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Slavery in Cuba. A Report of the Proceedings of the Meeting, Held at the Cooper Institute. New York City, December 13, 1872.
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Slavery in Cuba. A Report of the Proceedings of the Meeting, Held at the Cooper Institute. New York City, December 13, 1872.
Pamphlet (42 p. ; 23 cm.)
New York City, NY
SLAVERY IN CUBA.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE MEETING,
NEW YORK CITY, DECEMBER 13, 1872.
Newspaper Extracts, Official Correspondence,
CUBAN ANTI-SLAVERY COMMITTEE.
S.R. SCOTTRON, CHAIRMAN.
HENRY HIGHLAND GARNET, SECRETARY.
NO. 62 BOWERY (ROOMS 2 & 3),
SLAVERY IN CUBA
The Colored People of the United States, who have so recently been invested with the rights of citizens of our Republic, have, very naturally, from our own experience of the evil effects of slavery in this country, been particularly interested in the condition of five hundred thousand of our brethren, now held as slaves in the Island of Cuba, and have watched, with painful interest, the struggle that has been going on in that Island during the past four years, between the Cuban patriots and the Spanish Government. Were it not for the fact above alluded to, of our own condition in the past, we feel nevertheless that as intelligent citizens, having the cause of human freedom deeply implanted within us, the information we have from the daily journals and official correspondence, both of our Government and the Government of Great Britain, on the affairs of that island, would have suggested to us the propriety of some movement on our part, in the interest of freedom, humanity and christian civilization, which we believe should be the especial care of all good people.
In the early part of December, 1872, the following call was circulated for a meeting, which was held in the great hall of Cooper Institute, at which time a committee was appointed to publish the proceedings of said meeting, and other information, and to take such action as the committee might deem proper, to forward the cause of liberty, in the Island of Cuba.
To the Colored Citizens of the United States:
Now that we are confirmed in the possession of our liberty, and have been so bountifully provided with all the requisites of Freemen, it ill be comes us to sit idly by, while five hundred thousand of our brethren groan beneath the chains of slavery at our very doors, in the Island of Cuba.
We would therefore unite our voices and strength in favor of their just rights, and in behalf of the Cuban Patriots, who have already decreed and put in practice the doctrine of the equality and freedom of all men. We
view with abhorrence the policy of the Spanish Government during the past four years in that island, both for the unnecessary and inhuman butcheries that have taken place under its rule, and for the tenacity with which they cling to the barbarous and inhuman institution of Slavery.
It is therefore resolved to hold a meeting at a Cooper Institute, on the evening of December 13, 1872, when proper action will be taken to advance the cause of freedom.
The meeting will be addressed by Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, D.D, S.R. Scottron, and others.
PETER W. DOWNING.
PHILIP A. WHITE
PETER W. RAY
JOHN J. ZUILLE
T. S. W. TITUS
SAMUEL R. SCOTTRON
Agreeably to the duties and powers conferred upon them, the committee have carefully compiled the following report of the speeches delivered and resolutions adopted at that time, also a brief synopsis of a meeting held in the city of Boston, Mass., about the same time, together with extracts from leading papers, official correspondence, etc., all more or less calculated to give our people the latest information in reference to Cuba. The committee believe that the prompt and united action of our people at the present time will hasten the long wished for day, when the foul blot of human slavery and the slave trade shall be forever removed and all the inhabitants of the western waters be absolutely free.
CUBAN ANTI-SLAVERY MEETING, HELD AT COOPER INSTITUTE,
DECEMBER 13, 1872.
The meeting was called to order by S.R. Scottron who nominated Dr. P W. Ray, of Brooklyn, as chairman, and Chas. E. Pindell, of Boston, secretary.
The call for the meeting was read, after which the following resolutions were presented:
Whereas, We, colored citizens of the United States, having become possessed of the rights of freemen after many years' experience of the degradation and evil effects of human slavery, remembering full well the cruelties of family separation, of the lash, constant toil and pain, of inequal-
ity before the law; we are therefore deeply impressed with the condition of the five hundred thousand of our brethren in the Island of Cuba, who are now in a state of slavery, undergoing the same sad experience of ourselves in the past, being separated mother from child, husband from wife, brother from sister, and toiling constantly under the lash of the tyrant master; and
Whereas, We have watched with deep interest the struggle going on in that island for the past four years between the Cuban patriots and the Spanish Government ; it is therefore
Resolved, That it is with feelings of great apprehension and concern that we view the indisposition or inability of the Spanish Government to enforce any measure in favor of the abolition of slavery in the Island of Cuba, being aware that every measure in that direction has heretofore met with the most violent opposition of the Spaniards in authority in that island.
Resolved, That after a careful survey of the situation, as collected from official correspondence and other information and evidences of the condition and disposition of the respective combatants, it is our opinion that the success of the Spanish arms will tend to rivet more firmly the chains of slavery on our brethren, re-establishing it where it does not now exist, restoring the horrors of the African slave trade and the Coolie traffic, and indefinitely postpone the abolition of the worst of evils that ever disgraces an enlightened and Christian age, that the success of the Cuban patriots will immediately give to the whole inhabitants of the island, freedom and and equality before the law.
Resolved, That the Spanish Government in that island, by their barbarous edicts and inhuman butcheries, have fully demonstrated their want of human sympathy, and their inability to entertain that appreciation of the rights of others which should appear conspicuous in the conduct of all Christian people, and give us no hope, in the event of their success, of the final freedom of the inhabitants of the whole island.
Resolved, That we, therefore, after four years' patient waiting, deem it our duty, and do hereby petition our government at Washington, the President and Congress of the United States, to accord to the Cuban Patriots that favorable recognition that four years' gallant struggle for freedom justly entitles them to.
Mr. S. R. SCOTTRON then addressed the audience in support of the resolutions.
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen : A motion for liberty is always in order. In support of the resolutions which have been offered for adoption, allow me to occupy your attention with a few remarks in support of the assertions and recommendations contained therein, and to show you the actual necessity for our immediate action ; for the voice of five hundred thousand enslaved appeals to us from the Gulf. The cause of humanity demands our immediate attention. Citizens of the Republic, you who know so well how to sympathize with
the downtrodden and oppressed, while you are enjoying the blessings of freedom, the voice of five hundred thousand of our brethren in chains is heard, demanding an equal chance in the race of life. The soil of Cuba is polluted with the curse of human slavery. The exigency of the situation demands our immediate action. Was not the fact before us, it would seem impossible that the colored people of this country, so lately possessed of their liberty and right to citizenship, could refrain so long from giving some expression of their sentiment on the question of slavery in the Island of Cuba. A desire to abstain from pressing upon our government any measure which might interfere with its foreign policy during the pendency of the Alabama question, and as good citizens should, offer no encouragement to a spirit that might create a breach of our government's declared neutrality in the affairs of that island, has no doubt been the cause of our silence. Four years now have passed since the first blow was struck for freedom in Cuba, since which time the cause of liberty has oft trembled in the balance, but by the grace of an overruling Providence stands to-day in her majesty and asks nothing of the world but an equal chance with that of her oppressors, in order to crown her gallant efforts with victory. Shall the four million in our own land, who have so lately tasted of the bitter fruit of slavery, stand idly by while a half million of our brethren are weighed down with anguish and despair at their unhappy lot? or shall we rise up as one man and with one accord demand for them simple and exact justice? Indeed, we look back but a very brief period to the time when it was necessary for other men to hold conventions, appoint committees and form societies, having in view the liberation of four millions among whom were ourselves; but, thanks to the genius of free government, free schools and liberal ideas, all the outgrowth of an enlightened and Christian age, we are enabled in the brief space of ten years to stand, not only as freemen ourselves, but with voices and with power to demand the liberation of five hundred thousand of our brethren, who are afflicted with the curse of human slavery. Although the task before us seems weighted with difficulties, and those whom we propose to free are not within our grasp, being separated from our own country and under the hand of a foreign government, nevertheless, all the these difficulties can be success-
successfully surmounted, and the glorious blessings of freedom carried to thousands of our fellow beings. In the rapid strides made by our Government toward human equality in the past few years, and the gradual extinction of caste prejudice, necessarily concomitant of the institution of slavery, creates in me the sanguine hope, that the time is not distant when all men, everywhere, will be free. Our own Republic, as the pioneer of this great work, has placed herself foremost among Christian nations and has commenced a work that will not be compete till all nations, recognizing our later civilization, shall be educated up to our own standard of even-handed justice to mankind. President Grant, in his late annual message, very wisely says, with reference to the Cuban revolution, "I cannot doubt that the continual maintenance of slavery is among the strongest inducements to the continuance of the strife. A terrible wrong is the natural cause of a terrible evil." Spain having pioneered African slavery on this continent more than three centuries ago, and having clung to the institution in violation of treaty obligations and in defiance of the humanitarian precedents of all Christian nations, still disgraces civilization and violates every just sentiment in the futile effort to continue its existence, in the remnant of her possessions near our own country. The gallant Cubans, who have battled heroically under a banner which is the symbol of manhood equality, have for more than a quarter of a century, insisted upon the abolition of slavery both in Cuba and Porto Rico. And among the first of the official acts of the Cuban Republic was to declare the unconditional emancipation of the slaves within its jurisdiction (applause), and to make constitutional promises that "all inhabitants of the Republic are absolutely free," and for this freedom and the right to govern themselves have they battled nobly, in the face of the most disheartening obstacles that ever beset any people in their struggle for liberty. Before entering upon this work it became my duty to ascertain the exact position of the two parties now striving for the mastery in the Island of Cuba, and to make sure, with which party could we unite, to secure immediate and unconditional freedom to the half million of enslaved, who for years have tilled the soil of Cuba and brought untold wealth to their Spanish masters and have fastened the chains of slavery on themselves. This question
has been plainly answered. The present laws and practices of the Cuban Patriots gives us every assurance that they are the party of freedom. As we have already said, they immediately, at the outbreak of the revolution, declared that "all the inhabitants of their Republic are absolutely free." We find from authentic and reliable sources that an actual state of freedom exists among all classes, that the colored inhabitants battle side by side with the white, holding the rank of officers, and in numerous instances, colored officers commanding white troops. As an evidence of the animus of the Spanish Government in this connection, whenever these colored soldiers are captured in battle they are immediately remitted to a condition of servitude. In support of this assertion I will read an extract from the speech of Senor Eduardo Benot, in the Spanish Senate, October 18th, 1872. He says: "Spain has reserved to herself the sad privilege of upholding slavery; but the fact is, my "lords, that ever since April, 1869, the insurrectionists have "made a constitution, and in one of its articles is decreed the "immediate abolition of slavery. The insurrectionists, from "the very fact of being so, have set their slaves free; but the "Government, in virtue of the extraordinary proceeding of "appropriation, has been converting these freemen into slaves, and their number has already reached the respectable "total of 50,000 men or more. What then does the Government intend to do with these 50,000 slaves, and why does "Spain keep free men in slavery, thus making slaves of men that are free instead of giving freedom to slaves." The laws and practices of the Spanish Government convince us and the civilized world that they have not imbibed, in the least, a taste for free institutions. Spain, true to her ancient history as foremost among the most barbarous of all nations who profess to have founded government on the divine precepts of our Lord, she clings tenaciously to an institution which has always followed in the wake of her victories and authority. She it was, who having grasped the islands of the Gulf and a large portion of the American continent, introduced such severities as killed off entirely the native inhabitants of the islands, and almost every aboriginee in the vast continental territory under her rule, and when the native element, under the pressure of hard taskmasters, inhuman
butcheries, and every species of inhuman treatment, had melted away, Spain fell still deeper and filled her cup of infamy to running over by entering into the African Slave Trade, in order to repeople the islands with Afric's more hardy sons, and who are with her to-day. God grant it may be our province to divest her of this portion of her little greatness, and she be made to respect the spirit of the age, which can tolerate nothing but liberty. Now that our race enjoy all the rights of freemen in our Republic and, as a consequence, are respected as men everywhere, it is meet and proper that we should use all our efforts to ameliorate the condition of our brethren in other lands, and endeavor to destroy slavery wherever it exists. Let the colored people of America avail themselves of the sacred right of petition to assist the struggling patriots of Cuba, and disenthrall from the most tyrannical slavery five hundred thousand of our brethren now held as chattel slaves by the government of Spain. The history of our government is full of instances of the sympathy of the Republic being extended to people struggling for the right of self-government. Notably and prominent as instances stands out the conduct of our government toward the South and Central American Republics, when they were endeavoring to throw off the Spanish yoke. These powers on the central and southern portions of our continent, in relation to Cuba, followed the precedent created by our own people, and took occasion as early as 1869 to concede the Cuban Republic belligerent rights (applause), and in one case, that of the Republic of Peru, recognized the independence of the Cuban Republic. International law, undoubtedly, prescribes a certain line of conduct in dealing with foreign governments during a revolution ; much is required of the revolutionists in order to entitle them to a favorable recognition. The prudent statesman, no doubt, will exact the last requirement before he will advocate their cause ; but high above all other laws stands that of right and justice. I hold that that is not law which has not justice for its basis. I repeat, a motion for freedom is always in order, and demands the support of every man. The philanthropist should not be swallowed up in the statesman. Wherever oppression is—wherever a system of human slavery exists—there exists a crime against God and man, revolting to the inborn sense of every son of freedom.
