Page images
PDF
EPUB

DE BOW'S REVIEW:

A MONTHLY JOURNAL

OF

COMMERCE, AGRICULTURE, MANUFACTURES. INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT, STATISTICS,

ETC., ETC.
ESTABLISHED JANUARY 1, 1846.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

ART. 1.-INDEPENDENCE OF CUBA. [The subject of Cuba has certainly interest enough to warrant us in inserting the views of intelligent contributors, whether in every respect we agree with them or not. We are always disposed to have every important subject fairly discussed. ]-ED.

In our former article, published in the any power or individual whatever.”_ January number of the Review, we ex. By the provisions of that treaty, had it pressed the opinion that the best position been agreed upon, the United States which Cuba could occupy, would be would have been under the necessity, in that of an independent government, free connection with the other two governfrom the control either direct or indirect ments, of resisting any attempt on the of any other power. At the time that part of the people of Cuba themselves article was written; the correspondence to render their island independent of the between our government and other go- crown of Spain; such, in our opinion, vernments concerning Cuba, had not is the proper construction of the proposed been published, and the discussion in treaty, and such would, beyond all questhe Senate of the United States, relative tion, those two governments have placed to Cuban affairs, had not taken place. upon it. Even if our government had We have, however, seen nothing, either no desire to come into possession of Cuba, in the diplomatic correspondence or in either now or hereafter, still, we could the Congressional debates, to cause us not, without being false to our principles to change our views as expressed in and duties, permit any other govemthat article, but, on the contrary, much ment to interfere in a contest between to confirm and strengthen them. There the people of Cuba and the Spanish goseems to be no difference of opinion as vernment; much less could we ourselves to the propriety of the course pursued become a party to any such interference by our government in rejecting the pro- with a view to continue the dominion of posals made by the governments of Spain over Cuba Great Britain and France, for a triparte Independently of the fact that it may, convention in reference to Cuba. This at some future time, under a different act of our government, doubtless, meets set of circumstances from those now exwith the hearty approbation of the whole isting, become necessary for the United people of the United States. The pro- States, as a measure of safety, to acquire position of these two governments was Cuba, the objectionable feature we have not merely that neither Great Britain, just alluded to would have been suffiFrance, nor the United States, should cient to cause our government to refuse either now, or at any future time, obtain to enter into any such treaty as the one possession of Cuba; but it went further, proposed. Whether we shall acquire and required those governments to "bind Cuba or not; or, if we do, at what time, themselves to discountenance all such and upon what terms, are questions attempts to that effect, on the part of solely between Spain, Cuba, and the

VOL. XIV.

United States, and in which we cannot people of Cuba are contented with it, or recognize the right of any other govern- are unwilling to make an attempt to ments to interfere. However they may throw it off, it is not our business, if view it, it seems to us too clear to admit they do not wish freedom, to interfere in of discussion, that both Great Britain the regulations of other governments, and France would be benefited by the under the pretext of giving liberty to the annexation of Cuba to the United States. oppressed. If we may judge from the The commercial advantages which they history of the past expeditions, we have would enjoy with Cuba, would then be every reason to believe the people of much greater than they are at this time. Cuba have very little sympathy with The development of the resources of those who go there for the purpose of Cuba and the increased productions enabling them to throw off the dominion consequent upon its annexation to this of Spain. If they are not contented country, would greatly benefit all the with their burdens, they at least seem commercial nations of the earth, and not to have energy and spirit enough to scarcely any more than Great Britain cause them to make an attempt to get and France. The burdens which are clear of them. How long this state of now placed upon Cuban industry are a things will continue, we cannot say. serious detriment to the whole commer- Unless, however, the Spanish governcial world, and the removal of these bur- ment shall greatly change its policy in dens, which would be the sure result of the reference to Cuba, we cannot believe annexation of that island to the United she will long continue to hold dominion States, would operate as a blessing to all over that island. Will she do this? nations. For these reasons we cannot That is the question. But even if she see why either Great Britain or France should change her policy, will she not should oppose the purchase of Cuba by sooner or later find it to be her interest the United States.But in determining to abandon her American colonies, on whether it would be good policy in our account of its being more expensive government to acquire Cuba, there are than profitable to retain them? Would other things to be considered besides the it not be more advantageous to her, even effect of that measure upon England now, to establish the independence of and France. We are to consider whe- Cuba, than to hold it as a colony? Great ther we would ourselves be benefited, Britain, it is universally admitted, has and whether such an acquisition can be been more benefited by the United honorably and safely made. We think States as an independent government, we are warranted in saying, that the than she would have been by continualmost entire public sentiment of the ing them as colonies. We believe the United States is against any other than time is rapidly approaching when all a fair and honorable acquisition of Cuba, the European governments will find it to no matter how desirable that acquisition be their true policy, to abandon all their may be. Such are the views which the colonial possessions on this continent, debates in Congress and the diplomatic and to permit them to become independ correspondence of our government show ent. We are satisfied that Great Britain to be the prevailing public sentiment would be greatly benefited by permitof the country. Hostile expeditions ing Canada to dissolve her political conagainst the Island of Cuba, made with a nection with the British government, view of wresting it from the crown of and to become an independent nation. Spain, do not meet with the sanction There may be, and perhaps are, reasons either of the government or people of for the establishment of colonies by the United States.

