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THE UNITED STATES.
MARKS ON THE HON. CHAS. SUMNER'S SPEECH, DELIVEI)
AT THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION OF MASSACHUSETTS,
THE 22D SEPTEMBER, 1869.
(Adopted, and approved by the Central Republicn JustaA -o
iubua annd orto-Rco.)
STYLES & CASH, PRINTERS AND STATIONERS
95 EIGHTH AVENUE.V
/j .i ,o-
C TT "BA
THE UNITED STATES.
REMARKS ON THE HON. CHAS. SUMNER'S SPEECH, DELIVERED
AT THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION OF MASSACHUSETTS,
THE 22D SEPTEMBER, 1869.
(Adopted and approved by the Central Republican Junta of
Cuba and Porto-Bico.)
STYLES & CASH, PRINTERS AND STATIONERS,
95 EIGHTH AVENUE.
CUBA BEFORE THE UNITED STATES.
WHEN, in the midst of the atmosphere of sympathy and
good-will that prevails in this country for the Republic of
Cuba, a strange voice is raised to attempt to smother this
liberal sentiment, we can not but be affected as unexpectedly
and disagreeably as if we heard a harsh discordant note in a
melodious harmony. Then the astonished mind instinctively
turns to seek the source of the discord, and to discover whence
proceeds so un-American, illiberal, and unchristian a voice,
that does not know how to sympathize, heart and soul, with
the Cuban people in their struggle to force themselves from
the grasp of Spain, whose tyranny they have suffered for
more than three centuries.
If, upon investigation, it had been found that this voice
was prompted by lucre, or based on mercantile calculations
more or less selfish, the mind might perhaps have returned to
its former tranquility and confidence, and, relying on the vir-
tues of this great American people, overlooked and possibly
forgot the painful interruption.
But when we recognize in that voice, so inimical to Cuba,
that of a statesman whose talents and character place him in
a position as exalted as merited-the voice of Charles Sumner,
the abolitionist, the republican leader, the senator of the great,
illustrious, and cultivated people of Massachusetts-the im-
pression is, indeed, affecting, and more difficult to erase.
We can, however, ascertain, in spite of this impression, that
neither the Republic of Cuba nor the Cubans who reside in
this hospitable land have ever feared that the feelings of the
American people in favor of their cause would be diminished.
No! they can not be afraid of it. The cause of Cuba is the
cause of America against Europe-the cause of liberty against
tyranny-the cause of justice against ignorance and iniquity.
The people who cherish with love and respect among
their dearest political dogmas the principle generally known
as the Monroe doctrine; the people of self-government, the
victorious advocate of the rights of man and individual sover-
eignty; the people who have shed so much blood and sacrificed
so many millions for the liberation and restoration to their
natural rights of four millions of slaves, thus removing the
only stain that tarnished their splendor; the people who have
diffused the Christian civilization above all, and carried, with
the stars and stripes of their glorious flag, ideas of liberty and
manly independence; can this people ever sympathize with
the old oppressor of America-Spain-the bigoted, intolerant,
and persistent upholder of slavery and slave-trade, whose his-
tory of the war waged in Cuba during the past year is stained
with so many crimes and horrors ?
No! the poignancy of the hostile words of Charles Sumner
comes not from the fear that the American people, or the dis-
tinguished orator himself, can have other than sentiments of
repugnance toward Spain. These feelings will, perhaps, be
more or less perceptible or avowed, but never less intense.
Spain is thoroughly conscious of the fact herself, because her
own instincts make known the fact they are well-deserved.
But this vacillating and delaying manner in the assistance
we solicit of the American Government, and which this coun-
try fervently desires, because it is consistent with its prin-
ciples, sentiments, and convenience, postponing the aid to
which our newly-born Republic has so many indisputable
claims, bring forth sad and deplorable consequences, viz., the
unavailing shedding of generous blood, the destruction and
ruin of wealth in the island, and the continuation of the hor-
rors of Spanish warfare, which offer to the astonished world
a dark theme of scandal and shame.
The Hon. Charles Sumner can not, nor does he, sym-
pathize with Spain, a nation that has dethroned one dynasty
only to go, like a poor beggar, on the fruitless errand of
searching among the would-be monarchs of Europe one who
would deign to accept a crown trammeled as it would be with
the conditions of the old regime, the habits and prejudices of
the very same men, and the deficiencies of the same institu-
tions-a domineering community clinging to its errors, so that
they will even now uphold slavery, establishing on it a tax
which insures the existence of that inhuman institution for at
least five years to come.
The Hon. Charles Sumner only wishes to restrain, slightly,
the noble impulse of the American people, and check the
magnetic attraction which draws them toward us. He wishes
to wait for the proof of two facts which he considers neces-
sary. Should such proof actually exist-could it be placed
before his eyes with that degree of evidence wanted for convic-
tion-sure it is that his great intelligence would not hesitate
a moment, but be guided by its instincts in obedience to his
natural sympathies. The honorable senator from Massachu-
setts will then become (it is to be expected) the most decided
champion, the most fervent friend of the Republic of Cuba.
This, and no other, is, in our mind, the right interpretation
of his discourse, delivered on the twenty-second day of Sep-
tember, 1869, at the Republican Convention of Massachusetts.
Before recognizing or granting belligerent rights, he
desires that the belligerence be proved. It must be proved."
Before taking a decisive step in favor of the Cubans, he wishes
to know whether the Cubans have, or, have not, abolished
slavery. Until this is settled, we must wait."
It is truly fortunate for us to find the question reduced to
so simple a form. Thus, we are enabled to keep aloof from
the affair of the Alabama claims, which in no way affects
Cuba, and should not, therefore, exert any unfavorable influ-
ence on her rights and interests.
We feel, however, that both the ideas of sending to Cuba
prompt, efficacious, and decisive help, and of claiming from
England just retribution for her practical and manifest hos-
tilities against the American Union during the four years of
the secession war, far from being contradictory to each other
are, in reality, so perfectly harmonious as to constitute two
different forms for expressing the same thought.
Both mean the exclusion of Europe from American ques-
tions, and abstention from all interference or influence in the
countries of the New World. Both imply the punishment and
redress for a decided hostility towards this great Republic, still
less dissembled, and undoubtedly more outspoken on the part
of Spain than of England. Both imply that it is impossible
to maintain, or even to sympathize with, a system which is
based on slavery and on the degradation of man. Both-
why proceed further ? Does it not suffice to prove that both
ideas are harmonious and not in contradiction to each other,
to find them united and cherished by a large and respectable
portion of this people ? Are they not conjointly sustained at
the same time by some of their most distinguished public men
of every party ? Do not the majority of the people, whose
common sense is so accute, view them as two subjects having
equal claim to their support 7
We hold, and experience confirms our assertion, that the
two parallel questions of the Alabama claims, and the recog-
nition and aid to the Republic of Cuba, can be certainly
maintained without any incoherence or contradiction. But we
repeat, that we ought not to meddle with a question which is
not our own; and that, looking into our state of affairs, and
considering it in the light in which Mr. Sumner has placed it,
we can not but congratulate ourselves on finding we are free
to undertake a legal and historical discussion which offers
little interest to most readers, and is in fact tiresome to many.