There it is our right to strike, and, by our utmost endeavors, secure the triumph of freedom and equality. There is no difficult problem in this question of liberty about which we may tax our brains for one moment: indeed our own national Declaration of Independence, in a brief but sublime passage, ranking with the greatest utterances of the world's history, declares "that all men are born with certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It does not confine itself to any set of men in a particular territory, but it says all men. Then, if all men are entitled or endowed with certain inalienable rights, may not all men combine in supporting the same? Surely an expression of sympathy is the least we can do toward so great a cause.
In the present struggle in the Island of Cuba, we find, after a most careful examination, there are just two parties—the one endeavoring to establish slavery, and the other to establish freedom. (Applause.) I wish it were possible to present you in detail all the facts which drive me to this conclusion. I hold in my hand a document prepared in Great Britain, for the use of the British Parliament, giving the correspondence of the Foreign Office with the government of Spain. I will read from page 16 of this pamphlet an address from the "British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society" on this subject:
To the Right Honorable the Earl Granville, K.G., Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
My Lord, It is with great regret that the Committee of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society finds itself obliged once more respectfully to call the attention of Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the state of the island of Cuba, in reference to slavery and the Slave Trade. The Committee continues to receive information from various sources on the deplorable condition of Cuba, and of the determination of the volunteer or Spanish party to maintain slavery in the island at any cost, and if triumphant to revive the Slave Trade. They observe that these opinions are fully confirmed by statement in the Blue Books recently laid before Parliament.
Under these circumstances, and in view of the fact that nearly every slave in Cuba is entitled to freedom under British Treaty, the Committee had hoped to see some traces in the Parliamentary papers of a more vigorous and direct moral intervention with Spain by Her Majesty's present Government than they are able to discover.
From reliable information, received through America and from other quarters, the Committee believe that the Slave Trade has already recommenced, that some cargoes of slaves are from time to time being landed in small detachments on some of the remote parts of the island.
It is supposed in the United States that these slaves are brought to Cuba from the East Coast of Africa, but on this point no official in formation appears to have been published.
The Committee respectfully suggest that some good might arise were Her Majesty's Government to extend the functions and increase the powers of the Commissioners in Cuba.
At the same time the enormous price paid for the hire of slaves in Cuba, is a temptation so great, that the only sure prevention is the abolition of slavery itself.
The facts disclosed or confirmed by the Parliamentary papers, that the Spanish Government are powerless to control the volunteer or Spanish party in Cuba, and that this party, if successful in crushing the Cubans, will not only perpetuate slavery, but reopen the Slave Trade, emphatically show that the time has arrived when her Majesty's Government are called upon to assert its Treaty rights in insisting on the liberation of slave population illicitly imported, and who are virtually the wards of Great Britain.
The present state of affairs admits of no delay.
The Committee would respectfully but very earnestly entreat Her Majesty's Government to invite the cooperation of the Government of the United States in friendly efforts to establish complete freedom and permanent peace in Cuba, which has been so long devastated by a ruthless civil war, carried on between the partisans of slavery and advocates of freedom.
Signed on behalf of the Committee,
(Signed) JOSEPH COOPER,
ROBT. ALSOP, } Honorary Secretaries
THOMAS PHILLIPS, Assistant Secretary.
27 New Broad Street, London, July 10, 1871.
I believe this is sufficiently plain to need no comment. It fully and explicitly states that the facts confirm them in the opinion that, should the Spanish government succeed in crushing the Cubans, it will not only perpetuate slavery, but reopen the slave trade. Then I would ask you, fellow-citizens, does not the exigency of the situation demand immediate action? Is not the situation extremely perilous to liberty? Have we not already stood still too long? We are driven to the irresistible conclusion that the interests of humanity are inseparably connected with the cause of the Cuban patriots.
There may be those perhaps, who are
opposed to introducing anything of a political nature in connection with that of emancipation. This may be proper in their minds; but shall we allow the cause of freedom to suffer that we might pursue a line of conduct very becoming to statesmen, perhaps, but still ill-becoming to philanthropists? No: let us be resolved on one thing: we must have freedom. (Applause.)
Let me occupy your attention still further upon this subject by reading from pages 24 and 39 of the same pamphlet the opinion and conclusions of Earl Granville, who has particulalrly interested himself in this question:
Earl Granville to Mr. Layard.
Foreign Office, November 24, 1871.
The account given in your recent despatches of the position of the Slavery question in Spain, and the apparently small prospect of further legislation, are so discouraging and unsatisfactory, that Her Majesty's Government do not feel justified in maintaining any longer the silence and reserve they have hitherto observed upon a question in which they have a Treaty right to interfere. I refer to position of the negroes captured and held in slavery in Cuba under the name of "emancipados" since the date of the Treaty by which both Spain and England mutually agreed, not only immediately to set free all slaves captured by either nation under the provisions of the Treaty, but also, upon the requisition of either Contracting Parties, to afford the fullest information as to the state and condition of the negroes, with a view of insuring the due execution of the Treaty in this respect.
The 4th, 5th, and 6th Articles of Annex C to the Treaty provided that regulations should be adopted with the humane object of improving and securing honestly and faithfully to the emancipated negroes, the enjoyment of their acquired liberty, good treatment, a knowledge of the Christian religion, and their advancement in mortality and civilization, and of providing sufficient instruction for them in mechanical arts, in order that they might gain their own livelihood as artizans, mechanics, or servants.
A register was, moreover, to be kept of the negroes (a copy of which was to be furnished every six months to the mixed Commission), showing the existence of the negroes emancipated under the Treaty, the disease of such as had died, the improvement made in their condition, and the progress made their instruction, both religious and moral, as also in the arts of life.
These are the solemn obligations that were contracted by both England and Spain in this Treaty. But how far have they been observed by Spain?
It has been officially reported that the so called emancipados have, on their arrival at the Havana, been hired out the planters by the
ties for a money consideration, that their purchase and sale has been openly carried on, and that, in the case of the death of a slave, an emancipado, whose death was then reported, was made to assume the slave's name, so that a large proportion of emancipados have been returned as dead, who were really living and in slavery,
It is true that the Law of the 23d of June, 1870, gave to the emancipados the long-deferred privilege of at once entering upon the full exercise of the rights of free men, but it remains to be seen whether this provision has been faithfully fulfilled, and in fact, the Cuban authorities can hardly have interpreted it literally, inasmuch as subsequently to the promulgation of the Law, the Captain General issued various separate Decrees granting the liberty, which the law secured to all, to only a portion of the emancipados.
I have thus shortly reviewed the history of the emancipados, and the claims of Her Majesty's Government to intercede on their behalf. You are aware of the reasons that have induced Her Majesty's Government to refrain from making any representation in favor of these unfortunate men up to this time, and even to resist the pressure put upon Government both in and out of Parliament to interfere in their behalf.
They have not hesitated to express their entire confidence in the solemn assurances and pledges given by the late and former Spanish Governments that the law of the 23d of June was only the initiation of a more complete and thorough measure of abolition; and they were most unwilling to press the Spanish Government unnecessarily in a course of policy which they were were inaugurating spontaneously, which necessarily required time for its development, and which Her Majesty's Government were confidentially and repeatedly assured would shortly lead to the entire abolition of slavery, and to the consequent freedom of the emancipados.
Two Sessions of the Cortes have passed since these promises were made, and no further legislation has, to my knowledge, been attempted by the Government. The difficulties arising from the state of affairs in Cuba were alleged as a justification for this delay, and Her Majesty's Government admitting the validity of the excuse, refrained from pressing the question during the last Session of the Cortes.
But affairs appear to have completely changed since that time.
