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Volume VIII.
Number 8.

PHILADELPHIA, OCTOBER, 1917.

$2.00 a year. 20 cents a copy.

American Interest in the West Indies

BY WALDEMAR WESTERGAARD, PH.D., POMONA COLLEGE, CLAREMONT, CAL.

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The “ American Mediterranean” has come to re when the interest of the United States is drawn ceive an increasing attention from historians during towards the Caribbean by the completion of the the opening years of the present century. It is sig Panama Canal, and by the purchase of the Danish nificant that this deepening interest is synchronous Islands, to pass in brief review certain cardinal facts with the successful completion of the Panama Canal in the history of that myth-enshrouded archipelago. project. Historical scholars, both in England and in For more than a century following the discovery, America, have come to an increasing realization of Spain's political sovereignty in the New World was the importance of the West Indies in colonial history. not seriously questioned. The effectiveness of her Sir Charles Prestwood Lucas, in his Historical

commercial monopoly is emphasized rather than Geography of the British West Indies,” Dr. C. H. weakened by the exploits of such famous interlopers Haring in his “ Buccaneers in the Seventeenth Cen as Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake. It was tury," Mr. A. P. Newton in his “Colonizing Activi not until nearly a quarter of a century after the deties of the Puritans," and Prof. Stewart L. Mims in struction of the Spanish Armada through the efforts his “ Colbert's West Indian Policy,” are among recent of the English and the Dutch, that Spain found herhistorical writers who represent the newer view. self obliged to share with her Protestant neighbors to During recent years the attitude of writers towards the north the ownership of the New World. Durthe history of the English colonies on the mainland ing this century and part of the following, the Pacific has undergone significant changes. The epoch

The epoch- Ocean was,

of
“closed sea

[Mare making studies of Mr. George Louis Beer, and the clausum], while on the Atlantic side of the New admirable work of Professors Charles M. Andrews, World no Teutonic or non-Catholic power had gained of Yale; Herbert L. Osgood, of Columbia, and Ed a foothold. ward Channing, of Harvard University, have helped

By the opening of the seventeenth century the sitmeasurably in doing away with the air of provincial uation underwent a tremendous change. England insularity that had hitherto surrounded colonial his

and the Protestant Netherlands had both acquired toriography.

confidence in their ability to meet Spain upon an “ Mention the West Indies of the sixteen hun- equal footing both in naval and commercial spheres. dreds,” says a recent writer, “and the mind leaps to

In spite of Spanish protests they found themselves a free field of fancy; in the languorous noon of a able to begin settlements, not only in Virginia and tropic sea, by the curving strand of some nameless

New Netherland, but on the islands that guarded the isle, one sees, perhaps, a gaunt and dingy flagless routes by which the Spanish plate fleets left Vera ship, waiting whilst its crew, long-haired and bleared

Cruz and Porto Bello for the Old World. and greasy, divide the plunder of a brass-bound treas

The early history of these colonizing efforts exure chest—a lawless time and place, with bold ad hibits a remarkable uniformity, especially along ecoventures metely chronicled by the pen of Smollet or

nomic lines. The West Indies offered no highly deDefoe or R. L. S. The gentle reader may remem

veloped civilization, no advanced state of culture, as ber vaguely that the Caribbean was not filled entirely did the East Indian lands, which could yield a surwith galleons and corsairs, that some men actually did plus beyond its needs for purposes of commerce.

The build homes and spin out an existence, sometimes

early settlers were forced to depend upon such easily profitable enough, in their tobacco fields or sugar

raised crops as tobacco or cotton, upon hides and talmills; but to ask him soberly to think of the Antilles

low from the wild cattle that roamed over the mounas the residence of honest men in the century when

tains, upon the dye-woods in the primeval forests that the buccaneers haunted Hispaniola, and Mansfield and

covered the hillsides. It was not until about 1640 Morgan harried up and down the Spanish Main, is

that human existence acquired a sort of stability in quite too much to ask of human nature.” 2

the lesser islands of the West Indies, through the inSo it seems peculiarly appropriate at this time, troduction, by Dutchmen from Brazil, of the sugar 1 Read at the November, 1918, meeting of the Pacific

Against the efforts of Frenchmen and DutchCoast Branch of the American Historical Association, held men, Englishmen and Courlanders, Danes and Branat San Diego, Cal.

denburgers, Spain made a determined but eventually 2 D. R. Dixon, “Foundations of West India Policy" unsuccessful attempt to keep those foreign aggressors (“Political Science Quarterly," Vol. 30, p. 661).

out of her American preserves.