The great republican organ of this city, the Tribune, in
its edition of the twenty-seventh of July, asserted that the
Hon. Charles Sumner was incapable of making the rights of
the Cubans, or any free people, subservient to a question of
interest, and that no doubt he is waiting for the patriots of
Cuba to give true evidence that they are defending the cause
they have at heart with force and decision, and that he may
be the first to advise their recognition.
Even had the Tribune not thus expressed itself, we should
have come to the same conclusion, because it is not possible
to imagine so distinguished a statesman occupying a position
inconsistent with his political antecedents and his whole bril-
liant public career.
But inasmuch as the honorable senator, in his speech of
September 22, has expressed himself in so clear and pointed
a manner, we are not left to conjecture his action in the con-
tingency referred to.
Let us, therefore, proceed to satisfy the republican orator,
and lay before him the proofs that he requires.
Mr. Sumner maintains, and with reason, that belligerence
is a fact attested by evidence." "If the fact does not exist,"
says he, there is nothing to recognize. The fact can not be
invented or imagined; it must be proved."
He adds, elsewhere, that "a nation recognizing belligerence,
where it does not exist in fact, becomes a wrong-doer."
Accepting these doctrines, it is easy to demonstrate that
the belligerence of the Cubans is a fact, neither imagined nor
supposed, but perfectly proved; that the Republic of Cuba
exists as a nation de facto, independent and free; and that the
recognition we demand, and that the American people at the
same time desire, far from being a bad act, would be but the
yielding to evidence and the execution of an act of justice.
I know that the Cubans are in arms," says Mr. Sumner,
"but where are their cities, towns, and provinces ? Where
"is their government ? Where are their ports ? Where their
"tribunals of justice ? Where their prize courts ? To put
" these questions," he adds, is to answer them. How then is
" the fact of belligerence ? "
We are ignorant upon what ground the belligerence of a
people, which the honorable senator himself justly says is but
a simplefact, should be complicated with the possession of sea-
ports and prize courts. It would appear that, completely for-
getting the native simplicity of the fact which he desires to
have proved, he has taken pains to complicate it by accumu-
lating unnecessary circumstances which, in some cases, might
Belligerence is a fact extremely simple in its nature. A
belligerent is one who makes war. Bellum gerere. The
moment that one people is in arms against another, or the
people of a section against another belonging to the sane com-
munity, from that moment the fact of belligerence is established.
They might be two inland countries, hence without sea coasts,
seaports, and, consequently, without prize courts; and certainly
such deficiency should not render impossible the fact of belli-
gerence, nor make it in any way less positive and unworthy to
To be in arms is precisely the point in question; and for a
period of more than thirteen months the Cubans not only have
held their own against the Spaniards, but the strength of their
revolution has been enough to cause the annihilation of a great
Spanish army, and so spread itself over two-thirds of the
island. Further than this, the Cubans have attacked the
Spaniards in their stronghold, carrying away what they
needed, as they have done in Puerto Principe, and lately in
Las Tunas, defeating them in the ever-memorable engage-
ments of Baire, Siguanea, the heights of La Cruz, Las Minas,
Sabana Nueva, Puerto del Padre, Manati, Ramon, and in
many others of less importance in which the Fabian policy has
been a wonderful success.
Belligerence is neither a principle nor a right; it is an
act. As soon as a party rises to arms and carries on a war,
it becomes a combatant-a belligerent. More than this, when
a civil war is lighted up in a nation, the opposing parties can
not be considered by neutral governments other than inde-
pendent. (VATTEL: Book iii. chapter 14.) This is the rec-
ognized practice among the nations, and the doctrine still held
by this government in some analogous circumstances.
When, in 1836, the flag of Texas was admitted into the
port of New York, the language of the State Department at
Washington was as follows:
It was notorious that, in the former wars between Spain
" and her South-American colonies, the ships of the provinces
" had been admitted from the commencement of the revolu-
" tion into the ports of the United States, whatever the flag
"might have been, and that it was not less certain that, in the
" different internal struggles which had happened in these
" same States, the ships of either party had been admitted."
Therefore, it is not only the international law but the
practice hitherto observed by this government that cause
the Cuban people to be entitled to the recognition they
desire. They must be regarded as an independent Power,
and their flag admitted into the ports of the Union in the
same manner as Texas in 1836.
To the preceding declaration, the Secretary of State
added these remarkable and important words: "It had
'"NEVER been considered necessary to make a proclamation
"with respect to the extension of the right of hospitality,
' or to balance the probabilities of success, or to determine
"these points definitively, having judged it sufficient that
"one of the parties had proclaimed its independence, and
"had maintained it in a positive manner. Such has
" been the policy hitherto followed by the United States."
In consequence of this doctrine, which Mr. Sumner will
no doubt respect, is it proper to inquire whether the progress
of the war in Cuba is or is not favorable to the Cubans?
Must it be considered whether the Cuban people has, or
has not, the probability of success ? Will the United States
of America, setting aside the policy always followed by them,
look upon the Cuban question in such a different point of
view, and balance the probabilities of a final triumph ?
No. The American Government and Mr. Sumner, in
accordance with both law and practice, are bound to recog-
nize the Republic of Cuba as an independent nation. Let
this be done, and sixty days will be enough to cause the
Cuban flag to predominate throughout the whole extent of
We ought not to inquire, then, where are their victories,
their towns, and their cities. We ought only to consider
whether a declaration of independence has been proclaimed,
and whether they have maintained it in a positive manner.
To put these questions, we also say, is to answer them.
The facts are notorious, and must be admitted.
The American nation is not neutral in this conflict.
Her sympathies are all with the people of Cuba, and with
her sympathies, her interests, as well as that political at-
traction mentioned by the last President in one of his mes-
Why, then, disregard these precedents, and act in con-
tradiction to those interests and those sympathies, requiring
from Cuba what has not been asked in the other cases?
Why not rely on respectable authorities like Vattel, Whea-
ton, and others, and PROCEED in the actual case, as this
same government did in 1836 ? Why establish an unfound-
ed distinction between cases that do not differ in any way ?
But, proceeding in the task of answering the questions
of Mr. Sumner, can we believe that he is the only American
who does not know that the Republic of Cuba has an actual
existence, and that she possesses a territorial extent that
comprises about two-thirds of the whole island ? Does he
not know that in all this portion of the country the Span-
iards only hold a few places on the sea-coast, and a few in-
significant and isolated towns ? Does he not know that in
the large towns under their control they are besieged, de-
prived of all kinds of resources, and unable to supply them-
selves, except by continued fighting, involving the loss of
many convoys taken by the insurgents? Is he not aware
that they have an established government, acting in the
most regular manner? Does he not know that they have a
Congress, that holds its sessions in the town of Guaimaro,
has invested with authority the President, organized the
country, discussed and voted a provisional Constitution I Is
it new to him that they have Ministers and Envoys in this
Republic, in that of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, France, and
in England? Does he doubt that the Republic of Peru has
recognized that of Cuba as an independent nation, and that
other South American Republics have granted to her bellig-
erent rights ?
