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The President, and a strong party with him, were anxious to secure the annexation of Dominica, and with this object in view, on the 5th of December, 1870, in his annual message, he had said: ‘I now firmly believe that the moment it is known that the United States have entirely abandoned the project of accepting as a part of its territory, the Island of San Domingo, a free port will be negotiated for by European powers, in the Bay of Samana;’ and ringing some changes upon the Monroe doctrine, he manifested a strong wish to have something effectual done on the subject. On the 12th of the month, Mr. Morton offered Resolutions authorizing the President to appoint three Commissioners, and a Secretary, to proceed to the Island, to obtain all sorts of information, etc., and report.

When the matter came up, Mr. Sumner, who comprehended the whole subject better than any man in either House, moved that the Senate proceed to the consideration of Executive business; and he spoke against the whole annexation scheme. He began by saying: ‘Mr. President,—The resolution before the Senate commits Congress to a dance of blood. It is a new step in a measure of violence; several steps have already been taken, and Congress is now summoned to take another.’ He went on to show that ‘the motive which prompted the appointment of this Commission was by no means limited to inquiry concerning the condition of that Island, but it committed Congress to the [509] policy of its annexation. He foresaw that the country would suffer in its good name; that the negotiation for annexation was begun with a person known as Buenaventura Baez, whom official and unofficial evidence showed to be a political jockey; that it was a scheme which would be attended with violence towards Dominica and violence towards Hayti.’

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