was presented, on the 23d of April, to Mr. Webster
, then our Secretary of State
, and by him courteously acknowledged, six days later, in a note which, though not without demur, expressed the acquiescence of our Government in the general views expressed by France
with reference to Cuba
, and gave assurances that, “The President will take M. de Sartiges
' communication into consideration, and give it his best reflections.”
and Mr. Everett
duly installed as his successor, the latter answered2
a note of M. de Sartiges
, recalling Mr. Webster
's attention to this subject, under date of July 8th.
In this answer, our Government peremptorily declines, for various and elaborately stated reasons, any such convention or compact as that proposed to it by France
While still disclaiming, pro forma
, any desire or intention on our part of acquiring Cuba
, this document affords the strongest evidence of a contrary disposition.
It assumes that the Senate would inevitably refuse its assent to the treaty proposed, and adds: “its certain rejection by that body would leave the question of Cuba
in a more unsettled position than it is now.”
It doubts the constitutional power “to impose a permanent disability on the American Government
for all coming time.”
It parades, with significant emphasis, the repeated and important acquisitions of territory by our Government, through the purchase of Louisiana
in 1803, and of Florida
in 1819, as also through the annexation of Texas
; as to which, Mr. Everett
--overdoing his part, as is natural in a Federalist turned fillibuster — volunteers the wholly gratuitous assertion that “there never was an extension of territory more naturally or justifiably made.”
Ignoring the fact that Great Britain
las still possessions in this hemisphere nearly, if not quite, equal in extent to those of our own country, and that her important island of Jamaica
is quite as near to Cuba
as is any portion of our Southern coast, Mr. Everett
The President does not covet the acquisition of Cuba for the United States; at the same time, he considers the acquisition of Cuba as mainly an American question.
The proposed convention proceeds on a different principle.
It assumes that the United States have no other or greater interest in the question than France or England; whereas, it is necessary only to cast one's eye on the map to see how remote are the relations of Europe, and how intimate those of the United States, with this island.
If three strong men were traversing a desert in company with a fourth rich, but weak, companion, and two of them should propose to the other a mutual stipulation not to rob or. otherwise abuse their weak brother, it could hardly fail to astonish them to hear their proposition declined, as contemplating an “entangling alliance” --a perplexing and troublesome undertaking, whereof no one could fully calculate the scope and ultimate consequences.
Yet Mr. Everett
sees fit to say that
There is another strong objection to the proposed agreement.
Among the oldest traditions of the Federal Government is an aversion to political alliances with European powers.
In his memorable Farewell Address, President Washington says: “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial ”