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for decided and immediate interference by us. The sentiments and the policy announced by the declaration, thus understood, were, therefore, in strict conformity to our duties and our interest.

Sir, I look on the message of December, 1823, as forming a bright page in our history. I will neither help to erase it, or tear it out; nor shall it be, by any act of mine, blurred or blotted. It did honor to the sagacity of the Government, and will not diminish that honor. It elevated the hopes, and gratified the patriotism of the People. Over these hopes I will not bring a mildew; nor will I put that gratified patriotism to shame.1o


Regarding the statement made by Mr. Webster as to the reception of the announcement of the Doctrine in England, Dana in his note 36 to Wheaton makes the following statement:

This message of President Monroe reached England while the correspondence between Mr. Canning and the Prince Polignac was in progress; and it was received not only with satisfaction, but with enthusiasm. Mr. Brougham said: "The question with regard to Spanish America is now, I believe, disposed of, or nearly so; for an event has recently happened than which none has ever dispersed greater joy, exultation, and gratitude over all the free men of Europe; that event, which is decisive on the subject, is the language held with respect to Spanish America in the message of the President of the United States." Sir James Mackintosh said: "This coincidence of the two great English commonwealths (for so I delight to call them; and I heartily pray that they may be forever united in the cause of justice and liberty) cannot be contemplated without the utmost pleasure by every enlightened citizen of the earth." This attitude of the American government gave a decisive support to that of Great Britain, and effectually put an end to the designs of the absolutist powers of the continent to interfere with the affairs of Spanish America. Those dynasties had no disposition to hazard a war with such a power, moral and material, as Great Britain and the United States would have presented, when united in the defence of independent constitutional governments."

So far as the action of the House of Representatives itself is concerned, it appears that the committee of the House, to whom was referred the President's message in relation to the mission to Panama, made a report on April 4, 1826, which concluded in the following language:

Resolved, That, in the opinion of the House, it is expedient to appropriate the funds necessary to enable the President of the United States to send Ministers to the Congress of Panama."

To this resolution Mr. McLane of Delaware proposed the following amendment:

It being understood as the opinion of this House, that, as it has always been the settled policy of this Government, in extending our commercial relations with foreign nations, to have with them as little political connection as possible; to preserve peace, commerce, and friendship, with all nations, and to

1o Congressional Debates, vol. II, pt. 2 (1826), pp. 2268–2270.
"Wheaton's Elements of International Law, 8th ed. (Dana), p. 109.
13 Congressional Debates, vol. II, pt. 2 (1826), p. 2009.

form entangling alliances with none; the Ministers who may be sent shall attend at the said Congress in a diplomatic character merely; and ought not be authorized to discuss, consider, or consult, upon any proposition of alliance, offensive or defensive, between this country and any of the South American Governments, or any stipulation, compact, or declaration, binding the United States in any way, or to any extent, to resist interference from abroad with the domestic concerns of the aforesaid Governments, or any measure which shall commit the present or future neutral rights or duties of these United States, either as may regard European nations, or between the several States of Mexico and South America."

This resolution was debated at great length, much of the debate turning upon the question of the power of Congress to instruct the Executive in the matter of negotiations between the United States and foreign countries. On the same day that this resolution was offered (April 4, 1826), Mr. Forsyth gave notice of an amendment which he would present in case the amendment of Mr. McLane should not prevail.

It was in the course of this debate that Mr. Webster made the observations already quoted above.

On April 5, 1826, Mr. Rives of Virginia—

moved to amend Mr. McLane's amendment by inserting the following after the words "aforesaid Governments," where those words occur:

Or any compact or engagement by which the United States shall be pledged to the Spanish-American States to maintain, by force, the principle that no part of the American continents is henceforward subject to colonization by any European power."

On April 18, 1826, Mr. Buchanan proposed as a modification to the amendment proposed by Mr. McLane as amended by Mr. Rives, the following:

The House, however, in expressing this opinion, do not intend to sanction any departure from the settled policy of this Government, that, in extending our commercial relations with foreign nations, we should have with them as little political connexion as possible; and that we should preserve peace, commerce, and friendship, with all nations, and form entangling alliances with none. It is, therefore, the opinion of this House, that the Government of the United States ought not to be represented at the Congress of Panama, except in a diplomatic character, nor ought they to form any alliance, offensive or defensive, or negotiate respecting such an alliance, with all or any of the Spanish-American Republics; nor ought they to become parties with them, or either of them, to any joint declaration for the purpose of preventing the interference of any of the European Powers with their independence or form of Government, or to any compact for the purpose of preventing colonization upon the continent of America; but that the People of the United States should be left free to act, in any crisis, in such a manner as their feelings of friendship towards these Republics, and as their own honor and policy may at the time dictate.15

This amendment was accepted by Mr. McLane.

