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33.-Mr. Lawrence to Mr. Webster.

No. 188.]

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your dispatch, No. 77, of 14th of May.

I rejoice to learn that Mr. Crampton and yourself have agreed upon and signed a proposition to Costa Rica and Nicaragua for the adjustment of their disputes upon the subject of boundary, and also for the adjustment of the controversy between Great Britain and Nicaragua in regard to the territory claimed by the Mosquito Indians. I hope Nicaragua will accept the proposition, of which, however, I entertain some doubt.

I am not acquainted with the terms of the proposition, nor, indeed, do I deem them of great importance, so that they guarantee perfect safety against aggressions upon the rights of the several parties interested, and prevent collisions between the United States and Great Britain.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, London, June 8, 1852. (Received June 26.)

With respect to the construction of the canal, I have often expressed my anxious desire that all questions touching the Mosquito Indians and the disputes between Nicaragua and Costa Rica should be definitively settled, in order that the canal company might be organized and the work commenced. In December last, Messrs. Vanderbilt and White wrote to me and to several other persons in London that the report of Colonel Childs would be completed and sent here in February of this year. The report, however, did not arrive, nor do I know the cause of its being delayed. Messrs. Fox, Henderson & Co., after waiting several weeks for it, concluded to send out a corps of engineers on their own account to survey a route between Port Escoces and the Gulf of San Miguel (and perhaps other routes) for a canal. It was proposed to send a British and United States engineer to report upon their surveys, and Lord Malmesbury appointed one on the part of the British Government, who was on the point of embarking for Washington, when, from some cause which his lordship said he would explain, it was decided not to send an engineer. I believe I have already communicated these facts to you. I hope the report of Colonel Childs may soon arrive, as the abundance of money is such as to make the present time favorable for the organization of a company and placing the stock in the hands of capitalists.

I have great confidence in the skill, judgment, and integrity of Colonel Childs; and the fact that Colonels Abert and Turnbull have verified his report will give confidence at home and abroad. I hope the report may be submitted to an examination here in order that a like feeling may be produced and strengthened in this government and people.

There is an understanding among those who have taken a deep interest in this work, that one-half of the stock should be offered to capitalists here, and the remainder to capitalists in the United States, and in case either party declined or did not subscribe for their full amount the other party should have a right to that portion remaining unsubscribed, or the whole if there were no subscriptions. The details, however, of organization must all be left to the proprietors.

I repeat the desire that Colonel Childs' report (and the colonel himself) may be here at an early day, and have, &c.


34.-Mr. Lawrence to Mr. Webster.


No. 194.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, London, July 2, 1852. (Received July 16.) SIR: * I have the honor to transmit also a copy of a note from the Earl of Malmesbury acquainting me with the appointment on the part of Her Majesty's Government of two engineers to examine the report of Colonel Childs respecting the ship canal which it is proposed to construct through the territory of Nicaragua from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, together with a copy of my reply thereto. Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich and Mr. James Walker, the gentlemen appointed to this service, are eminent in their profession, and any opinion emanating from them will be received by the public with the fullest confidence in their ability and integrity.




I have, &c.,


Earl of Malmesbury to Mr. Lawrence.

The Earl of Malmesbury presents his compliments to Mr. Lawrence, and with reference to his letter of the 16th instant, inclosing Colonel Childs' report respecting the ship-canal which it is proposed to construct through the territory of Nicaragua, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and suggesting the appointment of two competent engineers to examine that report, has the honor to inform Mr. Lawrence that Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich, of the Royal Engineers, and Mr. James Walker, the eminent civil engineer, have been appointed by Her Majesty's Government to examine Colonel Childs' report.

Lord Malmesbury begs to add that he has requested the master general of the ordnance to direct Colonel Aldrich to place himself in immediate communication with Mr. Walker, and to proceed to the investigation with the least possible delay. FOREIGN OFFICE, June 30, 1852.

138 Piccadilly, July 2, 1852.

Mr. Lawrence to Earl of Malmesbury.

Mr. Lawrence presents his compliments to the Earl of Malmesbury and begs to acknowledge the reception of his lordship's note of the 30th instant, acquainting Mr. Lawrence with the appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich, of the Royal Engineers, and Mr. James Walker, the eminent civil engineer, to examine the report of Colonel Childs, respecting the ship-canal which it is proposed to construct through the territory of Nicaragua from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Mr. Lawrence begs to assure the Earl of Malmesbury of his entire satisfaction at this intelligence, and to express his sense of his lordship's courtesy in expediting the investigation.


35.-Proclamation of the organization of the British colony of the Bay Islands, July 17, 1852.


Belize, July 17, 1852.

This is to give notice that Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen has been pleased to constitute and make the islands of Roatan, Bonacca,

S. Ex. 194-7

Utilla, Barbarat, Helene, and Morat, to be a colony to be known and designated as "The Colony of the Bay Islands."

Acting Colonial Secretary.

God save the Queen!

36.-Mr. Lawrence to Mr. Webster.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, London, August 13, 1852. (Received August 27.)

No. 198.]

SIR: I have the honor to inclose a further correspondence between Lord Malmesbury and myself relative to Colonel Childs' report upon the ship-canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by way of Lake Nicaragua. Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich and Mr. Walker, the engineers appointed by Lord Malmesbury to examine the report made by Colonel Childs, have reported that the project in the line projected by Colonel Childs is practicable; that the survey made by him has every appearance of accuracy; that the works are generally sufficient for the purpose they are intended to answer; and that the estimates upon the present value of money are adequate. The British capitalists have the matter now under consideration. I have delayed sending you this correspondence, hoping to give you their decision with it.

I have, &c.,


Lord Malmesbury to Mr. Lawrence.


FOREIGN OFFICE, July 16, 1852.

