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Mr. Dickinson to Mr. Seward. No. 29.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Nicaragua, September 13, 1862. Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith copies and translations of two notes with which my messenger has just arrived from the minister of foreign relations of this republic, expressive of the opposition of the government and people of Nicaragua to negro colonization within the borders of the republic. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. B. DICKINSON. Hon. William H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Mr. Zeledon to Mr. Dickinson.
Managua, September 12, 1882. Sir MINISTER: I have had the satisfaction to place before his excellency the president the communication of your excellency, in which you are pleased to manifest that the government of the United States does not entertain designs to colonize free negroes in the territory of Central America against the wishes of the people and government of this republic.
His excellency the president of Nicaragua is pleased to see confirmed the sentiments which he always expected of a government friendly and respectful of the rights of other people, in which hope he trusted, notwithstanding the rumors and publications which alarmed the people of Nicaragua. Through our minister in Washington he has already manifested to the government of the United States the repugnance of the people and government of Nicaragua to the establishment in her territory of colonies under the protection of another government, and even without that, especially to the colonization of free negroes; but it may not be amiss here to repeat it to your excellency, which I now do in answer to your esteemed despatch above named.
I have the honor to remain, with sentiments of respect and esteem, your excellency's obedient servant,
MANAGUA, September 12, 1862. My Dear Sir: I have had the pleasure to receive your valued favor of the 10th instant, through our mutual friend, Don Pedro Alvarado, as also the official communication of the same date and substance, the answer to which accompanies this.
It is true that various publications in the newspapers of New York, inviting associations for colonization in Nicaragua without having obtained the sanction of this government, in connexion with the acts of the United States Congress, authorizing that government to procure transportation and colonize free negroes
under its protection in suitable countries, and the design of the President to prefer Central America, have excited a feeling of opposition among the people of Nicaragua against such colonization. And this government has, in order to prevent it, instructed its minister in Washington to notify that government of its repugnance to consent to it, being persuaded that the government of the United States respects, and will respect, for its own honor, the sovereignty and the territories of the Spanish-American nationalities.
Therefore, your esteemed despatch and letter, which I answer, is a gratifying confirmation of the opinion which the government of Nicaragua has for that of the United States, and the sentiments of kindness and friendship which your excellency cultivates in Nicaragua with such good results.
I take the present occasion to present to your excellency my most distinguished regards, and remain your obedient servant.
PEDRO ZELEDON. Mr. A. B. DICKINSON,
Minister resident of the United States.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Dickinson.
Department of STATE,
Washington, October 6, 1862. Sır: Your despatches of September 12 and 15 (Nos. 27 and 29) have been received. Your proceedings in assuring the government of Nicaragua that its objection to the colonization of Americans of African derivation within the limit of that republic will be respected are approved.
I give you, for your better information, copies of the correspondence on that subject, which has taken place here between his excellency Mr. Molina and this department, and a copy of my letter to the Secretary of the Interior on the same subject. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. A. B. DICKINSON, Esq., fr., c., fr., Nicaragua.
[Enclosures with No. 24.]
Mr. Seward to Mr. Dickinson.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, October 9, 1862. Sir: I transmit for your information a copy of an instruction of the 30th September, upon the subject of the contemplated colonization of persons of African extraction, addressed by this department to several of the diplomatie agents of the United States, accredited to governments of Europe who have possessions within the tropics. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. ANDREW B. DICKINSON, Esq., fc., sc., 8c., Nicaragua.
COSTA RICA, NICARAGUA, AND HONDURAS.
Mr. Molina to Mr. Seward.
LEGATION OF Costa Rica, NICARAGUA, AND HONDURAS,
Washington, September 19, 1862. Sir: Referring to the interviews in which I have had the honor to manifest to your excellency and, in your absence, to the honorable Assistant Secretary of State the views of the republics of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras, in reference to the project of establishing upon the territories of Central America colonies of persons of color exported from these States, with the aid of the resources decreed for the purpose by the last Congress, I deem it my duty and, in conformity with the frankness and the friendly spirit of the repeated interviews to which I refer, to reduce to writing what has taken place at them, and the understanding which has resulted therefrom.
