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Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska bill, should so suddenly take a lofty moral ground in politics, and declare that they valued the soul more than the body of the Union. In view of such surprising developments, the slave party naturally thought it might become necessary to relax their speed a little; it might even be politic to concede Kansas for the present, but the great policy of slavery extension must be sustained, even at the cost of a rupture of the Union.
A general doctrine has long been current among sagacious slave-politicians that the extreme southern slave states might, one day, find it necessary to change their confederated relations, and form a slave republic, consisting of those states and the old Spanish provinces of Central America, which should abandon the northern states, and perhaps Canada, to the blight of freedom, while they advanced in a career of humanity and the Christian graces which slavery in the tropics would naturally develop. The Cuba movement is a fruit-let us rather say, a blighted blossom-of this theory, and, naturally, those who preferred their own tyranny to that of the Spaniards in Cuba, would wish well to the Walker war in Nicaragua; and the midsummer of 1856, therefore, finds Messrs. Soulé and Goicouria in full intelligence with the Fillibuster-the object of all, of course, being to extend the blessings of American laws and progressive popular institutions over those unhappy regions.
In August, 1856, Goicouria was appointed by Walker, who had elected himself president in June, as his minister to England. A letter from Walker to Goicouria, then in New York, fully explains the general intention of the Central American movement. It is dated in Granada on the 12th August, 1856. Walker tells his agent that he can propitiate English favor by showing the English government that the Nicaraguan movement does not mean annexation-" You can make them see that the only way to cut the expanding and expansive democracy of the North is by a powerful and compact Southern federation based on military principles." He reminds him that the arrangement of the Mosquito question "is necessary to the work we have on hand after our Central American affairs are settled." The prospect
elates "General" Walker. "Tell he must send me the news, and let me know whether Cuba must and shall be free'-but not for the Yankees. Oh! no! that fine country is not fit for those barbarous Yankees. What would such a psalm-singing set do in the island?" The tone of this letter, with collateral circumstances, probably induced Goicouria, who was a native Cuban, to consider whether cats'-paws were altogether extinct. He delayed. Walker was im
patient, and heard suspicious storieswrote him a curt letter eight days after the one from which we have quoted; was asked for satisfaction by Goicouria, and that gentleman was deprived of his mission on the 27th of September. Thereupon, Goicouria withdrew entirely from his complicity with Walker, and was replaced by Mr. Henningsen, who had been a soldier in Hungary and Spain, and had married in this country a southern widow, with possessions. Henningsen is the only man of the Walker crew who has shown any military ability. He was sent by the "General" to burn Granada, and, being surrounded by the enemy, he fought with skill and spirit.
During the month of September, 1856, it was well known that Mr. Soulé had been in Nicaragua, and it was announced that he had purchased large estates in that country. This was very credible; for, by two decrees-one of the 22d April and the other of the 16th July, 1856-the property of "the enemies of the country" had been confiscated by Walker, and it was estimated that five millions of dollars' worth of valuable property would be sold within three or four years, in consequence of these decrees. This meant, simply, that Walker had ejected the propertyowners and seized their land. We are not apprised of the truth of the story thut Mr. Soulé really bought lands; but his name, as a friend of the slave system, was well known, and the mere rumor that he had invested in Nicaragua would inspire confidence in many minds that the waste places of Central America would, under Walker, be taught to blossom as the rose, with the system so graciously designed to lead Africa to the Lord. The intent and spirit of the rumor were confirmed on the 22d of September, 1856, by a decree annulling all the acts of the congress of the federation of which Nicaragua was a con
stituent part until she withdrew in April, 1838, and which acts, when she withdrew, she confirmed as still authoritative. The reason given by Walker for annulling the laws, was the safe one that they were unsuited to the present condition of the country.
of the country, and the happy advent of the good "General" Walker among the barbarians of that region. In a strain of the purest philosophical piracy, which would have edified the Sieur de Lussan, who did not trouble himself to write letters when he tarried in Granada, Mr. Richmond states:
"I have said, and it is the opinion not only of General Walker, but of those at the head of affairs here, both in the civil and military
Now the simple history of this important matter is this: The Central American states became independent in 1821. In 1823 the federal constituent assembly met, and in April, 1824, abolished slavery departments, that there is no power in Central and declared the slave-trade piracy. In 1838, the confederation was dissolvedeach state became again independent and sovereign-but each recognized all the federal laws which were not incompatible with their own state constitutions. Those old laws had, therefore, precisely the same authority as the new ones. But the old laws were never
'codified," and, consequently, there was great difficulty in knowing in detail what they were. Mr. E. George Squier, General Taylor's minister to Nicaragua, who has written a book about the country which contains a great deal of information, and who went up and down the land with his heart hankering and his mouth watering for it, and clearly in a constant droll panic, lest England should eat it up before America bit it-Mr. Squier writes to the London Times that "General" Walker has only "washed his slate," and that, by abrogating the federal decrees, he had not restored slavery, for slavery can only exist in virtue of positive laws. Now, whatever confusion there may have been in knowing the old laws, one law was simple and supremethe one abolishing slavery and if Walker had meant really to help the cause of human liberty, he would have excepted that, or would immediately have restored it. He did neither. Probably he thought-certainly his partisans in the United States thoughtthat, as slavery had always existed in those states by the Spanish law, the original status of the slave recurred by the abrogation of the law of abolition.
