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[269] of the United States duties and obligations, the performance of which, however painful it should be, they might not be at liberty to decline.

In the same spirit, his instructions to Messrs. Anderson and Sergeant1 contained the following passage:

It is required by the frank and friendly relations which we most earnestly desire ever to cherish with the new Republics, that you should, without reserve, explicitly state that the United States have too much at stake in the fortunes of Cuba, to allow them to see with indifference a war of invasion prosecuted in a desolating manner, or to see employed, in the purposes of such a war, one race of the inhabitants combating against another, upon principles and with motives that must inevitably lead, if not to the extermination of one party or the other, to the almost shocking excesses. The humanity of the United States in respect to the weaker, and which, in such a terrible struggle, would probably be the suffering, portion, and the duty to defend themselves against the contagion of such near and dangerous examples, would constrain them. even at the hazard of losing the friendship of Mexico and Colombia, to employ all the means necessary to their security.

Several years later, Mr. Van Buren, writing as Gen. Jackson's premier to Mr. C. P. Van Ness, our then Minister at Madrid, urges upon Spain, through him, the acknowledgment of South American independence, on this among other grounds:

Considerations connected with a certain class of our population make it the interest of the Southern section of the Union that no attempt should be made in that island [Cuba] to throw off the yoke of Spanish dependence; the first effect of which would be the sudden emancipation of a numerous slave population, whose result could not but be very sensibly felt upon the adjacent shores of the United States.

Thus, so long as any revolution in Cuba, or displacement of the Spanish authority there, seemed likely to affect the stability or perpetuity of Slavery, our Government steadily, officiously opposed such revolution; and, while refusing, so early as 1825, to guarantee the possession of that island to Spain, and informally giving notice that we would never consent to its transfer to any more formidable power, seemed entirely satisfied with, and anxious for, its retention by Spain as her most precious and valued dependency--“ The Queen of the Antilles.”

But, at length, having reannexed Texas, the Slave Power fixed covetous eyes on this fertile, prolific island. In 1848, our Minister, under instructions from President Polk, made an offer of $100,000,000 for it, which was peremptorily, conclusively rejected. Directly thereafter, the South became agitated by “fillibustering” plots for the invasion and conquest of that island, wherein real or pretended Cubans by nativity were prominent as leaders. President Taylor was hardly warm in the White House before he was made aware that these schemes were on the point of realization, and compelled to issue his proclamation2 against them in these words:

There is reason to believe that an armed expedition is about to be fitted out in the United States with an intention to invade the island of Cuba, or some of the provinces of Mexico. The best information which the Executive has been able to obtain points to the island of Cuba as the object of this expedition. It is the duty of this Government to observe the faith of treaties, and to prevent any aggression by our citizens upon the territories of friendly nations. I have, therefore, thought it necessary and proper to issue this Proclamation, to warn all citizens of the United States, who shall connect themselves with any enterprise so grossly in violation of our laws and our treaty obligations, that they will thereby subject themselves to the heavy penalties denounced against them by our acts of Congress, and will forfeit their claim to the protection of their country. No such persons must expect

1 May 8, 1826.

2 August 11, 1849.

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