The Writings of Carl Schurz/Annexation of San Domingo


Mr. President:—The Congress of the United States is at the present moment presenting a curious spectacle to the American people. We are discussing the question whether a commission of inquiry shall be sent to San Domingo for the purpose of investigating the condition of that country; and we are deliberating under the whip and spur of extraordinary urgency, being told that it must be done now, and must be done quickly. That commission is to furnish us certain information. Who needs that information? Not the President of the United States, for he has told us in his message that it was an act of folly to reject the annexation of San Domingo, and that it would be a great calamity to this country if that act should be repeated. It must therefore necessarily be presumed that he had in his possession already all that information which led him to such peremptory conclusions.

Who else may want it? Probably not the Senators around me who are in favor of annexation, for they have made up their minds. It may be presumed that they know all they desire to know to lead them to the formation of the convictions upon which they are ready to act.

Who then does need it? If anybody, the Senators and the members of the House of Representatives do, who are so far opposed to annexation.

Is it then unreasonable, when making up a bill of the subjects which are to be inquired into, that the desires of those who stand in need of that information should be consulted? Should not they before all others be asked (for they may be open to conviction) “What do you desire to know; what information is it that may possibly shake the conclusions at which you have arrived?”

And yet, what was the spectacle we observed upon the floor of the Senate the other day? A bill of subjects to be inquired into was laid before us. It was argued on our part that that bill of subjects contained a great many things which were indifferent, and that, on the other hand, it did not contain many which were of the utmost importance for the Congress of the United States to know; and yet, wonderful to tell, whenever any suggestion was made in the form of an amendment by a Senator who was known to be opposed to annexation, as to a point upon which he desired to be informed, it was incontinently voted down.

For instance, it was asserted on this floor, and I think with some show of reason, and the assertion came from a quarter entitled to respect, that the Government of President Baez was upheld by the naval power of the United States. This may be true or not. It was asserted that if the naval forces of the United States were withdrawn from the waters of San Domingo, the Government of President Baez would at once fall; that the people themselves were dissatisfied with their ruler; that they would avail themselves of the first opportunity of free action to tumble him from his seat. That may be true, or it may not be; and yet nobody will deny that it is for us a most interesting subject to have reliable information upon.

For that reason I introduced an amendment that the ships of war kept by the United States in the waters of San Domingo should be withdrawn, and that if any protectorate was exercised over the present Government of San Domingo by which that Government was kept in power, such protectorate should be immediately discontinued; and that for the purpose of giving the people of San Domingo an opportunity and time to speak their true sentiments freely and without any restraint, and for the purpose of giving that inquiry commission an opportunity to learn the true sentiments of the people freely developed, the commission should not commence its inquiry until about three months after all outside pressure had been removed from the people of that island; and yet, sir, that amendment was at once voted down.

I would ask gentlemen, are they afraid of what might come to light if the protection of the United States Navy were withdrawn from that island? And furthermore, why in the name of common sense are we in such a tremendous hurry? Is it necessary that we should annex San Domingo to-morrow? Can we not wait two, three, or four months? Is it indispensably necessary that the commission should start without the least delay, with instructions ill-digested and hurriedly made up?

One reason was given why it should start at once: that if it did not it could not complete its labors during the cool season. Why, sir, the joint resolution requires that the commission shall give us some information concerning the climate of San Domingo; and here they are to be sent off at once, and to return before the hot season commences, so that they may have no unpleasant experiences of the climate of that island to report upon. Senators, are we serious men, or is this a mere mockery with which we are attempting to delude ourselves, and to deceive the people of the United States? Is this to be an honest inquiry, or is it to be merely a piece of political jugglery? In the face of the facts, is not this a legitimate question?

I expressed the opinion when the resolution was under consideration before, that if that commission were to inquire conscientiously into all the subjects enumerated in the joint resolution it would require at least from three to five years to arrive at a result of real value; and that is my opinion still. And yet we were coolly told here that the whole inquiry is to be finished in three or four weeks. I might vote for a scientific commission to be sent to San Domingo, or anywhere else, for the purpose of, in good faith, augmenting the stock of human knowledge; but can any such end be attained by a commission like this, sent there in hot haste, without preparation, to do what it is to do in an unseemly hurry and then to report here before the expiration of this Congress so that we may quickly annex San Domingo? It looks rather like a mockery than like a solemn act of legislation.

The gentlemen who favor this project themselves feel the weakness of their proposition, for they endeavor to devise all manner of pretexts to divert our minds from the true purpose. It was said that the commission was to be sent there for the purpose of justifying, exonerating, exculpating the President of the United States in certain things; that suspicion had been thrown upon his character; that accusations had been raised against him personally. If this be so I do not know it. As far as I am aware, no such charge has been made by any responsible party willing to sustain it. Neither do I believe that the people of the United States think the President of the United States to be acting in this matter from corrupt motives. We certainly did not say that he needed any justification. That suggestion came from the other side, and at the same time from the other side came the proposition that the President should, without the advice and consent of the Senate, himself appoint the jury to try him. Is it not evident on the very face of things that the declamation about the President having to be justified and exculpated was nothing but a mere subterfuge?

We are asked, “Why not give the President this commission which he would like so much to have?” Do gentlemen on the other side desire to represent the President of the United States to us as a child, to be humored with a bauble? I, for my part, have more respect for the office and more respect for the man. No, sir; for such things a grave act like this ought not to be performed. Such things are hardly compatible with the dignity of the President, and just as little with the dignity of the Congress of the United States.

Mr. President, what is the subject which we are thus to inquire into and which is being treated with such levity? It is not whether we shall purchase a building site for a new public office, to expend a million or two; not whether we shall grant aid to a railroad; not whether we should acquire a strip of territory on our frontier to rectify a boundary. Sir, the subject we are discussing is one in comparison with which such things appear insignificant and trivial; the question before us is one of the most momentous problems that has ever occupied the attention of the Congress of the United States or any legislative assembly in the world. It is not even merely whether we are to annex the Dominican half of the island of Hayti. It is the question whether we shall incorporate the American tropics in our political system.

Suppose we annex the Dominican republic; will there be the end of our acquisitions? Remember the outcry which was raised against the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Sumner] the other day when he asserted that the message of the President contained a menace against Hayti. I will not enter into a controversy here about the phraseology of that state paper; but does not the mere idea of annexing the Dominican republic contain in itself ipso facto the most flagrant threat against Hayti that can possibly be uttered? Is there a man on the floor of the Senate who thinks that when we have the one-half of that island we shall stop before we have the other? Does the Senator from Indiana [Mr. Morton] think so? Has not the Senator from Nevada [Mr. Stewart] just asserted that of course we must have the other half? And so we must. It is an absolutely preposterous idea that we should content ourselves while part of that island is in the hands of another Power. Our possessions being divided from the Haytian republic by a mere imaginary line of boundary, continually crossed by marauding parties, the very exigencies of our customs service would oblige us to take the territory of the Haytian republic too. Is it not, therefore, a trifling equivocation if you deny that there is really a threat against the Haytian republic continued in this project? And are not the Haytians fully justified in being alarmed about their independence? Yes, the annexation of the Dominican republic renders the annexation of the Haytian territory a foregone conclusion.

But there we cannot stop. Look at the map and you will find that the island of Cuba lies between San Domingo and the coast of Florida; thus there will be foreign territory inclosed between one possession of ours and another. Must we not have Cuba? Of course we must, for the purpose of securing the continuity of our possessions. This is no idle conjecture; it is not even denied, for the Senator from Indiana openly avowed on this floor that of course we must and shall have Cuba; that, too, is a foregone conclusion. With Cuba, Porto Rico will come, and the Senator from Indiana has already included it in the program, which he openly laid before us.

But there you will not stop. The Anglo-Saxon race is somewhat notorious for its land hunger, and such appetites are always morbidly stimulated by eating. Having San Domingo, Cuba and Porto Rico, you will not rest until you possess, also, the other West India islands; and what then? Then your possessions will fill the Caribbean sea and closely encircle the Gulf of Mexico; and, possessing the islands and the sea, how long will it be before you are driven by the spirit of adventure or by the apparent necessities of your situation to move for the annexation of the continent bordering that sea on the other side? Once started in that course you will not be able to control yourselves; you will want more and more and more; and it is my sincere conviction that you will not stop until we have everything down to the Isthmus of Darien. Does it not occur to Senators that here is a question presenting itself far greater than the mere acquisition of the Dominican republic only?

