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100 years ago >

Murder most foul in Mexico

March 6th, 1914.

[A week earlier, the Church Times had pronounced that there was no longer "any room for doubt concerning the fate" of an Englishman, William Benton, at the hands of the Mexican rebels. Whether the revolutionary general Pancho Villa had himself shot him or had ordered his execution "makes no matter".]

IN THE House of Commons, on Monday, Sir Edward Grey replied to questions addressed to him on the subject of the murder of Mr Benton in Mexico. The Foreign Secretary was obliged by circumstances to say less than he would have liked to say. Something ought to be done, something will be done, was the burden of his replies, but the question is, By whom will it be done? England is debarred by the Monroe doctrine from inflicting punishment on Mr Benton's murderers, and the United States Government, which, in virtue of its own Monroe doctrine, is responsible for the duty of bringing them to justice, has pursued a policy in regard to Mexico that makes it reluctant to interfere. But we cannot rest satisfied with this paralysis of justice, and we do not believe that the American people are content that this foul murder of a British subject should go un-punished. If it is a corollary ofthe Monroe doctrine that States shall be tolerated in America in which the most elementary principles of morality are unknown, and in which there is no safetyfor a foreign trader, the soonerthe doctrine goes the better. Itwill be necessary again to askSir Edward Grey what further steps his Majesty's Government will take with the object of pressing upon the United States President the duty of rising to the full height of his responsibility.

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