Biography Page 3
In 1853, Jane’s latest husband, William L. Cazneau, was appointed by President Franklin Pierce as a special agent to Santo Domingo. They moved to the island and lived on an estate they called Esmarelda. The Cazneaus continued to lobby for the annexation of their new home, and spent twenty years in that pursuit, but when the United States Senate voted against the annexation of Santo Domingo, they moved away from the island, to another in the Caribbean, Jamaica, and into retirement.
This era had proved fruitful for Jane and her writing, as she published three more books while living on Santo Domingo: In the Tropics by a Settler in Santo Domingo (1863), and a novel, The Prince of Kashna: A West Indian Story (1865), and Our Winter Eden: Pen Pictures of the Tropics (1878). All of these offerings were flavored with her usual causes: expansion, annexation, and Manifest Destiny.
Cazneau’s husband died in 1876, leaving her alone in Jamaica. On occasion, she would make return trips to America, and her last trip, in 1878, was to publish her book, Our Winter Eden: Pen Pictures of the Tropics. On the return trip, due to damage from a large storm, the ship she was a passenger on, the Emily B. Souder, sank off the coast of Cape Hatteras. All passengers and crew were lost, except for two members of the crew who managed to survive the ordeal. Cazneau had been traveling with her daughter-in-law, Annie Storms, who also perished in the calamity.
Jane Cazneau was a woman before her time; she did not let the constraints of a male-dominated society hamper her. She interacted with some of the most powerful men of her time. She had advised Presidents James K. Polk and Ulysses S. Grant, as well as the cabinet members for the administrations of James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Ulysses S. Grant. Thomas Hart Benton, a senator from Missouri, said Jane had a “masculine stomach for war and politics.”
Aaron Burr, the former vice President, prior to his embarrassing relationship with Cazneau, had written her a letter of introduction, and claimed she had “a peculiar discernment…courage, stability, and perseverance.” The New York Congressman Hamilton Fish described her as “full of schemes, avid of money, and devoid of scruples.”