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not hostility, and the number of the stay-at-homes is swelled.
The aggregate results of the elections immediately following that of November, 1896, may be summed up as follows: the Democrats reclaimed Kentucky and New York; the other States remained as classified after the Presidential election. In local elections the odds were with the Democrats. They had elected the Mayors of Boston, Chicago, and Detroit. These elections have no special significance, being influenced as they usually are by local considerations, by the common disposition to hold the authorities responsible for any defects in the municipal system, as well as for maladministration. victories of less moment than these referred to give encouragement and hope, and certainly have an effect upon the masses who accept results without considering causes.
There was one feature of these municipal elections especially notable. Almost all of the daily papers in New York, Chicago, and Detroit vigorously opposed the successful candidate. This gives food for thought. Is the power of the press waning? If so, what is the cause? And what the remedy? If caused by an abatement of honesty and ability, it is a hopeful sign that the people repudiate their former leaders and assert their own independence in thought and action. On the other hand, if the masses have become so self-willed and stubborn as to no longer heed and follow the advice of those whose mission is to direct public sentiment, and who in fulfilling it are fearless and uncorrupted, then the outlook is far less hopeful.
When Congress met in regular session, on the first Monday of December, 1897, the President sent in his annual message. It was an elaborate and well-written document, covering all topics of domestic and international interest. The insurrection in Cuba and the relations of this country to Spain were treated exhaustively.
While deprecating and denouncing the barbarity of Weyler's rule in Cuba, the consequent demoralization of trade, and the terrible sufferings of the islanders, the President advised against any action by Congress looking to the recognition of Cuba's independence, or even to the rights of belligerency. At the same time, he plainly indicated his purpose to intervene in case the insurrection should not soon be suppressed or the Weyler policy be abandoned. Meanwhile, Canovas, the Spanish Premier, had been assassinated, and a new and much more liberal
government had been established. Sagasta became Premier, and General Blanco superseded Weyler. The new government announced its purpose to discontinue the cruel policy of Weyler and to grant autonomy to Cuba. The proclamation of decrees to this effect wrought a marked change in public sentiment, both in this country and in Cuba. But there still existed here a strong feeling in favor of intervention, and in Cuba a determined opposition to the proffered autonomy. The basis of this feeling in both countries was want of confidence in the sincerity of Spain's promises.
On the 15th of February, 1898, the U. S. battleship Maine, lying in the harbor of Havana, was blown up and sunk, carrying to their death 264 seamen and 2 officers of the ship. The news sent a thrill of horror throughout the country. It was generally believed that this great outrage was the work of Spaniards, but that responsibility could not be fastened on the Spanish Government. A naval Court of Inquiry was appointed to ascertain the cause of the great disaster. The calm and dignified attitude of the President caused the general public to emulate his self-restraint and suppress the painful excitement everywhere manifest. But it was feared that war would ensue; and a bill was introduced appropriating $50,000,000, to be expended at the discretion of the President in providing for the contingency. The unanimity of
sentiment was amazing; and the bill was passed speedily without a single negative vote being recorded. Republicans, Democrats, Populists, Free-Silver men, all, in both Houses, voted for this unprecedented proposition. Several Senators and representatives visited Cuba, and returning gave graphic accounts of the frightful condition of the Cubans, and the enormous number already dead by starvation and neglect. Public sympathy and indignation were intensely aroused, and armed intervention was strenuously advocated.
Congress had voted $50,000 to relieve the destitute and suffering Americans in Cuba, and the generous and sympathetic people were sending ship-loads of supplies. All this, it was reported, gave but partial relief.
The President announced that negotiations with Spain were pending which would lead to a satisfactory issue. Under this assurance his party friends hesitated to break with him. The Democrats tried to force the issue by resolutions to recognize the independence of Cuba, and to intervene to that end. It was said a few pages back that there is patriotism in politics. It is equally true that there is politics in patriotism. The report of the Naval Court of Inquiry was sent in on March 25th, and it seemed impossible to restrain Congressional action, many wishing to declare war without further delay. Both parties struggled for position. The Republicans would not permit the Democrats to gain any of the prestige of initiating action, and they held their forces well in hand, waiting for a message from the President reporting the progress of negotiations and outlining his proposed policy. In this way action was delayed from day to day. But the delay could not prevent the ebullition of passion and fiery eloquence at each session. After several delays, which provoked criticism and charges that the President was vacillating, the message was sent to Congress on
April 7th. The message was a strong recital of the misgovernment, cruelty, brutality, broken faith, and barbarity of Spain in Cuba. On April 13th, the Committees on Foreign Affairs in the Senate and House presented their reports majority and minority. All of the resolutions accompanying the reports were in favor of immediate intervention by the United States to stop the war in Cuba; and to secure to the people of Cuba a stable and independent government of their own creation; and authorizing (in the Senate resolution directing) the President to use the land and naval forces to accomplish the purpose. The minority resolution in the House recognized the present Republic of Cuba, and authorized and directed armed intervention to aid in maintaining that Republic. This was voted down by a vote of 191 to 147. Thereupon the resolution of the majority for armed intervention to secure peace and order in Cuba, and establishing a free and independent government by the people of the island, was passed by 324 to 19. Both the majority and minority resolutions in the Senate were more radical. The majority recognized the independence of the people (not the Republic) of Cuba, and demanded that Spain at once relinquish authority and government in Cuba, and withdraw her land and naval forces therefrom; and directed the President to use force to carry the resolutions into effect. The minority recommended the immediate recognition of the Republic of Cuba. In the House debate was limited to forty minutes. But in the Senate "the previous question," or clôture, does not prevail, and debate continued for two days. Finally, by a decisive vote, the House resolutions were superseded by others recognizing the independence of the Republic of Cuba; demanding that Spain withdraw her land and naval forces, and relinquish jurisdiction over Cuba; and directing the President to use the army and navy to enforce this demand. A resolution was added, disavowing any purpose
upon the part of this government to exercise jurisdiction. over, or control of, the people of Cuba. The greatest excitement and impatience was manifested in both chambers, in their crowded galleries, and throughout the country. There was an earnest desire to reach an agreement. But the House was resolutely opposed to the recognition of the existing Cuban government, and the Senate just as resolutely favored such recognition. The Democrats of both Houses were in favor of recognition. The Republicans in the Senate were about evenly divided on this point, while in the House they stood compactly against it, with the exception of fourteen who voted with the Democrats. The House agreed to the Senate amendments except those which recognized the Republic of Cuba. Repeated conferences were held, and the session was prolonged far into the night. Finally, at three o'clock in the morning, an agreement was reached. In addition. to the specific recognition of the Republic, the Senate resolutions declared that "the people of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free and independent." The House had fought hard to have the two words are and " stricken out; but they yielded at the last, and these words were allowed to remain; so that while the Cuban government was not recognized, the people of Cuba were declared to be free and independent. The vote on agreeing to the conference report shows how tenaciously the Senate clung to the wish to recognize the Cuban Republic. Forty-two voted yea and thirty-five voted nay. The negative votes do not indicate any opposition to the general purport of the resolutions, for amongst them were many of the most pronounced and extreme advocates of the Cuban cause. In the House the vote was practically unanimous in agreeing to the report of the conference committee, viz.: 310 to 6. The result showed that while partisans would play for position and prestige, they would unite in whatever was deemed necessary to