The Annexation of Santo Domingo – USA Congressional Debates

Annexation of Santo Domingo

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 Santo Domingo City Taylor 1871.tif
 Santo Domingo City
Watercolor by James E. Taylor 1871Treaty defeated in the U.S. Senate – June 30, 1870
The Annexation of Santo Domingo was an attempted treaty during the later Reconstruction Era, initiated by United States President Ulysses S. Grant in 1869, to annex “Santo Domingo” (as the Dominican Republic was commonly known) as a United States territory, with the promise of eventual statehood. President Grant feared some European power would take the island in violation of the Monroe Doctrine. He privately thought annexation would be a safety valve for African Americans who were suffering persecution in the US, but he did not include this in his official messages. Grant speculated that the acquisition of Santo Domingo would help bring about the end of slavery in Cuba and elsewhere. Militarily he wanted a US naval port in the Dominican Republic which would also serve as protection for a projected canal across Nicaragua.

In 1869, Grant commissioned his private secretary Orville E. Babcock and Rufus Ingalls to negotiate the treaty of annexation with Dominican president Buenaventura Báez. The annexation process drew controversy: opponents Senator Charles Sumner and Senator Carl Schurzdenounced the treaty vehemently, alleging it was made only to enrich private American and island interests and to politically protect Báez. Grant had authorized the US Navy to protect the Dominican Republic from invasion by neighbouring Haiti while the treaty annexation process took place in the US Senate. The movement for annexation appeared to have been widely supported by the inhabitants of the Dominican Republic, according to the plebiscite ordered by Báez, who believed the Dominican Republic had better odds of survival as a US protectorateand could sell a much wider range of goods to the US than could be sold in European markets. The country’s unstable history was one of invasion, colonization, and civil strife.

A treaty was drafted by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish that included the annexation of the country itself and the purchase of Samaná Bay for two million American dollars. Also included and supported by Grant was the provision that the Dominican Republic could apply for statehood. When debated in the Senate, Sumner staunchly opposed the treaty, believing the annexation process was corrupt and that the Dominican Republic was politically unstable, having a history of revolution. Sumner believed that Báez was a corrupt despot and that the use of the US Navy by Grant during the treaty negotiation to protect Santo Domingo was illegal. Sumner said that the annexationists wanted the whole island and would also absorb the independent black nation of Haiti. Schurz opposed acquisition because he did not favor mixed race people becoming US citizens.[1] The treaty ultimately failed to reach the two-thirds vote needed (the vote was a tie). In order to vindicate the failed treaty annexation, Grant sent a committee, authorized by Congress and including African AmericanFrederick Douglass, that investigated and produced a report favourable to annexation of the Dominican Republic into the United States.

The annexation treaty failed because there was little support for it outside Grant’s circle. The defeat of the treaty in the Senate directly contributed to the division of the Republican party into two opposing factions during the election of 1872: the Radical Republicans (composed of Grant and his loyalists) and the Liberal Republicans (composed of Schurz, Sumner, Horace Greeleyas presidential candidate, and other opponents of Grant).

Annexation proposal[edit]

President Ulysses S. Grant

In 1867, during President Andrew Johnson‘s Administration, the Dominican government, under threat of Haitian invasion, had asked to be annexed by the United States. However, Congress was unwilling to comply to any proposal made by Johnson.[2]

In April 1869, Joseph W. Fabens, a New England businessman representing the Dominican Republic, asked Secretary of State Fish, that the Dominican Republic, then known as Santo Domingo, be annexed to the United States and able to apply for statehood.[3] President Grant, initially, did not have any interest in annexation. However, when Grant learned the US Navy had interest in acquiring Samaná Bay as a coaling station, he became interested.

Fish appointed Benjamin P. Hunt with diplomatic authority to look into the Dominican Republic’s debt and whether the people actually desired to join the United States. Hunt, however, fell ill and could not make the journey. Grant then sent his aide, Brevet Brigadier General Orville E. Babcock to gather information on the Dominican Republic. Rather than official diplomatic authority, President Grant personally gave Babcock special agent status with a personal introduction letter for Dominican President Buenaventura Báez.[4]

In addition to the coaling station, President Grant viewed that the Dominican Republic had immense resources and would give thousands of jobs to emigrantAfrican American laborers; in addition to benefitting exports from Northern farms and manufacturers.[5] Grant privately speculated that US control would help compel Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Cuba to abolish slavery.[5] Grant also speculated that if African Americans from the Southeastern United States had the option of emigration to the island, violent European American supremacist groups in the South, such as the Ku Klux Klan, would have to curb their use of violence against African Americans or lose their cheaper labour. Grant, however, was cautious in directly advocating African American emigration to the Dominican Republic.[5] Fearing Britain might take control, Grant also mentioned the need to maintain the Monroe Doctrine.[6]

Annexation treaty created[edit]

In September 1869, Babcock returned to Washington with a draft treaty of annexation. President Grant’s Cabinet was stunned, not knowing that Babcock had planned to draw up an annexation treaty. Grant presented Babcock’s informal treaty for his Cabinet to read, however, no Cabinet member offered any discussion on the treaty. Grant then asked Sec. Fish to draw up a formal diplomatic treaty, since Babcock did not have diplomatic authority.[7] Having not been consulted on the Dominican treaty process, Sec. Fish was ready to resign from the Cabinet, however, President Grant intervened having told Fish he would have complete control of the State Department, except for the Dominican Republic annexation treaty. Sec. Fish and Grant privately agreed that Fish would remain on the Cabinet and support Dominican annexation while President Grant would not support Cuban belligerence during the Ten Years’ War. On October 19, 1869, Sec. Fish drew up a formal treaty; the United States would annex the Dominican Republic, pay $1,500,000 on the Dominican national debt, offer the Dominican Republic the right to U.S. statehood, and the U.S. would rent Samaná Bay at $150,000 per annum for 50 years.[7] According to Grant’s biographer, Jean Edward Smith, President Grant initially erred by not gaining U.S. public support and by keeping the treaty process secret from the U.S. Senate.[7]

Grant visited Sumner[edit]

Senator Charles Sumner

On January 2, 1870 prior to the formal treaty being submitted to the Senate, President Grant made an unprecedented visit to Senator Charles Sumner at his home in Washington, D.C.[8] Grant specifically informed Sumner of the Dominican Republic annexation treaty hoping for Sen. Sumner’s support.[9] Sen. Sumner was the powerful Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his support for the Dominican Republic treaty was crucial for passage in the Senate.[10] The dialogue between the two men has been the subject of debate and controversy since the meeting.[9] Different sources vary as to what exactly Sumner had said, however, Grant optimistically had walked away having believed Sumner had supported his treaty. Sumner stated that he only told Grant that he was a “Republican and an Administration man”.[9][11]

Treaty submitted and failure[edit]

On January 10, 1870 President Grant formally submitted Sec. Fish’s Dominican Republic annexation treaty to the U.S. Senate.[12] The treaty was stalled in the Senate until Sen. Sumner’s Foreign Relations Committee started hearings in mid February, 1870.[12] Sec. Fish noted that the Senate was reluctant to pass any measures initiated by the Executive Branch.[12] Sen. Sumner allowed the treaty to be debated openly on the Committee without giving his own opinion. However, on March 15, Senator Sumner’s Foreign Relations Committee in a closed session voted to oppose the treaty 5 to 2.[12] On March 24, in another closed session, Sen. Sumner came out strongly against the treaty. Sen. Sumner opposed the treaty believing annexation would be expensive, launch an American empire in the Caribbean, and would diminish independent Afro-Hispanic and African creole republics in the Western Hemisphere.[12]Grant met with many Senators on Capitol Hill hoping to rally support for the Treaty, however, to no avail.[13] Grant refused the suggestion that the treaty drop the Dominican statehood clause.[14] Finally on June 30, 1870 the Senate defeated the Dominican Republic Annexation treaty by a vote of 28 to 28.[14] Eighteen Senators had joined Sen. Sumner to defeat the Dominican annexation treaty.[14]

Aftermath and repercussions[edit]

President Grant was livid at the treaty’s failure to pass the Senate and blamed Sen. Sumner’s opposition for the defeat; Grant having believed Sumner had originally agreed to support the treaty at their January 2, 1870 meeting.[15] Grant then retaliated by firing U.S. Ambassador to Britain, John Lothrop Motley, Sen. Sumner’s close friend.[16] Then in March 1871, President Grant having influence in the Senate got his allied Senators to remove Sumner as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[17] President Grant was able to get Congress to allow an investigation Commission to be sent and make an objective assessment as to whether annexation would be beneficial to both the United States and the Dominican Republic. The Commission, sent in 1871, included civil rights activist Frederick Douglass and reported favorably on the annexation of the Dominican Republic to the United States.[18] The Commission, however, failed to generate enough enthusiasm in the Senate to overcome opposition to Dominican Republic annexation.[17] The whole affair never took into account the wishes of the Dominican people who desired to remain independent.[19]

Answer to Petition by United States (Sto. Domingo de Cundiyo …

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

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San Domingo.
Hon. Charles Sumner.
Hon. O. P. MORTON.
Hon. JAMES W. NYE
Hon. Z. CHANDLER.
Senator Sumner replies to remarks of Senators Chandler, Nye, and Morton.
Hon. ROSCOE CONKLING.
Hon. ALLEN G. THURMAN.
Extract from the Speech of Hon. T. O. HOWE
Extracts from the speech of Hon. JAMES HARLAN

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

San Domingo.


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Debate in the United States Senate on the Resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a Commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the Island. Resolutions. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.

That the President of the United States be authorized to appoint three commissioners, and also a secretary the latter to be versed in the English and Spanish languages to proceed to the Island of San Domingo and to such other places, if any, as such commissioners may deem necessary, and there to inquire into ascertain and report the political state and condition of the Republic of Dominica the probable number of inhabitants and the desire and disposition of the people of the said Republic to become annexed to and to form part of the people of the United States: the physical, mental and moral condition of the said people, and their general condition as to material wealth and industrial capacity; the resources of the country; its mineral and agricultural products; the products of its waters and forests; the general character of the soil; the extent and proportion thereof capable of cultivation; the climate and health of the country; its bays, harbors, and rivers; its general meteorological character, and the existence and frequency of remarkable meteorological phenomena; the debt of the Government and its obligations, whether funded and ascertained and admitted, or unadjusted and under discussion; treaties or engagements with other Powers; extent of boundaries and territory; what proportion is covered by foreign claimants or by grants or concessions, and generally what concessions or franchises have been granted, with the names of the respective grantees. The terms and conditions on which the Dominican Government may desire to be annexed to and become part of the United States as one of the Territories thereof; such other information with respect to the said Government or its Territories as to the said commissioners shall seem desirable or important with reference to the future incorporation of the said Dominican Republic into the United States as one of its Territories.

Sec. 2 And be it further resolved, That the said commissioners shall as soon as conveniently may be report to the President of the United States, who shall lay their report before Congress.

Sec. 3 And be it further resolved, That the said commissioners shall serve without compensation, except the payment of expenses, and the compensation of the secretary shall be determined by the Secretary of State with the approval of the President.

The following pages contain some of the principal speeches for and against the foregoing resolutions.

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

Hon. Charles Sumner.


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Mr. Sumner. Mr. President, the resolution before the Sent commits Congress to a dance of blood. It is a new step in a measure of violence. Several steps have already been taken, and Congress is now summoned to take another.

Before I proceed with the merits of this question, so far as such language can be used with reference to it, and as I see the Senator from Ohio [Mr. Sherman] in his seat, I wish to answer an argument of his yesterday. He said the resolution was simply one of inquiry, and that therefore there could be no objection to it. I was astonished when I heard one of his experience in this Chamber and his familiarity with legislation characterize this simply as a resolution of inquiry. The Senator is mistaken. It is a resolution creating three offices under the Constitution of the United States offices contemplated in the Constitution itself, and specially mentioned by name in the act of 1856 to regulate the diplomatic and consular systems of the United States. I read the first section of that act, as follows:

“That embassadors, envoys extraordinary, and ministers plenipotentiary, ministers resident, commissioners, and charges of affairs, and secretaries of legation appointed to the countries hereinafter named in schedule A, shall be entitled to compensation for their services, respectively, at the rates per annum hereinafter specified; that is to say, embassadors and envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary, the full amounts specified therefor in said schedule A; ministers resident and commissioners, seventy–five per cent.”

Now, sir, by this joint resolution the President is authorized to appoint three “commissioners,” and also a “secretary,” the latter to be versed in the English and Spanish languages, to proceed to the island of San Domingo and to inquire into, ascertain, and report certain things. I say this is a legislative act creating three new offices, and the Senator says that it is simply a resolution of inquiry. Let me put a question to the Senator. Suppose a joint resolution were brought forward authorizing the appointment of three commissioners to proceed to England in order to ascertain the condition of United States securities and the possibility of finding a market there; according to the suggestion of the Senator it would be a resolution of inquiry only. Would he allow it to pass without a reference to the Committee on Finance? Would he not say that it opened a most important question, which should be considered by the appropriate committee?

The Senator is too experienced to be put aside by the suggestion that may be brought forward


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that the commissioners shall serve without compensation except the payment of expenses. Does this alter the case? Without those words in this joint resolution the general diplomatic law would take effect, ad it would at least be a question if they would not be entitled to the salary of $7,500 per annum. And yet a resolution of this character, creating three new offices, is called simply a resolution of inquiry! Sir, the Senator is mistaken; and his mistake in this matter illustrates other mistakes with reference to the important subject now before the Senate.

It is proposed that these commissioners shall serve without compensation. Is that right? Is not the laborer worthy of his hire? If they are proper men, if among them is that illustrious professor, my much honored friend, who has been referred to already, Mr. Agassiz, is it right to expect him to give his invaluable services without compensation? The requirement that the service shall be of this kind will necessarily limit it either to the rich or to the partisan. It does not open a free field to talent, to fitness, to those qualities so important to proper service on the commission.

I hope that the Senator will reconsider his judgment, that he will see that we cannot treat the pending proposition with the levity — he will pardon me — with which he treated it. Sir, it is something more than a resolution of inquiry. It is a serious measure, and it begins on its face by an affront to the Constitution of the United States, which expressly declares that the President “shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint embassadors, other public ministers, and consuls;” but by this resolution he is to appoint them without the advice and consent of the Senate; and yet this resolution is accepted by my honorable friend, the Senator from Ohio.

The Senator, it seems to me, has not comprehended the object of this resolution. To my mind it is plain. It is simply this: it is to commit Congress to the policy of annexation. I insist upon this point: the object of the resolution, and I will demonstrate it, is to commit Congress to the policy of annexation. Otherwise, why is the resolution introduced? The President does not need it. Under his general powers he is authorized to appoint agents, if be pleases, to visit foreign countries, and be is supplied with a secret service fund by which their expenses may be defrayed. The President does not need this resolution. It is an act of supererogation so far as be is concerned, and it is also contrary, so far as I am informed, to the precedents of our history.

Agents of an informal charter, informally called commissioners, and not acting under any statutes, have been appointed in times past by the Executive. I have a memorandum before me of several occasions. In 1811–12 the President dispatched Mr. Poinsett and Mr. Scott to Buenos Ayres and Caracas to ascertain the condition of those two countries, with a view to the recognition of their independence. In 1817 be dispatched Mr. Bland, Mr. Rodney, and Mr. Graham to Buenose Ayres again, and also to Chili: and in 1820 be dispatched Mr. Prevost and Mr. Forbes for the same object. The reports of those gentlemen will be found spread out at length in the State papers of our country, printed by the authority of Congress; but you will search in vain through year statue book for any law or joint resolution creating the commission. It was constituted by the President himself, with the assistance of the Secretary of State, and it was the Secretary of State who communicated their report to Congress.

Therefore do I say the resolution is absolutely unnecessary; and I call the attention of my honored friend, the Senator from Indiana, who champions this resolution, to this special point. I ask him to show its necessity; I ask him to show any good purpose it can serve; I ask him to show why it is brought forward on this occasion unless it be to commit Congress to the policy of annexation. Sir, I stand on this position; and I say, knowing the powers of the President under this Government, knowing the practice of this Government, that this resolution is completely superfluous, and that its single purpose, so far as one can see any purpose in its terms, is to commit Congress to what I shall show in a very few moments is a most unjustifiable policy.

Sir, others may do as they please; others may accept this policy; I will not. I have already set myself against it, and I continue now as firm against it as ever. The information which I have received since our discussion last year has confirmed me in the conclusions which I felt it my duty then to announce. In now presenting those considering whether the territory of Dominica is desirable or not; I shall forbear from considering its resources, even its finances, even its debt — menacing as I know it is to the Treasury of our country — except so far as that debt is connected with the relations with Hayti. At some other time these other topics will be proper for consideration. For the present I prefer to confine myself to grounds on which there can be no debate.

I object to this proposition, because it is a new stage in a measure of violence, which, so far as it has been maintained, has been propped by violence ever since. I use strong language, but only what the occasion requires. As a Senator, as a patriot, I cannot see my country suffer in its good name without an earnest effort to save it.

