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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Should refuse to sell Cuba to the United States


Mexican adjustment]

Foreign affairs for a short while served to distract attention from the all-engrossing subject. Mexican boundary disputes were further ended by a repeal of the obligation of Guadeloupe Hidalgo which required the Mexican frontier to be defended against the Indians. For this release the United States paid to Mexico $10,000,000.

[Sidenote: Reciprocity with Canada]

A reciprocity treaty was made with Great Britain which opened to the United States all the frontiers of British America except Newfoundland, and gave to the British the right to share the American fisheries to the 36th parallel. Commerce in breadstuffs, fish, animals and lumber between the United States and the British provinces was made free. The St. Lawrence and Canadian Canals were opened to American vessels. All future differences were to be settled by arbitration.

[Sidenote: Fremont in California]

During this year news arrived of the safe arrival of Fremont's fifth expedition to California. He had crossed the Rocky Mountains at the sources of the Arkansas and Colorado Rivers, passed through the Mormon settlement, and discovered a number of passes. He was chosen the first United States Senator from California, and served for a short term.

[Sidenote: Cuban filibusters]

justify;">[Sidenote: Ostend manifesto]

On February 28, the American steamship "Black Warrior" was seized in Havana Harbor, and was confiscated by the Spanish Government on the charge of filibustering. The American House of Representatives prepared to suspend the neutrality laws between the United States and Spain; but it was finally decided to demand an indemnity from Spain. This action gave an interest to filibustering operations in Cuba. Expeditions were fitted out, but were stopped by a proclamation of the President on June 1. The American representatives at the courts of England, France and Spain, by direction of the President, met at Ostend, Belgium, to confer on the best method of settling the difficulties of Cuba and obtaining possession of the island. In the Ostend Circular these diplomats recommended to the government of the United States that Cuba should be purchased if possible, and if that could not be done that it should be taken by force. "If Spain, actuated by stubborn pride and a false sense of honor, should refuse to sell Cuba to the United States, then by every law, human and divine, we shall be justified in wresting it from Spain if we possess the power." In this Messrs. Buchanan, Mason and Soule were held to have gone beyond the demands of public opinion.

[Sidenote: Course of Taipings]

In their camp at Isinghai the Taiping rebels, in China, were closely beleaguered through the early part of the year until spring. Their provisions then becoming exhausted, they cut their way out and retreated southward. A relieving army from Nanking rescued them from imminent capture. They then captured Lintsing, where their headquarters remained for some months. During the rest of the year their successes were unimportant.

[Sidenote: Orange Free State recognized]

In South Africa, the difficulties of administering the recalcitrant communities of the Boers in the Orange River territory proved such that during this year the struggle was abandoned as hopeless by the British authorities. The Orange River Free State, organized as an independent republic of Dutch settlers, was recognized as such.

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