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tions, or of occupying, fortifying, or colonizing Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito coast, or any part of Central America, or of assuming or exercising dominion over the same; nor will the United States or Great Britain take advantage of any intimacy, or use any alliance, connection, or influence that either may possess, with any State or Government through whose territory the said canal may pass, for the purpose of acquiring or holding, directly or indirectly, for the citizens or subjects of the one any rights or advantages in regard to commerce or navigation through the said canal which shall not be offered on the same terms to the citizens or subjects of the other."
By Article II. it was agreed that American or British vessels traversing the canal should, in case of war between the contracting parties, be exempt from blockade, detention or capture by either of the belligerents, and that this provision should extend to such a distance from the ends of the canal as it might be found convenient to establish.
In order to assure the construction of the canal, the contracting parties (Art. III.) engaged that, if it should be undertaken upon fair and equitable terms, by persons having the authority of the local governments through whose territory it might pass, they would protect such persons and their property from the commencement to the completion of the canal “from unjust detention, confiscation, seizure, or any violence whatsoever.”
It was also provided (Art. IV.) that the contracting parties should use (1) their influence with the local governments to induce them to facilitate the construction of the canal, and (2) their good offices to procure the establishment of two free ports, one at each end of the canal.
The contracting parties further engaged (Art. V.), when the interoceanic canal was completed, to “protect it from interruption, seizure, or unjust confiscation,” and to “guarantee the neutrality thereof, so that the said canal may forever be open and free, and the capital invested therein secure.” It was, however, expressly understood that the guarantee of protection and security was given conditionally and might be withdrawn by both governments or either government, if both or either of them should consider that the persons or company undertaking or managing the canal had established regulations concerning traffic contrary to the spirit and intention of the convention, either by making unfair discriminations or by imposing oppressive exactions or unreasonable tolls.
By Article VI. of the treaty the contracting parties entered into the following engagements:
“The contracting parties in this convention engage to invite every State with which both or either have friendly intercourse to enter into stipulations with them similar to those which they have entered into with each other, to the end that all other States may share in the honor 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 onlyödesired, 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 traftic 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 (XXXV.) in relation to the proposed canal, see 40 Brit. & For. St. Pap. 979, 1052. This treaty was signed by Mr. Squier, American chargé to Guatemala and Central America, and Señor Zepeda, on the part of
Nicaragua. The Hise-Selva convention was not approved either by the United States
or by Nicaragua, and was not submitted to the United States Senate. Nor was the treaty of September 3, 1849, so submitted. It was stated that the principal reason for not submitting it to the Senate was the circumstance that a particular company mentioned in Article XXXV., as having been chartered by Nicaragua to construct the canal, desired a modification of the contract. (Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State, to Mr. Carcache, Nicaraguan chargé d'affaires, Jan. 2 and Feb. 5, 1850, MS. Notes to Central America, I. 2, 3. See, also, Mr. Clayton, Sec. of State,
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 minister, 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, 1849, 40 Brit. & For. St. Pap. 953; Correspondence (1885), 201,
where the date is erroneously given as September 15.) See, also, Mr. Crampton to Lord Palmerston, Oct. 1, and Oct. 15, 1819, 40
Brit. & For. St. Pap. 955–961. September 24, 1849, Mr. W. C. Rives, minister to France, who, owing to
the departure of Mr. Bancroft from London and the temporary postponement of the departure of his successor, Mr. Abbott Lawrence, for that capital, was requested to stop on his way to Paris and confer with the British Government, had an interview with Lord Palmerston, in which he expressed, under instructions from Mr. Clayton, the view that the two governments should come to an understanding with each other on the basis of the free use and neutralization of the canal. (Mr. Rives
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, 1849, 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, 1819, saying that the British Government had no selfish or exclusive views in regard to a communication by canal or railway across the Isthmus from sea to sea. (40
Brit. & For. St. Pap. 961, 962.) See, also, Mr. Crampton to Lord Palmerston, Nov. 4, 1849, 40 Brit. & For.
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, 1849, 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