Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Political and economic conditions...
 Public opinion in Cuba
 American attitude toward Cuba
 Narciso Lopez and the round island...
 The cardenas expedition
 The Cleopatra and the pampero
 The last attempt

Group Title: Lopez expeditions to Cuba 1848-1851 ...
Title: The Lopez expeditions to Cuba 1848-1851
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075448/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Lopez expeditions to Cuba 1848-1851
Physical Description: 2 p. l., 138 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Caldwell, Robert Granville, b. 1882
Publisher: Princeton university press etc.,etc.
Place of Publication: Princeton
Publication Date: 1915
Subject: History -- Cuba -- Insurrection, 1849-1851   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 123-138.
Statement of Responsibility: by Robert Granville Caldwell ...
General Note: Thesis (PH.D.)--Princeton university, 1912.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00075448
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000129381
oclc - 24467488
notis - AAP5396

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Political and economic conditions in Cuba in 1850
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Public opinion in Cuba
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    American attitude toward Cuba
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    Narciso Lopez and the round island expedition
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    The cardenas expedition
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    The Cleopatra and the pampero
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
    The last attempt
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
Full Text






Assistant Professor of History
Rice Institute, Houston, Texas


Published October, 1915

Accepted by the Department of History and Politics
January, 1912



PREFACE .................................... I

IN 1850o ................................... 3

II. PUBLIC OPINION IN CUBA .................... 19


DITION ................................... 43

V. THE CARDENAS EXPEDITION .................. 57


VII. THE LAST ATTEMPT ........................ 91

VIII. RESULTS .................................... 114

BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................... 122

It is my purpose to write the story of the Lopez' expeditions
to Cuba in such a way as to throw light on both American and
Cuban conditions in 1850. The single existing monograph on
this subject was written to be read by the author before the
Filson Club of Louisville, Kentucky, from material collected
for a historical novel. It therefore deals especially with the
biographical details connected with the Kentuckians who took
part in the expedition. The author, Mr. A. C. Quisenberry,
has written with much charm of style, but it lay beyond his
purpose to consider the broader aspects of the subject. His
account does not aim to be critical, nor has he used any of the
Spanish sources. The newspaper accounts seem to have been
followed somewhat too readily. The brief account in the first
volume of Mr. James Ford Rhodes' History of the United
States is remarkable for its fairness and clearness, but neces-
sarily omits details, while the recent volume by Admiral Chad-
wick entitled "The Relations of the United States and Spain-
Diplomacy" treats almost exclusively the diplomatic results of
the expedition. The only other account of importance is con-
tained in a large volume by Dr. Vidal Morales, "Iniciadores y
Primeros Martires de la Revolucion Cubana." This volume is
essentially a collection of documents printed in full, with com-
ments by the author. These documents are of varying import-
ance, and serve to throw light on the Cuban aspects of the
The sources which have been here made use of are described
in the bibliographical appendix. Especially valuable are the
memoirs by Concha and manuscripts in the Archives at Ha-
vana, of which a list is given by Mr. L. M. Perez in his "Guide
to the Materials for American History in Cuban Archives."
qhe story has a threefold interest: First, by means of it
we can see the character of Spanish government in Cuba, and
discover some of the roots of the process which ended in 1898
in the separation of Cuba from Spain; second, the larger move-
ment of which the expeditions were a part served to disclose at

the very first the inherent weakness of the compromise of
1850; and third, the whole story throws an interesting side
light on the views and characters of many Americans in 1850o
bringing out heroic qualities which showed themselves among
much that was ignoble in these stirring adventures. I believe
that the importance of these events, whether measured by their
immediate significance or by their results, far transcends their
mere military interest. Perhaps there is no other single inci-
dent which might equally serve to make clear American politi-
cal and foreign relations in the year of the great Compromise.
The author wishes to acknowledge very gratefully the kind
assistance of Professor Shipman of Princeton University who
suggested this particular topic, of Professor Corwin who made
some very helpful suggestions with regard to the method of
work, of Professor Myers who read the original manuscript
and made some important corrections, and of Professor Mc-
Elroy whose original encouragement and continued assistance
have been of the greatest value.


Since the Lopez expeditions were essentially part of a much
larger movement both in Cuba and in the United States, it is
convenient to begin with some account of the political and com-
mercial conditions of the island in 1850.
The head of the government was the Captain General. By
the famous decree of 4ay 28, 1825 this official had seemingly
been given almost absolute authority. This edict was the out-
come of the French reactionary occupation of Spain, and was
issued in the name of Fernando. VII: "His majesty being
formally persuaded that at no time and under no circumstances
will the principle of rectitude and love to his royal person
which characterizes your excellency ever be weakened; and his
majesty, desiring to obviate any difficulties which might arise
in extraordinary cases from a division of authority and the
complication of command and control by the respective officers,
and to the important end of preserving in that precious island
his legitimate sovereign rule and the public peace, has been
pleased, in accordance with the judgment of his council of min-
isters, to invest your excellency with full authority, conferring
all the powers which by royal decree are conceded to the gov-
ernors of cities in a statof siege. His majesty consequently
invests your excellency with full and unlimited authority to
detach from the island, and to send to this Peninsula all officials
and persons employed in whatsoever capacity, and of whatso-
ever rank and class or condition, whose presence may appear
prejudicial, or whose public or private conduct may inspire
you with suspicion, replacing them in the interim with faithful
servants of his majesty who are deserving of the confidence of
your excellency, and furthermore to suspend the execution of
any orders or general regulations issued in whatever branch
of the administration to whatever extent your excellency may
consider convenient to the royal service; such measures to be
always provisional, and a report thereof to be sent by your

excellency for the royal approval of his majesty. In dispensing
to your excellency this signal proof of his royal favor and the
high confidence which his majesty places in your perfect loyalty,
he hopes that, worthily cooperating, you will use the greatest
prudence and circumspection, together with indefatigable activ-
ity; and he trusts that your excellency, being endowed through
this same favor of his royal goodness with a greater responsi-
bility, will redouble your vigilance in seeing that the laws are
observed, that justice is administered, and that the faithful
subjects of his majesty be rewarded; at the same time punishing
without delay or hesitation the misdeeds of those who, forget-
ting their obligations and what they owe to the best and most
beneficent of sovereigns, violate the laws and give vent to sin-
ister machinations by infraction of said laws and of the admin-
istrative ordinances relating thereto."'
While this decree had never been repealed and gave to the
Captain General a degree of authority which would seem the
sheerest despotism to the Anglo-Saxon, there were in 1850
certain very real limitations to this despotic power. these
limitations were not meant to safeguard the rights of individ-
uals after the fashion of American and English constitutional
limitations, but are rather a good example of Spanish jealousy
of officials who were so often corrupt
The control of the finances in Cuba had never been exclu-
sively in the hands of the Governor General, and, with the
creation of the office of Intendant in 1764, this fiscal officer, who
received orders directly from the Crown, was made practically
equal in rank to the Captain General." In 1812 subordinate
Royal decree, May 28, 1825. Text translated by Chadwick in his
"Relations of the United States and Spain-Diplomacy" (1909), pp. 224,
225. Chadwick regards this decree as the true constitution of Cuba,
but further study clearly shows that the real power of the captain
general was not so great as it would seem to be from this order. In
fact Captain General 'Concha took advantage of the Lopez expeditions
to complain of the lack of centralization of authority and to secure
greater power-a change which made Cuba increasingly a military
despotism. The whole subject of the power of the Captain General
is discussed at length in a letter from Concha himself "Al Presidente
del Consejo de Ministros" dated April I, 1851. The full Spanish text
is given in Boletin del Archivo, IV, 107. (Havana.)
SThe Captain General dealt with the Minister of the Interior, while
the Intendant dealt with the Treasury at Madrid. Real Ordenes, Feb.
18, 1835.

fiscal officers or Intendants were appointed at Santiago and
Puerto Principe, while the previous Intendant was now known
as Superintendent.' In 1844 the rank of the Governor General
was declared supreme; but it was not until 1853 that the office
of Superintendent was merged with that of Captain General,
when the power in the government was centralized along the
lines advocated by Concha.2 The Superintendant in the days
of his power presided over a "Tribunal de Cuentas" which pass-
ed on all proposed expenditures, audited all accounts, and in
addition exercised judicial functions in cases where the treas-
ury or its officials were involved. The dealings of this Tribunal
were directly with the Minister of Finance in Madrid.
The navy was under a special commander not subordinate
to the Captain General,8 while special "juntas," or administra-
tive boards, cared for the civic administration in its various de-
partments. Over these the Captain General presided, but had
no other powers than to vote as a member and to carry out their
decrees. Of the various boards the Junta de Fomento, or Board
of Agriculture and Public Works, was the most powerful and
*independent. The Captain General presided over it, but its
members were elected from the landed and merchant class.

'In addition to the real cedula of Oct. 21, 1853 by which the Captain
General became also Superintendant, another decree of August 17,
1854 made the juntas merely advisory bureaus entirely subordinate to
the Captain General. This was precisely in line with Concha's recom-
mendations. These changes were direct results of the Lopez expeditions.
"The separation of naval and military power in Cuba was not due
originally to a desire to lessen the power of the Captain General, but
to the fact that Cuba was the center of the naval forces of all Spanish
America, and that the defence of all those regions was directed from
Havana. It was clearly important that the naval commander should
not be under the orders of the ruler of any one colony. With the loss
of all her other possessions, the separate naval administration was still
continued, to the great annoyance of the Captain General. The three
chief officers, the Intendant, the Admiral, and the Captain General, met
in a Board or Junta de Autoridades to attempt to bring some unity into
their diverse functions. Jealousies crept in constantly, for example
with regard to the authority over the Contoy prisoners in 1850.
Memorias Sobre el Estado Politico, Gobierno, y Administracion de
la isla de Cuba, por el Teniente General, Don Jose de la Concha, Mad-
rid, 1853, p. 37. See also for friction between the Junta and Captain
General Alcoy, Zaragoza, Insurrecciones en Cuba, I, 60o.

This board which Concha says was "almost on a democratic
basis" was a special thorn in his side.'
In spite of these limitations, the Captain General had a great
variety of functions. For example he was regularly President
of the Council of Havana, and could at any time preside over
any city council. He was also President of the various Juntas
or Bureaus. He was directly in charge of the mails, and had
the care of prisoners.5 One of his duties was to act as a Cor-
regidor, practically a police magistrate, in connection with his
office of President of the city council of Havana. The idea
of the town and the township, with functions separate from
those of the central government and with their own local gov-
ernment, an idea which is so fundamental in Anglo Saxon in-
stitutions, was foreign to the constitution of the Cuban govern-
ment. Thus, in Havana, as well as in other cities, certain petty
details of local government fell to officers whose duties were
of national, and, in the case of the Captain General, of inter-
national importance. In fact, before the days of Concha's re-
forms, a great deal of the time of the Captain General was
taken up in making out and signing papers of no real importance
simply because they brought fees which made up his salary.6
The Captain General's military supremacy was unquestioned,
and this fact brought him close to the administration of the
smallest localities. Cuba was divided for military and adminis-
trative purposes into three districts: The western with its
capital at Havana, the central of which Puerto Principe was
the capital, and the eastern, with Santiago de Cuba for a capital.
These were under Governors who received instructions directly
from the Captain General. Within the provinces were districts
of two ranks. The larger towns and their neighborhoods were
under Lieutenant Governors who had certain civil duties,
among them that of presiding over the Ayuntamientos, or town
councils. The Lieutenant Governors also commanded the mil-
itary forces. The less populous rural districts were under
Captains who had almost absolute power in the absence of
Ayuntamientos or township governments of any sort. Each of
these officers, nominated by the Captain General and appointed
'For a treatment of this whole subject see Perez:-"Guide to the
Materials for American History in Cuban Archives," pp. 28-33.
'Concha, p. 50.
SConcha, op cit. pp. 160-174.

by the Crown, bore the relation of a subordinate to his military
chief. The pay of Governors and Lieutenant Governors was
nominally that of their regular military rank, but they all exer-
cised the functions of judges in both civil and criminal cases
and received certain fees in cases tried before them. The
Captains had no fixed salary at all and had to depend for an
income on one-third of the fines which they collected.
Popular government, so far as it existed at all in Cuba, was
represented in 1850 by the Ayuntamientos and Audiencias.
The Ayuntamientos, corresponding to our city councils, were
corporations containing hereditary members, members who
bought their seats from the government, members selected by
the government of Cuba, and, in some cases, elected members,
as seems to have been the case especially in Puerto Principe.
They chose their own Alcalde, or mayor. They existed only
in the older towns, some new and important towns having no
Ayuntamientos at all. The oldest, that of Havana, dated from
1574. They were subject to the orders of the Governor or
Lieutenant Governor, and also to the authority of the Audien-
cia of their district, which exercised certain administrative
supervision over them. In financial affairs they had to get the
sanction of the Junta de Proprios y Arbitrios, which was an
independent organization. They were naturally inefficient and
corrupt, having acquired customs during the centuries which
were followed to the detriment of public interests. At the
same time they were tenacious of their rights and, like the
Parliaments of France in 1789, were useful as starting points
of opposition.'
The Audiencias were ancient courts with mixed judicial and
administrative functions. They acted in an advisory capacity
to the Captain General. This advice the Captain General was
quite free to disregard, but it served as a means of protest and
petition which was especially displeasing to a Captain General
like Concha, who regarded the presence of the ancient court
in Puerto Principe as tending to encourage pride and insubor-
dination: "Even suppose its members endowed with an ex-
ceptional prudence," says Concha, "yet, the commanding
general and the governor of the province, if not actually held
back, are sure to be embarrassed at least, by the judgments and
deliberations of that Tribunal. This Audiencia, being the old-
'Concha, pp. 81-94.

est in the Indies (since the first which was established in
Espafiola was later removed to Puerto Principe) had in its
favor the prestige given by antiquity, by its acquired customs,
by the solemnity of its proceedings, and by the very title of
'nobleza' (Highness) given to it by law; and by its side must
be obscured, weakened and lessened the military authority,
which being newer, has not yet had time to accustom the towns
to obedience, submission and respect."8 From the point of
view of Concha, the suppression of the Audiencia would have
certain splendid results. The educated lawyers and others
connected with the court would have to come to Havana to
make a living, where they could be under the surveillance of
the government. The wealth of Puerto Principe as well as its
importance would be greatly lessened, and the money spent in
keeping up this important court of justice could be used in the
defence of the island.
Judicial functions in both criminal and civil suits belonged,
(I) to the "Alcades Mayores" of whom there were five in
Havana, (2) to the Captains and Governors, (3) to the Au-
diencias, (4) in special cases, to Juntas and their committees,
especially to the Junta de Fomentos, and (5) even to the navy
The administration of justice was costly and slow. Saco.n
eminent Cuban scholar, who made a study of the complicated
system of court procedure and expenses, declared in 1837:-
"The condition in which the branch of judicial administration
is found is deplorable." Judges, even when found guilty of
flagrant offences, could not be punished. Prisoners could be
taken from the jurisdiction of native judges and condemned by
a court-martial in which every guarantee of individual rights
was absent. The tribunals were only independent in name, for
the Captain General could interfere at any time in the adminis-
tration of justice."
(The government which Concha came to head in 1850 was
notoriously and almost unavoidably corrupt. Indeed, mer-
chants in their stores and shipmasters at the wharves spoke
openly and contemptuously of the proceedings of government
'Captain General Concha to the minister of Justice, dated Havana
June 9, 1851. Boletin del Archive Nacional, Havana, Ano IV, Numero 3.
'Perez, Estudio Sobre las Ideas Politicas de Jose Antonio Saco.
Havana, 10o6. Pp. 36, 37; Saco, Obras, N. Y. 1853, III, 37-150.


officials and counted on certain necessary expenses in the way
of bribes. The government attorneys refused to proceed
against prominent malefactors. The captains were almost uni- I /
versally corrupt, while even the governors and lieutenant gov-
ernors were exercising their functions oppressively. When U)
one of these was removed by Concha the town celebrated in
true Spanish style. Houses were illuminated, the town was dec-
orated, and dances were given to indicate joy and relief. The
removals were wholesale, especially among those engaged in
the work of the courts. Nor were all these removals entirely
for corruption and inefficiency. The Lieutenant Governor of
Pinar del Rio was removed for political causes and replaced by
Colonel Elizalde who was to take a prominent part in the diffi-
culties of 185I."
The censorship of the press had always existed in Cuba ex-
cept for two brief periods, in 1812, and from 1820 to 1823. In
the period of our story it was particularly strict, for it was the
purpose of Captain General Concha to err on that side rather
than on the side of too great leniency. In spite of all precau-
tions, however, El Faro Industrial, edited by an American
named Thrasher, would sometimes contain an article or a poem
with allegorical significance, or phrases would appear, at first
sight entirely harmless, but in reality having a double meaning
and, in the eyes of the Captain General, appearing both insult-
ing and dangerous. Nevertheless it was impossible to find any
plausible excuse for suppressing the paper, until the death of
General Ena, who was killed in battle with Lopez. The brief
account of his death taken from another newspaper was im-
mediately followed by an article prominently headed, "Laugh-
ter" (La Sonrisa). The insult, in the state of public opinion,
seemed at this time sufficiently evident and the paper was
So soon as the Faro Industrial was suppressed and the daily
papers of Havana were reduced to three, Concha did away with
the two highly salaried Royal censors and appointed a clerk
who should carry on the censorship under his own immediate
The most important periodical in Havana was El Diario de
Concha, op. cit., pp. 136-142.
",Concha, p. 282.
"Concha, p. 283.

la Marina. It had a subscription list of 6,ooo and was, of
course, published entirely in the Spanish interest. Even this
paper was carefully watched by the censor, one article being
suppressed by Concha for intimating that the interests of Cuba
were distinct from those of Spain.12
facilities were evils of which Cuba was becoming increasingly
aware. The task of the censor was made peculiarly arduous
from the necessity of not only guarding against what might
seem dangerous in the Cuban press, but also of excluding the
publications of a country situated so near as the United States.
As a result, friction with Americans was constanb8
The attitude of the Cuban Government toward foreigners
was one of extreme jealousy. By the Royal Order of Oct. 21,
1817, foreigners were divided into three classes: Transients
who were merely visitors in Cuba, domiciled foreigners, and
naturalized citizens. Rights of transciency only continued for
five years by Spanish law. Domiciled foreigners were required
to declare their intention of settling permanently on the island,
to profess the Roman Catholic religion, and to swear allegiance
to Spain, promising to obey the laws and ordinances to which
"Concha, p. 287.
'!Saco, op. cit. III, 225. Perez, op. cit. 37. These difficulties were
illustrated in the case of Wm. H. Bush, thus described by the Spanish
Secretary for Foreign Affairs to Calderon de la Barca, the Spanish
minister at Washington: "Your Excellency knows that the paper called
La Verdad, published in New York, is printed with the specific
object of awakening among the inhabitants of Cuba and Porto Rico the
sentiment of rebellion, and to propagate the idea of annexation to the
United States. The Captain General of the island, in fulfilment of his
duty, prohibited the entrance and circulation of this newspaper in the
island, and tried to investigate the ramifications in the island of this
conspiracy against the rights of Spain, and against the peace of the
country. As a result of the efforts made with this object, it was dis-
covered that although not numerous, there were in Havana some
wicked Spaniards charged with the task of collecting money to sustain
the subversive publications, and to distribute its copies to those who
should care to read them. Among the accomplices in this crime of high
treason was found a certain Wm. H. Bush, an American citizen, and
purser of the American frigate Childe Harold. This person seemed to
be charged with carrying the correspondence of the conspirators and
the copies of La Verdad." (Spanish Secretary for Foreign Affairs to
Calderon de la Barca, Spanish minister at Washington, Jan. 2, 1848.
Unpublished Mss. Havana, Archives.)

Spaniards were subjected. Naturalized citizens were regarded
as in every sense Spanish subjects.14 The question of the treat-
ment of foreigners gained in importance and the causes for
friction under Spanish restrictions largely increased, with the
beginning of the great rush to California by way of Panama.
(Thousands of foreigners passed through Havana, as a port of
call, on their way to the gold fields.-' In addition to these-
transients, at least 400 machinists and engineers came annually
from the United States to work on the great plantations during
the gathering of the sugar crop. These returned with from
$800 to $1500 each and without having paid any taxes. During
their stay on the island they were natural centers for the
spreading of ideas of annexation.1) The treaty of 1795 be-
tween the United States and Spain had an important provision
that "in all cases of seizure, detention or arrest, for debts oon-
tracted, or offences committed by any citizen or subject of the
one party, within the jurisdiction of the other, the same shall
be made and prosecuted by order of the law only, and accord-
ing to the regular course of proceedings usual in such cases.
The citizens and subjects of both parties shall be allowed to
employ such advocates, solicitors, notaries, agents, and factors
as they may judge proper in all their affairs and in all their
trials at law in which they may be concerned before the trib-
unals of the other party; and such agents shall have free ac-
cess to be present at the proceedings in such cases and at the
taking of all examinations and evidence which may be exhibited
in the said trials."7' Now it is perfectly evident that in cases-
where American citizens were charged with high treason for
offences which seemed to an Anglo Saxon trivial, it was es-
pecially important to be able readily to invoke the safeguards
of this treaty. But neither the Captain General nor the Ameri-
can Consul were granted any diplomatic functions, so that no
direct complaint would be regarded, and an American citizen
"For a discussion of the status of foreigners with the opinion of
the legal advisers of the Captain General on the case of John Thrasher
see the documents listed in "Perez' Guide," number 248, and in the
Appendix to this thesis, especially the opinion of the Real Acuerdo to
the Captain General, Havana, Oct. 20, 185i.
"Concha, op. cit. p. 95.
"Concha, pp. 246, 247. Zaragoza (I. 617, 618).
"State papers, i, 546-548, for text of treaty. See Chadwick, op. cit.,
Chap. 2, for full story of the treaty.

might easily suffer long and unjust imprisonment as y.j .as
much financial loss before the matter could be arranged, by the
roundabout process, through Washington and Madrid. The
remarkable international position of Cuba, in the eyes of the
Spanish Government, is thus described by the Secretary of
Foreign Affairs:
"Your Excellency knows that the government of Her Ma-
jesty has always maintained the position with all foreign
powers that its colonies are outside of all the promises and
obligations undertaken by Spain in international agreements.
With regard to Cuba, the discussions with England to this
effect are well known, in which the Spanish Government has
declared that the treaties which form the positive law of Spain
had been adjusted in times when the Spanish colonies were
closed to all foreign trade and commerce, and that when in
1824 these colonies were opened to commerce of other nations
they were not placed on equal footing with the home country,
but were kept in the exceptional position of colonies. Of this
exceptional position of that part of the Spanish dominions, no
one has more proof than the foreign consuls, since it is evident
to them that the Spanish government has only endured their
presence on the condition that they should not exercise other
functions than those of mere commercial agents. Thus in 1845
the English government accepted formally the agreement that
its consul should not demand the fulfilment of treaties, not
even of those which refer to the slave trade.""8 In other words,
the Captain General, in his dealings with individuals, was,
according to this theory, wholly untrammeled by international
agreements. Foreigners were to live in Cuba at their own peril.
Of course, the Spanish government could not really expect to
be permitted to freely carry out any such policy, but the mere
attempt to do so made the government of Cuba very different
from that of most civilized states.
Our study of the internal and foreign policy of the Cuban
government has now brought us to the central idea of its con-
stitution. 4o contrast with most governments, the chief func-
tion of that of Cuba was not so much the development of
the country as its preservation to the Crown of Spaib' This
policy was the immediate result of the annexation of Florida
"Spanish Secretary for foreign affairs to Calderon de la Barca,
Madrid, Jan. 2, 1847. Unpublished Mss. Archives at Havana.

to the United States. A royal order to the Captain General of
the period states this duty clearly: "You should remember
that when once the cession of Florida is made, the importance
of the command of this island rises greatly on account of the
nearness of a maritime power which brings close to the island
the base for future operations. Therefore the defence of the
island deserves your greatest attention, and it is necessary to
make ready as soon as possible. When the time arrives to fear
an attempt by them, prepared in the ports of Florida, the de-
fence of the island ought to be already systematized and
planned."19 This defence of the island continued to be the
chief care of successive governors.
While the navy, as we have seen, was under an independent
commander, there was at least no doubt of the Captain Gen-
eral's absolute authority over the army. Until the year 1825
the army of Cuba was composed of three regular battalions, a
brigade of artillery, and a single regiment of cavalry. The
defence of the island, aside from these troops, was left to the
militia of the island. With the soldiers who came to Cuba in
1850, the regular army then reached sixteen batallions, two
picked companies of veterans, twelve squadrons of cavalry, two
brigades of artillery, and two light batteries. Five forts had
also been constructed since the English occupation.0"
This task of defence, even with so large a number of troops,
was made difficult by geographical conditions. With an area
about the same as that of Ohio, Cuba stretches in a mighty
crescent for more than 8oo miles across the waters of the Gulf,
separated only by narrow channels from Yucatan, Florida, and
Hayti. Internal means of communication were wretched
and most points were accessible only by sea.20" The sparsely
settled coast offered many secluded nooks to men like Lopez
and his followers. In the west a range of small mountains
sometimes reach a height of 2000oo feet, giving an opportunity
for guerilla warfare. The central part of the island is a coun-
try of broad plains and shallow valleys. The shore of the
northern coast is mainly steep and rocky and lies well back of
islands and coral reefs between which the passages are narrow
and intricate. It is evident that the island might easily contain
"Concha, op. cit. p. 46. "Concha, op. cit. p. 45.
Three thousand, five hundred and twenty-three coasting vessels en-
tered Havana in the single year of i851.

a large total number of troops, and yet be readily open to
attack at almost any single point.21
During the early part of the eighteenth century the commerce
of Cuba had been small and unimportant, consisting chiefly of
the more valuable timber in which the island abounded. The
first really important steps toward the development of its re-
sources followed the withdrawal of the English from Havana in
accordance with the treaty of 1763. One year later21' there was
created the office of Intendant of the island whose functions
were to organize the customs and to encourage commerce. But
duties were still so high, and restrictions so onerous, that Cuban
commerce did not readily grow. In 1778 these restrictions were
largely removed from Spanish ships and, since these vessels
did not come in sufficient numbers to supply the needs of the
island, a decree of the following year allowed the vessels of
friendly nations to bring foodstuffs to Cuba. As might have
been expected these foreigners came in swarms, making use
of the permission accorded them to bring in manufactured arti-
cles as well. This so aroused the Spaniards that a decree was
issued prohibiting the admission of foreign vessels even when
only making Cuba a port of call.22 The policy of the govern-
ment thus vacillated, but the system of prohibitions usually
prevailed, except in the troubled period of 1809 and 18Io, when
the bonds of Cuba to the mother country were weak and the
authorities of the island, on their own responsibility, made
special agreements admitting foreign ships. 1hus the Spanish
government grew to tolerate what it was supposed to prohibit
until Fernando VII, in 1818, passed a regulation admitting
foreign ships with no restrictions whatever. But even after
this decree commerce was by no means free. Duties were high
and were the gradual accretion of separate orders rather than
a system.
The financial situation of Cuba had changed greatly since
the loss of Spanish America. As long as Spain held control of
Mexico, Cuba was developed from the rich coffers of that great
empire. It is estimated that Spain used $3oo,ooo,ooo from
Mexico in Cuba. In the years from 1789 to 1806 alone the
a Standard Guide to Cuba, 1905.
2Royal Decree, Oct. 31, 1764. See "Perez' Guide to Archives,"
p. 29-
"Royal Decree, Jan. 23, 1784.

amount reached $50,41i,158. Of course, with the loss of all
her vast continental empire, this condition could no longer en-
dure. Cuba now no longer received Mexican gold, and instead
in 1819 the tide of gold began to flow away from Cuba to
Spain. In the first four years, Cuba's contributions to Spain,
were small, scarcely reaching $800,000, but from that time
they grew rapidly, being estimated by a Spanish partisan in the
period from 1830 to 1850 at $50,000,000. Although these con-
tributions might be justified by a historical argument, the fact
that their parents had received gold from Mexico did not tend
to lessen the discontent of the people who were now obliged
to pay the taxes.22"
(in spite of these exactions, the prosperity of Cuba had been
increasing almost as remarkably as that of the United States.
In 1775 Cuba had only 17oooo inhabitants, a number which in
185o reached 1,247,230. The wealth and commerce of Cuba
had grown proportionately and their importance to the United
States was especially great. In 1842 the American ships which
called at Cuban ports were twice as numerous as Spanish ships,
and four times as numerous as the ships of France and Eng-
land combined."2 In 1826, 1471 foreign ships with a tonnage
of 228,757 entered Cuban ports, while in 1851 these had reach-
ed 2982 with 727,814 tons burden.2' Exports and imports were
also rapidly increasing in spite of Spanish efforts at monopoly.
The largest items were sugar and tobacco. The exportation of
coffee had suffered on account of Brazilian competition.'"
The revenues of Cuba for 1851 were $12,248,712.065. Of
this $5,964,147.055 came from import duties, the remainder
from export duties, license fees of various kinds, a govern-
ment lottery and miscellaneous sources. Counting the free
population at 6oo,ooo, this meant a tax of over $20.oo a head.2

"Torrente, Bosquejo Economico Politico, I, 26, 27, 28.
"Torrente, II, 268. Torrente, II, 269.
SFrom 1786 to 179o an average of 1,ogo,438 arrobas of sugar were
exported annually from Cuba, while from 1845 to 185o this yearly
average had reached 8,6go,46o, an increase of forty-five per cent from
the period 1840-45. But the trade in coffee had declined from 2,143,574
arrobas in I84o to 520,143 in I85o. The output of tobacco had gained
steadily. Torrente, II, 278, 9. Diaro de la Marina, Jan. I, 1852. Cited
De Bow's Review, XIV, o19, no.
"Diario de la Marina, Havana, Jan. I, 1852, cited De Bow's Review,

The success of the Spanish tariff policy in creating monopoly
is well illustrated by the duty on flour. Before excessive duties
were levied, the United States in 1826 exported directly to
Cuba 113,245 barrels of flour. This number had decreased to
845 in 1851 and to only Ioo in 1852. In the meantime, although
Spain produced even less flour in 1850 than in 1826 beyond
her own needs, her exports to Cuba increased from 31,749
barrels in 1826 to 257,451 in 185o. This simply meant that
American flour was shipped to Spain and there._was trans-
shipped to Cuba. As a result flour cost two and one-half times
more in Havana than in New York. Whatever protection was
involved, it could evidently benefit only Spain, while.the whole
poliy was an open invitation to the smuggler.2"
The expenditure of the sums collected in Cuba was such as
to give much ground for complaints on account of the large
amounts for military and naval purposes, and also because of
the large sums sent to Spain and to support the Spanish em-
bassy in the United States In 1850, which seems to be quite
a typical year, the military expenses were $5,028,889, the naval
$2,o42,oo3, the amount sent to Spain was $1,506,373, to the
legation in America $57,138, while the total of civil expenses
which might be regarded as of direct benefit to Cuba was only
$1,84o,756." The most statesmanlike of Cuban publicists, Saco,
State of taxation in Cuba and Public Finance-1848-x85i. Torrente
Vol. II, 365. (These figures are only exact for 1850-1851.)
Import Duties Export Duties Other Revenues Total
'48 ...... $6,174,533 $709,325 $4,731,194 $11,635,052
'49 ....... 5,844,783 584,477 4,782,266 11,211,526
'50 ....... 5,639,225 757,071 3,655,149 10,051,443
'5 ....... 6,364,825 1,793,992 4,821,195 12,180,012
'" Torrente, II, 269.
Torrente (II, 366), an ardent Spaniard, gives these figures:
Military Naval Sent to Spain To other
'48 ....... $3,540,805 $1,527,746 $1,697,177 $227,773
'49 ....... 3,313,510 1,372,472 1854,086 214,754
'50 ....... 5,028,889 2,042,003 1,506,373
'51 ....... 5,985,963 r,965,444 1,590,o58
To Legations in America Civil Expenses
'48 ....... $63,310 $2,563,891
'49 ....... 80,226 2,531,809
'50 ....... 57,138 1,840,756
'51 ....... 76,738 2,352,475
The American minister to Spain was instructed June 17, 1848, to try

wrote in 1835: QEnormous is the load of taxation which
weighs upon us. Perhaps there is no people in the world
which in proportion to its resources and population pays as
much as the island of Cuba;;nor a country, perhaps, where
less care is taken to use on its own soil some part of its great
sacrifices"28; and again, in 1837, he said: "Almost three-quarters
of the $9,000,000 which the customs produce are used for the
army and navy. .Great sums are frequently sent to Spain,
those of 1836, alone, reaching $2,540,598 pesos. But so great
sacrifices are neither appreciated nor recognized by the very
hand which compels them; and to quiet the Cubans and make
them feel less keenly their deep wounds, salaried pens are
busied in publishing that all the money which goes from Cuba
to Spain is the excess of its wealth! But may that be called
'excess' which the island itself urgently demands to satisfy its
necessities? Can that be called 'excess' which should be sa-
credly employed in the establishment of schools and literary
institutions, in the construction of roads, bridges and canals,
in the development of white population, and in the support of
the very many needs which are crying aloud in this abandoned
island? To say that in Cuba there is an excess, is the same
as to say that a man has an excess who is left hungry and
naked by taking away the money which he needs to secure
food and clothing."29
But, always, back of minor grievances, in the eyes of thought-
ful Cubans, lay the despotic character of the government.' The
constitution of 1812, brought to Cuba in 1820, had indeed
provided for freedom of the press, a native militia, and popu-
lar elections; the laws of Spain, until 1837, applied, at least
in theory, also to Cuba, although the act of 182580 with regard
to the Captain General's power was scarcely consistent with
such a view. In 1836 a liberal constitution was adopted for
Spain by an assembly containing Cuban delegates. o ut Cuban
liberty ended in 1837. Cuba was denied representation in the
Spanish Cortes, and a special law decreed that the island
to secure the reduction of the duty on American flour which at that
time was $9.50 a barrel. At the same time the duty on Spanish flour
was $2. Moore: Works of Buchanan, I909, VIII, 89.
"Saco, Papeles III, 86. Perez, 35.
Saco, Papeles, III, r72,3. Perez, 36.
"Royal Decree, cited pages, 2, 3, 4.
aClarke, Moder Spain, 1906, p. 135.

should be ruled by royal orders;- Without representation or
autonomy, tyranny was unavoidable, and even when certain
governors made despotism benevolent, it was at best compli-
cated and inefficient.81 Such was the Cuban government in
On this whole subject see:
i. Complaint of Cuban Junta, 1852. Given in Morales "Iniciadores
y Prineros Martires de la Revolucion Cubana" (IgoI) p. 371.
2. Torrente, I, 30.
3. Saco, III, i16.
4. Concha, 45.
5. Protesta de los Diputados Electos por la Isla de Cuba alas Cortes
Generales de la Nacion. Feb. 21, 1837-Madrid. Signed. Juan
Montalvoy Castillo. Francisco Arness. Jose Antonio Saco. Van
Buren Collection, Library of Congress.
This protest discusses Cuba's historical right to be regarded
as a part of the Spanish nation.

Society in Cuba, in 1850, was essentially aristocratic. The
nobles of Cuba were twenty-nine marquises and thirty counts,
usually wealthy planters who bought their titles at prices vary-
ing from $2o,ooo to $50o00o. Nobility not only gave high social
position but nobles could only be tried by a high tribunal and
could not be arrested for debt. In the same way priests could
only be tried by ecclesiastical courts, and soldiers by military
The classes of population2 and the general state of public
opinion were thus described by Captain General Concha:
"There are three principal elements which compose the popu-
lation in this part of Her Majesty's dominions. One, is com-
posed of Spaniards born in the Peninsula and its adjacent
islands; the second is made up of Spaniards natives of this
country; while the third is composed of inhabitants of the
negro race. It is important although sad to have to recognize
that although the first are above all interested in the Union
of this island to the mother country and would be in the day of
peril the strong support of Her Majesty's Government, it is
not so with the second class, there being, of course, honorable
exceptions. The third class, for the most part slaves, enemies
of both the others, serve as a bridle which restrains greatly the
advocates of revolution and disturbance,.j These elements of
the population whose tendencies and spirit I have just indicated
Ely, "Cuba Past and Present"-De Bow's Review. XIV, o15.
'The population was:
1846 1849
Whites ........ 425,749 487,133
Free Blacks ... 149,226 164,4o1
Slaves ......... 323,759 323,897

898,752 945,440
Havana, 1849, 142,002, 1850, 150,561. This does not take into account
the army nor a large floating population. Diario de la Marina, Jan. I,
1852, cited by W. A. Ely. De Bow's Review, XIV, 103, 1o4.

compose the population of Puerto Principe in a manner much
less favorable to the preservation of order than the elements
in this part of the island. .That is to say, in the department
of the center the European Spaniards are 4.61 per cent of the
white population while in the western section (i.e. Havana)
they are 15.84 per cent."
This meant that the Spanish Government could count on a
much larger support near Havana than elsewhere. There were
other considerations of the same kind to point to Puerto Prin-
cipe as a danger point. The number of great plantations near
Puerto Principe which might be ruined by war was relatively
small compared with the number near Havana, and naturally
the slave population was also smaller. In Puerto Principe
the blacks were outnumbered and therefore less dangerous,
eighty-four negroes to Ioo white men, while in the west the pro-
portion was reversed being 118 negroes to o00 white men. The
white Cubans of Puerto Principe were a hardy race of cow-
boys, always a class to be looked on with fear by a tyrannical
government, while the wealth of the great planters near Hav-
ana tended to make them conservative. Concha mentioned still
another danger: "There is still more: the young men of
wealthy families receive for the most part their education in
the United States and they return to their country with
revolutionary ideas, which they spread among relatives, friends,
and acquaintances."3
Concha's predecessor as Captain General, the Count of Al-
coy, expressed his views, in 1849, as to the state of public
opinion in Cuba. The frankness of his statement to the home
government is remarkable, although his view of Spanish diffi-
culties, coming from one who wished credit for overcoming
them, should probably be considered pessimistic. In general,
however, they were the opinions of the best observers: "The
secret opinions of the greater part of the natives of this soil,
and especially of the young men are unfavorable to the do-
minion of and dependence on the home country." Many of
these young men had noticed the state of the South American
republics, and therefore did not hope for a stable independent
government. Their ideal was rather to have Cuba become a
state of the American Union. "The distance of Spain, the
SCaptain General Concha to the Minister of Justice, dated, Havana
Jan. 9, 1851. Boletin del Archivo Nacional, Ano IV, N. III.

infrequency of communication as compared with the immediate
contact with the United States, the lessened respect for our
maritime power, and external political influences have distinctly
lessened the spirit of Spanish nationality, so that the young
men who are accustomed to be educated in large numbers in
the University or who go frequently to New York, lose in their
earliest years their love for the home country, acquire habits
and customs contrary to those they find here established, and
are a focus of hostile principles which threaten sooner or later
to overthrow order."4
The slave code of Cuba, although not strictly obeyed, was
considered at the time distinctly humane. Slaves were required
to be instructed in religion by their masters. They could not
be worked more than nine or ten hours a day except in the sugar
harvest, when they could be required to work sixteen hours.
On Sunday and holidays they could only work the two hours
needed to perform the necessary work of the plantation. The
amount of food and the treatment of the women was regulated
by law. The master could give a slave twenty-five lashes, but
any severer punishment required a judicial investigation. A
slave might purchase his liberty at a price set by three arbiters.
The violation of the slave code by a master was punished by a
fine of from $20 to $200.5 MvL A
While the fear of slave insurrection was ever present and
intensely real, there never seems to have been actual danger
of a slave rising comparable to that in Santo Domingo. Cer-
tain conditions were different. The negroes in Cuba seem to
have been particularly docile and there was lack, at least before
1850, of anything approaching the intense revolutionary fervor
which caused white men in Santo Domingo to arouse the
negroes for their own ends. Nor was the proportion of negroes
in Cuba nearly so overwhelming.
Nevertheless these circumstances were not coolly weighed.
For the scenes of rapine and desolation in Santo Domingo
were burned into the consciousness of every West Indian
planter, and the dread of servile insurrection was almost an
article of religion
'El Conde de Alcoy al Ministro de Estado. Havana, Sept. 9, 1849-
Unpublished Mss. Havana Archives.
Ely, Cuba Past and Present, De Bow's Review, XIV, Io4-
'Risings took place at Cardenas on March 28, 1843, and at Matanzas

It was clearly the policy of the Spanish Government to use
this fear to discourage revolution. The picture of Santo Do-
mingo was always kept before Cuban eyes. The Count of
Alcoy, especially, regarded it as a means to safeguard Cuba to
Spain. He wrote in 1849: "Slavery, which is the principal
foundation of the wealth of a country, makes many realize, in
spite of their political ideas, the imminent danger which the
island incurs and which all private fortunes incur at the least
rumor of disturbance or commotion, and it is for this reason
that they deplore the eager illusions of those who desire a
change without counting the cost. They would rather secure
it gradually, or by cession by Spain."7
But -while the fear of abolition and slave insurrection made
for conservatism in method, it also caused many others to fear
that England might persuade Spain to abolish slavery as she
had already abolished the slave trade, or that England might
even make the breaking of her treaties with regard to the slave
trade an excuse for seizing Cuba. If any such danger were
imminent immediate annexation to the United States was the
only remedy.8

in the same year (November 5). While these risings in all probabil-
ity were not at all political, but only due to the cruelty of individual
masters they were supposed to be a part of a widespread conspiracy to
assassinate the whites. Cuba was thrown into a panic of fear even after
the negroes had been easily defeated and put to flight.i Some evidence
was collected tending to show a conspiracy. The negroes, both free
and slave who were suspected of being connected with the conspiracy
were severely punished. The slave owners in many cases sought to in-
timidate their slaves by whipping them cruelly before the others, while
as a direct result of the uprising, many of the negroes were killed in
battle, others committed suicide, seventy-eight were condemned to death,
six hundred to imprisonment for various terms, and four hundred ex-
pelled from the island.
For the whole account see Morales, 147-177. Especially-(I) Don
Jose de la Concha al Ministro de la Gobernacion, Dec. 21, I85o. (Cited
p. 150.) (2) Correspondence of British tCommissioners regarding the
slave trade, Jan. I, 1844 (Havana) cited pp. 15o-151. Also Boletin
del Archivo Nacional, A. III, N. VI, p. 8.
SEl Conde de Alcoy al Ministro de Estado. Havana, Sept. 9, 1849,
Unpublished Mss. Havana Archives.
'The use made by the revolutionary propagandists of the fear of
abolition by England appears clearly in many of their documents, e.g.:
"Spain has finally granted to England the entire abolition of slavery
in Cuba. The treaty was signed and sealed in the first days of August,

In the meantime Spain attempted with more or less sincerity
to suppress the slave trade, although Spanish governors re-
garded British zeal as largely a selfish effort to reduce the
prosperity of Cuba as that of Jamaica had been. Diplomatic
relations between England and Spain were constantly strained
on this account, and war was always a distinct possibility.9
The views of Cubans opposed to annexation were represent-
ed by Jose Antonio Sac. Saco was a man of remarkable pa-
triotism and purity of character. He was well educated, had
travelled widely and commanded the love and confidence of
his fellow countrymen. He was forced to leave Cuba in 1834,
on account of his liberal opinions, spending the rest of his life
in Spain. Although a liberal he was by no means a radical.
He desired political liberty for Cuba, but did not believe that
revolution was the true means for attaining it. Any wide-
spiead disturbance seemed to him to mean almost certainly a
race war between white and negro inhabitants; and even if
Cuba won independence it would only be to become the seat
of a war between England and the United States in which
Cuba would be devastated and finally absorbed by the stronger.
He dreaded even the peaceful annexation of Cuba to the United
States, even though such annexation were possible with the full
equality of a state. For Cuba would not long remain Cuban,
but become Anglo Saxon. His writings and ideas are an ex-
ponent not only of the evils which thoughtful and patriotic
Cubans very clearly saw, but also of that conservatism which
and so soon as the affair between Russia and Turkey ends, we shall have
on our coasts the British squadron of the Dardanelles What will
be the first consequences of the publication of the treaty as a law? .
It will begin with the total ruin of agriculture; with this will come
misery, for when the slaves are freed they will pour out over the coun-
try in bands ... and after the wasting and consuming of the food ...
will come revolution; but one of those revolutions of the strangest
kind. The vengeance of three centuries and a half of suffering and
servitude, held back by the influence of an unexampled despotism, .
will lose its moral check under the sudden change. The most horrible
deeds will be the bloody tracks which will mark its passage."
"Los Patriotas," Havana, Oct. 3, 1853. Given in Morales, 375.
SSedano: "Cuba, 1850-1873," 26, 27.
The authority on this subject is Aimes (Hubert) "A History of
Slavery in Cuba, I51I-I868," Putnam's, N. Y., I906, III & 298 pp.
See also Concha, oP. cit., 288-294.
British and Foreign State Papers, e.g. XLI, 421 et passim.

made them dread insurrection and disturbance, and that deep-
seated race antipathy born of centuries of misunderstanding
and conflict which made even liberty seem a slight boon if
coupled with Anglo Saxon domination. For Cuban antipathy
was equally great towards England and the United States,
though her attitude to slavery made England especially danger-
ous. If Cuba were a colony or even a dependency of England,
sudden slave emancipation would follow. This, to the planters
at least, would mean economic ruin, and it might mean all the
horrors of servile war.10
Saco felt that peaceful annexation to the United States would
be bad enough so long as Cuba should have so small a white
population; but annexation by force or any attempt at such
annexation would make Cuba the seat of a terrible conflict.
He wrote to his friend Cisneros: "Would not (the govern-
ment) if it felt itself weak, call to its aid the negroes arming
them and giving them liberty? Would there not be some
powerful nation which secretly or openly would sustain Spain
in the struggle? Would not England give her provisions and
those black soldiers who would fully sympathize with our own
negroes? She could count on the Spaniards because she would
be defending the interests of their government, and on the
negroes, for they know that she has given-them liberty, while
the United States holds them in hard captivity. No, Gaspar,
"Saco regarded the future of the negro problem with gloom. He
wrote in 1845: "If the slave trade continues, there will be in Cuba
neither peace nor security. Slave risings have occurred at all times; but
they have always been partial, confined to one or two farms, without
plan or political result. Very different is the character of the
risings which at brief intervals have occurred in 1842 and 1843; and
the conspiracy last discovered is the most frightful which has ever been
planned in Cuba, at once on account of its vast ramifications among
slaves and free negroes, and on account of its origin and purpose....
It is not necessary that the negroes should rise at once all over the
island; it is not necessary that its fields should blaze in conflagration
from one end to the other in a single day: partial movements repeated
here and there are enough to destroy faith and confidence. Then emi-
gration will begin, capital will flee, agriculture and commerce will rap-
idly diminish, public revenues will lessen, the poverty of these and the
fresh demands imposed by a continual state of alarm, will cause taxes
to rise; and, with expenses on the one hand increased, but with receipts
diminished, the situation of the island will grow more involved until
there comes the most terrible catastrophe." (Saco, Papeles, II, 133;
Perez, 33.)

no, in the name of heaven! Let us put away such destructive
thoughts. Let us not be the wretched plaything of men who
by our sacrifice wish to obtain our land, not for our happiness,
but for their advantage. Let there be neither war nor con-
spiracies of any kind in Cuba. In our critical situation either
one means the desolation of the country. Let us bear with
resignation the yoke of Spain. But let us bear it so as to leave
to our children, if not a country of liberty, at least one peaceful
and hopeful. Let us try with all our energies to put down the
infamous traffic in slaves; let us diminish without violence or
injustice the number of these; let us do what we can to in-
crease the white population; let us do all which you have always
done, giving a good example to our fellow countrymen, and
Cuba, our beloved Cuba, shall some day be Cuba indeed!""
But while Saco stood strongly against any movement to an-
nex Cuba to the United States, he found many Cubans who
opposed his anti-annexation views.12 A proclamation was
issued April 20, 1848, signed "Unos Cubanos," which had a
very wide circulation in Cuba. This proclamation stated in
its strongest terms the case for Cuban annexation to the United
States. It considered first the objection that any attempt to
gain separation from Spain would be ruinous. It was said
that Spain would make use of a servile war to quell insurrection
and that in a time of disturbance the numerous slaves would
make a break for liberty. But the proclamation pointed reas-
suringly to Jamaica where in 1832 a negro insurrection was
easily stifled although the proportion was seven and seven-
eighths negroes to one white inhabitant. In Cuba in 1848 there
were 418,291 whites and 619,333 negroes. Such a number of
white inhabitants could easily keep in subjection the unarmed
and unorganized slaves. Union with the United States would
not mean becoming a possession of the United States, but rather
would bring all the political and civil rights of Americans. Am-
algamation of the races would not extinguish Cuban nationality
forever child born in Cuba would be at once a Cuban and an

"Revista Cubana, VI, 545 seq. (1887). Saco to Gaspar Betancourt
Cisneros. Paris, March 1o, 1848.
See also Sedano :-Estudios Politicos, 39.
"The anti-annexationist ideas of Saco were criticized by Cristobal
Madan, Ramon de Palma, Diaz Quibus, Pedro Jose Morilla, Lorenzo de
Allo, Arelino de Ciruhuela and others. (Morales, 658.)

