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we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. In the war between those new governments and Spain we declared our neutrality at the time of their recognition, and to this we have adhered, and shall continue to adhere, provided no change shall occur which, in the judgment of the competent authorities of this government, shall make a corresponding change on the part of the United States indispensable to their security.32
The President's message reached England while the discussion in regard to the proposed congress at Paris was still going on. It was received with enthusiasm by the liberal members of Parliament. Lord Brougham said:
The question with regard to South America is now, I believe, disposed of, or nearly so; for an event has recently happened than which none has ever dispersed greater joy, exultation, and gratitude over all the free men of Europe; that event, which is decisive on the subject, is the language held with respect to Spanish America in the message of the President of the United States.
**" Messages and Papers of the Presidents," Vol. II, p. 218.
Sir James Mackintosh said:
This coincidence of the two great English commonwealths (for so I delight to call them; and I heartily pray that they may be forever united in the cause of justice and liberty) cannot be contemplated without the utmost pleasure by every enlightened citizen of the earth.".
They evidently had reference to the second clause alone, the one relating to Spanish America. The other clause, the one against European colonization in America, seems not to have attracted much attention. Canning, however, saw the bearing of it and objected to the principle it set forth, which was directed against England as much as against the allies. He was evidently a little taken aback at the turn his proposal had taken. The President's message really settled the question before Canning had announced what action his government would take. Some little chagrin is apparent in the tone of his letter to Sir William à Court, British minister at Madrid, December 21, 1823.
While I was yet hesitating [he says], what shape to give to the declaration and protest which ultimately was conveyed in my conference with P. de Polignac, and while I was more doubtful as to the effect of that protest and declaration, I sounded Mr. Rush (the American minister here) as to his powers and disposition to join in any step which we might take to prevent a hostile enterprise on the part of the European powers against Spanish America. He had no powers; but he would have taken upon himself to join with us if we would have begun by recognizing the Spanish-American states. This we could not do, and so we went on without. But I have no doubt that his report to his government of this sounding, which he probably represented as an over
"Wharton's Digest," Sec. 57, Vol. I, p. 276.
ture, had a great share in producing the explicit declaration of the President."
The conference with Prince Polignac here referred to was that of October 9th quoted above. It was not until after the receipt of President Monroe's message in Europe that Canning framed his answer to the Spanish communication informing him of the proposed meeting in Paris for the discussion of the South American question. In that reply he stated to the Spanish government very fully his views upon the question at issue. He said that while England did not wish to precede Spain in the matter of recognition, yet she reserved to herself the privilege of recognizing the colonies when she deemed it best for her interests and right to them. He said that these views had been communicated fully from time to time to the powers invited to the congress and he concluded with the statement: "It does not appear to the British cabinet at all necessary to declare that opinion anew, even if it were perfectly clear (from the tenor of M. Ofalia's instruction) that Great Britain was in fact included in the invitation to the conference at Paris.'
While Canning and Monroe acted independently of each other, the expression that each gave to the views of his government was rendered more emphatic and of more effect by the knowledge of the other's attitude in the matter. Another point to be noted is that Monroe's message was made public, while Canning's answer was for some time known only to the diplomatic corps.
The determination of both England and the United
States to oppose the intervention of the allies in South America had the desired effect. Conferences in answer to the invitation of Spain were held in Paris, but they were participated in only by the ordinary representatives of the powers invited, resident in that capital, and their only result was to advise Spain not to listen to the counsels of England.
All further discussion that took place between England and Spain in reference to recognition of the colonies by Great Britain was confined to the status of the revolutionary governments, and upon this point their views were so divergent that Canning finally announced to the Spanish government that, "His Majesty would, at his own time, take such steps as he might think proper in respect to the several states of Spanish America without further reference to the court of Madrid; but at the same time without any feeling of alienation towards that court, or of hostility towards the real interests of Spain." 36
The French troops continuing to occupy Spain after the time stipulated by treaty, Canning sought an explanation from France, but without satisfactory results. He therefore determined at a cabinet meeting held December 14, 1824, to recognize Mexico and Colombia forthwith. On January 1, 1825, after the ministers had left England with instructions and full powers, the fact of recognition was communicated officially to the diplomatic corps and two days later it was made public. That this recognition was a retaliatory measure to compensate England for the French occupation of Spain was understood at the time and was distinctly avowed by Canning two years
"Political Life of Canning," Vol. II, p. 54.
later. In a speech delivered December 12, 1826, in defense of his position in not having arrested the French invasion of Spain, he said:
I looked another way-I sought for compensation in another hemisphere. Contemplating Spain, such as our ancestors had known her, I resolved that, if France had Spain, it should not be Spain with the Indies. I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old.
In spite of the great indebtedness of South America to Canning, this boast falls somewhat flat when we remember that the Spanish colonies had won their independence by their own valor and had been recognized as independent governments by the United States two years before Great Britain acted in the
Mr. Stapleton, Canning's private secretary and biographer, says that the recognition of Spanish-American independence was, perhaps, the most important measure adopted by the British cabinet while Canning was at the head of the foreign office. He sums up the reasons and results of the act as follows:
First, it was a measure essentially advantageous to British interests; being especially calculated to benefit our commerce. Next, it enabled this country to remain at peace, since it compensated us for the continued occupation of Spain by a French force, a disparagement to which, otherwise, it would not have become us to submit. Lastly, it maintained the balance between conflicting principles; since it gave just so much of a triumph to popular rights and privileges, as was sufficient to soothe the irritation felt by their advocates at the victory, which absolute principles had obtained by the over
*7" Official Corresp. of Canning," Vol. II, p. 242. Letter to Granville. On the general question of recognition, see "Life of Lord Liverpool," Vol. III, pp. 297-304.