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t Senate Miscellaneous Documents, 31st Congress, Ist Session, No. 35.

t Journal of the Senate, 31st Congress, 1st Session, pp. 56, 66, 94.

§ G. B. Marsh to Clayton, April 18, 1850. — Senate Documents, 31st
Congress, 1st Session, Vol. 14.

if Prince Schwarzenberg to Hiilsemann, November 5, 1849. The let-
;er3 of Daniel "Webster, C. H. Van Tyne, pp. 454-456.


agent.* Xo letter was written to Clayton ; but some months
later, when Fillmore was President and Webster Secretary
of State, Hiilsemann carried out his threat, sent an official
protest, t and received the famous reply.! When Webster
wrote that letter Congress was in session, and as news of it
had spread among the members a call was made for the
correspondence which was laid before the Senate, published
in scores of newspapers early in the new year, read with
delight, and contributed not a little to the passage of a
resolution authorizing the President to secure, if possible,
the liberation of Kossuth and his companions and have them
brought to the United States in a national ship.

The President approved the resolution, the consent of
the Sultan was obtained, and on September tenth at the
Dardanelles the late Governor of Hungary with wife, chil-
dren, suite, and quite imexpectedly a party of refugees,
Hungarians, Italians, and Eed Eepublicans, fifty-eight all
told, boarded the Mississippi, which steamed away for lHew
York. At Spezzia Kossuth obtained leave from the com-
mander of the squadron to land at Gibraltar, visit England,
and return to the vessel; but, when it became known that
if he went he could not get back before the middle of 'No-
vember, the decision was reached that he should go to Lon-
don and the Mississippi with his family, suite, and the

* Clayton to Webster, January 12, 1851. The Letters of Daniel
Webster, C. H. Van Tyne, pp. 452-454. "You observe that Hulse-
mann complains of the AnstHan Government's being called an 'iron
rale'; this I treat as a mistake. In fact, it is no mistake at all. In
the original instructions, the phrase does occur; but it was struck out
when the Senate called for copies. This makes it certain that Sehwarzen-
berg has seen, or got a knowledge of, the original instructions.

"Probably Mr. Mann showed them indiscreetly to somebody in Paris,
or else somebody got at his portfolio. When Mr. Jay was Sfinister to
France in 1783, he kept his instruction in a belt round his person under
his linen. He said there was no other way to keep them from being in-
spected by some man or woman." — ^Webster to Fillmore, January 16,
1851. Fillmore MS8., Buffalo Historical Society.

t Webster to Hiilsemann, September 30, 1850.

t Ibid., December 20, 1850. ' ' I have given a good deal of labor to
its preparation, but still am not satisfied with it. I hope you will alter
and amend freely. It is an important occasion and furnishes an oppor-
tunity of exhibiting the temper and spirit in which the foreign relations
are to be carried on tempore Fillmore." — ^Webster to Fillmore, Novem-
ber 18, 1850, Fillmore MS8., Buffalo Historical Society.

148 ENTANGLEMENTS. chap, lxxxviii.

refugees to New York. After a short stay in London Kos-
suth followed his family across the Atlantic, and in Decem-
ber landed at Staten Island in the midst of an intensely
excited people, was addressed by German, Spanish, and
Italian citizens, was given a formal reception by the island-
ers, and made a speech.

On the following day the Mayor and Common Council
of ISTew York, with a host of distinguished citizens, came
down to Staten Island on a steamboat and escorted Kossuth
to the city. The journey was one continuous ovation. Every
3raft was gay with bunting; every steamer shrieked a wel-
3ome; salutes were fired at Bedloe's Island, at Governor's
Island, and at the Navy Yard, where the North Carolina
rode at anchor with every yard manned. As Kossuth came
in sight of Castle Garden cheer on cheer of welcome rose
from the hundred thousand people massed on the Battery
ind Bowling Green. When he entered the Garden the
irowd that packed it to the doors went wild with excite-
ment. Again and again the Mayor begged for quiet that
36 might deliver the address of welcome; but the shouting
continued for fifteen minutes. Sheer exhaustion at last
Drought quiet; but, when the Mayor had finished and Kos-
iuth rose to reply, the cheering broke forth anew. The
people would not stop. Entreaties were of no avail, and,
jnable to make himself heard, his speech, reduced to writ-
ng, was given by his secretary to the reporters. He came
lot, he said, in search of rest, nor to gather personal tri-
imphs, nor to be the object of popular shows. He came a
lumble petitioner for aid, and would respect the laws; but
vithin the laws he would use every honest endeavor to gain
:he sympathy, the financial, moral, and political aid of the
people. What could be opposed to the recognition of Hun-
garian independence ? The frowns of Hiilsemann ? The
mger of Erancis Joseph ? The dangers with which some
European newspapers threatened the United States if he
vere received and treated in his official capacity ? He hoped
he sovereigns of the United States, the People, would de-
nand that the independence of Hungary be formally recog-
lized, The speech at Castle Garden, the salute from the