Great Britain and other European naMany of our statesmen anxiously de- tions, but when these colonies are firmly sire Cuba, and are willing, as they them- established, and become able to maintain selves say, to give an extravagant price a separate and independent existence, for it; but there are none of any charac- then the mother country, no less than the tef who wish to violate our treaty stipu- colonies, will be benefited by recognizlations, and to obtain it by unfair, clan- ing and securing that independence. destine, and violent means. There is One of the main objects of colonizabut little doubt that the present govern- tion is the extension of commerce, fot, ment of Cuba is one of the worst and by the establishment of foreign colonies, most oppressive in existence; yet, if the the mother country not only finds an

Proposed Treaty-Consequences of a War with Foreign Powers, 419

outlet for a portion of its surplus popu- ple of the United States are not provoked lation, but also enlarges its commerce into a war with Spain, they will not atand extends its trade. But when, in the tempt to get Cuba except by purchase; course of time, it is ascertained that even if they do that, of which we have these objects will be better accomplish- many doubts; but if a war should take ed by recognizing the independence of place between Spain and the United the colonies, and permitting them to States, those in this country who now establish a government of their own, believe it would be unwise to acquire then any wise government will pursue Cuba in any manner, could not prevent this course. After the colonies become its acquisition, even if they did not independent nations, they will naturally, themselves become convinced that, with on account of their sympathies with the all its evils, acquisition was our only mother country, be more apt to trade alternative. If then Spain wished to with her than with any other nation; prevent the annexation of Cuba to the if she has pursued a wise, liberal, and United States, she would do well not to just course towards them. This is owing bring on a war with the United States; to the fact, that, though they be different for we are satisfied that our government governments, they are similar to each will not engage in a war with Spain, other in tastes, feelings, laws, institutions, unless the war is provoked by her. and race, and, although two nations, they This government is not so lost to all will be in many respects one people. high and honorable feelings as to engage We, therefore, believe that many of the in a war with Spain merely to gratify European governments will eventually those who, under the pretext of giving give up most, if not all, of their colonial liberty to the oppressed, wish to make a possessions, finding the expenses of conquest of Cuba; but Spain may, by maintaining them greater than the profits her own rash and imprudent course, derived from them as colonies. Such, force this government to take up arms we think, is even now the position of in defence of her honor, and the rights Spain in reference to Cuba. The ex- of her citizens. pense of the large naval and military In that event we consider the annexaestablishments, which Spain finds it tion of Cuba to the United States as a necessary to keep in Cuba, together with sure result. But this is not the only way the other expenses incident to the go- in which the same effect may be provernment of the island, are now, per- duced. Should Great Britain, or France, haps, almost as great as the revenues attempt to intercept any citizens of the derived from the island. Were Cuba United States, who might be supposed to independent, all this heavy expenditure be engaged in an expedition against would be dispensed with, and her com- Cuba, the result would be war. For our merce with Spain, as well as with other government cannot and will not permit nations, would be greatly increased. Great Britain and France to take upon The people of Cuba, being of Spanish themselves the protection of the Spanish origin, would naturally prefer trading with authorities in Cuba against expeditions * Spain, rather than with any other nation, from this country. Those who engage if she would pursue a liberal course in such expeditions, become liable to towards them, and would permit them their own government, and the governto become independent. Spain seems ment of Spain. If they fail, they will to feel that her hold upon Cuba is very pre- have to pay the penalty of their own carious, and that is, perhaps, the reason misconduct; but they are in no sense of the harsh and stringent measures responsible to the governments of Great adopted by her in reference to that Britain and France. These governments island. But the measures which she have no right to interfere with them in adopts are the very ones most likely to any way, and if they do so, it would be produce the result which she seems so a just cause of offence to our governmuch to dread. She may, by her own ment. By some such interference as imprudent course, provoke a war with this, war may be produced between the the United States; and if she does, the United States and Great Britain, or inevitable result of that war will be not France; and the result of that war only the loss of Cuba without any com. would, we think, be the conquest of Cupensation, but the annexation of that ba, by the United States, and its incorisland to the United States. If the peo- poration into our Union. The at-allhazards advocates of Cuban annexation such would not be the result, she would in this country, are aware that such re- we believe, be willing before long to see sults would follow a war between the Cuba independent. United States and any of the great This is, in our opinion, the best posimaritime powers; and, therefore, they tion that she could occupy; and were are not at all unwilling to see such a war she now an independent government, commenced.