We may be asked, why should we not have all this? Are not those countries rich, fertile and beautiful? Do they not offer all the magnificence of tropical production? Are not their mountains full of precious ore? Yes, they are rich; I do not deny it; they are fertile; they may be considered as possessing magnificent resources; and yet I would ask every Senator before me, before he lays his hand upon that seductive portion of the globe for the purpose of incorporating it in this Republic, and fusing it with our political system, is there not a voice speaking within him telling him to consider it well, to pause, to ponder and to beware? Consider: if you incorporate those tropical countries with the Republic of the United States, you will have to incorporate their people too. If you do that, you will have to accept them as a component and coöperative element in that system of Government, the blessing of which we now enjoy. This is an imperative necessity which you cannot escape; the logical consequence of your beginning; and before this one consideration all others, that of money, of the Dominican debt, of Baez and Cabral, of sugar, coffee, cotton, salt, gold and precious stones, dwindle down into utter nothingness.

The grave question arises: Is the incorporation of that part of the globe and the people inhabiting it quite compatible with the integrity, safety, perpetuity and progressive development of our institutions which we value so highly? If it is not, is the price which we are to pay worth the bargain? Let us look at the history of these islands; and that history, I would respectfully suggest, we know without the report of this commission, and I do not think the gentlemen to be sent to San Domingo will be able to give us much new light upon it. Read that history, read that of all other tropical countries and then show me a single instance of the successful establishment and peaceable maintenance, for a respectable period, of republican institutions, based upon popular self-government, under a tropical sun. To show me one, do not confine your search to the West Indies; look for it anywhere else on the face of the globe in tropical latitudes. I challenge Senators to point their fingers to a single one. There is none, sir. But, more than that, show me a single instance in any tropical country where labor when it was left free did not exhibit a strong tendency to run into shiftlessness, and where practical attempts to organize labor did not run in the direction of slavery. Show me a single one, not only in the West India islands, but any where in any tropical country under the sun. You find none.

Sir, have we read history in vain? Shall I give you an example of this tendency? There was Toussaint L'Ouverture, the great emancipator on that very island of San Domingo which you propose to annex. Slavery was abolished, and in his hand rested the destinies of that young Republic; upon his shoulders was imposed the interesting and difficult task to organize labor and to keep up the prosperity of his country. What did he do? He simply issued ordinances and laws and instruction which commanded every possessor of a landed estate to see to it that the laborers who had been working on that estate were kept to work, if need be, by force, the employer being held responsible for his delinquency if he did not, in case of necessity, apply force for the purpose of accomplishing that object.

Mr. Carpenter. Will the Senator yield to me to ask a question?

Mr. Schurz. Certainly.

Mr. Carpenter. Do I understand the Senator to approve of that treatment?

Mr. Schurz. No, sir; by no means.

Mr. Carpenter. Do I understand the Senator to fear that it would cease if that island should be annexed to the United States?

Mr. Schurz. No, sir; it ceased long ago. But the proposition I was laying down was this: that you cannot show me a single tropical country on the face of the globe where labor, if left free, did not run into shiftlessness, and where attempts were not made to establish or revive something akin to slavery for the purpose of organizing labor. I stated that as a historical fact.

Mr. Carpenter. If my friend will allow me one remark, I would remind him that it is only very recently that the Senator could point to a tropical negro that was not in the condition of slavery. If the existence of a condition of things and the length of time it has existed prove its necessity or its justice, slavery ought never to have been abolished in the United States.

Mr. Schurz. No, sir; the conclusion is wrong. There is another view to be taken of that subject. I solemnly declare here that if by the abolition of slavery the development of the resources of the tropical countries was impaired, and if the organization of labor has a tendency to run in the direction of slavery there, I would much rather do without the products of the tropical countries than reintroduce slavery or anything akin to it. Is the Senator answered?

But does he deny the fact which I have just stated? He says that but recently every negro there was a slave. Is that true? Does he know when slavery was abolished in San Domingo? The abolition of slavery in San Domingo is nearly as old as the Constitution of the United States.

Mr. Carpenter. That is recent in the history of man.

Mr. Schurz. Several generations have arisen and disappeared since, and there has been abundant time during which all the faculties of freemen under the tropical sun might have developed themselves and produced results which the Senator might wish to be more potent in opposition to my argument. No; certainly, sir, in me there lives not the faintest thought in favor of anything like slavery. I would continue to fight against it, as I have fought against it, to my last breath. But I am dealing with facts; stubborn facts, abominable facts, facts I detest, but FACTS; and if the Senator is able to deny them let him speak!

I do not know whether it might be improper to suggest to him to study the history of those countries, to investigate the working of causes and effects. Such studies might perhaps clip the wings of that youthful enthusiasm which here and there throws such a brilliant gloss upon the periods of public speakers. But it would at the same time bring them to a sober appreciation of the problems they have to deal with when disposing of the destinies of a great people.

What I was asserting was simply this: that there seem to be certain laws of nature in operation, as we perceive by certain visible effects, which you cannot repeal by a treaty and cannot modify by a joint resolution; that those laws of nature have asserted themselves time and again and may reassert themselves again much against our liking. Such effects may be modified here and there temporarily; we may, perhaps, in the course of time, discover means to modify them in a high degree; but such means have not been discovered yet, and I am going to show the Senator presently that even the Anglo-Saxon race has not been able to escape the government of those laws, in spite of its native vigor.

Mr. Carpenter. I hope the Senator in that connection will define the precise limits within which liberty can exist; in fact, where free institutions are possible.

Mr. Schurz. I think I shall gratify the Senator in the course of my remarks. For the present, I will simply say to him that I am not dealing in theories, but that I am quoting historical facts, which I like just as little as he does; that I have challenged any Senator to deny those facts; that, so far, I have heard no denial yet, and I am curious whether any will come. I have a strong liking for the truth, however unpleasant the shape of which it may appear.

Our historical experience, not to use the term “natural law,” points to this: in the temperate zone man finds himself confronted by a nature not bountiful enough to yield him sustenance without a struggle, but bountiful enough to amply reward any strong and well-directed effort. The obstacles man has to combat call into play the strength of his body, and develop the inventive faculties of his mind; he finds a stimulus in success, and his very labor is encouraged and facilitated by the atmosphere surrounding him. That is the experience which we gather all around us. The exigencies of life render it necessary that the different elements and forms of society should coöperate together for common interests. They strengthen the desire for social order, they quicken the spirit of organization. The necessity of fixed and permanent rules to govern the movements of society becomes apparent; the popular mind accustoms itself easily to the idea that, while the individual must maintain his independence in his immediate sphere, the opinion of the few must, in the management of common affairs and for the good of society, yield to the opinion of the many, and constitutional government, based upon the general acquiescence in laws which are brought forth and modified from time to time by the peaceable and patient conflict of opinions, is the natural result. And this result has in its highest development been brought forth and put in successful operation by our race on this continent under natural influences most favorable to its essential conditions.

Let us now examine our historical experience in tropical latitudes. Wherever man has to struggle with nature, with an encouraging promise of reward, there he grows great. Wherever that reward is denied him, or wherever nature is so bountiful as to render constant labor superfluous, there man has, as far as our observations go, always degenerated. While the temperate climate stimulates the exercise of reason and the sense of order, the tropical sun inflames the imagination to inordinate activity and develops the government of the passions. The consequences are natural: there is a tendency to government by force instead of by argument; revolutions are of chronic occurrence, like volcanic outbreaks, and you will find political life continually oscillating between two extremes—liberty which there means anarchy, and order which there means despotism.

True, sir, people living under a southern sun sometimes develop high qualities, but they are more of a brilliant than of a solid kind. They show themselves more in spasmodic exertions, in meteoric display, than in that consecutive, steady, methodical work and application to which we owe our great successes here. Sometimes great statesmen and warriors will rise up there, who astonish the world with the brilliancy of their genius; but let us not forget that something more is required than individual genius as a basis for the development and security of free institutions. There are nations struggling for liberty, generation after generation, and shedding streams of blood, and yet never attaining it. Looking over the history of nations you will find that those are in the steady enjoyment of free institutions who need them for their daily work, for their pursuits of daily life. They cannot practically do without them, and they have them. Where do you find such under the tropical sun? You cannot point to a single instance. Again a historical fact, hard and deplorable, but a fact for all that.

Say not, sir, that I lack faith in the efficiency of republican institutions. No, I do not; for here I witness that efficiency with high appreciation. But, on the other hand, I trust we have lived too long and seen too much to believe that the mere absence of a king is sufficient to make a true republic, and that you have only to place the ballot in the hands of a multitude to make them citizens fit to sustain the fabric of self-government. Yes, sir, we have seen too much in our lives to indulge in such delusions, and the experiences which prove the contrary are crowding too densely around us.

