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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

He demanded the surrender of Koszta within eight hours


[Sidenote:

American declaration as to Cuba]

The recurrence of American filibustering expeditions to Cuba appeared to the governments of England and France as evidence of an American purpose to secure Cuba and the West Indian Islands. To avert this, they suggested to the United States Government to make a treaty which should secure Cuba to Spain. The American Government was asked "to decline now and forever hereafter all intention to obtain possession of the island of Cuba and to discontinue all such attempts in that direction on the part of any individual or power whatever." Secretary of State Everett replied that the question affected American and not European policy, coming not properly within the scope of the interference of European Cabinets; that the United States did not intend to violate any existing laws; that the American Government claimed the right to act regarding Cuba independently of any other power, and that it could not view with indifference the fall of Cuba into any other hands than those of Spain. This was tantamount to a reassertion of the Monroe Doctrine. France did not reply to Everett's note, and the correspondence with the British Foreign Office was scarcely more satisfactory.

[Sidenote: Gadsden's Mexican treaty]

A new treaty with Mexico was negotiated by Gadsden, by which the United States secured Marrila Valley, with 44,000 square miles, on the payment of $10,000,000.

This settled the Mexican boundary dispute and averted all danger of further war.

[Sidenote: Koszta episode]

Another international complication had arisen with Austria. On June 21, Martin Koszta, a Hungarian refugee and would-be American citizen, travelling under a United States passport, was arrested by the Austrian consul at Smyrna. Captain Ingraham of the United States sloop-of-war "St. Louis," cruising in Turkish waters, hearing of this, put into Smyrna. In accordance with the recent treaty governing Austrian refugees in Turkey, he demanded the surrender of Koszta within eight hours. If the man were not surrendered he threatened to land marines and take him by force. It was finally agreed to leave Koszta in the hands of the French consul, who presently released him. Austria issued a circular note to the courts of Europe protesting against the conduct of Captain Ingraham, and followed this up with a formal protest to the government of the United States. The reply of the American Congress was to vote a medal for Captain Ingraham. There the incident closed.

[Sidenote: Austria supports Montenegrins]

[Sidenote: Russia threatens Turkey]

Other affairs absorbed the interest of Austria's Foreign Minister. A treaty was signed with Prussia establishing a virtual defensive and offensive alliance. At the same time Austria joined the German Zollverein for twelve years. When the Montenegrins rose against their Turkish oppressors, Austria supported their cause and demanded a redress of their grievances from Turkey. After protracted negotiations this was granted. The wrongs of the Montenegrins and other Christian subjects of Turkey were warmly espoused by Russia. Czar Nicholas, as the pontiff of the Russian-Greek Church, claimed a protectorate over the Greek Christians in Turkey. The pending difficulties concerning the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem became part of the controversy. On the pretext of legalizing the predominant position of the Greek Church as one of the guardians of the Holy Sepulchre, the Czar assumed a threatening attitude toward Turkey. For a while Lord Stratford Canning, the British Ambassador at Constantinople, succeeded in mediating between Russia and France. A temporary agreement was effected. At this point the appearance of a French fleet in Turkish waters gave great offence to Russia, making it appear that the concessions to France had been extorted by a menace. Already Sir Hamilton Seymour, the British Ambassador at St. Petersburg, had been sounded by the Czar. It was on that occasion that Nicholas uttered the historic phrase that "the sick man was dying," meaning the Ottoman Empire. It was then, too, that tentative offers were made to England to let her take Egypt and the island of Candia, provided Russia could make herself mistress of the Balkans.


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