15 JUNE 1850, Page 14


Dimeaterrcamar, Lord Palmerston boasts, by deputy, that he has achieved the long-desired canal across the isthmus between the two continents of America : and if all that is implied be realized, he may indeed be allowed no small credit for bringing the project to the point.

and the Chargé d' Affaires of the United States had actually taken steps for that purpose. Lord Palmerston now interposed "made the firm and temperate announcement" that the British Government would uphold the right of the King of Mosquito; and "the ancient protectorate" of Mosquito thus became, not only a shield for that state, but the means of" suddenly developing the question." General Taylor acceded to power, uncomnaitted on either side ; Sir Henry Bulwer was sent on a special mission ; an explanation was effected ; and the treaty is the result. By that treaty, both Great Britain and the United States dis- claim exclusive objects, territorial, commercial, or military ; they jointly guarantee the neutrality of the territory, and provide "that the property of persons entering into such undertaking shall be protected by them from unjust detention, confiscation, seizure, nye any violence whatever.' They likewise undertake to use their good offices in order to preewu the eatubliehment of a free port at The deputy is the Morning Post, which puts forth a quasi-ofi- cial manifesto on the subject—what the Duke of Wellington would call a "song of triumph," or cockadoodledoo. The value of the treaty is enhanced by its apparent impracticability. The two con- tracting parties were in a state of antagonism. The United States had newly acquired California ; an association of citizens had ob- tained exclusive right to form a railroad across the isthmus a Panama ; a bill was before Congress to confirm such exclusive rights ; the state of Nicaragua offered to construct a canal and secure to the United States exclusive privileges, if the States would seize for that state, from the Mosquito state, the river St. John;

each end of the canal." Further, they promise support to any company undertaking the formation of the canal under a grant from the local Government of Nicaragua. _

So the canal is secured—in posse ; which is something. And Lord Palmerston's deputy winds up thus in praise of his ch'ef- "We cannot conclude these observations without recording a just tribute of admiration for the statesmanlike ability which has steered us through the dangers which threatened, and which will leave this convention as a monu- ment to after ages of the genius of the Minister who presides over the admi- nistration of the foreign affairs of this kingdom."

A monument ! of what? of work done, or only work chalked out ?—for that is the question. At present it is only a promise ; and should there be no canal after all, the convention will be no more than a stale and cumbersome joke—a device to confer on the "state of Mosquito" some importance, but dragging down the two great states of Britain and America into a burlesque.

Even if the canal be established, constructed, opened, and duly navigated, shall we realize all the anticipated advantages ? What are the advantages Is it to bring us nearer to California.? That seems a very doubtful advantage indeed, at present, and likely to be doubtful for some time to come. Is it to bring China more within reach ? Many things might do that more effectively than this canal,—such, for example, as the complete development of Australia and all her resources, or of New Zealand. But that might be done without any operose excavations, simply by passing enactments to permit our colonies to develop themselves. A sound Australian Colonies Government Bill, or a practicable plan for the government and colonization of New Zealand, would be far more of a "short cut" to extended trade with the Pacific, than the canal for which this convention secures contingent opportunities. That the canal would confer great benefit on the civilized world, is not denied; but when those benefits are a little nearer to attainment, it will be time to boast so loudly ; and meanwhile, some of them might at once be grasped by means perfectly within the path of our rulers.