Page images
PDF
EPUB

domitable spirit of independence that have been recognized by eye-witnesses, characterizes the whole of this most in- even including their enemies, the Spancorruptible of republics. Porfirio Diaz iards. Military writers like Colonels has succeeded in establishing a very Campo and Gonzalez, and Generals of stable Government in Mexico. More- so high a reputation as Jorellar, Conover, the large North American Repub- cha, and Martinez Campos of the Spanlic itself is a living proof that the so- ish army, in their official reports to the called Anglo-Saxon race is not the only Government have paid a high tribute to nor even the best qualified for a demo- the Cuban soldier. The Cuban troops, cratic form of government. As a mat without arms and ammunition, with ter of fact, her population is far from neither pay nor sufficient food, sucbeing made up of Anglo-Saxons, as cessfully resisted for years and years some writers have carelessly assumed. the most formidable army that any naAnd if a nation like the United States, tion ever sent to punish a revolted colocomposed of so many different races, of ny. so many different elements, a great During the seven years that the proportion being drawn from the very American War of Independence lasted lowest and most ignorant classes in the entire force that England sent over Europe, has known how to assimilate to fight Washington's recruits scarcely them and produce a very fair type of reached 80,000 men, while Spain durcitizen, very capable of self-govern- ing the present war despatched to Cument, why should Cuba, freed from all ba a powerful army of more than 200,baneful influences, equally exempt from 000 men, which, with the volunteers, tradition and old prejudices, prove an reached the colossal figure of more than exception just because she happens to 300,000 well-equipped and well-armed possess a relatively small negro popula- men, not to speak of a fleet of more tion and to be situated a few degrees than fifty war-ships surrounding the nearer the equator than is Florida ? Island and watching the coasts. To Finally, no trial has been made, there- have opposed such a powerful combinafore it is idle to prophesy as to results. tion with any degree of success, it was It may be confidently expected that a necessary for the Cubans to have manipeople which has fought half a century fested excellent soldierly qualitiesfor freedom will have something to say above all, great discipline, courage, and respecting its future destinies.

a power of endurance never equalled in To deny the capacity of the Cubans any previous struggle for independence for self-government before they have on the part of a colony. And the herobeen put to the test is neither logical, ism of the contest will be the more adhonest, nor in accordance with moral mired if we bear in mind that the Cuprinciples. The charges of cruelty and bans have never counted upon the procowardice brought against the Cubans tection of any nation, and never reby correspondents in the pay of Trusts ceived help such as the American Coloand Corporations do not even deserve nies received from France in her conthe honor of a serious refutation. They test with England. On the contrary, are but libels, inspired by the enemies up to the loss of the war-ship Maine, of Cuban independence, in order to dis- the whole world, the great Republic incredit her in the eyes of European na- cluded, remained an indifferent spectations. No more humane, hospitable, tor of this terrible and unequal strugand charitable people exist on the sur gle for liberty, without even according face of the globe. Their humanitarian the patriots the moral support of a recand charitable sentiments have been ognition of belligerency. successfully put to the proof thousands The accusations of cruelty have no of times, and have been everywhere foundation whatever. Since early in proclaimed. During their long and un- the century the Cuban progressive party equal struggle to free themselves from have engaged in a very energetic the Spanish yoke the courage and mili- propaganda, as energetic as the iron tary qualities exhibited by the Cubans rule of the Captain-General would al

low, in favor of the emancipation of ately released. Examples of this kind the negroes. In this connection, the are a practical refutation of the charges works of the Count of Poyos Dulces of cruelty lately made, and the best and and Saco deserve special mention, the most undeniable proof of the superior latter having written his “History of humanity of the Cubans when dealing the Institution of Slavery in Cuba ” in with their enemies by whom they were the year 1851, a book notable not only never spared the most fiendish torture on account of its humanitarian tenden or the foulest treachery. Furthermore, cies, but also of its literary merits. the patriots have always respected the