What, then, is it that prevents people in the tropics from establishing good and free governments? We have heard the Senator from Nevada [Mr. Stewart] declaiming about our duty to confer the blessings of our institutions upon them. What do they want? Are they not independent? Can we make them more so? Are they not their own masters? Do they not freely dispose of their own destinies, just as freely as we? Look at Mexico, at the Central and South American republics. Is there any foreign Power that holds them under coercion? Is not every man there a freeman? Are not those States nominally republics? What is there that interferes with the free disposition which they might make of themselves? Do they not possess all the rights and forms of popular sovereignty? What is it that prevents them from building up a stable political system, resting upon the basis of self-government, like ours? Certainly no foreign Power or influence prevents them. If they are prevented at all they are prevented by themselves, for they are their own masters. And how is it that they are prevented by themselves? Simply because they are laboring under natural difficulties which cannot be overcome by adopting certain political forms. You cannot mention any other reason for it. Say not that it is that failing of the races living there alone, for I will prove to you that the Anglo-Saxons have been tried under the tropical sun, and have, in the main points, failed in every instance.

Mr. Stewart. I should like to inquire of the Senator from Missouri if there was any better condition of government in California than in any other part of Mexico while it was a portion of Mexico; and if the change of allegiance has not entirely changed the condition of the people, and greatly for the better?

Mr. Schurz. What does the Senator desire to prove: that there were some disorderly countries also under a temperate climate? I have never denied that. There are other things than climate exercising an influence upon the character of nations and in destinies of countries. I acknowledge that; but I desire to discuss one point at a time.

Mr. Stewart. I want to prove to the Senator that it was not the question of climate that affected their condition, because there was an illustration where they had the finest climate in the world. They were our neighbors. When it came under the United States it turned out that we could establish our institutions and make them prosper there very well. So it does not appear to have been the case in California, which, previous to annexation, I maintain was in no better condition than any other part of Mexico. It does not appear to have been a question of climate. It must have been owing to other causes.

Mr. Schurz. I understand the Senator now. Does he desire me to make the difference clearer? In the first place, California is not a tropical country. He will not assert that it is. In the second place, there was a sparse Mexican population in California. Americans went in there, and by numbers and energy completely overwhelmed them, so that at the present moment the Mexican race in public life is hardly noticed—is that not so?—and if they wanted to make trouble they could not.

Mr. Stewart. Might not that occur in San Domingo, or in Sonora; or in Sinaloa, if we were to annex it? Is there any particular line where that may not occur?

Mr. Schurz. If the Senator will be kind enough to give me time to explain that to him also I shall be most happy to do so. He will admit, then, that the example of California, which he has just adduced, does not fit the case at all. I was just going to prove that whenever similar attempts were made by the Anglo-Saxon race under the tropical sun they had equally failed in the main point.

Mr. Stewart. If the Senator will find a similar case where we have tried it, very well.

Mr. Schurz. The Anglo-Saxon race established itself on the West India islands, did it not? the same race which peopled this country. They had the government of affairs there. Will the Senator tell me what became of the English colonies in the West India islands? Will he tell me what has become of the descendants of the original Anglo-Saxon immigrants there?

Mr. Stewart. Yes.

Mr. Schurz. Well?

Mr. Stewart. They had a miserable system of slavery that degraded and destroyed them. They never tried the experiment of free institutions there until the people got entirely degenerate. The original stock started in on the basis of slavery, and they never have had a fair chance under free institutions.

Mr. Schurz. I will give the necessary explanation to the Senator from Nevada of the facts he adduced. In the first place, the Anglo-Saxons on the West India islands started with a no more miserable system of slavery than they did here. Does the Senator from Nevada see the difference in the results? I presume he is acquainted with the fact that slavery was long ago abolished on the island of Jamaica, and that the condition of things in Jamaica is very far from satisfactory, and at any rate has not led to anything that might in the remotest degree be compared with the beneficial results of self-government as we observe them here.

Mr. Stewart. If I do not interrupt the Senator, I will say that at the time of the abolition of slavery there the people were so demoralized that there was not a nucleus to form an organization of society sufficiently strong to maintain free government. There were not enough free people there for the purpose; there were just a few slaveholders and a mass of slaves, and not enough free people of the right kind to form a nucleus for the establishment of free institutions. They had not a fair chance to inaugurate free government. They were in the same situation as the people of California previous to its annexation to the United States. There were not enough of the right kind of people there who knew how to establish free government, and they remained in the same condition as before, without any sufficient organization.

Mr. Schurz. Then it would seem that the experiment there failed because they had not the right kind of Anglo-Saxons there. Will they have the right kind of Anglo-Saxons in San Domingo? In the meantime let us see whether we can find the right kind of Anglo-Saxons somewhere else. We are frequently pointed to the success of the great Australian colonies, some of which are under a tropical latitude. The first colony in Australia was planted in New South Wales in the year 1788. In the colony of New South Wales two distinct elements developed themselves, one of democratic instincts, which gradually drifted toward the southern coast of the Australian continent, as far toward the pole as possible, and established there under democratic inspirations those flourishing colonies which Great Britain is so justly proud of. There they work for the division of land as a basis for democratic society, and develop a vigorous and free political life in every sense. Another element went north from New South Wales into Queensland; Queensland, a large part of which lies under tropical latitudes, where the tropical staples can be raised. What has become of them? Why, sir, but a short time ago a correspondence from there appeared in the London Times, of which I have an extract here, describing the efforts that were made by the colonists of Queensland to kidnap the natives of the surrounding South Sea islands for the purpose of using them as slaves in working their plantations.

Is that perhaps the right kind of Anglo-Saxon? If so, he exhibits just that dangerous tendency, under the influences of the tropical sun, which I have been describing, and instead of establishing and developing free government, justly respecting the rights of man, he attempts to organize labor in the direction of slavery. And the colonies in Queensland being still young, he does that in spite of the light of our days, in spite of the generous influences which the opinions and sympathies of the rest of mankind might be presumed to exercise upon his action; even under such circumstances he falls a victim to the demoralization which tropical nature seems to inflict upon man.

Do you want any further addition to the historical experiences I have stated? Look, Senators, at our own country. There is not one of us who is not perfectly acquainted with the difference which existed between the North and the South before slavery was abolished, and which exists yet. We were living under the same political Constitution, the two sections of the country were peopled by the same race, and yet while in the North the dignity of labor asserted itself, with its instincts and impulses of enterprise, of enlightenment, of education, of social and political equality, of a progressive civilization, of free government, the South developed the rule by force of the strong over the weak, and a social and political system in which the elevation of labor, the peaceable friction of opinion on all matters of public interest, and the tendency to raise, by general education, all classes to the highest attainable level, had no place. And to this was added a revolutionary tendency lurking like a chronic disease. Is not that so?

You will say it was slavery. Yes, it was slavery; but it was not slavery alone. The North, too, had slavery once; but the North abolished it at an early day. Why? Because it was not profitable there, is the current reply. Why was it not profitable there? Simply for the reason that the conditions and circumstances of labor and production in the North were not congenial to slavery, and naturally developed a public sentiment and a social system hostile to the degradation of labor.

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

Mr. Schurz. Certainly.

Mr. Morton. I ask the Senator if he is not conscious now that he is restating the arguments which were made in behalf of slavery in the Southern States for fifty years before its abolition?

Mr. Schurz. No, sir; I am not conscious of that.

Mr. Morton. Yes, the precise arguments.

Mr. Schurz. I am not repeating arguments at all, but I am stating historical facts which the Senator from Indiana is conscious of not being able to deny. I state them for the purpose of showing what dangerous elements and tendencies we shall have to deal with in San Domingo and other tropical possessions. While slavery could not maintain itself at the North why did it maintain itself at the South? Simply because in a hotter climate natural causes developed those passions and propensities of human nature which, in the gratification of its appetites, lead to the arbitrary employment of force in preference to a just recognition of the rights of others. That was the reason of it. Thus slavery was after all not the primary, it was only an intermediate cause of the difference that existed between Northern and Southern society. That primary cause lies deeper, and you will see in future developments that that primary cause is working still.

I will not go into a disquisition on the political events which brought on our great civil war. But I may say without fear of refutation that our civil war was not a mere historical accident, but a conflict between two different currents of civilization developed under different natural influences. And these different currents have not ceased to run yet. We heard it said not very long ago that Virginia and North Carolina were in a very much worse social and political condition than Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. It may have appeared so at some time; and yet it was so only in appearance. The time is not far distant when you will see that the appliances and influences of northern civilization will pervade Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee almost as thoroughly as Maryland and Pennsylvania. The northernmost of the late slave States, however obstreperous the spirit of their people may appear to-day, will, only gradually to be sure, but inevitably, change for the better under the not congenial pressure of Northern influences. But those influences will grow weaker and weaker as you descend farther South into the semi-tropical portion of this Republic. There it will be far more difficult to eradicate or even seriously to modify the old spirit of violence, the old impatience of adverse opinions, the old propensity to use force in preference to patient reason, and all those disorderly tendencies which are still so evident in alarming transgressions. When we complain of the turbulent state of society there we mistake the nature of the case if we ascribe the whole evil exclusively to the traditions of slavery or the usual irregularities of life in thinly settled countries. These things certainly have aggravated the evil, but they have not produced it. They are rather symptoms than causes. Look over the globe and study the history and present condition of nations and you will find similar things more or less developed in all hot countries; the people passionate and of a turbulent disposition and more inclined to appeal to force than to patient argument, and averse to orderly acquiescence in deciding conflicts of opinion and interest. And thus it will at last become painfully evident to us here that as it was not the existence of slavery alone which produced our differences before, so it will not be the traditions of slavery alone that will foment our difference hereafter. The natural influences I have been describing will inevitably assert themselves.

