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320 CONG.....20 Sess.
Colonization in North America—Messrs. Mason, Gwin, Underwood, &c.
these gentlemen to perform to-day-a little real legislation by Congress on this question. I did of the session and dispose of it. I hope the course work. Let them stop talking upon the subject. not understand him to say that any legislative | I have suggested will meet the approbation of the I think the resolution has been debated quite question would come before Congress, connected Senate. I trust the subject will be referred, and enongh; I think the country will derive very little with this debate, or the subject brought to the that the discussion will be postponed until the reservice from the debate; and, therefore, as a test attention of the Senate, by this resolution; and, port of the committee shall come in. question, at least as far as I can make it so, I
therefore, I have been very anxious to progress with Mr. SHIELDS. I made an attempt, a short move that the resolution lie upon the table. That the business which we wish to bring to a conclu- time ago, to posipone the consideration of this reg• will cut off' debate, and upon that question I ask sion during the present session. But if the Sen- olution until next week, for the purpose of making for the yeas and nays.
ator intends any legislation in which both Houses a few observations upon it. I did not intend to Mr. GWIN. That will do.
of Congress are to participate, I shall not inter- make a speech. I am not, as the Senate very Mr. MASON. If the Senator will withdraw pose any obstacle in the way of his presenting it; well know, accustomed to occupy their time in the motion, I will renew it if he desires.
but if he is going to do that, it must be upon some making speeches. I try, as well as I know how, Mr. MANGUM. Very well.
of the appropriation bills. If he intends to press to do a little work here, and I am rather astonMr. MASON. The object of this motion 1 positive legislation on this subject to the Congress ished that my friend from California should enpresume is to arrest the debate. The debate has of the United States, instead of an abstract debate deavor to throw me completely aside, and out of gone to some length. It is one that has become in the Senate alone, it is his duty to ask to be heard, the question in this matter. I have not made a very interesting to the country. That is shown and it is his privilege. If he intends anything speech this session, nor did I make one at the last by the public press from every quarter. And al- like legislation, I shall not interpose any objection; session, and I do not mean to make one now. My though I have as little disposition as most gentle- but if his motive is simply for the purpose of only object was, so far as I knew how, to give this men to enter into or protract a debate which ap- speaking to a question about which we are to have debate a practical application, and I intend to do pears to be of an abstract character, yet it is very no legislative action, with all the respect I enter- that in a very few observations. I trouble the certain that there is one subject at least of very tain forthat gentleman—and he knows I entertainas Senate very seldom with speeches, as that honorgreat practical interest to the country, which if much as any other Senator does— I must insist on able Senator well knows. not immediately connected with the resolution, is my motion, that this question be postponed until I agree with the Senator from Virginia that it is worthy of engaging in public debate the attention the 4th of March. I think that is the first ques. now too late to arrest this discussion; it would be of the Senate. It affects a ground, and a very tion; but if the Senator intends to propose practi- | arresting it only midway. Two years ago, I material ground, which is covered by one portion of cal legislation, I shall withdraw that motion. brought forward, as will be recollected by the Senthis resolution. I allude to the message of the
Mr. MASON. I said this: The message of ate, a proposition in relation to Central America. President, which is now before the Committee on the President in reference to the alleged establish- I took the initiative in that respect, and perhaps I Foreign Relations, although, since it went there, it ment of a British colony on the coast of Honduras may claim it, if there be any honor in that. I have has been the subject of some debate in the Senate. is before the Committee on Foreign Relations; but not interfered in this debate, because I did not beIt is in reply to a resolution of the Senate asking the President in that message declared himself un- lieve I could throw any light upon it. But I know for information concerning a recent proclamation able to give any certain information on the sub- it is a matter of great importance to my constitthat appeared in the public journals, issued by the ject. Ii presenis itself in such a form as to im- uents, and having brought forward the proposition British authorities at Balize, declaring a colony press me, and doubtless others, with the belief to which I alluded, I did intend to say a few words established--not about to be established—but a Brii. that the proclamation alleged to have been issued upon that branch of the subject, and as to the neish colony established in certain islands designa- by the British authorities at the Balize, and which cessity of giving the debate some practical apted, which lie off the coast of Honduras. That be- we have seen in the public journals, declaring the plication. But I shall not force upon the Senate comes a question of great practical interest. With- colony there established, is official and is true. It any observations of mine. I am as anxious to in the last few days we have received intelligence is more than probable, indeed it is almost certain, gei at practical business as is the honorable Senator that a British colony is about to be established at in the present state of that question, that the Com- from California. I think, however, that the chair. the Balize. The President of the United States, mittee on Foreign Relations will feel themselves man of the Committee on Foreign Relations is it appears from his message, does not consider called upon to make a report upon it; and if a re- fairly entitled to be heard upon this subject. I that there is any source of official communication port be made, it may probably be necessary to care nothing about the treatment I myself may reopen to him by which he could inform us whether follow it by legislation. Therefore, I am here ceive, for I have no claim upon the Senate in this or not the report in reference to the establishment free to declare, as one of the Senators of the Uni- || particular matter; but I think it would be treating of the colony of the Day of Islands is true; but it ted States, if it be true that the Government of him very badly, after this discussion has gone so comes in such a shape as to make it necessary that Great Britain has established a colony at the place far, not to permit him, as chairman of the Comits existence for the present should be assumed by designated, whether it be or be not in contraven- mittee on Foreign Relations, to present his views the Legislative branch, as the Executive branch is tion of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, that colony upon it. uninformed, and seeks no information. must be discontinued. I am prepared to say that
Mr. BUTLER. I think this is a case which Before the debate ends upon this resolution, I at once. I do not know whether a colony has calls for reference. I am unable to give any judgwant to be heard practically in reference to this been established, but I agree that the probability ment on the subject, unless I have the requisite matter of colonization as connected with one branch is that it is so, and that before the close of the ses- information. The honorable Senator from Virof the resolution of the Senator from Michigan- sion there must be actual legislation upon the sub- 1 ginia, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign that which affects future colonization upon or near ject. All that I mean to say at present is, that I Relations, has made inquiries, and I have no either of the American continents. It is a matter think it would be desirable for the country that || doubt those inquiries will enable bim to bring forof very great interest to the American people, this debate should not be arrested, as the Senator ward much information upon which Senators can one that was broached thirty years ago, and never
from California proposes. For myself, I ask form a judgment. Ordi rily, subjects of this practically brought home to them, as far as I ani only that I may be heard upon the general ques- | kind come before the Senate through Executive informed, until the present time. I should, there- tion involved in the resolution of the Senator from communications, and I think it much the safest fore, regret that the honorable Senator from North Michigan on Monday next; and if it is in order, mode; but as this subject has been brought up for Carolina should persevere in his motion, or that pending the motion of the Senator from California, discussion, and as we are to take jurisdiction of it should prevail. It is my purpose to ask the 1 ask that the question may be put on my motion matters of negotiation of this kind, I want to learn Senate to indulge me, for not more than an hour, to postpone the subject until that day.
one important fact, and that is, if Great Britain on the general subject, when other gentlemen may Mr. 'UNDERWOOD. My colleague [Mr. has committed a trespass upon the rights of any. have participated in the debate, if they think proper Dixon) has put a practical question before the || body, upon what political community she has to do so.
Senate upon this subject, for he has made a motion committed this trespass. Now, her 'settlement Mr. MANGUM. I believe there are matters to refer the resolution and amendment to the Com- | upon the Bay of Honduras, if a trespass, is one now before the Committee on Foreign Relations, mittee on Foreign Relations, with certain instruc- either upon Guatemala or upon Honduras, or upon which the honorable Senator from Virginia tions. The gentleman from Michigan, who intro- some other Central American State. The honorcan be heard, when they shall be reported upon. duced the resolution, has informed us that he able Senator from Virginia no doubt can give us a My sole purpose is to open the way to some real moved in the matter in consequence of the appre- great deal of information as to the true character business. When a report shall be made from the hension that Great Britain was violating the Clay- || of these States or communities; and it may be Committee on Foreign Relations upon any of these ton-Bulwer treaty, in reference to the establish- that, in the end, I shall be compelled to vote for subjects, the honorable Senator from Virginia can ment of colonies on the coast of Central America. something that would look like a mission to accompany the report with a speech, and I shall The chairman of the Committee on Foreign Rela- Guatemala, with a view to guaranty her rights so hear him with great pleasure upon them; for I tions has informed us that the President does not far as our interests and policy are involved; but think my own opinions, taken on the whole upon know how the fact is. I think, with the chairman, before I can do that, I want information. How this subject, do not differ very widely from those that it will be important if we could ascertain what can I give a judgment until I have information ? of the honorable Senator; but with the view that the fact is. I think, therefore, that the best course And therefore I would suggest that the reference we may go to work on other matters, 1 renew the which we can pursue is to make the reference should at once take place, and that the honorable motion.
which has been proposed by my colleague, and let chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations Mr. MASON. I would ask the Senator to the whole subject go before the Committee on should give us the information in a report, even withdraw his motion to lie on the table, and allow Foreign Relations. When the committee shall before he makes his speech; and I will promise, me to move that the further consideration of the report, the chairman can accompany the report I though I intended to speak upon the subject, if he subject be postponed until Monday next. I shall with any remarks he may be pleased to make, and gives full information in regard to it, such as I can then ask the Senate to hear me for an hour. I the debate can be resumed." I hope this course understand, and upon which I can form a judgmake that motion.
will be pursued. I am like the gentleman from ment, that I will not make a speech. I will be Mr. GWIN. I did not understand the Senator California; I feel very much disposed to begin to entirely satisfied with his explanation. If we refrom Virginia to say that the Committee on For- act upon other matters, and I am inclined to think fer the matter at once, I think we shall accomplish eign Relations intended to propose any practical Il it is time for us to take up the ordinary business something; but if we carry on this debate in this 32d Cong.....2d Sess.
Colonization in North America—Messrs. Gwin, Davis, Cass, and Dawson.
cursory manner, shooting at a barn door all the think that they meet the question at issue at all. Mr. CASS. Thirty years ago Mr. Jefferson while, and having no mark, I do not know what The real question for the consideration of the said that this question of European influence was may not be brought within its scope. The hon- Government is one growing out of a treaty be- || the most momentous question that had been preorable Senator from Florida, in discussing another tween us and Great Britain; and we need some sented to him since the 4th of July, 1776. It is
subject, I thought, made it very germane to this. further information before we undertake to give an just as momentous now as it was then. But I - It strikes me, however, that the whole question interpretation to that. The great question, in my desire to correct the idea which gentlemen seem
ought to be referred to the Committee on Foreign mind, is whether or not Great Britain has organ- to entertain, that this is a mere abstract principle. Relations, and let their report be the vehicle of ized a colony in what is called the Bay of Islands? I consider it one of the most practical principles information upon which we shall pronounce a re
If she has done that, the next inquiry is, is that, presented to the American Congress—practical in sponsible judgment, for we are in some measure or is it not, an infringement of the late treaty its application from day to day as a guide to the involving ourselves in Executive business. I say, which has been made ?
Executive of the opinions of the American Conat once, then, let the subject be referred.
Mr. SHIELDS. Will the honorable Senator | gress. No principle can be more practical; and Mr. HOUSTON. I am not in favor of refer- permit me to correct him in one point? It is not none is more liable from day to day to be called ring this subject to the committee. I am anxious the Bay of Islands," but the islands in the bay || into actual use. It is an entire mistake to call it to hear the honorable chairman of the Committee of Honduras which the British have erected into a an abstract question. And allow me to say, with on Foreign Relations on the subject. Other gen- colony.