Notwithstanding that a petition has been presented to Congress by the Deputies from Porto Roco itself, submitting an admirable scheme for the immediate and total abolition of slavery in that island (compensation to the slave-owners being made from a loan to be raised on the revenues of the island, which show an annual surplus); notwithstanding the admitted fact that, from the small number of slaves in the island, the feeling of the planters, and the excellent labor regulations in force there, the emancipation of the slaves might be effected with ease and security; notwithstanding that petitions have been presented from other important places in favor of the thorough and immediate abolition of slavery; and notwithstanding the exertions of a considerable number of able and determined men, to whom all credit and honor are due—these efforts are likely to be defeated by the uncompromising opposition of the pro-slavery party in Cuba, who are determined to resist, by all means in their power, the introduction of any further measure for the abolition of slavery, and by the indisposition of the Spanish Government to grapple with the difficulties of the
question. I am unwilling to say a single word that could wound the sensitiveness of the Spanish Government upon this subject, nor do Her Majesty's Government pretend in the slightest degree to interfere in the internal affairs of Spain, or to dictate any course of legislation to that Government, but they have a just claim, by virtue of the Treaty, to interfere on behalf of the emancipados, and if the Spanish Government neglect to take advantage of this opportunity of dealing with the question of slavery in Porto Rico, when their hands are so strengthened by the petition presented to Congress by the deputies from that island, and from other influential quarters, Her Majesty's Government can only reluctantly come to the conclusion that there is no further hope of any spontaneous action on the part of the Spanish Government in dealing with the matter, and they must consequently fall back upon their Treaty right in favor of the emancipados.
I leave entirely to your discretion the use that should be made of this despatch, and the time and mode of communicating its contents to the Spanish Government.
I am, &c.,
P.S.—I transmit to you a copy of a despatch, received since the above written, from the Acting British Counsul-General in Cuba, substantiating the statements above made concerning the emancipados.
Acting Consul-General Crawford to Earl Granville.—(Received November 13.)
(Extract.) Havana, October 24, 1871.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Hammond's despatch of the 13th ultimo, enclosing a translation of a letter from General Cordoba to Her Majesty's Chargé d'Affairs at Madrid, embodying the observations of the Captain-General of Cuba, upon some of Mr. Dunlap's statements respecting the condition and prospects of the negroes called "emancipados" in Cuba.
Upon careful revision of my Report upon this subject, contained in my despatch of the 28th of July last, I do not find anything to rectify, neither do I see that General Valmaseda's statements contradict that Report, except as regards the use of the lash.
His Excellency cannot answer for the acts of the late administration, and, as far as he is concerned, I have every reason to believe that he has adopted all possible means to prevent coercion in the contracts entered into by the emacipados; but in the Island of Cuba it is extremely difficult to guard against abuses, especially when it concerns an unfortunate class of negroes. The horrible treatment of the emancipados forms, indeed, a very dark page in the history of this island.
Whether the emancipado is allowed to exercise his own free will in the choice of a master, or not, does not in any way alter the injustice practiced toward him in denying him his liberty—in binding him to serve for a term of years without the certainty of freedom, after all—and in
fixing his wages at a minimum rate, in most, I may venture to say, in every case, far below the average which is paid in the most expensive country.
A negro who has been a slave, and who has obtained his papers, is permitted to act as any other free person. The emancipado, who never knew an owner, cannot unfortunately, do anything to free himself, and yet he is better entitled to freedom, and is certainly quite as fit tot take care of himself as the former slave.
No matter the point we start from, or the way we look at the subject, the unjust and shameful condition of the emancipation stares as in the face, and the Spanish Government cannot put forward any tangible or honest reason for keeping him in an indefinite state of servitude.
As regards the use of the lash, I beg to observe that, although it is abolished by law, and although the reports received by the Captain-General may incline him to believe that the law is complied with, the information which reaches me from time to time leads to very different conclusion.
England, true to the spirit which she has imbibeed from the immortal Clarkson and Wilberforce-- names which, together with Garrison, Phillips, Sumner, Greeley and Smith, of our own country (applause), shall ever be especially revered and admired by all the friends of freedom-- has pursued this question with energy and an earnestness becoming s great a nation. She invites the cooperation of our government in securing to the five hundred thousand of our enslaved brethren the blessing of freedom and a Christian civilization. Let us hope that our government, which has also paid particular attention to this question, will not turn a deaf ear to the petition of five millions of her citizens, who have so lately experienced the degradation and civil effects of slavery. (Applause.)
On motion, the resolutions were adopted, the audience evincing their sympathy by prolonged cheering.
EXTRACT OF THE SPEECH OF REV. HIGHLAND GARNET, D.D.
MR. CHAIRMAN: In the invitation that I received to attend this meeting, and take part in its proceedings, I recognize the call of liberty, and the groans of five hundred thousand of our enslaved fellow-men. We who have passed through the terrible ordeal of the struggle for freedom and equal rights which in 1861 brought the two divisions of our country into deadly conflict, and culminated in the complete
overthrow of despotism in the United States, are in hearty sympathy with the patriots of Cuba, and we pray God that He will give strength to the arms of the defenders of freedom and cause the propitious winds to sweep over that fruitful island, that shall bear aloft in the skies the flag of the free. (Loud applause.) In the annals of poetry, in which glow the promises of the better days that are to dawn upon the earth, and the prophecies that foretell the final reign of universal liberty, there is none that gives greater assurance to the struggling but invincible sons of freedom throughout the whole world than is found in this stanza:
"Freedom's battle once begun,
Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft is ever won."
I see before me to-night many native Cubans, who, driven by the fierce fires of Spanish oppression, have sought and found shelter in our free land. Permit me to assure you, my exiled friends, that I know that I am justified in saying to you that this meeting, and millions of American citizens, bid you God speed in your noble cause ; and in their behalf I extend to you my hand, pledging ourselves to stand united with you in your efforts for the promotion of the interests of liberty, and the universal brotherhood of man. (Long continued applause.) My sympathies were drawn to your cause when I saw this article in the constitution of the patriots: " All the people of Cuba are absolutely free." But not now, for the strong hand of tyranny is clutching the throat of liberty, and the government of the island is not yours. But Cuba must be free. God has decreed it, and the spirit of the age approves it. Slavery shall be blotted out from every island in the Western Sea, as it has been banished from the Western Continent. The shores of our Republic shall not be washed by the waves made bloody by Cuban slavery. (Loud applause.) When the new and free flag of Cuba shall be triumphantly unfurled to the breeze of heaven, bearing for its motto "Impartial Liberty and Equality," then shall the spirit of that article of your constitution, to which I have referred, be carried out. We regret that we cannot give you that material aid we would a wish to afford you, but we can do one thing—we can create a public sentiment in this land that
will urge our government to acknowledge the belligerent rights of the patriots of Cuba. The sympathies of the Government of the United States are strongly in favor of Cuban liberty, and when the time shall come when, in conformity with international law they can render Cuba the aid she needs, I believe it will not be withheld. (Applause.) Aside from humanitarian considerations, I think I may safely say, that all the civilized nations that once maintained human slavery in the Western World, and have abolished it, are utterly opposed to giving to Spain the monopoly of that diabolical system. Let slavery and involuntary servitude perish at once and forever from every inch of soil on the continent, and in Cuba and Porto Rico. I have twice visited Cuba, and have witnessed the horrors of slavery as it exists there, and allow me to state that the slavery recently abolished in our country was mild when compared with the crime that Spain to-day upholds in Cuba. I have seen slave ships enter the port of Havana, and cargoes of miserable men and women, some dying and some of them dead, dragged and hurried from the decks of slavers and thrown upon the shores. (Shame.) You cannot forget, Cubans, the immortal mulatto poet of your country, the brave and heroic Placido. (Bravo, and long continued cheers.) Like yourselves, you know that he loved liberty, and freely offered himself on her sacred altar. He was accused of being concerned in an attempted insurrection, and was condemned to die the death of a traitor. When he was led forth to death, he cried:
"O, Liberty! I hear thy voice calling me
Deep in the frozen regions of the North, afar,
With voice like God's, and vision like a star."
(Great excitement among the Cubans, and loud cheers.) God grant that liberty from her home in "the frozen regions of the North," may continue to call in trumpet tones until she shall arouse every patriotic son of Cuba to unconquerable resistance to slavery. As I have already said, we cannot give you that material aid we would wish to, for the reason that our government holds diplomatic relations with Spain. I would that we had none. Some in this audience may remember the story of the doctor in divinity who approached the doorkeeper of the United States Senate and undertook to enter
the diplomatic gallery, and was told that he could not do so. "Why can I not?" said the preacher. "Because," replied the trusty guardian, "it is reserved especially for ministers." "I am entitled to enter if that be the case, for I am a minister of the Court of Heaven," said the persevering parson. The doorkeeper finished the discussion by saying, "Absolutely you cannot enter, for the United States hold no diplomatic relations with that foreign government." (Great merriment. If our relations with Spain retard the progress of liberty in Cuba and Porto Rico, I had almost said that I am sorry that we have any. Hayti has disenthralled herself, and with her own strong arm has broken the tyrant's power. All the nations on the American Continent have done likewise, and when Cuba shall have succeeded the last foul blot of slavery will be removed from our portion of the globe. Let us pray, and work, and success will at last crown our efforts.
At the conclusion of Mr. Garnet's speech, the following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That a committee of nine be appointed—to include the Chairman of the meeting—to publish the proceedings of the meeting and other information in reference to slavery in Cuba; to secure rooms to be used as headquarters, where information can be had, and to adopt such other measures as the committee shall deem advisable, to promote the cause of freedom in the Island of Cuba.
The following committee was appointed:
Samuel R. Scottron New York.
Rev. H. H. Garnet, D.D. New York.
Peter W. Downing New York.
T. S. W. Titus New York.
John A. Gray Washington, D. C.
Isaiah C. Wears Philadelphia, Pa.
Dr. Peter W. Ray New York.
Chas. E. Pindeli Boston.
John J. Zuille New York.
The following poem was then read by M.P. Whittom:
Rejoice, O Cuba, for Afric freed,
Thy cause espouse in freedom's fight,
And succor give in sorest need
In thy manly struggle for the right:
The strife for right that's only won
By the truly brave who no dangers shun,
To earn the fiat, 'tis well done,
Rest thou with peace in freedom's light.
No freedom's won through seas of gore,
And widows moan and orphans wail ;
Yet all these woes and countless more
Are nobly borne when foes assail
Man's sacred rights. Nor shot nor shell,
Nor cannons roar death's dreadful knell ;
Nor noble blood of him who fell
Can stay the right, it must prevail.
And now the Queen of the Spanish Main,
Our aid requires, aid of the free,
She longs to join the glad refrain
Four millions sung in sixty-three,
That shook the nation—aye, all earth ;
That waked mankind to freedom's birth
And echoes sent of freedom's worth
To the beautiful isle of the southern sea.
Ah, then oppression's seal was broke;
Then freedom dawned on Cuba's strand
Then freemen armed with right awoke
To battle wrong. An immortal band
All strong of heart, though of numbers few ;
Stern patriots, men who dared to do
With only one grand point in view,
To drive oppression from the land.
Then can we stand so tamely by
and see brave noble Cuba bleed,
Or can freedom newly born thus die
To satisfy foul Spanish greed ;
Has the stain that dimmed Columbia's sheen
Forgotten been with memories green,
Ah! none can thus manhood demean ;
Her cause is ours. She must be freed.
