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of Cuba possesses as a territorial acquisition, are, however interesting in themselves, secondary in comparison with the important considerations it presents for the securits and support
our naval ascendency, a commanding influence, the charm of our existence as a nation, which has given to our pigmy territory the arms and power of a giant, suited to the genius of the people, and familiar to the habits of our country, for the maintenance of which we should sacrifice every other influence.
With Florida on one side, and the Island of Cuba on the other, in the possession of hostile and energetic powers, our intercourse with the Gulph of Mexico might be interdicted, and our fag excluded at their caprice, from the abundant marts for our manufactures, dawning upon our commercial enterprise with the infant liberties of South America.
We must not Aatter ourselves with the hope that our pacific relations with the United States of America will have longer continuance than the influence of necessity shall operate to restrain their hostility. The anibition of that nation to become pre-eininent on the ocean, has been nourished by the successes which attended their naval contests in the late war, and they confidently anticipate a series of triumphs with renewed warfare, forgetting, or rather wishing to conceal from themselves, that the circumstances which gave temporary ascendency to their ensign, did not result from their superiority either in tactics or in bravery, but in almost every case they had to contend with inferior force both in ships and men, while the greater part of their own crews were English deserters, impelled to deeds of daring by the recollection that defeat would be attended with certain and ignominious death. I do not, in saying this, wish to detract from the merits of the American sailors, a hardy and intrepid race, but I will not cede one atom of the courage of the British tar, bold as their native rocks, in favor of any nation under heaven. I lament, in common with every admirer of our naval prowess, that a single laurel should have been stripped from our brow's, for the magic influence of success is dispelled by a single reverse.
But whether Spain, in ceding Cuba, could give possession to Great Britain, is, I confess, a matter of speculation. The people of that island have little to complain of the government of Spain; they are not oppressed by taxation, they have a degree of freedom unknown to the generality of Spanish possessions; their ports are open to the commerce of the world, and their produce is preferred to the growth of other western colonies. Under England they would contemplate being subjected to our colonial policy, and to a consequent reduction of trade, and indeed if we do not place Cuba, in the event of acquiring it, under the restrictions which exist in our Islands, we shall be guilty of a partiality that may induce the complaints of the latter.
These menacing evils the people of Cuba have anticipated, for the possibility of such a cession, from the weakness of Spain, and her decreasing influence on the American Continent, has been contemplated by them. The people of the United States, dreading the proximity of our arms, are actively nourishing this apprehension of evil, and are ready to aid the first 'manifestations of a desire to throw off the sovereignty of Spain. But for the intolerable egotism of the people of the Union, and for the contempt they have excited by their vavity and ambition, Cuba would have long since unfettered her dependence upon the Spanish Monarch, and have thrown herself into the federal embrace of the North American Union.
During the presidency of Mr. Jefferson, while Spain bowed beneatli the yoke of France, from which there was then no prospect of relief, the people of Cuba, feeling themselves incompetent in force to maintain their independence, sent a deputation to Washington, proposing the aynexation of the Island to the federative system of North America. The President, however, devoted to French influence, vainly calculating upon the triumphs of that nation on the ruins of the British power, until the important vietory of "Trafalgar dissipated the delusion, declined the proffered acquisition.
While I hazard the opinion that the people of Cubawill be 'adverse to the sovereignty of Great Britain, coupled with the 'restrictions of our colonial policy, I am far from believing that they would feel disinclined to the transfer of their allegiance, provided our possession of the Island should leave them, in their present situation, free to the commerce of the world. Advancing in the scale of conséquence by becoming tributary to the first commercial and maritime nation of Europe,-secure in property' and liberty, under our protection, the Island of Cuba would increase in population and in wealth, with a rapidity unequalled, and would amply repay the British Government for its fostering care and protection, while its rich mountains and fertile plains would present to the redundancy of our population a delightful refuge from the misery of poverty and despair.
It is our bounden duty, it is our imperative policy to anticipate the rivalship of the United States, and by erecting a power capable of contending with them, in their own hemisphere, prevent the destruction of our commerce, which will otherwise inevitably follow our veglect of those precautionary measures, for, in spite of the infatuated indifference which marks our“ policy towards the republic-in spite of the apathy with which we view their rapid progress in wealth and power, hereafter the contest for the empire of the sea will be between England and the North American Union, a warfare suited to the prejudices of their people, and the character of their country.