Her“ Barlovento

cane.

fleet" made periodical visits to islands suspected of who were interested in trade, was responsible for diharboring unauthorized or buccaneering colonies. recting the attention of Northern Europe to Spanish Woe to those luckless pioneers upon whom fell the America. In the minds of the men of the seventeenth wrath of the Spaniard! And woe to the Spanish- and eighteenth centuries, the consuming problem that American city that found itself obliged to entertain suggested itself for solution was, how best to entice such unwelcome guests as French or English buc that gold and silver away from the Spaniards? The caneers.

sixteenth century solution was the temporizing one of Under these circumstances, when the Old World smuggling by interlopers or private traders. Then nations were struggling against each other for com came the period of buccaneers, who were practically mercial supremacy in the New World, the aboriginal legalized pirates. By settling on some inaccessible inhabitants of the islands completely disappeared. island or swampy coast, like Tortuga or Honduras, The last places upon which the Caribs managed to they could become a permanent menace to Spanish maintain themselves were Santa Lucia and Dominica trade monopoly. In time of war their possessions bein the Windward Islands. The difficulty of enforc came a valuable point of vantage from which to carry ing in the New World the treaties that had been nego on hostilities against Spanish commerce. A more retiated in the Old, was complicated by the presence of spectable method of separating Spanish treasure from the buccaneers and the custom of encouraging them its owners was private establishment of regular coloprivately by the issuing of "letters of marque" and nies, whose possession was recognized by treaties with by the peculiar admission of inability to control the Spain. It was the treaty of Madrid, negotiated in conduct of citizens on this side of the Atlantic by ex 1670, between England and Spain, that put Anglocluding from the terms of the treaties the lands“ be- Spanish New World relations upon a fairly peryond the line.” It was under such uncertain condi manent footing. It was this treaty that marked the tions in the New World, and in the midst of a dynas- end of buccaneering and transformed the buccaneers tic revolution in England, that Jamaica was seized into pirates. It was this treaty and the continuance by an expedition sent by Cromwell in 1655. The of diplomatic relations which followed it, that evenFrench remained, nevertheless, the strongest Carib- tually enabled various Old World states to prosecute bean power until the prestige of France began seri- with signal success the growing African slave trade. ously to decline as a result of English victories in the It only requires an examination of the map to realWar of the Spanish Succession. The West Indian ize the value of such colonies as Tortuga, St. Kitts, islands were, indeed, as Professor Egerton has well St. Thomas, Providence, San Andreas and Curaçao. said, “The natural cock-pit of the European nations These islands will be seen to guard the routes of comin the struggle for hegemony.” Some of the islands, merce between the Spanish mainland of America and like Santa Lucia and St. Kitts, had indeed changed the continent of Europe. As an illustration of the hands a dozen times. And these were but typical in advantage of geographical position in this struggle for stances.

