Mr. Bayard to Mr. Gresham.
London, March 29, 1894. (Received April 9.)
Sir: I had the honor by my dispatch of the 16th instant, to communicate to you some remarks upon the status of the “Mosquito Reservation,” in the territory of Nicaragua. Since then I have received from [Page 259]Lord Kimberley, on the 24th instant, a memorandum in relation to the incident of the landing of a British armed force at Bluefields, and inclose herewith a copy.
As I have before had the honor to state, the political status of these Mosquito Indians and the extent of their rights of local self-government are illy defined, and it is highly desirable for the interests of all concerned that the lines of lawful authority should be more distinctly established and agreed upon.
The theater of the events under consideration is remote, and the region is occupied by a population imperfectly civilized and scattered.
The most influential residents of Bluefields are traders, English and American, with some negroes from the Island of Jamaica, and information of a reliable and satisfactory nature is necessarily difficult to obtain. But it does not appear that the alleged intervention by the British armed force was for the maintenance of the rights of the Mosquito Indians against alleged Nicaraguan oppressors—but, rather, to protect other classes of residents, who are not mentioned in the treaty of Managua, of 1860, between Great Britain and Nicaragua, and are not parties to any stipulations, express or implied, by that convention.
At the close of the memorandum, now transmitted herewith, it is stated that interviews and arrangements for the purpose of restoring peace and order at Bluefields were between the British consuls and the Nicaraguan general, in which it was by and under Nicaraguan authority alone all the measures to restore and maintain peace were to be executed.
This arrangement, so far as it goes, implies a recognition of Nicaraguan sovereignty, and the subordination of Mosquito affairs to the (not unqualified) control of the former. I am informed that Nicaragua has paid in full the annuity of $5,000 stipulated for ten years by the treaty of Managua, and I am disposed to believe that, by the exercise of moderation, discretion, and just humanity, Nicaragua can remove all vestige of pretext or reason for any foreign intervention for the settlement of questions of a social or political nature between herself and the Mosquito Indians, and that race and that class are the only individuals who have any recognition or standing under the terms of the treaty of Managua, which contained restrictions upon the sovereignty thereby ceded to Nicaragua by Great Britain.
It has been reported that Admiral Benham has been asked to visit Bluefields, and I hope it is true and that a reliable report of the condition of that region may thus be furnished.
Sir John Hopkins, the British admiral, is a man of the same stamp, and his account may be looked for with interest and respect by all parties.
As a possible contribution to knowledge of the locality and events in question, I inclose copies of a communication by a correspondent of the Times, of the 27th instant, which is, however, evidently colored by the views and prejudices of the writer in the interests of a Moravian mission.
The treaty rights of Nicaragua, under the convention of 1860, at Managua, must be interpreted by the then existing state of facts, and it will not be safe to interpolate additional restrictions upon the sovereignty of Nicaragua, as to subjects and interests not then existent and not even contemplated at that time.
The spiritual welfare of the Mosquito population was not, and is not, among the responsibilities with which Great Britain was charged or is chargeable.[Page 260]
Upon obtaining further information on the subject I will communicate it to you.
I have, etc.,