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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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"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
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