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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
320 CONG.....20 Sess.
SENATE. 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
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
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
320 CONG.....20 Sess.
Tehuantepec Grant-Mr. Mason.
owed to other nations to make it a common high ture of our present way across the northern con it to a committee, because former committees had way, and to renounce the narrow and destructive tinent. We purchased California from Mexico, tried in vain to perfect its details. policy of holding it purely as a Mexican work, paid a large equivalent for it, and we have in fact Here is a work to cost, I suppose, a hundred subject to the mutations of Mexican policy. And no way across our own continent to get to it. I millions of dollars or more, running for two thouyet it will follow, as certain as night follows cannot call that a way which leads through bands | sand miles through deserts, amidst hostile Indians, day, that if the Mexican Government be allowed of savages, across trackless deserts, and over inac over steny mountains, and yet you cannot have to repudiate this grant, it never will become cessible mountains, for some thousands of miles, the details of it adjusted, although you expect such highway, unless at the cost of continual when there is before us a short and convenient to make the road. I have not seen ihe bill that war. I say then, sir, unhesitatingly, that beside pass in a neighboring territory that may be over the honorable Senator from Texas (Mr. Rusk] the duty devolved upon us to protect our citizens come by artificial roads in a single day's jour- | proposes to substitute for it; but I learn that the and their property against the aggression of a
chief difference between the two is, that one proforeign Power, there is connected with this sub The principles governing this right are thus poses that the road shall be made by a grant of ject, a matter of vital importance to our own Gov treated by Vattel, a work of admitted authority: land, and the other by a grant of money as an ernment, and to the safety of our possessions upon “The right of passage is also a remnant of a primitive auxiliary to the land. Whenever this road shall the Pacific, which compels us in a manner to in state of cominunion, in which the entire earth was common be made—and doubtless it will be at some day sist that this right of way shall be maintained to all mankind, and the passage was everywhere free to each
after the territory through which it passes is popsubstantially as it has been guarantied by the individual, according to his necessities. Nobody can be entirely this rightit lim
ulated—I apprehend it must be done, as all other "grant in question. ited by the introduction of domain and property."
roads have been, by previous careful survey and The duiy of the Government to protect its own When, therefore, the owner of a territory thinks proper exploration. You cannot undertake to make a citizens against foreign aggression, I am sure I
to refuse you admission into it, you must, in order to enter
railroad without knowing where it is to go, and need not expound to the Senate. All writers on his reasons to the contrary. Such is the right of necessity:
the country through which it is to pass, the grade the law of nations enjoin it as a duty; and the this authorizes an act on your part, which on other occa which it is to be overcome, and the mountains and reason is a very plain one, not only because of sions would be unlawful, viz: an infringement of the right the rivers which it is to traverse, or whether it the relations which must exist between the gov
of domain, when a real necessity obliges you to enter into
can be done at all. Why, it is undertaking, to ernor and the governed, but it is a principle of wise escape from imminent danger, or if you have no other
order a railroad to be made by our fiat, whether public law, as it is of common sense, that the prop passage for procuring the means of subsistence, or those
nature will or will not permit it. I do not mean to erty of the citizen is, to some extent, the property of
of satisfying some other indispensable obligation-you may assert that this railroad will never be made, for in the Government. It constitutes the respublicaforce a passage wben it is unjustly refused."