American. "Cuba united to this stropgand respected nation,
whose Southern interests would be identified with hers, would
be assured quiet and future success; her wealth would increase,
.doubling the value of her farms andslaaes trebling that of her
whole territory; liberty would be given to individual action and
the system of hateful and harmful restrictions which paralyzed
colmmerce.and-agriculture would be destroyed." "What is a Cu-
ban today ?", exclaimsthe author of this tract.13 "A slave, po-
iticallriorallv. physically." Then he appeals to his fellow
countrymen to aid the scheme of annexation, imploring those
who hold the destiny of Cuba in their hands to lay aside hatred
and animosity, to generously and patriotically guide public opin-
ion on the path which an imperious necessity advises and which
philanthropy and reason demand to save the country. .
OWith this conflict of views, even among educated Cubans
who were critical of the United States, it became increasingly
evident that the Spanish government was in no mood to lose
its richest possession either by cession or insurrection. The
Spanish pride was touched and the hope of any peaceful change
of government, never very real, became even more shadowyj
The limits to which a Spanish Governor might go were sug-
gested by the Count of Alcoy in such a way as to show that
the fears of men like Saco were not wholly unfounded. He
wrote to the home government as to the means for preserving
Cuba: "Among the considerable elements of power with which
Spain counts in this island, ought to be mentioned slavery.
Permit me, your excellency, to explain my belief in this regard.
The interest in preserving their fortunes and in developing the
rich crops from which they spring causes all the wealthy in-
habitants of the country to fear the first whisper of conflict
which may relax the discipline of the slaves, or threaten eman-
cipation. From this fact I infer that slavery is the rein which
through fear and interest, will keep in submission the great
majority of the white population. But if the event should
arrive of foreign war and of inner commotions such as to
threaten the dependence of the island, what should be the
conduct of the Captain General toward slavery? I, my noble
lord, state my solemn belief that this terrible weapon which the
government holds in its hand might in the last extremity pre-
vent the loss of the island, and that if the inhabitants are per-
""Unos Cubanos," Havana, 1848.

suaded that it will be used they will tremble and renounce every
fond illusion rather than draw down such an anathema. The
chance is remote without doubt, but that very fact makes me
express myself clearly: the liberty of all the slaves in a day of
gravest peril, proclaimed by Her Majesty's representative in
these territories, would re-establish superiority and even
strengthen our power in a very real way, based as it would
then be on that very class which it seems best today to keep
submerged. But if that last resort should prove insufficient, or
if it did not suit Spain afterward to retain her hold, it may
always be brought about that the conquerors shall acquire
Hayti instead of the rich and prosperous Cuba and that the
bastard sons who have brought down that calamity by their
rebellion shall meet in their complete ruin, punishment and dis-
illusionment. A principle of retributive justice or of harmony
with the maxims of modern civilization, to which it is so cus-
tomary nowadays to appeal, would also call for general eman-
cipation at the moment when, for whatever reason, Spain
should decide to renounce the island. So far this trans-At-
lantic province is still strongly attached to the mother land,
and thanks to the wisdom and maternal solicitude of Her Ma-
jesty, I believe that the bonds of union will be still more
strengthened; but if the fate of nations brings to this land a
day pregnant with such circumstances as to threaten its loss,
then national honor and interest alike would demand that every
recourse and means be exhausted, without saving anything.
If, even then, fortune should abandon us, we should at least
leave it written in history that our departure from America
corresponded to the heroic story of its acquisition.""1
Such a document throws a flood of light on the unseen diffi-
culties against which Lopez contended. It breathes again the
heroic spirit of Cortes and Pizarro with something, too, of
their Machiavellian disregard for mercy and kindness. Ameri-
cans who talked lightly of acquiring Cuba little realized the
desiagi which, in spite of insurmountable difficulties,
kept Cuba for Spain another half century after the days of
Roncali and Concha.
"Unpublished Mss. Archives at Havana. Federico Roncali (Conde
de Alcoy) al -Ministro de Estado. Havana. September 9, 1849.

The American desire for Cuba was primarily a manifesta-
tion of that spirit of expansion' which characterized the
pioneer and the colonist; secondarily it was a genuine expres-
sion of the desire to give political liberty to an oppressed
people, a desire which was quickened in 1848 by the news of
the stirring events of that year in Europe; and thirdly in the
period from 1848 to 1851 it became increasingly an expression
of the growing passion to extend the bounds of slavery. Be-
ginning as an enterprise of more or less adventurous character,
the change of base from 1849, when efforts were made in New
York, to New Orleans in 1850 and 1851, was significant of
the growing breach between north and south. Lulled as the
movement was, by the accession of a Whig administration and
by the Great Compromise, it was to reappear in new form
under the Democratic administration of Pierce.
From the point of view of national expansion, the American
desire for Cuba must be regarded as a direct continuation of
the early struggle for the commerce of the Mississippi, and
of the territorial results of that struggle. Louisiana, West
:Florida, and Florida were acquisitions which needed Cuba to
make them complete from the point of view of commercial in-
dependence in the West.* Thus, as early as 1809, Jefferson
wrote to Madison, speaking of Napoleon: "But although with
difficulty he will consent to our receiving Cuba into our Union
. that would be a blessing, and I would immediately erect
a column on the Southernmost limit of Cuba, and inscribe on
it 'ne plus ultra,' as to us in that direction. We should then
'The extreme spirit of expansion was thus expressed by one writer:
"The North Americans will spread out far beyond tftir present bounds.
They will encroach again and again upon their neighbors. New terri-
tories will be planted, declare their independence and be annexed We
have New Mexico and California! We have old Mexico and Cuba!
The isthmus cannot arrest-nor even the Saint Lawrence! Time has
all this in her womb." Editorial, De Bow's Review, July, 1848, VI, 9.

have only to include the north in our confederacy, which
would be of course in the first war, and we should have such
an empire for liberty as she has never surveyed since creation;
and I am persuaded no Constitution was ever before so well
calculated as ours for extensive empire and self-government."2
In 1823, when the danger of British or French acquisition
of Cuba seemed great, John Quincy Adams, who certainly
could not be accused of any partiality for slavery, or of any
desire to see slave territory increased, wrote: "Cuba, almost
in sight of our shores, from a multitude of considerations has
become an object of transcendent importance to the commercial
and political interests of our Union. Its commanding position
with reference to the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indian
seas; the character of its population; its situation midway be-
tween our Southern coast and the island of St. Domingo; its
safe and capacious harbor of Havana fronting a long line of
our shore destitute of the same advantage; the nature of its
productions and of its wants, furnishing the supplies and need-
ing the returns of a commerce immensely profitable and mu-
tually beneficial,--give it an importance in the sum of our
national interests with which that of no other foreign country
can be compared and little inferior to that which binds the
different members of this Union together. Such indeed are,
between the interests of that island and of this country, the
geographical, commercial, moral, and political relations, formed
by nature, gathering in the process of time, and even now
verging to maturity, that, in looking forward to the probable
course of events for the short period of half a century, it is
scarcely possible to resist the conviction that the annexation
of Cuba to our federal republic will be indispensable to the
continuance and integrity of the Union itself. It is obvious,
"Jefferson, Works, 1904 Edition, XIV (VII). Jefferson wrote to
Monroe in 1823: "Cuba alone seems at present to hold up a speck of
war to us. Its possession by Great Britain would indeed be a great
calamity to us. Could we induce her to join us in guaranteeing its
independence against all the world, except Spain, it would be nearly
as valuable to us as if it were our own. But should she take it, I would
not immediately go to war for it; because the first war on other ac-
counts will give it to us; or the island will give itself to us, when able
to do so."
Jefferson came later to know that the choice of the Cubans would
be independence. Jefferson's Works, 1904, XV, 436, 453.

however, that for this event we are not yet prepared. Numer-
ous and formidable objections to the extension of our territorial
dominions beyond the sea present themselves to the first con-
templation of the subject; obstacles to the system of policy by
which alone that result can be compassed and maintained are
to be foreseen and surmounted both at home and abroad; but
there are laws of political as well as of physical gravitation,
and if an apple, severed by the tempest from its native tree,
cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly disjoined
from its own unnatural connection with Spain, and incapable
of self-support, can gravitate only towards the North Ameri-
can Union, which by the same law of nature, cannot cast her
off from its bosom."8
In 1848, the administration of Polk was drawing to a close.
The keynote of the policy of Polk had been expansion-ex-
Spansion for its own sake, although the Wilmot Proviso had
introduced the question which was already bringing to a close
the period of expansion and engaging all the interests of the
nation in the growing question of slavery.
Trist's hasty conclusion of the treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo
had left the administration dissatisfied with the extent of our
acquisitions, and yet it was compelled by the rising tide of
opposition to allow the treaty of peace to be made on the
terms of Trist and Scott. But an opportunity soon came to
retrieve this misfortune. Yucatan, an outlying province of
Mexico, was in the throes of a race struggle between Indians
and whites. Their own government, of course, could do noth-
ing to end the state of anarchy and in this predicament the
whites appealed for outside interference. The appeal seemed
to Polk eminently opportune and he asked the permission
of Congress to intervene for the sake of humanity and on
account of the danger of intervention by either England or
Spain in case we did not. On May 15, 1848, Calhoun made
a speech opposing intervention in Yucatan as unnecessary and
because it could bring no possible advantage to us. Yucatan,
SInstructions to Mr. Nelson, newly appointed minister to Spain, April
28,.1832. House Ex. Doc. 121, 32 Cong. i Sess. For the circumstances
see Chadwick, Chapter X. See also Letter from Trist to Van Buren,
1837 (?), regarding Cuba. Van Buren, Mss., Library of Congress.
He says of the acquisition of Cuba: "It would be a second edition of
the Louisiana purchase."

he said, was a barren country and without harbors. It only
controlled the passage into the Caribbean Sea, very few vessels
passing out by that route. It could make no difference to us
who held Yucatan, for England already controlled the Carib-
bean by means of Jamaica and Balize. The general principles
of the Monroe Doctrine should not be carried to such an ex-
treme as to endanger our interests, however useful they might
be to safeguard them. Then he continued significantly:
"There are cases of interposition where I would resort to the
hazard of war with all its calamities. Am I asked for one?
I will answer. I designate the case of Cuba. So long as Cuba
remains in the hands of Spain-a friendly power-a power
of which we should have no dread-it should continue to be,
as it has been the policy of all administrations ever since I
have been connected with the government, to let Cuba remain
there; but with the fixed determination, which I hope never
will be relinquished, that, if Cuba pass from her, it shall not
be into any other hands but ours: this not from a feeling of
ambition, not from a desire for the extension of dominion, but
because that island is indispensable to the safety of the United
States; or rather, because it is indispensable to the safety of
the United States that this island should not be in certain
The opposition of Calhoun to further acquisitions in Mexico,
and especially to the acquisition of Yucatan, projects on which
Polk and Buchanan looked with favor, and his eager desire
to acquire Cuba are easily explicable. Mexico and Yucatan
were high lands, for the most part unsuited to those crops
which depended so largely on slaves for their cultivation. Cuba
on the other hand contained many slaves. The danger was
great that Spain, either as a means of self defence or under
the influence of Great Britain might emancipate these slaves.
The effect of such an example on the negroes of our own
'Calhoun, Works, Vol. IV, pp. 467 seq. The propaganda to secure
Cuba began in 1845, with the accession of the Democrats to power. In
1846 Senator Yulee of Florida urged in the Senate negotiations for the
purchase of Cuba. For the effects of these first movements, carefully
watched in Cuba, *see letters, Unpublished Mss. Havana, Archives:
I. 'Del Mtro. de Estado, Oct. 21, 1845-
2. Al Dec. 15, I845-
3. Del Mar. 26, 1846.
See also Zaragoza, op. cit. I, 585.

Southern States would be incalculable. From the point of
view of Calhoun, our most cherished institutions depended on
the continuance at all hazards of slavery in Cuba. This speech,
therefore, is immensely significant as marking the point where
the desire for new territory was first expressed frankly in the
interests of slavery.5
From the point of view of Calhoun, the possibility of aboli-
tion in Cuba was a pressing danger to the United States. The
number of negroes was increasing, since Spain was either un-
willing or unable to put a stop to the slave trade. The pres-
sure for the abolition, not only of the slave trade but also of
slavery itself, was growing constantly stronger. The demands
of England were yearly more imperative. There was every
reason to fear that Spain would free the negroes of Cuba with-
out regard to the desire of the Creole owners if the danger
of losing Cuba became too great. At the close of the Mexican
war the struggle for the maintenance of slavery was already
beginning to be a losing one. Clearly the great gains from that
war were, more or less unexpectedly, overwhelmingly in favor
of the free states. It was this very situation which had led
the far seeing Calhoun to be at once an author of Texan an-
nexation and an opponent of the Mexican war. Texas, like
Cuba, was suited to slavery. Mexico, on her high plateau,
'The importance of the island in x850 was especially great. The
recent acquisition of California and the discovery of gold there made
an open route to Panama a vital question. Havana was a natural port
of call for vessels engaged in the California trade and an unfriendly
power could do .much to hinder traffic, as was clearly proved in the case
of the Ohio jn 1853. This vessel bound from Colon to New York was
arbitrarily stopped in the harbor at Havana for three days without
being allowed to communicate with the shore. The vessel at the time
had on board a large number of passengers and a quantity of gold.
The captain was not even allowed to send a letter to the consul. At
the time the vessel had a clean bill of health except for some cases of
ordinary malarial fever which the Spanish authorities refused to
investigate. House Exec. Doc. 86, 33 Cong. I Sess. 87. (See Chadwick,
For a positive economic argument for acquiring Cuba see Thrasher,
J. S.: "Cuba and the United States" De Bow/s Review, N. 0. 1854,
XVII, 43. This argument was based on the fact that a slave worth
$400 or $500 in Havana would cost $moo in New Orleans. Cuba could
now produce sugar more cheaply, but by annexation, and consequent
equalization of the price of labor, the disadvantage of Louisiana would

would only add to the strength of the already overwhelming
superiority of the free territory within the United States.
The speech of. Calhoun in the-Yucatan debate seemed to
quicken the desire of the administration, already committed
to expansion, to secure the rich possession to the South. On
June 12, 1848, Buchanan wrote to Romulus M. Saunders, our
Minister to Spain, instructing him to make every effort to
secure Cuba from Spain and giving him authority to make a
treaty in which Spain would receive $Ioo,ooo,ooo if it were
necessary to offer so much.' The letter discussed fully and
frankly the commercial reasons which had weight with the
United States in making this offer:
"The fate of this island must ever be deeply interesting to
the people of the United States. We are content that it shall
continue to be a colony of Spain. Whilst in her possession
we have nothing to apprehend. Besides we are bound to her
by ties of ancient friendship, and we sincerely desire to render
these perpetual.
"But we can never consent that this island shall become a
colony of any other European power. In the possession of
Great Britain or any strong naval power, it might prove
ruinous both to our domestic and foreign commerce, and even
endanger the Union of the States. I The highest and first
duty of every independent nation is to provide for its own
safety; and acting upon this principle we should be compelled
to resist the acquisition of Cuba by any powerful maritime
state with all the means which Providence has placed at our
"Cuba is almost within sight of the coast of Florida. Sit-
uated between that state and the peninsula of Yucatan and
possessing the deep, capacious and impregnably fortified har-
bor of the Havana, if this island were under the dominion of
Great Britain, she could command both the inlets to the Gulf
of Mexico. She would thus be enabled in time of war effect-
ively to blockade the mouth of the Mississippi and to deprive
all the western states of this Union, as well as those within
the Gulf, teeming as they are with an industrious and enter-
prising population, of a foreign market for their immense
productions. But this is not the worst. She could, also, de-
stroy the commerce by sea between our ports on the Gulf and

Atlantic ports, a commerce of nearly as great value as the
whole of our foreign trade."
The moment seemed to Buchanan very propitious to strike
for annexation:
"We have received information from various sources, both
official and unofficial, that among the Creoles of Cuba there
has long existed a deep rooted hostility to Spanish dominion.
The revolutions which are rapidly succeeding each other
throughout the world have inspired the Cubans with an ardent
and irrepressible desire to achieve their independence. Indeed,
we are informed by the consul of the United States at Havana
that 'there appears every probability that the island will soon
be in a state of civil war.' He also states that 'efforts are now
being made to raise money for that purpose in te United
States, and there will be attempts to induce a-few of the
volunteer regiments now in Mexico to obtain their discharge
and join in the Revolution.' The consul in his despatch
to me also stated that 'if the revolution is attempted and suc-
ceeds, immediate application would be made to the United
States for annexation'; but he did not seem to think that it
could be successful and probably might not be undertaken with-
out the aid of American troops. To this portion of the des-
patch I replied, knowing the ardent desire of the Cubans to be
annexed to our Union, that I thought it would be 'difficult to
predict that an unsuccessful rising would delay, if it should not
defeat, the annexation of the island to the United States,' and
I assured him that the aid of our volunteer troops could not
be obtained."6
The United States did not care to use unfair means to acquire
Cuba, and, therefore, it was not willing to fish in the troubled
waters of a Cuban insurrection. But none the less Buchanan
made it very clear to our minister that the Polk administration
regarded the acquisition of Cuba as an all important step.
The proper price to be paid would depend on the amount of
the revenues, for Buchanan seems to have regarded Cuba as a
source of direct revenue as well as of indirect advantages.
The total revenues under the Spanish regime had in 1844
amounted to $IO,490,252.875, but Buchanan had learned from
Calderon, the Spanish Minister, that the surplus to the Spanish
Crown had never in any single year exceeded $2,000,000. From
SMoore, Buchanan, VIII, go et seq.

the point of view of Spain, then, a fair price would be about
$5o,ooo000,000, and Buchanan thought that Spain might be satis-
fied with such a price.7
To the United States, Cuba might furnish as a state two
sources of revenue-the public lands and the federal tariff.
Most of these public lands seemed to have already been as-
signed by Spain to private individuals so that the revenue from
them would probably be small. But the value of imports in
1844 were $25,ooo,ooo and were probably more in 1848. The
average rate of our existing tariff was twenty-five per cent,
within a small fraction, and even deducting those imports
which, coming from other parts of the United States, would en-
ter free, and which amounted to one-fifth of the whole, the
United States could still count, according to Buchanan's calcu-
lation, on an initial revenue of $5,ooo,ooo. There might be an
increase in naval expenses to offset this, but on this basis the
maximum price to be paid for Cuba could be arrived at. These
considerations brought Buchanan to the question of the price:
"Upon the whole, the President would not hesitate to stipu-
late for the payment of one hundred millions of dollars, in
convenient installments, for a cession of the Island of Cuba,
if it could not be procured for a less sum.
"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 Re-
publics, under which the Federal Government has charge of
the interests common to the whole, whilst local governments
watch over the concerns of the respective states, is capable of
almost infinite extension with increasing strength. This, how-
ever, 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 portion is of the Spanish race,
Moore, Buchanan, VIII, go et seq.

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.
. 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 connection with the Union; whilst the rapidly in-
creasing trade between her and the other States would shed
its benefits and blessings 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 be-
lieves that the crisis has arrived when an effort should be made
to purchase the island of Cuba from Spain, and he has deter-
mined to intrust you with the performance of this most delicate
and important duty. The attempt should be made first in a
confidential conversation with the Spanish Minister for For-
eign Affairs. .
"Should you succeed in accomplishing the' object, you will as-
sociate your name with a most important anti beneficial meas-
ure for the glory and prosperity of your country."8
The Spanish court was at La Granja when Saunders re-
ceived his instructions in July, 1848. Going there, the Ameri-
can minister obtained an interview with General Narvaez the
President of the Council. By him he was received politely
but coldly, and Saunders became convinced that his task was
hopeless. He was referred by Narvaez to the newly appointed
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senor Pidal. Pidal refused to
give Saunders any hope of immediate cession of the island;
he said that although the future seemed doubtful, owing to
the strained relations with England, yet Spain felt sure of the
safety of the island. There was a hint that the subject might
later be reopened, and with that hint the American had to
await as contentedly as he might.
In the meantime the story of negotiations to sell Cuba had
leaked out and had produced a storm of angry protest in the
Spanish press. Thus when Saunders opened the subject again
in December the situation had distinctly changed. Pidal spoke
emphatically saying that no minister of the crown of Spain
bBuchanan, Works, Edited by J. B. Moore Igo9, VIII, go et seq.

would dare to listen to any such proposition, since the unani-
mous opinion of the country would prefer to see the island
submerged in the ocean, rather than yielded to any other
The New York Herald took up the question and published
the story of the negotiations. Saunders was accused of lazi-
ness and incapacity and public opinion caused his recall soon
after -he advent of the new administration.
This ended for a long time the diplomatic efforts to secure
Cuba, an effort hopeless in its very nature,10 but important in
its result. Many now believed that the filibuster must fill the
place of the diplomat."1
'See Sedano: Estudios Politicos, 23, 24.
"For the difficulty of ever persuading Spain to voluntarily sell Cuba
see letter of the American Consul Campbell to Clayton, dated Havana
June 13, i85o-Clayton Mss. Library of Congress. Campbell re-
garded the purchase of the island by the United States as prac-
tically impossible: "No ministry, whatever false showing they may
make, would dare to carry it out. The open attempt would not
only drive the ministry from power, but from the array of interests
against the alienation, endanger the safety of the throne. These inter-
ests are as follows. All offices here are filled from Spain. All prom-
inent officers, lawyers and doctors look to this island as the place to
obtain station and wealth. Here their agricultural interests find their
market,-the manufacturing interests of Barcelona practically the same.
From discriminating duties in favor of Spanish vessels almost all Eu-
ropean cargoes are imported under the Spanish flag and the island in
this way sustains more than three-fourths of the whole merchant
marine of Spain. Large capitals in Spain in the hands of unprincipled
men are invested in the slave trade, causing an annual sale of slaves
in this island of from three to four millions of dollars. You readily
discover that such a union of interests and among a people accustomed
to civil war would be too strong for a ministry, if not fatal to a dynasty.
That Christina and a ministry could be bought I have no doubt from
my knowledge of Spanish character, if the thing could be done in se-
crecy, but the action of the Cortes and the result would make that im-
probable. Those different interests would be finally united and arrayed
against any measure the tendency of -which would be to their infamy."
"But Buchanan was still hopeful. In a letter of John M. Clayton
to Buchanan just after the latter retired from office, dated April I4,
1849, Clayton banters his predecessor for his failure to secure Cuba:
"What will you give me to recall Romulus Saunders from Spain?
Speak out--do not be bashful. Shall I try to buy Cuba after you have
made such a botch of that business? Do you still wish like Sancho to
have an island?"
Buchanan answered in more serious vein, April 12, 1849: "We must

