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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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law which in future the country had to obey, and woe to him who should dare to discuss or oppose it. The first victim under this state of things was Don Jose Antonio Saco, one of the most eminent scientific and literary men in the country, who was banished from Cuba without form of trial, for having published some articles destined to demonstrate the necessity of putting an end to slavery in his country. Somewhat later it was the turn of Don Domingo Delmonte, one of the richest slave-owners in the island, and at the same time an eminent writer, who was expelled from the country, and died in a foreign land, in consequence of the authorship of a memorial favorable to the abolition of slavery being attributed to him, and his being on friendly terms with the English Consul at Havana. In 1844 Don Benigno Gener had to go into exile, to avoid the persecution of which he was the object, for having drawn up and presented a memorial, signed by ninety-three Cuban planters, of Mantaiizas, begging the Government to use all the means in their power to put an end to slavery. The signatories of the petition were threatened with very serious punishment, if ever they again took up the question. Don Gasper Betancourt Cisneros, a rich planter of Puerto Principe, and a great promoter of the immigration of whites, was summoned by General O'Donnell, and threatened to be shot if he insisted in his propaganda. At about the same time, Don Jose de la Luz Caballero, the "Havana Philosopher," and one of the most eminent men in Cuba, celebrated for his vast knowledge, and his public and private virtues, had to appear before a mixed Commission, being accused of complicity in the conspiracy of black slaves and freedmen, which was then the subject of the day, and in which it was attempted to implicate many Cubans who were known as holding opinions contrary to slavery and the slave traffic. Don Manuel Martinez Serano, a lawyer and rich Cuban planter, died in prison under the accusation of being an abolitionist, he having drawn up a report to the Economic Society of the Havana, in which grave penalties were demanded against the violators of the treaties respecting the slave trade, entered into with Great Britain. Since the time of General Facon the great tactic employed in Cuba by the Governors and their satellites has been to mix up the adversaries of slavery and the slave trade with the revolutionists and annexationists, and thus the slave dealers could continue in their infamous traffic without opposition, until the time of General Dulce, when, through certain fresh liberty being conceded to the Havana press, the journal El Siglo, the organ of the Cuban element in the country, was able to attack the slave trade, and manifest the abolitionist tendencies of the majority of the inhabitants; this being the reason of the fury and implacable hostility of the slave-dealers to this newspaper, which they characterized as being eminently revolutionary. The year 1866 arrived, in which the "Reporting Commission " was convened in Madrid to propose the reforms advisable in the Antilles, and before this Commission, the Cuban and Porto Rican Commissioners proposed with the greatest energy that the traffic in slaves should be treated as piracy, and that slavery should be abolished in both islands. It must not be forgotten that the first measure adopted by the Chambers of "Free Cuba" has been abolition of slavery.
Our readers are aware that years ago England paid to the Spanish Government 400,000 pounds in compensation for the loss alleged to be incurred by merchants and estate owners in Cuba by the stoppage of the slave trade.
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