The negotiation for annexation began with a person known as Buenaventura Baez. All the evidence, official and unofficial, shows him to be a political jockey. But he could do little alone; he had about him two other political jockeys, Cazneau and Fabens; and these three together, a precious copartnership, seduced into their firm a young officer of ours, who entitles himself “aid–de–camp to the President of the United States.” Together they got up what was entitled


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a protocol, in which the young officer entitling himself aid–de–camp to the President proceeded to make certain promises for the President. Before I read what I shall of this document, I desire to say that there is not one word showing that at the time this “aid– de–camp,” as be called himself, had any title or any instruction to take this step. If he had, that title and that instruction have been withheld; no inquiry has been able to penetrate it. At least the committee which brought out the protocol did not bring out any such authority. The document is called “a protocol,” which I need not remind you, sir, is in diplomatic terms the first draft of a treaty, or the memorandum between two Powers in which are written down the bases of some subsequent negotiation: but at the time it is hardly less binding than a treaty itself, except, as you are well aware, under the Constitution of the United States it can receive no final obligation without the consent of the Senate. This document begins as follows:

“The following bases, which shall serve for framing a definitive treaty between the United States and the Dominican Republic have bee reduced to writing and agreed upon by General Orville E. Babcock aid–de–camp to his Excellency General Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States of America and his special agent to the Dominican Republic, and Mr. Manuel Maria Gautier, secretary of State of the departments of the interior and of police, charged with the foreign relations of the said Dominican republic.”

Here you see how this young officer, undertaking to represent the United States of America, entitles himself “aid–de–camp to his Excellency General Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States of America, and his special agent to the Dominican Republic.” Sir, you have experience in the Government of this country: your post is high, and I ask you do you know any such officer in our Government as “aid–de–camp to his Excellency the President of the United States?” Does his name appear in the Constitution, in any statute, in the history of this Republic anywhere? If it does, your information, sir, is much beyond mine. I have never before met any such instance. I believe this young officer stands alone in using this lofty designation. I believe, still further, that he stands alone in the history of free Governments. I doubt whether you can find a diplomatic paper anywhere in which any person undertaking to represent his Government has entitled himself aid–de–camp of the chief of the State. The two duties are incompatible according to all the experience of history. No aid–de–camp would be commissioned as a commissioner; and the assumption of this exalted and exceptional character by this young officer shows at least his inexperience in diplomacy. However, he assumed it; and it doubtless produced a great effect with Baez, Cazneau, and Fabens, the three confederates. They were doubtless pleased with the distinction. It helped on the plan they were engineering.

The young aid–de–camp then proceeds to pledge the President as follows:

“I, His Excellency General Grant, President of the United State, promises privately to use all his influence in order that the idea of annexing the Dominican republic to the United States may acquire such a degree of popularity among members of Congress as will be necessary for its accomplishment.”

Shall I read the rest of the document? It is somewhat of the same tenor. There are questions of money in it, cash down, all of which must have been particularly agreeable to the three confederates. It finally winds up as follows:

“Done in duplicate, in good faith, in the city of San Domingo, the 4 day of the month of September. A.D. 1809.
Orville E. Babcock Manuel Maria Gautier.”

In “good faith,” if you please, sir. I have heard it said the Orville E. Babcock did not write “aid–de–camp” against his name at the bottom of this protocol. This was not necessary. The designation of a person in such documents always appears at the beginning; as for instance, in a deed between two parties, the party signs it, and in signing it he recognizes the designation.

Therefore we have here a “protocol,” so entitled signed by a young officer who entitles himself “aid–de–camp of his Excellency, the President of the United States,” and who promises for the President that he shall privately use all his influence in order that the idea of annexing the Dominican republic to the United States may acquire such a degree of popularity among members of Congress as will be necessary for its accomplishment. There was the promise. Senators about me know how faithfully the President has fulfilled it, how faithfully he has labored, privately and publicly, even beyond the protocol — the protocol only required that he should work privately, privately and publicly, in order that idea of annexing the Dominican republic should be agreeable to Congress.

The young officer, aid–de–camp of the President of the United States, with this important and unprecedented document in his pocket, returned to Washington. Instead of being called to account for this unauthorized transaction, pledging the Chief Magistrate to use his influence privately with Congress in order to cram down a measure that the confederates justly supposed to be offensive, he was sent back to this island with directions to negotiate a treaty. I would not allude to that treaty if it had not been made the subject of discussion by the President himself in his annual message. You know it. The treaty itself is not on your tables legislatively to Congress. The other House, which may be called to act upon this important measure, can know nothing of that treaty, and what we know of it we cannot speak of even in this debate. We can simply speak of its existence, for the President himself has imparted that to Congress and to the country. The treaty exists; and now the practical question is by what means was it negotiated? I have described to you the three confederates who seduced into their company the aid–de–camp of the President; and now I have to aver, and I insist that the evidence will substantiate what I say, that at the time of the signature of the treaty of annexation Baez was sustained in power by the presence of our naval force in the waters of the Dominican Government. Go to the documents, and you will find that what I say is true. Confer with naval officers, confer with honest patriot citizens who know the case, and they will all testify that without the presence of our ships of war in those waters Baez would have been obliged to flee.

This is not all, sir; I broaden this allegation.


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Ever since the signature of the treaty and especially since its rejection, Baez has been sustained in power by the presence of our naval force. Such I aver to be the fact. I state it with all the responsibility of my position and with full conviction of its truth. I ask you, sir, to do as I have done; go to the State Department and Navy Department and read the reports there on file. I ask you to read documents printed confidentially for the use of the Senate, and I feel sure that what I state will be found to be substantially true. I ask you also to confer with any naval officer who has been there, or with any patriot citizen. I have had the privilege during this summer of communicating with two different officers who were there at the signature of the treaty and for some time thereafter, and they made the same report, that without the presence of our navy Baez would have been obliged to flee.

Sir, this a most serious business. Nothing more important to the honor of the Republic has occurred for long years. How many of us now are hanging with anxiety on the news from Europe? There stand matched in deadly combat two great historic foes, France and Germany. Fran now pressed to the wall: and what is the daily report? That Bismarck may take Louis Napoleon from his splendid prison and place him again on the throne of France that he may obtain from him that treaty of surrender which the republic never will sign. Are we not all indignant at the thought? Why, sir, it was only the other day that a member of the Cabinet, a much honored friend of mine, at my own house, in conversation on this question, said that nothing could make him more angry than the thought that Bismarck could play such a part, and that France might be despoiled by this device. And now, sir, this is the very part played by the American Government. Baez has been treated as you fear Bismarck may treat Louis Napoleon. You call him “president” they call him down there “dictator;” better call him “emperor,” and then the parallel will be complete. He is sustained in power by the Government of the United States that he may betray his country. Such is the fact, and I challenge any Senator to deny it. I submit myself to question and challenge the Senator from Indiana, who as I have already said, champions this proposition, to deny it. I challenge him to utter one word of doubt of the proposition which I now lay down, that Baez is maintained in power by the naval force of the United States and that being in power, we seek to negotiate with him that he may sell hi country. It cannot be denied. Why, sir, the case has a parallel in earlier days
Mr. Morton Rose.

Mr. Sumner. Allow me to give one more illustration, and then the Senator may interfere. It has a parallel in earlier days, when the British Government selected the king of the Mosquitoes as their puppet on the margin of Central America. They called the Indian chief a king and actually sent to him certain “regalia” and other signs of royal honor, and then acting under him, or pretending to act under him, they claimed the jurisdiction of that region. Are we not now treating Baez in some measure as England treated the Mosquito king?

Mr. Morton. Will the Senator allow me to ask him a question?

Mr. Sumner. Certainly.

Mr. Morton. If this commission go down there they can return an answer to all these broad statements of the Senator, whether they are true or not. The Senator understands that; but I wish to ask him if he does not know that in answer to all this that he is talking about it has been urged that all parties in San Domingo, whether they are for Baez or Cabral, or whoever they are for, are for annexation? If that is true, all this is utterly immaterial except as something thrown in to obscure this subject before the public. I aver — and the commission will show it — that all parties whether against the Baez government or for it are equally for annexation and if that is true all this is frivolous.

Mr. Sumner. Mr. President, I alluded yesterday to the later prime minister of France, who said that he accepted war “with a light heart.” The Senator from Indiana speaks in the same vein. He says that my allegation is “frivolous.” Sir, never was there a more important allegation brought forward in this Chamber. Frivolous! Is it frivolous when I see the flag of my country prostituted to an act of wrong? Is it frivolous when I see the mighty power of this Republic degraded to an act of oppression? Nothing frivolous.

Mr. Edmunds. What do you say as to the point, what are the wishes of the people of that country?

Mr. Sumner. Let me finish. I was in the midst of a sentence.

Mr. Edmunds. I wish to apologize to my distinguished friend from Massachusetts. I understood him to challenge inquiry, and I asked him therefore in a friendly way to state to us the point that the Senator from Indiana made to him as to what he believed the sentiments of the people there to be.

Mr. Sumner. The Senator interrupted me in the midst of a sentence.

Mr. Edmunds. Very well; I apologize and subside.

Mr. Sumner. I am perfectly willing to yield to the Senator if he wishes to speak, and I will speak when he is through.

Mr. Edmunds. By no means. The Senator from Massachusetts challenged anybody to ask him a question and I in my own way ventured that very thing, and my friend, instead of answering it, flies into a passion because I did so.

Mr. Sumner. Not at all; I said the Senator interrupted me while I was answering the Senator from Indiana and in the midst of a sentence I had proposed to proceed still further if I can have the permission of my excellent friend, the Senator from Vermont. I was remarking on the charge of frivolity — perhaps the Senator wishes me to finish on that head; I had not finished I say that there is nothing frivolous in he suggestion; I say that it is grave. It is too grave it is oppressive to this Government and this country. The Senator from Indiana asks, why not send out this commission? He always comes back to his commission, “Why not send these men out?” I say, why send them out when we now have in the archives of this Republic evidence that this very man is sustained in power


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by the naval force of the United States? Can you send out a commission under such circumstances without making yourself a party to the transaction?

And now I answer still further. The Senator asks if I am not aware that all persons there are in favor of annexation, and the inquiry is repeated by my friend, the Senator from Vermont. I answer categorically, no; I am not aware of it. I understand the contrary. I have at least as good information as any accessible during the last week, and it is not four days old just to the contrary. There ar two chieftains in Dominica — one the political jockey with whom our Government has united and is now sustained in power by our naval force; and the other is Cabral, who as I have been assured by one who is bound to be well informed represents the people of his country. Some time ago Cabral favored the sale of the bay of Samana to the United States: but I have been assured that he has never favored annexation to the United States. I am assured that his policy is to bring to two Governments of Dominica and Hayti once more together, as they were down to the revolution and war which lasted from 1846 to 1848, terminating in the uncertain independence of the Dominican part of the island.

Now I have answered categorically the inquiries of my two friends. The evidence as I have it is not that these two chieftains are agreed. On the contrary there is between them discord; they differ from each other –one seeking unity for these two Governments the other seeking to sell his country for a price. But, whatever may be the sentiment of the people, whether Baez and Cabral agree or disagree, I come back to the single practical point that Baez has been maintained in power by the naval force of the United States. Deny it if you can.

Now, sir, try this again. Suppose during or civil war Louis Napoleon, in an evil hour had undertaken to set up Jefferson Davis as the head of this Government and then to make a treaty with him by which Texas said to have been must coveted by the emperor would be yielded and become part of Mexico, which itself was to become more or less part of France. Suppose Louis Napoleon had undertaken such an enterprise, how should we feel at it? Would not our blood boil? Would it be commended at all because we were told that there were large numbers in the southern States who favored it? Would not the transaction be considered intolerable? And yet this is precisely what the United States are now doing in the bay of Samana and the port of St. Domingo.

This may be seen in another light. We complaint of taxes. Do you know what we have paid during this year in carrying out this mistaken policy? I have here an article which I cut from a New York paper last evening being a letter from St. Domingo city dated December 6, 1870 from which I read a sentence:

“The United States war steamer Swatara is on a cruise the Yantie is at St. Domingo city and the Nantarket is at Samana.”

Three ships out of the small Navy of the United States sent down to these waters to enforce this policy! If force were not to be employed why these three ships? Why the necessity of any ship? Tell me. Can there be any good reason?

When I think of all this accumulated power in those waters, those three vessels with the patronage naturally incident to their presence, it is not astonishing that there is on the sea–board, immediately within their influence, a certain sentiment in favor of annexation. But when you penetrate the interior, beyond the sight of their smoke, at least beyond the influence of their money, it is otherwise. There the sentiment is adverse. There it is Cabral who prevails. So at least I am assured.

Sir, I have presented but half of this case, and perhaps the least painful part. I am now brought to another aspect of it. This naval for force to which I have referred has also been directed against the neighboring republic of Hayti, (the only colored Government now existing in the world, a republic seeking to follow our great example) penetrating its harbors and undertaking to dictate to it what it shall do. If you will read again the reports at the Navy Department you will find that I do not overstate when I say that they have undertaken to dictate to the Government of Hayti what it should do. Nor is this all. In an unhappy moment the commodore of an American fleet, going ashore, allowed himself to insult and menace the Government there, saying that if it interfered in any way with the territory of Dominica he would blow the town down. So I have been informed by one who ought to know. You look grave, sir. Well you may. I wish I could give you the official evidence on this assumption; but I am assured, on evidence that I regard as beyond question that this incident has occurred. In what school was our commodore reared? The mother of Tittlebat Titmouse told him that he must be careful never to fight with a boy of his size. An American commodore, in the same spirit has undertaken to insult a sister republic too weak to resist. Of course, if he did this one his own motion and without instructions from Washington he ought to be removed in my judgment, and rather that carry out such instruction he ought to have thrown his sword into the sea.

Senators murmur. There is a rule of morals and of honor above all other rules and not officer of Army or Navy can consent to do an act of wrong. This was the voice of our fathers during the Revolution. How we praised and glorified these British officers who refused to serve against them generously sacrificing their commissions rather that enforce a tyranny. Often have I honored in my heart of hearts that great man one of the greatest in English history. Gransville Sharpe foremost of all England’s abolitionists because while an humble clerk and poor in one of the departments in London he resigned his post rather sustain that policy toward the colonies which he regarded as wrong.

No naval officer should have allowed himself to use such a menace toward this weak republic. By their very weakness were they strong; and yet, sir their weakness was the occasion for the insult they received. Think you, sir that he would have used such language toward England or France? I think not.

All this is aggravated when we consider the relations between Dominica and Hayti and bring this incredible transaction to the touchstone of international law. Dominica and Hayti


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became one under President Boyer in 1828 and the whole island continued as a unit until 1844 when Dominica rose against Hayti and after a bloody conflict of four years, in 1848 succeeded in securing its independence.

Mr. Morton. Mr. President

The Vice President. Does the Senator from Massachusetts yield to the Senator from Indiana?

Mr. Sumner. Yes, sir.

Mr. Morton. Will the Senator allow me to suggest that it might help to a better understanding of the proposition he is about to state, if he will say that they become one by the conquest of Hayti, not by consent, but by force of arms?

Mr. Sumner. I said that they became one in 1828 and that they continued one till 1844. To what extent arms played a part I have not said. Suffice it to say that Dominica constituted a part of the Government of Hayti which was administered under the name of Hayti. In 1838 while the two constituted one a treaty was made with France which I have before me by which the Haytien Government agreed to pay in certain annual installments the sum of 60,000,000 francs. Since the separation of the two, Hayti has proceeded with those payments and I think the Senator over the way will not deny that there is at least ground of claim on the part of Hayti against Dominica for contribution to those payments.

Mr. Morton. Will the Senator allow me to ask him a question about that, because I do not desire to take up the time of the Senate in answering him and that is this: whether the debt for which Hayti agreed to pay France 60,000,000 francs was not for spoliations upon the property of French citizens in hayti and not in Dominica and with which Dominica never had anything to do? That is the fact about it.

Mr. Sumner. Nothing is said in this treaty before me of the consideration for these payments.

Mr. Morton. The history of the transaction show that.

Mr. Sumner. History shows, however, that the two Governments were one at the same time and I have to submit that there is at least a question whether Dominica is not liable to Hayti on that account. I mention this that you may see the relation between the two Governments.

But this is not all. Besides the treaty with France, there is another between Hayti and Dominica. I have no copy of it. The resolution which I introduced the other day calls for it. I became acquainted with it through this protest which I hold in my hand made by the Government of Hayti to Mr. Seward, as Secretary of State and dated at Washington the 5th of February 1863 against the sale and purchase of the Bay of Samana. In the course of this protest I find the following allegation:

“That there is a treaty between the Government of Hayti and that of St. Domingo to the effect that no part of the island can be alienated by either of the two Governments.”

Now, the point which I wish to present to the Senate and to impress is that Hayti having these claims on Dominica is interdicted from their pursuit by an American commodore.

But perhaps I may be told — I see my friend the Senator from Indiana is taking notes — that the American commodore was justified under the law of nations. I meet him on that point. How could be right? How could the law of nations sanction such a wrong? The only ground would be that during the pendency of the negotiation, or while the treaty was under consideration, the Government of the United States would protect the territory to be transferred. I have seen that impossible pretension put forth in newspapers. I call it “impossible.” It is unfounded in the law of nations. Our ships, during the negotiation of the treaty and during its consideration in the Senate had no more right or power in those waters than before the negotiation. Only when the treaty was consummated by the act of the Senate giving to it advice and consent could we exercise any semblance of jurisdiction there. Every effort at jurisdiction until that time was usurpation. I read now from Wheaton’s authoritative work on international law, page 337, being part of the section entitled, “The treaty–making power dependent on the municipal constitution:”

“In certain limited or constitutional monarchies the consent of the legislative power of the nation is in some cases required for that purpose. In some republics as in that of the United States of America the advice and consent of the Senate are essential to enable the chief executive magistrate to pledge the national faith in this form. In all these cases it is consequently an implied condition in negotiating with foreign Powers that the treaties concluded by the executive Government shall be subject to ratification in the manner prescribed by the fundamental laws of the State.”

The Chief Magistrate can pledge the national faith only according to the Constitution. Now, I turn to another place in this same authoritative work being page 718 and read as follows:

“A treaty of peace binds the contracting parties from the time of its signature.”

Then follows an emphatic note from the very able commentator, Mr. Dana:

“It would be more exact to say, ‘from the time at which the treaty is concluded.’ If the political constitution of a party to the treaty requires ratification by a body in the State the treaty is conditional until so ratified.”