That the enthusiasm for Cuban independence was not wholly
selfish is proved by its widespread character. In fact the feel-
ing was very similar to that in favor of Hungarian and other
Revolutionists who at this time were received as heroes. It
is to be remembered that the American of 1850 had almost a
fanatical belief in the sacredness of republican institutions and
in their applicability to all political conditions.12 The condition
of the island of Cuba and the tyranny of its government had
long been painted in the blackest colors. A moderate New
Orleans paper described well two classes eager to go to Cuba
at this time:
"We know that among the volunteers who will fly to the
help of the island of Cuba, there will be found many adven-
turers like those who accompanied William the Conqueror in
his expedition against England; we know that there are some
natures, unquiet and restless, for whom repose is a punishment,
and action and danger are necessities. But we know that there
are also generous and impressionable natures, friends of peace,
but believing that war is an honorable and sacred mission when
a sword is bound on and drawn in the interests of a great and
sacred cause. And why should not Americans do for the

have Cuba. We can't do without Cuba, and above all we must not
suffer its transfer to Great Britain. We shall acquire by a coup d'etat
at some propitious moment, which from the present state of Europe,
may not be far distant"
Buchanan blamed the failure very largely on Saunders: "It must be
admitted that a more skilful agent might have been selected to conduct
the negotiations in Spain, as our present minister speaks no language
but English, and even this he sometimes murders. .. How delighted
then am I to feel that you have selected a diplomatist and one fit for
the work,-one who possessing no vanity himself and knowing when
to speak and when to be silent, is so well calculated to flutter the pride
of the Dons,-who by the gentle arts of insinuation and persuasion can
gradually prepare the queen mother, the ministers and courtiers for
the great surrender,-and who above all is a perfect master both of
the language of Louie le Grand and of the knight of the rueful coun-
tenance. Cuba is already ours. I feel it in my finger's ends."
(This ideal diplomat is called "Col. I. W. W.") Moore. Buchanan.
VIII, 360, 361.
Among many examples, Crittenden to Clayton, Frankfort, July 20,
1849, Clayton Mss. Library of Congress: "The great conflict is now
going on between popular rights and monarchical or despotic powers.
That is the issue before mankind."

island of Cuba what Byron did for Greece and what Lafayette
did for America?"'I
The state of American public opinion and especially Ameri-
can attitude toward Cuba were watched with the greatest
anxiety in England and France and especially by the successive
Captains General in Cuba. The London Times made no effort
to conceal its glee over the growing internal difficulties which
lessened dangers of further American aggression. The keen-
ness with which men like Roncali and Concha analyzed Ameri-
can problems at a time when American statesmen were trying
to blind their own eyes to the gravity of the situation is very
remarkable. Viewing America from near at hand and yet from
without, and stimulated by fear to the closest observation, the
governors of Cuba were able to lift the veil of a future which
men like Webster and Polk and Clay refused to contemplate.
Roncali thus analyzed the situation to the Minister of State in
1849: "With the enlargement of the North American republic,
there arose long ago the idea of dominating all the Gulf of
Mexico and therefore the island of Cuba which is wisely re-
garded_as its key. Enticed further, by the abundance of its
fruits and the fame of its fertility, the ambition of the Anglo
Saxon race could not forget it in the midst of its acquisitions.
But, since the annexation of Texas, and especially since the
recent war with Mexico, that project has become so widespread
that it is without doubt rooted in the public opinion of a great
part of the states, the writings published for that purpose in
"Editorial translated from "L'Abeille de la Nouvelle Orleans," July
28, 185r.
'For conservative opposition to any further expansion which became
the typical Whig view, see R. Ewing to Crittenden, Feb. 4, 1848. Un-
published Mss. Library of Congress.
F. P. Blair wrote to Van Buren, July 15, 1850 describing sarcastically
the desire of Calhoun to make Cuba a part of a great slave empire.
Van Buren, Mss. Lib. of Congress.
But Henry Clay told Captain General Concha frankly, on his visit
to Havana, that the eventual union of Cuba to the United States was
inevitable, although he deprecated any unlawful efforts in that direc-
tion. (Concha al Presidente del Consejo, March 21, 1851. Cited by
Sedano, "Cuba, 1850-1873," p. 24.) And a writer in De Bow's Review
said in I851:--None can doubt, that, at this moment, there is a well
fixed and almost universal conviction upon the minds of our people,
that the possession of Cuba is indispensable to the proper development
and security of our country"-De Bow's Review, IX, 173.

Spanish by children of the island having contributed to that
end. Since the idea of propaganda and expansion has been
adopted by one of the political parties into which Congress
is divided, and since the other which is actually in power
(i.e. the Whigs) has adopted a conservative attitude, it is easy
to see that with the Cuban question a matter of dispute and
discussion, Cuban acquisition will serve as a banner to the
increased parliamentary opposition which the President already
has, and that on the accession of another administration at the
end of this term of office, circumstances will grow rapidly more
serious, and that which today is unable to inspire grave fears
or to produce more than passing evils, will be changed into a
grave danger for which preparation should be made.r It ought
also to be kept in mind that even though the acquisition of
Cub-a would in a general way be pleasing to that whole republic,
the vital dispute which separates the states of the north from
those of the south makes them look at it from different points
of view: the Southern States would acquire in the federal gov-
ernment an importance which they require for the sake of
slavery, if the acquisition should be made preserving slavery,
the very consideration which causes those of the north to say
to the Cubans that the first steps toward the liberty to which
they aspire should be the emancipation of their slaves. This
difference of views is therefore very worthy to occupy the
attention of the government, and as proof of what may some
day take place it is well to note the course which is each time
more openly taken in the discussions regarding slavery, a ques-
tion which in the judgment of very observant men is the cancer
which is eating away that nation and which will perhaps bring
destruction of the federation."'
Roncali clearly saw the two great dangers of Cuba: one of
internal discontent, and the other of external aggression. He
believed that the American passion for expansion would sooner
or later overcome all opposition and bring on a war between
the United States and Spain. For this war he was hopeful,
for Spain had gained in prestige and power since the close of
the destructive civil war.
Captain General Concha, who succeeded Roncali in Novem-
ber, 1850, summed up the situation in much the same fashion.
El Conde de Alcoy al Ministro del Estado. Havana, Sept. 9, 1849.
Unpublished Mss. Havana Archives.

although he did not quite so clearly grasp the significance of
the impending conflict in the United States. He describes the
ambitions of the Americans, "the Vandals of the New World,"
and the importance of Cuba to them, especially when the At-
lantic and Pacific should be united by a canal.
"It would be in my opinion a deplorable mistake to expect
from the contest which is going on between the slave states and
the free states of the union a serious obstacle to these ambitious
views. The first class covet Cuba, because by its acquisition
they would acquire greater political importance in the Federal
Government and would gain the greater utility of their three
million slaves; the second covet it because with its overflowing
population, the enterprising mercantile and industrial spirit of
its inhabitants, and its great fortunes, they might make con-
siderable financial gains; finally, both classes covet Cuba, be-
cause there has taken possession of all the most unbridled
passion to acquire territory."'5
"There is in the United States a part of the people which
eagerly desires the annexation of Cuba. The Southern slave
states are very much interested in it, because, if they should
succeed in securing it by their efforts, they would leave slavery
in existence in Cuba, by means of which they would secure in
addition to an offset against the preponderance of the Northern
States, an advantageous field for their capital invested in slaves.
On the other hand, public opinion has been decidedly unfa-
vorable to Spanish government in Cuba and all the people of
the island are supposed to be disposed to rise against the gov-
ernment at the first opportunity which may present itself, as
was shown by the very fact that they supposed a brief expedi-
tion sufficient for the purpose." It seemed to the Captain
General that the party in favor of annexation was only waiting
for the very first incident which might serve as a pretext for
war against Spain with the ultimate aim of acquiring Cuba.
The responsibility of the Captain General was very great, real-
izing as he did that one false step would be sufficient to plunge
Spain into a war from which she would have nothing to gain
and everything to lose.'"
",Captain General Concha, Havana, March 31, 1851. Letter directed
"Al Excmo. Sr. President del Consejo de Ministros," Boletin, A.
IV; N. IV.
"Concha, op. cit. p. 222.

With public opinion in such a state in Cuba and the United
States, with the news of great events in Europe, "with the ex-
ample of easy American victories in Mexico, with even Spanish
officials looking into the future gloomily, it is scarcely to be
wondered at that men staked all on the chance of a free Cuba,
and that Lopez dreamed of great deeds which only needed a
leader to make them real.

Narciso Lopez, the central figure of the Cuban movement
of 1848-51, was born in 1798 or 1799 in Venezuela. His father
owned several large ranches and the son soon became an expert
horseman on the plains, an accomplishment which later aided
him to rise as a cavalry leader.
The civil war under the leadership of Bolivar ruined the
estates of the elder Lopez, and he was compelled to engage in
business enterprises in Caracas and Valencia. After a decisive
battle at La Puerta, near Valencia, in 1814, in which Bolivar
and the rebels were for a time crushed, the young Lopez man-
aged to enlist in the Spanish army, and although a mere boy
who probably took little account of the political issues involved,
according to all accounts, served for nine years with dis-
tinction. Under the patronage of General Morales the young
Venezuelan was not forgotten; he was strong and utterly fear-
less and so gained coveted decorations. When the rebel cause
was finally triumphant in 1823 Lopez had risen to the rank
of Colonel.
In that year the Spaniards evacuated Caracas, the army
withdrawing to Cuba, where the young officer married the
daughter of a noble family, and became, in his chief interests,
Passing to Spain, Colonel Lopez became immediately known
as a liberal in the reign of absolutism set up by the aid of French
arms which lasted until the death of the old king, Ferdinand
the Seventh, in September, 1833. On Ferdinand's death the
liberal party championed the cause of the Queen Maria Chris-
tina and her infant daughter Maria Isabel, who by the Salic
law would have been excluded from the succession, against
Don Carlos, the old king's brother and the representative of
Absolutism and Reaction. Christina, by means of the dead
king's will, managed to gain power, and the Carlists were
placed in the position of rebels, their party being especially
strong north of the Ebro.

In the coup d'etat by which Christina seized the throne,
Lopez took an active part and hence became a prominent
"Christino," as the followers of the queen were called.
On the appointment of Valdez to the command Lopez
became an aide de camp to the Spanish general, a relation which
grew into a deep and life long friendship.1 Promoted to the
command of a cavalry brigade of some 3000 men Lopez dis-
played activity and courage which widely increased his repu-
tation. At one time during an emergency he took over the
command at Valencia on the assassination of the real gov-
ernor, an act for which he was criticised severely.2 Later
he was for a short time governor of Madrid.
SFrom the Diary and Letters of a certain English Colonel named
Gurnwood we get at first hand some interesting glimpses of Lopez and
his patron Valdez in 1835. These are quoted in Eliot (Edward G.)
"Papers relating to Lord Eliot's Mission to Spain in the spring of
1835," London, 1871.
Diary of Col. Gurnwood, April 30, 1835, Eliot, 94. "Overtook the
column at Mendaria and breakfasted with Valdes; afterward accom-
panied the column, 6ooo infantry and four mountain guns, commanded
by General Aldarna, to Seswa. On arrival there took leave of Valdes
and went on to Lerin. Met General Lopez who commands the cavalry.
S. Quartered in the same house with Lopez; joined him and his
officers at tea; much exaggeration; most of them for intervention; of
course, being cavalry of the guard, they perferred Madrid."
Same May 3rd: "Took leave of Valdes, who in the transactions
between us, appeared an honest man-I doubt his being a General."
(Lopez at this time was in command of a column of something more
than 2ooo men).
Gurnwood to Somerset, May i, 1835, Eliot, 138. "We were lodged
last night at the same house at Leren, with General Lopez-an active
intelligent young man. We passed the evening with him and his offi-
cers-who, like the officers of cavalry in other services, spoke much,
but to little purpose, on the campaign. Valdes is a very gentleman-
like person in his manners-not so in appearance, for he looks like a
'Marchand de lorgnettes.' He rides at the head of his column 'en
bourgeois' in a great green coat with sugar loaf buttons, and a plushy
round hat, something in appearance between the 'marchand de lorg-
nettes' and an American skipper I doubt very much his having any
professional talent."
There was also a guerilla leader on the Carlist side, Antonio Lopez,
who after brilliant movements was captured and shot. (Walton, Revo-
lutions of Spain, II, 468.) This Lopez seems sometimes to be confused
by magazine writers, with Narciso Lopez.
'Lopez answered these criticisms in a pamphlet now very rare. A
copy may be seen in the New York public library: "Constestacion del

On the close of active hostilities Lopez, now a Field Marshal,
became a Senator in the Cortes from the Liberal city of Seville.
Upon the appointment of his friend, General Valdez, to the
supreme command in Cuba, Lopez succeeded in persuading
Espartero, the head of the liberal government, to give him
an appointment in that island. By the influence of Valdez,
Lopez was appointed to a number of prominent positions and
finally was made Governor of Trinidad, an important point in
the central part of the island.3
Lopez filled with credit the important positions which he
occupied gaining the good will of the people under his com-
mand. But at the close of 1843 Valdez was relieved by Gen-
eral Leopoldo O'Donnell and Lopez lost his lucrative political
appointment, retaining the rank of a Spanish General but with-
out duties. He now engaged in several business enterprises in
which partly through mismanagement and also partly through
gambling losses he was wholly unsuccessful. His last enter-
prises were the management of certain mines and plantations
near Cienfuegos. In these enterprises although supported finan-
cially by wealthy capitalists he became involved so deeply as
to be unable to meet his obligations.
Lopez, who had belonged to the liberal party in Spain andh
who was also somewhat embittered by loss of wealth and(
influence, 'had long intrigued against the interests of Spain. Al-
though he himself desired independence for Cuba, he did not)
wish to risk an effort for independence which right bring
abolition. In these circumstances we find him turning for ad-
vice to Robert Campbell, American Consul at Havana and an
eager advocate of the American acquisition of Cuba. Campbell
did not hesitate to express his sympathy, and to say that he
had been impressed by the increase of American feeling in favor
of acquiring Cuba. But, as an American Consul, he was com-
pelled to advise Lopez of the reiterated expressions of friend-
Mariscal de Campo, Don Narciso Lopez, a various cargos relatives, a
los sucesos ultimos de Valencia," 30 pp. Madrid, 1839.
SWe find Lopez already intriguing for separation from Spain as early
as 1842. He desired to preserve slavery, and so feared especially Eng-
lish intrigues. See communication from Francis Ross Cocking, former-
ly British Vice Consul at Havana to Lord Palmerston dated, Caracas,
Oct. 1, 1846, of which a Spanish translation forwarded from Madrid
to the Captain General of Cuba, January 24, 1852, is published in El
Boletin del Archivo Nacional. Havana, A. III, N. IV.

ship and of the treaty obligations existing between Spain and
the United States. Campbell said that he had even written to
President Polk for instructions in case slavery were abolished
in Cuba as a result of the popular movement which was then
taking place in Europe. Polk, in reply, had pointed to the dis-
banding of the army against Mexico as a sure sign that he did
not intend any depredations against neighboring territory, and
directed Campbell to discourage any talk of war.'
From this time on Lopez seemed to have felt very sure that
in a last extremity the United States would intervene for the
benefit of a revolutionary party.
At the time of his conversation with Campbell or soon after
Lopez was plotting a revolutionary movement which was to
have had its center at Cienfuegos.
The date of the rising was set for- the 24th of June,
1848, but the non-arrival of arms expected from the United
States caused some delay. In the meantime a youth who be-
longed to the number of conspirators revealed the secret to his
mother who in turn confided it to her husband. On the advice
of his lawyer, the father laid this information before the gov-
ernment. On the sixth of July, Lopez was summoned to appear
on important business before the Governor at Cienfuegos, but
hearing of the imprisonment of the young man who had reveal-
ed the plot, he immediately fled. At Pijuan he caught the train
for Cardenas and from there sailed to the neighboring port of
Matanzas. He was fortunate enough to find the ship "Nep-
tune" just about to sail to Providence, Rhode Island, and he
was soon safe from pursuit on the ocean. Jose Sanchez Iznaga,
who had revealed the conspiracy was allowed to escape. Ron-
cali, Count of Alcoy, the Governor General, acted with unusual
leniency. No punishments followed the discovery, although
the absent Lopez was condemned to death (Mar. 3, 1849), and
Iznaga to six years imprisonment."
See an account of a frank conversation between Campbell and
Roncali, reported to the Minister of State, July 27, 1849. Boletin, 1906,
p. 61.
SFor the movement of 1848 in Cuba see the letters given in appendix
(Unpublished Mss. Havana Archives):
,i. Al m'tro de la gobernacion, Mar. 28, 1848-
2. i" '" May 27, 1848-
3. July 14, 1848.
This last is a detailed account, which serves as my chief authority.

The immediate effect of the effort and flight of Lopez was a
clear statement of the Spanish attitude to foreign aggression,
given in the official organ, La Gaceta de la Habana, Dec. 27,
1848.' The Gaceta said that "Spain had in the Gulf of Guinea
two islands of small importance, namely Fernando Po and
Anobon, almost forgotten, but whose sale the nation opposed;
and that being the case, even less readily would the Crown dis-
pose of an island like Cuba, clung to so devotedly as the most
important of trans-Atlantic possessions, on account of a gov-
ernment, of a religion established for more than 300 years, of
laws and of kinship which were not to be sacrificed to a rash
and almost unthinkable scheme.
"No Spaniard," continued the statement, "would be able to
mention (the scheme) without indignation, and that alone
should prove convincing to the authors of such schemes, all the
more so knowing that Cuba is prosperous and lives happily un-
der the paternal government of Spain, since its inhabitants
compare what the America which once was Spanish is now
with what it used to be; and since they cannot avoid turning
their eyes toward Europe and the entire world as they thank
the kind Providence which has preserved them unharmed in
the midst of universal misfortune."

In this letter, the Captain General thus characterizes Lopez: "El
Mariscal de Campo, D. Narciso Lopez, tan conocido por los arrebatos
temerarios i Imprudentes de su character, como por la Veleidad e in-
constancia de sus sentimientos y opinionss"
This, of course, is the picture of an enemy. But Lopez seems to
have impressed his contemporaries by his enthusiasm more than by his
caution and sanity. Proud with his equals in rank, he was kind to-
ward inferiors, and possessed much personal magnetism. At this period
he was of short, stocky build, with bright black eyes and snow white
For the life of Lopez my authorities in addition to those cited, are:
1. Concha, Memorias.
2. Torrente, Bosquejo, Economico Politico. I, 32-37.
3. Vidal Morales, Iniciadores y Martires de la Revolucion, pp. 197,
233 ff.
4. Villaverde, "Memoria del General Narciso Lopez"-Unpublished,
but used and quoted by Morales, pp. 184, 185.
5. Zaragoza, Las Insurreciones en Cuba, 1872, 2 Tomos. I, 585
f; I, 554-5.
6. Democratic Review, Feb. 1850, XXVI, 97 if.
SZaragoza, op. cit., I, 589.

Lopez arrived at New York in July of 1848 to find an
already vigorous movement for the forcible annexation of
Cuba to the United States. This movement had begun early in
1847 with newspaper articles critical of the Spanish government
in Cuba. La Verdad was being published regularly in New
York and La Patria in New Orleans as means of attack on
all Spanish institutions. The organ of the Spanish government,
La Cronica, sought to answer these charges. The young
Cubans exiled or pursuing their studies in New York had
formed an organized junta as a center of the propaganda, while
an organization in Havana was collecting and forwarding sums
of money. The whole movement had gained encouragement
from the attitude of a large part of the American press, and
especially from speeches by Senator Yulee of Florida in the
Senate (May 6, 1847) and even from one by Vice-President
In order to gain the largest possible support in the United
States, it seemed necessary to secure the services of some well
known chieftain of the Mexican war as leader. General Worth
seemed likely to win the support of many veterans of the late
war and the Cubans first turned eagerly to him. The expedi-
tion was to consist of 5000 men and to cost $3,000,000, and
preparations were to be made on a scale which would have
required the open cooperation of the Polk administration.
Worth seemed to believe the scheme reasonable but died before
anything definite could be accomplished.8
Lopez, now in New York, was evidently the man fitted both
by rank and experience to win support in Cuba, while his en-
thusiasm and personal magnetism made him the natural leader
of the movement. He held an interview with Jefferson Davis
and offered him the command of the expedition to Cuba.9 As
'Zaragoza, op. cit. I, 559-567.
La Aurora was a newspaper published in New York to propagate
ideas of Cuban annexation.
The Courier of Charleston, S. C., published similar articles.
'Jose Sanchez Iznaga, "A Mis Amigos en Cuba," New Orleans,
1853. Quoted by Morales, op. cit. 270.
'The exact date of the interview is in some doubt. Mrs. Davis
places it in the summer of 1848, but speaks of Lopez' death as coming
within two months i.e. 1851. This was probably a mistake, as it is
unlikely that Davis or Lee would have at all considered the matter
after the failures in 1849 and I85o. Mrs. Davis describes Lopez as a

incentives for the use of his name and influence and for his
leadership, $Ioo,ooo were to be deposited before departure
to Cuba for the use of Mrs. Davis, while success would be
rewarded by a bonus of $Ioo,ooo more or a fine coffee planta-
tion. Davis refused, but was sufficiently impressed to suggest
his friend Major Robert E. Lee as one in whose character and
abilities he had supreme confidence. Lee's attitude to the of-
fer was described by Davis himself many years later: "He
came from Mexico crowned with honors, covered by brevets
and recognized, young as he was, as one of the ablest of his
country's soldiers, and to prove that he was estimated then as
such, I may mention that when he was a Captain of engineers,
stationed in Baltimore, the Cuban Junta in New York selected
him to be their leader in the revolutionary effort in that island.
They were anxious to secure his services, and offered him every
temptation that ambition could desire, and pecuniary emolu-
ments far beyond any which he could hope otherwise to acquire.
He thought the matter over, and, I remember, came to Wash-
ington to consult me as to what he should do. After a brief
discussion of the complex character of the military problem
which was presented, he turned from the consideration of that
view of the question, by stating that the point on which he
wished particularly to consult me, was as to the propriety of
entertaining the proposition which had been made to him. He
had been educated in the service of the United States, and felt
it wrong to accept place in the army of a foreign power while
he held a commission."'1
Not discouraged by these unsuccessful efforts, Lopez deter-
mined to organize and lead the expedition himself. The Club
at Havana sent Lopez $30,000 early in 1849, and contributions
in this country swelled the amount to $70,000.1" iterviews
with Calhoun, and other prominent men, convinced Lopez that
all depended on getting at least a semblance of a revolution
which the American government might use as a pretext for
dark man remarkable for his glowing eyes and snowy hair. The inter-
view is described by Mrs. Davis: "Jefferson Davis, A Memoir by his
wife," I, 412.
See Pamphlet entitled: "Organization of the Lee Monument Asso-
ciation, Richmond, Va., Nov. 3 and 4, 187", 12 .pp. Richmond 1871.
(Library of Congress.)
Vidal Morales op. cit. 250-252, 253. (Especially letter of Juan
Manuel Macias.)

aggression' Calhoun believed that if with any good reason the
United States intervened in Cuba, England and France would
not attempt to interfere.12 Everywhere people were hopeful of
the practicability of the enterprise,13 and recruits were gained in
half a dozen different cities> Two steamers were bought at New
York and two sailing vessels at New Orleans. An attempt to
rendezvous at Cat Island was defeated by the viligance of the
government, but finally 800 men under Col. White, a soldier
of fortune who had taken part in the Mexican war, were
gathered at Round Island near New Orleans. These plans
were all made so openly that they were followed closely by the
Captain General of Cuba and by Calderon de la Barca, the
Spanish minister at Washington, who was supplied with a
large sum from the Cuban treasury to discover the facts and
to suppress the movement. The men who enlisted were prom-
ised the pay and rations of privates in the United States army,
with a bonus of $iooo each and five acres of land in case of
success. Thousands of men were setting out for the gold fields
of California, and the general craze for wealth was used as a
motive. The officers declared: "The gold is already dug and
coined for which you will fight.""1

