the interference of this Government, in any form, on their behalf, no matter to what extremities they may be reduced in consequence of their conduct. An enterprise to invade the territories of a friendly nation, set on foot and prosecuted within the limits of the United States, is, in the highest degree, criminal, as tending to endanger the peace, and compromit the honor, of this nation; and, therefore, I exhort all good citizens, as they regard our national reputation, as they respect their own laws and the Law of Nations, as they value the blessings of peace and the welfare of their country, to discountenance and prevent, by all lawful means, any such enterprise; and I call upon every officer of this Government, civil or military, to use all efforts in his power to arrest, for trial and punishment, every such offender against the laws providing for the performance of our sacred obligations to foreign powers.This emphatic warning probably embarrassed and delayed the execution of the plot, but did not defeat it. Early in August, 1851--or soon after Gen. Taylor's death — an expedition under Lopez, a Cuban adventurer, sailed in a steamer from New Orleans — always the hotbed of the projects of the Slavery propagandists. About five hundred men embarked in this desperate enterprise, by which a landing was effected on the island of Cuba. All its expectations, however, of a rising in its behalf, or of any manifestation of sympathy on the part of the Cubans, were utterly disappointed. The invaders were easily defeated and made prisoners, when their leader was promptly garroted at Havana,1 and a few of his comrades shot; but the greater number were sentenced to penal servitude in a distant Spanish possession, whence they were ultimately liberated by pardon. The discipline proved effective. There was much talk of further expeditions against Cuba from one or another Southern city. A secret cabal, known as the “Order of the Lone Star,” recruited adventurers and tried to raise funds through all the sea-board cities of the Union, and it was understood that Gen. John A. Quit-man, of Mississippi, one of the ablest and strongest of Mr. Calhoun's disciples, had consented to lead the next expedition against Cuba; but none ever sailed. The “Order of the Lone Star” proved useful to Gen. Pierce in swelling his vote for President in 1852, and soon after subsided into nothingness. As our Government had long expressed satisfaction with the possession of Cuba by Spain, while proclaiming hostility to its transfer to any other power, Great Britain and France determined to put our sincerity to the test; and, accordingly, in 1852, proposed to unite with us in a treaty mutually guaranteeing that island to Spain.2 But Mr. Edward Everett, as Secretary of State to Mr. Fillmore, rejected the overture in an exceedingly smart dispatch. The formal proposition for a joint agreement of perpetual renunciation, on the part of Great Britain, France, and the United States, respectively, of any covetous designs on Cuba,
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1 August 16th.
The high contracting parties hereby severally and collectively disclaim, both now and for hereafter, all intention to obtain possession of the island of Cuba; and they respectively 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 or maintain, for themselves, or for any one of themselves, any exclusive control over the said island, nor assume nor exercise any dominion over the same.
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