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fugitive slaves, I have little hope left that these guarantees, indispensably necessary to our safety, will be yielded by a majority flushed with recent victories and encouraged by apparent divisions among ourselves. Yet, to leave no effort at conciliation untried, and still farther to unite with us those of our own people who still look for a returning sense of justice in the North, let the propositions be distinctly made to the people of the nonslaveholding states to remedy the wrong so far as it may be in the power of Congress to do so, by obtaining from California concessions south of 36° 30' or otherwise, and to consent to such amendments of the federal Constitution as shall hereafter amply secure the rights of the slaveholding states from misconstruction and from farther aggression.
“But, in the event of refusal, I do not hesitate to express my decided opinion that the only effectual remedy to evils which must continue to grow from year to year is to be found in the prompt and peaceable secession of the aggrieved states.
“The probability of the ultimate necessity of a resort to this effective and unquestionable right of sovereign states should be kept in view, whatever measures ma be adopted by this state, either alone or in concert wit her sister states, to remedy existing evils. In the mean time, and as early as practicable, it is of the highest importance that some common centre of opinion and action should be authoritatively established. This may be effected by the conventions of the several assenting states providing for the organization and subsequent frequent periodical appointment or election of a committee of safety for each state, to consist of a number equal to their senators and representative in Congress. These committees, whose duty it should be periodically to assemble at some central point for the transaction of business, should be invested with adequate powers, absolute or contingent, to act for their respective states upon all questions connected with the preservation and protection of their domestic institutions, and their equal rights as sovereign states. Such a body of men, even if clothed with the authority of but two or three states, would command respect, and secure quiet and peaceable results to their determinations.
“I have thus ventured to present, some suggestions, for which I am alone responsible. They may be modified or changed by the result of the Nashville Convention now in session, and the action of the Georgia Convention, which will shortly meet for the purpose of taking the same important question into consideration.
“Under our system of government, happily the right and privilege of determining these grave and momentous questions, involving the honor and safety of the state and the happiness and prosperity of all its citizens, whether rich or poor, slaveholder or non-slaveholder, belongs alone to the people. To them the appeal must be made, and their deliberate voice must control and direct the destiny of the state. I therefore respectfully recommend to the Legislature to provide for an expression of the will of the people by the call of a convention at an early day. In this there will be safety. When the sovereign power shall have spoken, all good citizens, whatever may be their opinions, will acquiesce. All will vie with one another in patriotic zeal to maintain the dignity and authority of the state. Mississippi will then be united, and harmonious counsels, and wise, energetic action will sceuro her safety.
“The very important and vital character of the questions which are forcéd upon our consideration has led mo to look solely to remedics not merely palliative, but effectual and permanent. There may be some temporary remedial measures within the power of the Legislature. If such can be devised, it will give me great pleasure to co-operate with you in their application.”
This Legislature indorsed and reaffirmed the resolutions of the convention of October, 1849, and directed the publication of 75,000 copies of its proceedings. It elected twelve delegates to the Nashville Convention. It denounced the course of President Taylor in respect to California, and declared that its admission ought to bo resisted—the mode of resistance and of redress was referred to the Southern Convention; and it pledged the state to sustain the measures of redress which that body should recommend. It promulgated an address to the people setting forth the perils that menaced our institutions, and inviting them to vigilance and action; and it passed resolutions of censure on Senator Foote, and of approval of the course pursued by the other senator and representatives of the state, and it provided by law for a convention of the people of the State of Mississippi to consider the state of public affairs. Such was, apparently, the public sentiment at that period. The people of Mississippi seemed almost unanimous in their opposition to the measures of the administration, and determined to defend their equality in the Union, or to retire from it by peaceable secession. Had the issue been pressed at the moment when the excitement was at its highest point, an isolated and very serious movement might have occurred, which South Carolina, without doubt, would have promptly responded to. But the majority wisely preferred the co-operation principle, and the Legislature, as we have seen, referred the whole matter to the convention at Nashville.
Cuba.—General Lopez.-Interview with Mr. Calhoun.—Visits Governor Quitman,—His personal Appearance.—Proposals rejected.— Quitman's Reason therefor.—Fillmore's Proclamation.—Its illegal Character.—Indictment and threatened Arrest of Quitman.—Letter from IIon. Jacob Thompson.—Letters to the United States District Attorney.—Letter from General IIcnderson.—Governor Quitman resigns.—l’atriotism of the Ladics.—Arrested.—Appears in Court in New Orleans.—Is discharged.—Reception by the People. —Legal View of the Casc. — Original Letters from La Fayette, Adams, Webster, and Clay.—Lopez sails for Cuba.-Failure of the Expedition, and the Cause.—IIis Capture and Death.—Capture of Crittenden and Party.—Their Execution.—Atrocities in Havana. —Death to the Americans.—Future Retribution.—The Proclamation and General Concha. —The Liberators vindicatcd.— Grcat Dritain and France.—I’ower of Republics.—Our proper Policy.
WIIILE these important matters were transpiring, an event occurred that, for a time, concentrated public attention in another quarter. In 1849, General Narcisso Lopez, a native of Venezuela, a veteran soldier of Spain, and long domiciliated in Cuba, visited the United States. On his arrival at Washington Mr. Calhoun called on him, and repeated his visit the next day. Soon afterward General Lopez had another interview with Mr. Calhoun and four distinguished senators in a committee-room of the Capitol. He submitted to them in detail the condition of the island. The people are allowed no share in the administration of affairs even by the expression of opinion; there is no freedom of speech, of the press, or of occupation. From a population of little more than a million, including the slaves, Spain exacts annually, by an arbitrary system of taxation, and every sort of vexatious excise, a tribute of 24,000,000 of dollars. It cmploys 20,000 regulars, besides a formidable marine, and a legion of spies and stipendiaries, to watch the movements of individuals and keep the people in subjection. . No trade or business can be pursued without first paying for a license; no guest be received, no company entertained, no festival in any private residence, and no removal from one domicil to another, without a formal permission. The productions of the plantation are taxed, most of them ten per cent. on their value; tithes are exacted to the amount of more than a quarter of a million of dollars, yet the inhabitants are obliged to support their places of worship and cemeteries by private subscription. No native is allowed to hold any of. fice, civil, judicial, military, or ccclesiastical; every place of honor, trust, or profit is consided to Spaniards. Cuba has no representative in the Spanish Cortes. She is literally governed by the sword. The captain general is absolute as the Sultan of Turkey, and promulgates any law or regulation which his caprice may dictate. Under his rule the slave-trade—which the British government and his own maintain a mixed commission, and our government and Great Britain, at vast expense, keep squadrons on the coast of Africa, to prevent—is actively carried on; negroes are surreptitiously admitted in great numbers, not to contribute to the prosperity of the Cubans, but because a heavy douceur is paid to the authorities for their admission, and these negroes, and their threatened emancipation, are relied on by the government to intimidate the citizens. The captain general at that period was General Concha, a field-marshal of Spain, and a thorough absolutist in his political opinions. He had a consultative junta, the members of which were named by himself, and were the