Let us look at our future. The natural influences breed chronic distempers, which I fear will still keep the body-politic of this Republic in uneasy agitation for a long time to come. They will require judicious and prudent treatment. A wise policy may, indeed, prevent violent paroxysms; but—and here I express my sincerest conviction, startling as the proposition may seem—I doubt whether we shall ever be able to become completely masters of the disease. We shall have reason to congratulate ourselves if we succeed by prudent management in repressing its most violent symptoms and in securing to the South a tolerable state of order without giving to this Government too dangerous a measure of arbitrary power. At this very moment there is a rumor abroad that the President is going to send a message to the Senate advising further measures of re-reconstruction with regard to some of the Southern States; and just while such problems are staring us in the face, while they are straining republican government to the very utmost, and pressing upon us so that we cannot escape them, we are asked to add to the disturbing elements others far worse still.

Now, sir, I am, for argument's sake, willing to grant all the good things that are said about the people of San Domingo. They are described to us as the most peaceful, pastoral race in the world; a people who, like Paul and Virginia, lead an innocent, childlike existence; peaceful, harmless, hospitable, honest, confiding and just ready to drop into our arms as children would drop into the arms of their mother. I say I am willing to grant that for argument's sake, although the history of those people which lies open before our eyes—a history of interminable and bloody civil feuds, of murder and devastation—stands in rather striking contrast to this poetic description. Still I will let the Senator from Indiana have the full benefit of all the magnificent things which he has been telling us about the people of that island. I will not even dilate upon the experience of Spain; Spain, who was invited as we are to take possession of San Domingo, who attempted to do so, and then was compelled to give up the attempt after having suffered a loss of $40,000,000 and ten thousand soldiers.

There are the Dominican people, such as they are; what will you do with them? It is said they are few; that you can absorb them; that you can turn a powerful stream of immigration into that country. Absorb them! How? What kind of immigration is it that will go into that country? We know the men who first drift into those places where at great risk rapid gains are to be made. It is the adventurous, the reckless element of our population. They will be the first to go to San Domingo, to take fraternal care of the colored people who, with such a confiding spirit, are inviting our embrace! They are going to confer upon them the blessings of free government and of that enlightened, humane and philanthropic spirit which has been so eloquently described by the Senator from Nevada! Why, gentlemen, do you know what fate you prepare for those poor people? Do you know that there is no race on the face of the globe more grasping than the Anglo-Saxon, and of that race no part more unrelenting than the adventurous characters, who most readily rush into newly opened, especially tropical countries? Do you not know that no sooner will immigration of that character numerously flow in there than it will try to crowd out the inhabitants, or to press them forcibly into the service of their eager appetites? May not a state of things arise under which the rapid extermination of the natives, although cruel in itself, might be the most lenient fate that could overtake them?

But let us go further, and examine the task which, after the “absorption” of the Dominican population, will await us. San Domingo is said to have a population of about one hundred thousand. We annex Hayti, and there comes a population of from eight hundred thousand to a million under our control. They do not want annexation; they do not invite us; they rather bid fair to resist us, defending their independence with the whole power they possess. And yet, in spite of such resistance, we must have that country. There is the “bloody dance.” Nobody will fail to see it at that stage of the proceedings. But you do not fear them. Of course you will have to carry on a war against them; and we take it for granted that you will succeed in subjugating them, at what cost I will not now inquire. France and Spain might offer some suggestions on that head. But you succeed. What then? You have a subjugated race there under your feet. That will be the first blessing of your philanthropic intentions with which you are going to approach upon them! What a peaceable possession you, and what a life of peaceable progress and sweet contentment they will have!

But you go still further. You annex the rest of the West Indies; more and more; not hundreds of thousands, but now millions of people. You cannot exterminate them all; you must try to incorporate them with our political system. And who are they? People who have nothing in common with us; neither language, nor habits, nor institutions, nor traditions, nor opinions nor ways of thinking; nay, not even a code of morals—people who cannot even be reached by our teachings, for they will not understand or appreciate them; all the good lessons we may try to impart to them will evaporate into nothing under the hot rays of the tropical sun. How will you fit them into our political system? Have you thought of it?

It is said that our free institutions exhibit a wonderful power in blending and assimilating the most heterogeneous elements of population living under their beneficent influence. So they do. Under the influences of our northern clime we certainly find such effects produced. The most stubborn prejudices are melted, the most inveterate habits are gradually changed; the best faculties resting in the various races of men congregating here are drawn to light and developed, and finally those heterogeneous elements are fitted for the great duties and responsibilities of republican citizenship. You see, indeed, here a blending of races going on which, as its result, leaves one united American people; and I may say that here, upon our soil, I am not afraid of any foreign element that may come to share our fortunes with us, not even of the Chinese. What cannot rise to and with the general level will sink, but it cannot prevent the rising of the rest. Assimilation here, therefore, is assimilation upward.

But it must not be forgotten that Anglo-Saxon vigor stands here upon its own congenial ground; from the very atmosphere its energies receive their inspiration, and by the very necessity of things Anglo-Saxon vigor is here the absorbing element, the assimilating force.

But how is it in the American tropics? The Anglo-Saxon invading them meets there the mixed Latin, Indian and African races upon their own congenial ground. There they receive their characteristic inspirations from the atmosphere; there they develop their characteristic qualities under the influences of tropical nature; there they are the natural growth of the soil, and the Anglo-Saxon appearing as a mere exotic plant, they will not be the assimilating force. And what will be the consequence? Inevitably this: that in the course of time and by the process of assimilation the Anglo-Saxon will lose more than the Africo-Indo-Latin mixture will gain. This will be assimilation indeed, but it will be assimilation downward. Do you want any proof of that? I have already been adverting to the descendants of those Englishmen who had settled the West Indian colonies. Now go there and examine the point of degeneracy they have reached. To be sure, some of the wealthy, who in early childhood were sent to England to be educated there, and who spent there perhaps the greater part of their lives, may have preserved the native vigor of their race; but I refer to the multitude born on West Indian soil, and their children who had continually inhabited it. Have they not become a race, if possible, as miserable as that mixed element which is acknowledged as the indigenous one of the American tropics? You will find that fact confirmed by every intelligent traveller.

But will you be able to obtain a large and valuable quantity of Germanic immigration for those tropical possessions?

Look at the history of migration from one part of the globe to another and you will see how certain laws operate. It is a well-ascertained fact that the masses migrating from any given country show a tendency to keep always—not strictly, but nearly—between the same isothermal lines. You will notice that the Germanic element never goes en masse into tropical regions. To be sure, individual speculators go there to amass rapid and large fortunes in a very short time, then to go home again and to enjoy them. You see also, here and there, colonies established by speculators, which have hardly ever been known to prosper. But they do not go there in great masses to found commonwealths upon the basis of the political ideas represented by the Germanic race. They are, and they always will be, strangers—conquerors, perhaps, but, for all that, strangers upon that soil. On the other hand, to the so-called Latin races the tropics seem to be far more congenial. They originally sprung from a warmer soil; and with them—if I may use that word—miscegenation with the native children of the tropics is nothing extraordinary. They seem to blend without difficulty. Hence the Indo-Africo-Latin cross-breeds, that hybrid population, which propagates itself and flourishes there. They will, therefore, if we may judge from the past, remain the prevailing element.

Now, whatever means and remedies you may devise—emigration, education, or whatever else—you will in all probability not be able seriously to change the characteristics of the people inhabiting the American tropics, and they will remain the assimilating force. And here I desire to claim the attention of my friend from Indiana for a moment, for I am going to allude to a remark he made the other day in this debate. He said to us that the people of San Domingo would easily fuse with our political system for the simple reason that they were our friends and wanted to be annexed, and that that process would be infinitely more easy than the absorption of the Canadian people, if the English possessions on this continent were annexed, for the reason that the Canadians during the war had been our enemies, had been sympathizing with the South and at the present moment entertained any but kind feelings toward Americans.

Mr. Morton. Will the Senator allow me to correct him?

Mr. Schurz. Certainly.

Mr. Morton. I did not say anything about their sympathizing with our enemies during the war. The Senator is in error in regard to that.

Mr. Schurz. Well, I take the Senator's word for it. But that point is immaterial.

Mr. Morton. What I spoke about was the inclination of the Canadians to be annexed. I mean to intimate that we were deluding ourselves on that subject, that they were further from annexation now, that there was less annexation feeling in Canada now, than there was thirty years ago.

