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world's gaze.

diplomatic intelligence of the two go poration of new states into the vernments.

American Union, a western sea-board It is scarcely necessary to say that was obtained; and when a dependency of the twofold difficulty in question, of Great Britain, almost equal to a one part relates to our possessions continent, and lying beyond the barand rights in Central America, and rier of the western world, had disthe other to the attempt made during closed a sudden store of wealth and the late war to procure recruits from invited the enterprize and cupidity of amongst the inhabitants of the United Englishmen to its shores, what had States. Upon each of these questions been until then deemed a worthless

Blue Book” has been published. pass between the northern and southThe controversies, which raged for ern empires of America rose at once some time simultaneously, are thus into importance, as forming the kept separate, though their separa

line of communication between the tion in the parliamentary documents civilization of the two great divi. does not so completely isolate them sions of the British family and the from each other, as not to render a distant treasures of the Pacific. Cencomparison valuable for the purpose tral America, for the first time, of illustrating the characters of the became the centre of American inparties and the real objects they had terests. Every eye was turned upon in view. We propose to take up


her; she began to be the focus of the Central American question first, both because it arose considerably earlier As a highway, use was made of her than the other, and because the lat- at once.

In default of other means ter will be dealt with more naturally of transit, men scrambled over her in connection with the concluding por- mountains, and forded or swam her tion of the present paper.

lakes and rivers, in order to get the Up to the period at which the dis- shortest way across from sea to sea. covery of gold in California took This spontaneous selection of a route place, those vast regions of America pointed out its importance. The inwhich lie between Mexico on the terests of the world seemed to denorth, and New Granada on the mand that it should be opened up. south, had been little valued and Such was the state of things which very imperfectly explored. The an- originated the CLAYTON-BULWER tiquarian researches of Mr. Stephens, TREATY. indeed, had invested portions of them The history of this treaty is shortly with a mysterious interest; but the as follows. In the year 1849 a prointerest which utility alone can pro- posal was discussed between the miduce had not been felt-it was not nisters of the two governments, Great any one's business to explore them. Britain and America, for guaranteeThis whole region had been originally ing the safety of a company of capicolonized by Spain; and remained talists, to whom a charter should be under the dominion of that country granted by the republic of Nicarauntil the year 1821, when the pro- gua for the execution and mainvinces of which it was composed tenance of a ship-canal across a certhrew off the Spanish yoke, and con- tain portion of Central America, stituted themselves into a republic, principally if not altogether lying which they named Central America. within the territory of that state. In a few years this republic fell to This canal was to pass from the pieces, and was reformed into separate Caribbean Sea at San Juan del Norte states, which took their divisions in westward, following the course of the main from the boundaries of the the river San Juan until it reached old provinces. These republics are Lake Nicaragua, whence it was to (beginning from the north) Guatemala, pass into Lake Managua, having its Honduras, San Salvador, Nicaragua, outlet either at the port of Realejo and Costa Rica. From an early period or at the Bay of Fonseca on the England had formad suuttlements on Pacific. This vast undertaking had the

already been taken up by a company und


of capitalists, and was deemed of orig

sufficient importance to the inlics

terests of both nations to call for A

their formal protection, to guarantee




which was accordingly, as we have said, the object of the proposed convention. Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer was at that time the British Minister at Washington, with Mr. Crampton attached to the Legation ; and Mr. Clayton was the Secretary of State of the United States. Numerous communications took place, both between these parties and between Mr. Abbott Lawrence, the American Minister in London, and Lord Palmerston, then Minister for Foreign Affairs. The points under discussion principally related to a claim by the British of a protectorate over the territory of the king--or, as he is sometimes termed, Chief of the Mosquito Indians, and to the occupation by the English, under a title derived from that nation, or tribe, of the town of San Juan del Norte, by them called Greytown, which commanded the eastern mouth of the proposed canal. A glance at a good map (such as that prefixed to the 1st volume of Squiers' “Nicaragua") will shew that the maintenance of either the one or the other claim by England might possibly have been fairly considered by America as giving her undue power over one of the outlets of the contemplated canal ; for even the Mosquito protectorate would, according to her most recent pretensions, have embraced the north shore of the San Juan for a considerable part of its

