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impossible can hardly be questioned; that in the few weeks it has existed it has made earnest of the sincerity of its professions is undeniable. I shall not impugn its sincerity, nor should impatience be suffered to embarrass it in the task it has undertaken. It is honestly due to Spain and to our friendly relations with Spain that she should be given a reasonable chance to realize her expectations and to prove the asserted efficacy of the new order of things to which she stands irrevocably committed. She has recalled the commander whose brutal orders inAlamed the American mind and shocked the civilized world. She has modified the horrible order of concentration, and has undertaken to care for the helpless and permit those who desire to resume the cultivation of their fields to do so and assures them of the protection of the Spanish Government. ... The near future will demonstrate whether the indispensable condition of a righteous peace, just alike to the Cubans and to Spain as well as equitable to all our interests so intimately involved in the welfare of Cuba, is likely to be attained. If not, the exigency of further and other action by the United States will remain to be taken."
Stewart L. Woodford, of New York, was appointed Minister to Spain on the 16th of June. His preliminary instructions as shown by the correspon
dence of the Department of State, left no doubt of the intention of the President to bring the war in Cuba to an end without humiliation or embarrassment to Spain if possible, but by forcible intervention if need be.
The response to the note of September 23, in which the President offered the “most kindly offices" of the United States to end the war, promised autonomy for Cuba under Spanish sovereignty, proposed to continue military operations energetically and vigorously but humanely, and politely suggested that the United States keep hands off and devote more attention to stopping the filibustering expeditions. The Department of State saw reason for encouragement in the reply, but properly resented the statement that the United States had not fully enforced the neutrality laws.
On the 25th of November the Queen Regent signed three decrees, extending the provisions of the Spanish Constitution over Cuba, fixing the electoral laws, and establishing autonomy. The year closed with the President and his advisers hopefully awaiting the result of the new Spanish policy.
But the promise of autonomy, if ever made in good faith, was foredoomed to failure. The insurgents had been deceived too often to trust in any promises the mother country might make, while the Spanish
party in Havana, who upheld the policies of Weyler, were opposed to granting concessions of any kind. The Minister of the Colonies asserted that autonomy was not given to the insurgents, but only to the peaceful and loyal Cubans. It was found, moreover, that the reforms were so hedged about with conditions that they really amounted to but little. The legislature could not enact laws without the approval of the governor-general — thus retaining the old abt solutism. The Government at Madrid reserved the right to fix the amount to be paid by Cuba to the Spanish Crown — thus defeating the promised fist cal independence. Spanish trade and manufactures were protected by perpetual preferential duties — thus blocking commercial development. Those who attempted to inaugurate the new autonomy not only found themselves opposed by both Cubans and Spaniards, but began to quarrel among themselves. Feeling ran so high that the Spanish opponents of autonomy made riotous demonstrations in Havana in the middle of January, 1898, causing ConsulGeneral Lee to suggest the sending of an American warship to the harbor for the protection of the citizens of the United States living in that city.
The fighting spirit of the insurgents was by no means allayed by the new Spanish promises. From the beginning of the war in 1895 to the Ist of January, 1898, they had seen no less than 140,000 Spanish soldiers incapacitated for further service by death, wounds, or disease, and in spite of the fact that their own losses had been heavy, they still felt competent to prevent any lasting successes by the enemy.
Three incidents now happened in rapid succession all tending to convert the growing resentment of the American people into an ominous thundercloud, through which played, like flashes of lightning, the animated speeches of impassioned orators and the intemperate demands of excited public gatherings, wrought to a pitch of dangerous enthusiasm for a declaration of war. The first was the famous “De Lome incident"; the second was the destruction of the U.S.S. Maine, and the third was the speech in the Senate of Senator Proctor, of Vermont, who had just returned from a visit to Cuba.
Early in February a significant letter was brought to Assistant Secretary Day, by a representative of the Cuban Junta in New York, written by Señor Don Enrique Dupuy de Lome, the Spanish Minister at Washington, to Don José Canalejas, a confidential representative of the Spanish Government in Cuba. The letter was probably stolen by some one representing the Cuban insurgents, and though intended to be private and unofficial, its publication by the
Junta in a New York newspaper on February 9 made the further service in the United States of the Spanish Minister quite impossible. The letter used insulting language about the President, clearly showed the futility of the proposed autonomy, and suggested an utter lack of sincerity on the part of the Spanish Minister in his official capacity. The objectionable portions of the letter, as translated by the Department of State, were as follows:
“The situation here remains the same. Everything depends on the political and military outcome in Cuba. The prologue of all this, in this second stage (phase) of the war, will end the day when the colonial cabinet shall be appointed and we shall be relieved
of this country of a part of the responsibility for what is happening in Cuba, while the Cubans, whom these people think so immaculate, will have to assume it....
"The message has been a disillusionment to the insurgents, who expected something different; but I regard it as bad (for us]. Besides the ingrained and inevitable bluntness (groseria] with which is repeated all that the press and public opinion in Spain have said about Weyler, it once more shows what McKinley is, weak and a bidder for the admiration of the crowd, besides being a would-be politician (politicastro), who tries to leave a door open behind himself
in the eyes