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CHAPTER XII.

ISTHMUS OF PANAMA.

I. TRANSIT OVER, BY INTERNATIONAL LAW.

Such transit cannot rightfully be closed, 287. II. TRANSIT OVER, BY TREATY WITH NEW GRANADA.

(1) Limitations of treaty, | 288.

(2) Continuance of, \ 289. III. EFFECT OF GUARANTEE OF, UNDER TREATY.

(1) Such guarantee binds Colombia, \ 290.

(2) Does not guarantee against changes of Government, | 291. IV. RELATIONS TO PARTICULAR COUNTRIES.

(1) Colombia, 292.
(2) Nicaragua, 8 293.
(3) Costa Rica, 294.
(4) The Mosquito Conntry and Belize, 8 295.
(5) Honduras, 296.
(6) Venezuela, 6 297.

I. TRANSIT OVER, BY INTERNATIONAL LAW.
SUCH TRANSIT CANNOT RIGHTFULLY BE CLOSED.

$287.

As has already been stated, navigable water-courses which traverse the dominions of two or more sovereigns, and on the freedom of which the commerce of the world in part depends, cannot, without a wrong to the commercial world as a whole, be permanently obstructed by any one of the sorereigns by whom their banks are controlled. This was the position taken by the United States in its controversy with Denmark as to the sound, and such is now the view of the leading European powers as to all great thoroughfares of trade not inclosed entire within the realm of one particular sovereign.

See supra, $ 40, 147, 150e. If a canal across the Isthmus be opened, "so as to admit of the passage of sea.vessels from ocean to ocean, the benefit of it ought not to be exclusively appropriated to any one nation, but should be extended to all parts of the globe, upon the payment of a just compensation or reasonable tolls." Mr. Clay, Sec. of State, to Messrs. Anderson and Sergeant, May 8, 1826. MSS.

Inst., Ministers.
Mr. Calhoun's speech, March 30, 1848, on the isthmus relations of the United

States, and against the military occupation of Yucatan, or its annexation
by the United States, is given in 4 Calhoun's Works, 450, and is noticed

supra, 00 57, 72. President Pierce's message of May 15, 1856, with the correspondence attached

thereto, is in Senate Ex. Doc. 68, 34th Cong., 1st sess., House Ex. Doc. 123, 34th Cong., 1st sens.

1

The relations of the United States to the Isthmus require “that the passage across the Isthmus should be secure from danger of interruption. For this purpose, as well as for the ends of justice, exemplary punishment should be promptly inflicted upon the transgressors, and the responsibility of the Government of New Granada for the misconduct of its people should be recognized.”

Mr. Marcy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Bowlin, May 3, 1856; June 4, 1856; Dec. 3,

1856. MSS. Inst., Colombia. Lieut. Michler's report of July 14, 1857, of survey for an interoceanic canal,

is given in Senate Ex. Doc. 9, 36th Cong., 2d sess.

“The general policy of the United States concerning Central America is familiar to you. We desire to see the isthmian routes opened and free for the commerce and intercourse of the world, and we desire to see the States of that region well governed and flourishing and free from the control of all foreign powers. The position we have taken we shall ad. here to, that this country will not consent to the resubjugation of those States, or to the assumption and maintenance of any European authority over them.

“The United States have acted with entire good faith in this whole matter. They have done all they could do to prevent the departure of illegal military expeditions with a view to establish themselves in that region, and at this time measures are in progress to prevent the organization and departure of another, which is said to be in preparation. Should the avowed intention of the French and British Governments be carried out and their forces be landed in Nicaragua, the measure would be sure to excite a strong feeling in this country, and would greatly embarrass the efforts of the Government to bring to a satisfactory close these Central American difficulties which have been so long pending."

Mr. Cass, Sec. of State, to Mr. Mason, Nov. 25, 1858. MSS. Inst., France.
For a full exposition and criticism of Gen. Walker's expedition to the Isthmus

in 1858, see Mr. Cass, Sec. of State, to Mr. Molina, Nov. 26, 1860. MSS.

Notes, Cent.-Am.
The report of Admiral Davis, July 11, 1866, on interoceanic canal and railway

is in Senate Ex. Doc. No. 62, 39th Cong., 1st sess.
As to Isthmus canal routes, see Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Washburne, Nov.

13, 1876. MSS. Inst., France.

The interest of the United States in the opening of a ship-canal on the Isthmus is peculiarly great. “Our Pacific coast is so situate that, with our railroad connections, time (in case of war) would always be allowed to prepare for its defense. But with a canal through the Isthmus the same advantage would be given to a hostile fleet which would be given to friendly commerce; its line of operations and the line in which warlike demonstrations could be made, could be enormously shortened. All the

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