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it, we have so many pleasing associations, and whose literature has had more to do in forming our mind and taste than that of our own mother tongue. With our mother's milk we drew in a love of France, and we were early taught to be grateful to lier for the generous aid she lent our own beloved country in her struggle to become a free and independent nation; and may God bless thee, beaatiful France ! and give thee, after thy long struggle, the freedom, the order, the peace, and the repose, thy heart so much needeth.
THE CUBAN EXPEDITION.
(From Brownson's Quarterly Review for October, 1850.)
A CONSIDERABLE portion of our countrymen have long coveted the possession of Cuba, and onr government, pretending that there was danger of its falling into the hands of Great Britain, went so far a few years since, we believe, as to make overtures to the court of Madrid for its purchase. But these overtures, of course, were not listened to, and the pretence proved so utterly unfounded, that the governinent has been obliged to abandon it. Still, the desire for the acquisition of the island lias continued, and many persons have thought that it could be effected by inducing and aiding the native Cubans to revolt from Spain, establish themselves as an independent republic, and then apply for admission into the American Union. In accordance with a plan of this sort, a military expedition was set on foot within our territories in 1819, to assist the Cuban patriots, or pretended Cuban patriots, to revolutionize the island. This expedition was prevented for the time being from embarking by the intervention of the federal government; but it has been renewed during the present year, and this time, successfully eluding the vigilance of the government, it actually effected a landing in sinall force, and, after a smart engagement, took possession of Cardenas, coinmitted several murders, inade the governor of the town a prisoner, burnt his palace, and robbed the public treasury. But meeting a determined resistance, and not finding the native Cubans as ready to flock to its piratical standard as it was expected they would be, it abandoned Cardenas, after holding possession of it for eight hours, and effected its escape, or return, to the territories of the United States, apparently for reinforcements, in order speedily to renew the attempt in stronger force, and with a better prospect of final success.
As to the character of such an expedition against a power with whom we are at peace, or of the attempt to wrest from a friendly power one of its provinces and 'annex it to the Union, no matter under what pretext, there can be but one opinion among honorable men, and since its failure, the American press has been tolerably unanimous in condemning it; but we may well doubt if the press would be thus unanimous in condemning it, if it had succeeded, or if there were a fair prospect of successfully renewing it. Had Lopez, the chief of the expedition, succeeded, we have too much reason to believe that he would have been hailed as a hero, and welcomed to a seat in the United States senate by the side of the honorable senators from Texas.
It cannot be denied that a portion, we would fain hope not a large portion, of the people of this country, have very loose notions of right and wrong, and, when blinded by their passions or stimulated by their interests, find little difficulty in converting the pirate into the hero, and piracy and murder into wise and honorable policy. To this portion of our citizens religion and morality, municipal laws and laws of nations have either no meaning or an odious meaning when opposed to their interests or their passions, their thirst for gold or their lust for the acquisition of territory. Regarding the will of the people as the supreme law, and by a natural and easy process confounding the will of the people with the will of the mob, or the will of the people as the state with the will of the people outside of the constitution and laws, they hold that what any portion of the people wish and are able to do, they have the unquestionable and indefeasible right to do. Mistaking the sound and legal republicanisin held by our fathers, and incorporated into our noble institutions, for wild and lawless radicalism, they assert the right of the people, or rather the mob, in every conntry, to rebel, whenever they please, against their legitimate sovereign, to overthrow with arined force the existing order whenever it ceases to suit their fancy or caprice, and to institute snch new order in its place as sliall seem to them good. Starting with this revolutionary principle, and assuming that all who avail themselves of it, and rise in arms
against their sovereign, are necessarily the party of freedom, struggling for liberty, for the inalienable rights of man, they assume that the cause of such party is always the cause of justice, of humanity, of God, and therefore that we are all free to rush to their aid, to assist them with our sympathy, our counsel, our treasure, our arms, and our blood, irrespective of existing laws, the rights of sovereigns, or the faith of treaties. Hence we find them always sympathizing with rebels, or the party at war with their rulers, applauding their prowess, rejoicing in their victories over the friends of order and legitimate authority, and mourning over their defcat. And hence these see in the attempts of the pirate Lopez and his crew nothing but the practical application of their own deeply cherished principles.
The fact that Lopez, after his return to the United States, was greeted with loud and prolonged applause, when he assured the citizens of Savannah that he had not abandoned his enterprise, but had consecrated his whole life to the liberation of Cuba, indicates only too clearly that these principles are by no means unpopular, at least in certain sections of the country. Indeed, the number of those who, if not ready to join actively in such an expedition as Lopez and his associates fitted out, yet hold that the Cubans have a perfect right, and we a perfect right to assist them, to rebel against their sovereign, to revolutionize the island, and, with the consent of our government, to annex themselves to the Union, is much larger, we fear, than a good citizen who regards the honor of his country is willing to believe,-so little value is placed upon the rights of sovereignty, and so little respect is paid even to the rights of property.
