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ternational agreements of this kind calling for interference by force, and conferring joint rights upon several independent powers, are calculated to breed dissension and trouble. In times of peace, when there is no call for their exercise, they are harmless though useless. But when wars and trouble come, it too frequently happens that differences arise, and so at the very moment when the agreement should be enforced it is impossible to enforce it; and such agreements would lead to that political intervention in American affairs which the traditional policy of the United States make it impossible that the President should either consent to or look upon with indifference.
The President believes that the formation of a protectorate by European nations over the isthmus transit would be in conflict with a doctrine which has been for many years asserted by the United States. This sentiment is properly termed a doctrine, as it has no prescribed sanction and its assertion is left to the exigency which may invoke it. It has been repeatedly announced by the Executive Department of this Government and through the utterances of distinguished citizens; it is cherished by the American people, and has been approved by the Government of Great Britain.
It is not the inhospitable principle which it issometimes charged with being and which asserts that European nations shall not retain dominion on this hemisphere and that none but republican governments shall here be tolerated; for we well know that a large part of the North American continent is under the dominion of Her Majesty's Government, and that the United States were in the past the first to recognize the imperial authority of Dom Pedro in Brazil and of Iturbide in Mexico. It is not necessary now to define that doctrine, but its history clearly shows that it at least opposes any intervention by European nations in the political affairs of American republics.
In 1823, Mr. Canning, with the concurrence of the cabinet of London, informed Mr. Rush that Great Britain could not see with indifference the intervention of foreign power in Spanish America, or the transfer to those powers of any of the colonies, and suggested a joint declaration to that effect by the United States and Great Britain. This suggestion grew out of the relations then existing between France and Spain, their attitude towards the South American republics then struggling for independence, and the injuries to the colonies and commerce of Great Britain which would result from a successful prosecution of the policy of those two governments. President Monroe did not adopt
the proposal for a joint declaration, but in his message of December 2, 1823, after stating that it was our policy not to interfere with the internal concerns of European powers, speaking of the war which the revolted colonies were carrying on against Spain, and of contemplated interference by the "Holy Alliance" in behalf of the latter, said, in language which has gone into history under his name, thus:
But in regard to these continents circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different. It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness, nor can any one believe that our southern brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interposition in any form with indifference.
This sentiment was received in England with enthusiasm. Mr. Brougham said:
The ques iou in regard to Spanish America is now, I believe, disposed of or nearly so; for an event has recently happened than which none has ever dispensed greater joy, exultation, and gratitude over all the freedmen of Europe; that event which is decisive on the subject is the language held with respect to Spanish America in the message of the President of the United States.
Sir James Mackintosh said:
This evidence of the two great English commonwealths (for so I delight to call them, and I heartily pray that they may be forever united in the cause of justice and liberty) cannot be contemplated without the greatest pleasure by every enlightened citizen of the earth.
Mr. John Quincy Adams, who well knew what had led to these statements by Mr. Monroe, explained in a message to the House of Representatives on the 17th day of March, 1826, that there was no purpose of interfering with the existing European colonies in America; that the language was only a frank declaration that the United States could not look with indifference either upon an attempt by colonization to close any port of the continent against the commerce of the United States or upon concerted political interference from Europe in American affairs.
Thus the doctrine of non-intervention by European powers in American affairs arose from complications in South America, and was announced by Mr. Monroe on the suggestion of the official representative of Great Britain.
The doctrine so formulated by Monroe and expounded by Adams has since remained a cardinal principle of our continental policy. In several notable instances, especially in the case of the French attempt to set up imperial authority in Mexico, it guided our political action, and it is to-day firmly imbedded in the American heart.
It is true that this doctrine refers to the political and not to the material interest of America; but no one can deny that to place the isthmus under the protection and guarantee of the powers of Europe, rather than under the protection of the leading power of this hemisphere, would seriously threaten and affect the political interest of that power.
It is not to be anticipated that Great Britain will controvert an international doctrine, which she suggested to the United States, when looking to her own interest, and which, when adopted by this Republic, she highly approved; and it is but frank to say that the people of this country would be as unwilling that the pathway of commerce between the Pacific coast and our eastern market should be under the dominion of the allied European powers as would be the people of Great Britain that the transit from one to another part of her possessions should be under such control.
Prior to the war of the Revolution, Great Britain had acquired strong positions from Halifax to Antigua, dominating the coast of the United States. She retained these positions after the peace of 1783, and continues to use them for offensive and defensive purposes. She has strengthened old strongholds and made new ones, while the United States has ever refused to avail herself of proffered commanding external military stations.
