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39.-Statement of Lord Clarendon for Mr. Buchanan.
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 Republics," and now existing as five separate republies; 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 the first article 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.
To 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 Hon. W. N. 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.
40.—Remarks by Mr. Buchanan in reply to Lord Clarendon's statement of
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
London, July 22, 1854.
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 dif ferent kinds, the fruits, and other produce in their natural state," fully recognizing that the former "Spanish sovereignty over the country" belongs either to Guatemala or to Mexico.
In conclusion, the Government of the United States most cordially and earnestly unites in the desire expressed by "Her Majesty's Government, not only to maintain the convention of 1850 intact, but to consolidate and strengthen it by strengthening and consolidating the friendly relations which it was calculated to cement and perpetuate." Under these mutual feelings it is deeply to be regretted that the two governments entertain opinions so widely different in regard to its true effect and meaning.
41.—Decree of the President of Nicaragua annulling the grant to the American Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company.
Whereas the Republic of Nicaragua, on the 22d day of September, 1849 (one thousand eight hundred and forty-nine), granted to the American Atlantic and Pacific Canal Company certain rights and privileges, were subsequently modified by decree of the 11 day of April, 1850 (one thousand eight hundred and fifty), and whereas, in consideration of said rights and privileges, said company agreed to construct a ship-canal across the territory of said republic from the port of San Juan de Nicaragua to the port of Realejo, Gulf of Fonseca, Tamarinda, San Juan del Sud, or any of the points on the Pacific Ocean which the engineers of the company might decide upon, or in case that the construction and completion of said canal or any point of it should become impossible, by any unforeseen event or insurmountable obstacle of nature, to construct a railroad or rail & carriage road and water communication between the two oceans; and
Whereas the said American Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company have not constructed the said canal or commenced the same, but, on the contrary, has abandoned the undertaking and declared it impracticable, and have also failed to construct a railroad or rail and carriage road, as they agreed to do; and
Whereas the said American Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company was bound by the terms of said charter to pay the Republic of Nicaragua ten thousand dollars annually, and ten per cent. on the net profits of any route the company might establish between the two oceans during the time allotted for the completion of the canal and in furtherance thereof; and
Whereas the said American Atlantic and Pacific Canal Company have failed to pay annually said ten thousand dollars, together with the said ten per cent. net profits, falsely and fraudulently alleging that no profits were made and commission due; and
Whereas, by the said charter, it was stipulated that, for the purpose of settling all matters in dispute between the state and the company, commissioners should be appointed by the state on the one part and the company on the other; and
Whereas, on the 12th day of September, 1855 (one thousand eight hundred and fifty-five), the Republic of Nicaragua notified the said company to appoint commissioners under the charter, and the said company expressly refused the same; and
Whereas, by decree of the 9th day of March, 1850 (one thousand eight hundred and fifty), the said company was made a body politic and corporate, with perpetual succession, by the name and description of "The American Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company"; and
Whereas, on the 14th day of August, 1851 (one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one), the Republic of Nicaragua, with the sole object of facilitating the maritime canal, and in accordance with the desires expressed by the company of said canal to divide and separate from the contract of 22d September, 1849 (one thousand eight hundred and fortynine), the part therein relating to the navigation by steam of the waters of Nicaragua, did constitute a new company, designated by the name of "Accessory Transit Company," and consisting of the same persons comprising the American Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company, and subject to the same obligations: Now, therefore,
The supreme provisional Government of Nicaragua, in virtue of the faculties,
1. The grant to the American Atlantic and Pacific Canal Company, of date 22d September, 1849 (one thousand eight hundred and fortynine), and the modifications thereof, made 11th day of April, 1850 (one thousand eight hundred and fifty), and all the privileges therein contained, are revoked and annulled; the acts of incorporation of said company, of date 9th day of March, 1850 (one thousand eight hundred and fifty), and of the "Accessory Transit Company," of date 14 day of August, 1851 (one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one), are annulled, and the said American Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company and Accessory Transit Company are dissolved and abolished, except for the purposes hereinafter mentioned.
2. Señor Don Cleto Mayorga, Señor Don Eduardo I. C. Kewen, and Señor Don George F. Alden (any two of whom may act) are hereby appointed a board of commissioners, with full powers to examine, liqui date, and ascertain the amount due by the said American Atlantic and Pacific Canal Company and Accessory Transit Company to the state, with full powers to send for persons and papers, and to enforce respect and obedience to all their orders and decrees.