Mr. Schurz. Do I understand the Senator to deny that he said in the debate the other day that the people of San Domingo would much easier become Americans and be fused, or something to that effect, with our political system, than the Canadians, because the latter cherished sentiments unkind to us?

Mr. Morton. I referred to the fact that the tendency toward annexation in Canada had diminished instead of increased; that the people of Dominica, and of all the West India islands, referring particularly to Cuba and Porto Rico, were now our friends; that the great body of them desired annexation, and that they would readily adopt our institutions. So far as the institutions of Canada are concerned, the body of the law is very similar to ours; but in speaking of consolidation and absorption I referred to the people of the islands. But speaking of the desire for annexation, I said Canada was further from it than it was thirty years ago; and so I say now.

Mr. Schurz. Very well; I understood the Senator to say that the assimilation of the Canadian population would be more difficult than the assimilation of the Dominican population. I am very glad he did not make that remark, for I was going to observe that, considering that the people of Canada speak the same language, have the same habits, social and political, have the same common law, the same traditions, the same ways of thinking, almost the same experience of self-government, if we annex them to-day they would be good Americans and republicans to-morrow. On the other hand, if the people of the West India islands even desired at this moment annexation, it does not have the least effect upon their capability of being assimilated with us, of being absorbed by our population, of being fitted for our institutions, any more than if they were ever so hostile to us. The main question would remain absolutely the same.

Well then, sir, assuming that we are to annex those islands, San Domingo, Cuba and Porto Rico, the West Indies and possibly the continent also down to the isthmus of Darien, I ask you what will you do with them? Will you govern those countries as provinces, as colonies, dependencies? Will you make satrapies of them? Do you not consider that that would be a thing entirely foreign to our political system? And what would be the consequence? You might leave those possessions for a time in a territorial condition; but reduce this to a permanent system, or merely continue it ten years, and the satrapies you erect will be so many nurseries of rapacity, extortion, plunder, oppression and tyranny, which will, with the certainty of fate, demoralize and corrupt our political life beyond any degree yet conceived of, and impart to our Government a military character most destructive of its republican attributes. That plan, then, cannot be thought of.

What, then, are you going to do with those countries and people? You must at last admit them as States, such as they are, upon an equal footing with the States you represent; you must admit them as States, not only to govern themselves, but to take part in the government of the common concerns of the Republic. Have you thought of it, what this means? Let us carry the business to its final consummation. Imagine “manifest destiny” to have swallowed up Mexico also; and you will not be able to stop when you are once on the inclined plane. And then fancy ten or twelve tropical States added to the Southern States we already possess; fancy the Senators and Representatives of ten or twelve millions of tropical people, people of the Latin race mixed with Indian and African blood; people who, as I already have stated, have neither language nor traditions nor habits nor political institutions nor morals in common with us; fancy them sitting in the Halls of Congress, throwing the weight of their intelligence, their morality, their political notions and habits, their prejudices and passions, into the scale of the destinies of this Republic; and, what is more, fancy the Government of this Republic making it self responsible for order and security and republican institutions in such States, inhabited by such people; fancy this, and then tell me, does not your imagination recoil from the picture?

I ask you, sir, did I overstate anything? Are not the consequences of the step that is contemplated just as I pointed them out? Did I state a single fact—and as I see the Senator from Indiana before me I may address that question personally to him—did I state a single historical fact which he is able to deny?

Mr. Morton. I think so.

Mr. Schurz. Which?

Mr. Morton. If I have an opportunity I will tell the Senator several which I can deny very successfully.

Mr. Schurz. Well, sir, the Senator has that opportunity now; he had that opportunity all the time; I have not heard the denial yet, and I doubt whether it will ever come, and upon what authority it will rest. But until it comes, I have a right to ask you, sir, is it not well for us to ponder well before we take a step of such tremendous importance? Our semi-tropical States we have. Thank heaven and the great spirit of the American people—and I claim the attention of the Senator from Indiana again—thank heaven we have abolished slavery there in spite of the natural influences which seemed to be working in its favor; and I trust the attempt will never be made to reëstablish it. And if the Senator from Indiana ever misunderstood my feelings in that respect, I will console him with the solemn assurance that he would no more zealously struggle against it than I.

Mr. Morton. I desire to say to my friend that I do not distrust his purpose or distrust his hostility to slavery; but I do desire to say to him that every argument he has made goes to show that it was wrong to abolish slavery in the South and especially in the West Indies.

Mr. Schurz. No, sir; that is a misconstruction of what I said. I did not argue that the abolition of slavery was wrong there, for the abolition of a great wrong cannot be a wrong anywhere. But I did say that the organization of labor by which it was sought to develop the resources of those tropical countries ran in the direction of slavery, and that this tendency is characteristic of tropical latitudes. I challenged the Senator from Indiana to deny it and he failed. I stated facts as such; ugly facts, which I deplore, but facts; I did not argue a theory; and I said further, and I repeat it again, that rather than reintroduce any organization of labor in the remotest degree akin to slavery anywhere I would much rather and with gladness abandon the enjoyment of any and all of the tropical luxuries which we are now so fond of enjoying. The question of freedom or slavery stands far above the question of coffee or no coffee. But whatever our feelings may be, they do not alter the facts of history which I have stated, nor do they neutralize the natural influences under which those facts have arisen.

Sir, our semi-tropical States we have, and we must keep them; it is a continental necessity; and I indulge in the fond hope that a wise policy will mitigate the evils existing and troubles still brewing there. But do these evils not impose problems upon us sorely taxing our ingenuity and violently straining the elasticity of our institutions? Can we multiply these disturbing elements with impunity? I asked you once, Senators, and I repeat the question, have we not enough with one South? Can we afford to buy another one? Are there not disturbing elements enough in this country that we should artificially increase them? Is there not a mass of ignorance great enough here that we should by such means try still further to augment and accumulate it?

Again, I ask, have we not enough with one nursery of trouble and embarrassment, and should we squander the money of the people to purchase ten more?

Sir, what are the inducements that are offered to us in this insane bargain? Do we really need the West India islands? I read in the President's message of a great calamity, which consists in not possessing San Domingo. How fortunate it is that the people of the United States were so happily insensible of their distress, so entirely unconscious of their calamitous privation! They do not seem to feel the want of San Domingo at all. Did you ever hear a voice in the country clamoring for the annexation of those islands before the treaty was presented to the Senate? Not one. What the people of this country desire under existing circumstances is to develop the resources of their own country; to get rid of the burdens of taxation that are imposed upon them; to increase their prosperity at home; and I have still to hear of the first voice in favor of the annexation of San Domingo that was raised before the treaty of purchase was negotiated.

What other inducement, then? Wealth. True, those countries are rich. And here let me claim the attention of the Senator from Indiana again, for I desire to tell him now why I made that argument and stated those facts which seem to have alarmed him so much concerning my anti-slavery sentiments. With the principles we cherish, and which I trust we shall never abandon, if we should go to San Domingo and attempt to develop her resources, those gorgeous visions of wealth, of untold millions to be gained every year, will soon turn out to be somewhat airy. That is what I desired to suggest to him. The greater the opportunities of gain may appear to the greedy speculator invading that country the greater will be the temptation to encroach upon the rights of the laborer to develop those resources. That is what I as a man and a citizen of the American Republic am opposed to. Whether means can be discovered to develop them fully without encroaching upon the rights of the laboring man I know not; but they are not found yet; and until they are we shall have to choose between a tyrannical policy, hostile to the great principles upon which this Republic now stands, on one side, and great disappointments on the other. Is this an alternative we should be eager to buy with money?

Moreover, Senators, did you consider what the dangers connected with tropical wealth are, and how precarious is its possession? Can you point out to me a single nation that grew and remained rich by tropical wealth? Look at France. France possessed the island of San Domingo, and we are told wonders of the many millions French proprietors drew annually from the soil of the island. What has become of that wealth? All the millions ever gained there, and more too—perhaps twice, three times as many—were swallowed up by a few years of war on that very island.

Mr. Morton. What do you say to England and India?

Mr. Schurz. I am going to speak of India. India is not, properly speaking, a colony; it is an empire. Do you want to rule the West India islands as England rules India?

Mr. Morton. That is not the question.

Mr. Schurz. I know. But let me tell the Senator from Indiana that we have had in India but one symptom of the storms which are brewing, one puff of smoke from the volcano which may break out at any moment there. Does he forget the Sepoy insurrection? Does he not know that worse things than happened then may happen any day again? I was going to speak of India with out being reminded of it. England has not seen the last days yet of her Indian dominion, and the Senator is certainly not prepared to assert that the wealth which was gained from India will not be consumed again by the conflagrations for which the fuel lies already mountain high.

Mr. Morton. Will my friend allow me to interrupt him?

Mr. Schurz. Yes, sir.