By four long years of bitter strife,
By noble deeds, by pain and woe,
By sacrifice of home and life,
By cruelties of a treacherous foe,
By blood of murdered youth. By all
The miseries that to man can tell
She speaks, and we must heed the call,
And give the aid we can bestow.
By five hundred souls in bond
She speaks ; she must not speak for naught,
Four millions freed can but respond
To show that rights, once dearly bought,
Are still in grateful hearts enshrined,
With memories that together bind
This cause with hers and all mankind,
Who love the right by freemen wrought.
Why falter then, God leads the right,
He marshals all who would be free ;
Then to vanguard in manhood's might,
And hasten Cuba's liberty ;
Then to four million free'd we'll add
Five hundred thousand more made glad,
And Cuba placed in freedom's train
By fire purged of slavery's stain,
By Columbia's side shall take her place,
Twin champions of a fallen race ;
Thus right shall victory's triumph grace
In the gem of the Carribean sea.
In the early part of the evening a circular was distributed by agents of the Spanish Government, warning the colored people against interfering in the affairs of Cuba, stating that "The abolition of slavery in the Spanish Antilles is a fact already decreed."--The circular was signed, JOSE FERRER DE COUTO.
The Secretary, Mr. Chas. E. Pindell, after reading the circular, said he did not know the author of the circular, when an excited young Cuban in the audience arose and informed him.
"Mr. Speaker," said he, "he is a Colonel of a volunteer regiment that helped to oppress the Cubans in Havana, and he is the author of the 'Negro in Slavery,' the most proslavery book ever written."
Mr. Pindell proceeded to disprove the statements made in the circular and quoted from El Cronista, of which Mr. De Couto is editor, numerous advertisements for the sale of slaves, to show that it was a paper in favor of the inhuman institution.
Mr. Pindell was followed by Mr. John J. Zuille and Rev. Chas. B. Ray, after which the meeting adjourned.
MEETING IN BOSTON, MASS.
SHORTLY after the meeting in New York, a meeting was held in Boston, Mass., and , as the following will show, was at the solicitation of several of our most prominent citizens.
To the Friends of Human Liberty :
WE the undersigned citizens of Massachusetts thankful for the abolition of American Slavery, view with horror the fact that five hundred thousand of our brethren groan beneath the chains of slavery at out very doors, in the Island of Cuba.
We therefore unite our voices, and hereby pledge ourselves to use our energies in favor of their just rights, and in behalf of the Cuban Patriots, who have already decreed and put in practice the doctrine of the "equality and freedom of all men." We view with abhorrence the policy of the Spanish Government during the past four years in that Island, both for the unnecessary and inhuman butcheries that have disgraced civilization under its rule, and for the tenacity with which they cling to the barbarous and inhuman institution of Slavery.
It is therefore Resolved, that we hold a Public Meeting, at the Menonian, on Monday Evening, December 23d, to take the necessary and proper action to advance the cause of universal freedom, and we respectfully invite the co-operation of the public.
WILLIAM C. NELL, JOHN J. SMITH,
LEWIS HAYDEN, GEORGE L. RUFFIN,
J MILTON CLARK, Cambridge, CHARLES L. MITCHELL,
WILLIAM H. DUPREE, JAMES M. TROTTER,
JOHN C. DUNLOP, JOHN B. BAILEY,
PETER H. NOTT, WILLIAM M. COLSON,
CHARLES PALMAS, ALBERT B. COSBY,
RICHARD S. BROWN, CHARLES E. PINDELL,
RICHARD COSBY, PETER HAWKINS,
JOSEPH P. HAWKINS, PETER B. BELL,
J.J. MOORE, JOHN B. CUTLER, Exeter, N. H.
WILLIAM B. HOPKINS, J.J. FATAL, Cambridge,
THOMAS DOWNING, JEREMIAH P. HARVEY, Lynn.
S. A. HANCOCK, E. J. JONES, Cambridge,
WILLIAM H. PURNELL, GEORGE H. MITCHELL, New Bedford,
E. C. RUHLER, DANIEL W. HOWLAND, New Bedford.
S. T. BIRMINGHAM, M. D. WILLIAM H. MONTAGUE, Springfield.
GEORGE H. QUEEN, Springfield. ANTHONY J. CLARK, Worcester.
WILLIAM H. W. DERBY, HORACE B. PROCTER, Lowell.
ALBERT E. PATRICK, JOHN W. WILLIAMS, Concord, N. H. and others.
The meeting was called to order by Mr. James M. Trotter, and was organized by the selection of Charles E. Pindell, as President, J. M. Trotter, Vice-President, and Peter H. Nott as Secretary. Prayer was offered by Mr. Williams, a student from Andover. Mr. Pindell, on taking the chair, delivered the following address:
Now, that we are confirmed in the possession of our liberty, and have been so bountifully provided with all the requisites of freeman, it ill becomes us to sit idly by, while five hundred thousand of our brethren are held in bondage in the island of Cuba; it only remains for us to rise as a people in our might, express our abhorrence to the abject slavery in which our brethren are held, and their freedom will speedily follow.
Having assembled here, this evening, as our call reads, to take the necessary and proper steps to advance the cause of universal freedom, and to discuss matters relating to the existence of slavery in Cuba, and to the war the Cubans have so gallantly waged for the past four years against their heartless and inhuman oppressors, for the purpose of throwing off the yoke of Spain, gaining their independence, and establishing a Republican form of Government in and for Cuba, it may be interesting to you to be informed of a few facts in relation to their patriotic course, as well as the grossly inhuman, and barbarous course pursued by the Spanish Government.
In 1817, the Spanish Government entered into a treaty with Great Britain, by which, for the sum of four hundred thousand pounds to be paid by Great Britain, Spain agreed to put a stop, on and after May 30, 1820, to the traffic in slaves which Spaniards were carrying on from the coast of Africa. Great Britain honestly fulfilled her part of the treaty, but Spain continued to tolerate the importation of slaves into Cuba, although, occasionally, royal orders were issued by Spain in which the Captains General were urged to prosecute more severely any clandestine importation of slaves. The officers, being aware of the spirit of their Government, finding that the traffic was a source of wealth to themselves, took good care not to too strictly enforce the orders of their superiors. Such gross, open, and scandalous violations of the
treaty caused a new one to be drawn up between England and Spain on the 28th of June, 1835, for the purpose of ending the trade in Africans, and Spain engaged to pass a law within two months after the ratification of the treaty to severely punish any of her subjects who should be detected engaged in the infamous traffic. Notwithstanding the fact that Spain solemnly promised to pass the law in two months, (2)--the law was not passed in ten years, and the slave trade continued in the meanwhile. The inefficiency of the law that was passed, and the remonstrances of the British Government obliged Spain, in 1865, to pass a new law--apparently more severe than the former, but, as is characteristic of the Spanish Government, it, like its predecessors, was not enforced, for the slave trade continued to flourish until the loyal and patriotic Cubans, goaded to madness by the bad faith of the government, the treachery of the officials, and the continuance of the inhuman infamous traffic, resorted to the means that were inaugurated by the American patriots in 1775, when such martyrs as our Crispus Attucks resolved to lay down their lives to save their country from foreign oppression.
In 1865, an association was formed by the express permission of the Captain General, its object being to aid the complete and final suppression of the illicit trade known as the African Slave trade, "and its members bound themselves on their honor, not ot acquire possession in any shape, directly or indirectly, from the date of their joining the association, of any African negro landed on the island subsequent to the 19th day of November, 1865." The Spaniards, mostly slave traders, were greatly alarmed; they accused the members of the association of being revolutionists, and induced the Captain General to withdraw the permission he had granted finally the Commissioners from Cuba and Porto Rico, elected by the city councils of those islands, and sent to Madrid to report upon the forms which their constituents claimed, demanded, on the 29th of January, 1869, that the African Slave trade should be declared piracy.
They obtained not the slightest encouragement, as Spain has always maintained that the institution of slavery is indispensable in the Antilles to keep them dependent; if, after the revolution in 1868, any compromise has been proposed by the Spanish Government it is to be attributed more to the fear of the
invincible valor of the Cuban patriot army than to their desire to do a christian act by according justice to an oppressed people.
The Cubans have ever been opposed to the traffic in slaves, and have always availed themselves of every fair and honorable means to protest against its continuance, and never until the feelings of the Cuban patriots had become wrought upon to such an extent that forbearance ceased to be a virtue, and as a dernier resort, did they resort to arms—and the confusion caused thereby had become general over the Island and the Cuban army—embracing as it did the most wealthy, influential and able men on the island—did Spain, then thoroughly frightened, attempt to interfere with the slave trade. Prior to the uprising of the Cuban patriots, many wealthy Cubans, who, from their honorable positions, dared to openly protest against the traffic, were summarily exiled as dangerous innovators, and their estates of course confiscated, thus furnishing the best proofs of the deceit of the Spanish Government in the fulfillment of its treaty obligations.
I might cite innumerable instances of the most respectful protests against the traffic being treated with silent contempt and the signers thereto being afterwards arrested upon some trumped up charge and without a fair trial banished from the island.
Having thus cursorily reviewed the history of Spanish misrule in the Island of Cuba, and some of the causes which lead to the present revolution, I shall leave it to those gentlemen who are to follow me to give you an account of the barbarities practiced upon five hundred thousand of our brethren by their Spanish masters.
Fellow citizens, the groans of the downtrodden and the blood of many thousands slain on the altar of Liberty appeal to us for aid let us not, at this hour, be deaf to their appeal, but extend to them that sympathy that will cheer them on to renewed efforts, and trust that the great Giver of all good will bring them safely through the sea of trouble, and place them side by side with the four million in our own land who, after many years of affliction, stand to-day on the common platform of man's equality and rights.
Mr. Williams followed with an eloquent address,in which he said that in 1866 many men went about New Orleans and gathered up a number of colored men who had recently been discharged from the army, and under the guise of taking them to the Border States, they were shipped off to Cuba. He felt his soul galled as he contemplated the condition of affairs in that island. Of the 1,128,000 inhabitants, 658,000 were colored men, and most of them were slaves. and what a slavery! It had well been said that the terrors of American slavery, great as they were, had been even less than that which their brethren were there enduring now. He counseled action, that the great cause for which they struggled in this country might be made successful there. (Applause.) It was said that it was a negro war through which we had just passed, but the sequel had shown that freedom and slavery could not exist together, and the results which followed the four years of struggle with us must be reached again in the Queen of the Antilles. The groans of the colored men under the yoke in Cuba had so far only been registered in heaven, but he hoped the day would soon come when every one of them might enjoy every privilege of freemen. He asked if our Government might not make investigations as to whether there were not colored men there kept in slavery who were once citizens of this country.