These points were assumed to be all that were likely to be in dispute—at least they were all that concerned the subject matter of the treaty; and as there was no intention or intimation of including in it any matter not immediately bearing upon its avowed object, nothing else was brought under discussion. Incidentally, indeed, Mr. Lawrence informed Lord Palmerston that his government considered " that no great maritime nation ought to desire or be permitted to have an exclusive foothold on the Isthmus ;" but this remark produced no comment, and led to no further discussion ; and it may fairly be assumed that the intention of all parties was understood to be to deal in the proposed convention with the canal question, and with the canal question only. That this was the meaning of both the negociators before the treaty was ratified, is shewn by the words Sir Henry Bulwer uses

in writing to Lord Palmerston on the 18th of February, 1850 :-“Both of us (Mr. Clayton and myself) deemed that at the present time the treaty in question did all that was necessary by settling a basis on which the canal could be constructed and protected.”

England having at last intimated her willingness to satisfy America on the points she had raised, namely, as to the Mosquito protectorate and the occupancy of Greytown, the project of a convention was drawn up. This, after much discussion and some modification, was finally embodied in formal Articles, which were signed by Sir Henry Bulwer on the part of England, and by Mr. Clayton on that of America, on the 19th day of April, 1850, both parties being fully empowered by their respective governments for the purpose.

Of this convention it will be necessary to quote one sentence, form. ing part of Article I. It runs thus:

The Governments of Great Britain and the United States hereby declare that neither the one nor the other will ever obtain or maintain for itself any exclusive control over the said Ship-Canal; agreeing that neither will ever erector inaintain any fortifications commanding the same, or in the vicinity thereof, or occupy, or fortify, or colonize, or assume or exorcise any dominion over Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito Coast, or any part of Central Ainerica.

It seems to have struck Lord Pal. merston at the last moment, just as he was sending out the ratification of the Treaty, that someambiguity might possibly lurk under the words. They might be wrested so as to include the British Honduras, and be interpreted retrospectively, so as to involve a relinquishment by England of that settlement and its dependencies. Accordingly, on the 8th of June, he directed Sir Henry Bulwer to make a formal declaration, on the exchange of ratifications, to the effect that her Majesty's government did not understand the engagements of the convention as applying to her Majesty's settlement at Honduras, or to its dependencies. Sir Henry Bulwer did so ; which drew from Mr. Clayton, on the 4th of July, the following letter :Department of State, Washington,

July 4, 1850. Sir,

I bave received the declaration **


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instructed by your Government to make to

occupy. “any part of Central Ameme respecting Honduras and its dependencies, rica,” therefore she was to give up. the a copy of which is herewith subjoined. territories in which she was settled. The language of Article I. of the Conven

She was not to “colonize," so she was tion concluded on the 19th day of April last, to abandon the islands of Ruatan, between the United States and Great Britain,

Bonacca, and others, which, under describing the country not to be occupied, &c., by either of the parties, was, as you

the idea that they were dependencies know, twice approved by your Government,

of Honduras, she had recently constiand it was neither understood by them, nor

tuted into a separate colony. She by either of us (the negotiators), to include was not to protect the Mosquito the British Settlement in Honduras, com- coast, for that was to exercise domimonly called British Honduras, as distinct nion in contravention of the treaty. from the State of Honduras, nor the small In other words, for the chance of a islands in the neighbourhood of that Settle- canal across the Isthmus, she was to ment, which may be known as its dependen- evacuate the whole of what had been cies. To this Settlement and these islauds

hitherto hers in that part of the world. the Treaty we have negotiated was not

The arguments on the American side intended by either of us to apply. The title

professed to be grounded on the to them it is now, and has been my intention throughout the whole negotiation, to leave,

wording of the instrument itself, and as the Treaty leaves it, without denying,

on the reason of the thing. As to affirming, or in any way meddling with the

the first, they asserted that “ Central same, just as it stood previously,

America” was a geographical term, inThe Chairman of the Committee on cluding the whole of the tract we Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Hon. have described, between Mexico and William R. King, informis me that “the New Granada. Let us examine this Senate perfectly understood that the Treaty assertion. In point of fact, the term did not include British Honduras." It was

Central America, which is modern, intended to apply to and does include all the

never having been heard of before Central American States of Guatemala, Honduras, San Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa

1821, was applied originally as a poli

tical designation, and described a reRica, with their just limits and proper de

public exclusive of the British pospendencies.