The treaty, therefore, had no effect until ratified by the Senate and I repeat every attempt at jurisdiction in those waters was a usurpation and an act of violence; I think I should not go too far if I said it was an act of war. If a commodore leaves his quarter–deck, goes ashore, and with his guns commanding a town, threatens to blow it down, is not this an act of war?

In Great Britain the exclusive prerogative of making treaties is in the Crown, and so in most other countries it is in the executive; but I need not remind you that in our country it is otherwise. The exclusive prerogative here is not in the Executive; it is in the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and until that advice and consent have been given he can exercise no power under that treaty. Those waters were as sacred as the waters about France or about England. He might as well have penetrated the ports of either of those countries and launched his menace there as have penetrated the waters of this weak Power and launched his menace.

I have called it an act of war — war, sir, made by the Executive without the consent of Congress. I read important words from the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in a well–known case, Brown vs. The United States, which will be found in 8 Cranch’s Reports, page 153:


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“When the legislative authority has declared war, the executive authority, to which its execution is confided is to carry it into effect.”

If Congress had declared was against this feeble republic, then it would have been the part of the Executive to carry that declaration into effect but until then what right had our Executive to do this thing? None which can be vindicated by the laws of our country, none except what is found in the law of force.

This outrage by our Navy upon a sister republic is aggravated by the issue which the President of the United States in his annual message has directly made with the president of Hayti — mark my words — the issue which the President of the United States has directly made with the president of Hayti. Of course, sir, the President of the United States when he prepared his message was familiar with a document like that which I now hold in my hands. I have what is entitled “The Monitieur, official journal of the Republic of Hayti,” under date of Saturday, the 24th of September, 1870 containing the message of the president of Hayti addressed to the National Assembly. It is divided into sections or chapters with headings not unlike a message or document in our country. And now, sir, listen to what the president of Hayti in this annual message says of the project of annexation, and then in one moment listen to the issue which the President of the United States has joined with this president; I translate it literally:

“The project of annexation of the Dominican part has been rejected by the American Senate. The anxieties which this annexation caused to spring up have been dissipated before the good sense and wisdom of the Senate at Washington.”

Of course the President of the United States was intimate with this document. He could not have undertaken to launch his bolt against this feeble republic without knowing at least what their president had said. I will not do him the wrong to suppose him ignorant. His Secretary must have informed him. He must have known the precise words that President Saget had employed when he said that the anxieties caused by this annexation were dissipated before the good sense and wisdom of the Senate at Washington. Our President joins issue with President Saget; he says that the rejection of the treaty was a “folly.” There you have it. The president of one republic calls the rejection an act of “good sense and wisdom;” the President of the United States calls it an act of “folly.” Am I wrong? Let me read from the message of our President:

“A large commercial city will spring up to which we will be tributary without receiving corresponding benefits and then will be seen the folly of our rejecting so great a prize.”

There you have it President Saget and President Grant: President Grant speaking with the voice of forty million, and this other president who has only eight hundred thousand people all black.

If the President of the United States had contented himself with thus joining issue with the president of Hayti, I should have left the two face to face; but not content with making this issue the President of the United States proceeds to menace the independence of Hayti. Sir, the case is serious. Acting in the spirit of his commodore, be nine time over makes this menace. I have the message here, and now I shall substantiate what I say. The part relating to this subject begins:

“During the last session of Congress a treaty for the annexation of the republic of San Domingo to the United States failed to receive the requisite two–thirds vote of the Senate.”

Here he speaks of the rejection of the treaty for the annexation of Dominica. Then he proceeds to demand the annexation of the whole island. I read as follows:

“I now firmly believe that the moment it is know that the United States have entirely abandoned the project of accepting as a part of its territory the island of San Domingo a free port will be negotiated for by European nations in the Bay of Samana.”

I say nothing of the latter part of the proposition; I leave that to the judgment of the Senate; but here you have a proposition for the whole island of San Domingo. The Senate have rejected a treaty for the annexation of the republic of San Domingo.

Mr. Morton. Mr. President —

Mr. Sumner. The Senator will not interrupt me now. I shall finish this statement presently and then he may interrupt me. Having thus laid down his basis proposing the annexation of the whole island, the president then proceeds to his second menace:

“The acquisition of San Domingo is desirable because of its geographical position.”

He has already described it as “the island of San Domingo” and it is desirable because of its geographical position an argument as applicable to Hayti as to Dominica. Then he proceeds to the third menace:

“San Domingo with a stable government under which her immense resources can be developed will give remunerative wages to tens of thousands of laborers not now upon the island.”

Mark the words; “not now upon the island!” It is the island always in view!

Then comes the fourth menace:

“San Domingo will become a large consumer of the products of northern farms and manufactories.”

It is the whole island.

Then, again the fifth:

“The acquisition of San Domingo is an adherence to the Monroe doctrine.”

While nothing in the place is said of the whole island, of course those words are necessarily associated with the previous words.

Then comes the sixth menace:

“In view of the importance of this question, I earnestly urge upon Congress early action expressive of its views as to the best means of acquiring San Domingo.”

Referring back, of course, to what he has already said. Then he proposes a commission to negotiate a treaty “with the authorities of San Domingo for the acquisition of that island, and that an appropriation be made to defray the expenses of such commission.”

And he winds up by the ninth menace:

“So convinced am I of the advantages to flow from the acquisition of San Domingo,”

[?].

Thus nine times —

Mr. Morton rose.

Mr. Sumner. Not quite yet. The Senator will take notice when I have done with this point, and then he shall have the floor. Nine times in this message has the President, after joining issue


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first with the president of Hayti — nine times has he menaced the independence of the Haytien republic. Some remarkable propositions at times are received with nine cheers. Here is a menace nine time over; and throughout the whole of that San Domingo column, written with so much intensity, we are called to consider commercial, financial, material advantages, and not one word is lisped of justice or humanity, not one word of what we owe to the neighboring republic of Hayti, nine times menaced.

Mr. Morton rose.

Mr. Sumner. I know what my friend from Indiana is about to say, that all this is accidental in the message. This is hard to believe. Nine accidents in one column! Nine accidents of menace against a sister republic! There is a maximum of law which I was taught early and have not entirely forgotten, that we are bound to presume that every document is executed solemnly and in conformity with rules. Sir, we are bound to believe that the President’s message was carefully considered. There can be no accident in a President’s message. A President’s message is not a stump speech. It is not a Senate speech. It is a document, every line of which must have been carefully considered, not only by the President himself, but by every member of his Cabinet.

There are Senators here who have been familiar with messages in other years and know how they have been prepared. I have one in my mind which within my knowledge occupied the consideration of the Cabinet three full days; I think four, it not five; every single sentence in the message being carefully considered, read by itself, revised sounded with the hammer, if I may so express my self, like the wheels on a railroad car, to see that it had the true ring. Of course the message of a President of the united State must go through such an examination. I will not follow the Senator from Indiana in doing the injustice to the President of supposing that his message was ill considered; that it was not carefully read over with his Cabinet; that every sentence was not debated; and that these words were not all finally adopted as expressing the sentiments of the President by which he wished to stand.

History is often said to repeat itself. More or less it does. It repeats itself now. This whole measure of annexation, and the spirit with which it is pressed find a parallel in the Kansas and Nebraska bill and in the Lecompton constitution, by which it was sought to subjugate a distant Territory to slavery. The Senator from Indiana was not here during those days although he was acting well his part at home; but he will remember the pressure to which we were then exposed; and now we witness the same things — violence in a distant island, as there was violence in Kansas;also the same presidential appliances; and shall I add the same menace of personal assault?

In other days, to carry a project, a President has tried to change a committee. It was James Buchanan. And now we have been called this session to witness a similar endeavor by our President. He was not satisfied with the Committee on Foreign Relations as constituted for years. He wished a change. He asked first for the removal of the chairman. Somebody told him that this would not be convenient. He then asked for the removal of the Senator from Missouri, [Mr. Schurz] and he was told that this could not be done without affecting the German vote. He then called for the removal of my friend the Senator from New Hampshire, [Mr. Patterson] who unhappily was not a German. It was finally settled that this could not be done.

I allude to these things reluctantly and only as a part of the case. They illustrate the spirit we are called to encounter. They illustrate the extent to which the President has fallen into the line of bad examples.

Sir, I appeal to you, as Vice President. By official position and by well known relations of friendship you enjoy opportunities which i entreat you to use for the good of your country, and, may I add, for the benefit of that party which has so justly honored you. Go to the President, I ask you, and address him frankly with the voice of a friend of whom he must hearken. Counsel him not to follow the example of Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Andrew Johnson; tell him not to allow the oppression of a weak and humble people; ask him not to exercise War Powers without authority of Congress, and remind him kindly that there is a grandeur in Justice and Peace beyond anything in material aggrandizement, beyond anything in war.

Again I return to the pending resolution, which I oppose as a new stage in the long–drawn machination. Am I wrong in holding up this negotiation, which has in it so much of violence — violence toward Dominica, violence toward Hayti? Of course the proposed treaty assumed the civil war pending in the territory annexed. No prudent man buys a lawsuit; we should buy a bloody lawsuit. I read now the recent testimony of Mr. Hatch, who, while in favor of annexation, writes as follows, under date of South Norwalk, Connecticut, December 12, 1870:

“I have not, however, looked with favor upon the project as it has been attempted to be effected; and I firmly believe if we should receive that territory from the hands of President Baez, while all the leading men of the Cabral party, the most numerous, the most intelligent, and the wealthiest, are in prison, in exile, or in arms against Baez, without their having a voice in the transfer, it would result in a terrible disaster.”

Be taught, if you please, by the experience of Spain, when in 1860 this Power, on the invitation of a predecessor of Baez, undertook to play the part we are asked to play. By a document which I now hold in my hand it appears that when at last this Power withdrew she had expended forty millions of hard Spanish dollars and “sacrificed sixteen thousand of the flower of her army.” From another source I learn that ten thousand Spanish soldiers were buried there. Are we ready to enter upon this bloody dance? Are we ready to take up this bloody lawsuit?

Vain to set forth, as the message does, all manner of advantages, “commercially and materially.” What are these if Justice and Humanity are sacrificed? What are these without that priceless blessing: Peace? I am not insensible to the commercial and material prosperity of my country. But there is something above these. It is the honor and good name of the Republic now darkened by an act of wrong. If this territory, so much coveted by the President, were infinitely more valuable than it is, I hope the Senate would


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not be tempted to obtain it by trampling on the weak and humble. Admit all that the advocates of the present scheme assert with regard to the resources of this territory, and then imagine its lofty mountains, bursting with the precious metals, its streams flowing with amber over silver sands, where every field is a garden of the Ilesperides, blooming with vegetable gold, and all this is not worth the price we are now called to pay.

There is one other consideration, vast in importance and conclusive in character, to which I allude only, and that is all. The island of San Domingo, situated in tropical waters and occupied by another race, never can become a permanent possession of the United States. You may seize it by force of arms or by diplomacy, where a naval squadron does more than the minister; but the enforced jurisdiction cannot endure. Already by a higher statute is that island set apart to the colored race. It is theirs by right of possession; by their sweat and blood mingling with the soil; by tropical position; by its burning sun, and by unalterable laws of climate. Such is the ordinance of nature, which I am not the first to recognize. San Domingo is the earliest of that independent group, destined to occupy the Caribbean sea, toward which our duty is plain as the Ten Commandments. Kindness, beneficence, assistance, aid, help, protection, all that is implied in good neighborhood, these we must give, freely, bountifully; but their independence is as precious to them as is ours to us, and it is placed under the safeguard of natural laws which we cannot violate with impunity.

Long ago it was evidence that the great Republic might fitly extend the shelter of its protection to the governments formed in these tropical islands, dealing with them graciously, generously, and in a Christian spirit — helping them in their weakness, encouraging them in their trials, and being to them always a friend; but we take counsel of our supposed interests rather than theirs, when we seek to remove them form the sphere in which they have been placed by Providence.

I concluded as I began. I protest against this resolution as another stage in a drama of blood. I protest against it in the name of Justice, outraged by violence; in the name of Humanity insulted; in the name of the weak trodden down; in the name of Peace imperiled, and in the name of the African race, whose first effort at Independence is rudely assailed.

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

Hon. O. P. MORTON.

MR. MORTON. Mr. President, the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. SUMNER] this afternoon, in the course of his speech, thought proper to refer to my personal relations to the President of the United States, and he presented me as the confidential adviser of the President, a frequent visitor at the White House, and as conferring with the President alone in the Blue Room.

I have seen the President in the Blue Room on several occasions, for I am somewhat lame and unable to go up stairs, and the President is kind enough when I visit the White House on business to come down stairs and see me, and I presume he would do the same for any Senator or Representative, or any other person who was not able to climb the stairs without difficulty. But, sir, in going into the Blue Room, I beg to assure my friend it has not been for the purpose of secrecy or private conference.

The Senator advises me to go and tell the President certain things, and to give the President certain advice which he puts into my mouth. Sir, I do not propose to act in the capacity of a go–between. I am too old and too lame now to begin the exercise of that character. I sometimes go to the White House — not as often as a great many others — and I always go there on business. I have never obtruded upon the President my opinion on any subject. I have never given it except when asked for, and then I have endeavored to give it honestly, and to tell the truth; for to advise a President falsely in regard to matters of State has always been and must be regarded as a crime.

If the Senator means to impute to me the fact that I am a friend of the President, personally and politically, he is quite right. I have been his friend and admirer ever since the battle of Fort Donelson; and although I sometimes disagree with him, perhaps in regard to appointments, or perhaps in regard to measures, I always try to differ with him in such a way as not to assail his personal character or to demoralize the party of which he is the head.

A series of assaults have been made on the President, from time to time, ever since his inauguration; scarce has one subsided before another is begun. And I think he has been treated with a bitterness of persecution and a torrent of calumny that have not been lavished upon any Executive of the United States perhaps since the days of Thomas Jefferson. But, sir, one by one these assaults have failed, utterly failed; they have been exposed, and have become contemptible to the people of this country. The arrows of calumny have fallen harmless at his feet; and although it has been frequently announced that the President has fallen, he always manages to fall upon his feet; and so he will, I predict, throughout his administration or his connection with public life. Sometimes the arrows of calumny have been so thick as to darken the air; but invariably he has triumphed, and I predict his continued triumph.

Why, sir, this Administration is thus far a great success. The assaults upon it are of a person character, and do not touch the merits, the wonderful success of the Administration. The general results of this Administration are grand, grand almost beyond precedent. If it shall go on for the next two years as it has for the last twenty–one months, these grand results will be so conspicuous, so well understood and admired of all men that they will overwhelm all opposition.

Mr. President, the people do not look to these personal considerations. They do not care whether Mr. Cox is the Secretary of the Interior or Mr. Delano; whether Mr. Motley is the ambassador to the Court of St. James, or General Schenck. What they want to know is that the Government is well and faithfully administered, and all these personal considerations are brushed aside as mere idle straws.

I must say that the assault of the Senate from Massachusetts upon the President this afternoon


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was most unprovoked and indefensible. It was not a difference from the President on mere political principles, but he charged the President with usurpation, with crimes. He compared his administration to that of Buchanan and to that of Pierce, and denounced it as he formerly denounced the administrations of those predecessors; and, sir, he drew a comparison, and I was pained to hear it, between Saget, the murdering usurper of the Government of Hayti, and President Grant, much to the disparagement of the President of the United States. Saget, who murdered Salnave in cold blood; Saget, who has led the “dance of blood” of which the Senator speaks, has been held up to the admiration of the American people in favorable comparison with President Grant!

He says that President Grant has threatened Hayti in his message; ay, he says there are nine menaces against the republic of Hayti in the President’s message. I was surprised to hear that. I had heard that message read here in the Senate; I had myself read it carefully, and I confess it never suggested such a thought. Sir, these “nine menaces” are simply nine men in buckram, existing only in the Senator’s imagination; and I submit to candid men of all parties that the President’s message does not mean any such thing as the Senator has attributed to it. He gives it a strained and technical construction that has never been given before by anybody or by any newspaper that I have read or heard of. He says the President threatened the whole island of San Domingo, threatened the republic of Hayti, and he endeavors to support that by referring to the conduct of Admiral Poor upon the coast of Hayti.

Mr. President, if you will take this message and read it on that point, you will say unquestionably — I say unquestionably — that the President only refers to the acquisition of the territory of the republic of Dominica. He does speak of “the island of San Domingo” in one or two places. He does that perhaps inadvertently, because we often speak of “the island of San Domingo.” In common parlance, perhaps, “the island” is spoken of more frequently by that name than it is by that of Hayti and the distinction drawn between that and the republic of Dominica. But, sir, allow me to read a brief extract to show what the President means; and I was surprised that the desperation of the Senator’s cause required him to put what I regard as a false and strained construction upon this message. Speaking of the republic of Dominica, the President says:

“It is a weak Power, numbering probably less than one hundred and twenty thousand souls”

That is about the population of Dominica, while Hayti has seven or eight hundred thousand —

“and yet possessing one of the richest territories under the sun, capable of supporting a population of ten millions of people in luxury. The people of San Domingo are not capable of maintaining themselves in their present condition, and must look for outside support. They yearn for the protection of our free institutions and laws, our progress and civilization. Shall we refuse them?”

I therefore put aside this pretense that the President in his message has threatened the republic of Hayti.

