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Cr. VII.]

DEATH OF DANIEL WEBSTER.

493

1852.

large appropriations for the improve and among the greatest of Americap ment of rivers and harbors in various statesmen, is graven in broad characters sections of the country; granting aid upon the history of the United States; to the state of Michigan in constructing and we are confident, that his is a name à ship canal around the Sault St. Marie; which will grow brighter, and be loved etc. The French spoliation bill, and more and more, as years roll on, and as other measures of importance, were post it becomes more plainly evident what poned until the next session.

a life-time of service he gave to the Before entering upon the active and highest and best interests of our comearnestly contested election, the people mon country.* were again called upon to mourn for The presidential election, in Novemthe removal of the great and noble ber, called forth the most earnest and compatriot of Henry Clay. It was in active efforts of both parties; sanguine the summer of 1852, that Mr. Webster hopes of success were entertained by left Washington, being far from well the whigs as well as the democrats ; at the time, and betook himself to the but the result proved the strength and retirement and repose of his farm at efficiency of the organization of the

Marshfield. Unfortunately, he democratic party, and Franklin Pierce

soon after met with a severe was elected president by an unusually injury by being thrown from a wagon. large majority, whether counted by the His health continued to fail more and popular or the electoral votes. more perceptibly, until, on the 21st of Some months before Mr. Webster's October, his illness was seen to be very death, the ministers of England and dangerous, and the sad conviction forced France had been directed to invite the itself upon his friends and the whole government of the United States, to country, that he was on his death-bed. become party to a tripartite convenOn Sunday morning, October 24th, a tion, in virtue of which the three powlittle before three o'clock, his mortal ers should severally and collectively career reached its close. Like the fa- disclaim, now and for the future, all ther of his country—like the illustrious intention to obtain possession of patriot who, only a few months before, the Island of Cuba, as well as had preceded him to the grave—Daniel to discountenance all attempts of a simWebster was not afraid to die, for his ilar kind by any power whatever. In last hours were illumined by the light July, Mr. Crampton addressed a letter which the Gospel of our Blessed Savi- to Mr. Webster on the subject, urging our has cast

upon the tomb, and he was, the views of his government as to this as we believe, enabled to lay fast hold matter; and the Comte de Sartiges, in upon the consolations and hopes of the humble, penitent, and faithful Christian. * For an eloquent and worthy tribute to the departWords of eulogy we need not utter.

ed statesman and patriot, see the Hon. Rufus Choate's His fame is imperishable. His renown,

“Discourse delivered before the Faculty, Students, and

Alumni of Dartmouth College, on the 27th of July, as the greatest of American orators, 1853, commemorative of DANIEL WEBSTER.”

1852.

behalf of France, entirely accorded France has, within twenty years, ao with the sentiments of Mr. Crampton's quired a vast domain on the northern letter. “This will, it is hoped, facili- coast of Africa, with a fair prospect of tate the adoption by the government indefinite extension. England, within of the United States of the project, half a century, has added very extenand enable the government of the sively to her empire. These acquisitions United States, by associating them have created no uneasiness on the part selves with those of Great Britain and of the United States. In like manner, France in this important declaration, the United States have, within the same to secure the future tranquility of the eriod, greatly increased their territory. commerce of the world in those seas, The largest addition was that of Louisi. to discourage illegal enterprises against ana, which was purchased from France. Cuba, and to draw closer the bonds of These accessions of territory have probamity which bind the United States to ably caused no uneasiness to the great Great Britain, as well as to France and European powers, as they have been Spain."

brought about by the operation of natMr. Webster's failing health prevent- ural causes, and without any disturbed his giving due attention to this com ance of the international relations of munication, and his death occurring not the principal states. They have been long after, the president asked Mr. Ed- followed, also, by a great increase of ward Everett to undertake the duties mutually beneficial commercial interof secretary of state, which he did. Un course between the United States and der date of the 1st of December, Mr. Europe. But the case would be differEverett addressed to the Comte de Sar-ent in reference to the transfer of Cuba tiges a long and very able letter, setting from Spain to any other European powforth the views entertained by our gov- er. That event could not take place ernment in respect to this difficult and without a serious derangement of the delicate topic. An extract or two from international system now existing; and this letter may properly here be pre- it would indicate designs in reference sented.

to this hemisphere, which could not but “The president fully concurs with awaken alarm in the United States. his predecessors, who have on more than one occasion authorized the declaration But the president has a graver objecreferred to by M. de Turgot and Lord tion to entering into the proposed conMalmesbury, that the United States vention. He has no wish to disguise could not see with indifference the Isl- the feeling that the compact, although and of Cuba fall into the possession of equal in its terms, would be very unany other European government than equal in substance. France and EnSpain; not, however, because we should gland, by entering into it, would disable

be dissatisfied with any natural themselves from obtaining possession of

increase of territory and power an island remote fom their seats of gov. on the part of France or England. I ernment, belonging to another Euro

1852.

