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take place as soon as possible, either at Washington or at London, as may be deemed most convenient by you and Mr. Clayton.

After the convention shall have been signed and ratified, Her Majesty's Government will be happy to concert with the Government of the United States as to the mode and form in which the engagement contained in Article VI of the draft of convention shall be carried into effect; whether by treaties with other powers, comprising stipulations in harmony with those contained in the proposed convention between Great Britain and the United States, or by treaties of accession. If treaties of accession should be adopted, the convention should be annexed to each of such treaties, accompanied by an engagement to adopt the principles and stipulations therein recorded, so far as they may be applicable to the acceding power.

I am, &c.,



22. Decree of the director of Nicaragua of March 9, 1850, incorporating the American Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company.

Whereas the American Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company should be legally accredited in the state for the exercise of its functions in such a manner as not to meet with any embarrassment in the development and prosecution of the enterprise, and as it is indispensable that the government of the state should grant it all the means which are in its power for this object: Therefore, in virtue of its faculties, the government has resolved to decree, and does decree, the following act of incorporation:

First. The state of Nicaragua hereby makes, constitutes, and appoints Cornelius Vanderbilt, Joseph L. White, Nathaniel H. Wolfe, and their associates, whomsoever the same may be, now or hereafter, a body politic and corporate with perpetual succession, by the name and description of the American Atlantic and Pacific Ship-Canal Company, for the purpose of carrying into full effect the objects and purposes of the grant and charter heretofore made and given by said state to the aforesaid parties, in such manner and by such means as to them and their successors may seem proper, and not inconsistent with said grant and charter; and for such purpose the aforesaid parties and their successors are hereby invested with all necessary power and authority as a body corporate and politic.

Second. The said body corporate may, from time to time, in any manner which to them may seem proper, pass by-laws and adopt rules and regulations for the management and government of the said body corporate and its business, fix the amount of capital stock thereof, increase and regulate the subscriptions to the same, designate the number of shares and value thereof, define the mode of issuing, and issue the same, and provide for and regulate the manner of transferring the same, by themselves or their officers, and do all other acts and things which to them may seem necessary or proper, fully to execute and carry out the purposes of the said grant and charter.

Third. The said body politic and corporate may, from time to time, as it may determine, select a board of directors, and all other officers, and appoint agents and servants for the management of all the business and affairs of said company, which said board, when elected, as the said body corporate may provide, together with the president, shall be

invested with all the powers of the said body corporate, unless by the said body the same shall be limited or defined; and the said body corporate may provide by by-laws, or otherwise, for the number of directors, the manner and time of their election, and the duration of their term of office.

Fourth. The said body corporate and politic shall adopt a common seal, and may, from time to time, alter the same, and shall have power to sue and be sued to final judgment, plead and be impleaded, complain, answer, or respond in all the judicial tribunals of this state, to the same extent as a natural person and a citizen of the state.

Fifth. The capital stock of said body corporate, and all of their property, choses in action, rights and effects, shall at all times and forever be exempt from taxation, charge, or other burden or duty whatsoever, on the part of the state.

Let it be communicated to the company by the conduct of David L. White, and to the authorities and functionaries of the state whom it may concern.

Given in Leon, the 9th day of March, in the year 1850.

Supreme Director.


Secretary of Foreign Relations. SEBASTIAN SALINAS.

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No. 44.]

London, April 19, 1850.

SIR: There is on the eastern coast of Central America, between Cape Honduras on the north, and the San Juan River on the south (possibly extending as far even as Boca del Toro), a tract of low, swampy, unhealthy land of a various width, and rising in its western border into highlands and mountains. The lower part of this country has never been much occupied by Europeans in consequence of its insalubrity. The mountainous parts are said contain but little valu able mineral stores. At the time of the discovery by Columbus, and until within a comparatively recent period, it was inhabited by some fifteen or sixteen tribes of Indians, speaking different languages, and often at war with each other, and, among others, there was a tribe known as the Mosquitos (so called by the early voyagers from the abundance of moscas found on the coast), living between Cape Hondu*ras and Cape Gracias à Dios. They gradually overcame and almost exterminated the more southern tribes, aided, perhaps, by the buccaneers, and by degrees the name of Mosquito came to be applied to all living north of the Bluefields, and I think in all the discussions of the last century relating to the subject, the Mosquito country was never understood to extend far, if at all, below the river. It is now defined by Lord Palmerston as reaching to the San Juan River, embracing the northern bank so as to take in San Juan de Nicaragua (anglicized into Grey Town), and command the mouth of the river. In my opinion, it is quite immaterial where the royal geographers are directed to draw the line, as I am satisfied the whole claim is without just foundation. All the good maps of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries

French, Spanish, Dutch, and English-carry Honduras from coast to coast; Nicaragua the same, and fix the southern terminus of Mosquito shore at or near where I have indicated.

