John Bach McMaster.

A history of the people of the United States : from the Revolution to the Civil War online

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Seward clique, f The conservative sentiment in the coun-
try has repudiated and abjured forever that sectional party
of vrhich Seward is the special representative.:}: The best
canvasser that Pierce had, said a German newspaper, was
without doubt Scott. Long may he live to hear " the rich
Irish brogue " and " the sweet German accent." § Clamor
against nativism and a bugbear outcry against abolitionists
have been the main causes for our defeat. But filibusterism,
a passion for the conquest and annexation of Cuba, and the
indifference of business men, prosperous and contented, to
'politics, have been potent factors. || Scott is not so much
defeated as routed. The invincible soldier has met his
Waterloo. The manner of his noniination and his failure to
conciliate the foreign-born and the native voters caused his
defeat. f The people are tired of the feeble, amicable neu-
trality of the present administration, and call for something
positive, something that will uphold and advance the honor,
dignity, and power of this great country among the nations
of the earth.** There was much truth in this statement.
That Pierce would adopt a vigorous foreign policy was fully
expected. All gains of territory, said one of his party jour-
nals, have been made under Democratic rule. We now have ',
once more a Democratic government, and may we not hope
a further expansion of commerce and prosperity, a further
increase in territory ? ff In Wew York the great Democratic

* New York Herald, November 4, 5, 1852.
t Journal of Commerce, November 3, 1852.
t National Intelligencer, November 10, 1852.
§ Staats Zeitung, November 4, 1852.
II New York Tribune, November 3, 1852.
U New York Express, November 3, 1852.
** National Intelligencer, November 16, 1852.
ft National Democrat, November 3, 1852.


victory was celebrated with bonfires, an illumination, and a
night parade. On one of the transparencies were the words
" The Acquisition of Cuba by Purchase." * At the Demo-
cratic festival at Albany one of the toasts was " Cuba and
the Sandwich Isles — may they soon be added to the galaxy
of States." Another was " The Fruits of the late Demo-
cratic victory — Pierce and Cuba." Another "May the
Queen of the Antilles be added to our glorious Confederacy
under the prosperous administration of Pierce." And still
another " The Lone Star — Nightly it beams and beckons
onward." f

To these demands for expansion and a vigorous policy
toward foreign nations, Pierce, in his inaugural, replied that
he would " not be controlled by any timid forebodings of evil
from expansion " ; that our position on the globe made " the
acquisition of certain possessions not within our jurisdiction
eminently important " ; that " the rights, security and repose
of this Confederacy reject the idea of interference or coloni-
zation on this side of the ocean by any foreign power beyond
present jurisdiction, as utterly inadmissible." Ifor were
national rights alone to be protected.

Those of the citizen abroad must be just as sacredly
upheld. He must feel, however far from home he
might wander, that the agent left behind in the chair of
state would see to it that no rude hand of power or tyran-
nical passion was laid on him with impunity. He must know
that on every sea and on every land where he could right-
fully claim the protection of the flag American citizenship
was an inviolable panoply for the protection of American
rights. The sincerity of the President was soon put to the

A native of Hungary named Marten Koszta had taken
arms against Austria in 1848, had fled to Turkey when all
was lost, and, in 1850, like hundreds of his countrymen,
had found a refuge from oppression in our land. In due
time Koszta declared his intentions to become a citizen of
the United States; but before the necessary term of resi-

* The Republic, November 17, 1852,
t Ibid., November 30, 1852.

182 THE PASSING OF THE WHIGS, chap, lxxxix.

denee expired he went once more to Turkey on business.
At Smyrna the Austrian Consul General sought his arrest,
and when the Turkish governor would not consent had him
kidnapped and taken on board the Iluzzar, an Austrian
brig-of-war. There he was at once put in irons. Our con-
sul at Smyrna and our legation at Constantinople protested
vigorously and demanded his release, and might have con-
tinued to do so without effect had not Commander Ingra-
ham, in the ship of war St. Louis, entered the harbor of
Smyrna in the nick of time. Ingraham investigated the
arrest, decided that Koszta was entitled to protection, de-
manded his release, and brought guns of the St. Louis to
bear on the Huzzar. A compromise followed. Koszta was
turned over to the care of the French consul to be held till
the two governments concerned should agree on his fate.
Austria then protested to the courts of Europe against the
conduct of Ingraham, and bade Hiilsemann ask our govern-
ment to put no obstacles in the way of Koszta's extradition,
disavow the action of its agents, call them to severe account,
and tender Austria satisfaction proportionate to the magni-
tude of the outrage. All this Hiilsemann did and drew
from Marcy in reply a paper almost as famous in our dip-
lomatic annals as that addressed to him two years before
by Daniel Webster. The end of the matter was that our
minister at Constantinople was informed that the Austrian
government would consent to Koszta's release provided he
was at once put on board an American vessel and sent to the
United States. The reason for the concession was the dis-
covery, near Orsova, just across the Hungarian border, of
the long-lost Hungarian regalia. It then appeared that
Koszta was one of Kossuth's party when the crown was
taken from Buda, and that the belief that he couW tell
where it was hidden was the cause of his arrest.*

