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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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race, and, if not reformed, must be a constant source of bitter antipathy to the mother country. The repeated assurances of the intention of the government to abolish slavery and to grant liberal reforms in the administration of the island, are admissions by Spain of the wrong of slavery and of the existence of evils which need reform, but are still allowed on the illogical and indefensible ground that concession cannot be made while resistance continues.
A nation gives justification to resistance while admitted wrongs remain unredressed ; resistance ceases to be justifiable when no wrongs are either admitted or alleged. Redress wrongs and resistance will cease.
Spain is too great a power to fear to do what she admits to be right because it is asked vehemently, or because its attainment is sought improperly. She need not apprehend that the reforming of abuses and of wrongs, which she admits to exist and declares herself ready to correct, will be attributed to an unworthy motive ; while delay in removing admitted wrong, which it is within her power to remove, places her in a false position and goes far to justify and to attract sympathy to those who are sufferers from the unredressed wrongs.
Spain itself has been the scene of civil commotion, but prisoners taken in arms have not been put to death as they are in Cuba, nor have amnesties been regarded as dangerous in the Peninsula. Why should they be so regarded in the colonies? or why should concessions be dishonorable in Cuba that are not so considered at home? The suggestion that they would be is the offspring of the selfishness of those interested in prolonging the contest for private gain.
A just, lenient and humane policy toward Cuba, if it would not bring quiet and order and contentedness, would at least modify the judgment of the world that most of the evils of which Cuba is the scene are the necessary results of harsh treatment and of the maladministration of the Colonial government.
We are aware that many citizens of the United States, owners of estates in Cuba, have suffered injury by the causeless seizure, in violation of treaty obligations, of those estates, and by the appropriation of their proceeds by those into whose hands they had fallen. Though in some one or two instances the property has been ordered to be restored, so far there has been no indemnification for the damage sustained. In other instances, where restitution has been promised, it has been evaded and put off in a way which cannot fail to excite the just resentment of the sufferers and of their government, whose duty it is to protect their interests.
The decree of 31st August last, prescribing regulations for the proceedings concerning sequestrated property in Cuba, so far as it recognized the embargo or confiscation of the property of those charged with complicity in the insurrection, as a judicial proceeding, in which the parties are entitled to be fairly heard, may be regarded as a concession to the frequent remonstrances of this Government as well as to the requirements of justice. But unless the action of the Board to be constituted under that decree exhibit a very different measure of promptness and of activity from that which has been given to the remonstrances of this Government against the proceedings whereby the property of citizens of the United States has heretofore been seized, the organization of the Board will serve only to increase the very just cause of complaint of this Government. It is hoped
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