Mr. Morton. The question of the Senator was: What country had drawn wealth or grown rich from tropical possessions? I might refer him to the possessions that England has in India, and from which she has drawn countless millions, I might say billions of wealth, for the last one hundred and twenty-five years. I might further say that the Anglo-Saxon race have not failed in India. While about one-half or two-thirds of India, perhaps, is within the tropics, yet nearly all of India has a tropical climate and tropical productions; but the vigor of the Anglo-Saxon race in that country is such that a few thousand or a few hundred thousand govern two hundred and fifty millions of native Hindoos.

Mr. Schurz. I am very glad to hear the Senator make that statement, for I was going to come to that point myself. He has merely anticipated me. I was pointing out to him that England has not yet seen the last days of her India dominion, and when finally the balance shall be cast he cannot foretell where will be the profit and where the loss.

But the Senator says that England has not failed in India. In what has she not failed? She has not failed in starting and carrying on a rapacious tyranny. Does the Senator call that success? It is the kind of success characteristic of tropical latitudes. Is it the kind of success the Senator desires to achieve in the American tropics? Is it the kind of rule he desires us to succeed in establishing over the West India islands? Yes; England has not failed in India in extorting with an iron hand from the laboring masses by force, illy if at all disguised, the fruits of their labor. But has England succeeded in developing there the blessings of free government? She has not even attempted it.

Mr. Morton. Will my friend allow me to say that he evades the point? His proposition was that Anglo-Saxons had failed from deterioration in tropical climates and that they had never drawn wealth from tropical possessions. Now he refers to the form of government. That was not the proposition which he made and to which I replied.

Mr. Schurz. I do not think that the Senator from Indiana desires to misrepresent me.

Mr. Morton. Certainly not at all.

Mr. Schurz. But most certainly he does so at the present moment. What I was proving was this: that whenever the Anglo-Saxon race went into a tropical climate it did fail to establish those institutions which we are here enjoying upon our soil; and if there is a glaring proof of it he will find that proof in the very country of which he now is speaking—India; for I repeat there never was a more rapacious despotism than the one carried on in that country. There never was a more heartless and more unscrupulous practice to wring from the hands of a subjugated people the fruits of their labor. Is it not so?

Mr. Morton. That was not the fault of the climate.

Mr. Warner. If the Senator from Missouri will allow me, before he gets away from this point, I should like to ask him a question in perfect good faith and for information.

Mr. Schurz. Very well.

Mr. Warner. I understand the Senator to say that the material prosperity of the West Indies has been in a large degree destroyed by the abolition of slavery. I understand him to maintain, and we all know that he does maintain very firmly, that slavery was a wrong. Now, I should like to ask him this — and I wish his explanation — how it occurs in the economy of a wise Providence that the abolition of a wrong works to the injury of the people?

Mr. Schurz. I suppose the Senator from Alabama, who is a pious man, does certainly not expect me to go behind those mysterious reasons upon which the decrees of Providence rest. I do not take upon myself that office. I was merely stating facts, and I desire the Senator from Alabama to tell me whether he denies those facts. I attempted their explanation. I said that, as a matter of experience, whenever the attempt was made at organizing labor under a tropical climate for the purpose of realizing large gains the tendency was to do it in a manner inconsistent with the freedom of labor, while, on the other hand, there was a tendency to shiftlessness, when labor was left entirely to itself. Does the Senator deny it?

Mr. Warner. The Senator does not answer my question, but asks me one. Still I will answer it. I think what he calls the destruction of the material prosperity of the West India islands has been but a temporary suspension. We had a fair illustration of it in the South, where the abolition of slavery did for a time suspend material development, but we have seen in the past year made by free labor, despite of all the difficulties in our way, and the fact of the withdrawal of perhaps one-third of the actual laboring population, a cotton product equal to the average product before the war; and that I think will eventually be the result in the West Indies.

Mr. Schurz. I am sure the Senator from Alabama does not impute to me the opinion that in our Southern States successful labor is inseparably united with slavery in the first place.

Mr. Warner. Certainly not.

Mr. Schurz. In the second place, I am sure the Senator will not assert that the Southern States of this Union are in the tropical latitude, and that people there labor under the same circumstances and natural influences under which they labor in San Domingo, Cuba and Jamaica. Does he?

Mr. Warner. No.

Mr. Schurz. Very well, then; that case is disposed of. But I come back to the assertion made by the Senator from Indiana. He asks, has the Anglo-Saxon race degenerated in India? I say it has; and it is a notorious fact that it is continually doing so. We learn that the soldiers who are sent to India are relieved now every six or eight years because the former theory that they could be kept in the best state of health by acclimatization has been abandoned, and it is now found that it is best to withdraw them from time to time and send fresh men there, because in their full vigor the latter can endure the influences of the climate much better than if they live there longer. It is also a notorious fact that the descendants of English people born in India and remaining there are degenerating about as much as they are on the West India islands.

Mr. Morton. The British do not enlist their soldiers for more than six years generally to serve anywhere.

Mr. Schurz. They serve a long time, I think.

Mr. Morton. They may reënlist.

Mr. Schurz. At any rate, the practice with regard to service in India is as I have stated. I have seen these things discussed in English newspapers and periodicals. But however that may be, it is not denied that the descendants of Englishmen, born in India, and remaining under the influences of that climate, do degenerate. The fact is established beyond controversy. No well-informed man will deny it.

I was, I believe, interrupted when I was arguing that tropical wealth is a very deceptive possession. I was stating that France had, indeed, drawn a great many millions from the fields of San Domingo, and that all she had gained was swallowed up by a short period of war—armies, vessels, money, men and all.

We know also that Spain derived great gains from her West Indian possessions; yes, her colonies made her once the richest nation on the globe. Where is her gold now? Sunk where it was found. Why, but a few years ago the attempt to repossess San Domingo cost her $40,000,000 and ten thousand soldiers. And is not the wealth which Spain has derived from Cuba about being consumed now in revolutionary convulsions?

And, sir, must I refer you to our own country? Here we had our semi-tropical staple, cotton. What a mine of wealth! We boastingly counted it by hundreds and thousands of millions. Do you know what it has cost us in four years of war? Half a million of our sons; eight thousand millions of money. Is our memory so short that we should forget it? But you may say that all that arose from slavery and despotism. Possibly it did, but the tropical sun will breed slavery and despotism in a thousand disguises. And look at the tropical countries in which there is not slavery now. Look at Mexico, look at San Domingo, at Hayti, at the Central American republics, and compare the development of their resources and the wealth that is produced with the cost of the continual civil convulsions going on there. Draw the balance. Do those countries grow rich?

What other inducement is there? It is said that San Domingo is offered cheap. Cheap, sir! If we could have the island for nothing, and twenty millions to boot, I would consider it a ruinous bargain.

What else? They say we must have what they designate by the mysterious word “outpost”; we must have a harbor for our fleet in the West Indies. Do we not know that outposts are the weakest points a country can have? Do we not know also that in point of economy if we buy among the West India island harbors for our fleets we shall have to build fleets for those harbors to protect them? If we were really in need of a naval station there, then I would ten thousand times rather have St. Thomas, or a barren rock with no back country behind it, at a cost of twenty millions, than San Domingo for nothing, with all its resources of wealth and danger.

And finally, the great bugbear of foreign interference is again raised up before our eyes. We are told that if we do not take San Domingo, some foreign Power will do so and in annoying proximity enjoy all the sweets we reject. Why, sir, is there a sensible man willing to believe it? I am ready to assert here, on my responsibility as a Senator, my confident belief that there is no European Power that will ever dare again to set its foot upon a square inch of American soil in the northern hemisphere against our pleasure.

Mr. Sumner. Will my friend allow me to interrupt him there?

Mr. Schurz. Certainly.

Mr. Sumner. It is reported that North Germany may——

Mr. Schurz. I was about to come to that.

Mr. Sumner. I would ask my friend's attention to that, and I hope he will be good enough to state whether in his judgment North Germany would do such a thing.

Mr. Schurz. I intend to refer to that. What Power is to do it? England? England is growing wise with age, and English statesmen have before this day come to the conclusion that their old colonial system has ceased to be profitable, and whenever they can get rid of the colonies with honor, in most cases they will be very glad to do so. At any rate, I think if Jamaica did not belong to the British Crown now, England would not a moment think of acquiring it. No, sir, from that quarter we have to fear nothing.

Is it France, then? Why, sir, France has had her experience in America. In the first place, France once possessed San Domingo; and after having lost on Haytian soil the flower of her revolutionary armies, the Army of the Rhine, and untold millions of dollars, and a fleet in the bay of Samana, France will never be tempted to burn her fingers again on that spot. France made an attempt on Mexico, recently, under very favorable circumstances, it was thought, and what has been the consequence? Just while France was frittering away her strength there, disorganizing her armies for the purpose of keeping up the Mexican expedition, just at that time it was that Germany executed her tremendous stride into the front rank of the European Powers, and France found herself unable to stop her. I need only point out the present condition of France and every man will acknowledge that from that quarter there is nothing to fear.