The Hon. Charles Sumner is aware of all this. In fact,
he could not ignore it. He has said that slavery had been abol-
ished and afterward re-established by a decree. If no regular
government exists in Cuba, could the decree abolishing slav-
ery be annulled by another decree, as he supposes ? In either
case, an executive organization was indispensable; such an
organization constitutes the government he requires.
One of the best proofs we have of the belligerence of the
Cubans, and of the existence of the Republic of Cuba as a
de facto independent power, can be seen in the irrecusable
acknowledgment that the Spanish party have recently made
There is nothing more Spanish or more Anti-Cuban than
the senseless organ of the volunteers named La Yoz de
Cuba." Let us read in its edition of October 11, 1869, the
article reproduced by the papers of this city, in which the
Spanish writer urges the volunteers to go to the field, and
laments the loss of the 26,000 men of the regular army
which have fallen in battle with the Cubans. We shall find
there these important and very significant words: "Shall we
"have to repeat that in Guaimaro, within four days' travel of
"Havana, two of them by sea, the flag of the traitors was
"unfurled eight months ago, and that, in spite of us, is waving
"still with arrogancy and defiance ? that the insurgents hold
"there their Congress, enact laws and decrees, publish their
"journals, and perform all the acts of sovereignty "
The Spanish organ has answered Mr. Sumner. Let him say,
in the presence of these facts, whether the belligerence of the
Cubans is not thoroughly demonstrated.
The second point in the Cuban question to be examined,
in the opinion of the Hon. Charles Sumner, is the one in rela-
tion to the abolition of slavery.
There is another question in their case," says he, which
is with me final. Even if they come within the prerequisites
of international law, I am unwilling to make any recognition
"of them so long as they continue to hold human beings as
"slaves. A decree, in May last, purporting to be signed by
"Cespedes, abolished slavery; but I am not sure of this de-
cree, especially in view of another, in July, purporting to
"come from the same authority, maintaining slavery. Until
"this is settled we must wait."
If that is the only thing to be waited for; if that is the
only obstacle to be removed; if the cause of the- freedom of
the colored people is as final with Mr. Sumner as he assures
us; long since the Republic of Cuba ought to have been rec-
ognized and openly assisted by the United States in its
struggle against the Spanish Government. Because it is
Spain, not Cuba, the upholder of slavery; because it is Cuba,
not Spain, who has abolished slavery, and granted to the
freedmen the same rights bestowed on the white men, their
Our minister in Washington has officially answered the
erroneous assertions of the honorable senator. We consider
him fully convinced in face of an evidence of such a formal
and authorized character. We wish to show, however, by
means of facts drawn from history, that the Cubans have
always abhorred slavery, while the Spanish Government has
been, and still is, the upholder of that institution as a medium
of control in the island. Although, at the same time, the most
complete evidence will be derived that, by arising obstacles in
this country, by the progress of the revolution in Cuba, and by
not giving to the Cubans the aid and resources they want, the
cause of the maintenance and perpetuation of slavery is ef-
fectually favored and sustained. So it will be seen by what
singular means and ways the honorable senator-an aboli-
tionist-and this government-a republican one-allowing
everything to the Spaniards and granting nothing to the
Cubans, are efficiently working for holding in chains, under
slavery, the colored people of that portion of the island where
the decrees of our government can not be carried into practice
yet. What a curious spectacle to be witnessed by our age: the
leaders of abolitionism in this country going hand in hand
with the slave-holders and the slave-traders in Havana!
Cuban people have always been the most earnest enemies
of slavery and slave-trade. They have always understood
the demoralizing effects of that institution. They have always
looked upon slavery as a great obstacle in the consummation
of the most noble and holy aspiration of their lives-the free-
dom of their native country.
As far back as the year 1794, our distinguished country-
man, Francisco de Arango, claimed and urged Spain to destroy
slavery and encourage white immigration in the island of Cuba.
Never has any Cuban, distinguished or not distinguished, pub-
lished or written anything whatever in favor of slavery. We
can also affirm that while the Cubans were so strongly decided
in such a course of justice and convenience, Spain and the
Spanish residents in the island did their utmost to maintain
the slave-trade and so increase and perpetuate slavery, en-
forcing laws and persecuting as rebels and traitors those who
Among the most remarkable facts we can bring forth, in
relation to our statement, must be remembered the address
made to the Captain-General of the Island on the twenty-ninth
of November, 1843, signed by NINETY-TWO Cuban planters.
" The time has come, your Excellency," said they, to put
" an end in this country to that illegal traffic, shame of our
" civilization, horrid abyss where all our hopes of security and
" future welfare are buried, hydra that frightens the capitalists
" and prevents them coming to establish themselves on our-
" shores, and drives off those who have acquired their riches
" here to carry them to other places where they may enjoy
" the fruits of their labor without fearing any disturbance."
D. Leopold O'Donnell was at the time the captain-general
of the island. His despotism, even unequaled by the most.
absolute Pacha, grew wild with that address. He had it laid
aside in the archives, refusing to consider it or to pay any
attention to the signers, and dismissed them with a severe
warning. (Zamora, Biblioteca" : Art. Esclavos." Cochin:
" Abolition de PEsclavage," ii. 213.)
The Cubans were not discouraged by this disappointment.
In February, 1844, the most respectable natives of Havana
signed another address of the same purport. General O'Don-
nel considered that step like an act of rebellion, and, reddened
with anger, took the paper and tore it into pieces in the pres-
ence of the committee who had delivered it to him.
O'Donnell received one ounce ($17) for every negro landed
in Cuba; and according to the English Commissary's report,
quoted by Cochin, he put to death, by whipping and shooting,
more than three thousand of those wretched beings, and sent
to exile about one thousand more !
In 1849, Domingo de Goicouria, one of the Cuban generals,
addressed ex-Queen Isabella, submitting to her a scheme for
the immigration of white families into the island, and for the
division of labor in the sugar-plantations, the final result of
which should have been the practical extinction of slavery.