all human probability it will be; but I doubt much the commonwealth-and thus a Government, in Now, sir, I confidently say, there is an “in- | if any man now living will ever pass over it. If protecting the property of the citizen, is protecting dispensable obligation" on this Government to you could have an appropriation to-morrow in the its own property; as in protecting the rights of the secure for itself a practicable and certain way to form in which it is asked, and supplying all the citizen, it is protecting its own rights; and this is the its connections on the Pacific; and I as confidently necessary funds, if I know anything of human sum of what is proposed to be done for the holders say, that at present there is none, without ex affairs, my life upon it the road would not be built of this grant. If their title be good—and I think posure at sea to the armaments of foreign Powers, 1 in twenty years. there will be no question about that with those which dot the whole ocean border through the But, I ask, what conflict is there between the who will examine it—if they have been induced, Antilles and the Caribbean sea; and I further say, two roads ? None whatever. The Government as there can be no doubt they have been, to expend whatever respect and forbearance may be due to embarks no money in this enterprise. In what I large sums of money in order to give effect to that the dominions of our neighboring Republic, that propose, the Government will do nothing more title under the sanction, as well as by the invita forbearance may be tested too far: there is a point || ihan hold Mexico to her public faith. That will tion of a foreign Government, we should not allow at which it ceases to be a virtue, and it may rest insure the making of the road. The work will that Government to crush and to destroy them. with her to determine when it shall be passed. be in the hands of private enterprise altogether;
But, sir, I go beyond that. We cannot get Now, sir, I mean to wage no war in this, with but when it is done, there will of necessity be anywhere upon the southern continent, or upon those who say that a railroad can be made across conventions between the Governments interested the strip of land which connects the two con the continent through our own territory. I have to see that it is held as a common highway. tinents, any right of way that will be so purely of no doubt it is in the power of the country to make Sir, it is my purpose to ask the Senate to adopt a domestic character as this at Tehuantepec. !f such a road, but I doubt exceedingly, whether it the resolutions reported by the Committee on Foryou look at it, you will find that its Atlantic termi can be used effectively after it has been made. eign Relations. They go as far as the committee nus is in our own domestic basin, the Gulf of You may make a railroad ten thousand miles long || deemed it necessary or proper to go at the time Mexico. There is not now a foreign gun mounted as easily as one ten miles long, if you have the || they were reported. Their purpose is to let the in that basin except upon the coast of Mexico; means; but it depends at last upon the climate, and Government of Mexico know, as the deliberate and if I appreciate the spirit of the American peo the nature of the physical obstructions you meet, || judgment of the Senate, that good faith be preple, there never will be a foreign gun mounted in what is to be the use of it after it has been made. served on her part in reference to this grant. 'So ihe Gulf of Mexico, unless it be by the cotermin Compare a railroad stretched across the northern | far we insist now, and when the time comes, ous Power, the Republic of Mexico. We have it | part of the continent with one at the Isthmus of as we may confidently hope it will, when Mexico then, here, comparatively at home. We have ac Tehuantepec, but one hundred and seventy miles shall once again enjoy a responsible Government cess to it from the mouth of the Mississippi, with in length. We can use the seas with certainty. -a Government capable of conducting its affairs, out passing anywhere (except upon the coast of Steam navigation has proved that; and there is no and in a position to be treated with by other PowMexico) within reach of any foreign Power. The danger of obstruction from ice either in the Gulfers, there may at last be no difficulty in adjusting mouth of the river Coatzacoalcos, the terminus of of Mexico or on the Pacific side. But in this Her the whole subject. Our relations with Mexico at the Tehuantepec road, is distant but nine hun culean work, which is projected to throw a road be- present are in a very embarrassed condition; not dred miles from the city of New Orleans, a distance tween the Mississippi and the Pacific, there can be from this alone, but from additional causes; and which can be overcome by steamers in three days. no security of passage whatsoever. Passing over they must continue to be more and more embarIt is thus, as it were, almost a part of our own the depredations of hostile Indians, you are to rassed as long as each subject of disagreement territory, certainly so in regard to proximity. traverse deserts destitute of either wood or water and dissension is left unadjusted. I confidently
I come now to look at this question in another both indispensable to motive power. For nearly hope, indeed I entertain no doubt, that the Adpoint of view. I lay it down, without hesitancy two thousand miles you are beyond the reach of ministration which is to come into power, now and without fear, that we have a right to a way any resources but such as travel with you; and to within a few days, will send to Mexico an able across Tehuantepec. According to public law, end the whole, for nearly half the year the way and competent man as Minister; that he will go this Government'may demand of Mexico a way when opened is obstructed by impassable barriers there under instructions to assure the Government across Tehuantepec; and Mexico cannot refuse it of ice and snow.
of Mexico that there is no purpose on the part of unless she becomes disloyal to the general compact There can be no comparison between the two this Government to oppress or injure them; that of nations. What is a right of way! Every one routes, so far as certainty and security of passage || all our feelings—the feeling of our whole people, is familiar with that. It pertains to individuals in is concerned; and if this railroad across our own as well as of the Government are fraternal and life as it pertains to nations. I understand that continent should be made, the country will find, kind towards her. All that we ask is, that they writers upon public law derive it from that prim when done, that there are months in the year will do what any other Government upon earth itive state, when the entire earth was common to when it cannot be used. I say then at once, that would have done long since, to allow that way to all men, and passage over it was free to all, ac comparing any way that can be made across the be opened as a highway of nations; that we will cording to their varied necessities. Such was the northern part of this continent with that which can give them aid and encouragement and countenance nature of this right before government was formed, be made at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the one in doing it; but that we are pledged to hold fast to or the institution of separate property ordained. furnishes a communication certain and secure, and this grant because of well-founded apprehensions, By these the right in question, was only limited in the other a communication of the utmost uncer if it be yielded, the most available and speedy its exercise; it was not destroyed; and it revives and tainty and insecurity.
transit between the two oceans which wash our resuscitates whenever there is a necessity making I have taken no part in the discussions which shores, as well as hers, will remain closed to the the way indispensable. It is illustrated in familiar have arisen on the bill introduced by the honore || world. life every day. If I purchase a piece of land so able Senator from California (Mr. Gwin) for the Should Mexico consider the concessions in this surrounded by the possessions of him from whom construction of this railroad to the Pacific ocean; particular grant too liberal on her part, modificait is derived that I have no way out to mill or to but the most cursory examination of the bill will tions may well be made, based on proper equivmarket, I may take it, as a right incident to the show that the whole plan it proposes is crude | alents to the grantees, making the concession more acquisition. It is a principle resulting from neces and immature, not by any means from want of acceptable to her or to her people. But the right sity, and is modified as circumstances may re ability in those who project, but from vices inhe- of way which that grant concedes, is a sine qua quire. A way impracticable in its use is the same rent in the subject itself; and I understood the non, and we must hold to it. I should think it thing as no way at all; and such is the exact pos honorable Senator to say that he could not refer !l would be in the power of a Minister, under proper
32n CONG....20 Sess.
Tehuantepec Grant-Mr. Downs.
instructions, to adjust all these difficulties, and to discuss the expediency, the propriety, or the || her under such circumstances, and that we ought once more to restore that harmony and fraternity necessity of the Government of the United States to be more mild and more moderate to her. There so important to the welfare of the two countries. taking prompt action on this subject. The period is much in that suggestion, under the peculiar cir.