sessions in its neighbourhood, to Upon receiving this letter, Sir which no claim whatever was set llenry Bulwer at once exchanged the up; and the term was made use of ratifications ; and the Treaty was con- in a geographical sense only by cluded.

geographers, being found conveniNow it was scarcely possible to ently and appropriately to describe anticipate that out of words thus pen- the region we have indicated, lying ned, and thus explained, there should between those Northern and Southern be extracted the grounds of a claim limits. We challenge the supporters upon England for a cession and of the American interpretation of the abandonment of those valuable pos- ('layton-Bulwer Treaty to adduce a sessions on the coast of Central Ame- single instance in which the term rica, for which no advantage contem- “ Central America” has been emplated by the treaty could compen- ployed in any political transaction, sate her, and which therefore could with the meaning sought to be atnot possibly have been voluntarily re- tached to it in this : and on the other linquished hy her. Yet the treaty had hand, the instances are numerous in not been three years in existence, when which the designation has been formcertain individuals in the American Se- ally recognized as applying to the old mate, amongst whom was General ('ass, republic of that name, and subsebegan to suggest an interpretation of quently to the cluster of states formed theirown, regardless of that of the Con- out of its fragments, and of which tracting Parties as signified by the for- the boundaries, unsettled though they mal statements of their ministers, and be, do not assume to include the Brigrounded on the ambiguous meaning tish settlements. But the American of one term employed therein interpretation, however forced, would namely, Central America.

It was

have been inoperative, had not a fururged in the first place, that the ther violence been done to the lanwording was clear---England was guage of the Treaty. It was necessary, “not to occupy," therefore she was to according to the views of General withdraw from her occupation--botto Cass and his friends, not only to



spread the words, “Central Ame- to the United States, with much greater rica," over the British possessions in reason might the government of Great Britain, that quarter, but to make the lan- in the other case, if the assumption of the guage of the Treaty retrospective. “Not

government of the United States were to be to occupy," was to evacuate—“not to

acted upon in the construction of the convencolonize," was to abandou colonies.

tion, complain of it as prejudicial to Eng

land. In vain was it urged in the Senate by Mr. Seward, that senators, who now The truth is, the reciprocity is professed to be in ignorance of any complete; but it is prospective. The other interpretation than that put status quo is started from ; and upon the Treaty by factious and place- the mutual engagements grounded hunting individuals, “ could not have upon it are strictly equitable. To asbeen, or at least ought not to have sert that the Treaty reads differently been, under any misapprehension as

---that we have signed away to its meaning, even supposing (a rights, and must relinquish them, is thing difficult to suppose) that they pretty nearly as reasonable as to tell

not aware of the declara- a man who has hired horses for a tion on the part of Great Bri- post-chaise along with you, to travel tain which accompanied its ratifica- to the next stage, and who has his tion : it being notorious that a Bri- portmanteau in it, that he must leave tish settlement, by whatever title it his luggage behind, or you will remight be held, did exist at Belize, move it by force, as you had not and that it could not have been rea- agreed to bring it along with you. sonably supposed by any one that the Such would seem to be the comBritish government had entered into mon-sense of the case as regards Aran engagement to abandon this set- ticle 1 of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. tlement by a Treaty in which it was The construction suggested irresistnot even alluded to.”

ably to the mind, we might expect, To meet this, but one argument

would be the interpretation originally was used. Could it be supposed that placed upon it by the statesmen of America would deliberately have the American republic, in spite of the bound herself never for all time to contemptible quibbles of Mr. Cass occupy a foot of ground in Central

and his party.

Considering the cirAmerica, and yet leave England in cumstances under which the Convenpossession of territory in that region? tion was entered into-the characters Here, it was said, was no reciprocity. of the men who were concerned in Is not the answer plain--where would its preparation-the objects for which be the reciprocity, were the Treaty it was framed—the magnitude of the interpreted in the Americau sense? interests involved, and the power England would have lost everything, and dignity of the nations between and America would have lost nothing. whom it was negociated, it was to Lord Clarendon, in his despatch of be expected that the most comprethe 28th of September, 1855, enun- hensive construction would be given ciates this with much force and clear- to its provisions, and that no attempt ness.

