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relations with Spain, and the anxiety on the part of the latter to have these matters accommodated. I doubt if this be so. At least, I am certain General Narvaez has manifested no anxiety on the subject. Señor Mon has just come into the cabinet as Minister of Finance. He is the brother-in-law of the Minister of State; is the peculiar friend and partisan of Christina; is reported an honest man, and, from his character, is likely to improve the moneyed matters of the country. The calculation is, that he and Narvaez may not continue to act very long with much harmony. I doubt if he is likely to contribute anything to my success in regard to Cuba. I have received from the Minister of State the note, a copy of which I enclose, inviting me, as you will see, to be present at the accouchement of the Duchess of Montpensier. As I found most of the diplomatic corps intended going, I deemed it proper for me to accept, and shall go off within a few days. This may seem rather a ridiculous matter to us, but, as you know, is considered a necessary ceremony among the regal families of Europe. I have been given to understand my prompt acceptance was quite gratifying, both to the Queen and her mother. I trust, therefore, in the absence of any direct instructions, the President will approve of my course. I am, sir, very respectfully,


JAMES BUCHANAN, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

[No. 42.]

Mr. Saunders to Mr. Buchanan.

Madrid, November 17, 1848.

SIR: There appeared in the New York Herald of the 20th October, a letter purporting to be from a Madrid correspondent, and to have been written by an American. It reflects in no very polite terms on this legation, and refers to negotiations which the writer assumes as pending for the cession of Cuba to the United States. These statements, with the editorial of the Herald, have been copied into the English and French papers, and, as you will see from the enclosed articles, have been noticed by the press here. I deemed it proper to call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and to assure him the matter had found its way into the press without any authority from anything done or said on the part of myself or the secretary of this legation. He said he had no suspicion of anything of that kind, but supposed it a trick of the newspaper editors, or of some one, for the purpose of mischief; that it was somewhat annoying, as it was calculated to produce a bad effect in their colonies. I assured him I had taken steps to have the matter set right at home, and to find out, if I could, the author of the letter. He expressed himself as satisfied, and the matter dropped. You will see, from the articles enclosed, the spirit in which the question of the cession is received, and the feeling of the public on the subject. It is certain they regard Cuba as their most precious gem, and nothing short of extreme necessity will ever induce them to part with it. There are

some statements in the publication which I feel called upon to notice. It is utterly untrue that I have ever found it necessary to consult any one unconnected with the legation, in my intercourse with the government. On the contrary, most of the secretaries of foreign affairs since my being here have spoken English, and I have at no time been embarrassed on that account, as the Under-Secretary is a good English scholar. So the statement does great injustice to Mr. Sawyer, as he is a good French scholar, speaks it well, and is fully qualified to converse in and to translate the Spanish. I regret to say, these references, with other allusions in the letter, have excited my suspicions as to the author. In this I may be mistaken. I deem it proper to inform you, as the letter refers to negotiations which the writer says took place during the mission of my predecessor, I felt at liberty to write to Mr. Irving, requesting him to say to Mr. Bennett the statements in the letter were false, and to endeavor, if practicable, to find out its author. You can, therefore, if you should see fit, communicate direct with Mr. Irving, or await his answer to my letter. If my suspicions as to the author of the letter shall prove to be well-founded, he certainly deserves to be exposed; if unfounded, then it will give me pleasure to have them removed.


I have had no encouragement to renew the subject in regard to Cuba; so far as I have been able to collect the opinion of the public, it is against a cession, and I do not think the present ministry could or would venture on such a step; both Pidal and Mon are against it, and Narvaez says nothing.

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As I considered this a favorable opportunity to renew the subject, I remarked to the minister he must excuse me for again calling his attention to the matter of the cession of Cuba; that an impression had been produced in the United States, in consequence of some recent publications on the subject, that Spain might be induced to make the transfer, if terms sufficiently liberal should be offered; and I desired to know if he was willing to hear anything further on the question. He answered, he had understood, from our former conversations on the subject, that I had not been instructed to make any direct proposition for the cession, but was authorized to enter into negotiations whenever it

'might please her Majesty to signify her wish to do so. In the mean time, the President was satisfied to suffer things to remain as they were, so long as Cuba should continue under the dominion of Spain. With this understanding, my communication had been well received, and was entirely satisfactory; that, so understanding me, he had felt authorized to give a direct denial to the publications to which I had referred, and had so instructed the different agents of the government; that he wished the matter thus to stand, as it would enable him to give, in a satisfactory way, any explanations which might be demanded by the Cortes. I replied he had correctly understood me; and I had so reported to my government, and had since received the. President's approval of my course; that I did not now design to make any proposition, as I had received no new instructions; but my object was a simple inquiry, to enable me to learn and to state whether any terms, however liberal, would induce her Majesty to make the cession. He answered, he fully appreciated my motives, as he had seen the statement in the papers, and could answer most positively, "that it was more than any minister dare, to entertain any such proposition; that he believed such to be the feeling of the country, that sooner than see the island transferred to any power, they would prefer seeing it sunk in the ocean." I replied, I was happy to find he understood my motives, and after his positive and candid avowal, I certainly should not again renew the subject, unless I should be specially invited to do so. I was fully aware of this being an unpleasant subject with the ministry; that they had been much annoyed by the recent publications; but as I had heard from private sources that an improper impression had been produced in the United States, in consequence of the articles in the New York Herald, and that I had been charged with inefficiency in failing to press the matter with sufficient energy; and as I was anxious to vindicate myself against such an imputation, and to justify the confidence reposed in me by the President, I felt authorized to renew the conversation, which ended in a way, as I think, to the satisfaction of the minister. I had made it my business to inquire, in a private way, from those I knew to be friendly to the annexation of Cuba to the United States, what they thought to be the public feeling on the subject, and they have uniformly given the same answer; and that was, that the nation would not sanction the measure; that the general belief was, whatever sum might be paid for the cession, it would not go to the relief of the nation, but would be seized upon by those who might happen to be in power. And these remarks were always made under the strictest injunctions of secrecy, as the individuals were most anxious. to conceal the fact that they were friendly to annexation.

I flatter myself the President will not disapprove of what I have felt myself called upon to do, as the matter is now placed beyond all misapprehension, and will be fully understood in future. I might, indeed, have manifested a more active and zealous importunity; but it would have been that pressing importunity, alike wanting in dignity and unauthorized by usage, and which certainly was not becoming a question of this character. I was satisfied a direct proposition would have been met with a flat rejection, and might have left a bad impression; whereas the communication was well received, and may, in the end, produce

a good effect. For the present, I am well convinced such is the temper and feeling of the nation in regard to the matter, that it would not have been within the power of the most skilful diplomatist to have commanded success; and it is because of my conviction that nothing is to be effected on either of these important subjects, that I am most anxious to close my mission and to return to my own country. And, as this is likely to be the last communication which I shall have the honor to make you on this interesting subject, I avail myself of the occasion to renew to the President my grateful acknowledgments for the high confidence reposed in me, and to express my deep regret that it has not been in my power to add to the other important matters which have marked his administration as one of the most distinguished in the annals of our country.

I remain, sir, with high respect and esteem, your obedient servant, R. M. SAUNDERS.


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Secretary of State.

Ex F E H.

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