The following resolutions were the offered by Mr. William H. Purnell and adopted:
Resolved, That we call upon the American people to urge the authorities at Washington to extend such lawful aid as is in their power to the patriots of Cuba in their struggle to advance the common interest of man as will be the case when the oppressed Cubans shall be freed from the yoke of Spanish tyranny, for the rightful owners of that island are the inhabitants thereof, and the people of these United States, who for their own protection should possess themselves of that fair domain.
Resolved, That as citizens of Boston we here pledge ourselves to use all lawful means in our power to further the cause of the struggling Cubans to its full and complete triumph.
During the whole of the proceedings great interest was manifested by the audience. The meeting adjourned at a late hour.
EXTRACTS FROM LEADING PAPERS AND OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE.
(From the Evening Ail, New York, Friday, December 13. 1872
SLAVERY IN CUBA.
WE are glad to see that our colored citizens are roused to a sense of their obligation to those of their race--nearly half a million--retained in slavery in the island of Cuba. Their meeting at the Cooper Institute tonight will result, we trust, in a serious movement, and not in mere words, to fall into the sack of oblivion as soon as uttered. Eight hundred thousand colored freemen, with honor to themselves, cannot stand silent or patient under the consciousness that within one hundred miles from the shores of the United States there are more than four hundred thousand of their race held in slavery.
Several circumstances make it opportune and fitting that our colored fellow citizens should take this prominent position touching slavery in Cuba. As we took occasion to point out some days ago, the government of the United States is absolutely responsible for the past forty-six years of slavery in Cuba. This is not to be denied in the face of history. The Moret law, which our President, in his last message, courteously characterized as a "feeble step" toward emancipation--even that is not to go into force in its "feeble," ineffectual way, declares Prime Minister Zorillia, "so long as a single Cuban remains in revolt against Spanish authority." That is to say, as by the Moret law the beginning of gradual emancipation was placed a quarter of a century in the future, so long as one Cuban choses to keep in revolt, even the contingency made so remote by the law, is made still more remote, and more than fifty thousand infants will be annually born into slavery. The strange avowal of the Spanish Minister, an avowed liberal, can only be comprehended under the light of a fact recently revealed in the Spanish Havana journals, that the rich Spanish slave holders on the island, having an agent at Madrid, Don Manuel Carlo, to represent their interests and defeat all efforts looking to the subversion of slavery in Cuba, have recently furnished him with a fund of about half a million of dollars, to be used for the purposes of his mission. Those who head this subscription are leaders of the Spanish party in Cuba, like Zuleta. Their voices and their money are sufficiently powerful at Madrid to sway the action of the government, and defeat any effort which the few Spanish abolitionists in the Cortes may attempt. The slave holders cannot be overcome at Madrid. Nothing whatsoever looking toward emancipation within this century is to be hope for from the Spanish government. Were they to attempt it, the slave holders would revolt, and therefore their dictation, made palatable by gold, is as subserviently accepted by Zorilla as by Sagasta.
While the Spaniards in Cuba have obdurately clung to slavery, on the other hand, the native slave holders, like Aldama, at once accepted the action, of the revolutionary government at Guaimaro, which put an unqualified end to slavery in the island. The native Cubans are all sympathy
with this course, even those who, at bottom, may not wish to lose the present profits of slave labor, but who have the intelligence to understand that the spirit of the age cannot longer tolerate human slavery. The logical conclusions from these facts are too apparent for our colored people to overlook. Their race in Cuba will remain in slavery unless the native Cubans, black and white, succeed in their present efforts to throw off Spanish authority.
[From the New York Sun, December 10th, 1872.]
SYMPATHY FOR THE CUBAN PATRIOTS.
THERE are now in Cuba more than three hundred thousand Africans held in the most cruel slavery. The continuance of their bondage depends on the perpetuation of Spanish rule over the island. The Cuban patriots are all abolitionists. The revolution which began in the Eastern Department more the four years ago, and has never ceased to be maintained with hope and determination, has actually freed more than sixty thousand such slaves; and when it spreads over the Western Department, it will free them all. The Constitution of the republic of Cuba prohibits slavery altogether, and guarantees equal civil and political rights to all citizens without regard to race or complexion; and for four years, without arms, without ammunition, without medical supplies, amid sufferings intolerable, and barbarities that no pen can describe, the Cubans have been fighting to put this Constitution into force.
In this unprecedented struggle the American Government, though in the hands of Republicans who have pretended to be hostile to human slavery, has steadily exerted all its powers to put down these heroic abolitionists, and to preserve the authority of Spain, and with it slavery and the African slave trade in Cuba. And while our Executive and Congress take this course, scarcely any of the thousands of able and accomplished philanthropic men and women in this country, who of yore labored for the abolition of slavery, and felt in their inmost souls the evils and abominations which that institution imposes upon its victims, have expressed any sympathy with the abolitionists of Cuba, or by thought, word, or deed done anything to encourage or aid them in the prosecution of their holy task.
But now there are signs of a better state of feeling among us. The colored men of this country, themselves formerly slaves, or the descend ants of slaves, seem at last disposed to take up the burden of their brothers in Cuba. A meeting is to be held at the Cooper Institute in this city on Friday evening, in which a number of our most cultivated and estimable colored people are to take a prominent part. On behalf of the Cubans, we welcome their sympathy and their assistance. They do not come forward a moment too soon. We will not say that it is a shame to them that they have not spoken before, for we know how much they are influenced by the Government and by the official action of the Republican party. God grant that their efforts now, tardy as they are, may not be fruitless! for if ever there was a cause which appeals to humanity, and which should awaken a living response in every heart, it is the cause of freedom and equal rights in Cuba.
[From the New York Herald, December, 15, 1872]
SPAIN AND CUBA--THE FREEDMEN OF THE UNITED STATES RISING TO THE MAIN QUESTION.
The meeting of our colored citizens at Cooper Institute on Friday evening last, called to take action in reference to the "irrepressible conflict" in the island of Cuba, was the beginning of a movement on the part of a political element in the United States, which, on the main question involved in reference to the action of our government, can wield the balance of power. The black population of this country embraces seven hundred thousand voters, and upon an issue which, outside of Spain and Turkey, commands the sympathies of the uncivilized world, these seven hundred thousand colored voters have only en masse to define their position in order to determine the action of Congress and the administration. Nor can it be questioned that the voice of this Cooper Institute meeting is the voice of all our citizens of African descent, including especially those four millions lately released from the shackles of slavery and invested with all the rights and privileges of civil and political equality.
What, then, is the position which these colored citizens have assumed in behalf of their brethren in the island of Cuba? They declare themselves on the side of 'the Cuban patriots, who have already decreed and put in practice the doctrine of the equality and freedom of all men." They "view with abhorrence the policy of the Spanish government for the last four years" in the island of Cuba, "both for the unnecessary and inhuman butcheries that have taken place under its rule and for the tenacity with which they cling to the barbarous and inhuman institution of slavery." Our colored citizens further declare that "it is our opinion that the success of the Spanish arms will tend to rivet more firmly the chains of slavery on our brethren, re-establishing slavery where it does not now exist and resorting the horrors of the African slave trade and the Coolie traffic," and that, on the other hand, "the success of the Cuban patriots would immediately give to the whole inhabitants of the island freedom and equality before the law." And the line of action asked of the President and Congress, after four years of patient waiting, is "to accord the Cuban patriots that favorable recognition to which these four years' gallant struggle for freedom entitles them." In other words, the freedmen of the united States, in behalf of their enslaved brethren in Cuba, ask the concession of belligerent rights to the Cuban insurgents.
It appears, too, that agents and supporters here of the Spanish authorities were quick to take the alarm from this movement of our colored citizens, for at this meeting a printed circular was scattered about the fall addressed "To the Colored Citizens of the United States," and warning them of the folly of supporting of the Cuban rebels. To this circular was appended the name of the editor of the Spanish paper Et Uronista, Jose Ferrer de Couto, and his appeal is that of a loyal Spaniard deeply in earnest and really frightened. He warns our colored citizens of "some cowards" from Cuba, who have come here to live upon their wits and to induce white and black Americans to go to Cuba in their places; he says that these Cuban are now agitating the abolition of slavery in the island, "when the Spanish government has just decreed abolition on a plan a great deal better organized and much more advantageous than the one which made so
many victims in the Southern States of this Republic;" that "those hypocrites who talk to you about fraternity and of rights" and all that, "have all their lives lived off nothing but the labor of negroes," and that our colored people ought not to be deceived by these Cuban "loafers." nor allow "the rogues now appearing before you to put you down as fools." Mr. Pindell, however, answered this circular apparently to the satisfaction of the meeting, in quoting from El Cronista numerous advertisements for the sale of slaves; and an excited young Cuban clinched the nail by proclaiming the publisher of this Spanish document as the author of the "Negro in Slavery," the "most pro-slavery book ever written."
We discover here that there were some Cubans at this meeting from which we may infer that they are at the bottom of this movement; but even conceding the accusations against these men as cowardly and unscrupulous adventurers, their participation in this colored meeting does not shake the argument on the main question of African slavery in the island of Cuba. Nor will the plea avail that "the abolition of slavery in the Spanish Antilles is a fact already decreed and introduced by the government at Madrid," and that for the colored citizens of New York "to take action now upon the subject is the most ridiculous and useless step to which they could induce you who want to prey upon your savings by similar nonsense." The idea here is that these penniless Cubans are aiming to collect money from our colored citizens on false pretenses; but it does not appear that these colored men entertain any filibustering designs. Their plan of action is to appeal for official intervention in behalf of liberty in Cuba. They do not propose, and we presume they will not be led into, the folly of subscribing money for Cuban filibustering expeditions. They ask the concession of belligerent rights in behalf of the Cuban insurgent cause because they think this concession in point of law would be right and because it embraces liberty and equality to the half million African slaves of the island.
This is the main question to our citizens of African descent. The freedom which they now enjoy wish to be enjoyed by their brethren elsewhere; and while the British government is striking at this relic of barbarism--negro slavery--in Africa, in consequence of the astounding disclosures of Livingstone and Stanley, these black citizens of the United States call for the intervention of their government for the extinction of the evil in Cuba, and by such action as they hold to be within the law of nations. We dare say, too, that this Cooper Institute movement is due more to the suggestions touching slavery in Cuba, thrown out in the President's late annual Message, than to the intrigues of Cuban emissaries. We suspect that our colored citizens have seized the idea from General Grant's opinions that slavery in Cuba still prevails; that the civil war in the island still goes on; that there is no prospect of its early termination, one way or the other, from present indications, and that meantime we can only hope that the present liberal government of Spain will put an end to this curse of slavery. Upon these hints, we apprehend, our colored citizens have come forward and defined their position. They may have been further inspired by the encouraging remarks of General Banks in Congress, on the bill providing for those half a dozen improved ships of war. But, in any event, let the freedmen of the United States, submit their ultimatum to Congress and to the President in a flood of petitions on this subject. let them keep up their fire hot and heavy, and decisive action will follow.
