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so generally and resolutely opposed. conspicuous of our envoys, had sternThat Congress proved, practically, a ly opposed the admission of Missouri failure, whether through European as a Slave State. intrigue, or Spanish-American jeal The Spanish-American Republics ousy and indolence, is not apparent. had already decreed general emanciOur envoys were duly appointed; pation; and fears were naturally exbut the strenuous opposition in our pressed that. they would extend this Senate' had so protracted the discus- policy to Cuba, should they, as was sion that it was found too late for Mr. then contemplated, combine to invade Sergeant to reach Panama at the and conquer that island. Mr. Clay time appointed for the meeting of had already to written as Secretary of the Congress; 8 and Mr. Anderson, State to Mr. Alexander H. Everett, then Minister to Colombia, when at our Minister at Madrid, instructing Carthagena on his way to Panama, him to urge upon Spain the expediwas attacked by a malignant fever, ency of acknowledging the independwhereof he died.
ence of her lost colonies. He said: But, long ere this, the jealousy of “It is not for the new Republics that the the slaveholders had been aroused,
President wishes to urge upon Spain the ex
pediency of concluding the war. If the war and their malign influence upon the should continue between Spain and the new course of our Government made
Republics, and those islands (Cuba and Pormanifest. Among the means em
ter of it, their fortunes have such a connecployed to render the Panama Con tion with the people of the United States, gress odious at the South, was the
that they could not be indifferent spectators;
and the possible contingencies of a protractfact that John Sergeant, the more ed war might bring upon the Government
6 John Sergeant, of Pennsylvania, and Richard and Porto Rico; or, at all events, of tearing C. Anderson, of Kentucky.
them from the crown of Spain. The interests,
if not safety, of our own country, would rather ? In the course of the debate, Mr. John Ran require us to interpose to prevent such an event; dolph, of Virginia, said:
and I would rather take up arms to prevent than “Cuba possesses an immense negro popula
to accelerate such an occurrence.” tion. In case those States Mexico and Colom. Mr. Josiah S. Johnston, of Louisiana, a friend bia) should invade Cuba at all, it is unquestion
of the Administration, parried these attacks as able that this invasion will be made with this principle,--the genius of universal emancipation,
follows: -this sweeping anathema against the white "We know that, Colombia and Mexico have population in front--and then, Sir, what is the long contemplated the independence of the situation of the Southern States ???
island (Cuba). The final decision is now to be Mr. John M. Berrien, of Georgia, said: made, and the combination of forces and the
"The question to be determined is this: with plan of attack to be formed. What, then, at a due regard to the safety of the Southern
such a crisis, becomes the duty of the GovernStates, can you suffer these islands (Cuba and |
à | ment? Send your ministers instantly to the dipPorto Rico) to pass into the hands of buccaneers
| lomatic assembly, where the measure is maturdrunk with their new-born liberty? If our inter
ing. Advise with them-remonstrate menace, est and our safety shall require us to say to these
if necessary—against a step so dangerous to us, new republics, 'Cuba and Porto Rico must re
| and perhaps fatal to them." main as they are,' we are free to say it, and, by 8 June 22, 1826. the blessing of God, and the strength of our arms, to enforce the declaration; and let me say to
9 "And then, to cap the climax, gentlemen, these high considerations do require
John Sergeant, too, must goit. The vital interests of the South demand it.”
A chief who wants the darkies free
John Adams' son, my Jo!” Mr. John Floyd, of Virginia, said [in the House)
---Federal Song' in The Richmond Enquirer. “So far as I can see, in all its bearings, it (the Panama Congress) looks to the conquest of Cuba | 10 April 27, 1825.
