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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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strate against the apparent failure of Spain to carry into full effect the act referred to. We acknowledge that this may be a difficult task. The reproaches, open or covert, of those whose supposed interests may be affected by it, to say nothing of other underhanded proceedings, must be trying to the patience and highly embarrassing to the statesmen who may be the best disposed toward the measure. All, however, who countenance lukewarmness or neglect in carrying it into effect must, more or less, be liable to the charge of duplicity or bad faith—a charge which every man of honor in high station ought to endeavor to avoid.
By the enactment of the law of July, 1870, the Government of Spain is practically committed to the policy of emancipation. It is true that the law was far from being as comprehensive a measure as was hoped for by the friends of emancipation both in Spain and throughout Christendom, but it was regarded as the entering wedge and the first step toward the extermination of a great wrong, and as the inauguration of a measure of justice and of peace, whereby Spain, to her high honor, declared herself in harmony with the general sentiment of modern civilization, and with the principles of unquestioned human rights. It is so manifestly due to that sentiment and to those principles that their recognition as thus evidenced be made practical and effective by the enforcement of the law that it cannot be questioned that Spain, with the pride and the honor that mark her history, will no longer delay the execution of the law and the observance of the pledge to humanity and to justice which is implied in the enactment.
There is another view which may be taken of this subject. The Spanish Government and the Spanish people are understood to be almost unanimously adverse to the independence of Cuba. It will not be denied that the resistance to the enforcement of the emancipation law proceeds almost entirely from those interested in slave property in the Island of Cuba, who have, through the successive ministries to which the Government of Spain has been intrusted since the enactment of the law in July, 1870, been enabled hitherto to delay and defeat its execution by preventing the promulgation of regulations effective for the end to which the law was directed. An important law is thus nullified through the influence and agency of a class in Cuba who are most loud in profession of devotion to the integrity of the Spanish territory and to the continuance of Spanish dominion over the island. The example of disregard to laws thus set cannot be without its influence. If Spain permits her authority to be virtually and practically defied in that island by a refusal or neglect to carry into effect acts of the home Government of a humane tendency, is not this tantamount to an acknowledgment of inability to control? If she refuses to enforce her authority in one instance, why may it not be spurned in others, and will not her supremacy, sooner or later, become nominal only, with no real advantage to herself or her colonies, but to the serious detriment of both, as well as those of other powers whose relations, whether of neighborhood or commerce, give them special interest in the welfare of those possessions? It is represented that the grasping cupidity of sugar planters in Cuba, has succeeded in enabling them virtually to annul their contracts with Coolies for a limited term of service, coupled with the privilege of returning to their homes at its close, and that these unfortunate
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