This scheme was laid before the officers of the Ministry in
In 1854, the Spanish Government was compelled to treat
that question. The Earl of San.Luis, then the Premier,
wrote a message to the Queen, suggesting to her some royal
decrees in reference to this matter; and it is very curious to
bring to mind the strange and sometimes cynical assertions
stamped by him in his work. He never spoke of the treaties
agreed to with England on the slave-trade without adding in
a regretful tone this phrase: "in whatever way these treaties
" may be qualified." He always argued that slavery was a
"necessity in Cuba, and unavoidable its maintenance, in spite
"of all its inconveniences." He went even so far as to propose
favoring by all means, in the island of Cuba, the increase of
the negro population, "of that necessary race," as he said, and to
advise the slaveholders to devote large sums of their money to
" the reproduction and breeding of the slaves, as it happens in
" other countries! "
It has always been so evident that all the blame, in regard
to slavery and slave-trade, is on the part of Spain and of the
Spanish residents in Cuba, that the English Government did
not hesitate to consign this fact for permanent preservation in
an important document. Lord Aberdeen stated in a diplom-
atic note, dated the second of May, 1844, that the officers of the
Spanish Crown were greatly interested in the maintenance of
the slave-trade, the cupidity of the government being the true
cause of this inhuman trade having been imposed on the
colony, notwithstanding its obvious dangers, and the great dis-
satisfaction of the Cuban proprietors, with the only object to
enrich the captain-general.
Some time after, Lord Howden, the English Premier, ad-
vised the Spanish Government of the necessity of abolishing
slavery in the colonies ; and it is noteworthy the answer given
by the Marquis of Miraflores, Spanish Minister of Foreign
Affairs at the time, drawing the noble lord's attention on the
damages that would be inflicted by such an action upon the
prosperity and welfare of the subjects of Her Majesty in the
island of Cuba. Lord Howden replied that, following these
logical and well-founded principles, it was required likewise
to procure the prosperity and welfare of so many thousands of
negro slaves, who were also the subjects of Her Majesty, and
entitled on that account to her motherly benevolence and
The Spaniards have always been the leaders of slavery and
slave-trade. Zulucta, who used to mark his negroes with a Z,
generally impressed on their abdomen by a candent iron, is to
day a colonel of the voluntarios, powerful in Havana, and has
devoted himself to the slave-trade with such a boldness that,
notwithstanding his influence, has been tried and confined as
a prisoner in a fortress for a short time. Another wealthy
Spaniard, Bar6, used also to mark his slaves with a B;
Durafiona, Pli, Argudin, Duran y Cuervo, Calvo-everybody
knows them in Havana as prominent slave-traders. Every-
body in Cuba is also convinced that the words Spaniard and
upholder, or at least furtherer, of slavery and slave-trade are
On the contrary, how many leading Cubans have been
persecuted for their opinions on the abolition of slavery : For6,
Antonio Saco, Domingo del Monte, Benigno Gener, Gaspar
Betancourt Cisneros, Jos6 de la Luz, Manuel Martinez, Serrano,
and many others have been imprisoned, or banished, or compel-
led to fly away from their country on that account. Who
does not know the careful watchfulness exercised over the
Cubans for their sympathies, so strongly marked toward the
cause of the Union, during the great rebellion of the South.
As soon as any act of abolitionism was accomplished, the
interference of the government became inevitable. A worthy
family of Havana decided to commemorate Christmas by free-
ing all their slaves, twenty-eight in number. They did so;
but afterward were compelled to call on the Captain-General
Dulce, who showed himself uneasy by this act, to explain
their conduct and present their apologies.
Another family, owner of a sugar plantation, decided also
to have christened as free every colored child born on the
estate. The pastor became alarmed by the repetition of these
kinds of baptisms, and giving notice to the governor of the
locality, they met with difficulties and had to apologize.
In 1865, several Cubans intended to enter into an associa-
tion with the view of stopping the slave-trade. At first the
governor of the island, General Dulce, seemed to authorize
the projects; but soon after withdrew his permission, not even
allowing the association to be officially constituted.
The reading of the Havana leading journals during the
late war of the United States would be enough proof in favor
of our assertion. The Diario de la Marina, a Spanish news-
paper, was openly confederate. None has surpassed it cari-
caturing and indulging gross insults on President Lincoln and
on the republican party. It was the author of the epithet
" cal y canto," applied to General Stonewall Jackson. Cap-
tain Semmes, its favorite hero, was named a campecharro."
The very day that the surrender of Pittsburg was announce ed
it proclaimed the triumph of the South more than ever sure!
SEl Siglo," a Cuban leading journal, on the contrary, always
liberal, always federal, and always favoring abolitionism, never
failed to express these opinions as far as the government's
On the other hand, the feeling of the colored people in
Cuba is an includable fact in our favor. They love the
Cubans and hate the Spaniards; more than hate the
Spaniards-they look on them with contempt. Nothing is com-
pared to the disdain with which they call them "gallego" or
" catalan." The worst insult that can be offered to a colored
woman is to suppose her the mistress of a Spanish bodeguero.
Now, after the September revolution in Spain, and of such
boasted liberalism, has not Marshal Serrano said to Emilio
Castelar that he ought to have in mind the existence of slavery
in Cuba ? Has he not been seen complying with that execra-
ble institution? Nevertheless, the Spanish Government
might have had a good precedent to take a decisive step in
regard to the slaves.
In 1866, by the order of the Spanish Government, twenty-
two commissioners of Cuba and Porto Rico met at Madrid to
manifest their views on the government and administration of
the colonies. The labors of this assembly demonstrated a dis-
position on the government, and its appointed representatives,
in favor of slavery, and an open and firm desire and re-
commendation to emancipate the slaves on the part of the com-
missioners elected by Cuba.
Of the commissioners, fourteen signed the report in favor
of emancipation; of those who did it, Nicholas Azedrate is at
Madrid, a well-known abolitionist; Jose Antonio Echevenia is
expelled from Havana; and Jose Morales Lemus is our Cuban
Minister in Washington.
Among the commissioners not elected by the Cuban cor-
porations, but appointed by the government, is to be found the
only report against emancipation.
Where, therefore, these facts being undoubted, does Mr..
Sumner find reasons to suspect the real abolitionary feeling of
the Cubans ?
The question is at present perfectly settled. It would not
be just to wait any longer. Neither the honorable senator, nor
the administration, nor this great American people, can desire
he Cuban freedmen to be enslaved again by the Spaniards,
nor that this blood people shall continue in their national
system of holding human beings as slaves.
We have finished our task. Both of the two facts that
were to be proved, in the opinion of the honorable senator of
Massachusetts, have been plainly demonstrated. Cuba is a
belligerent and an independent country. Cuba has abolished
slavery and proclaimed the absolute equality of rights, ac-
cording to the moral law, and the christian principle of uni-
versal fraternity. *
What else is required ?
May the honorable senator, following the example of his dis-
tinguished friends, the most eminent leaders of the republican
party in this country, and obeying his own philanthropic and
christian feelings, come decidedly to our aid, to support our
noble cause, with all the strength of his powerful mind and in-
fluence May he be, like Mr. Rawlins, Mr. Butler, Mr.
Wade, Mr. Beecher, Mr. Banks, and many other prominent
republicans, an earnest and enthusiastic defender of the
liberty of our country!
NEW YORK, October, 1869.
THE CUBAN CONSTITUTION.
ADOPTED by the Constitutional Convention, and unanimously ap-
proved by the Cuban Congress assembled at Guaimaro, the Provisional
capital of the Republic, on the tenth day of April, A.D. 1869, and the
first year of the Independence of Cuba.
ARTICLE I. The Legislative Power shall be vested in a House of Rep-
II. To this Body shall be delegated an equal representation from
each of the four States into which the Island of Cuba shall be divided.
III. These States are Oriente, Camaguey, Las Villas, and Occidente.
IV. No one shall be eligible as Representative of any of these States
except a citizen of the Republic who is upward of 20 years of age.
V. No Representative of any State shall hold any other official posi-
tion during his representative term.
VI. Whenever a vacancy occurs in the representation of any State,
the Executive thereof shall have power to fill such vacancy until the
VII. The House of Representatives shall elect a President of the
Republic, a General-in-Chief of its armies, a President of the Congress,
and other executive officers. The General-in-Chief shall be subordinate
to the Executive, and shall render him an account of the performance of
VIII. The President of the Republic, the General-in-Chief, and the
Members of the House of Representatives are amenable to charges which
may be made by any citizen to the House of Representatives, who shall
proceed to examine into the charges preferred; and if, in their judgment,
it be necessary, the case of the accused shall be submitted to the
IX. The House of Representatives shall have full power to dismiss
from office any functionary whom they have appointed.
X. The legislative acts and decisions of the House of Representatives,
in order to be valid and binding, must have the sanction of the Pres-
ident of the Republic.
XI. If the President fail to approve the acts and decisions of the
House, he shall, without delay, return the same with his objections there-
to, for the reconsideration of that body.
XII. Within ten days after their reception, the President shall return
all bills, resolutions, and enactments which may be sent to him by the
House for his approval, with his sanction thereof, or with his objections
XIII. Upon the passage of any act, bill, or resolution, after a recon-
sideration thereof by the House, it shall be sanctioned by the President.
XIV. The House of Representatives shall legislate upon taxation,
public loans, and ratification of treaties; and shall have power to
declare and conclude war, to authorize the President to issue letters of
marque, to raise troops and provide for their support, to organize and
maintain a navy, and to regulate reprisals as to the public enemy.
XV. The House of Representatives shall remain in permanent session
from the time of the ratification of this fundamental law by the people
until the termination of the war with Spain.
XVI. The Executive power shall be vested in the President of the
XVII. No one shall be eligible to the Presidency who is not a native
of the Republic, and over 30 years of age.
XVII. All treaties made by the President may be ratified by the
House of Representatives.
XIX. The President shall have power to appoint ambassadors, minis-
ters-plenipotentiary, and consuls of the Republic to foreign countries.
XX. The President shall treat with ambassadors,.and shall see that
the laws are faithfully executed. He shall also issue official commissions
to all the functionaries of the Republic.
XXI. The President shall propose the names for the members of his
Cabinet to the House of Representatives for its approval.
XXII. The Judiciary shall form an independent co-ordinate depart-
ment of the Government, under the organization of a special law.
XXIII. Voters are required to possess the same qualifications as to
age and citizenship as the members of the House of Representatives.
XXIV. All the inhabitants of the Republic of Cuba are absolutely
XXV. All the citizens are considered as soldiers of the Liberating
XXVI. The Republic shall not bestow dignities, titles, nor special
XXVI. The citizens of the Republic shall not accept honors nor
titles from foreign countries.
XXVIII. The House df Representatives shall not abridge the freedom
of religion, nor of the press, nor of public meetings, nor of education, nor
of petition, nor any inalienable right of the people.
XXIX. This Constitution can be amended only by the unanimous
concurrence of the House of Representatives.
NOTA BENE-Here follow the signatures of CARLos MANUEL DE CES-
PEDES, President of the Convention, and of all of the Delegates.
We, the undersigned, hereby certify and declare that the foregoing is
a correct and faithful translation of the Cuban Constitution, and of each
and every article and clause thereof, and thatOthe same is the fundament-
al and supreme law of the Republic.
Done by order of the Junta Cubana, at the city of New York, in the
United States of America, this 17th day of November, A.D. 1869, and
the second year of the Independence of Cuba.
MIGUEL DE AIDAMA, President.
J. M. MESTRE, Seretary.
SLAVERY IN CUBA.
ELOQUENT REFUTATION OF MR. SUMNER'S SPEECH.
The Anti-Slavery Standard this week forcibly removes the only sup-
port to Mr. Sumner's lame excuse for lack of practical sympathy with
the Cuban revolutionists, by publishing the following letter and sus-
taining its statements in a strong leading editorial:
NEW YORK, September 28, 1869.
To MR. CHARLES SUMNER,
Senator for Massachusetts:
SnR-In January last, at the Anti-Slavery Conference in Boston, I
had the honor of publicly stating, in the name of the Cuban insurrec-
tionists, and in answer to certain calumnies then afloat, that Cespedes
and his party unhesitatingly accepted the necessity of the abolition of
slavery in Cuba, and that their best and most willing exertions sought
for immediate and unconditional emancipation. The gist of my state-
ment was, at the same date, embodied in one of the resolutions of the
Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.
At an interview which I had with you in April last, I spoke to the
same purpose. You probably have forgotten my remarks. I refer to
these two occasions only to show that so early as in January the public
mind was directed to this question, and that, at the latest, in April, your
own attention was asked to it also.
I find in the published reports of your speech at Worcester, before
the Republican State Convention, on the 22d inst., the following
paragraph, which, if correctly reported (I copy from the Tribune),
must, of course, be taken as your deliberate utterance. It is not before
such an audience and upon so grave a question as one involving the honor
of one country and the liberty-it may be the life-of another, that a
man like Charles Sumner speaks without duly weighing the purport and
importance of his words. You are reported to have said-speaking of
the Cubans and their claims to be recognized as belligerents:
There is another question in their case which is withme final. Even
if they come within the prerequisites of international law, I am unwil-
ling to make any recognition of them so long as they continue to hold
human beings as slaves. A decree, in May last, purporting to be signed
by Cespedes, abolished slavery; but I am not sure of this decree, espe-
cially in view of another, in July. purporting to come from the same
authority, maintaining slavery. Until this is settled we must wait."
What, Mr. Sumner! coming forward as the reverend adviser of your
State in one of its highest functions, can you only counsel abstinence
from action until you have settled a question which you think should be
conclusive (one way at least), but which from July to September you
have not troubled yourself to settle even to your own satisfaction, al-
though it be only an inquiry as to the authenticity of two contradictory
documents, proof concerning which has always been at your command I
What, Mr. Sumner taking honorable rank amongthose ennobled by
their sympathy for the slave, do you forbid our sympathy with the
Cuban slave, declaring yourself willing to hand him back to Spanish
bonds, because you do not know for certain, and do not care to know,
whether Cespedes has made him free or not?
Cespedes has made him free, be you never so loath to recognize the
fact. On the 27th of December, 1868, Cespedes, in his capacity as Cap-
tain-General of the Army of Liberation, decreed the abolition of slavery,
which decree was affirmed by the Assembly of the leading patriots of the
Central Department on the 6th of February following, and reaffirmed as
an integral part of the Constitution of the Republic, agreed to at Guai-
maro on the 10th of April, 1869, according to which, Article 24, "All
the inhabitants of the Republic are entirely free." Entirely-the Spanish
word is enteramente. What Mr. Sumner means by his two contradictory
decrees of May" and July some Spaniard may be able to tell. No
Cuban can inform me.
I add that the conduct of Cespedes since (as also during his whole
life), has been in strict conformity with that December decree, and that
no other proclamation has been issued, or act done by him, or with his
authority to contradict, or contravene, or in any way to counteract or in-
If you will not credit this on the assertion of those friends of Cuba,
and of slave emancipation in Cuba, whose integrity and reliability can
be vouched for by your own personal friends, by your tried comrades in
the Anti-Slavery party, then bring forward your Spanish friends, Mr.
Sumner, to disprove my statement. Yet El Cronista, the organ of the
extremes Spanish party, only last week made an argument against the
patriots on the very ground of this well-known emancipation of the slaves.
Truly, Mr. Sumner, for a man specially interested in questions of slav-
ery, you must have had some difficulty in maintaining so satisfactory an
The cause of Cuban freedom is the cause of the black as well as of the
white. The dullest Spanish Volunteer" knows this, if the Massachu-
setts senator does not. Is there none, except a man so prominent
among American Republicans and Abolitionists, to stand foremost against
the liberties of Cuba?
Let General Sickles pursue his intrigues for annexation. On that
ground it may be expedient to delay the recognition of independence.
What matter how black or white may suffer, or how long, or with what
old Spanish horrors the contest be embittered and prolonged, if so new
territory may be stolen. The game there is clear enough-increase of
empire at the cost of the annexed. But Sickles and his party at least are
free from the cant of an ex-Abolitionist's tender conscience, from the pre-
tense of sympathy for the Cuban slave.
Sympathy for the Cuban slave! Since Cespedes began the war of
emancipation, nigh twelve months ago, Charles Sumner, the eminently
liberal statesman of America, the head-if not the heart-of the very
Republican party, has not found a precedent to justify him in one gen-
erous word toward a new Republic; Charles Sumner, the old-time
Abolitionist, has not even asked for a justification to plead the cause of
abolitionism in Cuba.
Butler, and Banks, and Rawlins could frankly give expression to at
least some words of good-will, of encouragement, and hope; Sumner only
mutters in bad Spanish his slander and his doubt. Nay, it is not slander, it
is but a politic hesitation, the prudent statesman's halt. Behold him on
his pedestal of legal precedents, self-satisfied though he find not a pre-
cedent for American independence in the whole lot. How the forensic
drapery becomes him In either hand he fumbles a proclamation, and
looks in his bewilderment from one to the other, waiting for some one
to tell him which is genuine and which forged before he can advise his
listeners to do anything but-" wait !"
And when that is settled he will be no readier. He will still have to
sit down among his volumes and pore over them to seek his precedent-
a precedent he does not want to find. Does he not tell us that Poland
and Hungary were as far off as Cuba from any right to recognition as
belligerents, from any right to fight against tyranny and be recognized
as true fighters by those who themselves have rebelled against and over-
come their tyrants ? Nay, does he not tell New England that he places
Poland, Hungary, and Cuba all in the same category with the South,
branding them all as rebels-yes, gentlemen, all rebels! I, Charles Sum-
ner, can find no precedent for recognizing them as anything else. Then,
having sunk the Republican in the Statesman," he loses the Statesman
in maundering about the Alabama; and Cuba must be sacrificed lest his
old monarchical acquaintances, the politicians and publicists of Europe,
should say that Mr. Sumner is inconsistent.
Let the Alabama stand on its own merits, Mr. Sumner! If England
has done the wrong you say, be sure the penalty will have some day to
be exacted, whatever happens to your arguments. Destiny can spare the
biggest flies that pose themselves upon her chariot wheels. But beware
now of wrong to Cuba! That is the question of the hour, and one
question at a time may be enough even for statesmen of a considerable
But is there no precedent for action in the case of Cuba ? Step from
Worcester to the Capitol! There is a monument upon Bunker's Hill.
Do justice to Cuba as your fathers there did justice to themselves-for
the sake of justice, and not for policy or greed. Do justice with only
that for precedent. Do justice, though your Alabama speech be stulti-
fied. Better spoil that than stultify the soul and spoil the fame of a con-
sistent abolitionist with the unmanly quibble that you can not distinguish
the proclamations of Cespedes, and have been too indifferent to read his
A scholar, making of established forms your idols, a student of books
rather than an observer of the course of living men, you have read but
not learned history; and the science of politics is something quite dis-
tinct from the charlatanry of diplomatists. We might forgive you for
your unrepublican sympathies, seeing you have not yet been weaned from
constitutionalism, but we had a rightto look for soundness on the one
question of black slavery. When Charles Sumner, the honorable sena-
tor for Massachusetts, is remembered in history, will his epitaph be read
for anything of more worth than this-He also was of the Anti-Slavery
party ? Must we efface that line to write-He hindered the emancipation
of the Cuban slave?
That brief paragraph of your unhappy speech at Worcester has given
the lie to the long life of the abolitionist. As it was with Webster, so it
is with you: the Statesman has betrayed the Man.
W. J. LINTON.
JUSTICE TO CUBA.
CUBAN BELLIGERENCY ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE UNITED STATES ACCORD-
ING TO IMPORTANT OFFICIAL DECLARATIONS-THE COURTS OF
THE UNION BOUND TO DEAL WITH THE CUBANS AS BELLIGERENTS.
The United States Government has acknowledged the existence of a
civil war in Cuba, inasmuch as it has mediated between the contending
parties, or at least tendered its good offices to settle the difficulty giving
rise to that war.
In Wheaton's Reports, vol. 8, p. 610, the case of the Spanish "Indus-
tria Raphaelli is referred to as follows:
"When a civil war rages in a foreign nation, one part of which
separates itself from the old, established government and erects itself into
a distinct government, the courts of the Union must view such newly
established government as it is viewed by the legislative and executive
departments of the United States.
If that government remains neutral, but recognizes the existence of
civil war, the courts of the Union can not consider as criminal those acts
of hostility which war authorizes, and which the new government may
direct against its enemy.
The same testimony which would be sufficient to prove that a ves-
sel or person is in the service of an acknowledged State is admissible to
prove that they are in the service of such newly-erected government. Its
seal can not be allowed to prove itself, but may be proved by such testi-
mony as the nature of the case admits; and the fact that a vessel or per-
son is in the service of such government maybe established otherwise,
should it be impracticable to prove the seal.
