Years passed as the moribund Spanish bureaucracy dragged their heels and the prisoners' health and mental state deteriorated. It wasn't until they were in dire straits that the Spanish queen relented and pardoned them all.
Spain, fearing retribution from the United States for its treatment of American citizens, once again approached England and France begging them to guarantee Spanish authority over the island. However, France and England's resources were depleted from long wars and the United States had grown stronger in the Caribbean since their last effort. They temporized as Spain fretted until the United States reaffirmed its recognition of Spanish authority in the Caribbean. However, this time, the American President insisted on better treatment of his citizens and hinted that their might be consequences for future abuses.
Although America was beginning to sense that it had the strength to finally wrest Cuba from Spanish control, it hesitated. Journals of the era published discussions asking why Americans should risk their lives and treasure to free a people who were too timid to fight for themselves. It did not go unnoticed that the Cuban creoles – Spaniards native to the island – had not joined Lopez's cause when he finally came to the island.
Thus, even though Taylor and his Secretary of State suffered abuse in Southern papers, they were able to maintain an uneasy peace with Spain.
When Millard Fillmore replaced Zachary Taylor as President in 1850, Spain renewed its call for a tripartite pact – England, France, and America – assuring Spain's dominance over Cuba. Fillmore quickly declined. He reiterated America's earlier position that it had no intention of annexing Cuba. But this time, he added a warning that the United States would not tolerate any transfer of authority over the island to any nation other than Spain. America was beginning to feel its muscle, at least in the Caribbean.