On Dec. 17, 1895. President Cleveland
sent to Congress a special message on this question, which for a time caused great excitement and seemed to threaten to involve the United
States in a war with Great Britain
This condition of affairs was caused by the sudden renewal by Great Britain
of an old claim to territory adjoining British Guiana
, but held by Venezuela
This territory contains about 500 square miles and is inhabited by over 100,000 people.
It also contains rich gold-mines.
The territory had been a subject of dispute ever since 1814, when Holland
ceded her South American possessions to Great Britain
In 1841, Robert Schomburgk
, acting for Great Britain
, erected a boundary-line, claiming for Great Britain
the entire Atlantic coast as far as the Orinoco
protested and forcibly removed this line.
For fifty years after Great Britain
made various claims.
In 1887 diplomatic relations between Great Britain
were broken off because of the dispute.
In the United States
the action of Great Britain
was closely watched, it being believed that her attempt to extend her boundary-line was in violation of the Monroe
On Feb. 20, 1895, the United States
offered to arbitrate the dispute, but Great Britain
Late in 1895 information reached the United States
that Great Britain
intended to land troops on the disputed territory.
Then President Cleveland
issued the message already referred to, for the text of which see Cleveland, Grover.
In his message the President
asked Congress for leave to appoint a commission to visit Venezuela
and sift the claims of both parties.
This Congress at once granted, voting $100,000 for the purpose.
Under this authority President Cleveland
appointed the following commission: Judge David J. Brewer
, chairman; Richard H. Alvey
; Andrew D. White
; Frederick R. Coudert
, and Daniel C. Gilman
Upon their report both Great Britain
agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration, and under this agreement the following arbitrators were selected: Chief-Justice Fuller
, Associate Justice Brewer
, Lord Chief-Justice Russell
, of Killowen, Sir Richard Henn Collins
, and Professor Martens
. Ex-President Harrison
, Gen. B. F. Tracy
, M. Mallet
, and the Marquis
of Rojas were counsel for Venezuela
, and Attorney-General Sir Richard Webster
and Sir Robert Reed
for Great Britain
The arbitration tribunal met in Paris
on June 15, 1899, and on Oct. 3 following rendered the following award unanimously: