Rumors have prevailed for some months past, of secret negotiations between our Government and that of Spain for the purchase and annexation of Cuba by the former. The information furnished by the foreign correspondence of the New York Herald was positive and reiterated, and the English papers contain intimations of like purport.
Recently, Mr. Miller submitted a resolution, calling upon the President to inform the Senate whether such negotiations had been instituted; but on a suggestion by Judge Berrien, that the resolution was rather unusual, the mover withdrew it for the time. Subsequently he again introduced it, and, on the 5th, it was called up in the Senate.
It was as follows:
Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to inform the Senate whether any negotiations or correspondence have taken place between this Government and the Government of Spain, or between any persons acting under the direction of authority of Government, in relation to the purchase of Cuba by the United States; and to communicate to the Senate copies of such negotiations or correspondence, so far as the same may be communicated consistently with the public interests.
The resolution contains the usual reservation in relation to the public interests. The subject is of vast importance. If there be a scheme on foot for the annexation of Cuba, it ought to be known. Such a plot would be in harmony with the entire policy and spirit of this Administration, and with the aggressive spirit of Slavery-propagandism.
Rumors from all quarters have created a strong presumption that it is secretly agitated. To call for the information with the proviso that its disclosure be compatible with public interests, could do no harm to anybody, except secret conspirators.
If such a scheme be on foot, the People of the United States ought to know it, as their best interests would be involved in it; unless, indeed, it be claimed that the leading men of the small class of slaveholders, the only privileged class in this Republic, are alone entitled to State secrets of such importance.
One of this class was on hand to stifle inquiry. Mr. Rusk moved that the resolution be laid on the table, and it was laid, on the table by the following vote:
YEAS – Messrs. Atchison, Atherton, Berrien, Borland, Bradbury, Breese, Dickinson, Dodge of Iowa, Douglas, Downs, Feich, Fitzgerald, Fitzpatrick, Foote, Houston, Hunter, Johnson of Louisiana, Jones, King, Mason, Rusk, Sebastian, Turney, Yulee – 24.
NAYS – Messrs. Baldwin, Benton, Clarke, Clayton, Corwin, Davis of Massachusetts, Dayton, Dix, Hale, Hamlin, Metcalfe, Miller, Niles, Pearce, Phelps, Spruance, Underwood, Upham, Westcott – 19.
Only three Democrats from the free States voting to give light to the People on this grave subject. The Senators from Michigan and Illinois, the two new Senators from Iowa, Bradbury, and of course Dickinson and Atherton, voted with the slaveholders, and Benton against them. Mr. Westcott is an eccentric man, and seems out of place among the nays.
It will be seen by our Congressional report that Senator Foote averred that General Taylor is in favor of the annexation of Cuba, and has so declared himself! We shall know in time – that is, after everything shall have been decided.
The People of the United States are saved the trouble of self-government to a great extent. The plot of Texas annexation was laid and matured without their knowledge or consent; war with Mexico was sprung upon them before they had time to say nay.
Greater things than these are in store for them, if they will only continue humble and trusting subjects of the Slaveholding Dynasty.
Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The National Era
Date: January 11, 1849
Title: The Annexation Of Cuba
Location: Washington, D.C.
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