Pierce in his inaugural had declared for expansion, and
had said that it might be necessary to acquire certain pos-

* An account of the recovery of the regalia is given in the National
Intelligencer, October 15, 1853. Other facts concerning Koszta's re-
lease are in the National Intelligencer, October 7 and November 8,

1853 CUBAN POLICY. 183

sessions not within our jurisdiction, but had pledged him-
self that they should not be acquired in a grasping spirit or
in a manner dishonorable to the nation, and had warned the
filibusters that no act by any part of our citizens which
could not be justified before the tribunal of the civilized
world would be tolerated. Ere he had been many months
in office a band of filibusters invaded lower California and
a war for the acquisition of Cuba came very near.

The Cuban policy of the President was explained by
Marcy to the new minister to Spain, Pierre Soule. We
would resist at every hazard a transfer of Cuba to any Eu-
ropean power. We would regret to see Spain appeal to any
other power for aid to maintain her rule over Cuba. But,
unless tlie connection of the island to the mother country
was so changed as to threaten our present and future secur-
ity, we would do nothing to disturb existing relations. Un-
der certain conditions we might be willing to buy Cuba;
but the President did not think it proper to make any
proposition for purchase, for it was not likely such an offer
would be listened to for a moment. Indeed, there was good
reason to believe that Spain had promised Great Britain
and Erance never to transfer Cuba to the United States. He
should, therefore, attempt to find out if this were true, and
especially if the other powers were urging Spain to set
free the slaves in Cuba.

Commercial relations should likewise receive attention.
Our flag must be respected and our commerce not interfered
with by Cuban authorities. We could not submit to have
our merchant vessels searched or detained on their lawful
voyages.* A few months later the Black Warrior was de-

During eighteen months past she had plied back and
forth between New York and Mobile, stopping each way at
Havana to take on passengers and mail, but never to dis-
charge or receive freight. Six and thirty such stops had
been made when, late in Eebruary, the Blach Warrior en-
tered the harbor on her way from Mobile. The passenger

• Marcy to Soul6, July 23, 1853, House Executive Documents, 33d
Congress, 2d Session, No. 93.

184 THE PASSING OP THE WHIGS, chap, lxxxix.

list, the crew list, the bill of health, and the manifest with
the cargo entered as ballast as on every previous visit, were
handed to the boarding officer, but a few hours later, when
clearance was asked for, the authorities declared the Blach
Warrior could not sail. Her captain had entered her cargo
'' in ballast " when he should have entered it " in transit,"
and the cargo of four hundred bales of cotton was coniis-
:ated. On the following morning lighters were brought
alongside and the captain ordered to take out the cotton. He
would not; so the hatches were forced, and when the first
bale was removed Captain Bullock hauled down his flag and,
svith the crew, boarded the United States steamship Ful-

Ko sooner did the news of the action of the Custom
Eouse ofiicials at Havana reach Washington than a call
was made on the President for information, and a resolu-
tion was introduced into the House to instruct the Commit-
tee on Foreign Affairs to inquire as to the cause of the
jutrage, report what legislation by Congress or action by
;he government was necessary to procure indemnity, and to
state particularly whether our neutrality laws as to Spain
mght to be suspended or repealed.^

What the government had done in the affair of the Blach
Warrior was this : On receipt of the news a messenger was
lurried off to Soule with instructions to demand indemnity.
tfo evasion, no delay would be brooked. Spain must dis-
ivow the acts of her ofiicials, and tender satisfaction, or take
he responsibility of their actions. Soule made the demand,
md when three days passed and no reply came repeated it,
nsisted that all persons, however unimportant, however high
n rank, who were in any way responsible for the Blach
Warrior affair, be turned out of ofiice, and served notice that,
f an answer was not received within forty-eight hours, the
Jnited States would consider that the acts of the Cuban
lificials were approved. J Soule was now informed that the

