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PORTO RICO, HAWAII, AND SAMOA.
Since the beginning of the Administration of President McKinley Hawaii has been annexed and created into a territory of the United States; Porto Rico has been ceded by Spain and given a territorial government; the Island of Guam has been ceded to and become territory of the United States, and the tripartite agreement with Germany and England regarding Samoa has been superseded by another agreement by virtue of which England retired from the islands and both powers renounced in favor of the United States all their rights and claims in the group, embracing the islands of Tutuila, Ofoo, Olosenga, and Manua. The United States has therefore secured through Republican Administration the gate to the Caribbean Sea, the “rich half-way station” in the Pacific, and naval bases in the southeastern Pacific Ocean.
These island possessions are all of commercial advantage to the United States, but they were not sought or acquired for that reason. Hawaii, after a short experiment as an independent Republic, sought annexation and was accepted by joint resolution passed by Congress. Porto Rico came as an incident of the war with Spain, as did Guam, and the acquisition of the Island of Tutuila, with its fine harbor at Pago Pago, was due to wise adjustment of . entangling diplomatic arrangements with England and Germany to guarantee the neutrality of the Samoan Islands. Hawaii was annexed in 1898, and created into the Territory of Hawaii by the act of April 30, 1900, which provided a territorial form of government for the islands.
Hawaii and Porto Rico have both been political issues in the past. They have ceased to be since the Republican policy has been demonstrated, as successful in each. The last Democratic Administration opposed the annexation of Hawaii, and withdrew the treaty which had been agreed upon and submitted to the Senate by President Harrison on February 15, 1893, and favorably reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations of that body. Three days after his inauguration President Cleveland withdrew that treaty and appointed James H. Blount, of Georgia, as a “paramount coms missioner” to the Hawaiian Islands, giving him rank above the minister of the United States in Honolulu. The next December President Cleveland sent a message to Congress announcing his intention of restoring Liliuokalani to the throne. President Dole,
of the provisional government in Hawaii, refused to comply with the wishes of President Cleveland for the restoration of the former Queen, and the proposition was met with such indignation in the United States that it was abandoned. The Republic of Hawaii continued to exist as an independent government until Congress, in 1899, provided by joint resolution for the annexation sought. In April, 1900, by act of Congress, the Constitution and all the laws of the United States not locally inapplicable were extended and Hawaii established as a territory, with a legislature and a delegate in Congress. Porto Rico ceased to be a political issue with the decision of the Supreme Court sustaining the Foraker Act under which the territory was organized, and 15 per cent of the Dingley tariff rates kept to provide revenues for the territorial government. There has not been a political ripple regarding Porto Rico since that decision, and President Roosevelt, in his message to Congress last December, said: “It is a pleasure to say that it is hardly more necessary to report as to Porto Rico than as to any State or Territory within our continental limits. The island is thriving as never before, and it is being administered efficiently and honestly. Its people are now enjoying liberty and order under the protection of the United States, and upon this fact we congratulate them and ourselves.” George Allen, in his report in 1901, showed that the Territory of Porto Rico had half a million dollars on hand, had enacted local revenue laws to take the place of the 15 per cent tariff to provide for free trade with the United States, and was enjoying peace and prosperity. So closed the Porto Rican incident, which was elaborated into a political issue by the Democrats in 1900. It closed with the full approval of the Republican policy by the Supreme Court and by the results of Republican legislation in Porto Rico.
Not a blow has been struck except for liberty and humanity and none will be; we will perform without fear every national and international obligation.—President McKinley to Notification Committee, July 12, 1900.
Barbarism has and can have no place in a civilized world. It is our duty toward the people living in barbarism to see that they are freed from their chains, and we can only free them by destroying barbarism itself. The missionary, the merchant, and the soldier may each have to play a part in this destruction, and in the consequent uplifting of the people.—Theodore Roosevelt, in speech at Minneapolis, September 2, 1901.
DANISH WEST INDIES.
DESIRABLE NAVAL AND COALING STATIONS. The Danish West Indies should now be territory of the United States but for the attempt of the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives to connect a scandal with the transfer. An investigation by the House resulted in showing that Mr. Richardson, of Tennessee, had been the victim of his own suspicions and the complaints of a man who was attempting to secure a commission from the Government of Denmark for the sale of the islands. That was all, but it was enough to create a faction in the Danish Parliament and prevent the ratification of the treaty which was negotiated in Washington, January 24, 1902, and ratified by unanimous vote of the United States Senate February (17. It was a month later, Mareh 27, that Mr. Richardson sprung his sensation in the House which demanded an investigation that resulted in showing absolutely false all the charges of Captain Christmas to the effect that he had negotiated the sale of the islands for Denmark by bribery. But these charges were made public at the time the treaty was before the Danish Parliament, and they resulted in delaying the ratification which is still pending. The life of the treaty has been extended until July 24, 1903, to allow the Danish Parliament time to fully investigate all the charges made as to agents and the promise of commissions by that Government before the treaty is ratified.