The resolutions under consideration import noth for any such doubts has long since passed. This cumstances of Mexico. Perhaps I have as much ing more than the opinion of the Senate that the Government, in the most solemn manner, has | sympathy for the troubles of that sister Republic Government of the United States is bound to pro- | taken its position on this subject; and however as any man can have. I have recentiy seen the tect the property of its citizens against foreign | doubtful it might have been at first (I never had message of the late President of Mexico to the aggression, in the instance of the holders of this any) I cannot see that there is any room for doubt Congress of that Republic, and I consider it a pagrant; and if Mexico does not, within a reasonable now. But if anybody more scrupulous than my. per of the most melancholy character, and one caltime, make proper reparation in such a way as shall self might have raised a doubt as to whether it culated to excite the sympathy of the lovers of freerestore to them their just rights, we may be com was the duty of the Government to interpose in dom and of mankind everywhere. I have never pelled to review our existing relations with her. a matter of this kind, and protect its citizens, the seen a document of that kind which so deeply and
This, sir, is no threat of war-Mexico is no fit time for doubt has passed.' The Government, in so permanently affected my feelings. It is one of the adversary for such a people as ours. We deplore the most solemn and formal manner, has inter most affecting documents that I have ever heard of her weakness, and sympathize in the distresses of posed, and has said that its duty is to protect its || in the annals of any country. He saw his country her people. We would far rather extend our arm citizens in their rights in this matter; and it would sinking into anarchy and 'misfortune; he saw its to succor and sustain than to oppress or destroy. || be unbecoming the dignity of the nation; it would utterly hopeless condition, and was evidently stim. But with every feeling of kindness and justice to weaken our influence abroad; it would be un ulated by patriotic motives, and anxious to do what others, our Government owes a high and stern worthy of the American people, if now, after the he could to save his falling country; but his efforts duty to itself. The weakness of a neighboring | Government has taken this position, it should be have turned out to be utterly fruitless. In readPower cannot be admitted as a plea exempting her | receded from. The Government's position has ing that document, I could not but contrast the from the common duty of nations to each other, been taken, not merely in a casual correspondence || prostrate and miserable condition of Mexico with and to the world. It cannot, and will not be al- of the Secretary of State, but in the most formal that of the United States. I could not but express lowed, that our country should be impeded in its manner. Not only that, but it has even gone be the sanguine anticipation that long might it be begreat career by the mere imbecility of Mexico. | yond the ordinary form of diplomatic intercourse. fore the President of the United States should have And it remains only to declare, if this transit | The President of the United States has felt it to occasion to send to the Congress of the United be considered in the circumstances in which the be so important and so interesting a subject, that States such a message as that. country is placed, as one indispensable to our wel he has departed from the usual course of diplo My feelings, then, towards Mexico, on account fare, it must be conceded, or it will be taken by matic intercourse, and addressed a private letter of her condition, have much weight with me on strong hand.
to the President of Mexico, remonstrating against this question. I would, therefore, under ordinary the course which that Government was then likely circumstances, so far as depends on me, sorbear;
to pursue, and warning him of the consequences I would say nothing, I would do nothing to emTHE TEAUANTEPEC GRANT.
if it should violate what the Government of the barrass her in her present condition; and I would
United States considered to be the interests of its if I could wait until more prosperous circumstances SPEECH OF HON. S. W. DOWNS, citizens.
should attend her; but I consider that we have no OF LOUISIANA,
In a letter from the Secretary of State to Señor option in this matter. The dispute did not com
Luis de la Rosa, the Mexican Minister at Wash mence lately. If so, perhaps I should be willing IN THE SENATE, February 2, 1853.
ington, dated April 30, 1851, after an able and to postpone it until the next Administration comes The Senate having under consideration the fol- | comprehensive review of the whole question, the
into power; but it was commenced before the lowing resolutions reported from the Committee Secretary, referring to the probable rejection of present disasters of Mexico arose; and it was on Foreign Relations, in reference to the Tehuan the treaty by Mexico, (which a letter of the Mex- absolutely necessary, in my opinion, that the Gov. tepec Grant:
ican Minister led him to anticipate,) concludes in ernment of the United States should take the poResolved, (as the judgment of the Senate,) That in the the following emphatic terms:
sition which it did take at the time; and that po. present posture of the question on the grant of a right of way
sition cannot now be abandoned without injury to through the territory of Mexico, at the Isthmus of Tehuan
“ The President of the United States cannot persuade tepec, conceded by that Republic to one of its citizens, and himself that such a calamity as its rejection by Mexico now
our character and to our country. We know very now the property of citizens of the United States, as the impends over the two countries."