* Philadelphia Ledger, March 7, 11, 16, 1854. House Executive
)oouinents, 33d Congress, 2d Session, No. 93, Vol. 10, pp. 42-44, 47.
t Eesolution ofEered by Mr. Deane, March 9.
t Souls to Calderon de la Barca, April 11, 1854.


government had no information on which to form a judg-
ment, that when it came a course of action suitable to the
case would be proposed to Her Majesty, and that his peremp-
tory manner of demanding satisfaction suggested a suspicion
that he sought not redress, but rather a pretext for an es-
trangement, if not a quarrel, between two friendly powers.*
Soule answered with another note haughty in tone, and so
for a month the matter rested. When at last the demand
for damages and apology was answered, Marcy wrote to
Soule that it was wholly unsatisfactory; but the President
was unwilling to use force to bring about a better state of
things with respect to Cuba. He had, therefore, decided to
make a solemn appeal to Spain for a settlement of the is-
sues which threatened our friendly relations, and did not
wish Soule to go any further in the aifair of the Black War-
rior. For the purpose of making this solemn appeal two
distinguished citizens were to be joined with him. Eumor
had it that they were to be Dallas and Cobb, and they were
to seek for the acquisition of Cuba as a political and com-
mercial necessity; but Marcy abandoned this plan and au-
thorized a full and free interchange of views between our
ministers at London, Paris, and Madrid, whose reports as
to the intentions of Great Britain, Prance, and Spain re-
garding Cuba had bewildered him.

The three ministers accordingly met at Ostend, went to
Aix-la-Chapelle, and there signed a report ever since known
as the Ostend Manifesto, In their opinion earnest efforts
should be made at once to buy Cuba at any price within rea-
son; the proposal should be made to the Cortes about to
assemble; and, unless the malign influences of powers that
had no right whatever to interfere were exerted, there need
be no fear of failure.

The United States ought to buy Cuba because of its
nearness to our coast; because it belonged naturally to that
great group of States of which- the Union was the providen-
tial nursery; because it commanded the mouth of the Mis-

* House Executive Documents, 33d Congress, 2d Session, No. 93,
pp. 72-74. Marcy to Soule, March 17, 1854; Soulfi to Calderon de la
Barea, April 11, 1854; Calderon de la Barca to SouM, April 12, 1854.

186 THE PASSING OF THE WHIGS, chap, lxxxix.

sissippi whose immense and annually growing trade must
seek that way to the ocean, and because the Union could
never enjoy repose, could never be secure, till Cuba was
within its boundaries.

If, however, Spain, dead to the voice of her own in-
terests, and moved by pride and a false sense of honor,
refused to sell Cuba, there would then arise the question:
does Cuba, in the possession of Spain, endanger the peace
and existence of our Union? If the answer were yes, then,
by every law human and divine, we should be justified in
wresting it from her.

The reply of Marcy to Soule was a repudiation of the
manifesto. This was too much for the minister who re-
signed and came home. With these diplomatic failures were
mingled some triumphs. The fisheries treaty with Great
Britain in 1854 put an end, for the time being, to that dis-
pute. With Japan was concluded a treaty far-reaching in
its consequences to that country and the world.

Again and again attempts had been made to secure trade
relations with her; but in vain. ISTation after nation, Por-
tugal, Holland, Great Britain, Spain, our own country, had
tried and tried with little success, for the privileges granted
Portugal for a short time, and the right given the Dutch
to send one ship a year to ]S[agasaki, need not be considered
as commercial intercourse. Such was the hatred of foreign-
ers that when a Japanese junl?: was driven by storms to the
mouth of the Columbia River in 1831, and a United States
vessel was sent with the crew to Yeddo, it was fired on and
forced to return. This incident seems to have aroused our
government to make its first effort to open trade, if not dip-
lomatic relations, with Japan, and in 1833 a special agent
was sent, but he died on the way. Thirteen years later a
second attempt was made, and Commodore Biddle with two
shifs was dispatched to ascertain if the ports of Japan could
be opened to us. But he, too, was driven away from Yeddo.
Ere a decade passed our interests in the Pacific had so in-
creased that another effort seemed expedient. California
had been acquired and admitted as a State; gold had been
discovered, and people from all parts of the world were

1852 PERRY IN JAPAN. . 187

hurrying thither; transit routes had been opened across
Nicaragua and Panama and the East brought nearer to the
Atlantic coast. Great results were expected if intercourse
"with Japan could be opened. In 1852, therefore, Commo-
dore Mathew Calbraith Perry was selected and instructed to
make the new attempt. As soon as the Mississippi was
ready he was to go to Hong Kong, take command of the
fleet of Commodore Aulick, and repair to Japan. Perry left
in October, 1852, reached Hong Kong in the following
April, and after a long stay at Shanghai and Napa arrived
with the Mississippi, Saratoga, Plymouth, and Susquehanna
off Uraga, a town twenty-seven miles from Yeddo.

Boats full of Japanese at once surrounded the ships, but
nobody was suffered to come aboard. One carrying a person
of distinction was allowed to come alongside of the Missis-
sippi. He proved to be the vice-governor of Uraga, and
wished to see the officer in command, and, when told that
none save an official of the highest rank could have that
honor, asked to confer with one of his own rank. Lieutenant
Contee met him, answered many questions, and told him
that the Americans had come as friends; that Commodore
Perry bore a letter from the President of the United States
to the Emperor, and wished an interview with an official of
the highest rank in order that it might be delivered. Na-
gasaki, he was assured, was the only place where foreign
business could be transacted. The Americans, he replied,
had come to Uraga because it was nearer Yeddo, would not
go to Nagasaki, and expected the letter to be received
where they were. A day or two later the Mayor came, but
was not received. He, too, insisted that the strangers must
go to Nagasaki ; but, when told that if a proper official were
not appointed to receive the letter the Americans would
land in force and deliver it themselves, he promised that a
messenger should be sent at once to Yeddo. After three days
the Mayor came again and reported that a suitable building
would be erected for the reception of Commodore Perry
and suite, that a high official would receive the letter, and
that an answer would be sent through the Dutch or Chinese
superintendents at Nargasaki. Perry would not listen to

L88 THE PASSING OF THE WHIGS, chap, lxxxix.

;liis ; whereupon the Mayor went ashore to consult, and, ro-
;urning, announced that a very distinguished person would
36 appointed. Some delay was caused by the erection of a
•eception building ; but about the middle of March the land-
ing was made and the letter formally delivered. After his
return to the Mississippi Perry was informed by note that,
;he letter from the President having been delivered, he must
iepart, for he had repeatedly been told that foreign business
!0uld not be transacted at Uraga. Instead of departing the
whole fleet moved ten miles up the bay and the Mississippi
ivent on ten miles further. Perry tlicu returned to China
that the Emperor might have time to reflect on the visit
and the letter.

In February, 1854, however, he was back at the anchor-
age ten miles above Uraga with the Mississippi, Lexington,
Vandalia, Macedonian, Susquehanna,, and PowhaLtan.
There some mandarins came on board and reported that
commissioners had been appointed to confer with him on
the President's letter, and that the meeting place would be
twenty miles below Uraga. Perry refused to go there.
Uraga was then suggested, and again he refused, declared
that the place must be somewhere between his anchorage
and Yeddo, and, to impress the Japanese with his determina-
tion, went in the Mississippi to within sight of Yeddo, so
near that at night the bells in the city were heard distinctly.
This ended discussion; the Japanese yielded, a new recep-
tion building was erected opposite the anchorage, and Perry
received with great ceremony. At the reception the draft
of a treaty was presented, for the Commodore had been in-
structed to obtain leave for American vessels to enter the
ports of Japan for food, water, and to make repairs. March
thirty-first the treaty was signed. It provided that the ports
of Simoda and Hakodadi should be open to Americans for
wood, water, provisions, and coal; that shipwrecked sailors
should be treated well, and that the gold and silver coin
and goods of the United States might be exchanged for the
coins and goods of Japan.*

* Senate Document, 33a Congress, 2a Session, Vol. 6, No. 34.


