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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 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. YV. 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 plenipotentiary, has received her majesty's instructions to declare that her majesty does not understand the engagements of that convention to apply to her majesty's settlement at Honduras, or to its dependencies. Her majesty's ratification of the said convention is exchanged under the explicit declaration above mentioned. “Done at Washington the 29th day of June, 1850.
“II. L. BULWER.”
Memorandum touching Sir Henry Bulwer's declaration filed by Mr.
Clayton in the Department of State at Washington, July 5, 1850.
“DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
“Washington, July 5, 1850. “The within declaration of Sir H. L. Bulwer was received by me on the 29th day of June, 1850. In reply, I wrote him my note of the 4th of July, acknowledging that I understood British Honduras was not embraced in the treaty of the 19th day of April last; but at the same time carefully declining to affirm or deny the British title in their settlement or its alleged dependencies. After signing my note last night, I delivered it to Sir Henry, and we immediately proceeded, without any further or other action, to exchange the ratifications of said treaty. The blank in the declaration was never filled up.
The consent of the Senate to the declaration was not required, and the treaty was ratified as it stood when it was made.
“JOHN M. CLAYTON. “N. B.—The rights of no Central American State have been compromised by the treaty or by any part of the negotiations.”
For the text of Mr. Clayton's note to Sir H. L. Bulwer of July 4, 1850, see
H. Ex. Doc. 1, 34 Cong. 1 sess. 119. The essential part of the note is quoted below, in Lord Clarendon's statement for Mr. Buchanan of May
2, 1854. When the declaration of Sir H. Bulwer, and the reply of Mr. Clayton, of
July 4, 1850, on the exchange of the ratifications of the treaty, were communicated with other papers to the Senate, a discussion took place, in which Mr. Cass bore the leading part. Mr. Cass denied the authority of Mr. King to speak for him, and offered a resolution instructing the Committee on Foreign Relations to inquire and report what measures, if any, should be taken by the Senate in regard to the correspondence. The committee reported that no measures were, in its opinion, neces
sary, and none were taken. (S. Rep. 407, 32 Cong. 2 sess.) See speech of Gen. Cass in the Senate, Jan. 11, 1854, Cong. Globe, 33 Cong.
1 sess., App., given in Smith's Life of Cass, 750. For Mr. Clayton's speech in the Senate, March 8 and 9, 1853, in which it is
maintained that Belize, or British Honduras, within its proper limits, originally constituted a part of Yucatan, and not of Central America,
see Cong. Globe, 32 Cong. 3 sess., App. 247. “It is believed that Great Britain has a qualified right over a tract of country called the Belize, from which she is not ousted by this treaty, because no part of that tract, when restricted to its proper limits, is within the boundaries of Central America."
Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Borland, min. to Central America, Dec. 30,
1853, Correspondence in Relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal *(Washington, 1885), 247.
“It was never in the contemplation of Her Majesty's Government, nor in that of the Government of the United States, that the treaty of 1850 should interfere in any way with Her Majesty's settlement at Belize or its dependencies.
“It was not necessary that this should have been particularly stated, inasmuch as it is generally considered that the term 'Central America'-a term of modern invention—could only appropriately apply to those States at one time united under the name of the ‘Central American Republic,' and now existing as five separate republics; but, in order that there should be no possible misconception at any future period relative to this point, the two negotiators, at the time of ratifying the treaty, exchanged declarations to the effect that neither of the Governments they represented had meant in such treaty to comprehend the settlement and dependencies in question.
“Mr. Clayton's declaration to Her Majesty's Government on this subject was ample and satisfactory, as the following extract from his note of July 4, 1850, will show:
"The language of Article I. of the convention concluded on the 19th day of April last, between the United States and Great Britain, describing the country not to be occupied, &c., by either of the parties, was, as you know, twice approved by the Government, and it was neither understood by them, nor by either of us (the negotiators), to include the British settlement in Honduras (commonly called British Honduras, as distinct from the State of Honduras), nor the small islands in the neighborhood of that settlement which may be known as its dependencies.
"6To this Settlement and these islands the treaty we negotiated was not intended by either of us to apply. The title to them it is now, and has been my intention throughout the whole negotiation, to leave as the treaty leaves it, without denying or affirming, or in any way meddling with the same, just as it stood previously.
“The chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Honorable W. R. King, informs me that the Senate perfectly understood that the treaty did not include British Honduras.'
“Such having been the mutual understanding as to the exception of the settlement of Belize and its dependencies from the operation of the treaty, the only question relative to this settlement and its dependencies in reference to the treaty, that can now arise, is as to what is the settlement of Belize and its dependencies, or, in other words, as to what is British Honduras and its dependencies.
“Her Majesty's Government certainly understood that the settlement of Belize, as here alluded to, is the settlement of Belize as established in 1850; and it is more warranted in this conclusion from the fact that the United States had, in 1847, sent a consul to this settlement, which consul had received his exequatur from the British Government; a circumstance which constitutes a recognition by the United States Government of the settlement of British Honduras under Her Majesty as it then existed.
"Her Majesty's Government at once states this, because it perceives that Mr. Buchanan restricts the said settlement within the boundaries to which it was confined by the treaty of 1786; whilst Her Majesty's Government not only has to repeat that the treaties with Old Spain cannot be held, as a matter of course, to be binding with respect to all the various detached portions of the old Spanish-American monarchy, but it has also to observe that the treaty of 1786 was put an end to by a subsequent state of war between Great Britain and Spain; that during that war the boundaries of the British settlement in question were enlarged; and that when peace was re-established between Great Britain and Spain, no treaty of a political nature, or relating to territorial limits, revived those treaties between Great Britain and Spain which had previously existed.
“Her Majesty's Government, in stating this fact, declares distinctly, at the same time, that it has no projects of political ambition or aggrandizement with respect to the settlement referred to; and that it will be its object to come to some prompt, fair, and amicable arrangement with the states in the vicinity of British Honduras for regulating the limits which should be given to it, and which shall not henceforth be extended beyond the boundaries now assigned to them.”
Statement of Lord Clarendon for Mr. Buchanan, May 2, 1854, 46 Br. & For.
State Papers, 267; H. Ex. Doc. 1, 34 Cong. 1 sess. 89.
“In regard to Belize proper, confined within its legitimate boundaries, under the treaties of 1783 and 1786, and limited to the usufruct specified in these treaties, it is necessary to say but a few words. The Government of the United States will not, for the present, insist upon the withdrawal of Great Britain from this settlement, provided all the other questions between the two Governments concerning Central America can be amicably adjusted. It has been influenced to pursue this course, partly by the declaration of Mr. Clayton, of the 4th of July, 1850, but mainly in consequence of the extension of the license granted by Mexico to Great Britain under the treaty of 1826, which that Republic has yet taken no steps to terminate.
“It is, however, distinctly to be understood that the Government of the United States acknowledge no claim of Great Britain within Belize, except the temporary liberty of making use of the wood of the different kinds, the fruits and other produce in their natural state,' fully