the commercial spoil of Spain may be cited the experiBy way of contrast with the small islands, the ment known to history as the “ Darien Company.” It tenure of the larger islands has been relatively per was a wily Scotchman, William Paterson, by name, manent. Cuba and Porto Rico remained in Spanish who conceived the idea, during the brief interval of possession, except for the brief occupation of Havana peace following the war of the Augsburg League, of in the Seven Years' War, until the Spanish-American striking directly at the heart of the matter by estabwar of 1898. Jamaica has remained in continuous lishing a colony upon the Isthmus of Panama itself. English possession ever since 1655. Haiti remained The judgment of this gentleman, the distinguished under the Spanish and the French until the French founder of the Bank of England, is surely not to be Revolution, and since that time has managed to main scoffed at so far as the commercial side of the busitain its existence as a “black republic.” But the ness was concerned, but the stars in the political smaller islands of that great “bow of Ulysses,” firmament that controlled the destiny of the Darien stretching in a magnificent sweep of seven hundred Company were not in conjunction. William the Third miles from Porto Rico to Trinidad, have had a most of England was not prepared to back up this bold bewildering sort of political history. What is the scheme for establishing a company in the heart of the key to this swarming of nationalities upon the eastern Spanish commercial empire; while the Dutch and boundaries of the American Mediterranean? Why is English African companies were gravely alarmed at it that Englishmen and Frenchmen, Dutchmen and the prospect. So Spain was permitted to retain her Courlanders, Danes, Brandenburgers and Knights of annual fair at Porto Bello undisturbed. Malta, hastened to settle upon every up-jutting rock, These tropic colonies, so strategically placed with like flies around the bung of a molasses cask? The respect to commercial and sea power, were ideal in the answer has already been hinted at. Spanish-America minds of the seventeenth and eighteenth century Euhad gained a wonderful reputation as source of ropeans. They furnished an outlet for the surplus wealth, especially of those metals from which money population, and were in no sense economic rivals of was coined. The prevailing idea that the more silver the home country. and gold a nation was able to lay its hands upon, the The means employed for the exploitation of those more prosperous that nation would be, an idea that islands and for the development of their possibilities was held by economists as well as by common people and resources, commercial joint-stock com

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panies. In the East Indies and the West Indies sim the manual labor, to which they were so poorly ilar methods were employed. The first West Indian adapted. It is a long step, economically speaking, Company was founded by the Dutch in 1621, just between Las Casas, the champion of the Indian, and when an English company had founded at Plymouth Clarkson and Wilberforce, the proponents of the the second permanent English settlement on the At freedom of the negro. It is this insistent demand for lantic Coast. French dominion was extended into a solution of the labor problem in the sugar islands these regions by a company founded in 1636 under that brought about the close connection between the the ægis of Richelieu, an effort that was to be con Guinea factories and the West Indies. It resulted in tinued later in the century with greater success by the complete disappearance of the Indians.

The Colbert, the famous minister of Louis XIV. It was profits that accrued from this slave traffic, especially

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in the age of Colbert, when Charles II courted to the Dutch and English traders, were frequently good relations with Denmark, that the Danish enormous. The magnitude of this trade is in itself West India Company established itself on that island a measure of its economic importance. It has been of St. Thomas which we have recently purchased. estimated that from 1680 to 1786 there was imported The success of these companies as commercial enter into the British Islands a total of 2,130,000 negroes. prises was due, more than to any other one thing, No one was too exalted or noble to refrain from profitto the economic revolution that followed the introduc- ing in this traffic. Shares of Guinea and West Indian tion of sugar cane.

In the latter half of the seven Company stock were held by royalty, by ministers of teenth century, in the eighteenth century, the Gospel, as well as by ministers of State, alike by sugar was indeed king. To make the raising merchant princes and university professors. The of sugar profitable, the problem of labor

of labor was widow invested her mite and the capitalist his sursolved by the introduction of negro slaves from plus. An important result of this trade on its EuroAfrica, at first as a means of saving the Indians from pean side was that big business entered into alliance

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with government, was indeed often an integral part of unfinished), and remarked, “You are there-and government. The result in the West Indies was the there—you can't help yourselves.” There was a disrise of a class of capitalist planters, a class so influen- concerting finality about my friend's remark that left tial that as early as the middle of the seventeenth cen me with an uncomfortable feeling. Did he mean that tury it broached the plan of sending representatives we were destined to become an imperialistic, stateto the British Parliament.

devouring, New World Rome-or was he firmly conIt is when we bear in mind that sugar was king that vinced that we were so already ? we may understand why England should hesitate be Let us review briefly those events and circumtween taking from France Guadalupe or Canada in stances that have placed us in our present commandthe Treaty of Paris in 1763. It helps us to under- ing situation north of Panama. The position of the stand why the English Admiral Nevell struck at the United States at the time when the Monroe Doctrine power of Louis XIV during the War of the Augsburg was first proclaimed affords some instructive contrasts League by searching for the Franco-Spanish fleet in with its position at the present time. The sympathies the West Indies. It enables us to comprehend why of this country, for economic as well as for sentimenPitt's plans embraced the defeat of the schemes of

tal reasons, were altogether with the revolted Amerithe French prime minister Choiseul in the American can colonies of Spain. This, with fears of Russian as well as in the European Mediterranean. It helps aggression southward on the west coast, made the us to realize how Rodney was able to save the situa President's point of view a popular one. The suption for Great Britain by his victories over the French port of that strongly nationalistic Westerner, Henry fleet in the West Indies during the War of American Clay, represented fairly the state of popular opinion. Independence, and why Lord Nelson should hasten

That the “doctrine " then proclaimed might ever be to those waters in search of the French fleet before

construed into a weapon of aggression certainly never he finally found and conquered it at Trafalgar. .entered the minds of John Quincy Adams or his conBut the economic structure that had been reared

temporaries. So far was the thought of American so splendidly upon the single apex of the sugar in- domination from the minds of political leaders in the dustry was finally to be overturned. This was due first half of the nineteenth century that the Claytonmainly to a Berlin chemist of French extraction, Bulwer treaty, giving Great Britain equal rights with Achard, who in the quiet of his laboratory discovered the United States in the construction of an intera practical process of extracting sugar from beets. oceanic canal, was not seriously opposed on nationThe development of the sugar beet industry was ac alistic or patriotic grounds. companied by the agitation for slave emancipation. Napoleon III's intervention in Mexico while we That achievement, which was reached in 1833 in the were in the throes of civil war led to our putting new British West Indies, and in 1848 in the Danish meaning, new force, into the Monroe Doctrine. The Islands, sounded the death-knell of West Indian difficulties under which the Union navy labored in its planter aristocracy. Steadily, but with a fatal cer efforts to suppress blockade running during that tainty, the West Indian possessions of Europe have struggle helped to keep up the interest in Cuban deteriorated from colonies to mere dependencies. To affairs, and to encourage the hope of ultimate annexaday the colonies of France, England and the Nether tion. It led incidentally to the first definite proposal lands are a source of annual loss to the home govern of a treaty with Denmark for the purchase of the ment. Lotteries, and other financial devices of ques island of St. Thomas—a plan that fell through betionable character, are resorted to that Madame De

cause of the passive opposition of the chairman of the ficit's perennial hunger may be appeased.

Foreign Relations Committee in the United States Now that Spain has been excluded from the Carib- Senate, Charles Sumner. bean, possibly with more injury to her pride than to It was not until the French Canal Company under her prosperity; now that France has found use for de Lesseps undertook the construction of a canal at her colonizing and commercial energies nearer home Panama that American sentiment began to crystallize on the African shores of the Old World Mediter

in favor of the abrogation or amendment of the Clayranean, and the work of de Lesseps has been com ton-Bulwer treaty and the building of an Americanpleted by Shonts and Wallace and Goethals; now that owned and American-operated canal. The failure of England has within the past dozen years withdrawn the French Company allayed American fears of forher last garrisons from Jamaica and Santa Lucia, eign domination of this strategic commercial highwhat is the situation in the American Mediterranean? way; but it only required a new occasion to bring the

It seems perfectly clear that for good or ill, the latent American opposition to the English treaty more “ Colossus of the North,” as we are sometimes called strongly into relief than ever. by our neighbors on the other side of the Rio Grande, President Cleveland's rather sudden and vehement has its hand on the throttle. A friend of mine in championing of Venezuela's point of view in her disCopenhagen, to whom I had been protesting that we pute with England in 1895-96 revealed an astonishwere not an imperialistic nation, that public sentiment ing degree of national sensitiveness with respect to was not likely to permit a war of conquest against our foreign relations in the Caribbean. But the great weaker neighbors (we had been reading of Huerta turning-point, the event that turned the national atrecently), took a map lying on the table, pointed first tention in a compelling way towards Panama and the at the Rio Grande, next to Panama Canal (then still West Indies was our war with Spain. With Cuba an

