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"I commend this report to the consideration of congress. The authors of the report recommend a commission to make a thorough investigation of the monetary affairs and needs of this country in all relations and aspects, and to make proper suggestions as to any evils found to exist and the remedies therefor.
“ 'This subject should receive the attention of congress at its special session. It ought not to be postponed until the regular session.
“ 'I, therefore, urgently recommend that a special commission be created, non-partisan in its character, to be composed of well informed citizens of different parties, who will command the confidence of congress and the country because of their special fitness for the work, whose duty it shall be to make recommendations of whatever changes in our present banking and currency laws may be found necessary and expedient, and to report their conclusions on or before the first day of November next, in order that the same may be transmitted by me to congress for its consideration at its first regular session.'
“This committee was appointed, worked during the summer recess and the result of its deliberations was the present law.
“To summarize, the results of the first McKinley administration were: "The Dingley tariff. “The sound money law. “The war with Spain. "The annexation of Porto Rico, the Philippines and Guam. "The annexation of Hawaii. “The annexation of Tutuila. “The organization of Cuba."
No more admirable presentation of all of the incidents leading up to the Spanish war, or of the results of that event, has been made than that of President McKinley himself, in his second annual message to congress. In that document he said:
"Military service under a common flag and for a righteous cause has strengthened the national spirit and served to cement more closely tha: ever the fraternal bonds between every section of the country.
“In my annual message very full consideration was given to the question of the duty of the government of the United States toward Spain and the Cuban insurrection as being by far the most important problem with which we were then called upon to deal. The considerations then advanced, and the exposition of the views then expressed, disclosed my sense of the extreme gravity of the situation.
SPAIN GIVEN TIME TO SETTLE TROUBLE." “Setting aside, as logically unfounded or practically inadmissible, the recognition of the Cuban insurgents as belligerents, the recognition of the independence of Cuba, neutral intervention to end the war by imposing a rational compromise between the contestants, intervention in favor of one or the other party, and forcible annexation of the islands, I concluded it was honestly due to our friendly relations with Spain that she should be given a reasonable chance to realize her expectations of reform, to which she had become irrevocably committed. Within a few weeks previously she had announced comprehensive plans, which it was confidently asserted would be efficacious to remedy the evils so deeply affecting our own country, so injurious to the true interests of the mother country as well as to those of Cuba, and so repugnant to the universal sentiment of humanity.
“The ensuing month brought little sign of real progress toward the pacification of Cuba. The autonomouis administration set up in the capital and some of the principal cities appeared not to gain the favor of the inhabitants nor to be able to extend their influence to the large extent of territory held by the insurgents, while the military arm, obviously unable to cope with the still active rebellion, continued many of the
most objectionable and offensive policies of the government that had preceded it.
"No tangible relief was afforded the vast numbers of unhappy reconcentrados, despite the reiterated professions made in that regard and the amount appropriated by Spain to that end. The proffered expedient of zones of cultivation proved illusory. Indeed, no less practical nor more delusive promises of succor could well have been tendered to the exhausted and destitute people, stripped of all that made life and home dear and herded in a strange region among unsympathetic strangers hardly less necessitous than themselves.
“By the end of December the mortality among them had frightfully increased. Conservative estimates from Spanish sources placed the deaths among these distressed people at over 40 per cent from the time General Weyler's decree of reconcentration was enforced. With the acquiescence of the Spanish authorities a scheme was adopted for relief by charitable contributions raised in this country and distributed, under the direction of the consul general and the several consuls, by noble and earnest individual effort through the organized agencies of the American Red Cross. Thousands of lives were thus saved, but many thousands more were inaccessible to such forms of aid.
'The war continued on the old footing, without comprehensive plan, developing only the same spasmodic encounters, barren of strategic result, that had marked the course of the earlier Ten Years' rebellion as well as the present insurrection from its start. No alternative save physical exhaustion of either combatant, and therewithal the practical ruin of the island, lay in sight, but how far distant no one could venture to conjecture.
DESTRUCTION OF THE MAINE. "At this juncture, on the 15th of February last, occurred the destruction of the battleship Maine, while rightfully lying in the harbor of Havana on a mission of international courtesy and good will—a catastrophe the suspicious nature and horror of which stirred the nation's heart profoundly.
"It is a striking evidence of the poise and sturdy good sense distinguishing our national character that this shocking blow, falling upon a generous people, already deeply touched by preceding events in Cuba. did not move them to an instant, desperate resolve to tolerate no longer the existence of a condition of danger and disorder at our doors that made possible such a deed by whomsoever wrought. Yet the instinct of justice prevailed and the nation anxiously awaited the result of the searching investigation at once set on foot.