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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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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.
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