By this treaty Denmark agrees to cede to the United States the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix in the West Indies, with the adjacent islands, comprising all title and claim to territory in the West Indies by the Crown of Denmark. It conveys to the United States the absolute fee and ownership of all public, Govern: ment or Crown lands, public buildings, ports, harbors, fortifications, barracks, and all other public property of every kind belonging to the Government of Denmark. The Danish subjects residing in the islands may remain or remove therefrom, retaining in either event all their rights of property. They may retain their allegiance to Denmark by making declaration of that purpose within two years from the date of exchange of ratifications. The civil rights and the political status of the inhabitants shall be determined by Congress.
The United States agrees to pay the sum of $5,000,000 for these islands.
The island of St. Thomas lies about 36 miles east of Porto Rico, St. John being immediately east of St. Thomas. St. Croix is about 40 miles south of St. Thomas, in the Caribbean Sea. St. Thomas is
the most important island of the group, because it is an important coaling station and depot of trade, and because it has one of the finest harbors in the West Indies. The island is 12 miles long and from 1 to 3 miles wide. It has a population of 10,886. The only article of export is bay rum. The island of St. John is 8 miles long, and has an area of about 40 square miles. Its population is less than 1,000. St. Croix is the largest of the islands, and 19 miles long, with an area of 51,890 acres, of which 16,000 acres are devoted to the cultivation of sugar. The exports of the island in 1898 amounted to $550,000 in value. The United States first attempted to purchase these islands in 1865 during the Administration of President Lincoln. Secretary Seward was desirous of purchasing them, and in 1866 made a definite offer of $5,000,000 for the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and Santa, Cruz. In 1867 Denmark declined to sell the islands for $5,000,000, but offered St. Thomas and St. John for $10,000,000, or $15,000,000 for the three. Mr. Seward replied by offering $7,500,000 in gold for the three islands. Denmark offered to take that sum for St. 'Thomas and St. John. Finally Secretary Seward offered to purchase St. Thomas and St. John for $7,500,000, but further complications arose because Denmark insisted that the consent of the people in the islands should be given before the sale was consummated. That was conceded, and the treaty was negotiated and ratified by the Rigsdag of Denmark, but was not reported to the United States Senate by the Committee on Foreign Relations for two years, and was then reported adversely, and the Senate refused to ratify it. Secretaries Foster and Olney, under the Harrison and Cleveland Administrations, had diplomatic correspondence regarding the purchase of these islands, and in March, 1898, a bill was reported to the Senate from the Committee on Foreign Relations authorizing the President to purchase them. The bill was not acted upon. In his 1eport on the bill for the purchase of the islands in 1898, Senator Lodge said: “The arguments in favor of the possession of these islands can be briefly stated, and appear to the undersigned to be unanswerable. So long as these islands are in the market there is always the danger that some European power may purchase or try to purchase them. This would be an infraction of the Monroe Doctrine, and would at once involve the United States in a very serious difficulty with the European power which sought possession of the islands. In the interest of peace, it is of great importance that these islands should pass into the hands of the United States and cease to be a possible source of foreign complications, which might easily lead to war.
United States can hardly be overestimated. We have always been anxious to have a good naval and coaling station in the West Indies. Important in time of peace, such a station would be essential to our safety in time of war. Successive Administrations have laboreil to secure a West Indian naval station. During the war of the rebellion the United States leased the harbor of St. Nicholas from Haiti for this purpose. General Grant endeavored, during his Presidency, to secure Samana Bay. The effort to obtain the Danish Islands, as has been shown, was begun by Mr. Seward during the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. The fine harbor of St. Thomas fulfills all the required naval and military conditions.
“As has been pointed out by Captain Mahan, it is one of the great strategic points in the West Indies. The population of the three islands is only 33,000, of whom nearly 30,000 are negroes, the others being chiefly of English or Danish extraction. There is no possibility of any material increase in the population, and annexation would never involve at any time the troublesome question of Statehood. The Danish Islands could easily be governed as a Territory-could be readily defended from attack, occupy a commanding strategic position, and are of incalculable value to the United States, not only as a part of the national defense, but as removing by their possession a very probable cause of foreign complications."
Let me insist again, for fear of possible misconstruction, upon the fact that our duty is two-fold, and that we must raise others while we are benefiting ourselves. In bringing order to the Philippines, our soldiers added a new page to the honor roll of American history, and they incalculably benefited the islanders themselves. Under the wise administration of Governor Taft the islands now enjoy a peace and liberty of which they have hitherto never even dreamed.--Theodore Roosevelt, in speech at Minneapolis, September 2, 1901.
Throughout a large part of our national career our history has been one of expansion, the expansion being of different kinds at different times. This expansion is not a matter of regret, but of pride. It is vain to tell a people as masterful as ours that the spirit of enterprise is not safe. The true American has never feared to run risks when the prize to be won was of sufficient value.--Theodore Roosevelt, in speech at Minneapolis, September 2, 1901.