reference to what has been said by the Senator tlemen have spoken upon it, and I desire some Mr. DAVIS. It is quite immaterial which from Massachusetts, that I cannot for my life uninformation which may be important to the decis- form of expression is used. There is a colony || derstand the necessity of sending these resolutions ion of this body. I want the privilege of speaking | by some such name, as it is said, and a colony re- to a committee. They have no reference to the upon it myself. I have occupied bui very little of cently organized. Now, I do not know that it is colony of the Bay of Islands, or any other colony; the time of this body at this session, or at pre- entirely easy to ascertain all the facts which have | They assert a great and important principle; and vious sessions; and though I am as anxious as a direct bearing upon this question. I am anx- whether the British have the right to establish a any Senator to see the Pacific railroad bill pro- ious that the facts in regard to it should be pre- colony there or not, and whether they have estabgress, I imagine we shall not bring it to any satis- sented to us in a reliable form. I understand that lished one or not, is perfectly immaterial to this factory conclusion this session; and until a report is | by the treaties of 1783 and 1786, between Spain and question. The principles which guide us are made from the special committee on the subject, I Great Britain, the latter expressly renounced all | everlasting in their nature, and call for the declado not think thai we can progress with it at all. ! claim to every part and portion of this country, ration of the American Congress, which Mr. Jefshall, therefore, vote against any reference until I except that conditional titie which was granted to ferson said ought to have been done in 1823. The can hear the chairman of the Committee on For- her, in what is called the Balize. If she renounced reference is not to establish the fact with respect eign Relations.
that—and the islands, as it appears to me, from to the colony of the Bay of Islands. I repeat, the Mr. GWIN. I did not wish to prevent any examining the treaties, constitute no part of the resolutions do not refer to that, but they are upon Senator from speaking by making the motion Balize-then she renounced all right to them. a great principle, and every gentleman who is willwhich I have made. The honorable Senator from Then, where do they belong? If I comprehend ing now to say that that shall be the principle of Illinois knows well that I would be very much de- the facts correctly, the boundaries of Central the American Government, is prepared to vote lighted to hear him; but there are many in his America, of the five States constituting Central upon them. They need no reference. The estabcondition. I do not know a member of the Senate America, are coincident with the old kingdom of lishment of no fact that can be investigated by the but will be compelled to say something about this Guatemala, with this exception: there was a Committee on Foreign Relations can touch that question before we come to a final and decisive small province at the lower end, called Chiapas, great principle. It remains everlastingly the same. vote upon the resolution.
that was taken off and annexed to Mexico. “ If, Establish your principle; apply it to cases as they Mr.'SHIELDS. Will the Senator permit me then, those boundaries are coincident, the Bay of arise; and then, before questions arise with foreign to say that I have no wish whatever to trespass
Islands was renounced in the treaties, and belong nations, ascertain the facts. What objection there upon the time of the Senate? This is a much to Central America, and probably to that portion can be to establishing the principle now, or what larger and much more important subject than that of it called the province of Honduras.
reference the resolutions have to any individual Senator seems to imagine. I have the honor to I wish to have these facts ascertained. I wish case, I cannot understand. represent, in this body, the Committee on Mili- for a reliable report from some source or other, Mr. DAWSON. I desire to be heard upon this tary Affairs, and I wanted to convert this into
which shall determine whether we are correct in question at the propor time. I am a little surprised what I deemed to be a practical subject—a subject this; and if it turns out to be true that the islands that the Senator from Michigan, who speaks so that interests him. I mean the fortification of the which are now claimed as a colony, were part often and so interestingly upon this subject, should coast of his State, the fortification of the southern and portion of Honduras, or of the Mosquito coast say that there is no necessity for having a practical coast, and some other matters. I felt that in doing for both were alike renounced-then I appre- | question to act upon. As I understand it, the in80, I should give it, perhaps, about as practical hend that Great Britain had no title to them what- troduction of the resolutions was founded on the an application as it would receive in this body. ever; that they were a portion of the country to facts, supposed to be true, that there was such a Whether I shall be permitted to do so or not, I which she renounced all sovereignty, and 'that colonization going on within the limits of Central care not. I shall do my duty in my own humble they did belong to what is called Central America America. Hence the propriety of their introducway, anyhow.
-that is, they were a part and portion of the tion. Now, the consequences growing out of their Mr. ĠWIN. The honorable Senator must ancient kingdom of Guatemala.
introduction are to be vastly important, and already recollect that I am chairman of the Committee on am, therefore, with the honorable Senator
are they assuming a very portentous aspect. Some Naval Affairs, and that I understand the bearing from South Carolina, in favor of referring this language which I have heard uttered here to-day of this question probably as well as he does. The subject to the committee, that they may present is well calculated to strike the minds of the AmerState of California would be as deeply interested to us the facts which belong to it; and when they can people. The chairman of the Committee on in a controversy with England as any state in this have presented them, we shall have a tangible | Foreign Relations—the man, above all others, to Confederacy. 'I have no doubt that this resolu- 1 subject to act upon. I think, as other gentlemen whom we look for information upon foreign aftion is to have an important bearing upon the fu- do, that it is a subject of a good deal of import- | fairs-has uttered words and sentiments to-day ture foreign intercourse of this country, and ance; for if what I suppose to be true turns out to that will be noticed throughout the civilized world. therefore we must give our reasons for our votes; be so, a great question arises, whether or not the He said that he believed British colonization has and the question presents itself, if no practical treaty, in its very terms, has not been violated. taken place in the Bay of Islands, and that if that question of legislation comes up in connection That is the subject with which we have to deal. be true, " it must be discontinued.” Hence, if all with these resolutions, whether we had not better There can be no question but that, when there is a | the facts be true, action becomes necessary; What let them go over for an Executive declaration. | governmental difference of opinion between us action? Congressional action; war, in the view That was the very question I had in view. I and Great Britain, it is an important question. Il of the peace-abiding gentleman from New Hampknow the Senator is examining this question with The dignity, and character, and power of each of shire, (Mr. Hale.) Before we proceed an inch, regard to the military defenses of the country, and the countries make it important. But I do not in the language of my friend from Massachusetts, he has collected a great deal of the most valuable wish to make any mistake in the matter. I desire, should we not be able to place ourselves upon firm information on the subject, and I hope the result when I move in it, to move understandingly; and ground, and move, not only understandingly, but of his examination and his labors will be put in
if there has been a colony organized contrary to firmly to the consequences, whatever they may the form of a law before this Congress adjourns.
the terms of the treaty, as I am rather disposed be? But the chairman of the Committee on For. I am sure that will be done, so far as the commit
to think there has been, I am willing, for one, lo eign Relations proposes to postpone this subject tee is concerned, for we have had an indication of meet the question in the manner which becomes until next Monday, when he desires to be heard their intentions.
