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fluence favorable to the United States and also the government's change from the centralist to the federalist party. Had Poinsett dictated this portion of the message, as he might have done if he had wielded the influence which his enemies and those of the government suspected, he could hardly have worded it in more flattering terms. He could not now complain, as he had done seven months earlier, that Victoria's allusions to England were more enthusiastic than those to the United States.
The new negotiations for the treaty with England were conducted in profound secrecy, even the clerks of the foreign office not being permitted to copy or translate the protocols. They had not gone very far, however, when it became evident that no treaty could be made in keeping with the strict instructions which Morier bore. Consequently in March, 1826, he abandoned the attempt and returned to London, having insisted that one of the secretaries of the Mexican cabinet accompany or follow him with full power to conclude a treaty in London.50
Camacho, the secretary for foreign relations, was chosen. Poinsett wrote to Clay that the Mexican Senate did not want a secretary to go out of the country, and at first refused to ratify the appointment. But, he said, the British chargé declared that no one but a secretary would be acceptable, and "that by refusing to ratify the nomination of Camacho, the Senate would occasion a rupture between the two powers,
50 Poinsett to Clay, February 1, 1826, MS., Department of State, Despatches from Mexico, I.
-conduct which could only be imputed to the secret influence of those who sought to divide the old world from the new, in order that they might govern the latter; meaning of course the United States." Camacho's appointment was finally ratified." He went to London; and just before the end of the year 1826, a treaty was concluded which omitted the provisions objectionable to England. In the middle of 1827 the ratifications were exchanged. It was submitted to Congress and proclaimed to the nation on October 25, 1827.52
51 Poinsett to Clay, April 8, 1826, MS., Department of State, Despatches from Mexico, I. For brief reviews of Camacho's mission and the treaty which he negotiated, see Zavala, Ensayo Historico, I, 360; Zamacois, Historia de Méjico, XI, 615; Bancroft, History of Mexico, V, 51.
52 For the treaty both in English and Spanish, see British and Foreign State Papers, XIV, 614-629. For the submission to Congress and proclamation, see Coleccion de Ordenes y Decretos de la Soberana Junta y los Congresos, IV, 87.
CUBA SAVED TO SPAIN
Before the Mexican cabinet changes had occurred which displaced English influence in Mexico by that of the United States, a serious international question had arisen which vitally affected the relations between the United States and Mexico, and the relations of each of these governments with England. It also influenced the relations of all three of these powers with other governments of both America and Europe. That question was, what would become of Cuba and Porto Rico in case Spain should lose her feeble hold on them, which seemed certain to occur.
All of the possessions of Spain on the continents of North and South America were irrevocably lost. Every one expected a change of some kind in the relations between Spain and her only remaining American possessions, these two important West India islands. Each government concerned feared that the change might be adverse to its interests. The following are some of the questions that were in the minds of statesmen concerning the islands: Would they be ceded to France in return for French support of Spanish absolutism? Would they be given to England to purchase that government's assistance in freeing Spain from French domination? Would they be revolution
ized and annexed by Colombia or Mexico, or held in joint control by them? Would the combined SpanishAmerican states soon to assemble in the conference at Panama unite in freeing them to become members of the federated states of the new world? Would they attempt to free themselves by their own unaided efforts? If so, could they remain free? If not, to whom would they appeal for assistance, to their sister SpanishAmerican states, to the United States, or to England? Would the price of such assistance be absorption by the power which gave it?
"In 1825 the London Courier described Cuba as the 'Turkey of trans-Atlantic politics, tottering to her fall, and kept from falling by those who contend for the right of catching her in her descent.'" The uncertainty and the wide-spread interest in the subject furnished an occasion for Clay just after he had taken charge of the State Department to engage in one of the most far-reaching and most interesting diplomatic games ever played by an American secretary of state. In order to appreciate fully the situation when he took control it is necessary to study briefly some of the
1 Callahan, Cuba and International Relations, 140. Temperley says: "Cuba has well been termed the 'Turkey of transatlantic politics,' for the destiny of Cuba was the problem which engaged the attention of all the diplomats of the age. . . . Thus arose a strange kind of triangular duel, France suspecting England and the United States, the United States suspecting England and France, England suspecting France and the United States." Temperley, "Later American Policy of George Canning," American Historical Review, XI, 789. And see Latané, United States and Spanish America, 89.
communications concerning Cuba that had passed in the two or three years preceding.
American statesmen had for some time been looking forward with confident expectancy to a time when Cuba should belong to the United States; but how and when the acquisition should be brought about no one attempted to foretell. The recent acquisition of Florida after more than a decade of agitation and negotiation made the addition of Cuba seem the next logical step. As early as 1809, when Napoleon seeming to be firmly established in Spain was expected to attempt to extend his system to the Spanish colonies, Jefferson, who had just retired from the presidency, wrote to Madison, his successor, that Napoleon would have to acquiesce in our seizure of the Floridas if we wished to take them, and would also, he thought, "consent to our receiving Cuba into our Union to prevent our aid to Mexico and the other provinces."2 Similar sentiments were frequently expressed by many American public men during the following years of SpanishAmerican confusion.
In the autumn of 1822 the advisability of the early annexation of Cuba was discussed in the cabinet. A secret agent from Havana had tried to get assurance that Cuba would be admitted to the union in case she should declare her independence, as was contemplated, and should ask admission. "Calhoun expressed great anxiety to get Cuba as a part of the United States in
2 Chadwick, United States and Spain, Diplomacy, 216; Latané, United States and Spanish America, 90–93.