forts, the passage in the President's message in which Kos-
suth was called Governor, the debate in Congress on the
resolution tendering him a reception, called out another pro-
test from Hiilsemann. He complained that a year after the
rebellion in Hungary had been put down, and at the very
moment when she was beginning to recover from her mis-
fortunes, Kossuth was offered another chance to ruin his
country. The Charge was willing to believe that the Presi-
dent did not approve of Kossuth's crusade against all the
sovereigns of Europe ; he flattered himself that the military
honors would not be continued; nevertheless, he attached
great importance to these demonstrations, and asked to be
informed whether they would be continued now that he had
declared he looked on them as proof that Kossuth's projects
against Austria were approved by the Government of the
United States.*

From the Garden Kossuth was escorted to the Battery,
where he reviewed the militia, and then in a carriage was
drawn up Broadway past shops and houses gay with flags,
banners, and inscriptions expressing welcome to him and
sympathy for Hungary; past windows and stoops crowded
with citizens, and between lines of struggling men and
women whose roar of cheers sounded, says one who heard
them, " like waves on the shore " of the ocean. That night
there was a visit from a committee of Philadelphians who
came to invite him to their city, a torch light procession in
which were carried banners with inscriptions expressing a
hope that the United States would intervene in the political
affairs of Europe, and that her future would atone for her

To the Philadelphians Kossuth replied that he could
not then say when he would go, nor, indeed, if he would go
at all, for he was deeply disappointed by the action of Con-
gress. Had its proceedings occurred before he left Europe
he would have hesitated to come. He must, therefore, wait
a day or two before deciding what course to pursue.

His complaint referred to a debate then going on in the

* Hiilsemann to Webster, December 13, 1850. The Letters of Daniel
Webster, C. H. V^n Tyne, pp. 493-494,

150 ENTANGLEMENTS. chap, lxxxviii.

Senate. Fillmore in his annual message had asked Congress
" to consider in what manner Governor Kossuth and his
companions brought hither by its authority " should be re-
ceived and treated. Foote promptly introduced a resolution
of welcome, and when he withdrew it Seward offered another
of the same kind, and this was under discussion, both in
the Senate and in the press, when Kossuth arrived. One
journal in Baltimore hoped the great Magyar would be hon-
ored for his talents and his services, and would rejoice to
see him welcomed; but objected to any official reception,
any demonstration by either the President, the Cabinet, or
by Congress, and hoped the resolution would be withdrawn.*
We will give him an enthusiastic reception, said a New
York journal, a generous entertainment, a permanent home,
or, if he leaves us to sound the resurrection trump of Hun-
garian freedom, we will give our good wishes and our pray-
ers. But we will not give up to him our peace, prosperity,
and successful progress. We will not leave our own to stand
on foreign ground, f By this time his speeches had been
read in Washington, and some objection was made to his
reception by Congress unless he was given distinctly to un-
derstand that the United States would not depart from its
long-settled policy of non-intervention.

Meantime delegations of all sorts came with addresses
of welcome and invitations to banquets. Committees of citi-
zens from New Haven, Hartford, Jersey City, Newark,
Trenton, Baltimore, and from the Democratic young men
of New York; the G-overnors of the Alms House, the Board
of Education, a deputation from the Brotherhood of the
Union, a tradesmen's society, and Fillmore's son paid their
respects. The New^ York Bar invited him to a banquet;
so did the New York editors. Addresses were made by a
delegation from the anti-slavery society, by the European
Democrats as they styled themselves, a body of French, Ger-
mans, Austrians, and Italians; by the Cuban exiles, by the
students of Yale, by the faculty and alumni of Columbia,
by the negroes, by the Presbytery of Brooklyn, and by a

* Baltimore Clipper.

