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abundant demonstration that no trans-isthmian telegraphic communication now exists such as was contemplated and falls under the necessary guaranties of the treaty of 1846. That instrument guaranties to us 'equal, tranquil, and constant use of whatever means of transit are provided for correspondence,' and the telegraph is assuredly the most important and useful of all such means.'
Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Maury, min. to Colombia, Feb. 25, 1887,
For. Rel. 1888, I. 405.
Company, see Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Becerra, Colombian
Telegraph Co., Feb. 6, 1886, 158 MS. Dom. Let. 669.
the telegraph line across the Isthmus, the Colombian minister of for-
April 19, 1850, Mr. John M. Clayton, Secretary of State, and Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, British minister at Washington, signed at that capital a treaty, the object of which was in the preamble declared to be to set forth and fix in a convention the “views and intentions” of the contracting parties “with reference to any means of communication by ship canal which may be constructed between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by the way of the river San Juan de Nicaragua, and either or both of the lakes of Nicaragua or Managua, to any port or place on the Pacific Ocean."
By Article I. of the treaty it was provided as follows:
“The Governments of the United States and Great Britain 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 erect or maintain any fortifications commanding the same, or in the vicinity thereof, or occupy, or fortify, or colonize, or assume or exercise any dominion over Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito coast, or any part of Central America; nor will either make use of any protection which either affords or may afford, or any alliance which either has or may have to or with any State or people for the purpose of erecting or maintaining any such fortifica. 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,
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 par· ties (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 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 information as to the nature and extent of the late British encroachments in Central America, particularly in the Mosquito territory and Belize, in order that the United States might decide up a course of policy. It was then reported that Great Britain had obtained possession of the harbor of San Juan de Nicaragua, or Greytown, with a view to obtain control of the route for a railroad or a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by way of Lake Nicaragua. Mr. Hise was prevented by illness and other causes from reaching Guatemala till a late period in Mr. Polk's administration, and before any dispatches were received from him Mr. Polk had ceased to be President. (H. Ex. Doc. 75, 31
Cong. 1 sess. 92–96; Curtis, Life of Buchanan, I. 620-623.) For an elaborate discussion of the Central American question, see Mr. Clay
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 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, 1849, 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, 1849, saying that the British Government had “no selfish or exclusive views in regard to a communi. cation 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.