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In reply to this, it may be said that it would be death to the Northern slaves to be transported to a warmer climate, and to be there subjected to unceasing labor. If such is likely to be the case, then we should utterly deprecate the annexation of Cuba as a slave State. Indeed, we doubt whether any considerations whatever could justify her admission to the Union except on the basis of freedom and equality of political rights for all her inhabitants. Yet we cannot but hope that, sooner or later, the island will be offered to us on such conditions as we can conscientiously accept.
But why should we want Cuba? First of all, because Cuba needs a better government, because she would be intrinsically of more value, and her people would be vastly more happy, under republican institutions. It would be an office of philanthropy to receive her. But, in addition to this, it may be said that our country will derive much direct benefit from improved modes of culture and manufacture on the Cuban plantations, and from the reduction of duties on their products. The inevitable result would be a great reduction in the price of sugars throughout the country; for an export duty is imposed by the Spanish government, and a protection is granted in the United States for the culture and manufacture of sugar in Louisiana, where the cane must be planted once in three years, (instead of once in ten or twenty years, as in Cuba,) and never fully ripens on account of frost.
In a commercial point of view, Cuba would be exceedingly important to whatever country may hold possession of her, but far more so to us than she could be to any other nation, for she could easily blockade all the ports of the Gulf of Mexico, and cut off our vessels on the route to the Isthmus. The Cuban coast is less than a hundred miles from Yucatan, and but little more than a hundred from Florida, and stretches far eastward into the ocean. Cuba can be brought into direct telegraphic communication with every portion of the United States, and, by means of railroads and steamboats, within three or four days' journey from Washington. The distance between Cape Sable in Florida and Jaruco in Cuba can readily be spanned by telegraph wires when there shall be occasion for it, and already the government of Spain are
establishing a thousand miles of telegraph upon the island, a portion of it being now in operation.
It is well known that about two years ago England and France proposed a convention with the United States relative to Cuba. Our government was solicited to acquiesce in the following article : —
"The high contracting parties hereby severally and collectively disclaim, now and hereafter, all intention to obtain possession of the isl and of Cuba, and they respectively bind themselves to discountenance all attempts to that effect on the part of any power or individuals whatever. The high contracting parties declare severally and collectively, that they will not obtain or maintain for themselves, or for any one of themselves, any exclusive control over said island, nor assume nor exercise any dominion over the same."
In the admirable reply from the Department of State at Washington, Mr. Everett takes the position that the United States cannot come to equal terms with France and England respecting Cuba.
66 The President," he says, "does not covet the acquisition of Cuba for the United States; at the same time, he considers the condition of Cuba mainly as an American question. The proposed convention proceeds on a different principle. It assumes that the United States have no other or greater interest in the question than France or England; whereas it is necessary only to cast one's eye on the map to see how remote are the relations of Europe, and how intimate are those of the United States, with this island.
"The United States feel no uneasiness at the acquisitions that England and France have already made; but the transfer of Cuba to either of these powers would be a different thing. We should view it in somewhat the same light in which France and England would view the acquisition of some important island in the Mediterranean by the United States; with this difference, it is true, that the attempt of the United States to establish themselves in Europe would be a novelty, while the appearance of a European power in this part of the world is a familiar fact. But this difference in the two cases is merely historical, and would not diminish the anxiety which, on political grounds, would be caused by any great demonstration of European power in a new direction in America."
The objections to the convention were,
1. That it would not be viewed with favor by the Senate,
and its rejection by that body would leave the question of Cuba in a more unsettled position than before.
2. It may be doubted whether the Constitution of the United States would allow the treaty-making power to im. pose a permanent disability on the American government for all coming time, and prevent it under any circumstances from doing what has been so often done in times past. Louisiana and Florida have been purchased. May not circumstances at some future period favor and justify the purchase of Cuba? 3. It has been the policy of our government to avoid entangling alliances with European powers.
4. The island of Cuba is remote from Europe, but lies at our doors. It is in a position to control our commerce. If it guarded the entrance of the Thames or the Seine, instead of the Mississippi, and we should propose a convention like this to France and England, those powers would assuredly feel that the disability assumed by ourselves was far less serious than that which we asked them to assume.