Do you think that Spain will attempt anything of the kind? Spain has had her experience too on the very island of San Domingo, and after having lost $40,000,000 and ten thousand soldiers, having been invited by the Dominicans to take possession of the country, I think you cannot bribe Spain to set her foot upon that island again.

Finally, I come to Germany. Will Germany, in her new ambition of power, attempt any such thing? I think not; and I will tell the Senate why. In the first place, under the guidance of the enlightened statesmen who now guide the destinies of that empire, there is not a single Power in Europe, perhaps not on the globe, that is so careful to keep on terms of friendly understanding, and to cultivate the kindest relations with the United States, as Germany; and I am sure the knowledge that any such step would be looked upon with disfavor by the United States would alone have the effect of making the German Government desist from the attempt.

Mr. Morton. I ask the Senator if his argument does not fail completely? After San Domingo offers herself to us, and we reject her, have we a right to say one word against any other nation taking her? Put it on the hypothesis now that the people of San Domingo want to be annexed, a thing we propose to investigate; if we reject San Domingo, reject her advances, can we then assert the Monroe doctrine against any other nation?

Mr. Schurz. Yes, sir; I think we can.

Mr. Morton. I do not think we can in justice.

Mr. Schurz. I think we can with absolute consistency assert the Monroe doctrine with regard to the colonization of foreign Powers upon American soil, upon soil which we neither possess nor covet.

Mr. Morton. Not after that.

Mr. Schurz. I think that the Monroe doctrine has nothing at all to do with the acquisition of territory by us. I maintain, and every Senator knows, that the Monroe doctrine refers to nothing else but to the establishment of new colonies by European Powers upon American soil. The Monroe doctrine is a veto against that and nothing else; it has no connection whatever with the acquisition of territory by the United States. If the Senator pretends that my argument fails, he shows only how weak his is and to what desperate straits those are reduced who want to frighten us with the European bugbear into an improper enterprise.

There is another reason why I think Germany will not covet that possession, and I will state it. Germany has already the very best system of colonization that ever existed in the history of the world. While Germany does not own a single square foot of ground outside of her continental possessions, with the exception of the little islands on her coast—not one—yet, I repeat, she has the most perfect and most beneficial colonial system that ever existed. It will have been noticed that of late years the German commercial marine has developed in a greater proportion, perhaps, than the commercial marine of any of the maritime nations. Germany had no numerous fleet of war vessels to protect her commerce. Germany had no colonies, in the ordinary sense of the term, to nourish that commerce. But Germany had something far better. Instead of keeping up colonial establishments, for which the home Government is politically responsible, and which it is bound to protect and defend with arms, Germany has clusters of mercantile establishments in every commercial town on the globe—in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Australia—colonies not political, but colonies commercial, which protect themselves, regulate themselves and feed German commerce of their own motion, without imposing upon the mother country the remotest political responsibility.

This colonial system has proved of infinitely less trouble to the German Government and has yielded greater benefit to the commercial interests of that country than any colonial establishment in the ordinary sense of the term, however splendid in appearance, could ever confer; and I trust the statesmen of that nation will never fail to see that it would be most unwise for them to adopt the old colonial policy, which has already exploded and failed under the auspices of other Powers, and that the policy inaugurated for them by the enterprising citizens of the Fatherland, a policy which confers such immense benefits without implying the least shadow of political responsibility, without exposing a single vulnerable point, is the safest and the most advantageous system they can devise. I therefore am quite confident that the statesmen of Germany do not feel tempted to commit a mistake as to San Domingo which other nations will be equally careful to avoid.

Mr. Morton rose.

Mr. Schurz. Does the Senator desire to interrupt me?

Mr. Morton. One moment. I shall not have an opportunity of replying to the Senator. He denies that Germany, that Prussia, has any disposition to acquire this island, or any other possession in the West Indies. He has a greater knowledge of the people of Germany, of course, than I can have; he understands her language and institutions much better than I do. But I beg leave to say to the Senator, notwithstanding, that there is good reason to believe, as I think, that Germany does desire to acquire this island, or some other rich possession in the West Indies.

Mr. Sumner. Can the Senator state the reason? The Senator says he has good reasons for that belief. Will he do us the favor to state them? Then we might judge of them.

Mr. Morton. I do not know that I am at liberty to state the particular reasons which lead me to think so; but I am of that conviction. In fact, I entertain no doubt about it; and I think all that has made Germany hesitate heretofore in attempting this acquisition is because it would be regarded as unfriendly to the United States and a violation of our traditional policy. But, sir, if it should turn out that Dominica desires to be annexed to this country, and we refuse her, then that traditional policy fails, and we have no right to say one word against Germany, or any other European country acquiring Dominica, or any other West India possession.

Mr. Schurz. I have already replied to that argument once.

Mr. Morton. Not successfully.

Mr. Schurz. I think I have most successfully and incontrovertibly shown that whatever the construction may be which we or other people put upon the act of rejecting the acquisition of San Domingo, the Monroe doctrine stands absolutely untouched; and besides, other nations will not be foolish enough to do what the Senator wants to make us believe they will do; for it may justly be assumed that they understand their own interests better than the Senator does.

Mr. Casserly. Will the Senator from Missouri allow me to say one word?

Mr. Schurz. Yes, sir.

Mr. Casserly. The argument of the Senator from Indiana is, that if San Domingo is offered to us and we decline to take her, our mouths are closed against enforcing the Monroe doctrine in respect to that island against a European Power.

Mr. Morton. On all principles of justice, certainly.

Mr. Casserly. Certainly the result of that position of the Senator is that we are debarred from enforcing the Monroe doctrine against any country on this or the South American continent that we are not willing to take in as a part of our territory. That is his argument. It only requires to be stated to show how untenable it is.

Mr. Schurz. And now, when the Senator comes to me and says that he is convinced that Germany intends to do any such thing, I may say that against such a faith there is no weapon, no argument.

Mr. Morton. I have simply put my opinion against yours; that is all.

Mr. Schurz. I will reiterate my own, then; that I am profoundly convinced that there is nothing in it; and I believe if the Senator would approach any German statesman and express that opinion to him, he would be received with a very benevolent smile.

Mr. Sumner. Will my friend allow me to make a remark there?

Mr. Schurz. Certainly.

Mr. Sumner. As I took the liberty of addressing the inquiry to the Senator from Indiana as to his reasons for supposing that Germany or some European Power would take possession of a portion of this island if we declined it, and he declined to give his reasons, but fell back upon his convictions, I ask the same privilege to express my conviction that there is nothing in it. Germany is too wise, too civilized, too glorious, to think of doing what the Senator from Indiana imagines. There is nothing in it.

Mr. Morton. I will say that as a general thing the convictions of the Senator are better than his reasoning, especially on the subject of San Domingo.

Mr. Sumner. The Senator says that my convictions are better than my reasoning. I am glad that he approves my convictions.

Mr. Schurz. Mr. President, I will now take leave of the bugbear that cannot stand on its own feet. I think I may repeat what I said before, that there can hardly be a sensible man in this country who will in any way feel frightened by that spectre of foreign interference which is so artfully held up before us.

What else, then, is urged? “Manifest destiny.” “Manifest destiny” is a great cry; and that cry has played a sinister part in the history of the world before this. “Manifest destiny” is written upon some of the saddest pages of the history of nations. And I might here recall some of the memories which will crowd upon the minds of those who have sprung from the nation of which I am a son. It is one of the most remarkable pathological phenomena in the history of the world that northern nations are so frequently haunted by a romantic longing for the south. And how often has that vague dream brought forth deplorable disaster! You have read the history of Germany in the Middle Ages. There was the great power of what might then be called the civilized world; and that power abandoning itself to the fatal dream of southern dominion. It was on the beautiful plains of Italy that the German empire spent its strength. It was in hunting after southern shadows that it frittered away its great opportunities of home consolidation. It was, so to say, in the embraces of that beautiful southern siren that the German empire lost its manhood.

That was “manifest destiny,” if you will call it so. And here now stands the American Republic; so vigorous, so beautiful, so great, so hopeful on the ground of her strength; and she, too, is to be seduced with the treacherous charm! And the cry of “manifest destiny” is raised by the thoughtless spirit of adventure hurrying her on to take the fatal leap into a region far more dangerous than Italy, where her very vitality, perhaps, would meet with deadly contamination.

Sir, if that were manifest destiny, then I should be seriously tempted to call it manifest doom. But is it, indeed, manifest destiny? What is destiny for a country and a people like this? Sir, the reason, the good sense, the conscience, the enlightened will of the American people is their destiny. Let them acknowledge no other. And I fondly trust that reason, that sound sense, that conscience, that enlightened will, can never be seduced by the deceptive allurements of tropical splendor! Away, then, with the wild cry for tropical possession, which was once raised by the slave-power, and was, indeed, within the line of its cruel and dangerous logic, but which is devoid of sense now, since it is liberty and civilization in the best form of their development to which we aspire.