This was, doubtless, his intention. His decree was dated in Granada on the 22d September, 1856. On the 30th of October following, Mr. John L. Richmond, to put beyond all question what the views of Walker were, writes from the same Granada to the Hon. Charles S. Morehead, of Kentucky, a very long letter, in which he describes the charms
America that can unseat General Walker, or retard the onward progress of this government to the permanent establishment of a republican government upon the model of the United States; and we have an abiding faith that our brothers at the North, being of a common birthright with us-the heritage of liberty and good government-will not permit the rude hand of European tyranny and power to blot out the light of liberty that comes to redeem this land and the people from the horrors of civil war, and the worse than savage barbarism and rule that wholly forbids the idea of the establishment of any permanent good government. It requires neither prophecy nor divination to foresee that the permanent establishment of a good republican government in Nicaragua involves the establishment of a similar government in the other Central American states. Should such be the case, I leave to you, sir, the pleasing task of tracing the beneficent results that must follow to humanity, and the impetus that must be given to republican principles."
But, immediately forgetting that he had left to Gov. Morehead "the pleasing task of tracing the beneficent results that must follow to humanity," etc., Mr. Richmond proceeds to trace them himself, and invites the consideration of his co-heirs of "the heritage of liberty"who, with him and Mr. E. George Squier, are nervously anxious that no European tyranny should "blot out the light of liberty that comes to redeem this land," and of which "General" Walker is the inextinguishable torch—to these facts:
"I enclose you a list of property to be sold on the 1st of January next (under the decree of confiscation), with an annexed valuation at very low rates, which I hope you will have published, as I think it will give to young Kentuckians, and, indeed, to all who wish to do so, an opportunity to procure estates in
trinsically more valuable than the best of the
southern portion of the United States."
And again :
"I must also mention, that gentlemen from southern states, wishing to emigrate to this country with their slaves, are invited to come ; and a decree has been issued by this government giving to all persons the privilege to do 80, the object being to invite slave labor, without which the resources of the country can never be fully and profitably developed; upon
this subject you need not entertain a doubt. I am now acting as sub-secretary of state, and speak by authority."
Quite unable to repress his enthusiasm, at the prospect of the liberty that is to accrue from the invitation of slave labor, and immigration of gentlemen from the southern states with their slaves, the sub-secretary of state indulgęs himself, in conclusion, with one natural reflection, to which Captain Canot, in the barracoons of the African slave coast, rejecting slaves bloated with gunpowder, might cordially, and with the same propriety, respond:
"Thank God, it is not only the privilege, but the peculiar province and pleasure, of American minds to reform, and elevate, instead of mourning and lamenting, and they come to elevate this land and people from their degeneracy and fallen condition."
The position of the supporters of Walker in this country showed clearly enough what they understood by the Nicaragua war. Directly after the publication of this decree, the New Orleans Delta, the most logical and able of all the pro-slavery journals, stated that it had always held the necessity of introducing slavery into Nicaragua if Walker wished to consolidate and perpetuate his government, and added:
pose emigrating to Nicaragua with slaves. The federal law abolishing slavery, is, indeed, abrogated by "President" Walker; but the state constitution of Nicaragua, adopted on the 12th of November, 1838, which is still the supreme law of the land, declares, that " every man is free, and can neither sell himself, nor be sold by others," and all persons, who traffic in slaves, or who are privy to such traffic, forfeit their citizenship.