The argument of the Senator from Massachusetts throughout has demonstrated the necessity and the importance of this investigation. My friend has appeared upon the stand this afternoon as a witness. He has testified copiously, voluminously, and yet has scarcely produced testimony to sustain one of his assertions. He states these things, he says, solemnly, because he knows them to be true; but he has not favored the Senate with any evidence to sustain the most of them. Perhaps the Senator thinks that what he does not know in regard to the republic of San Domingo is not worth knowing; but while he may know it very well, he may not be able to satisfy all the rest of us; he may not be able to satisfy the country. And now were propose a commission that shall go upon the ground and make an examination so far as it can be made, and report to us the facts, that we may judge for ourselves whether or not annexation is desirable; and, as I have said before, when I introduced this resolution I supposed it could not elicit debate; I supposed it would not be opposed, for, presuming that the Senator himself was desirous of full and complete knowledge, that he desired to be accurately informed, and believing that this was the very best possible method to get full information upon points which have been heretofore in dispute, I supposed this resolution would pass without opposition.

Now, sir, allow me to say that nearly all the Senator’s points are immaterial — immaterial to the purpose of this resolution. He has spent his force upon matters that, so far as the merits of this resolution are concerned, may be designated as frivolous, wholly unimportant. We are not now proposing to examine whether the treaty was correctly and properly negotiated. We have passed by the treaty; we are beginning de novo; we are proposing to examine this question as if a treaty had never been made, and we propose to send a commission to the island, where this information is most accessible and can be most accurately obtained. We are proceeding, as I said before, as if there had been no treaty; and now, of what importance is it in proposing to examine these questions and ascertain the facts, to go into a long, labored, ingenious, and, I may say, unfriendly examination of the mode in which that treaty was negotiate? The Senator has spent perhaps half an hour in commenting upon the way in which General Babcock had signed his name, alleging that he had styled himself aid–de–camp of the President. Why, Mr. President, if we were considering the treaty itself, if that was before us, it would be a mere frivolous objection; it would a more verbal complaint that the Senator would make, and could not possibly go to the merits of the case; but he brings that circumstances here as one of overwhelming importance that must override the value of the interrogatories that are to be answered by this commission.

And as to the protocol that General Babcock entered into, he says that protocol provides that the President should privately use his influence with members of Congress or of the Senate to bring about its ratification. Sir, it provides no such thing. The protocol was privately made; was not attached to the treaty; was not part of the treaty; but it made no provision that the President should privately influence members of Congress or try to


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do so; but that was the interpretation the Senator gave to it — that the President agreed privately to influence members of Congress. No such thing; the protocol does not read that way. But, sir, what of the protocol? The Senator seemed to think it was a very important matter, a great lion in the way that could not be gotten over, and that rendered this resolution improper, and the interrogatories unimportant. Why, sir, he confessed himself, as I understood him, that General Babcock had made that protocol without authority; and he did do it upon his own motion, and there was nothing in his instructions that authorized him to do so; but, as all men familiar with diplomatic negotiations understand, protocols are of very common occurrence, and are always of a private character, and never constitute a part of the treaty, But as the treaty is gone, as we have passed that by, as it is merely a relic of the past, where is the importance of dwelling upon this protocol and attempting to fix crime upon the President in consequence of it? Sir, the objection is frivolous, and I pass it by.

The Senator began his speech by saying that this resolution inaugurated a “dance of blood.” This was a tremendous sentence, and burst upon the Senate like a rocket in the air, which always leaves darkness just after; and I would like to inquire whether anybody was hit by the stick when it came down. And I might inquire whether blood can dance, if that was ever heard of before; and if it can, whether his favorite and his model president, Saget, the president of Hayti, did not engage in that “dance of blood?”

Then he says again that my resolution creates three effects whose pay is governed by the statute which he read. I was very much surprised to hear this. This statute that he read refers to a form of diplomatic and commercial agent, a permanent officer that is described as a commissioner, like the commissioner to the Sandwich Islands, and does not refer at all to such commissioners as are provided for in this resolution. A great many persons are called commissioners, but they do not fall within the purview of the statute that provides for a permanent diplomatic officer such as we have at the Sandwich Islands and at other places. We have commissioners to examine twenty miles of railway, and to do various other things.

MR. CONKLING: That statute does not refer to any commissioners except those named in the statute itself. They are specifically enumerated.

MR. MORTON. Certainly; the commissioners thereby created. But still this was paraded here as an argument to go before the country to show that we were creating commissioners who were officers in the meaning of the law, and to derive large compensation, such as is provided for in that statute. Then the Senator from Massachusetts says that this commission will commit Congress to the policy of annexation. Is there one word of foundation for this statement? Is any Senator who may not favor the annexation of San Domingo under his present convictions to be frightened from voting for this resolution by the bald declaration that it commits Congress to annexation? Not one word like it in the resolution; but it simply provides for an examination; the commissioners are simply to report upon what terms San Domingo may consent to be annexed or desire to be annexed. That report is to be made to the President, and he is to lay it before Congress for its consideration. If the facts therein stated are favorable to annexation, well; if they are unfavorable, well; the commissioners are not authorized themselves to give their opinion upon the question. I was careful in drawing the resolution to provide that they should not no authority to give their opinion at all. They are simply to report the facts, and we are to pass upon them. So nobody need be frightened against the resolution by saying that it commits Congress to the policy of annexation.

Then, again, he says the resolution is unnecessary, because the President has full power to appoint the commissioners without it. Why, this is a most astonishing argument! After having pressed upon us with great force that the appointment of Babcock was a usurpation, and that this negotiation was a crime, the Senator comes back and tells us that this commission is wholly unnecessary; the President has power to appoint commissioners without any act of Congress to go there and do all that we propose they shall do, and even more!

Why, sir, suppose the President had taken that authority without consulting us, would he not have been denounced fiercely for usurpation? Would this commission not have been denounced as a mere private agency on his part — and so it would have been — for the purpose of aiding him in a most iniquitous scheme? No, sir; we took a different view of it; and the President, allow me to say, has no power to appoint a commission like this; he has no power to provide a secretary; he has no power to make the provisions that are contained in this resolution.

Then again, the Senator calls Baez, Cabral, Fabens, and Babcock jockeys —

MR. SUMNER: Not Cabral; Cazneau.

MR. MORTON: Ah! not Cabral; that revolutionist is in favor, is he? A mere adventurer who for the last two years has not had four hundred men under his command at any time, and has kept himself in the mountains of Hayti, and has not been in Dominica except upon one occasion, when he ran over, I believe, to Azun and was immediately driven back. Perhaps I did not name correctly the place to which he went, but it is near to the boundary line between Dominica and Hayti. Why, sir, he is a mere commander of banditti who does not and has not endangered the government of Baez; but he has all the time been presented in the consideration of this question as a formidable leader, with great strength behind him, and not to be resisted except by the naval force that the President has put at the command of Baez to keep him in power!

Ah! Mr. President, Cabral has been made good use of during this discussion of San Domingo. He has bene presented constantly as a great difficulty, as an impending and threatening danger only to be overcome by the military power of the United States, a mere leader of banditti; and the evidence so far as I have seen it — and I think my investigations have been almost as extended as those of the Senator from Massachusetts –has never for a moment presented him as having any power to disturb the stability of the Baez government in Dominica.

But, then, he comes to the charge that we have


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kept Baez in power by three ships of war stationed upon that coast, and that the treaty was negotiated under the guns of that fleet. Admiral Poor has been denounced in the bitterest terms for his conduct in regard to Dominica and Hayti. Why, sit, I should regard this as a very serious statement if it did not appear to me to be ridiculous. With all respect to the distinguished Senator from Massachusetts, it seems to me that he has overdrawn this thing in a manner that can only be described as ridiculous or ludicrous. These revolutionists are not sea–going people. They have no fleet. Their field of operations, small as it is, is inland and among the mountains. But they have been kept in subjection by the three frigates of Admiral Poor? We must understand that the admiral has marched those frigates across the island and through the mountains, doubtless with a large crew of horse marines, that have kept this Cabral and his powerful army under subjection! Why, sir, the character of the danger, whatever it has been, that may have menaced Baez has been inland among the mountains, where the guns of Admiral Poor could not reach and where his voice was never heard. And yet, sir, the country is to be startled, a wonderful sensation is to be created by the statement that this treaty was negotiated under the guns of this fleet, and that Baez has been kept in power by its presence!

Mr. President, the truth is simple; it lies upon the surface; I have been long satisfied with it; and I confess to you that, so far as I am concerned, I do not require the investigation on many of these points to satisfy my mind. But while I may be satisfied others may not be. The great truth is that men of all parties in San Domingo are in favor of annexation. The evidence is that the followers even of Cabral are for it, and that Cabral himself has been in favor, and is now in favor of annexation. He undoubtedly would like to make the treaty or to conclude the negotiations, instead of Baez. But it has been the desire and the earnest desire of the great body of the people upon that island for years to be annexed to the Government of the United States, and it makes no difference, so far as that is concerned, whether Cabral or Baez is in power, or some other military adventurer that may rise to the surface. They will all be in favor of annexation, because nearly the entire people, with the exception of a few desperate military adventurers, are in favor of it.

Even the people of Hayti are in favor of annexation. Only a few months ago we had Mr. Tait here, an able, educated, and intelligent man, the minister from Hayti sent by the Salnave government. He stated that the people of Hayti — the great majority — were in favor of annexation; and that they were in favor of the annexation of Dominica to the United States because they hoped that would be the precursor of their own annexation. But Salnave was murdered in cold blood; and the wretched and desperate military adventurer, the model president of the Senator from Massachusetts, when he came into power, for some reason desired to interpose an objection to the annexation of Dominica to the United States. I am told — I do not know how true it is, but it is stated in the papers, and the Senator has evidently great faith in what is stated in the papers from the reference he made to myself — that the minister of Saget, the blood-stained president, or dictator. I should say, of Hayti, had no more knowledge of his duties than to send an impertinent note to our Secretary of State remonstrating against what the President of the United States had said in his message, and that he was promptly rebuked for his ignorance and his insolence by our Secretary of State, and I believe has apologized.

The Senator read from the message of Saget and from the message of Grant, and he presented them in painful contrast, giving the preference and expressing his free admiration for that of Saget. Then, again, he draws a picture presenting Grant with forty millions of people at his back and Saget with only eight hundred thousand. He presents to us a great Power desiring to overwhelm and absorb Hayti, oppressing her by our fleet and threatening her in the message of our President, all of which is pure imagination from beginning to end.

Then, again, he says that the President tried to get him and the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. PATTERSON] off the Committee on Foreign Relations. If the President desired anything of that kind, or made any effort of that kind, I do not know of it. But I would like to know who it is informed the Senator of that fact. What is his authority? Who is so familiar with the President as to obtain the expression of his secret desires, his secret operations, an then goes and informs the Senator from Massachusetts? I understand to say that he is mistaken.

Mr. President, the annexation of San Domingo will come. I prophesy here tonight that it will come. It may not come in the time of General Grant, or in my time; but I believe it is destined to come; and with it, too, the annexation of Cuba and Porto Rico. Why, sir, this thing was foreseen long ago. I will refer to a Massachusetts authority of high character nearly fifty years ago with regard to the propriety of annexing Cuba. Cuba is not now before the Senate or involved in this controversy. But, sir, San Domingo lies between Cuba and Porto Rico. San Domingo is the key of the West Indies. It commands the great Mona passage from the Atlantic ocean to the Caribbean sea. But, sir, I wish to refer to what Mr. John Quincy Adams said with reference to the acquisition of Cuba, to show his foresight and his philosophy. In a letter written by him as Secretary of State to our minister in Spain, as long ago as 1823, he used the following language, which I commend to the Senator from Massachusetts:

“Numerous and formidable objections to the extension of our territorial dominions beyond the sea present themselves to the first contemplation of the subject; obstacles to the system of policy by which alone that result can be compassed and maintained are to be foreseen and surmounted both from at home and abroad; but there are laws of political was well as of physical gravitation, and if an apple severed by the tempest from its native tree cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly disjoined from its own unnatural connection with Spain and incapable of self- -support, can gravitate only toward the North American Union, which, by the same law of nature, cannot cast her off from its bosom.”

Sir, I regard it as destiny not to be averted by the Senator from Massachusetts nor by any power that we shall acquire San Domingo and Cuba and


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Porto Rico. I referred yesterday to an official statement in regard to the commerce of Cuba and Porto Rico. It is an official document, which shows that the commerce of those two islands with the United States of the year ending July 1, 1869, was $88,102,670. Of that amount, sixty-five millions and upward were imports into this country from those two islands, and fifteen millions were exports, leaving a balance of trade against us of fifty–eight millions to be paid in money. During the same time our entire commerce with the British possessions, with all Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the British West Indies, inclusive, was only $72,000,000. The entire commerce with mexico and all the South American republics during the same time was only $72,000,000.

I have also an authority here — I do not know that I can find the particular passage, but I have had occasion to refer to it in the course of the discussion of this question — showing that in 1789, before the revolutions in San Domingo had destroyed her prosperity, the commerce of that island alone, including Hayti, if I remember correctly, was over eighty million dollars, justifying what I said awhile ago, that San Domingo is the richest piece of earth. Why, sir, it is a great natural cabinet of all the choicest productions of the world; and San Domingo alone, which if we get it will cost us but very little, is worth to us commercially, socially, and in every other way, fifty Alaskas, for the acquisition of which my friend from Massachusetts was greatly in earnest, and in the bringing about of which he had a large influence.

But I know there is talk about the populations of these countries. Sir, they are friendly to us now, and will rapidly incorporate and consolidate with the people of this nation in case of acquisition. They will become consolidated and absorbed in this great people long before the people of Canada will be converted to annexation. The Senator from Massachusetts is greatly in favor of the acquisition of all the Canadas, and I shall be, too, when the time comes, but I tell him that the most unreasonable, the most unconquerable, and obstinate thing in this world is a British prejudice, and that the people of Canada are further from us today, and are less inclined to annexation at this time, than they were thirty years ago. When they are ready to come peaceably, and are anxious for it, I am ready to receive them; but the line of demarkation between them and us in point of feeling and sentiment would still remain distinct long after that between us and the people of San Domingo and Cuba would be obliterated.

I remember, when the proposition was made to annex California and New Mexico, what fearful pictures were drawn of the character of the New Mexican population, and yet there is not today a more loyal people to this Government than the people of New Mexico.

The people of San Domingo, as I have said before, I believe are almost to a man in favor of annexation. I believe that is the feeling with the great majority of the people of Hayti. I am satisfied that it is the feeling of an overwhelming majority of the people of Cuba. But we are not now dealing with that island. We are only addressing ourselves to the question of San Domingo, and I do not propose further to examine the general merits of the question of annexation.

This resolution expresses no opinion on either side. It simply seeks to lay before this Congress and before the American people the great facts upon which we should determine whether we will annex San Domingo or not. The Senator from Massachusetts stands up here and opposes information. He, the great advocate of knowledge upon all ordinary occasions, is now utterly opposed to obtaining it on this subject.

I was struck with the argument of the Senator from Delaware [Mr. BAYARD] this afternoon. He said, forsooth, that this resolution was unnecessary, because the President himself was able to lay before us all the information we needed. The President has come into great favor very suddenly with the Senator from Delaware, who argued that we need not to inquire for ourselves, we need not send to San Domingo for the facts, because the President knew them all, and we ought to be satisfied with what he might lay before us. I will say to the Senator from Delaware, that the President gave us the result of his knowledge in his message. If the Senator accepts that as sufficient, then he is justified in his statement; not otherwise.

Now, Mr. President, I have said about all I desire to say on this subject. I have referred to every point made by the Senator from Massachusetts. In conclusion, I would say that his points, almost without exception, are wholly immaterial, considered with reference to the inquiry as a new thing. We are not proposing to start out on another basis. If we are to have a treaty, it is to be a new treaty. It may be that we would prefer a joint resolution, as in the case of Texas. But all these things are in the future. This resolution does not propose to determine any of those questions, but simply to get the facts and leave them for the consideration of Congress and the nation.

But the Senator wants this resolution referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Why, sir, we have had a report from that committee yesterday and today. At least three distinguished members of it have reported against this resolution. They made strong speeches denouncing it from beginning to end, the Senator from Missouri, [Mr. SCHURZ] as one member of the committee, describing it as a humbug and a sham. After that committee has thus made a report in open Senate, and given its opinion against this resolution in every possible aspect, the Senator from Massachusetts desires it still to be referred to that committee for a second report. I do not think the second report would be any improvement upon the first. I am satisfied that the less we have of that kind of report the better. That committee has expressed its sentiments. The motion is for delay, and can result only in holding this resolution back to such a late hour in this session as will, perhaps, forbid action during the session.

Now, sir, as a matter of fairness to all — and I appeal as well as to those who were unfavorable to the proposition of annexation of San Domingo before as to those who were in favor of it, I appealed in the very beginning to the Senator from Massachusetts to favor this examination –let us have the facts fairly and impartially stated; not something to be disputed, not something to be asserted by the Senator from Massachusetts and to


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be denied by myself or some other Senator, but some statement authoritatively made to which we can all appeal, and by that we will consent to stand or fall. If that statement shall show prima facie that we ought not to annex Dominica, I shall be as earnestly opposed to it as the Senator from Massachusetts. But if it shall do what I believe it will do, show that the annexation of San Domingo would be profitable, that it would be expedient in every sense of view, then I shall be earnestly in favor of it.

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

Hon. JAMES W. NYE

MR. NYE. Mr. President, I shall occupy the attention of the Senate but a few moments upon this question; and I should not have done that but for the most extraordinary speech of my most cherished friend from Massachusetts. It is very rarely that I assume to be as familiar with any subject as he is; but I shall be pardoned on this occasion for that assumption when I say that I spent some ten days or more in the examination of this matter.

The question directly before the Senate, as I understand, is whether this resolution shall be referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. I have the highest regard for that committee. I have a high regard for their integrity and their fairness. I have also a due regard to their prejudice and to their oft–expressed opinions. If there had been any doubt on the subject, I think the expressions of opinion we have heard here today and yesterday from members of that committee would have determined one fact: that to refer this resolution to that committee is death to its further consideration. The resolution, if it should ever be reported upon at all, would be returned to us with an adverse report, and then stress would be laid on the weight of character of that committee and the great strength of the report.

It is not becoming in me, comparatively a young member here, to assert what I cannot prove, or to say what I can prove but what the rules and propriety of this body deny me from proving. Therefore, when I make an assertion I shall expect my assertion to have as much weight as one made by my honorable friend. I have but two things to assert. In the first place, I think it would have bothered a stranger in these galleries to understand what could have given rise, on the mere question of the reference of this resolution, to this uncalled–for attack upon the President of the United States.

It would be unbecoming in me to assail any man who has as high a position in the public estimation of this country and, who has so many pages of brilliant history as the honorable Senator from Massachusetts. He has danced in that terrible “dance of blood” which resulted in the salvation of his country. There was an invitation to all to dance in that dance of blood; but my honorable friend from Massachusetts, like myself, danced where there was not much danger. The present President of the United States danced literally in that “dance of blood,” which has impressed itself not only upon the memory of the present generation, but he had danced so that it will go down upon the pages of history and in tradition as long as patriotism lives and is transmitted from sire to son. Sir, is it the same President that the Senator attacks before whom an admiring world bowed down almost in adoration, and whose marble bust stands now in the Senator’s own house, I presume, for he collects the great works of art, as one of the trio of the saviors of this country?

I am not here to defend the President of the United States. He needs no defence at my hands or at anybody else’s. He can defend himself. His deeds of patriotism are as grand and as noble as whose of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts. No man living has a higher appreciation, in proportion to what he is able to conceive, of the efforts of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts than myself. I caught my inspiration from him in the fight for freedom. I lighted my youthful taper at his full, glowing lamp. But, sir, the Senator has not displayed all the patriotism, nor has he performed all the efforts in this great work of freedom. He marshaled around him greater armies than the President ever had, and armies as potent with the ballot as were those of Grant with the bullet. I regret exceedingly, then, that he should have thought it necessary to make this uncalled–for attack.

MR. SUMNER. Do not do me injustice.

MR. NYE. I do not seek to do the Senator injustice. It is not in my heart to do so.

Now, what is the fact? The honorable Senator from Massachusetts has made a vow to himself, and has proclaimed it to the world, that San Domingo shall not be annexed to the United States. The President differs with him in opinion on this subject, and desires an examination into the propriety of annexation. While the one seeks information, the other is in most stubborn opposition to any inquiry. Is the reservoir of knowledge full to the honorable Senator? Is he not willing to go again to the fountain; and if he can draw new light, is he not willing to change his opinion? No; but it is a crime to differ with him in opinion!

Allow me to call the honorable Senator’s attention to a fact of which, perhaps, I have no right to speak; but at one time a large majority of the people who have acted with him for years entertained a different opinion from himself. Sir, is it a cause of offense on the part of the President of the United States to differ in opinion with any Senator on this floor? Is it a cause of offense on the part of the President for any Senator to differ with him? Not at all; and I call the attention of my Democratic friends to an instance which they will all remember. At the time Mr. Van Buren first broached the idea in his message of a sub–Treasury, it met with stern opposition from his own friends. In his next message he renewed that recommendation, and it cost him his re–election, but is now the law of the land. Perhaps the crowning laurel on his brow is the fact that the sub– Treasury was established. There was an instance where the opinion, not only of Senators, but of the people differed from that of the President, but time has vindicated the wisdom of his suggestion, and the sub–Treasury stands as immovable today as the Constitution itself.

Sir, I do not understand the system of ethics or reasoning by which it is argued that because the President may differ from me, or I may differ


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from my brother Senator, it is a cause of offense. Had the honorable Senator from Massachusetts clothed his remarks in language less severe, I should not have had so much cause to complain. I believe it to be a sound rule in the action of all of us not to call everything by its harshest name. Good neighborhood and intercourse are kept up by applying milder appellations to what we may even consider offenses. I do not know wherein lies the propriety of charging the President of the United States with crime. What is his offense? Is it because he differs from the honorable Senator from Massachusetts in opinion? I think it is. No such language will escape the President toward that honorable Senator. He yields as we must all yield in political as well as other intercourse, the right to every man to think for himself. I do not by any means consider to a crime that the honorable Senator from Massachusetts should oppose the annexation of San Domingo. It is his right to do so, and nobly has he sustained it. He has no right to blame me, acting perhaps by lesser lights, for favoring the annexation of San Domingo. Is it a crime in me. No, sir. Were I to sit in judgment, I should say it was a mistaken judgment on the part of the honorable Senator. What he would say of others who differed from him is that perhaps they did not know as well as he, but that they were as honest in their conclusions, and as earnest in their convictions. That seems to me to be the only rule by which political associations can be held together, so as to insure their success, and upon which success may depend principles as dear as the life of the institutions under which we live.

But the honorable Senator from Massachusetts started off in a quadrille of blood, and nobly did he dance; and when he could not get blood enough really flowing, he had rivers of it in imagination. His fancy reddens at the prospect of slaughter! Blood, blood, blood! Would the honorable Senator stay the rivers of blood that flow in San Domingo? Let the flag of our country float in her harbors. No greater compliment could be paid to this negotiation than the fact that the simple presence of the American flag, a symbol of power and protection, has stayed the effusion of blood and the overthrow of Baez, who is, to use the Senator’s language, “a jockey”. I do not know whether it is proper in the Senator to call the president of a neighboring republic a jockey. It would be unbecoming in me. Why? Because he is the authority through whom his people speak, and we listen to what he says. He is the acknowledged authority of the people of Dominica. My friend from Massachusetts says he would not be if Cabral could get at him. Cabral has been at him, and Baez has driven him back to the mountain fastnesses of a border ruffian. Cabral, whom the honorable Senator is ready to eulogize, has received his deserts from the president of that republic, Baez. He has been driven from his marauding incursions back to his mountain fastnesses. Therefore I doubt the propriety of the honorable Senator calling him a “jockey.”

He says there were three of this tribe: Cazneau, Fabens, and Baez. Now the honorable Senator will not feel offended with me if I inform him that Fabens is a correspondent of his own and has broken bread at his own table. I know my honorable friend would not associate with such men as he has described. He has forgotten that fact. I found that out in another way. My honorable friend will recognize the fact. He not only corresponded with Fabens, but corresponded with him upon this very question. My friend was for giving them a protectorate, and his correspondent, Fabens, was for annexation. So it seems that everybody who does not agree precisely with my honorable friend must be vicious and bad, from the President of the United States down to Cazneau and Fabens!

Would my friend stop this “dance of blood?” Let him be no more troubled about the now ruling power of Hayti. Sir, if we are correctly informed, Salnave was the lawfully constituted president of the republic of Hayti, and he was overthrown and murdered by Saget, the man who now holds the power, and whom the Senator holds up in preference to the President of his own country.

MR. SUMNER. Never.

MR. NYE. The Senator says “never.” He said that if that was all he would leave them opposed to each other, and let the world judge.

MR. SUMNER. On that question.

MR. NYE. What did the honorable Senator mean by that but to convey the impression to the world that Saget was the superior in morals of the man whom the Senator says is guilty of a crime as the President of his own country? I desire to be candid. I can hardly believe that the honorable Senator weighed with his usual care the language that he used, for his manner was that of excitement and impulsiveness. I hope he will read it tomorrow, and then he will see the great wrong he has done.

“Nine menaces against Hayti,” he says, are to be found in the message of the President. My friend overlooked all the good things in that message. He was looking for what seems to be the nightmare of his mind, and trying to find something to weigh against those who are in favor of the annexation of the Dominican republic.

Sir, since we have sat here tonight I have been honored by the receipt of a little country newspaper from the interior of New York, from the township in which I spent the best part of my life. It is edited by two gentlemen, whom I knew when they were children. I will ask the Secretary to read some little comments to be found in that paper upon the message of the President. This paper comes from the mountains of New York, where the people are honest, if they are not as smart as in some other localities.

The Secretary read the following article from the De Ruyter New Era, of the 15th instant:

“President Grant, at the conclusion of his annual message, thus concisely states the aspect and aim of the Republican party:

‘In conclusion, I would sum up the policy of the Administration to be a thorough enforcement of every law, a faithful collection of the taxes provided for economy in the disbursement of the same, a prompt payment of every debt of the nation, a reduction of the taxes as rapidly as the requirements of the country will admit; the reduction of taxation and tariff to be so arranged as to afford the greatest relief; fair dealings with all other people to the end that war, with all its blighting consequences, may be avoided, but without surrendering any right or obligation due to us; a reform in the treatment of the Indians, and in the whole civil service of the country; and finally, in securing a pure, untrammeled ballot, where every man entitled to cast a vote may do so just once at each election, without fear of molestation or proscription on account of his political faith, nativity, or color.’


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“We commend the above to the careful attention of every citizen. Where on so few words can we find distinctively stated the true object of government? Can we improve on the great principles laid down in the foregoing? Well it will be for our country when such an era as President Grant thus describes is in political operation all over our land. We can all bear witness to the fact that the administration of President Grant has labored assiduously to promote this end. What better platform can be devised to promote the welfare and happiness of our land!”

MR. NYE. Such are the honest utterances of honest men in regard to that message. My friend from Massachusetts found no time in his remarks to pay a passing commentary upon any other portion of the message. Like the stock– jobber who reads nothing in the papers but the sale of stocks and the markets of stocks, my friend sees nothing in this message but what applies to San Domingo.

Now, sir, what higher evidence could there be of the honesty of the President than that, against the noble judgment of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, he should dare to venture to suggest to the Congress of the United States that he thinks it worthy of inquiry whether this project of annexation should be pressed further or not? Some gentleman, in the course of the debate, said that if this commission were organized there would a whitewashing report. I have not quite lost all my confidence in the honesty of mankind; I have not lost all my confidence in the honest judgment of my fellowmen, and I hope the time is far distant when I shall distrust it. Sir, in what possible milder form could this measure be submitted than in its present shape? I ask my honorable friend, if there are facts about this subject that are unknown to him and unknown to the world, does he not want them brought to light? If indeed there are reasons to be urged in favor of the annexation of San Domingo that have not been urged, or if a more thorough exploration and a more thorough mastery of the facts in relation to the finances, &c, of that country is required, where else should you look but to an honest commission sent out for the purpose of honestly inquiring in relation to these much–needed facts.

But the honorable Senator from Massachusetts says that if his friend Agassiz were appointed, he would not act without compensation. Well,sir, others could be found who would go without compensation. I do not believe that the American character is reduced to that low ebb that there cannot be found three men of high standing, both in social and political life, who would be willing to go to San Domingo for the future glory of their country to inquire into these facts. Sir, the trouble lies here: the President and, from all appearances, a majority of this Senate, disagree with the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, and for that there is not forgiveness. If I could be made to feel that his position on the question of San Domingo should affect his standing anywhere, I should be ashamed of myself, acting upon any evidence aside from his own assertion. I know that he stands upon high ground, and I am not asking too much of the honorable Senator when I ask him to concede to others who differ from him that same need of honesty.

Well, sir, acting upon that, I submit the question to the country whether the honorable Senator today in his speech treated the President with that fairness with which I would have him treated by everybody. There are certain characters that have been made so luminous by deeds of bravery and of patriotism as to attract attention and stand out pre–eminently in advance of their fellows. Two such characters are the President of the United States and the honorable Senator from Massachusetts. Do what he may, cut down this friend or the other, I shall remember the glory that has clustered around him and the triumphs that he has won, and nothing shall extract from me an expression of unkindness toward him. While I glory in his independence, I glory likewise in the independence of those who differ in opinion from him. Sometimes long series of successes to those who have been in the habit of leading make it appear an offense for a person to differ with them. I do not know but that may be slightly the case with my honorable friend. He has lead us through a terrible labyrinth. But other questions have sprung up on which minds differ, and I do not know but that he feels as though we all ought to bow down to him as we did upon the great measure that he made the specialty of his life. Sir, did it not involve a principle. I would always do it with deference to his superior judgment.

But, sir, we are told that the people of this country are opposed to Dominican annexation. If so, they want the information which we seek. Is there any better way? Not at all. If the honorable Senator desires to share further in this matter, let him be a commissioner and go himself, and he will come back with a new song in his mouth, I will warrant you. So apparently blind to everything else, he seems to think that the President reached out after him to remove him from the Committee on Foreign Relations. This mysterious knowledge; this knowledge that is not for the public; this knowledge that one keeps so sacred that he will not even tell the body that he asks to act upon it — what is it except that he has been told so and so? Sir, what have you been told a thousand times; what have all of us been told worse things than that, but I did not believe them. Do you suppose that if I should hear tomorrow that my friend was longing for the blood of the President I would believe it? [Laughter] No, sir; the only place where he uses blood is in a “dance.” [Laughter] He dances it, but never takes it. No, sir; the story would be too ridiculous to think of. Believe you that the warrior wants my friend’s blood? It will course until nature chills it in its veins before it will be harmed by any one, I hope. Visions of danger are floating about him when he is as safe as the babe in its mother’s arms. Nobody would harm him. It only shows what a heightened, quickened fancy can imagine. Everything is wrong because the President of the United States is in favor of annexing San Domingo, and not a creature that his fancy can create but what starts at his bidding! I advise my friend to just take a little of Radway’s Ready Relief, [laughter] get a sound sleep, and all these fancies will flee away to the source from whence they came. There is no danger.

The honorable Senator is not quite content in swinging his saber in a threatening attitude over the head of the President, but he attacks with more ferocity still what he terms the aid–de–kong


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–that is the French of it, I suppose; we call it plain English aid–de–camp. Now, sir, because in this protocol, as it is called, evidently drawn by Mr. Gautier, in which he describes this man as aid–de–camp of the President, fancy is on its wheels; here is a regal power, the President has got an aid–de–camp, and the Senator inquires whether in the Constitution or laws there is such an office! I answer no, there is no such office, but a man of tinsel put it in: but when Mr. Babcock comes to sign his name, he signs it plain “Orville E. Babcock.” But my friend says — now comes the Lawyer — that the description in a deed is what gives it character.

Suppose I should, in a deed that I was going to execute to my friend, describe him as “Charles Sumner, the greatest of living American statesmen,” would it vitiate the deed? [Laughter] Suppose I should say “Charles Sumner, the leading Abolitionist in America,” would that vitiate the deed? Suppose I should say “the man who hand military aspirations, but never gratified them.” would that vitiate the deed? [Laughter] But suppose that Mr. Sumner was conveying to me, and I should be described in some unnatural character, would I be bound by it? No matter how he was described, if he signed it plain “Charles Sumner,” as nobody else can sign it, would he be aid–de–camp or Sumner? [Laughter] Why Sumner, of course, for that is his own description of himself; and that was Babcock’s description of himself in the protocol. There is anarchy, there is usurpation; consult the Constitution, consult the law, says the honorable Senator, and see if you can find such a thing! We all knew before he told us that there was not any such thing there. He puts up an image to combat when there is no image there.

Sir, it was hardly worth all the towering ability and the genias of the honorable Senator to get up such a figure as that. Babcock still lives notwithstanding that Spanish description, and through the grace of God the country still survives and it will continue, and in the history of the worlds, if it had not been for the speech of the honorable Senator, nobody would ever have known that a Spaniard had written “aid–de–camp to his Excellency the President of the United States.”

“Optics nice, it takes, I wean, To see what is not to be seen.”

The Senator tries to make out a case not only upon broad grounds, but upon little specialties on which he dwells with a relish equaled only by these who like to feed on rottenness, as elements of the criminality of the President of the United States. Sir, before some country justice of the peace that might do in an early day; but it will not do in this day of light and intelligence. It is reaching out after something that does not exist and magnifying a mole–hill into a mountain. Upon such authority he hurls the dart of his power against the President of the United States. It may do for SUMNER, but it would not do for me.

Now, sir, the treaty to which this was a protocol is dead through the instrumentality of its most polite executioner, the honorable Senator himself. Why resurrect that? This inquiry is not in relation that treaty. Assume, if you please, that Mr. Babcock’s conduct was wrong, does that prevent a right course of conduct here after by men more experienced and better fitted for the place? That is the argument. Why stand here and pound a corpse? That treaty is dead. My friend seems desirous of convincing us that there is punishment after death, and he goes after that dead treaty. [Laughter]

Sir, in conclusion, it seems to me that my friend from Massachusetts has reached out for an occasion to give vent to imagery upon a supposed state of facts. I do not care if he his chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, one thing I stand here to declare; that to submit a proposition to a committee who have written the seal of condemnation upon it in advance is indulging in a farce with the best interests of this country. Does my friend mean to say that if the resolution was referred to him he would report in its favor? Does my honorable friend from Missouri [Mr. SCHURZ] or my honorable friend from New Hampshire [Mr. PATTERSON] mean to say that? By no means; for they have all expressed their opinions decidedly against it.

Sir, in the trial of any measure or any man before any tribunal on this earth, it is entitled to an unprejudiced jury and a fair–minded judge. To submit a question today that they decided yesterday is to insult their intelligence and to make appear very dull the intelligence of those who submit it. Were I chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, having expressed such an opinion, it seems to me that when this proposition was made I should have risen to my feet and said, “It would be improper to refer it to this committee; my mind has been made up and has been expressed.” It seems to me that I would have done that; but perhaps that would not have been right.

