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selves, although several of them, and especially Great Britain, conceded to the Indians a right of mere occupancy, which, however, could only be extinguished by the authority of the nation within whose dominions these Indians were found. All sales or transfers of territory made by them to third parties were declared to be absolutely void; and this was a merciful rule even for the Indians themselves, because it prevented them from being defrauded by dishonest individuals.
“No nation has ever acted more steadily upon these principles than Great Britain; and she has solemnly recognized them in her treaties with the King of Spain, of 1783 and 1786, by admitting his sovereignty over the Mosquitos.
“Shall the Mosquito tribe of Indians constitute an exception from this hitherto universal rule? Is there anything in their character or in their civilization which would enable them to perform the duties and sustain the responsibilities of a sovereign state in the family of nations?
“Bonnycastle says of them, that they were formerly a very powerful and numerous race of people, but the ravages of rum and the smallpox have diminished their number very much. He represents them, on the authority of British settlers, as seeming to have no other religion than the adoration of evil spirits.' The same author also states, that 'the warriors of this tribe are accounted at 1,500.' This possibly may have been correct in 1818, when the book was published, but at present serious doubts are entertained whether they reach much more than half that number. The truth is, they are now a debased race, and are degraded even below the common Indian standard. They have acquired the worst vices of civilization from their intercourse with the basest class of the whites, without any of its redeeming virtues. The Mosquitos have been thus represented by a writer of authority, who has recently enjoyed the best opportunities for personal observation. That they are totally incapable of maintaining an independent civilized government is beyond all question. Then in regard to their so-called King, Lord Palmerston, in speaking of him to Mr. Rives, in September, 1851, says, “They had what was called a King, who, by-the-bye,' he added, in a tone of pleasantry, 'was as much of a king as you or I.' And Lord John Russell, in his dispatch to Mr. Crampton of the 19th of January, 1853, denominates the Mosquito Government as 'a fiction;' and speaks of the King as a person whose title and power are, in truth, little better than nominal.'
“The moment Great Britain shall withdraw from Blewfields, where she now exercises exclusive dominion over the Mosquito shore, the former relations of the Mosquitos to Nicaragua and Honduras as the successors of Spain, will naturally be restored. When this event shall occur, it is to be hoped that these States in their conduct towards the Mosquitos and the other Indian tribes within their territories, will
follow the example of Great Britain and the United States. Whilst neither of these has ever acknowledged, or permitted any other nation to acknowledge, any Indian tribe, within their limits, as an independent people, they have both recognized the qualified right of such tribes to occupy the soil, and as the advance of the white settlements rendered this necessary, have acquired their title by a fair purchase.
“Certainly it cannot be desired that this extensive and valuable Central American coast, on the highway of nations between the Atlantie and Pacific, should be appropriated to the use of 3,000 or 4,000 wandering Indians, as an independent state, who would use it for no other purpose than that of hunting and fishing, and savage warfare. If such an event were possible, the coast would become a retreat for pirates and outlaws of every nation, from whence to infest and disturb the commerce of the world on its transit across the Isthmus; and but little better would be its condition should a new independent state be established on the Mosquito shore. Besides, in either event, the present Central American States would deeply feel the injustice which had been done them in depriving them of a portion of their territories; they would never cease in attempts to recover their rights, and thus strife and contention would be perpetuated in that quarter of the world where it is so much the interest both of Great Britain and the United States that all territorial questions should be speedily, satisfactorily, and finally adjusted." Statement of Mr. Buchanan, min. to England, for the Earl of Clarendon,
Jan. 6, 1854, 46 Br. & For. State Papers, 244, 247; H. Ex. Doc. 1, 34
Cong. 1 sess. 55. To the foregoing statement by Mr. Buchanan, Lord Clarendon Lord Clarendon's replied hy a statement dated May 2, 1854. This statement of May statement may be summarized as follows: 2, 1854.
1. That, although Great Britain held no "possessions” in the Mosquito territory, she undoubtedly exercised a great and extensive influence over it as the “protecting ally” of the Mosquito chief or king, who had “occasionally been even crowned at Jamaica under the auspices of the British authorities;” that the United States would scarcely expect Great Britain to enter into explanations concerning acts committed nearly forty years before, in a matter in which no right or possession of the United States was involveil; and that the Government of Spain, after the peace of 1815, never raised any question with respect to the Mosquito protectorate.
2. That Great Britain had not by her treaty with Mexico, or otherwise, recognized as a principle that the engagements between herself and Spain were necessarily transferred to every fraction of the Spanish monarchy which came to exist on a distinct and independent basis; that Great Britain had merely stipulated in the treaty with Mexico that
H. Doc. 551--vol 3-11
British subjects should not be worse off under independent Mexico than in Mexico as a Spanish province.
3. That, even admitting that it might in some cases be expedient to recognize the rights and obligations of old Spain as having become vested in the new Spanish American states, it was to be obseived that no remonstrance was made by any of the Spanish-American republics against the British protectorate over Mosquito till many years after its existence became known to them, and that, when such remonstrances were made, they were made by several of those governments, so that, if Great Britain had withdrawn, the right of any of them to occupy the territory would have been disputed by the others.
4. That, up to the end of 1849, the United States, although informed in 1842 of the existence of the Mosquito protectorate, made no allusion to it in communications to the British Government, notwithstanding the fact that, as appeared by papers submitted to Congress, some action as against Great Britain had repeatedly been solicited by the authorities of Nicaragua; and that, even with respect to the capture of Greytown by British forces acting in behalf of the Mosquito king, the American minister in London was not authorized to take anysteps.