"Claiborne, Quitman, II, 55.
"An article entitled "Cuba" in the United States Magazine and
Democratic Review, Sept. 1849. XXV, 193 if, is typical of American
optimism: "The practicability of the enterprise is unquestionable. A
force of 3,000 to 4,00o Americans, landed in Cuba in the winter months,
would have to contend with perhaps 14,ooo Spaniards, divided in small
garrisons throughout the island, each at the mercy of the people, if
those people have a sufficient rallying point. Sixty days probably would
suffice to place a provisional government at the head of affairs, declare
the independence of the island, organize its revenues, and bid defiance
to the power of Spain." Like almost every article in the American
press this regards independence as a step in annexation. Annexation
would equalize the price of negroes in Cuba and Louisiana and so
Cuba with its cheaper negroes would no longer be a rival.
"Under the influence of annexation, the property of the Cubans
would immediately equalize with that of similar property in the United
States, and the sugar plantations of Louisana would find, in the hither-
to untouched soil of Cuba, the means of underselling the world in
sugar; while the capacity of Cuba to purchase and consume the beef,
ham, flour, and other supplies of the Western States, would develop
itself in an almost limitless degree."
"M. W. Means to Secretary Clayton, undated, internal evidence

While White and his men were organizing at Round Island,
and other recruits were being enlisted in Boston, Baltimore, and
New Orleans, the case of the abduction of Garcia from New
Orleans created a good deal of excitement. The newspapers
which were pushing the movement against Cuba made the most
of the incident which for a little while seemed to promise a
serious quarrel with Spain.
Juan Francisco Garcia y Rey was a jailer at the city prison
in Havana who, on the night of March 31, 1849, aided Cirillo,
Villaverde and Vincente Fernandez to escape. Villaverde was
supposed to be connected with the annexationist movement,
while the other prisoner was serving a sentence for fraudulent
bankruptcy. Taking a sailing vessel for the United States, the
party of refugees landed at Apalachicola, Villaverde proceeding
to Savannah, and Fernandez and Garcia going to New Orleans.
By order of the Captain General the ex-jailer of Havana was
placed under strict surveillance by agents of the Spanish consul.
The evidence from this point is contradictory and difficult to
unravel, but it at least seems evident that a system of deliberate
intimidation was employed to make Garcia, who was seemingly
rather weak-minded and cowardly, discontented with his pres-
ent surroundings and willing to go back to Havana.
Either under promise of complete pardon or perhaps by
actual violence, Garcia was induced or compelled to go on
board a sailing vessel (July 5, 1848) and, without any oppor-
tunity to secure clothing except that which he wore, he was
carried away to Havana.
The disappearance of Garcia aroused the anxiety of his
landlord who published a statement in La Patria that his late
tenant had been kidnapped and forcibly abducted to Havana.
The announcement was seized upon by the Delta and given
a prominent place. Don Carlos de Espafia, the consul of Spain,
was definitely charged with having violated the sovereignty of
the United States. The newspaper announcements created the
greatest excitement and a popular demand was made for the
arrest and punishment of the Spanish consul and his accom-
plices. Unfortunately it was discovered that there was no
points to Sept. 8, 1849 (?). Clayton Mss. Library of Congress. This
letter communicates plans for an extensive filibustering expedition.
T. Ewing, Dept. of the Interior to Clayton, Aug. 7, 1849, Mss. Li-
brary of Congress.

statute of either the State or the United States providing pun-
ishment for kidnapping or abducting a white man. The charges
therefore were "assault and battery" and "false imprisonment,"
both indictable and punishable offences in the State of Louisi-
ana. The consul objected to a preliminary hearing before a
justice of the peace maintaining that a consul was not subject to
the State authorities.
The hearing was accordingly held before a Justice of the
Peace and a United States commissioner jointly. Fourteen
sessions were held and four lawyers employed on each side.
The voluminous evidence proved conclusively the Spanish sys-
tem of espionage in an American city and the doubtful persons
and methods employed by the Spanish consul, but the actual
use of force in securing the departure of Garcia was not clearly
established, the testimony proving untrustworthy and contra-
dictory. The court, however, bound over the defendants for
trial before the grand jury.
In the meantime Rey or Garcia had reached Havana and
was kept on an American vessel closely quarantined. The re-
ports of the New Orleans papers caused the American Consul,
Campbell, to visit the ex-jailer; but in the presence of Spanish
officials Garcia stated that he had come to Havana voluntarily.
General Campbell was astonished a few days later to receive
a letter stating that the author, Garcia, had been kidnapped,
and intimidated into making his previous statement. He de-
manded the protection of the American flag and his return to
New Orleans. The American Consul demanded an interview
alone with Garcia, but the Captain General said that the
request was insulting and refused to comply with it."
On the expiration of the long period of quarantine Garcia
was taken and thrown into prison in solitary confinement. On
two or three occasions the prisoner was brought before Captain
"The letter of Garcia to the American consul dated July 27, 1849,
was as follows: "My name is Juan Garcia Rey; I was forced by the
Spanish consul to leave New Orleans. I demand the protection of the
American flag and I desire to return to the United States. P. S. I
came here by force, the Spanish consul having seized me under a
supposed order of the recorder of the Second Municipality and having
had me carried by main force on board a ship at nine in the evening.
P. S. I did not speak frankly to you because the Captain of the port was
present." Translated from French edition, New Orleans, "Bee," Aug.
25, 1849.

General Alcoy who sought to gain information from him re
garding the conspiracies to revolutionize the island. Garcia
afterward stated that he gave no important information, but
the letters of Alcoy show that the prisoner did not hesitate to
disclose the plans of his late confederates.
The government at Washington now took a hand in the
ti1tter and peremptorily demanded the return of Garcia.1' On
theadvice of the Spanish minister to Washington the Captain
General pardoned Garcia who was sent back to New Orleans.
The ex-jailer arrived there when public opinion had been lashed
into fever heat by the press, and the case was practically ended
The grand jury divided equally on the question of returning asr
indictment, and the United States District Attorney decided to
drop the prosecution.7

'Clayton wrote to President Taylor, Washington, Aug. 18, 1849:
"I have the honor to inform the President that I have this day received
despatches from the Consul at Havana which go very strongly to im-
plicate the Spanish Consul at New Orleans in the abduction of Juan
Garcia. The evidence of the conduct of the Captain General of Cuba
tends to inculpate him also. Garcia has been imprisoned and the Cap-
tain General refuses to permit our Consul to see him. Garcia has
written two letters to our Consul claiming the protection of our flag.
From all the evidence before me I think Garcia was kidnapped and
that the honor of the country demands the most ample atonement for
the outrage."
'President Taylor replied from Erie, Pa., Aug. 29, '49: "I fully
coincide with you in the opinion that the honor of the country de-
mands the most ample atonement for the outrage and that the most
decided measures be taken to demand the release of Garcia and his
restoration to this country." Clayton Mss., Department of Mss., Library
of Congress.
"My authorities on the case of Garcia, alias Rey, are:
i. El Conde de Alcoy al Mtro. de Estado. Havana, Aug. 26, 1849. Un-
published Mss. Havana Archives.
2. El Conde de Alcoy, al Mtro de Estado, Havana, Sept. 9, 1849.
Unpublished Mss. Havana Archives.
3. El Conde de Alcoy, al Mtro. de Estado, Havana, Oct. 9, 1849q
Unpublished Mss. Havana Archives.
4. Daniel Scully. Abduction of Juan Francisco Rey: A narrative
of events from his own lips, from the time he left Havana, in company
with Villaverde and Fernandez, until his return to the United States,
embracing a relation of what occurred on his first departure from
Havana; the intrigues and violence by which his abduction was ac-
complished in New Orleans; his voyage back to Havana on the Mary
Ellen; his imprisonment there, and return to the United States, to-

While the radical press of the country was advocating the
broadest possible interpretation of the neutrality law of 1818
so as to permit the organization of a filibustering expedition
and while it was especially emphasizing the supposed outrage at
New Orleans in the case of Garcia, President Taylor was taking
what measures he could to discourage and suppress any such
enterprise. His proclamation was issued Aug. II, 1848, and
was touched in terms which were satisfactory even to the Cap-
tain General of Cuba and which, by putting members of such
expeditions beyond the pale of American protection, later on,
as we shall see, made any effective interposition in behalf of
prisoners in Cuba exceedingly embarrassing.
The proclamation announced that there was reason to believe
that an armed expedition was about to be fitted out in the
United States with the intention to invade either the island
of Cuba or some of the Provinces of Mexico. Persons who
should so grossly violate the neutrality laws of the United
States must not expect the interference of the Government in
any form on their behalf no matter to what extremities they
might be reduced. Good citizens were urged to discountenance
any such attempt.18
gether with a compilation of the testimony in the preliminary investiga-
tion before Judge Bright and Commissioner Cohen, and a review of
the same. New Orleans, 1849. 58 pp.
5. L'Abeille de la Nouvelle Orleans, Aug. 25, 1849 and the New
Orleans Bee, Aug. 15, 28, 29, Sept. II, 1849.
6. Letter of Villaverde, dated April Ig, 1849, given in Dem. Review,
XXV, o01.
7. Calderon de la Barca to Clayton, Aug. 23, 1849. Clayton Mss.
Library of Congress.
"Richardson: "Messages and Papers of the Presidents." V. 7, for
text of proclamation.
The Captain General (Roncali) wrote Sept. 9, 1849 to the minister
of state, regarding the men on Round Island (Mss. Havana Archives):
"The proclamation of .General Taylor, in publicly denouncing this ex-
pedition and condemning it in so solemn a way, has surprised them
and without any doubt frightened them. In fact, they foresee the new
obstacles which his (i.e. Taylor's) prudence will place in their way
and they fear the means of watchfulness and precaution which will be
adopted here. Nevertheless I am assured that on the twenty-fifth of
August the men remained in the same position, and that on the
twenty-seventh the secret preparation had not ceased in New York and
other places, although these plans are now notorious and threatened by
American war ships which are watching if they are going to set sail

rPresident Taylor's proclamation was highly praised by the
Whig papers of the North, but the Democratic press criticized
it, and even the Southern Whig papers regarded it as unduly
severe.4 The steamship Albany effectively blockaded Round
Island and cut off all supplies from the men gathered there.
By September 4, seven war vessels were in the immediate
neighborhood of Round Island and all hopes of a successful
expedition from that point were evidently at an end. The men
were deserting and a murder committed on the island showed
the difficulty of maintaining effective discipline.20 On Sept. 7,
under orders from the State Department, the two vessels which
had been secured for the purposes of the expedition were
seized at New York. The Sea Gull had on board some fifty
men, while 12o,ooo rations were found on the New Orleans.
Warrants were issued for the -arrest of five leaders in the
enterprise, but on account of the state of public opinion and
since the movement now seemed wholly discredited, no further
steps were taken by the government, and the two ships were
returned to their legal owners.
The results of the expedition were unfortunate both for the
Whig administration and for the Cuban Junta. The bitterness
of many papers against Taylor and his administration were
since, according to the laws of the country, it seems that the local
authorities cannot disturb assemblages, travel, nor other preliminary acts
which they may practice within the country, so long as they do not
arm, whatever be the purpose of their acts and the method of
accomplishing them, whether by word of mouth or by the press."
So loyal a Whig paper as the New Orleans Bee regarded the inter-
diction of supplies as uncalled for. It argued that, so long as the men
were engaged in no hostile acts or did not actually sail for Cuba, they
should only be kept under surveillance.
"If the day of Cuba has arrived,, if her liberation is noted in the
book of destiny, she will march to independence by the ways which
Providence has traced for her and nothing can arrest the accomplish-
ment of this great deed."
"What is more natural than that the Creoles of Cuba should call to
their aid a small phalanx from the United States? These, certainly,
for the time made themselves outlaws, but after all it is their affair.
and we have no interest in it." L'Abeille, Sept. I, 1849.
For the opposite point of view see a pamphlet: "The Round Island
Expedition-Defence of the Navy," Mobile, 1849. Reprint of two arti-
cles signed "Truth," from the Mobile Daily Advertiser, Sept. 18 and 19,
L'Abeille de la Nouvelle Orleans, Sept. 4, 1849.

significant of the state of a large body of public opinion. The
Cuban Junta had aroused the fears of the Captain General,
and insured vigilance on his part. They had exhausted their
means, and although a part of the $53,000 spent was realized
from the sale of the ships, the Cubans were no longer-united.
One body called "El Consejo del Gobierno Cubano" was estab-
lished with headquarters in New York, while Lopez andi, of
his friends formed a "Junta to promote Cuban interests.'7 is-
couraged by the prospects in New York, Lopez began eafy in
1850 to operate chiefly in New Orleans. From this time on te
movement became more distinctly American and Southern.
SSee especially Jose Sanchez Iznaga, in Morales, op. cit. 271.

The failure of the attempt in 1848 made caution in a
new enterprise very necessary. The neutrality law of the
United States, first passed in 1794, and given its final form
in 1818, was aimed at just such efforts. The most important
clause seemed sufficiently clear and definite: "Every person
who, within the territory or jurisdiction of the United States, ,
begins or sets on foot, or provides, or prepares the means for,
any military expedition or enterprise to be carried on from
thence against the territory or domains of any foreign prince
or state, or of any colony, district, or people, with whom the
United States are at peace, shall be deemed guilty of a mis-
demeanor, and shall be fined not exceeding three thousand
dollars and imprisoned not more than three years."' Other-
sections gave to the federal officers the necessary power to
enforce this legislation.' The expression "military expedition
or enterprise to be carried on from thence" had not received
the very stringent interpretation which was later adopted by
the courts during the troublesome times immediately preced-
ing the Spanish-American War.2 A large section of the press
maintained that the law could only reach fully armed and
disciplined bodies of considerable size which should make their
attacks directly from some port of the United States. In the
new expedition every precaution was taken to remain, if possi-
ble, within the letter of the law. At the same time the govern-
ment had been stung by foreign criticism, and by the persistence
of the Spanish ministers to make every effort to prevent any
'Sections 5286, and 5287-90, Revised Statutes.
S"The Neutrality Law: what does it mean, what prohibit and what
permit?" Democratic Review, XXX, 497-512. June, 1852.)
A more stringent law to permit the seizure of arms had been passed
in 1838 in view of the difficulties on the Canadian border. But this
law was to be in force for only two years and applied only to arms
likely to be shipped across a boundary with a coterminous country.
"In Re Horsa," Decisions given, House Doc. 326, 55 Cong. 2 Session.
'The Spanish minister to Washington at this time was Senor Cal-

further attempts. Caution was thus made very necessary on
the part of Lopez and his friends.
In the spring of 1850 Lopez finally gave up the attempt to
organize an expedition in New York and travelled incognito
by way of the Ohio and Mississippi, stopping for conferences
at various points with those who might take an interest in his
enterprise.4 At Cincinnati he seems to have had an interview
with a certain Captain Hardy, a veteran of the Mexican war,
who immediately began to organize a company, ostensibly to
go to California. Offers were very munificent. The men were
to be preferably Kentuckians. They were promised a bounty,
$4,000 in money, with a further offer of Cuban lands to those
who served one year. In the meantime they were to receive
the regular pay of privates in the American army. Officers
were to have high rank in Cuba and their bounty was set at
$Io,ooo. A special encouragement was the likelihood of being
joined by some of the Hungarian refugees, at that time so
much lionized in the United States.4'
On the fourth of April the expedition embarked on the Mar-
tha Washington. After taking on i2o Ohio men at Cincinnati,
the vessel crossed the river to receive the Kentucky contingent
at Covington, and then started on her adventurous journey. The
men whiled away a tedious week practising fencing and other
exercises which might be useful, and at three o'clock on the

deron de la Barca. He is described as a small man, inclined to be fat,
with a good head, a dull heavy face, but with the expressive eyes so
characteristic of the Spanish race. He later became WMinister for For-
eign Affairs, a reward for activity at the time of the Lopez expeditions.
His dinners and receptions were considered sure avenues to good
society. His wines and Havana cigars were famous, for this gentle-
man believed in hospitality as an aid to diplomacy. United States Re-
view, June, 1855, pp. 450-1.
SLopez went to Jackson, Mississippi, and had an interview with Gov-
ernor Quitman. Lopez offered the command to him, but Quitman said
that the revolutionary movement should start in the island itself. When
it once had commenced he would accept the command. Claiborne's
"'Quitman," II, 55-58.
Going to New Orleans Lopez received the help of General Henderson
and Mr. A de Sigur proprietor of the New Orleans Picayune. Vidal
Morales 230.
"Mss. Report, John H. Goddard, special agent of the government
to the Hon. Thomas Ewing, Secretary of the Interior, dated Charles-
ton, June I5, i850. Dept. of Interior.

morning of April II, 1850, disembarked at Freeport, some
three miles above New Orleans. Here they found lodgings
scarce, and were soon transferred to Lafayette. They were a
turbulent, good humored band of 250 men, constantly watched
by Spanish spies, and always in danger of dispersing; but finally
on the twenty-fifth, two weeks after their arrival they were
safely on board the Georgiana, all supplied with tickets to Cha-
gres. Each man was allowed to take his personal belongings in
a bundle. About nine in the evening a tug came alongside, and
the Georgiana was soon being towed towards the gulf. A large
crowd had come to cheer the departing bark, among them
Lopez, Gonzales and General John Henderson, who stood upon
the wharf until the Georgiana had disappeared in the darkness.5
At the mouth of the Mississippi the Georgiana received its
guns and ammunition from a fishing smack which had left
New Orleans the day before in the personal charge of Mr.
Sigur, the editor of the Delta."
The Georgiana seemed to be suspected by the United States
revenue cutter which was cruising in the offing; but the gov-
ernment vessel contented itself with sailing around the bark
two or three times, and then went away. The muskets turned
out to be new regulation army muskets, and in addition the
Georgiana carried Io,ooo rounds of cartridges."
The winds were favorable, and, except for the necessity of
sheering off from vessels of suspicious appearance, the days
were uneventful. About the fifth day the men made out the
north coast of Yucatan. Unfortunately the bark was about
eighty miles west of the island of Mujeres which was the ap-
pointed rendezvous. The winds which had been so favorable in
going south were contrary in retracing this distance. It was

SLieutenant Hardy, Kentucky battalion, "An Authentic History of
the Cuban Expedition," 1-16.
The vessel was under the command of Captain Benson. The chief
officers were Col. Theodore O'Hara and Lieutenant Colonel Pickett.
O'Hara was a Kentuckian and a veteran of the Mexican war, while
Pickett was a West Point graduate who had already been engaged in
the unfortunate Round Island Expedition. Hardy, 16-22.
Guns and ammunition seem to have been supplied to the expedition
from the stores belonging to the States of Mississippi and Louisiana.
See New Orleans Bee, June 7, I850, and especially report of Wm.
Marvin, Judge U. S. District Court, Key West, 'May 21, 185o, to the
President of the U. S. (Mss. Dept. of Interior, Wash., D. C.)

only possible to make a few miles each day. After four days of
this tedious work the Georgiana reached the island of Contoy
about ten miles from Mujeres and almost the same distance
from the coast of Yucatan.5" With conditions so unfavorable,
Captain Benson decided not to try to go any farther, and the
first vessel of the Cuban expedition came to anchor in a pretty
little bay, ready to make preparations for disembarkation.
The little island of Contoy was found to be a sandy key,
entirely uninhabited. It was scarcely more than half a mile
in length and very narrow, with a small lake of salt water in
the center. The small bay where the Georgiana anchored was
favorably situated on the sheltered western side, but unfortun-
ately there was on the island no water fit to drink."
The Kentuckians of the Georgiana disembarked on the morn-
ing of May 7th and immediately built their signal fires to call
the Creole to the spot. Three fishing smacks were attracted,
and anchored close beside the Georgiana, much to the anxiety
of the men on shore, but the Spanish vessels seemed to have no
suspicions, since Contoy was not an unnatural point at which to
stop on the way to Panama.7
The lack of good water at Contoy made it dangerous to
attempt to stay there for any length of time. Accordingly a
pilot was secured from one of the fishing smacks, and for four
days the attempt was made to get to Mujeres. But the winds
were either averse, or there was dead calm; the men were
becoming discontented, and even Captain Benson was sick of
the whole expedition. The Georgiana was forced to return to
her old anchorage at Contoy.
The first night after the return to Contoy discontent was
growing almost into mutiny, and Captain Benson told some of
the ringleaders that if a majority signed a petition to that effect
he would attempt to return to New Orleans. As many as fifty
or sixty signatures were obtained.
So far no clear explanation of the plans had been made to
the men, and that seemed to be one of the chief causes of dis-
content. Even some of the officers felt it would be useless to
go on with men so disaffected. On this account Colonel O'Hara
called the men together and made them a speech, promising
The island lies about eighty miles from Cuba and is the nearest point
of Mexican soil.
'Hardy, 24.
'Hardy, 26, 27.

that, unless Lopez came in eight days, he would return to New
Orleans. This seemed to restore the spirits of the men, cheers
were given, three for Lopez, three for Cuba, and three for
annexation. Other enthusiastic speeches were given by officers
called out by the men. An oath of obedience to the Articles
of War of the United States Army and to the Republic of Cuba
as represented by General Narciso Lopez was signed by almost
all the men. Those who did not sign were not to be allowed to
accompany the expedition. A lieutenant was sent with the
Spanish pilot in a small boat to Mujeres to give the news of
the whereabouts of the Georgiana to the Steamer Creole when
it might arrive. The men grew more contented for the Yuca-
tecans had heard the news of the American ship and began to
arrive with provisions. Except for an occasional quarrel
among individuals there were no further signs of the incipient
In the meantime, at New Orleans, Colonel Wheat, an officer
who had served with distinction under Scott in the Mexican
War, was gathering together a battalion of Louisiana troops.
This second battalion was composed of a rougher and more ad-
venturous crowd than either the Kentucky or the Mississippi
battalions, and consisted of about I60 men. Some, especially
the officers, were veterans of the Mexican War, but not so large
a proportion as in the Mississippi regiment.8
The Susan Loud, carrying this Louisiana regiment, left her
moorings at New Orleans at almost the time when her ally,
the Georgiana, first came in sight of Contoy. She sailed down
the Mississippi on the night of May 2nd, and then eastward
on the next day. The Susan Loud had directions to cruise
to a point 260 N. 870 W. in the general direction of Mujeres
to wait there until the 7th of May on which day the Creole
expected to leave New Orleans. The barge should then sail
on a direct line towards the mouth of the Mississippi until she
met the steamer. The rendezvous was reached at noon on the
sixth, and then, for the first time, the lone star flag of Cuba
was raised over the waters of the gulf amid the cheers of the
"Liberators."'8 The day which the Susan Loud had to spend
Hardy, 28-31.
'"The Cuban flag was drawn by Tolon a friend of Lopez in 1849.
It was displayed on the office of the New York Sun in New York on
May II, 1850, an incident which led to protest on the part of Spain.
See C. Villaverde, quoted in Morales 261-2.

at the rendezvous was used in organization, for the men had
not been together before embarking, and almost none except
the officers had seen their future leader, General Lopez. The
filibusters were addressed by Colonel Wheat and then proceeded
to divide themselves into ten squads to serve as the basis of
future companies.9
Whiling away the time in playing poker, with large amounts
of the bonds of the future Cuban republic as the stakes, the
newly organized filibusters looked eagerly for the expected
Creole. About one o'clock on the morning of May 4th her
smoke was made out ahead, and by sunset even her red signal
flag was close enough to be made out. The Susan Loud re-
sponded by running up a white flag in answer. With the Cuban
flag streaming from each vessel's masthead, the two came
alongside and General Gonzales came on board the Susan
Loud from the Creole. Almost the whole of the day fol-
lowing the meeting of the two vessels was used in transhipping
the men to the steamer. Captain Pendleton of the Susan Loud
who was well acquainted with various Cuban harbors was also
induced to go on board the Creole, while the Susan Loud was
left to follow the swifter steamer as well as she could. The
Louisiana men found the Mississippi regiment on the Creole
disappointingly small. It contained only about I30 men. The
'O. D. D. 0. "History of the Late Expedition to Cuba, by O. D. D. O.,
one of the participants"-New Orleans, I850. PP. 1-19. (For critical
consideration of this source see Bibliography). The various squads
chose their own officers as follows:
Company A. Capt. A. C. Steele, Lieutenants, E. Vernon-H. Peabody.
Company B. Capt. J. C. Davis, Lieutenants, Thixton-H. E. Henning.
Company C. Capt. T. F. Fisher, Lieutenants, J. H. Dennet-Morris.
Company D. 'Capt. T. G. Hunton, Lieutenants, Duncan-Jas. Foley.
Company E. Capt. J. J. McCormeck, Lieutenants, Bradford-Mitchell.
*Company F. Capt. Thos. Kewen, Lieutenants, E. D. Lane-Woodruff.
Company G. Capt. N. C. Breckenridge, Lieutenants, J. C. Perkins-
W. J. Burke.
Company H. Capt. Thos. March, Lieutenants, Parish-Thos. Lawton.
Company I. Capt. H. C. Foster, Lieutenants, G. H. Sartin-Hurd.
Company KC Capt. M. J. Morgan, Lieutenants, E. L. Jones-R. A.
In addition to Col. Wheat, Theodore P. Byrd was appointed adjutant,
J. D. R. McHenry, Commissary, L. C. Thomas, Quartermaster, and
Thomas Wragg, Sergeant Major. There were 134 privates, making a
total of I7o. Lieut. Col. Wi. H. Bell and 'Major George B. Hayden
were second and third in command, respectively.