No well-informed statesman doubts the ability of this nation to raise a powerful navy. To raise such a navy might bring commercial advantages to the United States, but it is doubtful whether it would promote the peace of the world; and the United States desire that their citizens may, without any armed assertion of right, be conveyed by water transit from their western to their eastern shores without passing under the guns of European powers.
These are our own views, and it is but frank to state them, while Her Majesty's Government is not called upon either to admit or deny them.
To considerations such as these Lord Granville, in his dispatch of November 10, 1881, answers that the position of Great Britain and the United States, in reference to the canal, is determined by the
Engagements entered into by them respectively in the convention, which was signed at Washington on the 19th of April, 1850, commonly known as the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, and that Her Majesty's Government rely with confidence upon the observance of all the engagements of that treaty.
We are thus fairly brought to the consideration of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty.
The treaty relates to communication between the oceans, and divides itself into two parts:
First, and principally, that which the treaty terms a "particular object," to wit, a then projected interoceanic canal in Central America by the Nicaragua route; and this is the only object stated in the preamble of the treaty, which says that the two governments, "being desirous of consolidating the relations of amity which so happily subsist between them, by setting forth and fixing in a convention their views and intentions with reference to any means of communication by shipcanal which may be constructed between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by the way of the river San Juan de Nicaragua and either or both of the lakes of Nicaragua or Managua to any port or place on the Pacific Ocean," to that end confer full powers on Mr. Clayton and Sir Henry Bulwer.
This first and principal object of the treaty is considered in the first seven articles.
Second. The subordinate object of the treaty is that treated of in the remaining or eighth article, which states that the two governments "having not only desired, in entering into this convention, to accomplish a particular object, but also to establish a general principle (and this is the principle), hereby agree to extend their protection by treaty stipulation to any other practicable communication" across the isthmus, "and especially to the interoceanic communications, should the same prove practicable, whether by canal or railroad, which are now proposd to be established by the way of Tehuantepec or Panama." This "general principle" or joint protection is to be effected as stated, "by treaty stipulations."
Although this discussion relates to a canal by the Panama route outside of Central America, to which the eighth article refers, yet your attention is invited as well to the first and principal as to the second and subordinate purpose of the treaty.
First. While the primary object of the treaty, as will be seen, was to aid the immediate construction of a canal by what is known as the Nicaragua route, it is equally plain that another and important object, which the United States had in view, was to dispossess Great Britain of settlements in Central America, whether under cover of Indian sovereignty or otherwise. The United States were tenacious that Great
Britain should not extend further her occupation of threatening military or naval strategic points along their maritime frontier. To assure this, the parties to the treaty jointly agreed not to exercise dominion over, or fortify or colonize Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito coast, or any part of Central America. Great Britain, however, exercises dominion over Belize or British Honduras, the area of which is equal to that of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, and the impression prevails that since the conclusion of the treaty of 1850, the English inhabitants of that district have spread into the territory of the neighboring republics and now occupy a large area of land which, under the convention, belongs to one or the other of the two republics, but over which the Government of Her Majesty assumes to exercise control.
Such dominion seems to be inconsistent with that provision of the treaty which prohibits the exercise of dominion by Great Britain over any part of Central America. This makes it proper for me to say that the English privileges, at the time of the conclusion of the ClaytonBulwer treaty, in what has been known as the Belize, were confined to a right to cut wood and establish saw-mills in a territory defined by metes and bounds. These privileges were conferred by treaties, in which Spanish sovereignty was recognized. On the successful revolution, the rights of Spain vested in the new republics, and had not been materially changed when the Clayton-Bulwer treaty was concluded. That treaty was concluded April 19, and its ratification advised by the Senate May 22, 1850. On the exchange of the ratifications, Sir Henry Bulwer filed in this department, under date of June 29, 1850, a declaration that the exchange was made with the understanding on the part of Her Majesty's Government that the treaty did not apply to Her Majesty's settlement at Honduras and its dependencies. Mr. Clayton answered, under date of July 4, 1850, that he so understood, but that he must not be understood to either affirm or deny British title therein. It is to be observed that each of these declarations was made after the conclusion of the treaty by the joint action of the President and the Senate, and that the declaration was not made to or accepted by them. In 1859 Great Britain entered into a treaty with Guatemala, in which what had been called the settlement in the declaration made on the exchange of the ratification of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty was styled "Her Britannic Majesty's settlement and possessions."
In the treaty with Guatemala the boundaries were defined, and it was agreed that all on one side of the defined boundaries "belongs to Her