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On October 23, 1863, Secretary Seward discussing the reported willingness of Maximilian to accept the throne of Mexico, reiterated the position of the United States with reference to such a proposal, and said:
It is proper, also, that Mr. Drouyn de l'Huys should be informed that the United States continue to regard Mexico as the theatre of a war which has not yet ended in the subversion of the Government long existing there, with which the United States remain in the relation of peace and sincere friendship: and that, for this reason, the United States are not now at liberty to consider the question of recognizing a government which, in the further chances of war. may come into its place. 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.46
On January 11, 1864, Senator McDougal of California offered a resolution concerning the French war in Mexico.
On April 4, 1864, the House of Representatives without dissent passed a bill which provided:
the Congress of the United States are unwilling by silence to leave the nations of the world under the impression that they are indifferent spectators of the deplorable events now transpiring in the Republic of Mexico, and that they therefore think fit to declare that it does not accord with the policy of the United States to acknowledge any monarchical Government erected on the ruins of any republican Government in America under the auspices of any European power."
Secretary Seward, writing to Mr. Dayton, our Minister to France on April 7, 1864, reported an inquiry made by Mr. Geofroy, the French Minister in Washington, regarding the meaning of the House resolution of April 4, quoted above. Mr. Seward stated:
I send you a copy of a resolution which passed the House of Representatives on the 4th instant by a unanimous vote and which declares the opposition of that body to a recognition of a Monarchy in Mexico. Mr. Geofroy has lost no time in asking for an explanation of this proceeding. It is hardly necessary after what I have heretofore written with perfect candor for the information of France, to say that this resolution truly interprets the unanimous sentiment of the People of the United States, in regard to Mexico. It is, however, another, and distinct question whether the United States would think it necessary or proper to express themselves in the form adopted by the House of Representatives at this time. This is a practical and purely Executive question, and the decision of it constitutionally belongs not to the House of Representa
Papers relating to Foreign Affairs (Diplomatic Correspondence), 1863, vol. II, p. 726.
tives, nor even to Congress, but to the President of the United States. You will of course take notice that the declaration made by the House of Representatives is in the form of a joint resolution which before it can acquire the character of a legislative act must receive, first the concurrence of the Senate and secondly the approval of the President of the United States, or in case of his dissent the renewed assent of both houses of Congress to be expressed by a majority of two-thirds of each body. While the President received the declaration of the House of Representatives with the profound respect to which it is entitled as an expression of the sentiments upon a grave and important subject, he directs that you inform the Government of France, that he does not at present contemplate any departure from the policy which this Government has hitherto pursued in regard to the war which exists between France and Mexico. It is hardly necessary to say, that the proceeding of the House of Representatives was adopted upon suggestions arising within itself, and not upon any communication of the Executive Department, and that the French Government would be seasonably apprized of any change of policy upon this subject which the President might at any future time think it proper to adopt."
Lee's surrender at Appomattox came on April 9, 1865. Based primarily upon an article and a book by General John M. Schofield, Mr. Moore summarizes the events which immediately followed the close of our Civil War in the following language:
As soon as the restoration of the Union became assured, General Sheridan was sent with an army of about 50,000 men to the line of the Rio Grande; but, as Sheridan's troops were Union volunteers who had enlisted especially for the civil war, the necessity was recognized of organizing a new army for the purpose of acting against the French army in Mexico, in case of need. It was proposed that this new army should be enlisted and organized under the republican government of Mexico, which was recognized by the United States as the only legitimate government of that country. For the organization and command of this army, General John M. Schofield was selected by General Grant. General Schofield repaired to Washington, where he consulted with Mr. Romero, the Mexican minister, as well as with President Johnson, Mr. Seward, and Mr. Stanton. The War Department gave General Schofield a leave of absence for twelve months, with permission to go beyond the limits of the United States and to take with him any officers of his staff whom he might designate. It was expected that the officers and soldiers of the new army would be taken from the Union and Confederate forces, who were reported to be eager to enlist in the enterprise, but it was to be organized in Mexican territory under commissions from the Mexican Government. In the summer of 1865, General Schofield, at the request of Mr. Stanton, met Mr. Seward at Cape May. Mr. Seward then proposed to General Schofield to go to France under the authority of the Department of State to see whether Louis Napoleon could not be made to understand the necessity of withdrawing his army from Mexico and thus avert the necessity of expelling it by force. General Schofield decided to undertake the mission. He sailed from New York on November 19, 1865, accompanied by two members of his staff. He arrived in Paris early in December. He found that the intervention in Mexican affairs was very unpopular in France, but that the national pride was touched at the thought of withdrawing under menace. General Schofield found opportunity in two interviews with Prince Napoleon, and in several conversations with officers 48 MS., Instructions, France, vol. xvII, pp. 43-44.
of high rank on the Emperor's staff, to make known the views and purposes of the United States respecting Mexican affairs. It was understood that these unofficial conversations were faithfully reported to the Emperor. General Schofield was presented to the Emperor and Empress at a ball at the Tuileries. He received several intimations that he would be invited to a private interview with the Emperor, but no invitation came and none was sought. He closed his mission practically at the end of January, 1866. Having made a report to Mr. Seward on the 24th of that month, he received early in the following May a reply intimating that there was no further occasion for his remaining in that quarter. He then returned to the United States and reported at the Department of State on June 4, 1866."
