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took advantage of the first good opportunity that presented itself to declare to the Spanish government, "it is impossible for them [the United States] to view with indifference these movements of the British government, considering it, as they do, as a settled principle that the island of Cuba must in no event, and under no pretext, pass into the possession of, or under the protection of, any European power other than Spain."112
Adams and Clay thought this danger together with that which was threatening from Mexico and Colombia justified them in sending a secret agent to Havana to report confidentially on the sentiment in the islands toward the various nations concerned. Besides repeating the instructions which he had written for a secret agent late in 1825, Clay asked this agent to learn what the attitude of the inhabitants would be toward a colonial connection with Great Britain, in case the existing relations of that power and Spain should result in war and England should attack Hathe strictest confidence, of a despatch dated June 1 from the Spanish minister at London. That minister had said that the information had been given to him by the Duke of Wellington. Everett said it was strange that the duke should have revealed such; but thought it was probably owing to the strong feeling of disgust and bitterness with which he has been inspired by the late change in the administration." See also Chadwick, United States and Spain, Diplomacy, 216.
112 Everett to Salmon, December 10, 1827, enclosed with Everett to Clay, December 12, 1827, House Executive Documents, 32 congress, I session, number 121, pages 22 and 21. And see Chadwick, United States and Spain, Diplomacy, 217.
vana; and he was also to learn the Spanish means for resisting such attack.113
During the last year of the Adams-Clay administration anxiety concerning Cuba was not entirely relieved; but no important diplomatic communications passed. The Jackson administration continued practically unchanged the policy of their predecessors. In October, 1829, Van Buren said to Van Ness, the new minister to Madrid: "As it is not impossible that Spain, in her present embarrassed and dependent situation, might be induced to yield her assent to a temporary occupation of it [Cuba], as a pledge for the fulfillment of her engagements, or to part with her right of property in it for other considerations affording immediate relief in the hour of her distress it is the wish of the President that the same watchfulness which had engaged the attention of your predecessors in relation to this subject should be continued during your administration of the affairs of the legation." He was told that the United States could not enter into engagements to guarantee the possession of Cuba to Spain; but, alluding to the danger from Mexico
113 Clay to Daniel P. Cook, March 12, 1827, MS., Department of State, Instructions, XI, 267. This shows that Adams and Clay were aware of the English designs long before the information from Everett came. For the instructions to Robertson in 1825, see above, this chapter, and note 68. The former agent did not go; but Cook went, had several interviews with the Spanish governor, Vivés, and reported. This confidential mission was the subject for a congressional investigation in the next year, and occasioned considerable embarrassment for the administration. Adams, Memoirs, VIII,
and Colombia, Van Buren declared: "This government has every reason to believe that the same influence which once averted the blow ready to fall upon the Spanish islands would again be found effectual on the recurrence of similar events."114 In this same month of October Poinsett told of a new movement of the Mexican government the purpose of which, he thought, was to incite a slave revolt in Cuba.115 Six weeks later Van Buren instructed Butler, who was to replace Poinsett at Mexico, to remonstrate against the alleged intention of Mexico to excite the slave rebellion.116 Late in 1830 the minister at Madrid was told that Mexico had given "assurance that no such measures will, in any event be resorted to." In this same letter he was told that the new states had given notice that if Spain persisted in her refusal to make peace and recognize them, they would find it necessary to attack the islands. In view of this he reaffirmed the position of Adams and Clay that the United States was content to have Cuba remain in the possession of Spain; could not consent to its transfer to any European power; and greatly preferred that it should not pass to either of the South American states; but "the President does not see on
114 Van Buren to Van Ness, October 2, 1829, House Executive Documents, 32 congress, I session, number 121, pages 27 and 28.
115 Poinsett to Van Buren, October 14, 1829, MS., Department of State, Despatches from Mexico, IV.
116 Van Buren to Poinsett, November 30, 1829, enclosing the despatch to Butler, MS., Department of State, Instructions, XIV, 148.
what ground he would be justified in interfering with any attempts which the South American states might think it for their interest, in the prosecution of a defensive war, to make upon the islands," unless the slaves should be armed.117
117 Van Buren to Van Ness, October 13, 1830, House Executive Documents, 32 congress, I session, number 121, page 28.
DIPLOMACY CONCERNING THE OPENING OF THE SANTA FÉ TRAIL
Among the early matters to furnish occasion for diplomatic communications between Poinsett and the Mexican government was one providing for the survey, marking out, and protection of a road leading from the frontier settlements of the United States on the Missouri river to the nearest settlements in New Mexico. In the years immediately following the collapse of Spanish power in Mexico the trade which had previously maintained a precarious and fitful existence by way of this route grew by leaps and bounds.1
1 The purpose here is to study the diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico concerning the opening of the Santa Fé Road. No attempt is made to trace the growth, extent, or importance of the Santa Fé trade. Much less is any space given to recounting the hardships suffered by the traders or the many interesting and tragic events of which they left accounts. A brief summary of such matters may be found in Bancroft's "History of Arizona and New Mexico," page 329 and following. In the footnotes to these pages Bancroft gives the sources which he used. One of the most extensive, interesting, and important of them, Josiah Gregg's "Commerce of the Prairies, or the Journal of a Santa Fé Trader during eight Expeditions, . . ." in two volumes, Second Edition, published by Langley, New York, 1845, has recently been made easily available in the collection of reprints of "Early Western Travels " by the late R. G. Thwaites, published by A. H. Clark Company, 1905, volumes XIX and