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Page 426


Dear Gineral:—We are skuddin' round here, and holding
on to the slack, waitin' for more help to come up, and you
may depend on't Cuba's got to take it. We don't never give
up the ship. A fast little clipper jest come along, going to
Baltimore, and the skipper said he'd take my dispatches to
you in three days. And you can send to me by the skipper,
your notions about things; for he's only going to stop long
enough to wood up, and then he's coming right strait back to
jine us. He made me promise to hold on and not take Cuba
till he comes, for he was very earnest to be in at the death.

That Cuba's a fine country. We've been having a glimpse
at it once in awhile with our spy-glasses, through the “Hole
in the Wall,” and round the corners, and it's raly a fine
country; 'twould do your heart good to look at it. And you
shall have a chance before long, for it's got to come down;
it's got to 'nuckle, and no mistake. I've got my commission
to go ahead from Mr. Buchanan, and Mr. Mason, and Mr.
Souley. And the nub of the whole thing is, we've got to take
Cuba, “if we have the power;” and I know we have, as Sally
Giles said to her sweetheart. Says Sally, says she, “you
shan't kiss me unless you are stronger than I am, and I
know you be.”

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Page 428

Just before we come out, I see by the papers that Louis
Napoleon was a notion of goin' to the Crimea to see Sevastopol
fall, and so I thought maybe you might like to come out here
and see us take Cuba. Now, if you du, jest say the word,
and tell me in your letter what day you will be down on the
pint of Florida, and I'll bear up with the Two Pollies and take
you off.

You mustn't feel hurt because I didn't come to Washington
to see you before starting on this cruise; but the fact was, I
hadn't time. Our country was in so much danger it wouldn't
do to wait. Our Congress in Ostend went over the whole
ground, and examined it carefully, and come to the conclusion
that it was neck or nothing with us. We must have Cuba or
our whole country would go to rack and ruin, and we agreed
that “the Union can never enjoy respose nor possess reliable
security as long as Cuba is not embraced within its

I sent you a dispatch last fall about the duins of our Congress
at Ostend, where we took up the affairs of England, and
France, and Spain; but finally concluded we couldn't make
anything out of that business yet, and should have to wait a
little longer. Well, then them three S's—Souley, Sickles, and
Sanders—said there was one thing we could du; we could
take hold of that Cuba business and finish it up brown. And,
for fear that Louis Napoleon might have spies round us there
at Ostend, we concluded it was best to hitch a little further
off. So we went over to Ax-le-Shapple and finished up the

The upshot was, we concluded we would have Cuba by
hook or by crook; and that Mr. Souley should go right back
to old Spain and tell the Queen so. If she'd a mind to give
it up quietly and make no fuss about it, he might promise to
give her somethin' pretty handsome in the way of money; we


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didn't care nothin' about that, as we've got plenty of money
to home. If she refused, and told Mr. Souley to mind his own
business, and we shouldn't have Cuba no how, then we told
him he mustn't be mealy-mouthed, nor mince matters, but pick
a quarrel the best way he could and clear out.

Well, Mr. Souley went back to Madrid with a stiff upper
lip, and begun to try to dicker with the Queen's spokesman
for a bargain, somethin' in this way:

Souley. “Oh, now I think of it, there's the little Island of
Cuba over there near our coast; we'd like to have that little
island, if it's all the same to you. I s'pose you've no
objections; it isn't the least use in the world to you, and it
might be some little account to us. So, if you say so, we'll
jest mark Cuba down on the map of the United States.”

Spokesman. “Not by a jug full, Mr. Souley; Cuba is the
most valuable patch of ground we've got. Can't spare it
no how.”

Souley. “Oh, nonsense; it's no income at all to you, and
nothin' but a bill of expense. It's so near to us we might
look after it, and maybe make somethin' out of it; but it's no
more use to you than the fifth wheel to a coach. I guess
we'll consider it ours.”

Spokesman. “I guess you won't. I tell you we can't spare
Cuba no how. It's the pride of the Spanish kingdom, and the
gem of the Queen's crown.”

Souley. “Well, but, my dear sir, we wouldn't mind paying
you quite a handsome sum for it; a hundred millions, if you
say so. We won't scrimp about the price.”

Spokesman. “There is no price to it. Carry your hundred
millions to some other market if you want to buy honor with
it. I tell you the honor of old Spain has no price.”

