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they will find an asylum in the island of Cuba. This letter is, as I am informed by one of the signers, intended to prepare the people of Cuba for the worst that can happen here. They suppose, and no doubt correctly, that the invasion of the mother country will elicit much speculation as to the future fate of the island among its inhabitants, and that the impulse which they have received in favor of independence will not now be easily repressed; they see calamities, therefore, brooding over their island. These deputies, who, in common with their colleagues, voted for the removal of the royal family to this place, are now declared traitors by the regency at Madrid, and will, if the cause of the constitution fails, be exposed to cruel persecutors. Under these circumstances, it is not astonishing that they should wish to insure themselves an asylum among their friends, and save their particular provinces from the despotism with which those of Europe are threatened. Great, however, as is their horror of despotism, it does not exceed their dread of becoming independent too soon. In their anxiety, they cast their eyes towards the United States, and inquire whether an arrangement could not be made for the protection of the island against the evils with which it is threatened in case things go badly here. Is there no remedy, say they, but holding again our necks to the yoke? Is there no alternative between despotism and the ruin that awaits us if, unsupported, we attempt to resist? I have not dared to suggest any, though I should suppose that the United States, or the United States and England jointly, might find one in a guarantee of the island to Spain, while in the enjoyment of the provincial government lately decreed for it by the Cortes. The present is the moment when such an arrangement might be made with Spain; all her influential men look to the chance of being driven from their country, and would probably rejoice in having it in their power to reconcile its best interests with their own safety. Should Mr. Nelson come provided with adequate instructions, he will arrive in the best possible moment to fix the fate of the island in the way that will best suit the interests of the United States.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS,
Hugh Nelson to the Secretary of State.
MADRID, July 10, 1825.
SIR: I have the honor to enclose a copy of my last note to the Secretary of State of his Catholic Majesty, in which, on his request, I state what I have been instructed to say to this government in reference to the aversion of the American government to see the island of Cuba pass into the hands of any other European power, and our disclaimer of all views on our part in reference to the same subject. This note was written on the request of the Secretary, and on his stating that it would extract from them an answer in writing on the application which I had made for the privilege of sending consuls to these islands. It has pro
duced no such effect; and although I have called repeatedly in person and urged the subject, and have delayed my departure from Madrid some weeks on their request, I have only obtained a promise that it would soon be given. As I presumed, from its delay, that it would not probably be very favorable, I have concluded to leave it to my suc
Hon. HENRY CLAY,
Secretary of State.
Don Francisco de Zea Bermudez to Mr. Nelson.
PALACE, July 12, 1825.
SIR: I had the honor of laying before the King, my august master, the note which you were pleased to address to me on the 22d ultimo. His Majesty has, with the greatest satisfaction, seen confirmed in it the friendly dispositions of your government, and, firmly persuaded of their continuance, will always take pleasure in responding to them with that faithfulness and noble frankness which are characteristic of him.
His Majesty has at no time thought of ceding to any power the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico, and, so far from such a purpose, is firmly determined to keep them under the dominion and authority of his legitimate sovereignty.
This formal declaration will be satisfactory to the wishes of your government, as you have been pleased to state to me with respect to the intentions of Spain; and the equally explicit declaration which you make me, that the United States will not suffer, far less take part or afford this assistance to, any plan which, by means of expeditions or armaments, or of any other mode, is intended to foment internal discord in said islands, to disturb their tranquillity, or attempt their separation from the Spanish empire, has been in the highest degree grateful to the King, my master. Wherefore, his Majesty doubts not that your gov ernment, duly appreciating the just observations which I had the honor of making to you verbally, will particularly apply, with respect to the said possessions, all the amplitude necessary to the assurances and guarantees which you mention to me, and that in a faithful observance of the strictest neutrality it will be pleased to take the most prompt and efficacious measures to prevent the rebellious subjects of his Majesty in America from availing themselves of tortuous and secret means, in having, in the ports and on the coasts of the United States, armaments intended to harass the commerce of Spain in the American seas, to attack said islands, to introduce into them a revolution, or promote their separation from the mother country. His Majesty is still further persuaded that your government will immediately direct the proper means for uprooting these evils, as it cannot be ignorant that there have been, and now are, many cases in which, by eluding the laws of the country, there have been built, armed, and equipped, on account of, by the instigation and with the flags of, the self-styled governments of Mexico,
Colombia, and Buenos Ayres, in the ports of the United States, ships of war and privateers of individuals; that, frequently converted into pirates, they are employed in insulting and harassing not only the said islands and their commerce, but also the commerce and navigation of other nations.
When, therefore, by these and other securities, which the American government may judge fit and proper for their dignity and interests to give to Spain, the minds of the inhabitants of Cuba and Porto Rico are tranquilized respecting the injuries which they have suffered and the evils which they dread, then his Majesty will hasten to take into consideration the proposition which you have been pleased to make me, about the admission into them of consuls of the United States; you may be assured, sir, of the fidelity with which his Majesty will invariably respond to the testimonies of friendship which he receives from the United States, cheerfully concurring on his part to consolidate the harmony and good understanding between the two nations.
I avail myself of this occasion to express to you, sir, the value and esteem which the King, my master, has for you personally, for the frankness and good faith with which you have endeavored, during your residence at this court, to conciliate the interests of both powers; and, wishing you the most prosperous return to your country, I pray you, sir, to receive the assurances of my sincere good will and very distinguished consideration.
God preserve you many years.
Your most obedient, humble servant,
FRANCISCO DE ZEA BERMUDEZ.