well how carefully the Mexicans watch our consane is presented by the correspondence and documents
Again, in a letter to Mr. La Vega, the successor
duct, how ready they are to take advantage of Accompanying the message of the President of the United
everything like wavering and indecision on our States of the 27th July, 1852, it is not compatible with the to Señor La Rosa, of the 15th March, 1852, the part, and we ought to be sensible of the great indignity of this Government to prosecute the subject further | Secretary of State says: by negotiation.
justice and dishonor which has been imposed upon 2. Should the Government of Mexico propose a renewal
“ If, however, these hopes should prove to be unfounded, us by the course which she has taken heretofore. of such negotiation, it should be acceded to only upon dis
and the convention should not go into effect, this Govern If now, under the promptings of any generous tinct propositions from Mexico, not inconsistent with the
ment will feel itself compelled to take into consideration the demands made by this Government in reference to said measures which its duty to its own citizens may require it
motives, we should forbear to act, and to act as grant.
to adopt, to protect their rights under a voluntary grant made becomes our dignity and honor, Mexico will very 3. That the Government of the United States stands com
by Mexico of the transit way across the Isthinus. The probably conclude that she is at liberty to do as
Government of the United States can in no event be exmitted to all its citizens to protect them in their rights,
she pleases in this matter, without any danger abroad as well as at home, within the sphere of its jurisdic
pected to abandon those riglits, and ardently hopes that the tion; and should Mexico, within a reasonable time, fail to Mexican Government will do justice to them in season."
of interference on our part. I consider, therefore,
that no option is left us. We must act, and we reconsider her position coucerning said grant, it will then And, finally, in view of the great importance of become the duty of this Government to review all existing the occasion, and to avert, if possible, consequences
must act at this time. Our honor is invaded. Let relations with that Republic, and 10 adopt such measuras as
us have sympathy and good will for Mexico, but will preserve the honor of the country and the rights of its
of the magnitude of which to the two coun when our honor is involved we have no option; citizens: tries, whilst this question remains unsettled, none
we must first protect that, and then we may act Mr. DOWNS said: Mr. President, I shall not can be blind, the President of the United States
under the dictates of humanity towards Mexico. discuss many of the important questions connected addressed himself directly to the President of Mex
I would ask gentlemen to look for a moment at with this subject, which were so ably presented ico by a letter of the 19th of March, 1852, from
the aspect of this question. I feel rather astonyesterday, hy the honorable chairman of the Com- which the committee quote as follows:
ished ihat the people of the United States have mittee on Foreign Relations, (Mr. Mason.] It is
“ In addition to the motives I have urged for the speedy borne with the conduct of Mexico for such a unnecessary to do so, because he has suggested
adjustment of this matter, I beg leave most earnestly io call
length of time. What is the position of this ques. everything which the occasion required, much bet. that may grow up between the two nations, should Mexico tion? This grant was considered by Mexico ter than I could do; and I would not weaken the break her plighted faith in the grant lo Garay. Our citizens, when we negotiated with her for the treaty of very able argument which he has made, or dilute relying upon her good faith, have become interested in that
peace in 1847, as so well established that she ab. it by repeating what he has said. Therefore, in
grant ; they have advanced large sums of money for the
solutely refused to enter into negotiations with us the course which I shall take, I shall assume at route for a railroad, and demonstrated the practicability of on the
subject because the grant had been ceded once that the various propositions contended for constructing it; and it is not possible that they should now to an English company. The rights of that comby the honorable Senator must be considered as
be deprived of the privileges guarantied by that grant, and established; that the Garay grant was a valid one, sustain the heavy losses that must ensue, withont appealing
pany are now vested in American citizens. Mex. in their own Government for the enforcement of their rights.
ico has twice entered into treaty stipulations recmade by competent authority; that various other My anxious desire is to avoid the too probable consequences ognizing the validity of the grant. By special acts of the Government of Mexico-that the ne
that must result from such an appeal. We cannot, if we orders and instructions and passports, she has gotiations entered into that the whole history of
would, be indifferent to it. It is a duty which every Gov.
