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Mr. Henderson wrote in his book, ‘American Diplomatic Questions':
If England had, after all, joined the allies in their schemes it is much to be doubted whether the President's message of 1823 would have seriously embarrassed them in the ultimate perfection of their Spanish-American plans; but the realisation that Great Britain, with her powerful navy, endorsed in the main the sentiments of President Monroe cast a gloom over the propagandists of divine right, and the great South American project was abandoned.
The American Civil War broke out in the beginning of 1861. Mexico was at that time in the throes of a revolution, and she refused to satisfy her Spanish and French creditors and to do justice to Great Britain for having broken into the British Legation and carried off £152,000 in sterling bonds belonging to British subjects. The British claims were substantial and bona-fide. The French and Spanish claims were more or less doubtful. Great Britain, France, and Spain agreed upon joint action for the protection of their interests, and British, French, and Spanish warships sailed for Vera Cruz with the avowed intention of taking possession of the Custom Houses of two or three Mexican ports for the purpose of satisfying the claims of their Governments. However, within a few weeks after the arrival of these ships, and before the Allies had done much more than seize Vera Cruz, the English and Spanish commanders became dissatisfied with the adventurous action of the French and the English and Spanish forces withdrew in April, 1862. While Great Britain and Spain merely sought to obtain satisfaction for the claims of their citizens, France, taking advantage of the American Civil War, evidently intended to violate the Monroe Doctrine and to establish herself firmly and permanently on the American Continent under the pretext of satisfying some very shadowy demands of her subjects upon Mexico. It is a well-known fact that it was one of the favourite projects of Napoleon the Third
to create on the American Continent a great Latin-American State or Confederation controlled by France, a monarchical counterpoise to the United States. We can therefore not be surprised that the secret instructions which Napoleon the Third sent to General Forey, the Commander-in-Chief of the French Expedition, contained the following statement of France's policy :
If Mexico preserves her independence and maintains the integrity of her territory, and if a suitable Government be constituted there with the assistance of France, we shall have restored to the Latin race on the other side of the ocean its strength and prestige. Mexico thus regenerated will always be favourable to France. ... As now our military honour is pledged, the exigencies of our policy and the interests of our industry and our commerce make it our duty to march upon Mexico, to plant there boldly our standard, and to establish there a monarchy, if this is not incompatible with the national sentiment of the country, but at all events a government which promises some stability,
Taking advantage of the embarrassment of the United States, Napoleon the Third endeavoured not only to create a powerful monarchy on American soil but to intervene in the struggle between the North and the South with the object of permanently weakening the United States. In Moore's Digest of the International Law of the United States' we read :
On October 30, 1862, Napoleon instructed the French ambassadors to Great Britain and Russia to invite those Powers to join France in requesting the belligerents to agree to an armistice of six months, so as to consider some plan for bringing the war to an end. ... Great Britain promptly and unqualifiedly declined the proposition.
Napoleon's policy was frustrated partly by the mismanagement of the French Generals, partly, and probably chiefly, by the unsympathetic attitude of Great Britain. If Great Britain had actively, or merely passively, supported Napoleon, the American Civil War might have had a very different ending. The great American Republic might have been divided against itself for all time.
During the Civil War Great Britain rendered undoubtedly very valuable services to the United States. However, Great Britain's attitude towards the United States and her unflinching opposition to European intervention on the American Continent, first by the Holy Alliance and then by France, was soon completely forgotten because of the unfortunate Alabama occurrence. So great was America's anger at the Alabama incident that when, shortly after the close of the Civil War, the British Government promoted the unification of her Canadian possessions by the creation of a single Dominion, violent objections were made in the United States that Great Britain's action was in violation of the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine, and the United States Congress considered a resolution which voiced the uneasiness of the country at witnessing 'such a vast conglomeration of American States established on the monarchical principle in contradiction to the traditionary and constantly declared principles of the United States, and endangering their most important interests.' Great Britain agreed to go to arbitration on the American Alabama claims. The United States demanded the colossal sum of £9,476,166 13s. 4d. for the damage done by that cruiser. By an impartial international tribunal they were awarded £3,229,166 13s. 4d. (note the 13s. 4d. !), which was paid to them by Great Britain, but even that sum was twice as large as it ought to have been, for, after all claims had been satisfied, there remained a surplus of £1,600,000 in the hands of the United States Government.
During the Spanish-American War of 1898 all Europe was hostile to the United States except Great Britain. Before Manila a collilion between the German and the American fleets was prevented with difficulty. France and other Powers seemed strongly disposed to take Spain's part. Once more, joint action by European Powers against
the United States appeared to be impending. Great Britain was sounded, but once more she refused to support or to countenance European intervention. The Power which is supreme at sea once more protected the Monroe Doctrine.
In 1902 Great Britain was induced by Germany to blockade, in company with her, the Venezuelan ports, in order to obtain satisfaction for flagrant wrongs done by Venezuela to her citizens. However, as British public opinion was strongly opposed to co-operation with Germany on the American Continent, Great Britain readily consented to arbitration.
History, as Napoleon the First has told us, is a fable agreed upon, and often it is a tissue of fables. According to many of the popular history books used in the United States schools Great Britain is a Power which, animated by tyranny and selfishness, has always been hostile to the United States. In the United States the fact that Great Britain was largely responsible for the formulation and the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine, and that she has consistently defended that doctrine by placing her fleet between the military Powers of Europe and the United States, is scarcely ever mentioned, and the fact that Great Britain is and always has been as strongly opposed to the settlement of one of the great military Powers in the New World as are the United States themselves, is practically unknown. It is an error to speak of the Monroe Doctrine as the leading principle of American policy, for the Monroe Doctrineone ought in justice always to call it the CanningMonroe Doctrine—is also a leading principle of British foreign policy. It is an Anglo-American doctrine. Bismarck once described the Monroe Doctrine as an international impertinence.' Perhaps it is an international impertinence. Still, the European Great Powers ‘have respected it even at a time when the American fleet was quite insignificant. Why have they done so ? Because they knew that the British fleet would, in case of need, protect the United States. Foreign nations have discovered that the route to New York and to Washington goes via London. But for the British fleet the Powers of Europe would long ago have torn the Monroe Doctrine to shreds and have established themselves on the American Continent.
Englishmen, when discussing Anglo-American relations with Americans, are apt to adopt an apologetic attitude because of the mistakes which their Government and their forefathers made in the time of George the Third. That attitude of penitence is, I think, uncalled for. Mistakes were made on both sides at the time of the American Revolution and afterwards; fights between blood relations are natural and common; and since the time of the AngloAmerican Peace Great Britain has powerfully supported the United States whenever an opportunity arose, making their interests her own.
The late Professor Seeley's frequently quoted assertion that Great Britain has created the British Empire ' in a fit of absence of mind' is scarcely correct. Great Britain follows neither a policy of absent-mindedness, as Professor Seeley has told us, nor a policy of sordid self-interest as her adversaries maintain. Great Britain follows a policy not of interest but of sentiment. She has consistently striven to enlarge her dominions, not in order to exploit them—it is very doubtful indeed whether on balance her possessions yield a profit to the Motherland—but in the instinctive desire of reserving the vast and fruitful territories of the New World to the Anglo-Saxon race. She has been actuated not by blood-lust nor by lust of conquest but by race-instinct, and she has acquired her vast possessions not for herself but for the Anglo-Saxon race. Therefore she views not with jealousy but with approval America's prosperity and America's expansion. Her policy has been racial, sentimental, and, on the whole, possibly unprofitable to her citizens. That cannot too frequently be stated. If Great Britain's policy were guided by self-interest, envy, perfidiousness, and trade jealousy, as we are so often told, she would