Page images

Campbell, in the hope "that some disposition might be made of the land and naval forces of the United States without interfering within the jurisdiction of Mexico, or violating the laws of neutrality, which would be useful in favoring the restoration of law,` order and republican government in that country." This demonstration was intended to insure the withdrawal of the French army according to the promises of the Emperor. A hitch occurred through some question raised by General Grant and General Sherman was substituted."

The French army was withdrawn in the spring of 1867, and it very soon became evident that Maximilian's cause would speedily collapse. In view of the almost inevitable capture of Maximilian, Mr. Seward telegraphed to Mr. Campbell at New Orleans, April 6, 1867:

You will communicate to President Juarez, promptly and by effectual means, the desire of this government, that in case of capture, the prince and his supporters may receive the humane treatment accorded by civilized nations to prisoners of war.

Some of the prisoners already taken had been summarily executed.

Mr. Campbell at once dispatched a special messenger, who succeeded in getting through to the headquarters of Juarez, and who returned with an answer from the Mexican government, dated April 22, 1867. This answer not only undertook to defend the execution of prisoners above referred to, but also intimated that similar severity would be practiced on Maximilian

Dipl. Corr., 1866, Part III.

and his leading associates, if captured, on the ground that, by his harsh decrees, he had placed himself beyond the pale of the law of nations.50

Maximilian and his chief supporters were taken prisoners, May 15, 1867. This information was received in the United States toward the last of the month, and along with it a report, not well authenticated and which afterward proved to be false, that they had been executed on the 16th. As soon as these rumors reached Washington, Mr. Seward telegraphed to Mr. Campbell, then at New Orleans, June 1, 1867, directing him to proceed at once to the residence of the President of Mexico and enter on his mission, and if necessary to urge clemency to Maximilian and the other prisoners of war. Mr. Campbell failed to act under these instructions. He requested first that a public vessel of the United States should be detailed to carry him to Mexico. When it was found that no ship was available for this purpose, he was ordered to proceed to Havana and thence by the British or French line of steamers to Vera Cruz. He replied that under the circumstances he did not think it becoming the dignity of the representative of the United States to return to Mexico under the flag of a nation which had shown such hostility to that country. He thus remained at New Orleans from the first to the fifteenth of June. He was then ordered peremptorily to proceed at once according to instructions. He replied that he was ill and was afraid to go by way of Havana, where yellow fever was raging; that he would resign, if desired. The same day Mr. Seward telegraphed him that his resignation would be accepted.

Dipl. Corr., 1866, Part III.

Mr. Seward then informed Mr. Romero, the Mexican minister at Washington, that Austria, France, and Great Britain had appealed to the United States to use its good offices to avert the execution of Prince Maximilian. He strongly recommended clemency to President Juarez, as good policy, and requested Mr. Romero to make the same known to his government at once. This was June 15, the same day that Mr. Campbell's resignation was accepted. On the 21st, Mr. Seward requested Mr. Romero to inform President Juarez that the Emperor of Austria would restore Maximilian to all his rights of succession upon his release and renouncing forever all projects in Mexico."1

Meanwhile Maximilian of Hapsburg, Miguel Miramon, and Tomas Mejia had been tried by court-martial and sentenced to death, June 14. The sentence was confirmed by the government on the 15th, and the execution fixed for the 16th, but at the request of Maximilian's counsel, it was suspended by order of President Juarez until the 19th, in order to allow the prince to arrange certain business affairs of a private character. At seven o'clock on the morning of June 19 the prisoners were shot.

Sen. Ex. Doc. No 20, Fortieth Cong., First Sess.



As a result of Blaine's unsuccessful attempt to force Great Britain to relinquish her rights under the Clayton-Bulwer treaty the Monroe Doctrine had fallen somewhat into disrepute when in 1895 it was suddenly revived in a striking and sensational way by President Cleveland's intervention in the Venezuelan boundary controversy. The dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela in regard to the boundary line between the latter and British Guiana was of long standing. In 1814, by treaty with the Netherlands, Great Britain acquired "the establishments of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice," now known as British Guiana. From that time on the boundary line between British Guiana and Venezuela was a matter of dispute. Venezuela always claimed the line of the Essequibo river.

In 1840, Sir Robert Schomburgk, acting under the instructions of the British government, established a line some distance to the west of the Essequibo river and marked it by monuments on the face of the country. Venezuela at once protested. The British government explained that the line was only tentative and the monuments set up by Schomburgk were removed.

Various other lines were from time to time claimed by Great Britain, each one extending the frontier of British Guiana farther and farther to the west. The

British Colonial Office List, a government publication, in the issue for 1885, put the area of British Guiana at about 76,000 square miles. In the issue of the same list for 1886 the same statement occurs in reference to British Guiana with the change of area to "about 109,000 square miles." Here was a gain of 33,000 square miles without any statement whatever in explanation of how this additional territory had been acquired.

After the failure of repeated efforts on the part of Venezuela to secure an adjustment with England, she finally came to the conclusion in 1882 that the only course open to her was arbitration of the controversy. She persistently urged arbitration, but Great Britain refused to submit to arbitration any but a comparatively small part of the territory in dispute. In 1887 Venezuela suspended diplomatic relations with Great Britain, protesting "before her British majesty's government, before all civilized nations, and before the world in general, against the acts of spoliation committed to her detriment by the government of Great Britain, which she at no time and on no account will recognize as capable of altering in the least the rights which she has inherited from Spain and respecting which she will ever be willing to submit to the decision of a third power."

After repeated efforts to promote the reëstablishment of diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Great Britain and after repeated offers of its good offices for the purpose of bringing about an adjustment of the controversy, President Cleveland finally determined to intervene in a more positive manner with a view to forcing, if need be, a settlement of


« PreviousContinue »