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should be, they might not be at liberty to decline. A subsidiary consideration in favor of peace deserving some weight, is that, as the war has been the parent cause of the shocking piracies in the West Indies, its termination would be probably followed by their cessation; and thus the government of Spain, by one act, would fulfil the double obligation under which it lies to foreign governments, of repressing enormities, the perpetrators of which find refuge, if not succor, in Spanish territory, and that to the Spanish nation itself of promoting its real in
Mr. Clay to Mr. Everett.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
On the twentieth day of last December I addressed a note to each of the ministers from Colombia and Mexico, a copy of which is now forwarded, for the purpose of prevailing upon their respective governments to suspend any expedition which both or either of them might be fitting out against the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico. The President considered the suspension might have a favorable effect upon the cause of peace, and it was also recommended by other considerations. We have not yet been officially informed of the result of the application, but it was made under auspicious circumstances, and there is reason to believe that it will be attended with the desired effect. You will avail yourself of this measure to impress upon Spain the propriety of putting an end to the war, and urge it as a new proof of the friendly dispositions of this government. In respect to Cuba and Porto Rico, there can be little doubt, if the war were once ended, that they would be safe in the possession of Spain; they would at least be secure from foreign attacks, and all ideas of independence which the inhabitants may entertain would cease with the cessation of the state of war which has excited them. Great Britain is fully aware that the United States could not consent to her occupation of those islands under any contingencies whatever. France, as you will see by the annexed correspondence with Mr. Brown and with the French government, also well knows that we could not see with indifference her acquisition of those islands; and the forbearance of the United States in regard to them may be fully relied on from their known justice, from their patience and moderation heretofore exhibited, and from their established pacific policy. If the acquisition of Cuba were desirable to the United States, there is believed to be no reasonable prospect of effecting at this conjucture that object; and, if there were any, the frankness of their diplomacy, which has induced the President freely and fully to disclose our views both to Great Britain and France, forbids absolutely any movement whatever at this time with such a purpose. This condition of the great maritime powers (the United States, Great Britain, and France) is almost equivalent to an absolute guaranty of the islands to Spain; but we can enter into no stipulations by treaty to guaranty them, and the President therefore ap
proves your having explicitly communicated to Spain that we could contract no engagement to guaranty them. You will continue to decline any proposal to that effect, should any such hereafter be made.
Mr. A. H. Everett to the Secretary of State.
MADRID, August 17, 1827.
SIR: The enclosed copy of a confidential despatch addressed to the Minister of State, by the Conde de la Alcudia, Spanish minister at London, was handed me to-day by a private friend, and may be depended on as authentic. As the communication was made to me in the strictest confidence, and as the document is in itself unsuitable for the press, I take the liberty of transmitting it to you-for the President's information-in the form of a private letter, and request that it may not be placed on the public files of the Department of State.
In this letter the Spanish minister informs his government of a plan conceived by that of England, and already in a state of partial execution, for effecting a revolution in the Canary islands and in Cuba. The sources from which the Count de la Alcudia derived his knowledge upon the subject are, as you will perceive, of the most respectable character, and such as leave no doubt of the facts. The object seems to be, to establish the British influence in these islands-in the end, probably, to obtain territorial possession of them; and the cover of a spontaneous declaration of independence by the inhabitants is to be employed in order, as is expressly stated, to avoid awakening the jealousy of the government of the United States.
I have thought it of high importance to give you the earliest information of these proceedings; and, wishing to send off the paper by the French courier that leaves town to-night, I have no time at present to add any further remarks. The President will perceive at once the bearing of these projects upon the interest of the United States, and will judge what measures it may be proper to adopt for the purpose of defeating them, or counteracting their effects. If any should be resolved on in which my concurrence may be wanted, you will, of course, favor me with the necessary instructions. In the mean time I shall endeavor to collect all the information on the subject that is accessible here, and shall give you notice of any other circumstances that may come to my knowledge.
It is rather singular that the Duke of Wellington should have made known to the Spanish minister a plan formed and acted on while he was himself a member of the cabinet. The fact was probably owing to the strong feelings of disgust and bitterness with which he has been inspired by the late change in the administration. It is also rather singular that Mr. Salmon himself should have made no communications to me upon a project which is certainly not indifferent to the United States, and in regard to which he might naturally expect that their co-operation would be useful to Spain. Upon this point, and others connected with the sub
ject, I shall hereafter submit to your consideration some additional remarks.
I am, with great respect, sir, your very faithful and obedient servant, A. H. EVERETT.
Translation of a private despatch addressed by the Spanish Minister at London to the Minister of State.
LONDON, June 1, 1827.
MOST EXCELLENT SIR: I deem it my duty to give you notice, for the information of the King, our lord, that this government despatched a frigate some time ago to the Canary islands, with commissioners on board, who were instructed to ascertain whether any preparations were making there for an expedition to America, and also the state of defence of those islands, and the dispositions of the inhabitants. The result of these inquiries was that the said islands were in a wholly defenceless situation, provided with few troops, and those disaffected and ready for any innovation.