best of good feeling prevailed between the two sets of men.'1
On the 12th of May arms were distributed to the men, and
all those who wished it were introduced to General Lopez. The
leader of the filibusters is described as a soldierly looking man,
well set, about five feet eight in height. He had a fine head,
and sparkling black eyes, from which love of adventure shone.
In manner he was singularly attractive. The large tall men of
the Mississippi battalion pleased him especially. His whole
bearing indicated great activity and power of endurance, quali-
ties which always inspired confidence in his men."
A tropical storm broke the monotony on the 12th. On the
same day a carelessly handled fire arm by its discharge killed
one of the Louisiana regiment, the first tragedy in what had
so far seemed all comedy. On the afternoon of the 13th
the coast of Yucatan was sighted, again as in the case of the
Georgiana too far to the west. In rounding the point of Yuca-
tan and turning south it would have been natural to pass on
the seaward side of Contoy. But a sail was seen in that direc-
tion and for fear it might prove a Spanish war ship, the light
Creole kept close to shore and thus early on the morning of the
I4th, made out the Georgiana snugly anchored on the west side
of Contoy, some twenty-five miles north of Mujeres. The
whole expedition was now united, the filibusters showing their
delight with deafening cheers.12
In a conference between Colonel O'Hara and General Lopez
it was decided that the Creole should go on to Mujeres for
water and come back the following day to take on board the
Kentuckians. A proclamation was distributed in which Lopez
appealed to the discipline and enthusiasm of his men: "Sol-
diers of the liberating expedition of Cuba! Our first act on
arriving shall be the establishment of a provisional constitution,
founded on American principles, and adapted to the emergen-
cies of the occasion. This constitution you will unite with your
The officers of the Mississippi battalion were Lieut. Col. W. J.
Bunch, Major Peter Smith, Captains A. L. Kewen, Keating, Hawkins,
Hale, Mizelle, O. D. D. 0. 25.
u O. D. D. O. op. cit., 24-29.
20. D. D. O. 31; Hardy, 32.
On the island of Mujeres was buried with all due ceremony the body
of the man who had been accidentally killed. A young theological
student named McCann from Paris, Kentucky, officiated as chaplain,
and a salute was fired over the lonely grave. 0. D. D. 0. 33.

brethren of Cuba in swearing to support in its principles as
well as on the field of battle. You have all been chosen by
your officers as men individually worthy of so honorable an
undertaking. I rely implicitly on your presenting Cuba to the
world, a signal example of all the virtues, as well as all the
valor of the American citizen soldiers; and I cannot be de-
ceived in my confidence that by our discipline, good order,
moderation in victory, and sacred respect for all private rights,
you will put to shame every insolent calumny of your enemies.
And when the hour arrives for repose on the laurels which
await your grasp, you will all, I trust, establish permanent and
happy homes in the beautiful soil of the island you go to free,
and there long enjoy the gratitude which Cuba will never fail
generously to bestow on those to whom she will owe the sacred
and immeasurable debt of her liberty."'3
Before the Creole went on to Mujeres, Lopez had a conver-
sation with the Captain of one of the fishing smacks which
was going to Havana. Under the appearance of confiding in
him, he gave the fisherman information which might mislead
the Spanish authorities regarding his true plans. Mujeres
turned out to be a pleasant island quite different from Contoy.
It was about eight miles long and almost two miles wide, lying
some twelve miles from the mainland. The Adjutant General
secured some of the inhabitants and soon had them carrying
water on board the Creole."1
Some evidences of discontent began to show themselves
among the Louisiana men at Contoy while the Creole was at
Mujeres taking water, especially because some of the men fear-
ed that the little steamer could not carry the increased load
when the Kentuckians came on board. It was now known
that the expedition would number 6oo men, and the Creole
was evidently old and out of repair. The men were assembled
on the beach for drill and again addressed by Colonel Wheat
in the hope of gaining their full loyalty.15
On the morning of the I6th the steamer was finally ready
to go back to Contoy. When all was ready it was discovered
that thirteen men had remained behind. One of these men had
"Hardy, 34. It is, of course, unlikely that this speech is reported
O. D. D. 0. 34; Col. O'Hara's report in Hardy, op. cit. 65.
5O. DD. 0. 39-43.

boasted that they would capture a fishing smack which lay in the
bay, and so get back to the United States. On this account the
Creole took the smack in tow and did not let it go until it was
safely away from the dangerous island.1l
When the Georgiana was rejoined at Contoy, the two ships
were lashed together, and soon the transhipment of men, pro-
visions and water was going on rapidly. After a council of
war it was decided that every man should have an opportunity
if he wished to go back to the United States. Thirty-nine de-
cided to take advantage of this offer. Of these ten or twelve
belonged to Colonel O'Hara's regiment and had only come in
the expectation of disembarking at Chagres, if that had been
the rendezvous. The deserters were marched around the deck,
with their hands tied behind them, among the hisses and groans
of the army, and they were compelled to do the heavy work
of transferring coal from the Georgiana to the Creole. As
the Creole was about to sail they were addressed in a bitter
speech by one of the Kentuckians."
A heavy sea which had risen since the two vessels were
lashed together made the work of transhipment especially
difficult'1; but soon the troops were on their way, reduced now
from the original 570 to 521, by desertions at Mujeres and at
Contoy. The Pizarro and Habanero had left Havana on the
same day to hunt for the filibusters. On account of the wind
the Creole had to steam more towards the north than she
otherwise would and for this reason alone she probably missed
meeting the Spanish war ships.1'
"These deserters are said to have run up a black flag on the beach.
This would seem almost incredibly foolhardy. 0. D. D. 0. 44.
The men on Mujeres seem to have remained several days until a
Mexican war vessel arriving took them all away to Campeche. Here
they were received (with great curiosity by the people and only lived
by means of subscriptions raised for them by some kindhearted people.
Some managed after great hardships to get to Sisal and from there
to find ships to the United States. Hardy, 92-94.
"10. D. D. 0. 45, Hardy, 35, O'Hara's official Report, Hardy, 65.
"Hardy, 35; but 0. D. D. O., p. 51, says the day was calm and
"Each man was supplied with sixty rounds of ammunition. Each
officer carried in addition to a regulation sabre a Jenning's Patent Rifle
which fired a leaden cartridge 15 times a minute. The Kentuckians
were supplied with rifles, the Mississippians with yagers, and the men
from Louisiana with muskets. The men wore red shirts, an interesting

The men were crowded on the deck and in the hold, and
only those on deck were able to drill at all. The strictest dis-
cipline was necessary to prevent bodies of men from passing
from one part of the ship to the other; for the Creole was very
heavily loaded and it was not easy to keep her trimmed in the
heavy seas. One lieutenant was court martialled and reduced
to the ranks for disrespect to his superior officer, a wholesome
lesson to the undisciplined volunteers. Lopez paced the deck
spy glass in hand. Once or twice the Creole changed her
course to avoid some large steamer. On the evening of the
first day out from Contoy the exact plan of the invasion was
made known. The landing was to take place at-Cardenasand
the railroad to Matanzas was to be seized This important
town, thirty miles from Cardenas, should be reached and sur-
prised within twenty-four hours of the landing. It would be
the center of recruiting. While ioo picked men proceeded to
within nine miles of Havana to blow up an important bridge,
enough recruits to bring the number to five full regiments would
be armed and mounted. With an army of 5000 men aggressive
measures would be possible. Lopez expected soon to be
encamped with an army of 30,000 men before Havana.20 At
ten o'clock on the evening of May I8th the Creole passed the
lighthouse fifteen miles from Cardenas,21 and under a bright
moon sailed past ships and little islands. Soon the beautiful
proof of the effect of the movements in Europe. When steamers were
passed these unusual shirts were evidently a source of danger. Hardy.
35, 36; 0. D. D. 0. 60.
D. D. 0. 58; O'Hara in Hardy, 66.
The Adjutant 'General, later wounded in the battle at -Cardenas, was
a young man named A. J. Gonzales, a Cuban of good family who at the
age of twenty-six was a professor in the University of Havana. Hav-
ing travelled widely and with a gift for oratory, on being suspected of
conspiracy, he had fled to the United States, and became a prominent
member of the Cuban Junta. It was he who had been deputed to
secure the services of General Worth before Lopez had arrived in
the United States. Jose Sanchez Iznaga of Trinidad, J. M. Macias
and J. M. Hernandez of Matanzas also accompanied Lopez. O. D. D. O.
59, 6o, 61. See Polk Papers which contain letters introducing Gonzales.
SCardenas had a population of 4,ooo to 5,000. In the town the
white and especially the Spanish element engaged in commerce predom-
inated. Cardenas is about ninety miles from Havana and twenty-five
from Matanzas, and in 1850 the communications with these two places
were particularly good 'both by a highway and a railroad. The greatest
sugar plantations tended by large numbers of slaves were in the imme-

little city was in sight. Near the wharf there was some delay
until a volunteer took the cable to shore. Not until after the
vessel was made fast was the alarm given by the Spanish
sentinel.22 The force which was to seize the railroad station,
sixty Kentuckians under Lieutenant Colonel Pickett, was the
first to land. The railway station proved to be one and one-half
miles from the steamer and well beyond the town, but Pickett's
company were able to march directly to it and seize it without
any opposition.23 A detachment of the Mississippi regiment un-
der Captain Kewen seized a railroad station within the city,
making prisoners a guard of twelve armed men and all the
railway employees.24
It was now about five in the morning. The Spanish garrison
occupied one side of the typical plaza, or public square, with
the governor's house on the other side, directly across the
square. Colonel O'Hara with the remaining Kentuckians
marched quickly up the main street which led along one side
of the barracks and into the public square. The streets were
deserted and the town seemed only beginning to realize its
danger. As soon as the Kentuckians came near, the sentinels
challenged, and the American troops quickened their pace to
charge. They were received by heavy firing from behind the
walls. At the very first fire Colonel O'Hara received a wound
which disabled him and he was compelled to retire to the
Creole, Major Hawkins now taking over the command.25 The
troops were drawn up before the barracks and Lopez in person
marched directly up and boldly demanded a surrender. The
diate neighborhood, a fact which naturally tended to conservatism on
the part of the whites. A second railroad led towards the interior of
the island. Concha, p. 29.
O'Hara (Hardy, 66) says there was considerable delay in landing.
There is a difference at this point between the two chief accounts.
O. D. D. O., p. 65, says that the vessel grounded, and that Faysoux
carried the cable to shore. Hardy does not mention the grounding of
the vessel, and leaves it to be implied that Captain Lewis carried the
cable (p. 39).
"Pickett's Report in Hardy, 68.
10O. ID. D. 0. 68.
"iColonel O'Hara's Report, Hardy, 67.
Lieutenant Hardy says that Hawkins immediately gave an order
to try to force an entrance, and that Lopez only arrived in time to
countermand it, on the ground that it would entail great loss of life.
But Hardy seems to be strongly prejudiced against Hawkins.

small Spanish garrison seemed to fear the results of allowing
the Americans to storm. The doors were thrown open and
the barracks were occupied by a contingent of American
In the meantime the Louisiana and Mississippi divisions had
advanced by separate streets parallel to the main street, one
to the east of the plaza and the other to the west. The Mis-
sissippi men, finding none to oppose them took up a position
in the rear of the barracks, acting as a reserve. The Louisiana
men under Colonel Wheat having arrived at a street which led
into the plaza from the east, turned sharply to the right and
entered the plaza just in time to find that the Spanish garrison,
while the doors were being thrown open on the other side of the
barracks, were making good their retreat unobserved across the
"plaza" into the governor's house. The two parties had just
time enough to exchange volleys which did no serious harm
except that Colonel Wheat, gallantly leading his men, was dis-
abled by a severe wound. In the meantime the Spaniards
succeeded in entering the governor's palace in good order.
Lieutenant Colonel Bell now assumed command of the Louisi-
ana troops with orders to capture the palace.2
The Louisianans strengthened by a company of Kentuckians
under Robinson, and by Muzelle's Mississippians, charged
eagerly on the barricaded doors. With a rush they broke in,
only to find that it would be impossible to reach the second
floor where the small garrison was stationed. The American
fire against the walls was simply a waste of ammunition.
Lieutenant Colonel Bell withdrew his troops out of range to
give them a breathing spell, and then made a new attack.28
The building was now fired and the palace completely sur-
rounded. Two Spaniards sought to escape, but one was in-
stantly shot and the other surrendered. The heat of the burning
building was becoming unbearable to the Spaniards within.
At eight o'clock a white flag was displayed and after a short
parley both governor and garrison surrendered unconditionally.
The garrison which surrendered consisted of about forty men.
The prisoners were confined in the barracks.29
"Report of Major Hawkins, Hardy, 72.
"O. D. D. 0. 67.
SReport of Lieutenant Colonel Bell, Louisiana Regiment, Hardy, 71.
"O. D. D. 0. 69, 70.

As soon as the barracks had surrendered, Hawkins and the
Kentuckians were posted south of the town to guard against
any attack from that quarter, but, with the surrender of the
governor, there being no signs of danger on the south, all the
men were recalled. The citizens were evidently imbued with
the idea that these self-called Liberators were real pirates, bent
on murder and plunder. All those who could were fleeing to
the ships in the harbor or to the hills back of the town. Some
offered bribes for the protection of their property. The atti-
tude of the Americans soon reassured them, but did not win
positive support. Guards were stationed at the principal stores
and everything which was taken was paid for scrupulously.
The training of the Americans in Mexico here showed its good
effects, for the old soldiers of Taylor and Scott had been ac-
customed to distinguish conquest from plunder, and habit kept
them from excess. The only money seized was the safe at the
custom house, which was found to contain eighty-four doub-
loons; in addition guns and ammunition were seized from
the Spaniards, but private property was respected. Indeed,
as soon as the governor had surrendered, the Louisiana troops
seized the fire engines and easily put out the fire which they
had kindled.
The filibusters now had nothing to do. All form of organi-
zation was lost, and the men scattered about the town seeking
food and rest. The reassured citizens treated them with a half
frightened courtesy and the men drank large quantities of na-
tive liquors which had a stupefying effect and made successful
fighting during the night doubtful. Lopez made every effort
to win over some of the citizens, but with little success. They
were not hostile, but they showed no sign of anything but good
natured hospitality. Some brought old weapons which they
had in their possession and which they did not intend to use
themselves. Indeed they seemed nervously anxious to get rid
of their unwelcome and dangerous guests; the rumor was per-
sistently spread that 3000 men were on the road from Matan-
zas and would arrive at Cardenas by midnight. A message
which Lopez received about three in the afternoon seemed to
confirm this news. A small body of Spanish lancers galloped
about the outskirts of the town and reconnoitered the situation.
Evidently the Spaniards would know of every movement and
it would be hopeless now to surprise Matanzas. If the rumor

of a large Spanish force between him and Matanzas were true
it was necessary for Lopez to act quickly. To advance leaving
a hostile city behind him and to march against a large hostile
force in front with a disorganized though brave body of men
was a step which had a chance of success, but certainly only
a slender one. To remain in Cardenas, to allow the Spanish
war ships to concentrate outside the harbor and so cut off all
retreat while the Spanish armies were concentrating in front
would mean annihilation. There was still one possibility which
may have lain in Lopez' mind in the beginning. A quick em-
barkation in the Creole and a flight to the westward, a landing
on the most western point of the island at Mantua, a point
easier to reach from New Orleans than Havana, the prestige
of having already captured an important town, and finally the
absence of the intimidating Spanish troops which would be
several days' march away on a fool's errand to Cardenas, these
seemed the very conditions of success. Lopez was known in
the west; he knew the country and the roads, and with the
added weapons and ammunition captured at Cardenas, if the
Cubans could be induced to rise, they could be armed, and
Havana could be attacked on its weakest side. The attack on
Cardenas should thus serve only as a blind. Of course, every-
thing depended on the rising of the Cubans. But of the
eventual likelihood of this Lopez never seemed to have a doubt.
He knew of discontent among the Creoles and among the
Spanish troops. He failed to properly estimate the influence
of long habits of obedience and discipline; and even in the
later disasters of the Bahia Honda expedition, up to the very
time when he was captured, he never gave p the hope and
even the expectation that the peasants w o 'flock to his lone
star flag and that Spanish soldiers could je won to the cause
of "Cuba Libre!"
During the day the quartermaster had been engaged in
transferring the baggage to the railway station, and all were
expecftig to proceed to Matanzas. The order given at four
o'clock to re6mbark on the Creole was received with great sur-
prise. The scattered men began to reunite and the Louisiana,
and Mississippi men with Colonel Robinson's company of
Kentuckians were immediately marched towards the steamer.
Part reembarked while others assisted in loading the arms
and provisions. An aide de camp was sent to recall Lieutenant

Colonel Pickett who with his small band had guarded the depot
all the afternoon. These men now retreated to the foot of
the main street.30
While the reembarkation was going on, Major Hawkins and
eighty-five or ninety Kentuckians were drawn up in the square
as a rear guard. The retreat of the American troops and the
withdrawal of the guard at the depot were not lost on the Span-
ish forces, which had been on the outskirts of the city. About
six companies of Spanish infantry and lancers entered the
city with the evident intention of attacking the retreating
forces. It will be remembered that there were three chief streets
leading-back to the shore. The Spanish commander conceived
the purpose of sending his lancers down the one to the east
and the infantry down the western road, thus passing Major
Hawkins' Kentuckians, and separating them from the Creole.
If this flanking movement had been successful the result would
have been fatal. Major Hawkins barely had time to throw a
flanking company into each street to check the Spanish attack,
while he himself withdrew with his centre to a point on the
main street nearer the Creole. Baffled on the side street the
Spanish lancers, some sixty or seventy in number, formed in the
square and wildly charged upon the retreating Kentuckians in
the main street. The flanking companies had by this time fallen
back and formed on the sidewalks of the main street so the
lancers were caught between three fires. As the lancers charged
they were met by a raking fire which sent horses and riders in
wild confusion rolling on the ground. Those who broke
through only did so to meet the fire of Colonel Pickett's men
who were drawn as a supporting line at the foot of the street.
Regardless of the fate of their comrades a second line of thirty
or forty lancers charged again with the utmost gallantry.
These were killed almost to a man, those who escaped up a side
street coming upon the fire of the Louisiana regiment. Lieu-
tenant Colonel Pickett now took command of the Kentuckians
and drew them up behind a barricade of sugar hogsheads.
There they remained about one hour without being attacked
and then, when all was ready, embarked on the Creole. At
about nine the steamer got under way, sped on her way by
scattering Spanish shots from the wharf.30'
"Lieut. Col. Pickett's Report. Hardy, 68.
There seem to have been twenty-one Spanish soldiers who joined

The harbor of Cardenas is peculiarly difficult to navigate,
and it is not strange that in the darkness the Creole without a
pilot who knew those waters should have grounded. It was
already midnight and the Spaniards were now thoroughly
alarmed and would soon have steamers on the watch. Every
moment's delay made the thought of another landing more and
more impracticable. It was clearly necessary to lighten ship,
although such a step would make a second landing impossible.
The heavier provisions were thrown overboard and then the

the filibusters. Spanish sources minimize the number in the garrison
and deny that any joined Lopez voluntarily. The-~$i45 secured at
Cardenas from the Spanish treasury was distributed at Key West
among the wounded and the Spanish deserters. The numbers in the
garrison are variously given at from seventeen to several hundred. The
company of lancers who charged the retreating filibusters in the evening
was probably composed of only thirty men. Hardy seems to be trust-
worthy in estimating the garrison at one company of infantry. On
these points the evidence is conflicting. See: Hardy, 73, 41, 63, 5o;
O. D. D. O. Torrente, II, 379, I, 43, 44.
The Captain General, June 9, i850, writing to the minister of state
refers to prisoners landed from the Creole at Key West. This evi-
dently refers to the twenty-one deserters mentioned by Schlesinger.
(Unpublished Mss. Havana Archives.)
The losses at Cardenas were as follows: (i) The Louisianans lost
some twenty killed and wounded in the morning attack on the gov-
ernor's house, including Colonel Wheat, who was wounded. None were
lost in the evening when the retreat was covered by the Kentuckians,
(Lieut. Col. Bell, Hardy 71). (2) The Kentuckians lost forty killed
and wounded altogether, largely in the evening engagement. Killed,
Capt. John A. Logan, Lieut. James J. Garrett, Rev. Louis McCann, Ser-
geant Henry Cruse and ten privates. Wounded, Col. T. O'Hara, Major
T. T. Hawkins, Lieuts. Sayre and Hardy, Sergeant Robert Wheeling
and twenty-one privates, (Report Lieut.-Col. Pickett, Hardy 70). (3)
The Mississippians probably did not lose more than six or seven, not be-
ing exposed except in the morning. The total Spanish losses may have
been almost ioo, chiefly in the evening attack. (See Hardy, 43, 44).
General Gonzales, who had been the very life and soul of the enter-
prise, exposed himself fearlessly to the fire from the governor's house
and was wounded early in the day. General Lopez escaped although
he was in the very thick of the firing. O. D. D. 0. 69.
Among the losses in the evening engagement were those of Chaplain
McCann who was shot from a house while retreating to join his regi-
ment, and Chaplain Logan of the Kentuckians and Lieutenant Lexios of
the Mississippi regiment who were carried aboard the Creole badly
wounded. They died in the course of the night and were buried at
sea on the next day. O. D. D. O. 78, 79.

arms and ammunition, until the piled boxes projected above the
water. As a last resort more than Ioo men were landed on a
nearby island. This expedient was successful. The vessel
floated clear, and early in the morning of the 2oth passed
the bar and the light ship. There Lopez landed the captured
governor and the commander of the garrison.
As soon as the Creole was clear of the harbor great opposi-
tion arose to Lopez' desire to land at Mantua. A conference
of the officers was called and it was found that while Colonel
Wheat and four others wished to follow Lopez once more, the
majority felt that another landing would be sheer folly. It
was decided to leave-the whole matter to the men, for with
discontented men it was evident that very little could be done.
But the men were almost unanimously against landing, only
fifteen voting with Lopez. The old general begged to be put
on shore with whatever men would follow him. Whether this
was done to try to shame all to follow, or from a real belief
that the Cuban insurrectionists only needed a leader, the daring
request was refused, and by almost common consent the Creole
turned her prow toward Key West. Nor would any other
course have been possible, even granting the widespread and
effective discontent which Lopez so strongly counted on. Gen-
eral Gonzales who acted as interpreter was wounded; the Span-
iards would be on the lookout and the danger of being captured
on the way to Mantua was increased by the necessity of passing
Havana; it would now be almost impossible to make an ef-
fective surprise; the ammunition needed to arm the Cubans
had been thrown overboard; and there was only just enough
fuel to take the ship either to Mantua or to Key West. At
best only a landing could be effected and there would be no
hope of retreating in case of failure. Such considerations as
these were decisive."1
The Creole, by taking a course too much to the east luckily
avoided the Pizarro which visited Key West in search of her
on the next morning. In the evening it was found that the
Creole was in the shallows some forty miles to the east of Key
West. A pilot was taken on board, and it was decided to an-
chor and proceed by daylight. The twenty-first dawned clear,
the last day of the expedition. The Creole had proceeded about
"Report of Major Hawkins, Hardy, 73, 74. Report of Lieutenant-
Colonel Pickett, Hardy, 69.