Souley. “But, my dear sir, you don't consider what a
wonderful deal of help a million would be to you. You must


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remember you are getting a good deal behind hand. You've
no income hardly, and you are a good deal in debt. Only look
at it; a hundred millions will enable you to pay off your
debts, and make internal improvements, and build railroads
and telegraphs all over your country, so that you can spruce
up and live comfortable, and get ahead in the world. Say the
word, and the hundred millions is yours.”

Spokesman. “Offer your hundred millions to some beggar
who wants it. The ancient and proud kingdom of Spain is
no beggar, sir. I'll thank you, sir, not to insult me.”

Souley. “I don't intend any insult, sir; but I'll be frank
and plain with you. The fact is, we must have that island.
It is absolutely necessary for the safety and welfare of the
United States. Our country can't get along without it.”

Spokesman. “That's your look out, not mine.”

Souley. “Well, now, Mr. Spokesman, you know your
people out there in Cuba have for a long time been insulting
our folks, searching their vessels, and firing into their
steamers, and sometimes ketching our people and shooting 'em,
or putting 'em in dungeons. There's a long account of these
things that you must settle right up, pint plank, or suffer the
consequences. There's three hundred thousand dollars you've
got to pay for stopping the steamer Black Warrior, and a great
many other things as bad as that. These matters have got to
be settled right up, or Cuba's got to stand in the gap.”

Spokesman. “Can't help that. If you've got any accounts
to settle, we'll leave it out to a third party to say how we
shall settle. We don't owe you a cent for the Black Warrior.
She broke our laws, and we fined her six thousand dollars;
and then we give back the fine after all, when we might a
kept the vessel. And you are so ungrateful as not to thank
us for it.”

Souley. “I won't stan' this foolery no longer. Leave it


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out! No, we know how to settle our own business best.
Now, sir, you've got to settle all our accounts right up, and
fix things about Cuba, so we shan't never have any more
trouble, or else give us up the island to manage in our own
way. Now, I'm agoin' to give you jest two weeks to think
of this business, and give me your answer; and if it isn't
settled by that time, I shall clear out and go home, and then
you'll hear thunder!
Good-by, sir.”

That Souley's a smart feller, Gineral. He talked right up
to 'em, and wasn't afeared. Well, he waited till the two
weeks was out, and no answer didn't come; and then he slat
round and picked up his clothes, and locked up his trunks,
and cleared out. Then he come over where we had been waiting
for him, and told us how the business stood. He said old
Spain refused to give up Cuba, and refused to settle, and he
had got the quarrel in such a shape now, that we would carry
it on any way to suit ourselves. “And now,” said Mr.
Souley, “what's to be done next?”

Wal, says I, Mr Souley, you've only jest got to look at
the instructions drawn up by our Congress, at Ax-le-Shapple,
and signed by you, and Mr. Buchanan, and Mr. Mason, and
you'll see the course is marked out as plain as A, B, C. Jest
open the dockyment and read. It says:

“Cuba is as necessary to the North American Republic as
any of its present members.”

“The Union can never enjoy repose, nor possess reliable security
as long as Cuba is not embraced within its boundaries.”

“But if Spain, deaf to the voice of her own interest, and
actuated by stubborn pride and a false sense of honor, should
refuse to sell Cuba to the United States”—what then?

“Self-preservation is the first law of nature with States as
well as with individuals.”

Matters and things being thus and so, “then, by every


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law, human and divine, we shall be justified in wresting Cuba
from Spain, if we possess the power.”

There, says I, there's your chart, as plain as the nose
on a man's face; and all we've got to do is to go ahead. So
we all put our heads together to draw up a plan of the campaign,
and we wasn't long about it. It was finally concluded
that Sanders should go and stir up the Southern division,
head-quarters at New Orleans; Sickles should take charge of
the center wing, head-quarters at Washington, and a branch
at New York; and I should go as fast as possible “Down
East,” head-quarters at Downingville, and fit out a naval force
that would put Cuba through. And here I am, Gineral, and
you may depend on't the work's got to be done.

But now I must ask you, Gineral, what in thunder Mr.
Marcy means by backin' and fillin' so. I have jest got some
of the latest New York papers by an outer-bound vessel, and
one of the first things I see is Mr. Marcy's letter to Mr. Souley,
dated 13th of November, and it is so full of milk and water it
makes me fairly sick. I was always a little afraid Marcy was
an Old Fogy, but I did think he had a little more back-bone
than he shows in this letter. He's no Christian, and he's violated
the Scripter, for he has put his hand to the plough and
looked back. He seems now to be for smoothing over matters;
thinks maybe our country could manage some how or other to
get along without Cuba; don't know but what old Spain
means to do the thing that's about right after all; better
dicker with her a little longer in a friendly kind of a way;
better not do anything to afront her; keep things quiet till
Spain gets in the right mood, and then, if she won't sell us
Cuba, perhaps she'll settle and pay up.