But, sir, the question is addressed to the intelligence of this Senate whether that reference, after this exhibition, shall be made. The President and his measures are at least entitled to a fair hearing; and where can they have a fairer one than before this body? Is it in the secrets of the committee room? No. Is it upon the musty files among the archives of the country, where none but the privileged are allowed to look? No, sir. The proposition stands upon its own merits, and addresses itself to the judgment of each individual here. This Senate needs no enlightenment from the committee upon that subject. They have had all they can get. But the country does require a fair trial, and the Administration upon these points is entitled to a fair hearing, and entitled to an examination that shall give the world to understand whether the Executive is right in his convictions, or the Senator from Massachusetts and those who believe with him. Has the President done anything to forfeit this right? In what branch has his administration failed to be a success? In none. Has he managed your finances well? Let the record speak. Are the recommendations that he makes in his message those of peace, and not of blood? Let the message speak for itself. Has he so demeaned himself before the world as to be entitled to the privileges and prerogatives of the poorest of the earth? A fair hearing, uncondemned at least before trial, will be the verdict of an honest people.

I complain, therefore, that in the discussion upon this question of reference the honorable Senator from Massachusetts has seized upon an occasion to do what will be painful to him to his


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last day; he has seized upon this occasion to strike so high that the bow which he drew with such terrific power will not have strength enough in it to carry the arrow to the mark. No, sir; he will stand today and for all time as the boldest among the bold of the champions of human freedom. He will stand as spotless as the mountain snow of anything of crime within the memory of all of us who know him. Pure as is the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, equally pure is the President of the United States, and he would shrink from the commission of a crime with all the sensitiveness that the fine feelings of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts would.

Sir, let us not indulge in these wild expressions upon this simple question of a reference to a committee. Does my honorable friend desire to hand this Administration over into the hands of the enemy? I know he does not, but I could not help noticing the peculiar smiles of those who would seize the scepter which it now wields. It gives consolation to the enemy, but pain to our friends. It gives hope where hope had almost fled. You will see it in the Patriot and in the Democratic papers all over the country that the “great SUMNER” has let fly an arrow at the President. Sir, it will not hit his head or his heart; but I know it will be painful to him, because, actuated by the purest motives, these assaults cannot be felt otherwise. How much better would it have been had the honorable Senator said: “Here, the President seems desirous to have this commission; I want al the light I can get on the subject; I join in that request, and I shall submit then to the people whether he or I be right.” That would have been the nobler part; and I regret exceedingly that my honorable friend did not see fit to pursue it.

Now, sir, I have said all I desire to say on this question except one word. My friend had a beautiful conclusion! And you know, Mr. President, that no man rounds his periods so beautifully as my friend; he rolls up in a colossal forms his figures and caps them with the finest specimens of eloquence. In his conclusion he said that he did not stand here to oppose this measure simply upon such and such grounds, but, rising to his enormous fullness of stature, he declared that he did it in behalf of humanity. Sir, what is the true course of humanity to pursue? To stop the effusion of blood there. His description of the effect of our flag there was a tribute that it never received before. Its simple presence was the harbinger of peace; and the bugle of Cabral, and the turbulence, if you please, of Baez were hushed before the power of that flag.

But my friend asks why are ships of war there but for a menace? Sir, we float our ships in the Mediterranean. Whom are we menacing there? Why do our ships float in the southern Atlantic, along the whole line of coast of other Governments? They are patrolling the seas as watchmen, vigilant and faithful on their course. Why were our ships found weighing up to Alaska, when it was not ours, but Russia? To see, as with the eye of the eagle, the approach of any threatened danger to our country. Why do our ships go everywhere? Why are they seen in the Bosphorus? They are seen there as missionaries of our country, bearing the flag of joy and peace wherever they go. They are seen at Samana under the same commission; they are seen at Havana under the same commission, and from time to time at every nook and corner of the inhabitable world to guard and protect her commerce, to give evidence to other nations that the eyes of the American people are on their citizens everywhere. Seek other cause than that to show crime on the part of the President. Our ships are omnipresent. Why, then, I ask of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, are French ships in the harbor of New York? Because by the custom of nations they are entitled to be there. Why are our ships seen in Liverpool and London? Because it is an exchange of courtesy by nations that they have always adopted. Why do our ships float at all? I have answered that. But, sir, are they a menace to any other people of San Domingo? I hope what the honorable Senator has said is true, that our vigilance has stayed the hands of the blood–thirsty there; and humanity, if it could speak, should thank us instead of charging it as a crime upon the President. In the name of humanity I rejoice at it, and in the name of justice the world will rejoice.

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

Hon. Z. CHANDLER.

MR. CHANDLER. Mr. President, I was not in my seat when a certain statement was made by the Senator from Massachusetts this afternoon, and I requested the reporter to write out precisely what he said. I have his words:

“In other days to carry a project a President has tried to change a committee. It was James Buchanan; and now we have been called this session to witness a similar endeavor by our own President. he was not satisfied with the Committee on Foreign Relations as constituted for years. He wished to change it. He asked first for the removal of the chairman. Somebody told him that would not be convenient. He then asked for the removal of the Senator from Missouri {Mr. SCHURZ] and he was told that could not be done without affecting the German vote. He then called for the removal of my friend, the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. PATTERSON] who, unhappily, had no Germans in his State. It was finally settled that could not be done.”

I desire to ask the Senator from Massachusetts, as this is a positive peremptory statement, to give to the Senate his authority for it. It is a positive charge; there are no “ifs” and “ands”; and if the Senator has any authority I should like to have him give it.

MR. SUMNER. I have understood that the President, in conversation with a Senator, expressed a desire for the removal of the chairman.

MR. CHANDLER. Will the Senator give the name of that Senator.

MR. SUMNER. I shall not. I have also understood through various reports that he desired the removal of the Senator from Missouri, and that it was suggested that, being a German, his removal would have a large influence on the German population; and then I have been told that the next suggestion was that the Senator from New Hampshire should go, and I have been told that these very suggestions were discussed at length in the caucus committee of the Republican


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party that undertook to revise the committees. I have so understood. If have been misinformed I shall be glad to be corrected by the Senator who was chairman of that caucus committee and doubtless in communication with the President. I certainly have no desire to do any injustice to the President. I only gather on this subject what has been repeated to me by a Senator, also by others out of the Senate, and by public report in the press. If in any respect I have gone beyond the precise facts, I certainly shall regret it; but in making the statement that I did I felt that I was not going beyond the precise facts.

MR. CHANDLER. Mr. President, had the Senator stated that it was mere hearsay, that it was rumor that he knew nothing about, I should not have called his attention or the attention of the Senate to his statement. But you will notice, sir, that it is a positive statement on his own responsibility, no rumor, no hearsay. “I, CHARLES SUMNER, say this was so, and I arraign the President for it.” And now he says “i is mere rumor, mere hearsay; I do not know anything about it;” and then he comes and asks me to divulge a confidential conversation in a committee of a caucus of this body which it was expressly stipulated should be confidential. If there is a member of that committee so mean as to disclose that information I demand his name, and I have aright, as chairman, to demand it.

MR. SUMNER. I shall not give it.

MR. CHANDLER. I have a right to demand it, and every member of that committee has a right to demand it. It is an imputation upon every member of that caucus committee, and I have a right to demand who the member of that committee was who was mean enough to divulge to you a confidential conversation. I cannot be drawn into divulging what took place in that committee. I am not at liberty to do so, nor is any other member of that committee. SO far as my knowledge goes, those charges against the President are false.

Mr. President, we have had today the most extraordinary exhibition that ever has taken place upon the floor of this body since I have had the honor to be a member of it. I have had the honor of a seat in this body for nearly fourteen years, and never during that time, in all the heat of political antagonism, never during the war, never before the war, have I heard so brutal an assault made upon any President of the United States as was made upon President Grant today in this body. This morning when the Senator denied that the had ever used a disrespectful word in secret session with regard to the President, and called upon any member of this body to contradict him if it were not so, I did not feel at liberty to rise in my seat and contradict him. But I desire to say now that his speech in secret session substantially corresponds with his speech today in open session, so far as the scope and spirit of it were concerned, toward the President; and there I leave it.

THE VICE PRESIDENT. The Chair desires to state to the Senator from Michigan that he doubts whether the word “brutal” is proper to be applied to a speech made by a Senator.

MR. CHANDLER. I will change it then.

THE VICE PRESIDENT. The Chair will in this connection state that the word “slander” fell on his ears a few moments ago, not from the Senator from Michigan. Although the parliamentary law allows a Senator to vindicate himself by using strong language in replying to an attack upon him, the Chair thinks that word was hardly within the bounds that the most liberal construction of parliamentary law would give in refuting what the Senator now referred to thought was an unjust imputation on him. The Chair mentions this, not as a point of order on any Senator, but simply to endeavor to have the language qualified, as there appears to be so much feeling in the Senate.

MR. CHANDLER. I will change the language to make it as strong as I can and still have it parliamentary. [Laughter.] Mr. President, it would hardly be supposed from what fell from the lips of the Senator from Massachusetts today that he was the first Senator consulted by the President upon the subject of San Domingo treaty. And yet such is the fact.

MR. SUMNER. After the treaty was signed.

MR. CHANDLER. The first Senator consulted after the treaty was signed was the Senator from Massachusetts, and he certainly left upon the mind of the President the impression that he was favorably disposed toward that treaty. I will read here two or three extracts from the letters of two individuals.

Colonel Forney says:

“At the President’s request I remained to hear his explanation, and I am free to add that such is my deep regard for MR. SUMNER, that his indorsement of the treaty went very far to stimulate me in giving it my own support.”

MR. CONKLING. Who writes that?

MR. CHANDLER. Colonel J. W. Forney, speaking of the same interview.  
MR. SUMNER. Read on; read the whole letter.

MR. CHANDLER. That is all that alludes to that.

MR. SUMNER. Read the whole of that letter.

MR. CHANDLER. I will read what I choose, sir. General Babcock gives his impression in these words — but as the Senator from Massachusetts desires the whole letters, I give them in full.

Colonel Forney’s letter is as follows:
WASHINGTON, June 6, 1870.

MY DEAR GENERAL: I was present at Mr. SUMNER’s residence when President Grant called and explained the Dominican treaty to the Senator, and although I cannot recall the exact words of the latter, I understood him to say that he would cheerfully support the treaty. At the President’s request I remained to hear his explanation, and I am free to add that such is my deep regard for Mr. SUMNER that his indorsement of the treaty went very far to stimulate me in giving it my own support. I have already said this much to MR. S., who, however, claims that other information since obtained has shaped his present action.

Yours truly,   J.W. FORNEY.
General BABCOCK

General Babcock writes as follows:
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 8, 1870.

SIR: In reply to your communication of June 7, I would inform you that on the Monday following the visit of the President, I went to MR. SUMNER’s residence, taking with me the original draft of the Dominican treaty, and, after reading the same to MR. SUMNER and giving him such explanation as I thought might be of service, the Senator, near the close of the conversation, volunteered to say that he could not think of doing otherwise than supporting the Administration in this matter. The Senator told me there was no objection to the instrument as a whole, but called my attention to the wording in one article, which should, in his opinion, correspond with the wording in another article.

I explained to Mr. SUMNER the reason why I did not sign the treaty, that an act of Congress forbid officers of the Army and Navy accepting any diplomatic appointment. He remarked that he remembered the act, and that in his opinion it was passed in opposition to the secretary to Mr. Baucroft, and that he thought the act very unjust.


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I called upon the Senator a second time a few days before the report of the committee upon the treaty. I met him as he was about leaving his residence, and the interview was very short. He did not inform me or give me to understand that his views had in any changed regarding this matter.  
O.E. BABCOCK,
United States Army.
HON. Z. CHANDLER.
United States Senate.

There is the recollection of two individuals as to the same interview, and up to the time when that treaty came up for consideration and for ratification the impression was strong upon the minds of both of them that the honorable Senator from Massachusetts was its warm supporter; and yet, sir, we have had this exhibition today that has given me pain, while it has given the honorable Senators on the opposite side of the Chamber great delight.

We have seen, sir, great men rise and live, prosper and die. We have seen them upon this floor, Senator after Senator — your Doolittle, your Cowan, your Dixon; but their example seems to have little effect upon the Senator from Massachusetts.

The Senator sees fit to call in question the statesmanship of the President of the United States, to compare it with his own. Now, sir, I hold in my hand the remarks of the President of the United States upon San Domingo.
Extract from President Grant’s Message.

“During the last session of Congress a treaty for the annexation of the republic of San Domingo to the United States failed to receive the requisite two–thirds vote of the Senate. I was thoroughly convinced then that the best interests of this country, commercially and materially, demanded its ratification. These has only confirmed me in this view. I now firmly believe that the moment it is known that the United States have entirely abandoned the project of accepting as a part of its territory the island of San Domingo, a free part will be negotiated for by European nations in the bay of Smana; a large commercial city will spring up, to which we shall be tributary without receiving corresponding benefits, and then will be seen the folly of rejecting so great a prize. The Government of San Domingo has voluntarily sought this annexation. It is a weak Power, numbering probably less than one hundred and twenty thousand should, and yet possessing one of the richest territory under the sun, capable of supporting a population of ten million people in luxury. The people of San Domingo are not capable of maintaining themselves in their present condition, and must look for outside support. They yearn for the protection of our free institutions and laws, our progress and civilization. Shall we refuse them?

“The acquisition of San Domingo is desirable because of its geographical position. It commands the entrance to the Caribbean sea and the Isthmus transit of commerce. It possesses the richest soil, best and most capricious harbors, most salubrious climate, and the most valuable products of the forest, mine and soil of any of the West India Islands. Its possession by us will in a few years build up a coastwide commerce of immense magnitude, which will go far toward restoring to us out lost merchant marine. It will give to us those articles which we consume so largely and do not produce, thus equalizing our exports and imports. In case of foreign war it will give us command of all the islands referred to, and thus prevent an enemy from ever again possessing himself of rendezvous upon our very coast. At present our coast trade between the States bordering on the Atlantic and those bordering on the Gulf of Mexico is cut in two by the Bahamas and the Antilles. Twice we must, as it were, pass through foreign countries to get by sea from Georgia to the west coast of Florida.

“San Domingo, with a stable government, under which her immense resources can be developed, will give remunerative wages to tens of thousands of laborers not now upon the island. This labor will take advantage of every available means of transportation to abandon the adjacent islands and seek the blessings of freedom and its sequence –each inhabitant receiving the reward of his own labor. Porto Rico and Cuba will have to abolish slavery, as a measure of self–preservation to retain their laborers.

“San Domingo will become a large consumer of the products of northern farms and manufactories. The cheap rate at which he citizens can be furnished with food, tools and machinery will make it necessary that contiguous islands should have the same advantages, in order to compete in the production of sugar, coffee, tobacco, tropical fruits, &c. This will open to us a still wider market for our products.

“The production of our own supply of these articles will cut off more than one hundred millions of our annual imports, besides largely increasing our exports. With such a picture, it is easy to see how our large debt abroad is ultimately to be extinguished. With a balance of trade against us (including interest on bonds held by foreigners, and money spent by our citizens traveling in foreign lands) equal to the entire yield of the precious metals in this country, it is not so easy to see how this result is to be otherwise accomplished. The acquisition of San Domingo is an adherence to the ‘monroe doctrine;’ it is a measure of national protection; it is asserting our just claim to a controlling influences over the great commercial traffic soon to flow from west to east by way of the Isthmus of Darien; it is to build up our merchant marine; it is to furnish new markets for the products of our farms, shops, and manufacturers; it is to make slavery insupportive in Cuba and Porto Rico at once, and ultimately so in Brazil; it is to settle the unhappy condition of Cuba, and end an exterminating conflict; it is to provide honest means of paying our honest debts without overtaxing the people; it is to furnish our citizens with the necessaries of everyday life at cheaper rates than ever before; and it is, in fine, a rapid stride toward that greatness which the intelligence, industry, and enterprise of the citizens of the United States entitle this country to assume among nations.

“In view of the importance of this question I earnestly urge upon Congress early action, expressive of its views as to the best means of acquiring San Domingo. My suggestion is, that by joint resolution of the two Houses of Congress, the Executive be authorized to appoint a commission to negotiate a treaty with the authorities of San Domingo for the acquisition of that Island, and that an appropriation be made to defray the expenses of such commission. The question may then be determined, either by the action of the Senate upon the treaty, or the joint action of the two Houses of Congress upon a resolution of annexation, as in the case of the acquisition of Texas. So convinced an I of the advantages to flow from the acquisition of San Domingo, and of the great disadvantages, I might almost say calamities, to flow from non–acquisition, that I believe the subject has only to be investigated to be approved.”

Take that statesmanlike description of San Domingo and the benefits which would accrue to the United States from its acquisition, and then compare it with the speech of the Senator today.

As we are comparing statesmanship, I desire to call the attention of the Senate and of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts to two different classes of statesmen. The Senator from Massachusetts is to go down in history beside President Grant as a statesman. President Grant will live in the memory of his countrymen and his laurels will be fresh and green when the Senator from Massachusetts will be forgotten. But, sir, as statesmen they are to go down in history, and what do they present as their trophies? The Senator from Massachusetts marches up to the front with what? With the north pole on his shoulder and an iceberg by his side, and there is the result of his statesmanship. But the President of the United States comes with the island of the Gulf and untold millions of wealth. There are the results of two specimens of statesmanship.

Sir, I am willing to compare those trophies side by side. We all remember the tremendous effort made by the Senator from Massachusetts last winter to get up an expedition to the north pole, and we all remember with what wonderful skill and power he advocated paying $7,200,000 in gold for Alaska, and now the result of his statesmanship is the north pole and an iceberg. The result of the President’s statesmanship will be the islands of the Antilles and untold wealth to this great nation.

Mr. President, there are critical periods in human life. Children sometimes die at the teething age. If they pass through that age they may grow to manhood; but that is the trying time with the infant. Sir, there is also a trying time in the lives of public men, and if they pass that, they may live into a green old age. That fatal


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age is from sixty–two to sixty–five. It is the age when men are bitten by the presidential mania, and once bitten there is no cure. They die of that disease; there is no remedy.

We have had eminent examples of that description. You remember, sir, that the honorable Senator from New York — I allude to Mr. Seward — who, perhaps, had more power in this body, more power throughout the country, more popularity than any other man of his generation, was a candidate for the Presidency; and, when Mr. Lincoln obtained the nomination, he turned his back upon his old associates, never doubting but that with his tremendous power and influence his overshadowing talent, he could at least divide the Republican party and insure a victory to its enemies. In 1862 they formed a Union party, and Mr. Seward, seduced by the hope that the Democracy would take him up in case he was dropped by the Republicans, marched over into the ranks of the enemy, and he took one vote and no more. He went down, and there was not a ripple upon the surface of the water where he went under.

A few years after, another eminent statesman, who thought he was entitled to a presidential nomination, was disappointed. He made his appearance at the door of the Republic convention, but did not receive the nomination, and in a few days he was rapping at the door of the Democratic convention. He went out; and he, too, took one vote, and no more. Both of them had a tremendous power while they were cooperating with their friends and with their party organization; but the moment they left their party they ceased to be a power at all. And now the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, not profiting by experience, has made up his mind that with his great power, his vast influence, he can do almost anything he pleases. Well, sir, he can, inside of the Republican party; but when he organizes his troops on the other side of the Chamber, when the honorable Senator from Ohio [Mr. THURMAN] marches to the bugle–call of CHARLES SUMNER, when the honorable Senators from Delaware fail into line and dress at his command, he will not have a large force, and will increase their present numbers just one. The line will not be long; it will be easily handled. These gentlemen are well drilled; they will march and keep step as readily to the music and to the command of CHARLES SUMNER as they do to that of the honorable Senator from Ohio. But, led by the Senator from Massachusetts, that little force will not be more effective than it is at present; and, so far as heard from, they are not very dangerous. I commend the Senator from Massachusetts to a consideration of the lives and political death of those who from personal resentments or disappointments have left the Republican hosts to wallow with the Democracy.

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

Senator Sumner replies to remarks of Senators Chandler, Nye, and Morton.

MR. SUMNER. Mr. President, so far as the Senator from Michigan [MR. CHANDLER] arraigns me as a member of the Republican party I have no reply, He knows that I am as good a Republican as himself; he knows that I have had as much to do with the making and support of the party as himself; and when CHARLES SUMNER finds the Senators over the way ranging under his banner, as the Senator predicts, this country will be regenerated, for the Democratic party will be Republican.

But I do reply to the questions of fact. And now, sir, I am obliged to make a statement — the Senator compels me — which I had hoped not to make. The President of the United States did me the honor to call at my house — it was nearly a year ago, during the recess. Shortly after coming into the room he alluded to certain new treaties already negotiated, with regard to which I had no information. Sir, you must expect me to speak frankly. The President addressed me four times as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, adding that the treaties would come before the Judiciary Committee, and on this account he wished to speak with me.

He proceeded with an explanation, which I very soon interrupted, saying: “By the way, Mr. President, it is very hard to turn out Governor Ashley; I have just received a letter from the Governor, and I hope I shall not take too great a liberty, Mr. President, if I read it. I find it excellent and eloquent, and written with a feeling which interests me much.” I commenced the letter and read two pages or more, when I thought the President was uneasy, and I felt that perhaps I was taking too great a liberty with him in my own house, but I was irresistibly impelled by loyalty to an absent friend, while I was glad of this opportunity of diverting attention from the treaties. As conversation about Governor Ashley subsided the President returned to the treaties, leaving on my mind no very strong idea of what they proposed, and absolutely nothing with regard to the character of the negotiation. My reply was precise. The language is fixed absolutely in my memory: “Mr. President,” I said, “I am an Administration man, and whatever you do will always find in me the most careful and candid consideration.” Those were my words.

I have heard it said that I assured the President that I would support his administration in this measure. Never. He may have formed this opinion; but never did I say anything to justify it; nor did I suppose he could have failed to appreciate the reserve with which I spoke. My language, I repeat, was precise, well–considered, and chosen in advance: “I am an Administration man, an whatever you do will always find in me the most careful and candid consideration.” In this statement I am positive. It was early fixed in my mind, and I know that I am right.

And, sir, did I not give to the treaties the most careful and candid consideration? They were referred to the committee with which I am connected. I appeal to my colleagues on that committee if I did not do all that I promised. When I first laid them before the committee it was very evident that there was a large majority against them. Indeed, there was only one member of the committee who said anything in their favor. I then stated that I hoped our conversation would be regarded as informal, and that there would be no immediate vote, or any course which could be interpreted otherwise than friendly to the Administration. Too prompt action might be misconstrued.

My desire was to proceed with utmost delicacy. I did not know then, what I have learned


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since, how the President had set his heart upon the project of annexation. With my experience of treaties, familiar as I have been with them in the Senate, I supposed that I was pursuing the course most agreeable to him, and should the report be adverse, most respectful and considerate. This I state, sir, on my conscience as my solemn judgment at the time and my motive of conduct. I wished to be careful and candid. It was easy to see from the beginning that annexation had small chance in the committee, whatever might be its fate in the Senate; but I was determined to say and do nothing by which the result should in any way be aggravated. Again, I appeal to every one of my colleagues on that committee for their testimony in this behalf. I know that I am above criticism. I know that I have pursued a patriotic course, always just and considerate to the President; and I tell the Senator from Michigan, who has served with me so lone in this Chamber, that he does me great injustice. Some time or other he will see it so. He may not see it now; but he ought to rise in his place and at once correct the wrong.

Perhaps I need not say more, and yet there has been so much criticism upon me tonight that I proceed a little further. Here was my friend at my right, [Mr. Nye,] who, having shot his shaft, has left. I wish that he had praised me less and been more candid. His praise was generous; but his candor certainly less marked than his praise. I might take up every point of his speech and show you the wrong that he did me. He is not in his seat. I wish he were. [Mr. NYE entered the Chamber from one of the cloak–rooms.] Oh, there he comes. He said that I was against inquiry. No such thing. I am for inquiry. I which all the documents now on the files of the State Department and of the Navy Department spread before Congress and before the country. To this end I have introduced a resolution which is now on your table; i wish this information before any other step is taken in this business. Instead of being against inquiry, I am for it and in that way which will be most effective. But the resolution which I introduced asking for the most important testimony, all documentary in character, is left on the table, while a different proposition, legislative in character and in no respect a resolution of inquiry, but an act creating three new officers under the Constitution, is pressed on the Senate, and, as I demonstrated today, for the obvious purpose of associating Congress with this scheme of annexation. The whole question of annexation was opened, and I felt it my duty to show at what cost to the good name of this republic the scheme has been pursued down to this day. I entered upon this exposure with a reluctance which I cannot express; but it was with me a duty.

My friend at my right [Mr. NYE] says — I took down his words. I think — that I saw nothing in the President’s message except what he said about San Domingo. I was speaking of San Domingo, and not of the other topics, nor was I speaking of the President. There again my friend did me injustice. I was speaking of annexation, and it is my habit, I think you will do me the justice to say, Mr. President, to speak directly to the questions on which I undertake to address the Senate. At any rate, I try to confine myself to the point; and the point today was annexation, and nothing else. I was not called to go to the right or to the left, to enter upon all the various topics of the message, whether for praise or censure. The message was not under discussion, except in one single point. Nor was I considering the merits of the Administration, or the merits, whether civil or military, of the President; but the annexation of San Domingo, on which I felt it my duty to express myself with the freedom which belongs to a Senator of the United States.

The Senator here [Mr. NYE] says, and the Senator over the way, [Mr. MORTON] I think said the same thing, that I have assailed the President. I have done no such thing. I alluded to the President as little as possible, and never except in strict subordination to the main question. On this question of annexation I feel strongly; not as the Senator [Mr. NYE] has most uncandidly suggested, from any pride of opinion, or because I have already expressed myself one way and the President another, but because for long years I have felt strongly always when human rights are assailed. I cannot see the humble crushed without my best endeavor against the wrong. Long ago I read those proud words by which Rome in her glory was described, as making it her business to spare the humble, but to war down the proud. I felt that we had before us a case where the rule was reversed, and in an unhappy hour our Government was warring down the humble. So it seemed to me on the evidence.

Do I err? Then set the facts before the people that they may judge; but as I understand those facts, whether from official documents or from the testimony of officers or citizens who have been in that island latterly, Baez has been maintained in power by the arms of the United States. So I understand it. Correct me if I am wrong; but if the facts be as I believe, you must leave me to my judgment upon them.

Both my honorable friends, the Senator on my right [Mr. NYE] and the Senator over the way, [Mr. MORTON] have said that I sought to present an unfavorable comparison between the president of Hayti and the President of the United States; and the Senator over the way went into an elaborate arraignment of the Haytian president. Sir, I had no word of praise for that president. The Senator is mistaken. From his message, which I now hold in my hand, I read his congratulation that the project of annexation had been defeated by the “good sense and the wisdom” of the Senate at Washington; and I then read from the message of the President of the United States what I supposed was the issue he intended to join with the Haytian president, characterizing this very rejection of annexation on the part of the Senate as “folly;” and I put the two messages on that point face to face, and there I left them. I said nothing to praise Saget or to arraign Grant. Sir, I have no disposition to do either. I only wish to do my duty simply and humbly, pained and sorry that I am called to differ from so many valued friends, but then still feeling that for me there is no other course to pursue.

The Senator over the way [Mr. MORTON] said that he understood that the Haytian minister had sent an impertinent dispatch to the Secretary of State on account of this very message; and in another part of his remarks the same Senator said that I gave to the message strained constitution when I found in it a menace; and yet the same


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Senator is obliged to admit that, according to the report that has come to his ears, the Haytian minister has complained of this very message as a menace to his Government.

MR. MORTON rose.

The VICE PRESIDENT. Does the Senator from Massachusetts yield to the Senator from Indiana?

MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

MR. MORTON. I did not understand that the Haytian minister had complained that this message menaced the Haytians. I never heard that suggested until today; but what I saw in the papers was that the Haytian minister had taken offense at what the President said about the annexation of Dominica, and had improperly and unjustifiably complained to the Secretary of State about it, and had been rebuked.

MR. SUMNER. As I understand, his complaint was the allusion to Hayti, which he interpreted, as I think most of the world will, as to a certain extent an assault on the independence of his country. As I understand, he felt it his duty to call the attention of the Secretary of State to this point; but so far from receiving any rebuff, I am informed from two different quarters — and one is the minister himself — that he received a very kind note with an invitation to dinner. The incident has this practical importance, that it affords a complete reply to the Senator when he says that I gave to this message a strained construction. Curiously enough the Senator went on to admit — I quote his words — “that the message does speak of the island of San Domingo,” and then adds, “inadvertently.” Can the Senator admit of an inadvertence in a President’s message? Here the inadvertence is nine–fold. Does he not suppose that every message is so carefully considered by the President, and then by his Cabinet, that inadvertence, especially nine–fold inadvertence, is impossible? Plainly is it impossible on a question of this importance, which had occupied so much of the President’s attention.

I will not trespass on the Senate more, except again to repeat that I have been painfully impressed by what I must again call the want of candor on the part of my excellent friend at my right, and also a similar spirit on the part of my friend over the way. I will not say that they intended in the least any injustice to me; but they have both, so far as they could, put me in a false position. I leave that position to be determined by what I said, and by my votes; this testimony I claim in my behalf.

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

Hon. ROSCOE CONKLING.

 

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

Hon. ALLEN G. THURMAN.

Senator THURMAN proceeded at some length, criticizing the debate as an attach upon the Senator from Massachusetts, and giving some of the political history of the past in defence of Senator Sumner, finally stating his objections to annexation as follows:

But again, sir, if these people were the most intelligent people in the world, if they were American citizens, if they were American–born, if every man of them were white and were educated, still there is an objection to admitting them as a State. You have gone too far already in admitting States with insufficient population. Already you have admitted new States into this Union whose population is scarcely more than that of the little city in which I live. I do not complain of that about the original thirteen; nobody has any right to complain about it. Those thirteen original States formed the Government. The assent of Delaware was as essential as the assent of New York. The assent of Rhode Island was as essential as the assent of Massachusetts. They were independent; they had a right to form that Government or not to form it; and if they saw fit to form it by solemn compact, no State, however great its population may become or however great its wealth, has a right to cast up to any State, however small, that she is inferior either in population or in wealth. So far as the thirteen original States are concerned, therefore, I have no complaint to make, nor the least in the world, that the population of some of them is very small as compared with the population of others; but when it comes to admitting new States into the Union, then I do say it is of most evil example to give to forty or fifty thousand people in one portion of the Union that co–equal right which is possessed by four million of people in New York; and therefore, if there were no other reason than this, I am not prepared now,


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and would not be prepared in the case I have supposed, to admit Dominica as a State.But, sir, passing from that, I am opposed to it for another reason. This scheme contemplates the acquisition first of Dominica; secondly, it contemplates the acquisition of the remainder of the island, the republic of Hayti, by force or by intrigue. It contemplates that, per fas out nefas, Hayti too is to be annexed. That is the meaning of it. Nobody can believe that if the United States gets Dominica they will stop there. Nobody entertains any such opinion. “The whole” if not “boundless continent,” boundless island, is to be ours if we ever set a foot of ownership upon one single inch of it.

The next objection I have to the scheme is that the inevitable result of it must be an increase of the Army and the Navy. In my judgment they are both too great already. In my judgment a republican country needs no such great standing army, and the experience of the last war proves that we need no great navy in time of peace. But annex Dominica, and forthwith you will be compelled to increase your Army and to increase your Navy, and thereby increase the expenses of the Government.

Again, sir, I am opposed to this scheme because it is another one of the mighty strides that have been taken toward centralizing all power in the General Government, overthrowing everything like the reserved rights of the States and the people. Once begin the policy of having a set of outlying States, of having a set of States peopled with natives of a different race from ours, speaking a different language from ours, with different customs from ours, a different civilization from ours, and the rule of the bayonet will become almost a necessity; and every instance of bayonet rule that takes place in the country is a precedent set up in favor of despotism. Every instance of bayonet rule, of bayonet interference with elections, of bayonet interference with the reserved rights of the people, of bayonets used to overthrow or control State governments or the people of States — every such instance that goes unrebuked is a fortress built by despotism in the very heart of the country to destroy the liberties of the people.

Sir, you will extend this and magnify it a thousandfold if you once begin on this great scheme of outlying States. I do not say that there might not be territory beyond the limits of the Republic that we ought to acquire; I could name territory that I think the interest of the country would require us to annex if it could be done with the free, voluntary, cheerful consent of its people; but this is not such a scheme of conquest. It is the inauguration of a scheme by which we are to have a great colonial system like Great Britain, by which we are to conquer territory as England has conquered Ilindostan. It is a scheme by which the aggregation of territory is to be marked, every mile, by footsteps in blood and by human tyranny. That is what this scheme contemplates. It comes before us, like the first seduction, with all the beauties that can be thrown around it by the graces of rhetoric or the beauties that can be shown to the eye or excited in the imagination. But that is the way the tempter always comes. No tempter ever came with a forbidding aspect. He always comes clothed in beauty and uttering words that are music itself. But it becomes Senators, men who ought to be statesmen or ought not to be seated here at all, to look through all this rose color that is thrown around the subject and see what is to be the fatal end of this scheme if it be pursued to the end.

It is, Mr. President, for these reasons, because I am opposed to the annexation of the republic of Dominica as a State; because I am opposed to acquiring Hayti by force or by fraud; because I am opposed to an increase of the Army and the Navy; because I am opposed to increasing the expenses of the Government, and because I am opposed to taking any further step in what I think, with all due deference to others, is the downward road we are treading toward a consolidated despotism in this land, that I must give my vote at every stage of the case, from first to last, against all propositions that look to the annexation of Dominica.

The debate was further continued by Senators WILLIAMS, THURMAN, CASSERLY, and STOCKTON, when the vote was taken on the question of referring the resolution to the Committee on Foreign Relations, as follows:

YEAS — Messrs. Buckingham, Casserly, Johnston, McCreery, Morrill of Vermont, Patterson, Ross, Schurz, Scott, Stockton, Somner, Thurman, and Tipton — 13;

NAYS — Messrs. Abbott, Ames, Brownlow, Carpenter, Chandler, Cole, Conkling, Corbett, Cragin, Edmunds, Flannagan, Hamilton of Texas, Hamlin, Harlan, Howe, Howell, Lewis, Morton, Nye, Osborn, Pomeroy, Pool, Ramsey, Revels, Sawyer, Sherman, Stewart, Thayer, Warner, Willey, and Williams –31.

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

Extract from the Speech of Hon. T. O. HOWE

Since I have been provoked to get up, which I obstinately did not mean to do, I am induced to contribute one other remark to this debate, and I know I do it at the peril of being counted among those who assault the Senator from Massachusetts. In one point of view the remark I propose to make will seem like an assault upon that Senator; and yet I do not mean it as a personal assault upon him, and I think he will conceded as much if he is as candid as he usually is. The remark that I propose to make, and I wish to call his especial attention to it, is this: I did not hear the whole of the speech of the Senator from Massachusetts, but, sir, with more regret than I think I ever heard anything asserted in the Senate, I did hear that distinguished Senator declare and attempt to prove that in the last official annual message of the President of the United States, made to the Congress of the United States, he had inserted no less than nine distinct menaces against the independence of the republic of Hayti. Hayti is an independent Power, with which we have diplomatic relations, and with which we are on the most amicable terms. If the President made such threats against the independence of that Power, I did not hesitate to say that it was a very grave offense in the President. But if he has made those threats, I think every Senator who loves his country will, upon the whole, conclude that it was the part of honest patriotism and sound statesmanship to conceal those threats, if concealment were possible; and if there be any man in this broad county of ours who was especially, as it seems to me, under obligations not to call attention


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to such threats as those, it appears to me to be that very distinguished Senator who occupies the position of chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Senate.

