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in conference at Cordova, and after a brief discussion signed the treaty bearing that name, August 24, 1821. It was agreed that a provisional junta should be appointed, that O'Donaju should be a member, and that the junta should proceed to carry into effect the plan of Iguala. O'Donaju then persuaded the Royalists to open the gates of the capital, and on September 27, 1821, Iturbide entered. Shortly thereafter O'Donaju died from the yellow fever, thus leaving Iturbide free to carry out his plans. The Spanish government, of course, repudiated the treaty of Cordova.
The Congress, which assembled in pursuance of the program of Iguala, was divided between Imperialists and Republicans. In spite of the opposition of the latter, Iturbide had himself proclaimed emperor and his family ennobled. Congress soon fell into disputes with the emperor, who finally, in October, 1822, dissolved it by force. A few months later Santa Anna inaugurated a counter-revolution from Vera Cruz, which resulted in the abdication of the emperor. Iturbide was allowed to leave the country. He retired to Italy, where he resided until toward the close of 1823, when he went to London. In May, 1824, at the solicitation of certain of his partisans, he sailed again for Mexico, ignorant of the decree of perpetual banishment passed against him by the Congress a few weeks before. He landed at Tampico July 12, but was seized and executed a few days later. The new assembly then in session adopted a constitution, and the Republic of Mexico was launched upon what was to prove, for years to come, a career of turbulence and anarchy.
* See the statement of Iturbide in regard to his political life published in the Pamphleteer, London, 1827.
THE RECOGNITION OF THE SPANISH-AMERICAN REPUBLICS
THE struggle of the South American peoples for independence was viewed from the first with feelings of profound satisfaction and sympathy in the United States. From the commencement of the revolution South American vessels were admitted into the ports of the United States under whatever flag they bore. It does not appear that any formal declaration according belligerent rights to the said provinces was ever made, though a resolution to that effect was introduced into the House by committee as early as December 10, 1811. Such formal action was apparently not deemed necessary and, as there was no Spanish minister resident in the United States at that time to protest, our ports were probably thrown open, as a matter of course. The fact that they were accorded full belligerent rights from the first was afterwards stated by President Monroe in his annual messages of 1817 and 1818 and in his special message of March 8, 1822.3
At an early date of the revolution commissioners arrived in Washington seeking recognition of independence, and agents were forthwith dispatched to South America to obtain information in regard to
1 Am. St. Papers, For. Rel., Vol. III, p. 538.
Wharton's Digest, Sec. 69, and Moore's Digest of Int. Law, Vol. I,
"Messages and Papers of the Presidents," Vol. II, pp. 13, 58, and 116.
the state of the revolutionary governments and to watch the movements of England and other European powers. Joel R. Poinsett was sent to Buenos Aires in 1811, and the following year Alexander Scott was sent to Venezuela. In 1817 Cæsar A. Rodney, Theodorick Bland, and John Graham were dispatched as special commissioners to South America. They proceeded to Buenos Aires, where they arrived in February, 1818, and remained until the last of April. Rodney and Graham then returned to the United States while Bland proceeded across the continent to Chile. Their reports were transmitted to Congress November 17, 1818. In 1820 Messrs. J. B. Prevost and John M. Forbes were sent as commercial agents to Chile and Buenos Aires. Reports from them on the state of the revolutions were transmitted to Congress, March 8 and April 26, 1822.*
In the meantime a strong sentiment in favor of the recognition of South American independence had arisen in the United States. The struggling colonies found a ready champion in Henry Clay, who, for a period of ten years labored almost incessantly in their behalf, pleading for their recognition first with his own countrymen and then, as secretary of state under the Adams administration, with the governments of Europe. His name became a household word in South America and his speeches were translated and read before the patriot armies.
In spite of the fact that our own political interests were so closely identified with the struggling republics, the President realized the necessity of following a neu
• Lyman, Diplomacy of the United States." 2 Vols. Boston, 1828, Vol. II, p. 432. Romero, "Mexico and the United States." Given in full in Am. St. Papers, For. Rel., Vol. IV, pp. 217-270. Am. St. Papers, For. Rel., Vol. IV, pp. 818-851.
tral course, and in view of the aid the colonies were receiving from citizens of the United States, called upon Congress for the enactment of a more stringent neutrality law. Clay delivered a vigorous speech in opposition to this measure in January, 1817.) His greatest effort in behalf of South America, however, was his speech of March 25, 1818, on the general appropriation bill. He moved an amendment appropriating $18,000 for the outfit and year's salary of a minister to the United Provinces of the Plate. Without waiting to hear the report of the three commissioners who had been sent to inquire into the state of the revolutionary governments, he urged that a minister be regularly accredited to Buenos Aires at once. In a speech, three hours in length, he concluded the arguments he had begun the day before. Painting with even more than his usual fire and enthusiasm the beauties and resources of the Southern continent, he said:
Within this vast region, we behold the most sublime and interesting objects of creation; the loftiest mountains, the most majestic rivers in the world; the richest mines of the precious metals; and the choicest productions of the earth. We behold there a spectacle still more interesting and sublime -the glorious spectacle of eighteen millions of people struggling to burst their chains and be free.'
He went on to say that in the establishment of the independence of the South American states the United States had the deepest interest. He had no hesitation in asserting his firm belief that there was no question in the foreign policy of this country, which had ever arisen, or which he could conceive as ever
Benton's "Abridgment," Vol. VI, p. 139.
occurring, in the decision of which we had so much at stake. This interest concerned our politics, our commerce, our navigation. There could be no doubt that Spanish America, once independent, whatever might be the form of the governments established in its several parts, those governments would be animated by an American feeling and guided by an American policy. They would obey the laws of the system of the new world, of which they would compose a part, in contradistinction to that of Europe. The House turned a deaf ear to his brilliant rhetoric. The motion was defeated by a vote of 115 to 45, but Clay did not abandon the cause of South America.
Two years later he reopened the question in a direct attack on the policy of the administration, which greatly disturbed President Monroe. On May 20, 1820, he again introduced a resolution declaring it expedient to send ministers to the "governments in South America which have established and are maintaining their independence of Spain." His arraignment of the administration became more violent than ever:
If Lord Castlereagh says we may recognize, we do; if not, we do not. A single expression of the British minister to the present secretary of state, then our minister abroad, I am ashamed to say, has molded the policy of our government toward South America.
A charge of dependence upon Great Britain in affairs of diplomacy was as effective a weapon then as it has been since in matters financial. Clay's resolution passed the House by a vote of 80 to 75, but
Benton's " Abridgment," Vol. VI, p. 142.