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Proximity of position, neighbor- of strong and manifest reason, jushood, whatever augments the pow- tice, and necessity. The real queser of injuring and 'annoying, very tion is, whether the possession of properly belong to the considera- Cuba by a great maritime power of tion of all cases of this kind. The Europe, would seriously endanger greater or less facility of access it- our own immediate security, or our self, is of consideration in such ques-, essential interests. I put the questions, because it brings, or may tion in the language of some of bring, weighty consequences with it. the best considered state papers of
“ Again ; it has been asserted, modern times. The general rule that although we might rightfully of national law, is, unquestionably, prevent another power from taking against interference, in the transCuba from Spain, by force, yet if actions of other states. There Spain should choose to make the are, however, acknowledged exvoluntary transfer, we should have ceptions, growing out of circumno right whatever to interfere. stances, and founded in those cirSir, this is a distinction without a cumstances. These exceptions, difference. If we are likely to it has been properly said, cannot, have contention about Cuba, let without danger, be reduced to preus first well consider what our vious rule, and incorporated into rights are, and not commit our- the ordinary diplomacy of nations. selves. If we have any right to Nevertheless, they do exist, and interfere at all, it applies as well must be judged of, when they to the case of a peaceable, as to arise, with a just regard to our own that of a forcible, transfer. If na- essential interests, but in a spirit of tions be at war, we are not judges strict justice and delicacy, also, of the question of right, in that towards foreign states. war; we must acknowledge, in " The ground of these excepboth parties, the mutual right of tions is, self-preservation. It is attack, and the mutual right of con- not a slight injury to our interest; quest. It is not for us to set it is not even a great inconvenience, bounds to their belligerent opera- that makes out a case. There must tions, so long as they do not affect be danger to our security ; or danourselves. Our right to interfere ger, manifest and imminent danin any such case, is but the exer- ger, to our essential rights, cise of the right of reasonable and and our essential interests. Now, necessary self-defence. It is a high sir, let us look at Cuba. I and delicate exercise of that right; need hardly refer to its present one not to be made but on grounds amount of commercial connection
with the United States. Our sta- the event comes, without any pretistical tables, I presume, would vious declaration of our sentiments, show us, that our commerce with upon subjects important to our own the Havana alone, is more in rights, or our own interests. Sir, amount than our whole commer- such declarations are often the apcial intercourse with France, and propriate means of preventing that, all her dependencies. But this is which, if unprevented, it might be but one part of the case, and not difficult to redress. A great obthe most important. Cuba, as is ject in holding diplomatic interwell said in the report of the com- course, is frankly to expose the mittee of foreign affairs, is placed views and objects of nations, and to in the mouth of the Mississippi. prevent, by candid explanation, colIts occupation by a strong mari- lision and war. In this case, the time power would be felt, in the government has said, that we could first moment of hostility, as far not assent to the transfer of Cuba up the Mississippi and the Mis- to another European state. Can souri, as our population extends. we so assent ? Do gentlemen think It is the commanding point of the we can? If not, then it was entirely gulf of Mexico. See, too, how it proper that this intimation should lies in the very line of our coast- be frankly and seasonably made. wise traffic ; interposed in the very Candor required it; and it would highway between New-York and have been unpardonable, it would New-Orleans.
have been injustice, as well as folly, “Now, sir, who can estimate, to have been silent, while we might the effect of a change, which should suppose the transaction to be conplace this island in other hands, templated, and then to complain of subject it to new rules of commer- it afterwards. cial intercourse, or connect it with “ Pains, sir, have been taken by objects of a different and still more the honorable member from Virdangerous nature? I feel no dis- ginia, to prove that the measure position to pursue this topic, on the now in contemplation, and indeed present occasion. My purpose is the whole policy of the government, only to show its importance, and to respecting South America, is the beg gentlemen not to prejudice any unhappy result of the influence of a rights of the country, by assenting gentleman formerly filling the chair to propositions, which, perhaps, of this house. He charges him may be necessary to be reviewed with having become himself affected
“But, it is said, that, in this, as at an early day, with what he is in other cases, we should wait till pleased to call the South American
fever ; and with having infused its now said, when I hear, in the house baneful influence into the whole of representatives, and in this land councils of the country.