But, Mr. President, am I not justified by what is the consciousness of every man within the sound of my voice in saying that the Senator from Massachusetts, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, was not only the first to call attention to these alleged threats of the President, but is absolutely and without exception the only man in all God’s world who has ever pointed them out to the public?

MR. SUMNER. No, no.

MR. HOWE. The Senator says “no.” Then he has information that I have not.

MR. SUMNER. I have.

MR. HOWE. I stand here most solemnly to affirm that until I heard that charge made by him on the floor of the Senate I never had heard it from any living being; I never had see it in any organ; I never had conceived that such an idea rested in the bosom of a single human being. That was the state of my mind and of my convictions when I heard him make those declarations. If he has heard them from other sources, I have only to repeat that he has heard what I have not.

Sir, I said that I thought the Senator from Massachusetts, occupying the relations he does to this body and to the country, was the last man who ought to have called attention to those threats, if the threats were in the paper. But, sir, I cannot leave this point there; for I am bound to add my testimony to the testimony of others who have spoken in this debate, when I say that in my judgment, and upon my reading of that message, there are not only not mine threats but there is not the ghost of one, not a syllable of one, not a syllable in that portion which the Senator read from that message which referred to Hayti; and in making this statement I think I only assert what is the common understanding of the whole Senate.

San Domingo. : Debate in the United States Senate on the resolutions of Hon. O. P. Morton, authorizing the appointment of a commission to examine into and report upon the condition of the island.

Extracts from the speech of Hon. JAMES HARLAN

MR. HARLAN. I had hoped that a vote might be taken without my saying a word on this subject, and I should be prepared to vote now without talking if other Senators were in that condition. But I find it to be physically necessary for me to do something at this time of the morning, [three o’clock a.m.] in order to keep awake. [Laughter.] That is the chief reason I have for saying a single word. I differ, however, with my friend, the honorable Senator from Pennsylvania, in the suggestion that he has made.

The object of this commission, as I understand it, is to elicit information that may be useful to Congress in some future legislation. I would prefer, if this proposition is to be amended at all, that it should be amended in another part of the resolution; that the words “President of the United States” should be stricken out, and the terms “President of the Senate and Speaker of House of Representatives” inserted: so that it would become a congressional committee sent out by the two branches of Congress for the purpose of gathering up information that may enlighten the bodies that are to act on the report. If the object of raising this commission were to negotiate a treaty, I think it would be entirely proper for Congress (if prepared to indorse such a negotiation in advance) to authorize the President to appoint its members. But as the mover of this resolution evidently intends that the information that is to be secured by the action of the commission shall be useful to the Senate and the House of Representatives in some future legislation which he contemplates may become practicable and desirable, I am clearly of the opinion that it should be composed entirely of members of the two Houses.

I do not sympathize with the suggestion made by Senators that it has become necessary to vindicate the character of the President of the United States, for if we take to be literally true every innuendo which is thrown out in this discussion or which has been quoted from fugitive communications printed in the newspapers of the country, I cannot see that any one of them implicates the President of the United States. Take the last one to which allusion has been made, that somebody has surveyed a town site on Samana bay and erected monument at the corners of the streets bearing the names of distinguished citizens of the United States. What of it? What does it prove? These inscriptions are probably the names of streets; but if intended by these incipient speculators to indicate that certain distinguished citizens of the two republics are interested in the property, that fact would have but little weight on my mind. This is a mode of advertisement well known to the people of every new community. Such a fact would not even tend to prove that the President of the United States ever knew anything in relation to it, or had the slightest interest in it. These founders of new cities probably adopt this means, may have put up the names of distinguished men for the purpose of attracting attention to their town site; or they may have intended to secure a fictitious value by creating the false impression that distinguished people had invested money in these enterprises. There is nothing new in this. We have in my own State a young and flourishing town named for the eminent citizen who presides over this body. Now, who ever supposed that you, sir, ever owned the slightest pecuniary interest in the town of Colfax, State of Iowa?

And if some one has erected a stake or other monument bearing the name of the President of the United States in this island at a point where somebody supposed he might in future establish a town or a village, it does not seem to me to be a matter of sufficient gravity to control the vote of a single member of this body.

What other allegations have been made, which, if taken to be true, would logically imply that the President of the United States had been guilty of malfeasance or misfeasance in office, or which would be discreditable to him as a citizen or as an officer? I have not heard one such utterance during this debate. Hence my vote must be controlled by other considerations entirely. No fact has been alleged which, if fairly construed, would implicate the President in wrong. But, as I have before observed, the purpose of the mover of this joint resolution was doubtless to enlighten Congress on a grave subject which may be brought before it for legislative action, and not specially intended to enlighten the President. I think the commission


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ought to be composed entirely of Senators and members of the House. I differ, therefore, with my honorable friend from Pennsylvania, and cannot vote for this amendment.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Mr. President, I am almost sure that no final vote will be taken on this resolution until about breakfast–time, and hence the intervening period might as well be consumed in conversation as in calling the roll.

I understood my honorable friend from Ohio to say that there was no necessity for the passage of this bill on the grounds alleged by the mover; that our Library was full of information; that it was totally unnecessary to send out a board of commissioners; and yet in less than two hours’ time from the delivery of that speech the Senator seems to be more anxious than any other member of the body for information — every species of information, suggested by every variety of amendment, relevant and irrelevant to the general subject of inquiry.

But, sir, is it true in point of fact that the Senate may not need additional information? That leads me to refer to the action of the Committee on Foreign Relations, intrusted with the examination of the treaty to which allusion has been made. I feel warranted in making this allusion by the example set me by the honorable chairman of that committee, where it had been sent by order of the Senate, every member except one was opposed to its ratification.

MR. SUMNER. No; my friend does not state precisely what I said. I said there was only one member of the committee who said anything in its favor. That was my statement.

MR. HARLAN. I am gratified to have the exact words of the honorable Senator, for its answers my purpose as well as my own imperfect quotation, and I desire to be correct. Only one member who said anything in its favor, because only one was prepared to utter a distinct opinion on the subject. I will say for myself why I was not at that time prepared to utter my opinion pro or con. It was for the want of information. No member of that committee, not excepting the chairman himself, seemed to me to be well informed on the subject. I freely admit I was not, and, as far as I was able to judge from the discussion, others were in a similar condition. They did not seem to me to be able to arrive readily at a conclusion either for or against its ratification. And the honorable chairman, for whom I entertain the greatest respect, will pardon me for saying that I was not able to understand from him what his judgment was for several weeks after that treaty went to committee. He may have had distinct opinions, a judgment fully made up from the first; and he may have carefully concealed this conclusion of his own mind, from a sense of duty. He may not have deemed it proper to make an early announcement, lest this might have unduly influenced the judgment of others. And I have no desire to criticize his course.

It is a pleasure to me also to state that the honorable Senator aided the members of that committee in this investigation by bringing to the subject all his great learning and ripe experience. And yet, it seemed to me — he will pardon me for this freedom — even that honorable Senator did not appear always to be certain of his facts, even after gleaning from the State Department, the Congressional Library, fugitive books, such as gazettes, travels, maps, and charts, and also the recollections of officers of the Army and navy who had visited the island or cruised in the adjacent waters. After exhausting all available sources of knowledge, as it seemed to me, the members of the committee were still in great doubt and came to conclusions reluctantly.

That was the impression made on my mind at the time, and I do not believe that the Senate was better informed than the committee. I conclude that what was then true is still true. If so, the resolution ought to be adopted and I am at a loss to know why its adoption should be opposed by any member of this body.

I am at equal loss to know why any member of the Senate should feel it to be his duty to criticize the action of the President in relation to the treaty to which allusion has been made. it has been intimated that the President pursued an irregular line of action in negotiating with the republic of Dominica; but any one who has taken the trouble to consult with the President upon the subject, and who is not opposed to annexation, cannot fail to justify his course or to believe that the President acted in the utmost good faith. I do not feel at liberty to repeat anything that he has said to me on that subject, but I may, perhaps, be permitted to state what has since become notorious, without regard to the original sources of information.

What are the facts, then, Mr. President, as we all now know them to have existed? The Chief Magistrate of this nation was informed by representatives from the Dominican republic that they desired annexation to the United States. The President was not prepared to act definitively on the subject at once. He knew, what cannot be unknown to the more experienced members of this body, that this Government has been striving fruitlessly from its foundation to obtain a footing in the West Indies. This is the tradition of the State Department. It is in strict harmony with every official paper that has come to the Senate in any capacity. It is not unknown to some members of this body that no foreign Government has consented until within a very few years even to entertain a proposition to cede to the United States a foot of soil in the West Indies, not even enough ground for a coal–yard. They have carefully excluded our flag from the insular part of this continent. They seemed to take offence even at the mention of the subject.

Knowing this chapter of the secret history of his country; believing with the greatest commercial nation required some such acquisition; knowing that they had all failed apparently on account of the unjust jealousy of other great Powers; and now, having the unexpected offer, on reasonable terms, of what our commercial interests seemed to demand, was it strange that he should attempt to consummate the arrangements, and that in doing this he should have adopted means first to inform himself in relation to the reliability of the information that was submitted to him by the organs of the Dominican Government, and of the desire of the people to unite their destinies with the people of this country? Not wishing to attract the attention of foreign Governments to


{Begin page no. 32}

the subject by making a parade of officials, lest the jealousy of other nations might be aroused, he did adopt irregular means to secure such results. He sent down gentlemen on whose integrity and intelligence he relied to obtain the desired information, with instructions, if the facts should accord with the statements made to him by the agents of that Government, to enter formally into a contract, with a view to its submission to the Senate for its constitutional action.

The facts ascertained by these gentlemen did accord with the representations made by the agents of the Dominican Government; the contract was entered into; and here the irregularity ended; for we are told that the President of the United States then called on the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of this body. He puts himself immediately in communication with his constitutional advisers, the American Senate, by waving etiquette, and, instead of sending a messenger for the honorable chairman of that committee, he left the Executive Mansion and visited him at his own parlors, for the purpose of having an uninterrupted, informal and free conversation with the Senator whom he understood to be the organ of the Senate on that subject; and, as has been further elicited by the debate and confirmed by the statements made by the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, the President left his parlors with the conviction that the proposition would meet his hearty support. Acting on this conviction, he submitted the proposition for a treaty to the Senate. Now, in this whole procedure, in what does the President deserve censure, unless it was for achieving by irregular means what the greatest of his predecessors had tried in vain to accomplish? If the President was misinformed as to the honorable Senator’s views when he left the parlors of the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, it is clear, I think, from the facts stated by the honorable chairman himself, that it was not the President’s fault.

Then why should he be criticized for acting in the line of the policy of his predecessors from the very beginning of the Government down to the present moment? Why should he be so severely criticized for what is alleged to have been the unusual character of the means adopted by him to secure this consummation when he knew that his predecessors, adopting regular means, all failed? He succeeded, as he usually does, by the adoption of direct means for the achievement of his purpose.

I have it not in my heart to criticize the conduct of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts. I know that he always acts from the purest motives, and sustained by the largest intelligence and the most exalted patriotism. But, sir, the truth of history requires that I should assert the same for the President. He might have withheld the treaty after it had been signed. He doubtless would have done so had he believed that less than two- thirds of the Senate would approve it. That the President was misled on this point is due to Senator in his grave consultation. That the Senator intended to deceive the President I do not for a moment believe; that the President was misled by the Senator’s language is equally clear. Shall the Chief Magistrate of the nation be censured because the Senator from Massachusetts was unfortunate in the use of terms?

It has been said that this proposition was rejected by the Senate of the United States. It is not unknown to every intelligent citizen of this country that a minority of the members of the Senate have the power, under the Constitution, to defeat a treaty; and it has already become patent that a majority of the members of this body are in sympathy with the views of the President on this subject. That being true, it is probable, I think, that his views are in harmony with the views of a majority of the people of the United States; and this would justify Congress, as it seems to me, in eliciting the information which would have been so useful to the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, if it could have been obtained in time to enlighten their judgment on the treaty which was rejected.

There have been a few observations submitted in this debate that I think, perhaps, were dropped for political effect. If it be the purpose, it is said on the other side of the Chamber, to adopt this resolution without amendments for the purpose of preventing a thorough investigation, then the minority will submit to the domination of the majority, and let them take the responsibility. I suppose according to parliamentary law the friends of a measure have a right to reject all propositions made by its enemies. But is the allegation according to the fact? Has the Senate manifested a disposition to reject all propositions to amend? Already three or four amendments have been concurred in the importance of which was not so obvious to a majority of this Chamber as they seemed to be to the minority; but for the purpose of making the investigation as broad and as thorough and as satisfactory, as practical even, to the minority, the majority have yielded their judgment and have attempted in good faith to make the proposition as little distasteful as practicable even to its enemies.

The debate, continued through a session of about ten hours, was, in addition to those whose speeches are hereinbefore given, participated by Senators G. F. EDMUNDS, WILLIAMS, POMEROY, SHERMAN, SCOTT, CARPENTER and CRAGIN for, and by Senators CASSERLY, SCHURZ, STOCKTON and BAYARD against the resolution.

Much of the debate was controversial, in portions most of the Senators hereinbefore named participated from time to time, and, finally, upon the question being taken by yeas and nays, the resolutions were adopted — yeas 32; nays 9, as follows:

YEAS — Messrs. Abbott, Ames, Brownlow, Carpenter, Chandler, Cole, Conkling, Corbett, Cragin, Edmonds, Flanagan, Hamilton of Texas, Hamlin, Harlan, Howe, Howell, Morton, Nye, Osborn, Pomeroy, Pool, Ramsey, Revels, Ross, Sawyer, Scott, Sherman, Stewart, Thayer, Warner, Wittey and Williams — 32.

NAYS — Messrs. Anthony, Bavard, Boreman, Buckingham, Cameron, Cattell, Davis, Fenton, Ferry, Fowler, Gilbert, Hamilton of Maryland, Harris, Howard, Johnston, Kellogg, Lewis, McDonald, Morrill of Maine, Pratt, Rice, Robertson, Saulsbry, Spencer, Sprague, Tramball, Vickers, Watson, Windom, and Yates — 30.

  • Catalog Record

    Hawaiian annexation. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. 11, [1] p. 22 cm.

    • Contributor:Boutwell, George S.
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Hawaiian annexation … Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. 27 p. 25 cm.

    • Contributor:Bacon, Augustus Octavius
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898Catalog Record

      Hawaiian annexation. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

      Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. 32 p. map. 25 cm.

      • Contributor:De Vries, Marion
      • Original Format:Books
      • Date:1898

        Annexation of San Domingo.

        Cover-title. Includes text of the annexation treaties and articles from the New York City newspapers. Debate in Congress on the question of annexation of San Domingo by US. Included text of proposed treaty of annexation and articles from New York City newspapers on the topic. 38 p. 23 cm.

        • Original Format:Books
        • Date:1870
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Santo Domingo. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    A digital reproduction made from a copy held by the University of Michigan is available from the University of Michigan’s Making of America Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Morrill, Justin S.
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1871
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Dominica. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Morton, Oliver P.
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1870
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Burleigh, Edwin C.
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:White, Stephen Mallory
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    The annexation of Texas, Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    “Account of the sources”: p. 471-476. Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. ix, 496 p. 24 cm.

    • Contributor:Smith, Justin Harvey
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1911
  • Catalog Record

    Proposed annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. 15 p. 24 cm.

    • Contributor:Bland, Richard Parks
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Foraker, Joseph Benson
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Teller, Henry Moore
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Wise, Richard Alsop
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Davidson, James Henry
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Barham, John All
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Proposed annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. 8 p. 24 cm.

    • Contributor:Rixey, John Franklin
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    The annexation of Hawaii, Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Holst, Hermann Eduard Von
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Proposed annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. 14 p. 25 cm.

    • Contributor:Alexander, De Alva Stanwood
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Barrows, Samuel J.
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Anti annexation procession

    1 print : lithograph on wove paper ; 31.8 x 42.9 cm. (image) | A cynical look at the opposition to American annexation of Texas during the 1844 campaign. At the head of a motley procession is Whig candidate and professed anti-annexationist Henry Clay, riding a raccoon (which looks more like a fox). He is followed by three groups of men. The first (right) …

    • Contributor:Baillie, James S., Active – Bucholzer, H.
    • Original Format:Photos, Prints, Drawings
    • Date:1844
  • Catalog Record

    Proposed annexation of Hawaii. Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. 7 p. cm.

    • Contributor:Mesick, William S.
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Annexation grand march

    Sheet Music. print | 1 score | From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1820-1860 (Microfilm M 3106) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (Additional Physical Form). In bound volumes: Copyright Deposits 1820-1860 Print (Form). Electronic Resource (Form). Remote (Form).

    • Contributor:Henry Tolman – Lyon, Geo. W.
    • Original Format:Notated Music
    • Date:1854
  • The annexation waltz

    Sheet Music. print | 1 score | From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1820-1860 (Microfilm M 3106) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (Additional Physical Form). In bound volumes: Copyright Deposits 1820-1860 Print (Form). Electronic Resource (Form). Remote (Form).

    • Contributor:Klemm and Brother
    • Original Format:Notated Music
    • Date:1845
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of the Hawaiian Islands …Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Sulzer, William
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
  • Catalog Record

    Annexation of the Hawaiian Islands …Catalog Record – Electronic Resource Available

    Also available in digital form on the Internet Archive Web site. p. cm.

    • Contributor:Gaines, John Wesley
    • Original Format:Books
    • Date:1898
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