Jefferson Davis, on Cuba

September 9, 1859

Under the Refuge of Oppression column, here are extracts of a speech by Davis, before the Democratic State Convention, in Mississippi, July 1859.  The speech is statement of the positive good and necessity of slavery, and includes a favoring of the acquisition of Cuba.  “That the presence of slaves in the island made it more desirable to me, I will not deny.”  He favors acquisition by purchase from Spain, “but if all peaceful means should prove unavailing, then, whenever her island is about to become, in the hand of an enemy, dangerous to the United States, or whenever just cause for war shall be given by Spain, I say we should take possession of Cuba……”   His speech also includes a fear that the nation is approaching a time when a decision must be made about the Union.  He makes reference to a recent speech by Seward, and indicates if a President is elected on a platform such as in that speech, then “let the Union be dissolved”.