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stipulations in regard to the two other routes of Panama and Tehuantepec.
3d. The term “Central American States," in the sixth article, is equivalent to and illustrates the meaning of the term Central America in the first article.
4th. The convention, in describing the territory which is to be made neutral, names two of the Central American states in the vicinity of the canal, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and then adds, or any part of Central America—thus clearly implying that it was political Central America that was intended.
It was, then, not geographical, but political Central America that was included in the convention, and so the honorable senators must have understood it when they approved it, unless we suppose them to have been so indifferently informed that their opinions were of no value, which is not to be supposed for a moment.
5th. I shall endeavor to convince those honorable senators that their memories are still further at fault, and that, when they approved the convention, they did not understand it to include British Honduras or the Belize, as its dependencies, which are the same.
Like “ Central America,” the name Honduras also has a geographical sense and a political sense. Geographical Honduras is all Honduras from the borders of Guatemala to the Caribbean Sea, and includes Spanish Honduras and British Honduras-just as the name Virginia long stood for the whole Atlantic border from Carolina to Canada; but political Honduras is the ancient province or intendency of Spanish Honduras, as it was when it separated from Spain, and became the state of Honduras, and entered that federal republic of Central America ; and as it came out of that federal republic on its dissolution, and as it has remained hitherto, and is now the state of Honduras; and that state, in every book or geography, and on every map, in every atlas, is divided and separated from British Honduras just as plainly and as broadly as Kentucky is divided from Virginia, or Alabama from Georgia, while British Honduras is in every such book and atlas marked and designated with the island before mentioned as a British colony; sometimes by the name of British Honduras, and sometimes by the name of the Belize.
I know, indeed, that Spain to the last insisted that Great Britain
had only a partial and limited right of occupancy. I know that the state of Guatemala set up the pretensions of Spain, and still insists upon them. I do not say that they are not just. I shall be glad if they prove so; but I know also that Great Britain equally claims to own British Honduras by absolute right, and that although she has two or three times been occasionally dispossessed in the varying fortunes of war, she has so claimed it since 1667, and has held it undisturbed since 1783, the period of our own acknowledged national independence. The Belize is a British town of two thousand five hundred people, and with its adjacent territory has been a colony near two hundred years, governed by British authority, and occupied by a British garrison. It is ecclesiastically connected with the British diocese of Jamaica, and from 1847 to 1850 the United States maintained a consul there, who, with their consent, received his exequatur from the Court of St. James. In short, practically, the Belize is as much a British town, and British Honduras as much a British colony, to the knowledge of the whole world, as Quebec and Canada.
Now, who supposes that Great Britain intended to renounce that town, post, and colony, under the vague and equivocal term of “any part of Central America ?" No one! Who supposes that the United States stipulated for such a renunciation in terms so vague and uncertain? No one! It is not so that Britain resigns or the United States take dominion. The terms, “any part of Central America," then, did not include British Honduras, and so the honorable senators must have understood, if they knew the political condition of British Honduras as I have described it. That condition was known here; for on the 10th of May, 1849, a senator stated in debate here, that four companies of British troops had marched from the Belize into Yucatan, and that this was the act of the colonial authorities of Great Britain at the Belize; and he who made that statement was no other than the honorable Senator from Michigan, (Mr. Cass.]
6th. But, waiving for argument's sake all the points thus far made, I shall next show that the senators were not ignorant of the construction officially given by Mr. Clayton to the convention until the 6th of January, instant, when they proclaimed it as a disclosure then obtained through the President's communication.
The ratification was made on the 4th of July, 1850. On the
14th of that month the President transmitted to Congress a communication, which contained these words:
“ A copy of the treaty concluded between Great Britain and the United States in regard to Central America is herewith submitted. Its engagements apply to all the five states which formerly composed the republic of Central America and their dependencies, of which the island of Tigre was a part. It does not recognize, affirm, or deny, the title of the British settlement at Belize, which is by the coast more than five hundred miles from the proposed canal at Nicaragua. The question of the British title to this district of country, commonly called British Honduras, and the small islands adjacent to it, claimed as its dependencies, stands precisely as it stood before the treaty. No act of the late President's administration has in any manner committed this government to the British title in that territory, or any part of it."
This paper gave to the senators, just two years, five months, and twenty-two days ago, the same information which surprises, shocks, and alarms them now.
But, Mr. President, even this communication was only a reiteration of the same information before given; for on the 8th day of July, 1850, the following official exposition appeared in the National Intelligencer, together with the convention then just officially promulgated :
“ The leading object of the treaty appears to be the establishment of a ship canal across the isthmus which connects North with South America, under the protectorate not only of Great Britain and the United States, but of all other nations which desire the right of passage through it from ocean to ocean on the same equal terms.