The character of the Indians at present occupying this country deserves notice, since Great Britain seeks to invest them with the attributes of an independent nation.

In the year 1836 one James Woods, a native of Ipswich, in the county of Suffolk, allured by the promises of an emigration company, set sail for Vera Pas. On his return in 1840 he published a sketch of his adventures in Central America to serve as a warning against similar companies. Among other places, he resided a while at Cape Gracios à Dios in charge of a store of provisions, rum, &c., &c. He says:

The rum was a dangerous thing in the store, for the Indians will kill a man for the sake of a glass of rum, and there were only five Europeans on the Cape. I had a demijohn of brandy for the Indian King, but he was gone up the river. He and his brother were taken from the Mosquito shore when young and carried to the Island of Jamaica, where they were taught to read and write the English language. After staying there for several years they were brought back to the Mosquito shore. One was made king, the other a general, and although brought up in a civilized state, yet they returned to the wild and savage state in which their people live, getting drunk and giving themselves up to the most disgusting habits. No sooner had the King heard I had a demijohn of brandy for him than he set out to return home. He went to the house of a Frenchman named Bouchet, who came down to the store and told me His Majesty wished to see me. I went up to the house, where the King was lying on a bed rather unwell. I made my compliments to him, and asked how he did; he told me he was very poorly, and that he wanted me to draw him a gallon of brandy. Accordingly I went down to the store and drew him a gallon, which I carried to him. He asked me to drink, and stay and dine with him, which I did. He told me that he loved me; replied, you love the brandy better; but I turned it off with a laugh, or he would have been offended with me. He staid for two or three days, and then left for Bluefields. These Indians far exceed all the Indians I have ever met with in lying, thieving, and everything that is disgusting. They are given up to idolatry, and lead an indolent life.


After giving details of their ignorance and barbarism, he adds: They are also great drunkards, and are never easy but when they are drunk." And of the English settlers on the shores, he says, they 66 are almost as bad as the natives, and live in almost as disgusting a manner." This strong picture, painted by an Englishman, is borne out by the personal relations of many other travelers.

The historical portion of this paper will relate not to Mosquito alone, but to Central America, from Tehuantepec to Panama. The naval and military operations of the Spaniards were so extensive, their conquests were so complete, and their settlements were so rapid and numerous, that it is impossible to separate the conquest and colonization of that part of Nicaragua and Honduras called the Mosquito coast from the subjugation and settlement of that portion of them to the west of the indefinite line swaying across their interior at the will of the foreign office.


I am left, therefore, in this connection, only to show that Spain discovered Central America and occupied it. I believe that she did much more that she discovered, circumvallated, explored, conquered, settled, retained possession of, and governed it, with only such interference as the rudeness of the times permitted, or rather could not prevent.

The principal authorities for the early history of Central America are Oviedo, Peter Martyr, Gomara, Enciso, Cortes, Las Casas, Herrera, Torquemada, Remesal, Cogolludo, Wytfleit, De Saet, Ogilby, Villagutierre, Sanson, Moll, Jefferys, Navaretto, Juarros, Linschot, Boterro, Hakluyt, Purchas, Alcedo, &c., &c. I have caused all these to be carefully

examined and compared with many other writers, Spanish, English, Dutch, and French. The following facts are derived chiefly from the above sources:

Columbus in his fourth voyage first made land on the North American continent at Cape Honduras, near the present town of Truxillo, on the 17th of August, 1502, and thence proceeding easterly, shortly afterwards entered the mouth of Black River, and in accordance with his instructions landed and took formal possession of the country, in the presence of the unresisting natives, in the name of the crown of Castile. In the early Spanish maps this river is called the Rio del Possession, a name given to it by Columbus himself in commemoration of this event. He next touched and took possession at Cape Gracios à Dios, where he remained a short time, holding friendly intercourse with the natives, whom he described more favorably than he did their country. Thence he coasted leisurely southward toward Veragua, communicating often with the inhabitants, and touching particularly at the Bluefields River, and at the mouth of the San Juan.

