« ZurückWeiter »
by assisting them to establish a stable one, which would yield to France all she demanded. “It follows as a matter of course,” says Napoleon, “ that, if the Mexicans prefer a monarchy, it is for the interest of France to support them in that path.” In spite, however, of facts, the United States have assumed that France was honest in her assertions. As a government, it perhaps could not as yet do otherwise. If it were simply a war for the redress of grievances, the United States must remain neutral.
In the despatches of September 26, 1863, to Mr. Dayton, and of October 9, 1863, to Mr. Motley, Mr. Seward gives a very clear and concise view of the principles which determined the course of the government at that time toward France and Mexico. He says:
“ The United States hold in regard to these two states and their conflict the same principle that they hold in relation to all other nations and their mutual wars. They have neither a right nor a disposition to intervene by force in the internal affairs of Mexico, whether to establish or to maintain a republican, or even a domestic, government there, or to overthrow an imperial or a foreign one, if Mexico shall choose to establish or accept it. The United States have not the right nor the disposition to intervene by force on either side of the lamentable war which is going on between France and Mexico. On the contrary, they practise in regard to Mexico, in every phase of the war, the non-intervention which they require all foreign powers to observe in regard to the United States."
Mr. Seward says, however :
“ This government believes that all foreign resistance to American civilization, and all attempts to control it, must and will fail before the ceaseless and ever-increasing activity of material, moral, and political forces which peculiarly belong to the American continent. .... Nor do we practise reserve upon the point that, if France should, upon due consideration, determine to adopt a policy in Mexico adverse to the American opinions and sentiments which I have described, that policy would probably scatter seeds which would be fruitful of jealousies that might ultimately ripen into collisions between France and the United States, and other American republics.” • This being the position, the United States was compelled to determine these material questions, - which government it would recognize as the de facto government of Mexico, and the more grave one, whether France conformed to the principles upon which it declared the war was undertaken and carried on. The first question it decided at once. It recognized only the Juarez government. This decision has remained unchanged. When M. Drouyn de Lliuys, in October, 1863, stated to Mr. Dayton at Paris that the dangers of Maximilian's government would come principally from the United States, and the sooner that government showed a willingness to enter into peaceful relations with it, the sooner France would be ready to leave Mexico; and that an early recognition would tend to end all fears of troublesome complications with France, Mr. Seward replied, that France knows that the opinion here is that the establishment of a monarchy in Mexico is neither easy nor desirable ; that the United States cannot anticipate the action of the people of Mexico; that they have no desire to interfere in their choice of a government; that Mexico must as yet be regarded as the theatre of a war which has not ended in the subversion of the government long existing there; and that “the United States, consistently with their principles, can do no otherwise than leave the destinies of Mexico in the keeping of her own people, and recognize their sovereignty and independence in whatever form they themselves shall choose that this sovereignty and independence shall be manifested.”
It is interesting to trace the gradual solution of the other question. We believe that it will be found to have been dependent on the conviction, held from Monroe's time down, that the successful career of the United States intimately depends upon the continuance of free institutions throughout the American continent, — on the further belief, “that the inherent normal opinion of Mexico favors a government there republican in form and democratic in its organization in preference to any monarchical institution to be imposed upon it," — and on the fact that the majority of the people are against French intervention. In April, 1864, the House of Representatives declared, by a unanimous vote, against the recognition of the Mexican Emperor. Mr. Seward, April 7, sent a copy of this resolution to Mr. Dayton, and at the same time said, “It is hardly necessary, after what I have written with perfect candor for the information of France, to say that the resolution truly interprets the unanimous sentiment of the people”; but that the decision of this question belonged to the Executive, and whether he was prepared to express himself so bluntly was quite another matter. It however caused a good deal of uneasiness in France, and was the occasion of a circular from the Minister of Foreign Affairs in explanation ; but in the debate in the Corps Legislatif which followed upon it, May 12, M. Rouher, Minister of State, said that the real reason that induced the resolution was perfectly well understood by all acquainted with American affairs. "A Presidential contest is in progress in America, and every one, Democrat and Republican, is strong for popularity; and some think they will attain their purpose by opposing the new American establishment." In spite of all that had been said in the despatches of Mr. Seward, this was accepted by the Corps Legislatif as the true reason of the vote."