5. That, with regard to the doctrine laid down by President Monroe in 1823, concerning future colonization on the American continent by European states, it could be viewed only as the dictum of the distinguished personage who announced it, and not as an international axiom which ought to regulate the conduct of European states.
6. That the cloctrine that the Indians were incapable of exercising the rights of sovereign powers was one on which each state must maintain its own policy and follow the dictates of its own conscience, and that the habits of past times could not be taken as an invariable guide for any future policy, as was shown by the case of the slave-trade.
7. That, although Great Britain never claimed any sovereignty over Mosquito, she asserted that the treaty of 1850 did not and was not meant to annihilate her protectorate, but only to confine its powers and limit its influence; and that the treaty, while it did not "recognize" any protectorate, clearly acknowledged (Art. I.) the possibility of Great Britain or of the United States affording protection to Mosquito or to any Central American state.
8. That it never had been held that territories or kingdoms which were neutralized might not be defended by other kingdoms, at the desire and request of the neutral states, and that it could not be maintained that the bar to colonizing and fortifying was a bar to all protection.
9. That Great Britain and the l'nited States bound themselves to protect certain canals or railways which might be formed through various independent states, but that they did not by this agreement to give protection acquire any right of sovereignty or occupation over such canals or railways, although they carefully excluded themselves
from having any exclusive control over them and from acquiring any exclusive privileges.
10. That the correctness of the British construction was further shown by the fact that, soon after the treaty was ratified, her Majesty's minister at Washington entered into further negotiations with the United States relative to the position of Mosquito, and that the interpretation above expressed was at once accepted by Mr. Webster; and that the fact that Great Britain was not at any time animated by the object of obtaining any peculiar influence or control over the San Juan river or the canal was shown by the circumstance that the object of the negotiations was the withdrawal of her protection from Greytown and the adjoining territory on conditions beneficial to her, only so far as they tended to maintain a state of peace and tranquillity in the part of the world to which they related.
11. That it never was in the contemplation of either government that the treaty of 1850 should interfere in any way with her Majesty's settlement at Belize or its dependencies.
12. That the limits of the British settlement at Belize could not be restricted to the boundaries under the treaty of 1786, not only because the treaties with old Spain could not be held to be necessarily binding with respect to detached portions of the old monarchy, but also because the treaty of 1786 was put an end to by a subsequent state of war between Great Britain and Spain, during which the boundaries of the British settlement in question were enlarged.
13. That, as to Ruatan and the adjoining islands, all that could be debatable concerning them was, whether they were dependencies of Belize or attached to some Central American state; and that it could not be disputed that, whenever Ruatan had been permanently occupied, either in remote or recent times, by anything more than a military guard or flagstaff, the occupation had been by British subjects.
14. That the practical question at issue relative to Greytown and the adjacent territory was not whether Great Britain should exercise dominion over it, but whether Nicaragua or some other independent state should be put into possession of it in such manner as to preserve the honorable obligations of Great Britain, the peace of Central America and the safety of the Mosquito Indians, or in such manner as to produce hostilities between Nicaragua and Costa Rica and the destruction of the Mosquito people.
15. That, as the pretensions of Great Britain to the islands of Ruatan and Bonacca were not of recent date and were not questioned by the United States in 1850, it could not be admitted that an alteration in the internal form of their government was a violation of the treaty or afforded a just cause of remonstrance to the United States.
Statement of Lord Clarendon for Mr. Buchanan, May 2, 1854, 46 Brit. &
For. State Pap. 255; H. Ex. Doc. 1, 34 Cong. 1 sess. 80.
For extended "Remarks" of Mr. Buchanan, July 22, 1854, in reply to Lord
Clarendon's statement, see 46 Brit. & For. State Pap. 272: H. Ex. Doc.
"A protectorate necessarily implies the actual existence of a sovereign
authority in the protected power; but where there is, Marcy's views.
in fact, no such authority there can be no protectorate. The Mosquitos are a convenience to sustain British pretensions, but cannot be regarded as a sovereign state. Lord Palmerston, as was evinced by his remark to Mr. Rives, took this view of the political condition of the Mosquitos, and it is so obviously correct that the British Government should not be surprised if the United States consider the subject in the same light.”
Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Buchanan, min. to England, Aug. 6, 1855,
H. Ex. Doc. 1, 34 Cong. 1 sess. 69, 71, where the full text is given.
1 sess., and the accompanying correspondence in relation to the various
questions under the Clayton-Bulwer treaty.
S. Ex. Doc. 25, 34 Cong. 1 sess.
1 sess.; J. C. B. Davis' Treaty Notes (Treaty Vol. 1776-1887), 1332.
“The President cannot himself admit as true, and therefore cannot under any possible circumstances advise the Republic of Nicaragua to admit, that the Mosquito Indians are a state or a government any more than a band of Maroons in the island of Jamaica are a state or government. Neither, of course, can he admit that any alliance or protective connection of a political nature may exist for any purpose whatever between Great Britain and those Indians.”
Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Dallas, min. to England, July 26, 1856, MS.
Inst. Gr. Brit. XVII. 1, 17.
28, 1856; No. 31, Sept. 26, 1856; confidential, Sept. 26, 1856; No.38, Nov.
10, 1856: MS. Inst. Gr. Br. XVII. 26, 33, 41, 49.
Inst. Gr. Br. XVII. 67.
3. HISTORICAL SUMMARY, 1851-1858.
“I have had the honor to receive the copy which your lordship did
me the favor to send me of Lord Malmesbury's disMr. Cass to Lord
patch to your lordship of August 18, in reference to Napier, Nov. 8,
Sir William Ouseley's mission, and have submitted 1858.
it to the consideration of the President. From the statement of Lord Malmesbury that the British Government has no remaining alternative but that of leaving the Cabinet of Washington