Instructing Mr. Bigelow, our Minister to France, under date of November 6, 1865, Secretary Seward set out the position of this Government on the matter in the following language:
The presence and operations of a French army in Mexico, and its maintenance of an authority there, resting upon force and not on 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. That authority is in direct antagonism to the policy of this Government and the principle upon which it is founded. Every day's experience of its operations only adds some new confirmation of the justice of the views which this Government expressed at the time the attempt to institute that authority first became known. The United States have hitherto practiced the utmost frankness on that subject. They still regard the effort to establish permanently a foreign and imperial Government in Mexico as disallowable and impracticable. For these reasons they could not now agree to compromise the position they have heretofore assumed. They are not prepared to recognize or to pledge themselves hereafter to recognize any political institutions in Mexico, which are in opposition to the Republican Government with which we have so long and so constantly maintained relations of amity and friendship. I need hardly repeat my past assurances of our sincere desire to preserve our inherited relations of friendship with France. This desire greatly increases our regret that no communications, formal or informal, which have been received from the Government of that country seem to justify us in expecting that France is likely soon to be ready to remove as far as may depend upon her the cause of our deep concern for the harmony of the two nations.
The suggestion which you make of a willingness on the part of France to propose a revision of the commercial relations between the two countries is not regarded as having emanated from the Government of the Empire. However that may be it is hardly necessary to say that we should not be dwelling so earnestly upon the branch of political relations, if it had not been our conviction that those relations at the present moment supersede those of commerce in the consideration of the American people.50
On November 29, 1865, the French Minister at Washington, Marquis de Montholon, communicated to Secretary Seward a message from the French Minister of Foreign Affairs in relation to affairs in
'Moore, International Law Digest, vol. VI, pp. 498-499.
50 MS., Instructions, France, vol. xvII, pp. 467-469.
Mexico. The purport of the message was the expression of a desire that the United States should recognize Maximilian which would be the best guaranty that it was not the intention of the United States "to impede the consolidation of the new order of things founded in Mexico." The French Minister for Foreign Affairs intimated that since the United States recognized monarchies in Europe and the New World, that recognition ought not to be withheld from Mexico because of "difference of institutions."
Secretary Seward in reply stated that the prevailing discontent in the United States regarding affairs in Mexico was not because there was a foreign army in Mexico, nor because that army was French. He said:
We recognize the right of sovereign nations to carry on war with each other if they do not invade our right or menace our safety or just influence. The real cause of our 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 whom the United States sympathize most profoundly, for the avowed purpose of suppressing it and establishing upon its ruins a foreign monarchical government, whose presence there, so long as it should endure, could not but be regarded by the people of the United States as injurious and menacing to their own chosen and endeared republican institutions.51
Later in the year Secretary Seward, again writing to Mr. Bigelow, Minister to France, used the following language:
It has been the President's purpose that France should be respectfully informed upon two points, namely: First, that the United States earnestly desire to continue and to cultivate sincere friendship with France. Secondly, that this policy would be brought into imminent jeopardy, unless 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 capitol of that country.52
The retirement of the French troops from Mexico was apparently arranged through General James Watson Webb, from whose letter to Secretary Fish of May 17, 1873, the following is quoted:
in November 1865, I went to Paris, at the solicitation of the Emperor Napoleon, breakfasted with him, and after breakfast, spent two hours and a half with him in his cabinet; during which period, he made with me a secret treaty, subject to the approval of the President; by which he agreed to withdraw his army from Mexico, in twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four months. And on that occasion, I also arranged for the purchase of French Guiana; and placed in Mr. Seward's hands, the terms of purchase fixed by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. The arrangement in regard to Mexico was approved by the President;
MS., Notes to the French Legation, vol. VIII, p. 176; Moore, ibid., p. 501. 52 MS., Instructions, France, vol. xví, p. 489; Moore, ibid.
and I so informed the Emperor. One of the conditions of that arrangement, was, that it should be considered a profound secret, and not to be made known to our Minister in Paris, or even to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, until the Emperor should make the annunciation in the Moniteur in the following April. At the solicitation of Marshall Niell, however, who, when he was advised of the arrangement, declared it to be unsafe to try to evacuate Mexico in separate detachments, and insisted that the whole army must be removed at once, the Emperor subsequently gave us notice, that he would retire from Mexico in March 1867-sixteen months from the time of our arrangement, instead of twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four months; and this he did in good faith.53
It would seem that under this arrangement troops were to be withdrawn beginning in November 1866.
News reached the Government of the United States early in 1866 that the Austrian Government was planning to fit out 10,000 Austrian troops to be sent to Mexico to assist Maximilian in holding his throne. On April 6, Secretary Seward's instruction to Mr. Motley, our Minister to Austria, directed him to state to the Austrian Government
that, in the event of hostilities being carried on hereafter in Mexico by Austrian Subjects, under the command, or with the sanction of the Government of Vienna, the United States will feel themselves at liberty to regard those hostilities as constituting a state of war by Austria against the Republic of Mexico; and in regard to such war waged at this time and under existing circumstances the United States could not engage to remain as silent or neutral spectators.5*
On May 27, 1866, Minister Motley was informed by the Austrian Government that "the necessary measures have been taken to prevent the departure of volunteers lately enlisted for Mexico."
When time for withdrawing troops (under Webb arrangement) approached, intimation was received from the Emperor of France that he wished to postpone the withdrawal of troops until the spring of 1867. Secretary Seward objected to this. The Emperor then proposed the forming of a provisional government which should exclude both Maximilian and Juarez. Secretary Seward positively declined the proposition. The French evacuated the city in February 1867. The Maximilian Government was speedily overthrown and Maximilian and his supporters were tried by court martial and shot on June 19, 1867. Writing in the Political Science Quarterly for March 1896,55 Mr. Moore said:
If those who imagine that our liberties have been preserved by the Monroe Doctrine are asked to show what it has accomplished since it answered its
53 MS., Miscellaneous Letters, May 1873, pt. II, No. 17, p. 15 of letter; Moore, International Law Digest, vol. vi, p. 504.
MS., Instructions, Austria, vol. 1, 294; Moore, ibid., p. 506.
Vol. XI, p. 25.