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as to whether the three elder statesmen were not right and Adams and Clay wrong.25 If the United States and England had come out in favor of a general declaration against intervention in the concerns of small states and established it as a world-wide principle, the course of human history during the next century might have been very different, but Adams's diary does not tell the whole story. On his own statement of the case he might be justly censured by posterity for persuading the President to take a narrow American view of a question which was worldwide in its bearing. An important element in the situation, however, was Canning's change of attitude between the time of his conference with Rush in August and the formulation of the President's message. Two days after the delivery of his now famous message Monroe wrote to Jefferson in explanation of the form the declaration had taken: "Mr. Canning's zeal has much abated of late." It appears from Rush's correspondence that the only thing which stood in the way of joint action by the two powers was Canning's unwillingness to extend immediate recognition to the South American republics. On August 27th, Rush stated to Canning that it would greatly facilitate joint action if England would acknowledge at once the full independence of the South American colonies. In communicating the account of this interview to his government Mr. Rush concluded:
Should I be asked by Mr. Canning, whether, in case the recognition be made by Great Britain without more delay, I am on my part prepared to make a declaration, in the name of my government, that it will not remain inactive under 25 See especially G. L. Beer, "The English-Speaking Peoples," p. 79.
an attack upon the independence of those states by the Holy Alliance, the present determination of my judgment is that I will make such a declaration explicitly, and avow it before the world."
About three weeks later Canning, who was growing restless at the delay in hearing from Washington, again urged Rush to act without waiting for specific instructions from his government. He tried to show that the proposed joint declaration would not conflict with the American policy of avoiding entangling alliances, for the question at issue was American as much as European, if not more. Rush then indicated his willingness to act provided England would "immediately and unequivocally acknowledge the independence of the new states." Canning did not care to extend full recognition to the South American states until he could do so without giving unnecessary offense to Spain and the allies, and he asked if Mr. Rush could not give his assent to the proposal on a promise of future recognition. Mr. Rush refused to accede to anything but immediate acknowledgment of independence and so the matter ended.27 As Canning could not come to a formal understanding with the United States, he determined to make a frank avowal of the views of the British cabinet to France and to this end he had an interview with Prince Polignac, the French ambassador at London, October 9, 1823, in which he declared that Great Britain had no desire to hasten recognition, but that any foreign interference, by force, or by menace, would be a motive for immediate recognition; that England "could not go
2 Rush's "Residence at the Court of London," p. 419. 21 Ibid., pp. 429, 443.
into a joint deliberation upon the subject of Spanish America upon an equal footing with other powers, whose opinions were less formed upon that question." This declaration drew from Polignac the admission that he considered the reduction of the colonies by Spain as hopeless and that France "abjured in any case, any design of acting against the colonies by force of arms." 28 This admission was a distinct victory for Canning, in that it prepared the way for ultimate recognition by England, and an account of the interview was communicated without delay to the allied courts. The interview was not communicated to Rush until the latter part of November, and therefore had no influence upon the formation of Monroe's message of December 2.29
Before the close of the year the British government appointed consuls to the South American states, and about the time of their departure, an invitation was sent to the courts of St. Petersburg, Paris, and Vienna to a conference to be held at Paris to "aid Spain in adjusting the affairs of the revolted colonies." A copy of this invitation was also handed to the British ambassador at Madrid, but in such a form as to leave him in doubt as to whether his government was invited to the conference or not.30 While the discussion as to the proposed conference was going on and before Canning had announced what action his government would take in the matter, President Monroe's message arrived in Europe.
Spanish America was not the only part of the western continent threatened at this time by European
"Political Life of Canning." Vol. II. p. 26.
Residence at the Court of London," p. 448. "Political Life of Canning," Vol. II, p. 33.
aggression. On the 4th of September, 1821, the emperor of Russia had issued an ukase, in which he claimed the northwestern coast of North America down to the 51st degree. This claim was incompatible with the pretensions of both England and the United States, and was stoutly opposed by them. This was a part of the territory known as the Oregon country, which continued in dispute between England and the United States until 1846. In July, 1823, Adams declared to Baron Tuyll, the Russian minister to the United States, "that we should contest the right of Russia to any territorial establishment on this continent, and that we should assume distinctly the principle that the American continents are no longer subjects for any new European colonial establishments." This language was incorporated substantially in the President's message.
The Monroe Doctrine is comprised in two widely separated paragraphs that occur in the message of December 2, 1823. The first, relating to Russia's encroachments on the northwest coast, and occurring near the beginning of the message, was an assertion to the effect that the American continents had assumed an independent condition and were no longer open to European colonization. This may be regarded as a statement of fact. No part of the continent at that time remained unclaimed. The second paragraph relating to Spanish America and occurring near the close of the message, was a declaration against the extension to the American continents of the system of intervention adopted by the Holy Alliance for the suppression of popular government in Europe.
The language used by President Monroe is as follows:
1. At the proposal of the Russian Imperial Government, made through the minister of the emperor residing here, a full power and instructions have been transmitted to the minister of the United States at St. Petersburg to arrange by amicable negotiation the respective rights and interests of the two nations on the northwest coast of this continent. A similar proposal had been made by His Imperial Majesty to the government of Great Britain, which has likewise been acceded to. The government of the United States has been desirous by this friendly proceeding of manifesting the great value which they have invariably attached to the friendship of the emperor and their solicitude to cultivate the best understanding with his government. In the discussions to which this interest has given rise and in the arrangements by which they may terminate, the occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.31
2. In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective governments; and to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which
"Messages and Papers of the Presidents," Vol. II, p. 209.