the dignity, and honor, and character of the coun- upon these important questions, without the preAs to any discourtesy to the chairman of the || try. It seems to me that we cannot approach this sentation of a single fact arising out of the comCommittee on Foreign Relations, I never thought subject understandingly until we have this inform- | munication from the President of the United States; of it. I never dreamed of it when I made the ation. I shall, therefore, believing it to be the and when his speech shall have been made in this motion to postpone the resolutions until the 4th of best course we can pursue, cheerfully vote for the instance, what becomes of the reference of the March. I'made that motion because I believed we commitment of this question to the Committee on message of the President?-and where are the facts could not come to a vote on them before the 4th of Foreign Relations. If the honorable chairman of
to go before the country upon which we are finally March. That is my belief. I am perfectly will
that committee desires to make his remarks before to act ? Nowhere. ing that they should go to the Committee on For- the commitment, I shall not interpose any objec- I maintain that these filibustering resolutions in eign Relations, with the understanding that they | tion, though I think it is obvious, for many rea- relation to foreign relations are incompatible with will come back in a form in which we can discuss sons, that it would be better for him to reserve his
the dignity of the body upon an occasion like this, them with a practical end in view.
remarks until the committee shall have reported. and that we should never deal in abstractions, and Mr. DAVIS. While these resolutions declare It seems to me that this will be the better course declare what shall be, and what shall not be. general principles which I approve, I do not for all of us. I hope, therefore, it will be taken. When we intend to act upon facts already ascer
tained or supposed to be ascertained, let us call Central America. That is the idea. Why not, During the last session, the Senate passed a upon our Committee on Foreign Relations to lay as practical men, investigate the question, ascer- resolution requesting the President of the United them before the body. Let us have all the facts | tain the existence of the facts in the case, and then States to communicate to the Senate all the corconnected with colonization in Central America, | apply the principle to it? Why send out in ad: | respondence and documents, which had passed whether in Honduras, or in any other section of vance these speeches to the country?—and they are between the Government of the United States the country; and whenever those facts shall be read, I know, with the utmost anxiety, for people and the Government of Mexico, concerning this presented to us, we can act. What do I know || suppose there is something concealed, and that right of way across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. about it? What does any Senator on this floor war is in our front; that the cloud is gathering. The correspondence was sent in at a late day of know about it? The President tells you, in the We are thereby, affecting by this discussion the the session, and referred to the Committee on language of the chairman of the Committee on great commercial interests of this country. We | Foreign Relations. That committee took the subForeign Relations, that he has no facts which he | are probably bringing ruin upon many great in- | ject nnder consideration, and before the close of can communicate to us. The chairman, then, must terests of the Union, when I know it is not the the session, but too late to be acted upon, made do the best he can; and if it so turns out that there | intention of gentlemen to involve the country in a report, accompanied by several resolutions. That are no facts to establish the position that an or
report has been before the Senate, therefore, since ganization or colonization has taken place, what I repeat that the remark of my honorable friend the last session of Congress, and it will be found is the result? Why, that no organization or col- || from Virginia, that a British colony has been estab- || by those who have looked at the resolutions, that onization has taken place. But if it be true that lished in Central America, and that " it must be l the committee considered the subject as one of no it has taken place, give us the facts, and then the discontinued,” is the stron allegation which || little interest and moment to the Government. I Monroe doctrine will come in, and come in as it has yet been made that war is before us, or that will ask permission to read them. The report was intended to come in by the honorable Senator there is danger, because a great principle has been concludes by, recommending to the Senate the from Michigan, founded upon the idea that this violated. But I think the country will see that adoption of the following resolutions: colonization had already taken place. But that the filibustering portion of the Congress of the
“ Resolved, (as the judgment of the Senate,) That in the fact is not officially ascertained. Let us get the United States do not want to act upon the case present posture of the question on the grant of a right of official information, and then act upon it.
presented; they want to commit a majority of way through the territory of Mexico, at the Isthmus of TeLet these resolutions be laid upon the table. Il Congress to certain principles, and then they will
huantepec, conceded by that Republic to one of its citizens, What are they? Abstractions; a reaffirmation of present a case so that the majority cannot back
and now the property of citizens of the United States, as the the Monroe doctrine, which, although never in- || out, but war must follow.
same is presented by the correspondence and documents
That is the idea; and accompanying the message of the President of the United troduced by way of resolution before, has been you cannot conceal it from the public mind, for
States of the 27th July, 1852, it is not compatible with the firmly fixed in every American statesman's mind
the commercial, agricultural, and manufacturing | dignity of this Governinent to prosecute the subject further and determination. There is no necessity of re- interests are too sensitive not to perceive that « 2. Should the Government of Mexico propose a resolving that we will do so and so, in such a state legislation like this would be destructive. Hence newal of such negotiation, it should be acceded to only upon of affairs. Let us ascertain the state of affairs || it is that I say, come boldly up to your principles; distinct propositions from Mexico, not inconsistent with the which exists, and then resolve, if it displeases us, and I stand upon them myself. I would permit demands made by this Government in reference to said that it shall not exist as it is. Let the resolutions
grant. no foreign country to colonize this continent if we
“3. That the Government of the United States stands be laid upon the table, or referred to the Commit- | have power to prevent it. Stand upon that prin. committed to all of its citizens to protect them in their rights, tee on Foreign Relations; let the distinguished ciple, but do not be continually speaking of it, and abroad as well as at home, within the sphere of its jurisdic Senator at the head of that committee bring in repeating it. It is like saying to a man, "If you
tion; and should Mexico, within a reasonable time, fail to his report, and accompany that report by the say so and so about me I'will fog you. I under
reconsider hier position concerning said grant, it will then
become the duty of this Government to review all existing speech which he desires to deliver; and I will ask stand you have said it, and I believe it, and I have relations with that Republic, and to adopt such measures as now what speech is it he desires to deliver? A made up my mind to flog you, if you have done it.” will preserve the honor of the country and the rights of its speech upon colonization in the abstract-not upon | You should first ascertain the facts and then apply existing colonization, because he says he knows your principle to them,
The Senate will see from the character and tone not whether it be true or not that a British colony I do not make these observations with the most of these resolutions, that the Committee on Forhas been established in Central America, though || distant apprehension that there is any danger of a eign Relations have considered that this subject, he thinks it is true. Why should the chairman war. I do not wish any interests of the Union to by the action upon it of the two Governments, of the Committee on Foreign Relations make a
feel alarmed upon this subject. I see no occasion i and by its intrinsic importance, has been elevated speech of that kind unless it be based upon facts, for believing that there is to be a war. I see no into one of very, grave consideration. Mr. Presi. and unless the facts be such as to authorize it? disposition in foreign countries to interfere with | dent, the acquisition of California, lying upon the Should we influence the kingdom of Great Britain | any great American principle. On the contrary, | Pacific border, and of the intervening territory, or any other, by saying that if they do a certain I believe that the industrial interests of the world, at the close of the war with Mexico, placed this thing we will do so and so?. Let us ascertain and especially of the European and American peo- Government in the embarrassing position of havwhat has been done, and then, if we dislike it, ask || ple, are now the controlling power; and that com- | ing some of its most important dependencies-for the Government of Great Britain to disavow it; | mon sense, common honesty, and common justice California was then a dependency-at the distance and if she will not do so, then let us decide what will prevail, and keep down everything in conflict of some three thousand miles from the Atlantic course we shall pursue.
with the rights and happiness of the people. I || settlements, and inaccessible unless across deserts Mr. MASON. I think if the exact posture of look upon the scene which has occurred' here upon and mountains, requiring mònths to pass them. It the question were understood by the Senate, there this resolution, and the speeches which have gone is known to the Senate, that in the instructions would be no difficulty in disposing of this subject. || forth, as evidence of the belligerent disposition of which were given by President Polk to the comThe message of the President of the United States,
some gentlemen, or as an outburst of ihat desire missioner of the United States, by whom the treaty in connection with this alleged colonization on for war which now and then will occur, especially of peace was negotiated—a President who closed the coast of Honduras, is now before the Com- || in a Republic like ours.
a very successful, and indeed brilliant administramittee on Foreign Relations. There is, therefore, I concur with the Senator from California--and | tion, by the successful issue of the war with Mexbefore them, a distinct question upon which they we do not agree very often--that this subject | ico-he was directed, in view of the high and great may, and probably will
, report. The resolution should be put out of the way, and that practical importance of obtaining an accessible way to those of the Senator from Michigan covers certain great | legislation, affecting the interests of the country, | Pacific possessions, to offer Mexico for the right principles of American policy, alleged by him to should be taken up. Let us proceed to business of way a very large sum of money. The propohave been laid down as early as the year 1823— affecting the people for whom we have to act, and sition was declined on the part of Mexico, because, thirty years ago. What I meant to say was this: || if there is any violation of our principles of foreign as was alleged, that right of way was no longer It seems to me that the debate which has com
policy, let the chairman of the Committee on For- || within her control-that she had parted with it. menced, should go on in reference to these general | eign Relations ascertain it, communicate it to us Since the acquisition of California—since it was principles of American policy, and upon them I officially, and I will be one of the first to suspend erected into a State—and more especially since the wish to be heard. The report that may, and prob- | all other business and act upon it.
discovery of the immense deposits of gold which ably will be made upon the message of the Presi- On motion by Mr. HÂLE, the Senate ad- have attracted the attention, not only of the peodent of the United States, in reference to a specific | journed.
ple of this country, but of the entire world, the colony, affects the application of certain of those
way to get access to California has filled the public principles, and certain of them only. I see no
THE TEHUANTEPEC GRANT.
mind. The enterprise of our people, with their necessity for the reference of the resolution of the
capital, was embarked in seeking a right of way Senator from Michigan-none in the world, so far SPEECH OF HON. J. M. MASON, some two thousand miles distant from our coast, as regards the specific question now before the
where the continent, or rather the isthmus that committee.
connects the two continents, was contracted to its Mr. DAWSON. That is the very ground upon IN THE SENATE, February 1, 1853,
smallest extent, across the Isthmus of Panama; which I go. I would say again, that I presume On the Resolutions reported from the Committee and within a very short time, by the investment there is scarcely a dissenting voice in this body, on Foreign Relations, in regard to the Tehuan
of a very large capital, and with some risk on the with reference to the mere abstract questions which
part of those who did it, a communication was are involved in the resolution of the Senator from Mr. MASON said:
opened there, in order to give us access to our Michigan. But why this constant repetition and Mr. President: What I have to say, on the possessions on the Pacific. That communication declamation upon principles in regard io which we subject of this right of way across the Isthmus has continued since in the course of successful all agree? I cannot see the necessity of it. Yet, I of Tehuantepec can involve but little more than underneath this, it is clearly to be perceived that dry detail; but yet, in my apprehension, and in Under the convention made between the Govwe are going on to a particular object on the alle- | the judgment of the Commitee on Foreign Rela- ernments of the United States and Great Britain, gation that there has been a violation of these prin- tions, to whom this subject was referred, it is one another communication was intended to be opened ciples, by the establishment of a British colony in || of very great importance to the country. how far it has yet been opened I am not fully 320 CONG.....20 Sess.
Tehuantepec Grant-Mr. Mason.
informed through Nicaragua, by way of the any foreign Power; and those English subjects, three years, and at a cost far less than has been river San Juan and Lake Nicaragua. And now, in 1849, assigned it to a gentleman named Har- incurred by many private companies under State by private enterprise, and private enterprise alone, gous, who was, I believe, a native of Pennsylva- charters. Against it you oppose one to be reckthai communication is successfully carried on. nia; certainly a citizen of the United States. 'Mr. oned in its extent by thousands of miles, not a The Governments of Central America, weak and Hargous, to carry on the work, connected with foot of which has been surveyed, and which may, feeble as they all unfortunately are, have not in- | him, as we learn from the documents accompany- nay, must, cost more than one hundred millions. terposed any obstacles; but, on the contrary, they ing the message of the President, certain citizens The first will be in successful operation before you have been disposed to make liberal and just con- of New Orleans, who allege that they can com- can cut a tree or plant a stone in the construccessions to our people to enable them to get at mand the necessary capital to construct a railway | tion of the latter. their Pacific possessions, by granting a right of across the continent at this point.
