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* Resolved, "That the President of the United States be respectfully
requested to consider the expediency of opening negoSenate resolution,
tiations with thegovernments of other nations, and par1835.
ticularly with the governments of Central America and New Granada, for the purpose of effectually protecting, by suitable treaty stipulations with them, such individuals or companies as may undertake to open a communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, by the construction of a ship canal across the isthmus which connects North and South America, and of securing forever, by such stipulations, the free and equal right of navigating such canal to all such nations, on the payment of such reasonable tolls as may be established, to compensate the capitalists who may engage in such undertaking and complete the work."
Resolution of the Senate of the United States, adopted March 3, 1835. (Sen
ate Journal, 23 Cong. 2 sess. 238.) In order to comply with this resolution, President Jackson appointed Mr.
Charles Biddle to make an investigation of transit routes. Mr. Biddle's instructions bear date May 1, 1835, and are signed by Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State. They directed him to proceed to the San Juan River and ascend it to Lake Nicaragua, and then to go “by the contemplated route of communication by canal or railroad to the Pacific Ocean.” He was then to repair to Guatemala and procure copies of any laws passed to incorporate companies to carry the undertaking into effect, of any conventions entered into with foreign powers on the subject, and of any plans, surveys or estimates in relation to it. From Guatemala he was to proceed to Panama and make inquiries concerning the proposed railway across the isthmus and examine the route. He was then to repair to Bogota, and obtain any public documents relating to the proposed railway, and particularly a copy of the law of May 22, 1834, relating to it, a translation of which accompanied his instructions. (Mr. Forsyth, Sec. of Sta'e, to Mr. Biddle, special agent, May 1, 1835, MS. Inst. Special Missions, I. 126.) See, also, Mr. Forsyth, Sec. of State, to Mr. De Witt, chargé d'affaires at Guatemala,
May 1, 1835, MS. Inst. Am. States, XV. 16. “ Your despatches nos. 9 & 10, reached me on the 25th ultimo, with ref
erence to Lord Palmerston's note of the 19th of October last, requesting information relative to Colonel Biddle. I have to state that the only appointment ever held by him under this Government was an informal agency to make inquiries in Spanish America,-in pursuance of a resolution of the Senate dated 3d March, 1835,-into the existing state of the projects for uniting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Isthmus of Darien. Having executed this commission, Colonel Biddle returned to the United States in September last, and has since died at Philadelphia. If he has recently visited Europe, as is supposed by Lord Palmerston, for any purpose, either public or private, the fact is unknown to this Department. The above information, should it be deemed of sufficient interest, you are at liberty to communicate to Lord Palmerston. Probably the British minister wishes to have some information on the subject of the grant which, it is said, Colonel Biddle, associated with certain Colombian citizens, and British subjects, has obtained from the Colombian Government to open a communication across the Isthmus
of Darien by steamboats and railroad. In that grant this Government
the United States at Bogota, “to disclaim all connection with the proj-
App., vol. 27, p. 251.) “ Territories or portions of territory belonging to a state other than those
to which a permanent and conventional neutrality is assured, may, by an international act or in an international interest, be sheltered from acts of war. Such are said to be neutralized. This neutrality or neutralization bears only on the territory, on the soil, and exercises no direct influence on the generality of rights of the sovereign territorial state, nor on the population." (Rivier, Principes du Droit des Gens, I. 162.)
In 1839, the canal question was taken up in the House of Represent
atives, on a memorial of merchants of New York and House resolution,
Philadelphia, on which an elaborate report was made 1839.
by Mr. Mercer, from the Committee on Roads and Canals. The report in conclusion proposed a resolution that the President should be requested “to consider the expediency of opening or continuing negotiations with the governments of other nations, and particularly with those the territorial jurisdiction of which comprehends the Isthmus of Panama, and to which the l'nited States have accredited ministers or agents, for the purpose of ascertaining the practicability of effecting a communication between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, by the construction of a ship canal across the isthmus, and of securing forever, by suitable treaty stipulations, the free and equal right of navigating such canal to all nations.” This resolution was unanimously agreed to by the House. Cong. Globe, 32 Cong. 3 sess., App., vol. 27, p. 251. See Message of Presi
dent Van Buren, March 12, 1838, with report of Mr. Forsyth, Sec. of State, and accompanying correspondence, in relation to the expediency of opening negotiations with other nations with a view to the construction of a ship canal across the Isthmus of Darien. (H. Ex. Doc, 228,
25 Cong. 2 sess.) “The progress of events has rendered the interoceanic routes across
the narrow portions of ('entral America vastly imporDuty of local sov
tant to the commercial world, and especially to the ereign.
United States, whose possessions extending along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts demand the speediest and easiest modes of communication. While the just rights of sovereignty of the States occupying this region should always be respected, we shall expect that these rights will be exercised in a spirit befitting the occasion and the wants and circumstances that have arisen. Sovereignty has its duties as well as its rights, and none of these local governments, even if administered with more regard to the just demands of other nations than they have been, would be permitted, in a spirit of Eastern isolation, to close these gates of intercourse on the great highways of the world, and justify the act by the pretension that these avenues of trade and travel belong to them, and that they choose to shut them, or, what is almost equivalent, to encumber them with such anjust regulations as would prevent their general use."
Mr. Cass, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lamar, min. to Cent. Am., July 25, 1858,
Correspondence in relation to the Proposed Interoceanic Canal (Washington, 1885), 281.
