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[438] been admitted to knowledge of the circumstances of the negotiation. One day the assistant secretary of state (Davis) brought him some despatches from San Domingo, which revealed to him that Baez .was maintained in power by our navy. ‘I confess now,’ he said afterwards, ‘my emotion as I read this painful revelation. Until then I had supposed the proceeding blameless, although precipitate. I had not imagined any such indefensible transgressions.’ He at once visited the navy department, and found that its instructions to commanders and their reports corresponded to what he had discovered in the papers of the state department. It then appeared clearly to him that ‘the treaty was a contract which, according to our own witnesses, was obtained through a ruler owing power to our war ships,’ and that ‘we were engaged in forcing upon a weak people the sacrifice of their country.’ These disclosures, only a part of what came out during the controversy, settled him in his decision to oppose the ratification. When he came to this conclusion, the better course for him—the President having called on him first—would have been to notify the latter that he could not support the treaties. It is not at all likely that he would by so doing have changed the President's purpose,1 but he might possibly by such a recognition have mitigated the heated controversy which ensued. Sunnier afterwards explained why he did not go to the President and state the grounds of his opposition.2 He said:

I will tell you, sir, where perhaps I erred. It was in not going to the President and telling him frankly my opinion of the treaties. Knowing his present interest in annexation, it is easy to imagine that had I seen him on the subject and exposed its true character, some misapprehension would have been avoided; but on careful reflection at the time, I did not regard it as expedient. I thought it more gentle and considerate to avoid discussions with him, being assured that he would ascertain the judgment on annexation through the expression of public sentiment in the newspapers and various report. If in this respect I erred, it was an honest mistake, believing at the time that I was pursuing the more delicate course. Here let me add that I acted also according to my experience with treaties. I am told of a boast by Mr. Seward that he has negotiated half of the treaties of this government. I know not how this is; but if it be true, then have I had the responsibility of carrying half the treaties

1 According to one of the President's secretaries, he was at this time affected by adulation and not disposed to consult others. (Badeau's ‘Grant in Peace,’ pp. 156-158, 159, 160.) This may be true, but it is not the more credible because Badeau states it. This writer implies, though he has not the hardihood to say so explicitly, that the senator could have been brought to support the treaty by an appointment being given to J. M. Ashley. Ibid., pp. 214 215.

2 In Senate, Dec. 21, 1870. Congressional Globe, p. 253.

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