Public opinion throughout the civilized world justify a proclamation from Washington, of belligerent rights to the Cubans, or even armed intervention there, in the cause of humanity and civilization. But there are other measures through which we may bring the Spanish government to terms and thus give the finishing blow to slavery in Cuba-such measures, for instance, as a peremptory demand for reparation and indemnity in consequence of the Spanish outrages in Cuba upon American citizens, and upon our commerce in the Gulf, committed during the last four years, resting our cause upon the troubles arising from Cuban Slavery. Doubtless, too, a resolution from the House of Representatives, asking of the President such official information as he may possess as to the decrees and purposes of the Spanish government in referenceto the abolition of slavery in Cuba, would operate to bring the Cabinet of King Amadeus to reason. It is reported that Senor Zorilla has recently declared that Spain would move no further upon this matter of slavery in Cuba, until the last insurgent shall have surrendered. If so, the dominion of Spain in the island is the dominion of slavery. And, indeed, as the abolition of slavery is the corner stone of the insurgent constitution for Cuba, we cannot doubt that the removal of slavery, involves the independence of the island. So it is understood and accepted by our colored citizens, and, from their strength in our body politic, they have only to pour in their petitions upon Congress and the President, in order to command a hearing and definite and decisive action.
[From the New York Herald, Monday, January 20, 1873.]
SPAIN AND CUBA-AN EXTRAORDINARY LOAN-THE COSTS OF THE INSURRECTION-THE EMANCIPATION QUESTION.
Leaving, for the present, as it stands the diplomatic question of veracity pending between our Secretary of State, Mr. Fish, and Senor Zorilla, Prime Minister of Spain, in reference to the remarkable despatch of the former of the 29th of October last on the abolition of slavery in the Spanish West Indies, we turn to the consideration of another remarkable official communication-that which we published yesterday from our Minister at Madrid to Mr. Fish, bearing the date of August 16, 1872, on the finances of the Spanish Cuban government, and on the frightful costs and loss of life resulting from the insurrection for Cuban independence. This despatch, it appears, has been shown by Mr. Fish to several members of the Diplomatic Corps of the Senate, as justifying his note aforesaid
percent, interest, and pledging for the payment of interest and principal of the loan the proceeds of the war tax, estimated at five millions a year, and the surplus derived from all other sources of revenue, ordinary and extraordinary. It next appears in the report of the Colonial Minister that the Cuban Treasury owes the Bank of Havana fifty millions of dollars: that twelve millions of this sum were borrowed to pay the expenses of the several expeditions against St. Domingo and Mexico, and that the remaining thirty-eight millions have been advanced by the bank toward the expenses of the Cuban insurrection. The whole fifty millions, it further appears, was advanced by the bank in paper money, the universal plan in times of war; but the large addition, ten millions, thus made to its paper money, has, it appears, brought things financially to a crisis in that section of the island held by the Spanish forces. This, too, is one of the inevitable consequences off a protracted war.
But it further appears that the amount raised in Cuba by taxes and imposts during the last fiscal year was twelve millions, which deserves a moment's attention. The whole population of Cuba is within a million; but we will say it is one million. Of this aggregate the black element numbers half a million, of which four hundred thousand are slaves. One-fourth at least, we suppose, of the white element is actively identified with the insurrection, which leaves a white population of some three hundred and seventy-five thousand, men, women and children, or say seventy-five thousand taxpayers, to raise these twelve millions of money, and with the island suffering all the evils from a protracted and still existing civil war. Of course under this condition of things there is a financial crisis. This loan of sixty millions is intended to clear of all the accumulations of colonial debts to the Bank of Havana, first, for the amount advanced for the Spanish contingent to the late Emperor Napoleon's Mexican expedition; secondly, for the sum advanced to meet the expenses of the Spanish expedition for the reconquest of St. Domingo, and then ten millions are to be paid into the Cuban Treasury for the prosecution of the war against the insurgents and for the other current expenses of the next fiscal year.
But after meeting all these requisitions there will be thirty millions of paper money due the Havana Bank, and to raise this sum the embargoed estates on the island are to be leased for a term not exceeding six years, and the proceeds, with certain Treasury credits and the income from Crown property, are to be applied to this redemption. But as these sources of revenue have not hitherto produced anything, we apprehended that the bonds issued upon such collaterals are not likely to command a high premium in the market. Subscriptions are to be invited to the loan in Havana, Madrid, Paris and London. New York is not to be favored with these attractive bonds, and doubtless she is excluded from the favored cities for very good reasons. The loan is to be managed by fifteen commissioners, but the Captain General my suspend at pleasure any action of theirs on the subject. In the presence of this inviting scheme let our Credit Mobilier and Credit Foncier enterprises hide their diminished heads; but let all inclined to venture into this Spanish Cuban loan of sixty millions first read up the rise, decline and collapse of the South Sea Bubble.
Such as we have presented it is substantially the official exhibit of the finances of Spanish Cuba. It is, too, in this condition of affairs, as our Minister at Madrid puts it, that, after a four years' war without quarter,
"Spain is about to appeal to the civilized world to lend money on a pledge of the revenues of the island," and for the purposes of perpetuating African slavery and compelling the unwilling allegiance "of a large majority of the sorely oppressed native population." In this relation a statement is produced from the Imparcial, a semi-official journal of Madrid, that "from the beginning of hostilities in Cuba 13,600 insurgents have been killed in battle (acciones de guerra) and 43,500 taken prisoners, and that 69,940 insurgents have voluntarily surrendered." As it is believed that the prisoners captured in battle were shot as fast as caught, the total number of insurgents slain in this island war may be set down at fifty-seven thousand. And yet, though some two years ago Mr. Secretary Fish represented the insurgents as reduced to a few bands of stragglers in the swamps and mountains, which would doubtless soon be subjugated, there are probably not less than twenty thousand insurgents in the field to-day, and better armed and equipped than at any other time since the proclamation of the revolution.
The Spanish side of this war account as presented in this official despatch of August last from Madrid to Mr. Fish is equally suggestive of the stubborn fact that the efforts of Spain to subdue these Cuban insurgents have involved a greater sacrifice on her part of men and money than any other conflict against any of the revolted colonies from Mexico to Peru. It was known at Madrid, from official sources. that in August last the Spanish army in Cuba exceeded a hundred thousand men ; that its average yearly loss in the island, largely from the climate, has been at least fifteen thousand men, and that its aggregate loss may safely set down as at sixty thousand men for the four years of this destructive war. The worst of it is that even with the subjugation of the insurgents the island, from the waste and demoralizing effects of this war, especially upon the slave population, can never more be a valuable possession of Spain.
Nevertheless, the Spanish government is evidently impressed with the idea that with the suppression of this insurrection, and with the prolongation of her Cuban system of African slavery--the most terrible system known to the civilized world-- Cuba may again become the financial mainstay of poor Spain. There can be no profit to Spain from Cuba with the abolition of slavery. The examples of Jamaica under slavery and under emancipation, and of Hayti and Dominica, establish this proposition. When Senor Zorilla, therefore, declares that Spain will do nothing toward the practical abolition of slavery in Cuba until the last of the insurgents shall have laid down his arms, he means that, as Cuba would be valueless to Spain without slavery, she will maintain it while she holds the island. Spain means to hold the island, if she can, and to make it again, under the slavery system, if possible, what it was before the war--a source of golden revenues, and not an island gone to decay, like St. Domingo and Jamaica, under emancipation.
But in this design the moral sense of the civilized world is all against her. She stands now almost alone among civilized States as the upholder of this abomination of human slavery. But in her desperate extremities she cannot yet think of relinquishing the rich profits she hopes to recover from the system in Cuba. Hence the diplomatic hedging of Senor Zorilla. He may not, however, have seen that disputed despatch of Mr. Fish. If not, can anything be easier than the sending him another
copy of that interesting paper on emancipation in Cuba? President Grant, in our judgment, struck the keynote for the emancipation of the island in those brief remarks in his late annual Message on the question of the emancipation of the slaves thereof. The insurgents, in proclaiming their revolt, proclaimed the abolition of slavery, because they foresaw the consequences to Spain, and our government, in taking up the hint and in pushing the cause of emancipation at Madrid, next to the proclamation of belligerent rights for the Cubans, is doing the best thing it can fairly do for the cause of Cuban independence.
Upon this point we call again upon the four millions of emancipated blacks of the United States to prosecute in every city and town of the Union the agitation which they inaugurated recently in Cooper Institute for an active diplomatic intervention on the part of our government in behalf of the liberation of the four hundred thousand slaves of Cuba; for in the united voice of the colored voting element of the United States, seven hundred thousand strong, there is a power in behalf of liberty to the slave which cannot be disregarded at Washington.
An Eloquent Appeal to M. Zorilla by English, French, Dutch and Polish Members of the Paris Anti-Slavery Conference—An Absolute and Immediate Emancipation Necessary.
[From Le Siecle.]
Some members of the International Anti-Slavery Conference sent to M. Zorilla, President of the Council of Ministers of His Majesty the King of Spain, an address, in the most eloquent and pressing terms, in favor of an immediate emancipation of the slaves in the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico. The following is the text:—
MONSIEUR THE PRESIDENT—We, the undersigned, members of the International Anti-Slavery Conference, which met in Paris in 1867, who to-day, with other friends of humanity, associated to take part in the work of abolishing slavery, see, with sorrow, that this criminal institution still exists in the isles of Cuba and Porto Rico.
When, in 1868, the provisional government declared the right of the Spanish people to political liberty, we had, for the time being, the hope that it would recognize, at the same time, the still more sacred right of the slaves in the Spanish colonies to personal liberty, and that, following the noble example of the provisional government of France in 1848, immediate and absolute emancipation would be decreed. That hope has not been realized. Against our expectations in this respect, the new constitution adopted by the Cortes in 1869 completely ignored the existence of slavery, and the government was constantly opposing the efforts of the abolitionist party to do justice to the slave population of the Spanish Antilles. In the meanwhile the major part of the Porto Ricans claimed immediate emancipation. There was also a very considerable number in Cuba in favor of the absolute abolition of slavery, without counting the insurgents, who had so decreed.
The Spanish people have also demanded for five years past, in the most urgent manner, that the government abolish slavery. The government also has recognized the necessity of considering this great question, the emancipation of the slaves, notwithstanding this it has again recently declared that it would not entertain the matter before the insurrection in Cuba was entirely put down. But in admitting that, that this declaration has for the government some little force in regard to Cuba, it cannot be applied to Porto Rico, for there is no insurrection in the latter place, the authority of the Mother Country is recognized and respected, and the colonists have representatives in the Assembly to defend their interests.