I do not propose that the Government shall aid way across their respective territories. "It has been Now, Mr. President, with reference to what fell this company by contributions from the Treasury, reserved for Mexico alone, a contiguous Republic, | from the Senator from Texas, (Mr. Rusk,) and by a grant of public land, or in any other way the Republic from whom these possessions on the what has fallen, on a former day, from the Sena- than by protecting its own citizens against spoliaPacific were acquired, not only to refuse such tor who, with so much zeal and ability, represents tion by a foreign Power. But in doing that, this right of way across her territory, but she has ac- in part the State of California on this floor, (Mr. || Government will not only have extended proper companied the refusal with a deliberate purpose to Gwin,) I beg leave to say, in limine, that, al- || protection to its citizens, but it will have secured annul and repudiate as void the very grant, the though I cannot see any authority whatever in the io itself, what it is entitled to a way to its posexistence of which she originally assigned as the Government of the United States to undertake the sessions on the Pacific coast-the best, the most obstacle to any treaty stipulation on her part con- execution of a railway, or any other form of com- accessible, and the shortest way, in time, at least, ceding it to this Government,
munication between this part of the country and which can be obtained. Now, Mr. President, in looking at the
the State of California, yet, be that as it may, In the report of the committee which accompashall find that the continent of North America, at there is no conflict, and there ought to be no con- nies these resolutions, the title to this grant has the point referred to, in the provinces or depart- | fict, between those who desire the construction of been minutely traced, the committee being satisfied ments of Oaxaca and Vera Cruz, one of the Mex- a railroad across our part of the continent and in its judgment, that a valid, undoubted, and unican States, is contracted more than at any other those who desire the construction of one across questionable title had passed from the Government point, until you reach the Isthmus of Panama. the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Sir, look at what of Mexico to the American citizens, who are now We find that between the Bay of Vera Cruz, in the
In the very infancy of our com- the holders of it, and those gentlemen who may Gulf of Mexico, and the Gulf of Tehuantepec, on merce and communication with these seas, by || desire to see it will find it there. I come now to the Pacific side, the continent is contracted to an air transit across the southern continent, we find that show how the Government has been connected line of distance between the two seas, shown by private enterprise alone has made it productive to with it. actual survey to be but one hundred and thirty | a degree which enriches all. Already two routes After the title was thus acquired, the Governmiles. Before the war with Mexico, indeed for a are established and in successful use-one across ment of the United States, seeing the importance long series of years, the attention the world | the continent at the Isthmus of Panama, and an- of the subject, invited Mexico to negotiate, not for had been directed to effecting some practicable other by the way of the river San Juan and Lake the purpose of giving validity to, or protecting the route across that part of the continent so as to Nicaragua, in the Republic of that name; and title which its citizens had acquired, but for the connect the two oceans, and great and extended looking to the great results that are rapidly to fol- | purpose of giving protection to the right of way enterprises had been, from time to time, projected, | low these short cuts to the Indies, none can doubt, I when it was made, recognizing the grant, then the but all of them had failed. There was no way had we a railway connection at Tehuantepec, and property of citizens of the United States, and infor the commerce of this part of the continent, or another from the Mississippi to the Pacific shore, viting Mexico to treat by convention to give the that of Europe, to pass to the other side of the there would be found ample and remunerative em- protection of the two Governments to the commuAmerican continent or the Indies, except by a pro- | ployment for them all-that which was most nication when it should be made. We know that tracted voyage by the way of the southern cape speedy would command the travel, whilst the ex- a similar act had been done already between the of America or that of Africa. But recently, on changes of commerce would be conceded to its | Governments of the United States and England, account of the discoveries of gold in California, competitors.
both Governments assuming a common interest in and since that country has become one of the There is no conflict, there should be no conflict protecting the right of way, which was projected States of this Confederation, the mind of the peo- between rival routes, or rival interests, to impair by means of Lake Nicaragua, through the terriple of the United States has been concentrated the action of the Government in this matter. It is tory of Nicaragua. A convention was entered upon the exploration and the successful execution because the interests of this Government, as I con. into accordingly, which is now the supreme law of a route which shall be found most accessible | ceive, are mare deeply involved in having a transit of the land, the purpose of which was to secure and least expensive to bring the two oceans into at Tehuantepec than anywhere else where a road that way through Lake Nicaragua as a common communication.
has been projected, that I have felt it my duty to highway to the whole world. Each Government In 1842, the Government of Mexico, Santa | ask, urgently, the attention of the Senate to the entered into guarantees for its protection, and to Anna being then President with supreme power, 1 posture in which the question now stands between keep it open as a common highway. The Gov(and we have learned from our intercourse with the Government of the United States and the Gov. ernment of the United States for like reasons, but Mexico that a President with supreme power is ernment of Mexico. It is found to be not only a of a more urgent character, invited Mexico to form the only responsible Government that Mexico has practicable way, but since it has come into Amer- a convention for the purpose of constituting a yet had,) made a grant of a liberal character to a ican hands, the entire route has been resurveyed, common highway by means of this grant concertain Mr. Garay, a citizen of Mexico, who under the superintendence of a most enlightened || ceded to Garay, and 'now in the hands of Ameriseems to have been a man of wealth, as he was engineer, taken from the public service, (Major can citizens. Mexico acceded to it. A convencertainly one of enterprise. Garay forth with took Barnard,) who was occupied some six or seven tion was framed, and signed at the city of Mexmeasures to have the way across the Isthmus to months in the work, and has made to his employ:ico, between our Minister there and the proper which his grant applied, surveyed, and the practi- ers a most elaborate report in the book from which | authorities in Mexico, with the approbation of cability of effecting a transit there ascertained. || I read an extract just now. It is shown by aciual | Herrera, who was then President of that RepubHe employed for that purpose an enlightened Ital- survey of the route, that the highest elevation to lic, lo effect these objects; in which convention ian engineer, by the name of Moro, who made an be overcome (corresponding with the survey made the right secured by the grant was fully recogactual survey of the country lying between the by his predecessor Moro) does not exceed six || nized. When the convention was signed in Mextwo oceans at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. I hundred and fifty feet, and that the maximum of ico, it was sent here. Some alterations and modwill read a very short extract from the report made ) grade upon the whole route does not exceed sixty | ifications were suggested by the Government at by him. It gives a very succinct but clear view of feet to ihe mile. The report of Major Barnard Washington, and it eventually took the form of that country:
further shows that the entire length of a railway a new convention, which was sent back to Mex“ The entire line of country was carefully surveyed and from sea to sea will be but one hundred and eighty- || ico. The Government of Mexico-I mean the mapped, the face of the land, its productions and capabili six miles. But the river Coatzacoalcos, on the Executive Government-approved it, and it was ties, were examined with antiring perseverance. "'From these surveys, it is established that the entire dis
Atlantic side, is said to be navigable for the largest | signed in the city of Mexico, in January, 1851. tance from sea to sea is one bundred and thirty five miles in
class of ships, as high as the village of Minatetlan, Ils object and its terms were only to give the a straight line, and presents a wide plain from the inouth of lwenty miles from its mouth; and if this be taken protection of the two Governments to that way the Coatzacoalcos to the port of Mesa de Tarifa, a table or as the Atlantic terminus, then the railway will across the continent, effecting a communication elevated plain on the line of the Andes, which rises to the height of six hundred and fifty feet above the level of the
measure but one hundred and sixty-six miles, || between the two seas. sea, and at the distance of five miles again descends to a
and the whole cost of the work, including the full Now, Mr. President, we have had some expeplain, which reaches the Pacific. The summit level to be equipment of the road, is brought by his estimates | rience of the character which unfortunately belongs overcome is only six bundred and fifty feet; thirty miles within eight millions of dollars.