VAN BUREN AND TAYLOR ON CUBA.. 269 of the United States duties and obligations, and, while refusing, so early as 1825, the performance of which, however painful it should be, they might not be at liberty to
to guarantee the possession of that decline."
island to Spain, and informally givIn the same spirit, his instructions
ing notice that we would never conto Messrs. Anderson and Sergeant 11
sent to its transfer to any more forcontained the following passage:
midable power, seemed entirely sat
isfied with, and anxious for, its re“It is required by the frank and friendly relations which we most earnestly desire ever
tention by Spain as her most precious to cherish with the new Republics, that you and valued dependency- The Queen should, without reserve, explicitly state that
of the Antilles. the United States have too much at stake in the fortunes of Cuba, to allow them to see! But, at length, having reännexed with indifference a war of invasion prose Texas, the Slave Power fixed covetcuted in a desolating manner, or to see employed, in the purposes of such a war, one
ous eyes on this fertile, prolific island. race of the inhabitants combating against In 1848, our Minister, under instrucanother, upon principles and with motives
tions from President Polk, made an that must inevitably lead, if not to the extermination of one party or the other, to the
offer of $100,000,000 for it, which most shocking excesses. The humanity of was peremptorily, conclusively rethe United States in respect to the weaker, and which, in such a terrible struggle, would
jected. Directly thereafter, the
South became agitated by "fillibusduty to defend themselves against the con- tering' plots for the invasion and tagion of such near and dangerous examples, would constrain them, even at the hazard
conquest of that island, wherein real of losing the friendship of Mexico and Co or pretended Cubans by nativity lombia, to employ all the means necessary
were prominent as leaders. Presito their security."
dent Taylor was hardly warm in the Several years later, Mr. Van Bu
White House before he was made ren, writing as Gen. Jackson's pre
aware that these schemes were on mier to Mr. O. P. Van Ness, our
the point of realization, and compelthen Minister at Madrid, urges upon
led to issue his proclamation ? against Spain, through him, the acknowledg
them in these words: ment of South American independ
“There is reason to believe that an armed ence, on this among other grounds:
expedition is about to be fitted out in the “Considerations connected with a certain
United States with an intention to invade class of our population make it the interest
the island of Cuba, or some of the provinces of the Southern section of the Union that
of Mexico. The best information which the no attempt should be made in that island
Executive has been able to obtain points to [Cuba] to throw off the yoke of Spanish de
the island of Cuba as the object of this expendence; the first effect of which would be
pedition. It is the duty of this Government the sudden emancipation of a numerous
to observe the faith of treaties, and to preslave population, whose result could not but
vent any aggression by our citizens upon the be very sensibly felt upon the adjacent
territories of friendly nations. I have, thereshores of the United States."
fore, thought it necessary and proper to is
sue this Proclamation, to warn all citizens Thus, so long as any revolution in of the United States, who shall connect Cuba, or displacement of the Spanish
themselves with any enterprise so grossly in
violation of our laws and our treaty obligaauthority there, seemed likely to af tions, that they will thereby subject themfect the stability or perpetuity of selves to the heavy penalties denounced Slavery, our Government steadily, Diavery, our Government sledury, will forfeit their claim to the protection of
against them by our acts of Congress, and officiously opposed such revolution; their country. No such persons must ex11 May 8, 1826.
12 August 11, 1849.
pect the interference of this Government, in , whence they were ultimately liberany form, on their behalf, no matter to what extremities they may be reduced in conse
ated by pardon. quence of their conduct. An enterprise to The discipline proved effective. invade the territories of a friendly nation,
There was much talk of further exset on foot and prosecuted within the limits of the United States, is, in the highest de
peditions against Cuba from one or gree, criminal, as tending to endanger the another Southern city. A secret capeace, and compromit the honor, of this na
bal, known as the “Order of the Lone tion; and, therefore, I exhort all good citizens, as they regard our national reputation, Star,” recruited adventurers and tried as they respect their own laws and the Law
to raise funds through all the seaof Nations, as they value the blessings of peace and the welfare of their country, to
board cities of the Union, and it was discountenance and prevent, by all lawful understood that Gen. John A. Quitmeans, any such enterprise; and I call upon
man, of Mississippi, one of the ablest every officer of this Government, civil or military, to use all efforts in his power to and strongest of Mr. Calhoun's disciarrest, for trial and punishment, every such ples, had consented to lead the next offender against the laws providing for the performance of our sacred obligations to
expedition against Cuba; but none foreign powers."
