement signed
with Mr. Squier, the United States chargé d'affaires, ceded to the United States Tigre Island, in the Gulf of Fonseca, to hold absolutely for eighteen months or until the ratification of a treaty which had that day been signed. October 16, 1849, Mr. Chatfield, the British diplomatic representative in Guatemala, with an armed force took possession of the island in the name of her Britannic Majesty. The United States asked for a disavowal of Mr. Chatfield's act. Lord Palmerston stated that Mr. Chatfield had taken possession of the islands as a measure of reprisal and as a temporary pledge for the payment of claims of British subjects against Honduras, but that, when all the circumstances became known, he was directed to restore the island to its former condition. Lord Palmerston added that her Majesty's Government intended to abide by the assurance given to Mr. Lawrence on the 13th of November, that they did not intend to occupy or colonize any part of Central America, but that the arrangement made by Mr. Squier for the cession of Tigre Island to the United States would, if adopted by the latter, be at variance with the declaration contained in Mr. Lawrence's note of the 8th of November, to which that of the 13th was a reply. (40 Brit.
& For. St. Pap. 997–1002, 1019.) See, also, Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State, to Mr. Squier, May 7, 1850, MS. Inst.
Am. States, XV. 104; Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Adams, min. to England, April 25, 1866, Correspondence in relation to the Proposed
Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 14. Negotiations at London, with reference to the Central American question
and the interoceanic canal, having been delayed by Mr. Lawrence's illness, Sir Henry L. Bulwer, British minister at Washington, who was fully possessed of Lord Palmerston's views, determined without delay to enter into a treaty, and on February 3, 1850, he transmitted to Lord Palmerston a project of the convention afterwards signed. In so doing, he said: “It [the convention] will probably be attacked with violence by the parties who are for supporting Mr. Monroe's famous doctrine at all hazards, and who contend that Mr. Hise's convention is the only one that this country ought to adopt or sanction; but, on the other hand, I think I can promise that it will be duly esteemed and approved of by the Senate, and carry with it the weighty sanction of all reasonable men."
(40 Br. & For. State Papers, 1003, 1008, 1010-1011, 1011-1014.) For Lord Palmerston's reply, see 40 Br. & For State Papers, 1017, 1018. As to the signature of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, see 40 Brit. & For. State
Papers, 1024–1027, 1028-1030. “This convention provides that neither party to it shall make use of any
protection or alliance for the purpose of occupying, fortifying, colonizing or assuming or exercising any dominion whatsoever over any part of Central America or the Mosquito coast. Virtually it makes provision also for the protection of the company which already has the charter from Nicaragua and which is protected by Squier's treaty, as well as for the future protection of the Tehuantepec and Panama routes, and all other practicable routes across the Isthmus. It prohibits the blockade of vessels traversing the canal; it liberates all Central America from foreign aggression; and it will, in short, when known, be hailed as a declaration of Central American independence. The convention is now before the Senate, which will no doubt consent to its ratification, when a copy of it will be transmitted to you, in order that, at the proper time, you may invite the French Government to enter into the treaty of accession for which the convention provides." (Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State, to
Mr. Rives, min. to France, April 27, 1850, MS. Inst. France. XV. 129.) Subsequently, after the treaty was approved by the Senate, but before the
ratifications were exchanged, Mr. Rives was instructed to “lose no time in bringing this subject to the notice of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, and negotiating with the French Government a .convention in the very words, as far as the same are applicable, of the one concluded between the United States and Great Britain.” (Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State, to Mr. Rives, min. to France, May 26, 1850, MS. Inst. France, XV.
131.) For Mr. Clayton's defense of the treaty in the Senate, March 8 and 9, 1853,
see Cong. Globe, 32 Cong. 3 sess., App. 247. See speech of Mr. Seward in the Senate, Jan. 31, 1856, Cong. Globe, 34 Cong.
1 sess. pt. I. 323; App. 75. For an interesting article on the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, see 99 Quarterly
Rev. (June, 1856), 235. This article is attributed by Mr. Hayward (Letters, etc., I. 1290) to Sir E. L. Bulwer. See, also, an article by Sir H.
Bulwer (Lord Dalling), 104 Edinburgh Rev. (July, 1856), 280. “You will represent to the Government of Nicaragua that this Government
cannot undertake to guarantee the sovereignty of the line of the (proposed) canal to her until the course which that work shall take, with reference to the river San Juan, and its terminus on the Pacific, shall be ascertained, and until the difference between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, concerning their boundary, shall be settled.” (Mr. Webster, Sec. of State, to Mr. Kerr, May 4, 1851, MS. Inst. Am. St. XV. 113.)
2. VARIANT INTERPRETATIONS.
When the Clayton-Bulwer treaty was made, Great Britain claimed dominion over the British settlement at Belize, otherwise known as British Honduras, and, as a dependency thereof, over Ruatan and certain other islands, otherwise known as the Bay Islands, lying off the coast of the Republic of Honduras; and she also asserted a protectorate over the coast or territory inhabited by the Mosquito Indians.
See Keasbey, The Nicaragua Canal and the Monroe Doctrine, 164-175.
(1) BELIZE, OR BRITISH HONDURAS.
Declaration made by Sir Henry Bulwer at the Department of State,
June 29, 1850, prior to the erchange of the ratfiications of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty.
“In proceeding to the exchange of the ratifications of the convention signed at Washington on the 19th of April, 1850, between her Britannic majesty and the United States of America, relative to the establishment of a communication by ship canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the undersigned, her Britannic majesty's pleni