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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 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
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