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be by the power and fleets of Great Britain united with their own. These are questions, however, which may require more information than I possess, and more reflection than I can now give them.
What is the extent of Mr. Canning's disclaimer as to "the remaining possessions of Spain in America?" Does it exclude future views of acquiring Porto Rico, &c., as well as Cuba? It leaves Great Britain free, as I understand it, in relation to other quarters of the globe.1
On November 1, Mr. Madison wrote to Mr. Jefferson returning to Mr. Jefferson the letter of the President. This letter in part reads:
I return the letter of the President. The correspondence from abroad has gone back to him, as you desired. I have expressed to him my concurrence in the policy of meeting the advances of the British Government, having an eye to the forms of our Constitution in every step in the road to war. With the British power and navy combined with our own, we have nothing to fear from the rest of the world; and in the great struggle of the epoch between liberty and despotism, we owe it to ourselves to sustain the former, in this hemisphere at least. I have even suggested an invitation to the British Government to join in applying the "small effort for so much good" to the French invasion of Spain, and to make Greece an object of some such favorable attention. Why Mr. Canning and his colleague did not sooner interpose against the calamity, which could not have escaped foresight, can not be otherwise explained but by the different aspect of the question when it related to liberty in Spain, and to the extension of British commerce to her former colonies."
The matter seems to have gone to the Cabinet approximately a week later, or on November 7, 1823.
A great deal has been written on the point as to who was the author of the Monroe Doctrine. It is not necessary for present purposes to enter into a discussion of this point. The facts are that the principles of the Doctrine had been in the minds of American statesmen for a third of a century (more or less).
The course of the discussions in the Cabinet have been the subject of considerable explanation by Charles Francis Adams in his monograph on John Quincy Adams, His Connection with the Monroe Doctrine, also in The Monroe Doctrine, 1823-1826, by Mr. Perkins.
DISCUSSIONS IN THE CABINET
The high points of the Cabinet discussion have been set out in a lucid and sufficient manner by Mr. Moore in his Digest in the following summary:
From the 7th to the end of November 1823, the question of Canning's proposals, and the correspondence and conferences between Mr. Adams and Baron Tuyll, frequently occupied the attention of President Monroe and his Cabinet. Mr. Adams thought that Canning wanted some public pledge from the United States not only against the forcible intervention of the Holy Alliance in Spanish America, but also especially against the acquisition by the United States of any part of those countries. Mr. Calhoun inclined to give discretionary powers to
1 Moore, International Law Digest, vol. vi, pp. 396-397. 'Ibid., p. 397.
Mr. Rush to join in a declaration against the interference of the Holy Alliance, if necessary, even if it should pledge the United States not to take Cuba or Texas. Mr. Adams was not in favor of this. On the 15th of November, Mr. Adams states in his diary,..President Monroe showed him the letters from Jefferson and Madison. Calhoun," says Adams, "is perfectly moonstruck by the surrender of Cadiz, and says the Holy Allies, with ten thousand men, will restore all Mexico and all South America to Spanish dominion."
At a Cabinet meeting on the 15th of November Mr. Adams expressed himself thus: "Considering the South Americans as independent nations, they themselves, and no other nation, had the right to dispose of their condition. We have no right to dispose of them, either alone or in conjunction with other nations. Neither have any other nations the right of disposing of them without their consent. This principle will give us a clew to answer all Mr. Canning's questions with candor and confidence."
At one time President Monroe seemed to be inclined to Calhoun's idea of giving Rush discretionary powers, but Adams was utterly averse to this." From time to time the nature of the contents of the coming message of the President to Congress formed a topic of discussion. Adams thought a stand should be taken against the interference of the Holy Alliance in American affairs. Wirt intimated that the people would not support the Government in a war for the independence of South America. Calhoun thought otherwise; he believed the Holy Alliance "had an ultimate eye to us; that they would, if not resisted, subdue South America. Violent parties would arise in this country, one for and one against them, and we should have to fight upon our own shores for our own institutions." Adams did not believe that the Holy Alliance had any intention of ultimately attacking the United States; but, if they should subdue the Spanish provinces, they might recolonize them and partition them out among themselves. Russia might take California, Peru, and Chile; France, Mexico, where she had been intriguing to get a monarchy under a prince of the house of Bourbon, as well as at Buenos Ayres, and Great Britain, if she could not resist this course of things, would take at least the island of Cuba as her share of the scramble. Then what would 'be the situation of the United States-England holding Cuba and France, Mexico? On the other hand, if the allies should interpose and Great Britain successfully oppose them alone, it would throw the colonies completely into her arms and make them her colonies rather than those of Spain. The United States must, therefore, declared Adams, act promptly and decisively. But the act of the Executive could not after all commit the nation to a pledge of war. This was not contemplated by Canning's proposals. As Great Britain would not be pledged, by what Canning had proposed, to war, "so would anything now done by the Executive here leave Congress free hereafter to act or not, according as the circumstances of the emergency may require."