“ In reference to political advantages connected with that treaty, it may be remarked that all the states of Central America, compreheuding the immense extent of country from the Belize, commonly called the bay of Honduras, down to the northern boundary of New Granada, is made neutral territory. No government entering into this treaty can occupy, colonize, fortify, or assume or exercise any dominion over any part of the Mosquito coast, or any part of Central America, from the boundaries of the bay of Honduras and Mexico on the north, to those of New Granada on the south. The British title to the Belize the treaty does not in any manner recognize; nor does it deny it, OR
That setilement remains, in that particular, as IT STOOD PREVIOUSLY TO THE TREATY."
Senators who accuse secretaries of stupidity, or suppression and fraud, cannot be allowed to plead ignorance of official expositions in the official journals.
Sixthly, and last, I shall attempt to convince the senators that they, and the Senate, did understand that the convention did not include British Honduras when they approved it.
Mr. King, of Alabama, was Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and the proper medium of communication between the Senate and the Secretary of State. The Senator from Michigan tells us that Mr. King has stated to him that, “after the quasi ratification came from England, on the 29th of June, he had an interview with Mr. Clayton, who desired to know whether the treaty ought to be sent back to the Senate for its action, on that
MEDDLE WITH IT.
conditional ratification.” The only reason for sending it back to the Senate was, that the Senate might have not understood the convention as not including British Honduras, and so might object to the ratification of it, as thus explained by the negotiators. The correspondence between Mr. Clayton and Mr. King tells the result:
“ JULY 4, 1850. "DEAR SIR,—I am this morning writing to Sir H. L. Bulwer, and while about to decline altering the treaty at the time of exchanging ratifications, I wish to leave no room for a charge of duplicity against our government, such as that we now pretend that Central America in the treaty includes British Honduras.
" I shall therefore say to him, in effect, that such construction was not in the contemplation of the negotiators or the Senate at the time of confirmation. May I have your permission to add that the true uñderstanding was explained by you, as Chairman of Foreign Relations, to the Senate, before the vote was taken on the Treaty! I think it due to frankness on our part. Very truly yours,
“ JOHN M. CLAYTON. * To Hon. W. R. KING, U. S. Senate."
“ JULY 4, 1850. “ My Dear Sir,—The Senate perfectly understood that the treaty did not include British Honduras. Frankness becomes our government; but you should be careful not to use any expression which would seem to recognize the right of England to any portion of Honduras. Faithfully your obedient servant,
· W. R, KING. " To Hon. John M. CLAYTON, Secretary of State."
So the proper organ of the Senate reported that they perfectly understood that the convention did not include British Honduras. The accusing senators will not impeach the chairman; and if they do, I shall not go with them. I respect and honor that distinguished man—nay, sir, I love him. I have received injuries, many of them, here. The memory of them died in the hour in which they were committed. But I have received kindnesses, benefits too, and many of these were received at the hands of Willian R. King. Not one of these shall perish in my memory, until I give an account of them to his Creator and mine. And now, since those honorable senators have so broadly assumed to speak for us all, they will not now deny that they did not know what we all “perfectly understood.”
Just what Mr. King advised was done by the secretary. He took effectual care not to use any expression which should seem to recognize the right of England to the portion of Hondurasthat is, to British Honduras—which she possessed. That right remains just as it was before. Good or bad, it is not made worse or better by the treaty. As to the Bay of Islands, if it was in fact a dependency of British Honduras on the 4th of July, 1850, then the formation of a colony there is not a violation of the con
vention. If it was not then in fact a dependency, then that transaction is a violation of the treaty. But in either case it has nothing to do with the present question.
The Senator from Louisiana, (Mr. Downs) in the very wantonness of censure, has supposed that not only the Senate, but the late President, General Taylor, was kept in ignorance of the conditions of ratification, and this upon the ground merely that General Taylor sickened on the 4th, and died on the 9th of July. But the Committee on Foreign Relations now appear to have known those conditions on the 29th of June, and the President may be presumed to have been intrusted by the Secretary with a fact that was officially communicated to the Senate. Whatever else might have been the errors or misfortunes of that administration, want of mutual confidence between the Secretary of State and his distinguished chief was not one of them. They stood together firmly, undivided, and inseparable to the last. Storms of faction, from within their own party and from without, beset them; and combinations and coalitions, in and out of Congress, assailed them with a degree of violence that no other administration has ever encountered. But they never yielded and never faltered for an hour. They went on firmly, and firmly united together in their great work of consolidating the then newly extended republic upon the foundations of universal liberty, and establishing its continental power on the foundations of commercial interests and republican systems. The administration which they conducted was beaten down not by human hands, nor by human words, nor by human votes; but it went down only under a providential visitation, that, if it had happened on the field of Monterey or at Buena Vista, would have either forever lost, or long postponed, the extension of our borders to the shores of the Pacific ocean. Those who have profited by political changes consequent on that sad event may listen unmoved to the censures which for two years past have howled, and still are howling, equally around the Secretary of State in his retirement, and over the veteran and war-exhausted President in his grave. Let me, on the other hand, who had some humble portion of their confidence, and knew their fidelity to each other and to their country, perform, though it may be alone, the duty of vindicating them against the clamors of prejudice and error.
And let me say to the Senator from Louisiana, and to the Sena