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Special Message

July 18, 1850

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives, in compliance with the request contained in their resolution of the 24th day of January last, the information asked for by that resolution, relating to certain proceedings of the British Government in the forcible seizure and occupation of the island of Tigre; also all the "facts, circumstances, and communications within the knowledge of the Executive relative to any seizure or occupation, or attempted seizure or occupation, by the British Government of any port, river, town, territory, or island belonging to or claimed by any of the States of Central America."

The resolution of the House speaks of the island of Tigre, in the State of Nicaragua. I am not aware of the existence of any such island in that State, and presume that the resolution refers to the island of the same name in the Gulf of Fonseca, in the State of Honduras.

The concluding part of the resolution, requesting the President to communicate to the House all treaties not heretofore published which may have been negotiated with any of the States of Central America "by any person acting by authority of the late Administration or under the auspices of the present Administration," so far as it has reference to treaties negotiated with any of those States by instructions from this Government, can not be complied with, inasmuch as those treaties have not been acted upon by the Senate of the United States, and are now in the possession of that body, to whom by the Constitution they are directed to be transmitted for advice in regard to their ratification.

But as its communication is not liable to the same objection, I transmit for the information of the House a copy of a treaty in regard to a ship canal across the Isthmus, negotiated by Elijah Hise, our late charge' d'affaires in Guatemala, with the Government of Nicaragua on the 21st day of June, 1849, accompanied by copies of his instructions from and correspondence with the Department of State.

I shall cheerfully comply with the request of the House of Representatives to lay before them the treaties negotiated with the States of Central America, now before the Senate, whenever it shall be compatible with the public interest to make the communication. For the present I communicate herewith a copy of the treaty with Great Britain and of the correspondence between the American Secretary of State and the British plenipotentiary at the time it was concluded. The ratifications of it were exchanged at Washington on the 4th day of July instant.

I also transmit the report of the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution of the House was referred, and who conducted the negotiations relative to Central America, under the direction of my lamented predecessor.


Millard Fillmore, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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