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Slavery in Cuba. A Report of the Proceedings of the Meeting, Held at the Cooper Institute. New York City, December 13, 1872.

1872NY-Cuba-New-York_Proceedings-page40.pdf

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40

Asiatics, under regulations for an enforced reengagement when their former term may have expired, are being reduced to the same abject condition as the African slaves. If this be true, it is impossible for the Government of any civilized country to be indifferent to so atrocious a proceeding. You will mention this subject to the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, and will not conceal the view which we take of it.

The insurrection in Cuba has now lasted four years. Attempts to suppress, so far futile, have been made probably at a sacrifice of more than 100,000 lives and an incalculable amount of property. Our commercial and other connections with that island, compel us to take a warm interest in its peaceful and orderly condition, without which there cannot be prosperity.

Cuba being separated from this country by a narrow passage, the temptation for reckless adventurers here to violate our laws and embark in hostile expeditions thither is great despite the unquestioned vigilance of this Government to maintain its duty and the efforts with which the approaches to the island have been guarded by the Spanish cruisers. The said proximity has led Cubans and others, partisans of the insurgents, to take up their abode in the United States, actuated by the hope that that proximity would enable them advantageously to plot and act for the advancement of their cause in the island. We certainly have reason to expect that the great strain upon our watchfulness to thwart those schemes occasioned by the long duration of hostilities in Cuba should have some determination through a cessation of the cause which hitherto has been supposed to make it necessary for the discharge of our duties as a neutral.

Ever since the insurrection began we have repeatedly been called upon to discharge those duties. In the performance of them we are conscious of no neglect; but the trial to our impartiality by the want of success on the part of Spain in suppressing the revolt is necessarily so severe that unless she shall soon be more successful it will force upon this Government the consideration of the question whether duty itself and to the commercial interests of its citizens may not demand some change in the line of action it has thus far pursued.

It is intimated, and is probably true, that the corruption which is more or less inseparable from such protracted contests is itself a principal agent in prolonging hostilities in Cuba. The extortions incident to furnishing supplies for the troops, the hope of sharing in the proceeds of insurgent or alleged insurgent property, would, of course, be put an end to by the restoration of tranquility. These must be powerful agencies in fettering the arm which ought to strike home for peace, for order, and the quiet enjoyment of the citizen. It is reasonable to suppose, too, that the saving of the public money which must result from a termination of the conflict would alone be a sufficient incentive for a patriotic government to exert itself to the utmost for that purpose.

Besides a measure for the abolition of slavery, and assurances of the speedy termination of the contest in Cuba, we have been assured that extensive municipal reform would be introduced in the colonies, and that their government would be liberalized. Certainly the Spanish government, with its experience of the past, and with the knowledge which it cannot fail to have of the tendencies of the age, can never expect peaceably to maintain the ancient colonial system in those islands. The abuses of that system press heavily upon the numerous educated natives of the same

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