Certainly, we are far from asserting or insinuating that any considerable portion of our citizens are sufficiently depraved to join actively in a piratical attempt like that made by the recent Cuban expedition, but such an attempt is not wholly incompatible with the political creed of perhaps a majority of our countrymen. According to the plan of the conspirators, the citizens of this country were to appear to the world only as the allies or auxiliaries of the people of Cuba. It was assumed that there was, or that there could be created, a red-republican party among the creole population of the island, and it was through these that possession of it was to be obtained. The Cubans themselves were to appear before the world as the prime movers of the enterprise and chief actors in it. They were to proclaim themselves a repnblic, independent of Spain, and we were simply to enlist nuder their banner, and to aid them in achieving their independence. Annexation would, it was supposed, follow republicanism and independence, as a matter of conrse. This was the plan, and we can see nothing in it inconsistent with the doctrines advocated by the whole body of American demagogues, and by nearly the whole American newspaper press. Once lay it down, as nearly all our politicians of late have been in the habit of doing, that the people may rebel against the sovereign authority of the state when they judge proper, and that, irrespective of preexisting constitutions and laws, they are sovereign and the legitiinate source of all political power, and it is impossible for you to point out anything wrong or censurable in the attempt to get possession of Cuba in the way proposed, that is, by rebellion, murder, and robbery. According to these principles, the creoles of Cuba, however few in number, or insignificant in position, who were dissatisfied with the Spanish government, or uneasy and merely desirous of a change, had a right to assume to be the people of Cuba, in whom vests the national sovereignty, and to organize themselves into a provisional government, and speak and act in the name of the universal Cuban nation. If they had this right, on the same principles our citizens, as many of them as chose, had the right to treat them as the independent and sovereign people of Cuba, and as such to join with them, and assist them in effecting their independence, and consol-dating their authority over the whole island; for according to the popular political creed of this country, democracy is the native inherent right of every people, the only legitimate form of government, and therefore the national sovereignty must always vest in the party struggling to maintain or to establish deinocracy. Either, then, we must say that Lopez and his crew are not censurable, except for their imprudence and ill-success, or abandon our popular political creed. If we hold on, as the mass of our politicians do, and no doubt will for some time to come, to the principles of that creed, it is only by a logical inconsequence that we can condemn the Cuban or any expedition of the sort.
But our politicians would do well to reflect that a people cannot hold and act on principles which would justify such an expedition, without placing themselves ont of the pale of civilized nations, and anthorizing the civilized world to treat them as a nest of pirates, and to make war on them as the common foe of mankind. Especially must this be So, when they avow and act on such principles against a power with which their government has treaties of peace and amity, as our government has with Spain. With such a people, having a popular form of government, which must in the long run, to a great extent at least, yield to the popular will, however expressed, no nation can live in peace; for they liold themselves bound neither by the laws of nations nor by the faith of treaties. No nation within reach of their influence can ever be safe from their machinations ; and every one must be perpetually in danger of having them stir up its subjects to rebellion, and through them to strip it of its territories, and finally blot out its national existence. Friendly relations with such a people are out of the question, and the common interests of nations and of society must ultimately league the whole civilized world against thein to exterminate them, or to be exterminated by them,
We are too sincere a patriot and too loyal a citizen to believe that the majority even of those who adhere to these false and detestable principles are aware of the horrible consequences which legitimately flow from them. It is but common candor to regard them as better than their principles, and to presume that, in general, they do not understand the real nature of the doctrines they profess, and indeed seem to glory in professing. They are
no doubt greatly blinded by their passions, and misled by their insane thirst of gold and territorial acqnisition, but much of their error originates in misapprehension of the true nature of their own political institutions. These institutions are republican, indeed, and repugnant to both monarchy and political aristocracy, but they are not democratic, either in the ancient or the modern sense of that term. Anciently, as in Athens, where the word originated, democracy meant a government possessed and administered by the common people, in distinction from the Eupatrids, or nobles ; in modern times, it means the absolute and underived sovereignty of the people, or the native and inherent riglit of thie multitude to do whatever they please, and is necessarily resolvable into anarchy or the despotisin of the mob. Our institutions are democratic in neither of these senses: not in the former, for they recognize no political distinction of common people and Eupatrids, lords and commons; not in the latter, for they recognize no political power in the people save as constitutionally defined and ex