In these two last points, we have no hesitation in saying, that the constitution of Nicaragua is superior to that of the United States, upon which, like the constitutions of all the Central American states, it was modeled. The fundamental law of Nicaragua, at this moment, prohibits slavery, and yet, the citizens of New York were publicly summoned, a little while since, to express their profound sympathy with a stranger in that country, whose conduct had put him beyond the range of any other feeling, than that he might suffer the extreme penalty of the law, and who, despite the law of the land, and of justice, had openly declared, through his sub-secretary of state, that he desired to promote the immigration of slave-owners and slaves into the country. This meeting, ludicrously worthy of Walker in its character and results, was taken in charge by several hack politicians of the democratic
"We also alluded to significant assurances we had received from authorized sources (the party, and the American democracy
reader will remember that the Hon. Pierre Soulé lives in New Orleans] that Walker designed, as soon as he could prudently do so, to publicly legalize slavery within his dominions, and invite slave-holders to immigrate
thither with their slaves. We knew, some weeks since, that a decree to this effect had been drawn up, and we now learn that it has been promulgated. Num. bers of slave-holders have already written to us to know if they could safely take their slaves
into Nicaragua, to cultivate sugar, coffee, rice, indigo, or chocolate plantations, as the case might be. We have always assured our correspondents that, though slaves were not recognized by law in Nicaragua, we had no doubt they would be secured to their owners during Walker's administration, and that, ultimately, slavery would have an existence there of law as well as fact."
The Delta then adds that but one thing is wanting to the millennium in Nicaragua, and that is the African slave-trade. With that blessing, and "African slavery conducted on humane principles," the country would be quite perfected into a little heaven below.
But "General"Walker, and Mr. John L. Richmond, and the Delta forgot to state one fact to our southern friends, who pro
were invited by Messrs. Duff Green and Isaiah Rynders, in speeches, and by Mr. Thomas Francis Meagher, in a highly florid letter, full of poor rhetoric about tyranny and oppression, to send instant aid to the discomfited missionary who was trying to extend the area of slavery, the meanest of tyrannies, and pitiating England, of which the demowho, with the express intention of procratic party and Mr. Thomas Francis Meagher are so fond, had instructed his agent there to show to the Government, "that the only way to cut the expanding and expansive democracy of the north is by a powerful and compact southern federation, based on military principles."
The Tabernacle meeting was the last spasm of public interest in the present movement in Nicaragua. The steamer, which sailed at the end of February, did not carry a single recruit; and the agents, with a tender reverence of the Neutrality laws, which, considering their antecedents in the Walker war, was truly edifying, requested the United States district attorney to take particu
lar care that no improper passenger had smuggled himself on board. By the time our article is published, "General" Walker will hardly be found, in the impassioned and picturesque words of Mr. Sub-secretary of State Richmond. "knocking at the doors of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and San Salvador, demanding reparation for the injuries done to the State of Nicaragua," but, quite on the other hand, those states will, probably, have thrust the "General" out of doors.
Such is an outline of the facts of the Walker foray into Nicaragua, which has so much occupied the newspapers during the last year, and has suggested so many reflections upon the destiny of this country. The chief mischief of the business is the fearful suffering which Walker's imbecility has entailed upon his followers. The destitution, starvation, agonized deaths, by loathsome diseases and mortified wounds, are dreadful to consider. There are no more piteous tales, in the history of any campaignr, than those told by impartial passengers across the country from California, as the result of their own observation.
The motives of the movement were, undoubtedly, many and complicated. It is fair to presume, upon a general knowledge of the spirit of trade and commercial rivalry, that the steam-ship company, acting through its immediate agents, persuaded the liberals in Nicaragua to apply to Walker. In that case there can be little doubt that their agents had an understanding with him after he landed in the country; and his seizure of a steamer to transport his forces from Virgin Bay to Granada could have been no surprise to them, and his finding a large sum of money upon the steamer, none to him. It is clear enough that he lent himself to the intrigues of rival interests in the transit, and that somebody was outwitted. But, during all this time, Walker must have had his own views, and was subject to political as well as commercial influences. He went to Nicaragua, as a soldier of fortune goes everywhere and anywhere, to do the best he could for himself. He, doubtless, used others, and others certainly used him. He had upon his side the appearance of a fair invitation. But every sensible man is a judge, whether a Central American party would, unless especially incited to the step by a strong outer influence, be likely to invite, as an ally, a notorious Californian adventurer. Still the appearance was in his favor. He led VOL. IX.-28
the allies and conquered a transient peace; went through the form of making part of a new government; and was almost instantly, by his own word, a traitor to it. Of course, Walker's objects were, first, William Walker; second, the party of his natural predilections and their principles. The steam-ship company was shrewd, but the political influence was sagacious. The main end for Walker to hold constantly in view, was not dividends to a company, but advantage to a great political party, which divided the Union at home, and upon which his claims would be vast and patent. The steam-ship company was useful to supply money and men, and must be propitiated, because the hope of Americanizing Nicaragua greatly depended upon the favor of the transit company, then in possession. But this was all secondary. The gentlemen about the Bowling Green in New York were only tools thinking themselves handles-a fate which has befallen merchants before.