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid., p. 2059.

15 Ibid., p. 2369.

On April 21, 1826, this amendment (as it would seem) was submitted to vote and was adopted by 99 ayes as against 95 nays.10

On the motion, however, to adopt the resolution of the Committee of Foreign Affairs as amended on the motion of Mr. McLane, the resolution was rejected by a vote of 143 nays against 54 ayes.17


Congressional Debates, vol. II, pt. 2 (1826), p. 2457. "Ibid., p. 2490.


A considerable number of situations between Latin American States and European powers have arisen which seem to fall within the principles announced by President Monroe in his message. In some of these instances the Monroe Doctrine has been specifically invoked as such; in others, and in the majority of them, the Monroe Doctrine has not been in terms mentioned although the principles of the Doctrine have either been applied or not applied as the circumstances seemed to the Federal Executive to require. The greater number of these instances are listed below by years.



President Monroe writing to Mr. Madison under date of August 2, 1824, reported a conversation with the Colombian Minister to the effect that a representative of France was expected shortly at Bogotá to discuss its independence. The Government of Bogotá had information "that the Government of France would acknowledge its independence on one condition, the establishment of monarchy, and leave the person to be placed in that station to the people of Colombia; that Bolivar would not be objected to if preferred by them." The Colombian Minister asked, "Should the proposition be rejected and France become hostile in consequence, what part the U. States would take in that event? What aid might they expect from us? Upon which President Monroe commented:

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The subject will of course be weighed thoroughly in giving the answer. The Executive has no right to compromit the nation in any question of war, nor ought we to presume that the people of Columbia will hesitate as to the answer to be given to any proposition which touches so vitally their liberties.1


Cuba and Porto Rico

The war between Spain and her revolted colonies was still waging.

It was threatening to invade the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico.

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Secretary Clay, writing to Mr. Everett, our Minister to Spain, on April 27, 1825, stated:

And of all the European Powers, this country prefers that Cuba and Porto Rico should remain dependent on Spain. If the war should continue between Spain and the new Republics, and those Islands should become the object and the theatre of it, their fortunes have such a connexion with the prosperity of the United States that they could not be indifferent spectators; and the possible contingencies of such a protracted war might bring upon the Government of the United States duties and obligations, the performance of which, however painful it should be, they might not be at liberty to decline.2 Colombia and Mexico

In December of 1825, Secretary Clay addressed a note to the Ministers of Mexico and Colombia requesting them not to fit out expeditions against the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico until the sense of the congress of Panama might be known on the subject. The Colombian Government promised to give heed to the request and it was understood the Mexican Government did not regard the matter favorably.3

Neutralization of Cuba

In August of 1825, Great Britain proposed that the United States, Great Britain, and France should adopt one of three courses providing for the neutralization of Cuba. This suggestion was not acceptable to the United States which did not regard the proposal as necessary for itself since its policy was a pacific one, though Secretary Clay, writing to Mr. King, our Minister to England, on October 17, 1825, stated:

With the view, therefore, of binding France, by some solemn and authentic act, to the same course of forbearance which the United States and Great Britain have mutually prescribed to themselves, the President sees no great objection, at present, to acceding to one, or other, of the two alternatives contained in Mr. Cannings proposal. As information, however, is shortly expected from Russia, as to the manner in which the Emperor has received the invitation to employ his friendly offices to bring about a peace, no instruction will now be given you, as to the definitive answer to be communicated to the British Government. In the meantime, you are authorized to disclose to it the sentiments and views contained in this dispatch.*

On September 8, 1825, Canning advised King that the French Government had substantially changed its language and formally declined to accede to the proposal which it had induced Great Britain to make regarding the neutralization of Cuba.

'MS., Instructions to United States Ministers, vol. x, p. 304.

8 Moore, International Law Digest, vol. vi, p. 447.

• MS., Instructions to United States Ministers, vol. x, p. 401,

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