"The general principle applied by the writers on the law of nations
in the case of a civil war considers the war (as between the conflicting
parties) as just on both sides, and that each is to treat the other as a pub-
lic enemy, according to the established usages of war. So, also, it is the
duty of other nations to remain neutral, and not interfere with the exer-
tion of complete belligerent rights of both parties within the territory
which is the scene of their hostilities."
Dr. Franklin held that to deny belligerent rights to a State because it
had not been recognized as independent is a doctrine of the dark ages,
unworthy of civilized nations.
In Sparks' Diplomatic Correspondence," vol. 3, p. 121, appears the
following note to Mr. Bernstoof, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Denmark,
PAssY, December 22, 1779.
SIR-I have received letter from Mr. De Chezauly, Consul of France
at Bergen, in Norway, acquainting me that two ships, viz., the Betzey
and the Union, prizes taken from the English on their coast by Captain
Laudais, commander of the Alliance frigate appertaining to the United
States of America, which prizes, having met with bad weather at sea that
had damaged their rigging and had occasioned leaks, and been weakly
manned, had taken shelter in the supposed neutral port of Bergen, in
order to repair their damages, procure an additional number of sailors,
and the necessary refreshments; that they were in the said port enjoying,
as they conceived, the common rights of hospitality, established and
practised by civilized nations, under the care of the above said Consul,
when, on the 28th of October last, the said ships, with their cargoes and
papers, were suddenly seized by officers of his Majety the King of Den-
mark, to whom the said port belongs, the American officers and seamen
turned out of their possession, and the whole delivered to the English
Mr. De Chezauly has also sent me the following as a translation of his
Majesty's order by which the above proceedings are said to be authorized,
The English Minister having insisted on the restitution of two vessels
which had been taken by the American privateer called the Alliance,
commanded by Captain Laudais, and which were brought into Bergen-
viz., the Betzey, of Liverpool, and the Union, of London-his Majesty has
granted this demand on this account, because he has not as yet acknowl-
edged the independence of the colonies associated against England; and
because that these vessels, for this reason, can not be considered as good
and lawful prizes. Therefore, the said two ships shall be immediately
liberated and allowed to depart with their cargoes."
By a subsequent letter from the same Consul, I am informed that a
third prize belonging to the United States, viz., the Charming Polly,
which arrived in Bergen after the others, has also been seized and deliv-
ered up in the same manner, and that all the people of the three vessels,
after being thus stripped of their property (for every one had an interest
in the prizes), were turned on shore to shift for themselves, without
money in a strange place, no provision being made for their subsistence
or for sending them back to their country.
Permit me, sir, to observe on this occasion that the United States of
America have no war but with the English; they have never done any
injury to other nations, particularly none to the Danish nation; on the
contrary, they are, in some degree, its benefactors, as they have opened a
trade of which the English made a monopoly, and of which the Danes
may have. now their share; and, by dividing the British empire, have
made it less dangerous to its neighbors. They conceived that every
nation whom they had not offended was, by the rights of humanity, their
friend; they confided in the hospitality of Denmark, and thought them-
selves and their property safe when under the roof of his Danish Majesty.
But they find themselves stripped of that property, and the same given
up to their enemies on this principle only, that no acknowledgment had
yet been formally made by Denmark of the independence of the United
States; which is to say that there is no obligation of justice toward any
nation with whom a treaty promising the same has not been previously
made. This was indeed the doctrine of ancient barbarians, a doctrine
long since exploded, and which it would not be for the honorof the pres-
ent age to revive, 4nd it is hoped that Denmark will not, by supporting
and persisting in this decision, obtained of his Majesty apparently by
surprise, be the first modem nation that shall attempt to revive it.
The United States, oppressed by and at war with one of the most
powerful nations of Europe, may well be supposed incapable, in their
present infant state, of exacting justice of other nations not disposed to
grant it; but it is human nature that injuries as well as benefits received
in time of weakness and distress, national as well as personal, make deep
and lasting impressions; and those ministers are wise who look into fu-
turity and quench the first sparks of misunderstanding between two
nations, which, neglected, may in time grow into a flame, all the con-
sequences whereof no human prudence can foresee, which may produce
much mischief to both, and can not possibly produce any good to either.
I beg leave, through your Excellency, to submit these considerations to
the wisdom and justice of his Danish Majesty, whom I infinitely respect,
and who, I hope, will consider and repeal the orders above recited, and
that, if the prizes which I hereby reclaim in behalf of the United States
of America are not actually gone to England, they may be stopped
and delivered to Mr. De Chezauly, the Consul of France at Bergen, in
whose care they before were, with liberty to depart for America when
the season shall permit. But, if they should be already gone to England,
I must claim from his Majesty's equity the value of the said prizes, which
is estimated at 50,000 sterling, but which may be regulated by the best
information that can by any means be obtained. With the greatest
CUBAN PRIVATEERS CAN NOT BE TREATED AS PIRATES.
Opinions of the Attorneys-General of the United States, etc., publish-
ed under the inspection of Henry D. Gelpin. Vol. II., pp. 1065. Wash-
ington city, 1841.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S OFFICE, May 17, 1886.
SIR-From an examination of the various documents this day referred
to me in the case of the Texan armed schooner Invincible, I gather the
The American brig Pocket sailed from New Orleans, in which port
she had been duly registered, and cleared in April last for Brazos San-
tiago, a port within the limits of Texas. When approaching the term-
ination of her voyage she was captured by the armed Texan schooner In-
vincible, sailing under the flag of the recently constituted republic of
Texas, on the alleged ground that she was laden with provisions, stores,
and munitions of war destined for the use of the Mexican army under
the command of General Santa Anna, and carried into Galveston bay,
where the cargo was landed and used or held by the Texan authorities,
and the vessel released. These facts being made known to Commodore
Dalles, the officer commanding the United States naval forces in the West
Indies and the Gulf of Mexico, with a sworn appeal from the insurers and
other persons interested in the protection of our commerce of those seas,
that officer deemed it his duty to regard the Invincible as a pirate, and to
treat her as such. He, therefore, promptly despatched the United States
ship Warren, Master Commandant Taylor, with orders to cruise for the
Invincible, and, in the event of falling in with her, to capture her and
send her to New Orleans to be delivered up for adjudication. Pursuant
to these orders the Invincible was captured on the 29th ult., with the
principal part of the crew. Both vessel and men were sent to New Or-
leans, and delivered to the civil authorities to be proceeded against on
the charge of piracy. Under these circumstances, my opinion is required
upon the question whether the charge of piracy can be sustained.
