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now arrived for carrying out his friendly intentions toward the house of Austria. Thereupon he determined to encourage the secession of the Southern States with the view of neutralizing the power of the Union, to overthrow, by a military expedition, the existing government of Juarez in Mexico, to establish, by French arms, an em pire, and offer its crown to the Austrian Archduke Maximilian.

Gutierrez de Estrada says the Mexican affair is "exclusively confined to the Emperor Napoleon and the archduke (Maximilian), with the approbation of the emperor, his brother. This state of things is favorable to Austria, inasmuch as it puts Venetia or any other compensation out of the question."

Count Keratry, in his history of these transactions, says "France granted belligerent rights to the Southern rebels, anxious as she was to inaugurate a military dictatorship, the future head of which, the celebrated Confederate general, had commenced negotiations with Mexico itself."

Of this complicated intrigue, the first step was the secession of the Southern States from the Union. A large portion of the population of the South was loyal, but it was rightly judged that political unanimity could be secured by causing the action to turn on the slave question. The elec tion of a Republican president was all that was necessary, and that could be accomplished without difficulty.

Without war or with war, the secession might be made good-better the latter than the former, for it would give and the creation of a great, a well-drilled, a veteran, an indisa Southern army. pensable army-indispensable for the completion of the plan. It would accustom the Southern people to habits of discipline and subordination, and, from the bitterness inevitably produced, it would effectu

Its first step is Southern secession



ally alienate them from their recollections of the old Union.


The powers who had interests in the West India Seas were not disposed to look with disfavor on of European pow- the first portion of this plan. It was for them, as far as they could with propriety, to promote secession. To divide the republic was to rule it. They never regarded the action of the South in seceding as having a shadow of justification. In their eyes it was a purely political movement, which, if it failed, would probably entail ruin on the communities who had attempted it.

Encouragement was accordingly given to the leaders of secession. It strengthened them greatly in their action. But the momentous hazard of separation once taken, and at Montgomery or Richmond a government apparently able to maintain itself established, it was not the interest of the powers of Western Europe to permit the carrying out

but will not permit


its union with Mex- of the second portion of the plan. It suited them to have the Cotton States-" an Anglo-Saxon Brazil easily curbed," hemmed in by the fleets of Europe on the south and east, by a strong military government on the west, and on the north by the pow erful and embittered relict of the old republic.

To separate the Union for the purpose of crippling it, but not to give such a preponderance to the South as to enable it to consummate its Mexican designs-such was the principle guiding the French government. That principle was satisfied by the recognition of belligerent rights, and by avoiding a recognition of independence. Herein we may see clearly the explanation of those seeming half measures for which that gov ernment was so severely criticised. Thus Keratry says: "Here, too, one can not help being pain

They will accord belligerent rights

to the South,

Explanation of the half measures of the French,



fully impressed with the vacillations of the imperial gov ernment, which seemed as if it dared not adopt a decided character in its trans-oceanic policy, and from the commencement to the conclusion of the expedition resorted to little else but half measures. It is very certain that there was a favorable opportunity in 1862, looking at the secession of the Southern States from those of the North. Then was the time for France to have acted vig orously, and to have obtained allies even in the enemy's camp. Two courses were open, and both were practicable, but here we shall not pretend to decide between them. Either it was necessary at the first onset to decide in good earnest for the cause of the Union, and to restrain the South by a threatening demonstration on the frontier of the Rio Bravo, or, if the belligerent character of the secession party was recognized, it was essential to go the whole length without hesitation, and not recognizing the to consummate the work of separation by declaring openly for the planters of the Southern States, who, fired with the recollections of French glory, waited but the succor of our promise to offer triumphantly a helping hand to our expeditionary force which was marching on Mexico. Through an inconsist ency which one can now, on looking back, hardly conceive possible, the imperial policy wandered away from every logical tradition. The belligerent character which had been accorded to the Southern States served only to prolong to no purpose a sanguinary contest, and our gov ernment repulsed the reiterated overtures of the Southern planters, whom they had encouraged, as it were, only yesterday, and then finally abandoned to their fate.”

who are blamed for

In that extraordinary conversation which took place between Marshal Bazaine and Maximilian at the Hacienda de la Teja, a similar opinion is expressed: "From the moment," said the marshal, "that the United States

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boldly pronounced their veto against the imperial system, your throne was nothing but a bubble, even if your majesty had obtained the help of a hundred thousand Frenchmen. Supposing even that the Americans had observed neutrality during the continuance of the intervention, the monarchy itself had no spirit of vitality. A federal combination would have been the only system to be attempt ed in the face of the Union, who would no doubt have acceded to it if the South had been recognized by France at the proper time. My advice is that your majesty should voluntarily retire."

The French Mexican expedition was thus based on the disruption of the United States-a disruption

The of

ered inevitable.

the Union consid- considered not only by the Spanish court and by the Emperor Napoleon as inevitable, but even by Lord Palmerston, who might have been better informed, and who regarded it as a predestined event. In Parliament he remarked, " Any one must have been shortsighted and little capable of anticipating the probable course of human affairs who had not for a long time foreseen events of a similar character to those which we now deplore the causes of disunion were too deeply seated to make it possible that a separation would not take place."

The Spanish minister in Paris, in November, 1858, had suggested to the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Walewski, the advantages that would accrue from the establishment of a strong government in Mexico. Subsequently the views of the English government were ascertained, and in April, 1860, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that France and Enfavorably on inter gland were looking favorably upon the matvention in Mexico. ter. The stumbling-block in the way was the opposition which might be expected from the United States. That opposition had for a long time been embod

The Western Powers of look



ied in a formula under the designation of the Monroe doctrine, which expressed a determination not to permit the interference of European powers on the North American continent. In April, 1860, the project having advanced sufficiently, Lord John Russell informed Isturitz, the Spanish minister, that England would require the protection of the Protestant worship in Mexico. The obThe advantages ex- jects of the three contracting parties eventpected by each. ually became apparent. Spain expected that a Bourbon prince would be placed on the Mexican throne, and that she would thereby recover her ancient prestige, and find security for her valuable possession, Cuba; perhaps she might even recover Mexico itself. England, remembering the annexation of Texas, saw that it was desirable to limit the ever-threatening progress of the republic westwardly; to prevent the encircling of the West India Seas by a power which, possibly becoming hostile, might disturb the rich islands she held; nor was she insensible to the importance of partitioning what seemed to be the cotton-field of the world. France Napoleon's osten- anticipated-but the emperor himself, consible reasons. cealing his real motive of compensating Austria for his Italian victories, has given us his ostensible expectations in a letter to General Forey.

In this letter (July 3d, 1862) Napoleon III. says: "There will not be wanting people who will ask you why we expend men and money to found a regular government in Mexico. In the present state of the civilization of the world, the prosperity of America is not a matter of indifference to Europe, for it is the country which feeds our manufactures and gives an impulse to our commerce. We have an interest in the republic of the United States being powerful and prosperous, but not that she should take possession of the whole Gulf of Mexico, thence commanding the Antilles as well as South

His letter to General Forey.

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