fourteen miles when in the southwest was seen the smoke of
the Pizarro. The Spanish vessel had visited Key West in
search of them and was now cruising off that port in expecta-
tion of encountering the filibusters. It was now a matter of a
race. The Pizarro had the advantage of speed, while the light
draught of the Creole allowed her to take a more direct route
nearer the reef. Every bit of coal was piled on the fires; boxes,
barrels of resin, everything available was used, and the old
Creole steamed as she had never done before. The flag of
Spain was visible from the Pizarro, and the crowded adventur-
ers could be in no doubt of their most imminent danger. For-
tunately for them the heavy Spaniard had to stop and take on
a pilot, and this made it possible for the Creole toqenterKey
West twenty-five minutes the winner in therace. Anchoring
under the guns of the Petrel, an American war vessel, the
Pizarro dared do nothing but protest against the disembarka-
tion of the filibusters.
At Key West the filibusters were welcomed by the citizens.
Lopez took passage to Savannah, while the others broke up
into small groups and dispersed to their homes as best they
might. In this they were aided by citizens of Key West, al-
though a meeting called in their behalf caused a disturbance
between their friends and opponents. No attempt was made to
arrest any of the filibusters at Key West, but the Creole was
seized by the United States authorities including all the arms
and ammunition on board. The rapidity with which the men
disembarked furnished the United States authorities some ex-
cuse for not making arrests. Ten minutes after the Creole
touched the pier, the wounded had been carried off and she
was absolutely deserted by soldiers and crew.82

"0. D. D. 0. 79-82. Hardy, 46-54, 58, 63, Pickett's Report, Hardy, 70,
The Spanish Naval Commander in the Antilles, Francisco Avenero, to
the Spanish Consul at Key West, House Ex. Doc. 83, 32 Cong. i Sess.
P. 45.
The ships in the Cardenas expedition were supplied with coal and
provisions for thirty days. Iznaga, a close friend of Lopez, gave the
total cost $37,500, entirely secured from American sources. Morales,
In the report for May 21, 185o, from W. C. Maloney, U. S. Mar-
shall at Key West, to the Secretary of Interior, this official states that
the number of armed men thrown into the town of Key West exceeded
that of "effective male inhabitants." Seven negro slaves who had fled

The expedition and the attempts of the government to pre-
vent it had been already a prolific source of embarrassment to
the administration. On May 20th the papers had an-
nounced the action taken by the President in sending vessels of
the American navy to try to prevent the expedition from land-
ing, or at least to cut off supplies and reinforcements from the
United States. This action was made the ground for a bitter
attack by Senator Yulee of Florida. He said he was doubtful
whether any such expedition were contemplated. If it were,
he did not believe it to be clearly illegal under the neutrality
act of i818. He said that the administration showed a desire
to usurp powers which the constitution never gave it. It in-
tended to deprive persons of life, liberty and property without
due process of law. In attempting to keep provisions from
reaching the island the President was himself breaking our
laws of neutrality by taking the part in a foreign territory of
one belligerent against the other. The President had gone so
far as to make war without the authority of Congress. The
government seemed to him, as to a very large number of
Americans to be taking the side of despotism against liberal
progress.82' This remarkable speech called forth a masterly
reply from Webster. The Senator from Massachusetts review-
ed our promises to Spain repeated through the executive again
on the Creole from Cardenas were restored to the Pizarro on appli-
cation of the Spanish consul. (Mss. Dept. of Interior, Washington,
D. C.) In the meantime on receiving the news of invasion Roncali
issued a proclamation declaring the blockade of the island, placing it
under military government, and condemning to instant death all who
took part in any way in revolution or in inciting the slaves to rise.
He called upon the citizens to show their loyalty. (Zaragoza, I, 597.)
The governor of Matanzas reached Cardenas with a small body of
troops about 2 A. M. only to find that the filibusters were gone. About
3500 troops including iooo militia under the Count of Mirasol left Ha-
vana by rail soon after they received the news, and crossing the bay
of Cardenas in boats marched beyond Cardenas to the east, where the
expedition was expected to attempt a new landing. Zaragoza, op cit.
6oo-6o0; Concha, 30.
SThe Senator from Florida defended the filibusters saying that they
were acting under "their personal civil right of emigration and ex-
patriation." This view would have justified President Taylor's unfor-
tunate threat in his proclamation in 1849 to refuse protection to
filibusters as American citizens and these views tied the hands of the
government when Crittenden and his men were captured in 1851, and
later proved embarrassing in the famous case of the Virginius.

and again since Jackson's time. We were not only bound by
treaties of peace, amity and goodwill, but we had repeatedly
promised that if Spain would abstain from surrendering Cuba to
any other European power, she might be assured of the good
offices of the United States to maintain her in possession of
the island. He held it to be an unquestionable law that Ameri-
can jurisdiction followed the flag, whether that flag floated on
the sea or even in a foreign port. This jurisdiction imposed
the duty of protection, not only for the benefit of the United
States, but, in true justice, for the benefit of a foreign country
whose peace was threatened. Further, the act of 1818 imposed
it as a solemn duty on the President to preserve the peace of
the country by suppressing every unauthorized expedition set
on foot in the United States against any portion of a country
with which we were at peace. Mr. Webster could not regard
the clause of the Constitution which safeguarded life, liberty
and property as applying to armed insurrection. He expressed
the highest confidence in the President of the United States.38
When the news of the Cardenas expedition reached Madrid
the Spanish government urged very strongly upon the gov-
ernment at Washington the severe punishment of the filibusters.
Such punishment was required by the dignity of the American
nation: "But if contrary to our expectations the authors of
this last expedition should go unpunished as those did who last
year planned the Round Island expedition, the government of
Her Majesty will find itself obliged to appeal to the sentiments
of morality and good faith of the nations of Europe to oppose
the entrance of a system of politics and of doctrines which
would put an end to the foundations on which rests the peace of
the civilized world. If Europe should sanction by her silence
and acquiescence the scandalous state of affairs by which the
citizens of the United States (or those of any power whatever)
might freely make war from their territory against Spain, when
the latter is at perfect peace officially with the Union; if it
should be tolerated or looked on with indifference that the
solemn stipulations which bind the two states should be with
impunity made hollow by mobs and that the law of nations
and public morality should be violated without other motive
than the selfishness of the aggressors, and with no other reli-
ance than force; then civilized nations ought to renounce that
"Cong. Globe, May 21, 185o-XXI, 1030-1035.

peace which is based on the laws of nations and the terms of
treaties, and make ready for a new era in which might will be
right and in which popular passions of the worst kind will be
substituted for the reason of states." 84
The London Times, in an editorial for June 8, 1850, voiced
much European opinion which severely criticized the govern-
ment: "The civilized nations of the world are beginning to ask
themselves the meaning of this extraordinary state system which
unites many provinces for defence of one, if attacked, but
leaves that one perfectly free to attack any friendly power in
defiance of the wishes of the other members of the corporate
government. Had Spanish ships blockaded the port of New
Orleans, Spain would have been at war with the United
States collectively. An armament is fitted out at New Orleans
to invade Spanish territory and the government which repre-
sents the United States is powerless to prevent its progress or
In the south, the trend of public opinion was wholly favora-
ble to the filibusters, and made their conviction almost impossi-
ble. A prominent Whig paper stated the situation clearly:
"Our administration will disown all participation in it as an
infraction of right, justice and good faith, but the design ap-
peals with almost irresistible power to the great heart of the
nation, and enlists the interests of the masses.""8
In spite of much opposition the administration showed gen-
uine good faith in its earnest endeavors to bring the filibusters
to punishment. The Creole was confiscated, and Ewing, Secre-
tary of the Interior, wrote to the District Attorney at New
Orleans: "It is the earnest desire of the President that all
leaders engaged in organizing and setting on foot the late ex-
Ip~ition against Cuba shall be brought to trial and punishment.
It is a matter in which the good faith of the nation is impli-
cated and it will not do to confine the retribution of justice to
an obscure and worthless foreigner and suffer our own citizens
who know the law which they have violated to escape
"These men have worked great mischief. They have done
"Copia de un despacho dirigido al ministry Espafiol en Washington
y Circulado a los representantes de Espafia en los Cortes de Europa,
Madrid, June 23, 1850. Boletin del Archivo Nacional, Igo6, p. 63.
"New Orleans Bee, May 14, 1850.

whatsoever they could to bring the laws into disrepute. They
have disturbed our relations with a foreign power, with whom
we desire peace and commerce, and they have sacrificed the
lives of many of their ignorant and unreflecting fellow citizens
who confided in them and followed their fortunes. Theirs, in
its consequence, at least, is no common crime-and more than
ordinary care should be taken to punish it and to prevent its
recurrence in the future."86
In spite of the evident good faith of the administration,
public opinion proved too strong to allow any convictions.
Lopez was arrested at Savannah and released for lack of evi-
dence. Everywhere he was received as a hero. His achieve-
ment in capturing Cardenas was considered only a foretaste
of greater successes. He arrived at New Orleans on June 7,
1850, ready for a new enterprise.37 At the preliminary hearing
before the commissioner, the investigation was much hampered
by the refusal of practically all the witnesses to answer im-
portant questions on the ground that they would incriminate
themselves. To some direct questions they answered that their
sense of honor forbade injuring those who had confided in
them. When pressed they denied all knowledge.38 In spite of
these difficulties the Grand Jury at New Orleans found true
bills against sixteen of the leaders.39 Ex-Senator Henderson
"Ewing, Secretary of Interior, to Logan Hunton, June ro, 1850,
Confidential, original Mss., Dept. of Interior.
"New Orleans Bee, June 8, 1850. Lopez is thus described: "Gen.
Lopez has an exceedingly prepossessing appearance. He is apparently
about fifty years of age. His figure is compact and well set. His
face which is dark olive, and of the Spanish cast, is strikingly handsome,
expressive of both intelligence and energy. His full dark eyes, firm,
well-formed mouth, and erect head, crowned with iron grey hair, fix
the attention and convince you that he is no ordinary man. Unless
we are greatly mistaken in the impression we have formed of him, he
will again be heard of in some new attempt to revolutionize Cuba. He
certainly does not look like a man easily disheartened." Mobile Tribune,
quoted N. 0, Bee, June 3, 1850.
N. O. Bee, June 3-June 18, 185o. "The Cuba State Trials"--Dem.
Review, 1852.
"Copy of Report of Logan Hunton to Secretary of State Webster
regarding state of prosecutions, New Orleans, Oct. 2, 185o. Mss. Dept.
of Interior.
The following had been indicted: Narciso Lopez, Theodore (OHara,
John F. Pickett, R. Hayden, Chatham R. Wheat, Thomas T. Hawkins,
W. H. Bell, N. J. Bunce, Peter Smith, and A. J. Gonzales (these nine

was selected for trial on the ground that he had helped to
organize the expedition. Although the charge of the judge was
uniformly favorable to the prosecution, three successive juries
were divided and failed to convict. The prosecution of the
other fifteen was then dropped. Similar efforts to secure
conviction of those connected with the expedition failed in
New York and Ohio. The juries seemed to interpret the law
as well as to estimate the facts which were clearly against
the prisoners. The action of these juries furnished the Captain
General of Cuba a text to compare jury trials with those before
military tribunals to the disadvantage of the former, and many
Americans regarded these trials with misgivings as a sign of a
widespread lawlessness, while others were pleased at the evi-
dences of what they regarded as a love of liberty.40
The administration of President Taylor, which was to close
so soon with the unexpected death of the old hero on July 9,
had to deal with one delicate and important problem growing
out of the Cardenas expedition. It will be remembered that
the Susan Loud had proceeded towards Contoy after trans-
shipping the men, and that the Georgiana had been left at the
island in Mexican waters to carry back the thirty-nine men who
refused to accompany the Creole. On May i8th the two sail-
ing vessels were seized by the Pizarro and Habanero, and the
fifty-two men on board were taken to Havana for trial, the
vessels following with prize crews40" The American consul

last being either colonels or majors in the expedition), L. J. Sigur, editor
of the Delta, Donahen Augusten, militia general and commander of a
military company or regiment called the 'Legion,' John A. Quitman,
Cotesworth Pinckney Smith, Judge of the Supreme Court of Missis-
sippi, John Henderson, former U. S. Senator, and J. L. O'Sullivan,
formerly editor of the Democratic Review.
The Cuban State Trials, Democratic Review. 1852.
The indictment and arrest of Governor Quitman of Mississippi cre-
ated the greatest excitement. Governor Quitman at first threatened to
use the militia to defend the threatened sovereignty of the State of-
Mississippi, but finally resigned and allowed himself to be arrested.
He was released on bail, Feb. 7, I851, and when the third trial of General
Henderson failed through the inability of the jury to reach a decision, .
all the cases were dismissed. Claiborne's "Quitman," II, 75, 6.
The accounts by Hardy and 0. D. D. O. do not mention the arrival
of the Susan Loud at Contoy before the departure of the Creole. But
the Captain General reported that both vessels were captured at Contoy
forty-eight hours after the departure of the Creole. El Conde de

and the captain of the sloop of war, Albany, demanded the
release of the prisoners, on the ground that they were captured
in neutral waters. On the refusal of this demand, a special
commissioner was sent by the state department to emphasize
the previous demand, and to state that the President would
regard the punishment of the prisoners as an outrage.41
With regard to the prisoners, Secretary of State Clayton
argued that even an intention to commit a crime did not con-
stitute a crime and directed the American commissioner at
Havana to "warn" the Captain General "in the most friendly
manner and in the true spirit of ancient treaties, that if he
unjustly shed one drop of American bloodat that exciting
period it might cost the two countries a sanguinary war."42
Clayton was anxious that the prisoners should be remitted by
the Captain General to the United States "to encounter a pun-
ishment, which, if they are honorable men, will be worse than
any he could inflict, in the indignant frowns and denunciations
of good men in their own country."
The American minister at Madrid was also instructed to

Alcoy al Mtro. de Estado, Habana, May 27 de 1850. Unpublished
Mss. Havana Archives.
SHouse Ex. Doc. 83, 32 Cong.; I Sess. p. 45.
The London Times commented on the Contoy Prisoners: "They
incurred the guilt and liabilities of piracy at the moment they put to
sea on their errand of pillage; and they were amenable to justice ac-
cording to the laws of nations at any period of their expedition, subject
to no other condition than the legal proof of their guilty intent." It is
needless to say that so extreme a view would find little to sustain it in
International Law. Times, July 19, 1850.
"J. J. Crittenden wrote Clayton, June 22, 1850, Clayton Mss. Library
of Congress: "You have had an arduous time, indeed, in the number
and importance of the foreign difficulties and questions that have been
thrown upon you. But you have no cause to regret these labours. You
have performed them with a signal success and ability, that cannot fail
to be rewarded with the public applause. The attitude you have taken
on the Cuban affair is exactly the right one-popular, proud and na-
tional-brandishing the laws of the land over the heads of Lopez
and his lawless followers, and at the same time giving Spain to be
warned that she is to shed no drop of American blood unjustly or in
In a letter dated July 9, 185o, the Captain General complained bitterly
to his home government of (what he deemed the deliberate effort of
Secretary Clayton to bring on a war between the United States and
Spain. (Unpublished Mss. Havana.)

carry the protest of the American government directly to the
Spanish ministry. The claim of the American minister that
the Contoy prisoners were chiefly bona fide passengers to
California seems very much open to question,"4 but-he-stood on
firmer ground when he protested against the right of Spain to
arrest violators of an American law on neutral territory any
more than on American territory. Senior Pidal, the Spanish
Minister of State, did not attempt to quote any precedents for
his position, but argued that the moment any such band of men
left American territory, they became pirates, without any na-
tionality. If Spain had to wait until such a force actually
landed in Cuba her difficulties would be largely increased, and
she would suffer great losses unnecessarily. It was impossible
for her to yield to the demand of the United States."
While the negotiations were in progress, the Contoy prison-
ers were tried by the maritime court, after some dispute with
Captain General Alcoy with regard to jurisdiction. The mari-
time court was certainly more lenient than the Captain General
would have been, and all but three were found not guilty on
the ground that they were deceived as to the true object of
the expedition. The master of the Georgiana and the mates
of the two vessels were sentenced to long terms of penal servi-
tude in the African prison at Ceuta, but owing to the American
demands were pardoned and sent back to the United States
from Cadiz, November 16, 1850, a notable diplomatic victory
for Secretary Clayton.
It seemed to be the policy of Webster, who now became Sec-
retary of State, to try to conciliate Spain, and the two sailing
vessels were accordingly confiscated by a Spanish prize court,
although it was in time of peace, without any serious protest
from the state department.45
SChadwick, 233, 234, adopts the view that those found "not guilty"
were bona fide passengers to 'Charges. With this view the Captain
General agreed. (Letter to minister of" State, June 9, 1850, Unpublished
Mss. Havana). Hardy and 0. D. D. 0. give the impression that they
had intended to go to Cuba, and had lost their courage.
"*Mr. Barringer, minister at Madrid to Mr. Clayton, Secretary of
State, Aug. 7, I850, House Ex. Doc. 83, 32 Cong. I Sess.
"House Ex. Doc. 83, 32 Cong. i Sess. The American position was
later stated clearly (Senate Resolution, June 16, 1858, quoted by Chad-
wick, page 236) : "American vessels on the high seas, in time of peace,
bearing the American flag, remain under the jurisdiction of the country

In Cuba the immediate result of the expedition was the ap-
pointment of a Captain General of great energy and ability,
Don Jose de la Concha, to succeed Roncali. Concha had been
commander of the Spanish cavalry. He received his appoint-
ment in September and thus had two months to plan his policies
before arriving in the island November io. The new Captain
General frankly expressed at the beginning his ideal: "A gov-
ernment of force" to make certain peace and security, and at
the same time "a government of justice which would permit
no abuse." It was to be a benevolent despotism. Instead of
indefinite fees, he demanded fixed incomes for government
officials, that he might be able to eradicate corruption. But all
reforms, as in the days of the Roman proconsuls, must be from
In addition to his appointment of Concha, the Duke of Val-
encia, as Prime Minister, took immediate steps to increase the
defensive power of the island. At great expense and without
any delay troops were organized and sent to Cuba. These were
made up of four new battalions of infantry, four squadrons of
cavalry, a battery of light artillery for use in the mountains,
and a company of working men to act as sappers. In addition
to this he opened a line of four vessels between Cadiz and Ha-
vana to keep Spain in constant communication with the
to which they belong, and therefore, any visitation, molestation, or
detention of such vessel by force, or by the exhibition of force, on
the part of a foreign power, is in derogation of the sovereignty of the
United States."
Torrente believes (I, 49) that war with Spain would have resulted
if Clayton had remained Secretary of State.
"Concha, op. cit. 134-136; 174, 20o.
These measures were due to the recommendations of Roncali to the
Minister of State, June 9, 185o, Unpublished Mss. Havana.


Those who knew him had been entirely correct in character-
izing Lopez as a man not easily disheartened. The failure of
his attempt in the summer only spurred him on, and in Novem-
ber, 1850, we find Lopez actively and hopefully engaged at
New Orleans in preparations for a new expedition. All the
friends of the Cuban adventurer took special pride in carrying
on their plans at the very time that they were under indictment
for the previous offence. The new expedition was to sail from
the coast of Georgia where the supplies were being collected,
though the steamer was to be secured at New Orleans. One
could be had for $25,000, but only half the money had at that
time been collected. The promoters of the new scheme argued
that the expedition to Cardenas had served to arouse the ex-
pectations of the Cubans and to make the new landing almost
sure of success. Lack of money was the great difficulty. Gen-
eral Henderson wrote to Claio6rne: "I need not tell you how
much I desire to see him move again, and it is more useless to
tell you also how wholly unable I am to assist him to make
this move. With my limited means, I am under the extremes
burdens from my endeavors on the former occasion. Indeed
I find my cash advances for the first experiment was over half
of all the cash advanced to the enterprise, and all my present
means and energies are exhausted in bringing up the arrearages.
Yet I still believe in the importance, the morality and the proba-
bility of the enterprise; and I believe it is one the South should
steadfastly cherish and promote. I feel it more especially in-
cumbent on us who have once failed to retrieve ourselves from
so much of the opprobrium and reproach as the defeat has cast
upon us. For we all know that, could we succeed, we should
win all those triumphs which success in such enterprises never
fails to command. And would not such triumph be glorious?
S. .I believe you yield equal consideration to the importance
of this subject as I do; and, as a Southern question, I do

not think, when properly viewed, its magnitude can be
Preparations during the fall and winter centered around
Savannah, where many recruits were gathered. The plans were
constantly modified, and as constantly revealed to the Spanish
Minister through a spy named Burtnett, who also called him-
self Burnham and Duncan Smith.
Burnham gained the entire confidence of the filibusters, and
they revealed their plans. They were to assemble at a point on
the coast of Florida and give out rumors of an attack on the
south coast of Cuba. While the Spaniards were expecting
them in that direction, eight or ten small expeditions would
sally out against various points on the north coast. Thus Cuba
would rise at once and the conflagration would be so wide-
spread that the Spaniards would not know where to turn. Al-
ready the plotters thought they could depend on 14,ooo Cubans.
They considered the opportunity greatest in the West. The
invasions were to take place at points where the leader of each
party was known and had friends. The Spanish troops were
regarded as highly dissatisfied. Burnham learned that many
leading southern gentlemen had supplied money. Some of
the bonds of the Revolutionary government had sold at forty
cents on the dollar. Thousands of rifles had already been pur-
chased and placed at convenient places to be removed at a

1 Claiborne's "Quitman" II, 69.
The whole movement had come to be considered Southern, as was
clearly shown when the prosecutions against those indicted in 1850 were
The New Orleans newspapers published the following telegram from
Natchez, dated March 8, 1851: "So great was the joyful excitement
in 'Natchez last night on the termination of the Cuban humbug in your
city, that the night was made voiceful with the roar of cannon. Fifteen
guns were fired for Quitman and fifteen for (the) Southern States.
Many persons pulled off their stockings (sic) for cartridges, and fired
several for mankind in general."
In March, 1851, Henry Clay visited Havana and was entertained by
Captain General Concha. Clay told the Captain General that he regard-
ed filibustering expeditions as foodhardy but not always avoidable. He
frankly acknowledged the great strategic importance of Cuba to the
United States, and prophesied that by peaceful means it would some
day be acquired from Spain. This interesting conversation was re-
ported in detail to his home government by Concha, March 31, i851.
(Unpublished Mss. Havana.)

moment's notice. Estates in the South had been mortgaged
that the owners might share in the future wealth of broad plan-
tations well stocked with negroes. Having discovered these
plans, Doctor Burnham promptly disclosed them to his em-
ployers, "knowing," as he piously said, "that no matter what
might be the result, so far as I was personally concerned, I had
justice and right on my side."
The first consignment of arms for the new expedition was
to sail from New York in the steamer Cleopatra, and all the
plans were arranged in detail with every chance of success, for
experience had taught Lopez and his lieutenants the value of
secrecy and caution. On a certain Wednesday evening in April
1851, the chartered sloop William Roe was to leave South
Amboy, while the steamer Nahantee was to start from the foot
of Eighteenth Street, New York. The Cleopatra was to wait
just outside quarantine, to be distinguished by three lights hung
one above the other on her stern pole. The William Roe was
to await off Sandy Hook burning as a signal a blue light every
five minutes until she saw a similar signal in answer. The
Cleopatra, awaiting off quarantine, was to make the excuse
that her captain had been called on shore on business at the
last moment. All these plans were virtuously recounted to the
Spanish Consul and to the government officials.
Burnham would have preferred a dramatic close to the
whole incident, but the Federal government was satisfied to
detain the schooner at South Amboy on a technical flaw in her
papers. The crew of the Cleopatra unfortunately got drunk,
and, not getting away in time, she too was detained on a writ
of attachment for $3,ooo due to her previous owner for repairs.
Provisions on board the steamer were mortgaged to pay the
debt, but on, the evening of the twenty-sixth all the principal
parties implicated were arrested.2 On the testimony of Burn-
ham, John L. O'Sullivan, Captain Lewis and Louis Schlessin-
ger were indicted by the Grand Jury, but all efforts at conviction
failed owing to mistrial, and the matter was dropped.3
S'The Boletin del Archivo Nacional, 1906, contained the Spanish
version as written by Burtnett, while what seems to be an English
translation is edited by L. M. Perez in the Reports of the Southern
Historical Association, X, 346 et seq.
'Late Cuba State Trials, Democratic Review, April, 1852.
The Cleopatra and provisions were not confiscated, but being returned

