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After this was over their condition grew worse, and I have frequently seen these immense columns attacked with impunity by a mere handfub of insurgents. The Cubans, knowing every inch of the country, suddenly dash out and pour a couple of volleys into the confused horde, and gallop away before the soldiers can reply effectively to the fire. The attack will then suddenly be renewed from another unexpected quarter, harassing the Spaniards and inflicting a loss that is unavenged until some Caban hospital is raided or pacificos captured. True, under Weyler's régime, several Cuban leaders of prominence were killed, but the great official battles reported on these occasions were absolutely false. General Maceo ran into & Spanish ambush, and was shot down while leading his men to the charge, but he had only his personal escort with him. Rivera was taken in a fair fight, while Urra and Pitiera were both killed when sick in bush hospitals and discovered by the guerilla. Then the brave Dr. Hernandez was wounded and resting in a wayside but attended by his wife, usually known as “la reina de Caba," when a Spanish column chanced along. This young lady resolutely faced the battalion with her husband's revolvers until her shots were expended, and she was badly wounded in the answering discharge. Despite her entreaties as she lay bleeding, her husband was hacked to pieces before her eyes, and she only escaped a worse fate by reason of her youth and beauty, which found favour in the eyes of the commanding officer. Refusing to live under his protection, she was delivered up a prisoner and exiled. Castillo fell next, and he bad but five with him when he was ambushed and macheted by the Guardia Civil right in the outskirts of Havana city. He admitted to me in an interview only a few days before, that in the six months that he had commanded the Havana Division he had only lost twenty men in the almost daily skirmishes. The insurgents killed on paper by the Spanish officials during that time amounted to several thousands.
Had Spain sent to Cuba one-fourth of her vast army, picked the men, equipped and shod them carefully, trained them for a few weeks, and provided transport, the Cuban rebels would have been crushed at the outset; for a few light, well equipped columns that could penetrate into the fastnesses and meet the Cubans hand to hand must have prevailed through superiority of arms and numbers. They would bave accomplished much in a short time, while the hordes of semiinvalids have accomplished nothing in three years, except to ruin all prospect of settlement. With a few exceptions, they know nothing about range, the rear sight is practically ignored, and, even with the flat trajectory of the Mauser, their fire is totally ineffective except at
Their fire discipline conld not be worse, and in a fight they simply pump out bullets, aimlessly pointing in the direction the Cubans were last seen, and uselessly expending their ammunition. Yet the material of these soldiers is not bad, and with training, food, and good leadership, they would go anywhere. The average Spanish officer, however, is not dashing; he is in the war for money, and the glory, as he well knows, goes to the highest bidder for the cross or decoration. Now his money-making chances are gone perhaps he will make a better fighter.
It has been urged that Gomez and the Cubans, and not Spain, were responsible for most of the burning and devastation in the island, and for proof of this Spanish agents have caused copies of the old chief's bando, ordering sugar-cane to be burnt, to be spread broadcast. They fail to state that the order was rescinded very shortly after when Gomez canne west. On January 12, 1896, the following edict was published :
“ REPUBLIC OF CUBA LIBERATING ARMY. “Inasmuch as the work of grinding sugar is now suspended in the western provinces the burning of cane-fields is no longer necessary. I hereby order that,
“(1) The burning of cane-fields henceforth is absolutely probibited.
*(2) All persons, regardless of rank or position in our army, who disobey this order shall be treated with the utmost severity.
" (3) The machinery of sugar estates shall be destroyed in the event of their owners attempting the resumption of work.
“ (4) The persons and property of all peaceful inhabitants of the Island of Cuba, of Spanish or whatever nationality, shall be respected.
“ MAXIMO GOMEZ,
“General-in-Chief. “Headquarters in the Field,
- Jan. 12, 1896.”
His only desire was to cripple the Spanish revenue, and though the suspension of work threw hundreds out of employment, the majority of labourers had joined the insurrection, and the rich property owners alone suffered. Food in abundance was grown, and starvation was not dreamed of. It was Weyler alone who was directly responsible for the universal devastation.
It was not the country people alone who suffered under his regime. A strict police espionage was established in the cities, and close watch kept on the Cuban residents. The prominent families who did not openly espouse Spain's cause were especially under suspicion, and on the slightest evidence of disloyalty they were secretly deported, an unguarded expression frequently being enough. Secret executions also were frequently resorted to by Colonel La Barrera, the chief of secret police, who fled to escape a court-martial when General Blanco took command in Cuba, and many innocent persons suffered through his blackmailing. The filthy Recogidas Prison, from which Evangelina Cisneros escaped, and the Isle of Pines, were filled with ladies well known in Cuban society, their usual crime being their relationship to some insurgent—a son, cousin, sweetheart, or brother—who had taken up arms in the cause. It is impossible to-day to find a Cuban family of prominence that has not some member who has been imprisoned, exiled, or killed, and the majority of the young men have long since taken to the field. Many prisoners of war were taken by Weyler's soldiers, but usually they were unarmed men of the impedimenta, countrymen who had simply remained in the interior, living on roots, carrying messages from one camp to another, or searching for food for the troops. These were nsually killed when taken, and I have photographs of the bodies of several unarmed men, shockingly mutilated. Some officers refused to take the responsibility of such executions, and sent the prisoners to the nearest city, where summary court-martial and the firing squad soon awaited them. The Monday morning shootings, especially in Havana, formed a pleasing diversion after the Sunday ball-fight for the Spaniards, and crowds of volunteers and soldiers, by their taunts and insults, braced the victims to die bravely. It is only necessary to stand on the ramparts at La Cabana fortress and witness one of these scenes to believe in the possibility even of every atrocity placed to Spain's account by too credulous correspondents that have never left Havana, and accept the stories of Cuban agents whose desire to further the insurgent propaganda outweighs their veracity.
Spanish prisoners taken by the Cubans are invariably well treated, General Gomez having issued, on July 1, 1893, & stringent order that all prisoners taken were to be disarmed and immediately returned to their command, unless they voluntarily desired to enlist in the army of liberty. The wounded abandoned on the field were to be cared for, and the unburied dead interred. In defiance of this, two leaders, Rojas and Murgado, on different occasions killed prisoners of war, the former clearing himself by proving that five civil guards he had taken made an armed attempt to escape. The latter, a petty leader of no importance, deserted to escape court-martial. The Spanish guerilla are never spared, owing to their atrocities on women, but in eastern Cuba alone there are over 2000 Spanish regulars either voluntarily remaining after capture or deserters. Though they are not trusted with arms, they are accorded the same treatment as the Cabans, and have no desire to return to ill-treatment in the Imperial army. Under Gomez or Garcia I can vouch also for the best attention to Spanish wounded.
For many months the United States Government took no decisivo action regarding Caba. The consular reports were suppressed, as the safety of the consuls had to be considered, which seems a somewhat lame excuse for hiding the tratb. General Lee in Havana protested again and again, each succeeding report showing the increasing mortality of the reconcentrados. Popular feeling was easily aroused, especially after outrages apon American citizens were proved; and Sagasta, when the Liberal party resumed office in Madrid, realised he must avert the threatening storm by recalling General Weyler.
The man clearly responsible for the existing state of things returned to Spain to become an important political factor there, and General Blanco reigned in his stead. The new Captain-General is a brave and humane man, esteemed highly both by Gomez and Garcia. He came to offer the reforms which might have effectively ended the struggle three years before, and he also had an open policy of mercy to institute, but it was too late. Spain's treasury was depleted, the country was ruined, and the starving reconcentrados, whom he was especially anxious to relieve, were past his help. He started zones of cultivation outside the towns, and gave them permission to pass the lines for a certain distance in search of food. The emaciated creatures that were left had not the strength to dig, the zones were useless, as fow had the energy to work them, and vegetables could not be raised in time to be of service. The autonomy offered was also absolutely rejected by the insurgents. Twice before they had been duped; and after a three years' struggle and Weyler's brutalities they would not accept balf-measures. Bribes were resorted to, but all were unavailing, and the prompt execution of Colonel Ruiz, who, presuming on his friendship with the Cuban leader Aranguren, went out to the rebel force and offered money and positions to all who would desert their cause and return with him, showed the determination of the Cubans to resist to the bitter end. Independence or death.
I passed at this time from one end of Caba to the other, obtaining the opinions of all the leaders. I talked with the Generals, who had given up home and everything for the cause, and endured three years of the greatest hardships; I spoke with the ragged, hungry infantrymen. They were of one mind. “No surrender to the country that has so long oppressed as." One and all, suspicious of the sudden change from Weyler, who was assured by Señor Canovas that his policy was Spain's policy, and mindful of the previous assertion of "El Gran Espanol,” that the last peseta and last man should go to Cuba before reforms should be granted to rebels, they frankly questioned Spain's good faith. And if the Cubans in arms refused to accept autonomy, the loyal Spaniards, the volunteers, were no less bitterly opposed to it, and threatened armed resistance against its institution in Caba.
I passed east of the Trocha, where the Cubans practically control the interior, and have an established Government, just as the full text of President McKinley's December Message reached there. He therein orged Congress to give Spain time to test the efficacy of the autonomy decrees in restoring peace. The Message was neither a surprise nor a disappointment to the Cubans, for it was expected. Though it removed
all existing hopes of American intervention, the insurgents absolutely rejected autonomy, the leaders stating that now no one could say they were relying on action by the United States, and had only continued the struggle on that score. Their supplies also were running short in the west, and few, even of the officers, owned a complete suit of clothes.
The Cuban Government is established in Camaquey or Paerto Principe, one of the two great provinces that form eastern Caba. Though professedly a civil authority, it is elected by the army, delegates being sent from each of the twenty-four commands in the island. These representatives elect by vote a president, vice-president, and executive officers for two years. The elections were held in October last, when the aged President, the Marquis of Santa Lucia, retired, and General Maso, also a septuagenarian, took his place. In the western provinces thero- is much lex non scripta, chiefly framed by the exigencies of the situation; but east of the Trocha, where there has been no reconcentracion, except near the five large seaports, the printed laws of the Caban Republic are to be found in every house. The country here is Free Cuba to all intents and purposes, and out of a population of 287,000 persons, few indeed of the pacific "citizens have seen a Spanish uniform. The members of the Government are all white men of superior education, the majority having been educated in the United States, and speaking English perfectly in consequence. It is absurd for Spain to orge her contention that the rebellion is supported mainly by negroes and half-castes.
One-third of the population of Cuba is composed of blacks, half-castes, and Chinese, and the proportion of coloured men with the insurgents is about the same. Since Maceo's death there is not a man of colour holding an important position in the Caban army, except General Rabi, the old Indian, whose bravery in the field in both wars is unsurpassed. The Vice-President of Cuba, Dr. Capote, was one of Havana's leading lawyers before the war. Dr. Giberga, another lawyer, is brother to the autonomist deputy of that name. Colonel Stirling, Secretary of the Treasury, is a Cuban of Scotch descent, and graduated at the New York Military Academy. General Lacret, who takes command of the Cuban contingent preparing to assist in the invasion, was educated in Paris. Dr. Silva is a graduate of Philadelphia College, and Judge Fredey, Chief of the Judiciary, was Judge of the Audiencia or Supreme Court in Havana before the war. I could go on with a long list of leaders who have held excellent positions, but have relinquished all for Cuba libre, endured steadfastly the three years of hardship and refused to surrender.
Until I met the insurgents I shared the popular fallacy that desperadoes and adventurers were making the revolution; but, whatever may have been the character of some of the earlier insurgents, for