« PreviousContinue »
of thirty-nine states, with five states abstaining from voting:
The contracting powers agree not to have recourse to armed force for the recovery of contract debts claimed from the government of one country by the government of another country as being due to its nationals.
This undertaking is, however, not applicable when the debtor state refuses or neglects to reply to an offer of arbitration, or, after accepting the offer, prevents any "compromis" from being agreed on, or, after the arbitration, fails to submit to the award.15
18 Am. Journal of Int. Law, Vol. II, Supplement, p. 82.
THE ADVANCE OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE CARIBBEAN
At the beginning of the nineteenth century Spain was still in possession of all the shores of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, but the downfall of her vast colonial empire was rapidly approaching. By the secret treaty of San Ildefonso she agreed to cede Louisiana back to France, and in 1803 Napoleon sold the entire province to the United States. This was our first acquisition of territory on the Gulf of Mexico, and it insured a free outlet for the vast region. of the Mississippi valley. The boundaries of the province were indefinite, and there ensued a long controversy with Spain as to whether Louisiana included West Florida on the one hand and Texas on the other. These questions were finally adjusted by the Florida treaty of 1819, which ceded both East and West Florida to the United States and fixed the western boundary of Louisiana on the Gulf at the Sabine river. By this treaty the United States gained undisputed possession of the region extending from Mobile bay to the Mississippi, but abandoned the claim to Texas.
It was not many years before American settlers began pouring into Texas and came into conflict with the government of Mexico, which had by this time. become independent of Spain. There followed the
war of independence and the establishment of the Republic of Texas in 1836. Texas promptly applied for admission to the United States, but mainly through the opposition of the Abolitionists she was kept waiting for nine years. The new republic was recognized by the United States and by the principal powers of Europe, but Mexico refused to concede independence. Texas was thus in constant danger of attack from Mexico and unable to secure admission to the American Union. In April, 1844, a treaty providing for the annexation of Texas was submitted to the Senate by President Tyler, but it was rejected by that body. Under these circumstances the public men of Texas lent a ready ear to British and French intrigues. Great Britain wished to encourage the development of Texas as a cotton-growing country from which she could draw a large enough supply to make her independent of the United States. If Texas should thus devote herself to the production of cotton as her chief export crop, she would naturally adopt a free trade policy and thus create a considerable market for British goods. Great Britain, therefore, consistently opposed the annexation of Texas by the United States and entered into negotiations with France, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas for the express purpose of preventing it. Lord Aberdeen proposed that the four powers just mentioned should sign a diplomatic act, or perpetual treaty, securing to Texas recognition from Mexico and peace, but preventing her from ever acquiring territory beyond the Rio Grande or joining the American Union. While the United States would be invited to unite in this act, it was not expected that the government of that country would agree to