The results of this voyage being known in Spain, expeditions were fitted out at different times under various commanders, which reconnoi. tered thoroughly the entire coast from Darien to the Bay of Honduras, penetrating even to the extremity of Gulf of Dolce, and thence along the coast of Yucatan. Much intercourse was held with the natives, and every river and bay was penetrated to find the supposed strait to the land beyond the Ganges, for this country was then believed to be an island, or part of India, and the Spaniards were not fully disabused of the idea until the discovery of the Pacific by Balboa in 1512. After this event expeditions sailed from year to year along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, with the double purpose of discovering the supposed passage connecting the two oceans, and of exploring, conquering, and settling the country, and so rapidly were the latter objects accomplished that by the year 1530, not only the Pacific coast from Panama to the Gulf of Fonsecas had been reconnoitered, but the interior from Tehuantepec to Veragua had been crossed and recrossed; many tribes of Indians had been subjected, and towns had been built under the commands of the two d'Avilas Olid, Francis de Las Casas, Cortes, Alvarado, Gringalsa, Cordova, Roxis, Montejo, &c. From the nature of the country, as I have already described it, the principal settlements were made near the Pacific coast, but the Spaniards did not neglect to consummate their title on the eastern shore, Truxillo, Omoa, and other towns on the bay of Honduras were founded in 1524. Roxis attempted a settlement at Cape Gracios à Dios in 1530, which he found impracticable from the nature of the country. Merida was founded in 1542; Valladolid in 1526, and rebuilt in 1543; Campeche in 1540, and in the interior many towns were built (as Olancho, Comajagua, Segovia, &c. Before 1530 the greater proportion of the very numerous tribes of Indians were subjected to the Spanish authorities either by the military or the ecclesiastical power, for, after the coming of Las Casas, the missionaries did nearly as much as the soldiers in controlling the aborigines. Nicaragua and Honduras are reported to have been most densely populated at the time of the discovery; but scarcely half a century had elapsed before nearly nine-tenths of the natives had faded away before their bloody conquerors. As early as 1524, Cortes wrote to the Emperor Charles V that only two of the many tribes of Honduras remained unconquered. Shortly after these yielded to the power of Alvarado. Some fled to the mountains, and the country now known as Mosquito, where they remained unmolested, protected by their own weakness, and by the want of mineral wealth in the soil on which

they had taken refuge. They were shielded too by a still stronger arm. Spain, ever jealous of the interference of other European powers in her traffic, left the region unsettled to be a barrier between the Atlantic and the golden regions of the West. But though she neglected to cultivate she never neglected to protect and defend. Guarda costa were early established, to protect the coast, and watch over the argosies, as they set sail for the old world.

The natives of Mosquito were thenceforward constantly under the influence both of the Franciscan and Dominican orders of missionaries. From 1575 to a very late period, Spanish missionaries have almost always resided, by order of the government, among the numerous tribes of Mosquito. Sometimes as many as twenty at a time were there exerting a great influence in softening the barbarity of those savage tribes. It is true that many of them were subjected to the most revolting cruelties, and suffered death itself, yet in almost every instance these were caused by the hostilities and treacheries of these warlike tribes among themselves, and not, as the English writers assert, by their hatred of the Spanish yoke. The missionary was destroyed, not by the tribes with which he lived, but by its enemies. Fortunately the histories of the Franciscan and Dominican orders give ample details of these extraordinary missions.

I think I have now established all I promised with reference to the discovery, conquest, and settlement of this country by Spain. It is not to be conceded, however, that the exaggerated accounts of her wealth and the value of her commerce soon attracted hostile parties to these shores, who in process of time increased in power, and became the foundation for claims adverse to her territorial rights on the Mosquito coast. This brings me to a notice of the buccaneers, or pirates of the West Indies.

The early buccaneers were composed of English, French, Dutch, and Portuguese adventurers. The private enterprises of Drake and his cotemporaries are well known. Like all other buccaneer adventurers for half a century later, they were directed against the Spaniards, only because Spain was the wealthiest and most commercial nation, and therefore the best object of plunder. During time of war (and it should be borne in mind that Spain was almost constantly at war with some European pover) these pirates managed to get from unscrupulous governments letters of reprisal, and sometimes sailed under English, sometimes under French, sometimes under Dutch, and sometimes under Portuguese commissions, as the case might be. Spain treated them all alike as pirates. England, in those days, so far from availing herself of their acts, disclaimed them. The Spanish ambassador at London repeatedly remonstrated against their depredations, and was always met with a disavowal. By the time of Cromwell they had become very numerous. Spain increased her guarda costa, and sought to protect herself by destroying them, but this only served to unite all shades and nations together under a kind of piratical republic of the sea. Meanwhile England, France, and Holland had each gained a footing in the West Indies. The pirates had grown so numerous that no power was exempted from their depredations. England felt their influence and was about negotiating with Spain for their overthrow, when the difficulties between Charles and his Parliament interfered to prevent. When the negotiations were renewed with Cromwell he put off the conclusion of a treaty till he could secure some conquest in the West Indies, and dispatched secretly an expedition against Cuba, which, failing in its object, won Jamaica in 1655 to English dominion. Then England of

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