SIR: In compliance with the suggestion contained in your letter of the 16th ultimo, that engineers possessing well-known skill and experience should be appointed on the part of Her Majesty's Government to examine the report of Colonel Childs on the shipcanal to be constructed through the Nicaraguan territory, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, that report having been already examined and approved by Colonels Abert and Turnbull, two distinguished officers of the Topographical Engineers of the United States, I have the honor to inform you that Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich, of the Royal Engineers, and Mr. James Walker, an eminent civil engineer, were accordingly requested by me to perform that duty.

Those gentlemen readily assented to that request, and I have now the honor to transmit to you their report, accompanied by four inclosures upon the papers submitted to their inspection, being the documents which were inclosed in your letter of the 21st of June.

I have, &c.,

Mr. Lawrence to Lord Malmesbury.


138 Piccadilly, July 17, 1852.

MY LORD: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your lordship's letter of the 16th, inclosing the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich and Mr. James Walker upon Colonel Childs' report on the ship-canal to be constructed through the Nicaraguan territory, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and I beg your lordship to accept my thanks for the great promptness with which you have complied with my request in this matter.

I have, &c.,




From the foregoing premises and subject to our observations on particular works (especially as to Brito Harbour), to which we beg to refer, our opinion, with reference to the propositions contained in your letter to Mr. Walker, is

1. That the project of a ship-canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific on a line projected by Colonel Childs is practicable, and would not be attended with engineering difficulties beyond what might be naturally expected in a work of this magnitude.

2. That the survey has every appearance of accuracy; that the details of specifications, working-drawings, &c., prepared under Colonel Childs' directions, by Mr. Fay, Mr. Fitzgerald, and others, have been got out with great care, and that Colonel Childs has impressed us with a conviction of perfect fairness and candor on his part. 3. That the works are generally sufficient for the purpose they are intended to an


4. That the estimates upon the present value of money are adequate, in a general way, so far as judgment can be formed of them from the documents produced and the explanations of Colonel Childs, which, as will be seen from his evidence, were particular and given in great detail.

We shall perhaps be considered as interpreting the word "sufficiency" in your instructions in a liberal sense, when we add, that to make the navigation 20 feet deep in place of 17 feet, and the locks 300 feet long in place of 250, and the canal 60 feet in place of 50 feet wide,* would, in our opinion, be rendering the navigation more efficient for the general purposes of trade by steam and sailing vessels. Colonel Childs (see his answers to questions 223 and 224) does not see any difficulty in doing this, excepting the expense, which would, we think, be unimportant when compared with the advantages:

The great additional expense would be in the deep cutting west of the lake, two or three miles of which might be left of the smaller width, if present saving be a great object. We find that the original instructions to Colonel Childst directed the estimates and surveys to be made for a canal of sufficientdepth of water for vessels of the largest class; and if the junction of the Pacific with the Atlantic be worth doing at all, it is worth doing well.

Civil Engineer.

Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel, Commander Royal Engineers, London District. LONDON, July 16, 1852.

37.-Mr. Marcy to Mr. Borland.


No. 8.]

SIR: Your several dispatches, to No. 11, inclusive, have been received at this Department.


Washington, December 30, 1853.

In relation to the Clayton and Bulwer treaty, about which so much is said in your dispatches, I have only to remark that this government considers it a subsisting contract, and feels bound to observe its stipulations so far as by fair construction they impose obligations upon it.

If Great Britain has failed, or shall fail, on her part to fulfill the obligations she has therein assumed, or if she attempts to evade them by a misconstruction of that instrument, the discussions that may arise on these subjects must necessarily take place between the parties to it. The views taken of that treaty by the United States, and your course in relation to it, pointed out in your first instructions, will be observed

* The remark may apply more particularly to the trade with Britain, for which vessels upwards of 300 feet in length are now building or proposed.

See page 4, Colonel Childs' report.

until you receive notice of their modification. In these instructions you were furnished with the views of one of the contracting parties (Great Britain), but at the same time you were informed that the United States did not concur in them. In the negotiations at London, in regard to the affairs of Central America, the meaning of that instrument will come directly under discussion. So far as respects your mission, you will regard it as meaning what the American negotiator intended when he entered into it, and what the Senate must have understood it to mean when it was ratified, viz, that by it Great Britain came under engagements to the United States to recede from her asserted protectorate of the Mosquito Indians, and to cease to exercise dominion or control in any part of Central America. If she had any colonial possessions therein at the date of the treaty, she was bound to abandon them, and equally bound to abstain from colonial acquisitions in that region. In your official intercourse with the states of Central America, you will present this construction of the treaty as the one given to it by your government.

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.


I am, &c.,


38.-Statement of Mr. Buchanan for Lord Clarendon.


London, January 6, 1854.

Mr. Monroe, one of our wisest and most discreet Presidents, announced in a public message to Congress in December, 1823, that "the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintained, are henceforth not to be considered subjects for future colonization by any European powers." This declaration has since been known throughout the world as the "Monroe doctrine," and has received the public and official sanction of subsequent Presidents, as well as of a large majority of the American people. Whilst this doctrine will be maintained whenever, in the opinion of Congress, the peace and safety of the United States shall render this necessary, yet to have acted upon it in Central Amirica might have brought us into collision with Great Britain, an event always to be deprecated, and, if possible, avoided. We can do each other the most good, and the most harm, of any two nations in the world, and, therefore, it is our strong mutual interest as it ought to be our strong mutual desire, to remain the best friends. To settle these dangerous questions, both parties wisely resorted to friendly negotiations, which resulted in the convention of April, 1850. May this prove to be instrumental in finally adjusting all questions of difficulty between the parties in Central America, and in perpetuating their peace and friendship.

Surely the Mosquito Indians ought not to prove an obstacle to so appy a consummation.







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