The frigate then proceeded to the Havana, where the commissioners found many persons disposed to revolt; but in consequence of the large military force stationed there, and the strength of the fortifications, they considered it impossible to take possession of the island without the co-operation of the authorities and the army. In consequence of the information thus obtained, measures have been taken in both these islands to prepare the public opinion, by means of emissaries, in favor of England, to the end that the inhabitants may be brought to declare themselves independent, and to solicit the protection of the British. The latter are prepared to assist them, and will in this way avoid any collision with the United States. The whole operation has been undertaken and is to be conducted in concert with the revolutionists resident here (at London) and in the islands, who have designated a Spanish general, now at this place, to take the command of the Havana when the occasion shall require it.
The Duke of Wellington communicated to me the above information, which is also confirmed by an intimation which he gave to Brigadier General Don Francisco Armentecos, when this officer took leave of him to go to the Havana. The Duke then advised him, if he should discover any symptoms of disaffection in the authorities, to give immediate notice to the King, as it would be a grievous thing for his Majesty to lose the Havana.
I have thought it my duty to make these circumstances known to your excellency. God keep you many years.
EL CONDE DE LA ALCUDIA. His Excellency the FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE.
Mr. A. H. Everett to the Secretary of State.
[No. 3, CONFIDENTIAL.]
MADRID, December 12, 1827.
SIR: I have intended, ever since I received the information respecting the British intrigue for revolutionizing the island of Cuba and the Canaries, to communicate with this government upon the subject at the earliest favorable opportunity. The unsettled state of the administration for some time after, and then the departure of the King and the only effective minister for Catalonia, together with the urgent character of their occupations in that quarter, rendered it of course inexpedient for the time to direct their attention to any other affairs, however in themselves important. I should probably have adjourned the matter until after the King's return, which is expected about the middle of January, had not the government recently shown a disposition to terminate at once the negotiation respecting indemnities. It struck me that a free communication with the minister, upon the subject alluded to, would naturally produce a more friendly and confidential feeling towards the United States, which might possibly have a favorable effect upon the decision of this question. In the conversations which I have recently had with Mr. Salmon, I have accordingly taken occasion to suggest, without of course mentioning from what quarter the information had been received, that the government of the United States had reason to suppose that the British government had organized a plan for revolutionizing the islands; and I inquired of him whether this government had any knowledge of the proceedings. Mr. Salmon seemned a little surprised at the tenor of my remarks, but replied that this government had in fact received information some months ago that the British government had sent out a frigate to the Canaries and to Cuba, for the purpose of reconnoitring the state of the preparations for defence at those islands, and of establishing relations with such discontented persons as might be found there. He had heard nothing respecting the results of this expedition, and believed that thus far everything was tranquil and secure. The government, he said, placed great dependence on the fidelity and efficiency of the troops at Cuba, which they believed were quite competent to secure the island against any hostile enterprise, foreign or domestic.
I then mentioned to Mr. Salmon, that according to the information which the government of the United States had received, the object of the plan was to place the islands under the protection of Great Britain; but that the form of a declaration of independence was to be adopted, in order to avoid awakening the jealousy of the United States; that the United States would not, of course, be deceived by this artifice; that they could not view with indifference these movements of the British government, considering it, as they did, as a settled principle that the island must in no event pass into the possession of, or under the protection of, any European power other than Spain; that it was not their desire to derive any accession of territory, or other direct advantage, from the part which they might be compelled to take in the affairs of Cuba, by the result of this intrigue; but, on the contrary, to
employ their influence, should it be necessary, in the manner most agrecable to the wishes and the interest of his Majesty; and 1 intimated to him that the moment seemed to be favorable for a more full and free communication of intentions and opinions respecting the state of this island, and of the American colonies in general, than had yet taken place between the two powers. I suggested to him, at the same time, that it would, in my opinion, contribute materially to the establishment of a good understanding between them, (so desirable, on every account, at the present moment,) if his Majesty's government would consent to arrange immediately, to the satisfaction of the United States, the several questions now under negotiation. Mr. Salmon appeared to be a good deal interested in what I said upon the subject, and requested me to give him a note of the principal particulars, that he might be able to make them known with precision to the other ministers. I have accordingly prepared a short confidential memorandum upon the subject, which I shall hand him the next time I see him, and of which a copy is herewith transmitted. No results can be expected from these communications in reference to the more general subject of the colonies, or even of the island of Cuba, until after the return of the King and Mr. Calomarde. If they have any immediate effect, it can only be upon the decision of the minor matters in negotiation between the two governments, and especially the indemnity question. On this latter point I am not at all sanguine, but have considered it my duty to try the chance.
Hon. HENRY CLAY, Secretary of State.
Confidential memorandum for the Secretary of State.
MADRID, December 10, 1827.
The government of the United States have been informed, and that of his Catholic Majesty cannot of course be ignorant, of the movements commenced a few months ago by the British ministry, in conjunction with the Spanish refugees in London, and now in a course of execution, for the purpose of revolutionizing the island of Cuba and the Canaries. The strong contrast between these proceedings and those of the government of the United States in the same quarter, which have been made known to his Majesty and met his approbation, will serve, it is hoped, to enlighten the councils of Spain in regard to some important points in her foreign policy.
In the papers which have been transmitted to the government of the United States in regard to this subject, it is expressly stated, on the authority of some of the highest personages in Great Britain, that the main object of the plan is to place the islands in question under the protection of that power, but that the form of a declaration of independence will be adopted in order to avoid awakening the jealousy of the United States. The United States will, of course, not be duped by this artifice; and it is impossible for them to view with indifference these movements of the British government, considering it, as they do, as a settled principle that the island of Cuba must in no event, and