The first act of the Revolutionary private property of the Spaniards, and Government in the Ten Years' War when the necessities of warfare com(1868-78) was to declare free all slaves pelled them, as in 1897, to order the on the Island. During their long strug- cessation of the grinding of the sugargle for freedom, lasting intermittently cane on the estates, or other measures from 1850 until to-day—that is to say, of a similar character, in order to denearly half a century—the Cubans have prive the enemy of means to carry on

nys respected the lives of prisoners, the war, no discrimination was made notwithstanding the fact that the Span- between Cuban and Spaniard. All iards did not reciprocate this generosi- were treated alike, for no revengeful ty, never sparing the life of a single spirit ever actuated the laws and deprisoner taken in battle or otherwise, crees adopted by the Cuban Provisional by force or by fraud, nor even that of a Government or the General-in-Chief of defenceless "pacifico” who crossed the revolutionary forces. their path. Illustrations of the civil The history of the Cuban war does ized method of warfare carried on by not present any example of atrocities the patriots can be cited by the thou- committed by the patriots comparable sand.

in any way to the terrible scenes which During the Revolution of 1868 the took place at Scullabogue, prompted by Cubans either raided or captured the the Irish revolutionaries of 1798, or cities of Bayamo, Victoria de las Tu those committed by the American panas, Holguin, Sta. Clara, St. Spiritus, triots on the evacuation of New Ornot to speak of numerous towns and vil- lcans by the British troops. lages, and never in one instance did The fact of many Cubans having rethey take the life of a Spaniard, wheth- mained in the cities without seeming er volunteer or civilian, in spite of the to take an active part in the revolution abominable crimes committed by the does not reflect in any way upon the former against women, children, and population as a whole, nor tend to disthe aged. In the battles of Las Guasi- prove their interest in their country, mas, Palo Prieto, El Salado, and many nor their passionate desire for emanciothers in which the Spanish forces pation. In the first place, no colony were routed, all the prisoners of war has ever been known to rise en masse were released by the Cubans. And, in against its oppressors. In the second the present war, General Calixto Gar- place, the immense majority of the Cucia, at the capture of Victoria de las bans living in the cities held by the Tunas, took more than 700 prisoners, Spaniards have rendered valuable aswho were released after they had been sistance to the cause of independence fed and the wounded and sick cared for by forming Juntas to direct and spread In the battle of Mal Tiempo, Santa the revolutionary propaganda, collectClara province, the Cuban general Re- ing money wherewith to purchase arms, go released all the Spanish prisoners of ammunition, and to equip expeditions, war at the neasest town, on a receipt likewise conveying to the field importo this effect being given him by the tant information relative to the moveSpanish authorities. All those taken ments of the Spanish army. prisoners by General Aranguren, when In the American War of Indepenhe captured a train between Havana dence the people from many cities, New and Guanabacoa (1897) were immedi. York included, remained at home, ap

parently siding with England, the mother-country, and never once during the war were the patriots under the command of Washington enabled to enter any of these cities. Nevertheless, no one has ever accused the American people of being opposed to the independence of their country.

I repeat, without fear of contradiction, that no colony in the world ever fought so long, so desperately, or so bravely, in the face of such difficulties, as did Cuba, without aid, without even a sign of encouragement from other nations. Consequently, at the present moment, the only position that can be fairly held by those who deny the fitness of the Cubans for self-government is to suspend judgment until the “ Pearl of the Antilles” has been given an opportunity to prove or disprove their unsupported assertions. As to the intervention of the United States in Cuban affairs and the policy of annexation advocated by some, I cannot do better than append the recent utterances of the Hon. J. G. Carlisle, Ex-Secretary of the U. S. Treasury, which represent the best thought and feeling of America :

“Our national honor is pledged, and ought to be sacredly preserved, no matter what view other nations may take of the subject. . . . Whether Cuba shall be

free and independent and shall have a stable government are questions of great importance to the people of that island, and of considerable importance to us; but the question of greatest importance to the people of the United States is whether they shall allow a war prosecuted ostensibly for the independence of a foreign people to be made the pretext or the occasion for changing the very essence of our national character, and for converting their own Government into a great war-making, tax-consuming, landgrabbing, and office-distributing machine. No graver question than this will probably ever be presented for the consideration of the American people, for upon its decision depends the preservation or destruction of the vital principle of our Federative Republic of equal States. If we are to close and seal up the records of the past and begin a new history, it ought not to be said hereafter that it was done without a protest from the friends of DemocraticRepublican government, or without a full knowledge of the probable consequences.