permitted our engineers and officers to go there the transaction, which I shall not go into, estab
home and abroad; and the consequences growing out of the and survey the route. Yet, suddenly, under cir. lished this. I shall therefore take for granted all disagreement of the proprietors of the Garay grant and the cumstances which the Senator from Virginia so the facts which have been so clearly and so ably
Government of Mexico are such as no true friend of this graphically and so ably described yesterday, by a presented in the report made by the Committee on country or of Mexico can look upon with indifference."
mere political turn of the wheel, she took it into Foreign Relations at the last session, and in the This, Mr. President, is the position that has her head that the grant must be abrogated, and speech of the honorablechairman yesterday. I shall been taken in the most solemn manner by the that the treaty must not be concluded. The offer no argument to the Senate on those points. I Government of the United States; and if there ever Mexican Congress passed an act abrogating the shall say very little on another matter connected was a time to waver, or to doubt, that time has grant. Not only was that done, but the Mexican with this subject, as to the importance and neces passed. We have not only the right to interpose, Government drove from the country the engineers sity of this communication, and as to the question | but our Government has pledged itself to interpose and officers of the company sent there by her of how far it may conflict with the proposed Pa-l in this matter; and we have no option left. It may special permission. cific railroad.
be urged that Mexico is now weak; that she is in a Mr. HALE. I wish to ask the honorable SenMr. President, in my opinion it is too late || stale of Anarchy; that it is hard to proceed against II ator a question. He speaks of the assignment of
the grant to American citizens being ratified or ac a Government has assumed a right to and even vernment towards many of the South American knowledged by treaties. I want to inquire of him taken possession of a territory, and negotiated Republics, and particularly towards Mexico, has if those treaties have been ratified by the different afterwards. There are many instances of such a been a great mistake from the beginning, and I wish branches of the Mexican Government?
course in history. Why, sir, in my own State, for to see it changed. At first it was very natural, Mr. DOWNS. No, sir; but one of them has seven years after the cession of Louisiana, from and I cast no censure on any one for that policy. been ratified by the American Senate.
1803 to 1810, a large portion of the present State Those States had revolted from the mother coun. Mr. HALE. And rejected by the Mexican of Louisiana remained in the possession of the || tries, and were struggling to be successful. We authorities.
Spanish Government and under the Spanish au wished to lend them a helping hand. It was natMr. DOWNS. Rejected or not acted upon. I thority. In 1810, it was taken possession of by | ural, therefore, that we should treat them with give the President and Secretary of State great our Government before the treaty of 1819, and it the utmost leniency; that we should not be harsh credit for their course in this transaction, so far as was in our possession for nine years, and the title with, or exact too much from them. But when they have gone, but, in my opinion, they might was settled by the negotiation in 1819 at last. Did they established their Republics, when they comand ought to have gone a step further. When it lead to war? No; it produced no war. We menced their career in the world as independent this ignominy was imposed upon our citizens of || had the right, we seized on the territory, and then nations, there was no necessity for our pursuing sending off officers and engineers who had been | negotiated for it afterwards, and it caused no war. so inilulgent a policy. We ought then to have invited to go there--and one of them was an offi Again: gentlemen must not suppose that every treated them as we did other nations, not exacting cer of the United States of high rank-I think it | foot we place upon foreign territory is an encroach- anything wrong from them, but insisting on their was an indignity which the Government ought to ment, and is a cause for war. We have not been performing what was due to us. If we had done have resented, and not to have permitted quietly || so particular heretofore in matters of this sort. so, should we have been subjected to the difficulto pass by. Then was a proper time to vindicate Long ago, before we acquired Florida, you know, ties to which we have been subjected? I think the honor, and to show the strength of this coun and the country knows, General Jackson marched not. What has been the history of our intercourse try. If, instead of pocketing the insult, the Pres. an army into Florida, and he actually seized and with Mexico ? One continual series of aggressions ident of the United States had ordered one or two executed some of the incendiaries who had been on her part, and of complaints and treaties and of our vessels-of-war, that are not doing much exciting Indian hostilities against us, and his negotiations on ours. During the whole period in the Gulf of Mexico, to the mouth of the Coat course was fully vindicated by the