Page images

governments, in whatever country it may exist in Europe, and to prevent its being introduced in those countries where it is not yet known.

ART. II. As it cannot be doubted that the liberty of the press is the most powerful means used by the pretended supporters of the rights of nations, to the detriment of those of Princes, the high contracting parties promise reciprocally to adopt all proper measures to suppress it not only in their own states, but also, in the rest of Europe.

ART. III. Convinced that the principles of religion contribute most powerfully to keep nations in the state of passive obedience which they owe to their Princes, the high contracting parties declare it to be their intention to sustain, in their respective states, those measures which the clergy may adopt, with the aim of ameliorating their own interests, so intimately connected with the preservation of the authority of Princes; and the contracting powers join in offering their thanks to the Pope, for what he has already done for them, and solicit his constant coöperation in their views of submitting the nations.

ART. IV. The situation of Spain and Portugal unites unhappily all the circumstances to which this treaty has particular reference. The high contracting parties, in confiding to France the care of putting an end to them, engage to assist her in the manner which may the least compromise them with their own people and the people of France, by means of a subsidy on the part of the two empires, of twenty millions of francs every year, from the date of the signature of this treaty to the end of the war.

Signed by Metternich for Austria, Chateaubriand for France, Bernstet for Prussia, and Nesselrode for Russia.14

Such was the code of absolutism against which England protested and against which President Monroe delivered his declaration.

[ocr errors]

14 For the Congresses of Aix-la-Chapelle, Troppau, Laybach, and Verona, вее Letters and Despatches of Castlereagh," Vol. XII; "Life of Lord Liverpool," Vol. III: "Political Life and Official Correspondence of Canning"; Chateaubriand's "Congrès de Verone," and W. A. Phillips, The Confederation of Europe, 1813-1823." The text of the treaty of Verona is published in Niles' Register, August 2, 1823, Vol. 24, p. 347. and in Elliot's "American Diplomatic Code," Vol. II, p. 179.

The Congress broke up about the middle of December, and the following April, the Duc d'Angoulême led a French army across the Pyrenees. By October the constitutional party had been overthrown and absolutism reigned supreme once more in western Europe. In England alone was there still any semblance of constitutional government.

The Congress of Verona was the last of the jointmeetings of the powers for the discussion of the internal affairs of states. It marked the final withdrawal of England from the European alliance. Henceforth she took up a position distinctly hostile to the principles advocated by her former allies and her policy in relation to Spanish America practically coincided with that of the United States.

The great majority of the English people sympathized deeply with the constitutional movement in Spain and were ready to take up arms in support of the Spanish people. The protest of England having been disregarded by the powers at Verona, it became necessary for the cabinet, in view of the preparations going on in France for the invasion of the Peninsula, to say what they contemplated doing. In February, 1823, Lord Liverpool circulated among his colleagues a minute prepared by Canning, which gave at length the reasons, military and other, why it would be unwise for England to undertake the defense of Spain. In the first place, the war against Spain was unpopular in France, and if Great Britain should take part in the war, the French government would avail itself of the fact to convert it into an English war and thus render it popular. Second, England would have to undertake the defense of Spain against

invasion by land, and her naval superiority would not materially aid the Spaniards or baffle the French. Third, the continental powers were committed to the support of France. Fourth, there was a possibility that the invasion of Spain would be unsuccessful. Fifth, on the other hand, it might meet with success, in which event France might assist Spain to recover her American colonies. Here, he says, England's naval superiority would tell, "and I should have no difficulty in deciding that we ought to prevent, by every means in our power, perhaps Spain from sending a single Spanish regiment to South America, after the supposed termination of the war in Spain, but certainly France from affording to Spain any aid or assistance for that purpose." Sixth, in case of the invasion of Portugal by France and Spain, he thought England would be in honor bound to defend her, in case she asked for aid. The military defense of Portugal would not be so difficult as a land war in Spain.'


In accordance with this determination Canning dispatched a letter to Sir Charles Stuart, British ambassador at Paris, March 31, 1823, in which he spoke of recognition of the colonies as a matter to be determined by time and circumstances, and, disclaiming all designs on the part of the British government on the late Spanish provinces, intimated that England, although abstaining from interference in Spain, would not allow France to acquire any of the colonies by conquest or cession. To this note the French government made no reply and England took this silence as a tacit agreement not to interfere with the colonies.

18" Life of Lord Liverpool," Vol. III, p. 231. "Official Correspondence of Canning," Vol. I, p. 85.

The British government continued, however, to watch. closely the movements of France.16

As the invasion of Spain drew near to a successful termination, the British government had reason to suspect that the allied powers would next direct their attention to the Spanish colonies with a view to forcing them back to their allegiance or of otherwise disposing of them, that is, by cession to some other European power. It was already in contemplation to call another European congress for the discussion and settlement of this question. As this was a subject of vital interest to the United States, Canning invited the American minister, Mr. Rush, to a conference, August 16, 1823, in which he suggested the expediency of an understanding on this question between England and the United States. He communicated to Mr. Rush the substance of his dispatch of March 31 to Sir Charles Stuart. Mr. Rush said he understood the import of this note to be that England would not remain passive to any attempt on the part of France to acquire territory in Spanish America. Mr. Canning then asked what the United States would say to going hand in hand with England in such a policy. Mr. Rush replied that his instructions did not authorize him to give an answer, but that he would communicate the suggestion informally to his government. At the same time he requested to be enlightened as to England's policy in the matter of recognizing the independence of the colonies. Mr. Canning replied that England had taken no steps in the matter of recognition whatever, but was considering the question of sending commissioners to the colonies to inquire into

Stapleton, "Political Life of Canning," Vol. II, p. 18.

the condition of affairs. For the present these commissioners would be sent to Mexico alone.17

Mr. Stapleton in his "Life of Canning" simply says that as Mr. Rush was not authorized to enter into any formal agreement, Canning thought the delay of communicating with Washington would render such proceeding of no effect, and so the matter was dropped.18 This, however, we learn from Mr. Rush's dispatches, is not the whole truth. Several communications passed between them after the conversation above given, which throw a totally different light upon the affair.

In an unofficial and confidential letter to Mr. Rush, dated August 20, 1823, Canning asked again if the moment had not arrived when the two governments might come to an understanding in regard to the Spanish-American colonies. He stated the views of England as follows: (1) That the recovery of the colonies by Spain was hopeless; (2) That the question of their recognition as independent states was one of time and circumstances; (3) That England was not disposed, however, to throw any obstacle in the way of an arrangement between the colonies and the mother-country by amicable negotiation; (4) That she aimed at the possession of no portion of the colonies for herself; and (5) That she could not see the transfer of any portion of them to any other power with indifference. He added "that if the United States acceded to such views, a declaration to that effect on their part, concurrently with England, would be the most effectual and least offensive mode of

17 Rush's "Residence at the Court of London," p. 406. 18" Political Life of Canning," Vol. II, p. 24.

« PreviousContinue »