would be made by either party to Neither can her Majesty's government sub

special-plead, or force meanings out scribe to the position, that, if the convention of it opposed to its own character and did not bear the meaning attached to it by tenor, to say nothing of the general the United States, it would have imposed impression of the governments of the upon the government of the United States respective countries at the time of its a self-denying obligation which was not completion. Yet the facts, as our equally contracted by Great Britain, and readers well know, prove how groundthat such a state of things could not baro

less such expectations would have teen in the intention of the contracting been. Mr. Crampton, who Sucpartics; because if the convention did bear the

ceeded to the honorable and ardumeaning attached to it by the United States, it

ous post of her Majesty's represenwould then have imposed upon Great Britain the obligation to renounce possessions and

tative at Washington, immediately rights without any equivalent renunciation

after the ratification of the Claytonon the part of the United States. If the Bulwer Treaty, which he had had so government of the United States can com- large a hand in assisting to bring plain in the one case of the convention, as to a conclusion, was soon made aware presenting an unilateral character unfavourable of the difficulties and disappointments

go on.

that were before him. In place of and it is to be observed that this it that liberal, enlightened, conciliatory, was the object of America to proand straightforward character which voke. The strong point against her had marked the policy of the minis- was contained in the plain questionters in 1950, he had to encounter all what did the parties mean at the the vexa-ions which a petty and cap- time? To this our Minister should tious spirit of opposition was calcu- have stuck-nothing should have led lated to engender : and it may truly him to the right hand or to the left: be said that for the last three years nevertheless, he was soon entangled he has been engaged in little else inextricably in the Mosquito question than the thankless task of vainly -in the affair of the cession or exreiterating his endeavours to bring change of Greytown—in the original the government to which he is title to our possessions at Belize-in accredited, back to those views everything, in short, except the single and sentiments which presided essential one-does the Treaty disat the negociations of 1849. We are turb our status quo ? Mr. Crampton, not without our suspicions that his it may be presumed, was in this no identification with the policy of that master of his own course. He could period may have proved one of the only follow, reiterate, and enforce the objections to him with a government arguments of the Minister at home. pledged to turn its back upon it. But This he appears to have done with this will be better understood as we discretion and firmness-even at a

time when, from other causes, diffiLet us, before we go any farther, culties were thrown in his way. He once for all distinguish between the has been blamed for an oversightAmerican government, and the Ameri- the only one we have been able to decan nation. In what is here said--and tect in the protracted negotiations of we speak out-it is by no means our the last six years--in omitting to intention to confound the two. Disap- communicate at once to Mr. Marcy proving altogether as we do of Pre- an offer from the British Government sident Pierce's government, we be- in November last, to submit the Cen. lieve we are justified in assuming tral American question to arbitration. that the great mass of intelligence in Unfortunately this omission--purely the States is of our mind, and that accidental as it was-gave rise to the result of the new elections some misunderstanding for a time ; will prove that worthier princi- but it was what might have happened ples and a more enlightened po- to any one similarly circumstanced ; licy may in the end command popu- and, if our view of the question be lar support. That England and Ame- correct, can have exercised no real rica should be thrown into a war, influence upon the dispute. To our because General Cass is obstinate and judgment, his less ambitious and more nettlesome, and President Pierce an business-like style contrasts favor. unscrupulous electioneerer, is what ably both with the courtly discusour Yankee brother will not stand. siveness of Lord Clarendon's, and the In the mean time, we must claim diplomatic pedantry of the American the privilege of verbally identifying Minister's. It is, however, in the disthe nation and its rulers in our pre- cussion of the question to which we sent remarks, on account of the ma- would next call the reader's attennifest inconvenience of keeping them tion, that he exhibits still more proseparate.

minently the qualities for which we The most prominent advocates of give him credit. the American side of the question It will be necessary, in order fully have been Mr. Marcy, the Secretary to understand the circumstances we of State, and, as instructed by him, have to detail, to refer back to the Mr. Buchanan, the late American state of things which existed at the Minister in London. The English close of the year 1851. The reader view of the case has been supported by will remember that the triumphs Lord Clarendon : not, we think, with anticipated on the plains of the Cri. that vigour and ability which it called mea were not realized to the extent for, The fault which runs through of the public expectation. On the conthe whole of the correspondence on trary, the monotony of an arduous the British side is discursivenesi,

and bloody siege was sickening the

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