of free spirits, that it is made matter “If, sir, it be true, that that gen- of imputation, and of reproach, to tleman, prompted by an ardent love have been first to reach forth the of civil liberty, felt, earlier than hand of welcome, and of succour, to others, a proper sympathy for the new-born nations, struggling to struggling colonies of South Ameri- obtain, and to enjoy, the blessings ca; or that, acting on the maxim, of liberty. that revolutions do not go back. We are told that the country is ward, he had the sagacity to fore- deluded and deceived by cabalistic see, earlier than others, the suc- words ! If we express an emotion cessful termination of those strug- of pleasure at the results of this gles ; if thus feeling, and thus per- great action of the spirit of politiceiving, it fell to him to lead the cal liberty ; if we rejoice at the willing or unwilling councils of his birth of new republican nations, and country, in her manifestations of express our joy by the common kindness to the new governments, terms of regard and sympathy ; if and in her seasonable recognition we feel and signify, high gratificaof their independence; if it be this, tion, that, throughout this whole which the honorable member im- continent, men are now likely to be putes to him ; if it be this course blessed by free and popular institu- · of public conduct, that he has iden- tions; and if, in the uttering of tified his name with the cause of these sentiments, we happen to South American liberty, he ought speak of sister republics ; of the to be esteemed one of the most for- great American family of nations ; tunate men of the age. If all this of the political system and forms of be, as is now represented, he has government of this hemisphere, acquired fame enough. It is enough then, indeed, it seems, we deal in for any man, thus to have connect senseless jargon, or impose on the ed himself with the greatest events judgment and feeling of the comof the age in which he lives, and to munity by cabalistic words! Sir, have been foremost in measures what is meant by this? Is it intendwhich reflect high honor on his ed, that the people of the United country, in the judgment of man- States ought to be totally indifferent kind. Sir, it is always with great to the fortunes of those new neighreluctance that I am drawn to speak, bors ? in my place here, of individuals; “Sir, I do not wish to over-rate, but I could not forbear what I have I do not over-rate, the progress of these new states in the great work these great revolutions, I confess of establishing a well-secured po- myself guilty of that weakness. pular liberty. I know that to be a If it be weak to feel that I am an great attainment, and I know they American, to think that recent are but pupils in the school. But, events have not only opened new thank God, they are in the school. modes of intercourse, but have creThey are called to meet difficulties, ated almost new grounds of regard such as neither we nor our fathers and sympathy between ourselves encountered. For these, we ought and our neighbors; if it be weak to make large allowances. What to feel that the South, in her prehave we ever known like the colo- sent state, is somewhat more emnial vassalage of the states? When phatically a part of America, than did we or our ancestors, feel, like when she lay obscure, oppressed, them, the weight of political des- and unknown, under the grinding potism that presses men to the bondage of a foreign power; if it earth, that religious intolerance be weak to rejoice, when, even in which would shut up heaven to all any corner of the earth, human bebut the bigotted? Sir, we sprung ings are able to get up from beneath from another stock. We belong oppression, to erect themselves, to another race. We have known and to enjoy the proper happiness nothing—we have felt nothing of of their intelligent nature; if this the political despotism of Spain, be weak, it is a weakness from nor of the heat of her fires of in- which I claim no exemption. tolerance. No rational man ex- A day of solemn retribution now pects that the South can run the visits the once proud monarchy of same rapid career as the North; Spain. The prediction is fulfilled. or that an insurgent province of The spirit of Montezuma and of Spain is in the same condition as the Incas might now well say, the English colonies, when they
" Art thou, too, fallen, Iberia? Do we see first asserted their independence. The There is, doubtless, much more to we? be done, in the first than in the last Thou! that has wasted earth and dared case. The work may be more ar- despise duous—it is not less noble, because
Thy pomp is in the grave; thy glory laid there may be more ignorance to
Low in the pit thine avarice has made." enlighten ; more of bigotry to subdue; more of prejudice to eradi- Mr. Chairman-I will detain you cate. If it be a weakness to feel only with one more reflection on a strong interest in the success of this subject. We cannot be so
The robber and the
blindwe cannot so shut up our mistaken prudence, for the volunsenses, and smother our faculties, tary sentiments of my heart.” as not to see, that in the progress. The other members that particiand the establishment of South pated in the debate, were, Messrs. American liberty, our own exam- Wickliffe, of Kentucky; Carson, ple has been among the most sti- of North Carolina ; Barbour, of mulating causes. That great light Virginia ; Hamilton, and Carter, -a light which can never be hid-- of South Carolina ; Buchannan, the light of our own glorious revo. Hemphill, and Ingham, of Pennlution, has shone on the path of the sylvania ; Houston, of Tennessee ; South American patriots, from the Verplanck, of New-York ; and beginning of their course. In their Weems, of Maryland ; in favor of emergencies, they have looked to the amendments. They were opour experience; in their political posed, and the passage of the reinstitutions, they have followed our solution, as introduced by the commodels; in their deliberations, they mittee, advocated by Messrs. Powhave invoked the presiding spirit of ell and Archer, of Virginia ; Wood our own liberty. They have look- and Garnsey, of New-York ; Brent ed steadily, in every adversity, to and Livingston, of Louisiana ; the GREAT NORTHERN LIGHT. In Buckner and F. Johnson, of Kenthe hour of bloody conflict, they tucky ; Wurtz, Markley, and have remembered the fields which Thompson, of Pennsylvania ; and have been consecrated by the blood Reed, of Massachusetts. of our own fathers ; and when they After a discussion, which lasted have fallen, they have wished only from the 3d until the 21st of April, to be remembered with them, as the question was taken on the men who had acted their parts amendments, in the committee of bravely, for the cause of liberty in the whole ; and the vote stood 99 the western world.
in the affirmative, and 94 in the “Sir, I have done. If it be weak- negative. The adoption of this ness to feel the sympathy of one's amendment, in the committee, nature excited for such men, in presented a different question for such a cause, I am guilty of that the decision of the house ; and as weakness. If it be prudence to many members doubted the constimeet their proffered civility, not tutional power of the house, to inwith reciprocal kindness, but with terfere in this way with the execucoldness or with insult, I choose tive department, they voted against to follow where natural impulse the whole resolution; and it was leads, and to give up that false and rejected by 143 to 54. The bill