Press enter after choosing selection

Tackles The Cuban Question

Tackles The Cuban Question image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

The president then takes up the Cujan question, and says: The insurrection in Cuba still conLinues with all its perplexities. It is difficult to see that any progress has thus far been made towards the pacification of the island or that the situation of affairs as depicted in my last annual message has in the least improved. If Spain still holds Havana ind the seaports and all the consideratie towns, the insurgents still roara at will over at least two-thirds of the inand country. If the determination of Spain to put down the insurrection seems but to strengthen with the lapse of time, and is evinced by her unhesitating devotion of largely increased military and naval forces to the task, there is much reason to believe that the insurgents have gained in point of numbers and eharacter and resources, and are none the less inflexible in thelr resolve not to succumb without practlcally securing the great objects for which they took up arms. If Spain has not yet re-established her authority, neither have the insurgents yet made good their title to be regarded as an independent state. Indeed, as the contest has gone on the pretense that civil government exists on the island, except so far as Spain is able to maintain it, has been practically abandoned. Spain does keep on foot such a government, more or less imperfectly, in the large towns and their immediate suburbs. But that exception being made, the entlre country Is either given over to anarchy or is subject to the military occupation of one or the other party. It is reported, Indeed, on reliable authority that at the demand of the commander-in-chief of the insurgent army the putative Cuban government has now given up all attempt to exercise. its functions, leaving that government confessedly (what there is the best reason for supposing it always to have been, in fact,) a government merely on paper. Were the Spanish armles able to meet their antagonists in the open or pltched battle prompt and decisive resultsmight be looked fof, and the immense superiority of the Spanish forces in numbers, discipline and equipments could hardly fail to teil greally to their advantage. But they are called upon to face a foe that shuns general engagements, that oan choose and does choose lts own ground, that from the nature of the country is visible or invisible at pleasure, and that fights only from ambuscade, and when all the advantage of position and numbers are on its side. In a country where all that is indispensable to life in the way of food, clothing and shelter is so easily obtainable, especially by those born and bred on the soil, it is obvious that there is hardly a limit to the time during which hostilities of this sort may be prolonged. Meanwhile, as in all cases of protracted civil strife, the passionsof the combatants grow more and more lnflamed and excesses on both sides become more frequent and more deplorable. They are also participated in by bands of marauders who, now in the name of one party and now In tht name of the other, as may best sui the occasion, harry the country at wih and plunder its wretched inhabitants Sor thelr own aflvantage. Such a condition of things would inevitably entail immense destruction oí property, even if it was the policy of both parties to prevent It as far as practicable. But while such seemed to be the original policy of the Spanish government it has now apparently abandoned it, and is actlng upon the same theory as the insurgente, namely: that the exigencies of the contest require the Wholesale annihhttion of property that it may not prove of use and advantage of the enemy, The president then goes on to say that the result of this policy will be the ruin of the entire island, and refera to our money interest in Cuba, estimated at from $30,000,000 to $50,000,000; also to the difflculty and cost of preventing filtbustering, with the people's Bympathies all with the rebels, together with the continual appeals for the protection by the United States of Cuban - Americans. He says that the United States has beeri very forbearing in the matter, and that no other nation would have stood off so long. He continúes as follows: It was at first proposed that belligerent rights should be accorded to the insurgents - a proposition no longer urged because untimelyand in practical operatlon clearly perilous and injurious to our own interests. It has since been and is now swmetimes contended that the independence of the insurgents should be recognized. But imperfect and restricted as the Spanish government on the island may be no other exists there- unless the will of the military oí,':, . r in teraporary command of a particular district can be dignifled as a speek-, of government. It is now also suggested that the United States should, buy the island - a suggestion possibly worthy of consideration if there were any evidence of a desire or willingness on the part of Spain to entertain such a proposal. It is urged finally, that all other metods failing, the existing lnternecine strife in Cuba should be terminated by our intervention, even at the cost of a war between the United States and Spain - a war which its advocates confidently prophesy could be neither larg-e in its proportions nor doubtful in its issue. The correctness of this forecast need be neither afflrmed nor denied. The United States has nevertheless a character to maintain as a nation, which plainly dictates that right and not might should be the rule of its conduct. Prooeeding the president refers to the determination of Spain to insist that the rebels shall lay down their arms before she grants the reforms which he gives her credit for being willing to grant, and thinks that determination not reasonable and adds: It was intimated by this government to the government of Spain some months ago that if a satisfactory measure of home rule were tendered the Cuban insurgents and would be accepted by them upon a guaranty of its execution, the United States would endeavor to flnd a way not objectionable to Spain of furnishing such guaranty. While no definite response to this intimation has yet been received from the Spanish government, it is believed to be not altogether unwelcome, while no reason ia perceived why it should not be approved by the insurgents. "Whatever circumstances may arise our policy and.our interests would constrain us to object to the acquisition oí the island or the interference with its control by any other power. It should be added that it cannot be reasonably assumed that the hitherto expectant attitude of the United States will be indefinitely maintained When the inability of Spain to deal successfully with the insurrection has become manifest, and it is demonstrated that her sovereignty is extinct in Cuba for all purposes of its rightful existence, and when a hopeless struggle for its re-establishment has degenerated into a strife whieh means nothing more than the useless sacrifice of life and the ! utter destruction of the very t matter of the conflict, a situation will be presented in which our obligations to the sovereignty of Spain will be superseded by higher obligations, which we can hardly hesitate to recognize and discharge. Deferring the choice of ways and methods until the time for action arrivés, we should make them depend upon the precise conditions then existing; and they should not be determined upon without giving careful heed to every consideration involving our honor and interest, or the international duty we owe to Spain. Until we face the contingencies suggested, or the situation is by other incidents imperatively changed, we should continue in the line of conduct heretofore pursued, thus in all circumstances exhibiting our obedience to the requirements of public law and our regard for the duty enjoined upon ub by the position we occupy in the family of nations.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News