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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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[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
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