CH. VII.]

MR. EVERETT'S LETTER.

495

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1862.

pean power, whose natural right to pos- statesmen at different times, and under sess it must always be as good as their varying circumstances, have differed as own—a distant island in another hem to the desirableness of the acquisition isphere, and one which by no ordinary of Cuba by the United States. Terrior peaceful course of things could evertorially and commercially it would, in

belong to either of them. If our hands, be an extremely valuable

the present balance of power possession. Under certain conin Europe should be broken up, if Spain tingencies it might be almost should become unable to maintain the essential to our safety. Still, for doisland in her possession, and France and mestic reasons, on which, in a commuEngland should be engaged in a death nication of this kind, it might not be struggle with each other, Cuba might proper to dwell, the president thinks then be the prize of the victor. Till that the incorporation of the island into these events all take place, the presi- the Union at the present time, although dent does not see how Cuba can belong effected with the consent of Spain, to any European power but Spain. The would be a hazardous measure; and he United States, on the other hand, would, would consider its acquisition by force, by the proposed convention, disable except in a just war with Spain, (should themselves from making an acquisition an event so greatly to be deprecated which might take place without any take place,) as a disgrace to the civilidisturbance of existing foreign relations, zation of the age. and in the natural order of things. The Island of Cuba lies at our doors. It Spain, meantime, has retained of her commands the approach to the Gulf of extensive dominions in this hemisphere, Mexico, which washes the shores of five but the two Islands of Cuba and Porto of our states. It bars the entrance of Rico. A respectful sympathy for the that great river which drains half the fortunes of an ancient ally and a gallant North American continent, and with people, with whom the United States its tributaries forms the largest system have ever maintained the most friendly of internal water communication in the relations, would, if no other reason exworld. It keeps watch at the doorway isted, make it our duty to leave her in of our intercourse with California by the undisturbed possession of this little the Isthmus route. If an island like remnant of her mighty transatlantic Cuba, belonging to the Spanish crown, empire. The president desires to do guarded the entrance of the Thames so; no word or deed of his will ever and the Seine, and the United States question her title, or shake her possesshould propose a convention like this sion. But can it be expected to last to France and England, those powers very long? Can it resist this mighty would assuredly feel that the disability current in the fortunes of the world ? assumed by ourselves was far less seri- Is it desirable that it should do so? ous than that which we asked them to Can it be for the interest of Spain to

The opinions of American cling to a possession that can only be

Assume.

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1852.

maintained by a garrison of twenty- American continent, succeed in renderfive or thirty thousand troops, a power ing themselves independent, in fine, by ful naval force, and an annual expendi- no overruling necessity of self-preseryture for both arms of the service of atation, should the United States ever least $12,000,000? Cuba, at this mo- make the acquisition of Cuba.

ment, costs more to Spain, than For these reasons, which the

the entire naval and military president has thought it advisable, con establishment of the United States costs sidering the importance of the subject, the federal government. So far from to direct me to unfold at some length, being really injured by the loss of this he feels constrained to decline respect island, there is no doubt that, were it fully the invitation of France and Enpeacefully transferred to the United gland to become parties to the proposed States, a prosperous commerce between convention. He is persuaded, that these Cuba and Spain, resulting from ancient friendly powers will not attribute this associations and common language and refusal to any insensibility on his part tastes, would be far more productive to the advantages of the utmost harthan the best contrived system of colo-mony between the great maritime states nial taxation. Such, notoriously, has on a subject of such importance. As been the result to Great Britain of the little will Spain draw any

unfavorable establishment of the independence of inference from this refusal; the rather, the United States. The decline of as the emphatic disclaimer of Spain from the position which she held signs against Cuba on the part of this in the time of Charles V. is coeval with government, contained in the present the foundation of her colonial system; note, affords all the assurance which the while within twenty-five years, and since president can constitutionally, or to any the loss of most of her colonies, she useful purposė, give of a practical con. has entered upon a course of rapid im currence with France and England in provement unknown since the abdica- the wish not to disturb the possession tion of that emperor.

of that island by Spain.”

On Monday, the 6th of December, No administration of this govern- | the second session of the thirty-second ment, however strong in the public con- Congress commenced, and President Fillfidence in other respects, could stand a more's last annual message was sent in on day under the odium of having stipu- the same day. In brief but clearly exlated with the great powers of Europe, pressed terms, the president laid before that in no future time, under no change the two Houses a statement of the conof circumstances, by no amicable ar dition of the country, and gave his rangement with Spain, by no act of views of the principal topics of moment, lawful war, (should that calamity un on which he felt bound to speak. With fortunately occur,) by no consent of the evident propriety, Mr. Fillmore acinhabitants of the island, should they, knowledged, in behalf of our country, like the possessions of Spain on the the blessings of God's providence dur

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