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[407] observation have been considerable; and I know no one who in this vile cause does not forget honor, manhood, and manners,—all. And this is natural. How can a person have these who sanctions a denial of obvious rights? the hardihood with which the slaveholding oligarchy now puts forth its schemes is calculated to shock the public sense. Openly it is prepared to open the accursed slave-trade, and I must confess that this is logical. If slavery be a good, as is represented, we ought to help more Africans to its blessings. In secret session of the Senate, I was able to stop a proposition to withdraw our African squadron and place it on the coast of Cuba. But the effort will be made again at the next session, and again I shall oppose it.

The portentous question now is connected with Cuba.1 To secure that island money to any amount will be lavished, and war will be braved. This Administration is a cross between the pirate and the scorpion, and I shall not be surprised by any audacity. At present we have grand omens. The elections show that the Congress which will come together a year from now will be strongly antislavery. The danger now is that the Administration will make use of the present rump Congress, which lasts till March 4, to consummate its mischief. The present predicament of England and France, already occupied by the war with Russia, is regarded as propitious to some bold stroke for Cuba. With Falkland I cry “Peace, Peace!” and especially that you may be at liberty to help keep the peace in this hemisphere. You are aware, doubtless, that the Southern statesmen sympathize with Russia; and they already speak of ‘Our Southern islands,’ meaning the whole group of the Caribbean Sea. Pray think of these things. For myself, I shall fight all their machinations at every stage, and lay bare their policy; and it does seem as if at last we should have a North.

I have never let you know how grateful I was to your family, and particularly the Duchess of Sutherland, for efforts in quickening our laggard public sentiment. Be sure you did a good work. Its influence was, perhaps, not commensurate with reasonable expectations; but it has entered powerfully into that combination of circumstances by which our world has been moved. Allow me to suggest two things which may be done in England, and will serve us mightily: First, we need a complete and authentic vindication of your own great Act of Emancipation in the West Indies, showing its operation, the errors that may have been made, but the priceless good achieved; . . . and, secondly, English literature can aid the cause of antislavery. Here, again, the reviews and journals may do more than they have done. A favorable notice from a leading English review will have a powerful influence on our public. Pardon me for troubling you with these matters. I know your interest in the cause; and it has occurred to me that, personally, you may be able to touch some persons who will appreciate the hint.

Not long ago I dined with Prescott at his pleasant house by the sea, and he kindly showed me a letter from you which he was very happy to have. He is hard at work on the two volumes which he hopes soon to publish.2

1 Buchanan, Mason. and Soule, under instructions from Pierce, met in October, 1854, at Ostend and Aix-la-Chapelle, to plot for the acquisition of Cuba, and issued the famous ‘Ostend Manifesto.’

2 History of the Reign of Philip II.

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