■f Journal of Commerce, December 6, 1851.


deputation of citizens of that city, to whose invitation he
replied, " If you had offered me something else than hos-
pitality, something that would benefit my country, I would
s^y, yes. But I have no time to accept hospitalities. I came
not to enjoy them, but to benefit the cause of my country."

At the dinner given in his honor by the Corporation of
New York City Kossuth spoke for three hours, stated his
wishes fully, protested against non-intervention in the af-
fairs of European nations, and ended by making four re-
quests: that the independence of Hungary be recognized;
that the intervention of Eussia be declared a violation of the
law of nations, that an alliance be formed with Great Brit-
ain to prevent such intervention in the future, and that
money in the form of a loan or gifts be furnished to aid
the revolution of 1852. This appeal for money met a ready
response. At the reception given him by the First Division
of the New York State Militia a committee was appointed
t© solicit subscriptions. His speech at Plymouth Church,
to hear which cost five dollars, brought him twelve thou-
sand dollars; and a benefit performance at Niblo's Garden
and a women's reception at Tripler Hall a few thousands
more. The Whig General Committee presented him with a
thousand dollars, the workmen at the Hoe Press Factory
raised four hundred dollars, those at another factory two
hundred and fifty, the poor needlewomen sent their mite,
and a hardware dealer promised to give to the Hungarian
fund five per cent, of his sales for a week, and an enter-
prising hatter designed and put on the market a Kossuth

From ISTew York Kossuth went to Philadelphia and
spoke in Independence Hall, anjd to a crowd in the State
House Yard, but said not a word about intervention. At
Baltimore there was a national salute, a parade of troops
and associations, and a public reception at which Kossuth
asked for the approval of some resolutions recently adopted
at Harrisburg. They were that Russia's' intervention in
the affairs of Hungary was an infraction of the laws of
nations, that if repeated it would not be regarded with in-
difference by the people of the United. States, and that the

152 ENTANGLEMENTS. chap, lxxxviii.

people ought to declare their opinions in respect to Hun-
garian independence and urge the government to act ac-

Erom Baltimore Kossuth went to Washington, where he
svas received by the President, the Senate, and the House,
was honored by a Congressional dinner, and met Clay.
■' May I take it as an augury of better times," said he to
ihe President, " that I am in a free and powerful country
whose Chief Magistrate proclaims to the world that his
country cannot remain indifferent when the strong arm of
3. foreign power is invoked to stifle public sentiment and
repress the spirit of freedom in any country ? " " The
A.merican people," Fillmore replied, " can never be indiffer-
ent to such a contest, but our policy as a nation in this
respect has been uniform from the beginning of our gov-
ernment, and my own views as the Chief Magistrate are
fully and freely expressed in my recent message to Con-
gress." The meeting with Clay was in his sick room. He
aad tendered his resignation to take effect in September,
md it was as a dying man that Kossuth beheld him. " As
1 dying man," said he, " I oppose your doctrine of inter-
t^ention. Sir, the recent submission of republican govern-
uent in France, and that enlightened nation voluntarily
alacing its neck under the yoke of despotism, teaches us
:o despair of any present success for liberal institutions in
Europe." Far better was it for us, for Hungary, and for
:he cause of liberty to hold to our pacific system, and, avoid-
ing the distant wars of Europe, " keep our lamp burning
jrightly on this Western shore, as a light to all nations,
;han to hazard its utter extinction amid the ruins of fallen
md falling republics in Europe."

At the Congressional dinner Webster, at the close of his
speech, gave as a toast " Hungarian independence, Hungar-
an control of her own destinies, and Hungary as a distinct
lationality among the nations of Europe." When Hiilse-
uann read the speech and toast of the Secretary of State
lis anger knew no bounds, and, o'erstepping diplomatic

* National Intelligencer, December 30, 1851.


usage, he wrote to the President, complained of Webster's
speech, charged him with hostility to Austria, and asked to
be informed whether the President did or did not approve
the conduct of the Secretary. If approved, then were the
diplomatic functions of the Austrian Charge to be consid-
ered as suspended.* An interview with Fillmore followed,
and later in April Hiilsemann officially withdrew and left
our country.

