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support the troops and maintain the vessels of war necessary for its defence and security.
It will occur to you that if Spain should cede Cuba to the United States, she would at once relieve herself from a great part, if not the whole of this civil, military and naval expenditure. In this view of the subject, it would seem that the sum of $50,000,000 would be an ample pecuniary indemnity to Spain for the loss of the island.
2d. What net revenue would it yield to the government of the United States at the present moment?
In estimating the amount of this revenue, we must mainly rely upon. two sources duties on imports, and the proceeds of the public lands. Of the average revenue of $8,945,581 for the five years ending with 1837, McCulloch states that "the maritime duties formed 61 per cent.; the internal taxes 22 per cent.; the ecclesiastical deductions 11 per cent.; the personal deductions 21 per cent.; the miscellaneous revenues 23 per cent.; and the casual revenues 10 per cent. Now it is manifest that if Cuba were in the possession of the United States, the people would be relieved from the greater part if not the whole of these contributions, with the exception of the maritime duties. Besides, a considerable proportion of these maritime duties are levied upon exports which the constitution of the United States would forbid. But the important inquiry on this branch of the subject is, what amount of duties could we collect in the island? and this must depend upon the amount of the imports.
This we can ascertain for many years up, till 1844 inclusive, from the tables published annually by the Intendente of the island. The following tabular statement, extracted from Hunt's Magazine, is doubtless correct:
Admitting that these imports have increased to $26,000,000 since 1844, and estimating the average rate of our duties under the existing tariff at 25 per cent., which the Secretary of the Treasury informs me is correct within a small fraction, the revenue from imports would amount to $6,500,000; but, from this sum must be deducted that portion of it which arises from productions of the United States imported into Cuba. The total value of these during the year ending the 30th June, 1846, according to the books of our custom-house, was $4,713966. Estimating for their increased value at the custom-houses in Cuba, in consequence of freight and other charges, it would approximate the truth to state that one-fifth of the imports into Cuba consists of American productions. Then, in order to show what revenue we would derive from imports into Cuba, we must deduct one-fifth from $6,500,000, and the balance remaining, $5,200,000, would be the
It may be remarked, however, that our acquisition of the island
would doubtless considerably increase the annual military and naval expenditures of the United States. But these calculations all refer to Cuba in its present condition. Were it a possession of the United States, its population and industry, and consequently its exports, would rapidly increase, and produce proportionally increased imports. Indeed, it is highly probable that during the very first year the duties would amount to a sum not less than $6,000,000.
In regard to the quantity of public lands still remaining in Cuba the department does not possess accurate information. From all that we have learned, it is believed that the crown of Spain has already granted by far the greater portion of the whole territory of the island to individuals. We need not, therefore, calculate upon deriving much revenue from this source. Upon the whole, the President would not hesitate to stipulate for the payment of in convenient instalments, for a cession of the island of Cuba, if it could not be procured for a less
The apprehensions which existed for many years after the origin of this government, that the extension of our federal system would endanger the Union, seem to have passed away. Experience has proved that this system of confederated republics, under which the federal government has charge of interests common to the whole, whilst local governments watch over the concerns of the respective States, is capable of almost indefinite extension, with increasing strength. This, however, is always subject to the qualification that the mass of the population must be of our own race, or must have been educated in the school of civil and religious liberty. With this qualification, the more we increase the number of confederated States, the greater will be the strength and security of the Union, because the more dependent for their mutual interests will the several parts be upon the whole, and the whole upon the several parts. It is true that of the 418,291 white inhabitants which Cuba contained in 1841, a very large proportion is of the Spanish race: still, many of our citizens have settled on the island, and some of them are large holders of property. Under our government it would speedily be Americanized, as Louisiana has been. Within the boundaries of such a federal system alone can a trade exempt from duties and absolutely free be enjoyed. With the possession of Cuba we should have throughout the Union a free trade on a more extended scale than any which the world has ever witnessed, arousing an energy and activity of competition which would result in a most rapid improvement in all that contributes to the welfare and happiness of the human race. What State would forego the advantages of this vast free trade with all her sisters, and place herself in lonely isolation? But the acquisition of Cuba would greatly strengthen our bond of union. Its possession would secure to all the States within the valley of the Mississippi and Gulf of Mexico free access to the ocean; but this security could only be preserved whilst the ship-building and navigating States of the Atlantic shall furnish a navy sufficient to keep open the outlets from the gulf to the ocean. Cuba, justly appreciating the advantages of annexation, is now ready to rush into our arms. Once admitted, she would be entirely dependent for her prosperity, and even existence, upon her connexion with the Union, whilst the rapidly increasing trade between
her and the other States would shed its blessings and its benefits over the whole. Such a state of mutual dependence, resulting from the very nature of things, the world has never witnessed. This is what will insure the perpetuity of our Union.
With all these considerations in view, the President believes that the crisis has arrived when an effort should be made to purchase the island of Cuba from Spain, and he has determined to intrust you with the performance of this most delicate and important duty. The attempt should be made, in the first instance, in a confidential conversation with the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs; a written offer might produce an absolute refusal in writing, which would embarrass us hereafter in the acquisition of the island. Besides, from the incessant changes in the Spanish cabinet and policy, our desire to make the purchase might thus be made known in an official form to foreign governments, and arouse their jealousy and active opposition. Indeed, even if the present cabinet should think favorably of the proposition, they might be greatly embarrassed by having it placed on record; for in that event it would almost certainly, through some channel, reach the opposition and become the subject of discussion in the Cortes. Such delicate negotiations, at least in their incipient stages, ought always to be conducted in confidential conversation, and with the utmost secrecy and despatch.