II. ISTHMUS OF PANAMA.
1. ARTICLE XXXV., TREATY OF 1846.
“The United States of America and the Republic of New Granada, desiring to make as durable as possible the relations which are to be established between the two parties by virtue of this treaty, have declared solemnly, and do agree to the following points:
“1st. For the better understanding of the preceding articles, it is and has been stipulated between the high contracting parties, that the citizens, vessels and merchandise of the United States shall enjoy in the ports of New Granada, including those of the part of the Granadian territory generally denominated Isthmus of Panama, from its southernmost extremity until the boundary of Costa Rica, all the exemptions, privileges and immunities concerning commerce and navigation, which are now or may hereafter be enjoyed by Granadian citizens, their vessels and merchandise; and that this equality of favors shall be made to extend to the passengers, correspondence and merchandise of the United States, in their transit across the said territory, from one sea to the other. The Government of New Granada guarantees to the Government of the United States that the right of way or transit across the Isthmus of Panama upon any modes of communication that now exist, or that may be hereafter constructed, shall be open and free to the Government and citizens of the United States, and for the transportation of any articles of produce, manufactures or merchandise, of lawful commerce, belonging to the citizens of the United States; that no other tolls or charges shall be levied or collected upon the citizens of the United States, or their said merchandise thus passing over any road or canal that may be made by the Government of New Granada, or by the authority of the same, than is, under like circumstances, levied upon and collected from the Granadian citizens; that any lawful produce, manufactures or merchandise belonging to citizens of the United States, thus passing from one sea to the other, in either direction, for the purpose of exportation to any other foreign country, shall not be liable to any import duties whatever; or, having paid such duties, they shall be entitled to drawback upon their exportation; nor shall the citizens of the United States be liable to any duties, tolls or charges of any kind, to which native citizens are not subjected for thus passing the said Isthmus. And, in order to secure to themselves the tranquil and constant enjoyment of these advantages, and as an especial compensation for the said advantages, and for the favors they have acquired by the 4th, 5th, and 6th articles of this treaty, the United States guarantee, positively and efficaciously, to New Granada, by the present stipulation, the perfect neutrality of the before-mentioned isthmus, with the view that the free transit from the one to the other sea may not be interrupted or embarrassed in any future time while this treaty exists; and, in consequence, the United States also guarantee, in the same manner, the rights of sovereignty and property which New Granada has and possesses over the said territory.
“2d. The present treaty shall remain in full force and vigor for the term of twenty years from the day of the exchange of the ratifications; and from the same day the treaty that was concluded between the United States and Colombia, on the thirteenth of October, 1824, shall cease to have effect, notwithstanding what was disposed in the first point of its 31st article.
"3d. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if neither party notifies to the other its intention of reforming any of, or all, the articles of this treaty twelve months before the expiration of the twenty years stipulated above, the said treaty shall continue binding on both parties beyond the said twenty years, until twelve months from the time that one of the parties notifies its intention of proceeding to a reform.
" 4th. If any one or more of the citizens of either party shall infringe any of the articles of this treaty, such citizens shall be held personally responsible for the same, and the harmony and good correspondence between the nations shall not be interrupted thereby; each party engaging in no way to protect the offender, or sanction such violation.
"5th. If unfortunately any of the articles contained in this treaty should be violated or infringed in any way whatever, it is expressly stipulated that neither of the two contracting parties shall ordain or authorize any acts of reprisal, nor shall declare war against the other on complaints of injuries or damages, until the said party considering itself offended shall have laid before the other a statement of such injuries or damages, verified by competent proofs, demanding justice and satisfaction, and the same shall have been denied, in violation of the laws and of international right.
“6th. Any special or remarkable advantages that one or the other power may enjoy from the foregoing stipulation, are and ought to be always understood in virtue and as in compensation of the obligations they have just contracted, and which have been specified in the first number of this article."
Art. 35, treaty between the United States and New Granada (now Republic
of Colombia), Dec. 12, 1846. (Treaties and Conventions, 204–5.) The treaty was approved by the United States Senate, June 3, 1848, by the
following vote: Yeas-Messrs. Atchison, Atherton, Badger, Bagby, Benton, Berrien, Bor
land, Bradbury, Bright. Butler, Calhoun, Davis of Mississippi, Dickin-
Miller, and Upham-7. (Exec. Journal, VII. 424.)
informed me that a protracted debate would have arisen on the 35th
MS. Inst. Colombia, XV. 112.)
changes the United States of Colombia and later the Republic of Colom-
of the treaty of 1846. The ratifications of the treaty were exchanged June 10, 1848; and, as appears
by the text of art. 35, it was to remain in force twenty years and thereafter, subject to its being “reformed " in the manner therein pointed out. Jan. 23, 1867, Gen. Salgar, the Colombian minister in Washington, stated in a note that he had been instructed to enter on a negotiation for the modification of the treaty. It does not appear, however, that the proposed discussion ever took place, and the two governments concurred in the view that the treaty remained in force. (Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Perez, Colombian min., Feb. 8, 1871; Mr. Perez to Mr. Fish, Feb. 13, 1871, and April 15, 1871; Mr. Fish to Mr. Perez, May 27,
1871: For. Rel. 1871, 243–248.) See report of Mr. Buchanan. Sec. of State, May 7, 1846, with correspondence
with United States ministers abroad on the subject of a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama, and a paper by Mr. Henry Wheaton on water communication between Europe and the East Indies via Egypt and the Red Sea, and between the Atlantic and Pacific via Tehuantepec, Nicaragua, Darien, and Rio Atrato and Rio Choco. (S. Ex. Doc. 339, 29 Cong. 1 sess.)
(1) PRESIDENT POLK'S MESSAGE.
“I transmit to the Senate, for their advice with regard to its ratifi. cation, “A general treaty of peace, amity, navigation and commerce between the United States of America and the Republic of New