The Harrisburg reception outdid in noise, excitement,
and disorder that at Castle Grarden. While at Pittsburg,
in response to an invitation to visit Cleveland, he com-
plained bitterly of the small amount of money raised for
Hungary. Thus appealed to, his admirers made haste to
purchase what were called Hungarian Loan Certificates,!
or promises to pay the bearer, on demand, one, five, ten,
twenty-five, or fifty dollars, as might be, one year after the
actual establishment of the independent Hungarian Govern-
ment. Pittsburg donated some six thousand dollars, part
of which was contributed by the workmen in the factories,
each of whom gave a week's wages. Ere Cleveland was
reached seventeen hundred dollars was collected. While
there a committee from Cincinnati invited him to visit their
city. To them he said, " I decline in the most solemn way
every procession, illumination, banquet, and costly enter-
tainment. Allow me to provide for my own lodgings and
board. Whatever you have resolved to bestow on these ob-
jects, let it be given to the Hungarian fund." At Columbus
he addressed the " State Association of the Friends of Hun-
gary," and received five dollars from each member of the
legislature. At Hamilton he was offered five hundred mus-
kets belonging to the county. The Cincinnati committee had

* ' ' Mr. Webster a declard hier publiquement en presence du Presi-
dent du Senat, du Speaker du House of Eepresentatives, et de I'auteur
des ealamitfis de la Hongroie, qu 'il ferait des voeux ardenta pour
1 'emancipation la plus prompte et la plus absolue de ce Royaume. "
» » » << L'hostilite de Mr. Webster a I'egard de men Gouvernement
ne date pas d'hier. " — Hulsemann to Fillmore, January 8, 1852; Van
Tyne's Letters of Daniel Webster, pp. 496-497.

t These Loan Certificates were advertised for sale in the Cleveland
Plain Dealer, February 11, 1852, and the text of one was published in
the National Intelligencer, May 7, 1852.

L54 ENTANGLEMENTS. chap. Lxxxvni.'

mdertaken to raise twenty-five thousand dollars; but, after
ifteen days of effort, were able to give him but seven thou-
sand. The people could not reconcile his retinue of twenty-
:wo followers, family, friends, secretaries, servants, guards,
md liveried attendants to keep the crowd at a distance, with
;heir ideas of what should be the simple life of an exiled
■epublican. The Aldermen of Louisville four times rejected
;he invitation to Kossuth passed by the other branch of the
iity government. Nevertheless he went, but caused no pub-
ic interest. 'Ro crowd gathered about the hotel, no societies,
issoeiations, clergymen, or press agents called on him, and,
lave at the court house, no speech was made. Concerts, sub-
scriptions, and admissions to hear his address to the Ger-
nans, whom he urged to use the ballot to force the govern-
nent to action in behalf of Hungary, yielded some fifteen
lundred dollars. The journey to St. Louis was made by
iteamboat, and at that city seven hundred dollars, the pro-
;eeds of the sale of Hungarian bonds, was given him. At
Fackson, Mississippi, the legislature received him with little
snthusiasm, and the people contributed nothing. Nor did
le fare any better at ISTew Orleans. The public pulse, said
I journal of that city, has not been in the least disturbed.
There have been no useless parad-es, no sickening attempt
obtain notoriety by hanging on the skirts of Kossuth.*
from New Orleans he hurried by way of Montgomery and
lugusta to Charleston, where he took a steamboat to Wil-
nington and went thence to Washington.

No public receptions, no welcome, no demonstration met
lim along the way. Indeed, the legislatures of Alabama and
Tcorgia had declared against it. The speeches and acts of
)ublic men and the conduct of the people, said the Alabama
esolutions, lead to the belief that a, spirit of interference
n the political affairs of Europe prevails to so great an
ixtent that for want of calm reflection we may be involved
n the political troubles of nations far removed from us.
)ur true policy was to be in peace friends, in war enemies,
nd have entangling alliances with none.f The policy of

* New Orleans Bulletin.

t Senate, Miscellaneous Documents, 32d Congress, 1st Session, No. 18.