It is not for us to point out the probable results of a decision as opposed to justice and reason as it is opposed to wise policy. We come, therefore, we simple friends of humanity, to ask the government to decree immediate emancipation as an act of justice which we owe to the slave population of these two isles. Not only humanity, religion, and a wise policy should dictate this act of justice, but still more the glory and the honor of the nation which is at stake. Spain is the last Christian nation whose escutcheon is stained by the emblems of slavery. Is not the effacing of this taint worthy of a great and supreme effort?
The statesman who shall accomplish this will acquire for himself an imperishable renown and for his country a glory that shall never be effaced. You, sir, undertake this task and complete it!
We have the honor, sir, to respectfully salute you.
Guizot, Martin, Laboulaye, Monod, Broglie, De Presserse, Julius H. Wohbers (Utrecht), President for Holland; Joseph Cooper, London, and A. Chameroozow, Secretary of the Conference.
Paris, December 17, 1872.
LETTER FROM GEN. THOMAS JORDAN.
The President has been deceived with regard to the actual scope of the law for the ostensible abolition of slavery in Cuba, although he terms it but a feeble step toward emancipation. Really it was no step at all toward emancipation, but a carefully contrived step toward the postponement of the very beginning of gradual emancipation in the island for a quarter of a century.
Enclosed is an article which establishes that the United States is responsible for forty-six years of slavery in the Island of Cuba.
The Cubans in good faith abolished slavery in the outset of their revolution, and their former slaves are fighting bravely in the ranks of the Cuban army, not in separate organizations, as in the United States, but in the same companies side by side with the white people, and I have seen white men commanded by blacks. Indeed for the last month of my service in Cuba my own escort was commanded by a colored officer by my selection for his bravery and intelligence, and he commanded white men.
There is not a slave in Cuba to-day who is not held in slavery by Spanish bayonets. THOMAS JORDAN.
New York, December 4, 1872.
[From the AngIo-American Times.]
THE CUBAN STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM.
The following interesting translation from the Spanish shows the truth of the statement upon which we last week based our article on Cuba, that the Cubans were fighting in the cause of Liberty, the equal liberty of all; the emancipation of their slaves, and freedom for themselves. Emancipation is not a cry forced on them by the war, but a principle long contended for, even when England was on the other side. And this is a fact which reflects no small credit on the people, of which Cubans have a right to be proud, and which tells strongly in proof of their fitness for self-government
It is the Cuban Government, and not the Cubans, who will have to answer before God and civilization for the crime of inhumanity which Spain, to the shame of the nineteenth century, continues to perpetrate in the island, as the following proofs will show:—In 1794 the merchants and municipality of Havana, solicited through their deputy, the celebrated native of Havana, Dr. Francisco de Arango, the creation of a Board of Fomento Works, to encourage the commerce and agriculture of the country, and more especially immigration of white laborers. In 1811, the same Dr. Francisco de Arango, as representative of the Corporation of Havana in the Constituent Cortes of Cadiz, delivered a memorable speech in favor of the white population, from which we quote the following extract:±"Allow us to seek as many whites as we can for our works and our threatened safety. Even Portugal itself, our companion in error and misfortunes, calls to Brazil white men of all nationalities, and promises them tolerance for their religious principles. We, for our part, only tolerate black infidels, of whom the majority die in their infidelity, and we cannot consent to receive Christian white men, excepting they be Spaniards." In 1817 and 1819 the Corporations of Cuba again solicited measures favorable to the immigration of white laborers. In 1832 the Havana Committee of Public Works, composed for the greater part of the estate holders, obtained special funds to forward the colonization of white men, but unfortunately the Government seized the funds, and turned them to their own uses. It must be borne in mind that the Committee of Public Works, the municipalities, and the various economic societies of the island, whenever they have been consulted on the matter, have openly pronounced against the slave traffic and in favor of any measure which should transform slave work to free labor. But we now arrive at an epoch when all collective effort had to be abandoned by the colonial corporations having for their object the encouragement of free immigration and the opposition to slavery. In 1834 arrived at the island the Captain-General, Don Miguel Facon, the greatest despot who ever afflicted unhappy Cuba. The island had been declared in a state of siege since 1825, when an invasion of the united forces of Mexico and Columbia was feared. The danger had passed, but the country remained subject, legally, to the effects of the declaration, although these effects had been greatly modified by the good sense of successive Governors. But General Facon arrived to prove that the state of siege was no dead letter. His will and that of his successors, was the only
law which in future the country had to obey, and woe to him who should dare to discuss or oppose it. The first victim under this state of things was Don Jose Antonio Saco, one of the most eminent scientific and literary men in the country, who was banished from Cuba without form of trial, for having published some articles destined to demonstrate the necessity of putting an end to slavery in his country. Somewhat later it was the turn of Don Domingo Delmonte, one of the richest slave-owners in the island, and at the same time an eminent writer, who was expelled from the country, and died in a foreign land, in consequence of the authorship of a memorial favorable to the abolition of slavery being attributed to him, and his being on friendly terms with the English Consul at Havana. In 1844 Don Benigno Gener had to go into exile, to avoid the persecution of which he was the object, for having drawn up and presented a memorial, signed by ninety-three Cuban planters, of Mantaiizas, begging the Government to use all the means in their power to put an end to slavery. The signatories of the petition were threatened with very serious punishment, if ever they again took up the question. Don Gasper Betancourt Cisneros, a rich planter of Puerto Principe, and a great promoter of the immigration of whites, was summoned by General O'Donnell, and threatened to be shot if he insisted in his propaganda. At about the same time, Don Jose de la Luz Caballero, the "Havana Philosopher," and one of the most eminent men in Cuba, celebrated for his vast knowledge, and his public and private virtues, had to appear before a mixed Commission, being accused of complicity in the conspiracy of black slaves and freedmen, which was then the subject of the day, and in which it was attempted to implicate many Cubans who were known as holding opinions contrary to slavery and the slave traffic. Don Manuel Martinez Serano, a lawyer and rich Cuban planter, died in prison under the accusation of being an abolitionist, he having drawn up a report to the Economic Society of the Havana, in which grave penalties were demanded against the violators of the treaties respecting the slave trade, entered into with Great Britain. Since the time of General Facon the great tactic employed in Cuba by the Governors and their satellites has been to mix up the adversaries of slavery and the slave trade with the revolutionists and annexationists, and thus the slave dealers could continue in their infamous traffic without opposition, until the time of General Dulce, when, through certain fresh liberty being conceded to the Havana press, the journal El Siglo, the organ of the Cuban element in the country, was able to attack the slave trade, and manifest the abolitionist tendencies of the majority of the inhabitants; this being the reason of the fury and implacable hostility of the slave-dealers to this newspaper, which they characterized as being eminently revolutionary. The year 1866 arrived, in which the "Reporting Commission " was convened in Madrid to propose the reforms advisable in the Antilles, and before this Commission, the Cuban and Porto Rican Commissioners proposed with the greatest energy that the traffic in slaves should be treated as piracy, and that slavery should be abolished in both islands. It must not be forgotten that the first measure adopted by the Chambers of "Free Cuba" has been abolition of slavery.
Our readers are aware that years ago England paid to the Spanish Government 400,000 pounds in compensation for the loss alleged to be incurred by merchants and estate owners in Cuba by the stoppage of the slave trade.
The treaty agreement stipulated that the slave trade was to be suppressed, and the money to be distributed, so as to make good any loss incurred by Spanish subjects. The Spanish Government never paid a penny of that money, nor ever stopped the slave trade. It simply appropriated the British gold, and let all the obligations remain a dead letter. That will explain this extract from the Globe of Tuesday "on the Slave Trade in Cuba," and the pointed way in which Lord Granville writes:
In December last the Spanish Minister assured Earl Granville that the Spanish government, and, indeed, the whole nation, was firmly resolved to deal with the question of slavery in their colonies, but that the Cuban insurrection being still unsuppressed, the primary object of the nation at this moment was effectually to extinguish that insurrection. The question was brought before the British Cabinet, and Earl Granville then wrote to Mr. Layard at Madrid:
"The Spanish government must be aware of the strong feeling which existed in this country on the subject of slavery. It was not with us a question of merely making a representation on a matter which we had at heart, but also of insisting on the execution of positive treaty engagements. The assurances now given by the Spanish government were merely a repetition of those constantly given on former occasions. With regard to Cuba, it could not be a matter of indifference to attract or repel the moral sympathies not only of this country but of the United States. But even admitting hypothetically the correctness of the view held by the Spanish government with regard to Cuba, the same arguments which might be supposed to hold good in this instance were quite inapplicable to Puerto Rico. There, indeed, the facilities for successfully dealing with the question were exceptional. Her Majesty's government did not wish to meet Parliament unprovided with any explanation of the delay in abolishing Spanish slavery other than a mere repetition of the assurances which they have so often received, but which have hitherto invariably remained unfulfilled. If any material advance were made in the matter, such as the abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico, it would readily be accepted by her Majesty's government as an earnest that the Spanish government intends at no distant day fully to carry out the pledges frequently and formally given to Her Majesty's Minister of the total abolition of slavery in all the Spanish colonies."
The British Consul-General at Havana explodes the deceit of the Emancipado Contract. He shows that the laborer remains a slave of the worst kind, without the guarantee even of the sort of consideration which ownership imparts. He informs Earl Granville that the Madrid government is really powerless. It may issue proclamations, but they will be set aside in Cuba by the anti-Cuban faction there, now the real rulers of that distracted land.
SECRETARY OF STATE, HAMILTON FISH, TO MINISTER D. E. SICKLES.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, October 20, 1872.
SIR: The present Ministry in Spain has given assurance to the public through their organs of the press and have confirmed the assurance to you personally (as you have reported in recent dispatches) of their intention to put in operation a series of extensive reforms, embracing among them some of those which this Government has been earnest in urging upon their consideration in relation to the colonies which are our near neighbors.
Sustained as is the present Ministry by the large popular vote which has recently returned to the Cortes an overwhelming majority in its support, there can be no more room to doubt their ability to carry into operation the reforms of which they have given promise than there can be justification to question the sincerity with which the assurance was given. It seems, therefore, to be a fitting occasion to look back upon the relations between the United States and Spain, and to mark the progress which may have been made in accomplishing those objects in which we have been promised their co-operation. It must be acknowledged with regret that little or no advance has been made. The tardiness in this respect, however, cannot be said to be in any way imputable to a want of diligence, zeal, or ability in the Legation of the United States at Madrid. The Department is persuaded that no persons, however gifted with those qualities and faculties, could have better succeeded against the apparent apathy or indifference of the Spanish authorities, if, indeed, their past omission to do what we have expected should not be ascribed to other causes.
