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the United States at the time of its conclusion, and was powerfully urged by some of the best men in the country. Had it then been imagined that whilst it prohibited the United States from acquiring territory, under any possible circumstances, in a portion of America through which their thoroughfares to California and Oregon must pass, and that the convention, at the same time, permitted Great Britain to remain in the occupancy of all her existing posses. sions in that region, there would not have been a single vote in the American Senate in favor of its ratification. In every discussion it was taken for granted that the convention required Great Britain to withdraw from these possessions, and thus place the parties upon an exact equality in Central America. Upon this construction of the convention there was quite as great an unanimity of opinion as existed in the House of Lords, that the convention with Spain of 1786 required Great Britain to withdraw from the Mosquito protectorate.

As Lord Clarendon in his statement had characterized “the Monroe Doctrine” as merely the “dictum of its distinguished author," Mr. Buchanan replied that “did the occasion require, he would cheerfully undertake the task of justifying the wisdom and policy of the Monroe doctrine, in reference to the nations of Europe as well as to those on the American continent;” and he closed as follows:

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But no matter what may be the nature of the British claim to the country between the Sibun and the Sarstoon, the observation already made in reference to the Bay Islands and the Mosquito coast must be reiterated, that the great question does not turn upon the validity of this claim previous to the convention of 1850, but upon the facts that Great Britain has bound herself by this convention not to occupy any part of Central America, nor to exercise dominion over it; and that the territory in question is within Central America, eren under the most limited construction of these words. In regard to Belize proper, confined within its legitimate boundaries, under the treaties of 1783 and 1786, and limited to the usufruct specified in these treaties, it is necessary to say but a few words. The Government of the United States will not, for the present, insist upon the withdrawal of Great Britain from this settlement, provided all the other questions between the two governments concerning Central America can be amicably adjusted. It has been influenced to pursue this course partly by the declaration of Mr. Clayton on the 4th of July, 1850, but mainly in consequence of the extension of the license granted by Mexico to Great Britain, under the treaty of 1826, which that republic has yet taken no steps to terminate.

It is, however, distinctly to be understood that the Government of the United States acknowledge no claim of Great Britain within Belize, except the temporary' liberty of making use of the wood of the different kinds, the fruits and other products in their natural state,' fully recognizing that the former Spanish sovereignty over the country' now belongs either to Guatemala or Mexico.

In conclusion, the Government of the United States most cordially and earnestly unite in the desire expressed by her majesty's government, not only to maintain the convention of 1850 intact, but to consolidate and strengthen it by strengthening and consolidating the friendly relations which it was calculated to cement and perpetuate.' Under these mutual feelings, it is deeply to be regretted that the two governments entertain opinions so widely different in regard to its true effect and meaning.

In this attitude the controversy was necessarily left by Mr. Buchanan, when his mission finally terminated; and its further history, so far as he is concerned in it, belongs to the period when he had become President of the United States.

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IWO topics entirely unexpected by Mr. Buchanan when he

accepted the mission to England must here claim some attention. The first relates to an occurrence which brought upon the United States the necessity of demanding a recall of the British minister who then represented the queen's government at Washington. This was Mr. John F. Crampton, a wellmeaning and amiable gentleman, who had long resided in this country as secretary of the British legation, and had been made minister some time previously, but whose zeal in the service of his government had led him into a distinct violation of our neutrality in the war between England and Russia. It is altogether probable that in his efforts to promote enlistments of men to serve in that war, Mr. Crampton did not keep within the letter of his instructions. It was, at all events, somewhat difficult, for a good while, to convince Lord Clarendon that Mr. Crampton was personally implicated in the unlawful acts which were undoubtedly done. But there was but one course for the American government to pursue. The history of this affair is somewhat curious.

When in April, 1854, Mr. Marcy had occasion to acknowledge the receipt from Mr. Crampton of a note stating the new rule that would be observed by Great Britain, in the war with Russia, towards neutrals, after expressing his gratification, and, at the same time, saying that the United States would have been still more gratified if the rule that “free ships make free goods” had been extended to all future wars to which Great Britain should be a party, he took the precaution to remind Mr. Crampton in courteous terms of the severe restrictions imposed by our laws against equipping privateers, receiving commissions, or enlisting men within our territories to take any part in a foreign war. Lord Clarendon, too, at a later period (April 12, 1855), wrote to Mr. Crampton that “the law of the United States, with respect to enlistment, however conducted, is not only very just but very stringent, according to the report which is enclosed in your despatch, and her Majesty's government would on no account run any risk of infringing this law of the United States.” * For a time, Mr. Crampton acted cautiously, but in the course of the summer of 1855, Mr. Marcy received evidence which convinced him that the British minister was personally implicated in carrying out arrangements for sending men to Nova Scotia, under contracts made in the United States to enlist as soldiers in the British army after their arrival in Halifax; and that the means for sending them had been supplied by him and other British functionaries. Mr. Buchanan was first instructed to bring this matter to the attention of Lord Clarendon, before Mr. Crampton's direct agency in it had become known to our Government. His letter of July 6, 1855, to Lord Clarendon, was a forcible presentation of the grounds on which the United States complained of such doings as an infraction of their laws and a violation of their sovereignty. A long correspondence ensued, which was conducted at times with some approach to acrimony, but which never actually transcended the limits of diplomatic courtesy. At length the proofs that Mr. Crampton was a party to this unlawful proceeding became so forcible that the British government yielded to the request that he might be recalled, and he was transferred to another diplomatic post. The whole affair was attended at one time with serious risk of an interruption in the friendly relations of the two countries. Mr. Marcy's course in the correspondence was greatly tempered in its tone by the advice which he received from Mr. Buchanan, although the hazard of an unfortunate issue of the trouble was much enbanced by the sending of an unusual naval force to the coasts of the United States, which the British government ordered while this affair was pending, but without any special reference to it.

* A copy of this pote was delivered to Mr. Marcy in the course of the month of May, 1855.

The so-called “Ostend Conference,” which at the time it occurred made a great deal of noise, and in which Mr. Buchanan was directed by his Government to participate, requires but a brief explanation. It was not a meeting in any sense suggested by him, nor was there anything connected with it which should have given rise to alarm. When in the summer of 1856 he had become the nominee of the Democratic party for the Presidency, as is usual on such occasions, biographical sketches of his public and private character were prepared and circulated. Among them was a small volume in duodecimo form of 118 pages, written with far greater ability and precision than was common in such ephemeral publications intended for electioneering purposes. Its account of the whole matter of the “Ostend Conference” is so exact and lucid that I do not hesitate to quote it as a true history of that proceeding :*


It is the rare good fortune of Mr. Buchanan to have sustained a long career of public life with such singular discretion, integrity, and ability, that now, when he is presented by the great national party of the country as their candidate for the highest dignity in the Republic, nothing is seriously urged by political hostility in extenuation of his merit, save the alleged countenance to filibuster enterprise and cupidity, inferred by his enemies from a strained interpretation of the recommendations and views of the Ostend Conference. The political opponents of Mr. Buchanan call upon his supporters to vindicate the claim they assert in behalf of Mr. Buchanan to conservatism, by reconciling that assumption with his participation in the American Diplomatic Conference at Ostend and Aix la Chapelle, and with his adoption and endorsement, jointly with the ministers of the United States to France and Spain, of the views and recommendations addressed by the three ambassadors to the Department of State, on the 18th of October, 1854, in the letter commonly known as the Ostend Manifesto. The circumstance that the opposition meet the nomination of Dr. Buchanan with no other objection impugning his qualifications for the Presidential trust, cannot fail to confirm the popular belief in the justice and wisdom of the judgment that governed the Cincinnati convention in selecting a statesman so unassailable in the record of his political life, and so little obnoxious to personal censure and distrust, as the candidate

* The copy of this little biography which is before me is entitled, THE LIFE AND PUBLIC SERVICES OF JAMES BUCHANAN of Pennsylvania. Twentieth thousand. New York: Pub. lished by Livermore & Rudd, 310 Broadway, 1856. It was published anonymously, but I am informed that the name of the author was Edward F. Underhill.

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