the United States, said Georgia, is friendly relations with
all nations, entangling alliances with none. Our mission is
not to propagate our opinions, not to impose our form of
government on other nations by force, but by example. We
sympathize with the oppressed. We tender them a home.
But never will we join with the ambitious in a crusade
against other nations, whatever their domestic policy. Why,
by interweaving our destiny with any part of Europe, en-
tangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European
ambition, rivalries, interests, humor, or caprice ? * ISTorth-
ern legislatures, on the other hand, endorsed his views.
Maine invited him to visit Augusta, tendered him assurances
of sympathy, and asked Congress to exert its influence in
some wise manner to prevent any further intervention by
Eussia.f Vermont bade him welcome to "Our Green Moun-
tain State," as " a patriot and statesman worthy of a home
in the land of the free." ^ Ehode Island invited him to
visit Providence as the guest of the State, and appointed a
joint committee to welcome " the undaunted champion of
national freedom." New Jersey extended the hospital-
ity of the State, sympathized with him and his coimtry-
men, lamented that their glorious struggle was made un-
successful by the intervention of Russia; asserted the right
of every people to alter, modify, or abolish its form of gov-
ernment; declared intervention by any other nation to de-
stroy this right was a violation of the law of nations, and
asked that our representatives abroad announce this fact
to the governments of the old world. § Delaware asked that
Congress assert the right of a nation to manage its own in-
ternal affairs as it pleased. She had not seen, and thought
the Federal Government ought not again to behold, without
deep concern, the violation of this principle of national in-
dependence by Eussia.1[ Massachusetts regarded the Hun-
garian revolution as a proper political movement and

* Senate, Miscellaneous Documents, 32d Congress, 1st Session, No. 48.
t Ibid., Document No.. 25.

t Laws of Vermont, 1851, Eesolution No. 79, November 19, 1851.
§ Senate Miscellaneous Documents, 32d Congress, 1st Session, No. 26.
If House, Miscellaneous Documents, 32d Congress, 1st Session, No. 34.

156 ENTANGLEMENTS. chap, lxxxviii.

Russian intervention as a violation of the law of nations.
Kossuth, for the part he bore in the struggle, was entitled
to the respect of all lovers of freedom. The Czar, by giving
up to judicial butchery the Hungarian patriots who sur-
rendered to his armies, was guilty of an infamous act which
sank him below the Emperor of Austria, by whom they
svere put to death.*

Kossuth's return to Washington called forth no public
demonstration, nor did he meet with any on his journey
northward till Burlington was reached. At Trenton the en-
thusiasm which ran high in Decemljsr had so gone down that
the reception was cool. Atc^ewa^jhe was in a city with
1 large German population, and was met by a great crowd
it the railroad station, honored by a parade in which the
militia, the Mayor, the clergy, the firemen, and the city as-
sociations took part, and was given a small sum of money.
No stop was made in New York, for he was hurried on to
New Haven, where, as at Springfield and Worcester, the
3nthusiasm was great. Boston with its large foreign-born
Dopulation gave him a hearty reception, bought twenty-seven
;housand dollars' worth of bonds, and entertained him with
visits to Concord, Lexington, and Plymouth. Those who
leard him speak in Faneuil Hall paid two dollars or one
Hungarian bond for admission. At Boston Kossuth turned
westward, visited Albany, Niagara, and Buffalo, where
;wenty thousand people heard him speak. There the west-
!rn trip ended, and passing through Utica, Syracuse, Eome,
ilbany, and Troy, gathering small sums of money at each,
le returned to New York, took up his abode in a private
)oarding house, and began to meddle in politics. In a speech
lelivered at a meeting of Germans he called on them in the
lame of humanity, in the name of eternal rights, the future
md their own interests to do all in their power to move the
Jnited States to abandon its policy of non-intervention,
rhey had the power to do it, and, having the power, had
;he right, and were in duty bound to do it. Isolation was
weakness. In community was strength. At the end of the

* House Document, No. 61.


address a resolution was adopted that the Germans would
support that party which upheld the doctrine of interven-

He next wrote a secret circular and sent it to German
clubs and societies over all the country. German citizens
of America, said he, will have the casting vote at the next
election of President, and can decide the foreign policy of
the new administration, and with it the triumph or fall of
liberty in Europe. The place of America as a world power,
the liberty of Europe, of Germany, Italy, Hungary, depends
on them. He suggested, therefore, that meetings of Ger-
mans be called in the chief cities and in all toAvns where
they dwelt, to decide which party they should support in the
coming Presidential election, and that at such gatherings
committees of well-known men be appointed to propose reso-
lutions stating that the German citizens approved Kossuth's
!N'ew York speech, demanded the repeal of the neutrality
act of 1818, and asked him not to leave the country till he
told them which party to support.

It was then late in June. In July it was announced that
on the third Saturday of the month he would sail on the
Washington for England. This was a ruse, for on the pre-
ceding Wednesday at the last hour, in the most private
manner, without the knowledge of the Cunard Company, he

Online LibraryJohn Bach McMasterA history of the people of the United States : from the Revolution to the Civil War → online text (page 15 of 55)