Obrazy na stronie

necessity, is not unlikely; but among all fused to sell it. Finally, France and Engtheir reflecting men it is admitted as a land have invited the United States to bemaxiın fundamental to all deliberation come a party with them in a convention, upon their future condition, that they are by which the three powers should severnot competent to a system of permanent ally and collectively disclaim, now and for self-cependence; they must rely for the the future, all intention to obtain possessupport of protection upon some force from sion of the island of Cuba, and by which without; and, in the event of the over they should also be bound to discountethrow of the Spanish constitution, that nance all attempts to that effect on the support can no longer be expected from part of any power or individual whatever; Spain--their only alternative of depend which invitation has been respectfully deence must be upon Great Britain or upon clined by our government, on the ground the United States. Hitherto the wishes that, in the language of President Fillmore, of this government have been that the " the proposed measure would be of doubtconnexion between Cuba and Spain should ful constitutionality, impolitic, and unacontinue as it has existed for several years; vailing.". these wishes are known to the principal What is the duty of our government inhabitants of the island, and instructions, in this emergency ? Such is the next copies of which are now furnished you, question, in logical order, to be presented. were some months since transmitted to

It requires no great amount of reasoning Mr. Forsyth, authorizing him in a suitable power, no great exercise of judgment, to manner to communicate them to the Span decide on any practical line of conduct, ish government. These wishes still con when one brings to bear on it the plain tests tinue so far as they can be indulged with of honesty and truth. This is as true of a rational foresight of events beyond our states as of persons. But where these are control, but for which it is our duty to be to be shirked, it requires a vast amount prepared. If a government is to be im of argument, of sophism, and of special posed by foreign violence upon the Spanish pleading, to make the worse appear the nation, and the liberties which they have better reason.” There is not, we affirm, asserted by their constitution, are to be one rule of morality for a nation, and crushed, it is neither to be erpected nor de another for an individual. What is right sired that the people of Cuba, far from will be right always, and what is wrong the reach of the oppressors of Spain, will always be wrong, whether in persons should submit to be governed by them. or in governments, no matter how much Should the cause of Spain herself

, issue the wrong is attempted to be whitewashed more propitiously than from its present with the affectation of a desire to promote prospects can be anticipated, it is obvious liberal principles, or concealed by the torthat the trial through which she must tuous intrigues of a narrow diplomacy. pass at home, and the final loss of all her

We may foresee that certain events will dominions on the American continents, will come to pass, but the instrument which leave her unable to extend to the island hastens them is not always to be comof Cuba that protection necessary for its mended. Offences must come, but woe is internal security and its outward defence." denounced on him through whom the of

We have previously shown how Spain fence cometh. “Thou shalt not covet,” is was enabled to retain Cuba, notwithstand a law addressed to all intelligences, indiing the numerous revolutions through vidual or aggregate. Our neighbor may be which she passed ; and we cannot add a drunkard, a spendthrift, or a man incomanything to the clear statements of Mr. petent for business; his farm, which adAdams relative to the policy of our gov joins our own, may be fast going to ruin; ernment on the subject.

we foresee that he cannot long hold it; that We may now lay down the following it must come into the market, and that we propositions regarding Cuba. She is op alone, in such an event, can possibly purpressed beyond any parallel in history. chase it: but this is no reason why we She dreads and hates her oppressor. She should plot to hasten the consummation longs for freedom. She looks for aid to the which we know will put us in possession United States, to which she is indebted of the desired fields. It would be unmanfor nearly all her late improvements. She ly, it would be base for us to do so. Yet has been gradually becoming American the profligate or feeble possessor of the ized for the last fifteen years. While the estate has by his own conduct brought government of the United States has de ruin on himself; he is properly punished; clared that it would not consent to her he suffers a just reward. Now while we transfer to any other European power, but assert, that, as between Cuba and Spain, was content that she should remain, as the latter has forfeited all right to a sushe is, subject to Spain, it has still desired

premacy over the former, this gives to the to purchase the island, and Spain has re United States no rights in the case what

ever. It is true that the unfortunate serve untarnished its integrity and its island is entitled to the sympathy of all

