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to this continent will probably accrue the largest amount of benefit from its execution, and to Colombia, Mexico, the Central Republic, Peru and the United States more than to any other of the American nations. What is to rebound to the advantage of all America should be effected by common means and united exertions and should not be left to the separate and unassisted efforts of any one power. * If the work should ever be executed so as to admit of the passage of sea vessels from ocean to ocean, the benefits 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.”
The declaration by the then Secretary of State that the benefits of the canal should be extended to all parts of the globe and should not be exclusively appropriated by any nation has been confirmed by American statesmen of all parties—Whig, Democratic and Republican--with substantial unanimity. The principle has been enunciated by presidential messages, by instructions from Secretaries of State and by resolutions of the House and Senate of Congress.
Senator Burton is credited with the following:
“The romantic triumphs of Decatur, Bainbridge and the other heroes of our early days against the Barbary pirates of the Mediterranean were particularly notable because they secured to our commerce and to the commerce of other nations the assurance of safety in those waters without the payment of ransom or tribute.
If there is one policy to which as a nation we have been committed during the entire time of our existence, it is
that of neutralization of waterways and the use of all waterways, natural and artificial, by all nations on equal terms. Our country was one of the most active in protesting against the sound dues imposed by the Danish Government, although ships had to pass from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea within cannon shot of shore, and these channels were furnished by the Danish Government with such aids to navigation as lights and buoys. We insisted upon the continued neutralization of the Strait of Magellan. In 1879 Mr. William M. Evarts, then Secretary of State, declared that the United States would not tolerate exclusive claims by any nation whatsoever to the Strait of Magellan and would hold any nation responsible that might undertake by any pretext to lay any impost or check on the commerce of the United States through that strait.”
The foregoing shows the traditional policy of the United States in its formative period. We will trace its development.
In the year 1835, during the administration of President Jackson, the Senate of the United States unanimously adopted a resolution, as follows:
“Resolved, That the President of the United States be respectfully requested to consider the expediency of opening negotiations with the Governments of other nations, and particularly with the Governments of Central America and New Granada, for the purpose of effectually protecting, by suitable treaty stipulations with them, such individuals or companies as may undertake to open a communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by the construction of a ship canal across the isthmus
which connects North and South America, and of securing forever by such stipulations the free and equal right of navigating such canal to all such nations on the payment of such reasonable tolls as may be established to compensate the capitalists who may engage in such undertaking and complete the work."
During the administration of President Van Buren, in a report to the House of Representatives March 2, 1839, Mr. Mercer, of Virginia, from the Committee on Roads and Canals, stated:
“The policy is not less apparent which would prompt the United States to co-operate in this enterprise, liberally and efficiently, before other disposition may be awakened in the particular State within whose territory it may be ceded or other nations shall seek by negotiations to engross a commerce which is now and should ever continue open to all.”
In the same year the House of Representatives by unanimous vote adopted a resolution much the same as that of the Senate in 1835, requesting the President"to consider the expediency of opening or continuing negotiations with the Governments of other nations, and particularly with those the territorial jurisdiction of which comprehends the Isthmus of Panama, and to which the United States have accredited ministers or agents, for the purpose of ascertaining the practicability of effecting a communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by the construction of a ship canal across the Isthmus and of securing forever by suitable treaty stipulations the free and equal right of navigating such canal by all nations."
In a letter to Mr. Buchanan, Secretary of State,
on December 17, 1845, the commissioner accredited to examine a canal route said:
"Like all other international questions, it can only be satisfactorily adjusted by concert with the other maritime powers which have similar interests, more or less important, and whose assent is necessary to place the proposed passage under the protection and guaranty of the public law, recognized by the whole world."
In the treaty of 1846 with New Granada occurs the following:
“Any modes of communication that now exist, or that may be hereafter constructed, shall be open and free to the Government and citizens of the United States, and for the transportation of any articles of produce, manufactures or merchandise of lawful commerce belonging to the citizens of the United States; that no other tolls or charges shall be levied or collected upon the citizens of the United States, or their said merchandise thus passing over any road or canal that may be made by the Government of New Granada, or by the authority of the same, than is, under like circumstances, levied upon and collected from the Granadian citizens."
On the conclusion of the treaty with New Granada in 1846 President Polk submitted it to the Senate with a message, in which he said:
"In entering into the mutual guaranties proposed by the thirty-fifth article, neither the Government of New Granada nor that of the United States has a narrow or exclusive view. The ultimate object, as presented by the Senate of the United States in their resolution (March 3, 1835), to which I have already referred, is to secure
to all nations the free and equal right of passage over the Isthmus.”
THE CLAYTON-BULWER TREATY This treaty was adopted July 5, 1850. The territorial background as it then existed and the clearly defined neutralization policy developed in prior administrations are the causes of which the contents of this treaty are the resultant. In the foregoing, we outlined the then American isthmian canal policy. The territorial background is clearly stated in the following by Senator Root:
“In the year 1850, there were two great powers in possession of the North American continent to the north of the Rio Grande. The United States had but just come to its full stature. By the Webster-Ashburton treaty of 1842 our northeastern boundary had been settled, leaving to Great Britain that tremendous stretch of seacoast including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador and the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, now forming the Province of Quebec. In 1846 the Oregon boundary had been settled, assuring to the United States a title to that vast region which now constitutes the States of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. In 1848 the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo had given to us that great empire wrested from Mexico as a result of the Mexican War, which now spreads along the coast of the Pacific as the State of California and the great region between California and Texas.
"Inspired by the manifest requirements of this new empire, the United States turned its attention to the possibility of realizing the dream of centuries and connecting