“There is absolutely no evidence worthy of consideration to show that a majority of the inhabitants of Hawaii or Cuba, or any other island proposed to be conquered or annexed, desire to be attached to the United States, while their character, habits, and past histories strongly conduce to prove that they greatly prefer to remain as they are, or establish independent gov. ernments of their own. Better a thousand times that monarchical Spain should continue to rule a people against their will than that the United States should usurp her place and hold them in subjection in the name of liberty and humanity.”

-Contemporary Review.

A HEATHEN CHINEE.

BY EDWARD A. IRVING.

PHUNG AH NYAN, the subject of I took Glory Golden with me from this sketch, has the happiest knack of the Straits to China some years ago. turning commonplaces with a great air He went as my domestic servant, nothof originality, as when he says, for in- ing more; but as we approached that stance, “We Chinese are of two kinds. part of the Canton province which had One kind bad men, and one kind good given him birth, he thought fit to magmen." This is quite true; and Yong nify his office, and to announce at the Ah Kim (literally Glory Golden, a many inns at which we halted on our name too good for its owner) must be way that I was a Devil of the first magclassed among the bad men, as we have nitude, in fact, a "Foreign Mandarin;" both reason to agree. Still, I have to which expression sounds to Chinese ears thank him, since through his delinquen- almost as grotesque as “Lobengula's cies I became acquainted with the fam- Premier ” would to ours." He himself ily of the Phungs, who are of the good posed as my confidential adviser, cheapkind beyond all question.

ly paid at a hundred dollars a month. In consequence I was charged double girl of that immature age when the hu. missionary rates by innkeepers and por- man infant, differing from the infant ters, and missionary rates are reckoned horse, is characterized by the extraat twice the market price.

ordinary shortness of its legs. She, with But when we reached our destination circumspect and staggering gait, and an at Muddy River he found himself un- awful solemnity in her round black able to keep up this illusion: the people eyes, was engaged in persecuting one heard me call him “boy” (he said) and of those passive kittens that appear to order him hither and thither; he was be the complement of Chinese baby“ losing face," and desired to retire into hood, when the phenomenon described private life and read for a literary ex- above appeared before her. Naturally amination. So he withdrew himself she shrieked and collapsed. Then to me from my presence, taking with him the also appeared a prodigy. For from the privy purse and, worse still, my postage- house a young woman rushed out with stamps. No redress for breaches of flaming cheeks, her dishevelled hair contract or trust are obtainable for loose over her blue smock, running on Englishmen in the friendly country of stout sunburned legs of which a good China, and I could only submit in si- hand's-breadth was visible below her lence. But as things turned out, other knickerbockers of gray homespun. She entries were to be made in time on both seized the child and shook it vigorously sides of the account of Glory Golden —why does your outraged mother shake with myself.

her innocent offspring ?-and, stradThus things stood when there arrived dling like Apollyon across the path, my newly engaged teacher Phung Ah greeted me with a tirade in which Man, which is Phung the Late-born; horse-bells,” “get down," "strike and he suggested that I should employ dead," and my forefathers recurred at his elder brother, with such words of frequent intervals. It was in vain to recommendation as these: “ Carry apologize for the absence of the warning water, buy provisions, polish the horse, horse-bells. She still barred the way, any sort of thing he can do." Accord- and it seemed as if my only course was ingly I set out one day to find the house retrograde. of Phung and discover this prodigy, Meanwhile the rest of the household, moved partly by curiosity to hear of an forty or fifty strong, had turned out to elder brother who would do the rough see the fun, the women critically attenwork, while the cadet was reading for a tive, and the men wearing the amused degree.

yet sheepish air of schoolboys who are The house of Phung lies buried in a observing the castigation of another's dingle at the foot of the fir-clad hill person. An old man leaning with both that divides the Stone Fan Valley from hands on his stick hobbled out for a the watershed of Muddy Brook. The minute; but though I appealed to him road runs, in the uncompromising man- as Reverend Uncle, he went back again ner of Chinese roads, straight and steep without speaking: his patriarchal exdown the hillside, and turns off abrupt- perience had not taught him how to ly across the drying-floor which lies be- quiet an angry woman. tween the Phung homestead and the I had had about enough of it, when fish-pond. And I made my acquaint onto the drying-floor from the other ance with the Phungs in this most un- end there strolled a man leading a pink dignified way. Glad to get off the cob- buffalo by a rope. After tying it up ble-stones, and grown“ beany” on a with deliberation he came forward and luxurious diet of rice and beanstalks, pushed his way through the little crowd. my pony was not to be controlled, and No sooner had the woman caught his swung round the corner onto the farm eye, than, turning the current of her precincts at a pace that might almost volubility on him, she reiterated for the have been called a trot. The drying- dozenth time her version of my evil floor was covered with sheaves of rice, deeds; but her husband seemed to cut playing among which was a little naked her very short, assuming with a nice

discrimination of the probabilities that “scolded." I found out by degrees that his wife was in the wrong, as, shoving this dread of a row was one of his leadher aside with a shoulder of extra size, ing characteristics. he raised toward me one of the flattest During the war with Japan I had the and roundest faces I have ever seen opportunity of seeing some Chinese even in China, and reassured me with a troops embarking for Formosa, and grin: “No fear. No fear. Just wom- greatly admired the soldierly coman's talk only!” He invited me in- pactness of their kit; for they doors to take tea and tobacco, when fol- carried neither arms nor baggage lowing on the usual inquiries as to each other than a fan and a slice of other's honorable patronymics and re- water-melon. At the little teaspected proper names, it turned out that house which comes so kindly into view he was no other than the Phung Ah Ny- at the top of the long up-grade, I had an I had come in search of. So I en the curiosity to examine my new sergaged him there and then.

vant's possessions, and see what equipWhen I say there and then I am ex- ment for his new life was considered aggerating. Nothing in China is ever necessary by him. At one end of the done there and then, but I left a letter stick there was a bundle of oiled yellow which his brother, the Late-born, had paper, enveloping a change of the given me, and finished my ride; and re- coarse blue coat and trousers that are turning, was told by the patriarch above the common wear of the Chinese peasmentioned that my conditions were ac- ant of either sex: item, two live fowls cepted, and sure enough there was Ah strung up by the heels, a present from Nyan Elder Brother sitting at the door the patriarch to the writer. At the othway by the threshing-floor, with his er end was a round wicker basket, worldly goods tied into two convenient which, being unpadlocked, was found to bundles, and his carrying-stick across contain a long coat of blue satin with a his knees, in a state of elaborate prepa- waistcoat of maroon, trousers of white ration, from his freshly shaved and glis- crêpe, a skull cap with red button, some tening crown to the new straw sandals paper editions of the classics, a round on his feet. And hardly had I arrived silk fan with lacquered handle, emwhen by general acclamation a start broidered shoes, and a water-tobaccowas insisted on. Ah Nyan grinned im- pipe, of polished tin. I could not forpartially on the little crowd, and put his bear from wondering how a burdenshoulder to the carrying-stick. “Go bearer should go so nicely appointed, carefully," cried they. “No ceremony," but I might have spared the sarcasm. we replied, as we hurried off, horse and Ah Nyan explained very simply that the man, at a sharp trot.

contents of the wicker basket were for In a minute we had turned the cor- his younger brother, the teacher. ner, and were breasting the steep road The tiny cottage I lived in consisted through the wood, all slippery with the of a centre hall or atrium, opening upon cobbles and pine-needles. Here, as we a compluvium called in the vernacular slowed down, I learned the reason of the the Heavenly Well, upon which opened hurry. It was not the distance to be also my bedroom and the kitchen, that covered : our road was only three or were little more than walled-in pasfour miles by Chinese computation sages, one on each side of the centre (three miles down-hill, but four miles hall. It is not a comfortable house, up!). It was his wife's younger for a rainstorm beating in through the brother. He, an ill-conditioned fellow Heavenly Well takes possession of it all it appeared, was expected home that af- except a six-foot strip to leeward; and ternoon, and it was anticipated that he with the glass at 96° in the shade the would “refuse consent” unless I of thin black tiles prove an indifferent profered him an equally good billet. When tection from the sun, but for eavesdropI asked how he could do that to his ping it seemed specially designed. Ah elder brother-in-law, Ah Nyan shifted Man, the Late-born, was cooking the his ground and said he would have fowl in the kitchen when we arrived:

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »