Posts Tagged ‘Henry Middleton – U.S. Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia 1823’

Two does not equal one

John Quincy Adams

On 22 July 1823, the U.S. Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, wrote the following to Henry Middleton, U.S. Extraordinary & Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia:

          “… Adams, reiterated European intentions with respect to lands they invaded and took from the native residents:

‘It never has been admitted, by the various European nations which have formed settlements in this hemisphere, that the occupation of an island gave any claim whatever to territorial possessions on the continent to which it was adjoining. The recognized principle has rather been the reverse; as, by the law of nature, islands must rather be considered as appurtenant to continents, than continents to islands.’

From the same chapter in Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia:

          Columbus’ first recorded stop was on a Caribbean island which he named Hispaniola (Haiti) and where he devastated the resident Taino Nation. Given his contractual agreement with Spain proclaiming him Governor, Vice-Roy, and Admiral of all lands he discovered, Columbus would have been less than receptive to recognizing the Tainos as rightful landholders. No less significant was the fact that future recognition and benefits were stipulated for his heirs in perpetuity. Columbus did not foresee any problem in achieving those personal payoffs as the Tainos did not have or use weapons such as swords: ‘With fifty men, we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want’; ‘They are the most timid people in the world, so that only the [my] men … could destroy the whole region …’

Charters and contracts directed removal of all impediments, particularly indigenous people encountered during the invasions, and confiscation of their lands. Individuals implementing the strategists’ directives were authorized to mete out whatever punishment and justice they deemed necessary in order to keep their morally and ethnically superior settlements undisturbed by Indian ‘irritants.’  As the distance between most European countries and the Western Hemisphere prohibited prompt communication, it was imperative that only individuals with the same rapacious nature as the strategists be selected to carry out the invasions. Substantial prestige and wealth had been promised to the implementers; so substantial, in fact, that conscience-free dedication by the invaders to their contractual obligations was fairly guaranteed.

In the same way that others would boldly promote the theory of manifest destiny three centuries later, Columbus invoked the Christian religion and Holy Trinity as the basis for his invasions of the Caribbean and Central America, all of which included acts of premeditated hostilities, massacres, enslavement, and seizure of the residents’ lands and other property.

… he [Columbus] was finally expelled from the Caribbean in 1500 after Governor Francisco de Bodadilla arrested him and his brother, Bartholomew, sending them back to Spain shackled in chains.

After later being denied re-entry to the port of Hispaniola, Columbus and Bartholomew relocated their activities to Panama, Central America. Still working with inaccurate maps and distances, the brothers believed they had actually landed on the Malay Peninsula (Asia). In 1504 they returned to Spain with a ship full of gold and other treasures taken from The Nations.

Those attempting to defend their families and lands against invaders were slaughtered, imprisoned, executed, or taken as slaves — the invaders officially characterizing the native residents’ defensive efforts as outrageous and degrading. On the other hand, the invaders saw their own aggression as appropriate since recipient Indians were considered heathens, even inhuman.”

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Note:  The above excerpts are found in Chapter One, pages 7 – 9, of Conscience: Breaching Social Amnesia.  Text source reference nos. 19-31 for the above-quoted material are stipulated in the Chapter End Notes on pages 169-170.