we do not believe there would be as What the consequences of such a war much danger of her annexation to the would be to the island of Cuba, we do United States, as there is under existing not think it very difficult to foresee. Its circumstances. Many of the arguments commerce would be seriously injured, in favor of annexation would then be and its value, as a producing country, removed. She would then be in no danwould be greatly diminished. If we ger of being transferred by Spain to any should then gain Cuba, as we believe of the great maritime powers, to prewould be the case, we would have to vent which, many of oor people wish take it stript of its wealth, and deprived our government to acquire her immediof much of its present value.

ately. There would then be no danger Cuba, as she now is, contributes much of a war between the United States and to the commerce of the United States. any European power, growing out of an Our imports into Cuba amount to more attempt to free Cuba from the dominion than $8,000,000 per annum, and our ex- of Spain. The institution of slavery ports from that country amount to be- would then be under the control of the tween thirteen and seventeen millions. Cubans themselves, without the danger of These would be greatly increased if the foreign interference, and thus one great Spanish government would reduce its cause of apprehension to the people of rates of duties, and would give to the the southern states would be removed. people of Cuba a milder and a more The slave trade would be effectually just government, but would be in a abolished, and many of the harsh and great degree destroyed in the event of a forbidding features which now characwar for the acquisition of that island. terize slavery there would cease, and it If Spain would give to Cuba a good go- would assume more of the humane and vernment, or if Cuba were independent, domestic features of that institution, as the United States then would enjoy most, it exists in the southern states of this if not all, the commercial advantages Union. The commanding military posithat could be obtained by its annexation tion of the island would not then endanto this country. Not only would the ger any of the nations engaged in the United States be benefited by a change commerce of the Gulf of Mexico. This in the policy of Spain towards Cuba, but gateway of the Gulf would be open to so would also Great Britain and France. all nations, and thus the rivalries and We, therefore, think that those nations, jealousies of the great maritime nations instead of endeavoring to form a treaty on account of Cuba would be at an end. with the United States, for the purpose If Cuba can remain safely in the of securing to the crown of Spain the hands of Spain without endangering the . island of Cuba, would be better engaged peace of the world, she can much more in using their efforts to induce the Span- safely be independent, enjoying the ish government to change its policy to friendship of all nations, opening her wards Cụba, or to permit it to become ports alike to all, and enabling them to independent. They would thus be more reap the rich rewards of an extensive wisely and properly employed than in commerce with her. Were Cuba indeissuing orders to their naval officers to pendent, there would then be no pretext protect Cuba from hostile expeditions or in for hostile expeditions against that proposing tripartite conventions in refer- island, under the disguise of wishing to ence to Cuba. Spain would doubtless be give liberty to the oppressed, and consemuch more willing to see Cuba indepen- quently the peace of the world would dent, than to see her annexed to the not then, as it is now, be endangered by United States, and one great objection such expeditions, and thus many of the she has to the acknowledgment of her delicate questions which are likely to independence is the fear that she would arise between the great maritime in that event enter into the American powers, in reference to Cuba, would Union. If she could be assured that be settled.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Mr. Calhoun, whose words of wisdom part of our own country. If our object should never be forgotten, said “We have is to acquire territory, to furnish homes now most of the commercial advantages for our growing population, we had much withont the expense of administering better acquire a portion of Mexico than the government.” If this is the case Cuba. The objection to the acquisition of with Cuba, as at present governed, how Cuba, growing out of the fact that it is much better would it be if she were in- settled by a population differing from us dependent. We would then have all the in race, institutions, laws, religion, mancommercial advantages without the ners, hábits and feelings, is insuperable. danger and expense of administering the It may be, and has been said, that if we government. We cannot see any possi. owned the island it would soon be Ameble advantage that we would have from ricanized. We ask, is this reasonable ? the annexation of Cuba, that we would If there were only a few there of the not have from its being independent.-- Spanish race, this might be the case; The reasons urged in favor of annexa. but we think it idle to talk of Americantion are far from being satisfactory. We izing an island having a population of are told that we must get possession of 600,000 Spaniards, or descendants of that island, to keep the gateway of the Spaniards, upon an area less than that gulf from being closed, and our com- of either Tennessee, Alabama, or any of merce seriously injured. However this the southern states. The fact is, that may have been formerly, that danger is but few of our people comparatively now removed. Great Britain and France would go to Cuba to live, even if it were both disclaim any intention to acquire a part of this confederacy; since so Cuba; and they both well know, that many of our states and territories furnish any attempt of the kind would lead to so many more inducements and advana war with this country.

tages to those desirous to emigrate, than Again, we are told that our revenues Cuba would. That island would remain, would be increased by annexation.- as now, Spanish in its population and This may be true, but still it furnishes Spanish in its character. no argument in favor of that measure. The situation of Cuba is not similar to Our revenues are already sufficiently that of Louisiana when we purchased it. large, and there is more danger of our There were but few French or Spanish having too much money in the treasury, inhabitants in that territory when it was than there is of having too little. A purchased, and the area of Louisiana was surplus revenue is a much greater injury much greater than that of Cuba. In than benefit. This is upon the supposi. 1810, several years after the purchase, tion that we are to get Cuba without any there were less than 100,000 inhabitinternal or external difficulties; and ants in Louisiana, and there are more even then, we do not see that we are to than 1,000,000 in Cuba. Even at this be so much benefited; but if we are to time Louisiana has only about half the get it at the end of a war, then there population of Cuba upon a much larger would be no danger of a surplus re- extent of territory. The cases, therefore, venue.

are not similar. The annexation of Cuba It is sometimes said the South will be would not restore the numerical strength strengthened by the acquisition of Cuba. of the South in the Union, because even This is a fatal mistake. That island has after its acquisition the North would now a population consisting of 600,000 have a large majority in Congress; and whites, 400,000 slaves, and over 200,000 when we reflect that the annexation of free blacks, upon an area much smaller Cuba would be made a pretext, on the than many of our southern states. There part of the North, for annexing Canada is more land in cultivation in Cuba, in and other free territories, ought not the proportion to the whole extent of its ter- South to take care not to furnish the exritory, than there is in the southern cuse? With what grace can those in the states of this Republic. The natural in- South, who advocate the annexation of crease of the present population of Cuba Cuba, oppose the proposition which will will be sufficient for all purposes in that certainly be made to annex Canada? island. Those of our citizens who wish The same or similar arguments will be cheap lands would greatly prefer going made in favor of annexing Canada that to our western states and territories, are now made in regard to Cuba. We will than going to Cuba, even if it were a find it as easy to get Canada, wheth

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »