Charles Hazlitt Cahan
Hon. C. H. CAHAN (St. Lawrence-St. George):
Pringle. He also is a United States author. Pringle says of the Alaskan boundary dispute, at page 290:
The question was allowed to drift until 1902. Relations between the two countries had in the past been made none the happier by the extraordinary hostility toward Canada exhibited by American politicians. In 1867, Seward had urged the annexation of the dominion in payment for the damages caused by Great Britain's violations of neutrality during the civil war. Roosevelt himself had once made violent speeches urging that North America should be inhabited exclusively by citizens of the United States.
If Lodge and Hay were opposed to arbitration in the Alaska matter, Roosevelt was even more emphatic in insisting that the United States, alone, would settle it. Characteristically, although he must have known that the possibility of conflict was grotesque, he made secret preparations for war. In March, 1902, instructions went to secretary of war Root to have "additional troops sent as quietly and unostentatiously as possible to Southern Alaska." Root transmitted to the White House copies of the order dispatched to Brigadier General G. M. Randall, in command in the Northwest territory. In July, 1902, Roosevelt told Hay that arbitration was out of the question, that the Canadian claim was "an outrage, pure and simple . . . to pay them anything . . . would come dangerously near blackmail." A few days later the president said that he appreciated "the possibility of trouble . . . (but) Root had been quietly strengthening the garrison. ... In a spirit of bumptious truculence, which for years England had resisted . . . the Canadians put in this . . . false claim. They now say that trouble may come if it is not acted on. I feel like telling them that if trouble comes it will be purely . . . their own fault; and although it would not be pleasant for us, it would be death for them."
The biographer proceeds:
This treaty, and Roosevelt's conduct under it, placed the United States in a bad light throughout the world. If arbitration was out of the question, no reason for the treaty existed.
And at page 292:
In truth, Roosevelt's "impartial jurists" ill became a nation affecting to believe in arbitration. The president's attitude was similarly ungracious later in 1903. To reports that Great Britain might ask for postponement, he said that she "must be kept right up to the mark." He disliked "making any kind of a threat," but if England played "fast and loose" he would break off negotiations, send a special message to congress, and "run the boundary as we deem it should be run"; in other words, offer an insult to British prestige which might have meant war had the issues been less absurd.
There are also a number of other references. In the collated correspondence between Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, contained in volume 2 at page 37, is a letter written by Roosevelt to Cabot Lodge.