good faith. Christendom; and although as individuals But what of the Future? Is it not we should feel her wrongs, and in all our duty, as well as our right and priviproper ways assist any people struggling lege, to regard the signs of the times, and with despotism, yet, in such an instance, form judgments in relation to them? We a nation is not permitted to do so. The have spoken of "manifest destiny" as a reason is plain enough. If one man be- . political watchword. There is a sense in holds another inflicting blows and wounds which it may be used by the more pruupon a weaker and unresisting fellow dent and reflective, and in which it becreature, he does not hesitate to interfere comes no longer absurd: for when the in his behalf, without stopping to inquire judicious observer of events endeavors to whether or not he may be committing a form an opinion as to the future, and, technical assault. But a nation cannot from examination of the past, and all that proceed in the same way. The subject he can see in the present, a result prewho comes forward to protect his fel sents itself which is not to be mistaken, low is amenable to the law of the land in he is content to say that it is this which which he lives, and he must answer to it it is the manifest destiny of a nation to do, if he has done injustice. But a nation is to become, or to achieve. amenable to no constituted earthly au It is a fact, that Cuba longs for admisthority. Hence the necessity-indeed the sion into our Union. She pleads earnestly absolute necessity--of the rule we have and continually. She tells us, that from laid down. Situated as the United States the moment she becomes an integral porare with Cuba, every expression of sympa tion of the United States, all the exactions thy, even from individuals, will be looked and oppressions which now weigh so heavupon with suspicion by other states. Mer ily upon her, will be at an end. The slavecenary motives, than which nothing can trade will be abolished; the people will be more utterly wicked and contemptible, enter at once into the enjoyment of freeinfluence great numbers of our population dom; her ports will be open to the comto ask for Cuban independence and for merce of the world, her soil cultivated to annexation. And this tends to throw dis its full capability, her products sent to an trust on the honest, earnest sympathy of unrestricted market; and under the inthe great body of our citizens. In such a fluence of the moral and political forces condition of affairs, considering that Spain which are the vital elements of the Ameris a weak nation, tottering toward ruin, ican nationality, her children educated, our government should be especially cau and her pulpits and presses set at libertious to conduct toward her with a strict ty, she would become the most prosperadherence to existing treaties.

ous of the States. On the other hand,

-It is excellent she depicts the advantages which will To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous accrue to the United States from the anTo use it like a giant.

nexation of Cuba, as incalculable. She Nothing could disgrace our country more argues that, if annexation were fully conthan to take advantage of her strength, summated, Cuba would be as valuable to and of Spain's weakness. And it is pro our confederacy as New-York itself-as per that we avoid all excuses and pretexts an outpost, essential to American trade, for any quarrel; to endeavor to create and as a centre of transit and exchange, such excuses and pretexts would be piti increasing in importance to the whole able.

family of the confederation, in even meaMuch has been said, of late, about“ man sure with the growth of the states on the ifest destiny," and the term has got to be Pacific, and the rising tide of oriental coma sort of watchword in the mouths of pa merce which the flag of the Union is about triotic orators and political speech-makers. to lead from Asia across the Isthmus. It is, however, a poor excuse for the un She lies exactly in the track of the golden lawful seizure of the territory of a friend current, and none of the states are, like ly power, or for an unwarrantable inter her, in a position to watch and defend its ference with their rights, to raise, in avoid every inlet and outlet. In the circle of ance of the charge of robbery or oppression, production, essential to a home supply, this plea of “manifest destiny;" for the always sure, and independent of foreign proposition is as good on the part of the interference, Cuba claims that she would highwayman, as on that of a power which fill a remaining gap, with her coffee, coshall take to the high road of nations, coa, and tropical fruits: thus serving all and, armed with more resistless energies, her sister states, since she would sell to prey upon the weak or distracted. We

every one, and buy of every one, which is must take care in this respect that the not true of the special products of any othrepublic suffer no disgrace, that it pre er state. She would also add as much as

the Union really needs to the production tion to fight with us for independenceof sugar, and would make that, henceforth, for we know that they were disinteresta strong and distinct feature in the na ed. No rich soil attracted them, no protional balance of interests. She urges that spective emolument or reward, no promiso a new sectional pursuit always implies of divisions of lands, no hope of office, another mediation in the councils of the no receipt of scrip. Had they been inconfederacy-a proved truth in favor of fluenced by any of these things, their the permanent equilibrium of the repub- characters would have sunk into that of lic. The manufacturing east, the wheat base and mercenary soldiers of fortune. and cattle-raising west, the commercial We have some such among us, but we centre, the cotton-growing southwest, the believe the number is limited. Yet, even rice and sugar-planting south, and, last such may make or tasten a denouement. and latest, the new-born and gigantic We have but to watch and to wait, caremineral resources starting up on the great ful to preserve our honor. northwestern lakes, and seaming the con In this connection it will not be unintinent, down to the far Pacific, with their teresting to see how British writers resudden influence-have each and every gard the future of Cuba.