American protectorate, and Porto Rico an American tion of the great Canal has revived those hopes that territory, the Clayton-Bulwer treaty was doomed for spring eternal, and has led West Indians to believe the waste paper basket. England's graceful yielding that they are at the dawn of a new and glorious era to the American position strengthened immensely in their economic history. Improved plantation mathose cordial relations that have remained unbroken chinery, the wonderful organization of oceanic fruit for a century.

lines, diversity in tropical agriculture, the sharing by During the period since the Canal was begun, the cacao, coffee, the banana, of the prestige once United States has taken charge of the financial and monopolized by sugar, the proximity of the new trade military administration of the negro republics of San routes—these are among the hopeful signs in those Domingo and Haiti—surely not because of our imper- lands. ialistic designs against weaker states, but through the

The purchase of the Danish Islands in the West logic of events. If this country refused to intervene, Indies at the highest price ever paid by the United France or Germany or England would feel obliged to

States for any of its territory is indicative of the intake a hand. However much we might desire to per creased importance of the Caribbean lands to the mit our Latin American or African neighbors, situ

American people. On the one hand, their acquisition ated between us and Panama, to “stew in their own

affords the historical student an opportunity to see in juice," the financial interests of other nations, espe

the perspective of the centuries the relation of this cially the Great Powers of Europe, seem to be so

episode to universal history; on the other, it will serve aggressive that the government of the United States may be expected to take an increasing paternal inter

to direct the thought of the practical statesman and est in the region that lies between the Rio Grande and

the politically inclined citizen to a renewed and more the Canal.

serious consideration of the policy that the United The slaves of this region have long since been States should adopt in the lands that lie to the north freed, and sugar has been dethroned; but the comple- of Panama.

Blackboard Work in History Teaching

BY WILLIAM W. WUESTHOFF, STATE NORMAL SCHOOL, MILWAUKEE, WIS.

The blackboard should play an essential part in cludes references to books in which diagrams can be the history recitation. By this method the teacher found. There are other references, besides foreign can appeal to a larger number of pupils. The adoles- publications, but this reference list includes books cent pupil as a rule learns much and easier by visual more accessible to the average teacher: ization. Such pupils who find it difficult to acquire

GREEK HISTORY. information by reading or are naturally slow by way of auditory sense, very often gain the greater share

VERTICAL SECTION OF A PYRAMID. of their information by visualization. The attention Gwilt, Encyclopædia of Architecture, 33. of these pupils especially must be held. Textbooks Hamlin, History of Architecture, 8. which are not illustrated as a rule do not appeal to

Howe, Essentials in Early European History, 12. boys and girls, which is a good indication that they

Mariette-Bey, Monuments of Upper Egypt, 75. want and need instruction by way of pictures, dia

Proctor, Great Pyramid, 120.

Rawlinson, Story of Ancient Egypt, 73, 76, 86. grams and the like. If this is what the pupils want

Reber, History of Ancient Art, 6. and need, why not give it to them, providing the con

Seiss, A Miracle in Stone, ll. cession improves the standard of instruction ? A text Wilson, Egypt of the Past, 87, 96. book can not include all that every teacher might West, Ancient World (Rev.), 32. want to use to illustrate a lesson and therefore the

PLAN OF ATHENS. teacher must turn to the blackboard. In many cases blackboard illustrations are better than the textbook

Botsford, Story of Orient and Greece, 179. method. The blackboard illustration is constantly be

Butler, The Story of Athens, 313, 418.

Davis, A Day in Old Athens, 7. fore the pupil. Pupils may slight textbook illustrative

Howe, Essentials in Early European History, 34. material, but such diagrams which are put upon the Morey, Ancient Peoples, 190. board will receive the pupils' special attention. You Morey, Outlines of Greek History, 229. can hold this attention easily and it is the special at Robinson and Breasted, Outlines of European History, tention which is the most instructive. The black Part I, 173. board work emphasizes points and fixes them in the

Tucker, Life in Ancient Athens, Frontispiece. pupil's mind.

Webster, Ancient History, 627. The history teacher has considerable material with

West, Ancient World, 202. which to make the teaching have more drive. The

GROUND PLAN OF THE ACROPOLIS following is a list of diagrams for each field of history Butler, Story of Athens, 226. which can be put upon the blackboard. The list in Davis, A Day in Old Athens, 214.

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