to the authorities of Mexico, and the difficulty of the river Coatzacoalcos are navigable for ships of the Jagest class, and fifteen miles beyond this for vessels of light
It is true, sir, that the proposed way lies within which that unfortunate people have encountered draught, leaving only about one hundred and fifteen miles the dominion of a foreign Power, and were a choice from the very birth of the Republic, either in conof railroad to be made. It would occupy too much space to be made, that objection would be conclusive of stituting or maintaining a responsible Government to enumerate all the details of these surveys, and which
the election. Yet a highway between nations -torn, as it seems to be, from one extremity to go to show so strongly how easily a railroad can be constructed across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. It is sufficient
should be the subject of no exclusive jurisdiction, the other by domestic feuds or dissensions, and to say, that the absolute practicability has been clearly and it is to retain for it that character with which constantly in a state of revolution. It resulted ascertained."
it has been already clothed by treaty stipulation, || that very soon after this convention had been Garay, who was a Mexican citizen, assigned his that I press it upon the attention of the Senate. But, I signed in January, 1851, there was a change in the were then, Chr. 1848 to certain Englishmen who | sir, in the view to be taken of it now, there is | Government; and it would appear from the best
believe, resident in Mexico. The really no choice. Here we have a plain practicable information I can obtain in looking at the history terms of his grant, as are fully shown, authoriz- work, so demonstrated to be by the most com- of the occasion, that this grant of a right of way ing him to assign it to the citizens or subjects of ll petent skill, that may be finished within two or across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec was made the
grant in the
320 CONG.....2p Sess.
Tehuantepec Grant-Mr. Mason.
stalking-horse by which one Administration was time for two years to the holders of the grant -to
Mr. MASON. It is estimated, computing in to get into power, and the other to be thrown out. commence this work, and by that decree ingrafted the same ratio, that the average time from New The consequence was, that in an evil hour for the upon the grant additional stipulations and addi- | York to San Francisco, via Tehuantepec, will be interests of the world, as well as for the two coun- tional provisions, thus constituting a consideration nineteen days, and the shortest time probably fiftries, the Congress of Mexico were induced to re- or equivalent for the extension granted. The de- teen days. From New Orleans to San Francisco, ject the treaty. At the time that convention was cree is set out at large in the volume to which I by the way of Tehuantepec, it is estimated the rejected, the American holders of this grant were have referred, and can be seen by any Senator. time will be fourteen days, and the possible time upon the Isthmus, in the act of completing their The time for the commencement of the work twelve days. surveys, preparatory to the work." They had thus extended in November, 1846, expired in No- I get these statements from gentlemen interested been invited to go there by the Government of vember, 1848, before which the work was actually in this work, and who seem to have derived them Mexico-orders had been issued by the central commenced, as is admitted on all hands, and thus t from correct sources. authority of Mexico to the States through which the grant was saved. The single ground assumed Mr. President, I have said that the Government the road was to pass, not only to throw no obstruc- by Mexico for thus repealing the decree of Presi- of the United States has an interest in this right tions or difficulties in the way, but to receive the dent Salas is, that he had no authority to make of way across Tehuantepec which it behooves us engineers and their party with hospitality—to | it.
to retain, and to insist upon, through the agency place the resources of the country at their dispo- This is a simple, and a very narrow issue, and of the Garay grant, now in the hands of its own sal, and to give them every facility in their power the first remark I should note is, that if this were citizens. It is a duty which the Government owes to execute the work. A previous order which had 80, the judiciary was the proper tribunal to deter- both to itself and to the citizens of the country. been issued by the Government of Mexico was mine the question.
This right of 'way is within the limits of Mexico, reaffirmed, requiring that when they were ready If the grant was valid, it was a contract made and we are not without evidence that, if the Gov. to commence the work, three hundred convicts for valuable considerations, and was beyond the ernment of Mexico be permitted to repudiate the should be put at the disposal of the company as reach of legislation. The sanction of a contract grant, we shall not have a transit across Tehuanpublic laborers. This party had been there from so made, is the honor and faith of the nation that tepec for half a century. The Garay grant was a December to June, a period of some seven months is party to it, and both of these are expressly very liberal one. It conceded to the grantee ten -a party consisting, according to my recollection, pledged by the terms of the grant. But Mexico | leagues (or thirty miles) of the unoccupied lands of nearly one hundred men, in charge of Major did not choose to remit the party to her courts. on each side of the line of communication. It Barnard, an officer of our own service, who had Violence, the law of the tyrant, was a more speedy | authorized colonization, and gave the colonists albeen invited to take charge of the work, and who and certain resort.
most all the privileges of Mexican citizens. It had been allowed to go there by the Government. As to the authority of Salas, it is enough to was very liberal in reference to the tax that was An immense expenditure had been incurred by the say that he was, for the time, the sole depositary to be exacted on the transit; and Mexico, more American holders of this grant, in order to effect of power, and that power was supreme. His title than all, precluded herself from imposing any that survey. They had not only sent this very was, “President with supreme power.” In his will taxes or any political charges on the work for a large body of men, but they had necessarily to was concentrated the will of the nation, as the period of fifty years. The grant, therefore, is a send a large store of materials in the form of im- | Government de facto—and he was so recognized and most importani one, and if we allow it to be replements, &c. They had sent provisions; they submitted to by a!l Mexico, until the Government pudiated and annulled, it requires no prophet to had chartered ships and steamboats to aid in it, was changed.
foretell that Mexico will either concede no other, until their expenditure, as I am informed, reached This was not the only decree in the nature of a or it will be done in such form as to render it some $300,000.
general law which emanated from this “supreme valueless as a highway to the world. Thus, while they were at work under the aus power ” whilst President Salas held it.
