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stood it that way, and the Senate as a whole understood it the same way, would you then declare that, notwithstanding this mutual understanding, we should give it a construction contrary to what was then understood?
“Or, putting it in another form, if the contract itself is uncertain as to its intent, but the parties to the contract were agreed as to its intent when they executed it, should or should not each party be morally bound to give the contract a construction in harmony with their intent when they executed it?
"I shall omit all the earlier history pertaining to this question, every word of which gives added strength to my contention, and immediately proceed to the conditions surrounding the negotiations of the first and second Hay-Pauncefote treaties, reaching back of that only momentarily to draw from the old Clayton-Bulwer treaty of 1850 only a paragraph always referred to thereafter as the 'general principle,' and which was the only part of that old agreement retained, in any form, in the new. That 'general principle' was expressed in these words:
And the same canals or railways being open to the citizens and subjects of the United States and Great Britain on equal terms, shall be open on like terms to the citizens and subjects of every other State
“This is our starting point. There is the general principle'; and while it was reiterated a thousand times thereafter, it has never been reiterated in the sense that it has been modified.
"We start right here from this general principle,' which guaranteed equality of treatment to not only vessels
of the United States and Great Britain, but also to vessels of all other nations. Now, that general principle' was asserted and re-asserted by both parties again and again down to the adoption of the second Hay-Pauncefote treaty. Up to that time it meant equality of treatment of all vessels, including those of the United States. If it is now to have another meaning, that other meaning must be found either in an expressed declaration to that effect, or in a clear inference because of change from individual to Government ownership and control of the canal.
“At that time in the discussions in the press of our own country we took the position that the interest upon the investment and the operating expenses should be borne by all vessels passing through that canal. All our estimates for receipts in tolls to repay interest included all our vessels, coastwise and otherwise. That was what we understood on this side of the ocean.
"In closing, I cannot but feel, and deeply feel, that this is not a mere question of dollars and cents. The matter of the payment of these tolls is a bagatelle, but we cannot measure national integrity in dollars and cents. We can throw our dollars to the winds, but we cannot throw national character to the winds. The President of the United States has taken a lofty stand in this case, and no matter whether we be Democrats or Republicans, we ought to stand by him in his effort to uphold the national integrity of this Government in the eyes of the whole world.”
We will now use excerpts from the scholarly speech of Representative Stevens:
“It seems to me that the difference in the discussion between the two sides of this question is fundamental in this particular. Those of us who contend for equal tolls without discrimination as to any nation believe that the principal basis in the settlement of this question should be international, and that domestic considerations should be secondary. Those who differ with us believe that domestic considerations should be primary and that international questions should be secondary.
“The geography of the world clearly shows its international importance. The Panama Canal is a strait connecting the two greatest oceans of the world. Upon these oceans face practically every great civilized and commercial nation of the world. Upon these oceans has been and will be carried the great mass of the waterborne commerce of the world. Upon these oceans, as we do, face nine nations, with more or less coastwise commerce between their coasts. Upon these oceans front the mother and the colonial possessions of the most important nations in the world, and
these oceans and passing through that canal will be an increasing intercourse, which will change, more or less-probably more, as the years go on---the destiny, political, commercial and social, of all of these great peoples and countries. We must realize, then, that all of these peoples and all interests of all nations are greatly interested in the management and operation of this canal. They are interested in their own right, and they have natural, God-given rights in this great connecting waterway, which must be considered by any just people to whom may be intrusted the task of administering it.
"I speak of natural rights in connection with the use of this canal with reason and advertently, because our country from the beginning of its history has insisted on the natural rights of our people and of our commerce in the use of every connecting waterway in the world, wherever it has seemed necessary for our people or commerce to properly go. From the beginning of our Government, since the time when John Jay asserted that right on behalf of this country in the British treaty, I think of 1794, and President Jefferson sent our heroic little Navy against the Barbary pirates to assert the right of a free and open sea with equality of treatment, down through the discussion with Denmark of the right to levy sound dues at the entrance of the Baltic, the discussion of natural and international rights in the Straits of Magellan and the rights of the nations in the Pacific, north and south everywhere, every administration of every political party has insisted that American citizens and American commerce should have equal rights with every other nation everywhere and at all times. That has been the true American policy, the historic policy of our country.
“The International Parliamentary Union has collected and published a very elaborate document upon the subject of international rights in maritime canals. It contains a list of about forty great straits and connecting waterways and canals in the world, in which there are natural rights of an international character.
“In many of these the United States has asserted its right of equal treatment, and wherever any question has arisen, our Government has insisted upon its right of equal treatment for its commerce and its citizens
in every one of those waterways. The first time there has been any departure by our country from this invariable rule as to equal treatment in the use of any of this class of waterways, was the enactment of this Panama bill of two years ago.
“There is another phase of our history that should be remembered and to which I especially wish to call the attention of my friends from New York and California. In 1846 we made a treaty with New Granada concerning communications across the Isthmus of Panama, which covered all kinds of transportation. That treaty provided that our people and our commerce should be treated on equal terms with the people and the commerce of New Granada. You will recall that was about the time of the discovery of gold fields in California. Thousands of our citizens and thousands of tons of our commerce passed over that great highway. The Governments of Panama and Colombia sought to discriminate in numberless ways against our citizens and commerce. They passed and exercised various acts of discrimination against our people. Our people bitterly complained. The records of the State Department contain hundreds of protests, hundreds of complaints, from the citizens of California and from the citizens of New York against the Governments of Panama and New Granada. Our Presidents, our Secretaries of State, our ministers, protested, sometimes effectively, sometimes in vain.
"We protested, I say. Twice warships were sent to enforce equality of treatment, once by a Democratic