On April 25 President Fillmore issued a proclamation
which was even more severe than President Taylor's of the
previous year. It stated that there was reason to believe that
an expedition was preparing, that the leaders were foreigners
abusing the hospitality of the United States, and that such ex-
peditions could only be regarded as "adventures for condemna-
tion of the civilized world." Those who violated our neutrality
laws would therefore not only make themselves subject to the
penalties of our own law but would "forfeit their claim to the
protection of this government, or any interference on their
behalf no matter to what extremeties they may be reduced in
consequence of their illegal conduct."4
Although the Cleopatra expedition had ended in complete
failure, the attempt was followed by interesting events in the
island of Cuba. The new Captain General was convincedthat
a landing was sure to be effected sooner or later and made
preparations accordingly, distributing his forces with the great-
est care.5 His determination was expressed in the following
proclamation to the Governors and Lieutenant Governors:
"It has come to the knowledge of the Government that a new
incursion of pirates is preparing, similar to the one which took
place at Cardenas during the last year. It is proposed, without
doubt, as it was then, to sack defenceless towns and to disturb
the order which reigns in this beautiful part of the Spanish
monarchy. But the loyalty of its inhabitants, the valor and
discipline of the troops and the measures taken by the govern-
ment, are the surest guaranty that its destruction will follow
immediately the news of its disembarkation. You must, then,
above all see to it that the news of this invasion produces no
alarm in the district which you command.
"To exterminate the pirates, whatever may be their number,
it is not necessary to have recourse to extraordinary means;
the ordinary means on which the government can count are
enough and even more than enough. Any act, on the other
hand, which is unusual would produce anxiety and uneasiness
among the peaceful inhabitants; it might cause, perhaps, an
by the government officials, were resold and became the basis of a new
expedition. (Iznaga, quoted by Morales, 272.)
'Moore, Digest of International law. III, 788, Richardson's Mes-
sages, V, I'II.
'Concha, 143.

interruption of business, and would thus occasion a real and
important loss for public and private interests. It is necessary,
therefore to avoid any measures which may remove from the
towns of that district the confidence and sense of security
which the government inspires. The actual situation, however,
imposes on the authorities the double duty to cause order to
reign, and not to appear to obtain it by unaccustomed means
which are only expedient when circumstances are really dan-
gerous. And this double object will be achieved if that vigil-
ance, activity and prudence are in evidence on which I should
be able to count from you. But you must not forget that in
these circumstances one of the most important duties of the
authorities is to quiet minds, and hush suspicions, to take care,
finally, that not for a single instant there should be disturbed
that harmony which now more than ever ought to reign among
the inhabitants of the island. Working to this end, I have the
most entire confidence that this event will end fortunately,
making certain the peace which the island needs to continue on
the path of prosperity which it has so far followed."6
The chief anxiety of the Governor General concerned the
prosperous city of Puerto Principe. Young men in the city
were in communication with Lopez, and public opinion was
bitter on account of the suppression of the ancient Audiencia
or Parliament of the city. Even the women were selling their
jewels to aid the rebellion.
When things were in this state at Puerto Principe, the Cap-
tain General received a petition from the city council asking
that their Audiencia be not taken away. This petition was
dated one month previous to the date on which it was sent to
the Captain General. Evidently, as it seemed to him, they had
dared to send the petition to Spain without asking his consent
and had even waited a month before sending it to him so as
to make sure of getting their side of the case in first. What
astonished Concha most was that the commanding general who
was supposed to represent military discipline in the district
expressed great satisfaction in joining his petition to theirs.
Such a show of independent spirit was peculiarly pleasing to
Concha. It was a welcome opportunity, as he tells us himself.
to show his power. He immediately met the petition, which
seems to have been entirely respectful, by suspending the city
SConcha, 219.

council and dismissing the commanding general. In this course
he felt particularly justified since he had reason to believe that
many members of the council were thoroughly disaffected.
The new commanding general, Don Jose Lemery, was a
man after Concha's own heart. Active and shrewd he had
none of that pride in local institutions or local government
which had wrecked the career of his predecessor.
"I charge you most earnestly," said Concha to his new lieu-
tenant, "along with active zeal and decided energy, to also use
that judgment, that caution, that politeness and prudent courage
which are the only means by which an absolute authority can
master circumstances, without giving occasion for unnecessary
quarrels or complaints founded in an excess of that very
energy which when prudently joined (to these qualities) and
cautiously directed, produces the result which ought to be its
object, namely to frustrate the realization of the criminal pur-
poses of Her Majesty's enemies and thus to avoid the neces-
sity of exemplary punishments, always lamentable, but in the
last resort inevitable."'
For a little while the active measures of Concha in suppress-
ing all evidences of discontent thoroughly frightened the secret
insurgents. But in spite of Lemery's care inflammatory broad-
sides soon began again to appear. Lemery now thought it
time to display that "prudent energy" which had been enjoined
upon him. One night he ordered the arrest of sixteen promin-
ent citizens under suspicion of disloyalty. The majority of
these were members of the old Ayuntamiento. Joaquin Aguero
and one other succeeded in making their escape outside of the
city, where Aguero became the leader of the first active Cuban
movement. He encamped and entrenched himself on a high
hill where he was joined by other fugitives to the number of
() Concha, op. cit. 205, 6, 7, 8.
(2) Concha, Havana, April I, 1851. Letter directed "Al Sr. Presi-
dente del Consejo de Ministros"-Boletin, IV, 4, (66).
(3) Concha, Havana, July 21, i851. "Al Excmo. Sefior Presidente
del Consejo de Ministros," Boletin, IV, 81.
(4) Concha, Havana, Aug. i, i85I. "Al Excmo. Sr. Ministro de la
Gobernacion del Reino," Boletin, IV, 83.
Very clear evidence that Lopez had much to justify his hopes appears
in the letter of Concha, dated July 21. In this he says: "The desire
of the inhabitants for annexation or independence already amounts to

fifty. With this body, on July 7, Aguero proceeded to attack
Las Tunas. The Spanish forces showed great activity. Lem-
ery was able to disperse without bloodshed a party of insurgents
which was gathering in the suburbs of Santa Cruz. On the
other side General Manzana, from the town of Cuba, made a
remarkable forced march of forty hours through a pouring
rain and, reaching Las Tunas, saved it from any further danger.
Aguero was captured and his remaining followers were driven
to hide themselves where they could.
The plot of Aguero spread to other parts of the island but,
being so quickly put down, it was only in Trinidad that a few
young men under leadership of Armenteros appeared in open
rebellion. Passing from farm to farm they gathered about
fifty horses. Immediately the Governor of Trinidad, and the
Lieutenant Governors of Villa Clara and Cienfuegos marched
out against them. Surrounded on all sides they had no other
alternative than to hide themselves in a thickly wooded moun-
tain, where they had to abandon their horses. Without even a
show of resistance, the majority were captured, while some
few managed to make good their escape to their houses. The
military court to try the prisoners was placed under Carlos
Vargas. Concha says that from this time on the inhabitants
of the central region remained "blindly loyal to the
Late in July, in spite of careful censorship, news began to
arrive in New Orleans of successful risings in Cuba. All stories
of failure were credited to Spanish sources, and the press which
had tended to become somewhat critical of Lopez became again
optimistic. Great public meetings were held. Proclamations
of Cuban liberty were read. $50,ooo were raised to show the
sincerity of this movement, and men thronged to enlist. These
men were evidently of a higher average class and actuated by
more worthy motives than in any of the.previous expeditions.
Cuban liberty was now the cry,-for the Americans of 185o
were easily aroused by any effort sincerely made to throw off
'My sources for this movement are:
(1) Concha, op. cit. 209.
(2) Torrente, op. cit. I, 53, 54.
(3) Zaragoza, op. cit. I, 620 ff.
(4) New Orleans Bee, July 23, 1851.
(5) Vidal Morales, op. cit. 275 ff. especially, 300, I.

what they regarded as the shackles of despotism. Of course,
the old desire to save Cuba to the cause of slavery was curious-
ly mixed with a sincere enthusiasm for political liberty. It is
even said that Garibaldi, then in the United States, was ap-
proached and urged to act as leader. Lopez and Sigur were
the centers of attraction in New Orleans.9 It is no wonder that
the officer of the custom house did not feel himself called on to
make extraordinary exertions, and the steamer Pampero of
about 500 tons burthen was bought and equipped and made
ready to carry the first contingent of the new expedition with-
out serious opposition. To Lopez and his chief lieutenants all
difficulties seemed now overcome and success within reach.10
'As to Sigur one witness says: "Sigur era entonces el hombre mas
important de N. Orleans. En material de vida o muerte, no se podian
obtener cinco minutes de conversation con el, tan precioso era su tiempo.
No podia andar por las calls sin ser acometido en cada esquina por
media docena de personas que le ofrecian levantar compafias o regi-
mentos para la causa Cubana." (Boletin-Igo4, pp. 19.)
"My chief authorities are:
(I) New Orleans' Papers, July 24, 8si5-Aug. 2, x851.
Especially Bee, July 24.
(2) Colonel Haynes Memorial, Cong. Globe, XXIV, 217.
(3) Iznaga, in Morales, op. cit. 273.
(4) Correspondence of Freret, collector of customs, with the Sec-
retary of the Treasury. (Pamphlet, New York Public
Freret was severely blamed and finally dismissed for incompetence
on account of the Pampero affair.
The answer of the Department to the excuses of Freret was dated
Aug. 14: "The Department considers that under its previous instruc-
tions you had full authority to act in a case like that of the "Pampero,"
where the object of the parties was so obvious and notorious as being
connected with an illegal attempt against the territories of a friendly
power. It is of course impracticable for the Department to give special
instructions to meet every case of the kind which may occur, but you
must exercise a sound discretion in detaining vessels which you may
think are engaged in any unlawful expedition, and about departing from
your district. The Department considers that there can be no real
difficulty in discriminating between parties embarking as bona fide pas-
sengers for the Pacific Via the Isthmus, and those who assume to be
such and go in transient and frequently unsuitable vessels, but who are
really destined to act as an armed expedition against the citizens or
territories of a friendly power.
You are again requested and instructed to keep a vigilant lookout for
any such unlawful expedition, and to use all the means in your power
to check and break them up."

On the morning of Sunday August 31" at daybreak, the
steamer Pampero sailed from the foot of Lafayette Street,
New Orleans. An enthusiastic crowd was there to speed the
parting adventurers and the air rang with joyful shouts from
shore and from the ship. The Pampero was towed down the
river to Balize where the difficulties of the filibusters began. It
was found that the ship was too crowded to put to sea. In
fact Captain Lewis refused to go farther until some of the
eager adventurers were left behind. One hundred men were to
be denied the boon of accompanying the expedition. The com-
panies were assembled and each captain selected the men who
seemed least fitted for so arduous an enterprise. A very few
chose voluntarily to be left behind. That night they were
placed on shore, but in the morning it was discovered that
many had come back on board and the situation was almost
as bad as ever. Colonel Downman urged and entreated, but
they said they had started for Cuba and intended to get there.
In the meantime a tug had arrived with the arms and am-
munition and all were busy transshipping these to the Pam-
pero. This work sufficiently discouraged some, so that a few
were persuaded to return, and Captain Jackson's whole com-
pany, by dint of force and persuasion, went back to New
Orleans, promising to come in the next expedition; for the
Pampero was to be only a forerunner of a large invasion. One
day was given to drill and organization. At sunset on the
fifth the Pampero was towed over the bar and started on her
journey of adventure. Of these sons of Anglo Saxon rovers
who sailed light heartedly out upon the blue waters of the
Gulf, the majority were to suffer incredible hardships under a
tropical sun and to leave their bones in a land whose history,
SSchlesinger, Dem. Rev. XXI, IX, gives Aug. 2. Aug. 3 is given
by the account in Boletin, Havana, 1904, and President Fillmore, Mes-
sage, Dec. 2, I85I.

since the days of the Great Genoese, had been one endless
repetition of just such bloody tragedies.
Their numbers were little more than 400.1 The Com-
mander-in chief was of course General Lopez, while in his
staff were foreign officers of distinction who had fought and
lost in the battles for freedom of the old world. The chief of
staff was the Hungarian General, Pragay, who was accom-
panied by Colonel Blumenthal, Major Louis Schlesinger and
other Hungarian officers. The engineers were Cubans and
Hungarians, while a few Germans accompanied the expedition
without any special leader. The staff included two surgeons
who were to do good service to Spanish as well as to American
The Cuban company, under the command of Ildefonso
Oberto, numbered 44 men. The Americans were divided into
two battalions, of 232 and 122 men each. The first battalion
was commanded by Colonel Downman, a veteran of the Mexi-
can war and a good disciplinarian. Respected by his men and
an active and skilled officer, his death in the first engagement
was an irreparable loss. The Lieutenant-Colonel of the battal-
ion was William Scott Haynes of Tennessee. Robert Ellis
commanded the so-called guards of Sigur; this company of 51
men had, as its lieutenants, Breckenridge, Labrizan and Mc-
Donald. The four other companies of this battalion were
under the command of Captains John Johnson, Brigham,
Gotay, and William H. Stewart.
The second battalion was designed to serve the artillery
which was to be embarked at St. John's on the coast of Cuba.
Its commander, Colonel William L. Crittenden, a nephew of
the Attorney General of the United States, had been educated
at West Point and had served in the Mexican War with distinc-
tion. At the time of the expedition he was an officer of the
Custom House at New Orleans.2 His battalion was divided
into three companies under Captains Kelly, James Sanders, and
Victor Kerr, which companies contained 40, 49, and 18 men
'The account in the Boletin, Havana, 19o4, gives the number as 434.
Schlesinger in Dem. Review, XXXI, No. IX, 216, gives the number at
"a trifle over 4oo."
'Schlesinger states, Dem. Review, XXI, 213, that Crittenden gave
information to Lopez as to the movements of the Custom House of-
ficials which materially aided in the escape of the Pampero.

The first two days were entirely uneventful. There being
only one small stove, it was difficult to cook the rations which
were given out, but Colonel Downman arranged the hours so
that there should be as little conflict as possible. Lopez and his
staff took only one cooked meal a day. On the seventh there
appeared the smoke of a vessel which seemed to be pursuing
the Pampero. The filibusters changed their course, but in the
morning the vessel was still in sight. Cartridges were given
out and all stood ready to repel an attack. Fortunately, about
nine in the morning the strange steamer seemed to be satisfied
that it had mistaken the character of the Pampero. In any
case, it changed its course and was soon lost to view. On the
tenth a pilot was picked up and the expedition reached Key
West. The filibusters had been dreading to find war vessels
stationed at Key West, so the precaution was taken of hiding
all the men below. Great was the rejoicing to find port and
barracks both empty. It seemed an omen of success. The
soldiers poured out on deck to enjoy what for many was to be
their last day as Americans and within the jurisdiction of their
native land. But gloomy thoughts were absent. The hos-
pitable inhabitants came on board in crowds bringing cham-
pagne and other luxuries. Healths were drunk and good cheer
reigned supreme. Rumor had it that three towns were in in-
surrection and that Cuba was ready for the attack which would
make her free. The original intention had been to proceed to
the St. John's river and there take the artillery which had
been stored away. But the news from Cuba changed all. If
the island was in insurrection, rapidity was urgent; before
Spain could quell the disturbances she should in another quar-
ter have a more formidable enemy to meet. Very probably
other considerations had weight too. The St. John's River
was very far away, and the Pampero might be intercepted at
any moment. Even if she entered the river, it was not easy
to guarantee that she would have a chance to sail out. Then,
too, in Cuba rapidity of movement would be essential. The
troops must reach the mountains and must do it without the
delay which artillery would occasion. The roads were ex-
ecrable, and so small a force could not hope to lay siege to a
town. On the other hand, the American soldiers were won-
derful rifle shots. In that weapon must lie the chief depen-
dence of the filibusters. In any case, the Pampero was only

a preliminary advance guard and, if they could hold their own,
the men at New Orleans who were already eager to start would
soon come with artillery and other equipment. Furthermore,
not only did Spain and the United States have vessels watching
for the Pampero, but France and England were soon likely to
issue like orders.
For these reasons it was decided to go directly by the. short-
est route to Cuba. On the evening of the tenth the little force
bade farewell to their friends at Key West. Captain Lewis
raised anchor and the Pampero, amid loud huzzahs, directed
her prow towards the Cuban coast. At daybreak land was
clearly visible, and by nine o'clock it was found that they were
within ten miles of the Morro at Havana; two vessels had
started in pursuit; but, changing her course, the light speedy
Pampero had soon left these behind. Once again the Pampero
turned toward the island and taking two men from a schooner
to act as pilots, arrived off Bahia Honda at eight o'clock in the
evening, (Aug. I, 1851). The mate of the Pampero was sent
to reconnoitre, but soon came back to say that his boat had
been fired upon and that the fort seemed too well manned to
make a landing at that place practicable. Lopez now decided
to make the landing at Morillo, a short distance to the west of
Bahia Honda. When about a mile from the shore, the Pampero
grounded, and it became necessary to disembark in small boats.
The first boatload contained Colonel Downman and a detach-
ment under Captain Gotay. The Spanish patrol on the shore
fired but did no damage, though a bullet passed through the cap
of a lieutenant. The first troops to land succeeded in getting
possession of two large flat boats, and with these all the troops
were landed at daybreak. The men were permitted to lie down
for two hours, but sleep was impossible on account of the
swarms of mosquitoes.
In the meantime information of these movements had not
failed to reach the alert Concha at Havana. The recent dis-
turbances in the Central Department, even aside from the
stream of proclamations and the open announcements in the
American papers, would have been sufficient to warn the gov-
ernor of Cuba of his danger. .He was not surprised on the
night of August II to receive word from the Captain of the
Port that two American vessels of suspicious character had
appeared off the mouth of the harbor. One had seemed to be

an American war vessel. The second and more suspicious of
the two stopped and seemed to hesitate, finally steaming away,
to the northwest. Nothing more concerning the strange ves-
sels was heard by the Captain General until half past two in
the morning when a messenger arrived from Mariel, a fort to
the west of Havana. The Spanish frigate Esperanza had put
in to Mariel to report having seen a steamer loaded with men.
The steamer had carefully avoided the Esperanza, so that the
Captain had been unable to ascertain her exact character.
Concha had now no doubts as to the true character of the
strange steamer. Word was sent out immediately to make
the Pizarro ready to carry troops, and at seven-thirty General
Don Manuel Ena with 750 men was already embarked and
ready to sail. The steamer had in tow a schooner which had
been made ready previously to carry thirty horses.
Concha had been led from intercepted letters and other in-
formation in his possession to expect the hostile force to land
at Mantua on the extreme western point of the island. It
seemed to him particularly suited to the filibusters' purpose
since its nearness to New Orleans would make it an ideal point
on which to await reinforcements. Roads and means of com-
munication to Mantua were so bad as to make it almost unap-
proachable from the land side. The wealth of the district
farther east had made it necessary to station all the troops of
Colonel Elizalde at Pinar del Rio, leaving Mantua without any
garrison at all.
Fearing for Mantua, the Captain General was on the point
of sending the Pizarro to the extreme west, when the Captain
of the schooner which Lopez had detained arrived with news
of the true direction which the filibusters had taken. The
situation particularly pleased the Captain General. It was
probable that Lopez would march by way of the mountains in
the general direction of the Capital. Colonel Morales was there-
fore sent by rail to Gunajay where 400 men were soon collected
to meet the enemy from in front. General Ena was to land at
Bahia Honda and from there cooperate with Colonel Elizalde,
who advancing from Pinar del Rio in the southwest would crush
the enemy whose escape to the sea would be effectually barred
by Ena. The command of the coast at Bahia Honda would
also effectually cut off the large reinforcements which were
now the chief danger. The 400 men at Gunajay would hold

the passes .in front of the enemy. Thus Lopez and his men
were virtually surrounded almost as soon as they landed.3
Ignorant of these dangers, the filibusters cointifiued their
work of disembarkation. By nine o'clock all the arms and
provisions were safely landed, and Lopez was ready to take
his march to Las Pozas, a village ten miles away.4 There
were no carts at the landing place, and it seemed necessary to
leave the provisions and to send back for them as soon as carts
could be procured. Lopez was anxious to march on with the
whole force, but General Pragay persuaded him _todetach
Crittenden's 120 men to guard and bring up the provisions and
arms. By half after nine the larger column was on its way,
and by a fairly rapid march reached Las Pozas at twelve-thirty.
The march in the heat of the day, made by men who had not
slept or eaten since the day before, was a fitting introduction to
the hardships of a filibuster's career. Guards were stationed at
various points in the village and carts were sent back to Crit-
tenden to bring the arms and ammunition. The carts, under
the escort of five members of the Cuban company, had gone
about half way to the landing place when they were attacked by
a crowd of peasants. These cut loose the oxen and dispersed
the escort; but Lieutenant James of Crittenden's force came
up at this time and the negro drivers found other oxen, so that
all were able to join Crittenden. Thus, on the morning offhe
I3th, Crittenden started slowly to join Lopez. The two carts
drawn by a single yoke of oxen each were heavily overloaded
and the journey was necessarily slow and painful.
In the meantime interesting events were taking place at
Las Pozas where was Lopez with his 325 men. Having ar-
rived about noon on the z2th, the tired soldiers had an op-
portunity to eat and drink. Strict orders were given against
any one taking property without paying for it. Guards were
stationed at the instance of General Pragay to guard the stores
and to prevent drunkenness. The very best order prevailed.
On the night of the z2th, while Crittenden was awaiting the
ox carts at Morrillo, Lopez and his men slept on their arms

'Concha, Memorias, 210, 2i.
SThe Pampero having landed her force at El Morro returned by
way of Key West, intending to go to Jacksonville and there embark
new forces under General Gonzales. (L'Abeille de la Nouvelle Orleans,
Aug. 30, 1851.)

ready for the attack which was soon sure to come. In the
morning, while some of the men were cooking their rations
and others were bathing in a small creek, the alarm was given.
The enemy had attacked and routed the outposts and were al-
ready within 2oo yards of the village. The companies were
quickly formed, and the company of Johnson on the left with-
stood the first Spanish attack until he was reinforced by Cap-
tain Stewart and the Cubans under Oberto. A division of the
enemy were seen to be stealing around the right to make a
flank attack from the cornfields. Captain Ellis occupied a hill
on that side from which he could guard against this attack
with ease. The center was formed by Captains Brigham and
Gotay. The firing was now brisk along the whole line, and the
Spaniards gradually fell back while the American line ad-
vanced. Reinforced, the Spaniards charged again on the
advantageous American position, but were hurled back with
severe loss. One body only, occupying the road to Las Pozas,
maintained their position. On these Colonel Downman charged
with fifty men, enough to cover the road. The Spanish line
held until the filibusters' bayonets were within a few feet, and
then fled. But Colonel Downman allowed the pursuit to go too
far. His small number of men were in turn charged and de-
feated, he and Captain Oberto being killed.5 On the whole
the Spanish firing was too high to be effective while the Amer-
icans kept up the reputation of their revolutionary forefathers
for a deadly aim. The company of Ellis which was not needed
longer to cover the right, since the enemy had given up their
flanking movement, was now called to the front to make sure
of the road where Colonel Downman had charged and fallen.
But the enemy did not press their late advantage, the whole
force retiring from the field in good order and leaving the
filibusters in control of Las Pozas.
The whole battle had lasted two hours under a boiling sun,
SSchlesinger, Dem. Review, XXXI, 357, gives the forces which were
opposed at Las Pozas at 800 Spaniards and 275 Americans; Concha,
Memorias, 213, gives the Spanish forces at 400, and the Americans at
350. Probably 400 Spaniards and 325 Americans actually engaged is
approximately correct. Schlesinger very severely criticizes the Ameri-
cans for their unwillingness to charge, at the same time complimenting
their remarkable marksmanship. He also blames many of the evils of
the expedition on the lack of discipline and insubordination of the

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs