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trzy id crawled, hoping to get some stray bits of food from the early hucksters, and that there had been cases where they had dropped dead inside the market, surrounded by food. These people were independent and self-supporting before Weyler's order. They are not beggars even now. There are plenty of professional vegg irs in every town among the regular residents, but these country people, the reconcentrados, have not learned the art. Rarely is a hand held out to you for alms when going among their huts, but the sight of them makes an appeal stronger than words.
“Of these I need not speak. Others have described their conditions far betier than I can. It is not within the narrow limits of my vocabulary to portray it. I went to Cuba with a strong conviction that the picture had been overdrawn; that a few cases of starvation and suffering had inspired and stimulated the press correspondents and they had given free play to a strong natural, and highly cultivated imagination. Before starting I received through the mail a leaflet published by the Christian Herald, with the cuts of some of the sick and starving reconcentrados, and
took it with me, thinking these would be rare specimens
gotten up to make the worst possible showing. I saw
plenty as bad and worse ; many that should not
be photographed and shown. I could not
believe that out of a population of 1,600,000,
200,000 had died within these Spanish forts,
practically prison walls, within a few months
past, from actual starvation and disease
caused by insufficient and improper food. My
will inquiries were entirely outside of sensational
sources. They were made of our medical
officers, of our consuls, of city alcaldes, (mayors), of relief
committees, of leading merchants and bankers, physicians NATIVE DOG. and lawyers. Several of my informants were Spanish born, but every time the answer was that the case had not been overstated. What I saw I cannot tell so that others can see it. It must be seen with one's own eyes to be realized. The Los Palos Hospital in Havana has been recently described by one of my colleagues, Senator Gallinger, and I cannot say that his picture was overdrawn, for even his fertile pen could not do that. He visited it after Dr. Lesser, one of Miss Barton's very able and efficient assistants (in the Red Cross work), had renovated it and put in cots. I saw it when four hundred women and children were lying on the stone floors in an indescribable state of emaciation and disease, many with the scantiest covering of rags—and such rags! Sick children as naked as they came into the world. And the conditions in the other cities are even worse.” In the United States this conservative, candid statement of Senator Proctor put feeling to a pitch, and there was loud clamor against Congress and the Executive for its unfeeling delay.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE “MAINE.” At this time there was an occurrence wbich set the country aflame. On the night of February 15, 1898, while peacefully at anchor in the harbor of Havana, the United States battle-ship Maine was sunk by an explosion and two officers and 264 of her crew killed or drowned. Prior to this, the Spanish government had protested against our sending cruisers with supplies to the reconcentrados, and there was much talk of the designs of the Spanish
fleet upon our Atlantic Coast. The attitude and feeling in Spanish circles was such that this destruction of the Maine was at once charged to the perfidy and cruelty of the Spanish governinent. At once the President created a commission to consider and report upon the cause of the destruction of the Maine, but in the minds of the public there was an ample casus
belli, and it would hardly brook the A FAMILIAR STREET SCENE.
delay necessary for a report. The conservatism of Congress kept it well in check, but the importunities of constituents drove it to preparatory action. On March 8, 1898, the House, by unanimous vote, passed a bill appropriating $50,000,000 for national defense. By unanimous vote, and without debate, the bill passed the Senate on the same day, and was immediately signed by the President. On the 16th of March, a protest by the Spanish government against our measures of defense and our fleet in Key West was received. On March 23th the President sent to Congress the report of the Court of Inquiry on the Muine disaster. The following is its full text:
REPORT OF THE COURT OF INQUIRY.
“United States Steamship Iowa.
First Rate. “KEY WEST, Florida, Monday, March 21, 1898. "After full and mature consideration of all the testimony before it the court finds as follows:
“1. That the United States battle-ship Maine arrived in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, on the 25th day of January, 1898, and was taken to buoy No. 4, in from five and one-half to six fathoms of water, by the regular government pilot. The United States Consul-General at Havana had notified the authorities at that place the previous evening of the intended arrival of the Maine.
“ 2. The state of discipline on board the Maine was excellent, and all orders and regulations in regard to the care and safety of the ship were strictly carried out. All ammunition was stowed in accordance with prescribed instructions, and proper care was taken whenever ammunition was handled. Nothing was stowed in any one of the magazines or shell-rooms which was not permitted to be stowed there. The magazines and shell-rooms were always locked after having been opened, and after the destruction of the Maine the keys were found in their proper place in the Captain's cabin, everything having been reported secure that evening at 8 P. M.
“The temperature of the magazines and shell-rooms was taken daily and reported. The only magazine which had an undue amount of heat was the after ten-inch magazine, and that did not explode at the time the Maine was destroyed. The dry gun-cotton primers and detonators were stowed in the cabin aft, and remote from the scene of the explosion. Waste was carefully looked after on the Maine to obviate danger. Special order in regard to this had been given by the commanding officer. Varnishers, dryers, alcohol and other combustibles of this nature were stowed on or above the main deck, and could not have had anything to do with the destruction of the Maine.
“ The medical stores were stowed aft under the ward-room, and remote from the scene of the explosion. No dangerous stores of any kind were stowed below in any of the other store rooms.
“The coal bunkers were inspected daily. Of those bunkers adjacent to the forward magazines and shellrooms, four were empty, namely: ‘B3, B4, B 5, B 6.' 'A 15' had been in use that day, and ‘A 16' was full of New River coal. This coal had been carefully inspected before receiving it on board. The bunker in which it was stowed was accessible on three sides at all times, and the fourth side at this time on account of bunkers ‘B 4' and 'B 6' being empty. This bunker, ‘A 16,' had been inspected that day by the engineer officer on duty. The fire-alarms in the bunkers were in working order, and there had never been a case of spontaneous combustion of coal on board the Maine. The two after
SCENE ON THE RIO GRANDE. boilers of the ship were in use at the time of the disaster, but for auxiliary purposes only, with a comparatively low pressure of steam, and being tended by a reliable watch. These boilers could not have caused the explosion of the ship. The four forward boilers have since been found by the divers, and are in a fair condition.
“On the night of the destruction of the Maine everything had been reported secure for the night at 8 P. M. by reliable persons, through the proper authorities, to the commanding officer. At the time the Maine was destroyed the ship was quiet, and therefore least liable to accident caused by movements from those on board.
“3. The destruction of the Maine occurred at forty minutes past nine in the evening of the 15th day of February, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, she being at the time moored to the same buoy to which she had been taken upon her arrival. There were two explosions of a distinctly different character, with a very short, but distinct interval between them, and the forward part of the ship was lifted to a marked degree at the time of the first explosion. The first explosion was more in the nature of a report, like that of a sun; while the second explosion was more open, prolonged, and of greater volume. This second explosion was, in the opinion of the court, caused by the partial explosion of two or more of the forward magazines of the Maine.
“The evidence bearing upon this, being principally obtained from divers, did not enable the court to form a definite conclusion as to the condition of the wreck, although it was established that the after part of the ship was practically intact, and sank in that condition a very few minutes after the destruction of the forward part. The following facts in regard to the forward part of the ship are, however, established by the testimony.
SPANISH SOLDIERS AT PRAYER. "4. That portion of the port side of the protective deck which extends from about frame 30 to frame 41 was blown up aft and over to port. The main deck from about frame 30 to frame 41 was blown up aft and slightly over the starboard, folding the forward part of the middle superstructure over and on top of the after part. This was, in the opinion of the court, caused by the partial explosion of two or more of the forward magazines of the Maine.
"! 5. At frame 17, the outer shell of the ship, from a point eleven and onehalf feet from the middle line of the ship, and six feet above the keel when in its normal position, has been forced up so as to be now about four feet above the surface of the water; therefore, about thirty-four feet above where it would be, had the ship sunk uninjured. The outside bottom-plating is bent into a reversed V-shape, the aft wing of which, about fifteen feet broad and thirty feet in length (from frame 17 to frame 25) is doubled back upon itself against the continuation of the same plating extending forward.
“At frame 18 the vertical keel is broken in two, and the flat keel bent into an angle similar to the angle formed by the outside bottom-plating. This break is now about six feet above its normal position.
“In the opinion of the court this effect could have been produced only by the explosion of a mine situated under the bottom of the ship at about frame 18, and somewhat on the port side of the ship.
“6. The court finds that the loss of the Maine, on the occasion named, was not in any respect due to fault or negligence on the part of any of the officers or members of the crew of said vessel.
“7. In the opinion of the court the Maine was destroyed by the explosion of a submarine mine, which caused the partial explosion of two or more of her forward magazines.
“8. The court has been unable to obtain evidence fixing the responsibility for the destruction of the Maine upon any person or persons.
“W. T. SAMPSON, Captain U. S. N., President.
“A. MArix, Lieutenant-Commander U.S. N., Judge-Advocate. “The court, having finished the inquiry it was ordered to make, adjourned at 11 A. M to await the action of the convening authority.
“W. T. SAMPSON, Captain U. S. N., President.
“U. S. Flagship New York, off Key West, Fla., March 22, 1898. “The proceedings and findings of the Court of Inquiry in the above case are approved.
“M. SICARD, Rear Admiral, Commander-in-Chief of the United States Naval Force
on the North Atlantic Station."
THE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE. Accompanying this report was the following explanatory message of the President:
“For some time prior to the visit of the Maine to Havana harbor our Consular representatives pointed out the advantages to flow from the visit of national ships to Cuban waters, in accustoming the people to the presence of our flag as the symbol of good will, and of our ships in the fulfillment of the mission of protection to American interests, even though no immediate need therefor might exist.
" Accordingly on the 24th of January last, after a conference with the Spanish Minister, in which the renewal of visits of our war vessels to Spanish waters was discussed and accepted, the peninsular authorities at Madrid and Havana were advised of the purpose of this government to resume friendly naval visits to Cuban ports, and that, in that view, the Maine would forthwith call at the port of Havana. This announcement was received by the Spanish government with appreciation of the friendly character of the visit of the Maine, and with notification of an intention to return the courtesy by sending Spanish ships to the principal ports of the United States. Meanwhile the Maine entered the port of Havana on the 25th of January, her arrival being marked with no special incident besides the exchange of customary salutes and ceremonial visits.