The Spanish Government, partly at our instance, passed a law providing for the gradual emancipation of slaves in the West India colonies. This law, so far as this Department is aware, remains unexecuted, and it is feared that the recently issued regulations professedly for its execution are wholly inadequate to any practical result in favor of emancipation, if they be not really in the interest of the slaveholder and of the continuance of the institution of slavery. While we fully acknowledge our obligation to the general rule which requires a nation to abstain from interference in the domestic concerns of others, circumstances warrant partial exceptions to this rule. The United States have emancipated all the slaves in their own territory, as the result of a civil war of four years, attended by a vast effusion of blood and expenditure of treasure. The slaves in the Spanish possessions near us are of the same race as those who were bondmen here. It is natural and inevitable for the latter to sympathize in the oppression of their brethren, and especially in the waste of life occasioned by inhuman punishments and excessive toil. Nor is this sympathy confined to those who were recently in bondage among us. It is as universal as it is natural and just. It rests upon the instincts of humanity, and is the recognition of those rights of man which are now universally admitted. Governments cannot resist a conviction so general and so righteous as that which condemns as a crime the tolerance of human slavery, nor can governments be in fault in raising their voice against the further tolerance of so grievous a blot upon humanity. You will consequently, in decisive but respectful terms, remon-
strate against the apparent failure of Spain to carry into full effect the act referred to. We acknowledge that this may be a difficult task. The reproaches, open or covert, of those whose supposed interests may be affected by it, to say nothing of other underhanded proceedings, must be trying to the patience and highly embarrassing to the statesmen who may be the best disposed toward the measure. All, however, who countenance lukewarmness or neglect in carrying it into effect must, more or less, be liable to the charge of duplicity or bad faith—a charge which every man of honor in high station ought to endeavor to avoid.
By the enactment of the law of July, 1870, the Government of Spain is practically committed to the policy of emancipation. It is true that the law was far from being as comprehensive a measure as was hoped for by the friends of emancipation both in Spain and throughout Christendom, but it was regarded as the entering wedge and the first step toward the extermination of a great wrong, and as the inauguration of a measure of justice and of peace, whereby Spain, to her high honor, declared herself in harmony with the general sentiment of modern civilization, and with the principles of unquestioned human rights. It is so manifestly due to that sentiment and to those principles that their recognition as thus evidenced be made practical and effective by the enforcement of the law that it cannot be questioned that Spain, with the pride and the honor that mark her history, will no longer delay the execution of the law and the observance of the pledge to humanity and to justice which is implied in the enactment.
There is another view which may be taken of this subject. The Spanish Government and the Spanish people are understood to be almost unanimously adverse to the independence of Cuba. It will not be denied that the resistance to the enforcement of the emancipation law proceeds almost entirely from those interested in slave property in the Island of Cuba, who have, through the successive ministries to which the Government of Spain has been intrusted since the enactment of the law in July, 1870, been enabled hitherto to delay and defeat its execution by preventing the promulgation of regulations effective for the end to which the law was directed. An important law is thus nullified through the influence and agency of a class in Cuba who are most loud in profession of devotion to the integrity of the Spanish territory and to the continuance of Spanish dominion over the island. The example of disregard to laws thus set cannot be without its influence. If Spain permits her authority to be virtually and practically defied in that island by a refusal or neglect to carry into effect acts of the home Government of a humane tendency, is not this tantamount to an acknowledgment of inability to control? If she refuses to enforce her authority in one instance, why may it not be spurned in others, and will not her supremacy, sooner or later, become nominal only, with no real advantage to herself or her colonies, but to the serious detriment of both, as well as those of other powers whose relations, whether of neighborhood or commerce, give them special interest in the welfare of those possessions? It is represented that the grasping cupidity of sugar planters in Cuba, has succeeded in enabling them virtually to annul their contracts with Coolies for a limited term of service, coupled with the privilege of returning to their homes at its close, and that these unfortunate
Asiatics, under regulations for an enforced reengagement when their former term may have expired, are being reduced to the same abject condition as the African slaves. If this be true, it is impossible for the Government of any civilized country to be indifferent to so atrocious a proceeding. You will mention this subject to the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, and will not conceal the view which we take of it.
The insurrection in Cuba has now lasted four years. Attempts to suppress, so far futile, have been made probably at a sacrifice of more than 100,000 lives and an incalculable amount of property. Our commercial and other connections with that island, compel us to take a warm interest in its peaceful and orderly condition, without which there cannot be prosperity.
Cuba being separated from this country by a narrow passage, the temptation for reckless adventurers here to violate our laws and embark in hostile expeditions thither is great despite the unquestioned vigilance of this Government to maintain its duty and the efforts with which the approaches to the island have been guarded by the Spanish cruisers. The said proximity has led Cubans and others, partisans of the insurgents, to take up their abode in the United States, actuated by the hope that that proximity would enable them advantageously to plot and act for the advancement of their cause in the island. We certainly have reason to expect that the great strain upon our watchfulness to thwart those schemes occasioned by the long duration of hostilities in Cuba should have some determination through a cessation of the cause which hitherto has been supposed to make it necessary for the discharge of our duties as a neutral.
Ever since the insurrection began we have repeatedly been called upon to discharge those duties. In the performance of them we are conscious of no neglect; but the trial to our impartiality by the want of success on the part of Spain in suppressing the revolt is necessarily so severe that unless she shall soon be more successful it will force upon this Government the consideration of the question whether duty itself and to the commercial interests of its citizens may not demand some change in the line of action it has thus far pursued.
It is intimated, and is probably true, that the corruption which is more or less inseparable from such protracted contests is itself a principal agent in prolonging hostilities in Cuba. The extortions incident to furnishing supplies for the troops, the hope of sharing in the proceeds of insurgent or alleged insurgent property, would, of course, be put an end to by the restoration of tranquility. These must be powerful agencies in fettering the arm which ought to strike home for peace, for order, and the quiet enjoyment of the citizen. It is reasonable to suppose, too, that the saving of the public money which must result from a termination of the conflict would alone be a sufficient incentive for a patriotic government to exert itself to the utmost for that purpose.
Besides a measure for the abolition of slavery, and assurances of the speedy termination of the contest in Cuba, we have been assured that extensive municipal reform would be introduced in the colonies, and that their government would be liberalized. Certainly the Spanish government, with its experience of the past, and with the knowledge which it cannot fail to have of the tendencies of the age, can never expect peaceably to maintain the ancient colonial system in those islands. The abuses of that system press heavily upon the numerous educated natives of the same
race, and, if not reformed, must be a constant source of bitter antipathy to the mother country. The repeated assurances of the intention of the government to abolish slavery and to grant liberal reforms in the administration of the island, are admissions by Spain of the wrong of slavery and of the existence of evils which need reform, but are still allowed on the illogical and indefensible ground that concession cannot be made while resistance continues.
A nation gives justification to resistance while admitted wrongs remain unredressed ; resistance ceases to be justifiable when no wrongs are either admitted or alleged. Redress wrongs and resistance will cease.
Spain is too great a power to fear to do what she admits to be right because it is asked vehemently, or because its attainment is sought improperly. She need not apprehend that the reforming of abuses and of wrongs, which she admits to exist and declares herself ready to correct, will be attributed to an unworthy motive ; while delay in removing admitted wrong, which it is within her power to remove, places her in a false position and goes far to justify and to attract sympathy to those who are sufferers from the unredressed wrongs.
Spain itself has been the scene of civil commotion, but prisoners taken in arms have not been put to death as they are in Cuba, nor have amnesties been regarded as dangerous in the Peninsula. Why should they be so regarded in the colonies? or why should concessions be dishonorable in Cuba that are not so considered at home? The suggestion that they would be is the offspring of the selfishness of those interested in prolonging the contest for private gain.
A just, lenient and humane policy toward Cuba, if it would not bring quiet and order and contentedness, would at least modify the judgment of the world that most of the evils of which Cuba is the scene are the necessary results of harsh treatment and of the maladministration of the Colonial government.
We are aware that many citizens of the United States, owners of estates in Cuba, have suffered injury by the causeless seizure, in violation of treaty obligations, of those estates, and by the appropriation of their proceeds by those into whose hands they had fallen. Though in some one or two instances the property has been ordered to be restored, so far there has been no indemnification for the damage sustained. In other instances, where restitution has been promised, it has been evaded and put off in a way which cannot fail to excite the just resentment of the sufferers and of their government, whose duty it is to protect their interests.
The decree of 31st August last, prescribing regulations for the proceedings concerning sequestrated property in Cuba, so far as it recognized the embargo or confiscation of the property of those charged with complicity in the insurrection, as a judicial proceeding, in which the parties are entitled to be fairly heard, may be regarded as a concession to the frequent remonstrances of this Government as well as to the requirements of justice. But unless the action of the Board to be constituted under that decree exhibit a very different measure of promptness and of activity from that which has been given to the remonstrances of this Government against the proceedings whereby the property of citizens of the United States has heretofore been seized, the organization of the Board will serve only to increase the very just cause of complaint of this Government. It is hoped
that it will not be allowed to become the means or the excuse of further procrastination, or of delaying beyond the extremest limits of patience, which have already been reached, the decisions upon the many cases which have been the subject of protracted diplomatic correspondence. There will readily occur to you several cases which need not be specifically enumerated, which have been referred backward and forward between Madrid and Havana to the very verge of the exhaustion of all patience. In the meantime the property of citizens of the United States has been held in violation of the treaty between this country and Spain.
In some of these cases you have been promised the release of the embargo. It is expected that the tardy redress thus promised will not be further delayed by any alleged necessity of reference to this newly constituted board.
It is hoped that you will present the views above set forth, and the present grievances of which this Government so justly complains, to the Government to which you are accredited in a way which, without giving offense, will leave a conviction that we are in earnest in the expression of those views, and that we expect redress, and that if it should not soon be afforded Spain must not be surprised to find, as the inevitable result of the delay, a marked change in the feeling and in the temper of the people and of the Government of the United States. Believing that the present Ministry of Spain is in a sufficiently confirmed position of power to carry out the measures which it announces and the reforms which have been promised, and to do justice by the removal of the causes of our well-founded complaints, and not doubting the sincerity of the assurances which have been given, the United States look confidently for the realization of those hopes, which have been encouraged by repeated promises, that all causes for estrangement or for the interruption of those friendly feelings which are traditional, as they are sincere, on the part of this Government toward Spain, will be speedily and forever removed. I am, etc.,
Convention Minutes Item Type Metadata
Meeting Place Name
Cuban Anti-Slavery Committee (1872 : New York City, NY), “Slavery in Cuba. A Report of the Proceedings of the Meeting, Held at the Cooper Institute. New York City, December 13, 1872. ,” ColoredConventions.org, accessed October 23, 2019, http://coloredconventions.org/items/show/322.