Administration since she acquired her independence, there has zakalcos, and had suggested to the company to then in power.' It would, then, be no novel thing || scarcely been a time, either before ihe war or send their engineers there and put them to work, || in the history of our country, or of other coun: since, when an American vessel or an American and that the Government would protect them, they tries, if, when such an indignity had been imposed citizen could go into a port of Mexico with any would have gone to work on the surveys, they upon us by the Mexican Government, we had guarantee for the safety of property or even of per. would have finished them, and the road would vindicated our rights, and sent such a force into son. Even your consuls have been sent to jail and have been in progress, and perhaps half completed that territory as was necessary to protect the sur imprisoned, and been insulted, and been subjected by this time; and there would have been not only | veyors and let them go on with the work. It to all kinds of ignominies; and when the facts have no war with Mexico, but no cause of war. But || would have led to no war. On the contrary, it | been reported to our Government, instead of dethat is not all.
would probably have tended to an adjustment of manding that peremptory redress which we should What has Mexico been doing? After this grant | the question in a manner satisfactory to all the have demanded, and which other nations do dehad been thus solemnly made, thus sanctioned in parties long ago. So far from energetic measures mand, the reply was given to the sufferers, as in so many different decrees of the Government, and promoting a war, or not being our true policy, a caße which occurred lately, that we would negoby treaties entered into by this country-after the ihey are often the very best means of preventing | tiate with the Mexican Government on the subject. Senate had sanctioned the treaty of 1851, and it We sometimes get into wars by hesitating That is not the right policy. There are some was only waiting the ratification of the Mexican and doubting too much. I believe, sir, in all prob- | nations, in controversies with which the only lanGovernment, what did Mexico do? Considering | ability the Mexican war itself would never have | guage that you can speak is cannon and musketry. all her obligations, considering her faith pledged | taken place, if the Mexicans had been convinced | We should not have had to use so much of that, to the United States as nothing, she held up this from the first that we would insist on our rights, perhaps none at all, with Mexico if we had acted grant, huckstering it all over the world to every that we would not hesitate and doubt. But we right in the beginning: body, to see what price she could get for it. If had claims against them for spoliations upon our I am told—though I do not know whether it is she is allowed to do that, if the United States can citizens; we negotiated treaties of indemnity; there a fact—that very often when ihese outrages were stand by tamely and allow that to be done, she were difficulties in the execution of them; we tem committed upon our vessels and citizens, the mere would be very apt next month or next year to set porized with the Mexicans; we gave them time; || accidental arrival in a Mexican port of an Amerup California for sale, and turn out my friends we showed them almost every indulgence. Then || ican vessel.of-war, immediately produced redress [Messrs. Weller and Gwin) who so ably repre we had a dispute with them about the boundaries without any exercise of force, or any very persent that State. Or, on the same principle, Spain | of Texas. They claimed land east of the Rio | emptory demands; and if it had been generally might set up a right to sell Florida, or France to Grande, and we were careful not to offend them in understood that our cruisers, under all reasonable sell Louisiana; for, in my opinion, the obligations that until they came to the conclusion that they circumstances, had been instructed to redress such by which those Territories were ceded are scarcely could persuade or induce us to do almost anything, grievances, our citizens and vessels would not less binding than the obligations which the Mexi and finally they were led to acts which resulted in have experienced such a continual series of insults. can Government entered into in making this grant. That was forced upon us. I believe there I do not wish unnecessarily to act rigorously How, then, can we pause; how can we hesitate would have been no Mexican war at all if the towards Mexico, or towards any other country; in regard to the policy which we should pursue? moment they had failed to fulfill the indemnity | but I do wish such a policy to be adopted by this We cannot pause; we cannot hesitate, unless we stipulated for, we had exacted it at the cannon's Government, that our citizens, when ihey go into say to the world that we will submit to anything, | mouth, if necessary. Or, when the question was Vera Cruz, Acapulco, or any other port, may feel to any indignity that may be imposed upon us; started about the boundary on the Rio Grande, if, that, as American citizens, their property and perthat we are so fond of peace that we will permit instead of negotiating and sending ministers about sons are to be protected. I believe that has not everybody to insult us.