3. The said board shall proceed at once to discharge these duties, and for this purpose shall notify the agent of the companies residing in Nicaragua to appear before them forthwith, to give all evidence that may be required of them, and with the privilege to defend the interest of their principals.
4. The said companies shall be considered still in existence for the purpose of conducting this examination, and for the purpose of being held collectively responsible for such sum as may be ascertained to be due to the state, but for no other.
5. For the purpose of securing the payment of such amount the said board find due, they are hereby commanded to cause all the property of said companies to be seized forthwith and held by responsible persons, subject to the order of said board.
6. That the transit of passengers across this isthmus may suffer no interruption the board are authorized to deliver to such responsible persons as may make application all the said property so seized upon their executing a bond in a sum one-fourth greater than its appraised value, and with the conditions that the same shall be forthcoming when called for by the said board, and that the undertakers in the bond shall continue to transport the passengers who may arrive on the side of the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans, and the expenses of transporting said passengers shall be charged against the said companies.
7. Before allowing the said property to be bonded the board shall cause the same to be fairly approved by three competent persons appointed for the purpose.
8. The board shall proceed summarily and with dispatch, and on determining the amount due from the companies to the state shall report their proceedings immediately to the government.
9. The compensation of the board of commissioners, as well as of the board of appraisers, by them appointed, will be hereafter determined. 10. Let this be communicated to the proper authorities. Given at Granada the 18th day of February, 1856.
42.—Additional article to the treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation between Great Britain and Honduras, signed at London, August 27, 1856.
Inasmuch as a contract was entered into by the Government of Honduras, and a company entitled "The Honduras Interoceanic Railway Company," for the construction of a railway from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans through the territories of Honduras, which contract was ratified by the constitutional powers of the state, and proclaimed as a law on the 28th day of April, 1854; and inasmuch as by the terms of Article V, section 6, of the said contract, "the Government of Honduras, with a view to secure the route herein contemplated from all interruption and disturbance, from any cause or under any circumstances, engages to open negotiations with the various governments with which it may have relations, for their separate recognition of the perpetual neutrality, and for the protection of the aforesaid route: " Therefore, in order to carry out the obligation thus incurred,
1. The Government of Honduras agrees that the right of way or transit over such route or road, or any other that may be constructed through its territories, from sea to sea, shall be at all times open and free to the Government and subjects of Great Britain, for all lawful purposes whatever. No tolls, duties, or charges of any kind shall be imposed by the Government of Honduras on the transit of property belonging to the Government of Great Britain, or on the public mails sent under the authority of the same, nor on the subjects of the British Crown. All lawful produce, manufuctures, merchandise, or other property belonging to subjects of Great Britain, passing from one ocean to the other, in either direction, shall be subject to no import or export duties whatever, nor to any discriminating tolls or charges for conveyance or transit on any such route or road as aforesaid, and shall be secure and protected from all interruption and detention on the part of the state.
The Republic of Honduras further agrees that any other privilege or advantage, commercial or other, which is or may be granted to the subjects or citizens of any other country in regard to any such route or road as aforesaid, shall be also and at the same time extended to British subjects; and, finally, as an evidence of its disposition to accord to the travel and commerce of the world all the advantages resulting from its position in regard to the two great oceans, the Republic of Honduras, of her own good will, engages to establish the ports at the extremities of the contemplated road as free ports for all the purposes of commerce and trade.
2. In consideration of these concessions, and in order to secure the construction and permanence of the route or road herein contemplated, and also to secure for the benefit of mankind the uninterrupted advantages of such communication from sea to sea, Her Britannic Majesty recognizes the rights of sovereignty and property of Honduras in and over the line of the said road, and for the same reason guarantees, positively and efficaciously, the entire neutrality of the same so long as Great Britain shall enjoy the privileges conceded to it in the preceding section of this article. And when the proposed road shall have been completed Her Britannic Majesty equally engages, in conjunction with the Republic of Honduras, to protect the same from interruption, seizure, or unjust confiscation from whatsoever quarter the attempt may proceed. Nevertheless, Her Britannic Majesty, in according her protection to the said route or road, and guaranteeing its neutrality and security