How does the matter stand? The Mexican law, pices of Mexico-at the invitation of Mexico- Looking through the history of the times, we to which I have referred, disaffirming the decree ihe Congress of that Republic, without notice of find the following, amongst others:
of Salas, was passed in May, 1851, nearly two any
kind whatever, passed a law repealing, sub- 1. A decree organizing the Bureau of General years ago. The Mexican papers inform us that stantially, the grant to Garay; and an order was Archives.
that Government has, from time to time, issued proimmediately issued, in the month of June, 1851, 2. A decree relative to the liberty of the press. posals to construct this way by a new company, requiring that the whole engineering party then on 3. A decree relative to colonization.
or in some other form. Two years have elapsed, the Isthmus, should be forth with expelled-contu- 4. A decree relative to literary property. and yet, notwithstanding the eminent import
5. A decree authorizing popular meetings. ance to the world of having access across the conI do not look upon that as an indignity intended 6. A decree concerning naturalization.
tinent at that point, the whole question stands now towards this Government. I look upon it only as All these decrees, and with them that concern- | just where it stood then. We are informed that evidence of the unfortunate imbecility of the coun- || ing the Garay grant, were communicated to the in all the propositions which have since emanated try from which it emanated—an imbecility which Congress which Sulas convoked, by his Ministers, from the Mexican Government, in their proposals renders them incapable of maintaining govern- as laws enacted by the Provisional Government. inviting new companies to construct this work, ment, even from month to month. It was a sort They were received and submitted to as such. || they have imposed limitations and restrictions of wretched oblation by the party that obtained | No protest against them as usurpations was made, which must discourage all from attempting it, or power, to the prejudices of an ignorant race, by not a word from the press even, questioning their which would have the effect, if complied with, of filling their minds with strange, vague, and indefi- validity, or the power that enacted them. On the leaving that work exclusively in the charge of the nite apprehensions of what the consequences would contrary, the very Congress that subsequently re- Mexican Government. The propositions are of be, if our people got a foothold anywhere within pealed this decree of Salas, on the ground that he this character: The contractors are required, in their territory. The engineering party were ex- had not authority to make it, annulled a law of the the first place, to acknowledge the unqualified sovpelled from the Isthmus. They were required to State of Sonora, because it violated Salas's decree ereignty of Mexico over the transit, and her right discontinue their work at once, and to abandon relative to colonization. It would seem that his to impose any political charges whatever upon the country without stretching another line. They power was undoubted for every purpose, save to persons or property passing over it. They are did so; the party was disbanded, and returned extend this grant. This needs no further com- required to acknowledge a concurrent right in home.
the Government of Mexico to fix the corporate Protection is always due by Government to its I have caused to be prepared a paper intended charges. They are required to agree to place their citizens—our Army and Navy is maintained and to show, and I believe it does correctly show, the mail steamers under the national flag of Mexico, built only for such purpose-and, in this case, it i difference, both in time and distance, in passing and all their vessels are to be subject to tonnage and would seem more eminently due, because these from different points of the North American conti- || lighterage duties. They are required to agree to heavy losses were sustained in an enterprise of ment to the Pacific by these respective ways. The transport no troops or munitions of war across the great value to the country, to which our people had distance from New York to San Francisco, via | Isthmus, except with the express permission of been invited by the despoiling Power, and to which! Chagres, is six thousand six hundred and fifty | Mexico. They are required to discriminate in fathe Government had lent its sanction, in the free | miles, and the distance between the same points vor of such nations as shall guaranty this mouse of the treaty-making power.
by the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, is four thousand | nopoly, by deducting twenty-five per cent. from In the report of the committee to which I have nine hundred and seventy miles, making a differ- the corporate charges in their favor; they are realluded, the ground upon which the law of the ence in the distance of one thousand six hundred quired to transfer the work at cost to Mexico, and, Mexican Congress was passed, repealing substan- and eighty miles. Between New Orleans and San more than all, those who are there constructing tially and in effect this grant to Garay, is fully Francisco, by way of Panama, the distance is this work are required to renounce their right to set forth. It appears from the recital contained in five thousand six hundred and seventy-five miles. the protection of their own Governments, and bethe report, that when the grant was made in 1842, From New Orleans to San Francisco, by the Isth- come de facto Mexican citizens. In this point of a certain time was given to the grantee within mus of Tehuantepec, the distance is three thousand | view, the question becomes exceedingly importwhich to commence the work. Before the time seven hundred and forty miles, making a difference ant to this country. expired, a further decree was issued by the Mex- of one thousand nine hundred and thirty-five miles. If Mexico were what Mexico ought to be, an ican Government extending the time. In 1846, Now, as to time, I am informed that the average enlightened, intelligent, liberal community, they when General Salas came into power as President time now occupied in passing from New York to would do what even those far weaker Central with supreme power, (as Santa Anna and Bravo San Francisco by the Chagres route, is about || American Republics have done. They would see had been before him,) the time had elapsed within twenty-eight days, and the quickest time that has that it was due to the great family of nations, not which the work was to be commenced. Surveys been made, is twenty-two days.
to us alone but'to the world, that a work of this had been made, but the work had not actually Mr. WELLER.' It has never been made in character, intended to connect the two seas and to commenced, and the grant might have been con- twenty-two days.
pass the immense commerce of those seas, should sidered forfeited by a course of judicial proceed- Mr! MASOŃ. I would like to know what is be under the charge of no one Government, but ing; but that forfeiture was cured. General Salas, the shortest time.
should have the guarantee and protection of all, in November, 1846, issued a decree giving further Mr. WELLER. Twenty-four days.
They would see
that it was a duty which they