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sions; that they found themselves engaged in the establishment of a regular government, which showed itself disposed to keep its engagements; that the Mexican people had spoken, and that the Emperor Maximilian had been called to the throne by the will of the people of the country."
Mr. Seward's counter-reply was dated February 12, 1866. He declared that the proceedings in Mexico were regarded in the United States as having been taken without the authority, and prosecuted against the will and opinions of the Mexican people; that the United States had not seen any satisfactory evidence that the people of Mexico had spoken and called into being or accepted the so-called empire, and that the withdrawal of the French troops was deemed necessary to allow such a proceeding to be taken. added, however, that:
France need not for a moment delay her proposed withdrawal of military forces from Mexico, and her putting the principle of non-intervention into full and complete practice in regard to Mexico through any apprehension that the United States will prove unfaithful to the principles and policy in that respect which, on their behalf, it has been my duty to maintain in this now very lengthened correspondence."
He concluded with a virtual ultimatum:
We shall be gratified when the Emperor shall give to us . . . definite information of the time when French military operations may be expected to cease in Mexico.
* House Ex. Doc. No. 93, Thirty-ninth Cong., First Sess.
Dipl. Corr., 1865, Part III; also H. Ex. Doc. No. 93. Thirty-ninthCong., First Sess.
Napoleon finally decided that, in view of the European situation, he could not risk a war with the United States, and in the issue of April 5, 1866, the Moniteur announced that the Emperor had decided that the French troops should evacuate Mexico in three detachments: the first to leave in November, 1866; the second in March, 1867; and the third in November, 1867. In the course of a conversation with Mr. Bigelow the day following M. Drouyn de Lhuys acknowledged that this statement was official." The decision of the emperor was officially made known to the United States in a note of April 21, 1866. Seward had very fortunately left a loophole in his dispatch of February 12, in the statement that the United States would continue to pursue its policy of neutrality after the French evacuation. De Lhuys said:
We receive this assurance with entire confidence and we find therein a sufficient guarantee not any longer to delay the adoption of measures intended to prepare for the return of our army."
American historians have usually attributed Napoleon's backdown to Seward's diplomacy supported by the military power of the United States, which was, of course, greater then than at any other time in our history. All this undoubtedly had its effect on Napoleon's mind, but it appears that conditions in Europe just at that particular moment had an even greater influence in causing him to abandon his Mexican scheme. Within a few days of the receipt of Seward's ultimatum Napoleon was informed of Bismarck's de
H. Ex. Doc. No. 93, p. 42, Thirty-ninth Cong., First Sess.
termination to force a war with Austria over the Schleswig-Holstein controversy. Napoleon realized that the territorial aggrandizement of Prussia, without any corresponding gains by France, would be a serious blow to his prestige and in fact endanger his throne. He at once entered upon a long and hazardous diplomatic game in which Bismarck outplayed him and eventually forced him into war. In order to have a free hand to meet the European situation he decided to yield to the American demands.
About the time that the French government announced its intention of withdrawing its forces from Mexico, it was found that troops were being enlisted in Austria for the Mexican "foreign legion." The United States government at once took measures to prevent the French troops from being replaced by Austrians by declaring to the Austrian government through Mr. Motley, "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 and neutral spectators." 48
Mr. Motley seems to have been somewhat surprised and puzzled at the sudden and emphatic change of tone in the instructions of his government, and failed to carry them out in the spirit intended by Mr. Seward. This brought forth a sharp reprimand. Mr.
"Wharton's Digest, Sec. 58, Vol. I, p. 328.
Seward expressed his strong disapproval of the position taken by Mr. Motley in his communication of the instructions of the department to the Austrian government, and directed him to carry out his instructions according to the strict letter, adding:
I refrain from discussing the question you have raised, "Whether the recent instructions of this department harmonize entirely with the policy which it pursued at an earlier period of the European intervention in Mexico."
Mr. Motley was instructed to withdraw from Vienna in case troops were sent from Austria to Mexico. The embarkation of troops for this purpose was stopped. Austria was in a great state of excitement over the approaching war with Prussia, and, besides needing all her available troops at home, did not care to antagonize the United States.
It was now a question of great interest in this country and in Europe, whether Maximilian would withdraw from Mexico with the French troops or attempt to maintain himself there without foreign support. Napoleon sent one of his aides to Mexico to make known his intentions to Maximilian. This fact was communicated to the United States government, October 16, 1866:
Mr. de Castelnau has for his mission to make it well understood that the limit of our sacrifices is reached and that if the Emperor Maximilian, thinking to find in the country itself a point of sufficient support, may wish to endeavor to maintain himself there, he cannot for the future count on any succor on the part of France. But it may happen that, deeming it impossible to triumph through his own resources over the difficulties which surround him, this
sovereign may determine to abdicate. We will do nothing to dissuade him from this, and we think that on this hypothesis there would be ground to proceed, by way of election, in the establishment of a new government."
When the time came for the withdrawal of the first contingent of French troops, no action to that end was taken by the French government, and the United States had once more to seek an explanation. The Emperor assured the American government, however, that he had decided from military considerations to withdraw all his troops in the spring in a body, as the recent successes of the insurgents would render any large reduction of his forces perilous to those who remained. He further stated that he had counselled Maximilian to abdicate. To the surprise of everyone, however, Maximilian seemed to think that honor demanded that he should remain in Mexico and share the fate of his supporters.
After the withdrawal of Mr. Corwin, owing to the unsettled state of affairs in Mexico, the United States had no one accredited to that government until May, 1866, when Mr. Lewis D. Campbell, of Ohio, was appointed. He left New York for his post in November, 1866, accompanied by Lieutenant General William T. Sherman of the army. They proceeded in the U. S. S. Susquehanna by way of Havana, but as they found the principal Mexican ports on the Atlantic still occupied by the French, they proceeded to New Orleans, from which point Mr. Campbell tried to establish regular communication with President Juarez. The President had first decided to dispatch General Grant with Mr.
* Dipl. Corr., 1866, Part I, p. 387.
"H. Ex. Doc. No. 30, Fortieth Cong., First Sess.