it, we had sent an army to the Rio Grande, as at been the case heretofore; and I believe it will not Mr. President, this is an appropriate subject for last we had to send General Taylor, to arrest their be the case while the tame and vacillating course practical action, and not for discussion as a mere steps, and told them that there they should re that has been pursued, is persisted in. I wish to abstraction, and I am glad to have such a question main, we would not have had the Mexican war. see the American character more respected abroad upon which to express my views. I prefer it to If those prompt measures had been taken, we than it has been. I do not know how it happens an abstraction. Abstractions may do well enough should have avoided all that difficulty.
that a people so sensible of their honor, personal for others, but I think the course of policy of our So now, if we act peremptorily in this matter and national too, submit so tamely, and so much country is better illustrated by acts than by words. | if we show to the world that we will protect our more so than other nations do, to insults offered And now, when we have a question before us citizens and vindicate our honor, there will be no to the persons, as well as the property of our cit. which requires it, I think is a proper occasion war. That will be the best way to avoid war. izens elsewhere. I would wish to see that Roman for decided action, and that it will have more effect But if we temporize, and vacillate, and express feeling, which existed under the ancient Republic, than any resolutions which we might pass, which doubt and hesitation in our action, that very conse cherished by our people. I would wish that the are not so practical as these which are before us. quence will take place, and we shall go on to quar American citizen should be protected, not by canI am not in favor of aggressive or violent measures rel more and more. One change in the Mexican non, or vessels-of-war, or by our minister or contowards any nation. I would not stimulate the Government has produced the difficulty which now sul. I wish to see this Government conducted in military feeling of the people of the United States exists between us. When another comes into such a way—and if it were conducted as, in my or their disposition to acquire territory. I think power, particularly if that arch-enemy of the opinion, it would be proper to conduct it, such a both are perhaps already too great; but I feel that Union, Santa Anna-as probably he will be-be state of things would exist--that the only passit is our duty to protect our honor and preserve placed at the head of affairs, we see at once he will port an American citizen would require anywhere, our proper position among the nations of the ihink that if this Government tolerated the course would be that only passport which the Roman earth, and show that on all proper occasions our pursued by his feeble predecessor, he, with his citizen required"I'am a Roman citizen." "I strength and power will be exercised, and that too new power and ability, can take much greater lib am an American citizen." It is not so now; and in such a way as to make it perfectly understood erty; and, perhaps, being a little vexed at the re it never will be so while this tame, vacillating, by the whole world; and I think this is a proper sult of the last war, he will be willing to promote and uncertain, and not peaceful, but dangerous pole occasion for that purpose. Let it not be said that a contest with us; and he will very likely do it, if icy is pursued, for it will lead to more wars and the measures proposed by the resolution are ex we temporize, and forbear, and hesitate. Let us | squabbles than an energetic course would do. traordinary, or that there would be anything ex. lay down the rule, then, to say what our rights I trust then, Mr. President, that the resolutions traordinary in resolutions, even stronger than are, and that we shall insist on them. If we do | will be adopted. While, under different circumthese. Not at all. It is not the first time in the 80, we shall not be subjected to that difficulty. stances, I should perhaps wish to have them history of this country, or of other countries, that Mr. President, I think the policy of our Gov- Hamnended, so as to make them more energetic, yet