so telling and effective with the masses, and that he had not felt it to be a desecration of God's word; for which, though familiar with it from his childhood, he always had the profoundest reverence.
And now we come to the period when he entered upon a new military career, and that has been much misunderstood as to its character and motives, and was generally stigmatized as ‘Fillibustering.’
His was a far nobler purpose.
He was induced to join General Lopeza
first Cuban expedition not only from an impulse of philanthropy, but from a patriotic purpose, i. e
., to maintain the equilibrium of the States by strengthening the South
Several prominent statesmen, who were also his warm personal friends, urged him to embark in an enterprise which promised great national benefits as well as personal fame and fortune.
In the coming sectional strife, which was then casting its shadow before, he and his friends fondly believed that the acquisition of Cuba
as a new slave State would enable the South
to withstand the further aggressions of Northern fanaticism, and maintain her rights under the Constitution
Several leading men had promised their open cooperation as soon as it was expedient.
The public authorities did not interfere, and the expedition sailed from New Orleans with the sympathy and good wishes of the entire community.
So far from being regarded as Quixotic, it was universally expected to be completely and at once successful.
were represented as only awaiting the landing of an organized force with a supply of arms and ammunition, to rush into its ranks and fill up its skeleton regiments with patriots panting for freedom.
To those who quoted the philosophic aphorism, ‘Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow,’ Colonel Wheat
(so commissioned by the Cuban Junta
) was used to say, ‘Suppose a weak woman gagged, manacled, dungeoned, and completely in the power of a brutal ravisher, would you hesitate a moment to attempt her rescue even at the risk of your life?
Every sentiment and instinct of manhood answers, No!
a thousand times, No!’
It was from General Lopez
that he got the full information which won him to the cause of Cuban independence.
All their subsequent intercourse did but deepen his first favorable impression of Lopez
, as a pure patriot, an accomplished soldier, and a truly Christian gentleman.
In planning this first expedition, especial care was taken not to compromise the neutrality of our own government.
The place of rendezvous was in mid-ocean, beyond the limits of the United States
There the ‘emigrants,’ as they called themselves, were