We quote one their independent geographical weight once more from Mr. Taylor: “Shall I and representation, as well as a diffused say,” he remarks, “after all, what I reciprocal dependence on each other, and think on this subject of annexation with on the Union as a whole. In the perpet the United States, which I have not adually recurring—but under these balance verted to before? I am not at all sure, then, checks never fatal-state jealousies, every but that this would be one of the best distinct interest is a distinct guarantee for things that could happen for Cuba. The the general equity of adjustment. It has Americans are an enlightened, progressive been seen in the slavery discussions how race; the Spaniards the extreme reverse; far sectional bitterness can go, when the and however lamentably split and opwhole Union is reduced to two great con posed in party views the Americans flicting parties, with no disinterested and themselves may be, yet, as a trade, few intermediate powers to urge peace, and of them would think of defending slateach conciliation. Yet even in this diffi very.” “I find it extremely difficult," culty it will be found, at last, that the he continues, " to pass any judgment on counsels which suggest, and the votes the effect which might be produced by which compel moderation and compromise, the annexation of Cuba to the United will come from almost a third interest. States. That its conquest would be cerCuba may suffer from the dispute between tain, if undertaken by the United States the free and slave states; but apart government, few even doubt. It is perfrom this, she desires to come into the haps as well that the late miserable bucUnion without offence to any, and to the caneering attempt on that fine island absolute profit of every partner in the failed in the ridiculous manner it did, since confederacy. In bringing to the com it defers the entire subject, as it were, to monwealth a class of luxuries which each maturer consideration. May success atstate largely demands and consumes, and tend all America's nobler aims to advance which is not produced by any, she also the human race and character! And let brings to the Union fresh elements of me the Spanish government beware, for it diation, harmony, and stable equipoise. will be quite out of its power to travel

Such is the argument which Cuba is much longer in its old tracks, and if it constantly addressing us. And indivi cannot accomplish the essential reforms dually we cannot help but approve it. Oth leading to freedom, it will be surely done ers there are who do not hesitate to make for it." rash avowals, and harebrained threats, Mr. Baird, whose work I have also appealing to improper motives, urging false before referred to, writes as follows: reasons, and dangerous suggestions, by “ Could any one, who has personally aswhich, unhappily, many are led astray.

certained the truth of transactions and ocIn every land there is a class of men of currences such as those before recorded, " desperate fortunes ;" everywhere we feel much regret were Cuba to pass find a certain number of " fiery volun out of the hands of Spain into those taries.” What these have already done, we of the United States? No doubt there know; what they are preparing to do, we are serious objections to the acquisition can guess. There is nothing more noble of Cuba by the United States of Amerithan to battle in the cause of freedom. ca. In the first place there is the imWe honor Lafayette-we surround with portant want of a causa belli to justify glory the name of Kosciusko-we bless the anything like a forcible seizure. In not memories of those foreigners who hastened making with Spain such treaties as Engto our shores in the war of the revolu- land has done, and covenanting with her

for the suppression of the slave-trade, and which a war, especially with her ancient paying her money as the price of her con colony, would bring upon herself and upon sent, America has deprived herself of a the commerce of the world. But we bejustifying cause for warlike proceedings lieve there are higher and far more imporagainst Cuba, which she might now have tant reasons for amity between the two turned to very good account. But while, countries. Say what we will, bluster as for previous reasons, I do not think it we may, and as we sometimes do, there is a likely America can buy Cuba; I have cordial feeling now existing, and fast innot the same horror that some express creasing, and which must and will bind at the idea of her taking it. I also differ them together. We see evidences of this from those who think that the possession daily, notwithstanding the efforts of shalof Cuba by the United States, would low-minded people on both sides to excite strengthen the hands of the supporters national prejudices, and irritate national of the slave system in America itself, feelings. and procrastinate or prevent the settle Still, what of the future? Cuba will ment of that question—the great national become a part of the United States. The question of the American continent. But how or the when, it is useless to predict. my conviction is, that it would just leave Political events have transpired so rapidly the slave question where it is ; while, at within the last few years, that the same time, it would effectually put

" That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker." an end to the traffic in slaves, at least in as far as Cuba is concerned.

We are borne onward by a force which " I submit then," he concludes, " to the seems hastening some great consummapublic of my native country, that were tion. If all do not agree as to the result Spain's debt to England, for the repay which these changes are to bring, no one ment of which Cuba may be considered can shut his eyes to the changes themas part of the security, duly provided for selves. They have multiplied within the or secured, there is little or no interest year; they are multiplying; they will which could or should prevent England continue to multiply. The conservative from viewing the occupation of Cuba by and the radical—the ultra Whig and the our brethren of the United States of ultra Democrat—are all overwhelmed by America with feelings of complacency. the resistless course of things, if they For the honor of America herself, such stop even but a moment to contemplate occupation, if it is to be undertaken, should it. What is to be done ? Shall we atbe undertaken only on some justifying tempt to stay this sweeping current, and cause, or by a legitimate transaction of be carried away by it ? or shall we rather sale. If America gets Cuba, the possession do what we may to control and direct may not be very valuable to herself, it? Let us see what are the principles whatever it is under the present system on which this extraordinary progression to Spain; but her doing so will, at all depends. events put an end to the slave-trade, in The people of the United States asso far at least as the importation of slaves sert political, religious, and commercial into Cuba is concerned.”

freedom; they believe in the philanthropic So much for the opinions of candid mission of their country to extend the English writers on the subject of the an same throughout this hemisphere; and, nexation of Cuba to the United States. So while they acknowledge that slavery is far as English interference is contemplated, constitutional, and beyond the reach of we have always regarded it as a dream. abolitionary cabals, they claim that it is A nation living on credit, whose masses not beyond the moral influence of civiliare deprived of labor at the slightest zation, which slowly induces its peaceful . threat of war, and whose capital and com termination. Such, in our view, is the mercial business are so interwoven and expression of public opinion in the United confounded with those of the American States; of that opinion which, being the people, cannot run the risk of even a tempo result of the contests of parties, guides rary suspension of friendly relations with the acts of the government. As a peothem. On the other hand, the present con ple, too, we contend that the physical siderable consumption of English manu and moral wants of mankind cannot be factures in Cuba, can but increase under disregarded. If subjects are oppressed the more liberal regulations of our own by tyrants, supported by brute force, the government. Peace, and markets for her citizen of the free state will be very manufactures, are matters of life and death likely to use his individual might and for England; the minister, Tory or Whig, influence to take off the irons from the who forgets these truths, would bitterly victims. lament his error; because the mind of The power of the American confederacy man is not able to compass the disasters lies in the number of resolute freemen

who cover the surface of its territory- precedent, the resemblance of this great in the fact, that their industry does not spectacle, in history? sustain heavy taxation to pay debts con The careful and philosophical observer of tracted by preceding generations, nor to the essential progress of mankind in our support menials, office-holders, or princes, times, has been led more and more to useless or injurious; or armies, only neces cherish a belief in the sublime idea of the sary to perpetuate wrong. More even fraternizing and cementing of the nathan all this, does their power spring, es tions, which shall be a fulfilment of the pecially in foreign countries, from the cer crowning prophecy of inspiration. It has tainty that the cause of the Americans is pleased Heaven to make our country the the cause of individual right. It is this home of freedom, the birthplace of libwhich makes America the asylum of the eral institutions, the best example for the oppressed of all Europe, and the govern struggling, and the surest hope of the enment of the Union, that which approaches franchised everywhere. More than this, nearest perfection, by indefinitely diffus we have rendered feasible, purposes and ing enjoyments, her nationality the prac systems, in policy and civilization, which tical realization of cosmopolitanism. The might well have been regarded as imposexpansive arms of her policy find no ob sible, but for steamboats, railroads, telestacle in the origin of her citizens. The graphs and printing-presses, that in an Dutch peopled New-York, the Swedes hour are capable of flooding continents New Jersey and Delaware, the Germans with intelligence. We find under these Pennsylvania, the French flew to South circumstances a glorious truth confessed, Carolina after the revocation of the edict which a little while ago was regarded as of Nantes, and in Louisiana and Florida incredible, that the extension of empire the French and Spanish still preserve the by CONQUEST will soon be superseded by usages of their ancestors. The result the irrepressible desire of states to become has been astonishing. We have increased united to each other by the NEW LAW in wealth, civilization, industry and power, OF ANNEXATION. This is already inspirin a manner unprecedented in the annals of ing no inconsiderable proportion of the the world. Our population doubles every inhabitants of every nation on this contitwenty-five years; and a progression so nent to become an integral part of our stupendous foils human calculation as to own great Republic. The history of the what will be our power and influence in future will be in a continually increasing times to come. More than twenty mil degree, a detail of the rapid operation of lions of souls now, forty millions in 1873, this principle, until the world shall be and so successively on, till we come to completely united and bound together by three hundred and twenty millions in the tracks of its intercommunication, the one century. Make from this estimate, combination of its interests, the sympathies founded on experience, what reasonable of its intelligence, and the unity and onedeductions we please, and what results ness of its hopes; and the last triumph may we not still expect? Those are now which is ordered by Providence, has reain existence who will see this vast confed lization in the dawn of that period when eracy holding a population of two hun all the nations of the earth shall be as dred millions! Where is the model, the


[blocks in formation]
« PoprzedniaDalej »