On the 25th of November Adams prepared a draft of observations upon the communications lately made by Baron Tuyll. The draft was discussed and amended, and under date of the 27th of November was read to Baron Tuyll. It contained a full exposition of the policy of the United States and concluded with the declaration, "That the United States of America, and their Government, could not see with indifference, the forcible interposition of any European power, other than Spain, either to restore the dominion of Spain over her emancipated colonies in America, or to establish monarchical governments in those countries, or to transfer any of the possessions heretofore or yet subject to Spain in the American hemisphere, to any other European power."
'Ibid., pp. 399–401.
MONROE'S MESSAGE TO CONGRESS
As a result of this Cabinet discussion President Monroe, in his annual message of December 2, 1823, made the following declarations embodied in paragraphs 7, 48, and 49. These paragraphs read in full as follows.
At the proposal of the Russian Imperial Government, made through the minister of the Emperor residing here, a full power and instructions have been transmitted to the minister of the United States at St. Petersburg, to arrange, by amicable negotiation, the respective rights and interests of the two nations on the northwest coast of this continent. A similar proposal has been made by his Imperial Majesty to the Government of Great Britain, which has likewise been acceded to. The Government of the United States has been desirous, by this friendly proceeding, of manifesting the great value which they have invariably attached to the friendship of the Emperor, and their solicitude to cultivate the best understanding with his Government. In the discussions to which this interest has given rise, and in the arrangements by which they may terminate, the occasion has been judged proper for asserting as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.
It was stated at the commencement of the last session that a great effort was then making in Spain and Portugal to improve the condition of the people of those countries, and that it appeared to be conducted with extraordinary moderation. It need scarcely be remarked that the result has been, so far, very different from what was then anticipated. Of events in that quarter of the globe with which we have so much intercourse, and from which we derive our origin, we have always been anxious and interested spectators. The citizens of the United States cherish sentiments the most friendly in favor of the liberty and happiness of their fellow-men on that side of the Atlantic. In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are, of necessity, more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Governments. And to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers, to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any
portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. In the war between these new governments and Spain we declared our neutrality at the time of their recognition, and to this we have adhered and shall continue to adhere, provided no change shall occur which, in the judgment of the competent authorities of this Government, shall make a corresponding change on the part of the United States indispensable to their security.
The late events in Spain and Portugal show that Europe is still unsettled. Of this important fact no stronger proof can be adduced than that the allied powers should have thought it proper, on any principle satisfactory to themselves, to have interposed, by force, in the internal concerns of Spain. To what extent such interposition may be carried, on the same principle, is a question in which all independent powers whose governments differ from theirs are interested, even those most remote, and surely none more so than the United States. Our policy in regard to Europe, which was adopted at an early stage of the wars which have so long agitated that quarter of the globe, nevertheless remains the same, which is, not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers; to consider the government de facto as the legitimate government for us; to cultivate friendly relations with it, and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy, meeting, in all instances, the just claims of every power, submitting to injuries from none. But in regard to these continents, circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different. It is impossible that the allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness; nor can anyone believe that our southern brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interposition, in any form, with indifference. If we look to the comparative strength and resources of Spain and those new governments, and their distance from each other, it must be obvious that she can never subdue them. It is still the true policy of the United States to leave the parties to themselves, in the hope that other powers will pursue the same course.1
The essential elements involved in these discussions have already been set out at the beginning of this memorandum.
1 Moore, International Law Digest, vol. vi, pp. 401-403.
CONTEMPORANEOUS DISCUSSIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF THE DOCTRINE
There were a number of contemporaneous observations and interpretations of the Monroe Doctrine. There is hereafter set out the terms of the joint resolution offered by Mr. Clay to the House of Representatives on January 20, 1824:
That the people of these States would not see, without serious inquietude, any forcible interposition by the Allied Powers of Europe in behalf of Spain, to reduce to their former subjection those parts of the continent of America which have proclaimed and established for themselves, respectively, independent Governments, and which have been solemnly recognised by the United States.1
On December 26, 1825, President Adams sent to the Senate a special message with reference to nominating certain named gentlemen to represent the United States at the congress of American nations to be assembled at Panama. In this message President Adams stated: It will be seen that the United States neither intend nor are expected to take part in any deliberations of a belligerent character; that the motive of their attendance is neither to contract alliances nor to engage in any undertaking or project importing hostility to any other nation.2
The message then dealt with the difficulties which sometimes were involved in intercourse between the United States and South American nations because of the "mutual concessions of exclusive favor' 99 (granted as among themselves), " to which neither European powers nor the United States should be admitted," but which were said in most cases to yield "to friendly expostulation and remonstrance." The message stated that:
The consentaneous adoption of principles of maritime neutrality, and favorable to the navigation of peace, and commerce in time of war, will also form a subject of consideration to this Congress. The doctrine that free ships make free goods and the restrictions of reason upon the extent of blockades may be established by general agreement with far more ease, and perhaps with less danger, by the general engagement to adhere to them concerted at such a meeting, than by partial treaties or conventions with each of the nations separately. An agreement between all the parties represented at the meeting that each will guard by its own means against the establishment of any future European colony within its border may be found advisable. This was more than two years since announced by my predecessor to the world as a principle resulting
'Annals of Congress, 18th Cong., 1 sess., vol. I, col. 1104.
2 Richardson's Messages and Papers of the Presidents, vol. II, p. 318.