ever sailed. The “Order of the Lone This emphatic warning probably Star” proved useful to Gen. Pierce in embarrassed and delayed the execu swelling his vote for President in tion of the plot, but did not defeat it. 1852, and soon after subsided into Early in August, 1851–or soon after nothingness. Gen. Taylor's death-an expedition As our Government had long exunder Lopez, a Cuban adventurer, pressed satisfaction with the possessailed in a steamer from New Or- sion of Cuba by Spain, while proleans--always the hotbed of the pro- claiming hostility to its transfer to jects of the Slavery propagandists. any other power, Great Britain and About five hundred men embarked France determined to put our sinin this desperate enterprise, by which cerity to the test; and, accordingly, a landing. was effected on the island in 1852, proposed to unite with us of Cuba. All its expectations, how- in a treaty mutually guaranteeing ever, of a rising in its behalf, or of that island to Spain.14 But Mr. any manifestation of sympathy on Edward Everett, as Secretary of the part of the Cubans, were utterly State to Mr. Fillmore, rejected the disappointed. The invaders were overture in an exceedingly smart easily defeated and made prisoners, dispatch. when their leader was promptly gar- The formal proposition for a joint roted at Havana, 18 and a few of his agreement of perpetual renunciation, comrades shot; but the greater num- on the part of Great Britain, France, ber were sentenced to penal servi- and the United States, respectively, tude in a distant Spanish possession, of any covetous designs on Cuba, MR. EVERETT TO FRANCE AND ENGLAND.
13 August 16th.
14 The body of the Convention proposed to us, on the part of Great Britain and France, was in the following words:
bind themselves to discountenance all attempts to that effect on the part of any power or individuals whatever.
"The high contracting parties declare, severally and collectively, that they will not obtain
rally and collectively disclaim, both now and themselves, any exclusive control over the said for hereafter, all intention to obtain possession | island, nor assume nor exercise any dominion of the island of Cuba; and they respectively l over the same."
was presented, on the 23d of April, 1 of Texas; as to which, Mr. Everettto Mr. Webster, then our Secretary overdoing his part, as is natural in a of State, and by him courteously Federalist turned fillibuster-volunacknowledged, six days later, in a teers the wholly gratuitous assertion note which, though not without that “there never was an extension demur, expressed the acquiescence of territory more naturally or justifiof our Government in the general ably made.” Ignoring the fact that views expressed by France and Eng- Great Britain has still possessions in land with reference to Cuba, and this hemisphere nearly, if not quite, gave assurances that, “The Presi- equal in extent to those of our own dent will take M. de Sartiges' com-country, and that her important munication into consideration, and island of Jamaica is quite as near give it his best reflections.”
to Cuba as is any portion of our Mr. Webster being dead and Mr. Southern coast, Mr. Everett says: Everett duly installed as his succes "The President does not covet the acquisor, the latter answered 16 a note of
sition of Cuba for the United States; at the
same time, he considers the acquisition of M. de Sartiges, recalling Mr. Web Cuba as mainly an American question. ster's attention to this subject, under The proposed convention proceeds on a
different principle. It assumes that the date of July 8th. In this answer,
United States have no other or greater our Government peremptorily de interest in the question than France or clines, for various and elaborately
England; whereas, it is necessary only to
cast one's eye on the map to see how restated reasons, any such convention
mote are the relations of Europe, and how or compact as that proposed to it by intimate those of the United States, with
this island." France and England. While still disclaiming, pro forma, any desire
If three strong men were traversor intention on our part of acquiring a desert in company with ing Cuba, this document affords the fourth rich, but weak, companion, strongest evidence of a contrary dis
and two of them should propose to position. It assumes that the Sen
the other a mutual stipulation not to ate would inevitably refuse its as
rob or otherwise abuse their weak sent to the treaty proposed, and brother, it could hardly fail to astonadds: “its certain rejection by that
ish them to hear their proposition body would leave the question of
declined, as contemplating an “enCuba in a more unsettled position tangling alliance”-a perplexing and than it is now.” It doubts the con troublesome undertaking, whereof stitutional power to impose a per
no one could fully calculate the scope manent disability on the American
and ultimate consequences. Yet Mr. Government for all coming time." Everett sees fit to say that It parades, with significant emphasis, “There is another strong objection to the repeated and important acqui
the proposed agreement. Among the old
quia test traditions of the Federal Government is sitions of territory by our Govern an aversion to political alliances with Euroment, through the purchase of Lou- pean powers. In his memorable Farewell
Address, President Washington says: The isiana in 1803, and of Florida in
great rule of conduct for us in regard 1819, as also through the annexation to foreign nations is, in extending our com
15 Oct. 24th, 1852.
16 December 1, 1852.
mercial relations, to have with them as ourselves was far less serious than that little political connection as possible. So which we asked them to assume.” far as we have already formed engage- / Mr. Everett, having thus, in effect. ments, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.' President apprised the civilized world that the Jefferson, in his Inaugural Address in 1801, acquisition of Cuba is essential to our warned the country against entangling al
independence, and that we shall proliances. This expression, now become proverbial, was unquestionably used by Mr. ceed in our own time to appropriate Jefferson in reference to the alliance with
it, turns to give our slaveholders a France of 1778—an alliance, at the time, of incalculable benefit to the United States;
meaning hint that they must not be but which, in less than twenty years, came too eager in the pursuit, or they will near involving us in the wars of the French
overreach themselves. He says: Revolution, and laid the foundation of heavy claims upon Congress, not extin
"The opinions of American statesmen, at guished to the present day. It is a sig- | different times, and under varying circumnificant coincidence, that the particular stances, have differed as to the desirableness provision of the alliance which occasioned of the acquisition of Cuba by the United these evils was that under which France States. Territorially and commercially, it called upon us to aid her in defending her would, in our hands, be an extremely valWest Indian possessions against England. | uable possession. Under certain continNothing less than the unbounded influence gencies, it might be almost essential to of Washington rescued the Union from the our safety. Still, for domestic reasons, on perils of that crisis, and preserved our which, in a communication of this kind, it neutrality."
might not be proper to dwell, the President
thinks that the incorporation of the island Mr. Everett proceeds:
into the Union at the present time, although
effected with the consent of Spain, would be “But the President has a graver objection
a hazardous measure; and he would consider to entering into the proposed convention.
its acquisition by force, except in a just war He has 10 wish to disguise the feeling that
with Spain (should an event so greatly to be the compact, although equal in its terms, der
: | deprecated take place), as a disgrace to the would be very unequal in substance. France mit
civilization of the age.” and England, by entering into it, would disable themselves from obtaining possession of ! In another place, he gives them anan island remote from their seats of govern- other intimation of the solicitude with ment, belonging to another European power, whose natural right to possess it must
which our Government watches and always be as good as their own-a distant wards against any subversion of Slaisland in another hemisphere, and one which, by no ordinary or peaceful course of things,
very in Cuba; saying: could ever belong to either of them. *** “Even now, the President cannot doubt The United States, on the other hand, would, that both France and England would prefer by the proposed convention, disable them- any change in the condition of Cuba to that selves from making an acquisition which | which is most to be apprehended, viz. : an might take place without any disturbance internal convulsion which should renew the of existing foreign relations, and in the nat horrors and the fate of San Domingo" ural order of things. The island of Cuba lies at our doors. It commands the ap
But Cuba, it seems, is not merely proach to the Gulf of Mexico, which washes a slaveholding, but a slave-trading the shores of five of our States. It bars the entrance of that great river which drains
dependency, which affords still anhalf the North American continent, and with other reason why Spain should lose its tributaries forms the largest system of in- ' and we gain it. Says Mr. Everett: ternal water communication in the world. It keeps watch at the doorway of our inter- |*"I will intimate a final objection to the course with California by the Isthmus route. proposed convention. M. de Turgot and If an island like Ouba, belonging to the Lord Malmesbury put forward, as the reason Spanish crown, guarded the entrance of the for entering into such a compact, the atThames and the Seine, and the United States tacks which have lately been made on the should propose a convention like this to | island of Cuba by lawless bands of advenFrance and England, those powers would | turers from the United States, with the assuredly feel that the disability assumed by l avowed design of taking possession of that