At home the craze for filibustering, which sent hundreds
of men to Cuba, broke out again and sent hundreds more to
Nicaragua to fight under Walker. William Walker first
rose to public notice as a filibuster in 1853, when with a
few companions he invaded lower California, proclaimed the
Republic of Sonora, and after a short stay fled across the
boundary line and surrendered to United States officials at
Fort Yuma. A year later, when Nicaragua was in a state
of revolution. Walker was persuaded to take service under
the liber alist leader Castillon, rose quickly to be commander-
in-chief, and in return for promised aid entered into a plot
with certain officials of the Accessory Transit Company to
wrest control of it from Cornelius Vanderbilt. Before do-
ing so, however, he determined to use the company to secure
recruits, and arranged with it to bring him men and charge
the cost against a debt it owed Nicaragua. Advertisements
for men then appeared in the New York and New Orleans
newspapers, and in three months' time a thousand recruits
were carried to Nicaragua.* President Rivas was then
forced to sign a decree revoking the charter of the Accessory
Transit Company, and confiscating its property, and to sign
a new charter granting all the transit privileges of the old
to a new company. The old company at once withdrew its
steamships; but the new company procured other boats and
recruits once more poured into Nicaragua. They were sorely
needed, for President Mora of Costa Pica declared war on
Walker and the Americans, f put an army in the field, sacked
Virgin Bay, and entered Pivas, whence Walker failed to
drive him.$ As the reports of the fighting spread over the
country recruiting for the army of Walker became more
active than ever. Public meetings were held to express sym-
pathy and money was raised in considerable quantity. At
the New Orleans meeting Soule set forth the wrongs of
Nicaragua, the heroism of Walker, and the duty of Amer-

* Vanderbilt to Marcy, March 17, 1856. Senate Executive Docu-
ments, 34tli Congress, 1st Session, Vol. 13, No. 68, pp. 120-121.

fThe Proclamation of War, February 28, 1856; Mora's Address
to the People of Costa Eica, March 1, 1856, and Walker's Proclama-
tion are published in New York Tribune, April 3, 1856.

i New York Tribune, April 17, 1856.

190 THE PASSING OF THE WHIGS, chap, lxxxix.

icans to fly to his aid, depicted the glory of expansion, and
the dangers which threatened New Orleans when British
cannon in the Bay Islands were pointed at her very door,
and declared that the Monroe Doctrine must be enforced and
that the greatest obstacle Walker had to contend with was
the evil spirit of the North.* At New York the chiefs of
Tammany Hall plastered the fences in the city with posters
inviting all true friends of Republicanism, all. opposed to
British meddling in the affairs of Central America, to at-
tend a Nicaragua demonstration meeting. The call was
signed by Cass, Douglas, Quitman, Benjamin, Toombs, and
many other supporters of slavery and expansion. f None of
them attended; but the followers of Tammany did. At
Louisville a hundred and fifty volunteers, emigrants as
they were called, left for New Orleans to take steamer to

Walker meantime had run his course. Disregard of or-
iers led Eivas in the summer of 1856 to denounce him as
1 usurper, a traitor, and an enemy of the Republic, and to
strip him of command. Walker in return deposed Kivas
md in July was elected President in his stead. Kivas then
called on the neighboring states for aid. Guatemala, San
Salvador, Costa Rica, and Plonduras responded, united
igainst Walker, and drove him into Granada. Taking ad-
vantage of the war, Vanderbilt sent an agent to Costa Rica,
vho employed an Ameri^ran named Spencer to close the San
fuan River and cut off Walker's communication with Grey-
;own. Gathering a hundred and twenty men at San Jose,
spencer marched to the San Carlos River, floated down it
)n rafts to the San Juan, captured a force left to guard the
ransit route, took Greytown, seized four river boats at Punta
irenas, and, using them to ascend the river, captured the
teamers on the lake.§

Cut off from help from the United States, the fate of

* National Intelligencer, May 6, 1856.
t New York Tribune, May 10, 1856.
I Louisville Courier, May 22, 1856.

§ A Forgotten Chapter in History. Overland Monthly, New Series,
Tol. 21.


lOo 200 sBo J3o 65(^

Geographical Results of the Compromise of 1850, the Gadsden Pm-chaae
and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1854.

1853-4 GADSDEN TEBATY. 191

Walker was sealed. The allies closed in, and he prepared
to make a last stand in Kivas. But one morning in May a
flag of truce brought letters announcing that Lieutenant
Huston of the United States war vessel 81. Mary's was at
the headquarters of the allies ready to conduct the women
and children in Eivas to San Juan del Sur, and a few days
later Captain Davis of the St. Mary's proposed that Walker

Online LibraryJohn Bach McMasterA history of the people of the United States : from the Revolution to the Civil War → online text (page 18 of 55)