« AnteriorContinuar »
under a decree of its Congress, dispatched three commissioners to Washington to offer the sovereignty of the country to the United States, but before their arrival the situation had changed and the proposal was abandoned. Ever since the foundation of the American Republic, the annexation of Cuba has formed a topic of discussion and of diplomatic activity. John Quincy Adams in 1823 declared that Cuba, if forcibly disjoined from Spain, and incapable of self-support, could gravitate only towards the North American Union; and Jefferson confessed that he had "ever looked on Cuba as the most interesting addition which could ever be made to our system of states." In 1848 an offer was made to Spain to purchase the island for $100,000,ooo, but it was summarily repulsed. During the Civil War in the United States, the discussion of the Cuban question, which had actively continued during the administrations of Pierce and Buchanan, was suspended; but it was revived by the breaking out of the Ten Years' War in Cuba, in 1868. In the next year a vigorous effort was made to secure the separation of Cuba from Spain either by annexation to the United States or by the grant of independence under the guarantee of the United States. This was the last definite proposal made to Spain for annexation, and, when the United States eventually intervened, it was for the purpose of establishing Cuban independence. In the peace negotiations at Paris, the Spanish commissioners proposed to cede the island to the United States. The proposal was declined; and the manner in which the resolution of intervention was kept, by the establishment of an independent government under safeguards which cannot hamper the exercise of the island's sovereignty for any legitimate purpose, forms one of the most honorable chapters in diplomatic history
In 1848 an offer of the sovereignty of Yucatan was made to the United States, but the occasion for its consideration soon passed away.
In negotiations with the Dominican Republic, in 1854, for a commercial treaty, an effort was made to obtain for the United States a coaling station in Samana Bay. An examination of the bay had been made by Captain George B. McClellan, whose report may be found among the Congressional documents. The effort to obtain the desired privilege was renewed in 1855, but without success. In 1866, Mr. F. W. Seward, Assistant Secretary of State, was sent to Santo Domingo for the purpose of securing a cession or lease of the peninsula of Samana as a naval station. His mission was not successful, but its object was not abandoned, and his powers were transferred to the commercial agent at Santo Domingo City. In 1868 the President of the Dominican Republic requested the United States immediately to take the country under its protection and occupy Samana Bay and other strategic points as a preliminary to annexation. In his annual mes
sage of December 9, 1868, President Johnson, Mr. Seward still being Secretary of State, advocated the acquisition of “the several adjacent continental and insular communities as speedily as it may be done peacefully, lawfully, and without any violation of national justice, faith, or honor," and declared that, while foreign possession or control of them had "hindered the growth and impaired the influence of the United States," "chronic revolution and anarchy would be equally injurious.” A joint resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives for the annexation of the Dominican Republic. An agent from Santo Domingo was then in Washington awaiting action. The project was warmly espoused by President Grant, and on November 29, 1869, two treaties were concluded, one for the annexation of the Dominican Republic and the other for the lease of Samana Bay. Both instruments were communicated to the Senate on January 10, 1870. They failed to receive that body's approval. In his last annual message to Congress, in 1876, President Grant recurred to the subject, reaffirming his belief in the wisdom of the policy that he had proposed.
In 1867 George Bancroft was instructed, while proceeding as minister to Berlin, to call at Madrid and sound the Spanish government as to the cession of the islands of Culebra and Culebrita, in the Spanish West Indies, to the United States as a naval station. The results of his inquiries were so discouraging that the subject was peremptorily dropped; but the islands came into the possession of the United States under the treaty of peace with Spain of 1898.
The Môle St. Nicolas, in Hayti, was leased by the United States during the Civil War as a naval station. In 1891, however, the Haytian government declined to let the harbor again for a similar purpose.
The American republics number just twenty-one. The youngest, Panama, which suddenly came into being late in 1903, was very shortly preceded in existence by Cuba. With the exception of the United States they are all, politically speaking, of “Latin" origin, and constitute what is for that reason called Latin America, occupying the vast region formerly ruled by Spain and by Portugal. The Portuguese dominions, though greater in extent than the connected continental area of the United States, are comprised in what was for sixty-seven years the empire, but is now the republic, of Brazil. The remaining nineteen countries were once colonies or provinces of Spain. When we speak of Pan Americanism we associate the countries of Spanish and of Portuguese derivation with the United States, and thus link together in our thoughts all the independent governments of America.
The chief significance to Spain of the American Revolution lay in the fact that it marked the beginning of the end of the old system of colonial