This document from the Secretary of State represents the vast increase of the territory of the United States, and the inevitable continuance of that increase, and adds:
"Little less than half a million of the population of the Old World is annually pouring into the United States, to be incorporated into an industrious and prosperous community, in the bosom of which they find political and religious liberty, social position, employment, and bread. It is a fact that would defy belief, were it not the result of official inquiry, that the immigrants to the United States from Ireland alone, besides having subsisted themselves, have sent back to their kindred, for the last three years, nearly five millions of dollars annually. Such is the territorial development of the United States in the past century. Is it possible that Europe can contemplate it with an unfriendly or jealous eye? What would have been her condition in these trying years, but for the outlet we have furnished for her starving millions?"
Mr. Everett argues that, as Great Britain has been benefited by the prosperous commerce that has resulted from the establishment of the independence of the United States, by the home that has been provided for the multitudes she could not or would not support, and the remittances her subjects have received from them, so Spain, far from being injured by the
loss of this island, would, by peacefully transferring it to the United States, derive more profit from the free commerce that would spring up with her, favored above all other nations by ancient associations and common language and tastes, than from the best contrived system of colonial taxation.
Cuba commands the sympathies of every friend of freedom. Shall she not be liberated from the despotic power of Spain? When liberated, can she comfortably remain independent, with hungry John Bull on one side, and greedy Jonathan on the other? Either country would propose a connection to the island far more advantageous for it than solitary independence. Surely we can afford to outbid England; for even if we do not want it ourselves, we cannot permit it to go into the possession of any other powerful nation.
We watch with interest, not to say jealousy, every new development relating to this island, and trust that the time will be hastened when, if not ours, it shall become, by the introduction of such liberal institutions of government, of learning, and of religion as we enjoy, what Nature seems to have designed it to be, the Queen of the Antilles and the garden of the world.
ART. VII. Thesaurus of English Words, so classified and arranged as to facilitate the Expression of Ideas and assist in Literary Composition. By PETER MARK ROGET, late Secretary of the Royal Society, Author of the Bridgewater Treatise on Animal and Vegetable Physiology, &c. Revised and edited, with a List of Foreign Words, defined in English, and other Additions. By BARNAS SEARS, D.D., Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education. Boston: Gould & Lincoln. 12mo. pp. 468.
WE Congratulate that large, respectable, inexpressive, and unexpressed class of thinkers, who are continually complaining of the barrenness of their vocabulary as compared with the affluence of their ideas, on the appearance of Dr. Roget's
volume. If it does nothing else, it will bring a popular theory of verbal expression to the test; and if that theory be correct, we count upon witnessing a mob of mute Miltons and Bacons, and speechless Chathams and Burkes, crowding and tramping into print. Dr. Roget, for a moderate fee, prescribes the verbal medicine which will relieve the congestion of their thoughts. All the tools and implements employed by all the poets and philosophers of England can be obtained at his shop. The idea being given, he guarantees in every case to supply the word. Dr. Sears, the American editor, has, it is true, deemed it his duty to retrench the exuberance of the original in the phraseology of slang, and has thus made it a useless book to a numerous and constantly increasing class of beaux-esprits, whose conceptions and passions would find no adequate vent in any dialect milder and cleanlier than that which derives its force and flavor from Billingsgate and Wapping; but for all ordinary purposes, either of copiousness or condensation, of elegance or energy, Dr. Roget's volume, as weeded by Dr. Sears, will be found to be amply sufficient. Indeed, if the apt use of words be a mechanical exercise, we cannot doubt that this immense mass of the raw material of expression will be rapidly manufactured into history, philosophy, poetry, and eloquence.
Seriously, we consider this book as one of the best of a numerous class, whose aim is to secure the results without imposing the tasks of labor, to arrive at ends by a dexterous dodging of means, to accelerate the tongue without accelerating the faculties. It is an outside remedy for an inward defect. In our opinion, the work mistakes the whole process by which living thought makes its way into living words, and it might be thoroughly mastered without conveying any real power or facility of expression. In saying this, we do not mean that the knack of mechanical rhetoric may not be more readily caught, and that fluency in the use of words may not be increased, by its study. But rhetoric is not a knack, and fluency is not expression. The crop of ready writers, of correct writers, of elegant writers, of writers capable of using words in every mode but the right one, is already sufficiently large to meet the current demand for intellectual husk, chaff,