Our North American Colonies will also derive security from the accession of Cuba by Great Britain. Exposed to our hostility on the southern frontier, and the consequent distraction of their attention to the various assailable points of their extensive territory, the American Union will not be able for many years to come, to detach a sufficient force to subjugate the Canadas; in the meantime the latter will grow in consequence and population equal to their own rotection.
Spain will doubtless reluctantly consent to the alienation of the Island of Cuba from her sovereigoty, but I trust that the Ministers of Great Britain will not permit that nation to withhold from us à possession rendered necessary to the protection of our commerce, by the weakness which has induced her to cede to the demands and menaces of the United States, the important position of the Floridas. If ever there existed a necessity for departing from the ordinary courtesy and delicacy of nations--if ever self-defence justifies coercion, surely the present is the moment; and the apologists for the seizure of the Danish fleet at Copenhagen, cannot want an excuse for this equally necessary violence.
If any example was wanting to prove the degraded power of Spain, the imbecillity of her councils, and the truckling policy of her adoption towards the United States, it would be amply furnished by the recollection, that her Minister was directed to negociate the cession of the Floridas, while the troops of the Union were in hostile possession of Fort St. Marks and the Island of Amelia, while their hands were yet reeking with the rapine of her polluted territory, and red with the blood of our murdered countrymen!!!!
But Spain, in the cession of the Island of Cuba to the British Government, will not merely consult the interest and advantage of this country, she will minister to the security of her yet unalienated territories on the American Continent, by placing the key of the western world in the possession of a power capable of restraining the rapid progress of that ambition with which the United States are fired, a passion far more formidable to Spain than to England. But should her obstinacy refuse, or our mistaken delicacy withhold us from demanding the cession of Cuba, a short time, with the Floridas in possession of the United States, will suffice to place that island out of the power of Spain to cede and ours to acquire.
It is now said that the ratification of the treaty of cession of the Floridas will not receive the Royal signature. The six months appointed for the exchange expired on the 22nd of August; whether
Arbuthnot and Ambriester.
Spain will have the courage to withhold it, remains in the bosom of time; but judging from the example of her conduct towards the United States, when the latter demanded the liberation of Mr. Meade, one of their citizens, confined by the civil authority of Spain for a collusive compromise with one of their officers, we may
doubt of her resolution to refuse it. Coupled however with the suspension of the signature, the return of Don Onis, the negociator, to Spain, at this critical moment, furnishes some pretext for the opinion that it will not be completed; that Ministers, foreseeing the fatal consequences with which the cession was pregnant, had tried every thing that finesse and protraction could effect, hoping that England would rouse from her seeming torpor, and interdict the alienation of the Floridas to the Union.
If, however, Spain shall, at this period of the negociation, assume the language of independence, and hazard the experiment of a refusal, we cannot doubt but that she is animated by the promised support of a formidable alliance. In the mean time the re-opening of Congress in the United States will call for the explanation of the President upon this extraordinary and unexpected delay, the speculators in Florida lands (and they are numerous) will be clamorous for possession.
Influenced as the American Executive are by the tide of popular feeling, it is extremely doubtful whether they will be able io withstand the demands for the subjugation of a territory so highly important to their security and consequence. Nothing less than the fear of being involved with the powers of the European Continent will restrain them from seizing on the Floridas by force of arms. It is true that their financial and commercial difficulties are great and paralysing. Imitating the vices of our system, they have created a factitious capital through the agency of paper circulation. Obliged to return to a more wholesome currency, without the gradual operation of legislative restrictions, and unpossessed, like ourselves, of a proportionate metallic medium, they have felt the influence of the transition more severely than the people of England.
ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE SPEECHES
RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF LIVERPOOL,
AND THE RIGUT HON. THE
CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER;
RATES OF EXCHANGE
THE AMOUNT OF BANK NOTES,
THE PRICE OF GOLD,
THE FOREIGN EXPENDITURE,
AND THE VALUE OF GRAIN IMPORTED
FROM THE YEAR 1793 TO 1819.