I flatter myself that your excellency does justice to the motives of the elabo rate effort with which I have endeavored to avoid a controversy in writing and thus to divert your important attention, under circumstances in which, probably, it is occupied, from affairs more urgent and transcendental to your country. I write the present at the request of the honorable Assistant Secretary of State, and in the confidence of having brought about a perfect understanding founded upon the good faith, the equity, and the justice which the present administration has proposed to itself as the guide of its policy, especially in its foreign relations so fortunately confided to your excellency.
About the middle of June last, having been informed through private though reliable sources that it was formally contemplated to carry into effect the aforementioned colonization into the territories of Central America, and especially upon the isthmus of Chiriqui, I had the honor to inform your excellency that - none of the governments which I represent would consent to the formation upon its territory of independent colonies, whatever might be their color and place of departure, nor under the auspices and protection of any foreign government; that they desire and are disposed to promote the immigration of industrious persons, and capable of contributing to the improvement and advancement of the country, and of identifying themselves with the inhabitants, under the exclusive control of its laws; and they reserve to themselves the right of regulating the matter as may suit them, and the exercise of the other rights which appertain to them as sovercign states; and that the project in question, even supposing that it did not tend to give an inadmissible character of independence to the colony, would not meet with the favor in Central America, of whose territories it seemed to dispose of, without notice to, nor the consent of, the proprietors, for the purpose of importing a plague of which the United States desire to rid themselves. Your excellency seemed to appreciate the natural attitude of the governments which I represent by assuring me that the United States do not intend to establish independent colonies, nor to send colonists to Central America, without previously obtaining the consent of the respective
governments; and you dwelt at length upon the advantages of the immigration and the propriety that the Hispano-American States should protect and promote that which seems most appropriate and likely to amalgamate in view of its original traditions.
At the same conference, confining myself to the colonization of Chiriqui, based upon certain concessions of lands and mines made in the year 1854 by the province of the same name in New Granada to Mr. Ambrose W. Thompson and to others, now represented by him or by the association called “Chiriqui Improvement Company,” I had the honor to make known to your excellency that said concessions relate to territories which, for the most part, unquestionably belong to Costa Rica, in whose peaceable and undisturbed possession they now are, and the balance is involved in its titles, belongs to it by right, and is the cause of a question of boundaries, still pending between Costa Rica and New Granada; and that, therefore, the same concessions made by a foreign authority of the property of Costa Rica, or of disputed lands which she claims under valid titles, are evidently null and without value.
I had previously had occasion to make known the same thing to General Cass and to the Hon. Mr. Toucey, in consequence of the contract entered into by him, as Secretary of the Navy, with the said Mr. Thompson-a contract in which the latter had gone so far as to sell to the United States inalienable rights of sovereignty which never could have belonged to a private individual, in order to draw from the federal vaults $300,000; thus solving the ancient problem, in which he has for years been employed, of making gold out of that which has no value, to which Congress denied its sanction with a full understanding of the subject. I added that New Granada itself does not recognize the pretended rights of Mr. Thompson, having submitted the question to the supreme court, which high tribunal decided against him, declaring the said concessions illegal. This illegality is shown by the titles themselves, for want of sufficient power in the provincial authorities which issued them; and the simple perusal of them also shows that, if they had not been null from their inception, they would have become void from the lapse of time, and the non-compliance of essential, implicit, and expressed conditions; for example, the grantee has obstinately violated the prohibition which his titles contain, to cede his rights to any foreign government.
Your excellency was pleased to reply to me that you had not been able to fully occupy yourself with this matter; that General Herran had directly discussed it with the President, explaining it in the same manner as myself, and leaving an impression favorable to the rights of Costa Rica; that you would report to and procure me an audience with the President, and advise me opportunely.
I awaited this notice in vain, which absence I have attributed to the many and more urgent occupations of the government, until, during the absence of your excellency, I conferred upon the matter with the honorable Assistant Secretary, reiterating all I have stated and adding that, in Central America, the said enterprise is looked upon as aggressive, illegal, and of a worse character than other former ones of the same kind ; that it creates a real alarm, and that I had received orders to resist it; and that if it were carried out I would discredit the assurances which I have endeavored to transmit to the governments which I represent, of the inauguration of a new policy of good will and equity on the part of the present administration of the United States. The honorable Assistant Secretary, being informed of all this, replied to me that he would call the attention of the President to the international view of the undertaking to which, probably, he had not paid sufficient attention, believing, in good faith, that it would be accepted with pleasure by all the interested parties; he repeated that it would not be carried out without obtaining your consent nor in disregard of the rights which I represent, and stated that it would be proper that I should
speak with the President, offered to solicit an audience for me, and with him, and to advise me accordingly. I further made known to him the intention which my estimable colleagues of Guatemala and New Granada had of solemnly • protesting, representing to him that, in my opinion, it would be more conducive to good relations that your government should abandon, of its own good will and through respect to the rights which are believed to be threatened, an enterprise subject to unfavorable interpretations, and which meets with legitimate resistances; and he replied to me, reiterating the offer of reporting it and of advising me. A few days afterwards the same Assistant Secretary was pleased to send for me to tell me that the President could not, under the circumstances, occupy himself with the matter, but that I might rely that it would not be decided without hearing me. I manifested to him the false position in which I found myself, the minister of Guatemala and Salvador having already protested in writing, he not being so directly interested, reiterating my former importunities and representations, and presenting to him the pamphlet entitled "Costa Rica and New Granada, an inquiry into the question of boundaries, by Felipe Molina,” and while thanking me for the same, he repeated to me that it was impossible, under the circumstances, to occupy himself with the matter; that for the present it was suspended, and that it would not be decided until after giving me an opportunity of representing what would seem proper to me for the interests which are confided to me and to reflect upon it maturely; and he added that my governments will know, without doubt, how to appreciate and will approve my conduct.
On the 15th instant, alarmed by the publication in the Sunday Chronicle of the previous day, of a positive notice that the government had completed, on Saturday last, the arrangements for a settlement of people of color in Central America, giving to Senator Pomeroy full powers upon all the matter, and that the emigrants, well supplied with all that was necessary, would be sent in a first class steamer at the beginning of October, I went to the office of the Secretary of State, desirous of speaking with your excellency, and being informed that you were not in the department I obtained an interview with the honorable Assistant Secretary, who, having been informed of the notice referred to, which I placed in his hands, assured me that its contents were not true, except that the President had commissioned the honorable Senator Pomeroy to go alone to visit several points in the West Indies, Central, and, perhaps, South America, for the purpose of seeing which would be the most proper for the colony under consideration, and to ascertain the disposition of the inhabitants; that no powers had been given him to negotiate with any government, his powers being limited to those of an explorer, whose duty is to examine and to inform without deciding of himself; and that this government reserves to itself to decide in view of the report of Mr. Pomeroy, and to treat directly with me or the minister who may be concerned. I then made known my desire to have this assurance in writing, and proposed the drawing up of a memorandum, and the honorable Assistant Secretary referred to the reply made to Mr. Yrisarri, of which he had confidentially given me a copy, inviting me to transmit a communication should I deem proper to do so.
Having drawn up with great care this long but truthful statement of the affair, I must rely, as I do rely, in the equity and good faith of the government of the United States, and in the assurances which your excellency and the honorable Assistant Secretary have been pleased to give me, and which I have related. While calling your excellency's attention to the pamphlet aforesaid, which contains the titles of Costa Rica, and to 'a map, from whose comparison with that which marks out the pretensions of Mr. Thompson, annexed to the opinion of the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, who examined the Toucey-Thompson contract in 1860, it is seen that all the territories of which the latter pretends to dispose of are found within the limits which Costa Rica claims, and the greater part within her jurisdiction and undisputed posses