In answer to this question I have the honor to state that, in my opin-
ion, the capture of the American ship Pocket can in no view of it be
deemed an act of piracy, unless it should appear that the principal actors
in the capture were citizens of the United States. The ninth section of
the Crimes act of the 30th of April, 1790, declares "That if any citizen
shall commit any piracy or robbery, or any act of hostility against the
United States, or any citizen thereof, upon the high seas, under color of
any commission from any foreign prince or State, or on pretense of
authority from any person, such offender shall, notwithstanding the pre-
tense of any such authority, be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be a
pirate, felon, and robber; and, on being thereof convicted, shall suffer
death." This provision is yet in force, and should it be found that any
of those who participated in the capture of the Pocket are American
citizens, the flag and commission of the government of Texas would be
insufficient to protect them from the charge of piracy. It is, however,
not suggested in the papers before me that any citizens of the United
States were engaged in the capture, and if it is assumed that the actors
in it were aliens, it must then, I think, be admitted that the capture,
however unjustifiable in other respects, can never be regarded as piracy.
Where a civil war breaks out in a foreign nation, and part of such nation
erects a distinct and separate government, and the United States, though
they do not acknowledge the independence of the new government, do yet
recognize the existence of a civil war, our courts have uniformly regarded
each party as a belligerent nation in regard to acts done jure belli. Such
may be unlawful when measured by the laws of nations, or by treaty
stipulations; the individuals concerned in them may be treated as tres-
passers, and the nation to which they belong may be held responsible by
the United States; but the parties concerned are not treated as pirates.
It is true that where, persons acting under a commission for one of the
belligerents make a capture ostensibly in the right of war, but really
with the design of robbery, they will be held guilty of piracy. In the
present case there is not the least reason to believe that the capture was
made with any such criminal intent. It would seem to be an infraction
of the treaty made in 1831 between the United States and the UnitedMexi-
can States (of which Texas was then a constituent part), and here may be
other reasons for doubting its legality as an act done in the right of war;
but that it was really done in that character, and no other, is very clear.
The existence of a civil war between the people of Texas and the authori-
ties and people of the other Mexican States was recognized by the President
of the United States at an early day in the month of November last.
Official notice of this fact, and of the President's intention to preserve the
neutrality of the United States, was soon after given to the Mexican
Government. This recognition has been since repeated by numerous acts
of the Executive, several of which had taken place before the capture of
the Pocket. On the assumption that the actors were aliens, the case is
therefore fairly brought within the principle above stated, and the charge
of piracy can not be sustained."
I am, sir, etc.,
B. F. BUTLER.
To THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
The ports of the United States should be open to Cuba on an equality
with Spain, according to the following declaration of the Executive,
MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AT THE COMMENCE-
MENT OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE SIXTEENTH CONGRESS (COMMUNI-
CATED TO CONGRESS DECEMBER 7, 1819).
In the civil war existing between Spain and the Spanish provinces in
this hemisphere, the greatest care has been taken to enforce the laws in-
tended to preserve an impartial neutrality. Our ports have continued to
be equally open to both parties, and on the same conditions, and our citi-
zens have been equally restrained from interfering in favor of either to
the prejudice of the other. The progress of the war, however, has oper-
ated manifestly in favor of the colonies. Buenos Ayres still maintaining
unshaken the independence which it declared in 1816, and has enjoyed
since 1810. Like success has also attended Chile and the provinces north
of La Plata bordering on it, and likewise Venezuela.
THE UNITED STATES ACKNOWLEDGE OFFICIALLY THE RIGHT OF EVERY
AMERICAN COLONY WHICH REVOLTS AGAINST ITS METROPOLIS.
The Union admits the flag of every insurrectionary party against the
metropolitan government, provided it pays custom dues.
American State papers collected by Walter Lowry and Walter S.
Franklin, vol. iv. pp. 424 and 656.
MONROE, SECRETARY OF STATE, TO MR. ORRIS, JANUARY 19, 1816.
You demand next that Mr. Toledo and others whom you mention,
charged with promoting revolt in the Spanish provinces and exciting
citizens of the United States to join it, shall be arrested and tried, their
troops disarmed and dispersed.
You intimate that troops are levying in Kentucky, Tennessee, Loui-
siana, and Georgia for the invasion of the Spanish provinces, of whom one
thousand are from Kentucky, and three hundred from Tennessee, to be
commanded by American citizens; but you do not state at what points
these men are collected, or by whom commanded, and as to the troops
said to be raised in Louisiana and Georgia your communication is still
more indefinite. The information recently obtained by this department
from persons of high consideration is of a very different character. It is
stated that no men are collected, nor is there evidence of an attempt or a
design to collect any in Kentucky, Tennessee, or Georgia for the purpose
stated, and that the force said to be assembled under Mr. Toledo is very
inconsiderable, and composed principally of Spaniards and Frenchmen.
If any portion of it consists of citizens of the United States their conduct
is unauthorized and illegal. This force is not within the settled parts of
Louisiana, but in the wilderness, between the settlements of the United
States and Spain, beyond the actual operation of our laws.
I have to request that you will have the goodness to state at what
points in Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Georgia any force is col-
lected, the number in each instance, and by whom commanded. If such
force is collected or collecting within the United States for the purpose
suggested, or other illegal purpose, it will be dispersed and the parties
prosecuted according to law.
The government is under no obligation, nor has it the power by any
law or treaty to surrender any inhabitant of Spain or the Spanish pro-
vinces on the demand of the government of Spain; nor is any such in-
habitant punishable by the laws of the United States for acts committed
beyond their jurisdiction, the cases of pirates alone excepted. This is a
fundamental law of our system. It is not, however, confined to us; it is
believed to be the law of all civilized nations where not particularly
varied by treaties.
In reply to your third demand-the exclusion of the flag of the revolt-
ing provinces-I have to observe that, in consequence of the unsettled
state of many countries, and repeated changes of the ruling authority in
each, there being at the same time several competitors and each party
bearing its appropriate flag, the President thought it proper some time
past to give orders to the collectors not to make the flag of any vessel a
criterion or condition of its admission into the ports of the United States.
Having taken no part in the differences and convulsions which have
disturbed those countries, it is consistent with the just principles as it is
with the interests of the United States to receive the vessels of all coun-
tries into their ports, to whatever party belonging, and under whatever
flag sailing, pirates excepted, requiring of them only the payment of the
duties and obedience to the laws while under their jurisdiction, without
adverting to the question whether they had committed any violation of
the allegiance or laws obligatory on them in the country to whom they
belonged, either in assuming such flag, or in any other respect.
In the differences which have subsisted between Spain and her colonies
the United States have observed all proper respect to their friendly rela-
tions with Spain. All that your government had a
right to claim of the United States was that they should not interfere in
the contest, or promote by any active service the success of the revolution,
admitting that they continued to overlook the injuries received from
Spain, and remained at peace. This right was common to the colonists.
With equal justice might they claim that we would not interfere to their
disadvantage; that our ports should remain open to both parties, as they
were before the commencement of the struggle; that our laws regulating
commerce with foreign nations should not be changed to their injury.
On these principles the United States have acted.
I have the honor to be, etc.,