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The Danish Rigsdag ratified and the King signed the treaty at the end of January, 1868. But ratification by the United States Senate was never to be obtained. When Seward's aims first became known there was no appreciable opposition, for after a long period of disagreeable domestic questions the country always relishes a change to foreign affairs. The purchase of Alaska both satisfied this impulse and brought out a free expression of opinion on the part of the opponents of expansion. On November 25, 1867, Washburn, of Wisconsin, introduced in the House a resolution declaring that "in the present financial condition of the country any further purchases of territory are inexpedient, and this House will hold itself under no obligation to vote money to pay for any such purchase.' . . . After he explained that there was no intention to have this apply to Alaska,' the resolution was adopted. Even if the preparation of impeachment proceedings against the President had not been uppermost in the minds of Congressmen, there would have been no likelihood of the completion of the bargain by the United States. The earthquake and the hurricane enabled the opposition to cover the enterprise
ern method by which one people may now be incorporated with another, and at the same time exempt the contractors from the odium of having handed over their citizens or subjects as simply materials for purchase and sale.”
"MR. SPEAKER: I do not intend that resolution to apply to Walrussia. .. But it is rumored in the papers-whether it is true or not I cannot say that the Secretary of State has been making another purchase without consulting any one, in the absence of any public sentiment requiring it, or of any demand from any quarter. I intend that that action shall be covered by the resolution. I intend to serve notice upon the kingdom of Denmark that this House will not pay for that purchase; and I mean to serve notice upon the world that we will pay for no purchases that the Secretary of State, on his own motion, may see proper to make-that no purchase will be sanctioned that is not demanded by the public sentiment and the best interests of the country."-Cong. Globe, 1867, 792.
with ridicule. The treaty had no champion among the members of the Senate committee on foreign affairs.' It was due to Seward's skill and persistency that it even approached success, for there never was any considerable public sentiment in favor of the project. The Senate decided to lay the treaty on the table; which, in this case, was regarded as equivalent to rejection, but as the method least likely to embarrass Raasloff, who had many friends among the Senators. Johnson's term expired, and Hamilton Fish became Secretary of State before all hope for the treaty was abandoned. President Grant pronounced the undertaking "a scheme of Seward's," and would have nothing to do with it. In 1870 the committee on foreign affairs reported unanimously against ratification, and the Senate seems to have given a unanimous acquiescence in that opinion.*
Seward would have been glad to perform as Secretary what he had prophesied as Senator. He often remarked that he wished to extend the Union up to the north pole and down to the tropics. Unexpectedly Russia opened the way to the Arctic. Mindful of the law of probabilities, Seward was unwilling to limit to one or two enterprises his chances to make acquisitions of territory. In the winter of 1866-67-that is, while reluctant Denmark was still reflecting-a special appropriation for the secret service of the Department of State was obtained, and the Assistant Secretary of State and Admiral Porter went to Santo Domingo authorized to inspect and make a treaty for the purchase of the gulf and peninsula of Samana. At that time the Dominican government was not ready for positive negotiations. Near the end of 1867 a favorable decision was reached and
1 4 Pierce, 623.
4 4 Pierce, 329, 624.
2 4 Pierce, 329.
* 3 Seward, 372.
* 4 Pierce, 622.
* 3 Seward, 344, 345.
a commissioner was sent to Washington to conclude the desired treaty. But no considerable progress was made with the project.
Before Johnson's annual message of 1868 was sent to Congress, Seward undoubtedly saw that the attempt to acquire the Danish islands would fail. As annual messages are often largely made up from parts supplied by the different departments, and as Johnson was almost wholly engrossed in opposing and denouncing congressional reconstruction, whereas Seward was anxious to give prominence to foreign relations, some opinions about expansion expressed in Johnson's last annual message are particularly important. This message said that the President had been obliged to ask explanation and satisfaction for national injuries committed by the President of Hayti, and that the political and social conditions of the republics of Hayti and Santo Domingo were "very unsatisfactory and painful."
Comprehensive national policy would seem to sanction the acquisition and incorporation into our Federal Union of the several adjacent continental and insular communities as speedily as it can be done peacefully, lawfully, and without any violation of national justice, faith, or honor. Each one of them, when firmly established as an independent republic, or when incorporated into the United States, would be a new source of strength and power."
"I am satisfied that the time has arrived when even so direct a proceeding as a proposition for an annexation of the two republics of the island of St. Domingo would not only receive the consent of the people interested, but would also give satisfaction to all other foreign nations."
In reply to the objection that the political system of the United States could not be successfully applied beyond this continent, the opinion was expressed that "with the increased facilities for intercommunication between all portions of the earth, the principles of free government, as embraced in our Constitution, if faithfully main
tained and carried out, would prove of sufficient strength and breadth to comprehend within their sphere and influence the civilized nations of the world."
During the autumn and winter of 1868-69 Santo Domingo indulged in another little civil war. On January 29, 1869, Seward wrote to General Banks, chairman of the House committee on foreign affairs: "Within the present week, however, a reliable and confidential proposition comes from the Dominican republic, which proposes immediate annexation, waives all preliminary stipulations, and addresses itself simply to the discretion and friendship of the United States. An agent from Santo Domingo awaits the directions of the government."" In the hope of rushing this measure through, Orth, of Indiana, a vigorous leader, being undoubtedly inspired by Seward, introduced a joint resolution providing for the admission of the territory of Santo Domingo, on the application of the people and government of that republic, into the Union as a territory of the United States, with a view to the ultimate establishment of a state government. The resolution was not accompanied by a report setting forth the facts. The sole explanation in behalf of the proposition was made by Orth in these words: "Without wishing to debate this resolution, I desire to state that it has the approba
1It was at least odd that such sentiments should closely follow this sentence: "It is, indeed, a question of grave consideration whether our recent and present example is not calculated to check the growth and expansion of free principles, and make those [West Indian] communities distrust, if not dread, a government which at will consigns to military domination states that are integral parts of our Federal Union, and, while ready to resist any attempts by other nations to extend to this hemisphere the monarchical institutions of Europe, assumes to establish over a large portion of the people a rule more absolute, harsh, and tyrannical than any known to civilized powers." This was evidently from Johnson's pen. The sentences quoted above must have been inspired, and probably drafted, by Seward. * 3 Seward, 393. 3 Globe, 1868-69, 769.
tion of a large majority of the committee on foreign affairs. I call for the previous question." This was a demand for an immediate vote on the measure. One member asked if the House was "to go it blind"; another said: "I would inquire if it is proposed to gag the House on so important a proposition as this?" Orth insisted, and would allow neither substitute nor debate. But Holman, of Indiana, moved to lay the resolution on the table. He was supported by a yea and nay vote of one hundred and ten to sixty-three, which brought the amazing scheme to a speedy end, as far as Johnson's administration was concerned.
In 1867, when the reciprocity treaty with Hawaii was under consideration, Seward instructed the representative of the United States that if reciprocity and annexation should come into conflict with each other, "annexation is in every case to be preferred." By the summer of 1868 he realized that there was then hardly any possibility of making those islands a part of the United States, for "public attention sensibly continues to be fastened upon the domestic questions which have grown out of our late civil war. The public mind refuses to dismiss these questions, even so far as to entertain the higher, but more remote, questions of national extension." It was enough to try the soul of an optimist to think that a nation, after four years of destructive and costly civil war, should let such subjects as reconstruction, "economy and retrenchment," be "the prevailing considerations."
Even before this time Seward's keen insight had marked the unwisdom of the great majority in Congress and among the people, and he described it in these words: "In short, we have already come to value dol
13 Seward, 373.
23 Seward, 383.