The Senator from Nevada tells us that all public men who oppose the annexation of any country to this must go down. If that is true, then I am ready to go down, holding fast to my convictions, for those convictions are strong within me. But is it so?

Mr. Stewart. The Senator did not understand me to say that all public men opposed to annexation must go down. They are going to be beaten on that issue beyond any doubt. I suppose the Senator from Missouri can stand one or two defeats, and still survive. He is going to be defeated on that issue, if he tries to stop annexation.

Mr. Schurz. I am ready to admit now that the Senator from Nevada is not as dangerous as I thought he was.

Mr. Stewart. I am sorry I alarmed the Senator so much.

Mr. Schurz. Not me; I can endure it.

What then, sir, is the true destiny of this country? Can we fail to see it? Here, on our Northern ground, we stand in our strength. Here are congenial circumstances surrounding us. Here the genius of our race is fed by the very air we breathe. Here our free institutions are the natural growth of our soil. Here is the true seat of our empire.

Our country extends at present to a region which is already in some degree infected by the moral miasma of the tropics. The influence of Northern civilization in close contiguity may, by its preponderance, be strong enough to control the disturbing elements, and thus to impart to our South, in its present limits, a reasonable measure of the peculiar blessings we enjoy. But to secure that beneficent result it is absolutely necessary to preserve the preponderance of Northern civilization to such an extent, that the Southern weight cannot seriously disturb the balance. That balance was disturbed once, and the Republic was in danger of perishing. That balance is sufficiently disturbed now to put our republican institutions sometimes to a dangerous strain. Disturb it still more by adding to the Southern weight the burden of the tropics, and in the same measure in which the anarchical element will grow in one part of this Union, in the same measure the development of our political life will tend to the arbitrary assumption of power by the National Government, and perhaps to military usurpation. In fact, the very acquisition of that territory would put us on the high road to military rule. And here I do not hesitate to express my profoundest conviction: incorporate the tropics, with their population, with their natural influences, in our political system, and you introduce a poison into it which may become fatal to the very life of this Republic.

What, then, is the true American policy? It seems to me clear. Let the American people devote their great energies to the vast domain we possess, to that magnificent field of labor and of enterprise where the genius of our race, as I said before, is fed by the very atmosphere. Do we feel cramped in our domain? Let us expand, then, where we are healthy and strong. Is not there a magnificent field left for our ambition of aggrandizement? Yes, and it fills my soul with delight when I see events preparing themselves which will lead the whole continent north of us into our arms. That will indeed be a natural, congenial and happy association. And the day when that great consummation takes place this Republic will be stronger than ever before; stronger, for the very seat of her empire, the center of gravity, will then be more firmly fixed than ever under the healthful influences of the northern sky. But beware of every addition in that quarter where the very sun hatches out the serpent's eggs of danger to our republican institutions; beware until by further development and accretion the preponderance of northern civilization becomes so firmly fixed that nothing in the world can shake it.

When that moment will come, whether it will ever come, I know not; but of one thing I am sure, that moment has not come yet. And I must confess it is incomprehensible to me how, in days like ours, when these legislative halls so frequently resound with propositions for the enlargement of the military power,—propositions sprung indeed from honorable sympathies and motives, but at the mere sound of which the Fathers of the Republic would have stood aghast—and those propositions prompted by the very southern distemper I have described; and when the most exciting struggles we witness here have just this meaning, how we may maintain the integrity of our republican institutions against the pressure of the necessities growing out of that distemper—I say it is incomprehensible to me how, under such circumstances and with that voice of warning ringing in our ears, a plan to augment all these dangers a hundredfold can find a single advocate upon the floor of the American Senate.

I am asked, are we to turn our backs upon the people of that region entirely? Are we to waive them off with cold indifference? Are we to have no heart for our brothers in the American tropics? No, sir, I do not say that. The Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Sumner] has expressed the idea that the tropics should belong to the colored race. Yes, let that region belong to them; let them cultivate that soil in freedom; let them be happy there——

Mr. Morton. Allow me to ask the Senator whether he, in common with the Senator from Massachusetts, is in favor of this Government establishing a protectorate over the island?

Mr. Schurz. I was just going to say what I am in favor of: and if in the course of time it should come to pass that those West India islands should form a confederation of their own under a common flag, and the Government of the United States can do anything to promote that object in a kind way by offering its friendly offices, certainly I should hail the opportunity with sincere satisfaction; I should be the last man on this floor to stand in the way of such a consummation.

Mr. Morton. Do you mean a protectorate?

Mr. Schurz. I said, if the Government of the United States can do anything in the way I have described; and I add, if those States should be attacked by a foreign Power, and the Government of the United States should find it convenient to secure them against foreign aggression, I should not stand in the way even of that.

Mr. Morton. The Senator has substantially avowed himself in favor of a protectorate. I understand that to be his sentiment. Now, I ask him if a protectorate would not be the worst possible form of connection that we could have with any West India island?

Mr. Schurz. The Senator says I have substantially announced myself in favor of a protectorate. The Senator will permit me to inform him that I have said no such thing; and he will please not put words into my mouth which I did not use.

Mr. Morton. I understand him to mean that.

Mr. Schurz. The Senator should not find it difficult to understand my meaning as I express it.

Mr. President, I have been interrupted so often that I have spoken much longer than I intended. I beg the pardon of the Senate for having taxed their kind patience. I am coming to a close. There was a time, sir, when the American people were permitted to indulge in the exuberant dreams of youth, laughing away all suggestions of danger and delighting in those eagle flights of fancy, which showed to them nothing but continents and seas to be conquered, a world to be ruled, an infinite, incomprehensible destiny to be fulfilled. The American people have by this time outgrown their boyhood. The American people have come of age; and it is time for them, after having met with great disappointments and passed through tremendous dangers and trials, to consider calmly what their true and peculiar forces are, to what tasks those forces are best suited, upon what ground they can be made most valuable, in what direction we can employ them most advantageously to ourselves and to mankind and in what way the American Republic can achieve the most useful, and therefore the most glorious position in the history of the human race. Our power has grown great, and with it our responsibilities. We should consider them well, and settle down upon a rational plan of life. It rests with our decision to achieve the greatest success or the most lamentable failure in history; for never were opportunities more magnificent. The Republic stands at the present moment like Hercules at the parting of the ways; one running southward, pointing to a repetition of the Roman empire, with all its magnitude, its power, its splendor, its riches, its demoralization, its civil commotions, its military government and its inevitable decay; the other pointing northward, toward the great republican power of the future, growing upon its own congenial soil, destined to become a lasting and beneficent example to all mankind. And, sir, the awful responsibility is laid upon the Congress of the United States to decide between the two!

And in the face of these tremendous problems we are asked to send an excursion party down to San Domingo, in order, after a little jaunt of three or four weeks, to give us the light of their experience, and to do it quickly, right quickly, so that before the expiration of this Congress we can in a hurry dispose of this portentous subject. That is what we are urged to do. I address myself to your sober judgment, and ask you, is not that trifling with the great interests of the American people?

There have been some words spoken of “factious opposition.” Sir, I certainly am not conscious of any such intention. I have given the reasons why I oppose this scheme, and every candid man within the hearing of my voice will admit that those reasons are far from being “factious.”

Ah, sir, I think it would be much better for the President and for us; it would perhaps better comport with the dignity of this great Government, if we dealt fairly and honestly with the President. If we are resolved to reject the fatal policy which is proposed to us—and I trust we are—let us not equivocate about it. Let us not, by ambiguous action, lead the President to indulge in false hopes. Let us put an end to this agony, and drop here the scheme which already has worked so much mischief.

We are told that we oppose the annexation of San Domingo because we are opponents of the Administration. No, sir; not for any such reason as that. Those who say so must be accustomed to measure by a small standard the motives of serious and patriotic men. What I am opposing is a measure which I consider dangerous to the best interests of the Republic to which I have sworn allegiance, of the country of which I am proud to be a citizen, of the American people, to whom I owe my first duty.

And now, sir, if the President were my own brother, and if all my private and political interests were wrapped up in the success of this single scheme, and if the words I have spoken to-day were to send me forever back into obscurity, yet to the last moment of my public life I would never cease to entreat the Senate and to conjure the American people, by the love which they bear to their country, by the inheritance of peace and good government which they desire to leave to their children, by the hopes of liberty-loving mankind which are centered upon this Republic: do not touch a scheme like this; do not trifle with that which may poison the future of this great nation; beware of the tropics.

  1. Speech in the United States Senate, Jan. 11, 1871. The Senate had under consideration the amendment of the House of Representatives to the joint resolution (S. R. No. 262) authorizing the appointment of commissioners in relation to the republic of Dominica.