The general intention of the Walker movement was to obtain absolute control of the government of Nicaragua, under a fair appearance of legal right; to be supported by the official recognition of the United States Government, by the pecuniary interest of a commercial company, by the popular sympathy of a spurious philosophy of manifest destiny, and the necessity of a short road to California, and by the general indifference of all who were not especially interested in the success of the effort. Thus Nicaragua was to be impregnated with American influences and interests; and, in the fullness of time, as a practically American state, comprising the shortest and safest transit to our western possessions and the vast Pacific commerce, she was to ask annexation and admittance into the Union, care having been taken from the beginning, that no "psalm-singing Yankees," but good Christian slaveholders, should have control of the elections and the state constitution.
This was, doubtless, the general intention, developing itself, of course, imperfectly, and modified by various circumstances. And, equally beyond doubt, this is a general intention of the extreme party of slavery in this country, which, for the moment, and in Nicaragua, is disappointed. The plan includes Cuba and the islands of the Gulf, with Central America; and it implies war with Europe and a dissolution of the present
Union. Its object is the extension of slavery into regions deemed more suitable to the institution than some of the cooler slave states, and in which a languid climate will be the most subtle ally of the sophistries and sins of the system. It is easy to see, for instance, that slavery would flourish much more luxuriantly in the ignorance of the Tropics than in Virginia begirt with intelligence and freedom. This is the great object; and its philosophy is the doctrine that the superior Saxon race, leading the van of civilization, must and ought to overspread the continent and displace the barbarism of Central America as it supplanted the savages of North America.
That it is the design of Providence to subdue this continent and the world to intellectual and moral light and liberty, we have no doubt. That the ways of Providence, in accomplishing its designs, are often inexplicable, we equally believe. That God is present in history, and that no great event occurs without that presis as much a necessary faith as that no sparrow falls to the ground without his care. All this is simply to say that God is God, and rules in the universe. But to assume that it is the divine intention a thing should be done, because we can do it, is a little danger
Such a doctrine is dear and convenient to every wrong-doer, and is as good an argument in the mouth of Cain as in that of the Holy Inquisition. It is very evident in history that the race, has gradually advanced from the East toward the West, its moral condition improving with its march. The great experiment of popular government about to be tried, the new world was discovered, and the pilgrims arrived upon its shores. Belonging to the superior race they were, in the divine order, to supplant the inferior. Now will any man contend that any individual pilgrim who, having helped to entrap the Indians into a war, then went to Saybrook and helped slay the Pequots, was less a murderer -he the individual Pilgrim who shot the individual Pequot-because, in the order of Providence, the Saxon race was to overspread this continent? If the argument is valid, every crime is justified. If a man is found murdered in his room, it was, doubtless, the divine design that the man should be murdered. Shall we then regard the murderer as the instrument of God?
The best civilization of the race now
occupying the North American continent will, undoubtedly, gradually stretch all over it. But while that is a philosophical dream of the thoughtful American, it is his practical duty to hang pirates. If the Lord intends to carry civilization across the isthmus, via Nicaragua, we take leave to doubt if he proposes to give it in charge to slaveholders, going to make Nicaragua a slave state. We do not say that such are not the means he may employ. Certainly many of the methods of progress have been as strange and inscrutable as that. But if he has implanted an instinct of faith in his purposes, however dark his way to them may be, so he has given us an instinct and a command of conscience to resist oppression. It may be in the order of Providence that a man should break into your house; but it is equally in that order that you should shoot him if you can. So it may be in the order of Providence to extend civilization by suffering slavery in other regions of this continent than those it already curses. But it is equally in that order, that every humane and religious man should resist that extension to the end.
Until, therefore, a conscientious man can cooperate with clean hands in what he conceives to be the design of God upon this continent, he may be very sure the moment for his cooperation has not arrived. It is not necessary that we should get to San Francisco within any specified time; but it is of the last importance that we should not lie, and steal, and murder. If, as a people, we cannot be just-if we cannot even pretend to be just, it might be as well to postpone our observations upon Providence and the progress of humanity.
The practical present question in the matter of Nicaragua is this: Nicaragua being a state as independent of us as Great Britain, what is the best arrangement we can make with her to pass over to the Pacific and California, if we conclude to go that way? The answer is plain enough we must negotiate for the right of way, which Nicaragua will gladly enough concede upon proper terms, and she must agree to protect the passage, or to let us protect ourselves, each power being amenable to the other for infractions of the agreement, according to custom and international law: and, as the stronger power, we must in