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required for its ratification. There was great excitement in political circles, for some of the most famous and influential leaders of the Republican party, including Senator Sumner, were determined in their opposition to the treaty. It was charged that there were large private interests involved, and that the treaty was intended to protect and enrich a few citizens of the United States who had acquired large plantations in Santo Domingo, and to enable them to import sugar, tobacco, and other products into this country without the payment of duty. It was also charged that the people of the island had been intimidated to obtain their consent to annexation, that the government officials had been bribed, and that all forms of corruption had been used in securing the treaty.

Although the treaty was rejected by the Senate, President Grant was not discouraged. In his annual message six months later he called attention to the subject again, giving new and powerful arguments in favor of the acquisition of the republic. "I firmly believe," he said, "that the moment it is known that the United States has entirely abandoned the project of occupying as a part of its own territory the island of Santo Domingo, a free port will be negotiated for by European nations in the Bay of Samana, and a large commercial city will be built up, to which we will be tributary without receiving corresponding benefits." He recommended that a commission be appointed to negotiate a new treaty.

This proposition at once led to a bitter discussion in both Houses of Congress, Mr. Sumner and other Republicans leading the opposition. Senator Morton of Indiana offered a resolution, which was adopted by the Senate, authorizing the President to send to Santo Domingo such a commission as he had proposed, but it was not adopted by the House of Representatives without the addition of an amendment de

claring that nothing in the resolution should be construed as committing Congress to the annexation policy.

The commission which went to Santo Domingo was composed of Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio, Andrew D. White of New York, and Samuel G. Howe of Massachusetts, with Frederick Douglass and Allan A. Burton as secretaries. Robert R. Hitt, afterwards assistant secretary of state and now a member of the House of Representatives, was one of the stenographers. The party was accompanied by several scientific men instructed to investigate the resources of the island. The commission was carried to its destination by a man-of-war, and reached Samana Bay on the 24th of January, 1871.

A thorough inquiry was made into the resources and condition of the republic, its products and commerce, and the expediency of annexation. A public investigation as to the charges of corruption and intimidation, and as to the sentiments of the people was conducted and the testimony and views of many prominent citizens were secured. The report was submitted to Congress in the following April, and in every particular sustained the statements and opinions of President Grant. Strong reasons and arguments were given in favor of a treaty of annexation, and they had much influence upon public sentiment in the United States. In forwarding the report to the Senate, General Grant sent a message in which he defended his motives and explained his reasons for negotiating the original treaty. He said :

"Under these circumstances I deemed it due to the office which I hold, and due to the character of the agents who had been charged with the investigation, that such proceedings should be had as would enable the people to know the truth. A commission was therefore constituted, under authority of Congress, consisting of gentlemen selected with special reference to their high character and capacity for the laborious

work intrusted to them, who were instructed to visit the spot and report upon the facts. Other eminent citizens were requested to accompany the commission in order that the people might have the benefit of their views. Students of science and correspondents of the press, without regard to political opinions, were invited to join the expedition, and their numbers were limited only by the capacity of the vessel.

"The mere rejection by the Senate of a treaty negotiated by the President only indicates a difference of opinion between two co-ordinate departments of the government, without touching the character or wounding the pride of either. But when such rejection takes place simultaneously with charges openly made of corruption on the part of the President, or those employed by him, the case is different. Indeed, in such

a case the honor of the nation needs investigation. This has been accomplished by the report of the commissioners herewith transmitted, which fully vindicates the purity of the motives and action of those who represented the United States in the negotiation.

"And now my task is finished, and with it ends all personal solicitude upon the subject. My duty being done, yours begins; and I gladly hand over the whole matter to the judgment of the American people, and of their representatives in Congress assembled. The facts will now be spread before the country, and a decision rendered by that tribunal whose convictions so seldom err, and against whose will I have no policy to enforce. My opinion remains unchanged; indeed, it is confirmed by the report that the interests of our country and of Santo Domingo alike invite the annexation of that republic.

"In view of the difference of opinion upon this subject, I suggest that no action be taken at the present session beyond the printing and general dissemination of the report. Before

the next session of Congress the people will have considered the subject and formed an intelligent opinion concerning it; to which opinion, deliberately made up, it will be the duty of every department of the government to give heed, and no one will more cheerfully conform to it than myself. It is not only the theory of our Constitution that the will of the people, constitutionally expressed, is the supreme law, but I have ever believed that 'all men are wiser than any one man'; and if the people, upon a full presentation of the facts, shall decide that the annexation of the republic is not desirable, every department of the government ought to acquiesce in that decision.

"In again submitting to Congress a subject upon which public sentiment has been divided, and which has been made the occasion of acrimonious debates in Congress, as well as of unjust aspersions elsewhere, I may, I trust, be indulged in a single remark.

"No man could hope to perform duties so delicate and responsible as pertain to the presidential office without sometimes incurring the hostility of those who deem their opinions and wishes treated with insufficient consideration; and he who undertakes to conduct the affairs of a great government as a faithful public servant, if sustained by the approval of his own conscience, may rely with confidence upon the candor and intelligence of a free people, whose best interests he has striven to subserve, and can bear with patience the censure of disappointed men."

But Mr. Sumner, Mr. Schurz, and other senators who had originally opposed the proposition, were even more determined. in their hostility than before, and the first-named, who for some real or fancied grievance, had conceived a strong personal dislike for the President, denounced the treaty as "a measure of violence," a "dance of blood," and used other equally

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severe terms. He alluded to the president of Santo Domingo and his cabinet ministers as "political jockeys," and reiterated the charges of corruption, bribery, and fraud.

Although the President was stoutly defended by his friends the influence of Sumner and others was sufficient to defeat the adoption of the recommendation of the commission, and the President reluctantly abandoned the project. The question was, however, one of the principal reasons for the division of the Republican party in 1872, and it became a political issue in the presidential campaign of that year.

The Annexation of St. Thomas.

The kingdom of Denmark owns three small islands of the Virgin group of the Leeward Islands, lying between 17° and 18° north latitude, and in about 64° west longitude. They are St. Croix, or Santa Cruz, which has an area of 74 square miles and a population of 18,430, St. Thomas with an area of 23 square miles and a population of 14,389, and St. John with 21 square miles and a population of 944. Two thirds of the inhabitants are black, but they are well educated, and the Lutheran creed is the established religion of the country. The products are small, consisting of sugar, rum, and molasses, but the foreign commerce of the three islands is comparatively very large and amounts to about $3,000,000 a year, a greater part of which are imports of supplies intended for the use of passing ships.

St. Thomas is known as the keystone of the West Indies. It stands at the apex of the arc which forms the wall between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, known as the Windward and Leeward Islands. It lies in the track of all vessels from Europe, Brazil, the East Indies, and the Pacific Ocean, bound to the north coast of Central and South America, the east coast of Mexico, the gulf ports of the United States and the West India Islands, and also in the track of all vessels

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