At your interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs you might introduce the subject by referring to the present distracted condition of Cuba, and the danger which exists that the population will make an attempt to accomplish a revolution. This must be well known to the Spanish government. In order to convince him of the good faith and friendship towards Spain with which this government has acted, you might read to him the first part of my despatch to General Campbell, and the order issued by the Secretary of War to the commanding general in Mexico and to the officer having charge of the embarcation of our troops at Vera Cruz. You may then touch delicately upon the danger that Spain may lose Cuba by a revolution in the island, or that it may be wrested from her by Great Britain, should a rupture take place between the two countries arising out of the dismissal of Sir Henry Bulwer, and be retained to pay the Spanish debt due to the British bond-holders. You might assure him that, whilst this government is entirely satisfied that Cuba shall remain under the dominion of Spain, we should in any event resist its acquisition by any other nation. And finally, you might inform him that, under all these circumstances, the President had arrived at the conclusion that Spain might be willing to transfer the island to the United States for a fair and full consideration. You might cite as a precedent the cession of Louisiana to this country by Napoleon, under somewhat similar circumstances, when he was at the zenith of his power and glory. I have merely presented these topics in their natural order, and you can fill up the outline from the information communicated in this despatch, as well as from your own knowledge of the subject. Should the Minister for Foreign Affairs lend a favorable ear to your proposition, then the question of the consideration to be paid would arise, and you have been furnished with information in this despatch which will enable you to discuss that question. In justice to Mr. Calderon I ought here to observe, that whilst
giving me the information before stated, in regard to the net amount of revenue from Cuba which reached Old Spain, he had not then, and has not now, the most remote idea of our intention to make an attempt to purchase the island.
The President would be willing to stipulate for the payment of one hundred millions of dollars. This, however, is the maximum price; and if Spain should be willing to sell, you will use your best efforts to purchase it at a rate as much below that sum as practicable. In case you should be able to conclude a treaty, you may adopt as your model, so far as the same may be applicable, the two conventions of April 30, 1803, between France and the United States, for the sale and purchase of Louisiana. The seventh and eighth articles of the first of these conventions ought, if possible, to be omitted; still, if this should be indispensable to the accomplishment of the object, articles similar to them may be retained.
I transmit you a full power to conclude such a treaty.
You will be careful to make a full and faithful report to this department of all the conversations and proceedings on this subject between yourself and the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs. Should you succeed in accomplishing the object, you will associate your name with a most important and beneficial measure for the glory and prosperity of your country.
Yours, very respectfully,
ROMULUS M. SAUNDERS, Esq.
P. S.-You will send your despatches on the subject of this despatch by a special messenger to our consul at Liverpool, and draw upon the department for the expense, unless you can transmit them by a trusty person. They may be directed to the President. You may probably have occasion, in relation to this subject, to use the cipher of the lega
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
SIR: With reference to the instructions to you of the 17th ultimo, (No. 21) I will thank you to substitute the following paragraph for that beginning with the words, "In regard to the public lands of Cuba:"
In regard to the quantity of public lands still remaining in Cuba, the department does not possess accurate information. From all that we have learned, it is believed that the Crown of Spain has already granted by far the greater portion of the whole territory of the island to individuals. We need not, therefore, calculate upon deriving much revenue from this
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROMULUS M. SAUNDERS, Esq.
Mr. Saunders to Mr. Buchanan.
LA GRANJA, July 29, 1849. SIR: I had the honor to receive, by the hands of Mr. Sawyer, on the 24th instant, despatch No. 21, enclosing copies of a letter from the department to Mr. Campbell, and of a confidential order from the Secretary of War to Major General Butler, all relating to matters in Cuba, together with a special commission from the President, authorizing me to enter into negotiations for the cession of that island to the United States.
In acknowledging the receipt of these papers, I beg to express to the President my deep obligations for this distinguished mark of confidence in confiding to me so important and delicate a commission, and at the same time to express to you my thanks for the very full and valuable information you have given me in your despatch. I shall not fail to avail myself freely of its suggestions, facts and arguments, in any negotiation I may have on the subject.
As I am directed to make a full and faithful report to the department of everything which may transpire in connexion with the subject, I have thought it advisable to avail myself of your directions to engage a special messenger to carry this communication as far as Liverpool, and to make it as full as I can at this time, so that, in any future despatch I may refer to it in a way you will understand, without, at the same time, risking anything by a miscarriage.
There are difficulties which surround the subject, which meet us at the threshold, and which it is proper I should explain, that you may be the better prepared to judge as to the course I may find it necessary to pursue in the business. In the first place, I am not a little embarrassed as to the person to whom I should first open the subject.
I have also heard from another source, that the Duke of Sotomayor was unfriendly to the United States. I have not myself discovered any feeling of the kind. On the contrary, he always speaks with pride of his grandfather, Governor McKean, and with respect of our country. General Narvaez, the president of the council, is a bold, fearless man, the soul of the cabinet. * Yet he is difficult of approach, and might not like the responsibility of having the subject in the first instance broached to him. Another difficulty, and, as I fear, an insurmountable one, is the influence of the Queen, Mother. She has great control over her daughter, and is feared by the ministry, and I suspect would most decidedly object to the cession. She has considerable investments in Cuba, from which she derives great profits.
These investments are loudly complained of by the people of Havana, as interfering with their private matters, and such as the Queen Mother should not intermeddle with-such as gaslight companies, and other associations, in a small way. She could only be silenced by a prospect of gain, or indemnity for her loss; but at this stage of the business, it is not necessary she should know anything about it, unless