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It was her glorious example which inspired the patriots of Cuba to raise the flag of liberty in her eternal hills. We cannot refuse to accept this responsibility which the God of the universe has placed upon us as the one great power in the New World. We must act !
We must act! What shall our action be? Some say the acknowledgment of the belligerency of the revolutionists. As I have already shown, the hour and the opportunity for that have passed away.
Others say, Let us by resolution or official proclamation recognize the independence of the Cubans. It is too late even for such recognition to be of great avail. Others say, Annexation to the United States. God forbid! I would oppose annexation with my latest breath. The people of Cuba are not our people; they cannot assimilate with us; and beyond all that I am utterly and unalterably opposed to any departure from the declared policy of the fathers which would start this Republic for the first time upon a career of conquest and dominion utterly at variance with the avowed purposes and manifest destiny of popular government.
Let the world understand that the United States does not propose to annex Cuba, that it is not seeking a foot of Cuban soil or a dollar of Spanish treasure. Others say, Let us intervene for the pacification the island, giving to its people the greatest measure of autonomy consistent with the continued sovereignty of Spain. Such a result is no longer pogsible. It is enough to say that it would be resisted by all classes of the Cuban population, and its attempt would simply transfer the putting down of the revolution and the subjuga. tion of the Cuban patriots to the armies of the United States.
There is also said to be a syndicate organization in this country, representing the holders of Spanish bonds, who are urging that the intervention of the United States shall be for
the purchase of the island or for the guaranteeing of the Spanish debt incurred in the attempted subjugation of the Cuban revolutionists. Mr. President, it is idle to think for a single moment of such a plan. The American people will never consent to the payment of one dollar, to the guarantee ing of one bond, as the price paid to Spain for her relinquishment of the island she has so wantonly outraged and devastated.
Mr. President, there is only one action possible, if any is taken; that is, intervention for the independence of the island; intervention that means the landing of an American army on Cuban soil, the deploying of an American fleet off Havana; intervention which says to Spain, Leave the island, withdraw your soldiers, leave the Cubans, these brothers of ours in the New World, to form and carry on government for themselves. Such intervention on our part would not of itself be war. It would undoubtedly lead to war. But if war came it would come by act of Spain in resistance of the liberty and the independence of the Cuban people.
Some say these Cubans are incapable of self-government; that they cannot be trusted to set up a republic. Will they ever become better qualified under Spanish rule than they are to-day? Sometime or other the dominion of kings must cease on the Western continent.
The senator from Vermont has done full justice to the native population of Cuba. He has studied them, and he knows that of all the people on the island they are the best qualified and fitted for government. Certainly any gove ernment by the Cuban people would be better than the tyranny of Spain.
Mr. President, there was a time when “jingoism abroad in the land; when sensationalism prevailed, and when
there was a distinct effort to inflame the passions and prejudices of the American people and precipitate a war with Spain. That time has passed away. “Jingoism " is long since dead. The American people have waited and waited and waited in patience; yea, in patience and confidence-confidence in the belief that decisive action would be taken in due season and in a proper way. To-day all over this land the appeal comes up to us; it reaches us from every section and from every class. That appeal is now for action.
In an interview of yesterday, the senior senator from Maine [Mr. Hale] is reported as saying: “ Events have crowded on too rapidly, and the President has been carried off his feet."
I know of no warrant for such an assertion, but I do know this, that unless Congress acts promptly, meeting this grave crisis as it should be met, we will be swept away, and we ought to be swept away, by the tidal wave of American indignation.
The President has not been carried off his feet.
The administration has been doing its whole duty. With rare foresight and statesmanship it has hastened to make every possible preparation for any emergency. If it be true that the report in the “ Maine " case has been delayed, it has been delayed in order that we might be prepared at all points for defensive and offensive action. There are some who say, but they are mostly those who have procrastinated from the beginning up to the present time, “Let Congress hold its peace, adjourn, go home, and leave the President to
I for one believe that the Congress of the United States is an equal and co-ordinate branch of the federal government, representing the combined judgment and wisdom of the
many. It can more safely be depended on than the individual judgment and wisdom of any one man. I am a Senator of the United States, and I will never consent to abdicate my right to participate in the determination as to what is the solemn duty of this great Republic in this momentous and fateful hour. We are not in session to hamper or cripple the President; we are here to advise and assist him. Congress can alone declare war; Congress can alone levy taxes; and to this Congress the united people of this broad land, from sea to sea, from lake to gulf, look to voice their wishes and execute their will.
Mr. President, against the intervention of the United States in this holy cause there is but one voice of dissent; that voice is the voice of the money-changers. They fear war! Not because of any Christian or ennobling sentiment against war and in favor of peace, but because they fear that a declaration of war, or the intervention which might result in war, would have a depressing effect upon the stock market.
Mr. President, I do not read my duty from the ticker; I do not accept my lessons in patriotism from Wall Street. I deprecate war. I hope and pray for the speedy coming of the time when the sword of the soldier will no longer leap from its scabbard to settle disputes between civilized nations. But, it is evident, looking at the cold facts, that a war with Spain would not permanently depreciate the value of a single American stock or bond.
War with Spain would increase the business and the earnings of every American railroad, it would increase the output of every American factory, it would stimulate every branch of industry and domestic commerce, it would greatly increase the demand for American labor, and in the end every certificate that represented a share in an American business enter
prise would be worth more money than it is to-day. But in the meantime the spectre of war would stride through the stock exchanges, and many of the gamblers around the board would find their ill-gotten gains passing to the other side of the table.
Let them go; what one man loses at the gambling-table his fellow gambler wins. It is no concern of yours, it is no concern of mine, whether the “bulls” or the “bears ” have the best of these stock-deals. They do not represent American sentiment; they do not represent American patriotism. Let them take their chances as they can.
Their weal or woe is of but little importance to the liberty-loving people of the United States. They will not do the fighting; their blood will not flow; they will keep on dealing in options on human life. Let the men whose loyalty is to the dollar stand aside while the men whose loyalty is to the flag come to the front.
There are some who lift their voices in the land and in the open light of day insist that the Republican party will not act, for they say it sold out to the capitalists and the moneychangers at the last national election. It is not so.
God forbid! The 7,000,000 freemen who voted for the Republican party and for William McKinley did not mortgage the honor of this nation for a campaign fund, and if the time ever comes when the Republican party hesitates in its course of duty because of any undue anxiety for the welfare of the accumulated wealth of the nation, then let the Republican party be swept from the face of the earth and be succeeded by some other party, by whatever name it may be called, which will represent the patriotism, the honesty, the loyalty, and the devotion that the Republican party exhibited under Abraham Lincoln in 1861.
Mr. President, there are those who say that the affairs of