Page images
PDF
EPUB

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Leon de Nicaragua, September 10, 1862. My Dear Sir: My particular and confidential friend, Don Pedro Alvarado, is the bearer of this note, accompanied by an official communication relative to a plan which seems to be in progress for colonizing persons of African descent from the United States in some part of Central America.

I am satisfied that the project is only in contemplation on the assumption by the President of the United States that the people of Central America are favorably disposed toward such a scheme.

I understand the fact to be otherwise; that is, that the people of this country are generally opposed to it. If such is the case, if the government and people of Nicaragua are opposed to such colonization, I beg you to do me the favor to make the fact known to me at your earliest convenience, so that I can communicate the same to my government by the next steamer and any

serious misunderstanding on the subject.

Knowing Mr. Alvarado to be your own friend as well as mine, I avail myself of his great kindness to transmit this communication and return to me your answer thereto, which I hope to receive officially in time to send at once to my government; for you must know that, above all things, I desire that friendly relations may be maintained between our two governments. Very respectfully, your friend and servant,

A. B. DICKINSON. Señor Don Pedro ZELEDON,

Minister of Foreign Relations, fr., fr., fr.

prevent

LEGATION OF THE UNITED States,

Leon de Nicaragua, September 10, 1862. Dear Sir: Your letter of April 28, 1862, inquiring as to the cause of the excitement prevailing over Nicaragua and Honduras on account of a dreaded deluge of negro emigration into these two countries from the United States, is received.

Quite a number of things have worked together to produce this result. Sev. eral American secessionists reside here who came to this country before the Walker invasion and had the sagacity to abstain from taking any part in the revolution. They have consequently retained the respect and esteem of this government. They are men of means and influence, which they use to the best advantage to favor the secession cause and to make the government of the United States appear as odiously as possible to these republics. Advantage will, of course, be taken by them of anything which can possibly occur to disturb our friendly relations. They are powerfully aided by a certain other gentleman of secession tendencies, who was formerly one of the editors of a government paper at Washington, and who has been several times bearer of government despatches to and from the legations of the United States in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, under a secession administration, and who is now a resident of Nicaragua, and an able correspondent of the Commercial Advertiser of New York.

They have seized upon this colonization scheme from its inception, and magnified and distorted it, and so worked upon the prejudices of the people of this country as to keep them constantly agitated on the subject. But I have quieted their fears and kept the excitement under control. I long ago ascertained the sentiment of the people on this subject, and only regret that I had not

a

informed the President of their hostility to it before the scheme, foreshadowed in his message, had been so far developed. But it hardly seemed necessary when I felt confident that it was entirely within my grasp, especially when I considered the momentous business at home, of days and months pressed into moments, which the Executive had to pass upon. There is no cause for alarm in the President's speech, and would be none were it not for the secessionists. They scize upon it as a perfect godsend, and make the most of it.

The object of the President seems to have been to ascertain whether any considerable portion of the colored population of the United States would consent to such colonization in case an arrangement could be made for it. That would seem to be the first step necessary; and if he should find that they were willing to emigrate, the next step would be to negotiate for it. It is not surprising that the President turned his attention to Central America, whose soil, climate, and products are so well adapted to the labors of such persons; but I am quite sure that he would never have mentioned the subject in connexion with this country if he had been informed that the people residing here were so universally opposed to it.

When Captain Griffin, the agent of the Transit Company, arrived here in January last, he privately broached the scheme to a few persons of introducing negro labor to work on the transit. At my tirst interview with him in Leon, he mentioned the same subject to me, and informed me that he intended to ask permission of the government to introduce the negroes into the country as apprentices. Being well aware that such a proposition would greatly imperil the success of the transit, I strenuously advised him to drop the subject and say nothing more about it. He assured me that it should go no further. But the subject leaked out soon after his departure, and spread all over the country, creating much hostility to the transit. Numerous interrogatories came to me, but I invariably denied any such intention, as he had abandoned it.

I then had an opportunity of witnessing the intense feeling against anything in the shape of negro colonization.

I think I can see why Costa Rica and San Salvador are not so much opposed to it. They are not so much afflicted as Honduras and Nicaragua with Jamaica negroes, some of whom are respectable, intelligent men, but most of whom are worthless, idle, thieving vagabonds, prowling along the Atlantic coast and mixing with the Mosquito Indians, producing the worst cross-breed that society can be infested with.

It is regarded by the people here as peculiarly unfortunate at this negotiations were in progress, and commissioners sent from this government to San Salvador and Honduras, to effect a reunion of these three states; and, in addition, the election of chief magistrate takes place in this republic early in November next.

I have called the attention of the department to this matter under such circumstances that I can scarcely fail to have an answer by the first steamer in which it can be brought; in which event it will reach us before the election takes place.

On the subject of your inquiry regarding the transit, I have only time to say that I have learned that the transit steamer “ Virginia" sprung a leak and went down a day or two since, in Lake Nicaragua, and is a total loss. I understand, also, that the Transit Company have lately written to this government, asking for a further extension of six months of their contract. The government has not yet answered their request. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. B. DICKINSON. Hon. C. N. RIOTTE,

United States Minister, Costa Rica.

as

[ocr errors]

:

the store it

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.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Mr. Zeledon to Mr. Dickinson.

[ocr errors]

[Translation]

NATIONAL PALACE,

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,

PEDRO ZELEDON.

[Translation.)
Mr. Zeledon to Mr. Dickinson.

Confidential.]

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 repug. nance 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.

No. 24.1

Department of STATE,

Washington, October 6, 1862. Sir: 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., 8c., &c., 80., Nicaragua.

[Enclosures with No. 24.]

Mr. Molina to Mr. Seward, September 19, 1862.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Molina, September 24, 1862.
Mr. Molina to Mr. Seward, September 29, 1862.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Molina, October 1, 1862.
Mr. Seward to Mr. Smith, October 6, 1862.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Dickinson.

No. 25.)

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 diplomatic 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., 8c., fr., fr., Nicaragua.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 forination 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 sovereign 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

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »