The Government of the United States has taken a great
stride towards the annexation of the Isthmus of Panama. It was necessary during the recent gmeutee there to land Marines for the protection of American property, and, indeed, of civilisation in general ; and although on the arrival of Colombian troops the Marines retired, the Colombian Government was hardly found equal to the situation. It is as weak, and possibly as corrupt, as most Spanish-American Governments, and could not permanently protect the transit. A treaty has therefore been made under which the Government of Washington and the Government of Bogota assume a joint Protectorate of the Isthmus, and between them are to guarantee the safety of transit. In view of the inequality of the parties to the Treaty, and of the immense importance of the transit, that means an American Protectorate of the Isthmus, and consequently something very like American sovereignty over the route of the Panama Canal. This is a great change ; but we do not know why Europe should object. It was inevitable that some arrangement should be made between the world in general and the only substantive Power on the American Continent, and the arrangement is not more difficult because Colombia is practically eliminated. Nobody could prevent the United States from being the most important factor in the ultimate settlement which must make the Panama Canal an arm of the sea, and she may just as well assume openly the liabilities of that position.