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Scripto | Transcribe Page
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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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
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