Cuba, from its size and situation, may well be considered the most important of the West Indian Islands. Laying aside the question of its wonderful fertility as a matter connected with the peaceful concerns of the inhabitants, it becomes necessary to investigate the possibilities that the island presents, as affording bases for hostile operations against the United States, or as locations from which to meet and ward off such attacks.
Placed at about the same distance from the peninsulas of Florida and Yucatan, it is the natural sentry-box to the Gulf of Mexico and to the waters washing the shores of Yucatan and Honduras. The nation that holds its ports, in force can, at its wil., dominate over those waters and control ingress to and egress from the ports therein. The interest of the United States in the Gulf is vastly in excess of that of all other nations combined, and it behooves our country to make certain that, by no chance or oversight, any coign of vantage in Cuba be allowed to fall into the possession of a State that may antagonize those interests.