Referring to annexation, he said our destiny had forced us to acquire Florida, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and California. “We have now territory enough, but how long will it be enough? One hive is enough for one swarm of bees, but a new swarm comes next year and a new hive is wanted.” Men may say we shall never want anything more of Mexico, but the time would come when we would be compelled to take more. Central America was half-way to California and on the direct road. The time will come when our destiny, our institutions, our safety will compel us to have it. “So it is,” concluded he, “with the island of Cuba.... It is a matter of no consequence whether we want it or not; we are compelled to take it, and we can’t help it”.
[Sidenote] Douglas, New Orleans Speech, Dec. 6, 1858. Pamphlet.
When Douglas reached New Orleans he substantially repeated these declarations in another long speech, and, as if he had not yet placed himself in entire harmony with Southern opinion, he added a sentiment almost as remarkable as the “mudsill” theory of Hammond, or the later “cornerstone” doctrine of Stephens: “It is a law of humanity,” said he, “a law of civilization, that whenever a man or a race of men show themselves incapable of managing their own affairs, they must consent to be governed by those who are capable of performing the duty. It is on this principle that you establish those institutions of charity for the support of the blind, or the deaf and dumb, or the insane. In accordance with this principle, I assert that the negro race, under all circumstances, at all times, and in all countries, has shown itself incapable of self-government.”
[Sidenote] Douglas, Baltimore Speech, Jan. 5, 1859. Pamphlet.
Once more, in a speech at Baltimore, Douglas repeated in substance what he had said at Memphis and New Orleans, and then in the beginning of January, 1859, he reached Washington and took his seat in the Senate. Here he began to comprehend the action of the Democratic caucus in deposing him from the chairmanship of the Committee on Territories. His personal influence and prestige among the Southern leaders were gone. Neither his revived zeal for annexation, nor his advanced views on the necessity for slave labor, restored his good-fellowship with the extremists. Although, pursuant to a recommendation in the annual message, a measure was then pending in the Senate to place thirty millions in the hands of President Buchanan with which to negotiate for Cuba, the attitude of the pro-slavery faction was not one of conciliation, but of unrelenting opposition to him.
[Sidenote] Brown, Senate Speech, Feb.
28, 1859. “Globe,” pp. 1241