Hugh Nelson to H. C. M. First Secretary of State.
[With No. 59.]
MADRID, June 22, 1825.
The undersigned, minister plenipotentiary of the United States, has the honor to submit to his excellency a proposition in behalf of the government of the United States, for the admission of consuls into his Catholic Majesty's islands of Cuba and Porto Rico. The undersigned having presented to his excellency this proposal in conversation, now, by the request of his excellency, offers it in writing. His excellency having suggested, in the conference on this subject, the propriety, on the part of Spain, under existing circumstances, of asking some assurances, or pledges, to guard against the hazard of injury which might result from this measure, was informed by the undersigned that he was not authorized to give any assurances or pledges, but that when he was honored with the mission to Madrid, there then being in circulation rumors that some European power was negotiating with Spain for the transfer of these islands, he was authorized to declare to Spain the repugnance with which the United States would see these islands transferred to any other power; that they prefer to see the connexion between Spain and these islands continued, to their severance from Spain and junction to
any such power who might be desirous of acquiring these rich possessions; that whilst instructed not to conceal from Spain the repugnance of the United States to such transfer of these islands, he was authorized, unequivocally, to disclaim all views of aggrandizement, on their own part, in reference to these objects, and to declare the exemption of his government from all connivance at, or countenance of, internal dissension, or at expeditions, or equipments, having in view either the disturbance of the internal repose of these islands, or the dismemberment of the Spanish empire. The undersigned was also instructed to say that the government of the United States expected, from the friendship and good understanding subsisting between the two governments, that Spain would not conceal from them a measure of this sort, should they at any time contemplate the transfer of these islands, so contiguous to the territory of the United States. These instructions were only deemed necessary from the existence of the rumors alluded to, and from some insinuations which had been made by the representative of his Catholic Majesty in the United States, injurious to the good faith and honor of the United States, which it was presumed might have been laid before his Majesty's government, and might render these explanations proper. The undersigned has the honor to ask an answer to his proposals, and to tender to his excellency his distinguished consideration, and to subscribe himself his excellency's obedient, humble servant, &c.,
Mr. Clay to Mr. Everett.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Besides the preceding objects, to which your attention will be directed, others of great interest will also claim it. Of these, that of the highest importance is the present war between Spain and her former colonies on this continent. The President wishes you to bring this subject, in the most conciliatory manner possible, before the Spanish government; it would be as unnecessary as unprofitable to look to the past, except for the purpose of guiding future conduct. True wisdom dictates that Spain, without indulging in unavailing regrets on account of what she has irretrievably lost, should employ the means of retrieving what she may yet preserve from the wreck of her former possessions. The war upon the continent is, in fact, at an end, and not a solitary foot of land from the western limit of the United States to Cape Horn owns her sway, not a bayonet in all that vast extent remains to sustain her cause, and the Peninsula is utterly incompetent to replace those armies which have been vanquished and annihilated by the victorious forces of the new republics. What possible object, then, can remain to Spain to protract a war which she can no longer maintain, and to the conclusion of which, in form, there is only wanting the recognition of the new governments by treaties of peace? If there were
left the most distant prospect of her reconquering her continental provinces which have achieved their independence, there might be a motive for her perseverance. But every expectation of such reconquest, it is manifest, must be perfectly chimerical; if she can entertain no rational hope to recover what has been forced from her grasp, is there not great danger of her losing what she yet but feebly holds? It should be borne in mind that the armies of the new States, flushed with victory, have no longer employment on the continent; and yet, whilst the war continues, if it be only in name, they cannot be disbanded without a disregard of all the maxims of just precaution. To what object, then, will the new republics direct their powerful and victorious armies? They have a common interest and a common enemy; and let it be supposed that that enemy, weak and exhausted as he is, refuses to make peace, will they not strike wherever they can reach? and from the proximity and great value of Cuba and Porto Rico, is it not to be anticipated that they will aim, and aim a successful blow, too, at those Spanish islands? Whilst they would operate from without, means would doubtless be at the same time employed to stimulate the population within to a revolt; and that the disposition exists among the inhabitants to a considerable extent to throw off the Spanish authority, is well known. It is due to the United States to declare, that they have constantly declined to give any countenance to that disposition.
It is not, then, for the new republics that the President wishes you to urge upon Spain the expediency of concluding the war; their interest is probably on the side of its continuance, if any nation can ever have an interest in a state of war. But it is for Spain herself, for the cause of humanity, for the general repose of the world, that you are required, with all the delicacy which belongs to the subject, to use every topic of persuasion to impress upon the councils of Spain the propriety, by a formal pacification, of terminating the war; and as the views and policy of the United States in regard to those islands may possibly have some influence, you are authorized frankly and fully to disclose them. The United States are satisfied with the present condition of those islands in the hands of Spain, and with their ports open to our commerce as they are now open; this government desires no political change of that condition. The population itself of the islands is incompetent at present, from its composition and its amount, to maintain self-government. The maritime force of the neighboring republics of Mexico and Colombia is not now, nor is it likely shortly to be, adequate to the protection of those islands if the conquest of them were effected. The United States would entertain constant apprehensions of their passing from their possession to that of some less friendly Sovereignty; and of all the European powers, this country prefers that Cuba and Porto Rico should remain dependent on Spain. If the war should continue between Spain and the new republics, and those islands should become the object and the theatre of it, their fortunes have such a connexion with the prosperity of the United States, that they could not be indifferent spectators; and the possible contingencies of such a protracted war might bring upon the government of the United States duties and obligations, the performance of which, however painful it