Now, I tell you what 'tis, Gineral, our Eurup Cabinet don't
swallow no sich milk and water stuff as that. What's got into
Mr. Marcy? Last year he told Mr. Souley to demand three


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hundred thousand dollars for the Black Warrior, right down
on the nail, and not stop to parley about it. But now he
quivers and shakes one way and t'other, like a leaf in the wind.
I'm afraid Mr. Marcy is getting old. And there's poor old
Uncle Joshua, Postmaster of Downingville, I find he's getting
old and timersum too. When I got home to Downingville
and told the family I was going to fit out the Two Pollies,
and be off the next day to take Cuba, Uuncle Joshua was
struck all of a heap.

Says he, “Major, I beg of you not to go into any of that
fillibustering business; it's next akin to piracy; and there's
the neutrality laws dead agin you, too.”

“Oh, no,” says I, “Uncle Joshua, I aint going to undertake
any of your low fillibusterin'; I'm only jest going out to
take Cuba man-fashion, because our country can't get along
without it, and self-preservation, you know, is the first law of
nater, and because old Spain keeps insulting of us and won't
pay up.”

“But don't you see, Major,” says Uncle Joshua, “if you go
to take Cuba, you are making war upon Spain; and you can't
do that according to the Constitution. Nobody in this
country has any power to make war but Congress.”

“But you're mistaken there, Uncle Joshua,” says I. “Didn't
Mr. Polk make war upon Mexico?”

“No, by no means,” said Uncle Joshua. “If you look
back and read the dockyments of them days, you will
find it reads, `Whereas war exists between this country and
Mexico.' You see that war come itself. But you have no
right to make war upon Spain or Cuba unless you get your
authority from Congress. That is according to the Constitution.”

“Wal, uncle, I have got my authority from Congress,” says
I; “what more do you want?”


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“Oh, no,” says he; “Congress haint declared war, because
it would be in the papers, and I should a seen it.”

“But I don't mean your lazy Old Fogy Congress to Washington,”
says I; “I mean our Eurup Congress.”

And then I took the dockyment out of my pocket and
showed it to him, signed by Mr. Buchanan, and Mr. Mason,
and Mr. Souley. At first he was thunder-struck, and couldn't
say nothin'. Then he fell back on the Constitution agin, jest
as he always does, and said he didn't believe our Congress
over there in Eurup was constitutional. Then he reached up
to the shelf and took down the old Constitution, covered with
morocco leather, that Gineral Jackson sent him more than
twenty years ago, and he put on his spectacles and looked it
all over from beginning to end, and said he couldn't find
nothin' about any Congress in Eurup.

“But if you call your meeting over there in Eurup a
Congress,” says he, “I should like to know where you find
your authority in the Constitution to make war upon Spain
or to go fillibusterin' about Cuba.”

“Why, Uncle Joshua,” says I, “we find it in that clause
where it says `I take the responsibility.'”

“There!” said Cousin Sargent Joel, who had been listening
all the time without saying a word; “there, father,” says he,
“I knew you would find the authority in the Constitution somewhere.
That's one of the amendments to the Constitution that
was added by Gineral Jackson, you know, and therefore it
must be right.”

Then Sargent Joel turned to me, and says he, “Major, I've
been round and notified the whole company of the Downingville
militia, and they are all ready, armed and equipped as the law
directs, and will be aboard to-morrow at ten o'clock. They
are full of grit, and ready to swallow Cuba alive.”

I haint got near through my story, Gineral, for I wanted to


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[Description: 688EAF. Page 435. In-line image. A man stands on a rock overlooking the sea. The sun rises or sets behind him casting him with an ethereal aura. He raises his hat in his hand to salute the returning schooner which can be seen sailing in the distance.]
tell you more about fitting out the Two Pollies, and about the
crew, and the sogers, and the marines, and the hoss-marines,
and the vige, but I shan't have room in this dispatch, and the
little clipper that's waitin' for me to finish writing, has got a
smart wind and wants to be off. If I don't see you standing
on the pint of Floriday as we go by, I shall take it for granted
that you have concluded not to go out to see us take Cuba;
but if I see a man standing there, and swinging his hat, I
shall know it's you, and we'll bear right up with the Two
and take you off.

I remain your old friend, and Minister-Gineral at large,
and Rear Commodore of the fillibuster fleet,