From this time the course to be pursued by the United States becomes plain. There can be no doubt now as to the policy of Napoleon, however much he may assert that all he wants is a redress of grievances. In November, 1865, Mr. Seward wrote to Mr. Bigelow:
“ The presence and operations of a French army in Mexico, and its maintenance of an authority there resting upon force and not upon
the free will of the people of Mexico, is a cause of serious concern to the United States. Nevertheless, the objection of the United States is still broader, and includes the authority itself which the French army is thus maintaining. . . . . They still regard the effort to establish permanently a foreign and imperial government in Mexico as disallowable and impracticable.”
Again, in December, he says that the real cause of discontent prevailing in the United States in regard to Mexico is not un. derstood. The chief cause is not that there is a foreign army in Mexico. The right of sovereign nations to carry on war is recognized. “The real cause of national discontent is, that the French army which is now in Mexico is invading a domestic republican government there which was established by her people, and with which the United States sympathize most profoundly, for the avowed purpose of suppressing it and establishing upon its ruins a foreign monarchical government."
* Debate in the Corps Legislatif, May 12, 1864.
This is pretty plain talking, and we are therefore not surprised when, on the 16th of the same month, he writes as follows :
" It has been the President's purpose that France should be respectfully informed upon two points, viz. :
" First. That the United States earnestly desire to continue and to cultivate sincere friendship with France.
- Second. That this policy would be brought into imminent jeopardy onless France could deem it consistent with her interest and honor to desist from the prosecution of armed intervention in Mexico, to overthrow the domestic republican government existing there, and to establish upon its ruins the foreign monarchy which has been attempted to be inaugurated in the capital of that country.”
Very decided results followed these plain words. M. Drouyn de Lhuys declared that the Emperor was willing to withdraw from Mexico, and asked some assurance that, in that event, the United States would recognize the government of Maximilian as a de facto power. This was precisely what the United States had refused to do from the beginning, and what it refuses to do now. On the 22d of January of this year came Napoleon's speech to the French legislature, which, though studiedly ambiguous, intimates plainly enough that his Mexican policy must be changed. He is in fact coming to an understanding with Maximilian for the recall of French troops without compromising French interests ; and M. Salliard is despatched without credentials and without documents to tell the Archduke that Napoleon has fulfilled all obligations imposed upon him, and that the time has arrived when he must depend on his own resources without the help of the French army. On the 5th of April, and as a result of the letter of Mr. Seward to the Marquis de Montholon of February 12th, it was officially announced that the French troops should evacuate Mexico in three detachments, the first to depart in November, 1866, the second in March, 1867, and the third in November of the same year. · There can be no doubt that Napoleon would have hesitated to embark in the expedition, if the restoration of the American
Union had not appeared at the time of its inception exceedingly problematical. In this he committed a great error; and it is evident that for some time his aim has been to escape from his position in such a way as to conceal from the sensitive ears of France the chilling sound of his retreating footsteps.
The ability, judgment, and skill with which Mr. Seward has conducted the correspondence with France on these difficult and delicate questions, with which he has maintained the dignity and authority of the United States and brought about a result in the highest degree satisfactory, deserve the gratitude not only of our own people, but of the Mexicans as well. The Mexican question, so far as the establishment of a foreign monarchy is concerned, is obviously approaching its solution.
ART. VI. – 1. The Life of John Randolph of Roanoke. Ву HUGH A. GARLAND. Eleventh Edition. New York: D.
. Appleton & Co. 1857. 2 vols. 8vo. 2. A Biography of John Randolph of Roanoke. With a Se
lection from his Speeches. By LEMUEL SAWYER, formerly of North Carolina, and for Sixteen Years an Associate in Congress with Mr. Randolph. New York : Burgess, Stringer,
& Co. 1844. 12mo. 3. Letters of John RANDOLPH to a Young Relative, embracing
a Series of Years from early Youth to mature Manhood. Philadelphia : Carey, Lea, and Blanchard. 1834. 8vo.
In June, 1861, Dr. Russell, the correspondent of the London Times, was ascending the Mississippi in a steamboat, on board of which was a body of Confederate troops, several of whom were sick, and lay along the deck helpless. Being an old campaigner, he had his medicine-chest with him, and he was thus enabled to administer to these men the medicines which he supposed their cases required. One huge fellow, attenuated to a skeleton by dysentery, who appears to have been aware of his benefactor's connection with the press, gasped out these words:
Stranger, remember, if I die, that I am Robert Tallon of